I’m part of the Mommy Blogger Collective. Each month we’re given a one word prompt to riff with. This month’s prompt is *shine.*

Gwenyth, my monkey, came into this world nearly 6 years ago. She has reminded me every day since last Wednesday that she wants a “purple” birthday party, because (this week), it’s her favorite color.

girl with flowers

I’m not sure what I expected from motherhood. Before I had Gwen, the last time I had changed a diaper was 1984 acting as a 3 year old fumbling “helper,” wrangling one on my sister. Gwen was born at 7:22 am. That night, after visitors were in and out, and a thousand pictures of my tiny baby with taken, the nurse assigned to me insisted that I “get some sleep” after my 19 hour drug free labor (!). She promised my bundle of joy would come back to me “in a few hours” to eat. NOT a few hours later…1.5 hours later…I can vividly re-play the creak of the hospital room door, the tiny squeak of the baby-cart and the hideous (don’t roll your eyes and lie, it is awful) shrill of an infant cry, MY infant, as she was pushed into my room by an apologetic nurse who let me know that she and her team “couldn’t console” this little baby like they could the others. Oh, holy crap. This was the soundtrack to insomnia, I was sure. I don’t know what I expected out of my first night as a mother, but I think I (foolishly) expected sleep. (Don’t all laugh at once.) I held Gwen on my chest, pet her tiny back, and she fell asleep in an instant. So it began, and so it went. She slept there all night long, only waking up to eat, for the first 8 weeks of her life, and it’s time gone by that I cherish.

About 3.5 years later, when she first began preschool, Gwen had an inconsolable crying fit (notice a theme?) over an art project. Her teacher couldn’t figure out what set her off. That night when I tucked Gwen in, I asked her why she was so sad, so upset by the project: dip hand in paint, stamp hand down, teacher makes sheep ears, tail, etc. Each sheep was white, identical. My 3 year old explained in a serious way I’ll never forget: “I don’t want to be a white sheep. I want to be pink or red.” My lesson as a mother? My kid, though a bit more difficult, knows who she wants to be. She digs her heels in and can pitch fit when someone tries to define her. Yes. I’m thankful.

Zoom to the present. Tonight I’m editing Gwen’s graduation photos. She’s my free-spirited millennial hippy, who makes fairy rings out of flowers alongside elaborate architectural structures out of found objects. She’s far more interesting than me already.

Jumps when it’s not time? You bet. Talks when it’s not her turn? Guarantee it. Marches to the beat of her own drum? Absolutely. She made the drum. Cried the loudest and longest in the nursery? Yep. Won’t be one of the white sheep hanging on the wall? No way, no how. I wouldn’t change a thing. My little girl shines.


“Shine” is the June writing prompt of The Mommy Blogger Collective. In addition to a monthly writing prompt, the collective hosts a monthly blogger featurette. This month we are featuring Christina of Mouse in Your House. A few words from Christina — At Mouse In Your House, I’m bringing you stories about being a working mom, quirky family lifestyle trends, frugal living, DIY ideas and the talented people who make life something amazing. I hate getting bored and occasionally use Mouse In Your House to ask people very personal questions that I would, otherwise, never get away with. My goal is to find chicks and gents doing something cool and inspiring, which could lead to a feature about a family who took the year off to travel the world one day and the next day’s post could be all about how to dress a stylish toddler. To qualify for a feature, I need only go, holy moly that is frigging awesome….and you may even get a long set of questions for our next Q&A. That’s the way I roll. And P.S. I LOVE budgeting and it has taken over our lives in the past. We recently graduated from living in a 400 square-foot apartment to a 1,400 square foot house in my beloved small town of Knoxville, Tennessee. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+.

/// The Mommy Blogger Collective /// Christina, Courteney, Dena, Erica, Erin, Gillian, Katie, Misty, Nicole, and Renée. ///


  1. Kathy says:

    She is such a great soul. She is so lucky to have a mom who sees that she is creativity personified and not simply a series of trials.

    • Erin says:

      Thank you, Kathy! And thanks for the to-the-rescue-band-aids at Tea’s party, hugs and understanding her!

  2. Wow this is so sweet. Your daughter sounds a lot like mine. My 2 year old already has her own agenda and a strong personality…that I wouldn’t change for anything. I love that about her. I actually love all kids like that. I’ve been an art teacher for the past, um, 12 years? Anyways, I’ve taught hundreds of kids over the years between the ages of 4 and 7. The “difficult” ones, the kids who were a bit more rambunctious, loud, outspoken, sassy (especially the sassy ones) and feisty were ALWAYS my favorites. Their teachers would think I was crazy for loving them so. They may be a bit more of a handful in the classroom (maybe it’s harder for them to follow to the beat of someone else’ drum, aka the teachers) but they were so much brighter and memorable and engaging than the others. They made me laugh, made me think and would always surprise me with the things they’d say and do. I always dreamed and hoped for a kid that was like them and so far, I think that wish has been granted. These kids surely do shine above and beyond the rest. Great post (and actually gives me an idea for a post of my own) 🙂 -Misty

    • Erin says:

      Aw, thanks, Misty! I love that you teach art!! My favorite times in school were in art class finding ways to express myself.

      For as tough as a personality like G’s can be, I really do see how her traits are assets. I wouldn’t change her for the world. So excited to read your future post!

  3. Oh that first photo is gorgeous! I loved reading this post. That story about your daughter in preschool – SO good. Wow!! Wonderful words.

    • Erin says:

      Thanks a ton, Gillian! She is my little pink or red sheep. 🙂 Never to blend in!

  4. Beautiful photographs and such a sweet story about a beautiful and special girl. In the short time that I got to spend with you guys I could already see that she truly does shine (like here Mama). xoxo

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