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The Multi-Generational Vacation

About five years ago I started going on long weekend vacations with my mom. We went to Florida a few times and enjoyed some fun in the sun and much needed time away from the kids. However, as is typical with me, I felt guilty about leaving the girls behind and enjoying myself without them. So I asked my mom if she was ok with bringing them along on our vacations and, for the last three years, we’ve been taking a girls' beach trip. I am fortunate that my mom spends quite a lot of time with us throughout the year and has even started taking the girls for me during break weeks now that she has retired. They are really comfortable with her and it she doesn't seem to mind doing some occasional parenting for me. While we spend time at one another's houses, I really look forward to this trip more than any other trip every year because I get to spend time with my mom, I get to watch her spend time with my kids, and we always go to the ocean which is a place Andy never wants to go.…
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Between Two Car Doors

When I was in elementary school I started having some breathing issues. In the evening, after the day's activities, I would start to feel tightness in my chest and shortness of breath. After telling my mom about this, after weeks if not months, she decided to take me to the doctor. After the doctor did a few tests, that all came back negative, he concluded I didn’t have any serious problems like asthma or a heart condition. He told my mom that it was probably some type of anxiety and that, after a busy day, I would settle down in the evening and start to worry about what it happened that day and what was going to happen the next day.Of course, this was a different time in our world. First of all, it was big that my mom even took me to the doctor because, back in the day, people didn’t run to the clinic for every sore throat, rash, or for tummy ache. Second of all, this was also a time when, if something wasn’t physically wrong with you, like blood gushing from your leg or somethin…

Four Eyes

My parents' living room was a rectangle and back in the day, before flat screens, our very square television was a solid 15 feet from the couch. They had a sweet La-Z-Boy positioned just a few feet from the TV but unfortunately, as an eight-year-old, I was never given permission to sit there. We didn’t have cable, and there was nothing to watch outside of Saturday morning cartoons, which I always enjoyed at my grandmother's house while I vacuumed and dusted her living room for her for a dollar and a doughnut. However, on summer evenings my parents would always watch a movie at exactly 8 PM. My dad would trek down to the local video store and pick the latest and greatest new release for us to watch as a family. I would gather a few pillows and a blanket and position myself alongside the La-Z-Boy. This spot in the living room enabled me to be an arm’s-length from my mom and the television. I thought the reason why I had to sit so close place because the TV was so small and so …

The Perennial

Turning 40 is hitting me like a ton of bricks. I’m talking somebody standing at the top of the Empire State building with a wheelbarrow of bricks that they throw on top of me as I stand on the street. Every brick that catapults toward me has a different message: Your hair is getting gray. Your eyebrows are thinning. The skin on your neck and elbows is getting soft. Your hands are wrinkly. Your midsection is getting softer and rounder. You wear progressive glasses. You wake up and go to bed really early. You talk about things like vitamins and retirement. Your back hurts when you get out of bed and when you stand too long or when you sit too long. You think about taking Metamucil or Fiber One to keep you regular. You have one glass of wine and feel hung over the next day. Your kids talk about buying bras and getting their period. You should have stood up straight as a kid because now your neck and back are stuck in this awkward, turtle-like position, and it's painful. You talk abo…

Work Family

Did you know that you spend around 90,360 hours at work during your lifetime? I usually only write about my job in the most vague terms but work is, and always has been, a really important and vital part of my life. A hundred years ago, when I left my first professional job, I remember it felt like somebody died. At the time, Andy, who, shockingly wasn't in touch with my emotions, asked me why I was felt this way. I told him I was so upset because I felt like I was leaving my family. I can still remember, clear as day, when I gave my resignation. I had just taken a ride in the Oscar Meyer wiener hot dog mobile (Yeah I know I had an awesome job) and I felt incredibly sick to my stomach. I went home that night and cried like somebody died. I remember Andy asking me why I was so upset and I wasn’t sure how to articulate it. Looking back now I better understand why I had such a visceral reaction to leaving my employer. I think part of it was because it was my first real job. I think …

From I'm Not Worthy! to Treat. Yo.Self.

A couple of years ago, I found myself in a Joanne Fabrics. It was one of those rare occasions when I had several hours to myself and I was in the vicinity of a shopping plaza. For me, I find it cathartic to push a cart up and down the aisles of a craft store like Joanne Fabrics or, I’m ashamed to admit, Hobby Lobby. I feel, in those moments, that I’m surrounded by possibility. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll feel a little bit happier in life if I buy that wooden sign that says DREAM in cursive lettering. I know I’d be a better person if I just finally learned to sew. I would truly be happy in life if I repainted every room in white, got all white furniture, and bought all of the those glass jars and votives down there in aisle 7 and put them on my fireplace mantle. In these moments, I feel possibility, innovation and the opportunity to reinvent myself through consumerism and home decor.On this particular day, a few years ago, reinvention was at my fingertips. I was holding one of those reusa…

Dear Charlotte on Your Birthday

Dear Charlotte, It’s hard to believe that eight years ago you were born. I’ll never forget that day. I’m sure eight years feels like a really long time but it feels like a blink of an eye for me. I write this letter to you today knowing that you won’t read it, at least not anytime soon.I wanted to write to you to say that I am sorry.When I first found out that Caroline had a disability, I read a lot of articles online written by parents and experts. I distinctly remember one of the articles recommending that parents of a child with a disability should have another child. That may seem a little crass to some people, but I understood what the author meant. Of course, when I had you I was just beginning to feel something in my gut that told me that something was going on with Caro. The timing wasn’t great because I had no idea what hit me by having a toddler and an infant ,let alone a toddler with behavior problems and an infant. Your first days and years on this planet were equally beau…