Monthly Archives: September 2005

Blog Lament


I was all set to write a tremendously informative post about the perils of home bikini waxing tonight.

But I remembered, at the last moment, that in my excitement about taking my first tentative steps into blogdom, I informed a rather large number of people in my life about my blog–including my brother, my father, my preacher, and a few other folks that might not appreciate being subjected, without warning, to vivid descriptions of my personal hair removal misadventures.

This brings me to another problem. Some of the aforementioned large number of people are quite interesting and colorful, the perfect subjects for hyperbole-filled posts poking gentle fun at their foibles. It occurs to me now, however, that those posts are likely to be a little stilted in the execution, due to my dawning awareness of the very slight chance that these people might not want their foibles poked.

So, you see, I’ve sort of blogged myself into a corner.

What to do, what to do….

I could, of course, just adopt the slash-and-burn philosophy, writing about what and who I will, and the devil take the hindermost (do people still say that?) It does have a certain delicious rebelliousness to it that was mostly missing from my teenage years.

Or, for the sake of my loved ones–as well as the ones that I just don’t want mad at me–I could perhaps post a little warning at the top of entries that may contain subject matter unsuitable for consumption by youth ministers, former Brownie leaders, and anyone who once changed my diapers.

As for those with the sensitive foibles, I’ll simply change their names. That way, if anyone confronts me, I can just ask, “Why would you think that was about you?”



Yesterday, it took me five minutes to locate my son’s carseat in our car. It took another two minutes to find him in the carseat.

Today, I cleaned out the car.

Among the detritus:

*nine petrified french fries (Upon inspection by qualified food archaeologists, two were determined to be from McDonalds, while the remaining seven seemingly originated from Wendy’s, as evidenced by their slightly larger girth.)

*A green frog umbrella–the kind with eyes protruding from the top–that I hid in the trunk so I wouldn’t have to look at its ominous, artificially cheery froggy grin anymore

*147 used kleenexes, miraculously stuffed into the three-inch well in the door handle next to my daughter’s seat

*several of those little sheets of stickers that grocery store checkers give to kids to keep them from emptying the magazine rack, ripping open a King Size bag of M&Ms, and tipping a gallon jug of milk onto the floor to see if it bounces (It doesn’t.)

*a cd-rom with an invitation from AOL* to enjoy 10,000 free hours of web-surfing bliss

*a letter from my sister in Georgia, saying how much she loved visiting Idaho and how she’d like to live near us someday (She moved here six months ago.)

*a receipt for a home pregnancy test, probably the one that delivered the good news of Caleb’s impending birth, the one I saved in my dresser drawer until, in a moment of realization, I remembered that this was something I had peed on, and threw it away.

*a Smoky the Bear button with a rusted pin

*hair ( I won’t go into too much gruesome detail here, but when I was finished vacuuming, I thought about contacting Locks of Love to make a donation. I shed like a Pomeranian, apparently.)

*A goldfish cracker from 1999

It was only after I threw the last bag of trash into the dumpster in our parking lot and was looking around the sparkling interior of our like-new car that the thought occurred to me. It was accompanied by a sinking sensation in my gut and a sudden, sharp sense of grief: I could have saved that stuff for my scrapbook.

*Household Geek interrupts to rain down curses on AOL in leetspeak.

A Severe Case of Scrapbooking


“Wait! Don’t throw that straw away!”

My husband froze halfway through the motion of tilting the remnants of our Taco Bell meal into El Trash Can. “What? Why not?”

“Because! I need it for my scrapbook! Didn’t you see Caleb drink through it? That was his Very First Time Drinking Through a Straw! I have to make a page about that!”

I took a deep breath to recover from all the exclamation points and lapsed into silence as I started composing the journaling for the soon-to-be page in my head. Within four seconds, I had a title: “That’s the First Straw!” (Get it? Like the proverbial last straw? Clever, huh?) Within ten seconds, I had mentally skimmed through my collection of fine patterned papers and chosen several that would perfectly compliment the blue and yellow tones of Caleb’s outfit. As I rode home in the passenger seat, the sticky straw clutched proudly in my hand, I blissfully constructed the layout in my mind, considering various embellishments like a shopaholic scrutinizing accessories for her latest ensemble.

I have…a disease.

That’s the only explanation possible for the progression of what has become, in essence, an obsessive need to commemorate my children’s every last toothy grin, childish scribble, or trip to the park, presumably to be enjoyed by generation upon generation of future family members.

It seemed harmless enough in the beginning. Angie, Paul’s sister, made a gift scrapbook about our nephew Jackson’s first Christmas. As we all gathered around to ooh and aah over the pages, a tiny seed burst into life in my mind: “I think I could do that.” We had just brought home our first child, and finances were tight, but I convinced Paul that preserving these precious and fleeting family memories were worth the cost of a little paper and glue. I started out with one pair of scissors, two glue sticks, and a package of solid colored cardstock. Scrapbooking as a hobby was just taking off, so the selection was small, but I was satisfied. (*historical note* Patient zero of the scrapbooking bug, it is believed, escaped from a holding facility somewhere in Utah–but from there the infection spread rapidly across the country, giving rise to the appearance of the LSS, or Local Scrapbooking Stores, in an effort to meet increasing demands for paper with teddy bears patterns, laser diecuts of palm trees, and stickers bearing the state motto of Vermont. These stores can be identified by their cutesy, rhyming, or pun-based names, like “Oh, Scrap!” and “The Crop Stop.”)

My first hint that I might be losing control of my “hobby” came in Katie’s third year, when I walked into the living room to catch her in the act of scribbling on the coffee table with a jumbo purple crayon. Instead of reprimanding her and having her help me clean up the mess, I posed her for a photo in front of the desecrated table with the purple crayon held aloft in her grubby little fist like a trophy bass. “Smile, Katie!” *click* “Okay, good one. Now look very scared, like you’re in trouble.” *click* “Nice job sweetie! Good pictures! Now, never do that again, okay? It was very naughty and I’m terribly upset. Oh, hey! Let’s get one that looks candid–pretend to color it some more…yes, like that!” *click*

I know I probably screwed up my daughter’s sense of justice for life, but, in my defense, that page turned out really cute.

Soon, I was showing other symptoms. My paper and glue wasn’t enough anymore; I developed insatiable cravings for vellum stickers, ribbon, chalk, metal charms and decorated slide mounts–anything that would give my pages that elusive je ne sais quoi (that’s French for “too much stuff.”) Once, I got so carried away with embellishing my page that I forgot to put any actual photos on it. The groovy new supplies accumulated at an alarming rate. Before long, I needed a place to store them all, so I bought a scrap tote. A few months down the road, I bought another one. And a pen caddy. And a sticker binder. And not one, not two, but three paper takers. My supply addiction was getting so out of hand that I would show up to a 12-hour crop (that’s when a bunch of scrap-infected people wearing tiaras and t-shirts bearing messages like “Scrappers Do It For Posterity” get together to work on their scrapbooks) and even the other scrapbookers would make fun of me.

And, of course, I infected others. My friends Tracy and Regina were the first to fall prey to the siren song of memory preservation. Then my sister-in-law, Julie. We spent hours on Instant Messenger, sharing ideas and linking to scrapbooking websites. Whenever we got together, out came the whole scrap kit-and-caboodle; husbands, children, and pets fled in fear of being accidentally impaled on a pair of patterned scissors.

After a while, I was no longer choosing paper to match the colors in my photos. I was staging photos and even planning whole events to match the paper and embellishments I’d already bought! Paul wasn’t allowed to dress the kids for an outing to the pumpkin patch without checking with me to see if their clothes would clash with the adorable pumpkin-shaped title tag I’d found. I never left the house without my camera–heaven forbid I would miss some Once-In-A-Lifetime Cute Moment and be unable to properly scrapbook it for future generations to enjoy! I was officially, and in all ways, completely out of control.

As with all addicts, the day of reckoning finally came. When the eye doctor pointed out that my kids were suffering from flash burn, I made a vow to cut back on the “photo opportunities.” Paul confiscated my Scrapbook Paradise frequent buyer punch card and “scrapbooking” became a line item in our strict family budget. I cut back my scrapbooking magazine subscriptions to one, and I usually only take a single scrap tote to crops now.

I do relapse now and again, though. Just a couple of weeks ago, I went on a bender. The stickers flew, the journaling spilled across the paper like wine, and a dozen new pages blinked into existence. My daughter’s first fishing trip with Grandpa, my son’s attachment to his best buddy Tigger, my pregnant belly–thanks to scrapbooking, these memories are no longer locked up in my head or some overstuffed shoebox full of photos, to be lost when life or the power of speech fails me. They are free–free to be shared and to be cherished for a season as evidence that sometimes it is the smallest moments in life that make the greatest treasures.

