Monday, September 29, 2014


Dear James,
remember towards the end of the night when finn woke up fussy and our reception was happening. we walked inside together and found him in the arms of a family member crying. i took him and he settled and then we put his hat on him and walked outside. we were out front away from everyone and no one knew where we were. we stood there watching, just the three of us.  i saw your grandma dancing. i saw my parents grinning. i saw our brothers and your dad and my uncles by the bar laughing loud. i saw our friends and aunts and uncles and cousins smiling and dancing. i saw the wildflowers we grew in our garden on the tables and my grandmother's vases and jars spread throughout the tent. i saw your sister and her husband singing along to a song. i saw your mom sitting with her mom smiling. it was like we were watching a movie that was made just for us. our closest friends and family celebrating love and friendship and devotion. and we got to watch for a moment from the outside. it was so special.

and i remember thinking to myself, this is over in twenty minutes but i get to go home with these two... and i looked over at you cradling our son against your chest, your hand behind his little two month old head, and i felt so lucky that all of this was mine. ours.

happy second anniversary, james. my best friend, love and favorite person.

"and i'm gonna love you till the wheels come off"  tom waits

Monday, September 15, 2014

so good and honest

"My kids are teenagers now, and they’re going off on their own. And you understand it, but it’s hard for it not to hurt. Like the day you realize you’re not allowed in your daughter’s room anymore. Or when your son doesn’t want you to show him how to do something. The relationship tends to ebb and flow between ‘help me’ and ‘leave me alone.’ But lately, it’s been much more ‘leave me alone.’"
-Bob Odenkirk

Friday, September 12, 2014

just a thought. a long thought.

i walked past a mirror this afternoon and was surprised for a second at what i saw. no make up, a men's jcrew button down shirt on, hair on top of my head in a bun, carrying a laundry basket on my hip and dark circles under my eyes. is this my job? is this my life? is this the role of a stay- at-home- mom? i thought for a second.

being a mom is all i've ever wanted. when i was four i would walk around with my doll up to my chest pretending to nurse my baby. when i was in new york city nannying a four month old i told my mom that this is was what i wanted to do... except i wanted it to be my own child. i wanted to stay at home, and raise my child. for as long as i could. making whatever sacrifice i had to.

when i was pregnant, james and i had a goal that i would stay at home with finn for at least the first year. whatever that meant we had to do to make that happen. and we did. and it's been two years that i have gotten to stay at home with our son. and i am really, really thankful for that.

besides a few classes that i am teaching, which i really enjoy and feel passionate about, i've started a handful of side projects and then stopped them. james tells me i have so many good ideas. i just need to act on them. and i'm going to.  right after i get done playing on the floor with finn and his cars. today i was the firetruck and finn's car kept getting hurt. "help me mama firetruck!" he kept yelling over and over. and i put my pretend lights on and zoomed over to his car. i checked his tires and opened and closed his doors. "you're all fixed! lets go!" i yelled.

isn't that more important than those projects?  to me, right now, it is.

i know some women might not understand that. and they don't have to. having a very part-time job is okay with me right now. and i know that i will work again one day.  but i also know the feeling that rises inside me when i think about my childhood and my mom being at home with me and my brothers. and i can remember her happiness about it. and her contentment about it. and she made our days really, really fun. and we were happy.

and that is not to say that another mom who went to work 9-5 every day of the week didn't make her children as happy as mine. and that's not to say that she wasn't every bit as amazing as my mom. and i really truly look up to working mothers with admiration and praise- they're juggling a career and their children at once. and there's something to be said about that. and i hope they feel accomplished and satisfied.

right now in my life, i don't think i could do it. and maybe it's because i've become spoiled with waking up with finn every morning, or almost every morning, and getting to spend the day with him. teaching him new lessons, and exploring new spaces, and going on our own adventures that i hope one day he will look back and something with rise inside of him. and he will remember me being with him throughout his days. and the feeling of satisfaction i had by just being with him. not feeling like i was falling behind, or worrying about what everyone else was doing. i was exactly where i wanted to be.

the other day i had a fellow mom who works three days a week, ask me if i stayed at home with finn all day. and when i told her yes, she looked puzzled for a second and then said "what do you guys do all day?" on the way home thinking about her words, i thought to myself, "did she want our entire rundown?" i could have told her everything i did that day.... well i woke up at seven before finn to pay bills, clean the kitchen and drink a hot cup of coffee, one that usually takes me all morning to finish and that i warm up in the microwave a handful of times, finn woke up and we made pancakes, i cleaned the kitchen and then we went for a bike ride, after i did three loads of laundry and cleaned the living room. we stopped to see his cousin. we stopped at the park for story time and had lunch by the fountain "the water comes out of that nozzle" finn told me. drove home, stopped at the bank, put finn down for a nap, folded laundry, switched loads, cleaned up the basement, cleaned out my car, (if we were ever stranded in our car we would survive for days on just the crumbs in between our seats), emptied the dishwasher, paid a bill online i forgot to pay earlier, ate lunch standing in the kitchen staring out the window, finn woke up and wanted pancakes again, pissed him off by saying no- we made grilled cheese instead, cleaned the kitchen, put away the laundry,  looked for something to start making for dinner, it's only 5 o'clock. where is james?

