Tag Archives: ellery

“But I don’t want to be died!”

Oh, out of the mouths of three year old girls during Good Friday mass. My daughter was sitting on my lap on the pew, the smell of fresh air and sunshine wafted up from her little body because we had remembered mass while on a family walk outside and had to cut it short, and she asked me an innocent question about Jesus. Little did I know that this moment would lead to one of the hardest lies I have ever had to tell my little girl.

See, we had briefed the kids on the way over, and we told them that Good Friday mass was more like a funeral. There would be no singing of joy and adoration, not a lot of singing at all really, and people would be sad because this is the day we mourn the crucifixion of Christ on the Cross. So, when we walked into church and sat down, the solemnity a warm, snug fog over the congregation, I didn’t think anything of the conversation from the van. I prayed my usual, “please let my kids be good through this gathering and thank you for leading us here to be with you safely, etc” and sat back in the pew. Ellery climbed up on my lap, her blue eyes squinted in thought, and she asked me, “why did Jesus have to die?” My heart sank; I had been dreading this conversation since we decided to raise our children Catholic. I do not like Good Friday. I don’t like to think of the cruelty that Jesus had to go through, the pain and torture. It isn’t my favorite thing to think about, though I am supposed to honor and behold that image as a Catholic. I explained to her, choking on my whispers, that the other people in His town thought Jesus was a bad man and a liar because some people called him the King of the Jewish People, and there was only allowed to be one king, the monarch, King Herod. Pontius Pilate, a man with a lot of power, didn’t act on Jesus’s behalf; therefore, Jesus was set to die. He was crucified on the cross, and I showed her in my palms where the nails went. I told her he went into Heaven on Easter Sunday, and He threw open the gates for us to be able to be with him when it is our turn to die. He was waiting for us, and we would all be with Him again one day. She looked up at the crucifix in the front of the church, seeming to understand this, and said, “oh. Ok.” She didn’t seem phased, and I breathed a sigh of relief that my answer was acceptable without further question. Or so I had assumed. After about thirty seconds or so, she walked down to see my husband, and she stopped dead in her tracks. The “something just broke my heart” look came over her face, and sobs trembled her chin. “I don’t want to be died!” she wailed, collapsing into my husband’s arms. He looked at me, dumbstruck, and I realized what I had done. “Come to Mama, baby. It’s okay; let’s just sit here and talk,”  I cooed as she came back into my arms. I sat with her again and braced myself for the next part. Boy, had I stepped in it this time.

Her clear, liquid blue eyes pierced my heart as I wiped her tears. She looked at me, desperate for an answer as to why she had to die. And I started talking to her, assuring her that she would not die soon. I told her that none of us were going to die anytime soon, and we had a long time and life ahead of us to be together. She asked me if only adults die, and I was honest with her and told her that no, babies and kids can die also. But I would do everything in my power, as would my husband and our families, to keep her safe and healthy, alive and whole, for as long as we could. I calmed her fears, settling her heart over and over, telling her that we would all be okay and a family for a very, very long time. None of us would see Jesus soon. I promised. She smiled, gave me her signature squeeze around the neck and an, “I love you, Mommy.” My heart was so heavy, I almost couldn’t breathe. I lied to her…and it hurt me so.

See, here was what broke my heart. I don’t know when we will die. I can’t guarantee her that we will all be together for a long time. I can’t promise her that I will not die tomorrow, that she will live until she’s 90, or that none of us will see Jesus soon. I can’t know that, but I told her this. And it hurt me. I thought about the people we have lost too soon. July 20, 2013, reminded me that tomorrow is promised to no one, and death can happen at any single moment, with no warning. And Death doesn’t care if you have young children, a family, are alone, or have people counting on you. It doesn’t care, and it isn’t fair. At that moment, remembering my cousin and others who have passed well before we here on Earth are okay with it, fresh tears found their way to my cheeks. Onlookers may have seen my emotions as a direct reaction to the mass and message, but it wasn’t that. I was sad thinking of those who have passed, and the fact that I can be separated from my kids at any time, not guaranteed to see them become parents, see my grandchildren, dance with my husband on a monumental anniversary. And I was sad because, in the moment, even though I didn’t tell her the total truth, I did the right thing. I promised my child something that I have no control over, and something that is so fragile and unknown: that we would live for a long time, together, as a family. I did what I had to do, lied to my child in CHURCH no less, but it was an answer she accepted wholly, without question. And as I looked at her beach blond hair and cherub cheeks, her eyes calm with knowing she would not die anytime soon, I realized that I promised her something that I want to be true, so badly, and it is a promise I am okay with making.

