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kids growing up

first communion, kids growing up, communion, letting go,lasts

My 7-year-old just celebrated her First Holy Communion. She chose to wear her sister’s communion dress and sweater. She looked beautiful almost angelic. There was something special about seeing her in her sister’s dress. Dressing her was a little foreshadowing of what her wedding day might be like and, of course, that coupled with the momentous occasion had me feeling a little emotional.

You know when they were newborns and I baptized them, I bought them each separate baptismal gowns. It felt like it had to be done, in case they had little girls someday that they wanted to pass their dresses on. I wanted them to have that but when we went to the bridal store and my 7-year-old picked out the exact same dress that I had bought for her sister 2 years ago it made no sense to buy the same dress twice. They both loved the idea.

communion, firsts, parenting, growing up, milestones

You see they are best friends. The older one thrives on mothering her little sister and the little one loves to feel connected to and emulate her sister in every way. Sometimes I worry that this relationship is too close, too co-dependent but then I realize that when we are gone, they will only have one another and I want them to be more than sisters, I want them to be friends and more than that, I want them to realize that the love that they share is unconditional and the bond unbreakable.

first communion, kids growing up, communion, letting go,lasts

Every time the girls have a milestone, I become a little nostalgic and a lot verklempt. You see, I only have two children. So every milestone is a first and the last, the alpha and omega of my parenting, if you will. This month just about breaks me every year because it is milestone on top of milestone constantly, not unlike my labors with those two girls. Parenting has become a whirlwind and I just want to hit the pause button, study their tiny faces, commit those tiny voices to memory and hug them for longer periods of time before they break free to find the next adventure with their friends.

Gabi’s communion fell on May 2nd, the day immediately after May 1st (my one day of the year of feeling sorry for myself). I was supposed to spend Friday alone feeling all the feels but instead I was running all over town preparing for a party. It felt surreal but it also didn’t feel right to spend the day mourning the dead when I had such a big celebration for the living to plan. It felt unfair but I pushed it down and carried on.

first communion, kids growing up, communion, letting go,lasts

I know I lingered a little longer holding her in my arms that Saturday, wanting to cherish every moment of this last first communion and being painfully aware that it was the last. She was full of giggles and smiles and I met each and every one with my own. I was so proud of her. We took all the photos to commemorate the day and we headed home to celebrate her first communion and the Big Guy’s 40th birthday.

first communion, kids growing up, communion, letting go,lasts

Yep, God’s great plan included me celebrating all weekend long. Maybe he was trying to get me out of my funk. My husband stayed home Friday too under the guise of helping me run errands for the party but really, I think part of him wanted to make sure that I didn’t sink too far down the rabbit hole of sadness. He handled me with such sensitivity and love, it was hard to feel sorry for myself when I am blessed with him I my life. I’m glad he did because my entire weekend was full of love, family and celebration like a rainbow after a storm. I needed that.

first communion, kids growing up, communion, letting go,lasts

At the end of the night, I hung that communion dress up and put it away for the last time. It will not be worn again by one of my children but maybe someday it will be worn by one of my granddaughters and that makes my heart happier than I thought was possible. Hope is what all of those tiny white dresses represent for me now; the baptismal gowns that I christened my daughters in, the beautiful communion gown they shared and my wedding dress pressed, cleaned and tidy in their boxes just waiting to make more memories.

What did you feel on your child’s first communion or other big “growing up” milestone?

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unexpected, family, life, change

letting go, growing up, who am I

Letting go, who am I without them?

Letting go. Who am I now? Have you ever asked yourself this question? I think I have asked it of myself a thousand times since I’ve gone to college but today, I asked myself the question and I have no idea. How do I define myself?

I’ve spent the last 8 years of my life, either pregnant or holding a little one in my arms or my lap. For the last 8 years, I have been a mommy to the point that I have, quite literally, forgotten my life before them. It all seems like some story that I read about someone else. Above all else, I define myself as a mommy. It’s not just what I do. It is who I am. I am Bella and Gabi’s mommy. And I am blessed. I sometimes take that for granted.

I catch glimpses of the person I used to be in my daughters from time to time; in their fiery spirit and outrageous sense of humor and style. I see all the potential that I used to have and all the freedom of the future. I took that for granted too.

This morning, as I sat here alone with my thoughts, for the first time since school has started. Alone in our new home where we have started our new life surrounded by unfamiliarity, I felt profoundly alone. I miss my children.

They are only gone for 7 hours a day but with so much changing in our lives, I long for the comfortable familiarity in their little kitty cat voices, the shuffle of their feet beneath my own as we walk through the house, their laughter at the silliest of notions that carries through the air like the sweet smell of bread baking.

I miss their too-tight, never-gonna-le-me-go hugs and their delightfully slobbery kisses. I even miss the sibling rivalry fueled by pure love and devotion that just recently drove me to near insanity.

I miss the sweet smell of tops of heads, as their tiny, waif-like bodies cuddle beneath my arm and draw themselves nearer to me than I even knew possible. I miss the not knowing where I ended and they began.

I thought the small instances of letting go would be easier.

