Category Archives: Family

What’s Crackin’, Friends?

Here I am, That Gabbiest of Abbys, back on the interwebs again, just in time for Christmas. (Santa tipped me off that you guys were begging for new blogs from me. So, here ya go, nine days early. You’re welcome.)

As in years past, any time I’ve taken a sabbatical from my blog, there’s been a good reason. And this time is no different. Since last we met, I went and quit my job, packed our stuff, and moved clear across town! Oh Happy Day!

It’s kind of a long story. The gist of it is this: toddlers require a lot of attention. And because I was working from home before, my attention was divided. And Mama didn’t like that. So after much debate, we decided it was time to make a change. And here we are, in our very own home, with a fenced in yard and a fireplace and a happy little neighborhood.

Seriously. If you look up “Happy” in the dictionary, this is what you’ll find:

Being a stay-at-home mom wasn’t something I thought would be in the cards for me. As a child, I always envisioned myself as a working mom, home in the afternoons dressed in my pantsuit with a smart briefcase, being welcomed by my children at the door. (In these MASH-inspired dreams, I drove Mazda Miata and lived in a 2-story Colonial and was married to Zach Morris.) (MASH the game, not MASH the television show.)

As it turns out, it fits me to a tee, this full-time Mommy thing. I love being wholly available to our son, with no work distractions. I love living with the freedom being at home offers, and all the moments I get to share with him. Is it challenging sometimes? Sure. But it’s 100% rewarding.

I also love house-living. This is my first time in an honest-to-goodness house since pre-college. I hadn’t realized how weary I was of apartment living until I had so much space, and a yard. The responsibility isn’t lost on me…there’s more housework and, since we have a yard, yard work that we’ve never dealt with before. But I’m taking leaves, dusting baseboards, and vacuuming 7 rooms like :

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There might even be whistling involved.

It’s a wonderful life for us in these past couple of months, and as we settle in to celebrate the holiday in our new home, I can’t help but be grateful for the journey that brought us here. A lot of that journey was shared on the pages of this blog, and I felt compelled to share with my readers (however few of you there are left) a little slice of our happiness. My Christmas wish for all of us this year is that we can find peace, happiness, and calm in 2017.

And if you’re a parent to a toddler, may I suiggest a play-yard to keep your holiday peaceful, happy, and calm? It’s working over here.

Merry All-The-Things to one and all!

The Irrational Mourning of Saying Goodbye to Baby Things

There comes a time in every mother’s life when the time finally comes to let go of all the baby things. Those things that you shopped for and coveted; the pretty baby patterns and fabrics, the equipment you knew you’d need to have for your little peanut. The swings and playpens and carriers and bottle steamers.  The tiny shoes and baby rattles and feetie pajamas that can never be worn again.

Usually, when it comes to purging our tiny home of things we no longer need, I’m a boss. Haven’t worn it in three months? Donate. Has more dust on it than a dust bunny? Donate. Holey underwear, mismatched socks, shirt that hasn’t fit since college? Toss, toss, toss.


But this? Boxing up to donate or sell baby stuff? Quite frankly, friends, it sucks.

Let me give you a for instance. When we brought our little superhero home, I knew it would become important for me to carry him, especially since I work from home. I shopped baby carriers online till my fingers bled, and the one I coveted the most? A Tula, in a print that was so nerdy, it was delicious. I spent nights looking at the glossy pictures online, whispering sweet nothings to its image until I could finally convince my husband that it was worth it to spend $150 on something we could have gotten for much cheaper elsewhere.

But it had to be that Tula. That perfect, nerdy, comic-booky Tula. It was that one, or nothing. I wanted it. I needed it. I had to have it. My precious.

Reusing past graphics from my blog, and quickly updating them in Photoshop to be relevant to new posts, should be considered a superpower (in my humble opinion.)

Reusing past graphics from my blog, and quickly updating them in Photoshop to be relevant to new posts, should be considered a superpower (in my humble opinion.)

And finally, I got that which I had longed for. It was perfect. I loaded my little squish into his carrier and we would while away the mornings, folding laundry, answering phone calls, drinking coffee, and snuggling. It. Was. Perfection. It was great for shopping, it was great for calming him down before naptime, it was great for outdoor excursions….

Photo credit to my gorgeous and talented best friend, Jenna, for capturing this moment forever on film and making me weep every time I see it.

Photo credit to my gorgeous and talented best friend, Jenna, for capturing this moment forever on film and making me weep every time I see it.

It was so great.