There are conversations that you imagine yourself having, but you don’t really know how you will handle. From the sex talk to the death talk, there are topics that need to be broached with clarity and conciseness, honesty and simplicity. I didn’t imagine having the intro to death chat with my three year old at this tender age, but I am glad that she and I had that moment. It did my heart good to soothe hers, and I did what any mother would do: I made a promise to my child that, in my heart, I so desperately want to see through. And though we don’t know what our tomorrows will bring, as long as my child believes in me and the power of my love for her, I know no matter what, she will know I will never truly leave her, regardless of how many breaths we have left.


And it never, ever dies…


And that, right there, is a fact!!

Dear Ellery…

Oh my dear, sweet, snuggle bug Ellery Jean. I can’t believe it. You turn three tomorrow. And what an amazing whirlwind of joy these last three years have been. This past year, in particular, has been your best. You became a big sister, and you are the best damn big sister you can be. You dote upon Finola like she is yours, and you even call her “mine only” because none of us can possibly love her like you do. You have discovered your sense of humor and make us laugh everyday. Your vocabulary rivals that of any second grader, at least, and you’re three. Your little body makes me smile, with its pudgy little belly and bubble butt. You love pink, all things girlie, and the Disney Princesses are your personal friends. You know your mind, your heart, and you won’t give in to anything that doesn’t please either.

You’re a pretty good little sister to Caelan, and you’re testing the waters of sharing and learning from her. To see both of you play together, it becomes obvious you were made for each other, to be each others’ anchor and light, to be that hand to hold and smile to share, to be the one to pick each other up and have each others’ backs. You two are truly more than sisters; you’re best friends, and no one can divide you. Three years ago, Caelan became a big sister, and her life was changed forever, in an amazingly awesome way.

Finola is getting in there, trying to be a big kid, and I am so proud she has you to look up to. With Caelan being in school, you and Finola spend a lot of time together without her, and it has strengthened your love and bond as sisters. Finola looks at you like she looks at no one else; the love is tangible. You make her laugh and squeal like no one else does, and I am so proud of you for being such an excellent example for her. She adores you. It’s so obvious.

You’re not always pleasant. Or quiet. Or friendly. Or nice, even, if we are being honest. You’re loud, pushy, demanding at times, and sometimes you can be downright mean. But you know what? ALL of those things make you who you are, and they differentiate you from your sisters and peers. You will start preschool soon, you will have friends and learn the ropes of being with kids your own age, and life will change for you in the social aspect. You will bring home lessons that you can only learn from being around other three year olds, and you will begin to see life through the eyes of a little lady who is comfortable enough to leave her mommy and daddy for a bit to start doing her own thing. And you know what? You’re ready. I am 100% sure of this. I don’t know that the world is, but you are, for sure.

You are so beautiful, it hurts to look at you sometimes. My heart gets really big in my chest, and I feel very warm inside, and then you get in my lap to snuggle me, and I melt. You have become quite the Mommy’s Girl this last year, and I am so, so happy about it. You reach for me when you are hurt, not feeling well, crying, sad, happy, snuggly…whatever. You just want me to be around. You greet me at the door if I have to leave with a, “MOMMY!!!” as soon as I get home. And you run to me, hugging my legs, and in that moment, I forget what the day has brought me, and I am with you 100%. We have quite the bond, you and I, and it will only grow from here. We’ve spent a lot of time together since I don’t work full time, and we have become quite the pair of pals. You ask me not to go to work, to stay home and have tea parties, and Babygirl, you have no idea how much I want to….

