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A big handful of my favorite posts…

A Birthday Letter for My Beautiful Daughter

My beautiful Katie,

Sweet baby girl, you’re turning four today.

Four fantastic years old.

I’m not sure how that is even possible.

Mommy and Daddy waited so long for you, Katie.

We worried that you’d never come along. But you finally did.

And that waiting was so worth it…you are exactly the baby we were meant to have.

Days old...

I thought I knew what it would be like to be a mother.

I thought I knew what it meant to love.

Then, you arrived and taught me that I knew so very little.

One year old...

You taught me that once you have a child, you are more vulnerable than you ever dreamed possible.

You showed me watching you sleep was the most important thing that I could do on any given afternoon.

Two years old...

Loving you has shown me that I can’t control everything…that sometimes the most amazing moments come from letting go just a little…that sometimes it’s better to let life guide us just a bit.

You have taught me to laugh at myself, because nothing makes you laugh harder.

Three years old...

You have helped me to realize that throwing caution to the wind every once in a while doesn’t have to be scary.

You have taught me that the amount of love that the heart can hold is endless…that just when I am certain that I couldn’t possibly love you more, you make my heart nearly explode.

Nearly four years old...

You have shown me that life passes so quickly.

I don’t want to waste a single moment of this time that I’ve been given to share with you.

You have brought me more joy than I ever dreamed possible.

Happy birthday, my beautiful baby.

With more love than you can possibly imagine,

Mommy

Opening a Vein: Why I Write

Last evening, I was taking part in The Red Dress Club’s Twitter Chat and my friend Cheryl tweeted this bit of wisdom…

…to which Denelle (who is a fabulous writer) replied…

Denelle’s tweets made me feel a bit sick inside…like I’m some kind of fraud.

Because if I want to call myself a writer, shouldn’t I want to write? Shouldn’t I have to write?

But I don’t. So I replied…

And as difficult as that is to admit to a group of writers that I admire, that is my truth.

I don’t love writing.

But oftentimes, I love the final product.

I don’t write because it feels good while I’m doing it.

I don’t write because I am compelled to.

I write because I often don’t know exactly what I’m thinking or feeling until I do.

Because I want my children to have these words…to know how central they were to my life.

I write in case I one day forget all of the joy this life has brought me.

But not because I enjoy it.

Because I really don’t.

How about you?

 

The Space Between

Katie had been talking about it for days and last week, the day finally arrived.

On Monday, I’ll get my brand new ballet costume. It will be blue…light blue…that’s my favorite color.

My sweet girl, somehow old enough to be taking part in her first ballet recital.

Craig took the day off so that we could both be there when she saw her costume for the first time.

These sweet little girls were to try on their new costumes and do a run through of their dance.

Our anticipation of her joy kept us up the night before. We laid there in the dark, envisioning her happy face, marveling at the thought that she is nearly four years old.

The first part of class went so well…she kept waving to us, her smile easily reaching across the room and into our hearts.

When the time came for her teacher to hand out the costumes, we were invited to join her, to help her put it on.

And Katie froze.

This is the wrong costume…I want the other light blue one…I don’t like this one.

Somehow, this costume paled in comparison to the one that she built up in her mind.

Her face started to crumble…tears welled in the inner corner of her eyes, threatening to fall over her still-baby cheeks at any moment.

We tried to re-frame the costume for her, pointing out the lovely trim, the pale blue grosgrain ribbons, the layers of white tulle, as we helped her get dressed.

And her tears fell.

As the other girls ran toward their teacher for a group photo, Katie refused to join them.

She stood, panicked, beseeching me to take off her costume, her grip on my hand stronger than I’ve ever felt.

I don’t like it…please take it off, Mommy.

Daddy? Please?

In those few moments, I was frozen in that space between…between doing what’s best for my child in the moment and what’s best for her in the long run.

I wanted to undress her and scoop her up…to reassure her that I hear her and that she matters. That she can confide in me and I will always listen. That she has a voice. That she can trust me.

