Dear Parents, Sometimes You Are NOT Crazy

Apr 21 2015

Dear Parents,

I’m going to hit you with some new news here, and it may be shocking, so brace yourselves.

Ready?

Here we go.

Sometimes you are NOT crazy.

Now, I know. I know. Believe me, I know. We parents are crazy most of the time. We are out of our ever-loving minds, in fact. And I’ve written about being crazy here and here and here and here and here, into infinity. We are NUTS, and I’m not denying it. I’m really not.

It’s just that…

Sometimes you are NOT crazy.

Even when your kids look at you like you’ve lost it again. Even when they really sell it with shocked faces and looks of bewilderment and crocodile tears spilling down their sweet rosy cheeks. Even when they look utterly confused by your behavior and choices and the things you are telling them, I just want you to consider… 

Sometimes you are NOT crazy.

Sure, MOST LIKELY you’re totally off your rocker, but — and I need you to really hear me here — MOSTLY LIKELY does not mean Always, friends. It just doesn’t.

For example, hypothetically speaking, let’s say your kid gets jock itch or a yeast infection.

These things happen to the best of us. 

Yes; let’s say your kid gets jock itch or a yeast infection and you hand that kid some appropriate topical medicine with this instruction, “Take this into the bathroom. Apply a small amount to the itchy bits.”

And the kid says, “To my privates?”

And you say, “Yes. To your privates.”

And the kid says, “By myself?”

And you say, “YES, by yourself.”

And the kid says, “Can’t you do it?”

And you say, “No. No. NO.”

You know, because not touching your teenage kid’s private parts seems like a Good Idea. Distinctly NOT crazy, right? Can I get an AMEN here?

But let’s say said kid becomes sad at going to the bathroom by him/herself.

Let’s say said kid asks you again and again to apply it, instead.

Let’s say YOU’RE NOT CRAZY so you say no repeatedly. Also HELL, NO a lot of times in your brain but not out loud because you don’t want your kid to feel bad and you once made the mistake of telling your kid he or she could ask you anything — anything at all — and it feels like the wrong time to explain that you didn’t actually mean it. You didn’t fully consider all the questions he or she may ask when you made that ill-advised promise.

So let’s say your kid asks you to apply the medicine to his or her privates and you say NO, and then the kid becomes inconsolable. Desolate. As though he or she truly Cannot Believe you would abandon him or her in an hour of desperate need. As though you have done the equivalent of asking that child to walk across burning coals. As though you have done the equivalent of asking that child to walk across burning coals and slide down razor blades into a lake of boiling oil.

Such is this child’s misery.

Well, let me just say, hypothetically again, YOU MAY BEGIN TO QUESTION YOURSELF at this point. You may wonder if you’re getting this one wrong. If your child is very, very, very gifted at this kind of thing, like my friend Meghan’s daughter (about whom Meghan writes, “I’ve never known anyone who could turn things around on me so fast. She could punch me in the face, and I’d end up feeling guilty for making her “feel like a bad person” when I said “ow”), YOU MAY START TO BELIEVE YOUR CHILD HAS A POINT, and you may actually consider acquiescing to his or her demands.

Well, here’s a word of advice: STOP IT. 

Consider — against overwhelming cumulative past evidence, perhaps — consider the idea that SOMETIMES YOU ARE NOT CRAZY, and sometimes the child does NOT have a point, and ALWAYS it’s OK not to apply jock itch/yeast infection medicine to your adolescent child yourself

OK?

OK.

I’m glad we had this little chat.

In conclusion, sometimes you are NOT crazy, and also I had a very weird day.

Sincerely yours,

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At First I Thought Japan Was Against Having Clean Balls. Now I Don’t Know What to Think.

Apr 20 2015

Abby and I traveled safely to and from Japan, despite flinging ourselves across the Pacific Ocean – TWICE – in a tin can suspended 30,000 feet above the Earth, which feels a lot like a miracle.

