Our Camp Grenada – Apologies to Mr. Sherman



Found sillies from the shoebox – I love rediscovering things I jotted down and tucked away . . . She was likely a pre-teen when I presented this one to her. It had no effect on the state of her room. Ever.

I may revise it for her and her husband.

My silly lyrics loosely based on what I remember of Camp Grenada by Alan Sherman – This version is lovingly dedicated to my daughter, my inspiration, my messy muse if you will. I dramatized things just a tad, but the premise of this little ditty is based on actual events, my husband and I are still in therapy, but things are getting better by the day.

I’ve actually had this tune stuck in my head since 1977 I believe, at least the tune to the first verse, I’m not certain if it even has any variation in tune between stanzas, all I know is it haunts me. It never leaves. It’s the fault of my sweet little troll sister. She sang it repeatedly from the age of five until just shy of her ninth birthday. I wonder if she even remembers the song.

This is your muddah,

and your fadahh,

we’re writing to ya,

our dear daughta,

we’d like to say that,

we really love ya,

but if you don’t clean your room we’re gonna holla.

We are standing,

in your room now,

things are movin,

and things are crawlin,

dad looks mad now,

I feel like bawlin,

if we’re not careful we could end up fallin.

There’s that new game that,

we just bought ya,

it’s in pieces

neath your fadahh.

It wasn’t his fault,

now just keep readin,

I’m pretty sure that I can stop the bleedin’

I see garbage,

he sees dishes,

we both wish that,

we had three wishes,

we would wish that,

things were cleaner,

or maybe we

could just be meaner.

Maybe we should,

get outta here now,

it’s getting dark and,

I feel fear now.

What if we can’t,

find our way out,

I don’t think that there’s a clear escape route.

Oh my dear daughta,

it’s getting hotta,

it’s been hours,

since we’ve had watta,

we are thirsty,

and we are hungry,

maybe there’s a snack under that laundry.

Your faddah’s searching,

beneath the pile,

it seems to go on,

for miles and miles.

I don’t see him,

and I don’t hear him,

oh I hope that he’s not suffacatin.

I’m going in now,

it’s been an hour,

I’ve got to find him,

he’ll need a shower.

When I reach him,

I will hold him,

I just hope and pray that he’s still breathin.

Oh dearest daughta,

things look real bad,

I hope we make it,

don’t be too sad,

if we’re unconscious,

when you find us,

just resuscitate me first and then your dad.

By the way dear,

you are grounded,

no matter how this,

letter sounded,

we would rather,

throw your junk away,

than look at this big mess for even one more day.

Sincerest of apologies to Mr. Sherman . . .

Crystal R. Cook

Dear Me . . .

Dear Me - The Qwiet Muse

Just to clarify ~ I’m not crazy. I don’t have split personalities, the one I have may be splintered just a little bit though. Truthfully, we all have many faces and facets that make up the entirety of who we are. Sometimes we disconnect from self, we may not even be aware we’ve neglected certain aspects of ourselves, but eventually it begins to manifest outwardly and when it does, people notice.

It may be some internal attempt at self-preservation, it may be our experiences in the moment are simply so overwhelming they overshadow parts of who we are. When his happens it can lead to depression, self-doubt, and a sense of emptiness in our lives. I’ve seen it happen to those around me, people dealing with illness, heavy work loads, and other life-changing events. I see it happen often with caregivers and parents. It’s happened to me.

Women seem particularly susceptible, especially mothers. We tend to forget we are more than just wives and mothers and the ten thousand other things we are expected to be. We are unique and complex individuals, there really is more to us than what the world sees, there is more to us than we can sometimes see as well.

We often push parts of ourselves to the deepest depths of our inner being, we become what we think everyone needs and expects us to be. That’s okay as long as we don’t forget to nourish the essence of who we are. Sometimes, we just need to remind ourselves we are important too.

When my kids were still little ones, I went through a period of loss. Loss of self. My life was a whirlwind of schools, doctors, therapists, and medication. I had four young children, two with developmental disabilities, a husband frequently away in service of his country, and a recent diabetes diagnosis. I lost myself in the mayhem.

In a rare and quiet moment the weight of it all bore down on me and I knew I had to do something or I wouldn’t have the strength or the will to continue. I hadn’t picked up a pen to write much more than grocery lists and schedules to keep for a long while, that night I decided to dust off my journal and try to make sense of it all.

