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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.

Threshold

I have tremendous respect for this week’s Small Moments Mondays guest poster. Gigi, from Kludgy Mom, truly inspires me. Though she has a million things going on at any given moment, she does them all well…and with class.

She is helpful and generous, driven and straight forward. I am always learning something from Gigi, whether it’s how to value myself as a blogger or how to keep my sense of humor.

This piece took my breath away when I first read it and I have been so eager to share it with you.

I could thank you a million times over, Gigi, and that still wouldn’t begin to cover my gratitude for sharing this story with us.

Threshold — by Gigi

I love the word, the idea that there is a space in the universe that is neither here nor there; the midpoint between two states of being; the crossing over place.

The word swells with its own definition. Threshold: the crossing over point holds something: promise, loss, change, adventure, comfort. One must pass through to receive that which it holds.

Boy Wonder was 3 years and 3 months old when he crossed one such threshold.

It was is his first day of preschool. This wasn’t like any typical preschool. This was developmental preschool; a program to assist special needs kids.

The school was about 8 miles away from our home. They wanted me to put my 3 year old who wasn’t potty trained and barely spoke a word onto a bus. They said it was the kids’ favorite part of the day. With much trepidation, we agreed to try it.

Boy Wonder played outside in the rocks, Buzz Lightyear backpack on his back, while I stood at the curb, gazing far down the street, waiting for the bus’ arrival.

The bus groaned and squealed as it came down the street. It looked like a monstrosity pulling up to our driveway.

It was time to go.

Metal scraped onto more metal. The bus driver was pulling back the weighty handle that opened the bus door.

Whoooooooooooooooooosh. Air discharged from the mechanism as the folding door opened.

The threshold loomed.

The bus rumbled, sputtered, heaved with great noise; yet around me, a quiet void.

Boy Wonder walked to the bus, his twinkling eyes growing wider at the sight. A moment of recognition that he was to get on, and then, a turn, backward, at me.

I dropped to one knee, placed my hands on his shoulders, and looked into his eyes, the olive-like eyes that had only recently begun to look directly back into my own.

“Have fun, okay? You have a good day, and I’ll see you in just a few hours.”

We hugged. I turned him around by his shoulders, grabbed his hand and braced him as he stepped up onto the first stair of the bus.

The bus monitor was at the top step, hand outreached to pull Boy Wonder onto the second step, and then the third.

As he crossed over the threshold, Boy Wonder let go of my hand as he grabbed onto hers.

Hope surrounded him.

The bus door screeched again shut. Whoooooooooooooooosh.

The tears began.

Flash forward. The first day of kindergarten did not have the weighty fanfare of two years prior. No, I walked Boy Wonder through the automatic doors of the elementary school that day, settled into his classroom, and left the school excited for his new adventure.

But one morning the following week, we arrived at the front door of the school.

With a hushed whoooooooooooooosh, the automatic doors glided open. Boy Wonder stopped.

“I can go in by myself, Mommy.”

Wooooooooooooooosh. The automatic doors glided shut.

“Okay, buddy.” As I did two years prior, I dropped to one knee, looked him in his olive eyes, told him to have a good day and turned him to face the door.

Woooooooooooooooosh. The automatic doors glided open.

I stood up. Boy Wonder walked through the doors. Hope surrounded him.

Woooooooooooooooosh. The automatic doors glided shut, as if punctuating my silent conversation with myself: “He is growing away from me.”

I looked at the doors, but was not able to see through them.

Woooooooooooooooosh. The automatic doors glided open.There was Boy Wonder. He blew me a kiss, waved, turned and ran down the hall.

I watched his backpack bounce rhythmically up and down as he ran.

Wooooooooooooooooosh. The automatic doors glided shut.

The tears began.

Our children, and we, grow in the small moments: the moments where they leave us on this side of the threshold.

Now that you’ve read Gigi’s beautiful words here, please go read some of my favorite posts: The Man Who Braved the Cold, Waiting is the Hardest Part, Let’s Rename the Whoopie Pie.

Okay, choosing those three was so incredibly tough. Why? Because not only is Gigi prolific, but she is consistently awesome. I could have easily pointed you to this, this, or this.

