Mothers Over 40

All I Want for Christmas Is (Watching and Raising) My Little Girl

Michelle eisler's kid IIIn November, my daughter went through the Target wish catalogue and slowly chose one or two things she wanted, and then she got on a roll and started putting stickers beside almost everything.  She asked if she could help decorate the house for Christmas, and to keep my sanity I sent her to help my husband put up a garland on our railing.

The tree was mostly done when she came back to help me, and I gave her some snowflakes to spread around randomly on the tree, she again stared off slowly. A few minutes later, I was finding snowflakes bunched on the same branches and all in a concentrated tiny section. The perfectionist in me twitched as I asked her if she could see anything she could change up and she replied ‘no’ with a big smile.

This year, I am seeing life through the eyes of my 5 year old.  I am continuing to educate myself to try to provide her with what she needs as she takes big leaps on her journey. [Read More…]

The Miracle of The (Multicultural) Holidays

Chanukah - ChristmasThis year I set up our Christmas tree and for the first time, I also put out my menorahs or as I’ve learned they are really called, Hanukkiahs.  I’m not Jewish and neither is my husband, but my kids are as they were born to a Jewish woman who was our traditional surrogate named Jessica, or fondly referred to as “Chava.”

We have blended our families and together we make up a large and diverse group of individuals – both in tradition and in heritage. But, in the end we are simply family.  And, during the holiday season no matter what traditions you follow, family, love and sweet fellowship are at the center of it all.

Since the beginning of our surrogacy journey, the connection between our future kids and Jessica, her family and her cultural and religious lineage were of the utmost importance to me.  I gratefully made it my job as their mom to teach my kids the traditions and beliefs that are practiced on all sides of their family.  Not just Christmas but also Hanukah, which is why I bought Hanukah candles while we were waiting for our photos with Santa.

[Read More…]

A Different Christmas (Celebrating with Stepfamilies)

DifferentChristmas1 The carols are playing, the decorations are up and strings of lights are strung over houses with care. It all seems rather normal, but for repartnered families having a first (or tenth!) Christmas together, it can feel pretty surreal. We share Christmas with my stepson’s mother.

One year he spends Christmas Eve and early Christmas morning with us and heads to his mother’s for the majority of Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Vice versa the following year.

After 12 years and two other children, I still can’t decide which is more difficult. Having the joy of Christmas Eve with all of the spine-tingling Santa expectation and early morning waking to presents only to be followed by the letdown of him leaving for the rest of the day.

His absence a niggling presence in all that we do the rest of the day. Or the alternative of waking up to Christmas morning without him and having the long (feels-like-forever) wait until he gets home to let our family’s ‘real’ celebrations begin. [Read More…]

Millennials and the Holiday Spirit

Chanukah - ChristmasAlthough it may be the holiday season, as far as presents go that doesn’t mean a whole lot to Millennials. Like so many other issues, they have their own ideas about gift giving. Apparently what they want is cash, mostly to pay down college costs and other debt.

So much for the negative stereotype that those born between 1980 and 2000 are lazy and have a sense of entitlement. Millennials are laboring under a collective $1 trillion in debt from student loans and still struggling to find jobs. Yet a survey of 6,500 members of the so-called ‘Me Generation’ indicates that last year well over half of them made donations to charitable causes and volunteered their time. [Read More…]

Our First Real Vacation With the Twins


DeAnna Scott and twins at the beachOur annual vacation for the past 11 years has not changed. My husband and I, and now with our 14 month old twins, spend our annual 10 day vacation with family and friends on Hatteras Island North Carolina.   The trip is something we look forward to and plan extensively for, every year.

Although it is a sweet, tender time of reunion with our East Coast family, this year seemed to have more than its share of trouble. To be brutally honest, not at all what I would consider a vacation in the restful sense of the word.

Since the twins were 14 months old, I felt I had to be uber-prepared. For weeks I had been making lists of everything we might need for traveling, playing, eating, sleeping and swimming:  lists which included entries for items such as portable high- chairs, bathing suits, clothes, sunscreen, pool toys, regular toys, sleeping arrangements, diapers, wipes, diaper cream, snacks, car seats, to name just a few.  [Read More…]

7 Steps for Getting Through the Adoption Process

adoptionI can’t count how many times I have cried for the child I have waited two years to adopt. This is the child I am afraid to meet because once I see and hold him, I will not be able to forget his place in my arms, or be able to ever let him go.

