My H.

h and mommy

Dear little bird,

I will never forget the way that it felt to kiss your cheek, to squeeze your foot, to smell you one more time before I left the hospital that day, with your sister and your daddy, but not with you. Because that was the day we left you behind. Because you weren’t ready to come home yet. I know that it’s irrational, I think I knew it was irrational that day, but I still feel guilty for leaving you. I wondered if you thought you did something wrong. You did everything right. I went back to the hospital every day and your daddy came every night until you grew big and strong enough to come home. With your little blue hat knitted by the NICU staff for NICU babies, to somehow try and comfort NICU mommies who thought their hearts had most certainly broken. And every day since that day you came home, you’ve been my little bird. My little baby and then my little toddler and now my little boy. You are the sweetest child that I have ever known. You feel other people’s pain. And you go out of your way to make it better, even at the cost of your own happiness. Sometimes at night while you are asleep, I crawl into bed and smell your breath as you exhale in and out of dreams.

You turned five a couple of months ago and this week I met with your teacher. Who told me that it was time to have a conversation with you about bathroom privacy, and body consent and “keeping things covered by clothes”. I got in the car after the meeting and cried into my hands harder and louder than I have in years. I know time flies. I fucking feel it every second I look at you and your sister. And it terrifies me. Because I don’t want to lose any of this, I want to dig my fingernails deep down into the experience and claw it still. Claw it steady. So that the minutes stop becoming hours and days and years. I’m not ready for you not to be my baby anymore. I’m not ready for you to not be free and beautiful and wild to run around the house naked screaming “look at my booty everyone!!!” I’m not ready to place you in a world full of rules and “he should”s and “what’s appropriate”. Because you are my little bird. The same little bird I birthed and nursed. This didn’t happen overnight but goddamnit it sure feels that way. You are too big for my lap. I can barely carry you anymore. You still want to snuggle and call me “mommy” and get a hundred kisses and you cry when you scrape your knee or feel left out and you reach for me when you have a nightmare or hurt feelings. But you are moving away from me as well. I don’t want to weep because it’s over I want to rejoice that it happened. I want to rejoice at what is happening right now. Every day that you come home with a new thought or observation. Every time you tell me about a new friend or a new word you’ve learned. “Mommy, did you know turtles have a million eggs filled with a million babies?”

When I looked out the window last week and saw you riding your bike, I didn’t weep, I felt utter pride. And awe at who you are. At who you, my little baby, has become. Being a mother is heartbreaking. It is so powerful that thinking about it, feeling it right now, makes my legs wobbly, my heart shaky and my breath short. When I close my eyes, I can smell the antiseptic soap we were required to use in the hospital before we held you. I can hear the incessant “beep beep beep”s of the baby heart monitors. I can smell the formula and breast milk and diaper cream and baby lotion. And I can still feel the way your chubby little fingers felt, first as I squeezed them tight, then as I pulled away from them. As I left the NICU. As I left you behind. You chirped a little bird sound as I opened the door and entered the hallway. I looked back at you, at my little boy, a boy that at times over the past several years I imagined would never come. And then I left you and went home.


My little bird.


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Where did my brain go?


I’ve had a hard time coming up with material for this blog over the past (almost) year. I’m not sure why. Life feels very, very full . The twinkies turn five in two months. And acknowledging that fact, literally knocks the wind out of me. If only I could sink my fingernails deeper into our time together, I could hold on. I could keep it, own it, put it in my pocket forever. But I can’t. I think motherhood feels like your heart breaking in half at the same time it explodes with pride. I know this fact. I love them so so so, so much.

But that’s not why I haven’t been writing.

If I’m being honest, and I’ve alluded to this before, it’s been a challenging year for me. I changed jobs-something that was desperately needed-and I’ve taken proactive steps to take better care of myself. Not just my diabetes, or my physical health. My mental health. Something that I am self- conscious about. Something that I very easily let fall to the back of a very long and demanding line. It’s easy to see when you are physically unwell. The symptoms are visible, noticeable. When your mental state is sick, it’s trickier. It shows itself briefly throughout the day in unreasonable outbursts. In hours staring aimlessly out a window. Or in darker moments, all alone. People think it’s a “phase” or a “mood”. And frankly, it’s easy to pretend it’s nothing more than that. At some point I think I will be ready to write about the last year, to really be open about all that happened. But as I began to write it today, I see I am still far from ready.

