Thursday, February 8, 2024

Sweet Missy: 11 Years

Eleven years is a long time. Longer than I ever could have imaged having to live without you.

The other day a memory popped up in my photos of Nick and Henry playing, and I could tell in the background we were in a hospital room. I kept thinking “why was Henry at the hospital?” and then it hit me – 11 years ago we were spending our last days with you. I looked at his smile in that picture and remembered how much love there was in that room – how much love there still is every single day that has you wrapped up in it.

The photo wasn’t about you, but it was because of you. These days we live a lot of our lives because of you. Everyday I go to work and do the things I love, they are because of you - you pushing me out the door to start my graduate program. You telling me it was okay to take that time to learn to do something I might love.

The moment mom and dad moved back to Lexington because they understood time was precious and they wanted to be closer to us and the babies. All those memories made on Lamont Drive – watching football and movies. Sitting around the fire pit or hanging out in the back yard. Nanny having pancakes for Darcy in the morning and pizza for Henry after school – every one of those small moments are in some part because of you.

The time boo and I cherish together – being sure to see each other, to talk to each other, do things together. Not taking moments for granted. That’s because of you.

How we are raising these sweet babies you loved so much. Making sure to slow down and make memories. Cousin trips to Kings Island. An upcoming trip to DC with Boo and Liz. Darcy and I going to see Taylor Swift. The entire family cheering the kids on at archery, baseball, and dance. Family trips to the beach or the lake or just to meet around the dinner table. You are wrapped up in each of those precious moments.

When we put too much sour cream on something, and Nick and I laugh and say “Dollop of Daisy!”. When someone overreacts and we say “Table?? What table!?”. The other day when I was with Henry, and he casually mentioned “Aunt Mimi used to let me do that”. Like even still, at 14, he remembers how his time with you was always centered on making every day special – making him feel important. He remembers. And now in moments when he shows kindness or prioritizes someone else’s happiness, those moments are in part because of you too.

Every single day, in large ways and small, you continue to make our lives better. We just wish you were here to see it.

Miss you every single day, baby sister. But always a little more today.


Friday, May 13, 2022

Dear Henry: A Thirteen Year Letter

Dear Henry,

It’s been a while since I wrote you a letter. Last year I didn’t write you. I thought I may be done with these after the conclusion of elementary school, but here we are again! Today you are 13 – a teenager. On top of that, it’s your Golden Birthday, so you are 13 on May 13th.  A once in a lifetime event! How could I not write to you to document such a momentous occasion??  So here we are, back on the blog.  For at least one more letter from your Mama.

It is interesting to write you now, as a teenager. I don’t need to write down my thoughts so I can share them when you are old enough to understand. Now I can just tell you, because you aren’t a baby anymore, or even a little kid… or a big kid. You are a teen.  Which blows my mind and if I am being honest, slightly breaks my heart. Not because I don’t love you as a teen, because MAN, I do. But at the same time, my heart hurts just a little with how fast time moves. I ache a little wanting to hold the younger version of you. Not to replace who you are now, because I never want to let this go either. I just want to have you with me at all the ages, all the time.  Because you are the light of my life. My greatest joy – the one thing I love more than all the other things put together. So whatever your age, I love you in that moment - and I ache, just a little, for all those moments past with my very favorite person. So if I try to pick you up today, just let me - so I can believe I can still hold you, if I really tried. 

But let’s focus on the now, because I LOVE being your mom in this moment. Long ago, back when you were little and I carried you everywhere, I didn’t know how I would feel about these teen years. But here we are, and turns out just like every other year, I love this time with you. And yes, these days are sometimes hard. Growing into the adult you are going to be is a bumpy and sometimes bruising road. School is hard, friendships are hard, emotions are hard. And I know sometimes these middle school years are rough. But every single day, I am so proud of you. I love being in this space where you are grown enough to talk about deep and complex things. To laugh with us about the same jokes and enjoy the movies and shows together that used to be beyond your years. To share music with, to ride roller coasters with, to debate with on all things big and small that interest your curious mind. In this time, the land between childhood and adulthood, I see glimmers of the man you are becoming, and flashes of your first 13 years that have shaped you into the creative and thoughtful soul you are. And I have never been more proud to be your mother.

