To My Daughter on her 18th Birthday

Marley turns 18 today. My last born child. My daughter. My baby. My love.

Marley Graduation Party Invite.1

I’ve been thinking about this piece for a while. How do I express my overwhelming and undying love for this amazing, strong, independent, brilliant, beautiful, free-spirited, unique girl? No. Woman.

I wonder of course how it got here so quickly. How the long early days of motherhood I never thought would end could so suddenly turn into years that were over in the blink of an eye. And even more importantly I wonder, “Did I do enough? Was I the best mother I could be for her?” I tried (I really did), but I’m not sure the answer is yes.

The story I tell most often about her is about a time I was putting her to bed after an especially difficult day when she was three-and-a-half. “We had a really hard day today. What happened?” I asked her.

“Well,” she said to me, “that’s because you wanted me to do what you wanted me to do. And what Dad wanted me to do. I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to do what I wanted to do.”

And that is when I knew it was over for me. How could I possibly be a good enough mother to this strong-willed contrarian, who is by far the smartest person in the house at the age of three-and-a-half? I mean, sure. A lot of three-and-a-half year olds probably feel this way, but how many can actually express it at that age?

Yes, she is my challenge. But oh how I love her for this – her spirit. Her strength. Her I’m-right-you’re-wrong-take-no-prisoners attitude (okay, maybe I don’t always love that). Many of the things about her that make her hard to parent are the very things about her that will make her an awesome adult. I’ve said (many times) more than once, “She’s going to be an amazing adult if we make it through her teenage years.” And look, we did! (At least the hard part.) She is officially an awesome, amazing adult.

She’d make a great writer if she wanted to be a writer. (Please don’t be a writer, Marley. It’s so torturous.) I’ve been looking through an old journal to find some of the things she’s said and found these: One night when she was eight and I was putting her in the bath she said to me, “I feel as tired as a baseball that’s been thrown a thousand times.” Another time she had just brushed her hair and said, “I brushed out that rat’s nest, but the rat fought.” (Okay, maybe she should be a writer.)

Marley sassay

She fights for the underdog. Her heart bleeds for the under-represented. She stands up for what she believes in. She will not back down. When she was 16 she organized a protest march making me more proud than I’ve ever been. She cannot wait until November so she can finally vote.

She is direct. Intense. She’ll tell you exactly what she thinks. And yet, she has a sweetness that doesn’t just touch my heart, it grabs onto it hard, making it feel like it just might explode. She tells me to come look at the sunset when it’s especially beautiful. She sends me funny texts. She always thanks me for dinner, for giving her a ride (before she could drive herself), for buying her something unexpected.

She is smart. Oh, so smart. And I know that’s something everyone says about their kids, but truly. She is smarter than me (by far). Smarter than her father (who, ask anyone who knows him, is a really smart guy). And smarter than her brother (who is currently attending Berkeley). When something interests her, she knows everything about it. When she applies herself there is no limit to what she can do.

She is tenacious. (And yes, stubborn.) When she wants something she digs her heels in and will not back down. (See above in difficult-to-parent child becomes awesome adult.)

She is quick-witted and funny and sarcastic. (Unlike me who is slow-witted and funny and sarcastic.) When she was a toddler instead of saying the word ‘hilarious’ she would say ‘the larriest’. (That’s the larriest!). The larriest is forever in our family vernacular. (A friend of mine says I should trademark it.)  I hope that I have taught her the importance of laughter, because I truly do believe it is the best medicine.

She loves music and appreciates the heart-piercing beauty of a perfect lyric. She told me that her goal for the year is to go to one concert a month. That melted my music-loving heart. (Maybe I have been a good enough mother.)

They say be careful what you wish for because you just might get it. I wished for a daughter and I got Marley. And I thank the universe for letting me be her mother. How wonderful to be challenged, to look at the world from a different perspective, to know someone so special, so unique.

Happy 18th Birthday, Marley. I love you to the moon and back times infinity.

Marley 1st grade

He’s Leaving Me

Saturday morning I had a dream that Chandler was five years-old. Even in the dream I knew Chandler wasn’t really five. “What’s five year-old Chandler doing here,” I thought to myself.

