This is Where She Knows

Yeah, we don’t cosleep anymore.

Except, again, when we do.

We didn’t at first either and then we did. And then, well, she was bigger and we needed to sleep and so we transitioned her back into her own bed.

But as all parents of small children know, all too well, parenting is a pivoting dance of what you need versus what they need.

Most times what they need – these tiny humans who rely on you for love and care – most times what they need take precedence.

So every night I watch her through the glow of a monitor and about a dozen times a night I want to go back in to her room and bring her into bed with us so I can hear her breathing next to me and smell her sweet smell and feel her little toes curl against my leg as she sleeps.

And then I doze off again.

Some nights she stays in her bed all night.

Some nights I hear the little pitter patter of her feet down the hallway to our room three hours after she has gone to bed; other times it’s a whole six to eight hours.

We don’t turn her away.

We bring her pillow and stuffed animal and water bottle into our room.

We help her climb sleepily onto our bed and nuzzle in next to us.

Of course this is where she wants to be – where it’s warm and she can reach out and pat our arms, and she can nuzzle and nudge her way into the curves of our bodies, tucked warmly beneath the covers.

Before I became a parent, I would have never considered cosleeping. It would be uncomfortable. I would not sleep as well. I need to honor that space with my partner. Yet, the older our daughter gets, I am shocked at how comfortable I have become with putting her needs first.

I take care of myself, to be sure, but her needs come first – always.

And so that has come to be true with sleeping. Sometimes she is able to go back to sleep in her own bed after a bad dream, or waking for a drink, or just losing a stuffed animal in the folds of the covers.img_3102

Sometimes she is able to settle back into her blissful rest and I am able to sleep without her little body wedged against mine.

Sometimes she cannot. The dreams are too scary. She wants to hold my hand. Or place her tiny arm around me and assure me “you’ll be OK, mama” – and I know full well that even without having the words to express it, her being next to me assures HER that SHE will be Ok.

And so, our cosleeping journey continues. It is not perfect nor is it always comfortable, but it is right – for us and for her.

This is where she knows she is safe.

This is where she knows she is loved.

This is where she knows.

And I know, in my heart, for as long as she needs me, there’s no other place I’d rather she be.

 

Revision Note: This piece is revised from an earlier post.  You can follow more of my writing and daily musings, on parenting and life on my Facebook page at Colleen Warwick Green and at Twitter at twitter.com/prepsterhippy

This is Where She Knows

Yeah, we don’t cosleep anymore.

Except, again, when we do.

We didn’t at first either and then we did. And then, well, she was bigger and we needed to sleep and so we transitioned her back into her own bed.

And every night I watch her through the glow of a monitor and about a dozen times a night I want to go back in to her room and bring her into bed with us so I can hear her breathing next to me and smell her sweet smell and feel her little toes curl against my leg as she sleeps.

And then I doze off again.

Some nights she stays in her bed all night.

Some nights I hear the little pitter patter of her feet down the hallway to our room three hours after she has gone to bed; other times it’s a whole six to eight hours.

We don’t turn her away.

this-is-where-she-knowsWe bring her pillow and stuffed animal and water bottle into our room.

We help her climb sleepily onto our bed and nuzzle in next to us.

Of course this is where she wants to be – where it’s warm and she can reach out and pat our arms, and she can nuzzle and nudge her way into the curves of our bodies, tucked warmly beneath the covers.

This is where she knows she is safe.

This is where she knows she is loved.

This is where she knows.

And I know, in my heart, for as long as she needs me, there’s no other place I’d rather she be.

 

PUBLISHING NOTE:  originally posted this on my Facebook page and in a few groups.  I had over a thousand likes/hearts in the groups and over a hundred messages from mothers and fathers with whom this resonated.  It’s a short post, but I’m putting it on my blog here just because it seems to have made an impact on so many readers.

You can follow me on my journey on Facebook at: Colleen Warwick Green

 

 

An open letter to President Elect Trump, from one loving parent to another

Dear Mr. President-Elect Trump,

The other day I was in our kitchen and emptying the dishwasher for what seemed like, Processed with Snapseed.I have to say, the tenth time in two days, and I was in hurry to get off to work and, in my hurry, I dropped and broke a dish. When it happened, you can imagine, I think, my frustration – and I yelled out a “mother fucker”, loudly.  And guess who was standing a few feet away, watching me the whole time? My three year old daughter.  I grimaced and she said, “What’s wrong mama?” and I replied, “Nothing, Honey. Mama just broke a dish.”  

