The Unwanted Superpower

You do not see me.

We share pieces of each other.

But you do not see me.

I peek my head through your door multiple times a day.

But you do not see me.

I ask you questions like How are classes going? Can you please set the table? Do you need anything from the store? Would you like to go on a walk with me? Is everything okay?

But you do not see me.

We walk the same floors, wash our hands in the same sink, and both smell the same funk that signals the trash can needs to be emptied. Continue reading “The Unwanted Superpower”

What’s In a Name? Only Your Daughter’s Future Chastity.

Today is my daughter’s fifteenth birthday. I thought it a fitting occasion to post this piece I wrote for the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition in 2016. It didn’t win, but it was a Final Round Qualifier in the Global Humor category and received a very nice comment from one of the judges: “Excellent story in the Bombeck tradition. Light and funny with great structure and writing.” Quite flattering, especially considering the panel of judges was made up of several accomplished writers, along with Nancy Cartwright, the award-winning actress better known as the voice of Bart Simpson. I can’t be sure she is the one who made that comment about my piece, but let’s just say it was her. I was pretty over the moon about it at the time, so it’s kind of weird that I never celebrated it publicly. Chalk one up to humility for a change. And I never shared the piece elsewhere; I had almost forgotten about it entirely. But I came across it the other day as I was taking advantage of my COVID-19 “social distancing” by doing some Spring cleaning on my neglected little blog here. And since my daughter is the topic of the piece, I figured her birthday is the perfect time to share it. So here it is (and preemptive apologies to anyone named Brandy)…
Continue reading “What’s In a Name? Only Your Daughter’s Future Chastity.”

Imperfect Prayers: When You Don’t Know What To Pray For

I believe there is power in prayer. Deep in my bones, down into the tips of the roots of what I feel to be true, I believe it has power. But too often I find myself at a loss for how to use that power. It’s a daunting task to know what to request when God is there with what is always an open-ended question.

This past year in particular has tested me. I haven’t always known what to ask of God.

In that time, we lost our dog, searched for guidance over my daughter’s scoliosis progression, helped her through two knee surgeries, watched my dad continue his battle against Parkinson’s disease, witnessed my grandma’s health and mental decline, and were heartbroken by the sudden passing of my father-in-law in November. For some of these, it has been easier to know my prayer. For others, I’ve been at a loss. Continue reading “Imperfect Prayers: When You Don’t Know What To Pray For”

The Existential Haircut: You Say Therefore I Am

It was supposed to be just a quick haircut.

A few weeks ago, I spontaneously swung into Great Clips to get a trim because I 1) was passing by, 2) only ever remember to get haircuts when I’m either passing a Great Clips or I see someone on television with a cute short hairdo, and 3) am cheap.

As the stylist began snipping away, she started hitting all the typical small talk topics. The weather today. The weather for tomorrow. How effed up the weather has been and can’t we just have Spring already. Your hair feels kind of dry and we have this really great product I can sell you that won’t actually work and will sit in your cabinet for years because dammit you paid good money for it and maybe it will work better for you after you go through menopause or something. Continue reading “The Existential Haircut: You Say Therefore I Am”

Not Hiring: Outdated, Unmarketable, Unhirable 41 Year Olds

Creative Copywriter. Greater St. Louis Area. Two alumni from my university work there.

Normally when I get email notifications from LinkedIn, I hit delete without even opening them. But for whatever reason, as I sat in the school parking lot waiting for dismissal, I was curious to see what job picks were being suggested for me. My eyes immediately focused on the third listing for a creative copywriter.

I’m creative. I can write copy.

Fifteen minutes earlier, I had been at Home Depot purchasing supplies to make a New Orleans style lamp post for our school’s upcoming Mardi Gras themed auction. That’s pretty typical of where my head and my time have been for the last few years or so: firmly entrenched in things like PTO, school board, and squeezing every last bit of experiential juice out of our time in this elementary school community we love so much…time that seems to be moving more quickly each day. My writing, my book, my professional aspirations have been barely even percolating on the back burner, mostly by my own choice. And let’s be honest: I haven’t had what most would consider a REAL job in over thirteen years. But suddenly there I was, sitting in my minivan, still in my workout clothes from boot camp class that morning (because honestly, what do I need to dress up for?), feeling my heart balloon at the possibility of applying for a job. A real one.  Continue reading “Not Hiring: Outdated, Unmarketable, Unhirable 41 Year Olds”

