Posted in Husband

I’ll Never Ask

I was sick a couple of weekends ago. I spent forty-eight hours in complete misery. I don’t do sick with any grace whatsoever. I cried, felt bad for myself, and moaned, all while quarantined in the guest room.

And my children were fine. Actually, they were more than fine.

They went to the library, to the grocery store, and for a long walk.

They played games, blocks, and babies.

They were bathed, loved, tickled, and read to.

All while I lay in bed on what felt like the verge of death.

I could hear squeals of laughter, the muted, happy tones of back and forth daddy-daughter conversations, and endless Matthew giggles.

My husband.

He brought me water, then broth, then soup, and finally toast. He made certain that my bucket was clean and nearby.

He anticipated my every need and rubbed my back when I cried.

When I finally emerged, weak from my stomach flu-inflicted stupor, the house was completely clean, the dishes done, laundry folded and put away. I can’t remember the last time that my washer and dryer were not only empty, but had no clothes piled on top.

The refrigerator had even been cleaned out.

He stepped in and took my place. He filled the shoes that I so often feel like I can’t even begin to fill.

He accomplished more in forty-eight hours than I do in a week.

And, although I appreciated having the time to focus on my misery, when I emerged, I was filled with conflicting emotions.

My children were smiling and clean.

My house had not fallen down around me.

Meals had been made, eaten without complaint, and cleaned up.

And I had no hand in any of it.

If I’m honest, there was a part of me that was uncomfortable with the realization that the rhythm of my family continued in my absence; I suspect that perhaps things went even more smoothly.

I looked around, hoping for a stray sock, a dirty plate, a misplaced toy.


Craig had not only coped with my absence, but he had excelled where I often feel like I’m just barely hanging on.

I should have been happy with that. Our children were happy, loved, and content. Why wasn’t I?

So much of my self-worth at this point in my life is tied up in my role as a mother. This job of mothering is incredibly difficult in that there are no performance reviews, no raises or promotions. No pats on the back for a job well done. No real way to measure success.

When someone steps in and appears to do your job better than you do, it’s humbling and disconcerting.

But, there’s a huge part of me that finds comfort in knowing that Craig handles it all with such ease. I know that if something should ever happen to me, he could handle things. He would remember which outfits match Katie’s brown shoes and how to do her hair. I know that he would make Matthew smile and help him grow into an amazing man.

Then, two days after my return to the land of the living, Matthew was sitting in his highchair and his sippy cup completely leaked. It had been incorrectly put back together. Craig had somehow missed one of the eighteen puzzle-like pieces necessary for a leak-free cup.

And I stood in the kitchen, looked at the massive puddle and Matthew’s soaked shirt, and I smiled.

I’m fairly certain that Craig threw me a bone.

But, I’ll never ask.

Before my feet hit the ground…

This week, I’m honored to have Pop, from Go, Pop, Go! here on Small Moments Mondays. I’ve been looking forward to featuring him here and couldn’t wait to share him with you all.

There isn’t much that I adore more than a man who is truly involved with his children. Pop isn’t just dedicated to his baby girls, but he adores his wife as well and he so beautifully balances his humor with his softer, more reflective side.

When I invited him to come share a small moment with me here on Small Moments Mondays, he read through all of the previous posts and emailed me that he had “sawdust in his eyes.” He felt the same way that I do about this series … that the love and appreciation that we each feel for those we hold dear is paramount.

Thank you, Pop, for contributing to the sawdust factor here. I think the world of you and Small Moments Mondays is better for having you as a part of it.

Before my feet hit the ground… – by Pop

Last week, we were getting ready for a long Sunday. We were going to be gone for most of the day because we had church and then a baby shower to attend. To complicate matters, I bought a few items for church that I needed to bring that day along with some budget requests. My wife and I were so proud of ourselves as we packed the car with snacks for the kids, a Moby Wrap in case D2 (my second daughter, 7 months old, 19lb9oz) got too heavy to hold during the shower, the church equipment and budget requests, the gifts for the baby shower, and a few bottles of water and snacks for ourselves. When we were almost at church, my wife and I both smelled it: the smell of rotted sourdough bread mixed with spoiled milk that all parents of infants are familiar with.

When we arrived at church, we found that D2 dropped a BOMB and there was poop all over her and the carseat. As semi-veteran parents, scenes like this are less shocking and more commonplace, so I calmly took D2 out of the carseat, handed her to my wife and reached for the diaper bag.

Wait. Uhhhhhhhhh…..

“Honey, did you pack the diaper bag?” “No,” my wife replies, “I thought you packed it.” “No….I thought you left it in the car from our last trip.” We had a car full of stuff: gifts, snacks, etc…but we forgot the most important thing.


Just like my wife and I overlooked the most important bag without realizing it, my favorite small moment is one that is really important, and yet is easily and often overlooked, especially by us parents: beholding my sleeping spouse the moment I wake up. Ok, that sounds more than a tad creepy, so let me quickly explain.

