Tag:

love

love in marriage, Love, marriage, Valentine's Day, Big Guy

Do you think love in a marriage can be as passionate as love before marriage? Like head over heels, “I would live forever just to be by you” love? “I love you so damn much that I want to be ghosts with you” love? The kind of love in a marriage that you never want to let go of?

The kind of love in a marriage that makes you brave.

I’m not usually a sappy person here, well, not too often anyway, but this Valentine’s Day something happened. I’ve been changing a lot of things in my life lately but one thing hasn’t changed. The Big Guy has always been my rock; my constant.

The Big Guy is what I affectionately call my husband here on this blog. If you’ve been a long-time reader, you know it’s because he is 6’5” not because I think he’s God, though many of you have asked me that before. He really is a big guy and we have big kids but with him, its not just his stature. He laughs big, he smiles big, he loves big, he’s just a big personality and anyone who has met him can attest to that.

Even living with all this bigness all the time, it truly is the little things that count with us and he gets that. He’s always gotten that and that’s one of the reasons I adore him so completely.

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. I know many of you think it’s just a Hallmark holiday and in many ways, it is. I was never big on the holiday because, in previous relationships, it just felt like an inevitable trap to be let down. I’d get my hopes up and things would never measure up. Then I met my husband and ever since that first Valentine’s Day, he’s always made it more than special.

The kind of love in a marriage that makes you forget reason.

You see, we got engaged on January 23, 1998. Random weird time to get engaged right? Especially since we had only been dating for 4 months at the time. I was completely speechless when he asked me in the middle of a club. There was no ring, there was no drop to your knee It was him screaming over the music and me shocked. It felt impetuous. I wasn’t so sure if it was him or all the alcohol he had been drinking that was asking me to spend the rest of my life with him so it took me a couple weeks to give him an answer. Sounds terrible, right? Wrong.

When I called my sister to tell her what this crazy guy at university has just done, she said, “Oh yeah. Weird, I thought he was waiting until Valentine’s day. He told us at Thanksgiving that he was going to ask.” Wait! What? November????

Apparently, the proposal was not impetuous, only the delivery. He had been planning for months, though he still didn’t have a ring. He told them he knew from the moment we met that I was his soulmate. To be honest, after being burned by the previous few guys I had dated, I was kind of jaded on the whole “soulmate” thing. Not, him. Not my Big Guy.

Apparently, he was a little nervous and it just popped out of his mouth on the dance floor, a couple weeks early. That’s why there was no ring.  Maybe I was accidentally doing some sort of fertility/marry me dance that I didn’t even realize I was doing and my female wiles overtook him. All I know is the sweetest man I had ever met (and barely knew) asked me to marry him. My answer? I love you and then I casually walked away as if he’s just asked me if I wanted a beer.

We both pretended it didn’t happen. Then a week or so later while sitting across the computer lab he emailed me a note that read, “so are you ever going to answer me?”

Yikes, he hadn’t been that drunk. I told him I didn’t think he was serious and I needed to think about it because it was a serious question. It wasn’t like, do you want fries with your burger. It was the biggest question of my life.

Do you love me enough to spend the rest of your life with me?

Finally, I answered. It was really simple, I asked myself, can you live the rest of your life without this man in it? My answer was quick and all consuming, no. After knowing him, I couldn’t see my life playing out with anyone else. It depressed me to think of not seeing him every day or hearing that big crazy laugh or seeing that big beautiful smile so I said, “Hell, yes!”

I got an engagement ring for Valentine’s Day that year. That’s why Valentine’s Day is special to me. Not because of the holiday per se but because it was supposed to be the day the Big Guy asked me to be his wife but he was just so damn eager that he couldn’t wait. Awwww, right?

He’s always done Valentine’s Day big. He pulls out all the stops. But this year I didn’t want a big elaborate gift. I wanted something more personal. I wanted him. I wanted his love in a tangible form. Sometimes love in a marriage becomes quieter and more of a hum than a roar. I wanted a roar.

