Posted in Memories

Joy and a Favorite

Today, I am republishing one of my favorite posts and linking it up with Mama’s Losin’ It.

I loved this exercise and rereading the final product still brings me joy

This was the first post I linked up as editor of The Red Dress Club, now known as Write on Edge.

Thanks for reading!

Where I’m From

I am from steaming breakfasts of golden, crispy bird’s nests with magnificent runny yolks, from impossibly weak Maxwell House coffee and pre-dawn moments of true connection.

I am from the salmony pink-shingled house on the corner, drafty, sunny, and melancholy. Three front steps, ever in need of fresh paint, slightly wobbly from the destructive frosting and heaving of the long and brutal winter.

I am from the unkempt clusters of lilacs, scattered dandelions gone to seed, tendrils of fuchsia bleeding hearts, stolen  and fragile jack-in-the pulpits, and haphazard bouquets of fringed chrysanthemums.

I am from high school diplomas and honest work, from Robert and Max and Judy.  Vegetable gardens of diligence and abundance, encouragement and acceptance, freedom and wild brambly raspberries.

I am from delayed gratification and inherent guilt.

From uncanny paternal resemblance and from the weight of the loss of my father placed upon my childhood.  A stand in, but never a replacement.

I am from bean suppers on Saturday evenings. Cream pies, Jello salads, blue hair, and integrity and kindness.

I am from the intersection of Catholicism and Northern Baptist. Where the Trinity meets God and Jesus.  Where faith meets practice.

I’m from New England, Maine, Fairfield, tourtiere pie and sticky, chocolatey whoopie pies.

From the legacy of my father’s senseless murder, my Pépère’s faintly beer-scented breath, his ever-present and lovely banjo, Hawaiian melodies, and his tender and loving soul.

I am from the cedar hope chest, tiny golden key, idyllic dreams, childhood report cards, penmanship awards, and two unlikely college graduation caps and gowns.

What brought you joy this week? 

I’d love to know!

Coloring Your Childhood

crayola crayonsDear Katie,

You came downstairs today, earlier than I anticipated from quiet time, with paper in hand, eager to show me a picture you had drawn.

And the joy in your face was more important than the fact that you had come downstairs far too early.

Instead of sending you back upstairs until quiet time was officially over, I invited you to bring your new crayons downstairs to color with me.

We sat, pulled out clean sheets of crisp paper, and spread the crayons before us.

From a sea of colors, with each crayon you chose, you asked me to read you the names.

Names that were more than just the words on the colored wrappers.

Names that bring to mind stories that I will share with you one day.

Salmon.

The color of my childhood home…a home that held tremendous sadness, but also immeasurable joy. The home in which I learned about trust, loss, love, and survival.

Wisteria.

The color of the profusely-blooming vine behind the house we lived in before you were born. Your daddy and I sat beneath those vines, on still summer nights, and dreamed of you.

Cerulean.

Daddy’s mommy’s favorite color.  One day I will tell you about the rich velvets that she wore…cerulean, turquoise, violet. I will tell how those jewel tones mirrored the vibrancy of her soul.

Aquamarine.

The color of the sea where Daddy and I were married. One day I will tell you how marrying Daddy brought me a peace that I’d never known before. I will tell you that in those moments, the fear that I had carried around for my entire life was washed away.

Fuchsia.

The color of the Bleeding Heart plants that flanked my grandparents’ home…the home that held only happiness, acceptance, and love.

Outer Space Blue.

The color of my grandfather’s tie…the length of silk with which he taught me the Windsor Knot…one of the many lessons taught to me by the man who stepped into the role of father when I lost my own.

Asparagus and Gold.

The color of my mother’s eyes. The eyes that reassured me that things would be okay. The eyes that have never let me down.

One day, you’ll pull crayons out of a similar box for your children and they’ll look at you, waiting to hear your stories.

May your pile of crayons be huge and colorful…and the stories you share, happy ones.

With a heart brimming with love and dreams of helping you to color your childhood,

Mommy

A Letter to Myself … Things I Hold Most Dear

If you knew that you were going to lose your memory and you could write a letter to yourself that contained the things that you most wanted to remember? What would you write? 

Here’s what I wrote last year…

If My Memory Should Ever Fail Me

If I was gifted the ability to stop time for twenty-four hours, what would I attempt to accomplish?

Without hesitation, I would spend those hours writing a letter to myself in case my memory ever betrays me, a letter I could hold in my hands, something tangible to prove that I had truly lived.

If such a letter could dislodge even a fragment of memory, it would have been worth every moment spent writing it.

I would attempt to capture…

…what it feels like to be loved unconditionally.  I would write about the relationship that I have built with Craig and what it feels like to hold his hand in mine. I would write about the soapy smell of his skin, the feel of his stubble on my cheek, and what it feels like to hear his thoughts as we drift off to sleep each night…what it is to know true contentment.

…how comforting it is to know that a promise for forever is exactly that…to know that I can breathe and just be, without worry.

