Posted in Siblings

Hugs and Joy

Since Katie began preschool, Matthew has been truly feeling her absence.

It started on the first day, when at pickup, he squealed at the sight of her from across the room.

But last night, he ran up to her twice and hugged her with the kind of jubilance that is reserved just for toddlers.

He has always loved her, but this is different…more urgent, somehow.

It’s as though he wants to hold her close so she doesn’t disappear.

There’s something magical about the sight of his chubby arms around her waist and the way she showers the top of his head with kisses.

And it brings me to tears to see that connection between them.

One of my greatest wishes as their mother is for them to have a closeness that weaves them together…a closeness that outlasts me and Craig.

Their connection brings me such tremendous joy.

Okay, your turn!

What brought you joy this week?

Whether it was something small or large, I would so love to hear about it.

Said with Such Love

This week, on Small Moments Mondays, my lovely friend, Angela, from Tiaras and Trucks is sharing a small moment that so many of us will be able to relate to.

One of the things that I love most about Angela is that while what you see on the surface is so lovely, what lies beneath is beyond amazing. She is soft and kind, but also has an unwavering strength that I truly admire.

She is funny and sweet, but she is such a powerful writer that she can move me to tears in a heartbeat. She just makes me feel what she feels.

Thank you, Angela, for sharing your words here. Thank you for inspiring me with your writing and for being my friend. I am so lucky to know you.

Said with Such Love — by Angela

Her golden head falling on my shoulder while reading a story stops my breath, leaving me wondering how I can possibly change her life like this, how I could bring a baby into her world, how I can take her mommy away.

Nursing him in the dark, a few tears fall onto his wispy hair. Loving and affectionate, he easily slides into his place in our family, but I desperately worry he will never know the undivided adoration of first-time parents.

More than a year later, Abbey and Dylan’s first egg hunt has her giddy with anticipation, carefully clutching both of their baskets to her chest as we walk to the park. Her nod is serious as she listens to how she’ll have to wait for the “babies” to find their eggs first, while she plays with her friends on the slides and monkey bars and waits her turn.

He is simply happy to be riding in the stroller, feeling the wind in his hair, giggling and tossing his snack cup to the ground, knowing I will pick it up and return it with a tickle or a kiss.

Clouds hang over the park, but colored eggs evoke a festive feeling, kids jumping and running over plastic bridges, their eyes hunting eggs they know they mustn’t yet touch. Parents of older children chat while those of us with wobbly toddlers follow closely, steadying them on small steps and inclines and stumpy slides.

Abbey rushes away immediately, daringly stepping from one moving disk to another.

“Mommy! Look at me!” she calls, proudly announcing the feat that was beyond her grasp only months before.

I clap and smile, my heart a little hurt that I can’t reach out to give her a hug or high five while chasing Dylan from the fireman’s pole.

Ushering Dylan over to where countless eggs carpet the grass for the youngest participants, I hand him his basket, pointing at the bright orbs. This is rare, my undivided attention, and his smile shines brightly towards me. Unsteadily, but purposefully, he walks to an egg and stops. Now he is uncertain, and his smile falters. I crouch near him, pointing to the egg.

“For Dylan!”

His brow furrows. His bright, blue eyes scan the playground.

“Addie? Addie?!”

With slight apprehension, I call her over, knowing she is anticipating her turn, worrying she’ll be disappointed at my request.

“Dylan needs your help,” I say simply, bracing myself for her response.

Immediately, she crouches much as I had, pointing at the same egg.

“Look Dylan! An egg!”

Patiently, slowly, she wanders with him amidst the eggs, telling him their colors, getting excited with him about one red egg so big he needs both hands to hold it.

“Addie,” he sighs happily, handing her the egg and watching her place it in his basket.

Her name, mispronounced, has never been said with such love.

With their few, simple words, I become an observer, a mommy not to Abbey or Dylan but to Abbey and Dylan. Siblings.

See what I mean? Isn’t she amazing?

I’d love it if you went over to Tiaras and Trucks to say hello to Angela. Don’t miss Through Their Eyes, The Best Laid Hands, Runner. I’m a Runner, and Why I Get Laughed at on Walks.

Angela is also one of my favorite tweeps. Go find her on Twitter! You’ll be so glad you did.

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 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!

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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