1st grade school picture

We were getting out of the car. I came around to his side and he hugged me tight, like he used to hug me. All in. He still hugs me now, but only when I ask for one. He’s so tall and skinny. His hugs are boney. He’ll hug me as long as I want, but his hugs are dutiful. The perfunctory hug of a good son.

“I love you so much, Mommy,” he said as he wrapped his arms around me and hugged me tight. Like his life depended on it.

“I love you too, Chandler,” I said as I hugged him back with equal ferocity.

We held hands as we walked inside the house and once we crossed the threshold he was eighteen year-old Chandler again.

I told him about my dream as I drove him to school to drop him off at the bus for a track meet. “I love you, Mommy,” he said sweetly. Then  he said, “I had a dream the  other night that Coach  H told me I had a five percent chance of getting in.” He was referring to the coach at his top-choice college. Not his reach school, but the school he thinks he’d most like to attend.

“That’s just a stress dream because the decisions are coming in in the next few weeks. It’s probably why I’m dreaming of you being five. Because you’re leaving me soon.” I hadn’t realized the significance of the dream until the words left my mouth.

He’s leaving me soon.

It’s March. Chandler  has applied to six colleges. The reach (where he likely won’t get in) is an hour’s drive; the rest of them are far away. Four are out of  state. The decisions will all be in by March 30th.

And then he’ll have to decide where he’s going when he leaves me.

looking back

To My Firstborn On His 18th Birthday

Chandler turns 18 today. My firstborn child. My son. My baby. My man.

And probably like every mother before and after me whose firstborn turns 18, I think to myself, “How did this  happen so quickly?” Yet at the same time the day he came into this world seems so long ago. But whether it was a the blink of an eye (oh, it was, it was) or a lifetime (it was that too), it’s here, his first day of official adulthood and whatever I write about him, about the privilege of being his mother, will not nearly be worthy.

How do I express the love I feel for my firstborn? How wonderful and special and sublime he is? How he’s made me a better person? The words fall short. I am not a good enough writer to string together the proper words to articulate my undying love for this boy. (Or rather, this man.)

It is simply not enough to say that I love him for his uniqueness. I love him because he doesn’t follow the crowd. He stands up for the little man. He understands that the world is unfair, but it still often personally offends him. (Oh how I adore his bleeding liberal heart.)

He loves to hike and to run and to be outdoors. He wears a size 13 shoe, but strives to make his carbon footprint small, minuscule.

He’s quiet, but funny, so funny in the smartest way. He is thoughtful and kind, though his sister may tell you differently. But even with her, his greatest foe, I’ve witnessed acts of generosity and encouraging words when needed.

I believe Chandler’s best quality, and one that will serve him well in life, is his tenacity. The first time I really remember noticing this was on his 7th birthday. I took him roller skating after school with some friends. He fell and he fell and he fell and he fell. (I skated with him and considered it quite an accomplishment that he never pulled me down with him!) I thought he would cry and give up and say that skating was stupid. Instead he looked up at me and said, “That was so much fun! Can we have my birthday party here?” I see that same tenacity when he runs. When he studies. When he wants to play Monopoly over winter break and none of the rest of us do. He doesn’t give up. He’s all in.

He told me over the weekend that he’s not quite ready to turn 18. He wishes he could be 17 again. (Oh, I do too!) This surprised me because he’s been pushing away lately. He says he can’t wait to go away to college, the farther the better. (I really shouldn’t have taught him to do his laundry. I should have made him need me more.) But it also warmed my heart to know that as much as he wants to go, part of him very much wants to stay.

And I think to myself, if I could freeze time, which part would I freeze? Would it be when he was a baby and I would hold him in my arms for hours on end unable to get enough of his baby smell? Or when he was a toddler and we would snuggle in his bed every night to read Shel Silverstein and Good Night Moon? Or that between stage of toddler and boy when he would kiss me like this:

Mother-son-kiss
This will forever be my favorite picture of us

Would I freeze the days we taught him to ride his bike or that first day roller skating or the first time I saw him perform with the band in middle school? The first time I watched him win a race. When we taught him to drive? (No, definitely not then!)

Which moments were the most precious? The most special? The best?

All of them of course. I couldn’t choose just one if I were able to, which of course I’m not. (Otherwise I’d be forever 36. Seriously, forget 29, 36 was my year!) All I can do is stand back and admire my son and the man he has become.

