A Secret Sobriety

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

The jig was up when my friend’s seven-year-old daughter whispered behind me, “We’re celebrating because Kevin hasn’t drank wine in a year.” Turning around, I saw my friend Mirinda (not seven years old) strolling in with balloons. I also noticed a cake had appeared on the kitchen counter while my back was turned. At this moment, another friend announced, “Happy birthday – or something. There was an email, but I didn’t really read it.” I knew then that my wife had announced to our church that I was one year sober from alcohol, a personal milestone I chose to celebrate in secret. She even asked on the way to church that night, “Are you going to say anything?” I shook my head. “I don’t see the point. But, if you want to, go right ahead.” I could tell she was excited about my first “dry-versary,” so I expected her to say something, perhaps during a post-communion lull. I did not expect a full-blown surprise party, especially with the very people I had consumed so much booze with over the past ten years. Except for my friend’s seven-year-old daughter. I never drank with her.

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Moving Forward

I recently saw an ad for another Hollywood remake of one of my childhood favorites, Little Women. I read the book when I was twelve years old and immediately identified with the character Jo, the writer in the family. As I’ve grown older I’ve also identified with Jo’s sister, Amy, an artist, who struggles when she realizes that she has talent but maybe not “genius,” which she craves. It’s one thing to know who you are and quite another to be able to live, or make a living, as who you are—particularly in the artistic professions. But the conflict of juggling personal identity and a profession isn’t limited to creative pursuits; my husband may have been a doctor if he’d been given the opportunity and education early on. He and I both fell victim to the struggle between personal desire and doing what tradition expected of us. 

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The Impact of a Simple Gift

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin.” Zechariah 4:10

This time of year comes with pressure to do, and to be, all of the things.

In motherhood, someone else seems to always be doing something better. I am most definitely not the fun or crafty mom. I’m of the variety that prefers sitting. I’m great at snuggles, reading, and giving my children time to play on their own. I’m learning to embrace my unique strengths.

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As the Waters Cover the Sea

Photo by Ismail Yanim on Unsplash

For the last couple of months I’ve been working on putting my first book of poetry out into the world. It’s only twenty-three poems, but they’re the best of what I’ve got from the last eight years, and my husband and friends have finally convinced me that it’s time to go for it. My daughter offered to help me with the layout and design, and it’s been fun to share this little project with her. I wonder what she thinks about having a mom who writes poems, and is crazy enough to share them with others. But then again, she told us the other day that her English teacher wants to help her publish a children’s book that she wrote. So maybe she does get it.

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Little While Trials

Photo by Ryan Parker on Unsplash

I felt them in my wife’s tummy before they even entered the world. I knew them when they needed us for everything. I feel towards them a protective instinct that even I don’t always understand. It’s an absolutely right and an inherent desire that I do not want my children to suffer. Something would be wrong if I was ambivalent about it; but I equally believe it’s naïve to think that my children will not suffer in this earthly life.

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