Coupons from Heaven: A Eulogy

Almost every week for I don’t know how many years, an envelope would land in my mailbox, my typewritten address perfectly stamped out directly in the center. I never needed to look at the return address to know exactly who had sent it or what I would find inside. There was rarely a note…just a handful of meticulously clipped coupons from the current week’s mailer. And every time, it made me smile. I could hear my Grandpa’s voice saying, “Well, I don’t know if you can use any of these, but just throw them away if you can’t.” Continue reading “Coupons from Heaven: A Eulogy”

28 Days of Play: A Music Video About Playing with Our Kids

28 days of playI’m over on You Plus Two Parenting today, as part of 28 Days of Play, a movement that asks 28 bloggers to explore the idea of playing with our children: how we do it, why it can be so hard sometimes, why it is important. And I’m honored to have my post closing out the month-long series.

“I’ll be Sleeping Beauty. You be everybody else.”

 

I still tease my 10-year-old daughter with this quote, a frequent demand she often threw at me when she was four. Even at such a young age, she could recite most of the key scenes in Sleeping Beauty, and one of her favorite pastimes was acting out the story. She, of course, always got the lead role, leaving me to pick up the slack of the other ten or so characters.

Head over to You Plus Two Parenting to see the rest of the post, which culminates in a new music video I made called “Anna & Elsa” (a parody of Fall Out Boy’s “Uma Thurman”).

She wants to sing like Anna & Elsa / Bugs me until I say yes…

Go check out the post HERE!anna and elsa uma thurman parody

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This Mom Thought About Having a Third Kid. See What Changed Her Mind!

“Provided the test comes back fine, I’ll plan to see you back here in, let’s see…maybe June.” My OBGYN gave me a little smirk on his way towards the door.

“June? You mean next Feb– oh. You’re funny.”

It wouldn’t be an annual womanly checkup if Dr. H didn’t joke with me about trying for a third kid. I’d like to think it’s because I’m his favorite patient, and it’s just his way of saying he would like to hang out with me more often. (Is that a weird thing to say about your OBGYN? Because I feel like it might be weird. Even though I don’t mean it to be. It’s just that Dr. H is kind of the bomb – and a great conversationalist, considering the circumstances surrounding our interaction. Like, I’d totally go have a few beers with him…if he wasn’t checking up on the health and wellness of my lady bits.) However, as the father of seven or so children himself, I think his enthusiasm for me getting pregnant again simply comes from him being pro-baby…and pro-more income to pay for seven college tuitions. I also *may* have told him I would name the next kid after him. Continue reading “This Mom Thought About Having a Third Kid. See What Changed Her Mind!”

An Inspiring Conversation? Resolutions Through Trickery

Resolutions. Ugh. Aren’t we all tired of the cliche? I never make them. Well, unless I get tricked into making them. In my own home. By an inanimate object. An un-gifted gift waiting to be returned. To be fair, it did make some pretty good arguments. Here’s how the conversation went down…An Inspiring Conversation-

 

Hey, you. Wrist Wallet.

Who me?

Of course I’m talking to you. Do you see any other jogging accessories around here?

Oh, you ARE talking to me. I thought you forgot I was even here.

Oh no. I am well aware you are still sitting there on my dresser.

You could have fooled me. You haven’t touched me since you put me here.

Well, you weren’t really meant for me. I bought you before Christmas to give to someone else. But then I second guessed myself about whether that person was a jogger and if she even needed a handy place to keep her keys and phone while running. So I got her a “safe” gift from Pampered Chef. No offense, but Pampered Chef is kind of an ace in the hole. And you come with the dubious off-chance of being mistaken as a passive-aggressive commentary on the gift recipient’s weight and fitness level. Especially if I can’t remember whether that person is unequivocally and undoubtedly a jogger who has expressed adequate frustration over having to keep her keys in her sports bra and having to wipe butt sweat off her phone from storing it in her waist band. Then, and ONLY then, would you be considered a thoughtfully useful gift. But that was not the situation. So you got passed over for a decorative bowl and serving spoon set that will get her compliments at parties and make her the envy of people like me who bring potluck dishes in old Tupperware containers with poorly fitting lids.

I was unaware I could be a such a potentially offensive gift. Wow. People can be a little overly sensitive. 

Tell me about it. No hard feelings. It’s just the nature of the gift-giving game. I had every intention of shipping you back to Amazon, but I have left you sitting on my dresser for a month now. It’s mostly because I am an expert procrastinator. But don’t pretend to be so innocent, little Wrist Wallet. I know that whole “unassuming” look you have going on there is just an act to make me think you’re not worth the return shipment cost or hassle.

