Depression Lies

There is no coming out of it.
There is no getting over it.
There is just IT.

It ebbs and it flows and it morphs.
It hides.
It does not ever disappear.

It teases, at times.
It seems long gone.
But, it is never really is.

It always returns.
With a vengeance.
With a downward pull.

It distorts.
It deceives.
It consumes.

It tells you that it is all for naught.
That you will never be enough.
That you’re better off not here.

If you’re in a good place, you’ll recognize the tone.
You’ll recognize the facade.
You’ll recognize the weakness in the argument.

So you counter the exchange with self-talk.
With meditation. Deep breaths.
With exercise and proper nutrition.

You will look like you’ve got it all under control.
And sometimes you do.  But sometimes you don’t.
Sometimes you are out quietly out of control.

Sometimes, you are low.
Sometimes you are sinking deeper.
Sometimes, you’re just tired.  Oh, so very tired.

It tells you it’s easier to let go, that there is no use fighting back.
It tells you things will never be good.
Even if things are already so much better than good.

Depression lies.

Sometimes we need to etch this in our skin
To make us remember, to make sure we get the message,
when we can’t hear anything but the deceit.

5 Reasons Your Thirties Are Your Best Decade

My little sister turns thirty today.  THIRTY!  I’m pretty sure that even though we used to be seven years apart, she’s catching up to me and we’re getting closer and closer to converging at the same age.  That’s possible, right?

I remember waking up on my 30th birthday and startling myself by starting to cry.  I wasn’t even sure why, but for some reason turning thirty hit me much harder than I thought it would.  Maybe it was because I didn’t know what the next decade would bring and the unknown can be scary.  Maybe it was because I wasn’t measuring up to the expectations I had set for myself by this milestone.  Maybe I was panicking about the fact that I could no longer deny that I was actually an adult, so I knew I had to start acting like one.

Little sister, if you’re having any of those anxieties, don’t fret.  Your thirties are going to be the best decade.  Here’s why:

1. The panicky “What am I going to do with my life?” self-questioning ends. At least sort of.  Resume creation turns into resume updating and job interviews become easier because you actually have relevant experience you can expound upon (much better than having to make up bullshit about how your job waiting tables has prepared you to be an excellent project manager). After your first “real” job or two you have a trajectory to follow, a sense of where your current job could lead to, something you couldn’t fathom when you first graduated from college.  Each piece of training, each gain in proficiency is a unique little snowflake, and you continue to build your repertoire of involvement and competencies, creating a gusty little success storm.  Before you know it, your self-assurance and your expertise snowball into an avalanche of amazingness.

2. You stop renting with roommates.  Finally you escape the financial need for roommates and you get out on your own, or you start living with someone because you actually like them and you want to, not because you found them through a desperate newspaper ad because you had to.  Now you only have to deal with your own dust, your own dishes, your own pile of hair stuck in the drain at the bottom of the tub.  (Why is your own pile of hair so much less disgusting than your roommate’s?)  It’s true that home ownership can be a huge pain in the ass at times, but it’s worth not having to split the cable bill with a potential psychopath.

3. You decide whether or not you want to have kids. For some of us that decision can be hard, agonizing even, trying to weigh the pros and cons of maintaining freedoms like endless traveling, drinking margaritas at the bar until 11:00 pm every Thursday night, and comfortably retiring at an early age, versus bearing the great responsibility of having little mini-yous running around the house, ruining your furniture and obliterating any chance you might have had at staying up past 9 pm (even on the weekend) or buying that yacht when you’re in your fifties.  It’s an important decision.  A defining one.  So, it’s a relief when you figure out where you stand.

4. You become comfortable in your own skin.  You’re in good shape (quite possibly the best shape of your life) and you finally figure out what kind of clothes flatter your figure, which is no longer changing as wildly as it did in your teens and early twenties. You’re fit and you’re cute, and to top that off you begin to understand that looks don’t actually matter all that much, so you stop wasting time meticulously anointing yourself with eyeliner and foundation, or applying, taking off and reapplying mascara, or trying on a million outfits before deciding what to wear when you go out.  You free up a lot of valuable time and you master the art of the messy bun. This combination of physical strength and mental confidence make you the sexiest you’ve ever been.

