Day 31: It’s Like Riding a Bike

Last summer Maddie learned to ride her bike without training wheels. It was tough for her, and she struggled with fear and doubt. She did it though, and we celebrated with kisses and cheers.

The long winter months have left Maddie’s bicycle sitting unused in the garage, so at the first hint of spring I said, “Maddie, let’s go outside. You can ride your bike!”

Maddie was reluctant. She pedaled slowly and swerved down the sidewalk, stopping every few feet to get her bearings. She was unsteady and unsure. I followed close behind spurring her on with encouraging words.

We made it around the block and we were approaching our house when we saw a neighbor who had stepped outside to enjoy a bit of the sunshine herself. I stopped to chat and Maddie waited nearby, perched on her bike seat, her toes keeping her balanced on the sidewalk. I could see Maddie out of the corner of my eye slowly inching herself closer to home.

I guess she became impatient because when I said good-bye to the neighbor, Maddie was gone.

My eyes searched the horizon. There was Maddie, soaring down the sidewalk on her bike, her hair and her confidence swirling around her.

“Maddie!” I called as I ran to catch up. “You did it!” We celebrated, again, with kisses and cheers.

“I did it, Mommy! I did it!”

Of course you did, Maddie. Of course you did.


Thirty-one stories in thirty-one days as part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge at Two Writing Teachers.


Day 30: Joy is A Little Trot

My children have filled my life with joy. There have been big joyous moments over the years of course: celebrations, milestones, their first this and their first that. But the real joy, the purest joy, comes in the small moments every day.

For instance, I was standing at the stove stirring a simmering pot of soup when Katie approached.

“Mommy, I’m playing dolls in the basement. The two dollies are on the horse. They’ll go for a little trot, and then I’ll change them into their swimsuits for the beach,” Katie told me before skipping away.

A little trot.

What an interesting choice of words for a five year old, isn’t it? She could have said they’ll ride the horse or go for a ride, but she said they’ll go for a little trot.

I stood at the stove smiling to myself as I stirred the soup.

These are the moments. These are the moments scattered throughout my day which I gather up like fallen leaves. And at night when I lay my head on the pillow, these are the moments that send me drifting off to sleep with a smile.


Thirty-one stories in thirty-one days as part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge at Two Writing Teachers.

Day 29: A Picture Perfect Movie Date

Maddie’s Girl Scout troop was hosting a “She and Me” viewing of the new, live action Beauty and the Beast movie at our local theatre. I threw on a sweatshirt and some yoga pants and tossed my unwashed hair into a sloppy ponytail. As I was rummaging through the cabinet for our tickets, I saw the event flyer amidst a pile of papers.

She and Me Event
Beauty and the Beast

Purchase a snack pack for $4.00.

Photos will be taken before the movie!

Photos? I looked at myself in the mirror. I certainly looked more beast than beauty. Suddenly, I imagined the scene: Little Girl Scouts parading around the lobby of the theatre in their dress-up Belle gowns. And the moms -you know those moms – perfectly outfitted in the trendiest outfits, not a hair out of place. Some of them would probably be wearing coordinating She and Me outfits. Well, it was too late to change now. We’d have to go as we are.

Maddie and I chatted all the way to the theatre. She shared some first-grade struggles she’d been having with her friend recently, and I told her I’ve had similar struggles myself. I was so enjoying Maddie’s company that I had almost forgotten about the photos when we arrived at the theatre.

There was a long line to get your She and Me picture. Sure enough some of the girls were wearing Belle dresses and some of those moms were there, but I didn’t much care because I had Maddie by my side and when was the last time I got to hang out alone with Maddie?

“Do you want to wait in line for a picture, Maddie?” I asked.

“Nah, let’s get some candy,” she answered. We stocked up on popcorn and candy and pop, chatting and laughing all the while.

We soon settled into our seats and the lights dimmed. We were riveted to the screen. We sang all the songs and snuggled close when the movie got scary. I don’t know if Maddie saw the tear slip from my eye when Belle and the Beast finally danced in the ballroom.We yelled “Kiss him! Kiss him!” when the final rose petal was about to fall, and we clapped when the movie was over. Maddie and I loved the movie.

