Sunday, August 14, 2022

Sweet Sixteen.

Molly Grace.

I couldn't begin to tell you all the ways I thought it would look at sixteen. All the days and months and years that at times crawled like an eternity have now in a blink, transformed to the reality of just two more birthday videos left. How am I still so caught off guard? Fast AND slow all at once. Sixteen tiptoed in like a ninja while I kept watch to greet her at the door. 

Welp! You have officially run out of fingers for birthday pictures now. We have now almost reached the  milestones that seemed downright otherworldly at the time they placed beautiful, curly-cued you in the hands of these completely smitten, newborn parents. Those same parents that are "barely older" yet, somehow find themselves in the hallway guiding you through the last little doors towards your adulthood. 

Could we just walk slowly for old times sake? 

Sixteen years of this parenting gig. Most days, I still feel as if we are winging it, wrapping it up with love and praying for the best. What started with you in my arms sneakily moved to you on my hip... clutched in my side... freeze tagging to here... skipping right there...biking around the bend...driving over the hill... and now finds me chasing behind often to be willfully shrugged off because "Geez Mom, I've got this."... in the but-you-also-kinda-don't-but-you-almost-sort-of-do weirdy way. 

Such gorgeous blooms bursting into fruition, sweet girl...

Blooming through a lattice of thorns at times, but I'm choosing to hold close the growth and let the stings soothe and heal like surface wounds do with time.

Truth bomb, tho? I didn't love this year, bud. 

For you... for us. Year fifteen carried a heaviness and I wish some days, we could write it all backwards and put some ease where the weary settled in too close. If only life worked that way. Together, we have treaded through the muck of heartbreak, dishonesty, responsibility and stretching of boundaries. This year found us demanding integrity, fighting hard to live transparent, authentically showing up as a family that leans into the difficult growth despite those thorny patches... doing hard... important work. I am proud of us for seeking the tools, listening to understand and gifting amazing grace. Day in and out. 

The sweetness of sixteen, Sister. Sweetness that can only be housing all that space for new blooms. 

There is no one person that deserves it more. Dad and I are your biggest fans. On all days. In all choices. Through all kinds of weather. We always see your rainbow... so grateful that you are learning to see it too.

A sweeter year to come, I know it.  


Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Oh Annie... you sure are Gr8.

Miss Girl.

The wattage of your inner light is quite possibly enough to power the entire neighborhood in the middle of the hottest, August on record. Hey ERCOT, I've got the solution to grid issues... it's called an Annie. 

Whenever I begin to worry that perhaps Daddy or I have just really been going at this entire parenting thing wrong or feel totally unqualified for this role, I pause and remember that there is no way that could be true. Because with all my heart, I really don't believe that God gives gifts like you to just everybody.

Somedays I look at you and think that perhaps you are the closest glimpse to heaven I have ever come to see this side of Earth. It sounds weird to write it out this way but it really is the only way I can describe it. I have made a profession out of working with children my entire career and I love all my own children with my entire being --- equally and completely--- and celebrate their unique gifts and differences. In my entire lifetime, I have only met two other children that capture the same brightness as you and I have dubbed a term for it. 

I think that you were born with angel light in your heart. 

"Angel light" is one of the most rare and beautiful gifts. The pure joy that comes from it is unlike anything I have ever known. There is a pureness that you really don't find many places. Almost like the awe of a newborn baby, the wonder of a puppy, the authenticity in final moments (having supported bedside for many goodbyes, I am humbled by this secret and beautiful, vulnerable light I have shared in). These are the kinds of lights we should aim to shine in our everyday living but we just can't because the "business" of life gets in the way. 

You live the kindness of truly, everyone being your friend. I can look at you and realize that you have absolutely, never felt one real, unkind thing about a person in your entire life. If we have ever had to scold you, it truly breaks your heart. This year, a police officer pulled us over in the neighborhood because you were dancing in the car in the one street we drove from soccer practice to our house. The officer explained the importance of the seat belt, saw how broken you were that we were pulled over because of you and tried to fix it... poor police man... no sticker was going to fix that... believe me, we know. 

You look at every day as your best day and each encounter as the purest opportunity for something wonderful to happen. I worry because the world is going to work hard to stifle that light. I want to protect it, to build a wall around it and cuddle you in. You don't seem to build the protective, callouses that come from scrapes and bruises of hurt feelings, understand the manipulative tactics of some "friendships" and will just give away your favorite new toy or gemstone or piece of jewelry... often times the day you get it only to never see it again.

We try to explain to you why you can't just give your new possessions away, but then you immediately turn around and ask us, why you can't do that... aren't you supposed to share with friends, give to others...especially those with less things

Such goodness. It is just hard to explain that isn't always how the world works... yet. 

Perhaps part of having angel light is the same part that keeps you from understanding. You can't have one with the other. I guess God knew you would need the fiercest fireball to light, gentle giant to orbit, fanciest-curly boss to lead and keep you safe. You were designed to be ours.

You are so loved, Annabel Jane... by your family, your friends and all those that meet you. Keep shining your light, sweet girl!! We can't wait to see the greatness of year eight!

