Category Archives: Personal

Do I At Least Get Cake?

Today is my birthday.  I’m turning 39, which feels about as depressing as turning 17.  Seventeen was only mildly better than 27.  What all these ages have in common is being just shy of any major milestone.  At 17 you’ve been able to drive for at least a year but still can’t vote or be considered an adult.  At 27 you’re definitely out of your “wild” twenties but not old enough to be taken seriously by anybody worthwhile.  At 39 you are just old enough to realize that you are no longer young but not old enough to embrace your age as a sign of progress and success. In other words, nobody throws a big bash for turning 39.  I have no special plans, and don’t expect any big surprises.  I suspect this day will pass as most days pass with me raising my children, preparing for class and picking up army men off of the floor for the 1, 261st time.

This week my thoughts are more preoccupied with why the world of advertising takes pride in the fact that it doesn’t even try to acknowledge work/life balance and instead is boastful about their employees working 24 hour shifts? Being raised by a management expert this was frequently referred to as poor resource and time management not “trying to do the best work possible” because after all don’t we all do our best work between the hours of 3-4 in the morning? I’m scouring recipe books trying to figure out what I can possibly send in Lucy’s lunchbox that doesn’t include peanut butter, look like a sandwich and isn’t just turkey.  As of now she will be eating turkey rolls everyday until she branches out.  I’m torn up about deciding to send my baby to preschool – a choice we did not make for Lucy.  Is it the right thing to do? Is he ready? Am I taking the easy route? I’m sick with the fact that my school year starts on Monday where I will be using a new textbook.  A textbook that I didn’t choose, I haven’t read and yet I’m expected to write a lesson plan for by Monday. In the meantime I’m behind on every household chore possible and I have chronic acid reflux which makes me feel like I’m on the verge of vomit during most of the day.

This is 39.

Happy Birthday me.

The Menu Of My Life


The Ohio summer air was warm and muggy.  My friend Vicki and I had spent the day perfecting our rollerskating skills on my driveway. I had white skates with a big blue stripe down each side, and large blue pom poms with bells in the middle.  Vicki and I were sweaty and tired and tumbled into the house eager for a snack.  Our young, awkward bodies scampered onto the bar stools near the kitchen.  We explosively giggled as we gobbled up bologna and cheese rolled up and secured with a toothpick.  We washed it down with the cool, sweet, sugary syrup of Kool Aid.  The simple textures and tastes of childhood.  Vicki and I debated our next move; Barbies or dress up?


John was handsome, popular, in drama club, and my first boyfriend. Why he chose to go out with  me instead of all the pretty girls in our school I still don’t know.  The mother of our friend Jamie owned a small cafe in town.  On Fridays she would open the cafe an hour early for Jamie and his friends to eat breakfast before school.  John used to always order coffee and it made him seem so grown up.  I desperately wanted to seem as mature and sophisticated as him but I couldn’t get past the bitterness of the coffee. I started ordering black tea. We sat around old restaurant tables with red vinyl chairs drinking coffee, tea and relishing homemade blueberry pancakes. For the first time in my awkward adolescence I belonged.


He didn’t have any money to take me out. I knew that. We sat across from each other in a  small deli and split a club sandwich and a bowl of broccoli cheese soup. It was cold outside and it didn’t feel all that much warmer sitting in the booth. I don’t think either one of us noticed. We talked about everything, nothing, and things that now no longer seem important.  The soup was warm, the sandwich simple and as we walked out of the restaurant I told him to kiss me. He did.


We collapsed on the small, stiff couch in the hotel room.  The “President’s Suite” was a disaster. The fireplace didn’t work and the toilet instantly overflowed.  This wasn’t at all how we imagined spending our wedding night.  I was still in my fairy tale dress and he in his tux.  I silently wandered into the bathroom and peeled off my wedding dress and slid on a pair of soft work out pants and a t-shirt.  I emerged from the bathroom to see him laying on the large bed holding two glasses of champagne and the stack of wedding cards.  I curled up snug next to him.  He handed me the champagne glass. We whispered, toasted, and the cold, sparkly, sweetness glided down my throat.  We laughed and told stories about our wedding as if we had been guests and not the people exchanging vows.  We delicately opened each card, reading the words out loud, and commenting on the giver.


The cramping had grown worst as the night progressed and by 5:00 AM I gave up trying to sleep.  I quietly crept out of the bedroom and into our over-stuffed recliner. I tried timing the pains but I never could determine starting and stopping times.  David poked his head out of the bedroom and said; “are you okay? Why are you up?” He never heard me wake up before so I was startled to see him standing there.  I sheepishly replied; “I’m having some contractions, but I don’t think it is anything big.” A big smile spread across his face and he said confidently; “you’re in labor”.  I thought it was rather smug of him to be so confident when he wasn’t the one having the pains and I was a good five weeks away from my due date.  He grabbed a blanket and curled up on the couch, “I’m going to lay down here with you. Wake me up if they get stronger.”  I closed my eyes and tried to ignore them.  The fact that this strategy hadn’t worked for the past four hours didn’t seem important.  By 7:00 AM I knew we were going to be making a trip to the hospital.  I methodically took a shower, shaved my legs, got dressed and stood in the kitchen.  They woudn’t feed me in the hospital so I had to eat now.  Nothing sounded good to eat.  The house was eerily quiet as I poured a bowl of Cheerios. The loud crunching in my mouth felt like an intrusion into the moment. I was becoming a mother. Soon my life would be something I couldn’t imagine.  The bowl ceremoniously clanked into the sink. I woke David and we drove to the hospital.


This is my entry for this month’s Write Away Contest at Scribbit.

Coming Home

I attended high school and college in Michigan and even though I didn’t “grow up” in Michigan I still consider it home. We’re visiting my parents this week, staying in the same house where I experienced my worst heart breaks, my first job offers and finally left to become an adult. The bed is different, the room rearranged and yet the view out the window is the same. It’s hard to reconcile the ultra familiar with the strangely unknown. I walk into this house not as an occupant but as a visitor. I walk thru the door not as a young woman seeking her path in life, but as a mother with children.

Because I don’t see my parents on a regular basis it is as if we have to adjust to being two new people every time we see each other. I am no longer a child, and my mother is no longer the happy hummingbird buzzing around our lives. My mother, long wracked with the pain of arthritis, stenosis, and fibromyalgia, is frustrated, uncomfortable, tired and weak. She is occupied with finding new homes for old memories. As I shuffle through pictures of me with a parade of old boyfriends sitting on the same couch, with the same windows in the background, it makes those memories seem pointless. They are pictures of a life that seems to have existed in a parallel universe with a person that was not me, but only looked like me.

However, for my children, this is a magical location. An enchanted forest filled with toys, adventures and new things. Grandma’s house has secret cupboards that contain curious things to explore and mysteries that need to be unfolded. Her pantry swelling with treats to eat and sweets that need to be eaten. Their little hearts bursting with the love and adoration that comes from standing in the light of two people who adore them, and yearn for them to be the center of their universe.

This is what growing up is all about. As I mature and see my parents as the raw humans that they are, my children see them as the perfect, glorious people of my youth.