Losing “Me” & Finding “Myself”

I’ve had to take a milestone with Charlotte this year. She started kindergarten. And while it’s true that she has been in preschool in years past, this is a whole new arena for us. Not only is it at a much larger campus, but now all five days a week and for the majority of the day. I’m use to having her with us. And I know it sounds absurd, seeing as how I pick her up every afternoon, but I truly miss her.

She is a bright light. She just has this energy that she carries with her. And oh my word, y’all. She is so dang funny! She spits out one-liners like no ones business. Her wit is charming and her personality contagious. She’s just one of those people, that other people gravitate towards. Her energy is infectious, and she is kind beyond words. She has grown into all of these amazing things in just five short years. Grown. She grew.

When she was a baby, I remember being in such awe of what God gifted us two idiots. We certainly weren’t exceptional. I can assure you that we did not have one, single, monetary clue what we were doing. (Bigger shocker… we still don’t.) But I grew over that time, into someone I didn’t even know. Someone I didn’t even recognize as myself. Even when I was unsure if I was using the right rash cream, or sleep schedule, or baby food… I somehow had such confidence that what I was doing for Charlotte was right. That “mothers intuition” somehow transformed me into confident, and steady, and much, much softer.

For the majority of my life, I was the quintessential “sassy one”. I was loyal to a fault, stand up for the weak, put someone in their place, absolutely raise my voice for injustice, and for those who were afraid to speak for themselves… and also, for the ones who were not. Some people could fight their own battles, but I insisted I “help” due to “loyalty”, and “principle”, and a lot of words that people with a chip on their shoulder like to use when they don’t want to admit that they just need to stand up for someone, because they never stood up for themselves. Not really.

When I became a mother though, I lost that person. My quick fuse, and hard pressed opinions, somehow shifted, changed, and molded into someone different. My own set of “mom fails” most certainly gave me a larger “grace space” for others.

When our kids leave the nest, and head on to the start of their very own lives; Not the lives that we have done our best to mold for them, but their own actual lives…. They will decide who to love, and who to leave; Where to go to college, or not; Where they will decide to let God lead them, or the world. These are all things they will decide for themselves, because these are the same things that we had to decide for ourselves. And once they move to the next phase of their adult lives, the will remake decisions for their lives all over again, and again, and again. They will evolve, continuously changing to the newer, more steady versions of themselves with each new chapter. As did we.

I can’t decide if letting Charlotte move forward, is hard because (1)Watching your babies grow is just a sham. Time is a thief. She should be in a bassinet by my bed and still small enough to rest her whole body in my arms. Instead, shes five years old, her feet are as big as skis, and they refuse to stay in a steady shoe size for more than two months. Honest to goodness, I’m asking you all now. (I’ve already pleaded this with all of my “lifers”), but if for some reason I meet Jesus much earlier than I intend…please, have mercy on my soul- and my daughter’s, and go ahead and let her know that a “peep-toe” heel for prom is not the route for her. Say it with love, say it tenderly, but for the love of the land… say it.

Or (2) maybe it’s because with her coming into the world, I evolved so drastically. Maybe it’s because letting her go, also means that I will undoubtedly let go of a little bit of this version of myself that I have become so accustomed to. The biggest difference between B.C. (Before Charlotte) and A.D. (After Dialation) Hannah, is that at least with this version of myself, I know who she is.

**Wait, was that too far? A.D...Was that too much? Have I crossed a line? 😬**

🤷🏼‍♀️But my point being; I couldn’t have answered that question before. I couldn’t have told you who I was before motherhood, or in the very least… I probably wouldn’t have answered you honestly.

