Tag Archives: unedited

Five Minute Friday | Breathe

Ready, set, go…

Last year, I was tucking Graham into bed when he started a difficult conversation. One I wasn’t yet ready to have. We had just lost Laurence and Flannery the day before. 

“Mama, I’m so sad our babies died, but I’m glad I get to sleep in yours bed. How long we gonna be so sad? And can we be sad and happy? Cuz I wanna be sad sometimes and happy lots of times. Will we get babies again in your belly? Can we be mean to people? Cuz I wanna be mean to people. Am I still your favorite boy? I’ll be okay if you get more favorite boys. I’m so happy you aren’t in da hospital again tonight cuz I missed you last night. Someday you gotta tell me about the dead baby surgery. Da hospital was pwobly too quiet, huh?”

“We will be sad when we need to be sad and happy when we want to be happy. We can be sad as long as we want to be, as long as we don’t hurt ourselves or be mean to other people. That’s not being sad, that’s other things that aren’t showing God’s love to ourselves and others. I don’t know if we get to have other babies in my belly. But I love all five of you so much! And, yes, you’re still my favorite boy. And I’m so happy I’m home with you. The hospital was very quiet, which was nice. But I missed all our noise.”

“You forgotted da surgery part.”

“When you are older.”

How that was exactly one year ago yesterday, I’m not sure. Time is so strange when you’re 33-going-on-34. 
We made it through the anniversary of the twins’ birth and death. I had been dreading February 1st, but it ended up being easier than I thought it would be. Partially because my kids kept me completely busy and I barely had time to think about it. And partially because I decided to place zero expectations on myself. 

I didn’t make plans to commemorate it at all. No tattoos. No visit to the cemetery. No “one year later” post. Just regular life. Just breathing in and out. 

My word for 2017 is breathe. For whatever that’s worth. It came to me at the very end of December. 

Yesterday, in conversation with Nicole, while our kids were running through the house laughing and screaming, I realized I had found my word for 2017. Nothing profound. But the last several years have been more difficult than not, and I’m choosing to focus on the basics in the new year. Breathing in my husband. Breathing in my children. Breathing in new baby smell. Breathing in friendship. Breathing in the Holy Spirit. “Nicole, I think next year is my year to breathe.” She nodded, then we cleaned some weird orange goo off Graham and Thatcher’s hands, changed Adelaide’s diaper, hunted for Chandler’s missing drink, and averted a near disaster as Bess stuck her head into a birdcage. I was breathing in motherhood, and I felt alive.

I breathed my way through February 1st, the anniversary of losing two children. And I breathed my way through February 2nd, the anniversary of coming home from the hospital empty-handed. And I breathed my way through preschool drop-off and pick-up. I breathed my way through homeschool and pottytraining and dishes and laundry and calling in prescriptions. And I breathed my way through making room for another baby. A baby brother. Who probably eased some of the pain on February 1st. But in the words of Graham, “Getting a new baby doesn’t make me miss our dead ones less. I wish we could have all free of dem!” We’re all breathing our way though pregnancy after losing children. One breath at a time. 
Time’s up.

Join me over at katemotaung.com with your own five minutes of raw and unedited thoughts on the word “breathe”…a safe place to share. 

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Five Minute Friday | Dwell

Ready, set, go…

We are in the middle of life stuff. How’s that for annoyingly vague… And I got so stuck in it, I just wanted to crawl into my perpetually unmade bed and cry myself to sleep. Is it worse than terrorist attacks? No. Is it worse than not having a toilet? No. Is it worse than a million other things I see everyday on my phone? Of course it isn’t. But I can become so myopic. It’s why I keep photos of our sponsor kids all over our fridge. It reminds me that my life is easy. And I stop to pray for them. Write a note. Mail some stickers. Not one ‘trouble’ in my life — at this moment, or any other moment — even compares to what our sponsor kids are living right now. I usually have more change in my van than most people in their countries make in a day. But I forget. And I feel trapped. When my blinders go on, I become self-centered Lyndse. It happens so quickly. Nanoseconds. But it always takes longer to snap me back to my cushy reality. Where we have food. Water. A home. Laundry. Clothes packed up for when we grow or shrink. “I feel stuck.” That’s what I said to Dave. As we were in our 8 x 8 office-turned-bedroom. I cried. We are in the middle of life stuff. And then I got a message from my brother. No, they literally can’t leave Phnom Penh with their children. They are truly stuck. Because their kids were birthed in their hearts, and not from my sister-in-law’s womb, it’s a mess. And only God can fix it. And only God can take off my ‘woe is me’ glasses, so I can correctly see the world. When I dwell on Him, I see how silly I am sometimes. Most of the time. Nearly all of the time.

