Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Tonight I am snug in my bed, working from my laptop, as my son watches tv with me. My daughter is munching on toast and my dog is desperately trying to catch the crumbs. My husband is adjusting our new tv set in the front room, rejoicing in the fact that I finally got around to purchasing the gift that we've sworn we would buy for the last two years.

I am prone to be a "glass half empty" type of person. I have always struggled with anxiety and depression, and I believe this automatically programs me to look at things from a pessimistic viewpoint. It's what comes naturally to me. Besides, if you already expect the worst, you can't be disappointed, right?

Wrong. One of the biggest life lessons I've learned is that curve balls can be thrown in every direction, in ways that you never imagined. There's no sense in trying to predict the future when you can't. It's impossible.

Today I finished my official work in my interim position, and felt tremendous relief to have that potentially finalized. I say potentially because there is the possibility that there will still not be another person hired to fill that spot when we begin back in January. But for now, things are good. My work looks good, and I'm proud of what I've accomplished.

My son and daughter are both here, ready for Christmas with their dad and me. We've made Christmas cookies and seen lights and gone shopping and wrapped presents and decorated the tree. We've enjoyed each other's company. Gabi is happy and finally flealess, which is a cause for celebration in and of itself.

My family is anxiously awaiting our visit in a few days, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to see them. It will be a time to spend together, building memories and bonding again. My friends are close and healthy. My husband's foot is healing and his mood is good.

Today I went out and did something completely out of character--I purchased a brand new LCD HDTV. A smaller, economical model, but still, a new TV. I worried about the purchase the whole way home and then, after my husband hooked it up, we all rejoiced in a beautiful picture. And I wished my family Merry Christmas, and my husband Happy Birthday, and both of us Happy Anniversary...all of the occasions we have been planning this purchase and never followed through.

My cup is half full, like most people's. But I'm blessed. And I am determined, as I continue on this journey called my life, to recognize the half-full blessing of the glass God has given me more often. I am blessed, and so thankful.

God bless us, every one.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Christ in Me

Like many people, the holidays are a bittersweet time for me. Some days I am immensely grateful for all that I have, and others I feel overwhelmed and burdened. Today was a day that seemed difficult to feel grateful. I recognized the depression and vowed to pull myself out of it. So, mustering as much excitement as I possibly could, I roused my children and we decorated the tree. Hubby put on his version of christmas music (cue Cartman of South Park trying to sing O Holy Night!) and we hung our ornaments. After, my daughter and I decided to take a ride to look at Christmas lights. I had found a CD of christmas music I purchased last year that hadn't been opened, so we opened it up and sang along as we drove and admired the lights.

We were nearly home when one of my favorites, "Breath of Heaven" recorded by Amy Grant, came on. I'm not a huge fan of Amy Grant by any means, but this particular song strikes me every time I listen to it. The fear, the humility, the need that Mary feels to live up to God's expectation of her is extraordinarily captured in the lyrics of the song. As we listened, my daughter commented, "This is so pretty, Mom."

Tonight, for the first time, I came to understand this song in a new way. Here are a portion of the lyrics (again, so I'm not infringing on copyright, this is from Breath of Heaven recorded by Amy Grant)

I am waiting
In a silent prayer
I am frightened
By the load I bear
In a world as cold as stone
Must I walk this path alone?

As I listened to these words, I began to cry. These words so describe my experiences with my own son. The responsibility that I bear in caring for him, in worrying that I will not be able to fulfill God's desires for him. That I will fail him, and fail God. And in that moment I suddenly realized that we all are carrying a bit of Christ within us. The part that we view as our role in this world, our responsibility to God, is the Christ within us. We can all relate to Mary and her frightening, painful journey.

Do you wonder
As you watch my face
If a wiser one
Should have had my place?
But I offer all I am
For the mercy of your plan.
Help me be strong
Help me be
Help me.

