Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Perfect Gifts

It was the most beautiful way to awaken.

Let me start by saying that usually on days we have no school, the children wake up and come running into my bed, begging for cartoons and donuts.

Not today.  It's Christmas Eve morning.  I faintly heard their sweet precious voices.  Boy is now 7, and he's lost multiple teeth, so the way he talks is changing by the day.  Girl is 5, as sweet as she is bold and sassy.

To hear them this morning ... it absolutely melted my heart.

"What do you think's in this one?"

**shake - shake** 

"Momma 'brang' this one home last night..."

*whispering* "maybe we can peek in this one, and she'll never know.."

They believe.  With everything they are and all they have, they believe.  They believe Santa Claus is coming tonight and will literally climb down the chimney and drop a load of gifts in the night.  They believe in the ridiculous elves on the shelves, and they believe in the magic.

In a few years, some kid at school will break the illusion.  Tell em there's no such thing as Santa.  Convince em their parents put the elves out as one more tool to make em act right.  And the charm of it all will be gone.

Just like that....

Just like everything in life.  It comes and goes.  Ebbs and flows.  Grows and dies.  We believe, and then we don't.  We think we know, and then we're shown a new way.  Over and over again.

It was exactly 7 years ago today, I brought my son home from the hospital.  He was born on the winter solstice, December 21st, the shortest day of the year.  The nurse insisted I be carted out of the hospital that afternoon in a wheelchair.  I protested of course, but she got her way.  I felt completely ridiculous when she pushed me out to the car.  "I can walk!" I kept insisting.

But then she handed me my baby boy and in the most cheerful way said "Merry Christmas!"

I was knocked to my knees.  All my confidence -in that one moment- gone.  She's really giving him to me to take home?  She thinks I can do this?  She must be NUTS!

I sat in the back seat next to my first-born, so tiny in his car seat.  I was absolutely terrified.  Kept barking at his dad to slow down! don't turn so fast!  STOP!

And so it went...

Not having a clue.   But loving that child with my whole heart.  Trusting that if I listened to my heart, every decision, every lesson, every moment would be okay.

 We think we know, and then we're shown a new way.

Then came baby girl...  And here I am, 7 years later, having traversed landscape I never dreamed I'd see.  Joy unimaginable.  Heartbreak beyond what I believed I'd ever know.  Still, all is well.  Life is beautiful, and blessings are everywhere, if only we choose to see.

And today.... the presents are being shaken, the voices guessing what's inside, the excitement and laughter are palpable.

Those two have no idea that they are my most perfect gifts.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Headache...and fragile

It's been a month.  And I still have a headache.  Not just a dull, I-need-to-lay-down-a-minute-because-my-head-hurts type of thingy.  It's the kind of pain that makes you wanna throw up. 

On top of it, I'm just not right.  It's like I'm off-balance.  Weird dreams.  Dizzy.  Wobbly....

Just.  Not. Right. 

I don't want anyone reading this worrying too much because too many friends have joked that the above symptoms are normal for me, right?!   (thanks for that, by the way).

Anyway, the doctor says that's how a concussion makes you feel. But the way it all happened and the fact that my poor daughter suffered so much worse than me - is what's most upsetting.

It was the middle of the night.  Sweetest little 5-year old angel fell out of her big girl bed, which she's been in for years.  Just a freak accident.  Tumbled right off the side, hit the floor, rolled over and hit her head on the sharp edge of her bedside table.  It was enough of a cut on her eyebrow to require stitches.  So, off to Arkansas Children's Hospital we went (at 1 a.m.)............

I now empathize with anyone and everyone who's endured a middle-of-the-night ER visit.  And I have a ridiculous level of respect for any mother dealing with a sick child.  And I hope NOT to be back anytime soon....

Because what happened once we got to Children's ER was ridiculous.  Now, the doctors and nurses and staff were amazing, and my respect for them is through the roof.  But there was no way they could even stop it.

Baby girl had been weighed, tapped, prodded, and lidocaine'd, and we were finally resting comfortably with the lights off at about 3:30 a.m.  Doctors came in, flipped on the lights, and that's when all hell broke loose.

Sweetest doll screamed and kicked and shoved.  I knew she was strong-willed, but even I was ill-prepared to watch this.  There was NO WAY they were touching her eyebrow.  Somehow, they got her down, I was by her feet.  I remember hearing screams.  And then I saw the curved needle.  My stomach turned and next thing I knew, I was on the floor. 

Out cold.

