Posted in Memoir

A letter to my father on Father’s Day…

Dear Dad,

Is that what I would call you now? Or would I be one of those girls who, as a grown woman, still called you Daddy?

Would I have taken you to lunch today to celebrate you on your special day? Would we have laughed and talked together over a beer?

In my mind, I see us sitting across the table from one another, looking into identical blue eyes.

I think we would have enjoyed each other…found countless similarities in one another.

How I wish I had even one Father’s Day memory with you.

I never made you a card. Never scrawled my name across construction paper for you.

I never made you macaroni art or gave you a tie that you didn’t really want.

I never chose a card for you or wrapped a gift with far too much tape.

But you’ve always been here in my heart.

There’s a spot there that will forever be yours. It is in that spot where my imagination conjures up what it would have been like to give you bear hugs, shower you with kisses, turn to for advice.

It is that spot that makes me hold on to the notion of a heaven.. a place where I could spend eternity thanking you…for all of the gifts that you gave me even after you were gone…my sense of humor, my self-confidence, my ability to see all the potential that this world holds, and my gratitude for the beauty in my life.

I carry these gifts from you that make me who I am. And I hope that in our short time together on this earth, I gave you gifts that changed you as well.

Because even though you’re gone, my heart bursts with love for you,

Nichole

 

Parenting with grace

I heard it long before I saw it.

Bearing down on me, grumbling and rattling my entire bike.

I felt my body go cold as I glanced over my left shoulder and saw the dump truck growing closer to me as I approached the top of the hill.

In complete panic, I quickly turned of my handlebars and my front tire hit a patch of loose gravel and my seven-year old body was thrown through the air and into a massive, immovable tree trunk.

On a street where I wasn’t supposed to ride my bike in the first place.

And then everything went dark.

When I woke, my mother’s face was the first thing I saw.

The sharp pain in my left wrist and the raw skin on my face contrasted sharply by the soft look of concern in her eyes.

She wrapped me up, whispered loving words, packed me into the car and took me off to the hospital, where my broken wrist was placed in a cast and the cuts and scratches on my face were treated.

And we went home, where my mother, confident that I was safe and would heal, punished me for breaking the rules by riding my bike on an unsafe street.

That she took time to comfort me when I needed it and then held firm to her rules helped shape the mother I am today.

There are times when I see in myself that same ability to be both firm and soft…strict and kind.

And as I look at my children, I am so grateful to my mother for being my everything as a child.

For loving me unconditionally, but also teaching me right from wrong.

This parenting thing isn’t easy, but she handled my childhood with a grace that I can only hope I’m showing to my children.

And this year for Mother’s Day, I can’t think of a better way to thank my mom for all that she has done for me than to show her how much she’s influenced me as a mother.

In addition to a traditional card, I’m sending her an Animoto video that can express my gratitude in a lasting, visual way.

Thank you, Mom! I love you!

Visit Animoto to create your own video slideshow as easily as I did! I was selected for this opportunity by Clever Girls Collective, and all opinions expressed here are my own.

When you visit Animoto, use use coupon code CleverFL to create one free full-length personalized video of your own.

Then, once you’ve seen how easy it is to make a video with Animoto, leave a comment here telling me who you’d make a video for because one commenter will receive a coupon code for a one-year subscription to Animoto Plus. Just think of all the love you can spread in a year!

You may enter to win until May 6th at midnight PST. Good luck and happy Mother’s Day!

 

Treasured family photos

The last time I went home to Maine, I sat with my grandmother for hours at her kitchen table, while we went through her photo albums and boxes of loose photos.

She named the people in each photo and shared stories of her life with me.

And in those moments, it felt as though she was trying to pass those stories on to me so that they would live on with me.

She told me that one day many of those photos would be mine, as she will divvy them up amongst her children and grandchildren.

What a difficult process that must be for her.

Which one of her grandchildren should get the photo of their grandfather sitting in his Adirondack chair on the back lawn in the late summer sun?

Which of us should get the photo of our Uncle Bobby, whose daughters both died last year from breast cancer?

And who will get that photo of my grandmother, holding her favorite doll, with her eyes looking straight into the camera with a sparkle that’s still there after all these years?

