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. 

Cate Turns Eight

My beautiful daughter, Cate, turned eight on the 21st. I feel like I blinked and there she was standing in front of me her wild blonde hair
and crooked teeth. As a mother, this experience isn’t unique. There isn’t anyone out there that has children that hasn’t felt how I felt today watching her blow out her candles, another year older. I can’t help but feel enormous joy with a slight sting of sadness. She’s such a remarkable little person – I’m so proud of how she’s grown and the young lady that she’s becoming. But gone is my little baby who needed my help to stand, to walk, to read. She still holds my hands, she still reaches for me to hug and squeeze and cuddle – I know those days of generous affection are numbered…

I often take moments looking at her and her big sister and try to burn the images into my mind of what they are in these moments. The unbrushed hair, the untucked shirt, the frosting on her cheek she missed or the fingerprint I can see on the edge of her glasses that she smudged as she was pushing them up her sweaty nose after a hot night of bouncing on the trampoline.

I have heard how the days seem long but the years are short and it couldn’t be more true. My sweet, sweet Cate is another year older and before long there will be nine candles on the cake. How lucky I am to be her mother. How lucky I am to have eight years of Cate in my life.

The Most Impossible of Fairy Tales

1097943_10153301269460093_831701138_nI met him in person in September of 2013. In a place that held a lot of memories for us both separately, but neither of us called home. He took my hand and led me up a stone staircase that he helped create months earlier when we were still strangers. For anyone else it would have seemed like nonsense to spend our first date in this place, but for us it was perfect. For us it was almost magical. From that moment on, what existed between us was undeniable.

Six months later he was transplanting his whole life – from family and friends to his livelihood, his passions, and his hobbies to make a life with me.  He was leaving all the things he knew to take a chance on a whole new existence that included two little girls. Without anything familiar to guide him, he trusted me to love him. He trusted me to let him take care of me just as I would take care of him. He left all those things to build new things and did those things ever grow…

In 53 days he will become my husband, but in 24 hours he will be heading across the country to a place where as strangers we connected; where we knew that we were meant to spend our lives together. I will miss him because he won’t be close enough to touch, but he will be going back to the place that crossed our paths. And if he were not the man that longed to be in those green mountains we would never have met. That place is where the fibers of “me” and “he” became a tapestry of “us.”

floridaSo I will try to not be sad that he’s leaving tomorrow. I will focus on what I know is true. I am grateful that he is the man who would have the courage to endure the pain and challenge of building the stairs that led to our first meeting, the man who would have the faith to leave his life to join a new one 17 hours away, the man who would commit himself to that new life and offer his remaining days to support and help build the days ahead. I am thankful that he has chosen me. I hope he knows that I have chosen him right back.

So, I am grateful to have fallen in love with a man that has the persistence to return… two years later to that fateful place where we first intersected, to finish what he started before there was a “we” and an “us.” I only hope that when it becomes hard, he feels me in the wind and sees me in the sky and that somehow he draws comfort and strength in those thoughts.  That he remembers all the steps he took from that first journey until now…

I couldn’t possibly love him more. For the man he was before I even knew he existed to the man that made me realize it was finally possible to believe in the most impossible of fairy tales.

I love you, Adam.