You Would… If You Would Just….

She was perfect when she was born: beautiful eyes, beautiful skin, beautiful hair, dimples and a strong chin. Her parents smiled and cooed and told her she could be anything, do anything. “I love you,” they chanted to her for years and years.

Then she was 5, still dimples and smiles, rambunctious and loud and inappropriate, holy cow! So momma just said, with a clear angry voice, “You would be such a good girl if you would just lower your voice! No one wants loud and obnoxious and crude, they just won’t listen unless your voice is smooth. Calmly, politely serene in all thoughts, that’s what’s beautiful, keep that in your thoughts!”

So daughter obeyed and her voice she modulated, calmly and quietly she played extremely sedated.

Then she was 8, a big grown up girl (she thought with glee), hair wild and unkept with many scrapes on her knees. Her father took one look and shook his head, “Now that you’re older my dear don’t you see, no one will find you attractive with those scraped knees! Your hair is too wild and horribly kept, a bun would be better and take smaller, less active, steps!”

So daughter obeyed and her hair she took up, not a strand out of place not a curl wasn’t pinned up. She stopped being active outside and in. Small steps, quiet breaths, hair up, no scrapes, neat as a pin.

Then she was 12 in middle school Hell, no one told the truth and if they did, they didn’t do it well. She was larger than most due to lack of exercise so when her friends said they loved her it came with a price, “If you would just stop eating so much food, how beautiful you’d be, how perfect and cute!”

So she obeyed as she went on home, that night she ate then purged it all alone. She sat in the bathroom and cleaned up the mess, then stood and looked to the mirror without protest, “Here’s the first step! I’ll be beautiful soon! I can’t wait for them to see me!” She all but crooned…

We all mean well when we suggest for the best, but now, oh how, can we say this girl is blessed? It’s one thing to guide and to hope and to pray; it’s completely another to take all personality, character, and opinion away. Your words they do stick, more than an instant they reside, in the mind of the younger less experienced child. Take heed and be warned whatever you do, think before you speak or you will too, wonder like mother and father and friend why she has to be admitted to the hospital again.

The Midwife

Trigger warning this story talks about miscarriages.

Once Upon a Time…

There was a good woman. She wasn’t anything like the beauties of her day, she was soft-spoken, she had unremarkable features and she was however quick-witted and strong. She was using that strength and intelligence to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a midwife.

She learned her trade through her mother, who learned it from her mother’s mother and so on. It wasn’t just about herbs, relaxing, water births or dilation; it was also about making your patient trust in you.

Her mother was a well-known midwife and it was looking that she would be just as ordinary until one fateful day.

She had come along with her mother to a particular home within their village, it was the home of one of the more prosperous families. The eldest son had been married to his bride just over a year and they were expecting their first child. Her mother entered into the home and spoke with the family and then followed them back into the young woman’s room.

There, in the bed she sat, propped up on pillows with her hand lightly resting on her abdomen. Laughing she greeted the midwife and the apprentice and explained the babe within her was in such high spirits today.

The midwife smiled and began her work listening to and checking on the mother to be.

Her apprentice tried very hard to pay attention to all that her mother was doing but as she sat and focused on the woman, and more importantly the baby within, she noticed something odd. As she watched she saw within her mind a baby, perfect and small except, in the middle of its breast there was a dark spot. No matter how the baby moved and kicked that dark spot moved too. Alarmed, and a little superstitious, she held her peace until after the appointment until the long walk home.

There on the dusty road she told her mother what she saw. Dismissing this as nothing more than a headache or fatigue the mother discounted her daughter’s story. That is, until the baby did not make it to term.

This while not proof of anything, this caused the mother to pay careful attention to her daughter as the months passed and they visited patients. Sometimes the daughter saw darkness and the child within died. Sometimes she saw a dim light over an effected area and the child was born with difficulties. Whatever she saw it became apparent to her mother she had a gift.

The midwife’s daughter began to be known for her uncanny knowledge of the children she helped birth. During this time period there were no scans that could be done or hospitals to go to, there was just her and other midwives. Birth after birth, miscarriage after miscarriage she accurately predicted and helped each mother when it was time for her to do so.

People came from all around just to see her and find out if their baby was healthy.

As it happened the now fully practicing midwife had a best friend. Her best friend was one from her childhood. They spent many a day helping one another with chores, cleaning, and of course they played together too.

The midwife helped with her friend’s wedding and advised her on fertility matters. Her friend was hoping to have children someday.

