Support Group For Moms Of Preteens

My son asked me what I would do if I was walking behind a blind man who dropped a million dollars. Would I keep it or return it?

The question seemed like such a great opportunity to talk about how important integrity is and how we always do the right thing, even when no one sees (no pun intended).

As I channeled my best Monica Aldama and began my life-changing speech, my preteen daughter interrupted and gave what could only be described as the most mocking of lectures. She sarcastically answered his question on my behalf, incorporating all of the words I repeat constantly.

You know, the things that no one ever responds to, so surely they must not be listening?! 

Oh, my friends, your children are listening. They are just waiting until the ripe age of twelve to regurgitate them in a way that is equally impressive and destroys your self esteem in one conversation. 

Honestly, I should have known this was coming. When I was twelve, I was being so disrespectful to my mom that my dad made me get out of the car on the side of a highway. As a personal injury lawyer, he made sure I knew that the most dangerous thing you can do is get out of your vehicle on the side of a highway. Yet, there I stood, my twelve year old self so unbearable that the danger was worth it.

You could say present day me is reaping what I sowed.

You could also say that it’s a miracle that any mother allows her child to live to see her 13th birthday. 

From what I can tell, I certainly won’t get there with an ounce of dignity left. 

Which brings me to my point. It’s time to start a Support Group For Moms Of Preteens. Each week, we will gather to tell each other that our athleisure wear is super cute. And our aging faces are flawless. That we are the BEST moms who honestly care too much about our kids. 

Some of these might be stretching the truth *a bit*, but it’s an important component to balancing out the barrage of horrid words we hear on the daily:

“You are actually going to wear that in public? Mmmmkay.”

“You know a little exercise would get rid of that double chin.” 

“WHY DO YOU HATE ME!! WHY ARE YOU YELLING AT ME!!”

(Note to the reader: this response comes as a result of asking the preteen to throw away her trash in a calm, normal voice.)

At home, your very presence is usually met eye rolling and loud sighs, but at SG4MOP, all are welcome and appreciated. We will eat yummy snacks without the threat of being told we chew too loudly. I don’t want to spoil everything, but let’s just say you will actually breathe without being yelled at. I know, I know. It sounds too good to be true. 

Meetings will be held weekly, as a way to build up our confidence as we navigate this treacherous time. 

You will return home with the assurance that your wardrobe isn’t quite so awful and your skin care routine is totally working. You will be greeted by your preteen who agrees that your outfit is actually kinda cute. And you will have the most fun conversation with her about a silly video she watched and what business she wants to start and what boy is cute and a friend who hurt her feelings and a friend who makes her laugh. She will practice a new hairstyle on you and will tell you sincerely how she is so happy to have a mom like you. 

Because when parenting a preteen isn’t the absolute worst, it’s the absolute best. 

And I suppose that is the reason she will live to see her 13th birthday. 

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This is a photo of me as a twelve year old, proof that preteens are idiots. I actually considered this outfit stylish the very year I mocked my mom’s fashion so aggressively that I nearly could have died.  

 

January 14

One year ago today, my dad experienced his greatest joy when he traded his failing body for eternity with Jesus. And I experienced the greatest loss I’ve ever known.

I’ve thought a lot about this day and how I would feel.
Would I focus on the heartbreak and loss of the last year?
Or would I mostly remember the awesome memories of the previous thirty-seven?

Grief is weird, and I should know better than to think I can plan how this day will go.

I made it through Christmas without many tears, but I could barely read Malcolm Gladwell’s new book because my dad would have loved it. And it sucks that I can’t talk to him about how defaulting to truth affects us all.

Florida State had such an abysmal year that he certainly didn’t miss anything there, but I hate that he won’t ever see my boys suit up in football pads. They love the game, and he would have loved to see them play.

I grieve for what will never be and would give almost anything for my dad to be alive and well.

Yet I rejoice in the hope of eternity and for the gift of having a dad I miss so much.

This year, I’ve learned it’s possible to hold both together. Joy and grief. Happiness and sorrow. Hope and loss.

Some days, my kids tell a funny story about my dad, and I smile remembering how he made us all laugh with his dark sense of humor and uncanny storytelling.

Other days, when I am having a hard time and know he would be the perfect person to talk to, I cry for the conversations I will never get to have.

It feels weird that life keeps moving right along without someone so important as a part of it.

