On Self-Care.

It seems that my last post resonated with some of you…thank you to all who reached out to share your own stories and encourage me.

I’m learning that honesty is the best policy. I mean, definitely don’t lie…that one seems simple enough. But I’m talking about that brutal, scary, “I can’t believe she just said that out loud” kind of honesty. The more I live, the more I believe that withholding your truth is more damaging than an outright lie.

So, dear readers, the truth is what you shall get.

In my intended field of counseling, “self care” is vital. My professors and textbooks have all driven home the fact that mental health professionals have an ethical responsibility to take care of ourselves, and to do it well.

Do it WELL. That’s where I’ve gotten a little off -track. You see, I know what self-care is supposed to look like: Exercise, eating well, rest, treating yourself! It looks different for everyone, but those are some of the biggies. So for the last two semesters of graduate school, I’ve found myself in a fun cycle of binge eating in front of Netflix (Rest! Treat yo’ self!) and then out of guilt for said junk food and TV binge, shamed myself into a week or so of eating well and overexercising.

Word to the wise: The word SHAME should never enter into a successful self-care regimen.

After one particularly nasty week of crap eating, I had something of a revelation: This is not self care. It’s self-indulgence followed by self-loathing. So I had to ask myself: Where are your attempts at self-care coming from? What motivates them? And all I could come up with was, “Because I have to, and because it’ll fix what’s wrong with my body.”

Huh.

So I thought some more about care in general. I thought of the person I care for the most, and care for the best: My daughter.

I make sure she gets enough sleep. I feed her well, but let her have a treat from time to time. I am always ensuring that she stays hydrated, gets enough exercise, spends time outdoors, wears sunscreen, and doesn’t watch too much TV. I make every effort, EVERY DAY to tell her that she is worthy and loved. Not a day goes by that she isn’t held, hugged, kissed, and cherished.

Why do I take such good care of my daughter? Well, that’s easy: I love her.

Ah.

There it is. Why am I failing at self-care? Because true care doesn’t come from a place of obligation or ulterior motive. It certainly doesn’t come from self-loathing or indulgence.  And regarding indulgence: It’s important to note that not all effective care is permissive. Sometimes it does take discipline. Sometimes it’s flossing and getting in bed at 8:30, when the indulgence would be to grab a remote and the other half of a chocolate Easter bunny. My daughter may not like that we brush her teeth despite her protests, but it keeps her healthy–so we do it.

Effective, lasting self-care can only come from sound knowledge of a single truth: I love myself.

I. LOVE. MYSELF.

So much easier said than done, am I right? But each day, I’m taking steps in that direction. I’m trying not to ask “Is this the best or perfect thing?” and instead am trying to discern, with each choice I make, “Is this loving?” It might mean skipping a workout for a conversation with my husband. Or choosing yoga instead of a run because dammit, I’ve put on 15 pounds and my knees are killing me. It could mean a myriad of things for each of us, but it should never include guilt over what we “should be” doing, or what someone else might be doing.

I’m not an expert at this. It’s been like a week since I’ve had this little epiphany and three days in I got a cold and ended up on the couch, drowning my sorrows in a quesadilla while my third episode of Big Little Lies ran in the background. And believe me, the post-game analysis of that lapse in judgment was not kind.

But today, I’m trying again. I’ll try again tomorrow too. I will keep speaking words of love to myself until I believe them, because they are TRUE.

Let’s take care of ourselves…and start with love.

Contained.

Alright, Jess. It seems you’ve hit something of a crossroads here. Something about your way of living this life isn’t working. You’ve spend so much of your energy studying who everyone else is and what they’re doing. You’re desperate to be loved for who you are—and in your best moments, when you let your own clouds part and you shine, you ARE. But more often than not you mope around, scrolling through social media, trying to figure out what you “need” to be so that you can somehow become that and then take part in everything you think you’re missing out on.

You are anxious, discontent, and bitter. And reading those words, you’re thinking, “No! I’m way more than that! That’s not fair!”

Honey, you are so right. It’s not fair at all. It’s not fair how often you don’t see the little miracles that make up every day of your life, because you’re worried about how social media may perceive them.  It’s not fair that you spend all your money on overpriced coffee and food to fill a void you created in yourself. It’s not fair that you deprive the world of so many of your gifts and talents—truly, some of the best parts of yourself– because you don’t think you’re thin enough, or cool enough for other people to appreciate what you have to give.

