Monthly Archives: July 2014

TBT–Out of the Mouths of Babes

Welcome to Throw Back Thursday, blog style. 

(Originally posted 18-JUL-2012)

Abby is taking some summer help in math at a local school. This morning when I dropped Abby off she was telling me about the kids in her class. Some were from her current class and others she didn’t know. Abby said that there was only one other girl, a bunch of boys and one weird boy.

Weird boy, I asked, do you mean the boy with Down syndrome?

          What’s that? Abby replied.

Well he is special needs, like Boo, I explained
Oh, is that why he has a teacher just for him in the class? (Yup) That makes sense now. I thought there was something different but couldn’t figure it out. Why didn’t they tell me so I could help him?

This conversation floored me on many levels. First, Abby has intuitively known that there is something special about Boo and has accepted her without conditions. I automatically assumed that she would recognize and accept it in another child. Second, Abby attends enough of Boo’s therapy appointments to see other children like this boy. I was completely astounded that she even had to ask, or worse in her mind label this boy as “weird”.

Abby has been a staunch defender of Boo. She would never let one of her friends use that term with her sister, so why did she do it with a boy she just met? Have I failed in some way in to prepare and nurture her to accept all others like she does Boo?

Of course, I asked Abby. Not that specifically, but why she did she not understand that this boy was special. She thought because he was so big and not little like Boo he was just a boy.   I asked (just to make sure) that she hadn’t made fun of this boy. She was quick to say no, but that she wished that the teacher had told her because the other boys in the class did. Abby was so cute, telling me that she would make sure it didn’t happen again! We had a long talk about Boo and how would Abby feel if one of her classmates called Boo “weird”.

But it made me think, is inclusion working? Are the teachers and other parents explaining to their children that not all children can run, read, speak like others. Whose responsibility is it really? Mine, in some way because while I can educate/prepare Abby and she can then teach her peers. But neither Abby, her dad or I can go into Boo’s class and wake up the other children/parents. I can only be responsible for the children who interact with Boo in my presence.

Is it the teacher’s responsibility? Certainty, but how can they do this without embarrassing (not the right word, but hopefully you get my point!) the child in question. Abby thought the teacher should have let the kids know. But by privacy laws, they cannot.
I think the biggest obstacle is that the other parents are not on the playground or in the classroom with their children. So they might not even be aware, like me, that their child may be prejudging some one. Think about it, if you do not have a special child would you think to educate your ‘typical’ child about a child with Downs, CP, and autism or like Boo one who is undiagnosed? I will admit that before Boo I cannot honestly say I would have said something to Abby until she asked/made a comment in my presence.

I think as children get older they may become more aware (and yes, mean). But at Abby’s age it is just a sense of innocence where they don’t really notice differences in others until the difference is glaringly obvious.

Boo is in an integrated preschool with a not so equal ratio of special/typical kiddos. Even there I notice that some parents look at us askew when Boo is not participating like their ‘typical’ kid in the class. Once a child asked their mom what was wrong with Boo and the mother, instead of educating, told the child to ‘hush’.

So I don’t know what the answer is, if integration is worth it or how to educate the world at large that Boo just has a different sense of typical.

I am the Dr. Jeckyll and Mrs. Hyde of Parenting

Unless you are the parent of an only child, most of us will admit to parenting our children differently. You naturally parent a boy-child one way and a girl-child another. You could be the helicopter parent of the first-born (don’t touch the stove!) and the seasoned professional of your youngest (touch the stove, that will teach you).

This weekend I realized that I am the Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde of Parenting. 
It is not that I am taking what I learned with Abby and using (or not using) my infinite knowledge with Boo. Instead I have discovered I am two completely different personalities with each of the girls.  

For consideration:

Recently Boo and Abby started swim lessons. When Abby has hers I leave the pool area and (try to) ride the spinning bikes. When Boo is in hers? I hover and sit on the bench with an eagle eye. And she has a 1:1 ratio with the “Y” instructor. Last week when there four children and one instructor I was the captain in charge of leading the other moms to unite and explain that this was not safe or fair. Abby’s lesson? The instructor doesn’t even get in the pool with her. 

