August 27, 2016


Dear Sidney,

I am very proud of you.


You are an exceptional young women.


You are bright.


You are kind.


You are loving.


You have a strong moral compass that you aren’t afraid to share with others.


Some of my greatest moments of joy in life are catching you in prayer, seeing you carry Ellery and watching you stand up for Audrey when you think someone has wronged her.


I could not feel more blessed that God choose me to be your Momma. But, I have to tell you, when you leaned over the other night and whispered in my ear that I was your best friend, I also felt profoundly grateful that you see me as your confidante.


I promised you I wouldn’t get swept up today in the emotion of the moment.

This day is about celebration.


Celebrating the remarkable young woman you are becoming.


Today we will stay up late and laugh until our belly’s hurt.

We will shop and swim and eat.

We will mark the day with friends and family that are helping you be your best self.

I love you Sidney Reagan.

Happiest of birthday’s my dear.

Twelve looks really good on you.


Your one and only Momma


This year’s birthday song is one I hope carries you through the next twelve months.


Some Day

Before I had children I laughed at parents who waxed poetic as their children started school.

When it’s my turn I thought, I will save my tears for the truly momentous occasions like graduation from high school, drivers licenses and admittance to college.

Some day I will be there and I won’t be them;

then some day happened.

As one baby after another marched out the front door to the start of their educational careers, I cried a little harder.


I reminded myself this wasn’t the end, just another beginning for them and for me.


Secretly though, I knew I had Ellery Jane bringing up the rear. She would be my baby for a little while longer.


Some day has come again.

Tomorrow my ending will mark her beginning.


Ellery Jane ready to start a new chapter, even if her Momma is still struggling to turn the page.




My Tribe

We can do almost all of it.

Dinners, homework, carpools, trips across the country or to the grocery, the four of us have got it down.

We are a team. It often makes me feel unstoppable.

That is, until I find us one night on the side of the highway, only corn fields to be seen for miles, a tire blown by debris in the road and me as the leader of this pack unable to do anything. Chicago bound, I am now trapped with an immovable car and a setting sun, on the outskirts of middle America.

As I direct children to exit the vehicle and realize that the roadside assistance I pay for each year is not going to get the job done, I begin to feel very alone.

And in that moment of panic I glance at my 11-year-old texting.

I spit out the question, what does she think she is doing right now, can’t she see we are in quite the bind?

The response stops me in my tracks, immediately ends my downward spiral.

“Momma, I am asking my friends to pray for us”.

As teammates often do they lift one another in their moments of weakness.

I am still the momma, the one responsible for bringing us out of this mess, but my beautiful, thoughtful, spiritual daughter is really the one who will change the course of that evening.

Good Samaritans arrive by the carload and then the highway patrol.

Within an hour they have us back on the road with instructions to drive two exits down stay overnight at the Marriott and then hit the Wal-Mart Supercenter when it opens at 7 am for a new tire as that spare donut will not get us to Chicago.

Ellery laughs at the baby tire.


We find our way to Van Wert and find the hotel pool which wipes away the remaining concerns.



Audrey decides that before bed we must pray for those who lifted us from the side of the road and instructs me that I am to find a way to pay it forward to others.


The next morning we awake and find two tires, marked down just the day before, and a grandfatherly gentleman able to put them on for us. In what feels like seconds we are back on the highway heading west and the incident is just a minor pothole on the way to perfect weekend.


I am once again reminded that I am not alone. My tribe and I are in this together.