the croup and the becca

Last Wednesday, Evelyn woke up with this raspy horse breathing.  I would later learn that this is called stridor and that it is the calling card of croup.  As any self-respecting Anne of Green Gables fan would be, I was petrified to hear this diagnosis.  Do you remember when Anne was just barely able to save Diana’s little sister Minnie Mae from the croup?

Well, thankfully, this turned out to be much less dramatic than Minnie Mae’s case of the croup.  Thanks, in no small part I’m sure, to modern medicine (steroids), good old fashion cold air, and nice long steam sessions.  My little barking seal actually slept pretty well for a kid with the croup.  And I know this because I slept (didn’t sleep) on the floor (hardwood) next to her bed as the doctor told me she would probably be worse at night.  He was surprised that she had such severe stridor  during the daylight hours.  I think Evelyn’s stridor was just confused because the daytime seemed far worse.

This is the dirty face of recovery.

And on a much brighter note, meet Becca.

You will be hearing about Becca in the days, months, and years to come.  She is joining our family.  We have been getting to know Becca since this past summer.  She is an amazing young woman.  One of the things that I love about Becca is that she always seems to be smiling…or just about to smile.  She has the kind of laugh that makes you stop whatever you are doing and laugh with her because it is the sound of a joyful soul spilling over with happiness.

Becca is such a wonderful and welcome addition to our family for which we are so grateful.  At least most of us are grateful–more on that in a second.  We are humbled that her lovely mom and dad have given us their trust by allowing Becca to join us in our home.  We know that trust, when it comes to one’s child, is beautiful and delicate and deserving of reverence and kid glove treatment.

So there might be one member of our family that is having some growing pains when it comes to the expansion of our family.

This is the poster child for jealousy.  Cute isn’t she?

So Maxine is taking exception to some of, (okay all of) the attention that Becca is getting.  She makes her protests known in the form of loud (fake) cries of anguish.  While I am tempted to laugh often, I remind myself that transitions are hard for everyone.  And though I think that having Becca join us is good for our family, I need to respect Maxine’s feelings and work through the tough moments with her.  Putting her in the backpack seems to be just the thing to gently ease her into the routines of our new family.




Negative 24.  That’s how many degrees it was this morning (with windchill) when I put Evelyn on the bus.

Three.  That’s how many minutes it takes the bus assistant to buckle Evelyn in the carseat.

Twenty.  That’s how many times I normally wave, sign I love you, blow a kiss, and repeat even when it feels like negative 24.  Evelyn (and her bus friends) watch expectantly for this every morning.

Ritual.  Routine.  Schedule.  Consistency.  All ways in which we grease the challenging parts of the autism wheel in our family.  As a historically fly by the seat of my pants, shop without a list, drive without a destination kind of girl, it takes work for me to keep pace with consistency.  Even though I see that the rhythm of consistency keeps everyone, not just Evelyn, in sync.

I am naturally inclined towards a clumsy chaotic state of being–where dishes pile up and my answer to putting away laundry is to buy more laundry baskets (we have 8).  For most of my life, I argued that I thrived in chaos.  But I must admit I was very mistaken.  I would have told you that I would rather enjoy life than worry about the dishes.  And I still don’t worry about the dishes.  I go shopping once on the weekend.  With a list.  And now I only need to go once during the week.  This frees up hours for me to enjoy life with my kids.

Ritual is a lifeboat to which she clings in the sea of life in a confusing world.  It might seem minor to you that she not get yogurt after her nap.  But Evelyn eats a yogurt every day after her nap.  And after her yogurt, we change her diaper.  After her diaper is changed we play (which does not come naturally) for an hour.  And after we play, we make dinner, we watch a sesame street and we start our night time routine.  If we don’t have yogurt, the diaper change is hell and play attempts are disastrous.   When Evelyn spends time upset during the day, which she does when we don’t have yogurt, she doesn’t sleep as well at night.  When she doesn’t sleep at night, the next day is shot.  It can take days to get back on track–this affects Evelyn–this affects our entire family. I shop with a list that includes yogurt ever week.

And I understand why Evelyn is thrown off kilter when the normal rhythms of her life are disrupted.  Daily rituals for Evelyn are like the traditions that soothe my soul.  I like certain dishes at Thanksgiving that take me back to childhood.  I like Christmas stockings stuffed with playing cards, nail clippers, mittens, and silly gifts like reindeer jugglers or books about survival in worst case scenarios.  I like the way my mom makes grilled cheese and the way my dad makes pancakes. Don’t we all have those things that make us feel as though all is right in the world?