When I came to, I recall hearing people say things like, "...we have a second patient."  And, "...the newslady went down!"  And then I was on the gurney with a neck brace, heading in to get a CT scan of my head.  I had fainted at the sight of the blood and the needle and the sounds of my screaming baby.  One of my best friends later said, "See, it's proof that it's really true when we tell our kids 'this is gonna hurt mommy more than it hurts you!'"
Regardless - what a giant FAIL!  I had one job:  to get my baby girl stitched.  Didn't happen.  Poor girl had to be numbed all over again.  I felt terrible.  I kept it together until a nurse asked who my emergency contact is, that someone needed to be there with us.  I burst into tears.  Since the divorce, that's been the worst question to answer as a 42-year old mother.  I wanted to scream "I DON'T HAVE ONE!!!!!!!!"

Daddy was home with our son, and someone did come, thank God.  Lovebug got stitched.  We made it home.  But I have little memory of the hours that followed.  In fact, I was in a fog for about two weeks.

I don't know why this happened.  Accidents just happen, I guess.  There's no real great story to it - it's not like we were skiing in the Rockies or zip-lining in the jungle or anything.  Just one of those freak events that reminds you to appreciate the peaceful moments of life when all is well.  Couldn't have stopped it even if I tried. 

Little angel recovered rather quickly.  My head pounds as I type.  And did I mention I have weird dreams and nightmares?  And even though I've ready this quote many times, for the first time, it actually made sense: 

"When you're young, all the accidents, all the pain - you take them, but at least you're very strong.  In fact, through time, it's just adding more and more pain, more and more loss, and it makes you more and more fragile." ~ Carole Bouquet

Friday, August 30, 2013


I'm getting ready to pack up for a quick weekend trip to see my cousins on land our family has owned nearly four decades.  So exciting! There are horses, cattle, fishing holes and creeks that run through it, and there's plenty of hiking.  It's beautiful country right at the base of Mount Magazine

But I can't shake a heavy heart tonight.....

My station aired the thirty minute adoption special, "A Place to Call Home:  Fostering Hope" last night that I've worked on for about a month. This special focuses on the nearly one thousand kids ages 14 and up in state foster care and the fact that no one really wants to adopt teenagers.  I also shared that there are roughly four thousand kids in foster care, but there are only about a thousand open homes.  And I reported that 221 teenagers last year aged out of the system without ever finding a family.

Can you imagine?  Never, ever knowing the comfort and love a mother or father or aunt or uncle or grandparent bring.  Not having a home to return to at Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.  Only dreaming of what a foundation based on love and loyalty and respect feels like. 

Having never had a father that I truly knew myself, I can relate to the feeling of abandonment these children feel at times.  I'm an only child, and I was raised by a single mother.  She loved me deeply and because of that, I've been able to create a good life.  And even if something had ever happened to her (thank God it didn't, and she is still alive today), any number of aunts or uncles or grandparents would've taken me and loved me and raised me.  I am beyond grateful just knowing this. 

These children have no one.  They only have hope.  That you, that anyone, will come for them.  That what they feel inside - of being unwanted - isn't really true. 

I've heard some rumblings on Facebook from people saying that DHS is understaffed and that it's a hassle to apply.  Seriously?  If you have a loving, open, and willing heart, along with a decent home, you have the ability and chance to help just one child.   Like Michael and Alecia Corbin, who've adopted twins and a teenage boy.  Like Kim Tullos, who has fostered nearly thirty children in a five year time period. These people are heroes, and the children desperately need more of them.

I'm heading out for a fun weekend with my two kiddos who keep me on my toes.  I bet you're doing something fun, too.  I only ask one thing:  remember the children who aren't.  The children who are lost and alone and have no one.  Maybe there's a way you could help them. 

"You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”
John Bunyan

Friday, June 14, 2013

The snake, the "skunk dog" and the crash

There's never a dull moment.  But I wouldn't have it any other way.  And I just love a great story....  So here goes...

First, the cottonmouth.  Then, the scary "skunk dog" my children were certain would eat them alive!   And last but not least, the 18-wheeler crash.  All this, in just one weekend's time on our family's land.

It's called the GJ Ranch, and it borders the Ouachita National Forest. "G" for Gene, my precious grandfather, and "J" for Joyce, my darling grandmother.  They worked this land until they died several years back.

It's heaven on earth there.  Really is.  Nearly a thousand acres of forest, streams, wide open space, and stunning views of Mt. Magazine.  God's country.  One of my peaceful places on this earth.