As time has passed, The Tula (as it is known in our house) was brought out less and less. Occasional naps, infrequent trips through Target, once or twice to get through a particularly busy morning. But his desire to be held close eventually became replaced with his innate need to be in constant motion. Running. Playing. Exploring. As it should be.

And so, the time has come. Today is the day that I must part with my Tula, and all the snuggly memories that go along with it. It makes sense to part ways with it now—it’s been sitting on a shelf in his nursery for about 4 months. Logically I realize that trying to get him to go up in the carrier is kinda like trying to put an octopus into a bathing suit—not easy, super-frustrating, and likely to cause black eyes (mine, not his.)

Resigned, I take it down from its place of reverence, run my finger along the fabric, and tell myself it’s time for another Mommy to feel that same satisfaction of carrying her baby close to her heart. Time to share the wealth, to pass it down to a new little one, to move on. I lift The Tula to my nose, in a moment of weakness, hoping to catch a lingering scent of newborn there in the folds of fabric…and the realization hits me. My baby isn’t such a baby anymore.

Screw it. Who needs extra space, anyway?

Musings of a Tired Mom

We’ve been watching a lot of Sesame Street lately. (And when I say a lot, I mean enough that Brian and I are walking around singing songs about sharing, the alphabet, and the wheels on the bus on the regular.)

Now, if you’re not familiar with the Sesame Street family, this post isn’t going to mean anything to you. We thank you for stopping by, and wish you a very happy Tuesday.

But if you ARE familiar with the Sesame Street family, you’re totally going to get this post. Especially if you’re a stay-at-home-Mom with a pile of laundry up to your nose and an ever-overflowing trashcan.

I know Prairie Dawn is kind of a stick in the mud, but there are a lot of cool cats on the Street. You know, the kind of folks you might like to be friends with. Super Grover would be handy to have around as a pal since he’s generally adorable (even if he sucks at fixing stuff.) Elmo is a delight, once you get around the nasally voice and penchant for singing constantly. The Count is always helpful—especially if, like me, you stink at math.

But I’ve decided, of all the kids that live on Sesame Street, I’d like to be best friends with Abby Cadabby.

Abby and Abby

She has the coolest name on the planet. She’s pink and fluffy and adorable. And she has a penchant for making her own rules. But while those are all valid reasons to befriend a … puppet … that’s not the main reason why I’d woo her and make her my very own shiny BFF. (Just go with me here.)

I’d choose Abby Cadabby to be my best friend because she’s a magical fairy. And surely, in her large repertoire of spells, she MUST have a “clean the kitchen, vacuum the living room, wash all the laundry (and fold it too), write a grocery list, pick up all the stray Cheerios, steam clean all the bottles, and take out the trash, all while keeping the teething, clingy toddler happy” spell.

That’s not too complicated for a 4-year old imaginary puppet fairy, is it?

So move over, Elmo. Us Abby’s have to stick together.

This post is brought to you by the letter “P,” for Poorly Photoshopped Pictures.

I Blinked

And in that instant, you grew. Every part of you—from fingernails to feet—is changing. That baby face, those tiny feet, your chubby little legs….in a moment, it seems, you have morphed into a perfect little man child. Gone are the baby peach fuzz, the tiny fingers, the little squeaks you used to make to let me know you were happy. Now you enter the room each morning with a hearty YAWP of happiness, and I marvel in you every single day.

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I blinked.

And in that fraction of a second, you became a toddler. No more long, lazy days spent napping in the swing. Oh, no! For there are great adventures to be had, new foods to try, new life lessons to experience. You are learning so much and so quickly. And watching your eyes light up with every single skill learned (Bongos! Clapping! Speaking! WALKING!) brings a joy into my life that I’ve never know before.

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I blinked.

And in that infinitesimal fraction of time, you have morphed into your Daddy’s best friend. You laugh together, and play together, and nap together; you are two peas in a pod. I see you now, sitting in his lap, watching him play video games and it is incredibly simple to picture you playing along in a few years time. You light up at the sight of him, you laugh at his silly antics, and you already emulate him, even if he doesn’t see it yet. The two of you own every square inch of my heart.

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I blinked.

And in that half a second, you have become my entire world. I know what you’re thinking, what you want, what you need, in the seconds before you do. Your smile is as familiar as my own, your laughter is the soundtrack of my day. You are my constant companion, my  pal, my heart. Sometimes, looking at you, I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders: to make sure you feel absolutely safe and loved, to send you into the world with kindness and gratitude, to teach you how to navigate this scary world with bravery and smarts.  But I know we will be ok, little one. Because you are miraculous, and I’m convinced you can do anything.

