in june 2010, our lives got turned upside down in the best possible way: the birth of our awesome kiddo, john. in october 2013, brother charlie charged into our life to change the status quo again. and june 2016 brought us brother ben to round out our trio.

i'm proud to have "mom" at the top of the list of titles on my resume, but i'm also still a hard-working professional. how does a working mom juggle work and family? ride along with me and see if i can figure it out!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

a letter to my firstborn: on your birthday

these looked so much better in my mind.
dear peanut,

it's 21 minutes into your third birthday, and i'm awake. i just finished making cupcakes for your class tomorrow. they're not as beautiful as i thought they might be but know i iced them all with extra love to make up for their imperfections.

three years ago right now i wasn't sleeping either. i was up walking around the house, and i couldn't get comfortable. i had a feeling -- and i would prove to be right -- that you were letting me know that you were ready. you were ready to come into your daddy and my life: to change everything we knew, including ourselves and each other.

as i was icing those cupcakes tonight, your baby brother was kicking around inside my belly. and i remember when you were kicking around in there, and we were just waiting to meet you. we loved you already, you see, but we had to meet you to understand how very much. now i can't wait for you to meet your baby brother with us, so we can all love him and love each other even more. you're going to be a great brother.

twelve hours after i paced the living room, it was finally time to head to the hospital. and just three hours later there you were, in our arms, so little and amazing and beautiful and awesome.

three years later, you are only more awesome possum.

your daddy and i, we are so very proud of you, our little man. you are sweet, and determined, and smart, and creative, and fun, and inquisitive. you have excellent manners and are learning all about how to behave respectfully. you work so hard to be a good boy, even when it is tough. you are growing and learning so much every day.

and when you laugh, that is the most wonderful sound your daddy and i have ever heard. you have an excellent laugh and i hope you will always use it, loudly and often, and share your joy with the people around you.

tonight, it's time for your mama to go to sleep, john. but first, i might just crawl into your big boy bed for a moment, and feel your warm snuggly sleepy self next to me. i want to be the very first to wish my baby john a happy birthday.

sleep tight, my baby. i can't wait to celebrate with you tomorrow.

love forever,
your mommy

ps. here's an important lesson for you: sometimes mommies cry when they are happy. so if you see a tear or two in my eyes tomorrow, don't worry about me, just keep on laughing.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

my child is cooler than i am

oh, those socks ...
yesterday morning, john put on his socks and promptly pulled them up almost to his knees.

"silly boo," i said, "put your socks down!"

"no, mommy, i want them up!" he said emphatically.

so up they stayed.

*   *   *

in the kitchen, i talked to my husband.

"he's too young for his friends to make fun of him for his socks, right?" i asked.

"yeah," my husband replied, "i think he's got a year or two."

i just nodded.

*   *   *

when i dropped john off at the school, i said to his teacher, "please forgive john's socks ... i know they look ridiculous but he insisted!"

she laughed and said, "actually, that's how they wear them these days."

dismayed, i walked out to my car. apparently john was more in touch with fashionable socks than i was. for the first time, my three-year-old was officially cooler than me.

*   *   *

there's more to this story, though, than meets the eye. why exactly am i so concerned that john will be made fun of for his socks? why is my first thought as he puts on silly socks up to his knees, "oh gosh, can't wear them like that -- kids might laugh?"

the real answer lies unflatteringly in my own insecurities. in my social anxiety that leaves me driving around the block so as not to be the first to arrive at an event ... or worrying desperately on my walk in if i've chosen the right mode of dress, fearing that i've grossly mis-estimated the degree of formality or casualness demanded by the occasion.

john is beautifully, awesomely free of any such anxiety, as well he should be at his age. even the most worldly of the almost-four-year-olds in his class doesn't really go in for full-on making fun, yet. they don't yet know the power of a cutting word, a snarky laugh, a pointed finger, to make someone feel small.

it is incumbent on me to work hard not to pass my insecurity on to my son. he will learn, unfortunately, that people can be ruthless and mean. he will come to us crying because of something one of his friends said to him. and we will hold him and console him, and remind him that we love him so much and are proud of him for being who he is.

until then, though, i need to work on my mommying. i need to learn not to think, "the kids will make fun of you," and instead train myself to think, "how awesome that you feel confident in your tall socks, kiddo." i need to be proud that my son wants to walk his own path, not worried what others will say as he walks it.

