nothing to be sorry about

Last Friday we got our Autism diagnosis for Harvie.  Now, we have full plan in place with a team of amazing people to help Harvie become her best self, whatever that may be.  The initial IEP meeting very long, but very productive.  There were thirteen people in the meeting, in person and virtually.  We discussed Harvie’s many strengths, her areas of recent growth (credit to Soda City Peace of Mind, Team Therapy, Keekie, Mommy and Daddy), and areas of concern that will be our focus.  Currently, speech is a major concern because although she has a vast vocabulary for a child her age, she doesn’t use it pragmatically to communicate.  She also has some challenges with fine motor skills and some executive functioning. 

Beginning Monday, she will receive thirty minutes of resource with a special ed teacher at Brennan.  That will be in addition to the hour Monday through Thursday that she works with Mrs. Mary at Peace of Mind.  She will have Speech therapy twice on Tuesdays, once at 8:00 with Ms. Kathleen at Team Therapy and then again for 30 thirty minutes with Mrs. Ross at Brennan.  On Wednesdays, she has occupational therapy with Ms. Tonya at Team Therapy.  She will also receive thirty minutes with Mrs. Penland at Brennan, but we’re still working the time and day for that one.  On Thursdays she has PT with Ms. Sophie at Team Therapy to focus on her in-toeing (pigeon toes) and “W” sitting. She doesn’t not warrant services in PT from Richland One because she can ambulate safely on school property.  Friday, she just gets to chill with Keekie, my sister, Kelli, all day!

Her goals are attainable, and as her OT evaluator said, Harvie is so smart that we will probably have to revisit more than once a year to set new ones.  Since she started her sessions at Team Therapy and her work with Peace of Mind, she has made huge improvements. Her outbursts fewer and shorter. She’s using multi-word sentences sometimes.   She is sitting for lessons more readily.  She is greeting people she knows without prompts, “Hi, Mommy!”  “Hi, Kristie!”  Our current “wants” for her as parents are to be able to clothe herself (she can disrobe in under 3 seconds, so I think this is more of a compliance than ability issue), color/write more frequently, sit for lessons without argument or interruptions, try new foods more regularly, communicate verbally more effectively, and comply without tantruming.  She is working hard at each of her current sessions, so after some transition adjustments, we are looking forward to more growth with these additional caregivers in her life. 

Because Harvie began reading at the age of two, she is technically considered a savant, which is kinda cool.  This ability is a great tool for her caregivers because she can read and comprehend what they are asking or telling.  We employ a notecard strategy in all areas.  It is especially helpful to capture her attention.  I just say, “I have a note!” and she comes over to read it.  It really is pretty amazing every time you see this tiny girl reading cursive or upside down, reading multisyllabic words.  It is a hindrance at the grocery stores and Target as she can read where the candy and toys are. I have to be pretty circuitous in my trek through the stores!

I am sharing as much as I can with everyone so people who have kids they aren’t sure about or might feel some sort of shame or guilt over won’t feel so discouraged.  I told someone the other day that my daughter had just been diagnoses as autistic, and she said, “Oh, I’m sorry.”  I said, “Why? There’s nothing to be sorry about.” It’s just a fact and now we do all the things we can to make her journey in life as uncomplicated as we can.  She is very high-functioning and with all of the early interventions everyone is confident that she’ll make gains to surpass her peers.  Personally, I feel like the language issues are the biggest hindrances.  Also, getting through the threes!  She has a lot of personality; she is silly and funny.  She loves a good snuggle.  Her favorite “show” to watch is me playing Trivia Quest or Triviaverse on Netflix.  Little weirdo.  She loves music, so we’d really like to get her behavior and compliance to a point where she’ll follow instructions and listen so that she can take piano lessons in a few years, and maybe play soccer. She LOVES being outside and anything to do with the water. She seems to have gotten over the waterboarding after the laundry pod incident, so we’d really love to get her more into swimming again. 

