Posted in Beauty

What Matters?

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It’s been a while now since I’ve been a guest on someone else’s blog.

Life has been so hectic lately that I’ve had little time to stop and spend time with anyone.

But, when Courtney, from The Mommy Matters, asked me to come by and spend the day, I couldn’t say no.

There’s something magical about Courtney…something that I am drawn to.

She’s lovely, kind, and remarkably talented.

And I’m honored that she invited me.

So, please follow me over there today, where I’m sharing a small moment that I spent with Katie this week…a moment when life simply stopped for a while.

And while you’re over at Courtney’s place, please poke around and stay a while. I have no doubt that you’ll adore her.

Don’t miss Courtney on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest (where I probably see her most!).

They won’t know…

If I close my eyes, I can remember it so clearly…

Still mostly dark, the wind swirled the snow around, back up, around in circles, and then downward. A quick glance out of the frosty, single-paned window showed no sign of our car, our driveway … just a white blanket of peaks and valleys, peaceful under the break of dawn.

As I climbed out of my warm bed, shimmied my feet into my slippers, and made my way down the long, straight staircase, I followed the unmistakable crackle of my mother’s search for a radio station that would offer an updated list of school closures.

Kneeling before the stereo, I waited as they listed school after school: Augusta, Fairfield, Oakland, Skowhegan, Waterville, Winslow.  Yes! A snow day!

And in that small moment, the day before me felt as though it held the potential for wonder and magic.

It was as though the hours ahead were gifted just to me.

Hours that allowed me to play in my nightgown, the softest lawn of flannel with the tiniest of pink rosebuds scattered across it, until the snow beckoned me outside, until I would lay out my snowsuit, hat, mittens, scarf.

Hours to build forts and bring snowmen into being and make snow angels just to see them fill back in before my eyes.

Hours to come inside just long enough to warm up and don fresh mittens and hat. Long enough to place my boots near the radiator to warm and dry them. Long enough for a mug warm, thick cocoa.

My children will never know this simple joy of these stolen days.

They’ll never know the way that snow balls up on your mittens and freezes there.

They’ll never know how long it takes to get into a snowsuit, force their boots on over two pair of socks, and that sting of a frozen nose. They’ll never know fuschia cheeks from the bite of cold.

They’ll never be able to distinguish between the type of snow that makes a perfect snowman, the right snow for sledding, or the consistency of snow that is just perfect for snow angels.

They won’t know the way the sky darkens in the late afternoon and how the snow simply sparkles in the waning light.

They won’t know firsthand that no two snowflakes are alike…that they are tiny crystals, each lovely in its uniqueness.

The beauty of a blizzard, of being forced to stay home and live simply while waiting for it to pass, will be unfamiliar to them.

They won’t know of board games played by candlelight, the warmth of their mother’s smile in the warm glow.

I wish they could know the quiet of a blizzard, how the snow buffers the world around it and makes everything just a bit more beautiful.

There are so many things about my childhood that I hope they’ll never experience.

But the magic of winter? Oh, how I wish they could know the joy of school cancellations and snow days.

Of stolen moments of pure childhood joy.

A touch of life

I received an email a couple of weeks ago from a lovely woman who is a new friend to me, a fellow writer and mother named Jessica, from Four Plus an Angel.

She attached a link to a post that she believed reflected a series of small moments from her life.

Jessica wrote:

Your site and all it stands for is beautiful. I lost my daughter a little over three years ago and since then, have learned that life is truly about the smallest of moments because they may be all you have.

I wanted to share a post with you I wrote on the most recent anniversary of her passing. I think it truly illustrates how our family has learned to live through the big and small moments.

I clicked on the link to her post, Today, and was so incredibly grateful that she reached out to me … that she wanted to share her story with me.  Her words are painful and beautiful and brave.

The more I read of her story, the more I knew that Jessica was a perfect fit for Small Moments Mondays. I asked her if she would consider sharing her story here and she generously agreed.

After you read this post, please go read Today, Thoughts on Thanksgiving, and The Autism Story.

Jessica inspires me to be even more grateful for all that I have … and all that I’ve lost.  She is strong and beautiful and appreciative in the face of tragedy and loss.

She is remarkable … so simply remarkable.

Thank you, Jessica, for sharing your story here. It is so incredibly generous of you.  I’m so honored that you wanted to share your story here on in these small moments.

Much love to you, lovely one….

A Touch of Life — by Jessica

The triplets were born at 28 weeks.  28 weeks and 5 days to be exact.  I was counting.

I lived in the hospital, staring at my feet and a calendar on the wall, x’s marking each day that the mix of medication and bedrest had given my babies.  After the threat of delivery at 19 weeks, 21 weeks, 24 weeks and every few days from then on, making it to my last trimester seemed a miracle.

I knew that my babies would be in the NICU and I was as prepared as any soon-to-be mom of triplets could be.  I had toured the unit, watched the babies born too soon struggling with life, given the nurses the eighth degree, researched feeding and bonding and every possible medical complication under the sun and I was ready.  We could do this.

But when the time came, and my babies and my body could not wait any longer all my readiness fell to my surgical slippered feet.

