Thursday, July 20, 2017

We Will Hold On

It’s almost that time. The time that seemed so far away when you were born. The time we would laugh about as we said “He will only be in third grade when big brother leaves for college”. The time that I’ve tried to prepare you for. The time that I knew would be so exciting yet still so hard not only for me but for you the little brother, the one who will be left behind by the person you look up to the most. The time is among us, I feel it every day and I see it in you almost every day. I see it in your behavior, in your tears, the way you worry and in your jealousy. I make a conscious effort to always remember that you are only 7 years old and you process things differently. You’re hanging on just like us to the only life that you’ve ever known; a life that includes your brother every day and not just occasionally.

The little brother role is hard sometimes and you are more of a little brother than most. Everything will change soon and I am so aware. I am so aware of you. As I watch and help your brother prepare to leave for college I find myself holding on tighter to you. I find myself living each day with you a little differently and it’s because I am so much more aware now of how time truly does fly by. Your brother has proven that and you get to reap the rewards of it by being my second, my last child and my baby. Everything we do together, accomplish and milestone achieved with you is my last as Mom. I am aware, so aware. Every day I have with you amazes me. Everyday I’m aware of your little face full of freckles and every day your voice lingers in my mind as we go our separate ways. I want to embrace and captivate you with everything we do. I want to capture the moments and live each day with you to the fullest because there is no time to waste. Each day with you is another day towards your big exciting adventure that your brother is embarking on now. 

Our time is limited; we have the proof right before us and as we watch him go we will hold on, we will hold on to each other because that’s what we do best you and your Momma.

Monday, June 26, 2017

No Tears on Graduation

Graduation came and went. The weekend was full of people and it was everything I had thought it would be except for one thing; my tears. I did not cry. I did not cry until today.

Our house was so quiet. I spent time putting it back together and cleaning up the remains of your Graduation Party. I spent time looking through the rest of the pictures I had taken of this wonderful time in our lives. I watched the video your father took at the ceremony of you receiving the highest honor you could receive at Graduation. I watched through tears as they called your name and it all finally hit me. As I sat here all alone the emotions flooded in. The remnants are sparse of what happened here this weekend but my heart is just so full.

I started thinking about all you have done. All you have accomplished already in just 18 years and you my son are incredible. There will never be enough words to explain what you mean to me. Everything you have worked so hard for has prepared you to take this next journey. We have prepared you but no one has prepared me. There will never be a day that I want you to leave yet you will leave in just 57 short days and yes I counted them out today. 

I cannot imagine you not being here every day with me, with us. I cannot imagine not looking at those big brown eyes every day and not seeing your face. I cannot imagine falling asleep when you’re not home. I wonder how I will be able to comfort your brother when he is missing you so much because my heart will feel the exact same way. The house will never be the same and our family dynamic of 4 will change so much. We will all miss you so very much. It’s been 18 years of you every day and I really don’t know how to function any other way. I really don’t know how to not feel this way.

The next journey will be amazing. It will also be harder for all of us. As sad as I am; I am also just as happy. I am so happy and excited for you and also a little worried that you won’t need me anymore. Everything I ever done since I was 22 years old has been for you (and then your brother too). Every choice and decision was always made with the best of intentions to help you become who you are today. I hope you will always love and appreciate that about me. I hope when you look back on the last 18 years of your life I’m vivid and abundant in your happiest memories. I hope I was and continue to be the Best Mom Ever and I hope you never stop needing me.

I love you is such an understatement but I will never stop telling you.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Choices of My Two Fathers

Father’s Day is a tough one. It’s a tough one to explain for me because it doesn’t necessarily flood my head with overwhelming childhood memories. The true meaning of what being a Father means runs deep in my brain. The true meaning of a Father and who your Father truly is isn’t always found in your DNA.

When I was 4 years old my DNA walked out the door. I have vivid memories standing there at our front door screaming and crying as he carried large green garbage bags out and didn’t come back. This is my oldest memory that I can recall on my own and I am guessing it's because it was so traumatic as a 4 year-old little girl.

I am a mother of 2 beautiful boys. As a parent, I have never understood and probably never will comprehend just how someone can walk out on their child. A child they’ve raised and loved for 4 years. I’ve been told over the years that he loved me. I have the pictures to prove that I look nothing like my Mom and every trait I carry is from his side. I have the pictures to prove that he was there as a young loving father of a curly haired little girl who has his brown eyes. I have the pictures and that’s all I have ever really had.

