Mama Forgets. Twice.

Cub began third grade this year and one of the special ways his teacher celebrates each student is to send home Corduroy, the Adventure Bear for a weekend.  Each student takes a turn to welcome Corduroy into their home, to take him on an adventure.  This weekend, it was Cub’s turn.  And we forgot him.  I know what you’re thinking: Winning.

When Cub ran off the bus on Friday afternoon, he was wearing a Christmas-morning-grin.  Lunging to the porch with a large bear.  This is Corduroy!  I got him for the weekend and he’s going to do everything with us!  Joy.  Dear God, just don’t let us lose him- better yet, please don’t let Zook rip his leg off…  We take out the bear.  There is an instruction page and journal for Cub to record his adventures with us.  Most importantly, Cub needs to read aloud to Corduroy.  Okay, here we go.

Saturday, Cub had a soccer tournament.  Four hours of watching, waiting and playing.  Husband lucked out had to work and was only able to make to the last game of the day.  Getting out the door was quite a cluster…  Packing lunches, finding shin guards- why the hell are they not together?!  Then the socks have to go on.  But what?  You can’t do it alone?  As I am packing Cub’s leg into his sock, my spine is beaten by Zook’s boot.  It’s unseasonably warm this weekend- 75 today- and no, child, you can’t wear your boots.  Finally out the door.  I have sandwiches for everyone, snacks and a couple hidden treats to serve as Tangible Rewards– certainly NOT bribes, what kind of Mama bribes her children?  I do however, recommend the Tangible Reward system.  You won’t be disappointed.  Promise.  It was a little ride to get to the tournament and we picked up a couple friends on the way (one for me and one for Cub) but by the time we got to the game, Cub realized we had forgotten someone.  Corduroy.  Shit.

I’m so sorry buddy.  We completely forgot him.  I bet you’re bummed.  We will bring him tomorrow when we go apple picking.  Okay…?  Fine.  Whew.  Dodged that melt-down bullet.  One down, forty-three to go.  The day was hot, long and by the last game, I was ready to be the one to have the melt-down but we survived with only twenty-two minutes of crying and one horrible port-o-potty visit.  Which I won’t elaborate on but I will say this: They are not suitable for young children.  And two people cannot fit.  Well.  Two people cannot fit well.  And then there’s the smell.  And the— Okay, I’ll just stop there for tonight.  But there could be an entire future post focused on visiting a port-o-potty with a two year old.  Just an FYI.

Sunday.  Gor-ge-ous day.  Amazing- even for Autumn in Vermont Standards.  Beautiful drive to the orchard with zero complaining- pretty impressive because it’s about a twenty minute drive from home.  As we walk through the first row of apple trees… Mom!  We did it again!  We forgot Corduroy!  Crap, that fucking bear is ruining everything.  We sit down for a minute- because now, I am pretty sure we are all trying not to hyperventilate.  We have to get him!  Husband tries first: The day’s not over.  We could play chase in the yard when we get home…  Cub doesn’t even humor him with a response.  We have to get him.  Mama looks at Daddy.  Go.  Please.  I say this with my eyes.  But he gets it.  Husband stands up.  Cub smiles.  He’ll be back (in approximately fifty minutes) with the damn bear.  With Corduroy.

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While I can say that dragging (or forgetting) the bear around this weekend was a pain in the ass, it was also a wonderful opportunity for me to listen to Cub read aloud.  He’s a wonderful reader- better than I know I was at his age- but he often reads to himself before bed, outgrown the evening ritual of being read to.  We still read plenty to him but it wasn’t until this weekend that I heard him read aloud.  It was amazing- like tears to your eyes amazing.  Thanks to Corduroy, I was able to witness my child read, hear him form the words, hear his inflection of tone, hear him enjoy a journey.  I asked Cub if he would read to me sometimes before bed after Corduroy was gone.  He obliged with much more optimism than I had anticipated.  I am beyond proud to report that this is a pastime that will not end when the bear is returned to school tomorrow.  Thanks Corduroy.

Peace, Mamas.

