A Day in the Life


I slept in your bed last night because you woke up with a fever, complaining that your head hurt.  I had hoped you would go back to sleep quickly, but once I gave you a dose of pain reliever, you wouldn’t stop talking and asking me for water every 5 minutes, so I settled in for the rest of the night.

This morning, I watch you sleep. I just read a mom’s blog story about her baby dying at 2 months from SIDS.  I gaze at the long eyelashes over your closed lids and thank God for this one, you, and for babies that live and keep mommas going.  You roll over and settle into your pillow.  I watch your eyebrows raise and lower again and I’m reminded of you as a baby.  You’ve been doing this eyebrow raise since you were just a few months old.  An outward display of your innate curiosity. When you first discovered something new…a toy, your foot, the ceiling fan…you would study it for what seemed like hours and your eyebrows jumped up and down.  I silently wonder if you will always do this and if I will be able to catch your adult eyebrows raising and be taken back again to your baby days.


You are slow to wake up and be fit to interact with the world…just like your parents.  I swear, if I knew that coffee would solve the problem, I would very seriously consider having a cup waiting for you in the morning.  Since we’re all a bit foggy, mornings are usually pretty slow around here.  Coffee or juice, TV, morning news, feed the pets, tiptoe through our interactions.  It’s hard to know what kind of mood you will be in and even if you wake up sunshiney, that can turn around on a dime.  Your dad is the master of unintentionally “poking the bear,” as I like to call it.  Sometimes all it takes is too much of a smile or an enthusiastic “good morning!” to piss you off.  Somehow, though, we manage to muddle through.



Just a few short months ago, every trip out the door was a struggle.  These days, we’re more like partners.

“Are you ready to go?”

“Yep, I’m ready!”

And off we go.  Amazing how we suddenly find ourselves here and I have no idea how we got here…working together and being on the same page once in awhile.  Not always. But now.

Most days, you are attached to my hip.  It’s a little frustrating at times.  I want you to be independent, play on your own, and be able to entertain yourself.  But, I also love that you need me and I know that this time is fleeting.  One day soon, you will stop wrapping your little arms around my legs as I try to make dinner.  You won’t ask to be held the instant I open my laptop computer.  You won’t request bedtime stories and those off-tune lullabies you have been hearing since you were a baby.  I won’t always see this sweet little face looking up at me.

No two days are alike around here.  I guess we’re not a family of routines.  Certain times of the day are pretty routine…mealtime and bedtime mostly…but the rest of the day is open for anything.  We make trips to the library and local parks.  We have shopping days when we drive out to the Amish produce and discount stores and then stop at the big stores for anything else we didn’t find. In the winter, we stopped at McDonald’s a lot so that you could let out some energy in the Playland area, but summer means trips to the coffee shop for ice cream or bubble tea.

On days when your dad is off work, we make bigger outings, like to the beach at Bald Eagle State Park or we drive to State College.  You love to go to Barnes and Noble.  We make trips to the strawberry fields, pumpkin patch and the county fair every year.  You like to spend a lot of time at your art table, using your watercolors and playdough.  Sometimes you help me in the kitchen with whatever I am cooking that day.

You follow me everywhere….literally.  Even if I tell you to stay put because I have to run to the basement to pull something out of the freezer (a 30 second task), you have to follow me down there, making the process take much longer.  We talk about privacy and how people need that when they go to the bathroom, so you follow me in there and tell me that you’ve closed the door so that I could have some privacy.

Some days we spend way too much time watching TV.

Some days feel like they will never end, but the weeks seem to fly by in a flash.


I usually have to dodge a trail of toys that magically appear in the kitchen when I am trying to prepare dinner.  At least once a week, you tell me you don’t like my food.  We almost always sit down to eat as a family.  You have become an old pro at saying grace and as we eat we share our favorite parts of the day, as well as our less stellar moments.  More often than not, you barely touch your food and then 10 minutes after dinner you are asking for fruit or gummies.

Bedtime is our time.  Your dad takes turns with me and he tucks you in at night too, but more often it’s me.  I still sit with you every night until you fall asleep and, though there are times when I think it would be nice to just plant a kiss on your forehead and leave you to fall asleep on your own, I still really enjoy just sitting with you because that’s when we talk.  Ever since you were about 18 months old, we have been having conversations at bedtime.  I used to be able to rock you in the chair and you’d lie in my arms and look up at me and tell me about your day, 2-3 words at a time.  Now, you lie in your big girl bed and tell me how much you want to see penguins and that you want to go to the ocean. You ask questions and every response that I give you prompts another question. Not topic is off limits.  I like to tell you the truth about whatever you ask.