5. You figure out how to prioritize your time. This is the decade when you acknowledge that having a steady paycheck and a job with benefits is important.  But you’re also beginning to notice how nutrition affects your energy levels, how good friends and work-life balance affect your well-being, how spending time with loved ones and how exercise and books and yoga (or whatever your hobbies of choice may be) are what enable you to fully inhale. And after you notice, you start planning and scheduling those things in. In other words, you finally figure out how to take care of yourself. This is the decade where you begin mastering the art of adulting.

The Thirties might be intimidating to the youngins who are worried about being over the hill, but those of us who have already crossed that hump know how awesome this decade really is.

Happy 30th, little sees.  Welcome to your best decade yet.

5 Reasons Your Thirties Are Your Best Decade

5 Reasons Your Thirties Are Your Best Decade

Writing is Racing

Right now, I’m a fish out of water.  I’m floundering.

I’m gasping for breath even though I’m hardly moving at all.

Too much stillness allows thoughts to zoom through my head.   Thoughts that have no business being there. Thoughts that do more harm than good.  Too much sitting is not relaxing, is not calming, is not restful.  Too much sitting is anxiety-provoking, is unsettling, is infuriating.  It’s the paradox of movement creating calmness.  Of stillness cultivating chaos.

I’m a runner who can’t run.  And it sucks.

Yes, I’m trying to compensate. I’m doing strength training right now – something needed, something I had been neglecting.  It’s fine.  It is toning my triceps.  It is the band-aid on the wound.

It is not enough.

Nothing feels the same, nothing give me the same rush as running does. No other type of exercise even comes close.  Yes, I can work out, but I don’t get the head-clearing release. I don’t get the skin-tingly euphoria.

My orthopedic surgeon told me that he can repair tendons, ligaments, cartilage, but he “can’t fix runners”.  Runners are broken people, before they get injured.  Runners need running for self-repair, even if it destroys their bodies in the process.

I’ve been dreaming about it, lately.  Dreaming about running pain-free.  Night after night after night. I’m running and I’m strong and I’m happy.  And then I wake up and I remember. I mourn. I miss it. Nothing feels the same.



Writing sort of does.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Photo credit: Wikipedia

It’s the closest thing I’ve found.  Way closer than strength training.  I don’t know how it works, but I get the same feeling in my head, the same tingling on my skin.

Maybe it’s because just like my legs move back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, on the pavement, my fingers are performing the same action across the keyboard. Over and over and over and over and over. For hours.

Maybe it’s like when I make my two fingers crawl across the table and then use them to tickle my daughter under her chin – my fingers race, mimicking the action of running, my fingers find that sweet spot, making my daughter erupt in giggles, mimicking the euphoria at the end.

With either activity, the writing or the running, there’s always a time goal, a publishing goal, an endurance goal, a self-preservation goal.  Some kind of goal.  There’s always the elusive search for a personal record.

With writing, or racing, sometimes I hate it, more than I could ever hate anything, and sometimes it feels better than I could imagine, leaving me high for days after.  I never really know going into it how a session will pan out.

Either way, both are always hard.  Both make me scream out loud.  Both make me cry. Both make me laugh.  Both help me breathe more deeply.  Both make me frolic and jump out of my skin with excitement.  Both wring out my body and wring out my soul.  Both are energy depleting, but are exhilarating in the process.

Both expose the real me.

Right now writing is my racing.  Until racing can be my racing.

Lost and Found

It’s crazy to me that I am so impacted by the moments with my daughters, yet they are unlikely to remember any of them.  I don’t remember much about growing up.  What I do remember may be memories, or may be memories of videotaped and talked about events. I don’t know why I don’t remember the details, but I don’t.  It worries me about remembering things in the future.  That’s partly why I write.

Today Toddler Grouch and I lay in bed, for the second or third night in a row, and practiced thinking up words that started with different letters.

“Buh, buh…banana!  Your turn, Mom”.

“Buh, buh, beach”.

“Buh, buh…box!”

“Buh, buh, baby”.

“Buh, buh…bag!”

“Buh, buh, bee”.

“Buh, buh…poop!  Ahhhhh, I’m teasing you!”

As we played our little letter game, her eyes sparkled and her cheeks flushed.  The getting it excited her.  It might have excited me more to witness it.  We lay in her little toddler bed, me squashed up against the side, knees bent so my feet didn’t hang off the end.  The back of my head rested against the headboard and her head rested on my chest.  We talked for about forty minutes and when I went to leave she said, “Don’t leave, Mom.  I want to talk more”.

