I Didn’t Tell Him

I spent Friday morning getting my three-year old son ready to go take pictures with Santa.

We drank hot chocolate and changed chocolate stained shirts and only argued a little bit about the daily task of putting on shoes.

We headed to a local children’s museum where we waited in line for our turn. My son stepped up to see Santa and told him his Christmas wishes and smiled for a picture.

We returned home and continued our day, which that day included getting ready for Christmas and a trip out-of-town for the weekend.

A few states away in Connecticut, I imagine that families went through the same daily routine of getting ready in the morning, and maybe even went through a struggle to put on shoes.

Then the parents dropped their children off at school and went on with their days, which may have involved crossing off a to do list for Christmas or getting ready for a busy weekend.

And then their lives were changed forever when the unspeakable tragedy of an elementary school shooting took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.

Our world is full of tragedy. Of news stories that break our hearts and make us want to lock our doors tighter. Of devastation.

But this wasn’t a story about “bad guys” shooting each other or a natural disaster that no one could control.

This is a story of people living every day lives, and children being in an environment where they should be safe, and a gunman shooting innocent children.

I have found myself following the news closely, searching for information. What I realized was that I was searching for understanding, searching for a way to turn back time and make it go away. Searching for the impossible.

I found myself in tears as I watched the story unfold and I also found myself trying to hide it from my son.

Not because I don’t want him to see me cry and not because I don’t want to share my emotions with him. But because I still wanted to protect him from this; from everything.

I have experienced the devastation of losing someone I love when I lost my father when I was 18. I have lived the moment when time stands still and your world is changed forever.

I have attended the funeral of a little girl I baby sat for when she passed away in an unexplained accident when she was only 9.

I have taught, loved, and cared for classes of students when I taught Kindergarten.

And I have experienced the indescribable, all-consuming love of being a parent with the blessing of my son. I am the mother of a little boy named Noah, the same name of one of the children killed. His funeral will be held today.

This tragedy isn’t about me. It happened to people I don’t know, in a state I’ve never visited.  But oh how my heart aches for these families that have senselessly lost loved ones.

My husband says to turn off the media. Knowing what happened does not changed what happened.

My son lives in an innocent world not yet tainted by such tragedy.

And so I sneak news articles on my phone, and I pray silently in the darkness of the night. I let my tears fall into the stillness and the fabric of my pillow. And I pray fiercely, stealing moments at stop lights and in the quiet moments before drifting to sleep.

I didn’t tell my son and I have been hiding my tears, though it seems to be consuming my almost every thought.

I didn’t tell him, because I want to protect his three-ness.

I want him to still be able to live in a world where monsters are just imaginary things hiding under the bed and not real things taking the lives of children in an elementary school.

I want him to live in a world where school is a safe place, not a place to be scared of.

I want him to live in a world of pretend and cuddles and kisses.

I could not look in my son’s eyes without tearing up through the weekend, because this tragedy awakens the darkest of scenarios in our minds, the unimaginable tragedy of losing a child.

I have read many articles about how to talk to your children about this tragedy and about how we should hug our children tighter.

The truth for me is, I couldn’t hug my child any tighter than I normally do. I couldn’t love him any more than I do every day, with the all-consuming ferocity type of love I have only experienced since becoming a mother.

And I am choosing not to talk to my son about what happened. I am choosing to let him continue to live in the world of a three-year old, where he is still discovering his world and our greatest struggle is putting on shoes.

My prayers are with the families in CT, as their worlds and lives will be forever changed.

My heart will be overflowing with love for my son, as it does everyday. And for now, I will continue to let him live in his three-year old world not yet tainted with broken hearts and dreams.

I didn’t tell him. Because there will be life to live that will jade him and take away the pieces of his innocence and this world will disappoint him and scare him.

I didn’t tell him, but I am telling myself, and I am mourning with the families in CT as they begin the life long journey of grief.

I am choosing not to tell him. But I am not choosing to ignore this, or stop my prayers, or allow myself to remember those moments of pain or touch on those parts of my life that can faintly relate to the devastation the families in CT are experiencing.  Because in these moments, I think it is important for Newtown, CT to know that they are not alone.