Abby must finish her dinner. Everything on her plate, no exceptions. Unless it is a new food then she has to at least try it. Boo? If she is tired and fussy she gets cereal for dinner. Even if I have to spoon it into her mouth.

Boo has to shower every morning. Abby? In the winter she might go a day (or two three) without. In my defense,  the only way to get a comb in Boo’s hair is when she is in the bathtub.

Boo goes to bed no later than 7pm every night. Abby has been known to stretch her bedtime an hour (or two).

I talk more with the moms of Boo’s classmates. I don’t even know some of Abby’s friends or their parents. 

I don’t worry about what Abby eats. She is a grazer like her mom. But she mixes it up. She knows for every piece of crap she has to have a piece of fruit or veggie. Boo would eat from the time her eyes open to the time they close. I monitor her diet and what she eats more than I do my own.

I worry less about Abby. She recently went on a sleepover with a friend to a house I had never been to with a mother I had met once. Boo? She is not allowed to go to pool parties, ice skating parties or anywhere that she might not be safe. Although David did ask the guy who invited her to the skating party if he was on drugs. 

Boo makes me cry more. Abby makes me want to pull my hair out in frustration during homework. 

I attend every doctor’s visit of Boo’s. I share Abby’s with David. Until this year’s physical when they both refused to go with the other one.

I will stop, sit or dance with Boo. I am more likely to tell Abby to wait until I am done the dishes.
Abby must make her bed every morning, no exception. Boo doesn’t but she has Abby make her bed, too. I tried getting Abby to make mine and failed.

The only time I am a mom of one brain/soul/heart with the girls is in my love for them. I hope it balances out, because there is no way in hell Abby is getting a pony.

How about you are you a Jeckyll and Hyde parent?

My Challenge: K

Today’s Challenge is from my friend “K” who prefers to remain anonymous. She is a young woman who one day soon will change the world with her writing, her heart, her well just awesomeness. K was a contributor to the Challenge program at Abby’s school. Allowing us to use her essay, The Little Dancer, that had such an impact on the Junior High students. 

“K” has Cerebral Palsy. She is one of the reasons the What’s Your Challenge? program at Abby’s school was so important to me. I wanted people to stop looking just at a disability and see the person first. I thought for sure I knew what her challenge would be. Of course, per usual, she surprised the heck out of me. 

I sat in the corner of the shoe store and broke.

            “I can’t do this anymore.”
            I was surrounded by boxes and boxes of shoes, shoes that weren’t made for people like me.
            Somewhere in the background, the sales associate was staring at me, and there was an odd expression on her face. Pity? Revulsion? Embarrassment? Or maybe she was just grateful that she wasn’t my mom, who stood over me with an armful of rejected shoes.
            It was 5:00 p.m., the evening before I was to give my senior project presentation, a presentation that determined whether or not we would graduate from high school. The rubric for the presentation included a phrase that made my heart sink: “Must wear formal footwear.”
            To make matters worse, as I was leaving, my teacher called over his shoulder: “Remember, no boat shoes and no sandals! The guys should wear dress shoes and the ladies should wear something like a nice pair of heels.”
            Many girls my age owned a closetful of shoes that fit that description, but I only had two pairs of formal shoes that I could wear safely: a pair of boat shoes and a pair of sandals.
            “I can call the school in the morning,” my mom offered, “and ask them not to penalize you for your shoes.”
            “I don’t want them to make an exception for me,” I said, my tone desperate.
            So my mom took me to the mall for a last-minute shoe-shopping trip, my own personal version of hell. Each store was the same…the sales associates approached us with their fake, overly-cheerful smiles, all too eager to help, and returned with a pair of shoes for me to try on. Then they’d hover over me, watching closely as I tried to cram shoes on my feet, and their chipper smiles would fade into blank stares as they watched me walk.
            I had told myself that I would be strong, and I managed to keep it together for four stores in a row. And then, at the fifth store, the associate brought out a pair of heels.
            “She . . . those won’t work for her,” my mom said.
            Tears sprang to my eyes, and I turned away to hide my face.
            “It’s not fair,” I whispered. “I just want to wear pretty shoes like everyone else, and I’m tired of people staring at me like I’m some kind of freak.”
            My mom set down the shoeboxes and looked me in the eye.

