Dear Teenage Mitchell

Dear Teenage Mitchell,

Hi there, Mom here. I thought I’d take a quick break from your preschool years to write you a quick note.

You love me. Like, a whole lot. A whole, whole lot. You just turned 5, and instead of stretching your little independent legs, you’ve tightened your grip on my leg. You scream at the thought of spending any time away from me. You sit on the toilet while I shower so we can continue our enthralling discussion of what it would be like to live on Jupiter. You spend every night on the floor next to my bed and ever morning curled up against me, little-spoon-style. You can’t wait to show me something new you’ve just seen in a book or update me on the goings-on of the Bubble Guppies tribe, even though I’m right there and already know. You love teaching me things, and since you have a steel trap for a brain and regularly converse with your dad about the solar system, you get the opportunity to give me new information quite a bit.

You’re pretty cool, so usually I don’t mind all this togetherness, but we’ve been trying to transition you to preschool, so I’ve been trying to get us both some space lately. You, obviously, don’t agree with the necessity of either preschool or personal space, so we’ve been at odds a bit these last couple weeks. But after a long day at the zoo during which you accompanied me to each and every bathroom break (2 kids + 1 adult = way more body mass than a restroom stall was designed to hold) I was feeling a bit wretched. On the way home, your grandpa reminded me that I’m your best friend.

Holy crap, he’s right! I am your best friend. There’s no other point in your life when you will choose me over all others. Ok, maybe once I employ some bribes, which I totally plan to do, but even then, you’ll most look forward to telling your friends all about your day when we’re done. And you’re fun. I genuinely look forward to showing you new things. Your happiness is infectious. I don’t buy you things or take you places because you throw a fit or whine, I do it because a smile from you can set our day on an entirely new course.

I guess what I want to say is, I love you, Mitchell. And right now that feeling is mutual. So when you’re a teenager and get embarrassed just being seen in public with me, can you maybe just remember how you felt as a 5-year-old and hang out with me for just a little bit? I miss you. I promise no singing (you can’t stand that even now).

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By themagnificentms

I’m Grateful: an act of therapy

Sometimes life gets stressful. Sometimes things look very gloomy. Today is one of those times. And so I will make a list and remind myself to be grateful.

I’m grateful for my family. Obviously. It seems that every grateful list must start with this one.

I’m grateful that my son is naturally kind. I would love to take credit for his sweet, caring attitude and empathetic nature, but I also raised Rosie, whose greatest joy is a good titty twister, so obviously Mitchell was just born this way.

I’m grateful I will never have to remind my daughter that she is worthy. I pity the fool who is the first to tell her she can’t do something because she’s a girl. She was born knowing that she can do anything if she puts her mind to it. She can play with dolls, she can paint her nails, and she can tackle her big brother to the ground. She can paint herself with mud, she can jump off the back of the couch, and she can cuddle with Mommy for hours. She can do anything.

I’m grateful that my husband constantly strives to be a better person. I am a much different person today than I was at 18. Obviously, part of that is due to just plain growing up, but I credit Justin for the majority of it. Always marry someone you want to emulate. My husband is kind, calm, and polite to a fault. When he sees somebody in pain or suffering, he wants to help. His goal in life is to make those around him happy.

I’m grateful my children have such love in their life. I’m one crazy mother and have a very long list of faults, but I love my children to excess. They have never questioned this, nor have they questioned their father’s love. But children need a bigger support network than this, and they have it. They regularly ask to call Grandpa and beg to stay at their aunt’s house so they can play with their cousin. They’re blessed with fantastic neighbors. I can see the love in their lives reflected in their own interactions with the world, and I’m so incredibly grateful that this is the base from which they will grow.

I’m grateful for the outdoors. This crazy house would never qualify for a Better Homes & Gardens photoshoot (not even the before pictures), but the backyard is a little slice of paradise. The many trees and shrubs create a forest-like atmosphere, and I could spend hours in my rocking chair on the patio. My black thumb has even managed to find some plants I can keep alive.

I’m grateful for the giant dog who hasn’t killed my kids yet. This morning I stepped into my office to start my day only to find that Covey had scattered the contents of my trash can far and wide, so I’m struggling a bit to be grateful for her right now. But I know I should be. This 100+ pound teddy bear lets the kids climb all over her and doesn’t bat an eye. She’s darn cute, too, and provided lots of great pictures.