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I blinked.

And suddenly, we are three. It all happened so seamlessly, so effortlessly. It’s like you were always with us, even during the “before,” when we wished for you while simultaneously thinking you might only be a dream. Your Daddy and I  speak your name more times in a day than we think our own, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. You truly complete us. Our son.

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As I watch you climb, and swim, and talk, and laugh, and walk; as we continue hitting every milestone and surpassing everyone’s expectations; as we approach (all too quickly) your first birthday, I can’t help but marvel at you. You are so smart. You are so much more than you can possibly imagine. And you continue to amaze me, every single day.

Something tells me as time continues to pass, as the days morph into weeks and months, that I’m going to wish for these moments back. If only I had the ability to freeze time, my little one, I would do it almost every day: in the moments you are sleeping most peacefully, when you are laughing so hard your little belly shakes, when you curl your hand onto my face and say “Mama.” But since I can’t, and those moments will continue to pass us by, I’ll keep living in these moments with you. Because even though it feels like I simply blinked and suddenly, you’re eleven months old, there’s not a single moment of those months that I don’t remember, cherish, and adore.

A Letter to My Husband, on Mother’s Day

Dear Brian,

It’s here. That day I’ve dreamed of for much of my adult life–my first Mother’s Day. When you stop to compare this May with last, it seems almost impossible. Look at where we are now! Look how far we’ve come! We are blissful (if somewhat sleep-deprived) parents! We’ve become those people with a trunk full of baby supplies and toys, the ones who wallpaper Facebook with pictures and videos of our son, the ones who plan our lives around the happiness and well being of one, very small, very important person. I love being a Mom, so, SO much. I hope that’s as apparent to you as your happiness at being a Dad is to me.

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I know you’ve watched me in years past, struggling with the emotions of this day. Trying to find a balance between celebrating the moms in my life and the grief of not being one myself–I never quite managed it with the grace such a situation warranted. You stood beside me, reminded me that it was ok to cry, held me when I fell apart. I know you felt helpless, knowing I was so sad and there was nothing you could do to fix it. There are no words adequate enough to thank you for that support, throughout our many years of infertility struggles. So let me just put in black and white—I know how hard it was for you, too. I acknowledge with a full heart that I never felt alone on my path to motherhood. You were always there for me, holding my hand, swimming in that same sorrow, but somehow always managing to buoy me up when I needed it most.

I have so many things to thank you for. Thank you for going on this journey of parenthood with me. Thank you for being brave enough and strong enough for the both of us when it seemed we were destined to fail. Thank you for celebrating with me in our moments of triumph, but more importantly, in HIS moments of triumph. Thank you for telling our son how awesome his Mommy is, especially when you think I can’t hear you. Thank you for all the nights you’ve let me sleep just a little bit longer, specifically those when ten hours of sleep was the exact thing I needed most. Thank you for being wonderful, deliciously nerdy you: I get more joy out of watching you teach our son about everything superhero, and seeing how excited you are for what his nerdy little future holds. Thank you for being patient with me as I navigate this new path, for understanding why sometimes my brain is fried and my temper is short. Thank you for all the things you do that I never have to ask for: the poopy diapers, the long days at work, the longer commutes, the unwavering support, the unconditional love, the perfect way you parent. Thank you for being such an amazing Dad.

This new, seamless little routine we have going right now is so much more wonderful to me than I think anyone can understand. I look forward every single day to you coming through the door, to our dinner around the table as a family, to Jeopardy and bath time and evening giggles and games. We are most complete in those moments between dusk and dawn. We are one. We are family.

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In short, I wouldn’t be “Mom,” if you weren’t “Dad.” We are in this together, as ever. And I love you more today than in the almost 17 years I’ve known you. Today may be Mother’s Day, but in my heart, I’m celebrating us, and our family. Our gorgeous, perfect, awesome family.

I love you to the moon and back,
Abby

Look, Y’all! I Wrote A Blog! (One-Handed)

The last six (almost seven?!) months have passed by in an absolute whirlwind, with a million tiny spectacular moments suspended in time, like so many dragonflies in amber, waiting to be reexamined and  treasured in the months to come.

And the fact that it took me thirty minutes to think out and type that sentence with my left thumb, on an app from my phone, with a squirmy baby taking up four-fifths of my attention, is just one of those shiny moments I’ll remember in my old age. “Remember when I used to type one-handed?” I’ll say to no one in particular from the confines of my rocking chair, which probably won’t rock as much as levitate, and will come equipped with its own hologram television, WiFi internet connection (password protected), and locator beacon for my more widespread adventures.

