Letting Go is Hard, Especially When it Comes to Wiping

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So ….here’s the thing, my daughter is 4. It’s time for her to wipe herself. Intellectually, I get it. But in my life, I don’t. I can’t . It’s too much. Everytime she’s in the bathroom, I will hear, “MOMMY I’M DOOOONE.” This is my cue to drop whatever I’m doing, for there is a butt that needs wiping. During one of these requests for my presence, my husband said to me, “Vaness don’t you think it’s time she learns how to wipe herself?” (Cut to me imagining a poop smeared bathroom) “Ehhh..I dunno…I just don’t think it’s time..” I KNEW he was right. She was beyond ready. I, however, was not.

Potty training is actually made up of several components, (that I know of) . There’s peeing on the potty, pooping on the potty, accident free sleeps, and independent wiping,   I had not considered independent wiping when we rejoiced after every poop on the potty. I thought once I stopped celebrating a poop with a toy, we had arrived at the end of potty training but damn you wiping! ( What comes next… independent trips to public restrooms?? Gulp!)

So, I listened to my husband and we started  to really teach her how to wipe as opposed to me getting frustrated and jumping in Every. Single. Time. I’ve been enabling her for far too long. We taught her the importance of wiping in the right direction and how we must NEVER wipe our backside and then our frontside.  I explained how to keep wiping until she got a clean wipe.  (Also, full disclosure, I use the flushable, wipes,ok ? I realize any plumber will say they are not really “flushable”. My apologies to all the plumbers everywhere . I’m sorry,  but they make it a little easier. Maybe Elon Musk can find a way to power a city with the use of flushable wipes because God knows I’m using them and I know I’m not alone!  The wipes help! Everyone knows this. ) Now of course one of the most important parts of wiping is hand washing. Obviously, regardless of who wipes, any trip to the potty ends with hand washing. But if she’s going to be the Queen of this throne and take on all the responsibility that comes with it, this was a good time to drive some points home.  I’ve lost count of how many times I said, “Get them nice and soapy..sing Happy Birthday to be sure you are taking enough time and don’t just stand there and let the water fall into your hands! Scrub them,”  and  “… if you don’t clean off  the germs, you will get poop everywhere and we will all get sick and need to go to the hospital…” (My parenting style is full of let’s keep it real moments and fear tactics. I’m not ashamed.)

So the day came  where I said ,”Issy, I think this time you can wipe yourself.” She felt ready and I looked forward to being the proud mother of an independent wiper and detailed hand washer. I won’t hear “MOOOOM, I’m DOOOONE” anymore! And I was right; I DIDN’T hear “MOOOOM, I’M DOOOOONE”; I heard MOOOOM, I have POOP ON MY HAND!” Sweet. Baby. Jesus. My worst nightmare. I imagined the poop germs everywhere and we’d all catch some horrible stomach bug. I thought of that infamous scene from Bridesmaids in the dress shop …We are all going to get sick …There won’t be enough toilets in the house for all of us and one of us will have to be sitting on the sink like Melissa McCarthy’s character!!!! I ran into the bathroom and indeed the poop was all over her hand. It’s like she started to wipe too early! Her hand was covered, her butt was covered! It was too soon! Too soon to wipe!! She wasn’t ready!  Admittedly, I didn’t handle myself well. I did not remain calm and tell her it was alright. I did the opposite. After I wiped her hands I said, “don’t touch anything” and moved on to her little tush.  (As you know-The WORST thing to say to a kid is DON’T do something because then all they want to do is what you said NOT to!!!) She was  touching her face… her hair and I YELLED at her. I’m certain I must have said something like “You’re going to get sick!” Stop touching your God Damn face DAMN IT! ” Yea…not my proudest moment. Why did her first attempt have to be THIS poop. Why not a few little pebbles? She could’ve done that in one wipe! But this- not this. Why can’t she be genuinely concerned about spreading germs?  I ended up wiping her and throwing her in the shower. I traumatized the poor child to the point that she lost all interest in wiping. (Stay tuned for my book: DON’T DO WHAT I DO:  A Practical guide  of How NOT to Handle Almost Every Situation in Parenting. )

So, I went back to the drop everything and wait for her to call for me to wipe stage…. Clearly I too was traumatized…I convinced myself  it was just too soon until last week when I picked her up from school.  She ran and jumped into my arms and whispered in my ear, “ Mommy I have poop in my underwear.” She said she thought she got a clean wipe, but all the wiping hurt her little tush. Clearly, my fear of letting her wipe herself  along with my little germaphobe issues are not serving her!  Alas, we are back on the path to independent wiping. This morning when I checked on her in the bathroom, she said,  “Look Mom,  I still love you but I don’t need you to wipe me anymore…I’m a big girl okay?” 

