Five Alive

Dear Charlie Bird,

Today you are five. We had this conversation recently:

Me: Charlie! Next week you will be FIVE!
You (holding up all five fingers on one hand): I’ll be a whole handful!
Me: Oh buddy, you’ve been a whole handful for quite some time now.
You: Well then I will be a whole MIT-FULL!

Buddy, you have been my least easy child. And I say this with all the love in the world, my Birdie. You started this life in a sleepy, easy way. You spent your first year as a cuddly little guy who loved his sleep and who was super easy going. By the time you were two, you were very stubborn, did things your way, and communicated in screams and outbursts. Your feelings have grown so big that sometimes your small body just cannot contain them.

Now that you are five, you are starting to be able to vocalize those feelings. Your fits are fewer and your words, hugs, and helpfulness is plenty.

You tend to be reserved when you are in a new place, preferring to hang back and observe. Once you’ve warmed up, you are pretty independent, choosing to play on your own because you can have full control that way. You get along with other kids, you are just quieter and prefer to do your own thing.

You and Eddie can play super nice together, especially as you get older and you are not just a pesky little brother, but an actual playmate to him. However he is bossy and you like to do things your way which can lead to some fierce disagreements. The one person who you seem to have the most patience for is Alice. Yes, she can bug you from time to time when she wants to play with the cars you just set up in perfect rows, but if she seems interested in what you’re doing, you gladly make room for her. And when she asks you to play babies or tea party with her, you get everything set up and help her have fun.

She learns so much from you. Miss Carolyn even tells us that she watches you at daycare and will only eat her lunch if you are eating yours first. She looks up to both you and Eddie, but Eddie is more of her helper where you are the one she wants to play with and learn from. You two have a special bond I never would have guessed would happen, but that I hope will last forever.

You started Preschool this year! I admit I was nervous about how school would go for you. You go four afternoons a week. Because of your tantrums and lack of patience with yourself, Daddy and I braced ourselves for phone calls telling us you were under a table or in a closet and wouldn’t come out. But it never happened.

School has been probably the best thing that has happened to you. You love it and you are thriving! I know the fact that you have amazing teachers who love you help, but you, my Charlie, have been a natural. Your teachers tell us you are a “quiet leader” who always does the right thing. You struggle a little with writing (you are a leftie like daddy), but you know all your letters and their sounds and are ready to start sound-spelling! You catch on very quickly to anything with numbers; you can count to over a hundred!

You are most obsessed right now with Batman! You love dressing like him and having Batman everything! We even did a Batman birthday theme for you and Alice’s party (well, she had Mini Mouse). I probably shouldn’t read too much into it, but I feel like Batman fits you well. He also likes to be in control and have cool gadgets to tinker with. I can see why you are drawn to him. Plus he wears a cool mask, and I know wearing a mask helps you feel less “seen”, which is more comfortable for you.

You and Daddy are a lot of like in many ways, but you and I have a pretty close bond. I’ve finally figured out that I can’t make you talk about something you don’t want to talk about–very much like your Dad Dad. When you are feeling BIG FEELINGS, the best thing I can do is just sit next to you. Sometimes you want me to hold you and hug you, but most of the time you just want me there. At your birthday party this weekend, you didn’t get your way about something and you flipped out. You went into Alice’s room to have a fit, and I came in and just sat on the floor while you whined and tantrumed. Eventually you got quiet and I asked you, “Do you want me to make you a plate of food?” And you wiped your eyes and said, “will you sit by me?” And that was that. I did sit by you, but only for a few minutes. Then you were comfortable with all the people in our house and you were great!

You are intensely loyal and loving. For such a small, quiet guy, you are fierce with your love. When you are happy, you are very happy. When you are tired, hungry, or hurt, you are very cranky. I’ve learned that you can become overwhelmed by too much of anything. You need quiet, alone time. You need someone to just be there. You need to know you can count on your family.

I try to make sure you know always that you are safe and loved.

