Category Archives: Motherhood

And Then He Started 3rd Grade

And Then He Started 3rd Grade

Dear Hunter,
You started third grade. You loved it until another boy hit you in the back. On purpose.

I think you handled it the way you felt was best at the time. You told the teacher.
Dad coached you to hit back next time. And we have always told you that you will never be in trouble for defending yourself with your words or your fists.
I coached you to consider doing something without your fists, if at all possible.

Three days later you still ruminated, marinated, really, on the incident and all the bad things you could do to get back at the other boy. You were angry and plotting your retaliation. We were driving to school.

I stopped the car in the middle of our dirt road and turned to look at you. I felt lost. How was I going to help you? Being a parent is full of these moments. Questioning how I can help you on your human journey.

I said, “Honey, I can almost guarantee that the other boy is not thinking about you right now. He’s getting ready for school or getting yelled at by his mom for NOT getting ready for school. He’s taking up all your energy and thoughts right now. You are the one feeling big feelings about something that happened three days ago. Not him. Sweetheart, brains are super powerful. You can choose to not think about him. You can train your brain and make its super powers work for you rather than let all those thoughts run loose. Would you like to know how?” I breathed easier when you said yes.

We practiced how to recognize the thought about him and redirect to something you are good at or were looking forward to. I said his name and you said ‘hunting and fishing’ or ‘playing with the dogs.’

By the time we got to school, you were laughing instead of fuming.

I picked you after school and asked how it all went. You said it went pretty good.

I’ll take that as a win.

I hope we are building a trust so that you keep coming to me when you are angry, hurting, questioning, or happy.


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Posted by on September 12, 2021 in Letters To My Son, Motherhood, Uncategorized


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Little Boy Dreams About…

Little Boy Dreams About…

…adventures in the woods
…fishing in streams
…snowshoe-backpacking on the mountain
…catching critters
…hunting trips with daddy
…wrestling the dog
…snuggling close to mom
…campfire heat on his face
…splashing and sploshing and skipping stones
…comparing footprints with grizzlies
…growing up
…growing up
…growing up
…he dreams about growing up so fast
…my head spins
…my heart sinks deep
…I search for my stiff upper lip
…eye lashes gating tears
…my dream
…keeps me in his field of vision
…and runs face-first
…after his dreams.
~annie ricci~

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Posted by on December 29, 2020 in Letters To My Son, Motherhood, Poetry


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Second Grade

Second Grade

Dear Hunter,

Well, you are in school. In a new school. A new teacher. New kiddos. And a mask. Dad and I decided to move you to a new school because their test scores for reading beat the old school’s scores by a TON!! It’s a smaller school. And your best buddy, Ivan, was going to go there, too. But change is still change.

You cried yourself to sleep this week, feeling like you had no friends and that no one likes you. You told me you were different and that nobody likes what you like. You LOVE all things hunting, fishing, trapping, camping, and pretty much anything having to do with the outdoors. And then some girl in class made fun of pronouncing your name. Change is hard, kiddo. And stressful.

I wanted to tell you how to fix it all. But, instead, I listened. And then I listened some more until you were falling asleep while talking. You need to unload. You need a safe place to land the big plane of emotions. And the next day at school was better. And so was the day after that. I shared your stories with your teacher and your principal. And they moved into action to support you more. And I think you’re feeling better as the week comes to an end.

I hope I am always the safe place for you to share what’s on your heart. I’ll try to always ask you what you need from me…and if you can’t tell me, I’ll listen and listen and listen even more.

I love you, buddy.


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Posted by on September 17, 2020 in Letters To My Son, Motherhood



Close your eyes and know I am here
Holding you tight, chasing away your fear
Ohhhh, sweet boy, don’t grow so fast
Shhhh, sweet boy, the dark won’t last

You’re in my arms safe and sound
I feel your heart beating, feel it pound
Snuggle in, sweet boy, I’ll tell a story
About your adventures, sweet boy

About you running, jumping, climbing trees
And going full-speed and getting stung by bees
Breathe easy, sweet boy, let your whole self rest
Keep kitty close, sweet boy, tight to your chest

Sleep is winning the” I’m-not-tired” war
Your lids are heavy and dreams aren’t far
Quiet now, sweet boy, slumber and snore
Tomorrow, sweet boy, we’ll play even more

~for my sweet boy, Hunter~


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Posted by on August 16, 2018 in Letters To My Son, Motherhood, Poetry


Hand Hand Hand

Dear Hunter,

Your vocabulary and pronunciation continue to expand so rapidly that I have a hard time keeping up with all the new words you know and use, especially since the pronunciation for many of them isn’t quite what it will be in a few months.

