Posts Tagged ‘ Motherhood ’

Living Life on Purpose

Religion and Philosophy Blog Nosh Magazine{Originally Posted at Generation Cedar}

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” (John Lennon)

Is it possible, in this noisiest-of-ever-century, that we hardly ever hear, hardly ever see anything much?

Have you ever noticed your world when the power goes off? It’s not just that you can’t check your email… it’s a deafening silence that might drive some crazy if it lasted long enough. All the hums and quiet roars are dead, and we are left with much less–or is it more?

I think if we don’t live on purpose, we won’t live at all. If we don’t see through the daily whir, and hear through the daily buzz, we might just miss the life we were intended to live.

If you’ve lived very long, you know that life isn’t that long. Can we say as someone did,

“I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I have just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.”

It’s not hard, really. It’s not sky-diving and Rocky-mountain climbing…

It’s another warm hug today; choosing to cast a gentle glance in the direction of one you love, rather than a day-worn scowl.

A walk outside, closing your eyes, and raising your face to the warmth of an autumn sky. Saying out loud to your children…”Isn’t this world glorious–the one our Lord created?”

Curling up to read Dr. Seuss again, ending with a tickle. Speaking words of life into someone’s heart.

All these smallish things, woven together over a lifetime make a life well-lived.

The Nose

Birth and Adoption Blog Nosh Magazine

{Originally published on Writing My Wrongs}

Serendipity: to make discoveries, by accident and sagacity, of things not in quest of.” –

It’s been two days, and I am still shaking. I still cannot catch my breath. I still feel dizzy and disoriented. I feel drained. Depleted of all my energy.

Ever been in a car accident and end up okay, but also end up shaking and traumatized for a few days? I feel like that.

My breathing becomes more rapid and shallow, and my eyes well with tears just recollecting the events that transpired this past Sunday.

Yes. I visited the amazing powerful Claud. Claud and I met at a diner in the same town that my daughter goes to school in. Of course I knew this. Of course I let her know. Since we have not met face-to-face and only correspond via email, I felt it terribly important to let her know this. Why? Well, I was very concerned that if, by any force of any god, we ran into each other she might think I had become some crazy stalker. I am a bit crazy but I am not a stalker.

My daughter made it clear when we first reunited that she did not want to meet YET. I have not pushed. I have developed the relationship slowly, followed her lead and let things flow as they may. That being said, I won’t deny that I am anxious to meet her. Anxious to sit with her and share coffee, talk books, look at her beautiful face, hear the sound of her voice, listen to her laugh. To touch her again. To be back in the same room with a piece of my soul that left me 20 years ago.

I told her of my visit via email. She did not respond. That was okay. I felt I had done my duty of “warning” her.

Saturday morning I happen to check her away message on AIM. It says “parents”. This confuses me. Was she home for the weekend? Was she sick? Did something happen? On a whim, I check her school academic calendar. I learn that the weekend I will be in town is parents weekend. Her aparents will be there the same time I will. We will all be breathing the same air.

I get nervous. I rethink my plans with Claud. I decide against canceling. I realize I am being foolish. I cannot plan my life around where she is at any given time. I cannot avoid that part of the state simply because she is there.

So, I go. I drive 70 miles to visit Claud. As I enter the town we are meeting in, I cross over a street named Michael Avenue (name changed for privacy). I gasp for air. Its like a tidal wave hits me. I shake. For the past year I have been mailing letters and packages to my daughter’s school on Michael Avenue. I felt like crossing that street was like going over a threshold, opening a gate, passing into some sacred space. Her space.

How to Put a Child Down for Sleep


{Originally published on Foolery.}

The ability to put a child down to sleep for the night is one of the most important skills one can attain as a parent or babysitter. It is also the most elusive one.

Let’s start with bathroom stuff. First up: go to the bathroom. No, not you, though with the amount of time this operation will take, you may want to consider it first.

Get the child to go potty. Plan to run water in the sink for the child to spur her imagination — at least enough water to wash a Suburban with. Don’t be at all surprised if child announces a secondary plan, for which more time and toilet paper will be necessary.

After the toilet is flushed, the child will attempt to escape, but you must INSIST that the child first wash her hands. This usually involves at least as much water as you ran to make her tinkle, and about a quarter of that will end up on the counter and floor.

Before the child can run away, grab her by the waist and say, “Time to brush your teeth!” as brightly yet firmly as you are able with a squirmy, uncooperative and toothbrush-hating child in your grasp. You must let go long enough to uncap the toothpaste. After you’ve experienced once or twice chasing your child through the house while forgetting you have uncapped toothpaste in hand, you’ll be smarter and have the toothbrush loaded and ready to go while she’s washing her hands. This works even better once she has become territorial about the toothpaste, insisting upon doing the squeezing herself. (Don’t sweat the mess; you have to mop up after the hand-washing anyway.)

