The Love You Take

Love. Its all about love. Always.

I sat with a friend recently who doesn’t know how incredible she is. Like, she’s amazing. So why doesn’t she see it?

I was her once. I spent years in a relationship that broke me down. I believed the worst things about myself because a partner, someone who was supposed to love me, made me believe I was less than worthy.

So I sat with this person I love, this amazing person who is strong, this person who has overcome so much, and I had trouble with the fact that she doesn’t see what I see.

She’s not the only one. I talk to so many fabulous women who downplay what they are, who they are.

Why?

What is so wrong about recognizing our worth? What is so wrong with saying, “I’m friggin awesome!”

I know I’m awesome. It took me too long to realize that though. Why?!

We need to build up our daughters, our sons, our sisters, our brothers. No. Not in an everyone gets a trophy kind of way, but in a way that we all know that we have value, even if we are flawed.

We are all imperfect, but those imperfections make us human.

I sat with someone last week who made me cry. She made me cry because of the things she saw in me, things I did not see in myself. And that was even with believing I knew my worth. I guess I didn’t because she saw things, said things, that shook me, in a good way.

We all need someone who sees those things in us. Yeah, so we should all be able to see those things in ourselves, but if we can’t, well, we need a reminder, a friend who will say, “hey, you’re incredible, and here are all of the reasons why.”

I can give every person I love a list of things that I love about them. A long list.

Its all about love. We go through life working, learning, trying to figure stuff out, but its about love, who we love, who loves us.

If you can’t figure out what it is that makes you lovable, ask someone who claims to love you. If they can’t tell you, run, like immediately, run, really really fast, and find someone else. Because you are worthy of love.

Love makes the world go round. It really does. If you don’t feel loved, something is wrong. If you don’t love the people in your life with all of your being, something is wrong.

We are all worthy of love, of being loved. Every single one of us. So go get it. Accept it. Own it. Demand it. And never apologize for it.

It is always about love.

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Sweat the Small Stuff

Don’t sweat the small stuff. So they say. Wait. Who’s they? And what’s wrong with the small stuff?

Yesterday I went to lunch and then did some shopping with my daughter. Today I did the same with a friend. No. I’m not loaded. No. I’m not even close to loaded. So if I’m not loaded, what am I?

Grateful. Yup. Grateful that I did an inexpensive lunch with my daughter after shopping in an outlet store. Grateful that the next day, I had enough cash on me, after losing my debit card for the 800th time, to go have a cheapie bottomless brunch with one of my closest friends.

So why do I feel this is something worth writing about?  Well, because I feel like we are all running around like chickens without a head. I feel like we are all worried about stuff that doesn’t really matter.

You know what matters? The time I spent with my daughter where we tried on outfits that we hated, but laughed about our bellies or arm fat or any of the other stupid things that don’t really matter. I was in a dressing room with my beautiful daughter. She was happy. There was no outfit that was ever going to match that.

You know what else matters? That I sat across a table from a friend who rebuilt her life, a friend who is beautiful in every way. She doesn’t see it, yet. One day she will. For now, I see it for her. And I sat there with her, admiring her growth, loving the person she is, and feeling grateful that somehow she found her way into my life.

How many times do we hear, “don’t sweat the small stuff.” I spent a weekend paying attention to the small stuff, to the way the light fell on my daughter’s face when she laughed at something silly I said, to the way my friend’s eyes lit up when she talked about a triumph at her new job, the way she was beginning to see what I see, that she is amazing, that she is incredibly strong.

I sweat the small stuff, all of it. I believe that the love is in the details, all of the details. So sweat the small stuff. Ok, maybe don’t sweat it, but pay attention. Notice what makes your heart skip a beat. Pay attention to the smile your kid is sporting. Look in the mirror and love what you see. All that stuff, well, that’s what makes the world go round.

Love makes the world go round. Forget being the change you wish to see in the world. Be the love you want to see. Sweat the small stuff. It matters.

 

Kids Making Their Parents Look Bad

My kid was an a******. There. I said it.

