Posted in Daughter

Tied to Him

This week’s Small Moments Mondays guest poster is the lovely Stasha from Ponderings of a Middle-Aged Mom.

Stasha and I have in common one of the worst things that two people possibly can. We each lost our dad when we were small girls.

I have liked Stasha from the first moment I met her. She is kind and genuine, funny and compassionate. For every light-hearted story she has to share, she has another story that makes you stop what you’re doing and truly think.

Thank you, Stasha, for sharing your father with us.  Thank you for being you.

Your writing…your story…just lovely.

Tied to Him–by Stasha

I pull one of his ties from the closet.

I wrap it around my neck. I feel connected to him.

I run my fingers along the blue diagonal pattern of his tie, caress the memories of a man.

Memories of a man I love.

I brush the cool silkiness of the fabric against my cheek.

Looking in the mirror, I see some of him in me. See how we are different yet the same.

Two people cut from the same cloth.

So many memories of a time not long enough.

He always wore a white button down shirt, a tie and dress slacks.

He was not a ‘business man’ but was part owner of a business.

He was proud that he owned a business and liked to dress the part.

He was half owner of a butcher shop.

His was not an easy job. Working with the public never is.

He worked hard to make a decent living to support his wife and children.

He came home in the evenings, tie undone and hanging around his neck and the top two buttons of his shirt unbuttoned.

Loosening his tie was his way to let the work day go so he could enjoy time with his family.

He always walked in with a smile on his face no matter what kind of day he had. Always happy to see his family.

He was always glad to be home.

Looking in the mirror, I see some of him in me.

I hold the tie in my hands.

I think of the immense love he had for us.

I think of how he laughed and cried and lived while wearing this tie.

I think of the day on which this tie was severed.

I look at myself in the mirror with his tie draped around my neck. Such a small piece of clothing that links me to this man.

Links the man he was to the woman that I have become.

I work to support my family. A hard, thankless job.

I, like him, look forward to the end of day when everything winds down and time can be spent with my family.

I learned so much from him. Even though my memories are faded and few.

I caress his tie as I re-hang it in the closet.

Dad died when I was nine.

I miss him.

Such a gorgeous post. Just one of many.

Please visit Stasha on her blog and read  some of her other amazing posts: Forgotten, Shadows from the Past, and No Contact.

Also, please go follow Stasha on Twitter and catch up with her on Facebook.

Said with Such Love

This week, on Small Moments Mondays, my lovely friend, Angela, from Tiaras and Trucks is sharing a small moment that so many of us will be able to relate to.

One of the things that I love most about Angela is that while what you see on the surface is so lovely, what lies beneath is beyond amazing. She is soft and kind, but also has an unwavering strength that I truly admire.

She is funny and sweet, but she is such a powerful writer that she can move me to tears in a heartbeat. She just makes me feel what she feels.

Thank you, Angela, for sharing your words here. Thank you for inspiring me with your writing and for being my friend. I am so lucky to know you.

Said with Such Love — by Angela

Her golden head falling on my shoulder while reading a story stops my breath, leaving me wondering how I can possibly change her life like this, how I could bring a baby into her world, how I can take her mommy away.

Nursing him in the dark, a few tears fall onto his wispy hair. Loving and affectionate, he easily slides into his place in our family, but I desperately worry he will never know the undivided adoration of first-time parents.

More than a year later, Abbey and Dylan’s first egg hunt has her giddy with anticipation, carefully clutching both of their baskets to her chest as we walk to the park. Her nod is serious as she listens to how she’ll have to wait for the “babies” to find their eggs first, while she plays with her friends on the slides and monkey bars and waits her turn.

He is simply happy to be riding in the stroller, feeling the wind in his hair, giggling and tossing his snack cup to the ground, knowing I will pick it up and return it with a tickle or a kiss.

Clouds hang over the park, but colored eggs evoke a festive feeling, kids jumping and running over plastic bridges, their eyes hunting eggs they know they mustn’t yet touch. Parents of older children chat while those of us with wobbly toddlers follow closely, steadying them on small steps and inclines and stumpy slides.

Abbey rushes away immediately, daringly stepping from one moving disk to another.

“Mommy! Look at me!” she calls, proudly announcing the feat that was beyond her grasp only months before.

I clap and smile, my heart a little hurt that I can’t reach out to give her a hug or high five while chasing Dylan from the fireman’s pole.

Ushering Dylan over to where countless eggs carpet the grass for the youngest participants, I hand him his basket, pointing at the bright orbs. This is rare, my undivided attention, and his smile shines brightly towards me. Unsteadily, but purposefully, he walks to an egg and stops. Now he is uncertain, and his smile falters. I crouch near him, pointing to the egg.

“For Dylan!”

His brow furrows. His bright, blue eyes scan the playground.

“Addie? Addie?!”

With slight apprehension, I call her over, knowing she is anticipating her turn, worrying she’ll be disappointed at my request.

“Dylan needs your help,” I say simply, bracing myself for her response.

