tragically beautiful

This morning he woke up over an hour early calling out.

The phone had just rung letting me know of a power outage.  No work today.

He called out again.

Instead of Cort getting up yet again, I lumbered down the stairs to his dark room.

He was still sleeping, but fitfully.

I knew I could probably leave him and go back to my own bed, but something held me there.

I carefully maneuvered around him and wedged myself up against the wall.

As silently as I could, I layered Mickey Mouse on top of a camel and rested my head.

He flipped and he flopped.

It suddenly became clear that the problem was his stuffy nose.  He would hold his breath to suck on his pipey and then gasp for breath behind it.

Eventually he spit the pipey out, rolled toward me, and rested his hands around my wrist.

He started to breath easier through his mouth, so I closed my eyes.

Seconds went by as the memories of his sweet infant breath and his little fingers closing around mine warm my heart.

Minutes went by as that baby morphs into a toddler who falls asleep with his check pressed against my chest while I watch TV.

Suddenly, my eyes snapped open.

A little boy was looking at me.

“Hi mommy.  Daddy home?”

“Good morning, Eddie.  Yup.  Daddy is upstairs sleeping.”

“Let’s go get him, mommy.”

And he scrambled–all by himself–to turn on the lights and open his door and go up the stairs to find his daddy.

Later that night at bedtime he asked me when Baby Charlie will come out of my tummy.

“Soon,” I whispered to him in the dark of his room.

“I help you mommy.  I help Baby Charlie.  Ok?”

“I would love that, buddy.  I would.”

“I big brother.  Baby Charlie baby brother.  I help.”

I bent one last time to hug him, tousle his blond curls, and kiss his chubby cheek.

This mothering thing…

It’s having your heart filled and broken at the exact same moment.

It’s being sad while feeling a joy that nothing else can bring.

It’s holding someone tight while teaching them to let go.

It’s the most tragically beautiful thing I have ever decided to do with my life.


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About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. Oh my goodness you have just made me cry. “It is the most tragically beautiful thing I have ever decided to do with my life.” What a beautiful and heartbreakingly truthful line.You are so right; there is just nothing else as amazing or as sad as being a mommy.

  2. You have described motherhood perfectly. Beautiful. Just. Beautiful.

  3. Katie,
    I hope you have all of these printed off and tucked away so that boys can have these someday so that they know just how much their mommy loved them! This one made me cry!!

  4. How are there only three comments on this. I saw it at 2 AM last night when I was too tired to tell you how wonderful all of this is. It sounds like you have done such a good job preparing Eddie, he’s excited, too. Ready to be the big brother. Get that kid out, already, will ya, Mom? 🙂

    You are fortunate.

    And I never got to know this part. So thank you for sharing.

    • Thank you. You always have such lovely words for me. And yes…I am getting VERY antsy for Charlie to just BE HERE!

  5. AGGHHH I have got to stop reading today apparently. Everything is making me teary eyed and this was no exception.. I miss having my little ones so much.

  6. I know I already commented but I can’t get this post out of my mind. It’s just so true and honest and revealing. “It’s having your heart filled and broken at the exact same moment.” I feel like this happens to me often, and it happened this morning as I dropped my little boy off at school and for the first time, he didn’t look back at me. He’s growing up, and I’m happy, and I’m a wreck all at the same time.

    • a happy wreck. that is motherhood right there, my friend. I am constantly a happy wreck.

  7. You just made me cry at work!! So beautiful, and so true!

  8. lovely, katie, absolutely breathtaking and poignant.


  9. Gorgeous writing!!!

  10. That’s quite the boy you have there.

    Quite the boy.

  11. tragically beautiful is the most perfect way to put it.
    The way motherhood messes with our hearts is almost too much to bear at times. xo

    • it really is. who knew that we could feel such powerful emotions that are totally opposite at the exact same time?

      A mother’s heart is both the softest and the strongest thing in this world.

  12. Absolutely perfectly said.

  13. I’m so glad you are writing about all of these moments with Eddie. You aren’t going to believe how beautiful it is to see your big boy become a big brother. There’s just nothing sweeter than seeing siblings together, falling in love in those early days.

    p.s. I squeezed my huge pregnant self into Lucas’ bed every night until Theo was born, just to soak up before that closeness changed into something different. Very sweet memories.


    • It’s funny because Cort complains that he hates having to get all the way down on the ground to get “in” Eddie’s bed (it’s really just a mattress while we wait for my dad to finish making the bed), but I willingly get in there with him. He loves it. So do I.

      These are the little ordinary things that happen that I never ever want to forget. And I wish I had these moments from MY mother’s point of view when I was small. It drives me to capture them here.

  14. You SO captured motherhood.

  15. So so so beautiful friend.

  16. It’s so sweet to hear how much he loves that baby already. And your words, so beautiful and true…

    • my heart swells 1000x it’s size every time he shows a love or possessive protectiveness about his baby brother. His heart already knows. Dang…I am getting teary just writing that.

  17. such a sweet story 🙂

  18. shit Katie. you’ve got me crying at work. this hits so, SO close to home right now. 11 weeks. that’s all that’s left until Duckie is due. exactly 11 weeks from today. less than 3 months now for me to squeeze every free moment of enjoying my “one” into every day. this is exactly what I needed to read today. Hubs is in Phoenix for training this week, and with Goose & I both feeling the lack of his presence, she’s been a little more cranky and difficult, and I’ve been a little more tired, frustrated, and less patient… I so needed this reminder of what I have. a beautiful, wonderful, sweet, caring, three year old who is always going to be my baby, yet in less than 3 months, will not be “the” baby anymore… *sniff* I’m going to go home now and snuggle my Baby Girl/Toddler. thank you. xo

    • It occurred to me that as mothers, these are our ordinary moments, ya know? But what if you had those moments from YOUR mom’s perspective? Those ordinary bursts of love? I wish I had my moms view and feelings from when she was right in it with me before my brother was born. What was her heart thinking? That is what drives me to put words to my moments…I want to have these some day for me, but also for my kids.

      Especially when they THINK they know me as that totally uncool, strict mean parent. 🙂

  19. What a beautiful post. So very true

  20. Oh Katie..I am going to bookmark this exceptional look inside !Motherhood” and bring it out and read it when my patience is fading and my nervous are shot….this was sooooo beautiful.

    • it’s the little moments, isn’t it? They are why we just keep doing it every day 🙂

  21. Yes. Motherhood is full of such irony and contradiction. I love the simplicity of this post, Katie.

  22. Yes, this. Perfectly, eloquently written, Katie.

  23. This spoke to me in so many ways, Katie. You are dead on with your analogy. Beautiful.

    As a side note, have you registered for baby Charlie? And if not, is there anything in particular that you need (or want) for him? I’d like to get you something. 🙂

    • thanks, tonya!

      we are registered at babies r us and target, but mostly as a reminder of what we want to get when we have the $$! Ha!

      By the way, I miss you. Wish I knew when I was going to see my Cali girls again!

  24. You are an amazing fucking writer.

  25. Oh, my heart. You have captured it so beautifully and simply.

  26. Just beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful.