Posted by: cck | June 4, 2015

best years of my life

A few weeks ago, I celebrated my eighth wedding anniversary. Right on the heels of Mother’s Day, the two holidays sort of knocked me over with gratitude and hope for the future. Add to it, I was sent a few FB messages from my dad.

My dad, whom I have not engaged in any type of conversation in at least six years, offered up this pearl: “If you’re honest with yourself, you know that’s not true.” This summer marks the ninth year I have been estranged from my parents. It’s not easy, and I certainly wouldn’t say I’d do it all over again. But, the path of my life – and theirs – ended up here: estrangement.

His comment was in response to my belief that my years with my family are the best years of my life. My dad went on to say that the best years of my life were with his family. And I guess that just sums up why it’s impossible to have a relationship with my parents. (Well, that and their belief that I am 100% responsible for this whole estrangement in the first place.) I know it seems small – insignificant really. Of course my father would think the best years of the daughter’s life were spent with him around.

But, they weren’t. Because the best years of my life are still ahead. Each and every day I’m given this incredible, unfathomable gift. I get to be the parent of these two remarkable humans. I get to be the partner of this amazing man. And, I’ll be honest, I’m sad that I don’t get to be a daughter anymore. I don’t get to support my parents – or show them that the gifts they gave me are alive and well. (In all fairness, I’m not sure they could see those gifts on a clear day.)

In my parent’s universe, I have to choose which is best – being a daughter versus being a wife and mother. If I had to choose – if I really had to – I would choose the worst day of being a wife and mother over the best day of being a daughter. There are so few “ands” in their world.

My main parenting goal is to prepare these small, tiny people to leave me. Not to forget about me or disappear into a puff of adulthood, but to take all that I have given them and branch out; to go and get that and.

It’s almost ridiculous when you consider how much effort you put into the acts of parenting. I want these people that I carried inside of my body to leave me and forge their own destiny. I do, really. After the exchange with my dad, my husband consoled me a bit. He told me there’s absolutely nothing he wants more for our daughters than the dream that their best years are not with us.

My eldest daughter loves to clink glasses and exclaim, “Cheers!” After one to many viewings of Sleeping Beauty, she also adds to her toast, “To the future!” It’s delightful. It’s my reminder that my best days are still coming; that I have been promised a full life by my creator. Never dull, rarely easy, but completely filled with joy.

Posted by: cck | June 3, 2015


She’s three, y’all. A big, brash, world-at-her-feet, three year old.

She sparkles, this daughter of mine. She’s inquisitive and curious. She loves telling stories. She’s got a new trick of running away from me and hiding in stores. (The local Ikea was a bit much, but y’know… three.) She gets pronouns mixed up. She thinks her sister likes her.

She eats almost every fruit put in front of her, but is a little iffy about blueberries. She enjoys some vegetables, usually devouring them after I tell her they’ll make her strong and smart. She has eczema all over her little body, and it flares from heat and milk. We can avoid the milk, but the heat in this part of Florida is just part of our lives. Thus, so are thick coats of aquaphor behind the knees and inside of the elbows.

Her hair is almost completely down her back. While I’ve trimmed her bangs from time to time, she needs a proper haircut. I’ve scheduled one in July and I just… it’s so grown up. She lets me match her in clothes with her sister. She prefers purple almost all the time. So far I’ve been lucky to avoid most character shirts. We’ll see how long it lasts.

She misses school, and there’s a definite pang when I realize it. She goes to classes a few times a week with other kids, but I know it’s not the same. I know we’ve made the right choice for her – and us, but I still wish she was at Montessori. (Heck, I miss my nanny more than just about everything.)

I’m both amazed and totally accepting of who she is. She’s exactly what I pictured her to be — the benefit, I suppose, of living with her daily. I get to spend most of every day soaking her in. Her delightful voice imploring me to “emember” (remember) something she told me last week – or more likely, something I told her. She’s creative and active and likes to run. She got a car for her third birthday from her grandparents; driving it to the park is a favorite activity.

I love her fiercely. Feel the need to protect her fiercely – protect her from all the outside sources that are coming for her. She dragged out her father’s scale to the playroom last night and asked me to weigh her. I told her she weighed “perfect.” She was entirely satisfied with that answer. Having not struggled with body issues as much as my peers, I really hope I can teach her accept herself. Her curly hair, her long legs, her bumpy skin.

Three. She’s a threenager – hands on hip, telling me “It is not fair to play” when I (or her sister) break the rules. After running away from me in a particularly dramatic place, I told her I was going to get her a leash. She informed me she was not a dog. She has rational thought,delirious sometimes in its swirling complexity. As with each age, I love the unfolding of new milestones and accomplishments.

