Baby fever

There’s a new ultra-sound picture on my newsfeed almost daily.

Is everyone pregnant these days or is it just me?

It seems to be any time I sign onto my facebook account, one more friend is announcing their big news. That sweet little side-profile snapshot of baby about 14-20 weeks old is heart-warming. I so vividly remember seeing Holden’s face on that screen, falling in love at first sight.


Holden at 12 weeks

Once finding out I was pregnant, though terrified, I was instilled with an unconditional want to be good for baby. I recount the feeling of being so ‘special.’ Walking a little more carefully, taking pride in what I ate knowing it was feeding baby. Well, gaining 40+ pounds… I didn’t want my baby to starve! Who counted anyway? Just like the decision to later divorce was, in my mind, primarily for Holden, so to was any decision I made while pregnant. All for Holden.

The endless memories of pregnancy fill my mind and heart as I see my friends all celebrating their own. I guess I’ve gotten to the age where some of these friends are now expecting their second and thirds! Many of whom their first is Holden’s age. That’s when it hits me. Holden is no longer a baby. Holden is a little boy, old enough to be a big brother.

As I sit and scroll through the sonogram pictures and typingCongratulations! (and meaning it, promise.), I think about how different life would be if Holden had a sibling on the way.

It’s not that this hasn’t crossed my mind millions of times before. It has. During my Dark Ages, this was a thought that coincided with any other depressing thought. When I originally got married, I wanted 3-4 kids. Boy, that’s changed. Holden isn’t going to grow up with a sibling– most of my beloved childhood memories included my own brothers and sister. I yearned for the confidence that he wasn’t going to grow up solely.

But nowadays, the repeated new baby announcement makes my wonderment so much more apparent. Apparent, but that baby fever of my own is not there. Not right now at least.

At the end of the day, my heart is filled with so much joy knowing my only son, my two-year old is sound asleep in his crib dreaming of yogurt-covered raisins and cheese puffs. I am so content right now knowing Holden is my one and only, but there’s obvious hope that he may not be forever. However, it exhausts me to imagine handling more than one as I look down at my legs full of fresh bruises daily. So for now, I’m good.

And my heart is filled with so much joy also knowing my friends will soon enough experience the unmatched love a child brings to a parent. I truly did not know what love was until Holden came into my life.


You is important


Would you have filed for divorce if Holden wasn’t in the picture?

I was asked this recently. But I had been asked that a million times over before- always immediately replying no, justifying my rationale. I filed for divorce so that Holden wouldn’t grow up in an environment where he was learning THIS is what love and marriage look like. He deserved so much better. Had he not been in the picture, I probably would have tried to work on things, having one less person to make decisions for. One less, more important person at that. Holden is more important than myself. Holden being present made me make that decision a strong one- both for him and myself.

So many of these words scrolled across my mind as I found myself struggling to answer the question this time. Why was it a difficult question to answer all of a sudden?

Eventually, though, I answered. I’m not sure.

A couple days passed and I re-thought about it. The me-now would have still filed for divorce. Given the same situation. I would have done that thing I never thought I would have or hoped to have- divorced. (Insert earlier blog post comment here: I believe in marriage. I believe it is a sacred thing and is indissoluble. My faith understands that marriage ‘is an enduring and exclusive partnership for the giving and receiving of love and the procreation and education of children.’ I agree with that, and I would go even further in my own definition.) Even without a baby, Holden in the picture. The me-now thinks of myself as valuable enough to stand up for what I believe in. To make a better life for myself- with baby or babyless.

I don’t know what brought about this change of mind in me. I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting stronger as an individual every day, think more of myself now than I ever used to, becoming more liberalized in decision-making. Who knows… but, what I do know is that I would have never gotten to, or started reaching for, a level of self-respect that is sacred enough without having gone through all that I did. So I’m thankful.

Maybe it had something to do with the person asking the question this time, maybe not.

A Gift

I was told to close my eyes and not open them until he said so.

I’m really, really bad at surprises. I never know how to react, and I’m a terrible actress, a terrible liar. So the anticipation of my reaction is what kills me. Always when the attention is on me to open a present. (Surely you have noticed by now in this blog that I’m my own worst enemy- most of my current stress is completely self-induced.) So I start to perspire. How do I react? What do I say? I know I will love it but, how do I make sure he knows that I love it? One of my most immense qualities is also such a flaw- making sure those around are happy and appreciated. Over my own contentment always.

Oh no, already teary. Temples are sweating now. The seconds feel like hours. What’s taking so long?

Okay, you can open now.

And immediately I see this.



Oh my God.

That’s all I could say. Over and over.

