One-Hit Wonders

My husband sent me a text yesterday morning on his way to work, and it said,

“I can’t stop thinking about how badass your pumpkin is.”

Why is he still thinking about the pumpkin I carved this weekend?  Because I completely, utterly blew everyone away with my mad carving skill. (I hesitate to say “skills” because I think it was a one time miracle, a fleeting moment in time, an absolute MARVEL that I could not possibly reproduce.)  No one expected it at all. I struck out of nowhere. It all started when I told my family that, this year, we were raising the bar. I was tired of the same old jack o’ lanterns. It was game on. Sean obviously didn’t take me seriously. He knows, or THOUGHT HE KNEW, all about my artistic (dis)ability. For example, dating back long ago: When I was a Freshman in high school, I paid a Senior art student $5 to make my clay pottery assignment because I knew my creation would suck so bad. I’m talking about you, Chris Kilander. (He later went on to Herron Art School, by the way.) Turns out, mine was the only one that blew up in the kiln. Thanks, Chris. I want my $5 back.

Well, as many have already seen, after two hours of intense handiwork with a couple of knives, a pattern that I paid $2 for, and completely hiding the project from my husband and kids until I was done, here is the final product:

Yes, I busted this out of nowhere.

I have to give credit to the Murphy’s for inspiring me with their own amazing pumpkin pictures. They set the bar for me. I am not joking about a Carve Off in 2013, I can hardly wait!! See you all there! BYOK! (Bring Your Own Knives).

Aside from Frankenstein, I tried my hand at something else completely new this weekend. I had always wanted to learn how to stain and polyurethane wood, so I got my first shot with refinishing a beautiful oak desk that my father built from scratch. More importantly, I got the chance to work alongside him. I got to learn straight from the master. It reminded me of when I was little honey badger myself, and hung out with my Dad in our garage while he completely rebuilt an old MG into a beautiful, shiny, apple red speedstress. Years of toil and sweat he put into that car, and it was gorgeous by the time he was done. My brother got to drive it to school shortly after it’s makeover was complete. It was a sight on the curb of Bishop Chatard High School. How could you miss it? I’m sure it was bedazzling, just hanging out in plain view. Someone obviously missed it, though, and drove a nice, fat dent right into the driver’s side door. As Erin would sing, “Womp, womp”.

Back to my burst of creativity, though, I am so thrilled with the results of the desk. I know my Dad is too. I worked and worked on it, and now I am ready to stain and polyurethane the shit out of everything!!! I feel like I really learned a valuable life skill. My Dad has taught me a lot over the years, I just hope he can pass on his knowledge of woodworking to me. The sky’s the limit! I busted out a pumpkin carving of Frankenstein, I can do anything!!

Here is the Before of the desk:

Forgot to take the picture with the drawers in. Oh well, you get the gist.

Here is After:

Does anyone have any marble lying around? I’m ready to sculpt something clever up in this piece. I have to take advantage of this flash of artistic ability before it completely vanishes!

Of Hamsters and Honey Badgers

It finally happened.  After 364 days of grueling anticipation, my son finally celebrated his 10th birthday! He found out last month, by accident, that he was going to get a hamster from my Mom and Dad. He begged us all to let him just get it “early”, but we all stuck to our guns. The actual word “hamster” was banned in our house, lest this year’s entire birthday be canceled. Oh yes, it went to that level. So when my Dad left work early to drive he, my Mom, and Dylan to the pet store yesterday to pick out the lucky gal or guy, I was most excited that I didn’t have to almost cancel his 10th birthday anymore.  Dylan came home with “Flash“, the newest male member of our family….and the most galvanizing creature to Erin, the Honey Badger.

Let me interject a bit about our track record with pets. (Not dogs, we have a good track record with those.)

