Life as Amber knows it

"An adventure in the making…"

Monthly Archives: June 2013

Worth Fighting For

IMAG1170My son pitched what can only be described as a hellacioius tantrum this morning.

While he’s three and at the perfect age to pitch tantrums, this time, it wasn’t over wanting candy before dinner, a toy, a television show or any other want that would cause a tantrum in any healthy three-year-old.

This time? It was over wearing his sister’s shirt. The gray one with the blousey sleeves that proclaims quite merrily: “Cute! Cute! Cute!” in every color of the rainbow. The tantrum was kicked off by his big sister telling him it was her shirt, not his shirt. To be fair, Autumn has a point: it is her shirt. And even further into the whole realm of fairness is the fact that telling a three-year-old “no” is the quickest way to having your ear drums ruptured.

“Autumn,” I asked, “Can Benjamin just borrow your shirt for a bit? I promise he’ll give it back.” To which my darling four-year-old sighed and said, “I guess,” before she sat down, her bottom lip pooched out.

I’ve long written (and spoken) about that moment you get a glimpse of I am in your children’s lives. That moment in the early years when they say or do something that gives you a preview of who they’ll eventually turn out to be. Today, my eyes filled with tears and my heart swelled with pride at my son showing me who he will eventually be.

You see, Benjamin didn’t care that it was a girl’s shirt. Benjamin didn’t care that it was a shirt decorated with “girl” colors, that it was a shirt that was two sizes two big. Benjamin instead found something he loved and wanted for his own. And he fought for it, kicking and screaming, determined to have it in his life. He didn’t care what other people’s opinions are about the shirt. What he cared about was the fact that he found something that fit him, and him alone, and it meant enough that he went after it.

I helped my son put the shirt over his head, and the joy that beamed from that beautiful smile at his took my breath away.

I hope my son always feels that pure joy and passion at finding something he loves. I hope he always fights, as hard as he has to for those things and people in his life that he loves, that he never gives up. That he does whatever it takes to keep what means something, even if it only means something to him.


~Amber Jerome~Norrgard

Ask And Ye Shall Receive

Ask and ye shall receive…

Or, after today’s experiences, I’m going to go with: Be careful what you wish for!

After taking my four year old out for a mom and daughter day that included candy bar pancakes for Mini~Me at my favorite cafe, we ran a few errands. When we arrived home, I figured I’d take advantage of the fact I had someone keeping an eye on the kids to get caught up with the piles of laundry that are plaguing the house. Walking through our upstairs loft, I said offhandedly to my four-year-old, “Hey, do you mind putting the clothes in a basket for me?”  I could hear her huffing and puffing as I folded towels in my bedroom, but really didn’t think too much of it. When I next stepped out in the loft, the clothes were gone, along with the basket. When I asked said four-year-old what happened to the clothes, she said very sweetly: “I took them downstairs, Mommy!”  A bit surprised I asked, “Are they just laying around down there?”  “Oh no, I put them in the laundry room.”

Yeah, she most definitely did put the clothes in the laundry room. And by “clothes”, I mean, every single clothing item that belongs to her, her older sister, and her younger brother, clean or dirty, made their way into a huge pile in our laundry room. While I stared, totally amazed and totally daunted by the idea that I now had at least four times the laundry to wash as I had before, my very spitting image looked up at me with the eyes I passed onto her and said, “Did I do a good job?”

While I struggled to not burst out laughing, I gave her a hug and said, “You did the very best job you could have done, lovie.”

Moral of the story? Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.

Parental lesson of the day? Our children pay very close attention to us.

Life lesson of the day? Very carefully word what you want!

~Amber Jerome~Norrgard

Shelving a Work~In~Progress

“You need to know your limits and not go past that point,” is the advice my therapist has been giving me for over four years now.

Sadly, it’s rare I listen to one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever been given.

You see, I’ve been working on the same book for the past thirteen years. And it’s a highly personal book. The first and second drafts were the biggest struggle I faced in 2012, and I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I sent it off to my editor. When it was returned several weeks later, I put off again and again even looking at the track notes. When I finally did look at the track notes, I sighed, hit save, and ignored the file for several more weeks. Well, that’s not exactly true: I’d try and start working on it, but just couldn’t bring myself to write my story any longer. My heart would start racing and my chest would tighten up.