It’s just about impossible to not leave when your child says they want to talk to you.  So we talked a little more, and the only thing that made me leave the room was wanting her to be rested in the morning.  Finally I pulled myself away and gave her another smooch, told her I loved her and thanked her for talking with me.

I hopped in the shower and while I washed, I replayed our time in my head.  Every single day I am amazed by the “ordinary”. I am enthralled by the beauty. I am astounded by the growth.  I cannot believe I am fortunate to be a witness, to be involved in the process of helping guide my amazing little beings into amazing adult beings.

Already, when I picture my daughters, I picture a slideshow in my head.  They are not one person, they are all of the versions of themselves they have been: a little newborn baby, a fledgling toddler starting to speak, starting to walk, a full-on almost-potty-trained toddler with a fondness for poop jokes.  She is not one her, she is many hers.  I think this is a pretty common parental feel.

When I was sixteen, my parents threw an enormous surprise party for me.  I was not very grateful.  I was embarrassed by the attention, I was embarrassed by the extravagant party that was thrown for what I felt was a completely insignificant event.  I was embarrassed for the two friends my parents had invited to come celebrate with me, who were stuck hanging out with my family that they hardly knew.  I was embarrassed because now they knew they were the two closest friends I had, even though we weren’t really all that close.

At one point in the party, my dad showed a surprise video.  He had spent countless hours compiling video clips of me from birth to age sixteen, into a fifteen minute presentation. Knowing him, he probably spent hours and hours and hours on this.  This was way before movie-maker existed.  This was the ultimate videographic mix-tape.  Instead of being pleased, I was pissed.  Because I was mortified.  I didn’t recognize myself in any of those images.


When I was sixteen, I was lost.  I had forgotten who I was.  I did not recognize the chubby infant slobbering all over.  I did not recognize the obnoxious seven-year-old who was flipping out and acting like a complete fool, I did not recognize a self-confident twelve-year-old who danced in the living room and sang off-key while wearing gaudy clothing.  That is not me, I thought.  I don’t know if it was just my age, or my too-coolness, or my depression that sucked me and all of my positive traits down into an abyss, but whatever the reason, I didn’t know who I was. Even when I was seeing myself on tape.  I didn’t connect with anything about that party, or anything in that video.

I think about that now, as I look at my daughters.  How a parent doesn’t see a child only for who they are at that very instant, but they see them for who they’ve always been.  They maybe even project a teensy bit to what their child might be like in the future.  And how crazy it can be that in some ways, at some times, a parent can know their child even better than the child knows themselves.

Finally, as I am encroaching on forty, I think I found myself.  I remember who I am.  I am a slobbery fool.  I am a confident adult.  I dance in the living room and sing off-key.  I still have no fashion sense.  And, even though I have to fight for it now, I’m happy again.

My friends and I were talking today about how this is sort of how the cycle goes.  You’re born with confidence, you’re born knowing who you are, you’re born ready to work your tail off to accomplish anything you set your mind to.  This usually gets beaten out of you for awhile there, and you spend the rest of your life clawing your way out of the depressive, self-conscious, terrified person you somehow became.  Some of us make it out, some of us don’t.

I suppose it doesn’t matter if my daughters remember playing the “buh, buh..B!” game with me or not.  As long as they are able to navigate their way back to found if they ever find themselves lost.


Don’t Worry, Second Child. I Love You, Too.

Dear Second Child,

Yes, the first child has so many photos.  So many intricate descriptions in the baby book. So many mementos.  So many journal and blog posts oohing and awwing over them.

As the second, you might feel a little neglected.  Where are my eight million photos categorized by month? Where’s my blog post about the first coo or the first “Mama!” or the first taste of a lemon?

My first inclination is to apologize.  However, that would imply we had some sort of choice in the matter.  You want the truth?  Well, kid.  We were just busier after having you.   It’s as simple as that.  And some of the things we wrote about the first time are the same with you.  So, we already wrote about it.  What about all the comparing?  The second is nothing like the first, you might have heard. In some ways that is true, and in some ways it isn’t. We don’t usually feel the need to discuss the ways it isn’t.  We already discussed the parts that are the same the first time.

But, don’t think about it too much.  Don’t over-analyze.  Don’t worry. We love you.  Just as much as your older sibling.  You might think I have to say that to you, but guess what?  I DON’T.  I don’t have to say anything to you. There are trillions of choices of word combinations I could put together and shoot your way every day.