When it comes to amphibians, we are 0-2. (Flash may stand a chance by default, just because he is NOT an amphibian. This is what we are banking on, anyway.) First there was Robbie, the turtle. Oh, how I loved Robbie. I just couldn’t snuggle with him and kiss him. One must assume all turtles have salmonella. So, from the moment we rescued him from the giant water tank at the surf store in Myrtle Beach, I was adamant that no one touch him. Poor Robbie. What a lonely life he led.  He grew and grew. He played Hide ‘n Seek a few times, slipping out of his tank somehow, once hiding under my bed and another time hiding in Dylan’s pajama drawer. Luckily, we always found him and scrubbed ourselves ridiculously clean afterwards. Sean was in charge of cleaning out the tank, and I was in charge of asking him incessantly if he touched anything that may have touched Robbie that may have touched the tank, etc, etc. Finally, we grew weary of the ritual. To be honest, I think I’m the only one that *really* liked (ok, loved) Robbie. Sean had to talk me into reality, and I reluctantly agreed. He then pitched a pretty impressive, yet subtle, plea to Dylan: We raised Robbie from birth (practically) and now, he was a grown man (the turtle, not Dylan). It was time for us to do the right thing: Set him free. We’re keepin’ the man (turtle) down. We decided, as a family, the time to respectfully part ways would be on our way to Florida for summer vacation. I envisioned setting Robbie free somewhere along the backwoods of Alabama, where there was plenty of green, lush forest and rolling, clean waters. My husband envisioned gently tossing him out the window. I can’t confirm this; it’s just a hunch. Like any turtle on a road trip, Robbie was in a Tupperware container on the floor of the van, practically riding shotgun, not quite riding bitch. It was pretty small and he couldn’t quite see out of it, compared to his vast, glass tank that he called home most of his life. Unexpectedly, it started to smell really, really bad. Then, it started to smell really, really, really, REALLY, bad. Robbie was in his own urine and feces. We were in the McDonald’s drive thru, somewhere in Alabama, when it became….an issue. Sean and I looked at each other and silently said, “It’s time”.  There was an apartment building nearby, some vacant stores, a dumpster, some dirty water, and a patch of about 10 trees. We looked at each other and nodded. It was perfect. To Dylan, “Hey buddy, this looks like a GREAT place for Robbie. I think he’s really wanting to strike out on his own.” Dylan wasn’t emotionally prepared for this to be “the moment” to let Robbie free, but the odor in the van was unbearable. It was definitely time. Dylan put on a brave face and I let Sean handle this one. (You’re welcome, Sean.) They meandered down to the trees: Sean, Dylan, Robbie. I saw them let Robbie go, and then they were out of my view. They were gone several, long minutes. I had my phone in hand, ready to speed dial 911. It was just that kind of atmosphere. They finally came back to the car, and we all had a moment of silence. There was a creek back there, it turns out, and Robbie leaped for joy. Strike out on his own, he damn well did. We wish him lots of love wherever he is (heaven) at this moment. Present or future, may you always R.I.P., Robbie.

And then there was Tony, the Toad. We found him in our yard. We set him up in a similar pad to that of Robbie. They were neighbors on Dylan’s dresser, back in the gold ol’ days. I sure did like Tony. We all did. That’s what makes this whole situation so sad. Tony ate live crickets. So, you can imagine what a pain in the ass it was to head to the pet store on a regular basis to buy live crickets. Well, one time we forgot. Just that one time. That’s all I can say about Tony because the rest is Top Secret. As far as YOU, or Dylan, or anyone else is concerned, Tony ran away. And, we know this, because there was a recent Tony sighting in our yard, and we reassured Dylan that Tony was just checking in to show what a grand life he was living and that he was relaying to him how super happy he was/is.

So, now there’s Flash. As I said, Flash has A LOT going for him – he’s not a frog or a turtle! But, I do foresee a very small (3 feet, to be exact) threat. I’ll just come right out and say it: Repeated exposure to the Honey Badger COULD possibly result in peril. Her face constantly pressed up against his cage should be enough to frighten the living daylights out of him. Or, it could be the way that she talks about wanting to hold him non-stop. When she does get to hold him, she “opposite of gently” handles him so that his eyes almost pop out, despite our numerous attempts to help her be careful. Just like Lennie, she has all the best intentions. She LOVES Flash!! She thinks about him day and night and every moment in between! She has been restricted from her brother’s room unless he is in there, or  an adult. We found her in there all by herself today and it was a very, very scary moment. Oh, how she loves Flash. SHE LOVES THE SHIT OUTTA HIM!!!!!!!! Quite literally. But, we are teaching her that you can love from afar. Like the examples below! I will leave you with those, and our very sincere reassurance that we are doing everything possible to save Flash’s life every moment of every day! 🙂

“Flash” is in safe hands for now. If Honey Badger’s eyes were open, you would notice glazed look.

This is an example of “loving Flash from afar”. Notice he is running down a flight stairs (one of Dylan’s skateboard toys). No hands needed! We can play with Flash without touching him!

Another example of loving and playing with Flash from afar. HB is literally trying SO HARD not to touch him. Ultimately, she fails.

She is swooning. She states she wants him to sleep in her bed.

