Happy Mother’s Day 2020

Dear Mom,

When you brought us into this world, I’m sure you weren’t prepared for what kind of damage and destruction we had in store for you. After all, being a good parent doesn’t come with instructions (or safety gear), but nothing kept you from loving and protecting us.

No one ever knows what life has in store for them and yet look at us. We made it! You were able to raise us and keep us safe (and let’s face it, dad is basically a toddler too, so essentially you’re raising three boys!!!) Even in a house of all guys, we all are growing up strong, happy, and caring.

Being a mom means being patient when your little boys want to run around and put stuff in the shopping cart when you just want to get the groceries and get out of Big Y. Being a mother means answering every dumb question we ask when you just want relax. Being a mother means watching “Trolls World Tour” over and over and over again even though your DVR is overloaded with Beverly Hills of Something shows. Being a mother means being able to take good care of your kids, (and dad, and Busty and Max), while still working 700 hours a week. Lastly, being a mother means being the never ending source of love and support for your kids.

You are the best mom anyone could ever ask for! Thank you for loving us and letting us grow up and learn how to be a good person from you. We love you very much!

Love Always,

Jackson and Oliver

And Buster and Max

Emails to Babies; A Guest Blog: Allison Berlin

Every so often I’m lucky enough to come across someone as nuts as I am and even more rare is someone who is willing to admit it. Allison Berlin is a great friend who has an interesting way of recording her children’s life events, so I asked her to write a guest blog to share her story with everyone…

Allison and her boys

On a recent weekend when pigs flew and 3 couples escaped together, kidless, to the mountains of Vermont, I shared an email with Peter that I had written to my 3 year old. Once he stopped laughing at said email, I explained the story of how and why I first started emailing my young kids, and he asked if I would share that story here.

When I was pregnant with our first son, my mother in law shared with me the journal that she kept when she was pregnant. I was immediately inspired – she wrote such thoughtful entries about her feelings as a new mom and current events. The entries were incredibly entertaining to read up on 30+ years later – a real-time look back to Reagan’s election and my father in law’s trip to the library to research the family’s first VHS player (seriously).

The day we found out we had a little boy on the way, I bought a journal, left it on the coffee table as an invitation for anyone to contribute, and vowed I would have something similar to give my son and his family to look back on. I was diligent – I wrote often, with my feet propped up, exactly the way a naive first time pregnant mom would. I passed that journal on to grandparents and my husband, prodding them to share their thoughts with their future grandson / son.

Fast forward to this new mom drinking coffee standing up at the kitchen counter, stuffing some semblance of food into my face to sustain any energy possible. With an actual live baby to now take care of, it became increasingly clear how little time I would have for those uninterrupted sessions of reflective journal writing. So I did what any (borderline) millennial would do – I made a new vow to continue the written journal up to his first birthday, then turned digital. I created an email address for my son that would allow me to jot down a quick message or send a photo “to him” on the fly. Stuck in a boring meeting at work? Shoot your 1 year old a funny picture from the night before with a note about a fun bath time (and maybe some life advice to find a job in his future that will not result in endless, boring meetings). Now this I could do.

My boys are now 5 and 3. They each have a written journal to account for their first 12 months (and admittedly a bit beyond, as my mother in law has not made the digital jump and continues to write) … and an email address that has kept up with them for the remaining years. I started these emails to give them the memories (and let’s be honest, maybe exactly the content they’ll need for future therapy sessions). Though, every so often, I take a look back at the emails I’ve sent these boys and realize they’re a small gift to myself.

Some subject lines along have the ability to elicit those mom tears of time moving entirely too fast: “Brudder,” followed 1 1/2 years later by “Brudder no more.” An account of my love of our youngest solely referring to his brother as “Budder”, and the sadness when he inevitably learned his actual name.

Others remind me that what you think is so trying at the time, truly is just a phase. You know – those times that prompt people to remind you, “this too shall pass”, while you smile kindly back, though make a mental note that this person is clearly deranged. “Is this a test?”: A quite lengthy letter to my youngest, wherein I find myself pleading with a young child’s email to PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD SLEEP for at least a few hours at a time!!!

