Recipe For Good Mothering


Standing at my bookshelf, my fingers follow the worn, familiar feeling of my books, old friends that I have forgotten. There are books of poetry, art and religion; books on growing things and making things; books on building business; books of dreams once pursued. Mysteries, memoirs and fiction that used to carry me far, far away.

I have come here now for a book of recipes, yet still, I am drawn to the now-dusty books about parenting. A shelf that started with a copy of What to Expect When Your Expecting and was filled to overflowing when the unexpected happened. Books on epilepsy and illness, advice and encouragement, books I once feverishly read my way through -- looking for answers, that only life would bring.

I find the baking book I have come for, it's sunshine yellow cover calling out to me, the vintage rose color calming me. I bring it to the kitchen where my daughter Zoe is waiting. No longer does she need the step-stool, or even for me to stand behind her. She stands by herself, leaning against her walker for balance. In middle school now, she has grown out of the little girl apron she used to wear, and favors a pink t-shirt instead. She smiles at me, her confidence and excitement radiating as she finds the page and begins to read the recipe aloud. Her supplies at the ready, she starts with slow, careful movements.

And with patience I stand back, knowing that what makes this recipe work is not my help or what is written on the page.

It is the shallow pan that will catch the overflow of flour and sugar, carefully measured by a shaky hand. It is the notepad nearby that will keep count, by Zoe's written " X's, the number of cups she has poured. It is the flattened bowl that will hold a steady surface for eggs to be cracked and pieces of eggshells extracted.

This is different from when I bake with Zoe's big sister, when it is a team effort to try new techniques, perfectly fill each measured cup and and correctly approximate each teaspoon, that puts my teen girl and I in unison. When it is her idea of what to make, her confidence growing with each new creation. Our collaboration brings us closer together.

Later, when I am alone, the recipe book still lays open, the written words worn, splattered and sometimes hard to read, this recipe replaced by real life.

I know now it is the real result that is better than the expected. It is the authentic, on-hand ingredients that deliver goodness. It is the directions we ignore, the techniques we adapt and the new processes we create that make each batch wonderfully unique -- and never exactly the same.

It is the sweetness that rises above, that masks the imperfections and the missed ingredients.

This is the real recipe of mothering.

Dear Summer Camp " Buddy",


I couldn't help but write you this letter, and I hope that's okay. I have so much to thank you for, first for being Zoe's ' buddy" at summer camp.There is more I want to share with you too. My hope is that you will tuck this letter away and read it again at different times in your life.

I hope it will help you make sense of your world, maybe inspire or comfort you when words like these are what your heart needs.

Continue reading "Dear Summer Camp " Buddy", " »

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff - " Change it Up!"

LavenderI don’t sleep through the night. A good night means I am up only twice. My day starts at 5 and ends by 10, and the mothering I do all day is a physical, eyes and hands-on type that Moms’ of toddlers can most identify with.  I am the mom of a girl with special needs, and I have been blessed with the gift of perspective.

It is an awesome gift I have earned. When you hold your child throughout painful or difficult medical procedures one day, and the next she wants a chocolate brownie or to wear her princess tutu to the grocery store.. it’s a no brainer. It’s perspective. 

When the bedroom floor is strewn with toys at bedtime, but the sound of laughter still lingers from her afternoon of play, it’s the gift of perspective that allows you to push the mess aside and climb in - to give your girl a goodnight hug, grateful for a good day.

Managing stress is always an issue from me, managing work, home, marriage and mothering. Years ago, I picked up the first edition of “ Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff For Mom’s” and was moved by the poignant, short common sense chapters. I especially needed support with the accepting that I cannot do everything, taking care of myself was mandatory, and sometimes just surrendering was okay. 

Continue reading " Don't Sweat the Small Stuff - " Change it Up!"" »

For Mom On Mother's Day, A Letter From Your Special Needs Child


Dear Mom,

Even without my words, 

you have always known my needs. 

When I am hurting or afraid, -

frustrated or fatigued, 

You gather me home 

into the safety of your arms. 

You know what makes me smile, delights me and fills my face with light-

You make my happiness.

When you sing my favorite song, 

 and sweep the softness of my favorite blanket, across the curve of my cheek.

When you take me for walks -

and I feel the warmth of the sun , the cool breeze brush against my skin.

 You disregard the words of others, telling you what I cannot do-

 and then fill the hours of every day- 

Telling me what I can.

Every day you see other kids -  reaching further-

Yet you celebrate me

pushing away sadness, 

you focus on the hope of our future

Letting my small steps, continue to lead us forward. 

Never standing still, always in motion-

You move before me.

Your planning-  protective and positive,

prepares me for success- 

meeting new people, 

new challenges, 

learning new worlds.

..and Mom, in case I ever go-

before I can whisper words of thanks, 

or wrap my arms around you.

Know what I knew-

before you soothed me 

into heaven’s sleep.

 With you -

I live the fullest life-

I see the understanding in your eyes.

the gentleness in your every touch-

as you fill my heart - with the greatest kind of love