 

 

 

 

The Purpose of Prayer

I heard it once before, when my son was playing with another boy at a train table. My son, then two, grabbed a train from the other boy, who must have been about four. I immediately rushed over and talked to my son about how we don’t grab, the importance of sharing, and my son handed the train back. The older boy was so mad that he took the train and said, “I will pray for you.” After a quick glance to his mother I realized that this was ok with her…he had been taught to respond this way.

I have seen it more than I can bear on this day after the election, streaming in Facebook feeds and Twitter accounts. I have read so many posts about prayers for this country because now it’s in trouble, how we need to pray harder now than ever before, how now it’s all in God’s hands.

I am a huge believer in prayer. In faith. In believing in something bigger than ourselves.

But I am also a huge believer in kindness.

If prayer is an outreach of ourselves to something greater, than shouldn’t it be kind?

When we find those quiet moments to pray, or meditate, or practice our individual faiths, I believe it should be done in the name of love.

I don’t think it’s loving to use prayer as a consequence or as a condescending remark.

“I will pray for you” holds entirely different meanings when said in the name of love or in the name of hatred.

This election, as are so many other things in our lives, was emotional. It is my greatest hope that as we all reflect and process, whether we are in a state of joy or sadness, that we include prayers of kindness and tolerance for ourselves and others.

Because I believe in the power of prayer. But I also believe in its purpose of kindness.

 

Finding My Voice

Last night, I was stuck in a downward spiral.

I was trying to coordinate holiday plans with family that lives far away, and heard news of a trip to Paris and some pregnancies. I started to go down the path one should never go down; a path of self-depreciation.

We have no trips to Paris on our schedule. Whenever we have free vacation time we use it to go visit relatives. There is no exciting baby news here. Our lives are inundated with work, running a household, and taking care of a toddler.  There are no major accomplishments or life changes to celebrate here. Basically, it is just plain boring.

As I spiraled into a negative thinking pattern that involved questioning my worth and my path in life and wondering what I would ever amount to, I packed my son’s bag. I was getting ready to take him to childcare so I could attend a rehearsal for my lead role in a Christmas production.

After getting my son settled, I walked into the rehearsal area and busied myself with rehearsing lines.

After a few minutes, one of the older men in the production approached me and asked my name, and followed up by saying, “I didn’t realize that was your real voice.”

So here’s the thing if you haven’t met me in real life…I have kind of a unique voice. One that has been made fun of, drives comments from cashiers at check out lanes, and sometimes even receives a compliment. But it is noticeably a different thing. And it lands me lead roles on the stage.

So sometime towards the beginning of rehearsals in October, this older gentleman had complimented me on my theatrical voice. Last night when he approached me, he said he didn’t realize that was actually my voice. I responded by saying, “This character isn’t me, but, yes, it is my natural voice.”

And then the most amazing thing happened.

This man stood there and inspired me. He asked if I had ever considered performing professionally.

“Well, yes, that’s what I always wanted to do. I was even a voice major in college and I used to perform a lot in community theater. But then, you know, I got married and had a baby, so now I’m just a mom. This Christmas show is just for fun.”

He stopped me from my spiraling as he said, “I’m not saying this to be nice, I’m saying this to be true; you are very talented. You have a gift. God gave you that. Is this something you want to do?”

“Well, yes, it’s always something I’ve loved doing, but you know, now I’m just a mom and…”

“No, it doesn’t matter what anyone says. If this is something you want to do, you need to do it. If your husband loves you, he will support you. This show isn’t just for fun. This show is your starting point.”

He continued to tell me about how much he enjoys watching me perform. How unique my voice is.  How he loves this character I’m bringing to life. He quoted scripture to me. He made me cry.

And then he said, “This is my mission. Because I was meant to talk to you tonight. And you are meant to do something great.”

As I wiped tears away from my eyes, I said, “Thank you. That is something I really needed to hear tonight.”

He left with a smile and a “See you on stage.”

*****

 It’s a prayer I say often, “Dear God, You gave me a voice. Please show me how to use it.”

And then it was answered with a speech from a man at rehearsal and an email about a new writing opportunity…both on the same day. (I’m telling you, fives are significant!) (And I can’t wait to tell you about the new writing opportunity..more news on that soon.)

