It’s been a few months shy of two years since I said my final goodbyes to my grandfather on my mom’s side of the family. It was nothing short of devastating on a lot of levels, although I found comfort in knowing that his physical suffering on this Earth was finally over. Since then, a lot has changed in my life, especially in a spiritual sense. I’ve spent a lot of time crying, a lot of time smiling at thoughts of him, and a lot of time wondering and questioning my faith and life after death. I was raised Catholic and spent all of my elementary and high school years in a Catholic school as well. Like many of my friends and classmates, the years of someone else’s beliefs being forced down our throats made us rebel against some of them and blindly believe some as well. Fast forward to present day and I am just now really developing what I consider to be a real relationship with God. This one is not based on what I am told I’m supposed to do or feel. It is based on finally realizing through years of God trying to steer me onto the right (righteous) path that He is the reason behind it all. I am still only at the beginning of my journey, but I already have a feeling of peace and comfort knowing that despite all the daily stresses we endure, there is a greater plan for all of us and if we put our faith in God, He really can help. Which brings me to the inspiration of this piece; Today, I attended the funeral of my husband’s grandmother, Vivian Evans. I have only known her and her second husband, Vince, since after she suffered a severe stroke about five years ago. It left her physical body debilitated, though her spirit and faith stayed strong. Even in that state, she was such a sweet and loving woman that I really enjoyed knowing for the short time that I did. The difference for me experiencing death now versus years past is astronomical, probably due in large part to having a better understanding of our bigger purpose in this life and the life waiting for us after death. Of course, she was not an immediate relative like my grandfather, who had a huge impact on my life. But, sitting in Church today really had me thinking about how all things in life are connected. If Vivian hadn’t been the type of woman she was, she may have never married the man she did in order to create Susie and then my loving husband who I’m so grateful for, Jonathan. I can see so much of the person I believe Vivian to be inside her daughter, Susie, and grandson, JT. I so look forward to that kind of strength, fortitude, and belief being passed down to my most precious gift from God, Lena Ann. I am sure that for some of my friends that have known me before asking God into my heart, this all may sound crazy. But, crazy or not, I was able to see such beauty in the celebration of a woman’s life today. A woman who was unwavering in her faith and had such a positive impact on everyone she encountered. If there were more people like her in this world, we may have a lot less dysfunction to worry about! So, onward I continue to form an everlasting bond with our Lord and see where His path continues to take me! My hope for friends and family is that they too can find life at a funeral….
In an effort to pass on insight and experiences with my fellow farm friends, I am going to start a blog section about halter breaking and prepping our calves for show. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a very supportive agricultural community, where your competitors were also your friends and confidants. They weren't afraid to share information and lend a helping hand because they believed in order to be better, you had to help the people around you be better too. My relocation to this neck of the woods has not overwhelmed me with that same kind of people. So, I plan on starting to change things, one day at a time ;-)
Back to halter breaking! It can be a very stressful time of year that will set the stage for lots of months to come. I believe there's a saying that there's a lot of ways to skin a cat. I have no idea why you would want to skin a cat, but there are lots of ways to halter break a calf too! Just because I have a method of getting it done doesn't mean it will work for everybody and every calf, but the principles generally stay the same. Step one....Set realistic expectations and start as soon as possible! It doesn't matter how small the calf is. They are still stronger than you and their feet fly fast! If it's possible to even introduce them to the halter a handful of times while they are still on their mom, it will save you a chunk of initial trouble down the road. As far as expectations are concerned, be realistic. Rome wasn't built in a day. For example, tonight was the second day these show prospects were tied up. I like to take advantage of their initial shock in the new routine so I introduce them to a lot of new stuff before they figure out how much trouble they can cause you! So, I gave them a quick bath and read them a chapter out of the new book I'm reading. (The reading out loud helps familiarize them with you and your voice and it also gives me a few glorious minutes of down time!) Last night was a little more stressful because I had to catch them first and put the halters on! Now, it's at least a small bit easier because I put a knot in the halters and