And maybe I’ll never finish writing Searching. Or maybe I’ll finish writing it in a few years, or in ten years. Or maybe after I’m long gone, one of my kiddos will pick the story up for me and finish it and be able to do so from a distance. Because I? I can’t distance myself from this one enough to finish writing it.

For the past year-and-a-half, I’ve pushed myself past my own limits in writing my story. And if I was being told my side of things by anyone else, my suggestion would have been to step away a long time ago, to wait to tell the story. But we’re our own worse enemies and our own worse critics. I feel like a failure and like I’m quitting.

But on the other side of that, the part of myself that has grown over the last year and a half recognizes that my sanity needs this break, needs to stop feeling pressure to complete something that causes me this much pain. That its my right as a person to say “yeah, I’m done” no matter what the situation is when I’ve had enough. To recognize my limits and not ignore those flashing red lights that have been going off for over a year now.

And there will be other books. Clearly, there will be other books since I currently have four I’m working on that don’t make me want to go running for the nearest bottles of Xanax and Smirnoff.

Time to let go and heal.


~Amber Jerome~Norrgard

Three Years Later…

28977_455751781240_148850_nMy son Benjamin will be three this Friday.


While I’ve never been one to bemoan my children growing and achieving milestones, for some reason, Benjamin turning three has tossed me for a loop.

If you’re not familiar with parental-speak, “turning three” is another way of saying “no longer a baby”. And while Benjamin will always be the baby of28977_455751866240_3006567_n the family, his time as an actual baby is over in just four short days.

Which means that a major phase of my life that began on December 18, 2004 is drawing to a close. Much like turning thirteen, twenty, thirty, and graduating from high school, my youngest child turning three and leaving babyhood is a bittersweet experience.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like Benny’s snagged a briefcase and a spiffy suit and is taking off in the world. He’s still all about cuddling up on Mommy as often as he can. Hell, my oldest daughter is all about cuddling up on Mommy when she gets the chance. Nothing will 47089_483379941240_3174017_nchange really, except for the fact he’s no longer a baby.

And I’m not even upset about there being no possibility for any more babies. For one thing, I no longer have the proper equipment to become pregnant. For another, I don’t have the energy, either physically or emotionally to go through another newborn period spiked with post-partum depression. Time’s just shot by way too fast.

And I watched, carefully. When 2 a.m. would find me rocking one of my kids to sleep, I’d remind myself that it was just a short blip on the radar of my life, and they’d no longer be able to fit comfortably against my chest in the circle of my arms. I’d remind myself that for only this short time, they’re mine, that the world would be pressing in on us sooner rather than later, and they’d have school, friends they’d make, boyfriends and girlfriends, colleges to go to, life partners they’ll pair with.

And I’m not making the mistake I made with Amethyst, which was the laughable experience of thinking that once she turned three, things would 317480_10150443514771241_753467203_nease up in regards to tantrums. It’s like some sick joke, the idea of the terrible twos, when the reality is the twos are just the warm up party for the full throttle tantruming that’s on its way in year three.

But oh! The last three years just shot by. I blinked and Benjamin went from this pink cheeked newborn who wanted to be held all the time to a toddler who loves doing drive by kissings and hugs around your knees. Where once was a bottle of breast milk is now Benjamin sneak attacking your lunch when you step out into the garage to get a bottle of water.

290335_10151233440486241_13639447_oSo, this part of my life is coming to a close. And I’m on to bigger and better things. But oh my lord, these past three years? Graced with a gift I was afraid to even ask for? My heart skips a beat and my stomach clenches when I remember how not three months before I found out I was carrying Benny within my body, I asked my doctor to perform a partial hysterectomy. The idea of a life without Benny in it, if my doctor had gone ahead with the surgery? It’s a thought that causes tears to well up. Because a life without my son? There’s no way of imagining it. I often wonder how in the world I got through my life before he was born. He’s too necessary to my sanity and my joy for me to imagine any other type of life.

So a very happy birthday to my youngest, my son, my miracle, the greatest surprise I’ve ever been given. I hope you know just how much joy you 471610_10150999280376241_1295623426_obring to my life, just for the simple reason you were born.



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