A Slow Descent

Posted on | February 6, 2023 | No Comments


When I was pregnant with C, I had horrible heart palpitations. It was like a 9 month panic attack and as much as I’d prayed for and loved the baby I was growing, I was really ready for him to be born. Like REALLY ready. He was a great baby. He slept better than J did, he smiled and cooed and in general won over the hearts of everyone.

At two years old, his daycare teacher told me “C doesn’t like to be redirected.” And I thought it was funny because he’s stubborn, you know, and full of his own ideas on how things should be done. Still, nothing much out of the ordinary until B was born one minute and the pandemic crashed in the next. By the time he was four, C had spent an inordinate amount of time at home with me. When he returned to a daycare setting, it was to a classroom without many of his old friends. He took “not liking redirection” up to level seven. First, it was throwing tantrums. Then he struck at other kids, teachers, and items. By the time he hit Pre-K, he was sent home several times for tearing things off walls, pulling chairs off of tables, and screaming inconsolably.

Things seemed to calm down for C around mid-year and we thought he’d grown up and learned to manage his emotions. We were feeling really good about him starting Kindergarten in the fall at our zoned school, opting not to let him follow in his big brother’s footsteps, but to blaze his own trail at a new school.

The week before school started, we found out his school didn’t offer after care. After scrounging around for other options, we finally contacted our beloved elementary school that had so loved J. They managed to find a space for him and everything was on track for him to start kindergarten as planned.

Only it turned out, C hadn’t figured out how to manage his emotions.

The first month of school was really hard on C, his teachers, and me.

The second month was even harder. We got a “one more strike and he’s out” letter from the school after he tried to bite the assistant principal.

By Thanksgiving, we had him set up for psychological testing because we didn’t know what else to do. What do you do? He’s really bright. He can tell you more than you’d ever want to know about dinosaurs. He’s reading, though he still has to sound out a lot of things. He’s verbal and loving and mostly kind. But when he doesn’t get to do exactly what he wants, he cannot manage.

I know.

It sounds silly.

I had more than one friend tell me that a few good spankings would straighten him out.

But it was more than that. He was wrapping himself up in the rug at school. He was sobbing uncontrollably over the smallest of things.

When we got the test results back, we found out what we’d long suspected:

C was diagnosed with “high functioning” autism.

“He’s close to what they used to call Asperger’s” the psychologist told us, as she spelled out eleventy-million diagnoses that sit against my skin and atop my child like a stack of library books to be balanced.

How can one child carry so many labels without toppling over?

I cried when I read his report because even with a diagnosis, even with a million diagnoses, I still don’t know how to help him. I want him to have friends and love who he is but I worry so much that the straight-laced ideas I have of what childhood means: the sports, the friends, the academics… are going to hinder C from being who he needs to be. Are my ingrained beliefs going to harm my sweet middle in ways I don’t even see? In ways I can’t see because of the lens of my own life and my own childhood?

It feels like we’re wading through syrup and I don’t know how to get myself out of it, I only know that I have to get out so I can hold out some help for C. We can’t both just sink here.

But it’s hard because I’m not just stuck in the trudge of these diagnoses, I’m stuck in the squelch of other people’s doubt. The well-meaning “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with him,” the “he seems fine to me,” the “Who was this psych you saw? Are you sure she’s credentialed?”

I’m stuck in this no-woman’s land of wondering what it means when they think there’s nothing different about my child. What is it they think is the root of his behavior? If it isn’t a diagnosis, if it isn’t something built differently in his brain, then I know what they’re thinking:

“He needs better parenting.”

And it’s that well-meaning undercurrent, that whisper aloud of my own fearful doubts, that may ultimately drown me.



A Cry for Help

Posted on | October 4, 2022 | 6 Comments

I’ve been putting this off.

I realize that sounds silly, because, after all, this was always a space for me to just say what’s in my head in the hopes that saying it would get it out of my head and therefore make it less painful or whatever. Still, I’ve been putting this off.

See, I may have been open and honest about a lot, but I still tried to frame myself well. I still tried to hold the camera up high and tilt my chin just so and smile with the right amount of honesty and coyness so that I looked… mostly good. Even when I looked bad.

But I don’t know how to hold the camera right now, because one of my kids is hurting and I don’t know how to help him.

90% of the time, I have this amazing, sweet, kind-hearted, phenomenal kid. He love dinosaurs. He loves to laugh. He watches Paw Patrol and sings made up songs. He adores his brothers.

90% of the time, he’s perfectly wonderful.

But 10% of the time … 10% of the time he is really, really hard. And I don’t know what to do about it.

It started about two years ago with inappropriate outbursts, temper tantrums, and yelling at his teachers. It escalated last year to throwing classroom items and hitting/kicking his teachers. Today, the school called because he tried to bite an assistant principal.

And yall.

I don’t know what to do.

We’ve pulled every string there is to pull to try to get him in to see a specialist for behavior therapy and diagnostic testing. The first appointments were months away. MONTHS. We’ve begged. We’ve pleaded. We’ve tried ignoring, punishing, rewarding… you name it. And nothing works.

Deep down, I’ve always known there are kids who struggle. I’ve always known there are kids who act out and aren’t polite and kind. But those kids have crappy parents, right? Those kids have terrible home lives where things are broken and falling apart. Those kids aren’t MY kids.

Only… this is my kid.

There’s nothing in the world like seeing your child, your sweet, precious, amazing child, look at you with wide eyes and tell you he doesn’t KNOW why he acted like that. He doesn’t know why  he is mean to people who love him. He doesn’t have a reason. He can’t explain it. He doesn’t want to do it, but he can’t control it and then with his big blue eyes he calls himself a “bad kid” and says he has to partner with “other bad kids.” He says he goes to see “the teacher who works with bad kids.”

He thinks he’s BAD.

And every day it breaks me a little more until I’m just this pile of mush and tears and confusion just begging someone, ANYONE to please help me help my kid. Help me bring his smile back. Help me teach him he’s not bad just because he’s struggling.

Help. Me.

Or maybe just tell me I’m not alone? That I can do this? That I can advocate for this sweet ball of sunshine and hellfire.

Because I’m starting to worry that I can’t.

Welcome Back to Your Irregularly Scheduled Programming.

Posted on | May 15, 2020 | 2 Comments

It’s been so long since I wrote here, that I heard the virtual spine crack when I opened the page. I don’t have anything profound or life changing to share, it just seems such a shame not to be writing here as we wade through the greatest pandemic of my lifetime. Greatest seems like a misnomer… worst? Most annoying? Hardest? All of the above.

On March 13th… Friday the 13th, if we’re being specific… I kept C home from school because his eyes were puffy and swollen with allergies or a terrible case of pink eye. J and B went about business as usual. By Monday the 15th, everything was closed. No school. No work. No daycare. Our country went into a holding pattern, waiting to see what COVID-19 would do or not do to the economy, the people, the hospitals… everything. For eight weeks, we held our collective breath, cheering on healthcare workers, virtually schooling our children, turning in our work from afar. For eight weeks we rallied like Americans have in the past… making our own masks, baking bread, taking care of our neighbors.

And then… Individualism set in.

We started to get bored. We started to need an end point. We started to feel our American Entitlement to something more… to capitalism. To stores. To the RIGHT to get infected if we so chose. We stopped cheering for our healthcare workers and started protesting our confinement.

“It’s not fair!” We chanted.
“We should have the right to choose!” We stormed the state houses and showed up at sandwich shops with rocket launchers, flaunting our American right to just… I don’t know… be loud? Choose death? Choose… something? Honestly I don’t know what we’re choosing. I saw a meme on Facebook that said it was the most American thing ever to just be bored of COVID-19 and decide it’s over. And yeah, that sort of feels like what we’re doing. We waited eight weeks. We stockpiled toilet paper. Hell, we even baked our own bread.

And then we were done. We reached our limit. We have decided that we gave it our all for 8 weeks and now we are finished with that and ready to move on to whatever comes next…. only no more COVID, please.

I get it… I do. It’s HARD to be home. My office re-opened on May 5th and it was hard to go back to work and put my kids back in daycare. Actually, hard is the understatement of the year… it was horrific. I worry every minute that we’re going to all get sick and die. I told my husband that if anyone in this family is going to get sick and die, it will have to be me because I just can’t deal with it happening to anyone else. J had to finish fourth grade at home. It wasn’t ideal. He had the lead in Willy Wonka and he didn’t get to do it. He practiced “Pure Imagination” until we all knew all the words… and he didn’t get to sing it on stage. But that’s minor, I know. There are small businesses failing. There are people who can’t pay rent or bills. There are people who can’t eat. I can’t worry about J not playing Willy Wonka in his school play.

