Life Lessons from Snapchat

My 14-year-old niece recently taught my how to use Snapchat after finding out that I’m neither as trendy nor as tech-savvy as she had previously assumed. I’ll be honest. I still don’t get it. Why am I sending a Snapchat and a text message to the same person at the same time? Can’t I simply text the image?! 


Anyway! A college friend added me and sends me pictures and videos of all the concerts, bars and events he frequents. The only thing I frequent is my refrigerator. 

I mean, c’mon! It’s a week night and he was sending me videos of bands I would like to know, but who has time for their own music when I’m listening to Fisher Price’s Little People CDs and Let It Go? (And yes, we are still listening to that damn song from Frozen.)

Naturally, I felt a little lame in comparison. I send pictures of my daughter, my cat, and my unruly hair. That is [most of] my life. 

In my best efforts to compete in this world of Snapchat, I sent a picture of my beautiful Charlotte and made a quip about her being my wild, and often times crazy, life. 

My friend conceded, but I still felt like I was missing out some how. 

Until I turned off my brain and really looked at my life. 

We, as parents, need reminders like these so we don’t go insane. Reminders that we traded in our nightlife (and everything else!) for something much bigger [to us] than a concert. 

There will be many experiences in this life that I will “miss out on” because I’m a mom. This isn’t the first time I felt envious of a non-parent, nor will it be the last. It is fleeting, though. I can handle missing out on things. I would be devastated if I missed out on Charli. 

Besides, we can hold a dance party as good as the rest of them. 😉   

So what’s the life lesson of my story? Be grateful for the life you have, and don’t expect any exciting nightlife Snapchat messages from me. I’ll most likely be sleeping. 

Unintentionally Sad Blog Post

One of my clients recently told me her children are 18 and 16 years old. I asked if her oldest was still home or off at college. This was her response…

My daughter is 18 and a senior. She is headed to college in the fall. I go back and forth between wanting to change the locks while she’s at school to following her around the house like a puppy saying, “Why do you want to leave me?” Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was cutting her grapes in half and sleeping on her floor when she had a fever? Sigh . .

You know in movies how something small, like a phrase or song, will cause the lead characters eyes to glaze over as the movie transitions to a black and white memory scene?

This is nothing like that.

But the email did bring tears to my eyes as I remembered my senior year of high school. My last year with my mom.

I remember summer 2004 when we would eat junk food and watch terrible TV. I remember awkward conversations. I remember laying my head on her shoulder for comfort. I remember questioning decisions in her life, only to have her catch me off guard or blow me away with her answer.

And I remember so much more, but those things would only embarrass me to share!

My senior year of high school, my mom and I began a transition from parent-child to parent-adult child, aka friendship. We never quite finished that transition, but I’m so glad we had the opportunity to begin that bond.

After forcing away the urge to cry, I smiled. I couldn’t bring myself to mention losing my mom. I don’t want to scare the woman! But I did write her this…

I remember my senior year with my mom. I learned so much about who she was.. How strong she was.. I say you have every right to follow your daughter around like a puppy. Give her extra hugs and kisses. Share some private mom/daughter time. She may not ever tell you, but it’s the best gift she’ll ever receive.

That goes for you, too, reader. I don’t care where you are at in your life, but you have every right to follow your children around and remind them of how much you love them. You never know when you won’t be there to remind them again.

End unintentionally sad blog post.

Mother’s Day

Today is my first Mother’s Day as a mom. I keep wondering if I’m supposed to feel something special about this day. Honestly, I’m very disengaged from the day.

I adore my grandma, sister, aunts and dad’s wife, Sue. I have continued to wish them happy Mother’s Day and/or send cards, but I mostly forgot about (ignored) the holiday after my mom passed away. It just felt incomplete without her.

Everyone fills their Facebook pages with wonderful comments about their mothers and pictures of them together. Anything that I would say would remind people that my mom is gone, and it would be sad.

Of course, I think about mom all day. And I think about how I’m now in her shoes, fighting to provide for, love and raise this little blessing. I also think about how Charlotte will never meet my mom, at least not on this planet. That makes it all very difficult for me.

Sue has been a godsend. I love her and everything that she has given my dad and my family, especially Charli. She ranks amongst the most amazing women I have been lucky enough to learn from. This year, I finally felt comfortable enough to send her real Mother’s Day appreciation. I feel badly that it took so long. She has always been so great. It’s just hard to celebrate this particular holiday with my dad’s wife and it’s not my mom. … No matter how wonderful she might be. But, we will always celebrate with nana Sue from now on.

I know I’m just rambling on about things that don’t seem to mesh. I guess what I’m saying is that I spent so many years separated from Mother’s Day, I feel disconnected. I have had a decent day, and I’m always grateful for time with extended family. I just wish I could feel more joyful about the day in general.

Instead, I’ll take joy knowing that Mother’s Day is technically every day. I will never cease being a mom. I will always be blessed by Charlotte. I see her love and appreciation every time I look into her big blue eyes. And I don’t need one special day a year to make me feel good about that.

Seven Years

Today is the 7-year anniversary of the day my mom died. She was only 51 years old.

Mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in early September 2005. She lived just three short months after her diagnosis. I used to think that was so hard. We had just three months to fight. Just three months to pray. Just three months to prepare.

I’ve learned a lot since then. I’ve seen my close friends watch their loved ones battle cancer for years. My friends had to watch their parents suffer through so much pain for so, so long. I’ve also lost people quickly and unexpectedly. There is no good time frame for losing someone whom you love. There is just the time that we’re given.

This year has been a little harder because I have Charlotte now. Sometimes I imagine my mom holding her, rocking her. I imagine them playing together and Charlotte smiling up into her grandma’s face. I know it’s silly to dream about the impossible, but it doesn’t stop me.

Seven years without my mom. It’s really hard to fathom.

I lean on my belief that she simply moved. Instead of standing next to me, she now lives in my heart. And since she is still in my heart, I can share her love with Charli. I know that my mom will be a part of Charlotte’s life even if she isn’t physically present.

Each year that passes I’ll feel the same – Wow, 8 years, 9 years, 10 years without her. No matter how many years I go by, I’ll still have 18 years before she passed. Those were some good years.

366 Days

366 days ago I went home from my MBA strategic marketing class feeling fine aside from some minimal heartburn. I don’t know why I decided to take a pregnancy test. I remember talking to Bear as she sat in the bathroom doorway while I took the test. I told her how silly the test was. When I walked back into the bathroom I could see the face of the digital test. I remember thinking, “There’s only one word. There should be two words…” Sitting on the floor next to my toilet was one word in bold, black writing – PREGNANT.

In a state of panic or numbness or just plain naivety, I drove to the grocery store and purchased a second test… Different brand… Not digital.

I sat in Shane’s bathroom and watched as the line and cross appeared dark, blue and fast on the EPT test. He was out for guys’ night, so I called my sister to verify the validity of these silly little pee tests. Much to my dismay, they are far more accurate than I imagined.

I broke the news to Shane when he got home from guys’ night. He was like a deer in headlights. The look on his face made me so uncomfortable. I laughed awkwardly and begged him not to look at me like that. He walked over to the bed and slowly sat down. I’m sure I apologized one hundred times, but he hushed me and told me that there was nothing to apologize for.

I have always wanted to be a mom. I never dreamed about weddings when I was young, but I always dreamed about having children. But as I sat on the edge of the bed, Shane held me as I cried. I was terrified.

366 days ago I learned that I was going to be a mom.

And I have never looked back.