Tag Archives: Emily

Road Trip!!! Part 1

The battle cry of ROAD TRIP! used to mean something totally different to me. I would stock up on Marlboro Lights and Diet Cokes.  I might organize my tape case on the front seat of my Geo Metro convertible.  If I was trying not to feel totally reckless I’d apply sunscreen to the part between my pigtails and I’d hit the road.  I always arrived at my destination earlier than I thought I would because I could drive for hours and hours without stopping to pee and I held steady at ten to fifteen miles over the speed limit.

Things are different now.  Lucy and I hit the road early in the morning.  It was almost two weeks ago and I have only just now recovered enough to write about it. To say that we made frequent pit stops would be an understatement.  She was hungry.  She needed a new diaper.  But mostly?  She just needed her mama.  And I cave like a wet paper bag.

I know you, rider…

I picked up Emily and it was smoother sailing from then on out.  Lucy loves her mama.  But her big sister is supremely entertaining.  We laughed.  We sang.  While sitting in traffic I thought I might pee in my pants.  Emily informed me that if she had a magic wand she would turn all my pee to blood.  Not eliminate the traffic, mind you.  We made it to DC.  We regrouped.  Lucy, my mom and me in one car.  Em and my step-father in the other.  We took off for the beach.

A hundred years ago my mom and I went on road trips.  Sometimes they would be small adventures.  Denny’s for breakfast in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep.  She would come down to Williamsburg to visit me in my twenties.  We would tear up the town.  In the summer we would usually steal away for a night or two at the beach.   As we hopped in the car to head to the beach I was reminded of those long ago beach trips.  In spite of the car seats, the pool floaties, the sleeping kids in the back seat, the sun shades and the SPF 3 Million in my car for a moment it was like I was sixteen and we were headed out just “us girls.”

Twice in the car she laughed until she spit her water.  Her Perrier.  My mom likes “bubbly water” without it seeming like a “thing.”  I have some on my dashboard right now and I might not wipe it off.  Not because I am a slob (which I am, in my car only) but because every time I see the splash marks on my window and my dash it makes me laugh.

Rarely is your Vacation complete before you arrive at your destination.  But it had been too damn long since I had made my mom laugh until she spit her drink.  Too damn long.

Annie, showing Lucy that the Party never stops. Folding laundry is fun even on VACATION!

525,600 minutes…

Or about four inches.  That is how you measure a year.

Last June Emily graduated from her preschool wearing a dress with purple flowers.  She had a sweet little smile and her bangs needed a trim.  I was a tiny bit pregnant and wearing pigtails.


Emily, June 2011, preschool graduation

This morning that sweet faced little girl graduated from Kindergarten in the same dress.  It was shorter this year.  She continues to grow up. Straight up.  Her face is sharper.  She is growing out her bangs and is typically wearing no fewer than two hair accessories.  I curled her hair this morning.  Two hours later I arrived at school and she had another hairdo altogether.


She proudly held her little sister during a good portion of the graduation ceremony.  The back of her neck makes me tear up.  There is something beautiful about the back of a woman’s neck.  Hers is no exception.  In that six (almost seven!) year old neck I can see the young woman she will become.  Inches below her neck is the freckle she had when she was born.

Somewhere between that freckle and that young woman’s neck will be tears and heart break and laughter and joy too numerous too imagine.  She will not always be in a white dress with purple flowers, but she will always be my baby, my Emily June.


Emily, June 2012, Kindergarten Graduation


There are no words to describe this last year.  A fearless little girl started kindergarten in a brand, new school.  Weeks later she started again at yet another new school, beginning a new chapter in a new home.

Your baby face has faded, in its place a crooked smile complete with wiggly teeth.  You still let me call you “tiny heiney” but you were appalled when I mooned you the other day in the kitchen.  You have a new found sense of propriety.

You still sleep with pinky blanket, but the night your sister was born you did not.  I held it in my hands, wiped the tears from my face, the sweat from my forehead with it.  It was a reminder that I had all the strength I needed to make you a big sister.

And what a big sister you have become.  Your patience is out measured only by your kindness.  She watches you endlessly.  Your “baby sway” would lead one to believe that you were a teeny tiny grandmother.   I could go on and on, sweet girl, but the tears streaming down my face have soaked your sister as she sleeps in my lap.

When you turned one I told you you were my big, bright star.  And little lady, you do not disappoint.  Every time you grow a little bit older I tell you to knock it off.  But underneath the sentimentality of motherhood, I secretly rejoice.  One day we will share a glass of wine and reminisce about growing up.  Because I am growing right along with you. I love you, kiddo.  More than you may ever know.



