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Bella

blondienites, 14th birthday party, love letter, 14th birthday, birthday girl, happy birthday

I know not everyone agrees with this or has this same experience because parenting a teen is a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get from one day to the next, even from one hour to the next. One minute they love you and the next, maybe you’re the dumbest person to ever walk the face of the earth with the dinosaurs. But sometimes you get lucky, even if it’s just for a little while, and they love the shit out of you. Maybe we’re in the honeymoon phase of teen parenting but for today, happy birthday to my teenager, my best friend. There I said it. I love and her sister more than anyone in the world and quite honestly, I like her more than most people too.

blondienites, 14th birthday party, love letter, 14th birthday, birthday girl, happy birthday

The past few months have had me feeling a certain kind of way. It’s a new avenue in parenting that I’m just beginning, the teen years. Bella turned 13 last year and I felt the tug of her growing up. However, my little girl leaned in and we’ve gotten closer. We talk about everything that she wants to share, I don’t push but I encourage her to know that I’m always here. It’ worked for us, so far. I know it’s not the popular parenting school of thought but she is becoming my best friend and I love how close we are. I have no idea what the next few years will bring so I am cherishing every moment she chooses me to confide in. I’m here for all it.

READ ALSO: Love Letter to my Daughter on her 7th Birthday

In the past year, there’s been first crushes, a new understanding of friendship and knowing when to hang on and when to let go, there’s been putting family first, learning that kindness is something we can give that always replenishes, finally comprehending that we cannot control how other’s respond to what we put out there. She’s become kind, generous and compassionate all on her own in ways I wouldn’t even have thought of because she believes it’s the right thing to do.

blondienites, 14th birthday party, love letter, 14th birthday, birthday girl, happy birthday

She’s become unapologetically herself not giving too much of a damn of what other’s think of her. My favorite shift I’ve seen this year, while she may still fight and bicker with her little sister, she will always go to bat if anyone even thinks about hurting her sister. Lastly, she is embracing her Latino culture in a way she has not fully appreciated in the past and that makes my heart happy. She also seems to be starting to be grateful and appreciate the parents that she has.

READ ALSO: Birthday with a Surprise Ending

Yesterday, she turned 14-years-old. We’ve already started planning next year’s quinceanera (in case you are not familiar with what a quinceanera is I will write a post soon explaining it all) and I think that’s got me all in my feelings. While she is holding my hand tightly, she is running head first, full-force towards 15; towards being a young woman. This makes me feel so proud of her, humbled being along for the ride and a little scared of what the future might bring but I am so excited for her. I can still remember all of the firsts and newness of this time in my own life and I only hope the experience is as exciting and enjoyable for her. Either way, we’ll always be here to help make the transition smooth.

blondienites, 14th birthday party, love letter, 14th birthday, birthday girl, happy birthday

As I sit here listening to Tu Sangre en Mi Cuerpo and looking up pins for the big 15th birthday party (quinceanera) for next year, I’m nostalgic for that sweet baby who smelled like green apples and came into my life and gave it meaning. Let me be embarrassingly honest for a moment, the moment that I held her in my arms, I fell deeper in love than I ever knew possible. I had never felt that kind of love in my life and the closest that came to it was the Big Guy. She and her sister are the culmination of the best thing that ever happened to me.

READ ALSO: Love Letter to my Tween

For Bella’s birthday, we let her choose to spend the day however she wanted to (that’s what we do in our house). We celebrate her party next weekend with family and friends. But yesterday, she wanted brunch, shopping for bikinis, a Disney movie marathon and homemade buffalo wing pizza for dinner. She had exactly what she wanted; a little bit big girl and still a bit of my baby. Culminated, like every year since birth, with her 4:51 pm birth minute kiss.

 

blondienites, 14th birthday party, love letter, 14th birthday, birthday girl, happy birthday

Bella,

One day you will read this, my sweet girl, and I want you to know, I love you more than everything. You are amazing in ways that you don’t even understand but I see the good, kind and caring kind of child you ‘ve always been and the young woman you are growing up to be. Keep being you and living the life you want. We’re always here to get your back and love you, no matter what comes in life. You can do anything you set your heart to. Dream big, baby girl. To the moon and back and forever and ever.

