my plus 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 5


Do you remember your first?

Seriously, get your mind out of the gutter! I’m talking about politics. Do you remember your first political experience? How about the first time you voted? And the best personal political experience in your lifetime ever? This weekend I had the opportunity to hear some pretty amazing, smart women, women who when they speak politicians listen, share some of their first and best experiences as we gathered together to talk politics…naturally…and women…and women in politics…and healthcare and politics…and elections…and the upcoming midterm elections…and why a dear friend sitting next to me needs to someday soon put herself out there to run.

I remember my first political experience. I was 13 years old. Mommy Dearest dragged me to a political protest against then Presidential candidate Jimmy Carter because of his non-stance on abortion at that point in his campaign; which was kind of awkward and strange all around since Mom was a life-long Democrat and a self-proclaimed feminist because it was the 70s and because she scarcely could talk to me about periods at that time much less the mechanics of where babies came from. Yet there I was, standing next to her holding a sign declaring that God was at war against abortion. I was thirteen years old. My picture appeared on the front page of the Pittsburgh Press holding that damn sign as Mr. Carter walked by smiling and waving. Mom was standing next to me smiling and waving too. Oh gawd, I was mortified!!! I was thirteen.

My best political experience was the 1988 General Elections. I was in college working towards my nursing degree and taking care of prereqs like Political Science. Since we were just four months away from the General Election, our professor deigned to focus on taking us through the California ballot for that year studying each and every candidate and initiative on the ballot that year so that each of us would be able to go to the polls truly informed and voting as such. I aced the course and yes, I entered the voting booth for the very first time as a truly informed, confident voter. I brought my +1 too before it was even cool to bring a +1. Of course we wore our matchy-matchy acid wash jeans and big 80’s hair because 80’s.

I am so sorry Hollie! Truly.

But I will never apologize for taking you and Zoë and Abby and Jodie and Daniel to the polls.

Then again, perhaps my best political experience were the days Hollie, Zoë, Abby and Jodie all voted for the first time. When our government mucks up things that affect these ladies I love to remind them that my kids care and my kids vote. Yeah, my greatest political accomplishment is my kids vote…my kids think and my kids vote. Okay, fine. Four out of five of my kids vote…for now. Then again, 2020 will come soon enough.

Meanwhile, I had the opportunity to meet and talk to, laugh with and share with some extraordinary women who are committed to encouraging and training women to be leaders in their communities. Breaking bread with some of them we discussed healthcare and politics and what I believe to be a poorly written, tugging at your aching-breaking heart proposition that will appear on the California November ballot.

The biggest takeaways from political suite talks I engaged in this weekend? Politics is indeed personal because politics affects us all… we women…our access to healthcare…our children…our community. We can indeed be part of the change and we can make a difference with our words and our actions. We must. Anything we say or do, no matter how big or how small.we might imagine it to be can and will and does make a difference. Discussing what I learned this weekend with my +1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 I know I am because 4 of them vote.

In 100 days is our U.S. General Election. Regardless of which side of the debate you find yourself arguing, it’s imperative you are part of the process — along with your +1. In fact, your +1 may vote entirely opposite from you but what matters is you are both at the polls on election day.

 

ask the pro


Planning a wedding? Need to know all that you need to know about flower girl duties? You’ve got to ask a pro.

Hazel Faye is that pro having flower girl-ed at her Mommy and Daddy’s wedding.

and for her mommy’s life-long bestest friend where she not only tossed those petals like nobody’s business but also offered the sagest of advice for the bride.

But you better hurry because her wedding calendar is filling up fast as she tries on flower girl dresses for the next wedding that she’ll be in.

Have no fear, beautiful bride to be, she’s got this.

give them wings


Lindsay, over at Suburban Turmoil, beautifully described an analogy that is not new to any of us that unfolded outside her front window.

And now I miss back home and cardinals because you just don’t see cardinals around here.

She then posed a question on Facebook:

To all of you who’ve raised children to adulthood- Based on your experience, what’s the best advice you can give those of us who’re still in the trenches of parenting?

So much wisdom was shared. And then I added my 2¢ worth because I am the mother of four children over the age of 18. I’m no expert but I somehow managed to get this far so why not offer? After all, she did ask.

Patience, lots of patience. From the time they are walking and talking teach them and expect them to take on self care, taking care of their own things and doing things for themselves.
As they grow and discover their passion and interests know that it isn’t always going to be the same as yours or what you imagine or expect it to be and begin to learn to be okay with that.
Let them fall down or fail sometimes. Then love them and guide them as they get back up and try again.

