on being a mom

and the momma lioness roars

No sooner than my post about cookies published, did I received a text from Thing 1 apologizing for causing drama.

I hate that because I expressed my frustration, my daughter apologized for starting drama.
The truth is that’s drama I started by writing about it.
She shouldn’t feel responsible for it.
I reassured her she did nothing wrong. That her comment was innocent and she was not at all responsible for any of it.
She said she shouldn’t have said anything about Christmas, and she was OK with me staying here with YBW for Christmas if that’s what I decided.

I told her I was angry at the mother being manipulative, and at Thing C for not being honest.
She agreed. She wondered how YBW was feeling about it, how he would choose to deal with it.
She said: It just sucks because nobody is fair to him.
She said: I can’t help feeling bad. I should have kept my mouth shut.
I replied: Your comment was innocent. The information was abused.

She said something that surprised me, the truth of it I mean.
She said: She’s almost as bad as dad

And that’s why she pushes my buttons.
She is so manipulative. She does it with such skill those she’s manipulating don’t even realize it.
Because I’ve lived with this type of behavior the majority of my life, I’m acutely aware of it.

She asked if Thing G would be alone on Christmas.
She designed her message specifically to push YBW’s buttons. She saw an opportunity to have her sons with her on Christmas day and used her words to manipulate the situation.
Neither YBW or I would leave the kid alone for Christmas. I mean, come on.

She invited YBW to come to her parents house for Christmas.
Now, to the casual observer, that seems kind and welcoming.
But with all passive aggressive, manipulative behavior each word is chosen with purpose.
She used those words to appear inclusive.
If questioned, the manipulative person can say, See! I said ‘this’, to be interpreted as appropriate. Knowing full well they were manipulating the situation to get what they want.
She wants what she wants and is capitalizing on an opportunity made clear to her by one simple sentence written by my daughter.

Is there drama because she creates it?
Is there drama because I’m overreacting to it?
In all honesty, it could be both.

I don’t want to feel the urge to protect my husband and my daughter from this woman.
I know they’re capable. I know they don’t need to be protected.
But I feel protective of them.
When my husband is being manipulated, and when my girl apologizes for starting drama, it triggers something deeply protective in me.

Categories: me, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

we are not our feelings

Thing 2 was feeling her feels this morning.
Anxious and fearful.
Her sister and I (and Baby K) showed up ready to rock.
Y’all, I’m talking loving, supportive girl power to the nth degree. But that’s what we do for each other.

Thing 2 works in a cool Asian fusion restaurant. She is currently the senior-most server.

She wrote in our group chat: There’s a 35 top coming in as soon as we open
Me: May the Force be with you!

Thing 1: You are amazing, just be your charming self and you’ll get good tips and you’re going to be OK

I stopped for a moment. I realized we both jumped in to ‘rescue’ her. I considered that she might simply be expressing herself. Perhaps she didn’t need to be bucked up, perhaps she needed to be heard.

Me: It sounds like a complicated situation. Your anxiety makes sense. It’s overwhelming af! You’re feeling your feels

Thing 1: You got this!
Me: So wig out for a couple more moments. Like, seriously, set a timer. Then steel yourself. You are so capable. And(!!!) you can guide them along instead of waiting to see what they want.

Thing 1: (FTW) Don’t do that. Be pleasant and gregarious, and you’ll be great!

Thing 1: You’re the Thing 2est Thing 2 that ever Thing 2ed!

Me: Your anxiety makes sense in this situation. However, you actually possess the skills and abilities to make this situation successful for yourself and your customers!

Thing 1: And once it’s all over, you’ll be done! My therapist always says there’s a finish line, you just have to get to it and you can move on to the next thing. It will end and it will be behind you and you can move on.
Me: YESSSSSSSS!
Thing 2: Wow. I like her.

Thing 1:

Me: Breathe. You’ve got this! Look, if chubby, somewhat drunk looking Baby K believes in you…you can’t possibly fail!
Thing 2: I WAS JUST GONNA SAY SHE LOOKS DRUNK! What a beautiful tiny encourager
Me: You have the most powerful women on your side! We’ve got you, and you’ve got this! I love you more than the moon and the stars!