Xoxo

Mama

blondienites, 14th birthday party, love letter, 14th birthday, birthday girl, happy birthday

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Love letter, tween, 12th birthday, birthday, daughter

Every year, I write a love letter to my daughter on their birthday because one day, I hope that she’ll read them and get to know me in a different way. The whole purpose of this blog was to write down not only their milestones but my journey through motherhood. One day when she’s a mother, I hope she might like to read them to get to know us both from a different perspective.

Bella,

I loved you from the moment you were a blip on the ultrasound screen. Actually, I loved you before that. I loved you when you were a + sign on a pregnancy stick. I loved you before I even knew how much I could love you.

My heart filled with with so much love and happiness that I was actually dumbstruck for a moment. I couldn’t believe that this was happening to me. That I was going to get to be your mom. I was terrified, I think that’s normal. I was terrified that I was going to let you down.

Then, I watched you being born and held you in my arms and I knew. I knew that I would spend my whole life committed to loving you unconditionally and being the best mom I could be to you. I realize that is defined differently by everybody but for me, it simply meant raising you to know that you were wanted and loved and to be the best kind of human you could be. I wanted you to be happy.

 

The moment you were born and they lay you on my chest, all warm and gooey, my heart exploded. I was overcome with so much love and happiness that I was simultaneously laughing and crying. I want you to feel that same overwhelming love for your entire life and I promised myself that you would.

Love letter, tween, 12th birthday, birthday, daughter

Now, you are 12-years-old and we are entering that part of adolescence where you are beginning to feel a little unsure of your place in the world; caught someplace between a child and a teen. Your body is changing and the hormones are making you feel unsure of a lot of things but I hope the one thing that you never doubt is my love for you, it is as strong and as fierce as the day you were born. It never wanes.

I can’t believe that I’ve been a mother for a dozen years. It seems like just yesterday that I was holding you in my arms and staring at you in awe. I couldn’t believe that we made you; our miracle. Now, you are almost as tall as I am. Soon, you will be taller than I am but to me, you will always be that tiny, newborn on my chest. That moment forever imprinted on my soul.

I wanted to tell you 12 things about you this year so one day, you can look back and know these things.

1.6th grade is a crazy transition year and, with the exception of Nutcracker season, you have handled it all with grace, dignity and just a little bit of crying, which is to be expected. I am proud of you. All those A’s, Harvard here we come.

 

2. Dancing and Singing. You always dance and sing like no one’s watching. You love the theater and everything about it. You joined the Youth Company at ballet. Your dad wanted dedication and I’d say committing to something 5-days a week plus rehearsals and performances has shown us a level of dedication that humbles us. You go girl. I still can’t believe that you’ve been dancing for 10 years. I still remember buying you your first ballet slippers.

Love letter, tween, 12th birthday, birthday, daughter

 

3.Your smile. They say the eyes are the gateway to the soul but I can look at your mouth and know everything about you. I know your real laugh, when you think nobody is watching and you are 100% pure happy. I know your smiles; the fake one that tells me to take the picture already, your big one that goes all the way up to your eyes when you are excited like when traveling or chocolate are involved, your pursed lip smile when you want to throw your little sister or anyone for that matter out of the window for doing/saying something stupid and, my favorite, the quivering, tiny smile you get whenever you try to lie to me. You’ve had this tell since you were a toddler and I hate to break it to you, you always will. I can read your face like a book; my favorite book in the world.

Love letter, tween, 12th birthday, birthday, daughter

4.Friendship. The way you’ve begun to handle your friendships and controversy. Can I just say that I am so proud of the way you rise above gossip? I love that you have your expectations and you stick to them. You are direct and you don’t let toxic people take up space in your life. I hope that never changes. By the same token, I love the way you love your friends like family. You are a good friend. You once told me when you were 4, that to have a good friend you need to be a good friend and I think you are succeeding at both.

Love letter, tween, 12th birthday, birthday, daughter, Disney

5.Disney, I love the way you still love all the things Disney now just as much as you did when you were a preschooler. Every trip to Disney World with you and your sister is a memory that I’ll cherish forever. And, yes, I will have a Disney princess marathons snuggled up on the sofa together with you any day of the week for as long as you ask. Beauty and the Beast on Thursday!

6.Changes, wow, I know you have gone through a lot of not only mental but physical changes this year. It’s rough being this age because everything seems to be changing at warp speed but we’ve been open and honest and I always will be. I’ve got you. As I always say, everything is a teachable moment and you can talk to me about everything no judgement. Hey and the sex talk ambush on the way to school the day before your birthday wasn’t that bad, was it?