I love you,




Lucy. YOU ARE 11!! Like that is on the way to truly becoming big and I have to ask... are all your dreams coming true?

From the minute you came in this world, it is like you knew the plan and we all just had to get on board or get out of the way. That plan has ALWAYS included being big.

God forbid, you encounter limits (which you did --- because hello, you have parents!), and boundaries and social rules and inferred rules... or anything that ever took you from your master plan because there has ALWAYS BEEN A MASTER PLAN in that little busy brain and we just can't keep up. Good thing you were born super short or anything because that would have really stunk to keep a kid like you off roller coasters and the likes extra long... oh... wait. I bet you had nothing to say about that and the fact that your little sister will likely pass you in height this year too... 


Eleven years and still our fireball of a Lubird. Sister, you just burn so brightly. WHITE HOT BRIGHT. Sure you no longer have Tiny Lu voice that sounds like she smokes a pack or two a day. You have finally started to grasp what we have been mandating you ask yourself out-loud all the time since you could talk ... " How much is too much?" and I have to say... you are really starting to get it. Sure the emotions, the volume, the intensity, the need to be the expert leader of ALL THE THINGS is still in fact too much at times,  but it is getting less and less extreme and much more manageable. We are so so proud of you. Your passion, heart for justice, advocacy for the underdog, inability to cease leading those around you--- even when you are trying really hard not too --- continues to burn just as bright as it always has and I have to say... I hope that never changes. 

This next year will be the year when all that confidence you have always known and carried so strongly within, will be challenged more than ever before. Honestly, the crumbling of confidence is the worst part of middle school years. Give me all the awkward growth spurts, raging acne and body odor... just let me keep the confidence. It is hard to see someone so great, individual, unique and AWESOME... come to doubt that. If anything, I am hopeful it is a short season of a muted pastel (lovely in its own way but still just a softer, quieter version of its former self... ready to burn brightly again soon...) Because what is our world without a little fireball of Lucy to keep it aglow?

On to 11! Oh, heavenly day!


I mean...14. (and some change)

 I think it is very indicative of this season in our lives that I log on to write Annie's 8th birthday letter on the early morning hours of August 3rd only to discover I never actually rolled out yours last FEBRUARY. 

My bad, good sir. 

You know, there are all those songs written about life passing quickly, or those well meaning Grandmas in Target looking at my shopping cart of kid chaos over the years and telling me "don't blink" (not to be taken at face value because --yikes-- how horrific would my eye sockets be right now) but it would seem that perhaps they- in fact- might be on to something there. Life is moving faster than it seems I can maintain pace with. Guess I better up my training, because this gal sure isn't dropping this sport yet... in it for the long race. 

NGL-- this has been a really sweet year for us, Gabe. 

You made every sport you went out for, knew the coaches, the team, your value and felt ready to lend your role (in whatever capacity) to grow your teammates to victory. I see you walk to the car on my days driving sports carpool and all these kids I don't know are slapping you on the back or yelling your name across the parking lot to say goodbye and that's not even my favorite part. As you are walking to the car, I notice the quieter kids, not in sports, the ones leaning against the wall still waiting for their ride long after school has ended, paying little to no attention to the loud athletes yelling across the parking lot, glance up from their phones, instruments or sketches... and calmly say "Hey Gabe" wait for you to kindly respond back with a "hey" - which you always do - and then return back to their work. It is not lost on me that you have this profound gift to see all people as they are and make them feel known. The absolute best part about it all though, is that you are totally unaware you even do it. You aren't gathering high fives, collecting people or campaigning some crowd... you aren't after some higher snap score or to be separated into the haves and have nots... you are just kind. Authentic. True. 

You ground people in their space and make them feel like they belong. I see this play out in our family each and every day. Lucy is like a magnet that feeds off of your energy... Molly seeks you out for grounding when she is feeling most anxious ... Annie circles you like a little moon in orbit often giving way to your catastrophic gravitational pull and climbing you like a tree. Honestly, she would make a terrible moon and explode herself in like one days' rotation... but still. 

To see you in a year where you are on top, 8th grade, comfortable... is such a beautiful space to see your gifts shine. I hope that even as all the new of this first year of high school come into view, you find ways to remember and cultivate this feeling in your new space, lean in to your gifts and know that the universe is infinitely more beautiful just with you in all our orbit... 

Happy Birthday, Buddy. Love you so. 


Saturday, August 14, 2021

Fifteen?! So dang old.

 Girlfriend. Fifteen.

What the heck?!

I know they say that it goes fast and while I don't exactly agree with that as it felt more like the slowest, uphill fast most days encased in a tornado speed year, TODAY... FIFTEEN... seems way too fast. Time is so weird. 

Funny enough, Dad and I look at you and continue to see the same feisty, crazily-curled toddler with all the opinions, your own version of fashion and alllll the facial expressions. Beautiful heart, good intentions and awkward delivery. Our favorite Fancy Nancy. 

There are lots of days the opinions were exhaustive and the frustration seeped through my words. What can I say, I have a lot to learn about patience and giving up control. I forget to believe you are older. I am realizing more and more that your middle name less represents your physical abilities and more of what you give to your parents time and time again as they fine tune their roles of parenting. Grace. Every day we make gains. Being the first sure isn't the easiest but you are doing your best to help us grow. 