We did that.
We were her cheerleaders.
We encouraged her.
We reminded her of what she’s capable of doing.

We also honored her feelings.
We acknowledged her fear and anxiety.
We reassured her that her feelings are valid, and in this situation, made sense.
We reminded her she is not her feelings.

I think we all need to be reminded of that.
We are not our feelings.
We experience them but we are not them.
I read somewhere, I can’t for the life of me remember where, but it went something like this.
Feelings are like the rain, we might walk in the rain, but we are not the rain.

We don’t become our feelings.
We feel our feelings.

Thing 2 was feeling the hell out of her feelings today.
But, with a little bit of love and support from her momma, big sister, and baby niece, she didn’t let herself become them.

Later this afternoon we got this:

Me: Brava, Thing 2! You DID it!
Thing 1: Way to go! We knew you could do it!!!!

Taking a break to sit in the grass.
(I’m purposely ignoring the smoking.)
She needed to feel connected to the earth. She needed to feel grounded.

35 people came into the restaurant and Thing 2 served them.
The world didn’t explode, and neither did she.

Though she be but little, she is fierce.
Even the fiercest among us need a bit of encouragement now and again.

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

becoming a brand ambassador

Thing 1 sent a message in our girls group chat

“So there are 2 pages on Instagram that want Baby K to be a brand ambassador. Is that a legit thing or a scam?”

We talked about it a bit, landing on legit as opposed to scam.
She checked with a friend who does a great deal of baby and children’s brand repping. She’s become quite the social media influencer, and told Thing 1 pretty much what we’d discussed. They’d want Baby K and Thing 1 to use/play with/wear products and share. Some will give her things, some will sell her things at a discount, in return they’d want pics of Baby K wearing or playing with their items. They’d want her to engage their posts, share sales and new releases, things like that.
We talked about how it would be fun to meet new people and experience new items and companies.

Husband N is supportive, excited even.
Thing 1 is “weirdly nervous”.
That makes sense to me, even though it sounds fun, it’ll be more social media work than she’s used to doing.

But what an opportunity!
She’ll have access to new and interesting baby and kid things.
She’s smart and savvy enough to provide honest and positive reviews.
Baby K is just cute enough to be a great rep for clothes and toys.

I mean, look at her ready for the day in this cute Burt’s Bees outfit!

It’s very exciting!
As a stay at home mom, Thing 1 has the time, and if she’s willing to work hard, this could be a wonderful opportunity for her, and Baby K!

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covert narcissism and emotional incest syndrome

I learned the term emotional incest syndrome last week. It is sometimes referred to as covert incest.
I know the word incest is a trigger. Reading it makes me anxious and shaky. That word is icky.
What’s even more icky is that parents actually do this to their children.
What’s even more icky is that the other parent of my children did, and continues to do this.

The Things father is a classic covert narcissist, and there’s no two ways about it. He is masterful at manipulating situations to shift the blame, embracing the rage, and twisting words in such as way as to seemingly impact reality.
Nothing is ever his fault, and he buys his own delusions to the point of borderline insanity. It’s only gotten worse as he’s aged, so much so that he is trapped in this fantasy of his own design without any real ability to see the world as it actually is.

When Thing 1 was about twelve years old, I would ‘tuck her in’ at night with a quick, loving conversation and a hug or kiss. Her dad started following me in the night time ritual so he could ‘talk with her’.

To be abundantly clear: I was truly never concerned with him being physically inappropriate with her, he is the least sexual human with whom I’ve ever come in contact.

