Throw Back Thursday and Tiny Stormtroopers

Halloween is nigh, my friends, and it seems we have chosen Star Wars as the theme.

Huh. Like I couldn’t have seen that coming.

This year, sweet Red, who has been Luke Skywalker for the past few years, has chosen Darth Vader. My son has chosen the Dark Side. I know. I could read a lot into this but really? I’ve seen him in his Darth costume and it is fer SURE adorable. You can’t be full on Dark Side AND be cute at the same time, so that saves it.

Here is a throw-back from a two years back:

Screenshot 2017-10-12 11.03.05.png

This post was sponsored by:

star-wars-01

And:

GUILT.

This should be fun! So let’s get started.

Ok, one of my favorite scenes from Star Wars was when Harrison Ford has that cute conversation with the dude on the intercom. I love it because he is SOOOOO cute! The cuteness! The cute swagger! And he fits in his Storm Trooper outfit really well!

Yes, little ones, I am referring to the real Star Wars. The one that I watched in Glenwood Theater in Overland Park, Kansas in 1977. I was 8. Harrison Ford was a bit too old for me. I had feathered bangs, and Glenwood Theater had a chandelier, people. And velvet seats. And a deep red curtain that opened before each showing. It was an EXPERIENCE, y’all.

The other reason I love that scene is that I kinda feel like Han did in that controller room all the time. Sorta, erm, on the edge a bit and also: TOTALLY FAKING IT ALL THE TIME.

So here’s an update on my week:

The gigantic box from Netflix? Remember that?

IMG_4621

Well, it was just a tv. No biggie. Just a gigantic tv. Because, you know, I’M AWESOME.

Here is how my family reacted to this:

IMG_4628 IMG_4630 IMG_4634

Husband is blurry because I was giggling.

Ok, also: we had Halloween. So we have ONE picture of ONE child. I don’t know why. Just ONE child evidently was photogenic enough (barely, you’ll see) for me to point and click at him.

Here you go:

photo

Riiiiiight. I know. You can’t see him. Someday I am totally going to get fired for lousy photography. But, also…

(Wait for it…)

“Aren’t you a little short for a storm trooper?”

BOOM. I have been waiting my whole LIFE to be able to channel my inner Leia and say that! And now I can! With a blurry, dark photo of my cute, and short, son!

Oh, and by the way:

11254088_835680283217729_1254527848809323686_n

WE WON THE WORLD SERIES. There is such goodness about this I can’t even use words. Well, no, I CAN use words, but they just won’t really do it justice. It is wonderfulness. It is nail biting games and extra innings and Salvie messing with us whenever he talks and stealing home and just a sprinkling of Paul Rudd, for flavor.

Oops, used words. Sorry. Can’t help it.

By now, I bet you’re wondering… where does the guilt part come in?

Well, and also:

I abandoned my child. I KNOW. This post took a rather abrupt turn, didn’t it? We were all happy and celebrating holidays and big screen tv’s and then, WHAMMO.

That’s called a plot twist.

Here’s the deal. My sweet Red, who is wonderful and adorable in every way, is also, well, how should I put this:

Slow. He’s just really slow. He likes to do things slowly. All the things. Eating. Pooping. Walking. It’s all slow.

This totally doesn’t bother me at all.

So, this morning, for some reason, Red really really had a rough time with some basics: I told him to get dressed and I found him, in his underpants, staring out the front door at the sky as if he were contemplating his life choices for his long five years.

Socks. Same problem. Found him upstairs in the train room, just standing there. It was creepy.

Brushing teeth? I don’t even think we got there because we were still stuck at socks. Poor teachers.

Anyhow, finally, I snapped. I uttered these fateful words:

“Red. We are leaving. You have one minute. If you are not ready to go then Blonde and I will have to LEAVE WITHOUT YOU.”

And. Well. To cut the suspense, I’ll just tell you. He got left. We left him. I LEFT him. I took Blonde, grabbed the dog, and walked AWAY FROM MY BABY.

And then, he proceeded to lose his #@!.

But I think he did hurry up a little. He made it to a block from school and I spotted him. He was sobbing and all the mothers of the entire town were surrounding him. I think a few cars had pulled over. Police helicopters were circling overhead and Fox News had been called.

