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*

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Another Teen.

 Well, it is official. We now have two full-fledged teens in the house. 

Heaven, help us. 

This is the last of our "first" pandemic birthdays for the year. Not going to lie, son--- this week hasn't been the most stellar one to endcap it with a birthday. We currently have no water running in our home of 6 people, 5 dogs (currently), 2 cats, 2 rabbits and are still continuing to defrost from single digit temperatures this past year week. In many ways, going out with a bang sure seemed to fit, I guess. 

I sure worried about you a bunch this year. Sixth grade was a difficult transition for you and I was anxious that seventh would find you equally unsettled. Never in a million years would I have envisioned that you would find your footing in a year of so many physical changes, isolated from favorite friends, behind a mask, attempting new sports for the first time ALL in the middle of a pandemic. You challenged yourself with growth in ways my 12-yr-old self would never have been brave enough to do. Dad and I are just so stinkin' proud of you. 

This year, your personal MVP left middle school and you forged on alone to figure it out. Hew to middle school sports, you were quick to discover (much to Mom's sadness) that your body type is absolutely perfect for football. It is just incredible the power that belonging can have on a person. For the first time in months, that angsty smirk taking residence on your face gave way to the dimpled smile I adore. Even if you were trying to hang on to that scowl on the field, you were terrible at it. Your bravery and joy helped me to learn to embrace my own in something new. 

Dad and I know very little about raising a son through the teen years. Just like Molly, we are learning as we go. Our vocabulary is constantly adjusting, you remind me on the reg that I am quite basic, often a "Karen",  mostly clueless, oldie from a completely different century. Everything about your parents is just so 1900s of us. Yet, when we pause and share with you that your words hurt our feelings, you immediately and genuinely apologize. This hormonal fa├žade is diligently attempting to hide  the mushy ball of gabey-baby love living inside. It really is unfortunate that your parents know you so well and see straight through to your core. Such a beautiful heart in there!

You are growing into such a good, young man, Gabriel May. You are kind to friends, loyal, funny, artistic, musical and tenderhearted. There is not a little kid in your life that doubts you hung the moon. You have such a gift for making people feel seen... even if it is to let them know that they are frustrating you. Lean into that gift, Son. It is such a special gift and so treasured by those in your inner circle.

One day, when the mirror of self doubt is put down, I am confident you will finally be able to see all the awesomeness that we see. Puberty is tough... especially when you aren't the fastest to grow. For now, I'll take the angst, the ridiculously loud gaming with friends, the big opinions, eating of all the snacks, your expertise on everything and a good deal of funky smells. It's all a part of the journey son, and where you are heading is nothing short of incredible. I am so grateful to be along for the ride.

Love you so, birthday boy.


**Volume Up!**

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Molly's golden year.

It's a bit ironic that your golden year falls smack dab in the middle of a global pandemic in a year that brought us murder hornets, lackluster departures from middle school and alllllll this together time. I mean, maybe this day will mark the turn of something new for us all. Wouldn't that be lovely? The brightness of your today to lighten a murky, exhausting year.

Cast some of that golden goodness this way, sister. 

It has been quite a year, birthday girl. 

Tonight was a reflection of so many nights these days... you giggling upstairs in your room with friends on the phone, the neon reflection of your LED lights bouncing off the walls down the hall and a gentle plea for more minutes on your phone before the dreaded NetNanny App locks that ish down. Predictable, slightly annoying and absolutely oozing with the glaze of teendom. We are here for it.

Time is such a unique concept while parenting a teenager. All those years I longed for the life of bigger kids and more sleep only to discover that teens still keep me up, make all the messes and eat all my snacks...just with bigger bodies and louder voices. Probably best I didn't realize that little bit of info in the early years of parenting.  At times this year, we have found discord in our timing, unkind words are shared and the silent resistance of your budding independence crowds my spaces. Growing up can be slightly uncomfortable, no? 

What I don't mention when I seem frustrated, is how easily I can feel lost. Unsteady footfalls, I glance up to realize that the map I have in hand is outdated and while I remember climbing aboard a familiar passenger car, in actuality, I have landed on the express train and I am careening down the tracks at an uncomfortable speed to some place I have never been before. It is overwhelming. You and me. Carving out new paths together--- you counting down the minutes to independence and me clutching tightly to the few I have left with you right by my side. What a weirdy-little waltz of emotion this season can be. I know that the rest of our gang will have it easier down the line and each day, I become increasingly thankful for your patience and grace. We will figure it out together. It's what we have always done. 

So on to this next chapter of high school. Soon our calendar will be filled with advanced coursework, cheerleading, masks and new normals... maybe if we are lucky... the hopeful promise of future crowds. I'm excited for the return of hugs, sleepovers and evenings spent under those Friday night lights. So much joy awaits in your golden year of life. Pandemic be damned, we are going to make it shine.

