Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Awkward Mom vs. The Last Firsts

Super Baby is the last Super Baby.

Probably.

Life is long and mysterious, so I'll add that probably in there for now. You know, just in case Jor-El has another pod that he would like to send to the Midwest sometime soon. Barring that, the Supers are officially a team of 5, and number 5 will be turning 1 this coming Sunday. Happy Birthday, Super Baby!

Wait, what? 
Slow down! 
This wasn't yesterday? 

So, this is where I'm supposed to battle Nostalgia for a couple hours and talk about how fast the first year goes. And it does. It so totally does. We all know the first year goes fast. I mean, it all goes fast, but it stands to reason that first year would fly. You've heard it before. You've done it before. And watching me battle Nostalgia for like the 5874th time sounds about as exciting as battling Paint-Drying. Yawn. So, guess what? I'm not gonna make you watch that. Also, I don't actually feel like battling Nostalgia right now, and that's why I think I am experiencing the Last Firsts.

I can't remember when Super Baby started rolling. Or scooting. Or sleeping through the night. Or when we finally remembered to feed her some solids. Or when that first tooth came in. Or when she grasped a toy or found her toes or object permanence something or other. I would look in her baby book, but, oh yeah, she doesn't have one. So, I can't really tell you any milestone whatsoever. No, that isn't true. I remember her changing my life completely and infusing this household with a grace it has never before experienced. And that happened on June 24, 2017. Other than that, it's all a blur. A beautiful, relaxed, rose-colored blur of a year that I have enjoyed on a level I have never enjoyed a first year. The last first year.

This last first year has been long. Luxuriously long, like a bath at a fancy spa or a summer afternoon. It might have been 5 years or a lifetime; I lost count somewhere around week 2. It's been eternal and ethereal. There have been so many hours to just stare into her ocean colored eyes and to kiss her fingers. So many hugs. So much time to be moved by her sleeping breath, tattooing each dream shift onto my soul. So many moments just laying on the floor, watching her watch me or her siblings orbiting around her. So much time to memorize her giggles, so many days matching the beat of her leg thumps to my heartbeat. Again and again and again.

Did time slow down just for her? Perhaps God wanted to give her a gift. A gift for this one who will never having anything new or hers? But no. He's given her a million other gifts. This one was for me. This year was no slower or faster than all the others, I just finally had the wisdom to enjoy it.

And I'm not saying I spent the whole year wrapped in a rainbow, romping in an idyllic sprinkle field with some unicorns. (Although that does sound like a plan for next spring that I should really get on.)  No. There were plenty of hard and awful moments this year. Life is life, there's no changing its ebb and flow. But, you see, I've learned to surf over the years. I've learned to count to 10. I've learned to stay in the moment. And I've learn to live in the moments between the moments, where the wind stills and sunshine lengthens and all is finally peace. The peace of your sleepy child's eye. And I've learned to visit there often. Even if it is just for a moment between moments.

That's what Super Baby has brought to my life; an entire last first year that has felt like 12. 26. 57. A lifetime. I feel like I've spent 39 years in stress and anxiety and worry and frustration, and then she came and I feel like I've had 39 more years of peace and calm and relaxation and contentment. All jammed into 1 year. Yeah, I know. Don't ask me how that math works. I think she's using new math.

Or magic. 
It's probably magic. 


She's new and she's old. She just got here and she's been here forever. I know her completely and she's still a mystery. Miracles are that way; they make their own rules. The last firsts are still firsts. They're still exciting and beautiful, and they totally should be put in a baby book somewhere. (I really need to get on that...) But the last firsts are lasts too. Not her lasts, mind you. My lasts. My last first tooth. My last first step. My last baby.

My last baby.

There's grief in that. Of course there is grief in that. Change is painful and change is hard. But from change comes trees and flowers and butterflies and rainbows. (Not the ones in sprinkle fields with unicorns but give me time, I'm working on that one.) Change is the foundation of parenthood because from change comes people. From change comes people.

