How to Scare Away Ducks

My iPhone is currently residing in a bag of rice. Why? Well, it got wet, and the hope is that the rice will draw the moisture out of the phone. What? Oh. How did it get wet? Fine.

First you have to understand the daredevil to whom I have given birth. I wish I could put into words Leila’s level of fearlessness. I think if the boogeyman showed up in her room she would squeal, clap her hands and give him a kiss on his nose. At 16 months, I think she would bungee jump.
Today at 11 AM, we met some moms and kids from the Carlisle chapter of MOMS Club at Boiling Springs Children’s Pond to feed the ducks. Ducks like Cheerios. CJ likes throwing Cheerios. It’s a win win. Leila loves to watch the ducks eat Cheerios. Win win win. Only she really wanted to get up close and personal with the ducks. We played a game of move-the-toddler, but she really wouldn’t stay away from the edge. I decided to pick her up and hold her. She resisted and slipped from my grip. Her escape route? Over the edge into the water two feet below. Now she was in there for less than 30 seconds. Probably less than 20 as I was right behind her. I had her out of the water and back up on the shore where the moms (THANK YOU) had her wrapped in a blanket before she could start crying (which she did a lot and loudly). I had to wade to a boat launch to get myself out. Seriously, the whole thing lasted less than a minute before I was holding my wet baby trying to comfort her, but people? The image of my daughter lying on her back completely under water is not going to leave me any time soon. I still feel extra adrenaline in my system, and while I am dry, I feel waterlogged. Leila? She’s enjoying Lion King and trying to climb the pub table’s stool so she can play with the light switch.

Mythical Creatures

This is not about a tattoo. It inspired my tattoo. It was orginally written for the blog John and I wrote to document our adoption process. If you are interested in reading more about that,

Mythical Creatures
I had a unicorn baby. I would glimpse his hazel eyes giggling at me from his carseat in my rearview mirror. I would hear her cries echoing through the house at three in the morning, and the phantom me would get up and go smooth her sweaty dark ringlets as she cried for no good reason. I would feel the weight of his tall-for-his-age body on my pant leg as I went about changing laundry loads and emptying the dishwasher. He was going through the clinging to Mommy phase, you see. The petite, too-small-for-her-age length of her would fit perfectly in my arms as I sat doing nothing at all but zoning in front of the TV and she slept, refusing to be put down.I had to let my unicorn baby go. He and she waved good-bye as they went to fulfill the promises of that twit, Jackie Paper, and have adventures in the Land of Hanalee.Now I have a phoenix baby. He rises out of the ashes of disappointments and fear to create hope with his golden song. She does all of the same things the unicorn baby did, taunting me from around corners, but her features are blurred like a hummingbird’s wings. Yet the outline is more defined. She is coming. He will fly, maybe long and far, maybe short and near, but he will come. And we will make her song powerful and strong to withstand and fight against the wind.I may always miss my unicorn baby, but I will always love my phoenix baby.

Quiet Ceremony

I stepped through a door and became a mother. There was no pushing on my part. There was no surgery. There were just years of trying, changing, hoping, and heart-breaking, the labor of adoption, but there was no physical change or birthing process. Without the physical challenge of birth there was no build-up. The only difference between one moment and the next was the baby in my arms. It was the most surreal moment of my life. When you imagine something a million times a day for five years, you start to believe that it can’t really happen outside your head. And then it does. And it is going to change everything. You’d think there would be a ceremony or something, a Lion King moment if you will. Instead the moment is quiet. The brave woman who did go through the physical labor whispered to our son, “Look, it’s your mom and dad,” and she placed him in my arms. It will always be the strongest act of love I will ever witness. Through my tears I managed to whisper, “Thank you.” Then because it is the way of adoption, I turned away from her and her pain to join my husband in our joy.

Perhaps not all ceremonies need be showy.


Moist. Moist. Moist. A hated word, but accurate for her surroundings. Water dripped from every surface, horizontal or vertical. Drip. Drip. Drip. It was also dripping off her skin. The minutiae of her body’s contours, hairs, pimples, cuts, scars, fat, dictated the path the rivers of water took as gravity’s uncompromising grip drew it down and away. The escaping water was also taking the warmth with it. Stupid physics. One last time she leaned her forehead to the smooth wall in front of her, closed her eyes and took a deep, moist breath, trying to make it reach her toes before expelling in. Then she turned to part the curtain that blurred the outside world and stepped into her day.