Mother’s Day for me is about gratitude. It is a day of honoring the women who brought us into this world, raised us, and loved us. I will honor my own mother that day, but here, I’d like to honor another special mother in my life, my sister-in-law, Nicole. She is the mother to three of the most beautiful souls.
Colton, her oldest, is five years old. He is precocious, sensitive, and imaginative. He is a lover of all games he can win at. He is so sweet, so loving… but also wants to shoot you with a Nerf gun.
Hadley, their second born, is three years old. She is sassy, courageous, funny, and loves a good dance party. She loves princesses, dresses, makeup, shoes, and all things girly. Since she seems to fall in her auntie’s footsteps, I am now convinced that loving all those things is a genetic trait.
Beckett, their third born, is six months old. He is serious but smiles easily. He loves nature, grabbing your face, and is currently obsessed with Sophie (a rubber giraffe beloved by many a teething baby). He’ll give you an easy smile, but a giggle is to be earned.
Nicole and my brother Jeremy have been married now for nine years, a decade this August (where has the time gone???). She seamlessly fit into our family from the beginning, becoming not just a family member but also a beloved sister.
One of the best things/greatest things that has ever been bestowed upon me is being an aunt. Being an aunt(ie) is the best thing in the entire world. I mean, I LOVE IT. I could burst into a million pieces and cry all day long I love it so much.
This is as close as I come to relating to motherhood presently in my life. I feel so grateful to Nicole for leading the way in Mommyland. Watching her go through pregnancy, birth, then raising her kids has been an awe-inspiring, eye-opening process. She is so honest and willing to share.
She is a woman that was always meant to be a mother. She loves her babies with all of herself. She tells me, “Everyone says this, but you don’t realize it ‘til it happens, the type of love you have for a child. It is unlike anything else. You even wonder after your first, how am I going to love another baby as much as I love this one? And then you do.” The capacity of love just keeps growing.
I ask her what the most important advice as a mother is, and she says to not stress about everything. She says no one talks about the stress. You get these glimpses on Instagram of these mothers’ lives, and it’s a painted picture of perfection. She has to remind herself that it’s okay, the house being a mess or being late to things, that with three kids nothing ever goes as planned. As long as “we’re okay” (happy, healthy, safe), that’s what matters.
She says her biggest challenge is to have patience. It can be hard to keep it when you’re sleep deprived, trying to adhere to a schedule, wanting to get things done. She says, “We’re so fast and go, go, go these days that I have to remind myself to be in the moment, enjoy them, and to let them just be kids.”
It’s hard to be honest about how hard it is raising kids. Nicole says all mothers fear saying it’s hard, it’s another thing not talked about, for fear of “being a bad mother,” which it’s not, it’s honest. Being honest doesn’t mean that when it’s hard, it’s not the most amazing thing you’ve ever done. It also doesn’t make you bad; it means you’re real, human. It takes real work and real love.
I think she says it best when reminding yourself to enjoy your kids in the moment. It is easy to get caught up. Reminding yourself to be present to the joy they are. “When they laugh or do something funny, it is the best thing in the world. They make me just so happy.”
Nicole, thank you for bringing these three amazing little humans into our family. I can’t express all the love and joy they bring to all us. For making my sister and I auntie’s, my dad a grandpa, my mother a grandma, and my brother a father, THANK YOU.
You give your all as a mom, and you are an amazing one for it. Colton, Hadley, and Beckett are lucky to have you. We are so lucky to have you.
To quote Hadley, “I love when my Mommy gives me kisses, sings with me, and I get to hug her.” There is nothing quite like a mother’s love.
Happy Mother’s Day, Nicole.
Side note: She and I had a convo about motherhood while she pumped, while driving from dance class to baseball practice, with a tired, won’t-nap baby, and two kids saying “Mommy, mommy, can we get out?” “Can I have gum?” “Where is my jacket?”
photos Mary Claire Roman
makeup, hair, styling Janelle Walker
Edit Kristen Fogle