Old Pictures and OCD

  Jack in 2010, when he was six years old I had a challenging afternoon. I had to sift through old pictures of my sons, looking for soccer pictures of Jack, my middle son, in preparation for his upcoming 8 th Grade Night. They were due last week, but I did not want to do it. This afternoon, I finally forced myself to go through picture after picture of my boys when they were younger. Cute pictures of chubby cheeks and big smiles. Silly pictures. Christmas pictures. Disney World and Toronto. Halloween. Joseph asleep beside Sam. Jack hugging Drew. Me, sitting on the floor, surrounded by little boys and toys and a pug. Hundreds of pictures. I was miserable. I cannot look through my pictures right now without my anxiety going up. Even now, as I am typing this, my heart rate is up and I’m sick on my stomach, just thinking about the pictures. What should bring joy and sweet memories instead brings grief and near-terror for me. It is one of the many ways OCD intrudes on my

How to Make Mamaw's Biscuits

This weekend we were in my mother’s kitchen. My mom, my sister, my grandmother, and me. “She got tarred of me pesterin her, so she finely let me hep her,” Mamaw was talking about her own mother, from a time when Mamaw was only ten or eleven, she said. “Then she’d roll me outta bed evry mornin from then on to make biscuits.” She laughed at this. Gina, my sister, gathered everything she needed to make Mamaw’s biscuits: flour, oil, and buttermilk. Mamaw stood opposite my sister, on the other side of the counter, ready to give instruction. Gina had been planning this for days. My family is going through a difficult time right now. My Papaw just spent a week in the hospital for surgery. Now he and Mamaw are staying with my parents as Papaw continues to recover. Mamaw has dementia and Alzheimer’s, which complicates everything. That Gina wanted to do something to help did not surprise me. She is a nurse and has a nurse’s personality: she is a caregiver and has a servant’s heart. F

Together, Alone

The night of our wedding, my new husband and I spent the night at The Galt House in Louisville. We got married on January 6, 2001. Between semesters. He was in his first year of law school. I was in my last year of undergrad.  We had been engaged for three and a half years and together for six years, since I was a sophomore in high school. We had planned to get married the summer after I graduated college, but we were done waiting. We were ready to be married. So we set a date between semesters and got married eight quick days after my first niece was born and two days before my semester started. We got married on Saturday; on Monday, I was two hours away from my new husband staying on campus for a three day orientation for student teaching.  There was no time for a honeymoon. We would go to Vegas during spring break later that semester. The weekend of our wedding, we settled for a romantic night at a historic hotel downtown. At the hotel that evening, we were starvin