7. Standing up for what’s right. This year, I watched you (and your little sister) become activists. You are no longer bystanders in the world, you have opinions and beliefs and you are willing to vocalize them. You are willing to stand up for what’s right, even when it’s not popular. Thanks for standing in line at the polls with me this year. Never forget, women can do anything.

8. Little kids. You are always super sweet to your little cousins. You have always been a nurturing soul. You are very patient and you look at life with a childlike wonder that allows you to relate to children and animals with a tender and kind heart.

9.Wanderlust. I’ve seen the fire ignite within you. My love of travel and yearning to embrace new cultures and people has rubbed off on you. I love the way you thirst for new experiences and new places. You even volunteered to forgo Christmas for travel. That’s my girl.

10. Self-confidence. You exude self-confidence and nothing could make me happier. I love the way you love your body. You still run around the house in your skivvies. There is no shame or second guessing, there is only loving the skin you are in. I pray that never ends. You live life in a big way. You are bold, you are fierce and you are beautiful in every way. You are kind, giving, smart and funny. You love to laugh but never at another’s expense (well, unless it’s me and the way I say cabinet.)

11. Just like Mommy. Maybe you wouldn’t want this to get out but really, I don’t think you care. I love that you ask me what I’m wearing before we go out and you try to coordinate. At an age when I was expecting to be the person you most wanted to not be like, you seemed to have clung to me for whatever reason. I don’t know why and I don’t question it because, silently, I love it. It makes me feel like you like me (the person) not because you have to but because you choose to. That means everything to me. Thank you for not shutting me out.

12. The unencumbered way that you go through life. Ever since you were a wee little one you have always done what you have wanted. You don’t see limitations. You see challenges and you just go for it because there’s never been a doubt that you can accomplish anything you put your heart to. Never forget that.

These are 12 things about you that I love. There are so many more; too many to list. Happiest of birthdays to my Bellabini! You made me a mommy and I will love you forever.

XOXO
Mommy

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Happy Golden Birthday to the Child who Made me a Mom

Happy Birthday, Bella!

Ten years ago today, the most important thing in my life happened… I became a mother. I can’t believe I’ve been a mom for an entire decade. It feels like yesterday. I don’t even remember my life before my daughters were born. It all seems so trivial now.

birth, birthday

I was not ready. I thought I was but I had no idea what being a mother really meant. I was prepared for changing diapers, kissing booboos and 3 a.m. feedings but I never, in a million years, could have known that it meant falling deeply, completely and totally head over heels in love with the vernix covered miracle that I would meet on that day. God was she beautiful.

baby-first-birthday-tt

I don’t mean in the traditional way like when you admire a painting or a flower. No I mean in the way a sunset is breathtaking because you know you are looking at the work of God. Looking upon my Bella, my miracle, for the first time was like flying for the first time or seeing the Grand Canyon in person. It was next level, mind blowing love. It was surreal beauty and it was the moment I knew my purpose, my destiny. That tiny bundle of everything, she made me whole.

baby-second-birthday-tt

When she was born, I was transfixed watching her tiny head come into the world via a mirror. With each push, I was closer to forever. My heart was racing. It hurt like hell but I didn’t care because all I wanted to do was hold her in my arms. Have you ever wanted anything that much? Can anyone ever want anything as much as to meet the child they’ve been growing inside of them for 10 months? I don’t think so. It is a very unique situation.

third-birthday

I remember the relief that comes with that tiny cry and I remember being filled with sheer, overwhelming joy. I laughed and cried, at the same time. Honestly, it is the closet thing to what motherhood is; profound bliss and heartbreaking misery all in one fell swoop but worth every single moment of it. I would have endured 10,000 unmedicated transition labors just to glimpse your face once.

Bellas-family-4th-birthday-21409-014

Since my Bella was born, I have spent every moment dreading the moment when she grows up and leaves. That truly is the irony of loving something so much, one day, if you truly love it, you must let it go. That’s the part that scares me because I love my children so much and so fiercely ( like all mothers) that the thought of growing up and letting go guts me every time.

 

 

So, per usual, I find myself celebrating this amazing child that I had the privilege of bringing into this world and retain the honor of loving on a daily basis and simultaneously, sad because a decade has gone by in a flash. She’s halfway to leaving me.

