Letting it go….in a race car.

The other morning, Isla and I drove to Fred Meyer’s to get coffee and donuts. This is our family’s Sunday ritual, except usually it’s Danny and Isla. Danny was working on my Nissan that weekend so when I said I would drive, I knew I would have to take his car. Me and his car have a history, I’ll tell you about it in a minute.

I got Isla all buckled in, turned it on (it sounds a little like King Kong tearing through a city…but louder) and then started to back up when Isla shouted (over the sound of the exhaust) from the backseat, “Mom! Mom! When you get out on the road you have to really let it go! Let it go and drive fast, Mom!” She’s four. I’m scared.

But the thing is, I can’t let her think that only dads know how to drive fast, so we backed out, I put it in 1st gear and floored it. Danny asked me when we got back why I was tearing out of here so fast, he can hear the car from bed. I can also hear him coming home from work every night when he is two blocks away. That’s how I know to put dinner on the table.

So, now that my baby knows her mom can “really let it go,” I can safely go back to hauling around 16 kids in my truck, wishing it was a minivan, and still have some cred. The thing is though, every once in a while I end up driving Danny’s car. It’s a mustang. It’s red. It about ½ inch off the ground. Basically it’s a matchbox car.

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One of the very first times I ever drove it was about 8 months ago. Danny must have been working on my truck because that’s usually the only time I drive it. I know it was a Saturday and I was going to work because I picked up my friend and co-worker Sarah on the way. By the time I had gotten to her house I had sort of forgotten I was in Barbie Ken’s car. I saw her across the street and she squinted at the red mustang that was roaring up to her, before she realized it was me and started cracking up. I pulled up, she hopped in and we.couldn’t.stop. I almost peed my pants laughing so hard at the two of us (one who doesn’t drive at all and the other that drives a 17 year old truck), at 6:30am, cruising through small town Edmonds in a red hot mustang.

We went to work, got busy, and I forgot again, until it was time to go home. We walked out to the car and did the weird sort-of-fall-into-the-seat thing you have to do in a car that is lowered to the floor. I had parked near the entrance of our work and our last two customers we had served were just leaving the shop. It was a guy about our age and his wife. We were still laughing when I put in the clutch and started the engine. The man, who was about 10 feet in front of us just stepping off the curb, jumped, squinted in the front window, saw it was us and yelled, “Holy Sh*t!”

I leaned out the window, “Sorry, it’s my husband’s car!”

I’m pretty sure they have a whole new idea of who Sarah and I are. And it’s totally inaccurate. But maybe, just maybe, they’ll think like my four-year-old and know that we can really “let it go”. Not a bad thing.

 

 

 

The magic of sun.

Breaking news: moms are tired. I mean really, really tired. I don’t care if you’re a stay-at-home mom, or a working mom, or a step-mom or a mom of a poodle. We’re all tired. The dads are too, I’m sure, but I’ve never been a dad, so I’m just going to speak for all the moms out there and say it, “Dangit (that’s the word I use when I’m really serious), I’m exhausted.”

But, something special happened this week. And to let you know just how truly special it is, I have to take you all the way back to the beginning of my mom life….4 ½ years ago. My girl does not take naps. She hardly ever has, and I mean even when she was an infant. I could pretty much say never and it wouldn’t be that far from the truth. I remember wondering why my little baby woudn’t sleep…why wouldn’t she sleep?! I talked to friends in my first year of motherhood and they would tell me how their babies would take regular, scheduled naps, every single day, not just when they got lucky. We would be hanging out and we would have to arrange it around their kid’s nap schedules, because they actually had them. It made me want to punch them (the moms, not the kids). Not really, but I was totally jealous.

And then, one day when Isla was probably about 6 months old, I went to get her from my sisters who were watching her while I worked. They told me when I got there that I should go lay down and take a nap. That they would keep watching her for me. I teared up with gratitude and then went to the bedroom to lay down. I remember laying on top of the covers with my head in the softest, most comfortable pillow and then……..hearing the faint sounds of my sisters’ voices. They were out in the living room, whispering so so that they wouldn’t bother me. I strained harder to hear what they were talking about. Ugh, if only they would talk a little bit louder. I laid there for probably 4 minutes, I tried closing my eyes, I tried counting sheep or horses, and then I finally got up and went into the living room.