It's also wrought with the fury of nature:  snakes, coyotes, hoards of mosquitos and chiggars, and the random sounds of various animals in the night letting you know you are most definitely not in the city and most assuredly not alone.  But as Helen Keller once said, "..life is either a great adventure or nothing."  So I've taken my children there since they were babies. They love the horses, they love packing a lunch, and they love buckling into the 4x4 mule and riding into woods.

Saturday, my cousin was driving and boy child spotted it first and screamed "A SNAKE!" Sure enough.  Giant cottonmouth, yards from my children.  Being the tough-guy I know and love, sweet cousin shot the snake and gave my little love bug the bullet.   He told my boy, "because you spotted that snake first, you get this bullet."  Son's jaw dropped to the muddy bottom of the mule.

Baby just girl kept saying .."Mommy, mommy, it's the first time I've ever seen a snake in the wild!"
Thank the heavens, the fates, God, and the universe no one was bitten or hurt.

Sunday, we headed out in the mule, just me and my babies, for a picnic by the stream.  That's when we were followed. Not by a creep, because there just aren't a lot of people in this area of the world.  But by a giant dog, taller than my kids.  We recognized him from a month or so ago when he reeked horribly of a skunk, and the children quickly squealed, "It's skunk dog!  Drive faster momma. Get away from him!"   I tried, but that darn dog followed us all the way to the stream.  Girl was terrified.  But then, boy started to pet him and realized, albeit slowly, skunk dog was kinda nice.  And he didn't really stink at all anymore.

In fact, by the end of our picnic, "skunk dog" was a friend, splashing in the stream with us all.

(note the THREE dogs between each child in picture on right)


Beautiful evening and so relaxing.  That night, we got back from the stream, built a fire, and made s'mores.  We could hear the coyotes howling in the background.  The kids thought it was so cool, but the dogs went nuts.  I drifted off to sleep so very grateful for such wonderful adventures.  I slept so hard, always do out on our land.  And then *BOOM*

It was morning, and we thought the house exploded.  Baby girl screamed.  My mom screamed.  We all went running outside....   to this. 

An 18-wheeler literally crashed into the ditch in front of the house on our land.  Tires everywhere, busted concrete and a crashed-up truck.  Kids were beside themselves.  I was shaking.  Truck driver's nose was broken.  We welcomed him in and got him wet washcloths and bandages and a landline to make his calls.  Poor guy told me he saw his life flash before his eyes when the tire blew and he lost control.   Thank goodness he's okay.

Life is so random, isn't it?  Not worth trying to figure out.   Don't you think it best to take the ride and welcome the adventure?   I'm so grateful for it all.  The good, the bad, the ugly.  The laughter, the sorrow.  All such delicious, rich stories that one day will make up a good, well-lived life.

I read a lovely quote the other day.  Reminded me of our weekend inconveniences.  The snake, the skunk dog, and the crash. 

“An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.” ~ G. K. Chesterton

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

"...a great place to spend the rest of your life."

I'm tired of talking about being divorced.  But it just keeps tailing me. And people just won't stop bringing it up.

Like the other day at lunch with my kindergartner at his elementary school.  A fellow 5-year old just walked right up and said, "Miss Dawn, are you and your husband still married?  Because when we drawed pictures of our houses in class, your son drawed two houses."  I looked at him with a stunned face.  What I almost uttered was... (well, you really don't want to know). 

Instead, I smiled politely and said, "No, sweetheart.  Darling boy's daddy and I are not married anymore, and your classmate does indeed live in two houses." 

His response was what stunned me!  "Cool, Miss Dawn!  He has two rooms?  And two toy bins?"  Then suddenly, he looked confused.  "But what days does he stay where?"

Lordy, if he knew how long it took us to work that out......

Anyway, I later saw the drawings and descriptions of my angel's two houses, and tears filled my eyes.  This is just not what I wanted for him.  For me.  For his sister.  For his daddy...

But a wise friend keeps telling me:  it just is what it is.

Of course, boy-child came running home to say that he drew a picture of daddy's house biggest only because when they pulled up Google Earth in class, he picked mommy's house to show and describe to his class.  Honestly?  He's 6.  Shouldn't he only be worried about chase on the playground?  Or what he gets for snack time? 


It is what it is.

Then there's the whole working-on-TV-thingy-that-attracts-certain-freaks aspect of my life.  Those people I've never met who call or message me daily.  "Ms. Scott, I saw you're not wearing a ring, so I was just wondering 'Are you married?  And if not, maybe we could meet?'"  How do I even respond?  I just decided to start wearing my mother's old ring on my ring finger.

