Parents: Take the School Pictures CHALLENGE

Sep 15 2015

IMG_6463I asked my kids last night about School Picture Day. “It’s coming up, you know,” I said. “We should make plans! Want to do that now?”

But instead of the cheers and accolades I expected, my kids groaned. And moaned. And rolled their eyes. And schlumped in their chairs.

“Argrhuffslottle,” they said, or something like it, and I was offended. Offended, I tell you, because they were busy griping while I wanted major mommy props for thinking ahead. For planning. For being on top of the school schedule for once. But is that what I got? Noooooooo. I got argrhuffslottle from their ungrateful little selves. And schlumping. LOTS of schlumping down in chairs.

“What’s wrong with Picture Day?” I asked. And I followed that with a powerful, “I always LOVED Picture Day,” knowing my experience as a child is always paramount in their thoughts and super relevant to their experience. I am here to tell you, though, you should not ask questions unless you want to hear the answer, because my kids told me exactly what’s wrong with Picture Day, and apparently it’s me.


I am what’s wrong with Picture Day, they said, and they told it like this:

“See, Mom, you always make us wear stuff we don’t like very much.”

I do not.

“Sometimes it itches.”

Like a tiny bit of itching in order to LOOK NICE ONE DAY A YEAR is a huge sacrifice.

“Yeah, Mom. We never get to wear our favorite shirts just because they’re stained.”

Well, of course I can’t let you wear something dirty to Picture Day. I mean, GEEZ.

“And you make us not play at recess that day.”

That’s not even a little bit true!

“It IS true, Mom. You tell us not to play at recess very hard ’cause we’ll mess up our hair.”

Oh. Yeah… I do say that…

“Sometimes, Mom,” they concluded, “we just want to look how we like to look. Even in pictures.”

And then they delivered the clincher, “How come you don’t like the things we choose?”



Well… argrhuffslottle. And ppffffttttt.

I was stumped, truth be told. Dumbfounded. I had no idea what to say to them, really. How come I don’t like the things they choose? Is that the message I’ve been sending them?

But when I thought about it — actually thought about it hard — I had to conclude it is. That’s exactly the message I’ve been sending my kids, and I don’t like it. Not at all.

It turns out, I made my kids’ School Picture Days a way for ME to express MYself; kids coiffed the way I like, outfits picked with my brand of parental precision, stains and tears and foibles erased for a day to have a record that reflects what like and who I am, and, if I’m going to do a ruthless inventory of why I’ve done that, I have to confess I’ve used Picture Day as a way to measure my success as a mama; as though I’m saying, “Sure, I don’t have my poo together the other days, but I can pull it together for Picture Day, momrades! See??” Or, “I can send my children to school — clean — for one day a year, teachers!”

Here’s the thing I keep thinking about over and over (and over and over) today: we say we want our kids to be authentically themselves. We encourage them to be the people they were uniquely created to be. We beg our kids to think, to be confident and bold, and to follow their hearts. We tell them they’re the authors of their own stories, and that we need their stories in our world. We encourage our kids to stand up for what they believe — to stand up for kindness and for each other — starting in Kindergarten and even in Preschool, but then we don’t allow them to choose the outward expression of who they are inside; not when it’s going to be documented for posterity, anyway. Not when it’s going in the record books! Not when we’ll look back at these pictures which define their childhood school experience. I guess it just seems a little… off… to me when I think about it that way. A little off, and a tiny bit sad, this mixed message I send.

So I have this crazy idea, parents.

This CRAZY, RADICAL idea, and now I’m wondering if anyone out there is crazy enough to join me.

I’m calling it, “Let’s let the kids look however they want for school picture day.” And, by that, I mean however they want. Like, hair however they want, and clothes however they want; even jelly on their faces if they want.

Look; I don’t want to be extreme or dramatic or anything here, it’s just, oh my gosh, you guys. Oh my gosh! I’m pretty sure I’m onto something.

Instead of a School Picture Day about me, my kids can have a School Picture Day about them. A moment in time that captures exactly who they are, as they choose to be, and to receive the message from their mama — loud and clear — that that’s what I want on record.