As I get older, I find things gradually increasing. My waistline, the number of chins I have, the bags under my eyes, my responsibilities, the bills I have to pay, and most especially, my to-do list. And all these things battle for my attention first thing in the morning. “What reports are due today?” “Where do I have to take the kids?” “Do we have a meeting/dinner with anyone tonight?” These are just some of the questions that race through my head from the first waking moment as I begin my routine of getting myself & my kids ready for the day. Consequently, the first half hour in my household is a flurry of activity.

After nearly 3 years of parenting, I wish I could say our mornings are a well-choreographed symphony of awesomeness. But I can’t. Our less than smooth mornings usually include yelling (think Fred Flintstone shouting, “Wilmaaaaaaa!”), the words, “I have to pee” shortly after getting in the car, and turning back once we realize we forgot the diaper bag. Yup. Coffee isn’t the only thing brewing in our home in the morning; we brew stress fresh every day.

And that’s where my favorite small moment comes in. Will it prevent the inevitable chaos that is the morning routine? No. But like a day where someone gives you a compliment or your kid tells you, “I love you” without prompting or bribing, it’s a great start.

Thinking back to our honeymoon, I remember our first morning together so vividly. The sun was peaking through the curtains, and I woke up and looked over at my wife. She was absolutely stunning on our wedding day, but somehow, she was even more beautiful that morning. I smiled thinking that, God willing, I get to spend the rest of my days with this woman.

Some guys may disagree, but for me, the first moment in the morning is when my wife is most beautiful. No makeup, no worries or concerns on her face – just her: the woman I vowed to spend the rest of my life with.

Looking at her in that peaceful state, I feel renewed. No matter what the days before have been like or what the days ahead may hold, I know we’ll make it through together, and there’s just no better way to start my day.

And yet, it’s something I can so easily overlook as I manically attack my to-do list.

Before my feet hit the ground and I go about my day, I want to stare lovingly at the woman who makes life worth it.

So tomorrow morning, look over at your spouse and enjoy it. But not for too long – you have a lot to do today.

Now, please go over and visit Pop. Be sure to read A Letter to My Daughters: U Cant Haz Internetz, I love You, Dad, and Instantly Social? Dislike! I promise, time spent with Pop is time well spent!  Also, he’s a great friend to have on Twitter and you can follow him here.

Filled with Love

This has been a year permeated with personal growth, tremendous loss, endless joy, and true beauty.

This has been a year filled with love.

I have a list a mile long of things for which I am grateful.  This life that I have been gifted is more wonderful than I could have ever dreamed.

In no particular order, this year I am grateful for…

…Starbucks Peppermint Mochas.

…a baby boy who points at his daddy and squeals “Da Da!”

…a daughter who, when asked what she is thankful for this year, replied, “my brother.”

…my mother, who told me that she loved me every single day while I was growing up.

…my wonderful family.

…our home, a warm and lovely place where we can raise our children and offer them a true sense of stability.

…that Craig and I were able to spend his mother’s final days at her bedside.  Those moments with her were a gift that I will treasure for my entire life.

…each and every person who comes here and reads my words.

…the comments that you all leave for me, each one is a little gift.

…miniature pumpkin cheesecakes.

…a techie husband who recognizes that the best writing occurs on a new MacBook Pro.

…a daughter who finds delight in the smallest of things.


…a handful of amazing friends who have stood by me through the years.

…the lovely friends that I’ve made this year (you and you and you).  I am blessed beyond compare.

…my baby boy who has recently learned how to give slobbery kisses.

…a husband who encourages me, who laughs with me, and who treats me with tenderness and respect.

…this blog, a place that affords me space to think, grow, and change.

…and lastly, the relief that I feel for having finished NaNoWriMo and the knowledge that I never, ever have to do that again!

This post is linked up with the Red Writing Hood’s prompt this week to write about

the things for which we are grateful.

An Anniversary Letter of Love

Happy Anniversary, Babe.

These past five years have been the happiest and fullest of my life.

My world is a beautiful place because of you…because of this love that you have given me.

Thank you for sharing with me your positive outlook on life.  When I grow panicky and full of anxiety, you calm and soothe me.  When I feel that things are bigger than I am, you are always there, holding my hand, showing me that together we can handle anything in our path.

Thank you for the security that you offer me.  Your stable, calm nature brings precious peace to my world.  Few things feel better than falling asleep at night, knowing that you are always there for me.

Thank you for your sense of  humor.  So often, I grow focused on the bumps in the road.  I love that you tell me jokes that are so long that it takes you eleventy years to get to the punchline, because by the time you’re done, I can’t remember what was even plaguing me in the first place.

Thank you for remaining endlessly patient with me.  I am indeed a work in progress.  I appreciate your ability to look at me and know that although I am imperfect, my strengths outnumber my weaknesses.