leave them on for about two to three weeks. When I was growing up, we never had a good working system so I got pretty good at reading their body language and moving fast when the opportunity to throw the halter on presented itself. If you're lucky enough to spend time with your animals every day, they should be used to you at least enough to be calm when you start this process. This isn't always the case when you purchase a show calf, but if you're doing the daily care, they'll get used to you just the same. At this early stage in the breaking process, it's important to be on your toes and not to leave the calf unattended. I generally tie them to something super sturdy with about a foot or so of slack. That way, they can get the idea of giving in to the pressure of the rope and not get hung up in it. Things can go wrong in a hurry, so be aware. The two I'm breaking now (Trip and Elsie) are completely different candidates. Trip puts up a little fight when I first grab up his halter, but he's more on the stubborn end of the spectrum. Elsie, on the other hand, has a little more fire in her. She is more of the "run in circles until you hit the wall" type. That's probably another difference I see in kids today. My grandpa's first rule was "Don't let go of the rope!" Now, it's like "be safe and let go if you can't handle the calf." Yea right! Once they know they can get away from you, they will keep on doing it! Needless to say, getting Elsie calf tied was a little harder. And, she made a few leaps forward into the fence. Once, she fell over and wouldn't get up unless I untied her. Thus, you don't want to walk away from these critters at this stage! They are like little loaded springs before they know how to stand tied. They lean back as far as they can until their air starts getting cut off. Then, they fly forward to relieve the pressure. Sounds like fun, huh? The good news is that GENERALLY this phase doesn't last long. I will usually tie the new calves up three or four nights in a row this way for about an hour each time. Then, I give them a few nights off. You have to remember that they are still babies, so you don't want to make them hate you too badly right off the bat! The phases of breaking in the calf's mind as I see it are: anger, acceptance, enjoyment. They are NOT going to be happy at first! But, once they figure out the basics, they will start to begrudgingly deal with the new life activities. The tricky part is how long it takes until they actually enjoy it! And, most of them do. But, they each progress differently. Be patient and quick on your feet in these beginning stages! If you're breaking several calves at one time, you may want to take a little notes about their progress. It will help you feel more accomplished after a rough day when you realize how far you and your new partner have actually come! On that note, my halter breaking butt is off to bed! I will continue recording and sharing my breaking adventures of this batch of babies. Questions, comments, etc are always welcome on here or via email!
This one will be quick, but emotionally charged! I started this blog initially as a creative outlet for my emotions after going through a serious battle with Post Partum Depression. As my doctor said, this isn't a broken leg. It's going to take time and ALOT of work to heal. No kidding! My mind has always had a way of taking control and going to places that make me sad, glad, uncomfortable, and everywhere in between. The PPD didn't help matters! Back to the point of this babbling.... I just got done watching the movie 'Safe Haven'. I know..... a little cheesy! But, the main characters suffer a lot of personal losses and struggles as in any tragic love story. And, it made me really start to think. (Not the first or last time I will have these thoughts I'm sure!) But, this life is soooo short when you put it on paper. Say you live to 90. That's 32,850 days on this earth with the ones you love. Take away say 5 years on each end for what you may not really "remember". You're already down to 29,200. Take away mundane blah days doing the usual routine of work, days you spend upset or fighting over something rather insignificant, the days that go by too soon, the days that never seem to end... You start widdling away at that number pretty fast. How many days we have in this life (I believe anyway) is already predetermined by the Big Man upstairs. How we spend it is up to us. So, sometimes, a weapy night watching a dramatic heart wrenching story is good for the soul. It really makes you think about what it's all worth. That's something I ask myself in my personal and business life all the time. Tomorrow is never guaranteed. So, what are we gonna do about today? How can I let the people I love know they're important to me? How can I leave the best possible impression on this world I will at some point leave behind? Have I given Lena all the squeezes and love I can? Am I satisfied and is my little family unit fulfilled in our life together? It's really quite a lot of pressure if you constantly think about the ongoing checklist of personal requirements we put on ourselves. But, if you occasionally have these "conversations" with your inner self, hopefully your life will start to subconsciously start to follow your thinking pattern. With that, I bid you Good Night blog followers! Give your loved ones a special squeeze in the morning and try to (without punishing yourself for shortcomings) soak in every minute of the lives we are blessed to lead <3
