Out on the Oregon Trail

Ever since Ellie was born, I have been paranoid about RSV. It is a respiratory virus that, for most kids and adults, presents as a cold. For babies, older people or people with compromised medical systems, it can be really bad. It can be so bad that the illness could even result in death. For…

Adults Know Everything

My oldest baby, Jack, will turn five this week, and he will start kindergarten in just a few weeks. I have had five years in this job and ample time to prepare for this, but I still feel like I have so much to do. I wake at night, panicked that I haven’t taught him…

Who is the benefactor here?

If I’m honest, one thing that I am self-conscious about is what Ellie’s capacity to one day contribute to society will be. Along with the intellectual and physical delays, it would be easy for someone to look at her and see that she is different than most. There is a camp of people out there…

Top Dog

We went ahead and told our 4-year-old that the dog was going to die. Scooter had some sort of event – a heart attack, stroke, organ failure, something catastrophic – on a Monday morning and we knew he wouldn’t recover. Jack tried to rationalize it with us. “Trust me, Scooter has just learned how to…

The Cheerleader

In the summer of 2017 at about 11 weeks pregnant, I was on an airplane headed home from a work trip when I felt sharp pain in my abdomen. Brushing it off as growing pains, I learned at the next week’s ultrasound that the baby had stopped growing and there was no heartbeat. I was…

Three Little Birds

About 15 years ago, one of my friends went to Jamaica. I don’t still have a lot of relics from that time in my life, but I do have the Bob Marley coffee mug he brought back to me as a souvenir. One side of it has a gold-plated lion, and the other side is…

Answering the tough questions

On a recent Sunday morning, I was driving home from walking with a friend when I called my husband. I wanted to see if he and the kids wanted to get ready to go out for a stroll around the neighborhood when I got there. I had just heard on the radio that it was…

The Teacher

Before she was born, I spent a lot of time looking at her 3D ultrasound photos trying to determine whether or not she would look like she had Down syndrome when she was born. I hoped and prayed that she would be spared the tell-tale almond-shaped eyes, flattened face, short neck and protruding tongue. The…

Blooming Weeds

Ellie was on her stomach in the middle of the kitchen floor, and I had stepped over her a hundred times. Our small, galley kitchen is a favorite play place for all of the kids, and the obstacle course they create with their bodies while I am cooking supper is nothing new. Her knees were…