One Small Voice.

For so long, on Friday the 13th of June and over that whole weekend, my one small voice felt silenced.

I wanted so much to concentrate fully on the enormity of that one big thing – Des’ second birthday and being two years past what it was like to meet him. How it felt to hold him against me, and even how it felt to watch him belong to someone else for a bit, as I was pretty much chasing an ambulance and then racing to a NICU two days after his birth. Post-partum, pained and shaken.

It all turned out ok, though..

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(I have since gotten him a haircut. He was starting to look like Pigpen.)

And I wanted so much to concentrate fully on the enormity of that other one big thing on the same day – Scarlet’s preschool graduation and being nearly two years past her entrance into this safe and healthy school that we chose. And how it was safe and healthy for ME. I’m losing my place there too. We’re finding another. It’s not about me, but isn’t it about me, just the same?

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(Me, around the same age – guess which one is me!)

My mom came for Des’ birthday/Scarlet’s preschool graduation and my one small voice was swallowed up by birthday presents and birthday cakes and new train sets, and Des’ need to hug my mom…every…30 seconds. It’s magical really.

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And I remembered what we had and what we have. I remembered that on the Wednesday morning before this, he came with me to my dentist appointment and lay in my lap stroking my arms for a half hour, until he fell asleep and I completed my dental cleaning/exam by running my fingers through his flippy, teen 80’s movie hair. If that isn’t bonding, I don’t know what is.

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My one small voice was swallowed up in the dark, rainy, humid day of celebration. I knew people could see and hear me just fine, but I still chose mostly silence. I was proud. I was nervous. I was annoyed at the pouring rain, for the second Des birthday in a row, and what an indoor preschool party and later birthday party would look like under low light. Good, but not as good.

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(You can spot her, right? In the black!)

I started writing this weeks ago, actually on that day or the one after. I’m continuing the draft after summer has already settled over us into a familiar but unfamiliar rhythm of summer camp and heat and air conditioning and small trips. However, the sentiment is still there. In fact, Scarlet is turning five this week. And I’ll be ready with a post and a cake and my camera.

The kids sang a song called “One Small Voice” and I about lost it every time I heard her rehearse it around the house.

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This is a boy she has known since she was three-weeks-old. Special, right?

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Then it was her turn to cross over the bridge to kindergarten. I got a little (a lot) verklempt.

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And then we left early, because Des fell asleep in my arms, and it was time to go home and celebrate his birthday. And nothing says, “I love you” like backwards letters on your “Happy Birthday” sign and a cake with 117 ingredients. Nothing.

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Big sisters are very helpful at blowing out the candles, as his efforts (below) were comical.

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And then it was cake time. Did he like the cake?

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Short answer. Heck yes.

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This is the one that inspired me to make a meme about cake.

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I think cake inspires some pretty great facial expressions, don’t you?

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Ah, the sweet red dye of birthday success.

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Five of the grandparents came, which was really special. And they all came to Scarlet’s birthday party last week too. It was not overwhelming at all. It was perfect. And Scarlet said about her real birthday, this Wednesday (much more on that soon), “Can we.. just spend the whole day just the four of us?” Perfect. She’ll be getting a kid REAL camera, and maybe a day at Six Flags.

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Such big kids, with such big lives, and such big plans. And big voices. We all have big voices when we want to have big voices.

About Tamara

Tamara is a professional photographer, a mama of two, a Lifestyle Blogger/Social Media Influencer/Brand Ambassador, and a nearly professional cookie taster. She has been known to be all four of those things at all hours of the day and night. She is a very proud contributor to the book, The Mother Of All Meltdowns, the Stigma Fighters Anthology (volume 1), and The HerStories Project: So Glad They Told Me. She is also a proud Community Lead and a regular contributor to the SoFab Food blog, and the Target Made Me Do It blog. After two cross country moves, due to her intense Bi-Coastal Disorder, she lives with her husband, daughter, son, dog, cat, and 11 chickens in glorious western Massachusetts.


One Small Voice. — 122 Comments

  1. Aww, I am having one of those days of feeling sad at the end of the holiday weekend, as well as the mid point to summer now, too. So, I read your post and couldn’t help tearing up. As perfect as each of these moments were, like you I just wish I could hold onto them and not have them go by me so quickly. Emma’s birthday is on the 17th now and I know hers also will probably fly by and be here and gone before I know it. So, I can truly relate and then some and how.

    • It’s not the mid point to summer, is it?? I feel like it’s only been two weeks. Still two months to school. I can’t believe I’m going to have a five-year-old in two days.