Or (3) it may be because I walk in a completely different space than I use to. This one allows much more room for Jesus to walk alongside me. I knew I didn’t have a clue when it came to motherhood. There’s no way to train to be a good mom, but because I was raised in church, I knew my children needed to be involved in church. Charlotte coming along, fueled our fire for a church home, and then we stumbled across this miraculous thing. When we all of a sudden opened our schedules and agendas to Jesus… HE SHOWED UP. (Mind blowing stuff, I know.) He changed the way I saw, and the way I reacted, and the way I spoke, and the way I live my everyday. He just shook everything. I’m not the same.

Or more likely than not; It’s all of those. I like this version much more than my former self. She’s older and more mature. A little less vain. A little slower to react. Most certainly, much more tender. I still have that same fighting spirit. I mean, mess with my household, My kids, my husband… and I will fight tooth and nail and without reserve or hesitation. The only difference is now, I might cry after I do… Which is only a “new Hannah” trait. 😂 But I will still stand firm for my people.

After that, things fall off in appropriate priority, descending as they go down the list. I will no longer rip the hateful cashier a new one because she is unjustly rude to me. I will probably smile, and say a prayer. I’ll pray for me that I will not be ugly in return and then also, that for whatever reason her day is bad, that it will turn around and God will richly bless her. And then I may call her something like, “mcscrooge”, or “pouty pants” or something of the like, under my breath. 🤣 Yes, it’s a pretty fair statement that my potty mouth game has hugely downgraded to just above Mr. Rogers level. I blame Sophia the First and PJ Masks. But never the less. Here I am. It’s not that I won’t say anything, it’s just that my words will probably land much lighter than they use to. There’s this crazy thing that I’ve learned that we can do with the words that come out of our lip smackers…. We can actually choose them. I told you.. mind blowing stuff here. 🤯

People talk all the time about “losing themselves” in this phase of life, but I can’t be more grateful for whatever parts of me I shook off. It’s like this beautiful season we are about to start. Just like Autumn. We shed our old, our outdated foliage that no longer serve us in this season, and then bloom out later with new branches that make us so much fuller the following year. Maybe that’s why Fall is my favorite season. Well, that and college football. (GO TIGERS!)

My sweet daughters; The beautiful thing about letting them go, is seeing what even better versions of themselves that they will grow into. I will soak up every season with them, well… maybe not every season. I might want to rush through that horrible, awkward, hormonal, pubescent, middle school stage as quickly as possible. Or at least that’s what I hear from my “middle school moms”. (Stay strong, you warrior women. I am with you in spirit and love.) But the strides that we take with each phase of life can by far, only get richer in seeing it in our kids. It makes letting go so much easier when you are rooting them on, and cheering them into the next phase. So let’s let them go, and see where they take us. We’ll be pushing forward too! ❤

Be Still

Two Sundays ago I was sitting in the pew of my church. We are normally always at church but we’ve missed the last few weeks due to craziness, and life….And life not working like I would like it to, Or moving as smoothly… or as quickly as I would like it to. But we bust through the doors like the hot mess that we usually are. We ushered the girls in, got our seat, grabbed my bible, opened it up… and I zoned out.

I was there at church for the first time in weeks, but I wasn’t there. I was back at home and mentally working on all the things I needed to get done in my brain. I traveled in and out of my head.

“Feeding of the 5,000. Yep. Know this one.” Back home my brain went. “They followed Jesus in the desert” yes, I know. That’s why they needed food… food. Groceries. Ham for sandwiches. School lunches. Sign that permission form….

“BE STILL! God is just asking you to be still!”

I jerked my eyes back up.

My pastor went on to say that waiting for “the basket” to make it to you, is sometimes the hardest part of the journey. (1) Believe in Jesus? Done. I can do that. (2) Walk with him. Follow him to the desert land? No problem. Got it. (3) Now Be Still. Come again? Do nothing!? Be patient? Wait!? Lord, I don’t think I can do that!