Perhaps to start writing more, I need to start writing more. You know what I mean? Maybe forcing the words out of my body will serve as the catalyst I need to get back into the flow of things. I find myself wanting to write about the world, the political climate, where the fuck we are right now. But what can I say? I am gutted by this presidency. I am terrified, I mean wake-in-the-night terrified for my children’s future. For the planet. I feel helpless and weak and hopeless. I feel lost-with no direction as to where I should devote myself, what I should work on or care about. Because it’s all devastating. So perhaps that’s part of the writer’s block. And I know it’s a luxury, as I’ve said previously, to have writer’s block. I’m a white, middle class woman, and while he-who-shall-not-be-named feels comfortable grabbing my p#*%y without asking, he is not actively passing laws to undermine my rights. Not yet at least.

Of all the things floating around in my mind right now, perhaps what I’m struggling with most is figuring out who I am. Time has flown by in the last decade. I swear to god I turned 27 yesterday. And today I’m 34.

I feel a deep fulfillment as a mother. Making a healthy dinner, while drawing pictures and working on letters and cleaning up the house, makes me feel good about myself. I feel like I’m in the right place. Like I was made for this job. And yet, my heart yearns for more. Being a mother isn’t enough for me. I want a crack at it all. But hand to god, I have no idea how to have that. I am barely breathing-barely staying afloat as is. I am so profoundly exhausted at the end of the day that I could throw up. So right now, I’m wrestling with who I am at 34. What I want in the world, what I feel constitutes a well lived life. And at the same time, I’m gripping with all my might trying to hold on to my parents, my babies, my family, my friends, my speeding train life.

And that’s where my brain has been.

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I’m still alive.

abHello faithful reader (s),

I am still alive. But barely. 2016 is an asshole of a year that I would very much like to forget. Of course there is the obvious. A putrid, orange piece of racist garbage was elected president of the United States. A woman who I have loved and admired for most of my life, was defeated. A woman who my daughter loved. Who my daughter wanted to see president. She lost to a man who bragged about grabbing a pussy without consent. So yea, 2016 is an asshole.

But 2016 was also something else. For me, it was life changing. As lame as it sounds, it was the first year of my life that I really and truly opened my eyes. I had a health incident happen towards the end of the year that changed everything. I am not going to go into detail, but I will say that after months and months and months and months of not listening to myself, not listening to what my inner self was fucking screaming for, it all came to a head. And my body basically said, “yea, I’m done here”. So in September of 2016, I started to listen. And I began to talk to professionals who could help me listen, who could help me really hear myself for the first time in more than 30 years. I’m still very much on this journey, I am far from finished. And so for that reason, I do not have the answers. I have not figured myself out. But I have learned this. And I think it is important for mothers, in particular, to hear this: You have to take care of yourself.

When you ride on an airplane they say “put the oxygen mask on yourself before putting it on your child”. That never made sense to me, even when I was a child. Why would the parent ever try and save themselves BEFORE helping their child? As a mother, I’ve thought a lot about that advice. We are told to, again, put the proverbial oxygen mask on ourselves before our children. In essence, we are being told to take care of ourselves before trying to take care of another life. Not because we are more important. Because we are only good at taking care of another, if we ourselves are healthy. And for the past several years, I have not been healthy. And it destroys me to admit this, but my children suffered the most because of it.

So while 2016 remains a relatively piece of shit kind of year (see: election of repulsive, vile dickhead), it was also profoundly life changing.

So yeah, I’m still alive.

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A wish to forget.



So maybe I write about this a lot. Maybe I talk about it a lot as well. But for me, writing this blog is cathartic and freeing and so I’m going to talk about it. Again.

Sometimes I forget that I have a really bad disease. I blend in to those around me, I eat what they eat, I work out the way they work out. From the outside, everything looks fine. And because of that, I find myself forgetting as well.

I forget that my life expectancy is shorter than my husband’s or my best friend’s. I forget that my body is defective. That my organs don’t work right. That I will very likely face really scary complications at some point in my life. That I will face complications at some point in my life.

