Friday, March 23, 2007


I was so lucky with each of my pregnancies to never have bad morning sickness. As long as I kept food in my stomach, I felt pretty good. I did have heartburn pretty bad with you, Kayla, but according to the old wives' tales that just meant you were going to have lots of hair...
Emotionally, I was on a roller coaster the nine months I carried you. I was thrilled at being pregnant again, yet frightened that I would lose this baby also. I don't think I ever relaxed. I think I sort of made an agreement with myself that if I carried this baby full term, I would not try again. And if I lost this baby, I would not try again.

Even though I didn't have any pregnancy-related sickness during those months, I was ill much of the time. I had a severe sinus infection for about 6 weeks. My OB doctor would not prescribe anything and kept telling me to take over- the- counter medicines "for as long as necessary." I felt terrible. Poor little Blake went to a sitter nearly full time, because I couldn't get out of bed for very long. Finally, I decided that 6 weeks worth of over- the- counter medicines couldn't be good for me or the baby, so I went to our family doctor. After telling me I was huge (He was the only man who could get away with that) he prescribed a mild antibiotic that was "perfectly safe for the baby; otherwise I wouldn't be giving it to you." I started feeling better in 36 hours. One more reason I was not thrilled with my OB doctor, and I totally missed my first doctor. See, with Blake I had gone to our family doctor; a rare thing now to opt for a family doctor over an obstetrician, but it is what I wanted. After being assured that I was very low risk, this brand new family doctor took me on as a patient; because he was one of just a few in the area that delivered babies. Let me tell you, I was treated like a queen in that office. When you are one of maybe 12 pregnant patients, they practically roll out the red carpet when you walk in the door. I got very spoiled with the extra attention, the phone calls where I actually spoke to the doctor himself, and the friendliness of the whole staff. By the time I had you, Kayla, our doctor had stopped delivering babies and so I had to become one of the thousands of women seen by one of the few OB doctors in our town. But I was very fortunate to have gone through my first pregnancy with the doctor I had chosen first, and I tried to focus on that.

I was now with a practice of 3 doctors and they alternated each visit; but mostly I saw just the nurse. They never really learned my name. When I signed in at each visit, I had to sign in with a number. I used to tell Daddy that I was uterus number 4178. When I asked a question, I got the same answer "It's part of being pregnant." Luckily, when I asked a question of our family doctor when I was pregnant with Blake, he would roll his stool over to me, look me in the eye and EXPLAIN why things were happening the way they were. So I didn't have many questions this time around, thanks to my first doctor who kept me very informed.

After I got over the sinus infection, I felt pretty good for awhile, until you decided to pitch a tent on my bladder. I swear you lived RIGHT ON TOP of my bladder for 3 months. I could not walk the lenght of the mall without having to find a bathroom RIGHT NOW!!!!

Then when I was two weeks from my due date, I had a severe hemipalegic migraine. At least we assume that's what it was. I had symptoms of a stroke. I lost vision in my left eye. The left side of my face went numb, my left arm and leg began tingling and going numb off and on. My speech became slurred, and my thoughts became muddled. I did not remember my son's name. I kept saying Daddy had been at church, not work. When Daddy came home to take me to the doctor, I signed in and misspelled my name, wrote my address and phone number wrong, and of course could not remember my uterus number at all. Looking back, these doctors should have instantly called in a neurologist, but they didn't. They simply admitted me to the hospital and under diagnosis wrote "tingling in hands." All these symptoms lasted a few hours and, surprisingly there was very little pain in my head. A nurse tried to make me take 2 tylenol with codeine and I begged and pleaded "no, the pain's not that bad; it's not good for the baby." I remember a lengthy discussion with this nurse. We finally compromised and I took one. For the record, when you were a few months old, I had another severe migraine like that. I called our wonderful family doctor and he got me into a neurologist THE NEXT DAY. I see that doctor 1 or 2 times a year and that's where the medication comes from that I keep in my purse to prevent/stop one of those headaches.