Thank you, Chandler for making my life so much better, richer, more meaningful. I am so proud of the man you have become. I am so humbled and honored to be your mother.

Happy Birthday son.

 

 

Running (Away) as Fast as He Can

I woke up two Saturdays ago to a 4:30 alarm. Chandler had to be on the bus at 5AM for a cross country meet and asked the night before if I’d make him breakfast-to-go so he could sleep until 4:45. I made him a fried egg sandwich (making sure to poke the yolk and fry it hard so it wouldn’t make a mess) and a protein shake and drove him to the bus. I made some much-needed coffee, putzed around a bit, walked the dog, ate breakfast and Dave and I were out the door by 6:30 (okay, we always run late – 6:45). We drove through downtown Los Angeles just as the sun was rising. Watching the sun peek over the mountains and reflect on the high rises was breathtaking. I would have taken a picture, but I was driving. Plus my windows were filthy. It probably wouldn’t have turned out anyway.

We got to the meet, found our team in the maze of pop-ups, and wished Chandler luck just before he was called to line up for his race. He was running the JV National race with 16 schools and 111 runners competing. This was JV so I was hoping for a strong finish from Chandler, but it was an elite race, so I wasn’t sure how he’d do.Dave and I and my friend Debby (a mother of one of the other runners) found what we hoped was a good vantage point to watch the beginning of the race.

If you’ve never seen a cross country race they are both fun and difficult to watch. It’s a three mile course so you can never really see all -or sometimes even much- of the race and have to criss-cross and run ahead of the runners to different parts of the course. How much of the race you see depends on the sight lines of the course and how much you’re willing to run around. We saw the race start and then headed over to the one-mile mark. When the runners passed us they were still all close together and Chandler was in the middle of the pack.

Mt. Sac JV National Race

This is one of the more difficult courses to see a lot of the race, especially if you want to see the finish because it’s such a large event and it’s difficult to navigate all the people. Debby and I decided to head right to the finish line so we wouldn’t miss the boys crossing. Dave decided to head down a little before the finish because they come out of a narrow chute and when you stand at the finish line that is literally all you can see.

As we were nearing the 15 minute mark we knew the boys would start crossing in the next minute or so and heard an announcement.

“Did he just say a runner from Agoura is in front?” Debby asked me.

It did sound like he said that, but it couldn’t be. Our school is a Division III school and we were running in a Division I & II race against bigger and better schools. The odds of one of our boys winning was slim.

“It sounded like it, but he must have said Great Oak,” I said. They’re the school that’s ranked #1 in California.

And then I heard my friend Marisa, who was standing across from us at the other side of the finish line yell, “Chandler, Chandler!”

And I screamed, “Whooooooooooo!” as I saw my son come up the chute and cross the finish line first.

I was in shock. These are schools we never run against, so I really didn’t know how Chandler would finish. Plus, he started off the season injured and this was his first race where he was back to feeling 100%. I know that he’s been disappointed this season not being able to run varsity, but there was no room for disappointment when he crossed that finish line with one of the biggest smiles I’ve ever seen. As proud as I was of him (and trust me I was), I was even happier for him.

Mt. Sac finish line

I always love to see Chandler race, but I’m especially trying to hold onto these proud moments this year. If I could, I’d squeeze them tightly in my hands and never let go. He is so anxious for college, it seems he already has one foot out the door. A year from now Chandler will be far away, running in college at races that I won’t be able to watch.

I knew this time would come faster than I wanted it to, but not nearly as fast as it has.

Even faster, than my fast, fast son.

Welcome to This Wonderful World

On Saturday morning I woke up at about 6:45, which was equal parts much too early and much too late. I walked the dog, came home and woke up Marley who surprisingly got up without the usual teenage grumble and we were out the door by 8:25 headed to my mom’s house. I was meeting my brother there, who was going to fix the ignition coil on my car and Marley and my mom were going to watch the Great Gatsby for the thousandth time because apparently you can never get enough Leonardo DiCaprio. (I don’t quite know how to break it to Marley that he’s pushing 40.)

I had planned on coercing my mom to do a Costco run with me (we were out of everything – surely she had to be out of everything too). I also had to pick up a few things at Target, maybe Bed Bath & Beyond. Then I’d head home and cheat on my hairdresser (again) with some long overdue root maintenance before meeting my girlfriends for a 6:00 dinner and then a concert at The Canyon Club.

