I was sure I never wanted to be a parent. I was happily single and child-free by choice. And now my pockets are filled with kid crap—a Lego head, a sticky gum wrapper, a crumpled up dress from an abandoned Barbie doll.

It’s Kate’s fault. I fell ridiculously in love with her the first time we met, on a blind date in the middle of a March snowstorm. Kate, the love of my life … who just happened to have a two-year old, and was hell bent on having child #2. It was a package deal, take it or leave it, all or nothing, you’re in or you’re out.

I agonized. I fretted. I abandoned my logical, rational beliefs and consulted a psychic–who told me it would never work. I ran away to Bali to get away from it all.

In the end, I listened to my heart.

Things in my Pocket is about the unexpected treasures I’ve found along the way.

A Different Way of Listening

“Otto honey, come sit down and listen to the rest of the story.” I patted the spot next to me on the couch, smiling at my four-year old son. We had been reading Thomas and Percy and the Dragon, one of his favorite Thomas the Train stories. When Percy the Small Engine suddenly saw a very frightening dragon, Otto leapt to his feet in excitement and started racing around the room.

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Crabby and Human

“Mama, you are the queen of crabby and tired!” proclaimed seven-year old Etta, hands on her hips. I glared at her. Me, crabby? I was NOT crabby, dammit! So what if I had snapped at her once or twice. Ok, maybe three or four times. “Finish your snack already!” “Stop hitting your brother!” “Don’t leave your candy wrapper lying around, I’m not your maid!”

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Stop Saying STOP!

This particular battle, like the road to hell, started with the best of intentions. I wanted the kids to stand up for themselves and learn to resolve their own arguments. “If Otto is doing something you don’t like,” I repeatedly coached 7-year old Etta, when she ran to me with a complaint, “tell him so. Ask him to stop.” I would smugly turn back to the dishes, congratulating myself on my astute parenting. I was the kind of smart, in-the-know mom who avoided becoming the kids’ referee. Pretty darn brilliant of me.

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