The word for today is 'Thankful'. In our current "will do anything (almost) for money" status, hubby and I have been landscaping and cleaning out new sale properties. I think that when I'm really physically tired, my emotions have more room to run free. So, while we were starting to shovel out a really depressing, dirty, run down, once loved piece of real estate, I couldn't help but think about the lives these people led and how thankful I am that I was raised by people with much higher standards. Relating human things to animal things is second nature to me. So, this is where my mind took me today.... When you chose a mating for your animals, the genetic potential is predetermined. The DNA map is already set. What happens next is how you maximize that genetic potential. I believe the same basic equation goes for human people too. It sounds harsh, but humans like the ones inhabiting the house we cleaned out today should probably not procreate. I will be the first to tell you to not judge a book by its cover. However, when you become a parent, it's your responsibility to be responsible! You have a unique opportunity to mold a tiny little human into something really special. I could only imagine the life that these kids led living in a dirty, cluttered, unhealthy mess of a house. How did that translate to the rest of their life? Will they be prone to the same lifestyles in and out of their house? At the end of it all, I learned a long time ago that if there's one thing in this world that you can control, it's yourself. No sense in wasting energy and emotions trying to fix or control other people. Everyone has a story and baggage and they have to sort that out themselves. So, this day made me thankful. I maybe have a tendency these days to be angry or upset or confused at the chain of events that has us where we are. But, really, I am thankful. Thankful for the people in my life that put me before themselves to bring me up right and provide for me. Thankful for my partner in this crazy ride that will help me do whatever it takes to help maximize our tiny little human's potential in this crazy world. Just thankful :-)
The literal definition of status quo is “the general state of things” or “the combination of circumstances at a given time”. Sometimes, life moves at such a rapid pace, that one day you stop to look around and wonder if the current “status quo” is good enough. Or, do you want more? Better yet, do you need more? For us, the answer is yes! It seems as though life has been moving so fast the past few years that we’re now at a place of high stress and low enjoy-ability. We’ve been very blessed to have such supportive friends and family during the journey, so I wanted to update you all on our status and where we’re going from here. Change can be scary, but also necessary in order to grow and have a fulfilling life. So, here goes nothing….
First things first. JT and I are very passionate about the stock show world and don’t want to ever do anything less than 110%. We have invested our entire lives in fact to supporting and improving lots of different parts of the industry. And, then some! When we got married and brought our precious little girl into the world, we shared the lofty goal of creating an “East Coast Sheep Empire” of sorts; combining the country’s best genetics with meticulous feeding and management programs. So, someday, Lena would have endless opportunities at her fingertips. Growing up raising and showing livestock is a value that we both highly prioritize. Not only for the endless fun and networking possibilities, but for character building, life lesson teaching, and the list goes on! Since, I have a diverse audience / friend network, I will break it down a little farther. As with any business, there are pros, cons, and everything in between! It takes years to build a reputation for quality products and getting there is timely and expensive. Keeping all this in mind, we aggressively set out on our journey!
Fast forward two years and change…. We have a beautiful and highly active toddler craving ALL of her mommy and daddy’s attention. Unfortunately, JT holds an off farm job to support our initial growth and investment and Mommy has her hands full taking care of 200 or so sheep, a handful of Hereford cows, the house, the yard, and whatever else is on the list for the given day. This seemed to be working until about Easter of this past year. JT had just lost his job unexpectedly; and, there we were…. hauling sheep between properties, treating lambs, moving hay, watching yards full of bright eyed kids hunting for Easter eggs and spending time with their families. I think the reality of the situation hit us at different times, but that was mine. The moment of thinking; “Is this our forever normal?”, “Is this status quo?”, “Is the end goal worth missing out on moments like that?”. We have spent countless, and I mean countless, hours and days in the barn and on the road growing and nurturing our business. Meanwhile, we are missing so many moments that we will never get back… birthdays, weddings, “first’s”, holidays, etc.