Which leads me to this. As happy as I am that tomorrow is such a big day for you, I am so, so very sad about tomorrow. See, Mommy’s semester starts tomorrow. That means I have to go teach the “big kids” at “big kid college”. And I have been so in love with being home with you the last month. My heart aches in my chest, feeling like it’s going to drop out, and I have a lump in my throat the size of Manhattan. I have to go back to work tomorrow, and while part of me will be so happy to be back in the classroom and with students, a larger part of me wants to be home in jammies, giggling and playing princess and tea party with you until we can’t play anymore. I only work part time away from you because my full time job is being Mommy to you and your sisters. The good thing about my job is that it is 16 weeks at a time (you don’t know what that means, but it’s not a long time, really, though it feels like it sometimes) . I love my job, my students, my life outside these four walls. But I love my life inside of them even more, and nothing will ever change that. I have to work for myself, for our family, and for you. See, I want you to know that a woman’s place is wherever she wants to be, and there is no limit to our potential, even when that woman has a family. I want you to have the courage to leave your children behind someday, to work for as long as you need to, to be able to do what makes your soul happy, feeds your family and your soul. Because it does take courage to be a mommy who works outside the house. Being a mommy isn’t easy, no matter what, but for me, it’s harder to leave you and know I am doing good works outside of the house, than it is to stay home and be with you. I have to be brave. For you. For your sisters, your daddy. And for me.

I wish my semester didn’t start on your birthday. That is the hardest part for me. But I will be home in the afternoon, as soon as Caelan gets off the bus, and we will do fun things. We can play princesses, tea party, matching, Yahtzee, dance party, watch movies, and laugh…being together. This will be your best birthday gift: time together, to do anything you want, after a long day apart. I love you, Ellery Jean JellyBean. You make me happy when skies are grey. You truly are my sunshine. And I can’t believe, in my heart of hearts, that you are three. I can’t wait to see the changes, the lessons, the laughter, and the liveliness that three can bring to you. Three was a great year for Caelan, and I am sure it will be for you as well. You are one of the best things I have ever done. You are my little lady. And you’re one of my greatest inspirations to be the best mommy I can be for you and your sisters.

Your laughter. Your light. Your smile. Your eyes. And your voice. All of these things drive me on. I can’t believe I have only been your mommy for three years. It feels like I have known you, and loved you, my whole entire life.
I think I have…

WERKThis face. These eyes. This little girl…
She is one of my reasons.
Happy Birthday, Ellery Jean.
Three is going to be amazing…

Two. 1/13/13

Dearest Ellery Jean,

I seriously do not know how we got here. So fast. This past year has flown by. I partially blame myself; I feel I have missed some time with you. I have been so set in my pursuit for my professional career and all that comes with it. I feel like you and I haven’t had the serious Mommy and Me time I had with your older sister. This is for a variety of factors, including the fact that your sister was always sick. I had to learn her inside and out. I had to know her entire being like it was my own. You? No way. I trust you. Far more, I think, than anyone should trust a toddler. Especially a toddler with your grin, giggle, and that glint of ornery behind those baby blues you sport. I guess I trust you to always be you and be healthy and happy because it’s all I ever wanted after the ordeals with Caelan. I trust you to not hurt yourself, to be okay when you fall, and to be resilient because your sister, though stronger, still seems so fragile. Maybe all parents of two allow the second to kind of just be. But I don’t know. I haven’t had two before. And soon, we shall have three. But that’s not what this is about. I suppose it isn’t fair to you that I trust you as much as I do; it’s a lot of responsibility for you. Now, that is not to say I won’t cuddle you, snuggle you, or hold you while you cry. But I just always trust that you’ll bounce back. And you always do. We prayed for you; you may not understand fully, but you were an answer to a prayer I used to whisper. “Please God, just make this baby healthy. Make her eat. Make her laugh and smile and be okay. Just make her okay.”