I walked up and said, “He’s fine.” Not the best thing to say. I then explained (because he was NOT fine, but he was “learning a lesson” from his “evil mother” who had to “not relapse because of this morning” and needed to, no matter what, “stick by her words no matter how much it was gonna freak her and the entire community OUT.”)

I explained the situation, and Red headed off, with me behind him. One mom gave me a sympathetic smile, but I swear another one has decided to shadow my house now.

Sigh. I know. All of this kinda puts a pall over the new tv.

Mommies. I’m doing the best I can. We had done the morning dawdle routine just one too many times. I decided to stick to my guns. I just didn’t expect this:

He broke my heart. Seeing him here, all sobbing and sad. I just don’t know. The kid learned a lesson but I did too. If I am going to leave my kid to fend for himself I need to figure out a way to do it with in air surveillance and nerves of steel. As I have neither of these things I am going to try out one of two options:

  1. Get the kid up at 5 am so he will be on time.
  2. Just carry him everywhere.

And that was my morning.

Everything’s fine here. And… How are YOU?

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Parenting is Hard and Other Gigantic and Colossal Understatements of the Century

 

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So… Colonel Custer.

Yep, that’s where I’m starting today.

Colonel Custer is sitting on his horse, staring up at sixty majillion massively irritated Native Americans that are about to mow him and his men over. And he thinks:

“Huh. This is challenging.”

And Custer’s horse thinks:

“I so do not get paid enough for this.”

Also, I have to wonder if part two of Custer’s thinking went something like this:

“RUN AWAY!!! RUN AWAY! RUN RUN RUNAWAYYYYYYYYYYY!”

Alas, it did not end well for Custer. He had this thing happen to him called a Last Stand? Perhaps you read about it in a text book? He doesn’t get to go down in the history under the heading: Just Barely Squeaked By.

Poor guy.

I think parenting is a lot like Custer’s Last Stand. Minus the arrows and death.

Actually, there are Nerf arrows flying in my version, so there.

So, my boys had a meeting recently about an ongoing project they’ve been working on. The project is largely a covert operation, so I don’t know all the ins and outs. I’ve found a few emails and some printouts entitled “How to Unhinge the Mommey,” so I get the general idea. So far I think they’ve hired Steve the cat as a consultant since he decided to poop in the husband’s closet the other day. I swear I saw him high five the boys after that epic event.

Anyhow. The meeting this time involved something I like to call:

Staring at Mom When She is Mad Is the Way to Make Her Say All the Bad Things.

What I mean by the staring is this special look that only a child can engender, a sort of glazed, slack-jawed eyeballing that exudes a completely wacko denial of responsibility. That, my friends, is a LOOK. It takes skills, and I think they had a training session over it last week. I caught them staring weirdly at the dog, and then he left the room, weeping.

So, at some point last week, Blonde does something Wrong at our house. This could entail a whole number of things, from a minor foul like drawing on the cat, to a Big Huge Infraction. I have lots of examples of Big Huge Infraction, but I won’t list them here to keep you from leaving the room, weeping.

Anyhow, Blonde received some words from me regarding the issue and then, he did this:

He just stood there and stared at me.

I know, guys. There is staring, like I’m zoned out in front of a romantic fireplace, and there is staring like: “Yea. So?” I bet you can guess which type of staring Blonde was dialing up for me.

I asked him a question. He stared some more. I repeated the question, more slowly this time, because I think I actually felt my brain start to sizzle.

And that’s when I saw them. All those angry dudes on horses, shrieking, with their bows and arrows aimed right at me.  And I straightened up in the saddle, and I said:

“You are going to stare? Just stare at me? Staring? REALLY? STARING IS WHAT YOU ARE DOING RIGHT NOW? YOU? STARING? You’re going to STARE AT ME MR. STAREY-PANTS????”  I know. This is like Pulitzer stuff. And, so, to make it all better, I thundered:

“WELL, THEN. I’LL GIVE YOU SOMETHING TO STARE ABOUT!!!!!”

And that, my friends, is how to lose the war.

Both of the savages, I know, were hoping desperately that I would deliver on this whole doing something stare-worthy, I am sure. But, I didn’t. I mustered up what was left of my dignity and mounted my horse and rode off into the sunset.*

The end.

*Translation: I went upstairs, laid on my bed, and ate a Kit-Kat.