            “Listen to me,” she said, just loud enough for me to hear. “This is your challenge. I know it’s hard, but I’ve seen you overcome so much in your life and I know you can overcome this. Shoes don’t matter. You could wear a pair of sneakers with your dress and you’d still be beautiful.”
            With that, she took my hand and turned to the still-gawking sales associate:
            “I think we’re all set, thanks.”
            The next day, I slipped on my boat shoes and presented my project to the panel of judges: a teacher and three members of the community.
            As I presented my project—I had joined an acts-of-kindness group whose mission was to help others with theirchallenges—I spoke of Tanner, a boy with cerebral palsy who was homebound after surgery. His mother didn’t have the financial means to purchase Christmas presents for him and his sisters, so our group banded together to buy them gifts. I bought Tanner’s present—a basket brimming with DVDs and popcorn, because he was a movie buff—and signed an anonymous note explaining that I had CP as well and I understood what he was going through.
            When I finished, one of the judges looked at me with tears streaming down her face.
            “Thank you,” she said, her voice breaking. “For Tanner. My daughter has CP too.”
Just then, I knew that what my mom had said was true. Shoes don’t matter. Shoes don’t define us.

People do.

Alright, who wants to take K shoe shopping with me? As in shop til she cannot shop anymore. And if we cannot find shoes that are beautiful and comfortable we knock on Manalo Blahnik's door and demand he design something immediately. Or some other famous shoe designer's door. I'm sure we can find at least one.

"K" is one of those gorgeous people. Inside and out. She is the reason I wrote the letter for Boo. I am happy to call her friend and hope that my daughter Abby grows up with "K"s character. You can read more of "K"'s writing at her blog, Transcending CP: Shattering the Limits of a Disability

What's your challenge is a series that was inspired by a program I created at Abby's school. I am amazed at how honest and hopeful the challenges have been. Thank you to all who have contributed. To submit your challenge, please e-mail me at

TBT–The Perfect Day

Welcome to my version of Throw-Back Thursday, blog style. I’m taking Thursdays to revisit some older posts.  I hope you enjoy the trip back in time.

(Originally published 24-JUL-2012)

Yesterday I took the day off. Completely off. No work, no housework, nothing but spending the day with Abby. 

First we dropped Boo off at her school. Then….

We went to Dunkin Donuts and discovered the joy of the new Oreo donut. We went shopping. When offered the choice between doing our nails or going to a playground she chose the playground. We went to lunch, her choice where she could make our own pizza.

I was told I was the best mom ever (I am writing it down to remember when she is 16). I was told that we ‘have the most fun together’ (I am saving this for the college years). 

Then I was told something was missing. I’m biting my tongue to not tell her to be selfish when she says:

The only thing missing was Boo.

So we went to get Boo from school and finished the perfect day.

Challenges related to a disability

Last week I was late and well, I’m still technically a week behind the postings. This week’s prompt in the Summer Blog Hop Challenge: Talking Raw, Talking Real: Challenges Related to a Disability. 

I kind of wish Boo could write this post. Or Abby. I bet they would say, Challenge? What Challenge?

The truth is, though, loving a child with a disability doesn’t mean you do not see their challenges. They are pretty out there. If you see Boo you might say her challenge is communication. Or motor planning (then you didn’t see her climb on the counter and remove all knives from the strainer to get her Sophia cup). 