The midwife would visit and they would talk and as friends do and they would enjoy each other’s company. However every visit the midwife would take the time to see if she could see a child or not. For many years it was not to be.

Finally, one day as they shared a meal,the midwife saw the tiniest of sparks. Her friend was no more than a couple of weeks along! Knowing it was to early yet to know either way how this pregnancy would go, she made a point to visit often as the child and her friend went through those early changes.

Around two months in, her friend knew something was up with her body and called upon her friend the midwife. The midwife came and confirmed that there was a baby growing within her friend!

There were many tears that day within their household and happily her friend began to prepare the home and her family for a new baby.

It was almost missed the first time, a slight dimness in the child’s chest. It was slight and one would not say it was dark by any means. It was just a different sort of light.

Dismissing this anomaly, the midwife descended her advice as usual. As the pregnancy continued into the second trimester the light grew with the baby and began to dim.

In a panic, the midwife began trying to get her friend to try many treatments: bed rest, eating clean foods (lots of greens etc), staying hydrated, all the while telling her friend that everything was fine. She just wanted to give her extra attention out of love.

But as the week wore on she knew that her friend was going to lose the baby early. The midwife prayed, she fasted, she was positive but finally one night, it happened.

The anguish for both women was extreme. Her friend in a rage looked at the midwife and demanded to know why she hadn’t warned her?! Did she not have these supposed powers? How could she not have seen this coming?

The midwife heartbroken, could not reply and after doing what she could went home her spirit depleted.

From this moment on her friend became her bitterest of enemies. News of the miscarriage circled the village and surrounding areas and the midwife was labeled as cursed, damned, or more kindly labeled as a fraud.

She no longer had any patients, no livelihood. Eventually she packed up and left the village her family had lived in for generations.

It is said that the midwife became a simple herbalist many hundreds of miles away from the village of her birth. Never again did she consult on the birth of children or speak about the light she did or did not see inside.

This tale was told to me by my father a couple of times growing up. His moral was, love can keep you from the truth, and it is always important to tell the truth even if it hurts the ones you love. I couldn’t tell you where he got the story from and of course as usual I extended and embellished the tale a bit. I kept most of it true to form but he never could tell me how she knew the women would miscarry. I suppose that wasn’t the point though.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Parenting Other People’s Kids

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I‘m sure you’ve heard of this before, people approaching strangers to offer advice or just plain tell them what they are doing is wrong.


I have seen parents do things that aren’t considered good- placing babies in car seats on top of carts, letting babies sleep in car seats, letting babies have solids too early… Not holding hands in the parking lot, letting kids roam Wal-Mart alone….

But I generally never say anything. Why? Some of the things are very dangerous. If you let a baby sleep in a car seat it reduces their oxygen intake by 80% or so. In the hospital, if a baby’s breathing goes below 90% they go into action to help the baby breathe. Babies have suffocated because they were left in the car seat sleeping after a drive and then put in the house sleeping, still in the car seat.

So why don’t I say anything? Partly, I feel uncomfortable. What do I know about their baby? How will they react? Is it my place, being a young mom myself?

Some say, it’s my motherly duty.

Yesterday, we went in errands. On these errands, we had to wait our turn for a long time. Long enough to need a numbered ticket. So we looked for an area with 3 seats together. We found one by a restroom. Not in front, but certainly a possible path to and from the restroom in question.

We put CDubs in the middle chair, placed the diaper bag on the ground under the chair, and after being assured that he was allowed his sippy cup (no food or drink allowed), Ry retrieved it from the car. I don’t feel we took up too much space. Maybe we did.

CDubs decided he wanted to play on the floor directly in front of his chair. The space he would have taken up didn’t surpass the length of my bent legs sitting in a chair. Granted I’m tall but still, not too much.

Now we don’t just yell at CDubs when he decides to do his own thing- even if we think it’s wrong. We try talking to him, reasoning with him. Sometimes, we compromise. Sometimes we let him discover the consequences (if it’s safe). Sometimes we outright pick it up or stop him and then explain why we did what we did.

As I am trying to explain to CDubs why he shouldn’t play on the floor in a public place, Ry decides it’s not worth the headache. CDubs isn’t blocking the only path to the restroom, he isn’t blocking doors, he’s not taking up a lot of space; just let him play for now.

I sigh, and begin to gather my papers and things together for this meeting, checking for the third time I’ve got everything.

To my surprise, another adult, 60-ish pokes their face directly in mine. I can feel their breath on my cheek.

Loudly, they tell me the type of sippy cup we brought in isn’t allowed.