Time’s up. You can join me at katemontaug.com with your own five minutes of raw, unedited rambling. It’s a nice and non-judgey group.

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It’s Worth It To Be Stronger {A Raw & Unedited Post}

I started strength training two and a half months ago. What do I have to show for it? Not a lot. I’ve gained quite a bit of weight. Several inches.

I’m down to *a* pair of pants, two maxi skirts…the official sweatpants of flat-butted moms…and a few shirts. I am constantly mistaken for pregnant. Someone actually walked up and started rubbing my belly.

And Graham brings up three glorious times a week that I need to quit working out, because I’m just being bigger and bigger and I look weird. His words.

I have been doing squats with weights, lunges, steps, mountain climbers, burpees, pushups, planks, and different types of cardio. I am eating the right foods. I had already cut diet pop several months ago, since I’m fasting it until my adopted nieces are home in the US.

A few people warned me that this would happen. That I would get bigger. Look bigger. Not have any clothes. Look like I’m in my second trimester. But they all ended with, “It’s worth it to be stronger.”

Every last one of them uses their strength for marathons and competitions and sports they love. And they travel. Spend time with friends. Post pictures on Facebook and Instagram of all the things their strong bodies can do.

I get to use my strength to lift a person into a crib. Bathe a person. Change a person’s diapers. Lift a person into a highchair. Carry a person from the house to the van. From the van to the house. Lift a wheelchair.

Maybe strength training is fun and appealing when you can buy bigger clothes while you get bigger. Or when you get medals and your name on a board. Or travel to tournaments. Or look cute in workout gear.

It’s not glamorous when you’re using your new skill to haul someone in and out of a van to therapy. Wearing the same shirt every week, because nothing else fits. Wearing maternity tops, because you finally built up some abdominal muscles but you still have so much fat on top that you look bad in everything you own.

No one talks about that. No one talks about how you aren’t pretty and thin anymore. And your only accomplishment is not hurting yourself during her bathtime.

No one talks about how you spend all this time to actually look at yourself less, because you don’t even want to look in the mirror. Your proportions are off. And you have nothing to show for it after 11 weeks of work.

This in between place. Not strong and cut and not thin and sleek. Just lumbering around, trying to disguise muffin tops and succeeding at safe transfers. Not so sure that it’s “worth it to be stronger.”

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Five Minute Friday | Yes

Ready, set, go…

As I collapse into bed after a long day filled with so many tough moments, I am thinking back on the seven times I said “yes” to that school psychologist.

Adelaide had three assessments this morning. And I spent a solid eighteen minutes saying “no, no, no” to questions about my almost 4-year-old. Pages filled with zeros. She actually scored so low on the first three tests, we didn’t do the fourth. Only seven out of four hundred. She can do seven things.

I was prepared. I have gone over these results hundreds of times with parents. But now I’m the mom. The one who feels like I failed my little girl. The one who carried her for 39 weeks and grew her and fed her. And fed her outside my womb for 1.25 years. And I’m the same person who hasn’t taught her to use a straw or put exactly five pieces into one of those wooden puzzles. And I kept saying “no, nope, never” and the “yes, once, last month” utterances were few and far between.

But we were both brave. She more than me. She’s the one who will start school for the first time. Get diaper changes from someone other than mom. Be away from her toys and books and plethora of sensory chew toys that were created to just be toys until she baptized them with saliva and fire.

And I’ll be learning to let other people see her flourish. Teach her what I’ve been unable to plant in that sweet pixied head of hers. I’m taking the chance that I’ll miss firsts. A kind paraprofessional will tell me what I didn’t see or cheer on. And I’ll hold back tears until we’ve reached the van and loaded the wheelchair and exited the parking lot.

