In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Snow Day!

I like snow days. I liked them when my first three were younger--and I am enjoying them all over again with Christa.
Sure, my foyer is littered with wet gloves and hats and boots. My To Do list--laundry, vacuuming, cleaning the bathrooms--has been ignored. And, yes, I shoveled off the driveway earlier and it is covered with snow again.
But, Christa and I had fun today. We made peanut butter cookies--yum! We watched A Charlie Brown Christmas and White Christmas. The scenery outside rivaled the scenes on the television.
Christa and I visited with neighborhood friends and the kids took turns making snow angels and throwing snowballs at each other.
And--thanks to Christa's big sister, Amy, and her "adopted" sister, Rachel--Christa went sledding. This Mommy-come-lately was more than happy to let the teenagers tackle that bit of fun!
Hooray for snow days! I say, "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!"

Monday, November 27, 2006

A Few Birth Rate Statistics

From a recent birth rate report for 2005 by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS):

Childbearing by women in their thirties and forties continued to increase.

The birth rate for women aged 30–34 years rose slightly between 2004 and 2005, to 95.9 births per 1,000, the highest rate since 1964.

The rate for women aged 35-39 years rose to 46.3 births per 1,000, 2 percent over the rate in 2004 and the highest rate since 1965. (Advanced Maternal Age (AMA) is defined as 35 years old or older.)

The birth rate for women 40–44 years also rose by 2 percent, to 9.1, the highest rate since 1968, and the rate for women aged 45–49 years increased slightly, to 0.6 births per 1,000 women, the first increase in the rate since 2000 and the highest rate for this age group since 1970.

The complete report is available at:

Monday, November 20, 2006

Great Expectations

Life doesn't always turn out the way you expect.

No duh.

Of course, I know that. I've learned it a bazillion times over. But I still hang on to my expectations with unrelenting tenacity.

Late-in-life motherhood shook, rattled and rolled my expectations. The upcoming holiday season provides another chance for me to learn to replace my wish-I-may-wish-I-might dreams with reality.

My friend, Mary, is a Mommy-come-lately like me. We enjoyed a pleasantly uninterrupted phone call today. Mary talked about what she hoped the Thanksgiving Day would look like--and what it is really going to be like.

Mary is caught between the needs of older parents and the needs of her five-year-old son. And, try as she might, she can't reconcile the two. She wants her son to be surrounded by family--cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents--for Thanksgiving and Christmas. But, that isn't going to happen. Her son's cousins are years older than he is and not involved with his life. Her father is ailing and unable to make it to Mary's house for Thanksgiving dinner. And Mary wants her son to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal at home.

That's just reality. After wrestling with her wants and dreams, Mary let go of them.

"You go with what you've got," Mary said.

The holiday isn't what she hoped for, but she is determined to make the best of it, even as she accepts that family will be few for the holidays.

Bravo, Mary! You know when reality trumps expectations--and you're wise enough to accept it too.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Looking Back on a Crisis-Past

When I found out I was pregnant again at 41, I cried a lot.
And during those weeks of crying--and of morning sickness--I thought, "Can I do this all over again?"
Could I find the physical energy to care for a young child again?
Even more important: Could I find the emotional energy to care for a young child again?

I just came through one of those emotionally draining challenges every mother faces.

Three days ago the phone rang. I answered and heard these words:

"Beth, this is the principal at school. I need to tell you what happened to Christa at school today."

"Is Christa alright?"

"Yes, she's fine."

I could breathe again--so I waited to hear what had happened.

Long story short, Christa was told by some boys that another boy was planning to trap her. These boys said the other boy was going to jump out at her wearing a scary mask. Then he planned to take her to a house and hurt her. (I am omitting some graphic details here because it is just too painful to write.) The two boys told Christa they would protect her.

Now here is the odd twist to the story:

One of the boys who promised to protect her eventually confessed that he made the story up.

But I didn't know this at first. All I knew was that my daughter had been threatened.
I trembled all over. I found it difficult to think, to talk. I wanted to sob--and I wanted to get to my daughter as fast as I could.

