Do You Want To Know?

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So, Fortnight.

Don’t worry, I’m not going all Prince Harry here. To me, there’s very little difference between spending hours on Fortnight talking to friends and the hours I spent on the phone when I was 13 talking to friends.

But.

My mom couldn’t hear my friends unless she picked up the extension.

I can hear it all from the Fortnight.

I have said before that my teenage parenting strategy is to establish my crazy mom cred when my kids were young. I believe that I have done this with Gabe and his friends—the right mix of cool and I will pull my car over to yell at you, I don’t care whose kid you are.

So no one blinks that Gabe’s Fortnight is where I can hear it all. Or his phone has a mad mama control that allows me to read all his text messages. I don’t—our agreement is that I won’t unless my mom radar tells me I should.

But I could. And they all know I would.

So yeah, I have rolled into the middle of Fortnight and told some young men to watch their language and play nicely or they won’t like what happens next.

Here’s what I need to know though—if your kid is a douchebag when you aren’t listening, do you want to know?

My girlfriend’s son is 11. He plays with a kid who drops the F bomb so often she swears he’d give me a run for my money. It’s natural that my friend thinks his mom must know this, since the child is so fluent. Hard not to judge that, a house where 11 year olds use the F word in all the parts of speech and sometimes in the same sentence.

But what if his mom has no idea? What if the xBox is in his room upstairs in a house with a main floor master and all she knows is thank god for Fortnight because he’s not constantly asking her what’s for dinner?

It’s an age old mama question.

Do you want to know?

If your kid is the one with the anonymous Instagram who posts crap about other kids, do you want to know?

If your daughter is changing her clothes on the way to school into something less…modest…do you want to know?

If you kid is downlow dating someone (and by downlow, I mean that YOU don’t know but all the followers on their mom-free snapchat account know) do you want to know?

In this age where our kids are putting their lives into permanent public spaces without the proper brain function to understand the implications—or thankfully, that they aren’t as smart as they think they are—do you want to know?

I do.

I want to know.

I have told my sister mamas this. Not when my child comes to them in second mom status for a perspective that’s different than mine.

But when there is skulking, lying or tomfoolery? I need to know.

Do you?

Intimidation

A couple of weeks ago, Serena Williams pulled out of the 2018 French Open due to a pectoral injury.  She dropped out before meeting Maria Sharapova in the fourth round.  In 21 their meetings, Wiliams has beaten Sharapova 19 times. Nineteen.  One-Nine. Her overall record is 19-2.

Before Serena pulled out, however, she was interviewed by Bill Simons from Inside Tennis.  Aside from dismissing her time with her daughter, telling her to “work with [him]”, and calling her “baby”, Simons asked, perhaps the most ludicrous, insulting, and outright clueless question that anyone has asked a female athlete in the history of the world:

“After the 2004 Wimbledon match with Maria, I had the opportunity to interview Donald Trump on his L.A. golf course, and he said that Maria’s shoulders were incredibly alluring and then he came up with his incredible analysis: that you were intimidated by her supermodel good looks. My question is: Have you ever been intimidated by anyone on a tennis court, and what are your thoughts about that occurrence?”

#1 – Really? Are we now taking tennis analysis from Donald Trump, the man who openly admits to grabbing women by the p*ssy? And you waited 14 years to ask Serena that?

#2 – So, I’ve been an athlete since 1986.  Actually, I was playing sports before then, but I was first on an organized team in 1986.  I went through playing sports in high school, at a Division 1 college, on the national stage at the Final Four, and then internationally as a professional.  I’m even going to an open gym today.  And I can say, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that an opponent’s good looks have never intimidated me on the court.  Not once.  Not when I was 11, not when I was 21.  And not even today when I’m 42 and playing after 2 c-sections and a hernia.  In fact, I never even thought about equating good looks with athletic ability until this interview question.

#3 – You want to know the one other woman that I can ever remember being openly intimidated by on the court?  I was playing for University of Virginia in 1993 and we were awful.  I mean, like we-only-won-2-conference-matches-that-year awful. I went to college early so I was only 17 and in early October that year, we played against George Washington University… and Svetlana.  She was this foreign player from Russia. Obviously.  And at that point, she was the biggest woman I had ever seen on the court.  She had to be 6’4” and must have weighed over 200 lbs.  When she called for the ball, she had this crazy Russian accent.  And she hit the ball like she was using the hammer from the Russian flag itself. Think Ivan Drago in female volleyball player form.  And when I was in the back row, she was in the front row, and our blockers were probably about 5’6”.  When she went up to hit the ball, I prayed for my life.  Yep.  Svetlana intimidated me.  And as chance would have it, Jen played against her, too.  It’s one of those funny, small world things that happens between soul sisters.  And Jen remembers her by name too.  Svetlana looked at Jen through the net one time and said, “I block you,” in that same Ivan Drago voice. Intimidating.

