Seven

Dear Katie,

Happy, happy birthday, sweet girl!

After wanting you for so long… after praying for you for so long… I’m still amazed each year, as we celebrate your special day, by just how lucky we are to have you in our lives.

Last night, before we tucked you in for bed, we talked about today. That your birthday coincided with dress up day at school made you simply giddy.

Then, this morning, as you carefully pulled your Cinderella dress over your head, I could see a little storm brewing in your mind. Your sweet grimace as you pulled the itchy fabric off your arms and away from your neck gave your thoughts away. You shifted, squirmed, scratched and finally looked up at me, locked eyes and said, “I’m not going to wear this after all. It itches me and I just know that it will bother me all day.”

I’ve spent the past week (or weeks, if I’m honest), wondering how it’s possible that you’re already seven…wondering where the years have gone and feeling terrified that the remainder of your time with us will slip through my fingers.

But this morning, as you changed out of your Cinderella dress and into your school uniform, I thought my heart might burst with pride. You are learning who you are… learning to think ahead… learning that it’s okay to not do what everyone else is doing.

You are learning that it’s just fine to be YOU.

As I held the cast off dress and watched you carefully zip up your plaid skirt and smooth your shirt collar, I realized that none of this… this privilege of being your mother…  is about keeping you small. It’s about bearing witness to you becoming the woman you will one day be.

And this morning, as you dug deep, I realized that you are indeed seven.

You are seven magical, smart, beautiful, fantastic, glorious years old.

And I’m so incredibly blessed to be here to watch you grow.

With a happy heart, filled with so much love for you,

Mommy

letter on seventh birthday

On and on and on

If we’re friends on Facebook, I’m sorry (#notsorry) for flooding your stream with Listen to your Mother updates, links, videos and endlessly gushing.

Because this show? Oh, my friends…you can’t know the power of LTYM unless you attend a show.

And each year, that gets easier to do. What began as a one-city show has now exploded across the nation and 32 cities are bringing the show to the stage during the 2014 season.

And behind each of those cities are women who, like me, simply must bring the show to the stage … women who have witnessed a shift in each member of the audience as they welcomed the cast into their heart… as the words take shape in their head… me too.

Me too.

I shared this video with my friend Laura on Facebook the other day…

And her response? Me too..

I want to be that mom

 

Looking through the LTYM YouTube archives leaves me in absolute awe. So many stories. So many threads of motherhood that connect us all.

The yearning for a baby…

The absolute adoration for the tiny miracles with which we’ve been graced…

The learning to let go… a little at a time…

And the desperation to just get groceries and maintain our sanity, already…

From now until the curtain goes down on the final show of the season, you’ll find me gushing to anyone who will listen.

I am truly eternally grateful for being a part of the magic of LTYM.

Thank you for creating this platform for our stories, Ann. And thank you to my co-producer/co-director, Margaret, for all the things.

If you’re in the Sacramento area, please join us on May 10th at either 2pm or 6pm. Listen to your Mother, Sacramento tickets are available here. (You can also view the entire LTYM Sacramento 2013 show here.)

If you live in another part of the country, here’s a map with a complete list of cities that are hosting LTYM this year.

How?

She turned to me at dinner, her eyes locked on mine.

katie 2

Can I tell you something, Mommy?

Her face, so vulnerable, so engaged.

Every night, after you and Daddy tuck me in, I sit up in bed, I fold my hands and I pray.

It’s funny how you think you know everything there is to know about your child, until you don’t.

What do you pray for, Katie? I asked.

I thank God for the love in my heart and the sunshine.

I thank him for you and for Daddy.

And for Matthew.

And I tell him that if he gives our family a baby to love, my heart will be so, so full.

Her words, her innocence and her belief that the right combination of words to the right person would somehow bring what she so hopes for, leveled me.

In that moment, I couldn’t tell her that her daddy and I tried praying.

We tried science.

We tried hoping.

And still, we failed.

How will I ever convey to her just how much we wanted… still want… the very thing that she prays for each night?

How will I tell her that we eventually stopped hoping?

How can I tell her that when, after all this time, I can barely admit it to myself?

Magic at Play, indeed!

We leave for Disneyland for the Disney Social Media Moms conference tomorrow.

Or if you’re Katie or Matthew, we leave in 20 hours and 23 minutes.

We’ve officially entered the oh-my-gosh-we-have-so-much-to-do-before-we-leave stage of travel prep.

But Disney and Kohl’s made packing for the kids easier by sending over a gift card to stock up on their new Jumping Beans Magic at Play line. The smiles below show you just how happy the kids were about choosing some new things.

And the bonus? Kohl’s gave us a second gift card to give to a family in need, which made Katie so happy that she was beaming. Happy mom, happy kids.

Mickey Mouse t-shirtMinnie Mouse dress

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Mickey MouseMinnie Mouse dress

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Although I was provided compensation and/or products for review, all opinions are my own.

 

Just one more day

Sometimes when I lay still, I’m seven again.

Laying in my bed at night, paralyzed with fear that my mother would die.

That my grandparents would die.

Because my father already had.

Death crept inside my chest and pulled in so tight that I could barely breathe.

“Mom… are you still awake?” I would call.

Sometimes once, more often five or six times, every five minutes or so until sleep finally settled over me and overpowered my fears.

Death and my anxiety have been lifelong partners.

When my grandmother passed away last month, I was on a plane within 23 hours of hearing the news.

We simply told Katie that I need to go to Maine… that I just needed to go home. No details. No grief. No death.

And I went home and grieved. My heart broke when I saw my grandmother and those old wounds reopened.

There have been nights since returning to California, when my mind won’t let me rest and I quiet my breathing enough to hear Craig’s.

And I get up and lay my hand on Katie’s chest, to feel the rise and fall. Then I go to Matthew.

This anxiety is mine and it’s as much a part of who I am as my smile, my blue eyes, my gratitude for the good in my life.

And I have been determined to keep that from Katie, my child who already carries the weight of the world.

Who worries about things she shouldn’t.

Who feels things too deeply.

No laying in bed at night for her, wracked with worry.

No.

But last night, one the most-loved teachers at her small school passed away.

Gone.

The letter I found in her backpack asks us to talk with our children to prepare them for next week, when the school will grieve as a whole.

This weekend, we will have the talk I’ve avoided for six years and six months.

The talk that I didn’t have, even as my whole fell apart last month.

We will tell her about death.

We will introduce her to the idea that it can come from nowhere and rob you of someone you love in an instant.

And my heart is breaking at the thought of it.

About me

Nichole Beaudry @NicholeBeaudry Location: Northern California
Each and every day, I strive to appreciate the wonder, beauty, and whimsy in the small moments, the moments that, when strung together, form a lifetime.
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