You know, I can think of worse things.

Here He Is, Mr. Middle Earth


I’m watching Lord of the Rings. Again. I love it! Can you believe what a feast for the eyes Peter Jackson has given us in conjuring up the epic battles and beautiful, harsh landscapes first imagined by J.R.R. Tolkien decades ago? And speaking of feasting, how about those easy-on-the-eyes guys of the Fellowship? If you’re going to have a crush on a fictional heartthrob, you could do worse.

After extensive research consisting mostly of long, pointless arguments with my friend, Kathy, I’ve discovered that the great majority of women fall into one of two camps when it comes to their taste in men: those who think that Aragorn embodies the masculine ideal of honor, strength, integrity, and courage, and those who’ve indulged themselves in one too many Ent draughts. I mean, uh, those who prefer Legolas.

If I understand her correctly, Kathy’s main objection to Aragorn is that he’s dirty. As in sweaty. Unclean. And I must admit that it’s true, at least for a large portion of the films. The man has traversed the map of Middle Earth, fallen from a sheer rock cliff and lived, fought an army of orcs, and crawled through a filthy cave to rally legions of undead warriors and defeat the forces of evil. So sue him if he didn’t have time for a bubble bath.

If you ask me, Legolas is the creepy one–I mean, what kind of guy leaps like a gazelle over the mountains for hours at a time without sweating and opens the jugulars of dozens of Uruk-hai with his (admittedly) impressive knife work without getting a drop of blood on him?

Legolas, the Amazing Teflon Elf, that’s who. Admit it–he could pass more easily for a Breck Girl than a mighty warrior.

What’s so terrible about a little sweat, anyway? When Paul and I were dating in college, I used to go to all his basketball games, and when the final buzzer went off, I would run squealing down the bleachers to where he waited, slick with perspiration, to be caught up in a big sweaty hug and to kiss him right on his beautiful, sweaty mouth. Sure, I accidentally slid off sometimes, but we were in love. Of course, our love has since grown to such a highly evolved level that we can feel safe sharing our deepest thoughts, like “Don’t even think about touching me until you’ve showered and brushed your teeth, buddy.”

For what it’s worth, here is my ten-cent psychological analysis of the two sides of this tremendously relevant social issue. (For real psychological analysis, send a two hundred dollar check to either my mother or my sister, both of whom have bona fide psych degrees and could really use the money to pay back their loans.) :

The discerning Aragorn fan is a woman who likes her men and her life a little rough around the edges. She doesn’t throw out a pair of jeans just because they get a hole in them, and she doesn’t save receipts. She longs for adventure–not just the dangerous, stupid kind, but the kind that follows in pursuit of some lofty goal that is a little out of reach. She expects to get knocked down occasionally, but she still cries when it happens. She never runs out of hope.

The Legolas lover is a woman who craves harmony (and cleanliness!) in all things. She makes lists, she follows a schedule, she keeps her tax records well beyond the recommended four years. She finds out what needs to be done and then rolls up her sleeves and does it, unfailingly. When the chips are down, she somehow comes through, and her friends are always of the life-long variety. She never runs out of determination.

And then, of course, there are the women who are attracted to Frodo. They’re just freaks.

Geek Chic


It’s known in computer circles as a BSoD. Blue Screen of Death.

A fatal exception 0E has occurred at 0157:BF7FF831. The current application will be terminated.

* Press any key to terminate the current application. *

Press CTRL+ALT+DEL to restart your computer. You will lose any unsaved information in all applications.

Press any key to continue

It happens at random intervals in my computing endeavors, but mostly at the worst possible moment–when I’m paying my bills online or just about to save five hours worth of writing work. Click. Pause. Blink…it’s gone. And all that’s left in its place is the implacable Blue Wall of Nincompoopery, like a big sign asking, “Who let this chick near a keyboard?”

It makes me want to hoist my wretched, smirking computer onto my shoulder, where it will beg (beg!) in modulated electronic tones for a second chance to run my application before I pitch it unceremoniously out of the window and it explodes into fiery chunks on the sidewalk below. (Okay, I know it wouldn’t really explode, but that’s a satisfying detail of the fantasy, don’t you think?)