Pandemic living is tough for a teen and yet this year you have formed some of the most beautiful friendships, found a sweet guy that loves you, joined various clubs, made varsity cheerleading as a sophomore and maintained well above a 4.0. To say we are proud, is the biggest understatement of the year. 

Today, sister, we celebrate all the new this year will bring. Learning to drive, actual tastes of real high school and glimpses of grown up Molly more and more each day. We used to get little previews... flashes of facial expressions that were a windows to future you and now more and more we are getting longer gazes and full conversations with this brilliant, gorgeous and hilarious older you. How did we get so lucky to land you for our always? 

Love you big, buddy. Here's to the three of us learning all about 15. 



Love you!

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

The last of the sevens.


Annie Girl.

There is something so magical about six and seven-years-old. 

No longer a baby requiring naps or the constant need for help but not quite the independence of a full fledged schooler--- just yet. Still snuggled into the crook of my arm for morning cartoons, all knobby knees and windowed smiles...a stuffed animal friend clutched tightly in each arm. Oversized, sibling t-shirts for pajamas, your ducky-fuzzed bedhead, play baths over showers and learning to ride your bike without training wheels. There's fairy gardens, Girl Scout afternoons, stuffed animal tea parties and a budding love for journal writing. Hungry for adventures, brimming with infinite joy and not the slightest hint of tweendom on the horizon. It has been my favorite.

You see, with you I am gifted the chance to just soak up the magic of this age in a way I wasn't able to with the others. With everyone else, there was a younger babe (or babes) with infinite needs and a sleepy Mama just doing her best to get by. Now I am gifted this chance to sit in the sweetness of six and seven. Drink it to every last drop and send it off in style. I am beyond grateful. 

Sweet girl, you continue to be the purest form of joy for our family. Every day is your best new day. I don't know that there is teen in our lives without their own dedicated picture reel of one hilarious, Annie May. From the facial expressions, your expressive ensembles to your quirky demeanor-- you keep us all laughing for days. I have at least a dozen silly stories at the ready to always make me giggle when I need it. Like a pocket full of Annie May joy. 

My wish in this lifetime is for everyone to find their own version of an Annabel Jane May. To stand in the warmth that is the brightness of you and feel this loved, seen and treasured. It is a glimpse of the sun. 

May this next twirl around it be just as magical.

Happy Birthday, Nanners.



**** Turn up the volume 

Annie is SEVEN! from Julie May on Vimeo.

Monday, April 5, 2021

A Decade of Lu.

 This girl.

Never before in my life have I have ever met a someone like you. The brightest wattage of raw spirit, unrestricted currents of empathy, unapologetically the MOST stubborn person I know... all in one mighty, muscle of a human with next level projection, incredible charisma and absolutely no volume control. 


Some day you will discover the capabilities of your power and my goodness that will be incredible to witness. Your origin story. For now, though, I am quite okay if you remain a bit clueless to your wonder for at least a few more years. Do your parents a solid and maybe get us through at least the first half of the teen years? Please? Because let's be honest, parenting that sort of wildfire is going to be a shitshow learning curve for us all. 

Lucy May, there is nothing that you do in moderation. Just last month you were called to the principal's office for leading a movement against istation and your voice made it all the way up to school district's administration...because... of course it did. The passion is spot on but perhaps a bit more attention to details, buddy. You love big, disagree passionately, compete fiercely, fall to tears without reason and your blue eyes pierce my soul on the daily. You just love people so hard. There is a magnetism to your personality and we are all just drawn your direction--- whether or not we want to be.

This year, true to development, despite all that awesomeness, the insecurities have started to seep in. Your physique is in transition thanks to the onset of puberty and all the hours put in at the gym, your hormones are revving up and the mean girl antics --that you will never understand -- have found a way to thrive amidst a pandemic... which seems pretty unfair. My hope is that one day, you will come to KNOW that you are uniquely and beautifully you and what a refreshing gift you are to us all. We'll get there, buddy. In the mean time, I'll just remember for the both of us, and remind you on the reg, okay? 

You continue to adore gymnastics, soccer, singing, playing your ukulele and all things hanging with besties. Most days, you wake up with a plan for the day and are off on your bike before I have even finished my coffee. If you aren't running around with your brat pack, you are holed up somewhere writing a song, flipping on the trampoline or playing with Annie. I don't know that I have met a kid that loves Hamilton as much as you do. It will be so exciting to see them in Austin this December. Slowly, you have gained some independence this year and now bike around the neighborhood with friends and even stay home alone for a short bit while I run errands within the neighborhood. That autonomy is just so dang delicious. What you wouldn't give to be 15 right now.

But for now, let's just soak in the splendor of ten. That sweet spot of playing outside, believing in magic, reading in trees, still playing with toys and dreaming of big... before all the tech takes over, crushes change friendships and you become the expert of everything like those older siblings believe. Give me a little longer with the scraped knees, wild hair and silly antics, please. 

You see, ten is the best. Just like you. 

Love you, birthday babe. 


*Turn up the volume*