So, the question is “what do we do now?” Neither one of us wants to stop short on a goal that we both knew would take years to complete. But, is it worth it? All the hustle and bustle, money, stress, phone calls to sell lambs… would that time be better spent enjoying each other and nurturing our growing family? So, we decided to refocus and reprioritize. Easier said than done! First step is to reduce overhead to give us some breathing room between off farm jobs (i.e. sell sheep). Second step is to relocate to a place we can fully call our own and expand for years to come….meaning less cost for rented ground and feed. Next step is to rearrange business goals to make family time a significantly higher priority. I will break this down again… raising sheep on a higher than commercial level is costly and time consuming. They eat a lot and aren’t exactly the most viable animal on the planet Earth. Comparatively speaking, cows require less stress and less money to get to the same or better end point. It makes me feel selfish a lot of the time since I'm the partner with the love for cows, but the truth is that I feel strongly about this change and JT agrees. Along with selling feed, judging shows, and helping our friends with their programs, it will allow us to still be involved in the industry that we love. But, on a personal level, the change will give more time for the really important things in life.
So, in summary, things are tough right now. We have learned quickly but not easily who our true friends and supporters are. We realize that our priorities, like everything else, are subject to change. But, the hope is that we will still continue to acknowledge and change in order to reach the ultimate end goal… happiness and never ending love from and with our family. Nobody is perfect. We can only hope to have that imperfect partner in this crazy adventure. So, we will be relocating (only a few miles down the road), downsizing the sheep operation, readjusting to meet new goals, and never taking a minute of any of it for granted. We still plan to forever be involved in the agricultural and stock show industries that we love so much and thank everyone for your continued love and support. This is not the end of anything. Only, the start of so many others….
“ For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” –Jeremiah 29:11
***Disclaimer: If you are in the holiday spirit, you may not want to continue reading***
I am just going to come out and say it…I do not like the holidays. Not just Christmas either. Pretty much all the holidays. I have come to the conclusion that there are three scenarios which tend to bring out the best and worst of people; weddings, funerals and holidays. What’s supposed to be a joyous, cheerful, carefree time spent with the ones you love turns into a chaotic combination of spending money you don’t have, running back and forth to countless family and work parties, witness compacted levels of family dysfunction, and being so exhausted at the end of the day to really enjoy any of it anyway. Christmas is supposed to be something totally different than what it has become. It is supposed to be a special time of year to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the same Jesus that later dies on the cross to save others from suffering. That exact selfless love is what I wish this time of year was really about. Lots of people say that, but those same people are guilting you into attending an extra party or putting in extra expensive requests for presents. Saying and doing are two TOTALLY different things! Why can’t we spend three hundred sixty five days a year showing the people that are important to us that we love them? Not that there aren’t things I love about Christmas. Winter itself is an enchanting time of year. Especially with Lena here now, I love sharing all these experiences with her. Sleigh riding, baking cookies, decorating the Christmas tree, setting up the Nativity, opening presents, screaming on Santa’s lap, and seeing hoards of family and friends in short amounts of time! But, there’s just too much pressure. Which is probably why I perpetually get some stress induced sickness around every holiday except Halloween! And, that is not a joke! This was mainly just a long winded rant from an overwhelmed, sick mama bear! Nevertheless, I really do wish things could be different this time of year…. lower, more realistic expectations and the simple, selfless love we should cherish year round! Who’s with me????