I dont want to wait. Waiting stinks. When I have to wait. I worry. When I worry, I get anxious. Um. I am the furthest thing to a “bible knower”. (I’m sure there is a better word for that, but it eludes me momentarily.) But, uh… Doesn’t it say something in the bible about not worrying? Not be anxious. Yeah. Thought so. So now I’ve thrown myself even further down the rabbit hole. The same rabbit hole of anxious, and stressed, and worried that I have been in for the last month.

Tears burning my eyes. I feel God grab me. I look down, and I had just happened to wear my gold bracelet that Sunday. The one that has stamped on it in bold letters, “be still”. BRO-KEN. I was broke. Done.

Today I was on the way to pick Charlotte up from school, and the following conversation happened with my three year old…

“Man. Come on cars, yall are making me mad! Hurry it up!”

“Mommy! That’s not nice!”

“I’m sorry babe, but I hate waiting!!”

“But mommy. You HAVE to wait or you’ll crash!”

It’s usually always my kids voices that God uses to get my attention. Nearly always.

I’ll crash. If I rush it, it will turn into a mess. If I rush it, it won’t run as smoothly. If I rush it, it won’t turn out as good. If I rush it, disaster will surely follow.

My time is now. Immediate. Halfbaked. Sticky. God’s time is sacred. Perfect. Holy. Seamless.

I’m not sure if you know…. but God is GOD. As in, the all powerful. Existence is produced by the sound of his voice. He can make anything he wishes, happen instantly. BUT, He took six whole days to make creation. Then taking the seventh to rest, he declared it very good. Why? He’s GOD. If He wanted to, he could snap his fingers and it all be done immediately. But He didn’t. He worked diligently. He crafted, OVER TIME, the beautiful working order, which is our world, our universe. Taking his time to carefully, and tenderly mold and plan existence. If he took TIME creating THE WORLD, He will most certainly take his time unfolding His plan for me and my family. But it will be very good, tenderly molded, exceptionally crafted, and in beautiful working order.

I am so far away from having this “patience thing” wrapped in a neat little bow. I don’t. But, I’m working on it God is working on me every day. If it hasn’t fallen together, if it’s not all fitting together like you thought it would. Take rest. He already has it figured out. It’s already been taken care of. He has the whole world in his hands. ❤

Mom Shamed at Sam’s 😂

Hi. It’s the first week of school. We are all over the place and trying to get in the swing of things. Please believe that I have plenty to say on this subject matter considering the eldest just started kindergarten, but I’ve decided to let the rest of the week play out before writing about it. Maybe it’s to give myself more time to reflect or maybe just more time to ‘turn it around’ and maybe have it together by Friday. I’m not sure which, but stayed tuned and I’ll spill my guts on that topic on my next post.

I got mom shamed. I got mom shamed harddd. Not once. But twice. BY THE SAME PERSON. BY A STRANGER. My mom was with me… which only added to the chaos and the scene. So, here’s the story in the full hillariousness in which it unfolded, so just get comfy.

Last week, before school started, I went into town to run some errands. We did the school shopping adventures already where we went to three different office supply stores looking for very specific pencils for Charlotte to start kindergarten with. I mean, NO WHERE TO BE FOUND. But honest to goodness I would cut down a tree and handmake them myself, as long as I do not have to be the one to teach my kids “new math”. I mean honestly, Whatever you want teacher!! Just please dear sweet one, do not make me explain in a two paragraph form why 2+1=3.

So our last trip of the day was to Sam’s Club, (or the “Country Club” as some of our best friends call it. 😂 Ya know… “members only” allowed…. anywhooo…). We needed the basic “school lunch” necessities that can only be found in bulk here.