But we WANT to worry about those things, yeah? Those are easier.

It’s easier for me to be sad about J’s lost production than it is to grasp the full enormity of what is going on around us. Especially because, no matter how much we wish we could fight this off with our precious second amendment, it’s not going anywhere. And the truth is, none of us know what is coming next. We don’t know what our new “normal” is going to be or when it is going to get here. We don’t know if we’ll ever attend a sporting event again. We don’t know if we’ll get to see Hamilton on Broadway.

We just don’t know.

And if there’s one thing I know about America, it’s that we absolutely can’t stand not knowing.


Posted on | October 2, 2019 | No Comments

Maybe it’s exhaustion. Maybe it’s old(er) age. Maybe it’s a combination of both, but lately I’ve been really nostalgic for places and the people who filled them. 
I find myself longing for a few more moments in the wooden play house in the back yard at Pleasant Drive, talking on the unhooked pay phone to Ralph Macchio or Ricky Schroeder. I want a day down at the creek with tadpoles in the back of the neighborhood and spinning around on the merry go round until our stomachs hurt. I can still feel the nervous excitement of approaching Danny Fonorow’s house at Halloween and the rush of joy that came with sledding down the Pleasant Drive hill in the winter. 
There’s an indescribable ache where there used to be a garage in Tarboro with cold sodas in a small fridge inside the door and a front porch with plastic green grass “carpet.” I can still hear the creak and pull of the small attic door where I was certain immeasurable treasures were held and the feeling of the cold piano keys against my fingers. I remember the smell of DA’s fried cornbread cooking while we all milled around the tiny kitchen, asking when lunch would be ready, and the grunt and sigh of my Granddaddy lumbering up from his recliner to come to the table for the blessing. I can see my Grandma sitting, prim and proper with ankles crossed on the “good” sofa in the living room, her head tossed slightly back to keep in the giggles while the rest of us held court at her feet, each seeing who could make her laugh more and knowing it would always be my Granddaddy.                     
I’ve dreamed about sitting with my Granny in the rocking recliners with arm covers, staring aimlessly across the warm living room and smelling the waft of laundry from her sunken laundry room that terrified me as a child. I can hear the chime of her bird clock, the shuffle of her feet on the tile floors, and the smell of my Papa as he came home from work: a mingling of Juicy Fruit gum and the heavy weight of asphalt. If I close my eyes, I can see the glass doors of the shower in the guest bath; the one with the pink crocheted doll atop the toilet paper roll, and the soap with a red rose. I remember the Christmas when Papa bought the dog that flipped over when you turned it on and the sound of him laughing as he watched it and I still try to make pinto bean and tomato sandwiches the way Granny did.
It’s never the same though, is it.                                                                                                      
Growing older is no joke. It often feels like labored punch to the stomach where all your breath seeps out in slow motion: First you forget one thing, then another. One day you wake up and take a look in the mirror and realize you’re not the 26 year old you think you are. There are lines where things used to be smooth. There are white hairs. There are aches and pains and stings that were never there before. You wear your favorite heels only to find they now hurt your feet. You put on a much loved dress only to suddenly feel it’s entirely too short for “a woman of your age.”                                                                                                           
You look at your children and try to see yourself as they see you… old, wise, “adult”… but you fail. You just can’t. It’s their time now… their moments to remember. Their memories to make. I feel like I’ve gone from center stage to a supporting role with the knowledge that soon I’ll be merely an extra. God willing, I’ll be the grandma in someone else’s memory… the place they long for when they look back on their own life.
I’ve always said I wanted to grow old gracefully… but honestly? Aging is so very hard to accept. I am not ready to play a supporting role. I still believe there are dreams left to chase and spaces to create. I’m just not ready for this… how do we pause?

Finding Breath

Posted on | August 30, 2019 | 1 Comment

I lost it this morning.

I forgot how to breathe, how to focus… how to be me in the whirlwind of my life.

I don’t know if it was because my kids were whiny or if it was lack of sleep for, let’s face it, years on end. Maybe it was that the first thing I read this morning was a slap on the hand from a member of a profession I admire, alleging I didn’t admire them enough. Maybe it was the back talk from my ten year old. Maybe it was the soreness from yesterday’s yoga class and maybe it was just because it’s Friday at the end of a long week. But for whatever reason, I lost it this morning and I don’t know where I might find it to put it all back together again.