Transitions are extra hard for Evelyn.  We try to dull their sharpness. We sing, “It’s bathy booper time, it’s bathy booper time, it’s bathy booper time,”  (to the tune of Howdy Dudey Time) because it makes the transition from Sesame Street to our night rituals less jolting.  And I say “Gentle, gentle, mama combs it gentle,” repeatedly in this weird and creepy voice while  comb through her curls in the bath tub–through which she would scream if I did not do the chant.

And after teeth are brushed, hair is dried, and bodies are snuggled into warm pajamas with feet, Evelyn and I walk to her room hand in hand.  She flops on her mattress and I repeat, “cozy, cozy warm, warm” three times with a specific cadence that Scott can’t get the hang of.  It’s, then, a kiss on that beautiful little face.  And the next words are built of loving stone.  “Night, night.  I love you.  I love being your mama.”   Those words are as much for me as they are for her because on the good days, they are reaffirming.  At the end of a difficult day, I remember that I do love being her mama.  Those words are my anchor and I always feel a sense of peace after having said them.


Acceptance is such a funny thing.  Knowing what to accept and what not to accept is not always clear–for any parent.

My journey to acceptance of Evelyn’s special needs has been tumultuous and emotional.  And sometimes I don’t know if I am accepting too much or not accepting enough.

When Evelyn first started showing signs of physical developmental delays at a couple of months age, I wrote them off to mere differences in development.  Over time, although it became more clear that her differences were of a more significant nature.  But I tricked myself into believing that she was just moving at her own pace–which she was—but I couldn’t (maybe wouldn’t) wrap my mind around a permanent disability.

Let me back up.  Up until my pregnancy with Evelyn, I’ve had a pretty easy life.  I have wonderful parents who have always supported me.  I’ve always felt loved.  I never really worried about anyone because for the most part the people that I loved were healthy.  I would say now that I had an unreasonable faith that everything would always be okay–that my life would work out the way that I had expected it to.

Before Evelyn had an MRI at two years old, there was a round of really scary genetic tests.  She had been diagnosed with hypotonia (which means low muscle tone) but they didn’t know what caused it.  So there were a slew of different degenerative diseases for which they tested over the course of a year.  During that year, I stayed up late every single night googling, and googling, and googling.  What I read was not reassuring.  I lived in fear.  Finally Evelyn had an MRI at age two which revealed a brain malformation in her cerebellum.  They believed that this explained everything that she was experiencing, that she would always have low muscle tone, but that she would progress typically otherwise.

So I breathed easy for a while…we lived, we loved, we did our thing.  When Evelyn was almost three, she pretty much stopped talking and started having absence seizures constantly.  Enter a new reign of fear.  The neurologists and geneticists went into another tizzy and I think I was even more scared than I’d been the first time since so many signs pointed to a degenerative disease.

There is nothing that I can compare to worrying that your child may suffer and die.  Those words are so hard to type.  It is almost unbearable for me–for any parent–to consider these possibilities for my child.

So when the blood tests, the mris, the spinal tap, the halter monitors, and all of that other stuff were exhausted, we were left with autism to explain the regression.  And autism was a huge relief.

I embraced autism.  I wrapped my mind and heart around autism.  I accepted autism as part of Evie’s fate.  And it wasn’t devastating.  I moved forward with optimism.

Acceptance comes at different times.  Scott was slower to accept what autism might (likely will) mean for Evie.  Shortly after her diagnosis, I remember that he made a comment about her “catching up” developmentally.  Even though I gently push him towards reality, often, I don’t believe that he has fully accepted what autism means in our family.  I think it has to do with the fact that he didn’t spend time considering the horrible degenerative diseases that were on the table.  So he didn’t feel that sense of relief that washed over me when we heard, “autism.”

Last week, he mentioned that a coworker had asked him how severe Evelyn’s autism is.  He told him that Evelyn is high functioning.  I admit that I laughed because Evelyn doesn’t have speech, she isn’t toilet trained, she doesn’t have self care skills, etc.  She certainly wouldn’t be labeled high functioning by anyone else.  But it is touching, to me, that her daddy labels her as such–because she laughs, because she loves, because she has a sense of humor, because she has a temper, because we have a family language, because Evie “functions” just fine in his eyes.  And I love him for that.