In my head, I’m thinking, “Shit, you have to stop swearing in front of her!” (and no, the irony of my response in my own head is not lost on me). As I was cleaning the broken dish up off the floor, my three-year-old purposefully threw her doll on the floor and yelled, in her lispy-little voice, “Fuck!”  

I had broken a dish on accident and cursed out of lack of self control and awareness.  She did this on purpose, but because she was mimicking me. Her words, like echoes of tarnished innocence,  played on loop in my mind, reminding me each time that,  as her mother, I had to do better, to be better.  

And yet, three days later, in the car on our way to swim lessons, traffic was heavy and we were running a bit late and other drivers were being, well, annoying.  Or maybe I was just annoyed that, once again I had gotten out of work a little later than I’d liked and that set off a chain of events that had left me frustrated and running behind.  When a car changed lanes in front of me, a little closer than I would have liked, I mumbled, “Asshole! Stupid driver! What are you doing?”

“Who is stupid mama?” my daughter asked.  

“Nobody,” I replied, to which she said, “Oh, Asshole?”  

Again, at that moment, as her mother, I knew I had to do better.  

To be honest, Mr. Trump, we don’t agree on much, but as parents, I am sure we can agree upon this: My child is my whole world, this three-year-old girl.  She looks up to me, her mother. And I’m not perfect, but I strive to be better every single day, for her.  When I had her, I became tasked with the biggest job I have ever had. I’m tasked with being a role model.  I’m tasked with leading by example in both my thoughts and actions.  I’m tasked with being more patient, more understanding, more open minded because she’s three and she can’t do those things yet on her own, I have to teach her, show her, model for her.

And sometimes I fail.  Big, messy, epic-parenting fails.  

And then I apologize. I explain that “Mommy is sorry. I said some things that aren’t nice because I was upset.”  I know that not everything she says that’s inappropriate is going to be my fault, but I have to know that if I’m not careful about my words, these little eyes that are always watching and little ears that are always listening are going to pick up on that and will begin to think it’s OK for her too.

And it’s not OK for her too.  Right?  I think, as a parent, you’d probably agree with me there?Processed with Snapseed.

As a parent, when I unintentionally or not set an example for my daughter that is less than ideal, when I fall short, when I make a mistake, I have to acknowledge that I have done so.  I have to tell my daughter that, very clearly, so that she knows that what mommy did was not OK and that I don’t want her to do those same things.  I have to explain that I made a mistake, and I might not be proud of it, but that I want her to do better and for her to know that I will try to do better myself.  This, is my role as her parent.

So, that’s why I’m writing to you tonight Mr. President-Elect Trump.  I know you are not my parent, but you will be my President in just a few months.  And, much like I am the parent to my daughter, you are assuming the role, in many ways and albeit figurative, as parent to our nation.  And while we aren’t all three-year-olds, sometimes we still operate like them – we watch and listen and model OUR behavior on those who are leading us, who we look up to.

You are now tasked to lead us.  You are tasked with guiding us.  You are tasked with modeling tolerance, understanding, and acceptance.  That is such a large part of the ‘parenting gig’ and in many ways, honestly, it’s a large part of the ‘Presidential gig’ too.  You are the parent of a nation now, and that nation – and all it’s friends, near and far – are watching.  

I shared my confessions about things I’ve said that I wish I could take back because I get it– when frustrated, we all say things we regret. And let’s face it: You’ve said some things in this campaign that some people are scared and nervous and upset about.  And, like when I broke the dish in my kitchen and yelled at the car in front of me and I didn’t “mean” it, you may not have meant some of what you said, or at least I hope that is the case, but the words are out there regardless.  Those words are out there, and people heard them.   

Now it’s time for you to share with us that what we’ve heard you say in times of heated debate, stress, and just in places where you were not as mindful of your words, that the words you used that are being taken as hateful and hurtful were wrong and that, like the rest of us, you will try to do better in the future.  As a parent owns their mis-steps to their children, so that their children can learn from them, grow, and be stronger, we need you to acknowledge the mis-steps in your words for us, so that we are not modeling a negative, hateful, and hurtful message moving forward.

And just like I have to acknowledge and apologize to my daughter, you NEED to do the same for us, the nation you are going to be leading.  

Why?

Because our eyes have been watching and our ears have been listening and they are now starting to mimic you. And while YOU may not have “meant” what you said, some of these people do.  And that’s scary and sad for a great many of us – those who voted for you and those who did not.  

