Thursday, October 31, 2013

Three, already.

Dear Spencer,

I must have blinked a few too many times this year, because it seemed the last 365 days flashed by in a rush. It cannot have been a full year since we celebrated your two full years on earth. Is it really possible?

Oh, sweet baby boy, my baby, grown much behind baby-hood, how I cherish you. I cherish you even more today, if possible, than the day you entered our lives.

You are the beautiful miracle that made me a mommy, and made Jake (as you were calling him last night) a daddy. I cannot imagine my life without you. I imagined becoming a mommy, dreamt of its splendor for so long, but could never have imagined how wonderful you would be.

Spencer, you are incredible. Do not let the world lead you to believe any different. At three years old, you are incredibly intelligent, so polite, kind, and loving (and mischievous, I won't lie). You are artistic and musical, resembling your father and I both so obviously. You make me laugh so hard, it wins over any frustration I find in times that are tough. 

Your kisses, your hugs, and every time you say "I love you so much," make every second of motherhood worthwhile.

I adore watching you play with your little brother. You may not always get along (and sometimes your fights are downright hilarious), but there is an unmistakable well of love for one another that flows between you. It is indescribably magnificent.

I love countless things about you, little man- the way you kiss your shadow on the wall, your glorious laugh, the overwhelming and contagious joy you find in a select few songs that causes your brother to join you in laughter, singing, and dancing, the way you will run from person to person throughout the house to give hugs, kisses, high fives, or shake hands, or how some early mornings you sneak out of your bed and cuddle up beside me, your love for trains and freight cars, the fact that it seems you occasionally dream about penguins and then feel the need to search your closet for them, how you tell me "good job" when I do simple things like pour Kix in your bowl, your ability to recite your favorite books word-for-word... and so many, many more things. You make it so easy to love you.

Dear boy, I want you to know that while some days I feel I may fail as a mother, I love you with every ounce of my being. I would lay down my life for you and your brother in an instant. I pray every day, nothing but the best that God can bless upon you. 

While every birthday is a little bittersweet (or maybe more than a little, as I realize I have tears on my cheeks), seeing another reminder that time passes so quickly, I look forward to celebrating each coming day with you. I cannot wait to see what your future holds.

I love you little buddy. 

Always and forever,

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Most Epic Day of my Life

Thirty years ago today was one of the most monumental moments of my life. Arguably, it was the most important and miraculous, but seeing as how I do not remember it, I claim other moments are equally as significant, in different ways.

But, Monday, October 17, 1983 was the day it all officially began.  Not only did Gerard Debreu win the Nobel prize for economy, the Green Bay Packers host the Washington Redskins and beat them by a mere point, and the Grateful Dead perform live at Olympic Arena in Lake Placid, New York (which is apparently available as a free-streamed recording), Evil Kneivel, Eminem, Rita Hayworth,  and Ziggy Marley's birthdays were being celebrated, but, on that morning, I was born. My parents, Richard and Anita, met their firstborn (of 5) children for the first time.

This wonderful day of my birth is always very exciting to me, because it's a yearly reminder that two people loved each other so much that they brought me into this world, and that God has blessed and watched over me another year, allowing me to create countless, irreplaceable memories and enjoy this life on earth.

Yes, it's sappy. But I'm sappy, so it makes sense to me.

As I said (and as also makes sense), I don't remember that day. So, as a fun little thirtieth birthday celebration to myself, and a (hopefully fun but likely a bit annoying) way to get my parents to reminisce, I decided to ask them some interview questions, all about myself.

When it came to being first-time parents, my mom and dad were both a little excited and nervous. My dad said he was actually most nervous about telling his parents that he was going to become a father, but the thing that excited him most was that I was a girl (sorry, brothers, dad likes daughters more).

I was actually born a few days early, on my own, unlike either of my sons. My mom remembers exactly what was going on when she started labor. She, my dad, and a couple of friends, had gone to the Berton theater (which was in my hometown but no longer exists, being built in the 1940s and closed in 1990) to see the movie "Stroker Ace." It starred Bert Reynolds and Loni Anderson. I forgot to ask either of my parents if they liked it, but it was rated 14% by online movie critics. 

Something about a race car driver pissed about wearing a chicken suit. I haven't seen it yet. 