“You misunderstood me ma’am, I said a sippy cup was fine. That’s a water bottle.”

“Yes sir/ma’am,” I say, “but this is sold as a toddler water bottle/sippy cup. See the little drawings and dragons on the cup? I promise it’s not for me and it doesn’t spill.”


The adult “ahhs…” And moves off.

So I continue to check my documents and papers.

Not even five minutes later, after I again comment maybe CDubs should be in the chair, the same adult gets in my face again.

Louder, they tell me it’s not their place but, “If I was a parent I wouldn’t let my baby play near a bathroom, all those germs on the ground he could really get sick. As a parent you should be considerate of others, what if there was a handicapped person who needed to use the restroom? They couldn’t fit through there.”

Laughter permeates my skull as people around us obviously agree and delight it my dressing down.

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(Image clipartkid.com)

I turn to Ry and suggest they go eat lunch without me, or take a drive. He agrees and they both leave.

Remembering I am a volatile young woman, I take to Facebook to complain in that mysterious way 20-somethings do:

Yeah I was embarrassed. I actually also didn’t think my son should be on the floor too. Mind you as you sit in a plastic chair there is only a thin woven fabric on a person’s body (i.e. There are gaps in the fabric etc) separating a persons private area/butt from where my son would have sat/put his hands on. I fail to see how that’s better. Maybe y’all don’t mop the floors here though. Also guess what:

Feeling better once I huffed online and in my own head, I tell myself I’m being a bit silly. Perhaps I better catch up on my reading; still haven’t made it to the naked jailbreak. So I power up my little app and get to reading, only to stumble upon this passage in Alma:

“…thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering…”

Aw man. 😡 there it is. Patient and full of love…. I was not. I’ll do better, I vow after reading that section twice more.

I am called, I conduct my business, and leave the respective cubicle only to be beckoned to via crooked finger to the same adult.

I think, “Oh no, what now…” And smile my best smile and walk over.

“I didn’t mean to embarrass you, it’s just this is a public place and…” Blah blah blah…

Okay. So not really an apology but an attempt at one. Sort of.

Yeah, I didn’t appreciate the way you talked down to me like I was an idiot to illicit laughter from others.

And yeah, a lot of stuff went down I didn’t appreciate in my own mind. I could have done better myself. I definitely did not spare any kind thoughts your way.

I ended up reassuring this individual it was okay. Then I asked to use their bathroom. (I mean, I had heard so much about it already…Not really impressed but there you go.)

I walked outside in the 95° humidity and stood on the sidewalk waiting for Ry to drive back. Maybe it’s silly, even though I was trying to take the higher path, I’d rather stand outside then spend another minute in there.

Maybe this person was right though. They certainly are assigned to work there enough. Maybe horrifying things happen on that floor.

Or maybe, it was another instance of unwanted advice. What do you think? Is there a time to offer your two cents? Was I unjustly angry at this stranger? Let me know in the comments!

For more Sundries, follow me on Instagram @ afternoonofsundries on Twitter @ SundriesofLife or on Pinterest @ SundriesofLife 

Wind Chimes 


She had grown out of her awkward big footed, dumpy child looks. One day Her father looked up and realized boy hand-me-downs weren’t going to work any longer. The thick glasses were replaced with thinner wire frames, ones that actually fit Her face. She looked less like an owl and more like a cat.

There was the another big change. She hadn’t blossomed like other 15 year olds, but She had grown taller; 7 inches in the past year. Only She saw the stretch marks on her skin at her knees, elbows, and waist and wondered what they meant. She was tall; now, eye level and above with past tormentors. Those big feet were proportional now.

While Her father couldn’t accept She was teetering towards adulthood, She at least received clothing that for this new frame. Hideous old-fashioned tees sporting teddy bears and shells at the beach, not the Rock bands She preferred. No more elephant pants wrinkled at the ankles, but bright blue, purple and red jeans to her ankles. They fit well but oh the teasing. Why had her father picked these things for her?! Strange shirts and bright pants made for a more visible, humiliating target.

Luckily, there was another girl in oddly older clothes and jewelry, but by choice. Frosty blonde hair, clear pale skin, bright green eyes and a proper womanly frame, this young elfin looking girl saw something in Her.

They became fast friends, the tormentors falling to the side at their friendship, they read the same books and talked for hours, sharing secrets as young girls do.

Then the summer came, and the Elfin Girl invited Her on a 2 week trip to West Virgina (with parental supervision, of course). The Elfin Girl’s Mystic Mother was going north to treat a client. Mystic Mother was a massage therapist only, she believed in a magic of crystals and energy to heal. While this fascinated Her and the Elfin Girl, they couldn’t pretend they understood. They tried, but it was all fun and mysterious.

