The Child with No Activities

For a few years Maddie had me fearing I would become a dance mom. So fierce was her love for dance at the time. A change of schools and a longer school day led to a separation from dance. Every effort made to join another crew was swiftly shot down by the little dancing girl.

Enter mommy guilt that our only child is not in any activities. Every effort short of signing her up and dragging her there fell short.

Maddie there is a cooking class! Want to go?

Maddie want to try dance again, it starts soon!

Maddie how about gymnastics? You’d love it!

Maddie want to play softball, ping-pong, badminton, soccer, lacrosse, hockey, ANYTHING?

Countless times I was this close to just signing her up. The closest I got was after school gym club with her more than amazing P.E. teacher. She’d come out all sweaty and happy and I’d start asking all over again. And she would start shrinking away from me.

Then I’d see her with her cousin building an imaginary world of dolls, Shopkins, and Tsum Tsums.
Then I’d see her writing a book to give to her teacher.
Then I’d see her at her Grandma’s house planting a garden.
Then I’d see her laughing and playing in the driveway with the neighborhood girls.

She’s not interested in organized activities just yet. She’s only six, I tell myself. But I see lots of first graders scheduled up and in soccer, gymnastics, dance, and a few other icing on the cake of activities ventures. So, I question and second guess and wonder if I should just go and put her in something.

The other day when we were walking home from the bus stop, Maddie says that her friend Ella is in gymnastics, can she do gymnastics too? I agree instantly and then the shrinking begins.

Only if I can be with Ella. I need a friend. 

Those four little words spoken in a little voice, almost to herself. Suddenly it is all so clear to me.

I know that I could just sign her up and make her go. I know that she might end up loving it. I know that it very well could be my own issues at hand here. But I also know that Maddie needs a friend.

Isn’t starting something new scary to us all? Don’t we all need a friend?

So maybe gymnastics will get off the ground. Maybe it won’t. Maybe it will be something else. Maybe for now Maddie’s activities will be playing with her cousins, making friends at school, and just being a kid.

I’m pretty sure I’m okay with that.


The Moments In Between

The moment in between racing upstairs to bed and bedtime: I stand at the bottom of the stairs and listen to that little squeal of victory and I know I am blessed. 

The moment in between cooking dinner and sitting down to eat the dinner: I reach up for three plates out of the cabinet and feel his arms wrap around me and I know I am blessed. 

The moment in between starting the car and loading up all the trappings of work and school: the sun shines down and warms my face and I know I am blessed. 

The moment in between the end of the conversation and the goodbye: we pause in a comfortable silence of I love yous and I know I am blessed.

The moment in between the joke and the punchline: her shoulders shake with laughter and pride at her own comedic genius and I know I am blessed. 

The moments in between show me where I should be most grateful. 

Graduation Day

It was a long-awaited day. Graduation Day. The day I graduated from the beastly behemoth that had been covering my right leg for four long weeks. The day I got to wear the slimmer, albeit made of more metal support system.

Now this was a big deal for all the right reasons.

It meant I was getting stronger.
It meant I could ditch the crutches.
It meant my scar tissue was getting under control.
It meant I could bend my knee legally.

All those are the right reasons I should have been excited. But the best most celebratory reason of all:

It meant I could ditch the uniform.

You see, the now stinky stretched out behemoth that previously took up that real estate, required me to wear shorts. I tried leggings but that just made the brace fall down and provide exactly no support, even if I tightened those buckles tight enough to cut off circulation to my leg.

Let me be very clear here. SHORTS. I don’t do SHORTS. EVER. Like NEVER, EVER, NEVER.  The closest anyone gets to seeing my leg is the very bottom of my knee.

When this was realized, I got a ride to the nearest store to get some stupid dumb shorts and discovered on store visit number three that apparently the clothing designers feel that women of any age are suited to wear skin-tight shorty- short shorts.

Ummmm… not true clothing design people!

Let me paint the picture for you. 7 pairs of men’s basketball shorts, and a nice array of t-shirts. Adding insult to injury, I have to wear sneakers. So I had to buy socks. Like, I had three pairs of real socks in my arsenal previously.

This ensemble has been my uniform.

I. Have. Been. Wearing. Shorts.

You can see now that Graduation Day was the best day ever.