When we first arrived with two buggies and three kids, I told mom… “oh man! I forgot my Sam’s card! Oh wait. You know what! I forgot it last time too and they gave me a temporary! I still have it in my wallet, no big deal. Keep rolling…”

So “rolled on” we did. Through the 400 count diapers,100 bags of goldfish, 57 of the 2-pack oreos, 12 pounds of grapes, 60 packs of go-gurts, and so on. We finished shopping a little sweaty, a little worse for wear, but VICTORY WAS MINE because I didn’t cave on the 1000 pack of crayons or the Halloween outfits in August. We got to the line, unloaded the buggy, handed her the temporary card… wait, no I didn’t. BECAUSE THE TEMPORARY CARD WAS NO WHERE TO BE FOUND. I searched frantically for several minutes before I finally looked up, made eye contact with my mother, who looked at me like “we both know it’s not in there so just get up to guest services already.”

I made it up to guest services where I met a women who clearly loved her job. (Kidding. She hated it. And me. And my old temporary card. And my excuses. And my new temporary card. And my smile. and my urge for her to have a good day. All of it. She hated it all.) By the time I made it back to my mom, kids, and check out line.. everyone hated me. I hated me. I suck. The card sucks. The system sucks. Everything sucks.

But we forged on, trying to undo the last 15 minutes in my mind. Mom took her buggy and Charlotte to one side of the van and unloaded while I took the rear, with both “littles” strapped in the buggy. As I unloaded the buggy into the trunk of my car, I saw a man come up to speak to my girls. This happens frequently because there are so many of them and they are all adorable (biasedly speaking), so with my hand on the cart I stopped to speak to him.

Man: “You sunbathe your baby?”

Me: “Yes, this is my baby. Oh, wait… sir?”

Man: “You sunbathe your baby?”

Me: “I’m so sorry. Im confused. I don’t understand.”

Man: “Your baby is just roasting out here in the hot sun while you unload your groceries? Do you just allow her poor little skin to bake in the sun?”

Me: 😳

Me: “sir, they are fine. My children are well taken care of. But thank you so much for your concern.” (Jesus, be near. Jesus be near to me right now.)

The man walks away and about that time my mom comes around the other side of the van, “Who was that? What was that? What did he say??”

Now, first of all. I have a black minivan people. A black car that has been roasting in the sun for the entire hour that we’ve just spent in Sam’s. The car itself was probably 120° at this point in time anyway, considering that we had just gotten to the car. But what exactly would you like for me to do with my three children sir? Stick them in the 120° car that has not yet cooled down? Leave them in the store while I load my groceries? What? What would be a better solution for YOU since YOU are apparently raising these children?

And then, guess what? The man gets halfway across the parking lot and forgets something from his car, where he has to walk past us again. Stopping, stupidly, again to say something to me.

Man: “You’re still sunbathing that baby?”

My mom whips around the car. Oh help us. Good sir. Listen, this is a woman who prays. A woman who is favored, because God is for her who in the world can ever be against her? She walks with Jesus and was raised in the south and you sir, were just dumb enough to comment negatively on how her baby is raising her babies. Sweet one… God be with you. You will need his mercy and interjection.

I, somewhere between broken and bewildered, in an unrecognizable pitch due to the lump in my throat, with my finger pointed, “I AM A GOOD MOTHER, SIR! I AM A GOOD MOTHER! I AM A GOOD MOTHER! I AM A GOOD MOTHER!” and no, it was not in anyway subtle or sane.

He walked off because well, there was a scene in which he made a woman nearly cry in the parking lot, with her three children, screaming that she was in fact, a good mother. We loaded the children in the car and as we pulled out Charlotte asked what happened. I told her that “he was a bad, mean man!”

And Yall. Be still my heart. My precious five year old replied, “but mama! We are suppose to love even bad people! And we are suppose to forgive people who are mean!”