“I totally get it,” I said, “I totally get what Isla feels like. Why she fights it so hard.”

“What are you doing?” they asked me.

“I feel like I’m missing out,” I whined and then jumped onto the couch in-between them.

Do you guys remember that episode of Growing Pains where Chrissy won’t go to bed because she’s pretty sure that her whole family is partying with cheeto’s and clowns and balloons in the living room while she’s supposed to be upstairs sleeping? It was just like that. I know Isla feels that way now too, and I’m pretty sure that’s how it’s always been for her. And I can’t really argue……or complain……because I get it.

Either way though, I’m still tired. But here’s where the special thing that has happened to me comes into play. You see, I live in the Seattle area, where most of the time it rains, or if not, it’s overcast and cloudy and cold. But for about 2 months out of the year, we’ll have days where it is be-A-U-tiful. Days when the sun is out, we are surrounded by mountain ranges that feel like they are looming over us in the most glorious of ways and our feet are literally freezing as we wade in the Puget Sound (but we go for the swim anyways). And, if we’re really lucky during those two months, we might even have a couple of nice days strung together. Like yesterday and today.

This is where the magic happens. Yesterday, after work, I watched Isla and her friend play at the park for a couple of hours. They ran into the library for a few minutes but were mostly out in the sun, running, skipping (because according to Isla, that’s what she does when she’s happy), swinging and climbing on things. Then, when we left to drive home, this happened…………………..

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Then today, after work, Isla asked to go to the beach. “You know mom, the water beach?” she asked.

“Which water beach, honey?”

“The one where we had the carrots and hummus and an ice cream picnic?”

“Oh yeah,” I knew exactly what she meant because she was totally right in the details. We had gone down to the Edmonds beach and I had brought carrots and hummus and a root beer (because, you know, I’m all about balance) and then we had gotten ice cream cones (because I wanted to be extra balanced that day). So we hopped in the car, brought a bucket and a shovel and off we went to the beach for a couple of hours. And you know what? This is what happened on the car ride home…….

 

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I swear, that is the sweeeeeetest face in the world for a tired mom. Because if her head is back and her mouth is open, I know she’ll even stay asleep when I carry her inside, which means, that I can take a nap too. Because the only other person in this house is sleeping, so I won’t miss out on a thing.

❤ A sand covered, sun loving girl

P.S. Danny says that Isla looks just exactly like me when she’s sleeping. She’s cute asleep like that, right? Totally, right? Sleeping with your mouth open is adorable, right? Please say yes.

The time I moved, got a job, quit a job and moved back home in a weekend.

Danny asked me the other day if Isla and I wanted to go down to Olympia with him on Monday. I, being who I am, got super excited and acted like we were going on vacation. Because I LOVE ROADTRIPS. Let me say it again, I love road trips. Danny, knows this better than anyone. If you put me in a car and act like we’re going somewhere, anywhere, I get excited. I’ll grab an iced coffee and a bag of Sun chips and be in Heaven. Danny, my handy husband who works on cars, buys a lot of car parts off of Craigslist and he purposefully tries to get parts that are about an hour away. If its anywhere up north, or even better, east, he knows he can take me along and I will think he is the best husband in the world with the most creative date ideas (like picking up a set of spare tires in Lynden). I will sit in the passenger seat of his car with stars in my eyes happily munching on Sun chips for two hours and he doesn’t have to spend a dime, or buy me a dozen roses or a diamond ring…..because he knows his lady, and all she wants is a road trip.

So, when he told me he had booked an appointment with his tattoo guy (who recently moved to Olympia) to get some work done, Isla and I packed up our stuff to come along so that we could hang out in the Capitol city and enjoy the sunshine. We headed out yesterday as soon as I got off work. I had my iced coffee in hand, Danny was driving and sweet Isla girl was all buckled up in the back seat next to her 4 stuffed animals and the baby stroller she had to bring to push her animals around in. We made it through most of Seattle, listening to music, staring out the window and talking about how we used to make this drive all the time.