Because I’m not selfish for dreading these future times when I will not have the memory and photo and video of a praise-the-Lord-she-finally did it milestone. I’m a normal mom, despite my unusual circumstances. I want to see my baby grow. And I’ll learn to celebrate those moments, and I’m looking forward to having more than seven “yes, uh-huh, yep” answers this time next year.

We have a list of 393 negatives to flip. And now we have a whole team of caring adults to share the burden and the excitement. What a way to start September.

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Time’s up.

Join me at katemotaung.com for your own five minutes of unedited, raw, and rough around the edges writing. We don’t judge. We promise.

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Five Minute Friday | Gift

Ready, set, go…

Sometimes you get an 8pm message saying, “You can come to my rummage sale before it opens.” And your husband says, “Go! Go now!” And you drive through the ATM. You can’t do cash envelopes anymore, because you lost the water bill money one month and it was a nightmare looking for it. You’re a budget pro, but only when it’s safely inside an account. But you know exactly what you can spend. You show up at your friend’s house and you are shopping without a wheelchair. Without a carrier. Without a little man trying to sweet talk you into buying the toys of two sweet little girls. He doesn’t care about a Strawberry Shortcake at all, but he is thrilled at buying anything. But he’s at home watching ‘What’s in The Bible?’ with Daddy while his sisters are in bed. Everyone is winning on this deal. And you fill two boxes with clothes. Coats. Dresses. Your daughter went through a growth spurt and skipped two sizes in just a month. You raided the next size up container and there were so many gaps. You bought brand new shorts for the first time in a long time. She went across the aisle from toddler to big girl.

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But there were still so many things she needed. Well, by our Western definition. And you knew trying to yard sale with three kids under six would be difficult this year. As you were driving home from physical therapy today, you were thinking, “How can I do yard sales with the wheelchair? Will it work in people’s yards? We only have one vehicle, so we will need to take Dave to work on Fridays. Or I can go on Saturdays when the kids are asleep.”

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Then, you get a message answering all your questions. All the sizes you need. No small hands ripping off stickers. You were given the gift of buying everything else your daughter needed for this size and the next. And you were given the gift of buying coats now, instead of trying to compete with hundreds of other women at consignment sales this fall. And you were given the gift of being able to fill in all the gaps in your youngest’s hand-me-down wardrobe. It ends up being under your budget and under $1 a piece. You are done shopping for the rest of the year. All because a friend sent that message at 8pm.

Time’s up…but you can join me to write your own unedited five minutes at katemotaung.com

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When My Life Changed Twice On Tuesdays

My water broke with Graham one week before his due date. Everyone said he would be late. First babies are late. But I woke up on Monday morning and almost didn’t make it to the bathroom to pee. My water broke in the bathroom. Gushing. I yelled for Dave. We didn’t have everything ready. I still had a week. Was the camera even charged? My legs weren’t shaved. My legs. Oh no. We gathered up the hospital bags as my water just seeped through so many towels. We headed out the door, texting our moms. It was hospital time. October 5th. As we drove the few minutes to our hospital, I turned to Dave. “Our son is going to be born today or tomorrow! I hope there is sunshine!” Our faces were slightly panicked. I was planning on a natural birth. No pain meds. Lots of breathing. And I wanted lots of light in that birthing suite.

On April 14th, we got the text from my mom-in-law. Bob was done suffering. At 2:10 am, he had breathed his last. We changed the girls’ diapers, grabbed a diaper bag, and loaded into the van. I had been preparing for this moment for more than nine months, but I wasn’t ready. I knew just two days before that I had said goodbye for the very last time. Graham told me on Sunday that it was time for Papa Bob to go to Heaven. I had been praying for hours upon hours that he would just go. Be released. But as we drove past the hospital where all three of my children came into this world, I couldn’t stop sobbing. My dad was gone. I should’ve prepared better. I should’ve spent more time telling him how much he meant to me.