Everything I say to you, I mean.

Remember that.

And you might think, “How is it possible?  How can you love me the same?”

And my answer is, “I have no idea.  It is a biological mystery, how it works, but I swear to you, it just IS”. One moment we look at our oldest and we think, she might be the most beautiful person on the entire planet.  And then we blink and look at you and think, she might be the most beautiful person on the entire planet, even if the two of you physically look absolutely nothing alike and, at least at times, act nothing alike. These thoughts may not always come to us within seconds of each other, or even hours of each other, but believe me, they happen.  In equal amounts.

We don’t always love you in all the same WAYS but we love you the EXACT SAME AMOUNT.

Here are a few examples of how that makes sense in our heads:

Sibling One Sibling Two Our Thoughts
She’s so calm. She’s so energetic. That trait will REALLY benefit her in the future.  (And, wouldn’t you know it, when she wants to be, she’s damn good at being energetic/calm too. Impressive!)
She’s so serious. She’s so goofy. She’s so great.
She hardly complains. She complains loudly! What strength she has!  It’s so hard to not complain/speak your mind. She will use this to her advantage in life.
She giggles. She guffaws. She has a good sense of humor.  She is happy.
She has an innie. She has an outie. She has the cutest belly button.  Poke!
She observes by looking. She observes by touching. She is such a good observer.
She likes to be held. She likes her back rubbed. She’s able to connect with others.
She pauses. She dives right in. She’s wise.
She whispers. She yells. She communicates.
She paddles. She splashes. She swims.
She loves her sister. She loves her sister. May they work together and complement their strengths and create the greatest force ever to be reckoned with.
She knows how to push my buttons. She knows how to push my buttons. She is not a lightweight.  She will be able to hold her own.
She is my first. She is my second. She is my only her. She awakens me, livens me, fills me up.  She is my child.
She surprises me. She surprises me. She is who she makes herself, not who I think she is or will be.  She consistently proves to be a better person than I could ever imagine anyone could possibly be.

Love you, Second Child.  Love you forever.


Here’s Why You Need to Apologize to Your Kids

The other day I lost it.

My daughter refused to walk down the stairs, to sit on the toilet, to wear pants, to put on her shoes.  She complained about not being allowed to eat a donut for lunch, about having to wash her hands after using the toilet, and about having wet hair (after her long tresses dipped into the toilet water as she leaned in to watch her poop swirl into the abyss).  When I tried to help her put on her shoes, she bucked and thrashed and managed to headbutt me in the face.  I’m in that stage of parenting where it seems like I’m always getting headbutted in the face.

I remember reading somewhere that the supraorbital ridge, that bone beneath your eyebrows, evolved to counter the load put on the facial bones during chewing, and that eyebrows, located above that bone, evolved to stop sweat from pouring into the eyes, directing it down the sides of the face instead.  While I imagine both would be useful for our hunter-gatherer ancestors, I propose a counter-hypothesis, that perhaps both structures evolved because children often headbutt us parents, and without the protruding bony bit they would punch out our eyes with their thick skulls, and without the thick brows, blood would pour into our eyes, preventing us from seeing the next blow coming.  It’s plausible.

I might have been okay if it had ended with the headbutting, but then there was her refusal to stay in her bed, or even in her bedroom for that matter, during nap time.  There was more, but my brain blocked it out to save my own sanity.

I snapped.  I yelled.  LOUDLY.  I was exhausted and hormonal and at my wits’ end.  It was a very ugly sight and it left both of us in tears.  I was a bad mama that day.

So, I apologized.

While it might seem silly for a grown woman to confess to a two-year-old, that’s exactly what I did.  After all was said and done, we ended the day with books, cuddles and kisses, and while I was glad we had smoothed everything over, I was still a bit gutted with guilt, playing over her words in my mind, “It’s okay, Mama.  It was an accident”.  Because it wasn’t an accident.  I should have had more control. There are zero reasons to be a jerk to a two-year-old.

I’m a firm believer that if you have a lapse in judgement you acknowledge the mistake and do your best to prevent it from happening again.  While it’s hard to apologize to anyone, and counter-intuitive to some to apologize to a small child, here’s why I think it’s important to do so:

Sometimes we screw up.  And that’s okay, we’re only human. Learning the hard way that something doesn’t work is generally a precursor to eventually figuring out what does.  Like when I used to look down at my phone every once in a while when my kids were running around the living room like wild bulls.  I quickly learned to check my social media some other time, to keep my head up and my eyes on my little toros,  so I would not get caught looking down as they charged towards me and CRASH! split open my brow.  Again. Live and learn and Ole!