As I am unsure how Boo would perceive her challenge, I will explain how being a parent of a child with a disability presents a unique situation. 

The true challenge related to Boo’s disability is that sometimes I am not sure if I am dealing with her disability or if I am dealing with toddler-like behavior. I waffle with pushing too hard to not pushing enough. I make allowances where maybe I shouldn’t. 

I wonder when I pick Boo up and carry her am I doing it for her safety, because she cannot walk that far or am I doing it because it is just easier?

Searching for schools, daycare centers, camps…a whole other challenge. Recently I was talking with a friend whose son has a cardiac condition. She was sending him to “real” camp for the first time. Not a special needs camp. Not a camp that was prepared to deal with health concerns. When you have a child with a disability every decision you make is important. In P’s case if her son has a cardiac event will the camp be prepared with how to help him? In Boo’s case if we decide to send her to camp will they understand she wanders? That she has a sensory processing disorder which may make activities difficult for her. That she turns blue if chilled and red/clammy when overheated. Each decision we make has direct impact on our child, the other children in the school/daycare/camp and their caretakers. Unlike Abby where I basically drop her off in the morning, P will have to make sure that she reiterates every day what to do in the event of an emergency.

That is something a parent of a “typical” child never ponders.

We worry more. Sorry, but we do. I worry more with Boo than I ever do with Abby. Every decision we make we have to balance on: is she safe, is this challenging enough, does she have enough support? I research every activity she does before it happens. 

Abby? Not so much. She wants to start riding, okay let’s go to XYZ barn. I knew nothing (and still do not) about horseback riding. I didn’t even know we should choose a style. Boo on the other hand? I never would have allowed her to begin riding without doing a few hours of research on the best type for her skill level.

It is hard to define the true challenge as it relates to Boo’s disability because she doesn’t have just one disability. Our challenge becomes balancing working with her disabilities while determining what is typical behavior. 

Even if it means we worry more.

I need crowd control

Recently Abby started swim lessons. Yes, I know we are a tad late to getting her skills up. Especially as we are surrounded by water. But well, we’ve been busy. As I was sitting at her lesson recently I realized that just across the pool was a windowed room that gave you a view of the pool.

The room was filled with stationary bikes. In a moment of AHA I thought why am I sitting here when I could be exercising. No I wasn’t hit on the head. 

This week I brought my shorts and sneakers with us. As she got into the pool I went to the next room and entered the land of the bikes.

Giving thanks there was no one else in the room as I realized that while it had been over a decade (plus) since I belonged to a gym. And then I only took classes. I never used the equipment. But it shouldn’t be too hard, right? I have never. Ever. Like never ridden a stationary bike before. A real bike, yes. One that you pedaled and didn’t change your scenery? A new experience. I ran into a few issues. 

First the bikes are freaking huge. As in I hop onto the seat and can not only not reach the pedals but cannot reach the handlebars (are they called that if they don’t steer?). Jump back off and spent a few minutes figuring out the adjustment. I figure out how to get it to the kiddie height. Hop back on and cannot move the pedals. 

What the heck? Is there a brake? There must be, but now it seems that doohickey on the handlebars is a tension control. Okay now I can move. I am in the zone. Watching Abby swim, I think this is great. I get 40 odd minutes of uninterrupted exercise plus I don’t have to sit in the overheated pool area with a mom who wants to make small chat.

A guy walks in and says you having a bike ride? I’m like no a pedicure. Anyway with 20 bikes in the room guess where he chooses?  YUP THE ONE RIGHT NEXT TO ME!!! Then he strikes up a conversation. Asking me if I was a member of the “Y”. (yes) Because he is not but thinking of joining. I didn’t even have to ask a follow-up question to find out while his children do their lessons he “sneaks” into this section and rides. He comments on wondering why more parents don’t take advantage of the equipment while their children are in the pool. (Maybe they are not members I think). And goes on and on which would have been fine except just as I’m about to finish an Adonis wannabe walks in and again asks…
You having a bike ride?
Men are idiots. But at least this one was eye candy.
I tell him I’m just finishing up b/c my daughter is about done. He gets the bike on the OTHER side of me. I’m like really? There are now 19 other bikes that could have been utilized. But apparently my area is the perfect area in which to ride. And like I said, this guy was eye candy.

