You Are A Wonderful Mother.


She sat quietly in her recliner at the far end of the living room where she had positioned herself shortly after we arrived. I know she loves my children dearly, but the sheer presence of their chaotic little bodies makes her nervous. She managed to slowly creep from her spot at the kitchen table into the living room where she turned on an old western and sat by herself. This happens every time we visit, but I understand. Her hearing is diminished, so sitting around a table full of loved ones having a conversation on mute is painful. She greets us with a smile as we barrel through the door and then quietly secludes herself in the other room.

When it’s time to leave, we entertain the same ritual. As the kids and I walked in to say our goodbyes, I found her staring at a picture of her son that had recently passed away. A blanket covered her frail tired body. At a glance she is merely a shadow, but this depiction of her physical state is a far cry from the strong independent woman she once was.

I smiled as I neared her and then leaned in to give her my love with my children clinging to my legs. Both of us savor our farewells, silently acknowledging that it could be our last.

“Sorry we were so crazy today, Granny! I love you. We will see you next time we’re in town!”

As I went to step away her cold, wrinkly hand grasped for mine. I pushed her walker to the side to kneel next to her as her icy fingers encompassed mine.

Her voice shook, “I just wanted to tell you that you are a wonderful mother to those two kids.”

I bit my lip, attempting to fight back the tears as I squeezed her hand in acknowledgement. The kids had been a complete mess all day, and I was clearly worn out and dreading a long car ride home. I needed those words. From the most courageous woman I know…..I needed those words.

As a child she was orphaned by a divorce. She married young and later started a family of her own. Her 4’11 frame gave birth to five healthy children, the youngest being a set of twins born breech. She gracefully endured motherhood without amenities. She bleached and hung to dry every diaper that covered her baby’s bums without complaint. She cooked from the garden that she grew and heated water on the stove in order to bathe her children in the washtub on the floor. She tirelessly cared for her children in ways that I can’t even comprehend. Then the unthinkable happened. Just after the twin’s sixth birthday, she lost her husband to cancer. During those incredibly difficult times she was left to raise five children on her own. On the day the boys became men the draft called for the twins. She valiantly stood by as their older brother stepped on the bus with them.

In the wake of motherhood when my world feels as though it is crumbling beneath me, I reach for her unwavering strength. The first night home with our newborn, and I am scared to death….but I can do this. The doctor placed two babies in her arms when she was only expecting one. I barely have an ounce of energy left for bath time…but I can do this. She had to heat water on the stove to bathe her children. I am dreading this week with my husband gone for work…..but I can do this. She raised five kids on her own with such grace. On the days where the kids are screaming and I feel as though I am failing, I reach for her words.

I am a wonderful mother to these two kids.

Poison Ivy for Mother’s Day


The sliding glass door opened and then silently paused before closing. That was my cue. One that I often lain awake listening for. I scurried out of bed grabbing at the mismatched clothes lying on the floor and rushed towards the door. That silent pause was my dad’s way of checking to see if I was up and wanting to go on an adventure. We often slipped out for walks on cool spring mornings just as the sun was waking the rest of the world. He never hollered or knocked before venturing out…there was just a pause of the sliding glass door. Continue reading

My Sweet Little Girl


My Emily:

I write to you as I sit next to your bed watching your peaceful body dream. The glitter from the princess dress you insisted on sleeping in twinkles as the star machine casts a million tiny stars on the ceiling. Your long golden locks cascade over your face revealing only a glimpse of your dark eyelashes and chipped pink fingernails so sweetly hooked around your nose as you suck your thumb. Watching your little chest rise and fall wondering what magical world you have drifted off to has become my favorite part of day. Continue reading

Ten Tragedies Forcing Toddlers Out of Bed


The magical day of tantrums and spilled milk is finally coming to a close. You carry your flailing toddler up the stairs to commence the blissful “six” hour bedtime routine. There’s pottying, teeth brushing, reading of a million books and talk about the favorite things that happened today. The music player is turned on, the star machine has plastered a million flickering stars on the ceiling, and you sit next to your sweet little rubbing their back and humming a song. Once those heavy eyelids finally surrender to the day, you tiptoe out of the bedroom like a stealth cat. Continue reading

Dear Mom:


I am sure I have not told you nearly enough how much I love and appreciate all you have done for me. I never fully understood the sacrifices that you made until the day I held a child of my own. I now see how deep and unconditional a mother’s love truly is. You dedicated every ounce of your being to raising my brother and me and for that I am eternally grateful Continue reading

The Three-Year-Old Race


We showed up to the “raising a three-year-old” race merely as spectators. I held tight to my son’s hand as my infant quitely rested in a ring sling across my chest. These cantankerous three-year-old’s and their frightened parents were being called to the starting line as we neared the crowd. This so-called-race had been graciously called a fun run, but we all knew the truth… Continue reading

The Christmas Wish


We rushed through bath time to bundle up and venture out to look at Christmas lights.  It is something we frequently do this time of year.  Squeals of excitement poured out of the backseat as the lights tinkled and changed while we slowly drove by.  My heart swelled as the tears rolled down my cheeks.  Matt locked his fingers in mine and squeezed my hand as our eyes met with a smile.  Six years ago we had driven around looking at Christmas lights …dreaming of this exact moment. Continue reading

To the Stay-At-Home Daughters And Sons


My Sweetheart,

It’s cold outside and you have been going stir crazy in this house for days.  I see you sitting there in your chair staring at the overflowing bag of trash that’s driving you crazy.  It would only take you two minutes to run it out to the garbage can, but you’re not sure if you can pull it off.  The reality of the situation is that you have become a hostage in your own home…caring for me.

I start to nod off in the recliner so you seize the opportunity to slip out the backdoor and quickly run the bag of trash around the side of the house.  Moments later I meet you at the door distraught in a puddle of tears.  “Why did you leave me?  I thought something happened to you!” funnels out between my fit of sobs. Continue reading