Of course, if we do this, our kids’ pictures may look less like this…



… and a little more like this.


A little less like this…


… and a little more like this.


Which, let’s be honest, is the greatest school picture of all time, anyway. ALL TIME. And my personal favorite.

Of course, the BONUS in all this is we don’t have to do JACK SQUAT for Picture Day this year. We don’t have to do JACK, and we can do nothing NOBLY. For a GOOD CAUSE. Because we’re being RAD PARENTS who CARE MORE ABOUT OUR KIDS THAN OURSELVES. It’s a win/win, friends. A win/win, I tell you!

So, I’m on a need to know here, parents. What do you think? Too crazy to do? Or are you doing it with me??


For the Mamas Who Don’t Even Have It Together at the START of the School Year

Sep 9 2015

School’s back in session now, and here’s how I know.

In the last 48 hours, I’ve lost 3 dogs, and I only own 2. I’ve dropped kids off late and one came home early, vomiting. I’ve driven away from my house barefoot and in my nightie. I’ve had way too much coffee and not near enough beer. I’ve spilled hot beverages down my front. I’ve found no clean undies; for myself or for others. And my car started making a ker-lunk, ker-lunk sound which the car repair guy told me is probably a mouse stuck in the heater.

School’s back in session now, and I know because we were organized and TOTALLY READY the night before school started, but once the morning arrived, the dog escaped. In grand, Houdini fashion, the dog escaped and went frolicking in the neighbors’ yards, and I sent the kids out to capture her, which they couldn’t do because she is swift. Swift and sneaky. Swift and sneaky and slippery, I tell you, so she teased and teased them, letting them get almost close enough, but not quite, and she had a fabulous time watching me coach kids at high volume from the porch before I gave up, raced inside, donned my tennis shoes — tennis shoes with my nightie, oo la la — and gave chase myself.

Chase her, I did, in tennies and my thin, blue nightie with too many of the front buttons undone and with the morning sun slanting gloriously through my garment, no doubt, and illuminating that which I did not wear underneath — you’re welcome, neighbors! — but I caught that dog in the end. I did! I CAUGHT THE HECK out of that dog, and I put her inside just in time for her to escape again because, “But, Mom! I had to open the door to leave the house for school.”



He “had to open the door to leave the house for school,” he said. As though we don’t know how to climb through windows at our house. As though we’re not problem solvers who can find a better way like shimmying up through the chimney we don’t have and jumping from the roof. As though leaving out the back door and scrambling over the six foot, unfinished, splintery fence and burrowing through the blackberry brambles is not an option. As though we don’t honor creative thinking like just don’t go ANYWHERE, kid, — SCREW SCHOOL — because Mommy doesn’t want to chase the dog AGAIN. 

But did he think of any of those things? Nooooo. He “had” to open the door to leave the house for school, and so we chased the dog again, and we caught her, and we were only a little bit late.

A little, teeny, tiny bit late, but everyone ended up AT school FOR THE WIN; ready and raring to go! UNSTOPPABLE! And I left for work.

Sure, I spilled coffee on my work clothes right after my car started to ker-lunk and just before an emergency stop at the car repair shop.

Still, READY, RARING TO GO, and UNSTOPPABLE-except-for-sopping-up-coffee-and-a-mouse-in-the-heater.

And then my neighbor texted to tell me to tell me the dog escaped. The other dog this time because, in our family, taking turns is important.

But READY, RARING TO GO, and UNSTOPPABLE-except-for-sopping-up-coffee-and-a-mouse-in-the-heater-and-the-Houdini-dogs, which everyone knows is practically the same thing anyway.

Yes, technicallthe school called at noon to let us know a kid who belongs to us had started vomiting and had to come home early. But otherwise we were completely unstoppable.

READY, RARING TO GO, and totes UNSTOPPABLE-except-for-sopping-up-coffee-and-a-mouse-in-the-heater-and-the-Houdini-dogs-and-the-vomity-kid.

And one high school lost my senior’s schedule and the other high school had classes misassigned for my freshman, but whatever, right?