I think about my eleven year-old self. My gangly, unshaven legs, oversized pink Umbros and hand-me-down tee-shirt from my sister’s youth soccer tournament. I think about my face and what it must have looked like when my mom said “you have diabetes”. I think about my bony, undefined little girl arms as they received their first of thousands of injections. The way I cried and looked to my parents to make it better, to heal it, and I think about their faces as they realized that they couldn’t. I think about how it felt to walk into Junior High wielding a bag full of needles and blood glucose test strips. I think about how it felt to like a boy for the first time and to wonder if he would like me back, if he would think I was gross or scary or strange. I think about what it felt like to be hospitalized after a severe hypoglycemic episode, and how my friends knew, and how they looked at me when I came back to school that Monday. I think about the conversations their mother’s had with them. “Anna has a serious disease”; “You are to never give Anna candy or eat junk around her”; “Anna is very sick”.

I think about the years and years that followed. A life reel of frustration and grief and anger and self-pity. Of rejection and defiance. Of of pizza and binge drinking, cigarettes and late nights screaming through tears “Fuck This!!!!!” and “That’s it God. I give up!!!!!”. Of sadness at the realization that it’s never going away. That I will probably die of this disease.

I think about my feet and how much less feeling I have then I used to. I think about my eyes and how glossy and sore they get after a long day of high blood sugar. I think about my future and how there is no reprieve. No fucking break. There will never be a time when I don’t have to inject myself with something. I think about my skin and how much it hurts. How red it is from poking and poking and poking. How profoundly heartbreaking it is to have something broken inside of you. To have been made incorrectly.

And you know what? Today I feel sorry for myself.

I feel really scared about what’s waiting for me in the future. I feel panic to think of leaving my children or my husband without a mother or a wife. To leave my parents without a daughter. To be a sad story that my friends tell down the road.

And of all the pain, and all the fear, the anger, the worry, the frustration, the sadness, you know what is worst of all?

The undeniable fact that after writing this entry, I will put away my computer. I will take a deep breath, and then I will check my blood sugar, I will inject myself with insulin.

Again and Again and Again and God Damnit, Again.

And tomorrow, and the next day and next week and next month and next year and next decade, I will still be a fucking diabetic.

And all I want to do today is forget.

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Me and myself.


I am in an unhealthy relationship with myself. And it permeates into so many crevices of my life. On some level, I’ve known for sometime that the way I see myself, the way that I value myself, is unhealthy. And yet I don’t change.

I’ve been reading Tara Brach’s “True Refuge” ( recently, and I’ve been trying to focus on the following two tenants:

  1. Everything that happens, everything that occurs in the world is utterly, completely and naturally devoid of emotion. Each occurrence, whether it be a death, a divorce, an illness or a change in employment, each occurrence is just an occurrence-a thing that has happened in the world that we just happen to inhabit. WE-the humans-attach emotion and feeling to these occurrences. We internally decide if a new job brings pain or joy or that a divorce is the right move or a disaster. So in other words, we are in control of how we respond to life’s occurrences. They are not innately sad or hard or joyful. They are just things…that happen…in our world.
  2. There is a process that we as humans follow, and for me at least, I have subscribed to it unknowingly for the past 33 years.  This process begins with a feeling. The feeling can be a twisting in our stomach, a pounding in our head, a speeding up of our heartbeat. It can also be a surge of serotonin-a burst of sunshine in our soul. Whatever it may be, the feeling occurs and is inevitably followed up by a thought. After the thought, comes the action. Here’s an example.

I got out of the shower yesterday morning and caught a glimpse of myself in our full-length mirror. I had a visceral response. A feeling in my stomach of discomfort. Of a big tangled ball being pulled apart slowly at each end. This feeling drifted up into my heart which began to beat faster. From there it moved into my chest and I felt that all too familiar feeling of anxiety. Of regret. Of shame. Next came the thoughts.

“You look fat.”
“Your stomach is saggy.”
“Other people who’ve been pregnant look better than you.”
“Why aren’t you skinnier?”
“You work out so hard, you try and eat so well, what a  joke. You’re an impostor.”

And then most importantly,

“You aren’t good enough.”

And then, the action. Even though I am a smart woman and I know that what I am about to do is wrong, I do it. I will skip breakfast. I will skip lunch. I will allow my blood sugar to rise (this surge causes your body to eat it’s own fat, you lose weight but you also slowly kill yourself). When the evening rolls around and my head is pounding from hunger and my energy is depleted, I will find myself standing in the pantry, stuffing food down my throat to try and raise my low blood sugar, to try and fuel a body that has worked out, worked a full day and is now expected to entertain and care for two perfect, beautiful little children. Children who mean everything to me. Children who lived inside of this wrinkly, stretched out stomach. Children who fed off these breasts. And I think about how I would feel if my daughter thought she was fat or ugly or worthless. It would kill me I know.