We are very open to discussing Harvie with other parents who might have questions, and we are open to hearing others’ stories. If you see an interesting article about autism, forward it or tag us!  What we aren’t open to is someone with no experience, expertise, education, or position telling us what we “should do”.  Harvie’s various sessions aren’t cheap, but she is priceless to us, and we’ll do whatever it takes at whatever cost.  She is our whole world. I think about how her life could be so different in the wrong people had been her parents.  I am so humbled and overjoyed that God or fate or the Universe saw fit to bless us with this great gift who is hard-headed, hilarious, kind, willful, and brilliant because we were the only parents for her.  Tabby, our birth mom, after we met used to always say, “Kim, this is y’all’s baby. I really think now that I found you, God (and I am not a big religious person mind you) sent this baby for me to carry for you because you can’t.  I know you’re her mom”. Now, I am sure part of thinking that was making her already unimaginably hard decision a bit easier for her, but I do think she believed it, and I do, too. 

In addition to these amazing people, the rest of Harvie’s village always steps up. Her Aunt Keekie is her number 1 supporter after her mom and dad. My sister is always there for Harvie, and Harvie ADORES her. Keekie’s daughter, Claire, is also a babysitter if Keekie is unavailable or we want someone to watch Harvie at our house. There are only a handful of people we feel comfortable leaving Harvie with because we trust that they know her well enough to understand her needs. My friends, Amy Jo and Jill are both moms, both patient, and both loving. I would trust Harvie in their care completely. Her godmother, Annie, is another. Unfortunately, she lives out of town, and we don’t see her as often as we’d like. It’s a small circle, but it’s 100% reliable. With her care professionals and her “framily”, we have no doubts that Harvie will excel.

If you want to know how you can help us or others, do this:

When you see a mom in the grocery store and her child is throwing a fit, offer her some grace.  Don’t judge her. Don’t judge that child.  Sometimes, there are underlying reasons.

Don’t make assumptions about children’s abilities.

Learn about autism, especially if someone you spend a lot of time with is autistic. Literally every autistic person is different from the next. They are so unique and specific!

When you see child in his or her pajamas, or superman costume or princess dress, just know that might be the only way the parents were able to leave the house that day.

If your friends’ daughter only wants to eat waffles for every meal, don’t judge.  So did Eleven in Stranger Things, and look what she can do.

If you see an older toddler with a pacifier, keep your opinions to yourself.  Be glad they have it otherwise you’d be witnessing a meltdown in Aisle 4.

Understand that how we make decisions now is completely impacted by what is best for her – can’t make brunch, can’t take her to a movie, gotta change jobs, gotta work extra jobs. ALL decisions are about her.


Harvie, my daughter, turned three today.  There have been some concerns by us and others that she might be on the spectrum or have something else going on.  She is brilliant.  I know I am her mom, but she is.  She was reading words at 2.  Prior to that, however, she did take what others considered longer to talk.   I felt like she would do it when she was ready, and she did.  Her pediatrician wanted to keep an on things, but today, was pleased with her progress.  Is she weird?  A little.  Does she have quirks? Of course; don’t we all?  Is she hard-headed?  You betcha. She is also curious and clever, unafraid, yet cautious, very interested in music, creative and hilarious. Is she on the spectrum?  Aren’t we all somewhere on that dial?

Today, my husband, Jennings, and I were at a college pool with our daughter for swimming lessons.  She has always loved the water and absolutely loves swimming. We thought she needed more official lessons, which we had planned to start earlier, but Covid.  We have been working with her for the past two years in our pool.

When I was watching her, I could tell she was having SO MUCH FUN.  She was smiling the whole time, kept climbing in and out of the water.  Really, all she wanted was to be in the water, but there are protocols, etc. for the lessons.  Jennings was with her and did a great job trying to keep her focused.  She was very excited about all of it, was the only girl, and the youngest in the group.   You could see her smiling and laughing the whole time, until it was time to leave! None of the boys really seemed to be wanting to get in the water.  I was so proud of her.

Afterwards, Jennings said she didn’t understand some of the commands.  I asked what.  He told me they kept saying red light green light for stop and go when they were kicking their legs.  That is a phrase she has never heard in her life, so of course she has not context or prior knowledge to draw on.  There were no lights, much less green and red ones. 

