I make this look difficult

I was told by an old man in a yellow Polo not to have a 3rd child.

Are you someone who has children and doesn’t walk around looking like she just came in last place in a mud run towing a grocery cart full of unnecessities?

I make this look difficult.

I am forever in awe (and confusion) of those who can manage children, maintain knowledge of the whereabouts of their wallet, carry one bag and possession of their coupons.

This morning I left the house with my children, one with his juice and snack and the other forced to hold her own bottle on a trip to Target because, let’s face it, it’s the one stop shop all mothers rely on.

I made it a mile and a half and had to turn around to get the Similac coupons I left on the table. They’re $5 off!

When we finally arrived, my baby had fallen asleep so I needed to keep her in her baby carrier and stroller and also get a grocery cart (I refuse to say “buggie”) because I needed too many things.

When this happens, I push the stroller with the sleeping baby and trail the cart behind me.

My toddler refuses to sit in the cart, so he walks beside me. You can imagine what a hot mess we look like and the scene we create as we try to navigate the narrow labyrinth of the toddler, baby, and shoe sections.

When we’re finally done and headed to check out, I have a bag of items to return so we make our way to customer service.

I can see the cashiers whispering “Not it” to each other in the distance.

My son decides now is a good time to break away from me and take off towards the door, only laughing when I catch him and bring him back.

There’s a line forming behind me.

I put the new “backpack leash” on him that just came in the mail from Amazon.

He screams and tries to pull the “leash” off while I try to bribe and calm him down with phrases like “but it looks so cool!” “Lightening McQueen is in the backpack!” And “you look like a big boy going to school!”

People are judging.

I make this look difficult.

I have a return, a cart full of groceries, my own recyclable bags and 2 separate transactions.

I realize too late that I have again left my coupons behind (in the car) but instead of saying “just forget it” I decide to leave everything in a heap on the counter, take my baby (whose now awake and using her new found voice to make screaming noises just because she can) and my toddler, with his leash, (whose starting to cry because he thinks we’re leaving his Annie’s Bunny cookies behind) and go to the car to get the coupons.

When we get back, the line has decreased, as they needed to call for backup, and we finish the longest checkout in history. I stuff all the recycled bags full of our goodies, gigantic tower of paper towels and hand my son his cookies.

There’s a woman behind me carrying a newborn on her chest wrapped up so you can just see his little head. We have the same diaper bag backpack (from Target) and she looks at me and says very friendly:

“I like your diaper bag!”

Me: “Thanks, same here! Is he your first baby?”

Friendly: “Yes!”

Me: “This is what happens when you have two!”

Old man in the yellow Polo: “Don’t have a 3rd”

Me: (putting my head down) “I won’t”

Friendly lady with the newborn had on normal clothes, her hair in place and just enough makeup to probably cover the dark circles that come with having a new baby.

That was never me.

Even in college I carried a backpack AND a purse on my shoulder because I could never minimize or prioritize! Who knew how many different shades of pink lipgloss I might need throughout the day?

I couldn’t tell you where a tube of lipgloss is now but I still don’t go anywhere with just one bag of necessities.

I am a hot mess of snacks, diapers, missing coupons and changes of clothes.

The more children in have, the crazier this train gets.

I always picture an apocalypse happening and having to grab JUST one bag, both of my children, and running.

What if I forgot to replenish one of their sizes of diapers or there’s melted chocolate from a Chewy granola bar all over the first aid kit? What if there’s no container of portioned formula or room-temperature water bottle? That’s actually likely!

I usually walk out of Target (or any market, really) with one lingering sentence that I silently mouth to myself:

“I’m an asshole”

Are you getting sick so I don’t go out again?

I may be losing it (debatable), but I swear every time I get to have a girls night, at least one of my 2 children gets sick!

As you may have already discovered from previous posts, I don’t get out much.

We don’t have family close by to watch our babies if we go out and we don’t have much help in the evenings so my husband and I never get date nights (we’ve had 3 in 3 years, literally) which means it’s either one of us or the other who gets to go out (it’s always him).

On the very rare occasion that I get to have a girls night, my babies get sick!

It’s like an intentionally postponed illness to rear it’s ugly head only when Mommy is on her 2nd glass of a mediocre red blend.