Girl, you haven’t worn jeans and a t-shirt in nearly a year. Yes, your body has grown and changed, and instead of accommodating it and decorating it with clothes that fit, you’ve worn leggings and sweatshirts, hoping they’ll stretch just enough to contain you. And you….you keep stretching too. You’re ripping apart at the seams with all you’re trying to hold together.

But what if—stay with me here—your body wasn’t meant to be contained? What if YOU aren’t meant to be contained? I mean, obviously you need to get dressed every day. But really, what is so wrong with a size large t-shirt and size 10 jeans if they’re what you need to feel okay right now? Why are you living in stretchy pants and flowy tops, or wearing actual indentations into your skin from pants that just don’t fit you anymore?

And more importantly, why are you blending in, holding your breath, and wearing tracks into your soul with a life that just doesn’t fit you anymore either?

It’s about so much more than weight. You must know that by now. You’ve known it all along, I bet. But you’d never be able to put your finger on what it really IS about. So you’ve gone back to the treadmill, back to the scale, and back to the fridge, willing just one of them to give you some mother-loving answers, or at least a little bit of relief. But the scale only gives you higher numbers. The fridge, empty calories. And the treadmill has most recently given you a mean case of shin splints. They have all leveled at you a heavy dose of shame.

FUCK. Aren’t you tired of this? Can we move on from this game you’ll never win? Please?

So okay, enough. But what now? Yesterday you sat in your counselor’s office, paralyzed by your inability to figure this all out. It comes down to two questions, he said:

  1. What do you want?
  2. Why do you want it?

Twenty-four hours and counting later, you’re learning that answering question #2 brings you to a fresh incarnation of question #1—so many of the things you think you want are merely empty promises. You’re still digging to uncover whatever it is you really need. Something that is real and sustaining. Something true. But you’re not digging down. You’ve dug yourself into holes before. It’s dark, scary, and flings dirt all over everything. This time, you’ll need to dig yourself OUT, until you can find solid ground to stand on again.

That’s bound to burn some calories, yeah? You DO need to be healthier. Go ahead and buy the next size up, but know that your physical condition IS important. And you’ll get to that—but not before you start the process of bringing yourself back to health in every other way—emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

Grab a shovel. We’ve got some work to do.

Blog Pic

Ghost Town.

This morning was one of those mornings where everything is clicking. Through a glorious combination of waking up early enough and a toddler who slept a little longer than usual, I was able to work out, shower, and have her breakfast made before I retrieved her from her crib. We planned to visit my grandmother  in a rehab facility, where she’s been recovering from a stroke.

But since things were going my way and the sun was shining, I decided we’d leave early and take a detour to the beach in Edmonds, WA. “It’s an Edmonds kind of day”, I thought.

Edmonds is a sweet little town nestled into the beaches and hills on and above Puget Sound, north of Seattle.  It has a main street with cute shops, a ferry dock, and train tracks running right along the water. “It’s an Edmonds kind of day” is an ad slogan from the 80s and 90s, and many longtime residents still proudly display it on bumper stickers and faded, coffee-stained mugs. And in addition to all it has going for it, this charming little town holds so much of my history.

My grandmother grew up there, and her father worked as a baker downtown at the Edmonds bakery. She and my grandpa settled there after raising their six children, first in a giant house on Vista Way, and then a condo with a panoramic view of the sound, the Olympic Mountains, the ferry, and the trains. When they weren’t snowbirding in Arizona, they lived out their days together to the rhythm of foghorns and train whistles.  Her sister, a widow, lived just a mile or so away until she passed in 2010. My grandfather died four years later. In his living room, surrounded by his wife, his children, and me, while the trains and ferries kept up their schedules outside.

As my grandma recovers, their condo sits empty, but spring is in full bloom all around it. Driving into town today, I passed the Chinese restaurant where all 20+ of us used to crowd into the back room, stuffing ourselves with potstickers and chow mein, and my cousins and I would order Shirley Temples with like 9 cherries. I passed the ice cream shop my grandma would take us to, and the park where we held her 60th birthday party…26 years ago. I passed the churches where funerals were held for both of my grandfathers, and the house my uncle lived in until last year, where we’d spent the 4th of July with the best view of the fireworks in town, for so many summers. I smiled at the brewery my grandpa would take us to so we could make root beer, every Christmas. I passed the library where my cousin got married, and the hospital where I was born. I can’t turn a corner in that town without a memory of someone, or everyone, I love.