You can break my heart and heal my heart like no one else, my Charlie. Your words are hilarious and wise beyond your five years. I never want to forget how you say that you’re “halmost” done or you’re “halready” done or that you love everything “becept” something. Or how you make your army guys “HATTACK!”

I love how you like random things like egg cartons and pretty stones. I love that you can line up army guys on your fire truck for over an hour and make up dialogues and scenarios with them. I love the way people think you’re not paying attention, but you are paying attention to every word said.

I love the way you jam out to Kidz Bop in the car and announce that every song is your 56th favorite song or your 4th favorite song or your 15th favorite song. I wouldn’t put it past you to actually have a mental list of all the songs you love.

I love your big feelings. All of them. I love that you say to me, “You are the best Mom Mom” and I know you mean it. Even on days when you are having lots of negative feelings, I know that at the end of the day, you want to cuddle up to me before bed because I play with your hair and do the voices in your favorite books.

I love that you know Eddie better than Eddie knows himself and that you pronounce his name, “Uddie”.  I love your love for your little sister and that you call her “Beans” like Daddy does.

I love your love of cuddly comfy clothes and cozy blankets and warm spots. I love that you love chocolate more than anything in the world.

But most of all, I just really love you. All of you: the easy parts and the difficult parts, the sunny parts and the cloudy parts. You are my best Bird.

I hope your 5th birthday is wonderful!

Love,
Mom Mom

Thirty-Great

I don’t remember my 18th birthday.

There are a lot of details from that spring that have simply just left my memory. It was such a busy time: turning eighteen, senior year, graduation, college stuff. But I can tell you what I wasn’t thinking about: what twenty years into the future would look like.

kates' graduation

I never could have imagined what my life would look like as I waited to cross that stage to get my diploma. I didn’t even know what the next six months would be like!

There was a time when I thought getting older and being an adult was the worst thing ever. I wanted to stay young and seemingly invincible for as long as I could. The day I turned twenty, my brother called me and said, “Happy birthday, Old Sister. Don’t break a hip now that you are not an invincible teenager anymore.”

I laughed, but part of me believed that being in my twenties meant I was a grown-up. Oh, how that makes me laugh now! My early twenties were still filled with rented apartments with friends, bar nights to play darts, and sleeping until 1oam because I had nothing before 11am. Ever. Not exactly being a grown up.

Century Club Member

I really had no idea.

On Easter day I turned thirty-eight. Thirty-eight was OLD to me back then. Thirty-eight meant the party was over and it was time to go through the Boring Years.

I had thirty-eight all wrong.

There is nothing boring about being thirty-eight.

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In fact, if you have been following along this week as a chronicle the life and times of the Sluiters on spring break, you know that even boring days are not really boring. No, we are not out whooping it up on a beach somewhere, but life still stays interesting.

I found my very first journal the other day cleaning my closet. One of the entries I read through said something like, “everyone says adolescence is the toughest time in someone’s life, but I really think it’s your early twenties. I mean, who the hell am I and who am I going to end up being? It’s like hanging out in a big ass question mark.”

And that was just it. While I did a lot of silly ridiculous things in my teens and twenties, it was also like living out of boxes after you move…not permanent. Not settled.

I hate hate that feeling. Things need a place, a home. I had disorganization; it makes me feel scattered and anxious. Under the mad fun I was having, was a ball of anxiety and nerves. I was stuck between stupid kid and young adult.

Don’t get me wrong, those years were fun. But I never want to do them over again.

Being in my 30’s has been scary, life-changing, and definitely not boring. All three of my kids were born between my 31st and 37th years. I’ve hit my stride professionally. I’ve read more books in my 30’s than I did in my teens and 20’s combined. I’ve traveled by plane across the country alone. Twice.

I’ve learned a ton about myself in therapy and through writing. Through being Cortney’s wife and Eddie, Charlie, and Alice’s mom.

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Although I now openly talk about my struggles with anxiety and depression, I am much freer than I was back when I wrote that journal entry. I know myself better. I know how to get my thoughts more focused and what to do when I need to calm down due to anxiety. I know what works and what triggers.