“WHAT DO YOU MEAN HE CAN’T BREATHE?”

Stars of the Week….Dylan Edition

Dylan is a big star this week to0! He is turning TEN. A milestone. Double-digits. I’ve been a mother for 10 years. My life changed for the better 10 years ago. I really could go on and on and on….but, let’s get back to today.

Today was a special day. I took Dylan and 5 of his friends from school to Dave & Buster’s. I had an absolute blast. What a GREAT group of friends he has. I wanted to invite more, I really did, but it wasn’t in the budget. In fact, I guess I should start with how I robbed Dave & Buster’s today.

It is approximately $120 to have a party with 6 boys at D&B’s, where they each get a $15 game card. I had a better idea: Find a “Buy $20 of Game Play, get $20 of Game Play FREE” coupon. Better yet, find 3 of these coupons and split it between 6 cards and you’ve paid only $60 for the birthday party! This was a rock solid plan. The funny thing is, not only did I end up with 6 gift cards, I ended up with THREE of them having a $40 balance. Plus, it was half-price Wednesday. Can you imagine how many credits we had to play with? I not only confused myself, but the Manager, his employee, and by the time it was all said and done, I had paid $54 total. The boys went on to win piles and piles of tickets and they all walked out with bags full of fun stuff. It was a great time.

For me, the best part was driving them to the party and driving them all home. On the way to the party, they were all talking about the awesome game of football they played at recess. Sam threw a “beautiful” pass to Dylan for the touchdown. They relived every moment of that football game at recess. They paused only to sing the “Save Big Money at Menard’s!!!” song as we drove by Menard’s, then pick up where they left off. They are getting so big, they are so into sports and talking about Nike Elite socks, all things completely boy and such bruisers….so close to the teenage years.

On the way home, the talk was completely different. They all had won some kind of stuffed animal. One of Dylan’s friend’s gave him an Indianapolis Colt’s bear he won from a claw machine. Several of them, including Dylan, shared their cards with each other and helped each other win points. They were so kind to each other. They were so genuinely happy in each other’s presence. This really brought tears to my eyes.  One boy, the strongest, fastest, most incredible athlete (who NEVER boasts or thinks highly of himself for his amazing abilities) opted for a stuffed white unicorn from the gift store with his points that he won. I was just in awe of the lot of them being completely themselves in front of one another, which was this: They have one foot in the pre-teen years, and one foot in the “I’m only ten, I’m still really little” very present year. They are so very young and so “old” at the same time but, more importantly, they are just good, GOOD kids. This was a beautiful day. Dylan was a star today, not because it was his birthday, and not because he took his friends out to a cool place, but because he was really shining with all of his friends.

Stars of the Week….Erin Edition

This has been a big week around here! Erin waited all school year, two months to be exact, to be Star of the Week in her classroom. This was HUGE. She was sent home last week with the coveted “rainbow can” and a special assignment to fill it with things that start with the letter “G”. We promptly found a giraffe and a green toy. Those two items sat in the can all weekend, until Monday morning when we decided we needed just one more “G” item. Nothing like waiting until the last minute! Keep in mind that we spent all weekend working on the Wellness Center (which has also been dubbed The Wine Room). This means that the rest of the house was neglected….in a massive way. I couldn’t fathom coming home to the mess after the kids went to school, so I told my husband that he could find me in the Wellness Center with a fire extinguisher blowing out the flames because I had lit a match to the rest of the house. He promised me he would defecate in the (piled high and overflowing) sink on his way out the door to work just to perfect the theme we had going on. Anyway, I am rushing around trying to get Erin’s lunch packed before we leave for school. As if the kitchen wasn’t cluttered enough, I knocked a giant cup of water over on the counter and just left it there dripping everywhere because I didn’t have time to clean it up. I was still busy trying to get her lunch together. I went to the refrigerator, opened it up, and a bottle of salad dressing fell out onto the floor, splattering everywhere. That was neat, too. So, on our rush to get out the door I had a flash of genius. “Erin, we could rename Audrey (the caterpillar) GUS – Ga Ga Ga GUS starts with GEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and you could take him in the can!!!!!!!!!!”. She thought that was a SUPER idea!! So, I haul Erin, myself, her backpack, her lunch, and the can out into the pouring down rain, along with a Costco-sized bag of Goldfish for the “G” snack, and no umbrella. I hate umbrellas and I never, ever use one. I felt sorry for Erin when I saw all the other parents with umbrellas, or better yet, their kids had their own umbrellas, and wondered what my problem was. I used to think I was simple, but Monday morning I thought I was just plain dumb. Plus, she started to get a little sad and start to cry on the way to school because she didn’t want to call Audrey “Gus”. I toughened her up and told her it was just for the day and she said, “Ohhhhhhh kayyyyyyyyyy”. Mission accomplished. I got her off to school without (much of) a hitch.  She had a fantastic day and I’m sure it was mostly because she got to be the Line Leader, one of her all-time favorite passions. Her day was smooth sailing until I picked her up and she wanted to hold my keys for me while I drove. She cried her eyes out when I took them back and THEN refused to sit with her in the backseat. I can’t do anything right….can’t drive without keys, can’t sit in the back and drive. I’m a horrible mother.  That little Honey Badger finally fell asleep on our way home. She knows not what she does. It’s absolutely exhausting being Star of the Week.