 *****

Late last night, after my son and I returned home safely from rehearsal and my husband got home from his 12 hour shift, I began to recount my encounter to my husband as we stood in the kitchen, him eating leftovers and me sipping a cup of hot tea. Our toddler was eating a late night snack near by and we were all winding down to head to long-awaited bed.

“I guess I just thought that part of my life was over, you know? I mean I made a choice between pursuing performance or getting married and having a family. And now I’m just a wife and a mom and this show was just something to do. But tonight, this man inspired me. He reminded me that maybe I could be more than that. People used to say things like that to me all the time, but no one has said anything like that to me in a long time. I don’t know, it just really meant a lot for him to say that. And then there’s this writing opportunity  That’s one of the reasons I started blogging  right?  To become open to possibilities.  Maybe I could still be somebody.”

At this point, somehow my husband and I had wandered over to the refrigerator (I tend to pace when I talk.) My husband hugged me and gave me a kiss as he said “Of course you’re somebody.”

And then, on perfect cue, the cereal boxes on top of the fridge fell down and hit me on the head, spewing a few Apple Jacks and Frosted Flakes around.

My husband, toddler and I all erupted into hysterical laughter that was just as much from the humor of falling cereal as it was from exhaustion before finally heading upstairs to bed.

Maybe there’s a greater purpose for me somewhere out there. Maybe I can use my voice for writing and performing in some capacity. But at the end of the day I will always be a Mommy, finding humor in spilled cereal and beauty in slobbery kisses.

**************************************************************************************************************

Speaking of using your voice, today is election day! I was thrilled to take my son to vote today and loved how proud he was to participate. Did you use your voice and vote?

We voted! Presidential Election 2012

 

 

The Day I Saw the President

The sun was just beginning to peek its way through the trees as I bundled up my still sleepy three-year old son. I comforted him with sweet whispers and wrapped in him layers to protect him from the weather that has ever so subtly and recently brought us into fall.

“We are going to see the President!” I whispered in an excited fervor, as I urged him to put on his shoes.

Not understanding the significance or rarity of such an opportunity  my son whined and struggled, longing for a morning of Disney Junior and sleepy cuddles instead.

When we reached the car, I clicked him in his seat and soothed him and made promises of lunch at his favorite restaurant after the rally was over.

We drove the very short 2 mile drive to a neighborhood just little bit closer to the event than ours, and then my son and I began the walk to the event; a once in a lifetime opportunity to hear the President speak in our hometown.

If we had been able to walk straight through, the walk would have only been 1.2 miles. Due to the heightened security surrounding this presidential event, our walk from the southside of Richmond to the Carillon park where the even took place was 3 miles long; an unexpected undertaking as I embarked on this trip alone with a toddler and no stroller.

Police officers were on tight patrol and the longer walking route was done to endure that no one could enter the event without first going through security. Our walk through residential streets was splattered with vendors selling Obama paraphernalia and I was reminded once again of how we were in the midst of a historically significant election year.

After an hour and a half of walking and lots of toddler carrying, we finally reached the start of the line. There, hidden beneath the trees of a quiet park in Richmond, VA, stood a line of people, all waiting with excited anticipation to see the President of our country. People had been waiting in line since 4:30 in the morning. My son and I finally arrived at the end at 11:00 AM. Leaves fell and covered the crowd in a colorful fall blanket as we joined a crowd of 15,000 people with hopeful hearts.

The crowd waiting to see Obama in RVA, 10/25/2012

A line of people to see the President hidden beneath the fall trees in a RVA park.

The line moved fairly quickly and my son and I were able to find a seat in the grass of the park by noon.

No food or drink was admitted due to security purposes  and admittedly, after our unexpectedly long walk and no food or drink all day, my son and I were both a bit tired and grumpy.

A tired toddler at the Obama political rally

My son and I sat and rested as we watched people continue to pour into the park. Spirits were high and standing there I knew I was in the midst of a group of people who believed in our President and were excited to hear his message.

Music blared through the loud speakers and my son and I passed the time with dancing and cricket chasing and playing with grass.

