The World’s Worst Thank You Note

You guys. I have been so overwhelmed by the response to I Am The Keeper. So overwhelmed that it took me this long to even write this very belated thank you. It’s digital and not handwritten and it’s 3 weeks late so I’m fairly certain my father is rolling over in his grave at my lack of manners.

But I hope you know how sincerely grateful I am to those of you who read it, who commented, who shared it, who tagged their fellow keepers, and, especially, to those of you who reached out with your struggles and your own stories. Read more...

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I Am the Keeper

I am the keeper

I am the keeper.

I am the keeper of schedules. Of practices, games, and lessons. Of projects, parties, and dinners. Of appointments and homework assignments.

I am the keeper of information. Who needs food 5 minutes before a meltdown occurs and who needs space when he gets angry. Whether there are clean clothes, whether bills are paid, and whether we are out of milk.

I am the keeper of solutions. Of bandaids and sewing kits and snacks in my purse. But also of emotional balms and metaphorical security blankets. Read more...

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5 Things I Learned This Summer

I have always had a love hate relationship with summer. The heat and humidity remind me of all the things we cannot do because of our blisters.

But I love the freedom from schedules and commitments that affords me endless time with my boys. I view that as sacrosanct. So I tend not to write much in the summer. And as much as our summer has been what it always is – a lazy conglomeration of quiet mornings, big adventures, and total spontaneity – there were plenty of very important things I learned. Read more...

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My Break Up With Social Media (And What I Learned In the Process)

why i broke up with social media detox and what i learned

It’s been over two months since I broke up with social media.

I wish I could say it was intentional, that it was part of some noble plan to be more mindful.

But it wasn’t. It was apathy.

Honestly, it was a lot like the end of every other mediocre relationship you stay in too long out of habit. Until one day, you wake up and you simply don’t have the energy to care anymore.

Like all relationships, the love affair with social media started out so promisingly.

The idea of being able to stay connected to the daily lives of friends and family regardless of geographical distance was revolutionary, much like email had been 10 years earlier. Read more...

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The Long Ride Home

Long ride home uva basketball wahoowa ncaa tournament basketball season

It’s 150 miles from here to Charlottesville.

I’ve done it often enough to know it takes two hours and 35 minutes to get from my front door to my seat in John Paul Jones Arena.  Five hours round-trip, give or take, depending on traffic and how many times I need to stop for coffee.

There are times when it seems longer than that — when we are mired in traffic, when we are racing against the clock to make it into our seats before tip-off, or on the long ride home after a late game on a Monday night.

Don’t worry — I am keenly aware it sounds crazy to have season tickets to a basketball team that plays 150 miles away and adds 3,000 miles to my odometer each year. Read more...

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This is What An Invisible Disease Looks Like

mom boys disability epidermolysis bullosa

This is what an invisible disease looks like.

It looks like nothing at all.

There are thousands of them and they run the gamut from rare to common, physical to mental, life-threatening to debilitating. But they all have one thing in common – they leave no noticeable mark. To the outside world, we all look healthy.

Mine, and my children’s, is called epidermolysis bullosa, a rare genetic disease whose hallmark is debilitating blistering of the skin in response to heat, friction, injury or rubbing. I was encouraged to write something about it today for Rare Disease Day but, truthfully, I didn’t know what to share. Read more...

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A Promise To My Second Born

It is trite now to offer up written apologies to latter born children. To catalogue all the ways in which we have relaxed the rules the second (or third or fourth) time around. To humorously list the words they’ve learned too early, the movies they’ve seen too soon, the crappy food they’ve eaten.

In fact most of these articles aren’t apologies at all but thinly veiled parental pats on the back for being so nonchalant, so easy going.

Here’s the truth if we’re willing to admit it. The innocence of our latter born children is all too often sacrificed on the altar of their older siblings. It just is. Read more...

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Be the Change You March For

All politics is local, my dad was fond of saying. I’ve always subscribed to that theory in a metaphorical way.

Yes, change is wrought from inside great marbled halls. But my friends it is not born there.