I told her she was right, and fought the urge with every cell in my body to roll down my window and yell out to him, “SEE!!! I AM A GOOD MOTHER!!!” 😂😂😂

I obviously didn’t handle this one right. I handled it like a human. I handled like a normal, errand ran, tired mama of three would have. But I most certainly didn’t handle it with grace. I’ll do better next time. Mom shaming is a thing, for those of you that don’t think it is. It is. And it’s not just women who do it. Shame is a terrible thing to lay on another human. Let’s do better people. And I’ll try do better at having a calmer spirit in the storm. TRYING is such a difficult thing. Oh my gosh. I mean just shoot me dead before you call me a bad mother!! I would handle the wound a LOT better! I’m guessing most of us are that way. Hang on tight mama. We’re doing it right, even when the world is telling us we aren’t. I promise. ❤

Daggers

“Don’t let what they say get to you…”

It is so much easier said, Than done. Words can ring out and slice you right down the middle. You can joke them off, or push them to the side, because of course you are confident enough to not pay any attention to those silly words. Until you lay down your head at night and let them replay over and over, and you turn into a little girl again wondering how long it will be before you feel like you belong. I think we need to be careful. Just so careful.

You dont know everyone’s past. You dont know everyone’s last week, or last days, or last years, or “lifetime ago’s”. And one simple statement can puncture them to their core. Their words struck a nerve, because the sense of rejection has been there before. Their words, though different, actually said “You don’t belong.” Their sense of entitlement took away your sense of belonging, and it crushed you.

When their words hit the center of you it reopened old wounds, and Satan just laughed and laughed. He got them to throw and unintentional punch, and it slung messiness all over the place. The enemy is so real and there is nothing that gives him more pleasure than you feeling rejection, or not valuable, or dismissed. The years you’ve invested, the time well spent, the time trying to belong and fit in feels undeniably unimportant. This gives him the greatest joy.

But God tells us we belong. He says we are His. He says we belong under is wing and absolutely have a seat at the table. You are so loved by God, that the mere thought of you, put you into existence and declared you “very good.” You are valuable and you have a place.

Words can be thrown like daggers, but they can not strike if we are coated in the armour of Gods love and goodness. We have to remember to whom we belong, when we feel as if we don’t. As much as I’ve received words like daggers, I’ve sent them too. If my soul was crushed by words, my words have crushed others too. Let’s be careful with each others hearts. Warm and welcoming is how I want my words to sit. I think so much of our problems with the world would stop, if we would help stop the sense of rejection and hurt- And instead offer “Come inside, you belong”. Happy Monday Yall❤

Grove Collaborative

Ok, so I had eczema terribly as a child. The backs of my legs and the creases of my arms were covered. I had a really hard time with it, especially in the dead of winter and in the scorch of the summers. My parents coated me in the only thing known to help at the time. Which bleached my skin… and to this day, the creases of my arms refuse to tan with the rest of my body. 😂 I look like I lay out in the sun with my arms crossed. 🤷🏼‍♀️

Thankfully, We have come a long way with what we know flares up eczema and how to help treat it. And thank goodness- because I’ve passed the eczema gene down to two of my three daughters. We always use a milder body wash and sunscreen, but other than that we’ve managed to live our lives pretty normally, until recently. Turner Mackenzie and Maggie Ruth both have really struggled here lately with their eczema. It’s just pitiful. I am now in a overhaul of switching out our life to a plant-based, organic, and Eczema friendly products.

I really thought that this would be a HUGE thing to tackle. UNTIL *cue the trumpets*… I was introduced to Grove Collaborative. Y’all this company sells the best, and most natural products and DELIVERS them to you!!! They have the most gorgeous home products, and *PLUS SIDE* they are natural, plant based products that are SAFE!

Also, Im not sure if I’ve told you guys this about me or not, but I’M the cheapest person on the planet! I meaning, I love spending money… but then I hate it when I have no money. So I LOVE that these products are so affordable, and they are things I have to buy anyway… I mean. We can’t live without toilet paper! 🤷🏼‍♀️ A few of the brands they sell are Mrs. Meyers, 7th Generation, Method, and TONS of others that are quickly becoming some of my faves!