Abby and I LOVED Japan. We did. We had a blast doing all the Usual Tourist Things.

We went to the Fish Market on a bicycle tour.

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We did yoga in the rain. 

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We did identical dance poses. 

IMG_3094(I’m the one on the right.)

It all worked out really well because the Japanese are into conformity and not making public spectacles out of themselves, so we fit in perfectly.

But our very best thing — the thing at which we excelled greatly — was Going Potty.

In fact, we liked going potty so much, we went every day while we were in Japan. Sometimes more than once.

Going Potty is, of course, the Very Best Tourist Thing of All because pottying teaches us a lot about other cultures and adaptation and, well, it can’t be avoided, so it’s really the place where we MUST assimilate, you know? It’s the place we wholeheartedly strive to become quickly proficient. After all, no one wants to return from an international trip and say, “Yeah. Japan was good, but you know what I never got the hang of? Relieving myself.” 

We learned A LOT about Japanese culture from the potties.

For example, Japan is a very technologically advanced culture, and their potties reflect that.

We’ve been introduced to warm potties and gadgety potties and potties that sense your weight before warming the water for the built-in bidet.

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 And speaking of bidets, there are OPTIONS for those, folks.

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 Of course, you’ve got your usual bottom-washing bidet (which is what “shower” means, FYI (you only make that mistake once)), and, for the ladies, a special lady-bits bidet.

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 A whole separate bidet for lady parts!

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 It made me happy to see it, I’ve gotta say, until I started wondering where the bidet is for the boy bits.

I mean, sure; boys can wash their bottoms like the girls, but say they want to clean their boy parts. They’re out of luck. There’s no bidet for those. NONE. NO boy-washing options at all, which, given the number of other options available seems like either a gross oversight or… and I hate to go here, but I feel I must… deliberate. 

I mean, in a culture that is rampantly detail-oriented and extremely precise, I can’t imagine they simply forgot the boys.

In conclusion, I’m not sure why Japan is against men washing their balls, but the evidence is pretty conclusive.

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P.S. Given the anti-balls potties all over Tokyo, I figured Japan must be very discriminatory when it comes to gender, but then I saw this bathroom sign…

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…which doesn’t split up potty-users by gender at all, instead dividing toilet-goers by People Who Are Shaped Like Bells and People Who Are Shaped Like Suitcases, which, on the one hand feels very progressive, allowing any gender to use either water closet, but on the other hand feels pretty judgmental. “HEY, YOU! YOU RESEMBLE LUGGAGE. GET OUT OF THE BELL RESTROOM, STAT.”

Now I don’t know what to think. 

P.P.S. I know, like all Americans, I’m particularly gifted at correctly interpreting other cultures and not seeing them through the lens of my own bias, but if you have any other interpretations to share, I’m willing to hear you out. 

P.P.P.S. Sometimes I wonder why I don’t fit in well with other Christian bloggers. Then I write about whether Japan does or does not support clean balls, and I don’t wonder as much anymore. #LifeIsAMystery #AndThenItIsnt 

Proof America No Longer Leads the World in Innovation

Apr 19 2015

Dear America,

This is a Spaghetti Sandwich.

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It’s an enriched, bleached, white wheat roll stuffed with spaghetti noodles and red sauce; simple carbohydrates wrapped in simple carbohydrates, and, I think we can all agree, nutritionally deficient GENIUS. 

GENIUS, I tell you.

You would think this kind of innovation came from America.

It’s our legacy.

It’s in our collective blood.

Crap food + crap food. Like deep fried Oreos. And Every Single Thing at the Cheesecake Factory. Delectable. Deadly. Delicious.

Yes, you would think this kind of innovation came from America, but you would be wrong.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Spaghetti Sandwich is a product of Japan.

JAPAN.

Land of electronic wizardry and bullet trains. 

Land where 90% of the population belongs to the middle class.

Land of prosperity.

