It’s the sweet simple moments, moments that I am so fortunate to experience often; my daughters laughing together or doing cartwheels in the living room; or watching my artsy girl quietly drawing, coloring and creating at the table while I work in the kitchen.

My heart swells, and I find myself asking, “how did I get so lucky?!” And Myself answers quickly, “It’s not luck. You fought damn hard for this. You paid for it with blood, sweat and tears; sleepless nights and silent prayers; promises whispered to God in the depths of your heart. No, it’s not luck Babe, it’s the life you made.”

I’m sure I had my own moments of doing cartwheels in the house, or climbing the walls as a kid. I know I had fun moments, building forts and playing all sorts of games with my sister, and with family. But it feels like someone else lived those moments. A whole part of me fell away… drifted into another lifetime; I vaguely remember my childhood.

I know that I have wonderful memories of my grandma’s farm. In the summer, waking up with the sun shining early, all kinds of birds singing their own songs in the morning and all throughout the day. I remember the fridge/freezer she kept in the garage with all her borscht and headcheese on one side and all the Popsicles, Revel-O’s and Freezies on the other side. I remember “sock-hops” and airbands at school, book orders, and Barbies. I remember Christmas with cousins–perogies with ham, farmer sausage and cream gravy. Swimming at the public pool in town, road trips to Mexico every year, piƱatas and late night parties.

I remember these things; I know they happened, but the sweetness of them seems so far away, clouded through a fog of never feeling heard as a child; not being allowed to feel or express myself, heaps of shame foisted upon me what seemed like daily (about what? for what? why? I’ll likely never know–just for being, I guess); bullied and ostracized at school, my family falling apart, innocence lost too young–or rather not lost but buried under the weight of forced maturity and responsibility.

I find myself asking, “Are my kids living a ‘normal’ life?” Does anyone? What would a ‘normal’ life even feel like? Are there people who grow up without feeling guilty and ashamed on a daily basis? Is this a generational thing? I can’t help but wonder if I’m doing a good job. I have done a great job of working through so much of that “trauma”, stuff I didn’t even realize was ‘trauma’. In a way, I’m still not even sure it was trauma… it’s just part of life, isn’t it? It’s helped shape me, helped me become who I am today.

Either way, I am vigilant. I watch over my home and my heart. I watch over my kids hearts and my husbands heart. I don’t want anything to steal their joy. The warmth of a life well-lived. I don’t want anything to sour life’s sweet little moments.

I LOVE these little moments, moments when I can quietly clean my kitchen and watch and listen to my kids just being kids, being and expressing themselves. I hope that they will be able to remember and reminisce together about these times. I know I cherish all of these little moments, when I get to soak in the simplicity of life, to be Myself and be in the moment, and know that I’m so fucking lucky!