But when I got to my mother’s my brother wasn’t there. I was slightly annoyed because I had rushed and was late (the story of my life) and had forgotten my Costco list and now wished I’d turned around to get it.

“Where’s Richard?” I asked my mom as I walked in.

“He’s at the hospital,” she answered.

And a smile spread across my face.

My little brother was about to become a grandfather.

“Did she have him?” I asked.

“Not yet,” my mom told me.

“Can we go to the hospital, Mom?” Marley asked me.

It was very considerate of my niece to have her baby on a Saturday so we could all be there. I was hoping for a speedy labor (for her comfort of course and not because I was rudely and selfishly thinking of my month-long plans with some girlfriends that I rarely get to see). She was only at four centimeters so we took our time and made eggs for breakfast; lingered a bit. I helped my mom clean up and made a new Costco list.

We headed over to the hospital a little after ten. My niece was doing great and we plopped down next to her boyfriend, my brother, his girlfriend. and my younger niece ready to meet the newest member of our family. At 11:30 Ashley was only at five centimeters and everyone was hungry so my mom and I decided to go to Costco and pick up a couple pizzas while we were there. My list was long, but we barreled through Costco knowing that the baby wouldn’t be coming for hours, but still nervous that we’d miss it if we took too long. We dropped the groceries off at my house, dumping them on the kitchen table and into the fridge (we’d worry about separating them later), gave Dave a couple slices of pizza and rushed back to the hospital. My older niece had joined the group and the pizzas (now warmish rather than hot) were devoured.

At 2:20, Ashley was moving steadily, but slowly. I took a risk and headed home to get ready for my night out, stopping for hair mascara along the way, taking my cheating on my hairdresser to a new low. At 3:40 my mom texted me 9 1/2 maybe 20 minutes. 30 minutes.

I unplugged my flat iron and flew out the door.  On my way I texted back. I made it to the hospital in 20 minutes flat.

He still wasn’t quite ready to come out yet. Wombs are warm and cozy places. The nurse came back in the room to check her at 5:00. “The baby’s coming,” she said as she went to call the doctor. Ashley’s boyfriend and her two sisters stayed with her. And even though she left our earth way too soon, I know the girls’ mother was there too. Marley sat on the floor outside the room. The rest of us headed to the waiting area down the hall.

A little while later Marley texted me The baby is out and we rushed back down the hall.

“How do you know the baby is out?” I asked as the door was still shut. “Did someone come out?”

“No, I can hear him crying,” she said and we all pressed our ears to the door.

At 5:37 PM I became a great-aunt. He was 7 pounds 7 ounces and perfect. Mama and baby were both doing fine.

newborn
Welcome to the world little man!

 

We congratulated the proud parents and took turns holding our new little treasure. We called and texted family far away. We Instagrammed. We Facebooked. We were in awe and in love with our new little family member.

About an hour later I drove my mom home and left Marley there. I’d missed dinner with my friends, but still had time to meet them at the club. As I was driving home to change I thought about Ashley and her new little family. She is so young – just one year out of high school, two weeks away from nineteen. Yeah, her life’s going to be hard. Motherhood is so damn hard.

But also so very wonderful. Quite possibly the most wonderful thing in the world. They are surrounded by love. They’ll be okay.

 

 

 

 

 

Are Yours Real or Fake?

When I first started blogging I didn’t really think about it. I just jumped in and started to write. I chose my name as my blog handle instead of something clever and cute because I wanted to get my name out there (and because try as I might I’m really not that clever and too old to be cute).

And one of the things I didn’t really consider was whether or not I should use my children’s real names when I blog. Some people do, some people don’t, but the point is, it wasn’t even a consideration with me. On my very first blog I wrote about my kids’ inability to get along and just typed out their little names for everyone in cyberspace to see.

Hello, Bad Mom of the Year Award 2008.

Of course I may be a bad mom putting my kids’ names along with their private business onto people’s computer screens, but I always change or eliminate my friends’ names when I have a funny or potentially embarrassing story about a girlfriend to tell.

For example, last week when my girlfriend told me that she was mortified because her cleaning lady found her vibrator under her bed and placed it standing up and her night table, I told her that that would definitely be something I’d have to work into my blog. (See how I just did that?)

“If you use my name I’ll sue you,” she told me.