I wanted a playlist (modern day mixtape), a hand-written note from him (which ended up being the sweetest Facebook status ever) and I didn’t want to cook dinner. Other than that, I just wanted to be together. That’s exactly what I got.

love in a marriage, Love, relationships, marriage, Valentine's Day, Big Guy

Needless to say, I spent most of yesterday crying happy tears because he kept sucker punching me with all the feels. It was glorious. Proof that love in a marriage can sweep you off your feet just as much as any new, shiny relationship.

The kind of love in a marriage that makes you want to have babies just so there are more people like him in the world.

Every word was like salve to my soul. He is not a big talker. He’s more of a do-er. He shows me he loves me in his actions every single day. He’s the kind of guy who makes the scrambled eggs on school mornings so you can have a break. He’s the kind of guy who gives you the last bite of his sandwich because you’re still hungry, even if so is he. But I’m a writer and sometimes I want words and wow, his words were everything.

The playlist spoke to me in another way. It spoke to my heart with every lyric. Each song was more perfect than the last. It said everything I needed to hear.

You know how when you are young and dating you’re always wondering, just a little bit, where you stand in the relationship? How he really feels? Well, the Big Guy laid it all on the table and damn.

Love, relationships, marriage, Valentine's Day, Big Guy

The kind of love that leaves you speechless.

I don’t know how you spent Valentine’s Day but I hope it was amazing. I don’t mean fireworks, symphonies and diamonds (those things are nice) but amazing in that at the end of the day, you knew you were loved by someone for just being you. Unconditional, all-accepting love is something I never knew in my life until the Big Guy and nothing compares. No gift can compare 100% reciprocated, unconditional and equal love.

I don’t know if there are any words that can convey to him how much his words meant to me but I hope he knows that I couldn’t imagine spending my life loving anyone else. I was scared when he asked me to marry him because it was so soon in our relationship but every day, I thank God the universe that he chose me.

What is the one thing your partner did to show you that love in marriage could be just as passionate as when you were single?

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Pillsbury Grands, food, love

When I think of food, I think of love. Not like, my food loves me but I associate food with the feelings of being cared about by someone who loves you; like my mother making me a grilled cheese after school on a cold winter day when I was a small child or how she made me that same favorite grilled cheese when I was overcome with morning sickness when I was pregnant with my first child. There is something comforting and beautiful about a food made with such love and caring as a mother providing food for her child.

I think most people think of food in this way. That’s probably why we have that old saying, “A way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” Maybe there is something to it. Most people celebrate the big occasions in life with food because it’s a way to share a special moment with family and friends, punctuated by the warm, permeating smells of something delicious baking in the oven.

image3

I think I probably learned this as a small child watching my mom cook for my father and the six of us children. Some of my fondest memories as a child are centered on our kitchen table as we all shared a meal. I want that for my children. The meal is about more than just the food, it’s about gathering together and talking about your day. It’s about listening and caring. In a word, it’s about love.

This is why my family has dinner together every night and on weekends, all meals are eaten gathered around our dining table after we spend the prep time in the kitchen together. Those cooking stand at the stove while those not sit at the island, watching and learning. We’ve done this with our girls since they were very small.

They’ve always had an interest in cooking and want to learn the recipes we’ve had handed down from our mothers and grandmothers. I always get a warm fuzzy feeling when they ask, “Mommy, when I grow up, will you teach me how to make your enchiladas/ secret recipe meatloaf/lemon Greek soup?” My standard answer is, “Yes, of course,” then I whisper, “ It’s all on the blog.”

Pillsbury Grands, food, love

Of course like most kids, they love anything I cook or bake even more so if they have a hand in it and I think it’s important to encourage them to experiment. I want it to be a fun experience not something I take so seriously that I yell at every imperfection. I just breathe and remind myself that there is a special beauty in the imperfections and these precious moments are few and fleeting the older they get. Pretty soon, I am sure they will both be better cooks than I am.

