Wednesday, August 26

Solid Food

If you'll allow, I think I'll just start right here in the middle of my thought.


Recently, I marveled at a facebook post written by a man who's child had been diagnosed with cancer.  

It was incredible. 
It was inspiring. 
It was compelling. 

Maybe that is what the Bible writers meant when they talked about "solid food", that I might grow to a place of maturity in which I am able to pray "In every circumstance; truly, even in the midst of my worst nightmare, I trust in your goodness. I rely on you for comfort and I hold fast to the promise of eternity in your presence, where there is no longer sorrow, where the thirst of my soul will be ultimately and unendingly quenched by Living Water." 

I'm not here to make an announcement. We're not in the middle of any great trial. 
In fact, I've never really experienced personal grief. Heck, I haven't even had to grieve a grandparent yet. Wonder of wonders, I'm 32 years old and all 4 of my grandparents are alive and well, thank God. MAY THEY LIVE FOREVER AND EVER. 

My dad has struggled with cancer for so many years that I'm tired of typing the number but he is alive and he is fighting. We've grieved for moments lost, for sure, but he is breathing and we are able to hear his voice and kiss his lovely face. 

I have heard of that deep grief of loss, though, for sure. 
I've walked closely with friends as they've travelled that dark valley. 

I absolutely cannot imagine the immense grief of watching my child suffer with cancer... and, yet, this acquaintance of mine and his wife are doing that very thing, walking through my worst nightmare and somehow finding a way to worship God in the midst of it. Solid food. 


I do not understand why my life is so good. I have such abundance and such an overflow of reasons to be thankful, I almost feel guilty sometimes. And I struggle with even saying that God has blessed me. Because why should He? Why should I be "blessed" with healthy children when others have to watch their precious ones suffer? 

I'll tell the truth. I feel lucky. 
And grateful. So very very grateful. 

Jesus, you said that we'd have trouble in this world. 
And I believe you. 

When trouble comes to me, I pray that I will have the courage and strength to reach for the solid food of trusting you, allowing you to be my comfort and my sustenance, just as I've witnessed others do. They are an inspiration and their faith spurs me onward.

"Whatever it looks like, whatever may come, I am yours."
~Bethel worship


Thursday, July 30

A Psalm

Well, its been quite awhile since this English major dabbled in poetry... and this particular piece lacks the light and easy tone that we usually employ over here at Love Chels but, when challenged by a friend to write my own personal Psalm, this is what came out. 

And, boy, is it from my heart. 

My Shalom

Fear beckons at the door of my heart
Inviting me out of community with God, 
Inviting me to stroll along that dark path of distrust. 

Satan seeks to distract me, 
Attempting to fill my mind with past sin, 
Past rebellion, past wounds. 

But YOU, O God, are my shield and my strength!
The Word of the Lord is my weapon against my every enemy. 
Jesus Himself stands guard at the entrance of my heart, 
His own blood painted over the doorway and along it's sides. 

His blood declares:
She is mine. 
She is victorious. 
She is WHOLE, pure, free and fully redeemed...
And NO weapon formed against her shall prosper!

The past is dead.
New life springs up. 
Now and forever, I walk hand in hand with my God, 
My Redeemer, My Shalom.

I'm sure those people who are in charge of the canon will be calling me any day now... ;) 


Monday, May 4

Welcome to the PTA!

Well, guys, the responsibilities of Hospitality Chairwoman of the Norton Elementary PTA have officially been handed over to yours truly. 

I'm sure that after my first board meeting this morning, the people are questioning their decision to invite me to join... 

First of all, my babysitter double booked herself and had to cancel (not pointing any fingers... MOM) so I took my children. Yes, I was given permission to do so! Encouraged even, probably for the sake of quorum, lets be honest... but still, I had been assured that it would be no big deal. 

And it probably WAS no big deal for 3/4 of the room. 

For the people who were sitting directly in front of where my children were parked, however, the "Bibbity bopitty boo", a couple rounds of "Let it go" and A TON of "shhhhh"ing from me might have been a little distracting. That 1/4 of the room also enjoyed Lydia's little pats (she pats people, ya'll... its adorable) and her attempts at pawing through their purses. I can only assume she was looking for snacks. I mean, thats what I would be looking for so, you know, like mother, like daughter!