Their bed time talks became longer and she became more sullen and withdrawn. I mean, she was a tweenager and all, but this seemed different to me. When I encouraged her to talk with me about how she was feeling, she shared that her daddy was telling her things that made her uncomfortable.
He talked with her about his grief after the death of his mother. About his dissatisfaction in his personal and professional life. Even about his marriage to me.
I reassured her that her discomfort was appropriate, that his behavior was not. I promised her I would handle the situation. I encouraged her to tell him that she didn’t like when he talked with her about these things, gave her some tools and encouraged her to build healthy boundaries.
I had many conversations with him about the inappropriateness of him oversharing to a child.
I remember saying these exact words, “She’s a little girl and you cannot talk to her that way. Get a therapist. Get some friends. Please stop using her as your confidant.”
Like any good narcissist, he twisted the truth and manipulated us all, but never acknowledged or changed the behavior. I began to find excuses not to leave them alone at bedtime.
Nothing I did made a difference and the only way it slowed and then stopped was when she left home for college.
His current relationship with her is strained because she’s married another man and he can’t control her anymore.
Neither does he like that she and I are close, he actually told Thing 2 that Thing 1 is ‘drinking the Robyn koolaid’ and that’s why she didn’t love him anymore.

Thing 2 is his current child-wife. He sucked her into his emotional incest hook line and sinker. And she bought into it for quite some time.
She’s said, Poor daddy, nobody should have to die alone.
Um…your daddy actively chooses to be alone.

But of late, Thing 2 is empowering herself. She is actively in a healthy pattern of growth for her emotional and physical life. She’s begun dealing with her childhood trauma. Her emotional baggage. Unraveling her own augmented reality.

I don’t feel like what she is doing, or how she’s going about this is my story to tell, but when she shares her efforts and progress with me, I am truly awed by the difficult and serious work she is doing.

She shared with me that someone recommended a book about this phenomenon and she told me “I’m very curious about it, I want to research on it but I think it’s going to be really helpful with dealing with (her father’s given name) using me as his therapist.”
I shared with her a quick version of how it played with her sister, how I tried and failed to protect either of of them.
She said to me, “You have to remember that I chose this, you didn’t put me here. I did.”
Talk about owning your stuff.
But I’m her momma, I will always have a desire to protect her. Especially from her father.

I once overheard my girls sharing that their father told them (independently) that if he had been more willing to have sex, I would never have left him.
I literally stopped in my tracks.
I went back to where they sat, and told them I couldn’t help but overhear them and asked them to verify if what I thought I heard was correct. They confirmed.
I sighed and said, “First of all, I’m so sorry that happened to you. You didn’t need to hear that. And secondly, that’s not why I left your dad.”
What the actual fuck, yo?

When Baby K was born, Thing 2 and I left the hospital in Savannah and went home to Thing 1’s house. We cleaned the house top to bottom. Did all the laundry. Grocery shopped. We wanted everything to be ready to rock when Thing 1 and Husband N brought Baby K home.
Their dad actually told Thing 2 that he was jealous that she was spending time with me alone, he was worried she would drink the same koolaid as her sister and love me and not him.
He even told her before she left, “Now, I know you’re taking care of your sister, but make sure you take care of yourself too. I need you to come back to me. You’re my rock.”

So. Fucking. Icky.

I get so frustrated!
You’re her parent, you emotional fucking cripple! You’re supposed to be her rock!

I know I am guilty of sometimes saying, “I wish you could be my mommy”, and perhaps that means I’m just as guilty as him.
Is there a difference?
I mean, I hope so. I don’t actually expect my twenty-two year old daughter to be my mommy.

I love that we have an open and nurturing relationship based upon love and respect and genetics. And it feels nice sometimes to be loved by a female who doesn’t want anything from me, who isn’t going to shame me for wanting to be loved. But I am her momma and she is my daughter and that means it’s my job to nurture and provide help and do a bit of protecting even though she’s a grown ass person.

My daughters and I have had our own share of chaos in our relationships.
Good. Bad. Ugly. And indifference.
I have worked to create and maintain healthy boundaries, and if ever I overstepped, I corrected and made every attempt to discuss and apologize where appropriate.
We have been to hell and back, my daughters and I. And from my point of view, this strengthens our love, our bonds, and our boundaries.
And though we talk about any and every thing, and they’re as engaged and (for the most part) supportive of me, and my decisions, and my life as I am of theirs, I can’t fathom using them as ‘sounding board’ (one of their father’s favorite words) for inappropriate things.
I can think of one specific time I did that to Thing 2. She claims to find it humorous, especially because I was inebriated, but I am wracked with guilt and have apologized with every fiber of my being.

