Tag Archives: family

Imagine

Five Minutes, the word is:

IMAGINE

GO

imagine picTrailing behind her like little ducks, a row of sweet, sticky, unbearably cute grandchildren for me to love. A man who looks at her with a smile, a twinkle of humor and just a little bit of awe. A home that is calm, but full of life. Books and dance and shades of purple, things that are all her own, beyond family. She is happy.

Artsy fashion choices and some unusual job which suits her unique character. Friends who laugh with her and appreciate her wit. Adventure and travel and maybe someone to share it with her. Purpose. A great over-riding passion which she can spend her life on. Maybe more than one. She is happy.

A smile that lights up the room. She has carved out her own place in the world. A place where she is safe and appreciated. Work that is meaningful and rewarding. A community that embraces her beauty and accepts her quirks. True friendship with someone just like her. Travelling with us, but living independently. Close enough to check in, but far enough that her life is her own. She is happy.

He is an athlete in some cool, extreme sport that gives me heart palpitations, but makes him feel like the king of the world. School wasn’t easy, but he found his groove and that bright mind shone for everyone to see. He keeps himself away from the worst excesses of his generation, because he knows what sad endings look like. He shares his adoption story with people who are interested, but in that matter-of-fact way that makes it clear it’s not a big deal to him. There isn’t anyone he can’t charm with his huge toothy grin, but he’s got his eye out for a very special girl. He’s a romantic like his dad. He is happy.

STOP

So here’s my dreams for my kids, maybe I’ll laugh someday about how off base I was. I know that “happy” isn’t a goal, just an occasional by-product of a life well lived. But what can I say, I’m a Mom. Of course I want life to be easy and smooth and effortless, but when it’s not, I hope they have imagination enough to envision a happy ending.

I’m sure God feels the same way about me.

5minutefridayFive Minute Friday with Lisa-Jo Baker

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.

2. Link back here and invite others to join in.

3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

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The View From Over There

I shamelessly eavesdropped accidently overheard a conversation at the park this morning. It was between mother and daughter as they watched the kids play. The daughter (who was also the mother of the kids – clear?) was unloading about her son’s social problems, dealing with teachers at school and the struggle to incorporate speech therapy into his life. Grandma “hmmm-ed” and “uh-huh-ed” throughout. At the end she suggested that it would be a good idea to carve out just 15 minutes a day to play speech therapy games with the son. Nothing too strenuous, just a chance to spend some time together and improve his communication skills.

“What a difference that could make in the rest of his life!”

“It’s only 15 minutes.”

That one there. That’s what got my blood boiling. I mean, does she realize how HARD it is to carve out 15 minutes EVERY day. Does she have any idea how tired this poor woman is? Overwhelmed? Discouraged? It sure is easy for someone else to suggest adding this or that to an already over-packed schedule. Does this mom really need ONE more person adding to that burden of guilt and obligation? What she really needs is a hug. And a hi-five. And an assurance that she’s already doing everything exactly right and shouldn’t change a thing.

I could be projecting.

Because that woman said “Good idea Mom. I’ll give it some thought.”

Here I was ready to have her back (and who doesn’t need some creepy, eavesdropping stranger leap to their defense?). The truth is, Grandma is probably right. She wasn’t unsympathetic or demanding or guilt-trippy (cause then I WOULD have jumped into all that with a vengeance). She just saw something important that might make life easier in the long run. She’s on the other side, beyond late nights and concerned teachers and feeling like it’s all too much for one person to handle; where needs and problems loom large, because they are close up, all the time.

She sees what’s important. She sees what she regrets and what she doesn’t. She sees the big picture. She’s outside the eye of the storm.

Maybe the view from over there is worth considering.

viewpointSo here’s me, in the midst of it all, where it is so much easier to react and survive. We could use a little more strategic parenting up in our neck of the woods. Now to try and figure out what my new 15 minute habit should be…

5minutefridayFive Minute Friday with Lisa-Jo Baker

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.

2. Link back here and invite others to join in.

3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..


This is Our Song

songThe frantic buzz of the strings – busy, busy, busy boy.

The lilting chime of the bells – sweet, charming girl.

The rock ‘n roll squeal of the electric guitar – dramatic, fun girl.

