- Every milestone is worth celebrating. It doesn’t matter how small.
- Perfect is not real.
- Sometimes, my self-care is THE most important thing.
- Take the long view. Big picture is everything.
- This, too, shall pass. It always does.
- Humor goes a long way.
- Be responsible for the energy I bring into a room.
- Be gentle.
- Notice what my face is doing.
- I get to be human. I get to be human. I get to be human.
- Forgive myself.
- Forgive my kid.
- Other kids and families might do things differently not better, not “normal” just different.
- Advocate for my kid with persistence, patience, and love.
- Saying no is really important.
- Saying yes is really important.
- Get on the floor and play.
- I’m not in control of, well…barely anything.
- People act out when they are afraid.
- I act out when I am afraid.
- People stare. Smile back.
- I am a superhero.
- My kid is working as hard as I am.
- Hold onto joy every time it shows up.
- Get help.
A month ago, my best friend called me and we sobbed. We both felt despair that the man running for President of our country admitted to groping women without their consent.
Today, he moved into the White House and 600 groups of women all over the world are marching in protest. My friend and I were determined to take action in some way. But marching with our young daughters (mine with special needs), felt like more than we could take on. My daughter is highly sensitive to crowds, to yelling, to cold, to other people’s emotions. Participating in the Women’s March would likely trigger a trauma response and days of violent fits. But this is a moment in history we don’t want to miss. I want to look back on this time and know for sure that I was intentional and conscious. I want to model a balance between self-care and activism for my little girl.
My friend and I knew that if we got our families together, we could come up with something meaningful to do even if we had to stay home. So, my BFF packed up her little girl and is making her trek to my house in Oakland right this minute. I think we came up with a pretty great plan for our Go Girls!
Read more about it on the Spotlight: Girls blog….
I’ve started groups and communities all my life. In 8th grade, I started a drama club at my little Catholic school because it didn’t have one. I really wanted to be in a school play and there was no opportunity. So I went to the English teacher and pitched her the idea. I was in my first play that spring.
In high school, I organized the drama club to go back to my elementary school and teach acting workshops to the little kids. I still have video (on VHS!) of my BFF’s helping 4th graders to project and make bold acting choices.
In college, I started a group for my peers to come together and create rituals for connection and women’s empowerment. Each of us got to lead our own circle, taking charge of the agenda and activities. I remember one month we made journals to take with us on post-college adventures. I wrote in mine the whole time I backpacked through Europe the summer after graduation.
I didn’t start earning money for my start-up skills until my early 20’s when my wife and I started our own business. I’d strung together some gigs as a teaching artist and one of them lead me to The Marsh Youth Theater in San Francisco. The education director at the time wanted me to put together a summer of camps serving younger children than she felt able to serve on her own. And we were off! In the 12 years since, my wife and I have grown that summer camp to serve 500 kids a summer and feature a girls empowerment curriculum. I’ve written and published books, bridged our classes to after school programs, lead professional development workshops for educators and now, write freelance articles for parenting websites. My family business, Spotlight: Girls has just raised over 300K in investments to franchise our camp nationally.
The point is, I have always done what I wanted in terms of my career. I didn’t always know where the money would come from but I did always honor my gifts. As I set new goals this year toward courageous earning, taking center stage and practicing radical self-care, it helps to remember where my path began. I have always manifested the thing I wanted to see in the world and called upon all my creativity to make it happen.
What did you want to do as a kid? How much of that did you hold onto? Here’s to making it happen.
This morning was
The refusal to get dressed
The loud NO!
The “I don’t want to go to school”
Even the need to pack up her toothbrush, her glasses, her breakfast
The curbside drop-off
As she kicked and hollered
Shoes in a bag
Because she refused my help for an hour
My wife’s frustration
As she sat in the back seat
Her own feet bare
As she secured the seat belt again and again
For our angry daughter
After we get-a-way
for 2 days of
Crashing against the headland cliffs
11 hours of sleep
Champagne picnic as the sun sets
So, it was expected
That today would be hard
It was Unexpected, though
When our daughter
Who had refused
for an hour
Choosing to derail
and come undone instead
When this wild-animal-powerful-girl
Was lifted, kissed and placed
Gently on the grass
In front of her school
It was Unexpected
To see the
4th grade Safety Monitor
Taking his duties
He did not bat an eye
As we drove off
And she screamed.
We paused, of course
On the corner
To watch her put on her shoes
And go into school
Whether she wanted to or not
The 4th grade safety monitor
Held his post
And helped my little girl
Find her glasses
Which she had thrown
In the Grass
It’s the first day in 14 without my
and my nervous system is
in a kelly green vintage shrug
My coat of armor as I
Enjoy the quiet absence
of Her questions
and the Luxury
of being my own
10 of these 14 days felt so wonderfully
with my little girl
but then I started
that is my
Parenting can be so
If we choke on our
and forget our own
Here’s to me
my right to
Silence and Space
And won’t it feel good
to miss her
I cannot wait
to miss her
This class has
Going on Continue Reading
So, last week we packed up our little Squirrel and hit the road. By now, we were old pro’s at traveling together and navigating the potential stress of hectic airports. She had her stuffy. Lollypop in her mouth. Mama Lynn’s hand. Special snacks in tow. We were ready. What I was not ready for was how beautifully, generously, and authentically my AZ family would embrace her when we arrived. Here are 6 things they did to make my girl feel like their girl…even if they aren’t related by blood. Continue Reading
“Do one thing everyday that scares you,” Eleanor Roosevelt said.
Some days, for me, that means adopting an older child, or publishing our journey on this blog, or advocating for her special needs. Other days, it’s making caramel corn.
That’s right. I’ve been mustering the courage to make this recipe in my favorite cookbook for, like, a year. What makes caramel so scary? The way it bubbles? The fact that it can burn and stink up your house or worse, ruin your saucepan? Squirrel wanted to make it with me but her energy is too frenetic for me to include her this first time around. So I waited until the hour before she came home from school, buttered the biggest bowl I could find (and then a second one when that still wasn’t big enough) and got poppin’.
I have to tell you that I felt the joy of a little kid doing their first science experiment. Watching butter and maple syrup and raw sugar melt together is fun as it is. But when you add baking soda and almond extract (I was out of vanilla) then BAM!
It spits and fizzes and swirls. It makes your home smell like heaven. Even if you spill half of it on the floor as you try stirring the gooey treat and your dogs get more of it than you do, you can still feel proud. Even though your kitchen might be trashed and you’re way to tired to deal with it anytime soon, you still deserve to celebrate.
Your kid and wife will walk through the door and smile in surprise at the scent of sugar in the air. “What is that!?” they’ll ask, beaming. You get to be smug and satisfied. You did something that scared you. You turned a regular afternoon into a memory. You made…caramel corn. Enjoy!