There are days when working parenthood feels like a breeze. You get up, the kids listen. They eat their breakfasts and brush their teeth and soft mood lighting spills through the room as they put their shoes on without complaint. There are mornings when the house is clean, the birds are singing, and you even remember to eat your own breakfast before you head out the door.

But there are also mornings like today, when it’s the last day of the month and the paycheck you just received is already doled out. Mornings where your ten your old begs to be picked up early and your two year old wants to hold your legs as you walk around the kitchen. Mornings when the baby is inconsolable and spits up on every outfit you put on. Mornings when there are dishes in the sink from the night before and toys scattered everywhere like an obstacle course of Mickey Mouse characters. Mornings when you’re glad you keep mascara at  your office because you cried it all off before you even arrived.

I don’t feel really present in my life some days. I feel like I’m floating on the outskirts, tidying up the boundaries and dusting off the edges of the life I will have one day. When I’m rested. When I’m thinner. When I’m happier. When I’m more equipped to handle the life that sits inside the box I haven’t yet opened. It’s as though I believe I’ll wake up one day and decide “Today is the day I become a competent adult” and that will be the day I can handle it all. That magical day will be the day that I discover everything is easier. Everything is cleaner. Everything runs smoothly. Everyone is happy.

I let myself get lost in a world of what needs to be done and what hasn’t come up yet. I get knee deep in all the “have tos” and “must dos” and I can’t seem to find my way up for a moment of what I truly need.


So I lost it this morning. On myself and my kids. I lost it on the pressures I put on myself to be everything to everyone, to do everything for everyone.

Life isn’t supposed to be this hard, is it?

It isn’t supposed to feel so heavy. It isn’t supposed to feel like the weight of everyone’s expectations are pressing you down into the sharp corners of a life you’ve preserved there, in that box beneath you.

It should be just…Breathing.

In and out. Up and down. Over and around. Day after day. Embracing the oxygen of the love around you. Remembering why you do all the things you do.

It’s your life, after all. It’s just the only one you have.



Opening the box and falling, letting that unexpected life wash over and through you until you realize…

You’ve been living it all along. You just forgot to breathe.




Being Right.

Posted on | August 7, 2019 | 3 Comments

Since the trauma and horror of this weekend, I’ve been processing. I’ve sat down at the keyboard a dozen times to write but couldn’t find the words.

People are dying.

Children are dying.

And it’s happening because we’re too afraid to do anything that might disrupt the status quo. We’re too afraid to do anything more than shake our heads and fold our hands in prayer. We’re too afraid to stand up and fight back with what we say and more importantly, what we hear.

I live in the South.

There are at least three times a day when I’m confronted with opportunities to set people straight. There are co-workers and clients and acquaintances in my life who say things that I shouldn’t listen to. They make jokes I shouldn’t put up with. They use terms that are culturally or racially insensitive. They display racism or antisemitism or one of the other “isms” that in theory make my skin crawl but in reality I just plaster a smile on and walk away.

This morning on the way to school, J was talking about a kid who said he was over five feet tall but only came up to J’s chin. He said “I told him he couldn’t possibly be that tall because he wasn’t even as tall as me and I’m five feet tall.” The two of them got in a big argument about it and guys… it pains me to say that I told my son that sometimes it’s more important to be happy than to be right.

“You don’t have to show him he’s wrong, buddy. You can just let him be wrong and know you’re right.”

And as the words left my mouth, I felt good about them. I felt like I was right. It’s not important to fight back all the time, I said to myself and my nearly 10 year old. It’s important to just know what’s right in your head and go on with your life.

But the truth is, that’s wrong. That’s so very wrong that it pains me that I told my child that. It’s the result of the privilege that I have on a daily basis of being able to compartmentalize the -isms that I’m faced with because they don’t affect me. The ability to walk away from the conflict is a luxury I was born with and one I quite clearly don’t deserve.

We’re in a critical time in this country. We’re faced with injustice daily in the way people talk about our neighbors and in the way they act towards our friends. We’re in a crisis that can only be resolved by giving up our “happy” in exchange for being right. For saying what’s right. For doing what is right.