I try again at Abby’s next lesson. There is not one person in there. WHOOPEE and I am prepared. I have my ear buds, music playlist and Kindle balanced on the bike. A woman walks in and says, oh are you teaching a class?

I think: yes and these are my invisible students. 
Instead I bite my tongue and reply: Nope just riding and enjoying the quiet while my daughter has her class. She gets on the bike right in front of me so I cannot even see the pool. She is in street clothes and flip flops. Um, weird but okay. I have my ear buds in and am reading my book. One sentence in and….

YUP SHE STARTS A CONVERSATION!!! (I guess my enjoying the quiet comment was too vague)

She is not a member but saw me riding and thought she could get 20 minutes of exercising in since it was raining. I channel my nephew of the one word answers. It doesn’t work. I hear about how this seat is better than that seat. I look back down at my book as she begins telling me about her two children. I keep pedaling, keep the ear buds in yet it goes on and on. I was wishing for eye candy.

The “Y” needs better crowd control.

My Challenge: Jessica

I introduced you to my friend “J” about two years ago. She was Boo’s Yogi before life got too crazy to keep up with it. I am happy to officially introduce Jessica, the mother of four beautiful daughters. She practices and teaches Yoga for the Special Child. In her “spare” time she organizes The South Shore Buddy Walk  and Co-Founded a non-profit Heart Beats for Down Syndrome

Her challenge?

My Challenge: Being Present

All of my life I have always looked to the future, planning and making lists, trying to be older. I used to sign up for things in magazines so I could get mail (at age 10). I couldn’t wait for responsibilities and bills and being an adult. I didn’t have to wait long. At seventeen, I became a mom, and not just a typical teen mom-but a teen mom to a baby girl with Down Syndrome.  This is not my challenge. As I write this, it’s nine years, four more daughters and plenty of bills later, and my challenge has nothing to do with the circumstances of my life. The responsibilities I always wanted are in abundance, and can be overwhelming and stressful. There are lots of things in my life that are challenging, but not internally, causing damage to my spirit. My biggest challenge is that I struggle to be present, to truly live in the moment.
I set my intention for this summer to be present, to be grateful for each moment, whether they are good or bad.  Not even two weeks in, I find myself at 8am counting the hours until bedtime. I spend so much time planning and rushing for the future: bedtime, back to school, vacation, that I am unable to be happy in the present. I have a history of anxiety and depression, and looking to the future has always been a coping mechanism for me. It has served its purpose, and I have better techniques now that I can use to get through rough patches. Unfortunately, as the saying goes: Old habits are hard to break.  By looking to the future, and planning, and making lists, I am depleting so much joy that is found in sitting back and watching my girls grow up and explore their world. Sure, I can get so much done when they are playing outside and doing crafts, but I lose out on seeing what interests them and how they accomplish things. I miss out on bonding and teachable moments by choosing to write lists instead of coloring and penciling in playtime rather then always making time for play. I want to wake up, and instead of rushing the day away, I want to be content just letting the day unfold and not view that as being unproductive. I may be too hard on myself, which is another challenge I face J, because it’s not like I don’t do all of these things, it’s just that I wish it could be more natural for me so that it could be more of an occurrence in my daily life.
There are so many times I am in the grocery store, frustrated and losing patience, when someone stops me and tells me I’m going to miss these days. I am grateful to these people, because I know it is true, but I usually have so much going on, I forget. By not being present in the moment, but rather operating on auto pilot, I miss out on what my girls are finding to be so funny and why they think the grocery store is a giant play place. If I were present, I might enjoy the shopping trip a little more (emphasis on little) instead of being preoccupied and snapping at them, which only leads to guilt and discontent on my end.  By committing to too much, and having to rush around, being present is impossible. I want to accomplish this goal by being easier on myself and reduce the expectations I set that cause me to lose out on the little things that happen when I am physically present but too preoccupied to notice and be grateful.
I’m sure that many people face this challenge, and some may not even view it as being worthy of such a title. It’s the way of life today.  For me, though, it is important and it is something I have been trying to work on, and fail time and again.  Again, setting the expectation for myself to change right now, this summer, and all of a sudden be present in every moment, is unrealistic. I just hope that some of the time, instead of rushing to the next moment, I will have the strength to just stop and watch it all unfold and find my happiness in that. 