 

I don’t know how I will handle it when the time comes. I suppose I will rage in my way against the letting go but I will never let her know because this is how it’s supposed to go. They come into our lives, make us better people, we raise them and love them and then send them out into the world to follow their dreams.

Seven, birthday,kids birthday

 

Staying behind like a beacon of light or a soft place to land. If we do our job, they won’t need us anymore but they will still want us. We are their home, and always will be, just as we were when they grew in our womb. No one ever tells you that while it’s happening, they have entangled themselves inside your heart like a tumor and will remain there forever.

birthday, slumber party

My dearest Bella,

Today is your golden birthday. You are a 10-years-old, my sweet girl. Today, your father and I have been parents for 3, 650 days. You made us better people. You made us a family. I love you more than mere words could ever convey. It’s silly to even try to verbalize what our hearts feel for you.

Bella, Frozen, Birthday Party, Elsa, Olaf, Anna, Cristophe

 

You are amazing, courageous, independent, intelligent,funny, charismatic, beautiful on the inside and out and one of the kindest, most caring girls I have ever known. You can be and do anything you want to in this world. Don’t you forget that, ever. I am so proud to be your mother. I love you to the moon and back, I love you more than that. Thank you for letting me love you. Happy Golden birthday, baby! I hope it is as amazing as you are, my sweet.

XOXO

Mommy

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birthday

As a parent, how do you begin letting go?

Today, my firstborn, my first baby, the little ball of warm, fuzzy goodness that came into my world and flipped it upside down, the very same kid who turned me into the woman I was always meant to be, made me a mother. That beautiful, amazing, smart, funny, caring, loving little girl turns 9-years-old and my heart is full and busting wide open. I get a bit of an emotional wreck every year at this time. I know growing up means one day she will be a grown woman living on her own with children of her own, maybe somewhere far away from me. That thought is like a dagger to my fragile mommy heart…today.

Bella, Frozen, Birthday Party, Elsa, Olaf, Anna, Cristophe

When did this sweet, docile baby who clung to my finger for dear life as I held her in a crowded room or became inconsolable the moment I left her sight become this independent, headstrong, prepubescent goddess? She is truly everything good, kind and beautiful in the world. She’s made my life better since the day I knew she was part of it.

My little bean, even though she is not so little anymore, has made me into a better version of myself; a kinder and gentler woman. She deserves doting and inspirational. She deserves a mother who loves her completely and unconditionally with honesty and integrity. She deserves safety, advocacy and everlasting admiration. She deserves a mother who makes her feel like she can do anything in the world and knows that even if she fails, she should always try and even if she doesn’t succeed this time, she can cry on her mom’s shoulder and I will lift her up to try again.

My daughters are my life. I am not ashamed to admit it and on days like today, I am painfully aware of just how brief this part of motherhood lasts. Just yesterday she was being born, learning to walk, talk and I was the most important person in the world to her.

Bella, Frozen, Birthday Party, Elsa, Olaf, Anna, Cristophe

Today, she depends on me a little less to survive and our relationship is evolving and changing every single day. My role is changing. But there is one role that will never change, I will always love her more than everything and I will always try my damnest to help her achieve her dreams no matter how big or small. I’ve begun joking with her and her sister that I am in the business of making dreams come true for the two of them.  This past weekend, that meant a kick ass Frozen birthday party.

Bella, Frozen, Birthday Party, Elsa, Olaf, Anna, Cristophe

It took me a couple months to prepare for. It took a lot of thought and perusing Pinterest but it was totally worth it. There was food and cake and beautiful decorations all punctuated by lots of love and family and best friends. My, not so little, little girl woke up on Saturday morning after a night fueled by excitement and anticipation. The house was transformed into a magical winter wonderland fit for a Queen. Her sister and she oohed and aahhed and then it was time for her metamorphosis into Queen Elsa.

Bella, Frozen, Birthday Party, Elsa, Olaf, Anna, Cristophe

Bella, you are my sunshine and my heart. I love you to the moon and back…I love you so much more than that! No matter what you do, where you go or who you become my love for you will never change. Happiest of 9th birthdays, my wonderful girl. XOXO

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Just know, my love, that the hardest part of loving you is the letting go.

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mother and child, sick child, waiting

When I was pregnant with Bella, I constantly listened to Celine Dion’s album Miracle. Honestly, it was my first pregnancy and I was so in love with my baby before she was ever born, like all moms-to-be. From the moment that I knew she was there, I loved her, more than life itself and I still do. This is how I have felt about every pregnancy and every child I’ve had the pleasure of growing in my body.