I’m getting distracted. Let me start again.

I’m a mom. A fully-entrenched, pureed sweet potatoes in my hair, dark circles under my eyes, laughing till my sides hurt, worrying till my brain aches, honest to goodness, bonefide mom. I spend my days adoring this child, and my life couldn’t be more perfect.

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I have become well-versed in all things teething, submersed myself into the world of baby sign language and environment enrichment, and know way more about poop than any medical professional on the planet. (Pretty sure a doctor has to take a course called “Baby Poop: It’s Many Forms and Functions” in order to get their license. And yours truly could teach it.) But the one skill that has become the most valuable, and the one I use most frequently on a day to day basis, is the ability that moms across the globe have been perfecting for generations: that of being able to thrive with the limited use of only one hand.

In true Abby Gabs fashion, I leave you with a list of things I’ve managed to accomplish (nay — master) in my short time as a mother. Enjoy.

Things I’ve Done With One Hand (and Occasionally, My Toes)

* Picked up a dropped pacy/toy/blanket (most impressive when performed with my toes)
* Updated my Facebook status
* Perfected the “Mommy and Me” selfie

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* Made (multiple) daily cups of coffee
* In that same vein, made hundreds of perfectly toasted PopTarts (that covers the two main Mommyhood food groups)
* Cooked dinner (because warming up leftovers totally constitutes cooking)
* Pet a purring, sleeping kitty
* Loaded and unloaded the dishwasher
* Answered my phone (or, more likely, frantically smashed buttons or swiped the screen in order to silence my phone before it woke a sleeping baby.
* Rocked a restless kiddo in his car seat while blow drying my hair (this is another toes thing)
* Cheered maniacally (and relatively quietly) as my Carolina Panthers smashed their way into the upcoming Super Bowl!!
* Sorted, washed, dried, folded, and put away laundry.
* Caught an epic baby vomit with a burp cloth, singlehandedly avoiding a giant mess and therefore, more loads of laundry.
* Vacuumed. My whole apartment. Like a boss.
* Carefully maintained precious friendships with those I used to see far more regularly than I do now. (I’m a text messaging, Facebooking, digital-corresponding expert.)
* Blown my nose. (Not kidding. That’s Yoda-level parenting, people.)
* Surfed for a better television program. Not so impressive one handed. Circus-level impressive when done with toes.
* Written a blog.

While I’ve mastered the art of surviving with one hand (and sometimes toes,) the most important part of it all is finishing those tasks so I can finally, happily get back to the important stuff: playing tickle monster, steadying a wobbly baby who’s learning to crawl, snuggling him close when he wants to nap. Those things require both hands…and five-fifths of my attention. So til next time readers, stay tuned for the next installment of Abby Gabs: “Funny Things I Did With Only Four Hours of Sleep.”

A Letter To My Mopey Self

Dear Self,

Life has been tough lately. For whatever reason, you’re sitting around in your cookie pants, watching re-runs of Friends and wondering if things are ever going to get any easier. You’re not getting what you want in the time that you wanted it in, and you keep stumbling over road blocks or speed bumps, and that’s frustrating. I know it’s frustrating. I know that you sometimes sit in the shower, with the water cascading over your shoulders, your hair hanging in your face, and you cry your eyes out because no one can hear you over the sound of the spray. I know that sometimes, you sit in traffic and suddenly feel the overwhelming need to scream, and so you do, never sparing a thought for what the driver in the car next to you must be thinking. I know that sometimes, when the alarm clock sounds in the morning, that your first thought is “I don’t wanna.”

Well, friend, I think what you need is a little perspective. Sure, things are hard right now. It’s probably not going to get any easier in the next week, or month. You probably won’t have that thing you want more than anything else in the world by then. But here is what you DO have:

You have a husband that would move heaven and earth to make you happy. And he has done, on multiple occasions. And now here you are–you and that beautiful man you married almost 11 years ago–sitting on this same island of despair together, holding each other up when you both want to fall over. There are a lot of people in this life that would wish for a love like the one you have. So embrace it. Revel in it. Remember it in the darkest of times when you feel like your dreams will never come true.

You have a family that loves you, and supports you, no matter what. They are unshakable, unwavering, and unquestioning. They will give you advice–some that you’ll use, some that you won’t. They will make you laugh when you thought laughter was impossible. They will hold you up, and give you strength. They will love you, even if you don’t reach your dream. Enjoy every moment that you have with them–they are priceless.