Whatever, because we were READY, RARING TO GO, and UNSTOPPABLE. 

Except when were weren’t very ready… or really raring to go anywhere except bed… and discovered we were kind of, well, stoppable.

Which is when I realized this school year is exactly like every other school year and the chaos must mean school’s back in session.

I dropped my kids off again at school this morning. Some I drove early, while I was still barefoot and in my nightgown, hunkered down in the driver’s seat in the school drop-off lane, and praying to Jesus I wouldn’t get a flat and have to run inside where I’d be arrested for indecent exposure. And one kid I drove late, after I was dressed and ready and made up and as poised as this mommy gets.

I dropped off that last kid with his medications, which took a while in the office, and so I was in the hall when a beautiful, young friend dropped her oldest baby off for his first day of kindergarten. She was barely holding it together, a baby in one arm and a toddler holding the other, the grief of sending her son into the unknown fresh on her face, and I asked her how she was.

Sheesh — don’t you HATE that? Don’t you hate it when you’re hanging on by a shoestring and someone says, “How are you?” and “You OK?”

She burst into tears.

Of course she did, because I’m a JERK.

So I hugged her and held her for a second and made nonsensical sounds and said things like, “Oh, mama; I’m so sorry,” and then I encouraged her to sneak over to her son’s class and look in the window, even though that’s against school rules.

Truth is, I probably didn’t help her. Or at least not as much as she helped me.

Because I’ve been feeling a little ridiculous, to be honest, for not having All the Things Together these past two days. My feelings. My dogs. My ability to put clothes on my body. The kids’ schedules. God knows, “planning dinner” isn’t even on the horizon right now. And, although I haven’t lost the ability to laugh at myself, I have been quite certain other mamas would juggle this all better than me. With more poise. With more panache. With better plans.

I forgot for a minute that we’re all a beautiful mess. And I forgot how much I needed the reminder that I’m not alone mucking my way through this.

Listen, friends. I don’t know about you, but I’m realizing it’s OK to be both this year. Both/And, right? Both really, really ready for change and sort of broadsided by it all at the same time. Both eager for the next season and mourning the end of the last one. Both excited or what the future holds — reaching out to embrace it — and stunned by the hurdles I find along the way.

Both deep in the mess, yes, and also finding magic along the way.

For all you here alongside me, in the magic and the mess, I’m sending love.


On Having FEELINGS the First Week of School and Finding Light in the Dark

Sep 7 2015

The sun is setting outside, we’re headed into another first week of school tomorrow, and, no matter how many times we’ve done this as a family — no matter how many times I’ve maneuvered it as a mama — I’m nervous. The darker it gets outside, in fact, the more nervous I feel because the darkness always exposes my fears and whispers “what if” and weaves convincing tales of doom.

The darkness is eloquent, after all.

The darkness is loquacious.

And the darkness is always confident and sure that I am senselessly sending my children into harm’s way.

“Think of all the ways they could get hurt,” the darkness tells me, “like socially and emotionally, mentally and physically, intellectually and spiritually, and THEY WILL PROBABLY BE SCARRED FOR LIFE because…” and then the darkness fills in the blanks for each child, pointing out the one with the New School, and the five with New Teachers, and the one with a Complex Schedule Who Doesn’t Know His Way Around; the darkness points to my Kid With No Friends in His Class, and the One Who Doesn’t Know How to Make Any, and the Kid Who’s Shy and Who Sometimes Needs Extra Hugs From His Mom. The darkness makes charts of the New Challenges, and the Special Needs, and the High Stakes and then graphs them against the likelihood my kids’ mother screwed something up and didn’t advocate well or didn’t prepare her children or didn’t get the right supplies or, or, or, OR… and the darkness goes on.

The darkness is, in other words, a dick.

Which I know.

know the darkness is a dick, having spent some time mired in it, but sometimes I listen anyway because it’s hard to hear the Light when we’re smack dab in the darkness, you know?


Earlier this week, though, my sister-in-law, Kim, who’s a middle school teacher, got her class lists.

Seems kind of mundane, yes?