Fortunately for the traitorous lump of wires and plastic, before frustration finally mounts into violence, I usually remember Plan B: call husband. You see, I married a computer geek.

Yes, he’s also a poet, a dreamer, an athlete and a great dad, but definitely and unrepentantly a geek. Friday nights are more likely to find him at a LAN party than the local pool hall (think “poker night” with assault weapons and extension cords.) The intricate maneuverings of software companies are prime fare for our dinner table conversations.

My technological education really began when we said “I do.” As with other wives of geeks, it was mostly accidental. At first, all the jargon just washed over me in an incomprehensible river of geekspeak. When Paul said we were getting Red Hat, I went out and bought a dress to go with it. Asked by my dad about our new computer (which was brought home within days of our nuptials and placed with love on our shiny computer desk, like a newborn in a bassinet), Paul gave a ten minute description rife with acronyms and numbers. All I could tell my mom was, “It’s black.” That’s all she wanted to know, anyway.

But slowly, like a stranger in a foreign land, I started to pick up a word here and there. I learned that “fragging” someone is something to be proud of, and that Red Hat Linux, while superior in a server-based system, doesn’t make a good OS for the typical home user. I know how to reconfigure my internet settings and what “open source” means. I also discovered that liberally sprinkling one’s conversation with phrases like “server-based system” and “open source” is guaranteed to rev up a geek’s engine.

There are drawbacks to marrying into geekdom, of course: the endless TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms), the growing pile of stray computer parts and software boxes reproducing in the corner of the bedroom, the psychologically disturbing love/hate relationship with Microsoft. But I’m here to tell you, thousands of dollars and six operating systems later, that the benefits far outweigh the costs.

I’ve never seen Paul face a computer problem he couldn’t figure out, eventually. I can’t count the times I’ve called him at work, in a huff, to deliver the bad news that the computer was screwed up beyond recovery–only to have him fix it in five minutes over the phone. Even the dreaded BSoD is no match for the awesome technological might of my super geek. Some women’s husbands protect them from burglars or spiders or bad pick-up lines. Mine also protects me from spyware.

And so, to my own dear geek, I just want to say:

Roses are #FF0000,
Violets are #0000FF,
All my base are belong to you.*

*Looking for a t-shirt for your special geek? Check out



This dirty plate keeps returning, like the phoenix, in new incarnations of crusty cheese and dried-on syrup. Not like the socks mysteriously vanished into that other, wash-and-wear dimension, where the denizens of a million dryers finally fulfill their sock-y destiny. The dust I banished yesterday is back, with reinforcements, and one Ritz, consumed, miraculously yields up ten crackers’ worth of crumbs, like the leftovers at Jesus’ picnic. Keeping house withers my sense of accomplishment.

Not like keeping children. Through them, I become a brush in the Artist’s hand, and each of them a masterpiece.

A streak-free shine counts for nothing.

Yes, I’m a Leper



Well, so much for keeping it light and non-controversial.

It all started at the gym. There I was, on the arc trainer, gasping for breath and sweating out of all of my pores while a cadre of wall-mounted television screens simultaneously taught me how to redecorate my bedroom for pennies, reminded me that the faux alligator skin clutch was a limited time offer, and served up Judge Roberts to the judiciary committee to be drawn and quartered (or at least that’s what one might assume happens at a confirmation hearing, judging from the expressions on the committee’s faces.)

Next to me, a friendly brunette in a pair of black jogging pants and a Clemson t-shirt beat her own heart-pumping cadence on the other arc trainer. We engaged in idle chitchat between ragged gasps, discovering that we were both teachers, commiserating over our shared pain in exercise, and swapping dessert recipes guaranteed to nullify, in two bites, all of our excruciating hours on the cardio equipment.

I’d been paying scant attention to the judiciary proceedings, being more occupied with my own selfish concerns, like getting oxygen to my brain, but at a lull in the conversation, I started reading the closed captions and realized that the inevitable Roe v. Wade discussion had started. I commented as much to my new buddy.

“I know!” came the indignant reply, “Can you believe we’re still arguing about this?” I pointed out that until the vast majority agreed on the issue one way or the other, it would always be a source of conflict. “But I can’t believe any senator would vote for a judge who would tell a woman what to do with her body!” She went on for a while in this vein, in the conspiratorial tones of someone who does not, for a moment, consider that her views would not be shared by anyone of even moderate intelligence. Not wanting to deceive her, I mildly remarked, “Well, I believe that the unborn are human beings, too, so to my way of thinking, a pregnant woman has two lives to consider, not just one.”