You have friends who are with you in the trenches, the same mud on their faces that’s smeared on yours. They will amaze you in a million little ways, and even more huge ways. They will sit by your side in the blazing heat, selling lamps and rugs and hand-me-down clothing, just so you can add a few bucks to your savings account. They will rally around you when you get news, be it good, bad, or somewhere in the middle. They will send you little cards and messages of support, just so you know that, even though it’s been awhile, they’re still thinking of you every single day. They will shed tears for you, ones that you’ll never know about, and they will feel every divot in the road that you feel, sometimes tenfold (since you tend to remove yourself from heavy feelings as much as you can.) These people are more than just friends–they are your family. And you are SO beyond lucky to have them.

Last, but never least, you have a DREAM. A dream of becoming a parent when biology wouldn’t let you before. A dream of holding a little one, so dear, in your arms and kissing their tiny baby cheeks, and knowing that they are yours. Of little giggles, and sleepless nights, and future Mother’s Days filled with flowers and handmade cards and slightly-chewy pancakes served in bed. Never let go of that dream, self. It is pure, and shiny, and filled with so much joy that no matter how many times you fall on your face in pursuit of that dream, it will, without doubt, be totally worth it.

So I’m just going to leave this letter here. That way, you can find it when you need it. Let it serve as a reminder as to why you should never even dare to give up hope. How dare you give up hope, when you have so many people on your side, fighting the same fight, wishing the same wish, and hoping the same hope that you do?

So get up. Knock the dirt off, sister. Put on some real clothes.  And get back to your life. You’ve got work to do.

Sincerely,

Abby

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A Dream Within A Dream

Laughter and quiet conversation surrounds us. I straighten your blue-and-white gingham dress and pass you to my closest neighbor, all smiles, with my heart in my throat. Your tiny hands curl into fists, your yellow floral headband slightly askew, as kisses are planted on your adorably bald head.

Sunlight pours into the room from behind us, filling the room with more joy than we can handle. A box of tissues makes its way around the room, but these are happy tears we cry, little one. Tears we shed because you are finally here, and we waited so long, and we are so blessed.

My mother walks into the room, her eyes red, her cheeks pink, but with a big, beautiful smile on her face. My father’s bold chuckle rebounds from the kitchen, where I know he’s taken charge of refreshments for the rest of our guests. A small child, all blonde hair and blue eyes, puppy dog tails and muddy puddles, sits near my feet, running a matchbox car up and down my leg. The sounds of a camera shutter click from across the room, with only you in the frame, my little love. My heart.

My arms already itch to hold you again, though you’ve only been with someone else for less than a minute. I watch you like a hawk, studying your body language, your face, the shape of your delicious little thighs and pointed toes. A familiar thought, one I’ve had before: “She’ll be a dancer someday.”

I see your face turning red, your eyes squinting in preparation for one of your spine-tingling wails, before anyone else even realizes it’s coming. With that first cry, I start to reach for you. But your Daddy is there before I can even stand up. He cuddles you close, giving you his thumb to cling to, and he coos at you in a soft voice, calming your sobbing to only a slight whimper. The love on his face, in his eyes, for you leaves me feeling a little weak. I love him more fiercely in that moment than ever before.

When you begin to nuzzle at his chest, he looks up at me with a knowing smile. “I don’t think I have what she wants, Mama,” he says and proudly hands you over to me. I kiss your cheeks and breathe you in, and we wave bye bye to our loved ones as we make our way back to the privacy of the bedroom.

It’s darker in here, the shades pulled tight, but a lone sunbeam sneaks through, leaving a small pool of light on the patchwork quilt. I close the door behind me–but not so tight that a certain orange cat can’t push his way in. He settles at the foot of the bed, eyes on us, as I settle back against the pillows and lift my shirt. This is still brand new for us, little one, and Mama’s still learning.

You nuzzle and search, then latch on, and the pulling sensation still startles me. You close your eyes, shuttering the bright green from me, your long eyelashes brushing your rounded cheeks. The hand I’d been holding curls up in a fist, and you lay it against my skin, your body relaxing as you feed. I run my hand over your back in lazy circles, and we both drift for a moment. The muffled sounds of laughter come from the other room, and I am washed over with a love so deep, I could drown.

The brash sound of my alarm clock steals me away from you. My arms still ache from the weight of you as I turn it off and climb from my bed. You aren’t here, yet. But you will be. I believe that to the very center of my soul. My cheeks are dry today, little one, though I yearn for you so.

