Best-Case Scenario

“Once she was born I was never not afraid,” said writer Joan Didion about her daughter. Children make me nervous. All of them, and they always have. Even my own. One, out of all of the children in the world, terrifies me. She strikes a physical fear reaction in my body. Because of her, I…

Best Laid Plans

“What are we going to do today?” is usually one of the first things out of my youngest son August’s mouth every morning. I know it is my fault. I am a planner and far too often set the tone of the day with a schedule. Already, he is most comfortable when he knows what…

A Picture’s Worth

“Where is Gus?” Jack asked when he got in the car after school this week. “He’s home with your dad. Ellie and I just finished at her doctor’s appointment, and I didn’t have time to go get him before it was time to pick you up from school,” I said. He looked over the edge…

Pulling it all together

I pulled my life together enough to mail Christmas cards this year. A Black Friday deal in my email inbox caught me at just the right moment, and I was able to make it happen for the first time in my whole life. I forced the kids to get dressed for a picture – what…

The Cheerleader

In the summer of 2017 at about 11 weeks pregnant, I was on an airplane headed home from a work trip when I felt sharp pain in my abdomen. Brushing it off as growing pains, I learned at the next week’s ultrasound that the baby had stopped growing and there was no heartbeat. I was…

Three Little Birds

About 15 years ago, one of my friends went to Jamaica. I don’t still have a lot of relics from that time in my life, but I do have the Bob Marley coffee mug he brought back to me as a souvenir. One side of it has a gold-plated lion, and the other side is…

The Beat Goes On: An Update

This morning I sat in my daughter’s cardiologist’s office while he talked to me about what was wrong with her heart. My husband Ben joined us via Facetime and I held Ellie, who just wanted to hug. We were chest to chest, and I could feel her heart beating while the doctor pointed to the…

Donate Life

Before our daughter was born, my husband and I met with Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency (ARORA) about organ donation. In utero, she was diagnosed with two critical heart defects and Down syndrome. We were told to expect the worst and hope for the best when she was born and to also understand the risks…