And what magnificent people are coming. 

That's the secret, isn't it? Parenthood is one big last first. A push out of the nest, a letting go, a change that pulls and twists and hurts. And it's so very short and it's so very long and it's so very much a miracle that makes its own rules. Each child, each change, has taught me something. Super Oldest taught me to be patient. Super 1st Grader taught me to be creative. Super Kindergartener taught me to be strong. Super Preschooler taught me to be calm. And Super Baby taught me to be graceful. Not that kind of graceful; I'm still totally awkward and I still trip 14 times a day. No, not that kind. She taught me to be full of Grace.

Grace to go from this:


To this:


In a year of last firsts and to feel every single glorious second of it. Yes, Grace. So very Full of Grace.

Happy Birthday, Super Baby, you beautiful graceful wonderful miraculous last first! 


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Awkward Mom vs. Invisible Grandpa's Summer Bucket List

Summer expectations are difficult to manage. What looks like acres of time and energy to learn a new language, bond with nature, complete the summer reading list, and travel to exotic places somehow becomes 2 abandoned attempts to make homemade chalk and 85 episodes of Paw Patrol. It can be discouraging, so I go online to distract myself, but there I am only met by Perfect Mom's Instagram feed, where she is detailing their epic journey to all the national parks in a tiny house she made herself, the coding homework she developed to battle the Summer Slide, and an actual slide she built in her backyard from sustainable and recycled materials. Ah, summer; how relaxing.

Invisible Grandpa (Super 1st Grader's Imaginary Friend, if you are new to these parts. Welcome, by the way!) has no fear of summer expectations. Huge shock there. Nope, he goes all out. Here, in no particular order, are the summer plans of Invisible Grandpa and Super 1st Grader.

1. Jump off all the trees in the backyard as a way of measuring them.

2. Find a volcano and go swimming in it.

3. Play hide-and-seek with some people who can't see Invisible Grandpa (this would be everyone except Super 1st Grader) and laugh wildly when Invisible Grandpa wins every time.

4. Go to the top of the tallest mountain to meditate for awhile or "maybe do mountaintop stuff."

5. Read everyone else's summer reading lists and then shout the endings at them while they are in the middle of the books.

6. Find out where the stuff in our house was made and take it back there because "they might want it back and we have too much stuff anyway."

7. Go to islands one of three ways; race car that can drive on water (may need to build this), plane that is probably stolen, or speedboat but that's kinda boring for Invisible Grandpa so it's really a transformer.

8. Continue work on the time machine.

9. "When we come back to where we started, we will build things and it will probably take 200 years and that's why we need the time machine."

10. Eat seeds and grow stomach gardens.

11. Try at least 7 new things a day. "Even the stuff we end up not being too great at."

12. Sleep one minute. Just one.

13. Plan the trip to the north pole "but we're not going until winter because Invisible Grandpa wants to kidnap an elf and they are more likely to be sleepy and easier to catch near to Christmas."



Checked in this morning 
and apparently they are midway through #6. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Awkward Mom vs. Over It

I'm over it. I'm so over it. I'm over the cold. I'm over school fundraisers. I'm over trying to get children to wear gloves. I'm over signing homework binders. I'm over putting tights on 6-year-olds. I'm over repeatedly watching my daffodils die. I'm over cancelled soccer games. I'm over buying another pair of school shoes. I'm over trying too hard with moms who refuse to learn my name. I'm over math homework. I'm over trying to be everywhere at once and on time. I'm over layering for softball. I'm over pouring myself out. I'm over school projects and anything that involves tri-fold poster board. I'm over disappointment. I'm over being understanding. I'm over being patient. I'm over trying to fit my round peg into a square hole made out of skinny jeans, infinity scarfs, and disdain. I'm over opening milks and juice boxes. I'm over asking people how they are and never getting to tell them how I am. I'm over permission slips. I'm over volunteering. I'm over emails altogether. I'm over frost. I'm over making it all look so easy. I'm over it. I'm over it all.

