Childhood · family · Nostalgia · Parenting · Stories

Happy to Be Home

nathan-fertig-271363-unsplashIt’s a typical Monday, and I’m standing in my apartment elevator, scrolling through a handful of late afternoon work emails on my phone as a small brown and white Dachshund stares up at me. The other end of the pup’s limp leash finds another disconnected human staring into his own glowing screen. So here the three of us are, riding up four levels in an uncomfortable silence.

As I wait for the cold, fingerprint-smudged silver door to slide open and deliver me to an echoey hallway leading to my apartment, the quiet surrounding us provides the perfect backdrop for my mind to wander.

This wasn’t how I pictured all of this working out. I once had visions of an idyllic home, with overstuffed couches and a handful of kids underfoot. A bright, happy home with a stainless kitchen sink shining proudly beneath a window that overlooked a sprawling backyard. A comfortable, well-loved home with character to spare and plenty of space to hold the million memories my family surely would make within its walls.

In those dreams, an awkward elevator ride was not part of the plan.

Please click here to read the rest of this essay for Kindred Mom’s Around the Table series. I’m honored to be a Writer-in-Residence on the Kindred Mom team this fall!


coreyCorey is a writer, graphic designer, and mom to her amazing daughter, Zoey. Here at The Nostalgia Diaries, her goal is to simplify, enhance, and engage people’s lives by helping them focus on the most important things: remembering, appreciating, believing, and becoming. It’s all about celebrating the past to create better days today.


Like what you just read? Sign up for our newsletter and never miss a post!

At The Nostalgia Diaries, our goal is to help you simplify, enhance, and engage your lives by focusing on the most important things: remembering, appreciating, believing, and becoming. It’s all about celebrating the past to create better days today.

P.S. Don’t forget to follow our colorful, creative spaces on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. We’re fun and happy and whimsical and nostalgic over there, too. Pinky swear.

 

Childhood · Nostalgia · Parenting · Stories · traditions

Come Sit Next to Me

My daughter, Zoey, and I stand inside the small entryway of our beloved neighborhood restaurant, Sylvie’s, waiting for the hostess to show up and seat us.

Zoey, in true six-year-old fashion, fidgets besides me, her tiny bones full of endless childhood energy. Yet in spite of my daughter’s movement, her hand stays nestled in mine, and as we watch the hostess round a corner and head our way, I feel a gentle, familiar tug on my fingers.

“Don’t forget to ask her,” Zoey whispers loud enough so I can hear over the din of the restaurant.

“Table for two?” the hostess asks.

“Yes,” I say, nodding. “But would it be possible for us to sit at a booth?”

The hostess smiles and tells us we are in luck. After leading us to a booth tucked away from the bustle of the room, she places our silverware and menus on opposite sides of the table in standard restaurant protocol and then leaves, telling us our server will be with us shortly.

I slide into the booth bench, but I don’t stop in the middle. I make my way toward the end, knowing what will happen next: Zoey hops up beside me, reaches across the table to turn her place setting around, and then finally settles down next to me, into the place she has rightfully claimed as her own. We spend our meal curved against one another, our conversation and giggles filling in the space around us with love and letting the rest of the world fade away.

Please click here to read the rest of this essay for Kindred Mom’s Around the Table series. I’m honored to be a Writer-in-Residence on the Kindred Mom team this fall!


coreyCorey is a writer, graphic designer, and mom to her amazing daughter, Zoey. Here at The Nostalgia Diaries, her goal is to simplify, enhance, and engage people’s lives by helping them focus on the most important things: remembering, appreciating, believing, and becoming. It’s all about celebrating the past to create better days today.


Like what you just read? Sign up for our newsletter and never miss a post!

At The Nostalgia Diaries, our goal is to help you simplify, enhance, and engage your lives by focusing on the most important things: remembering, appreciating, believing, and becoming. It’s all about celebrating the past to create better days today.

P.S. Don’t forget to follow our colorful, creative spaces on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. We’re fun and happy and whimsical and nostalgic over there, too. Pinky swear.

