Deb
Reader, Thinker, Writer, Lover.
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Pro-tips for those of you who are in the “Who Can Be the Most Sacrificial Mom” competition that seems to be thriving out there:

  1. I do NOT drive kids to school when there’s a bus available. I told my kids that it was bad for the environment to have hundreds of parents driving their kids to school when they could all go on one bus. Truth was, I hated rush hour and waiting in carline. Now, if you have a science project to take to school, I’ll drive you to the bus stop. I’m not a monster.
  2. Speaking of which, if you miss the bus, you shall pay me in cold hard cash (or chores) for the chauffer service. And I will lecture you the entire way to school because it’s my right. You made me late to Crossfit, dammit.
  3. I stopped going to back to school nights, parent-teacher conferences, etc. a decade ago. I know that everything in education is still stuck in the dark ages, but can we all just agree that we don’t need to meet in person like is 1865? Send me an email, call me (I probably won’t answer), or ask me to come in if there’s a problem.
  4. I refuse to make fancy, homemade treats for parties. Oh, I was a 25 year old mom once and everything I brought to every event was Martha Stewart level awesome. But I got tired of working my butt off for 4th grade ingrates. My kids know to sign up for chips or paper goods, or something that can be purchased at Costco.
  5. The exception to rule 4 is the occasional education of their classmates as to what constitutes good food. I’ve been known to have an entire 6th grade class come to my house to learn how to roll tortillas, taught a couple of kindergarten classes how to make individual homemade apple pies using local apples, and driven across town to buy $150 worth of REAL croissants for a French class party. It’s my contribution to humanity.
  6. No I will not bring your forgotten homework/lunch/musical instrument/field trip form unless I’m already going to town and near your school on an errand. If you really need it, my rate is $5 per forgotten item. (Note: Once I took this too far and refused to bring Macie another shirt after she had a bloody nose. She promptly called my best friend, her “nice” mom, who not only brought her clothes, but a Lululemon jacket. I have not lived this down to this day.)
  7. I don’t check homework, and only check grades often enough to let you know if you’re grounded or not. If you want to fail Algebra, fine, but you’ll have no social life until it’s fixed. These new apps that let you know the second your child misses an assignment are going to be the downfall of Western civilization.
  8. I also don’t help with homework unless the child begs, pleads, or sobs. I already finished sophomore year. I hated it then and I don’t want to repeat it.
  9. I will go to all of your concerts, games, and poetry competitions, but I won’t bring you a bouquet of flowers like you just played a concert at the Met.
  10. My bedtime is 9pm. I don’t drive, help with homework, or take you to Walmart because you forgot tomorrow is field day after 8pm. If you’ve been an absolute doll this week, I might push it to 10 on the weekend (once per weekend). What I WILL do is stand in freezing drizzle at Red Rocks with you to watch The Fray, drive through a blizzard to get us to John Mayer, rent an airbnb to take you and your friends to ComicCon, or fly with you to Vegas to see Justin Beiber.

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June 4, 2019

Are You Brave Enough?

Written by Posted in Blog Posts Comments 1
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Bravery is a funny thing. It’s often associated with big things like cliff jumping, sky-diving, or public speaking. We think it requires some sort of leap into the unknown, overcoming fear to do accomplish something great.

But there’s another sort of bravery I’ve been working on – it’s quieter and it’s personal.

 

I’m working on having the courage to:

 

  • Look into the mirror, and withhold judgment
  • Take a compliment without disclaimer
  • Say no when I have to in order to take care of myself,  even if it inconveniences someone
  • Accept a gift graciously
  • Listen to someone’s political views without judgment
  • Quiet my mind for 10 minutes
  • Not distract myself with technology
  • Feel what I’m feeling without medicating
  • Feel someone else’s feelings and share their burden
  • Throw away clothes in my closet that make me beat myself up for not fitting in them
  • Face the demons in my mind that constantly tell me I’m not good enough, thin enough, pretty enough, accomplished enough
  • To say: I deserve better
  • To decide my opinion of myself doesn’t really matter
  • To allow people to love me/do nice things for me
  • Believe it when other people tell me I’m beautiful

How about you? Where do you need to be brave?

 

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I sat beside her on the staircase, hour after hour, day after day, as she spoke on the phone with her friends and her sisters. I colored in a book, or just listened to the bubbling creek of her voice washing over me.

 

I didn’t understand every word my grandmother said, but I knew the important ones: amor, morió, mi hijo. With hjio, son, her voice would choke up and she would start crying. I would lean against her, trying to comfort her with my body. I would look up into her eyes and she would wipe the tears from under her glasses, and smile at me. Her son had died, at an age that would break a mother’s spirit.

 

Sometimes she would become so upset that she would start rapidly breathing and clutching at her chest. I knew where she kept her nitroglycerin pills and would encourage her to take one. In fact, I remember once when the pills didn’t do their job, and she had to be rushed to the hospital; I think maybe I was only 5 years old. I had already learned the lesson that grief would try to kill you.