The prayer I have whispered so many nights over the last nine years. Certainly my child is no Christ child. But he IS God's child. And I worry desperately that I will fail him. That I will flounder and fall and come short on God's yardstick.

Mary prayed to God for strength. For hope. She relied on God to hold things together when it got rough. She trusted that He hadn't created this miracle for nothing. That despite the pain and stigma it was bound to cause her, she would be protected, "mother of all mothers". And it occurs to me, if Mary could trust God with her son, why can't I trust Him with mine?

Certainly my son is not the only bit of Christ I carry with me. There are many other things that I nurse inside my heart, that I feel God is guiding if I let Him. Letting someone else take the wheel? Well that's the hard part, isn't it?

Many years ago I attended a Unity church. Every Sunday when it was time to greet our neighbors, we would say, "The Christ in me greets the Christ in you and we work together for the glory of God." Tonight, for the first time, I think I truly, truly understand what that means.

Who or what is your Christ child? And do you trust God enough to lean on Him for strength to bring His plan to fruition, or do you flounder like me? Trust is hard. But in a season of miracles, maybe it's possible.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The man with the bag

Anyone who has been following this blog knows by now that I don't deal well with stress. They also know that I have a ton of it in my daily life. Unfortunately, one of the worst parts of stress at this time of year is feeling like the holidays are just passing me by. I have to force myself to find time to do things that should be fun! I remember when celebration and expectation of Christmas began right after Thanksgiving. Now I can barely look up a few days before in order to trim the tree and have everything ready. It seems like a huge rush. I worry that my kids will grow up without the magic and wonder that I enjoyed so much as a child.

So with all that in mind, here is MY letter to Santa this year. Enjoy.

Dear Santa,
Well, it's that time of year again. I wonder if you ever get tired of people making demands on you? I sure do. Maybe that could be my Christmas present this year--24 hours with no demands! Could you make that happen?

Remember the year that I figured out you had the same handwriting as my dad? I was about four years old. That was the same year I didn't get a Baby Alive. God how I wanted that doll! I wanted that doll SO much that I almost added it to my daughter's list last year. Unfortunately, Baby Alive's don't go over as well with the nine year old set as they do with the five year old set. But hey, that's how sweet dear daughter got that lite-brite, remember? You and I worked together to make that one happen. Another toy lost from my childhood but revisited upon my own child! I love how that works.

Santa, I know you get a lot of requests this time of year. The lucky kids ask for things like electronics or games or even stuffed animals. The kids who have struggles ask for mommy and daddy to love each other, for Grandma to get better, for a sister or a brother to have enough food. And we grownups ask for the truly impossible--we add things to your list like charity, kindness, peace. Can you really carry peace around in your bag?

When I think of you, Santa, I think of the magic you bring to Christmas. The joy and wonder of the impulsive kindness that people can do for one another. How capable we are of sharing, even in difficult times. Of the gentle nature that lies within so many of us when we are touched, when we are reminded of the magic of Christmas. I know you're a secular guy, but you still bring forth some amazingly reverent actions in people. And because of that, you live on, don't you?

So this year, Santa, I'm giving a gift to you. I'm going to purposely carry on good works with the magical spirit of you. So that another child can believe in you for a little longer, so that one more mother or father can afford to keep your spirit alive for their family. Don't ask me how I will do my work, as I keep secrets much like you! But suffice it to say that I have a plan, just as you do, to bring joy to people I don't know but for a momentary crossing, much as this letter.

Thanks, Santa, for being such a great guy. Thanks for the great gifts you gave me as a kid and for the thoughtful (ahem) gifts you continue to give my children now. But most of all, thanks for being around to give us something magical to believe in. You rock.

