Hanging out with Briar has changed so much in the past month. Everything is so interactive since she has become such a sponge. Sean will sit on the couch with her and say, “Can you say “nana”?

“uhnana,” she responds.

“Can you say “grandma”?

“amma,” she chirps.

“Can you say “Ella”?

“ula-ula-ula-la-la-la-ula!” she exclaims.

Every once in a while he or I will slip in a word she’s never said and she’ll be totally game and give it a whirl. It’s inspiring. Again, learning from a child how to let go of fear and hesitation, just do it. Experience it. Have fun. And watching her learn the power of language is amazing. You can see the little wheels turning as she says something and we respond correctly. Sometimes you have to wonder if she’s thinking, “Good job, mom. Finally!”

We are a blessed family. We are all pretty patient with each other and always supportive. Sometimes some of us (read: me) can be a little high strung. It’s been a rough couple of days…weeks, but things are looking up. It took a fierce morning (read: black as black gets kind of “I hate everything” kind of morning), a frank conversation with Sean and then that little extra push from a higher power to send me to the brink forcing me to decide whether to plummet into a funk or pull myself out of it laughing.

Gotta tell ya,plummeting was looking mighty good, sometimes the funks just seems so easy and appealing, kind of like the sleep before death that envelopes people stranded on snowy mountains. Sean had told me that he was worried about me and that we needed to figure out what we could fix and what we couldn’t so that I could quit wasting energy and suffering.

I was not what you would describe as real open to that idea. I think we all get there sometimes. Just wanting to be upset. Anyway, I cut the solution devising session short and said I was going down to make coffee.

I have to interject with a short story to illuminate how far along my pregnancy absentmindedness is so that you can appreciate what follows. Night before last, Sean and I were sitting on the sofa trying to determine if he was going back to Trampoline for a late shift or if he would be getting up and doing an early session.

“Stay,” I said. “I’ll wake you up early and have coffee on, I promise.”

Sigh. “I don’t know, I don’t want you to have to get up early, you need the sleep,” he reasoned.

“No, honey, it’s fine. It’ll be easy. I have the firepot all set. All I’ll have to do is push the button and you’ll have – (now here is when I realize that my brain and mouth are out of synch and that I have said something that doesn’t make sense, but, being pregnant, I can’t quite figure out what is wrong with what I have said)

“You’ll have, ah, when I push the button, um…the firepot? You’ll have fire. Right, firepot. Coffee pot. I’ll push the button to the “firepot” and you’ll have coffee!”

So bless my husband, he looks at me with the tickle of a smile toying with the sides of his mouth, his eyes flickering with fear and amusement. “Can I laugh?” he wonders, “Or do I need to pretend the whole firepot thing didn’t just happen? Shit, she said firepot. That is hilarious. She’s losing it,” he muses internally.


So, this morning, remember?
Black, cloudy, gloomy, going to make coffee. After filling the coffee maker with water and getting the filter set and pressing the button, I head back upstairs to maybe try and make things right.

Sean was trying to help and isn’t that what I want?
Don’t I want him to help me feel better and get back to happy go lucky manda?

So up the stairs I go.

I climb back into bed with him and say sorry and that I’ll try to buck up. Then, somehow, we go back to trying to solve things and sullen manda creeps back into me and pouts as she thinks,

“Why do we have to fix me? This isn’t about me, this is about all the things I am having to deal with, not actually me damnit!”

“You can get mad at me too if that’s what you want,” he said as he climbed out of bed.

Ladies? Can I get a little, “Oh no he didn’t?!” That little line right there was the straw that broke the moody camel’s back. I said something that was probably not entirely productive and then said I was going down for coffee.

“I’ll just go and have some coffee, shake this snit and show him that I don’t need his pep talks to pull out of this. I’ll just turn my day around, drink my coffee and do it all myself.” I thought stubbornly.

Oh you foolish, foolish girl.

I walked toward the kitchen, the rich smell of coffee filling the room.


I mean REALLY filling the room.


I rounded the corner into the kitchen and the world sent me a big old message:

“Shake it or I’ll have you on your knees begging for mercy!”

The coffee pot, and by coffee pot, I truly mean the little glass pot that is intended to hold the coffee, was sitting beside the sink. The little whirly-gig, dooma-flatchie that is supposed to be depressed by the top of the pot, thereby letting coffee flow through a hole was operating completely independently of the absent pot.

Coffee, coffee grounds and steaming water had entirely covered a 4′ square span of counter, saturated the rug on the floor, and cascaded down and into a rotating cabinet in the corner next to the oven.

Total and utter disbelief.

“Ok. I have a couple of options and not a lot of time,” I thought.

“I can let myself go absolutely ballistic, maybe slam some cupboards, cuss and spit, and somehow blame Sean and my boss for this disaster….definitely not a reaction that would help me in the ‘righteous’ department.”

“I can walk out of the room, go back upstairs and keep myself busy so that Sean can find this and hide it to protect my feelings or just to see how hard it is being me right now…again, probably not going to help my case of this not being about me. Damn”

“I can laugh. Right. C’mon Amanda. This is some funny shit. You are just going to have to eat crow and start over.”

So I cleaned up the mess, boy what a mess it was. I reset the trusty ‘firepot’ and headed upstairs to find Sean. Sean and I have always fit. It’s what made me crazy in the early days, before I was ready to accept that he was who I was meant to be with. I’d push and push, but the irrefutability of our perfect fit always came back to the forefront.
Looking at him this morning straight from the shower, just the right height to hold me (or catch me as I get tippy in the 3rd trimester), the color of his skin, the shape of his arms that cradle our daughter, the way I know what he is looking for as he moves around a room. It all caught in my throat and I was so grateful for the damn coffee disaster. I was so relieved to be standing there ready to tell him something I knew would make him laugh. I was a little embarrassed thinking that he would be silently grateful that I’d come to my senses, but that paled when I thought of hugging him and laughing, of moving into another day that would not be wasted. Getting back to me. Getting back to us.

“So, honey, you know how I said I was going to go have a cup of coffee?” I started. He watched me as I recounted what had happened. My shoulders loosened, my chest felt lighter and his face lit up as we shared a laugh.

Today really looks beautiful now.

Here are some pictures of our sweet, spunky, little Briar.
The clapping pictures demonstrate how much she enjoys “If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands!” She also loves scrucnhing up her face and making forceful sounds. And of course, another favorite activity is playing with Christmas wrapping paper and Barnaby!