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Today I was surprised when..

“A wave of emotion hit: while watching my kids play with my brothers kids. There’s nothing like cousin time. Confirmed by late morning my brother is still top 3 “funniest people I know” and has tough-guy-tender-heartedly made my vacation full of things I love (boat rides, porch sits, a surprise massage appointment, John Prine and Willie Nelson playing on outdoor speakers, foodie dinners and cold drinks sunset watching) and D-A-M-N there is the restorative delight of being amongst flora and fauna that is rich in scent and sight memory from my own childhood. And the hope that maybe some of this will end of being core memories of my own kids childhoods: cousins, country, lakes, oak trees, grandparents and bluebell ice cream.”

“Today I was surprised when… I didn’t drop everything to run my daughter’s swim bag that she forgot at home to her.”

“My oldest actually did her writing homework without arguing.

When my youngest finished her dinner, the whole plate.

I saw my girls give each other a hug unprompted…

I was surprised to see my socks on their feet and how well they fit.

I was surprised when I realized how much my kids have grown, and how they fill my lap, no longer itty bitty, but entering the tween stage.

To see them as a whole person with thoughts, ideas, fun to talk to, humor, big personalities which are fun to be around.

Today I was surprised to realize the days are long, but the years are short. So short.”

“Today I was surprised when my 11 year old son walked up to me unexpectedly with a full glass of water. I had been deep in a project for hours and his appearance brought me back to the present. "Here. You should drink this. You're probably getting a bit dehydrated," he stated matter-of-factly. I realized he was caring for me, as I would care for him, and it made me smile down to my bones. I drank the entire glass, gave him a huge hug, and thanked him for looking after me.”

“Today I was surprised that i missed a basic thing in taking care of

myself. Despite a renewed commitment to make sure that I ‘think like a

man’ and put my basic needs at least equal to that of my ‘babies,’

it’s still a work in progress. It’s so easy to fall into the go go go

take care of other rabbit hole of daily life & simply forget that I

need to prioritize my basic needs.”

“Pregnant with my second child, one conceived unintentionally with only the glimmer of a thought of perhaps having a second child in a couple years or maybe not having another. Well, the surprise of being pregnant floored me (not in a good way). After much soul searching, I decided to go ahead with the pregnancy, which my husband very much wanted. Along the way during the pregnancy, I began to have questions about my ability to love this child. Talking with my midwife, I broached the subject - maybe 7 months or so along in the pregnancy. As far as I can remember, she responded with a question - "Do you have the support that you need?" I don't think that I did from any external source. I muddled through all that came with being unsettled in a new town with few acquaintances, unsteady employment and housing, across the continent and the ocean from our families. Our resources were ourselves. We forged support within ourselves, in each other and with our choice to build a family and a life together. It's a blur of challenges, with the child now an adult, creative, interesting and kind. Hopefully feeling well loved. This is still so difficult for me to share that I had such doubts, that I could be that person who wondered if I could love my child. It brings a lot of self judgement and raises fears of emotional harm that I might have bestowed on that human, because of being such a (bad) mother. Even though I know I chose to commit my life's energy to that child/being and followed through with all the love and energy I could. And still do. Speaking of the doubts definitely sets off my alarm system.”

“I received a sweet message and video from my son's special ED pre-k teacher.

‘Oliver has mastered this sight word reading lesson. Mom, Dad, you have a beginning reader!’

This is the little guy who was nonverbal until he was nearly 3 and struggled with so so so many aspects of level 2 autism, ADHD and a whole host of complementary developmental diagnosis. He is 4.5 years old and thriving!

He surprises me and his amazing team of supporters daily. Victories like these make all the meltdowns, all the medical appointments and every frustrated tear shed nearly vanish. I love surprises like these.”

“Today I was surprised when.. my 3 year old turned to me and exclaimed “I don’t like you, mommy”. We were taking a bubble bath, having a great time and nothing had happened to warrant this comment. I was hurt and saddened that she said it. Of course trying to discuss feelings with her was completely pointless but it was still a blow to the heart. Especially when it came out of nowhere. And since she’s only 3. She’s only 3.”

“When I read the prompt, that day my son Noel had fallen off the couch....He's been really into climbing and making me nervous so I have to stay by him or be worried about him if I step away for a second. I hate it. I love that he's excited about it and is active, but I hate that he doesn't know what could happen.”

“I could see the forest, not just the trees, as they say.”

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Amanda Campbell
Amanda Campbell

I woke up without anxiety, even though I have many stressors right now.

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