Pillsbury Grands, food, love

There is one thing that they love to bake together as often as possible, Pillsbury™ Grands! Cinnamon Rolls. Maybe, like my mom’s grilled cheese does for me, it holds some special part in their heart. All I know is that if they see them in the refrigerator, they always get a little sparkle in their eye because they know that we will be together in the kitchen baking them.

Pillsbury Grands, food, love

There is just something special about biting into that first bite of a warm, gooey cinnamon roll especially when someone you love made it. For Valentine’s Day, I thought a fun way to surprise the girls was with a batch of Pillsbury™ Grands! Cinnamon Rolls. Each bite reminding them of how much their mom loves them. This is so simple but something they will remember forever and might someday do for their own children. It’s quick, it’s easy and what’s more special than waking up to the sweet smell of cinnamon rolls on a cold Midwestern morning?

Pillsbury Grands, food, love

 

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by General Mills through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Pillsbury™ Grands! Cinnamon Rolls, all opinions are my own.

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marriage, sex, couples, marriage, commuter marriage, love, relationships,sex

Maybe you can’t relate to my particular circumstances, maybe you can. Marriage is hard, especially when you love your spouse and worse, if you like him. You can imagine what shit mine has been since my husband is, quite literally, my best friend.

For the past 5 years (almost 6), we have been “not normal.” Well, definitely not traditional. We went from a young family with a preschooler and barely a toddler living in a nice suburban college town to a family separated by time and distance via a commuter marriage. The Big Guy worked in one state; we lived in another and only saw him on weekends. In case you were wondering what that was or how it goes, it sucks by the way. It sucks BIG TIME!

To be honest, this was the time I started this blog. Maybe I should have named it “This is why Marriage Sucks” blog. But it didn’t suck. The situation did but I loved my husband, and more than that, I liked him…a lot. I still do most days.

Then, after 2 years of that utter hell and mess of commuter marriage and the loss and gain of 3 separate jobs, we finally got to live together with my in-laws for a year, that was the year that I had a miscarriage and turned 40. It pretty much blew.

Then we bought a house; a fixer upper that we are still fixing up, but a place of our own. The Big Guy was still driving 2 hours each way to and from work. Do the math. He left for work at 5 a.m. He got home from work at 5:15 p.m. Our girls go to bed at 7:00. He went to bed at 9 p.m. The girls and I see him for about 1 hour and 45 minutes a day, Monday thru Friday. Oh yes, it did f*cking suck.

I haven’t complained for a long time. After all, what was the point? We had no control over that situation. It was a down economy and being middle class, we had no handouts or hands up to be given. We had to figure it out and we did. I’ve just been grateful for the little wins but I will be honest with you now, it was hard.

He missed most of our children’s childhood up until this point. That was rough on all of us, most of all him. He went from the all in father who did everything with his girls to being essentially a part time dad, against his will which made me, ahem, an almost single mother. It was lonely and overwhelming.

Don’t get your panties in a twist. Yes, I had him on weekends but weekends are not enough when you are expecting forever. Try it, and then you will see how terrible it really is. They lie when they say it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all because when you’ve loved, you know what you’re missing and it goes the same for marriage.

Today, for the first time in 5 years (most of our children’s lives) we live together, sleep together, in the same house, in the same state, 7 nights a week. This morning the Big Guy started a new job in our town, 20 minutes away. This morning our family finally became normal again.

This morning he kissed me goodbye. This morning our girls got to say, “Good Morning, Daddy” and wrap their little arms around his big neck. This morning I didn’t have to worry about my husband driving 2 hours on icy roads each way, holding my breath until he was home. This morning, for the first time in a long time, I felt like things were going to work themselves out…finally.

Tonight, he will be home in time for dinner and not be exhausted from getting up at 4:30 a.m. After the girls go to bed, we will be able to snuggle on the couch and watch television and talk to one another, instead of just a short catch up on what happened with the kids before he went to bed in another room as I stayed up until the wee hours of the night doing work.

Today, we are “normal” again.

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Valentine's Day, Family, Love, Happy

Happy Valentine’s Day!