My son and I at the Obama rally in RVA

 

The Carillon tower decorated with an American flag served as the backdrop of Obama’s rally in Richmond.

Then it started. The large crowd hushed as we were led in the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem under the backdrop of a large flag hanging from the Carillon tower.

 We were led in an opening prayer by a local Richmond pastor. We got to hear speeches by Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott, D-3rd, Former Gov. and U.S. Senate candidate Timothy M. Kaine, and Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.

And then we got to see President Barack Obama.

My view of the rally, 10/25/2012. I couldn’t see much, but I could hear him and I was inspired by being at such an event.

The crowd’s screams of excitement were so moving and invigorating that they washed all previous complaints of tiredness and hunger away.

Here we were, in a crowd of 15,000 people, standing in a park just a few miles from our house, listening to the President of the United States give a speech. I was humbled by the historic significance such a gathering and the once in a lifetime chance that I was able to be there.

At some point before the president arrived my son fell asleep. I listened to President Obama as I held a sleeping toddler. My back ached with the weight of a 33 pound child resting in my arms, but my spirit was lifted by words of hope. My son woke up before the President gave his closing remarks and even got wrapped up in the crowd’s emotions himself, as he offered a few claps and “yays!”

It was a campaign rally, to be sure. President Obama stressed the importance of voting and outlined his policies and even made a few remarks about his opposing candidate, Romney. But when someone in the crowd began to boo, Obama said, “No, don’t boo, Vote!”

Throughout the day, people made comments about my son being there. I heard it all from, “Wow, you are brave to bring him here!” to “He’s so lucky you brought him.” to “I think you are doing a great thing. It’s so important. ” to a whispered hush of “Why would she bring a kid here?”

Perhaps it was a bit brazen of me to embark on round trip 6 mile walk and 4 mile drive alone with a toddler, no stroller, and no food or drink. There were certainly times in the day when I thought that maybe it was just plain crazy. But I am so very glad that we went.

I know my son did not understand the historical significance of such a moment and political policies and elections are (thankfully) not yet a part of his world.

But they are oh so important.

And so one day, when my son gets older, I will tell him that when he was 3 years old he got to see the President of the United States speak at a park close to our home in Richmond, VA. I will tell him that he got to be a part of history that day and how lucky he was to get to hear a sitting president speak in person.

Regardless of your political opinion, I think there is still a sense of awe in getting to watch the President of our country speak. I felt inspired and honored to get to be part of such an experience. And if the President of the United States ever comes to speak at a park just 5 miles away from your house? I think it is definitely worth going.

 

*Here are links to articles in the Richmond Times Dispatch, detailing the President’s time line of the day and an overview of the event.*

Carillon Hosts Obama 

Obama Rallies 15000 at Carillon in Richmond 

 

 

All Birds Go To Heaven

“Oh no, Mommy, look!”

I turned in his direction and I followed his gaze down to the bird with flies buzzing around its head. I pulled him away quickly.

“Oh no, don’t touch. It’s a dead bird.”

“Uh oh, Mommy. Now it can not go to his family.”

“No, he can not go to his family.”

“But why, Mommy?”

“The bird is hurt. It looks like a kitty cat or a ruff ruff got him.”

Our feet pattered on the concrete as we continued walking down the road.

Should I tell him? Are we ready for these conversations?

“Now the bird is in heaven with God.”

“With God?”

“Yes.”

But why Mommy?”

“When things die, they go up to heaven to live with God.”

A long pause filled our conversation as we both pondered the validity of my statement. Can we talk about this yet?

“Mommy’s Daddy lives in heaven.”

Gentle feet pad on the cement. I look down at the top of his head. I can see his eyelashes and his brow slightly furrow as he grips the flowers he has collected tighter.

“Does your Daddy take care of the birds, Mommy?”

Surprised tears threaten my eyes as I smile and reply, “Why, yes, I guess he does.”

Chirping birds and a distant train combine with the sound of our shoes on the ground as the background track to our poignant conversation.

We observe fallen branches and white lines painted on the road. They were meant for traffic but they make a perfect balance beam for my son to follow as I walk beside him. His concentration is on the line; the steadying of his feet one in front of the other.

