The crickets competed with the frogs to drown out my husband’s voice as he told bedtime stories to our children when we camped in our backyard last week. The kids strained their ears to hear his stories about Charley and his wonderful house, cowboys, or the new three little pigs. Whatever tale he weaves, the children are captivated. His stories have the power to calm their fears and chase away the bogeyman.
Whether made-up or true, stories have a certain magic. They change things. My whole day changed on Saturday when my mother-in-law excitedly told me the story of how my brother-in-law and his wife revealed they were expecting their first baby. My heart melted with the sweetness of the moment, and ever since then, I’ve been a little bit giddy when I think about a new niece or nephew.
But this time of year also has me thinking about darker and sadder stories. Six years ago this week, I suffered our first miscarriage. All the joy and expectation surrounding that fifth child turned into a lump of nearly unbearable sorrow that I lugged around with me at all times.
And then the stories started being told. Church members, family, friends, and even strangers told me the stories of their own sadness. Unlike the typical birth story that details every moment of labor and delivery, these stories were short. Most women simply told me that they, too, had lost a baby before birth. The kindness and sympathy in their eyes told all the story I needed to know. I was not carrying my burden alone.
I was surprised by how many people I knew who had miscarried, friends and family who had never told me about it before. For some, I was the first person who’d ever heard their story. It seemed I was now part of a grim sisterhood connected by these painful stories.
Oddly enough, it was these sad stories that brought me earthly comfort. While they didn’t promise that the sadness would all go away, they changed my outlook. I could see that life carried on for these strong women and that it would continue for me, too.
These stories changed me, and now I’ve shared my story with you. If you know of a hurting mother, share this story with her so that she might know she is not alone. If you have suffered through miscarriage, please don’t be scared or ashamed to share your pain with others. Your simple words have the power to calm fears, chase away a little of the darkness, and to heal both the listener and the teller.
This time of year is also back-to-school time. If your children are like mine, after school time is a hungry time. unfortunately, it is also a time when I don’t have much mental energy to think of a good snack to make.
Do your children have a favorite afternoon snack? Please email me your favorite snack ideas so that I can share them in a future column. Until then, try out my healthier version of a milkshake. I used to drink this for a quick breakfast before I headed out the door for school when I was a teacher, but it’s a good snack in the afternoon, too.
Peanut Butter Banana Milk
2 Tbsp. peanut butter
1 ripe banana
2 cups cold milk
Blend all ingredients together in a blender. Pour into a cup and drink it down, no cookies necessary. Of course, a little chocolate syrup never hurt anybody!