Friday, February 6, 2015


It's a trait I see and admire so, in other people.

Your grace, your courage, your vulnerability.

But I'm just a mess, they say. I'm just muddling through.

I have yet to figure out how to explain that that's the part that's amazing, that the willingness to be imperfect and out in the world, to play it strong and wrong if they have to (like my name director used to say), is what I admire, what I envy.

How much I wish I was the kind of person who could do anything at all, right or wrong, without thinking about it for 12 hours first and regretting it for 48 hours after.

I messed up, guys. I didn't finish NaBloPoMo, and I was so embarrassed I sure down for three months.

 I'm so embarrassed of how embarrassed I was.

Showing up here after all this time scares me, maybe more than it should. I'm afraid that no one will care, that it doesn't matter. I'm so afraid.

But the only way to get courage is by practicing it.

Which is a sucky way for that to work if you ask me.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


"First you want to color the J and the jellyfish," our beloved children's librarian had instructed. "Then you can glue it to your paper.  Then you can add the yarn and ribbons to the jellyfish body as tentacles."

As I wrestled Little Sister back into her chair, held the mouthwash size paper cup of apple juice to her lips, and pulled the yellow  marker away from her lips, I looked up to see BG gluing her completely uncolored J to her paper - backwards - and haphazardly attaching ribbons around the edges of the paper.

All around me, mothers and grandmothers meticulously supervised their charges' work.  "I think you want to color the jellyfish a little more.  What colors do you think you should use? It could use more green." "Now lay the glue down in a nice even line here.  Yes, just like that."  "Here, let me curl the ribbons for you so it looks nicer."

"Hey sweetie? You wanna take a look at that J for a second? Does it look right to you?"

"What? Oh. Ha. It's backwards." She unceremoniously ripped the letter from the page and started applying glue to the other side.

Sometimes I wonder what the other moms think of me and my children at moments like this. As their perfectly groomed children sit squarely in their seats, making true to life jellyfish, mine throw splotches of marker across sheets of construction paper, calling out for the librarian by name (yes, the baby does too now) to come look at their work. I often feel embarrassed in situations like this, embarrassed by our messiness, by my seeming inattention, by their volume and enthusiasm.

Embarrassed, to some degree, by their joy and their complete indifference to certain social norms.

And so, in some ways, also proud.

If you had asked me two years ago, one year ago, six months ago, if I would wake up this morning and decide that we were going to make and paint salt dough ornaments in my kitchen, I would have said you were crazy. I'm not crafty. I'm not a pinterest mom. I'm a big old pinterest fail.

But a few years ago, even, I knew that I wanted my daughters to be creative, to love art, to have these skills, so I started getting them art supplies. Mostly I would just put the box of materials on the table and say, have at it kid. Do what you will. Because, really? I didn't care.

The purpose was the process.

When I asked a friend if I was crazy to make ornaments today, she said no. She said "they won't come out the way you want them too, but the kids will have fun."

And I realized, as we rolled out lumpy dough, six hands on the rolling pin, that I didn't want them to look like anything. I didn't want them to look like anything but my girls' own work.

And so, they came out perfect.

And this, I think, is what motherhood is teaching me again and again, what I am fighting against and slowly succumbing to. This lesson is my children's greatest gift.

It's already perfect.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


You know what would be great sometimes? If we could have a parenting co-op where we could take turns putting each other's kids to bed.

Because God knows our kids would never treat other moms the way they treat us.

But seriously, what would be amazing about this would be that when we said "omg, you will never believe..." And our friends said "I know," we would believe them. Really believe them. Because we would know that they truly saw us and that it wasn't really just us.

So let's just pretend that tonight your kid screamed at me and my kid sobbed on you and kicked and screamed all the way to bed.

It's not your fault. You're a good mom.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Quiet Time

The toddler had nestled into her crib after only moments of fussing, laughingly declaring. "Bed. Okay. Bye, mommy."

The preschooler was snuggled in her bed agreeably with a book, some wooden toys, and a timer.

As I walked down the stairs I thought to myself, Okay, now I have time to do all the things I really want to do. All the guilty fun, all the productivity, all the meaningful making, all the self improvement.  Okay, now I'm going to..

And as my butt hit the couch, my brain went completely blank.

I picked up my tablet.

I opened a google message box.

"What am I supposed to be doing?"

"Good question. Have you written yet today?"

"In my journal," can you mumble on google chat? "It didn't really work."

"Working isn't really what matters."

I closed my tablet case, as one does when one knows that one is wrong but wants to keep sulking.  I lay back on the couch and pulled a blanket over me. I closed my eyes.

This will work. This must be what I need. I just need to not be on for a minute.

The phone rang.

"Hi honey."

"Hi, did you finish the invitations for Little's birthday party?"