By the time we exited the theatre, the ‘professional’ photo opportunity was gone, so we stopped to snap a quick picture in front of a banner.

I glanced at Maddie in the rear view mirror on the way home.

“I had fun hanging out with you at the movie,” I said.

“Me too, Mom,” she replied.


Thirty-one stories in thirty-one days as part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge at Two Writing Teachers.

Day 28: Because My Mom Said So

My family has a history of skin cancer, so we are too well aware of the dangers. We look for moles, inspect all new freckles, and we always, always wear sun screen. But at a recent family gathering my mom noticed a little something on my face.

“Dana,” my mom said in her you-should-know-better voice, “you should get that looked at.”

“Mom, it’s fine,” I replied. It had been there for years. I was sure it was nothing. She stared at me like only a mother can. I rolled my eyes and changed the subject.

So this morning when the nurse asked, “What brings you here today, Dana?,” I answered as truthfully as I could.

“My mom told me to come.”


I got a clean bill of health from the doctor. 🙂


Thirty-one stories in thirty-one days as part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge at Two Writing Teachers.

Day 27: Just Sitting

I was sitting in church yesterday morning, listening to the priest.

Sort of.

Maddie and Katie were at the Children’s Liturgy, so they weren’t sitting with us. It was just my husband and I in the pew. The priest was talking to the congregation about…something, and I was just sitting. I wasn’t really listening, but I also wasn’t thinking of other things. I was just sitting.

Just sitting. Not folding laundry or typing on a laptop or writing a grocery list or listening to a child or talking to my husband or paying bills or watching a movie or cooking dinner or making lunches or packing bags or making beds or combing tangles or getting dressed.

I was just sitting. I wasn’t really listening.

It was lovely and calming and peaceful.

I hope He understands.


Thirty-one stories in thirty-one days as part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge at Two Writing Teachers.


Day 26: OPEN

Our town has a small, soft-serve ice cream shop known as Ranch Frostie. I’ve written about it before because it makes me feel nostalgic even though we’ve only lived in this town for three years. There is something about this place that makes me feel like home.

Ranch Frostie closes for the winter, stacking its wooden picnic tables in front of the walk-up window and turning its large sign in the window to CLOSED. The sidewalk gets covered with snow and the little building fades into the dreary backdrop of winter. Everyone forgets about Ranch Frostie while we slog through the winter months.

Well, when I picked the girls up from daycare the other day there was a handwritten notice on the parent bulletin board in the lobby of the daycare. “Ranch Frostie opened today!”

When Ranch Frostie opens, you go.

It doesn’t matter if you have mounds of laundry to fold or if Maddie has an art project due the next day or if you wanted to run that night or if the girls need a bath. When Ranch Frostie opens you go. So we finished dinner quickly and I reminded the girls to leave room for ice cream.

We pulled up in the parking lot of the brick building and saw the sign in the window: OPEN. We cheered. We walked up and ordered three swirls, two with sprinkles and one in a cup. It tasted like summer even though we had to eat it in the car because it was freezing outside. It didn’t matter.

When Ranch Frostie opens, you go.

IMG_5306 2


Thirty-one stories in thirty-one days as part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge at Two Writing Teachers.

Day 25: Oh Yeah?

Maddie has a crush on a boy in her first grade classroom. His name is Nick, but don’t tell anyone because it’s a secret.

When Maddie first told me about her crush, I didn’t know what to say. I think she is far too young to be talking about crushes or boys, but I didn’t say so out loud. I didn’t want to discourage her from talking to me about these kinds of things, or any kinds of things for that matter. Someday – when she’s much, much older – we’ll need to be able to talk about boys. But not now. Not yet.

What I didn’t know then was that Maddie was going to keep talking about Nick. A lot. She talks about how Nick sat across from her at lunch and how Nick was in her math group and how Nick is in art club and Nick this and Nick that and Nick, Nick, Nick. I still don’t know what to say, so I just nod and smile and offer a non-committal “Oh, yeah?”

Maddie hasn’t yet noticed that I don’t have much to say.

