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Family Secrets In Grief

I’ve been keeping a secret for over a year now
• One my mom kept from me for many, many years and took with her to the grave
• One she told my grandmother about before she passed and asked my grandmother to tell me only when she felt I was ready to know it
• A secret she kept to protect not only me but others
• A secret I am now ready to share with you because I might need your help on this journey
• As far back as I can remember I’ve always felt as though a part of me was missing. I never knew what it was until my grandmother told me this secret and it all made sense
• This secret was important now because after losing so many key people in my life
• The secret is that I have siblings that I have never met, siblings that might not even know I exist from my father
• Siblings I am on a mission to find and have in my life, to be surrounded by more family because that’s what matters the most
• As you can imagine my whole world went for a spin when I found this out and people that once were stran…

What Your Grieving Friend Needs During The Holidays

Holidays for grievers are tough one no matter how many years it has been. As a friend or loved one this day might be tough for you. You might find yourself feeling helpless as you see your friend missing their loved one on any holiday. To sit back and watch as your friend grieves, you don't know what to say or do. You might even feel guilty for telling them what you are doing with your own family during this time of the year. 

You may even find yourself slowly avoiding your grieving  friend during the holidays because you don't want to say or do the wrong thing, being away seems easier than hurting their feelings.

Good news!

I have compiled a list of things that you can do for your  friend or loved one during this time of the year. This way you don't have to avoid them. You might even find yourself filled with joy that you finally have a way to help them on this day. A way to make them not feel alone and a way to do something rather than nothing.

Please remember you will never…

No Elves or Santa Welcome Here

I’ll wait right here while you pick your mouth up off the floor


I’ll even wait another minute so you can ready your fingers for all the mom shaming you are about to do


We don’t do Santa or elves on the shelf at our house. We never have and I am not a bad mom for it


Don’t get me wrong when my oldest could understand we went with the whole Santa thing and with fear in his eyes he said, “So someone we don’t know sneaks into our home at night when we are asleep?”


That was the beginning of the end for Santa in our home


When people ask them what they want Santa to bring them they aren’t rude and don’t ruin it for everyone else by saying he isn’t real


We don’t do elves that watch our every move because the reality is that will only last for so long anyways


Go ahead and tell me I am crushing their childhood memories but you guys I just don’t have time to make sure I take care of an elf at our house and I don’t want to. I have a husband, three boys, and a dog, I’m good


I didn’t have an elf on …

Excuse Me, There's A Randall In Your Hair

I have spent a majority of the evening questioning if my husband loves me or if I, in fact, have friends that truly care about me • I’ve also questioned if there are any kind strangers in the world or honest people and if my kids like me
• I’ve said hello to a neighbor as I was loading the kids up for school. I got out of the school drop off line braving the cold with no makeup on to give my guy an extra hug. I’ve FaceTimed my husband and went inside a store
• You guys I did so much this morning, went so many places, reached out to so many people and I regret it all
• So many opportunities for someone, anyone to truly show me they care and yet not one person said anything
• Not one single person informed me that in the midst of my chaotic morning and sleepless night I somehow ended up with Randall in my hair
• Not only in my hair but proceeded to tote him around in my hair and with me most of the morning in public and around friends, my husband and strangers
• So here’s my PSA for the worl…

First LIVE Blog Interview

Did my first LIVE blog interview tonight


It doesn’t matter how vulnerable I’ve been on my grief journey here on social media, going live made me nervous


You guys, I had so much fun! It was so nice to talk about my blogging journey, my grief journey and my mom

I Need You

I need you today
• That’s what I said to my husband before he left for work this morning
• It’s something I haven’t said too often and don’t say nearly enough in the thirteen years we’ve been together
• He could hear in my tone that there was something different about the way I said it so he stopped dead in his tracks
• The day had barely begun but I today I wanted him to know he was needed
• He was needed for the comfort that only he could give when the weight of the world felt like it was on my shoulders
• He was the one I needed to pick up the phone on the other end so I could tell him about things that matter and things that don’t from my day
• He was the one I needed to walk through that door just as I was feeling like I was about to break and be the one to help put me back together again
• He is the one I need to look over and find standing by my side when world feels like it’s throwing me more than I can handle
• He is the one I need to come home to everyday and fall asleep with every …