Listen; I don’t want to be an alarmist here, folks, but when Japan is not only leading the world in technological advances and economic success — when Japan is taking over the world of delectable anti-nutrition — we ought to wake up from our Doritos- and Twinkies-induced stupors and take notice. THIS IS OUR TERRITORY, America! Our domain! And Japan is STEALING it from us. 

First, we let the Canadians invent poutine right under our noses, AND NOW THIS. 

COME ON, AMERICA. 

We can do better. We can BE better.

Ethnocentricly Yours, 

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P.S. Lest I leave you on a sour note, let me also say All Is Not Lost. Not yet, friends. Via Starbucks, an American original, we are infiltrating the Japanese sandwich empire with inventions of our own…

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…like the Banana and Bacon Sandwich. Granted, bananas are full of potassium, and fail to turn immediately to fat in our bodies like spaghetti and white bread, but we’re on the right track by adding bacon. We have a long way to go, I’ll grant you, but, led by Starbucks, we have not totally conceded the fight. 

In other words, Carry On, Warriors. Carry on.

The Worst Way to Wake Up

Apr 14 2015

I have woken up over the years to all kinds of sights and sounds, friends.

I have woken up to spread butt cheeks and an anus inches from my nose. “MOM! My butthole hurts REALLY BAD. Do I have a rash?”

I have woken up with a dog on my face.

I have woken up to the smoke alarm when a teenager put cookies in the oven and then went to a movie and forgot.

I have woken up to projectile vomit projecting onto me.

I have woken up after someone else has peed my bed.

I have woken up to a preschool penis and its proud owner. “CHECK THIS THING OUT, MOM. It is hard and HUGE. Isn’t it, Mom? Isn’t it hard and HUGE? It did that all by hisself, Mom, while I was sleeping! And when I push it down – WATCH, Mom, WATCH – it springs back up. ALL BY HISSELF, Mom. I sure like this thing. Do you feel sad you don’t have a penis, Mom? Mom? Mom, why is your pillow over your head? Mom? MOM? CAN YOU HEAR ME, MOM? I AM TALKING TO YOU ABOUT MY PENIS, MOM.”

I have, in other words, awakened to all kinds of terror over the years, but nothing quite compares to the sudden gasp and instant something-is-wrong – SOMETHING IS REALLY, REALLY WRONG — middle-of-the-night awakening. It’s sound sleep to FULL GO in 0.6 seconds. Terror. True, deep, abiding dread. And it doesn’t matter that the rational person who lives in my brain is saying, “It’s nothing. It’s probably just a dream you can’t remember,” I get up anyway to make sure the children are still breathing. I get up anyway, even though my husband always sides with Rational Brain. I get up anyway because I know – I KNOW – Rational Brain and Husband are Incredibly Stupid and Not To Be Trusted in the middle of the night. They know NOTHING. NOTHING, I tell you, and so I make the rounds, just to be sure, and, when all’s well again (only because I checked, of course; if I hadn’t checked, something would’ve been wrong), and Rational Brain and Husband say, “I told you so,” I do NOT punch them in the throat because a) I am a paragon of virtue, and b) being punched in the throat is only temporary suffering and they deserve much, much worse.

The other night, I woke up that way. Sudden gasp. Sound sleep to FULL GO. Deep, abiding dread.

So I rose from my bed, as I do in these circumstances, to check on my children.

I rounded the bed and made for the door, feeling my way, mostly, but also aided by the tiniest sliver of moonlight seeping through the window.

My heart thumped in complete fight-or-flight panic mode, and Mama Heart overrode Rational Brain. “If there is an intruder in this house, I WILL BRAIN THAT F*CKER,” I thought. Mama Heart doesn’t always use her nice words, and sometimes she forgets she’s married to a nice Christian pacifist. Also, Mama Heart’s not the one you want against you in a knife fight because SHE WILL CUT YOU.