“Mom, I had to help Nick spell a word today. He needed help and he asked me,” she tells me after school.

“Oh, yeah?” I say.

“Yep!” she replies enthusiastically.

I nod. I sorta smile but not really.

Don’t worry, though. Someday – when she’s much, much older – I’ll know exactly what to say.


Maddie and Nick


Thirty-one stories in thirty-one days as part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge at Two Writing Teachers.


Day 24: What Happens in the Fitting Room 

I was out of patience before we even began. We have a vacation approaching, and the girls needed some warm weather clothes. They’ve both had a growth spurt during the cold winter months, so we had only one choice. We would have to go in the fitting room.

If you’ve ever ventured into a fitting room with little ones, you know it is not fun. It is small and cramped. The floor is dirty.  The hangers get tangled together. The kids take forever to get undressed and redressed and undressed and redressed. It’s just not a fun time.

I breathed a deep sigh as the three of us crammed ourselves into the tight space.

“Okay, Katie, you first,” I said as I lifted her shirt off over her head. “Let’s start with this bathing suit.”

I picked up the hanger holding the suit. It was a two-piece suit which went against my better judgement, but it’s what Katie really wanted. I pulled the bottoms over her wiggly legs and shimmied the top over her head.

“Fits good, Katiebug,” I said as she turned to see herself in the mirror. And that’s when the silliness began. I don’t know if it was the two-piece suit or the close quarters or just Katie’s mood, but Katie got real silly real fast.

First she started doing some sort of dance that involved more of her butt than anything else. The top half of her body was barely moving, but the bottom half was doing things I didn’t know a five year old could do. Maddie, who was sitting on a stool in the corner of the fitting room, began to giggle which was all the fuel that Katie needed. The next few minutes were filled with dancing, songs about Katie’s belly button, giggles, strange poses, silly facial expressions, and what can best be described as twerking.

I was not in the mood for this.

My eyes darted over to the stool and met Maddie’s eyes. The two of us instantly exploded into laughter, and I collapsed onto the dirty floor. Maddie and I laughed until we cried and Katie carried on all the while.

Thirty-one stories for thirty-one days as part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers.

Day 23: Unspoken Messages

I was cooking dinner and heard the beep of a text message notification. I glanced down and saw the text was from my sister. She never texts me. I wiped my hands on the towel and swiped left to read the message.

Her: Do you remember when we used to make crepes?

I was immediately taken back to our childhood home, to our kitchen with the green stove. There’s my sister and I, laughing and whisking together the crepe ingredients in my mom’s green and white Pyrex bowl. How I adored my sister back then. We used to love making crepes and filling them with jam or peanut butter or cream cheese.

We used to love doing a lot of things together.

Me: Yes! I still have the recipe!

I miss us, she doesn’t write.

I miss us, too, I don’t write back.

But I know we both feel it in our hearts.

Thirty-one days of stories as part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers.

Day 22: A Missing Egg, an Apology, and Some Cookies

Katie’s birthday was in the middle of February. My mom bought her a delightful baking kit so we could bake some cookies together.

Cookie Kit

The first time Katie asked me to bake with her I said, “Sure!” We opened the box only to discover we needed an egg. I didn’t have any eggs. “I’m so sorry, Katie,” I told her. “I promise to get some eggs next time I go to the store.”

“Okay, Mommy!” Katie replied with a smile before skipping away because that’s the kind of person Katie is.

The next time she asked if we could bake I had work to do. The time after that there were piles of laundry to fold. The time after that I had to start making dinner. And the time after that I was just sitting down to pay the bills.

Eventually I guess Katie just stopped asking.

I saw that delightful box sitting in the corner of the living room late last night. My heart sank. I stopped what I was doing and went to find Katie. I apologized and told her that I was not too busy to bake with her. I promised we would bake those cookies the very next day when we got home from school. I assured her that I have both the time and the egg.

“I’m so sorry, Katie,” I said again. “I’m really, really sorry.”

“It’s okay, Mommy,” Katie said with a smile before skipping away because that’s the kind of person Katie is.

Katie Baking

We finally made the cookies.


Thirty-one stories in thirty-one days as part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge at Two Writing Teachers.