First things first, Mrs.Meyers. Ok, so if you are unfamiliar with this brand let me just give you a quick low down. Their products do not contain ammonia, chlorine bleach, parabens, petroleum distillates, phosphates or phthalates. They are derived from plants. Now, I know what your thinking… because MY way of thinking was the same. “If it ain’t bleach –>It ain’t clean.” But that’s just simply not the case you guys. I really had to do my research for the benefit of my girls, and I’m telling you, this stuff is GOOD. You are NOT trading in clean for safe. YOU GET BOTH!

I really love their all purpose spray. I have been using it in my kitchen and it’s the bees knees y’all. I actually ended up getting the spray, dish soap, and handsoap all in “Lemon Verbana”. I like the lemon smell in the kitchen because it’s so clean, but since its paired with the verbena, it’s really light and delicate and not overwhelming at all!

I also did the “Honeysuckle” in our laundry detergent. Umm… it’s actually heaven!! And I won’t EVEN get on how outrageously good their “Basil” scent is, oh MY GOSH! Loving Mrs.Myers!

There are TONS of other companies on this site as well, and they are ALL amazing! They have skincare products, baby products, cleaning products, you name it!! The website itself is SO easy to use! Which is another reason I love this company so much. Normally, I dont set up any kind of monthly subscriptions because it’s a HASSLE! What if I dont want it? Or what if I want to hold my order for two more weeks? Switching out products, or changing delivery dates, or cancelling orders, any of that…. Easy Peezy Lemon Squeezy (As Charlotte says). Umm also, They give you your own personal assistant! They call themselves “Grove Guides” and ALL I have to do if I have any questions is simply text or email her, and DONE! My “GG” is Annee and she is the epitome of adorable!

So here! This is my little secret to you! Now RUN! Sign up for the Grove Collaborative immediately. I’m telling you, it will change your life!

Just clink the link here. If you use my link and referral code, you’ll snag a Mrs. Meyers cleaning kit FREE with any $20 or more purchase! YAY for free stuff! 😁

Mama Tried.

Just got home. It’s 9:30 pm and everyone just got in bed. It’s an hour past the “bigs” bedtime and two hours past baby Maggie Ruth’s. As you can imagine… Everyone is just in a lovely mood. We just came home from a long day, which began with “Muffins for Mom” today at the girls preschool. We managed “well enough”. We have most certainly had worse adventures at school functions. The last one being, rolling in on two wheels for the Easter egg hunt in the park. Thank God, (and I absolutely mean this with the very depths of my soul) THANK GOD for other school moms. As we pulled in for that fun trip, she came to the van, pulled out the big kids and took them with her so that all the eggs wouldn’t be gone by the time I parked the car and got out the baby. Since we arrived early, and left without any meltdowns today… I’m gonna call “Muffins For Mom” a win this year.

Then to lunch, then home for naps, then loaded back in the car to pay bills and run errands for the afternoon. We went to the dreaded walmart. It was a fairly non-negotiable trip, so I said a prayer and loaded the three down into the cart. As we approached the building everyone exclaimed they needed to go to the restroom. Lovely. Taking a cart full of underexposed immune systems is the LAST thing I want to take into a Wal-Mart bathroom. But it’s THIS, or pee pants. Pick your poison. We go to the restroom and a bathroom attendant tells us that’s she’s mopping and will be a while, and tells us to go to the restroom located in the back of the store. Through the aisles we go.. girls screaming the entire time of the urgency for a potty. We make it to the restroom, cram the cart through the restroom door, only to be greeted with a great big OUT OF ORDER sign. Awesome. Sweet pickles. Sugar sticks. FRIED BOLOGNA SANDWICH. (I’ve been using foods instead of profanity.. bear with me).

We make it back up to the front of the store restroom with a very long line and someone who is “occupying” the big stall. (And I am using the word “occupying” so loosely that the hinges might fall off and a door hit the floor. This smell could peel paint.) But you see, I need the big stall to get the cart into it, so I can keep an eye on all of my three littlest who will probably have the swine flu by the time we leave the facilities. I finally cave and tell Charlotte she will have to potty in a single stall by herself. She refuses. I reassure her that I am right outside the door, I’m watching. She can do it. And guess what? She does it!! Wonderful! She doesn’t come out…. ?? Why is she not coming out??

