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As parents, there is very little that hubby and I want more than to just let our children be who they are. We want to expose them to whatever we can and let them choose what is right for them. I know that it’s not possible to open every single door out there and that there is certainly more than enough bias just from what we value being passed along to them. We aren’t going out of our way to show them things that aren’t true to who we are, for better or worse, but we are letting things be when our kids take interest in what we’re interested in.

I think the best we can do as mom and dad and the most trusted human beings for these two small people today is to lay a foundation with how we live and what we value and if they accept that and want to learn more, great and if they show interest in something more than that, we’ll do what we can there as well.

As an example, I always said from before we even started thinking about having children that I NEVER wanted to have a daughter take ballet classes. I suffered from anorexia for a long time and my sisters-in-law all did ballet at some point and as a result starved themselves. So I related ballet to anorexia and never wanted my child to go through that for something so silly as dance classes. I was never a dancer. I’m very uncoordinated.

Fast-forward a few years and we have ourselves a three year old who LOVES all things girly, all things princessy and all things ballet. I don’t know when or how it even started. She maybe read a book about Angelina Ballerina or something but whatever it was, she was hooked. She owns leotards, she does plies, and she begs to take ballet classes. And we’ll put her in them as soon as we find a class that accepts her age. Because she wants to. I just have to take a deep breath and let be what is.

I actually remember from early on in my first pregnancy, that I was afraid to have a girl. I wanted a boy to watch football with, to play rough with in the yard and to make fun of ballerinas with. I hated the color pink and all things girly. Then reality struck. And I was given the most beautiful gift that is my daughter, who shows me every day how to challenge my beliefs, she shows me that it’s okay for things not be as we expected and just to love and embrace what is. She has shown me to just let it be. She loves pink, ballet, princesses, and everything girly you can imagine.

Now we have our son, he’s 13 months now and we’re starting to see that he is a little guy who will challenge our thoughts and ideas about the world and people also. He’s a sensitive guy. So far, he shows no interest in sports, much to my chagrin.


Both of our kids, as young as they are, Drew 3 1/2 and Eli 1, have shown a keen interest in the project that is our home remodel. Both of them have found tools and projects beyond interesting. Drew has named herself “Daddy’s big helper” and Eli is right there in the middle of whatever he can be in the middle of.


As parents, we have both stepped back. We don’t take hammers away, we don’t stop them from climbing the ladder. We just let them be. They are, after all, learning. And they may or may not take from this time in our lives an appreciation for remodeling and home improvement projects, but all we can do today is let them take interest in what they like. We’ll keep letting them be involved and enjoying the moment as it is. There are only so many moments when they’re little. Neither one of us wants to steer who they are or what they become so we’ll keep just sitting back and letting them explore their world, learning new things and finding their way. We’ll keep just letting them be.


I knew there was a reason we don’t watch much TV in this house. My daughter has her collection of beloved DVDs, almost all of them involving a princess of some sort. And she likes Clifford and SuperWhy on PBS. That’s all she watches and she doesn’t watch that often.

Sunday morning, she and I went into the living room and curled up with hot chocolate to snuggle for a little while. She asked if she could watch Cinderella and I said sure. She went to the TV to turn it on an do her whole little routine of switching it to video mode, then putting in the DVD and starting it up. See why I’m lazy? She does everything for me 🙂

She turned the TV on and it was on CBS from the night before. It was The Care Bears. We’ve never seen that before and she decides she’d like to watch that instead of a DVD. I agree and we snuggle up and talk about the show and what is happening and who all the cute little bears are. Then a commercial comes on. One after another we got bombarded with 6 commercials all for toys and girly stuff. And she watched, eyes bugged out, and then begged me for every single thing she saw on that TV over the 20 minutes we sat there and through the two rounds of commercials.

I was so irritated! We’ve been having all sorts of talks about “just because we want something doesn’t mean we get it. You don’t need that, so no, you may not have it” stuff lately because she’s had a case of what you may call The Gimmies. “But I waaaaaant it”. It’s bad enough when I have to take her out to do errands that she sees stuff she’s constantly asking for. But seeing girls on TV playing with toys she doesn’t have nearly pushed her (and me) over the edge.

I must have been successful at getting something through her head because after talking about it for a little while, she said “Would you have to BUY those toys? So you’d need money for them? And daddy would have to work more?” Yep. Then, “well, maybe I’ll ask for one for my birthday. And when I get a new toy, I’ll give away an old toy to someone else who needs it so I don’t have too much stuff.”

Now we’re talking.

No more CBS. We’ll stick to DVDs, thankyouverymuch.

I used to live in a big house, I was a working mom while hubby stayed home with our daughter, and I spent money on anything and everything.

What in the world happened to me?

Reality, I guess.

I loved working at my job until my daughter was born. After that, I spent everyday wishing I was home with her instead of at work. I didn’t care what it took, I wanted to be home with her. And here I am. 1500 miles away. A lot less money. 2 kids. A simple life. And a lot more happiness than I ever imagined.

I have to remind myself sometimes of what life was like then. I got up at 6:30 everyday to be at work and I was home by 5 to see our daughter for a few short hours before bedtime. I had to hear about first roll-overs and first smiles and first steps and first words from my husband. I had to miss so many things.

While I was missing those things, I was filling my life with other stuff I thought I needed to be happy. I shopped all the time for new clothes, I spent a lot of money on food, travel, whatever my heart desired really. I thought all those things were making me successful, envied, wonderful, fabulous and happy but they weren’t.

I lived in a big stark house with white walls that I didn’t have the time or energy to decorate and put any effort into. I just went to work and came home for dinner and sleep.

Today, I have found that not only being with my daughter and now my son too, has brought me the happiness and fulfillment that I expected, but I have found so many other wonderful things along the way.

I now live by the beach. I used to hate the beach. All that icky salt water? Not for me. I grew up vacationing at a lake in Upstate NY and spending my summers in Algonquin Park in Canada. I was a lake girl. No need for the ocean. Now, here I am living just a few short miles from the wonder that is the Atlantic Ocean. I love that I have within my reach something so vast and amazing. I love that I can go somewhere that immediately feels like a sweet escape even if it’s only 3 miles from my home.

I live in a small house, one that oozes love and charm and character because I have the time, energy and desire to make it that way. I have learned from this home to appreciate so much, and that living simply is living beautifully.

I am not who I was 2 1/2 years ago when I left my job. The job that made me feel important. The one that paid our bills. The one that was entirely thankless and I was forgotten the day I walked out the door. The job I do know is very much a thankless one too, but I think in the years to come the kids who don’t know it yet will appreciate all that their parents do for them today. I am fortunate enough now to have a hubby who is pretty good at telling me how lucky he is to have me raising our kids and making sure they grow up happy and healthy.

So much in life is unexpected. My life today is completely that – unexpected. But appreciated and valued. It’s worth more than any paying job I could do.

So, what happened to me? My kids happened. This move happened. This house happened. And I couldn’t be more grateful.