"Oh," I felt more groggy than I expected after 30 seconds with my eyes closed. "No, not yet. I'm going to - "

"Okay. And did you open all the Amazon boxes with the kids' gifts?"

"Oh. No. I should do that now while they're..."

"MOMMY!" came the extremely loud stage whisper from the top of the stairs.

"I, uh, I have to go. That's BG."

"Oh, okay, call later if you need me."

"Sweetie, what is it?"

"Come look at how I dressed my dolls."

"Sweetie, it's Quiet Time. If your clock isn't green, go back to your room. I'll look at them later."

"Oh. Right."

I went back to the couch. I closed my eyes. The washer buzzed.

I should switch that over. I should get those boxes. I should finish those ... I'll just close my eyes for another sec ...

"Mommy! I have to go potty!"

"I'll be right there."

There are only ten minutes left on her  quiet time timer when I put her back to bed. I head downstairs and throw a k cup in the coffee pot. I lug the boxes up to my closet. I throw the towels in the dryer.

"Mommy, my clock is green!"

"Come on down, baby. Let's play."

Monday, November 10, 2014

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

Now. I'm not one to disrespect the turkey. But I see you out there. I know you're around already, and I'm already being asked for Christmas lists. So I thought I'd make a list of  things I really want, a list I can't really give to the people I know but you, Santa, I know you'll understand.

Normally, when people ask what I want for Christmas, I tell them world peace and warm socks. And I still want those things, as I probably always will.

But there are a few more things I want this year too.

1. One full day when no one calls me solely by the name of a fictional character.
2. Several consecutive hours to binge watch whatever junk TV I want without anyone interrupting, judging, or commenting.
3. A morning when I can sleep as late as I want, get out of bed gradually, and sit quietly with my coffee without worrying about spilling it on anyone.
4. My laundry to be done.  Done. All of it. Ever.
5. My children to go a full hour without anyone pushing, hitting, screaming, or falling off of anything.
6. Something I write on my blog to go viral, get syndicated, win an award, generally be met with praise and applause.
7. A quiet brain, one that doesn't berate me when I make mistakes or paralyze me when I have choices to make.
8. A friend to sit on my couch and eat Oreos with me.

If I could get even a few of those things, Santa, I'd be pretty darn happy. But until then, I'm just gonna pick up some extra Oreos.


Sunday, November 9, 2014


It is ten o'clock on a Sunday night.  My kids are in bed, my laundry is folded, my house is cleanish, my coffee pot is set up for morning, my feet are up on the table.

And I suddenly look up from the children's shoe shopping I'm absentmindedly doing and say, "OH CRAP, I HAVE TO WRITE A BLOG POST."

It wasn't supposed to be this way.

Last year, by this time I was doing amazing writing. I was in it. There was magic. I was writing narratives of things that had happened, weaving metaphors, tugging at heart strings. I felt like a writer. I felt like I knew what I was doing.

It was a fool's errand to go into this project this year trying to recreate that. Truly. I know this.  There's no way to recreate magic, to revisit a moment when something clicks and happens.  The moment I had an idea in my head of how this was supposed to go, of where it was supposed to end up, of what it was supposed to look like, I had failed.

That sucks, guys.

I don't know what I'm doing. I don't know where I am.  I am embarrassed that I am still STILL writing about writing, that I don't have anything to say.

I am so afraid of being unremarkable.

And that's the thing, isn't it? that's the thing that keeps me silent, that makes me small.  The fear of being small is what keeps me down. The belief that nothing I have to say is important, that no one will ever want to hear it, is what keeps me from reaching out and touching the people who may need to hear what I have to say.

I want to be funny. I want to be deep. I want to be interesting. I want to be perfect and good and great.

I want to be raw and vulnerable and honest without any danger of it not being liked.

I'm a mess, guys. My kids are a mess. My house is a mess. And in some ways, I'm not in any way afraid of sharing that because in this blogging world, it's okay to say those things. I know that no one reading this will think any of those mean I'm less than.

I have trouble being grateful sometimes. I struggle. I feel overwhelmed. I don't think I can keep parenting, keep writing, keep showing up and being a friend because it's AWFUL to care that much about anything.  Awful.

And it's okay to admit that here too.

So what is it I'm afraid to say? What am I hiding? Am I hiding that I think I"m good, that I want to be good, that I want to be seen? I think I've said all that here too, although that makes me very uncomfortable.

I'm afraid of being dismissed, of being one upped, of being brushed off and seen as whiny.  "Is that what you're feeling bad about? That''s nothing."

I'm afraid that I'm foolish to think I can ever be anything other than unremarkable.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

4 good things about today

1. My coffee was amazing this morning.
2. The four year old and I finished Beezus and Ramona tonight.
3. My kids got to hug people dressed like Anna and Elsa.
4. I'm having a glass of wine. A big one.

I ... That's all I've got. I'm thankful you're reading. Good night.