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Showing posts from 2017

For 2018: Be More Buoyant

My mom gifted me an hour at a float spa for my birthday. I cashed in on the present this summer. If you’ve never been to a float spa before, it’s a really interesting experience. Considered an ancient mind/body relaxation strategy, modern float tanks or pods use 1,000 or so pounds of Epsom salt in about 10 inches of warm water. While styles of floating vary, most float spas are tubs or pods in an enclosed room with little to no light or outside stimulation. The temperature of the water, combined with the high volume of salt, and lack of stimulation, creates zero gravity weightlessness and the sensation of not knowing where your body ends and the water starts. Sounds pretty cool, right?Before my visit, I wasn't sure what to expect so I read all of the questions on the website FAQ page ahead of time and the spa attendant instructed me upon my arrival. She guided me to a small room where, once alone, I would strip down to nothing, shower off in a small shower, pop in ear plugs, and l…

Holiday Letters- in Two Versions!

I don’t know about you but I love a good holiday letter. Nothing sends me into a tailspin of self doubt and depression like reading the carefully crafted story of the highs and accomplishments of those in my life. As the letters flow in, alongside the photos of the beautiful smiling faces of my loved ones, I curl up under a warm blanket, look out at the bleak, gray winter skies and think: what the fu#k is wrong with me?We are so fortunate, due to modern technological advances, to be able to experience this self doubt an average of 20-50 times per day as we addictively scroll a variety of social media channels. Yet nothing truly confirms our own personal inadequacies like a yearly summary of others’ successes and happiness neatly packed in an 8 1/2 X 11 sheet of paper, folded in thirds and slipped into an envelope alongside a card collage of beach shots, matching sweaters and smiling, happy faces. I, too, have sent along such letters to accompany our smiling happy faces, providing thos…

An Open "PM" to Polly

Hey Polly, it’s me- Melissa. Can I call you Polly? Because I feel like I know you. Do I know you? We’ve been in the same social media circles for many months now.I see from your profile that you went to Cornell. I have a lot of friends that graduated from there. It’s an awesome school. What year did you graduate? I also see that you’re self-employed. I really respect entrepreneurs, particularly female entrepreneurs. What’s your business? Are you a photographer because your Facebook profile picture of Doubleday Field is fantastic.I see that you don’t have any Facebook friends, Polly. I understand that. Are you lonely? It can be really lonely around here. Listen Polly, this election got really nasty but at the end of the day are all neighbors right? Do you want to meet, do you want to talk about it? Haven’t seen you on social media since the election. I totally get where you’re coming from, Polly. It’s been hard for me, too. When you put yourself out there with really strong opinions pe…

He Said. She Said. They Said. Silence.

Don’t run I said.It gets nasty I said.Don’t worry he said.It will be fine he said. I always worry I said.He’s not the best person for the job they said.He’s always late they said.He never goes to meetings they said.This is ridiculous I said.Are you going to put up with this bullshit I said.It’s not a big deal he said.Ignore them he said.I can’t help but call them out I said.Tell Your wife to shut up they said.Keep your wife under control they said.It doesn’t bother me I said.I’ll laugh it off I said.He’s not doing a good job they said.He’s not there for us they said. He supports Osama Bin Laden they said.This isn’t funny I said.Aren’t you pissed I said.Yes, it’s crazy he said.It’ll be ok he said.Don’t trust your “friends” he said.He’s the life lock dentist they said.This is insane I said.This hurts I said.I want this to be over he said.This is politics they said.Grow thicker skin they said.I don't understand why I said.I can’t be silent I said.I can’t stop you he said.I love him I…

The Outsiders

I have lived in small, rural northeastern towns my entire life, except for a few short stints in Boston and California and my six-month study abroad in Costa Rica. As a teenager and young adult, I wanted out of small town life. I had big dreams of joining the Peace Corps or a living in Australia, or basically as far away from home as possible. But somehow those dreams didn’t come true and instead I ended up in another small, northeastern, rural town just a few short hours away from my own hometown.I wish I could say that my geographic dreams changed but that would be a lie. To this day, I still wish I could travel the world and experience cultures very different from my own. However, over time I have grown to appreciate, and find contentment, living in a place not that much different from my home. As an adult, my home is an incredibly special place to me and always will be. When I go there, to visit my parents, I realize that, as a kid, I never appreciated how lucky I was to grow up w…

