Showing posts from 2017


I believe in words. I believe they have the power to heal, to foster hope, to cause pain, create fear. I use words to convey my feelings, I use them to empower me and provide emotion. I have used words to inflict a wound and to make a point. I believe in words. I love to read them, to write them, to change them and to fight with them. I love to speak them and to hear them. 
I love quotes and the way a small number of words can be arranged to impact a day, a week, a life. I gravitate to words, finding solace and comfort when I need it most.  I was texting with a friend the other day and I sent her the following message: I love when words speak to us and create a path for moving forward. She sent it back to me as a quote. "I love when words speak to us and create a path for moving forward" - You  I was taken back, in all my years of collecting and loving quotes -- it never occurred to me I might have a gem or two of my own to share. Words have been my crutch, my helping hand,…

A Letter to my Boys on Finding A Life

I see you struggling.  I know it's hard. It's one of the most difficult times in life, ironically one of the times that adults repeatedly frame as "the best years of your life", although we know that isn't true. You aren't the only one trying to figure this shit out.  I promise. We just don't talk about it.  And that's ok.  As long as you know you aren't alone.  Searching for your happiness in this world, settling on a career and a partner and a life path is hard.  There is nothing easy about it, despite what anyone says. I try to be helpful, provide you with words of advice you can hear, but you aren't always ready to listen. And I know, sometimes you just need to learn for yourself. As much as it pains me. So instead of continuing to talk ... I am doing what I do best. Writing it down.

One of the biggest surprises of my life -- as ridiculous as it sounds -- is that there is no coast. Over the last four decades I've had a succession of t…

Sylvia's Momma

Her face was tight. Stern creases edged between her eyebrows. Lines etched across her forehead, promising to deepen over time.  Sylvia! I told you to stay here. Why can't you fricking listen? If you can't listen you can't come with me anymore.She grabbedSylvia's hand, reefing on her arm in anger. She readjusted the baby on her hip. Sighing. Gasping for collective parental patience and air. She was being swallowed alive by life in the middle of Meijer.

I recognized her. I recognized the sideways glances she took once she exploded on her daughter. The did-anyone-see-me-i-am-not-always-like-this look.  The one that begs people to not judge, to understand, to be patient with her in ways she wasn't patient with her child.

My instinct to say, It's okay, momma. She won't want to go with you very much longer. was squashed by her sharp edges. She didn't want my help. She didn't want solidarity or patience.  She wanted the hell out of there, yesterday. She w…

The Secret Life of Boys

People have long told me I would be so happy that I didn't have daughters, that the drama and chaos of daughters in the house far outweighs the joys and besides, boys are so much easier. Bullshit. I am a believer that it depends more on the kid's personality, brain chemistry and environment and not on their gender to determine how difficult their journey to adulthood (and beyond) will be. And here's the thing, when you tell me that my sons are easy, when you tell me your daughters are harder, you undermine you.  You undermine me.  (And when you tell me girls are so much harder and such a pain in the ass with your daughter standing right there it makes me want to punch you in the face and give her a high five for being difficult for you). For God's sakes if you think boys are easy - you aren't paying attention. Our boys are struggling with anxiety and depression at alarming rates, being a boy does not preclude you from pain, drama or chaos. It does not isolate you …

Queen Anne's Lace

Much of raising babies, toddlers and even young elementary kiddos is simply survival. Surviving crying, pooping, puking, ear infections, coughing and croup. Managing day care and nursing and bottles and biting and teething and crawling and sassy toddlers who shriek with independence and shrivel with fear. You try and survive with your marriage in tact and maybe a friendship or two. There were days, probably weeks that grew to months, that I believed that if we made it through the day and no one died it was a success.  It's on those days where I would lay my head in bed at night exhausted from filling sippy cups and changing diapers and watching Bear in the Big Blue House and singing "I see the Moon" 13 times before bed that peace and contentment would find me. The fatigue of the day's work, mixed with relief from sleeping babies (albeit knowingly temporarily sleeping) was the perfect cocktail. Sure, there were nights when anxiety snuck in (many of them), where I wou…

Darkness Surounds Me

I drive down the street where he's been staying since Saturday. The duplex is small, practically the size of his bedroom and bathroom at home. My car moves slowly, I search the windows looking for shadows. I see none. He's supposed to be at school, but I don't know if he is.

The landscape of my life looks surreal, something out of the Dr Phil show. Not the life I imagined, or the life we have worked so hard for.  This is the life for someone who didn't care, someone who didn't try, someone who didn't give their kids everything they needed.

My secret is out. For two years we've been fighting depression, anxiety, ADHD, substance abuse with this kid. For two years we have fought and begged and pleaded for a change in behavior. Some days it worked, never for long. I have lived day to day, hour to hour, moment to moment, text to text. Waiting, always waiting, for the other shoe to drop, for it to turn around, for it to fall apart. Never knowing what was around …

Come Home Time

Last night E and I were driving into town to pick As up from football, we stopped behind a school bus and watched a little boy hop down off the stairs, wait for his cue to cross the road, and then run with his backpack bouncing off his bottom (his bag was so big compared to his little legs!) across the street toward his driveway. His smile turned my head, and I saw his momma waiting, bent to his level, arms open wide, her smile just as big.