We have students in a middle school in my home state of Michigan chanting “build a wall, build a wall” in their school cafeteria, I think probably not understanding the severity, and threat, associated with their their words.

We have individuals in New York spray painting a swastika with the words “Make America White Again” onto a Little League baseball dugout.    

We have restaurant managers who chase down black people and call them the “N-word” before robbing them.

We have high school students who are blockading their black and Latino peers from getting into their classes or their lockers.

In Minnesota, we have a school bathroom stall covered in graffiti with the words “whites only” and “fuck niggers.”

And we have people, on BOTH sides of the political spectrum, who are attacking others on the street based on what they “think” they know of them.

You are my President, our nation’s President.  Unfortunately, you’ve said some things during this Presidential election cycle, as have your opponents, that were hurtful and scary for many people in this nation, even for those who supported you.  But now is the time for you, like me, to remind the nation that those words are not OK, admit that they are not appropriate, remind us that they are not appropriate – just like a parent does for their child, just like I did with my daughter. You have to look at this nation, our nation, your nation, as you would your children.  They have been looking to you and they have heard you and seen you and they are mimicking you now. They are perpetuating those hurtful words and behaviors because they think it’s OK.  You need to remind them that it is not.

Mr. President-Elect Trump, I’m not just some random woman who doesn’t “get it.”  As I said, our differences aside, I get it.  I’m a Navy wife.  I’m the daughter, granddaughter and sister of Police Officers.  I’m a mother. I’m a teacher. I’m a writer. I have a Ph.D. and I am a proud American.  But I’ve “been around the block” a time or two as well and I get that the world is complex.  It’s that complexity that truly does make us great.  We need reminders of that right now, Mr. President-Elect Trump, and those reminders need to come from you.

Sincerely and with a hopeful heart and open mind,

Colleen J. Green

To the Mother at Daycare, I Know the Feeling

Our morning routines are pretty well set at this point. My husband gets up a little early and starts to get ready. Then I get up and start to get ready. Then we tag-team getting our toddler ready and then we are off – out the door and off to work/school/daycare, a toddler and two adults who are still just half ready, at best.

It’s not always easy. It’s not always pretty. There’s usually some stomping of feet, some huffing and puffing, and even a few tears (and that’s just from me!) and at least one change of clothes (for me and the toddler!).

And it hasn’t always even been this *easy*. When I first went back to work full-time, my husband was deployed. That was tough. I mean, wow. That was beyond difficult. I am still not sure how we got through those eight months and how I survived my return to work in the midst of solo and first-time parenting fiascos. Our daughter was younger, and I was more tired, and man, sometimes I can’t even remember those early days. Except that I can.

I can remember each and every morning with utter clarity.

Why?

Because every morning I was having to make a decision to take my daughter and place her into the care of other people while I went off to work. I loved my job. I still love my job. Financially, even if I didn’t love my job, I would have had to return to work – our family needed my income.

But that doesn’t – that didn’t – make it any less heart AND gut wrenching to leave my daughter in the arms of someone else each and every day.

The pain of that suffocated me.

The memory of that pain suffocates me still.

As I was leaving that same daycare this morning, dropping our daughter off as I do every morning before heading into work myself, I watched a mother who, I swear must have been just at her six weeks postpartum mark, dropping off her child. The moment I saw her walking toward me, I literally couldn’t catch my breath – the memories of what she was feeling at that exact moment flooding desperately back into my brain.

I saw her first from down the long hallway; I had just come out of my daughter’s classroom where we finished our own morning ritual: hug, high fives, kisses and I love yous. Then she “pushes me out” the door and waves at me through all four windows looking into the room – two on the door, two off to the side. We blow each other kisses – she runs toward her friends, waiting in the classroom – sometimes I catch a glimpse of them hugging. I walk, smile on my face, holding tight to the memories of our routine throughout my entire day.

And then I see this mother.

She is walking slowly, compared to my hurried gate, ever concerned about getting to work on time.

She is cradling and cuddling her baby, who is nestled against her chest, head snuggled up underneath her mama’s chin. My hands once wrapped around my daughter that same way, the soft tufts of her hair tickling my chin as I carried her down that same hallway. Now my hands were empty and my chest suddenly felt cold, with no baby nestled there.