Plus I am no longer moving every single fall like in college (two dorm rooms, a house with four other girls, two apartments, and a house my grandparents owned all in less than six years).

Being thirty-eight might be more settled, but it’s most definitely not boring.

Reminder: Tickets are on sale now for the Listen To Your Mother: Southwest Michigan show that I am a part of!

ps. remember my 38 before 38 challenge? You helped me pass that! I received 42 books for my classroom library! THANK YOU!

ps. remember my 38 before 38 challenge? You helped me pass that! I received 42 books for my classroom library! THANK YOU!

Hooray For FOUR!

Dear Charlie,

You are FOUR! We have been talking about this birthday for about a month now. You have been SO excited to be FOUR! It means all sorts of new things for you: swimming lessons, preschool, and a big kid bike! Unlike Eddie who worried about all of those things, you are SO EXCITED!

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You are the quintessential middle child, my dear boy. It is extremely fitting that your nickname is “Bird” because as the middle child, you certainly do give the entire world “the bird” with your take-no-shit attitude toward life. While it drives us completely batty at times, this personality trait has potential to serve you very, very well as an adult.

As a four-year old it looks like huge rage fits, throwing things in frustration, and telling us constantly that you do not like us. However as soon as you start crying, you reach for your dad dad or your mom mom, needing the comforting arms of those who will love you unconditionally–no matter what you say or do out of anger. We are trying to guide you, sweet boy, to use your words and to choose safe, un-hurtful ways deal with your big feelings.

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Your new fish that you named Charlie Bird Fish.

The wonderful part of those big feelings is that you LOVE big too. You are quick to hug and kiss and cuddle up next to us. You love to hold hands or play with my hair. Touch soothes you, my little buddy, and I do my best to offer my lap, my arms, or the spot next to me on the couch whenever you want it.

the requested "train cake" for the birthday boy

the requested “train cake” for the birthday boy

People love you, Charlie. You are cute, charming and are such a helper. In fact you often refer to yourself as a “helper boy,” and you are not wrong. You want to help clean, cook, and pick up. We gave you a new big boy bike for your birthday and you do NOT want daddy to put it together without you.

A STAR WARS BIKE

A STAR WARS BIKE

So who else is Charlie at age four? You love to play alone. With just a few random toys, you will sit by yourself and make up little stories and scenarios forever. But you also like to play with Eddie. You two have huge imaginations and when you are getting along–which, let’s face is not all the time these days–you guys create forts and obstacle courses and booby traps and whole worlds. Eddie is bossy, but he’s creative and if what he has imagined sounds like fun? You are in!

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You are also quietly smart. At four, you know all your letters and most of their sounds. You can count to 20, and you’re getting pretty good at telling time. You like to build things with blocks, Legos, and Mega blocks. Trucks and tractors are your jam, and a couple of your prized possessions are your new pair of binoculars (which you call ‘noculars) and your net (which you tell us is for catching butterflies).  You love dirt and being outside. You also love animals.

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You want things to be perfect. You enjoy crafts and coloring and building–but if it doesn’t look just right then you get very VERY angry and throw one of your famous fits. You also do not enjoy being watched while you do something. You get agitated and you quit. Being the center of attention is not your thing. I do not relate, but I can understand. And don’t worry…daddy can relate. Some day you won’t cope with it be throwing a fit and finding a corner to cry in. You will grow out of that. I hope.

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Another fun fact about you: you are not a fan of clothing. You sleep without a shirt most nights and when you are super mad? Off come your pants.

If given the choice, the only food you would eat is cheese sandwiches and candy and chocolate milk. And since we can’t make you eat, you generally survive solely on dairy products. It’s not ideal, but at least you’re not starving.

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Last month you had your first experience with the stomach flu. You barfed on your {top} bunk twice. It was gross. So then I moved you to the couch and I slept (ok, I laid there) with you and every time you woke up, I was there to hold you and your bowl and rub your back.  You never cried or complained. You only told me you were so very thirsty…and that you wanted your firefighter hat.

