Sweet Brightness, Aliveness, Take-Me-Now-Ness

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about my daughters these days. Not in these large sweeping grandiose ways about the depth of our relationship or how I came to be their mama, or how incredibly quickly the time has passed. I try not to get hung up on what they are learning from me and what they will carry with them that they learned under my roof and the cosmos that orchestrated it all to come to pass.
2016-05-08 01.28.40No. Lately I’ve been investing more mind and heart space to more bite-sized tidbits… things I can manage and process and appreciate in the immediate.  The things that spark my senses and make me stop and pay attention. I marvel at the way the sun makes Cate’s hair look like it’s a golden crown, literally golden threads streaming down her back in this wild and reckless nest of soft hair. Or how Taylor’s deepening voice sounds more like a song when she talks about the things that she loves – Harry Potter books, science, and soccer. I pay attention to how it feels when Caitlyn takes my hand when we’re watching a movie. Her soft, no longer tiny hands that seek out mine automatically and the small smile that curls on the edges of her mouth when she feels me gently squeeze. Three times for “I love you,” Two times for “I need you” and one time for “I’m here.”

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Always.

Alan Rickman passed away today.

I never met him and he certainly had no idea I even existed, but I am devastated by the news. You see, he created an unexpected pathway to my teenage daughter, Taylor. A cherished connection in the budding years of her life where I’m becoming irrelevant and aged to her. An place that she and I can share.

It was through his embodiment of Snape in the Harry Potter series that Taylor, my brilliant and precocious teenager, began a different mother/daughter connection. It was from the life that he breathed into that fateful character that we will always have this very special thing in common. Where what you love and what you realize love means become one and the same. The only kind of perfect and fleeting magic that we get to touch in our lifetimes.

He gave us the most tender of nuggets we share that had nothing to do with me being her mother and her being my daughter. It was more than our shared love of the books. Of the richly woven tales of magic and mystery, heroes and heroines. The stories that let us escape for a time to Hogwarts or the Leaky Cauldron. That allows us to imagine what it must be like to fly on brooms or on the back of a dragon across the London sky. To challenge a wizard for his wand or save your friend from the attack of a demon by conjuring a Patronus.

It is in these shared visions and dreams that she and I began our evolving connection. This shared place we can imagine that no one can fully describe – it just dances in the light of your eyes and is recognized by the excited pitch in your voice. And all of that beautiful magic exists most completely and most fully in the role that Snape was to play in tale. In the most selfless of acts. In the most beautiful of tributes. In the complete sacrifice made from the deepest, fragile caverns of his heart.

Those words Harry witnessed in a memory. Those words exchanged between a dying wizard and a grieving hero that hold so much purpose when put together in that moment of that story. The realization of what he felt finally said out loud. The place where my daughter’s and my heart could understood what it all means in the same moment and appreciate the profundity that is our love for one another. It is the promise we all make when our love of another is fully recognized. Maybe we just didn’t know what to say.

But we do now. Because of him. Because of the promise he made and we will cherish him for it. For he showed us the greatest magic of all. The magic that lives in and between us in love.

After all this time?

Always. 

Life Lesson #25 Take it All IN

by Carrie Adams

I suppose around one’s birthday we become a bit more reflective, a touch more nostalgic, and perhaps even a bit more fearfully aware of the passage of time that seems to be speeding up over the years. There was a day I couldn’t imagine being in my mid-thirties and now here I am firmly there. I’ll admit, it sometimes takes my breath away when I catch a glimpse of my 13-year-old who stands nearly as tall as me, who without any effort I can still hear her toddler giggles bubbling up under the covers with her stuffed animals and Cheerios, brown curls flowing around her ears and her toothless smile greeting me with joy when I “discover” her hiding there. Without any trouble, I can still feel the warmth of her little body tucked into my arms, pacing the floors at 2AM singing her back to sleep. She can’t remember those moments herself, I’ll have to settle for telling her about those days when she’s willing to sit and talk for more than a moment. Today, I am lucky if I get a good night hug every evening… though I’ll never stop asking for them.

I sometimes feel tightness in my chest, when I see my blonde little Cate, her now long legs sticking out from underneath her cutoff jean shorts and scabbed knees from sliding in the dirt, reading aloud from chapter books instead of lounging patiently in my lap laying against my chest; her listening to me read her favorite board books as she points to the pictures and squealing with delight. I can still picture her round belly sticking out above her diaper as she ran through the halls of the house on much shorter legs begging me to chase her, blue eyes twinkling. She still lingers in my lap and lets me hold her close – though I imagine those days are numbered too as she will continue to grow and will slip ever so slightly from my motherly grasp more and more each day.

They overwhelm me with their spirit and energy, with their very existence. I cherish them. I cherish the mere fact that we are walking this Earth together – I couldn’t be more grateful. I live in earnest pursuit of being present in the moments I share with them, even as they pass too quickly. Sometimes I have to hold back from begging… begging them, begging this life to just slow down, just a bit… Just long enough for me to gather it all in and let their days (and mine) last a bit longer.

In the event I cannot slow time and I cannot stop their growing up before my very eyes so quickly, I will remind myself daily to take in the moments – especially the little ones – because that is where the love resides.

Squeeze Twice

When my girls were learning to walk they would hold my hand for support. Their tiny hands in mine, I would tell them that if they were unsure, scared, or if they needed me, they just needed to “squeeze twice” and I’d know to pay attention. When they started a new school, a new activity, a scary doctor’s appointment, anything, I’d tell them the same, “squeeze twice,” no matter how many people are around and what is going on… because I’d know what they were feeling. It was how they could tell me that they needed me without having to say a word.


Today, I picked Cate up from school and she took my hand as we started up the hill to where I was parked. We chatted about her day, she told me about her field trip, and then suddenly I felt the unmistakable two squeezes in our grip. We both smiled in the same moment as it happened. We stopped walking, I leaned over, got close to her face, and whispered, “Yes?” and she said, “I’m okay, mom. That was for you. Just in case you needed me this time.”

Squeeze twice.