i could have told her that. i could have went through my every day. one of my days. but i didn't. i just responded with, "the same thing you do when you're at home with your son". and i felt that was good enough.

its a topic that has been dissected over and over. It's a debate that I find pointless and ineffective but part of me wishes we would support each other more. whether you go to work every day, or you work three days a week, or you work one day a week, or you don't work any days of the week- (i think we can all agree as moms, or as parents rather, that it is some type of work staying at home with your children- although we don't call it that). i think that we can agree on the one concept that binds us and can make us all relate to each other and encourage each other and that is the mission of giving our children as much love as we possibly have. and in the end, however you choose to do it, doesn't that trump all else?

Monday, September 8, 2014

he's getting it

when you plan a camping trip with a two year old and you wake up and it's cloudy and raining a steady downpour you can't just tell him to forget about it. you can't say never mind to a topic you have been talking about all week. getting him excited for a night in the woods and then waking up the morning of and saying we can't go.

"it's raining, finn.  we might not be able to camp today" i said to him in the kitchen holding him up so he could look out the window
"yea! we can. we can. it's fine, dude." he replied.

we pack up the car, we attach the popup, i bring raincoats and rain boots and extra clothes.

we get five minutes away from camp and the rain stops. the sky starts to clear. we pull into the welcome building and get our paper to find the available campsites. finn gets excited as we tell him we have to pick where we are going to set up camp.

"this one!" he yells out the window. "no, this one!" he says as we keep driving.

we pick number 22. on the edge of the lake and away from other campers.

finn climbs out of his seat and immediately says he wants to help. he has to be next to james the whole time, watching every move, asking him if he is okay, cheering him on as james raises the camper up. "go dada go! go dada go!"

i watch from the picnic table smiling. i take note a change in finn from the last time we camped at the beginning of the summer. he's more independent, he understands the drill and he likes it. he really does. he's excited to be outside and in the woods and away from our everyday routine. he's following james around with a smile on his face. he starts collecting rocks and twigs. he uses a little shovel to dig in the dirt. he's keeping himself busy on his own with just the woods around us.

we get our three camp chairs out. we start on the fire. we make grilled cheese in our hobo pie maker over the fire. we roast marshmallows. lots of marshmallows. probably finn's very favorite thing about camping. we go to the playground and find the swings. we find a trail down to the lake and finn and james stand together on a flat rock casting into the gold water, the sun setting behind the trees.

i watch finn and james from the bank. finn standing so still and calm. he's not antsy or rushing. two months ago he would have been trying to climb on the rocks, he would have been throwing rocks into the water, he would have been trying to put his feet and hands in to feel it.

now i watch finn standing on the rock. he is content and steady with each cast. "he's getting it" i think to myself.

"lets go back to camp" finn says after some time and we agree.
"reel it in nice and slow" james says, "maybe you'll catch one on the way in"

finn listens and starts reeling slowly, his little hands moving his reel as the three of us watch his bobber getting closer and closer until all of a sudden it disappears.
"finn! you've got one! keep reeling" james says with excitement.

we're all laughing now and finn is fighting the fish to the shore. james is holding finn's tiny body still on the rock and he just keeps reeling. he's working hard and we aren't helping him. when he gets close enough james picks up the line and we see a little bluegill on the end. finn's first catch. his first fish. all by himself.

we go back to camp and the three of us sit by the fire. two months ago finn would have been walking around looking for something to do. he might have been a little bored and tired. this time he sits and watches the flames. he talks about the fish and his new bobber. he talks about the wood burning. he talks about the tree on the other side of the creek without leaves. he asks about raccoons. he asks about the boats we hear, speeding across the lake at sunset. he asks for one more marshmallow.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

on motherhood

"Trust your gut. Mothers have been mothering for thousands of years, and trusting your instincts will almost always get you to the right place." - amy neunsinger

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

my ma. 1977

"this picture was taken in 1977. i was 26 and never had any money to cut my hair so i just let it grow. i never had money for makeup either. i had a little apartment on the north side. i only had a little bit of furniture, a mattress and a tiny tv. your dad took this picture. he was probably there because we were on one of our breaks from each other. i only stayed at my apartment when we were broken up. that's our stray dog, scoop, we found in mill creek park and took in. He probably brought scoop over to talk me into coming back. he was the best at getting me back. he always won."