An extraordinary interpretation of one of my favorite moments thus far with Holden. The raw happiness captured perfectly on canvas. This moment was Holden’s first football weekend at the University of Notre Dame, where I attended college. A place that is so special to me. It became even more special when I got to share it with Holden last October. The morning we left our trip to go home, a beautiful day. The sun seeping through the bare, dewy branches, shining on our faces amidst all the oranges, reds, and yellows of the crunchy leaves that seemed to have drop over night. The air was chilly and we were layered up, playing outside in those leaves. Had to leave Mass early because Holden was not having the quiet reverence required at the Basilica on campus. Preferred much more running on his toes and yelling, laughing outside in all the leaves.

Being outside with Holden is so peaceful. I recalled during his infancy how being outside and listening to the natural sounds- the songs of birds, the whisper of the wind, the pattering of squirrels across the backyard fence- these were things that brought him happiness when he was suffering so badly from reflux. He’d so much as squirm and grunt and I’d have him outside before that first scream could exude.

Little did I know in those early months what our next couple years would look like.

This morning was so reminiscent of that peace. Holden had nothing but a smile on his face as he ran back and forth, falling down, feeding the squirrels. On the grounds of a place that had been so dear to my heart both during college and most of my adolescence. For me, a place that represented both innocence and anticipation of the life to come once I left those grounds.


I admire art and always have. I love to paint myself and always have. Creativity is a pathway for communication, no matter what’s trying to be said. I admire it even more so when an artist is able to touch your heart, remind you of moments so pure and joyous regardless of what situation you find yourself in.

I think about this as I touch the canvas softly, eyes squinting to see the beautiful details. The record of Holden and I’s bond laid out before me.


This piece is is a beautiful one. Each brush stroke full of purpose, encapsulating the peaceful feelings that filled my heart that morning. And every morning with Holden. Even when those mornings begin well into the middle of the night with a certain bodily fluid or two. Welcome to toddlerhood.

What an amazing and meaningful gift to me, a subtle reminder of how blessed I am to be in the position I’m in. To have the life I’ve got. And now, to share it with someone who appreciates that life I’ve got. And to appreciate that someone who has that appreciation. So much more than a Valentine’s day gift.

For more information on the incredible New Orleans artist, please visit



Do people change? Can you change someone else? Can you change yourself?

I’ve always answered any of these questions with a definite NO. End of story. I could hear mom’s unarguable statement of “all four of my kids have had their personalities since birth” repeat any time I stumbled upon a situation that explored these questions. The whole psychology debate over nature vs. nurture wasn’t even a debate to me. Four kids growing up in the exact same environment, being parented in the same manner all “turn out” completely different.

It’s as if I accepted people for all having their own innate soul and mind- never to be swayed or adjusted outside of what they each were in their originality.

That NO gained more backup as I found myself drowning in the sea of what if’s that ultimately lead to the decision of leaving my marriage at 24. “People never change.” How many times did I hear that! And how many times did I agree.

Here I sit now, 26, transitioning. Myself is, in a very real way, changing- changing in a way that before I didn’t think happened to people. Uncovering an open mind I didn’t know I had for most of my life. Sure I was accepting of other people and appreciated differences, always considering myself humanitarian, but now I’m realizing that same open mind has potential to be an even deeper, thorough disposition take on my ownself and not just towards others. The values I’ve prided myself on are changing shape. And all for the better. However, my core remains. And by that I mean wanting to do good. Wanting to be good and wanting to share good in its most basic, fundamental way possible.

A lover of all things kind.

I’ve said before that becoming a mother constructed a more enhanced version of myself. A transition. Thinking further, feeling deeper. Living in every minute instead of just passing by.

That was a transition within a transition. A big one nonetheless, but a small one within the realm of becoming who I always was.


For so long I haven’t forgiven because I felt as though I didn’t have what I needed. Or didn’t have what I thought I needed. Didn’t have all the information.

I swore that I knew all I needed at the time. That was, all I needed to let go. To say goodbye to that life. I didn’t need more than what I knew already in that moment.

But in order to try forgive was different, is different. Knew in my heart I didn’t know all. Knew it was much worse. Didn’t hear the countless stories and specific sorries I wanted, needed. I wanted, but didn’t want at the same time. I wanted to know for the sake of knowing and get a sorry for each. Even though it would hurt. My logic kept telling me that’s what I needed to get from point A to point B. I couldn’t jump to B blindly. And I didn’t want to forgive either.

Seems as though there are two types of people: those that don’t want to know because it will hurt them, or those want to know even if it will hurt them. I’m the latter every time.

I knew I wouldn’t eventually or ever know all; in time, I was able to accept that. I knew I’d always wonder, question. Those initial restless nights that kept me tossing and turning were full of those questions. The nights that turned to months, cycling my waves of depression.

If I had all I needed at the time to walk away, how bad was it really? All the unknown was terrifying.