The content of this post may shock some of you, as I'm sure everyone has had a different experience with their parents growing up and their significant other when they decide to get married and start a family of their own. But, it is something that has been percolating in my head for a long time. And, after discussing with lots of friends and family members, I realize there are some definite gender specific trends that seem to naturally occur after you get married and have children. To further preface this post, I will be the first to admit that I was an atypical little girl growing up. I really never imagined myself as a wife or mother. Maybe I am a product of my parent's early divorce. Sure, I had some good examples of marriage in my life, especially my grandparents who lived right next door. But, it never is the same as living in a home with both parents. Maybe I am also a product of the other women I had in my life during the formative years. I can recall in vivid detail some of my mom's closest friends drinking coffee at all hours of the day and night around the center aisle in our kitchen; sharing all the frustrations they had with the men in their lives. No, I am not looking for a pity party! When I am faced with certain feelings and frustrations now in my life, I try and take a step back to figure out where it's coming from before I completely implode. I do not believe that any event or situation in a person's life is a reasonable excuse for poor behavior or acting out down the road. However, everything you experience and how you learn to handle these experiences plays a huge part in the total person you become. You can quote me on that!
So, back to the meat of the topic here....what happens to a man and a woman when their single life ends and married life begins? I don't know if there is a chemical or hormonal or some other type of change that can be held responsible for the gender roles that appear in the new chapter of life. But, whatever it is, it is a powerful and inevitable force to be reckoned with! I used to think my mom's friends were crazy referring to their marital frustrations as a "man thing", but the further I get into my life as a wife and mother, the more I think they were on to something! (Sorry, honey!) A boy grows up with a mother to take care of him, do his laundry, pick up after him. When said boy becomes a man, it naturally becomes the responsibility of his new wife. When you're dating, you don't see that part. You both go back to your respective households without the frustration of having to pick up after one another or worry about how to pay shared bills or any of the other stresses that come when you live together as a married couple. Really sucks the romance right out of it! Then, you have a baby. It's the happiest time of your life, but there are more big changes coming....for the mother especially! I was scared to death in the days leading up to Lena's big entrance that I wasn't going to have the "maternal instinct" that I had heard so much about. But, it happened just like everyone said it would. It was like a light switch flipped on and I knew I had to do anything and everything for this tiny little co-dependent human. Living on a farm and starting a business adds an extra layer on top of that overwhelming responsibility. When people ask me how I do it, I say I don't know. And, that's the truth. When you're a mom, you just do what you have to do. You find a way to make things work and you just do it. I credit my mother 100% for instilling that skill in me. She raised me to be a strong foundation for my family, just like she was for ours.
Now, raising baby is not all rainbows and sunshine! Most days, I'm happy to just get out the door with both of us in one piece. Never mind that I'm still in my pajamas, mismatched socks, and I haven't brushed my hair in three days! Once Lena is at daycare, I get to embark on a fun filled day of domestic duties. Not only did I never imagine myself as a wife and mother, I certainly did not imagine myself as a maid! I would rather clean manure and cob webs in the barn all day before I would empty the stinkin' dishwasher or fold and put away laundry! It was bad enough when I had my own laundry and cleaning to do, but now I have a baby that really likes evenly distributing her clothes and toys all over the house and a husband that is sometimes even worse. Again, sorry honey! But, it's true. Back to the point I am trying to make here....I don't think the same light switch flips for men when they enter a marriage or have a baby. Their main outward concern is still themselves. Not to take anything away from their role as a provider in the household. And, I certainly did not chose my mate by his ability to do household chores. But, I didn't want this job either! Some parts of it, yes. But, all of it...NO! The bulk of the baby keeping responsibility naturally lies with the mother. If we are all going somewhere, I have to get her ready and pack the bag. If I have errands to run, I have to take her with me. The thought of a man packing up baby and toting her along doing errands to give mommy a break is crazy talk. That may sound mean and unjustified, but it's the truth. I'm sure hundreds of years ago when people lived in stick houses and had to kill their dinner, the same roles existed. But, we have come a long way from there. Or, have we? Maybe the same instinct that kept the women in the house and the men outside hunting still exists deep down inside our DNA.