And you are more than okay. You are brilliant. You are hilarious. You absolutely make me split my sides every single day. At least ten times. Your laughter and energy is infectious. And smart. Oh are you ever. You are smarter than your sister was at this age, which we never could have believed. You just “know” things. Your vocabulary gets bigger every single day. You repeat everything you hear, both good and bad. You like to sing Lady Gaga songs, which I am fine with. You dance and twirl, spin and swirl all the time. You have changed me, changed the way I thought I would parent, and challenged me to learn to just give in a little. You ask for more snacks, I give them to you. You want one more snuggle? You got it. I have learned to breathe with you. I can be a mom and not be worried and stressed about you. And for that, I thank you. This past year has been so fun, so adventurous, and so new with you. We went to the beach, we went on day trips, you explored and you learned. You flew in an airplane to Texas! You’ve grown and changed so much…You got to experience some amazing things, and you did all of it with your best friend, Caelan, right beside you. NO one on this planet will ever love you like she does. Not the new baby, not even Mommy and Daddy. You two have something special; please promise me you will hold onto it. You follow her around, discovering who you are through her, doing what she does, every single day. You now share a room, and that only serves to strengthen your bond. I can’t put into words how watching you two together makes me feel inside, but I can tell you it is pride and love beyond that which I have ever known.

You eat. You dance. You play. You sing. You love books. Your favorite phrase right now is, “read to me, please.” And I am never too busy to oblige. I hope you know how much you mean to me. I promise you, in the year(s) to come, I will be more present for you. I am slowing down my workload. I am pulling in my oars, and this will only serve to make me a better mom. I will be home more. I will dance more. Laugh more. Read more. You have shown me how important it is. Your personality and persistence have made me see things in a new way. It doesn’t matter who I am professionally; if I am not the best mom you deserve, than all of this means nothing. So this is my vow. To be here. For you. For Caelan. For the new baby. I will not fail you; I only get one shot at this. I can’t blow it. I won’t.

Two years old is a big deal. I hope it’s not the terrible twos, but hey if so, I know how to handle it. However, every time I think that I have it figured out, you show me how polar opposite two kids can be. You are nothing like your sister while being so much like her it’s scary. It’s hard to explain. You just are definitely your own person. You are so very much like your Daddy. This is a good thing; I chose him to be your daddy after all. I see him in you more and more. And it just makes me so happy. You are going to be potty training soon, like real potty training with Big Girl Panties. You are ready. Stubborn. But ready. In June, you will be a big sister. And this will open up whole new worlds for you. I hope you handle it as well, and with as much joy and love, as your sister has. You have a good example to follow. The best.

Two will bring new things for you. New adventures. New challenges. But two will be uniquely yours, as your whole life has been. You will make two fabulous, this I know. You will settle for nothing short of awesome and amazing. You never do. I want you to know how much your daddy and I love you. We are so proud of the little girl you are becoming. And we cannot wait for all of the fun to come with our brand new two year old. Two years ago tonight, I was anticipating your arrival. Birthing you was not the most fun ever. But, it sure was worth every single minute. And with every passing day, with every goodnight kiss and snuggle, with every smile and laugh, I remember over and over how honored I am to even know you, let alone have you call me Mommy. I love you, Ellery Jean JellyBean. And remember, I will love you forever. I will like you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be. Happy Birthday *tomorrow*. I hope your Pizza Party is as much fun as it can be for you. I know it will be. Nothing but the best for our little lady.

Love Always,

555250_10100538623152072_711100265_nThis was taken tonight at Grammy and Poppi’s house…
And is SUCH an indication of your little spunk and personality…
Happy Birthday, Princess EJ Bean

These two knuckleheads…

I can be that jackass mom who, when someone tells me my girls are “so cute” that I simply reply, “I know, right?!” I forget to say thanks sometimes. And I think that’s ok. I say “thank you” after I realize I was a huge douche canoe, but it’s never my first response. I can’t help it. They ARE so cute!! They have been growing and changing SO quickly lately, it feels I can’t keep up.