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Picture Day F*ck Show

Picture Day equals drama in my house. It all began with a shirt, a boy who hated the shirt and ended with a Mama who lost her shit. Well, that’s the short version at least…

On normal occasions, I am allowed to pick out clothes for the boys, provided I stick to the regimented jeans or athletic pants- but not sweat pants- a tee-shirt with stripes or a solid color- no plaid- and a long sleeve shirt, with no collar, or buttons unless I have prior authorization. The dress shirt is known as the Wedding Shirt. Socks need to be ankle height with shorts however length is not an issue with pants. Sweaters are okay, again advanced approval is required. Walk in the f-ing park, right?! These requirements must also meld with mine including no holes, stains or superheroes, without my validating consent (see two can play). Should they be picking out their own clothes? Yup. Am I avoiding a mess, anxiety and fights at 6am? You betcha. If they wanted to pick out their own, I’d surely let them but no one shows much interest…

Until Picture Day.

I have a white dress shirt, with (gasp!) buttons and (double gasp!) a collar with a pair of jeans for each kiddo this morning. Laid out at the foot of each bed with underwear, socks and an undershirt to avoid their chest hair from showing in the photos. Okay, not really. They didn’t laugh at that joke either…

Cue the complaining. Cub: I am NOT wearing that Wedding Shirt! Mooch: Fine. Put it on me. (I always knew I loved him best…) C’mon buddy. It’s the one day of the school year I ask you to wear a shirt with a collar. I am sure all your friends are too. No they aren’t. And I am not wearing that. Yes, you are. All of your friends’ moms will be picking out shirts too. I don’t ask for much but on picture day, I’d like you to wear a shirt with a collar. Now please put it on and come down for breakfast. As I head downstairs, I hear him say No, followed by that uggghhhh noise (I am sure it was accompanied by the signature third grade eye roll). Packing lunches, making breakfast. I call him down again. Cub appears at the top of the stairs with his pants and socks on. No shirt. Where’s the shirt? On the floor. I am not wearing it. It’s junk. Look, I need you to get that shirt on and get down here so you don’t miss the bus. I know you don’t want to wear the shirt but today you are going to because I said so. Got it? (Oh my god.. I am my mother.) FINE. He disappears for a moment and then returns to the head of the stairs with the shirt balled up in his hand. Now as I am sure you can imagine, I am pretty pissed. And I am really trying not to start screaming like a maniac here but I am about to lose it. So what does he do? He looks down at me, right in the eye, and heaves the shirt down the stairs. It hits me in the face… I see red.

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I march up the stairs, take him by the arm and bring him down the stairs (this of course, is not as you are picturing… Okay, it’s actually exactly how you are picturing). I put the shirt on him without a word- or eye contact, his complaining is now drowned out by that new Katy Perry song- the butchering she does of Eye of the Tiger- you know the one- I bring him over to the table and shove breakfast at him. I’m getting in the shower and that food better be gone by the time I get out. I storm into the bathroom. What is my problem…? Why am i behaving this way? I am not going to budge on that shirt but how can I dismiss his feelings of insecurity and embarrassment? Mama Fail. Half dressed, I head back out to the kitchen. Buddy, I am sorry snapped at you. I know you don’t want to wear that shirt. I don’t want to argue with you about it and I am sorry we don’t agree. You just want me to look bad. Why would I want you to look bad on picture day? Because you hate me and you want me to look ugly. I love you. I want you to wear the shirt so that you look a little more dressed up for the school picture. You want me to look wimpy for the picture and you want me to be happy about it. I–ugh… Yeah… Shit.

I do want him to wear it but am I really asking him to be happy about it? Crap. I lean down to him. I am sorry you don’t want to wear the shirt. I know you don’t feel comfortable in it. How about we pack a different shirt to change into after the picture- would that be better? Yes, that would be better. And I am sure all the other boys will have Wedding Shirts on too. Remember last year one of your friends wore a tie. James won’t be wearing at Wedding Shirt. I am sure he will. I think he wore one last year. Okay. Fine. As long as I can change.

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So the fight ended with Cub wearing the Wedding Shirt and me feeling like I made it okay. Until I see that James’ mother has a picture posted on her Facebook page, with her smiling son at the bus stop. And guess what? No Wedding Shirt. Shit. Cub’s gonna kill me. But at least he’s wearing a collar…

Peace, Mamas.

Kindergarten Hell

We are in Kindergarten Hell.  My sweet, charming little Mooch left on the first day of school with a mere wave and what walked off that bus was a fib-telling, tantrum-throwing, rule-hating little demon, packed inside the shell that once was my son.  What the hell.  Where did my sweet, polite child go?  He went to Kindergarten.