We move through the motions of the bedtime routine you have had since the beginning.  Brush teeth, potty, three books, and as many songs as it takes to get you to sleep.  Sometimes I sing and sometimes we use a playlist.  You yawn and then I yawn. “I made you yawn, mom.”  It’s our little inside joke.  I love that we have jokes now. 🙂

Pretty soon, I can hear you lightly snoring and I know that you will be out until morning (at least most of the time).  This is the moment when I pause, watch you sleeping, if only for a few seconds.  No matter how different you seem from the baby you were, this is the time when that little baby reappears and I thank God for the seconds, minutes, hours we have had together.

When you’re finally in a deep slumber, I back out of your room and take one last glance at those long lashes covering your eyes, grateful that I don’t have to be quite so careful with the rattling of the door knob.


letting go (allowing kids to take risks)

taking risks

I have a feeling that the older Evelyn gets, the more “letting go” posts I will be writing.  It seems that from the time they are born, parenting is just a process of letting go, little by little, of our children.

As a first time mom and self-proclaimed worry wort, I am sometimes hyper-vigilant about protecting my child from any possible pain.  Not just imminent pain, but hypothetical pain.  If I could wrap her in an invisible bubble, and shield her from all the heartache this world has to offer, believe me I would.  I worry enough for the whole family and sometimes I worry that my worrying will effect her in a negative way.  Evelyn is already a very sensitive, cautious child.  (I wonder where she gets it?)  She observes, she plans, and she’s not a big risk-taker.  I haven’t done much baby-proofing in my house because I didn’t have to.  She has never really tried to get into the cabinets, climb on the furniture, or pull the dog’s ears.  While it’s been awesome to have such an easy child, I also worry (there I go again) that she is too cautious…and when life does bring her disappointment or pain, she doesn’t handle it very well.  She’s not one to brush it off and keep on going.  But that’s something I want her to learn.  I want her to sometimes take risks and to learn to get back up and keep going if she falls.

This weekend the temps climbed into the 50s and the sun shone bright across cloudless, sapphire skies.  It was perfect for getting out of the house to relieve our cabin fever.  We decided to venture out for a walk in our neighborhood.  There’s an alley that runs by our house.  It climbs uphill past some neighbors and Evelyn loves to walk up and run back down.  Every time she wants to run down that hill, I worry.  What if she falls?  What if she knocks her front teeth out?  Every single time we start to descend that hill, my desire to keep her safe from pain wrestles with my understanding that she needs to be able to run and have fun without me shouting, “Be careful!” after her all the time.

This time, as she started to run, the worrier in me started to fear the worst, but instead, I fought that feeling and ran next to her, enjoying the huge smile on her face as her hair flapped behind her.  She was having so much fun and I didn’t want to ruin that moment of freedom for her by imposing my own worries on her psyche.  She triumphantly made it to the bottom of the hill and I was feeling good about myself that I had allowed her to take that risk.  Then she wanted to do it again.  This time she ascended the hill with her daddy.  I poised myself at the bottom of the hill and pulled out my camera so that I could capture the huge smile on her face as she neared the bottom.  I never got to take that picture because about halfway down the hill, she fell.

Dec 26 (3)

Her daddy scooped her up and she immediately went into a breath-holding spell.  The words started to come out of my mouth, wanting to blame it on someone, “That’s why I hate the idea of her running….” but then I stopped.  What good what it do?  She had taken a risk, she had fallen, and it was nobody’s fault.  All we could do was pick her up and assess the damage, and help her to move on.  The damage came in the form of a large goose egg on her forehead with no damage to the rest of her face or teeth.  Typically, after a breath-holding spell she gets very tired and since she hadn’t napped, we had to fight to keep her awake for a few hours, until I felt comfortable allowing her to go to bed.  For awhile, nothing could soothe her pain, but when I asked her if she wanted to help me make some cookies in the kitchen, she brightened up and was right as rain in a few minutes.  Later, I showed her the bump in the mirror and she looked at it strangely, but didn’t seem to care.  The next morning, I asked her what happened to her head, wondering if she would remember the incident.  She struggled to even remember that there was anything wrong with her head.


This letting go thing is going to be an ongoing struggle for me.  As she grows, and starts taking bigger risks, I will have to grow too. Sometimes letting go means having to watch your child get hurt.  This made me think of all the times my mom had to sit back and watch while I took risks and made mistakes, from my trips to Europe to my relationship decisions.  She probably wanted to tell me all the reasons my choices could end badly, but she didn’t.  She let me learn and let me grow and I built the strength I needed to fly because she didn’t put me in a bubble.  Sometimes things worked out great, and sometimes I fell and got hurt…and then she helped me assess the damage and helped me to move on.  And just as my mom did this for me, I will do my best to carry it forward for Evelyn…because all the best moments require us to let go, cast off our worries, and take a little risk.

What risk had the biggest payoff for you?

How do you handle watching your children take risks?

This post is linked up to Our Sunday Best on Momnivore’s Dilemma!


I’m a highly sensitive person.  I take a lot of things to heart.  I cry at the drop of a hat.  I’m weepy, a sap if you will.  My eyes well up during praise time at church.  Sometimes I cry when I watch my daughter sleeping (and then I wonder why she’s so sensitive).