If I had been a boy, my mom would have named me Dustin (the name given to my brother born 2.5 years later), though my dad was rooting for the name Steven. But, being who I am, they chose the name Nicole Marie. 

This (the woman) is who I was named after:

You may recognize the couple (if you've ever been into soap operas) as Nikki and Victor Newman from the Young & the a Restless. Yes, I am here to tell you that my dad was apparently a fan of this woman of... Questionable antics and behaviors, and this is how my name was chosen. However, I can also tell you that while I don't watch the show, I have heard some details about this Nikki lady, and I am nothing like she was at the time of my birth- aside, I suppose, from being a female homo sapien with eyes and arms and stuff... and now I'm married. I honestly know not much else about her to compare.

Turns out I was a bit of a spoiled baby, I guess, because I was the first grandchild on my mom's side, so naturally the grandparents were smitten with me, and my aunts and uncle gave me a fair share of attention. My dad said I was a typical daddy's girl.

My first birthday was spent in Dodge City, Kansas, at the Dodge House. 

It's apparently the only full-service Western themed hotel & conference center. By this point I already had long blonde (which is no longer that color) hair, and I could speak quite well (I had a lengthy phone conversation with my grandma, I was once told). We celebrated with a Care Bear birthday cake and the rest of the railroad crew, who my mom said adored and spoiled with me. My dad was not dressed like Wyatt Earp (I asked), even though the hotel is on Wyatt Earp drive/avenue/street/boulevard/something.

Yes, the railroad crew. My dad was part of the railroad crew for about four years before I started school. I am told my mom and I, and later my brother, traveled often with them, to various states (Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Arkansas, and Illinois, to name a few).

I asked about my personality and antics as a wee one, and had a good time reading their responses.   My dad said he thought it was awesome and funny that I knew how to walk before I could crawl. I would apparently fall down and get mad about being stuck. My mom said I would color only the circles in my coloring book pages. Spencer recently went through a circles obsessed phase, too! She loved that I could talk before I was one, and I sang a lot. I loved singing "You are my Sunshine" with my Grandma Leora. I now sing that with my boys! I also had a fondness for Bruce Springsteen as a little little girl, singing "Born in the USA" and "Smokin' in the Boys' Room." Haha.

I asked also what were the most annoying-ish things I did as toddler. Turns out, I allegedly would write letters and draw shapes on things like chairs, and blame it on Dustin, who my mom claims was too young to write such things. Haha. Also, I had him brainwashed into believing that his name was Papa Smurf, and he would only answer if called that. That was supposedly very annoying, though I still find it utterly amusing.

I became a big sister for the first time at about 2.5 years old, to the aforementioned brother, Dustin. I was very excited about it, and adored him and helping with him, both parents tell me. I still love being a big sister to the four crazy kids, Dustin, Bryan, Samantha, and Allison, that are all younger, but nearly all bigger than me. All but one is actually an adult now. 

My favorite movie as a toddler was the "Muppet Movie." I was adamant that ketchup was a food group, much like Spencer feels about peanut butter and/or sprinkles. My mom says that my favorite thing was people, and that Spencer is just like I was at his age.  My dad's opinion, however, is that I'm more like Collin. Guess both boys take after me somehow! 

And, here I am, 30 years later. I've moved about two hours from home, started a family with my best friend and only boyfriend I ever really had that I actually loved. Someone asked me already if I feel 30. I guess I do? I feel like... I did the other day, only on Thursday, and if that's how 30 feels, then yes. I've been asked if 30 makes me sad or nervous or anxious or whatever, and it doesn't. My friend, Jenn, says I'm finally in the 29 Forger club, where quite a few of my close women friends already are as well. 30 makes sense. And it sounds... Respectable somehow.

Happy 30th Birthday to me! How am I going to celebrate? By not being sick like yesterday, having coffee and pastries with one of my BFFs, hiding in my bedroom with my sister while the boys watch Elmo downstairs, and drinking two cream sodas! Living large, you know? 

Friday, October 11, 2013


When I was a little girl, before puberty, I dreamed of a wedding someday. As many little girls do, I went through periods of dreaming of marrying a prince. I dreamt of a movie-type romantic love.  I dreamt of being a mommy someday.  