What I ended up penning to the page seemed odd, and to be honest, I thought at the time, stupid. I closed my journal feeling no better than I had when I’d opened it. The next day though, I felt stronger. I took little breaks throughout the day to sit and read, to simply sit in thought. I felt a sense of peace. The rest of the week I felt lighter, I enjoyed my days a little more.

I’d forgotten about my journal entry until I decided to write something about a month later, I was surprised at what I found. I didn’t recall writing the words I was reading. I’d penned a letter to myself. It was the first of many . . .

Hello there my old friend. It’s been so long since we’ve had a moment to talk. I just thought I would check in with you and see if you’re okay. Are you? I only ask because you’ve been so distanced from me lately. Remember the hours we used to spend together in thought or in silent prayer? Have you forgotten how wonderful it was, sitting back in the sun, reading and resting?

I miss the quiet moments we used to spend together. I miss hearing your laughter. Do you laugh anymore? Tears seem to have replaced that twinkle in your eyes and that saddens me. I wish I could help. I am trying, do you even hear me? I know you must, you simply have to. If we could just reconnect I know it would ease your troubled heart.

I can feel your loneliness, it is mine as well. There’s no need to be lonely, I am still here. My presence seems to be crowded and nearly lost by all of the pressures and pains you’re feeling. I know the responsibilities you have are great, but what happened to the time you used to make for us . . . for you, the time used to rejuvenate your soul and refresh your mind and spirit?

You cannot keep going without checking in with me every now and then you know. You need me and I need you. What would we be without one another? I shudder at the thought of it. I know right now you feel you do not have time for me, but I think if you tried you would find you really do.

I’m not asking for days or even hours, just a few stolen moments every once in a while. We could read a chapter or two in an old book or step outside and let the cool winters breeze give us goosebump kisses. We could sip a cup of tea and write poetry and breathe.

Please think it over, I know you will feel better once we have been in each other’s company for a spell. I will be here for you when you’re ready, just as I always am. I do hope you will squeeze me in soon. I’m afraid if you do not I will lose you forever. What would become of me? What would become of you?

I whispered a prayer for us. I look forward to spending some time with you soon. Sooner than later I hope.

I miss you and I love you . . .

Sincerely yours.

A little part of you.

Crystal R. Cook

Reality Check

Going through the shoeboxes again . . . I distinctly remember the day I wrote this. I was tired. So, so, very tired. The week had been a whirlwind of medical appointments, two IEP meetings, my husband was out of town, my blood sugars were high, and my energy was low.

Autism was in charge and it’s sidekick Bipolar was running amuck. I was outnumbered and out of my mind – Thankfully, a little reality check pulled me back.

Seems like only yesterday sometimes

Seems like only yesterday sometimes

I remember reading something once about about people with unsinkable souls, I believe I am an unsinkable soul. I simply must be. If I weren’t, I certainly would have drowned in whatever sea of muck souls sometimes sink into long ago. I’ve felt myself being pulled under a few times, but I always manage to pull myself up for air. Sometimes, I even manage to find dry land.

I recall one particular night when my toes were just about to reach the bottom of this proverbial, soul-sinking pit, and I was ready to throw in the towel, search out a nice little cave and see if it was possible for a human to hibernate. Ultimately, I decided it sounded like too much work and made one last attempt to free my sinking soul from the murky depths by reaching for my pen.

Miraculously, I managed to pull myself up and I began to write. I was going to pour my heart out on the page. It was going to be a gloomy piece, a somber and sad work of words. It’s often said writing is a healing art. I’ve never doubted it to be anything but true, but I may have taken it for granted now and then.

On this night, as my tears fell to the yellow pad beneath my hand, transforming my words into water-color patches of blue, I was reminded of the awesome power writing holds. I did not pen a masterpiece that night. I did not create an epic tapestry of words that would go down in poetic history. It was not my best writing, nor was it the worst.

It was also not what I thought it would be when I began. It turned out to be something that dried my tears, made my husband laugh, and my children smile. Writing is a healing art.

Peace and quiet . . . Solitude and rest,
someone else to cook the meals, someone else to clean this mess.
Someone else to do the laundry and mediate the fights,
someone else to sweep and dust and get up and down all night.

