Her happy place…

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Every family has their own vacation rituals, right? My childhood trek was to, wait for it, the great state of South Dakota. Every. Single. Summer. My mom had little vacation time, so the yearly pilgrimage to South Dakota was a big deal. We got a bag of cheetos, twizzlers, made some sandwiches, filled up the coffee thermos, and wouldn’t dream of forgetting to pack “Love is- Best of the 70’s” tape, part 1 and 2. I can still recite every single line of “Islands in the Stream” and “I’ve been to paradise, but I’ve never been to me.” (Now if that isn’t a great party trick…I don’t know what is…)

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No air conditioning, sticky seats, and an older sister that barely tolerated me headed to a town smaller than my own. Sweet bliss! As time has gone on, what I remember most about these trips is how happy my mom was. This was the one time that I could imagine what she was like as a child. She hummed getting close to South Dakota. She let me blow things up with my rowdy cousins in South Dakota. She let me drive a car (when I was 13) in South Dakota. This was her happy place.

Of all the gifts from childhood, the ability to see your parents as people separate from yourself is a lasting one. I always associated my mom with work, cleaning the house on Saturday mornings, grocery shopping, and worrying about the future. I saw someone different in South Dakota. It was the equivalent of seeing your elementary school teacher on a ride at the county fair. They can have fun?! That’s allowed?

I just spent the last week packing to decamp with my own family to the lake for a month. I hummed while writing my packing list. I overheard my kids talking last night, “Just ask her. She’ll probably let us. Mom’s in her happy place.”

Bike to get ice cream? At 10 o’clock? You bet. I’ll do you one better. I’ll race you there.

Keep sharing moxie. Happy Canada Day to our friends to the North & Happy 4th to those stateside.

 

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Dear Dad…

dear dad

Dear Dad,

All my memories start and end with you. Did you know that? You’d probably say you don’t remember all this crap, but I’d call bullshit. This is the relationship we have. I’m a “goddamned pain in the ass” and you’re mine.

I’m not a “Daddy’s girl”. You know that, right? Only because it makes me think of pretty dresses and princesses, which is decidedly not me, but I am your girl. I always have been, always will be.

All my memories start and end with you.

I am 3- and I leave my trike out in the driveway. I promise not to do it again.

I am 4- I do it again.

I am 5-I’m certain that there isn’t anything better than sitting in the middle seat and shifting your truck. I was right.

I am 6- I know what divorce is. Don’t try to explain it to me. I know.

I am 7- You let me eat so much candy I swear I don’t ever want to eat another peanut butter cup or SweeTart again. You know better. I will never stop eating candy. Ever.

I am 13- I get caught stealing toothbrushes with a friend. You ask me what the hell I was thinking. I wasn’t.

I am 16- I piss you off. You disappoint me. I tell you I don’t want to talk to you anymore…until I do.

I am 25- You walk me down the aisle. You stand on my veil and my head snaps back as I try to move forward. You’re embarrassed. I know you just weren’t ready to let me go. Plus, it gave my sisters something to talk about (until the end of time).

I am 30- You are laughing. Your granddaughter is testing every limit. You love this.

I am 35-I name my son after you. You love this, too.

I am 40- I’m wishing I became something more useful like a doctor. I will be forever grateful that some fellow student spent more nights studying than me, so they could one day repair your heart.

Years ago you started calling us every Saturday. I love these calls, have I ever told you that? You try to call early enough to wake me up. This never happens. (I’m always up first).You ask me about work, the kids, and try to make me lighten up. I push you about your health and you call me a “goddamned pain in the ass”. It’s the new “I love you”, it just hasn’t caught on with everyone yet.

Here’s the thing. I don’t know what it’s like to not have someone in my life that all my memories start and end with. I’d appreciate it very much if I don’t have to learn how to live like that for a very long time. Stick around to annoy me, your grandkids, your wife. We’ve got your number, we can handle you. So, with that, “Keep your boots on, you goddamned pain in the ass.”

Love,

Your girl.

Christmas Card Competition

christmas-catString me up by toenails, I mailed out my Christmas cards today. I’m THAT person. The obnoxious one that sends Christmas cards every year. Early. I’m sorry. Before you pelt me with olives, let me assure you, I do not have my crap together in any other way.  

I have posed with a shovel, made my friends take pictures of me when I was single and sent them out with aplomb. If I had a cat in the 90’s, no doubt I would’ve been this super festive twee love pictured to the left.

Somehow, though, my favorite time of year to visit the mailbox has lost a bit of luster. I think it’s gotten a little too competitive. My sister gave me a look of unbridled (yet, well deserved) disgust when I handed out Christmas cards at Thanksgiving last week. The personalized return mailing labels with our family photo emblazoned on them? A bit much, perhaps. My family is not as bright and shiny as we appear on the thick cardstock. Yours isn’t either, precious. None of us are Christmas card perfect. We just aren’t perfect, period. So let’s just write a Christmas card disclaimer, like a surgeon general warning on a pack of ciggies: these photos may be dangerous to your self-esteem. May cause you to vomit a little in your mouth. Smiling is good for your health, so smile, piss ant, and be glad someone mailed you an actual card.

In my heart of hearts, I know that my favorite Christmas cards are the ones that make me laugh, the ones that celebrate joy. The family that mocks themselves a bit. I loved it when a friend of mine had her husband wrestle with a barn cat one year for a photo shoot in striped sweaters. Admittedly, my humor veers towards David Sedaris.

Let’s make our goals certain and true: try to  make people smile and be glad they’re friends with you, rather than wanting to bash your perfect face in when they open up your Christmas card. My labels are pretentious this year, the contents inside- flagrantly braggadocio, hopefully the cover photo redeems the hot mess. So, from my family to yours…Merry Christmas from Bossy Boots & the Pot Stirrer.

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Keep sharing moxie!

 

Find your tribe. Love them. Fiercely.

It’s Mother’s Day. Find your tribe. Love them. Fiercely. Mothers and mothering take many forms. I am a mother, and I have many children that I look out for, whether I’m on their birth certificate or not. I’m lucky to have a mother, a step-mother, an adopted mother, bossy sisters, a mother-in-law, sister-in-law, best friends. My life is teeming with mothers. Some of them have biological children and some don’t. They all mother. Fiercely. 

I ordered flowers yesterday from a local shop in my home town. It was a somewhat surreal experience. I called in a order and they already had my name on file. I realized it’s because the last time I sent flowers it was for a funeral. Don’t start with me about how Mother’s Day is a commercial wasteland. I’ll use my teacher’s voice (and it’s scary). Order the flowers now. Don’t wait for a hospitalization or a funeral. Send the cards now. The texts. The two second Facebook post.

Your mother may be living or not. You’re still being mothered by someone. Mothering takes many forms. It’s beautiful and gritty and ugly. One day isn’t nearly enough to honor the sanctity and near sainthood that these women hold in your heart. Say something real to someone who has mothered you today. Make it count.

Keep sharing moxie!