A Slice of Life

Sometimes I feel like I forget to slow down and instead I simply go through the motions to survive each part of my day. Get out of bed, get ready for work, get the kids ready, rush out of the house, race to my mom’s house to drop off the kids, drive to work, teach all day, pick up the kids, figure out dinner, change a few diapers, give the kids a bath, pajamas, books, prayers, bedtime, and repeat. I never really remind myself to slow down or to stop and enjoy a few of the smaller moments in my day.

Sometimes, I get reminders though. Usually when I am least expecting them.

Almost all family outings, even just trips to the grocery store, are typically kicked off with my husband and I asking each other about the contents of the diaper bag while putting coats on the kids and tying little shoe laces.

“Did you grab the sippy cup?”

“Are there diapers in there?”

“Have you seen the pacifier?”

“Where is my wallet?”

By the time we get the kids in their car seats and plop the overflowing diaper bag in the car, there is habitually just enough time for one of us to run back in the house to get the final must-have-item that we almost forgot. And we are off.

My husband and I started incorporating trips to Starbucks so that we can enjoy just a few sips of something delicious during our car rides. Neither one of us were coffee drinkers before the kids. My husband now takes a dark coffee with no cream or sugar as often as he can get his hands on one and I savor every drop of my nonfat, no whipped, chocolate-drizzle-please, hot chocolate. Because our patience is usually running thin by the time we arrive at the local Starbucks, my husband opts to park the car and go in to place our order rather than waiting in the drive thru which is almost always about 15 cars deep.

This weekend, we stopped at Starbucks for a morning treat before heading to the pumpkin patch. When my husband began unfastening his seatbelt, my two year daughter repeated “Baba, Baba, Baba” (Baba is a Greek word for daddy). My husband and I were rearranging the contents of the diaper bag to uncover his wallet which was thrown in there during the rush to get out of the house. As we continued to search, my daughter continued to demand my husband’s attention with each “Baba” sounding a little more panicked and urgent. Finally, she stopped and pleaded “Baba, talk to me!” After my husband and I exchanged a quick glance, he gave my daughter his full attention with his sincerest of apologies. She just wanted to know if she could go into the Starbucks with him.

As the two passed the front of my vehicle, hand in hand, my daughter looked back at me and waved to me with her chubby little hand and shot me her biggest, proudest smile because she was going to get to help her Baba. And that is all she wanted. As I sat there, I couldn’t help but feel my own biggest, proudest smile creep across my face.

I don’t know how long I sat there smiling and staring at the door they had just disappeared through. My life slowed down for a split second right there and then. Just that smile. Just that wave. Just that voice. It was all I needed to stop and smile and slow down to just sit and love her. My gaze was broken as I heard a faint “Mama” called from the backseat. I looked back to find my beautiful baby boy turning his head as far as he could to see me from his rear facing car seat. That smile. That voice. That sweet, little face. I felt myself take the first and possibly last deep breath of the day.

My kids remind me to slow down when I feel like I’m spinning and they don’t even know they are doing it. It is funny to me because they seem to cause all of the chaos in my life and they are exactly what I need to feel so peaceful.

The car ride continued after my loves returned with our warm, delicious drinks. The chaos returned as well and we went through the motions of the rest of our day. But that wave and her smile and his sweet voice calling for me lingered.  



My Own Slice of Life on Prayer

When my husband and I first got married we established a little routine with saying a bedtime prayer together. We held hands and he said a prayer in Greek and then we said the Lord’s Prayer together before going to sleep. I’m not sure why but we fell out of the habit of doing this after the first year or so. Ever since my daughter came along, my husband and I started saying bedtime prayers once again but now with two tiny little hands held in ours every night. There isn’t really a routine any more. Sometimes we say a prayer on the couch in the evening or sometimes in her bed just before we kiss her goodnight. She has taught us many things and one of the most important lessons have been that flexibility is key and that things don’t always follow a plan or a routine. I think we are all okay with not having a scheduled prayer time.

My daughter, Evie, has been listening for over two years now to us say the Lord’s Prayer. A few weeks ago she started saying the last word of each line. I would begin “Our Father, who art in” and then I would pause and she would smile and say “Heaven.” We continued doing this for a few nights and then I started leaving off a few more words and she started chiming in at different parts. Pretty soon she was saying the whole prayer right along with me.

I remember my Grandma always telling me that God especially listens to children’s prayers. I used to picture God sitting amongst the clouds listening to millions of prayers at once and hearing the voices of little children’s prayers coming through the loudest and clearest as if they were being said into a microphone. As I sit now with my Evie’s hand in mine and I listen to her sweet voice, I know that it is coming through loud and clear as it passes through all of those clouds and falls upon God’s ears. When we pray together I whisper so that her voice is strongest, so God doesn’t have to strain to hear her, and I wait until she is done to offer my unending gratitude for this precious gift He so generously shared with me.