“Charlotte, honey are you alright?”

*crying*

“Charlotte, baby I’m right here. What’s wrong?”

“I’M STUCK!!!”

Oh yes people. She’s locked herself in the stall and can’t get out. We do the only thing that’s logical. I make her crawl under the door, TOUCHING THE FLOOR OF THE WAL-MART BATHROOM. I just gagged as I typed it. I asked her how had she gotten the door stuck and she replied she didn’t know, and as I gave the door a little push before we left, just out of curiosity, it opened. I look at her bewildered, and she just says “Oh, I was just pushing the wrong way. Sorry mama.” 😑

Since we were on the road at dinner time chick-fil-a was the only obvious choice. We walk in, service is as wonderful as it always is. I get everyone settled, pass out food and cups and ketchup. I cut Maggie Ruth’s food into micro pieces and everyone is nearly done by the time I take my first bite. I’m exhausted. I’m nearly in tears. And like a phsyco, (or a saint- I haven’t decided), I keep whispering “Jesus, sweet Jesus, hold me up Jesus…” with each breath.

An elderly woman and her husband stop at our table as they leave. She smiles and she pats me on the shoulder. “Honey, I have been watching you. You are a good mama, and I have watched you feed these children, direct them, praise them, a discipline them, just like a good mama should. I know it may seem like the days are long, but this is just a season. Mine are grown and gone now. But I remember how tired I was at the end of the day, and I also know how I miss it now.”

Now granted this woman has no idea I just had my eldest crawl across the walmart bathroom…. BUT I LOVE HER. I HUGGED HER. I DON’T KNOW HER NAME. But I KNOW it was Jesus. I just wanted to fold her up and put her in my pocket. Her husband ushered her away, probably in fear that the mental lady with all the kids was going to steal her. 😂

This is women. This is “mamas”. This is what we do day in and day out for our kids, and well- our peoples kids too. Because in this phase, and maybe in the next one too, (I’m not sure yet… we haven’t made it to middle school dances) this is what you do. You take kids to the potty, and you make lunches, and you kiss the booboos, and you panic when you rush kids to the ER, and you take on other kids as your own, and love them, and rear them up just like yours. It’s what we do.

Us women are incredible really. The women in my tribe, or fellow school mom, or teacher, or dance instructor, or aunt, or cousin, friend, or “lifers” as I call them. People you do life with, your whole life. There is not one single second of our life, or our day that I could do without them. I’m not saying we can always show up. My gosh.. sometimes we can’t even do 100% for the people under our own roof. Sometimes we have to say no. But having women and friends, and mama’s, and single friends, and married friends, and divorced friends, and friend’s in every season.. is what the spice of life is all about. There are women in my family, and women in my life who help raise these girls just as much as I raise them.

I use to run from help. I hated it when people asked if they could help fix a plate for the girls or hold one of them. It somehow offended me as they thought I wasn’t capable of caring for my own kids. But what I’m learning more everyday is that it’s not about that, it’s about receiving love. Receiving a blessing, and being a blessing by allowing someone to bless you. I remember my mama saying this to me a few years back. “Just let someone bless you, Hannah. It’s not for you, it’s for them.” And I looked at her like she had three heads and kept right on moving. But guess what? As always, Mama was right.

Happy Mamas day. To all of you mothers who are, and who were, and who are still yet to come. Especially to you. Biggest hugs. You’ll be doing crazy chick-fil-a and walmart trips before you know it. I’m thinking of you this weekend! ❤

One day…

Yesterday I had been busy all day and it just never stopped. I had done the gym, ran the errands, did the Sam’s bulk trip, picked up the bigs from school, made the lunches, organized the “office” (laughable, it’s a desk with lots of crap and then a few actual vital pieces of information, like birth certificates…). I did the dishes, cleaned the kitchen, did the laundry, and was into organizing more. I had put everyone down for a nap, when in the middle of my “getting our life together”, my big came creeping down the steps.