As this day approached, I thought about the stories from my dad’s life that I could share to mark the anniversary of his passing. It’s impossible to sum up a well-lived life in a social media post, and there are so many stories to tell. The common thread woven among them all, however, is that my dad made people feel like they mattered.

From his grandchildren to servers at Cracker Barrel to strangers at the courthouse and everyone in between, my dad paid attention to people and their stories.

He made everyone feel incredibly valuable and worthy of his time.

As a teenager, he took me out for sushi nearly every Sunday night. He made sure boys were treating me right and talked me through the woes of high school. He also knew the servers by name and overtipped every time.

When I went to college, he called me every night on his way home from work to make sure I was okay. Once he knew I was doing just fine, he returned the calls of every client who was hoping to hear from him that day. Some inquired about their legal case, but many needed a listening ear. He gave them all just what they wanted.

After I got married, my dad would hilariously check in with me from time to time to make sure I was taking care of my man ifyouknowwhatimean. No matter how awkward this conversation was for me, he knew a happy marriage made for secure kids, and he cared about his grandchildren growing up in a home where they feel loved and safe.

As those grandchildren grew, he gave each of them a special nickname.
Caleb is “The Arrow” because he’s the first born who lives life on the straight and narrow.
Chloe is “Chihuahua” for reasons I can’t remember, but it makes her giggle.
Luke is “The Duke” because it rhymes and sounds powerful.
Levi is “Reubenstein” for reasons I cannot disclose on Facebook.
Sadly, Ellie wasn’t old enough to get a nickname, but she will grow up with the great stories her siblings will tell about the grandpa they loved so much. Each of my kids felt like his favorite because he was just that good.

My dad made everyone feel so important. Whoever he was talking to in that moment was the most important person in the world, and he did so in the most genuine way. He wasn’t trying to be well-liked or ask for a favor or anything like that. He truly cared about people. I love talking with my mom about the funny and sweet and dangerous and crazy ways he helped make people’s lives a little better each day.

It’s been a full year since my dad received his heavenly reward for the selfless life he lived so well. I’ve had a lot of thoughts and feelings about cancer and life and death and heaven. I’ve cried a lot of tears. I’ve said a lot of ugly things. I’ve wondered why so many times.

As the one year anniversary comes and goes and life goes on but also doesn’t, I still have grief and sadness. I wish it were different. I don’t understand many things.

One thing I do know, however, is that I mattered to my dad. He proved it with his time and his words and his money and his life.

The last year has been devastating and hard, but I am one lucky girl to have had that kind of dad for the previous thirty-seven.

I still don’t know exactly how this day will go. Or even the day after that. Grief is weird. And hits at the most unexpected times.

I do know that tonight I will celebrate his life with a delicious sushi dinner and overtip the server because he taught me well. We will tell funny stories about the dad I love so much and miss more than anything. I am sure there will be lots of tears. The happy kind and the sad kind. And, even in my deep grief, I will fall asleep peacefully tonight.

Because I am a girl who mattered to the man whose opinion mattered the most. Whatever death and cancer have done to me this year, they can never take that away.

And the hope of eternity that is beyond my wildest dreams is a promise I’ve never been more thankful to have.

I miss you, Dad. Thank you for being the very best.

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This photo is atop Blackcomb Mountain on a day so beautiful it looks fake. This is as close as I’ve come to heaven on earth, and I know it doesn’t even compare to the beauty my dad now sees.

A Christmas Memory

As a child, my parents lived life flying by the seat of their pants. My home was fun and spontaneous, but planning was not a strength.
 
This was never more true than with travel plans. My family went snow skiing every year for Christmas. Literally every year of my childhood. Yet, this seemed to catch my parents by surprise every single year.
 
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Photo: my family waiting to hit the slopes. I am in the amazing pink snowsuit. My little brother is inexplicably not in the picture. It was the 90’s, and no one cared about getting the perfect picture for social media.
The year I was about 10 years old, my siblings and I got home from school for Christmas break. My mom decided she should probably start thinking about our travel plans, since Christmas was, you know, five days away. She called to make reservations, and the only available flight was on Christmas Day.
 
My mom did not like the idea of people having to work on a holiday to accommodate people like us. But if we were going to go skiing that year, this was our only option, so she booked the flight. In addition to getting seven people ready for a big vacation and Christmas ready for seven people (which you know is no small feat), my mom took us shopping for Christmas gifts to give the flight crew. If we were going to be those people who flew on Christmas, we could, at least, be thoughtful.
 
