Mother’s Day: an open letter to all mamas.

“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.”

-Washington Irving

I am sitting down to write this as Mother’s Day is coming to an end (‘cause let’s face it… after that one late period, you’re never on time for anything again. Ever).

I love that we set aside a whole day to honor and celebrate the women who raised us. I celebrate my own mother, who we now call ‘Gigi’, and who has set the bar pretty damn high. Beautiful, selfless, and the strongest woman I will ever know. This day has also taken on a whole new meaning to me because of the little one who made me a mom.

I never knew before what it felt like to have my heart roaming around on the outside. It’s overwhelmingly wonderful and terrifying. I never knew the role of ‘mom’ would continue to make me a better person on a daily basis. More patience. Less sleep. More love. More selflessness. Less me. It truly is a love that transcends all other affections of the heart.

The day to day mom life is well… hard, exhausting – time stands still, patience dwindling, finding yourself staring out the window looking for the Amazon Prime guy for some quick adult conversation, while looking at the clock questioning if it’s too early for wine.

Don’t let the above scare you. Motherhood really is wonderful. Too often we get caught up in the daily grind and complaints, exhaustion, and being a tiny little human’s snack bitch that it seems to triumph over sharing the gift that motherhood truly is.

…and boy is it. I tend to get a bit nostalgic over Mother’s Day, birthdays, milestones, going off to preschool, etc. Basically, I’m an unstable basket case of emotions who in the event of all the above, is left wondering – what is happening? Where is the time going? And why didn’t I add ‘live in nanny’ to my baby registry?

However, I can’t help but think about the ones grieving on this emotionally charged holiday. The women who suffer in silence, and the heartache they silently endure.

The mom that was never able to meet her child.

The children grieving the loss of their own mother.

The stepmoms.

The mothers who have lost children.

The estranged mothers, estranged children…

Then there are the women who would give anything to become a mother.

But can’t. The unfairness is incomprehensible.

Now, I promise I didn’t set out to write a sappy, depressing, and emotionally draining blog post. Mother’s Day IS a reason to celebrate, and to acknowledge all moms. And, also a reminder to encourage everyone to show compassion for those that might be hiding sadness behind their smiles today.

Be kind to yourself mama.

You may be sad, but you are loved.

You may be basking in all the magic and emotions of your first Mother’s Day, or even your 20th. Enjoy. Celebrate. No matter what age, they are always your babies.

Your children may be gone, but you are still a mother.

Your mother may be gone, but you are still her child.

You may not have your own child yet, but you have the spirit of motherhood in your heart.

You may be having a wonderful day, but there is just something missing. Or a little bit of sadness forcing its way through the cracks in your tough exterior.

And that’s ok.

Happy Mother’s Day to ALL. Love, cherish, and cling tight to every fleeting moment you have with your little ones and the mothers who have shown us unconditional love, unwavering patience, and who have never given up on us.

It’s not an easy job, but it sure is the best one.

XO

Jaclyn 

A Letter to My Daughter on Her 2nd Birthday

My Sweet Milana,

TWO is quickly approaching. Sunday to be exact.

Each age, stage, and phase has brought us so much joy, a whole lotta laughter, definitely a few tears, sleep deprived stress, inevitable self doubt, and our fair share of challenges…. and a crazy kind of LOVE I didn’t even know existed in my wildest dreams. I wouldn’t trade one second of it.

Sure, your first birthday was filled with a lot of emotions, but it was mainly all happiness – I mean you not only turned one, but your dad and I survived our first year as parents.

But, two… two feels different.

Of course, in the moment – at the end of a VERY long day, I do a little victory dance. We survived another day. In the grand scheme of it all though – the seconds, the minutes, the hours, the long days that seem so long & so grueling that feel like an eternity… they’re not.