She has her face against the very top of her baby’s head, taking in the sweet smells of newbornness that we all know, you know, the way we all do. I found myself unconsciously taking a deep breath in, and remembering the smell that I sometimes still catch on my daughter, when she first wakes up or right after a bath – that newborn smell, that smell that connects me to my daughter.Processed with Snapseed.

She closes her eyes for long moments at a time. I know mama, I know what you are thinking. You are thinking: Why am I leaving her here? Is she going to be held enough? Will she miss my smell and my touch the same way I will miss hers? Will they know what each of her cries mean? Will she forgive me?

Oh mama, I remember that feeling – all of those feelings – those I don’t want to leave my baby feelings. I actually still have those feelings every single day.

Oh, mama, I know all too well how you feel.

Thank you for visiting my page!

You can also read this post, and others I have written on The Huffington Post at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/581b4efce4b0570d6d6f0c5e?timestamp=1478186050399

And now you can see my writing featured on the wickedly popular scarymommy.

Scary Mommy

Confessions of a Cosleeping Parent

Confessions of a cosleeping parent

I am no longer a cosleeping parent, at least not with our toddler.

Except, she’s still in my bed as I write this, snuggled close to me, her right hand wedged under my leg.FullSizeRender

You see, we are on vacation, my daughter and I. And my husband, her father, is at home because he had to go back to work.

There’s a perfectly good bed here she could sleep in.

 

She didn’t want to.

 

I didn’t push it.  I know these snuggles won’t last much longer. Nor will the kicks to the ribs or the side of the head in the middle of the night.  I’m willing to take what I can get.

At this point on our vacation, I am cosleeping with my daughter, not the other way around.

Let’s be serious, the person getting the most comfort out of this cosleeping relationship right now, on this vacation, is me – the mama.

I am comforted by the sweet sound of her tiny snoring and the rise and fall of her little chest that I can feel each time I gently rest my hand on her.

I am comforted by the smell of her toddler-ness, you know it, that indescribable mixture of baby skin, shampoo and sweat.

I am comforted by the tiny little sigh she lets out about two hours after she falls asleep, alerting me that she has dozed off soundly and has let the ‘worries’ of her toddler day slip aside.

I am comforted by her small hands that she cups around my face when she rolls over in the middle of the night to face me, saying nothing and not even opening her eyes (yes, this REALLY happens!).

I am comforted by the little wiggle of her toes that I feel underneath the blankets with me, or against my leg as she snuggles closer to me during the night (or, maybe as I snuggle closer to her).

I am comforted by the fact that, when I am there with her at night, she still needs me to get her a drink from her water bottle, that is right next to her on the night stand.

She still needs me.

I am comforted by the fact that she needs my reassurances when she is startled by the oddness of toddler dreams, about pizza with no toppings or the cat that is most definitely not on the stairs.

She still needs me.

I am comforted by the fact that when she wakes up in the morning, pops up like a little flash of a light bulb with a chirp of “it’s time to wake up mama!”, she wants me to help her to the bathroom and to change her clothes.

She still needs me.

We didn’t always cosleep. I didn’t ever actually intend on cosleeping even. When my daughter was just shy of three weeks old her daddy deployed for an eight-month tour, leaving me alone as a first-time mother who knew she eventually had to head back to work full time. Cosleeping was the last thing I wanted to do. I thought it would be horrible for my own sleep, which I knew very much that I needed.

So, just after daddy deployed, our little daughter was sleeping (not through the night mind you…) in her own bed, in her own bedroom – with mama keeping a watchful eye through an elaborate baby monitoring system.

And this was our life for about the first year. It worked for us. Sure, there were nights when she was going through feeding clusters, where it was easier to nurse her in my bed with me, and not have her sleeping in her crib. And I didn’t mind that, not one little bit. But overall, she was in her own bed.

Then, at about 7 months, she got horribly sick. It seemed like “just another cold” at first, but her coughing progressed pretty rapidly and got to the point where breathing was incredibly difficult for her and very scary for me.

Medicines and homeopathic remedies were not working quickly and I made the decision that I could not sleep in a different room and be sure that she was OK.

And so our cosleeping journey began. And her illness didn’t let up and when it did, it came back often. Imagine, for those of you who have not lived through this, giving nebulizer treatments to someone who isn’t even a year old.

I wanted to give her every bit of cuddling and comfort that I could, and that extended into our nighttime routines; we were still nursing and that nursing and nighttime nurturing, as well as my watchful eye – that happened through our cosleeping. And it remained that way even after her dad returned, partially because that was our new “normal” but also because her illnesses weren’t subsiding and both of us now agreed, cosleeping was the best option.

