Time To Myself

It’s a rare day that I get a chunk of time to myself without feeling guilty or like I’m hiding from my responsibilities. 

This week the little one has theater camp so I get 3 hours of time to myself. I’ve been looking forward to it, thinking of things I want to do while I have this unadulterated time. I could read, podcast, sew, or even write. 

And yet here I sit in a gorgeous park with some coffee and a book. The shade laps at my skin, brushing lightly as the breeze pushes the leaves above me. Shadows dance around my feet as the delicious feeling of warmth and summer kiss my shoulders. 

And yet, I’m restless. I can’t focus on one thing. I read a bit of my book then flip through my phone to read a message or spy a picture on Instagram. I can’t seem to relish this freedom and instead I’m fighting to keep focused. 

I want to relax and find peace in not doing too much. The peace in feeling free to worry about me and only me for a few short hours. 

I feel the need to move. To find another place to rest while I wait for my son to finish class. 

When did my life become nothing but moments I spend waiting for someone or something else? Have I lost myself so completely? Is this the fallout of marriage and parenting, the keep and utter loss of a sense of self?

I’ll continue to contemplate this in my free time. Contemplate who I am and what I stand for while I wait for everyone else. 

Letter To My Son: Our First Summer Together


Ten years ago, I was pregnant with you. Barely showing but feeling pretty strange dealing with the early stages of being newly pregnant. That could be counted as our first summer together. The first warm months living with the knowledge of your existence and my new role as a mom.

Then you were born in February, a rainy cold month and for the next few months I would bundle you and cuddle you as much as I could. Soon the rain dried up and the summer humidity hit and we spent your first summer keeping cool as much as possible. You wore very little those days, sometimes simply gurgling and rolling around in just diapers.

This was our first summer but in reality it was not truly spent together. I worked through it, keeping us afloat. We spent some time together when I wasn’t teaching or tutoring but for the most part, you were in the care of your grandmother.

In your 9th summer, my job had changed and I was home with you for the first time. After years of spending summer with your grandmother or in a day care or day camp, I was finally getting to be your stay at home mom.

I saw this as an opportunity to share with you new adventures and for us to bond again.

Little did I know this would be the summer I’d let you go. This would be the first summer I’d get to see you and all your abilities, independence, and confidence. I’d see your strengths and know you wouldn’t need me much longer.

We went to the beach together one day to spend some time with our toes in ocean and building castles in the sand like we had when you were little. I had these big ideas for us, that we’d chat and share and build together, never foreseeing that instead I would watch you walk into the bigger waves and play without fear.

Without needing me.

I’m not sad to say this nor am I sad to have seen it happen. All mothers know they will have to let go and let their little ones fly at some point but knowing when is the big secret. Try as we might to hold on as long as we can, there is no fighting the feeling when the time comes to release you.

When you weren’t battling the onslaught of waves, you played in the sand and chatted with others around you, never once reaching into the bag of beach toys you so lovingly played with as a child. I saw those bright plastic toys and battered miniature trucks sitting forgotten next to me.

Together we watched you blossom in front of our eyes. You no longer need either of us. Your toys were now memories tucked into a bag, covered in dust and sand from trips to beach all the times before.

It was then that I felt a little sadness creep up on me, sitting next to your forgotten toys. I felt my breath catch and my heart stutter a step as you ran headlong into the waves, abandoning the hole you were digging, and smiled back at me with joy. You were free and in charge. You were growing up so fast.

You stood up in the water, jumped through waves and ducked under others. You sensed when a wave was too big and you would judge each appropriately, all the while smiling and laughing.

Like life, the waves came at you from many different angles and at so many different speeds. Some were big, some were small. Yet you faced each wave with determination and confidence. As I watched you jump and play and swim, a part of me wanted to keep you back on the shore, hold you close and keep you safe from the unknown lurking beneath the surface.

And yet, as you turned to wave at me before you ducked beneath another wave, I realized you are doing alright on your own. You knew you could swim back to me if you needed something, your anchor on the shore. For the most part, you just swam and gave in to that joyous feeling of weighing nothing in the big, blue expanse that is the ocean. You went into each wave with confidence.

As the water washed in and erased your digging spot, covering it up with new sand and burying your past works, my sadness washed away with it, replacing it with pride and peace.

You will always be mine. From your smile to your stubbornness and your over active imagination, you will always be my son.

I can only hope from here on out that you’ll continue to want me around. The anchor on your shore. The smile that glances back at you as you take on each wave of life.