Which we did. Well, Danny did. I was supposed to. Here enters the story of how I moved to Olympia, worked at Starbucks, quit and moved home, all in 72 hours.

Danny and I had been dating for about 6 months when he found out he could transfer from the community college he was attending to Evergreen State, a college an hour south of where we lived. Straight from the college advisor’s office we went to the Lake Washington waterfront, where I started crying, because I was 21 and the love of my life was moving away. Also, I was 21. He told me that, of course I was coming with him, or at least he wanted me to. Then I cried some more because I loved him and he loved me and also, did I mention I was 21? (I need you to give me some slack here).

A few months later we were making all of our big plans. My mom and I drove down to Olympia to check out apartments. Danny applied for classes and bought tie-die t-shirts that said “Evergreen” across the front. When my dad and I drove down a week before we moved in to check out the apartment and drop a few things off, I set down a box on the carpet and could actually see a gaggle of fleas jump up on to my arms. I screamed, almost threw up, and ran for my life. So, we had the place flea bombed. And then we packed up our U-Haul and moved.

I had gotten a job at Starbucks, and was going to start there the next day. This was the second disaster (the first being the fleas). I had worked in coffee for 5 years at this point, I felt pretty confident that I knew what I was doing but I had never worked at a Starbucks and expected it to be a little different. I specifically remember going in on my first day and having to watch a SUPER LONG video about the cleaning products that they used and in what order they were supposed to be used and when and how and how much to use and how to scrub a drain and then to wash and rinse and repeat. I sat in the back of the Starbucks, in a little office, staring at the computer and wondering what I had gotten myself into.

Here is what I know about myself now, but I didn’t know then. I don’t like rules. Especially a lot of rules that don’t really make sense to me (do you know they have different measuring cups for their ice cubes?!) The thing is, I’m going to follow the rules anyways, I just don’t want to be told to follow them. It’s a lot like telling a kid to color inside of the lines. It annoys me when you tell me to color inside the lines, and the ridiculous thing about it all is that I would NEVER color outside the lines on my own. I’m a total rule follower. know, I know, its immature and a character flaw and I’m working on it. Just don’t tell me I should work on it.

Anyways, I sat and watched this video with another new hire and then we worked out front for a couple of hours. The next day when I came back (day #2) the other new hire had quit. Maybe she had a problem with rules too? I don’t know, but I had to work out front and try to learn a million different Frappuccino recipes. It was horrible. I quit that night. I just couldn’t take it another day. And I missed my mom. And my dad. And my sisters. And it was Sunday (we had moved in on Friday) and I wanted to go home. Once again, let me remind you I was only 21?

My cute boyfriend who I loved to death, said he understood and I took off for home. I said I would come on the weekends and he would come up when he had days off during the week. And that’s how we rolled for the next year. Sort of in two places at once.

All of these things I was thinking about yesterday on our drive down, and I was thinking about how far we had come. How we had this cute, amazing, beautiful little baby in the back seat…….and then she started throwing up. And throwing up. And throwing up. I quickly grabbed my empty coffee cup and held it under her chin. After the cup had filled to the brim with Top Ramen noodles, I crawled in the back seat and smoothed her hair back with my fingers and cuddled her. I taught her the best road trip remedy, how you can stick your fingers out the window and it will make you feel better. She smiled at me, with little tears in her eyes and wiggled those little fingers in the breeze.

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Post throw up nap.  She’s a trooper.

 

When we made it to Olympia, we dropped Danny off at the Tattoo shop and my girl and I hit up park #1 because there is nothing like fresh air to cure some car sickness. We played for a while, had lunch and a Pepsi and we gawked at the insane beauty of the Olympic Mountains and how they look different from down south. We drove to park #2, got my girl a smoothie and played near the lake. Then we drove to park #3 and swung and ran and climbed and hiked down to the beach where we took off our shoes and waded out into the Puget Sound. It was amazing, it was beautiful and it was so much better than the last time I was there. (Only sand fleas this time)

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We picked up Danny about 3 hours later, with sunburnt shoulders (me) and sticky coconut smoothie lips (Isla), and headed back north, to home. I was showing Danny some of the photos I took of Isla and talking about how much fun we had had. “Olympia is such a funny place,” I said, “It’s like, it’s kind of, I don’t know, It’s…”

“Like you can’t put your finger on it?” He finished my thoughts exactly.