Nothing could have prepared me for the delivery of three babies at once, the sea of hospital masks, the hum of machines, the buzz of anticipation encircled by the quiet of hope.

As the first baby came there was no calm before the next.

There was urgency and monitors and calls for oxygen.

There were NICU teams and respiratory therapists and relays to incubators.

Baby A, my little girl, was brought past me first, all of her 2 pounds 10 ounces shocking me into the delicate world of mothering a preemie, though not as alarming as the 1 pound 14 ounces of her brother, the next to wriggle his long pink limbs near my face.  As the nurses brought them to me, one tiny baby at a time, I wanted to take in their every feature and hold them and love them but it was not yet my turn.  They needed intensive care and I felt that need and urged the nurses along, fighting my yearning to take trace every ounce of their fragile babyness.  I would see them soon enough.  Forever was ahead of us.

There were moments between the delivery of Baby B and C, my son and my next daughter… enough for me to take in the what was happening, settle into my excitement and wait for her.  As she came by I adjusted my focus, trying to see her 2 pounds 5 ounces of features through the mask of oxygen, already mingling with her labored breaths, and as I tried to move my hand to her face she held me first.  Her tiny pink fingers, white at the tips as they wrapped around mine.  And I did not feel that urgency I did with her siblings.  The nurse pressed forward with her before I was ready for her to let go.  I wanted to keep her there, suspended at my cheek, squirming with new life, explaining to me that she already knew who I was.  My first touch from one of my babies, who, entwined with her brother and sister, had endured the push and pull of life all those weeks that labor threatened.  She was here, and so was he, and so was she.  All alive and fighting, a testament to faith and hope and unending love.

And this small moment, this first touch, was the clearest, tiniest, most profound moment of my life, of my pregnancies, of our 77 days in the NICU, of my marriage, of my days as the mother of four living children, and the mother of one who is not.

One who stopped to tell me that she was okay, and I am her mother and always will be.

One who squeezed a moment of her short life into my waiting hand before she left this place for another.

Please, please go visit Jessica at Four Plus an Angel.  You won’t regret the time that you spend there with her.

Thank you.  From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for reading Jessica’s story.

You can also find Jessica on Facebook and Twitter.

Sharing the Beauty…

I’ve read so many wonderful things lately and I wanted to share some of them with you.  Here are the five best blog posts that I’ve read over the past few weeks that have either inspired me, moved me, made me think, or made me laugh:

Patterns and Chaos

Blog: No Points for Style

Why I Love It: This is one of the most beautiful things that I’ve read lately.  Adrienne’s writing is rich and eloquent. Her use of metaphor is remarkable.

Favorite Passage: “[Carter] is a person, whole and beautiful under the scrim of disorder on top, and he makes decisions and takes actions that belong to him. But sometimes the illness is so loud and his defenses are so weak that it dictates all of his behavior.

Powerlessness is a bitch.”


Reading the Signs

Blog: Pretty All True

Why I Love It: Kris, who I’ve mentioned here and here, artfully blends beauty and pain and makes you read even if it hurts to do so. This particular post is from Mother’s Day weekend and I have carried it around in my heart since reading it.  Kris proves time and time again that even with a childhood fraught with difficultly, she is loving, wise, and forgiving.

Favorite Passage: “My mother’s scars are a beckoning sign as well . . . in this body is a soul who has been damaged, a spirit who has been harmed. She is mended and patched, but not healed or repaired. She remembers. She understands.”


How It Started

Blog: Now who’s the Fat Project

Why I Love It: Wickedly funny, this ongoing bit of devilish behavior is a guilty pleasure to watch unfold. Love it, love it, love it.

Favorite Passage: “So #FatProjectReverse started with just an idea that maybe I could make something extra fattening for her like fried cheesecake.”


What it feels like when Satan lives in your esophogus

Blog: The Heir to Blair

Why I Love It: Reading this post was like receiving a huge hug.  Until Matthew was finally diagnosed with acid reflux, our life with him was truly challenging.  It was moving to read this post from someone who totally got what it was like to live that way.  I am so grateful for this post, as it meant that I wasn’t alone.

Favorite Passage: “Because as over-stimulated as your child feels, you’ve had high-pitched shrieking invading your every thought for almost five hours.  For the seventh day in a row.  At night, you close your eyes & you still hear crying.  You wake up three times every night, swearing you heard screaming & wondering if motherhood will give you post traumatic stress disorder.  & you sit down & cry, looking at your child & irrationally asking him why he hates you.  Wondering if he’d be better with another mother.  Wondering if what you wanted for so long was the biggest mistake you ever made.”


The Beauty of Living Slowly

Blog: Simple Mom

Why I Love It: I’m guilty of letting life get so busy that I sometimes let he beauty of each day slip right by me.  I love this list of specific ideas on how to truly slow down and enjoy your family.  I hate the idea of blinking and having my children grown and wishing we had truly savored more of the small moments.

Favorite Passage: “Turn up the music and dance in your living room with your children. My kids love this, and it takes 15 minutes.”

There you have it.  Happy reading!

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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