Saturday, September 10, 2016

You got this.

Oh baby girl. College snuck up on us, didn’t it?

You made it, you went to your dorm, we promised that college was a new start, that you would get a fresh clean slate to start things, and that the whole world was your oyster. We actually said those things, didn’t we?

And yet, I think you went to bed last night feeling like nothing had changed and that you were stuck in the same old world. And you might wake up, feeling like you are still that same fourteen-year-old getting bullied, or the scared eighteen-year-old who was tired of high school drama.

Here’s the thing, cupcake. We lied to you.

We didn’t do it to be cruel. We didn’t do it on purpose. And yet, we lied to you.
Because you changed a place, but you are still YOU. You are still a messy McMess. You are still surrounded by messy imperfect people, and all of you are still works in progress.

But the light at the end of the tunnel is that you have the chance and the hope of a new start to be a better you. A clean slate, where you get to redefine who you are and who you want to be. You can stay the exact same or you can decide that you want to be different. You can decide you want to become a Republican vegan or a Green Party ultra-marathoner or a purple-haired volunteer at the local food pantry. You get to decide exactly who you want to be, and that is where college is a sorta new start, versus the same ol'school where kids have known you since you were nine.

Don’t like the kids you have been hanging out with and going to parties with? Well then. Wake up, stretch your arms, say “I’VE GOT THIS,” even if your voice shakes, and walk your yoga pants butt over to the Adventure Center and sign up for a kayaking trip.

I could give you a million different scenarios like this, in my irritating Pollyanna way, but they would just make you roll your eyes and sigh. I won’t do that to you, unless you want me to. My point is, college is not truly a shiny new slate. What college is, is the possibility and hope for you to choose new and do new for yourself.  You aren’t stuck with the same kids that you have known for ten years, and you are not trapped by the small town whispers and preconceptions.

Take this day, dust yourself off, do something that is good for you and that possibly feels a little scary, and make this day YOURS.

You got this, cupcake.

Peace and love and bravery and a messy, hopeful you. xx

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Graciest Grace

"Though she be but little, she is fierce."

The morning that we took Grace home from that hospital, she was barely six pounds. Her car seat threatened to swallow her whole, and she was so tiny that I was panicked over how the hospital could possibly let us take her home.
Didn't they know that neither of us knew anything about babies? We had no idea how to bathe a baby or breastfeed or bottle feed or deal with that scary belly button? We didn't know how to hold a baby or change diapers or swaddle or any of the stuff that you were obviously supposed to know- we knew puppies and kittens and how to tie our shoelaces, but not much more. I remember feeling like a nurse would surely notice that our friends had wheeled me out in a wheelchair with this precious cargo and come to snatch Grace out of our amateur hands.

They didn't. And she survived. Maybe even thrived, although we are too close to tell yet- that is one for the history books.

And here we are, eighteen years later. My Grace is still little, and she is indeed fierce. She is a little blonde whirlwind; she is my heart walking about freely in the world. Even as I still know every freckle and every scar down to the little one under her eyebrow, I realize that she is creating her own world, full of scars and freckles that I will not know.

We have raised, through all of our mistakes and inexperience, an amazing human being. She is wild and messy and flits from one experience to the next. But in her meanderings, she will search out the kid who needs a hug or kind word, stand up for the underdog, fight for what she needs to fight for, and keep trying to be the light. If a friend is broken and hurting, she will invite him into her world to remind him that he is loved. My Grace will talk someone out of driving drunk and pick them up, knowing full well that they will be sick but safe in her car. She will share her lunch with the kid who doesn't have lunch, and feel it is her mission to save every puppy/kitten/cat/dog in the world.

She will make many mistakes along the way, but that is what happens when you are a kid. You learn, and move on.

For you, Miss Grace, I wish the sun and the moon and the stars. I wish that you continue to be a fighter, and get back up every time you fall. I wish that you keep your fierceness always, because you are stronger than anyone I know. I wish that you keep your heart and arms open, so that you can experience all sorts of wonders on your path. I wish happiness and wisdom and as many puppies and kittens as you can hold.  I wish that you keep learning from every experience. I wish that you continue to be the Graciest Grace you can be.

Happy Birthday, cupcake. Peace and love and bonfires and chocolate, XOXO.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Reality of "Should" and "Are."