Christmas Day comes. We are ready to board our flight. I am a middle child, and part of the gift of that is getting to do the jobs no one else wants to do. Naturally, I was chosen to give the flight attendants their gifts because no one else wanted to.
 
I was a shy kid. Without making eye contact, I passed out the gifts as quickly as I could and took my seat, relieved it was over.
 
The plane took off. We reached cruising altitude, and the flight attendant tapped me on the shoulder. “Miss, I need you to follow me,” she said.
 
This was the 90’s. No one thought this was weird.
 
I followed her all the way up to first class, where she sat me in an empty seat. The crew proceeded to pamper me with food and drinks for the entire flight. They even gave me ice cream. You guys, while my peasant family was enjoying their six peanuts in coach, I was living a life of luxury and eating ice cream!
 
I could not articulate it then, but I can see now how that experience, as well as many others throughout my life, taught me the importance of noticing people.
 
My parents always took notice of overlooked people. For years, my mom and her employees threw a birthday party every single month at a low income school, bringing pizza and gifts for every kid who had a birthday that month. She even included summer birthdays (a nod to those of you who are still in therapy about your summer birthday). When my dad’s clients didn’t have money to buy school clothes for their kids, they would take the families shopping and let them pick out whatever they wanted. They would overtip single moms serving at restaurants. I could tell story after story about how my parents noticed people and cared about them feeling seen. It was an ordinary part of growing up.
 
It doesn’t necessarily take much money to care. A few years ago, I was living in Florida and flying to Missouri to visit my family. We were flying near Halloween, and wanting to instill the same values in my own children, my kids and I made little trick-or-treat bags for the flight crew. Nothing fancy, just a little bit of candy in a cute bag.
 
I gave the last treat to a flight attendant who was a tall, well built man. His eyes well up with tears. He said to me and everyone else around, “I am 40 years old, and this is my first trick-or-treat. I grew up in poverty, and you just didn’t go asking for candy in my neighborhood. I’ve waited my whole life for this, and I finally got it.”
 
Twenty five years later, once again on an airplane, taking the time to notice someone mattered.
 
Christmas is about two weeks away. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. But sometimes it’s not.
 
You probably already know that this will be my first Christmas without my dad. Throughout this year, I’ve thought a lot about his life. Having been so fortunate to have a really good dad, my memories are filled with him loving and serving others well. He paid attention to people, especially those who often had been overlooked by others. Since his passing, people have shared the best stories about my dad’s life.
 
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My mom serves as a greeter at her church. This past Easter, a family visited her church for the first time. My mom greeted them, and the man noticed her nametag. He asked if she was any relation to my dad. She told him he was her late husband.
 
Taken aback, this man responded, “You have no idea who I am, and I’ve never actually met your husband. As a kid, I grew up in foster care and lived in a group home as a teenager. Somehow your husband got my address and wrote me letters almost every week.” He went on to share how these letters encouraged him. My dad would write him things like: “You are going to break this cycle. You are going to be a great husband and dad one day. God has a purpose for your life…”
 
While raising five kids and working a demanding job, my dad took the time each week to write a kid. He never even told my mom he did this. Here the kid stood as a grown man with his wife and kids, having broken the cycle in his family. Probably for many reasons, but among them, a man who he didn’t even know taking the time every week to believe in him.
 
Life is really hard sometimes. The holiday season only serves to intensify that for many people.
 
A wonderful gift you can give is to take the time to notice someone who might feel overlooked or who might be having a tough time this year. Be wildly generous with your time, money, talents, listening ear, kind smile, and encouraging words.
Because when you give to someone who could never repay you, you show them the God who came down from heaven and gave us a gift we could never repay.
 
That, my friends, is the true hope of Christmas.
 

Toddlers Gonna Toddler

This is what you need to know about parenting #5.
 
I have exactly three diapers to last until my Amazon delivery comes tomorrow. Three.
 
And I am totally taking that gamble. Because taking a one year old to the store to purchase more is the actual worst.
 
Just last week, I had a lapse in judgement…because my mom and I traveled to a city that has Costco. Because I love Costco more than I hate grocery shopping with a toddler, I decided it was worth the risk.
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If nearly fourteen years of parenting has taught me anything, it’s that nothing with a toddler is worth the risk.
 
Not only did I walk out of Costco with about $500 worth of stuff I didn’t even know I needed, I also walked out with a screaming toddler and a diaper full of poop.
 