“I would never,” I said. And I won’t.

Yes, I am a bad mom, but really, really good friend.

I have another concern as well: as my kids get older and I tell the world my story, do I have the right to tell theirs? I’m not very discrete and I know that I tend to over-share, but I really don’t tell all of it. Trust me, there are so many gems I would love to write about as they would be fantastic, interesting, sweet, funny blogs, but I don’t in the name of privacy. (And let me tell you – it kills me I keep them to myself!)

I’ve thought about going through every blog I’ve ever posted and changing my kid’s names, but considering I’ve written well over 100 and can’t even get to the things on my list that would only take 5 minutes of my time (some of which are incredibly & ridiculously important), I don’t see it happening any time soon.

And I wonder too, why does it really matter? I’m just a suburban mom who writes a little blog. I don’t think anyone cares or has given it any thought. (Until, you know, now.) We all know the names of famous people’s kids. Why not un-famous people’s kids?

Am I harming them? Have I told too much? Eh, that’s what psychiatrists’ couches are for.

Six years into blogging and seventeen and a half years into motherhood and I’m still trying to figure this whole Internet and blogging and motherhood thing out.

Has anybody really figured it out?

*Edited and slightly updated this post first appeared on the now-defunct skirt.com blog on January 10, 2011.

 

Happy Mother’s Day

I think that most of my readers are probably moms. And to you I’d like to say thank you. We’re all busy. I know that. And the fact that you take a minute or two (or or seven because my posts are so damn long) out of your day to read the randomness that comes out of my head means more to me than you could ever know.

(And to you non-moms – I know you’re busy too. Thank you as well!)

As a token of my appreciation I’d like to give you a Mother’s Day gift. (Yes, even you non-moms. Jeez, for not being mothers you sure are naggy!)

What is this gift you ask? Flowers? An iPad? A spa day? A gift card to Trader Joe’s? Nope, sorry. As much as I’d love to give you all those things it’s not quite what my pocketbook will allow. So instead I’ve been trolling the internet (or okay, mostly Pinterest) to find things that will make you mothers (and non-mothers) laugh.

As my Mother’s Day gift to you, I’d like to present you with the gift of laughter…

 

Mothers-Day-love-note
So heartwarming

 

To moms of toddlers (I hope)…

bed-wetting-humor
I might or might not have done this before

 

Why it’s important to like your kids’ friends’ parents…

parenting-humor-playdate
Uh, you mean playdates were supposed to be for the kids? Oops!

 

You know something is broken when this happens…

silence-is-golden-humor
so true… so true..

 

For moms who feel like they’re talking to walls (who are probably better listeners)…

mom-humor
What did you say?

 

And finally, as the mother of a teenage daughter who just spent her spring break trying to break the Guinness Book of World Records for continuous watching of YouTube videos on her iPod, I find this one especially funny…

mom-computer-humor
Go play outside!

 

And I have saved the very best for last. Please do yourself a favor and watch this hilarious video from MommyTonk. I promise it will make you laugh out loud. (It’s so funny you might be the one thanking me!)

To all of you mothers, from the bottom of my heart, I would love to wish you love, laughter, a brunch with bottomless Bloody Marys, and a very Happy Mother’s Day!

 

 

 

Applying for School

My friend’s son is applying to a private middle school. I’m in the process of high-school-junior-year-searching-for-college-stress, so I really do feel her pain. Of course her search is much easier. In the first place, it’s middle school. And she’s not even searching – her older son goes to the high school. I’m pretty sure her soon-to-be sixth grader is locked in – you know, legacy status and all.

But still, there are some steps they have to go through. Formalities. They have to fill out an application. There might be an interview involved. And her son has to write an essay.

Successul-College-Application-Essays

 

Oh the dreaded application essay. I’ve been hyperventilating over contemplating the college essay prompts from the Common Application that Chandler has to choose from. All I can say is that I’m glad I’m not applying to college. Those prompts are hard.

For example, here’s one I’ll take a stab at:

  • Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure.  How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?

I experience failure all the time. You see, I’ve written a book. I think it’s awesome. My mom and all my friends tell me its awesome too. (Except for the part when my mom told me my protagonist was a bit whiny. Or maybe that was one of my friends. Whatever.) I’ve submitted it to several agents and they do not think it’s awesome. Most have rejected it outright.