Did I mention that there was a 30 minute long budget report? Really important stuff, granted, and I was THRILLED to be there and hear it, seriously! I'm not being sarcastic! 
I definitely learned why children should be kept as far as possible away from PTA meetings, though. 30 minute budget reports do not need a soundtrack of Disney princess songs, I promise. 

Its confusing to the palette. 

BUT we were doing ok... and people were giving me very sweet and very empathetic smiles and I was thinking "Boy, its awesome to be a Norton Knight. I'm pumped to be the Hospitality Chairwoman! I'm about to ROCK THIS THING."


And THEN. 

Lydia started saying "diaper! diaper!" ...
Besides her insistence, I could smell that, yes, indeed, her diaper WAS in need of attention. 
What I failed to notice, however, was that somehow she had managed to get inside her little jumper outfit and unfasten one side of the diaper... So that, by the time the meeting was over and we had RUN to the car trying to get to Laila's swim lesson on time, the poop was all down her legs and all over my hip from where I had been holding her. 

Sorry, just want to be sure... did you hear what I said?!? 

Poop, I tell you! 

At my first PTA board meeting!

AND (of course) today was the day that I had no wipes in my diaper bag... #mommyfail

AND no time for a wardrobe change before swim lessons. I mean, the children are in the pool for 30 measly minutes!! If you're 10 minutes late, you've missed a THIRD! 

AND I had promised Laila that this meeting would not make us late to swim lessons. She had been very sweet, patient and quiet in the meeting and, come hell or high water, I REALLY wanted to make good on that promise!

So, being the shameless creature that I am, I stripped my baby naked in the elementary school parking lot, wiped her down with my car stash of Starbucks napkins, strapped her into her car seat topless and drove all of us, stinky, to swim lessons. 

BUT WE MADE IT, friends. 
We made it!


For the rest of the day, my children will be permitted to run amok and have treats. 

And I will allow myself a nap and a half price frappucino. 

Norton PTA board, I had intended to wait until later to show you my crazy but, today, you got it in full measure. Thank you for being so gracious. I think we're going to have a lot of fun. 

Three cheers for real life... and parent/teacher cooperation, of course! 


Wednesday, April 15

What does PTA even stand for?


I just accepted a position on the PTA board for next year. 
I've literally been inside the Elementary school building ONE. TIME. 

Dear Lord, what have I done? 

They sensed my naïveté. 
They smelled my fresh meat. 
They pounced. I surrendered. 

It only took 2 emails for me to crack. 

Well... If anyone needs me, I'll be, like, laminating or something... 

This is being a #kidmom, ya'll. I'm diving in!


Thursday, April 9

I Hate, Hate, Hate Cancer

Friends, I just saw via Facebook that Taylor Swift's mom has been diagnosed with cancer. The tidal wave of emotion that rose up in me compelled me to come here and talk with you about it. 

I don't know Taylor or her mother but dammit if I know cancer. 
It sucks. It totally and completely sucks and I'm SO ANGRY at it.

Why am I crying literal tears over this news? 
(Truly, ya'll, I can barely see the screen.)

Because I am a child who has walked (is walking) through my parent's cancer, 
because I've known too many children who've watched their parents suffer,  
because I've known too many parents who've watched their children suffer, 
because we've lost too many friends, 
because I know cancer to be unpredictable, frustrating, relentless. 

I know the journey that awaits the Swift family.

My heart breaks for Taylor. My heart breaks for her mother and what she'll have to go through physically. My heart breaks for the fact that, besides the grueling physical and emotional road ahead, she'll grieve over the pain that her sickness will cause her children and her husband. 

I know Papa grieves for that; the way that his cancer has been hard on Clay and I, my mom, his parents... and I grieve that he has had to grieve over our grief... you know?? 


We've dealt with Papa's tumor and all of the complications surrounding it for so long, sometimes I don't realize how much of my heart has been affected by it. And then I hear that someone I don't even know, but who I sort of know (you know? I mean, she's, like, the queen of oversharing) is being gripped by the same fear that I've dealt with, the fear of losing a beloved parent too soon, and all of a sudden the tears come hot and fast and I'm hiding in the closet so that my children don't ask why Mommy is so sad. 