Potty training could be going better, and I’m sure once we stop traveling every week it will get better. We’ve got two weeks left — then we can settle in for the long summer. Already, we’re spending lots of mornings at Gigi’s pool. Friday afternoons after work are reserved for Honeymoon Island. We’re slowly getting into the lull of summer.

Three years old, my darling CG. Man, that went fast.

Posted by: cck | June 1, 2015

oh, hiiiiiiii

Yeah. It’s been months.

I’ve been recovering, learning to walk without a limp, getting really into nail polish, and living with my fantastic family. It’s been… a lot. I needed a hiatus. I needed a moment to catch my breath. Because, as a friend said, I’m really just in the zone.

Getting it done. Moving forward. Bending, bending, bending all over the place. Being a woman is a bit like being a shark – you never stop moving.

Posted by: cck | November 11, 2014


And, while her father and I were fighting about laundry and dishes and sweeping the floor, my youngest daughter cut her first tooth. The night before her eight month birthday, C4 got a tooth. On the bottom. And you would never have known. Reminds me of her sister getting her first tooth during Christmas Eve Service.

It’s hard being a baby. The struggle is real. She wants to move everywhere – all at once. She’s, quite honestly, doing a good job of it. Slithering and pushing and pulling herself across the floor. Surprisingly, we’ve had good success leaving her in the pack’n’play with assorted toys. She totally entertains herself. C4 may start to whine, but all she wants is a little snuggle – then it’s diving back in to pick up where she left off gumming the wooden rhino or mauling a plastic turtle.

Today is Veteran’s Day, and K was off work. He’d intended to cross things off his (massive) honey-do list, but the nanny is sick. Again. And so he spent the better part of the morning delighting his daughters and then the afternoon at an informal job interview. He left during the best part of the day – naptime. I love it when the quiet steals across the house – both girls softly snoring in their respective rooms. The only sound is me furiously typing, trying to fit in a full days work in the space of a few hours.

C4 wakes up looking sort of stoned. C3 wakes up from nap with a cry. Today, there was no cry – just some banging. So, I strolled (strolling is the best sort of word for what I do with my walker) to see what was going on across the house. The smell hit me when I turned the corner. There she was – no pants (always a bad sign) with poop up and down her little body. She informed me she was okay, but she was trying to clean up. Indeed, she was. She had a broom and was rubbing poop into the floor. There were piles of poop around the room. This is the stuff of motherhood, I tell you.

Bathtime for everyone!

It’s 22 days till my surgery and there’s a long list of to-dos. I know it will all get done, because it always does. There’s three more weekends and one of them is a long weekend at that. I slept last night and I have confidence I’ll sleep tonight. This weekend, we’ll cross things off the list. We’ll play with our children. And the fights about the laundry and the dishes and the sweeping won’t seem as important or dire. This is hard, these things we’re going through.

Not as hard as the veteran who came home without a job. Or without a leg. Not as hard as a single mom stretching a paycheck. Not as hard as my economics final in 2001. It’s all about perspective, and I get that. We’ve had a tough, tough year. A new job, a new baby, a major car accident, and now a new hip. It’s put us through the ringer – emotionally, financially, and spiritually. I’m not complaining here as much as I am trying to make an accurate note of how this family survives life.

It’s a new tooth. It’s a poop-splosion. It’s afternoon bathtime with two giggling daughters. I’d say it is the little things, but these things that are happening to us aren’t little – they are just our things.

Posted by: cck | November 8, 2014


Halloween was wonderful. It was cool – an almost first for the this neck of the woods. We went as Super Family – Super Momma, Super Daddy, Super Girl, and Super Baby.

2014-10-31 18.48.29 2014-10-31 18.48.43

I made the capes and the shirts and the tu-tus. Because that’s my family tradition from way back. They came out great. I was really pleased with how cute the girls looked. C3 got into it this year – she even lined up all her stash on the couch afterwards. Counting and re-counting the candy that her father and I would eat after she fell asleep.

2014-10-31 18.47.31

I love these children. They are so full of joy and wonder.

Posted by: cck | November 8, 2014

the guts

Oof. That’s the sound I make when I move, when I’m still, when I’m breathing. Ooof.

I know the cartilage is gone between my femur and my hip. I’ve known it since September 23rd, right before our big Disney vacation. I’ve known that a hip replacement is inevitable. And now I’ve gone and scheduled it. After a few weeks (three) of becoming more dependent (back to the walker), more in pain (yow), and – according to K – making noises like I was in full-on labor, it’s time. It’s time for the surgeon to cut off part of my femur and put in a device. It’s time to join that club of THR.

At least this time, I get to plan. I get to put things in motion, clean my house, prepare my children. There is no drama in this – honestly, less drama than going into labor. I know the date when I will need to be in the big hospital in Tampa. I can move everything around it. I’ve all but finished Christmas shopping thanks to my Visa card and Amazon. I’ve got plans for the remaining weekends. I’m working on the plan to cover the kids with family and love. I made a list of what I’m packing for the hospital.