That whole experience left me physically drained and emotionally wrung out. At the doctor's office, two days later, one of the OB's said "I think for some reason your body has just had it. We need to plan a c-section for Monday" This was Wednesday. I was disappointed to be having another c-section, but was ready to have this baby. Before we left the office, the doctor told Daddy that since I was slightly anemic, she wanted me to eat as much iron as possible for the next several days. Then she said "Sunday for lunch, I want her to eat a big plate of shrimp." Aha! I had a medical order to eat at Red Lobster before my c-section. Then she asked what questions or concerns I had and I asked one thing of her, "With my first c-section, they kept the drape up and I didn't like that. I want to be more connected with the delivery. Can you lower the drape before you deliver the baby?" And she said "I always do."

As an aside, we had decided not to find out if you were a boy or a girl. But after the first ultra-sound, I really kept thinking I wanted to know; even though I was certain you would be a boy and we would name you Nathan James. But when I requested the second utrasound I was told that was only done if there was a problem. Luckily that wasn't the case, but I was suddenly very serious about knowing the sex of this baby. I really thought I'd lose my mind if I didn't know. Remember this when I get to the moment you were born.....

The night before my c-secion I prayed for peace so that I could sleep well. And low and behold I a baby. Interestingly our family doctor was at the hospital making rounds when we got there; so he sat and visited with us for a while before I went into the operating room. I was also thrilled to see that I had the same anesthesiologist that I'd had with Blake. I am not ashamed to say I fell in love with him when Blake was born. It's ok. Daddy knows. Not only did Dr. Wonderful make the contractions stop when he administered my spinal block before my unexpected c-section, but he had the sweetest, gentlest voice in the world. He kept his face right by my ear and talked to me like a golf announcer - real low and calm. I would not know that man if I saw him on the street because of his surgical garb, but I love him. I really do.

Anyway, after what seemed like forever with all the hubub of the operating room, they let Daddy come in. That's when I knew it was almost time. Almost time for my baby. And then I heard the words I'll never forget. I heard the doctor say "Lower the drape." I started shaking. I was trembling with excitement. These weren't the baby shakes I got AFTER Blake was born, or the ones I'd get after this baby. These were tremors of joy. I was so excited to meet you, I was shivering as though I was freezing.

AND THEN THERE WAS YOU. The doctor brought you out of me and straight up to my face and I thought I could tell it was a girl, but I wasn't positive because of the way she was holding you. Then she kind of turned you a little and said "It's a girl."

And I became a blubbering idiot. I said four words...over and over again "Oh, it's a girl....Oh, it's a girl...oh, it's a girl..." Dr. Wonderful said "Do you happen to have a boy at home...?"
And Daddy wiped the tears from my cheek and said "You have your daughter, Honey. You have your Kayla Beth." And then he said "She really looks like you." I was so glad at that moment that I had not had the 2nd ultrasound. The joy and excitement of finding out right then that I had a daughter was well worth the wait.

Of course our family doctor had been informed that he'd be getting a new patient that day. I've heard that a pediatrician has 24 hours to see a newborn in the hospital after he/she is born. Well, our doctor called the hospital on his own and asked if I had delivered yet and when he was told yes he said "Tell Heidi I'm on my way." He arrived FIFTEEN MINUTES after you were born. I do not know what that did to his schedule that day, but it was just one more thing that made me thrilled to have him caring for our family, which was now four instead of three.

On the day you were born, I had a list of things I'd be teaching you. I had no idea the things you would teach me along the way.....

More Later....

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


With my body and my spirit healed; I knew I just had to try again. In April of '93, we found out that we would be having another baby. Blake would turn two that July. Our two children would be a little farther apart in age than we had planned, but we were thrilled.

I had to start with a new doctor, since the doctor that had delivered Blake stopped delivering babies. I was not happy about this, but it was a minor thing compared to my joy at being pregnant again. I had my first appointment with the doctor, which was just for bloodwork; mainly a confirmation that I was indeed pregnant. I remember that day so well. That day it was "official" that a second baby was coming. Blake had stayed with Miss Judy while I went to my appointment. I was so thrilled, that I came home before picking up Blake so I could write a note to Daddy that I would give him that night to surprise him with the news. But before I did anything, I remember so vividly how I walked in the front door, dropped my purse on the floor and fell to my knees in our little living room. I was on my knees crying and thanking God for this second chance to be a mother; thanking Him for allowing another life to grow in me after losing a baby just months before; pleading with him to allow this pregnancy to go full term.
Then I wrote a note to Daddy that I would give him later that evening; and went and picked up your brother. And then we were happy. We started planning our lives as a family of four. We started talking about names. We wondered how Blake would adjust to a new sibling. I allowed myself to picture a little red headed girl that looked just like her big brother.

