Everything is Better with Mayonnaise

“Who can tell me who sings this song?”

We were in the car the other day, and my husband was taking care of one of the most sacred of all parental duties: ensuring our children receive a foundation in solid musical taste.

Michael piped up from the backseat. “Mayonnaise?”

I looked at my husband quizzically, at first figuring Michael was just being his random, quirky, nonsensical preteen self. Then it clicked, and a laugh escaped my lips. He had created a very clever alternate name for the band in question.

“Please don’t ever lose that, buddy,” I pleaded.  Continue reading “Everything is Better with Mayonnaise”

Embrace Grace

“If he wrecks the car, I’m gonna lose it. I know I should try to be calm, but I’ll probably flip out.” She made the little half giggle she does when she’s making a half joke…like, I’m trying to poke fun at my hypothetical freak out, but it probably won’t be hypothetical. 

My friend and I were talking about our oldests getting their driver’s permits and navigating another new parental “letting go” milestone. 

“Same. I’ve basically been losing it over everything since mid-March.” I said. I can’t remember if I made my own half giggle at that remark. But if I did, I should not have. Because there has been nothing funny about my mental well-being for the vast majority of 2020.  Continue reading “Embrace Grace”

Freedom is a Construct, Not an Absolute

4th of July. The holiday that celebrates the United States as the land of the free. But this year, that idea has caused me pause. It seems that we, as a country, are on very decidedly different pages of what “freedom” means.

Therefore, I’ve been examining what my own idea of freedom is. Because here’s the thing: for something that we stake our identity on, fight wars over, sacrifice lives for…”freedom” is not something tangible. It does not “exist” in reality. It is a construct; something that exists within the mind of each person. Sure, there can be shared social constructs, or mutually agreed upon definitions. But it is also something that can be argued, changed, or altered and technically still be true to the individual or society who chooses to believe in that interpretation. Oh, those slippery slopes. Well, people. We built our entire country on a slippery slope. Continue reading “Freedom is a Construct, Not an Absolute”

Uncomfortable White Girl at a BLM Protest

I got a text from my friend Megan, asking if I wanted to join her.

Some local students had organized a seven mile Black Lives Matter protest march, and they would be passing near Megan’s house. She was planning to stand along the route and pass out water to protesters in the 90 degree heat.

Yes. Yes, I would like to do that. And I was grateful that Megan had thought of a concrete way to DO something, while I’ve just been over here completely in my head about everything.

So I brought my daughter and two of her friends to join Megan, her husband, her sons, and our friend Kathy and her daughter to set up our little water station alongside the road and wait for the marchers. Continue reading “Uncomfortable White Girl at a BLM Protest”

The Breaking Point

Yesterday was a breaking point.

Literally. I left the shards of porcelain scattered on my basement floor. I didn’t have it in me to clean them up. Probably because I couldn’t easily clean up everything else that shattered yesterday as well.

I heard the crash from upstairs and immediately knew. I didn’t have to look, and I really didn’t want to. My son was downstairs at the desk playing an interactive video game with friends online. He can sometimes get a little excited, banging on or shaking the desk. On the top shelf of that desk is a plate from my wedding, signed by all the guests, which my sister-in-law lovingly decorated and had fired.

Or, I should say, the plate was sitting on top of the desk. Continue reading “The Breaking Point”

It’s Not About the Blueberries

“And how are you guys doing?”

Our school maintenance guy Keith inquired about my family’s well-being as we played a quick game of catch-up. I was dropping off my son’s textbooks and gathering the artwork and supplies he had left in his locker before departing for Spring Break…and never returning. His 5th grade year came to a close yesterday with a social distancing car parade around the campus as the teachers waved and held up signs of affection and well wishes. Today, parents were invited to come up at assigned times to finish up the business of school before beginning summer a little earlier than we had all planned. Continue reading “It’s Not About the Blueberries”

Everything GenX Knows, We Learned From Weird Sesame Street Videos

The best thing happened yesterday morning. I opened up my Facebook feed to find my friend Emily had randomly posted this old Sesame Street video of how crayons are made. If you grew up in the 1970’s and 1980’s, you know EXACTLY which video I’m talking about. It was amazing to lay eyes on it again after all these years. And of course, it took me down a rabbit hole of watching other old Sesame Street videos that, despite being dormant for decades, were able to come to the forefront of my memory with a readiness that was both comforting and eerie. As the words to the songs fell easily from my lips, and the images put me right back to being in front of a rabbit-eared television set, I marveled at how so much of my childhood could be encompassed in a few video segments. And how my entire generation was molded by these sights, sounds, and concepts. Continue reading “Everything GenX Knows, We Learned From Weird Sesame Street Videos”

Going On a Run, 1970’s Style

I went on a run today. Voluntarily. That’s what this has all come to. The first day of sunshine since the world has been on quarantine and I go all Brittany Runs a Marathon. I mean, yes, I do work out five days a week. But I am not a runner. Yet being quarantined in my home with three other people – even three other people I love dearly – has taught me much about myself. Namely, I need alone time. And apparently I need it enough that going on a run sounded like something I should do. Continue reading “Going On a Run, 1970’s Style”

Reporting for Jury Duty

“Are you reporting for jury duty? Here’s some information. Please line up over there.”

I open the pamphlet I have just been handed. The first thing I read in bold letters is “to serve as a juror is an honor.”

Why don’t I feel very honored?

I’m 41 years old, and this is the first time I’ve ever been called for jury duty. I’m feeling lots of things about this experience…annoyed, nervous, mildly misanthropic. But I’m not feeling honored.

When I check in, I want to say, “You know, this really isn’t a convenient time for me. Continue reading “Reporting for Jury Duty”

The Female Normal: A Million “Harmless” Messages

“Remember in grade school when the boys would snap your bra strap against your back?” Several of the other ladies looked at me with a knowing glance. Yes, they remembered.

Recently, a friend was talking about how excited her niece was to get her first training bra. My mind immediately transported me back to that awkward time of adolescence when I was half fired up to begin wearing the badge of womanhood and half totally embarrassed. The latter feeling mostly stemmed from the fact that the boys in my class were also noticing this milestone. And their way of letting us girls know they were clued in was to come up from behind, grab and pull back our bra straps, then swiftly let them go so they smacked against our backs as they ran away laughing.

Another friend smirked, “If they had done that to me, I would have turned around and punched them.” Continue reading “The Female Normal: A Million “Harmless” Messages”