I would sway back and forth in her nursery, rubbing my belly and singing the songs to her, imagining all the things I would get to do with her throughout her life. All the books said that you should talk to your unborn baby because they would know your voice, and she did. She kicked and we had our long conversations in that nursery as the sun shone through the window and kissed my belly; just the two of us.

After she was born, I would soothe her to sleep in my arms, rocking in front of that same window looking down into her big blue eyes. My miracle realized; my child in my arms to love for all eternity. The love was sometimes almost overwhelming. It scared me to love someone so much; it still does.

My Bella has been sick since last Thursday when she unexpectedly passed out in my arms and my whole world feels upside down. Nothing seems right and even the air feels thicker. Yesterday, we went for her follow up and they sent us for an echocardiogram…just to be sure. My heart stopped. I thought everything was fine but I’ve been here before, that unsuspecting moment when you think life is fine and it gets completely knocked upside down.  I don’t want to be here. I want to be somewhere else; anywhere else.  I want to close my eyes and cover my ears and pretend none of this is happening.

The echocardiogram took what seemed like an eternity. I don’t know if that is standard or if they saw something. I only know that I feel like I can’t breathe. She’s been throwing up and laying around the house frail and sickly and I just want to take it all away.

Now, I wait for the results of one of the most important tests of my life. I am freaking out and today was the first time I’ve had the chance to process my feelings. The Big Guy is back at work, Bella went back to school and I am waiting by the phone, listening to that CD that made me so happy when I sung those songs to my Bella when she was safe in my arms and sobbing as I type this because the uncertainty is breaking my heart.

This could be the beginning of something we have to tackle or it could be nothing. Either way, I have to keep it together for Bella, my miracle.

***Update: After the doctor didn’t call last night, considering that I have been frantic since last Thursday when this all started, I called the pediatrician who is out of office until Thursday. I started choking up and crying on the phone with the nurse because my nerves are shot and practically begging them to call me as soon as the doctor walked in on Thursday morning, knowing full well that I will be a hot, sobbing mess until then. The nurse tried to talk me off my worried mommy ledge but it wasn’t working. She just called back and said she called the doctor at home and after consulting with the pediatric cardiologist: “No need to worry. No abnormalities. No issues. No Restrictions!” Thank You God and everyone who prayed. I’ve never been so happy to hear the word no in my life. WHEW!!!Exhale!Breathe….that’s what the nurse just told me. I am trying but first I must finish the stress crying.

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communion, firsts, growing up, blogiversary, parenting

communion, firsts, parenting, growing up, milestonesSaturday, May 4, 2013, my Bella received her first Holy Communion. In the Catholic religion, communion is the third sacrament that our child receives. It is something they prepare for all year, culminating in a mass in which they wear a beautiful white outfit (like they did not so long ago when they were christened as newborns) and they are called to the altar to consume the consecrated body and blood of Christ. It is a beautiful mass. But for me, as a mother it was so much more.

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Remember the good old days when you were trying to change your baby who was, in fact a cruiser or even walking but not quite potty trained, and it was like an episode of the WWF?( or more like WTF, if you were me) Every single time you’d try to diaper them,they would flip over ,quick as lightening, and try to escape, usually before you had gotten the chance to fasten the damn diaper. It was like some crazy game they liked to play and they ALWAYS won. You were left with a naked baby running crawling free and an overwhelming feeling of frustration. Oh, the frustration.Finally, you’d wrangle them back to the ground and in split second put the diaper on.It was like a rodeo event.Then they would gleefully, smirking crawl of into the sunset.You may have thought you won the battle, but really, who was crawling away smiling and who was annoyed? Think about it.

OR the days of trying to fix your hair as you ran away and I had to run right along with you to get those dang ponytails and barette into your hair!Anyways, that battle was cake compared to the battle I am facing with my now 5 year old..every single morning before school, every single time she changes out of her uniform, every single time she gets ready for bed!EVERY.SINGLE.TIME! We argue about what she is going to wear.Have I mentioned she goes to private school and wears a uniform? You would assume that would eliminate some of my headache, right? You would be wrong.Completely wrong!