Until one day in May. I was at the stop light by Wal-Mart running errands with Blake. I was wearing a blue and coral short outfit. I felt a slight cramping in my abdomen. And I whispered "Please God, no. Not again."

I finished my outing with Blake and went home and called the doctor, who I had not really officially even met yet. But I was a registered patient and I knew I needed to call. I explained what was happening and she said it could be nothing, but I should rest and drink lots of fluids and that "if you are losing the baby, there is nothing to be done." I truly missed my previous doctor at that moment. Not that he could have done anything to prevent what was happening, but he was familiar and I was so comfortable with him. She had said it could be nothing to worry about, but I knew. I knew I was losing this baby too. I started thinking back over the previous few days and realized that I had felt different. I had not felt pregnant. I called Daddy and told him what was happening. He told his boss he would probably not be back the next day and came home.
I tried to go about my evening and pretend I didn't feel those cramps in my abdomen that were coming with increasing regularity.
I had my second miscarriage that night. My heart broke that night. I became angry at God that night. But I wasn't brave enough to say that out loud. I just wanted to cry to him "Don't you remember? Didn't you see me on my knees thanking you? Didn't you hear my cries of joy? Didn't you hear me beg you to let this pregnancy go full term? Why? Why? Why?" But I didn't. I didn't say anything to Him. I gave Him the silent treatment for a few weeks. I didn't even sing in church. My spirit was bruised, nearly broken.

Until one day, for some reason I though of Mary - Jesus' mother. She lost a child. And Jesus watched her lose that child. He was that child. Jesus saw her as He hung on the cross. He had to watch His mother watch Him die. He knew a mother's grief. He was never a mother, but He still knew. That is why He is who He is. Because He can feel what we feel. And so I began to feel a little more hopeful. I began to sing in church again.

Also, my sister - your Aunt Rena - gave me a gift that helped me heal. She called one day a couple weeks after this micarriage. I had heard so many "condolence" phrases, most of which started with "At least..." phrases that were meant to comfort but seemed to minimize my grief.
I was bracing myself to hear more of that through the phone line. But there was no "At least." She said "I know there is nothing I can say to make you feel better. So I called to listen."
And she did. For at least an hour, she listened on the phone while I cried and talked and worked through my pain. To this day, 14 years later, I cannot think of that phone call without my eyes filling with tears. I have always said that she gave me the greatest gift ever - the gift of silence when words were worthless. I have always said that I began to heal on that day.

Again, God's timing is good. For a short while I met with a group of women who had experienced miscarriages or other infant losses. I heard stories from women who had been through things that made my loss seem so small and insignificant. It was hard for me not to say to myself "Toughen up. You've been through NOTHING compared to these women." But none of them ever made me feel that way; it was just me realizing the realm of pain that was everywhere in this world. And I now know the pain another woman feels when she loses a baby. I can't take that pain away but I can feel it with her. As Jarrod said in church recently, I can't carry her burden, but maybe I can carry her for a while. Maybe I can give another woman the same gift my sister gave me.

And so once again, my body and my spirit healed and I was NOT going to give up on being a mother to AT LEAST two children. We celebrated Blake's 2nd birthday with a Big Bird cake. We had a busy summer with our little family of three, all the while hoping to be four one day.

And in early September, we found out that indeed another baby was on the way. I was afraid to be excited but I could not stop myself from picturing our family with a new baby in it. I could not stop myself from thinking of names and planning a nursery. I could not stop myself from circling April 28 on the calendar "DUE DATE!!" I kept telling myself I should not get my hopes up, but you know how I am about babies. I just couldn't help it. Once again, I was on my knees thanking God for this chance to be a mother again, and PLEADING with him to allow this baby to be born full term.