How do we break this cycle? We know-we really really really fucking know that we are incredible. That we are superheroes that grew people inside of us, that produced food to keep those people alive. That somehow these bodies wake up and work out and drive to work and work a full day and drive home and clock-in for the second job and love and care for the people in our houses. These bodies bend over and pick up crayons and legos and wash counters and feed dogs, and wipe butts and wash clothes and kiss boo-boos and band-aid scrapped knees. These bodies are the most important bodies in our children’s lives. These bodies are absolutely perfect in the eyes of our children. Why why why can’t we hear this? Why can’t we remember this as we gaze in the mirror at our various “imperfections”? Why can’t we fucking believe this?

Truth is, I don’t have the answer.

I am only just now beginning to understand the problem.


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Mother 1 and Mother 2.


Inside of me lives two mothers.

The first is silly and creative and kind. She is patient. She is funny, she plays music and dances and makes art projects. She is good at her job. And  she is madly in love with her children. This mother craves her children throughout the day with an insatiable hunger for their touch, their voice, their selves. This mother’s heart lurches when the door to their room closes at night, signalling the end of another day with them-another day in a pool of days that will at some point in the future, cease to exist. This mother is sturdy and solid and knows in some part of her body that she is doing exactly what she has always wanted to do-exactly what she was put on this earth to do, and she is profoundly fulfilled.

The second mother is different. She is short tempered. She is irritable. She is tired in a way that she never knew was possible. She is angry and resentful and impatient and lonely. She isn’t sure that she should have become a mother. She isn’t sure that she is doing a good job. She isn’t sure that she will survive this moment, much less this life. This mother sits alone in a dark room and weeps for her old life. This mother leafs through old journals filled with worldly travels, romances and life-changing experiences-experiences that are long gone and likely to never return. This mother feels cheated. This mother feels shame.

Mother 1 and Mother 2 are consistently at battle.

The moment I wake up, I crave my children. I literally long for them. I run to their room to wake them up, all the while my heart is beating fast as I imagine hugging them, kissing them, being near them. I’m like a schoolgirl with a crush. The door opens and they smile and yell “Mommy!” as though they are genuinely surprised that I’ve come back. I hug them both and inhale their nighttime smell, kissing the tops of their messy haired heads. My son pulls my face to his and says “Mommy, I always have loved you.” My daughter kisses my nose and says “Mommy, is it the weekend time together?” My heart throbs. I feel as though I’ve never been happier, I’ve never felt more perfect and complete. I smile and scoop them up and head into the kitchen to begin breakfast.

And then I hear it.

“Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That was MINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
“Give it to me! I hate you!”
“I’m gonna hit you!!!!!!”
“I don’t like you anymore”

And just like that, Mother 2 begins slithering towards the surface. I take a deep breath. I sip my coffee. It will be ok. I can do this. I am a good mother, I say.

“Mommy, I don’t want breakfast.”
“Mommy, I don’t like you-I’m gonna hit you”
“I don’t want to do anything today”
“I don’t like anybody, I’m not eating”

And then the plate of oatmeal hits the ground. The cup of milk is turned over. The pancake is fed to the dog. The toy is thrown across the room. The hair is pulled. The crying begins. The whining has never stopped.

Mother 2 swallows me whole. My eyes turn red, my heart beats fast, the bile rises in my throat like lava. It spills out of my body as I turn and yell.

“What is wrong with you?!”
“Why do you always do this?!!!!!”
“Go to your room!”
“That’s it, we aren’t going.”
“I’m so sick of this crap!”

The moment the words leave my lips, I feel the sharp and familiar sting of regret. I watch as their faces absorb my words. Their little mouths turn under. Their eyes well up. Their shoulders slouch. The tears spill over and just like that, my throbbing heart is breaking.

“Are you still mad Mommy?” a little voice asks me.

“We are sorry Mommy.” she says.

“Do you have a ed-ache Mommy?” they wonder.

