A Middle Child’s Reflections

Mom. 1966. Puerto Rico.

July 27, 1991

She was 44, I was 22.

Just two months away from the birth of my first child, ever the asshole, Cancer took her away.

With just two punches on her card, Cancer decided her dance card was full.

Ripped it in half and claimed her as their own.

Don’t be like Cancer.

Nobody likes Cancer.

They swooped in for the first unwanted dance on her 42nd birthday.

She gave them everything they asked of her, including her breast.

She vowed never to dance with them again.

At 43, they returned to insist she…


What they told me to expect when I was expecting my third child

Image by Jayne Schroeder

When I was growing my third child, my What To Expect When You’re Expecting book didn’t offer me a whole lot of new information.

It did cover false labor which I hadn’t experienced until pregnancy number three.

And there’s a section in the back of the book for tests you might undergo during your pregnancy; he brought me all but one.

The literature I received from the professionals I turned to for information I so desperately craved about my third baby’s future, might have well been painted as a dark portrait, using only grays and blacks.

Nothing shared with me…


Me neither, friend. Me neither.

Image by Jayne Schroeder

We’re so quick to see ourselves as incomplete.
Lacking.
Absolutely incapable of doing something someone else is doing, if it looks hard.
We immediately tell ourselves there’s no way we could do what they’re doing.

We love to compare and contrast.
Judge.
Assume.

But here’s the thing: we hold ourselves to a higher standard than we hold anyone else to.

We measure ourselves against others through the smudged lens we hold up for ourselves.
We’ve got 20/20 vision for everyone else but an astigmatism, glaucoma, and a cataract muddling up the way we see ourselves.


and the voice I learned to listen to

I didn’t get much long term relationship experience in before my ex-husband came along.

I also didn’t know that the quiet voice I felt inside, speaking up for me, was a voice I should listen to.

Boundaries? What are those?

All I knew was that a tall, young man with a really nice jaw line and some cut abs was paying me an insane amount of attention and I liked the way that felt.

Until it got messy.

And kinda scary.

But I didn’t know what to do.

And I thought it’d just go away if I ______________.

Fill in…


Boobs. Middle School. Life.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my breasts since 7th grade, when all of a sudden, breasts became a thing.

When I desperately wanted something to be there, nothing was there.

But I still insisted my mother buy me a bra so I could fit in with the status quo.

It was padded and made me feel like something could be made from nothing.

A miracle for my popularity complex.

And for my sisters who discovered that calling me Paddy, irritated me, so that’s what they named me.

For the rest of my 7th grade year.

Spencer, who sat behind…


Be gentle on yourselves, time is bananas


How five words spoken during an EKG linked connection

Photo by Jayne Schroeder

She apologized and thanked me for my patience, it was taking an unusual amount of time for the document to load. “You have so many orders in here.” she said, “It should only be a few more minutes.”

“Good grief, please take your time.” I said to myself, inside my exhausted head.

She returned to my side to finish attaching the rest of the twelve leads to the various stickers on my chest. So familiar, how could I almost have forgotten, the sheet of them she held in her left hand.

I remember now, stacks of them, I once practiced…


Celebrating ten years of trusting myself and doing the next right thing.

It’s been a decade.

Since I took a leap of faith, borrowed $1000 from my big sister, signed a lease on an apartment I hoped I’d be able to afford, and took my life back into my own hands.

I had no idea how I’d pay my rent, didn’t have a job, had two kids that were making the move with me, and I was terrified.

Of my husband at the time, at how to untangle myself from his web, about how to pay for it all, and about our well-being and our welfare.

My health was in shambles, my…


The journey of one caregiver, leading with love, and continually searching for hope, while parenting her intellectually disabled son.

Photo by Jayne Schroeder

The breakfast bar in my kitchen faces northeast and looks out over the front yard. In the morning the sun arches through the beveled edges of glass in the windows and rainbows cast themselves across various surfaces of the kitchen. I live on a relatively quiet street that I’m certain has more foot than vehicle traffic. Some mornings, while I sip my coffee, a flock of turkeys will appear on the lawn. I think the word is out amongst their families; if they gather, we’ll come out with the corn. …


How One Mom Struggles To Find Her Way Within The Unknowns Of COVID-19 Reentry

Photo by Branimir Balogović on Unsplash

I don’t know.

That’s basically the answer to every question I ask myself, when it comes to how I safely reenter this world we now live in.

I’m a full-time single parent to my 21-year-old son who is disabled. Prior to the outbreak of the Coronavirus, I had a team of caregivers in and out of my home, allowing me to work, cleaning private homes and businesses. I had a balance of allotted respite hours and providers that allowed me the necessary self-care many in my position don’t receive.

I was just starting to find my groove in this new phase of raising…

Jayne Schroeder

Mother | Writer | Truth Teller | Survivor | Advocate | Linker | Martini Lover | Growing | Learning | Exhausted | Not Finished @see_jayne_write on IG

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