Ellery has been just growing up so fast lately. She plays with her sister, lets her sister do whatever she wants to her, and never really puts up a fight. Yesterday at my parents’ house, Caelan had convinced Ellery to play “baby and mommy” and Ellery was the baby. So, Caelan had “tucked her in for her nap” with a blanket on one of her little kiddie chairs and a green bowling pin as a bottle. I’ll be damned if Ellery didn’t sit in that chair, covered in that blanket, and pretend to drink her bowling pin bottle. After the appropriate length of drinking time, she gave the bottle to Caelan, told her it was “good” and then tapped her knees with her fingers like she was waiting for what to do next. It was hysterical. And priceless. It was a reminder that those two are thick as thieves, and we will have our hands FULL in the years to come.

And Caelan has just been a little rotten egg lately. She has been arguing with me and fighting me on everything. And it has been annoying. I admit it. But, she is her mother’s child. And she comes by it honest. SO even when I am so close to spanking her bottom (because I won’t actually do it, but know me when I say I have been close this week alone), I cannot be mad at her really. She has inherited her mother’s temper and headstrength (is that a word?). And I can’t blame her. She’s just like me. Poor kid. I hope she also inherits my fight and drive to change the world. Or at least the world around her.

I am so blessed to have the two kids I have. I am so blessed that every single day I get to be Mommy. Some days I don’t want to be Mommy. Some days I don’t want to be bothered. I admit it; I am not perfect. But I know that I am doing one hell of a good job with the girls. Shawn is doing his fair share, too. Sometimes I feel like he does more than I do. Some days I feel I am at work, with my students, with my peers, with my people so long that when I come home, they are huge and I have missed an entire week. I feel bad for those times, but I do not regret them because my work is an equal part of who I am and what I do. I want my girls to see that even mommies have to work hard and do great things because it isn’t only Daddy’s job to do. I want them to see that they are the reason I do what I do; I do not know who they will love when they get older, but I want to make sure there are people and systems that support them no matter what.

I will never give up my work. I will never give up my kids. I will never give up my husband or my family. Nothing in my life is negotiable at this point. I can’t let anyone down; it’s not in my nature to do so. I care and love with my whole heart and soul. And usually when I care about someone, it means they have fallen into the fold of loving them. I don’t blindly care. I want my girls to be the same way. I want them to know they matter, they are important, and that they are my reason for waking every day. I want them to love people like I do. I want them to give love without expecting it. I want them to always know that everything will be ok, as long as they have each other and love in their hearts and lives.

And I want them to know that no matter where life takes them, who life takes them to, Mommy will always be their biggest supporter and advocate.

Because these two faces are the reason there is a smile on mine…

My little pumpkins…

This was after their pretend “nap time”.

I love my little girls.

They are SO cute, right? 😉

Hey! Guess what, guys!?

Ellery’s ONE! LOL. I know, right? When did THAT happen? Oh, January 13th.

Ellery’s First Birthday Post

Sweet Ellery Jean JellyBean:
I still can’t believe my baby, my sweet baby girl is one. The last baby I will be having, and now you’re a toddler. Wow. It actually feels like you weren’t a baby for long.

I fought for you. Six months prior to knowing I was embracing you, I gave an angel baby wings and sent her to be with Jesus. I fought for you. You fought for me. You and I, we fought the good fight. My heart wasn’t cooperating with the whole pregnancy thing. With you, something was different. I got really full of fluid, and it put way too much pressure on my heart. The doctors didn’t know what was going to happen, to you OR to me. Many appointments were made to cardiologists, specialists… it was crazy. It felt surreal, like it wasn’t my life. They threatened to take you early, too early. So I fought for you. Told them they couldn’t have you yet. Doctor mentioned the possibility of me having a stroke. Maybe even emergency heart surgery… it was incredibly difficult to hear, and put my own well-being and possibly life, on the line. However, that’s what moms do. So, we struggled. I am not going to lie, it was not fun. It was scary. A lot. I lived one minute to the next most days. Thanking God for waking me up, and keeping you safe….