Apparently after fourteen years of parenting, I still severely underestimate the amount of diapers necessary in a given situation. It’s my spiritual gift if you can’t tell.
 
As I did the long walk of shame out of what I think is the largest store in the universe, I realized how much I’ve changed in those years.
 
The first time I left a store with a screaming toddler, I cried the whole way out, hugged a stranger who followed me to make sure I was okay (I wasn’t), and spent the rest of the day (maybe the month?) lamenting over how unqualified I was to raise children.
 
This time, I walked out without caring much what anyone thought…occasionally making eye contact with a sympathetic mom who was probably relieved it wasn’t her child and thinking out loud, “Toddlers, am I right?” I changed her diaper, strapped her into her car seat, and didn’t give it a second thought.
 
It turns out that my child’s behavior doesn’t get to disqualify me as a good mom.
 
That is true of toddlers. That is true of teens. And every age in between and beyond.
 
Let me say it again for the cheap seats: Your worth as a mom is not determined by your kids’ behavior.
 
Thank goodness.
 
Because I gotta tell you…my kids can be realllllly awesome. And they can be reallllly terrible.
 
However they decide to act in that particular moment is not necessarily a reflection of you. Sometimes it is, of course. I think it goes without saying how important it is to model strong faith, good character, contributing well to society…and all of the positive attributes of being a decent human.
 
But when babies act like babies and toddlers act like toddlers and teens act like toddlers, their brains are still developing and working out their big feelings in a big (and often embarrassing) way. They’re pushing the limits and pushing your buttons to figure out how to survive in this huge, scary world.
 
But it’s not personal. Not even 1%.
 
You are their softest place to land. And humans inexplicably act the worst around the people they love the most.
 
Following that logic, a tantrum should actually be a huge compliment.
 
I mean, how awesome would it be if our brains computed behaviors in that way?
 
My preteen is yelling that I am the worst person on the planet?? “Why thank you for communicating you are loved enough to express that!”
 
My child irrationally explodes when I tell him to put his plate in the sink? “Wow, you must trust me with those feelings you’ve bottled up all day at school.”
 
My kids fight and fight and fight and fight. “Isn’t it crazy how conflict serves to strengthen relationships? I bet they’ll be good friends one day.”
 
Unfortunately, my brain is the meanest member of my family…and rather than computing the truth, it spits out the narrative that my kids’ behavior is somehow a reflection of what a terrible parent I am.
 
Is the same true for you??
 
Well, I am here to tell you. You’re a good mom. You’re a really, really good mom.
 
You show up everyday. You love well. You mess up but you fix it. You do the absolute best you can do. And give all you can to your family. Times infinity.
 
You’re a good mom.
 
And that doesn’t change just because the tiny people are acting like the imperfect humans that they are.
 
This isn’t the first time I’ve written about this. And it probably won’t be the last.
 
Because in a time when moms are working extra hard to give their children their very best but somehow end up feeling completely inadequate most of the time…I will never quit beating the drum that YOU ARE ENOUGH JUST AS YOU ARE. You are a good mom because you are a good mom.
 
And maybe you’ve had a day where you just need to hear that one more time.
 
I certainly know I do. Because as of the completion of this writing, we are down to two diapers. And tomorrow when I have to create a makeshift diaper using a t-shirt and a maxi pad (this isn’t my first rodeo), I will need to hear it again.
 
Because what kind of mom forgets to buy diapers for her precious babe??
 
Oh yeah, a totally good one. Who happens to have such a full plate that things just fall off sometimes. Thank you, brain, for computing that accurately for once.

The Journey To Family Photos

What you see: a precious photo of my family that shows our adoration of its youngest member,  taken in the perfect golden hour by Captivating by Keli

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What you don’t see is the journey it took to get here:

Book a session with a photographer that is both professional and basically a magician.

Wait to share this information with my family until a moment in time when they are well rested, full of sugar, and distracted by their favorite TV show. 

Schedule a hair appointment for myself. (I am realistic enough to know I have no plans to lose my “baby” weight from that youngest member, but at least I can cover my grey hair and grown out roots.)

Even though I have four months to prepare, I wait until two weeks before to decide I should probably start thinking about our outfits.
Which is suuuuuper easy to do with seven people who take their athleisure wear seriously. 

I pick an outfit for myself that says, “When I try extra hard, I can pull together a look,” while simultaneously making sure my chunky arms are well covered. 