I like to allow the child to brush her own teeth, emphasizing “Don’t swallow the toothpaste — spit it!” about every five seconds. Plan to be spat upon. It also helps to pick a funny little tune to la-la while you brush her teeth: a personal favorite is the theme music to the old Benny Hill show, Yakkety Sax. This will not be your child’s favorite, however.

A Month of Due Dates

Birth and Adoption Blog Nosh Magazine

{Originally published on … and a Doula, Too}

(a reflection on the two-year anniversary of my son’s ‘due date’–but not of his birthday, which won’t happen for another two and a half weeks …)

“When are you due?”

That’s pretty much the first question people ask, right? As in,

pregnant woman: Hey! I’m pregnant!
friend/relative/co-worker/near-stranger: Congratulations! When are you due?
pregnant woman: On [insert super-specific and official-sounding date here]. We’re really excited!
friend/relative/co-worker/near-stranger: Wow; that’s great. Do you know what you’re having yet?
pregnant woman (according to personality and sarcasm level): We don’t know yet. OR A little boy! OR A little girl! OR Gee, I don’t know; a human baby, we hope.

The thing is, though, that the ‘due date,’ or Estimated Date of Delivery (EDD), or EDC (Estimated Date of Confinement), is an incredibly problematic little piece of information. For most people, it’s a
flat-out guess at the date that would be 38 weeks (266 days) after the date of conception, or (even less reliably) 40 weeks after the first day of the pregnant woman’s last menstrual period. The little
wheel-of-due-dates is based on Naegele’s Rule, which was developed in the 1830s; some studies have suggested that other methods of dating (including Nichols’ Rule and the much more nuanced Mittendorf-Williams Rule) are more accurate.

If you don’t keep track of your ovulation and sexual encounters and can’t remember exactly when you started your last period because you are freakin’ busy or not good with dates, or if you have an unusual or irregular menstrual cycle that means you don’t ovulate when Textbook Female Body ovulates, the due date is more fantasy than reality.

Thomas’s Story

Overcoming Adversity Blog Nosh Magazine

{originally published on Because I’m The MOM}

When I started this blog I wanted it to be about my family, one of whom has special needs. What I didn’t want was a Special Needs Blog. I realized though, that to ignore Thomas’s story altogether means that there are things I can’t say because they wouldn’t make sense. So here you go.

When I got pregnant with Thomas I was considered high-risk because I was 36. My ob-gyn suggested that I have the 11-week Nuchal Translucency Test. No problem, I thought, this just goes along with being a little older. I have to say though, that every time someone said “advanced maternal age” within earshot I wanted to smack them sideways and shout “I’m not FIFTY for God’s sake. I’m 36! I’m YOUNG.”

About 2 minutes into the test I saw the sonographer’s face go still and she got very quiet. Not a good thing. She summoned the doctor, a very kind man with a very serious face, and he told me that there was a 50% chance there was something genetically wrong with my baby. Probably something like Down’s Syndrome. My husband and I were devastated, of course, and thus began my running of a veritable gauntlet of tests for the next 24 weeks. The thing is, EVERY SINGLE TEST came back normal. Chorionic Villus Sample? Normal. Multiple in-utero echocardiograms of Thomas’s heart? Normal. Ultrasound after ultrasound? Normal. The doctors were elated, but deep inside I knew there was still something wrong.

How to Get Away with Buying a Playboy, circa 1970

Personal Blog Nosh Magazine

{Originally Published in Cafe Philos.}

It occurs to me this morning you might be wondering how someone would have gone about buying a Playboy in a small American town in the early 1970s — and get away with it. Of course, that was back when buying a Playboy in a small backwards town could break your reputation, so getting away with it was key.

Now, I don’t recall how old I was when I bought my first Playboy. Older than 16, at least. So long ago some of the details that never mattered to me anyway now escape me.

I do, however, recall that I bought my first Playboy at Potter’s Drugstore, and that Old Man Potter himself rang up my purchase. Old Man Potter owned and operated one of two drugstores in my pathetically small town of 2,000 people where it seemed everyone knew everyone else. And here’s what I recall about buying that Playboy:

I recall I began sweating the moment I picked it out of the magazine rack, and I began blushing the moment I handed it to Old Man Potter at the check out counter. The only two people in the whole store at the time were Old Man Potter and me — I had carefully seen to that — but I nevertheless felt like the eyes of the entire community were upon me.

For a moment, everything seemed to go smoothly. I handed the Playboy to Old Man Potter; Old Man Potter took the Playboy; he looked at the price just like he would any other magazine: and then he entered the price into his cash register. Smooth. Normal. I was almost about to breath again when suddenly he said, “I’ll be right back. I have to make a phone call.” Then he dashed off to the back room with the Playboy still in his hands.

I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

I didn’t stop blushing. I didn’t stop sweating…


Religion and Philosophy Blog Nosh Magazine

{Originally posted at One Thing}

When I used to daydream about becoming a mother, I wasn’t completely naive. I knew there was more to it than the highly-romantic Similac commercials made it out to be. After all, I had a mother myself, and although she made the job look like just about the Best Thing Going, I knew it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. I knew it could be trying. I knew it could even be, at times, A Challenge.