The delicate dance of the woodwinds – gentle, beautiful girl.

The deep thrum of the bass – steady, brilliant man.

The every-changing melody of the lyrics – clumsy, passionate woman.

This is our song.

The syncopated beat of everyday routine

The discordant strains of conflict

The lighthearted whistle of totally adorable

The crash of tantrums

The faint hum of grief

The trill of humor

The every-changing tempo of life

And always, the counterpoint of

purpose

prayer

joy

This is our song.

It’s the only one of it’s kind!

So here’s us, in this Five Minute-ISH Friday. Not exactly by the rules, written one line at a time throughout a morning of errands and border waits and toddler chasing. But I loved the prompt – SONG.

5minutefridayLinking up to Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday post

1. Write for 5 minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word.

2. Link back here and invite others to join in.

3. Be generous and leave an encouraging comment for the person who linked up before you. That’s the best part about this community.

And if you don’t have a blog, feel free to leave your five minutes of writing as a comment. And we’ll love on you there.


That’s My Future You’re Raising

That’s my future you are raising. That’s my children’s future and my grandchildren’s too. That is the spouses and friends and employers and employees and neighbours who will populate our world for years to come. That is the community we are making for ourselves.

mothersdaySo, to all the mothers, and the mother-ing, we wish you well. We think you are heroes! We appreciate you! We pray for your success and courage and energy and patience and unwavering love.

I know the job is rewarding, but overwhelming. I know that you are tired more often than not. I know that there never seem to be enough hours in the day to do it all (because there really aren’t). I know that most of you are doing your best, and all of you want to do better.

I know that you have beautiful dreams for your children. I know that you are haunted by fears for their health and their safety and their choices and their one day learning to pee in the potty (or maybe that’s just me). I know that you have good days when you see their eyes light up with discovery and are struck speechless at their sweetness and brilliance and beauty. I know that you have bad days when you wonder how you are going to survive this endless nightmare (granted it’s only been 45 minutes, but at 2 am, it feels pretty damn endless) and are equally speechless with frustration and exhaustion and despair.

I know it’s not easy, not for me anyway. But I know that it’s important. Not just for me and my children, or you and yours, but for all of us. That’s our future you are raising.

So we thank you.

THANK YOU for . . . every night of interrupted sleep, for every unnoticed menial chore (especially the smelly ones), for every second of patient listening, for every warning and inconvenient discipline, for every slobbery kiss and sticky hug you lovingly received, for every “but why?” you’ve answered, for every hormonal tirade you’ve diffused, for every teeth gritting smile while they make their own mistakes… for every sacrifice of your time, your energy, and your own plans.

This is love.

To love another person, as much as we love ourselves, is the most important job God has given us as human beings. I can’t think of a better here-and-now example of that, than a Mom.

So here’s to the Mom’s at the grocery store and school parking lot and splash park and church nursery and all around the world.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Excerpts of this are taken from my article on Family Life Canada


It’s a Sibling Thing

My Mom is a true pacifist. She craves peace: genuine, co-operative, Kumbaya, why-can’t-we-all-just-get-along peace. She finds the debating and discussion our family dabbles in unsettling. She prefers to play for fun, and not to win. She is quick to point out the dark side of competitiveness and ambition. And she has ZERO TOLERANCE for violence.

My Sisters and I

sistersAs the (much older) sister, this meant my fights with my sisters were semantic, never physical and rarely even verbal. Just a simmering annoyance and sly pokes at one another. At 7 and 10 years younger, they were always the babies compared to me. I couldn’t get away with much, without coming across as the bully. So, I teased and tormented one and babied the other.

My Mom’s strict censure on all physical conflict had an unintended side effect for the youngest two. In the space between the back of the couch and the living room wall, my sisters found a way to battle for dominance anyway.

Silent fights.

Not a word. Not a sound. Just an all out brawl in absolute quiet. Until one would burst into giggles, at the ridiculousness of it all, and the other would stomp away angrier than ever.

Now we’re all grown up. And though we were told repeatedly, “you do not have to be friends, but you do have to treat each other with respect,” I not only respect, but consider both to be friends. The kind of friends that you don’t have to keep up with regularly, but can still pick up and hang out with when life allows. The kind of friends who can disagree fundamentally, but still laugh and wax nostalgic and know that it doesn’t really change anything important. The kind of friends who actually have a lot in common, and not just our back story or complexions, but our taste in books and sense of humour.