Childhood · Parenting · Stories

We’ve Got This

The other night this little one sat down beside me with a piece of paper and a pencil. She began writing, telling me she didn’t want me to watch.

I smiled to myself, thinking she was likely drawing a picture, wondering what the beautiful result of her marks would be.

But minutes later, when she inched the page over my way with a sad look in her eyes, my smile fell along with my heart.

Butterflies and mermaids weren’t fluttering and flipping on it like I had expected; instead, there were words:

“I’m worried I’m not ready for second grade.” Continue reading “We’ve Got This”

Nostalgia

One Day, I’ll Carry You

one-day-carry-you-nostalgia-diaries

I carry my daughter, Zoey, carefully across a patch of snow-covered concrete. Because it is icy underneath my shoes, my steps are slow and measured.

“Will we get there in time?” Zoey asks, her face buried in my shoulder to shield it from the frigid air that surrounds us.

Our tickets for the Degas exhibit at the art museum are tucked safely in my pocket, stamped with a 10:30 entry time. I shift Zoey to my other hip and flick my wrist to check my watch. We have 15 minutes to spare.

“Don’t worry,” I assure her. “The museum’s right here. I promise we won’t miss a thing.”

* * *

I set her down once we are safe inside. The moment her toes touch the floor, she takes off twirling toward the check-in counter, her sparkly tutu swirling around her. We are handed special stickers to wear for the exhibit, and Zoey proudly presses it against her chest. She takes my hand, and together we find the line, waiting patiently for the doors to open.

When they do, Zoey pulls me forward, eager to begin our self-guided tour.

She delights in the artwork, pausing at each piece the way only a true art aficionado would. As I stop to look at a bronze sculpture of a horse, Zoey walks ahead to study the next set of paintings.

Moments later, I round the corner, my eyes scanning the room until I find her.

With quiet reverence, Zoey studies a painting of delicate dancers. They are peeking out from behind a curtain, dressed in taffeta and tights, preparing for a performance. I make my way toward her and then stop a few feet away, my gaze moving from Zoey to the painting, smiling at the symmetry created between art and real life.

A docent comes over and stands next to her.

“Hi, there,” he says, pointing in the direction of her feet, to the two reasons I carried her into the museum in the first place.

“Careful out there today with those ballet slippers of yours there. All that snow and ice is sure to make you slip, or at the very least, dirty them up quite a bit.”

“It’s okay,” Zoey smiles, “My mommy carried me.”

“Aren’t you too big to be carried?” he laughs. “And don’t you have boots?”

Inside, I feel a twinge of self-doubt flicker at my heart’s edge, wondering if I should have insisted she walked. I think of the boots laying haphazardly on the floor of the backseat, the ones I decided to leave behind in an effort to lessen my load.

“They’re in the car,” Zoey replies as her smile falls a bit. “And I don’t think I’m too big. Mommy says I’m just right.”

“That’s right, peanut. You are,” I say, my voice startling her a bit. She comes over and wraps her arm around my leg.

“And besides,” she tells man who is still listening to her but now looking at me. “One day, I’ll return the gesture. One day, I’ll carry her.”

I tilt my head down fast, tears instantly smarting my eyes. There, on the floor below me, lies my heart in a puddle on the ground, pooling around my feet. I hear him start laughing quietly again—an unspoken chide that she is a silly little girl to think that one day she would be strong enough to carry her mother.

Oh, this sweet girl of mine, I think. How do I tell her she already does?

* * *

 Afterward, I carry Zoey back to the car, holding her more tightly than before. I open the backseat door, pushing it open wide with my free hip so I can set her in her booster seat.

Zoey leans in toward me, tilting her face sideways, kissing the air beside one of my cheeks and then the next, in proper ballerina fashion.

“Thank you,” she whispers once she’s finished.

“For what?” I ask.

“For today,” she says. “For taking me to see the dancers. For letting me wear my ballet slippers. And for carrying me, even though that man thought it was silly.”

As she speaks, out of the corner of my eye, on the floor beside her, I see her boots, right where we left them. Suddenly, I feel that self-doubt the man’s comment created simply slip away. I know I made the right choice when I chose to carry her instead.

