Posted in Craig

We floated

One, two…fourteen…twenty…thirty-seven stars.

We floated there, on our backs, quietly counting them.

Night after night before our wedding, hopping over the low fence in front of our room to float on our backs in the Caribbean Sea.

Craig’s fingers so close to mine, touching, yet not grasping.

Dark, but for a few twinkling lights in the restaurant.

Silent, but for our dreams, spoken there, as we were but buoys in the gentle water.

There is beauty in words spoken in the darkness…words carried by the air between us.

There in the darkness, his words, forever…happiness…promise.

Mine…echoed back, gratitude…love…always.

We floated there, in those calm, lapping waters and listened…to each other, to the water, to our hearts.

His fingers so close to mine, touching, yet not grasping.

Before our children, our world was filled with dreams, with hopes, with plans, with only each other.

We floated.

I love yous.

And, the stars faded before our eyes…

Thirty…twenty-two…twelve…three.

Then rain, so soft, it began as mist. So gentle, so quiet.

Eyes closed, silent smiles, and love.

We floated.

This post is linked up with The Red Dress Club.
The prompt for this week was “Water gives life. It also takes it away.”

Just what we need…

Craig emailed me today with the best news I’ve heard in a while…news I really needed.

We’re off to Lake Tahoe for three days later this month.  I’ve been dying to go since I wrote about all that it seems that our kids are missing out on.

We haven’t made the trip to the snow since I was pregnant with Matthew and Katie wasn’t yet three years old.

We’ll play in the snow for a couple of days and we’ll spend a day taking turns visiting the spa.

It’s been too long since we’ve gotten away as a family and I am counting the moments until we leave.

This will be Matthew’s first trip to the snow and I can’t wait to see his face. Katie says she remembers it, but I’m not sure if perhaps she is just remembering the photos of it. Either way, she’s excited.

We so need this.

These photos are from our last trip to the snow…

My One…and Only

This week, on Small Moments Mondays, I am thrilled to feature my amazing husband, Craig, as my guest poster.

When I first dreamed up the concept of this series, not only did Craig serve as my sounding board, but he was also at the top of my guest poster wish list. I am honored that he wrote this piece for me, which is his first blog post.

Many of you are already familiar with Craig and know how much I adore him. His integrity, kindness, sincerity, and sense of humor have blessed my world and I don’t take a day of my life with him for granted.

There is so much more that I want to say about Craig, but I don’t want to take away from his words below.

Thank you, Babe. For your words here, for this life that you’ve given me, and for bringing me joy that I never dreamed possible. I love you.

My One…and Only — by Craig

When Nichole came up with the idea of Small Moments Mondays, I thought it was genius.  Who, in our diverse and complex lives, hasn’t stopped for a moment and experienced an event that will always resonate and provide the imagery and memories that allow us to go back to that cherished moment?

Nichole’s blog is about sharing those small moments and more importantly, giving our children a historical reference on their youth beyond milestone events, baby books, and pictures.  And for that?  I am incredibly grateful for this gift our kids will one day appreciate.

I was honored when Nichole asked me early on to guest post and share a small moment. I always imagined I would talk about the ways in which being a father has profoundly impacted my life.

I thought I would reveal that my heart melts every time my sweet baby girl looks me in the eye and tells me, “I love you, Daddy.”

I thought I would share that hearing the joyful squeal from my son when I open the door after work is the perfect end to a long day.

I thought I would talk about how I get choked up each time one of my children squeezes me tight and envelopes me with their love and trust and how I am reminded of the tremendous responsibility I bear to protect and guide them through life.

But I grew up in a broken family.  Nichole grew up in a broken family.  We always said that when it came to bringing children into this world, that we would strive to provide what we sought as children – a loving, accepting…and moreover, complete family.

Without our marriage, we don’t have that family unit.  Without our love and respect for each other, we’re missing out on teaching those important life lessons we yearned for as children.  Our relationship and commitment to each other has to come first or we won’t honor what we promised our children and ourselves.

So with that, I take you back to the day I proposed to Nichole…

Nichole was buried in the work of completing her Master’s Degree.  But I somehow convinced her she deserved just a single day off to enjoy a nice glass of wine, a bubble bath, and the soft crackle of a fire at our favorite bed and breakfast.  She reluctantly agreed.

As she studied, I made my final preparations.  I sat at a park down the street carefully pulling off rose petals from two dozen roses.  With each gentle pull of a petal, I was transported back to a memory or a moment or a feeling shared with my best friend.