And for a few aching moments today, it felt unfamiliar and sad. The backdrop to so many of my sweetest days so far felt like a ghost town, empty of all of the people who made those days so precious. For a second I wanted to turn around. I didn’t want to face this place that wasn’t the same anymore, because that would mean that I’m not the same anymore, and I’d have to admit that those sweet days are over. But I glanced in my rear view at my tiny passenger. I’d promised her a beach today, after all.

Sadie Edmonds

 

And suddenly, like so many things do, this place so sacred to me became fresh again through her eyes. It wasn’t sad, and it wasn’t empty of people I love. The person I love the most in the world was standing right next to me, full of life and joy and exclamations of “Boat!” and “Choo-choo!” And just like that, I made a brand new memory in Edmonds.

We left the beach and visited my Grandma. My mom met us there, and I watched in awe as my tiny girl interacted with them both, and felt the blessing of four generations of women, still living and breathing in the same room, together. As I drove Sadie home, I made peace with my ghost town, somewhere in my soul. The apparitions of my past aren’t there to hurt me or make me feel sad. They’re there to comfort me, to make me strong and remind me of where I come from, and where I’ll always belong…where my little girl will always belong, too.

I hope I never fail to see them.

After all, some ghosts are friendly.

Edmonds

Dear Sadie: 18 months…ish.

Hey kiddo.

Yeah, I know. You’ll be 20 months old tomorrow. TWENTY. As in, 4 months away from two. But I can’t let this season go by without trying to record some of the sweet things you’re doing, and how we (somehow) love you more every day.

Presently, you have 13 teeth, with the 14th threatening to appear at any moment. You have started to run, a gait that seems propelled by sheer momentum, and is often accompanied by your sweet chatter. Sometimes, I’ll hear your little voice wobbling “whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa”, in perfect rhythm with the thundering of your tiny little feet. You love to dance, which involves holding your hands in the air and twirling, slowly, in a circle. It’s possible that you get this from me. You “jump”. As in, you swing your whole body in a sort of distorted gallop, with the biggest grin on your sweet face. Your feet have yet to leave the ground, but you don’t seem to mind. And really, neither do I. The day will come when you finally execute a real live jump, and as I celebrate your victory,  I know I’ll start missing your grinning and galloping. You’re loving to pretend these days. When we go to your playroom, you’ll make a beeline for your play kitchen and say “eat!” while you build sandwiches and scramble eggs with your wooden food and utensils. When you determine that the meal is ready, you enthusiastically jab a toy fork at my mouth, encouraging me to “bite?”

You love puzzles and are pretty good at them. In the past week, you’ve discovered your Mega Blocks and will spend 20 minutes at a time building, taking apart, and rebuilding your “towah”. You can identify all of the (capital) letters of the alphabet…almost entirely due to your “laptop” toy. While we cook or do dishes, you stand perched on your learning tower, pressing the buttons over and over. We like to call out, “Sadie, where’s the ___?” and watch you race to locate and press the corresponding button.  You can identify the numbers 1,2,3,5, 6, and 9. Usually. You’re getting pretty good at color identification, though blue, purple, and–your very favorite–yellow, are your most consistent. You love to learn, and we love to watch you.

And oh, my girl…how you do love to talk. When we are home, you are rarely silent. I’ve lost count of the words you know, and you’re adding to your vocabulary every single day. You have started speaking in 2-3 word sentences, and your current verbal masterpiece is the 4-word Whopper: “I bush ma teet” (I brush my teeth!) Kiddo, you are so full of smiles and spunk. While you are a true toddler and can throw down an exhausted tantrum with the best of them, you still manage to maintain your sweet and happy demeanor most of the time. So far, you’re a pretty good listener. I’m doing my damndest to keep you that way, even as you test your boundaries. Your new favorite protests involve diaper changes and getting dressed. You’ll run laps around your bedroom in a diaper. When we repeat our requests, you often wander in the corner and stand facing the wall, occasionally turning around to shoot us a frown. The first time you did it, I forgot all about effective parenting and burst out laughing. Never a dull moment with you, kiddo. I love that we can communicate with you now, and hearing you respond to our questions melts our hearts, even when your response is an emphatic “NO!”