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First there was the meanness to little Zook (whom I have no concern that he can hold his own) then there was the tantrum at soccer.  Soccer.  All was kosher until I whip around to seem my child (or what was once my child) stamping across the soccer field in the middle of the game sobbing and screaming.  The screams were barely decipherable (my hope was that they were completely indecipherable), the tears were flowing, arms swinging wildly in the air.  I hate soccer!  I hate my team!  I hate it!  I hate soccer- and my team! Sob.  Sob.  Sob.  After about 10 minutes of rolling, kicking (not at the soccer ball), drooling and snotting on the sideline, he finally was able to tell me what had offended him to this extent: He hadn’t yet scored a goal.  Really?!

There’s been meltdowns over the order of tooth brushing, nightly book choice, “wimpy” [insert item of clothing or footwear here], getting out of bed in the morning and into bed at night.  We have had hitting, pushing, pinching, throwing and fist-pushing (pushing your closed fist into someone’s stomach without the quick force of a punch- but with the same outcome). We have had arguing over meals and drinks and I’ve answered questions like Why can’t I have cookies for breakfast? Everyday.  (Which reminds me, I totally need to do a Things I Wish I Could Say Part 2…)

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My rationale is that he’s balking at his now-structured day, learning not only about numbers and letters but also about bullies and meanness.  Hearing new words and phrases, new jokes and insults- and trying them out at home.  On us.  There have been a couple times in the last two weeks that I have looked into his eyes, pleading with desperation… Please send my sweet innocent boy home to me!  Tonight, as I was tucking him into bed, he seemed sad.  What’s up Mooch?  How’s school?  Good. Is there anything you’d like to change about kindergarten? Silence and then…  Sometimes at Morning Meeting, the kids tell me to scooch over and I don’t have room to scooch.  Emma told me to scooch.  And I scooched.  And then Henry told me to scooch back.  But I had no where to scooch back.  Tears stung my eyes, my throat had that hard lump in the back.  As my Mooch looked down, he picked a chip of paint that had dried under his thumbnail… I didn’t have anywhere to scooch.  And then he leaned into me.

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So much is happening for him right now.  New friends, new rules, new words, new routines, new, new, new.  And he’s having a hard time catching up.  And I know he’ll get there but right now it’s really hard.  Hard to know what to ask and how to respond, when to talk and when to stay quiet, when to play and when to listen.  I can see that his behavior over the last two weeks has been a cry (okay, screaming tantrum) for direction, support and extra attention.  So that’s what this Mama needs to provide.  My dear Mooch, I will help you through this.  And you will learn how to be a kindergartner; I will learn what you need.  And we will conquer Kindergarten Hell.  Together.

Peace, Mamas.

Love is Free

I’m going out on a limb here but I think everyone should have an opinion on something.  If you don’t have an opinion you can’t really be relevant.  So here goes.  I had a conversation with someone today about parenting.  But I think it goes deeper than parenting.  Read on.

A man disclosed to me today that he was struggling terribly with his sixteen year old son.  The child is in an alternative school setting as he was removed from a traditional school setting due to violence and complete disregard for rules and authority.  It’s true that traditional school is not the right placement for all children however, I feel strongly that the school failed this child.  Nevertheless, the child has been exhibiting violent behaviors, cutting and most recently drinking.  The father stated that he came home to find his son sleeping and when he awoke him, he found that he was heavily intoxicated.  I asked how he had disciplined his son to which he responded I gave up on discipline a long time ago.  My wife doesn’t back me up and if we can’t be a united front, it’s never going to work so I just stay away from it.  Me, probing: Don’t you feel like he was testing you? Like he wanted to see where your hard line was?  If you didn’t draw the line at drinking, do you think he may push that line further the next time?  Maybe… maybe.  But he was so sick, I don’t think he’ll do it again for a while.  He already smokes.  And I know he’s gettin’ into pills too.  Ah, what can you do.  Kids.