We're a closer family than we realize, humans. 
We're vulnerable and delicate and we desperately need each other.
It really is a small world after all. 

So, here's my virtual hug for Taylor and her family. 

And for all of you who've walked this path. 

For what it's worth, loved ones, we can feel it together. 


Wednesday, April 1

Running in the desert.

Friends, I'm so proud of my sister-in-law for recently completing her first half marathon. And, as if running 13.1 miles isn't enough, she did it in Zion National Park, the freaking desert. Literally. 
The desert!

She and Barry (My bro-in-law ... Uh, (important clarification) they aren't married. They're Trevor's little brother and little sister) ran 13.1 miles through (have I mentioned this yet?) THE DESERT. 
Can you tell I'm impressed? And proud? 

Here they are in all their post-race glory. 

(Yes, I know, they're adorable and, yes, they're both single. Applications to date them can be submitted to me.) 

Well, having never run a half marathon and most certainly never having run through the desert (I was nervous just driving through it on Trev and I's cross-country road trip - what if we run out of gas?? and water?? and kettle corn??),  I was not in any way qualified to give any advice whatsoever. 

But, since I am approaching the 1 year anniversary of my love affair with running and since I do like putting on my "big sister shoes" from time to time, I had a few words of encouragement for Alicia before the race. 

I'd like to share them with you, dear reader, because while they apply to running, I think they also apply to some of the other hard things of life... like sticking with a job you might not love or the hard moments of marriage and motherhood, walking through a season of grief... you know, those types of things. 

Here are the things I said to Alicia. 

1). "Remember that there is no pressure. None. Maintaining your pace and breathing steadily is all you have to think about. When I find myself trying to go too fast, I focus on standing up straighter, pushing my shoulders back and letting my feet go first. Leaning forward and straining are wasted efforts."

Isn't this true, friends? Geez, if we could all just slow down a little bit. The straining, the leaning forward, the constant pressing to speed up. Are these the best uses of our effort? Or would it be better to settle into a pace that we can maintain with joy, peace and freedom? 

This morning, I read a Huffington Post blog that was very, very good. The author was talking about how she really struggled when her second child was born, how she didn't like the mom she was during that first year of the baby's life and how she felt like she was always striving to keep up, be in control, maintain order. 

She said she learned the value of "settling in", rather than always striving. 

For me, settling in looks like laying on the floor in the playroom, observing and pretending with my children and letting the chaos sort of wash over me. I don't have to be above it, trying to control it. Sometimes, I can just sit in it, take deep breaths and watch what happens. 

Settling in looks like sitting on the couch and watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse with Lydia rather than being afraid that I won't get the floor swept or the dishes washed. 

It means letting the raised voices get a little out of hand if doing so will allow the girls to work out their disagreement without my intervention. 

It means having the courage to let things get a little out of control from time to time. Dear reader, settle in. Maintain your pace. Be free of striving.


2). "Enjoy the scenery and think positive thoughts. Think of being thankful for your breath, your strong, beautiful body and your capable legs."

Running has opened my eyes to gratefulness for my body in a way that nothing ever has before. As I run, I truly whisper blessings over my body. Do I sound a little kooky right now?? But I mean it! I really do this! 
"Thank you, legs, for your efforts on my behalf." 
"Thank you, dear lungs. You are so powerful!" 
"Thank you, strong core, for holding me up." 
"Thank you, heart, for pumping blood to all my parts." 
"Without you, my amazing body, I couldn't experience the joy of running." 

For a chubby girl who can always find something negative to say about my body, I've found these moments to be positively refreshing. 

What can you find to be grateful for?

And, finally... 

3). "Try not to think about the finish line. Be present at mile 3, mile 6, mile 12... Try to enjoy the journey. Even if you run another half marathon through the desert someday, no day will ever look the same as this day does. The finish line will come." 

No explanation needed there, ya'll. The finish line will come. 
So, what about today? 


I mean, really, who knew that running could be so educational? 
And, like, applicable to real life? 

Maintain YOUR pace. 
Think happy and thankful thoughts. 
Be present. 