When I got pregnant with my first child, I read articles that made motherhood sound like the ultimate self-help experience. Once you had children, the experts promised, you would hold yourself to a higher standard. You would want to model for your children the very best example, and therefore you would draw upon untapped levels of motherly goodness that you didn’t even know you had.

I have since learned the truth.

Motherhood is a Formal Enquiry, not “a challenge”. It is an Interrogation. Motherhood grabs you by the neck, slings you into a hard metal chair, angles a white hot light in your face and demands an accounting. It cross-examines you until you are no longer sure of who you are and can give no reasonable explanation for just what, exactly, you thought you were doing.

Did you think you were patient? What about the time you had to explain the concept of fractions to your fifth-grader for the eight-hundred and twenty-third time in three days? Thought you were pretty smart? Wait until you try to BS your way out of a moral dilemma and your teen calls your bluff. Think you’re Determined? Pit yourself against a 3 year old who decides overnight that elastic is Very, Very Bad In Every Way, But Most Especially On Pants. Were you strong? Resourceful? Brave? Think again.

It is the single most humbling experience possible to be confronted every day in every way with one’s inadequacies, but that, in a nutshell, has been my experience with parenthood.

Sarah Palin and Motherhood

Sarah Palin and Motherhood

Politics Blog Nosh Magazine

{Originally Published on The Dr. Laura Blog}

I am extremely disappointed in the choice of Sarah Palin as the Vice Presidential candidate of the Republican Party. I will still vote for Senator McCain, because I am very concerned about having a fundamental leftist, especially one who is a marvelous orator, as President.

At first, I thought it amusing that McCain picked a pretty, smart, and tough female to counter the racist/sexist accusations going back and forth between parties. I remember how Oprah Winfrey got caught in the cross-fire as she stepped up to the political table to support Obama with pride that a black man could rise to such heights in the USA, only to get slammed by feminists who told her it was gender, not race, that she should back. Understandably, Ms. Winfrey pulled back from it all.

Forget gender and race. I’m frankly and sadly caught in the dilemma of having to balance policy versus example in touting a candidate for the office of the First Family. I was ferociously attacked (what’s new?) when I spoke out strongly against Bill Clinton’s dalliances in the Oval Office. That situation quickly turned into a debate whether “private has anything to do with public.” Nonsense.

Role models are very important. Children and young adults look to those who are visible and successful as a road map of what is acceptable behavior and emulate those actions over the morals and values their parents and churches have taught and tried to reinforce. It’s a tough go these days, when the “bad that men or women do” is used for entertainment purposes without judgment, or is excused because of political or financial considerations.

I’m stunned – couldn’t the Republican Party find one competent female with adult children to run for Vice President with McCain?

From Wretch To Angel: Where’s the Angel Part? (Conclusion)

Birth and Adoption Blog Nosh Magazine

Originally published on The Calm Before the Stork.

So, lesson number one postpartum: Don’t set your blog readers up for a two or three part series when you barely know if you’ll be sleeping any day soon.

When I sat down to write that first post-birth post, in a fit of adrenaline (post-mama’s-first-meconium, ahem), I had the story all mapped out in my head. But once I’d finished the birth part, I needed a nap.

I still need a nap.

But I must finish the story.

Suffice it to say, or rather, in summary, in short: My baby was starving.

They tell you that the baby comes into this world with about three days’ worth of fat stores. Enough to keep him going while he and you learn how to breastfeed him on the meager yet thick drips of colostrum, until your milk comes in.

I was able to get something that looked like latching going on that first night in the hospital. The night nurse, a young black woman with a thick island accent, oversaw these attempts. The baby was crying. A lot.

“Oh, he is hungry! And he is frustrated! Oh yes, he is very very frustrated,” she said, over, and over, and over, and over, about 17 times, in a singsongy voice.

I didn’t sleep that first night.

You Love Me

Family Blog Nosh Magazine{Originally published on Running Stitch}

When I was still in grad school (was that only last year?), someone asked me if Moo said “I love you” yet. The answer was no. The asker had four kids, all of whom had said this phrase very early. I became overly obsessed with not caring about the whole thing. (Notice a personality trait?)Logically, I know my baby loves me. He doesn’t know how not to. Yet. But I started tossing out “I love you” a lot more. Or maybe I started noticing when I said it more. Some people say the phrase itself is overused but I don’t think it can be when it comes to your children.
My heart often feels like it is going to burst with how much I love them. I still wake up in the middle of the night and go upstairs to kiss and snuggle them a little bit.

While they’ll still let me.

Since that conversation, over a year ago, I’ve realized that it’s not important whether he tells me he loves me or not. What’s important is that he knows I love him. In our everyday life of playing with trains, running the lake, playing at the playground, picking up toys, making bread and reading Curious George Goes To The Baseball Game (over and over and over again) it’s important that I teach him not just where the toys go… but that I love him.