This isn’t my usual gushy Valentine’s Day post that I write about the Big Guy. We are celebrating tomorrow night thanks to a couple of awesome grandparents who are keeping the girls overnight. I’m sure there’s a gushy post coming but this is not it. Nope today, I have been crazy busy with volunteer work, Halloween parties and making 60 homemade Valentine’s Day cards for my daughters’ classmates because obviously, Pinterest has ruined my children but this is how my day started. Valentine's Day, love, Happy Which was the perfect way to start my day just because, he always knows the right thing to say. I Love this man so much. He loves me like no one else can. (**OK, that may have been a little bit gushy. Sorry, I can’t help it. I’ve been up to my eyeballs in hearts all day.) Then,over breakfast, the girls and I did a mass name signing to half made, homemade Valentine’s Day cards for their classes. We were under a time crunch for sure but I refused to let this steal my joy. We giggled and laughed through the whole hurried, chaotic ordeal. With only minutes to spare we loaded into the SUV and started our new morning ritual…listening to “Happy” by Pharrell from door to door. Yes, we dance all the way there. It’s impossible to be in a bad mood when listening to it. Seriously, it’s not possible, especially not when you see the two people you love most in the world , in the rearview mirror, off the hook car dancing and singing at the top of their lungs, “Because.I’m.Happy!!!

I dropped them off but had to come right back for 4 hours of volunteer work at the school. I was in desperate need of coffee, if I was going to keep up my new found “Happy” attitude. So I headed to Starbucks, courtesy of a surprise “Just because” gift card I received. Those are always awesome! I ordered my coffee. I was so excited for Starbucks because I have cut way back on my Starbucks consumption. I, honestly, don’t remember the last time I bought one. I get to the window to pay with my gift card in hand and the happiest barista I’ve ever met tells me to enjoy my Valentine’s Day because the woman in front of me paid for my coffee. I was so stunned by an actual random act of kindness, because I’ve never been the recipient end, that I forgot to pay for the person behind me but I will rectify that on my next visit. Valentine's Day, Love, Starbucks, coffee, pay it forward, love What is it about pay it forward Starbucks that makes it taste so damn good? YUMMMM!@ I went to school in such a great mood and did my volunteer work with a giant smile and a happy attitude. I was passing out compliments and smiles like they were condoms at a frat party. I was giving them to everybody I made eye contact with. Not even cutting out and addressing 60 handmade cards and running a class party on a skeleton crew.  Then this happened. Valentine's Day, Family, Love, HappyMy 3rd Grader repurposed one of her homemade Valentine’s Day cards to say “If parents were flowers….I’d pick you!” while her sister gave me an “I LOVE YOU!” eraser and then there was the homemade “Owl be Your Valentine!” Swoon. Damn, I am happy. My house is dirty, my hair is in a ponytail, the laundry needs to be folded but I am loved and really, when you’ve got these many people who love you so damn much…. what else do you need? Now, go commit obscene amounts of random acts of kindness and make someone smile because believe me, that simple act can change someone’s entire day. So, I hope your Valentine’s Day is filled with love and every day after that too. Now, go get Happy!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

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marriage, divorce

There was one thing that scared me a bit in 2013; Divorce. There sure were a lot of people getting divorced. Even people who you thought were perfect for one another and had great marriages, suddenly they were done. I started to believe that maybe marriage had a shelf life even after you made it past the dreaded 7-year-itch and the expiration date was somewhere between the 11-18 year mark. We’re about to hit 15 years, so we are right smack dab in the middle of the likely to divorce session of marriage.I guess it makes sense, those are the years when people find themselves getting bored. Babies are born and life has become predictable and maybe you miss the excitement of when it was all new. You’ve both changed and maybe instead of growing together, you’ve grown apart. I get it. People grow up and perspectives and beliefs change and evolve. What’s important to you at 23, might not be important at all when you are 33.