I’m not sure I mentioned this before but I am a social worker.  At my past job, I assisted people experiencing homelessness with finding housing, obtaining medical, mental health and substance abuse treatment, creating resumes, repairing credit and provided support with transitioning from years in prison.  In my current position, I oversee a wellness program for seniors, people with disabilities and families who live in public housing.  I have seen poverty.  Motivated addicts, coached offenders, supported parents who have lost their children or are in the process of getting them back and made reports for them to be removed.  And what I can surmise from all this I have bared witness, what I can draw from these life events which may appear critical, is that they are chronic.  They are part of a chronic cycle that was learned, from one generation to the next.  Passed down like a quilt or a recipe, these cycles of abuse, poverty and drug use are to blame for the generations of dysfunctional behaviors which will follow.  These cycles are powerful.  This life we know is not fair to humans who are born into a field which is not level.  These cycles take such incredible strength to overcome that it can seem nearly impossible.

Sounds discouraging right?  That generations compounded by poverty will just continue over and over again.  Well here’s the kicker: Love is Free.  Love, patience and time do not cost a penny.  This man, sitting across from me today need do nothing more than to go home to his son and prove to him that he cares.  Tell him he loves him and that he’s not going to stand by and watch him give up on life.  The father has not been provided the skills to do this because his father didn’t give a shit either.  It’s a total cop out to say that but it’s true.  Love is free.

I am often struck by a quote from Gandhi: Be the change you wish to see in the world.  Well here’s the change I wish to see in the world: I want it to be better for my kids than it was for me.  I want the world they grow up in to not have nuclear bombs, ethnic cleansing and genocide.  I want them to know only of kindness to humans and respect for this earth we share with plants and animals alike.  I want my children to recognize when a fellow human needs help.  And help.  I want them to find partners they love and make babies and love them.  Really love them.  No small feat.  But I would dare to wager that many, many parents want the same thing for their children.  Even the gentleman I spoke with today.  He is a good person.  He works hard.  He’s lost hope that his son can see and appreciate the wonderful things in this world.  Just as soon as he remembers how to care about those things, he can inspire his child to see them to.

So Mamas (and Papas) be that change.  I’m not a person who judges.  And I certainly don’t claim to have things figured out- and I very seldom give advice without being asked but I am right here and now telling you- begging you- to see that good in the world and challenge your children to find it too.  Because my kids have to live in this world with your kids.   And my grandchildren have to live with your grandchildren.  Be that change.  And love your children.  Give them your time.  Grace them with your patience.  It will not lighten your wallet but it will make our world that much richer.

Peace, Mamas.

Mama Needs to Rally

Do you ever just feel like giving in to this chaos?  Like you are walking around in circles and into walls all day long?  Yeah?  Well join the club.  There are many wonderful things about motherhood.  And I do so adore my children.  And sometimes I want to throw them through the wall.  The whining is what’s been getting to me the most lately.  And with the end of the school year, I am feeling like I just don’t give a shit anymore.  Cub went to school twice this week with a jelly sandwich for lunch and guess what he’s having tomorrow… Sorry little dude.  Although he looks at this like a treat, I’m still feeling shitty about it.  I wonder what those lunch ladies think when the see what the kids have to eat at this time of year… Who else sorta gave up on packing a lunch encompassing the different food groups?  C’mon.  Where’s my slacker Mamas at?

The truth is I’m just tired.  Husband forgot to grab a key item required for dinner tonight so Mama had to stop at the store on the way home from work- along with 40,000 other Mamas whose husbands forgot shit too.  Do you switch lines when the competency level of the cashier is revealed or when you notice a handful of coupons in the customer’s hands in front of you?  Normally, I am not a switcher but my anxiety about getting home, dinner, showers and the bullshit that would greet me at the door got the better of me.  I made two bad switches before I realized it made no difference.  I was stuck in a suck line behind a suck customer and a suck cashier.  Great.  My husband calls while I am pulling out of the parking lot.  I can hear screaming in the background.  Shit.  The high point of my day came when my dear friend texted me to inform me that (thankfully her children are nearly as screwed up as mine or I’m not sure we could be friends) her son told another child at daycare that she smelled like a penis.  Boys. Rock.  And that actually gave me some of my energy back and lightened my mood a bit.

