Posted in Family

All is right with the world…

I often tell Katie that in a family, it’s important that each person is a team player.

I’ve always wanted her to understand that she is a part of a larger whole and that she has a responsibility to the rest of us.

Craig left on Friday to visit a friend in Southern California for a much-deserved boys’ weekend.

To say that the weekend without him was rough is an understatement.

There was a plenty of whining. And plenty of wine.

Yesterday, Katie was truly lost in thought. When I asked her what she was thinking, she replied, “Daddy is on our team. I need him to come home.”

And my heart just melted.

I was more than ready for him to come home, too.

Katie, Matthew, and I were at the airport 30 minutes early today because we truly couldn’t wait to see their Daddy.

And now that he’s home? All is right in our world.

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gone, kids showered on their own, I had stopped cutting up food, kids cleared their own plates, big plastic toys had been replaced by books and pencils, play dates were now called school or piano lessons, vacations days were not based upon baby’s nap times, I could sit on the bench at the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 mastered..it 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!

One More

There are times when I am so fearful that the baby that we want so desperately won’t come.

I look at Katie and Matthew and my heart aches for just one more child.

One more child to be a part of what we have built.

One more child to have all that neither Craig nor I had.

A solid family. A mother, a father, predictability, stability.

When I see Katie run for the garage door to greet Craig when he gets home at night, a piece of me heals.

When I nurse Matthew at bedtime and I can hear Craig reading Katie her bedtime stories, a piece of me heals.

When I come downstairs on Saturday mornings and see my family together, snuggling on the sofa, a piece of me heals.

When I catch Katie watching me kiss her daddy, a piece of me heals.

I didn’t have this.

Craig didn’t have this.

But our children do.

It is such a remarkable thing to experience…this feeling of being part of a solid whole.

Just one more baby…just one more tiny life with whom to share all of this.

Just one more.

I’m learning

This week, I am honored to have Amy, from Transplanted Thoughts, as my guest poster for Small Moments Mondays.

Amy has lived through more unspeakable sadness than many of us can even begin to imagine.

Her story is unfathomable and overwhelming.

Her story inspires and brings hope.

Her story exemplifies survival and optimism.

To say that she is strong diminishes her. To say that she is brave doesn’t begin to cover it.

Amy is a survivor…she is truly remarkable.

To learn more about Amy and her lovely family, please read That MorningLucky Scars, and Peppermint Ice Cream Love, just a few more pieces of her beautiful writing.

Thank you for sharing this small moment with us, Amy. Thank you for continually showing us what it means for life to continue…thank you for showing us how to find joy in the small moments. I am so incredibly grateful to you.

I’m Learning — by Amy

I used to be good at juggling.

Juggling my time and that of my 6 children, that is. The two oldest kids live out of state and 3 of the 4 little ones at home were dealing with health issues. 6 kids demanded that I be an organized, get it done kind of mom. In addition to family life, there was time spent running my sewing business.

I thrived on being busy and like most moms ‘my’ time was had after the kids were in bed. This was time spent sewing, chatting online or cleaning up the house.

When I had all four boys at home, I dreamed of the time when they would all be in school and I would have some free time on my hands. I had even figured it out. David would have started preschool the year Jacob entered fifth grade. Zachary would be in Kindergarten, Jonathan in 3rd. I admit I now feel guilty for looking forward to that day. In my mind it’s turned into a warped – “Be careful what you wish for kind of thing.”

Now that I only have 3 of my sons left at home, it breaks my heart that I have all this time on my hands.

And no desire to push myself doing menial tasks just to fill that time.

Sometimes I catch myself staring off into space. I abruptly come to and wonder where the last hour or so wandered away to. Especially in the afternoons after I’ve gotten Zachary down for his nap and the big boys have yet to arrive home from school. This quiet time around the house paralyzes me, draws me into it’s catatonic embrace and doesn’t let me go.

Night-time is the absolute worst for me. I am a night owl by nature and the time spent after the boys fall asleep has always been my most productive. While I still find myself awake at 1 or 2 in the morning, nothing on my “To Do” list has been crossed off.

