The Disconnect

“We always said we would keep our marriage first.” I pleaded to my husband.  “Marriage then kids.  But the kids are demanding all of our attention right now and I miss you.”  He shook his head and explained he knew, he agreed and “It’s just where we are at this moment.”

It had been 8 months since we’d been on a date and that is too long.  Most couples probably would have already hired a babysitter and gone out, but we are both guilty of being extremely cautious when it comes to childcare.  We’ve been scarred by stories involving babysitters that our past neighbor shared in his time as a volunteer EMT; after which he declared, “This is why my wife and I have never hired a babysitter.”  His son was 8 years old at the time.

Friends and family encourage us to get out, to let them help but we keep biding our time, convincing ourselves that in just a couple of years we will have plenty of opportunities for date nights-out.  For now, we can’t imagine leaving just one person with all three of our children because we can hardly do it on our own.  When I used to work at night, we hired a sitter to help my husband put all three girls down.   Bed time is chaotic with a 6 month, 2 and 4 year-old and requires lots of hands.   It’s one of the primary reasons I quit that job.

As a result, there’s been a disconnect in our relationship.  It’s hard to remember who the person you married was before children when you don’t provide opportunities to allow those qualities you once loved to shine.  While cuddling on the couch, chatting or watching TV is nice, they don’t nurture those old bonds.  We needed to get away.  And soon.

I reached out to a friend who had daughters close-in-age to our eldest two.  I offered to hire our mutual sitter to assist her with all five of our girls, but since our date was to be held during the day, she felt she would be able to manage and we trusted her sentiment.

The day came and my husband ventured deep into our attic, brushed the dust off our yard-sale-purchased clubs and threw them in the back of his truck.  We were escaping our domesticated life to play nine holes of golf for the first time in five years.

We giggled.  The kind of snickering and giggling you do when you know you love somebody but haven’t told them yet.  Out came my husband’s silly euphemisms.  “Don’t leave any chicken on the bone!” he quipped while I was lining up to take a putt.  “What?!”  I laughed out loud, remembering this to be one of the many qualities I love about him.

“That was really nice.”  He said later that night.  “I know, ” I replied.  “We need to do that again.”

“We do.  And we will.”  All in due time.  Not often in these early childhood days, but enough to remember who we were, who we still are.  Just enough to strengthen the bond,  to make it a few more months before needing to refuel again.

Until then, we will enjoy this family we are committed to nurturing; all the while, fantasizing about future date-nights out or perhaps even a weekend away (gasp!).

Golfer Ben Hogan once said, “The most important shot in golf is the next one.”

Here’s to hoping our next shots are on the green, right down the middle, and just a putt away.



Have you ever been misunderstood?  It’s a pretty terrible and helpless feeling when you mean well and yet are received in a completely different light.  My mother taught me to exhaustion at a very young age that we always have “choices”.

When we are misjudged, we have a choice.  We can ignore it.  We can get angry.  We can seek justice.  Or we can forgive.  I’ve only been around for 33 years, but I can’t think of anything more exhausting than holding onto anger.  It is self-serving.  Sure you have been wronged, but in the end, you are wronging yourself more when you carry that anger with you everywhere you go.

This is not to say I am a pushover.  I simply cannot keep quiet when an injustice has occurred.  Absolutely NOTHING except resentment gets accomplished when you do not defend yourself.  Once the defense has rested, however, I make the conscientious choice to let it be.  Over the years, I have learned that truly the only person we can control is our self.  We cannot control how others perceive us or how they will react to our defense.  But we CAN control how we move forward.

What did we learn from that experience?  What would we change, if anything, the next time around?  An error isn’t a mistake unless we fail to learn from it, I used to tell my fourth graders.  So I resolve to live by that motto today.  We are all imperfect.  In most situations, surely, even if we have been wronged, we can take some responsibility.

I choose (my mother would be so proud) to feel sadness when I have been wronged, followed by possible anger, followed by a plan of how I will move forward. What can I learn?  Where do we go from here?  What good can I make of this?  And then, as James Baldwin said,

“I looked down the line, and I wondered.  When I buckled up my shoes, and I started.”

We keep on, keepin’ on.