  2. OH – you have had a huge kick-off to summer!! 2 year old, pre-school graduation and now a 5 year old – plus the addition of the kittens!!!
    I love the idea of crossing the bridge to kindergarten!!! And, so sweet that Scarlet just wants the 4 of y’all on her actual birthday!!!

    • And then in two weeks it’s my birthday too! June/July is always so nutty around here and of course we made it more crazy with the kittens.
      I love the meaning of the little bridge. Usually they do the ceremony outside but the rain ruined it!

  3. I love your description of the cake. So many ingredients but so many more memories. Soak in every moment of this summer, the one before they start kindergarten is so precious. Let your voices be heard – loud and clear!

    • It’s such a precious summer – you’re right. And she’s in camp for all of July but not August. August… we do all of everything ever. (sorta exaggerating but you get my point)

  4. Phew, you survived! Beautiful photos, Des has such big eyes full of expression! That one after the meme pic kind of took me aback, his gaze looks so intense and peaceful at the same time. He’s gonna be a heartbreaker.

    • I live for cake pictures! And on both his first and second birthdays, it’s been dark and pouring rain. When will I get my sunny cake photos??

  5. That meme is perfect. And Des has a little red cake mustache, so cute! Such a big month for the family. I find myself those transition times to be both amazing and saddening, the end of an era.

  6. We just had our big birthday rush here – and while it is sometimes overwhelming at the time, when it is over I often feel a bit sad that it is over. (Even though the start of new things is exciting too.)

    • We’re just halfway through our craze! Scarlet is Wednesday and I’m the 25th. Party time! Maybe I just need a whole day to myself for my birthday.. nah!

  7. That cake meme was just perfect! And the cake itself looked good too. Love how Scarlet helped him blow out the candles. Sometimes I think even the seemingly little milestones are huge emotional wrecks. (both good and bad)

    • I completely agree! And I come here and write about it and you all make me feel so much more sane. Parenting through milestones is just.. a thing!

  8. I walked over a little bridge like that when I was in Girl Scouts – I remember being so proud to walk to the other side. And voices – the voices of those we love are always big.

    • That’s so funny. It was the same with me. We were Brownies and we had to cross a bridge to become Girl Scouts. And of course this story ends here because my troop leader moved away and it was really only about her and snacks for me, and one of them I could get at home.

  9. It seems like this post was for me since I’ve been complaining that I haven’t been seeing a lot of Des lately. The kids are growing up and we would all love them not to. Maybe we’re being selfish but they’re our babies and we would love to have them as babies for just a little longer. Can’t believe Des is finally 2 and Scarlet is going to be 5. Time surely does fly. As for those cake pictures, they were totally Des, just gotta love his expressions. btw I love what Scarlet is getting for her birthday. I bet she’s going to be the next photographer in the family.

    • See? I told you I’d come through with Des! I need new Des because he has since gotten a haircut from the photos shown here. Like I said above, he reminded me of Pigpen from the Peanuts cartoons.
      He’s two now! Sob.

  10. your summer has been milestones on top of events on top of happenings. This is why I skipped the posts I missed before this to get to this one, even before there were 99 comments. Plus, I AM doing the cake thing wrong. I make twice the mess with a piece of cake than Des did. That either means I’m a slob, or he’s tidy beyond his years.

    Please make it No. 2 for now.

    • There aren’t 99 comments in the last one yet either. I know it will happen but I think there’s a massive boycott that I didn’t formally introduce Han Solo in my vlog. I swear it was in the first draft but that draft also had Scarlet yelling, “I have to poop.”
      Should have left it as is.

  11. We all can have big voices, but since they can’t all be heard at the same time, its wonderful for us each to take a turn at having a small one, right Tamara? I love the cake poster… I have terrific photos of both of my girls covered in chocolate from their 1st birthday and 1st encounter with cake (chocolate is sort of a food group for this family full of girls!!)

    • Totally right! Sometimes, often, I just need a small voice just to watch and learn and experience.
      Chocolate is a food group in this family too!

  12. Awwww, why did I cry? What made me cry? As moms I think we have that shared feeling of time passing so slowly yet too quickly. I swear motherhood exists in its own time zone.

    Happy Belated Birthday to Des. I just adore those pictures of him eating cake.

    The photos of Scarlet graduating… oh my.

    Thanks for sharing. Wishing you a beautiful week.

