Friday, December 16, 2016

A Year in Review 2016

I don't blog much anymore, it's true. And while I am not sorry to say good-bye to 2016, it didn't seem right to skip my annual Year in Review post. You know, because Facebook just doesn't seem to tell the whole story. So here it is. No filters, no apologies, this is my (totally self-centered) look back on 2016. My so-called Birthday Fun Year was not the best.
  1. Successfully made it to Will's 5th birthday which we celebrated in the backyard nary a bounce house in sight.
  2. Wept and mourned the loss of Tim's father, my father-in-law, while becoming acutely aware of my own parents' mortality, something I hadn't allowed myself to consider before. 
  3. Began my first non-consultant, full time role at Microsoft & thought it wouldn't be that different than before. Was wrong. 
  4. Worked hard, learned constantly, grew professionally, made mistakes, made change, made strides, made more mistakes, and finally felt like I have made it. 
  5. Ran another half marathon, better time, better run, but overall didn't feel the joy that running brought me in 2015.  
  6. Struggled with the loss of the election, the loss of family, the loss of faith, the loss of hope, the loss of the will to fight. 
  7. Watched the sun come up on many quiet mornings sparking the memory of my faith, my hope, and my will to fight for equality, justice, and love.  
  8. Celebrated my 40th birthday with Girls Weekends to Austin and Herron Island plus a Vegas weekend with Tim, and a family weekend to the Washington coast. 
  9. Celebrated my 40th birthday with a (preeeetty hazy) Greenwood pub crawl. 
  10. Realized that a birthday fun WEEK is a much more manageable celebration for someone in their '40s. 
  11. Deeply embraced my feminism and began a path of learning about inclusion, unconscious bias, microaggressions, and equality. 
  12. Started making plans for our home remodel and truly became a fully formed adult. 
  13. Bought my dream car.
  14. Fell on some black days.
  15. Willed my kid strength and courage as he struggled - and continues to struggle -  through his first few months of Kindergarten. 
  16. Swelled with pride as my kid demonstrated empathy and emotional intelligence by offering
    money to the less fortunate, choosing to help the homeless, and understanding that classroom bullies are sad. 
  17. Seethed with frustration and irritation at that same kid taking his own good fortune for granted, suggesting he "could just buy a new winter coat" after losing his at school, or asking for food he doesn't eat. 
  18. Reveled in the conversations I had with my kid, the things he shared with me, and the path our relationship is taking as he changed from preschooler to gradeschooler. 
  19. Marked the year of the extended Family Vacation visiting my family in Florida in February, Tim's family in Folly Beach in July, and then back to Florida for a Disney trip with my family in November.& decided that was too many extended Family Vacations for one year. 
  20. Felt the hole in my long-dusty gypsy soul rip a little wider as yet another year passed without any international travel. 
  21. Struggled with balance as usual, but this year it was balance between career and parenthood and battling feelings that I'm really not doing either one very well. 
  22. Wept and mourned the loss of two of the composers of the soundtrack of my life, Prince & Bowie, not because I knew them, but because "they helped me know myself". 
  23. Deeply appreciated and celebrated the women in my life & the way they inspire me, challenge me, and make me a better person each & every day. (You know who you are.)
  24. Often felt busy and overwhelmed leading me to seek more quiet and solitude and space than usual. 
  25. Even on my darkest days, remembered that I am the luckiest person in the world & was grateful for all that I have, all that I am, and all that's to come.
Non, je ne regrette rien. Except for running out of room before I could include "Drank a lot of great wine" on this list. xx

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

An open letter to my son on his first day of Kindergarten

September 12, 2016

Dear Will,

Today is your first day of Kindergarten. You are smiling and amped up, but I know you. I know that's anxious energy pulsing through you this morning.

I ask if you are excited, and you say yes, but I hear the catch in your voice. I know there is a big part of you that wishes you were spending another year where it's comfortable, where you know what to expect, where you're the Big Man on Campus.

I understand this, Boo. Change is hard. It will continue to be hard, even when you're 6. Even when you're 16. Even when you're 36. And, I imagine, even when you're 66.

When you are older, I will tell you how I lied awake, tossing and turning, the night before starting school or a new job. I will tell you how I ate lunch in my car the entire first week of a new gig because I didn't know where else to go. How I skipped parties and happy hours and events because I didn't know anyone else. I will tell you how I cried on the way home from work, in my office, during a conference call, in a meeting. How I quit a job after two weeks and went back to the place where I felt comfortable. How I resisted change time & time again, even when I knew it was inevitable. I will tell you those things later.

But today, I will tell you that I understand.