I’m scared, but this is nothing compared to what I’ve been through. It’s a one hour surgery, not seven. I won’t even have general anesthesia. It’s a three to four day hospital stay – not two weeks. I’ll be walking – on both legs – within 12 hours of surgery. I’ve got this. We’ve got this. And now I need you to get out of my way.

Are you wondering what to say to someone having a hip replacement? Let me help you out:

Don’t say the pain couldn’t be that bad. Shut up. Instead, just listen and agree. “Yup, that must really be awful.” “You are so strong.” “I can’t imagine what you are going through.”

Don’t second guess my decisions about pain control. You don’t know my family history or what I’m facing. A person’s decisions about pain control are not about being a tough guy or being foolish, they’re doing the absolute best they can. So, offer up, “I know you’re making good decisions about your health.”

Don’t ask me if the doctor is doing it this way or that way. Are you my orthopedic surgeon who knows all about the pins and plates he’s going to move? No? Okay, then. I’ve gotten a second opinion. I’ve researched. I’ve asked a lot of questions. Believe it or not, I’m actually a well-informed type of gal. Now, if you have a gadget that makes it easy for me to put on shoes – pass that along.

Don’t say tell me to ignore a birthday or holiday. Shut up. Instead, offer up encouragement: “You can do it!” is always a good one.

Don’t tell me about how the hip replacement didn’t help someone you know. I’ve had enough bad luck this year. I’m done. I am full of hope, so get out of my way.

Okay, those are the big ones at the moment. The whole thing scares the people around me. At church dinner on Wednesday night, I purposely sat with two folks who have had hip replacements. Both of them were encouraging and echoed the stuff I’m dealing with (see above). A friend offered up that this was gutsy – the knowing what has to be done and moving full throttle in that direction.

I’m so tired. I’m sitting here in a strange position – one leg up in the air because the knee can’t bear to be bent. One arm on a baby. It’s like some demented form of Twister. I want this phase of this adventure to be over. So. There’s that.

Posted by: cck | October 23, 2014


Sometimes, she takes off her diaper in the middle of the night. And then falls back asleep.

Sometimes, she then pees all over her bed. And wakes up screaming because she’s cold and wet.

Sometimes, she can’t get back to sleep at 4:30 am. Y’know, it can be traumatic.

Sometimes, the only thing to make it right is to dress up like Elsa and get out some trains.


I posted this on Facebook with the caveat: The days are long, but the years are short. I should have also mentioned how much I love the drive-thru at the local Dunkin Donuts.

Posted by: cck | October 2, 2014

there she is!

Despite my biggest fears, I have not dissolved into a puddle of ibuprofen and hardware.

Pain, pain, go away. At least I know I’m not a total wimp. The cartilage that exists between a femur and the hip – turns out, I don’t have it anymore. It’s called “rapid decline.” See also: traumatic arthritis. See also: total hip replacement in my near future. K and I are going back to the surgeon next Weds to talk strategy. I’m hoping to get it in during this health insurance calendar year – I’ve reached my out of pocket maximum! Yeah for the things that really matter!

We traveled to Disney World over the weekend. The first vacation as a family of four. The first overnight with Caroline. The first actual vacation days since Christmas. It was MARVELOUS. I cannot believe how well everything went. We also took the grandparents, my in-laws. I loved it. I never want to do a family vacation without them again.


We landed on Halloween costumes, hastily decided while reviewing our packed October. Yes, we do a family theme – there’s been Princess Leia and the Flintstones. This year we will all be super heroes: Super Daddy, Super Mommy, Super Girl, and Super Baby. Fabric ordered; pray for my ability to sew satin (capes, just capes).

The brilliant M&A have started on Tuesdays and Thursdays… and I could not be happier. Having two days a week to *only* focus on work (or, ahem, updating this here blog) is lovely. It’s like my brain has a vacation. The kids love them. Montessori was definitely the right choice. It’s less chaotic, calmer, and the teachers have that special something that lights a spark in C^3. I can see her concentration expanding. My little engineer is making my life so bright.

C^4 is seriously a joy. The girl is happy all the time — full on serious faces, to be sure. But she pops up with a smile. She loves her sister and continues to watch everything she does. I take her with me to physical therapy – where everyone (everyone) stops to admire her chubby cheeks. She gets on the mat with me for my stretches and exercises and moves her legs to mimic mine. She’s not so sure about sweet potatoes, but spinach mixed with pears is a win. Late at night, after C3 has gone to bed, K and I cuddle with her. She loves to be kissed and to touch our faces. I forget, sometimes, the simple beauty of a six month old. She refreshes me, brings me back down to the land of simple, sloppy kisses. Of drool, on everything. Of eyes that don’t stop sparkling. Of a voice that hasn’t yet learned the word “no.”