Next, she had trouble learning to blow bubbles.  She knows about bubbles, and what they are, but they are all in a bottle that we blow through a stick.  Not only that, but she has not problem just sticking her face in the water with no complaint.  Jennings felt like we needed to speak to the swim teacher to explain, so I did, and of course they noticed, and said they were short a couple of instructors for that group who would be able to work more one on one with her, because she’s obviously comfortable in the water, and that Jennings could do it tomorrow.  They weren’t concerned.

I was thinking about it later.  I know there are expectations about how the pool lessons are supposed to go, but I don’t wan those expectations to take away her JOY.  She was joyous today at that pool.  I see her joy and curiosity throughout every day. She laughs at herself when she is being silly. Looking at the nest of baby birds by our door thing we do each time we come and go leaves her babbling about “budds” and “baby budds” a “mommy budds” as she putters around. Successfully attaching a Duplo block to our ever growing and evolving “casol” (castle) leads to a quick jump around and giggle. Petting the kitties and listening to Hugo stand at the back door barking to get in sets off a tirade of giggles. As we grow older, it can often be difficult to find joy in things.  I find my joy in her every day.  I waited so long to be her mom, and I am amazing by every silly thing we share. She’s three. I don’t want to see her lose her joy.  I have seen so many people lose that exuberance and excitement as they grow older, and I want to do all I can to extend it for as a long as I can.  Who cares if she doesn’t quite follow the rules, or do things in a way others expect?

I have been so worried about how hard her life might be when she gets older, especially if she is every diagnosed with something others are going to see as different, but I wasn’t always seeing how HAPPY she is.  She doesn’t care that some chart says she should be doing x, y, or z but some certain age.  She’s ahead of the curve in many areas, and behind in others – just like all of us have been at some point.  I think allowing her the freedom to seek and explore, to find joy in little things others might not will serve her well as she grows up and learns to deal with the difficulties of life and negativity of others whose expectations and opinions ultimately won’t matter.  I want to see her smile.  I want to see how much fun she has shredding a napkin into the smallest parts imaginable because she fucking loves to do that, and it brings her joy.  She just laughs and get so excited watching it float, amazed by gravity. Is not having to clean up that mess more important to me than her joy? Absolutely fucking not.  I have been projecting my unreasonable, arbitrary expectations on her because I was worried about a chart or a scale.  Tonight, I am going to go forward helping my sweetest, smart girl chase and embrace all of the joy around her. 

Because more than anything in this world, all I want is for her to be happy and to find the fun and goodness that is around her.

Most girls are told that when they begin their periods, they are becoming a woman.  After school specials and Kotex ads depict this as an amazing time in a girl’s life.  As girls, some of us are super excited to start and are jealous of our friends who “get” theirs before we do.  Some girls are scared.  I was apathetic.  It just seemed like another inconvenience to suffer through along with the damnable bras. My gramma always like to be prepared, and as a child of the Depression, she tended to prepare for the worst.

When I turned 11 or 12, Gramma sat me down and said, “Kim, you’ll be starting your period soon, so we should probably buy a few things to be ready”.  So, we did.  She bought a pack of GIANT Kotex and showed me how to peel the paper off, put them in my undies, and how to dispose of them properly.  We discussed other aspects of feminine hygiene, what to do if I spotted my underwear or pants.  All the stuff you love discussing with your parents.

At the same time, I somehow came into possession of a wooden trunk.  I think her brother got it at an auction or something and let me know have it.  I spent HOURS getting this trunk to look the way I wanted it to.  Painted it a minty green.  Bought contact paper with little flowers on it to put on the raised wooden edges.  Ok, this next part is weird, and I don’t know why I did it or thought it would look good, but I got a BUNCH of Food Town bumper stickers (this was before it became Food Lion) that were blue and yellow, like BRIGHT ASS blue and yellow. There was some slogan that was put into an anagram, so it was just a string of letters.  I completely covered the inside lid of the chest with those.  I thought it was so fucking cool.  Only the good Lord knows where I got that idea from.  So, I called this my Hope Chest.  I had read some book about a girl with a hope chest full of all of these things she’d need to carry her forward into adulthood.  VERY EXCITED about my Hope Chest.  I put a couple of things in it that I would obviously need as an adult one day: a rainbow candle – half melted, a couple of plates Gramma was getting rid of, and a like a can of soup or something –obvious necessities. This was not the first time I had done this – prepared for the future. I used to lug around and old suitcase full of my important treasures of the times: Tiger Beat mags, a Shaun Cassidy 45 of Da Doo Run Run, a lot of paper and pens, some Judy Blume books, a can of soup and a can opener, as well as other items of obvious import.