There’s been brief contact a few times. I met him twice. I’ve written him letters and sent Christmas cards several times. I’ve even spoken to his wife. I have never really found closure only more of what feels like rejection. The type of rejection that again as a parent I cannot wrap my head around. Who does this? I’m 41 years old and at this point I repeatedly tell myself to “get over it”. I’ve come to realize that maybe I never will. I know I could get a call one day and be told of his passing, life has proven to me more than once just how short it can be. This is actually one of my biggest fears because then, then it’s over the time will have run out and the answer to my lifelong question of “Why he didn’t want me anymore” will forever go answered.

Now this may just seem like a sad story and maybe it is but luckily for me there was someone who did want me. There was someone who chose to love me. He had a choice and he chose me. He decided to love, provide, guide, discipline, teach and to be my Dad. He didn’t have to but he did. He’s my Dad. He’s been my Dad since I was 5 years old. Looking back I don’t really remember how it exactly came to be but awhile into it, I do remember the first time I ever called him “Dad”. He was getting home from an overnight and I ran out to his truck. He was a truck driver. As he was stepping down from the truck I was standing there looking up waiting to give him a hug saying “Daddy, Daddy”. He didn’t correct me and from that day on he was my “Daddy”. 

He was always there for me and even more so as an adult. He was a far better father as I got older and as I had children.  He changed a lot from the person he was when I was growing up to who he was when he passed and we were actually closer as I became an adult. He was a protector, a problem solver and a bossy giver of all the advice. He didn’t always have all the mushy words of love and praise but he loved me like a father should. He was proud of me. He loved me and the family I created.  I was his girl, his Meathead and the grown woman that he’d still tickle the knees of in the car when we were together. This is a Father. I never referred to him as my step-father. Some people won’t even know he was until they read this. He was my Dad, there was never a question and we didn’t need DNA or the same name to prove it.

Being a Father is a privilege. Being a Father and Being a Father have two totally separate definitions. It comes with great responsibility and it’s not just biological. It comes when someone is present. It comes with someone who is there for his children even if they aren’t “his”.  It comes with LOVE and it's a CHOICE.  

There's truth in the choices you make. 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The End

So the time has come. The time is out and you’ve watched this boy play with a basketball his entire life. The word “Basketball” in this house runs just as fluently as our last name. It has been a constant part of our lives since the second grade and it’s hard to believe it’s time to say goodbye.

I look at these kids and I am so proud. I am proud of all they have accomplished with the sport and how far they’ve taken it. I’m proud of them for sticking with the sport, even when it wasn’t always their time to shine. I’m proud of their sportsmanship and for always committing and living up to the programs high expectations.  I’m proud of the sacrifices they’ve made for all those Friday Nights on the court and for the few who gave up all other sports to focus solely on basketball. It’s been a pleasure to watch them grow from the little boys who once couldn’t even dribble a basketball to young men who now are not only teammates but forever friends.

 I watch with such pride every game as they step out on the court wearing those school colors. It’s more than just a game, it’s a feeling, a connection and a commitment to each other and their school that is beyond the sound of  squeaky sneakers on the shiny gym floor.

I don’t even know if I can capture the feeling of realizing last night was the last time he’d enter that gym and be known to all who came. The last time I’d hear his name as they announce the starting lineup.  The last time I’d pick up a program and see his name in it. The last time I’ll open the paper on a Saturday morning and see his name in the headlines of the sports section. As I write I can feel that lump forming in my throat and it’s hitting me that this is it.  As a parent you also give so much and sacrifice so many things for their love of the game, for them to do what they love and to be successful in their sport. I will never regret the time or money spent as he pursued and succeeded in the sport he loves the most. I’ve watched him grow not only physically but as person through this sport. Basketball along with all his teams, teammates and Coaches over the years have taught him certain life skills that you just can’t learn from a book or in a classroom and for that I will always be grateful.

Although I am sad to see it end I am not saying I don’t want it to end. I want to see what this kid does outside of those  high-school walls because I know he’s going to do amazing things.  I want to see what the future holds for him even without basketball. I’m not nervous about the future. I know he’ll be prepared.  I guess I was the one who wasn't quite prepared for the final “curtain call” just yet. 

Friday, December 9, 2016

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Year of "Lasts"

As we come upon the final weekend of summer I find myself longing for just a little bit more, for summer to extend itself to me. I’m not ready. I don’t know if I will ever be ready. I have to be brave but the thoughts in my head are flying and twirling and my heart no longer beats to these thoughts it pounds. My eyes glare at him with pride and tears often freely flow from them because I need more time and there just isn’t any left.