When You Aren’t Winning At Motherhood

Some days you are winning at motherhood •
Some days you let them eat ice cream for breakfast and you make amazing memories •
Some days you find a toy at the goodwill they have been wanting forever and you are the coolest mom ever •
Some days you spend an entire day doing nothing fancy at all with them and it’s the best day ever •
Some days you let the mess and chaos and running wild consume your entire day and they are convinced you are the best mom ever •
Some days you give a hug right at he exact moment when it’s needed most and a kiss that can cure any boo-boo •
Some days you’ve got it together and think you’ve got it all figured out in motherhood •
Then there are the other days, the days when you aren’t winning •
The days where you are slightly below losing and can’t even be sure there is a name yet for how bad you have sucked at a simple task in motherhood •
That has been my last three nights, the place somewhere below losing at motherhood •
The place where moms usually don’t even talk about because…

Turkey Served With A Side Of Grief

I remember my first Thanksgiving without my mom here. I cancelled dinner at our family’s house last minute because I couldn’t face the deviled eggs sitting on the dining room table knowing she wouldn’t be there to serve her recipe

I avoided making those deviled eggs and asked others to avoid making them for several years because that was my side of grief served with the turkey on Thanksgiving. It was the thing that could take me from surviving the holidays without her to full blown tears

These days I make the deviled eggs, her recipe only and I serve up that side of grief on Thanksgiving with a smile instead of tears.

I’ve realized that my holidays are always going to be a little less joyful and little more quite without her laughter filling the room. I realize that my Thanksgiving turkey will always somehow be served with a side of grief while yours is simply filled with sides of mashed potatoes and new memories with your loved ones

So this Thanksgiving if your turkey is being served…

So It's Another Holiday Without Your Mom Here, Now What?

Let's be honest here, no matter how far you've come in your grief journey the holidays tend to sting a little bit without your mom here. They have a tendency to not be as jolly and bright or full of thanksgiving when one of those you love the most isn't here and instead there is an empty chair when they used to sit.

You might feel like you want to skip over the day altogether or just cancel Thanksgiving or Christmas. Trust me, I've completely felt that way when I was new to the grief scene.

But what if you still want to celebrate but you just aren't sure how. You can't imagine how to bring joy and laughter back into your holidays when your mom isn't here.

Although we know as grievers the only real way to make the holidays the same again would be to have your mom here with you even if for the day to celebrate. But since she can't be but we know she would be if she could then here are a few things you can do if you feel up to it on the holidays to make y…

2,308 Days Without My Mom

2,308 days • That’s how many days as of this morning I’ve gone without my mom
• That’s how many days since the last time I heard her voice or felt her hug
• That’s how many days I’ve walked this earth trying to navigate being a mom without her here to guide me
• That’s how many days I’ve spent missing her
• That’s how many days I’ve had to spend imagining what my days would be like with her still here in them
• That’s how many days I’ve spent from sun up to sun down making sure I keep her memory alive
• That’s how many days I’ve spent talking about her
• That’s how many days I wake up only to remember she’s gone all over again
• That’s how many days I still accidentally go to dial her number
• That’s how many days it’s been since I lost her and found myself
• I’ll never let that many days go by without talking about her, thinking about her, missing her or loving her because she’s still my mom and I’m still her daughter even if she isn’t here
• So here’s to 2,308 days and waking up every single …

Not Everyone Can Say Trick-or-Treat, Give Them Candy Anyways

I thought mama bears coming out to protect their young was scary but want to know something that is even more scary? The ferocious growl of a big brother


With it being so close to Halloween there are lots of places having little festivals with animals, hay rides, candy, all the makings of precious memories for the babies


We attended a fall festival last week with our three sons


My youngest patiently waited in line for his turn to get candy. He stuck out his home made bag that he carried with pride when we made it to the front


“Umm excuse me, what do you say?” The lady waited and I did also assuming she would not make a big deal when he didn’t respond