As parents, we strive to become better teachers, better negotiators, and better role models, but that doesn’t mean we achieve perfection on every attempt.   If we acknowledge that we that we make mistakes, we show our children that it is okay for them to make them, too.  Eliminating the myth that people are supposed to be perfect is probably good for all of us.

Providing structure and consequences doesn’t mean we need to resort to authoritarian (read: assholertarian) discipline.  There are many ways to get the attention of your child, to make them comprehend the messages you are trying to get across.  Some are founded upon the principle of routine, some are rooted in consistency, some are just plain old silly  (I know I cannot be the only parent that has a rap routine called “We Brush our Teeth”, complete with horrible beat boxing and “spinning the discs” hand motions). Shock value works too.  Sometimes, the only way we feel heard is if we yell. But there’s a definite distinction between needing to raise a voice every now and again and completely losing your cool. Trust me, even a two-year-old knows the difference.

Kids become who they are because of who we are.  If we want them to become self-aware individuals who take accountability for their actions then we sure as hell better model what that looks like.  Our children will only become bullish adults if we teach them to do so by example, leading only with our horns instead of also with our hearts.

Here's Why You Need to Apologize to Your Kids

Here’s Why You Need to Apologize to Your Kids

Back to School: A Teacher’s Wish List

It’s back to school time.  And teachers are FREAKING OUT.  Because it is almost Labor Day, and Summer is over.  The to-do lists are out. of. control.  The parents are already calling.  The administration is sending a million memos, some in print, some in digital form, a mixed media medley of messages that are often vague, full of jargon and these many forms of communication do not seem to align with one another.  We are worrying about our students, we are worried about our sanity, before we have even started.

The rest of you?  You are rolling your eyes and saying it’s about time you slackers had to get yourselves back in the working world with the rest of us.  Never mind that teachers generally put in enough overtime during the school year to compensate for all of that unpaid “time off” during the summer.  Or that they work second jobs during the Summer to make ends meet.  Or that even though they work during the Summer,  taking classes or preparing for the new year, they are only paid for nine months.  Ahem.

Regardless of your stance on teacher compensation or hours, I think everyone can appreciate these seemingly simply desires that every teacher wants, but usually does not receive, from September through June.

Time to pee.  Seriously.  There is no time to pee.  In between classes?  We’ve got students popping in, admin popping in, other teachers popping in, and not just to chat, but with some sort of need.  There is often a crisis.  We live by the bell, by the minute, by the semester and EVERY SECOND COUNTS.  We are in a bizarre time warp where things must be done NOW (even though what must be done NOW can realistically hardly be done EVER).  This is a problem for many reasons, but the no-peeing part is especially troublesome for those of us who have birthed children.

A desk that isn’t broken.  One of my students on the autism spectrum took out all of the wheels from several of my desk drawers, and those kind of things just don’t get fixed.  You just, for thirty years, have drawers that go thump thump thump thump, jumping a bit as you pull the drawers out or push them back in.

A chair that isn’t going to cause disc damage.  Okay, if that isn’t possible, at least A CHAIR.  I don’t have a chair, because the one I bought (which happened to be an exercise ball because I don’t want to spend a lot of money on a chair, and I have a relatively weak core) was lost when I moved classrooms.  Poof.  I blame privatization.  Our regular custodians would have made sure my chair made it to my new room.  It’s really not that far away.

Coffee.  No, this doesn’t just exist in any “teacher’s lounge” I’ve ever been in, unless it was in a coffee pot bought by a teacher, made with coffee bought by a teacher and, if it existed, was hopefully cleaned by a teacher.  Who knows when they had time to clean it….it probably wasn’t cleaned.  But, let’s be honest, we really care more about the coffee than the cleaning.

Time to drink coffee.  There is no such thing as a coffee break.  There is really hardly a lunch break. C’mon. I can’t believe more student scaldings don’t happen, to be honest.

Time to work by ourselves without interruption.  Planning period?  Hahahah!  That is filled with meetings and more meetings and, oh yea, STUDENTS.  Do you know, teachers have to plan what they are going to do when they stand in front of their students?  Do you know, teachers have to grade their students work?  Do you know, teachers benefit from collaborating with other teachers?  Time for any of these things is what teachers want.  So much more so than apple-shaped trinkets.

