Building towers

Building children up

I didn't realize why Sawyer volunteered to go to the grocery store with me until we got to the check out. I was speed-unloading the cart when I looked up to see him building a tower of produce, soup cans and ice cream (in that order because tomatoes make the sturdiest tower base, I've heard). The week before I had taken Parker. He made a similar tower as the belt rolled towards the cashier but his seven year-old mind concocted something with cereal boxes at the bottom. His creation made it to the cashier before I could tell him not to make towers out of groceries, especially moving ones. The manager was one aisle away and came over, exclaiming over Parker's tower. "This is the coolest Continue Reading


In the beginning it was the minutes, the hours, the months. I tried to remember every detail, the weight of her in my arms, the almost-blue of her eyes, the shape of her eyelids as they closed. I felt panic rise as the days passed and memories blurred, I couldn’t forget a thing. She was my daughter. I wouldn’t. Repeating over and over in my mind our short moments, our last day, I hated that the edges of my memory were beginning to blur. I called the hospital once, over a year after her death, convinced they might have one picture of her that we did not. Praying they had some file containing one more piece for me to hold onto, I waited while the staff found a way to tell me Continue Reading

Autism and wandering and AngelSense

autism and eloping

I shared this story several years ago but wanted to share it again because it's such an important issue and because I'm working with AngelSense to help tackle the issue of autism and wandering. One of my closest friends has two boys with autism. I have watched her unload them from her vehicle, clinging to one while holding her leg across her van door to keep the other from escaping. If she doesn’t move quickly they will be off to whatever catches their twinkling eyes, undoubtedly in different directions. On Sunday, her beautiful five year old boy followed his curious eyes right out of their home and past the garage door. She and her husband were both home but it only takes a second. Continue Reading

I’ll put the sugar in your bowl

mothering as your kids grow

Most mornings Parker wakes up at the sound of my laptop opening. He flops into the living room bleary eyed and I close my laptop before it gets a chance to buzz alive. I tug him close as he changes the channel from Good Morning America to the one full of superhero names I can't remember. After he wakes up a little and I can't sit still any longer, I get his breakfast. I grab his bowl and spoon and pour the Cheerios and the milk until they hit the spot on the bowl's rim he decides is enough and he eats at our coffee table while I creak open the laptop again. I'm sure there's an expert on raising independent children who would love to tsk me for this ritual, making cereal for a boy who's Continue Reading

An emergency of the best kind

adult life with autism

This afternoon I carried Sawyer to the car without shoes, Parker and McKenna ran behind. I told them they didn't need to grab their coats, just hurry, hurry, hurry. Ashlyn ran out with headphones dangling from one pocket, trying to stuff a cell phone into the other. A phone call two minutes prior had shot us into high gear. The emergency? Someone Ashlyn's age had called her, offered to pick her up and take her to the store. She was leaving in two minutes, as teenagers do, and could swing by my parents house if we were there. But we weren't there, we were ten minutes away and she couldn't risk missing the chance to be with girls her own age. I couldn't risk it either because we never know Continue Reading

How I answer the infertility question

infertility awareness

This week is Infertility Awareness Week. Did you know? I didn't until I saw it on Facebook. But years ago I would have known. I would have been the poster woman for infertility treatments. Stomach like a pin-cusion, bruised arms from bloodwork, waving my sign for better insurance coverage and more research. And then our treatments finally worked and I moved onto the next phase of causes with the next phase of our life, as we all tend to do. There is one part of infertility we are still linked to and I still get questions about from time to time, although not as often as in the past. As soon as people found out there was more than one baby inside my exploding stomach I was bombarded Continue Reading

Love you is two words

practicing conscious parenting

Sawyer has this sing-song-y way he says "love you" that is so sweet I can hear it in my mind as I type. He strings out the "you" at the end while he looks at you like you are the greatest being on his planet. Sometimes he says it over and over before bed because he's so sleepy he has forgotten he already told me and he just wants to make sure. Last night I said "love you" back and tried to mimic his sing-song-i-ness and he rolled over to tell me, "Love you is only two words, Mommy. It's so fast Mommy that when you say it, it's almost over." And then he fell asleep because that was all he needed. I laid there, trying to stay awake in that way I always fail at doing only to wake up five Continue Reading

Necessary conversation

Talking to children about grief

A few years ago I blogged about one of the first of many heart-wrenching conversations I had with my children after they asked a question about their sister. I received a nasty comment from a reader telling me that if I had not been “selfish” and told them about their sister I would not have to talk to them about her at all. The commenter went on to say that children should not know that babies can die. In part, he or she was right. Children should not know babies can die, because babies shouldn’t die. But sometimes they do. When they do, we follow our parenting instincts and do the best we can to explain the unexplainable and we talk through tears and answer questions when we can Continue Reading

The most important like

teaching kids to like themselves

It happened innocently enough. I was posting a new photo of Parker in one of his costumes to Instagram and tagging it to #Parkerpretends. Parker was watching over my shoulder and saw several names show up as "likes" underneath his picture. "What are those names for Mommy?" "Well when people like pictures on here they click the heart button to show they like it." "So three people like me? There's another one! Four people like me! Now how many?" If conversations could have a delete, rewind, or backspace button I would have been pushing it with both hands and my forehead. I don't want my children to look for "likes" or equate their value with the number on a computer Continue Reading

That one time at the grocery store

kindness wins

Last night at the grocery store the woman three overflowing carts in front of me was having some issues at the register. I have no idea what was going on because I was too far away to hear but I know her groceries were mostly scanned and situated in her cart and she wasn't leaving lane 15. Shoppers were continuing to line up behind me but there wasn't much progress being made in the actual moving forward of the line. I started wondering why I always pick the aisle where there is a price check as Parker pleaded for anything sugarcoated and eye level. I probably let out an audible sigh and Parker probably did too when I offered him bottled water instead of those nasty push-up suckers that Continue Reading