My concentration is on him.

As the line fades and we near the next cross street he says, “Mommy? And your Daddy will say, no no kitties and ruff ruffs we do not hurt birds.”

“Yes,” I realize and speak out loud, “that is probably something he would say.”

The rest of our walk is speckled in conversation about looking both ways and not throwing trash on the ground. We stop to admire flowers and bugs and I watch as he delights in walking down into a shallow ditch and climbing back out.

As we near our house, he breaks into a big grin and runs to the driveway. “That was a good walk, Mommy. Now I am thirsty.”

It was a good walk, love. A very good walk.

Goodnight Words

Sleepy kisses were handed out as we all adjusted covers and nuzzled into pillows.

The toddler still sleeps here snuggled in the middle most nights, even though we all know babyhood has past.

My little boy is at peace here with Mommy and Daddy and though we do the sleep-in-your-own-bed thing, we really like him here, too.

Darkness surrounds us but we gaze at a battery-powered stars and moon that cast a sky on our ceiling.

“Goodnight little family,” I say.

“I love you,” says my husband.

“Mommy, Daddy?”  questions the toddler.

“Yes, sweet boy?” we respond.

“You guys are taking good care of me.”

It is dark, but I could still feel my husband and I lock eyes. I can feel his heart swell in rhythm with mine and make out the dimples of his smile in the moonlight as it mirrors my emotion.

“That’s such a nice thing to say, buddy,” says my husband with a smile.

“Thank you so much. You are such a sweet boy. I love you,” I reply, struggling to find words to convey my emotion.

“I love you too, guys,” says our sweet boy as he cuddled his Curious George lovey close and snuggled in to sleep.

And so we drifted into slumber, falling asleep to lullabies of sleepy breathing and toddler validation. Goodnight husband, goodnight little boy, goodnight words that have warmed my heart and filled my soul.

Goodnight.

Attachment Parenting Is Not A Bad Word

By now, we have all seen the controversial TIME cover and developed our own reactions. Mine was initially one of anger that I was quickly able to temper by reading posts by other bloggers with a message I could relate to; of course you are mom enough. Don’t take the bait; no matter how you parent you are a great mom.

With the approach of Mother’s Day, a provocative picture, and a titillating title, the TIME cover was clearly nothing more than an opportune-timed jab at the old-fashioned and worn out ply for “mommy wars” and a play on the insecurities of all mothers, regardless of parenting style. As I read articles denouncing the cover with pleas not to play into the controversy, I was able to nod my head in agreement and compose my own piece focusing on the joy of being a mother rather than the style in which you chose to execute that privilege.

I could be at peace with it, because of course there will be talking heads and uneducated media articles feeding into the flame, but it seemed most people in the blogging world were not taking the bait.

Then, I noticed a link to a blog article in my Facebook news feed. I thought it would be another eloquently written post about the ludacracy of the cover. I clicked and looked forward to nodding along as I had with previous pieces.

The underlying message was the same; don’t buy into the cover’s ploy to enrage you or tell you that you are not a good mother. But in taking down TIME, this article also took down attachment parenting. The writer stated,”most moms who subscribe to attachment parenting are older hippie moms with gray hair and saggy boobs and Subarus.” She went on to list the reasons that she thinks attachment parenting is ridiculous and throw Dr. William Sears, the person who co-wrote The Attachment Parenting Book with his wife, Martha Sears, under the bus.

Perhaps these are common stereotypes. But they are, indeed, just stereotypes not actually steeped in reality.

So here’s my big reveal: I am an attachment parent. I breastfed my son on demand until he was two. We still co-sleep even though his third birthday is approaching in September. I always used the Baby Bjorn instead of a stroller and in one particularly memorable episode, I joined a mommy play group for a walk in a park, and I had no idea how to open my stroller. It was embarrassing, and it was clear I did not fit in with this group of moms who used strollers and formula.