How the Honey Badger Helps With a Project

Here we are, it’s Sunday night and I’m relaxing in my brand new “Sitting Room / Office”. Sean and I spent the entire weekend working on this “little” project where we revamped our traditional dining room. The walls went from a deep burgundy to a subtle light blue. The giant gold chandelier was ditched for a more modern light fixture. The chocolate leather love seat and recliner were brought upstairs from the basement. And last, but not least, we were given my father’s handmade oak desk from my sister. It’s huge, heavy and absolutely gorgeous. I have been sanding and staining it meticulously the last two days. Anyway, the room has quickly become (as of tonight) a place where we quietly enjoy wine, a sophisticated set-up and it just so happens to be the furthest room from the kids’ bedrooms. I think we should call it: The Wellness Center.

We couldn’t possibly have gotten this project done without the help of the Honey Badger. Dylan was gone for the weekend, so he came late this afternoon to the…….aftermath. The Honey Badger helped A LOT. Here are the ways in which she helped:

1.) A well versed game of Hide ‘n Go Seek : HB Style. It gets painting underway like nothing else. This version consists of hiding in a blanket on the floor and HB tells you exactly where to look for her (even though she’s a big lump on the ground in plain sight) and then she giggles loudly. For example, “Mommy, look for me in the garage!! Mommy, look for me under the coffee table!!”  Here’s a visual aid:

Oops. This isn’t Erin! Silly me. It’s Sean, following her directions when it’s his turn to “hide”.

2.) All painting prep work and anything in regards to dining room project must pause for Dylan’s playoff football game. We drag Erin there, with a bag of full of books, toys, snacks and beverages. Dylan played great, but took a really hard hit to the head in the 3rd quarter. He left the game with me wondering if we should be heading to Medcheck. He likely has a mild concussion, but he’s doing ok. It was a gut-wrenching game, with horrible replacement officials making horrible calls, to the point where we lost the game by ONE point. I was devastated. Dylan looked at me and said with a smile, “Football’s over!!!”. Last week was CYO Basketball evaluations. He mentally checked out of football and checked into basketball at that time. Poor Sean had to watch the game from the playground because Erin insisted on playing. She was a ball of mud by the time we got home.

3.) Back to painting….Erin really, really, really wanted to help paint. We set her up in the kitchen with her Crayola easel paints and paper. That lasted about 5 minutes. She was intent on the real deal. Then, Sean had to leave while he ran to Menard’s.  She was happily sucking on a pouch of applesauce when he left. I had just started painting, I was so happy to be done prepping and finally getting underway. Erin wasn’t amused. She was actually pretty tired of asking to paint. So, she squeezed the rest of her applesauce into my (full) paint tray. That was neat. I used her middle name when scolding her. She cried. I didn’t feel bad. But, then I remembered I wasn’t three. So, then I felt bad. She just wanted to be in the mix. And, so on to #4.

4.) Finally, I succumbed to her requests for painting and set her up on the dining room floor with a real can of paint (small, it was a sample can), a paintbrush, and a box. She was absolutely thrilled to be painting a box. She asked for tape as well, so I sent her to the drawer for some scotch tape. I didn’t need to know what the tape was for, I didn’t care. Here is Exhibit A:

“I’m in my pajamas AND I’m painting. This is the best day EVER.”