OK, you needed that back story to get to this part of the story.  We didn’t have a car growing up; I might have mentioned that in other blogs, so we walked or took public transportation everywhere.  We did most of our grocery shopping at Winn Dixie and Food Town (duh). I mentioned how my grandmother liked to be prepared and was a bit of a stockpiler/prepper before it was the Republican Rage.  After we had THE TALK, each and every time we went to the grocery store for our weekly shopping, Gramma would buy some sort of feminine product.  I mean I had them all: light, heavy, super, liners, with things, every brand – “So you can decide which you like best”.

 Me: “I’m pretty sure I’m not gonna like any of this”. 

“Watch the smart mouth”

One day she came in my room and there was just a pile of seven or eight packs on the floor by my closet. “Put those away.  They shouldn’t just be all over the place.”

“There’s no room in the bathroom,” I informed her.

“Well stick them in that hope chest of yours,” she ordered.

I sucked in my breath a little louder than I thought.  That was my treasure, my vessel for all my grown up treasures!  I didn’t want to put stupid PADS in there!   My gramma didn’t suggest. This was a directive as expected to be followed as if she were the commander in a field of battle.   So I mutter a yes ma’am and she left the room.  Well I didn’t do it. I decided I was going to pretend to forget.  That didn’t work.  Gramma just went in my room when she bought the next batch and put them all in there.  I would not have DREAMED of taking them out.  So, as the weeks went by the chest got full.  To this day, I am 100% certain that the cashiers of the Winn Dixie thought I had some life threatening uterine condition that required me to wear 50 pads a week.  Finally, one day she decided our pad levels were acceptable and slowed down buying them.  How many did we have you may be asking yourself.  Enough.  Just enough.

Lo and Behold, I’m in 7th grade, and one night I go to bed with a “stomach ache”.  I mean, I had no idea what menstrual cramps felt like, so I had no idea this was the start of “being a woman” ( cute butterflies and summer meadows with some flute music).  That morning when I woke up and saw a red spot, I put on clean undies, stuck one of those pads in, rinsed out the undies and tossed them in the dryer.  I continued this process as you do. I didn’t tell anyone.  Why did I need to?  Gramma had explained everything. I had 7,239,672 packs of pads, and I did my own laundry. 

Finally, one day I ran out of pads.  I went to Gramma and told her that she needed to add pads to the grocery list. “Why?” she asked.

“Because I am out”

“WHAT?!  How the hell are you out?  What did you do with all of those pads?” She yelled.  I can see she was getting mad at me.  I couldn’t figure it out.

“I used them?” I asked more than answered.

“On what?”

“For my period!”

“Jesus Christ, you had enough to last forever!” 

Well, it turns out I only had enough to last about 8 months, because that’s about how long I had been on period and never told her.  She was stunned that I never said anything.  “Aw, Kimmy, why didn’t you tell me? I ‘m so sorry.  I would have helped you!”

“Help me with what?  You told me what it was. I had all those pads.  I was fine. I might need some new underwear, though.” 

