My toes clung to the edge of the diving board. I took a deep breath and tried to convince myself to dive in…
Yesterday while our family was swimming at the public pool, my husband went off the diving board over and over again. Each time my 5yo son and I laughed at his attempts at cannonballs and running dives; grading them with two thumbs up or down.
“Why don’t you try a dive, Mommy?” Wolfy asked me.
The question caught me off guard. For the past five years, I’ve been pretending around my son that I love swimming but the truth is that I don’t feel super comfortable in the water. I can go off the diving board with a clumsy jump but going head first into the water was the last thing I wanted to do.
Wolfy is struggling to learn to swim this year. He’s making a lot of progress but it’s always two steps (or strokes) forward and one step back. He doesn’t like to jump off the side of the pool even when his teacher promises that she will catch him.
I want my son to know that while it’s important to listen to the voice inside your head that says something is dangerous, sometimes if it’s a safe situation, it’s okay to push past your fear and test your limits. We call it taking a Calculated Risk.
But it’s easy to talk about this while cozily tucked into my comfort zone. And it’s another to show him that I can take Calculated Risks too.
So tonight, I got up on the diving board. But at first I couldn’t make myself dive off. I stood there for a moment feeling the wobbling of the board and the awkwardness of knowing that half of our small town was watching me. For a moment I considered doing my usual clumsy jump. And then I bent down and dove into the water headfirst. Just like I had promised my little boy.
He was definitely paying attention.
“Nice job, Mom.”
Do you see this little girl? Today I did the unthinkable and forgot about her in the car. Here’s how it happened: our family arrived at a friend’s house and in our excitement we all darted out, assuming that someone else had grabbed the youngest member of our clan.
But no one remembered her. And she sat for about twenty minutes crying alone before one of us got to her. Continue reading “The Unthinkable “
She is perfection.
A real life sleeping beauty. From the curve of her mouth to the wisps of hair lying across her cheeks. Her smooth skin unblemished by the hardships of the world.
Sometimes I try to view the world through her eyes. Remarkable and immense. There is so much she doesn’t know. And yet she astonishes me with her ability to grasp the nuances of human interaction. The way her voice can suddenly shift and take on the cadence of someone much older than her two years. Where did she learn that? Is she imitating me? Someone else? Or is this something she has come to all on her own and much too quickly.
She is perfection.
Her short hair in ponytails. Wearing two kinds of mismatched polka dots. I pretty, Mommy. Yes. Yes, you are sweetheart. You are the most beautiful girl. And I hope she always know that. But someday she won’t and she won’t believe me when I remind her. Never mind. I don’t want to think about that now. I just want to watch the way my girl dances whenever she hears music. Spinning in circles. Arms flailing. So pleased with herself because when she jumps, both feet come up off the ground.
She is perfection.
Toddling down the long hallway of a hotel, the pink tutu of her bathing suit swaying back and forth with her clumsy gait. She is running as fast as her small, chubby legs will carry her. She is trying to catch up with her older brother and even though that’s impossible. Even though she will never be as fast as him, she shrieks with delight. And I just want to freeze time. Freeze the moment so that I can always go back and visit this child of mine. This girl who is ready to take on the world.
She is perfection.
It was love at first sight.
I was scrolling through Facebook when I stumbled upon a photograph of kittens, so young their eyes weren’t even open yet. “I neeeeeeed one of those!” I commented. And I did. Six months earlier, our beloved orange tabby cat had been eaten by a wild animal. I missed her. I missed living with a cat. Also, mice were invading our farmhouse.
A few weeks later, we brought home one of the kittens from the photo, a fluffy gray tabby with big blue-ish eyes. Our three-year-old son named the tiny ball of fur, Runaway. Continue reading “I Divorced My Cat”
Being a first-time mom was the hardest transition I’ve ever made.
It was harder than going to college, harder than getting married, harder than buying a house. After my son was born, I think I went a little Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs for a little while there. Maybe I am still crazy. Maybe this is just who I am now.
I’ve always been worrywart, but becoming a mother put all of my neurosis into overdrive. So if as a new mother, you find yourself having a meltdown over which diaper cream to buy or wondering why your baby makes so much noise while they are supposedly sleeping, don’t worry. You’re in good company. Okay, well you might not be in good company but at least you’re not alone. Continue reading “7 Weird Things All First-Time Moms Worry About”
When I became a mother, I never wanted to pretend to be Santa Claus.
I didn’t want to participate in the big lie. Instead of magic, I thought the Santa myth was a bunch of overrated bologna. It didn’t make sense to me to buy presents for my kids and then pretend that some fictional character had actually given those gifts. I didn’t want to put my kids on a stranger man’s lap. And I never wanted to convince them that someone would sneak into our house at night while we were sleeping and knew if they had been naughty or nice. The whole pseudo-omniscience thing just really didn’t sit well with me.
I didn’t want anything to do with Santa. Or his sleigh. Or his reindeer. Or any of it. But it turned out, this whole Santa thing actually had very little to do with me. Continue reading “How Santa Started Visiting Our House”
Did you know that some people are very angry about Disney’s new movie, Moana?
They are arguing that the main character, Moana, is a bad example for young girls because she is more “realistically bodied” than previous Disney princesses. Instead of an exploding bust and itty-bitty waist, Moana looks more like a regular girl.
In one article, Moana was called obese and said to promote bad eating habits. A woman wrote this. A woman. If she looks at Moana’s flat chest and slender hips and thinks “obese”, I don’t even want to know what that woman considers skinny. All the girl does is eat bananas, coconuts, and fish while she’s swinging around on a tiny boat and battling evil monsters!
But seriously, words matter. And when we judge woman, even animated women, by their bodies, our children are listening.
Moana is healthy. She is athletic. And she is strong.
I was raised watching movies of featuring princesses who’s ultimate goal was to find true love. That’s it. Find true love and…the end. Moana isn’t looking for love. She’s trying to save her people. In an age when children’s toys and media are becoming increasingly sexualized and unrealistic, it’s refreshing that Disney is bucking the trend. Moana joins company with other strong female characters like Mulan and Elsa. And that is something to celebrate.
I’m not raising my daughter to be a princess and finding true love is most certainly not going to be the end of her story. She might grow up to be a doctor, a teacher, a wife, a mother, or who knows what. I’m focusing on raising a person that is brave, strong, confident, and kind. Finally our daughters have role models that portray these characteristics.
So instead of bashing these princesses not being skinny enough or being too headstrong, we should hold them up and raise our daughters up along with them.
Six years ago, on a November day not so different from today, I sat shivering on a park bench in Minneapolis waiting to have a miscarriage.
Continue reading “A Different November: The Story of My First Miscarriage”
At my son’s three year check-up, our pediatrician pointed to a picture in a book: “What color is this bird?”
“Boo,” my son, Wolfy, whispered. The bird was blue.
The doctor turned the page. “And what color is this bird?” he asked, pointing to a yellow bird.
“Leh-woe,” my son whispered. My son was speaking so softly that I’m not even sure the doctor knew he had answered the question. Continue reading “Why I’m Open About My Son’s Speech Therapy”