You know, Kayla, that I had two miscarriages, so you must know that this pregnancy was the beginning of YOU. But did you know what an exciting ride those nine months would turn out to be...?

More Later....

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Dear Kayla,
In just under a month you will be 13 years old. THIRTEEN!!! A thousand years ago, you might have been engaged by now. A hundred years ago, you might be at the end of your education. If we were Jewish, we'd be planning a celebration to mark your entry into adulthood. But as a middle class, young Christian woman in the midwestern United States, you will be celebrating this milestone with a simple but fun party with about 20 of your closest friends.
As we near this celebration, I feel the need to tell you what a gift you are to Daddy and me. And to Blake; although, we know he'd never admit that. I cannot, however, begin the story of YOU without first putting into words a little bit about my introduction to motherhood. In otherwords, the story of your brother. I will keep it brief.

When Daddy and I decided we wanted, needed, HAD TO HAVE A BABY in our lives, it took about 6 months before we learned Blake was on the way. According to our doctor I had a "textbook pregnancy" and, after a difficult labor and delivery, a baby boy who was "perfect from head to toe." We had very little money in those days, but we were so madly in love with each other and our little boy that life was just plain good. When Blake was about 18 months old (a little less) we decided the time was right for another little one in the house. This was no gradual decision making process. There was no long discussions about the right timing. It was as if I heard a little bell in my head...well actually my heart; "PING! I MUST HAVE A SECOND BABY...RIGHT NOW!" Soon I found out I was pregnant again.

Except none of the pregnancy tests would believe me. Three pregnancy tests told me NO, but my body kept telling me YES. It was at this time (January of '93) that Blake became very sick with a stomach virus (Rotovirus) and ended up in the hospital because he became dehydrated. He was 18 months old. During one of those nights, as I sat by my baby boy's hospital bed, watching him sleep and keeping an eye on his IV's; I lost the baby that was to be his sibling. I was in incredible pain, physically, and was very confused. Remember, I wasn't supposed to be pregnant. What was all this pain? What was happening? The next morning, I called our doctor and he had me come in so he check me over. Ironically, the pregnancy test he gave me at that time came back positive. You know how sweet our doctor is. He called me on the phone and asked me to come to his office. He looked me in the eye and said "This is not news I could give you over the phone. Your test was positive but I'm afraid you've already lost the baby."

I had a very sick little boy to take care of and I was very confused about the tricks my body had played on me. When I WAS pregnant, the tests had said I wasn't. When I WASN'T pregnant anymore, the test said I was. But God's timing is always right. It took several weeks for Blake to be completely well again, so I was not able to dwell on my disappointment and heartache; I was busy taking care of Blake. By the time he was well again, the emotional pain had dulled quite a bit. Just in time to consider having another baby....

More Later...

Friday, March 16, 2007


Yesterday we went to a little engagement party. Our dear friends' son had planned to propose to his girlfriend and all the parents knew about it ahead of time; so we were invited to be at the house after he had popped the question to wish the young love birds best wishes.
They had gone out to dinner and then he took her to the park right across the street from our house, where his friends had decorated the gazebo with lights and candles and had music playing. There he dropped to his knee and asked her to be his bride. Then they came back to his parents' house where we were all waiting to wish them well, admire the ring, and hear the story. We were honored to be invited. I hope I can do something like that when it is my children.
On the way home, since the park is by our house, Paul and I stopped and cleaned up their decorations. Their friends had done a beautiful job.

As we were getting ready for bed and talking about the fun evening, I told Paul I was thrilled for them and thought it was exciting to see them start this phase of life. But then I said "But I'm so glad we're here and not at that beginning phase." He laughed and said "Me too."