When I hit puberty, I still had these dreams, but they were tainted with fear and worry. As many girls do, I suffered from self-esteem issues related to my appearance. I worried people thought I was ugly and fat. 

But, I also had added worries, and they haunted me for years. Well, they still haunt me sometimes. 

As most teens encounter, I began developing some acne. I felt so gross, because nothing seemed to help clear it up. I was sure people thought I was crazy hideous.

Next came a change on my arms. I started noticing the hair on my arms was darker and thicker than it once was. I thought maybe I was part man. It sounds stupid, but I had nightmares. I tried shaving my arms a couple times, but felt it worthless because it would just grow back, quickly, dark and coarse. I resigned to wearing long sleeves as much of the year as possible and just cry about it. I was certain I was a freak. And I was pretty convinced no one would ever think I was pretty.

And then toward my 20s, I started gaining weight. I wasn't really any less active in college than in high school. In fact, I would argue I was more so, walking campuses constantly, for example. But it didn't seem to help.

However, by the time the weight gain had started, I had met a new friend. His name was Jake. I thought he was pretty good looking. I had a crush on him I his from myself, or tried to ignore, for over a year. I met him in 2001, and the crush started a few months later when he caught a ride with his best friend and surprised me for my 18th birthday party, having traveled hours to get there. He wrote the sweetest, longest message in my birthday card (I still have it), and after, we emailed, talked on the phone for hours, wrote letters, and visited as much as possible. He would drive five hours to come see me for one night. He would kidnap me for a weekend. 

I just never imagined he could love me. I was too nerdy. Awkward, ugly.

But, in the fall of 2002, as I lay on my dorm room bed, he told me "I love you, Nicole." And I confessed that I had fallen in love with him, too.

It was surreal. There have been countless times since then where I have doubted him. Not necessarily his love, but his attraction to me, and whether or not I could believe if he said I looked great, or was beautiful, or sexy. And I would doubt whether or not he could just honestly love someone he wasn't really attracted to.

I love myself. I've gotten there, by the grace of God and support from family and friends. I do. But I still suffer from self-esteem issues. Especially from the symptoms of PCOS that I suffer. These things that haunted me since puberty, made me question if I was really a woman (or if maybe at birth my parents just decided to raise me as a girl). These things I didn't understand until college when I researched them more, and after college when I was diagnosed with PCOS after we began trying for a family. (Oh, I married Jake, in case you're new to my blog).

These symptoms cause me the most self-doubt and negative thoughts when  meeting new people for the first time. At job interviews. Around groups of kids. I still opt for long sleeves if the weather allows it. I try not to show my arms or full body in photos, if I can help it. Kids, as blunt as they are, sometimes ask me about my arms, or if I'm part werewolf. (Depending on the kid, sometimes I say yes, and they think that's so awesome.) I worry that one day my kids will get made fun of because their mom looks like a gorilla. Or is hairier than their dad.

I worry that the first things everyone notices about me when they see me in person is that my arms are hairy, my skin isn't clear, and I'm pudgy. I worry they are embarrassed to be seen with me. I hate it. But I am pretty good at hiding my dear and carrying on. 

Last night, I took this self-portrait for my August Moms group, because someone asked the pregnant mommas to show off. I was in a hurry and not paying a lot of attention, and uploaded it without "proofing" it to hide my flaws- those ugly symptomatic arms especially. In my caption, I apologized-ish for showing my gorilla-esque arms because they're unsightly and embarrassing.

And one momma replied she hadn't even noticed until I said something.

And this morning, she reminded me that there are some people who see me as beautiful, for whatever reason, or who don't see what I see in the symptoms that cause me so much self-doubt. She reminded me that my husband thinks I'm beautiful, and attractive, even if I don't see it. He even told me I was last night (or it may have been the night before). 

It reminded me that some people really like me for me.

On my blog, I sometimes wrote serious topics. I write for me, but also on behalf of the countless others who may relate but not be able to express.

I cherish every comment my blog receives. If you wish to comment, but prefer anonymity, you may comment that way. If you need someone to talk to, but don't feel comfortable commenting here, you can reach me at Nicole.m.worthley[at]gmail[dot]com