All The Love In My Heart

Sometimes I look at them and wonder how on earth they’re all mine. 😉😜👦👧👦👶

True story –  I started counting down to bedtime around 4:00. I totally skipped pages when I was reading their book. (To be fair, their book of choice was non-fiction about space travel. I mean… what’s wrong with some good old “Curious George” or fairy tales? 😂)
I fed them dinner on paper plates, and I’m not sure who brushed their teeth and who didn’t.

I ran from room to room, answering calls for water, potty, kisses, blankets, and – not for the first time – I wished for my husband to have a “day job” that would leave him home to parent with me for the bedtime hours.

I rushed from child to child, until I heard one small voice call out: “Mommy, you’re the goodest mommy. When I’m a Mommy I’m going to show all my love in my heart like you.”

Oh, you guys. I’m not the goodest mommy, and I was barely feeling like an okay one today. But somehow for them, I was “showing all my love in my heart.”

If I do nothing else in all my life, here, in this home, there will ALWAYS be love.

Some days, we’ll make cute Pinterest desserts, and some days we’ll eat hot dogs on paper plates. Some days, I’ll laugh, and play and read every book in the pile, and some days I’ll skip pages in the one book I read. But always, always, always – I will show them all my love in my heart.

Today and every day – I will show them my love.

Xoxo,

Anna

I Was Here

 

I want them to remember that I was here.

Sometimes I was here in big, exciting ways: hosting parties and holidays, arranging surprises, planning vacations, and doing Pinteresty projects.

Sometimes I was here in quiet ways: drying tears, reading books, cuddling during thunderstorms, making snacks, folding laundry, budgeting for necessities and fun, driving them to the activities and friends they love.

Sometimes I was barely here at all, just going through the motions of the day. Watching the clock and wishing it would move more quickly so that I could call for bedtime.

Sometimes I wished I wasn’t here. When the heavy weight crushed down on me, when the enormous responsibility of this motherhood life felt too overwhelming – then I would cry hot, aching tears that didn’t stop, terrified that I was not the mother I am supposed to be, resentful of the freedom that was no longer mine.

But, my sweet loves, Mama was here. Always here. Here for the good and the beautiful that I love to share, and here for the darkness, too.

Remember that Mama was here, that Mama tried and tried again, and remember –  always – that you are loved with every part of my heart.

Xoxo,

Anna

Happiness Now

 

“Happiness – not in another place, but this place… not for another hour, but for this hour.”

Sometimes bedtime is quiet and snuggly, with lullabies sung and stories read.

Aaaaand sometimes bedtime looks more like this, with wrestling brothers, my 3-year-old jump-dancing, and the baby left to watch the show from the floor.

Many nights, to be honest, I rush through the bedtime routine, anxious for that tiny break before the night time calls begin. (Even so, with all the calls for “water/kisses/one more/cozy me!!” multiplied by 4 it’s never quite as fast as I’d like! 😂)

  But some nights, their laughter is too precious to interrupt, and the minutes tick by with no one caring.

Happiness now, in this place, in this hour. Not tomorrow, or next year – now.

Because this moment is all I am promised with them, and in this moment, I choose love.

Xoxo,

Anna

Moments

Then there’s this. 

This other side of motherhood that nobody else sees. 

Those moments when you think you might be invisible…and then you wish you were so that at least you could drink your coffee in silence. 

Those moments you find yourself crying over the washing machine and thinking that no one has EVER been as terrible a mother as you. 

Raise your hand if you’ve been there!! 🙋

The other day, I was talking with another mother, whose kids are older now, and she told me, “You’ll miss the hugs and kisses, and as unbelievable as it sounds, you’ll miss the noise!” 

It made me stop and think. Moments, good and bad, are part of every life. But this motherhood thing is about much more than a moment. It’s about a lifetime of moments that are shaping the hearts of my children, and in the meantime, also shaping my own. 

This is why I look for the good,why I share the good – why I am one of those people that loves that silly chain-mail-esque “Love Your Spouse” challenge. 

Not to be fake. Not to say that the bad moments aren’t there. But to acknowledge and remember always that the good is all around. 

