I am a very superstitious mom.  I don’t dare even think of all the horrible things that can happen to my young penis people out of sheer terror that I will invite bad shit in to my life.  I never entertain the notion of “what ifs“…..  The mere thought of all the “what ifs” give me goose bumps.

It’s not that I’m being insensitive to the heartaches and struggles of other families.  I ache for them one and all.   I just can’t bear to imagine it or even let it touch my life in even the faintest of a whisper.

However, there are two exceptions to this rule (and links are provided below)…….

When I was pregnant with the wee penis person a few years ago, I was up one night researching some troubling news the doctors had given us.  It was minor troubling news, but trouble no less….and I was a mom on a mission to arm myself with as much internet information as I could process.  I was looking up infant mortality rates on this specific issue and somehow stumbled upon a gut wrenching website called Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep (or NILMDTS).  It is a website dedicated entirely to families whose babies were born sleeping.  Pregnant moms who were forced to face the tragedy that the small little miracle within was no longer.  When these babies are born (because most of the moms still had to endure the delivery as well), this organization can be called upon to come and take beautiful, memorializing photographs of the parents saying both hello and goodbye to their “born sleeping” infant.  This agency is non-profit and all the photographers donate their time and services to these families in their deepest despair.  Many of the families have links to their own sites for their children that never got a chance to live.  There is a beautiful song that plays (Smallest and Wingless by Craig Cardiff), but I can promise you that you won’t be able to listen to it in its entirety without shedding buckets of tears.

While every single morsel of my superstitious mommy brain told me to click off this site and run screaming in the opposite direction…..I couldn’t.  It was so sad but also so beautiful and so moving.  That these families could somehow still continue to breath in and out and put one foot in front of the other and keep moving intrigued me.  And so I sat there and wept copiously and couldn’t sleep that entire night because my mind couldn’t let those born sleeping babies and their families go.


Not very long ago, I came across a website called Mary Tyler Mom.  She was witty and funny and wrote a wonderful blog and I fell in deep girl-like for her immediately.  I’d had no idea that she was a mom who’d suffered the insurmountable loss of a child, her young daughter Donna, who lost her battle with terminal cancer at the tender age of not-quite five.  Mary Tyler Mom spent all of this past September chronicling the final 30 months of young Donna’s fight with Cancer.  Each day I read her posts and choked back tears that literally burned in my throat.  I was a changed person by the final installment of “Donna’s Cancer Story”.  I like to think Donna and Mary Tyler Mom made me appreciate motherhood, and my two small penis people, 1000 times more.

Since reading this tragically beautiful story that marked the bitter-sweet end of life for a beautiful little girl, I find myself thinking of Donna often…..especially when I’m losing patience with my kids.  I think of Donna, and her courageous Mary Tyler Mom, and I come to the realization that these children we have are precious and spectacular gifts on loan to us parents.  I couldn’t not read it.  I tucked all my superstitions away for a while and just took a moment to celebrate the life of such a touching little girl….and the mom who took the biggest tragedy of her life and turned it in to “Donna’s Good Things”, a charity that raises awareness, and funds, for pediatric cancer And I haven’t forgotten the lessons they provided me.


And with these two sites, I grew to realize that there is sometimes a brilliant beauty hidden just below the surface of the sorrow.  You can’t look at these two sites and not take a second to recall just how damn lucky you really are.  Life is full of unfairness and grief.  And life will make no provisions for how nice you are or how giving you are or if you’re a good person.  It will pelt you in the noggin with a full force that might likely knock you on your ass more than once……..Life is hard……wear a helmet.


These links will move you…………if they don’t, you simply don’t have a heart at all……

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

Mary Tyler Mom

Donna’s Cancer Story

Donna’s Good Things