Monday, December 17, 2012


I've been haunted and distraught over the Connecticut shootings that happened on Friday, along with every other parent in America. Once I became a parent, there is a certain chord in my body that is struck, whenever I hear about kids who have been done wrong. Tragedy strikes me differently and its as unexplainable. I think anyone who is a parent would agree.

The end of the school day on Friday couldn't come soon enough for me. I went a bit early just to watch the kids play their final few minutes outside before the bell. I realized, I was not alone. It was a fence lined with moms wearing sunglasses in the rain, probably to hide their tears as I was. So grateful to see my son yet mournful and a bit guilty, for those parents that day, who didn't. And won't.

The following night, my girlfriend and I sat on my couch, talked and cried about it as our kids happily played in the room next to us. Just devastating.

I haven't said anything about this tragedy to Hudson because I'm not sure it's comprehendible to a 5 year old, or that he would get out of the conversation, what I was trying to convey. When E was first injured with the brain injury, I asked our psychologist "What do I tell our son?" She said something that has stuck with me "At this age, it is not about what you SAY to them, it's how you make them FEEL."

So ever since that moment, I've tried to make my son (and now our daughter) FEEL safe, loved, heard, protected, admired, hopeful.....
Because the reality is, there are no guarantees in this life. We cannot ensure that nothing bad will ever happen to our kids. Even when our kids are adults, they will still be our kids.

As Christmas is upon us, something horrible like this puts all of the "hustle and bustle" in perspective and makes me want to say fuck the presents and wish lists.
Because by next year, your kids won't remember what you gave them, but they will remember how you made them feel.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A birthday letter: Quinn Estelle Arterburn

Dear Quinn,
Happy birthday! 11/24/12. Today you are 1 week old and I already can't imagine life without you. Maybe it's because I know you are my last baby (E, that reminds me, we need to make you that appointment), maybe it's because you are my first and only daughter, or maybe it's because I knew you were a destined part of our family, despite all that we have been through in the past few years. Whatever it is, you are so loved and I am honored to be your mom.

The birth story (trust me, it's short):
The morning of 11/24/12, 1 day past your due date, Hudson and I woke up around 4:45 am. We had all been going to bed very early and therefore getting up very early. I had a bit of cramping but thought it might be false labor. At 5:30am I got I the shower and the cramping was getting worse so I decided we would go to the hospital to check it out. I text our friends, Courtney and Brady at 6:30am and asked if we could drop Hudson off on the way to the hospital. On the way, I asked Eric to drop me off first so I could check in as the car ride was pretty uncomfortable. He dropped me off at the front, as he drove off, I realized the front doors were closed until 8am on weekends and I would need to check in at the ER, halfway around the hospital. I slowly walked around to the ER, stopping for contractions, feeling dumb as people drove past me. At this point I knew I was probably in labor.
I walked into the ER, checked in at 7:17am.

They wheeled me over to labor and delivery, I changed into my robe, laid on the bed, Eric walked in, and my water broke. At that point I had to push, the nurses frantically called for back up, pulled the on-call doctor out of the hallway, I pushed 3 times and you were in my arms at 7:31 am. Bam.

Bringing a new baby into the world makes you think about all the things you want to do right for your kids. It's a lot of pressure, raising little people into big people. You want to be proud, you want to set an example and you want your kids to be the good parts of yourselves. Coming into the world at a time where thankfulness and wish lists sort of intertwine, this article ( captured so well, all the things I want for you. So I will repost below.

"Here’s my wish list.
I hope I raise a child who says “thank you” to the bus driver when he gets off the bus, “please” to the waiter taking his order at the restaurant, and holds the elevator doors when someone’s rushing to get in.

I hope I raise a child who loses graciously and wins without bragging. I hope he learns that disappointments are fleeting and so are triumphs, and if he comes home at night to people who love him, neither one matter. Nobody is keeping score, except sometimes on Facebook.

I hope I raise a child who is kind to old people.

I hope I raise a child who realizes that life is unfair: Some people are born rich or gorgeous. Some people really are handed things that they don’t deserve. Some people luck into jobs or wealth that they don’t earn. Tough.

I hope I raise a child who gets what he wants just often enough to keep him optimistic but not enough to make him spoiled.

I hope I raise a child who knows that he’s loved and special but that he’s not the center of the universe and never, ever will be.

I hope I raise a child who will stick up for a kid who’s being bullied on the playground. I also hope I raise a child who, if he’s the one being bullied, fights back. Hard. Oh, and if he’s the bully? I hope he realizes that his mother, who once wore brown plastic glasses and read the phonebook on the school bus, will cause him more pain than a bully ever could.

I hope I raise a child who relishes life’s tiny pleasures—whether it’s a piece of music, or the color of a gorgeous flower, or Chinese takeout on a rainy Sunday night.

I hope I raise a child who is open-minded and curious about the world without being reckless.

I hope I raise a child who doesn’t need to affirm his self-worth through bigotry, snobbery, materialism, or violence.

I hope I raise a child who likes to read.

I hope I raise a child who is courageous when sick and grateful when healthy.

I hope I raise a child who begins and ends all relationships straightforwardly and honorably.

I hope I raise a child who can spot superficiality and artifice from a mile away and spends his time with people and things that feel authentic to him.

I hope I raise a child who makes quality friends and keeps them.

I hope I raise a child who realizes that his parents are flawed but loves them anyway.

I hope for all of these things, but I know this: None of these wishes has a thing to do with how I feed him or sleep-train him or god-knows-what-else him. Which is how I know that these fabricated “wars” are phony every step of the way. I do not need the expensive stroller. I do not need to go into mourning if my "sleep-training method" is actually a "prayer ritual" that involves tiptoeing around the house in the dark. This is not a test. It’s a game called Extreme Parenting, and you can’t lose if you don’t play. And, really, why would you play? You have children to raise."