Monthly Archives: April 2008

Another Sunny Day, Part Two

In follow-up to yesterday’s post, I thought I’d share some photos with you from my newly awakening garden, as I meander through more consideration of light. 

What I was making my way toward yesterday, but ran out of the literary gusto to make myself turn these final thoughts into words, is this: as we close winter’s door and open ourselves up to spring, I feel another set of doors opening and closing in my life as well.  We are winding our way out of the infancy stage–my family and I.  Our youngest child will turn two in a few short months.  And while we still have plentiful tantrums and potty training ahead of us–for the third time in less than five years– I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel that comprises early parenthood.  I am graduating from the infancy of my journey through motherhood.

As our children spend greater stretches of time playing with each other; delving into shared imaginary games…as five-year-old Ellie occasionally reads to her brothers when mommy’s busy making lunches to send to preschool or making a quick phone call for work, I watch out of the corner of my eye and realize:  this feels strikingly how I imagined it would feel, when I would some day coexist with my children, rather than serve their every need on a 24/7 basis.  Of course, this revelation, when it hits, is fleetingly brief, as I am summoned once again to tie a shoe, sound out a word on the page, or snuggle a child after nap time.

But the light is there…in little glimpses, on the occasional God-sent day.  And even as I relish in these moments–like the ten minutes I sat on the front porch this afternoon, watching my children play in the front yard–I also hear the cautions reverberating within my own mind:

“Don’t forget this moment.  Don’t become complacent enough that you forget that funny phrase he said…the adorable outfit she’s wearing…the smell of newly washed, downy, still baby-soft hair of our toddler son…the unabashed claims of love for me that stretches all the way to heaven and back…don’t forget this.  Don’t just see the light at the end of the tunnel and walk right past it.  Stay in the light for a while.  Stay in the light.”

Sunshine Girl


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Filed under From One Mother to Another, Kids, Living

Another Sunny Day

I have found myself thinking alot about light today.  About the importance of it.  The neccesity of it.  The joy of it.

The church my family and I attend has amazing stained glass windows along the sides and back of the nave.  When 21-month-old Gabriel becomes antsy half way through the service, Andrew or I walk him to the back of the church and balance him on the large window sill – nose to nose with the bright blues, purples and greens of the stained glass.  He is delighted every time, and will remain there with mom or dad for the remainder of the service–peering through the colored glass at the shapes and patterns created by sun light and solid objects outside.

The winter has been incredibly long this year.  While we have, technically, been in the midst of spring for some time now, it has not felt like it in my little part of the world.  Not until this past weekend.  The sun shone down on us for two lovely, God-sent days in a row.  I had forgotten how delicious then sensation of sun-soaked skin can feel.  I savored every minute of my two-day Vitamin D bath.  And the tender leaves of my flower bulbs –now just courageous enough to poke their head’s above ground–seemed…happy.  Can a consciousless plant be happy? 

Five-year-old Ellie has inherited something of an internal weather gague from her mother.  In the chapter entitled Princess D, in my book, I laughingly tell the story of how, when Ellie was around three, the nature of her first exit from her bedroom each morning predicted her mood and thus the atmosphere of our entire household for the next hour.   At the time, Andrew and I had just assumed the Princess Dragon and Princess Darling episodes were nothing more than manifestations of her extremely sensitive and highly dramatic personality.  But in the past two years, I have come to realize it is so much more than that. 

Ellie can sense the weather–in particular, the amount and quality of sunlight–within moments of waking each day.  As can I.  The mornings that present themselves with blizzards or overcast skies are equally challenging for Ellie and me.  Snow flurries beneath partially sunny skies present a whole new lease on life.

But now that spring has, seemingly, arrived in our part of the world too, Ellie and I are finding the courage to poke our heads from beneath the soil, stretching up toward the light, bathing in it’s radiance, and hoping for another sunny day tomorrow.


Filed under Kids, Living

Funny thing…genetics!

Let me preface this post by saying: I TAKE ABSOLUTELY NO RESPONSIBILITY!!!