Oh, for just one day, I need a little break,
I need someone to give, instead of take, take, take.
Let me have a little nap, for just an hour or two,
a rejuvenating rest sounds like a wonderful thing to do.

I’d love to take a shower till the hot water is all gone,
I simply can’t imagine staying in there for that long.
I could actually take the time, to shave my legs tonight,
and I’d love to go to bed sometime before midnight.

I could paint my nails or polish up my toes,
I could curl up on the couch and catch up on some shows.
I could read a book and maybe have a cup of tea.
I’m not trying to be selfish, I just need some time for me.


The kids say they are starving, they are on the brink of death,
you can’t make it down the hall unless you watch your step.
The dryer keeps on buzzing and someone just got punched,
I don’t think I’ll get to take that nap, but that is just a hunch.

I’m sure I’ll get to shower, sometime late tonight,
when the kids have given in to the sleep they like to fight.
The hot water will be gone between dear hubby and the dishes,
so I’ll keep that dream close to heart with all my other wishes

Maybe I’ll just shave my legs tomorrow or the next,
I’ll wait for a new razor, I think this one has been hexed.
Most my nails are broken so I’ll pass on that one too
the other stuff sounds nice, but I’ve got too many things to do.

Like drop from sheer exhaustion and drift off to sleep and dream,
of perfect little children and a house that’s always clean.


The morning sun has risen, a new day lay ahead,
and there’s a morning snuggle bug curled up in my bed.
I wrap my arms around him and hold him near my heart
I cannot think of a better way for a brand new day to start.

I really can’t imagine someone else to take my place,
and chance missing a precious little smile on a dirty little face.
The housework’s not that bad, not compared to other things,
like the joy and love and laughter having a family brings.

Crystal R. Cook

Rainbow in the Dryer -or- The Sock Queen

Another shoebox classic . . .

Guess what a blue crayon, a pink crayon and a green crayon make in the wash . . . a rainbow in the dryer. Normally, I am a quite fond of rainbows, but for some odd reason I found no beauty in the brilliant colors splashed across my last good shirt, my socks and every other wearable article of clothing I owned.

As I began pulling my ruined wardrobe from the dryer I spotted them, a little yellow (blue and pink and green) pair of shorts which more than obviously did not belong to me, so in my loudest, meanest mommy voice I shrieked for their owner. She appeared in the doorway with a look of fear and feigned innocence in her eyes.

After a few renditions of “It wasn’t me!” and “I haven’t even used crayons in years.” I pulled the paper wrapper from a blue crayon out of the pocket of her little yellow (blue pink and green) shorts. “Oops, I guess I forgot I put them there.” was her only reply. Oh well, no use crying over spilled milk or brightly colored melted wax. What was done was done. I tossed around the idea of tye-dying all of our clothes in case it ever happened again but decided it would be best to just check pockets a little better from that point on.

The laundry room is my least favorite place in the house aside from the kitchen, the kid’s rooms and their bathroom. I just know someday I’m going to go in and never make it out. I suppose it’s my own fault for letting the kids wear clean clothing day after day.

imageWhen I was a little girl I dreamed of becoming an archeologist, of traveling to far off lands and uncovering buried artifacts from days long since past. In some small way my dream has been realized. However, instead of some distant shore on the other side of the earth it’s the cold garage in the back of the house and instead of discovering long lost treasures I simply find LEGOs and coins and candy wrappers . . . and unfortunately the occasional crayon.

I keep a large flower vase on the shelf above the dryer. I use it as a collection bin for all the little trinkets that find their way into the laundry room by way of un-emptied pockets. Someday it will serve as a memory jar for them. I will present it to the first one who complains their dryer has become a rock tumbler at the hands of the precious grandchildren I may one day be blessed with.

I have another jar up there for found money. I never give it back or inquire as to whose it may be. Most of it is their hard earned, as little as I can get away with allowance money which I simply use to pay their following weeks allowance with. I rarely have to dip into my own pockets to pay their weekly bribe money, they practically pay themselves!

Another aspect of laundry I despise, perhaps most of all, is socks. Don’t get me wrong. I love the warmth they give on a winter’s day and the comfort they provide in my favorite pair of tennis shoes, but when it comes to their care and maintenance I shudder at the thought of them.