But not before I said the best parenting line ever:

“I’LL BE BACK.” (General MacArthur, not Arnold Swarzenegger. But, Arnold works, in a pinch.)

Read the following, and insert “parent” where it says “leader.” We are doing tough work. Never give up. Never surrender.

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When we fall down.

So mommas, it will be real today. No funny business. Sorry.

The other day, my son and I got in an argument. A straight-up, no chaser, fight. With a seven year old.

Because fighting with a seven year old is what a forty six year old women chose to do that day. Because the seven year old didn’t really chose it – he doesn’t have the emotional synapses yet to say, “Hey. Yea. I am choosing this.” Most of his stuff is still kinda… on automatic. Like, his synapses say, “Hey. SQUIRREL.” And we’re done.

Anyhow.

What happened was, the kid acted like a sullen kid. And misbehaved. And then, I took the reins and took OFF on making sure he knew it.

There are times when my mothering goes astray. And it just kicks the sides of that old, dead horse and tries to run off with it. Which is a terrible metaphor but I was trying to go with the “reins” thing. Which kinda means I want you to visualize me riding a dead horse. Off a cliff. Of bad mothering.

Good lord I hope this will make some sort of sense.

If you are still with me, picture me on that poor dead horse, galloping off, on a road towards my cliff. And there’s a sign by the side of the road that says, “CAUTION. STOP HERE. BIG HUGE DROP OFF COMING. TURN THE HECK AROUND.”

Perhaps I should name the cliff. The Cliffs of Insanity.

Or, perhaps:

The Cliffs of I Must Be Right.

I think the Cliffs of Insanity sounds a bit more catchy, but Princess Bride got to it before me.

BX3Hkl.gif

Oh. My friends. His face. After all the I-Must-Be-Right-ing and lecturing and trying to make my POINT because it is so important, his little face. It just crumpled in on itself. And he told me,

“I’m just a bad kid.”

And that’s just the awfulest thing. It’s just not not the truth.

It’s just Satan. With my help. And I am so sorry. I had to tell you because I thought, you know? I am so funny and this is so NOT and you need to know. I just so screwed up.

We all screw up. We cannot help it. It’s the tangle of motherhood. We are participating in a daily battle and sometimes I get too involved in winning MY side. When, really, the winning is not the point.

The point is that I watched his shoulders sag, and he said what he did, and then I went over to him, picked him up and put him on my lap like he was my baby, because he is. And I stroked his cheek and I said,

“You are my child. I love you more than I love my life. And you are a child of God. And He doesn’t make anything bad.”

I sat and rocked him. And kissed his cheek and wiped the tears and said, “I am sorry. I love you. You got that?” He nodded. And asked me to play Yahtzee.

And we got through that mess. And probably there will be another one coming soon, because motherhood. Kids. You know.

I wanted to share because I wondered if you needed to know – we all mess up. And then we all can say sorry and go play Yahtzee and eat popcorn and hug on each other. Because, motherhood and kids.

Can I hear an amen? Thank goodness I can. It’s the only thing that keeps me afloat, y’all.

First born.

Linking up with my beloved Five Minute Friday today.

The theme?

Screenshot 2016-01-08 11.25.37

 

 

This morning I prayed for my boy, my first born.

This is because I am super spiritual.

Most days I am so spiritual, if I was a baseball team, I would be in the World Series of Spiritual. #TeamJesus! All the way!

Ok… Um. This is not the truth.

#TeamJesus has it in His contract that we are to attempt honesty in all our affairs, but most of you know me enough to realize… I am being a bit sarcastic. Just a bit.

Sarcasm helps me process. It is my way to butter the dry toast of life.

Anyhow, here was my prayer:

“Lord. I cannot. I just don’t know. I am at a total loss. My kid. We are not WORKING. Help me. Please.”

Ok, I am on a slippery slope here. I love to write about my boys, my family, but also: one day, you know? He’s gonna read this post and just sigh at me. “MOM, cut that out.”

So, I’m just gonna say this: I  think this parenting thing is too hard. And I can’t do it very well. And I am confused, and I feel like I have to go to the library and check out a bunch of parenting books. Like, ALL of them. Books like: “So,  Your Children, Huh? Driving You Nuts?” And, “What To Expect When They Are Nuts,” And, “Kids: No Matter What You Try They Will Make You Nuts.”