 Don’t we all, working moms, stay at home moms, dads, those without children…don’t each and every one of us forget to stay in this moment. This precious moment in time? We struggle with being HERE, right here watching the sunrise because our child woke up at five freaking am. Instead our thoughts race ahead to the coming day wondering how we are going to deal with this child who will be cranky in two hours. Rather than just enjoying the moment of their smile.

Even if it is five freaking am.

What's your challenge is a series that was inspired by a program I created at Abby's school. I am amazed at how honest and hopeful the challenges have been. Thank you to all who have contributed. To submit your challenge, please e-mail me at


Welcome to Throw Back Thursday, the Blog edition. A walk back in time to before any one read Undiagnosed but Okay. I hope you enjoy the trip!

(Originally posted 12-JUL-2012)

Our friends have a house at the beach. Every year we go and freeload for a couple of days. Abby is always excited to go and so am I. Who doesn’t love a beach house? Cocktails, sun, sand, surf and a clean bathroom you don’t have to share with strangers.

Boo would rather be in occupational therapy. She hates the beach! The past couple of years have been torture for her. Last year was probably the aha moment where I realized that Boo not only had sensory issues but that they could and would be paralyzing.

This year was much easier for Boo. During low tide, as far from the water as possible. She stood on the hard-pack sand!

All Abby wanted to do was surf. Even crazy puppy got in on the action (Boo was no where near the water, preferring to stay at a safe distance!). As the tide came in, Boo felt that it was safer back at the house, so she stole Allie’s board…

But Boo spent the day at the beach and was content to go home and relax with her pup.  We are going back this weekend. We hope to get Boo a little closer to the water!

A letter to myself

I’m semi-participating in a Summer Blog Hop Challenge meant to show others how the life with a disability, or with a child who has a disability, is a journey. A never ending one, for sure. But a journey filled with triumphs and some tears. Of course per my usual stickto-break-the-rules reputation instead of starting in week 1 it is now week 3. So today we are starting the journey half-way through with a letter to myself. Even though that was week 2’s prompt

Dear Younger Me,

I was going to write to the much younger us. The one who is upset because our first love left us. Or the one who just met David and thought um….not my type but sure let’s go to dinner. To the younger us who on the eve of her wedding and asked David to elope instead. Or to the new mom to Abby who was scared out of her mind at this thing that wouldn’t stop crying and tell you eventually she would no longer seem breakable. 

Instead I am writing this for you to receive after Boo’s birth. She is now four months old and you are thinking Holy Crap not only did I just get puked on from my neck to my toes I am getting a letter from the future. You are also thinking I’m writing to give you good news except you know us by now and realize maybe not.

First I want to tell you that Boo will survive. You can cry and breathe and rejoice. Now the other shoe dropping on your head is me telling you she will survive but it will not be easy. I am not writing to tell you what will happen. Because no matter what I write it either won’t change things or worse give you the magic answer you are looking form. Rather I write this to the mom of four-month old Boo to give you some advice.

Now you know it is really me, right?

Well here it is:

Never listen to a doctor, a nurse, therapist or school teacher that Boo cannot do something. There will be a doctor or two you will want to punch in the nose, but you will refrain from harming them.  

Pay no attention to someone who says that Boo is just like their daughter/son/grandchild and “will grow out of it”.