so, get on with your bad self, john. wear tall socks if you want to. show up your mama in her fashion senselessness. know i'm here to hold your hand when someone's mean -- but don't let the possibility of someone being mean stop you from being just exactly who you are.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

how john met some firemen

a day that started out as silly hair day got
 somewhat more interesting after school.
today was silly hair day at school. because he is a rock star, john wore a mohawk - and wore it well, i might add.

the view after school, was a little different. here is the story of how john met some firemen.

when we ran out of school this afternoon, john climbed into his seat. he insisted on helping buckle himself, as usual, but it still took both my hands to get him strapped in and cinched down.

realizing i had neglected to get the list of names of kids in his class, i told john, "i am going to run back inside real quick, i will be right back!"

he said, "ok!" so i closed the door.

and realized i left my key on the seat next to him when i buckled him up.

i tried to open the door. it was locked.

another parent was there with me, and i turned to her and said, "who do i call for something like this? the sherriff's office maybe?" as i ran inside.

"mrs. dawn!" i called frantically. "please call 911 - i locked john in the car with my keys inside."

(did i mention it was a hot louisiana day? like 93 degrees hot.)

"go back outside and stay with him," she said, "we'll make the call."

so i went out and talked to john through the window. "can you reach the lock, baby?" i asked him.

"no, i can't reach," he said. i was fighting off panic. i told him to try to reach with his foot.

still no luck.

some other moms and daycare workers came to the window to check on him. john was laughing and giggling and being silly. i could see, though, a little bit of sweat on his upper lip. even though i'd just driven the car to the daycare, it was already pretty hot in there.

i am not going to lie: i was clinging to the edge of freaking out. i knew, on some level, that this was a small-scale emergency, that the fire department would respond quickly and we'd get john out. i knew that i did not care one bit what they had to do to get into the car to get him. i knew he would be fine.

but at the same time, that was my baby. trapped in a car, heating up in the louisiana humidity. and it was all my fault that he was in there. i'd locked my little man in a metal can in the heat.

the daycare manager assured me that this has happened before, that the fire company would quickly respond and all would be well. but the five minutes or so before their arrival passed so slowly.

we heard sirens, and the truck came into the driveway. mrs. dawn ran inside to get some cold juice for john and came back with a cold water bottle she pressed into my hand and insisted i drink. the firemen looked in at john and said that he looked like he was ok, although he was by now pretty sweaty. they started to assess the doors and windows, and said a rescue truck was on the way that would be able to break into the car. meantime, one fireman told me, they would monitor john through the window and if he showed signs of distress they would just break the window.

a few minutes later, the rescue truck arrived with all the tools needed to break into my car. john was showing a little upset-ness by now, but was still quite calm. first they tried to jimmy the back door, but once they got their wire in they realized the unlock button on the back door wasn't responding, so they had to try the front door.

by now, i was thinking, "just break the damn window."

fortunately, once they got the front door jimmied, it was only a matter of moments before the door was unlocked. they opened it as the alarm went off. i waited for them to press the unlock button again so it would unlock all the doors and i could open john's door, but since the alarm was going off it wouldn't let them do it. finally i said, "let me just get the key out so i can turn off the alarm."

the fireman sitting in the driver's seat trying to unlock the car didn't hear me, so i said it again - he got out of my way and i lunged through the front door, over the console, and across john's seat to grab the key and unlock the car. one of the daycare teachers opened john's door while i unbuckled his seatbelt, and she pulled him out of the car and over to the crowd of parents to give him some juice pronto.

i thanked the firemen profusely. they piled in their trucks and walked away. i sat on the pavement holding john in my arms, drinking our cold drinks and just oh so thankful that this was such a small blip. a scary blip. but a tiny one.

i still feel terribly guilty about the whole thing. i know, stupid accidents happen all the time. and i realize that even small emergencies like this one are reasons that the fire department exists. but i can't help feeling like i endangered my child, and i also pulled rescue resources away when they could have been needed for a "real" emergency. i realize that no good will come from beating myself up, and i even realize that before too long this will be a great story to tell john about when he was a little boy and mommy locked him in the car. but right now, i am still shaky two hours later, and i have never hugged that little monkey harder than i did tonight before bed. mom of the year nominations are flowing in from all sides, i assure you.

i am so very grateful to the firemen who were patient and calm and reassuring, who helped get my child out and gave him the once-over to make sure he was none the worse for the wear. they did a bang up job, and were very kind to my little bug. i am always happy for an opportunity for john to meet first responders, these heroes who save people's lives every day.

but i hope i don't soon have to hear him say again, "mommy, the firemen came to the rescue and saved me today."