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October 26, 2018

Written by Posted in Blog Posts, Poetry Comments 0
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Look up

Notice that leaf

on an uppermost branch.

The wind challenges

its heroic grasp.

 *

All of its treemates

have long since released

their tenuous hold on life

blowing as they do into

far pastures and lanes,

byways fill with their corpses.

 *

They reveal

as they die

the winter’s architecture

of the cottonwood tree-

A ghost in black relief-

the autumn moon watching

through its arms.

 *

Look up

The leaf is holding on

to what is not meant for it -

Holding on

to this idea of immortality -

all the while losing

its grip

on the one life it has known.

*

This leaf

is one of millions of leaves

come and gone

in this ghost’s lifetime.

*

In autumn we say goodbye.

October 17, 2018

Light

Written by Posted in Blog Posts, Poetry, Youth at Risk Comments 5
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I want to be a light for you

*

shining the way

down the path,

to the doors,

around the obstacles.

*

I have no strength to give you,

No solutions to offer you.

*

I can’t pick you up,

can’t carry you,

can’t force you to see.

 *

All I can do

is say -

Hey look!

Did you notice that?

Do you see the choice?

Can you feel your power?

*

All I can do is

Light up the dark places -

show you another way to walk.

 *

All I can do is

Shine a light in your heart,

point out what was already there -

*

which is Strength Unimaginable

Goodness Unrealized

Resilience Untapped.

*

My light can speak truth

Into your dark places.

 *

Let me be your light.

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Photo by Daniel Cano on Unsplash

 

I asked them to tell me about someone they trust – someone who came through for them time after time, had their back. It was a risky question seeing as how I know for a fact that people indeed do not come through for them: dads in jail, mothers in rehab, bullies at school, teachers who have written them off.

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Roo and his bitc…uh…girls.

 

I was in my bedroom when I heard a hullabaloo outside my window. I opened my curtain and saw my entire flock of chickens huddled under the low branches of a tree. At first glance, I thought one of them was standing outside of the group, but upon closer inspection, I saw it was a hawk. It was almost as if he was sizing up which hen he’d like to have for lunch.

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Okay, I’ll admit it. I don’t have it all together. You know those times I posted a picture with pride, or said we’re doing just fine, or made it look easy to parent a kid with a disability? That might have been a straight up lie, or it might have been me just trying to convince myself that I was qualified to do this job, or maybe we were finally having a good day.

 

But you see, the world is set up in such a way that people with disabilities, specifically my kid, are handed the short end of the stick day after day – and that’s if anyone bothers to hand them a stick at all. I have to watch her get looked over again and again: in jobs, by the waitress at the restaurant, in love.

 

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I couldn’t look at her face

One more day.

Her cry was weak

My milk no longer strong enough

For a toddler

But I had no choice

No options

No food.

*

And the eldest one

11, a child-

a man with a gun

had grabbed her

had…touched her

had laughed

and I knew next time

it wouldn’t be just touch

*

every day was a struggle

a battle

just to eat

to feed my daughters

to protect them

from evil men

and so I ran.

*

I put our lives in the hands

Of a man I didn’t know

For 1000 small coins

I had squirreled away

From carrying garbage

*

And the journey was one

I could never repeat

But I repeated

“It will be worth it”

even as the man took me

my breasts heavy with milk

dripping as my baby sat in

her sister’s arms.

They were both crying

But he had said me,

Or her.

So it was me.

*

These girls are my life

I will give my life

I thought

It will be worth it.

*

We reached the end

And I thanked God

And wrapped my arms around my girls

And cried with joy.

We had reached the promised land.

*

The man turned to leave us and said

Cross there

When the sun goes down.

I said, “Wait, with you?”

He laughed

And squeezed my breast

And said, “Don’t you wish”

*

I had lost the ability

To even flinch

From the indignities

*

We hid until the sun

Dropped below

And then hid longer.

When all was quiet

We hid longer.

*

And then I woke her

And didn’t wake the baby,

Strapped her to my chest,

And we walked where

He had pointed.

*

The lights were blinding

The yells deafening

Chaos filled the quiet night

*

I grabbed for her

And they grabbed for her

and she was screaming

No! No entiendes!”

And they didn’t understand

As they dragged her away.

*

And they asked me questions

And I was sobbing for her

And desperate to find to her

And they were unwrapping the baby

And I was clutching her

And I was screaming

And she was screaming

And I was holding her

So tightly I thought I would break her

And they wrenched my wrists

And they tied them

And they took her

Her little legs kicking

Her little nails scratching

Her little teeth biting

And I screamed

And her screams stopped

When the car door closed

And my milk drenched my shirt

A waste.

*

Photo by Roi Dimor on Unsplash

May 7, 2018

Get Into Your Body

Written by Posted in Blog Posts, Horse Magic Comments 0
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My legs were shaking, and my breath was coming in gasps. This horse felt like a lit fuse underneath me; so much energy that it fairly vibrated out of his muscles and skin and made mine respond in the same way. He is big and fit and powerful, and I often feel slightly out of control when I am on him. This day, even more so. I fought to stay calm, to trust my training.

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