Once they reached their destination, it was plain She was to be a companion to Elfin Girl while Mystic Mother did her work. This suited Her fine. They were staying in a fine house with such strange and wonderful things, a sun room with tropical plants and heated tiles upon the floor, miles of farmland and abandoned mines littered the property, and plenty of beautiful rooms to explore.

They did indeed explore except, She did not like the room they were asked to sleep in. Elfin Girl slept in the bed, which was fine, and She had a more than adequate pallet on the floor; with animal skins and fleece and the like, piled up comfortably. There were dream catchers hanging all about with tapestries and paintings of good Fae and mystic creatures, and a large table of crystals and orbs.

Both girls loved poking at the crystal table. Elfin Girl was partial to tiger’s eye. She knew from experience, that she liked Quarts Crystal the best. It always felt warm in Her hand, welcoming, healing. She had used it in meditations and other things before.

The first night, She had this uncomfortable feeling. Watching. Assessing. She couldn’t sleep. She begged Elfin Girl to share the pallet; after much coaxing, she did. Finally, she could sleep.

This uneasiness continued every night, finally into the day. That one day, She was struck with the most feverish headache. She could barely see or stand, and Elfin Girl in her worry, gave up her bed to her friend.

She laid in a haze until her feverish eyes settled on a crystal and bronze wind chime outside the open window.

She became vaguely aware that someone was lost; that they, someone else, couldn’t get to them and it had been so long. They really loved this person but even now, they were not able to be together.

She had the awareness that only She could bring the two together, all She had to do was call out to them. She felt She was the only one who could, and it was very important to do so.

She was afraid, what if they were bad things? What if She harmed others by honoring this request? Fear struck Her hard then. She wasn’t sure what to do.

Staring still at the chimes, She focused as much as she could and recited a rhyme from somewhere inside. She was careful with her words as a child could be. She finished when She felt the words stop, and She waited.

Then there was a great feeling of movement, the floor, the Earth, something and then there were two. The chimes tinkled joyously and the room filled with a feeling of happiness and finality and then, nothing.

Mystic Mother came in a little later with a penetrating eye and some tea. The tea tasted funny to Her, but Mystic Mother said it was important to drink it all.

A small time later, She was up with Elfin Girl, exploring the fields.

She slept well that night, and for the rest of that trip.

Sunday Earworm: Have You Asked Any Good Questions Today?

Today at church I heard a pretty good sermon. Now, I like the sermon’s at my church because they are around 30 minutes and they actually have a point. This was the passage we read today:IMG_1818.JPG

The excellent Earworm from today’s Sermon is this: Did you ask a good question today?

What an interesting thought, sure you and I ask questions all the time. Sometimes we ask questions to gain knowledge, sometimes to be sarcastic and mean. How often do we ask good, honest questions? Real questions that actually have an effect on us and changes what we know with the answers?

I know when I was small I liked to ask questions all the time. Sometimes my questions made people uncomfortable, or made people get angry at me for asking them. Most of the time I was heavily discouraged from questioning anything.

I wonder what kind of person I would be today if people encouraged me to ask questions? If, like in the story we heard, my mother asked me “Did you ask good questions today?”

It’s something I think I’ll be asking CDubs in the future.

Such learned children we would have if we taught them all what constitutes as a good question and then encouraged them to ask them. What type of thinkers would we have?

Did you ask any good questions today, bloggers?

Children Say… The Darnedest Things

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So, Friday I am teaching my most… Exuberant 5th grade class about patriotism, reviewing The Star Spangled Banner and trying to convince them the lyrics are important. Most of my kids have no clue what the lyrics to our national anthem are. They know how the first 2 lines are hummed, and that’s it.

So I am trying to give them thoughts towards loving our country because if you love the USA then you’d try to learn the National Anthem… In theory.

So we copy down our notes:
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And I start checking student notebooks.

To the answer “why do you love America?” I received this answer, “because in America, I don’t have to work.”

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And the second comment happened today, during these notes:

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I suppose the student in question had some sort of accent but, one of her fellow peers informed her that she sounded like one of the women in the movie The Help. I really don’t care if both students were African American, that was just a comment too far.

These kids. I tell you. They say the craziest things.

Lastly, I give you the most creative slaughtering of my last name, “Gillespie:”

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Ah youth.

The Great Outdoor Debate: Would You Let Your Child Play Alone?