... even in the desert. 


Tuesday, March 31

She's a Tooter

Well, on this gorgeous, sun-shiney Texas day,  I just stopped by to tell you something that I can only share with you. It's so funny, ya'll. But also a little inappropriate so let's just keep it between us, ok? Shhh. 

Here it is:
Anytime I change Lydia's diaper, she takes a deep breath, bears down and tries to toot. 
Yep, somewhere along the way, my 21 month old little girl figured out how to make herself toot. She practices multiple times a day and, to her credit, she's gotten pretty dang good at it. When she's able to make it happen (which is often), she giggles hysterically, says "More, more" and then tries again. 

I cannot help myself. I laugh too. Every time. You would too, I guarantee it!
What's that? A video, you say? Can't say I haven't thought of it myself but, ya'll, that would be SO inappropriate. I can't believe you even suggested it. You'll just have to take my word for it. 
Its stinking hilarious. Pun intended.

This girl is such a comedian. 
She will do anything for a laugh. 
She is SO MUCH FUN. 

Thanks for giggling with me.


Wednesday, March 25

Cowgirl Up.

Wives, wives, hear ye! 

If you know me at all, you know that I'm obsessed with my sister, Nikki Alexander. She is my guru, my champion, the voice inside my head and my very, very dear friend. So much of what I know of marriage and parenting, I've learned from living with her, observing her and communing with her. She is my forever girl crush.  

Last week's Tyke Mamas meeting and recent conversations with friends reminded me of a blog post Nikki wrote a few years ago. I want to share it with you. 

I have SO MANY thoughts on this topic of sex... words and phrases that are swimming around in my brain. They will materialize into a blogpost eventually. 

Today, though, read and meditate on Nikki's words. They are wise indeed. 

Sexual Healing by Nikki Alexander 

"You should never say no to sex with your husband."

This is a direct quote from my mom, the late Pamela Whitby Strong.  When I first got married, I took this advice lightly.  My mom was raised in a traditional mid-class American household of the '50s.  Being a feminist, I responded, "Mom, you're old-school and it's adorable."  As the years go on, I continue to hear her voice in my head holding me accountable as a wife.

I have been thinking about sex lately.

I have had some interesting conversations in the past few months with some of my sisters out there. Statements like, "sex is such a chore", "I'm too tired by the end of the day to have sex", "I literally never think about it"....sounds like we need some sexual healing up in here.

I'm no marital or sex therapist (disclaimer),  I am well aware that there are marriages with severe struggles -  I don't presume to know what you might be going through.  So forgive me if I sound simplistic or trite.  I am simply a wife with a few thoughts on the subject. I welcome your comments.

1.  This is an opportunity to serve.

I know, you feel like a servant all day long. People are asking things of you, whining, groping, fussing, tugging, talking back.... and then there's the children, whining, groping, fussing....
You feel like a vending machine.
You feel like a milk factory.
You feel like an ATM.
You feel like a taxi service.
You feel like a mediator, coach, counselor, teacher, housekeeper, disciplinarian, chief whip-cracker.
So by the time the family is back home in the evening, and everyone is fed, bathed and put in bed, the last thing you want is for one more person to ask one more thing of you, right?  Sisters, he's not trying to take from you - he's trying to commune with you.  Of all the requests of the day, this is top-tier priority.  If we truly are called to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ, and love one another, and consider one another before ourselves, this is a great way to serve.

2.  He wants you - this is a GOOD thing.
When your husband is initiating sex, that communicates that he desires you and wants connection with you.  Some men get shamed by their wives, as if it is sinful or selfish. Sex is a good and perfect gift from God - the gift of connection, oneness, and of pleasure.  Yes, there are other issues of intimacy.  Maybe you don't feel cherished or respected. Maybe he needs to pour into you emotionally.  I am well aware that in the midst of emotional tension it's hard to want physical expression.  But if you are waiting for all to be right in the emotional realm in order for you to give it up - you are missing out.  Withholding sex only makes him feel rejection and failure.  Coach him by modeling the act of giving. Then talk to him later about what you want and need.