And then when she turned two, and she was getting bigger but our bed was not, we decided to work with her to move her back into her bedroom and her own bed.

It wasn’t a process that took a long time, though part of it had one of us (mama and daddy alternating nights) on a air mattress on the floor next to her bed. And it wasn’t perfect either. Some nights she ended up back in our bed. Sometimes she lasted until 2am or 4am. Some nights it was all night long. But gradually, eventually, she was in her own room and she was not upset, and we weren’t waking up with bruises!

Do not get me wrong, I loved the amount of time we did cosleep and, despite concerns from some parents and parenting experts, knowing what I know now about the benefits of cosleeping, I would do it again from the beginning, in a heartbeat!

We experienced many of the benefits of cosleeping in our short time doing it. Our daughter rarely woke or startled in the night, unless she needed to nurse. We also saw the emotional benefits that sites like Dr. Sears tout, we had a less anxious and more independent kiddo on our hands, even early on – and to this day (seems opposite, right?).

There are risks, of course, that need to be addressed to cosleep safely. We took those measures into consideration and made every possible choice to make this a safe sleeping environment, even though we hadn’t planned for it originally.

Let me pause here and say, very clearly, I am neither stating parents SHOULD or SHOULD NOT cosleep. I got over the parent-shaming thing a long time ago and I am not participating in any of that nonsense here. So if you came here to read some parent bashing, go elsewhere.

I am a firm believer that we, this village of mamas and papas, are doing our level best to raise our kids and we need to support each other in doing so.

That said, I’m just sharing my experience.

And my experience on this vacation has been traumatic – for me. Not her. She’s fine. She would have been totally, 100%, hunkey dory, if I had encouraged her more to sleep in her own “special” bed while on vacation.

I gotta be honest with you. I didn’t want to.

I know she isn’t going to need me in all these same ways for very much longer. Sure, sure, she’ll still need me. She’s only a toddler for Pete’s sake, but you know. I mean, she won’t need me the SAME.

So, I’m back to cosleeping. And I only have six more days to enjoy the snuggles and the cuddles and the baby breath on my face and the knee in my back and the hand slap to the face. So, I’m going to relish it for a bit longer. For six more wonderful nights, I’m going to be comforted by my toddler in my bed next to me.

Because, let’s face it: I still need her.

 

I shouldn’t have to choose – but I do.

Shortly after our daughter was born, I wrote a post about how frustrating it was that everyone was already asking us about having another child. At the time, it was most frustrating because all we really wanted to do was revel in the beauty and joy of our new daughter and enjoy this new experience of being a “family.”

Now, as our daughter nears three years old, my husband and I are beginning the conversation about a second child and I am overrun by anxiety. Not because I don’t desperately want to have another baby. I do. Not because I don’t want our daughter to have a sibling, I do. And not because I’m not acutely aware of the financial implications of adding to our family will have. I am very aware that even for a dual income teacher-military household, our choice will have some strain associated with it.

Those choices are all worth it for me.

No, the anxiety I am feeling is knowing, full well, all the moments I’m going to be missing out on for our daughter, and our new baby, when I return to work. This week we are on vacation visiting my family in Michigan and I am watching my daughter explore, discover, grow, flourish, and shine.

All before my very eyes.

She has gotten taller, and I’ve been around to witness this.

She has started using a larger vocabulary and even putting together complex sentences, and I’ve been around to hear every bit of it.

She has started using some quirky facial expressions and recognizing when she is being humorous, and I’ve been able to enjoy all of it!

She has learned to fish, and I’ve watched that.

She “reads” books on her own and does a whole lot more playing independently, and I’ve been able to sit quietly in the corner and watch this.

When I return to work, I know there are other not-so-major milestones that I’m going to miss, that I won’t even know that I miss, for her and for any future sibling we may have. And I love my job, as I always say, I truly, deeply love my job. I guess there’s a growing part of me just wishing that taking time off for parenting in these early years was easier for us professional moms – that we could take the time we want and need to be with our littles in these early formative years and not feel 1) guilty 2) financially burdened 3) afraid that our professional careers are over.

As much as my kiddo is up past her bedtime this summer making wishes on the star-filled skies, I am wishing on those same stars that the path for career mommies could be just a little different.

 

 

I will help you, my Mama

“I will help you, my Mama.”

IMG_7721“Oh my dear girl, you already have. You already have.”