It is not dreamed up on the spot by a well-meaning legislator who has a cartoon light bulb suddenly appear over his head in the midst of routine parliamentary procedure.

No. Change is born in the mind of a 4 year old, unencumbered by what he has been taught to believe, to make fun of, to be afraid of. Read more...

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Believing in the Magic of Christmas: The Truth About Santa

It happened the other night. An off-the-cuff remark: “I know you’re really the Elf mom.” Then a pause and, more tentatively, “I know you’re Santa.”

He’s made those casual comments a few times before. But his voice – which is always so resolute and certain when he is making a pronouncement about the leading rusher in the NFL or the way to reduce fractions – shakes a little when he tests the waters of doubt.

I know, in the way that you always know your child, that what he wants is for me to tell him he is wrong. Dead wrong. That the Tooth Fairy flies into his room and Santa Claus shimmies down the chimney and I am not the Elf. I know this because if he didn’t, he would simply ask me point blank, the way he does with everything else. No, what he wants me to do is tell him magic is real. Read more...

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Pressing the Reset Button: Family, The Election, and A More Perfect Union

Friday was a tough morning in our house. For no apparent reason everyone was cranky and flippant and hostile. Including me. Our chance day off from school turned from a world full of possibilities into an inexplicable fracas about where we were going and why.

Instead of engaging in a reasonable discussion where differing viewpoints were acknowledged and debated respectfully, my household was filled with a barrage of insults, voices shouting over one another, and eye rolls.

Frankly it reminded me a lot of how the entire country is behaving right now. Read more...

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Almost 8 and Almost 10

almost 8 almost 10 adolescence is harder than having a baby parenthood

To all of you in the throes of babyhood and toddler madness, please let me assure you that you will get through this.

And when you do, you will get down on your knees and pray to the gods of squeaky toys and late night feedings to go back.

I remember. I remember the sleep deprivation, the constant trail of unidentifiable gunk on your shirt and wondering bemusedly whether it was applesauce or poop, the endless delays because I can do it by MYSELF mommy, and the throw down tantrums in the middle of Target. Read more...

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Redefining Grateful

Grateful-notepad-serendip-love-thankfulness

I walked into Serendip the other day to buy some lamps (which I did by the way and they’re really fucking cool). As I was checking out, the owner slipped this into my hands and said “For the boys. I don’t really know them but from everything I can see, they’ve got their priorities right.”

Gaaaah.

That one hit me hard. Part of what has been causing me anguish over the last few weeks is a deep-seeded concern that despite all my efforts to show them what really matters, they have become ungrateful and unappreciative. That despite my best efforts to show them what loving hard looks like, their outlook was becoming harsh and negative. Read more...

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7 Things I Want My Kids To Know On The First Day Of School

Things I want my kids to know on the first day of school

As you lie in your beds on this – the night before the first day of school – I know you are dutifully trying to sleep despite the anxious thoughts creeping through your minds. My mind is racing too. Trying to remember what it is like to go 8 hours without seeing your faces. Trying to remember what 8 hours of silence sounds like. Trying not to mourn the end of our lazy mornings, our big adventures, and time that belongs to no one but us.

I promise when we walk through those double doors tomorrow, you will forget all the doubts and fears that are keeping you awake tonight. Read more...

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New LOP Article On Babble: Summer Ain’t Over Yet

Babble Summer Ain't Over Yet Screw You Back to school displaysI typically don’t write a lot in the summer because, well, I like summer just as much as my kids. I did manage to write about that for Babble so please click here to read the article!

“When I was a kid, the end of the school year was brutal. I was ready for summer vacation by mid-April. My brain, which generally fired on all four cylinders, was torturously limping toward the finish line on a flat tire and a crappy suspension. And the idea of finishing my last school project (inevitably a diorama of some kind) was more torturous than being trapped in a pit of snakes. Read more...

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This Is The Me They Love

 If I’m being totally honest, I was planning on deleting it when he wasn’t looking. That’s the problem with modern technology, digital photography, smartphones and filters: We can instantaneously erase anything that isn’t “perfect.” We can keep reviewing and critiquing and recreating a picture over and over again until we get what we want. Read more...

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