Blog | Lindsey Smallwood

Out of the Deep End {Abby Norman}

Lindsey Smallwood

I think it would be fair to call myself an Abby Norman fangirl. Seriously. Whether she's reminding me to hold my own pen or revealing her jean size in search of something more or even on the days when she has nothing to say, her words are rich and true and best of all funny. And today, in living color, for one night only, she's dropping by with a story about (not) peeing in the pool and the passing of seasons, including the out-of-the-ordinary season of two kids in two years. I know it well.

Read and enjoy. 

This summer the most miraculous thing happened. We were at the pool, my two daughters and myself, when Juliet announced that she had to go to the bathroom.

I sighed.

“Okay!” I yelled back, “Let me get your sister.”

Going to the bathroom is a thing. A THING. You have to make the one who is crying potty to hold tight while you wade through the shallow end to find her sister. Then you have to convince that child to get out of the pool before her sister goes pee (or worse) on the cement just outside the pool. If parenting olympics ever becomes a thing, I will surely be a medal contender in the pool-potty relay race.

Just as I turned my back on Juliet to go find Priscilla, I heard Juliet yell, "WAIT! I can go by myself." 

I can go by myself.

These may be the most magical words I have ever heard.

I had my two babies very close together. At 16 months apart, they are just shy of Irish twins. If you ask me about the baby stage, I will tell you that it is really good but really intense. Becuase I am a teacher, I spend summers at home. There were a few summers where going back to work felt like the vacation. It was just….hard….. and so good, so sweet, so funny. The pictures are precious. But I was never not tired.

As the girls are gaining their independence, I seem to be getting mine back as well.

Yesterday, Juliet went to the bathroom all by herself and my life became exponentially easier. And I thought about this year, from four to five, and all the things she couldn’t do last year that I am now taking for granted. She puts her suit on all by herself and has yet to show up at the pool with it on backward. I have not had to carry both girls to the van as people gape - they can walk. They mostly can keep track of their own shoes.

I wonder if next year, when Priscilla can also use the facilities solo, if I will remember that it is a big deal. Motherhood is a series of changes that you are thrilled by, and then you quickly forget what you once brought so much delight. I don’t know that Motherhood is any different than life.

Thanks to timehop, I came across the album my husband put on Facebook when we moved into our house. I was THRILLED with the kitchen, I COULD NOT BELIEVE our upstairs bathroom, I felt SO LUCKY to call it home. And I still do. All of those things are true. I just sometimes forget.

One day, Juliet and Priscilla will be able to drive to the pool completely without me. I won’t even be needed to chauffer, let alone help with wrestling wet suits back on (that is hard though). I hope that I am grateful for that bittersweet independence too. And I hope I am still grateful that everyone can go potty by themselves.

Abby thrives on distributing complex ideas to the masses. As a teacher, Abby began her career in one of the most under served areas of the country. There she discovered her voice in the classroom as she explored concepts like race, gender, and social justice through the literature her students were reading. She is sure she learned more than she taught. Her students showed her that most people are interested in engaging and improving the world if they are just given the words to explore it. As the mother of a three and four year old, Abby has found that this concept holds true.

While she most often speaks to her students, Abby loves to discuss equality and justice in all forms. You can find her blogging on the intersection of faith and everyday life at and tweeting at @accidentaldevo.  A BlogHer 2014 voice of the year, and nationally recognized speaker, the highest praise Abby has ever received came from a 16 year old boy who told her she "made English not suck."

Abby believes in champagne for celebrating everyday life, laughing until her stomach hurts and telling the truth, even when it is hard, maybe especially then. Abby loves all kinds of Girl Scout cookies and literally burning lies in her backyard fire pit.

Don't you love the way Abby spins a story to help us remember what matters? Did she leave you wanting to hold on to this season a little while longer, enjoying today because tomorrow's on it way? Let her know by leaving a comment below. 

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