Paris Is For Lovers

Jed will tell you that I fell in love with him the day we met. My story is a bit different than his. I mean sure I felt something when we met, but I’m not sure if it was love. It was for sure a bit of curiosity mixed with a bit of “like” and maybe a touch of lust. But I was concerned about his Carthartts and his pocketknife. I wasn’t looking to date an outdoorsman at the time.


That was May.


We didn’t see each other again until August.


By November I was pretty smitten.


And by January I pretty much wanted to see him all the time.


But it was February when I fell in love.


Valentine’s Day in Paris to be exact.


At a table at La Coupole. I ordered some stinky cheese dish with mushrooms. We had a few dogs under our feet as our table-mates on both sides brought their animals with them to dinner. I drank more than my fill of red wine to go with my stinky(and yummy) cheese, and we strolled Montparnasse and over to La tour Eiffel. And yep, it was more than like or lust by then.


It was my first time in Paris. And his first since his childhood. And it’s where we fell in love.


16 years and three kids later…and….


“We’ll always have Paris.”


I promised Eloise a trip to Paris for her 13th birthday. Her birthday is in two weeks – so yeah, that trip isn’t happening. Life, finances, priorities always getting in the way. But after the heartbreak last night, I’ve been searching for flights like a crazy lady – because more than ever I want to get back and take her there and show her the beauty and light and spirit of the people and city…and show her that we are not afraid. We can never be afraid.


We just need to love more.


We pray for peace.


One Last Chance


Um hi, this is Tracy Morrison and I want to schedule a D&C.

“Hi Tracy, let me just look up your chart…..okay so let’s see here….um Tracy, so you are pregnant again?”

I am and I want the D&C as soon as possible.

“Why don’t we make an appointment with your doctor first and do an ultrasound and see how far along you are.”

No, this isn’t negotiable. I don’t want an ultrasound. I’ve had dozens of ultrasounds before and I know what it will show – it will show a pregnancy that is 5-6 weeks along with a little beating heart and then I’m going to fall in love with that beating heart right then and there. And then you are going to make me come back again in a week or so and there’s that heart again and then I fall in love just a little bit more. A week later we’ll do it all again and I’ll find myself not only falling in love even more, but I’ll find myself at Target buying a sleeper, some little socks and I’ll start listing baby names. And you know what happens about a week or maybe three weeks after that? I’ll be in Target again and feel it. Feel some light cramping or maybe not so light cramping and then a drip..drip…drip. And then the good times well they really start. I will find myself back in the ultrasound room to see what I already know. I will see my baby. My baby that I fell in love with. Gone. Just like the last time and the time before that and the time before that and the time before that.


So no, I don’t want that doctor’s appointment or that ultrasound or that heartbeat or that falling in love or seeing that baby or buying that sleeper or those sweet dreams of meeting my new baby for the first time. I just want a D&C tomorrow so I don’t have to hope anymore.


Sometimes I think back to that conversation. I remember that woman. Me. Sitting on her kitchen floor with her head on her knees as she sobbed-shouted into the phone. And how she hung-up on the nurse that day for being so unreasonable. Then I think about how the doctor called me about an hour later and told me he just wanted me to come in so he could give me a hug and buy me a coffee. The doctor who told me three months earlier that it would be a million to one chance for me to have more children and any pregnancy would almost certainly end in another loss. The doctor who finally took hope out of my heart and I started to heal.

The next day in his office as he told me he thought we should do an ultrasound just ‘to see.’ I remember yelling at him for his betrayal of my heart and my hopes as he ripped me opened and played with my fragile emotions of motherhood.

“But Tracy you’ve been given one last chance. Never walk away from one last chance. You never know when this could be the one.”

Sometimes I hover too long over her crib at night. Her crib. She’s three and a half and still in a crib. My baby. My chance. I stroke her baby-soft cheek and move her blond curls away from her eyes. My tears fall onto her blankets maybe filling her slumber with dreams of her own that will come true one day. The same tears I shed on that kitchen floor four years ago when I thought all hope was gone.


This post originally appeared in Mamalode, but disappeared after their site migration. So I’ve brought it here. Home. Where it belongs.



Yesterday morning I rolled down my van window to hand a few dollars to the man standing on the median. He wore an old green coat, dirty pants, and scuffed shoes. He was at a busy intersection with long stoplights where many men, women and children will stand hoping for help.  He turned to me and smiled politely, and kind of laughed when he said “Oh gosh, I’m not homeless or looking for money, I was just trying to get across the street because my bus is coming! I’m a painter so I’m usually kind of a mess.”  I responded that I was so embarrassed, and told him to take the money anyway to buy a cup of coffee from the crazy lady in the minivan.


He declined my offer but asked if I always gave money to people who were asking on the streets.


“Always.” I said. “Always.”


“But how do you know if they really need to the money?” He asked.


“It’s not up to me to decide or judge if they need the money, so I just always give anyone what I have. Sometimes it’s a few quarters that I find in my van, sometimes all I have is a twenty, and sometimes I offer an extra lollipop from the bank and a promise to swing back by when I get some cash. But I always offer something with a smile and sometimes with a handshake.”  I replied, now noticing that my light was turning green.


