Category Archives: friendship

Home Is Where The Hard Is (Or, Us)

Our weekend trip to Disney was fun.  I mean, I knew we were going to have fun even if it was Clark Griswald’s “We’re all gonna have so much fucking fun we’re gonna need plastic surgery to remove our goddamn smiles” kind of fun, but it ended up being the real deal fun.

The hotel was fantastic, being with friends was a blast, FastPass+ rocked, the boys braved (and loved!) Splash Mountain, and I kicked everyone’s butt on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin.


My score! For real life!

I connected with my husband, laughed with my kids, went with the flow (even when the Polynesian Luau Dinner Show turned out to be a really bad idea), put my phone away, watched fireworks with my bare feet in the sand, and was present. Present.


Magic Kingdom fireworks seen from the beach at Disney’s Polynesian Resort.

It was an amazing getaway, and it reminded me how much I totally and completely love my family and friends, and how easy and pure and comfortable and fun it is to be with them.

Then we came home, and home is hard.

Home is laundry and dinner that no one wants to eat and hockey gear and hurry up and bills and we’re out of milk and homework and alarms and school lunches and get dressed and tie your own shoes and you flooded the bathroom again and house projects that need to be done whether we stay or sell and relentless work schedules and writer’s block and pressure to publish and fear of rejection and the reality of rejection and I have nothing to wear and I feel fat and wanting to turn back time because parents do get old and they don’t age the way we want and not fitting in.

Home is uneasy. It’s lonely. It’s wanting more and wanting less. It’s wondering what’s next. It’s wishing days and relationships and health and to-dos and everything were easier, lighter, and happier.

Like when we were away.

I’ve felt an unexplainable sadness this week. A similar feeling washed over me when Mike and I returned from our 10th anniversary  cruise.  As soon as the ship sailed away, we rediscovered the Us that had been lost in the grind of our home life. Quite frankly, it was a relief to know it was still there, but as soon as we disembarked, it was lost again. Last weekend, I caught a glimpse of Us again – this time the Us that included our children – but the glimpse was too brief, and the return home has been jarring.

Home is where life is. Real life and all of the chaos and grit that buries Us deep. Home is where the heart is, but home is where the hard is, too.





Filed under Disney World, family, friendship, travel, vacation

Show Off

Kids say the darndest things, don’t they?  Dylan’s “Six Years Ago I Was Dead” bit comes to mind right away.  One of my favorite lines from Riley is, “I love you all the way to Costco and back.”

Kids also ask a lot of questions.  I think we can all agree on this.  Here’s one from the car on the way home from the park.  We were talking about when the boys were in my belly (this comes up a lot) when Dylan asked, “How did I get in your belly?”

And there it was.  The big one.  The question that, if answered truthfully, would end with a premature, confusing, and awkward conversation with way too much information at too young of an age about sex.  The question that, if answered falsely, would result in a child who thinks babies are made as a result of holding hands, touching heads (remember the Coneheads?!), or a really good knock-knock joke.  After a long and excruciating silence, my response was, “That’s an excellent question.  Would you like some Pirate’s Booty?”

Pause.  Acknowledge.  Redirect.  (Every so often, my deer-in-the-headlights parenting works.)

Here’s another one I think we can all agree on (and roll our eyes at and hide in a closet from and drink to).  Kids are prone to tattling.  Now there’s an understatement!  The frequency, originality, and drama of tattling in my house is un-freakin’-believable.  If it weren’t so annoying, it would be hilarious.  The other day, while tattling on Riley for not sharing one of roughly seven thousand Star Wars toys, Dylan said, “My heart is breaking.  Riley has broken my heart into hundreds of tiny pieces.”   Good grief.

And here’s a new one (for me).  I’ve recently noticed that kids like to show off in front of their friends.  You know, “The tooth fairy gave me this much money,” or, “I have all the Batman movies,” etc.  Unfortunately, this bragging occasionally exposes us parents as the Crackpot/Throw Spaghetti Against The Wall To See What Sticks/We Have No Idea What We’re Doing But We’ve Kept Them Alive This Long imposters that we really are.

