Dear Beautiful Girl - Girl of Cardigan

Dear Beautiful Girl-

It’s snowing.

This very minute, I’m meant to be holed up in a schmancy hotel room with your daddo, watching the ocean from a whirlpool tub and celebrating our third anniversary.  But this year the snow, my old ally and friend and great love snow, seems to have turned on me and arranged to muck up only the weekends I have travel plans.  So, instead, I’m in our old orange chair in the living room, and you are in your bed instead of spoiled and snuggled up at Camp Grandpa & Grandma, and we are hunkered down until the city calms and the snow melts and things get back to normal.

Tonight would have been the very first night that you and I have been apart in 15, or really, 24 months.  I prepared and planned and dreaded and longed for this night.  But it’s snowing, and you and your daddo and I are here together.

I’ll tell you something true: I’m not always the best at dealing with disappointment.  I like things to happen as planned, and when I’m feeling particularly excited and anxious about an event that doesn’t come through, I sometimes find myself feeling really, really sad.  I cried a lot, yesterday, over the loss of a few days in a hotel and the chance to sleep past 6AM.  I cried about those things, sitting in my warm house with my beautiful girl and my wonderful husband and my incredible friends who babysit and clean things while outside, storms brewed and snow flurried and a thousand frozen fingers gathered over trash can fires, and someone somewhere cried over the child they’ll never see again, and someone else got a horrible call that ended a job, a season, a marriage, a life.  I cried about my whirlpool tub, and then I cried about feeling ridiculous and selfish for crying about my whirlpool tub, and then I cried a little more just because I’d gotten good and going at that point and why the hell not.

And all the while, it snowed.  It snowed and it snowed and it snowed.

The thing about snow is that no matter how desperately I want to hate it, it’s just… beautiful.  It covers over everything imperfect, drowns out our noise, layers our ugliness under this glittering, frozen peace.  It’s lovely, snow, for all its plan ruining and destruction and pain.  It’s wonderful to look at.  It’s beautiful stuff.

We had a rough day, yesterday, a disappointing and frustrating and guilt-ridden day.

Dear Beautiful Girl - Girl of Cardigan

But before you went to sleep, we danced around your button rug, you and I.  We danced and I held you and your hair smelled like pancakes, and our dancing covered over everything imperfect, drowned out our noise, and layered my brokenness with peace.  Because being your mother is the thing that peels back the strongholds in me, reveals the dark spaces, highlights the areas where I most need to grow, and because being your mother is also the thing that reminds me how very big love is, how there is room for my sadness, even when it feels shallow, and still room for gratitude in the very same dance.  Because I am only me, here learning how best to love you, and we are only us.

And tonight, I am in the orange chair, and you are in your bed smelling like pancakes, and all will be well.

Let it snow.

Girl of Cardigan


  • Sarah Haven February 8, 2014 at 9:17 am


    • karyn February 8, 2014 at 10:22 am

      You’re beautiful. 🙂

  • Kelley Friend February 8, 2014 at 9:47 am

    LOVE! So well written and totally relatable. We all have days, weekends, weeks like that and you summed it perfectly. Thank you!

    • karyn February 8, 2014 at 10:21 am

      Thank you! Please come to Portland immediately with tiny Sean and cheer me up. I’ll figure out how to hike to the airport…

  • Judy Serface February 8, 2014 at 10:02 am

    How you take just words on paper and create something so full of emotion, honesty, and inspiration is simply amazing. So, so beautiful.

    • karyn February 8, 2014 at 10:21 am

      Thanks Mommy. 🙂 Love you.

  • Emily adamz February 8, 2014 at 10:02 am

    I just love your blog. As a new mum with a five month old, your lovely words and ability to be real, profound and hilarious all rolled in one makes me smile every week.