Your anchor always,


Run Away

It’s late at night and I can’t sleep. I’m sitting in the living room, lights off and only my laptop to keep my company.

I should be tired. We didn’t sleep well last night and I had nightmares to boot so logically that would make me exhausted.

Except I’m not. I’m wide awake and when I lay down to try to sleep I just stare out into nothing, toss and turn, or just get all twisted and sweaty in my sheets trying to find a cool spot to rest on.

I want my brain just to stop. This is exactly what we’ve been teaching our son to do, to distract himself from the bad thoughts, from the scary ideas and his wild imagination when it threatens to keep him up all night. And he does it.

Yet here I am, not taking my own advice.

To be really honest what I want to do is go for a run. I’ve lately struggled with some stomach issues and haven’t been running. But now, at 11:45 pm, I really want to lace up my sneakers and take off on a jog. There is no difference between 11 at night and 5 in the morning, right? I used to do early morning jogs all the time…

I won’t go out, though. I’ll stay home where it is safe and sound. Where my husband snores lightly upstairs, our sweetheart pets run their nocturnal race, and where my son sleep soundly.

I’ll just stay right here trying to distract my mind and get some rest.


I’m a superstitious person. Not always. Only when it counts.

When I was running races each month back in 2012, I had my routine. I wore the same thing. I ate the same dinner the night before. I did the same stretching routine the morning of. My breakfast never varied and my races were always a success. Except for that one time I didn’t do all my little rituals.

That race was a disaster and it was because my good pants weren’t washed and I skipped my pre-race coffee.

I’m not running races any more but I’m seeing my superstitious side rearing its head when it comes to our trying to conceive.

This cycle I’m late. Not super late but later than usual. After so many failed attempts to conceive, just the hope that springs from this delay is making me ill with anxiety and fully superstitious.

I’d usually be chatty about this delayed start of my next cycle but instead have kept mum. Other than my husband (and these readers) I’ve not said anything to anyone. Not even my mom. Normally I share most everything with my mom but my worries that if I speak I will break the streak of missed days is keeping me silent.

By now I would have blown through a few Clear Blue tests to confirm my suspicions but not this time. I happen to have run out and instead of rushing to the store for a new pack, I’ve stayed away and refuse to pee on any pregnancy sticks. It’s almost as if I believe that having them in my house with jinx the way things are going. That just seeing one will instantly make me not pregnant.

So I wait. No tests. No talking. No nothing. We ignore it like its the big pink elephant in the room. I get up in the morning to use the bathroom and I hold my breath. So far, no signs either way. When I return to bed, I feel my husband release a breath he had been holding with me, anxious to hear if my cycle is still late or if it is starting over.

Together, each morning, we hold our breath and wait for a week to pass. Together we anxiously ignore any signs or changes in me and hope beyond all hope that this time we’ll get the news we’ve been waiting breathlessly for.

And alone I’ll continue my little superstitious rituals in hopes that something works.

Unending Cycle

It’s Sunday. A day of football and relaxing. Time to reset for the week and enjoy your time off before starting over again on Monday.

It’s Sunday and here I sit in an apron, smelling strongly of bleach and cleaning supplies, sipping a mild tea meant to help boost my ability to conceive this month.

This month marks a year and a half of trying to have a baby. That’s 19 months or about 82 weeks. Roughly about 575 days of the same thing each cycle: hoping, wishing, trying, logging, monitoring, and then nothing.

My job changed recently. I left the high stress job sitting at a desk Monday through Friday, 7:30-4:30 to a little less pay but a much larger reward. I’m stressing less and I’m home more. Plus I’m doing what I love and have passion for. I’m in the classroom teaching and touching lives.

Even with this change, each month is the same. We try and hope, crossing our fingers for a positive. Then nothing but the silence of one single pink line and another month gone.

We’ve done a lot on our own. We’ve changed our lifestyles, we’re keeping healthy (as we can) and we’re adding natural supplements to help boost our chances. But I’ve got to be real and accept that we may need the help of a doctor.

It feels silly to need help. Jake came into my life so easily and without even trying. But this struggle after having had a healthy pregnancy years ago is real and painful. I feel I’m failing and that something is wrong with me. And in some dark corner of my mind I also feel that I’ve done something wrong and this is my punishment.

Thanks Catholic upbringing.

We’ve been open when people ask about our goal to have more kids and we’ve been even more open about the fact that we’ve been trying for some time. This tends to be met with incredulous stares and confusion. They look at me and ask “But you’ve been pregnant already” like I don’t remember or that the thought hasn’t crossed my own mind, too. I know they don’t mean harm but it sucks to hear.