This covert incest thing has eaten at the very heart of me since that quick conversation with Thing 2 on Monday last.
Knowing it exists.
Knowing the only other person in this world who is meant to protect them is the perpetrator of this abuse.
It makes me sick. Truly and deeply sick.

I can’t protect them from him.
I never have, I never will.
That cuts my momma heart to a depth that may never heal.
Only I’m not worried about healing my heart. I worry about them healing theirs.
I can’t protect them.
I can’t take away their pain.
All I can do is listen. Offer guidance and support. But above all, love.
And sweet baby Jesus, do I love them.
I love them as they learn more about themselves, the world, and their place in it.
I love them as they struggle and fight the good fight.
I love them as they call me out on my failings.
I love them as they accept and forgive.

I am awed by their resilience as they do the hard self work to discover, and heal, and become whole.
I know I made them and raised them, but this is not selfish pride of ownership, this is the awe of faith, and pride for them, and their ability to continue to learn and grow and love.
I am overwhelmed by their capacity to love.
I cherish being a part of their lives.

These women.
These absolute marvels.
They are truly awe inspiring.

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love is not a contest and I don’t have to choose a favorite

These thoughts hatched while I was washing my hair this morning.

I’ve always said parents have a favorite kid even if they don’t admit it. This is of course, if they have more than one kid. Each kid also has a favorite parent. Kids don’t like to admit it either.
The thing is, for the most part, cohabitating humans are not unaware of each other. Sometimes, it’s understood but never spoken. Sometimes it’s understood and spoken. Sometimes no one favors any one else.

The family I made kind of naturally split down the middle.
Thing 1 and her daddy.
Thing 2 and me.

Thing 2 was my favorite.
But not because Thing 1 wasn’t.

Thing 1 was all about her daddy. I mean, those two were like peas and carrots. I never felt left out, but I never felt that level of connection with Thing 1.
I didn’t feel like I was allowed to choose her as my favorite because she and her dad were already each other’s favorite.

Thing 2 came along and our bond was completely different than my bond with her sister. It was powerful and chock full of unwavering love.
We kind of became each other’s favorite by default.
For years that’s simply how our family was.

When the marriage dissolved, that down middle split became a chasm.
It was terrible for all of us.
I’m only now truly realizing how bad it was for the girls.
I humbly ask their forgiveness for my part in that time in our lives.

What’s interesting about this whole favorites thing, (I’m simplifying the hell out of this to get to my point.) is that I’m under the impression the Things think I switched favorites.

From my point of view, it’s not a switch in favorites.
It’s more that for the first time, I feel as though Thing 1 is an option to favorite.

I’ve discussed my relationship with each of my daughters.
This is somehow different.
I mean, partly it is about how we relate to each other, then and now. Partly it’s because we’re each at different places in our lives.
I never expected to feel as close to Thing 1 as I do now. I’m grateful for that. More than I have words for.
I don’t feel any less connected to Thing 2 because of it.
I have the ability to love them both at the same time in two completely different ways.

They can’t each by my favorite.
Yet they actually are.
Each one, my favorite in a different way.
Is that growth?
Is it that we’re no longer under the spell of their dad?

All I know is that I feel differently about favorite kids and parents than I did before.
I feel fortunate that I have the option to favorite either one, or both of my daughters.
Perhaps because I have the option, I don’t have to choose it?

Love isn’t a contest.
Love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love.
I love my daughters in exactly the same, yet completely different ways, and I don’t really want it any other way.

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sweet birthday baby

Today I’m celebrating twenty-two years of Thing 2!
Even though she’s all grown up, she’s still my sweet baby.
Y’all, she’s only sweet a portion of the time, and she’s not at all a baby. But she is mine, and I love her more than the moon and the stars!

