Tag Archives: children

Learning “Mom”, the single way: Vol. 2

Learning “Mom”, the single way: Vol. 2


They are all that parents talk about. My kid is crawling now. My kid is walking. My kid is eating solid foods and sleeping through the night.

My kid’s first two teeth have poked through and he’s actually crawling (though he often gets frustrated and whines like bad brakes on a car). I’m so excited! It’s changing his look so much to be getting teeth and more hair. Such a little man already. I can’t wait to see who he will become as he gets older. He charms all the ladies and they coo at him or talk to him like he was older. “He’s trouble” they say, grinning. And I smile too, because he’s happy. He also is dancing, which is a very cute version of horizontally based head banging. He twists his head and body side to side and shakes his fists. He makes me happy when he’s happy.

As a single, I look forward to these milestones with trepidation but also joy. Part of it means that my baby is growing up a little too fast for my own comfort. I relish in the small accomplishments, feeling like a thief as I steal the memories for later. I could say I hoard these moments, simply because telling the story later on is little equivalent of the excitement I felt at first sight. And yet…part of me is agitated. Sharing these joys with a partner would make them that much more sweet. It would seem real. Not that it’s not real. He’s growing and changing, that’s all too very real. But, it’s almost as if a piece is missing. I can call my mom to tell her, but she’s done this before and it’s not as exciting as it is for me. This leads to me dummy-ing down my excitement, so much so that, at times, I fail to even let myself feel it. I long for someone to call in the middle of the day and to celebrate with me. Maybe it’s just my imagination, but when I think of how it will feel to have that, it feels different.

I hurt. I hurt for my son, who is without a father. I hurt for myself, who is alone. But I am lucky. I am loved and have people around to love him. They are there for me and I’m blessed. But it doesn’t hurt any less. Sometimes I sit there and wonder why it hurts so badly. Why do I long for someone so much? I know it wouldn’t necessarily be any easier to deal with the stress and such, but I think I’d feel differently about my lot, myself, and my frustrations. So, I guess that counts. We may not be meant to live longer than our children, but it often feels like we are also not meant to raise them alone. Like it’s against nature. I know there are some women (and men) out there who can and do handle it. Maybe they even chose it for themselves. But I’m not one of them. I will do it. I do accomplish it well. But I feel alone.  

Sometimes, the choice of “no choice” is the easiest one to make. I have none. So I just do it.

At times I feel disconnected, as I’m sure many of the single parents do. I feel apart from myself. As if I’m going through the proper motions, but willing myself not to feel. I don’t know what kind of mother I am. I try my best. I love my kid. I want to give him everything he needs and more. Yet, at times I feel as a stranger to myself. Who am I? Maybe it’s my muting of my own excitement. Maybe it’s the reality of doing it alone and feeling like I must be strong. I don’t want to whine too much. I shouldn’t cry. I just sometimes feel as though I’m unfeeling. Not “not feeling”. Unfeeling, like the opposite of an emotion. I don’t know how to describe it, but it leaves a hole in my chest and confusion on my face. Maybe it’s just a parent thing. Maybe it’s just a “me” thing.

 I feel like I’m not loving him enough. That I didn’t do a good enough job ensuring his future before he was even conceived. That I have failed and I’m trying to catch up. Maybe it was the loss of my “together family” ideal. As a kid, that’s where babies came in. You got married, you tried hard, and POOF..a baby. Not, “oops a baby”. That came when you were in your forties and had the child that was separated by 10 years from your other kids.

Yesterday, I went to the store. I bought almost 50 dollars worth of diapers, wipes, shampoo and sleep pants for my kid. There I am, standing at the register thinking about my ex…

Where are you now? Do you even know how much I sacrifice? You’ve wasted your existence and I’m stuck here doing everything alone because I picked one of the “never-get-fixed-er-uppers”. I’m spending money I barely have. You suck.

It’s not that I actually want his help. I will survive without it. If I have to sell my left kidney I’ll do it. It just all comes down to the discussion of “rights”.