Heart thumping, I quietly slid my feet along the floor, careful to push Legos and discarded kid undies out of my way before planting my feet because I AM EXPERIENCED, and I know what I’m doing, and I passed the dog crate which has stood empty for months now that the dog has graduated to sleeping on the kids’ faces.

I passed the dog crate, and I glanced down at it as I passed.

IMG_2922I glanced down at it as I passed, and it was not empty.

I glanced down at it as I passed, and it was not empty like it should be.

There were EYEBALLS in there, looking at me.

Eyeballs that did not belong to a dog or to a child, which I briefly considered, because, let’s be honest, I wouldn’t put it past my nutjobs to sneak into my room in the middle of the night, curl up in the dog crate, and FREAK ME THE HELL OUT.

But no.

There were eyeballs that did not belong to a dog or to a child, and THEY WERE WIDE OPEN LOOKING AT ME.

They were wide open looking at me, and they belonged to something – some Chucky-like, non-living, but TOTALLY ALIVE AND MENACING thing – trapped in the dog crate.

Here’s what happened next:

I screamed inside my brain, high and LONG, I backed away from the dog crate, I scrambled backwards into my bed, I pulled all the covers over my head, and I hoped we weren’t all about to be slaughtered in our sleep by that thing.

I did not check on my children.

I did not make sure anyone was breathing.

I did not Fight.

Nope; I Flew.

Turns out, when Fight or Flight are my options, I’m a flyer, y’all. A gigantic freaked out bird hightailing it out of the danger zome.

GOOD GRIEF.

Mama Heart talks big, friends. She’s a braggy bragger who brags, and she swears like a sailor while she does it, but when Rational Brain yelled, “RUN! EVERY WOMAN FOR HERSELF. GO, GO, GO! SAVE YOURSELF,” she was all, “Yep! You betcha. I’ll just be right here in my bed under my titanium covers where huge, Chucky-like, middle-of-the-night eyeballs can’t get me. You go ahead and take the children, Eyeballs. Do what you gotta do.”

And then, because I always put my children’s welfare above my own, I went back to sleep. I mean, I felt guilty, but I went back to sleep.

In the morning I discovered this:

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Tickle Me Elmo, whom I have always despised, mocking me from the dog crate.

I have known for a long time that Tickle Me Elmo is evil.

Now I have proof.

Unfortunately, I also have proof I’m a pansy who will scream and run and save herself.

Let’s just keep that last bit to ourselves, though, OK? No reason to tell the kids.

With love (and no dignity left at all),

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25 Signs the Mombie Apocalypse Is Upon Us

Apr 13 2015

Listen; I know we don’t want to believe it. I know we’re in denial. I know we like to think it’s not that bad. But, friends. FRIENDS. I think we need to face reality, take some deep breaths and acknowledge the Mombie Apocalypse is upon us. 

Now, I’ve written about being a Mombie before. Like when trying to answer questions which were once straightforward. Once obvious. Once easy. Questions like How are you? and Do you want a receipt? and What’s for dinner? and Are you finished in the bathroom?

SOMETIMES I DON’T KNOW.

I’m not trying to avoid the questions; I just honestly have no idea. None. 

But I admit I hadn’t realized how far spread the Mombie epidemic has become. How many of us are affected. How deeply rooted in society Mombism now is. Not until you started sharing, momrades. Not until you confessed did I realize WE MUST LET THE WORLD KNOW. Not to eradicate Mombism, of course, because HAHAHAHAHA… good luck with that… but to let our fellow momrades know WE DO NOT SUFFER ALONE. No. There are thousands of us out here, bumbling along, longing for brains.