Today, I too am a preparer and a planner, a stockpiler of all sorts.  THE HOBB (my gramma) trained me to be prepared and self-sufficient.  Sometimes I am little too independent, a little too unlikely to ask for help or appear needy, but I can take care of myself and others thanks to those skills.

travels with Harvie

When my daughter, Harvie, was just a baby, my husband and I decided that when she turned 6 we would start taking trips for her birthday instead of giving her a bunch of stuff.  We are fortunate enough to be able to afford to buy her things during the year, and we are blessed with an amazing village that always showers her with gifts around her birthday and Christmas.  My husband and I both want her to have experiences and travel brings a unique point of view on the world.  I did not grow up in a family with extra money for vacations and trips.  I can count on one hand the actual vacations we had when I was a child.  Jennings comes from an upbringing that afforded him the privilege of travel and vacations, so he knows the worth of such opportunities.  In my head, I have started compiling a list for us to work from.  I have already made it known that her first birthday trip will be to Disney World. Daddy isn’t as excited as Mommy is for this to be on the trip list, but I think it’s a special place that all little kids deserve to visit.   

Here’s my list:

  1. Disney
  2. The Grand Canyon
  3. New York City
  4. Jackson Hole, WY
  5. San Diego, CA
  6. Austin, TX
  7. Key West, FL
  8. Denver, CO
  9. New Orleans, LA
  10. France
  11. England
  12. Italy
  13. Australia
  14. Scotland
  15. Wales
  16. Ireland
  17. Portugal
  18. Spain
  19. Iceland
  20. Norway
  21. Niagara Falls, both sides
  22. My gramma’s hometown in Indiana
  23. Gettysburg/Hershey (because it was a trip my gramma, her namesake, always loved to visit)
  24. Nashville, TN
  25. Yellowstone
  26. Most National Parks

I know the list is long, and some trips can be combined.  Luckily, I am a teacher who has free time in the summer and her dad works from home.  I would love to drive and camp across country with her one summer, visiting some of these places and friends along the way.  We have a little over 3 years until the first trip.  I better get those spreadsheets started.

I’d love to hear your suggestions for places to visit! Drop them in the comments!

One Year Ago

One year ago, today, a 19-year-old girl made the biggest, bravest, most selfless decision of her life and changed our lives forever.  We were finally going to be parents.  After years of infertility challenges, health problems, and disappointment, it was finally in our future.

Jennings and I were on our way to Beaufort on April 12, 2019 to visit our friends Dave and Mindy when our adoption consultant, Melanie called us.

“What are y’all doing?”

“On our way to Beaufort for the weekend, “I answered.

“Well, when can you get back to town?” she asked.  “I am showing your book tomorrow, and I think this is the one.  I think you guys are a perfect match.”

“We can be back whenever you need us to be.”

“Ok, well I am meeting with them Sunday, and if they choose you, I am going to want y’all to go meet them Monday night, because she’s due in June. This is going to move fast.  She is a 19-year-old girl, no drugs or alcohol.  I will let you know more later.”

“We’ll be home Sunday.” And with that she hung up and Jennings and I were on pins and needles all weekend.  This wasn’t the first time we’d had our book shown, that we’d be excited only to not be chosen.  I had stayed up all night one school night redoing our whole “book” so she could show it the next day. That didn’t work out.  Every situation that didn’t work out broke us down a little bit more.

Just two weeks before this phone call, I had turned fifty and told Jennings that I was done.  I told him I couldn’t keep dragging this out indefinitely.  We had been trying for years and after miscarriages, 1 failed adoption and being passed over time and again, I just couldn’t face the disappointment anymore.  I have cried oceans of tears through this ordeal and didn’t think I had it in me anymore.  After Melanie called, I said, Ok, this is the last time. It’s now or never.

My entire life, I wanted to have kids.  I always said I wanted to have a soccer team of kids, only half joking.  One of the hardest parts about not being able to have kids and having adoptions fall through is that I was failing at something.  I have ALWAYS accomplished something if I set my mind to it.  I just seemed so unimaginable that I wasn’t going to be a mom.  I was failing. I mean, this was unprecedented.  I wanted to go to college, so I made it happen.  I wanted to work in a law firm, done.  I wanted to teach, yep, did it.  I decided when I was 42, Ok, I am going to meet the man I am supposed to marry. It’s time to get serious. I’m getting old.  So, I went on a million horrible dates, but they led me to Jennings, and I’d do it all again.  So, now, I wanted to have kids, and I couldn’t. My body wouldn’t cooperate.  Adopting had turned out to be equally as difficult.  Now, I had one last chance.