Now, let’s do a little rehashing for the record books. What has happened since your last letter? Well, you started middle school last year, and are wrapping up 7th grade now.  It was not a typical middle school experience, and it’s hard for me to wrap my brain around the fact that you are 2/3 of the way done with this school. Last year you spent most of it remote due to Covid. You did not enter into your school until last March.  I think that time, March 2020 to March 2021, will always feel like a little bit of stolen time to me.  You were on the cusp of this place you are now. And yet we got to hit pause and spend that time together.  This year things have slowly returned to normal(ish). You returned to school, masked but in person, last fall. Seventh grade hasn’t been your favorite, but you have made it through and done well. You have picked up archery and guitar, and enjoy both. You still love coding and gaming.  You have grown a love of history, especially world history since over the past 100 years. You love roller coasters and amusement parks, and are making sure we put our season passes to Kings Island to good use this year.  You adore your family and friends. Luke, Darcy, and Wes are all still so important to you, and we are so happy you have them. You are oh so funny and so creative.  You make me smile, every day, with your kind heard and sweet soul.  

I feel like I could talk more about who you are now, documenting your life and our favorite memories, but that feels different these days - now that you are older and your life is your story to tell.  So, I will let those stories be yours, and I will focus on my prospective. Over these two years I have loved watching you grow. I have loved traveling with you, watching new shows and movies with you, talking about things you are learning or questions you have. I have loved watching you and your Papa laugh and enjoy things together. I have loved watching you love Sunny, and Oscar, and Crouton and Howie.  Every day, on good ones and hard ones, I have loved being your mom.  Thank you for going easy on me – I feel so lucky you are mine.


Happy golden birthday, my sweet boy. Your Papa and I love you so.


PS. Here are a few more pictures, because we haven't share any here in a very long time :) 

Friday, May 29, 2020

Racism and America

I couldn’t fall asleep last night. I just kept picking my phone back up and returning to Twitter to see updates on the protests.


I watched as rage boiled over after another Black man in Minneapolis and Black woman in Louisville were killed by police.


I watched as protesters were shot with tear gas and rubber bullets… something White protesters a few weeks ago were not forced to experience.


I watched as White protesters created a barrier of protection in front of Black protesters.


I watched as gun violence victims in Louisville’s protest were treated in the streets for their injuries.


I watched as a police precinct burned.


I watched as a president threatened violence against Americans.


I feel at a loss for words, but also understand the importance of speaking in these moments. I am heartbroken. Heartbroken over the systemic racism on which our society is built, which disadvantages and marginalizes people of color in this country. I am horrified by the implicit bias that is so ingrained in our citizens that when people see Black men and women, they are afraid. That they do not believe someone when they say “I can’t breathe”.


Or do they just not care?


I do my best to teach my students about structural racism and implicit bias. So many of them are unaware of the impact of these factors on influencing the nation’s history prior to arriving at college. How can we change if so many do not even understand the problem?


It is hard to know what to do and how to help at times like these. So many people care, but do not know how to act. I struggle with this too. But what I have learned is the importance of listening to Black leaders of this movement. To take a step back and learn. To offer support in whatever way they ask me to, and to stand with them in whatever way I can. I do that by writing. I do it by teaching. I do it by trying to provide financial support to organizations that fight this fight.


If you are on twitter, I recommend you to follow the individuals below, who continue to teach me how to be an ally in this fight.



There are wonderful books available to help you learn more about this topic. I am happy to provide a longer list, but the first couple I highly recommend are:


So You Want to Talk About Race? - Ijeoma Oluo


The New Jim Crow – Mass Incarceration in the age ofcolorblindness - Michelle Alexander


Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?And Other Conversations About Race 20th Anniversary Edition – Beverly DanielTatum


Below are links to a couple of videos on structural racism. I hope some of you take the time to take in these resources to help you understand the scope of the problem protesters fight against.

Redlining – a video by Adam Ruins Everything that does a great job briefly explaining the racist policy and its impact on the structure of neighborhoods and school systems in the nation.


Health Equity – An outstanding video by Dr. Camara Jones on Health Equity in America. It’s an hour but absolutely worth the time.



It’s hard work to teach yourself to understand how we got here. It’s hard work to process that White Americans have benefited from the same system that has oppressed Black Americans. But it is not harder than being Black in America. It is not harder than having to live in a system that was built to work against you.


It is not harder than watching someone that looks like you, or your child, suffocated for eight minutes because of a police officer's knee on his neck while he's saying "I can't breathe".