In case, you, like me, would appreciate some hard evidence, here are:

25 Signs the Mombie Apocalypse Is Upon Us

1. We don’t know how to check out at the store. “Target is the worst… I usually end up standing there like the now extinct Do do Bird, looking at the cashier waiting for the receipt….while she’s waiting for me to answer the machine this MIND BOGGLING question, ‘Do you want it all on one card?’ YES, DAGNABBIT, Just let me Mother Flipping check out.” Bethany

“I have actually yelled at that swiper thing at Target. “OH MY GOD YES I WANT IT ALL ON THE EFFING CARD WHY DO YOU THINK I JUST SWIPED IT CASH BACK ARE YOU KIDDING ME WHEN WILL THIS INTERROGATION END?!”” Kimberly

2. We don’t know how to shave our legs. “Standing in the shower holding the razor, thinking “which leg did I already shave….either? Right? Left? Neither? Both?” Eyes not focused enough to see which had a week’s worth of stubble….finally after about five minutes of stupidly standing there, it occurred to me that I could probably feel them to tell the difference.” Cher

3. We don’t know where we put our cell phones. “I have wandered my home or driving my car, talking on my cell phone while simultaneously looking for my cell phone.” Laura

4. We don’t know when our children were born. “The lady on reception at my doctor’s surgery thinks I am a terrible mother because I couldn’t answer this simple question: What’s your daughter’s date of birth? It took 10 minutes to established which daughter we were discussing and work out which month goes with which date.” Gemma

5. We don’t know our children’s names. “My oldest son is Robbie and my husband is Frank. Do you think I can get them straight??? The other three sons have J names. Really, who thought this was a good idea?? I can usually get my daughter’s name right, but there are times even she gets called by the wrong name. Let’s face it, I gave my brain away.” Cindy

“I’ve been known to address my children as “whoever you are” when, having gone through all 4 names, I still can’t get the correct name out.” Manic Mama

6. We buy things and don’t take them home. “When I was pregnant, I went to the supermarket to do a big weekly shop. On my way out, I returned the trolley and took my token, walked to the car and had the sense that something was amiss. Face bright red, I walked back in and reinserted the trolley token so that I could this time take out my bags of groceries before driving home.”

7. We forget where we put the baby. “Days after I had my second son I was (stupidly) attempting to leave the house for a friend’s son’s birthday party. After probably hours of preparation to leave, I was locking the door to our house when I was struck with panic: I forgot the baby! I remember saying out loud, “Oh my god, where’s the baby?!” My 7 year old son looked at me like I was nuts and calmly said, “He’s right there”. I was carrying my newborn in my other arm.” Summer

8. We’re not sure where the dirty diapers go. “I find myself standing in front of the diaper pail, holding the baby in one arm and a dirty diaper in my other hand, and think to myself, “Okay, now slow down. This is not like putting the milk in the pantry instead of the fridge, it’s important to get this one right on the first try.”” Vanessa

9. We can’t remember where we put the steering wheel. “When I was pregnant, I visited my husband at work, then went out to the car to go home. I opened the door and stood there wondering where the steering wheel had gone. Then, I had a chuckle at myself and walked around to the other side of the car and opened the door. Now I was stumped, there was no steering wheel on that side either. Then I realised, the steering wheel was on the other side of the car and I had opened the BACK door instead of the front.” Lisa

10. We can’t understand questions, much less answer them. “A couple of months ago, after buying groceries at the local produce store, the cashier asked “Do you want a copy?” obviously referring to the receipt. Obvious except to my sleep-deprived brain. I asked him to repeat what he said because I thought he asked, “Do you want a coffee?” Even the second time he said it, that’s what I heard. I was so confused…Why is he offering me coffee right now? I don’t drink coffee, but I don’t want to insult him. Is he asking me out for coffee, and if so, WHY, because my husband and kids and I go to that store all the time and have had several conversations with this man, who seems to be married to one of the other people who works there! I stammered and blushed and made some unintelligible sounds until he took mercy on me, pointed to the receipt machine and carefully enunciated every word, “Do you want a copy of your receipt?” Ah, right.” Andrea

11. We can’t remember which way the Letter S goes. “The other day, I couldn’t remember which way the letter “S” goes. I wasn’t writing it, just thinking about it, not sure why it was on my mind, then I started to panic – I’ve been writing S for like 35 years.” Kelly