Because I have the Aprils. I have the Aprils bad. May is the Friday of months; that heady summer eve when everything is graduation cakes and warm breezes and prom dresses and hope. And if May is Friday, then that makes April Thursday, and I HATE Thursday. Thursday is that point in the week when I give up; I've tried and I'm tired and I totally can't do it anymore, just go eat cereal and tell me when Friday is here.


Over it. 
15000 times over it. 

April and Over-It and Resentment have set up party central in my house and they claim they aren't leaving until Memorial Day. I'm too tired to kick them out, but they are making a really big mess. A huge mess. I can't find anything in this mess. Hope's gone missing. Joy's crying in the corner. Sense of Humor is asleep. Empathy peaced out; I think she went to Coachella. And I'm so over-it that I don't really care. 

Except that isn't quite true. I care. 

Not Over it.
15000 times not over it. 

The problem about Over-It is that she's a rusher. She lives in the future because she hates the present. She's returning that present, it's not her size. Nothing is her size, but that's beside the point. She wants to get over this terrible moment and land in this mystical time in the future where everything is perfect and warm and no alarm clocks are blaring. I can't exactly blame her, it sounds really nice. But if we rush there, rush to future May with all its promise and warmth, we miss this:

Last night. 
Right in the middle of the Aprils.
Who would have thought it?
 Because that's not even a May moment or a June afternoon.
That's a Christmas Eve miracle. 

Now, I'm not pushing a Pollyanna agenda here; you better enjoy the stuffing out of these April moments because they are going so fast and you won't get them back and then they are grown up and gone, hurry, hurry, you better enjoy it RIGHT NOW! Eye roll. No. That's silly, and it would only invite Guilt to the party and that guy NEVER leaves. Yes, life is short and precious, we all know this. But life is long too and full of plenty gross, terrible, boring, and over-it moments. It's all about balance. Balance and a secret stash of chocolate. 

I suppose, in the end, all we can do is not let Over-It live with us. I mean, she's welcome to hang out for an hour or two, complain over some tea and cookies, and then peace out to Coachella. From what I hear, Over-It would love it there. Over priced instrgram snacks in the desert with ironic sartorial choices; yeah, that's totally Over-it's scene. Oh, look at that! Sense of Humor is awake! 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Awkward Mom vs. Flu Guilt

Got your mask on?
OK, you may proceed. 

Now, when Flu shows up to battle, he doesn't come alone. This is hardly surprising, given Flu's immense street cred. He's powerful, ancient, been all over the world. Heck, he's even well known outside of the Parent-Superhero World. I mean, he's such a famous evildoer, they name epidemics after him. Dude has this super villain thing on lock. It isn't a shock that he has minions. But while you are expecting What-Day-Is-It, Kleenex-Debris, I-Think-My-Fever-Broke-The-Thermometer, even If-You-Drink-The-Last-Gatorade-I-Will-Cut-You, you are in no way ready for Flu to be keeping company with Guilt. But he does. In fact, Flu keeps so much company with Guilt that I think they are common law married at this point.

And I'm not talking about Cowlick Guilt either, this Guilt is a whole other level. What? Cowlick Guilt, you know. Oh, you don't know. OK, well, Cowlick Guilt is like your regular everyday guilt that you have by the sheer virtue of being a human being. It's like a nasty little by-product of being a sentient being capable of complex conscious thought. It's always lurking there at the back, or even front, of your head, ready to pop up and pester you. And you can throw as much water or product or positive self-talk on it as you want, pretending it isn't there, but, given adverse wind conditions or a truly awkward social situation, that cowlick guilt is gonna spring forward in all it's crazy glory. Now, I am Catholic, so I have a head full of Cowlick Guilt, but I'm wiling to bet you have at least one, regardless of creed. Cowlick Guilt is kinda ecumenical that way.

