Conversations with Mae

After waking up too early from a nap and in a very fool mood:

Me: Do you want to go to the pool?

Mae: No (furious head shaking).

Me: Do you want to play in the sprinkler (she loves the sprinkler).

Mae: No (with a look that said “hell no”).

Me: (getting desperate as she won’t stop screaming) Do you want to watch a show?

Mae: No

I put her down and she proceeds to tuck pom poms (little fuzz balls) under my legs for twenty minutes, totally delighted by this.

  
Toddlers…

Warrior Moms Walk

This morning was the Climb Out of the Darkness Walk. Our local team raised over $6,000 dollars! Women around the world raised over $200,000 for postpartum resources!

This marks a year since I began feeling recovered from postpartum anxiety, so the walk was a real milestone for me. I’m at a place where I not only feel good but can give back to others.

I met so many women today who share my story yet have their own. Women who struggled much longer than I did. Their strength overwhelmed me. I was also touched to see how many partners, friends, and neighbors came to support these women.

It was a special event.

We took photos before the walk with a word that describes how we are feeling now compared to our PPD days...proud sums my feelings up. Proud of me. Proud of Mae. Proud of Jimmy. Proud of these women.

We took photos before the walk with a word that describes how we are feeling now compared to our PPD days…proud sums my feelings up. Proud of me. Proud of Mae. Proud of Jimmy. Proud of these women.

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I love that her signs reads “strong” while she holds two kids at once! So much badassery today.

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What a man.

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Mae working the crowd…

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Mae working the crowd...

Mae continuing to work the crowd…

The Team!

The Team!

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Our team leaders, Amanda and Natasha, before and after the walk. They cooled off afterward! :)

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Let Them React First

I’m always working on myself. And I’m improving in one area. I am letting Mae lead my reactions when it comes to her emotions. This especially comes in handy when she falls down, which is about every 4.5 minutes. Of course, I don’t want to see her get hurt, and when she first started walking, I was right there beside her. But she is running now, and as she gets faster and more confident, I’m learning to back off and observe more.

It takes some training to stop gasping when she slams her head into a door frame or falls face first onto the floor, but sometimes she jumps right up and keeps running. Toddlers are resilient creatures.

I’m learning not to tell her what hurts or feels good. She can tell me, and then I can act.

This is one small step in the direction of Mae becoming her own independent person. She can show/tell me what she needs if I just trust her. 

Outfit Nostalgia: #TBT

All parents have certain outfits that their children wore that they just can’t give away. They are too special, too full of a certain memory or time. 

I find that these outfits are not an expensive Easter dress or what she wore when she first walked. 

For instance, Mae had a cute pair of pajamas, given to us by a distant friend, but Jimmy named them her “strawberry Ninja” pajamas, and we loved them ever since. I cried when we packed those up.

Around this time last year, Mae started wearing her “little blossom” red jumper. It is a handmedown from her Aunt Kristen. 

This outfit represents my full recovery from postpartum anxiety. It’s when I began to fully enjoy Mae. It holds so much sweetness and joy. When I see photos of Mae in it, I can smell her baby smell. 

  
What outfit holds strong baby memories for you? 

A Magical Island and Music Festival

Ocracoke is a magical place. It slows me down. It’s the kind of place that makes eating an orange on your porch an event, in the best way.

For the past three years, I’ve been visiting Ocracoke and attending the Ocrafolk Music Festival. My family attends as well. We all rented our own houses this year, within walking distance of each other. We blend together a family vacation with a musical festival; it’s pretty great.

This was Mae’s second year, but really the first year she and I could enjoy it together. We had a ball.

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Tutu and Pop Pop gave the cousins matching headlights. (Mae is ready for bed)

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Tutu and Pop Pop ride bikes all weekend while we tool around on the golf cart.

Listening to music with our girl.

Listening to music with our girl.

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Mae was impressed with Ana's face-painting, and really everything about her older cousin.

Mae was impressed with Ana’s face-painting, and really everything about her older cousin.

Uncle Big Dawg and Evan being silly during the festival.

Uncle Big Dawg and Evan being silly during the festival.

Ana clogging with Pop Pop on the main stage.

Ana clogging with Pop Pop on the main stage.

The family at the spot where Mom and Berto married a year ago.

The family at the spot where Mom and Berto married a year ago.

Expanding

This weekend marks the anniversary of my mom and her husband’s wedding. It’s when Mae’s Pop Pop became officially a family member. I’m so thankful for a family that is always growing and changing. There was a time in my life when I wasn’t good at this–accepting change. I wanted my family to stay the same. I felt protective of what it was. But I’ve slowly learned all the benefits of having a growing, large family. I have nieces and nephews and in-laws and stepsisters now. And while they can bring complication, they bring much more joy and knowledge than anything else. We are big and messy, but we show up for each other, and that is what makes a family.

Here is the poem I wrote for Tutu and Pop Pop’s wedding last year:

And so he kayaked into our lives with his silver curls,

rambling truck, soft words, quick grin,

and a mean foot massage,

and these two have been floating

together ever since, holding

one another’s paddles, becoming

the anchor or the current,

depending on the need.

He is our children’s Pop Pop,

our husband’s handyman, and our mother’s love.

She is our fairy, our foundation, our forever

place to land.  Together,

they are the keepers

of bees and givers of sweet

honey. They’ve slowly collected

hive after hive, surrounding their

home in a loud buzz of energy

as if you can hear them expanding

larger and larger into love.

Here’s to continued expansion!