First, there is getting them into the washer to be laundered. Sounds easy enough right? Well, it’s not. At least two of my boys take the foul things off in such a way they are rolled into little balls or donut shaped rings. I need a gas mask and a haz-mat suit just to straighten them out. Once they are in the washer, no problem. Throw them in the dryer, piece of cake. Taking them out is where the trouble begins.

I have only myself to blame truthfully. I have a sock basket. It is a tradition passed down from one generation to the next in my family. The idea is to have a small basket next to the dryer to place the clean socks in while you fold the rest of the laundry. Seems like a great idea except I never quite got the hang of it, I have a rather large sock basket. Okay, it’s a full size hamper, but with six pairs of feet in the house there are a lot of socks. My problem is I leave them in the basket until every last sock in the house has been dirtied, cleaned and deposited there. When that happens, I become The Matchmaker . . .

They assemble before me each week, huddled together in anticipation for they know by day’s end their solitary existence will be over. I carefully sort through them to find each one its perfect mate. Sadly though, every now and then, there a few I simply cannot pair up and they must return to the basket alone. The sad soles. When my task is complete I take the newly matched socks to the various closets and drawers they will call home. I wish them well and bid them adieu. Unfortunately, they never stay together long. They always come back alone, waiting for me to find them another perfect mate.

I’m one day going to come out with my own line of children’s clothing. I will specialize in socks. They will have brown soles made from the finest of stain resistant materials, no toes will ever peek through and no heels will ever wear thin. They will be crafted in such a way they cannot be taken off inside out and they will remain together in every wash, guaranteed.

I will be known as the Sock Queen and mothers all around the world will adore me. Come to think of it, there may be an offshoot for children’s underwear along these lines as well . . . School uniforms with a mustard, ketchup and playground dirt motif. I may just end up famous after all.

I suppose for now though I will gather together my supplies and trek off into the laundry room. Who knows what wonders I will uncover on my expedition.

Old (made up) Proverb – Women who sort laundry by color have too much time on hands.

Crystal R. Cook aka The Sock Queen

Gather them.


Today became yesterday
before I knew it had passed,
I pray my sweet memories
of each moment will last.
When tomorrow arrives
I will cherish the day,
for I know that it too
will pass quickly away.
In the midst of a moment
precious memories are made,
we wrap them in love,
in hopes they won’t fade.
We gather them up,
tuck them safely away,
inside of our hearts
to look back on someday.

Crystal R. Cook

I remember writing this years ago, I recall just how I felt in the moment. I’d had a moment of heartbreaking realization, time is fleeting. I could not believe how fast my children had grown. They were still babies really, some days it feels like it was only yesterday.

Time really is fleeting.

On our way!

Shoebox poem . . . Ya know something? I kind of miss these days every now and then.


I was on my way
with children in tow
when all of a sudden
I heard something blow.

A diaper exploded,
and that big poopy mess
started making me gag
I hate to confess.

We were wiped up and powdered
and again on our way
when screams rang out,
“Oh, what now?” I begrudgingly say.

“He touched me again.”
was my sons reply
and his eyes welled up
for his crocodile cry.

“Get over it” I said,
“don’t touch him again.”
“I didn’t do it!”
“You know it was him!”

“That is enough!”
I commandingly yell,
we are gonna be late,
what on earth is that smell?

Oh no, not again,
how can this be,
why can’t this baby
ever just pee?

Again wiped and powdered
and now in the car,
I couldn’t believe
we’d gotten that far,

but where was my purse?
Wouldn’t ya know,
right on the table
will we ever just go?

Purse in hand
and kids all buckled,
I did it at last
I think with a chuckle,

“Okay troops,
we are ready to go!”
Hey . . . where are the keys?
Does anyone know?

Crystal R. Cook ~ circa sometime around ’98



Shoebox Memory on a Post-It

So my son licked a bar of soap. I know, kids do weird things, it’s to be expected I suppose. He immediately began rubbing his tongue on his shirt and proceeded to lap up water from the faucet like you would from a garden hose.

His younger brother, who by the way has never licked soap, asked him why on earth he would ever want to do such a strange thing.

His reply, which he seemed to think should be sufficient to leave any lingering curiosities  quelled was this –

“I had questions, I needed answers.”