“Yeah, it’s kind of weird. We had so much fun but I’m not sure I could ever live there.”

“No Laura,” he quickly interrupted, “we already know that you could never live there.” And then he turned to me, with the sweetest smile on his face because he loves me and he understood, I was only 21.

Sincerely,

The rule follower/road tripper/sun chips lover

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Second time’s the charm.  This city was a whole lot sweeter with this little girl in it.

Thank you.

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Me, circa 1998. They hadn’t really invented hair straighteners yet, at least not ones that worked on my hair.

 

There is always a spot for the “middle school me” in my head. The girl with the thick black hair and big eyebrows who is trying, like a lot of 13 year olds, to learn how to love herself. It’s almost like she has a little room up there, one that she has decorated with rodeo print curtains and a white cotton bedspread. She has Breyer horses up on her windowsill and stacks of books everywhere. Instead of a teddy bear or a special blanket, she sleeps with whatever book she is reading curled up in her arms. Because that makes her feel safe and also reminds her that there is a world she can escape to, through reading, that will take her wherever she wants to go.

As I get older, that middle-schooler’s room occupies a little less space, and the rest of my brain is taken up with more important things like my job, my family, my happiness. But, she’ll always be there, and I’m grateful. You wanna know why? Because she is like a measuring stick. I can’t tell how far I’ve come if I don’t see her, don’t know her, and remember where I’ve been.

Last night, Saturday, we had my book launch party for my middle-grade novel, When the Stars Lead Home. I had a mixed bag of feelings leading up to it this last week. I threw up on Wednesday, I cried on Thursday, I ran to the store and bought 100 plastic cups on Friday (but what if only 10 people show up?!!!). Part of the anxiety was being the center of attention, and part of the anxiety was the unknown. Seriously, I invited every single member of my family with a “p.s. you have to be there and stay the whole time because you might be the only ones” added at the end.

But what happened was this. It was awesome. It was beautiful. It was a reminder to me that the world is good and kind and full of amazing people. People who I know through work, or life, and people who I met last night. I kept telling myself (and everyone around me) that this was even better than a wedding, because I was old enough to really appreciate it. Weddings are amazing, but they sort of fly by and I had RSVP cards so I knew 120 people would show up. Book launch parties make you throw up 3 days before and you have no idea what to expect, until it happens and you realize there was really no reason to throw up at all.

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Me with all of you wonderful, wonderful people at my book launch party.

 

Two things really stand out from my party. The first is that while I sat at the round table with a line of incredible people patiently waiting for me to sign their books, I kept looking down at my wrist. In fact, I would look at my right wrist, lift it up with the pen in hand and then shake it until my new bracelet slid back down to where it sat comfortably.

Yesterday morning, Isla came to me with a blue bead on a silver string. She must have found the bead somewhere and got the string all by herself, cut a piece, threaded the bead on and then gave it to me.

 

“A necklace,” she said and smiled at me. We tried to fit it around my neck but it was a little too small. “Maybe a bracelet?” she asked.

Danny came in to tie it for me. “A double knot, please.” I asked him.

I wore it all day yesterday and then when the time came to put on my “party outfit”, I looked down at my wrist and smiled. It would stay. Because she made it. And I loved it.

As I sat in this total dream-come-true moment last night, I kept looking down at my string bracelet and it kept doing its job. Reminding me that the moment I was in was hard fought for, required a lot of time and sacrifice over the years that it has taken me to get this book published, and that really, at the end of the day, I am simply grateful. Grateful for this book, for these people and for my family. Without them I would just be a girl that wrote a book. That means tiddlywinks to me. My family makes me, and the silver string with a blue bead reminded me of that every time I looked down.

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Isla’s gift to me.  A beautiful, hand-made bracelet.

 

The other thing that really stands out for me last night was something I overheard my mom say to a guest. I was sitting at the table signing books when I heard her voice, they must have been talking about libraries. “Laura has always loved libraries,” she told the lady, “growing up she always said there were two places where she felt completely safe. At home with her family and at the library.”

