the things we do for L O V E

The Things We Do For Love

Two days ago, we woke up at 4:30am, stumbled bleary-eyed into the shower, then crammed all 4 sleep-walking kids into the minivan for a 12-hour drive to an award ceremony for our daughter. If you follow the blog at all, you know that Abby won 2nd place in her age bracket in the Carl Sandburg student poetry contest. Shortly after we found out that she won, we also found out that the reception would take place while we were away for spring break. Erg.

Duane and I were really disappointed, but immediately thought that we just couldn’t do it. We’d had the trip planned for many months. I couldn’t get it off my mind, though. I asked the teacher what the reception would be like. She told me via email that there would be a published poet there to speak to the kids, each winner would receive a journal, and they would have the opportunity to read the poems out loud. While I was reading her email, Duane happened to run into the teacher at the kids’ school and she told him the same thing. He came home, we looked each other in the eye, and agreed: she needs to go.

There were many things we needed to forfeit to make it happen: a leisurely cup of coffee before we hit the road (who am I kidding? We have 4 kids. Leisurely is NOT part of our vocabulary), a hot breakfast, SLEEP, and 4 kids slumbering peacefully well beyond the crack of dawn. Is there anything worse than waking sleeping children?

So, there we were… on the highway… in the dark… at 530am…with 4 kids. Now many of you have done this kind of thing before. You travel through the night so you miss the traffic (you’re crazy) or you wake up super early to get a head start (you’re also crazy). We don’t. We like to sleep. We pack the car in the morning when the sun is in the sky, NOT the moon. We like our “leisurely” cup of coffee.

So, why did we move mountains (intentional hyperbole) to get her there? We knew that this ceremony would be an invaluable experience for her. It would affirm her gifts as a writer, give her a chance to speak in front of others–a valuable skill, and most importantly, it would be an opportunity to celebrate with her and the other winners.
The things we do for love.


She took her place at the podium, barely reaching the microphone. She self-consciously tucked her hair behind her ears and began to read. As I watched, I wondered what God was up to. Would this event be a significant marker in her life when she retells the story that God is writing for her one day? I didn’t cry; I wanted to, but I knew she’d be embarrassed. The things we do for love.

I smiled a lot and took lots of pictures, then smiled some more. Her teacher came and cheered her on. Good friends came to celebrate, too, and even brought us dinner so we didn’t have to stop on our manic 12-hour mission to get there on time.

As we sat at the picnic benches eating dinner with our friends before the ceremony, Abby emphatically stated that her mom did NOT help her with the poem. And she’s right. It was a project between her and her (wonderful) teacher. I was tempted to defend myself– all the years of reading Goodnight Moon and Three by the Sea at bedtime, countless hours of listening to books on CD, her learning to read on my lap while I taught Aidan to read. But instead, I remained silent. It’s her time.

And I can relate, because I’m a child myself. We never really know all that our parents have done for us.

So I just smiled and agreed.

The things we do for LOVE.

*Read Abby’s poem here.

Abby Poetry

  • Carolyn Stonehouse

    I love, love, loved this. Loved it. Though you’re totally wrong about the middle of the night wake up to drive. That strategy is GOLD…

  • Julie Davis

    Yes, you’re the crazy person I’m talking to! I don’t know how you guys stay awake.
    Thanks for reading. Really. Miss you like crazy!

  • marcellamcmanus

    Ditto what CS said, except the part about driving. I vote for avoiding road trips with babies. Completely. But really, this is such a sweet perspective on parenting :)

    • Julie Davis

      You make me laugh, Marcella. One day, you too, will be taking a road trip with sweet baby James.
      Thanks for reading!

  • taraletitia

    WOW, that poem was amazing….so deep. She is like an 80 year old woman in a spunky, 3rd grader’s (???..not sure that’s right) body! geez…..

    • Julie Davis

      Thanks, Tara. She’s in 4th grade, but you were close. : )