My body never kicked into labor on its own. My water had broken, but my body didn’t know how to get this baby out. I labored without pain medication for 18 hours. Progressing. Praying. Regressing. Reciting Scripture. We would stop the pitocin and my body would stop labor completely. My birth plan was spiraling into an abyss as I couldn’t get past an 8. Then, the words came, “Lyndse, you need to have a c-section.” I fell apart. I was sobbing so hard I couldn’t breathe. Dave was furious. We had tried everything. We had followed all the books. All the ridiculous articles. All the tips to birth my baby like Caroline Ingalls. I felt darkness creep in as my mind filled with thoughts of failure.

The kids and I were up watching Disney Junior at their great-grandma’s house while Dave was with his mom. Between 3 and 4 am, Graham asks me why Daddy went to be with Grandma Linda. I am not having this conversation alone. In the middle of the night. “He is helping with Papa Bob.” Helping. Helping with the Sheriff. Hospice. The mortuary transport. Standing with his mom as she is widowed for the second time in just over a decade. “I know what Daddy, Grandma Tracy, and Grandma Linda are doing wight now.” “Really?” “Yeah. I fink dey are making me Rice Krispies Treats. Because I weally want some and dis is da weirdest night ever.” I got up to go cry in the kitchen. I actually found a Rice Krispy treat and took it to him. Yes, on the weirdest night ever we can eat treats before the sun even comes up.

We started to prep for the c-section when Graham’s heart rate became dangerous. “This is an emergency now. Get her ready!” Nightmare. We were now entering my worst birthing nightmare. They quickly gave me a spinal and wheeled me into the OR. You never forget those smells. The straps. The voices. I had slept two hours since Sunday morning. It was Tuesday. I couldn’t stop crying. “How are you doing?” I couldn’t answer. I had prepared for everything but this.

Dave came back at about 6:30 am. Graham wanted to know why we were up at night, instead of sleeping. We packed up the kids and headed home. Drove past that hospital again. This time the sky looked just like it did when we arrived as two scared-but-excited parents about to meet their first son. Five and a half years later, we put that kid and his sisters to bed. Cried myself to sleep. It doesn’t matter how long you prepare for someone’s death, it is always too early. Even when Bob’s body tried so hard at the end to get blood to all his organs, it was too late. Have you ever prayed for someone to just die? I did. And when my prayer was answered, I was still lost. And we still had to tell a little boy.

Graham came right before 4 am on a Tuesday. His head was large, and stuck sideways inside my tilted pelvis. He was in distress. I saw him above the curtain. He was so beat up. People were telling me he would be taken with Dave. “Come on, Daddy.” By the time I was finished and rolled back to my birthing suite for recovery, I had missed his vitals. His first bath. His screams. He met our families through the window before I even held him. I felt cheated. And guilty for feeling cheated, since he was alive.

We waited until 1 pm on the day of Bob’s death to tell Graham. Our son punched, kicked, screamed. This child who had watched his Papa dying, couldn’t take the news. We didn’t expect anything else from a five-year-old. Graham did what I wanted to do. What I had done in my heart. “God, how dare you take away my only dad? My kids’ only papa? How the hell do I get through this?” I was thinking of myself. Graham was thinking of himself. Bob was free, but we felt trapped.

Graham wouldn’t have made it without a c-section. I was no pioneer mother birthing under a tree. But he was no statistic either. Because everyone wants to say that babies should be born naturally and unimpeded and overly romanticized. The truth is that Graham and I would’ve died at many other times in history. Under a tree. Or in a cabin. But we were saved in an operating room.

Bob wanted to die at home. He told me many times that he wanted to be in his cabin. He was scared of dying in a nursing home or a hospital. And he got his wish. He died with his wife and his twin sister at his side. No alarms blaring. No strangers. Just his family and the skylight he always had a love-hate relationship with. I once told him that skylight reminded me of the bright light they shone over me when they took all three of my babies by c-section. Bob said he would buy a cover for it if it bothered me. “No, I’ve made my peace with that hospital light. Some women just don’t get to give birth the way they want to.” And Bob said, “I don’t get to give birth at all, so you’re tougher than I’ll ever be. You can remember that when that f***ing light shines in your eyes.”

