Love, Labor

The contractions hit harder and faster than I imagined. This couldn’t be the real deal, though. While I’d been dilated and effaced for weeks, with an induction scheduled the next morning, I didn’t let myself believe this was actual labor. After all, I’d had two false alarms before, and I knew they’d just send me back home if I wasn’t officially 39 weeks. I SO wanted it to be go time though. I wasn’t quite miserable yet, but I’d always dreamed of that quintessential “honey it’s time” labor sequence you see in the movies. I’d grip my belly and grab his hand while we raced to the hospital. My other two were scheduled inductions, and I always felt like all the fun was taken out, even though I enjoyed the predictability.

I took this pic …

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Time is Drawing Near

Soon. Soon love will fill this corner of the bedroom.

The wee hours of the morning. That delicate span of time when either you’ve stayed up very late, or gotten up very early. My husband is the latter. He leans to kiss me in bed, my hour tousled unattractively against my pillow. I tell him I love him, words spoken through my lisp-inducing mouthpiece used to prevent nighttime teeth grinding. Baggy black sweats with holes in ever-increasing places sit across my hips, purchased when I was 10 weeks pregnant with my first baby. They’ve served me well. I wear a soft-because-it’s-old faded gray t-shirt, screen print of a sporting goods store cracked and disappearing on the front. It’s his. Just like this squirming life inside me.

I’m 36 weeks pregnant with our fifth child. Two are in heaven, …

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Sisters strolling in the park. I pray they’re always this close.


Last night was a doozie. One of those evenings where every button is pushed, and by the end, every hair is pulled out. Tempers flared. Words hissed. Patience broke.

My youngest has been particularly difficult lately. Every other word is spoken as a whine, and when all 42 pounds of her 3-year-old body decide they don’t want to do something, it’s a back-breaking exercise in frustration. And she thinks it’s funny. And I used to let her get away with too much because, well, she’s my baby. And her older sister had me so wound up with her melodramatic preschooler-acting-like-a-preteen drama fests that I quite welcomed a different kind of naughty. But now? Now? My oldest has entered a “mommy’s little helper” phase while my youngest is …

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If hearing voices makes me crazy, so be it. After all, I’m in good company.

Sometimes, internal voices happen outside my mind. Words are spoken, and received by my ears, rather than merely bubbling up in my brain. Who do these words belong to? Me. But not me. Both a better version…and a worse one. The proverbial devil and angel. The cartoon characters dressed in red and white perched atop opposing shoulders.

It’s simple, really. The devil with the red dress on is selfish, easily agitated and aloof. The ethereal one speaks softly, reacts slowly and remains engaged at all times. To be honest, sometimes she annoys me. Sometimes I just want to hang out and wallow in self satisfaction with the one in stilettos. But I can’t trust her. She doesn’t have my best interest …

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When momma loves herself, daughter will follow.

Patterns, habits and long-term environments mold so much of who we are, but I’m convinced simple little encounters are powerful enough to change our outcome–for better or worse. Like this morning. As I was stepping out of the shower and scurrying to the bedroom to get dressed on time, my 4-year-old daughter made a comical observation. Giggling and wide-eyed, she pointed her little bird-like finger and said,

“Momma, your bottom SHAKES when you walk!”

Now, I could have responded with embarrassment, frustration, anger, or any combination of negative reactions. After all, as women we’re trained by society to do anything but embrace the jiggle. We’ve come so far with encouraging acceptance of fuller figures (and still have so far to go), but we rarely talk about the movement of these …

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Was that really a piece of dog hair embedded in dried snot on my child’s face? Yes. Yes it was. Unfazed, I reached up and pulled it off, and then thought I’d better clean that snot off, too. Gross. Only, not gross. Just normal. It’s weird how normal gross things are when you have kids. I’m nearly immune to the smell, texture and sound of bodily fluid as it drips, squirts and flies out of my children. Motherhood. Is this all?

I can still remember when my first-born nephew was around 18 months old (that would have made me 6 and a half). He was eating a cupcake (or something white, I can’t really recall). He had a smudge on his face, and my sister casually reached over, wiped it off with one finger, and licked …

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