12. We don’t know if the kids took a nap. Stop asking stupid questions. “Last night my husband asked me if the twins took a nap. I said firmly, no. WAIT! Yes. WAIT!! No? YES! He looked at me like I was insane.” Robin

13. We go to appointments we’ve already gone to. “Yesterday (Tuesday), I took the bus from work to a physiotherapy appointment, only the appointment was LAST Tuesday. Yes, I went to the appointment last Tuesday, too.” Gaylin

14. We make teeny, tiny messes. “Last night, I put the ice cream in the pantry instead of the freezer. It was quite a surprise this morning. And gross.” Tiffany

15. We can’t remember how to drive our kids to the schools they’ve been going to for years. “I drive my kids to school EVERY DAY. First the middle schooler and 45 minutes later the 3 elementary schoolers. We have had this routine for Two YEARS. My 13 yo now has on an endless loop as we come to the stoplight to leave our neighborhood “left turn mom; drivers side; we are going left to the middle school; no mom the other way; left turn mom” because otherwise automatic pilot kicks in and I turn right to drive to the elementary school.” Katrina

16. We have to make in-depth assessments and risk management plans before we can complete critical tasks like peeing. “Often when I sit down to pee, I assess everything. “OK, the toilet seat is up. My pants are down,” etc., because my brain is so destroyed that peeing just feels wrong and I’m positive I’ve missed a crucial step in the urination process and I’m about to feel warmth in my pants or pooling at my feet.” Ashley

17. We need a little help from our friends. “We just bought some chickens and I’ve been reading up on them. I couldn’t for the life of me work out what a “roo” was – I’m sitting there thinking, it’s not a kangaroo; what the heck does this word mean? Eventually, I asked a friend, and he looked at me and very slowly said…ROOster. Seriously, I have two university degrees.” Sim

18. We can’t get dressed without assistance. “I went to church with my dress unzipped. Not just a little bit and I may it through a very welcoming crowd that way before someone I didn’t know pressed herself up against me to zip it. We’re totally friends now.” Heather

19. We never forget a face. “I USED to pride myself on never forgetting a face. Once I birthed that second baby though, my memory just flushed itself. I am constantly seeing people and thinking, “how the “h” do I know them?” I spend long periods of time staring at their faces trying to remember. When my kids were much smaller we took them to a children’s museum in the Los Angeles area. This man, who I kept seeing at every turn, was SO familiar, but I couldn’t place how I knew him. We kept making eye contact and I knew he was thinking the same thing. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore and I asked him, “Have we met before?” and he replied (with a nervous little laugh), “uh, I don’t think so.” My husband grabbed my elbow, steering me away and whispering, “That’s Brendan Frasier!” Ugh.” Anjanette 

20. We really need people to direct traffic and not rely on our brains. “I’m ok when a traffic light doesn’t change. If it is red, I’ll stop (especially if people are already stopped). If it is green, I’ll go. But if I am driving toward a light and it CHANGES?? I am flummoxed. I really have to think hard which color tells me what.” Em

“How about the times when you stop for a red light, then go as if it’s a stop sign and it’s your turn? Or slow down for a green light? That one gets me a lot.” Margaret

“YES! The green light slow down. And the more I do it the more I keep doing it. It’s like my brain has altered the meaning of green.” Laurie

“Or when you stop at a stop sign and wait for the light to turn green, and all the other cars pile up waiting for you to go, but the light (that you can see down the street half a block) is still red, so you don’t go until people start honking and you realize… oh, right. Stop sign.” Betty

21. We forget to bathe. Or we bathe extra well. “I’ve spent many mornings in the shower doing this, “Did I forget to wash my hair? I think I did. I better wash it to be sure. Wait, I remember doing this 5 minutes ago. Crap! Now I’m going to be late for work because I just washed my hair AGAIN!” At least my hair is really clean.” Laurie