My own kids

I want that for my kids: a true, meaningful friendship. And not someday. I want it right now. I want to be the Mom who says, “they are so close, they love spending time together and they get along so well.”

But they don’t.

Sure, they spend a lot of time together. The two oldest share a room. The two youngest enjoy the same toys and shows. They play together and enjoy each other. But never for very long… inevitably fighting ensues.

There is nothing semantic about the conflicts in our house. When B is upset she will systematically remove all of her brother’s toys from his room and hide them in her own room. S is much more straightforward (being both a boy and 2); he screams at the top of his lungs and charges (watch the teeth). I’m not sure which one is more problematic.

The big girls are even worse. They are ones who really worry me. And frustrate me. And make me say things like, “I don’t want to hear it” and “work it out” on a regular basis.

The phrase, “she can outpester any pest” comes to mind when C decides she wants something from her long-suffering roommate. While C is prone to emotional outbursts, we’ve been around long enough to realize that L is often the one poking the bear, then sitting back with a contented smirk while little sister gets herself in trouble. There is no issue too small, no provocation too absurd, no slight too obviously imagined to escape their notice.

They are both kind girls with tender hearts. They are helpful and gracious. They are generous and considerate.

To everyone else.

Is this normal?

I’m told it is. I hope it is. For some reason we are our worst selves to our siblings. Because we can. Because they’re there. Because they’re ALWAYS right there in our space and into our stuff and generally making us crazy.

I find myself saying it a lot these days: “You don’t have to like each other, but you DO have to treat each other with respect.”

This sibling rivalry must have been hard on my peace-loving Mom. I know I long for the days when they will finally cut each other some slack. They would never dream of treating anyone else the way they do each other.

They are each other’s worst enemy. But, even though they may not admit it, they are each other’s best friend too.

So here’s me, feeling a little bad for the way I treated my sister. Sorry Esther Pester.


Does Mommy Get a Sick Day?

I spent this weekend crawling from bed to the couch and back again in a haze of Gravol and ginger ale. The 3 girls had a lighter version of the same (more vomit, but less crawling).  There’s nothing worse than cleaning up their messes when you’re choking back your own sick. Wretched stomach bug.

sick dayNaturally, our little Energizer Bunny, 2 year-old S has been healthy and raring to go. On Friday afternoon he played in the rain puddles on the deck, still wearing his PJs, while his sisters and I watched bleary-eyed from the couch. Tracking mud in, throwing his toys and random items of kitchen ware over the railing and screeching for our attention whenever we drifted off. Stellar parenting.

Daddy’s arrival home was greeted with a family wide sigh of relief. He brought Subway sandwiches and ginger ale. He popped the littles in the bath and bundled them off to bed, while I watched Netflix and dozed off again. My hero.

C was devastated to miss a friend’s birthday party that afternoon. Normally I would roll my eyes at her over-dramatic reaction, but I had my own taste of tragic unfairness having to text my sister to find someone else to go with her to the Opera the next night. I had been SO looking forward to it. It’s NOT fair!

We consoled ourselves by watching an old video. That’s right, a video: a clunky black rectangle that goes in an old-fashioned machine called a “VCR.” These “videos” are so outdated that they can be bought for only $1 at the thrift store and are eagerly handed down to us from friends. We have stacks of old movies in our storage room – REALLY old according to our girls, like, from the 90s. Cause that’s how we roll.

This was C’s introduction to Jane Austen. Gwyneth Paltrow as the irrepressible and often oblivious, Emma. I had tried to draw my girls into the fold before this, but they weren’t at all interested in the strange costumes, stilted language and bizarre customs. But this time she was intrigued. We discussed the class system, gender roles, courtship rituals and, of course, the amazing hairstyles. The next night we watched Newsies and tackled poverty, child labour, unions and cheesy dance moves.  Teachable Moments FTW!

It wasn’t the weekend I had planned. And I sure won’t be looking to repeat it anytime soon. One of the hardest parts of parenting is the unrelenting nature of the job. It used to be that my sick days were about ME, but now they’re about everyone else. Rearranging the plans, leaning on friends and family, using what little energy you’ve got to change diapers and sing lullabies and scrape a meal together… because you can’t take a day off of being Mommy.