Got it…I’m still going to supervise the hand washing though.

 

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Powering Off

We did a TV and tablet free week in our house and it was one of the best things we’ve ever done. I don’t think I had been honest with myself about the amount of screen time   our daughter was getting .  I had held off on technology with her for so long but once those flood gates opened…it just snowballed.  Because I spend hours with her at the park, I can justify one Peppa Pig turning into 4. ( If she’s spent over 3 hours running  and playing outside, maybe she needs to just chill out..it’s good for her right? Maybe…)
How else can I get anything done? How else do you cook dinner or clean a bathroom, or make a phone call to your insurance company ? Put their face in front of a screen and you can do anything . It’s a magic spell really . Turning off was tough at first but now I prefer it and here’s why.
1.My daughter learned how to play with her toys . She is quite social and enjoys school and spending hours and hours at the park with her friends, but tell her to go in her room and play with her toys and she needs help. “Mommy  come play with me “ is all I would hear when I would say “play with your toys…Mommy is busy” while trying to make dinner. But during no TV week, she knew there was no screen option. She knew that we were all taking a break from TV. If I was in the kitchen cooking, she would come grab pots and pans and set up a” kitchen” on the coffee table.  She actually opened her toy chest and played with the contents inside! Books, puzzles matchbox cars, play doh, dolls, dress up ..Oh MY!
2. She listened better and had less tantrums. By day 3 when I asked her to straighten up her room, instead of being met with resistance, she said, ” Ok Mommy.” She said this in the sweetest voice EVER. When she finished, I went in her room and she ACTUALLY straightened it out. Everything was put away.  This had literally never happened before.  I made a HUGE deal about it and it gave her a great sense of pride. I had tried reward charts with stickers  in the past but she never really cared or responded. This was much more effective.
3.We ate together as a family. This was HUGE for me. Because of our different schedules, eating dinner together never really happened. I was always feeding Issy and then waiting for her to be asleep until my husband and I ate. By doing this, I was also catering to HER specific meal requests. I would say, what do YOU want to eat, (which I fully understand  is something I should not do but I found myself doing it to avoid any issues  with my 4 year old! That’s nuts ! I know but I did it OK, and I’m owning up to it) But when there was no TV, I was cooking for ALL Of us. I was making things like roasted zucchini halves stuffed with turkey and sauteed veggies and there were no other options. She had to eat food with red things and green stuff. At the very least she had to try. Not only did she eat (sometimes it took hours), she wanted to set the table. I love sitting together and hearing her say, “So how was your day?”
4. We went to bed earlier and woke earlier. By 8:30, our daughter was asleep and by 11, so were we.  Without the distraction of TV on in the background during her bedtime routine, we eliminated the ” Whats this show? Who’s that guy? and the ” Please just 5 more minutes” moments that added hours to the routine.  After she was asleep, my husband and I had more time to connect  with each other. (Let’s be honest, there is a very short window of time when I am awake in the evening.)   In the morning without cartoons over breakfast, my daughter was ready to leave for school a half hour earlier. In fact, she couldn’t wait to go! And because I had gone to bed at 11 instead of 1:30, I was more alert and didn’t need too much time “waking up” and parking my kid in front of Nick JR while I guzzled caffeine.
5. I didn’t feel as anxious. I had not realized the negative effects of social media on my life until I turned it off.  I picked up a very nasty habit of scrolling through Instagram and Facebook for no reason. The state of the country is not looking good.  Almost everything we eat, wear, or rub into our bodies is composed of chemicals that are slowly killing us and it’s anyone’s guess which sunscreen is safe to use and which ocean we want the fish we consume to be caught at this point! I can become crippled with fear; it’s too much.  I realize some public radio in the car is the best source for me. This way , I am informed. I know when shit is getting real and I should call my representative and sign some petitions. I also realized I can get some good deals on organic items at Costco so that is  how I’ll handle the deathly chemical situation at this point. I will try my best to save social media scrolling for the end of the day if I so desire. (Also- full disclosure- it’s very hard for me . I was just searching earthquakes after the little one last night and now I am terrified there will be another or the world will just end entirely. See? There is no need for me to be scrolling through  Facebook right now. I should maybe get an earthquake kit together though…)

Now TV is a treat for our little one. (My husband and I still watch TV during the week but considerably less because we are adults damn it.) On the weekends we sit down as a family and have popcorn and watch a movie. It’s an exciting family event . In the same way we must eat in moderation, we have to use technology in moderation. Look, if I have any hope of preventing the future version of my daughter from living with her phone attached to her face, I must do this.  I MUST.  I will always want her to ask how our days were while sitting around the dinner table.