He wasn’t going to say it like she thought he should, it was going to take him a few minutes and he would need my help or he wasn’t going to say it at all because my son has a speech delay


Just as I was about to talk him through saying it she said, “Okay, if you can’t use your manners then no candy for you” and she walked away

Just Say No To The Minivan

I have three boys • I make trips to and from school five days a week and grocery store runs weekly that look like I’m feeding the entire state of Florida at times
• But I’ll never be a minivan mom
• From what I’ve been told from friends near and far it’s the holy grail of vehicles for moms
• I’ve even had friends that have converted after swearing time and time again they would never be that mom. Then they post the pictures of their smiling faces waving at the camera as they drove off the lot in their brand new minivan
• I see you rolling by with your kids in tow, all DVD players flipped down. I see you in the parking lot at the grocery store, arms full and you are waving your magic foot under the bumper so the trunk will open seemingly on its own. I see you walking to your minivan and the doors opening for you without the touch of a finger and you are a football field away. I see you not having to fight to pull down the second row to get to the third
• I see you as I’m over here dropping…

Where The Best Days Ever Are Found

“Mom, this is the best day ever” • That’s what my oldest said to me right before I took this picture
• I stopped to think about our day and I could not find anything extra special about it
• We didn’t buy them any toys, we didn’t go on a lavish play date to a fancy park
• That night I asked him what made today the best day ever. He said, “It was when we went on a yard sale hunt. It was when we held hands with Dad in the parking lot. It was when you let me pick out the color of paint for our room. It was when you turned the music up really loud, rolled down the windows and we sang at the top of our lungs. It was when you held my hand in the store and we snuck off just me and you to go look at the pretty lights. It was the best day of my life”
• I think as moms we get so caught up in trying to make sure every day for them is the best day ever that we forget what the best day ever really looks like to them
• It doesn’t look like toys or play dates or amusement parks
• It looks a lot like hold…

The Day I Realized It Was Me Too

One day I want my three sons to know that their mom has had to say “me too” one too many times in her lifetime
• I’d tell them about all the times this “me too” stands for and all the times I was frozen in silence that was pushed on me by the world's views to keep my mouth shut
• The times when I wish I could have said, “me too” and when I wish someone else would have stood up and said “me too” with me
• The time my neighbor would wait for me when I got off the school bus on his front porch and say obscene things. Then tell everyone he was only “kidding” and that made it okay. I didn’t say anything because I didn’t know I had a voice to say, “me too” I didn’t know there were others that would stand with me
• The time when I was young and my boss told me what room number I could find him in. I told my family and my grandmother said “Nikki, this is life and it will happen for the rest of yours that’s just how it is” because someone in her life told her she didn’t have a voice that …

I’m Married But I Go Speed Dating

I’ve been married to Jer for eleven years

Yet, on any given weekend you will find me out speed dating. There are just things that I long for that I can’t get from my marriage

Some things only certain people could understand

For instance I need someone that can understand that a Friday night out means a trip to aimlessly roam every single square inch of Target and then maybe back again

Someone that knows a messy bun, yoga pants and yesterday’s T-shirt is a staple outfit and one that should be worn with pride

Someone that understands the best gift I can be given is a nap

Someone that knows my Starbucks order and has it ready for me when I arrive at Target

Someone that understands that sometimes you just need to get in the truck and ride around with music blasting and sing at the top of your lungs

Those are the things I am looking for in someone when I do what I like to call speed dating for a mom friend. We all know that’s what Finding mom friends is really like, it’s like dating and it…

When A Chore Chart Isn’t Just Dishes and Cleaning Up

You might notice a few things that seem odd about our chore chart

You might notice the amounts for their allowance don’t seem too grand. You might also notice that their chores extended outside the walls of our home

My kids do not and will not get paid for chores

I also don’t believe in the average chore chart in our home

You see I believe they should help me clean up toys and put away dishes because it’s the right thing to do not because they will get paid to do it.

