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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Milestones and Memories (Guest-Post by Angela of Tiaras and Trucks)

I admit that I have only known Angela for a short-time.  The first time I found her blog, Tiaras and Trucks, was through one of Write on Edge's writing prompts link-up.  What I didn't know at the time was that she is also the Assistant Editor at Write on Edge, as well as a contributing writer at Just Be Enough.
Angela with her two children
One of the first posts that I read in her blog was On Your First Day of School.  If there was such a thing as love at first sight, then that was 'it' for me.  Right there and then I fell in love with Angela's writing.  She wrote that particular post to her daughter, Abbey, the night before Abbey's first day of school.  

I still remembered how I felt the first time I read that post--I have never felt more affected and more emotionally engaged by a single post before.  Perhaps it was because I, too, am a mother to a daughter only a few years older than Abbey.  But I'm quite sure it was Angela's words--every single one of them mirroring my own feelings for my daughter--written so beautifully, that drew me in.  Words I've been wishing to tell my daughter but had never been able to (and probably never could) express so eloquently.

I was nervous to ask Angela to guest-post for my blog at first.  Not only have I just 'met' her, but truth be told, Sweaty is not (yet) a household name.  But I really felt that I had to ask her.  I admired Angela's works, and sincerely thought that my readers and I would not only enjoy, but also learn a lot from her writing.  When she replied and said, "I'd love to guest post at your place," I was blown away by how nice and helpful she was!     
Abbey and Dylan

Here is the guest-post that Angela has written for me.  I can't thank her enough for this!  In it are my favorite subjects, Abbey, Angela's three-and-a-half year old daughter, and Dylan, her one-and-a-half year old son.  She wrote about a moment in her life, ordinary in so many ways, yet made extraordinary by how she brought that experience to life before your very eyes.  
Milestones and Memories
by Angela of Tiaras and Trucks

It sits on a shelf in Abbey’s closet, its pastel graphics faded, its pages curling, small, square photographs tinged with the slight yellow signature of the early 1980s.  My fingers have slid over the pages countless times; when I recently wanted pictures of my first dance recital and my first day of preschool, I knew exactly where to look.

My baby book.

Neatly, methodically, lovingly penned by my mother, the notations are all in her even penmanship, the ink easily recognized as blue ball-point pen.

Not to be outdone, I eagerly began working in Abbey’s baby books.  That’s correct.


The first is a beautiful scrapbook, ready for photos and adorable notes about bathtimes and bedtimes and first vacations.  The second is a smaller, thinner version, meant to record dates and milestones.

Together, they sit on a shelf in her closet, close to my aging book.

In the baby basket.

A large, woven basket with a lid, it contains everything that should be in the baby books, including photos and cards and locks of hair and post-it notes hastily scribbled with milestone dates.

Dylan doesn’t have a baby basket.

He has a baby drawer, and even that is woefully unadorned, only a few errant post-its tucked between first birthday cards and hospital bracelets.

Guilt pokes at me when my eyes rest on the baby basket, or when I open the baby drawer to toss in something new.

Will Abbey wonder what gifts she received for her first birthday?

Will Dylan roll his eyes when he realizes I didn’t record when he got his first tooth?

Will I ever sit and organize the post-its and the pictures and tenderly fill the paper pages that now lay empty on her closet shelf?

For now, I can only close my eyes for a moment, and collect memories on my blog, capturing moments that aren’t so easily recorded on a list of milestones.

There’s not a line for the way Dylan carefully holds onto my hand as he walks down the stairs, pausing with both feet on each step and doing an excited little shuffle before walking down to the next.

There’s not a line for the way Abbey turns back to catch my eye and shake her head in exasperation when Ryan misses a word in any of her beloved princess stories.

Nor the way Dylan’s eyes light up when he runs past twenty similar leaves on the ground to choose one specific leaf to show me in delight.

Nor the way Abbey confidently carries my old purse through Costco, pulling out her little notepad to consult her list as we gather items into the cart.

There’s not a line for the healing power of their hugs, the way their ferocious clasps around my neck at night calm my soul better than any run or glass of wine or piece of chocolate.

As they grow older, the exact dates of their first steps may fade in importance, but I can’t imagine the day I won’t cherish the memory of their still-damp after-bath kisses.

If they don’t feel the same?

There’s always the baby basket. 

I think you know now why I fell in love with Angela's writing, right?  She definitely has a way with words, one that allows you to fully experience a range of emotions as you are reading it.  Here are a few recent posts by Angela that are my favorites:
  • Mind Games Here she described her struggle to believe in herself while training for her fourth marathon, despite physical and circumstantial limitations.
  • Moving Past Regret Again, here Angela wrote about remembering the past and dealing with regrets that came with it.  I could almost 'feel' her mind churning with memories and all the 'what ifs.'
  • Slow Down The post that earned her a syndication by BlogHer
  • Wrapped in an Afghan  Here she wrote of a memory she would rather forget; I had goosebumps reading it.  
If you have not followed her already, I urge you to do so.  You can find Angela:

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