A Good-Bye Letter


I’ve been assigned a task to write a goodbye letter to my Dad. This is my homework from my therapist, Alice. I write this blog so that I can procrastinate the letter.

Why the assignment? I’m a widow. My husband passed away when my children were babies. Peter was 2 1/2 years old, and Cindy was less than a year when their dad died. I recently told my therapist that I’m sad that Cindy will not know the relationship of father/daughter. Yes, she has Mike Brady, but she doesn’t have her Dad. I know she is sad about this. Don’t get me wrong.  It’s not that I don’t feel badly for Peter.  It’s just that I know what it’s like to be a little girl who is madly in love with her dad. I don’t know the father/son relationship.

Alice asked about my relationship with my dad. It was great.  Really, it was.  My Father was a gentle man with a dry sense of humor and an unwavering love for his four daughters.  His easy going nature was contagious and his tender heart and straight forward advice stitched him to his children like a button. If our relationship loosened up once in a while due to distance or disagreements, the threads were easily repaired and left us good as new.

Almost eleven years after my Father passed away, Alice questioned whether or not I had ever grieved this loss.  No.  Probably not. I gave birth to my son three weeks after my Dad died.  I went from sadness to full on head over heels love for my baby.  I switched into mom mode and have never looked back.

So now the good bye letter.  Alice doesn’t want me to interfere with Cindy’s chance to grieve her Dad’s death by projecting my feelings and experiences of father/daughter onto her.  Ok.  I understand that but a good-bye letter?  Ugh! Painful. Scary.  Vulnerable. Sad.  So sad. And so I procrastinate.  Oh! And Alice wants me to read it to her at my next appointment.  Wish me luck.

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I Hope My Sister Reads This

I hope my sister reads this so I can tell her she is a good mother.  It’s not easy and you are doing a great job.

I hope my sister reads this so that she realizes she is juggling work, motherhood, marriage, and life.  Give yourself a break.  You don’t have to be perfect at any of these so stop feeling guilty.

I hope my sister reads this so that she breathes.  You want to go to that yoga class on Thursday night? Go, but don’t spend the hour worrying about that book of business sitting on your desk.  Enjoy the practice.

I hope my sister reads this so that she enjoys her six year old.  Allow yourself to let the dishes go tonight. Clean up the basement after she goes to bed.  Make cookies. Read a children’s novel to her.  Let her try to read some words. Get lost in the moment.

I hope my sister reads this so that she slows down.  Make E the priority.  Know what’s coming up at school.  Write it on the kitchen chalkboard. Get everything ready the night before so the morning isn’t a mess. Missing a dress down day at school doesn’t seem like a big deal to you.  It is to a six year old.  Pay attention to those details for her sake.  She can count on you. Prove it.

I hope my sister reads this so that she has perspective. This school thing is new to you. You’ll find your groove.

I hope my sister reads this so that she understands that our arrangement isn’t a burden. Having E be a part of this crazy Brady Bunch before and after school is a bonus. She is our Cousin Oliver! If it doesn’t always go smoothly, oh well.  We’re all learning from each other.

I hope my sister reads this so that she knows I forgive her for swinging my stuffed cat, Simon, over her head when we were little. I know you didn’t mean to rip his the tail off, but it was shamefully satisfying for me to explain to your daughter what happened when she found the maimed toy at my house recently. Sorry.

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Time to Slow Down!


Taking care of and keeping up with six children and their activities,  maintaining household responsibilities, and trying to be a good life partner and friend is often comparable to running on a hamster wheel.  Do you ever feel like this? You finally sit down at 9 o’clock at night and wonder where the heck the day went?!

After my second really super stupid move in just a few short months, I realize that I need to slooooow down. Maybe you can relate to this:

Strange things end up in the wash. I personally have washed (and dried) an iPod Shuffle, crayons, an entire deck of cards, packs of gum, hot wheels cars, Chapstick, earrings, and stickers to name a few. I’m sure most of you have. Last week, however, I topped them all.  I may be the first person to have ever done this. (Now that isn’t something you can say, well, ever.)  I washed a Rolling Stone Magazine. Yes, an entire magazine. Note: I think I’m the only person who has done this because I googled “magazine went through wash”, and nothing. It has to be true.

Picture your wet laundry after a single kleenex is left in a pocket.  A bit of an annoyance.  Now try to imagine a load of laundry with 6+ boxes of tissues thrown in.  Unbelievable.  Oh my, oh my, such a mess! I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. I chose the former and three days later I could FINALLY say that this particular load of laundry is clean. (The above photo is of a hat in the Rolling Stone load that had been washed and dried four times and yet still was a mess.) Carol Brady would also have laughed, but she would never have thrown the magazine in the machine in the first place. It would have been one of the kids or Alice. Carol was too together to make that stupid mistake. Surprisingly, this isn’t the stupidest thing I have done in the past three months.  I’ll let you be the judge.

Around the holidays, my kids’ school had a food drive. I dutifully took out a can of pumpkin and a large can of tomato sauce and set them on the counter for the kids to donate. Peter chose the pumpkin and Cindy the tomato sauce.  Luckily I happened to be subbing that day because shortly before the first bell, Cindy came running frantically into my classroom. “Mom, the can of tomato sauce broke in my backpack!” Broke? A can? I followed her to the gym, peered into her backpack, and low and behold — tomato sauce everywhere! The can sat upright at the bottom and next to it was the perfectly cut lid. What the?!

It was then I realized my stupidity.  I had made chili the week before, opened a couple cans of sauce, only used one, and hastily returned the can to the cupboard during clean up. Cindy’s teacher and I tried to save whatever contents we could from the tomato swamp. Thankfully, backpacks are available in November and at a third of August prices.

What have I learned? I need to catch my breath.  Do one thing at a time.  Be in the moment instead of flipping to the next slide so quickly.  This all sounds great, but it’s hard to put into practice all of the time or at least enough of the time. I should do more yoga.

 Helpful Household Hint #1: If you ever wash a magazine (and I am sure you will not), dryer sheets are your friend.  I would also recommend breaking the load down into much smaller loads, throwing in a towel or two, rewash, dry, rewash, dry, repeat. Or better yet, sit down and read the darn Rolling Stone and forget the laundry!

 Helpful Household Hint #2:  If you open too many cans of tomato sauce, pour the extra sauce into a bowl and refrigerate. Do not return can to the cupboard. Nothing good can come of this.

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What Would Carol Brady Do?

Summer 2011 002

What would Carol Brady do? I often ask myself this question. Seriously. I do.

I am the mother of two and the soon to be step mother of 4. Yep, unconventional family: 2 parents – one divorced and one widowed, 6 kids – 4 girls, 2 boys, 1 dog, a cat, and a fluctuating number of fish. Just like the Brady’s right? Wrong! This ain’t no Brady Bunch.

Blending a family can be challenging, exciting, at times seamless, and often very fulfilling. However, it’s also scary, heart breaking, and really difficult. My “Mike Brady” and I have been together for five years and have been sharing an address for a year and a half.  We recently got engaged and are in the thick of raising teenagers, tweens, and an almost tween.

The issues we are tackling are not the sitcom variety which Mike and Carol faced in the early to mid 1970s.  Blended families of today deal with anger, loss, sadness, access to and influence from the internet and social media, cutting, and ADHD to name a few.  Carol had Alice to help her through her blended family/parenting issues. I have a therapist.

With this blog I’m hoping to fill a little emptiness, spark some discussion, unleash pent up creativity, and make you smile once in a while.

Here’s the story of a lovely lady…

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