I know you need to observe a situation before making a move. I understand.
I know you like to be alone and sometimes need space. I understand.
I know you don't take friendship lightly, and it can take you time to make friends. I understand.
I know that you don't always want to talk about things with me because that makes them feel too real. I understand.
I know you are a brave, independent, wacky, bold, sensitive spirit who needs to do things in his own time, in his own way. I understand.

When you are older, I will tell you how I traveled and adventured and jumped off high things and took risks and faced my insecurities and learned lessons and saw the world and made a difference and made mistakes and swallowed my fears and swallowed my pride and took chances and took giant leaps of faith and fell down and got up again and loved deeply and hurt deeply and changed and changed and changed again. One day, I will tell you those things. And you'll understand.

But for today, I will tell you this. You are brave, you are bold, you are loved.

Go get 'em, kid.


"Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid." 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

How old do you have to be to....?

My kid turned five earlier this month. He is utterly and thoroughly delighted at becoming another year older.

He is constantly asking, "How old do you have to be to [insert something awesome here]?"

Or he'll say, "Can 5 year-olds [insert something rad here]?"

He is completely bought into the idea that each year older means more opportunity, more fun, and generally, more awesomeness.

If only this was the case for all of us.

I am approaching a milestone birthday this year as well, and while I love Birthday Fun Week and all of the fanfare that goes along with a big birthday, I've still been feeling kind of blah about it. But then, suddenly, last weekend, a few things occurred to me.
  • Would I really want to be, say, 30 years old again? Nope.
  • Are there amazing things I can do now that I couldn't do at 22...or 28...or even 35? Absolutely. 
  • Could it really be true that, even at my age, each year older might mean more awesomeness? Hmm. I think I'm on to something here. 
And so, here is a list of some (not all) of the awesome things you can do because you are (almost) 40.
  1. You know a little something about wine, you don't choose (usually) based on pretty labels, and you can afford the bottles you want to drink.
  2. You embrace change and know that, even when it's scary, charting new courses is a part of finding success. 
  3. You know and value your true friends, and you make time for each other. 
  4. But you also know that you do not have to be friends with anyone who isn't bringing positivity to your life. 
  5. You can eat bacon any time you want.
  6. You know that life is short, and taking risks is necessary to take full advantage of the time we have here. 
  7. But you also know that life is long, and it's best to surround yourself with the people that make you the happiest. 
  8. You are brave. And not the silly, blind braveness of your '20s. The strong, confident, I can-kick-the-shit-out-of-life kind of brave that changes lives. 
  9. You can buy the shoes or the handbag or the diamond earrings for no special reason at all. 
  10. You decide what looks good on you, rock whatever you want, and show off whatever body part you choose simply because it makes you feel good.
  11. You can say no.
  12. You make pain-free sacrifices for your family because what makes them happy makes you happy.
  13. You can be wrong, say you're sorry, admit your faults. And then you learn from it and move on. 
  14. You take long weekends with your partner or your girlfriends and go big in a way you never would have dreamed when you were in your '20s. 
  15. You make good choices, you make bad choices, you make miracles, you make missteps, you make great things happen, you make massive mistakes, but always, you own it all. 

One thing to note: Can 40 year-olds drink like they did in their '20s without any repercussions? Unfortunately, this is is a no. 

However, can 40 year-olds look ahead to another decade that just keeps getting more awesome? Absolutely yes.

I'll take that trade-off. 

Friday, April 1, 2016

Won't Be Punished

As I'm sure you all know, on Tuesday, Donald Trump said, in no uncertain terms, that women who have abortions should be subjected to "some form of punishment". He has since retracted the comment, backpedaling as he's known to do, but what's said is said.

And this is what I have to say.

I have already been punished over and over again for a choice that I made when I was a 19 year college student, unable to care for neither myself nor a cactus at that point.

I am punished every single time the legality of abortion comes into question, every time old white men discuss whether my decisions relating to my own body are valid.

I was punished when 3 different clinics stipulated that I had to go through "counseling" to ensure that I was "making the right decision" even though there was no doubt in my mind that I was doing what was right for me.

I am punished when I drive past Planned Parenthood on a beautiful Saturday afternoon & see protesters shaming women just like me.

I was punished when those same protesters, 20 years ago, yelled and screamed obscenities at me as I made my choice, even as I cried.

I am punished by others who think that I am not worthy of respect, that I am a criminal, that I am somehow a lesser human being than they are.

I am punished by my own silence these past three days, wanting to speak up, but afraid to share my story.

Twenty years ago, I made a choice that was legal. I made a choice that allowed me to pursue the life I have today. I made a choice that was right for me. I made a choice that I do not regret.

This is where it ends. I refuse to be ashamed any longer. I won't be punished anymore. By anyone.