Much love,
P.S.--I know there's just GOT to be a way to fit a new TV through the chimney!!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Faith in the Face of Cystic Fibrosis

Several years ago, I got a job teaching preschool at the local YMCA. I was thrilled, because at the time the Y paid a higher rate for preschool teachers than most local centers. I was an afternoon teacher at the time (read: not very skilled!) and teamed with a mother and daughter who taught mornings. It was a two-year old classroom, and there were close to twenty children. I had never encountered anything like it. These women had organization down to a science. The children knew exactly what they were supposed to do and when. These teachers spent the majority of the day laughing and enjoying their work. Frustration with children wasn't really an option--if a child got off task or was having a difficult day, the teachers worked hard to help the child get back on track, and knew that a sense of humor was vital for a successful classroom. This was such a new concept for me! Over the five years I worked in that position, I learned more than I could have imagined. I became extremely close with both women. Eventually I moved into the morning spot with the daughter. She and I became close friends, and I still consider her mother to be one of the wisest people I've ever met. I had no idea when I took that position that it would literally change my life, but it did.

The daughter--her name is Christy--always treated me like an equal in the classroom. Our friendship became extremely close. She had a toddler at that time, a beautiful little girl that I'll call Hannah. As Christy and I spent more time together, I got to know Hannah well also. She was a beautiful child and loved her parents. Blonde hair often in pigtails, she would hop all over the building with a contagious laugh. After a bit of time our classroom was split into two, and Hannah was one of the children in my class. I'll never forget the day that little two-year old Hannah climbed into my teacher's chair when my back was turned. Looking at her mother across the room, she whispered "Shh!" as she began to explore the desk. That was about the time I turned around and caught her. Fighting the urge to laugh, I redirected her back to appropriate activities.

Christy became pregnant with her second child around that time. She was excited, as every new mother should be, but not everyone shared her excitement. You see, Hannah had been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that affects breathing and digestion. The chances were small that this new baby would also have CF, but some people felt they were chances that shouldn't have been risked at all. One of the things I understood about Christy was that she refuse to live her life in fear. She had, and still has, a tremendous faith in God. She refers to fear as darkness, and was determined to live her life in the light. That included believing that whatever happened with this new baby, God would have his finger on it. Everything would be okay.

When Elizabeth was born, she was a complete momma's girl! She was also very particular about a LOT of things--if you held her, you had to keep moving, or she would cry. She also preferred alternative rock music. Any other kind of music would bring about an immediate onslaught of crying. Elizabeth also had CF.

Over the years, Christy experienced life the same way most of us do--wonderful gifts mixed in with moments of pain. I helped her through a painful divorce. She listened as I struggled with as a new mother with my children. If ever I have a soul sister, it is Christy. She knows me better than just about anyone on this planet. Our friendship is one of those rare gifts where we can pick up where we left off, whenever that is. I have beautiful memories of taking her daughters to theme parks, to the pool, even to my house for fun afternoons at the beach. Christy visited my in my hometown a few years ago and got to meet my children. I remember at one point, my daughter was having a particularly rough time and Christy told her she understood her. "I've got one at home just like you," she responded. She won my daughter over with a few yoga moves and her cheerful laugh.

As hard as it is to believe, Hannah is now seventeen and Elizabeth, fourteen. Over the last year or so, Hannah has had increasing complications with her lung functions as a result of CF. A month ago, after visiting with specialists, Hannah and Christy were told that Hannah is in need of a double lung transplant. Without one, she has limited time left. It's a cruel reminder of how life is not fair, how nothing is guaranteed.

As a parent, my immediate response was fear and sadness for my friend and for the little girl I remember so fondly. I cannot imagine being in the position that Christy is now facing so bravely, nor Hannah, who understands the doctor's prognosis. Christy continued telling me what Hannah had told her, though, and it shed tremendous light on this phenomenal mother. Hannah told her mother, "Just think, Momma, I'll be able to dance and exercise and do all the things I couldn't do before. And if I die, it will be okay, because my life won't end there."

