Category Archives: fortunate mama

Finish Line

On September 11, 2001, the finish line was when Mike showed up at my office covered in dust.  Or so I thought.

Then we had to get home.  Under the ground, over a bridge, and underground again.  Then we had to convince ourselves that we were safe.  Then we had to peel ourselves away from the news.  Then we had to leave the house.  Then we had to return to work.  Then we had to go back to living our lives.  Then we had to learn how to be happy without feeling bad about it.

Nearly twelve years later, it seems like life is a never-ending series of finish lines.

This morning, at the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers 5K, an annual race in honor of all those sacrificed in the line of duty on 9/11, this was what I saw when I ran across the finish line:


On that horrific day under a warm sun and flawless blue sky, I never in my wildest dreams would have predicted this life and these beautiful people in it.

Life is still sweet, hills are still no big deal, and, as it turns out, every finish line leads to the beginning of a new race.

Grateful Proud Fortunate Happy Strong Exhausted Runaway Mama.



Filed under fortunate mama, Grateful Mama, Happy Mama, running, September 11th, Strong Mama


I’m back!  Mike and I successfully escaped (ran away?) for five days and five nights.  We treated ourselves to a Caribbean cruise to mark a successful decade of marriage.  It felt incredibly indulgent, but I reminded myself over and over again that we deserved it.  We earned it.  We needed it.  Last Monday morning, I abandoned my to do list at home for a to do list at sea.  Here’s what I accomplished while we were away:

I read 2 books in 4 days. If this were a Runaway Mama word problem, the answer would be: Hallelujah!

I spent time with my husband.  What a concept!  We even talked about stuff other than our kids.  Crazy!

I took the stairs.  As much as possible.  Elevators are for chumps…and for parents with strollers, which thankfully wasn’t me!  Speaking of which…

I missed my boys because I love them enough to eat them whole, but not enough to wish they were there. No way. I watched the Mamas and Daddies on the pool deck with their little ducklings and they looked exhausted. I got tired watching them (when I wasn’t busy reading one of my books).

I didn’t use the hand sanitizer.  No matter how much pressure there was at every entrance to every dining room, every theater, and every lounge.  Allergic Mama!  Seriously, I’m allergic to propylene glycol and a laundry list of other chemicals that are difficult to spell (and thus aren’t listed here) and are in many skin products, including hand sanitizer.  Sigh.  My protest wasn’t because I aspired to take down the entire cruise ship with my germy hands; rather, it was because I didn’t want to have to search for a cortisone shot at sea…or in Jamaica (dear God).

I didn’t watch the news (mostly).  I’m a news junkie, so this was a good thing.  If I’d been home all week reading about and watching coverage of Sandy Hook funerals, I would’ve been a hot mess.  Funny, though, even in the middle of the ocean with limited access to the Internet and TV, it came up in conversation.  A lot.

I said goodbye to IBS…temporarily.  (Editor’s note: I once vowed to speak of digestion – especially mine – if, and only if, it was relevant to the story.)  As soon as the carpool lines, lunch boxes to pack, gifts to wrap, teeth to brush, homework to decipher, dishes to clean, bills to pay, whining to endure, groceries to buy, and cars to clean (I could go on and on here) faded into the distance, my perpetual digestive discomfort totally and completely disappeared.  Until the day before we came home.  Interesting.

I cruised, therefore I “bingo-d” (therefore I wasted a lot of money).  I played bingo with a glass of Chardonnay every afternoon on the ship.


Those are my very unlucky bingo cards.  I remember playing and winning Bingo on previous cruises, so my misfortune this time was difficult to handle.  This one kid, Aidan (I’ve changed Adam’s – oops – Aidan’s name for security), won Bingo, like, every day. On Thursday, he won twice in one session. After his second win, no one cheered or clapped.  We all kind of wished he’d graciously pass on his second win (over $180!) so someone else could have a bleeping chance, but we all really just wished we were Adam Aidan.

I didn’t take a lot of pictures. Surprise, surprise.  But the few we took are evidence that we really, truly got away.

Free at last!

Free at last!  Glass of wine in right hand!

That's me impersonating Dylan's swagger.

That’s me impersonating Dylan’s swagger.


We took a picture just like this about a dozen years ago.  It felt good to recreate it.

We’re home now. The boys were fine without us for 120 hours, my parents are (exhausted) angels, and Christmas Eve is upon us.  There are presents to wrap, food to cook, and cookies to bake. On top of that, the house is a mess, laundry is backed up, and my tummy hurts again.  But, I’m a Grateful, Fortunate, Happy (Tired) Mama for the great gifts in my life – my kids, my husband, my family, my friends, and my tan.  The best way to describe the feeling is that it’s a lot like…winning bingo.

Despite these blessings, I have a new and unfortunate health crisis to tend with. I have a really bad case of PVSD. You can read all about it here.

Merry Christmas Eve!

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Filed under books, Christmas, fortunate mama, Grateful Mama, Happy Mama, math, Tired Mama, vacation


Mike took Dylan to Costco over the weekend, and on the way, Dylan asked Mike what his job was.  Mike explained that he was a reporter and a project manager.  Dylan’s priceless response was, “Do you fix things?”  Next, Dylan asked what my job was?  Mike said, “Mommy’s job is taking care of you, your brother and the household.”  (Why does it always sting a little bit to hear this basically true statement out loud?) Dylan’s response was, “Mommy’s job is cooking.”  (By the way, I’m so glad he said cooking instead of doing laundry.  I actually enjoy cooking.)  And then this was the best part.  Dylan said, “Mommy’s job is everything.”  This is quite possibly the best job description for a mother that I’ve ever heard.

I don’t actually do everything, but it often feels like it, and it’s one of the reasons I haven’t rushed back into the (paid) workforce yet.  I feel like I’ve been living inside an episode of the Wonder Pets for nearly three years, so it’s hard to imagine having the capacity to be responsible for or accountable to anyone besides my two children (and husband and dog).  On top of that, I don’t want to become a Caught in the Middle Mama again.  Been there.  Done that.  And then there’s the fear – fear of failure, fear of taking on too much and fear of, well, everything.  It’s one thing to want everything, but it’s another thing to have it all on one plate.

Even with all of this apprehension, I’ve been very discreetly doing something totally and completely HUGE.  I’ve started working.  I’m doing freelance public relations (what I used to do), and I’m getting paid (gasp!).  This is what I was referring to in my blog birthday post when I said I was taking baby steps outside of my cozy mommy bubble.

 As I’ve stated (and demonstrated) before, stay-at-home mamahood can be a nerve-racking, hair-raising experience, but no matter how crazy it gets, it’s still a different animal than work.  Combining the two takes courage and patience (and good friends and plenty of Pino Grigio), and balancing them must be done delicately.  Baby steps, indeed.  I’m working from home, making my own hours, earning some money and still “cooking.”  I’m a Fortunate Mama tiptoeing very slowly toward…everything. 

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Filed under caught-in-the-middle mama, fortunate mama, work