Thursday, January 31, 2013


Today was supposed to be our due date. 

January 31.

We brought some roses to throw in the river at our favorite park.  When we move to our next (permanent) house, we will be planting a tree in our baby's memory.

As we tossed the roses gently into the river and watched them float downstream, I thought about our baby.  About how much I miss her every single day.  About how I wish I was complaining about being huge and awkward and uncomfortable at nine months pregnant, instead of attending her memorial service.

And the thought that has brought me more comfort than anything else during this nightmare: that I would do anything, ANYTHING for my children - and if feeling this sadness means sparing our baby any discomfort and pain, then it's worth it, even though I will miss her every day of my life.

I named her Emerson. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Growing up, one of my biggest problems was my shyness.  As far back as I can remember, I was painfully, cripplingly shy.  And having attended 9 schools by my freshman year, being so shy was not a good quality.  It still plagues me on a daily basis and would be one of the first things I would change about my personality if given the chance.

So as it has become apparent as Cole gets older that he has inherited my shyness, I had to do some real soul-searching as to how to handle it.  Should I try to force or train him out of it?  What strategies can I use to help him cope with everyday things that might be hard for him?  Where is the balance between encouraging him to use good manners and respecting his natural tendencies?


 What really brought this to my attention was a conversation with an acquaintance.  While chatting about our children, she mentioned something about Cole's lack of social skills and how he should attend preschool sooner rather than later to improve his social ability.  Now, her child is outgoing and gregarious, rarely feeling shy - he doesn't have much in common with my sensitive, introverted and shy child. But I instantly felt my inner mama dragon rear up; how dare she suggest my boy is lacking in social skills?  Yes, he takes a while to warm up to people, even people he knows well.  Yes, he often doesn't speak around people.  Yes, he will spend more time observing a situation than participating in a situation. 

But that absolutely does not mean that he is in any way lacking.

How dare someone insinuate that because my child is shy (read: different) that there is something wrong with him, something that needs to be fixed.  

As a parent of a shy child, I had to let go of some things.  I knew some of the experiences I had envisioned for him in his childhood likely were not going to happen: sitting on Santa's lap, easily playing with strange children at the playground, participating in extra-curricular activities, speaking clearly and maturely to strange adults, making new friends easily.  It's a little sad to me to realize that even some of our closest friends might never see Cole as we see him - funny, energetic, quick to laugh and be joyful.  Cole is cautious in the best of situations - in strange and new situations, he needs to observe and practice before participating.  At birthday parties and other gatherings, he is often quite content to sit on the sidelines, watching rather than participating.  Even though I know he'd have a wonderful time if he'd just go out and participate, I will never force him to.  I trust that he knows exactly what he needs to do to have a good time, and if that means sitting and watching the whole time, I am 100% ok with that.  I have faith that my son knows how to have a good time without me forcing him to do anything he's not comfortable with. 

And as I let go of some of my expectations, I gained a new appreciation for my son and how amazing he is.  How God created him just as he is for a reason - who am I to try to change his personality or force him to be someone he's not?

I love and cherish my son for exactly who he is; I am sensitive to his specific needs and personality.  I love that he is unique.  I value his quietness, his empathy toward others, his questioning mind, his incredible attention span, his willingness to follow directions.  He gives hugs and kisses to comfort; he is loving and tender, a little motherly toward others; he is a follower during playtime, not a leader.  I view his shyness - indeed, his personality as a whole - as a good quality, as long as it doesn't rule his life.  But it absolutely breaks my heart to think that there are people out there - people who might even call us friends - who don't appreciate and value my son for exactly who he is.  I love and value my friends' children who are outgoing, talkative, everything my son isn't - why do I not feel as though my son's uniqueness isn't valued in their eyes?

Fortunately, Cole is not aware that some people might view his personality as lacking - and it is my goal that he will have the self-confidence to see that he is not the problem in this situation.  That while he cannot control other's actions toward him, he can control his reactions.  And that there are plenty of people who love him exactly as he is, without any changes to his personality.

An amazing friend of mine - whose beautiful child is the polar opposite in personality of mine - once said to me how much she admired Cole's sensitive, shy, and caring personality.  "Yes," I said to her, "but you know that even though your daughter is strong-willed, she'll never be led astray from her beliefs.  She'll be a strong and wonderful leader."  

The world needs all kinds of people.  My son is maybe a little different, but he's perfect just the way he is.

Monday, January 28, 2013

In the picture

A few months ago, I read this Huffington Post article about a mom who was reluctant to be in photos. It was all the usual reasons - not happy with her post-baby body, not enough time to fix herself up, the kids are just so much cuter. 

But something about it really struck a chord with me. 

I have so few photos of my mom with us when we were young.  A friend of mine (who is just 28) lost her mom to cancer - I can only imagine how comforting it would be to have photos to look back on our time together as mother and daughter if the unthinkable happened.  Now that I'm a mama myself, I would love to see more photographic proof of our adventures, of our relationship, our experiences together - especially in those early years when my memories are so vague.

So I vowed to hand off the camera more often, to ask for more photos of Cole and me.  Even if my hair isn't perfect, or there's a pimple on my face, or that the twenty pounds I STILL need to lose are hanging on my hips and waist. 

Because when I look at the photos of my mom, I don't see any imperfections.  I just see my mom.  And I want Cole to see the same.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


Sometimes, I look at Cole and I get that hugely-anticipated-night-before-Christmas-feeling...wondering what he's going to be like when he grows up?  Sometimes, I just can't wait too see what his little face will look like when he's grown and matured.  Sometimes, I can't wait to see what he's going to decide on for a career.  Sometimes, I can't wait to meet who he will choose to marry. 

But then sometimes?  Sometimes, I feel like I can wait a very very very long time...because all of those things mean he will grow up. 

And I'm just not that ready to lose my little boy yet. 


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Sledding by the numbers

3 stores visited to find a pair of snow boots
45 minutes waiting in line at the DMV to get snow permit
1 hour driving to get to the snow
3 hours preparation - dressing in layers, hats, mittens, and coats


1 very thrilled little boy:

Friday, January 25, 2013


A couple weeks ago, we took Cole up to the mountains to go sledding for the first time.  We brought the dogs and Grammy and Papa even drove to meet us!

I'm pretty sure Cole's face says it all in these photos:

 Once Cole had a chance to pull the sled, he almost had more fun doing that!
 Having such a great time with Grammy and Papa:
 Grammy and Cole checking out the frozen lake...hard to believe that we come up to this very lake in the heat of summer to go boating!
 Taking a hot cocoa break :)
Winter days are fun too!
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