Never give up hope. In yourself or in Boo.

Do not ever, for one minute, stop searching for an answer. Do not listen to the doctor who says just accept Boo for who she is. It is too important. You and she need the answers and being an unknown neurological syndrome is not an answer.

Keep Early Intervention. As awful as it is you will need them when she is three. But do not listen to them when they say she does not need Spaulding Center for Children. You are right they are wrong and they will deal with being offended. 

As much as you have to fight to make Boo all she can be, you will spend more time loving her than fighting for her. She will impact not just your life but those around her. Boo is making a difference in this world one smile at a time.  You just have to get through the what seems to be unending puke phase. But I promise it does end.

You know all the friends that say “let me know if I can help”? Here’s the thing they WANT to help. You have to TELL them how. Instead of waiting for them to call you, call them. Say I just need someone to come over and sit with me. Call them and say David’s home do you want to go to the canal with me. Call them and say I’m drowning and just need a friend. Cry and laugh with them. You will be amazed at the support just waiting for you. Your future self knows she waited way too long to reach out. Once you do life will become so much easier and less lonely.

Remember that David is there and he is your partner in this unexpected life. Don’t wait so long to include him in Boo’s therapies (yes, there is more than one). You will be amazed at how well he does.

Lastly, give yourself a break. You are allowed to feel tired and overwhelmed. You are entitled to feel like this just isn’t fair. I promise you that this life becomes easier. You will one day brush your teeth before dinner time. You will one day wear a shirt without Boo’s remains on it. You will be amazed at her journey.

I won’t spoil the good parts for you. Be prepared to be amazed.

Older (but less tired) Me

PS–oh and don’t worry you will not cave and buy Abby a pony.

Lessons Learned

I read a fantastic post from Eli at Coach Daddy the other day. So wonderful I decided to steal  ahem, borrow  ahem, use it for inspiration. Lessons he learned from the most valuable source ever: his children. It made me think, as much as I have tried to teach my girls, the lessons I have learned from them are immeasurable.

Lesson 1: Seeing the magic in the world. Abby, at 10, is still enthralled with fairies, sprites, Christmas elves and witches (the good kind). She will spend hours making fairy houses in the backyard. She will stop in wonder to show Boo a pattern on a tree. She will look in puddles and see a rainbow. Where I will charge forth through the woods, Abby takes her time to admire the magic that is a butterfly dancing on the flowers. As a parent you never forget seeing the look of wonder on their face when they meet a Princess.

Lesson 2: Seeing the beauty in the world. All parents have been the recipient of the bouquet of dandelions.   I hate yard work. As in despise it and wish I could convince David just to pave the entire yard.  Yellow weeds had sprung up in my daisy patch. In the middle of pulling them,  Abby stopped me and said: BUT THEY ARE GORGEOUS. So they stayed. 

Lesson 3: Slowing down. I race every where. I do not casually walk into the grocery store, I speed walk throughout the experience. I find myself doing this at home. Racing up and down the stairs, into the laundry room, doing whatever. One day Boo took my hand and said: SIT ERE. Just that, sit down mom. She sat down next to me and just looked around. Not at anything in particular. Just took a moment to sit. We sat for a few minutes, she said ALL DONE. I have learned to walk at their pace.

Lesson 4: How siblings should treat one another. I admit to not being the perfect older sister. Ever. My relationship with my siblings is, well…complicated. When I look at my girls though I see how it should be. That sibling love is unconditional. It is accepting one another as is, no qualifier. That every time you see one another, whether it was five minutes or eight hours ago you greet one another like this…

Lesson 5: How to forgive. It amazes me, how quickly you can get over hurt feelings. If I have snapped at Abby (or her at me). If I mix up the girl’s lunches. If I forget an important event. If I show up at a birthday party a day early, at the wrong house. I am forgiven every evening before it is time for a good night kiss.

What lesson have you learned from your children? Join me in stealing Eli’s prompt.