Don’t pack the gravy dish with the funeral vase

Reminders that sneak up on you

I had to dig through boxes in our crawl space to find our gravy dish because this is how I do things. The kids were "helping" me make Thanksgiving dinner, covering the table with all the tacky everything I try to hide behind the dishes that match. As they uncovered penguin salt and pepper shakers (Mom the penguins are dressed in snowsuits!) I remembered the gravy dish and how long it had been since I'd seen it last. We have a habit of moving too often which has led to my habit of only unpacking what we need on a daily basis and I guess I'm not a routine gravy-maker. So in between checking the turkey and making gluten free rolls that were later turned down by even the dog, I found myself Continue Reading

You’re a good mom

reminding yourself that you're a good mom

A funny thing happens when I get ready to meet a new group of moms. I psyche myself out by assuming no one will "get" me. It's rare to find a mom with exactly the same circumstances as you right? Like maybe we should all wear shirts with a summary of our situation. "Loss mom, autism mom, preemie mom seeking mom-friend equally as neurotic, must carry hand sanitizer" would be my shirt logo designed with a really small font that would be easier to read when I've eaten too much salt and/or chocolate. There's one detail that rings true for every mom I know, no matter what her circumstances, one things that brings us together if we have the chance to talk long enough. We all want to be good at Continue Reading

We are not dog people

Adding a puppy to the family

The story will always begin something like this: I was sitting in a chair by myself, no one squeezed between my hip and the armrest or perched over my head.  My phone was in my hand because no one had taken it to watch adults talk in children's voices while they review toys on YouTube and I was scrolling through Facebook. It was after dinner, the dishwasher was loaded and running, the kids were playing instead of fighting and it was too late to rewash the latest load of clothes I had forgotten to put in the dryer. So I was sitting all alone, with nothing to do but look at what everyone else was posting for people like me who are just sitting and then I saw her. This little fuzz ball of a Continue Reading

The space

the space we hold after losing a child

There is a space in our family that cannot be filled. At one time it was tiny, 18 inches long, yet to reach three pounds, long and lean but tucked into a bundle dripping with my tears. That space inserted itself into every day. She was milestones unmet, crib sheets unused, car seats returned. The pain of her absence stubbornly followed my every moment. Tears in the shower, aching emptiness in my chest and constant wonder over the functioning world. Our space grew as we did. Two years old, a height evenly between her brother and sister, toddling in places she should be and shouldn't. This space came and went. She woke me up in the morning and reminded me over again how life had Continue Reading

To the woman who heard The Speech

The speech all special needs moms have

It was long and more than you expected, I'm sure. But what you don't know, what you must not have considered despite your career, is that special needs moms prepare for this type of encounter from the time our children exhibit their first behavior that sets them apart from the crowd. You see I know. I know what we look like sometimes. I know it takes her a few tries to answer your questions and even at the age of 20 she has held on to some cute mispronunciations of words. I know I have to remind her to use napkins and patience and that her whisper comes out like our speaking voices. I know her meltdowns rival a toddler after an espresso and not everyone appreciates brutal honesty. So Continue Reading

There’s no bow

Making peace with your story

She wore the type of smile put on with morning lipstick. Something in a perky shade of red, rubbed off of glossy teeth and reapplied after coffee and lunch. Her questions began and I knew we were headed for trouble because my safely vague answers weren't enough. If my conversations with strangers had a soundtrack, somewhere during the opening number would be screeching tires or the whoosh of backpedaling. The moment I disclose we have lost a child rarely goes smoothly but I have to say it. I've tried leaving this fact out, leaving her out, but I can't. I end those conversations scrubbing off guilt and hoping I never see that person again because how do you add something so important back Continue Reading

What they need most

Giving your children what they need most

When my preemies were in the NICU there were days we could barely touch them. Their daily condition dictated how much holding we could do, how often I could sneak a hand inside their incubators and whether they were up for a sponge bath or an increase in tube feedings. Parker was my tiniest, yet healthiest. His stats were most often good enough for skin-to-skin holds and every nurse in the place knew if he could handle a bath I would go Mama Bear on them if they did it for me. I learned to unattach his leads and unplug monitors one at a time as I washed his tiny body. When he was all bathed I'd keep him under the heat lamps for a few seconds longer, rubbing his pink limbs with baby Continue Reading

Traffic light bulb moment

hilarious moment at a traffic light

You know that phrase about not seeing the forest for the trees? I'm not sure I see the forest or the trees. I'll be walking along, with kids because when am I not with kids, and saying "Do you have your shoes? Is your shirt on backwards? Did I leave my keys in the car?" and then before you know it I'm knee deep in poison ivy or wondering how long it will take the imprint of bark to leave my forehead. I just miss details or main ideas or maybe I'm so convinced I know what's going on I never wonder what is actually happening. Parker and I were running errands and I had one of those awkward stops at a traffic light where there are people in neon vests collecting money for charity but Continue Reading

What no one told me

what no one tells you about your child growing up

You were born and I was a mother. I didn't fully understand that I had been a mom since the moment I saw two pink lines, that I was being handed 6 pounds 14 ounces of the most fierce kind of love. I didn't know breathing you in would soften the blow of 2 am feedings and 5 am mornings, that your gummy smile would cure a million hurts. And no one could explain the hum of bedtime stories and the clink of tiny snaps in the dryer, that giggles have their own color, their own shape. I didn't realize how many times I would re-stack a book shelf and cube cheese and cut off sandwich crusts, that I probably still do it in my sleep when you dream of a good book or midnight Continue Reading

A letter to a young mom

A letter to young moms

Dear Young Mom, I'm writing you because my oldest daughter will be 20 next week. This fact probably has you dropping me into the "as old as your parents" black hole but I'm you, just a decade or two away from where you are now. There is so much I have learned that I want to tell you and I hope it sounds like it's coming from the place it's intended, a place of understanding without a bit of judgement or an ounce of lecture. I'm sure you've had enough of that already. So here it goes... 1. You can do this. You can. It will not be easy and you will feel alone at a time when you should be surrounded by friends and parties and fun but you will make it. You might be trying to finish a paper Continue Reading