Through My Husband's Eyes

This morning my husband posted a photo of me on his instagram. For some context, the last time he posted on instagram was literally 2013, but he loved the photo he took so much that he wanted to post it.

It's a simple close-up of my face, sleepy and sheepishly grinning at him in my pre-coffee state.  To me, this photo is nothing special.  When I look at it, my attention is instantly pulled to the specks of flaking mascara under my eyes because I went to bed last night without washing off my show makeup (yes, I know, shame on me, but that's just reality here).  I see how the close-up image showcases my large pores, and I see the old makeup, and I see messy hair, and I see nothing special at all.

But Christopher?  He has said to me at least six or seven separate times today how cute he thinks I look in this photo. He keeps saying I'm beautiful and lovely and adorable.  He looks at this picture and he Unfiltered and unkempt and beautiful.

Isn't it crazy how we don't see it?  How we don't see our own positive attributes because we're so blinded by the little things?  The things that the folks who love us most couldn't even imagine noticing?

And in a way I am so grateful for that - so grateful to know that even when I see only my worst, I have people around me who see only my best. I know that he means it, I know that he thinks this is a gorgeous depiction of who I am.

And you know what?  I think he might be right.  I think even my most raw, unedited self might just be beautiful if I remember, every so often, to look at myself through my husband's eyes.

Dear Life Lately

Dear Alyssa,
You looked so radiant and joyful and gorgeous today. Thank you so much for inviting us to celebrate you and Jarrod's big day, you beautiful bride!!! We had such a wonderful time (and stepfamily weddings get me extra in the heartstrings as I'm sure you can guess 😍).

Dear Porch,
I never knew what I was missing until you came into my life. You, me, and a freshly made cup of coffee every day? Yes, please.

Dear Friends,
Your support for my newest show means more than you could even know. I've been nervous to try to get my feet wet with performing after such a long time away - knowing that you are coming to see and support me means so much.

Dear Air Conditioner,
You are the bomb dot com. Thank you for all that you do.

Dear Summer,
Sunshine, shorts, even more iced coffee than I already excessively consume? I'm ready. Let's do this. Can't wait to see you soon!

*THAT* Holiday

Dear Stepmoms,

We're coming towards it.  It's almost here... *THAT* Holiday.

The holiday with all the sappy commercials and "Last Minute DIY Gift" articles and facebook photos tacked with captions about moms and the special bond with their children because they're "the only person who's heard my heart from the inside."

Awesome. Super.  Love that.

I've written about this subject before, but that was years and basically another world ago, so as we approach that day again, I thought I'd give it another look.

This Mother's Day will be my very first one as an official, legally defined stepmom, so it may end up being or feeling different from other years, and I'm prepared for that.  But I'm also prepared to feel just as much confusion and mixed emotion as in the past, and I'm okay with that, too.

Stepmamas, no one can tell you what to feel on this day.  I don't even know if there's one thing you SHOULD feel - everyone's situation is different and everyone's relationship with their stepkids is different and even everyone's relationship to the word "Mother" is different, so feel what you feel today.

Ask your partner to acknowledge you or ask him/her to pretend the day doesn't exist. There is no right or wrong here.

My stepdaughter surprised me this morning by talking about a potential sleepover she was going to have at her friends house this weekend - one she was invited to, but that we declined because this weekend isn't like other weekends and she should be home for it.  I was pretty hurt that she even wanted to go, if I'm being honest with myself, but I often have to remind myself that friends are an 11-year-olds main priority, and that's actually probably a sign that we're doing something right.

But anyway, I was still hurt that she wanted to go and I was battling with that yesterday. But then this morning she said to me, she said straight out: "My friends are going away for the weekend and I didn't go with them because tomorrow is a completely random day of no importance..." with this HUGE grin on her face.  You guys... she was acknowledging it.  She was acknowledging Mother's Day and why it might be important.  She was even acknowledging it with sass and sarcasm - two things I openly take a ton of credit for her being awesome at.

To anyone else, this may sound silly and unimportant and meaningless.  Or even a little insensitive on her part, but it wasn't.  It was what I needed.

I didn't even know it, but it was exactly what I needed.

Tomorrow is still another day, and I'm under no delusions that it won't be coated with a huge layer of awkward and difficult. But today, I heard words I didn't even know I desperately needed to hear.

And that, for me, will have to be enough.

As for you, stepmom? Take comfort in knowing that I see you. You are important. You are doing the best you can. This day may not go as you wish it to (or maybe it even will!) but no matter what, you are seen and heard and important. Please know that.

I get it. I'm with you, mama.

Taking Stock: April

Hello all!

What an April I had - chock full of fun, sun, a little bit of snow (it is New Hampshire after all), several shows, and a myriad of other craziness.  I'm currently writing this sick in bed (ugh. the right-before-tech-week head cold. Boo) but let's jump right into it, shall we?...

Making: myself rest even though what I WANT to do is get lots done around the house today!
Cooking: ...still nope.
Drinking: a giant iced coffee.  Like ya do.
Wanting: a nap, but settling for a pink snuggie and some youtube videos.
Looking: through a pair of brand spankin' new glasses!
Playing: Plants Vs. Zombies
Wasting: time snuggling in my bed. #noragrets
Sewing: nada. zip. zilch. zero.

Wishing: I felt better!
Enjoying: the comfort of our new house. I'm still not bored of it yet - every morning when I walk outside I get filled with joy!
Waiting: for my new show to open next week!!
Liking: black out curtains, a husband who takes care of me, and the tissues with the Vicks in them.
Wondering: why I'm spending my one day off stuck in bed.
Loving: my big brother who is home visiting this week!!!
Hoping: to hang up summer clothes in my closet soon.
Marveling: at what an amazing, fun, hilarious person Jess is.
Needing: rest.
Smelling: literally nothing because my nose isn't allowing it.
Wearing: sweatpants, a t-shirt, and my housecoat. Yes, I'm a 20-something who owns a housecoat. Haterz back off.
Following: new friends on Snapchat.
Noticing: the sounds out my window.
Knowing: that May is going to be an amazing month!
Thinking: about summertime.
Bookmarking: the amazon page for Hamilton on vinyl. Can't stop, won't stop, nonstop.
Opening: more boxes this week!
Feeling: happy, excited, overwhelmed. Ready for a new month and warmer weather!

What about you? How did your April go?  
Are you taking stock of your life this month, too?  Feel free to share your URL below!

The Stepmom Letters: Fun

Dear Jess,

This life is sometimes way too complicated or wild or emotional and we forget to laugh.  To play.  To have fun.

Yes, life is serious, but it's also hysterical.  And goofy.  And magical somehow, even (or maybe especially) in its fragility.

So thank you for reminding me to have fun.  Thank you for using silly voices and trying to teach me how to do your sweet new dance move (I swear, I'll get it someday!) and laughing with me until we literally fall to the floor.

Thank you for insisting on using the most hilarious snapchat filters and teasing me about calling things "sick" and being so dang good at sass and sarcasm. (I'm proud of that bit, by the way.)

Thank you for "tricking me" into getting you the bigger size of ice cream and then giggling about it the whole walk home.

Thank you for being my constant reminder that sometimes taking things a little less seriously is exactly what we all need.