One word I know is “Hand.” It comes out as “hanh.” But when your little fingers reach out for mine, I know exactly what you want. You want to take me some place, show me something you find fascinating or you want me to take the good china out of the cabinet so you can play with it. I know these days, when you want me with you, won’t last forever so I do my best to let go of the laundry folding, dish washing and electronic distractions, take your hand and follow your lead.

You have shown me rocks I never would have seen without your keen eye. You pull me out of grown-up-ness and back to little-hood with peek a boo and toy tractors. I play in the dirt more with you than I ever did when I was a child. We walk down the gravel road to see the neighbor’s horses. We blow bubbles. We chalk the side walk – and the fence and the doors and the house (dad didn’t like that much, but he got over it when the rain came and washed it all off).

Thank you for showing me the world through your eyes. Thank you for taking my hand. And just so you know, it will always be there for you.



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Brave Twirl

Dear Hunter,

Every day you inspire me to be brave. With each new discovery you make, I first take a deep breath and then, depending on what you are doing, I take a step forward or backward. I come toward you to share in your discovery or be closer if I need to pick you up when you fall.  I move away to give you a sense of autonomy and mastery over your world and body.

You recently learned how much fun it is to twirl in circles, get dizzy and fall down. And my first instinct is to tell you to be careful, that you are going to fall.  But my brave self tells me that you have to learn how to fall, how to crash in to things and learn how to get up even when it hurts. So, I laugh with you as you twirl, giggling all the way to the floor. Sometimes the twirl ends with tears and a bruise or two. I say, “Yep, that hurt, buddy. Do you want my help?” Sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t. You get more sure-footed with every twirl, though. And I get braver.

I hope you never forget how much fun it is to twirl, my dear boy. You’ve reminded me what a joy it is to play and get dizzy and silly and giggle, falling down.

I love you,



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Put One Foot In Front Of The Other…

…and soon you’ll be walking ‘cross the floor. Put one foot in front of theQuad riding other, and soon you’ll be walking out the door. ~ This is a line from a song in the Santa Claus cartoon movie that most everyone my age grew up watching every Christmas.

The Winter Warlock learns how to be kind … one step at a time.

I was watching this video the other night as my son took his first steps. It was so amazing to watch him stand straight up, not hold onto anything, look around in amazement and then take off. And then bam! All fours hit the floor. He was so excited, he got right back up and went again. And again. And again.

And just like that, he’s begun his real first steps toward independence. There are going to be so many more falls..physical and otherwise, as he navigates the world. And I know that each time he falls, I will want to scoop him into my arms, and hold him tight, hoping to make it all better. But, like I did the other night, I am going to have to hold back and let him do it on his own, let him figure it out. I will cheer him on, telling him he can do it and that I am proud of him.

What an honor to help this little human being.

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Posted by on December 17, 2013 in Motherhood


Be Real

I have been waiting to write my next blog post.  Waiting until I wasn’t tired.  Waiting until I could frame it in a way that was happy or positive.  Waiting until that sweet muse overtook me and the words flowed like the headwaters of the Missouri.  Waiting until the baby napped longer than 20 minutes.  Waiting until I felt I had something good to write about, something that would make others feel good too.

But I today learned that showing up in the not-so-pretty-moments is still important and definitely authentic.  So here’s what’s going on in all its rawness…

I am exhausted.  And trying to be a good mom, I have learned, is exhausting. (Don’t get me wrong, it’s completely worth the exhaustion.) I have a desk covered in paperwork that needs to be filed.  I have a load of laundry that needs to be folded and several that need to get through the wash.  The floors need vacuuming and scrubbing. Lawn needs watering and the car needs washed and an oil change. And I feel sad.  Feel like I am failing someone somewhere on something.

A friend said to me today, “Keeping things from going backward is a lot of work. And, to others, it doesn’t look like any forward movement.  But imagine what would happen if you quit doing the things you are doing.”  She made a good point and I felt a smidge better.

I appreciate all my blessings; and my cup really does overflow with good things.  But that doesn’t take away times when life challenges me, stresses me or stretches me super thin.  It doesn’t change the fact that there are days when I want to be gone.  It doesn’t change the fact that if one more person asks me to do one more thing that I don’t want to pull my hair out and scream.

What to do in those times to stay sane?  I try to recognize those places, give them space, take a step back, find little ways to make myself feel better.  I try to remember that these stretched-to-the-max-times are temporary.  If all else fails, I sit and have myself a really good, soul-washing, old-fashioned cry.

Then I put on the big girl panties and get back in the game.


Posted by on July 11, 2013 in Motherhood


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