She’s right. I’ve mentioned before that I have anxiety, I have since 3rd grade. It went untreated until I was about 19, mostly because we didn’t know exactly what it was and I was always too scared to do anything about it. I didn’t really even understand what specific type of anxiety disorder I had until I was 26, so for 18 years of my life I treated it with books. It’s odd and it’s true and it was my saving grace. I remember my mom surprising me with Janette Oke’s book, The Tender Years, while I was somewhere in my mid-teens and on a day when I was particularly struggling.  I read it again,  just a couple of years ago, loved it equally as much, and laughed when I realized that this book explains my love for all things prairie, frontier, Canadian, simple and Janette Oke. Honestly though, this is the perfect example of how books could reach me, in just the right moments.

Books took me out of my head and into a wonderful place. What my mom told that person last night was exactly right, books and the library made me feel safe, like I could really breathe. I’ve spent years of my life sitting on the floor between the stacks at the Richmond Beach library, totally absorbed in the mystery Nancy Drew was solving or in the adventures of the three girls that made up the Saddle Club.

That is why I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I want to create places for others to go, where they can learn, smile and rest. I wrote When the Stars Lead Home with both my daughter and my middle school self in mind. What do I want Isla to read in 10 years? What did I need to find on those bookshelves 20 years ago? This is the book.

And last night, with all of you around me, with my family nearby and a dream literally coming true right before my very eyes, the middle school Laura in my head did a little cheer. Her room got a little smaller, because I was able to actually see who I had become. All of my friends, customers and family were a tangible example of who I had grown into. They say that you are who you surround yourself with, and if that’s the case, this 13 turned 32 year old has learned to love herself (because of you).

Thank you.

The girl with thick black hair and now medium sized eyebrows

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Yoga makes me want to scream.

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Downward-facing dog (mommy style).

 

I can’t tell if I like yoga or not. I want to. I try to, but sometimes something weird happens in yoga or on your average Monday, or Tuesday or Wednesday…..all of a sudden it feels like there is not enough space in whatever room I am standing in. When I’m doing yoga, it’s almost as if all that stretching makes me tight. I know, I know, I’m a living oxymoron.

Everyone I’ve talked to, everything I read, says that I should practice yoga and meditation to help with my anxiety. So, I tried. I went to a meditation class with my husband (he was my boyfriend then) about 11 years ago. It was just Danny, me and one other girl in the class. The class began and then all of a sudden I “woke up” and it was over. I couldn’t believe it. When it was time to leave I followed the other girl out of the class and onto the stairway landing. I was a little in a daze and on about the third stair I fell and bounced on my butt all the way to the bottom, chasing our fellow classmate out of the meditation hall. I’m pretty sure I made the building vibrate. I haven’t been back since.

I’ve done yoga a bit. I did one hot yoga class. Seriously, I was totally unaware that my shins could sweat. It was crazy. I haven’t been back since.

I’ve taken a couple of regular yoga classes. They were OK, but they were indoors. Which is sort of hard for me. My anxiety makes me feel claustrophobic, and being in a small classroom makes me claustrophobic, and definitely when I am supposed to be calm and quiet and stretching, I feel claustrophobic. I haven’t been back since.

The other day at work, I was feeling claustrophobic (I swear it doesn’t happen that often even though reading this makes that hard to believe). I was working on the espresso machine when all of a sudden, I felt like I needed to get out. I had the strongest urge to just run out of the shop, into the fresh air, tear off my shirt and run screaming down the street. Really, it sounded so nice. And scarily, it sounded like a good idea. That was when I did a little self-talk, “Laura, don’t do it. Do. Not. Do. It. You have bills to pay so, no matter what, you’ll have to come back to work on Monday, and trust me girl, if you tear off down the street without your shirt on, YOU WILL NOT WANT TO COME BACK ON MONDAY.” My talk worked. I didn’t scream. I kept my shirt on, thank God, and I’ve been back to work since, so all is well.

