Groundhog Day | Where The Boys Are, A Memory Keeping Revolution

Confession. Well, ok, two, maybe three ...

One, I spend time like I spend money in my head - twice.

Two, I easily get lost in time and may know the day of the week but not the date or vice versa. 

There was a time almost 15 years ago I woke up knowing that my soon to be husbands birthday was on a Tuesday and on the 21st but failed to realize until it was too late that THAT morning was a Tuesday and the 21st. True story. 

So, when I woke up on Tuesday morning and scrolled through my Instagram feed filled with recaps of January I had an OH SHIT, today is February 1st moment. And that is how our January post is coming to you on this first day of February. And I promise its not the first time and likely won't be the last because see #1 and #2 above. 

I thought about backdating the post but then I thought who really cares? The important thing is that we are back. 

Welcome to our January collaborative post. We hope that sharing our story inspires you to share yours. 

Here we go......

Monica

(ps #3 is that I swear like a sailor and can't stop talking about the study that came out that said people who swear a lot are more honest. Um, yeah, that is totally me.)

Crazy curly hair.  Getting the studies done.  Visions of the future boldly proclaimed.  [Just a little bit of] Attitude.  A peek at Junior Year.

I understand that it’s not my story to tell. Yet, we are so deeply connected that his pain has crippled me. I separate and step back to refill myself so that I may remain strong. For him. To his face, I speak slowly and deliberately and with reassurance that he will get through this. But I cry in the shower and on the phone with my mother and to my friends over coffee. I cry on my partner in our bed and I awake renewed and strong once again. For him. But, in truth, his story is my story and my heart is broken. Together, my child. I will carry you through to the other side. - Amy Drucker

When I was little girl, my favorite movie was Radio Flyer. It was about two little boys who had an abusive father and their plans to help the younger of the two go somewhere where he could be safe. They built an airplane out of a Radio Flyer wagon and the youngest boy eventually does fly away to safety. In the movie the boys had a German Shepherd dog named Shane who tried his best to protect the boys from harm. The German Shepherd named Shane would never let the boys leave his sight. He was also nearly beaten to death in order to help the little boys.

Oh how I loved that movie! In my little girl mind I thought that I too could build an airplane and disappear into the skies. I told my teachers that I was going to be a pilot. I broke tools in the backyard shed. And I knew that one day I would have my own German Shepherd to protect me too.

I made a promise to myself that my children would never have a home that they would want to leave. How naïve I was. How dumb. My boys relived so much of my childhood and I am so ashamed of that. It took me years to find the strength to move on and rebuild my life and theirs. It was so hard for such a long time. We each have suffered in our own way and each of us is still mending in our own way.

Ray, my youngest, was 7 years old when we began rebuilding our lives two and a half years ago, just my boys and I. I hope that all the “it’s never too late” quotes hold true. I hope I am now giving him a home he will never want to run away from. I pray for their healing and happiness.

This is a photo I took this month of Ray, now 9 years old and our new German Shepherd pup… His name is Shane. - Adriana Gomez

I’m pretty sure I’ve shared a similar picture of the two of you, only now, you’re armed with a camera. I know at your ages, you are probably less drawn beautiful light and more happy to be my little shadows - light-seekers, shutter happy brothers. You just want to please your mama. Since I’m lucky enough to be operating on some pretty sound advice from moms who are a few paces ahead of me on this parenting journey (hello, Where the Boys Are community!), I’m not, even for a second, going to look away. - Andrea Moffatt

I recall a moment early in motherhood where I was trying to work at home one night with a very needy toddler demanding my attention. I grew short with him as I was pulled in two very opposite directions - his needs and mine. It seems something of folklore now, but my husband's sentiments in that moment shaped not only that night but the years to follow.

Home time was his time and I had no right to be frustrated with him for claiming it. For years to come I didn't trust myself that I would be able to put his needs first when both were at odds and instead I worked only when they slept, hiding the work from them.

