Dear Harmony

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Dear Harmony,

Today is your third birthday, and so much has changed in those three years. We’ve moved and made hard decisions as a family, we even welcomed your baby sister to the family just a little over a year ago. Through all of that, my love for you has remained so strong and constant. Even when I feel like the ground beneath me is crumbling, I have a bit of consistency in the bond we’ve created over the past three years.

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I know the past year has been tough on you at times. I know that you don’t always understand that I have to give your sister lots of attention, and I’m sure that at times you feel left out. However, you’re the first person that I fell head over heels in love with at first sight. You’re the first person to make me forget to breathe, because all I could do was stare at how absolutely perfect you were from the moment I laid eyes on you. You’re the first absolute and truest love of my life. I’m not saying that I love you or Piper any more than the other, but there is something incredibly special about our bond…because it was just us for almost two years.

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When I first looked at you, I saw your father. I could see that you had his eyes. Then, I saw my granny. I know I wasn’t the only one that saw that because I could tell by the look on my dad’s face when he met you that he saw it as well. I could see her hair line, but over time I see so much of her personality in you. Your love for animals and art. The unique and infectious laugh that you have. The one little dimple on your cheek that my dad also has. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about her and wish she could meet you, because I know she would love you so so much. You’re named after my two of my favorite women, my mom and my granny. I think my granny would be so tickled to learn that you’re a left handed animal lover that can already color in the lines.

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You had a rough start in this world. You were forced to come Earth side before you wanted because our lives were at risk. You struggled with jaundice, weight gain, and a tongue tie. My first time with a newborn wasn’t exactly sunshine and daisies at all times, but we somehow got through it together. Looking back, those rough times don’t even matter. That season was rough for me, but it was so so short. I would give anything to go back and hold in my arms and rock you for hours straight. I would give anything to just kiss your newborn head once more. I had so many people tell me that I held you too much. That I was spoiling you. I never listened to them, and I’m so glad that I didn’t. Even though I constantly held you, I still feel like I could’ve held you more. I still feel like I should’ve kissed your face a thousand times while you slept in my arms. There is no season in life as painfully short as that of a dependent baby. Now you’re rising into the season of growing independence, and it breaks my heart to watch your baby tendencies fade away.

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Now when I look at you I see a gorgeous preschooler. I see little curls bounce on top of your shoulders as you chase the husky around. I hear the adorable giggle you make when you’re playing with your sister. From the day we brought Piper home, you’ve been the best big sister. I’ve loved watching you help out when you can. I know that Piper adores you as well, and I hope that you all have the strongest bond that sisters can have growing up. I love to watch you try to help me change Piper’s diaper, or watch you hand her fruit or a toy. One day I’ll show you all the pictures I have of you nursing your own baby doll while I nursed Piper.

You have such a loving personality.

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You’re not the most vocal of kids, but your comprehensive skills have blown me away for a few years now. At this point, we kind of have a system, and I can decipher what you’re saying, even if you can’t come right out and say what you’re thinking. While sitting at the dinner table, you colored inside the lines like it was something you always knew how to do. You’re always surprising me with how much you already know.

You weren’t planned to come at the moment you did in my life. Many people do things in a certain order, and you came in a time in my life when things felt totally out of order. I wouldn’t change the timing for anything. You’ve given me a reason to wake up everyday. A reason to better myself. A reason to laugh, even when laughing is the furthest thing on my mind. I would be a liar if I said that there were a few days where you were the only thing keeping me on this Earth. Days where my mind was blurry, but my love for you was crystal clear.

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I’ve never met a human being more empathetic as you are so young. It’s as if you have a sensor, and you know exactly when I need an extra snuggle. You know when you to crawl in my lap and grab my face for a huge kiss. We can sit in the floor silently together playing with blocks, and it’s honestly the most soothing thing. I know that I haven’t always been great at hiding my meltdowns from you. I always fear that I’m going to frighten you, but each and every time you’ve just grabbed my face and kissed me. No one has ever done that for me. You have been my saving grace ways that you’ll never know, and you’re more compassionate and empathetic than most adults I know. You’ve seen me at my absolute worst, and I apologize for that, but each time you’ve held my face and told me that you loved me. In that moment, you were all I needed.

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People constantly tell me that you’re “too shy.” That I keep you too sheltered, and I need to make you interact with others. What they don’t see is you observing them, you watching them. You waiting to let your guard down because you’re the type of person that will either not like someone or pour your heart and soul into them. Physically, when I look at you I see your father. His soft brown eyes that pulled me in from the very beginning. I see so much of myself in your personality though. The sensitive little girl with a huge heart that not many people were willing to get to know. However, once they do they realize we’re capable of loving completely with our hearts and souls. You just gotta get past our love for creepy things and loud music.