We came home early on that Sunday and waited and waited.  Finally, we decided, well, they must not have picked us. Let’s go to bed.  We were lying in bed when the phone rang at like 11 o’clock at night.  It was Melanie.  I have never had a bigger batch of butterflies in my stomach than I did when I answered that phone.  Her first words brought me to tears “Well, are y’all ready to be parents to a little girl in June?”  They had chosen us!  It was so surreal.  We were both in tears.  Melanie was in tears, and arrangements were made for dinner the next day.  We got our instructions from Melanie as to what we needed to do. It was like courting someone.  We were to show up with gifts and a card and don’t say this and don’t say that.

That Monday night, April 14th at Fatz Café, we met the two people who had chosen us to be parents to the life they had created.  They were so sweet and young.  We were so nervous. But the Birth mom and I felt an immediate connection.  She texted me that night and said after meeting us she knew she had made the right choice.  Over the next two months, we spent hours together getting to know each other, talking about her dreams and hopes and plans, how she and the boyfriend just weren’t at the place in their lives to give a child everything she’d want to give her.  She was not a religious person, but she felt like God had brought us together, that she had gotten pregnant so that Jennings and I could be parents.  Every minute I spent with her I just couldn’t believe this young girl could be so selfless and loving to a couple of people she had just met.  She wanted nothing in return but for us to give this baby the best life possible.  She is loving, kind, brave and generous.  There will never be enough thank yous in the world for us to give her.  Whenever she talks about Harvie, she always says that she was meant to be our baby and she was meant to have her for us.  She was so young, but so mature and practical.

When the time came for Harvie to be born, the four of us spent three long days and nights at the hospital waiting for her to make her appearance.  I was in the room, holding birth mom’s hand while she had contractions and was crying and scared.  I was right beside her as she pushed Harvie into the world.  She laughed at me for crying as the baby’s little head crowned, and I got my first glimpse of our daughter. Then when the time came, birth mom said, “She’s your daughter.  You should do it”, and I cut her umbilical cord, and we all cried together.   From that moment on, we created a bond that no one else has.  It was scary thinking, what if she changes her mind now that baby was her, but deep down, I knew this was real.  That night Harvie slept in a room with us, and the birth parents slept in a room alone.  I know this was not easy for her, and I know she mourned for a bit.  She would not change her mind and the next morning she signed her parental rights over, and all that was left was a court date to make it official.

Our love for her is enduring.  Our story is special.  Not all adoptive situations are like ours.  We continue to stay in contact with her and the birth father.  I send pictures and videos.  Why wouldn’t I share those joys with this person who gave us so much?  What does it hurt me to do that for her? The five of us have gone to eat and visit more than once.  We want her to know that Harvie is happy, well-adjusted and cared for in every way.  She is ecstatic that our little family is so happy and that she had such a crucial role in making it complete.   Now she says, when she has her own children, she wants me by her side in the room coaching her through because I made her feel safe and loved.  And if at all possible, I will be there to do it again.  Harvie will know she is adopted.  She will know these people, and she will know that she was always loved and always wanted.  All I can offer her is my small thank you and the promise to give all that I can to this little treasure that she made for me.


Fellow readers and writers,

Each year Book Riot serves up a list of genres to help readers broaden their scope of interests and genre preferences.

Read Harder Challenge 2019

Come join us on Facebook! For the past several years, I have moderated a Page that provides a place for readers to discuss, offer support and suggestions on the books included on the list.  Sometimes we read them all, sometimes we don’t! We ALWAYS have a good time and read books that are outside of our comfort zone at times.  Each year our group grows as readers come together to support and discuss novels.

Here is this year’s list, in case your curious:

Book Riot 2019 Check List

Here’s a link to the Facebook Group! Come read with us!

Facebook Read Harder Challenge


true love.

Do you know what true love is?  When I was young and foolish, I thought it was like you see it in the movies, all flowers and last minute private jets to Paris.  It can be that, but that’s not my true love.

True love is intercepting the mail after a miscarriage so your wife isn’t upset by seeing the bills.