Thing 2 is doing the hard work of figuring out how to be an adult in this world. And however much she feels like she’s getting her ass handed to her, she’s actually making more progress than she realizes.
She’s one of those stubborn sort of girls, the ones who sometimes can’t seem to get out of their own way. (I wonder where she gets that…?) She is sometimes crippled by her own inability to make and trust a decision. She sometimes feels overwhelmed and defeated. But she’s tenacious. She keeps at it. She’s doing the day to day and eventually that will make a dent in the large and looming future.
I worry for her.
But I have faith in her.
She can do it! This thing called life.
She can do it because she’s chock full of muchness.

It seems strange to think of her as my sweet little baby, she hasn’t been that for so long. She’s her, you know? She’s a girl doing her best to live her life. She’s the daughter to two people who haven’t made her life terribly easy. She’s a sister. She’s a friend. She’s a lover. Now she’s an auntie!
In addition to her being all those things, she’s simply herself. I sometimes wonder if she feels like being herself is enough.
I believe it is. I hope she does too!

I won’t be able to smother her with hugs and kisses today, but I will twelve days from now when I collect her at the airport!
The idea of celebrating her in person brings me such joy!

Here’s a photo I absolutely adore.
Thing 2 deep in thought where the sea kisses the shore.
Can you see her muchness?

circa 2003 on the pier at Folly

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uncomfy as f**k

I’ve hit the wall as it comes to the Thing G situation.

This kid.
Oh, this kid deserves so much more than he’s giving himself.
While I was wrapped firmly in the baby bubble, he rear-ended someone and cracked the radiator in the car. He flunked one college course for the second time and pulled a C and D in the remaining two classes. This is after he dropped two classes in March and told his father and me he’d get a job in April.

We’re in the last full week of June and the kid is not employed. Not actively putting forth any effort to become employed, and won’t be returning to school because of his lack of effort.
I want to do two things simultaneously. I want to shake him till his teeth rattle to get his life together, and I want to hug him tight and fix his life.
Here’s the rub, I can do neither of these things.
First of all, I have no power when it comes to the kid. I cannot lay down rules and expect them to be followed. I cannot even wait for natural consequences to fall upon him. He is immune. In all truth, this kid has never actually experienced a consequence. And if he actually has, it’s somehow been lost on him.

Both my therapist and the therapist YBW and I see together have suggested we make life less comfortable for him. That if he experiences a new level of discomfort, he’ll have to make changes to remain comfortable.
I’ve stopped buying junk for him to eat.
He solved that problem by going out and purchasing his own junk.
I asked him what happened when the money ran out. I told him his dad wasn’t going to put anymore money in his account, that the money that was in there was because he needed to eat on campus and put gas in the car to get to campus.
He said to me, “Hopefully I’ll have a job by then.”
Kid won’t have a job if he doesn’t actively seek one.
I honestly don’t know if he understands that he won’t get paid at a job until he’s been there a couple of weeks.

YBW tells me I don’t love Thing G.
That’s infuriating!
I don’t treat the kid the way YBW treats him, therefore I do not love him?
I’m so tired of fighting to prove to my husband that I love his son.
I’m over here just trying to survive in this household.

You know, I’ve been accused of not loving this kid so many times I don’t even choose to listen to it anymore.
I do love him!
If I didn’t love him, I wouldn’t give a fuck what he did or did not do, or what happens to him. I care deeply. I see a bright, capable young man absolutely avoiding his own life. I watch him get bogged down in his own fear and anxiety to the point he simply chooses to avoid life in general. It hurts my heart. I have to believe it isn’t what he wants, however, he simply cannot get himself together.

What hurts me the most is that YBW thinks I don’t see the conflict within him. That he wants to simultaneously shake the kid till his teeth rattle, and hold him close.
I see that struggle in him. I see him want more for his son. I also see him trapped by his understanding of his commitment to raising his son.
I see him torn between knowing the kid needs to get his life together and how to facilitate that, and his sacred commitment to keep his son safe.
I observe him not making the connection that sometimes keeping a child safe is actively doing the opposite. I observe him making that connection, but being powerless to act upon it because his idea of facilitating the kid getting his life together and keeping him safe seem at complete odds.
Let me be very clear, I can only use my words to describe what I see going on with my husband. He might have different words to express it.