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If you’re wondering, I will always yearn for the days when you were an infant. However, I’m looking forward to watching you learn and grow. I love listening to you create sentences now and repeat everything (okay, maybe not so much that…). I feel like everyday you wake up and something about your appearance has changed. Your chubby cheeks are not so chubby anymore, and now you’re a thin little kid. I can’t believe how gorgeous you are now. I can’t believe that someone so incredibly flawless came from someone as flawed as myself.

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Happy birthday, Harmony.

I hope we spend the entire day listening to old records and dancing in the living room.

Love,

Mom

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Dear Moon Piper

Dear Moon Piper (Piper Luna),

You’re a year old today. You stormed into my life in every way, and a bit literally in one way. One day I was asking your dad if we could try again for another baby in about 6 months, and the week after that talk I was telling him that I was already pregnant. A year ago today I didn’t even know I was in labor, you snuck out of the womb like a tiny little ninja. You were born a little after 9 pm, just three hours shy of being born on your father’s birthday. You wanted your own birthday, and I get that.

I look back now and I know that I needed you before I even knew I needed you.

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I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to love another child as much as Harmony and would neglect you in some ways, because it felt like my heart was already overflowing. You proved me wrong, and my heart grew to accommodate the pure adoration that I felt the moment I laid eyes on you.

Your birth signifies so much more to me than just the day you came earth side. Your birth was the day I took control of my body, and after years of hearing “You can’t do that” from doctors, I proved them wrong. I was able to take control of my body and mind in ways that I had never thought possible. Instead of feeling trapped, I felt free. You helped me feel free again. I had the most empowering birth experience, and you were the star of the night. You are my little Moon Piper, born swiftly under the dim light of the moon. Five minutes after you were born, it started to storm. I can still remember the sound of rain hitting the ground so hard, because it mimicked the sound of my heart as I took everything in about you. You came into this world so quietly, as if you’ve already been here before.

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It’s been a year since I first held you. A year since I looked into the eyes of my second baby girl and felt my vision get fuzzy and the world stop in its tracks. A year since I looked into giant eyes that mirrored my own. A year since your very first latch, and a year since the first time I held your tiny hand in mine and noticed the dimples that reflect the ones on my hands. A year since I noticed how observant you were, even as a newborn. A year since I watched your dad become the proud father of a gorgeous daughter once again.

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Now we’ve made it to a year of breastfeeding, and you’re walking more and more everyday. Now I look into blue eyes that are turning green, and the little bits of blonde hair that grace your otherwise bald scalp. You have a way of making others smile, and I don’t think you’ve ever met a stranger. I’ve had so many people approach me just to mention your giant smile and pretty eyes. You seem to have the exact opposite personality as myself and your sister, but that’s honestly something that we both need.

I need your smile. I need your giant eyes to give me a bit of optimism. I need your little arms reaching around me to snuggle. I’ve needed you all of my life, I just didn’t know it until you arrived Earth side. You don’t laugh very often, but when you do it’s enough to lighten up the darkest of places. In that sense, you remind me so much of my dad and my granny. Your laugh is so special, and it resonates deeply in my mind and heart.

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You have a love for everyone, and I can tell you’re going to be someone that sees the good in all people. That’s something that I don’t want you to lose. I want you to see the good in the world. I want you to see that good and change others, because I know you can with the kindness you show to so many at such an early age. You’ve helped your sister open up a bit more herself, and I know that she needs you as well, even if a few years down the line it might not seem that way.

Your smile and adventurous personality have inspired me so much over the past year. You’ve inspired me to look around at the wonders around me a bit more, and you’ve inspired me to write and create more. I can’t recall a single morning when you were an infant where you didn’t wake up with a smile on your face.

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Moon Piper, you are so incredibly special. You will always mean so much more to me than you will ever know. I can’t explain gracefully just what your presence in my life means to me, but I will spend my life trying to express it with words. A year ago my world changed once again, and in the absolute best way possible. I would endure the med-free labor I did with you 1,000 times over again just to experience the overwhelming amount of love I felt the moment I was finally able to place you on my chest. Every bit of pain I felt in that intense labor was worth it for that one moment of relief I felt the moment I looked at you. It was an instant pain reliever.

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Happy birthday, Moon Piper. I can’t believe a year has already passed. I can still remember the intoxicating smell of your newborn skin.  I can still remember the long nights I spent sitting up nursing you and gazing at your sleepy face. A year later I’m watching you play and walk. I now imagine what kind of toddler you’ll be, because there’s a part of me that thinks I will be chasing after you fairly often. A part of me is sad, because I wish I could slow time down. I wish I could sit in our chair forever and cuddle. I don’t think there’s a human being on this planet that loves to cuddle more than you.