Immediately, she crouches much as I had, pointing at the same egg.

“Look Dylan! An egg!”

Patiently, slowly, she wanders with him amidst the eggs, telling him their colors, getting excited with him about one red egg so big he needs both hands to hold it.

“Addie,” he sighs happily, handing her the egg and watching her place it in his basket.

Her name, mispronounced, has never been said with such love.

With their few, simple words, I become an observer, a mommy not to Abbey or Dylan but to Abbey and Dylan. Siblings.

See what I mean? Isn’t she amazing?

I’d love it if you went over to Tiaras and Trucks to say hello to Angela. Don’t miss Through Their Eyes, The Best Laid Hands, Runner. I’m a Runner, and Why I Get Laughed at on Walks.

Angela is also one of my favorite tweeps. Go find her on Twitter! You’ll be so glad you did.

A Day Well Spent…Happy Birthday, Katie!

Birthday cake pancakes to start the day!

She was so eager to dig in...

Birthday surprises...

So curious...

The one thing that she asked for...a camera!

Surprise balloons from Daddy...

She said it was the most beautiful cake in the "entire world." (She clearly hasn't seen many cakes!)

All that really mattered was that it was light blue...her favorite color.

It really doesn't take much to make a four year old so completely happy. What an absolutely lovely day we had.



Piggyback Rides and Boo Boos

I am so delighted to have Tracy from Sellabit Mum here this week as this week’s Small Moments Mondays guest poster (don’t miss the great story behind her blog name).

One of the first things that I learned about Tracy is that she is a genuinely kind, gifted writer. The more I get to know her, the more I realize just how much I like her. She’s shockingly funny, endlessly generous, and truly supportive.

Thank you so much, Tracy, for sharing this lovely story of your family with us. Your love for your girls just permeates this piece. Much love to you, my friend.

I always wanted my kids close in age. I was pregnant with Esther by the time Eloise was 17 months old, and pregnant with baby number three by the time Esther was 15 months old.

Baby number three did not arrive as planned. After four losses, countless tears, and finally acceptance that two children is truly the perfect family, Astrid arrived just before Esther turned five and Eloise seven.

Our family had an easy rhythm before Astrid arrived. Diapers long gone, kids showered on their own, I had stopped cutting up food, kids cleared their own plates, big plastic toys had been replaced by books and pencils, play dates were now called school or piano lessons, vacations days were not based upon baby’s nap times, I could sit on the bench at the playground and choose not to get in the water at the pool, and all baby items had been donated.

The small moments with my children were easy and free and completely unplanned. We moved seemingly in unison.  They had reached an age where it wasn’t about big cuddles or milestones. They were at the age where the best moments were popcorn and a movie while we snuggled on the couch, time in the car singing out-loud to our favorite songs, working on schoolwork or drawing elaborate pictures pictures on their own.

Astrid changed everything.

Besides stretching my motherly efficiencies beyond what two hands can handle, she took my time, my energy, and my focus as any baby should.

I spent months apologizing to my older girls for not being able to go on field trips, volunteer at school, help them with a picture, cook a good dinner, listen to their stories.

I worried they would resent their baby sister.  I worried that I would lose them and this precious time.  I was at times angry at Astrid for being so fussy. For crying for 12 months straight. Did she mean to take me from her sisters?  I mourned the moments I had already missed.

But one thing I have learned about motherhood, is just when you think you’ve failed, your kids hate you, and you just cannot do it one more minute  – or just when you think you’ve got it all figured out and this next stage changes on you.

And it did.

Instead of staying mad or sad or jealous and shutting themselves out to me…to us…these beautiful girls stepped up.

They watched their sister when I cooked, when I cleaned.  They played with her when I showered. They snuggled with her on the couch to watch a movie.  They were old enough to pick her up, to put her into her bed, to change her outfit, to feed her breakfast.

As Astrid got older, she would crawl to them for comfort, choose to lay with only them on the floor for a huge snuggle, cry at the bus stop as they left for school each day, and great them with cheers and kisses each day at three.  She was their biggest fan.

So more and more they are now the ones making the small moments together.  I am just an observer.  I stand by the sink with dishes and hear the laughter from the other room, I hear Esther ask if Astrid needs the red crayon, I hear Eloise quiz Astrid on her shapes.  I see piggyback rides and kissing boo boos. They put on her shoes and take her outside to the swing set. They get her ready for bath time. They read her bedtime books. Hours can go by and nobody comes to get me. Unless there is a poopy diaper.

I smile because I feel comfort in watching them be the ones for her, I don’t feel left out or a compelling need to join them.   I don’t want to interfere as these moments they are making as sisters will take them into the future together, as these will be the women they will lean on forever.

To learn more about the lovely Tracy, please visit her over on Sellabit Mom. Don’t miss some of my favorite posts, Where Twitter Knows Nothing About CatsWanting a Minivan, and She Made Us Five.

Please go find Tracy on Twitter and Facebook! I have no doubt that you will love her as much as I do!

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.

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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