39 weeks into that nightmare (is it terrible to say pregnancy was a nightmare? It was a blessing, do not get me wrong, but it was not all fun), they said they could take you. And after the weirdest labor ever, you were here. And boy, oh boy, I have never been happier to see anyone’s face…

This past year has flown by. And I feel so ridiculous when I say that, because time physically cannot fly, but let me tell you… this year has been incredible. You are the answer to so many prayers. You are healthy where your big sister was sick. You are chubby where your big sister was so thin, so frail. And you eat and love food where your big sister couldn’t be bothered with all of that. I am so amazed, everyday, at how DIFFERENT you two are. I could not have imagined I’d ever be blessed with two totally amazing, yet two totally opposite daughters. It’s incredible how God knows what we needed, and made sure we were ready for an easy baby, in the face of how difficult life was for your big sister…

In the blink of an eye, you have learned so much. You talk (when you want to). You walk (when you want to). You dance (when you want to). You eat (when you want to). Noticing a pattern? You are definitely a little lady who knows what she wants, when she wants it. You have figured out that your sister is, and will forever be, a best friend in your life. She would fight for you, and I know you would fight for her (especially if she had Oreos. Just saying: you have inherited your mother’s sweet tooth). You have become quite the Momma’s girl, though Daddy remains your favorite. And I am ok with that: your daddy is pretty fabulous. 🙂 We prayed for you. I know that now: YOU were the answer to my prayers…

You have taught me so much (here is where I am crying, so forgive me if this sounds nonsensical for a minute). I know now how good God is, and what He can do. I know now what it feels like to FIGHT so hard for something, and to do whatever is needed to keep a baby safe. With your sister, I fought for her because she wasn’t physically able to fight her own fight. We had to do so much to keep her healthy, and alive. But it didn’t have anything to do with my physical being. With you, it was me. Laying it all down. For you. It still humbles me to this day that we did that, you and I (and God). You taught me how important life is, like really REALLY is. I took so much for granted before all of this, but watching you play with your sister and laugh at every silly thing she does… my purpose is clear. I am supposed to be your mommy. This is not a mistake, it’s by design.

You have driven me to do great things, to pave the way for you to do great things. I am finishing my Master’s (less than three weeks!!). I am teaching and showing you that a good mommy can be more than just a mommy: she can have a career and a life outside of the house. I am fighting for causes and for people that I hope will not even be social issues when you are my age. I want you to see that we can have voices and use them for good. We can stand up and fight for what we believe in, all while also being women of faith: they are not separate if you don’t let them be. I want you, and your sister, to do great things, no matter who you love, where you go or who you become…

This year has given me so much more than I ever could have asked for… And it’s all because I had a prayer. And God gave me you.

Day One (don’t mind the date being off, I never was able to figure that part of my camera out)

Two weeks before your birthday! Look at you Go!!

Happy Birthday, Ellery. I love you so much, more than you will ever know.
I’ll love you forever. I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.

Let’s just pretend that I never say anything about not having time to blog on here…

And let’s start actually DOING something about it! Woohoo!! I am making it my mission to post something here, every night. No matter if it is something piddly and small, or large and profound. I still need a post for Ellery’s first birthday *I know, I am so lame but I really need time to do this*. However, know that this month is going to be tight on time. February 26th is SOMEONE’S last day of classes (woohoo!) and I am thinking about planning a party lol. I am so excited to be done with school for a while..

Wait? Did she just say for a while?

Yes, for a while. I want my Ed.D, but not until someone pays for it. Because I am not adding onto that mountain I call “Student Loan Ridiculousness”. That mountain will remain untouched, unless it is being chipped away at.

Speaking of, I am starting my “student loan budgetary diet” in order to start live like I am dying broke. LOL. I need to pretend that I don’t really have six months of downtime until the loans come due. Because I want to send them a whopper of a first check for that payment.

Can I say thank you to Mr. Obama for making my student loans not as scary as they could be? Income based repayment? Completely dropping off after a certain amount of years? Yes please. I’ll take two.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand. I downloaded some awesome prompt books on iBooks *iPlug* and I am going to be using them to start writing again. Because I always say I want to. And now, I just need to do it.

Hopefully I will be able to do that on here a bit. Break out some awesome moves on the blog, bust out some good writing and get the juices flowing again.

ON that note, I am tired. Caelan decided last night was not for sleeping. I see a couch and a Roku box (which I LOVE, btw!) calling my name…

Goodnight all. ❤