This post is a little long winded, so if you have made it this far and are still reading, let me proclaim that I love my husband and our crazy little life very much. There are just some days that the domestic duties make me want to have wine for lunch and whiskey for dinner. Take note, husbands....those are the days that a little bit of help goes a long way! And, we (I speak for wives and mothers everywhere) really don't want to seem like nagging witches! Trust me on that! All the jobs that we inherit with marriage and children just get a little...maybe a lot....overwhelming some days. We lose sight of our fun, sexy, spontaneous previous self for a frumpy, stressed out, always exhausted maternal version. And, that just stinks!
As with every successful relationship, communication is key. Sometimes, our requests for help may come out a little louder or fresher than intended, but that's when we need your support the most! I hope this post may be comforting, or at least a little entertaining to those who chose to read it :-) We all love our husbands and our babies, but we need to not lose sight of ourselves in the process if we want to have any chance of a happy long term family! Have a beautiful day!!! ~Allison
Having children is one of the most challenging new chapters in any family's life. One of the biggest parts of the challenge is learning how to develop some type of industrial strength filter to sort through the tons and tons of advice and opinions that people will not hesitate to give you. Whether you ask for it or not, you are going to get it! The problem with this is that what worked for them may not work for you. There is one seemingly minute piece of advice I got right after having Lena that has stuck in my brain ever since. (Drumroll please)........Make decisions based on what is best for you and your family. I will say it one more time....Make decisions based on what is best for you and your family. More specifically, your immediate family....which post baby becomes you, your significant other, and your child(ren). Sounds easy, right? Wrong! There are a lot of changes that happen when you start a family. Especially from the woman's standpoint, adding hormones to that picture makes for an even more stressful experience. My first few weeks with Lena is the perfect example. Out of all the decisions you have to make, one of the first is how you are going to feed this new little baby. Jonathan and I decided to try breast feeding. In all those nifty little pamphlets, they say it is supposed to help decrease the chances of PPD (Post Partum Depression). What they don't tell you is that if it doesn't work (which it did NOT for us), your likelihood of getting increased levels of PPD is pretty high. It was a very difficult time trying to decide whether to switch to formula or not. It is one of many hot topics in society that people are very very passionate about! I felt guilty that I was not able to do it, so I kept suffering through until I got that singular piece of advice from a lifesaver of a friend. Seems simple, but it finally allowed me to take a deep sigh of relief. Once we switched to formula, mommy and baby (and daddy) were much happier! And, we have a healthy baby to show for it!
What made me think of this advice again and want to share it now is because our little family is again facing a new challenge....well, probably several challenges that seemed to come to a head when Lena started daycare. Yet another hot topic that nobody agrees on and everyone has an opinion about! This is her second week going to a really fabulous daycare run by a super sweet husband/wife team out of their home a few towns over. She gets a lot of individual attention, play time with kids her age, has awesome meals during the day, and her own cozy crib for nap time! Plus, while she's there, I get to actually get things accomplished! Again, this decision was not easy to come to. But, Jonathan and I decided it was the right decision for our little family. I know I haven't been posting many updates lately on the status of our farm, but to sum it up, it has grown really big really fast! Sometimes, opportunities present themselves and you just need to figure out how to make them work for long term success. So, technically, I am a "stay at home mom" and my husband still holds a "normal" full time job for a company based out of Virginia. On top of what a "normal" non farming mom would do, I add on the responsibilities of taking care of a budding animal production business. We have about 165 ewes to lamb, 10 brood cows, a puppy, some chickens, and way too many barn cats! While Jonathan focuses on his "real" job during the week, I take on the bulk of the daily tasks with the animals. When Lena was younger and less mobile, it was easier to take her outside with me and still get some things accomplished. Now, if you take your eyes off of her for more than a split second, she is gone! And, you better find her fast before she climbs a shelf or jumps off the couch! And, there is more to our growing business than just feeding animals. A huge part of it is exhibiting your animals to advertise your program and constant marketing and communication for other breeders and buyers. Of course we love doing it, but the purpose is to eventually support our brood without needing to work jobs elsewhere. It's significantly more at this point than just a hobby! More importantly, we think that life on a farm is far more valuable than anything else we can offer our daughter. In fear of getting too long winded, I will most likely continue this topic of conversation at a later date! For now, I am going to pick up Lena from day care, give her a big bear hug, and enjoy our time together without having to worry about the list of other things that life demands of me!