Like the other day in the car (we’re in the car a lot) with Dylan, Riley, and one of Dylan’s friends from school.  Out of nowhere, Dylan boasted to his buddy, “I get to sit in the front seat with Daddy.”  Seriously?  I quickly interjected, “Just once or twice…in your booster seat…in the neighborhood.”  Then Dylan said, “No, Mommy, remember the time I got to ride in the front seat home from Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  We drove on the highway that time.  Near the airport.”  Ugh.  True (and not recommended by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety) story.

And the hits just kept coming.  Next, Riley said, “Yeah, and I get to drink Daddy’s beer!”  OMG.  Crap.  Also true.  Also not recommended.  Illegal, actually.  (For the record, Daddy got in a hell of a lot of trouble when I found out about the beer tasting.)

There I was driving this nice boy back to his house where he was probably going to tell his Mama about all of the irresponsible things I allow my kids to do.  All I could think of was the scene in Sweet Home Alabama when Reese Witherspoon’s character says to her old high school friend who’s in a bar with her baby, “Look at you.  You have a baby.  In a bar.”  (Bugger.  I’ve done that, too.)

Many, many moons ago I worked in public relations, and the number one rule in a PR crisis is to stay ahead of the story.  Therefore, in the interest of full disclosure and because my kids are inevitably going to rat me out again, there are three streets that we use to enter our neighborhood and at the first stop sign on each one, I let the boys  unbuckle their seatbelts.

I am sooooo glad I got that off my chest.

Anything you want to unload?  The comments section is all yours.


Filed under conversations to remember, friendship, motherhood, parenting, Uncategorized

36 Hours (Part 2)

My 36 hour trip to Atlanta was like a series of vignettes.  I probably could’ve written 36 of them, but I settled on three…

“Side Effect”

In“36 Hours,” I wrote about how much anxiety I had about my anxiety.  I thought for sure after I had survived the flights to Atlanta and back, read a book, spent time with friends and had some precious time away from my darling children, the butterflies (to put it mildly) would disappear.  I was wrong.  I woke up on Monday morning to the same panic attack I’ve been waking up to for almost two weeks.   If the anxiety was about whether to buy a free-range or kosher turkey for Thanksgiving or whether to serve chicken nuggets or macaroni & cheese at Dylan’s birthday party, I was in serious trouble.  I decided to call my doctor to see if, perhaps, I should be committed.

At my annual check-up a few weeks ago, my doctor gave me medication to help with my anxiety and insomnia.  As it turns out, one of the less common side effects of the medication is intensification of anxiety.  This was frustrating to find out, but I wasn’t so annoyed that I couldn’t appreciate the irony that my anxiety meds were giving me panic attacks.  At least it wasn’t the turkey that was making me nuts.

“Girls Gone Wild”

I’ve known the two friends I saw in Atlanta since college, which, amazingly, was 18 years ago.  Back then we were kinda wild.  Now our lives just feel wild.  We spent all of Saturday afternoon catching up and talking about marriage and divorce, husbands and ex-husbands, kids and career, disease, death, and anxiety (that one was all mine).

We consumed a decent amount of leftover Halloween candy and a lot of wine in the process, and we end up eating a late dinner of drinks and random appetizers, including roasted beets and goat cheese, crab dip and bread, mussels, and the saltiest, parmesan-cheesiest, yummiest french fries I’ve ever had.   I fell asleep in the car on the way home and woke up the next morning with a headache and an upset stomach.  It was a great night, but eighteen years after college, wild takes on a whole new meaning.

 “36 Hour Friends”

In talking about her divorce support group, one of my friends said, “If you put everyone’s problems in that room on a table, I’d still choose mine.”  These are very wise words from a very Smart Mama.  I hope I can remember them the next time I feel overwhelmed.

I wish I lived closer to these life-long friends.  I wish we talked more often.  I wish we saw each other more often.  I wish our kids could play together.  I wish we weren’t getting older.  I wish we were still engrossed with our futures rather than fixated on the decisions we’ve already made.   I wish we could behappier, healthier and more in love with ourselves.  I wish beets were easier to digest.  I wish my anxiety medication weren’t making me crazy.  I wish we could’ve spent more than 36 hours together, but I wouldn’t choose anything else on the table because I have the best 36 hour friends on the planet.


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Filed under anxiety, friendship, travel