Class lists. Lists of kids. Maybe a few names the teachers know, but mostly just… names. Names to eventually put to faces, yes, and kids to eventually get to know and champion and love, but in what I imagine is the hustle and bustle of finishing the first week’s lesson plans and making sure the space is ready and attending teacher in-service meeting, they’re still just… lists. Just lists for now.

KimNoteExcept that when Kim got her lists, she added this note to Facebook:

Looking at class lists tonight feels a bit like Christmas! So exciting to see the names and faces of the young people who will change my life this year. This feels like sacred ground — holding space for them, and anticipating the joy and energy and craziness we’ll all bring to the table. Middle school parents, thank you for sharing your precious littles with me. I am honored. 

Kim didn’t write about exhaustion, and she didn’t write about fear, both of which I bet she experiences, because she is a wife and a teacher and a mother of four, and she’s sending her medically fragile kid to elementary school for the first time.

Kim didn’t write about the darkness or about how arduous it is to move classrooms, which she did this summer, or to begin a new curriculum, or to get her own littles ready every day and then have to head out to teach ours.

Kim didn’t write about heading back to the grindstone or grump about middle schoolers who are an easy target. (I may have offered to sell one of mine this year. *ahem*)

No. Kim wrote instead about excitement and joy and energy and craziness. She wrote about standing on sacred ground. She wrote about the precious people those lists represent. And she wrote about feeling honored.

I sit here in the darkness tonight, and, I’m not going to lie; the voice of the dark is both loud and compelling. WHAT IF, WHAT IF, WHAT IF? But I can’t get rid of the nagging light Kim shed or the knowledge that she’s one of thousands of teachers who feel the same way. One of thousands of Light-bearers headed into our schools tomorrow. One of thousands of Love bringers armed with joy. One of thousands of teachers who are ready to teach, yes, and also eager to be taught by our kids who have so much to offer.

And so I head to bed, knowing the darkness is vast and deep right now, but believing as always, that dawn is coming. Relentlessly on its way. And also holding the little candle Kim lit, which makes the darkness not quite so deep, after all.

Waving in the dark, friends. And praying for Light for us all.





And P.S. thank you for being my community. My ComeUnity. I prayed for you yesterday, held you in the Light — specifically and by name — and then you showed up for each other, too. It didn’t surprise me, because I know you, and I know your hearts, and you are SO my people, but it made me proud and grateful just the same. Just incredibly proud and grateful to be your friend. You really are the best people on the internets. xoxo

UPDATED: Turns Out, I Don’t Like Getting Shot At

Sep 4 2015

Turns out, I don’t like getting shot at.

I mean, you think you don’t like getting shot at. You assume you don’t like getting shot at. But how do you know you don’t like getting shot at until, well, you’re shot at?

Shot at.

As in shot at, shot at.

By a man with a gun.

While you’re in a crowd with your kids.

Friends, now I can be sure. My suppositions were sound. I DO NOT LIKE GETTING SHOT AT.

I do not like getting shot at SO MUCH that I don’t even care I’m ending my sentences with a preposition. As my kids would’ve said when they were little, that is a lot of much, Mom. That is a LOT OF MUCH of not liking getting shot at.

And you know what I like even less than being shot at? My kids being shot at; that’s what.

I like my kids and my friends’ kids and strangers’ kids being shot at WAY LESS than I enjoy being shot at. Which is really saying something considering how little I like getting shot at.

We went to a women’s high school soccer game last night in our small hometown.

11947432_10153554570082769_4677962229802525788_nIt was the first game of the season on a moody weather day, and I arrived a few minutes early as a rainbow fell on the field filled with kids I’ve known their whole lives. We came to watch them and to cheer them as the rain clouds made dramatic entrances and exits, chased sporadically by molten rays of a setting sun.

It’s been a busy week following months of busy weeks — the go, go, GO of summer on all fronts — and it felt good to rest for a bit with friends and family while the cold from the aluminum stands seeped through our clothes and we snuggled into our blankets. It felt good to rest and to beckon fall closer. To chat and banter. To stand for the national anthem. To clap politely for the other team and cheer wildly for our girls as they took to the field in their school colors and their clashing neon shoes.