I can’t continue to shift uncomfortably in my chair while a client says racist things to me on the phone.

I can’t continue to turn away when my neighbor refers to my homosexual friends in inappropriate terms.

I can’t continue to send thoughts and prayers while young, white men shoot up churches and schools and movie theaters and shopping centers.

We have a crisis on our hands, friends. And it’s the result of all of us pasting on smiles and ignoring the elephants in front of us. I’m a Southerner. Pasting on smiles is what we do. It’s why racism still lives here. It’s why I’d never heard an antisemitic term of any kind until moving to Georgia. It’s why our boys grow up thinking it’s okay to take photographs where they’re pretending to choke women or throwing up Nazi salutes. Because we’ve pasted on smiles and said “Well, that’s just a JOKE. Don’t take it so seriously!”

We have become a country of opposites… white and black, male and female, Republican and Democrat. And one hates the other because it’s “other” and misunderstood. But what we really are, what we must really and truly understand is this:

We are a country of wrong and right.

There’s no middle ground. No “Saturday afternoon” racists. If you use derogatory terms to describe your fellow man, you are wrong. If you believe that the right to bear arms is more important than the right to be safe, you are wrong. If you believe that immigrants can be illegal, you are wrong.  Actions can be illegal… not people. If you believe that having brown skin makes you less of a citizen or more frightening in a traffic stop, you are wrong. If you believe that women are somehow less than men, you are wrong. If you believe that Christianity is the only “right” way of life, you are wrong.

And if you tell your son that it’s more important to keep the peace than to stand up for what is right?

You are wrong.

Running Away

Posted on | July 31, 2019 | 1 Comment

Perhaps it makes me a bad parent but there is a quiet, hidden part of me that spins and twirls and pulls at the thought of running away from my life until the idea unravels into unexplainable tears. It’s a silent pulse in my soul that rolls in unexpectedly and nearly takes my breath away with how hard I choke down the thought. After all, how do you say “I want to run away” without it sounding like you’re giving up on your life as a working mother?

I don’t want to give up. I just want to run away.


Those of us in it know that Motherhood is a lot. Those of us knee deep in “9-5” (or 7:30-6) jobs know all too well that working motherhood can be entirely too much. Because at the end of the day, there are still dishes to wash and mouths to feed and messes to clean, just as there would be if you were home all day. Sure you get the break from your children, but you don’t get the break from your house. Or laundry. Or packing lunches. There are certainly days when I think it would be easier to just disappear for a while. To wake up in stillness. To drink coffee without answering dozens of questions or wrestling on baby clothes. To stretch languidly on a porch overlooking water so blue it hurts my eyes.

I let myself imagine the looks on faces when they realize I’m gone, realization dawning on them that now they will have to do and clean and care for themselves. The realization that clothes needing to be washed will not just magically clean, dinners won’t just magically cook. The calendar keeper has gone and no one knows where to be or when to be there.

Clients would call and call and never get a response… suddenly understanding how it feels to beg and plead for an answer from a stone wall.

Everything would come to a sudden and uncomfortable halt, my cell phone ringing on a forgotten table as I clicked nails against a keyboard, writing the stories that spin in my mind.

I want time to remember what it feels like to just be me… just a woman. Just a writer. Just a person. Not someone’s mother, not someone’s food source, not someone else’s anything. I suppose that happens in 18-22 years? When I’m too old to remember my face without lines, my voice without the halting lilt of age. I don’t want to turn old and realize I forgot to be young because I was so busy being busy with soccer practices and daycare drop offs and worrying about the last time I dusted the back of the television.

Oh but I couldn’t leave. And even if I could, I wouldn’t stay gone. There is too much love to keep me tethered here, wiping the runny noses, sweeping the dirty floors, and answering the client calls. I am fortunate to have a family that needs me, a job that needs me, a world that needs me.

But every so often… I just need me, too.

House Hunters

Posted on | July 29, 2019 | 2 Comments

I returned to work from maternity leave two Mondays ago, as luck would have it, I found a house I wanted to look at on the same day. It was for sale by owner and in the neighborhood I really hoped to be in. The back yard had a pool and the house sat on nearly two acres of wooded land.

It seemed like it could be a perfect fit for a family like mine.

