Saturday, June 29, 2019


June 25, 2019

I was issued a commendation by The Commonwealth of Virginia General Assembly in recognition of the work I have done helping mothers and babies as a La Leche League Leader. The award was presented to me today by State Senator Boysko at a breastfeeding support meeting that I have hosted for around 10 years.

This is what it says


Offered March 5, 2018
Commending Nancy Ruth Sherwood.

Patrons-- Boysko, Adams, D.M., Hope, Hurst, Krizek, Plum, Simon, Turpin and Ware; Senators: Ebbin, Marsden and Spruill 
WHEREAS, for more than 35 years, Nancy Ruth Sherwood of Fairfax County has helped new and expecting mothers in the Commonwealth and around the world learn about breastfeeding as a La Leche League Leader; and
WHEREAS, La Leche League International was founded in 1956 by a group of mothers hoping to provide breastfeeding help and support to interested women; a mother of five children, Nancy Sherwood became a La Leche League Leader in 1979 and a lactation consultant in 1993; and
WHEREAS, Nancy Sherwood has led hundreds of free, monthly La Leche League meetings, answered thousands of phone calls, and hosted a weekly breastfeeding cafe for the Reston and Herndon communities; and
WHEREAS, Nancy Sherwood has used social media, especially Facebook, to reach thousands of families with her informative, compassionate, and humorous posts, and she has inspired and sponsored other women to become La Leche League Leaders; and
WHEREAS, thousands of women have benefited from Nancy Sherwood’s expertise and support, and she has fostered a sense of community by building strong relationships with mothers, their children, and their partners; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, That the General Assembly hereby commend Nancy Ruth Sherwood for her work with new and expecting mothers as a La Leche League Leader; and, be it
RESOLVED FURTHER, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates prepare a copy of this resolution for presentation to Nancy Ruth Sherwood as an expression of the General Assembly’s admiration for her commitment to serving mothers and babies in the Commonwealth and throughout the world.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019


I know that I can be annoying and embarrassing to my kids.  Not as much as when they were younger and living at home and being dependent.

But here's the thing.   The way I feel about my kids- it's so deep, it's on a cellular level if not more (is that possible?).

My love is so deep and scary it overwhelms me sometimes.

I know that they are all adults now.  I also know, from my own experience as an adult child, how hard it can be to appreciate your mother.  It's so hard to be objective. It's impossible actually.  So when I casually say something that I might say to anyone, my kids can easily see it as a criticism, or a lack of understating. 

And as the "adult" here, I should be able to take whatever my kids dish out and keep on going.  But I am always surprised how deeply it hurts sometimes. And other times I am so happy and proud that I feel like maybe I had some part in it.

I guess you never are completely a grown up, child or parents.  It's complicated.

I feel every disappointment and hurt and frustration.  Sometimes I feel like it's all my fault.  Or my job to make it better.  Like when they were little and I could kiss it and make it better.

Love is so complicated.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

In the blink of an eye

That's just how fast it was.  A deer was hit by the car in the lane next to me when I was driving on Rt 50 this morning.  The traffic was moving at over 50 mph.  I saw a dear, flying through the air.  It was tumbling head and legs all flying wildly.  Right in front of me.  Then it was gone from my sight.  It was so fast I didn't really have time to react other than to gasp.  I didn't slow down or swerve.  I looked in my mirror to see if the person/ car that struck the deer was alright.   I wanted to ask the driver if he was alright.  But we didn't have any red lights before I lost sight of him.

I was shaken up.  Upset.  Sad.  I pulled into a parking lot and called Nick and cried.   Just "woosh" and a life ended right in front of me.   Violently.  Fast.  Final.  And I thought of my brother.  When he hit the car that pulled out in front of him, I know that he "flew" about 40 feet.  And he fell to earth and died.     I cannot imagine how that must have affected the people that saw him.

And so, that's life.  Busy, lazy, sleepy, restless.  Happy.  Sad.  Sick, Well.  And then poof it's over.

When a life ends violently it is a shock. As this poor deer's life ended.  And Dale. My big brother.  It was not expected.

But when it is expected, it is still hard and painful.   I have held beloved pets when they took their last breath.  It was calm and peaceful, but it took my breath away nonetheless. 

Something in the universe breaks when a loved one dies.  There is such a void that you never think that the hole in your heart will ever close.  Will you ever smile again? 

And for whatever reason, you do laugh.  And cry.  And go numb for a while.  It's what you have to do to continue going forward.