Pens.  Why is it so hard to get pens?  And pencils.  We need a million pencils for the kids. They are incapable of keeping one in their possession for an entire day.  And they are incapable of not stealing our pens.  Don’t get me started on tape.  I got an email from a co-worker last year saying that they would not be providing tape for their students because they were ON THEIR LAST ROLL OF TAPE and would not be providing any more. This is what teachers become at the end of May.  Barbaric tape deniers.

Tissue.  Maybe the kind that doesn’t cause chafing the first time you wipe your nostrils with it.  But, if that isn’t possible, we’ll take the tissue that feels like sandpaper.  I’ll take the sandpaper tissue.   I NEED SANDPAPER TISSUE.  Anything is better than my sleeve. Best case scenario if I don’t have any?  I’m wearing a pattern (that doesn’t show the snot so much).  But, my students?  They don’t even use sleeves.  If they don’t have tissues, they just use my air.  And my desks (which are also your kid’s air and desks, by the way).  Ew.

A cabinet that locks.  And ideally, a key that goes with it. Because if the stars align, maybe I can go pee.  But, I don’t want anyone to steal my wallet when I do.

For anyone making decisions about what happens in classrooms to actually have experience working in a classroom.  We can all have dreams, right?

Time to eat lunch.  At least, sometimes? Pretty please?

Assessments that aren’t arbitrarily changed from year to year. Oh wait, the change isn’t always arbitrary.  It’s usually based on profits for companies and cost-savings for our government…

Assessments that actually measure something of value.  Can anyone give me some proof that anything we assess actually has merit? Hello?  Bueller? I’m all for data.  I love data.  Just not pointless (even if well-intentioned) data.  And hell hath no fury like a teacher who cares about their students seeing them freak the heck out because of assessments that, in the long run, don’t mean anything.

More coffee.  There is never, ever, enough.

An automatic translator that turns what we are actually thinking into polite and professional language. Seriously, how do politicians and admins do this?

Wine.  Coffee only goes so far.

Time to work one on one with students.  We really want to help our students.  All of them.  That’s why we’re here.  We just can’t be everywhere and help everyone at the same time.  Anyone who says class size doesn’t matter has never been in the classroom.

Note that nothing on this wish list pertains to wishing the students were anything but themselves.  The students are the best.  They are why we keep coming back.  Parents, keep sending those lovely students of yours! They keep us going.


By Malate269 (Own work) [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons

Anything you’d add to the list?



Three years since you were born.  A quiet, beautiful, surprisingly easy birth after a raucous, petrifying, shockingly difficult conception.

Three years since I couldn’t focus on anything else if you were in the room.  Not because you are demanding (even though sometimes you are), but because I can’t keep my eyes off of you.

Three years since I have found the greatest of joys in doing the simplest of things. Singing, reading, coloring, dancing, joking, playing.  But mostly, observing.

Three years since laughter has erupted from me so often, so loudly, so purely.

Three years since I have learned to take better care of myself, so I could take better care of you.

Three years since I remembered that kids know what is fair, what is funny, what is right, while adults often do not.

Three years since sleeping in has been an option.

Three years since I’ve tried (and so far, failed) to stop involuntarily emitting the “guhhhhh” sound when I encounter a frustration. Three years since you soaked this up like a sponge and picked up my bad habit.

Three years since touching someone else’s poop, pee, puke, snot, and other things I used to think were disgusting, have disgusted me.

Three years since I have understood why other people like their small children.

Three years since going on “vacation” meant going to the grocery store by myself, or sitting in silence for an hour.

Three years since I could listen to news stories or movies of violence, accidents, or death without holding my breath and holding back tears because in every scenario I pictured your face.

Three years since I could listen to success stories, happy-ending stories, everyday stories, without holding my breath and holding back tears, because in every scenario I pictured your face.

Three years since my body is no longer mine.  And three years since I’m okay embracing every imperfection the new me possesses. Even the torn hip labrum, and separated pelvic joint.

Three years since your struggles are difficult for me and your triumphs elate me.

