You’re two today.

“...I can’t believe you turn two today—you change and grow so fast, I worry if I don’t capture your every moment—I’ll lose the memory of the you that you were before today. To think how ungodly early we wake up, but at night, still feel there’s never enough time in a day. As much as I can’t wait for each milestone, inside, I mourn each too. They mean you’re growing up right in front of me—and I just want time to pause, to enjoy this day, this hour, this minute, this moment...”

Memoirs of a former parent judge(r).

“...You hear it all the time, the “mommy wars,” the constant judging for how we feed (breast or bottle, and you’d be damned if that food isn’t non-GMO, free-range and organic), diaper (cloth, or disposable), carry (stroller vs. mommy wearing), stay at home mom, nanny, or daycare. UGH...”

Navigating Life’s Waters.

“...My beautiful Charley, life hasn’t always been sunshine and rainbows, and I am so thankful for that because it allowed me to fully understand that life is beyond beautiful. Knowing heartache and hard work has allowed me to truly embrace the good things. Life is a perpetual learning and self-discovery process—and I can’t wait to watch you navigate through the many changes, challenges and triumphs life has in store for you too. As you navigate these waters independently or alongside me, I’ve compiled a list of things I’d love you to hear...”

Your “Birth Day”

“...Happy 364 days. In a few short hours, you will be 12-months old, I can’t even explain how fast the past year has gone or how crazy beautiful it is watching you to morph into a new person every day as you navigate your uncharted world and absorb everything in sponge-like learning fashion. Feels kind of like the day I jumped out of a plane, only a million times more exhilarating, exhausting, and beautiful. From the day I first felt you kick, I knew motherhood was going to fill me more than I ever imagined possible. I guess I didn’t realize it would test my ability to multitask on limited hours of sleep (or food) [Trust me folks, if you need something done at work or life in a timely and efficient manner, ASK A MOM, they’ve got whatever is needed HANDLED]. Being a mom surely is a paradox of love & craziness, but I digress...”

What’s in a name? Let me tell you about your uncle, Jeffrey Charle(s), Charle(y).

“...I smile when people ask me what your name is and then continue to ask, “Oh is that short for Charlotte,” and I proudly state: “Nope, she’s Charley. She is named after my brother, whose middle name was Charles...”

11-Months & Happiness.

“...I think you changed me more than I ever thought possible—or maybe you made me stop long enough to catch my breath, actually see life's bigger picture, and giving me the best reason to stay true to my heart. In many ways, I’ll be your mentor in the things you need to learn about life—but in reality, you may be a bigger mentor to me...”

Paris, Syria, & Humanity

“...I think I’ve kissed you a thousand times since I first read the words across my screen: another terrorist attack, more innocent lives lost. Today I’m one of the lucky ones, I just get to hug you extra tight today as you smile absolutely oblivious to the reality of the world outside your door. One day, I will need to rationally explain to you why these events occur, why there is so much hatred and fear in a world filled of people just like you and I...”