Oh Cole, I'm feeling the weight of you turning four, and it's heavy.
Not every age comes with the same weight. Two and three somehow didn't feel so big, but four? This one is heavy.
When I close my eyes and try to imagine you as a newborn, it feels so far away most days. I almost forget what you were like as an infant, and this makes me quite sad. Though I know I'll never truly forget, because you are an extension of myself and my arms will always remember the weight of your newborn body.
I'm realizing now that these first four years have been easy, and the hard part is yet to come. The hard part in some ways for me, is already happening. I'm having to give you space to explore the world on your own. Your feelings are getting bigger with your age, and the questions are more complex. My urge to kiss away all of your problems has to be suppressed because I realize that won't do anymore. Yes, there will always be loving arms to re-assure you, but already - you don't always want those loving arms. You give me "air hugs" and say "no kisses" and I have to respect your wishes of course. So I send you over my love energy in an "air hug" and I try not to implode as I'm compressing all of my love into a wavelength.
I'm not always the one to put you to bed anymore, and you're okay with that. You never used to be okay with that...
Some nights, when I'm missing you, I'll climb into bed with you for a while and watch you sleeping peacefully as I remember how frustrated I used to be when it took me an hour to wrestle you to sleep. Already, that seems like forever ago...
But even though I feel the shift and a part of me is sad to let go of the little Cole, my eyes fill with tears and my heart fills with pride as I watch the big Cole emerge.
You are so kind. You are so thoughtful. You are so so smart.
You are the sweetest older brother to your little sister Maeve, and I'm so happy she has you in this world. To greet her every morning with loving kisses, and place a hand on her back as she walks up the stairs "...just so she doesn't fall Mumma!"
I love who you are Cole, and I'm happy I get to be your Mummy and watch you grow.
Happy 4th Birthday. I love you.
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Everyone says having date nights as a couple when you have kids is important.
It's important, they say, to carve out time to be alone together. It's important, they say, not to talk about the kids during this time - and to focus on yourselves as a couple.
But what if....after weeks / months / years of surviving your children (read: raising your children) you sit across from your partner on date night and all you can think of is "Perfect! Now we have alone time to fight about all the shit that's been building for weeks / months / years."
Surely this isn't the type of date night that they were all suggesting. Is it?
I'll admit: this happened to my husband and I a few months ago. On our last "date night." We decided to go out for sushi, semi last-minute. The kids were in bed surprisingly early, and my Mom was home so we decided to go out. The second we sat down at the table in the restaurant, I noticed my husband was sort of mopey. "Why are you mopey?" I snarled. THIS IS DATE NIGHT. I put on LIPSTICK.
He was tired, and feeling slightly under the weather. I was annoyed. And then we fought about stupid crap and ate our sushi in silence. $35 and 45 minutes later, we went home.
"Well, that was a waste." I said when we pulled into the driveway. "We could have saved $35 and fought at home." We both felt deflated and annoyed. Why, when we have such limited quality alone time, must we spend it arguing?
I think the truth is that we don't like to argue in front of our kids, so it gets bottled up until we are alone. But the problem is we don't often have a lot of alone time. At the end of the night we usually have an hour to ourselves before I go to bed freakishly early, and we're too tired to argue. Just the other night my husband said, "Okay, the kids are asleep. What did you want to talk to me about?" And there was something. But when I opened my lips to speak, I'm pretty sure I started snoring. The physical exhaustion of trying to tell the story/explain myself didn't feel worth it. I guess it wasn't that big of a deal. But still...
Thankfully, my husband and I are both very understanding and forgiving of ourselves during this time in our lives. We communicate the best we can, and chalk the rest up to complete exhaustion.
We've also recently discovered something that works really well for us: DAY DATES!
Instead of going out in the evenings, my husband will book an afternoon off of work. We ship the kids off with the grandparents, and spend the DAY doing things together: biking, picnics, matinees, and getting day drunk.
This has seemed to work a lot better for us because we actually have energy to enjoy one another's company, and we don't have to feel guilty using weekend "family time" to do it! Hopefully this will help avoid future "date nights" turning into "fight nights." Also, getting day drunk at a matinee is SO FUN! Ha!
Do you remember meeting your first friend?
Not likely. You were probably four years-old and met at school. She liked sand. You liked sand. Boom. Friends for life.
Now, as an adult, making friends like that isn't so easy (or maybe it is? I personally still enjoy sand...) But something that is really important is appreciating the friendships we DO have. So I'm asking you, the reader, to tag any friends you have that might fit these categories, and let them know who they are! Feel free to comment and add any other types of friendships I might have missed (there are so many!)