Other women ask me often (with eyes lighting up, I might add) what it's like to date and share with me that their married lives are boring and that, in some cases, their marriages are terrible.  As if I'm the one out here livin' the dream!  As if I'm even dating!  Friends, I.  Did.  Not.  Want.  This.  But it's what my life is, and I accept it.  And there is a reason for it, whether I know it or not.

Honestly (confession time), it is kinda lonely sometimes.  The hopeless romantic I am, I often wander off into fantasyland, where the perfect love is just waiting for me, wrapped up in a beautiful package, ready to sweep me off my feet. 


Back to reality, little heart of mine!  We all know that doesn't exist.  Love is all imperfection and rocky, and people are messy and hurting and healing.  And it's lovely all at the same time.

I also know in my heart that the love I dreamt of all my waking life is really right before my eyes:  in the form of a 4-year old little girl and a 6-year old little boy.  The absolute embodiment of all things pure and innocent and love.  The two babies who run around on this earth with my heart on their sleeves.

The other night on the set in the TV studio just before our show began, the evening news ended with a story of a 91-year old man who reconnected and proposed to an 81-year old woman, over half a century after first working together.  A precious love story! My co-anchor and I nearly cried upon hearing that man say out loud in his aged, tattered voice: "Love is a great place to spend the rest of your life."

It really is.  In whatever form it comes.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Teeth and Tears

Okay.  Teeth are coming out, and I can't stop bawling.  Am I that sentimental?  Apparently, yes.  Because a simple childhood milestone has me boo-hoo'ing like a baby.

It started with my sweet boy child who is now six-and-a-half years old.  His top front right tooth was loose to begin with.  Then the terrible Saturday accident happened.  Poor child busted his gums on the side of a granite countertop, and with the amount of bloodshed and screaming, you'd think his tooth would've fallen out then.  But nooooooooooo.  It literally hung on for dear life.  By a thread.  It was there for days, because after the countertop crash, no one could come within ten feet of that tooth without mass protest.  Soon after, and thankfully, in the most non-climactic way, it just quietly fell out onto his tongue during school naptime.  It was the best thing that could've happened, really.  He was excused from class to see the school nurse, and she gifted him a "tooth necklace" to wear with the prized front tooth inside so everyone that day would know he'd lost his tooth.  Like a badge of courage or something.  Like they couldn't see for themselves when he smiled.
 The day he lost his front tooth
Tooth necklace from the school nurse

Anyway, a few days later, the puppy's teeth came loose, and this is not a joke (LOL!).  We took "Hims" (Scout's nickname, with high pitch and long emphasis on the "I" like "Hiiiiiiiims") to the vet for his 4-month check-up and sure enough, his two front teeth were about to fall out.   Well, boy child just thought this to be the greatest coincidence in the world!  "Hims" and he (not proper grammar, I'm certain) are now bonded for life.  That night, we felt the pup's loose teeth (top two, mind you - exact same loose teeth for both), and we decided to give him a greasy bone to chew just to see if it would kick-out those teeth.  Lo and behold!  We checked little pup's front teeth after said bone was chewed up, and they were gone! 
"Hims" with just a few baby teeth left

"Mom!"  he shrieked.  "He lost 'em!  And the Tooth Fairy must've already come to get 'em 'cuz I can't find 'em anywhere!"

This left girl-child (who is four-and-a-half years old) in tears herself.  She came over and said, "momma, my front tooth is loose,"  which of course is a lie.  She felt she wasn't part of this fun connection, poor thing. 

I said, "No honey, it's really not.  You won't lose your teeth until you are five or six like you're brother."

"But mommy," she protested.  "Hims lost his teeth and he's only four months."

I tried to explain, upon which she blurted "Momma, I just want to live in Fairyland with the Tooth Fairy.  Can she take me back with her tonight?"

(HEART MELTING at this point in the story)

I explained again that the Tooth Fairy would arrive to see her soon enough, and I guess it was enough since she smiled, ran in her closet, and dressed up like a fairy herself,  pretending for a moment to be the tooth fairy, telling the puppy that she would bring him his favorite bones to chew.

Why am I crying about this? I get choked up even typing it. 