I don't know if Hannah is afraid of what her future holds. But she believes her mother. She believes the principles her mother has taught her and has lived by for Hannah's entire life. She knows her mother is there for her and will continue to hold her hand through this journey. I know my friend is in pain but her faith continues to be one that amazes me. In so many ways she is my hero. Even if the face of losing her child, she continues to believe that God is working in her life. And because of her unyielding faith, her daughter has grown up to believe the same, and to be comforted in the face of such tremendous pain.

I often think of how naive I was when I accepted that job so many years ago. I cannot imagine my life without being impacted by Christy and her family. She has shaped who I am as much as my own family has. I often wonder if Hannah remembers any of the same memories I do, if she knows how much she and her sister are loved by someone across the country. I believe, though, that Hannah knows how precious she is, because she has been raised by someone who rejoices in life and refuses to live in the darkness that so many of us are susceptible to. Christy and Hannah and Elizabeth remind me of the purpose of life--of its joy and beauty and wonder even in the face of horrible possibilities. And because of them, I learned that God had a finger on my life as well...and He still does.

Monday, December 14, 2009

LOCI: My Christmas gift to me :-)

Sometimes in a blog, you just have to lighten the mood a little bit. So tonight, I shall once again pay homage to my favorite show, Law and Order Criminal Intent. If you feel you can no longer read any more of my ramblings about my deep fascination with this show, feel free to exit NOW.

A year or so ago, one of my wonderful preschool families gifted me with an AMEX gift card. As I mentioned in one of my recent blog posts, I am so tightfisted with money that I will gladly walk around with holes in my socks so that I can buy something cool for one of my kids. Screwy, I know. But I finally decided, ENOUGH! I was going to have Criminal Intent, Season 3. So I used my year-old AMEX card to buy it. (Now would be the logical time to question why I didn't buy boots with it, but that's another story.)

Season Three arrived and I was thrilled! I examined the box, read every description, handled it as though it were made of china. I'm a nut, I know. After I read all the synopses, I realized none of my favorite episodes occur in season three! How was that possible??? I mean, I was well acquainted with all of the episodes, and I liked them all fine, but none of them were my favorites! Probably because half of the season features Samantha Buck in place of Kathryn Erbe, since Erbe was pregnant at the time in real life. Now the best thing about Samantha Buck is her hair. And I'm a woman, so that says something about her acting ability. I don't know how she got that role. Casting couch? Who knows? Does that count as slander? At any rate, she does have some very pretty red hair. If I was a redhead, I would like to have that red hair. But I'm not. And seven episodes of a red haired, snotty twenty-something who doesn't know how to carry a scene with Bobby Goren is MORE than enough. In her next to last episode, Goren frustratedly tosses a ball of paper at Eames' empty chair, then turns to Buck's character and announces the reason the perp is committing crimes is yearning--he's missing his partner. By that point, weren't we all? God Bless the fact that pregnancies inevitably end, and Kathryn Erbe came back. Alex Eames rocks. As much as I love D'Onofrio, he can't carry the show himself. Erbe's balance and chemistry with him makes for great TV.

So a week or so ago, I decided to use another gift card I had been given to complete my collection. Season Four was released on November 24th and shockingly, I had denied myself. Well NO MORE! Rebel that I am, I used my other gift card to purchase season four. (Again, why not boots? Mainly because Best Buy doesn't carry them!)

Oh. My. God. Season four has about all my favorite episodes EVER. I cannot WAIT to dig into it over the holidays. See, I can't do it YET because I have to work my way through season three. There must be a method to the madness! DVDs must be watched in a particular order. If that doesn't make sense to you, you're probably a reasonable person. Not me.