How do you make those choices?

Or how about that baby photo above? That’s me when I wasn’t yet a year old. My mother gave it to me several years ago. But should that photo be mine or hers? As both a daughter and a mother, I can’t say that I know.

From the moment I learned of LiveOn Rewind, I thought it was a remarkable service. To think that I could send away those photos of my father and have them stored digitally helped me to few them as less fragile.

But, that led to thoughts of that day with my grandmother, as she carefully wrote on the back of each photo who they should one day go to. What if she didn’t have to choose?

And what if both my mother and I could have my baby photos? They’re as much hers as they are mine.

What if each of us could have those special photos…those pictures of the people who made us who we are today?

LiveOn Rewind gives families that option.

Today, we can easily attach a photo to an email and send it out to our entire family.

And if we digitized those old, fragile, faded pre-digital camera photos, we could share those too.

No one should have to choose who to whom each of their treasured photos should go.

By converting those photos to digital images with LiveOn Rewind, entire families can have those images.

And that’s a pretty amazing thing.

If you’d like your family to be able to share all of those old photos, here’s a special code that will get you 30% off LiveOn Rewind’s photo scanning and video conversion services: cgc66

Thank you to LiveOn for sponsoring this blog post. Please LiveOn to learn more about sharing and preserving your most important memories. I was selected for this sponsorship by Clever Girls Collective. Although story ideas were provided, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Writing, authenticity and Practicing Gratitude

I recently wrote  about the importance of writing from a place of authenticity and the role our audience plays in honest writing.

I have always viewed in these small moments as my place. When I sit down to write, I write about where I am in that moment.

For nearly two years now, I have used this space to express my love for my family, write about my past, and dream of the future.

And those of you who come to read my words have a pretty good idea of the types of posts you’ll find here.

One of the editors at SheKnows contacted me a while ago and asked if I would consider joining their team.

She said she wanted to bring on someone who wrote about parenting “from the heart.”

And in that moment, she handed me a tremendous gift…validation.

She validated the writing that I do here. She reads my blog and knew that I was the person she wanted to bring on.

And that wouldn’t have happened if I had wavered in my writing…if I had written to please others or bent to make my blog like some of the amazing blogs I read.

That’s what I want so badly for those of you who blog. I want you to know that all of the work that you’re putting in is worth it. Whatever you write, do it from your heart. Write for you. And I’ll be right there, cheering you on.

So what will I be doing at SheKnows? I’ll be writing a weekly parenting column called Practicing Gratitude and I’ll be contributing some additional parenting pieces each month in addition to my column.

This new journey leaves me giddy. I barely slept last night in anticipation of my column going live this morning.

I am so grateful to SheKnows for bringing me on board. I keep thinking I’m going to wake up and find out it was a dream.

It would mean the world to me if you’d come by. Today, I’m explaining why it is that I’m such a sap. ;)

It Was Then that I Realized…

Million Moms Challenge, preterm labor, irritable uterus, in these small momentsI’ve had people call it brave to share so many details from my life.

They have asked me how I do it and my answer is always how can I not

Most of those posts that lay my soul bare write themselves and hitting publish is typically relatively easy.

But writing today’s post was tough.

And in a year and a half here on in these small moments, I haven’t been able to write about it. 

As I wrote my story today, I cried. I walked away several times, but kept coming back. 

This night was one of the most frightening of my life. 

Thank you for visiting and thank you for always being so tender with my words.

******************

ABC News recently launched the Million Moms Challenge in conjunction with a variety of media partners, including mom bloggers, in an attempt to improve health for women and children across the world.

Today, I’d like to share with you the most difficult moment of my first pregnancy…a moment that I’ve not been ready to share until now.

“I see that your contractions are consistently three minutes apart,” the veiled urgency in the on call doctor’s voice echoed in my ears.

Earlier that evening, I felt the contractions beginning. By midnight, they were ten minutes apart, and we were on our way to labor and delivery.

At 24 weeks pregnant, I hadn’t reached the chapters in my pregnancy books that covered contractions. I hadn’t yet taken my childbirth class…

For the rest of my story, please visit me over at the Million Moms Challenge.

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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