I am declaring today as "Friend Acknowledgement Day!" So let's begin...
This is the friend you call when you want to let loose and have a guaranteed good time. This is the friend who says "yes" to everything. This friend might also get you into trouble, but it's always totally worth it.
This is the friend you call when you're in a crisis. This friend is a great listener and always knows just want to say (or when not to say anything at all). Everyone needs a friend like this.
This is a friend that you met online through some sort of chat group or forum. You've never met in real life, and quite possibly never will. YET, you feel like you've known this person your whole life and you feel safe asking them absurd questions / sharing your deepest darkest secrets. Perhaps it's the slight anonymity of the friendship that allows you to be so vulnerable.
This is a friend who you really like a lot. They're a good friend of one of your friends - and you so badly want them to be YOUR friend too. But you don't want to be a friend poacher, and you feel like you can only hang around THIS friend when you have your other friend around as a chaperone. You wonder if you'll ever have a friend date with just the two of you...?
This is the friend you've known for years. The strange thing about this friendship is that if you met this person TODAY, you probably wouldn't like them very much. But because you have so many years behind you and so many awesome memories - you keep going. There is still a lot of good there, and you totally understand one another, but you're so different today that you doubt your paths would have even crossed if it weren't for the sand-box meeting in JK.
This is a toxic friend. One that doesn't add any positivity or value to your life. When you're around this person, you feel shitty. You need to break up with this friend and let them go. Now.
This is a friend that you should be attracted to, but you're not. You laugh at all the same jokes, you have similar interests, and you spend a lot of time together. Some people might even think you're dating. But you both have this strange feeling that you somehow share DNA therefore you sexually repel one another. It's perfect.
This friend is all about kittens and rainbows. Maybe literally. This friend is always a ray of sunshine, no matter what. Even on the grayest of days. This friend makes you want to be a better person, and you're so happy to have them in your life.
This friend is the epitome of cool. Everything this friend wears, says, watches, reads, or listens to is so on-trend (or pre-trend, sure that can be a thing) that you can't even believe they think you're cool enough to associate with. Yet, they seem to genuinely like you too (despite the fact that everything you wear, say, watch, read or listen to is the epitome of not cool.) Perhaps their coolness is accentuated when they're with you due to the contrast. Hmm. Either way...
This might be a work friend you met due to your cubicle proximity. One day you began chatting, and realized you're both uber geeks about __________ (insert: tech, video games, pop culture, scientific facts). You have NOTHING else in common, but you can totally nerd-it-up about this one topic for hours.
This is a friend who you go through waves of communication with. You never really have a falling out, but you definitely lose touch for chunks of time. But when you do begin talking again, you're pretty consistent about it for months at a time. And then.... nothing. No one has any hard feelings, you both just understand this is your communication pattern, and it works.
This is a friend you met only because your kids are friends. This friend makes early morning hockey practices less painful (and sometimes brings Bailey's for your morning coffee's). You like this friend.
This is a friend who has been to battle with you. Maybe you met during a very hard time in both of your lives. Maybe you literally went to war together. Whatever it is: this friend has had your back, and you've had theirs. You survived TOGETHER and nothing can ever break that bond.
This is the new mom friend you just met at a play-group or park, and you really like this mom. She seems cool, but you feel awkward about asking for her number. It feels like dating. But you oh-so-need a date! You seem to parent in the same way, and your kids are the same age. If they nap at the same time, this really could be a mom-BFF in the making!
This is a friend who you really like a lot, but you're only friends at work, for whatever reason. You keep thinking about opening up the friendship to "off hours" but you just haven't gotten there yet...
This is a friend that you loved the instant you met them. You vibrate on the same level. Yet... you don't hang out. Or you don't hang out as often as you both want to. Neither of you can understand it, and you both make a valiant effort - but the stars just never seem to align. It doesn't matter though. You both know how special you are to one another.
This is a friend you have probably known for a long time. You love this friend. This might even be your best friend. The thing is - this friendship is very one-sided. One of you is the initiator, and if it weren't for you suggesting coffee dates it would probably be ten years before you saw each other. Despite the fact that this can be infuriating, you understand the dynamic and roll with it because you love one another.
This friend is likely a compilation of most of the types of friendship listed above. This kind of friendship is rare, but beautiful. This is the friend you can party with, cry with, laugh with, and connect with. You talk all the time. You've grown together, and plan to do so until you're 100 years old. This is the friend might even be related to you. Or married to you. This friend is truly your other half. Hold onto this friend. Cherish this friend. Don't ever let this friend go.