I know. After I carry all these books (Keyword: “nuts”), so many that the librarian will look at me with pity,  I’ll read them all and take notes, use post its, maybe fill up a notebook or two, and still, STILL not do it right.

Nuts.

My first born. He came into my life right on time, right on his due date. He slams up against my personality lately. He does so because, well…

He is exactly like me. We are nuts.

And first thing, in the morning, I pray: “Don’t let me screw this up. He is precious. He is driving me crazy. I have to get this right.

But you know? I don’t think that’s a #TeamJesus prayer, really.  It’s more like terrified scatter shot, all panicked and hoping  for a direct hit. These are more like a prayers… to me. To take this all over. And fix it. Because that’s how we operate, my first born and me. We are in control.

Except when we’re not.

My prayers, first thing, need to life my hands up to the One who has got this all. He is my Father, after all. He knows best. I can go ahead and read the fifteen parenting books next to my bed, but at the end of the day, I need to read the bible too. And realize who the Great Author is, recognize that He wants us to parent as He does. And go from there.

By the way, ask a  seven year old to give up control, and watch his little brain start shooting out sparks.

Ask a 40 something year old momma to do the same? She should NOT be sparking. She has age on her side. A lot of age. If she starts sparking she might just set herself on fire, and she’s too old for that nonsense.

I got a lot to learn. I love my boy. But my prayers should be this:

“Lord, change me. Use me. And, I give you ME. Also, I give you my boy. My first born. He is precious to me. And he is Yours.”

“Help. Please. And thank You.”

Can I hear an amen?

Parenting is so hard. It is SO hard. And control freaks find it so mind boggling that often times? We rev up to nutball to FIX it all. Today? I’m going to fix my heart on Jesus, who is my first love.

And I’m gonna love on the idea that in my weakness, my LACK of “firstness” I make more room for His strength.

Oh, thank You. team-jesus

 

Everything’s Perfectly Fine Here. How are You?

This post was sponsored by:

star-wars-01

And:

GUILT.

This should be fun! So let’s get started.

Ok, one of my favorite scenes from Star Wars was when Harrison Ford has that cute conversation with the dude on the intercom. I love it because he is SOOOOO cute! The cuteness! The cute swagger! And he fits in his Storm Trooper outfit really well!

Yes, little ones, I am referring to the real Star Wars. The one that I watched in Glenwood Theater in Overland Park, Kansas in 1977. I was 8. Harrison Ford was a bit too old for me. I had feathered bangs, and Glenwood Theater had a chandelier, people. And velvet seats. And a deep red curtain that opened before each showing. It was an EXPERIENCE, y’all.

The other reason I love that scene is that I kinda feel like Han did in that controller room all the time. Sorta, erm, on the edge a bit and also: TOTALLY FAKING IT ALL THE TIME.

So here’s an update on my week:

The gigantic box from Netflix? Remember that?

IMG_4621

Well, it was just a tv. No biggie. Just a gigantic tv. Because, you know, I’M AWESOME.

Here is how my family reacted to this:

IMG_4628 IMG_4630 IMG_4634

Husband is blurry because I was giggling.

Ok, also: we had Halloween. So we have ONE picture of ONE child. I don’t know why. Just ONE child evidently was photogenic enough (barely, you’ll see) for me to point and click at him.

Here you go:

photo

Riiiiiight. I know. You can’t see him. Someday I am totally going to get fired for lousy photography. But, also…

(Wait for it…)

“Aren’t you a little short for a storm trooper?”

BOOM. I have been waiting my whole LIFE to be able to channel my inner Leia and say that! And now I can! With a blurry, dark photo of my cute, and short, son!

Oh, and by the way:

11254088_835680283217729_1254527848809323686_n

WE WON THE WORLD SERIES. There is such goodness about this I can’t even use words. Well, no, I CAN use words, but they just won’t really do it justice. It is wonderfulness. It is nail biting games and extra innings and Salvie messing with us whenever he talks and stealing home and just a sprinkling of Paul Rudd, for flavor.

Oops, used words. Sorry. Can’t help it.

By now, I bet you’re wondering… where does the guilt part come in?

Well, and also:

I abandoned my child. I KNOW. This post took a rather abrupt turn, didn’t it? We were all happy and celebrating holidays and big screen tv’s and then, WHAMMO.

That’s called a plot twist.

