Ordinary Joy

We recently had our headshots taken for this very site, and while I was awkwardly trying to follow the photographer’s prompts– hips back, shoulders forward, look over here, so on– we made small talk about this blog. She asked me what my favorite thing to write about was.

Do you ever have a brain freeze moment, where you should know a simple answer to a simple question, but you suddenly can’t remember? This happens to me all the time! People ask me about my hobbies, what I did the past weekend, or what my favorite food is, and I just freeze up, panicking. Do I even like to eat?? I think desperately while trying to remember.

The Ordinary Things

But for once, this was not the case. For once, when asked what I like to write about most, I immediately said, “About all the ordinary things.” This has always and forever been my favorite thing to write about– not just for New Orleans Mom, but personally. My journal is filled with the day-to-day moments I just don’t want to forget, not because they’re blindingly sparkling and special, but because they are the little pieces and parts that are the building blocks of parenthood and childhood.

Don’t get me wrong– I love the big things! I love the milestone first steps, the mountaintop moments, and the birthdays where everything is special and wonderful. I love hearing about the home runs, the first places, acceptance letters, and all those big moments.

But I also really, really love the little things. I have pages of lists of these little things, detailing how one of my sons used to hold the sides of his pacifier in his mouth as a baby; the way my middle son gasps when he’s excited. I love seeing my babies ask for what they want in clumsy baby sign language. I write about how they collapse onto me when they’re sad as if I am the only place they can rest. I love the quiet moments curled up on the couch with my oldest son in the last minutes before bedtime when he rests his head on me and holds my hand. I try to capture in words the sound of my youngest son’s hands pitter-pattering on the floor as he crawls to his brothers.

The Most Precious Jewels

One of my favorite quotes about parenting goes: “The most precious jewels you’ll ever have around your neck are the arms of your children.” Comparing the simple act of carrying my children to the finest jewelry just about sums it all up for me. 

Sometimes, we get lost in the overwhelm of the daily grind, drowning in the rush of making lunches and solving problems and calming tantrums and finding toys and changing diapers, and just surviving until bedtime. We need those big firework moments to reset us, to remind us of the best and most beautiful parts. There’s nothing wrong with loving the big moments.

But in between the tantrums, toys, and diapers are special moments, too. That’s what I like to find. That’s what I like to write about. Those are my precious jewels of motherhood.

Erica Tran
Erica lives in Kenner with her husband Michael and her three sons, Benjamin, Joshua, and Elijah. After graduating from UL Lafayette with a degree in advertising and landing her dream job, she left her chosen field and now works part time as an administrative assistant for a Catholic retreat movement. She spends the rest of her time at home with her boys, finding lost toys and actively ignoring various messes. In 2019, she self-published her first book, The Sister. There's not a lot of free time between working, reading and writing, and chasing her kids, but in those moments she's usually sprawled on the sofa in casual denial about just how messy her house is.


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