What I am grateful for is the fact that my kid grew up in a time when kids had the freedom to be a******, and then get over it.

Now? Forget it. So much is in place to be sure that EVERYONE in the world knows that your kid is the a*******. Forget that it could be their kids, or that it is often their kids. For now those holier than thou mothers have some kind of proof that its  your kid. Oh, and by proof, I mean, their kids told them.

We have come so far in terms of recognizing bullying and how it can affect our kids. We have come so far in understanding that victims deserve to be heard and believed. But there is no balance. Where is the balance?

Years ago, too many years ago, I wrote about a father calling me to apologize because he went out and his son raided the liquor cabinet. My son had actually made an excuse and escaped Dodge. It was probably the one time in his life that he avoided trouble, but that father apologized to me as if going out and having liquor in his house was a crime.

I sympathized with that father because I remembered my own teenage years. I knew some of the the things I had done. And no parent should ever be a prisoner in his/her home because they have a bottle of wine, a six pack, or even a fully stocked liquor cabinet.

Also, I was realistic. I knew that kids were going to try to find ways around the rules and do things that they shouldn’t do, things we, as parents, tried to protect them from. Still, I knew that there were going to be things I could never prevent. And I said silent prayers that my kids would come through the other side of it and be ok.

It was not always an easy road. One out of three of my kids gave me a run for my money. There were sleepless nights, a lot of cursing, more cursing, legal fees, and most importantly, a lot of love, unconditional love, even when it was tough love.

What I am grateful for is that my kids escaped the “social media” years. They were teens right before the smart phone and social media explosion. Oh, my, God, am I grateful for that because I’m reasonably sure that even my smartest most centered kid would have done something stupid on social media or something that would have been social media-worthy. Oh, and that means they would have drawn the attention of some parent who was oblivious to the fact that their own little Jane or Johnny was capable of the same behavior.

So I don’t write about my kid being an a******** because I have this great desire to out my kid. I write it because I know a lot of parents with kids who are going through some of the things I went through. The difference is they are doing it now with smart phones and social media, and parents who are, well, a********.

So parents and potential parents, please remember what you did as a kid. You were perfect? Ok, I’ve stopped laughing hysterically. If you were perfect, have some compassion. For the rest of you who had normal teenage years, where you did stupid things, but didn’t have to worry that colleges and jobs were stalking your social media, you know, when you posted your stupidity, please have a little patience, some understanding, and maybe show some generosity towards those who are human, who have behaved in a human way.

My kid was an a******* but how I love him. He has great things in him, but even if he didn’t, I still love him, just like you love your kid.

I promise not to judge yours if you promise not to judge mine. And I promise to help yours through whatever stage he’s going through if you promise the same.

I’m a mother. That’s what we do. That’s what we all should do.

Where to Sleep in the Snow

IMG_5007If you live in the Northeast you were inconvenienced by the snow. You had to worry about how to get to work, how to get home. You had to worry about how you’d pick up the kids from school.

Then, if you were like me, you said a secret little prayer that your job would be closed, and you could stay home and spend a glorious day in your pajamas.

If you had to go to work, oh well.

What  you didn’t have to worry about was whether or not you were trying to find someplace warm to sleep, the train station, a supermarket, a 24 hour fast food place that would let you stay if you ordered something from the dollar menu.

I was taking pictures tonight of the snow. You know, because Instagram would die if I didn’t post some picture of the snow, a picture that a million other people were posting.

While taking that picture I thought about all of the people out there who weren’t taking pictures of the beauty, but were instead wondering where to go to escape the brutal cold.

Not everyone had the luxury of posting a pic and then wondering which filter to use. Not everyone had the luxury of taking a pic and then pulling up a pair of flannel pajama bottoms and turning up the heat.

Some people looked at the snow and wondered how they were going to sleep tonight. Some wondered if the train station waiting room would be full, would be safe, would offer shelter.