But it’s not all sacrifice and sucking it up.

I’m blessed to have a man who jumps in as much as he can to carry the load. And maybe he doesn’t do it all the right way my way, but it gets done, and he works his ass off to take care of us. And maybe he isn’t a natural caregiver, but he’ll drop everything to get me what I ask for (including the middle of the night, no questions asked). But it’s a good lesson for me in spelling out what I want/need instead of expecting him to notice (because he really doesn’t).

I’m blessed to have pre-teen daughters who still want to spend time with me. And maybe those days are fleeting. And maybe both they and I are too busy and distracted most days. But I enjoyed some of the best mother-daughter talks we’ve had in a long time, lying side by side with a plastic bucket between us.

I’m blessed to have an 8 year-old who thinks it’s fun to take care of Mommy every chance she gets. And maybe the blanket she pulls up over my head isn’t as gentle as my pounding head requires. And maybe she wakes me up when she climbs in bed behind me and pulls the pillow out from under my head so we can “share.” But those snuggles are worth it and the loud, off-key lullaby she shouts sings to me is too.

I’m blessed to have a busy, noisy 2 year-old who stayed healthy. And maybe it’s just a matter of time. And maybe he seemed like more work than ever this weekend. But I’ll take a happy, dancing, climbing on my head, aggressively affectionate boy any day, because there’s nothing worse than a sick baby.

It was easier being sick Before Children. It was certainly quieter. I’m not going to lie. I miss that. Still… though the lows can feel so much lower when you have all these little responsibilities blessings in tow, the highs are so much higher, and that’s what keeps me pushing through. Well, that, and ginger ale.

So here’s me, finally feeling better. But I just noticed that my shirt’s been on inside-out all day. Guess I’m not 100% just yet.


Parents Need to Get a Life

I’m tired of it. The saintly, June Cleaver-ish, I-simply-exist-to-service-my-children-and-husband ideal that I keep running into. There’s a religious version. And an organic-hippie version. And a sleek, modern-day tiger-mom version. And yes, even a special needs, therapy-is-our-life version. Their parenting may look very different from each other, but they are all entirely consumed by it. And it’s not just the women. They’re martyr parents.

martyrmomIn this day and age, parenting is the last bastion of acceptable nobility. We no longer expect to lay down our freedom, our identity, our dreams… our lives on the altar of marriage, or country, or vocation. But when Jr. Me arrives on the scene, we’re prepared to gift wrap all of the above. And pat ourselves on the back for doing it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of selflessness. It’s something our culture could use more of. It’s something I could use more of. But good parenting is about a lot more than sacrifice.

To clarify, I’m talking to good parents here. Not the pseudo-adolescents who barely show up, much less engage their offspring. Nor the workaholic yuppie with a trophy child they stash away until family photo day rolls around.

The rest of us. Most of us. Regular folks who desperately love our kids and feel desperately overwhelmed and underqualified a lot of the time.

To compensate, we read more. We do more. We sleep less. We are the hardest-trying generation of parents who have ever lived.

And sometimes we forget that good parenting isn’t about giving more, it’s about being wise.

Life is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s a long haul. And we need to conserve our energy and recharge our batteries from time to time. That’s not selfish; that’s smart.

The Center-of-the-Universe is subpar housing. No one should live there. Certainly not an impressionable child. The most miserable adults began as children who believed they deserved what THEY wanted, when THEY wanted it, no matter the cost to others. It is good for children to wait, to pitch in, and to sacrifice for others, especially their parents. It builds this old fashioned thing called respect.

Kids grow up. Ouch. I know. And it happens so fast. Which makes you want to soak it in as much as you can (unless they’re really whiney; then you send them to visit the Grandparents). But someday when they need you a little less, or when they are grown and gone, your life will go on. If you have no life anymore, you are in for a shock. You are more than just a parent.

Life is happening now. Life can’t be put “on hold” until your busy child-rearing years are over. Although we are technically “adults,” we are still growing and learning and becoming. If we neglect ourselves we will be stunted phsyically, emotionally, relationally and spiritually. One of the worst mistakes a parent can make is to sacrifice the health of their marriage to the immediate needs of the shortest family members. In the end, everyone suffers for that.