And now, here we go again, it’s been a crazy day, I’ve got two girls that want me to play “kitty” with them, I need to go to the store to by plastic cups and I should probably fold the laundry that is undoubtedly, by now completely wrinkly. Instead, I think I’ll stand up, do some stretches, breathe in, breathe out and give it another shot. Because, I’m pretty sure, every sentence I’ve written above is evidence that I really need to do yoga. Or, I’ll just stick with what I’ve been doing, which is running down the street (with my shirt on) really fast until I can’t run anymore, and then I’ll feel better. Maybe, I was just meant to be a runner.

Always and Forever,

Stiff, Tight, and Claustrophobic

Confessions of an auntie.

Its 4:11pm, I’ve completely sweated through my t-shirt, I’m having stomach cramps and I can’t tell if I’m going to laugh, cry or pee my pants. It sounds like I’m going into labor or something, right? No. I’m just getting over a traumatic experience. This is the text that I sent at 3:41pm to my oldest sister. “I screwed up big time today, please don’t be irritated at me.”

Let me start at the beginning (which began at 3:06pm) when I picked up my oldest nephew from school today. Isla and I pulled up out front and I watched as my cute little baby (I’ll always think of him as my first baby) saw my car, grabbed the straps of his backpack and started running to us. He hopped in and I asked him how his day went. “Good.” He said.

Ok, I’m going to fill you in on a few things, a couple about my boy and a couple about middle school in 2017. My boy is the sweetest, nicest boy that ever graced the age of 13. He’s not a dork, he’s a pretty good athlete and has a lot of friends, but he is sensitive and so genuinely nice, which can sometimes be a little difficult for him. “Why?” you might wonder. Because middle school is still the same. There are still mean kids and nice kids and cool kids and kids that are obsessed with horses and therefore not so cool. My boy is still pretty young on the middle school spectrum of innocence and he sometimes has a hard time understanding why kids do and say the things that they do. I’m not claiming that he’s perfect, he can have an attitude and press his mom’s (my sister’s) buttons, but he is unfailingly kind, and sometimes that is hard.

Here is the perfect example. My boy has thick hair and it’s kind of hard to do anything with, but like every other boy he has ideas of what he would like it to look like. For probably the past 3 or 4 years, my two sisters, my mom and I have been trying to figure out how he is supposed to do his hair. It’s really thick so it kind of sticks out when you cut it short and it kind of sticks out when you grow it longer. We’ve been using Pinterest to send pictures to each other of teenage boys with his hair type. Our Pinterest boards are full of country style home décor and pictures of Zac Efron, it’s actually kind of embarrassing.

So, today when my boy hopped in my car, he told me that he “kind of wanted to get the sides of his hair trimmed,” (because they stick out). I instantly told him I would do it. He thought about it for a second, thought maybe he would wait, changed his mind and then told me he wanted me to do it. I’ve cut his hair before, lots of times. In fact, I gave him his first haircut. But I don’t do it as much anymore because a boy’s hair in middle school is important. It’s sort of all they’ve got to work with so my sister sends him to the local barber.

Now, the beginning of this problem started because I thought I could actually do it. But the thing is, I can usually sort-of-at-least-kind-of do most things. If you want a sign made, I can draw it. If you need a good running partner, I’m your gal. Need someone to sew you a set of cloth napkins? I’ll have them made in 20 minutes. I can sort of do a lot of things, which doesn’t mean that I can ACTUALLY DO a lot of things. What I learned today, is that just sort of being able to do something doesn’t mean that you should.

We got home, my boy sat on the stool and I pulled out my husband’s hair trimmer which I use to cut his hair. I always cut his hair, he hasn’t paid for a hair cut in ten years, which is why I thought I could do this. And this is exactly the moment where I wish I had a friend at my side that could have pulled a lever that would have sent me flying down the block and broken an arm so I couldn’t have gone any further. But I didn’t, (shed a tear for me in advance).

I tried the #3 guard but it didn’t even touch his blonde hair. I was looking for the #2, but he just kept saying that he was pretty sure they used a #1, so I grabbed it and popped it on. Danny’s trimmer is a little old and a little crooked so I noticed that it might be a little short on one side of the blade, but I always do Danny’s hair and it turns out good so I thought it must not matter.