She Can Do It

My Own Slice of Life on “I Can Do It”

My daughter has moved into a stage in her life where she believes that she can do it and by “it” she means everything and anything. She can put on her own shoes. She can take off her own socks. She can brush her own teeth. She can put lotion on all by herself. She can feed her brother a bottle. She can put her silverware in the sink. My favorite part of her telling me that she can do it is her enormous grin, sparkling eyes, and head bobbing up and down reassuring me that she is up for the task.

My brother-in-law gave her a balloon the other day. This balloon has a very short string. I knew it would happen. My husband knew it would happen. And it happened. That balloon string slipped right out of her hand and floated up to the ceiling. Not in her bedroom where I could stand on her bed and pull it down and not in the family room where I could stand on the couch and grab the string. Instead, she accidentally let go in the living room and the balloon drifted up to the highest point of the vaulted ceiling.

Each day we wait for the balloon to make its way back down to us. When we come home at the end of the work day, she runs up the stairs to check to see if her balloon is still there. And every day she smiles her biggest smile which causes her beautiful blue eyes to sparkle and she nods her head and says to me “I can do it.” She means that she can get her balloon down. She holds my hand and pulls me towards the scene. We both gaze up at the ceiling and she again reassures me that she can retrieve that balloon.

I’ve tried showing her that I can’t reach it, her dad can’t reach it, if I stand on a chair I can’t reach it, when I stand on a step stool I can’t reach it but she is convinced that if she just stands on the chair long enough she will be able to reach the balloon.

After spending lots of time as a spotter while she stands on a chair and stretches and reaches, the balloon is still up there. “Maybe tomorrow,” she tells me. I’m pretty sure that tomorrow she will smile, nod, and stand on the chair again.

My husband is ready to start throwing darts. I’m a little tired of this balloon situation too. But that face! That confidence! “I can do it.” That voice! I can’t burst her bubble or pop her balloon. I feel kind of proud of her. It’s silly. I know. But I’m just proud that she is confident and proud of herself. It means more to me than her understanding that her short arms will never reach that high. She has drive and ambition. It is part of who she is. She seems to have set her sights even higher. She will obtain the unobtainable. I’m confident that she will.

How Does It End?

My Own Slice of Life on Slicing

My final slice. I have mixed feelings. Relief, a sense of accomplishment, and almost sadness at the same time. What will I do with my notepad app (a.k.a. writer’s notebook app) on my phone now? How will we adjust our children’s bedtime routines back to a time before mommy was slicing? What will I think about all day long and what ideas will come to me as I sit before a blank computer screen? What if I have a great idea for a slice but no more audience? No more feedback? No more comments?

This past month I have sliced big and sliced small. I have flashed back to favorite times in my childhood and written about snippets of time that happen during the hecticness in my current everyday life. I have received feedback. I have been encouraged by other writers. Family members and friends followed my blog and I received text messages, phone calls, and e-mails daily. Some slices made my mom cry. Some slices were called captivating. At one point, my uncle even told me that my writing “had fallen off a bit.” Some slices made my husband laugh. Some slices frustrated me. Some slices felt good to publish while others did not. Some slices came to me in the middle of the night while others came to me in an instant when something simple happened like sharing a cookie with my daughter.

I worried about writing too much about my kids? I began to think about my own students and how at times it can be difficult to get fourth grade boys to write about something other than video games. We tell our students to write about what they are passionate about. We read mentor texts and explain how the author wrote about what she knew best, incorporated her own life and her own passions and we should do the same. Fourth grade boys are passionate about video games, they know a lot about video games, and at this point in their lives they play video games on a regular basis so they like to write about video games. I, on the other hand, am passionate about my kids. It was challenging for me to sit down and not write about them every single day. I had to make a real effort to write about something else because there are other things to write about. I must convey this message to my class.

This past month, I checked my phone for e-mails from WordPress on a regular basis. After a 2:00 a.m. wake up call from my daughter, I crawled back in my bed with my phone and scrolled through the e-mails to read the comments on my latest slice. I think my husband thought I was addicted to slicing. I think I might have been.

March was a time of writing. A time for blogging and reading other’s writing. A time for being part of a writing community. A time of being unguarded and writing personally, writing openly, trying different writing styles, writing warmly, affectionately, with emotion, from the heart, to get better, for a purpose, because I can, because I want to, because I AM A WRITER.