Some looked at the snow and wondered how they could make the store by bus and get milk for their kids considering all of the people who could beat them by car, people who were worrying whether they had enough junk food to make it through a possible snow day. Those people weren’t worried how their kids would eat or if they’d be warm.

So while some of us were looking at the snow, while we were seeing the beauty, there were some who didn’t view it that way. They were seeing the hardship, living the hardship.

I posted pictures of serene scenes. Then I watched Netflix with my son. After that I turned up my heat. Then I thought about all of the people who didn’t have those options, the people who were trying to figure out if they’d be sleeping in a train station waiting room or a Dunkin Donuts. Or in the snow.

Then I felt guilty. Because we live in a country with unimaginable wealth. And we have kids living in homeless shelters. For years.

For now though all I could do was post pictures on social media and be grateful that I have a roof over my head, that my kids are safe, and that I am not sleeping in a train station.

But please feel free to like my Instagram photo.

 

 

 

 

International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day. We shouldn’t need a day. Every single day should be our day. What would that look like?

Imagine (yeah, I’m stealing from John), imagine we lived in a world where you’d be a hero for going out in  your pink robe and no makeup. You know, sort of like Hef did for years and years and years.

Imagine if while checking out the latest headlines, tabloid news wasn’t as popular, more popular, than what is actually going on in the world. And maybe if the tabs can’t be knocked off the top, we would hear more about Angelina’s work with refugees than we do about if she’s over Brad.

Imagine men worrying about showing up at the beach and if their beer belly is hanging over their bathing suit the way women worry if a stretch mark peeks out or if maybe their tummy isn’t as taut as it once was. And actually I don’t want men to worry about that, but the reality is that they don’t. Let’s be like them.

Imagine that the women who are attending marches are marching even for the women that don’t believe all of the things that they believe, and that they are marching for women to have different opinions, like, as in different, not the same. We don’t have to be cookie cutter. Gross. Why would we ever want that!

Imagine we celebrate the women in our lives, the women who empower us, support us, love us, even the ones that need a little help learning  how to be a friend, because, well, there are a lot of misconceptions out there that women can’t get along, and some women actually believe that. But we can. We do.

Imagine that International Women’s Day didn’t happen once a year. Imagine that we saw the beauty and the value every second of every day. If we did that, we wouldn’t need a march or a day or anything else.

Take a look around you. You know a lot of amazing women. I promise you that. Tell the women in your life how incredible they are. Some may know it. Some may need to hear it. Don’t just do it today though. Do it tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that, and keep going.

 

 

Emma Gonzalez

Emma Gonzalez is my hero. In a world filled with instant celebrities and movements, she took social media, and the media, by storm with an impassioned speech that went viral, making her the face of a movement.

Oh, and she wasn’t even on Twitter.

Knowing that fame is fleeting and that people quickly move on to the next big news story, she created a Twitter account,  an account that is verified, and is making sure that her voice is heard. Loud and clear.

Emma, along with those kids who suffered through an unimaginably traumatic event, started a movement.

What Emma Gonzalez, along with those teens, is doing is nothing short of amazing.  And, by the way, I don’t mean amazing because I disagree with number 45 or because I’m Republican or Democrat or Independent.

Amazing because after surviving a school shooting, that took the lives of 17 people, they didn’t go crawl into a hole, which would have been completely understandable.

Nope. They became activists.

Fierce activists.

Emma Gonzalez stands out. Right or wrong, she is the one who was picked up by the media. Maybe it was the shaved head. Or the determination. Or both, but there was something about her that made people stop and listen.

She makes a compelling figure, a young woman who survived a mass shooting at her school and then, within days,  made a choice to stand up to a country that seemed unable to figure out its crap. Maybe Emma doesn’t have all the answers, but she is calling on all of the grownups who have failed her to this point.

Yeah, that’s us.

I don’t know the answers. I think the 2nd Amendment is important for a lot of reasons. I also hate guns. So, I guess add me to the long list of grownups who haven’t done enough. How do we balance the right to bear arms and create legislation that addresses what happened in Florida, what happened in Sandy Hook, what is happening at an alarming rate all around this country?