Two pairs of eyes watch me. Two pairs of eyes, waiting, hoping, wishing for me to smile and to comfort them and to love them.

“No, mommy has to go to the bathroom” I say.

I retreat to any empty room in the house and weep. I hate myself. I hate myself. I hate myself. I am terrible. I should be stripped of my duties as a parent. They hate me. I don’t blame them. I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I’m sick of it, I’m failing at it. I can’t do this. I sob into a pillow.

But Mother 1 begins to claw her way back. She is strong like that. She reminds me that I am tough, that I don’t believe in giving up. That I am good enough. That I am trying. And that I can actually do this. I take a deep breath, I swallow Mother 2 into my belly, into the recesses of my body, to be ignored for another day. I step out of the room and listen.

“I am eating all my breakfast up. But I will share with you if you want?”
“Thank you. No thank you I am full now. Let’s be kitty cats.”
“Ok, you can be a kitty cat first.”
“Ok, we can be kitty cat friends together”

And just like that, I’m back.


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Lucky to be at a loss for words.


I have written and erased the beginning of this post multiple times. Because I am at a loss for words. People use that expression so frequently without stopping to think what it really means. Being at a loss for words. Feeling so much inside but somehow lacking the ability to find words to capture the emotion. And so you sit with the feelings, and they swirl around inside of you-touching your heart and your mind and your fingertips. And you open your mouth to reflect, to say something to summarize what is going on inside of you, but you can’t find the words because words are insufficient and empty.

Yesterday news broke that Alton Sterling, a husband and a father, had been fatally shot by a white police officer in Baton Rouge ( And later that afternoon, his wife got to stand in front of reporters with her 15 year-old son weeping by her side and discuss “what happened”. What happened was her husband was murdered. What happened was that child’s father was murdered. Plucked from this earth because his life is considered less important, less valuable than others.  This morning, driving back leisurely from my morning workout, not a care in the world, I got a Google alert that Philando Castile had been stopped for a broken taillight and  fatally shot in front of his girlfriend and her four year-old daughter (  I sat in the driveway watching my two white children run through the backyard, collect sticks, pick up acorns and race their bikes. I looked specifically at my white son and watched him dance and wiggle and shake through the morning sunlight.Through a system built to protect him-built to prioritize him-built to value him above others. And that’s the goddamn truth isn’t it? The system that we operate in, values my son’s life more than that of our neighbor’s son who is black and the same age. I cried in the car while I watched him and then I felt guilty for crying because I’m not the one suffering. I’m the one with a son who the cops don’t want to kill.

Parents know what worry feels like. That soul-crushing anxiety that wakes us in the night like ninjas ready to battle and destroy anything trying to harm our children. The worry that keeps our heart beating fast and our mind racing. We worry about molesters, child predators, tornadoes, car wrecks, drunk drivers, cancer, drugs, bullies, school pressure, eating disorders, terrorism, depression, mental illness and so on. It’s terrifying to be a parent.

But you know what I don’t worry about? What has never crossed my mind? What has never woken me in the night sweating?

That a police officer will shoot my son. That a police officer will fail not only to protect my son, but put him in harm’s way. That is mother fucking privilege. 

On those occasions when I wake from sleep, worrying about terrorism or tornadoes hitting my children, my cortisol rises. My heart rate speeds up. My blood pressure soars. My organs suffer. And then I reassure myself that everything is ok, that we are safe, that we have resources, that we have money, that WE will be ok…and I go back to sleep. My cortisol lowers, my heart rate slows down and my blood pressure decreases. My organs are healed. When a person is consistently worried, when a person is consistently inundated with trauma-with images of people who look just like their children being murdered in cold blood, their cortisol doesn’t lower. Their heart rate stays up. Their blood pressure continues to soar. Their organs continue to suffer.  I had a black friend tell me once that being black felt like “their insides were like a car that had the gas pedal revved at all times”. I don’t feel that way. I don’t spend my life, my days on this planet feeling that way. Why? Because I’m white.

And today I find myself at a loss for words. And let’s not forget, being “at a loss for words” after two more African-American men are murdered is in itself a fucking privilege. I can be “at a loss for words” because I don’t have to sit my son down tonight and warn him about the dangers of sitting in a car while black; walking down the street in a hoodie while black; being stopped for a broken tail light while black.

And if that isn’t the definition of privilege, I don’t know what is.


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