Here’s the deal. My sweet Red, who is wonderful and adorable in every way, is also, well, how should I put this:

Slow. He’s just really slow. He likes to do things slowly. All the things. Eating. Pooping. Walking. It’s all slow.

This totally doesn’t bother me at all.

So, this morning, for some reason, Red really really had a rough time with some basics: I told him to get dressed and I found him, in his underpants, staring out the front door at the sky as if he were contemplating his life choices for his long five years.

Socks. Same problem. Found him upstairs in the train room, just standing there. It was creepy.

Brushing teeth? I don’t even think we got there because we were still stuck at socks. Poor teachers.

Anyhow, finally, I snapped. I uttered these fateful words:

“Red. We are leaving. You have one minute. If you are not ready to go then Blonde and I will have to LEAVE WITHOUT YOU.”

And. Well. To cut the suspense, I’ll just tell you. He got left. We left him. I LEFT him. I took Blonde, grabbed the dog, and walked AWAY FROM MY BABY.

And then, he proceeded to lose his #@!.

But I think he did hurry up a little. He made it to a block from school and I spotted him. He was sobbing and all the mothers of the entire town were surrounding him. I think a few cars had pulled over. Police helicopters were circling overhead and Fox News had been called.

I walked up and said, “He’s fine.” Not the best thing to say. I then explained (because he was NOT fine, but he was “learning a lesson” from his “evil mother” who had to “not relapse because of this morning” and needed to, no matter what, “stick by her words no matter how much it was gonna freak her and the entire community OUT.”)

I explained the situation, and Red headed off, with me behind him. One mom gave me a sympathetic smile, but I swear another one has decided to shadow my house now.

Sigh. I know. All of this kinda puts a pall over the new tv.

Mommies. I’m doing the best I can. We had done the morning dawdle routine just one too many times. I decided to stick to my guns. I just didn’t expect this:

He broke my heart. Seeing him here, all sobbing and sad. I just don’t know. The kid learned a lesson but I did too. If I am going to leave my kid to fend for himself I need to figure out a way to do it with in air surveillance and nerves of steel. As I have neither of these things I am going to try out one of two options:

  1. Get the kid up at 5 am so he will be on time.
  2. Just carry him everywhere.

And that was my morning.

Everything’s fine here. And… How are YOU?

tumblr_inline_nkv5xw0uZF1rf5b85

Let That Be a Lesson To You

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Criminal A and B.

 

 

Every Wednesday night my church has a great event called His Kids, where seven million children alight upon our little brick church and play, eat, run about, and learn about Jesus.

Ok, not seven million. But it’s a lot.

My children, when they were small and adorable, used to call Wednesday His Kids, “Biscuits!!  It’sa da Biscuits night!” This would become even more compounded in meaning if the church meal there WAS actually biscuits and gravy, and my poor boys were swimming in biscuits all over da place.

This was so cute that I never actually corrected it, and to this day my children seem to link church going to flaky baked goods with honey.

There are worse things.

Last Wednesday night, His Kids was wrapping up, and I was attempting to get two boys in coats and boots and out the door before we hit the dreaded It’s Way Past Your Bedtime, and Your Mom Gets Grumpy deadline.

As I headed out the the car, I spotted them, running way ahead, down the sidewalk, to the car, past the car, and they Just. Kept. Going.

Let’s just say that right then is when I passed the Grumpy deadline. Inside, I had warned them, quite calmly, with a lovely and firm but soothing Mom voice: “Boys, head straight to the car. It’s Way Past Your Bedtime. If you stay up much longer you implode with exhaustion and hyperactivity with help from all those Starbursts you ate after diner.  And I am feeling a grump coming on… it’s a small tickle in the back of my throat, so we best get home. Now.”

As I watched them run past the car with only the roadrunner glee that a four and a six year old can, I thought,

“Humph. They are going to learn a lesson.”

So, I got in my car and drove away.

Now, before you start trying to figure out how to call the cops on a mom blogger, just know this: I didn’t LEAVE-leave… I slipped around the back, silent and stealthy as an unmarked vehicle, and pulled in the side. I sat there for about thirty seconds, giving Red and Blonde just long enough to realize I was gone, and then tears and repentance and all that.

I peered around, to the front of the church, looking for two very sad and sorrowful boys who will never, ever disobey again, like ever.