You heard me! Space Bags are one of the coolest inventions of my lifetime and if you haven't tried them you should! (On a side note, the fact that I am blogging about domestic things like how to preserve baby clothes is a pretty crazy notion!) Lena has very gracious grandparents, so her wardrobe is never lacking! But, this presents a slight problem in what to do when she rapidly outgrows them. Even if they get passed on to another lucky baby, you still need to house them somewhere until they reach their next destination. For months now, I have had all the princess' newborn through twelve month clothes packed strategically in diaper and wipe boxes in the living room. (The picture on the left only shows newborn through nine months mind you!) I look at them every day and today was the day to get creative with packing them away. I've gotta say I've been pretty productive getting my list of projects done this week with Lena in day care! So, this is the deal on Space Bags.... they are essentially huge Ziploc baggies (another one of my favorite things). After you stuff all your goodies into the bag, you hook the vacuum house to the nifty little nozzle thingy and suck the air out. Boom! Final product is an airtight, clean environment for your clothes, horse blankets, pillows, lamb tubes, etc. to live in until you open up the package later down the road. To demonstrate how fantastic they are, I took before and after pictures. Enjoy and happy organizing ;-)
Random title, I know! A few months back, I had the awesome opportunity to bond with this fantastic Canadian chick! And, today, I finally got a wonderful email from her...part of which was nagging about why I was so far behind on my blog posts! So, this one's for you, eh ;-) Our little family unit has been chugging along our rapidly paced little life and I have a lot of things that I need to catch up on. Tomorrow is Lena's first day of day care, and surprisingly enough, I am crazy excited about it! I feel like I've done a pretty good job so far of laying the foundation for a pretty spectacular human, and now it's time for her to spread her little wings. She'll have fun and learn lots of good stuff, and I hope to get some much needed mommy time! On July 1, I sat down and wrote a letter to our baby girl and tonight seems like a good time to share it. Enjoy and I'll be communicating more soon!
My dearest Lena,
I've been staring at the empty pocket in your baby book where this letter belongs since before you were born. For some reason, tonight seems like the perfect time to fill it.
I think I should start by thanking you. It has been a joy and privilege seeing the happy, bright little person you are becoming. I thought I knew what life and love were before you became a part of me. But, I was wrong. You give my life a divine purpose. I want to be the best person I can be so you have the best role model, protector, teacher, friend, and Mom that anyone could have. There have been plenty of sleepless nights and upsetting moments this past year. But, I'm sure there will be more. I do not look forward to the times when we disagree, argue, or have to share sadness or hard feelings. But, please know that the unconditional love that your Daddy and I hold in our hearts for you will always persevere.
I have a few thoughts and tidbits of advice that I hope you may come to understand and maybe even use some day...
1.) You may get upset when you have chores to do, but I promise hard work always pays off, even if you don't see it right away.
2.) Tell your loved ones how much they mean to you and never go to bed angry. You never know when they will be taken from you.
3.) Respect your elders and mind your manners. These two things never go out of style.
4.) Stop and smell the flowers. There are lots of important things to do in life, but the simple joys are the ones you'll remember.
5.) Open your heart, even is that means you could get hurt because of it.
6.) Hard times always pass. But, don't lose sight in the meantime of all the good that's around you.
7.) Communication is the key to any honest relationship, no matter who it's with.
8.) Don't judge other people. You never know what's going on in their life.
9.) Say your prayers.
I hope you will always know how special you are. You have a light inside of you that will continue to shine in so many people's lives. I love you and your Daddy to the moon and back and can't wait to continue writing our story together.
Love always, Mommy