Once, I had the drive to pack as much as possible into each and every day.

Now, most days are celebrated by simply making it through.

I’m learning to say that’s okay.

I’m learning to embrace the slowness that only grief can impose. The slowness that makes me more attentive to my boys. Once toys and videos were a means to keep the kids busy while I accomplished another task. Now spending that time with the boys has become the priority.

I’m learning to say that it’s okay that the house isn’t spotless because I chose to hang out with the boys instead.

I’m learning to say that it’s okay if I spend the day in my pj’s just because I need to.

I’m learning to say that there is life after the death of a child.

It’s just not the same life.

And that’s okay.

Learning.


Now, please go follow Amy on Twitter and like her on Facebook.

I Remember

This week, on Small Moments Mondays, I am elated to share with you a new friend…a friend whose writing sweeps me away and makes me feel and think and recenter. A woman who writes with such flow and beauty that she consistently leaves me in awe.

Whether you already know Galit, who write over at These Little Waves, or you are meeting her here for the first time, I am certain that you will love her as I do. She has a unique and lovely voice and an eye for those small moments that pull me in…those moments that I live for.

From the bottom of my heart, Galit, I thank you for sharing your words here.

Do you remember?by Galit

I touch my friend’s arm. She follows my gaze towards the family of three next to us. One curly haired toddler with a parent on either side of him; their finger-laced hands serving as a buffer and a shelter.

A slow smile warms her eyes and I instantly know that yes, she remembers.

She remembers huge strollers.

Overflowing diaper bags.

And ready sippy cups.

She remembers undivided attention.

Instant responses.

Just-the-right-size laps, snuggles, embraces.

And most of all, she remembers just one small being pulling at her heartstrings.

She remembers, and so do I.

That morning, each of us had already waved two children off to school. Made lunches. Signed reading logs.

Hugged and kissed and rushed and nagged and sent them along with only a hope that they’ve learned well at home. And a wish that they’re treated well at school.

No longer able to utilize the power of our laced fingers to protect them.

And then we shifted. We breathed the deep sighs of holding hands with just one child.

A third child who is always at everyone else’s events. Along for the ride. Knows to wait. To be patient. To be flexible. Just because he has to.

We share that story.

And when we see this family of three on a weekday outing at the zoo, we look on with wistful eyes reflecting thoughts of I remember.

Then, this other Mother turns around with one hand tousling her toddler’s hair and one hand touching her pregnant belly. And my heartstrings ache with bittersweet tugs, even stronger and more demanding than before.

Her hands aren’t just tousling and touching. They’re fiercely holding onto one true love while bracing to let another one into her folds.

And that, too, I understand. With every fiber of my being, I remember.

I remember holding newborn Chloe tightly in my arms and seeing two-year-old Kayli walk by, suddenly gigantic.

I remember finally walking Brody to sleep only to have Kayli and Chloe ready for snuggles and milk and books. Ready for me.

I remember tearily saying No. Not now. Please wait. Be patient.

Mostly, I remember my heart’s bandwidth stretching further than I ever thought possible.

Flashes of tears and laughter, exhaustion and joy, snuggles and completeness, fill a moment in time with these other Mothers; one friend and one stranger.

I walk through the zoo with my friend. My eyes and worries gracing just one. My fingers protectively laced with my son’s impossibly little ones. His warm fingers barely circling around just two of my own.

He looks me in the eye. He knows that I am his right now. His mischievous grin is wide; his giggle contagious. And I feel my heartstrings pull yet again.

We go see the diver, Mama? The fish feeding? The dolphins? I follow his lead and we walk away together, as two.

As we do, I lock eyes with this other Mother. And I know that our own shared smile sent the same message of motherhood camaraderie as it would if we knew each other’s stories more completely: I remember.


Now that you’ve read Galit’s words here, please go visit her. There are so many posts that I’m dying to point you to, but I’m going to try to use some restraint. Be sure that you don’t miss Fresh Fruit, Wishful Thinking, and Detour.

You can also find Galit on Facebook and Twitter.


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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