I also believe a chore chart shouldn’t just consist of putting away the dishes and cleaning up toys or a room. Yes, those things are great and teach cleanliness and responsibility, however, I also want them to realize that as adults they will not get paid to clean their own house. As their mom, I won’t be there to remind them to clean up for their weekly allowance and their spouse won’t either

I also want them to know that there is something else they should be doing weekly that is just as important as doing the dishes a…

The Truth About The Messy Mom In The School Drop Off Line

Here you will find me in all my glory and in my natural habitat also known as the school drop off line

I’m not that mom that gets up extra early, puts on a full face of makeup

I’m not that mom that puts on a brand new outfit for the drop off line at 7:20 am

Instead I’m the mom with the dry shampoo hair up in a messy bun, wearing yesterday’s T-shirt and zero makeup on my face

I’m the mom that has toys and wrappers rolling out of the door in the drop off line when my child gets out

When you see me in line, you might want to judge me from your car

But it’s what you don’t see that matters the most because what you see in the drop off line isn’t all there is to me as a mom

I’m the mom that stayed up late last night washing clothes, ironing shirts for school this morning

I’m the mom that was up all night packing lunches and using their favorite cookie cutter for the sandwich’s and handwriting special notes for their lunchboxes

I’m the mom the sent an extra juice box and snack with them and …

I Talked To My Sons About Las Vegas and Here Is What Happened

I talked to them about Las Vegas

I've never been one to shelter them from things in this world like tragedy, grief, loss and sickness

I want them to grow up realizing that there is a world outside our family filled with people that are sick, hurting and suffering

Some might say it is too heavy a burden for their little hearts. I say little hands and hearts are the ones that make the biggest impact on the hurt and broken

I want them to grow up to be men with kind hearts. I want them to grow up being thoughtful friends and caring husbands and fathers. I want them to grow up knowing that true joy in life is found in helping others in a time of need. It's found in giving to someone that can't give back. It's not expecting a single thing in return

It sometimes even means giving until it hurts

I want them to know that it's for family, friends and even complete strangers

I want them to hear a story of someone in need and I want it to stir their hearts so bad that they wan…

The Day After My Mom Died

I’ll never forget the day she died

But I’ll also never forget the day after she died

I was home from work and it was my first full day without her. From the minute I woke up until I laid down my head to go to sleep at night. The first day she wasn’t there for any part of it

She couldn’t hear about it, I couldn’t tell her about it and she wasn’t there to care about it

The one person who cared about every minute of my life wasn’t there to worry about it anymore

Not being able to tell her about all the insignificant details of my day was eating me up inside. Talking to my husband and friends about my day just wasn’t the same

I tried leaving her a voicemail but there wasn’t enough time in the message and I knew I would fill up her box quickly

That’s when I went to my computer and I did something that I have continued to do on and off over the years

I sent my mom an email

That entire day I sat there and prayed to God that I would get an email back from her. Maybe in some crazy way it would…

Why I’m Raising My Sons To Leave Me

I have three sons and I’m raising all of them to love their wives more than they love me

I’m raising all three of them to one day leave me for her

I believe that the whole leave and cleave thing starts when they are young not as they get older

It’s my job as their mom to give them this beautiful life full of memories, unconditional love and help them believe in their dreams and to have goals not to tell them who to love.

It’s also my job to teach them that one day they will meet someone that will make them feel complete in a way that I cannot

It’s my job to raise them to love their wives more one day so that they will never feel the need to choose between us.

I want them to know that should they ever feel the need to choose I hope I would have raised them to know they should choose their wife every single damn time

I want them to know that loving their wife more than their mom is okay and I won’t love them any less for it

I want my sons to know that who they love, I love her too and …

Stop Calling Yourself A Single Parent When You Are Married

I sat back and watched as she tirelessly worked two jobs to make ends meet


I watched as she used her free time to attend college classes to give us a better life, to give me an easier future


I listened as she would cry herself to sleep with no one else there to comfort her or say, “I’m here”


I saw the worry on her face as she would constantly carry the weight of motherhood on her shoulders and her shoulders alone


I would hear her whisper to friends on the phone that this mom life is hard


I would listen as she would pour her heart and soul into that conversation about her worries of the world and how our bills would get paid


I watched as my single mom put on a brave face and got up over and over again every damn day and gave her best all on her own


That’s why when I saw a comment about being a single parent by someone that isn’t one, I found it offensive


You will never see me jokingly say that I am a single parent even though my husband some weeks works seven days from …

What Motherless Daughters Should Stop Wearing

There's a lot that motherless daughters wear that we shouldn't

We wear the weight of the world on our shoulders when our Moms are dying.