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An Ode to My Mother and What We Really Want for Mother’s Day

As little kids, my siblings and I used to make our Mom breakfast in bed for Mother’s Day. I can recall waking up extra early to put a plan in place. We would make a huge mess and eventually place some poorly scrambled eggs and burnt toast on a tray with dandelions we picked from the back yard and stuck in a juice glass. When you say “it’s the thought that counts,” it REALLY was. I’m sure the cold eggs and dry toast we delivered to Mom in bed would not have received a 5 star rating from Yelp. But surely the fact that 3 little kids wanted to do something nice for her to make her feel special is enough to make one weep. But, you can only hope Dad had a back up plan for food! After becoming a Mother, I remember saying to my  Mom, you did SO much for us, and then we WOKE YOU UP for a bad breakfast!?? You must have wanted to say, “Oh you didn’t have to do this…you could have just let me SLEEP..” or, “… Thank you for the cold eggs and blackened toast, you know you could have just sent me to a remote island somewhere and locked me in a hotel suite for a weekend…. But this is sweet too!”

To my Mother who deserves to spend the rest of her life in a first class resort never lifting a finger, you are worth  much more than any gift you have received from me. For every thankless moment of  motherhood, I send you a thousand thank you’s and  for every hour of sleep deprivation I have caused you; from the bottom of my heart I apologize. You are a Saint among us and I’m just honored you still want to speak to me with all the drama I have put you through starting  with your iron deficiency I caused from the womb and the excruciatingly painful and drug free backbone to backbone delivery…  I mean..Mom really… still hanging in there with me since ’75..  Wow… What on earth have I done to deserve you?? You are the most selfless, loving, nurturing soul and if I am only a third of that I know Issy will be just fine.

Truth be told anything my child or husband does for me makes me sob for days because I’m as sensitive as they come. When my husband sends her running into me in the morning exclaiming “Happy Mother’s Day Mommy”, I am a crying fool- no exaggeration. But, look, if you are searching for the perfect gift, the marketing team behind Mother’s Day has a myriad of genius items at a 100% mark up with a 20% coupon code all over the inter webs, but here are a few things that moms REALLY want that even fit even budget of a 2 year old:

1.) We want to be showered with love and appreciation… Literally- like actual KISSES and the words THANK YOU .  When my daughter says thank you when I bring her something  and I don’t have to remind her, my heart melts, especially if she says ,”Thank you Mama.” I mean, I’m putty in her hands! Oh my sweet, polite, grateful child…. what have I done to deserve this gift! Any acknowledgement does not go unnoticed. If you add a few kisses on top of that we are in heaven. Trust me.
2) We want to feel beautiful though we are often covered in boogers. Yesterday after wiping her nose on my long black sweater/shirt /librarian/mom uniform  outfit item, my daughter said, “Mommy, you wear this all the time,”  (She’s right…) But there are also moments when I put on other clothes with buttons or zippers and wear shoes that aren’t my Toms and she says, “Wow Mama you look like a beautiful Princess! “Or when I come out the shower presumably at 11pm and my husband says,” You look really pretty right now.” to which I respond with tear filled eyes, “I DOOOOO? You think I’m pretty??” Once I had my daughter, I just stopped considering myself.  I only buy clothes for her. When I pack lunch for a day at the park, I only pack lunch for her. (It’s not admirable; I’m not trying to prove how amazing and selfless I am …I just became that way). Something happens in motherhood where you just forget to include yourself as someone that needs to be clothed and fed and get a haircut! But letting us know we still got it, reminds us that we too exist and its ok to buy a new shirt sometimes.