A Daughter's Life

My kids are amazing. They're finally becoming humans. I can't believe that I created these people and, under my parenting, they're thriving, interesting kids. I know in a few years I'm going to be frustrated about this but right now I'm pretty pumped that they have their own ideas and a mind of their own. Charlotte in particular, who has the gift of gab, a way of putting things, and a really uncanny ability to articulate things unlike most seven years old, entertains me daily. My kids are both definitely what I would call "characters". Since I am weird, I am particularly proud that they are, too.A lot of my parenting time is spent considering ways that we, as a family, can better support Caroline with her life goals. While it is hard, I am at peace with having a child with a disability because it has made me a better person, a stronger person and a more empathetic human being. But I'm an adult and I'm able to reflect on my life experience in a dif…

The Memo

When I was growing up, getting married and having kids were never on my to do list. I had lots of professional aspirations, and dreams of traveling the world, but not once did I think, "Oh, I hope I'll get married and be a mom." Then, it might seem like the perfect Hallmark movie plot: I met the man of my dreams. He was tall, dark (haired) and handsome and was also very charming. And being from the Midwest, he was certainly interested in getting married. As a matter of fact he'd already had marriage conversations with some of his girlfriends before he ever even entered college.At first, we were an odd couple because there I was walking around with my personal copy of the Yellow Wallpaper and my membership card to The National Organization for Women and there he was, a hybrid historian/businessman in training, who was definitely still playing the field, whose his first commitment-related question to me was whether or not, if he bought an apartment building, I would be…

I Love Otsego but I Love Andy More

Growing up, my big brother was your typical older brother. He loved to torture me and his favorite hobby was making me mad or making me cry. He took my own stuff and made me buy it back from him at a yard sale. He put dog crap in my socks and sneakers. He threw spit balls at me, pinched me and never let me win at any games. Despite his daily doses of teasing and displeasing me, I did notice that he wasn't particularly interested in other people making me mad or making me cry. I'm not saying he was ready to fight on my behalf, or ride up on a white horse to protect me, but he was pretty firm in his position as the number one bane of my existence. Despite the fact that he no longer tortures me quite like he used to, our relationship has left a lasting impression on me, long into adulthood. As a self proclaimed arm chair therapist, I take note that I have been trying to work through that relationship for years-with Andy. Poor Andy had no idea that, when we started dating, I'…

The Older Woman

The other night, while changing out of her work clothes, a woman looked in the mirror. Her hair was flattened against the side of her face. Her eye liner, slid from under her lids, resembled a raccoon. Her makeup had long faded, revealing deep creases around the edges of her eyes. The skin on her neck, like the eye liner, looked as though it had slid down her body, little rolls and folds where there used to be tight flesh. The veins on her skin popped up from her hands and feet, uncovering the wear and tear of time. Her naked body exposed years of use, of growing children, of nourishing children, of lifting children, of carrying children. Her breasts, her belly, her thighs and hips all rounder than they once were, all no longer able to fight gravity, their weight heavy on her frame. Her body had stretched and grown and given and been forgotten and neglected and loaned as a tool, as a vehicle, as a mechanism, as a means to an end and that end was giving light to others while she fell …

Socially Acceptable Avoidance Techniques for All

This morning, while in the shower, I heard the door to the other bathroom close and I cringed. At first, I thought it was odd to have such a visceral reaction to something so benign. Then, I realized why the clicking of the door closed bothers me so much. The only person in the house who actually closes the door to the bathroom is Andy and, when Andy closes the door to the bathroom, he doesn't come out for a very long time. Without getting too much into TMI, I know that the important work of the potty takes more time for some than others but NOT. THAT. LONG! After 25 minutes pass, when I can do nothing because asking if he is ok or done is awkward, I start to wonder what exactly is going on behind that door and why being in there for so long takes priority over spending time with his family. But again, it's silly of me to be sad and missing my husband while he is in the bathroom because everybody poops. In addition to time in the bathroom, Andy dedicates much of his time to w…