When I pulled in the driveway, I could hear the screaming of the “chase game” from the driveway.  Rally.  Dinner was nuts.  Zook is crying.  Why is he crying?  He wants a spoon.  Wait he wants a fork.  Wait he wants ice cream.  With a fork.  Ugh.  Unload dishwasher, load dishwasher, pick up the corn and rice off the floor.  At this point, I actually almost started to cry.  I think because I realized that there wasn’t a clean kitchen towel in the drawer.  And I knew there wasn’t one in the basket upstairs either.  And yes, it sounds trivial but the absence of the kitchen towel midst the crying and demands of Zook, the whining and arguing of Mooch and Cub and the fact that I still had so far, so far to go before the calm could set in, really, really started to get to me.  Suck it up Mama.  Rally.  Showers, screaming , soap in eyes (it’s the tearless kind for God’s sake!) clip 60 (yes, 60) nails.  Read an Elmo book.  God I hate Elmo.  Quiet.  Snuggling my babies with warm soft hands on my cheeks.  Almost there.  Lights out and done.  Breathe.  And good news folks!  We get to do it all over again in 24 hours!

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There are just not enough hours in the day- so cliche right?  So true.  I am barely getting by here.  Summer has got to come.  No more homework, no more projects, no more searching for library books or forgetting sneakers on gym day.  No more hunting for the perfect item for Share Day.  Oh sweet summer.  I think I am craving the serenity more than my kids.

Rally.  That’s what I feel like most of my life has come to lately.  I am so tired.  Stretched to the point of exhaustion.  And I know that’s the reason I yell and have a lack of patience.  I know it’s me and not them.  But (I am about to admit something terrible here) sometimes I feel like I just don’t want to care anymore.  Like I am just done trying.  I know I shouldn’t yell and sometimes in the moment, I even think Why am I yelling right now?  Stop!  Stop it, Mama!  But no.  I yell and spend the next hour feeling like shit.  That’s more the cycle I speak of.  More than the chores and endless whining from the kids.  It’s me.  Mamas (and the Papas) reading this who have toddlers and babies… I used to be like you.  Said I wasn’t going to yell.  Said I wasn’t going to lose my temper.  Read all those Zen parenting books and blogs.  And then my kids could talk back.  And that all went out the window.  This is a judgement-free zone.

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So where do we go from here?  We start over.  Tomorrow the sun will rise again.  The cycle might start again.  Or it might not.  I am not in control of their behavior.  But I need to be fully in control of my own.  And of my responses to their behavior.  Breathe.  Tomorrow I’ll be back on the wagon.  It won’t be perfect but as long as I keep trying to make things better.  As long as I keep giving a shit.  I can do better.  I owe it to them (and myself) to be better.  And that’s all I can do.  Rally.

Peace, Mamas.

So It Was a Bad Night…

I’m not sure bad night really captures the essence of disaster that went down this evening.  It. Was. Bad.  And it really began the moment I walked through the door.  Complaints.  Complaints about dinner.  About homework.  About brothers wielding swords, eyes getting poked, arms being scraped.  To walk in the door to negativity greeting you with a kick in the shins kind of sets the mood for the next few hours.

My oldest is my complainer.  Nothing is ever fair.  Ever.  He’s seven and very smart.  But can also be a little negative.  My expectations are higher for him (we put all our faith in the oldest, right?  I am just hoping my other two won’t be playing video games in the basement when they are 30…) and because of this, nothing is fair.  But tonight, it was more about him being in a shitty mood and taking it out on everyone.  He has a bit of a cough so for the first 20 minutes or so, I chalked the attitude up to post nasal drip and fatigue.  And then came the name-calling, talking back and general meanness toward his brothers.  And me.

We barely got through dinner.  His meatball sucked.  His spaghetti was too long.  He didn’t get to share about his day first.  His brother was sitting to close to him.  Buddy, what’s up tonight?  Stop saying that to me!  Why do you always think it’s my fault.  He’s the one looking at me like that.  Really.  Finally got through dinner.  Consequences racked up by meal’s end included: no video game time tonight (or tomorrow, but that was just dumb- who takes away privileges for the next day?  Dumb.), and threats of a cancelled playdate.  But to no avail, the attitude continued.

Homework.  He didn’t want to do it.  Refused to sit at the table.  Threw the pencil.  Crumpled the paper.  That. Was. It.  I yelled.  That’s it!  No outside time.  No homework.  You can do it in the morning.  Straight to bed.  NOW.  He went stomping up the stairs, claiming that I didn’t love him.  That no one loved him.  That if he fell off a the edge of a cliff, no one would care or look for him.  I do love you.  I don’t love your behavior tonight.  You must be feeling really frustrated and angry.  And I’m really disappointed that you made these choices tonight.  (For those of you who don’t know, I am a social worker for my day job so I can empathize, paraphrase and use ‘I statements’ like a pro- yes, I am well aware of how annoying this can be.)  He stomps up the stairs and yells over his shoulder to me: Wimp.  Wimp?  How am I wimp?  I want to tell him that was a ridiculous thing to say but I resist the urge to further infuriate the fuming dragon.  Door slams.

