Raising Magnolias

Because it's never too late for happily ever after…

Archive for the month “May, 2014”

My Memorial-Labor Day

9 years ago on Memorial Day, I sat with my husband and mid-wife and a variety of nurses and I labored.

It actually started several hours the day before.

And I guess I wasn’t really sitting.

And I labored some more.

And I went through at least 3 nursing shifts. So many in fact, that 3 1/2 years later, when I started laboring with Emma Claire, my nurse said to me, “Cool. You’re using a mid-wife. I never delivered with a midwife.”

I took her by the arm and looked her in the eyes and I said.

“Well, you’re gonna. Because I had like 5 nurses with Coulter and I don’t care what it takes, but Emma Claire is gonna be a one-shift baby.”

One shift.

One nurse.


I won’t bore you with the details because if you have babies, you know that it hurts and if you haven’t had babies yet, I don’t want to scare you, (but you should kinda be scared. Ya know, just a little), but it was long and I was scared of the epidural so it was drug-free and I don’t have too many nice things to say lately and there are seasons when all we can see if gray even when there’s a rainbow right in front of us, and this morning I needed a rainbow so  I sent a text to Coulter’s dad.

Thank you.

Thank you for laboring with me on this day, nine years ago.

Then I went for a walk and saw a dog-walker whose ex-husband is in jail.

Hard to pay child support from jail.

As God’s children we are called to give thinks in all circumstances.

Somedays that means being thankful that your ex-husband didn’t pass out during labor.

Somedays that means recognizing that your ex-husband always, always, always pays his child support.

Somedays that means recognizing that your ex-husband isn’t in jail, even though the kids would probably get to spend more time at home with me if he was.

Ya know, just sayin’.

OK, so the Y was closed this morning. I sent texts out wondering if the weather would hold for outdoor workouts. My dad was struck by lightening as a child and people will tell me all the time that you can’t survive that, but my dad’s 69 so, actually you can survive that, but even still, I don’t mess around with lightening.

I got a text back.

“The sun is trying to shine over the Catholic Church.”

Trying to shine.

That’s what I’m doing. Trying to shine and trying to see and searching for the rainbow..

The kids will be back on Wednesday.

I have 4 nights left before his “exclusive” time in the summer.

4 nights.

It’s possible that if I quit pouting long enough, I would be able to plan a pretty cool stay-cation.

This calls for pinterest.

And a tent.

Yes, I need pinterest and a tent.

And somebody who knows how to pitch a tent.

And your ideas if you have any!

I need jars.

And lightening bugs.

And if y’all could please pray that I can stay up long enough for the lightening bugs to appear.

And I need sun and warmth and water and balls and we are going to have birthday parties and we are going to see friends and I’m giving thanks.

Ann Voskamp says that thanksgiving precedes the miracle.

So I’m giving thanks for my ex-husband. For the gift of our children. For his job and his ability to pay child-support. For the wonderful vacations that they  get to go on (because now that we’re not married, there is all of a sudden a lot of money for travel and vacations and dang it, that didn’t sound very thankful. I told you the sun was trying to shine, I didn’t say it was shining brightly,) and yes, I am thankful for a weekend to rest and rejuvenate and re—

Oh, who am I kidding.

I didn’t sleep at all. My house is eerily quiet and I actually built a pillow barrier so that I could only sleep on 1/8 of my bed, since Emma Claire usually sprawls out over the rest of it and occasionally, I tuned Netflix to some very obnoxious kid shows just so I didn’t feel like a stranger in my own house.

If I could just train the dogs to complain about every piece of food I put in front of them, then I might actually be able to relax.

But what mom can relax when her babies are gone?

God did not create us for that.

Where was I?

Oh yeah.


I need the miracle.

And this summer maybe the miracle is being able to see the rainbow.

And that the sun is really trying to shine.

Mother Math

Did you know that 9 is half of 18?


What the HALE?

We were on our way to the orthodontist.

Chatter, chatter, chatter and then I hear.

“Emma Claire! I’m almost nine years old!!”



Holy HALE!

I needed a bag. The kind they give you on airplanes.

The kind I now carry in my car since I’ve now lost 3 car seats to the back winding roads of Southwest Arkansas.

Who am I kidding?

I don’t even carry paper towels in my car.

“What’s wrong, Mom?”

“9,” I stammer.


I feel sick.

No. I am sick.

We arrived at the Orthodontist.