“I’d carry you even if your legs were so gangly your toes dragged on the ground,” I tell her. “Or if your arms were so long they wrapped around my neck not once, but twice. I’d carry you even if you weighed as much as a hundred ballerinas.”

Zoey’s laughter fills the space around us, and then she says it again:

“But really, Mommy,” Zoey insists as she wraps her arms around me. “One day, I really will carry you.”

There it is, the opening I wished for her earlier. My opportunity perches precariously in the space between us.

* * *

As mothers, we carry our children at first inside our hearts, then inside our bodies, and then inside our arms. We happily bear their weight, holding on to them for dear life, silently begging them to stay little for as long as possible.

Yet in spite of all our wishing and wanting and hoping for time to freeze them in that perfectly small shape, they grow into these tiny little humans—ones who sometimes—blissfully—still gift us fleeting reminders of the babies they once were: Like when their eyes catch the light a certain way, and we remember the first time they opened them. Or when we pick them up after they’ve fallen asleep on the couch and gently lay them in their beds, and we recall placing them in their cribs, as quiet as possible, so as not to wake them from their fragile slumber. Or when they laugh a certain way, and we are transported to the first time their effervescent joy bubbled out into the world, the way it made our hearts go lopsided.

But then, there they are, resting on your hip, wearing a pair of ballet shoes that are starting to look a little too tight, telling you the art exhibit you just attended was ‘simply delightful.’ They’re sitting in front of you, blowing kisses like a graceful Parisian, pulling you in for a hug, making promises of a lifetime of compassion and love.

And you’ll find that in this brief moment, where you’ve traded spaces and your head is on their shoulder for once, you’re left speechless again, realizing that you really don’t need to say a thing.

You don’t need to, because they already know. It is a truth they’ve carried with them from their first breath—that their love sustains you, that their life changed yours, that the weight of their existence will never be too much for you to bear.

So instead of saying anything, you simply breathe in that sweet baby scent that’s never quite left the crook of their neck. In the silence that remains, all you will hear is the slow, steady beat of your heart, the one whose rhythm and song has been so different since they arrived.

It’s you, your heart says the first time you hold them. It’s you. It’s you. It’s you.

You do, your heart says when they say they will one day carry you. You do. You do. You do.

And then, as you listen just a little closer, you will hear their heart, too—low at first, and then all at once loud—saying the exact same thing as yours:

Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.


coreyCorey is a writer, graphic designer, and mom to her amazing daughter, Zoey. Here at The Nostalgia Diaries, her goal is to simplify, enhance, and engage people’s lives by helping them focus on the most important things: remembering, appreciating, believing, and becoming. It’s all about celebrating the past to create better days today.


Like what you just read? Sign up for our newsletter and never miss a post!

At The Nostalgia Diaries, our goal is to help you simplify, enhance, and engage your lives by focusing on the most important things: remembering, appreciating, believing, and becoming. It’s all about celebrating the past to create better days today.

P.S. Don’t forget to follow our colorful, creative spaces on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. We’re fun and happy and whimsical and nostalgic over there, too. Pinky swear.

Childhood · Nostalgia · Parenting · Stories

In the Circus of Life, Let Us Remember Love

clem-onojeghuo-400043.jpg

The lights dim, and the first preview lights up the screen. Next to us, the speakers shake with war sounds, and in front of us, large, scary men clad in all black seem to be lunging our way.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see my daughter’s face. Zoey’s eyes are clouded with concern as she burrows her chin down into her coat. For a little girl who really doesn’t like movies, I wonder if bringing her to this show will leave her scarred for life.

* * *

After stumbling across The Greatest Showman soundtrack and listening to its catchy, joyful, life-affirming tunes, I knew I needed to see the movie. And when I put it on in the car one morning as I drove Zoey to school—and she knew most of the lyrics to This is Me by the time we arrived—I knew we needed to go see it.