It took three attempts for me to succeed in having an unmedicated childbirth.  I attended nearly 70 hours of childbirth classes before my first baby, read countless books, and spent many-a-night role-playing labor with my husband before falling asleep to my hypnobirthing CDs.  The message was clear:  LET GO.  Succumb to the pain instead of fighting it.  Relax even when your body instinctually clenches.  Unless you have been in labor, you have absolutely no idea how impossible that seems when you are experiencing gut-wrenching pain.  By the third labor, I knew what to do and my unmedicated birth was everything I had hoped it would be: raw emotion that cannot be imitated.

Unmedicated childbirth isn’t just about “proving you can do it.”  Sure, you feel proud, just as a marathon runner does after her grueling race, but at its core, unmedicated childbirth inherently embraces FAITH.  Faith in our bodies to do what they were designed to do and faith in our resolve to see it through.  Unmedicated childbirth celebrates the beauty of nature.  As miserable as she may feel, a pregnant woman cannot deny the miracle of feeling tiny little feet responding to a hand on the belly.  It truly is a miracle.

What I did not expect was how my experience would permeate into other parts of my life, long after the birth was over.  This notion of embracing nature- of having faith – of being fearless.  Just as labor has the opportunity to progress smoothly once the mother lets go, so does life.

So I have decided to let go.

As a result of my experience with unmedicated childbirth, I no longer fear letting go of toxic relationships, for I know that fear was the only thing that kept me in them in the first place.

As a result of my unmedicated childbirth, I am not concerned with using my “things” – my house, my car, my clothes, my jewelry- to show my worth, for my value lies underneath the surface of my skin, in the chambers of my heart and the core of my soul.

As a result of my unmedicated childbirth, I am not afraid of aging.  In fact, I embrace it.  My wrinkles represent my time; the more I have, the luckier I feel to have lived long enough to display them.

And as a result of my unmedicated childbirth, I believe in myself.

I am capable.  I am worthy.  I am humbled.




Turning the Page


First it was the newborn diapers, then the newborn clothes.  Next was the Rock-N-Play you slept in until you were four months old and then the Snug-a-Bunny Swing.  Today, it was the Bumbo and floor activity play mat.  All stored in the attic, likely waiting for a larger-than-life, baby gear liquidation yard-sale.

You. Are. Growing.  So fast, too fast.  Just a week ago you couldn’t sit without toppling over and now you are army crawling across the room.  I feel a mixture of anticipation and panic.  I can’t wait to see the development of your relationship with your sisters and yet I am terrified of you not fitting into the cradle of my arms anymore.

All there is left to do is absorb it; to allow it to permeate my skin.  To leave the chores left undone and blow raspberries with you, instead.  Your giggles are my gasoline and while I yearn for a full night of sleep, I am not quite ready to turn this page.

If I have learned anything from having your older sisters, however, it is that each new chapter offers more to love and cherish.  So while I will continue to marvel at your tiny fist wrapped around my pinkie as you nurse in the middle of the night, I will still look forward to the day we can walk alongside each other, holding hands.

Your book is just beginning, Emma Jane, and I am hooked.



Special thanks to Danielle Ice Photography for the first photo.  




I don’t know about you, but when I was younger, nothing infuriated me more than hearing, “You’ll understand when you’re older.”  Who did they think they were?  They didn’t know me.  But oh, how my perspective has changed.  Now, I’m older.  Now, I understand what they meant.  And all I am left to wonder is, what would my future self say to me now?

Slow down.  Dance more.  Play your piano.  Surround yourself with the ones you feel your most authentic self with and let go of those you don’t.  Pray child, pray.  Find God.  He exists, even if you don’t understand it yet- keep searching for Him.  He’s real.

Give more.  Give, give, give.  Give your money, your time, your prayers to those who need it.  You will Never. Regret. That.

Express your gratitude profusely.  Say it out loud.  Shout it from the rooftops because it can all change in the blink of an eye.

Accept responsibility.  If you don’t like it, don’t whine about it, just change it.

Travel, even when it is uncomfortable and unfamiliar because you never know what you will find along the journey.

And write.  Write so you remember and so you can look back at your naive self, smirk and think- She thought she had it all figured out when truly, she still had so much left to learn.