I’m all for the present father, two parents working together evenly for a common goal of raising the kid right. I am. But, sometimes that’s just a bad idea. Or a fantasy. Rights are earned. Everyday I pushed for my kid. Everyday I had a huge belly and couldn’t sleep and was being eaten alive by my heartburn. Everyday my back hurts. Everyday I walked to the store for diapers or wipes or a jacket. Every night I woke up a thousand times because he was teething. Every night I woke up a thousand times to puke or my whole bed being wet because his diaper leaked. Every time he bit me while I was sleeping and kicks my stomach while I try to rest, so that I get up and have a stomach ache. Everyday I played with him, encouraged him to eat, and took him for a walk. Every time I don’t buy something so that he can have something else. Everyday I went to my appointments alone and talked to people about their experiences in order to gain a ground-level understanding. Everyday I filled out paperwork and snatched my pride back from people who looked at me like I was trash. THAT, ladies and gents, is love. That is fighting for your kid.

He may call himself anything he wants. He can call himself the Queen of England for all I care. But I’m the one fighting the good fight. I’m the one who doesn’t give up, and knows that there is not even the choice when it comes to my kid.

I’m here.

  He can do however many drugs he wants, or drink and call it “moderation”, or play video games until he drops. His choice. Herbert Kaufman once said, “Failure is only postponed success as long as courage ‘coaches’ ambition. The habit of persistence is the habit of victory”. I am victorious everyday, because I have courage. He tells me I keep him from seeing his child (despite months of no communication on his part). He says he hates that I have The Kid. I only asked for persistence and consistency. Not a unicorn-drawn carriage. You would have thought I asked for his heart in return. No.  I asked that he act like a grown-up. It’s my fault his life is awful, he says. It’s my fault that he lost his job or told me that he’d sooner die than quit drugs all the way. It’s always everyone else’s fault. I gave up things too. I sacrificed more than he’ll ever understand.

I sacrificed my body. I sacrificed my time. I sacrificed music, and language. I sacrificed sleep. I sacrificed sanity. I sacrificed my mind. I stole away love to give to him. I stole moments from myself, to give to him. I laid my pride, my need to be right, and my ability to look good in a bikini, on the altar of love for my son. I sacrificed my need to be approved and fix things. I sacrificed control. I lost “me” and gained “mommy”. And I had to murder. I laid to rest my picture of “us” together. I had to sacrifice my love of someone who I know is bad for me and my son, but who I deeply care about, so that we could be happy. He would have smothered me, but I would have stayed. If not for The Kid. My ex was my mistake, and The Kid did not deserve to pay for that. He wouldn’t mean to be cruel. He might not even “remember” it. But, he’d do it anyway. And I wanted more for my baby. I had to kill our love to have The Kid’s. I had to murder it in broad daylight. All my hopes and dreams and desires. All the things I thought I could fix. All the words I wanted to say. I had to kill it. Kill the thought he could ever change. Murder the idea of him as a “one day he’ll be better”. Cut off the leg of everything I’d come to cling to and let it bleed out. It wasn’t easy. I thought I’d die, as I could feel the stress in my body tightening and battling what my mind knew was right. It felt like being crushed inward. But I did it. I survived. I got away.

Doing it alone is much less scary than doing it with someone who is out of control. Whether they are abusive mentally, physically, emotionally, or spiritually. Whether they are cheating on you with drugs, alcohol, work, or people. It’s cheating if he can’t choose you or your baby over those things. Whether he steals your happiness. Whether he beats you down with words or his fist. Whether he hurts your friends or family. Whether he pushes you down to feel big. It’s less scary to wake up at night and wonder how you’re going to make it, than it is to wake up and wonder how you’re still alive with the deep scars you have. Don’t wake up and wonder how you got here, wake up and know.

So, for all you doing it solo out there…Go you! You can do it. Be strong. Stay strong. You’ll be amazed in the end of the beauty you’ve created. Absorb the little moments, the ones that will pass without a word. Let the love of your child seep in, so innocent and beautiful and non-judgemental. They love you. You love them. It’s your journey together. Take in the sunshine.


Learning “Mom”, the single way: Vol. 1

Learning “Mom”, the single way: Vol. 1

So, for all you singles doing the parent thing out there, I feel your pain.