Being engaged was fun; although our wedding plans did not go well. We had lots of things go wrong with the planning. The worst of which was my bridesmaids' dresses coming in the wrong color, with no time left to re-order. I had planned on periwinkle, and they came in lavender. My sister had just had a lavender wedding the previous year. I did not want a lavender wedding. I vividly recall standing at a pay phone in Little Rock sobbing to my sister in Dallas, "MMMMM-My dressss-sss-ss-es came in the wrong COLLLLLLLLOR!!!!!!" There was nothing to do but have a lavender wedding.
Then the wedding shop where I had purchased my dress closed. Not for the day - forever. Without doing my alterations. I would strongly suggest a woman NEVER watch while her dress is being altered in any way by a sweet little old lady in her home town. She did a fine job, but it is not a process one should watch. I remember getting light-headed and thinking "what the...?" as I watched her shove a crochet needle through the seam of my train so she could make the bustle loop. She just shoved it right through like she was testing to see if a pork roast was done. Within minutes, though, she had crocheted a beautiful, lacy little loop that held my train up . Then she had to sew the button on the train AND take in the bodice. I left before she started on that.....
Then one of our groomsmen cancelled on us TWO WEEKS BEFORE THE WEDDING because he had qualified for a national college track meet, which was being held on our wedding weekend. So Paul had to call a cousin and say "UM....I know I hadn't asked you to be in the wedding, but..."

Of course the wedding itself went off without any problems. After all, what could possibly have gone wrong after the hellacious year I had endured planning the thing?

On the day I got married, I thought I knew what it meant to be in love. Now I KNOW what it means to be in love. Funny thing is, as we approach our 20th anniversary I don't know if I can actually put into words what it means. But I know I have it. I know I am not happy every day. Who is? But I am joyful and content and comfortable. And so very blessed. I am secure in my friendship, my partnership, my love and my committment with Paul. We have had our rough patches. If you know someone who has been married this long and has NOT had rough patches, please introduce me to this unicorn- like person. As I planned my wedding, I pictured my future. I pictured babies, a perfect home, a perfectly balanced checkbook to go along with our ever-growing savings account, storybook relationships with in-laws. I pictured myself always a size 5.

I did not plan on the struggles that truly bind you to your spouse. I didn't plan on job changes, and money worries; illnesses and death; family struggles and estrangements. I didn't plan on days, weeks, months where we lose track of each other for whatever reasons. I most certainly didn't plan on two miscarriages that turned my world upside down. I didn't plan on staying awake at night worrying about my children or dreading my husband's next trip overseas. I didn't plan on the wind being knocked out of me when he was in London during one of the subway bombings there. I didn't plan on having to help my mom out financially for two years. I'm sure Paul CERTAINLY didn't plan on that but he did it without complaint. There are so many things a new bride doesn't plan on.

Our young, totally-in-love minds and hearts can't go there when we are first starting out. And it's a good thing. Because those are the types of things that would seem insurmountable if we were seeing them ahead of us. But as we are going through them with our friend, our lover, our partner; they're manageable. And as we are looking at them behind us, well, they're just stepping stones. Some are more slippery than others, but we manage to get across all of them, and we feel somewhat victorious when we can plant our feet on solid ground again after the latest struggle. Especially when the pair of feet beside us belongs to the one you walked back up that aisle with however many years ago.

Not to take away from the joy of a new engagement and the excitment of being newly married, and not to sound jaded about new love. It is a beautiful time of life; a time of life I hope my children experience one day. But it leads to something even better.
Yes, I'm so glad we're where we are....

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Last week our boys basketball team won the state championship. This, just months after we won the state football championship. Some of the boys were key players on BOTH teams. We are only the 2nd school in 100 years to win both titles.

This has generated much publicity locally; and much discussion about these boys and our school district. Let me just say one thing about these boys. These are not a bunch of dumb jocks. Yes, they are receiving publicity because of their athletic achievements, but they are just all around good kids. One of the boys earned a perfect score on his ACT and will be going to Princeton University on an academic scholarship in the fall. He also sings beautifully, as we witnessed at the High School Christmas Concert. His best friend earned one point less on the ACT and will be attending college on a combined full-ride scholarship - his athletic offers combined with academic offers have made it possible for him to attend college without financial worries. He is also a tremendous young man who has been an outstanding role model for our son. Another of the star players is attending a nearby Christian college and plans a career in a ministry field. Yet another signed on AS A JUNIOR to attend a college in Chicago and is a humble, respectful young man as well.

Yet we continually hear comments about this small town and how surprising it is that these young people have accomplished anything. Some examples: "I never thought I'd see the day when that town would win anything." "You certainly don't expect a kid from those towns to go to an Ivy League University." And my kids occasionally hear (from people in bigger "cities") that they are hicks because of the small town in which they live.

