The Fairy Dance

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I’m not sure when it all began, but sometime around the “age of losing teeth” for my oldest, I had an idea to write notes from the tooth fairy along with the usual dollar or trinkets she received for each tooth. Ryan became Chloe’s fairy somehow, even though we took turns many nights for the sheer fact of, I don’t know because - parenting. It is so hard sometimes, and I guess I like to make it harder for some reason. The night of a lost tooth would find us scrambling up late at night writing left-handed notes on torn scraps of paper, sprinkling fairy dust or digging through drawers of old jewelry looking for something interesting the fairy could leave behind. Thus began our little fairy “dance” with our girls. (And this was pre-Pinterest!)

I’m not sure if Chloe ever believed the notes were from a real fairy. She has always been my highly intelligent, practical, rational, never-even-believed-in-Santa kind of child. She loves fairy tales, fables and whimsy, but she knows that in the end, it is just a story after-all. From the time she could talk (which was pretty much always) she knew Santa, the tooth fairy, and the Easter Bunny was really Ryan and I. She played along for a few years because it was fun, but that was all it ever was to her – a game.

In walks (runs), Girl #2 who cartwheels to the beat of an entirely different drummer, and I don’t even think there is technically a band. She makes her own music, in her own way. I am constantly amazed at the creativity, stubbornness, and love for life this girl has. She waited as patiently as a 4-year-old can wait while she watched her big sister lose many teeth, then receive gifts and hand written notes from her very own fairy. Cammie cried for hours one night because she added up the years she had left before she would lose a tooth and have a fairy. It was a few years too many, in her opinion and she let us have it. I obviously didn’t think through this whole “personal fairy thing” very well. Mom of the year award.

So, obviously I had to come up with something. Around this time, Cammie was having serious issues going to sleep, staying in her bed, and staying asleep. She was up and down all night and we woke up with her in our bed more often than not. I decided to be her “Sleeping Fairy.” If Cammie stayed in her bed all night or went to sleep without incident, then the sleeping fairy would visit her and write her notes of encouragement, bring candy, or leave her a small toy.

This was the holy grail for my spunky girl. She believes whole-heartedly in Santa and even more so in fairies. It didn’t always help the sleeping issues, but it got her on the right track and definitely created a bond between her and her fairy (me). While some 4th grade boys were trash talking the existence of Santa and the tooth fairy, my tiny 6 year-old (at the time) defended them with gusto. C.S. Lewis would be so proud. I’m sure she fully expected full-fledged fairy applause to erupt behind her when she finished her speech about the books she has read that prove their existence. (aka: fairy tales and pop-up fairy books.)

Fairy Treasures

Fairy Treasures

Tonight, after tucking Cammie in I reached under her pillow, feeling my hands around slowly as usual. My fingers touched something cold and I pulled out the treasures she left for her friend. I can’t remember the last time she got in our bed or woke up during the night, so these days I’m no longer her sleeping fairy. Sadly, her tooth fairy doesn’t visit as often, but we continue this dance that has captivated her heart for so many years. She will be turning 8 in November, and I have a feeling these fairy days are numbered. Part of me suspects that she just has to know by now that I am the one doing all of these things. I wonder if she has thought my writing looks strangely similar to her fairy’s Sanscrit (try as I may to make it look like a tiny creature attempting to write with a pen bigger than herself), which is not as easy as it sounds. Does she guess that I am her “Twinkles,” but just wants to feel the magic a little longer? I know it’s silly, but I just can’t let it end quite yet. Thankfully, for now I don’t have that problem because she leaves me something almost every night.

I don’t profess to know all that much about parenting. I may be totally setting her up for a future that will require countless therapy sessions about fairies visiting her in the night.  All I know is that for the past four years when she finds “fairy dust” on her blankets and her little hands reach under her Wonder Woman pillow to find beaded “fairy” bracelets, a glass bottle stopper, and scrawled, misspelled notes, she jumps out of bed and runs to show her sister, her eyes lighting up with wonder and awe. She talks so fast in her excitement that we can hardly understand her endless fairy conjecture about Twinkles being a moon fairy, if she likes fireworks, how big she is, or how fast she can fly.

In these moments, when her gifts and love notes have been gracefully received and the love has been sweetly reciprocated, she knows she is loved, cherished, and her heart is being pursued. Someone took the time to show her how much she is treasured and that means everything. One of these days, when she’s fighting teenage angst or thinks her parents are crazy, I hope she will remember our fairy dance. Maybe the same childlike wonder and joy will flow back to her heart, knowing she had a mommy and daddy who loved her dearly and valued her enough to spend time doing things that made her heart so happy.

As my girls grow up, my prayer for them is that they will remember these sweet moments and be reminded not only of a parents deep love, but more importantly of their loving Savior who loves and adores them even more than all the fairies, centaurs or mermaids in the land. I want them to know that our God is a God who calls them His beloved, pursues them with a beautiful abandon and knows their every breath. The One, the Rescuer, the Grace-giver wants to live and love in the same kind of dance with them as the ones they knew from their childhood, the magical dance that started with love notes and fairy dust.