Three years since your eyes, your nose, your mouth, your mannerisms, your voice, has been branded into my brain.  Three years since I can’t stop looking, zooming in as close as you will let me. Every day I notice a slight change, and I am astounded by it, excited by it, delighted by it, ridiculously surprised by it, and I don’t want to forget it.  I picture every bit of you vividly in my mind while my eyes are squeezed shut, but I want to study you even more with my eyes wide open to make sure I don’t miss anything new.

Three years since I have felt like I am the luckiest lady on the planet.

Happiest of birthdays, Toddler Grouch.  Three years!

A lifetime for you.  A life-changer for me.


A Sad Reality: Trying to Schedule Time to See Your Mom-Friends

We all know how once we become parents, it’s hard to connect with our old circles. Oh, we don’t think it’s going to happen.  We’re going to get a babysitter once a week, we say to ourselves.  But, reality sets in and we quickly grasp that trying to find time to hang out with our non-parent friends is about as easy as trying to spear a salmon swimming upstream, without having any experience hunting or fishing, and without any sort of understanding of refraction.  They stay up later than us, they watch current television shows, they don’t have to work around nap times and those periodic babysitters are used so we can clean out the boxes in our basements or clean out the gutters, or put in a new water heater ourselves when the old one dies.

But we want to be friendly, we want to have friends, so we like to think we can at least find company with other parents, because they get it!  We list all of the reasons in our head why these new mom-relationships are going to be so. awesome. It’ll be so much easier than spearing fish. It’ll be like attracting ants with candy.

  • They are going through what we are!
  • Our kids can play together.  We won’t even care if they fight or hit each other with spoons.  We will laugh and nod at one another knowingly and consider it all to be social skills training.
  • They won’t get offended that when it comes to listening to them we only have the attention spans of goldfish, because of the constant I want water! Can I have a snack? Kiss my elbow, it’s bleeeeeding! (when it’s not bleeding), I peed on the carpet!  Watch THIS!  Watch THIS!  Look at meeeeeee…..
  • They don’t care that we come over wearing puke on our sweatshirts.
  • Or that we wear the same puked-on outfit day, after day….after day.

In some sort of cruel cosmic joke, realization sets in through a series of scenarios that are reminiscent of Twillight-Zone story lines, and parents soon face the facts.  When it comes to remaining highly social beings after having kids, the odds are never in our favor.

This is what text messages to your mom-friends look like

This is what text messages to your mom-friends look like

HER:   Doing anything fun today?  Are you able to walk to the park at all?

ME:  What the eff.  I’m sick.  I’ve randomly got a 103 temp.  Dying.

HER:  Stay away.  Don’t even text me back.  You sound too contagious.

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ME:  I’m feeling better!  Play date at the park?

HER:  Can’t.  Baby has pinkeye and toddler has hand, foot, and mouth.

ME:  Gag.  At least you don’t have super lice.

HER:  What the heck are super lice??? Do you have super lice??

ME: No!  I asked you to go to the park, remember?? And let’s hope you never find out what super lice are.

ME:  (Although, then you’d get that haircut you’ve been complaining you can squeeze in).

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ME:  Hey!  Up for going for a walk with the kiddos tonight?

HER:  Sure!  We’re almost home.  What time were you thinking?

ME:  5:00? Or earlier?

HER:  Have to run to the store, then make dinner and feed the fam.  5:45?

ME:  Ugh. Baby’s been going to sleep at 6:00.  :(

HER:  Our schedules are so off!

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HER:  Are you guys around today?  Thought I’d try to blow up the pool and can let you know when it is open for business?  Not sure if the kiddo will love it or not, first time trying it out.

ME:  Ohhh, nice.  We are on our way to Potter Park now.  Maybe after nap time?

HER:  Check in later.  We can let you know how it goes this morning.  Have fun at the zoo.  You’re brave.  It’s so hot!

ME:  I’m a warrior mama, armed with sunscreen and wads of cash to buy a copious amount of popsicles.  Text you later, let’s try to connect!

HER:  Hope nap times work so you guys can come over!

ME:  Okay, we are leaving the zoo, napping when we get home.

ME (hours later):  Still sleeping, but probably up any minute. what are you guys up to?

HER:  Kiddo JUST went down, so will probably sleep another hour and a half.  Is this not going to work again?   I can text when he gets up.

ME:  Good lord.

HER: I know.

HER (hours later):  This isn’t happening again, is it?   Are you staring your nighttime routine?  My guess is yes.

ME:  The family is heading to the cottage Thursday to Saturday.  Coffee Sunday morning?

HER: Yes!  Please!