True love is returning maternity clothes for your wife because she will never be able to have that baby you both want.

True love is knowing that sometimes your wife just needs to cry because there is nothing else to do.

True love is dancing and singing made up songs every single day.

True love is letting your wife watch Harry Potter movies for the millionth time, or Lord of the Rings.

True love is laughing at stupid things you both say at night while you’re trying to fall asleep.

True love is putting air in your wife’s tires so she doesn’t have to.

True love is literally drying every single tee shirt and pair of jeans your wife has because you aren’t sure which ones she doesn’t want in the dryer.

True love is going to get your wife a Mt. Dew and bringing it to her at work because she is getting a headache.

True love is not losing your mind when your wife tells you about her immense tax debt from years before you met her – and handling all dealings with the IRS and accountants to fix it for her.

True love is picking out all of the mushrooms in the dinner your wife made so she an eat them.

True love is packing up all of the baby stuff you bought together so she doesn’t have to.

True love is letting your wife eat most of the fries at Rockaway.

True love is returning stuff to stores because your wife hates trying stuff on at the store.

True love is always letting your wife control the remote.

on the plus side

I am getting a hysterectomy in a month.  While this is bittersweet, the plus side I am focusing on is that my iron levels should increase.  Granted, I have been anemic since childhood, but I am hoping that this procedure will up that hemoglobin.  I complain about a lot of things: Donald Trump, Republicans, the patriarchy, fruit and meat together, people who back into parking places, people who don’t watch their kids in restaurants, Donald Trump, non voters, etc.  BUT, I rarely complain about how I feel, unless it’s like a “man, I am getting a cold” kind of complaint.  I also have a pretty high pain tolerance.

I have been doing some research on anemia, and I had NO idea of all the ways it affects your body.  The first is fatigue.  Obviously, I am tired all of the time.  I just thought it was because I am old and fat.  It’s like a big circle.  I’m fat because I am too tired to do anything when I get home.

Then there is the shortness of breath.  I thought it was just from asthma.  Apparently, this, too, is a symptom.  WHHHHEEEEEZ

My sore legs are a huge problem.   Granted, I have Frankenhoof (I think I have mentioned this before, TL;DR – I have a cadaver ankle), but my leg muscles ache frequently.  I rarely sit still because they ache.  They are aching right now, and I have change sitting positions at least 3 times since I started typing this.

Dry hair, dry skin, itchy scalp.  Got it.

Bad fingernails.  My finger nails are quite thin and what is described as “spoon shaped”.  Didn’t know that was related until I googled “What is wrong with my weird finger nails and how can I fix it”.

The biggie: frequent infections and low immune system.  I catch EVERYTHING the kids bring to school.   I am allergic to at least 51 things in my environment.  (true story, had the tests, got the shots) I am hoping after this my sinus and respiratory infections decrease.

(Just changed leg position)


Paleness.  I get so pale sometimes that one of the women I used to teach with threatened to force feed me liver “because my skin is ghost white and my lips are “bluish” and that isn’t normal. ”

Granted I would gladly have lived with all of these if it meant I could have a baby, but I can’t, so why keep my “lady business” (as my husband refers to it)?  It does nothing but cause me constant pain and discomfort. So this time next month, I hope to be high on pain meds and only a little sad.






I am sure most of you are sitting around thinking, “What is going on with Kim’s uterus?”  Obviously, since a woman’s uterus is up for public discussion, this is a natural thought for you to be having.  As you know, Jennings and I have been struggling to have a baby for the nearly 5 years now.  We wanted to do this the natural, romp in the hay way, but that’s not an option for us now. We also can’t buy any eggs and IVF isn’t an option either.  So really, all that was left was adoption, which seems to have stalled out for a while now.