    • karyn February 8, 2014 at 10:20 am

      Emily, thank you so much for this. I’m actually, legitimately snowed in at this very moment, and these comments are completely boosting mama morale around here. 🙂

  • Cori @ Let's Eat Grandpa February 8, 2014 at 10:43 am

    Oh, the cry over feeling guilty for crying. I know that cry so well. It’s ugly cry. Hope you guys are able to take a little vacation soon — even you said that new parents need the gift of romance, a weekend away. So don’t feel guilty! It’s a beautiful break to come back recharged and somehow even more in love than before.

    • karyn February 9, 2014 at 6:47 pm

      Thank you, lovely. I totally yelled IS BECAUSE NOT A BANANA a few times and felt much better. True story.

  • Darcy February 8, 2014 at 11:00 am

    It made me cry a little! I feel the same way many times (in just 5 weeks!)

    • karyn February 9, 2014 at 6:46 pm

      Oh, I definitely felt it then too. 🙂 We can do it. We can. Do it. Yes. Do.

  • Daniella February 8, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    Beautiful, honest, just lovely.

    • karyn February 9, 2014 at 6:46 pm

      Thank you so much, Daniella!

  • Hannah February 8, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    Thank you for sharing your feelings about disappointment. It is good to read about other moms and how they deal with different things each day. I look forward to reading more through my new mom eyes and not just as a friend anymore.

    • karyn February 9, 2014 at 6:46 pm

      Cause perfect brand new tiny baby!!!!!!

  • Bridgid Yeo February 8, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    It made me cry a little! I felt something very similar yesterday…but then gratitude poured over and I just enjoy time with my lil man. Beautifully written and just what I needed to read. Thank you again!

    • karyn February 9, 2014 at 6:45 pm

      It comes in waves, doesn’t it? Thanks for commenting, Bridgid – sending you love in the trying moments.

  • Don February 8, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Life always wins, doesn’t it? All our carefully planned events or pursuits–all subject to forces greater than ourselves. It could get you down–until you remember that it is far better for God to be in control than I!!! Still–sorry that the plans didn’t work out.

    • karyn February 9, 2014 at 6:45 pm

      It’s so true, Don. Thanks!

  • Nikki February 8, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    I love your honesty. Thank you. Last year my husband and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary. When we first got married I imagined we would go on a 2nd honeymoon or have a a big party and invite our loved ones to mark 10 years. My husband is a returning student so there was neither time nor money to do either of the things I’d imagined. So I saved up for a cozy trip to Yosemite. And then, I got pregnant and felt too ill to travel anywhere! So instead our 10 year anniversary included homemade brownies, a sweet walk around the neighborhood, and hearing the heartbeat of the tiny little being nestled in my womb. It wasn’t what I had imagined but I wouldn’t change it for anything 🙂 Our baby boy is now 4 months old and he’ll be here to help us celebrate 11 years of marriage.

    • karyn February 9, 2014 at 6:44 pm

      I love this, Nikki – thank you for sharing it. And now I want brownies. Dang it. 😉

      • Nikki February 10, 2014 at 3:50 am

        And thank YOU for sharing! And thank you for being honest with your feelings. We need more people who aren’t afraid to share their vulnerabilities. Now go make some brownies! 😉

  • Lynn February 9, 2014 at 2:23 am

    These words are beauty.

    I hope you’re able to spend your night in a hotel soon. It might just be extra-special with this memory attached to it.

    • karyn February 9, 2014 at 6:44 pm

      Thanks, Lynn! We are optimistic. As soon as this dang ice melts… 🙂

  • Laura Thurston February 10, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    Wonderfully written and helped me put in perspective that although I hate having a power outage that lasts days, at least I am in my own house with a wood stove for warmth and lif e really is good!

    • karyn February 13, 2014 at 7:50 am

      Power is back!!! Hooray!!!!!

  • Emily February 11, 2014 at 9:22 am

    As the snow comes down here, I am cuddled up with my pups and am grateful for beautiful words from genuine people. Thanks for all you do!

    • karyn February 13, 2014 at 7:49 am

      Thanks, Emily. 🙂 I hope you enjoy your snuggly snow.

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