It felt like everyone I knew was going through an early midlife crisis and their spouse had suddenly become as obsolete to them as condoms. No one gets married thinking this will be nice for 10 years or so but no one should stay in a bad marriage but I also think we should work hard to try to salvage a good one. Sometimes just talking, really talking and listening to one another can make all the difference because maybe your partner is having all the same questions and fears about the marriage. I have also seen first hand that hurts done without sincerely apology can kill love dead. Together maybe you can work towards fixing it but if one person is oblivious to the turmoil the marriage is in or content with the way things are and the other is miserable, things build up and people part ways. It made me think. It made me wonder what the fuck would I do if I found myself suddenly single at 41?

I mean 41 is not old but it’s also not prime husband shopping years. I’ve given birth, gained weight and have a lot more baggage than I did at 25. I have kids for God’s sake. It’s not just my life a relationship would effect, it’s my girls’ lives too and who could I ever trust to care for them and love them like their own father because they’d be marrying all 3 of us; we’re a package deal. Not to mention, and I hate to admit it, I don’t tan or pluck and shave and workout like I once did. My unibrow is just about got the band back together and my mustache, well, I swear that sonofabitch is trying to join forces with this sudden onset middle age chin fuzz. My boobs, they are further south than I knew was possible for women under 80 and every single bone in my body pops and cracks when I walk. I swear, I am 1 duct taping away from falling completely apart. Attractive, right? You’re probably wondering why the hell my husband’s still around with all that going on in the first place? I can only guess its because crazy turns him on.

The Big Guy and I got married agreeing that we don’t believe in divorce. There is only one way out of this marriage and that is death. Now, you can go by natural causes like old age two days after I die or you can break one of the deadly sins of marriage like abusing a wife or a child in any way or cheating, having extramarital relations. We’ve joked about it and I’ve warned him of how if we ever divorce he will keep me in the lifestyle I am accustomed to and he will have the children and pets every weekend (because you know I’ll have to be on the prowl for a wealthy man. Yep, I married for love once, next go around I need financial stability and botox and such. ) But really, we both know, there is only ONE way out of this marriage and it involves death and us parting.  It’s all just a matter of how, why and when you go.

I’d just assume skip the whole homicidal thing plus I really quite like being married to the Big Guy so I’ve decided maybe I’d like to spice up the marriage we have. What we have works but I know we are boring. At the end of the day, he is still my favorite person in the world, my best friend and when he grabs my hand to hold it, it still takes my breath away. We’re both older, heavier and we know all of each others old stories. We know what the other is thinking before they ever say it. It may sound boring if you are on the outside looking in but we still surprise one another with a flirty glance or a thoughtful gesture. Through it all; ups and downs, good and bad, rich and poor there is one constant; unconditional love and everyone knows that trumps that new relationship feeling.

The girls are getting a little older so maybe it’s time to focus a little more time on the marriage now that we can spend a little less time trying to keep the kids alive. At 6 and 8 they are pretty good about walking up stairs, keeping keys out of electrical outlets and averting danger and they’ve gotten really good at breathing through the night…I know, I still check. So maybe a little 15 year spice is just the preventative measure we need to insure marital bliss for years to come. Plus, really, nobody wants to die anytime soon.

What do you do to keep your marriage new and exciting? OR if you have gotten a divorce, what do you wish you would have done differently?

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It’s been one of those weeks. You know the ones where you are bone tired but at the same time there is something inside that won’t shut off. It’s like your flight or fight response has kicked in and you have no one to fight and nowhere to run because the cause follows you because it is within you.

The week started with a midnight ding on my laptop; a comment on a blog post about my battle with anorexia. God that seems like a lifetime ago in the miserable state of affairs my body stands in today. The comment was left by a 15-year-old girl in New Zealand who is struggling with eating disorders. She is crying for help but no one believes her. I know how this turns out if no one pays attention; the story ends with her dying. Gone. No more because even her own parents wouldn’t take her seriously. I reply. I give her some number and emails to a hotline. I am triggered. I want to swoop in and save her but I can’t. I am here. I can only offer assistance, listen, believe her and hope she takes the next step. Fight.

