Part Three: A Mom

Chapter 25: Sacrifice
Mark, diagnosed as suffering from intestinal migraines triggered by stress, thoroughly enjoyed his interview for a position as professor of radio and television, yet he doubted the college would offer him the job. I knew they would, and I knew it meant we must redefine our lives – again.

Chapter 26: In Transition
Moving to a small, college town so Mark could teach meant swapping roles. I would be Stross’ primary care giver; Mark would be the breadwinner. The transition process took all summer, and I spent every day emotionally preparing for the upheaval of leaving our life in Des Moines.

Chapter 27: Playing by the Rules
I’d never planned to be a stay-at-home mom. In order to cope, I established seven hard and fast rules known to no one but myself. (Ex: Rule #1 – Dress for the day as if dressing for casual Friday.) Some freelance work (via phone and fax) helped my emotional equilibrium.

Chapter 28: Learning to Abide
Settling into small town life involved ensuring Stross received early childhood education services, establishing new medical routines, and crafting a semiprofessional life as a PR consultant and adjunct instructor. After one year, Mark and I decided to risk having another child.

Chapter 29: Getting Real
Stross’ eighth surgery affirmed the new base of support we’d developed in Forest City. While resigning my position with the Lt. Governor’s Committee on Diversity, I shared thoughts with her that led to a realization of how my faith had matured.

Chapter 30: Walking Lessons
Stross needed surgery to correct his crossed eyes. A three-year-old, he was now ready, but reluctant, to use a walker. Preschool provided his motivation to start. Walking at church offered another kind of motivation. Stross would soon be a big brother, too.

Chapter 31: Just As He Was
The logistics of participating in communion usher in a time of heightened awareness for the impact Stross’ life has on those he encounters.

Chapter 32: Pushing Through
Trips kept Mark away during the sixth month of my pregnancy, and carting Stross into and out of inaccessible places caused pre-term labor. Several weeks in our blue recliner gave me time to mentally prepare for a vaginal birth rather than a repeat cesarean. This birth experience – vaguely familiar, yet incredibly different – accentuated how different I’d become.

Chapter 33: Ready to Fly
Skye, our second son, brought our family a sense of peace and wellbeing – a sense of true normalcy. Through him, our family’s life experiences broadened. With Stross about to enter kindergarten, I realized his capacity to dream and to connect with God surpassed my own. As reluctant as I was to do it, allowing him to be my life teacher helped me find joy and discover myself in the process.