  13. I’m getting a little verklempt just reading this! We’ve all clearly been eating cake wrong. So much to take in at once, but I love how you are just soaking it all in and honoring those small voices that are becoming big voices.

    • I never really thought to just eat the whole slice of cake on a forkful! Des is so wise.
      I love to honor all of the voices. I’m still verklempt and this was weeks ago!

  14. Loved seeing all the cake pictures. Des is a cutie. My 2 year old also loves cake. She will often pull out the vanilla from the pantry and request we make cake. We make a single layer cake at least once a week. We usually only frost our cakes for special occassions, but we always light candles and sing happy birthday every time we bake one.

    • That’s so nice that you make a small cake every week. Scarlet will only ever eat the frosting so your method might be really good for getting them to appreciate the cake itself!

  15. Great photos of Des and the cake. I have been eating it wrong LOL! I love that you savor and treasure all the moments with the photos and your blog.I also like graduation photos โ€“ I love seeing Scarlet cross the bridgeโ€ฆso many bridges in life arenโ€™t there? Congrats to her and Happy Birthday to Des!

    • Me too! Totally been eating cake wrong. His way was just so efficient!
      There are many bridges to cross in life, you’re right. May they all be as supported and sturdy as this little one was..

  16. So heartwarming to see all the photos! Big one for all of you with preschool graduation and birthday. I love your cake meme! Haha, it’s perfect! So glad to know you all enjoyed those moments which will definitely be great memories.

    • I’m so glad to have these photos, for sure! Pigpen and rain storms included.
      I’m really ready for a relaxing summer, but I don’t think it’s in the cards!

    • I have to say, though. These photos are why I finally got him a haircut! His hair just falls straight over his face and although everyone tells me to give him ponytails or headbands, I’m honestly not into the look for him. So he’s back to Beatles shag and I dig it.
      The bridge was awesome but I wish it could have been outside! Stupid rain.

  17. Oh my goodness! I love Des’s hair. He looks like a little man! When did he grow to be that big?!! I just love how you are able to share pics of you when you were their ages. I can see you in them so much more clearly because of that. I think you might be the one on the right? Or is that your sister? I love the idea they did with Scarlet crossing the bridge. So cute and definitely shows how big and wonderful the milestone really is!

    • He is so big now! And his hair.. well let’s just say I looked at these photos and cut it. Now he can see again!
      The bridge is an awesome ceremony and I’m still a little upset that it wasn’t out in the sunshine like other years, but I’m learning to let that go.
      Rain or shine, she crossed the bridge!

  18. It’s truly amazing how fast these waves come and hit us, isn’t it? Grasping at it all- like bubbles in the wind. Such moments are fleeting so fast… and yet, you capture it for always here.

    • I agree! I’d love a bridge like that for my own milestones! She was so adorable crossing the bridge. Bad rain or not, I’m glad I had a front row seat.

  19. Yay! sounds like it was a wonderful gathering indeed, especially when all the grandparents are involved ๐Ÿ˜€ We have all been doing cake wrong: we haven’t been eating enough of it! I’m on a banana nut bread kick and it’s so good and easy to make. Sold! Time to clean I’ve been avoiding the bathrooms task for a while so it’s time to get on it no excuses. Wonderful photos and hope you’re doing well and that your heart is filled with love ๐Ÿ˜› Have a great one Tamara! -Iva

    • Banana nut bread?? That sounds fabulous and much better than red dyed cake with 117 ingredients.
      Cleaning the bathroom isn’t so bad once I’m doing it but it’s the anticipation of it! I have my own since Cassidy likes to shower downstairs in the kids’ bathroom. So it’s not so bad that I clean my own and he cleans the one that everyone and their mother uses! Ha!

      • Umm yes it’s fabulous indeed and super easy to make ๐Ÿ˜› It has 2/3 cup of sugar though shh don’t tell GiGI ๐Ÿ™‚ Lol yes those cakes are horrible with all their hidden nonsense. Thankfully, if I need an elaborate cake I bug my girl who does that for a living ๐Ÿ˜€ She can do all sorts of decorations it’s pretty awesome. Ha that’s awesome – my bf is responsible for the tub since my back can’t handle it, ours is huge so that’s all on him. I can manage the rest and prefer to since i’m a neat freak and everything has to be done just-so. He tries though so A+ for effort and willingness to participate. Lol >:)

        • Is it bad that I don’t even think that 2/3 a cup of sugar is that bad? I wanted Gigi to see my Friday post because I did my first vlog and hers are so darn professional that she’d get a kick out of it. Then again, she’d notice my talk of sugar. Always.
          Cleaning tubs = terrible!