Then how could I ever possibly forgive, forget, and move on with the cloud of unknown never shrinking? Always present, haunting me, embarrassing me, belittling me. Torturing me for so long.

Never knew what it was going to take to attain the slightest want, even, to forgive. Forgiveness hadn’t been in my heart. The thought or mere want to forgive hadn’t crossed my mind. I was okay with dealing with it later any time I heard the word. Also, the anger got in the way of isolating that want to forgive. I was so angry. I was so very angry for what felt like a very long time.

By far, the hardest battle to fight. The burden that’s been upon my back for a while now.

That time has passed, and that notch of anger has subsided. The want to forgive is there, and it feels like it’s there finally. It’s not just a thought, not just something in the future that sounds good. Something I need to face. Something I need to choose. Something I want now?

It wasn’t until recently that I noticed its presence. It took one weekend, one unbiased and raw perspective. Someone else’s, and not my own.

Overwhelming feelings of pity and sadness moved through my veins. It was physical, much like any of these extreme emotions at either end of the spectrum I’ve faced in my new life- the life of a single mom. Slight rations of self-induced guilt, but a lot of pity. Completely taking over my well-being, a change within me I knew was for the better. Slowly uncovering all of those suppressed feelings of wanting to forgive.

Wanting to forgive for him, but wanting to forgive more for myself.


Ain’t that the truth?

“My life is so full of miracles, things that never could have happened apart from God’s grace, and it’s often only in retrospect that I can see them.”

I read this in her recent message to me. Someone I didn’t know well before, and time in between has allowed for yet again, another connection.

This is how I feel about my life.


Leave it to a little piece of chocolate to remind me of something so important, but often forgotten.


It’s a word I have used to describe my near 22-month old son over and over: Fearless.

His eyes open every morning and the world is his oyster. Daring and innocent make for a youthful composition, one that takes effort to attain as a 26-year old.

Everything he does is full of want, full of need, full of exploration. He does it full-heartedly and doesn’t think twice about it. Whether it’s running down the hill in our backyard or hitting a stranger on the airplane, the little man defines fearless. His strength and determination inspire me daily.

As adults we become fearful. That fearlessness becomes more internal and less physical as time goes on. Scared of doing the things we want or need. Terrified to carry through because we are frightened of what people may think, how they would react. How often we don’t do things for this reason. Hide away. No one will see us.

A shame.

So then one random night, craving chocolate, I pick this piece up and get an inspirational reminder. Something that Holden has been teaching me from Day 1. Something I continue to work on. Something I hope to be for Holden. Something I hope to be for myself.

When you least expect it


I like a little cliché saying every now and again. It brings out the hopeless romantic in all of us, agree?

Things happen when you least expect them.

Don’t I know that right now. Serendipity if you will. It’s a real thing.

Up until a few weeks ago the feelings of being damaged, broken, and undeserving still resonated deep within me. Stronger, smarter, resilient qualities still on the front line, but as I mentioned before as my priest friend said, “Divorce is like a scar.”

I felt like I had moved mountains to get where I was in that I finally knew who I was, was working to get better, and knew what I wanted. But still wasn’t ready for what I wanted or hoped for. I told myself a million times over that I was okay either way.

I’d say I’m ready now. I’m ready for all of it. For happiness, for true, genuine, unconditional happiness.The catalyst for this change? That thing that happened when I wasn’t looking. When I wasn’t forcing.

Hit me like a school bus just like Regina George at the end of the movie Mean Girls. Out of nowhere.

But it felt good. It continues to feel good, feel healing. Restoring within me everything that was stolen. And doing much, much more than that.

Making people better

A topic that’s come up in my life recently.

“I like human nature and always see that bringing people together through pure intent leaves people thinking more clear, globally and better,” he said.

It’s a great thing to strive for- wanting to make people better for knowing you. Though, one’s perception of what that “better” definition can completely vary from person to person; however, most perceptions of the word are all GOOD perceptions. I liked this recent definition.

For me, I definitely want people to be better for knowing me. I have always felt obligated to this idea.

That betterness, to me, would probably mean this.

I want people who come into my life happier for knowing me. Happier is better right? Sadness does not make people better. This I learned the hard way.

How do I make people feel happier? What I would hope is that, any effort, word, gesture and so forth, that I put forth other people should be positive, like in the form of a gift. Gifts make people happy right? In a non-tangible way I’m thinking though. I’m a giver, or I like to think that I am. I hope I’m a giver. I like to support, encourage, provide for people… in any way those gifts can be given- a smile, a touch, a sentence, even a fragment (something I use to convey a lot in my writing), I hope, when it matters, just makes anyone better. Simple gifts.

Any time those gifts have been given to me, especially over the past year and a half, I’ve walked away better because of them.