Ok, that being said – it still totally and completely sucks that my dear soul mate and I have moved on to parenting YET ANOTHER child through the throws of purposeful peeing and pooping on the floor.  But this time, there is a direct correlation to my husband’s genetic code.

You see, when he was a young boy, my hubby’s mom made the uncanny discovery one day, of a rather foul odor in his closet.  An odor disturbingly ammonia-ish in nature, with a hint of urea.  It was shortly after that, that she enticed my then, yet-to-become husband, to fess up to his nocturnal closet peeing. (She and DH’s dad also had to bribe him with candy to wear underwear rather than go commando all the time.)

Why do I share this disturbingly embarrassing story with you? To prove the point that our 3 1/2 year-old son is GENETICALLY PREDISPOSED to taking a leak where his shoes and slippers ought to peacefully (and dryly) reside. And so, this morning after he helped his daddy soak up as much urine from the carpet in his closet as possible, I asked him:

“Why did you think it was a good idea to pee in your closet?”

“Because I thought it was the bathroom,” was his innocent (untruthful), Yoda-like reply.

Because daddy did it, would have been more accurate.

Nonetheless, I’m leaving this one to my husband to fix.  After all, he finally figured out where the bathroom was.  Hopefully he can help our son make this discovery as well.


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Little Miss Artiste

In the days following the release of my book, my 5-year-old daughter has become incrementally interested in creating her own books.

“Maybe I’ll become an author some day!” was her initial response to my hysterics.

“Maybe I’ll write a book right now!”

And off she went, ergonomic crayons and a stack of printer paper in hand.

Her first book: The Circus for Five-year-old Ellie (I have thoughtfully
interpreted this for you from the extraordinarily phonetical implementation of her title.)


Ferris Wheel

Her second book: Our House

Two Houses by the Sea

Queen and King of the Butterflies

Perhaps, we have another up and coming author in the family.


Filed under Writing and Publishing

This just might be the best Thursday in my entire life!

Note to reader: please indulge me by imagining me jumping up and down on a couch while screaming, screeching and hollering the following:


I could have kissed the UPS man, had he not scurried off in such a hurry after dropping the brown, cardboard package on my doorstep this morning…knocking twice, as always, as if the contents of that particular package, on this particular day, were not extraordinary and precious as gold. I could have kissed my publisher too, for speed delivering the book to me this week. Amazingly enough, I managed en
ough self control to WAIT TO OPEN THE PACKAGE until I could drive to my husband’s office, and open it up with him. My kids, meanwhile, couldn’t understand why Mommy kept jumping about and using an outside voice, inside the house, about the package in my hands.
I have come to realize, in the life of a writer, there are a few key moments that are simply incomparable to any other life event: 1) the first time your work is accepted by an editor and you see your name in print. 2) the first time you land a book publication deal. 3) the first time you receive a copy of your completed book.

I will keep you all posted on when/how/where you can order your own copy of A Dozen Invisible Pieces. Watch for another post tomorrow for the scoop…

Today, life feels just a little bit like Shangri La…


Filed under Writing and Publishing

Depression Confession

I suffered from it. Twice. Once after a pregnancy. And another time during pregnancy.

Pregnancy related depression, pregnancy related mood disorder, postpartum depression, prenatal depression…call it what you like. It’s horrible, no matter what title you stick on it.

My first bout of pregnancy related depression was shortly after the birth of our first son. I quickly grew to hate life. I hated getting out of bed in the morning. I hated being around other people. To say it felt like there was a thick, dark cloud hanging over me would have been an understatement. I went days without showering. I didn’t smile. Couldn’t laugh. I found no joy in being with my children–even the newborn I ought to have been devouring with love. Life held no pleasure for me. I didn’t cry all that much. I wasn’t exactly sad. I was just empty. Emotionless. Dry inside.

The next time was during my third and final pregnancy. The same sense of overwhelming confusion and inability to function normally, crept in mid way through the pregnancy. This time it was because of my sudden discontinuation of the medication I had been on since my previous bout with PPD. I didn’t want to “hurt the baby” by taking the medication. So I went off it. Two weeks later I had stopped eating and drinking; I was unable to care for my current two children.