But instead, I held firm, encouraging her at first, then pushing her gently, then telling her that she had to join them for at least a few minutes.

I walked her over to join her peers for the run through of their dance, reassuring her the whole way.

And she kept crying.

But, Mommy, I don’t want to…I need a big hug.

With one last hug, I turned and walked away…back to my spot with Craig at the side of the room and watched her through my own tears.

She locked eyes with me, then Craig, and went through the motions, crying all the while.

When the dance was over, we enveloped her in our hugs and soothed her with our love. We congratulated her on doing what she needed to do, even though it was difficult.

It still feels like someone is sitting on my chest when I think of it.

I don’t know how to find that perfect space between offering her a safe place to land and helping her to find wings.

I want to be both.

She deserves for me to be both.

Is that even possible?

Sea Glass

I lay there on the paper sheet as she squeezed the warm gel onto my ever-expanding stomach.

I lay there and I prayed…please let this baby be healthy.

I lay there and I prayed…please let this baby be a girl.

The slurping and squishing of the gel, the gray screen, and the endless chatter of the sonographer did little to crowd out my silent prayers.

Photo, squish, photo, squoosh.

Please…another girl…please…a sister for Katie. Let her have a sister…the sister that I never had.

Then came the words that we had prayed we’d hear…the baby looks beautiful.

Then, the words that I had prayed we wouldn’t…what a sweet little guy.

A boy.

Please no…please let her be wrong.

The chatter, the congratulations, the crinkle of the scratchy paper towels did little to mute my sorrow.

I smeared at the gel…a boy.

I hastily dressed…not a girl.

I looked at Craig…

And I cried.

In all of my dreams, I never envisioned a son.
I never wanted a son.

My dreams held another baby girl… a sister for Katie.

I cried and I grieved for my hopes of another daughter.
And I truly hated myself for being ungrateful for this healthy baby.

This boy.

This gift.

I shopped for him, I filled his closet with sky blue and khaki and chocolate brown.

And I came to accept all that we had been given.

And, of course, I loved him from the moment that I saw him…I had never doubted that I would.

But, in the quiet moments during those middle of the night feedings in his room, my heart softened.

In the soft morning light, as he melted into me, my heart expanded.

With each smile, each hug, each mischievous giggle, my heart has stretched further than I ever dreamed it would.

Like sharp, broken glass, tumbled by the ocean current, my love for him smoothed and softened.

Sea glass.

I cannot imagine another day of my life without him in it.

My love for him, like sea glass.

My treasured boy has taught me that sometimes, out of disappointment, comes immeasurable joy.

Unexpected and endless joy.

I have a son…a beautiful, perfect, irreplaceable son.

And he is exactly what I needed.

My Matthew.

I’m writing about gender disappointment over on Babble today. I would love it if you came by.

Cherished

As before, I’ve taken the opportunity to “hack” my wife’s site and share with you my admiration and appreciation for the amazing woman that is even more cherished on this special day.

Happy Mother’s Day
to my beautiful and incredible wife.

 

I always knew that Nichole would be an extraordinary mother.  I knew that she had been a nanny before and formed an incredible bond with those lucky children.  But when I was able to witness her as a nanny to a family with two lovely girls, I knew in the depths of my soul that I wanted this woman to be the mother of my children.

I saw the way she nurtured and loved those girls and the way they responded with their affection and devotion.  I saw the way she educated and taught them to be strong, confident and respectful little girls.  I saw the way she was tender and generous of spirit and the way she gave herself to their happiness and protection.  But moreover, I saw the sparkle in her eyes and the love in her heart that showed me beyond measure that she would be an incredible mother.

And…..she is.  She is everything I could want for my children….and more.  Thank you, Nichole, for being who you are and being everything to this family, to our children, and to me.  We all love you and cherish you.  Enjoy this special day.

Craig

I also want to wish a very Happy Mother’s Day to those of Nichole’s amazing readers who are being celebrated today.  May you be pampered and appreciated by all that love you.

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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