Em, I wrote your sister because she is three months old today. And in my ongoing quest to keep things equal I thought I’d write you, too. I’m not sure if you keep score, but I do in my head. … Continue reading

Easy like Sunday Morning

20120415-080841.jpgSunday morning in my rocking chair. Baby girl has fallen back asleep on my chest. Big girl is outside playing and I can hear her laughing. My sweet husband has fallen back to sleep after his morning snuggles with his little lady.

There is nowhere I’d rather be. Absolutely nowhere.

Sometimes I write because I want to remember a specific moment. And sometimes I sit down to write because I feel so much that I know something real might come out if I let it. Right now? Tapping letters on my phone, looking around me to find a picture to describe this moment. There is nothing. No words, no image to capture a moment Iike this.

That’s all I’ve got this morning. Me. And Lucy. And the quiet of the morning broken up by the laughter of my first favorite girl. This is it. If this is as good as it gets I’ll take it.


Training Wheels

training wheels

This week Emily took off her training wheels.

We took them off once before. And we gave it a good shot. She just wasn’t ready. So we put them back on and we figured they would come off again when it was time . Predictably, “ready” came as soon as Kellan, her buddy across the street, took off his training wheels and rode across his yard.

We had plans to start working on it this weekend. But she decided she simply could not wait that long. Wednesday after school we headed to a local park. MQD had plans to help Em with her bike while I got a little exercise with Lucy in her stroller. I took off down the walking path leaving them to adjust her helmet. As I rounded the corner some ten minutes later and they came back in to my sight I could see that there had not exactly been a lot of progress. She was standing next to her bike. Her posture alone told me she was crying.

She hadn’t even fallen. I’d warned her. You will fall. And you will get up and get back on your bike. The last time we had tried she had fallen and had still not been so upset so I wondered as I got closer just what exactly was under her skin.

The stakes were higher this time. And she seemed paralyzed. “What are you afraid of,” I asked her. “Falling. Breaking my arm. Going to the hospital. I am so, so afraid….”

And I saw myself in her face.

MQD and I switched places. He pushed Lucy around the track in her stroller for a bit and in less than twenty minutes Em was riding.

To be both brave and afraid all at the same time. I feel this all of the time. And my heart broke for her. She wanted to ride. She was ready. But her fear kept her from peddling fast enough to keep from tipping over.

For so many years I thought what I wanted was a partner that would hold me as I wept. “I’m scared,” I would cry. “You can do it,” they would say as they swept my hair from my face tenderly.

Turns out that isn’t what I needed at all. A little bit of MQD’s tough love has gone a long way. I am brave more often than I am scared.

“You can do it,” I said. “Get back on your bike.” And she rode. Crying. Three feet at a time because she kept stopping to wail about how terribly afraid she was. She is afterall my daughter.

And soon the three feet became ten feet. And the firm hold on her bicycle seat became a less firm grip under her arm. And then I had one of those delicious parenting moments where I was running along side her as she rode her bike. She was yelling “don’t let go, don’t let go” and I was yelling back (having already let go) “you’re doing it, you’re doing it.”

I watched her ride down that path and tears streamed down my face. She was free. A bike with no training wheels. Equal parts brave and afraid.

In our wedding vows MQD and I quoted part of Tom Robbins’ Still Life with Woodpecker to one another “my love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.”

Riding a bike is just like that. I live without training wheels now. And I am equal parts brave and afraid.

Second Fiddle

I couldn't have loved him more if I had given birth to him.

I used to have a bumper sticker that said “My Labrador Retriever is smarter than your honor student.”

This morning I got another bumper sticker. This one was not for my dog. In our county the Kiwanis program sponsors a “Terrific Kid” program. Students are recognized for having outstanding character. Em is this month’s Terrific Kid from her class. MQD, Lucy and I piled in to the cafeteria with parents and Kiwanis members and we clapped and watched the kids get their certificates, their pencils, a sticker and the bumper sticker I had mocked so many years ago.

I held my sweet Lucy in my arms and I smiled back when strangers smiled at her little face. “She’s adorable,” said the strangers and I smiled. But my smile was not as bright as it ordinarily is. Instead my eyes said “Sure, yeah, she’s cute but look up there – my big girl. She is TERRIFIC, dammit!!”

Lucy played second fiddle to our big girl this morning and fortunately she was comfortable there. I took my first child to the vet this morning for his annual check up. In to the reception area we went, Fish on a leash, Lucy in her seat. My hands were full but I did not feel particularly frazzled.

I got the smiles from the strangers in the waiting room at the vet. I smiled back. “How old?” said the woman with the greyhound puppy. “He will be nine this Easter Sunday.”

And I laughed. I think she might have meant the baby. Two months and one week, Miss Lucy was in the spotlight. Then it was unceremoniously taken from her.

Welcome to the family, Lucy Goose. Sharing is a bitch. But you’ll get used to it.


Big, brave boy at the vet

Me & Mrs Hannigan

Its not like Mrs. Hannigan and I have something going on. Not like me and Mrs Jones. But we do have something in common. We are drippping with little girls. Or so I thought.