Do you want to know a secret? Even on the days when you’re most exhausting, an unruly toddler, when I feel as if I don’t have anything more to give, and I can’t wait until it’s time for you to go to bed – I miss you as soon as I put you down. Funny how that works, huh? You are my great love. My greatest source of chaos, and my greatest source of peace – one of the many conundrums I’ve come to accept as a parent. I can’t resist your smile and your laugh – even your silly fake crocodile tears!

Of course, even pre-child Jaclyn knew that time is fleeting and we’re not allotted as much as we’d like, but there’s something about watching you from the very beginning…. a tiny human who I felt move inside of me & witnessed growing from a little apricot, to the size of a pineapple – every week in my belly. “Babe, did you know all her organs are fully developed already?!”, I remember running in so excited to tell your dad. Reading about and feeling your growth with every passing week was magical. And, now growing leaps and bounds, learning, exploring… before my very eyes, everyday.

Suddenly, I’ve blinked (I should really quit doing that), and you’re a little girl – with enough SASS to run the world, SO much personality, a newfound sense of independence, my main source of entertainment & my biggest source of pure happiness. I could not be more proud of you – and at the same time with each new word and skill, I can’t help but also feel a twinge of sadness. (Comes with the territory, I suppose?)

I need a little longer. I need more time. I need more time to soak in all the goodness, even at times when the ‘goodness’ is grueling. What a wonderfully exhausting stage it’s been. I wouldn’t trade it for anything, for I know it won’t last and before I know it you will be three.

… and then we will experience a whole new phase of life. Together.

But, for now, I’ll enjoy you being not-yet-two. I’ll take the extra cuddles you’ve showered upon me this week, because in these moments it’s as if time is frozen when it’s most perfect.

I know one day down the road, you might be calling mom & dad up and thanking us for all the things we sacrificed and all the love we’ve given (I know I sure have – more times since you were born than possibly in my whole life!) BUT, I’ll tell ya right now… thank YOU. Thank you for teaching me patience. Thank you for reminding me to slow down and enjoy the little things… nature, rocks, sticks, flowers. Thank you for allowing me to see the beauty in this world that is too often chaotic, cruel, corrupt, and unfair. Thank you for showing me what life is and should be about. The little things. Perhaps, I had forgotten along the way. Thank you for being my sweet daily reminder.

Tomorrow we celebrate you. But, today… today, mama is a little blue – so, bear with me. I’m mourning the end of an era, but also embracing all the new and exciting things to come (doing my best, at least). I don’t want to miss a single second. I love you and cherish our sweet bond like no other.

You light up your Mommy & Daddy’s world like you wouldn’t believe.

You are forever my sunshine, little one.

Love,

Mommy

Cheers to another year & another chance to get it right…

N E W Y E A R ✨

These are the days when we can’t help but stare at our lives and ourselves straight in the face, when we are forced to judge what we see honestly in order to gauge where we are, where we’re heading, and if where we’re heading is where we really want to go. This forced self-reflection augmented either by a post-Christmas overextension of family time, alcohol, or both, can very easily lead to a magnification of what we’ve decided are our most glaring shortcomings and a masking of what we too easily forget are our greatest strengths. It can be a time that drives us to vices of self-doubt, avoidance, and regret. But I don’t believe it has to be.

I think this time of year and the angsty reflection that comes with it – it can also be a chance to give ourselves a much needed pep-talk. A chance to remind ourselves what we loved about our lives and ourselves in 2017, and to be comfortable with all the imperfections therein.

This has been one of the most wonderful and fulfilling years of my life. It has also had its fair share of struggles and challenges. I have witnessed my baby grow and change a little bit everyday, and I turned around and she’s looking more and more like a little girl with each passing day – something wonderful and rewarding to experience and witness, also a tad heart wrenching that I can’t freeze time and the realization that sometimes you can’t recognize the importance of a moment before it passes you by. It’s been nearly 19 months and I’ve kept wondering when the wonderment of being her mother would wear off. And after all of the diapers, white noise, endless Mickey Mouse marathons, babbles, snuggles and something new learned every day, I’ve come to the conclusion that it never will. I won’t lie – this year felt both long and short, hard and effortless, like entering a foreign land, but also landing right at home where I was always supposed to be.