First to forge the path and the one to make me "Mom". My hardest and best job and all because there was a you in my life. 

Love you, first born. Happy next twirl around the sun.


Sunday, August 2, 2020

A Quarantine SIX

Annie May.

There is a light that burns within you that seems almost other-worldly. Wrapped in impish delight, your magical goodness feels like this rare gift we stumbled upon and somehow have managed to keep for ourselves. In all the logistical thinking that goes with with a weary and crowded mind (read: NONE), I would worry that my time with you might be limited somehow. Like any day, we were going to discover this horrific finding or medical condition that was going to take you away from us. This fear would catch my breath as you snuggled in closer or smiled your twinkly eyes my direction. It was irrationally crazy, untrue and yet- terrifying. You see, I just couldn't fathom how a brightness like that could stay here for always. 

And yet, here we are.

 Your steady glow in this family grows stronger still for six beautiful years and I am slowly leaning in to the truth that you were meant to be ours. How did we get so lucky?

You continue to be so quirky and uniquely you. Shoes lost, clothing optional, covered in someone else's confiscated hair chalk or makeup at all times. Just when we think that you float above reality-- you will hack into our technology, order animal fart apps on our Alexa with secret, memorized codes and change Dad's watch face on a dime without him even noticing. You are selectively attentive to details but only on Annie May time. It is simultaneously fascinating and infuriating. One day, we are going to harness that feral reserve you delicately balance and channel it to save the planet or something. There is some real ingenuity there, buddy.

You continue to be the most incredible, independent player, lover of ALL the cats, fierce beanie boo collector and crazed, makeup enthusiast I have ever met. At bedtime one evening in April, you casually whispered in my ear that you were a "cat in a human body" and I absolutely believe that to be a possibility. Good thing I'm not allergic to cats.

Tonight at dinner we were discussing what you wanted us to order out for your birthday dinner. You immediately informed us all that what you really wanted was for us to get everyone's favorite individual meal and eat it all together. It is your day and you just want to take care of everyone else. You told us that would be your "perfect meal." To quote Molly, "We don't deserve you, Annie". 

You know what, she is absolutely correct. 

Thanks for putting up with all our jaded, brooding and cynical ways and adding to the mix your whimsical light and goodness. YOU MAKE US ALL BETTER PEOPLE. 

Here's to your next year, sweet kitty. 

May it shine as brightly as you do in our lives each and every day. 


Birthday Video below--- I really think this song was written specifically for you. 

Saturday, April 4, 2020

A Pandemic Nine.

Birthday Babe.

Of allll my Mays, leave it to the BIGGEST extrovert of the bunch to land her birthday smack dab in the middle of shelter in place orders during a global pandemic. It will be a year to remember for sure! Don't worry--- your Mom has some tricks up her sleeve to help you feel surrounded by your people and I can't wait for you to be surprised.

This year marked the the beginning climb to big girl status and a step further away from all things our tiny and mighty Lu. There's excitement in this growth -for sure- but it is met with a tiny pang of bittersweet. One day, you'll understand it. There was something pretty magical about the greatness of eight. You are an explorer, innovative, curious, independent with a good dose of magic still weaving throughout your every day life. It is like the best of all worlds and selfishly, I want you to get this sweet spot for so much longer than the world will allow you to have it. I guess we'll just have to enjoy it while we can!

This year, I worried I wasn't present enough for you. That random guilt plagued me at times when I would see you needing more of my attention in spaces where I felt pulled in another direction or toting the line of capacity. I wondered how I could make myself more available, seek you out, fill your bucket with some individualized time. I'll be honest, I didn't do so great at it most of the time. The happy and easy middle kid is so often the one left to drift while my attention gets pulled away. I know you would be the quickest to forgive me for it though. Instantly wrapped in a Lucy sized hug, you would tell me all the ways you love me and land a giant smooch awkwardly and aggressively on my face. The quickest to love always and even faster to forgive.

For such a wild spirit, you have this precious gift for loving people. I see it in the friendships you keep, the animals you seek and the little sister that resides in your shadow. There is a gentleness to your intensity and it paints the most beautiful picture of you. Fierce and loyal. Cunning and mischievous. Athletic and magical. You have struggled at times to see where you fit this year. There were talks about friends vs. friendly and how it is okay to not fit perfectly in to just one box. Some colors are just too bright to be seen only one way. In time, I hope you come to see that as a gift too.

You live the rainbow, sister and paint our world all sorts of colorful.

Love you to the moon and back, sweet girl.

*Turn Up Music*