I thought I used a conversational tone, a non-threatening tone, a tone intended to assure all hearers that I was not in any way aligned with the crazies who shoot doctors and blow up clinics. (By the way, how insane is that? “Let’s kill all the abortionists! That’ll teach ‘em about the sanctity of life!”) But in the world of Clemson-girl, claiming to be pro-life must be roughly on par with announcing that you’re a leper. Her arc trainer ground to a halt, she made a guttural grunt of surprise, and without another word she retreated as if I’d confessed to having a contagious skin fungus. I saw her a few moments later, madly gesticulating to two spandex-clad compatriots. I caught a couple of words and a glance or two at me, enough to guess at the conversation. “Look at her,“ she seemed to say. “She looks so normal, doesn’t she? Who would guess she has a contagious skin fungus?”

I had ample time to think it over on the way home, and I still don’t get it. What’s so untenable about the belief that human life begins in the womb? How can we not see the inconsistency of a policy that allows one baby to be killed at six months gestation for the simple crime of being unwanted, when another, born prematurely at the very same age, is nurtured and embraced, given every chance to live that medical science can devise? Is one life worth more than another? Is the measure of worthiness now whether or not one is wanted? (If so, then how long is it before law is changed to purge our society of other “unwanted” individuals—like the mentally handicapped or the physically deformed? It would be for their own good, of course, to spare them the pain of going through life less-than-perfect. After all, we would tell ourselves, we wouldn’t want to live like that.) Is this the mark of a “civilized” society? Am I really the barbarian here?

Life only begins at birth, proponents of abortion say. Does that seem arbitrary to anyone else? I wasn’t a great biology student, by any means, but I’m pretty sure there’s no magic line in the birth canal that, when crossed, suddenly flips the baby’s switch to “on” or imbues him with a soul. Perhaps, then, the measure of less-than-humanness is based on dependence. After all, a fetus is reliant on another for all of its warmth and nourishment. But then again, so is a newborn. So is a whole cross-section of humanity with physical or mental limitations that make them unable to care for themselves. And yet, ask anyone who knows one of these people and they’ll tell you that the measure of their life’s value isn’t in their ability to get up and pour themselves a bowl of corn flakes.

It makes far more sense to me to believe that life begins at the beginning–when all of those marvelous, inexplicable genes, half from each parent, come together in a complete set to form a tiny, monumental miracle: a whole and unique person. From that moment, this tiny person’s experiences will begin to affect him, to change him. From that moment, he has a developing physical body, a soul, a future. From that moment, he has a life. I can only hope that it’s a long one.

Signing off from the leper colony….

My Secret Shame


Walk into my abode anytime and you’ll see that I’ve more or less won the war on clutter. Four people in a two bedroom apartment can make anyone an expert on organization and conservation of space. Beds are made, dishes are done–even the unruly flotsam of toy parts and pieces, booty from a hundred Happy Meals, can be swept away in an instant into a beautiful wicker basket, tastefully chosen to match the living room decor.

But should you chance to wander through the hall and over in the direction of the laundry room, expect to be violently intercepted. I can’t let you open that door. If anyone ever sees what’s in that room, I’m ruined. Gone forever is my (admittedly slim) chance of ever being compared to the Proverbs 31 woman. No one who has seen the truth behind that door could ever again think of me as someone who even remotely has it all together.

And what horror, you ask, could possibly lie in wait in the dark recesses of my laundry room? I’ll tell you: seventeen loads of perfectly clean, irreparably wrinkled, unfolded laundry. Seventeen. That is not a number I made up for shock value. That is the actual number of times I filled up my washer with dirty clothes, washed them, moved them to the dryer, dried them, and scooped them out into the laundry basket. Or, more accurately, onto the laundry basket. Seventeen loads of laundry do not, strictly speaking, fit into one laundry basket. They are piled up, load upon load, in an ever-growing, precariously perched monument to my domestic ineptitude. A monument which, even now, is actually touching the ceiling of the laundry room. That’s my cue, you see. When the laundry touches the ceiling, it’s time to fold it.

