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Thursday, April 10, 2008

What I Did Right

My second child will soon be graduating high school so I've been doing the "looking back" thing a lot of us do around this time of life. It still amazes me to hear him yell, "Mom!" and to know he's talking to ME.

Me! The mother who could barely remember to feed him once I began weaning him off the bottle. (Not to worry. Blueberry Buckle soon became his and my favorite. As for some unholy meat thing labeled "veal," well, he spewed it once and we never looked back.)

Me? The mother who in 1993 believed acting like one tough mother met yelling louder than a three-year old and physically over-powering a toddler when worse came to worse. Unfortunately for Ricky and me, worse came to worse far more often than it should have. You can read all about that period of, Awful Motherhood, (and the lasting change I found) in another book of mine, She's Gonna Blow.

Anyway, back to Graduation Day Pondering.

Yes, I'm still surprised to be his mom at times. Surprised he claims me as his rent too! But after all is pondered, analyzed, and considered, here's what I think: I did A LOT of things right. Yep. Right. Excellently right, if I may say so myself. And I've decided to list a few of them for your maternal reading pleasure. After doing so, make up your own list. Read them to your children (whether they want to listen or not) And treat yourself to a moment of maternal satisfaction.

What I Did Right
  • Asked a million questions regarding the health of my children (gestational development, weird rashes, apnea fears) and never hesitated to get a second and third opinion.
  • Picked up my babies nearly every time they cried.
  • Read, "I Love You Forever," 16,435,943 times. Really.....I'm serious.
  • Going away on week long vacations...without kids.
  • Admitted SpongeBob SquarePants is funny. Stupid, but funny.
  • Saying, "Because I said so, that's why," without guilt or hesitancy.
  • Belting out, Don't Stop Believing, and other classic rock-and-roll at the top of my lungs while stuck in traffic with my children---with the windows rolled down. (I was supposed to marry Steve Perry. He failed to see me amongst the other 30,000+ fans at the Kansas City arena in 1983. "Oh, Julie, our love holds on, holds on....")
  • Saying, "I'm sorry," when I needed to.
  • Baking Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies nearly once a week for the past 20 years.
  • Admitting when I was (am) wrong. (It happens on occassion.)
  • Living my life as authentically and loudly as possible before my children's eyes.


  1. I don't know you from Adam other than accusing you of stealing my life and talking about it and writing books about it when I met you in March in Williamsburg, however, I must say that other than the whole cooking baking thing (because i'm a disaster in the kitchen) I think I might be on track. Which is comforting, because you don't know how many days I think I'm doing this whole mother thing wrong. :D Congrats to Ricky! (And you too for getting him to this point!)


  2. Thanks for the encouragement to focus on what I do RIGHT! I find myself focusing on what I do wrong WAY too much most days. You and your books really help me keep it all in perspective and keep seeking God through this adventure called MOTHERHOOD. Thank you, thank you, thank you. By the way, how are you dealing with a kid graduating from high school?!?! My oldest of three is graduating from PRESCHOOL in a month and I'm a basket case! Blessings to you as you make this transition!

  3. This is an awesome idea that all of us moms need to do for it safe to suggest that maybe our husbands and our children might be asked to add a few of their own ideas of 'what we have done right' to our list?

  4. First of all, Julie, you are an amazing woman! You have such an amazing way of speaking to my heart so many times with what you say...It helps that I have the same as your children too--girl, boy, boy...So many times your stories give me hope when there feels like there is no more! There are some days that I feel like you have been a mouse in my house and written about our happenings! Thank you so much for sharing your gift with us! And congrats to both you and Ricky Neal!!