Then there are some of my personal favorites – the ones that contain those little moments of life that are so easily forgotten, but oh so precious.”Mustard”: Conveying my son’s deep (if not sincerely confusing) love for mustard, accompanied with a picture of him eating, you guessed it, straight up mustard.”Your dad”: A moment in time when my husband was setting out to really wow, and inspired an email detailing why these boys should set husband / dad aspirations to their dad’s level.”Top bunk”: Because seriously, who knew how happy a surprise bunk bed at our vacation rental could make a kid.

Lastly, not to be forgotten… “Wobbly pants”: The email I shared with Peter that inspired this guest post, as he realized I had written a summary of my son’s love of skin tight pants (and relative hatred for what he refers to as “wobbly pants”, also referred to as simply “pants” by the rest of human kind).

It is these look backs that make me keep going and remind me how to answer the question of, “why the heck do you email your children?”. I picture them with their own babies on the way, gifting them this treasure trove of emails from their youth where they will find memories of wobbly pants and mustard alongside annual Christmas summaries. Then I remember I’ll be doing the same. I fast forward to a time when quick meals with kids running under foot are a faint memory. I’ll be all too aware of how fast time moves. Though I know I will have gifted myself these same distinct memories – and man, do I know those mom tears will be flowing.

A huge thank you to Allison as I am reviving the Chronicles Guest Blog Series, where we will “attempt” to show off some other authors and their thoughts on parenting, children and life.

Happy Birthday to an Amazing Mom

Anyone who’s read this blog before knows that I don’t take myself too seriously. I’m not an amazing wordsmith… I don’t have the lyrical prowess of Tupac or the ability to turn a a few stanzas of a poem into a Grammy winning hit like Boyz II Men, but I can, every once and a while write something that has some depth.

Today, I will take a stab at some more meaningful prose and take after the two aforementioned rap/R&B legends with a dedication to Jax and Ollie’s Mom (I’m sure it won’t be as perfectly written as “Dear Momma”, and there’s not a chance I could make it sound as nice as “A Song For Mamma,” but we’ll give it a shot anyway.

I really don’t know how to put into words exactly what a mom, especially this mom means to a family. No matter what, she has always shown… many times… the great love she has for her family. After all the difficult times her and I have made it through as parents, I know that it doesn’t matter to her what happens, she will stand by me and always be there–through the good and the bad to support these two beautiful little boys. She will help me guide them through life and hopefully we, together, can instill in them right from wrong and a sense of decency, respect, kindness and leadership that this world seems to be so desperately lacking.

Jackson and Oliver, your mother has always loved you so much from the very- very beginning. She couldn’t wait for either of you to make your first appearance in this world. “She had a bag packed for the hospital months in advance… and the clothes you’d both wear home from the hospital were purchased months in advance.  When given the opportunity to have you sleep in the nursery those first few nights at the hospital, she looked at those nurses like they had five heads… not a chance she was letting you go… not then and not now.

A mother’s love is is something that I can’t explain.  Being a parent… being a mom is made of deep devotion and of sacrifice.  This mom… she is giving, often putting her own needs on hold to make sure that her sons have everything they could ever need.

If you have ever attempted to have a conversation with a three year old you know what it’s like to feel frustration… jumping from subject to subject, trying to find the right vocabulary to express wants and needs… and more often than not just hearing two words over and over and over and over again… “NO” and “Why”.  Sometimes talking to a child is like talking to your dog… they look like they get what you are saying, but then two seconds later ask a question completely unrelated to the topic at hand… but something special happens when a mom listens to their child.  A mother understands what a child cannot say.  Jackson and Oliver are so incredibly lucky to have someone so in tune with who they are that she can completely understand them, even when they don’t even understand themselves.  It’s a gift… and it’s what makes Stephanie so amazing.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still bouts of frustration and anger and lots of sleepless nights… neither of us are perfect… and she won’t pretend she is, but when we look at our children, we both know that we got something in our life so perfectly right.  Happy birthday to an incredibly hard working, dedicated, (relatively) patient mother and one hell of a role model for our children.

Love,

Peter, Jackson, Oliver, Buster and Max