Each time, I bounced back fairly quickly–with a combination of medication and counseling. I’m still on the medication today, now almost two years after the birth of our third child.

I ran out of my medication for a few days, a couple weeks ago. I just kept forgetting to get to the pharmacy and pick up a new prescription. Granted, things are pretty stressful right now–with the upcoming launch of my book, and all. Not to mention life with three young children. And a winter that feels life it will NEVER end (it snowed another 4″ here, just yesterday)…but I started to spiral downward pretty quickly.

I am one of those few women who will probably never be able to function without antidepressant medication. This confession might come against great scrutiny. But like a diabetic without insulin, I am not able to function properly–properly meaning, caring for my children adequately,and handling life’s common stressors without falling apart–without medication. For me, depression is a medical condition that was exacerbated by pregnancy. And I hate it. I hate being dependent upon something artificial that I have to put into my body once a day. But, the alternative is worse. It is unsafe and unacceptable.

Katherine Stone does a great job highlighting current issues revolving around pregnancy related mood disorders. To find out about the bills in congress that will hopefully increase funding and support for research into causes of and treatments for pregnancy related mood disorders, follow this link.

For more information on pregnancy related depression, check out this resource.

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Filed under Depression and Other Pregnancy Complications

"Oh, if I only knew then what I know now."

I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with a group of women tonight at our local Stroller Strides -hosted Luna Moms Club Mom’s Night Out. Also, aside from the normal amount of interaction with new moms I am blessed with through my work, I have had a couple of dear friends recently give birth and so I am bathing in the proverbial enjoyment of nurturing and celebrating with women in this terrifically emotional time of life. As I have sat with, emailed with, and talked via telephone with women from all walks of life, in a variety of geographical locations, and enduring different stages of New Mommyhood, I have found myself again and again reflecting on my own transitions into first motherhood, twice motherhood and thrice motherhood. And the same words keep reverberating through my head with each reflection, “Oh, if I only knew then what I know now.”

While every different stage of Motherhood is tough stuff, making that initial transition from Free Spirit Woman Who Can Sleep in on Saturday Mornings If She Wants To….to….Awake Every Two to Three Hours During the Night With Bags Under Her Eyes, Yet Crazy In Love With Her New Baby…seems to be the hardest.

It’s not just coming to terms with the fact that, “once that baby makes his or her entrance into your world, you are responsible for the well being of another person in some way for the rest of your life,” that makes the transition…enormous…it’s the worry, anxiety, questions, confusions, process of trial and error, self-doubt and doubt of the validity of one’s own parental instincts that makes the transition what it is. And as I watch friends, students and new acquaintances struggle with night time sleep issues, feeding issues, discipline issues, and balancing act issues, I want so much to give them all just a little bit of that magical ingredient I seem to be slowly developing as I make my own transition from New Mom to Seasoned Mom: relaxation.

I’m not saying I am a totally laid back mom all the time…or even most of the time. Ask my husband, and he’ll tell you, I am an emotional zero to sixty kinda’ gal. One of my favorite places to be is on top of a soap box. But I’ve learned to go with the flow a little more as each day, week and year of parenthood passes. I am better able to disengage from the screaming tantrum antics of our three-year-old son and the, “my hair isn’t cooperating!!!” antics of our five-year-old daughter with nary a rise in my blood pressure. Sometimes. But I don’t find myself doubting my core capabilities as a mom like I used to. And I do seem to finally trust in the concept that tomorrow will be another day, and with it comes a new opportunity.

When our eldest was a colicky infant, I couldn’t see past the next hour, let alone trust in the opportunity that a new day would bring. But those days are long gone now, (long enough gone to refer to them with a touch of nostalgia) and now the best I can do is offer the moms who are newer at this stuff than I am the encouragement that, “you will get through this. You will sleep again. You will figure out how to comfort her crying. You will find yourself again.”

Cheers to all the mothers out there, new and not-so-new. Keep up the good work!

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Filed under From One Mother to Another