Here is the final product. She’s so proud of it. You might not be able to see all of the many, many strips, so many strips, of scotch tape:

Anyhither, she helped in a lot of other ways too. She stayed in her pajamas all day and so we didn’t have to get her dressed. Also, she helped herself to snacks in the fridge and pantry, so we really didn’t have to feed her all that much. We were REALLY busy, so she was doing a super job of handling the most basic of tasks – dressing herself and eating. Oh! she also found a caterpillar and named it Audrey – a boy – and she set him up in the lap of luxury with a container with holes in it, a SKATEBOARD, half a Lego man, and a Crayon. He is livin’ the life. Or, he was, until she set him loose. Then, it’s all kinds of crazy here while she and Sean try to track him down at BEDTIME and suddenly Erin (amazingly) finds him and we get him back in his home. We are AWESOME with “pets”. Annnnnnddddd, if you stay tuned, it’s about to get EVEN BETTER. Dylan turns 10 this week, and well, you should just stay tuned.

I leave you with the Before and After pics of the Wellness Center:

BEFORE

AFTER. Decorated with some lovely stuffed animals.

My Husband is a Beast!

When it comes to Sean McGill, he’s all or nothing. So, when I asked him to join me on the Atkins diet, he was adamantly opposed. Then, I started telling him each day how I was losing 1 lb. per day. He was working out every day on his lunch break, but losing nothing. He still wasn’t swayed. I told him I had been on livestrong.com and they had practically endorsed the high protein/low carb Atkins diet and offered advice on how to work out while following the Atkins guidelines. Anyway, it was this that finally got him to give it some thought. He decided he was ALL IN. We were hard core Atkins followers, consistently losing weight for about 7…whole…days. Then, after he lost 10 lbs, and I lost 5, we decided maybe it wasn’t really all that healthy to be in ketosis (where you lose the weight so quickly in Phase 1). So, like any other critically thinking, highly intelligent, college grads’ couple, we decided we needed to add SOME carbs back in. In the form of wine. In the evening. And, guess what? We kept losing weight. We felt like badasses because we circumvented the process.

Then, we ate regularly during the weekend and we gained it all back.

Ok, we weren’t really doing it right to begin with. You’re supposed to do 2 weeks of nothing but protein, no wine, blah blah blah. We put forth some serious effort at first, but now we were half-assing it and still succeeding…kind of.  The result is I feel like I’ve now shot my metabolism in the face. In the meantime, Sean has transformed in a way that I have, uh, never seen.

FOR EXAMPLE, Sunday morning. He was pumped UP to go to the grocery. In fact, he went THREE times that day. It doesn’t matter about the first two trips. What really got me was the 3rd trip, this time to Trader Joes. He happened to come home right as my Mom & Dad pulled up in the driveway to take both of our kids, along with two of their other grandchildren, to lunch and the Dollar Store (where SO MANY treasures lurk!!!). My Dad asked Sean, “How’s it going?” and Sean responded, “I’m living the life, Bill. I just got back from the grocery!” And, sadly or not, he was truly happy about this. He prominently displayed his fruits and vegetables, including ginger root, kale, and tiny cucumbers (he was especially excited about these, never having bought them before).  He was more amped up than ever. The Colts game had already been underway for an hour, and my husband could usually be found sitting in the family room watching it and drinking a Guinness. Instead, he was in the kitchen concocting a “Smoothie” consisting of a recipe he found on Dr.Oz’s website. Who was this man and what did he do to my husband? We actually had a free couple of hours, NO KIDS, and my husband was excitedly chopping up his kale, ginger root, vegetables, and fruit to puree in the blender. He slowly poured it into a glass, drank it, set it down, put his hands on his hips and said, “Hm. Not bad.” I said, “That’s it?! After all that drama and excitement? Pour me a glass. I want to try it.” And tried it, I did. Not bad. I didn’t have too much to say about the “smoothie” one way or the other and went back to my work. My husband then threw one leg up on the granite counter top, hands on his hips and said, “I HAVE SO MUCH ENERGY!!!”.  Good Lord. The windows were open. People could see in, neighbors could hear us. I have no doubt Sean thought the kale was running through his veins.

This was all too much and I just couldn’t stop laughing. But, I pulled myself together, kept sipping my drink that I wasn’t sure if it tasted like vomit or something totally delicious. He laughed his ass of with me because, let’s be honest, he didn’t know who the hell he was either, and declared excitedly, “I’m going to pour myself another Health Shake and go watch the football game!!!!” and in that moment, I really did lose it. I was laughing so hard that I couldn’t even breathe. It gets better though. I was actually falling asleep working at my computer, getting ready to go lie down and take a nap. Then Sean strides into the kitchen and says, “I’VE HAD THREE OF THOSE THINGS!! I’M PROBABLY GONNA DIE!!” and this just sent me over the edge. I was gasping for breath, doubled over laughing at his sudden passion for kale shakes. Maybe this just sounds a little boring and not the least bit funny, but you have to know Sean and his enthusiasm for things. He threw his whole entire body into the kale shake and he’s a changed man. This was Sunday, it’s now Tuesday. He’s still making a shake each morning of kale, ginger root, bananas, carrots, celery, and other things that I can’t keep track of. I drink my coffee and marvel at this man who is a constant source of entertainment for me, my kids, and my own family. He’s a natural phenomenon.

