A Letter to My Preschool Graduate

To my preschool graduate,

You did it. You made it through the first part of your education. The part where you learn some of lives most valuable lessons. To follow direction, share with others, colors and numbers, creative play, how to make friends, compromise, to be kind, how to stand up for yourself, how to clean up your own mess, say sorry. All things some adults still struggle with.

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 You’ve blossomed so much this year. I loved waiting for you in the pick up line and seeing your class file into the classroom in a double file line, each of you hand in hand with a special buddy. Without fail, you’d shout “MOMMA”, and it instantly put a smile on my face. I knew you were happy at school, and equally happy to come home. We really worked on “using kind words” and that good ol’ golden rule. We had a bout with bullying and many nights we would role play on how to stand up for yourself. You learned that friends don’t always want to do what you are doing and there is a fine line between individuality and compromise. You thrived in all things artistic and would be over the moon on days you received the class favorite, “share can”. You learned how to write your name and had the most loving teachers that spoke right to your heart.

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Our little preschool has been your little safety net. With all the changes you’ve gone through in the past two years, your school always remained the same. That alone leaves your momma with bittersweet emotions as we venture off to kindergarden.

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 The one phrase you are guaranteed to hear as a parent is “it goes so fast”, and boy is it true. In today’s society, kids are forced to grow up so fast, so my hope for you is you remain little. Pick flowers for your momma because they are pretty, eat dessert after every meal, wear bows the size of your head because you can, put bandaids on boo boos that don’t even exist, and let your biggest worry be how many bites you have to take to be finished with your dinner.

You will forever be my special girl. You made me a momma and have a place in my heart no other could replace. You remind me so much of myself, yet have so many of your Dad’s characteristics. I love you for that. I love that I will never have another just like you.

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Happy Preschool Graduation Landyn Noella. You are my whole world.

xo
Mommy

My tiny dancer

Those that know me personally can attest that I am all girl.

I attempted soccer at age 15 to humor my dad, but I didn’t make it through the first scrimage game before I was escorted off the field with a broken wrist.

Sports have never been in my cards. I’m good with it.

So naturally the day my doctor told me I would be having a “girl”, I immediately envisioned tutus, big bows, and DANCE. I knew having a girl wasn’t a definite getoutofsportsfree card, but I knew I could throw as many things at her as possible and see where she blooms.

So we gave her some options and she choose dance. And my goodness, she’s a natural.

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Dance has proven to be not just about the tutu’s and ballet slippers though. We are going into week 6, and my goodness she needed this. She needed it for her self esteem. She needed it for her social skills. She is the product of a stay at home mom and needed to be put in this unfamiliar situation.

And while I tend to be a little self conscious about my struggle to let go, each week I am able to stand a little bit further away from the window and let her soar. It’s good for her, it’s good for me. I think about the olympic gold metal athletes and the kids getting full ride sports scholarships to big colleges…. I’d bet they had a parent that was afraid to let go when they strapped skis on their child for the first time or gave them their first bat and glove. It’s what we do. Eventually we take the training wheels off and are left to guide. I find it so amazing when you hear stories of kids doing one sport/hobby since they were 2 or 3 or 4 years old. What determination and dedication from the parents and kid both. It starts with today. Its letting go and watching them soar.

I can’t wait to see where she chooses to take this.

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On Bullying…

With motherhood comes peoples opinions, advice, and what they know to be true.

Some things you take to heart and watch out for, and others you sweep under the rug.

One thing I’ve heard on repeat since Landyn started preschool is that bullying starts young.

And for the past year and a half it hasn’t become an issue, until recently.

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I’ve read up on what it takes to raise a daughter. I know about fostering self esteem and giving them the proper armor to deal with life. I know about mean girls. But when your four year old tells you at bedtime that kids are calling her ugly and that they don’t want to be her friend, your momma bear defenses kick in.

I was painfully shy in elementary school. I clung to the same friends and didn’t have the self esteem to go out and meet new friends. I’ve been there. I know the anxiety of sitting alone at lunch or friends backstabbing you. I know how to fake sick so I don’t have to give an oral presentation or go without lunch because I was too shy to tell my teacher that I forgot my lunch. I remember these feelings like it was yesterday. They are still very real for me.

