Katie Cloyd is a stay-at-home mom and a seriously great wife. She loves winged liner, things that sparkle, and giving people a little grace. She is almost always on time, but inevitably forgets something important. She lives with her husband and two little boys just outside of Nashville. You can find Katie on Facebook. www.facebook.com/katiecloyd
If you’re here there is almost 100% chance it’s because you saw something I wrote for Scary Mommy.
I’m humbled that you sought me out. I have been submitting things to Scary Mommy for a few months now and I am really enjoying the experience. I am still trying to figure out what my next steps are as far as furthering my writing is concerned, but I would be SO EXCITED if you’d connect with me on Facebook and keep an eye out there for more content from me.
As soon as I have a plan, my Facebook followers will be the first to know!
Really honored that you are interested in what I have to say! Keep an eye open for more!
I have been attempting to say something about Las Vegas all day. But I can’t find anything eloquent to say.
Because I am paralyzed by the fear of raising my boys in this world where evil people choose to remind us all too often that there is no way to keep them safe. When I chose to bring them into life, I chose to know love so deep and fierce that it makes the world even more terrifying.
The only consolation is that, at least for today, my boys are too little to know about evil and murder and hate and terror. They don’t have access to news unless I give them access. They’re just babies. This mass shooting is not the one I have to explain to them.
But someday, they’ll hear something I don’t want them to hear, and I’ll have to watch their faces as they discover that sometimes people kill other people who have done nothing at all to “deserve” it.
Someday they’ll be afraid, too. Because aren’t we all a little afraid?
But today, they aren’t afraid, and I am happy to carry this fear alone to let them be innocent for as long as possible.
I am devastated for everyone who lost someone they loved last night in Las Vegas. It’s unimaginable. I can’t even let my mind wander to the horror of that night. I know it’s a luxury that I can even choose to stop thinking about the details- those who are directly affected can’t make that choice today, and that weight must be absolutely unbearable.
As a mom myself, I am especially holding in my heart the mothers who lost their “babies” in that hail of bullets and terror. Those mothers who once cradled their children and took on all the fears of the world to let them play without worry for just a little longer, are living the ultimate nightmare of living without them. How will they carry on?
There’s nothing I can really do to fix the world, but my heart is heavy and my tears are flowing.
My husband has been away for work for THREE MONTHS and will finally be home this weekend!
I will have so much more time on my hands to write, record videos-and just make my blog and social media a lot more fun!!
Thank you so much for hanging in there with me since the first essay was published! Lots more to come!
“There are a lot of negative messages swirling around this planet about fat bodies, and it’s not possible for me to ignore them all every day. Sometimes I listen to the critics, and I lose sight of everything that is amazing in me.”
We see it in the headlines. A child forgotten in a hot car. A toddler finds his way into an animal enclosure. A kid falls in a pool. An otherwise gentle family pet attacks the neighbor’s child. A tiny daredevil climbs up an unsecured dresser. A school age child is abducted on the short walk home from the bus stop. A teenaged girl takes her charging iPhone in the bath.
The list goes on. Accidents. Tragedies. They happen every day. And one thing they have in common is the relentless judgment we heap on the already grieving parents.
I was guilty of this.
Probably one of the worst, although I wouldn’t usually judge out loud. My judgment manifested as smugness. Just a total sense of inner certainty that in tragedies like that would never happen to me. How could they? I never take my eyes off my child. I’m the mom with the backpack leashes. I’m the mom with the sit-and-stand stroller so my preschooler can be contained when I need him to be. I’m a good mom. My mind was always telling me, “It can’t happen to anyone. It can happen to people who aren’t being careful and paying attention.” In my heart, I believed that I was too doting, too conscientious to ever find myself in the position of one of those parents who make headlines.
Then, life handed me proof that I was 100% wrong. I could absolutely be that mom. Anyone could be that mom.
This is my apology to every decent parent who I have judged based on their worst, saddest, scariest moment.
I am so sorry.