3) We  just want time alone every once in a while. We want solitary poops and long quiet showers… We want to enjoy Trader Joe’s and Target by ourselves. We can be more efficient this way and happier really. I used to feel bad when my husband would say, ” I got her , why don’t you go get your nails done or grab coffee..?” I would look around and say,“No its fine…. can you could just entertain her so I can fold these clothes or scrub the shower doors..” HELL NO- NOT ANYMORE. Now I realize that trying to do everything and be a supermom helps NO ONE. You end up feeling angry and resentful and we all know the shower doors can never actually remain clean if the entire household does not use the squeegee anyway, so just go! These moments alone benefit the entire family. If you want a sane mother, love her and let her go free every once in a while.

4) We want to know we are doing a good job. There are an infinite number of milestones children are expected to meet by adulthood in order to be considered functioning members of society. Things like potty training, manners, sleeping through the night, socialization… generally just not being an asshole…these are some of the responsibilities that both parents have to their children, but in many cases, it’s the Mom who feels it’s a reflection on only her if these milestones are not being met by a certain time. I am that Mom. If my daughter doesn’t say “thank you” or “excuse me” or is still waking up at night at 3 1/2( like she is), I immediately think,“Well, you’re not really doing YOUR JOB  woman. You don’t deserve to go to the bathroom alone or certainly not a few hours out with a girlfriend! READ MORE PARENTING BOOKS AND HUFF PO PARENT ARTICLES!!!”  Next time your child acts out or has a tantrum, say something like,“That kid is impossible;  I don’t know how you do it!” or when your child is talking and going on and on moving you closer to insanity after a long day, you could say,  “Wow honey, her language skills are off the chart. I can’t believe she has this vocabulary at this age! I see why you insist on reading books every night.” We just need to know that we aren’t royally screwing up, that’s all.

5) We want Mother’s Day everyday . Look, we don’t need the grand gestures; I mean we will take them on Mother’s Day if you insist, fine. We will accept the flowers and certainly no one is going to object to a spa weekend for heaven’s sake.  But really we just want a “thank you”, or a  “this was delicious”, (even if it really wasn’t) or a “I dunno what I’d do without you” … This goes for Fathers Day too and every Hallmark holiday that exists. Maybe that’s the point of these days to remind us that we need to be good to each other everyday, especially when its not “required”.  Its not about being good to your mother when every commercial and billboard is reminding you to do so. Its about being good to her when she doesn’t have the capacity to be at her best because she hasn’t slept, or eaten a full meal in God knows how long. Its about being grateful to her everyday for putting her life on hold to focus on you and put your needs first before considering what she wanted to do for her life. The beautiful Mothers Day flowers you send will wilt, the special brunch will be devoured,  but love and gratitude are always welcome and enjoyed and you certainly don’t need a coupon code for that.

My adorable siblings and I  who woke up this beautiful woman for burnt toast and cold eggs through the ’80’s

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It’s time to Love my Spanxless Make Up Free Self the Same Way I Love My Smokey Eye Self

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This image is one of my favorite pictures from my most favorite photo shoot.   I mean- it is everything I want to look like…dramatic eye, smooth complexion, windblown hair…  This is…….not what I look like today and even 11 years ago when this was taken, I didn’t look like this in the “before”shot.  I remember my friend and now very successful celebrity make up artist, Jamie Greenberg did my make up for headshots and came with me to the shoot.  Afterwards, we played around and took some other vamped up shots for fun .   She transformed me and achieved this eye with nothing but a Q-tip, an eyeliner pencil, and her finger. This woman is GENIUS.   The photographer, Gabriel Goldberg ,  brilliant and successful as well, has  worked with some of the biggest iconic stars.  I feel so fortunate to have done a few shoots with these two before they became some of the most sought after artists in their fields . This is my “with the right team, you too can look incredibly glamorous “ picture.  This is me with exquisite make up and extraordinary photography with some post-production editing going on.

It’s no secret to those who know me that I  have beaten up my body for as long as I can remember. I have punished it and shamed it and blamed it for ruining much of my adolescence ….like pool parties, and prom dress shopping and then later-  headshots and auditions. It’s all my body’s fault for not being skinny enough and it’s my nose’s fault for not being small enough….Right?   And the thing is, I don’t know why exactly. I was the one putting this pressure on myself. Was it all the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit pictures that adorned my brother’s room? Was I just comparing myself to Elle McPherson and Cindy Crawford every bathing suit season?  Was it the models in my Seventeen Magazine staring at back at me as I flipped through?  WHY?? I had parents who loved me and encouraged me in everything I pursued, be it academics or the arts or even my attempt at sports… I remember my mother giving me countless pep talks (mostly in fitting rooms) telling me I was smart and beautiful and funny….But for some reason, this pressure to look perfect never went away.