Not bad considering I was dispensing such wisdom while standing in line at Safeway on stop number four of today’s errands, which my 12 year old, who accompanied me,  was cool with during stop number one. As I was trying to form a coherent thought to share, he was making sure that I knew he was over my errands. And it was then that I remember why it was I rarely took his older siblings with me on errands once they were too big for the baby sling.

Clearly I need to work even more on the patience. I can’t imagine that I will ever have the patience that it takes to be an extraordinary mom. Still I press on.

But I have managed to nurture and teach these clowns how to take care of themselves. They can do a pretty good job at it too. Some of them are so good at it they are taking very good care of others too. I can thank the time I spent with other people’s high school aged children years ago for the inspiration that someday my kids would know how to keep track of their own toothbrush, do their own laundry, hang up their own clothes, clean their own room, pick up their own prescriptions from the drug store, carry their own suitcase, yada, yada, yada. Sure I failed at teaching them how to bargain shop because Safeway time was “me time” but they have managed just fine because they have come to realize that yes, they can take care of themselves.

The learning that their passions and interests are not always the same as mine has been an education yet surprisingly not nearly as hard to accept as I imagined that it would be. Well, after I accepted the passion that Hollie chose to pursue because suddenly parenting her wasn’t nearly as exhausting when I was watching her do and create and beautify the way that she does. It actually was kind of exhilarating. Added bonus is she makes me look good. These adult children of mine are really just barely getting started still I am working hard at just cheering them on as they chase those dreams, explores those interests and live those passions. Theirs are not mine. They shouldn’t be. Not ever. Still I get to passively live them with my adult children and my world opens up even more.

The hardest part of all has been letting them fall or fail. I am a parent of millennials. Any good parent of millennials would never, ever let their precious angel baby fall or let anyone fail them ever…no, not ever! I’m not really a very good parent of millennials still how could I possibly just stand there and watch them fall?

Right?!

But I do.

I have. I probably have Daniel’s former physical therapist to thank for being brave enough to do just that. But just like when they were wobbly toddlers, they somehow manage to get back up again and again and again. And I praise them because they did it all on their own. I also quietly heave a sigh of relief because I am still mom.

I’m sorry dear parents in the trenches, it doesn’t get any easier even as the nest empties. It’s a lot quieter. There is (sometimes) less laundry. You learn not to cook as much for dinner every night. You answer every phone call, every text, every FaceTime and you hold yourself back and mostly just listen because, more than anything, that is what they need.

Hard?

Hell yes, it’s hard.

How much easier it would be for me to lecture them, tell them what they are doing wrong, what they should do, what they could have done.

But I gave them those wings; wings that were made to fly. So I take a deep breath, I say a prayer, I bite my tongue and sometimes I shut my eyes tight as they do just that. They fly.

Today’s reward:

Clearly I’m not the only one impressed with the magic she makes.

 

 

her baby gap


Hazel, unlike pretty much all of her kindergarten-graduates-going-into-first-grade-peers, has not lost her first baby tooth yet. Yes, this means that the tooth fairy has not visited her yet. Ask her and she will tell you that she is the ONLY one.

Her mama told me the same thing when she was a kindergarten graduate going into first grade. At that age, Hollie was absolutely certain that she would never, ever lose her baby teeth like her toothless friends were. She was so worried that we asked her dentist about it. He assured us both that it was all good…it was even to Hollie’s dental health advantage that she wasn’t losing all of her baby teeth in rapid fashion like her peers.

Easy for him to say.

He wasn’t the only soon to be first grader at Hollie’s school who hadn’t lost even one baby tooth.

Then…a miracle happened…

Hollie lost her first tooth during the first week of first grade.

A heavenly host of tooth fairies sang hallelujahs that wonderful day because it was a miracle.

Hollie declared it to be and so it was. She even wrote about it for her very first first grade writing assignment. Her story, “The Miracle” was one of Mrs. Miller’s favorites that year and, perhaps for years to come as she still was talking about Hollie’s story when she taught Hollie’s sisters.

I offer to Hazel that it might be okay that she hasn’t lost a baby tooth yet because she is her mother’s daughter.

Hmmm…. is how she responds. She’s not buying that. She is her mother’s daughter…in more ways than one.

It will happen soon enough. Until then I am going to savor every moment of her beautiful gap-toothed smile that I have loved since she has had teeth.