Cause this girl is rocking her yoga pants. 🙂

2016 Poemy Monday, The Third


It should come as no surprise,
her daddy is as stubborn as they come.

It should come as no surprise,
animals are in all our hearts.

It should come as no surprise,
her Bamma is practically Betty Crocker.

It should come as no surprise,
her momma is a reader too.

It should come as no surprise,
her Opa set the bar for kindness.

It should come as no surprise,
her Grandma has a green thumb.

It should come as no surprise,
her cousins are silly to the core.

It should come as no surprise.

And yet,
every single day.

She leaves me in awe.


On The Back of the Door

On the back of the door that used to be the computer room and is now my mother’s bedroom hangs a pair of jeans. These jeans are too long and too wide to fit her frame. Their worn denim hangs alongside the light jackets and dresses and anything else she parks in that spot. They’ve been there for almost 14 years now. I know they are a comfort to her heart even if she doesn’t notice them much anymore. I can picture her running her hand along the soft seam and remembering.

In my childhood house I walk around and am assaulted by memories. Memories that run the gamut of happy to sad and every emotion in between and sideways. The frame is the same. Five bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room, a kitchen, and a large walk-in closet. Many of the contents have changed though the heart of the house remains: My mom.

That’s a big house for just one lady and a dog. Always a dog. Right now she’s in between, but it’s only a matter of time. “You need a smaller house,” is a line that my mom often hears from well-meaning friends and family. “This is too big a house for just you.”

Never mind that that house is filled often with the laughter of four girls giggling their way through the night.

Never mind that a few times a year it’s filled with eight girls wreaking havoc for a few weeks.

Never mind that us three come together to make our family of four plus a few spouses complete.

Never mind that the memories of our family of five are strong in this house.

Never mind that things have changed but you can see the signs if you look closely enough.

Never mind that I know all these things are important.

Never mind that I know the real reason why this house is just right for her.

It’s not her house. It’s their house. It’s the house they chose with two big kids and one just barely born kid a few months before a snowstorm would keep them nestled in their new home.  It’s the house where the Chicago Bears were always tops, even when they weren’t. It’s the house where dogs came and went but always stayed in hearts. It’s the house they became Bamma and Papa in. It’s the house that is filled with mistakes, triumphs, and love.

It’s the house with his jeans on the back of the door.

And it is just right.



The Meat Monster Has Taken Over the Fridge


We’ve been eating out for a few days. Or ordering in. Depended on our mood. It always had to be somewhere with smaller portions. We couldn’t bring home any leftovers. 

You see, the meat monster had taken over the fridge. This is a more frequent than I would like to admit occurrence that I may or may not have written about before. 

You see, the annual picking of the guys will commence later today. No, it’s not us girls bidding on the most eligible bachelor. We are all happily attached to our own personal child already. 

It’s all our guys painstakingly picking their guys. Which naturally calls for an insane amount of food to feed 12 hungry men. And because I am married to the BBQ aficionado we are of course utilizing the pit barrel smoker to do this thing right. 

Being married to the chef and residing in the hosting draft house has its perks. One of which being that our fridge has been consumed by a 20 pound brisket, 20 pounds of pork shoulder, and 6 slabs of ribs.  In the meantime, the nooks and crannies are filled with blocks of yellow and heavy cream for mac and cheese and all the fixin’s for some top-notch potato salad. The six varieties of sauce for the novices and a collection of odds and ends that will someday be a mean cole slaw top it all off. 

Did I mention only 12 men are coming over?

So the meat takeover makes way for no thinking dinners. There is not a nook or cranny available for other food. 

Hopefully I will be fast enough so that I can rabbit away a plate of my own before they descend and pick every pan clean. 

A Slew of Slicers 

There’s a slew of slicers in this challenge that have just made me stop and simmer in the awe that is their writing. 
Some I’ve known for years, working side by side. 

Some I’ve seen around and about working for the same district. 

Some I’ve been lucky to stumble across as I scroll through the daily call for posts. 

Some are the slicers that built the foundation of this challenge. 

I think of all as friends that I’ve met across these stories. Stories of families, students, houses, outings, and everyday noticings. 

All are inspiring and I am lucky to read your work. And have some of you read mine. 

I hope to continue to devour your words and maybe find my writer again someday. 

For now, thank you for being the writers you are.