Instead, I saw two small boys who were sprinting like mini Usain Bolts, and they had a three block head start on me. They were going home. By themselves. At eight o’clock at night.

And, then, I spotted it: They were gleeful.

I was told later that at least two members of my church reported back that “Red and Blonde are out running down Lincoln street! Danger! Danger! And, WHERE IS THEIR MOTHERRRRRR??”

I followed them. I kept praying, “Lord, sometime along the way, could some sort of freaking out occur? Could they get cold or get attacked by a stray cat or something.” I sighed. “Somehow, please, could this whole thing not turn out to be an awesome field trip of wonderfulness? Could we have some misery at some point? Please, Lord?”

Nope. They were absolutely thrilled. When I finally pulled in and revealed my cover – Blonde ran to me, cheeks all red and eyes twinkling,

“Mom! Hey, where were you? We started home acuz you left and we ARE ALMOST THERE and I watched at each stweet and lookits both ways! I was very careful!”

Red interjected with a small jazzstep and some “vroom vroom” noises, and then shouted, “DIS. IS. SO. AWESOME!”

I had prepared a long speech for them. I opened my mouth. I shut it. And then I growled, “Your father will talk to you about this when we get home.”

“Okay! But… canna we walk the rest of the way? Dis is fun!”

Well. Let that be a lesson to you.

 

Screenshot 2015-01-13 10.24.11

 

You’re Welcome

Linking up today with Five-Minute-Friday-4-300x300

 

I give you…

The suspect:

Screenshot 2014-04-15 13.58.10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And… the merchandise in question:Screenshot 2015-01-09 08.32.58

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, the Accomplice:photo 1(Well, not really, but he looked cute in this picture, so I included him.)

 

Red recently had a major meltdown because I wouldn’t let him have a candy necklace for breakfast. Red is usually quite an affable fellow, sweet-natured, kind, loves to give kisses, throws his arms around me and tells me he wuvs me, oh heck I just don’t even know, his adorableness has just kinda has paved the way for him in life so far…

Except when it came to the Battle of the Candy Necklace. Which lasted: All. Morning. Long.

I don’t really know why he decided this necklace was the Holy Grail, but he did, and I spent an entire morning with a nutball kid who was jonesing for some sugar and string and my GOSH it kind of blew my morning right outta there.

After a long morning of epic, Days of Our Lives, mascara running drama and pathos, he finally decided he was through and wanted some oatmeal.

The kid came downstairs from his room at 8:37, all swollen and snotty, sauntered into the kitchen and said, “I’m done fussing. I was sad but I am done now.” I eyed him over my eleventh cup of coffee and wondered, Can I go take a timeout in my room now? Maybe I could stay up there long enough to read a magazine and catch a nap? I could really use a nap.

I gave him oatmeal and decided to actually heat it up again, as opposed to the cold gruel (or not gruel at all) I was considering for him. I know. This is not the right thing. The right thing would have been no breakfast, or perhaps bread and water and some shackles, but I was weak. The sobbing. Please. No more of the sobbing.

I spooned it up for him, and he took a long shuddering breath, and I said, “Well, thanks Red for getting over your fuss.”

He looked at me. “You’re welcome, mommah.”

Later that day, I relayed this story to some friends of mine. We moms do this all the time. Or at least I do. I share stories and I hope, maybe, that the sharing will maybe smooth over the deep down fear that I am doing this all wrong and my children are going to end up on one of those posters you see at the post office.

And you know? They laughed, and they got me to laugh. And we shared some similar stories. And I sighed a little and felt a small bubble of grace leave its comfort in my soul.

My mom friends get me, and we are welcome to share, and sigh, and even cry with each other.

Or laugh. We laugh a lot.

We are welcome to come over for coffee and sit in our frazzled state and yoga pants, as our children crawl over us, and share our horror stories, or the cuteness, or even the sadness that we are going through. We are welcome to share even when we are so not sure that all this parenting stuff is even POSSIBLE for us – it is just so hard sometimes…

We welcome each other with open arms and lots of hugs, and one friend gives me copious amounts of coffee and lets me in on a big secret: Welcome to Motherhood. It’s not for the faint of heart.

Good thing we don’t have to do it alone.

I tell my friend, as she hands me yet another cup of piping hot coffee with hazlenut creamer, “Thank you.”

She smiles, and says, “You’re welcome.”