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Little People {not the toys…}

Since I still haven’t been cleared to lift or carry Adelaide, we have been at my parents’ house all week. It was a nice change of pace while Dave was at work. Different toys. Different snacks. The real reason: my mom has been at our house for almost a month and had some projects she needed to finish up. She basically put everything on hold to take care of us.

I have taken advantage of not really having any work to do by enjoying their DVR. While my clean laundry piled up, I caught up on my Parks and Rec. {You already know how much I love it.} I also caught an episode of Little Couple. And they were getting ready to adopt their second child. Swoon.

“Hey, you are little people! Mama, that’s a little boy and his little dad.”

Graham was quite excited to see a boy and his dad, both with dwarfism, at our pediatric ophthalmologist on Wednesday. It didn’t surprise me that he used the word ‘little’…since we had just seen the show. We had also talked a bit about dwarfism. I *was* surprised that they didn’t even acknowledge Graham. Normally, when Graham states the obvious, the person waves or affirms his statement. They just kept walking. And pretended that Graham didn’t even exist. I am sure they hear things all the time. But I always answer people when they ask about Adelaide. I think Graham was confused that he didn’t get even a smile or a wave.

He was also confused that the office had zero toys. Every other time, there have been blocks and cars and figurines and shape sorters. Yesterday, there was nothing. There was one old copy of a Highlights Magazine. I am sure the lack of toys has something to do with germs. But Graham was upset. I should have known better than to answer, “Yes, there will be toys there.” to his constant questioning. Now, I know better. A pediatric specialist can get rid of their toys at any time. With no warning to 4-year-olds who don’t deal with change or disappointment. Graham isn’t really that kid who bounces back. But Mema had packed some things for the car ride, which ended up saving us from a Code Red.

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Thank you, robot paper and the novelty of using an ink pen. You save the day once again!

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Five Minute Friday {ordinary}

I have nothing to write. My brain is on four hours of sleep. I have slept approximately 60 hours in 3 weeks. I look at the word ‘ordinary’ and so many things come to mind. Something about Graham seeing all the ordinary things Elizabeth does throughout the day and seeing them as extraordinary. She opens her eyes and he runs to her side. She yawns and he gives her a speech about how she needs to keep sleeping so she can grow big and roll with him on the floor. I hold back tears as he says ‘roll’ like it is the biggest accomplishment a baby can attain. Graham doesn’t think in terms of crawling and walking and running. He has a measuring stick called Adelaide and he loves that she rolls to him. And away from him. My mind is also full of something else about Adelaide rarely doing ordinary things but still seeming extraordinary in all she accomplishes. She is like a tiny flame in our house. She ebbs and flows and we watch with bated breath. Just like we watch Elizabeth. Graham watches them both and doesn’t know what is ‘normal and ordinary’ and what is ‘extraordinary and amazing’…and that is fine with me. They are one in the same. Mundane = Marvelous. He knows he has two baby sisters who do new things everyday. Did you know Adelaide said ‘Bye’ today? For the first time. We have been waiting months for her to say it and it just came out. And it wasn’t an ordinary thing. It was miraculous. It has been almost 6 months since they told us she may never talk. That she may need to sign everything. And use assistive technology. So the out-of-the-ordinary made our day. Elizabeth started smiling yesterday. That is ordinary. Most babies will do that. But Graham is enamored and he squeals when she smiles. Our house is full of milestones and inchstones and all are celebrated. Because ceasing to celebrate in both the large and miniscule or the extraordinary and the just-plain-ordinary would send me stark raving mad. This Mama needs both the gigantic accomplishments and the teensy weensy moments of being able to see some progress. Just anything. But, honestly, the first thing I thought of when I read this week’s prompt was this Keane song. For real.

‘You think your days are ordinary
And no one ever thinks about you
But we’re all the same
And she can hardly breathe without you’

I am not the deep writer people think I am, but a person who thinks of a pop song and looks it up on Youtube while she writes some ramblings about her three amazing children. The three blessings who turn any ordinary second in this universe into the most extraordinary solar flare.

Time’s Up…

 

Five Minute Friday

Linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker for Five Minute Friday. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Be generous and leave an encouraging comment for the person who linked up before you. That’s the best part about this community.