We wear the weight of grief like it's the scarlet letter instead of a badge of love for the Mom we lost.

We wear the guilt of how our relationship was or how we wish it could have been

We wear a fake smile after losing them when really we need to let the world see what's behind that smile. We need to show them the tears and the laughter and the joy and the real grief that happens after you lose someone you love so much

We wear the weight of feeling like we need to hide our grief so we don't make others feel uncomfortable

We wear the feeling that we need our grief to look a certain way or look like someone else's grief

Every single day we keep wearing these things and so much more

Instead of wearing our grief and everything that the world tells us we should feel and think and do on this grief journey, we need to simply put it d…

Missed Connection: Searching For My BMFF From Target

Missed connection


To The Mom In Target


You were at Target last night about 7pm in the crayon aisle. I was wearing my mom couture complete with dry shampoo hair, no makeup, yesterday’s T-shirt and yoga pants


You were also wearing yoga pants with flip-flops and a messy bun. The venti Starbucks in your hand was a dead giveaway that even though you were wearing yoga pants you had in fact not come from the gym. I know because I was doing the exact same thing #yogapantsarelife


I tried to glance at your cup to see the name of my future BMFF (best mom friend forever) but let’s be honest, at my age I’m on the verge of needing readers to see that far away


In your cart, you had diapers, soda, wine, and chocolate. Again, confirming my suspicions that we, in fact, were meant to be best mom friends


Our carts hit once as we rounded the corner from aimlessly pretending to be shopping for something in our favorite store when in reality we were both just having a moms night out. I mean we …

To My Mom Friends Carrying Our Friendship 100% Of The Time, I See You

Tonight we traded in our shirts that were covered in spit-up for clean ones, our dry shampoo hair for washed hair, our bare feet for fancy heels and ate ice cream that we didn't have to share
We turned the music up loud and it wasn’t the ABC’s. We sang at the top of our lungs driving around with no real place to be, no one crying or yelling in the backseat
Just us being us, the us before we became moms
We talked about our babies, our dreams, and our goals. We discussed all our mommy fails and things we wished we could do better in motherhood
We laughed about all the ways we try and hide the piles of laundry when company comes over and where we keep a secret stash of chocolate for those really hard days
We talked about making plans again and doing this more often. Both knowing deep down times like this were few and far between in this season of life
We both knew that friendships are hard in this season. Sometimes friendships have to carry themselves and we knew they usually fade a…

What Really Happens In The T-Mobile Stores

Yesterday Jer took my phone and said he was going to the local T-mobile store to get my home key fixed
I had cracked it months ago so I didn’t think anything of it
When he returned hours later to my surprise he had a brand new iPhone for me
Then that’s when he pulled out my old iPhone with the cracked home button
I was confused as to why he still had both and didn’t trade my old one back in like we always do
He said, “I told to the manager and sales associate that this phone had important things on it that could never be replaced”
You might think it was pictures or emails
He proceeded to tell me that he explained to them that on that well-loved phone contained voicemails from two very special women, my mom, and grandmother, both which are no longer with us
He said, “You see, it’s the only way she can ever hear their voices”
It’s also the reason I’ve kept a broken phone out of fear I would lose those voicemails
Once they heard the importance of this and knew I needed to be the one to …

This Mom Life Is Hard

This Mom life is hard
Most days I find myself searching for ways I could have done better
I think about all the things I missed or should have done but didn’t
I worry if I’m doing enough now so that they will want to be around me when they get older
I worry that I didn’t bend enough, that I didn’t let them see enough of me and not just mom
Then in the darkness of the night my fears are eased because in that moment I realize that I could literally have worried and failed a million times that day as a mom but that’s not what they see
They see that I keep trying, that I’m doing the very best I can and that I’m still here right by their side every step of the way and always will be
To all the moms out there that wake up every day and keep trying over and over again, I see you.