Best Of grow

Open Arms at the Pick Up Curb

wes with stick


At least two days a week I get all teary-eyed while I watch parents warmly embrace their children at the front gates of school as I pick up Wesley in the afternoon. I watch the same routine every day.  Parents pull up to the curb, exit their car, readjust their jackets and scarves, put their hands in their pockets and anxiously await the arrival of their child to the pick-up curb.

And then it happens. My favorite part. The part where the child turns the corner, spots Mom or Dad and their face lights up with pure joy.  What starts as a jog, ends in a sprint as these children run full force into the wide open arms of a loving parent.  The hugs are long and the squeezes extra tight as the child buries his head into his momma’s neck and in a matter of seconds her face begins to reflect his joy.

I look at these other Moms and I beam.
Because I know exactly what they are feeling in that moment.
I recognize the beautiful exchange of love that is taking place during that 30 second embrace every day after school.
When I see a Mom give an extra squeeze and brush her son’s hair out of his eyes, I know she’s really saying: I’m so proud of you. I would give up everything for you. You can change the world. I’m so happy you’re mine.

And every day, as I beam at these encounters…
I can’t also help but let the sad feelings creep in.
The reality that not every child in the world has felt this love, has shared this embrace with someone whose entire world depends on their happiness. These realities hurt my tender momma-heart, and I find myself wishing I could somehow rescue them all. Wishing I had enough love to go around. Aching at the thought of any heart going unloved.

Sometimes I tell myself to banish these thoughts, to not allow them to dampen these beautiful moments and cast a shadow over my day. But ya know, I think that would be a greater tragedy–to allow them to be forgotten, and I can’t let that happen. So for now, I’ll let myself cry for them until I learn what more I’m supposed to do.


I’m hard on myself as a parent.
I’m fully aware of this fact.
It is both my greatest strength and my greatest weakness.
And I’m also aware of my specifics faults and failures over the past 3.5 years.
On days when I realize that I need to give myself more credit…on those days I try to remember one thing that I know for certain:

I score 100% of the love spectrum.

My children have my whole heart.
When it comes to giving them love, I can never fail.
And that’s what matters most.
(gives self pat on back)



Nice try fuzzy head.

photo copy 9

Owl cap c/o: Black Bird Boutique

photo copy 14

Wes, reading to his stuffed friends.

photo copy 15

Fuzzy head.

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  • Reply
    Michelle {the Momma Bird}
    January 15, 2013 at 8:59 am

    Oh my gosh I was just writing up a post so similar to this! My absolute FAVORITE part of the week are the days I get to pick Cohen up from PreK. He ALWAYS sprints to me while yelling, “MOMMMMYYYYY!” and slams a huge kiss on me. These moments won’t last forever, especially those big, fat kisses in front of his entire classroom. I wish I could bottle up these special moments…don’t you?!
    ps. fuzzy head is PRESH!

  • Reply
    January 15, 2013 at 8:59 am

    Very pleased to see Wesley in his England shirt! Good choice mama! X

  • Reply
    Lindsay Roberts
    January 15, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    Ash these pics melt my heart! Let’s get together soon! xo

  • Reply
    January 15, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    Love that fuzzy head.

  • Reply
    January 15, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    Ashley, you have such handsome little guys!

    i often find myself having the same thoughts as what you mentioned in this post.
    it’s so nice to be able to love our own children in that way, but breaks my heart to know that there are so many children in this world (more than we can process, most likely) who don’t know what that kind of love feels like.
    i wish there were simple answers, but for now, i’ll continue to love on my little guy with all that i have. <3
    (on a completely random side note, i just saw that you're going to be a speaker at the Elevate conference…congrats!)

  • Reply
    January 15, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    I love his fuzzy head!!! What a sweet little angel!!!!

  • Reply
    January 15, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    This has been on my heart so much lately. We’ve been raising my huaband’s niece’s 21 month old son for the last two months. We have to take him down to the child and family welfare agency each week in order to provide his mom with the opportunity to see him for two hours at a time. More often than not, she doesn’t show and every week it breaks my heart. Last week, I realized how thankful I am that he is too young to realize that he isn’t the highest priority in his mama’s life and that he does have my husband and I to stand in for her. We are there every time he wakes during the night, to give kisses to his tiny and-not-so-tiny owies, to get him to the doctor when he is sick and give him his medicine so that he can get better instead of ending up in the ER again. Every time you do those itty-bitty things, you are telling your boys that they are the most important thing in your life and nothing can change that. By choosing them over everything else, you are shaping them into men that will be capable of big BIG things someday and you deserve more than a pat on the back for that. We all do!

  • Reply
    MJ of Lucky 7 Design
    January 15, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    What a beautiful post. You know Im the mama of 5 and due to recent events have taken to spending extra amounts of time with my children. I also pick them up from school now too….just the thought of anything happening to them would break my heart. I can’t imagine a parent not showing a child love, it is just a sad thought but I know it does happen. Im the mom who is a friend to all of my children’s friends, I let them sleep over, give clothes when they need..I cook for them. If it’s one thing I think I can do well is to take care of others and show them love.

    This was such a sweet post, you have such a way with words Ashley.


  • Reply
    School Sparks Renee
    January 15, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    Adorable pictures of you littles one!

  • Reply
    Holly Greene
    January 15, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    Hi Ashley, this is my first time commenting, but I seriously get excited when I see an email from you! lol When you took your break over december I missed your emails! Totally understand the need for a break too! Your boys are soooo cute 🙂 I have two boys and a girl and they are all over 4 so the baby pic I just eat up! Anyways just wanted to say hi and let you know how much I look forward to your posts.

  • Reply
    January 17, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    That fuzz head!!!! What a sugar muffin. Your boys are both so sweet. I love this post! I love watching the pick up everyday at preschool too, it is my favorite part of my day, seeing the excited little faces happy to see their mommy or daddy or whoever. It is heartbreaking to think any child would’t have someone waiting for them and loving them so much. xo

  • Reply
    January 17, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    Hi Ashley,

    This is absolutely beautiful! I love how you write and Sawyer is a doll! I have an almost 5 month old baby boy (and 2 girls), so definitely can relate to many of your mama posts!

  • Reply
    Jackie Campbell
    January 19, 2013 at 2:09 am

    Did you make your cute glass mustache mug?

  • Reply
    January 31, 2013 at 2:51 am

    This is one of the major reasons why I have chosen to work from home since my son was born. Being the first person my kids see after a day of dealing with teachers and peers and stress is HUGE to me! Every day being able to hug them and ask ‘how was your day?’ Makes me feel like all the sacrifices we’ve made to make that moment possible are worth it!

  • Reply
    March 6, 2020 at 11:52 am

    “You can see the techniques of the knit on this style; Bandage Dress one day we will videotape the process of how our pieces are made.

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