No way, she still finds a way to argue. Different skirt.Wrong shoes.Knee socks,Short socks. Blue socks. White socks.Corduroy skirt.Pleated skirt.Long sleeve shirt. Navy shirt. White shirt. Baby blue polo.Button up.Navy sweater. Navy sweater with hoodie.Gym shoes. Brown shoes. Mary Janes.Fancier headband. Hair down.Braids. No ponytail.Ponytail.Not high enough! It is like this every single morning and it is driving me insane.Completely out of my mind! It’s way worse than that cute little adorable flipping WWF move she did when she was 10 months old.Oh, how I miss the days when that was the most sass she gave me.

I’m beginning to wonder if hormones don’t kick in around the age of 4. I know that we all assumed it was at puberty but I’m pretty sure my girl is having mood swings now.Damn,I even go the organic route to avoid all the extra hormones specifically to avoid the early onset of hormone influx.Jokes on me!Guess all that $9 milk was a waste of money.Of course, I will continue to buy it for the risk that it could be worse if she were drinking the hormone laden milk.I ‘ll just wait for the days when I look back on these days and long for them.For now, how I miss my little naked WWF wrestler.Wasn’t that just yesterday?

Oh, how I could go for some flip flopping baby running naked and free!Don’t blink these moments are fleeing and I am going to stop and soak them all in.Even the clothing crisis of 2010, for all its worth! Happy Mothering!

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Every morning, I keep seeing the Mommies attached to their hysterical children, clinging to their legs/waists for dear life and sobbing uncontrollably.And every morning, I thank God that Bella isn’t doing that. Mostly because I couldn’t handle it. I just can’t imagine how that would wear on your heartstrings, day after day, watching as your child baby is overcome with fear and anxiety at leaving the safety and love of their Mommies arms. I do realize that if Bella were doing this, you could find me every single morning after drop off, emotionally crumpled in a puddle of tears and snot. It would be awful for both of us. I mean I am, after all, the Mommy who laid in labor with her second child, crying at a cell phone photo of her first born, because I felt so sorry for abandoning her to go to the hospital and give birth. Yeah, the apron strings are pretty taut between me and my Bella. But I loosen them as needed, for her sake. I am mature enough to know that I have to let her grow up, no matter how much I may not like the idea.Then Monday came.

There was absolutely nothing special per se about Monday, at least not noticeable to the untrained eye. The only thing that was different, was that the Big Guy had gone back to Iowa on Sunday night. You know to his hole that he lives in for work during the weekdays.Sunday’s are always hard on all of us but I had totally forgot about this Monday.I have noticed over the years that though I may be Bella’s “Best Friend” ( as she lovingly refers to me), Daddy has always been her rock. There is just something about a 6’5″ man, with a big strong body and an equally as big heart, that makes a girl feel safe and makes it easy to draw strength from. That is the Big Guy. Monday morning we followed the same routine that we had on Thursday and Friday; the absolute only thing missing was her Daddy. There were no tears from my Bella amidst the plethora of tears falling that morning amongst her classmates. I assumed all was fine.

When Gabs and I picked Bella up from school that afternoon, she seemed a little rattled as if something were missing. In retrospect, she was looking for the Big Guy. We drove home, as she rattled off the days events at a furied pace. We got home and things started going south. She proclaimed, almost angrily, that she didn’t like her outfit and promptly discarded it onto the floor. I was a little annoyed and quite confused by her behavior. I asked her to pick up her clothes; she responded with whining. I asked her close the front door; she responded with tears. I asked her what she wanted for lunch; she barked a hostile “NOTHING!” at me. The responses were becoming increasingly inappropriate to, what I thought was, seemingly innocuous requests. It was quickly a train wreck speeding out of control from bad to worse. Then Gabs had the audacity to ask her how school was; then the sobbing began.A fly landed on her and all hell broke lose! I was baffled. Is a 5 year old supposed to get PMS?

Concern trumped annoyance and I asked, in every possible way, what was wrong. After an eternity of sobbing and undecipherable blubbering, once she hit the point f hyperventilation from hard and ugly  crying, she had Gabs joining in  on the hysteria. I was a hair away from breaking down myself. Then she leans in and wraps her little arms around me, hugging me tighter than she has in a LONG time ( tighter than all those aforementioned Kindergartners holding on for dear life to their Mommies) and whispers this through her sobs (in her little baby kitty sounding voice) “Mommy, I don’t want to go to school. I just want to stay home with you and Gabs!I only love Mommy!” How could I not feel my insides turn to goo and my heart start to fall apart?