The man reached into his pocket and pulled out a five dollar bill and tried to hand it to me. He told me to buy myself a cup of coffee or a cookie or something for my daughter, who he noticed smiling at him from the backseat.


“Oh, gosh no, I don’t want your money…really keep it!” I insisted as I pushed it back to him.


The car behind started honking as our light was now green, but our conversation was not over.


“I insist!” He said as he threw the money past me into the passenger seat. He then turned and bolted across the street to catch his bus that was now approaching.


A few hours later I entered the drive-thru at Caribou Coffee and ordered a small non-fat latte and a brownie.


When I got the window, I was told that the person in front of me had already paid for my items.


“Well, let me give you money for the gentleman in the truck behind me.” I told her as she gave me my new total. “How long has this been going on today?” I asked her.


She beamed. And a tear ran down her face as she said “Since eight this morning. So, now I guess it’s been about six hours that everyone’s been paying it forward.”


“This is one of those very good days, isn’t it?” I said to her…completely oblivious to the news unfolding a half a country away.


“People are good. So good.” She said. Then she looked in my van and noticed Astrid in the back and said “You know, I will make her a special drink too..on the house..just give me a second.”


She handed me the drink, which of course had extra whipped cream, and said to Astrid “You know, there are so many good people in the world. Just know that, okay.”


And I must continue to believe that.


Wearing one of my marathon shirts today to honor those in Boston #runforboston


Project 365 weeks 16/17 – National Infertility Awareness Week

I missed posting my Saturday project 365 post last week because we were celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary.  And I forgot to come back and tell you all that the special dessert of the night at the restaurant was actually WILD BERRY TORTE(I am apparently psychic). I kid you not. I was nice and told Jed that I thought it was a bad idea to order it. I may have also accidentally called him Peeta.


May I just give a plug to the restaurant where we dined.  We ate at the St. Paul Grill.(they don’t know me nor did they ask that I mention them) I hadn’t been there in probably 10 years. I used to go a lot for business dinners, but in the few times we’ve actually gone out for an adults only dinners in the last decade it hasn’t been on my radar. We like to go to Minneapolis or to try the new hot spot or a new small spot that everyone is raving about. The St. Paul Grill was incredible – the food, the service, the table – everything.  We will be back more often. I had forgotten how much I love that place and just the classic perfection.  It also didn’t hurt that we ran into Jed’s friend Norm.


So here are my random daily phone pictures from the past two weeks.


I look at these and laugh because yeah – Astrid seems to be the star.  Now you know what I pretty much do with my days. It makes me realize that my days would be so different if she never arrived. I cannot imagine.  I need you to know that not a day goes by that I don’t realize how lucky we are because of her.


I had my annual(and by annual, I mean I haven’t gone since Astrid was born) exam yesterday.  My doctor walked in and the first words out of her mouth were “and how is your miracle?”  She remembered. And she followed that question with “you know sometimes I tell my other patients your story…I hope you don’t mind…sometimes I just need to give them some hope when it seems there is no hope to be found.”


I wasn’t sure how to take that.  It’s one of those things that is such a personal struggle for everyone  – one that I’ve barely talked about it here nor at the time did I even talk about it with friends and family.  And it’s one of those things that is so emotional to the core that sometimes I can feel guilty for getting lucky. But during National Infertility Awareness Week I do want you to know I’m sending out so many prayers, hope, love and hugs and support to everyone who has and is struggling with infertility, and I want to raise awareness to the support and friendship that everyone needs during their struggle.


Much love.


It’s not my story…

I shut the computer down on Friday morning. I opened it twice this weekend. Quickly. But slapped it back closed. Emails are mostly unanswered unless it was something I could answer in less than four words on my phone.  Twitter ignored. I didn’t even talk to my mom this weekend. Well I called once but no one answered. I’m not one to leave a message. Did you know that about me?


I did sit on the floor this morning with my coffee and my Astrid and watched the 9/11 services for a time. Watched. Listened. As it’s not my story to write or tell.  I cried again for loss, for the families, for the sheer enormity of the tragedy.


But we all remember where we were that day. A few years ago I wrote about it here.  It was strange for me as an American living abroad.  Watching the events unfold in a Dutch bank lobby. Not having the 24/7 TV coverage week after week. The language barrier of really following the news. Never seeing the personal stories of loss or hearing the final numbers.   The total tragedy only now being unfolded for me year after year when I see the stories and really understand.


One thing I know though is that I do believe my grandmother was visiting me during that time for a reason. This 73 year old woman who had never left America before. She, who was meant to fly home on 9/12, was left to stay with me for four more days because that is where she was suppose to be. With me who was living alone so far from home.


Somehow someone knew I needed that connection and hug from home.

My grandma passed away a few years later and when I share a story of her, the story of her flying to Europe to be with me…and ironically being there during 9/11 is the story I always share. It sums her up perfectly – loving, warm, thoughtful and brave..and always being right where she needed to be for her family. Always.


I miss you Gram.