But maybe, if you subscribed to the stereotypes represented by the above blogger, you would not guess my attachment parenting tendencies. I am a fairly young mother, (I was 25 when my son was born) I try to wear stylish clothes, (on the days I’m not running around in work out pants) and keep my hair and make up presentable. My go-to color for clothes, nail polish, and lip gloss is pink and I carry a Coach purse. I’m a girly girl in disguise as a busy mom and wear flats due to the impracticality of the heels that reside in my closet. My decision to attachment parent is not one born out of a “hippie identity” nor one that narrowly encompasses my entire personality. It is simply the parenting style that I chose, that I believe in, and that my son thrives on.

Perhaps the idea of attachment parenting seems scary and extreme and it’s a little too easy to buy into the hype that you have to be an “older hippie mom” to do it. But perhaps that comes from a misunderstanding of what attachment parenting means. The principles of attachment parenting are birth bonding, breastfeeding, babywearing, bedding close to baby, belief in baby’s cries, balance and boundaries, and beware of baby trainers. Basically, skin to skin contact after birth, breastfeed, hold your baby as often as possible, sleep close to your baby, respond to your baby’s cries, establish clear boundaries of yes and no for you and your baby, and listen to your instinct and your baby rather than taking advice from others about your child’s care. In an even more concise summary, attachment parenting is high-touch, responsive parenting. I missed the birth bonding part due to my emergency c-section delivery. For me, the breastfeeding led to the co-sleeping, my baby’s constant need for touch and my desire to hold him led to the baby wearing, and my belief in responding to my baby’s cries and cues allowed me to establish boundaries, ignore bad advice, and feel confident in the way I was parenting my son. I believe in attachment parenting, and I practiced it. But that doesn’t mean that you have to, or that you have to judge others who do.

The idea that attachment parenting requires breastfeeding a child until they are old enough to spell is simply not true. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a child receive breast milk for the first year of life (source) and The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for up to two years (source). The idea of extended breastfeeding may not be normal in America, but it is normal worldwide, and it is not an idea established or solely supported by Dr. William Sears.

The idea that if you co-sleep your kids will sleep with you until they are in middle school is also not an idea advocated by Dr. Sears or  attachment parenting. In the attachment parenting book, it says “children wean themselves from your bed when they are ready…in many families this process begins sometime around age two.” The attachment parenting book even gives you tips on how to make the transition. The misguided belief that attachment parenting requires a child to sleep with you into late adolescence is not an idea put forth by Dr. Sears.

Attachment parenting does encourage baby wearing, or holding your baby in a wrap or sling as often as possible. Again, this is not a new idea. Many countries all over the world have been carrying babies in slings or shawls for years. And, if you read The Attachment Parenting Book, the baby wearing practice is really only for the first 6 months. As soon as the baby starts crawling, attachment parenting babies are highly encouraged to explore their environments.

Nowhere in the times I have read or referenced the book have I read the lines “If you do not do attachment parenting you do not love your child” or “You are “screwing up” your kids if you don’t practice attachment parenting.” In fact, Dr. Sears and his wife are parents to eight children, and they only started formulating and using attachment parenting after the birth of their fourth child. I’m sure that doesn’t mean they did not love their other children.

Attachment parenting is not a bad word. It is a style of parenting. What parenting style you use and how you weave it into your own parenting will depend on you, your family dynamics, and the baby (because my goodness these little people have big personalities). Time’s cover is obviously meant to illicit a response rather than give an accurate depiction of what attachment parenting is. It is also clearly meant to draw on women’s insecurities of their own parenting style with the provocative “are you mom enough?” headline. Though many people are choosing to rise above the blatant attempt to ruffle feathers, I was disappointed to find out that some responses further propagate the same message in a different way; you are only mom enough if you do it my way.

Making fun of attachment parenting while attempting to scorn TIME for their poorly thought out scheme to boost sales contradicts and diminishes the stance all mothers should be taking; however you decide to parent, you are absolutely mom enough.

We will not be able to truly change the conversation until we can fully convince ourselves that all parenting styles are acceptable. Basing our knowledge of all parenting styles on facts rather than on assumptions or titillating magazine covers is an excellent place to start.

*For more information on Attachment Parenting, read The Attachment Parenting Book by Dr. William Sears and Martha Sears. http://www.attachmentparenting.org/ also has some good resources.  Their piece in response to the TIME ploy is a well written summary of what attachment parenting really stands for and what TIME actually acknowledges about this style of parenting.

read to be read at yeahwrite.me

Take Time to Watch The Butterflies Dance

I caught a glimpse of them today.