Why is this happening??

I get home with the slightest glimpse of a happy buzz, only to be wakened in the night by a fever bearing baby.

They can sense my freedom and they’re not having it.

It’s like stepping outside into a whole new world where shoppers congregate at Target after dinner and drinks to try on the latest romper and buy it only because this is the only time they’re confidence is boosted.

You make new friends with other moms in the dressing room and tell each other “that looks great!” (And you mean it! But it does not!)

The next day you remember your conversation and that hideous floral jumper and you want to find that woman and tell her to return the jumper but we should be friends!

My children don’t like this, they can sense that I’m gone, (even though they’re asleep) and decide to manifest a virus just to spite me.

Then you feel guilty for leaving in the first place and also realize you’re never going to get to go out ever again and you resent your husband who gets to play corn hole on Thursday nights because even though you hate corn hole, you can appreciate an early evening of freedom and a little buzz.

Your future trips to Target will be accompanied by your babies and there will be no half-drunken fashion shows with strangers or random bubble bath purchases. Baby wipes and gold fish are all you’re going to get.

At least they have a wine isle.

Tonight I looked at her hands.

Every day seems like a race against the clock.

You wake up too early and once your feet hit the floor, it seems like you’re running.

I’m not a morning person, so when we do leave the house, I usually look like Charlize Theron….in Monster.

While other moms take the time to do their hair, makeup and attempt to look presentable, (even just to run errands and go to doctors appointments), I am usually loading the dishwasher and washing bottles because I was too tired to do it after dinner the night before and let’s face it, last night was a shit show of baths, crying, juggling diapers and then we all flopped into our respective beds or cribs one by one.

I’m not great at time management, so even if I have a couple hours to prepare for our exit, I seem to run around the house searching for keys, phone and stuffing our oversized diaper bag with unnecessary portions of formula and snacks until the very last second. And we’re still late.

So it’s of no surprise that by the end of the day I’m using borrowed time to return emails, reply to clients and set up appointments.

More often than not, these last minute responses are done in the dark using one hand to type and the other to balance a bottle and baby in the other.

I try to play catch up during the quiet moments.

But tonight, I just rocked her.

I purposefully left my phone behind so that when the moment came that I remembered to finally answer that text, I couldn’t.

I just fed my baby girl.

I admired her.

Her little chubby hand was holding one side of the bottle while I held the other.

She has little dimples where her knuckles will one day be, and then I started to wonder at what point my sons little finger dimples turned into knuckles.

I watched her drink her Bubba with her eyes closed. She was so peaceful and comfortable.

I could tell she felt safe and warm in my arms as her little head rested in between my elbow and chest.

Her little belly stuck out just a bit and her knees bent, curling into me.

I stroked her silky soft hair with its little cowlick in front (just like her brother and daddy have) and wondered if it would turn more blonde like mine as a baby or dark like my husband’s was (before he started shaving it all off).

If I weren’t such an anxious person, I swear I could’ve slept right there in that rocking chair with her all night long (or until she woke up again at 12:00 or 3:00, depending on her mood).

Those 20 minutes were priceless and they don’t last forever. My toddler requests his daddy at nighttime now, which leaves me free to not load the dishwasher and also feels a little like getting punched in the gut.

I cherish any time to rock my babies, especially when all else is quiet and I can put the recurring list of worries in my mind on hold for a moment.

I’ll have to remember to forget my phone in the living room again tomorrow.

We haven’t actually spoken in 4 months, but can I vent for a minute?

I’ve made it no secret that living far away from my family and friends I grew up with is not easy.

Being married and having children can be, shall we say “Trying”? at times, and for some reason, most of us are afraid to share these difficult moments, days, weeks, MONTHS with each other.

Living in the south, I have found this especially true. There’s a certain level of politeness and there’s a façade of happiness wherever you go and whomever you may speak to.

Sure, anyone who’s married and/or has children will chuckle and say something along the lines of “motherhood isn’t easy!” Or “being married has its challenges!”

But what I’m looking for is more along the lines of “I think I might murder my cocky-ass husband in his sleep tonight unless someone gives me a Xanax.” Or “Is it normal for a 6 month old to scream like her crib is on fire when there’s NOTHING wrong? Someone help me!”

