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MOMMY & ME: Alyza & Sophia Kennedy

 All photos by Kayla Montalvo

All photos by Kayla Montalvo

"THATS MY BABY!" - I SWEAR EVERY TIME I LOOK AT HER THATS ALL I CAN HEAR IN MY HEAD.  THAT IS MY GIRL AND BOY OH BOY, AM I PROUD TO BE HER MAMA AND I KNOW SHE'S PRETTY DAMN PROUD OF ME.  THAT IS A FEELING UNLIKE ANY OTHER.

I'VE ALWAYS KNOWN THAT NO MATTER WHAT I FACED IN MY LIFE OR DECISIONS I MAKE, THERE IS A WE.  WE ARE A TEAM, ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING I DO IS A REFLECTION OF HER. EVERY SINGLE TIME SHE WILL BE THAT DRIVING FORCE KEEPING ME GOING.  I AM 26, YOUNG AND IN CHARGE, BOTH IN THE OFFICE AND AT HOME. I AM ON A JOURNEY TO EMPOWER MYSELF AND I'VE GOT A THREE YEAR OLD SUPERHERO PRINCESS FOLLOWING MY LEAD.

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It's just us two, a dynamic mommy daughter duo, taking on the world and let me be the first to tell you, it ain't easy.  Morning routines, off to school and work.  Five o'clock hits and I'm rushing out those office doors to pick up my baby from school to go home to more routines - dinner, bath, squeeze in a little play time then before you know it, its bedtime and the cycle starts all over again.

Somewhere along the way, I've learned to appreciate those day to day rituals.  While the routine of things are primarily consistent and ordinary, I discover new aspects of my daughters personality -- like those, "wait a minute, did she really just say that" moments. With my kid, those happen far too often - Sophia is full of character.  I've explored aspects of myself that I never knew I was capable of.  I am strong.  I am a teacher.  I am a protector and a provider.  I have no limits and I am unstoppable. Yes, those day to day routines are small. It is in those moments we learn the most about ourselves.  In those moments I cherish every conversation, every emotion we share with each other.

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I am a single mother. (Lets take a moment to honor those superwoman momma's holding fort with your crown's shining bright.) A single mom, there is one area I have had the hardest time coping with and that has been having to "deal" with an absent parent.  Sounds a little conflicting because most would think, well if the parent is absent then what is there to actually deal with? Unfortunately, that's not the case. While the other parent has chosen to be absent, there is a child involved that did not have any choice.   I will never understand how any parent could be so distant or how any parent could sleep at night without hearing their child's voice before closing their eyes.  I can barely go a second in the day without wondering what she's up to.

However, his absence helped to shed light on the many hats I never knew I was capable of wearing.  I am mommy.  I am daddy.  I am a friend. Not so long ago I woke up to a text message in the middle of the night from my daughters father that read, "tell her I love her".  I was furious. Besides the fact that this was a text message (completely impersonal) and way after her bedtime. I wanted to text a long paragraph with all kinds of "how dare you's".  But I didn't. I stopped.  I waited because I found myself growing angry. That is not who I want to be for her. That is not what I want her to see. A day went by before I finally decided to respond. I asked, "have you ever loved a stranger? Could you ever find yourself loving someone you don't know?" If the conversation didn't go anywhere, I at least felt the divine right to protect her heart and mine.

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Later that day as I was laying in bed with my daughter, I thought to myself, "I wonder if she knows what love actually means?" I do not want some distorted distant image of love in her life. As abstract and hard to define love is. I asked anyways...

Mommy: Baby girl, what does love mean?

Sophia: **grabs my hand** love means to hold.
— -Sweet Conversations

Besides the fact that I died a thousand times, heart melted, ugly cried, smiled from ear to ear.  I was so amazed and proud that she knew.  She understood love. She perceives love to be a feeling of comfort, a feeling of protection, a physical touch to say "I am hear for you".  The best part of that was knowing I showed her that through my actions, through what I instilled upon her in those day to day to routines.  After a stressful day at work, to coming home to cook and clean, tired as all hell.. I am still capable of teaching her the importance to give and to receive love; and she didn't need two parents to understand that.  For that reason.. I push myself even harder to lead by example.  What I am she will know.  What I am she will understand. What I am she will become.

I came across a quote the the other day which read, "I am, are the most powerful words in our vocabulary".  Anything you say after those very two words come to life.  You become the power within those very few words.  Repeat that to yourself, change your vocabulary and become the power of those words: I am.

I am mom.  I am dad.  I am unstoppable.  I am strong.  I am a teacher. I am a confidant. i am raising the best version of myself. I am everything i am for her.  What i am, she will be.

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Let's give Alyza a little nudge to start sharing more on Mommy & Me blogging! For all things on teaching her little one about sweet, graceful love.

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