Recently, my dear friends from college invited me to do a photo shoot to use for my blog and to help me grow this idea of mine.  They have a flourishing photography business in New York and had some work here in La. (I am so grateful to my husband who convinced me to go out and meet them on a very rainy LA night…sometimes when it rains here, you feel like it’s the apocalypse , really you do) I felt so honored to reconnect with them after all these years . Their very presence breathed life into me. For anyone that has been to drama school- these are some of the people that I went through it with… They have seen my soul torn apart

and left on a rehearsal room floor!

I don’t look glamorous in these shots. That wasn’t the purpose of this particular shoot.  But, in many of them, especially the ones with Issy, I look really happy. Excited.  Positive.  When I first scrolled through the proofs though, I could feel myself getting slightly  disappointed that I didn’t magically look like a super model with my normal everyday make up and a Spanxless frame. But I refused to do that to myself again, I looked at my smile and I could feel my energy come through. I am genuinely filled with joy.  And I decided … I decided-  you will no longer hate yourself. Today you will start loving yourself. If not now at 41, when??? How many more years do you have left to go through life loving and appreciating this vessel that carries your soul??  I am so tired of hating myself.  I am so tired of telling myself I look too fat or too soft  or too pale … Its just- IT’S ENOUGH.  Can I start thanking my body for showing up FOR ME??  Through all of my verbal abuse towards my physical self- bulimia.. crazy diet pills- can I just finally love and accept myself and say thank you. THANK YOU body for generously carrying my soul through this life for 41 years. Thank you for being so strong and carrying my child for 9 months and going through 36 hours of labor… It’s as if I have been the worst boss and all of my organs and flesh are my employees and  despite my terrible attitude, they still show up to work everyday. Imagine that …

I realized, my heart beats every second of everyday of every month of every year for me. Isn’t it time I appreciate that?

 

You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.

-Buddha

 

One of the proofs of Issy and I from the shoot with my friends from Dirty Sugar Photography

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Minutes and Minutes of Fun

Occupying 3 year olds during days and days of rain is a challenge to say the least. I admit that we are spoiled out here in SoCal and its really just a handful of days through the course of a year where going outside is not an option. Thank goodness the sun is out again, but seriously those days inside were TOUGH .WHAT CAN WE DO IN HERE ALL DAY?!

The truth is my daughter is not going to sit still for 15 minutes of a stationary activity, let alone a half hour. She’s a mover and a shaker and literally bounces off the furniture if not able to run free outside. I owe my rainy winter sanity to indoor playgrounds and my supermom sister for always giving me the best ideas ! Thanks to her I now know  this easy idea to melt crayons in little heart molds for school Valentines! Thanks Babe!  This actually kept Issy’s  attention   for….MINUTES!  I gave my daughter the best job – peeling all the labels off of the crayons – something she does normally and with great pleasure!  We went through all the broken crayons in her pencil case, peeled off the paper and broke the bigger ones into small pieces so they could fit in the molds.

By the time we had put the crayons in the molds about 15 minutes had passed. Sure it wasn’t an entire afternoon’s worth of activities where she was stimulated, with all of her synapses firing rapidly while  using fine motor skills for hours on end- BUT it was enough for me to feel a little less guilty when I caved to the requests to watch Peppa Pig in the late afternoon!

This is how easy it is to make these little crayons:

Place the broken crayons in the mold on top of a cookie sheet and bake at 230 degrees for about 10-20 minutes depending on your oven , (I did mine in the toaster oven and it took 13 minutes.) Make sure you let them cool completely before you pop them out.   Now hows that for a nut free, sugar free, allergy free, food free treat to bring into school!

 

Aren’t these so cute!

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Let’s just play pretend …

I have been void of silly mom stories lately. There’s a great deal of noise in the world and even when I try to tune it out with a trip to the park or a stroll through the farmers market, I have this constant feeling of fear in my gut. I just imagine the Statue of Liberty crumbling a little but everyday in the New York harbor …shes coming undone …we’re coming undone…. I think. How long until she is just a pile of rubble that once was…

Social media used to overdose us on kids and selfies and food porn and now it’s all very serious. I’m very serious about it all too. I am doing what I can to stand on what I believe to be the right side of history. But I’m worried for the future – the immediate future really… I’m worried about health care, public schools, the safety of the Muslim community, the  the LGBTQ community, the African American community, any non white male community really… I worry about  my rights as a woman… I worry about it all just being deleted from existence . It is just so much. I am trying to breathe…to meditate. Yoga is helping. I am trying to exhale all that isn’t serving me ...but..it’s hard.