There is so much to be joyful about.  Sadness that the people and pets you love are gone.  Joyful that they were alive and in your life. 

There are so many sayings about being a parent.  Roots and wings.  But in truth, once you become a parent you experience fear like nothing you could ever imaging.  I was so overjoyed each time I was pregnant.  And I was almost immediately protective.

I lost my first baby.  No, I didn't set her down or misplace her. (I don't know the gender but always imagine a girl)   The baby died.  Inside my body.  I was visibly pregnant.  I could cup my growing belly and feel my baby bump.    And then I started bleeding.  And then I was not pregnant any more.   And my body wept blood and tears.   My heart broke.  Nick's heart broke.  And my family, on the other side of the world cried too.   The baby that never took a breath was so loved.

I lost another pregnancy before I got pregnant with Chance.  Not many people knew about that pregnancy.   It was sad, but it was a quieter more private loss.   I was only a few weeks along.  But, though it was not a "real" baby, it was a potential baby, and it was wanted.

And so, today I saw a deer get hit by a car.  I was going to say I saw a deer die.  But I didn't actually see it but I did.

And in that flash of a moment I saw life, death, hope, loss, joy and fear. 

And that is all.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Voices evoking time and memories

I was shopping in Target today when I saw a boy and his dad.  The boy looked about 10.  His dad was asking the boy about something that they were thinking of buying.  The boy answered earnestly and in a very grown up responsible way that it seemed like a good idea.

The the dad asked if the boy wanted to get some lunch.  The boy said "that sounds like a good idea".   But he had a sweet little boy's voice.    And it took me back to conversations with each of my sons at around that age.   They could be little kids one minute and the next talking like reasonable, mature people.  Only they were still little boys.  Soft sweet voices and smooth skin.  No acne yet.  No facial hair.   But on their way there.

And now I am the mother of four men.  Grown up adults.   With facial hair and height. They are all taller than me.    And I don't see them often.  Or speak to them.  Or hear their grown up voices.   The voices that are, in my memory, sweet and young.

And I have a daughter who is 41.  And she is independent.  She has always been, or at least tried to be independent even as a toddler.   No, she didn't want to get into the car seat!  She didn't want to do anything she didn't want to do.  She had boundless energy and makes me glad that I was young and energetic when I had her.

It's the whole circle of life.  The seasons go round and round.

It's all so normal.  Expected.  Usual.  Yet it is a mystery and a surprise.

And the boundless love that was there as soon as I knew that I was pregnant with each one, grew and grew. 

My heart exploded each time I met my newborn for the first time.   I worked hard.  I tried hard.  I worried and fretted and tried to see the joy through the piles of laundry and bottoms that needed wiping.

Trips to the emergency room.  Stitches and broken bones and strep and seizures.

There's a school of thought that when a baby is born it is a blank slate and we are responsible for what is written on that slate.

I don't know.  I don't know how responsible, or how much to blame I am. 

I know that we were pretty blank as new parents.   We did what we thought we were supposed to do.  We learned as we went.  We learned from other parents and books.  And our children were our hardest and most demanding teachers.

Staying up with a sick child.  Cleaning up vomit.  Worrying.

And now, as adults, I still worry.  I feel so bad when they experience pain.  I would drop anything and run to them if the need me.  I have done that for an adult child and as long as I am able I will always want to be able to be there.

I want to kiss it and make it better.  Mother love.....

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

random thoughts

I wonder if our kids think of us often.  I wonder if they think of us at all.   I wonder if they know that I think about them all every single day

Steroids make me crazy!

Last week, my knees were hurting so much I contacted the orthopedic office and asked if I could get some cortisone shots in my knees.  The shots really do make the pain go away.  Or mask the pain.  Or whatever.  All I know is that I am able to walk and even climb the stairs like a regular person.

But, I have hot flashes, I am starving.  I am impatient. I need to pee all the time.  I have weird dreams, and I cannot sleep.

Is it worth it? I can't say.  When you are not in pain it's hard to remember how disabled you were just a week ago .  Do I like the crazy feelings?  No.  Would I just randomly use these drugs?  No.  Do my knees feel better?  Yes.

I am emotional too.  Missing my kids.  I mean more than usual.   And I dreamed about making macaroni and cheese.  From scrap.  Gluten free. I cannot think of any time I have dreamed about food and specifically about cooking. 

I wonder if, in my steroidal delirium I will create something amazing?  Useful?  Edible?

Nah, I just feel like I have overdosed on caffeine.