Scary Things

Halloween

Have you ever been to a box store on “Sample Day”? At every aisle there seems to be a delicious clear plastic cup available for the mere cost of 50-500+ calories. If you play your cards right, you can eat close to a full meal – or at least enough to calm the hunger monsters for the remainder of your shopping experience.

Personally, I hate shopping, even for food, but there is something enticing about being served – about others giving you a slice of undeserved goodness. Further, it is a treat when that which is offered is something that you wouldn’t normally allow yourself to purchase. In our hearts, however, I think we all have come to learn that nothing in life is truly free, whether or not the cost is known to us.

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Walking the Distance

Wedding Shoes

During the four years that my husband and I were married before we had children, we dreamed of the nightly walks we would one day take as a family. I would push one child, he would push the other, and we would stroll into the sunset.

[Cue screaming child here]

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The Breast Commitment

Breastfeeding

I have always held a healthy hatred for percentiles. Outside of the doctor’s office, they serve no purpose but to aid in a mother’s ability to boast.

Pediatricians, however, find them to be beneficial in understanding a child’s growth curve. In short, percentile consistency means your child is thriving.

“You need more rest.”

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To Love Is to Release

Release

The idea of a husband and wife finishing graduate school on the same day, walking across the same stage, sounds pretty magical. That is, until you realize that this means two highly ambitious scholars must not only find jobs in the same geographic area but also must agree on wanting to live in that same part of the world.

The year was 2012, and my husband had accepted a postdoctoral fellowship in California following the completion of his PhD. I, on the other hand, had worked incredibly hard for two years to make connections with professionals across the Commonwealth of Virginia and was ready to begin my career as a public health practitioner. [Enter Robert Frost: “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, / And sorry I could not travel both”]

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The Education of a Vaccine Skeptic

Vaccines

As a child, I viewed shots as necessary evils. Other than the initial sting, I didn’t much mind being inoculated and trusted that whoever required it must have done so for a reason. Because I had never gotten seriously ill and, unlike so many that I knew, had managed to dodge the dangerous bullet of HPV in college (I attended before a vaccine was available), my beliefs in young adulthood evolved to view vaccines as more inconvenient than beneficial. I also had not yet seen the world and the devastation that preventable infectious diseases can cause. In a word, I was naïve.

So naïve, in fact, that I began my master’s degree in public health with the idea that I would somehow uncover the ugly truth behind vaccines. Isn’t there always something exciting about trying to prove “the system” wrong? Well, as it turns out, sometimes the more you know, the more you find that you are wrong.

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The Fruit of Addiction

Apples

…is rotten. Just rotten.

Sweltering late summer in the Deep South combined with the unrelenting demands of a newborn create the perfect recipe for restlessness, and I was desperate to escape to the mountains. My husband, bless his soul, loves me an awful lot. He not only drove us several hours to the mountains but also delayed our departure by a few hours so that I could fulfill a special dream: apple picking with my children.

In my mind, the entire trip would be no less than perfection. In reality, however, I caught a most dangerous glimpse of myself as an information addict.

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Untold Stories

Story

“What’s that?”

“What you doin’, Mommy, what you doin’?”

“I like it!”

My son is so full of questions and statements that my newborn-fog brain is finding it difficult to keep pace. Every day with my inquisitive toddler produces a new adventure to be experienced and a new story to be told.

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The Ghost of Opportunity Lost

Accident

Sometimes I have moments where I remember my “old” self, the woman who arrived at events painfully early. This, of course, is a mere dream now that I have a toddler and a newborn. As a result of these wonderful and powerful drains on time, I find myself in “go” mode much of my day to manage some semblance of what I consider to be a productive life. To be honest, a part of me often gets lost in the demands of life as a parent of young children, and I lose sight of the big picture…and the people living in it.

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Take Off Your Mask and Follow Me*

Statesboro

I live in a small Southern community and every day is a masquerade. When my husband and I moved here a little over two years ago, we were greeted with some very personal questions: “When do you think you’ll leave?” and “Wait, you bought a house?” Additionally, we received some unsettling advice: “You will never fit in here” and “Don’t raise your children here”.

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