Dear Tummy // Letters Day 16

Dear Tummy,
You need to shape up! I mean that literally and figuratively, I’d love you to flatten down and get some definition, but right now I mostly mean that I have one more day at an all-inclusive resort for this conference and I’d like to eat, drink (Pepsi with flavored syrup added, yum!), and be merry. Instead you have me sitting, laying under the covers, and sipping only Sprite. Boo. Let’s get our act together, shall we?

Thanks a ton,
Sheila

Dear My Babies in Heaven // Letters Day 15

Dear My Babies in Heaven,
My miscarriages were some of the most painful moments of my life– desiring so badly to give you life and being unable to do anything except bleed and cry, feeling helpless. I ached for you then and that dull ache of loss remains a part of me as long as I am in this broken body.

I don’t know why I wasn’t able to hold you, but through my losses I took such comfort in Deuteronomy 29:29– the secret things belong to The Lord. Tucked inside my womb for only a few short weeks, you two were my secret things. Your tiny little bodies almost invisible to the human eye, but eternally significant to the Creator of life. To trust that you belonged to The Lord brought me unspeakable peace. He saw you, He knew you, He cared for you because He created you.

I’m sorry I could never hold your hand or kiss your face or tickle your tummy. Please know I loved you, I loved you from the very moment I knew you were there. Your days, although few, were marked with smiles and plans for the future and anticipation and joy.

I don’t pretend to know how heaven will work when I get there, but I hope I can glimpse your sweet faces there as we worship our risen Savior– the one who will wipe every tear from our eyes and will fully redeem that which was broken and lost here on earth.

I love you to the moon and back,
Mommy

Dear Quiet Hotel Room // Letters Day 14

Dear Quiet Hotel Room,
You know that scene in Date Night when Tina Fey is flipping out to her husband (Steve Carrell) and she says she just wants to be alone in a quiet hotel room with no one touching her drinking her Diet Sprite and eating her lunch in peace?

Yes, that is currently happening for me, and I’m so happy to be getting to know you. Except my Sprite tonight was not diet and had strawberry syrup in it, which yes, I realize is probably chock-full of High Fructose Corn Syrup. Deeeelicious.

You are exactly as great as Tina made you sound… So quiet. So clean. So peaceful. So quiet. (Wait, did I say quiet twice? That’s because it is REALLY quiet.)

Thankful we’re together this week,
Sheila

Dear Homeschooling // Letters Day 13

Dear Homeschooling,

You’re kicking sorta kicking my tail this year. I love learning with my children, coaching them as they try new things, encouraging them when it’s tough, and celebrating their victories right alongside them. But figuring out how to make you work with two different kids and two different grade levels and other life things happening and demanding my attention, whew. I’m beat.

I’m thankful you’re so flexible. For the mornings when we need a family sanity day and we stay in pajamas and eat pancakes and watch a newly released movie with the curtains drawn, your ability to bend and stretch to fit our needs is extremely likable.

But the (possibly imagined?) demands you place on me make me feel like I can’t catch my breath sometimes. You are a heavy burden as I seek to educate my children– to emphasize in the right places and teach enough concepts and exhort them to learn for themselves and to push them far enough without breaking their little spirits… You’re a continuously evolving puzzle to me.

I’m heading to a conference this week all about you, and like marriage counseling for a struggling couple, I hope we can get some new perspective together so that I’m ready to jump back into you with both feet next week, with a smile on my face behind a ginormous cup full of hot coffee. But no jean jumpers for me, I’m sorry I just can’t go there.

Hopeful,
Sheila

Dear Sleeping In Until Almost 10am // Letters Day 12

Dear Sleeping In Until Almost 10am,

It’s been a while since we were together, it’s a hazard of having young kids who wake up at o’ dark thirty no matter what. Seriously, we sing the Days of the Week song but they don’t seem to get that Saturdays and Sundays are SPECIAL because SLEEP!

But they are getting older now and we’ve been training them to turn on Disney DVDs and pour their own cereal, all in preparation for you to come and stay with us on the weekends. You know, parenting priorities. (Or maybe #parentsoftheyear better fits here.)

So, it was beyond amazing to see you this morning! Thanks for dropping in for a visit this morning.

See you soon, I hope! (I’m free next Sunday too!)
Sheila

Dear Mom // Letters Day 11

Dear Mom,
You just finished your first half marathon this morning and I am so proud of you! What an inspiration that you have spent week after week pushing yourself to the next mile marker, working through pain and heat and tiredness.

I only wish I could have been standing on the sides, cheering you on this morning… Actually, I wish I was right there running with you, reminding you to breathe when you got a cramp and promising we were close to 13.1 when you wanted to quit. Maybe next year?