…what it feels like to have chosen a man who is such an amazing father, who knows such random, yet important, things as how to do Katie’s hair, how to assemble a preschooler-friendly, healthy meal, and how to comfort Matthew when he’s teething.

…how much being a mother to Katie and Matthew fulfills me…that although I am exhausted much of the time, my heart stretches as I close each of their doors at bedtime, knowing that they are safe and happy.

…the way Katie’s gentle golden curls frame her face, how she wakes each morning full of things to say, brimming with excitement, and eager to learn what I have planned for her. I want to remember the way she smells like a mixture of Play-Doh and blueberries and the way she gleefully sings If You’re Happy and You Know It while spinning in circles on tip toes.

…the way Matthew goes limp in my arms at bedtime and how when I shush him and ask him to put his head on my shoulder, he just melts into me.  How he wraps his still baby fingers in my hair and pinches the skin under my arms.

…how it feels when Katie looks me in the eye and says, “You’re so nice, Mommy.” I pray that I remember the way she fits into me right now, how her long arms and legs wrap around me and the way her hair tickles my face when I hold her.

…that Matthew lunges for me when he catches sight of me, the weight of his soft body in my arms as I nurse him.  I long to remember the way he lights up when I do The Itsy Bitsy Spider on his belly…how his impossibly-long eyelashes flutter as he drifts off to sleep.

…that I was not me before them.

…the happiness that this life brought me…from the small things to the big things.  From the moments to weeks to months to years to a lifetime.

..the gratitude that I feel for having been given this opportunity to hold happiness in my hands and that I never took it for granted.  For even one second.

And if my memory does truly fail me, then I would hope that I could at least read this letter and be comforted by the fact that I had been a part of such a family, a family that knew joy and appreciated the smallest of moments.

If My Memory Should Ever Fail Me

If I was gifted the ability to stop time for twenty-four hours, what would I attempt to accomplish?

Without hesitation, I would spend those hours writing a letter to myself in case my memory ever betrays me, a letter I could hold in my hands, something tangible to prove that I had truly lived.

If such a letter could dislodge even a fragment of memory, it would have been worth every moment spent writing it.

I would attempt to capture…

…what it feels like to be loved unconditionally.  I would write about the relationship that I have built with Craig and what it feels like to hold his hand in mine. I would write about the soapy smell of his skin, the feel of his stubble on my cheek, and what it feels like to hear his thoughts as we drift off to sleep each night…what it is to know true contentment.

…how comforting it is to know that a promise for forever is exactly that…to know that I can breathe and just be, without worry.

…what it feels like to have chosen a man who is such an amazing father, who knows such random, yet important, things as how to do Katie’s hair, how to assemble a preschooler-friendly, healthy meal, and how to comfort Matthew when he’s teething.

…how much being a mother to Katie and Matthew fulfills me…that although I am exhausted much of the time, my heart stretches as I close each of their doors at bedtime, knowing that they are safe and happy.

…the way Katie’s gentle golden curls frame her face, how she wakes each morning full of things to say, brimming with excitement, and eager to learn what I have planned for her. I want to remember the way she smells like a mixture of Play-Doh and blueberries and the way she gleefully sings If You’re Happy and You Know It while spinning in circles on tip toes.

…the way Matthew goes limp in my arms at bedtime and how when I shush him and ask him to put his head on my shoulder, he just melts into me.  How he wraps his still baby fingers in my hair and pinches the skin under my arms.

…how it feels when Katie looks me in the eye and says, “You’re so nice, Mommy.” I pray that I remember the way she fits into me right now, how her long arms and legs wrap around me and the way her hair tickles my face when I hold her.

…that Matthew lunges for me when he catches sight of me, the weight of his soft body in my arms as I nurse him.  I long to remember the way he lights up when I do The Itsy Bitsy Spider on his belly…how his impossibly-long eyelashes flutter as he drifts off to sleep.

…that I was not me before them.

…the happiness that this life brought me…from the small things to the big things.  From the moments to weeks to months to years to a lifetime.

..the gratitude that I feel for having been given this opportunity to hold happiness in my hands and that I never took it for granted.  For even one second.

And if my memory does truly fail me, then I would hope that I could at least read this letter and be comforted by the fact that I had been a part of such a family, a family that knew joy and appreciated the smallest of moments.

*This post is inspired by a blogger I met through Kris at Pretty All True.  She is new to me, but I was so moved by her post that I’ve thought of little else since I read it.  Please read this powerful post, The Weight of Tears.

**I am also over at my friend Abigail’s today, sharing my dreams in a guest post, “It Isn’t That Simple,” please come by and say hi!

Mama's Losin' It

There Were Many Things He Wanted To Stop And See

I’ve been so looking forward to sharing this lovely post with you.  My beautiful friend, Guilty Squid, Self-Proclaimed Internet Superstar, sent it to me weeks ago, and I’ve been holding it, eagerly waiting to share it with you on Small Moments Mondays.