Then pick out an outfit for my husband that subtly says, “If you want to remain married to me, you will wear this because it’s the basis for our color scheme.” 

I wait way too late to order clothes for the little people and naively hope that at least one pair of pants from last year fits.

Obsessively check the status of that order everyday to make sure it will arrive in time. (It does, whew!)

Go to my hair appointment. 

Remember that everyone else needs haircuts, too, and rush them to the nearest Super Cuts.  

Tell them I want the cut that looks nice but doesn’t look like I waited until the day before to get it done. 

 

Arrive at picture day. 

My toddler, who is the best sleeper ever, decided to wake up at 4 am and party. 

I am tired, but I am READY. 

I plan out the day, figuring out the timing for everything to come together with the least amount of emotional turmoil. 

My entire day is filled with, “Do we have to? Why do you want pictures so badly? You know what we look like. Can I wear different shoes?”

I break down and cry. That sort of mom guilt cry that is very real but also gets the results I want.

You know the one. I say, “This will literally take one hour of your life. Life, you may remember, that I gave you. As your mother, all I am asking is for you to cooperate for sixty minutes. This is the first family pictures we’ve had in five years, and I want them to be good. Is that too much to ask?”

My son retorts, “Oh good! In five years when we take these again, I will be in college.”

I make a mental note not to think too much about that. 

My daughter assures me, “These pictures don’t have to be perfect, Mom.”

Ummmm…with the amount of money and effort I put into them, YES THEY DO!!
Then I remembered that same daughter lost my lipstick, so I went to Ulta to get a new one. 

They are helpful but make sure to tell me I need some blush on my pale cheeks. (Thanks?)

I rushed home and told everyone it’s time to shower, brush their teeth, and get dressed for the event. 

{Insert more complaining and whining and groaning than seems humanly possible.}

 

My oldest child, who assured me that he tried on his pants last week, informed me that his pants, in fact, do not actually fit. (When will I learn not to trust a child?)

My tween daughter put on her outfit. That looked super cute last week but now is THE UGLIEST THING SHE HAS EVER SEEN. And proceeded to go into an emotional tailspin, screaming empty threats in between the tears and angst. 

My middle son, who likes to go against the flow, willingly got dressed with a happy heart and a smile on his face. Who knew that, while everyone else raged, he would play it cool? 

My youngest son had what I would call a…gigantic tantrum. In which he kept asking me how much I planned to pay him for this photo shoot (spoiler alert: zero dollars). And wailed about how embarrassing it is to wear a collared shirt in a public place. 

My toddler pooped. But otherwise was oblivious to the situation.

 

I squeezed my muffin top into my Spanx and tried not to sweat off my make-up (which included blush…thankyouverymuch, Ulta person). 

Ten minutes before we needed to leave, my husband decided he should probably stop mowing, take a quick shower, and get ready. 

I contemplate whether or not this is grounds for divorce. 

We miraculously leave on time. 

I spend the drive over to the beautiful park threatening my children. Guilt, coercion, manipulation. I unload it all. My husband backs me up, so I decided we can stay married. Good thing, because I’d hate to have to photoshop him out of the pics. 

We arrive at the destination. 

 

Our amazing photographer does the hard work of making my ragamuffin crew look like the Pinterest perfect family I dream we will one day be. 

My children mostly respond well to bribery. (And threats.)

Except the toddler. 

She is cutting a tooth (which explains the 4 am wake up call). She would not eat a snack beforehand. And she has decided to use this opportunity to display the fullness of her toddlerdum. The only person who is allowed to hold her is Dad. And even Baby Shark won’t force a smile. It’s dire. 

 

I haven’t worn boots in, like, three years. So my feet hurt.

My daughter forgot to wear socks, so she has blisters. 

One of my boys keeps asking how much longer he has to wear his itchy outfit. 

I try to make him laugh by playing the John Cena theme song. My older kids die of embarrassment. My son tells me to stop playing it because it was the F-word in it. A nearby six year old says the actual F-word, so I don’t think his parents will much care. 

 

We make it 78 minutes before falling apart. 

 

Everyone is alive and will only need minimal therapy. I am still married. My kids all stripped down their clothes the minute we got in the van. WE DID IT, you guys. We survived family pictures. 

 

Because being a mom is weird, I drove away from the park feeling so grateful for my family. And so happy for this moment in time we captured. These days are crazy and they are far from perfect, but they are so very fun. This is the family I prayed for as a young girl, and I can’t believe how graciously God answered. 