Then a couple days later, I hosted a twitter party. I was really excited about it because it meant that I could giveaway  a prize that I thought would make some little girl’s Christmas morning. That meant something to me because I know there are mothers out there who can’t afford to give their children anything for Christmas and I could help a mom give her child the best Christmas ever. It took a lot of work. I’ve been planning and negotiating this since August. Then I even got to give away 2 houses and then after it was all said and done, I was called a liar and a cheat by two participants who didn’t win. I know I shouldn’t take it personally but I do. Fight.

Then I read a post by an asshole man called, Five Reasons to Date a Girl with an Eating Disorder. You know, the disease that kills women, the disease that might be killing a 15-year-old in New Zealand right now and the disease that could have killed me. He makes light of this disease that I suffered from for 8 years; the very same thing that I will be in recovery from for the rest of my life; the disorder that kills women. He obviously has no understanding of it or is the most callous and unkind human walking the face of the earth. Fight.

Then today, November 24th, what would have been the first birthday of the baby I lost. I accidentally watched a 1st birthday video of a friend’s daughter and that’s when it hit me like a MACK truck. I should be celebrating but instead my lap is empty and my heart is heavy today. The air is thick and it’s hard to breathe. I don’t know when this will stop happening. I don’t know if we ever really get over our hurts in life. I think maybe they grow to be a part of us and change us. Flight

I’m here, hammering out deadlines and avoiding my reality. My heart is pretty fragile this week and the slightest push of pressure in the wrong way may break me completely. But in this moment I thank God for what I have; a man who loves me with all my flaws, children who I can hold in my arms a little longer than I need to today, a best friend who reaches out from across the universe to make sure that my heart is still in tact and work. Work that keeps my mind occupied and tears at bay.

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father's day

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valentine's day

If you need me, I’ll be loving on these people today!

Today is Valentine’s Day and it is no surprise to any of you who read this blog that I love the Big Guy and our girls truly, madly, deeply and unconditionally. Just as I am sure all of you do your partner in crime life and your children. But today, on this Valentine’s Day,  I am loving them truly, madly and deeply in real time. Aside from spending my waking moments loving on these people today ( right after the Big Guy and I see our way past this massive blow up we had this morning over who knows what) he and I will be spending the day at the girls valentine’s Day parties and then to our romantic supper for 4 ( because that’s how we roll) and then on to a grown up movie ( no not THAT kind of movie) and maybe some sweet Mommy and Daddy time in the conjugalorium. Oh yeah, the massive blow up….already forgotten.

Anyways, I know you are all busy living on your people in real time too today so I am sure you will understand when I leave you with these awesome testaments to love and marriage. They may make you laugh, they may make you cry and if they don’t suit you, keep looking around, we’ve got love covered ( the good, bad and ugly of it).

I Fucking Love You man.

Older, Wiser, Faster and Deeper

The proposal

Love Letter to my Husband

Happy Valentine’s Day, baby

It’s You they Add Up to

The First Day of My Life

Happy Accidents

And don’t even get me started on how much I love my girls.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Go love on someone.

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father's daughter, father, daughter,fathers, daughters

father's daughter, father, daughter,fathers, daughters

A Father’s Love

Father and his Daughter~ It’s difficult to understand the relationship between a father and his daughter. This topic has been on my mind a lot lately with the Daddy/Daughter dance pending this Friday. The Big Guy is an amazing father. You can see it in his eyes how much he adores our girls. This adoration appeared the moment each of our girl’s were born, engulfing father and daughter in an unbreakable circle of love and trust. It will be this way as long as he takes breath. There exists a next level of unconditional love between a father and his daughters. It’s a symbiotic relationship of complete devotion.

I see my girls with the Big Guy and I see all the possibility and goodness of a parent/child relationship and it makes me wonder if every child has this, at some point? I adore my father. I’ve always loved him. His approval and love have always been at the forefront of my mind. But I remember moments, in my lifetime, when I didn’t like him very much. Times when my happiness literally was hung on him and he let me down. Not in the small ways that a parent fails their child but failure in grand ways. I’ve always loved him the most. I’ve always found forgiveness and an endless well of love for this man. He’s always loved me. I know that. He just didn’t always show it.