People, I think, give this adorning title to single parents. And not that we don’t deserve it. But frankly, it’s a pain. I feel like there’s all this pressure for me to be a certain way, and if I’m not I fall into the other side of the category where I sit at home and watch soap operas while I eat bon bons and let my kid cry while sitting alone. Which of course is not true.

Nevertheless, they never tell you or can prepare you for how ridiculously hard it’s going to be. Even with someone like me, who lives with family and has many people there for her, I get overwhelmed at times. I feel like a burden and an annoyance.

Her baby is crying again. Her baby needs a diaper change and I’m holding it. Her baby is waking me up. This IS NOT my baby. It shouldn’t be my responsibility.

I know they probably are not thinking this all the time, or maybe even some of the time, but I feel it. It is my kid. It is my responsibility. It was my choice to choose the wrong person and endanger myself of getting pregnant (even if they call it “safe” sex). I played Craps, and I won something I didn’t (at the time) know I wanted. And it isn’t their kid.

Not having a partner is a bit like playing golf with one hand. The games are long and tedious. Sometimes the noise messes up your shot. You’re thinking of all the obstacles. You’re testing the wind. And you somehow, even despite your determination and defiance at being anything but capable, know you’re playing at half mast. You’re missing an arm for heaven’s sake! And without it, your aim seems ever so slightly off.

Still, I do my best. I try and I learn. I suppose that happens with any parent, single or not. I wasn’t as prepared to be a parent as some people. I didn’t have years to plan it. I didn’t have someone to dream with or do research. I knew one day I would be a mom, I just didn’t know when and I figured it would come naturally. That I was given a sense that would magically kick in at the appearance of a bundle in a blanket.

So, everyday is a learning process. I mean, I haven’t done anything detrimental. But, I have looked incredibly silly. For instance, The Kid didn’t get his first real bath for like ten days (someone tell me you’ve made an equally embarrassing mistake). I simply didn’t know. I had dogs. They get a bath every two weeks to a month. I came to my mom one day and was like,

“Ummm, when do I bathe him?”

 “You haven’t given him a bath yet?”


I suppose she thought it was funny. She laughed hysterically while I stood by looking forlorn.

 “He is a human you know? He gets baths same as you.” 

I felt immediately stupid. How did I not know that? So obvious that I missed it completely. Go me.

So, it’s been a fun little journey starting out. But as tired and frustrated as I can get some days, I couldn’t be happier or more excited. I look at other little kids and can’t wait til I see who my little guy will become.

What will be his favorite color? What will his voice sound like? Will he want to be Superman?

It’s an exciting time. A scary time, yes. A hard time, always. But a really great time. When days get hard I remind myself that I’ll never have this time with him back. I will probably long to turn the clock around to when he was small, but I won’t be able to do it. Today is all I have. When he’s crying, when he’s covered in food, when he eats my drawing, when he pulls out the dogs hair…and…when he dances, when he laughs, when he hugs me, when he looks at me with adoring eyes..through all these times, I only have right now to appreciate them.

People often talk about regret as wishing you’d done something different. But, it can also be wishing you’d basked in the beauty of your life while you could. One day I will laugh at the fact I was woken up every half hour while my kid was teething. I will revel in the intimate moments we had in the mornings while golden light filtered through the blinds. I will wish for those days again, so now’s the time to enjoy them. No regrets.

I have become my parents. The laughing watchful eyes. The one who makes crazy sounds and dances to make my baby smile. The worrier. The one who loses time and sleep. The one-handed eater slash giver of my food. It’s an amazing transformation and not one I would have thought would grip me so hard and so suddenly. You really don’t realize until it happens.

Singles, you may not feel like you have the proper time for your kid. Separation anxiety is a parent-heart killer. But, it’s going to be okay. Though right now you feel like you’re an awful parent, that they’ll hate you, and that everyone’s judging you..DONT. You’re doing it all right. You’re doing your best. And that’s enough. Kids are more observant than we give them credit. They understand our sacrifices. They understand our pain. Maybe better than most adults and more openly love you than anyone. They’ll one day see your bravery. Your strength. Your love for them. But, also don’t forget to take in the little moments. Work is needed to give them things they need, sure. But they also, and most importantly, need your love and support. They just want your attention. They just want to be heard and noticed. They love you. Have faith in that.