Last weekend, I was tempted to reply to one of these remarks "Well, once we added that second room to our old school house, we just really started taking off." Paul said I should have said "Ever since we got indoor plumbing, the whole world has opened up to us." But I didn't say anything. I just scrunched my brow and thought "What are you talking about?"

Enough is enough! Why are people surprised when small town folks do well? I daresay we have some of the smartest people in the world living in our little community; surgeons, dentist, biologists, finance professionals. In the ten years we've been here, our school district has never been ranked lower than second in state testing. And the people we know here who have not received that higher education? I'd trust them in an instant to care for my children. I know, without a doubt, I could call them up any time of the day or night and tell them I need help, and they'd be there for me. I know, because it's happened. They are just good decent families doing their best to raise good decent kids and enjoy life along the way. And they are succeeding.

So you folks who live in the "cities" surrounding our "villages"(even though none of you are reading this) give us a break. Don't tell us you're surprised when one of us has done well. Don't act surprised when you realize we're raising good, intelligent kids. If you can't say "That's Great!" Don't say anything at all.

Cuz, we small town folks, well, we ain't got much culture or nothin, but we's shore 'nuf happy here.

Monday, March 12, 2007


That was my thought as I drove to the high school to pick Blake up from weights.

After a quick grocery stop on the way home from work, I had planned to take a walk outside since the weather is so beautiful today. But I got home and had a a message that Blake would need a ride home from weights - "I decided to stay for weights and I'll need a ride home at 4:30.." We later had a talk about planning ahead and not assuming that I'd be available if he hasn't cleared his plans with me, but I digress. Then Kayla got a call from a friend and they decided to ride bikes to the library. After 30 minutes of planning, discussing cell phones, and getting a bike down from the ceiling hooks in the garage, I told myself "I AM TAKING A WALK TODAY, DOGGONE IT..." So off I went.

I could almost feel the relief in the air as people were walking, jogging, biking, or roller blading on the bike paths. The baseball diamond was busy with the high school team. The softball diamond was full of girls. Kids were out kicking soccer balls. Several dogs were being treated to a spring walk. It was almost as if we were all saying "WE MADE IT." We made it through the December ice storm that left some of us without power for days. We made it through the Valentine's day blizzard that left us stranded in our homes for 2 days or more. We made it. Winter did a job on us, but we've made it to spring. We may have a bit of bad weather yet. You never know in Illinois, but now we have hope.

March is so interesting in Illinois. It is a month of paradox. One day you'll need a sweater, the next you could go barefoot. On my walk today, I saw a few Robins. I noticed my daffodils are coming up. I also noticed several small piles of snow and ice left over from our February blizzard. Almost a month has past, and we've had several days of warm weather, and still the snow remains in spots.

And now we have extra daylight too. The near 70 degree weather has made us all rush out to enjoy the warmth. And there are children playing. And laughing (I love hearing kids laugh from across the block) And they are wearing shorts; showing skinny little arms and legs, still pale from hiding beneath winter sweaters and boots. And those children will not want to come in tonight. Moms and Dads will have to call several times. Nobody will want to go in for a bath when it's still light out. Nobody will want to crawl into bed and think about school tomorrow when the weather is this beautiful. No, things will not be easy for moms and dads tonight.
Bed time will definitely be different tonight.

Saturday, March 03, 2007


Thursday was a little bit hectic. The kids got out of school an hour early, so they got home soon after I did. Paul also came home early because he was going to be heading to Missouri that night for a funeral the next morning. But first we had to go to Parent Teacher Conferences at both the kids' schools. They started at 4:30, so we headed up to be at the high school right at that time.
At our kids' schools the conferences are held in the gym (for Kayla) and the cafetorium (for Blake) each teacher has a table and you stand in line to talk to them about your child. I do not know a better way to do it, really, since the kids each have 7 teachers. At least this way, we stay in the same room and don't have to wander all over the building meeting in 7 different rooms for each of our kids. Having said that, it still can be a long evening. We were at the schools for two hours, and then we had to rush home so Paul could get on the road.
For the third night in a row, we ate fast food for dinner. To top it all off, when I lifted the bun on my big mac to fix all the lettuce that was falling out, I noticed I only had one beef patty. So I said "HEY!! I only got one all beef patty. A big mac is supposed to have two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun." Paul laughed but the kids just looked at me as though I'd grown a second head. They obviously did not grow up in the 80's. Also, Blake's friend Drew was with us, and he also had a big mac. His big mac had 2 all beef patties. So throughout dinner I'd look at him and say things like "I bet that is really good with two hamburger patties." "So...Drew... how is that WHOLE big mac?" And he said "I'm sorry....if I hadn't already taken a bite, you could have this one." I do not often eat a big mac, and I was really looking forward to this one. And it just didn't hit the spot.
But amid the hectic pace of our evening, there was a bright 90 minutes.

