Hoping we didn’t give our baby permanent trauma

Photo by Jingda Chen on Unsplash

Our city takes the Fourth of July very seriously. The day’s festivities include a parade that draws an audience of around 4,000 people (twice the population of our town), a party in the park, and of course a grand fireworks display.

The city shoots off the fireworks at the airport, and hundreds of people tailgate in parking lots and by businesses around town to get good seats. As dusk falls, the anticipation grows and people blast off their own fireworks as they wait for the real show to start.

Of course, like good citizens, we partook in all the day’s…


And we both survived

Photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

“The baby’s heart rate is tachycardic.” The nurse motioned at the machine that was slowly spitting out a continuous sheet of paper with jagged lines on it. “That’s what we’re the most worried about.”

I gave her a blank look, so she continued.

“That means it’s too high, which can become dangerous.”

If anyone asked me where I planned to be on that overcast Saturday in late April, four days before my baby’s due date, I would have said maybe on a walk. Perhaps at the store. Or at a high school sporting event.

I absolutely wouldn’t have said the…


And getting it smashed was not defeat

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Moving into our house was a battle. The small grey structure was filled with someone else’s belongings, decorated in the 1970s, and full of spiders, ladybugs, and mouse carcasses.

After months of cleaning, repairing, and painting, we finally arrived at a point where all our spare time wasn’t just put into house projects. But even after we finished the inside, there were still several sheds full of rusty tools, and a faulty old mailbox to deal with.

The mailbox, perched on the lower arm of a massive F-shaped post, was visible all the way down the street. It was gray…


Ten minutes of your day might change someone’s life

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She wasn’t really chubby, she was just bigger than the other kids in her sixth grade classroom. I noticed her immediately as a new face that hadn’t been there in the previous weeks.

Her bright blue eyes and rosy cheeks appeared cheerful, but her mouth was turned into a perpetual pout.

At recess she promptly sat down on a bench right next to the school doors and closed her eyes. The rest of the class ran across the parking lot to the playground.

“What’s the matter?”

She didn’t want to be outside. She didn’t want to be at school. She…


How I conquered my fear on a black diamond

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Petrified, I stood at the top of the hill, squinting in the bright sun. Hard packed snow dropped off in a straight J-curve in front of me, and I backed up in terror. I was going to die.

In high school I went on a yearly ski trip with my youth group. We didn’t go to real mountains, just small skiing facilities in central Michigan or Wisconsin. Most of the places were exactly what you can imagine for Midwest ski destinations: a barely-there bunny hill, a half-dozen medium slopes, and a single black diamond drop-off.

This particular year, the easy…


If it’s worth doing, isn’t it worth doing well?

Photo by Jonathan Hoxmark on Unsplash

“Once, I performed a rectal examination on a patient, but I kept thinking something felt wrong.”

She paused, and her college-age audience waited eagerly for her conclusion — after all, a rectal examination-gone-wrong story told by an ER doctor was more interesting than the weather or politics.

“It wasn’t until the examination was complete that I looked at my hands and realized I’d forgotten something important. I wasn’t wearing my rubber gloves.”

I attended four years of college, and it’s with sad honesty that I admit most of what I learned leaked through the mental sieve of busyness and sleep…


It’s not just getting whatever you want

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For the fifth morning that week, it was raining. Condensation dripped onto me from the roof of the tent, the rain pitter-pattered outside, and my damp sweatpants clung to my legs. I sighed.

Not again.

I grew up in Colorado, so the year after we were married, Curtis and I decided to take a camping trip from Chicago to the campground in the Rocky Mountains that I’d grown up going to.

The first day we got there, we chose a campsite that was on the high side of the campground, on a gravel rise. …


Sometimes experience matters more than money

Photo by Shridhar Gupta on Unsplash

But I wanted that job.

Instead of letting me apply to a fast food restaurant when I was in high school, my parents encouraged me to make money doing odd jobs for people.

Dragging my feet, I reluctantly agreed. While my peers were flipping burgers and making minimum wage, I was working for unique, eccentric people who loved gardening, hot tea, and well-kept landscaping.

Instead of learning how to take orders and press buttons on a cash register, I was learning different skills: how to spread mulch, plant every kind of flower and shrub imaginable, even how to oil oak…


So everyone in the company tells the same story

Photo by HIVAN ARVIZU @soyhivan on Unsplash

Imagine stepping into the break room to grab your lunch, only to hear the following conversation:

“Bill Freeman started the company in 1964 with the goal of helping provide shoes to children in need around the world. He created the first pair of shoes in his garage with his wife, Molly, and gave it to a poor child who lived across the street. That child was Michael Jordan, and that was his first pair of shoes. That’s why we have a men’s sneaker called ‘The Michael.’ ”

Bob confidently finishes his story, and the group of interns ooohs and ahhhs.


But now I’m so glad she did

Photo by Wilhelm Gunkel on Unsplash

“Okay, everybody come to the table. It’s time to write thank-you cards.”

I groaned. Not again.

For something that only happened once a year, I had an overwhelming sense of dread about our annual thank-you card writing party.

The day after Christmas, my mom brought out a box of thank you cards, put them out on our huge dining room table, and gathered us around to write thank you cards to everyone who’d given us Christmas presents. …

Anneliese Rider

Published author, freelance writer and editor, biking enthusiast, and blogger at annelieserider.com.

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