Tag Archives: mother’s day

Mother’s Day Musings

If there’s one thing I seem to write about more than anything lately, it’s motherhood. It’s hard not to write about what consumes your life 24/7/366 (Leap Year, holla!) I wrote CRyP6VWVEAAyeiRabout my mom in 2014  and about my first Mother’s Day last year. This year I wrote about celebrating Mother’s Day in the hospital for Preemie Babies 101.

As cliche as it sounds, I had no idea how much my life would change once I became a mom. Granted, I also had a complicated pregnancy, a premature baby, and a very hard first yeaCaya51mUUAA51Nir as a parent with BB in the hospital for so long and coming home on a feeding tube. The writing life I knew before having a kid is gone. My leisurely days in the cafe with my writing partner are far and few. It’s more difficult to write at home in my writing cave with the sound of a toddler running after dogs overhead. I’ve yet to master writing during BB’s nap times because a) they are practically nonexistent and b) I’m so exhausted from chasing a F3 tornado that I nap. I’ve got the kid who needs even less sleep than I do.

And so my writing has changed this year. I’ve struggled with the fact I’m no longer as prolific as I once was. When the words don’t come easy I throw a toddler-sized tantrum on Twitter. The middle grade novel I’ve been working on for two years has started and stalled too many times to count.

Despite all this, my writing has gotten better. When I do find time to write, I write. My words are careful if not meticulous at times. I don’t have time (or energy) to do anything half-assed now only to scrap it later. My time is valuable. I love my kid and want to be with him as much as I can, so all the time I leave the house with a laptop in hand I have to be productive. Otherwise, what the hell am I doing? I could be using that much needed me time to go to the gym, to read a book, or take a nap. 12309897_10207436962496748_320479077348579794_o

BB took his first steps on a night I was out writing. As soon as my car pulled out of the driveway, BB turned from the baby gate and took six steps toward my husband. I was halfway to the cafe where I meet Kristin, another writing partner, when I got the text You’re missing his first steps. To be honest, I cried. I’d just spent the last 12 hours (none of which included a nap) with BB and he’d shown no signs of walking. But I didn’t turn my  car around and go home. I drove to the cafe where I bought two lavender bubble teas and wrote a chapter in my middle grade novel, pausing only to watch the videos of BB walking that my husband texted to me. It was then that I realized I’d probably miss a lot of firsts and that was okay. Writing is important to me as is time away from BB. That space allows me to be a better mom which makes me a better writer, but I’ll save that for another essay one day.CO_HqMNUEAARh6W

Since becoming a mom, I’ve returned to my first love: flash fiction. It’s what I started writing years ago, publishing my first short story in 2003. The first real thing I wrote after BB was born in the hospital was a 200-word flash piece which I recently sold to 200 CC’s. “Agenda” will be published later this summer. Flash fiction is a perfect outlet for me now. I can get my thoughts and ideas down and challenge myself without the mental fatigue. I’m writing more now than ever because it’s easy to dip in and out of a short story, unlike my MG novel. I’m carving out time to write short pieces on my lunch break at work, in the evening after BB has fallen asleep, or while my husband drives. In 2016 alone I’ve written 7 nCdxyJ3NUsAAtBDrew flash pieces and three essays and I’ve placed four pieces. I’m now a contributor to Preemie Babies 101 thanks to a door opened for me by another writing mom.

As challenging as motherhood is, I’m extremely grateful for the direction it has led me in my writing life. BB won’t be a F3 tornado forever and maybe I’ll crank out two novels a year again like I used to. In the meantime though. I’m going to embrace the insane moments and use them as inspiration for flash fiction and essays. And I’m going to keep working on that middle grade novel. With any luck, it’ll be done by the time BB can read.