All is quiet.  I finish picking up the table and decide to go up for a chat.  I knock on his door.  Waiting.  “What.”  Said as more of a statement than question.  Can I please come in?  I’m ready to talk.  Are you?  The door creaks open without an answer but clearly it’s an invite.  Breathe.  We sit down on the bed.  What’s up honey?  Help me to understand why you are having such a tough night.    Nothing.  Is everything okay at school?  Did you have any disagreements with friends?  No.  Were there any parts of your day that made you nervous or sad?  Well, we needed to finish writing our book by today or we have to finish it during free choice tomorrow.  Did you finish?  No.  Everyone else is done and I’m not.  I don’t think I will even be done tomorrow.  I get it.

We connected.  He’d had a really stressful, upsetting day.  He feels insecure.  He carried that like a boulder on his adorably delicate back all day and all evening.  Let it out.  He cried.  Said he had been looking forward to free choice all week and now, the last day before vacation, he’s not going to get to play with his friends.  His tears rolled down his soft innocent cheeks as my eyes filled and I tried to swallow that ache in my throat.  I’m sorry you had such a bad day.  It’s okay, he says and buries his forehead into my chest.  Breathe.  Can you read to me?  He asks.  Sure.

He had a bad day.  He lashed out.  I yelled.  We talked.  I understood.  He forgave me.  It was a tough night.  I’m so glad I took the time to talk it through.  I didn’t give in and he couldn’t go outside after dinner or have his video game time.  He will have to finish his homework in the morning before school.  And he will miss his free choice tomorrow.  But now I have a reason for his angst tonight.  God, I adore this child.  He can be a tough kid sometimes.  But he makes me want to be a better Mama.

Peace Mamas.

Dear Mooch

My Dear Sweet Mooch,

Tomorrow, we will accompany you to Kindergarten Registration.  On the eve of this monumental event, I felt it necessary to write to you in a effort to put words to my thoughts during this experience.  Your life began with a bit of a rocky pregnancy.  At a few points, there was real reason to worry but you came into this world a soft, fleshy, pink lover.  You latched on within moments of your birth, despite being born via cesarean, and didn’t let go for 16 long months.  You were affectionately dubbed Mooch due to your tendency to beg all the food and affection anyone had to offer.  The name stuck.  And to this day, you are my sweet Mooch.

You were the easiest baby.  Which I desperately needed.  Coming off the emotional bender of raising your brother, your calm, peace and need for constant cuddles was warmly welcomed.  I could have held you for days at a time.  And sometimes I did.  To this day, you will give out affection in the form of hugs, kisses, snuggles and hand holding without reservation. Rubbing your warm cheek against mine before you close your eyes is the highlight of every day.  You take care of others’ feelings, sometimes more than your own.  You recognize when someone has been hurt and try to make it better.  You are inclusive and empathetic.  You love without abandon.  You are one of the brightest lights in my life.

Your favorite color is secretly purple.  I know you don’t want your older brother to know.  You asked for the purple glitter at the store and I watched you grin as you smeared it on the fresh glue.  You love to play house and enjoy pushing the stroller- no doubt pretending you are a loving, softhearted dad just as your own.

You are a child who loves to give love.  Never lose these parts of yourself.  You will be tested.  Your gentle heart will be broken.  You will be left out, hurt, embarrassed, lonely.  I desperately wish to tell you that you will be spared the harshness of others but it would be a lie.  Please do not let go of the love you have for others.  The softness of your soul.  These are defining attributes and the best parts about you.

Thankfully, I still have another few months to prepare for the hole you will leave in my heart when you are gone from me for hours each day.  When you will begin to have a life away from me.  I will let you go because there is a whole world of people out there who will benefit from your kindness and love.  You will touch lives, I can guarantee that.  People will be better because they know you.  Better because you can share your gifts with them.  I am not quite ready yet but I am aware that this is the first big step in the direction of letting go.  Always be my Mooch.

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I super love you to the moon and back and beyond.  More than all the leaves on all the trees in the whole wide world, more than all the stars in the sky, more than anything.

Mama