I think it's the letting go.  Or maybe it's just the sheer innocence and sweetness of it all.  No, I think it's the letting go.  It's the letting go that gets me every single time.   The looking at my first-born and seeing a boy now instead of a baby.  A boy with a tooth missing.  It's like his face has changed and his speech has changed, even just a tiny bit.  Still, enough for me to recognize that I'm about to be raising a 1st grader.  Enough to know that next fall, my girl baby will start to lose her teeth and begin to look like a little girl herself.

The letting go..... 

The fact that even little puppy won't fit in my palms anymore. 

Everyone always tells me to enjoy these little moments, to enjoy my babies being small because before you know it, they'll be big... and gone.  But already, I can remember holding these babies in my arms, with their exact measurements etched in my soul, watching their every single breath, and now I think "how did they get so big, so fast?!" 

These days, I send them on their way - to school, baseball, dance, to play at friends' houses - with a kiss and a prayer that they get back to me safely.  On Mother's Day, we planted a seed garden and set up a lemonade stand (another first).  I relished every second of the day.  It was lovely.

I realized then, it's not the garden or the lemonade stand or the teeth falling out....  It's the letting go. The knowing that soon, very soon, I'll be looking at them as adults and savoring old screenshots in my mind of their precious toothless smiles.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


I always thought I would be a mom to three.  I just didn't know that #3 would be a dog.

When I was a little girl, I loved baby dolls.  I always spread out one of my baby blankets on the soft grass and lined up all my precious babies side-by-side (funny that my little girl now does the same thing!).  I remember back then dreaming of the three children I just knew I would one day have when I grew up.  I don't know why I picked the number three.   Just a feeling I had.  Just sounded kinda perfect, I guess. 

But life is not perfect.

It just never seems to work out like you plan.

Someone once told me that when you don't get what you want, when all roads lead to nowhere, when circumstances don't make sense anymore, it just means there's a much bigger, much greater plan for your life.  Simple as that, and you better start the business of preparing for it.   That God, the Universe (whatever you believe) is trying to give you everything you dream, just maybe not in the form you thought.

Another friend reminded me one time of a famous quote, something like... life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans.

When I stop and think about it, it's so true.  It's the most mundane moments that make life good.  It's the breakfast table chaos and the hurried rush to get to school on time and the kiss in the car as my sweet kindergartner hops out to start his life.  It's the small chunks of oatmeal I find caked on the new puppy (which at the moment infuriates me but I laugh about later).  It's sweet children's voices I hear in the other room when I'm making dinner as they create a new game to play.  It's the time-outs and the messes, right alongside the picture-perfect smiling, happy moments that are all truly worth gold.  It's even finishing up the potty training of my two kids and beginning all over again with the new puppy, who requires constant trips outside at all hours of the day and night (which at times I curse).

Meaning is definitely not found in the what-ifs and the questioning and pleading and bargaining.  Believe me, I've spent hours and days and months driving down those dead-end roads.  Not found in the wondering what will become of my life, my children's lives.... that plagues my mind at times.  For sure I find no meaning (only frustration and fear) in the moments I scream 'why?'- why this?, why me?, why this situation?

Doesn't matter.  Does not matter.  Never will matter why.  It is what it is, and I may as well roll up my sleeves and get to work living and thanking God I'm here another day gifted with the opportunity to find the love and forgiveness and grace in every situation....

And so here we are.  Me and my three.  The holy trinity.  The magic number.   Past, present, future - all  being created right here, right now.  I think the best thing I could ever do ... is just see, appreciate, and trust that the answers are always, always right there. Right in front of my face.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Thousand Little Deaths

This is not a blog I want to write.

It's about loss and grief and that one little word that no one ever wants to talk about:  divorce.

But I'm gonna write because I'm tired of the thinking about it that surrounds me.  That something must be wrong with you and your family if you're divorced, that it's a taboo topic and seems to make so many people feel so uncomfortable. And that a divorced family is somehow a 'broken' family.  I'm tired of the "I'm sorrys," the weird silences and the awkwardness that everyone but me feels.

In no way am I praising divorce.  I wouldn't wish it on anyone.  It's the worst experience I've ever been through next to the deaths of my father, grandparents, and young cousin.  It's like a death, though, but no one died.  I guess the marriage died, but because we have kids, we see each other daily, so it almost makes no sense to refer to it as a death.

It's more like a thousand little ones.

And that's what makes it so tough.  It's the simple things.  The goodbye at morning school drop-off knowing dad is picking up the children and I won't see them until tomorrow.   Saturday morning breakfast that they always share with dad but not me.  Sunday night dinner always with me but not with their dad.  Although I must say my ex and I have an 'open-door' policy, keys to each other's homes, and  open arms when it comes to sharing meals or coming to see the kids any day, any hour.