Anywho, Flu Guilt is a lot more powerful than Cowlick Guilt. Of course, Flu Guilt can ratchet up your normal Cowlick Guilt, and he will, but Flu Guilt has some special superpowers that utilize your weakened state and depleted common sense. He starts with a Who-Did-I-Infect-With-This-Death-Plague Gut Punch. How much this affects you relies on a complicated mathematical formula involving how long you wait to isolate yourself after realizing you are sick, how many individuals you are responsible for isolating during a Flu outbreak, and how much of a close-talker you are. Fortunately, I am not much of a close-talker, thanks to being raised in a family that likes its personal space and is said to "hug with their hands in their pockets," but, unfortunately, I am responsible for isolating 7 people during a Flu outbreak, 1 of whom can't talk, and therefore can't tell us she is feeling sick, and 4 of whom would rather experience the Spanish Inquisition than lie still on the couch for 4 days. Oh, and they also like to hug upon meeting new people, so Lord knows how many people they have touched during the Flu incubation period. No shock, I am very affected by this early Flu Guilt attack.

Now, once you isolate and are battling Flu solo in your home, Flu Guilt decides to try a different approach and concentrates on moving into your head. Yep, here come the Head Games; your brain is distracted fighting Fever, so Flu Guilt is gonna sneak up from behind, ruffling up your Cowlick Guilt as he goes, just to be extra mean. You now know and have accepted that you, and your household, are battling highly contagious Flu. Therefore, activities need to be cancelled. This is probably going to be work, a couple friend commitments, that knit-bomb you had planned for Saturday afternoon. This all sucks and, depending on your natural Cowlick Guilt, you are gonna feel like you are letting people down. People are gonna be nice about it for the most part, but you are in a weakened physical and emotional state, you aren't actually going to believe them. I mean, what kind of nonsense would that be?! Actually believe that people are kind and truly want you to feel better and heal?! Hardly! Better give into Paranoia and Low Self-Image, that's a way more realistic idea.

Now, take this battle and multiply it by how many people you are responsible for during this particular Flu Outbreak. That is the level of Head Games you are gonna be playing for the duration of your isolation. Alone. In your house. With nothing to distract you except a periodic search for another tissue box. My particular Flu Guilt Head Games gets multiplied by 7 (yes, you get to take on your partner's cancelling-commitments-guilt too, I think it's in the vows somewhere), which is a LOT of commitments to cancel and feel guilty about. Basically, it's like rolling max damage during a particularly intense D&D marathon in your buddy's basement. Or getting 3 doubles in a row in Monopoly, for those of you less nerdy. Guess that's still pretty nerdy. Whatever. It's a lot of guilt.

It's a total of 3 children missing a total of 5 different days of school to date, Awkward Dad missing 1 day of work, a Webelos Den Meeting, a Daisies Girl Scout Meeting that I was actually supposed to run and it's Cookie Season on top of that. It's going on 7 missed lunch duties at this present moment, a ballet class, a horse-riding lesson, 2 vet appointments, a church small group that I was also actually supposed to run, a ridiculous amount of playdates, a school mass that Super First Grader had a role in, 2 school play practices and a school play meeting that I was supposed to also attend, church on the Sunday that Super Oldest was supposed to hand out donuts and Awkward Dad was supposed to run the Children's Liturgy.

And it was this last one that had me in tears at 7 in the morning, while the rest of my family finally slept a hard-won sleep, the aftermath of Super First Grader's fever hitting 104 and him throwing up his tamiflu into my face. I was the lonely healthy one; stripping beds and cooling foreheads and fetching medicine and favorite stuffed animals and operating on very little sleep and no real food, which is, of course, Flu Guilt's favorite time to come a'calling. I had to text someone to let them know that my fevery husband was in no position to teach children about Jesus, and I was feeling really guilty about it. Could I do it instead? Maybe I could prop Awkward Dad up on the couch and hope that no one threw up in the hour I was gone? No, an hour and a half, given that it had also snowed. I was pacing. I was plotting. I was panicking. And I was feeling really really guilty, which is when the woman I had contacted wrote back the most cheerful text I have ever received that early in the morning, "absolutely no problem! I will take care of all of it." Well, Paranoia set in immediately, and I texted back some incoherent apology, that she cut off. I don't know how you cut someone off in text, but this angel did. And she said, "You have to take care of your own church before you can take care of the larger church. Take care of your people and stay healthy!"