I found this book at a thrift shop today and I started to get teary-eyed after about 3 pages, so I stopped reading and just bought the thing.  When I took it home, my husband read it to Evelyn in its entirety.  I bawled my eyes out.  It’s simple and beautiful and I’ll probably never be able to actually read it to my daughter without getting all choked up.

Do you have a favorite book that you read to your child?  Is there one in particular that pulls at your heart strings?


the other side of infertility

A lot of parents say that they can’t remember life before children. I am not one of those parents. I remember my pre-baby days very well.

I like to think it’s because I am an older parent and not because I spent so many years battling infertility. I had my first child at 34 years and Michael was 41. We had many years to travel, pursue our interests, come and go as we pleased, and become set in our ways. I can still taste the freedom of my life before children. There are moments when I miss it, even long for it…but I wouldn’t trade it. I would take the loss of freedom over the longing ache for a child any day of the week.

So, after many years of battling infertility, what does it feel like to be on the other side?

This has been a difficult post to write, not in the emotionally difficult sense, but difficult in that it is hard to describe the feelings that follow the birth of a baby after so many years of disappointment.

In many ways, the sting of infertility still remains. It’s not something that magically disappears after a baby is born. I think it will always be a part of me.  Along with that comes a certain amount of  “survivor’s guilt”, knowing that there are still so many out there who are struggling and who might never have a child.

I had a lot of misconceptions about mothers when I was TTC. I can remember thinking that people like present-day me just didn’t get it. I read a lot of inspirational books and articles and whenever I found out that the story teller had gone on to have children, I dismissed her as someone who just didn’t understand what it was really like to be so tormented by the inability to have children.

I can remember thinking that I would NEVER complain about pregnancy or nursing or a crying newborn because I would be so happy just to have that little person in my arms. I was full of judgement for women who easily got pregnant or complained about motherhood.

Didn’t they know how very blessed they were?!

How can she have 3, 4 or 5 children and I can’t even have one?

She doesn’t appreciate the children she has and she’s pregnant again? It’s so unfair.

I was even jealous of women who miscarried, because at least they knew what it was like to get a positive pregnancy test.  Terrible, right? I was full of jealousy and bitterness and not very lovely at all.  These days, pregnancy announcements still hit me like a ton of bricks sometimes.  It’s not because I am jealous anymore.  I have chalked it up to so many years of actually feeling jealous and angry and bitter, it’s just a gut reaction at this point.  But thankfully, that feeling usually disappears as quickly as it came.  Maybe it’s just a painful reminder of where I’ve been and I don’t want to go back to that place.

The truth is, pregnancy was hard. I tried to enjoy every fleeting moment, but sometimes those moments felt so looong. I whined. I complained. I probably made my poor husband crazy. I panicked when my daughter cried the entire first night home from the hospital. What had I gotten myself into? I felt guilty.  Mommy guilt magnified 1000 times. I had waited so long for this. Shouldn’t I be ecstatic about every ache and pain, every lost hour of sleep, every moment of attention that my little one demanded?  If I couldn’t be ecstatic, shouldn’t I at least suffer in silence and reflect on the beauty of sore boobs and Braxton Hicks?

I was not always ecstatic and Michael will tell you that I definitely did not suffer in silence.  You know why?  Because I’m human.  There were moments when I questioned myself for even bringing a child into this world.  It’s such a scary, evil place at times.  My body no longer belonged to me.  Everything I did had to be modified to accommodate this little person.  After Evelyn was born, I actually spent a lot of time feeling like the whole thing wasn’t real.  Like she wasn’t really mine and someone was going to come and get her and I would go back to living life as I knew it. There were foggy moments like that.   But one thing was for sure, life would never be the same.

I’ve come to realize that I can’t beat myself up for having those feelings.  I may have complained and questioned my decision to have a child, but I spent just as much time marveling in the miracle.  I fell in love with my growing belly.  I watched it bump and shift as she grew bigger and more active.  I soaked up every compliment and congratulations from every loved one and stranger.  I talked about it incessantly…sometimes I think the complaining was just an excuse to talk about my growing baby.

Part of me doesn’t want to write about the wonder of having a child.  I don’t want to add to the pain of someone who might be suffering and reading this.  But, if I’m being truthful and candid, I have to say that having a child has filled a little empty spot inside of me that I don’t think could have been filled by anything else in this earthly realm.  Does that mean I couldn’t have a fulfilling life if I never became a mom?  Of course not.

Becoming a mom has changed me in many ways.  I am more patient, more forgiving.  I’m happier overall….it’s hard not to be when you’re seeing the world through a child’s eyes.  My life is messier, more complicated.  I worry more.  I struggle to find balance. I have moments where I want to pull out my hair, but I wouldn’t trade it.  I am a mom, but a little part of me will always be infertile.

I can remember life before Evelyn, but I wouldn’t go back.