“YES. I do this ALL THE TIME. Get in the shower, shampoo hair, forget I shampooed, shampoo again, ask myself: “WAIT. Did I shampoo yet?”, think about it for a while, shampoo again just in case, reach for the conditioner, PAUSE, “Did I shampoo? I think I’ve been in here for awhile. I must have.” Then I repeat the whole process with the conditioner. I have the cleanest hair EVER.” Nita

22. Those gadgets that unlock things… suck. “I recently tried fervently to unlock the front door of my house using the remote car unlock button do-hickey. I couldn’t understand why the darn door wasn’t unlocking. Took me several clicks to figure it out.” EConnell

23. We’re not sure how sunscreen works. “Yesterday, my brain shut down beyond questions. I forgot to put sunscreen on my (super white red haired) daughter and we were outside ALL DAY. Finally, around 5ish, I looked at her and thought, “pink”. And I couldn’t figure out why I would be thinking about “pink” and it took way too long to realize that I was thinking “pink” because that was the color of her cheeks and her arms. And then I realized I had forgotten sunscreen. And then I tried to remember if I could put sunscreen on her right then to “reverse” all the sun she had soaked up that had turned her so pink. I literally could not remember if that was how sunscreen worked or not.” Angie

24. We say cucumber and mean excuse me. OBVIOUSLY. “In the grocery store I wanted to say “excuse me” to a woman as I passed her but I said, “Cucumber,” instead. (I was thinking of cucumbers!)” Hillary

25. Hedgehogs are just completely confusing. “I had to actually think whether a hedgehog has four or six legs.” Outi

In conclusion, momrades, it’s OK. YOU’RE OK. Technically, yes, you’re operating without a brain. And sure, there’s probably no cure other than weeks and weeks of regular sleep, which we’re unlikely to get. Neverthless, YOU ARE NOT ALONE, momrades. You are not alone, bumbling around here. You are not alone. We are right here with you, sitting in the mud, holding hands, and waving to you in the dark

X’s and O’s, friends. X’s and O’s.

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In Case You Missed Sibling Day

Apr 11 2015

Yesterday was Sibling Day.

If you were on Facebook, I’m sure you noticed.

Your Facebook feed probably looked like mine, with pictures like this one:

Becca

And this one:

Joelle

And this one:

Monica

And this one:

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And this one:

Sarah

And this one, which is my favorite, because it’s my friend, Mike, with his brother, Shane, and,…

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…as Mike wrote, “Shane lives with autism, and I live as his little brother. Shane uses the Bert and Ernie puppets to express emotions he can’t express on is own. So of course they were invited to our wedding. They wore bow ties.”

Which is RAD.

But just in case you’re like me and you didn’t look at Facebook ’til late at night which is when you went, “SHOOT!” and “CRAP!” and “I MISSED ANOTHER IMPORTANT FACEBOOK DAY!” like that time you missed International Women’s Day and, even worse, the time you missed National Doughnut Day, I want you to know It’s Not Too Late.

It’s NEVER too late to participate in important occasions

All you have to do is this: figure out what the spirit of the holiday is — the real, TRUE meaning behind the day — and do something that honors the intent that underpins it all.

For International Women’s Day? Honor an important woman in your life.

For National Doughnut Day? Eat the heck out of fried, sugary dough.

And for Sibling Day? Take a minute to tell your sibling you haven’t forgotten him. 

Like I did for my brother.

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“How come you didn’t post a cute picture of me with you for Siblings Day, Jeff? You’re a jerk.”

Which is TOTALLY as sweet as what Mike did for his, and is, I’m sure we can all agree, completely in keeping with the spirit of Siblings Day.

Happy Belated Siblings Day, everyone.

In conclusion, don’t wait another day to tell your brother he’s a jerk. I’m sure it’s what Jesus would want you to do. (Or Jesus wants you to be like Mike. Whatever, Jesus.)