#4 – One more thing… Jen and I (and all of our teammates since the beginning of time) would probably actually like to play against some pretty girls.  And we hope they have little pretty names. And we will destroy them.  I know this because when I was thinking about names for my second daughter, I really wanted to name her Cosette.  I thought Jen would be all in because we both love Les Miserables.  Seems legit, right?  But I still remember Jen telling me, “Do you know what I would do to a girl across the net who was named Cosette?  I’d block the hell out of her and tell her to go back to her Castle on a Cloud!”  Ouch.  Truer words were never spoken.

So Mr. Simons, and all of The Media, please stop with this kind of ridiculousness.  Stop pitting women against one another based on looks, because we really don’t think about that kind of stuff on a daily basis.   We women are just out here being the best mamas, teachers, athletes, grandmas, real estate agents, oh, and PEOPLE, that we can be.  With or without our lipstick.

 

The Best Princess of Them All

Sleeping Beauty hit the big screen in 1959. Ariel swam along in 1989.

In between, there was only one princess in the world and she had cinnamon buns on the sides of her head.

I was 5 when Star Wars premiered. You know what I wanted for Christmas? A blaster. I was 12 for Return of the Jedi. It wasn’t until years later that I realized the bikini was a thing. All I knew was that she climbed up on that big bastard Jabba and sent him to hell.

Bad. Ass.

I wanted to be her with every fiber of my being. And it had not one thing to do with Han Solo. I wanted to lead a resistance, fly an X-wing fighter, rip a blaster out of my holster and defend my droids.

I SUPER wanted to ride those cool speeders through the forests of Endor, wiping troopers off on giant redwood trees while wearing a camo cape.

A camo cape. Think of all the things a camo cape can mean on the back of a bad ass princess.

I know that Carrie Fisher wasn’t Princess Leia. And I think that playing Leia cost Carrie something.

But I also think there was a lot of Carrie Fisher in Princess Leia and that if she hadn’t been such a brave young woman, my generation would have spent more time asking ourselves “Am I pretty??” instead of “How can I be an Imperial Senator when I turn 18?”

“Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.”

Carrie Fisher

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Believe

This is Alejandro.alejandro

 

He’s ten.

We met him last year when he and Gabe played together during basketball season.

He’ll be mad at me for saying this, but he’s adorable. And a baller. Plays mean defense with his good buddy Alex.

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Oh boy. I’m going to be in trouble for this. She was tall. He took her on anyway.

But he was gone a lot from practice, and he missed some games. When I finally saw his mom Kyndra again I asked her “Is he ok?” And that was the first time she told me.

Alejandro was born with Stage 4 kidney disease. From Day 1, the doctors knew he would need a transplant.

Since then, they have lived their lives as normally as possible. Kyndra is a single mom and Alejandro has a little brother and sister.  He’s been sick a lot, but they make it work.

Last May, they found out his kidney function was nearing the 20% threshold for the kidney transplant list and doctors told Kyndra to prepare. Family members are being tested in the hope of finding a living donor. Insurance will pick up the estimated $500,000 cost of surgery, but there will be significant other costs.

They have to go to Portland for surgery and then stay there for 5 weeks. Then they’ll head up one weekend a month for treatments. Kyndra will need to stay home full time for four months to care for him. Estimated costs: $50,000.

You know why I’m telling you this. Alejandro needs us. He needs our prayers and our good thoughts and yes, even our money.

They are selling t-shirts for $15 and every one of those dollars goes into the fund. If you buy one, I’ll pay your shipping.

You can also visit his fund-raising page at the Children’s Organ Transplant Associatioor visit the Facebook page to offer support.

There’s no such thing as other people’s children  ~ Hillary Clinton

#teamalejandro

 

 

Cookies Hold the Bridge

There’s this thing my neighbor Julie and I do, and it kind of started as a joke.

Last Fall, I baked too much of something fun and sent a bunch over to her family on this turkey plate.

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About a week later, I got the plate back with something equally fun.

