Little Miracles (2020 Year in Review)

As the year draws to its conclusion, this is the time to reflect on the adventures we have embodied and to highlight the triumphs and glory that made our hearts sing. For our family, we had these moments. Mad Dog’s new job, moving to the beach, Full Speed’s coaching dreams pursued, T. Puzzle’s spelling bee victory, but they somehow pale in comparison to the one simple fact, …

we survived.

So did you.

If no one has told you lately, let me remind you what a marvel you are. You didn’t give up, even on the darkest mornings and the bleakest days. You kept rising to the challenges that erupted like land mines across all your expectations.

I am dedicating this post to you.

What an honor you continue to be a part of our family’s journey. Thank you for all the ways big and small you have shown up for us, for your loved ones and I pray above all else, for yourself.

Now that we have the scars of survival etched in our hearts, this is our roadmap to the turnaround. This is where the lessons learned, the gratitude gleaned, and the hope harvested move us beyond our collective healing.

This is where our survival becomes a revival.

We can’t prevent disaster but now we know whatever happens, we will get through it. 2020 tried everything in its power to stop us. It knocked us down more times than it lifted us, but we kept righting ourselves back to the life in front of us. To all those tiny, precious details we never had time to notice, until 2020 halted our motion and busyness and these little miracles were all we could see.

What beauty to know our strength is infinite and that together or apart, we are one.

Thank you for reading. May the year ahead provide us with all that is needed to grow our courage, cherish what matters, and cultivate love for ourselves and for one another.

children, life in pictures, mommyhood, self-discovery

The Little T.Puzzle That Could

When we were at the beach and precariously attempting to navigate the two blocks to the restrooms, I had a strange moment of observational clarity. I was feeling frustrated with little T.Puzzle because he was lollygagging behind and then to slow matters even more, one of his crocs slipped from his foot.

nine month old T.Puzzle

“My croc!” he yelled, and then proceeded to take an eternity to retrieve it and place it back on his foot. Once the croc was correctly placed he determinedly rose red-faced from the sand and swiftly marched (and I mean MARCHED) to catch up with me. As I watched his arms and legs pump forward I felt admiration and a pause of understanding. If I were three years old in this big, big world I bet that I would hit a few bumps and meltdowns as I made my way, too.

In this moment I saw little T.Puzzle’s stubborn streak as a gift because I know that once we channel it for good, he will make his own way. Then I will have an even harder parenting task than anything I have faced thus far.

I will have to let him.

me and little T.Puzzle, took this pic myself

children, gratitude, mommyhood

The T.Puzzle Connection

We may be turning a corner here. There certainly are no guarantees when raising a family but I’m sensing a slight shift in little T.Puzzle. He actually made the connection that bad behavior equals the loss of privileges. When I picked him up from school the first thing he said to me was, “Do I get to watch a show and have a treat?” I told him that he could but only if he was a good listener and was respectful. He seemed satisfied with that and went on to be mostly well-behaved for the rest of the evening.

I remember when Full Speed was in the heart of the terrible threes and he would have moments and phases of clarity just like Little T.Puzzle is showing. It would bolster me up for the next inevitable slide back to tantrum-filled defiance. I guess that’s what I need to do now. Soak up Little T.Puzzle’s slice of sanity and put the memory of it in my reserve tank of parenting energy.

You all know I’m gonna need it.

children, grief, loss of parent, mommyhood

It Wasn’t All Sad

I made a pact with myself. Yes, Mother’s Day would be sad, and yes, I would do my best to enjoy it despite the sadness. It sort of worked. I went for a run in the morning. I’m not a huge fan of running but I am a huge fan of occasional solitude. The best part of my run is when it is over and I’m walking towards home to cool-down.

As I open the door to the house, I hear the shower going. Mad Dog was showering the boys before our Mother’s Day outing. He was doing it without help. I know he is perfectly capable but I went upstairs to investigate.

Here’s what I found:

Apparently while Mad Dog was finishing up in the shower, the suspects decided to proceed with their normal bathing routine unassisted. They know enough that once they are clean that Mom slathers them up with lotion before they get dressed. So, Little T.Puzzle got a hold of the body lotion and as you can tell, the rest is mess-covered history.

These shenanigans helped cheer me tremendously. These amazing Mother’s Day gifts from my the boys helped, too.

This was my second Mother’s Day without my Mom and in a lot of ways it was painful and in some ways it wasn’t so bad. My life must go on because I am a mother, too. My boys are depending on me and I sure am lucky to have them.

children, mommyhood

Spring Cleaning

We had new indoor shutters installed in our guest bedroom and in our loft area upstairs. It is such a huge improvement from the sad, dangly plastic strips that were unsuccessfully trying to pose as window treatments. I feel like we went from dorm-room chic to actual grown-up decor (so very exciting and yes, I realize I need to get out more).

This inspired me to ‘spring clean’ the toys in the loft. There were many useless (and large) baby-type toys that needed to go. I was tossing stuff left and right. Of course, as I’m sorting things into toss and keep piles, little T.Puzzle follows my every move and determines that he loves every single toy I’m trying to lose. I give up eventually and let him keep a couple of them and when he lays down for quiet time (because who am I kidding that he naps anymore?), I race around in desperation loading as much of the unwanted toys into my truck as humanly possible.

Overall the process was a tiny bit sad but mostly felt immensely liberating. Maybe I am delusional but I keep holding on to the dream that as my boys grow older they might mature and my life won’t seem quite as challenging. Then again, where’s the fun in that? Do you really want to read a blog about the world’s best behaved children?

Yeah, I didn’t think so.