Every time my husband reads one of my blog posts he cries because he is reminded of the fact that Evelyn’s delays and differences from a typically developping are truly profound.  Part of me wants him to embrace the probabilities, but another part of me sees the benefits of accepting nothing as an absolute and everything as a possibility.  Afterall, it makes me crazy that some of the people that work with Evelyn seem to have written off the possibility of her making gains with speach. Why should I feel the need to tell Scott that it is probable that Evelyn will never live alone?

My acceptance is different than Scott’s.  I don’t know which–if either is better.  I take life day by day.  I don’t plan what Evelyn will or will not be able to do.  I’m happy with any fate where my daughter is happy and healthy.  Scott doesn’t have higher hopes for Evelyn as what could be considered a higher aspiration than health and happiness?  But he definitely feels like Evelyn will make more significant developmental progress than I think is likely.

Where do you strike that balance between not allowing our hypotheses turn into limitations and dealing with things realistically?  Because both are essential.

Either way, both Scott and I accept that this isn’t what we expected or planned.  We are both surprised that it is, actually, far better than what we expected.  And while we might disagree about how things are likely to pan out in terms of our future as a family, we agree that health and happiness are our only objectives.  And I think we both have learned that happiness doesn’t live in our expectations for our family–but in our family itself.

gaining the competitive edge

Maxine is starting to let go when she is standing up.  She has even taken a single step here and there.  In another life, I might have been tempted to push her to do things before she is ready.  But Max gets to reep the benefits of my parenting experiences with Evelyn.

So Max is somewhat on the later side to be doing things.  I’m completely at peace with this.  Max is a cautious baby.  She doesn’t do anything until she can do it with control and safety.  I believe in encouraging her when she makes the decision to work on something new.  I believe in applauding her efforts to try something new.  But I don’t like to give her the impression that my praise of her-that my love for her is contingent upon her stepping outside of what is comfortable for her.  My pride and my love are unwavering and they don’t ebb and flow with the development of new motor skills or speech.

I feel like, as a society, we put too many expectations on our children.  We expect them to live by graphs and charts and we have a tendency to panic when they aren’t keeping up with their peers.  To what end?  Maybe Max would have walked earlier had we worked on it more.  Maybe when people ask me if Max is walking “yet” (we will get to the word “yet” in a minute), I could answer yes.  But what would that have done to her little psyche?  What would that teach her?

Whenever I feel the urge to push Max to do something, I have trained myself to stop and think about my OWN motivations.  Is that chart looming in the back of my mind?  Did someone just ask me if she was doing “X yet?”  Am I having a moment where I am thinking that her not walking, not eating solids, not doing algebra “yet” is a reflection on me as a mother?  Because that’s my own problem–my own insecurities.

When Evelyn was younger, it would be like a knife in my heart every time someone asked me if she was doing “X yet.”  It was like fueling the fire burning inside of me…the fear that she was different, the fear that she wouldn’t catch up.  And as the gap between normal and Evelyn grew, that word, “yet,” became more and more piercing.  And when people would say, “don’t worry, she will catch up” a little piece of me would die and I wouldn’t know why.  I know now it is because it felt like it wouldn’t be okay with people if she didn’t catch up.  In a lot of cases it isn’t okay with people.

I never felt better when I put aside my desire for Evelyn to do things like other kids.  It was a true epiphany to know that Evelyn should do things like Evelyn and that her mama shouldn’t worry about what anyone but Evelyn can do.  And I carry this package of enlightenment with me like a little gift to myself when I might be tempted to enter either of my children into the endless competitions that they will be forced to endure throughout life.  My kids will be sitting most contests out.  We will work on playing hard and loving.  This gives us the competitive edge.

autism in our family weekly

I don’t always know what Evelyn is thinking.  As I sit here listening to Evelyn laugh uncontrollably at a skit on Sesame Street, my heart does those little flipper floppers that I call love explosions.  I don’t know why this particular skit is so amusing to her.  And she can’t tell me with words.  And while it is enough–will always be enough–to know that Evelyn is happy at this moment, we certainly work towards finding different ways to connect with Evelyn.

If you have a typically developping child, you might notice that when she laughs, she wants to share that laughter with you or others.  She makes eye contact, she points, she tries to draw you into whatever is inducing those delicious giggles.  Evelyn very seldom does this.  When she is laughing at something, she is her own world and she doesn’t want (or not want) to share that moment with others in most cases.  Recently, I learned what I’ve noticed for the past couple of years has a term.  Joint attention.