What the what?

I stopped pacing. I stopped plotting. I just stared at her words. I was waiting for an eye roll; one of Paranoia's favorite moves. My eyes didn't move. Paranoia must have sensed this woman's power and crept out the back because he wasn't here anymore. I actually stopped panicking. I read her words again. I actually believed her. She actually meant that. Someone was actually concerned about my family getting better. Not so we could hurry up and get back to our commitments, but so we could feel better. It was unbelievable and yet I believed it; such is the magic of Grace.

Things moved very quickly at that point. Suddenly, I had an ally against Flu Guilt, and Flu Guilt isn't used to fighting more than one person at a time. The isolated attack; that's his move. His only move, as it turns out. He was running scared with just a slight narrowing of my eyes. I thanked this woman for her words and I set the phone down. Then, I smoothed my Guilt Cowlicks back into place, picked up a bottle of Tylenol, and went back to taking care of my church.



My Church has multiple services a day.  
Turns out, all I have to do it show up. 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Awkward Mom vs. Jealousy

Jealousy isn't a huge or flashy villain; she's not Bane or Thanos or even Potty Training. This isn't a shoot your whole arsenal at her and walk away looking all cool while everything burns behind you kind of thing. No. Jealousy is a sneaky, low-level, consistent, street thug that you get to tangle with most nights and some days. Exhausting, constant work that may lure you to the dark side and  make you consider a life of crime if you aren't careful. Jealousy is a lot more powerful that she looks. And she looks like this:

Jealousy's side-eye game is hella strong. 

Picture it: I'm dorking around at some school thing, stifling my inner 13-year-old-panic-ball that wants to hide along the wall and think about Star Wars, and I'm actually engaging with semi-strangers. You know how it goes; they have kids in your daughter's class, so you nod to them at pick-up and the Christmas concert but they aren't real people. But they should be and they are and it's a new year so you are up in here trying hard as heck to be normal and talk about Math Splash and the weather but that's boring so your mind drifts and your gaze drops and you start watching this woman's mouth and holy cats she has movie-star-white teeth and knows how to wear lipstick without being gloppy about it and I bet she contours and look at that top it's the perfect neckline between prude and hello here are my boobs and matches her skinny jeans because well of course and how does she have no salt stains on her boots it's January in Iowa we basically live on Crait and I bet she doesn't like Star Wars because she's not a massive dork like you Erin and I guess I hate her.

And suddenly you are in a battle royale with Jealousy when all you wanted to do was think about Star Wars.

It's easy to get lured into a fight with Jealousy. Jealousy comes at you swinging, and you think you are only going to defend yourself; dodging the punches with "I can do this," "no one is perfect," and "OK, I'm good enough" But before you know it, you are in there, wailing on Jealousy's kidneys with "whatever, I just won't show up at this stuff anymore," "bet all that makeup is just hiding her patchy skin," and "she wouldn't like me anyway, she's too stuck up." And then, suddenly, Jealousy blinds you with a right hate-hook because that was her plan the whole time anyway. This analogy might be getting out of hand, the only boxing I know about is what I learned from watching a Mexican telenovela on the subject.

Point is, well, I'm not sure what my point is, except that Jealousy sucks. And I have a funny feeling (that I tend to ignore a lot of the time because it violates my naturally low opinion of myself and who likes actual growth because that -ish is hard and complicated) that other folks have battles with Jealousy while they are talking to me. I know, crazy, right?!