You can also find Gigi over at She Posts, where she’s keeping us all up to date on what’s happening in the blogosphere.

Please go like Gigi on Facebook (she has such an awesome landing page) and follow her on Twitter. I’m certain that you’ll love her as much as I do.


Small Moments Spotlight #8

This week, in the Small Moments Spotlight, I have just one post to share.

One absolutely perfect post.

One post filled with gorgeous small moments.

One post brimming with love.

Please go read at the end of the tunnel and leave Yulia a comment…she is so incredibly lovely. She is dynamic and eclectic, tender and true.

I am elated to call Yuliya my friend…both online and in real life.

I count her amongst my many blessings.

Please go read…

If you have submitted a piece and it isn’t featured here, that doesn’t mean it won’t be in the future.

If you should notice a small moment post, or if you’ve written one yourself, please use my “contact me” tab (over there on the left under “site links”) and send me the link; I’d love to read it.

If you’ve been featured here and would like to have the Small Moments Spotlight button, let me know and I’ll send it your way.

 

And all that it implied

As a child, there was a window of time when it was just my mother and me, a time when I was certain that I was the most important person in the world.

My father had died four years prior and my mother and I were alone. Hand in hand, we faced all that that implied.

Many nights, when neither of us could bear the thought of sleeping alone, we pulled the cushions off the black pleather sofa, one by one, stacked them against the wall, and pulled the foldaway bed from the sofa’s depths. Together, we would make the bed up with fresh sheets and blankets, piling on layer after layer of comfort.

We popped popcorn in one of those hot air poppers where the chunks of golden butter melted so slowly and, drop by drop, slipped through the golden dome over the kernels as they popped.  We would set out our Tupperware bowls, fill them with popcorn, and climb into our temporary bed.

We wore matching nightgowns, nightgowns that I am certain my mother paid for by neglecting a bill or by dipping into what little emergency funds we had.  They were palest, cotton candy pink polyester with white lace trim.  I felt beautiful, dressed in a miniature version of my mother’s nightgown.

In that nightgown, I was important and visible…the center of my mother’s world. As much as she was there to comfort and cocoon me, I was there to bring her solace and purpose.

There are few better feelings than that…to know that you are the most important thing in someone else’s world.

We would settle in and watch shows that, at six years old, I could not have understood: Maude, The Odd Couple, and Love, American Style. I struggled to stay awake, to savor every moment with my mother, but my hand would soon go limp in hers as I drifted off to sleep.

There, in our nest of blankets and popcorn, in the flickering light of the television, I was safe, a feeling that was so elusive and shifting as a child.  A feeling that as soon as I held in my hand, slipped away, at even the slightest bit of upheaval.

I soon outgrew that nightgown, but insisted that I could still wear it.  The elastic at the cuff cut into my skin and when I slid my finger beneath it to readjust it, the grooves in my skin remained.

By then, money was even more scarce and there was no way possible for my mother to splurge again.  That nightgown stayed in my bureau for years.  I would take it out and remember those nights on the pullout sofa with my mother.

Those nights, in my pink nightgown, with my beautiful mother, are, beyond compare, the happiest memories of my childhood.

Simple, yet important.

There in my nightgown.

Important. Visible. Safe.

This post is linked up with The Red Dress Club.

The prompt this week asked us to write about finding a lost article of clothing in the back of a drawer or closet.

Small Moments Spotlight — Week 4

I have only one small moment to share with you this week.

Not because I didn’t get enough submissions or read enough amazing and moving posts.

But because this post…well, this post took my breath away, as it epitomizes what I am always talking about…the small moment, the moment that you simply must remember for always.*

Please go read Freeze frame, by Dana, who blogs over at Feast After Famine. I promise, you will just love this post.

If you have submitted something in recent weeks and I didn’t feature it here, in no way does that mean that I won’t feature it in weeks to come.

If you should discover a post that captures a small moment, or if you’ve written about one yourself, please use my “contact me” tab (over there on the left under “site links”) and send me the link.

*I want to thank my dear friend, Kris, from Pretty All True, who sent me the link to this post. She knew that I would absolutely love it.

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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