I watch my daughters, they hang their happiness on their father. Of course, my husband is a different man than my father. It’s a different time than when I was a child. Fathers are more involved in the parenting than they ever were. My husband is ever dependable and present. My father was not always dependable and seldom present. He worked a lot and when he was not working, he spent a lot of time doing what he wanted to do.

A Father’s love is Unconditional

He loved me unconditionally but sometimes he had a difficult time expressing it. I spent a lot of time being made to feel like his little princess and a little time feeling like I had done something wrong. Only no one ever told me what that was. It was confusing as a child. It was sort of like having the rug pulled out from underneath you and the wind knocked out of you, unexpectedly.

I don’t know if that is genetic or I’ve somehow inadvertently taught my girls to do this. I think mostly they do it because they know he will never fail to make them happy. Even when he doesn’t do what they want, or give them what they want it is always with unconditional love and support and usually in their best interest. They can see in his eyes, hear in his words and know in his actions that they are the most important people in his world. I love that about him.

What differences do you see between your relationship with your father and the relationship your husband has with your children? Do you think this is because of the role of men in parenting today ? Or do you think it has more to do with who your husband is versus who your father was?

Photo Credit

A Father’s Love

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I fully realize this picture is fuzzy but there is something ethereal about & it is very reminiscent of how the weekend felt.

The house lights went down & I was overcome with emotion.I sat there, my 3 year old to my right and her father on the other side of her.We held our breaths.Tchaikovsky started to swell from the orchestra pit and my heart began to swell with pride, as my eyes swelled with tears in anticipation of my little girl’s debut performance on the stage as a ballerina.

We know the story of the Nutcracker well.We’ve been reading it to Bella since she was 3, the year that she started taking ballet.It is a big part of our holiday tradition.This year was different, this year it wasn’t just about sitting in the audience and basking in the holiday spirit .This year was momentous.This year, the Nutcracker was one of my Bella’s milestones; like first steps, first words, first day of school. Like so many before it and so many that are yet to come, it is that moment that parents find themselves reluctantly and pridefully letting go…just a little, just enough to give you a great big lump in your heart.

So, there I sat with my great big giant lump in my heart, trying to hold it together.Waiting, hoping, not breathing in anticipation of the end of the first act;the moment that my little snowflake would enter stage left. Then it happened, there she was with her white leotard and tutu, wrapped in the glow of the stage light, floating gracefully above the floor like a vision in tulle loveliness. I realize that everyone else was focusing their attentions on the “big” snowflakes ( the more seasoned ballerinas) but my every attention was devoted solely to my little snowflake.Every plies, leap, pirouette that she did, I watched her face to see that she was enjoying every moment of it.After all, isn’t that what we live for..those moments of sheer happiness in our child’s face. The 5 minutes that she was on stage felt like a lifetime, as I sat there holding my breath and trying to suppress the lump in my heart. Then, it was over. Four months of rehearsals, weeks of anticipation, countless dollars and a few moments of graceful beauty under falling snow; priceless!

We met her backstage with roses, gifts, and enough praise to last her a lifetime but no words could amply convey the pride I felt in my heart. Family and friends came from all over to see our little girl take the stage.I just tried not to cry…too much.I held it together pretty well until the ride home from the theater and then the lump in my heart gave way and burst, overflowing and escaping through my eyes. There I sat, silently, ugly crying feeling the pride and momentum of what had just transpired.The Big Guy sat next to me, pretending not to notice how swept away I was by this occasion. He’s learned after 13 years to just be, any interaction or conversation can induce hysterics;hyperventilating, noisy, body shaking ugly crying.

It was a moment she will never forget and neither will the Big Guy and I. It was the first moment our little girl became a real ballerina. It is emblazoned in my mind like the image on my digital camera with the waltz of the snowflakes accompanying it on a never ending loop. What is a moment of overwhelming pride that you have felt for your child? How did you handle the lump in your heart?

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