My favorite part of the day has always been Come Home Time.  The late afternoon/early evening when all my ducks (E included) wandered back to the nest for the thin part of the day.  Right as the sun dip her toes into the last hours of work, my family would come home.  Meeting them at the end of the driveway after school was always the apex of that time, the anticipation of them coming home, hearing their stories, seeing their faces and hugging them was a reward for the silence and work of the day. Of course, it wasn't always great, and I am aw…

18 Again

I thought that doing this a second time my feelings would be muted, like a serene water color landscape instead of the crisp, clean lines of a realist painter capturing my freckles and the wrinkles you gave me around my eyes. I was wrong. Eighteen years. For eighteen years you have blessed my life and tho we struggle, no one, no one is more proud of you at your best and loves you more at your worst.

In all my life, I have never met anyone like you. You were born to be different, push buttons, disregard rules and look at boundaries as suggestions, to live life on a frequency most people can't handle. Your compassion and loyalty are fierce, in your life you will become someones hero. In many ways you are already mine. Your love of adventure captures my imagination, it focuses my fear as well, but I am learning to turn a (kind of) blind eye. Your path is your own, and I admire that.

Happy birthday, baby blue, 18 things I love about you.

1) Your passion, compassion, empathy and knowl…

An Open Letter to 2017 School Year

I have been up four times already.  I had good intentions. I laid my head down at 9:30.  I took two melatonin and began reading - my third book in two weeks - and I waited. Sleep never came.  Restlessness did. The first time I got up was for chap stick. The little cup that I hoard my favorite sticks from the boys, hidden behind a picture on my bed side table, is empty.  I venture all the way thru the house, put up the garage door head to my car parked outside, and find a blue raspberry stick that was a favorite until it melted in the heat of the sun. I scoop some out of the cap and carry it with me back to bed. The second time I was up I had to go to the bathroom, or at least I thought I did. The third time, I thought I might die without water.  The fourth time, I was so hot I had to change clothes. Now I am cold. I'm up again, this time searching for a the perfect sweatshirt - not too hot not too cold not too heavy not too light not too small not too big. It will be hours before…

The House That Built Me

Wind whipped our hair and froze our noses as we scraped our way through the fallen snow as we skated on the pond. Mucking through the soft, marshy edges to get to the hard ice in the middle, the ice so rough it chattered your teeth with each stroke.

Long tendrils of branches camouflaged the nook in the willow tree where I went to read, dream or write. My imagination carrying me away, the gentle swish of the leaves a back drop to day dreams.

The back bedroom was mine for a spell. I loved falling asleep with the windows open. Hearing the crickets and bullfrogs serenading me to sleep from the pond, hidden in the darkness.  I was safe, nestled in, cradled by my blankets and the warmth of my bed.

We built Homecoming floats in my barn. I never felt included in the activities, I skirted around the edges. Hovering around the edge of the crowd for small jaunts of time before heading back inside, happy to have my class mates there, unsure of how to join them.

An ice luge was constructed down …

The Underbelly of Motherhood

Aiden sailing ahead of me
There are times the universe speaks to me, lands in my lap the lessons I need to learn, what I need to know to grow. This week I had an email, a book and a conversation that conspired together to get me thinking. Raising teens, and young adults, has been the most trying time of my mothering journey. I look backward when they were babies and toddlers, in elementary school and I know the struggles were significant, the feeling of being bone tired was real, the panic and worry when a fever struck, or a bully challenged their days kept me awake many, many nights. But this. The physical work is so much less. My boys can feed themselves, wash their clothes (although I still choose to do it for them - don't judge me please), take themselves to practice.  They are independent in their physical need of me. The toll I pay now is one of mental clarity and emotional peace.  Of sleep in a way that makes me crave a newborn crying and needing to nurse.  Please don'…

Wild Child

A photo of Jacko's feet on the edge of the roof top of the Hog's Breath Saloon in Key West. He sent it to me while I was enjoying a cold beer and hadn't realized he had slipped away...
His eyes search for roof tops the way my soul craves sand and sun. He seeks adventure, I seek safety. He darts from thought to action. I take my time, mull my options, weigh my thoughts.  He eats horse radish from a spoon and loves flaming hot Cheetos. I think ketchup is spicy.  Want to hear a Russian accent? He can do it. Irish? Absolutely. English? Scottish? Aussie? Yep, yep and yep.  He is even fluent in chipmunk. Puns roll off his tongue as easily as sarcastic remarks, he craves knowledge with his body and shirks reading or writing. His eyes sparkle with mischief - no really, they actually sparkle. He doesn't just think out of his box, he dances on it. Daily. Loudly. He craves risk, excitement, speed, danger. He is bold. He is fearless.

My son.  My magical, beautiful, noisy, exaspera…


I went to Meijer three times this week.  It took until the third trip for me to remember what I needed on the first trip - ink for my printer.  I needed to scan some documentation to send to school, but the scanner on the printer was broken, no problem I will just copy it and send it in.  Except there was no ink.  And for three days I forgot there was no ink.  When I finally remembered I sat down, nearly giddy that I was this close to marking this task off of my to do list (after an embarrassing length of time) and the effing printer function was broken, too.  Eric asked me if I had done a few computery things and I said, the message on the printer literally says, "If you get message blah blah blah, your scanner/copier is broken and can not be fixed."  Now I have $40 worth of ink in a printer that only prints and won't copy or scan ... sweet.

I have an "Approval Request" that has come up on my iPhone every three days and I glance at it, hit "ok" beca…