So, as we close the book on 2017, I hope you can honor the past year by celebrating your joys, mourning your losses, and shaking your head at the wonder of it all. Perfect doesn’t exist, but we do. As we are right now. Just for a moment, maybe we should let the future be just that. And the past too. Maybe we should think of the passing of another year not as a reminder that life is passing us by, but as a reminder that it isn’t.

Happy New Year from my crazy tribe to yours and cheers to you, 2018!

“You won’t know you’re okay until you get there..”

‘Ello lovelies!

I have collected a couple of my meandering thoughts and ramblings that I’ve been reflecting on the past couple weeks – kind of sappy, kind of informative (maybe I really should consider a career as a movie critic?) Don’t worry, I won’t. but here it goes..

Recently, the hubs and I got to sit down and watch a WHOLE movie. Straight through. (WHAT?! Biggggg YAY for tiny parent victories!) We watched ‘The Hollars’… A.) because a friend recommended it & B.) John Krasinkski. So naturally I was already a big fan. P.S. the folky soundtrack is the BEST. An independent dramedy that depicts the emotional crises of facing death, divorce, bankruptcy, marriage, and parenthood? Count me in. Sounds like a totally uplifting movie, right? It has all the cliche, bittersweet moments and laughs one would expect. It ended up making this mama cry big fat ugly tears. Seriously, not the tears that quickly subside after the credits roll, but an hour later…. there I was. Crying like a baby. I thought Nicholas Sparks was the only had this uncanny ability to turn me into a ball of mushiness (except for that time I was pregnant and would get hysterical over a home insurance commercial – don’t get me started on the puppy commercials… damn you, Sarah McLachlan), however this one caught me off guard. There were also lots of laughs in between the sobs – as was fore mentioned about that whole pregnancy ordeal.

I’m no professional movie critic, it may have even done really shitty – that didn’t stop me from watching it three times in one week. This post is not meant to be one big movie review from the eyes of an emotional first time mama… although it seems that’s what it’s turned into. Whoops… But, I couldn’t ignore the parallels I saw with my own life, my own comically dysfunctional family, my own fears of failure, not being good enough, preparing myself for parenthood, etc. (Side note – preparing yourself for parenthood is a big. fat. joke. The books, the classes… it’s all a scam to take your money and give you a false sense of security and feeling like you totally got this and you’re gonna rock it! Nope. Nada. What to Expect? Ha! Read it front to back. I STILL DON’T KNOW WHAT THE HELL TO EXPECT and the kid is almost 15 months old – and don’t get me started on car seat instructional manuals.. just my two cents.) I don’t think either one of us will ever know what to expect, but I guess that’s what makes it a grand, exciting, scary, and wonderfully exhausting adventure.

“You won’t know until you get there that you’re okay.”

One line from the movie that hit home.. And damn you, John Krasinski for the perfect delivery and perfect face, smile, everything, etc. The story brings together end of life issues and the beginning of life issues and the fears that come with both. The fears we have for ourselves, the fear we have for others… something I think we all can relate to.

My dear father in law passed away roughly two weeks before Milana was born. Within two years, I witnessed my husband lose his mother on Christmas Day and then his father weeks before he became a father for the first time. Talk about two years of an emotional seesaw. Not to mention the fact I was 38 weeks pregnant and we closed on our house on a Tuesday, started moving Wednesday, and (SURPRISE!) I was checked into labor & delivery on Thursday! Holy stress, batman!

He fell into fatherhood effortlessly – I knew he would. I swear, some days I think he adapted and took on the role much more gracefully than I did at times! His only wish is that his wonderful parents could have met his daughter and seen him in a light that they never had before – a caring, loving, HAPPY, and the most devoted father.