Seeing updated photos of him creates intense joy and grief as his changed face reminds me of the passing of time. Some days, the only way to keep my head above my emotions longing for him is to put him to the back of my mind. But the endless list of unknowns- wondering who he’ll be when he is in our family and what he might be doing right now takes over, and I break. [Read More…]

Walk the Walk: Five Advocacy Tips for Navigating the Path to Motherhood

pathOne afternoon I took a walk at a beautiful lake surrounded by woods with a main paved path and smaller trails through the woods. I decided to take a wooded trail, but as I moved further from the main path, the trail became less clear. I was afraid of getting lost in the woods. When I looked around me, I realized that some of the trees had blue paint marks on them.

Every few feet stood a tree with another blue mark. By following the marks, I was able to follow the trail through the woods to the main path as it circled around the lake. When I got to the main path again, I wasn’t sure which direction to walk to get back to my car. Luckily, another walker was passing by who pointed me in the right direction. If I had gotten lost, the walk could have been a disaster, but because I had signs to guide me and people to help me when I needed help, it was a wonderful experience. But, it wasn’t only the signs and the fellow walker that made the difference. I used my skills and I wasn’t afraid to ask the fellow traveler for help. I advocated for myself, and I felt confident and positive after my walk.

Navigating your way towards motherhood is a lot like that walk. You are entering unfamiliar territory, and you will have to find your way through. Whether you pursue motherhood the “old fashioned” way, or through assisted reproductive technology, adoption, surrogacy, or some other method, the steps to making informed decisions and to advocating for your needs throughout the process are remarkably [Read More…]

In Defense of Halloween…

pumpkin IIYears ago, I read an essay by a reform rabbi explaining why she didn’t allow her children to celebrate Halloween. It’s not a Jewish holiday, she said and, in addition, she abhorred the stereotypical images of women and girls as witches and bunnies and princesses.

I wanted to admire her integrity and determination in the face of societal pressure to celebrate a holiday she had issues with, but I couldn’t help but feel only sympathy for her kids. We go to the movies that day, she said in the article, and no one else is there. It’s wonderful.

Later, when I had a child of my own in daycare, another kid’s dad told me, “We don’t celebrate Halloween. We’re Christian.”

Wow. Halloween gets it from all sides, doesn’t it? [Read More…]

My Letter To Ryan

Jo-Ann Rogan's son IIDearest Ryan,

I have been writing you letters on your birthday since you were four years old. Wish I thought to do this when you were younger.  This year was about you blossoming.

You have grown so much this year. In early June you were on the tall side but had a little kid look to you with a roundness.  Suddenly in July you were what seems like four inches taller, broad shouldered, and had a decidedly young-man-look.  Your face is changing and you are wearing men’s sized clothing and shoes.  You have become a strong young man. You often volunteer to carry heavy things for me.

You started this summer as a little boy.  In July, your rapid growth had your brain chemistry thrown off and your behavior was hard to manage and you were just hard to reach.  August brought a new found calm.  When your Dad was away working on his big project you stepped in to be my right hand man.  Often when Aaron was melting down you were the one to take the higher road in your arguments. I was so thankful for your calm head. I enjoyed the time we had together in August and I adored our “summer bucket list,” which was a list of things we wanted to do this summer.  Last week, we crossed everything off the list with the time we spent at the beach. [Read More…]

Too Much Post-Halloween Candy? Never Fear, The Great Pumpkin Is Here!

Melanie Elliott Halloween IIIOur first Halloween with The Littlest E was easy breezy. He was 15 months old and didn’t really know or care about pumpkins, costumes, going trick-or-treating, or eating candy.  We stayed home that year and answered the door whenever the bell rang.

For the past few years some friends of ours whose son is The Littlest E’s age, have held a Halloween potluck.  They live in a great kid-friendly neighborhood with lots of children going door-to-door.  We starting going to their house when The Littlest E was a little over 2 years old.  That first year attending their party, we lasted 10 minutes trick-or-treating.  Our little guy was too scared of adults in costume and he didn’t even like being in his own costume.  It was all a bit too much for him. [Read More…]

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