I watched as they fluttered outside my window, creating delicate flight patterns as they circled around each other.

I watched the fragile wings open and close and create a blur of color and beauty.

The butterflies moved in and out of my line of sight through the window as they encompassed each other and danced from the flowers to the sky.

“Mommy! My butterflies!” my toddler exclaimed as we watched them dance. I was delighted at his excitement.

And it was then I finally realized none of the rest of this matters.

Over the past two days I have been inundated with the grown up world. I have been dealing with the insurance company and bills and phone calls. And of course, I saw the Time cover.

In my already stressful world, the initiation of a mommy controversy is not something I want to be a part of. But it riled me none the less.

I have been in an unshakeable bad mood since yesterday. But then this afternoon, I turned off the computer. I put down my phone. And I watched the butterflies dance with my son.

It doesn’t matter how you fed your baby or how long you breastfed. It doesn’t matter if you did attachment parenting or not. It doesn’t matter where your baby slept or whether you used slings or strollers.  This cover is clearly meant to illicit a response, not give an accurate depiction of breastfeeding or attachment parenting. It is also clearly meant to insult ALL mothers, posing the question, “Are you mom enough?” Mom enough for what, exactly?

There will always be decisions to make in parenting. There will always be opportunities for you to question your parenting choices.

But that takes away time from the things that really matter.

What really matters is that you love your child, in the best way that you know how, and in the way that works for you and your family.

And that you take the time to stop and treasure the moments with your children as they marvel at the wonders of the world.

I’d rather spend my time as a mother loving my son and delighting in his excitement over the beauty of butterflies dancing. After all, aren’t these the moments of motherhood that make it magical?

*These are my favorite blogger responses to the Time cover. Please take a moment to read their eloquently written words.

http://themomalog.com/2012/05/10/are-you-mom-enough/

http://practicalkatie.com/2012/05/11/every-mom-is-mom-enough/

http://www.sisterhoodofthesensiblemoms.com/2012/05/are-you-mom-enough-not-to-take-the-bait/

http://www.farewellstranger.com/2012/05/11/lets-talk-about-something-else/

Just Like My Flowers

The light of the moon made its way into the bedroom as the toddler and I snuggled under the covers. Another day had faded away and my little boy and I cuddled up close as we settled into bed.

“Mommy?”

“Yes sweet boy.”

“Do you hear that?”

“Hear what?”

“My flowers are growing!”

“Your flowers are growing?”

“Yes! They are growing bigger and bigger!”

“Yes, they are growing bigger and bigger.”

“Am I growing bigger too?”

“Yes, you are growing bigger, too.”

“And stronger?”

“Yes, everyday you are growing bigger and bigger and stronger and stronger.”

“Uh-huh Mommy. Just like my flowers?”

“Just like your flowers.”

I could see him pondering. Satisfied, he cuddled up next to me and arranged himself to fit into the curve of my side.

I held him close and we both closed our eyes. I drifted to sleep listening to the beautiful sound of a toddler and his flowers growing in silence.

How To Spell Pizza

Hubs: “Ok, what else do we need at the store?” (while making a grocery list)

Me: “Umm, milk, bread…….oh, get some stuff to make homemade pizza! That would be fun!”

Hubs: “Ok.” (Writes P-I-Z-Z-) “Does “pizza” have an “i” in it?”

Me: “What? No. P-I-Z-Z-A.”

Hubs: (Writes A) “What else?”

Me: “Bananas. And maybe grapes.”

Hubs: “B-AN-AN-AS” (sings and dances out loud to the tune of Gwen Stefani’s song while he writes it down)

Me: “I know you’re making fun of that song, but it totally taught you how to spell.”

Hubs: “What? I am great at spelling.”

Me: “You just asked me how to spell pizza!”

Hubs: ……. “I don’t like you. I’m going to the store now.”

Twenty minutes, a full grocery list, and a finally-ready-to-go-toddler later, the hubs and the toddler went to the store.

How did you start your Saturday?