I held back my own tears,even though I wanted to curl up into a crumpled mess of snot and tears on the floor. It made me realize how hard all of this Daddy being out of town business has been on the girls. Sure its been difficult on the Big Guy and I but we are adults, most of the time. She misses her Rock and the collateral damage was a small nervous breakdown. I held her tight for almost forever and then a little longer and told her how we were so proud of her for being so brave and going to school. I told her how much we loved her, about all the exciting things she will do, the friends she will make and that Daddy wished he could be here with her. Then I told her, whenever she felt sad and missed us,to close her eyes and think of us and we would be at home thinking of her at the same time, because we are always thinking about her. We ended it with a nose kiss, a group hug, and a promise to walk her into class the next morning.

She called her Daddy in Iowa and he assured her that he was so proud of her, loved her more than life itself, and that he was thinking of her always. She seemed to take comfort in this.Apparently, everything sounds better coming out of his mouth. He also told her that we would send a photo to school in her backpack of all of us together. She hung up the phone, renewed and relaxed. Her entire body unclenched. Daddy the superhero. In the end, she felt better; we felt worse about the letting go. She grew up and we broke down. The letting go is the hardest part of growing up.

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Last night, I came slightly undone from a book ( The Night Before Kindergarten) and then I proceeded to have a complete meltdown when Bella misplaced her beloved Fifi ( the lovey she has had her entire life and she can’t sleep without). I totally thought I had a grip on all of this first day stuff. I mean , I am reasonable, I knew there would be emotions. My undoing by the book, I did not anticipate. But after I put her to bed, she came out of her room asking for her beloved Fifi. It all suddenly became very critical. It was like I felt as if I were smothering and my only salvation was to find that damn lovey. I was brought to tears by the misplacement of the little, fuzzy ball of pink.It wasn’t really the pink poodle, it was that it was so symbolic of her being little. How could that damn dog disappear on such a vital night of her short existence? Then it all got put into perspective, very calmly Bella said: “Mommy, its OK, I’ll try and sleep without her tonight.”
( Inside my head conversation) WHAT????NO, NOT YET! It’s TOO SOON!You NEED the dog. YOU are JUST a BABY!!!MY BABY!
It hurt so bad but I was so proud of her. Is this kid awesome or what? Especially considering what a basket case her Mommy has become in the past week. Of course, we found Fifi. I think we searched more for my soothing than hers, but in the end, we all slept better.

Kindergarten, The begining, the end and a lot of deep breaths in between

First Kindergarten Breakfast

This morning, I awoke with a stomach ache. The same exact one I got every day before my own first day of school. She woke up about a half hour before the alarm went off. She was so excited and I was so excited for her. Being a Mother on days like this is much like being a little bit rapid cycling bi polar, your emotions are all over the place.One minute you are overjoyed and the next crying like a sad little baby. The morning went off without a hitch. She put on her “lucky underwear” as she calls them, her knee socks, special headband that she chose for the first day ( because “Mommy, I need a little sparkle), and her uniform ( her “Unicorn ” as her baby sister calls it) and she twirled and squealed, and struck a couple poses.

The begining, the end and a lot of deep breaths in between

 First time dressed in her Kindergarten Uniform

Then she strapped on her brand new backpack that she was so proud of, grabbed her matching lunch box and she bounded for the car. I was lagging behind because I knew the moment that I walked through that door, I walked into a new phase of our lives. I lingered in the doorway for a solid minute before closing it behind me.

The begining, the end and a lot of deep breaths in between

 

We arrived at school and she jumped out of the car,so excited. Gabs (the same child who had a complete meltdown at last year’s first day of preschool) right behind her, like a baby duck following her mother..both ahead of me and the Big Guy. Because as you remember from yesterday’s post, the Big Guy was there to hold my hand as I let go of Bella’s.

The begining, the end and a lot of deep breaths in between

Leaving Me for Kindergarten

So, she gets in line with a the new Kindergartners. As she walked away, she wavered ever so slightly. But she lifted her head and kept walking forward. This is so symbolic of what kind of child she is. She never cries about it, she chin ups and sucks it all right up and  gets through it. She is very stoic for a 5 year old. How I admire her braveness.