Why are we afraid to say what’s really going on?

I was sitting down in the break room at my old job shortly after I got married and just said quite plainly “I hate him. I really just HATE him” and everyone just kind of looked at me with either judgement or pity, I couldn’t quite make out there expressions. All I knew was, I was alone.

“No?” I asked. “No one else? We all love our husbands?” Ok. Noted. No further outbursts from me.

All I wanted was someone else to look at me and say “Girl, me too”. That’s it.

Which is why I rely on about 3 or 4 friends I have back home who have known me and been through growing pains with me who I can call or text out of nowhere and just VENT. No judgement.

I can say things like “Remind me why we got married?” And I’ll get something back like “I’ve been wondering the same F-ing thing all week”. Or “You’re asking ME? I just told him to jump out of a moving car.” Simple. Honest. Real.

Some days, I have no patience and no more fucks left to give. Moments where if I didn’t have children, I’d walk out the front door and do whatever the hell I wanted for a week until I missed my life and drove back.

But I do have babies and responsibilities and I can’t just walk out and find a Blues Traveler concert tour to follow.

Thank God for the girls I can text with any amount of momentary meltdowns and thank God they all share the same thoughts and feelings I have.

If you feel like venting right this second, feel free to comment below and say whatever the hell you want! The more, the merrier.

If you’re too embarrassed to share, that’s fine too, just know you’re not alone. You’re doing a great job and the genuinely happy moments, days, months are there too. We all have them! The good, the bad, the trying.

Even the most polite people with good hair and well-blended makeup have thoughts of running away (and some actually WILL when they’re 47 and can’t stand the façade that they’re feet don’t hurt in those BCBG heels).

Don’t be that girl. Wear your Toms. Text your girls. Have a glass of Prosecco.

800 Miles Away

When I was little, my favorite game to play was “House”. Whether I was with friends, cousins, or playing alone, it was my go-to. I would pretend to be a mom, have a couple children and a husband and I would spend my day going on errands and taking care of the babies. I would feed the babies, put them down for naps, make dinner, go to the bank and the grocery store, etc. (I even had a stash of deposit slips from the bank!)

I’ve always wanted to be a mom and have a family. I just never dreamed that one day I would have those things but my family (my parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins) would be nowhere in sight. When I played “House” my family was always a part of it, or at least it was implied in the subconscious of my game.

I originally moved to North Carolina in 2012 with the intention of coming right back home after I was satisfied with my “break from Boston”. Everyone should explore new territory and live out of the familiar comforts of home, at least for a little while. Whether you go off to college in another state or go abroad one semester or take a leap of faith and try a new city for a couple years, I think it’s important for our personal growth to get away from what we know and explore new places.

That being said, I will also say that growing up in a big, loud, Italian family shaped and molded me into the human being I am today and having that family full of cousins, aunts and uncles contributed to my happiest memories growing up.

Jump to 5 1/2 years after leaving Boston, starting a family away from my family has been extremely difficult. Since I first moved to NC, I have gotten engaged, married, had our first child and bought a house. The cost of living and quality of life is incomparable to that in Boston. The appeal of a nice, beautiful home in a gorgeous neighborhood with bills that we can actually pay each month is quite the comfort.

This has been the happiest and loneliest time of my life. I can’t speak for other mothers but I will say that it is crucial for any new mom to have a good support system around her and there’s just something about having your own mom or favorite aunt by your side to help you through.

As a new mother, you have gone through so much! Pregnancy, crazy hormones, your body changing, feeling fat and ugly and then feeling guilty about not cherishing every second, BIRTH, going through labor and actually birthing a human being!! Having a newborn baby who relies on you 100% for literally everything, and don’t even get me STARTED on sleep deprivation! (The wound is still too fresh to talk about).

Going through the millions of ups, downs, and sideways of being a new mom is no joke and we need the love, understanding, and support of our families and friends. Unfortunately, I didn’t have family around during all of those new life changes and I truly felt the effects. New moms need their closest women who are familiar with such matters to help guide them and shower them with affection. Nothing can measure up to a hug from your mom.