Feeling very put together after my first day at work, I insisted I could make it to the house by 5:30 with all three boys. Banks was to meet us there at the same time. We’ve been half-heartedly looking for a larger house for quite some time, knowing that eventually our three boys will outgrow their two small bedrooms and need more space to spread out. I say half-heartedly because moving is a chore no matter when you do it, but moving with a newborn and a two year old sounds like a violation of the Geneva Convention.

In any event, I was rocking along. I worked a full day back. I picked up the boys and it was with a large smile that I pulled into the driveway of the house. J announced it was “the ultimate hide and seek house” based on the curving drive up through the wooded area and the youngest two were quietly watching a movie. Or so I thought. We parked and I got out of my sweet new minivan, popping the side doors open with a flourish because honestly, if you’re going to rock a minivan you should full on ROCK the minivan. I take my minivan life very seriously, now.

I got the baby out then walked over to unlatch C from his car seat. Inexplicably, he was asleep.

If you know anything about two year olds, you know that when they fall asleep at 5:30 during a ten minute car ride, it can only mean trouble. Either they are sick or they have a secret plan to ruin your entire week by never sleeping at night again. Nonetheless, we were at the house so I shrugged and Banks lifted him up and we headed over to greet the owners.

The owners, we’ll call them Jack and Jill for the sake of their privacy, were so fun. We immediately hit it off with them, laughing and joking as they showed us through their multi-purpose garage and into their lovely home. We chatted about mutual friends and I was feeling pretty good about the house, the owners, and … lets face it… myself. I mean, I was rocking this mom of three thing. How hard could it be, right? You get up, you go to work, you go look at a house… I was feeling like I had everything together in fierce “star of my own movie” fashion. In the background of my now playing life movie, Geto Boys were singing and I was feeling damn good being such a gangsta.

We stepped into the dining room while Jill pointed out the office in front of us and I heard a strange noise.

Was it Banks?

Was it J being goofy?

Did the baby spit up?

I turned to Banks to ask, only to find him wide-eyed staring at me. C was leaning back, eyes red, and I thought for a minute he was going to throw a tantrum of epic proportions. But then I realized what was happening. I did the only thing I could think of to do… I stuck my hand under his mouth.

And then the vomit started.

In the lovely dining room of these absolute strangers.

It hit the floor with a splat. Banks pulled his shirt up into a makeshift bucket and caught most of it as it billowed out of our two year old as though we were staring down into the mouth of hell.

“Oh God,” I helpfully said, watching the scene unfold. “He’s throwing up.”

Both Jack and Jill were the kindest about the whole situation, having children themselves, but I was downright mortified. In the back of my head, Geto Boys silenced and Chris Rock started singing about a circus at the top of his lungs. Banks was covered in throw up. C was crying and covered in throw up. J was helpfully saying “Gross. So Gross. There’s puke everywhere” over and over. Jill took the baby. Jack offered new clothes for Banks. C stripped down to his diaper on their back porch.

Oh friends. Just when you think you have life together, you find yourself in a stranger’s home, cleaning vomit off their dining room floor.

This is my life now.


I Could Live With That

Posted on | July 26, 2019 | 1 Comment

I’ve always thought too much about the future.

Whether it was as a fourth grader, worried about what comes after death, or as a college student worried about what comes after graduation, I’ve always had my mind firmly focused on what comes next. Will it be good? Will it be bad? Will it hurt? What exactly IS the next big thing on the horizon that I should be worried about or looking forward to?

I think it’s part of what happens in our society now… there are so many boxes to check.

Single, Married, Divorced, Widowed
Education Level
Number of children
Rent or Own

Our lives are pared down into pre-printed forms that ask only the simplest questions, minimizing our greatest accomplishments and worst defeats into little more than bold print square boxes that hold check marks. “Okay, life. I’ve gotten married. Now what?”

It’s hard not to look for the next big thing when everything around you is pulsing with the reminder that there is more. “Tell me what’s new with you,” people say, and they mean “what new big thing has happened or is happening in your life?” No one wants to hear “Everything is exactly the same in my life and I’m super happy to be enjoying the status quo, thank you so much for asking.”

When you’re dissatisfied or restless, it’s important to look ahead. There is something better, the world whispers, and you believe it because certainly there’s something better than whatever sludge is pooling around your ankles. You’re too young or too old, too fat or too out of shape. You eat too many carbs. Your life would just be so much better if you bought this or joined that club or became friends with that person.