I was fascinated by his response to a question asked by our therapist.
She asked him to describe his parenting philosophy. She was specific he limit it to five words or less.
His response was “Take care of them.”
I was not asked to respond aloud, but I too, answered the question.
My response was “Build a them foundation.”
My eyes were opened that afternoon. And in that moment I understood my husband in a completely different way.

He’s quick to point out that I think he’s a failure as a parent.
On the contrary, one of the things I love most about him is how much of a loving father he is.
In the past, I’ve asked, “Why don’t they know how to do that?” or “Why didn’t they learn that?” What he heard was, “You didn’t teach them therefore you failed as a dad.”
I don’t think he failed as a dad. I think he is a kind and loving dad. A dad who would sacrifice by any means necessary for his kids to have the life he thinks they deserve.
He’s not failed in taking care of them. He’s elevated taking care of his sons into an art form.
The love in my husband flows in his very veins. He is a nurturer of epic proportion.
He either doesn’t see my acknowledgement of that, or he chooses to ignore it. I honestly don’t know which.

I know what he thinks I think of him. And y’all, it ain’t nice.
He is wrong.
I don’t think any of the things he thinks I think of him.
I’ve figured out I can’t really do anything about that. I can only love him and go from there.

We’re so different.
It starts at our upbringing.
I was raised by my emotionally unavailable single mother, and later, my fully devoted maternal grandfather.
Before we lived with Grandaddy, we were poor. I mean poor. I had clothes to wear to school, but never enough food in my belly. I had to be helpful around the house. I had to be helpful with my little brother. I knew how to cook and clean and half-ass parent by the time I was in second grade.
I’m not sob-story-ing it. I’m just saying that was my life. I didn’t know it wasn’t the same as other kids.

YBW was raised by a stay at home mom who did everything for her family. YBW was the 1980s embodiment of 1950s Beaver Cleaver. Hot breakfast was waiting for him every morning when he woke. Clothes were washed and pressed for him. He got called in from playing to wash his hands and come to the dinner table. His mom made his bed each day after he left for school. He was next level well cared for. I don’t know if he knew it wasn’t the same for other kids.

Our upbringing shaped our parenting philosophies.
Take care of them.
Build a them foundation.

This kind of sums up our different parenting philosophies.

image source: imgur.com

However much I am the kangaroo, bear, and monkey, I too am the bird. I knew I could only keep my girls safe and warm and comfy for so long before they would have to fly.
However much I did for them, I taught them to do for themselves. I believe they would tell you they were well cared for as quickly as they would tell you I built them a strong foundation. At least I hope they would. I do know I built them strong foundations upon which they can stand as they begin their own building upon it. And that was my parenting goal.

YBW is all kangaroo, bear, and monkey. I see him working towards the concept of the bird. I see how much it goes against his idea of how to parent. I see he is conflicted. I imagine he wants to facilitate the natural course of development in helping his bird fly without having to actually let go.
These are my words for what I see in him. I don’t actually know his truth.

What I do know is this.
I can no longer stand idly by while Thing G remains disengaged from his own life.
It hurts me deep in my soul that this kid I so love is stagnant.
I can’t unstick him. I can’t help him get himself unstuck.
Nothing I do makes a difference.
I can no longer abide being powerless.

In a conversation with YBW I shared that I’d gotten to the point where I only saw three options for how I was going to deal with my feelings regarding the Thing G situation.
The first is ignore the kid completely. If I’m not engaged I won’t suffer.
YBW asked if this is really practical.
The second is to take point and facilitate his ability to fly.
YBW said he doesn’t want me to ruin my relationship with Thing G by being the ‘bad guy’.
The third is to simply walk away.
YBW accused me of threatening him.

I did not.
The third option is absolute shit. I don’t want it to be an option at all.
I am not saying it’s me or the kid.
I’m saying I am at my wit’s fucking end with this situation. With this kid. I’m tired of being powerless to change the situation. I’m tired of being powerless in the place I live.
I am uncomfortable in this house every single day when the kid is here. I hide out, or leave the house to avoid him.
I am not comfortable enough to move about freely in the place I live.
I’m so tired of feeling like this I could scream!