While I work on joint attention with Evie, I have to remember to respect that we are both wonderfully unique people.  I don’t try to drag her into my neuro typical plane of thought.  I try to go to hers.  Sometimes I sit back and observe and make mental notes as to what might be amusing Evelyn–movement, color, sound, texture?  Usually, it is a mystery.  But sometimes we will notice a trend.  For instance, Evelyn seems to get her giggle on when watching rapid movement particularly on TV.  And those breakthroughs are wonderful because it gives me a point from which to start.  I can show her other things that she might think are funny.  And those moments that she looks me in the eye and laughs are indescribable because she knows that I am, for a second, laughing with her in her world.

More often, I don’t figure it out and I don’t get it.  And while your first instinct might be to think about how frustrating that might be for me, I ask you to think about Evelyn and thousands of people like her.  Thousands of people that we ask, everyday, to live in a world that they don’t understand.  We ask them to live in the ways that we live.  We ask them to interact in the ways that we interact.  We ask them to play by our rules everyday with very little thought as to what that might feel like.  I say we “ask” them but what I really should say is that we expect them.

Think of the thing that makes you crazy, nauseous, wanting to crawl out of your skin.  For me, that is nails on a chalkboard or scratching anything in general.  I go beserk.  My mother is forever scratching at things and she doesn’t understand when I go bolistic.  I have to imagine that this is how Evie lives almost every single minute of the day.

The next time you see a kid in the grocery store–with autism or not—that is screaming or throwing a fit.  I hope your first instinct will not be to judge the child as poorly behaved or judge the parent as subpar.  I ask you to consider that the lights in the grocery store are super bright.  That there are so many people, things, sounds, and smells that are stimulating–over stimulating.  That child might be experiencing a nails on the chalkboard moment.  If that child has autism, many moments of the day may be nails on the chalkboard moments.

As a mother, I am compelled to try to blend the sharp edges of my world and Evelyn’s world so that we can both function, live, love and laugh.  So that we can delight in the moments where we are able to bridge the gap between our worlds.  So that our eyes can meet and for a second we have clarity and understanding.  As a mother of a child with autism, I appeal to you as a human being.  It would be great if you could dip your toes in the waters of her world–to see the humor in the world as she sees it, to see the obstacles in the world that she faces.  I understand if you can’t find your way to her world.  But could you, pretty please, remember that she is living in a nails on the chalkboard world and that she may not be able to cope with that every second of everyday…and if you can muster it–Respect.  Respect that she brave and graceful in her ability to live outside of her comfort zone almost every single moment of her life.


Today marks the second day of being somewhat housebound due to weather and undecided tummies.  We are all feeling a little restless.  I’m feeling a little crestfallen to have been bluntly informed  that Texas Toast is, actually, not a staple of a healthy diet.  We try to eat fresh/locally/organically/healthily as much as possible.  But I was recently introduced to and fell under the spell of this marvelous stuff…I will be sad to see it go.

I got almost zero sleep last night.  Again.  So I am tired and my nerves are a little frayed.  I was making Evelyn her lunch–which she insists must happen absolutle immediately when she arrives home from school.  This endeavor is so urgent that she runs to the fridge and yanks open the doors before I have a chance to remove winter gear from her little body.

Maxine had been whinecrying because while I make Evie lunch, I meanly place her bottom on the floor.  This is quite a trauma, you see.  So when it went quiet in the family room, I turned around immediately to see my Scott’s laptop in peril.  I don’t have a laptop anymore because I have a reputation for being responsible for the destruction of at least one a year and it was determined that it might be best to invest funds elsewhere.  My husband, very kindly was forced offered to loan me one of his four devices by which he may check email/connect to the web.

To be fair, I have been very good to this laptop and it has been in my care for a while.  It has not hit the floor.  Not once. It isn’t covered in grubby kid finger prints.  And it doesn’t have a single drop of breastmilk on it.  I’ve really become a model laptop citizen–until today when it went silent.

In my sleep deprived coma, I had forgotten to put it out of reach.  Maxine had it and was slowly pulling it south.  I don’t yell at my kids and I try not to use the word, “no” because I like to let my kids discover most things on their own, because I don’t mind cleaning up a little experimental mess (or leaving it to clean up later), and because I like to reserve it so that it doesn’t lose its meaning in nagging.   I screamed, “Maxine, NO!!!”