At 2:30 my doorbell rang. I was expecting the UPS Man but Cookie was not doing her "UPS Man" bark. She was doing her "YIPPEE, company's here" bark. I opened the door and there stood our little 5 year old neighbor, eyes red and full of tears and sniffling "My Mommy's not home." I knew what had happened. Her mom had forgotten the kids got out early. I had seen her taking a run just minutes earlier (she's preparing for a half marathon.) I'm sure she thought she had another hour.
So I gathered little neighbor girl in my arms and carried her into our kitchen and told her she was very smart to come here when she noticed Mommy wasn't home. I told her I knew where Mommy was and that I was certain she had simply forgotten she was coming home early, but that it would be great fun for me if she'd sit in my kitchen and have a snack and watch Curious George on TV. Once she was settled, I called my neighbor and left a message telling here where her precious daughter was and that everything was ok.
Let me just pause here to say something to those of you whose children have not started school yet. Please do not judge this woman. It happens. After she got my message, she checked the school announcements and there was no reminder at all of an early dismissal. I only knew about it because my kids are 13 and 15 and they live for early dismissal. And of course she was very embarrassed and worried for her daughter.
Anyway, after a snack and a very entertaining episode of Curious George, we were on our way to the basement to play ping pong when mommy rang the doorbell. Little Neighbor Girl was not ready to go home because she had not played ping pong yet nor had she explored our toy shelf. Obviously she had gotten over her trauma.
So after reassuring my neighbor that there was no need to feel bad, and telling her about the time I forgot to pick both my kids up from school, and how when I finally got there and saw them waiting in the office, I was sure that if I could have read their thought bubbles at the time, I would have wondered how a 6-and 9-year-old knew such language; I told her that her daughter was welcome to stay awhile and I'd walk her home after we played.
So we sat on the basement floor and did puzzles. And I was re-introduced to the magic of kindergarten. The excitment in her eyes and voice when she told me about "short O" and how she was "the ONLY one in my class with an "R" name!!" And "In two weeks, I have a birthday and a school concert, BOTH ON THE SAME DAY -" well, the magic was just contagious. Then Paul came home and played ping pong with her and we all laughed when she nearly hit him in the head and when the ball went flying all over the basement. Actually the girl's got quite an arm for a five-year-old. Then we played a "big kid game" for a while before we had to break the news that it was time to go home because we had to "go see Blake and Kayla's teachers this evening."
So of course my heart went back to the time when mine were that little. Like when Blake was 6 and asked for a watch. I told him he could have a watch as soon as he could count by 5's. So he said "you mean 5,10,15,20,25,30...."
And when Kayla was in kindergarten and was learning her first vowel, only they called them letter lights. So I said "Every word has to have a letter light. If there is no letter light, it is not a word." She tilted her head and looked at me very seriously and said "My teacher doesn't know that." And I knew without a doubt that Kayla was going to inform her teacher of this little bit of news the next day.
Yes those days were magic. But so are these days. It is magic watching my kids with their friends. It is magic sitting in front of a teacher and listening to her say "you have many reasons to be proud of your daughter." It is magic watching my son's arm be raised in victory after he has won his Regional Wrestling Meet. It is magic sitting around a table eating fast food with my children and their friends. It is magic hearing their voices on the phone as they call to check in. Sometimes I get lost in remembering the magic. So lost in remembering that I forget to take part in the magic that's right before me.
Well, not anymore.....