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I wish I could experience every moment with you 100 times again before we moved on to the next moment. Unfortunately, I cannot, and here we are a year later. Here you are walking and babbling, and here I am crying because I swear I just brought you home yesterday. I hope first birthday on Earth is so happy. You deserve it and so much more. You’ve helped to pull me out of one of the darkest seasons of my life. Your first year here has made such an impact on me and everyone that has met you, and I know you’re going to help change this world.

Love,

Your Mom

The Mushy Mother’s Day Post

Hey loves,

Prepare for tons of mush and love in this post. It’s Mother’s Day, so naturally I want to post about my own mom because she is a huge part of my life.

I know everyone is going to be posting that their mom is the best. I could go that route, or I could just talk about her.

I could talk about how she was 16 when she gave birth to me, and how she has literally proved every single statistic regarding teenage moms wrong. I could talk about how she had 3 kids (me and my twin brothers) by the age of 19, and also rocked the absolute shit out of that life. I could talk about how she took my older brother in as her own when he was 14, and it was as if she had known and loved him all of her life.

My mom has been my rock since I was a child. When I was 5, I was diagnosed with asthma. It came with a weak immune system and lots of teasing thanks to my new permanent dark circles and wheezy breathing. When I would say I was feeling down or sick, my mom never questioned it. She always listened to me and made me feel validated. That actually saved my life a few times.

Oh, my teenage years were a bit rough though. I dealt with a lot of loss and weird typical teenage emotions, and my relationship with my mom was rough at times. As it is with many teenagers. However, we were still so close. I still went to her for everything. I still trusted her to validate my feelings and listen to me and even be my crying shoulder. A few times I had to be there for her when she had her hysterectomy. I had to be there for her as we were all at a loss of how to comfort my dad after my granny died, and a dark cloud kind of stayed over our house for a year.

My mom has always been my greatest support. When all of my friends were mad and doubted me when I started dating Jeremy, my mom admitted to having concerns, but always supported me. When I made the decision to move out, she expressed her concerns, but still helped me move out.

When I told her I was pregnant the first time, she cried. First out of shock, then out of joy. She was there for me every step of the way. She never once told me that I couldn’t have a natural birth. She never once tried to discourage me from breastfeeding because she didn’t do it with me. When I told her that I had been diagnosed with preeclampsia, she dropped everything just to be by my side. And I know now after having my own kids, that even though she looked and acted so strong for me, she was just as scared as me on the inside.

My mom has helped me pick up my life and move 3 times. She has listened to me and cry and vent.

She drove me to the birthing center when I went into labor with Piper, and even now I don’t know how she stayed so calm because I was legitimately howling all the way there. She held my hand and listened to me. She tried to soothe me and never once made me feel like I couldn’t have the un-medicated birthing experience I wanted, and I still believe she had so much to do with my own confidence. She knew what I wanted and never told me that I couldn’t achieve what I wanted.

That’s how I feel all parents should be. That’s what I strive to be as a mother myself. My mom is my parenting goal. I’ve never met anyone that can love anyone and everyone unconditionally, and yet still stand firm ground when it comes to her own boundaries. Sometimes I watch her gracefully deal with people and it’s almost unreal. The strongest woman I know.

She’s witnessed both of my girls being brought earth side. She has consistently been my little village and is always willing to give me a short break to grab coffee and collect my thoughts. She has never given me or Jeremy an empty promise.

She’s the voice that tells pessimistic, perfectionist me that “we will work something out.” She is constantly the calming voice in my raging storm of eternal doubt.

She is the one person I go to because she is the most non judgmental person I know. That woman wouldn’t hold a grudge with a fly if the fly displayed a bit of kindness. She is always willing to see the good in people, and is constantly giving to others.

There’s a huge part of me that wishes everyone that encountered my mom would show her the gratitude she deserves, but I also realize that it would take me a few lifetimes to do that myself. Because nothing beats a mom that’s also your best friend. Nothing beats a mom that believes in you, no matter how silly your dreams are to others.

My mom never discouraged me from doing what I wanted, no matter what it was or is even now. I feel that is so important, especially when raising girls and is something I will cherish as I raise my daughters. She never questioned me putting on lipgloss before a soccer game. She never questioned me putting on mascara before a science bowl or talking about Latin and makeup at the exact same time. She never told me that my love for surrealism and abstract art would get in the way of me playing sports. She never told me that my asthma would hinder me. She was just…there. Even when I met an obstacle, she helped me overcome it. She allowed me to learn and make mistakes and learn from those. My mom had a seemingly perfect balance of wanting to protect all of the time, but also wanted me to learn from my own mistakes and make mistakes.