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Someone who raised you can look at you and say “You’re doing a good job!” or “You’re such a good mom!” and if you’re living away from your family and trying to raise a family, I don’t have to tell you how imperative those simple words are to hear but the mere absence of them lingers.

We have neighbors who’s daughter lives about an hour and 1/2 away and just recently had a baby. They are always taking turns visiting their new granddaughter and helping their daughter get through the sleepless nights and giving her a break. I knew it would be hard doing this away from our families but I had no clue how hard. I envy our neighbor’s daughter, whom I have never met. The old adage is true: You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.

If you’ve moved away from the comforts and familiarity of a particular landmark such as the mountains, I feel you. In my case, I grew up on the ocean. Our beach was literally at the end of our road and my dad’s house was on a bay leading into the ocean.

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My dad always had a boat when I was growing up (as did my step-dad) and when I got a little older, my friends had boats and I’d be out there with them all day. I worked at a sailing camp all summer and lived there during the week. Being on a boat of some kind was pretty normal to me and I was never wealthy. Whether I was fishing, pulling lobster traps or taking advantage of a friend’s invitation for an afternoon outing, I have always loved being out on the water. Taking a morning walk on the beach was always a habit when I lived on Cape Cod. I’d go out there when it was snowing! Something about the waves and the smell of the sea makes me feel like home.

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Whenever we reach the ocean to the point I have it in my vision, I always tell my husband I feel like I can breathe again. I let out a long, deep breath and everything else seems okay. If you grew up on the water, you know what I mean, but this is true for the mountains for some people or even open fields, for others. We have friends here who are from Oklahoma and I know how badly they miss just seeing wide, open land. I can imagine they must feel claustrophobic here.

Some of us just need certain things to feel grounded and for me, that’s the water. I feel like I can’t breathe without it. I tell my husband all the time, “I just need to drive by it! I don’t even need a ‘beach day’ I just want to SEE it when I’m going about my day”.

Things that have helped me deal with not having certain comforts around that might help you are:

-Going online and finding small bodies of water near me. There’s a huge lake about an hour from here, (it doesn’t have much of a beach, but there’s 1 or 2 restaurants on the water to get lunch, which I have), there’s a tiny lake that has a bike path about 7 miles around to go walk, etc. It’s like giving an alcoholic an O’Douls. It’s not going to get you drunk, but it will suffice.

-FaceTime with family members so they can see the baby and posting lots of pictures/videos. They miss us too!

-Planning play groups with other moms who don’t have family around. It’s nice to know you’re not alone!

-Be thankful for all that you have, every single day. I know how blessed I am, beyond measure. Thank God for all that he has given you and all that he has yet to give. Remember this: God did not put something in your heart that you were never meant to have.

Till next time…

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You Win Some, You Lose Some (friends, that is)

You have your best friends and people you think will be in your life forever. Then there’s the people you don’t really talk to very much but know will be there the second you need them, and you’d do the same for them. Your family is your family (for better or worse) and that’s a whole different ball game altogether.