Emily June October 2006

“Go and grab me some rubberbands and I will do your hair if you want.”  Ordinarily Em does her own hair before school but I had two hands free and felt like making the most of it.

Emily June March 2007

“You mean rubber band,” she corrects me.  “Mom, pigtails are sort of for little girls.”

And I saw her back tracking… “I mean for me. I just feel like it is not the hairstyle for me.”

Emily June September 2008


I will be 43 years old next time I get my picture taken for my driver’s license. I wonder if I will still be a little girl.

The Original Toys r Us Kid

And party every day!!!

It’s not easy to feel like you are getting wild while watching VH1 pop-up video. But damn if I don’t.  And not just because it is the episode featuring Ozzy’s Bark at the Moon and some Quiet Riot.

I love it when a plan comes together.

“Mom, can you turn down that rock and roll music?  I’m doing my homework, and it makes it like harder to concentrate.”

I have said since the moment I found out I was pregnant with Emily that if I am lucky her “rebelling” will mean she is a pretty good kid.  She might not guess by my liberal political leanings and my tattoos and my generous use of certain swear words that I was a little goody two shoes, too.  And I am not about to tell her.

So, my six year old told me to turn down my rock and roll music.  You can probably guess what I told her.

Cum on feel the noize.


Really Really Like is the new Like Like

In the morning we stand on our porches and watch the kids go to the bus stop. The “bus stop” is the end of our neighbor’s driveway so they don’t have far to walk.   So while it does not require supervision it is supremely entertaining to watch Em and Kellan interact with one another in the morning.  Somehow their behavior in the morning is a glimpse in to the secret life they have at school.  By the time they get home in the afternoon and run around in the yard before the darkening sky indicates it is time to head in for dinner they are no longer kindergarteners, school children, it has all but worn off and they are just kids.

Yesterday morning as Em raced across the street Amy called from her front porch, “Em has a boyfriend.”  My eyes (without my glasses yet, admittedly) went right from Amy to Emily.  She continued on her path, darting across the street, but when Amy shouted the boy’s name, Em switched gears and suddenly instead of a six-year-old girl headed to the bus stop she was a linebacker, racing towards Kellan with all the strength her little 45 pound body can muster.  There was some truth to this story evidently.

She came home from school and was playing in the yard with Kellan while MQD and I made dinner last night.  “I want to ask Em about her boyfriend tonight, but we have to be cool, not push her and not laugh at her.  I want to make sure she can talk to us, yanno?”

We concluded that we could of course laugh at her behind her back all we wanted, the grand prize of parenting.  The laughter behind closed doors at your children’s expense.  (In case you think your parents never laughed at you, call one of them right now and ask,  I’d bet without hesitation they could recount a time when you did something completely absurd and you thought no one noticed at all. )

“I heard you have a boyfriend.  Kellan says he is nice. Why didn’t you tell us?”

“Because he’s not my boyfriend.”

“Do you like him?”

“Yeah. But I don’t really really really really like him.”

I waas only slightly less stunned when I heard the words Emily and boyfriend in the same sentence. How I miss that fuzzy haired girl.

“Did he ask you to be his girlfriend?”

“Yup.  I told him I had to think about it. And I think  I’m gonna say no.”

 “Why no?”

“Well. Because he pushes me down. Just when we are playing chase but…” And she curls her lip and shrugs. “They think I really really really like him. But I don’t. I mean I like him but…” And she shrugged again.

“Have you ever had a boyfriend before?”

“Well when I was in like preschool pretty much Kellan was my boyfriend but you already knew that.”And she smiled.

I think she will tell me. When there is something to report.

I’m proud of my girl. Not gonna win her over so easy.  Even though he does evidently wear “checked shirts, like, nice shirts.  Like Dad wears to work.”


I have written numerous times over the last two years about how Emily June has a knack for saying just the right thing.  When I am questioning a big decision or an outfit or cutting bangs, I often look to her for advice.

So, naturally, last week I asked her what she would think if I were to quit my job and stay home with her.  “We can spend the whole summer together, Em.  Get our chores done and work on a little homework in the morning, spend the afternoons at the pool.  I’ll even be able to help out in your classroom next fall if you want me to.  I’ll never miss a field trip.”

So, I was selling it big time.  Trying to anyway.

She stopped what she was doing and looked at me.  Really looked at me.  “Seriously?  Are you SURE you want to do that?”

To say it was not the reaction I’d hoped for would be putting it mildly.

I don’t usually eat fortune cookies unless it is with a meal, but on Friday before I went to work I needed guidance.  Since I did not get the guidance I had hoped for from my six year old, it seemed wise to seek advice from a mass produced dessert item.   I opened the junk drawer and I fished out a fortune cookie.

It was just what I was looking for.