I am playing more make believe with my little Issy. I am looking to my 3 year old to take me away from it all. I want to play pretend more than ever these days. Her favorite game is Mommy and Baby. I get to be the baby and she loves to be the mommy. She makes me nap  and hands me a plate of food from her little kitchen and whispers, pretend you don’t like vegetables Baby.  She says things like, you can’t have cookies ! that’s a treat, and candy makes your teeth fall out!   (so she IS listening to me). Yesterday at the park, she didn’t want to play with her friends; she wanted to play with me and I really wanted to play with her too. We played soccer and  I chased her around the trees. We played hide and seek and got on the swings together. I lost myself in her giggles..her innocence…I love her so much.. I love her SO MUCH, I could weep. Why am I so upset about the world? Because of her . Because of your son and your daughter and your niece and nephew and because of your grandchildren…. Because their kindness and love and purity  is deserving of a beautiful planet full of like minded humans and when we hug them close and say, its ok…its all going to be ok, I really want to be able to believe that.

 

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A Picture Perfect Night

“Life is not a Norman Rockwell painting ….”  was a phrase  I heard my father say many times to my mother growing up before (and sometimes after) a get together.Like most women, she would go into party mode where she’d plan and plan because every detail had to be absolutely fucking perfect . And let me tell you, every single get together was pretty damn perfect. From the brass horn napkin rings for the Christmas table to the place card holders  made of jellybean filled jars at Easter, my mother considered every detail when entertaining. I remember saying to her,   “Why do you care so much…just relax…” But I understand now. There is a pressure that exists.  Whether we as women put it on ourselves, or whether we live in a society that continually holds us to a much higher and more unattainable standard than men, there is no question that we all feel it. I am formally calling out that pressure and telling it to FUCK OFF.

I have never hosted a formal sit down holiday dinner and I don’t know if I ever will. What I love about my husband is that he enjoys a casual holiday. Why entertain if you can’t have a good time too? What’s the point?  This Christmas, where we celebrated quietly at home with friends, he was the one  who did the cooking. I cleaned, baked cookies, put together a cheese plate,  and essentially sat like a guest. Though I am a pretty good cook, he is an excellent cook- not to mention much faster and more efficient. When I cook a meal, the kitchen looks like our 3 year old conducted a science experiment. This Christmas Eve however, I learned that whether you have a perfectly set table or a perfectly cooked feast, all that really matters is that the time you spend with people is memorable and heartfelt.

We had a lovely Christmas Eve dinner with family. At the moment, our daughter is the only child, so she was overwhelmed with gifts and attention. It was probably one of the best Christmas Eve’s I’ve experienced in a long time and I am so grateful to have been able to be together with everyone. Just as we were all getting ready to leave, my mother in law told us she was going to spend the night at our place.

OH. SHIT.

(Prior to coming to this beautiful dinner, for the second time in our life, my husband looked around and said, ” My God this place is A MESS.” And it was…I mean it really was. I had spent the day baking 5 more batches of cookies and a loaf of bread to bring with us. I braved the Christmas Eve crowd at Trader Joe’s with a less than agreeable kid . I let her do whatever she wanted so long as it kept her out of the kitchen. At one point, she took herself for a nap (OMG THIS IS AMAZING I THOUGHT), only to wake an hour later complaining she didn’t feel well.(The Christmas Curse!!!)  She wanted me to sit with her on the couch for over an hour with a cold compress on her head. Meanwhile, wrapping paper covered the living room floor; our bed was covered in bags of bows and gift tags and the entire contents of my daughters toy chest  lay on her bedroom floor.)

I went right over to my mother in law  as we were leaving dinner and said ,”I’m so embarrassed but the place is a mess…!”  She of course said she didn’t care and apologized for telling us at the last second.

We got home. I apologized again for the mess.  I tried to pick up as much as I could, set up the guest bed and get our little one off to bed. The adults?  We were up until 4-I usually can’t stay awake past 10. This was- to say the least- an epic night. My mother in law is  strong, beautiful, independent, and sexier than anyone I have ever met. She is raw and honest and tells it like it is. I usually find her intimidating because of all this, but late that night, I learned the most I ever had about her and her family and their extraordinary life that existed  worlds away and decades before I ever met them. I gained such insight about this woman and her son who grew up and is now my husband whom I love so very much. I learned this in the wee hours of December 24 when my kitchen was covered in a light dusting of powdered sugar and my sink was full of mixing bowls with now caked on cookie dough.