I see. Carry on. The boy needed answers.

Oh, did I mention he is 16? Yeah . . . There’s that.


He is now 22 . . . Yesterday he placed his hand on the ceramic burner to see if it was hot. Again. I guarantee it will not be the last time he does so.


This too shall pass, really.


There are many mommy moments, even now, I’m not certain I’ve the strength to muster through, but then the next minute comes and I realize I survived, it gives me hope. This is not to say the journey has left me with all my sanity intact, far from it, but I’m confident I shall reach my destination with a wee bit left.

This too shall pass is a fitting mantra for mommies. I’ve said it during diaper duty and flu season, hectic mornings with missing shoes and terrible tantrums in the night. Teen angst . . . this too shall pass. Homework hassles . . . this too shall pass. Sibling rivalry at its worst . . . this too shall, who am I kidding, this one never ends.

Basically, when you think you simply can’t take a moment more you have to remind yourself you really have no choice, take a deep breath, count to sixty and voila, another minute has passed and you’re still standing. Good piece of advice here, when you take that deep, cleansing breath don’t forget to reverse it.

Sometimes you just do what you gotta do. I’m reminded of a day when my children were little. Thankfully, I wrote many memories down as they happened, you start to forget things you never thought you could as they get older. As we get older, I suppose I should say. The following is a preserved memory of one of those days . . .

I’d reached the end of my proverbial rope and resorted to good old-fashioned bribery. I had to, there was no other way,this too shall pass wasn’t doing the trick and I succumbed to the mommy bribe. I don’t recommend repeated use of this tactic but when you’re at your wit’s end it’s more of a survival technique than anything else. You’ll survive, the kids will survive. All’s well that ends well right?

I’d awoken early. I don’t mean early like, oh rapturous joy, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, my-oh-my what a wonderful day . . . no. I mean early like, three a.m. early. No sun, no birds, no singing, no nothing. Just a sprawled out child grinding his teeth and emitting other strange noises from various parts if his body.

When my eyes adjusted to the dim light of the room I saw a well-worn sock on my pillow. It certainly wasn’t mine. I reached to remove the foul thing but my arm was trapped beneath a leg that was attached to a sock-less foot. I gently pushed it aside only to find another leg beneath it. I had no idea my son was such a talented contortionist. I considered sending him off to join the circus, it was a fleeting thought.

When I’d untangled myself from his wiry little limbs I was dismayed to find I still couldn’t move. My body was on strike. It pained me greatly to arise. I tried to shoo the little bugger off to his own bed but he is either a really sound sleeper or a really good fake sleeper. Either way, I was unwilling to attempt an airlift and carry him to his own bed.

I pushed him aside with both of my feet and tried to fall asleep again. Ten seconds into it I had to use the ladies room. When I returned, the little bed hog was once again sprawled out across the length and width of my bed with my blankets in a bunch around him.

Generally I look upon my sleeping angels with wonder and warmth. At that moment though, I felt no motherly fuzzies stirring in my heart. I just wanted to go to sleep and if that meant he had to be moved, so be it. I pulled the covers from around, over and under him and pushed him to the far edge of the bed. By the time I was snuggled in and comfy again it was three forty-five a.m.

I wrestled with the ever-moving child until my alarm sounded at six-thirty. The sun was up, but I was not greeted by the melodies of a sweet morning song bird. A nasty old rooster my neighbors keep was cock-a-doodle-doodling like he could actually awake the entire sleeping population of the world. I briefly pondered substituting rooster for turkey at our next Thanksgiving.

My mirror refused to look at me; I guess it didn’t want to hurt my feelings with what I would see. I decided coffee would help considerably. I awaited the brewed concoction of caffeinated joy anxiously. As I poured, I was more than dismayed to see only plain hot water filling my cup. I’d neglected to put coffee in the filter.

I knew I had to wake the kids for school, but I was afraid and so very tired. I gathered my courage and awoke them each as gently as I could, even the offending troll still sleeping peacefully in my bed. Shortly after they’d eaten breakfast they all plopped down in front of the television and began surfing for morning cartoons.