I have always done laundry this way. I suppose in the beginning, when Paul and I were first married, there was a rationale for it. We didn’t have our own washer and dryer, or even a car, so laundry would be carefully saved up over a few weeks before borrowing a friend’s rig for the day-long excursion to the laundr-o-mat. It was romantic then; we would bring books of poetry and a picnic and coo lovingly to each other over the vibrations of a dozen simultaneous spin cycles. Ten years later, with my own laundry room and no excuses, I am still waiting till the last pair of underwear (most of which I bought in an attempt to prolong the inevitable) disappears from my drawer to do anything about the laundry.

Sure, I’ve made resolutions. Dozens of times, in the middle of a marathon sock-matching session, I’ve sworn to myself to fold every load the moment it emerges, warm and unwrinkled, from the dryer. But then the kids call to me, the crisp fall day begs me to join in the dance of leaves, and every single thing in the world seems more important than an empty laundry basket. Days turn into weeks, and soon the monument reaches skyward once more. So I go back to the old way. The me way. And, finally, I think I’m okay with that.

Just don’t open that door…

Dear Mrs. Albright


Dear Mrs. Albright,

Today I bring to you my daughter, Katie. She’s so excited about first grade, and, as she always adds when she’s talking to someone about it, “a little nervous, too.” I wish you could have seen her elation when she got a post card yesterday in the mail from her first grade teacher! She read it out loud to me with a big grin pasted across her face. Thank you so much for reaching out to my little girl with your time and your obvious care for the students entrusted to you.

I wanted to write and tell you about my beautiful daughter. She is open, loving, and loyal, and so tender-hearted that I just ache with worry and hope for her with every new step that she takes into the world. You probably know from reading her file that she has Asperger’s Syndrome, so she’s still working on learning things that you and I take for granted, like respecting personal space and coping with disappointments. She has trouble with transitions and a frustrating attachment to doing things her own way. I know that she will present some challenges for you in the year to come. But there’s so much more that the file doesn’t say.

Every day I see new depths of tenderness and compassion in Katie, new expressions of her unique creativity, new wells of joy that seem to spring up around her with every experience, every person that enters her life. She really cares for others and their feelings, and she reaches out constantly to bring them closer to her. She loves to write notes—to me, to her friends (you’ll probably be getting quite a few!)—and she loves to plan special days. In fact, one of her favorite things to do is to make up holidays and announce them to the family with much fanfare: “Video Game Day”, “Summer Celebration Day”, “Dance Crazy Day”! Just lately she has taken to proclaiming when she gets out of bed, “Today is going to be the BEST day of the rest of my life!” She has a zest for life and a love for people that amazes me—she sees the world in exclamation points.

I’m writing this to you so that you will know what a precious treasure is delivered into your care. Teachers bear the hopes and expectations of the future, and I know that it’s not easy. Being a parent, too, takes a special kind of courage—the courage to open the door a little wider each year and to trust in the kindness of strangers to nurture and teach and comfort and correct with the same warmth and care that you strive for yourself. I have to tell you—it’s still hard to watch the bus door close behind her in the morning, even knowing that she’ll be back in the afternoon.

Thank you for reading this, and for letting me share my wonderful Katie with you this year. We’ve been praying for God to send her a special teacher, and I’m sure He has. I’ll be thinking of you and your class full of fresh-scrubbed, newly-minted first graders today, and keeping you all in my prayers this year.

God bless you,
Katie’s Mom

Ouch! My heart…


In two days, my daughter, Katie, will take her first tremulous steps into the world of first grade. It’s a big deal–all day school, eating lunch with her friends, real homework–and she’s been a little trepidacious about the whole idea. I guess we both have.

But today, she got a post card in the mail.

“Hi, Katie.

My name is Mrs. Albright and I get to be your first grade teacher this year. I’m really excited to meet you. First grade is a lot of fun. I just know you will love it! I’ll see you on Tuesday. Have a great weekend.

Mrs. Albright”

I have a good feeling about Mrs. Albright.

There is so much I want to say to this woman who will be taking my place, in a small way, as she spends eight hours of each day teaching, shaping, and molding the child who, until very recently, hung her entire understanding of the world upon my words. Oh, I know it’s a good thing. But I can’t help feeling vulnerable as I contemplate my lovely, fresh-faced child with her sweet, transparent heart stepping out into a sea of other influences. Elizabeth Stone once said, “Making the decision to have a child – it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart walking around outside your body.” And oh, but it hurts sometimes.