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Saturday, August 23

13 going on 30

What do you get when you wake up late on a Saturday with no agenda? An old school movie on FX that you watch beginning to end. Today was the movie “13 going on 30” with Jennifer Garner. A normal person just watches and laughs at the funny parts and croons at the storybook ending, but me…I get all choked up and start thinking of shit from the past. Because that’s me.

Like the main character, I also HATED being 13. I too was awkward, didn’t know how to look or be cool. I was geeky and a book worm, and very unpopular. I went through name calling and bullying. I was overweight and didn’t have all the cool clothes because I couldn’t wear them. So I did what I had to do and I coped. I always had a small group of good friends, but it was the teachers that loved me, not the other kids, and that never went unnoticed.

Theater became a refuge because on stage I didn’t have to be Rosie. I was Rapunzel, or a Betty-Boop Flapper. Or the Elvin Queen from “The Hobbit”. I was the fucking ELVIN QUEEN. And it felt glorious. And when I sang on stage I felt like I could fly and it didn’t matter what my social calendar did or didn’t look like, because I was here and not there.

When I started dating I realized that I fell for the underdog. The quietish all-American type with funny and crazy ideas. And at 20 I met my perfect match. I didn’t marry for money or six-pack abs, I married a brilliant boy with sexy hair and green eyes which I always loved. Who always had an umbrella in the rain.

We had ups and downs, but never went through a period of questioning being with each other. That was the easy part. We were the last ones ever to get a great TV, or nice cars, and our house is small and modest in a modest place, but we loved it because we had a house. There were times where if it wasn’t sold at Aldi’s I couldn’t buy it. There were times when I was hung-over with depression and anxiety. There were times when I gained a hundred pounds, then lost it, then gained it again.

But at the end of the day, we always had ONE THING that the popular kids didn’t have, and that was coping skills. At my lowest, my husband knew how to drag me up from mud because he too knew what it was like to be kicked when you are down. Only someone else that knows, and has SKILLS to get through that can and will.

I’m not here to call out where the popular kids are now in our 30’s. But I do know one thing and I’m not afraid to say it, pompous as it is. I have a solid marriage with someone who is my one true thing. I have a small house that allows us to travel and keep our kids in ridiculously expensive activities, and those kids are healthy. I have a career that I love. And lastly I have the resources and coping skills to get me where I need to go when things turn the wrong way. I have a lot more than some people, and not as much as others, but I am happy where I am. Truly and genuinely happy.

And 30 (something…shhh) is way fucking better than 13.

Friday, August 15

Back to School

It’s that time of year folks. The summer is winding down and it’s time for the dreaded back-to-school. But is it?

I wrote a Facebook note a few years ago about this very thing. Now will begin all of the crying moms posting pics of their kids going to school for the new school year and saying things like “my baby is growing up too fast!” Especially the Kindergarten parents. There are always the Kindergarten parents. (By the way I have taught Kindergarteners for the past five years and maybe one, maybe, will be crying for their parent, the rest are having the time of their life finally out of Mama’s sight.) Then there are the select few stay-at-home moms that generally just don’t want their kids to leave them all day.  I have been both a stay-at-home mom and a working mom so I can honestly say I don’t get it. I was a stay-at-home mom and finagled my son into an extra early preschool program when he just turned two because he had a full vocabulary and could put together any puzzle you gave him. Bye bye my son!!

So my question is and always has been, what is so sad about a kid going to school? Your kid growing means they are happy and healthy. A new school year means they have learned more than we ever did in 9 months time. A mom’s job isn’t lost when they aren’t holding and feeding a baby any more. If anything it has become even more rewarding for me. I like the hustle and bustle of all things school related. Sure, maybe that’s why I went into teaching. As nice as it is to sit home and sleep in every day all summer, I get excited this time of year. The smell of new school stuff excites me.  But you are you and I am me, and that’s just me.

And then there is that wonderful thing called back-to-school shopping.  The new gym shoes and denim are all on sale and you forget how good it feels to put on a real shoe when you are wearing rubber thong flip flops all day. Shopping for me now is a big hit or miss because I am dealing with some other brand-new body issues, and today was a huge wild-goose chase looking for tops long enough to cover my ass in both leggings and jeggings.  Ladies clothes can be drab, and Juniors clothes sometimes look like a joke on a thirty-something, but overall, bringing home the goods and setting up the wardrobe to actually have an occasion to dress like I have somewhere important to be can be fun too. Wearing athletic shorts EVERY day even when you aren’t exercising (of course with your rubber flip flops) gets boring.