With the end of Criminal Intent arriving this spring--or the end in my mind, anyway, because what's the point of a series continuing when the stars of the show are no longer on it?--I think I can rest easily. Four seasons of amazingly brilliant acting, clever dialogue, intriguing plotlines are at my fingertips. I have been reading blogs that are keeping up with current projects of D'Onofrio and Erbe, and I'm pleased that the actors are clearly moving on and pursuing projects that are fulfilling to them. And quite honestly, as much as I will miss the magic these two actors brought to the screen together, nothing quite captured the spirit of Criminal Intent the way the first four seasons did. No brutally horrible soap opera-esque happenings in detectives' lives. No bopping between two teams of detectives and having to muddle through one set of detectives so that you can be treated to Team A the next week. No trying to rein in Goren's character, or making Eames pathetically stoic. Just two detectives working the job. Clever and unique and dark. Irony and sarcasm and psychopathology. That's what I love about the soul of that show.

Happy Holidays to myself. I can't wait to sit wearing my new boots and watching Goren and Eames bust yet one more idiot. Simple pleasures for sure.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


What a lovely day yesterday!

I'm known around my own house for being an eternally pitiful martyr. Everyone comes before I do. If I have five bucks left in my pocket, it will go for something for the kids or the dog before me. I can be running around with holes in my shoes but that last five bucks will buy my daughter a scarf or my son a hot chocolate. My husband gets frustrated with me--so much so, that two years ago he bought me an ipod because I never spend money on myself. I was thrilled, of course, but it didn't change my ways. For Mother's Day, he often buys my presents from the drug store. He'll buy things like Neutrogena body wash or Pantene shampoo, because I won't spend the money on those small pleasures for myself, unless I get a super excellent deal somehow. I get regular scoldings from my sweet husband and my mother, and even my kids have started to notice and make comments about how I "deserve" certain things. But I'm always worried about making sure everyone else has what they need, which often means I go without.

For the last year and a half, I have wanted some boots. I have priced probably four hundred pairs of boots; compared leather to suede to manmade materials; figured out shipping prices and what would go with which outfits and the best colors for the majority of clothing I wear. I have turned boot shopping into a serious intellectual exercise. But last week was the final straw. It was so cold outside that I couldn't take my class out to play for most of the week. We had highs of 30 degrees. Luckily I had invested in a wool coat last year but my feet--along with my head and neck--were freezing, due to no boots, no scarf, and no hat. Even I had to face the reality that at my age it was time to make some concessions. I HAD to buy some boots.

And yesterday, I did. A beautiful pair of casual tan short boots, lined with fleece, nice and cozy and just what I need. Even better, they were originally sixty-five dollars. I paid twenty.

Feeling like a rock star, I continued on to another store to try on some clothing. I wear a larger size so I have to shop in specialty stores. I intended to buy some warmer tops, which I certainly need, and was heading toward the dressing room when the shoe display caught my eye. Chocolate brown skechers were on the shelf, and my heart skipped three beats.

Now, you have to understand that I have wanted a pair of Skechers for three years. It's hard to find them in a wider size, much less a price I can afford, especially with us down to one income currently. I also adore chocolate brown as a color. So when I saw the Skechers, I heard them calling my name and I was compelled, like children following the Pied Piper of Hamlin, to follow.

Skechers in chocolate brown, check. Skechers in MY size, check. Skechers on SALE, check! My pulse was racing. I had a coupon for fifteen dollars off, bringing the price down to an I-can't-possibly-turn-this-down twenty dollars. Ten minutes later I had no sweater but was the proud owner of a brand new pair of beautiful chocolate brown skechers.

Damn, it felt good to indulge myself. And it felt good to have new, comfortable, stylish shoes!

So my only question now is, which pair do I wear tomorrow?

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I am feeling incredibly melancholy this afternoon. Why? I have a million reasons why. It's cold outside. The dog's eyes are itchy. My son is closed up in his room. Some kid gave my daughter a dry erase board and now I feel indebted. I have a ton of work to get done, and I don't feel like working. Those are all of the minor reasons. You know, the little things that just seem to push you over the edge when you're already teetering. Oh, and did I mention Gabi's butt stinks?