I have struggled with this quite a bit myself. The fight between a job and me has been more than just the ability to find a place that will hire someone who’s never worked retail. It’s wondering what I’m doing to my kid. That he won’t know me because I’m gone so much, or that he’ll hate me for being gone. It’s hard, and it makes me want to cry. But I know we can handle it, me and him. I’ll do my best and pray. That’s all I can do. And since I’m not even at that bridge yet, I’m worrying for nothing. When he’s six and doesn’t recognize me or sixteen and hates me, then I’ll be worried. For now, I’m just enjoying the moment. And making memories with him.

Well, that’s my short bit for tonight.

A note to all the single parents. Keep at it. It’ll get easier, even if it doesn’t feel like it. And you can do it. Don’t let anyone tell you how to raise your kid, how to love them, or that you’re doing it wrong. Beyond stuff that’s common sense, only you can know. And it’s a lot harder to ruin them forever than you think. You won’t break them. So, go out there and stand. It’s hard. It’s new and we’re still wet behind the ears from being a kid ourselves, but you can do it.

Wandering In My Youth: the good days of a 90s kid


Remember when we were young?

The good ‘ol days, we call them.

Times when it was safer to leave our doors unlocked and we roamed the neighborhood at will, because our parents knew everyone or just considered us safer. Times when I, as a six-year-old, did not know of the F-word or drew pictures of male genitalia on the sides of playground equipment. Maybe other kids did. I didn’t. And I never saw any of them, or maybe I just didn’t pay attention enough. I rode my bike around my neighborhood and into the mud in the field behind our suburb, just like everyone else I knew.  We roller-bladed with dogs attached dangerously to our waists and jumped fences to join friends playing hide and go seek or “spies”. I actually read books that weren’t assigned to me, and we were more interested in games and swimming than a mindless cartoon. We watched cartoons on SATURDAYS, early in the morning before our parents woke so that we could get “the good ones”. We never waited until noon to get up. Scooby doo was still a real dog’s-dog and the mystery was a mystery until the end of the show. Cartoons had hidden pop-culture meanings. Play was more than just a button on the VCR, which had tapes we had to REWIND. We did not color our eyes black and dye our hair. We thought coffee was “cool” and “stole” sugar packets while our parents talked at gatherings or in restaurants. We screamed songs at the top of our lungs as we reached the peak of our swing on the playground. We chased the ice cream man down the street because he was the only one with the good rainbow pops. We ran away from angry geese at the park, which we visited of our own free will.  We sold lemonade as a summer experiment, collected Beanie Babies, and were obsessed with “whatever” and “yo”. And we ate Warheads until our tongues were raw.

What happened to that? To good clean fun? To Elvis Presley and songs blared through the boombox about crooning men who bayed loudly about the girl they were in love with or who wished “it would rain”? When rap was shaken a hand at as if it could be shoo-ed? When we watched Veggies sing songs, and knew all the words?

It’s amazing how once you have children, all those things you were interested in, or even took for granted as a child, are suddenly remembered and important. It’s like stories you wished you remembered, songs you sang, and memories you had should be shared. It’s a legacy. A time long past.

I spent a good deal of time tonight searching out an old tape that I was sure I hadn’t thrown out, writing down every good movie I could remember watching as a child, and reading a little piece of Owl At Home. How I loved his stories, as he invited winter to dinner and thought of sad things, like pencils too short to write with, in order to make his tea. Lion king was my favorite movie, I could repeat it verbatim. And I watched cartoons with dogs that turned into super heroes and ones where a duck was the dark hero. When you spilled coffee on yourself, it was YOUR fault for being stupid and not realizing that coffee is HOT, and you could not sue the person whose house you were breaking into for falling onto a knife in the kitchen and becoming injured. You took it like a man, and went to the hospital for a tetanus shot and 2 tablespoons of idot-be-gone which was activated by “hard-knocks”. The second, unfortunately, was not a dependable cure.  

I want to share so much with my boy. I’m so excited to show him and have him learn. I want him to know what it was like. That life used to mean something. Something more than just scrounging to get by and frowning about it. That it was fun and exhilarating. It seemed like less things broke. We fell down the stairs multiple times and ate whole jars of peanut butter when we were in the new-age-declared “no peanut butter” stage, and chewed on lead-painted toys. We didn’t die. We were fine. We rubbed dirt in our wounds and put our ball caps back on. We weren’t scared to go out and be hurt by an invisible world. Back then, the world seemed a little less threatening. A little more like, “life as it is”. If that makes any sense. 