Everything around is geared to make us dissatisfied with whatever it is that we have. There’s always someone who has it better. There’s always someone with more. For most of my life, I’ve been caught at the edge of a long list of things to do or accomplish, a treadmill of life goals. I’ve been gripping the handles for dear life and barely keeping my feet in rhythm with the churn beneath me. One misstep and I’ll fall off but, gosh…  if I just run faster, I’m going to make it to the front of the line.

Lately I’ve realized there is, in fact, no front of the line. Life on this treadmill is just holding on to the handles and barely scraping by. It’s sweating so profusely that you absolutely have to buy the water resistant make up and all the fancy hair bands because otherwise, everything you’ve worked so hard for will smear and pool down and block you from seeing that elusive moment where you reach your stride. The moment it all becomes worth it. The moment you can start to just live.

Then one day, you wake up and realize that if you just let go… just let yourself slide off the back of the treadmill… you’re not going to miss anything. You can stand at the back and be perfectly happy, sweat-free, and sure, maybe a few pounds heavier… but no longer running to get nowhere.

I’ve let go of the handles this year. I’ve stepped off from chasing the long list of things I haven’t done yet. Because life is not about catching up to what anyone else has. It’s not about reaching and stretching and desperately needing something attainable or even unattainable on the horizon.

Life is about letting go. It’s about trusting that what you have is what you need. It’s about a slow, calm, stretch of morning with a cup of coffee while three sons weave magic just by breathing. It’s about all the moments in your life twirling into now… into this exact moment.

This moment when you have everything.

Life… before the asterisk of losing weight or making more money or publishing a book or buying a bigger house.

Just Life. Just in this moment. Just in this brief, content moment, where if nothing ever changed?

Yeah. You could live with that.


Facing Fears

Posted on | March 7, 2019 | 2 Comments

On Wednesday night, I dreamed of snakes.

Not just one or two, but lots of snakes… every where I went there were snakes. When I woke up, I was still scared to put my feet on the floor or use the restroom because I’m absolutely terrified of snakes.

I mentioned it to Banks and googled what dream snakes mean, which, if you’ve ever googled dream interpretations, you’ll know that it can basically mean absolutely anything. But the biggest thing seemed to be fear of some kind… some situation you’re not facing in your everyday life. I didn’t think much more about it, except to wonder what it was I was secretly afraid of.

Until 11:30 yesterday morning, when I thought about eating lunch right around the same time I thought that I might pass out. I was hot and dizzy and nauseated and I had a strange feeling that something was wrong. I waited it out. I stayed as still as possible. I took my blood sugar to make sure it wasn’t related to that. Around noon, I forced myself to eat anyway, but it didn’t seem to help. Finally, though I thought I was being silly, I called my OB office and talked to the pregnancy nurse. More to calm me down than out of actual concern, she scheduled me to come in and I drove over to wait.

I really thought they’d tell me I was overreacting.

I thought I’d be sent on my way with a pat on the back and a “Take it easy but you’re fine. Call anytime.”

Instead, I was hooked up to monitors and ultrasound and suddenly they were talking about steroid shots to prepare the baby’s lungs. Not the baby. My baby. Our baby. To prepare little B’s lungs. In case he came early… because things weren’t quite right.

After a little while on the monitors, they determined that I was not in labor but had what they referred to as “an irritable uterus,” among several other issues that were not fully explained.

“Good news,” the doctor said. “We won’t have to admit you today.”

I was sent to Labor and Delivery for a steroid shot, with the second scheduled for this afternoon and that was that. I was sent on my way.

No one told me what to expect. No one told me what any of this meant for the next three months that little B is supposed to stay tucked inside, safe and warm. No one gave me a list of what caused this or how to keep it from getting worse.

And so I came home. And lay on my sofa as C celebrated his second birthday on the floor beside me. I watched my family put together a Mickey Mouse train set and pondered all the many reasons any single part of me might possibly be “irritable” given the fact that I was pregnant at 41. I watched them laugh and joke and fuss at each other as C tried to slide down the train tracks, announcing “weeeeee” as it collapsed beneath his weight.

I just lay there, and watched. And pondered all the many things to fear are so much more terrifying than snakes.

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    Spilled Milk (and Other Atrocities) by Law Momma is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
    Based on a work at http://www.law-momma.com.
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