My kids’ orthodontist loved it too back when Hazel was just a baby explaining to me that this was to her advantage when her much larger, permanent teeth would come through as there would be ample room for them. So if she needed orthodonture in the future her gap would not be “fixed”, I asked? No need to fix something as wonderful as that gap was Dr. D’s opinion and answer. That’s one more reason why I love my kids’ orthodontist…even if I don’t have full access to that Tahoe vacation home I have helped to pay for over the years…literally years…like six years and more to come…soon Daniel hopes.

I so deserve to have access to that Tahoe vacation home.

Soon enough Hazel will catch up to her almost first grade peers and will be practically toothless just like them. Until then I am going to savor her glorious, bright, happy, gap-toothed smile.

…and I am going to wish, hope and pray that her adult teeth have the same beautiful gap because I have made Hollie take a blood oath swearing not to allow any orthodontist to fix any gap-toothed smile she might have because it’s perfect.

for the daddy I love


“They” say that a little girl’s daddy is the model for which a woman’s heart will fall for when she finds The One. Yeah, that’s what “They” say.

Hmmm…

Well, I seriously doubt that theory for myself, personally. Then again, I look at my own girls, their wonderful, complex, loving, open, crazy relationships with their daddy, that man I married and I might believe it. My girls are very picky with whom they might share their heart with and they can be pretty hard on the ones whom fall for them. Perhaps the latter is because of their mom. I don’t know. We’ll let those experts in fathers and their relationships with their children armchair analyze that as they do.

Based on my own experience and my imagined expertise, I am quite certain that my children have the absolute best daddy…the best daddy ever. Of course that means that I am married to the best daddy. No, that doesn’t guarantee that I wear the best mommy ever crown. Not at all. Let’s just say that the world’s okayest mom is married to the world’s best daddy ever.

There are so many examples I can list here to illustrate that but then I would just be bragging and showing off. Still, I am pretty certain that Hollie, Zoë, Abby, Jodie and Daniel are the children of the best daddy ever. Sure others might object. Some believe that they are or someone they knows holds that title.

It’s fine.

We all are entitled to what we believe to be true.

For me, I look at the way my kids look at this man, their daddy. I look at the way that he looks at them. I listen to their conversations…especially when they think that I am not listening or can’t hear them. I see and hear what I imagine in my heart every child must have, absolutely needs and always deserves from the man in their lives who is their daddy…love with no limits and no conditions. A love like that has no room for fear, dread, criticisms, disappointments. Of course this man whom my kids call daddy is not perfect. Far from it. Neither are those kids of mine. Who is really? But through the years, I have observed nothing but consistency when it comes to this man my kids call daddy. They were raised by the kind of daddy I imagined in my heart to be the perfect kind of daddy:

  • a daddy to laugh with
  • be silly with
  • to dance with
  • to sit with you in the bathroom for what felt like hours during that potty training phase
  • to ride in the car with while he sings along loudly to some weird country-rap song just as your friends pass by
  • a daddy who will discipline without excessive fear or force, or endless criticisms or a book recording all your wrongs that will be brought out and opened up every time you do something wrong forever and ever, amen
  • a daddy who might be disappointed or frustrated with your choices in almost anything from the music you listen to, the strange person you choose to date, the way that you alter your appearance, whom you vote for, whom you pray to or don’t pray to, the career path you choose but will love you all the more so that you might not ever know that he was ever disappointed
  • a daddy who is there for you when you are scared, broken-hearted or picking yourself up after your latest fuck-up without mocking your fear, your sadness, your pain, your anxiety or your own self-criticisms
  • a daddy who might never, ever understand what makes you tick but tries his damndest to understand…even if it is who is the latest super-hot boy band or the latest Hot Wheels release or Legos set.
  • a daddy who makes more sacrifices than any of his children will ever know so that they will always be safe, be warm, be dry, be fed and pursue almost anything that their heart desires
  • a daddy who teaches them all about hard work, self-discipline, sacrifice, love and how to relax and have fun not by lecture or instruction but by doing and by example.

Oops!

I’m kind of bragging, aren’t I? My bad.

No, he’s not perfect. Some might be quick to point out the chinks in his suit of daddy-armour. Some have as the experts known as “They” like to whether you ask them to or not. Regardless, this man is the best daddy ever…for my children…which is really the only thing that matters to me and to the people who call him daddy.

Happy Father’s Day to the man my children call daddy, the daddy I love.

Go forth this weekend and celebrate as you wanted to, as you deserve to playing golf, grilling and just relaxing…the perfect way to celebrate Father’s Day.