The situation was resolved during the course of the next three days. My husband and I talked to the principle and to Christa's teacher several times. The boy's guardian called me and apologized. Even the little boy told me how sorry he was.

I learned a lot of things during this time--but right now the most important lesson I learned is this: When my child needs me, I'm there for her. I don't care about the physical or emotional or monetary cost.

Afterall, I am her mother--and that's what mothers are for.

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Grateful Day

Fridays are becoming a favorite blogging day for me. I get to glance back over my shoulder and remember all my fun and unexpected and oh-so-appreciated reasons to be grateful.

I am grateful for:

A friend's unexpected phone call just to say "Hi" and to catch up on my life

A bunch of fresh flowers that is now divided into three vases, creating dashes of vibrant color through out my home

A steaming cup of hot apple cider--a much anticipated taste of fall

My writing comrades and their insights and expertise and encouragement

The chance to tell my children "I love you"--may I never miss the opportunity!

May Your Day be Anchored in Gratefulness.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Late-in-Life Dads

My book BABY CHANGES EVERYTHING: Embracing and Preparing for Motherhood after 35 (Revell 2007) includes a chapter for men that's titled "Don't Forget Dad." It takes two to tango--and my husband Rob was a major part of my Mommy-come-lately experience.,

After finding out I was pregnant again at forty-one, I spent the next four to six weeks grapplng with that reality. I confess, I didn't think much about how Rob felt--even as I expected him to support me through every crying jag and every bout of morning sickness.

But as the nausea dissipated, I remembered Rob's life too was affected by our unexpected blessing. I finally looked at him and asked, "How are you feeling about this?"

That late-night conversation was the first of many as we began embracing our lives as late-in-life parents.

Even as I adjusted to my life as a Mommy-come-lately, I needed to remember Rob had his own reactions and concerns to becoming a father later in life. I stopped talking about all my emotional ups and downs and encouraged Rob to talk. If he didn't know what to say, I asked questions until something got him talking. And then I shut up and listened.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Dropping Anchor

I thought about not blogging today because I'm tired.

But Fridays are when I stop brainstorming writing ideas and Instant Messaging my son in New York and focus on being thankful. It just seemed wrong--and lazy--to not take the time to consider my reasons to be thankful.

That said:

I am grateful for the time I had to walk with my husband and hold hands and talk. Nothing elaborate--just uninterrupted time.

I am grateful that tomorrow is a day for me to pray and plan and ponder which way do I go in the coming months.

And I am grateful that when I least expected it my life was changed by the unexpected blessing of my late-in-life child. I don't think I say that often enough. I get so busy being her mom that I don't stop and say how happy I am to be her mom.

Now that I've written that down, I need to say it out loud to my daughter.

May your day be anchored in gratefulness.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Kindergarten Wisdom

Spending time with kindergartners is teaching me a lot about life.

Yesterday was all about the letter W, which doesn't sound too inspiring. But in the midst of rainbow writing and tracing capital letters and small letters with mud (brown paint), the kindergartners taught me a few things.

  • Listen to music--lots of music

Patriotic songs. Silly songs. Songs to sing before you pray and songs to sing when you finish praying. Sons sung off-key or really loud or while you're jumping up and down. Days are enriched by music.

  • Read books--lots and lots of books

I have a mostly-ignored To Be Read (TBR) pile of books. The only time I pay attention to it is when I add another book to the stack. Thanks to my one morning a week in kindergarten, I've enjoyed being read to--books about school and leaves and one book that had something to do with the phrase "Ding-a-ling" and a book about a Mrs. Wishy-Washy who scrubs her muddy animals clean.

  • Try doing the same-old-same-old in a whole new way

Sure you can write your letters with an old fashioned pencil. But why not spread some chocolate pudding on a paper plate and trace a W or a C or a T in the goopy mess? And sure, when you write your letters you need to know the "start here" point and the "end here" point. But why not glue rice to the letter R or Fruit Loops to the letter F?

Today I've got my radio tuned to a favorite station. I'll pull a book or two from my TBR pile. And who knows, maybe I'll try a new recipe for dinner or find a new path to wander when I go for a walk with my family tonight.

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