I caught her attention.  She’s never been yelled at and I am pretty sure she’s only been told “no” a handful of times.  She was really impressed.  I expected tears–not her adorable toothy little grin.  She continued to pull that sucker.  Without realizing it, I yelled, “No!” again.  She squealed with delight and pulled it further.  I stopped myself from yelling it again because the little goober likes when “no” is screamed at her.  Thankfully my dramatic charge towards the loaner laptop caused her to lose her shit laughing–to the point that she lost limb control (like mother like daughter) and she plopped to the ground.  Yes Scott, your laptop remains intact.

I did learn that I might need to bust out the “no” a little more often so the child actually knows what it means.  And I either need to yell at her much more often (so she will know that it is not entertaining) or not yell at all.  I think I am going with the not at all.

I also learned that my tendency to leave long rambling messages (as I am often mocked for by Scott) also lends itself to the tendency to write long rambling blog posts.  I suppose I could have just written, “I’m really tired today.   Maxine almost pulled my laptop off the table.  She thought it was funny when I yelled at her.  I better not do that again.”  But what fun would that be?

Oh and I forgot to mention that Maxine makes an adorable little imp.

leaving it on a less sniveling note

Because I hate that last negative post but needed to unload it–

Maxine has been really interested in playing babies–feeding them, making them jump (they use their heads to jump), making them cry etc.  Grammy plays babies with her most often.

Today Grammy sat down near the babies and Maxine and I walked over (Maxine holding onto my fingers).  I slipped my fingers out of Xiner’s hands and she just stood there (for the first time) like she’d been doing it always.  She stood there for like ten seconds while my mom and I stared at her with dropped jaws.   Then she, ever so slowly, lowered herself to the ground with complete control.

My girl is cautious.  She almost never has an accident.  She is so like Daddy in this way.  And so unlike me.  I went from crawling to running and crashing when I was nine months old and the rest of my life has pretty much followed suit.  Daddy (I should call him Scott) is cautious about everything.

I love watching this little bubble bloom and grow….

instincts–rated R for salty language

I believe in following my maternal instincts in almost every case.  I learned, the hard way, with Evelyn to follow them even if the doctors and nurses and medical professionals say one thing and I feel compelled in a different direction.

Maxine has many of the symptoms of an overgrowth disorder called Beckwith Wiedemann Syndrome.  Another mama of a child with this syndrome actually told me to look into it many months ago.  When I first read about it, a shiver went down my spine as I felt like I was reading about Maxine.  We went to the geneticist to talk about it–the appointment was horrible and turned into a lecture about breastfeeding.  You can read about that appointment here.  The short version is that she blew us off and told me to stop breastfeeding my seven month old baby.  We kind of had a polite argument where she borderline told me that I was abusing my child and I borderline told her she was clueless about infant nutrition.

Fast forward to now.  One of the major symptoms of this disease is an enlarged tongue.  The geneticist told us that she didn’t have one.  But I would bet my last dollar that she is sadly mistaken.  People are constantly commenting on her tongue size.  She is constantly moving it around her mouth as if it doesn’t fit.

Something is not right.  I feel it way down in the pit of my stomach.  I am angry with myself, as a mother, for allowing myself to be shushed by a doctor.  Granted, I didn’t follow her feeding advice.  But I didn’t push back with regard to this syndrome.  I quieted the voices in my head that were telling me to push further– to get a second opinion.

I just left a message with our primary pediatrician.  A sheepish message.  Because there is a good chance that I am wrong.  And I really don’t want to be that mother that is always complaining about medical professionals.  Hell, I am that mother but damn it, I have good reason to complain.  I spend a shit ton of time in doctor’s offices between the two girls.  Of course we are going to run across some duds.  And for god’s sake, even if I am wrong (and I hope I am) she did discredit herself as a professional by telling me to wean my seven month old baby and feed her solids instead of breastmilk.  She is wrong about that.

And PS–this syndrome is fairly benign in most cases but requires careful monitoring.  Typically, kids outgrow it.  But it could explain a lot of things about Maxine’s size relative to the amount that she eats, the fact that she has difficulty moving food around her mouth, etc.

I try to be positive.  I try to tell the negative voices that creep into my head to zip it.  But if I am right about this, heaven help that doctor because I am going to unleash the mama tiger that is tied up inside of me.  Doctors aren’t perfect, they are entitled to make mistakes and they don’t know everything–I don’t expect them to.  But I do expect them not to be assholes while they are spewing BS.  If I’m wrong, I’m happily eatin’ crow.  Stay tuned.

autism in our family

Before Evelyn was born, one of the worst things I could fathom for my child was autism.  I feared it.  Maybe it was some sort of premonition.  Most likely, it was just a reaction to the increase in attention it got.  I really didn’t have any sort of understanding of it.