Every person on Facebook, Twitter, and any other corner of the internet has something to say about the Stanford rapist. Which is what he is- not "swimmer accused of sexual assault" or "star athlete." He is now a convicted rapist, albeit one who gets off with a sentence slightly longer than a semester at college.

As the mother of both a teenage daughter and a teenage son, I have a jumble of emotions about this verdict and how it has played out in our media.

I am so sad for the woman who has to learn to live with and heal from a trauma that she saw splashed across headlines.

I am mad that a judge thought that six months was an adequate punishment for rape. RAPE. Homeless people get longer sentences than that for lying on sidewalks in certain cities in California.

I am relieved that there are good men, brave men, who see an assault occurring behind a dumpster, and know that they have the power to help an unconscious woman and to catch a rapist.

And I am fearful for my kiddos, even as I trust that I am raising good and brave people. I want to tell them that yes, YES, you should feel safe to make stupid decisions like drinking one glass too many of hard punch at a college party and be safe. You should be safe wearing whatever dress or skirt you want to wear, without fear that someone will see that as an invitation.

You should be safe, and you should be able to trust those around you to help you, and not hurt you. "Should" is the operative word here, because "should" and "are" are very different things. You will not always be safe, because there are bad people waiting to catch you at a weak or vulnerable moment. Bad people don't always look like the bogeyman on TV; they often look like the cute swimmer or that guy in your class. Bad people can be charming- they might be more than happy to refill your glass or get you another drink.

I wish safety and security for you as you do silly teenage things and find your way. But I also wish for you the ability to be wise and try to avoid situations that can be unsafe for you, so that you never wake up to the horrors of pine needles in your hair and a rape kit on your mind. And even more than that, I wish and want you to be the helpers, the brave ones, who help take care of others. If you see something wrong, stop it. Use your voice, dial 911, kick and scream, do whatever you need to do, so that you are the light and the helpers that we need in the world.

My favourite blogger, Glennon Melton Doyle, talks about rape culture, and what we need to teach our kiddos. She talks about getting consent every time you want to hug or kiss- "we ask people's permission to pet their dogs every time, so why wouldn't we ask permission to pet each other?!"

Mind blown.

Ask permission. Get permission. Respect if someone says no. Respect if they say yes. Respect if they say yes, but then change their mind.  If you don't want to give permission, don't. Even if you said yes yesterday. Remember that your body is yours. Respect yours and respect others.

Hard but important talks need to be had. I know I will have them with my monkeys, even if I would rather talk about our dogs or summer vacation. I want them to think about staying safe and strong, and helping others to do the same.

Peace and love and respect and light, buttercups. XOXO

Friday, April 29, 2016


I would give credit, but no idea who to give credit to. #tenacious 

Monday, February 8, 2016

I have amazing friends. Taking a bit of a break from Facebook, and within minutes, you guys are checking on me. I am around. In real life. Hope to see you soon!

Peace and love and connection IRL, cupcakes. XO

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Right Now.

"That's the magic, love. That you really love your RIGHT NOW."

I said these words recently to a friend as she was talking about how happy she was even though her life is not going at all according to plan. I laughed out loud as I thought about plans and how well they normally work. If plans worked, I would be celebrating my eighteenth wedding anniversary with a houseful of children. Or I would be a curator at an esteemed museum and have several cats. Or, reaching further back, I would own a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich shop on a beach.

Obviously plans don't work. Sometimes, not even plans for the weekend.

But here we are, and the magic is truly in loving the "right here, right now." No matter how far it is from the all important plan.

My "right here, right now" includes watching the Broncos, Brussels sprouts pizza, and this.

This was the furthest thing from what I had planned for the weekend, but here I am, right now. And I love my "right now." I will still keep planning, but I also know that life is good, no matter how the plans work out.

Peace and love and plans and pugs, cupcakes.

Monday, January 11, 2016


How is it 2016 already, people??

I don't have resolutions. EVER. I suck so badly at resolutions, that I get everything out of the way as quickly as possible. Baileys in my coffee with a buttery syrupy waffle on the side after I sleep in. A well placed curse word, and an inner promise to return to the gym when everyone else's resolutions fade.

I do try to concentrate on a single word that I want to work on or embody over a year.  I had a hard time coming up with a word for 2016. Kept trying to make words fit, but discarding them when I knew they were not just right.

Finally I woke up one morning with a word emblazoned in my noggin. The word.