We all struggle with Jealousy; she's a sneaky morphing villain that can adapt to whoever she wants to battle and her favorite trick is the divide and conquer. Jealousy is over there thinking, "Let me convince Erin that she isn't as good as that woman, let me convince this woman that she isn't as good as Erin, then they will never become friends, combine their different yet complimentary skills, form a mighty crime-fighting duo, find more women that are amazing in various ways, grow into a world-saving force of nature, and fix absolutely everything, rendering me pointless and feeble. Can't have that now. Let's focus on how good that woman over there looks in those skinny jeans and sow some discontent."

Let's not. Let's just not. Let's not give in to Jealousy, Sisters. It's what she wants. Let's just ignore her for awhile and see what happens. I bet good things will happen. So, here's what we are gonna do. You wear your skinny jeans, I'll wear my Millennium Falcon tee, and we'll wear the heck out of jealousy, while saving the mother-loving world.

Deal? Deal.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Awkward Mom vs. Church with 5 children

We've lost track of what number battle this is. We stopped keeping track around the Children's Crusade. 

Stuff going to church with 5 children makes me say:

1. Stop asking me how many more songs.
2. Shush! Fine, 6 more songs.
3. No, your doll can not receive communion. Because she isn't real. Oh, please stop crying. OK, I'm sorry; your doll is totally real, but she still can't receive communion. Because she hasn't finished second grade.
4. 5 more songs.
5. What? Why do you need a bandaid? Tell him to stop messing with the kneeler.
6. Stop picking your nose.
7. Stop breathing like that.
8. Stop talking about pancakes.
9. Stop messing with my purse.
10. Just stop!
11. Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't know that her spit-up could reach that far.
12. 4 more songs.
13. We give, it's just that I have the donation come directly out of our checking account. Stop worrying about it! Don't put that in there! The church doesn't need your drawing of a tank.
14. Well, if you weren't messing with the kneeler, it wouldn't have fallen on your feet, now would it?
15. Transubstantiation. What? No, that doesn't mean vampires! I don't care what Invisible Grandpa says! No, I can't spell it. Ask your teacher.
16. 3 more songs.
17.What?! No, there are no ghosts in the choir loft, who told you that? Super First Grader, stop freaking out your sister! They aren't ghosts, you just can't see them from here. I don't care what Invisible Grandpa says. I thought I told you not to bring him to church anyway. Because imaginary friends are only allowed if they behave and he never behaves!
18. Stop pinching her.
19. Could you please just pray?
20. In your head, please.
21. Yes, Super Baby looks like Baby Jesus. Fine, yes, baby Jesus was less white. Because people paint people that look like them so they can relate. And, well, racism was involved. Could we talk about this later?
22. Stop messing with that kneeler!
23. Because I want to hold your hand, not your doll's. OK, fine, give me her hand.
24. Not everyone wants a kiss at the Sign of Peace.
25. 2 more songs.
26. Because he is older than you and he's already made his first communion. No, that's not it. Don't cry. Jesus doesn't love him more. He might like his behavior a little more.....
27. Well, don't do it again. Because your Num-Nom doesn't need an extra blessing, that's why.
28. Stop pushing him.
29. Stop pushing her.
30. Stop messing with the kneeler!
31. Alleluia, it's the last song.

Joyous Advent, Friends! 

Friday, November 3, 2017

Awkward Mom and Girlhoods

My Daring Daughters-

I want to tell you that the world is no different for men and women and that you can forge forth in any direction you chose. I want to tell you that the college-attending of your great-grandmas, the bra-burning of your grandma, and the brave efforts of all your female ancestors to be given equal rights with men have provided you with a world that is your oyster. (I am using bra-burning as a colorful example, please don't ask your Grandma if she wears undergarments or not.) I want to tell you that you will always be viewed as complete and total persons when you leave this house and not as representatives of your gender or as objects to be ogled and used. I want to, but, sadly, my rockets, I can not.