It’s no such thing. But now that you brought it up,…I didn’t REALLY cost that much. When all is said and done, you’d probably spend one-fourth of my price sending me back. And don’t forget, your post office is kind of a pain in the ass. They don’t call numbers, so you’re always worried someone is going butt in front of you while you’re affixing your shipping label. And then there’s the whole “putting you life on the line” trying to make a left turn out of the parking lot onto the busy street on which the post office resides. It takes, like, eight years to find an opening in traffic…

I KNOW, Wrist Wallet. It totally DOES take eight years! And then when I do finally see a break in traffic, there is usually some jackleg who JUST pulled up to leave the parking lot of the pizza place next door who also sees the break, and peals out to make a right turn in front of me and steals my moment of opportunity. Meanwhile, I’ve been waiting the eight years, and a line is forming behind me. And I can tell they are passing judgement, yelling, “Come on! You could have made that!” And I want to turn around and be like, “I’m sorry, but I have kids…and a minivan. And I really feel like I need a good four-cars-length opening to be safe. Besides, you should really be pissed at that jackleg because he took my turn AND he has pizza, which we don’t.” God, Wrist Wallet, I really hate when that happens.

See, Kelly. It’s just not worth it to send me back. Besides, it’s not like you couldn’t stand to get in sha…mmmpfl.

What did you just say?

Nothing. I didn’t say anything. 

Yes you did. What were you going to say?

I…uh…was going to say…uh…it’s not like you couldn’t stand to get in shhh…shhh…SHOES! Let’s go get you some new shoes!

You think I’m fat, don’t you Wrist Wallet?

No. I would never think that.

See? This is what I meant about you and that whole passive-aggressive commentary on a person’s weight. I’m not sorry I swapped you out for the Pampered Chef stuff. Not sorry one bit.

Hey, now. This doesn’t have to get personal. You’re beautiful just the way you are. All I’m saying is, wouldn’t it be nice to have a little more energy? Maybe have your jeans fit a little more comfortably? I mean, we’ve already established what a moronic idea it would be to go to the trouble to send me back. So you may as well — USE me. Since I’m here and all.

Well…I guess it wouldn’t be the WORST idea in the world. I do always like the idea of working out. And I do like looking sporty. If I start using you, I could probably justify buying that cute little headband that keeps your ears warm and also has a hole in the back for your ponytail that I saw at Target. When I saw that I wanted to be the kind of person who needed it. And you are a pretty nifty little accessory. I mean, whenever I would jog (which was usually whenever I got a new pair of tennis shoes that somehow made me think I had always just needed the right pair of shoes to run), it always did really bug me that I never had a convenient way to carry all of my necessities with me. In fact, I’m pretty sure now that was THE reason I never took to jogging. Yeah, that was it. I always felt too cumbersome. I guess you’ve taken care of that now, haven’t you, Wrist Wallet?

I sure have. Why don’t you go ahead and take me out of the plastic…

All that is left to do now is…jog.

I’m ready when you are, Kelly.

… … … …

Maybe sending you back isn’t such a big pain in the ass after all. Plus, I could hit that pizza place next door to the post office.

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Did you make a resolution this year?

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“Difficult” Is Not a Synonym for “Traumatizing”

Traumatize /ˈtrouməˌtīz,ˈtrôməˌtīz/ (verb): subject to lasting shock as a result of an emotionally disturbing experience or physical injury.

Last week, the TODAY Parenting Team featured an article I wrote called “A Tale of Two Kindergarteners,” as part of their community series on back-t0-school advice. I chose to share a story from two years ago about my son’s struggles starting kindergarten. He had a rough go of it, and it was hard for me to watch. But in time, he found his courage and confidence, and I wanted to give hope to other parents who might be going through this.

By in large, the response was positive. Yet, like disconcerting pieces of gristle that ruin an otherwise tasty piece of chicken, came voices of dissent, peppered throughout those responses of parents relating to the piece. It comes with the territory of putting yourself out there. What I thought was a fairly innocuous piece, I now saw in a different light, one that called my parenting skills into question for forcing my son to do something he clearly had fears about.

My husband’s aunt often jokes that all parents will inevitably do something for which their children will need therapy. Well, apparently the transgression that will land my son on the psychiatrist’s couch is sending him to kindergarten. It was a very difficult situation, after all. I sure felt like a horrible mother when I left him crying on the bus or tearful in his classroom morning after morning. Maybe he really was traumatized. Continue reading ““Difficult” Is Not a Synonym for “Traumatizing””