 

When I arrive home to this sneak peek, I high five my past self for hiring a photographer who is both a professional and a magician. Because I can assure you, capturing these smiles while hiding my three chins can only be accomplished by the absolute best. 

 

1 Corinthians 13: Back To School Edition

If I have the perfect chalkboard sign and cutest back to school pictures, but do not have love, I am just another Pinterest mom. 

If I pack a bento box full of vegetables and artisanally crafted sandwiches, but do not have love, I am just a mom with a little too much time on my hands. 

If I buy all the right clothes and the shoes to match, and if I allow my middle schooler to explore all of the terrible trends, but do not have love, I am just a mom who wonders how in the world scrunchies made a comeback. 

If I give all of the best advice and teach my kids all the right things, but do not have love, I am just like Charlie Brown’s teacher, “Wah, wah, wah, wah, wah…” 

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Love is patient, love is kind. It does not demand perfect grades, it does not blame teachers, it is not prouder of the valedictorian than the child with a learning disability. It does not dishonor peers with difficult home lives, it does not live out your unfulfilled dreams through a child, it does not cheat to get ahead, it does not compare to others. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. Where there are Friday night lights, they will throw a final touchdown. Where there are band competitions, they will play their last beat. Where there are report cards, they will never really matter. Where there is calculus, they will never use it again. (Obviously.)  

For we do our best and we hope for greatness, but when the graduation cap is thrown, it will all mostly disappear. 

But these three will remain: faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love. 

Follow the way of love. Forever and always.

 

Oh, Ellie.

I am one of those annoying people who was born clean and organized. 

I took two showers a day. One to be presentable for the day ahead. The other at night to wash away the germs of the day. 

I made my bed and cleaned my room every single day. Mostly because I function best in a tidy space. But partly because of the small chance of being involved in a freak accident and my bedroom somehow making the six o’clock news and my last wish being for people to know just how put together I was. 

Then I had five children. 

I still make my bed every day because it’s my way of proving to myself I haven’t totally given up in life. Even though my yoga pant collection would suggest otherwise. 

I thought my first four children broke me. As toddlers, they were run-of-the-mill gross. One painted his room with poop to contest nap time. Another peed in a toy box for funsies. None of them have yet to figure out how to put trash in a trash can. Or how to pick up a towel off of the floor. But their gross is a normal amount of gross. Enough to break me of feeling put together, but not enough to ruin me.    

And then my 5th child was born. 

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I am not sure what’s to blame. Maybe it’s that she endured a geriatric pregnancy (the doctor’s words, not mine). Or the copious amounts of Cheetos she consumed in utero. Perhaps it’s the fact that she was born via c-section and didn’t obtain important life skills that come from passing through the birth canal (that’s an inside joke between me and other moms whose kids “were taken from them” during the Mommy Wars of 2005-2010.)

The point is: my daughter entered the world two months early in a swirl of chaos. And she’s been setting the world on fire ever since. 

This will serve her well when she’s 30. But being the geriatric mother (again, that’s the named medical condition) to a one year old is an experience I was ill-prepared for. 

Just when I thought I had seen it all (which includes, but is not limited to, said child eating a stranger’s french fry off the floor of a dirty Burger King in rural Alabama), it turns out I am a mere novice with much to learn. 

Tonight, I was scrubbing my toilet with a toothbrush covered in Comet (because my life is nothing if not glamorous). I quickly rinsed it in the toilet water and set it down to retrieve more paper towels. 

When I returned a short FOUR SECONDS LATER, my daughter was BRUSHING HER TEETH!!

With the toothbrush that cleaned the toilet that is so gross it requires I wear medical grade latex gloves for the task.

My precious little cherub was brushing her teeth with the same toothbrush that touched unspeakable bodily fluids. 

There is not enough Clorox in the world to wash away the disgust. And not enough cookies in the world to eat my feelings about the situation. 

I should have known this would happen. Because earlier in the day, a stranger complimented me. Sure, the compliment was how succinctly I ordered my kids’ lunches at the Sam’s Club Cafe, but it was a compliment nonetheless. And the universe will not allow a mother to be praised for her efforts without balancing it out with her child doing something totally heinous within 24 hours. It’s science. 

Here I was gloating about how well I order lunch from the place we eat once a week, and my daughter might as well have eaten dinner out of a urinal. 

If I happen to make the six o’clock news anytime soon, make sure to tell them how put together I was. You can omit the part about it being two decades ago.