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My dear little Bird…four is going to be a series of wonderful adventures for you! And while I know change is something that is hard to navigate feelings for, we will work together to make it great! I promise I will always be here for you–whether you need to snuggle up or just giggle about toots–I can make that happen.

You are such an important part of our family. I hope you always know that. No one can fill in the spot of Charlie Bird Thomas Sluiter…not even a fish with the same name.

I love you, Bird Bird. Always and forever.

Love,
Mom Mom

One Year Down, A Lifetime To Go

Dear Alice,

I started writing this the night before your first birthday, but I kept deleting everything. Nothing I seemed to type here seemed like the right thing–the right way that I wanted to tell you about this first year of yours.

It was perfect.

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Eddie’s first year was difficult, and looking back at what I wrote to him, I can see it between the lines. I didn’t come right out and say it, but that first year was hard and in lots of ways just sucked. It was the postpartum depression, not Eddie, of course, but man. That first First Year was tough.

Charlie’s first year was emotional. He taught me I could be a good mom, even with postpartum depression. He healed me in a lot of ways, which is what I told him in his first year letter. I remember being very sad when he turned one. The second First Year was better.

Your first year has been free of postpartum depression, and WOW, what a huge difference that makes. I not only enjoyed you, but I enjoyed being your mom.

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Alice, I was a whole mother for your first year. I was here. I was present.

I often wonder how long babies remember their baby-ness. Do you still remember being born? Do you remember being a part of me? Do you remember how our hospital stay was downright relaxing? While I missed your daddy being there in the evenings, there was something nice about us being alone after 7pm. We had our dinner and watched some TV together. We chatted–girl talk.

Each night around 9pm, the nurse would bring me my evening snack and some hot water so I could have some tea. I had you out of your little baby aquarium cart thing more than I ever did with the boys. I had you out and unwrapped on the bed, counting your little piggy toes and smootching your little hands.

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Once we came home, Daddy noticed immediately that I was different than I was with your brothers. I asked for help easier, but I was also eager to feed your and hold you and do “mom things”. In fact, I didn’t whine or complain about middle of the night feedings. I may even dare to admit that I liked them. You were a good little eater and sleeper–really you still are.

And what a cuddler! From Day One you were right at home in pretty much anyone’s arms! You have your favorites, of course. Daddy would say you are a Momma’s Girl through and through, but you perk right up when Daddy is around. You love Renae and Carolyn and of course your Church Oma, Nancy.

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Today was your one-year well child appointment. You remain our tiniest child being only in the 85th percentile (Charlie was always closer to 90th percentile and Eddie was almost always near the 100th) at twenty-two and a half pounds.

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Like Charlie, you are very content to play on your own. However unlike both of your brothers, you play with toys the way they are designed to be played with rather than just throw or pound them. Putting things in things is your current favorite, so the purses you got for your birthday were great gifts for you!

You’re not walking yet, but you are a cruising machine! You can zoom around the furniture and around me and Daddy–boy do you like to crawl all over us like we are playground equipment!

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Speaking of climbing on us, you love to touch us. You reach for us, you hug, you give kisses, and you clutch our shirts and pants in your little hands. Your brothers never did this. You sit on our laps in church and prefer to be touching us somehow at home.

You don’t have any “real” words yet, but you repeat “Da da da da” over and over when Daddy is around and “Ma ma ma ma” for me–again, the boys didn’t call me anything this early. You clearly know your “Da da” and “Ma ma”. When you see your brothers you repeat “Dee dee dee” which I think is because Eddie and Charlie both end in the “eee” sound.  Your laugh and squeals are breathy and adorable.

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Having a daughter is like nothing I ever thought it would be. If I am laying it all out here, I have to admit that I was hoping you would be another boy. I felt confident and comfortable with boy children. A daughter scared me. People told me I would love it. They said it was just “different”.

They were totally right; it’s different. And I have tried and tried to find the words to describe that difference, but I can’t. I will say it’s wonderful.

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Your giggle, your scrunchy nose, the way your suck on your tongue and lips when you see someone eating cake because you want some too…it’s all just so wonderful.