I’m grateful for Mexican food. And, on that note, I’m signing off, because my awesome husband just offered to take me out for chips and salsa.

By themagnificentms

I Refuse To Release You

Baby girl, you a nearly two and a half. You don’t know it yet, but you are growing up and away from me with each passing day.

Every time I turn around, you’ve discovered a new way to stretch your independent legs. You wander a bit further from me; you reach for someone else. 

You represent a stage in my life that I’m not quite ready to leave behind, and so I refuse to release you into the full-blown toddler years that you so desperately want.

I’m Mommy. That is my personality right now. My hobby? Caring for my children. I barely exist outside of my babies. As I write this, I am relaxing in the quiet room of a spa, a gift from my husband to have some time completely to myself, and yet I haven’t stopped thinking of you and your giant crocodile tears as I left, screaming “Mommy, I’m coming!” 

As much as I resent it sometimes, I’m terrified of what comes next. What am I, without babies crawling on my lap, demanding to be nursed, held, carried, cuddled, tickled, and loved? I don’t remember what I did before. Read? Relaxed? 

Who will I be? Will I have friends? Without the excuse of babies, how will I explain the giant gaps in my social calendar? What will my husband and I talk about when we don’t talk about current developmental phases, poop, tantrums, etc.? 

And so, my baby, I hold you. When you come into bed at night, I cuddle you and know that my time is limited. When you ask to nurse (“Mommy, that’s MY booby!”), I unsnap the bra (assuming that you haven’t already, likely in the middle of public). I know you’re ready to be weaned, but what if this is the last reason you need ME? What if, once anyone can satisfy your needs, you decide I’m a relic of another time? What will I do then? What’s​next for me?

All I know is being a mommy to babies. And so I refuse to release you. I need you to be my baby, just a little while longer.

By themagnificentms

My baby’s surgery

Disclaimer: Mitchell had a minor hernia on his unmentionable area. He went in for outpatient surgery, and even though we were there so damn long I’m not sure it still counted as outpatient, it was no big deal. I’m just a wimp. 

On November 1st (yep, morning after Halloween), Mitchell and I trekked to Dayton Children’s Hospital, where I feel we spend way too much time as a family, for him to have a simple outpatient surgery to fix a mild hernia. So not a big deal. And for the most part I managed to keep telling myself that. At least, in front of Mitchell. But when they wheeled him down that hallway, I immediately squeezed my fists hard enough to draw blood. 

My baby is 4. But he’s my baby. Other than his weekly speech therapy appointments and the rare occasion he stays with Justin, I can count on one hand the number of times we’ve been apart in the last couple years. Luckily he’s pretty awesome, so it’s easy to spend time with him. But watching someone take him from me, no matter what the occasion, still hurts. I have no idea how we’re going to handle school. 

When they brought him back, the nurse casually mentioned that every time he woke up from the anaesthesia for a few moments, he cried for me. Approximately .00054 seconds after she closed the door, I crawled into bed with him and cried. How could I not be there when he cried? He was probably so scared! That was probably the cruelest thing a person has every said to me. I had nightmares for weeks about not being there for him when he’s scared. I’m there for every bump, every bruise, every nightmare, every hurt feeling. But not that. 

Luckily, he seems to have no memory of it. And I only took a couple pictures, so we can forget all about it. 




By themagnificentms

I hope I remember…

Several times per day, I say “I hope I remember…” to myself, trying to cement something in my memory, hoping to remember as many details as possible, hoping to keep this feeling for myself so I can call upon it during a dark moment, like when Rosie has attempted to flush an entire roll of toilet paper. 

You see, I’m terrified of forgetting things. Alzheimer’s is a worry, yes, but something that truly keeps me awake at night is the thought of losing my memories to the effects of time and busy lives: old memories give way to new memories. What if I lose the cherished memory of Mitchell’s very last nursing session to a t-ball schedule? Or the first time Rosie grabbed me in a bear hug to a memory of us fighting when she’s a teenager? 