First, the new iOS is screwing with a lot of my apps including my quirky photo editing app that I adore to abuse. Alas, I must post an unadorned photo as my main picture:

IMG_1368.JPG(image http://www.livestrong.com)

I am sure this blog post has circled around your newsfeed this morning and afternoon, if you’ve been on Facebook, and if you are a parent or know parents.

The gist of the article is blog mom sent 2 kids out to play, mom could see kids from window. Older kid came inside, leaving younger kid (who was 6 I believe) alone outside. House/ window is 150 yards from play area, mom can see him and a tiny bit later, neighbor escorts woman’s son to the front door. Neighbor is upset about “returning” child. Mom is confused why child was returned. Neighbor calls cops and CPS. Mom is a interviewed many times and so are kids, which the kids are interviewed about abuse, neglect, drugs and sexual abuse.

So what prompted the visit was the neighbor, and the visits happened after the son was brought back.

So I don’t know your thoughts, but I wanted to discuss mine about this subject. Letting kids play outside.

Alright, so I went to the mom in question’s blog and her home is right across from a park bench. She lives in a “family friendly community.” And it seems like, she is for sure there for her kids.

This knowledge helps shape how I feel about this instance which is, the mom had every right to allow her child to play outside by her house. She was watching him, so much so, she saw her son being brought back by the neighbor.

Yes, it take seconds for a child to be kidnapped. Yes, believe me, I know. Mom was however watching, in a safe neighborhood, and I don’t think this is a case of neglect. She could have ran outside to get him if she saw anything wrong. She could have sent the elder child back out to get the younger once she realized the girl was inside. I’m not sure mom was given that chance.

So I don’t think neglect was going on, or that CPS needed to be involved, not in this case.

Now of course, would I do this? Let a 6 year old play insight of my house?

I can only tell you what I know. My neighbors let children of varying ages run rampant outside of our townhouses. I mean, sometimes this summer I wanted to demand supervision. I wanted that only because my then, 3 month old woke up every time neighbor girl screamed “let it go” at the top of her tiny lungs as she zoomed past my door countless times in a violently pink electric scooter. (By the way, the only words she knew were “let it go” screamed to the melody of the chorus)

The supervision was to keep me from being tempted to scream back. The correct words.

No one seemed at all phased that 8- 13 year olds were playing around our many townhouses this summer. I don’t even know the family. They can’t say they “trust us.” But it happens. Now neighbor girl on scooter can scoot away from the would be predator. She is also older than 6, maybe 8.

I think of my same complex, 5 1/2 years from now, neighbor girl scooting off to date boys and “letting go” of her childhood and crooning towards teen, and I think of CDubs playing outside. At age 6.

No. Not happening.

But I have good reasons, I am sure just like how that mom from the blog post has reason to let her kids play outside as she watches from a safe distance.

I live near a police station/ jail house.

I live by a busy street and a highway is behind my home.

Before the highway is a huge field that is harvested by scary machines with blades. There is no fence separating field and apartment complex.

No one watches where they are going in the parking lot, which is 1 foot from my front door.

Sex offenders are like rain here, there is a sprinkling of them everywhere.

So no, I wouldn’t let CDubs play outside. He smiles at everyone. Even the strange people in Walmart, that I wish he wouldn’t smile at. If blog mom lived here, she wouldn’tet her kids play outside either.

But isn’t that the point? As parents, don’t we make choices based on what we know? Don’t we decide on experiences and general knowledge what’s okay and not okay?

I was taken off my parents’ property repeatedly by a teenage boy when I was ages 5-8. I played maybe 35 yards from the kitchen window. Not every creeper has the van and the dirty sweaty pedo mustache.

There is one big difference. My mom never watched.

My husband though, grew up in a family neighborhood type place and played in the street and all sorts of stuff. Never had an issue, totally safe.

Now because of my personal knowledge, and experiences I know I will be outside playing with CDubs. Dishes and housework be damned. If I could live with a hoarder and woman could regularly beat the shit out of me and CPS didn’t even know my name, I can leave my house cluttered and dishes in my sink.

My husband, having been briefed on my childhood, understands my feelings. That’s the choice we are making. As parents, that’s what we do. It’s interesting that now our choices must appeal to the masses or else we’ll be brought up on charges (or possible charges).

What would you do? What did you do? If you had children or when your children were young, how old were they when you let them play outside alone? Or did your children always play with you outside? Did you watch from a window?

What do you think? Was the neighbor justified in her actions?

(I’m for bed, my stomach is still a bit wonky!)