So bring on the homework and projects. Bring on the morning routine and packed lunches. And for God’s sake bring on my kids being at school 7 hours a day learning and growing instead of at home where we pretend we are being educational.

Sunday, August 10


I am not the only one changing.

Yesterday I decided to let my son go on his first ever neighborhood bike ride without me. Hear me out before you sell my story to be arrested, sued, or whatever for letting him go alone. He was with three other boys, aged 9-12, and had specific rules to not leave our sub-division, stay on sidewalks, and to be home at the exact time I specified. Since I work at the school I basically have enough info for background checks on the older boys and know they are both good students and have good responsible behavior.

When he was an infant, three months old, I was crying on my parent’s patio because I didn’t want to put him in his room alone, because he could be scared or whatever nonsense new moms are faced with. My dad said to me, “He is going to be a man!” And when I got home I moved him. And he did just fine. Those words echoed in my mind looking at him and the group of boys, boys I knew, from parents I knew. And I gave them third degree, especially the older kids and how they have responsibility to keep an eye on the younger kids. Don’t get home on time or do something shady and you are DONE. DONE! (Not sure what that means but the word has worked so far.)

He is going to be a man.

Before I could even say the word yes, my son was gone, burning rubber on his Tony Hawk bike.

I decided to take my own walk around the neighborhood and although I didn’t see him, I did get a phone call from a number I didn’t recognize.

“Mom it’s me, we stopped at the park. This is _____’s phone.”
The park is literally two blocks from our house so I said, “You did the right thing letting me know, thanks.”

He did the right thing. HE DID THE RIGHT THING!!

Now I’m not stupid or na├»ve enough to think he will always do the right thing. I mean, shit, do any of us always do the right thing?? But this time, this time he did.

My kids are changing. I don’t see the physical as drastically yet. They are both under-sized for their ages. They still wear small sizes. They still want to be tucked in and fed and I still pick out their outfits every day. But they are growing up and little by little it’s time to let go.

I never had the mom-gene that cries at milestones. I don’t miss them as babies (God forbid the crying and sleepless nights), and I don’t miss them as toddlers (Holy hell the tantrums at Target). Every age and stage has just been more and more exciting to me as they have grown.

My changes have been innumerable. Every day I still work through them, accepting them. I don’t see what others see. I may never. And my kids will never see what I see. They are just living, and loving every minute.

So here’s to changes…. theirs, mine and yours. Embrace them and enjoy them.

Saturday, August 2


It’s been one hell of a week.

But just as with everything, with all ups come downs and with all lows come highs.

My body is pushed to it’s limit with changes. My mind is pushed to it’s limits of reality. The only realities that I have known are being challenged.

The week ended with finding out that I am getting my job back. Well…..a version of my job….changed schedule and changed hours, so my job but not my job. Just like my whole self at this point, I’m me, but not me anymore. A version of me. A new, crazy, different version of me. I will still be teaching music to Kindergarteners, which I fricken LOVE….but my routine will be totally new. And I am excited because I think it will be very positive for me, a fresh new start while still living my passion. My career continues to be reinvented.

So now that my job is in check (read: 12 more months of getting paychecks…holla!), I will have to find clothes to wear for work because my summer wardrobe of Under Armour shorts and ribbed tank tops aint gonna fly. I’m a little anxious because as my body has changed over the summer in many ways, I don’t even really know what size I wear anymore, I haven’t worn button-zip pants in weeks. As much as this will be a fun adventure, it will take time to find my groove again. A time of trial and error.  My body continues to be reinvented.

And I have spent a significant amount of time at home, which means my hobby of internet shopping is in full effect. I found a gorgeous black and white Kenneth Cole dress to wear at my Daughter’s communion in May and it’s a silhouette I am not used to wearing. The panic in me is saying that in 9 months I might regret the purchase if it doesn’t work and send me into an emotional downward spiral. But the reality is that it will work because this is my new figure and I have to believe in it when I see it.  My mind continues to be reinvented.

I need to be treated for mind-body-and-soul dismorphia but is that news to anyone??

Happy August.