It’s hard to say how lovely having a little girl is without it sounding like it’s not equally awesome to have your brothers. As the cliche goes, it’s apples and oranges; they are both outstanding fruits. I was living with a bunch of apples. Wonderfully juicy, sweet glorious apples.

And then I was given my first orange, and I was hooked.

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Oh Alice, you have changed me. If Eddie made me a mom–and a fighter, and Charlie healed my broken parts, you changed me.

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You help me see that every single day has something happy about it. I smile every day because of you. I smile because of a million other reasons too, but you, baby girl. YOU. Your hugs and happiness it just…it’s YOU.

YOU, Alice.

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I admit I cried on your birthday. Not until after you were in bed. I really, really enjoyed your day. And more so, I enjoyed your first year. The tears were bittersweet. They were happiness mixed with just a touch of sadness that the baby days are over. But truly, they were mostly happy.

I am so happy you are ours.

I am so happy that you are on the verge of walking.

I am so happy to see you every morning and that you come home from daycare to me every day.

I am so happy that your brothers love you so.

I am so happy that you have eyes for your Daddy.

I am so happy you and I are “mother/daughter”.

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Alice, your first year has been one of the best years of my whole life. You have completed this family in more ways than just being the last baby. We are whole because of you.

Thank you, my dear daughter.

Thank you for being ours.

Thank you for being you.

I love you so, SO very much.

I can’t wait for the rest of your life.

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Love,
Ma Ma

The Day You Were Born

My Dear Alice,

In just a few short days you will be a whole year old, and I just realized that I never wrote down your birth story.

It’s not that it wasn’t a wonderful, miracle day–in fact it may have been one of the most happiest days of my whole life! I suppose what they say about the last child is true–time to do things like write about birth stories and create baby books gets lost. I know it’s almost a year late, but I still wanted to put your birth day in writing–to make it “blog official”.

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The day before your arrival. SO EXCITED!

It began super early, just like with Charlie, since I had the first surgical appointment of the day and had to be there for pre-op stuff at 6:30am. We dropped your brothers off at Grandpa and Grandma’s house and gave everyone hugs and I tried not to cry out all the dang emotions welling in me, and daddy and I were off to the hospital.

I waddled in the front door with all my stuff and checked in. I was just so happy that I was going to meet you! I wasn’t nervous or afraid since I knew how it would all go. Daddy and I went into the little pre-op room where I got into my gown and they took some blood and did some other testing stuff.  Daddy and I talked and joked and were very laid back and just all around excited about you. Knowing you are our last baby, we tried to soak it all in–even the part about my gown being hooked up to a cooling vent system so that it puffed up like the Pillsbury Dough Boy.

Eventually they were ready for me. They gave me the stuff that is supposed to make the acid in my stomach less acidy. I told them I would probably barf it up; and I did. The operating room was freezing, just like last time. They gave me an extra blanket to keep me warm. This time they didn’t fasten my arms down to the bed if I promised not to go grabbing my guts.

They brought daddy in just in time–like always–he was dressed in scrubs and had a funny hairnet thing on. He came in and sat on the same stool he did with your brothers and held my hand, rubbing his thumb back and forth over my hand and smiling his nervous, worried, excited smile. The one where he sort of bites the inside of his bottom lip. There is pride in his eyes when he smiles like that.

Your birth was the easiest by far. Eddie’s was an emergency C-section and everyone was quite hurried and nervous. I was sick, Eddie was in trouble and already sunny-side up in the birth canal–it was difficult and very traumatic. Charlie’s was supposed to be simple, but he was very high up in my rib cage and had the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. Everything turned out fine, but there was a LOT of pushing and pulling that left me a bit nauseated.