How did we live before we forgot our cell phones at home and had the internet on them? Before our lives depended on them? How did we live before micro-filed novels you can buy over the internet and watch on an electric device the size of a book and could fit in your back-pocket? How did we live before plastic? Or whole businesses made from people wanting to be connected?

Truth is…We just lived. In some ways worse, in many ways: better.  

But I sincerely miss the good days. I miss feeling safe. I miss playing pretend on the floor and thinking I was awesome while doing it. I miss PepperAnne and Hey Arnold.  I miss field trips and day trips and falling asleep in the car on the way home. I miss raising tadpoles. I miss hardy, american made products. I don’t miss having to change out the cd a hundred times to listen to my songs, or worse, cassettes I had to fast forward 4 seconds at a time if I wanted a particular song. I don’t miss not having audio files that fit onto a device I can jimmy into my pocket..but I do miss the good days.

We’ll all just have to work at creating them again…but for now, it seems they’ve taken a vacation.

Hello, my other half..whoever you are..Vol. 1


Dear you,

Today I thought about you all day, even though I don’t know your name or your face. I don’t know what makes you passionate. I have never heard the timber of your laughter after I say something that you think is funny. I have never memorized your hands or your back. I have never shared secrets with your heart, while your soul nods because it already knew we were destined. That it already knew we were the same. I thought of you, though I don’t know you. Though we have never met.

 Today,  I silently imagined your fingers filling the spaces in mine, staring at my hand. The spaces that cause tears to spill out like holes in my red-sailed boat. Today, I ran those fingers through your hair, closing my eyes as you held me. Today, I half-laughed ’til I cried as I thought of you playing with The Kid in the grass of a smokey mid-morning outside my house. I dreamed of you holding his hands and the smiles that you two would share. Today, I sat in the green armchair just to feel as though you were here holding me, the arms of the couch will have to suffice.  Today, I prayed for you. I prayed that you would grow and hurry up in finding me. That I would have the patience to wait, and that you would make me fall in love with you. Tonight  you will be with me in my mind’s eye. We will talk a movie into submission, making jokes at its expense. We will sit, smiling and charming each other with jokes and stories. Today, I thought of saying something and having you there, barely containing your desire to discover every little intricacy about me. Excited to know all of me. Today, you rekindled my hope and gave me yourself freely. Today, we bantered in my mind, bouncing wit off each other and making me beam. Today, I moped and I knew you wouldn’t approve, but I feel empty without you.

So, please take the next train to my small town. Say that you need a vacation. Say you needed a break for a couple of days. Say you just had to stop in on your way to some far off destination, traveling down our lonely highway. Then walk in..to the store, or the bookstore, or a restaurant. Find me, so that I can fall in love with your eyes and you can listen to me. So that you can help with all the talks I’ll have to have with The Kid. I don’t know how to explain life to him, I don’t know how to tell him why. Why his dad doesn’t live with him or isn’t around, in a way that he’ll understand. I don’t know how to tell him why I’m sad sometimes or why I’m not married,  like other kid’s parents or other adults. Or answer the questions he’ll have that hide an empty spot inside him. I need you to teach him how to pee standing up, and have “the talk” with him.

We can talk all night, about nothing or everything, and you can chase away years of my tears until they come back as laughter. You can tell me you love me and I will cry and know that the prayers I was scared to pray where I could hear myself, were answered. That my mother was right. That He knew, and now smiles at me as if I’m a child who thought Saturday would never come. “Silly girl” He’ll say, “he was always coming for you. I made you. Who couldn’t love you?” And I’ll grin and know He’s right.

I promise not to let you go. I promise to look at no one else the way I look at you. I promise to listen. I promise to be there when you wake up. I promise to grow and create a newer me everyday, one you’d be proud to know. I promise to make you laugh, with my bad dancing, ability to care plants to death, my love of silly songs and obsession with autumn and stripes. I promise to always cuddle with you and kiss you. I promise to never get tired or annoyed of your rantings or your love of me. I promise to believe when you say you love me. I promise to love your favorite shirt, even if it’s not my favorite. I promise to trust you and respect you. I promise…


Please hurry. Please come. I love you. I’m waiting.

