A few pictures I had to share…

I grew up next to the best neighbors. I have so many wonderful memories of walking up the small hill that was in-between my house, and my grandparent’s on our family farm. My Grandma always had a home baked treat and time for us, and my Grandpa would let us tag along with him as he worked on the farm, or would give into our begging to pull our sleds behind his four-wheeler when it was snowy out–and there is no shortage of snow in Canada!

Over the years, my Grandparents have become some of my dearest friends. I talk to my Grandma almost every week, sometimes, several times a week. She is always willing to lend a listening ear, and makes me feel loved in a way that only a Grandmother can.

While we were visiting Canada last month, we went on a ride through the fields to one of our favorite spots. I snapped a few pictures that I adore of two of the people I love the most. My kids are so lucky to have so many Grandparents that love them, and so am I. ❤

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Mom

Being a mom.

It is a labor of love. It is all consuming, often thankless, and oh so monotonous.

I have always known that I wanted to be a mother, but before I had children, I really didn’t understand. I didn’t realize the immense amount of immediate love that I would feel for each of my children. It was and is so overwhelming. I didn’t realize the pressure I would feel, or just how it intimidating it would be to know that it is my responsibility to not only keep my tiny humans alive and healthy, but to teach them to be self sufficient and to make good choices. I didn’t understand the way that my heart would break when I would see their pain–especially when I was powerless to take it away. I also didn’t realize that an accomplishment on the part of my child would feel like a triumph for me too.

I didn’t understand what it would be like to live with my heart being carried outside of my body.

But I do now.

My three little people are my world. They are the source of my greatest joy and my greatest frustration, often at the same time. I truly want nothing more than to see them succeed in this life, and to see each of my children be happy and healthy.

I have a mother too.

Her name is Shelly. She is beautiful, and she is an example of everything I hope to be to my children.

She raised the three of us (my two younger brothers and myself) on a little farm by the mountains in Southern Alberta, Canada. Although I now understand just how much patience and effort it took to raise such a strong willed daughter (as I now have two of my own), she truly made it look easy. She was the type of mom who was just always there. She still is. Although my brothers and I occasionally tease her for “putting the mother in smother,” (in the best way) the fact is, I have never doubted for a second that my Mom would always be there for me.

I can’t count the number of times that she waited up for me and made sure that I was safely in bed before she let herself rest at night. I can’t count the times that she told me that I was beautiful and smart, and I believed her. I can’t count the times that I called her when I was a new mom, just so that I could keep my sanity. I can’t count the times that she has dropped everything in her life to come to help me through a transition in mine. I can’t count the times that she has cried tears for me, or has prayed for me with faith and the love that only a mother has to offer a struggling child. I can’t count the number of times she has fought through her own pain and struggles with her health to provide an act of service for one of her children.

Often, I am sure, she assumes that these acts of service and love seem to go unnoticed. But they aren’t. More than anything, I know that my beautiful mother loves me unconditionally.

And that is all I could ever hope for my children to know.

That I will always be there for them, and that I will always love them. No matter what.

I love you mom. ❤

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Numb

Sometimes grief makes me a better Mom.

I see my beautiful children, so full of life, and so much like their Daddy. I cherish every moment that I am blessed to be their Mom. I adore every freckle and I kiss their soft warm cheeks. I know exactly just how fragile life truly is, and I cling to every moment that we have been given together.

Sometimes grief makes me an impatient mama.

I get so wrapped up in my own feelings of anxiety, overwhelm, exhaustion, and sadness that I need space. I crave moments alone in my bedroom where I can just be–either to process the thoughts and feelings that plague me, or to spend all of my energy avoiding the pain. Sometimes, I feel burnt out before I even get out of bed, and I want more than anything for my children to just play quietly and to allow me to have alone time. I feel more numb, and less warm than I want to be with the three little people who love me most.

Unfortunately, yesterday was one of those days. I felt myself shutting down and I really didn’t make much of an effort to stop. Instead, I allowed myself to emotionally retreat from life.  Like always, my kids needed me for a million different reasons, but I gave them only the bare minimum. Of course physically they were completely cared for. They were fed, supervised during play, and disciplined when they fought with one another, but I didn’t connect with them emotionally the way I should have.

And though my mind was consumed with thoughts of RJ, I really didn’t feel connected to my grief either. The numbness took over, and I found myself feeling exhausted, apathetic, and lacking motivation. (Classic signs of depression–I know. Thankfully these days are fewer than they used to be, and I can recognize them for what they are.)

Ryan came home early from work. It helps when he is home. I let myself be less guarded with my energy. It helps to know that I am not the only adult available to care for such needy little humans. But as I watched my children climb into his lap and kiss his cheeks, and watched as he played and gave all of his attention to their made up little stories, I felt such overwhelming guilt.

They should have had that from me. I had wasted an entire day so selfishly. I had spent my time with my kids so emotionally unavailable, that I had missed precious moments with them– moments that I can never get back. Moments that if I were to lose any one of them tomorrow, would be regretted. I can’t afford to live my life with any regret.

So today, I am forcing myself to be present. My phone will be turned off while my children are awake. We will do chores together this morning, and then I am going to make an effort to connect with each of them this afternoon. I refuse to waste the time I have feeling absent from my own life. I will live today with intention, and hopefully, if I practice doing it enough, it will become easier over time.

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