You, my dear, were easy. You weren’t too high or too low. You weren’t in any odd position. They took you out and we heard your little cry and it was glorious. Because I had a bit of doubt the entire pregnancy that you were really a girl, I asked, “It’s a girl?” And they said, “Yes! You have a girl!” I laughed. Oh the unexpected joy that phrase “it’s a girl” has brought me since the ultrasound at 20 weeks!

first selfie with mommy

first selfie with mommy

Once you were out and they were sure you were Ok, the doctors went to work putting me back together. My doctor made the comment that my uterus looked good enough to handle one more C-section and both your dad and I said, “NO!” and then laughed. You are our last baby, sweet Alice. As soon as you were ready, Daddy and the docs took you up for all your testing and to wash you off. They finished up my stitches and staples and wheeled me to the recovery room. I was there less than the normal hour because I was wide awake, feeling great, and very eager to see you!

As they brought me up to my room, we passed you and daddy in the nursery. You were still getting all set up! Daddy had the biggest look of surprise on his face! I still let him give you your first bottle since it was sort of tradition with your brothers, but oh how excited I was to get to hold you in my arms! I know I’m using a lot of exclamation points here, but that is exactly how everything felt in those minutes–set you in my arms? EXCLAMATION POINT! Put my nose against your face and smell your hair? EXCLAMATION POINT! Hearing your tiny newborn squeaks and sighs? EXCLAMATION POINT!

birth is exhausting...for you and daddy!

birth is exhausting…for you and daddy!

After a little rest, we called Grandpa and Grandma and they came with your brothers. When Charlie was born, it was important to us that Eddie meet him first. So when you were born, we let Eddie have the day off school and come with Charlie to meet you before everyone else. Both brothers were excited and proud, but when they cautiously entered our hospital room, they also became so tender and loving.

This guy has not stopped smiling about you yet!

This guy has not stopped smiling about you yet!

We were in the hospital for 4 days and 3 nights. Every minute was wonderful. I know, I know…how can that be? I was recovering from major surgery and I was exhausted. But you know what? The stay in the hospital has always been a favorite part of having a baby for me. It’s like we are cocooned from the entire world for those days. And the nursing staff? Forget about it! They are amazing. Took such good care of us, right up to bringing me some hot tea each night in the 30-45 minutes before you went to the nursery and I went to sleep.

We had enough visitors to keep us from getting bored, but not so many that we were overwhelmed. That was good.

At 8 lbs 4 oz, you were our most dainty baby. In fact you were under 8 pounds when we brought you home! Astonishing and tiny as far as Sluiter babies go! You actually wore newborn clothes for about a month! When we got you home, you barfed on your jammy and we didn’t have another one to fit you, so daddy had to go to the store and buy a few newborn sized ones.

Your going home jammies! Such a pretty girl in blue!

Your going home jammies! Such a pretty girl in blue!

From that very first day, I have not been able to take my eyes off you or suppress a smile around you.

Your birth may have been planned, but the serene, perfectness of it all was an added bonus. Your entrance into the world was one of the very best days of my whole life, my sweet girl. You perfectly complete our family.

Thank you for being you.

I look forward to celebrating your first year this weekend with our family and friends.

And of course getting as many snuggles out of you as possible!

I love you, our little Caboose.

Mommy

I Choose You

cortbear

I don’t believe in fate or destiny, but I do believe we were meant to be together in some capacity.

Our children were meant to be.

But that could have happened without 20+ years of friendship and 13+ years of being in love.

cortbeer

God gives us the gift of free choice, and I sure am glad Cortney and I choose each other every day.

We have the bonus of laughter and joy and inappropriateness.

We are blessed with something I will never take for granted–a kind of love that doesn’t happen to everyone.

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Happy birthday (a day late) to the only family member I ever got to choose.

I think I made a good choice.

What’s My Age Again?

Today is my birthday and I am thirty-seven years old.

I have a lot of friends who hate to be reminded of how old they are, avoid telling people their age, and don’t draw attention to their birthdays. But neither my birthday nor my age make me feel old. Only once did I completely freak out about my age and have a “bad” birthday–the kind where you lie on your bed in your jammies staring at the ceiling and petting your cat and planning out your life as the Crazy Cat Lady.

It was my twenty-fifth and I didn’t have a full-time job (I was barely paying the bills by substitute teaching), had just been dumped from a long-term (five years) relationship, and was back living in my small town that I felt was confining and suffocating.  I was sure that my life was screwed. My master plan for my future had been flushed down the toilet and I felt out of control and out of luck. I didn’t even get out of bed that day.