It still takes you awhile to warm up to new people and situations. When I leave you in the church nursery or with friends, they’ll often report that you were happy but quiet. It makes me a little sad to hear this, because I worry about you feeling anxious and nervous without Daddy or I around, and because I want other people to get to see the side of you that I do–the loud, boisterous, hilarious girl I love so much. But like you do, you are teaching me in this. You’re showing me that you and I are different…for all of the ways you ARE like me, with your love for music and books and letters, you are SO MUCH your own person. When you are reserved in new situations, I’m learning to find comfort in your temperament, and learning to champion this part of you and protect it. You have an innate ability to keep the best parts of yourself close until you, and only you, are ready. I will always do my best to keep you safe, but there will be times in your life when I can’t protect you…In your tiny little soul I see the beginnings of a young woman who will know to protect herself, as much as she can, until she is sure she can trust her surroundings. I pray that I will keep celebrating this part of you, even when I wish that the whole world could know the you that I know. You will only share the best of you with the people who have earned your trust…that, my precious girl, is something I learned far too late, and some never learn at all.

Speaking of when I leave you places…you’re starting  part-time daycare in two months, and I’m not coping well. I’m starting my internship this summer, and we need to make sure you’ll be taken care of. I’d wanted to find a way to keep you home and close, but financially and logistically, daycare was the right answer. I can’t tell you how often fear just grips my heart when I think about leaving you for the first time. We’ve never left you in the care of anyone but family or friends, save for the church nursery…and on those mornings, we don’t leave the building. The idea of spending the entire day a 10-15 minute drive from you makes me cringe. The fact that your caregivers will have numerous other children to supervise and won’t be able to monitor your every move terrifies me too. The “what-ifs” that have run through my thoughts range from mildly neurotic to completely paranoid.

But the thing is, and I’ve said it before: Your safety is never fully in my hands. Your life is ALWAYS in God’s hands. I am clinging to this truth as we prepare for this next chapter in your life. I pray that above all that you’ll stay safe. And I pray that you’ll adjust quickly and well, and that you’ll feel happy and loved and secure in the knowledge that Daddy and I love you more than anything in the world.

This season, sweet girl, is a tough one. Nearly two years after becoming parents, we are still struggling to figure out how to balance jobs and school and housework with being good partners for each other and good parents to you. Baby girl, I feel like I’m failing more often than not. Someday I’ll be able to tell you why I decided to pursue this graduate school dream when I did, and all the ways it’s stretching and growing me into a better woman, who is slowly starting to resemble the person I’d like to be. We can talk about the state of our world, and why it’s so important for our future, for YOUR future, that I learn how to help people, especially women. And I hope you’ll understand. And I hope you’ll be proud.

Lord knows I’m proud of you. As always, my love, keep on growing, full speed ahead.

But take your time.

Love you forever,

Mommy

Dear Jess: What you know now.

I have a thing with dates. I remember them uncannily well- If we went to elementary school together, or worked together for a year or so, chances are high I remember your birthday. I remember the days I met certain people, took certain trips, or saw certain movies (Titanic: December 27, 1997).

Some think it’s impressive, some are understandably creeped out…but I remember dates, especially those that have held significant meaning to me over the years. And it always makes me smile (or cringe) when those days come around each year, because I still remember who I was when that significant event occurred. I remember, vividly, how I felt, and how more often than not, the sky seemed to be falling and nothing would be right again. And I think about what I wish I knew. What I wish I could go back and tell that girl, or that young woman. For starters:

September 26, 2010

Dear Jess,

You’re sitting in church next to the latest in a long line of guys that wastes your time and gets your hopes up. The 11am service just started, and as his eyes wander around the room at other women, it’s become clear he’s just here to be your friend and avoid sitting alone. And you’re just so over this shit. I know. Keep your head up. Keep smiling. In 45 minutes, you’re going to meet your husband, and he will never hide his intentions from you or leave you confused. In less than two and a half years from right now, you’ll be taking your wedding pictures in this very building. Just keep going.

July 29, 1996

Dear Jess,

Oh, sweet girl. Your Grandpa passed away today. You’re only 10, and this is the first loss you’ve ever experienced. I see you crying on your twin bed with the pink comforter, wishing you could have just one more day with him. I won’t lie to you…you’ll never stop wishing that. But hold on, little one…19 years from now, you’ll greet this day by pushing and fighting through the worst pain you’ve ever known as you bring Sadie Lorraine into the world. Your heart will break that her arrival and her life are another thing Grandpa will miss. But you will understand the aching beauty of this life we live. You will hurt so badly with the knowledge that life leaves this world, while you are filled with wonder and hope…because life comes back in.  Just keep going.