The kid isn’t uncomfortable enough to change.
YBW isn’t uncomfortable enough to change.
I’m over here uncomfortable as fuck with no real power to change.

How desperate does one girl have to become to create enough change to be comfortable where she lives?

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you got this

I got a call from Thing 1 this morning. She was on the way to the doctor. She asked my opinion regarding birth control. I haven’t concerned myself with birth control since my hysterectomy in 2004, so I didn’t feel as though I was going to be much help to her.
She is worried about how getting pregnant will impact her heart health and wants to make sure that doesn’t happen again any time soon.
She’s concerned about hormonal birth control, how it will affect her depression.
I’m concerned about how hormonal birth control will affect her milk production.
She asked what I thought about an IUD. I told her I know that my mom had one fifty years ago and loved it. I know friends who have them now and love them.

Part of me feels like I’m letting her down because I don’t have my finger on the pulse of this information.
I’m a forty-eight year old (menopausal) woman with no uterus. How could I possibly advise a twenty-five year old about safe and effective birth control?
I did tell her that if I was in her place, I would choose an IUD.
Why? My gut just knew.

I don’t know that she wanted well thought out, highly informed opinions or advice. I suspect she just wanted to touch base with her momma while she was considering her choices. Sometimes, you just want to talk to your mom. Sometimes talking to your mom brings you the comfort you crave, even when you’re not exactly sure you need it.

I’m so thankful I don’t have to worry about my reproductive health in the current climate.
I am concerned about the reproductive health of my daughters, and even my granddaughter.
Will they have access to everything they need?
I’m talking about proper medical care, appropriate testing, the ability to receive and fill necessary prescriptions.

I’m hopeful that whatever type of birth control Thing 1 chooses, she has appropriate access to it. That it works to keep her healthy while it helps ensure she doesn’t get pregnant. Not getting pregnant will keep her heart safer. Not getting pregnant will keep her heart healthier.
I want my girl to have a strong and healthy heart. I want Baby K to have a strong and healthy mommy.
I’m not sure what choice she will make, but I do know that I support her in her decision to maintain her health to the best of her ability.

Even if I didn’t have good advice for her this morning, I hope that our quick conversation gave her what she needed.
Sometimes all it takes is hearing your mom’s voice to know you can handle whatever is coming at you.
I see her building a life and family upon the foundation I built for her and I know she’s got this.
Perhaps she just needed to be reminded.

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

‘laugh it off’ or expect respect

Thing 1 posted this yesterday on social media.
She was feeling sad.

Rude old man in Lowe’s said I looked like I swallowed a watermelon seed then proceeded to laugh his butt off like it was the funniest thing ever said and block my way so I couldn’t get past him. 😭

Of course this got a lot of angry or frustrated responses: middle finger emojis (this may or may not have been mine), angry faces, one hilarious gif of Madea giving the side eye.

My Momma-hackles were up. I was flooded with the overwhelming desire to stab that “rude old man” with my icepick! Leave my kid alone, fuckface. (I know, it sounds like a word I learned in 6th grade, because I did …but just work with me on this.)

This morning I woke to a comment to which I reacted with all the feels.

Well, try to laugh it off. It’s such a limited time in your life and that watermelon is a blessing!

The person who wrote this comment loves my first daughter nearly as much as I do. They share a sacred place in each other’s hearts and lives. I know she was trying to put a positive spin on an incident that upset Thing 1. She was doing what she thought was right. And I love her dearly for it. Helping my baby see that she might be able to just shrug it off and live in a place that is filled to the brim with the blessing of Baby K. And she’s right! That man knows nothing about how or why or what Thing 1 does to live her life. And who cares what he thinks? Thing 1 just needs to keep livin’ man. L-I-V-I-N.

Only, the more I considered her kindness, I considered how women around the world have been conditioned to behave, to accept the behavior of others…
And then my hackles went absolutely haywire.
I responded to the comment in what I hope is a kind and respectful way.