Within six months, I found out how wrong and ridiculous I had been. That fall I was hired in to my current school district, I had been accepted to grad school, I started dating Cortney, and I was seeing the benefits to living in a small, close-knit community.

That was also the last time I freaked out about being “too old” or about it being “too late” for anything. It was the first and last time I ever cared about my age.

So that brings us to now: thirty-seven–an age where I thought I would be a lot more…settled. I think back to when my parents were my age and I was a kid.  From my perspective, late-30’s is when you are an adult. I’m not sure why, other than that is the age when I began to be aware of how old my parents were in relation to me, so by default late-30’s are when you become an adult.

But here’s the problem: I don’t really know what it’s supposed to feel like to be an adult, although I do think I am probably feeling more adultish lately than I have in the past.

In my 20’s, I was technically an adult, but everything I did felt like I was a kid trying to be an adult. Even at my own wedding when I was twenty-seven I remember saying, “OMG! This is such a GROWN UP THING!  Getting married!!!”

When Cortney’s dad died, I felt like an impostor.  I was just a kid posing as an adult who knew how to cope and grieve with the loss of someone so close.

When I got pregnant the very first time I was twenty-nine. I couldn’t even look my dad in the face to tell him. I knew that he would know what Cortney had done to his daughter to make that happen. I felt like a teenager “in trouble”.

Somehow my thirties slowly changed that attitude, and now at age thirty-seven, I find myself feeling like what I guess is what being an adult feels like.  I think I thought it would feel more boring. Like, once you find yourself being an adult, you are now feeling boring and not caring about being fashionable. Being and “adult” probably feels a lot like giving up on immaturity and inappropriateness.

But I’m finding that is not what it is at all…or at least not what it is for me.

It’s hard to explain.There is a feeling of being “in charge” and being more confident, yet I’m still ridiculous and immature–I mean, farts will ALWAYS be funny.  Sorry Mom.

I have gotten two degrees and am working on applying for my third, yet I still use the word “turd” regularly.

I can take charge of a classroom of eighth graders, yet I rap to DMX (loudly) in the car (without kids, I’m not that ridiculous).

It’s like by this age I have stepped up my game of responsibility while at the same time embracing the stuff that may be immature, but makes me ME.  Some of my strongest writing is academic, but I promise you that I will never get so scholarly that I am above using words like “crap bag”.

While thirty-seven is all adultish to me, I also know that being an adult doesn’t mean my life is over. There are still lots of things I want to do when I grow up.  Ok, I am grown up…but I know I will grow up even more which means there are so many more possibilities out there.

Thirty-seven is really just the beginning of a whole new era! One where all my children are born and my husband is a part-owner of a business and I get to weigh the possibility of a new degree and even more opportunities. That is the fun of being an adult–you get to pick what to do next. You get to choose your own adventure!

You get to eat from the secret stash of birthday cake Oreos when the kids aren’t looking even though you had dessert with them a few minutes ago!

So yes, I am thirty-seven and an adult.

Let’s eat cake!

2015-03-22 14.22.57

*************

Have you donated a book to the March Book Shower yet?

 

On Turning Five

Dear Eddie,

Today you are five.

Daddy jokes that you are now a handful as he holds up all the fingers on one hand. You roll your eyes at him and say, “Daaad,” and then give me the look as if to say, “is he serious?” And I laugh because we ALL know you were a handful long before turning five.

You are such a kid now.

Tonight you went to bed in your new spiderman jammies looking less and less like a chubby baby boy and more and more like a lanky kid. Your last bedtime as a four-year-old.

It was bittersweet to hug you and muss up your hair on your way to bed.

I can’t help but think about five years ago–the night before your birth–I was in labor, but I thought it was cramps.  Your dad made me eat a turkey sandwich sometime around 8pm (when you were heading for bed tonight).  That was the last thing I would eat until your were born the next day at 4:51pm.

do you see my face? I just fell in love with you.

do you see my face? I just fell in love with you.