Next week we will start the year of “lasts” as my oldest son starts his Senior year of High School.  In nine days I will take his last 1st day of school picture, in a couple months he will start his last high school basketball season and eventually I will go to his last basketball game, his last Band Concert, the last sports banquet, be witness to his last Prom and in eight months I will take graduation pictures.  I am aware that all these “lasts” lead to great new adventures, opportunities and a future for him that is endless but it doesn’t take away the lump in my throat as I fight back tears writing this because I know every day of this school year is another day closer to him leaving me. 

As I scroll through social media I notice many  posting about their children starting Kindergarten and their comments about it. They can't believe it and they are not ready. I think it’s us; the parents who are not ready because our children are ready. I also realized that although we may not feel ready we; the parents are the ones who make sure they are ready for whatever milestone they are coming upon. You see from the day they are born we are guiding and leading them to and through each milestone preparing them for success yet we never prepare ourselves to cope with all the changes along the way.

I often times feel alone when I am with my friends who all have young children and even in some of my Mom groups. I listen to everyone, encourage and support. I validate their feelings because I understand what it’s like to leave your baby at daycare for the first time, the emotions of their first day of Kindergarten, and the worries of middle school and high school. I know the feelings of your tween finally becoming an actual teenager and I know the fears that those teen years bring.  I don't think their emotions of all those things are any less than mine. Their feelings are valid and real because I know and I vividly remember; I felt just like them.  But I won’t pretend that at times I just want to scream. I want to scream because they don’t realize that they are just starting or maybe stumbling through the middle and I’m over here waving my white flag feeling like everything is ending.  It’s a feeling I don't know how to process yet and sometimes I just want to yell  “My son is preparing to leave me, he's leaving home, he's leaving us and I don’t know what to do”. I want to tell them that they will be okay, that now looking back all those things are simpler and this moment, this year of all the "lasts" that is fast approaching has to be hardest part for me as a Mother. I want to tell them how fast it goes. I want them to believe me because it's so true and it's not just something people say.  I want someone to tell me how to prepare myself for my life to walk out the door because in about 359 days he's going to and I don't want him to.

I know we will journey through this year of "lasts" as millions of parents before us have. I will beg repeatedly that the time go slow. I will enjoy all of the things that this year will bring to us and I will watch my son continue to grow, experience, learn and enjoy his last year of high school. I will beam with pride in his light and I will cry. I will cry a lot however I will try my best to remind myself that for every "last" we go through brings him closer to something brand new and even more amazing. 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Lucky Seven

This is about a boy. A little boy who decided on his own to come barreling into the world and surprise us. A little boy who continues to thrash through this life at full throttle, deciding things on his own and surprising us all. A little boy that unknowingly saved my life as I struggled through some of my toughest days of my life.  This is about my baby boy and the only boy to ever call me “Momma” who somehow is turning 7 years old.

He is contagious in every way. His laughter and his love are genuine and pure. He’s outgoing and friendly. He’s rambunctious and crazy yet calm and snuggly. He’s smart and wise beyond his years yet he can melt my heart with that little voice. He’s respectful and defiant.  He listens and rebels. He’s sensitive and sometimes shy yet a leader and bossy. His personality is like no other. He’s unique and quirky. He can’t sit still and is extremely active. He is sassy and fresh yet hilarious and good.  He loves attention and craves affection. His heart is big and full of goodness, innocence, love and kindness. He is everything a 7 year old boy should be and he completes us. 

It’s hard to remember what our life was like before his arrival. He has shaped the three of us into totally different people than we were seven years ago. I’ve gained such strength, patience and a greater perspective on life. He’s kept my Husband lively, active and young. He made someone a Brother and a Famous Super Hero in his own right. He’s kept that same Superhero grounded, young, playful and happy. We sometimes wish for a quieter, less busy person in our face 24/7 because the little one we have never stops talking or moving yet when he’s not there the house just feels empty. We then find ourselves counting down the minutes for his return. He’s the missing puzzle piece we didn’t even know we were missing. He makes us “The Martin’s”, our caboose on this crazy train we ride. 

As he turns 7 I just want him to always know how much we ALL love him, all three of us; all in our own way and so so much. Our life is busy and fulfilled evenly with family activities however this next year will be filled with many many Big Brother moments as his brother starts his Senior Year of High school. I just want him to know and feel how much we need him, how much we want him and how very much we love and adore him.

 We may only celebrate this little boys birthday for one day but I hope he knows his Momma celebrates him every day for all that he has given and continues to give us. #LuckySeven