When I first “met” Guilty Squid, it was her sardonic sense of humor that drew me in.  If you had asked me to describe her early on, I would have told you that she was remarkably quick witted, with a unique and biting sense of humor.   And if that is all that I had learned about her, I would have been fascinated enough.  But, just when I thought I figured her out, through our exchanges, it became clear to me that she is so much more than funny.  She is soft and kind, tender and giving. 

I love that this post offers a more intimate  glimpse into her life; the love that she feels for her son illuminates the page. 

Thank you for sharing this small moment with us, my friend.  It is a bigger gift than you realize.

This story is from when my son was in Kindergarten. He’s fifteen now (ouch) and his little sister starts Kindergarten next week. This story has been floating around in my head lately and it’s finding a fantastic home here on Chole’s blog. The tone on this post is somewhat…. different than my normal posts. I hope you like it all the same.

Sometimes, when things are going well and I view my children as small angels who can do little wrong (you know, those really rare moments) I think of this story and smile. I’m going to share it here in the same way I wrote it back then. Enjoy.

Parenting in today’s world is often a busy balancing act. Lessons are taught as we run errands, run to soccer practice, and rush to make dinner. I don’t often take the time to really think about all the missed opportunities, but sometimes life just busts in and reminds me that I have a thing or two to learn myself.

One fall morning, we were in the car on the way to school. Another rushed morning, but as I looked at the digital clock on the dashboard I was satisfied that we’d be on time. Barely.

We’d gotten to the school parking lot when my then six year old son said, “Mommy, my shoe is broken.” Heart sinking, I turn around to discover that he was right. These barely three month old shoes had taken too many playtime beatings and were just no good to him. There was no way he would be able to wear those shoes in school today. I felt that rush of impatience inside me. “I don’t have time for this, we’ll be late! It’ll take longer to go home and back again than it would to go to the store! I didn’t budget for new shoes this month! Why couldn’t he be more careful!” Pushing down all of these very thoughts and feeling very put upon and trying not to show it, I used my cell phone to call my boss and told him I’d be about fifteen minutes late. I started the car and off we went to the store.

Foolishly I had believed that at 8AM the store would be relatively quiet and this would be a quick trip in and out. I was so wrong. There were just as many people there in the morning as there are in the after school rush. With a heavy sigh I held tight to my small son’s hand and walked him into the store.

There were many things he wanted to stop and see, and in my hurry I admit to snapping, “Not today, son! We do not have time!” Hurrying back to the shoe section I walked him straight to his size. As he took his agonizingly sweet time picking out the newest styles of shoes, I noticed out of my eye a little person shopping in the same aisle. I looked down at my son who was staring. I tried to redirect him back to the task at hand by asking, “Do you see anything that you really like? We don’t have a lot of time?” My son could not stop staring at the little person. Full on staring. I was beginning to feel uncomfortable and a little embarrassed by his behavior.

At that moment, my son looked up at me and in that breathless voice of wonder that only children have he called out, “Mommy, look!” I quickly tried to turn him around and quiet him when he said, “It’s an angel!”

The little person walked up to us, patted my son on the shoulder and looked up at me and said, “You have a wonderfully kind son. He sees beauty where most people see different.”

I was humbled by my son that day. And rather ashamed of myself. I was working to quiet him for expecting him to have a reaction that would embarrass me, when he saw someone who he believed was heavenly.

I learned that as I often get caught up in the day to day madness of just living my life, I forget to stop to appreciate all of the wonders that are all around us. I forget to see the beauty in all things. I don’t take the time to see the beauty in all people. I rush around too often, without stopping to appreciate the viewpoints of my children. I realize that sometimes, I’m pushing them past their innocence all too quickly.

That day, I learned to appreciate the beauty in a lesson. A broken shoe taught me a valuable lesson in appreciation from my son. While I was aggravated and impatient, he followed with great trust. When I felt sure that he was being rude, he was gazing in wonder and admiration. I learned that simple appreciation for the beauty that surrounds everyday can give someone else a smile they might not have had. In that moment I learned to hurry less and listen more.

As we walked back to the checkout with the newest style of light up sneakers, I found that I wasn’t walking nearly as quickly as when we walked in. My son looked up at me and said, “Mommy, aren’t we late?”

I smiled and said, “We will just get there when we get there.”

And we did.

Now, I know you’re on your way over to visit Guilty Squid.  Be sure to read “Ways To Avoid An Unfortunate Engagement And Probably Also Be Served With A Restraining Order,”  “This is the story of how I thought this Hollywood writer/director/producer was proposing to me. As it turns out, I may be proposing *for* him,”  and “Steve Jobs killed my joke by being funny. True Freaking Story, People,” just a few of my favorite posts.

Then, after you’ve read these newer posts, read more.  And then read some more. 

This woman is funny, y’all. 

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.
More about Nichole
  • @NicholeBeaudryon Twitter
  • Nichole on Pinterest
  • Nichole on Instagram
  • Nichole on Facebook
  • Nichole on LinkedIn
  • Subscribe to this site's RSS
  • Contact this author

I also write at

all Parenting
She Knows Parenting

Instagram photos