After a while, I sent something over on the plate again. Sure enough, back it came, loaded.

This is a fun game, I thought.

Now it’s a thing.  Julie’s son made cookies and made sure we got some. When Gabe made his cupcakes, he took some over.

The Lord knows Julie and I weren’t trying to teach any kind of lesson. The truth is that we have a massive distrust of small batch cooking and our butts can’t handle the fall out.

But dang it, the kids are watching and their take away is that we share the bounty of our kitchen.

Which SURELY has to balance out that last week at the beach, Annie filled a cup with sandy ocean water and ran across the beach yelling “MOM! I have your vodka tonic!” This caused a man who had already passed me with his surf board under his arm to come back and tell me I had a little bartender in training on my hands, like this was momming at its very best.

ANYWAY, it occurred to me that one of the ways we can hold the bridge is to bake some cookies and spread them around. Or cut some flowers and leave them as a surprise on someone’s porch. Or take the neighborhood trash cans back up from the curb. I personally would send my kids to do that one, but whatever. You see my point.

One house, one neighborhood at a time—that’s how we make the world smaller and build community. That’s how we hold the bridge.

Love, Friendship, Faith

Kate is making her First Communion with four of her good friends. So the moms hired a photographer and on Sunday we dressed them up, took them to a pretty farm and took pictures.

Officially, to mark the importance of the occasion.

But in the far-reaching, planner’s part of my heart, it’s so we have these pictures to show at rehearsal dinners when they are all bridesmaids in each other’s weddings. We do live in a small valley. You never know.

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These three met at our house to get their hair done. By the moms, none of whom qualify as “hair people”. It required wine…

We hired the magnificent and magical Tonya Poitevint, who did our family pictures last Fall. She was amazing, like a mother hen with five snow white chicks following her around. She has such a way of coaxing beautiful smiles.

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We shot at Orchard Home Bed and Breakfast , which has breath-taking grounds and the afternoon light was just…just.

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In the middle of the shoot, it came to me what we were really doing.

We were guiding our girls to the next place. We were doing it together and they were doing it together and Tonya became part of our together. It was this amazing, prayerful feminine energy and it was powerful.

These five beautiful girls, with their arms around each other, laughing in God’s sunshine.

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And the mothers, who have brought them this far in keeping with the promises we made when they were baptized, but really before that, when they were whispers of hope in our hearts.

As our mothers before us. And before them. And back and back and back.

All of this to say: You are a beloved child of God, and of mine. And it is your province as a woman to wear these things as symbols of who you are and celebrate what is holy and sacred.

This is what it means to be a woman and a mother in our church.

Love, friendship, faith.

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Tonya Poitevint Photography!

 

No Drama, Mama

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I was on the receiving end of a shaming attempt last week.

The mama took me unawares because I know I have a big “I don’t care what you think because I’m minding my own business” sign over my head. Well, maybe it says something a little bit different…but either way, other mamas do not usually come at me like this.

My mom could have saved her the time, too. Shame hasn’t worked on me since I’m four.

But she didn’t know. So first there was a long and angry text, thinly veiled as “friendly”.

This mom was upset that we–myself and three other moms–had pulled our kids from a school where we do not support the decision-making anymore. She said that our kids were talking smack about the school–smack they must have heard at home from their parents. In whom she was now “disappointed” and from whom she “expected more”.

I didn’t tell her about my sobbing daughter or how she didn’t sleep much the night before or how we don’t lie to our kids and so yes, my daughter knew the truth of why she was leaving and probably was saying it out loud to process it through and who could blame her.

I don’t know why my decision was causing so much trauma for this woman, but I do know it would have been fruitless to explain or argue.

So I firmly but politely told her it was none of her business and didn’t require her input. And I kept saying that every time she poked.

I didn’t give her what she wanted: a fight. Neither did the other moms, which upset her most of all.

And that’s the part that got me thinking: What’s really going on here?

I wish we would stop taking one of the most sacred jobs on earth and using it to beat others about the head. Or to make ourselves feel seen or heard or important. When we lash out at others in an attempt to look or feel better, we show the world our unhappiness in a way that makes it very hard for anyone to care.

That’s not cool in the sisterhood, where we’re all just trying to hold it together with duct tape and prayer. For reals, mamas. Every single one of us is a dropped shoe away from needing all the help.

So no more shaming. No more drama.

Let’s mind our business and pray for our sisters.