No one beats my mom in my book.

The relationship I have with my mom is one that I will cherish for my entire life. It’s one that I crave to have with my own daughters. I know so many talk about how we should always appreciate our mothers and not just one day out of the year, and trust me, I try. I could thank my mom every damn day of the year and it would never be enough. The impact she has made in my life from the very start has been so loving and so incredible, and it would take me several lifetimes to even express a tiny bit of my gratitude. She knows I’m not always great with speaking.

I used to write my mom letters with how I was feeling when I was little. I would write the letter and quietly slip it under her door. I’m trying to view this post as just a big, virtual letter for her and everyone to see.

Because my mom deserves so much. I could go on forever about how she has worked for everything she has and continues to strive for more. She is constantly learning and trying to do better and be better in life, and that is something that inspires me on a daily basis.

My mom means the entire world to me, and I just wanted to take a few minutes today to express that to you all.

And Mother’s Day shouldn’t just be about biological mothers, it should be about anyone that you have felt was your guardian in some way. I just happen to call the best guardian anyone can have my mom.

So, I just want to say thanks to all of the guardians out there that truly know what unconditional love is. To those that are selfless and kind and have been there for others.

Happy Mother’s Day to you all. You are all so beautiful and important.

Your Tiny Hands

My daughter is over a year old now, and the love I have for her still overwhelms me every single day.

Those who say love at first sight doesn’t exist have never had a child. I wrote my daughter a letter when she turned one, and I feel like I should post it.

 

My Dearest Harmony,

It’s been a year since I first laid eyes on you. It doesn’t feel that way. It feels like I’m dreaming, and I’ll wake up in the morning and you’ll be the sleepy newborn you were a year ago. I’ll carry you around on my chest and sing to you and kiss your bald head as you slumber away for most of the day. I remember the sleepless nights, the tears I cried because we struggled so hard at at nursing. How did I not see myself in you every time you tried and tried again? You were so persistent. You were determined not to let a small obstacle get in the way of anything, and because of that you helped me push forward as well.

I remember awing over your tiny little hands and feet. I remember holding them in my own hands and just counting them over and over. Those tiny hands of yours have had a tight grip around my heart since the first time I heard your heartbeat. I’ve fallen in love with you all over again so many times. Sometimes I would catch myself watching you sleep and watching the morning rays hit your innocently chubby cheeks. I would think about how a new day for me meant something completely different to you. You were still seeing much of the world for the very first time, and I had the honor of showing it to you. I look forward to showing you more and more of the world as the years pass.

I used to interact with you so much when your home was still in my womb. I remember sitting at work in the wee hours of the night and listening to whatever came across my iPod at the time. You loved music. You would kick and move around as if you were dancing in your own little way. You still love music, and even a year later I know when you recognize a song because you stand so still as if you’re trying to remember something, but just can’t put your finger on it. I’ll always remember it clearly for you, even when your infant memories begin to pass into the shadows. Your infant days are coming to an end, and even though you will not remember them in a few years, they will still be vividly branded in my own mind and heart.

Now the little girl that stands before me is a wandering little toddler. Your baby chunk is starting to slim down, you’re walking more and more as each day passes. You’re slowly starting to trust people. You used to cry when someone tried to talk to you, but now you’re starting to see that they’re just trying to make you smile. I’ve never met a person who doesn’t love you. I know that every time I see the little dimples in your cheeks my heart stops, so I can only imagine what effect it has on total strangers.

You have a smile that could make the darkest human being feel a little love. That smile has brought me out of some of my own darkest moments. That smile is going to change the world one day.

Sometimes I try to imagine what my life would be like if you weren’t here, and I can’t. I can’t imagine a life without you. My life would mean nothing without you. You are my life, and my life began at the very moment I saw you.

You’ve changed me as a whole, and for that I can never show my gratitude. The only thing I can do is dedicate my life to you.

I know I may not always be the best mother. I know that sometimes I may seem distant, and that’s an ongoing battle that I am continuously working on. Please know that I love you. Please know that I love you more than my own life. I value you over myself, tiny hands and all. You’re my best friend, and sometimes I can’t understand how someone as perfect as you can love someone as flawed as myself. Your love and sweet cuddles flatter me in the best way possible. I love every single bit of you unconditionally, from your little giggle to your tiny hands.

This has been the best year of my entire life, and I know that it will only get better from here.

 

Love,

Your Mother