Take off your stockings and your Spanx- leave the dishes until tomorrow. Put on your yoga pants and grab a glass of wine. Life is so short. At the end of your journey, you’re not going to wish you had cleaned up your kitchen after every meal- you are going to wish you had breathed in every cell of those you love and dared to open your heart and filled it to its utmost capacity. The best moments happen when you get down from the perfectly set table and put on  your comfy clothes …that’s when you connect …that’s when we can all stop trying so hard to be perfect and just be ourselves.

 

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We are Better Than This

I haven’t written in quite some time. I retreated to a loud, dark, self deprecating place in my own mind and remained there feeling pretty depressed…  Was it my birth control pill, the birthday blues, have my hormones changed since I turned 41..why cant I snap out of it.?  I re-read all of my posts and they seem to have a similar thread of  worthlessness and confusion about who I am and what my purpose is. I was beginning to feel that this is a society where men are allowed to EXIST in whatever capacity they want, but women-as women we need to EXCEL  in all aspects of our lives. We have to find a way to have it all, but when we do, we will still be judged. Then, on Tuesday a man that said ,“Grab them by the pussy” was elected President. It’s been a few  days and  I can’t shake this sick feeling in my gut.

On November 8, Donald Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States. My depression has  quickly turned to despair and is now switching to anger with an overall feeling that results in nausea.

I will admit I had romanticized the day a little…. I was emotional seeing so many women dressing in their pantsuits and all white ensembles as they hit the polls, many of them with their daughters.  Days leading up to the election , I was telling my daughter that history would be made; we are going to elect the First Woman President and I was so energized to think she would grow up in a country where that was a reality. I got lost in the excitement. I imagined the moment on election night when I would kiss her goodnight and walk out of her room with tears of joy. It didn’t quite go that way. My husband was shocked too, but tried to assuage my fears that the country wouldn’t suddenly change entirely. All of the progress that was made in the last 8 years would not  be overturned his first day on the job  and maybe, who knows, mayyyyybe he won’t be as awful as we fear he will be.

It didn’t help. My migraine had already started and I didn’t want to hear it. When I woke Wednesday, I was puking from the migraine…the shock , the disappointment, the fear. I realized the last time I felt this way in my gut was 9/11. I spent most of the day with my eyes closed and an ice pack on my neck while I let my daughter watch the Ipad. (What else could I do? ) I didn’t watch TV or look at the news on line . I did a quick scroll through social media and that made me physically ill again. I had to get it together for her ballet class at 3:30.I still had to Mom up. I can’t mope around the rest of my life. But this  hurts …I am in pain to my very core.

I am not upset because my candidate lost. This wasn’t about politics . This wasn’t about a difference of ideologies. I could move past something like that without feeling as if life as we know it will never be the same. This was and still is about hate, misogyny, racism, ignorance, and fear.  Over the last few days I have read of racially charged incidents all over the country….swastikas in a Maryland Middle School,(http://www.wusa9.com/news/local/bethesda/swastikas-drawn-on-walls-at-md-middle-school/351091865 ), students blocking minority classmates from getting to their lockers in DeWitt Michigan, (http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2016/11/students_at_dewitt_school_form.html) and at Council Rock High School outside Philadelphia, more vandalism was reported including swastikas and derogatory comments toward Gay Students…  (http://6abc.com/education/official-post-election-vandalism-harassment-at-council-rock-north/1600740/) ….I could go on and on sighting different attacks across the country.

The writing was on the wall. We knew that this would happen, didn’t we?  And that is what is so sickening. People chose him . He demonstrates behavior that is the exact opposite of what we teach our children! For people who exercised their right and voted for him or against her in any capacity, take an opportunity to prove you are not complicit in what’s happening all over the country. Speak out about it. Tell your fellow Americans who are feeling disenfranchised right that they still have a place at your table. If you see someone being harassed, stand by them. Show us that you didn’t vote for THAT.  Help us to not be afraid. And to President Elect Trump, please be so much better than we think you are. Take a stand on what is happening around this great country. Tell us you don’t support it or encourage it. Let us know that this country is still for all of us.

Talk about my unexpected life…

 

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