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Showing posts from 2018

Your Unhappiest Child

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This photo is one of my favorites of E and I ever. We were sitting under a water fall in Jamaica, laughing. I mean absolutely belly laughing ... cold, mountain stream water running down our faces. My kids were right there, watching our joy. They saw it. They felt it. And the truth is, our life as parents in that season wasn't very easy. But this moment? This moment was pure, perfect happiness ...

There is no way to understand or prepare for the way your body changes when there's a new life growing inside of you ... the stretch of your skin, the ache in your bones, the fatigue in your eyes and the yuck in your belly.  You can't be ready--no matter how many people warn you--for the complete and profound dependence this little soul has on you. The weight is heavy and there's no way to feel it until it's there, all 7 pounds 10 ounces of warm, sweet, delicious baby. So loved, so wanted, so intense.

As soon as we think we have our nuggets figured out they change.  They …

An Open Letter to the Other Woman

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I may have met you already, perhaps not.

You are the one who will whisk him away, create a life with him, a family a home. You are the one that will find his lost wallet, hear his frustrations at the end of the day and his excitement in the morning. You will be the keeper of his heart and the love that he builds his life around. You are what I want for him ... a partner, a best friend, a love, a co-parent. 
Since the day I found out my son would come to be I have cringed--both inwardly and outwardly--at the quote "A daughter is a daughter all her life but a son is a son 'till he takes a wife". It hurts, honestly, down to my bones. But here's the thing ... it's partly true. It's true that I won't be his soft place to fall--at least not all the time -- but it's also true that I want that for him. I want him to create his own life, his own family, his own purpose and why in this world. It's also true that I want to be a part of it. 
I want you to ex…

Six Words: Change your thinking. Change your life.

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I'm sick.

Like coughing-so-hard-i-might-turn-inside-out sick.

I haven't slept in a week and when I have slept it's been interrupted (repeatedly) by hacking fits.

Last night I laid in bed sitting straight up for two hours waiting for the cough medicine I took to settle into my lungs and help a girl out. Two hours. Two hours I coughed and coughed. I finally fell asleep only to wake up at 4:37 am. I wasn't coughing -- yet -- but I was wide awake. I tried to will myself to sleep, I closed my eyes, refused to pick up my ipad where my book was tucked away waiting for me to open it back up. I had to pee, but didn't want to risk coughing so laid there with my bladder feeling as full as it did years ago with a nine pound baby laying on it. My side was numb, but moving would mean waking the giant in my lungs so again, I obediently stayed as still as I could, taking shallow breaths as not to disrupt the coughing monster lurking in my chest. The whole scene felt vaguely famil…

Be a Life Preserver

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You guys.

Really.

You are amazing.

I posted last week about feeling stuck with my new project. That sometimes the words come so easily, they fly out quicker than I can type. Lately, it's been like dragging a sled up hill in the snow. In ski boots. It's sucked.

I hesitated to write a "feedback" post -- I didn't want to feel lonely when I asked "So what do you do when you feel stuck?" and have no one answer. Not that I think I am the only one who ever gets stuck ... in writing, life, exercise, relationships, parenting ... all of it. It's just that admitting you get stuck is one thing.  Asking for help. That's another.

You guys blessed me with your kindness, your suggestions and most of all the feeling of just not being alone in my stuckness. To top it all off? I got unstuck. I had my most productive day of writing to date and nearly doubled my over all word count this past week! Anddd ... I have all kinds of new ideas to try when I do get stuck a…

#choosekindparentingversion

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I was listening to a conversation of two women in a waiting room last week. I was sitting just a few chairs away, their words loud enough I could hear as if I was sitting in their circle. I gathered the two were new friends, they spoke of shared common friendships and had both had a child graduate this year. One mom was sharing her concern over her 27-year-old daughter who was struggling. I saw her face. She was embarrassed, her eyes mirrored the worry in her heart. She took a chance sharing in this waiting room, with this woman. I could see her hesitate ... should she tell her story? Her daughter wasn't working, she'd been consumed with anxiety and unable to hold a job. She hadn't graduated college and she was dating a man who also didn't have a job. Her daughter's stepping stones weren't made of college graduations, new apartments, bridal showers and weddings.  No, they were made of mental health appointments, panic attacks and medications. My heart hurt lis…

Not Mine To Keep

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I suppose I thought it might be easier this time.

I suppose I thought, because I've done it once now, that sending my boy off to college wouldn't weigh so heavily on my heart.

I suppose I thought the wisdom of experience, the fortune of having traveled this path before to guide me would make it all a little easier.

Turns out, I was all wrong.

What I will miss is different this time around.  What I will worry about has changed, too.

And that knowing what to expect ... well it turns out to be a little bit of a pain in the ass because I know what's coming.  I know the homesickness, the struggle to fit, to make a new life right down to the sheets he sleeps on and the food he eats and how it hits them upside the head somewhere after ... well after the beginning. After the newness wears off and the reality of being on their own settles into their bones, that's when it gets tough.