I was doing a simple task, just moving one piece of furniture to another spot. Not a heavy piece, but I had to put it down to get it around a corner. My two and half year old daughter comes over to me, grabs my hand and tugs me down to her level then places her other hand on my cheek and says with an amount of concern and love in her eyes I did not even know a toddler to be capable of: “I will help you, my mama.”

I squeezed her tiny little hand, wrapped my other hand around her tightly, hugged her and kissed the top of her tiny warm head and thought, “Oh my dear, you already have. You already have.” But I said, “thank you, my baby.”

As we maneuvered the object around the corner, now a little bit more cumbersome with the help of those tiny hands and watching out for those tiny feet, I was struck by all the ways this tiny human had, in fact, so truly already helped me.

My daughter has helped me remember to slow down. Rushing through every daily routine, or rushing out the door, or rushing through the grocery store even means we miss times together, times where she can ponder the world around her and her place in it.

My daughter has helped me realize that children love naturally but have to be taught to hate. Her best friends at daycare don’t all look like her. She hugs and plays and tumbles and laughs, shares meals and toys and nap spaces with all of them. Strangers that are bigger and also don’t look at all like her, she gives waves and smiles to equally. I can continue to teach her to love and understand and know that I too have the responsibility to NOT teach her to hate.

My daughter has helped me to take risks. She sometimes needs my hand to jump from a higher height. She sometimes needs me to pick her up and brush her off when she falls, but she always goes for it! Without knowing it, she has taught me that I must continue taking risks and “going for it” too.

My daughter has helped me see that being scared does not mean we are weak. The world is a sort of scary place and we have to find ways to navigate through it. She has us, her parents and her friends whom she adores, to help her make choices – to watch them and learn from them and us, and be less scared of new things, new places, new people, new experiences. Adults have this too, in our partners, our families and our peer groups – we can be scared and still forge ahead as long as we are there to support one another.

My daughter has helped me remember that naps are important – we all need a reset once in awhile. At the end of a busy work week, grading papers, making dinners, getting my workouts and marathon training sessions in, and spending quality time with my husband and my daughter, I’m exhausted. She might be the perfect child, who tells us when she is tired and ready for a nap, but what that has taught me is to recognize when a recharge is needed. And napping with her on a Sunday afternoon is magical too!

My daughter has helped me love more. I didn’t think my heart could hold as much love as I now know it is possible and my love for her has strengthened my love for her dad too – our marriage and our love is stronger in our shared love for her.

My daughter has helped me feel better about my body. I do not care that my “mommy body” doesn’t look like my 21-year-old body. I housed a human. I grew a tiny, amazing little girl inside of me and helped her enter this world. My body is strong and I am proud of it. This doesn’t mean I don’t work continuously to keep my body (and mind) healthy and strong – I do. My health and fitness is a priority. But I am not ashamed that I am still working on it, I am empowered by that. In many ways, I am more proud of my body now at 40 than I ever was when I was younger.

My daughter has helped me stay connected to the present. She hasn’t reached the point yet when she’s worried about something from yesterday. I hope that she never gets there.

My daughter has helped me enjoy the simple things in life. Bugs, the birds that fly overhead, the sound of a horn honking, the colors all around. She notices and loves them all, gets excited by new things – but not “big” things. In a world where technology and flash is so prevalent, I am glad that she reminds me of the beauty of sidewalk chalk and skipping.

My daughter has helped me laugh more. Toddler giggles. I think that about says it all. I think I have laughed more in the last two years than I had for an entire five years prior to her birth. I feel lighter. Happier. And yes, even younger. Laughter is definitely medicine for my soul and laughing alongside my daughter completes me.

My daughter has helped me remember my manners. I do not have to remind her to say please, thank you, excuse me, I’m sorry, or bless you. Wanting to be model of that good behavior, I think I’ve even become more courteous myself!

My daughter has helped me see clearly the only thing really is important in life.   Love. Really, simply put, thIMG_9438is is all she really needs. If I can remember nothing else that she has helped me with, this is the best, the only lesson I need from her.

So when I looked at her little face concentrating so intently on helping her mama move a piece of furniture, brow furrowed and fingers curled tightly on the handle, and I thought of all of the ways this small, tiny, person had made such a big impact on my life already, had helped me so much already, there was a moment when I almost couldn’t breath. And then she smiled up at me and I smiled back and I knew, for the rest of my life, we would always be helping each other.