The world has made incredible progress, and it will make more, even during your short childhoods. But the truth remains that men and women are treated differently in this world. So are people of other races, socio-economic statuses, and sexual orientations. You will learn (and change) all that with time. These are huge issues that even your mother will fail at explaining to you. (I know, crazy, right?!) Once free and out in the world, you will discover most of this injustice for yourself. Explaining it only gives you part of the picture. As I hope I have raised you right, you will hate it, rail against it, and work to change it for the rest of your lives. You will discover this in time, but not today. Today, I have smaller goals in mind.

Today, I want to talk to you about your girlhood. Because your girlhood isn't bad. It isn't anything to be ashamed off, wished away, hidden, or fought. (Nor is your brothers' boyhood, but I am writing them a different letter. Maybe they'll let you read it, but you have to stop stealing their stuff if you want them to trust you....)

Your girlhood is not now, and never will be, half of anything. YOU ARE NOT HALF OF ANYONE. Additionally, you aren't part of anyone, less than anyone, or 76 cents of anyone.

People are going to tell you, probably very soon, that girls are this way and girls are that way. People will tell you that you have to learn how to cook. People will tell you that you have to wear makeup. People will tell you that you have to be good at math. People will tell you that you can't be good at math. People will tell you that you can't play guitar. People will tell you that you have to play soccer. People will tell you tons of things. Some of it will be super crazy, like "girls have to like princesses and dresses and pretty things." And some of it will be subtly crazy, like "Girls are better than boys and should be able to hit them whenever they want." And some of it will just be flat-out crazy, like "You have to be this way or you aren't a girl" or "you are half of a man."

Basically, it's all crazy.

Your girlhood is deep in your hearts, and both of them are totally and completely unique. They look like no one else's girlhoods. They are solely yours; yours forever. They will grow and morph and change in unimaginable ways; taking you from Pippi Longstocking all the way to Miss Marple. They are not anyone else's to dictate. They have little to do with anyone else, but what they do is connect you to a wondrous lineage of women that goes back millenia and travels a road so varied and magical I could never truly describe this lineage to you. The invisible threads that tie you to your world sisters are unbreakable, and while there are some you will want to cut, someday you will be thrilled to have such a sisterhood at your back. And by your side.

For I am here, behind you. Ready to catch you. Ready to push you. Ready to hand you a sandwich, anytime you need. But I am not alone. Grandma is here with me. So is Babcia. And Great-Grandma. And all your aunts and great-aunts. And the Greats that you never met. And the Greats that I never met. And Maya Angelou. And Charlotte Bronte. And Jane Addams. And Elizabeth Blackwell. And Sonia Sotomayor. And Julia Child. And Margaret Mead. And the first mother who ever cradled her daughter to her chest, singing softly as she gazed at her adoringly. And the first daughter that took off running across the fields to her own destiny, but paused just for a minute to gaze back and wave. We are all here for you. Anytime you need us. Anytime you want a reassuring smile or supportive hug. Anytime you want some advice. Anytime you don't want some advice but need it anyway. Anytime. Sometimes finding your girlhood can be scary and lonely, and you might want to check in. Or you might be hungry. Believe me, we will want to feed you.

But you won't always have to look backwards. Right now, you have each other, but you will soon be joined by a sisterhood of your own choosing. Legions of girls as different as the rocks we've been collecting on our walks. Each one special. Each one tied to you with an invisible thread of sisterhood. An army of girls who aren't marching to war, but off to make a world that doesn't need war. I trust you. You are good sisters and you will pick good sisters. It is easy in this world of wonders.

You aren't half of anyone or anything, my beautiful daughters. But total and complete people who gets to decide who those total and complete people are and will become. You are already there, my iron irises, but if you fall and forget for any reason, the girls of the world are here to catch you. And we all love you.

But I love you the most-
Awkward Mom

Shine.
Shine the world blind.