Tag Archives: love

The Gift of an Ordinary Day

Katrina Kenison is the author of Mitten Strings for God and The Gift of an Ordinary Day. She blogs at Ordinary Day Journal. (Thanks to Gabi for passing along this great clip.)


Like Mother, Like Superhero

I’m delighted to be able to share the parenting wisdom of one of my favorite writers, researcher and social worker Brené Brown, here on Letters to a Parent. If you haven’t found her site yet, set aside some time, click over, and prepare for a treat. This post is especially appropriate this week as we put away our holiday trinkets & relaxed schedules and return to our routines at school, work, and home. Enjoy! {And thanks, Brené!}

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In January, Ellen and I ran into Nordstrom so I could pick up some make-up. While we were there, we decided to check out the sale in the children’s shoe department. I had on my workout clothes and was looking pretty ragged. When we got to the shoe department, there were three moms picking out shoes while their young daughters tried on boots and sneakers. These women were stunning and their daughters were equally beautiful.

As I tried to stay out of the swampland of comparison, I saw a strange blur of jerky movement out of the corner of my eye. It was Ellen. They were playing a pop song in the neighboring children’s department and Ellen was dancing. Or, to be more specific, she was doing the robot.

At the very moment that Ellen looked up and saw me watching her, I saw the magnificent moms and their matching daughters staring right at Ellen. They looked horrified. Ellen froze. Still bent over with her arms in rigid formation, she looked up at me with these eyes that said, “What do I do, Mom?” Continue reading

Scrambled Heart, Part 1

I have spent countless days in hospitals: Someone checks you in, you fill out papers, they take copies, you wait. Someone else rolls your son in a wheelchair down the wide corridor, past the grand piano where elderly volunteers play “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” or “Five Foot Two” or “Amazing Grace,” up the elevator to a private room on the sixth floor where you’ve been before. You follow behind, making small talk and smiling, packing the necessary equipment – cell phone, laptop and an unread book – you will need to stay occupied while you wait. And wait. You wait for blood tests and x-rays and doctor visits while you play with your cell phone downloading worthless ring tones and pictures of purple mountains you will never look at again. You watch the black shadows move down the concrete walls on the buildings outside the window. You rub your son’s palm with your index finger, the way you did when he was a baby. You try to read, but your eyes blur. You fill up the room with balloons from the gift shop, because no one even knows that your son is in the hospital, again, and no one sends balloons or stops by or calls. So you fill in the space. Continue reading

Scrambled Heart, Part 2

{Continued from last week’s essay}

Because of the Hepatitis C diagnosis and subsequent cirrhosis doctors later agreed to evaluate him for a heart/liver transplant, quite rare, but several have been successfully completed around the country. Doctors wanted to do some lung studies first, before sending him to Seattle for a heart/liver evaluation. The doctors discovered his lung functions were extremely poor, possibly due to fibroid tumors, probably from anti-fibrillation drugs: he would need a heart/liver/lung transplant. Although multiple organ transplantation has been successful, the three big guns have been transplanted only once before.

After six months of waiting for results and decisions, a letter from Mayo Clinic arrived stating the “constellation of his anatomy” was in too great a state of disarray and he was pronounced a non-viable candidate. The sand in the hourglass draining, Mike and I began measuring time as though a bomb were set to detonate at the end of the two-year death sentence. We never told Zeke about the letter from Mayo. We told him only that the doctors said “not now” on the transplantation. Doctors agreed to respect our decision.

Continue reading

7 things I’ve learned from motherhood

1. After you leave the hospital, in the middle of the night, when the baby won’t sleep…it’s all you. (And your husband, of course, if you’ve got a good one.) But the point is, from now on, when that little face looks around for food, comfort, nurturing…you are the one. And it’s a humbling, beautifully terrifying prospect.