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Five Minute Friday {write}

I often delete much of what I write on this blog. Not sure if it is because I fear sharing too much. Or because I often think that nobody wants to hear my struggles with the same old same old. And I realize I post about the  same things over and over again. Strong-willed Graham. Adelaide’s special needs. Another photo of some food I canned while gigantically pregnant. Five minutes without editing. My issues with comparing myself to others. My inability to cut myself some slack. How Pinterest makes me feel inadequate as a mother and human being.

 

I decided to write or post photos everyday in October. Hoping it would give me some opportunities to mix things up a bit. So, here is something new for the blog: I am going to write out a confession. Not about something negative. No. I am going to share some amazing things I have done in recent weeks.

 

I survived two weeks of my newest adventure. I am a mom to three kids. Three little humans look to me 24/7 to meet their physical and emotional needs. And I am doing a fantastic job. I know I have a lot of help right now, but I am not going to pretend that I am not doing very well with all the added responsibilities. And serious lack of sleep. I have kept up with laundry, nursed 17 times in 15 hours {Bess just finished up her first growth spurt}, kept going on 2 hours of sleep a night, and am currently decorating for Graham’s 4th Birthday.Yes, I forgot to make or send invites, but the party is coming together very nicely.

 

Would I be able to do this without my husband and mom? No. But the fact that I am doing anything while recovering from surgery and caring for a newborn’s every need, well, it pretty much is a win in my book.

 

When I have a massive meltdown in a month, I will reread this and remind myself that I was a Supermom for two weeks. Because I allowed myself to accept help. And I will also remember how I kept seeing the bottoms of those dirty clothes hampers. What a wonderful feeling!

Time’s Up…

 

Five Minute Friday

Linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker for Five Minute Friday. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Be generous and leave an encouraging comment for the person who linked up before you. That’s the best part about this community.

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Five Minute Friday {mercy}

“Mama, will you read me mine bedtime story?”

“I am trying to sweep the kitchen.”

I almost said this to you. So glad I stopped myself. I am too tired to think.

“Of course, sweetie. Do you want to read it in my bed?”

“YES! Mama’s bed! Let me get mine piwate ship!”

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You have been sleeping in my bed for almost 2 weeks now. Colds, allergies, croup, ear infections. You are sleeping strange hours. You are up several times a night. Sometimes dozens. You are waking with night terrors. And waking with a stuffy nose. You are asking for milk. And water. And you have gotten up to potty every night. {Thank you for not wetting my bed.} As you migrate all over every square inch of my queen-sized bed squeezed into a 9 x 8 ft room. My bed is filled with your toys and books and your sweet little toddler-sized pillow. There is no point in even making my bed at this point. Your poor dad keeps sleeping on the couch. He isn’t a mom. He isn’t used to being kicked in the face and chest and back and everywhere else. You have been kicking me since you were 16 weeks in my womb. Always restless. But always wanting to snuggle your mama. Yet he is in here tonight. You are both snoring. And you are both talking in your sleep. Mercy, no wonder I can’t rest. These amusing one-sided conversations of half gibberish and ‘real’ words infest my dreams.

As we read, you repeat everything I say or whisper it while I say it or shout it before I can even turn the page. You love this ‘night-night’ book. You have it memorized. Ironic. Bedtime is usually the hardest part of our day. You will not give up and close those gorgeous eyes. Just say ‘night-night’ and drift away.

But I would never ever give up reading that bedtime story to you. In my bed. Where the stunning red throw pillows are always on the ground or covered in your drool or being used by a stuffed animal. You will always be more important than sweeping that old kitchen. The dried Play-Dough and chunks of waffle can always wait. They will always be there. Always. But you are in your last month of being three. And with each day that passes, you get closer to four. And eighteen. And closer to giving up Play-Dough. And closer to fewer waffle messes. I don’t wish for those days, but I am sure I will deal with them when they come…something about seasons. Let’s not think about it right now.

Time’s Up…

 

Five Minute Friday

Linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker for Five Minute Friday. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Be generous and leave an encouraging comment for the person who linked up before you. That’s the best part about this community.

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