Regarding the Honey Badger…

Hi there. This is officially my first post. Many friends and family encouraged this endeavor, mostly as a result of my posts about the Honey Badger. (The Honey Badger would be our 3 year old daughter.) I can’t do a blog just about Erin, although she IS hilarious. My son is also the epitome of humor, but he’s more reluctant to let me “share” online. Since so much encouragement has come from the stories of the Honey Badger, it is only fitting that I share with all of you a story about her that is very near and dear to our hearts. Sean and I have only told this story to a few very close people to us. So far, that’s been family. I usually tell funny stories about her, but I would like to open this blog with a very staid story about her. Perhaps what I am about to say will let my readers know just how much of a treasure she is, and why she is here.

My pregnancies for both my children were painful, problematic, and utterly agonizing. As a result of going into preterm labor with Dylan at 5 months, and prohibiting his early exit up until he was 5 weeks premature, I enjoyed a weekly shot of progesterone in the hip to ensure Erin didn’t try to do the same. We also opted to have all the prenatal testing done, not to entertain any thoughts of abortion should the markers indicate a problem, but to ensure we went into any situation with our eyes wide open. Having said that, approximately 3 months into my pregnancy a huge flag alerted us to the fact that our baby was likely to have Downs Syndrome. This could have been a false positive, so we opted for an amniocentesis to know what we were up against. It took 4 scheduled visits, 3 of those utter disappointments, to get the perfect window where the placenta could “safely” (although there is no guarantee of safety) be plunged with a giant needle, shipped off to the lab, and results back to us. Those results would tell us if we needed to arm ourselves with every weapon at our disposal to make the best life possible for our Downs baby, or breathe a sigh of relief that the test was false. It made no difference to us if he/she was or wasn’t Downs, except for how we would prepare mentally and financially. Speaking of mental, by the 4th visit to have the test done, we were wound pretty tightly and pretty emotionally. So, when the tech asked us if we would like to know the sex of the baby, which up until then we had opted not to find out, we busted out a “YES, PLEASE!”.  It was a girl.  My son begged for a little sister. This was swell, except I only knew I could raise a boy. A tomboy myself when I was little, this was quite a shock to me. My husband was THRILLED.

Now, before I go any further, I want to expand on the wonderful facility that was taking such good care of us during this process: Maternal Fetal Medicine in Indy. Being huge Indianapolis Colts‘ fans, we were pleased to find out that my M.D. there was Lauren Dungy-Poythress. She is (ex) Coach Dungy’s sister. If you ever had respect for that man, wow, you should meet his sister. She is an amazing doctor. I have never met a doctor like her, and my husband feels the same way. To say she is a warm person is an understatement. I can’t even describe the calmness and serenity she brought into every room she walked into. She would put her healing hands on my belly, talking very softly, slowly, intelligently, and made my husband and I feel as though we just left church after we spent time in her presence. I have been in countless numbers of Dr.’s offices in my 37 years. I have never had a near-religious experience with a Dr. like that EVER.

So, when the amnio was done, and we were walking out of the room and wiping tears of joy that it’s a GIRL!, we headed to the check-out to schedule our follow-up meeting for the results. We were stopped right at the back desk by one of the other doctors. This was an older woman, African-American, with a very similar demeanor to Dr. Dungy-Poythress. She was very inquisitive, asking if we knew what the sex of our baby was. We hadn’t even told our family, but we felt comfortable sharing with her. We said, “Yes, we just found out she’s a girl!”. More tears. She very calmly asked me if she could place her hands on my belly. Of course, she was a very calming presence. I invited it. I felt her warm, healing hands upon me, only this was different. She was reflecting on something that meant a great deal to her.  She paused for a moment and looked up at us. She was very intent on what she had to say and looked us straight in the eyes, this old, wise woman. After a pause she said, “She is going to be a very, very strong woman. She will ease the suffering of many.”

This story of Erin’s beginnings still gives us chills.