A collision of first and lasts

Polly Pocket

My sweet Katie,

Tonight I plugged the drain of my bathtub, squirted in a healthy dose of bubble bath, turned the not-too-hot water on and lined your Polly Pockets up on the edge of the tub.

This was probably the millionth bath you’ve taken in your seven years.

It seems that so much of mothering is focused on all of the firsts. First smile, first steps, first words, first day of school.

And there’s this span of time wherein you are cushioned by those firsts… where it seems as though each one builds on the one before it and there are so few lasts.

But, something tells me that before long, bath time will be a thing of the past. You’ll move on to bathing… showering… in private and this bubble of time will no longer be spent with me by your side, washing your hair for you… handing you the washcloth.

When you were a baby, we bathed together every night. We played with your multicolored foam alphabet letters, sang a million rounds of Old MacDonald and often you settled and nursed there amongst the popping bubbles.

Those days with you seemed so much slower.

Now our days are filled with lunch packing, school pick up, errands, homework and just the overall busyness life.

We are happy. But we are busy.

And somehow the years between when I felt certain that we had this immeasurable expanse of time ahead of us in which we could run a bubble bath and laugh and sing have collided into nownow when I just know those days are dwindling.

In many ways, now has become a time of lasts intermingled with firsts, where a single day can simultaneously hold joy of the new and melancholy over the no more.

But tonight, I drew your bath and climbed in beside you.

We played with your Polly Pockets together, washing their hair and singing our songs. Old MacDonald has been replaced by the entire Sophia the First CD.

Lasts and firsts.

And in each, I am learning, there is beauty.

Thank you for showing me the way, my dear girl.

I am so very grateful for you.

With so much love,

Mommy

Give and get with Schoola!

Okay, it’s no secret that I’m more than a little in love with Schoola and the work their doing to help schools in need.

So now, I want to show you some super cute looks you can easily pull together from the site.

A dressy outfit for Matthew would total $35, with $14 going back to his school. (You can find these items here: shoesshirt and pants.)

Schoola clothes

Here’s a casual outfit for Matthew that would cost me just $16. And $6 of that would go back to his school. (Grab these items here: hatshirt and shorts.)

Schoola clothes

And this pretty style for Katie? Just $30 for all three pieces, with $12 going back to her school. (Buy these items here: shoesdress and sweater.)

Schoola clothes

The playful look for Katie below would cost me $35 and $14 would go to her school. (Grab these items while they’re still available! Skirtshirt and shoes.)

Schoola clothes

The grand total for all four looks would be $116 out of my pocket with $46 going directly to their school. That’s pretty amazing, right?

And if you shop now, be sure to use the code BacktoSchoola20 to save 20% off your purchase. (Code expires on August 20th, so hurry! Limit one use per customer.)

Don’t forget that you can also request a bag from Schoola by clicking on this donation bag request link.

Visit Schoola to learn more about how a single clothing drive in the 2102/2013 school year has now grown to a program that is 3000 schools strong!

Although I was compensated for participating in this campaign, as always the opinions expressed here are all my own. 

Time for Schoola

If you asked me to draw a perfect circle, without even lifting the pencil, I can already tell you that it would come out looking more like a square.

If you gave me a mound of clay and asked me to shape it into a mug, I can assure you it would be lopsided and certainly not something that would hold your coffee.

But I would try. And I would have fun doing it.

Because when I was a child, I had an amazing art teacher… a man who, when he saw me staring at my blank paper, paintbrush in hand, taught me that it wasn’t about the final product, but rather, it was about the process.

It isn’t about producing something that others view as “art.” It’s about exploring, creating, pushing through fear and taking risks.

Art class was just as valuable as math and reading and science. It stretched my brain and pushed me in important ways.

My daughter is blessed to attend a school with a lovely arts program, but so many kids are not that fortunate.

The educational benefits of an art program for kids are well proven,  yet, art classes aren’t included in most public school budgets.

That lack of funding hasn’t stopped parents at Yick Wo Elementary from ensuring that their school’s students have art class anyway, and Schoola is forming a community to help them do it.

Schoola is an online shop dedicated to recycling brand-name children’s clothes and giving 40% of the proceeds going to schools in need.

So, how does it work and what am I asking you to do? Well, it’s amazingly simple and hugely fantastic!

  1. Request a bag from Schoola by clicking on this donation bag request link.
  2. Clean out your kids’ closets and gather up the gently used items they’ve outgrown and mail it back to Schoola in the prepaid bag.
  3. Schoola sells those items and $2 of every $5 earned goes directly to the school of your choice.
  4. As an added bonus, for every bag requested using this special in these small moments referral code, $1 goes to Yick Wo Elementary to help fund their art program. (Click on “donate to help”.)
  5. And what if you don’t have any clothes to donate? You can still help by shopping their amazing selection of kids’ clothes to help schools in need.

The amazing work that Schoola is doing isn’t limited to arts programs. They’re also working to provide all of the things that our children need that are often the first to go in budget cuts, including music classes, play structures and libraries.

Visit Schoola to learn more about how a single clothing drive in the 2102/2013 school year has now grown to a program that is 3000 schools strong!

Although I was compensated for participating in this campaign, as always the opinions expressed here are all my own. 

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.

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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