Today and every day… I choose joy. I choose love. 

Xoxo,

Anna

Today I Kissed My Love Goodbye

Today I kissed my love goodbye.

“Don’t forget your dinner!” “Do you have your gun and shield?” “Beep the horn for Lucas when you drive away!” “Come home safe!”

I kissed my love goodbye – and watched him walk away.

Every day.

All these years of practicing this same routine and it somehow has gotten harder instead of easier. That voice inside me wondering – was that the last time?

Was that the last time I’ll feel your lips pressed against mine and feel the strong, firm touch of your hands around me?

Was that the last time your children will yell “Bye, Dad! See you when you get here!” and wait for your return with their faces pressed against the window?

Will you be that faceless man who is called a hero for a week, and then slips from memory? Will I be that wife who is handed a folded flag, sobbing eyes hidden behind dark glasses, a chilling picture of both strength and heartbreak, whose children cling to her as their father is carried away?

I have seen that wife too many times in recent months. Each time it is the same. 

They call her husband a hero – but then they easily forget his sacrifice- and hers. While he is alive, they taunt him, doubt him, curse him – and then when he dies, they give speeches and try to honor his name.

This wife doesn’t want a dead hero. She wants the laughter and love of the man beside her. She wants the man who has seen inside her heart – and stayed to love her. She wants the man who catches her eye across a roomful of noisy littles and laughingly yells, “Hey, let’s take our coffee outside and call it a date!!” She wants that man, not a hero in the ground.

The days go by so quickly, but the nights are long. Those hours in the quiet darkness are a blessing and a curse, part of the endless push and pull of this life.

Today I kissed my love goodbye and while my lips spoke all the same mundane words, my heart called out: “Please don’t go. Today, don’t go. Stay here where you are safe, where you are loved.”

But I don’t say that.

I say: “Have a good night, dearest! Don’t forget your dinner! Come home safe!”

And then I kiss my love goodbye – and watch him walk away.

xoxo,

Anna

 

 

Because It’s Worth It

My motherhood is a constant pull of emotions in my heart.

There are days I feel overwhelmed by this life, and then there are days I look around and feel incredibly blessed by the happiness and richness of love around me. There are days I think I would give a limb to be able to sit in silence, and then I remember a time when I was sitting in silence, longing for the community and activity and experiences that I now have.

It’s become very on trend to write “Open Letter to That Person In the Store,” or to talk about all the tedious, stressful parts of motherhood. 
Those things are all real. I’m not trying to be fake or flippant. 

But for me, perspective is everything. 

Realizing that as tired as I am at the end of every day, I’m tired from doing the job I love most of all. Appreciating that even when mistakes are made, my children never doubt my love. And feeling grateful that through motherhood, by opening my heart to the good, so many beautiful, strong people have become part of my world. 

I will still be bummed when my kids wake me up at 7 on a weekend instead of sleeping in till 11. My teething toddler’s screams are no more pleasant to me than to anyone else. 🙉 But I will choose joy. Every day I will CHOOSE joy and love. 
Not because it’s always easy. Because it’s always worth it.
Xoxo,

Anna

My Life In Pictures

“My life in pictures.” 

I happened on that catchy hashtag while browsing Instagram one night, and now I always use it because it’s kind of perfect.

 There are many days that feel blurred together, so many conversations, responsibilities, and interactions. (I called to make an appointment for one child today and when they asked me for the birth date… my mind went totally blank. He’s my kid, I promise. I just have no idea when he was born. #oops. #truestory)

These days start early and end late and are filled to the brim of non-stop needs and to-dos. Every now and then I wonder if I’m still going to be me when this season is over or if I will be forever lost in the beauty and struggle of motherhood.

I sit in groups and see people easily conversing, but my eyes are always darting around the room, my ears are always halfway open to the sounds of my own children in the crowd.

 Mothering never turns off. There is no “clock in/clock out” for this job. The community in my life has grown larger, as I more deeply appreciate the loving “village” of fellow parents around me. Women (and men!)  who are focused and united in love not judgement; compassion, not pride; and understanding, not criticism. People who lift up.

