For Maddie

Every parent has felt it.

The fear.

The crippling fear that the worst will happen to a child.


I sometimes irrationally have pangs of that kind of crippling terror. It's always momentary, and it's usually me being silly. Maybe Alexis actually does the unbelievable and naps for more than an hour. Maybe she stays in her own bed the whole night. Or maybe she catches a cold and I just automatically momentarily jump to worst case scenario.

There was one time when it wasn't such a momentary thing. When Alexis was two months old, she fell ill with a crazy high fever. We battled the illness at home for several days, but when she stopped eating, we had to rush her to the emergency room. We watched in paralyzing fear as a team of nurses and technicians pinned down her tiny body to start an IV. I can still hear her screams when I close my eyes and relive that horrifying moment. We held her tight as she slept 48 hours straight, not even waking to eat. We watched as test after test came back negative, and listened as doctors said it was "just a virus--there's nothing we can do."

The lowest point was when a Resident came in to check on her, listened to her heart for a moment, and said, "Huh. Did you know she has a heart murmur?" We didn't, and we were paralyzed in fear as we waited hours for a more seasoned physician to come in and tell us that it was likely an innocent murmur brought on by the fever. I don't think either Mr. Husband or I breathed all through the tests that were done to confirm that diagnosis.

But, we were lucky. It was nothing. Alexis came home after four days in the hospital and was no worse for the wear.

Heather and Mike of The Spohrs are Multiplying were not so fortunate. They lost their sweet 17-month old Maddie yesterday.

I can't even imagine.

I don't want to.

In lieu of flowers, Heather and Mike have asked for donations to the March of Dimes. We've made a donation, but I want to do more.

If you are in Pittsburgh, please consider joining me in the March for Babies on May 9th along the North Shore in Pittsburgh. You can join the team here.

If you aren't in Pittsburgh, there are teams forming all over the United States. You can visit Sarcastic Mom for a running list.

If you can't walk and you have a few bucks you could spare, please consider making a donation. Every penny helps.


Spring Flowers on the Brain

In my perfect little world, which exists only in my head, I spend all day every Saturday playing in my garden. The weather is always a perfectly sunny 75 degrees, with a gentle breeze blowing from the West and making the windchimes dance.

I start by cleaning the pond, and it's a simple task devoid of any rocks falling into the water, fish freaking me out by swimming up to my arm and making fishy faces, and pockets of stinky black muck coming up through the siphon.

There are no weeds to pull in this perfect little scenario, but there are over-zealous perennials trying to take over the world. There are so many of them that once I'm done cleaning the pond, I have no choice but to spend a few hours transplanting healthy chunks of happy perennials to new parts of the yard.

I never run out of space for new plants, and every single one is vigorous and healthy. The only insects I encounter are a few friendly spiders and maybe a couple of cute little ladybugs.

It's a perfect little day in my perfect little garden, full of ample time to sit on the stained concrete bench and gaze at the pond, while drinking in the pleasant scents of roses and alyssum.

In reality, I get maybe an hour per month to play in my garden. I spend my hour rushing to prune, feverishly trying to get the pond cleanish, and pretending not to see the weeds and pesty insects that are everywhere. It's a damage control sort of hour, not at all an enjoyment sort of hour.

Of course, the reason for all this is Alexis. As much as I adore her, and I do, she is a giant ball of time-suck. Her refusal to sit on the bench and enjoy the garden like I want her to is often the reason I end up giving up on trying to watch her and work in the garden at the same time. I mean, not even duct tape can help with the situation.

After three years of neglecting the garden in lieu of keeping the kid happy and entertained, I've decided to fight fire with fire. Or, to be more exact, to fight fire with zinnias.

Enter, the seedlings.

Alexis and I worked together to carefully plant a couple of packs of flower seeds last week. I am hoping that by getting her involved early in the process, she will maintain some sort of level of interest for more than ten minutes.

So far, so good. Alexis has asked if her flowers have finished growing yet at least 4,682,894 times in the past week. She constantly walks over to them to lift the little greenhouse lid and check on them. She nags me daily that they need water, or sun, or a kiss.

She even talks to them.

Here's to hoping I at least get a chance to put mulch out this year. I'm pretty sure the hydrangeas would appreciate it.


Not Whining. Nope.

I have taken a vow to stop whining about the weather. I can't control it, so I need to just go with it. Sure, when it's between Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day, I'm likely to be wishing for snow, but that's not really whining.


Not whining.

And now, snow in April? Why would I whine about that?

Just because it was 70 degrees yesterday and we spent hours riding bikes all around Pittsburgh doesn't mean I shouldn't expect it to get below freezing tonight. It doesn't mean I shouldn't be fine with potentially waking up to an inch of snow. It doesn't mean I shouldn't be prepared for a total of two inches of fluffy white stuff in the next 24 hours.

Except, I'm not prepared. I packed away my winter coat a LONG time ago. I am nothing, if not stubborn. And unprepared.

Nope, not whining.

And if I did kinda-sorta-maybe mention to Alexis that it was a little cold outside? It would have kinda-sorta-maybe done no good.

She told me to put on a coat.