I understand your heart is in the right place in this comment, I know you speak from a place of love. You’re right, this baby is a blessing.
However, my concern is, taking this stance simply perpetuates disrespect towards women everywhere. That man doesn’t know just how much of a blessing this baby is. He amused himself at the expense of a young pregnant woman. At. Her. Expense.
We should never laugh this off.

I’m actually having both sides of this conversation in my head as write this post.
Was that man attempting to be friendly and not super successful, or was he a misogynistic asshole?
I have actually used that swallowed a watermelon line in my life. But never to a stranger.
Part of me agrees that Thing 1 should just “ignore the mean boy” and go on about her life.
But as I argue both sides of this issue I realize how wrong the whole fucking thing actually is!
There is nothing OK about one entire side of this conversation!
I would NEVER let my daughters behave that way, speak that way to or about someone! Would it be different if I had sons? Would I be a bit more, “boys will be boys”?
Um. FUCK to the NO!!

I’ve moved so far beyond the compulsion to protect my child.
I’m talking basic human respect.
This is our world, y’all!
How can this be OK?

Look, I’m not some mad feminist over here beating my bare breasts while burning my bra. I’m just a regular sort of (fully clothed) woman writing about what I see and feel.
My pregnant daughter should never have to be expected to “laugh it off”! She should never be exposed to that kind of random disrespect and borderline abuse!
Nobody’s daughter should!
Nobody’s son, for that matter!

Y’all! I am fired up about this! Am I overreacting? Am I justified?
I want to know what you think.
Ladies and Gents, do we simply ‘laugh it off’, or do we do everything in our power to treat other people with basic human decency?
I want to hear what you have to say on either side of this conversation.
Please and thank you!

Categories: me, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

twenty five years of Thing 1

When each of my girls turned 13 I created a book. This book was filled with photographs from their first moments until as close as I could get to the deadline before their birthday that year.
For this day twelve years ago I made Thirteen Years of Thing 1.

I honestly don’t know what the significance of my daughters becoming teenagers was, but when Thing 1 was closing in on that title, it hit me in a way I didn’t expect. And going through the photographic evidence of her lifetime brought me great comfort when I was so anxious about that anniversary of her birth.

Today is the twenty fifth anniversary of Thing 1’s birthday.
My first daughter has been in our world for a quarter century. I am awestruck!

I was on the phone with her one day last week, we were talking about her birthday. I remarked “quarter century of Thing 1”, that gave her pause. She hadn’t considered it like that. And then she rallied and said, “Sounds like it should be a book year.”
D’oh!
I did not make her a book. Part of me wishes I had, especially since this is her last birthday before becoming a mom.

I’ve called her twice already this morning. Her phone is turned off. Part of me is pleased she’s getting to sleep late, the other part of me wants to hear her voice.

I’m feeling my joy in the back of my throat and bubbling up into my eyes this morning.

Sally commented on a birthday social media post, “If she only knew how special she was to all of us! She’ll always be 3 in hearts!”
It’s true!
She was the first kid in my friend group. The first kid so many people ever loved. And even though we always tease that Sally is really my first daughter, Thing 1 changed the world for all of us.

Twenty five years ago I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing. Truth is, I still don’t know what I’m doing some of the time.
I don’t think I mommied her the best possible way. I think I mommied her based on the way I was mommied.
BIG MISTAKE!
But, I learned better over time.
I grew up with her. I learned to be a woman the same time I was learning to be a mom. She paid a bit of the price for that. But she also experienced the maddest kind of love! More fun than she can possibly remember. And somewhere down deep in her I believe she holds the nugget of truth that she is the human personification of every hope and dream I ever had.
I know I failed at being her mom sometimes, but I also know that I far exceeded any mom expectations.
She is who she is because I am her mom.
I am who I am because she is my daughter.
She made me a mom twenty five years ago. In May she’ll make me a grandmother.
Still awestruck!

This is one of my all time favorite Thing 1 photos.

Age ten, November 2004 on the dock in Charleston.

Categories: love, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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