My Birthday Is Cursed

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No, really. I used to think it was just me.

September 11, 2001: my sweet sixteen. New York City. Twin Towers. Pentagon. Flight 93.

September 11, 2012: my 27th birthday. Benghazi. Perhaps the most tragic event ever used for political gain.

September 11, 2017: my 32nd birthday. Hurricane Irma. The most intense hurricane to strike the U.S. since Katrina (2005).

The latter, however, is the first catastrophic birthday I have celebrated with two little ones at my side.

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The Great American Family Road Trip [2017]: Days 11-13

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“Do you want to stay or leave?”

It’s a question with no right answer, but it comes up often in our marriage.

Several weeks ago, my husband and I decided to make our last overnight stop a short stay in Mississippi with his family. But our daughter’s diagnosis of hand, foot, and mouth in Colorado changed everything.

We desperately needed a day outside of the car.

But, if we stayed longer than originally planned, could we drive from Mississippi to Georgia in one day in time to make our kids’ preschool open house at 7 p.m. the next day?

This would be the challenge on the final leg of our journey.

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The Great American Family Road Trip [2017]: Day 9

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Chocolate cake for breakfast.

Is there any other way to celebrate your four-year-old’s birthday on the road?

For months, my excitement had been building for this special day. My husband and I even purchased two books a month ago and wrapped them for our little guy.

And as we stood singing “Happy Birthday” off-key at 7 a.m., I couldn’t shake a feeling.

Today will be memorable for all.

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The Great American Family Road Trip [2017]: Day 4

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When you get married, you don’t consider all the things that can go wrong – the things that WILL go awry. 

In many ways, Karen Carpenter was right: You’ve only just begun.

And little did I know that – just before our eighth anniversary – my husband would be driving me up a steep mountain road in the pouring rain with two excitable children in the backseat…thousands of miles from home.

Thanks, Expedia.

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When You Can’t Push

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I’m a bit of an agenda pusher. In college, for example, I saw marriage as my opportunity to no longer be scared in bed each night. For whatever reason, I feared the darkness.

That is, until I read a magazine article with the perfect antidote. It told me to call out one word three times: Jesus. It worked.

My husband and I will celebrate eight years of marriage this summer, and I must confess that when he travels, I still chase the invisible monsters away with a single name.

What’s harder, however, is quieting the other demons that persist in adulthood. The anxiety. The doubts. The dread of not knowing the future.

Quite simply, the walls we can’t easily push through.

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You Can Do This

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“You can do this.” It’s become a mantra in our relationship.

First, it was sweet encouragement my husband and I whispered to one another during our tenure in graduate school. Eventually, we walked across the stage – just minutes apart.

Next, it was yelled by my husband over intense labor pains. Truthfully, I thought our children might be stuck forever. Eventually, two little people entered the world.

And, just this weekend, I found myself mentally replaying the words.

For the first time, we trusted a non-grandparent caregiver to put both children to bed.

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