The Five Stages

We all know that men are from Mars and women are from Venus. We have read books about how to successfully live with someone who's from another planet. Andy, unfortunately for me, is not from Mars nor Venus, but another planet altogether. Sometimes, I find him to be so unique that I'm sure no one else lives on this planet but him. I'm not much of a astronomer but I'm also sure that all the other planets in Andy's solar system do not orbit around the sun but instead his very unique, solitary planet, or, to be scientifically accurate, his own star. The girls and I are on the lightest planet, Planet Family, which orbits the heavy hitter, the heavy weight, the brightest of them all, the star with the strongest gravitational pull- known as Andy's Sun.I'm pretty sure that Andy's Sun thinks it's characteristics mirror the Sun that the Earth orbits -near perfect, most important, responsible for all life. (Interestingly, I learned that the Sun is middle-aged…

For Granted

When we received Caroline's diagnosis, Andy and I decided not to hide the information and instead chose to educate friends and family about her rare genetic condition. We hoped this information would assist others in understanding her better and selfishly, for me, I hoped it would get people off my back about how we parent her. In some cases, our openness about her disability has helped others, or at least it has allowed our community of people the opportunity to ask more questions without feeling rude or embarrassed."Does she take any medication?"Does she attended regular school? Is she in a special education classroom or is she mainstreamed?Will she be able to go to college? What does Charlotte say about her? Will she outgrow it? She doesn't look like she has a disability so how did you know? I'd be lying if I told you that some of these questions haven't bothered me but ignorance is bliss and, when it comes to learning, no question is stupid, even if it co…

Becoming a Gambler

"You've got to know when to hold 'emKnow when to fold 'em Know when to walk awayAnd know when to run -Kenny Rogers Seventeen years ago, my college roommate suggested I run on the track with her as a way to shed unwanted college weight. I could barely run one lap around the track before walking but I continued returning to the track until graduation and then, after college, I took to the streets. I have dedicated several posts to my love of, and history with, the sport of running and my journey to defining myself as a runner. Running has been a constant and consistent piece of my twenties and thirties, a safe space in times of uncertainty and a place for me to channel my energy and goals. I use those words very intentionally: space, place. Running is not a thing, it is an action, but for me the action of running has a physicality beyond my body moving in time and space. Running is tangible; it's impact on my mind is as concrete for me as the way it has shaped my mu…

While You Were...

Many years ago, when we were first married, I was one wink away from passing out on the couch when Andy jokingly told me he wouldn't have married me if he knew how much I slept. I've missed out on a lot of things due to my love for sleep. As a kid, I was up when the sun rose and down with the sun set, so sometimes that meant I was ready for bed as early as 5 o'clock. College is a place for night owls but this didn't change my sleeping habits. While most of my friends were chatting and putting in extra study hours, I was sound asleep in room, even if that meant my roommates and their friends were hanging out with the lights on while I snoozed in my twin bed just a few feet away. I can't say that I ever pulled an all-nighter to finish a paper or project. Being a college student is exhausting, and also a time to make one's own schedule. In addition to going to bed early, I also fit in several daytime naps. I followed a similar pattern in graduate school, althoug…

Joy, Loss, and Pets on Mother's Day

Today is Mother's Day. My social media feed is full of praise for moms everywhere alongside photos of mothers and children. On this day, I too, want to shout out to the roof tops about my own mom, grandmother and mother-in-law: the mother figures in my life who have mentored and shaped me. Like so many of the posts from this blog, I also want to tell you all about my babies and how they have raised me as a mother. Yet on this day, after scanning my social media, I am cautious in doing so. While most posts are celebratory, others are painful and express the grief of a lost mom or a lost child, or the deep hurt and longing that comes with infertility. I am aware that no one in my life is angry or spiteful that my mothers and children are alive. My friends share in my joy and my story as a mom and daughter, but I know this particular day stings for so many. As a witness and friend to those who have lost a mother or a child, I see that it is a deep and lasting struggle with grief and…

On Being Mean

I didn't go to Montessori pre-school or Waldorf pre-school. I didn't go to Head Start. My early childhood training was very special. I like to call it the School of Ma and Moe. My mom (Moe) and her mom (Ma) were very close, both emotionally and in proximity. Growing up, we lived two houses away from my grandmother and I joined my mother at Ma's house every morning and evening. My mom was one of many visitors to Ma's house at these times of day, as folks dropped by for coffee and a donut and some rambunctious conversation. Whilst the adults smoked and swore, I sat next to them at the kitchen table, sipped my tea, munched my donut and colored. Every once in a while, another child might drop in, towed along by one of the other adult visitors, but often it was just me, a little gnome surrounded by big people who rarely noticed I was there. (Which, in those days was a good thing as children were to be seen and not heard.) While I colored and munched, I was always listening…