          • No it’s not – I’ve just been on the lookout for my sugar intake but I can’t help it, it’s soooo good!!! Ahh I missed this first vlog – I was completely disconnected last week lol ๐Ÿ™‚ Will have to follow up with that when I get home hehe. She’s quick to reprimand when sugar is in the conversation! LOL Yes cleaning tubs always is terrible which is why the bf does it ๐Ÿ˜‰

            • Is your sugar ok otherwise? Or just you being aware?
              Yes, I have my first vlog up! Although you met me so you already know. Without BlogU, it would have cleared up some mysteries, though!

              • Thankfully my sugar is fine but moms has Diabetes and I’m not trying to aggravate anything. I also would eat an insane amount of sugar, without realizing it – I had issues with my female parts in December which led to exploratory surgery turns out a high sugar diet can cause these issues since it leads to a decreased good-bacteria environment in there. SO due to that I decided to limit my sugar intake – which I have just need to reinforce it again, lol. ๐Ÿ™‚ Chocolate chips by itself so good ๐Ÿ™ Need to get some good quality dark chocolate and call it a wrap!

  20. Lovely Tamara. I get you. My kindergartener just graduated and I now am a parent of an honest to goodness, middle schooler! Where did the time go?? Have i done ok with the time we have had so far…… Love the meme by the way ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Middle schooler!! And I noticed it’s earlier than it used to be. I started middle school in 7th grade, giving my parents extra room to freak out, I guess. Scarlet will start in sixth grade.
      I swear this is why people have more babies..

  21. I love everything about this post! Those pics of Des and his cake are too much. You can tell he is loving every glorious minute of eating his cake!!

    • I remember his first birthday – he ate rainbow cupcakes, and he was only one then. What a mess! This was neater and more effective for sure.

  22. I’m going to start doing an anti-rain dance NOW so that next summer there are sunny, clear skies for Des’ birthday! So much growing up going on in a single day. I think you’re right that it’s not about us as parents but at the same time it IS about us as parents. Our journeys are separate and yet inextricably intertwined.

    • Thank you! He really deserves a sunny birthday! I wanted that perfect sunny cake smash photo. Oh well. I made do and the result was hilarious!
      I love what you said about our journeys. Dead on!

  23. Sometimes your little voice being swallowed up is exactly what you need to take in the big moments. Two birthdays of rain? What theโ€ฆ.I hope that doesnโ€™t become a pattern. I feel like dates and patterns run rampant in your life. The walking over the bridge for preschool graduation is the kind of metaphor that would bring me to tears! I love Scarletโ€™s request to spend time with the four of youโ€ฆbut not as much as I love the way Des stroked your arm and played love-bug-number-1 at the dentist. He is charmer-number-1

    • Des is such a charmer, isn’t he?
      The pouring rain two birthdays in a row is a bummer. On the day of his actual birth, it didn’t rain! It was nutty and rushed and stressful and crazy, but it didn’t rain.
      Small miracles.

  24. Oh, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the symbolic crossing the bridge! How adorable!! Scarlet looked beautiful! Happy Birthday, Des!! He and I are of like minds on our approach to cake! He looks much cuter eating it than I do, though! ๐Ÿ˜€ What a big few weeks you have here! Lots of milestones to cherish! –Lisa

  25. Des had some magical eyes. Gorgeous! Why are these babies getting so big, so fast? I want time to slow down just a little so we can take it all in.

    I really like the idea of crossing the bridge into kindergarten. So sweet. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • He does have some magical eyes! I think he’ll get himself in and out of trouble with them!
      The bridge crossing is awesome. I want one in my yard for every time I do something cool.

  26. Aw! My oldest and youngest both have birthdays in early August. I am usually a planner, but this year I just don’t want to. Partly because birthday parties are completely out of hand (in my opinion) and partly because of 7 & 12. My “baby” will start SECOND GRADE in about 6 weeks and I can’t even. There is something about 7 and second grade that seems so grown up. And, my oldest? She wants me to show her how to shave her legs. ๐Ÿ™ Where does the time go?

    • Birthday parties are so out of hand. Wait until you see my post tomorrow. It’s the perfect example of over the top circus party!
      Second grade. Wow. I remember second grade. Six more weeks of summer, though! Enjoy every second of it!! And ack about shaving legs!!

    • I think he advanced his fine motor skills (and manners) just to be able to eat cake in such a fashion.
      This summer is crazy as heck! I guess I wouldn’t have it any other way, though.