Here’s the thing: Having a baby changes practically everything. And that’s ok. In fact, it’s a good thing, you’re life SHOULD change (somewhat). You now have someone else who should be your #1 priority. The problem is, only other moms really and truly understand this. Hell, I didn’t understand what it meant to have a child until I had one of my own, there’s literally no way of really getting what another mother is going through until you are a mother, yourself.
Yes, we all get it: You’re sleep deprived (which, by the way is a form of torture and now I understand why), you’re cranky, you’re probably dirty, you’re struggling to balance it all. BUT no one can quite grasp what it’s REALLY like unless you’ve been through it, yourself.
You don’t have to tell another mother you’re sorry you haven’t texted her or asked about her high-school boyfriend’s ex girlfriend’s child. She knows you don’t have to explain how exhausted you are or that you’ve cried 3 times already and it’s only 11 AM and now you’re laughing and posting pictures of your baby’s funny faces while he nurses because it’s easier to post a picture than it is to text. She understands because she’s been there. She won’t scoff at your incessant Facebook posts or judge you for being you. She’s a mom, she knows. It’s an unofficial secret society.
No one, and I mean no one knows what it’s like to be a new mother except for a seasoned vet. So, you’re friends might change. Some of them might not understand why you can’t just get lunch on any given afternoon while others, whom you aren’t even really that close to might offer to bring you lunch at home. They might not even know your address.
I have lost friends that I’ve had for years and rekindled lost friendships completely unexpectedly simply because we now have something very powerful in common. Motherhood. It’s like going through a labyrinth or complicated obstacle course. Only those who have gone through it understand and it makes you want to reach your hand out to help the other through.
“Here, read this book, take this supplement, go this way, not that way, here’s what worked for me, borrow this swaddle, use this sound machine, eat these cookies, drink this juice” and so on. Like anything else, the help from those who have gone before you is like none other. We instinctively want to help each other and celebrate each other’s victories.
Unfortunately, this is the exact thing that can actually cause a friendship to end while strengthening or rekindling another. Have you ever had a victory or overcome something incredible? Maybe you’ve gone through a really difficult experience and looked around to see who was there to share in your joy or hold your hand.
It’s funny and sometimes really surprising to see who’s standing there and even more surprising to see who isn’t. You don’ have to be a mother to have experienced something like this.
Like I said before, there are some people who you don’t have to talk to but know would be there in a heartbeat. I have 2 girlfriends from high school who literally drop everything for me and don’t miss any celebration of mine and we hardly ever talk! We don’t need to in order to know we could call and the other would be there.

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I have a friend here in NC whom I had a falling out with and didn’t speak to for about a year. Then I found out that we were pregnant at the same time. I showed up to her baby shower and all was forgotten. We were both going through the same things and understood each others excitement and fear. After I had Chase, she was there for me like none other. She walked in my door one day and I looked at her while holding my newborn and just started sobbing. She said “I know, girl, it’s ok”. She brought me food and made me lactation cookies, she has been such a good friend, I can’t even list everything she’s done for me and my family and if you had told me a year ago that she would be the one keeping me sane during those first few months, (and even now) I wouldn’t have believed you.

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The same goes for one of my favorite cousins. Not that we had a falling out, but we had grown apart since I moved away. She has 2 beautiful little boys and after I had Chase, I relied on her so much for advice on EVERYTHING. I have called and texted her so many thousands of times asking why this was happening when I breast fed, is this normal, what do you dress your baby in at this age so that they’re not too hot or cold, when is it ok to give them a blanky, and so on. She has sent me tons of clothes (from 800 miles away) and has been so thoughtful and always there to help me. There was never a conversation about who had stopped keeping in touch with whom, she just understood me and I FINALLY understood everything she had gone through, what her every day life is like and really how selfish I had been. I hadn’t kept up with her after she had her babies, but now that I have my own, I will always make sure to do so because I just get it. Our hearts are connected again. All of the fears, joy, sadness, and absolute bliss is an unspoken relation.

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One of my best friends since I was 13 and I stopped talking for over 5 years for something so minute. It’s sad, really. We missed out on so many important milestones in each other’s lives over that period of time and truthfully, I didn’t think we’d ever speak again due to stubbornness on both our parts. Then Christmas came, it was Chase’s first, and looking at a picture of my family from that day, I realized my friend hadn’t seen my baby and I hadn’t seen her son in way too long. She had since had 2 more babies and I knew nothing about them and couldn’t believe she had the courage and strength to go through pregnancy, birth, and raising a houseful of beautiful boys. I always loved her (and missed her very much) but suddenly had a newfound respect for her. I understood that the spat we had wasn’t worth missing out on any more of each other’s lives.

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As quickly as some friendships are made and rekindled, others are broken. I guess it’s all a part of life. I don’t know if I’ll ever speak to certain people again or if I’ll ever be able to raise my child around some of my favorite moms but I know this: I will never take for granted a genuine, good friend. Someone you can rely on, someone who honestly cares about you and understands what you’re going through as a mother. The excitement, the absolute pride, the way your heart literally feels like it’s melting and the days when you’re sure you’re doing a terrible job. The days when you can reach out and ask what you can do to help and the days when you ask for it.

Mommies are the toughest people I know. I tip my hat to you, Mama.