We’ve loved our daughter since the day she was born, but because she came to us in a different way, I’ll never forget this experience:

When she was almost three months old I went to a luncheon. Many of the women there wanted to see and hold her, and she was getting passed around quite a bit. I don’t know if something happened or if she was just getting tired of all the passing, but she began to cry and look around. Finally she found me and her eyes locked on mine; she smiled through her tears as if to say: “Mommy, I found you! Save me!” All I could think of at that moment, was “Oh my gosh, she’s looking for me!” It was an emotional experience for me for obvious reasons. She knew I was her mother. And when she saw me, she knew she would be okay.

(First lesson: you are The One.) Continue reading

Forgetting and remembering

I had my first baby. It was the hardest thing I had ever done. Labor was a piece of cake compared to trying to nurse and trying to have the baby gain weight and trying to take a shower and trying to sleep and trying to be a wife and trying to eat and trying to be happy that this little gift was here forever and I was in charge. My mom never told me this part!

But we survived. I would look at her darling face and forget the pain. And I had another. Oh how grand boys are! The perfectly pristine life of my first darling baby forever changed. She was introduced to PBS. I could nurse the baby and rest. I could take a shower and clean the new baby. I could fix dinner while the baby was sleeping. I could go to the bathroom alone.

We were happy and I would look at my two perfect babies and forget the chaos. And I had another. She was darling and quiet and perfect. Baby number two was introduced to PBS and I survived. But, my voice rose and life for number one and two changed. Their quietness became louder. They were introduced to time out. They had to learn it was not okay to bite the baby. We do not hit in our house. It was never okay to leave the house alone. We do not run down the street and around the block, ignoring mom yelling to come back now!

We played and took walks and loved life and I would look at my three precious babies and forgive the naughtiness. And I had another. Baby number four took us all by surprise. He ate and slept and ate and grew and grew and ran and ran and hasn’t stopped. Babies one, two and three have taken to taking care of baby four. He needs 5 people watching out for him. He needs to not be naked before he goes outside. He needs a snack now before he dies. He needs his hand held before he falls and cuts his eye wide open requiring 6 stitches. He needs to laugh and swing and take walks. He needs to be loved by all.

His world will never change.

I’ve remembered it all now. I won’t forget and have another.

…but I wish I could…

Jayne Thomas lives in Charleston, SC with 4 babies that keep getting bigger and bigger. She tries to remember what time swim practice is and why she walked upstairs. She can be reached at jaynecas@yahoo.com.

To me when I was sixteen years old

Dear Celia,

You say you don’t want kids, but you should have them anyway. It is the only way to get out of working full-time. You’ll like them when you get them, I promise. It isn’t all changing diapers and wiping noses like you’ve done your whole life with your younger siblings. You will love your own kids more.

You say you want to be free from responsibility, and while that sounds good, really it is boring and empty. Having kids will make your life meaningful and interesting. When you are responsible for something or someone, you love it more. And when you love something a lot, then life is worthwhile. Think about how much you love your Honda Elite 150 scooter. A lot, right? Well, imagine loving something 100 times that. You know how you wake up every morning and feel happy to see your scooter? That is how you feel when you wake up and see your children every day.

You say you just want to have fun. Here’s a secret you don’t know yet: You get to relive your childhood with each kid. Childhood is fun, remember? It wasn’t too long ago for teenaged you. Not only do you get to be excited about Christmas and Disneyland again, you get to be excited about your children achieving milestones like walking, reading, playing instruments, babysitting, and on and on.

You think YOU are the most interesting person in the world. As it should be for now, but trust me, there isn’t anything more interesting than a little person who reflects you and your husband’s personalities. When one of your children starts walking around with his nose in a book or putting together cute outfits, you’ll know where it came from. You. And what is more interesting than you?

I don’t really need to convince you. I’m pretty sure you are going to have children someday. I predict you’ll have four and that they will be the best things that ever happened to you. Better than a new car or a trip to Europe or a kiss from the cute boy. I promise.

Love, An Older And Hopefully Wiser Me

img_0606.jpgCelia, mother to four children, lives in the California Bay Area. She writes about it at Groundhog Day with Celia Fae.