Ironically, by the time Evie was diagnosed with autism, I was BEGGING the universe to please let it just be autism.  Let it be autism and not one of the degenerative diseases for which they were also testing.  “Let it be autism,”  I thought so often.  “I can deal with autism.”  And the diagnosis of autism was more than a relief.  It was the end of the terror of not knowing.  The gripping fear that there was some horrible disease slowly stealing my daughter from me.  And it was the beginning of another journey.  An opportunity to open my eyes.  An opportunity to understand that different doesn’t mean better and doesn’t mean worse.

Evelyn pretty much stopped talking just before her third birthday.  She stopped smiling.  She went completely flat.  Although we welcomed her smiles back about a year later, she doesn’t use her voice to speak.

But don’t think for a second that Evie doesn’t speak.  She makes her needs and wants well known.  And don’t feel sorry for me because you think Evelyn doesn’t tell me she loves me because she does every time she climbs into my lap, cuddles, and hugs me.  And she does this often.  As I often tell my husband, love isn’t what you say.  It is what you do.

Don’t get me wrong.  Autism, for us, isn’t all cuddles and hugs.  There is also the racing Evie to the bathroom door that a guest mistakenly left open.  Evie is sensory seeking.  And one of the ways this manifests itself is Evie’s obsession in submerging herself in water.  That includes the toilet bowl.  My skin still crawls when I think about the time that happened…it really only takes one time before you make sure that never happens again.  Shudder.

I know that autism doesn’t look the same for everyone.  But this is part of what it looks like in our family.  As we continue on our journey, I am going to try to write a post a week about autism or living with a child that has special needs.

Thanks for reading 🙂

destination: happiness

Thank you so much for the kind messages and comments about my first blog post…well the first one that I shared.  It is so uplifting to know that people actually took the time to read it–took the time to give thought to my words.

I’ve always been a pretty passionate person.  But my passion–the kind where you throw yourself into actually DOING something has always been pretty fleeting.  I would impulsively jump wholeheartedly into whatever.  Then I would see something shiny and get distracted.  I was usually motivated by anger–at the government, at an unethical company, or whatever.  But anger isn’t enough to fuel me in a sustainable way.  When it comes to advocating for my children, I am not fueled by anger.  I am fueled by love.  I am fueled by the burning need for my daughters to live in a beautiful world.

I still get pissed off when someone or something messes with that beauty.  But I am usually able to channel that anger in a more positive way.  Because I realize that my anger also pollutes the beauty.  Anger clouds my vision.  I see so much clearly now.  I know that every moment spent being angry is a moment not spent with my children or for my children.

My girls have given me so many gifts.  And I know it sounds cliche…but I’ve learned so much more than just parenting.  I’ve become a better human being.  Through them, I have been connected with  really lovely new  people.  My admiration for these people has lead to me examining the kind of person I am, and the kind of person I strive to be.  I’ve also been able to connect, in a different and more positive way, to people that I’ve known throughout my life.  These connections are all beautiful and they make my own world such a lovely place to live.

I think that prior to having children, I was really hard on people.  I was judgmental and arrogant.  Don’t get me wrong, I still fight to suppress the judging monster that rears its ugly head more often than I’d like.  But for the most part, I am much more willing to give people a break or the benefit of the doubt.  I find myself looking for the good in people and being more understanding of faults.  I think this has to do with the fact that I feel like my own (copious) faults and mistakes are magnified by the giant looking glass of parenthood.  There is more than enough for me to judge in my own backyard and people cut me a break.  They tell me I am good when I feel bad.  They tell me that my insecurities, my flaws as a parent, my flaws as a human are okay.  They forgive me and they accept me.  That is beautiful.  And I want my daughters to learn from and be a part of THAT humanity.

I’m happier than I have ever been in my entire life.  I live in a wonderful world filled with really kind people.  I’m still getting used to feeling this way.  It feels extraordinary to write words that I would have rolled my eyes at not so very long ago.  Isn’t it strange that I am somewhat uncomfortable with real, true, deep down in the pit of my soul happiness?  I don’t remember exactly how I got to this beautiful place but I know I wouldn’t be here without my children.  I know that love propelled me here.  I know that I wish I had a map to send to those that can’t find this place-for the better part of my life I didn’t even know that this place existed.  I know that I want my children to live here with me always and it is my responsibility to teach them how to live here.