Oddly, as open as we can be, we don’t share much without being prompted first. I doubt more than a handful of people close to us know we’re trying and have been for over a year now. It’s kept close to our vest and if asked, we’ll chat. Otherwise, it’s a battle we fight alone.

Here we start another year, 2015. Another year, another month, another day to try again.

Little Deaths

Our lives are about to change. In a short few weeks I’ll be leaving my job after 7 years and I will be starting down a different path.

In less than a month I’ll leave here and begin substitute teaching.

Yes, I’m returning to teaching after years of wondering if that would ever happen.

And I’m terrified.

First, I must say my husband has been super patient and very supportive of my decision. Hell, he encouraged me to at least fill out the paperwork and just turn it in. He saw it as an opportunity to work through that first step, just applying. When I got past that step and onto the next, the interviewing, he again reminded me that what was most important was just going through the steps and completing each one. And I did.

Then that step turned into a job offer and the opportunity to start substitute teaching this coming school year.

Sadly, I didn’t react like I think people wanted me to. I don’t think my brain has clicked over yet to how thing may be this coming year. Instead, I’m stuck on the fear of leaving what I know, the comfort of my everyday being the same. So instead of rejoicing I’m scared.

I drove back to work from my interview and realized I wouldn’t have to commute as far for much longer and instead of sighing in relief, I felt a pang of sadness. When I walked in the door and heard my dad and saw my sister in her office, a little hole opened up and my sadness deepened.

Since Monday when I received the good word of my hiring on, I dealt with little deaths along the way. Today I was asked to write my job description, explaining all the tasks I am responsible for at my desk. It wasn’t an odd thing to ask and made total sense but it felt like I was writing my own obituary.

I’ve never been in a situation like this before so I’m treading into completely new territory. First, I’ve never had a job for this long. 7 years… that’s a good long time in one place. Also, the last 9 years I’ve been the financially responsible adult for my son. I left teaching when an opportunity opened up in a better position so that he could have insurance and a steady income to not only cover our basics but also to stock away some savings while we were at it. and now I’m leaving that cushy job for another one that’s not as lucrative but it’s a passion I want to follow. It’s hard, I feel selfish and risky, feelings I don’t cope well with.

But I’m doing it, step by step. And I’m grieving as I go, letting those little deaths come and go as they please. I’ve got a few weeks until I’m officially done and moving on and by then I bet I’ll be thrilled and looking forward to my first day as a teacher again. For now, I grieve and fret over the what-ifs and the unknown.

For now…

Little Pebbles

In the last couple of days, I’ve acknowledged that I am feeling down. I can’t put a finger on where it is coming from but it’s there, hovering around me like a soft grey blanket that holds all the warmth in and keeps everything else out.

It’s funny, since putting words to my feelings, I’ve noticed every little negative detail in the past few days. It seems that when you are down and feeling low, you notice every little pebble that normally wouldn’t catch your eye.

Lately (and I know it’s probably more my perception than reality) I’ve been noticing how insignificant I am. How little of an impact I make in the world. It all started when I realized a group of people I saw regularly are acquaintances more than friends. This all rolled together with my hermitude made me feel so isolated and left out. Why wasn’t anyone making the effort to be friends with me?

At first I was very upset and wanted to blame everyone else, that they were blind to the goodness that is my friendship. Then it came to me slowly; I had done this to myself. I make myself untouchable. Why? To keep my heart safe, maybe. I’ve lost a lot over the years, especially in the last 4, that I seem to have built a shell around myself. Also could be that I get so emotionally drained by people and tired in general after social interactions that it’s easier to keep people at arms length than to submit myself to a commitment I don’t think I can keep. And I hate being judged when I don’t want to socialize like others. I like my solitude and my space but I also like to be around people, just on my terms.

Suddenly I could see each and every little pebble of social awkwardness and antisocial behavior and anything NOT the standard I had done in the past and it seemed so overwhelming. All these little pebbles under foot, scratching at the bottom of my toes. And each time I picked up a pebble to toss away, I’d find three more.

So I began to wonder, out of honest curiosity, what it is that makes me a good friend? What draws people in to me? What do I have to offer? Right now, not much. But in the past when I had friends and people in my life that stuck around, what was it that kept them near?

I didn’t think I had changed much over time but I’m starting to see that the common issue with my social life is me so I must be doing something wrong, something different to keep people from wanting to stay in my life.

This all seems so dark and self deprecating but it is what it is.

Now to work on it.