I walked right over there and turned it off! “Excuse me, but do we watch T.V. before school?” They all looked at me like I was some insane maniac just escaped from the loony bin. Before any of them could speak I realized I, in all my wisdom, had just awoken my children at six-thirty in the morning on what was to be the beginning of a three-day weekend.

I turned the television back on and cried as I slowly shuffled back to the safety of my bed. A few minutes went by and I felt movement near my feet. A little body crawled up next to mine and snuggled in. It was the troll. The same one who’d caused such misery just hours earlier had come to comfort me.

Would you believe I actually fell fast asleep? My rejuvenating rest didn’t last long, but it was a welcome relief. The day went quickly by and we where all once again tucked into our beds for the night. Sleep found me and wrapped itself around me in soft, calming comfort.

When I was awakened at three forty-five by an elbow to the neck I decided to count my losses and give up. I simply could’nt win this battle. I was sleep deprived and only semi conscious. I took every blanket off my son and yanked the pillow from beneath his snoring, teeth grinding head and took to the quiet sanctuary of the couch. I’d like to tell you I got the required rest a mother should have, but I cannot.

The clock above me kept ticking away the seconds and shouting out the hours, the refrigerator came to life and the couch began to grow strange lumps beneath me. The next morning I promised my son a dollar for every night he stayed in his own bed. He pondered it and added hot cocoa in the mornings to sweeten the deal.

I agreed. No price is too high for a good nights sleep. I thought I was in the clear but when the other children found out he was getting extras for doing what he should be doing anyway they demanded equal treatment under the Siblings Fairness Act, which states no sibling should be denied what another sibling has regardless of the circumstances.

I don’t know when they came up with the whole Sibling Fairness Act routine, but I got a chuckle out of it. I told them we would live like paupers if I had to shell out four bucks a night so they settled for the hot cocoa and we all slept happily ever after . . . for a few nights anyway.

Crystal R. Cook



Goodnight Sweet Prince

I used to love taking pictures of my kids while they slept, they looked like little angels . . . I was feeling nostalgic this morning and thought it would be sweet to recreate some of those memories. I ended up feeling like a creepy stalker though. Taking pictures of grown men sleeping, even if you did give birth to them, is just kind of weird.

While deleting the stalker-esque photos, I remembered how precious my babies were, how their soft wisps of hair would tickle my nose as I kissed their little foreheads goodnight. I thought of how my heart filled with their love when they wrapped those little arms around my neck. It still feels that way when they hug me, except now it feels like they are the ones holding me.

Every once in a while, I look at them and see them as they once were, like time stood still. Bittersweet moments. They grew, like they were supposed to, it just happened so darn quickly. I miss tucking them in, story times and lullabies. I miss hearing their innocent little prayers being said. I can still hear them in my heart.

On second thought, I think I’ll keep some of this mornings digital memories . . . I may just print them out and send it to them in an unmarked envelopes. That is what stalkers do, isn’t it?

Crystal R. Cook

Goodnight Sweet Prince

Sleep Little One

There comes a moment in the life of every mother –

There comes a moment . . .

Before I had children I thought I knew a bit about life, I was young but confident. It turned out I knew a little less than I thought I did, lucky for me, I’m a quick study. When I realized I’d been blessed with new life inside of me, everything changed. The things I thought were so important just the day before were all but forgotten as I thought about the magnitude of the journey I was about to embark upon. In that moment, I grew. In that moment, I changed. Over the years I’ve continued to learn, I’ve continued to grow and to change.

There comes a time in the life of every mother, when we suddenly realize we are mothers. You may think I’m merely stating the obvious, but there’s a special moment, a moment of beautiful clarity you cannot describe until you’ve experienced it. That moment when you look at your child and think in amazement, this is my child, I created this person. It’s an amazing moment that weaves itself into the fabric of our lives.

The bonds I’ve formed with my children began with the first lullaby I softly sang as they slumbered in my womb. I took to motherhood naturally and with joy, the lives I’d created were each an extension of my own, the best of all I had to give. I’ve always been in awe of my children, each unique and special in their own ways. They’ve provided me with a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment I never dreamed was possible. I cannot begin to imagine what my life would have been like if I’d chosen another path.

For me, this moment of sweet epiphany has occurred more than once. With each little life I’ve brought forth into this world, I’ve been given the gift of this divine revelation. You never know when it will come, you cannot plan for it and it takes you by surprise when you least expect it. When it happens, a feeling of warmth overcomes you, tears form in your eyes, and the meaning of life reveals itself.