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You are the best. The middle of the ring is as blue as the sky, and the coin is as shiny as a… Fairy!

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Cammie’s gifts to Twinkles

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Thank you for my treasures. I love the ring. The blue is the color of my eyes. I like the coin, too! Are you having a good summer? Love, Twinkles

The Thief of Joy

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A snapshot. A moment. A day of digging for roly-polies and frogs coming to a close. Her little hand opened inside of mine, holding a caterpillar. Dirt under her nails, wispy blond hair falling in her eyes, the smell of sunshine on her face. An excited sister holding a box of dirt and bugs behind her. Their voices intermingling so much that I can’t tell one voice from the other. My loves enjoying each other and the beautiful day. This is what I will remember about Mother’s Day. Not the flowers, balloons, or cards. Not the lunch or chocolates. I am fond of these things, but I don’t want my real blessings to get lost when Facebook and Instagram begs me to compare my life with everyone else’s.
Mamas, I challenge you to not miss the moments by letting social media take your joy.
It’s your time, your moment. Don’t lose that gift.
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I know how you think. I am also a self-conscious woman who analyzes everything. We see a beautiful family picture of a friend and tend to focus on her perfectly dressed children in outfits you can’t afford. Or how it hurt a little that you saw that the neighbor kid made breakfast in bed for his mom and you barely had time to make your cup of coffee before things were demanded of you. Or you see your friends getting amazing gifts, jewelry, and vacations you can only dream about. You cringe at your waistline when you see a picture of you holding your baby. The same body that gave life and sustains life everyday, all day long – in ways that some people don’t even understand.

Let’s just stop devaluing our lives by comparing them to the facade of someone else’s.

You are more than that. You are a mother… and not just on Mother’s Day when the picture perfect stuff is plastered on every social media page. You are a mother on the really hard days when he’s puking for hours on end and he just. wants. you. You are a mother in the middle of the night when she hasn’t come home and you stay up worried and waiting for her call. You are a mother when he uses your shirt for a kleenex and you wear the shirt for the rest of the day, anyway. You are a mother when she doesn’t stop crying and feeding and you feel like this season of life will never end. We don’t take selfies and post our status for these moments, but it is in these moments when we become the best of mothers. What we see online is not reality. No one knows what they are doing when it comes to parenting. We are all doing the best we can, even if your friends on Facebook post otherwise.

Last week, my oldest had a Mother’s Day “spa day” at school. She told me to wear PJs and a robe so I would be comfy, so I showed up in my favorite pajamas and my robe, as instructed. Not only was I the only mom out of about 80 mothers wearing my bedtime get-up (complete with a large hole in the pant leg that I had failed to notice), but most of the moms were dressed up – like Easter Sunday dresses and heels! I started to feel a tad crazy, so I whispered to her and asked if she was embarrassed that I was in my PJs. Her response? “No! I love it! I think you’re awesome. That’s what I wanted you to wear.” She then proceeded to give me a hand massage and painted my nails. I’m so glad I wore my PJs that day. I only became self-conscious when I started comparing myself to others but seeing myself through my child’s eyes changed my perspective for the better.

Notice the real blessings… the only-for-you love. The faces you know better than your own, the hands that curl into yours when they are scared, the cherished little feet that you worry about when it’s cold and they aren’t wearing socks. The long eyelashes that get you every time. The memories that are yours and yours alone. The moments that make you sit back and thank God; those are things that can’t be purchased on an aisle at Hallmark or even bragged about on Twitter. Those are the real gifts. That is what we, as mommies, live and would die for. Social media, in all it’s glory, can never take that away from us.
Remember… “comparison is the thief of joy.”

Happy Day after Mother’s Day to all my mama friends. I hope your week is joyful and that you feel loved and celebrated – even on the really bad mama days.

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Letters to Mommy

This post is really for me… a visual reminder that will be here when I need it most. I want to read this over and over on those days when I just don’t know how much longer I can keep living in pain, for those days when I can’t seem to do anything right, or the nights when I feel like the farthest thing from a good mommy because I’ve barked at them all day, or the mornings when it seems like I could sleep for a year, but breakfast and backpacks need tending to, or when I just don’t have any fight left and for every moment in between when placing one foot in front of the other seems impossible –  these are the days I will need to revisit these words and remember. God has a plan and He is using this struggle for good in my life.  

Two precious letters scrawled out in the most beautiful handwriting I’ve ever seen… written just for me. Their words heal my soul right up. On a notebook full of medical jargon and my port “To Do” list, my girl writes words that sound like poetry in the midst of a nightstand filled with syringes and disease.

After a very hard day, my oldest leaves a letter on my desk when everyone is asleep. She asks forgiveness for her recent disobedience and whispers a healing prayer on paper that brings me to tears and changes my perspective when it was needed most. I have gained words to fuel my fight. Love notes from my girls to a mommy in need. A mommy that needs extra grace during a hard-fought battle… and they give it unreservedly to me. I have gained peace through the words of a 7 and 9-year-old who love with hearts so full I can’t even comprehend. 

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Thank you, God for my girls precious hearts and their beautiful words that keep me going.