Whatever stage in life you are at, whatever unique circumstances you find yourself in… find something that is your own. In those first few crazy weeks/months, that might be nothing more than a quick, hot shower. Take it. Own it. It’s good for you. And that’s good for them. A good parent has their own life.

The week our baby girl was diagnosed with Down syndrome, we met with the hospital social worker. She handed us stacks of brochures and articles and tax benefit forms. But the best thing she gave us (apart from heartfelt congratulations) was this advice:

“Don’t change your whole life for her; let her fit into yours.”

Down syndrome will always be a part of her life, but we don’t build her life around it. Down syndrome will always be a part of our lives, but we don’t build our family around it.

Nor do we build it around our son’s adoption or his special needs. Or our eldest daughter’s consuming passion for dance. Or our 10-year-old’s absolutely-essential, must-have-or-she’ll-never-be-happy-again, latest trend/toy/hobby/obsession. In our family, everyone gets to have a life.

A good parent gives selflessly and sacrifices and often puts their kids first, but NOT always. A good parent has hobbies and friendships and goals and needs. A good parent goes on dates and takes long hot baths and reads books and takes holidays. A good parent can say NO, and a good parent actually does.

So here’s me, and I’m my own person.

Along these same lines… I love this article: Stress Less Parenting: What Everyone Can Learn from Lazy French Mothers What do you think?


Five Minute Friday: What Mom Did

Another Five Minute Friday post with Lisa-Jo Baker.

Today’s topic: In just five minutes. Tell me all about what your mama did that made her yours….

GO:

My Mom is one of those rare grown-ups who actually enjoys children. All children. All ages. With a special focus on babies. When we told her we were getting married, the first thing out of her mouth was that she was expecting grandchildren someday: at least a dozen.

We’re doing our part, but my sisters are woefully behind.

If children hadn’t been in the cards for us, she would have been fine. Because my Mom finds children to love everywhere she goes. If there is an infant at the party, chances are it will spend a good deal of time in my Mom’s arms. I can see her hands twitching when we pass a particularly cute specimen in the mall or a restaurant. You just know, she’s dying to scoop them up and snuggle that drooly little person close.

She loved all my friends. And they loved her. Which was great when it meant after school Bible Club for all the neighbour kids in the elementary years (which she formed to appease my evangelistic fervour, since telling all the boys and girls in Grade 1 that they are going to hell didn’t go over so well). It wasn’t so great as a teenager when they used to say “your Mom is so cool. I just love her!” And I’d be like, “what are you talking about! My life is so hard! And my parents are so unfair!” But deep down I knew that they were right.

The best part of having a Mom like that, is that she genuinely wants to hear about your day, and play along with your pretends, and come and see the fort you built-in the living room, and eat lunch with you there. I never felt like a burden or an inconvenience. Not even when she struggled through the chronic pain and fatigue of Chrone’s disease. I didn’t realize that other Mom’s didn’t need so much rest, or time at the hospital, or nights spent in pain. Because no matter how bad she was feeling, she had time to enjoy us.

My Mom enjoys being a Mom. She sees it as a privilege and every child as a gift. I have no doubt that this is at the heart of my happy childhood.

STOP

So here’s me, wondering what my kids will remember about me someday.

5minutefriday

What about you? How was your Mom uniquely YOURS? What do you remember most?


For Keeps: the Big Day Arrives

My son is 25% boy and 75% snot. Although we were finally getting the hang of sleep at night, all night long, today we are bleary-eyed and grumpy. And slimy (see above re: snot).

It’s not what I pictured when I imagined this day. In my daydreams we are smiley and dressed in our best (and naturally I’m 20 lbs skinnier). We stand before a stern but fatherly judge and solemnly vow to love, honour and cherish our son forever and ever amen. The audience of happy, tearful friends and family cheers wildly. The sky is filled with fireworks and/or flower petals floating in the wind (I can’t decide), as our family walks arm in arm out the front door of a quaint old courthouse.

Choruses of angels sing. A flock of doves bursts into flight. Adoption Finalized!

Roll the credits.