I remember gazing at my firstborn son as he lay in slumbers sweet solitude and thinking, this must be what angels look like when they rest. I then realized the tiny angel I was so taken with was mine, a precious gift of God, and I was his mother. It was a monumental event in my life; I knew I would never be the same after that night.

I was as unassuming the second time I found myself experiencing the powerful emotions that accompany this precious moment. I never wondered if I could love another child as I had loved my first, I somehow knew I would and I was right, my second baby, another son, was as delightful and amazing as his big brother. As it did the first time, that moment hit me like a ton of bricks.

He was standing there, one hand gripping his walker for dear life, and the other mischievously reaching for his big brothers hair. The sun was shining brilliantly through the blinds, illuminating him in golden silhouette, soft shadows played alongside him, and there before me stood another angel, this time at play.

I began to cry just as he took hold of the soft hair beneath his fingertips, he giggled and his brother let out a holler. I couldn’t help but join him in the giggle, soon the injured party joined in our laughter. They may not have known why we were so happy, but I did, they were mine and I was the luckiest person on earth.

The years seemed to disappear right before my eyes; they rolled by as quickly as the day itself. I often looked at my sons with the solemn awareness that comes with acceptance and thanks. The Lord had been so good to me, I was blessed beyond measure. I did not know that He, in His infinite wisdom was a long way from finishing the job.

Another life, another miracle. I’d forgotten all about the joys of new motherhood by the time my third son came along. I was euphoric and treasured every moment, for I knew all too well how quickly they would pass. Life was again full of midnight feedings and diaper changes. I looked upon my three boys with thanks in my heart.

I was always on the go; three boys will keep you running from dusk till dawn. I stopped calling them precious angels and switched to the more appropriate term house apes. They were little treasures, each shining with a brilliant light of all their own. I think in the back of my mind somewhere I knew another moment was heading my way. As usual, it caught me off guard.

We’d had a tough day, the kids were ill and I was cranky. I was trying, unsuccessfully, to get the youngest of the trio to nap. I looked at him in exasperation when he began to cry and asked him to please, please just close his eyes; I was at my wit’s end for the day.

I must have been more animated than I’d meant, his tears turned to laughter and he said, “You funny hunny!” Within seconds his little eyes closed and I scooped him up in my arms. I realized this was it, this was the moment. His little hand stroked my hair and we fell asleep together. It was glorious.

Shortly after the birth of my third son, the Lord saw fit to bless me with a little girl. She was five years old the day she came to live with us. She’d always been a part of my life, a piece of my heart. I’d felt her little feet kicking the palm of my hand before her birth, and I was there when she took her first breath. I held her and changed her diapers and rocked her to sleep just as I’d done with my own.

She’d been born to my younger sister, her birth was a blessing, an unexpected blessing. Life sometimes has a way of unraveling the careful plans we’ve tried to weave. Letting her little girl go to let her grow and thrive would be one of the hardest decisions my sister would ever have to make, It was an adjustment for us all in so many ways.

I never would have imagined there would be a moment between this child and I, but there was. I awoke in the early hours of the morning, before the sun began to rise, to the soft kiss of innocence upon my cheek. I feigned sleep as I listened to a little voice whisper “I love you Mommy.”, and then the scurrying of little feet back down the hall.

She had unknowingly transformed into my daughter in that instant, I may not have given her life but she had become mine, a child of the heart, one of my own. That sweet kiss sealed our souls together; I walked into her room and whispered a prayer of thanks. I tucked her back into bed as my tears once again fell.

There comes the time in the life of every mother, when we suddenly realize we are mothers. It happens throughout the lives of our children, during different stages of their lives. Perhaps when they are helpless little babes, or maybe when they are trying little house apes, we’ll be blessed with this miraculous revelation.

It may happen again during a school recital or in the midst of teenage heartbreak. It may take us by surprise once again when we hold our grandchildren tightly in our arms. Whenever it happens, it will be an amazing blessing from the Lord above. It is these moments that will carry us when our children are grown, we will remember we were once mothers, angels that softly walked the earth . . .

Crystal R. Cook

Art by Paul Peel, 1888