For my Loves on Valentine’s Day

(This was supposed to be a Valentine’s Day post, but you know how it goes. Things never happen the way you plan! Instead, we get the day after, but the sentiment is still the same.)

Valentine’s Day is a day we celebrate love. The people we love and who love us in return. And chocolate. And hokey cards and sometimes presents. But I like to just count my blessings on Valentine’s Day. And I’ve got 4 right here under my roof.

To my husband, Mike, I have to say how lucky I feel to have found you. You are the great love of my life and will be until the day I leave this earth. I knew right away I could spend the rest of my life with you, and it is so gratifying to know I was right! You love me for everything that I am, both good and bad and inbetween. You make me feel loved and safe, content to just ride it out and see where life takes us without making a plan or scheduling our time together. Because I know that no matter what, it will be good and right and will keep me happy as long as we are in this together. I would be lost in this life without you. I love you, Mike.

Caylie, you were my first baby and taught me what motherhood is. I’ve learned that my pregnancy was merely me standing in line for the ride that will probably never stop as long as I am your mother. You were my first masterpiece. A little piece of me and the man I love and all of our family members we can think of when we look at your little face. Your spirited personality makes you a force to be reckoned with in the Noyer house. You challenge me, surprise me, and teach me something new about myself or motherhood, or just about life, everyday. You spend your days singing and dreaming, telling stories and playing pretend. Your snuggles and hugs, your beautiful smiles, nurturing ways and amazing imagination are all blessings to me. I love you, Caylie.

Chase, your birth healed something broken inside of me. I looked at your little face and couldn’t stop smiling. You were a little 9 pound treasure. You still are. Having you in my life has re-taught me how to be a mother, without all the insecurities or worries. It has been amazing to just experience motherhood at its best when I can be calm and confident and knowledgeable about what both you and I want and need. The way you hug and kiss me, tell me you love me, and stroke my hair while I’m singing you to sleep is precious to me. Your shy smile, love of books, and clingy possessiveness of me are a delight. You are a calm after a storm and a balm to my heart and soul. Your joie de vivre is contagious and I just love to be around you. I love you, Chase.

And to the baby growing inside of me, I want to say how much we already want you and love you. How blessed I feel to be allowed to experience another baby growing inside of me, another birth, and most of all, another personality to add to our family. I can already see you in my mind, smiling and growing and playing alongside your siblings. Sitting at the dinner table, splashing in the bathtub, crying in the night for mommy. And I can’t wait! Today, for the first time, I saw your tiny body wiggling around inside of me, moving your arms up over your head and kicking your tiny feet. Your strong heartbeat and your active little body brought me a surge of happiness and love that I could never describe with mere words. I love you, Baby.

Happy (belated!) Valentine’s Day to my 4 Loves. I hope your day was as blessed as mine was.

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A Nice Reminder

About 2 weeks ago, I was invited to a book reading that was going on at the local high school. A friend from my mom’s group was going to see Andre Dubus III, the best-selling author of the “House of Sand and Fog”, do a reading from his new memoir “Townie.” It was a cold, windy night with freezing rain coming down and I thought to myself, “do I really want to go out in all this to hear a reading?” Apparently, my answer was yes. And I’m so glad I went.

Dubus was a great speaker and read from his memoir for about 25 minutes. He did a Q&A session afterwards, which he said is his favorite part of doing readings of his work. I thought the memoir sounded both interesting and tragic, much like his fiction, but the Q&A was just as interesting with people asking all sorts of questions about writing. His answers were enlightening for me as I’ve always played with the idea of writing a memoir. Questions like, where do you begin? Or, were you worried about your family’s reaction/feelings about your memoir? I’ve always been fascinated with writing, first as an avid reader and then later as a dabbler in the written word. So, to hear a successful published author speak about these things was truly captivating.

But just as much as it thrilled me, it also made me a little sad. Sad in a nostalgic kind of way. Because these were the things I did when I was younger. Before marriage and kids, when my life was filled with just work and friends and deep, intellectual thoughts, I went to book readings. I talked about books and writing with my peers. I dreamt big dreams and thought big thoughts. It reminded me of who I was when I was younger.

But it also made me think of all those women who always say they feel like having a child made them lose their identity. I’ve never felt that way, personally. I mean, I live a very different life now that I’m married with kids. But I’m still the same person I was before. Going to Dubus’s reading just reminded me that even though my life right now is filled up with thoughts about ear infections and potty training, grocery budgets and folding laundry, I am still capable of enjoying an intellectual conversation. My brain is still capable of thinking deep thoughts and dreaming big dreams. It’s nice to know this. One day, my kids will have moved out of the house and my life will, once again, be filled with just work and friends and deep, intellectual thoughts. My identity will be intact. But my life will have been enriched with all the new things I’ve learned about myself as a woman – all the things I’ve learned myself to be capable of doing, thinking, or just watching. (Because sometimes just watching, without jumping in and helping, is the toughest thing of all!) I will have come full circle by then, and, who knows?, maybe I’ll write that memoir after all.