A couple asked for a partial and one requested a full manuscript, but they ended up rejecting it too.

One very junior reader at a literary agency seemed to like it and passed it on to some senior staff members. They suggested she might be better suited for a career in retail. (Okay, I might have made that last part up.)

This affected me by making me dive face first into my secret stash of sea salt and turbinado sugar dark chocolate almonds from Trader Joe’s and chase it down with my not-so-secret stash of freezer vodka. Every time.

I’ve learned that dark chocolate goes better with wine than with vodka. And also that I must be a big dum dum who is quite possibly incapable of learning, because I keep querying that damn book and pairing dark chocolate with the wrong alcoholic beverage.

Hmmmm….

I think it’s a good thing I already have my degree.

But back to my friend and her son’s quest to be accepted to a particular private middle school (which for the purpose of this post we’ll call Awesome Middle School). She shared her son’s application essay with me and it is so spectacular that I told her I needed to share it with you. Here it is:

What gifts can you bring to Awesome Middle School?

I bring a few gifts to Awesome Middle School, such as my strength as a leader, my athletic abilities, and my level of knowledge. The reason I said I am a good leader is because everyone is afraid of me, and it’s not my fault, it’s my height. I mean it’s not my fault that I’m five four, but it comes in handy sometimes telling people to be quiet. Also I’m not that scary once you know me. I have a good sense of humor, and am decent all around at sports playing defense. Defense is my best position in most sports except football, where I play offensive line. My grades are good all around and I have a love for reading an am really good at it.

The kid is obviously a shoo-in. Even without the legacy status. Maybe we can have him come over and help Chandler with his application essay. It couldn’t hurt.

 

Photo credit: Chris Drumm via creativecommons.org

Weekend Update

My weekend started with a trip to Costco on Friday night after work. I met my mom there because we like to split things. We hadn’t been in a while so we did quite a lot of damage. A take-and-bake pizza and nice bottle of wine was one of the many things inside the jumbo-sized shopping cart filled to the brim with food. As we unloaded the cart into our cars one of Marley’s friends met us in the parking lot and I took the girls to the high school for a comedy show. Chandler was already there watching a hypnosis show in another building. Dave and I enjoyed our pizza and wine kid-free and caught up with each other, then hung out with our favorite anti-hero Walter White. We only have a few episodes left and the shit is really hitting the fan. (In case you didn’t know drugs are bad people, very very bad.) When we’re done it’s on to House of Cards, then Downton Abbey. Who needs dinner and a movie when we’ve got take-and-bake pizza and binge TV?

On Saturday Marley had a lacrosse tournament at the Rose Bowl. Dave had to work in the morning so it was just Marley and me. We had a great mother-daughter talk on the way out. I’ve always found that kids will tell you things in the car they won’t tell you anywhere else. Probably because they don’t have to look at you. Marley played goalie all three games and did a great job even though she got pretty beat up the second game (and has the bruises to prove it). Dave was able to meet us there after the first game. The weather was perfect. It was a good day. As we were driving home I got a text alert. I asked Marley to read me the text. It was from my friend Rita.

Marley read me the text and asked me if I wanted her to answer.

“No, I’ll do it when we get home,” I told her.

Sometimes my texts with Rita are a bit blue. We act a little silly. (Or a lot silly.) I wondered if Marley had scanned up and seen our previous texts. I think she would have been pretty mortified. Of course I see her Instagrams and am pretty mortified. (She doesn’t post inappropriate pictures, but she says the F word a lot.) I wonder what’s more mortifying – a daughter reading her mother’s inappropriate texts or a mother reading her daughter’s inappropriate Instagrams? We’ll call it a draw.

I made a good dinner and afterwards, as Chandler was putting condiments away in the fridge he came up behind me and gave me a giant hug. He knows exactly how to make my heart go pitter-pat. I don’t know how I’ll bear it when he goes away to college next year.

After dinner I received a text from my friend Juliana. She and Carol decided to meet at Stonehaus and run around the lake instead of meeting our run club for our Sunday morning run. That would have been fine (the coffee at Stonehaus is FAB), but run club was only supposed run two miles and the run around the lake is four. Any runner will tell you (or someone who pretends to be a runner like me), that running is 90% mental. Well, I had only mentally prepared for 2 miles! And in case you’re bad at math four is twice as many as two. I’d take four dollars over two dollars. I’d take four (dozen) French fries over two (dozen) French fries. But what kind of idiot runs four miles when their run coach says they only have to run two?!

