Every Advent season, when my husband sees me stooping over the pile of cards and envelopes, flexing and unflexing my writer’s-cramped fist, he asks “Why?”
Why spend all that money creating and sending cards that are likely going to be read once and then hit the waste can?
Why spend hours in an already busy season writing and folding and sealing and stamping?
Why bother when most people are already connected through various forms of social media?
This is my Why.
As I pushed my three-year-old son’s dresser drawer to a close, the framed army photograph of my grandfather tipped over and landed face-down with a thump.
I propped it back up, blew a piece of dust from the glass, and said, “Sorry, Papa.”
Miles looked for a few long seconds at the 1940s photo — the perfect wave of my grandfather’s hair, his tan army-issue shirt, the eyes that were even bluer in real life than in that colorized photograph.
“Is he still real?” Miles asked.
The lake was calm, except for our speedboat with you and your noisy brothers in tow. You requested more chips, then scoffed at my expected Eat-some-more-grapes-first reply.
“Is it time to swim yet?” you asked.
“We’re heading to the swimming hole now,” Daddy answered.
In the glare of late-day sun, I noticed something on the water ahead. Squinting, shielding my eyes, I called to your father to slow down.
“What is it? he asked.
“I can’t tell – some kind of birds.”
I recently interviewed two women living with Multiple Sclerosis for a Grand Edits guest feature. When I asked them to speak about the life they envisioned as young women compared to the reality of their lives today, they both agreed that though they never dreamed they’d have MS and surely don’t want MS, the diagnosis has allowed them to connect with and help others who are facing the same illness, or working through other life struggles.
I think about this often – the way our circumstances create opportunities to help others who are suffering.
In my days of volunteering as a client advocate at a pregnancy resource center, a young woman came to an appointment in distress because her baby (still in utero) had been diagnosed with renal hydronephrosis. This malformation causes dilation in the kidney pelvis and can mean surgical correction shortly after birth.
My client and I had a long conversation that day about the what-ifs. It’s hard for a momma to be faced with the possibility of her newborn baby being whisked off to surgery in his or her first days in the world. We talked a lot about fear that day. About vulnerability.
I told her I understood how she was feeling, and I really meant it. My own son had been diagnosed with renal hydronephrosis less than two years prior to the conversation. I remembered the diagnosis, the scans, the machines. I remembered the fear.
Read the full post (HVFH) –>
Ah yes, Valentine’s Day.
In the cold, dark depths of winter, a lot of folks are thinking about love. We’ve set aside a whole day to honor it—to find new ways to acknowledge or appreciate love. Continue reading
One of my favorite times of the day is when I first hear my 22-month-old son Miles talking in his crib in the morning. Sometimes it’s earlier than I want it to be, and I know that when I step out of bed and walk past the balcony door, my ankles will be hit with a cold draft. I know that as soon as we go downstairs, I’ll be filling cups and cutting toast and refereeing squabbles and gathering gear for outings. Continue reading