I am still pulled between competing demands for my time but I no longer hide my work and instead do my best to integrate who I am as a professional and as a mother. We share our space and we share our time and we "work" together. While there may be one thousand interruptions in the span of completing one simple task and I may find myself fetching scissors and washi tape and giving recommendations on tracing in black instead of yellow while I simultaneously review tax provision calculations I trust myself that their needs ultimately come first. Yes, there was a time this didn't work but it seems to be the boys are not the only ones growing up in this house.

And I am glad for it. Maybe one day these moments will shape how they mold their lives, their families and become a bit of their own folklore. - Monica McNeill   

Free Range Children – please drive carefully…….

Camping, the summer of 2016, all 54 of us!  You spent the weekend up to your ears in mud! Campfires, toasted marshmallows, cricket, football, rope swings, bush craft – the kind of idyllic childhood I dream of you all having. A moment in time - away from the trappings of the modern day - kids being kids and adults among good friends, making fabulous memories for years to come.  - Nina Callow

It's not very often that I pick up anything but my phone to capture bits of our life lately.  A combination of internal struggle and busyness keep me from putting in the effort.  But, you're all growing so fast.  Figuring out this whole parenting gig never gets easier.  Days, weeks, months... they fly by.  I try to savor the calm, cling to the laughter, and show us all grace in the trials and rocky spaces.  Grace, though, is hard to show myself when I feel such an urgency to impress upon you the importance of truth.  Every gray hair on my head and wrinkle on my face testifies of my seeing this short space of time that you are here, sliding by.  So, together, we "press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (Phil 3:14) - Abbi Ottman

You're ten going on 17. I know these next few years are going to be the hardest for you (and for me, to be honest).  I pray that your attitude will stay positive through all of the changes that are sure to pass and that you will always be kind and compassionate. - Amanda Caves

This parenting thing is so strange.  One of my favorite quotes that I think pretty much sums it up is, “The days are long, but the years are short.” – Gretchen RubinAnd this is so true.  Some days I felt were so hard to get through (especially when you were a baby and never slept), but then I look up and suddenly you’re looking more grown up.  And more independent.  And at an age where I actually have many many memories of my own childhood.  And I’m not quite sure how we got here so fast and want to know how I can slow things down.  I grab you up in my arms and ask you to stop growing and stay my baby, and you make sure to tell me that that’s not how things work and you have to keep growing and we snuggle and giggle together.  So, I try to focus on all the amazing parts of growing up and all the new things you can experience and learn.  Such as learning to play the piano.  I love that you are taking lessons now and could play me Jolly Old St. Nicholas this Christmas.  I love that music and playing the piano is something we can share together.  But still, could you slow down just a little? - Heather Reagan

While I am at the dining table working away, I hear your constant chatter at the Lego table -- and it is absolutely delightful!  You're fully immersed in a world of imaginative play and I couldn't help but stop my work to watch you with adoring eyes. - Autumn Nguyen

This is you. This is that cute little freckled face that is trying not to crack a smile while showing me his serious side. This is my little boy who is transitioning from babyhood to boyhood and struggling with the fact that his momma still ‘treats him like a baby’. This is also the same gorgeous little boy who is full of love. Full of cuddles and full of beautiful smiles that just can’t hide. The part I get to see every single day and the part that exudes love, kindness and thoughtfulness in everything he does for me. This is you and I love everything, freckles and all.  - Anna Bein

Watching you build, learn, and grow in your knowledge is so fun to watch.  Your great grandparents sent some wonderful, educational gifts for Christmas that are allowing even more of this to happen.  - Donya Gjerdingen

Our serene and beautifully orchestrated bedtime routine of never allows me to not only pause after stumbling on this scene, but also wholly and damn near tearfully appreciate the sweet magnitude of my middle schooler teaching my kindergartener to read.  - Jen Lucas

“Time spent amongst trees is never wasted.”  -  Katrina Mayer

Kelly Sutton

You have a new passion, a passion for freedom, a passion for speed and a passion for mountain biking.  You live and breath for this sport.  As you race down the mountain my heart is in my mouth, however I know not to let you see just incase in knocks your confidence.  I hide behind my camera, it somehow makes it easier to watch you as you hurtle over the rocks.

Words cannot describe how proud I am of you right now, you are growing into an amazing young man. - Sarah Roberts