3.  Pray! That'll get you in the mood!
Ask God to soften your heart toward your husband.  Ask God to bless your sex life.  Ask for a renewed desire.   Ask God for emotional favor with your man.  Ask for strength and stamina so you can give all of you.  Ask God to produce fruit (not just babies) in your marriage. Bring God into the room!

((SIDENOTE: don't worry, I almost went with, "Get your pray on so you can get your freak on", or "Get prayed up, then cowboy up". #whyamisoawesome))

Friends, marriage is hard work!  And striving for excellence and satisfaction in marriage is a never-ending endeavor.  By no means do I have it all together.  But I think it is important for us to talk about this stuff and to encourage each other.


See what I mean? Pure gold! 

I'm here for you if you need to talk about this. 

In the meantime, Cowgirl Up. 


Thursday, March 19

Shake your groove thang!

Welcome, my friends, to the new home for all my words!

Cue the disco ball and the dance music with the sick beat (Taylor Swift is in the process of copyrighting that phrase but, until the paperwork is final on that, I'm using it, baby!). 

Its a New and Improved Blog Party!

Gosh, I wish I knew how to spell all the words that make up the dance music that is playing in my head right now. All I can think of is "uh, uh, uh, uh..." 

Anyway, I'm energized by the new use of this space and the vision behind it. I hope you are too and that you'll keep coming back here to sit, think, love, pray and just be with me. 

Also, I owe a super deep bow of gratitude to my sister, my guru, my social media director and my dear, darling friend who worked to bring my blog up to date. Nikki Alexander, you are a woman among women and, like I've said 1 million times, I continue to be in awe of the fact that you love me as much as I love you. 

Friends, I look forward to the future of Love, Chels and the joy of having you to share it with.
Thank you for celebrating with me! 
So much more to come!


Wednesday, February 25


So, as I was saying, becoming a kid mom is a big deal. 
A delightful, scary, wonderful, exciting and life-changing big deal. 

So, naturally, a hashtag is in order. 

I had another "becoming a #kidmom" moment today when someone asked me what sports we were signing up for. 
Eloquently, I said "Um, huh?" 

Add it to the list, my friends! Baby moms don't get asked about sports or dance or gymnastics or science club or computer class or cheer camp or any of those other "extra-curriculars". 

So, yeah, there's that. Just prepare yourself. If you are approaching #kidmom-dom, questions about extra-curriculars are headed your way. 

Also, there was that time I was minding my own business, just flipping some pancakes, when Laila asked me out of the blue... 

wait for it... 

"But Mommy!! HOW does the daddy put the baby seed INTO the mommy's tummy???" 

Choke, cough, flip a pancake. 
Gather courage. 
Take a deep breath. Flip a pancake. 
Give self a mini pep-talk. You're a #kidmom now, Chapman. GET IT TOGETHER. 

"Well, my love, THAT is a very good question..." 

Stall, stall, flip a pancake... Look over the shoulder to see if she's still there. Yep. Still there. Irritated that I'm stalling (typical KID behavior)...


A little background for you, dear reader. We have SEVEN pregnant friends in our lives right now. Well, actually, three of the pregnant friends have given birth in the last few weeks so we now have 3 tiny babies and four pregnant mommies. For a super observant and analytical 4 year old like mine, this brings up all kinds of questions. So, the "Where do babies come from?" question came, like, 2 or 3 months ago. At that time, the conversation went something like... 

LG: "Mommy, where do babies come from?" 
Me: "God! God gives us babies and they are precious gifts!"
LG: "Ok, great!" 
Me: (Whew!)

A couple weeks later, after she had thought about it awhile, she asked...
LG: "So, God gives us babies but HOW does He give them to us?"
Me: "Well... see how Auntie's tummy is getting bigger and bigger? Remember how big (huge, gigantic, whale-like) Mommy's tummy got when Lydia was in there? So, we get babies from all the mommies' tummies!" 
LG: "Oh! Ok, great!" 
Me: (Yee-haw! I'm rocking this whole birds and the bees thing!)