Stressed Single-Mom Syndrome–a mutated post


Mom Stress Syndrome..though the amount and type of symptoms and signs vary and grow and change constantly, these are a few

-You live in a constant state of ADHD (attention deficit housework disorder). It’s always started but never fully completed.

-You may look down at your watch 3 times and still not know the time.

-You make as many outfit changes as a star at the Oscars

-Drinking a cup of hot liquid without once heating it up calls for Chariots of Fire music

-You understand your parents a little more (gasp!)

-The times that you do your hair, put on makeup, and wear a cute outfit, you will see no one of importance. The day you’re covered in puke and your hair is a mess and you look like a zombie, the guy you like will drop by your house with a friend..and you think, “really?!”

-Watching childhood movies with your kid induces a realization of how little you knew or noticed about it when you were younger.

-A day out of the house makes you feel like you’re a super hero

-You forget to believe happy ever after happens in more than just movies and books

 -You realize you’ve had your Dvd’s from Redbox for a week..and still havent watched them because every night was either bath night or you fell asleep right after dinner (or maybe you were blogging)

 -It’s NEVER too late in the day for coffee or chocolate

 -You find yourself humming, “When you sing your scales and your arpeggios”..in the shower

-An empty house is painful when you’re used to chaos so you start asking the dogs what’s on the television or if the mail came yet. Desperate meaningless conversations become the norm.

-You learn to do almost everything one-handed: cleaning, eating, feeding dogs, doing laundry, washing dishes,or even using the restroom

 -You turn the TV on when no one’s home just for noise because silence is just plain weird.

 -It feels weird to NOT have your kid with you, but you somehow wish it didn’t sometimes (usually about the third diaper change you wake up to)

 -You are perpetually 10 minutes late to all your appointments (even if you try to leave extra early) & if you’re on time, you consider it getting there early.

 -You worry all the time about where diapers, wipes, and socks are..so much so that you forget where you put them once you found them.

 -You carry at least five separate lists at all times: groceries (or errands), chores, daily functions (have to remember to brush my teeth!), extra curricular (anything else), and mental lists.

-Bowel movements are exciting (yay poop!)…and the big ones cause mental panic and freezing as you try to determine the best avenue of attack

-Where, before, you got excited about clothing or art designs and were an expert on what the new song of the week was, now you get excited about the design on diapers, sleeping schedules and an expert on stains

 -You make food choices at times, that you never would have accepted before, for the sake of convenience and time restraints and you consider anything not cooked in a toaster oven or coming (in any part) out of a box to be gourmet food.

-You find more strength than you had for even yourself before, everyday..but often are frustrated for no reason 

-You accidentally call people on the phone, at the store, or even animals: sweetie, pumpkin, baby, monkey, bobo, duder or twinkletoes. Yes, it can happen.

-You cry during shows where babies are born or even during commercials

 -“What’s his name?” induces a Pavlovian response where you spell out his ENTIRE name

 -You count your blessings before you count your money

 -You don’t mind the hallucinations caused by lack of sleep because after all it’s free entertainment!

 -You no longer care in the same way about the size of your stomach, cause after all, after it’s been that stretched anything else looks good.

 -Buying an item not on sale induces rapid breathing and panic as you categorize and mentally survey bank accounts, coupons, diapers, and meal plans.

-It’s only been six months, but it feels like an eternitiy..and since your mind was lost in the laundry two weeks ago, when people ask “how old is he?” you have a moment of Jeopardy-like distress (which induces looks of worry from onlookers of whether there should be an amber alert)

 -When having previously mentioned “talks” with the dogs, you refer to the baby as their “brother”..this induces phrases like, “don’t squish your brother” or “dont lick your brother so much” or “your brother’s socks are not a snack”

-Over use of caffeine, under use of adult beverages

 -Eye brow maintenance is the first thing to go…and when you do it, it’s one-handed and leaning over using the reflection in the television.

 -You stress over posting a list like this for fear you’re the only freak in town.