I did what I usually do at games like these, keeping a loose eye on the field, editing photos on my phone, and denying my kids’ incessant requests for food from the snack bar. “Popcorn only,” I said a thousand thousand times to cries of but WHY and pllleeeEEEEeese? And I was in the middle of threatening to revoke future game attendance privileges unless the begging ceased and desisted when the players all stopped, whipped their heads to look at… something… and then, at the order of the officials, ran off the field.

The crowd rose too, en masse, and began exiting the stands. Lightning, I thought. It has to be lightning. Because what else would the popping sound be? And of course they’d get the players off the field and the crowd out of the metal stands in a lightening storm. The weather was bizarre, after all, and just because I didn’t see the flash of lightening didn’t mean it wasn’t there.

I kept my littles beside me, urging them to hurry and follow directions as we made our way to safety from the storm.

Just a different kind of storm than I thought, because, as we crowded inside the high school, we kept hearing whispers of gun. “Nope,” I said, “it was lightning” because I couldn’t wrap my head around gunshots. It simply didn’t compute. More and more, though, the whispers became reality. We’d fled a man shooting at us, and we were taking refuge together.

Outside, police from multiple jurisdictions converged on the scene. My teenage daughter, who’d left the game briefly to get coffee, returned and was herded into the building at the last second by police “holding those big guns, Mom; the ones you see in the movies” as we were led to a more secure location and put into lockdown.

It was surreal.

I mean, lockdown as a precaution, sure. I get that. And lockdown for practice, yes. But lockdown for real? Sort of… unbelievable.

I began texting updates to the mamas and dads of the teens who were there without their parents so they’d know we were safe and calm and well cared for.

And we were.

We were.

We were safe and calm and well cared for because men and women in uniform ran toward the danger instead of away from it. Ran toward the danger immediately. Ran toward the danger on our behalf. Ran toward the danger in our stead. And I sat in our lockdown room humbled and grateful and less scared for knowing they were there. Humbled and grateful to know they live this out every day of their lives and that this thing which is an anomaly for me and mine — shots fired — is, for them, an ongoing possibility. An ongoing reality.

I went to bed last night with my youngest babies, the three of us snuggled close, safe and warm, with stacks of pillows and blankets and soft sighs and slow breaths, gangly 8-year-old limbs whacking me periodically in the face or the bladder. Greg asked if we were letting them stay in bed with us for the night, and I said, “Yes. New family rule: if you get shot at, you get to sleep with mommy all night long.” Which may make it awkward should they go into military or police service someday, but I’m sure the brass will understand why I must go with them to Afghanistan or inner city Los Angeles and why they’re required to provide for us a family bed once I get there; I’ll just explain we have a long-standing family rule. They’ll get it. I’m sure of it.

I let my oldest go back out last night, too, in a fit of stunning bravery on my part, but I also insisted she stay in our neighborhood because that’s as far as my heart could let her venture even though the danger was over. “Why?” she texted. “Why just our neighborhood?” And I texted back, “I have literally no good reason. I just want you where I know you’re safe for a night.”

Tomorrow, my littles will be back in their own beds and my high school senior will have a wider area to roam again. Tomorrow, I’ll be even braver than I am today. Tomorrow, I’ll add more soccer games to my calendar, and football games in the same stands. Tomorrow, I’ll be one step further than I am from this today.

Today, though, I’m just going to breathe and listen to my kids breathe and be grateful for the gift breath is.

Today, I’m going to be grateful for those who put themselves in harm’s way and those who work for peace in our communities.

Today, I’m going to remember that there are families in Syria and around the world who live in uncertainty and fear for their lives not just for a moment at a soccer game, but every minute of every day.

Today, I’m going to lift my heart and my fears and my gratitude to God because I don’t know what else to do.

And today, I’m going to invite you to join me.

With love,





UPDATE: Thank you for all your heartfelt emails, Facebook comments and comments here on the blog. I appreciate you and your words more that I can express.