Nothing can prepare you for the day you hear this from your 4 1/2 year old though. Every bit of wisdom you’ve ever been given immediately goes down the drain. All I knew to do was kiss her head and tell her she’s the most beautiful girl in the world. Because to me she is.

We went on to talk about how that made her feel and how she should respond to that girl with her feelings. We have to empower our children. Landyn knows she should walk away and pick other kids to play with. We’ve talked about teachers being her safe zone when she’s at school at mommy isn’t there.

Now don’t get me wrong, Landyn thrives in school. She participates in class and has a group of friends that she just adores. There just always will be those mean kids. They are everywhere.

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Growing up, I always despised those “tattle tale moms”. You know, the ones that ran to the teacher every time something went wrong for their child. But the thing is when you become a mom and are wearing your heart outside your body, instinct kicks in and you will do whatever it takes to protect your kid. I was that mom last week. My intent wasn’t to tattle, but rather inform. There is a difference.

As much as I want to teach Landyn about conflict resolution and prepare her for bullying, I want her to know that there is so much good in the world. I’ve raised my daughter to be gentle and loving and I want to empower her to encounter gentle souls just like her. I want her to know community and friendship. Women should build each other up, encourage, and relate to one another. I’ve been blessed with a couple beautiful friendships in my life that I cling to tight. Two girls in particular play an important part of who I am.

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photo credit: Bows and Arrow Photography

I always love your feedback. Has anyone else experienced bullying with their kids? How did you handle it?

My first mammogram at 30

I am a worrier by nature. If you know me personally or have followed my journey here for some time, you’d know that I have an anxious heart. I tend to take things to the worst case scenerio and work myself up over little things. I am a total work in progress you guys…

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A few month back I felt a lump in my right boob. Me doing what I do best, I ran to my doctor. She examined me and called it fiber cystic breasts and told me to cut back on my caffeine. While I truly trust my doctor with my life, every time I go in there for something, I assume the worst. Even though she was not concerned one bit, in the back of my mind I couldn’t get cancer out of my mind. Every time someone would hug me, or I’d hit my chest against something, I would be reminded, and my mind would shift into overdrive. The lump would get bigger around my monthly cycle, and then go back down. I was told this is a good sign but my mind wouldn’t back down.

Why can’t I just trust the process? Why do I try to diagnose myself? Why can’t I just trust my doctors?

I may never have the answers to those questions. But having dealt with anxiety a good majority of my life, I can tell you that peace of mind is a beautiful thing. If you can find it, DO IT. I don’t care what it costs.

The American Cancer Society recommends women get yearly mammograms starting at age 40. But with my doctors approval and some family history, I went in and got an ultrasound AND mammogram. You guys that whole “get your boobs squished” phrase is NO JOKE. I most definitely was the youngest gal in there, and people definitely asked “why are you here”. I got an appointment, exam, and results all within two hours. I know this isn’t the norm, so thank GOD for good health care and a few great connections.

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All is good. I am completely clear. My doctor was right as always. My mind is at ease.

 The reality is, my anxiety has shifted into overdrive since becoming a single mom. It’s all me all the time. Many days I want to just focus on being a mom, not worry about bills getting paid or growing a business. It’s reality though. Knowing how much Landyn depends on me is overwhelming at times. I ask myself what she would do without me. It’s one of my greatest fears.

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photos: Bows and Arrow Photography

And the thing is, I have it so good. I have so many things to be thankful for. I’m sure there is another mom sitting out there that is really struggling. Maybe she has no dad involved or has to work two jobs to get by. Maybe her husband lost his job and isn’t sure how they will feed their family.

I thank God for my blessings everyday. My beautiful home. My supportive boyfriend who supports my dreams and picks up so much of the slack. My health. My parents that are my backbone. My beautiful daughter that reminds me everyday of my purpose in life. Getting to have this space that helps to support my family as a single mom.

We are all fighting a hard battle. I think the older I get the more I see everyday as a gift. And for me, being proactive in my health is one thing I truly believe in. I’d rather hear the “I told you so’s”, then have to loose sleep worrying.

One of the things I am really working on, is learning to put my oxygen mask on first. As mom’s we are so inclined to meet our child’s needs first when it should be the complete opposite. Healthy momma means healthy child. When in doubt, always go the safe route.

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Thank you for following my journey and always letting me open my heart to you on this blog.

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xo