I have been looking through photos of you all weekend. You have changed and grown so much in five years, and yet…in every picture, you are still the same boy. I can see your heart and soul.

your first birthday. Eddie eyes.

your first birthday. Eddie eyes.

your second birthday...I can't believe you are the same age as Charlie in this picture!  You still lean on the table like this.

your second birthday…I can’t believe you are the same age as Charlie in this picture! You still lean on the table like this.

your third birthday. This is you all the way, just smaller.

your third birthday.your signature smile. I love how happy you are.

Your fourth birthday. My little boy.

Your fourth birthday. My little boy.

And now you are five. We had your birthday party this weekend and for the first time invited all your neighbor friends because you have neighbor friends now!  Not just friends that happen because Daddy and I are friends with their parents, but friends you found and love to play with.

my big kid! same eyes. same smile. same sweet, kind boy.

my big kid! same eyes. same smile. same sweet, kind boy.

Sometimes our journey is difficult. There is frustration and yelling and crying.  I hope that is not what you focus on when you reflect on your childhood someday.

I hope you remember the family and friends who love you and surround you on your birthday.

I hope you remember our tradition of going to Red Robin Yum for your birthday.

I hope you remember the birthday cakes that I made from scratch at your request–last year lemon, this year white with strawberry frosting.

I hope you remember how excited I am for each of your birthdays, not because of gifts and cake and balloons (although those are fun), but because it’s a celebration of YOU. Of Edward Steven Sluiter.

Of the day I became a mom, your dad became a dad, and of the day you made us a family.  Your birthday is huge.

It is a celebration of you and of us.

And now you are FIVE.

You can read some words, you like chapter books read to you at bedtime, you think super heroes and curious George are equally cool, and you can ride your bike without training wheels.

You are going to start Kindergarten this year and learn to read and spell and do math.

You are going to start soccer and make new friends.

Five is a big deal, Eddie Bear.

You are a big deal.

I love you so so much.

and never lose your awesome sense of humor. It is my favorite.

and never lose your awesome sense of humor. It is my favorite.

Love forever,

Mommy

Birthday Throwback

Today is my 36th birthday.

When I told my students how old I am (because yes, I do that), there were some who were genuinely shocked I was out of my 20’s.

While being 36 does not bother me, it made me smile that my students thought I was so young.

I don’t have much to say about this day, so I will just do a big ol’ #ThrowbackThursday for you.

Enjoy some “Vintage” Katie.

Katie - Bibs & Boots

Just Kickin’ it Katie

Katie - 6 months

6 months of Katie

Katie - ANTM

Model Katie

Preschool Katie

Preschool Katie

Tiger Fan Katie

Tiger Fan Katie

high school Katie

high school Katie

Kate-Senior-Pic-001

Senior Picture Katie

college. nuff said.

College Katie

kates

mid Twenties Katie

34500024

Married Katie

bday5 - Copy

First Time Away from Son Katie

097

Mom Katie

2013-04-27 18.01.44

Mid Thirties Katie

Huh. 36 years and my smile has changed zero.

Nice.

Happy day to me.

and then you were two

Charlie

Planned and prepped
smooth
peaceful
arrival.

Jokes and laughter
Given to Fly
calm
birth.

Silent and feathery
tranquil sleep
soft
snuggles.

Cries for food
quiet
sighs
days.

Rolling and crawling
observing
so
serious.

Watching and waiting
learning
processing
growing.

Suddenly and surprisingly
awkward
tumbling
skill-building.

Quiet and reserved
to
brave
boisterous.

Testing and side-eyeing
nooooooo
scowls
boundaries.

Jumping and running
loud
naughty
sweet.

Silly and giggly
expressions
words
personality.

Slowly and rapidly
changing
developing
Two.

2014-03-10 18.24.02

Happy second birthday to my Charlie Bird.

Words seem small compared to your big personality and giant spot in my heart.

I love you, Birdie.

*************

When Eddie turned two, I wrote him a poem as well. So it’s a thing now.

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