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Three Years Today

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I knew this day was coming. It looms large in its approach each year. But this year, the third, was different. Even until yesterday I thought I would get through it more upbeat, more positive, more grateful than the two years before.

Riding on a big emotional high will do that for you.

We just got back from a long weekend celebrating the marriage of two people we hold so dear. It was, hands down, the most spectacular event I've ever had the pleasure of attending. Set on the stunning Amalfi coast. Surrounded by family. Forging new friendships with people who span the globe. Communicating without words when our languages didn't allow for conversation. Eating and drinking like royals. And, best and highest of all, witnessing the union of a couple whose love and appreciation of life and generosity to others knows no bounds. Simply put, magnifico!

Prior to that I got to spend a little time with my mom and step dad, who came all the way up to our new home in Indiana to take care of…

How to Reduce Your Preschooler to Tears

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If you've already survived the "Terrible Twos" and the wrath of a typical "Threenager" than you know how charming it can be to experience impressively violent fits of utter frustration and melodrama more suited for Shakespeare than the stage of your life. Our youngest is one month shy of four years old and let's just say that he is going out of this particular phase with an Earth (and ear drum) shattering bang.

It's become incredibly easy to reduce him to tears, shouts, tantrums, and stomps. Just when things seem to be coming to a calm and peaceful state, we are sidelined by an over the top reaction to a most mundane action. Such as:

-Cutting his fried egg into bites before he sits down at the breakfast bar. This is, apparently, only acceptable after the back end hits the barstool.

-Leaving the bed (the one he far too indiscreetly climbed into for the 8 millionth night in a row) before he wakes up and dare to attend to your older child who has a school…

Soft to Hard in Cycles

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I lay in bed with our youngest one recent lazy morning. As he smiled around his sucked soggy thumb I noticed how it remains pudgy, despite his all too quick escape from toddlerhood. All of his digits still a bit stumpy and soft in that delicious baby-like way. I cupped my own increasingly spindly fingers around his plump sweet cheek and wished for one satisfied moment that all could stay just this way for more than the usual little while.

The elder, three years and a lifetime beyond the smaller, won't cuddle unless unconscious. His curves, in contrast, have stretched and lengthened leaving sharp points and broad expanses in their place. All elbows and knees and an inexplicable sharpness that pokes and prods. When you manage to wrap your arms around him for a brief and short lived hug, he wriggles and winds his way out, escaping with a prick and a stick.

And then there's my own. My form, previously tight and poky in all the right places. Hip bones, once evident, lay well below…

That's Why We Have to Move

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My first born, a first grader, had his last piano lesson yesterday with a teacher we were so very fortunate to find. This last lesson with his first piano teacher kicked off a series of "lasts" for him as we prepare to move very far away in two short weeks.

This teacher, sweet as could be, showered him with stuffed animals and hugs and we said our goodbyes cheerfully enough. We would miss one another, but he would email her. They would keep in touch.

A couple hours later, out of the clear blue, my baby boy dove into my lap head first bawling to beat the band. I figured he was tired and fighting with his brother. But no. He said he was going to miss SMU, the location of his lessons the last two semesters.

What he meant was he was going to miss her. And the place. And everything else he was just realizing he was leaving behind.

Once the valve was opened, he could scarcely keep his composure. He sniffled through teeth brushing and wiped his eyes while pulling on his pajamas. A…

The Big Bathe

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My partner, my husband, my man. He's been living far away from us going on four weeks now. We're all still together, it's not like that. We're just physically apart temporarily. Until the rest of us move up there with him.

This solo parenting gig has been hard, y'all. On all of us. Place a big ol' major remodeling cherry on top and naturally, things begin to give.

I've definitely made some tweaks to the daily grind of our family life. I eat standing up most meals and the boys go to bed with dirty bottomed feet most nights. Balls are being dropped but we're keeping our heads afloat. And we're happy. Optimistic.

But we aren't without new challenges and problems.

Motherhood in general has readjusted my standards for personal hygiene. Long gone are the days of daily showers, much less luxuriously long ones. Lately with the all these extra duties i.e., things I'm doing that my partner would be doing if he were here, have seriously pushed those s…

Hallelujah. Holy Sh*t. Where's the Tylenol?

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Christmas is rearranging half of your furniture and art to accommodate a tree and decorations that you will enjoy for 3 weeks.

Christmas is cleaning out the playroom and bookshelves and closets to make room for more things to fill your playroom and bookshelves and (eventually) closets.

Christmas is always having the radio tuned to that soft rock station you would never normally listen to that plays round the clock Christmas music, even though they are playing Last Christmas, Jimmy Eat World instead of the vastly superior George Michael rendition.

Christmas is listening to three song singing decorations belting out different tunes at once repeatedly interspersed with the train noises of the toy train circling your tree because your three year old just can't get enough and can't hear you begging for mercy over the joyous sounds of the season.

Christmas is fielding a barrage of questions regarding the logistics of execution, plausibility of this guy being real while, for example…

Two Years

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The calendar of our lives are marked not by dates or years but events. Events that lead our minds to organize the files of our existence into before and after.

Before kids. After college. Before I met him. After I left him. Before the storm. After the split.

Before cancer. After death.

How can it be that two years have passed away since he did? And yet how can it only be two years? The passage of time when met with the enormity of loss can play such tricks. The before sometimes feeling painfully short and the after an endless expanse.

But life, and time, marches steadily on despite our warped perceptions. And life is truly and magnificently good despite the fact that it must inevitably end.

I love him. I miss him. In this exceptional after.