  27. First, des will never look like a pig pen! (that made me giggle so hard!!) I loved all of the ceremony and birthday cake pictures nd that the grandparents came to celebrate it all. perfection!

    • haha! Someone else thought I meant pigeon. I meant Pigpen from The Peanuts comics. That one with crazy hair who always had flies buzzing around him. Des is clean but his hair was out of control! I got it cut and then I cut that shiz myself! Don’t tell anyone, though. It’s slightly crooked.

  28. Perhaps those every 30 second hugs were needed just as much by me! I stored them up and I think it helped get me through the painful days that closely followed. Hurray for grandchildren! Hurray for my kids!

    • He calls for you every day! Poor little lad. He’ll see you this weekend, though. And for my birthday. So all is well.
      It’s been painful and.. full of kid love. What a summer, huh?

  29. Hon your voice is loud through your photos and it screams love. So precious. The song, the bridge and Des in the dental chair just about choked me up and I never have even met them <3

    • Thank you, my dear! That means a lot. That’s pretty much my photography goal.
      I’m touched that this all choked you up. I get that. The blogger connections are strong!

  30. Oh my goodness, that bridge crossing over into kindergarten almost made ME cry! I do that – cry at other people’s big life events, people who I don’t even know. Go you, getting through graduation AND a two year old birthday party. And Scarlet is going to love the camera next week. She’s already such a talented photographer.

    • I sobbed at a very casual acquaintance’s wedding. Stayed dry-eyed for my siblings! I cried at my friend’s mom’s funeral. I had never met her. Stayed dry-eyed for some funerals within my own family.
      I’ll never understand it!

  31. That cake meme is hysterical! And much needed for such an emotional time. I get very weird at the end of the school year. All weepy and wanting to get pregnant again in an effort to stop time. My kids didn’t have a bridge. That might have put me over the edge instead of just teetering on the hairy fringe.

    • ha! About wanting to get pregnant again! I’d love a third baby but without any day of pregnancy. I guess this is up for discussion one day.
      The bridge.. rough stuff to the heart..

  32. So so lovely. My two have back-to-back birthdays in the fall. That mashed with the start of a new school year gets me the same way this time of summer gets you. Too much in both an overwhelming and an amazing way. Love those cake photos! And Scarlet looks so big walking across that bridge!

    • Back-to-back-to-back, actually! My birthday is in two weeks. Yikes!
      Scarlet is so glorious on that bridge. So glad I got a photo, even if the conditions weren’t great.

  33. I’d love some cake!

    What a sweet graduation. I wish my kids got something like that. Love the crossing over the bridge bit.

  34. What a big day! It’s so interesting to see all the different ways that Pre-K programs celebrate moving up to Kindergarten. And Des looks adorable with his moppy hair. Congrats to both!

    • Thanks! He still has moppy hair but I took some of the part that goes into his eyes off.
      I have seen many schools that did adorable caps and gowns for students! I guess it really varies.

    • Thanks! I had to make a meme of it. I thought he’d get himself a forkful, but no, he used leverage to get himself an entire piece on a fork!

  35. Des’s expressions while eating cake were priceless! I feel like reading your posts is like watching a movie sometimes ๐Ÿ™‚ so glad it was a great success! Where did our babies go? C will be 2 in a few weeks too!

    • I do, Rabia! I have quiet time today. Everyone else went to Grandma’s house and a full day with no a/c and swimming in a river doesn’t do it for me. I may show up for the food, though.
      I’m working and just relaxing! Even the dog is gone. Yay!

  36. Oh, I just adore walking over the bridge to Kindergarten! We have a bridge at our preschool, and I have to suggest that to my director for next year!

    Both my daughters got a real point and shoot camera from their aunt when they turned five, and they love taking pictures and little videos. They fill up their memory cards really fast…thank goodness I don’t have to buy film!

    • Ooh, let me know if your director says yes! That would be so cool.
      Scarlet is getting her first camera tomorrow. I really, really can’t wait. And I hear you about film. I remember how fast I could go through a roll when I was a kid..

  37. oh my goodness, those cake eating pictures. So so amazing. I don’t know what it is about preschool graduation but I was a mess at Everett’s too. I love that they get to “cross the bridge” and graduate.

  38. If you don’t have red dye on your cheeks and icing on your nose; you’re just not doing cake right.
    Love every magical piece of this. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Happy Birthday to the little man and congrats to Scarlett for crossing a big bridge.

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