I used to think that all the time was too much. That event he best mommy needs at least a few minutes to herself but when my arms are empty and the house is quiet, I’d give back every golden minute of silence for just a sliver of their crazy. I am lonely. I miss my children. I am a mother with no children to feel the empty space and time.

Who am I? I am still a mommy. I worry every morning that I send them out the door that I will miss something. But that is part of letting go and growing up. It sucks big balls and I hate it with a passion but I am sure this means that I am evolving. No one stays the same, ever.

I used to be a girl full of spirit and dreams and potential and then I became a Mommy and all my dreams and hopes, all of my passion was focused on raising my daughters. It still is but now I have 7 hours a day to remember who I am. This is the time for me to have it all.

I am blessed. I have the pleasure and honor of being mommy to these two amazing little girls. I am married to my best friend and I finally have the time to appreciate it all and realize my own dreams as well, without feeling like I am ignoring my family or shirking my mommy duties. I should be ecstatic for the time to breathe finally but I am too busy feeling the pains of letting go, while trying to hold on.

It’s time to figure out who I am again and show my daughters that they can be everything they want to be in life, maybe just not all at the same time but right now, I miss my daughters and I am counting the minutes until pick up so I can see their adorable little faces as they light up when they see me…as I know mine will be when I see them. Letting go is so bittersweet.

Letting go is the hardest part of growing up.

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daylight savings time, kids and daylight savings time, surviving daylight savings time, DST, parenting and daylight savings time

exhausted, lethargy, back-to-school

My little girls are exhausted

Summer is almost over and I am exhausted. I’m not quite sure where it went but I do know that it’s gone; next week my baby starts kindergarten and my oldest starts second grade. Back-to-school, already? Where did the time go?

I had all kinds of wonderful ideas of the many splendid things that the girls and I would do with all of our “free” time this summer but apparently, there was none because it doesn’t feel like we came even close to doing half the stuff I had planned on doing. We filled the time with lots of busy work but there were no major happenings this summer. It was like one endless Saturday. Saturday’s are good, right?

exhausted, Disney, Back-to-school

I promised the girls play dates all summer; we had two. I promised them visits to Chicago to see their grandparents and play with their cousins. We went once. I said there would be picnics in the park and outings to the beach. There were none. Well, there was that one time that we split a DQ chicken tender meal in the parking lot of the park (surrounded by nature so it should count). We were running errands and they wanted to eat at the park none of us like bugs very much so we ate in the car.

exhausted, back-to-school,horses, the zoo

We had plans to go to my uncle’s horse farm in Tennessee, see Beauty and the Beast at Navy Pier and I had even planned a day at Cedar Point. There have been no baseball games this summer or drive-in movies. There were no bon fires and s’mores. I didn’t get to teach my 7-year-old to ride the bike with no training wheels. We never got to fit in cheer camp or swimming lessons. I feel like I’ve been running around trying to catch a moving target. I am exhausted.

exhausted, back-to-school, fireworks, family

My love for my family is never exhausted

Just so you know that I am not a complete and utter failure as a mother, we did take the girls to Chicago for a week. We also took them to Florida for 10 days, spending 3 days at Disney World. We’ve played in the pool all summer, until it got so hot that the water in the pool was actually scalding to the touch. We played dress up and Barbies until the cows came home. There has been a burn ban all summer but we did manage to take the girls to see the firework display downtown from the best seat in the city, my brother’s balcony. We’ve been on one family bike ride. We went to the festival. We bought them a trampoline; a tornado came and ripped it away. I am exhausted just thinking of all that we did do. Imagine if we had done more.

exhausted, back-to-school, festival

I’ve taken them to the park a few times and we’ve spent a lot of time daydreaming about our new home. Which reminds me, after 3 years, we sold the house and close on a new one on September 6th. I’m planning on going to a baseball game, the zoo and having a bon fire this week. I feel like I have fallen short this summer but honestly, the girls could care less. They are over the moon about the new house, especially since most of their friends from school live in the neighborhood. I can’t wait for after school play dates and to hear the house filled with my daughters’ giggles.

exhausted, back-to-school, dressup, Disney

It’s been a long summer, packed with everything and nothing all at the same time. We’ve all grown and changed this summer. I’ve spent a lot of time working, which is totally a good thing, but I’ve also spent a lot of time not sleeping. It’s hard to have it all and do everything because something suffers. The mommy guilt is kicking my ass today but the one thing I did do every day this summer is kiss my girls and tell them that I love them and that says something without saying anything. They know. I know. It is.

All the school supplies are bought and uniforms too. Backpacks are ordered and planet boxes are in the mail. Now, I am on to autumn. The time when seasons change and children grow. We start school next week, I’m not really ready to let them go but they are excited about seeing old friends and meeting new ones. They can’t wait for ballet to start back and Nutcracker auditions, in fact, they are in their bedroom right this very minute watching the Nutcracker and practicing their moves. We’re all looking forward to making our new house our home and all of the love, laughter and memories that we will fill that house with. I am exhausted thinking of all the things we have planned for this upcoming year but I am so excited to be able to be a part of it.

exhausted, back-to-school, tulips

Blissfully exhausted

What was your favorite part of this summer? Are you blissfully exhausted?

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