After 3.5 years of being on contract with the Bar, K is finally off monitoring. No more random drug tests, no more mandatory meetings, no more monthly fees, etc etc etc. To celebrate, I’m taking him out for tiramisu on Saturday night. And we’ll use Purell too. Alcohol-absorption be damned!

Posted by: cck | September 12, 2014

the pain

So. I am incredibly happy to be walking. And driving. Mobile. Love it. Thankful. Really.

But hot damn. This whole thing is crazy painful. I thought I had a high pain tolerance, but it is getting worn down. The discomfort is constant. It is hard not to get snappy or complain-y or just generally unpleasant. And no one wants to hear that you’re in pain. Nope. They frown and try to spin in — “Oh, it won’t always be this way!” Sure, you’re right, dude. Suuuuuuuure.

I’m getting used to it. I’m getting used to waking up with pain so severe it makes me lose my breath, going to sleep by just giving up. I’m getting used to psyching myself up before I take a step, leave the house, hike my leg into the car, or get up from a sitting position. I’m getting used to breathing deeply with a smile plastered across my face so that I don’t scare my kids. Why is this so much harder than it was before? I swear it was easier to stand up before I could put weight on my right side.

This is bad. Like, cannot-catch-my-breath, tears-down-my-face, nothing-touches-it pain. The PT folks* tell me it might always be this way or it might only be six to 12 months of this. Now is the time that I have to dig deep for the ability to stay positive. I don’t know that I have the depths for this. Y’all, this is for real; it is hard. I have to believe it’s going to get better or I will just f’in lose it. How can I get through – at the best case scenario – five more months of this? There, I’m complaining. This is me not being positive.

I am probably doing too much, but everyone (including me) just figures I can handle it. I’ve had to complain at PT – don’t tell me to do as many as I think I can. I am an overachiever and I need you to tell me to stop. Because I am just going to keep trying, to keep getting stronger. I’ve been bringing C4 with me for the extra ounce of motivation. I’ve pulled back a little, set my alarm for ibuprofen, and am now letting people know that this is bad. We have Disney in two weeks people, this pain has got to go.

Maybe my 4.5 hour drive to Tallahassee (and 4.5 hours back home) wasn’t the brightest. Maybe it will get better when thunderstorms aren’t rolling in on the regular. Maybe I will just get used to the teeth-rattling pain. Or else maybe I will just dissolve into some stainless-steel hardware and a puddle of ibuprofen. I know I’m strong and I know I can get through this. I do not have a choice. Now, I’m off to scream into a pillow; no use scaring the chilluns.


*The PT folks are amazing. This is not their fault, and I’m not blaming them. They’ve been incredibly supportive and helpful!.

Posted by: cck | September 4, 2014

color me relieved

I am in a tizzy, a bit of a tizzy. The whole changing schools and changing up my schedule is daunting. I am daunted. I’m not even sure that’s proper English, that’s how daunted I am. I’m planning on taking my eldest out of full-time day care – and for the SAME AMOUNT OF MONEY putting her three mornings a week. Yes, instead of 40 hours a week of care, she’ll be getting nine hours of care. I am clearly insane.

Since Montessori is only three days a week, I will also need a nanny. Like, a real live Mary Poppins who will come to my house and take care of both girls. Now, let’s face it – I needed this no matter what I did with C^3. Having a baby at work five full days a week is tough. Of course, now I’m going to have both girls on MWF afternoons so… clearly I cannot do math. Anyway, I was full of angst over bringing someone into my home. I mean, my home is usually messy. There are often dinner dishes from the night before – you know the ones that won’t fit in the dishwasher – still on the counter. I do not want to be the gross house. The messy house, I can probably handle.

I posted on – and received some really lovely responses. Oh, you’re a grandmother? Great. You want to be a pediatrician? Neat! But, it all left me feeling a little… uneasy. Until I realized that the perfect person was already in my address book. I just had to ask. And I did. And she said yes. And it will be just great. So, now I’m looking for a good toddler curriculum and there’s a big JoAnns/Michaels visit in my future for some craft supplies.

I am so freakin’ excited. And nervous – the two sides of the same coin. I’m so thankful for my friends who listened to me be a mess. And reminded me that nothing in this parenting journey is permanent – the only part that is permanent is the desire to do right by your kid. That’s enough, me thinks. Or at least, gawd, I hope it is.

So, I’m tickled that C^3 will be in Montessori – she calls it Mommy-sori. I’m tickled that I’ll have two days to just focus on work. I’m tickled that I can make this work. I like seeing my kids and now I’ll get to see more of them. Whoo boy. Somebody pinch me.

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