This thing called love

“Mama, hand. Hand, Mama”

Lili reaches for me blindly in the night and grasps onto my hand tightly. She’s supposed to be sleeping. We’re supposed to be sleeping. And from the strength of her grip I know she’s still awake.

I listen to the hushed breathing of Ella suckling me, while I savor the small, but mighty grip of my firstborn.

She’s so independent these days. She’s fierce and funny. She’s trying her boundaries…testing ours. She’s exercising her voice and mastering her will.

She pushes us.

She teaches us.

She teaches me to stop. That life isn’t so busy and nothing is more important than pretending to be horseys or dinosaurs with a toddler. 

She teaches me money is nice, but imagination is priceless.

She teaches me there’s nothing more beautiful in the world than joy. Joy bursting through a roar of laughter. Joy twinkling through the crinkle of scrunched up eyes. Joy heard through the excitement of a tiny human calling you over to “Here! Sit Down!”  

She clutches me as she falls to sleep. If I make a move to reposition she’s instantly grasping to keep my hand wrapped around hers. In her tiny fingers I feel the love of a million hearts.

As my brain runs through all the things I need to do at work. All they ways we need to balance finances. All the ways life would be better if just…

Her little hand wraps itself around my distracted thoughts. “Here Mama, sit down. Hand Mama.”

And my three year old does what I still can’t seem to master after thirty years. She quiets my wayward inner dialog. She teaches me there is nothing more perfect than this. A little hand. A little voice.

“Hand, Mama. Hand.”

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On Purpose

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These faces. They are my purpose.

Every year, as part of Stratejoy’s Holiday Council – even when unofficially ghosting – I’ve reflected on the past year and set my intentions for the coming year. Less like resolutions and more like core values. Guiding principles in ways of being for the year. A mission statement for my life.

I’ve been rotating between years focused on stretching, reaching, doing the big scary things – or at least making myself admit when I’m avoiding the big and scary – and years savoring, relishing, playing. This balance has helped make small steps toward “my thing” with room to course correct in the forgiving framework of the year’s purpose.

But it hasn’t been enough.

Life is never enough.

As I lie in my husband’s arms this morning reunited from our week apart, I thought, “I will never get enough of this.”

As I drank in the delicious milk breath of my babiest girl, I sighed, “I will never get enough of this.

As I lay eye to twinkling eye with my first baby girl, whispering in toddler gibberish so not to wake her sister, I knew, “I will never get enough of this.

This family. Our family.

Your family. This is it.

This is life. This connection. The beautiful, messy, painful, joyful bliss of it. The fragility that quietly walks alongside the feeling of invincibility. This is the purpose.