A month ago I made a decision not to pursue my interim position as a permanent one. I know I made the right choice for me and my family. I want to pursue my Ph.D. and have time for my family, and there's no way I could do those things with the amount of responsibility this job would entail. But now the hiring committee is closing in; they've narrowed it down to two candidates. I will meet both of them next week, and one will become my new supervisor. The person they hire will have complete control over defining my position, the way things are run at my school, the atmosphere and the setting. As much as I wish I was an eternal optimist, I'm not; I'm an eternal worrier. I've been at this job for ten years and I know it and I'm comfortable with it and I think I've mentioned it before--I. DON'T. LIKE. CHANGE.

My husband still has a fractured foot and we are down to one income right now. In addition, some of his school loans have come due. Not only were we strapped before this, now we have an additional hefty amount due each month that we simply cannot afford. I realize that nearly half of the country is in the same situation we are in--falling short on their payments, scraping to make ends meet. We need new cars (they're ten years old), new clothes (I'm freezing to death because I have one--yes, one--sweater), new furniture (the couch has a collapsed cushion and rips throughout the back of it). Our TVs are older than our children. Now of course one doesn't need a TV, a couch, or even a new car to have a quality life. But I'd certainly prefer not to be in DEBT when I don't even have those things! It's not like we're in debt because we went out and bought a new Mercedes. Or even a decent size house. Cripes!

All of these worries add up and weigh heavily on me. A person I greatly respect recently told me that I needed to make a decision not to think about those things. Just STOP thinking. It's such a foreign concept to me that I can't even begin to imagine what my life would be like if I just refused to think about anything worrisome. I'm sure it would be much more productive. Much happier. But I don't know how to live that way.

Today was also the last day of the semester for my littlest class in school. I teach two preschool classes, and my youngest ones finished the semester today. They have made tremendous progress developmentally throughout the semester. Some parents are so absolutely kind that it never ceases to amaze me. As beautiful and thoughtful as the presents are (and don't get me wrong because I love presents as much as the next gal!), the cards are what bring tears to my eyes. To have people say how much they appreciate and love you, how their children love you, is such an incredible feeling. What I can never convey adequately is that I feel incredibly blessed to work with these families. These children bring smiles and laughter to my life every day. To be a part of their developmental processes is nothing short of amazing.

Many of my undergraduate students are leaving too. Graduation is a bittersweet moment. I get to walk with some amazing people for a short while as they begin their journeys in teaching. Now is the time that most of our paths will separate. I come to care for my students deeply--their professional development and growth means so much to me. I watch these young adults enter our program with high hopes, simplistic attitudes, and unwavering enthusiasm. I watch them leave as sophisticated, aware, skilled beginning teachers who are ready to take on the world. Teachers who, for the most part, believe that children are valuable and unique and should be honored as such. Teachers who understand that the process of teaching and learning intermingles, is a reciprocal relationship. And when they tell me that I have impacted upon them, helped them figure out who they are and where they are going, there is no greater reward.

So in this long post of melancholy, my regrets are these. That I cannot control the world around me and guarantee that things will go as I wish. That my time with people I grow to care about deeply is meant to end. That the control I wish I could exercise upon my world isn't meant to be. And that my faith--in both myself and God--is miserably slight at the moment. I don't know the answer to changing that. But I am hoping with the dust settles that my regrets will be few and the contentment I feel, much greater.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

There's No Place Like Home

Home is such a lovely place.

We live in a suburban area and rent our house. It's probably less than a thousand square feet for the four of us and our dog, so it's a tight fit. Two tweens and two adults in a small space can often lead to conflict! None of us are terrifically organized, so the house tends to stay in some level of disarray most of the time. The pictures need to be dusted, the mail constantly clutters the top of a bookshelf, and there's always someone's shoes or coat on the floor in the front room. Our house is probably thirty or forty years old. We need new EVERYTHING--my husband just finished school recently and our budget has been tight. We need a new couch, a new bed, new bath accessories.