 

 

 

 

 

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My first Mother’s Day

This isn’t quite how I imagined my first Mother’s Day to be. There will be no family brunch after a morning spent at a spa. I won’t get breakfast brought to me in bed because my bed is a pull-out couch next a crib in a shared hospital room at Seattle Children’s Hospital. It’s been my home for the last three months since we were transferred from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at another hospital where my son, Theo, spent his first 105 days.

Theo was born at 27 weeks after chest pain sent me to the ER in the middle night and I was diagnosed with HELLP (Hemolysis Elevated Liver enzymes Low Platelet count), a complication of severe pre-eclampsia. Theo spent the first six weeks of his life fighting to breathe and live, and the last five months waiting for his lungs to repair all the damage the ventilators, a superbug, pneumonia, heart surgery, and being born premature did to them.

All of my son’s firsts so far have happened in the hospital: his first bath, his first diaper blowout, his first smile.

All of my firsts as a mom have happened here too: The first time I held him. The first time I heard him cry after six weeks on a ventilator. The first time he tried a bottle.

I feel like a part-time mom. For three weeks last winter he was hooked up to a high-frequency ventilator to keep his lungs open while snowed under with morphine and I couldn’t hold him. He wasn’t even getting milk, just a glorified sugar-water mixture. The extent of my mothering was changing a diaper in the incubator and standing over his medically paralyzed body as I sang softly to the plastic box. The NICU nurses and doctors interacted with him more than I did. They were saving his life. I was just sitting there praying and writing him letters in a journal. Once Theo was healthy enough to hold, I was limited to the time he could spend in my arms- usually only two or three hours once a day.

Somehow Theo beat the odds and made it out of the incubator, out of the NICU and onto the medical floor at SCH. As of last week he no longer needs additional oxygen support. He is thriving on a cocktail of steroids for his lungs, milk and formula, and vitamins, all fed to him these last six months via feeding tube. He now weighs twelve pounds more than he did at birth, and is so robust strangers don’t believe me when I tell them he was premature. His corrected age might be three months, but he’s already sitting up in a high chair and doing his version of The Worm. My right arm has a permanent bruise where he likes to nestle his heavy head when I rock him to sleep.

Now he acts like a normal baby: spitting up on my clothes minutes before I have to leave for work, peeing on the floor/ scale/me whenever he has the chance, and attempting to roll over. Even as he gets healthier, my parenting skills often get benched, partially because the care at SCH is so good. Nurses administer his medication. A nutritionist dictates what and how much he eats. I often wake up in the night to find a nursing assistant or student changing his diaper, quietly like a nursing ninja. We can’t take a walk down the hall or give him a bath without getting approval and putting monitors on standby. Some days it feels like the only decision I get to make for him is what he wears.

For a kid who is constantly poked for blood draws and was tethered to a feeding tube and oxygen for six months, Theo is surprisingly mellow. He laughs when I sing 90’s Hip Hop. He loves to listen to Mariner’s games and stare at the toy fox that hangs from his mobile. He’s met Miss Washington and a few athletes, including Russell Wilson. He participates in rounds every chance he gets, carefully studying the faces of the doctors and residents tasked with helping him get better. When no one is looking, he likes to pull out his feeding tube and wave it like a lasso. Every time he smiles my heart explodes with love for him.

This Mother’s Day might not be what I had in mind when I became a mother. I’m okay with drinking bitter coffee and eating a Starbucks breakfast sandwich by my son’s bed because I know we won’t be living in the hospital forever. In fact, as an early Mother’s Day gift, our doctor gave us the green light to be discharged. My son, who wasn’t expected to live in December, with his perfect bow mouth and tiny, fat fingers, gets to finally come home on Monday. I don’t mind celebrating a day or two late because I’ll finally get to be a full-time parent.

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Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother's Day!

This blast from the past was from Mother’s Day 1990. I was in third grade. It marked the first time I was published and in turn was also the best Mother’s Day gift I’ve ever given my mom. While my storytelling has improved in the last 24 years, I can’t say the same about my drawing

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May 11, 2014 · 1:07 pm