Of course, we don’t really lose those old memories. They’re still there, they’re just pushed further back, waiting on someone or something to trigger the memory. And when the memory is triggered, we’re so ecstatic, we just have to share the memory. For instance, have you ever seem a grandparent watch their grandchild do something, say, run a toy car into the wall, and get way more excited than the achievement merits? Sure, the grandparent is probably legitimately excited for the child, but even more, she’s excited because that grandchild has just unlocked a memory of her own child, allowing her a brief visit with that child she lost to time so long ago. 

Mitchell is only 4 years old and I’ve already become that grandparent, sharing my stories and memories with other mothers in the play area who couldn’t care less. Poor Rosie triggers memories so often, I’m sure she wondered why, the cuter she acts, the bigger the hug Mitchell gets. 

I’ve heard my generation criticized for raising our children through the lens of our cell phone cameras, but I get it. I’m guilty of it. I only feel half bad about it, too. If there’s any chance of having something to trigger these memories, I’m taking it. That way, when the shit has hit the fan and I have two screaming children, a barking dog, dinner burning on the stove, and no beer in the fridge, I can pull up that video of us all dancing in the living room, laughing and having a good time, and give myself a mental deep breath. 

I know I can’t stop the progression of time. I know that my babies will grow, and I know that my memories will fade. I know that, one day, instead of bear hugs, they’ll give me a bag of dirty laundry. There will be no more slow snuggly mornings; there will only be frantic runs to the bus stop. The movies Mitchell quotes at me will be much less cute and wholesome. Rosie will no longer have conversations filled with jibberish with me: I’ll be lucky to have conversations with her at all. 

So, today, I’m going to linger in bed as long as I can, a baby on each arm, and I’m going to tell myself to remember this. I’m going to reenact five different movies in under two minutes with Mitchell, and when he laughs, I’m going to tell myself to remember this. When I walk in on Mitchell reading a book to Rosie, I’m going to scream to myself, remember this. The kids giggling in the swings: remember. Justin and Mitchell constructing elaborate train tracks: remember. Showing Mitchell YouTube videos to answer his constant question of “what does [insert animal here] eat?” Remember. He sure won’t remember I have all the answers in a few years. 

I’m going to remember this. And, if I don’t, I’m going to have plenty of pictures to remind me. 

By themagnificentms

The park 

We have a great park here that’s filled with natural playscapes. The kids love it, and we finally got the chance to take Justin there. He doubted how awesome it was, but 3.5 hours of playing later, he was convinced. 











By themagnificentms

Randoms with the kids

Fall is here! It’s the most wonderful time of the year for cute kids. 

Covey continues to grow, Mitchell continues to add to his vocabulary and phrase book, and Rosie continues to find new ways to climb things. So, all in all, we’ve been great, but just a smidge busy! 

I took the weekend off those weekend and rearranged the basement, hopefully better streamlining my shirts process so I can cut down on the amount of time we spend down there. Lately, we come upstairs just to run to the post office and sleep. And play outside a bit 🙂











By themagnificentms

Sick babies, and other randoms

We got back from Kansas late Monday night, and by Tuesday around noon, Mitchell was sick. The only symptoms were a fever and absolute exhaustion, so I have no idea what he had, but that poor kid was feeling it. His fever broke late Wednesday night, but Thursday, Friday, and Saturday were spent throwing giant, crazy, uncontrollable fits about the most minor things, like a blanket covering that toe that he didn’t want covered.

So finally, Sunday morning, he woke up cheery. My baby boy was back. Just in time for Rosie to catch it. She was sick exactly the same amount of time he was and absolutely refused to be put down.

My poor, poor babies.

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By themagnificentms

And then, Kansas!

After the success of the Iowa trip, we said what the hell, let’s stay in Ohio long enough to throw all the clothes from our suitcases into the washer, then pack it up again and head to Kansas. Just kidding. We got word that my grandfather had passed away, so we packed right back up and headed to Kansas.

The whirlwind journeys proved to be a bit much for the kids, but, all things considered, they did really well on the trip.

Mitchell fell in love with Aunt Brooke’s kittens and insisted on carrying Patches around like a baby, crooning away in her ear, “It’s ok, I gotcha. Let’s go night night. Whew, you’re getting heavy! Here, do you want something to eat? I gotcha. Don’t worry.” It was mostly adorable, but let’s just say that boy cannot take hints about when his loving is unwanted.

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By themagnificentms