The man fired the gun was arrested the same night as the incident. He has since been released and is pending trial on several counts, some felonies, some misdemeanors. It appears he was drunk and was shooting at a tree.

While I know many of our community feel outraged, and rightfully so, I just feel sad for him and for all of us. I know what it is to fuck things up, friends — royally — and although I’ve never endangered people physically like he did two nights ago, I’ve certainly done my share of emotional damage to those I desperately love, and so I feel I share intimately in the destruction of others through my own foolishness even though I sometimes intended no harm.

We are, all of us, made from light and from darkness, the capacity to do great good and great harm intermingled. We are, all of us, made in the image of God — divine to the marrow of our bones — and also oh so very human with all its deep perfection and fallability. We are, all of us, grand fuck-ups and wholly worthy of constant, abiding love.

My children and I — and friends and family and strangers — were wronged the other night. And yet I find myself only able to offer gratitude that we are physically unharmed and compassion and sorrow for the man who fucked this up. The law can be in charge of the consequences; I will lay that down and believe for him, like I believe for all of us, that we are redeemable.

A Vote for Trump is a Vote for Tuna

Aug 29 2015


Greg texted me yesterday with important information about participating in a class action settlement.


A class action settlement, friends, and not just any class action settlement, like the one where you can get $20 in deodorant or the one where you can get $3.70 because you used a Talbots credit card. No; compared to this one, those lawsuits are peanuts. Peanuts, I tell you! Because this one is a class action settlement for FREE TUNA. Like, $50 worth of FREE TUNA which everyone knows is TWICE as good as $25 worth of free tuna or FIVE TIMES better than $10 worth of free tuna.

I admit, though, it did strike me as a little strange, given how much Greg and I detest anything that smacks of frivolous litigation, that Greg signed onto this settlement. Until, of course, I realized that free tuna would only cost us our conscience and our scruples. Then I was all, THAT IS TOTALLY A FAIR TRADE.


Now, Greg may not have fully understood the sincerity of my message, mistakenly taking it as sarcasm, so he explained a little more background on the issue.


And Greg was right, of course, because we cannot continue to be placid bystanders while tuna crimes are being committed all around us! When push comes to shove and fractions of tuna ounces are being omitted, we must stand for JUSTICE and THE AMERICAN WAY. And I hate to get into politics too much on this site, but when the tuna manufacturers betray us, I think we can all agree that there’s only one person likely to solve America’s Tuna Woes. “America’s Tuna Woes” being one of the key social issues of our time.


HELL STATE. That is what this country is in. A HELL STATE, friends. It is time to open our eyes to the tuna injustices all around us and to realize that Donald Trump is here to rescue us from our own folly.

In case you’re not sure yet that you’d like to vote for a man who belittles women and minorities, bullies people who question his plans and policies, and has, well, the judgement, restraint and maturity of a pickle, I am here to tell you you are wrong. You are WRONG, friends, and it may be hard to hear, but I have GOOD REASONS.


In conclusion, a vote for Trump is a vote for Tuna.

I mean, probably.

Just thought you’d want to know.






P.S. Now that I’ve had a few minutes to think about it, I wonder if I’ve been a bit hasty in my endorsement of Trump as the most pro-tuna candidate. It belatedly occurs to me that we have not vetted each candidate on his or her tuna policy. However, if we’re basing our judgement on the most fishy of all the candidates, I think we can still make our case.

Dear Teenagers, We Owe You an Apology

Aug 27 2015

Dear Teenagers,

We owe you an apology. We grown-ups, I mean. We owe you an apology, and I’m not sure I can do it justice but it turns out my heart insists I try, so here it is.

Despite the fact that adults have wailed and gnashed their teeth for generations upon generations of raising teens — all WOE IS ME and THE APOCALYPSE IS UPON US and ACK, TEENAGERS —  we who are adults right now, in this time in history, owe you an apology.

We owe you an apology for the articles that fill your online feeds with titles like Teenagers Feel More Entitled Than Ever, and Narcissistic Youth, and America’s Spoiled Adolescents. Because OH MY WORD, those things are everywhere.