Thank you for truly loving me unconditionally.  The knowledge that even when I stumble and fall, you are there to pick me up, brush me off, and hold me close, is undoubtedly one of the lovelist gifts ever given to me.

Thank you for supporting me and pushing me further than I think I can possibly go.  Thank you for acknowledging that being a mother and wife is just a part of who I am and for encouraging me to be Nichole, the writer, the woman, the individual.

Thank you for Katie.  She is magic and wonder.  She is you.  She is me.  I suspect that even if I thank you every day for the rest of my life, I will never be able to adequately express my gratitude to you for helping me to become a mother.

Thank you for Matthew, the sweet boy that I didn’t realize I even wanted.  Thank you for holding my hand when we found out that we were having a boy and for assuring me that he was going to bring amazing things to our world.  You were patient with me and you were so incredibly wise.  He and his sister fill my heart with such tremendous happiness and joy that it nearly explodes with love.

Thank you for promising me forever and for being ever-willing to do the work necessary to keep our marriage strong.

Thank you for investing in our marriage every single day.  Whether it’s bringing me my coffee in the morning, calling me during the day to tell me a funny story, or sharing a beer with me in the evening, you know exactly how to make me feel connected to you.

Thank you for being you and thank you for the gift of your love.

I am beyond blessed to call you my husband and my very best friend.

I love you.

Stress and the Meaning of Life

For this week’s Small Moments Monday, I am so excited to present my friend Kristin, from Taming Inanity.

You know those people who just seem completely unflappable?  You know the ones, those people who can have challenges heaped upon them and they still manage to stay (relatively) sane and upbeat.  That’s how Kristin has always seemed to me. 

I remember getting to know her on Twitter during those middle of the night feedings when our babies were younger.  I sat there, bleary eyed, nursing Matthew, checking Twitter to see how many times she’d been woken.  We bonded over extreme exhaustion and I’m grateful to have had someone who was going through the same experience I was.  Misery does, in fact, love company. 

I seek Kristin out when I’m having a rough time, as her silliness and quirky sense of humor can brighten any day.  She’s the kind of person I would love to have living next door…someone who could be the Laverne to my Shirley.  We would be the cause of far too many mishaps. But, the fun we’d have would be ridiculous.

I love this post that she has written to share with us.  It shows a more serious side of her personality and it speaks volumes about what a beautiful person she is.  I consider myself so lucky to have met her.

Stress and the Meaning of Life — by Kristin (KLZ)

My life goes through what I’ve lovingly dubbed “stress cycles”.

It seems that for whatever reason, every few years everything converges on me at once to create a cyclone of crazy through which I must navigate.

When I was 21, I was in college full-time and getting things ready to graduate. I was also working an internship full-time, buying a condo, looking for a permanent full-time job and packing my things to move.

I’m embarrassed to say, I watched a lot of Fear Factor during those four months. My brain could not compute anything more intelligent than that. I sat and stared at the screen. I may have drooled.

After I graduated, I thought I may have escaped the horror of these stress cycles. I planned a wedding and got married without anything else attacking me. I got pregnant and had a baby and our lives were as calm as that period of time can be.

But now? Now we are trying to find David a new job. And buying a house for which we have no closing date. And planning Alex’s first birthday party, in that new house for which we have no closing date while coordinating my sister’s bachelorette party. And dealing with renting our condo out. And both my parents turn 60 in the next two months. Did I mention my in-laws are in from out of town for ten days and would like us to entertain them?

The events themselves are not unusual but the rapidity with which they’ve piled onto one another is astounding. They’re also all directly dependent on one another. We can’t buy the house without renting the condo but we can’t rent the condo until we find out the closing date. Fun things like that.

Yet even in the midst of all this stress, there is peace.

Seeing my son smile as he sits a top his father’s shoulders, using David’s hair as a handhold for stability, I can’t help but see how beautifully blessed I am. My heartbeat slows, my shoulders relax.

These tiny things, these small moments, are what it’s all about.

Sitting on the floor, making jokes with my mother, sister, husband and future brother-in-law while my son plays happily, is a small, loud moment that brings me inner calm. Should we be sitting on the floor? Perhaps not. But how else would we see the magic that flies from my son’s finger tips? How else would we catch the knowing looks that pass amongst us? How else would we revel in being together? There are other ways for other families. But this one is ours.

I can’t imagine another place to be that would bring me so much joy.

No matter what house we’re in or what stress cycle we have thrown at us, we are together.

And that is the biggest little thing of all.

And now?  Hop on over to Taming Insanityto say hello to Kristin.  Be sure to check out my absolute favorite posts, We’re Not In Chicago Anymore, Dressing Myself, Things I learned as a Child, and Sweet Charity.  I have absolutely no doubt that you’ll love her as much as I do.

Thank you so much, Kristin, for coming over and hanging out with me today. 

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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