 

The Best Thing I’ve Ever Done

People say it all the time. You don’t know love until you have a child. Well, I knew what love was. My parents, my grandparents, my husband, my siblings. But you don’t know pure love, love without consequence or ultimatum. Love without boundaries or limits until you have a child.

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If you told me 10 years ago to just hold on. Just wait. Life will make sense again. Maybe I would have lived a little differently. But I would literally change not one thing up until the moment I conceived Chase. He was always meant to be.

If you have children, I don’t have to explain how this feels. You don’t want to envision a world where they don’t exist. What was I doing before I had him? I was binge-watching Netflix, going to the gym, doing laundry and trying to be skinnier, prettier, happier.

Little did I know how little everything else would matter after I was blessed beyond my wildest dreams. I laugh now (9 1/2 months later) at what was concerning me even up until Chase was born. After 6 weeks I was going to return to the gym. At least 2-3 times a week (hahahahahahaha)!!!!!! I think I’ve been to the gym a total of 3 times in almost 10 months. I’m sorry to anyone who has to look at me in a bathing suit BUT I’d honestly rather play with my son.

I took Chase with me to the gym and attempted to drop him off at the daycare for at least 30 minutes while I did some cardio. He screamed and cried when I handed him over and I kept going back to check on him through the glass wall. He was so unhappy and confused. I took him back and told the nice caretaker that it just wasn’t worth it to me. I didn’t need to work out that badly. She explained that it was totally normal for him to have that reaction but to keep coming back so he could get used to it (I will) but then she leaned in and whispered “I like what you said, though”. “What did I say?” I asked. “That working out isn’t that important”. I grabbed my baby who was now smiling in my arms as I hugged and kissed him and went home to play. The gym will be there tomorrow, but he won’t always be this little

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I am not proud of the person I was for most of my 20’s. I didn’t realize how selfish and self involved I was. I thought mostly only of myself and how things effected me. Was something convenient for me or was something too hard. What was the most fun and lets do that. It wasn’t until I became someone else’s whole world that I grasped how different I would become and how it would just be a natural reaction to motherhood. Selfishness is not in a mother’s vocabulary, at least it shouldn’t be.

I’m not talking about taking time for yourself (which I am only now realizing how important that is) but who you are as a mother. Like my husband says, if you have the best intensions for your child, you’re doing a good job.

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I don’t deserve Chase, I shouldn’t even be alive. Between asthma attacks leaving me intubated or a car accident leaving me without a dear friend and in ICU for weeks, I understand now why God kept me here, I was always meant to be Chase’s mother.

You don’t realize the magnitude of love you feel and how you are completely humbled by God’s grace until you become a parent. That goes for adoptive parents, step-parents, grand-parents, etc. There are always things in life you wish you could change or at least have a crystal ball to see into the future but I seem to forget everything else when I hear my baby laugh or he puts his head on my shoulder.

What would I do without this little angel of mine? Now that I have him, picturing my life without him is crippling. 

As I’ve said in previous posts, I had pretty bad anxiety after he was born, so holding him a lot made me feel calm and that I was keeping him safe and forming a strong bond. 

Everyone has their opinions so I heard a lot of “You need to put that baby down!”

Why? Why do I need to put him down? I don’t have any other children to take care of, the house is a mess, but I have a feeling that isn’t going to change any time soon, should I be worried he won’t go off to college some day because I held him too much as a baby? 

My cousin sent me a quote a couple months back that read:

“‘I wish I had held my baby less’ – Said no mother, ever”. 

Did I have a hard time with napping because I held Chase while he slept for most of his infancy? Yes. Do I regret it? Hell, no. Your baby will only be tiny for such a short time. 

I remember posting a picture like this and someone commented “Oh, I miss my son letting me snuggle him like that!” And I thought to myself: Her son is still a baby! But it’s true, they don’t stay that little for very long and before you know it, they won’t want you to hold them and rock them. You’ll have to chase them to try and steal a quick hug. 

These moments are so precious and sometimes I have had to pee so badly I didn’t make it to the bathroom in time! (I told you I’d be honest) but when my baby needs to be soothed, he looks to me for comfort. When he gets hurt or if he’s tired or hungry, he looks for me and knows I’m there to take his worries away. What a gift. 




There truly is no greater love.