February 2, 2004

Dear Jess,

You cried yourself to sleep at 3am this morning because your first real boyfriend dumped you last night. I’m tempted to tell you that you should have known…that an 18-year-old boy will take all that you’re willing to give him, whether he loves you or not. But you couldn’t know that, not yet. Frankly, you won’t know that for many more years. That’s a lesson you’ll need to learn the hard way, and that’s okay. The first cut is the deepest, precious girl. I know you’re pretty damn sure you will never, ever recover from this. You’re going to spend some months with no makeup on, wearing sweatshirts and ponytails, hoping and hurting. And then one day you’ll wake up and that pit in your stomach will be gone. You’ll feel like you again. And because you are young, you will dive right back into another relationship, and your heart will break again–all before your next birthday!

You will take longer than you should to realize that the right love only comes when you love yourself more than the idea of a guy in your life. For such a smart, capable, beautiful young woman, you will suffer more than your share of heartbreak because you didn’t prioritize falling in love with YOU before falling in love with them. But you’ll learn from it, and be better for it. 13 years from now, you’ll be sitting in the beautiful home you share with your husband, watching your perfect daughter sleeping. You’ll see the sunrise from your living room window, and be so grateful for it all…Precious girl, I can’t wait for you to see this life. Just keep going

February 2, 2017

Dear Jess,

This day is mostly unwritten. On the docket is a preschool tour, a meeting, and class, as you work toward your master’s degree. The last weeks and months of your life have been tainted by anxiety and often all-out fear over the future of your country, of the world. I can’t tell you it will all be okay for certain, but I am so hopeful. So many days in your life have been marked by pain, uncertainty, and worry. But remember, and never forget how many more of your days have held unbridled joy, laughter, and hope. So do what you’ve always done: keep your head up, and keep smiling.

My prayer is that 5, 10, and 20 years down the road I can write to you and say, once again:

I can’t wait for you to see this life. 

Just keep going.

 

Dear Sadie: Thankful

Hi, precious girl.

So much has happened since I wrote to you last, in your world and the world at large.

You took your first steps on October 3, 2016…I bribed you by holding out my phone. Now, walking is your primary mode of transportation, and watching you do it so confidently makes me so proud of you I could explode. We moved into our new house on October 8, and you settled right in to exploring it on foot. May you ever approach things as fearlessly and fully as you do your laps around our house. You are starting to talk. You say: Sadie, Mommy, Daddy, Baby, Doggy, Ducky, Hi, Bye, Yes, No, your own brand of “Thank you”, and more. You’re starting to use sign language to communicate with us, and now have 12 teeth. You are a toddler now, a BIG girl, with big, TODDLER emotions. The tantrums are in full force, and suddenly parenting is more than feeding you and managing your sleep schedule–now we are tasked with staying calm when you’re losing it, and teaching you how to manage your feelings in a healthy way. Since I’m still trying to master this myself, trust me when I say that we are learning as we go on that one. Oh Sadie…you are the most incredible journey.

Speaking of journeys…Since I wrote to you last,  I started graduate school, and it has changed my life and my heart for the better. It takes so much of my time and energy–I should be studying now, actually, but there were a few things on my heart I needed to tell you NOW. School takes me away from you more than I’d like. I miss you when I’m at class until well past your bedtime, or sitting in a coffee shop, typing furiously to meet an assignment deadline. But while I’m missing you in class, I’m having my heart and my mind broken wide open by my classmates. What I am learning from books pales in comparison to what they teach me simply by sharing their stories. I am stretching and bending and shifting the ways I see the world, and the ways I see myself and the story I’m writing. What echoes so loudly for me with each new lesson is to hold nothing back. I have seen the sharing of experiences break down invisible walls between people–and those are the strongest kinds of walls, my darling girl. I hope your life never holds much darkness or pain. I pray it fervently, actually. But if it does, SHARE IT. Speak of it often and be brave…your pain can bring someone else healing, Sadie. Your dark can shine light all over the world, if you let it. Thank you (and Daddy, and Grandma) for being patient with me while I go on this adventure. I know it makes our lives harder sometimes, but I believe the outcome with be worth the sacrifice.