ME (Monday):  Don’t kill me. I think we’re now staying until Sunday afternoon…

HER:  I can’t kill you if I never see you again :(

I miss you, pal (In mom-speak)

I miss you, pal (In mom-speak)

ME:  Coffee tomorrow evening?  I’m free!

HER:  Yes! Yay!

ME (next day):  I guess hubs is coming home early so can’t do coffee today.  Maybe tomorrow though.

HER:  No problem.  I still haven’t taken a shower and really need to.  Will try tomorrow.

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ME:  Stopping over today after work?

HER:  For sure!  Stopping at the house briefly then we’ll pop over.

HER:  Sooooo baby is in my lap and hopefully falling asleep very soon. I could still come in a bit Or… For SURE come straight from work tomorrow. Sorry. I know my track record sucks.

HER (next day):  I’m agoraphobic. I’ll be by tomorrow. I really will :)

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ME:  We are around we are having some friends over tonight. Join? Maybe we will do a fire pit? If you can stay up that late.

HER: As usual, will see how things pan out. I’ll text. And if I have enough energy, although I can’t imagine being out past 9.

HER: (No text later)

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Since you can’t ever actually connect in person, sometimes you just chat via text:

ME:  I’m a train wreck. Eat. Eat. Drink. Gah.  I do NOT want to go back to work yet but I might need the structure.

Bark thins. Supposedly dark chocolate, but I think they are composed of something more addictive, and possibly illegal. SO. GOOD.

Bark thins. Supposedly dark chocolate, but I think they are laced with something more addictive. SO. GOOD.

HER: I remember you telling me about those chocolate bark things… My picture should be my fat stomach hanging out from my camisole but I just can’t bring myself to do it..

ME: Haha! Omg.  SHOW ME.


HER:  You’re pinching like the tiniest little layer of SKIN. That ain’t nothing. And no, no picture here.

ME: I need a picture. I’m worried I might not recognize you if I walk by you at the supermarket.

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HER:  So I’m planning on swinging by on my way home! 5ish??

ME:  Sure!

HER:  Be there in 3 minutes.

We’ll see if it works out this time.

This is Parenting (A Picture Speaks A Thousand Words)

Parenting.  It’s so hard to describe.

It is witnessing the most beautiful sights in the world.wpid-20150809_084311.jpg


P and dad snuggling





It is seeing nothing else but your children, no matter what else surrounds you.wpid-20150801_083415.jpg

It is a million gray hairs that appear instantly, overnight, the second you start trying to conceive.20150324_111227

It is giving up glamour and adopting Hello Kitty Couture.wpid-20150730_194513.jpg

It is really, really, gross.puke2

It is perpetual cleaning, without ever a clean house to show for it.wpid-20150810_082732.jpg


It is silly and hilarious and fun.wpid-20150815_191528.jpg

And full of dinosaurs.wpid-20150819_222538.jpg

It is absolutely, terrifyingly, loud, panic-inducing, and oh-my-goodness-i-don’t-know-what-i’m-doing-ing.20140703_115208

It is sometimes seeing yourself in it’s ugliest, strangest form, almost unrecognizable. wpid-20150809_162806.jpg

It is an endless stream of dirty dishes.  Real ones and pretend ones.  Who knew pretend picnics required so much cleaning?wpid-20150729_100130.jpg


It is backpain, current or impending, but completely unavoidable.20150626_071958

It is using a doll highchair as a table to conveniently hold your wine.20150519_195944

It is drinking coffee.  A LOT of coffee.20150317_055707

It is your child serving herself pretend juice, water, milk, or tea, but only serving you pretend coffee.  She is an attentive waitress.wpid-20150819_192604.jpg

It is never having enough bananas.  “I need more bananas! A LOT more bananas! (Even though she already has bananas).

It is saying, “Just one more picture, please!” and hearing “stop taking pictures, Mom!”  A phase that starts so much earlier than you are ready for.image

It is managing an attitude, a force that both awes and scares you, that begins from day 0.5.image

It is seeing yourself in your children.




It is a million trips to the grocery store for items like this (all of which are worth every penny).wpid-20150810_190840.jpg

It is simultaneously horrifically ugly and absolutely beautiful.cuddles

It is wanting to look like this:wpid-20150819_121454.jpg

But really looking like this:image

But, it is looking like this to them.  Which reminds you that it doesn’t really matter what you look like.image