A free-spirited friend of mine posted today that she scattered birdseed in her front yard. She’d heard it’s an old Scandinavian custom to bring good fortune in the new year.

My online feeds are full today of recipes for black-eyed peas, but I keep scrolling. I’ve tried the mealy things once or twice and never liked them. That’s one more no-thank-you bite than my kids have to take.

If I were a bigger believer in luck, I might try to force down a couple of medicinal bites — spiritual insurance against bad luck in the new year, perhaps? But I don’t believe in luck at all. Maybe because I lived in Las Vegas too long.

I believe in chance and in the law of averages. I believe a little bit in fate, but not pre-destination. I believe in choices and responsibility. And that sometimes things don’t go your way even when you do everything right.

This is a hard concept for adults. Even more so for my 10-year-old son. Lately he feels he has no luck at all. Playing games with him has always been difficult, because he cannot stand to lose. He gets down on himself. Blames his luck.

Last night, it was bowling. His little sister was ahead in points by the fifth frame, and he just shut down. Pouted and grumped and gave up. Today it was a family round of Hullabaloo, which is a game for kids half his age. The prize? Doing a funky dance. When a few short rounds went by and he hadn’t yet won the right to make a fool of himself, the pout returned.

I don’t react well when it happens. It frustrates me that he seems to feel entitled to a win. I don’t get to win all the time — why should you? At least I’m smart enough not to say this out loud. Instead, I try to stay calm and remind him to be a good sport. I had hoped by now he would have learned to lose graciously. I’m still waiting.

And he’s my first, so my expectations are probably way out of whack. Countless times I have asked myself, as his mother, “What’s normal?” We learned a long time ago that normal doesn’t enter into the picture for us most of the time — if normal means “like everyone else.”

My son has ADHD. He’s old enough now that he realizes this makes him different. And that he doesn’t like it. ADHD is both his boogeyman and his excuse. When you’re 10, you want to be normal. You think everyone else is, except you. When you’ve been diagnosed, prescribed, and treated for something that makes you different, there’s no denying you are not normal.

We talk about gifts. We talk about how everyone has a different toolbox. We talk about why it’s good we’re not all the same.

We talk a lot.

But I can’t talk him into feeling better about himself — any more than I’ve ever been able to do this for myself.

Hopefully his dad and I can show him over time that there are plenty others like him who have overcome the obstacles of ADHD and even discovered its good qualities. Like my friend Missy, who uses her endless energy to lead fitness classes, customize and sell cute little hats, raise four kids — and laugh about her ADHD. I wish I had a quarter of what keeps her on the go.

My son’s not in a place to grasp this just now, because he feels having ADHD was just his bad luck. I’ll admit that sometimes I do too. Or I wonder what would have happened if I’d eaten my black-eyed peas, scattered more birdseed in the yard, carried a rabbit’s foot, rubbed the Buddha’s belly, and knocked on more wood.

I wouldn’t trade the son God gave me for anyone. I can’t wait to see who he’ll be when he’s 20, 35, 60. No one else will be like him. And for that, I count myself lucky.


Getting to Know Me: a Kansas Women Bloggers Link-Up

Getting to Know You Link Party with the Kansas Women Bloggers


As the editor of Kansas Women Bloggers, I decided I wanted to learn more about our 100+ members, and share a little more about myself. So I took a page from our sisters at Texas Women Bloggers and cooked up this Getting to Know You link-up! Here are my answers:

If you make money with your blog, how do you do it?

I never have, and I am totally impressed by people who do. I wonder how you maintain a balance between content and promotions when you do giveaways and reviews. I’m a former journalist, so I’m still a stickler for that editorial integrity!

How do you increase your blog readership?

Obviously, participation in Kansas Women Bloggers helps! I’ve also enjoyed another weekly blog challenge called Yeah Write, which awards editors’ picks and crowd favorites each week. But that’s just a cherry on top. The real prize is the response you get from all the other bloggers.

If you are from Kansas, have you ever lived elsewhere?

Oh yes. Texas, Colorado (met the husband), Arizona (married the husband), and Las Vegas (had the first baby). We moved back here in 2005. Well, it was back for me; the husband is not a native.

If someone were to hand you $10,000 (no strings attached), what would you do with it?

(Just for fun we’re going to pretend I have no debt to pay off, because that’s the real-life answer, but it’s boring.) I would use $2,000 of it to help a homeless family with children get back on their feet. I would use the rest to build a bedroom and bathroom in my basement and furnish it with vintage pieces. Then I would use it as my office/getaway.

Who was the first blogger you ever really followed?

Had to be Rants from Mommyland, which was actually two bloggers then but is now one. It was the first safe place I found to laugh with other moms about the craziest shizz of parenting, especially on the days I was a lot closer to crying. The best thing about them, though, was their heart. We all gotta vent sometimes, but if it doesn’t come back around to love, it just sounds mean and selfish.

What’s your favorite pair of shoes?

Now in heavy rotation are my tall brown boots in a riding style. I love these freakin’ things. Low heel because I’m getting old, but they still do the most awesome job of dressing up my otherwise plain outfits. Boot season is the best. So, OK, save a couple hundred from my $10K windfall for one or two more pairs.

It’s nice to be important.

But it’s more important to be nice.

Path of many flowers

When I finally send them off into the world, I hope they see it as beautifully as this.

Blog on the way

Erin’s got to go volunteer at her kid’s school right now, but soon she’ll be blogging like a mofo.