Yet I was hesitant about the idea. Although she’s almost seven, Zoey and I have never been to a movie together. Even talk of going to one makes her panic a little, her response always the same, “But movies scare me. Do we really have to? Can’t I just watch something on my Kindle?” Her reaction to seeing movies has always surprised me, as I use to love going to them as a child.

But this time was different. When I asked if she’d like to go, she offered up a resounding ‘yes’.

* * *

Thankfully, after the previews end and the movie starts, Zoey perks up. She watches the whole thing, barely blinking, enthralled by the story. I’m sure it helps that there are exotic animals and choreographed dances and—of course—scenes filled with the music she has grown to know and love over the past few days, but even so, I’m still amazed at her entrancement.

As we leave the theater, Zoey twirls and leaps beside me, pretending she is the trapeze artist who gracefully and bravely flew through the air into her partner’s waiting arms.

She’s working on story comprehension in school, so I toss out the question that seems to be commonplace these days:

“So what was that about, Zoey?”

“Love,” she quickly responds.

Before I can agree, she continues her answer.

“I mean, the guy and that girl do get together, and Barnum goes back to his family at the end, but it’s not a love story,” she clarifies. “It’s more of a love lesson.”

I stop walking and turn toward Zoey, the early afternoon sun causing me to blink as I look her way.

“How so?” I ask, my curiosity getting the better of me. 

“Well,” Zoey replies. “I think it’s trying to remind us that if you surround yourself with everything you love, happiness will find you.”

It seems the movie has left no scars, just a perfect pearl of beautiful Zoey wisdom. I smile, breathing a sigh of relief, as I bend down and pull her in for a hug.

“Yes, Zoey,” I say. “You’re right. Just like love and happiness have found me, right here, wrapped up with you.”

* * *

Later that night, as I lay next to Zoey as she slips into sleep, I think about her take away from the movie and the lyrics to one of its main songs, a song that is in both the opening and closing scenes:

It’s everything you ever want
It’s everything you ever need
And it’s here right in front of you
This is where you wanna be

And there in the dark, listening to Zoey’s soft breath, feeling her damp hair splayed out on my chest, I can’t help but think of the heart-wrenching happiness I feel right here, right now. It’s always in moments like these—and like the one we experienced in the parking lot earlier—where everything else seems so much less important. All the money in the world? Who cares. A big house, a fancy car, or expensive toys? Totally not necessary. All the things considered luxuries? Don’t really need them.

It’s simple, really—a lesson so obvious that even a six-year-old could find it hidden within the bright lights and vibrant colors and hear it tucked away in the words of a few amazingly produced songs:

Be with the people you love.
Live a life you love.
Love who you are.
Do everything with love.

In this crazy circus of life,
if we just remember to simply choose love,
we will have everything important.

We will have everything we ever really need.

* * *

IMG_2580Just like P.T. Barnum did in The Greatest Showman, this sweet little girl of mine has a million dreams about living a life surrounded by all the things she loves. I’m equal parts proud and honored to introduce you to something Zoey is simply in love with, her own little corner of the internet, The Zoey Chronicles. She’s beyond excited about this little project of hers, which we created to help her learn how to type, become a writer, and most importantly, follow her little heart and live a life that is authentically hers. Check it out here, and while you’re at it, maybe leave a comment or like. She’ll probably love you forever for it, and perhaps along the way, she’ll teach you a lesson or two. I can practically guarantee it, as she’s done it here time and time again.


coreyCorey is a writer, graphic designer, and mom to her amazing daughter, Zoey. Here at The Nostalgia Diaries, her goal is to simplify, enhance, and engage people’s lives by helping them focus on the most important things: remembering, appreciating, believing, and becoming. It’s all about celebrating the past to create better days today.


Like what you just read? Sign up for our newsletter and never miss a post!

At The Nostalgia Diaries, our goal is to help you simplify, enhance, and engage your lives by focusing on the most important things: remembering, appreciating, believing, and becoming. It’s all about celebrating the past to create better days today.

P.S. Don’t forget to follow our colorful, creative spaces on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. We’re fun and happy and whimsical and nostalgic over there, too. Pinky swear.