Reality is a lot less like the wrap-up of a sitcom. Today, at 11:41 a.m. on a Tuesday, we get an email from the Social Worker. “Congratulations! It’s official. His new birth certificate is in the mail.”

No fireworks. No cheering audience. No solemn vows. Just a lot of paperwork and waiting and an anti-climatic finish.adoption-Paperwork

“What to Expect When You’re Adopting” has a lot more blank pages than traditional family growth. There’s no standard 9+month timetable. No firmly established rituals as we transition into a new version of us. We make it up as we go along. And I wonder if the rest of the world realizes that it’s every bit as Miraculous, Thrilling, and Magical.

We were “expecting” for almost 3 years. The labour and delivery wasn’t quite as bloody as most, but terribly hard work. We don’t track it in hours or even days, but months. 7 1/2 months since we brought him home. 7 1/2 months of making him our own. 7 1/2 months of making us his own. Until today, at 11:41 a.m. on a Tuesday. Adoption Finalized.

We’ve been a family for a long time. I wondered if this would make any difference at all. Would it calm the last vestiges of irrational “what-ifs” in my mind? Would it matter?

Despite the lack of fanfare, the answer is: absolutely.

Another heart clenching, surreal, overload of emotion as we close this chapter. And I held him extra tight, snot and all, in the middle of our everyday, hustle-bustle life. You might not know it to look at us, but something amazing happened today!

So here’s us, officially, legally, forever a family.


Winning the Parenting Game

It’s like hundreds of playground meetings I’ve had before. Sideways glances. Indulgent smiles at a stranger’s child.

“He’s adorable. How old? Is he your first?”

As we politely exchange information, the tone shifts. There’s an edge of competition. No matter what we talk about, she seems determined to ‘outdo’ me.

“How insecure she must be,” think I. “Who DOES this? It’s so silly.”

But I play anyway.

We’re toe-to-toe, with our kindest voices, and our saddest stories. Let the games begin.

I’ll see your three kids in three years and raise you four kids and a disability. Ha!

I win.

Or do I?

scoreboardI’ve been keeping score ever since my friend Emily Wigle got two more stickers in Sunday School than I did. We were three. And it stung.

It’s not just parenting, either. We play our triumphs and our tragedies like cards in a poker game. It’s how we (especially women) have lived for so long, it becomes second nature. How do I measure up? Where do I fit in the pecking order?

I find myself counting kids whenever we meet someone new.

Just the three. I win! My life is harder.

Expecting number seven? How do they DO that? What’s wrong with me that I’m so overwhelmed and I only have four?

At one point, I decided to factor the special needs into the count. I have four, but the two littles count for double. We’ll call it an even six.

Never fear; you too can earn extra points:

  • Dad or Mom travels a lot +1
  • Living in a small space (trailer, cabin, apartment, RV) +1
  • Maintaining your figure +2
  • Work full-time + or -3 (depending on my mood: if that seems like it would be an extra hassle or a welcome break)
  • Fishbowl existence (pastor, missionary, politician) +2
  • Children born within a year of each other +1/per or +3 for multiples
  • Mother-in-law lives with you +1
  • Hippie Bonus Points (grow your own food, make soap, sew, no TV) +2
  • Single Mom/Dad +1000

Because everyone knows that parenthood is all about keeping score. How many hours of labour? Are you sleeping through the night yet? How many words does she have? How goes the potty training? (At this point my eye starts twitching uncontrollably) Is he in any sports? play an instrument? performing in dance competitions? composing sonnets to her loving mother to post on her weekly blog about honouring parents and not getting married until she is 30 to the man whom her father chooses?

There’s no point in even playing with a single parent. If they manage to get dressed and out of the house, automatic champion.

The constant comparison is exhausting. And pointless. Nobody wins. That moment of feeling superior/busier/more-hard-done-by is so fleeting. Right around the corner there is someone who has more on their plate, or more accomplished children, or better hair and skinnier jeans.

How about we just agree: You have your life and I have mine.

I can celebrate your success and support you in your struggles, without making it about me. I can hear your advice, without feeling judged or defensive. I can make small talk at the park with a strangely insecure woman and let her one-upmanship roll right off my back.

Parenting is not a competition. When we make it one, we all lose. Plus, it makes the playground really uncomfortable.

So here’s me, trying not to be such a loser.


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