-You find more love than you knew you were capable of

Children…beautiful science fiction


We walk around with people on the streets, day by day. Barely noticing their individual faces, dutifully off to our destination. And yet, we know them when we see them, the expectant. We gravitate towards them like planets. They glow with unnatural light, as if the child they carry emits a supernova-like power, seeping through their skin.

 What is so magical about seeing someone pregnant? We call it amazing, wonderful, beautiful. Sometimes, a result of one night of seeking or a lifetime of trying. 

A person inside another person, growing from nothing. 

                 Science Fiction.

We try to suppress it, medicate it, control it, and delete it from our lives, but there it is…life…trying desperately to survive. Trying to allow a little beauty in the world.

It is essentially part of us.

We watch our children grow and learn, amazed by their progress. The confusing miracle of language. The slow grasping of motor skills and upper body strength. One day the defenseless bundle you could have hurt by shaking too hard, is walking and falling down without crying. They start out surviving off something we’d drink WITH breakfast. They are amazing. And each time I see a baby, I remember that I was once one. Once upon a time I was a unmeasurable speck, half a person inside my mom. And I love life more each time I think about it. I couldn’t imagine throwing it away.

Children are our gift. To each other, to the world. And from Him. They keep us grounded and send our dreams to new heights. They tell us to have fun and take time to smell every flower. To be diligent in our search for the ladybugs of life, but that falling asleep in the grass is okay. I’m still trying to grasp that one…They are our symbol of perpetual hope. That each day is born to us, and is precious. And a reminder to live each day as if there is no tomorrow.

Their small faces beg us to pay attention and not take life so seriously. Their mouths speak encouragements and tease a laugh from our lips. They are honest in a way we wish we could be sometimes. They are all we long to be and yet all we are.

They are our essence.

I have experienced this firsthand. My boy should not have been born. He should not have been conceived, really. They say, in my Development class that there are a number of things that keep you infertile. Including, caffeine, stress, drugs, alcohol, smoking, birth control (really? they had to explain that one to us?), etc. Considering my situation (and my choice in a partner), it’s a miracle I got pregnant, even if I didn’t see it like that at the time. I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. Life will never be the same. He was meant to be, meant to live, and we now live together. Survive each day together and find joy (even when covered in spit-up).  Despite textbook trials, things that should have made him impossible, life figured out a way to make itself known, waving the red flag and charging forward.

It will never cease to amaze me, the miracle of life. That any of us get pregnant, or that any of our offspring survive (especially considering our consumption, smoking, drinking, and absorption of chemicals unknown). The coincidence of it all, in a delicate balance that shouldn’t exist. The silent symmetry, giving a glare to the face of adversity. One tiny egg, a million of sperm vying for attention and swimming through what is, for them, a toxic land. Somehow they find their way, somehow they create people.

It’s something that mad scientists create in movies and books. Two tiny particles fused together..a bright light..and POOF! A human. We can create all the worlds we want, write all the books we want, and direct movies, all while thinking we’re clever. But the true reality of it is, we already have that world. Already have that life. And it’s staring us in the face everyday.

We survive. We live.

And we are beautiful. Each one.

Beautiful science fiction.

One of those days…


So, today was a long day with my boy. I like to set apart a day to take pictures of him once in a while, to track his quick sapling-like growth. Looking at his baby pictures now, he’s already changed so much. I mean, I blinked and already half a year is almost gone! Then I look over and the calendar is laughing at me.  Creepy how once you’re a parent you have a revelation about all those thousands of times that your parents said “You’re growing up so fast”. To me, it always seemed like an army crawl, slow and muddy and gritty. Growing up is one messy game, I used to think. Now, I look back and realize, how it must have felt for my parents.

Anyways..bear fumbling through the forest.

So, he was very moody today. Normally he smiles like a hyena with a bad joke, but today his expressions consisted mostly of ignoring my advances to make him smile and staring at our pack of dogs who were going bonkers (okay, there’s only three active ones but it feels like there’s a dozen!).  Despite my lack of ability to entertain him, the trees outside the house did a good job as the leaves made a sound like beans in a rainmaker.

He smiled for them. I sighed.