I made the first cut. Then it began, or ended, depending on how you look at it. The very first cut was so stinkin’ short it made him a little bald in one small spot. My eyes bulged out of my head. I made another swipe, because I had committed, and almost died. Then I had to keep going because I didn’t know what else to do. I just cut around the bottom half of his head, then tried to fix it, then tried again, then realized I couldn’t fix it.

He looked in the mirror, we both did this weird hysterical whimper/laugh thing and looked at each other. I tried to fix it again. He was so horribly nice and smiled at me. I was worried he might cry. “Oh my god,” I stared at my cute boy. “Get your shirt on, were going to the barber shop.”

He, Isla and I ran to the car. I texted my middle sister to go pick up the other 2 boys from school in 15 minutes, I didn’t have time. The conversation went like this, word for word (I’m looking at my phone now):

Me: 3:30pm “I just disaster cut his hair and now I’m taking him to Tom’s barbershop for an emergency fix”

Me: 3:30pm “Emergency!”

Me: 3:36pm “Oh my God I’m going to cry”

Linds: 3:40pm “Oh no what did you do”

Linds: 3:41pm “I’m sure it’s not that bad”

She had no idea.

On the way to the barbershop my boy put the hood of his sweatshirt up. I told him it would be OK no matter what, that they would be able to fix it. He told me that he might just wear a hat to school tomorrow, especially if he had to get it cut shorter, which I knew they would have to in order to fix the horrible mess I had made. I asked why he didn’t want short hair and he told me that his friends would tease him. That if he wore a hat they would probably just pull it off. I told him that he was so handsome and good looking and everything would be fine if he would just “own it.” That no one would tease him if he acted like he didn’t care.

I felt like such a pathetic, hypocrite for saying those words, the ones that are so much easier said than done. Telling a middle schooler to just rock a horrible haircut is bad….and sad….and just doesn’t work. But he just smiled at me. So then I did another bad thing, I went into crazy aunt mode where I said a bunch of things I shouldn’t have said about other stupid middle school boys that would tease someone for their haircut. How that made them pathetic, etc., etc, etc. Not my best moment, especially on the day I turn 32. I’m sorry.

We walked into Tom’s, he with his hood up and me trailing with my little girl. When he took his hood off the barber actually gasped, no joke, and said, “What happened?”

“Oh you know, haha,” I rushed him to the seat, “he just needs you to fix it.” The two hairdressers exchanged looks. “Just fix it,” I added. “Please,” I looked at them both, “just fix it.”

The lady got started and the other stylist looked at me and asked, “Who did that to him?”

“His friend’s mom.” I didn’t even blush. I. Just. Couldn’t.

My boy looked at me and smirked.

Thank God the lady worked a miracle. It’s shorter than he would have wanted but I swear, if you could have seen what I did to him, you would know that those ladies at Tom’s Barbershop are hair geniuses. I stood nearby him, hovering over my little 7th grader, giving him the thumbs up and telling him he looked like a 9th grader with his new do.

When it was all over I gave the lady a huge tip, honestly I would have tipped her my car if I didn’t need it to get to work tomorrow. We walked outside and my boy turned to me and said, “Well, I guess we learned a life lesson today.”

“Oh yeah?” I asked.

“Yeah. Just go to the hair cutting place when you want a haircut.”

I swooned. This boy is smart and nice and totally handsome. And he’s right, we did learn an important lesson, I should never, I repeat never, cut another person’s hair in my entire life.

P.S. I just talked to my sister, who had talked to her son. She told him she was really proud of him for handling the haircut the way he did because I had felt so bad about what I had done to him. He said, “Oh, I feel really bad that she feels bad.” See, I told you he was that nice.

❤ A lucky aunt that gives HORRIBLE haircuts

P.P.S. There are no photos for this post, I just couldn’t document this one. They say that whatever you put on the internet stays there forever and I just couldn’t do that to him.

We’re the lucky ones. I mean you, moms.

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#motherhoodisthebesthood

 

The other day someone told me that I was a really good mom. I was shocked. Me? Laura Weigel Douglas? The girl that still thinks of herself as a girl? The girl that asks herself several times a day, “Am I doing this right?” I almost died with relief.