Last summer, I had a 3-year-old and a newborn. My husband and I took them to the neighborhood pool early one afternoon, and we had the whole place to ourselves! We spent a glorious hour swimming and playing with our big boy as our newborn napped in the shade. It was perfect. Our son giggled and splashed, as the late afternoon sun warmed his freckled face. We got out to reapply sunscreen and nurse the baby.
We took off Henry’s Puddle Jumper, and he was waiting for his sunscreen to dry. Our usually cautious, obedient child was standing right next to us. Scott helped me move a chair into the shade to nurse Walker, when suddenly he let out a guttural yell, and took off at a million miles an hour.
In the short seconds it took to move the chair, Henry had gotten uncharacteristically brave, and walked down the steps into the pool. The last step took him into 3 foot water and at just under 41 inches tall, he was unable to get his footing and keep his mouth and nose above the water. I’ll never forget the image of my sweet boy flailing in that water, and I’ll never forget the sound my husband made when he saw that Henry needed to be rescued.
The whole thing took less than 5 seconds. It felt like slow motion.
Watching my beautiful baby struggling in that pool…seeing my terrified husband scoop him up and squeeze him so tight…hearing my sweet boy sobbing that he didn’t want to go under the pool ever again.
As I held my crying son and my trembling husband, I had no choice but to take back every “that could never be me!” that I’ve ever spoken.
Just seconds after we took this happy family photo, our whole lives could have changed.
It feels better to “other” people who make the news on their worst day; it makes us feel exempt from the terror and guilt they lived watching their children suffer or die.
But, despite my confidence in my own parenting, it could be me. It could be you. It could be any of us.
My father came out to me when I was 28, and he was 49.
My parents had just celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary.
So, that was fun.
I mean, I wasn’t shocked. It was confirmation of my long-time suspicion, and TBH, it made his road trip playlist make so. much. more. sense. #bornthisway
But even though I saw it coming, when it became real, it felt way heavier than I had imagined. The transition to a new kind of family wasn’t without its, um, challenges. We didn’t get it perfect. I wish I could say we came close, but trust me- we didn’t even come close.
Like, at all.
But soon enough, we figured shit out like we always do. Early this spring, I found myself standing outside our progressive, fully-inclusive church on a sunny afternoon watching my Dad marry a guy he loved. I mean, I love all kinds of love, but I definitely thought that wedding kiss would be weird.
Not because they’re both men- who do you think I am? Geez.
Just because it was my dad. Gross.
But it wasn’t weird, and now it’s like Doug was always here. Their wedding day was one of the most deeply joyful days of my life. It was just the two of them, two witnesses and a minister standing in a field, but it felt like the most beautiful celebration. I’m tearing up just trying to write this.
My oldest son was only a year old when my dad came out, but I worried pretty much immediately about how I would explain “the whole gay thing” to him. I’ve seen so many parents expressing worry or outrage when LGBT love is included in anything their kids might see, and it made me feel like my kid was going to be SO CONFUSED by his own grandfather. I clearly needed to prepare flow charts and graphs and textbooks and diagrams. What a roller coaster this was going to be!
Thankfully, I realized I was being an idiot.
How do you explain the whole gay thing to kids?
I will always answer my kid’s questions honestly, because that’s how we parent. But I don’t have to have some kind of battle plan to explain my dad’s marriage. I’ve never explained anyone’s marriage or family to my kid unless he asked questions.
Why would this be any different?
If you ask my preschooler about Pepere and Doug, he will say they are “a family together.” He knows that Pepere is my father, and Doug is not, but they’re both his grandfathers. He knows we all love each other, and love makes us a family. He will ask more questions when he has them. I don’t have to do anything else.
Despite my best efforts, some jerk is going to expose my boys to anti-LGBT nonsense at some point. We live in a smallish town in a Red state in the Bible belt. It’s going to happen. I am prepared for a few tears and a lot of questions, but maybe they’ll surprise me. Maybe they’ll dismiss that garbage and be totally unfazed. My mama heart can dream.
Whatever happens, whatever they hear, whatever they ask, we are ready. It’s not as complicated as I once imagined. Love is love. And kids understand love.