I'm sure other people would walk into our home and think, "Thank GOD I don't live here!" But to me, it's home. It's comfy. I like the feeling I have when I come home. It's one of belonging. My things are here, my family is here. It's where I belong.

My son came home four days ago. Without tears, without overwhelming excitement. Instead, he has said several times, "I missed this place." I know that feeling. Every year, twice a year, I go visit my family fourteen hundred miles away. We stay for extended visits and I love every minute of it. I am very close to my parents and cherish every minute I get to spend with them. Their home overlooks the water, and is beautiful. I would describe it as elegant but lived-in. The kind of place where you are struck with the beauty of it but it's not so beautiful you're afraid to put your feet up and relax. I love those visits and I think they do too--we all get the opportunity to relax in a beautiful atmosphere with things we don't have at home. The big screen TV, the nice car, the lovely accents on the walls. But when I get home after every visit, there's something inside of me that sighs, like my son, and thinks, "I missed this place."

In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy had the opportunity to stay in the Emerald City, a land of beauty and pampering. Instead, she chose to return to Kansas, with Auntie Em and Uncle Henry, with the old farmhouse and the mean old lady on the bicycle, stealing away dogs. Why? Well, as she said, "There's no place like home."

Now that my son is back our home is changing. I'm acutely aware of his presence and how it has been missing for the last several months. How wonderful it feels to see the familiar persistence to tasks he brings; to hear his explanations to his little sister about how to play a game or make something work; to give him a hug or even a smile. And I'm aware of how difficult it has been for him to be away from his home--his anchor--for the last several months. I know with his illness, it is quite likely he will return to a residential facility in the future. But for now, I'm so glad he's home. Because there's no place like it in the world.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Tomorrow's the big day.

Tomorrow I bring my son home. He's excited, nervous, worried, and relieved. My feelings echo his. He has spent eight of the eleven months of this year living in other places. His homecoming is greatly anticipated but frightening as well. What if he can't sustain? What if the old behavior returns? What if he struggles and I can't help him?

Yesterday I found out that the day treatment program we had planned to send him to did not have an opening for him. Moreover, the person I spoke with was extremely rude to me, which triggered my internal Mama Bear. If you don't have one, you can't begin to know what it's like to have that come into play, and you probably don't want to! Mama Bear is instinctive and doesn't react to logic. She reacts to feeling, to emotion, in a raw way that only a parent can relate to. After speaking to the day treatment program and feeling my Mama Bear rise, I hung up the phone and began to cry. And boy, did I cry. I cried off and on for three hours. I bawled into my pillow in my office couch (how embarrassing) until I decided that my pity party wasn't going to get me anywhere. Then I decided to put on my big girl panties and go register my son at the neighborhood school.

I was shocked and startled by my emotional response. At no point had I expected to burst into tears, to dread my son's return, to feel such anger and frustration and sadness! Then the guilt followed. What mother dreads her own son's return? Only a mother who has lived with this disorder can understand the complexity of loving a child who can flip between an angel and a demon at the drop of a dime.

And thus I feel my own fragility. Delicately balancing between my unconditional love for my child and my own human limits, I am straddling a line that I can hardly admit to. I hate the idea of being so precariously situated. Of having my strength and my determination, my love and connection to this child challenged. But it will be. It is the nature of attachment disorder.

So often we see fragility as a weakness. But tonight, as we are entering the holiday season, I am trying to remember the beauty that often comes with that which is fragile. The delicate ornaments we hang on our tree, the tiny lights that together create beautiful glows, even the fragile little baby that God gifted to us remind us that fragility is not something to despise, but something to revere.

The fragility of my son's soul is something that I aim to cultivate, to nurture, to cherish. And although this journey is difficult, I hope that I can begin to see my own fragility as something that is valuable and precious, rather than a weakness to rid myself of. Our fragile selves, our parts most vulnerable, are those which make us most human. And perhaps those parts are the ones that deserve the most protection.

Just a thought.