 

We owe our kids,  Emma Gonzalez, all of them, we owe them conversations that will lead to answers. It shouldn’t have taken another school shooting, another 17 lives. Emma Gonzalez appears comfortable in her role, but it is a role she should never have had to take on. She should have had the luxury of being a teenager looking forward to graduation and her future.

Instead she is a teenager who now realizes that having a future is a luxury that some of her classmates will never have.

Attending school should not have life and death consequences.

Parents have enough to worry about. Now they have to worry that their kid is being hunted down by someone looking to kill as many as possible. At school?

How did we get to that point?

The grown ups need to figure it out. And if we can’t, then I say thank God for kids like Emma Gonzalez who will figure it out for us.

A lot gets said about the next generation, but what I’m  paying attention to is Emma Gonzalez, and the kids that are just like her, and the way they are taking a situation that would make most grownups wet themselves and turning it into a movement.

They are organizing.

They are showing all of the adults that if we don’t get it together, they will do it for us.

 

A Day in the Life

There are no accidents. I totally believe that. So let me try to tell you about my day. Without breaching confidentiality, because there was a lot of confidential stuff today personally and professionally.

First, I was able to spend a perfect day with two kids that I love beyond belief. They are a daily reminder of how blessed I am, even when it feels like my life is shitty. These kids have been in my thoughts a lot as I figure out my life. You know, because I’m 50 and I reflect regularly on how I should have discovered how to be a Kardashian before they figured that shit out.

Oh, I say shit a lot. And some other words too, but today that’s the go-to word.

Next. Another kid has been on my mind a lot lately. Mostly because I see conversations about addiction and people don’t get it. Some, just because they’re stupid and don’t want to get it. Some because its a tough thing to understand. I don’t understand it and I’ve lived it. But anyway, even though I like to believe its always about me, its not. Well, like 5% of the time its not, but even now I can make it about me because I’m the one writing this, so suck it if you really believe its not about me.

But, this kid. He OD’d in my house a few  years ago. I’ve written about him a lot. Yeah, go hit the search bar on my site. I ran out in my pajamas tonight because I had some other shit going on and I felt like everyone has pajamas and if people can’t handle seeing me in the store in my pajamas they should stay home. So I came out of the store and just felt eyes on me and not because of my fuzzy pants.

Yeah, it was this kid. He got out of his car and hugged me. And then I hugged him again. And I hugged him again. And then he hugged me again. And we said, “I love you,” a lot. And I hugged him again because I didn’t want to stop hugging him. He looked absolutely beautiful. Being alive does that for a person. And I will never forget the night when I watched him go from white to blue to, and…, well, he’s alive. Not only is he alive, but he is doing great things. So I hugged him again. And told him I loved him again. I wanted to hug him again, but I didn’t want to freak him out, so I resisted the urge. But, I did tell him that I loved him again.

Then I came home and thought about how I’ve been searching lately. Turning 50 makes you think about things. I’ve made a lot of mistakes. But I’ve also done a lot right. Just as I was thinking about that, something came across my Facebook feed that reminded me of some professional things, yeah, the confidential part.

So I did what any normal person would do and I wrote an email to my CEO. Ok, keep that between us. Technically I’m not breaking confidentiality, but its sort of nuts that I have nothing better to do on a Friday night than send some crazy emotional email to my CEO. I can’t tell you why I wrote him because then I’d have to breach confidentiality, but just know that he’s awesome and I wanted to say thank you.

Then I thought about the perfect day I had with those kids. Then I called my daughter, who didn’t pick up because, well, she’s busy living life at college. Then I spoke with a few friends, but one in particular who I just adore. No, that’s not to start a competition among my friends. I mean, if they want to fight over me, ok. But then I thought about how lucky I am.

So let me say it again. Wait. Did I say it? Life is good.

I spent a perfect day with kids I love. I ran into this beautiful kid I love. My kids are healthy and happy. I have amazing friends. I have great acquaintances. I love my job.

Life is good. Even if the Jets suck. Life is good.