It's the fact that my last name is different now than theirs.  When I fill out forms, I have to check 'divorced' and fill out two addresses for two parents in two different homes.  It's not knowing who will be my emergency contact and who to write as the kids' emergency contact:  me or him?  It's the toys and clothes that stay at my house and those that stay at his house.  The artwork they bring home from school - does it stay with mom or stay with dad?

I wish this had never happened.  And we fought like hell to stay together.  But staying together was hurting everyone, including the children.  The reasons it happened are between me and my ex-husband and, frankly, are no one else's business despite the people who rudely and hurtfully made it their business by gossiping, spreading rumor, and relentlessly sticking their nose in where it doesn't belong.

The fact is, half of all American children will witness the breakup of a parent's marriage.  So what is normal?  A traditional family with mom and dad in the same house?  Or is it the other way around?  I don't really care what normal is.  But I do care that my children are happy and healthy.  That I am happy and healthy.  That my ex is happy and healthy.  He is now a dear friend to me, and for that, I am grateful.  We have spent the better part of two years transforming a failed marriage into a friendship with the main goal of raising our two beautiful children.  They are much healthier and so are we.  This is a good thing, right?

But then one of the little deaths rips my heart out.  My daughter kissing me on the cheek saying "I'll miss you this weekend mommy, and I'll see you Sunday." The mail I receive addressed to 'Mrs. Dawn Jones.' (and am I 'Miss' now or 'Ms.'?? - oh the details!)

I keep thinking that these thousand little deaths must be preparing me for something bigger.  The day they drive off alone for the first time at age 16, the day they leave for college, the day they no longer need me in the way they do now. But I'm not sure it will ever be easy.  I once read a beautiful quote that goes something like "don't pray for an easy life, pray to be a stronger person."

So that's what I'm doing.  Fighting daily to see the blessings, which are constant.  With a knowing in my heart that this is how it is supposed to be for me, for my family (and yes, we are still a family) and learning to live it with grace and in peace rather than with grief and sadness.

((Now.  I know I'm not alone out there.  So share with me and let's find a way to support each other!))

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


CONFESSION:  I've been soooooooooo lax.  

Ummm.  My kids have pretty much been running the house. 

Okay, okay, before you judge........................

I walked into the playroom a few days ago and saw that aforementioned sweetie-pies had confiscated my iPhone.  Took about two seconds to figure out beyond their giggles that I was being recorded.

Aye, yigh, yigh!

Of course I snatched it away from them.  How did they figure that out anyway?

"You aren't supposed to snatch, mommy.  It's rude.  You always tell us not to snatch. And we were trying to send Uncle Mike his birthday message anyway."

Okay then. 

Alright, let mommy record it. 




"Happy birthday to you.  You live in a zoo.  You look like a monkey.  And you smell like one too!"

Whaaaaaa???????????????  Where on earth did you learn that?

Aye.  YIGH.  YIGH.  Kids........ 

"It's funny, mommy!  Send it!"

I did.  No harm, no foul.  No.  Discipline.

Later in the day, I was folding clothes and heard screams come from the playroom and a skin slap.  I caught the tail end of the action when brother pulled sister's hair. 


But no time out.  No discipline.  They pretty much got away with it.  Not good.

I think I'm suffering ACS.  Short for "After Connecticut Syndrome."  It's kind of like I'm suspended in this state where I'm just so freaking grateful my children are alive.  So thankful I almost feel guilty.  So glad they are on this earth, breathing and walking and talking and fighting and playing and being silly that they can almost get away with anything.

We had the most amazing Christmas.  The ages of my children - perfect. So.  Much.  Fun.  All the magic, the Santa Claus myth, the elves, the holiday lore and tradition....   They are ripe for it all.  And every minute of it was joy.  But in the midst of that joy -at times- I would stop cold in my tracks and just suddenly feel weepy.  Lump in throat.  Could cry at a moment's notice.  Thinking of the photos of all those Newtown children whose parents at night can only hold a photo now.  Who only have memories to sustain them.

I'm not sure how to handle this.  And I know that being lax and lack of discipline is not the best route to go. But for a little while -just for each day- my time is going to be spent pouring love onto their precious, sweet little souls.  Holding them closer and tighter and more often.  Listening to what they have to say.  And watching - with recognition that this moment is all we have, and there is no guarantee tomorrow will come.