There were pictures of crooked teeth and crowded teeth and cross-bites and under-bites and it’s seriously amazing that the kid can eat anything at all and the Dr. lays out a plan.


The plan for now is to prepare for braces.

My mother taught me it isn’t polite to talk about money, and I’m holding camp later this month on manners and I will teach them that it isn’t polite to talk about money, but today I don’t feel like being polite. Today I’m just gonna tell you that to “prepare” for my son’s braces is going to cost more than 10% of my yearly salary.


To prepare.


I reached out to Coulter’s dad.

“Do you think we should get a second opinion?”

No response.

Again, I reach out.

Brief response telling me, in short, that braces are expensive.

Uhm, yes, this I knew.

So I reached out for my own second opinion.

And then I went to see my attorney. Not about braces but because I don’t like being ignored.

Their dad owed me a small amount of money.

A very very small amount.

Just sitting in the waiting room at the attorney’s office cost more than what was owed to me.

But do you know what isn’t small?

Being heard!

I have lived through and walked through and  marched around and fallen down and people will ask me how I did this and how I did that and it’s a little like the pain of childbirth in that you sorta forget and I do want to forget.


Last night the littles left with their Dad for a weekend vacation.

I wept uncontrollably.

Their dad has custody for the summer.





And I’m super-hot mad.


No-fault state.

Right. Because divorce just happens? It’s no-one’s fault?

No-fault  my a@#

Wait. What? I don’t swear.

I turned on the shower. For some reason a good cry is better in the shower. Plus these houses are really close together and I figured the water would drown out the sound of me crying. And my neighbors lock the dogs in my garage when they bark too much, so I’m a little worried about what they might do to me.

I couldn’t catch my breath.

Mike called and when I couldn’t talk, he said.

Hang tight.

And then he was here.

My man who doesn’t ignore.

How did I “do that”? How do I “do this?”

Somedays not very well at all.

But I always I re-visit what my  way-too-young-to-be-a-widow-friend says about 40.

It is not old.

Life too short. And life too long.

And when I forget and I when I panic and when I lose my breath, Lord just remind me.

9 is half of 18, so celebrate the 9!

Friday, this momma who swore her children would never play with toy guns will create a nerf-gun battlefield in the backyard, strap on some am0 (is that how you spell that? Y’all know I’m talking about about the little nerf pellets, right?) and yes, we are gonna celebrate NINE.

Forgetting the past, forgetting at last.

Just this.


For time today .

To love my littles.

And at 9 and 5, they are still little.

(Coulter was born on Memorial Day, 2005. When I look at this picture, I see a competitive  little man who works hard, plays hard and whose mouth is gonna be worth more than my car! ) 🙂 Thank you, Jesus for the gift of this child.






The 10 Little Milligrams that Changed My Life

Snuggling in bed after a whole “I’m telling Dad on you”—“Fine. Tell Dad on me. I don’t care.”—kind of evening, Emma Claire finally settled and apologized.

And so did I.

My big offense?

I let them stay up late watching a movie.

Which was super fun until I broke the news that it was  too late for books.

Anyway, I should’ve just read the dang books because for the next hour Emma Claire asked question after question—



I have promised two things. To myself and to my children.

I will always tell the truth.

And I will not spend a lifetime telling them they are too young to understand.

Even though quite frankly, I’m still too young to understand.

I recalled a moment getting into my van. Emma Claire was on the verge of  3. I had just handed off my resume and was brushed off without a second glance.

And I had used such nice paper.

And it went straight to the shredder.

So I drove off.


Emma Claire said to me, “Mommy why are you always crying?”

A couple of weeks later I and a doctor’s appointment.

Yearly exam and my first in Nebraska.

I sat in a waiting room and I am telling you that everyone woman in that place was glowing, bellies full except for me.

The nurse calls my name.

She’s 12. Maybe 13.

I start crying from the minute I step onto the scale.

“Any issues for you today? Anything that you’d like to discuss with the Doctor?”

“No, ” I squeak through sobs.

“Uhm, OK. Well, is there some… are you… uhm, OK.”

She leaves.

The Doctor walks in.

She’s 15. At what point did people start going to med school in their teens. These people are not old enough to babysit my children. How can they be old enough to take care of me?

She’s very kind and very gentle but I am super annoyed.

“The nurse mentioned you were  upset. Do you want to talk about it?”

“Uhm. OK, sure. Well, I think I hate my husband.