On November 8, there was an election. Without getting too political, I will tell you that the outcome has left much of our country angry and afraid. I pray, with every fiber of my being, that by the time you’re old enough to understand this election and all of its consequences, we will have found some healing and progress. So many are fearful of an uncertain future, and our fears are certainly warranted. The thing is, Sadie, the future is uncertain by definition. Right now we have no other choice than to walk forward–eyes open, hearts open, game faces on. But the truth is, walking forward in faith and love has always been the right direction. It always will be.

Anyway, today is Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving Day two years ago, I submerged a pregnancy test in a Dixie cup of pee (ain’t nobody got time for trying to go directly on the stick) and learned that I was going to be a mommy. YOUR Mommy. Yet I couldn’t have dreamed the blessing you’d be. You exceeded my every wish, every hope. A couple of nights ago, your daddy and I stayed up late, talking about our lives and the impact we want to have on this broken and beautiful world. We grieved a little over our year of house hunting, remodeling, and moving, and cried over the time it took away from our family, from you. We held each other and promised to stay as awake and present and alive as we can. We only get this one shot. To love you, and love each other. We know we won’t always get this right, but we will never stop trying.

Sweet girl, I have so much to be thankful for. So much. I am privileged and honestly, downright spoiled in so many ways. But you…you are my greatest privilege, and my most precious gift. I am humbled and honored to be your mommy. You make me so happy, so frustrated, so tired…so brave. My story is all I have to give this world, and by far and away, you are my favorite chapter.

Happy Thanksgiving, Sadie. Let’s take a good nap today, yeah?

Love you forever,

Mommy

Dear Sadie: One.

Oh, my sweet girl.

I don’t have enough words to tell you everything I feel about you turning one, but I’ll try.

On the eve of your birthday, I couldn’t sleep. So I pulled out my phone and did what I often do when a bout of insomnia hits: I looked at your pictures. I started with the current ones that feature the face I see every morning, and the toothy smile that lights up my days. And I scroll back and watch your life in reverse. I see you at nine months, just after we moved out of our old house, learning to crawl on the slate floor of a mother-in-law apartment. I see you on the beach in Kauai at seven months, and recognize my favorite outfit you wore at six months. I marvel then at how round your face was, and how much smaller you were. I keep scrolling and relive your first Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween. I tear up when I arrive at the photos of you in your puffy duck costume. You looked so damn cute it actually hurt. I saw a photo of your first trip away from home and your sweet, innocent face took my breath away. It still does. I looked through photos of your first month, stunned at how quickly you changed in those early days, and how foggy and distant they feel in my memory.

I arrived at the pictures of the day you were born—7 lbs, 7oz and perfect. I recalled the pain and the anticipation and the absolute elation of meeting you for the very first time. I scrolled to the last photo taken of me while I was pregnant and struggled to believe that the same baby who wobbled and kicked in my belly was YOU. The one who wedged her whole body into my right side, up under my ribs, was YOU. The one who danced on the ultrasound screen and first appeared as a faint pink line on Thanksgiving Day, 2014.

It was you, all along.

I want you to know that when I look back on my life, on all of my hopes and dreams that never came to be, I’ll know that much. I never got to be an Olympic figure skater or famous country singer.  I may never be a successful writer or even that good of a therapist. But I get to be your daddy’s wife. And I get to be your mom. Of all those dreams, kiddo, you and your daddy were the ones I never let go. The ones I couldn’t give up on. I didn’t know who you’d be or when I’d get to meet you.

But it was you. All along.

I wish I could stop time. I wish I could go back and feel your newborn body on my chest, just once more. I wish I could go back through your first year, and put my phone down a little more often. I wish I could do it all again, this time with the knowledge that it goes SO FAST. But as you’ll learn someday, my love, we can’t go back. Only forward. My little newborn angel has turned into a busy, talkative, opinionated, JOYFUL one-year-old. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Sadie, thank you for being mine. Thank you for the best year of my life, and for the knowledge that it’s only getting better. Thank you for your continued patience as I fumble my way through this journey of motherhood. I promise I’ll do my best not to screw it up too badly.

You are our whole wide world.

Love you forever,

Mommy and Daddy

SadieBirthSadie is 1 year (32) (1)