If you know me as a parent at all, then you know that our naptime is mandatory. As in non-optional. No, you will not be getting up. This is your bed and this is where you lay for the next 1-2 hours. (This is not me taking a stand on naptime. This is just what works for me and my family. I really, truly don’t care if your child naps or not. Everyone please quit making every dad blame thing a soapbox topic. This is what’s wrong with the world. Everything’s a “thing”.)

But, nevertheless, here she came. Sneaking so silently I didn’t even hear her. Except, I knew she was there, due to the eyes in the back of my head that all mothers grow the moment they leave the hospital with their new bundle. She asked to stay up. “I’m just not sleepy, mama. Everyone else is asleep and I just can’t, so can I stay up?”. I caved to silent rest on the couch while I finished downstairs. After a few minutes, I felt her peering at me. I looked over at her, put down my work, and snuggled with her on the couch. This can wait.

You see the thing is, she’s graduating from Preschool in three weeks. I am launching her into a new world of public school, larger classroom sizes, new friends, possible bullies, new teachers, more responsibility, testing, homework, peer pressure, comparison, and no “unexcused days”. No days of staying home because I would just rather have her with me. No days of playing hookie to go to the movies instead. No pick up at 11:30, so I will get to eat lunch with her. None of that. All of these days are nearly gone. Gone in 19 very short days. Tears are burning my eyes as I type these very words…

I thought I was ok with all of this. We did kindergarten registration a few weeks back. I didn’t cry. I was excited for her. A little nervous, but excited… as I remember my first days of school being too- a little nervous, but exciting. But yesterday, in the middle of my errand running, I went to the book section in Target to find an appropriate book to have all of her teachers sign as we launch her into this next phase. A book that I will send on the last days of school, to every teacher of hers, for the next 12+ years. I found the perfect book. I sat there, in the back of Target, holding Maggie Ruth, and cried and cried. The more I thought of Charlotte launching, the tighter I held my 13 month old. God help this poor baby. Being the last won’t be easy, and I can assure you, if she wants to stay in this house until thirty-five, THEN THAT WILL BE FINE AND NONE OF YOU WILL SAY ANY CONDEMNING WORDS, OR IN ANY WAY PUSH HER TO LEAVE ME!!!!

I read the line….”When I look at you and you look at me, I wonder what wonderful things you will be….”

AND THEN I CRIED SOME MORE.

So I put aside my work that I didn’t finish, because let’s be honest… it’s a long list of unfinished things that I will pick back up the next day, and the next, and the next, and the next to finish. But it can wait. Because Charlotte won’t. She won’t wait to grow. She won’t wait to grow another inch taller. She will soon cut her own food. And read books to herself. She will fix her own hair. And pull the paint set down by herself. She one day soon will not lay down for a nap after lunch, but instead tend to homework and then go ride her bike down the street. She will one day soon set her own alarm for school, not needing me to gently brush her hair off of her face and wake her sweetly. “One day” is turning into “One day soon”, and too soon will it become “today”.

So for now, I will lay with her on the couch, and let her fall asleep cuddled up next to me. Us both waking with our cheeks stuck together. I want her to launch. I want her to succeed, and fail. I want her to go and grow at “big school.” Moving up to the next grade, growing older… it’s a privelege that is denied to so many. I want her to become a sweet girl, and beautiful teenager, and kind woman, and thoughtful wife, and attentive mother. And career woman, or entrepreneur, or homemaker, or whatever calling God sends her into. But I will hold this sweet five year old, until she won’t let me anymore. I will hold her until “One day” becomes “today”.