Fear

The other night, I climbed up the stairs to crawl into bed. Tate was snoozing away in his crib, and I had decided to sleep in our shared room that evening.  I shut the bedroom door, locked it as I always do when we sleep in the same room, and turned on my burglar alarm (there’s a panel in my bedroom as well as on the first floor in the entryway).  When we go to sleep I set the alarm to instant, so any breach of the doors or windows causes the alarm to sound immediately instead of waiting the 45 seconds it has when simply set to ‘alarm.’

I climbed into bed and snuggled under the covers.  I had gone to bed much later than I had intended, and I was exhausted.  My head hit that cool pillow and I exhaled happily.

No more than one minute later, my … Continue reading

Counting My Blessings

Normally I wouldn’t do anything for my birthday, but my nanny had asked for a personal day sometime soon to take care of some errands, so we arranged to do that on my birthday.

It was a perfect day.

Calliope and I walked to breakfast at a local cafe. Then we came home and she took a too-short nap while I worked out. But she was in a great mood throughout, despite the short nap.

In the afternoon, while Calliope “rested” in her crib, I worked on a photobook I’m creating which will be the Story of Calliope, all about Calliope’s conception.

Then we played with her friend Eleanor for a little bit at her house — Calliope (who is learning to walk, but isn’t there yet)  pushed Eleanor (who is even further from walking) around on her push “bike” — and then Eleanor and her mother took Calliope and Continue reading

How I Handle Single Parenting

“If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much.” –Jackie Kennedy.

How do I handle single parenting? I just do. That’s the only way I can answer the question, “How do you do it, with two little children and a full time job?” I don’t have live-in help, I don’t have come-in help. With the exception of my elderly father there is no family help. However, I have a community of great friends and neighbors who care about my children, make me laugh and lend a hand. That makes a big difference. On the really bad days, it makes a difference between sheer despair and the determination to go on.

There’s no denying that I brought these children into the world by my own free will, and it’s my responsibility to make their childhoods happy, healthy and safe. Everyday, whether I want Continue reading

The Baby Obsession

My daughter Eliza has become obsessed with babies.

Not these babies:

Eliza would rather put a fork in her eye than play with a doll.

But Eliza is quite keen on these kind of babies:

I have spent weeks explaining to Eliza that she is going to be the one and only baby in this household.  I’ve tried the:

Mommy  loves you so much, there is no room for another baby.

Eliza advises that we can make room for a baby, all I have to do is sleep on the couch.

Mommy is too old to have another baby.

Eliza quickly pointed out that she sees women with white hair all the time with babies and since my hair isn’t white yet, I am not too old.

Mommy has an ugly uterus (so ugly that my OB took a lovely photo, suitable for framing, since she had never seen one

Continue reading

Modern Family: Connecting with Donor Siblings

When I began my journey to become a Single Mother by Choice (SMC), using donor sperm from a bank, I believed I had thought through all possible scenarios. And then, just two years ago, something happened that made me realize that I had not thought it all through. I had never thought about connections with donor siblings or donor families.

I knew that I would tell my child about their conception from the start – no secrets. I imagined that one day, he or she might ask questions about the donor and I would answer. I chose an Open ID donor for this very reason. I figured, why not leave the door open if you can? So, I figured we’d deal with the possibility of connecting with the donor if and when my child was ready.

I never considered that I might find myself connected with other families who conceived … Continue reading

Brave and Amazing

“When I grow up I want to have a baby on my own by anonymous sperm donor” was not what I was thinking as a little girl. Like most girls my age I dreamt of meeting someone, falling in love and having a family. But that’s not how my life unfolded, so I decided to have a baby on my own. Once I made the decision it was easy, I was lucky enough to conceive on the first try. What was hard was everything it brought up emotionally and what it would take to feel proud of, and happy about, my life.

The first 5 years of my daughter Lulu’s life were filled with happiness, I loved being a mom and I was getting a lot of attention for having made the choice to do it on my own. My friends were telling me how amazing and brave I was. … Continue reading

A New Year

I gave up making New Year’s resolutions a long time ago. I always aimed too high and set myself up for failure. What’s more, I’m making resolutions all year ‘round, so there doesn’t seem to be much point in forcing myself to come up with new ones just because I’m hanging up a new calendar. (Oops, there’s a resolution: upload the new photo calendar to the Costco website before February!)

So, how did I spend New Year’s Eve? We were newly home from having spent Christmas in Phoenix with family, the girls were in bed, and I was enjoying a quiet, cozy evening with a book and a glass of wine. What once would have been considered a New Year’s Eve FAIL —sitting home alone— now felt like bliss.

And I remembered that, several years before I had my kids, I had improvised my own New Year’s Eve ritual. I … Continue reading

I Want To Believe

I was a huge fan of The X-Files in the 1990s, and one of the show’s catch phrases was “I want to believe.” I had no idea how that phrase would eventually come home to roost.

I really didn’t expect that my daughters would still believe in Santa Claus by the time they were in 3rd grade. I’d be surprised if all of their Christmas-observing friends still believe, and I find it unlikely that none of the non-believing, worldly-wise 3rd graders has spilled the beans. The right jolly old elf hasn’t come up much in conversation this year, and my hunch was that they had their doubts, but maybe weren’t ready to ask the question outright, for fear of having their suspicions confirmed.

When I imagined having kids I also imagined that bidding the Santa days good-bye would be accompanied by a feeling of loss. I’m all for fostering magical … Continue reading

When We’re All Dead…….

“What sports did Grandpa Jim like?” my son asks. We are standing in the kitchen and he is pulling the scissors out from the drawer, cutting the plastic wrap off a frozen raspberry fruit bar.

“He liked all sports,” I say. Sam hands me the wrapper and I place it in the can under the sink. “But I think baseball was his favorite. Baseball and basketball and football.”

We have just snuck inside during Eva’s nap after spending an hour outside in the sticky humidity tossing basketballs into the net from different distances, the point values for each shot marked on the driveway with chalk. Sam was upset when he couldn’t make the shots as easily as he had yesterday, and his voice was getting whinier and higher until finally (thank God!) he made a 5-point shot and declared himself the winner.

Later in the evening we lay in bed … Continue reading

Thanks

Last month at youth group, when my son was asked what he was thankful for, he said, “everything.” And I’ve been thinking a lot about that … how he knows at nine to be grateful for the rain and the sun, for pain and joy.

This year isn’t ending like I thought it would, but that doesn’t mean I’m not grateful beyond belief. For closed doors and new beginnings so good that I didn’t dare dream of them myself. And for God’s grace to sustain me between the two.

For friends who are present and friends that teach me lessons. For family that’s got my back and the ones who drive me crazy (sometimes the same ones).

For doctors and medicine and treatment and access to them.

For youth group kids who teach me something new every time I’m around them. A church family of kindred spirits.

For stores who … Continue reading

“I joined SMC when my son was a baby, and he's about to turn 21! The wealth of knowledge and support I've received from SMC got me through some really hard times and I found some great friends. We are a diverse group, and yet we are wholeheartedly there for one another.”

– Nancy N