Least to say, I was exasperated and looking desperate as I made faces and noises, encouraging (okay, so I begged) him to smile. On the bright side, he’s learning to sit up more and more on his own. He seems to surprise himself with it and then flops lower and lower until he’s laying on his belly, arms and legs kicking and making him look like a paddle boat minus the water. I was always one of those weird “dog moms”, who get excited over new tricks or contraptions or the newest dog food flavor. When you’re like that people tend to wear an expression like you might break into a sing-n-dance number about furballs at any moment, High-School-Musical-style. Now I might as well be wearing a shirt that says “I’m a socially unstable weirdo–avoid me”. Talking with moms of other kids, I’m safe. But the moment I start expressing my joy about The Kid sitting up or jumping the bouncer or trying to talk, to anyone else, they look at me with a terrified expression, searching hastily around for a non-existent mom-repelent  pepper spray. I faintly remember what it was like to be sitting at the other end of this round table we call life. I used to nod pleasantly, and try unsuccessfully to conjure a story about my “dog-children” to coincide with how they were feeling.

Getting lost again in my thoughts…moving on.

So, today was a patience day. I once heard that God doesn’t give you patience or courage when you ask for it, only the opportunity to be courageous and patient. I should have asked for eye candy  instead. Nevertheless, character-building is always a plus. I think of it like a game. So far, patience: 110 Me: 48..But, I’m determined to win, so one of these days I’m going to end up close enough to knock patience on its bright pink butt.

I took a run late in the day, shedding my troubles and replacing them with pavement and tennis shoes. I think my mom thinks I’m running from my problems. Maybe I am. But for now, I call it stress-relief and character building. I love to watch people in their environment. Sitting on their porches, playing with their kids, watering their lawns.

Every time I run, I see the old lady with her two dogs. They mull around her like groupies, a little Maltese and a short brindled terrier mix. She has a tendency to look at me out of the corner of her eye, like I’m a shady character; that I’m to be avoided in my layers of colored sport-bras and shirts, chased by navy running shorts. I simply smile and nod at her. The dog lady, walking alone, eyes down and set on her doggie duty, completely dedicated and focused. She lives in a quaint house, single car garage and stained glass in the window. She leaves the door open while she’s out walking, as if the house waits for her in earnest to return home.

Beside her house is the home of my dreams. White and brick, it’s a two-story home with a porch going all the way around. A swing hangs to the side of the door and looks inviting as a place to read a book or nap while listening to music. It whispers out to me on the sidewalk, of hardwood floors, warm lighting, and a piano that hums Chopin throughout the house. The yard is green, circling the home and creating a world of its own, guarded by an old-fashioned metal fence with bells hanging from the stoic horse-shaped toppers on the gate. A path avoids the greenery, beds of flowers creating a border between the yard and the house, triumphantly waving in the mid-afternoon breeze. A small garden in the back is home to fruits, veggies, and a cute little shed with vines growing against the side. There’s a  tree house and a trampoline and a little Australian Shepherd running about, whispering of the pattering of feet the house hides. I imagine a family here, laughter trailing out from the walls and hugs and playing in the sprinkler. I can’t help it. I go out of my way to make sure I pass it, smiling and dreaming.

There are a great populous of dogs that I pass as well. A three generational pack of Dachshunds barking eternally. A Staffordshire Terrier and a white German Shepherd on Fifth street. Two shepherd mutts left alone for the day, first guarded at my approach, but recognizing me they lay down, tongues lolling. A Belgian Shepherd and a Husky behind an electrified fence, play a game with me. Watching me as I pass and then charging towards the gate just before I get to the border between the fences, seeing if I jump. Sometimes I don’t, sometimes I do.

Each place and person and canine has their own feel. An attitude. I appreciate each one, and miss them when I don’t see them. An invisible relaxed connection between us, like planets circling each other in an endless dance.

So, my day ended with some logic to it. A logic of placement. Of my place in this little world, my feet pounding the ground, my eyes forward and looking towards the horizon. And baby boy drifted peacefully off to dreamland without a hitch.

A day finished off with chicken shishkabobs and the most delicious almond rice ever.

Life is good.

Horray for the small joys and simple pleasantries.  

Lesson of the day…take in the little things. Enjoy them. Find peace.