Happy Birthday, my daughter!

cupcakes-1163242-mMy Shelly,

So many thoughts and feelings have been circling my mind the past few weeks as my daughter will be reaching a new milestone: She will be turning 10 years old, I have been looking for the perfect birthday gifts for her for a while now.

As cliché as it may sound, it feels like just yesterday you merged into our life. When you arrived to this world, you were tiny at 6 pounds and 17-3/4 inches. Your size didn’t reflect the impact you would make on our lives.

I remember vividly bringing you home from the hospital. Daddy and I walked through the door, carrying you in your car seat, and brought you to your new room. We labored so hard to design it and custom-paint it, just for you. We placed the car seat in the middle of the room and looked around. You made it complete.

Daddy and I shared our life together 9 years before you joined us, and after many challenges, obstacles and one big triumph, you arrived! We couldn’t imagine more love and more light was possible, but you showed us it was.

Saying that “I love you from the bottom of my heart, with every fiber of my being” doesn’t adequately capture how I feel about you as my feelings are far beyond that. I love you not only as my child — my daughter — but also as the being that you are: the beautiful soul that resides inside your body.

For my daughter’s birthday I made her a wonderful cake. Thankfully I took a cake decorating class and learned a lot of tips and trick for that day. I was the best gift I could give her, she loved it.

You remind me of what it was like to be a child. You remind me of my own beautiful childhood. You remind me of what it’s like to have your entire life, your future ahead of you. It makes me want to push harder to achieve my goals — I want to show you it’s all possible.

I want you to be proud of me as your mother, as a woman.

I love that you are so confident, not in the arrogant sense, but in your core. You are content. You are comfortable in your own skin. That’s a gift most people strive to achieve throughout their entire lives.

I love that your heart is always in the right place with good intentions and actions for those around you.

As frustrating as it may be for me, I love that you lose your patience so easily at times when things don’t go your way. It reminds me of my own faults. It makes me look inside and want to improve.

I love your shy, crooked smile. You are not one to seek attention as you are quiet and humble.

I love that you are mature and responsible beyond your age. You make it easy for me to be your mom.

I love that you enjoy spending time with me, just the two of us sharing quiet, precious moments together.

I love that your imagination and creativity run wild. You have a passion for writing and art, and I adore seeing your world through it all.

Effie2 (2)My beautiful girl, you are 10 years old! How privileged and grateful I feel to be your mom.

I know that as the years will pass, we will face many challenges together. You may not always agree with me. You may not always like me. And I may not always be right. I wish that through it all, we will remain close, open and honest with one another. I hope our bond will always prevail and show us the way. My hopes and dreams for you, my girl, are that you will share your inner beauty and talents with the rest of the world, spread your wings as far as you can and always know that you are loved.

I love you — and beyond! — always and forever,

Angels on the Devil’s Backbone

I took a break from my worry and hiked the Devil’s Backbone in Loveland, Colorado. I saw a beautiful family; they were about 400 yards ahead of me, if you uncurled a track and rolled it out. This family screamed AP, although the only noises I heard were tree swallows singing, the quiet meadow hum, and the sizzle of cicadas.

The Devil's Backbone in Loveland, Colorado
The Devil’s Backbone


The mother was wearing her newborn in a pink print sling, her hiking boots anchoring her strong mama legs; the father was holding his three-year-old son’s hand. They were beautiful.

Family hiking on trail
Family hiking on trail


I was visiting my mom in May of 2011. She was in the hospital, facing death.

We had had a scary close call. It came late Thursday evening at 10 p.m. from the nursing home. “Megan, this is John from Berthoud Living Center. Your mom has a high fever and is non-responsive. It doesn’t look good. You should get out here as soon as you can.”

I was on a plane Saturday.

My son had just turned one and we were actively breastfeeding. I say we because breastfeeding is a symbiotic relationship. He was not only nursing, I was nursing him.

I had no choice but to pump, pray, and get on the plane.

I was desperately sad in so many hollows of my heart — cracks and fissures leaked for my mom, for myself, for my son. I had to leave my son to go to my mother.

I hated leaving abruptly. I was heartbroken that our symbiotic relationship would end. I felt as if my breast milk had tears.

We scurried around to pack my things and deal with last minute travel arrangements.

I took my shattered heart and stitched it together with my son’s laughter and my husband’s voice. My husband drove me to the airport in Raleigh. We had a forty-five minute drive. I had planned an attached good-bye — if there is such a thing. I planned what I thought was going to be our last breastfeeding session for early morning before we left. I was going to hold him closely in my arms, caress his loose curls, stare into his azure eyes, and fossilize this bond.

That didn’t happen.

What did happen was I jumped in the back seat of the car on the way to the airport and stuck my boob in his face, draining each engorged breast while he was strapped into his car seat as my husband drove ten miles above the speed limit.

This was it. I was heartbroken again. I had planned it differently.

The thing is, it doesn’t work the way we plan.

Damn it all to the Devil’s Backbone.

“Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” – John Lennon


I eventually caught up with the family on the trail at the Devil’s Backbone.

Newborn in a sling
Newborn in a sling


We stopped at the overlook and took in the beauty that is Northern Colorado. I had needed to get some time in just for myself. I needed to strive for balance, although it seemed in vain. I chatted with the family. They had never heard of Attachment Parenting, even though they were so very attached. The mama wore her baby, they both valued touch and responsiveness, and the mama was breastfeeding both children. We chatted some more and walked together to the lookout of the valley.


valley lookout

I am not saying there is a checklist or a way to qualify as an AP parent. I believe if you are trying to build and foster a connection with your children, then you are an AP parent. Many families that practice what is labeled AP have never heard of it. Sometimes a rose is a rose is a rose.

Life doesn’t happen in checklists, plans, or labels; it happens outside of those arenas — when the running track we race around is uncurled metaphorically and we just walk – we just be.

family walking back
Family walking back


I am thinking about this beautiful area now in Colorado — in the midst of its own natural disaster, in the midst of its own heartbreak.

Worry. Heartache. Joy. Such a cycle I live by as a mama, as a wife, as an aunt, as a sister. I am still a daughter, always will be, but my mama is in heaven now with my father. I wanted to call my mom desperately the other day, almost dialing the number I can not bear to delete on my cell phone.

My mom made it through that big scare in 2011. She was hospitalized just in the nick of time.

When we finally got her admitted to the hospital, she was hallucinating and said to me, “There are some folks from heaven here who want me to go with them.”

I said, “Tell them to take a number; I just got to town.”

She was dehydrated and had sepsis from a very bad urinary tract infection. She passed away on Christmas Eve the next year from sepsis.

My son and I continued to breastfeed for a year and half more after I returned.

We just can’t plan for it all. Life happens. As Charlotte Perkins Gilman, who wrote “The Yellow Wallpaper” and had postpartum psychosis, said, “Life is a verb, not a noun.”

So I pray, smile, live, worry, pray, smile, live, and worry. I hope, wish, dream, be. I am going to harvest my worry and harvest my hope. What else can I do?

Colorado Beauty

There are ways to help Colorado. You can Google “Colorado Flooding: Ways to Help.” There are several links to various organizations, including The Red Cross. There is also Facebook group called Colorado Flood Relief.



Red Rose of St. Therese