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How to ReLent

Apr 10 2015

I wrote to you a few days ago about ReLent, which, OBVIOUSLY, means “to Lent again,” or, in other words, is Lent for those of us who missed it the first time. 

Lent for procrastinators. 

Lent for the wildly busy.

Lent for the forgetful.

Lent for the chronically behind. 

ReLent: It’s like Lent, but with grace for imperfection.

Lent for People Who Need Second Chances.

Sometimes I wish you could spend time in my brain so you could see how substantially you impact me, how much you change me, the ways you encourage me, and why I insist you’re my real life friends even if we’ve never met in the flesh. After all, we’ve met heart-to-heart, and that’s more important anyway. Of course, there are other times I think about Clark, my right armpit skin tag, and then I’m glad you don’t have to spend time in my brain. Really; it’s mostly a win for you.

Still I’ve spent time this week thinking about ReLent after reading your comments and emails, and I have a few things to say to us, heart-to-heart. Friend to friend. 

In that original missive about ReLent, I suggested a path forward, in three steps. 

1. We will take the next 23 days — until the end of April — to celebrate ReLent. Yes, I know Lent is 40 days, but that is LENT. This is RELENT for the wildly busy, and we are not going to string this out. THIS IS OUR GIFT TO US. Twenty-three days. Can we build it? YES, WE CAN.

2. We shall answer three critical questions:

  • What is actually relevant to you and what drives you?
  • What entangles you or distracts you from what’s relevant?
  • What is one entanglement you will release — for 23 days?

3. We will work in concert with Love to refill our souls. I mean – we will really LISTEN to Love loving us, and we will be open to receiving that.

But some of you got stuck on Step 2. 

Which DUH — I should’ve known. Because I forgot to mention that Step 2 is practically impossible and is more a set of questions for, oh, say, A LIFETIME. 

MamaJedi wrote, “What drives me? EVERYTHING! Everything either drives me crazy or drives me to distraction. I have gotten so lost in this that I have no idea what inspires (breathes life) into me.” 

And, man, do I hear that to my toes. 

There have been times in my life when I was so busy sinkingso desperately trying to stay afloat — that questions like “what is actually relevant to you and what drives you” would have been wholly laughable. My answers would have been “YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME, MAN” or “BREATHING. BREATHING IS RELEVANT TO ME, BUT I DON’T GET TO DO THAT RIGHT NOW BECAUSE I AM DROWNING, SO STOP IT WITH YOUR EXISTENTIAL QUESTIONS, LADY.” 

True truth.

Those would’ve been my answers.

And I would have been right to give them.

So I want to make a suggestion for those of you who tripped over Step 2. A stumbling block if I ever saw one. 

REMOVE IT.

I mean, just shove it aside if it doesn’t work for you.

Step 3 is the important step anyway. I mean, Step 2 is good. And I do think those questions are critical — you know, eventually. Someday.

But Step 3?

Step 3 is Where It’s At.

Step 3 is Gold.

Because Step 3 is where we learn to listen to Love loving us. Love, which is God’s other name, you know. 

Step 3 is where we begin to imagine it’s possible to even be lovable.

Step 3 is the place we quiet the constant criticism of ourselves long enough to wait on the Still, Small Voice who whispers that we’re made in the very image of the Divine and that Love and Light long to embrace us.

Step 3 is where the deepest truths I know — that we are not alone in the dark; that dawn is coming and is, in fact, already on its way; that we are, all of us, created to be worthy and treasured — stand a chance of being heard.

So if you have to abandon Step 2 in order to ReLent with us, please do, friends.

Kick Step 2 to the curb.

Do things out of order.

Break the rules.

But don’t let go of Step 3, friends. 

This is how to ReLent: Work in concert with Love. Let Love refill your soul.

Love’s waiting. I swear it. Love is, in fact, already here.

I’m sending you love tonight, too, friends. And waving in the dark.

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