A few days after that... 
LG: "But, Mommy, HOW does the baby get into the mommy's tummy in the first place??" 
Me: "Well, a baby seed grows..." 
Interrupting - LG: "Mommy!! From where? What do you mean a baby seed?? Who waters it? Who feeds it? What does it look like??" 
Me: "Uh, I think I hear Lydia crying..."
LG: "Mommy!!" 
Me: "Okay, well, the daddy puts the baby seed in the mommy's tummy, see, uh, and then God plus the mommy's body waters it and feeds it and it grows! It's a really beautiful and wonderful thing!" 
LG: "Ok, great! Maybe he puts the seed in her belly button! (giggling) That's silly!" 


SO that brings us to that morning... when I was flipping pancakes... and shiz was about to get REAL. 

I put down the pancake flipper in order to communicate serious-ness. 
Deep breath. 

"Okay, Laila Grace, I'm going to tell you. But, before I do, I want you to understand that this is VERY SPECIAL and that a LOT of other kids don't know about this. You can always talk to me and Daddy about it but you may not tell any other children about it, got it?" (See, I'm thinking of you, fellow #kidmoms... Don't worry, your time will come, but I don't want it to come any sooner than it should on account of my "convictions" about age-appropriate honesty and, lets face it, my big mouth.) 

She nods. 

"AND ALSO, dear one, this is ONLY for a mommy and a daddy who are MARRIED to each other and who are GROWN UP, okay? Like, really grown up, like 30 years old, okay?" 

I didn't really say that part about being 30 but ya'll know I was thinking it! I mean, can I get a witness?? 

She nods. 
Deep breath. 
Internal panic. THIS IS REAL LIFE. 

"It's actually kind of silly, girlfriend, but the baby seeds are, get this, INSIDE the daddy's penis!" 

Blank stare. 

"SO... the daddy... puts his penis... inside... the mommy's vagina... and that is the whole truth about how the baby seed gets in there... okay?"


At that point, Laila looked at me wide eyed and, with utter sobriety, said "Mommy, that sounds dangerous!" 

"Yes, yes, Laila, it is. IT IS VERY DANGEROUS. NEVER EVER DO IT!!" 

Actually, ya'll know I didn't say that. Because I'm all about the truth (obviously - eye roll) and we all know that the truth is that sex is super awesome and totally so much fun!! 

Seriously, I love it. 

So, instead, I said... 

"Well, it can be, darling, if the two people aren't MARRIED and GROWN UP and in love with each other. IF they are married and grown up and in love with each other, it can be super fun."  

Then, I smiled sweetly at her, walked back around to the stove and finished making pancakes. Taking deep breaths all the way. 

My very observant and analytical 4 year old ate the pancakes happily and went on with her day.  Amazingly, everything was ok and she wasn't traumatized and I wasn't traumatized (too much) and I wondered if it had even sunk in... 

Until the next day when Laila declared that she was never EVER getting married because, "you know, the THING about the penis and the vagina???" 

So I allowed myself a little giggle and she giggled too and I said "You might change your mind, lovie." 

She vehemently assured me that she would not change her mind and I thought... #kidmom. 

This is the stuff of becoming a #kidmom. 

And I'm sure it is only the beginning. 


Tuesday, February 17

Sit with me awhile...

"Go home, weather, you're drunk." 

Yes, yes, on Sunday I wore a tank top, jeans and wedge sandals to church. This morning, its 28 degrees outside and my tennis shoes and running clothes are sitting right where I put them last night in preparation for my 5:15am wake up call. Because, when I looked at the weather app at 5:15am and saw that it was 28 degrees with a 10 mph wind, I thought to myself "Oh, heck no!" and picked up my computer instead. 

Its one thing to run in 28 degrees when its been, like, winter and your heart, body and mind are in the right state but, when you wore wedges to church less than 48 hours ago, your heart, mind and body are just plain confused. 

At least, mine are. 
Running has been a challenge for me lately anyway, ever since my ankle injury. I'm just not experiencing the same joy, excitement and "high" that I did when I was running in the summer and fall. I think I have to just keep putting on my shoes and getting out there over and over and over and over and over and over and then maybe the joy will come back to me. Maybe. Please? 
I hope so.

I'm just not putting on my shoes today. 

Instead, I'm here. 

Do you know how scary writing can be? And how dang hard it is? I'm reading "Yes, please" by Amy Poehler and she dedicates her entire preface and many, many sentences throughout the first couple chapters to talking about how hard it is to write. So many sentences that it gets a little tiresome... and, yet, my heart was cheering in agreement as I read. 