I know I’m a good mom, it’s just that sometimes, I’m not sure if I’m a really good mom. I mean, I think I am. Am I? Agghhh, it’s so hard to know. Some moments it seems I have it all down, and the next thing I know I’m having to bribe my 4 year old with a chocolate bar in front of the last-person-in-the-world-you-want-to-bribe-your-daughter-in-front-of (I know that’s a long name but I had to get my point across, those people exist out there, the ones that judge you because your daughter has dirt on her face and chocolate on her cheek and I just couldn’t brush her hair this morning because I was too tired and I haven’t brushed my hair in a week).

What I’m learning, is that motherhood is a lot of little things mixed together, and doubt about how you’re doing is one of them. Thankfully, it’s not the biggest part. It’s more like a “pinch of salt” in the dough. For me, motherhood is a pretty basic recipe on a day to day basis. It has 3 ingredients: Choices, Time & Affection.

Choices:  Every single day, I’m faced with a bunch of choices. You are too, I’m sure of it. It starts early, the alarm goes off, and I lay in bed and decide if I actually have to wake up or if I can wait until my next alarm. I usually decide that I don’t need makeup today and I won’t care if I look like an 11 year old girl all morning with frizzy hair and rosy cheeks, so I press snooze (p.s. always by noon when I’m still the girl with frizzy hair and rosy cheeks I wish I would’ve just spent the extra five minutes with a hair brush, but oh, the extra sleep always wins at 5:00am). Then I have to decide what to do about breakfast, about my attitude, about what to do with the 2 hours I have before I pick up Isla from preschool, what to make for after school snack, etc. etc. Sometimes, just the idea of all the decisions I have to make is overwhelming, and I think part of that is because of the pressure I put on myself. I hold this little’s girls life in my hands. If I don’t sign her up for ballet next year am I going to destroy her chances  at adulthood? No, probably not, but weirdly my irrational mind sometimes takes me there.

Time:  I work full time. I write this blog and sometimes books. I watch Hallmark movies and horse shows. I read a lot (or at least did before I was a mother). I selfishly (and humanly) crave alone time because I am always with other people. Here’s what I have learned. We all have only 24 hours a day. We each get to choose where and how we spend it. I fight with myself every single day, trying to find a balance between motherhood, wifehood, myselfhood. I haven’t found an answer. I just know that on my last day, I’m not going to be excited that I watched one more episode of a horse show on Netflix, but I will remember that day Isla and I fed the ducks at the pond down the road. I am always trying to make that right choice, but I don’t always do it.

Affection:  This is what I do best. I’m the girl that will tell you I love you 17 times just to make sure you heard it. I’ll say it first and I’ll say it the most. I say it every single time I get off the phone with any member of my family, because it’s the truth. It’s that simple. So it’s easy for me to be the mom that is constantly kissing my sweet girl’s cheeks, because why wouldn’t I? She has the cutest cheeks ever. It’s natural, and I think it’s important. Affection is the way you show someone you love them and kids need that more than anyone.

I don’t always get the balance right, but I try to mix these three ingredients together in a somewhat even and responsible way. And you know what? Every day, what I am rewarded with is a PRIVILEGE. That’s what motherhood is. A privilege. We’re the lucky ones people. Let’s not forget that when we’re folding clothes or have to push pause in the middle of a horse show to read “When You Give a Mouse a Cookie” for the tenth time.

Let’s not get lost in the busyness and lose ourselves.

Let’s be the ones that remember how very blessed we are to have little ones that laugh and run and look at us like we’re still cool.

So this Mother’s Day, let’s be thankful, not perfect. Let’s spend the day proud that someone calls us mom. Today is our day to realize how very lucky we are. And then tomorrow, when I wake up and I’m tired,  I’m not going to care if I’m the frizzy haired girl at work because I have an amazing girl at home and I spent those extra five minutes cuddling in bed with her….yep, summertime she sleeps in bed with us (choices)…….but you know what, I just don’t think I’ll ever regret that.

❤ A work in progress

P.S. Happy Mother’s Day mom! You showed me what it means to put your girls first, every step of the way, every single day. I’m thankful and I’m privileged to be yours. In this equation I’m pretty sure I’m the lucky one. Love you!