Every goodnight kiss is a gift.

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When you’re a new mother, it feels like they’ll be little forever.
You study their every part. You learn their every mood. You breathe more deeply in their presence.

But then life changes, and you settle into routines. And you begin to understand the difficulty that comes with children growing – evolving into better humans.

And, at some point, you may return to work.

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What I Wish I’d Known

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It’s an overused motif, really. But every mother has some secret locked away – a confession waiting to be read.

And, after two years of blogging, I suppose it’s my turn.

Of all my life’s choices, I wish I had mastered something so simple – so vital to parenthood.

Before children, I never learned to savor the moment right in front of me.

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To Grow, Write

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“I don’t get your blog.” Oh, the honesty of a 20-year-old! He is a former student of mine, and our relationship is one built on sarcasm and criticism – offered lovingly, of course.

“I’m writing for myself.”

With no words, his puzzled expression seemed to ask: Then why are you sharing it?

In truth, it’s a fair question. Why in the world would a mother with two children under the age of three spend hours each week writing – when the demands of the house and the career never cease?

Quite simply, I am on a journey of reconciling my story.

With the blog, I am accountable.

With the blog, I am honest.

With the blog, I can’t escape myself.

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To Potty Train A Parent

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It is NEVER a good idea to offer unsolicited potty training advice, especially when your audience is a mother strung out from a long night with a breastmilk addict.

One “sage advice” drive-by at our local grocery store comes to mind. I was staring off into space in the dairy aisle when an older gentleman made his presence known. At least the encounter began friendly.

“How old is your son?”

With these kinds of questions, the response goes one of two ways…

“Nine months.”

I remember readying myself for his next move. Senior citizens love touching babies.

“Wow, nine months! That was the age that I potty trained my son!”

[Insert polite head nods and a weak smile here.]

I remember parting amicably after he began to discuss that same son’s “issues” in adulthood.

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Fields of Gold

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Long before I was a mother, I was a runner. On April 15, 2007, exactly nine years ago today, I completed my first 5k. It was a windy and hilly race for which I was not conditioned, and, due to low runner turnout, I actually managed to get lost in the barren fields of early Virginia spring.

I crossed the finish line with a three-minute, don’t-follow-the-sorority-girl-who-is-lost delay. My legs, already jelly, would struggle to move the next morning.

I will never forget the innocence of that day.

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Time: The Missing Ingredient

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Sometimes the muffins don’t rise, and sometimes it’s your own fault.

If there is one thing to be said of college students, it is this: they stay hungry. During my undergraduate years, I remember, with a weak stomach, subsisting off a diet of highly processed foods. I believe rock bottom was the morning I ate microwaveable mac and cheese at 7:30 a.m. before a final exam.

Of course, I see this same struggle in my students, which inspires me to bake a homemade treat for each of my classes during the semester.  Two weeks ago, I gathered the necessary supplies for double chocolate chip muffins and committed myself to the task, which happened to be at 10 p.m.

After nearly an hour of preparation and baking, I peered into the oven with the kind of devastation that always finds teachers who try too hard. The muffins were dense and flat, and I immediately recalled my missing ingredient: baking soda.

I went to bed that night with a heavy heart and a full trash can.

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Monsoon Togetherness

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When I was in graduate school, I worked with several Indian students and these relationships were defined by the questions we asked one another. There always seemed to be something to learn. One day I asked a female co-worker, “Do you miss monsoon season?”

Her response was not quite what I expected: “I do. I miss everyone being inside together, even though there were many of us.”

In my mind, I imagined damp clothes, mildew, and body odor. What could ever be redeeming about such an environment? In truth, I had trouble seeing past the external to consider the internal.

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