No, I don’t hate him.

I love him, but  I think he hates me and so yeah, I’m pretty sure I hate being married.

And I hate Fremont.

And I can’t find a job.

And I didn’t date a whole lot before I got married so I’m not entirely sure, but I’m pretty sure that my life is not normal and everyone gets on my nerves.



The only people I actually like right now are my children.”

She talks for a while and finally says, “Do  you think you might be depressed.”

Ha. I laugh. No, I’m not depressed. I cry all the time, yes.

But I’m a Christian.

Good grief, No!

Christian’s do not get depressed.

“OK. Yes. I understand. You are not depressed. But maybe, just for a season, you might consider a low-dose— SUPER low-dose–anti-depressant to see if it might help. Ya known, with your non-depression.

I asked her if I would gain weight. Because this fog that I’m in, crying everyday, all-the-time, yes it’s not too much fun, but let’s prioritize. Gaining weight, well that would actually really depress me.

I mentioned it to my mother on the way home. I told her I would not fill the script.

She thought perhaps I should consider it.

I was afraid that my husband would try to use it against me if we divorced.

Spoiler alert: I’m a pretty smart chick.

I mentioned it to my husband. I told him I would not fill the script.

He thought perhaps I should consider it.

I get a call. The lump I felt? Needs to com out. Appointments were made, surgery was scheduled and I decided what the HALE.

I will fill the script.

10 mg.

2 weeks.

And then, bam! One morning I woke up and I can’t explain it but it was a type of clarity. Like if you have a smudge on your glasses and they clean them for you at the eye doctor and then it’s awesome how clearly you can see.


I don’t know if it was un-diagnosed postpartum.

I don’t know if it was simply circumstantial.

I don’t know and I don’t care. 10 precious milligrams and I started to wake-up.

Yes. Out of a fog. And my life was un-recognizable.

To myself.

And the lump came out and it was not cancer.

And after my surgery, my neighbor down the street, Tina brought me a meal. My husband didn’t eat it.

My children didn’t eat it.

But I ate it and I loved it and more than that, I loved that I had a neighbor who would bring me food.

And I quickly went off the pain mediation because it made me forgetful and irritable.

But I continued to take the 10 mg. And the fog continued to lift.

As my friends and family can so easily attest, the 10 mg. doesn’t solve all your problems and I didn’t stop crying and it’s not a quick fix and it’s not a failure of faith.

It’s an imbalance.

My doctor described it like this. There are these little balls, bouncing around in your head and when there’s an imbalance, the balls don’t bounce as high as they should and no, it’s not a failure of faith.

It’s a failure of chemicals.

And flat little balls that have lost their bounce.

I’m still taking my ball-bouncing medicine.

I’ve tried twice to go off it.

Last time, I went cold turkey because I forgot to fill it.

Three days in, I called my handsome friend (let’s call him Mike. Ya know, the one that was in my Easter pictures where it looked like I wasn’t wearing a shirt, but I was wearing a shirt, anyway, we’ll call him Mike because that is actually his name, so I called him. Wait maybe I texted. See? The fog?

Anyway, I can’t even tell the story because I was ranting and raving about stuff that I shouldn’t have been ranting and raving about and by the end of the night, lying in bed I had decided that I needed to leave my church.

My church!!!

My family!!!

That I love!!!

My covenant family; those that have walked beside me and held me and loved me and prayed for me and been a husband to the widow and a father to the father-less and Praise the Lord, that’s when I remembered.

My 10 little mg. Although, for truth and credibility I should clarity that it’s now 20 mg.

Stupid bounce-less balls.



A year later, I was back in the doctor’s office.

The nurse looked a little older. The doctor a little more qualified and I did notice a few 40+ women in the mammogram room. At second glance it appeared that I wasn’t the only one who had said goodbye to her baby years.

The doctor walked in and I had to hold myself back from just hugging the breath out of her.

She did not deliver my babies. She did not watch me go through miscarriage and fertility drugs and here is a woman I did not know and still barely know and yet she changed my life.

And in a way and by the Lord’s provision, she actually saved it.

I know there are more late-night conversations coming about why and how and it’s-not-fair. But I also know there is always, always, always—


For the moment.

Turns out, I actually know why we got divorced. That’s a question I can answer.

And it’s a much easier question, than 3-year-old Emma Claire’s asking her Mother why she cried.




“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5b



Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: