Love, Mama

Time goes too fast!!

Love, Mama

I was starting spring cleaning recently and found a journal that I purchased in May, 1995 to write letters to my children.  I have put some excerpts below to illustrate the elusive property of time…that the days may seem long, but the years fly by. The love we pack into the moments in between does matter!! Cherish every moment and design your life…accepting that there may be external facts that you cannot control…to be the legacy of your choosing. What will you remember? What is important?


In May 1995, I purchased a journal, thinking that since I would be working for myself from home after Timmy was born that I would have much more free time to document the boys’ childhood. Hmmm….

“I heard it today…

The sounds of a miracle waiting to happen,

The sign of years of dreams coming true

The changing of a couple to a family

The affirmation that there is a God

And prayers are answered.

I heard it today…

The future waiting to happen

A pioneer of a new generation

Life’s rhythm within…strong and steady

The promise of joy ahead

And so many wonderful memories waiting to be made.

I heard it today…

A daddy’s pride and a mother’s wish

Grandparents’ dreams and cousins’ joy

The sound of what’s meaningful

The reason why we’re here

The melody that puts everything in perspective.

I heard it today…

The reminder that there is so much to do

The sound that says I have to be organized

I have to be happy

I have to be as good as I can be

The signal that the world needs fixing up…

Like it’s never needed.

I heard it today…

The life made from love

The blessing of our life together

A part of him and a part of me

The pleasure of more love than I ever knew possible

The most beautiful sound

I heard it today…

Our child’s heartbeat within me.

Keep beating, little heart, and may God keep you safe. “

~Margaret Podesta McDonald


Dear Mark on the outside and Timmy on the inside,

I have copied that poem to start this journal to let you have a peek at how excited Daddy and I are to have you in our lives.

I want to keep this journal so that you can have a piece of your life before your long-term memories began.

Mark (almost 2 years old) you are sleeping right now after your first day at the pool. You had a wonderful time in the pool and in the sand with the toys. We should bring some more sand toys for you to play with. Maybe you’ll stay still for a moment!!

Timmy, you haven’t officially arrived yet. We are expecting you within the next few weeks. Daddy and I have prepared your cradle, bought a double stroller for you and Mark to share, and put your clothes in your drawers. We can’t wait to meet you! I hope you and Marky Mark get along!




Dear Mark and Timmy,

Well, Timmy has obviously arrived since I last wrote, which is part of the reason that I haven’t had time to write since! At 3:12 am on 6/7/95 I felt the first contraction signaling your impending arrival. 45 minutes after getting to the hospital, you were born. Thanks for the easy delivery!

Mark, you weren’t altogether excited about Timmy coming home with us, although you got very upset when he cried. For two weeks, you barely ate. Suddenly, it occurred to you that Timmy was your brother and you claimed him out loud, “mine!” You don’t say too many words yet, but that one is clear, along with mama, dada, hot, juice, yes, and Bubba…Bubba is your name for Timmy, your version of “brother.”

You two are getting along better than Daddy and I had hoped. Timmy, you smile, laugh, and respond beautifully to Mark. Mark, you kiss Timmy’s feet, push him in the swing, talk to him, show him your toys, sing songs with your lime-green guitar, and often request to hold him.

Daddy and I love you both so much. There never seems to be enough time to give you all the hugs, kisses, stories and giggles that we’d like, but we sure try.




Dear Mark, Timmy, and Jack,

Oh my goodness, so much time has gone by since I have last written. Mark, you are in kindergarten now with Mrs. Illustrato. You love it and are doing so well. Timmy, you are in the 3-year-old program at Junior Wonders and you love it there. Jack, you are almost 3 months old. How can it be possible that I haven’t written since Timmy was 3 months old? Well, we have been busy and we moved into our first house here and I work (write) when you are all sleeping.

Today I took all three of you to Motor Vehicles. You didn’t like it too much, but you were so well behaved that people even commented on it. You are all so good. I love being your mommy…please always know that. I love you so much.




Dear Mark, Timmy, and Jack,

Time goes quickly! This academic year has been so busy! Mark is in first grade, taking swimming, CCD, and soccer. You are tired of swimming, Mark, because you don’t like swimming laps. In January, you are dropping swimming and trying karate.

Timmy, you are in pre-K at Junior Wonders. You are doing great. Mrs. Santeramo says that you are the smartest child in the class…good at sharing, drawing, listening, and cutting. You also take swimming and gymnastics and you love both activities.

Jack, we just celebrated your first birthday last week. Happy birthday!!! Love you so much!




Dear Mark, Timmy, and Jack,

You guys are my most precious gifts. We went to Florida last week. Timmy, you learned to swim without floaties. Mark, you can now do underwater handstands. Jack, you even put your face in! We’re going to the zoo later today. I love you!!




Hello beautiful boys!!

Yesterday we were all cranky and I’m not exactly sure why. Today will be busy, but let’s make time between our activities to enjoy one another. I love you so much!




Jack, you are finally starting to walk and you are so proud of yourself. I’ll miss my little baby crawling, but I love seeing you giggling and toddling around.

Timmy, you have been just great with Jack. You play with him and show him things. You really enjoy picking him up. Also, every day when we get out of the car at our house, you race up the front steps and say, “sorry ma’am, you missed the boat!” You think this is just the funniest!!

Mark, last week you earned your blue belt in karate. You seem to really love it and have great confidence.

I love you all so much. You are the best part of my life.




Dear Mark, Timmy and Jack,

We moved into our new house last September. Hopefully, we will live here for a long time. I am tired of moving. Daddy is working in South Africa now. Maybe we’ll go visit him there…that might be fun.

Mark next week is your first penance and next month is your First Holy Communion! It seems like I was just making my First Holy Communion!!

Jack, you sat on the little blue potty last night for the first time. Nothing happened but you were so cute.

Love you so much.




Dear Mark, Timmy, and Jack,

And then there was 9/11 and so much changed forever. The one thing that never changed was that I love you guys with every cell of my being, all day long. Now Mark is nearly 20, Timmy is nearly 18, and Jack is 14 ½. Time passes in the blink of an eye…it is what we do with that time that lasts and matters. It is the kindness and love we bring to each day that survives for time will not stand still. There is so much that we cannot control…so many twists and turns in one’s life that we cannot possibly predict. I love you every day and I try to do the right thing for you and for me.

I think that this lesson must be getting through…this is the birthday card you wrote for me this weekend,

“Happy birthday, Mom. You are the best mom ever, even if you are crazy…in a good way . You always think of others before you think of yourself. Today is your day to relax, have some coffee, and not care about anyone else’s problems. Have fun and do what makes you happy.”

You guys are so kind and so smart and are such characters! I am so proud of you. I loved you so much before you were even born…. but now I don’t just love you. I like you. I enjoy your company. As you launch into your own adult lives over the next few years, I can’t wait to see what happens next. I know that time will continue to go too fast. Remember to savor the moments in between. Remember to love and to really see the people around you.

I love you forever, around the world and back.




Dear Mark, Timmy, and Jack,

Time really does go that fast! You turn around and another 4 years have sped by. Mark, you are now 23 and working at JP Morgan as an analyst!! Somehow you are now more grown up than I am J  Timmy, you are a senior at Boston College, majoring in Economics and about to move to New Orleans after graduation to work with Teach for America for two years! Always so independent!! And Jack, you are a freshman in college at James Madison University, studying to become a physical therapist. I know you will be the best one ever.

Even though you are all MUCH taller than me now, it doesn’t change the way I view you in my heart…my most precious gifts. I would do anything for you.  I adore watching each of you pursue your dreams in your own way and the way you don’t even see obstacles. You see solutions.  So, yes, I am proud of all of your accomplishments, but I love you for who you are…your kindness, your reliability, and the way you make me laugh until I can’t breathe and can’t stand up straight.

I tell you every time I talk to you, but for the record, I love you around the world and back, to infinity and beyond, forever and ever, no matter what. My face and heart light up when I see your face light up my phone with a call or text. You are my heart’s anchor and wings, even when you raid the kitchen like a gaggle of hungry pirates, and you are the very best part of me.