It made me reflect on the meaning of all that lies between those two bookends of life. You find yourself standing in both worlds – one that is full of possibility, excitement, and joy, and one that brings grief and sorrow. We mark our lives with such events, but life is really not about either as much as it is about all that fills in between. I saw my husband’s internal battle between being worried about his fathers declining health and also the worries about what it will mean to be a father, responsible for another human’s well being. Now we will be the parents, we will be the person that this little girl looks up to. Your whole life (in most cases, if you’re as fortunate as we have been), you look to your parents for answers, for guidance, reassurance, etc. I STILL call my mom with questions about, well, everything, most of which I’m embarrassed to admit and I can ONLY hope and pray I know the answers to those questions when it comes the time that Milana calls me up and asks about what’s okay and not okay to put in the microwave. Thank you, google. 🙌🏼

Back to hubs though, he transitioned so gracefully – far more than I can say for myself. The ending of one life and the beginning of another. Without skipping a beat, he took on the challenge and has loved every minute (even the ones at the ungodly hour of 3 a.m.) and doesn’t complain in the slightest. He has actually taught me more than I ever expected – of patience, balance, and keeping calm (even if you’re freaking the eff out on the inside).

What I took away from that line “you won’t know until you get there that you’re okay” is not to panic when life has it’s difficult patches. Once they arrive, you’ll realize you’re capable of coping with them and you won’t know until you’ve passed through them that you’ve survived unscathed. No matter what obstacles or crisis life throws our way, we got this and we’re going to be okay. You don’t realize what you are capable of until you get there. Mind you, she’s 15 months… so get back to me around year 5.

But for now, we’re here, we’re capable, and we’re okay. 💛

XO

Motherhood: a story about procrastination, reheating coffee, & witty banter with the Starbucks barista 

Well, well, well…

My dear, sweet, life of the party, pint sized dictator O N E year old is finally napping AND I am finally able to take a deep breath, enjoy a cup of coffee (which has now been reheated for the third time today), and write my very F I R S T blog post.

I guess I should preface this first post with the fact that I created this blog TWO YEARS AGO! I found out I was pregnant with baby numero uno and after the initial nausea, the constant ‘I don’t know why I’m crying’ spells, and the hours upon hours of sleep (what a sweet memory that has become), I did what most excited expecting mamas do – I started reading any and all mommy blogs I could find. The adorable babies, the joyful (and perfectly styled) mamas, the beauty of pregnancy… eeeeekkk! My love for fashion, photography, and babies inspired me to start a blog of my own.

… As you can see (two years later), it sounded a lot better in my head.

I hated pregnancy. I hated the nausea, heartburn, constant trips to the bathroom, the judgemental looks at my bump with no ring on my finger because HOLY SWELLING, batman. Judge away, mamas. I desperately wanted to be one of those women who loves pregnancy and don’t get me wrong – growing a human is beyond magical and beautiful. Women are BADASS magical unicorn superheroes. Throughout the whole process, I found myself calling my mom a couple times a day (sometimes crying, sometimes laughing) expressing how sorry I was that I put her through that hell and how thankful I was that she still even liked me. Okay – now I’m getting sidetracked…

Long story short, I got pregnant and decided I was too sleepy and too hangry to start a blog. Anyway, the kid is nearly 14 months old now, aaaand here I am! She is our world. My everything, my greatest accomplishment and worth every second of it. These are my absolute favorite days. But, mommin’ ain’t easy and not always pretty. Since my days are often filled with random thoughts, daydreams, and sarcastic banter with the cashier at Target or Starbucks (YAY for adult conversation!), I thought why not share it with you guys? So, w e l c o m e to our little world! Follow along if you like cute babies, fashion, sarcastic comments or if you’re just pregnant, sleepy, hangry and just want a little insight on life with baby without actually having to do a damn thing.

Enjoy! XO

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Email 💌: Jaclynmichelle11@gmail.com