Because you want it to be good. 
Because you care so damn much. 
Because you want it to mean something. 
And, for me, when its been awhile since I've written, I feel so much pressure to really say something. You know? You KNOW? Saying "you know" always makes me think of Cuba Gooding Jr. in Jerry Maguire... "YOU KNOW??" 


But today I've decided not to feel too much pressure. So I apologize in advance if I don't say anything today. Maybe we could just be here together for a few moments, you and I. And maybe I won't have to have it all together... or make you laugh... or wow you with my grammar and vocabulary. 

Maybe we can just be. 


How was your Valentine's Day? 

Ours was absolutely dreamy. I mean, seriously, when I was a little girl and I thought about what life would be like with my husband and children, I'm sure that this kind of day is what I dreamt of. 

Valentine breakfast with heart shaped pancakes and roses from Trev for each of his girls, time with my love on the back porch drinking coffee while the girls played, a family walk with a stop at the park along the way, Trev sending Laila and I to get Valentine manicures together while he and Liddy napped, getting to take a long, leisurely shower and take my time getting ready for our date and then an amazing evening drinking beer, eating greasy hamburgers (with fries AND onion rings, because duh, its Valentine's Day), cheering the SMU Mustangs on to something like a 20 point victory over last year's NCAA tournament champions, coming home to exchange Valentines and love... It was absolutely perfect. 

With all the bad publicity that parenting sometimes gets, remind me to share more of those kinds of days with you. Because, seriously, our children are fun and funny, inspiring, creative, lovely creatures who bring so. much. joy. 
The good days far outweigh the hard ones. 

They are getting older. Obviously. This is the first season of Laila's life where I don't feel like I'm spending a lot of time looking forward to the next season. She is 4 AND A HALF and I don't know... 5 just seems so big. So kid-like. 

Her 5th birthday represents a new batch of experiences for her, kindergarten being the BIG ONE, and it also launches me into a whole new role. One that I've been feeling the magnets of the earth pulling me towards for some time now. Its a role I like to call "Kid Mom". 

She'll be a KID, not a baby or a toddler or a three-nager but a real, live kid. 

There are a whole host of things that kids do that babies do not do. 

Kids buckle themselves into their car seats. 
Kids wipe their own booties. 
Kids pick out their own clothes and heaven and earth be doomed if she doesn't get to wear what she wants!
Kids reason with their moms. 
Kids sometimes out-reason their mom. Wait, yours doesn't? That's just me? Oh, well, ok. 
Kids can be expected to sit sweetly at restaurants. 
Kids order their own water "in a kid cup, please". 
Kids go to bed with little to no drama. HallelujahthankyouJESUS. 

So, you see? Newness. New and wonderful and scary newness. 
I know that she is up to the challenge. 
She is already one super, incredible, amazing kid. 

I just hope I'm up to the challenge. 
Because there are things that Kid Moms do that Baby Moms do not do. 

Kid Moms answer tough questions. Maybe tomorrow I'll have the courage to write about my conversation with Laila Grace in which I told her the WHOLE TRUTH about s-e-x. Yes, yes, that. 
I did that. I'm a Kid Mom. 
Kid Moms nod encouragingly when seeing their kid take a risk. 
Kid Moms stand still with every muscle taut, ready to pounce like a lioness if said risk involves any sort of danger, all while smiling, nodding and saying "You can do it, my love! Go on!" while maybe feeling more like saying "You're too little for that! Come back! You might hurt yourself!" 

Because they're not too little, you know. She's a kid now. 

Kid Moms pack a lunch and a kiss and send their kids into that big, huge building with a prayer on their breath and a weight like bricks on their chests. 
Kid Moms get more sleep but less sleep because science projects and bullies and school field trips and other adults having influence and terrorists and monkey bars and glass doors and pressure to succeed and fear of seeing her kid fail and long division and BOYS... 

Geez Louise. 


You can do it, my love! Go on!

Go on. Come back.
Go. Wait, stay. Go.

Go, my darling. Mommy will always be here for you to come home to...




Thank you for sitting with me here awhile.