When Cooper left I mourned my tribe of five. Our dinners at home and the schedule we had kept …

The Mother Tree

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I have driven past this tree, walked and ran past this tree. I’ve ridden my bike and sat shot gun in the gator.  I’ve walked alone and I’ve walked with my boys past her. I’ve seen her out the window of a dozen different cars and I’ve noticed her a thousand different times. She didn’t always look this way.  When we first moved here--nearly nineteen years ago-- her branches were full of evergreen needles.  She was tall and unique, her branches reaching in scattered directions toward the world. She was not perfect, she was different.  She wasn’t always spent, covered in brown, dead needles with branches that have quit reaching for the sun.  She didn’t always have beautiful saplings growing up under her canopy, either. 
Yesterday as Eric and I walked past the tree he said, “You could transplant some of those saplings now, they are strong and healthy enough.” 
Now, I’m an emotional person by default. My heart is on my sleeve and there’s not much that hasn’t made me cry. I’m like a cup that s…

Becoming

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Years ago when I taught child birth education classes one of the last things I urged my young moms and dads to do was to be present in the process.  I told them I knew there were days that being pregnant frankly sucked - and that there were days the only positive or joyful thing about what was happening to their bodies, hormones, emotions, relationships was that in the end they would have a baby. A daughter. A son. A child of their own. I asked them to soak up all 40 weeks of being pregnant because in reality - this was the only time our babies are growing toward us. From the moment they are born the search for independence - at first looking to find the basic knowledge of moving their own fingers and toes at will, to learn to suckle and feed, to learn to sleep and soothe themselves - begins.

Inevitably, my mommas would cry.  Sometimes the dads, too.  So excited they were to bring this baby into the world and here I was casting a light of bittersweet nostalgia on the child who had no…

You Can Do Hard Things

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The last few months have been a blur of last minute assignments, exams, baseball games, lacrosse playoffs, awards ceremonies, banquets, open houses, graduation! and life's expectations. A few weeks ago while we were in the throws of the last week of senior year my ADHDer found himself under a pile of work he had to get done and a short time frame. We laugh about his "life motto" ... "The quicker I fall behind the more time I have to catch up" but there are times it gets very real very quickly.

I found myself micromanaging his time -- which admittedly he needs a bit of -- and stressing, worrying, fretting about him getting his work done.  It was about that time that I read this gem on a friend's facebook page Sarah Brya Ignite Your Soul Fitness. She was telling a story of watching her daughter finish a long night's homework ... her advice to her daughter, "You can do hard things." 
There it was, a profound lightening of my shoulders. He can do…

Last Turn Home: Book Club Discussion Questions

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Photo Credit: Pexels

I love books.  I love to read them (and re-read my favorites) and hold them in my hands. I have them squirreled away in several corners of my house - piles and stacks of my favorite collection of words.  I re-read passages that made me feel something -- and try and decode the author's magic. If I'm in-between books one of my favorite things to do is to search for books on Goodreads, Kindle or iBooks ... I read the blurbs and reviews. I read books for pleasure, for enjoyment, to escape, for information and knowledge. I read them to learn and to grow, to help me solve problems.  I read them for solace - perhaps most often for solace.

I read every acknowledgement. I read the dedications and the author's bio.  I even love to read the book club discussion questions at the end of the book ... I'm not in a book club (weird, right?), but I love to mull around my answers and consider other views. I squeeze every last syllable out of every book I own. 
Next…

I Jumped

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I've made no secret that the past two years have been difficult for me personally - concerns for my health, my family, my family's health, and major life changes have all been placed in my path.  There were days I couldn't see past the next minute, and some that I could stretch that focus to only an hour.  I looked to yoga, to exercise, to books, to conversations with people who had wisdom far beyond my perspective.  If I hadn't had my husband I would not have made it. He held me up. I also found I was being supported in ways - and from people - that I would have never suspected I needed or that would show up. I was thrown life preservers from people who didn't even know I was drowning.  As the light began to return I began to seek out conversations of a different kind.  Conversations that would continue to help light my return to a more balanced, peaceful place.

In January I was lucky enough to have a conversation with a woman whom I admire greatly. Frankly, she&…

What Parenting My ADHD Son Has Taught Me

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Photo Credit: Kristin Moerman 

    When J was first diagnosed with ADHD I was relieved.  Finally, something to sink our teeth into. I believed with knowledge came power and we would now have the power to give him the tools to help him "fit" into the traditional school model. As I began to read and learn more about the way my son's brain worked, the more I realized that the perception of an ADHDer and the reality of what an ADHDer struggles with are oceans apart.
     His brain works differently, it's impulsive and creative. It zings around like a ping pong off of ideas and random thoughts. It allows him to jump across crevices on an Arizona mountain without much thought to the fall below, it leads him to climb buildings and scale trees and makes it nearly impossible for him to stop making noises. It also allows him to create beautiful art, writing I am envious of and provides him the ability to listen to a song on the radio and then play it on his guitar. His lack o…

My Ten Reasons Older Kids Rock

A couple days ago I posted the following conversation that happened in my kitchen: 
"Coop’s home from school for the weekend. Walks in starts to make food just as As gets home from school. All standing in the kitchen As (14 yo) says: Momma can you hand me the butter? 
Mind you - I am just passing through doing other things ... and just as far from the fridge as he is. 
Coop says: What the hell? Get it yourself, she doesn’t have to do everything! "
It got me thinking of all the reasons having older kids rocks. I am often wistful over their baby and toddler days, when for me, it was easier. Before the teenage years and adult worries barrelled in on us.  Here's my Top Ten Reasons Older Kids Rock
1) They have their own thoughts and ideas, and not just about what movie to watch and demanding we eat where they feel like it. I mean real thoughts, interesting ideas. They share pod casts with me I might like and talk about world events.  Admittedly, my 20, 18 and 14 year old sons se…