Thanks for being such a great lady, you are an inspiration that getting older can be graceful and full of recognizing dreams. I hope I’m as cool as you are when I’m as old as you are (haha, just kidding, you’re so young!).

Love,
Sheila

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Photo by Alisha McGinn

Dear Drew // Letters Day 10

Dear Drew // Letters Day 10

Dear Drew,
I would pick you again if I had the chance. Do you know that? The years bring a sort of laid-back comfort as we fall into habits of taking care of the kids and keeping the house and getting the oil changed on the van and texting to ask you to pick up tomatoes on your way home. But we do it all together– side by side, the best kind of team.

It doesn’t quite feel like the electricity I distinctly remember the first time you held my hand, or when we sped off in my little Honda for a dinner out breathlessly exchanging every detail of every moment since we’d been apart.

No, this feels more like my dear ol’ sweatpants. The ones so worn in the elastic is hanging on for dear life with no fabric to protect it anymore. So cozy I can’t imagine tossing them. The epitome of snuggly comfort when the skies seem grey.

I mean no insult when comparing our love to a pair of sweatpants, I just want you to know I’m comfortable here. I love the way our arms fit around each other. I love the way we laugh together. I love dancing with you in the kitchen, and winking at one another over the kids’ heads at the dinner table.

I love being here with you making a mess of life with you and then taking a deep breath and attempting to put it back together. I like having little inside jokes with you.

I love the worn in feeling of our love and the cozy feelings between us. If I could, I would pick you again.

Yours,
Sheila
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Dear Motherhood // Letters Day 9

Dear Motherhood,

I never knew I would have so much trouble getting along with you. You’ve stolen my body– reshaped it with post-pregnancy pounds that tend to crowd around my middle like a delicious muffin squishing up over the “skinny” jeans I’m wearing because I’m desperately trying to be a cool-looking mom. And you’ve got more hormones trafficking through me than New York has taxis. I don’t even know this body you’ve given me.

Your highs are really high– seeing the jelly-bean baby on the black and white screen pulsating with life, holding a squishy newborn for the first time, seeing my baby toddle across the room to my open arms for the first time, hearing that “MAMA!” squealed with pure delight. Watching my child read a book for the first time, seeing my kids show love and kindness to each other. Wonderful. Amazing.

But then your lows are so darn low. Forgetting the party and feeling like I let my child down. Losing the special blanket because I didn’t realize it wasn’t tucked safely enough into the overflowing diaper bag. Feeling overwhelmed by the tantrums and wanting to run away. And goodness gracious, the bodily fluids. The vomit, the pee, the blood, the poop. Ew.

So much of you, though, is spent somewhere in-between. Quite ordinary you are most of the time. Not pin-worthy. Buying toothpaste and toilet paper because a house can’t run without either and somehow the bulk of you– the toothpaste and toilet paper part– is lost between the mountains and the valleys. And I am left feeling guilty that I’m loading my carts (with the busted wheels, WHY do I ALWAYS get a crappy cart????) with the necessities and navigating preschool friendship drama and wiping bottoms because I feel like you should be more than this plain, un-fancy normal thing of creating-lives and raising-humans and being-a-mommy.

I feel like I’ve bought this lie that I should be sporting an apron and heels and baking (gluten-free, organic, naturally-sweetened, paleo) scrumptious cookies for my children in a spotless kitchen and just delighting in my happy, quiet, obedient children. I should be smartly engaging on social media and blogging about all my wonderful home organization systems. See the lies? It even sounds ridiculous when I read it back, but somewhere along the way, I’ve decided my version of motherhood isn’t enough– that you’ve stolen something valuable from me and given me something crappy instead. And although I concede that you have stolen my post-baby body, I admit that the rest of the problems lie with me.

So, I take your epic tantrums in public and your sweet preschoolers snuggled into the crook of my arm. I take your stomach bugs that cycle through everyone and your homemade cards and specially selected presents for special days. But most of all I take your grocery lists, and clean laundry piles, and your crayons on the floor and your math worksheets. I take all the ordinary moments in with the goods and the bads and I promise to make the best of them. I realize that you aren’t inherently awesome or terrible. You just are, and my experience with you will ultimately be up to me– can I buy the toothpaste, clean the toilets, serve the snacks, unpack the backpack, teach evens and odds, mop the floor, push the swings with joy?

Because if I can do that, then we’ll be OK you and me.

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Dear Swiper // Letters Day 8

31days2014Dear Swiper,

Dude, you’ve been swiping things from Dora since my toddlers started watching you in 2008. It’s time for a new gig. You gotta get your own stuff, and leave that poor perpetual preschooler alone.swiper

I know life’s not easy, and good stuff doesn’t come for free, but you need to come by your own stuff honestly. It’s the only way you’ll be able to live with yourself. I know these things, I’m a mom.

I’m rooting for you to get your act together.

Sincerely,

a Mom