She got in line and the little girl behind her was holding on to her Mommy for dear life and crying sobbing uncontrollably. Then it became like watching your baby start to fall over when they are learning to walk, Bella’s little lip started to quiver and I could see her becoming overcome with emotion. I quickly got in her line of sight and flashed her the biggest smile I have ever smiled. I just wanted to be her sunshine and assure her that this day was going to be awesome! She quickly recovered, I grabbed her hand and we walked inside together.

The begining, the end and a lot of deep breaths in between

After the long walk down to her room ( I have a pretty good idea what it feels like walking on death row to your execution now) we got to her hook and the her classroom. The Big Guy, myself, Gabs and Bella all took a deep breath and walked into the room ( another door). We stumbled to her seat, fumbled to put on her name tag as the Big Guy and Gabs videotaped from the reading rug.

 

I stood by my Bella and smiled at her and watched as her trepidation evolved into excitement once again. Then the dreaded words, ” Children please give your parents a big hug goodbye and tell them you will see them in a bit!” ( At least that’s the best I can remember of what they said, as I was fighting back tears and it was taking all my will to contain myself in front of my girl). Gabs embraced her sister like she was sending her off to war, the Big Guy hugged and kiss her repeatedly and pulled back teary eyed ( so much for being my strength). Lastly, I bent down and whispered to Bella, ” Be friends with the sad little girl.” Bella”I will Mommy” Me: “Bella, I am so proud of you! Have a great day! I love you so much and we are so proud of you!”Bella:”I know Mommy!I love you too!” Then I lingered and held the hug for longer than I should have and I kissed her more than I thought possible and then she said this giggling:” Mommy, stop kissing me so much. You are going to squish me to death on my first day of K
INDERGARTEN!” I kissed her one more time, I took a deep breath, and I let go of her little hand and I walked out the door! My eyes were wet, my heart was sad, my daughter was amazing!

Survived the first day of Kindergarten and now I am off to Parent’s Night!
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So, tomorrow my Bella starts the big K (DUMDUMDUMDDUMDUUUUUM) Kindergarten! I knew I might be emotional tomorrow, and I still suspect am positive that I will be. I assumed that it was going to be like last year, Gabs would have the break down which would trickle down unto me causing me in the end..to weep sob uncontrollably in the shelter of my SUV. That’s probably still going to happen. I called in reinforcements. The Big Guy is coming home a day early to hold my hand as I let go of my Bella’s. ( Oh shit, I think I am going to tear up just writing this. What a hot mess I will be tomorrow morning).Everything is ready. Bags are packed, papers signed, snack ready, clothes laid out; commence the letting go ( Oh how I hate the letting go).
But tonight, surprise, I was hit with a little ninja style, around the back of the head when your not looking emotional kick. It sorta reminds me of the morning that I was about to marry the Big Guy. I was fine; excited, in the moment about to marry the BIG GUY / the man of my dreams (Squeal) then it happened. As I was getting dressed,  I slyly looked out the window of the rectory and spied my betrothed,there in the church garden, smiling the biggest and happiest smile I had ever seen and taking his photos with the groomsmen. I slowly & silently pulled back from the window and it hit me like a 20 ton pile of bricks, ” You are about to be this mans wife…FOREVER!” It wasn’t just the enormity of the life altering event at hand, it was the realization that I had not a clue what it all had meant until that moment in the window. The weight of my life changing forever, even for the best it could ever be, was in fact still a humongous change. It was the symbol of who I was dying and metamorphosing into who I was becoming. It was HUGE! I was rattled, right there in my bright white wedding gown; completely disarmed by the man I love’s smile.
Tonight, as I was in my routine, getting the girls ready for bed. I was lying in bed snuggled up with my Bella reading her The Night before Kindergarten and before I knew it, another damn 20 ton pile of bricks fell on me. The enormity of my baby starting Kindergarten. This is life changing for all of us but most of all for her. For me, it is the first of many, many, many lettings go ( total SUCK for me) but for her it is the beginning for so many opportunities. It truly is the first day of the rest of her life. I am so excited for her and I want to let her know that it is OK to be frightened but excited because that is what all the good  great things in life feel like. It breaks my heart a tiny bit that she is becoming so independent and growing up so fast but I am so thankful that for a little while I got to be the center of her world. She will always be the center of mine. Happy first day of Kindergarten,Bella! Mommy loves  you and is so proud of you!

I’ll let you know tomorrow how well I actually held up! Happy Mothering!

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