The depth and the rich love of marriage has taken on a whole new meaning. There are days when I am humbled by the gentle example of loyalty and love in my husband. There are days we look at each other across the table of giggling, shrieking children and think, “Are we crazy?!?!” (We know – some of you have thought that about us, too!! Haha 😘) There are those little pockets of time when we are alone, no little hands tugging or voices questioning, and we can remember all that is beautiful about the US, separate from them. 

In the quiet of the night, I look at all the faces, all the memories, all the little pieces of my life in pictures, and I realize… it is good. 

It is everything I imagined – more.

And it is full of love. 

Xoxo, Anna

PS. Speaking of pictures, if you’re interested in an up-close-and-personal view 😉, these days I post more frequently on Facebook and Instagram, so hop on over and join there, too!! Xoxo

Today, One Day, and Always

Today, my loves, your world is safe, secure. Today your worries are about things like what color cup you want, and who gets to choose our bedtime story. 

Your hearts, so fragile and yet so resilient, feel love strongly and forgive easily. Your notion of evil is from stories and those vaguely ominous “bad guys” in your play together are still nothing more than shadowy creatures in your mind. 

Today, when you cry, your tears are easily dried with cuddles and kisses. Your frustrations can be quickly sorted, your smiles frequently won. 

Today, I will hold your hand when we cross the busy street, I’ll slow my steps to walk beside you, and my heart will smile and cry with yours. 

My love is yours, unconditionally and always.

One day your world will feel much bigger. Evil will have names and faces, and sometimes they will not be as far away as you used to think. 

One day your hearts might feel a pain that seems unimaginable, or be overwhelmed with fear. 

One day the words faith, forgiveness, love, courage, and integrity will take on new meaning for you, as you discover how each one matters within your own hearts. 

You will, without doubt, find yourselves tested to the limits of your strength, and just when you think you cannot go on… you will find a way. It is the struggle and the beauty of life. 

One day your worries will be over financial or moral choices instead of cups, and disagreements will be over relationships, beliefs, jobs and politics instead of bedtime stories. 

But oh, my loves, some things will never change. 

My hands will always be ready to help you, my heart will smile and cry with yours and as you find your paths along this beautiful journey of life, my love will be yours – unconditionally and always!

Xoxo, Anna

Damned or Dead 

 

I can’t find the words. I try to find the hope. I try to see the good. But …. Michigan. Tennessee. Georgia. Dallas. Baton Rouge. 8 officers killed in 11 days.

Their guns are pulled out for a reason. Their guard is up for a reason.

Because they’re damned if they do and they die if they don’t…. and damned by public opinion is still better than dead in the arms of their family.

Damned by public opinion is still better than knocking on the door and telling her that he lied. He’s NOT coming home.

Damned by public opinion is still better than a sobbing wife being handed a folded flag, and tiny hands waving a final goodbye to a coffin that carries their father.

Damned by a public that will never understand is better than never going home.

To my husband and all his fellow LEO’s, DO good, BE the good, but never forget that in the end the sides are not based on political party, hashtags or media.

The sides are and will always be, Good vs. Evil.

Fight. Fight hard. And, oh my dearest, please – please – please – come home!!!

Xoxo,

Anna

No Regrets

No Regrets

The other day, a woman I know, a mother of 12 (!!!!), asked me how I was. “And how are all those beautiful babies?”

I usually just smile and say I’m great, but today I told her, “Mrs X, I’m SO TIRED. I’m always tired, and then I’m tired of being tired, you know?”

She smiled. She put a gentle, wrinkled hand on mine, and said, “I do know. I remember feeling exactly the same way. You’ll be tired for a while more. You will have days, weeks when you feel like there’s no end in sight. But I promise you, one day you will sleep uninterrupted, and they won’t need you this much.

You’ll look around and be surrounded by so much love, that YOU helped create, and I’m here to tell you, you will never regret a single tired day.”

Holding onto that today, you guys.

“Creating love.”

Holding onto that with all my heart.

xoxo, Anna