Apparently me.

Stupid run club friends.

Amazingly, I ran my best time ever. I ran 4.23 miles in 40:07. Chandler smirked at my time (I like him better when he’s hugging me), but I don’t care. I still say I kicked ass!

After the run (and more importantly coffee) I went to a memorial service for my aunt’s brother. It was at the beach and it was lovely, but I am heartbroken for my aunt and her sisters. They’ve lost their two brothers in less than two years. It’s so cliché to say life’s too short and often too cruel, but the thing about clichés is they’re usually true. 

This is why still get a warm fuzzy feeling from enjoying simple pleasures with my husband. Why I delight in my talks with Marley. Why I I savor my hugs from Chandler. Why I celebrate a 9:29 minute mile.

Because it’s the little things in life. Small moments from a relatively uneventful suburban weekend that make this short cruel life so beautiful.

What did you do this weekend?

Expressing Motherhood

My typical Sunday goes a little something like this:

My alarm goes off at 5:00 (yes even on Sunday), but I probably stayed up late on Saturday night – you know, until 10:00 or 10:30 and most likely had a good bit of wine, so I decide to be nice to myself and sleep in until 6:00. I get up, have some coffee, attempt to write my Monday blog post, hit a mental block and end up cruising Facebook or Pinterest instead. At 7:15 I realize I still have to walk the dog and get ready to run at 8:00 and curse myself for wasting so much time and not getting up at 5:00 (though if I had I probably would have just wasted even more time on Facebook and Pinterest.)

At 8:00 I meet my run club and suffer through 25-50 minutes of torture train for my 10K. Then my running friends and I go have coffee. After coffee it’s home to laundry, house cleaning, pulling my wardrobe for the week, grocery shopping (I usually hit at least two stores), and meal prep for the week (when you work 9-6 you’ve got to have a meal plan and at least a few things pre-made) . Sunday is always my busiest and most hectic day. I always aspire to take a nap. It never happens.

Busy-day-collage
Sunday Funday

But yesterday was different. Instead of wardrobe and meal planning and laundry and shopping I ditched suburbia and headed out to Hollywood for a field trip with some of my friends from my writers’ group to see our friend Kim Tracy Prince perform in a show called Expressing Motherhood at the Lillian Theater. Sure, we have no vegetables in the house, we’ll be dining on grilled cheese all week, and I’ll be running around like a chicken with my head cut off in the mornings, having no idea what I’m going to wear. I’m pretty sure we’ll survive. Besides, I deserve a day out with my girlfriends, dammit!

Expressing Motherhood is a show where 12 women get up and perform monologues they have written about motherhood. Some of them (like Kim’s) are hysterically funny, some are incredibly poignant, and a few of them are just gut wrenching. All of them are fabulous. I do wish Kim had advised me to bring Kleenex and wear waterproof mascara (that would have been helpful)! I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this show.

writer's-group
Suburban moms going rogue

The good news for you is there are 4 more Expressing Motherhood shows next weekend. (2/14 at 7:00, 2/15 at 7:00, and 2/16 at 2:00 & 7:00) If you live in the Los Angeles area, I strongly suggest you ditch your usual weekend routine and head out to the show. I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but listening to a 64-year-old woman talking about the rebirth of her vagina is truly one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. And listening to another woman talk about her son’s cleft palate – one of the most heartbreaking.

Tickets are $25 online (buy them here) and $30 at the door. They sell wine and AWESOME lard-free chicken tamales that you can actually bring with you into the theater instead scarfing down quickly in the lobby like at most theaters.

Expressing-Motherhood
Be good to yourself – go see this show!

I highly encourage you to grab some girlfriends, get out of your suburban rut, and go see the show. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll drink some wine, maybe eat a tamale. You might not have any vegetables in the house or your work wardrobe planned, but you’ll have a great time. And you deserve that don’t you? (The answer is yes, you do!)

P.S. This is NOT a sponsored post. I paid to see this show and would do it again. It really is so fantastic!

*Expressing Motherhood photo “borrowed” from Expressing Motherhood Facebook page  – thank you, ladies!