Well, last year, I had horrendous monthly “cycles” (that’s periods for you not of sensitive mindsets).  I won’t get into the disgusting details, but they were the worst experiences each month. After discovering that my uterus was the same size it was when I was 4 months pregnant and we lost our baby, my doctor decided I need to have two procedures.  Apparently, it never returned to normal size.  As we all know, I always have to be the odd ball.  This predicament was not atypical.  Anyway, my doctor had to perform a hysteroscopy and an ablation.  You can look them up if you want to know the details, but they were supposed to help reduce the severity of my periods each month and help shrink my uterus.  Then, I was told, “Now, that you’ve had these procedures, you can under no circumstances become pregnant.”   We’ll decide in a few months if/when we’ll schedule your hysterectomy.

Well, that was that.   It was basically a really emotional, terribly sad time for us.  Admitting that one dream you have had your entire life is now gone is devastating as fuck.  But you pack it up with the other disappointments in life and move forward.

As a result of these procedures, I was taking a low-dose, continual-dose progesterone birth control bill.  Thankfully, it did help my menstrual problems, but it had some side effects.  Oh, I have also been anemic for years, so I take an iron prescription that costs $68 a month, with insurance. With the procedure, the lesser periods and the iron pills my hemoglobin is now up to 12.5!  I have had it as low as 7.9, so everyone was really pleased.  I also have been able to up the hysterectomy off indefinitely, so there’s another plus.  No baby for you, but at least you don’t feel like aliens are shredding your giant uterus.  Meanwhile, the fertility gods will impregnate these fourteen year olds and these drug addicts, and other idiots who can’t take care of themselves much less a baby.

Poor Jennings has suffered greatly.  The primary side effect that I have dealt with is NO LIBIDO.  None.  Now, I am a liker of the sex. Seriously, when it’s consensual and loving, it’s the greatest!  Jennings is patient and loving and kind, so he didn’t put up too much complaint.  On top of that, I was also coming to terms with our infertility, so I was a handful.

Fast forward to today. I went to talk to my doctor, who I really like, and figure out what to do.  I will now be using an IUD.  The doctor says I am not menopausal yet, but when that happens, this will help with that as well.  The doctor was hilarious telling Jennings to watch out because I would be a handful now.  He was laughing and making funny faces like he was really cool picking on Jennings, who was on the phone.  So that’s the latest.

It has been like coming to terms with the death of someone you really love.

I decided to share this intimate store because men love to tell us what to do with our bodies, so I thought they were entitled to the full story.  I deleted the literally gory details, because I know they are quite sensitive so such matters.

And, remember, never ask a couple why they don’t have kids. Or if they want kids. Or whatever else you think is your business, because it’s not.


In January 1986, I was an 11th grader at Dreher High School.  I was a Library Aide for one of my class periods.  There weren’t televisions in every classroom or SmartBoards or computers.  We had a few TVs on AV carts that were borrowed by teachers.  On this day, there were only so many to go around.  One of the self-contained classes had come to the library to watch the Challenger lift off from Cape Canaveral in Florida on one of the televisions we did have in that area.

This was important in SC and in schools because we had home state hero, Ronald McNair and teacher, Christa McAuliffe on board. It wasn’t common to watch the lift offs, but occasionally we would in a science class.  The librarian, myself, the special education teacher and her aide and a handful of students from the self-contained classroom were all standing up watching the lift off.  For most people who watched the tragedy unfold, they remember the sight of that explosion and witnessing the deaths of the brave men and women on board.  While I do remember that, the moment I remember most about that day was when Helen, one of the students in that class of students who had come to the library excited to witness this event.  She was stricken.  As soon as it was clear that this was a fatal event, she let loose the most pained, heart-wrenching cry.  “NOOOOO!  THERE’S A TEACHER ON THAT SPACESHIP! NOOO! SHE CAN’T DIE!”  She just fell down and started crying and repeating this over and over.  She was utterly inconsolable.  I felt so sorry her, and her raw emotion and utter sadness touched every person in that room.

She was finally able to be led to the nurse, where her parents were called to come get her.  She missed several days afterward.  Apparently, she had to be sedated and kept that way for several days until she was able to come to terms with the tragedy.

Even today, 32 years later, that is the image that comes to me whenever the Challenger tragedy is discussed.  As a teacher, we take our students to the Challenger Center that we have here in my town.  The Challenger Center provides students with hands-on activities and experiences related to NASA and the space program.

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