Looking forward to April, I plan to slice again. I am going to write whenever I feel compelled to do so. I’ve decided I will keep my blog going. So how does it end? It just doesn’t. There is more to be told.




My Own Slice of Life on Hands

I have very clear pictures in my mind of certain people’s hands. It seems odd to me but at different times in my life I can picture different people’s hands. For example, I can picture my Grandpa’s hands so clearly even though I haven’t seen them in many years. Two fingers shorter than the rest because of an accident, a cigarette in between his fingers, wrinkled knuckles, working hands, tired hands. I can picture a pastor’s hands, Pastor Reed, specifically at a wake for one of my grandparents. He apologized for coming so late and put out both of his hands, palms turned upward. I remember studying them for that split second. I can still see them today. I have no idea why certain images like these have stayed with me. I know that my Grandpa was always working so if I was around him I was probably watching what he was doing – hammering, drilling, building, smoking, touching the back of his hand to his forehead, always using his hands. I never paid attention to the pastor’s hands during church services but I will never forget his hands at the wake. I can’t figure out why.

So I started thinking about my parents’ hands. The ones that held mine as a child. My dad’s working hands, know how to fix everything hands, holding tools hands, opening jars hands, catching a ball hands, holding his pipe hands, rough hands, pinch my face hands, hold my kids’ hands. Then there are my mom’s thin hands, with pink polished nails hands, smell like lotion hands, doing the dishes hands, holding a baby bottle hands, rings on her fingers hands, holding my kids’ hands.

And then the most precious hands. Johnny’s grasping toys hands, pulling on my hair hands, rubbing my husband’s beard hands, touching the side of my face hands, holding on to my hand when I help him hold his pacifier in his mouth hands, with a thin line to separate his arm from his hand because a wrist is not yet visible, chubby-sweet-little hands holding my hand. And Evie’s expressive hands, used when she tells me a story a sings a song hands, finger nails polished – “colors please mom” hands, bracelets dangling from her wrist, raising her hands up to me to ask me to “hold you me please mom” hands, thanking God for everyone that she loves folded in prayer hands, chubby-sweet-little hands holding my hand.   


We Call Her Evelyn

My Own Slice of Life on Calling her Evelyn

When I was little I spent a lot of time at my Grandma’s house. My mom would take my sister and me over there to help care for my Great Grandma. I always felt close to my Grandma and I think it was because of all of the time we had together. I remember watching my mom and my Grandma together. My mom is one of four children and the only girl. When I was younger, I watched their exchanges and I listened to their conversations. I remember thinking that someday my mom and I would have a relationship that looked like this.

My Grandma had emphysema and died when I was too young to lose my Grandma and when my mom was too young to lose her mom. I guess there is never an age when it is easy to experience loss but I have always felt like my Grandma was taken away from us too soon.

As an adult, I think about my mom and how she handles this loss. I cannot even begin to imagine how horrible it would be to go through each day without my own mom. I see my mom almost every single day and we don’t go a day without having at least one phone conversation. I recently moved much closer to my mom. I am now about a seven minute drive to my mom’s house. That is just the way my mom and I like it. I now have the relationship with my mom that I watched my mom have with her mom.

The memories I have of my Grandma are somewhat foggy. I sometimes have to ask my mom or my sister to clarify how something really happened because I can’t remember the memory exactly right. I know her name was Evelyn and she had short curly hair. She was so tiny. So thin and very short. She liked to lie on the couch and have me rub her back. I can hear her laugh and the hint of sarcasm in her voice. I can picture her in my mind. I can see her smile. I can see the clothes she used to wear. Some of my other memories, I think, are based on photographs that I have seen. I remember for sure that she was adorable and sweet and she always had candy on the counter and cookies in the drawer. And I remember that she was my mom’s daily phone conversation and my mom’s best friend.  

Two years ago, my daughter was born. We call her Evelyn. She was named in remembrance of my Grandma, but also in honor of my mom. My best friend.

My Own Slice of Life on a Few of My Favorite Things

I love to hear

  cooing sounds from Johnny,

      giggling sounds from my kids,

        the guitar being played by my dad,

          my dad singing,

            my mom’s voice on the other end of the phone,

              my sister’s laugh,

                 “I lubba you Mama” from my Evie,

                    “Sagapo” from my husband.

I love to see

    my daughter’s face at my bedside with her sleepy eyes first thing in the morning,

      my son’s bright blue eyes that light up his whole face,

        my husband’s gorgeous smile,

          my family together in church,

            my niece and nephew playing with my kids,

              my sister’s belly housing my nephew that we will get to meet very soon,

                my Evie’s hand in mine.



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