Everywhere, right? They’re shared and shared, and they spread like wildfire.

We owe you an apology for buying into the rhetoric that sends you the message that you’re awful.

We owe you an apology for decrying your immaturity before we’ve allowed you time to mature.

We owe you an apology for maligning you in public and in private.

And we especially owe you an apology for the myriad slights and constant belittling and rather epic immature behavior on our own part as we point fingers and drive wedges and break down communication.

We owe you an apology because we’re wrong.

Even those of us who don’t share those articles, who hold teenagers as some of our favorite friends and best role models, who seek to encourage and uplift, owe you an apology for every time we fail to defend you.

Instead of lifting you up, which is our responsibility and should be our privilege, we have let you down with our silence, our pessimism, our fears, and our selective memories about what it was like to try to navigate the world as a newly minted adult.

Here’s the truth: you screw things up, friends. Sometimes ENORMOUSLY. Certainly daily.

And here’s another truth: so do we. Absolutely. HUGELY. And just as often.

Turns out, we are, all of us, a mess, and also magical and magnificent. Incredibly magnificent.

You can be utterly selfish and stunningly selfless. Me, too. We are kind and unkind. Steady and unstable. Courageous and afraid. We are, after all, adults and teens alike, made of the stuff of humans, at once precious and also fallible. Good and bad. Perfect and imperfect. And deeply worthy of love.

Oh, teenage friends, hear this: you are, you are, you are deeply worthy of love. And entitled to it, too. You are ENTITLED to be loved exactly as you are right now.


Now there’s a charged word.

How many times have you heard it? Because I’ve heard it A LOT. “Teens these days are so entitled.”

I want you to know you ARE entitled, and here’s how:

You are entitled to the respect due every human, because you are as human and as divine as the rest of us.
You are entitled to be heard when you voice your opinion, your desires, and your needs.
You are entitled to be cherished exactly as you are.
You are entitled to community and camaraderie and friendship.
You are entitled to make mistakes.
You are entitled to be imperfect.
You are entitled to be treasured despite and even because of your imperfections.
You are entitled to be right.
You are entitled to be wrong.
You are entitled to learn and to grow and to change, and you are entitled to rest when those things become too hard.

You are entitled, teenagers, and you are becoming. Both definitions of “becoming” — 1. absolutely lovely as you already are, and 2. in the process of transformation. You are SO becoming, friends. Both/And. Both already beautiful and also in process. 

So here’s what I want you to do the next time you see one of those shaming articles or hear the comments:

Know that you are not alone.

Know that there are those of us who just don’t buy the disgruntled rhetoric.

Know that you are wonderful and weird and wild, exactly like you’re supposed to be.

Know that you are part of us — the Grand Us; the people who choose to believe in each other. We’re out here. I swear it. We’re out here and we need you.

Look for the encouragers. Look for the ones who have your back.

We are here, we are legion, and we are working at speaking louder so you can hear us over the din.

With love,


The Consequences of Having No Filter

Aug 26 2015

I went to the coffee shop this morning and exchanged my usual banter with the usual baristas as we’ve done off and on for a few years now. We tell jokes. We make off-hand and slightly off-color comments. We laugh too loud because we think we’re funny and we don’t much care if we’re wrong.

This morning, though, after we finished our rowdy chatter, one of the guys asked me what kind of filter I have.

“What kind of filter do you have, anyway?” he said, which I thought was weird because he should know by now that the answer is PRACTICALLY NONE AT ALL. I mean, DUH.

So I said, “I’m really surprised you’d ask me that,” and “I thought we knew each other better than this,” and “I think I’ve done everything in my power to demonstrate my lack of filter, man” and “What did I say, anyway, that makes you ask this NOW? Like, I thought our convo this morning was downright TAME. Geez.”

Which is when he looked at me and started to laugh and said, “You just ordered ground coffee, Beth. I need to know how fine to grind it. What kind of filter does your coffee machine have?”


Mm hm.

Welcome to my world.

On the bright side, after all this time thinking I have no filter at all, it turns out I ACTUALLY DO! Yippee!