After we arrived at the bed and breakfast that afternoon, I snuck away and retrieved the ring, rose petals, and jewelry box.  I went to the main house and finalized the game plan that I had previously discussed with the owners.  We were going to go to dinner at a local restaurant.  During our meal, the room was to be transformed.  Over 300 rose petals would be delicately strewn about the room.  Candles would be placed to create ambiance.  A fire would be prepared.  And the ring would be held in the jewelry box I had engraved with words from my heart that had special meaning in our relationship.

We went to dinner and had a delightful time.  As we ate, I worried that my plans for the perfect proposal wouldn’t come together.  But as I looked across the table at this woman that I loved so dearly, I saw her relaxed and enjoying herself for the first time in weeks as she escaped the mounting pressure of her final exam.  I saw the beauty and sparkle in her eyes.  I knew I wanted to wake to that sparkle every day for the rest of my life.  I relaxed…everything was going to be all right.

We finished dinner and slowly made our way to the exit.  With each step, my heart began to pound faster with anticipation.  I opened the door and allowed Nichole to walk out before me and as I turned around, the waitress smiled and winked as she held the phone.  She was calling the rest of the team to let them know to light the fire and candles…we were on our way.

As we approached the door of our room, the dancing light of the fire flickered through the window.  Nichole turned to me in wonderment as I gently pushed the door open and the warmth of the room embraced us.  She saw rose petals everywhere.  She looked at the tea light candles illuminating the room, and as she looked towards the fireplace, she saw champagne on ice, chocolate-covered strawberries, and a jewelry box that read:

Nichole,

You are my one…and only.
We’ll be in the same boat forever.

Love always,
Craig

As I slowly descended to one knee, the tears in our eyes began to swell.  A few private words were followed by the word every man who asks that question wants to hear.

A small moment.  One that changed everything that followed.  One that set the stage for the beautiful marriage and family we have built.  One that helped define my purpose in life and allowed for an unforeseen level of happiness to become my future reality.

A small moment that meant everything to me…the moment when Nichole agreed to marry me.

I love Nichole.  I love being a father.  I love our family.  I love the life we have built.

Thank you, Nichole.

For everything.

Engagement Ring

Isn’t he lovely? Today {Monday} is his birthday, so please leave him some comment love and then go follow him on Twitter.  He’s a wonderful there as he is here.

What does love mean?

Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays.

Love, chocolate, adoration? What’s not to love?

But, now that Katie and Matthew have filled our world, Valentine’s Day means so much more than that.

The material things just cease to matter.

What does love mean to children?

Katie had some things to say…

My full weight

She secured the final yellow elder flower in my hair, handed me my simple, yet glorious bouquet, walked me to the beginning of the path, and wished me luck, her voice like golden honey, thick with her melodious West Indies accent.

“I wish you tremendous joy…” she pronounced, her hands warm and kind, her eyes clear and deep.

I started down the path, alone, fatherless, joyfully anticipating all that awaited me.

Even before I saw him waiting for me, I could sense his radiant love.  I could feel his joy at my slow approach.

I knew he would be there.

I knew he would always be there.

With each step I took, the satin of my white dress slid across my bare legs, whooshing and gently grazing the sandy ground, shifting ever so gently beneath my golden shoes, just as my present and my future solidified before me.

The air was heavy with moisture. The sun shone overhead in a sky so blue it rivaled the ethereal, glistening sea, which sat directly in front of me.

I stepped forward…each step I had taken in my life, every ache, every loss, had brought me closer to him…to this very moment.

From this moment on, every joy, every failure, would be wrapped in his love and support, buffered by his love.

The heady scent of plumeria carried me past the last turn in my path.

He stood at the end of the winding path, his golden face lit with love and anticipation.

Though my feet continued, my mind paused…caught in that moment…hoping to etch that feeling in my mind, memory, and heart. Hoping to always remember what it felt like to have someone look at me with such adoration, with acceptance that knows no bounds.

He waited. For me.

No guests. Just the two of us. The way we had begun, the way we needed it to be.

For the first time in my life, I knew that I was part of a whole.

I could set down my worries and lean with my full weight into true and unconditional love. I could stumble and fall without fear of losing everything. I could stop being the one who things happened to and I could start making my own life happen.  Making our life happen.  Together.

I stepped forward to a place of acceptance, safety, and unconditional love.

I stepped foward.

Into us.

Forever.

Photos? Well, of course, I have photos…

This post is linked up with the Red Dress Club’s memoir prompt, which asked: “imagine that after you have died and your daughter/son will be given the gift of seeing a single five-minute period of your life through your eyes, feeling and experiencing those moments as you did when they occurred. What five minutes would you have him/her see? Tell us about them in the finest detail.”

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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