I only wish I’d dreamt your name.

 

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The Downside of Dreaming

It’s fun to dream. Planning a future you can’t quite see yet, that’s still fuzzy around the edges; filling in the shadowy bits that aren’t quite in focus–everybody does it. Maybe you’re imagining what your next job might look like, or what a move to the city might feel like, or even where your next vacation might take you. Either way, we all spend time dreaming about, planning for, and being excited by that upcoming phase in life.

For us, the dreams have been pretty specific for several years. Baby, house, new careers. That’s been my mantra since probably somewhere around 2005.

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My husband and I have shared these dreams for years, though my version is colored in a little differently than his. (He sees wood cabinets and tile floors; I see white cabinets and hard wood floors.) But we still pull out that imaginary blue print from time to time, talk about our likes and dislikes, our wishlists and our deal breakers, and we continue to color in the dreams for our future together.

As time passes, and those dreams have yet to become a reality, dreaming takes on a different hue. There’s more blue there than before, and not because we’re selecting paint colors for Brian’s man cave. I find that, after an afternoon of house-shopping or adoption talk, my mood swings from delighted to deflated. It feels like we’ve been waiting on these things to happen forever–and in many ways, we have.

Being patient, especially when it comes to things you ache for, is really hard.

Sometimes, the “we don’t have a baby” or “we can’t afford a house just yet” blues can stick around for awhile for me. Despite knowing that I already have a pretty amazing life–husband, family, friends, cats, fun–it can still be hard to sit in ‘today’ when what I really want is to be sitting in a shiny, new ‘tomorrow.’

But sometimes, all it takes to jar me back to my awesome reality is a bit of wisdom from my husband.

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(Ok, so he might not have been so poetic about it, but that was the gist.)

I may not have a big house in the woods, with a little nook set aside for me to write the next great American novel. I might not have an agent, or a publisher, or a novel on the shelf at the bookstore bearing my name. I might not have an adorable, precocious toddler demanding every bit of my free time and attention and adoration.

But the word that’s missing?

Yet.

Those things will come, in time. And for now, I will revel in the things I do have, and try to keep the blue out of my blueprint of dreams.

The Day My Brother Stabbed Me

On this, the day of my baby brother’s birth, I would like to share with you a story that we tell around the dinner table on a regular basis. After all, it isn’t every day when you kid brother stabs you. Enjoy.

It was a chilly Saturday afternoon sometime before 1990. Trapped inside with no access to our swingset, my little brother, Adam, and I, had to get creative when it came to keeping ourselves entertained. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reruns only work for so long. And so, I whisked off to my room to dress up in one of my favorite playtime outfits. Adam, not to be outdone, grabbed his favorite plastic sword, and his newly acquired plastic snake.

This snake was ENORMOUS. It wasn’t particularly realistic, but to a 9-year-old with an over-active imagination, it was real enough. And so, when Adam started chasing me through the living room with the snake, I did what any little girl would do.

I screamed bloody murder.

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“Abby, honey, take it down a notch,” my mother scolded gently.

Not wanting to anger my mom, but unwilling to let the moment of intense pretend-land go to waste, I immediately climbed to the back of the couch and wailed (a little more quietly), “Oh help me, Adam! The big nasty snake is after me! SAVE MEEEE!!!!!”

Always the helpful toddler, my brother said, “OK, seesy…I save you.” He grabbed the nearest weapon he could find and charged after the nasty snake.

“I gonna wescue my SESSSSY!” was his battle cry, just before he buried the pencil deep into the flesh of my palm.

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Needless to say, Mom didn’t get the peace and quiet she was hoping for that afternoon. My wailing went up a notch, only to be joined by Adam’s hysterics at having stabbed me with a pencil. Super-Mom swooped in, carefully extracted the pencil from my hand. She rushed me to the bathroom, dumped half a bottle of peroxide on it, all while telling me that I was being silly—I wasn’t going to die of lead poisoning since pencils had been made with graphite since before I was born. Adam snuffled in the corner–whether he was worried for my health, or for his own, was never truly discovered.

I still have the tiniest scar on palm of my right hand from that puncture wound. The fake snake is long gone, and my brother hasn’t stabbed me since. But I think, after almost 25 long years, there’s something that went unsaid that day that deserves to be said now.

Thank you, Adam, for saving me from the big bad snake. I’ll always remember your bravery…and your particularly bad aim.

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Happy Birthday, Adam Wadam! XO