You, asshole. You are the reason women don’t report their assaults.

by renegademama

To every one of you asking “Why don’t women report their assaults?”, I will tell you.

You. You are the reason they don’t report.

Because you are the same people who declare that Trump bragging about grabbing women by the pussy is “locker room talk.” You are the same people who voted for him to lead our country, as if sexual assault is a tiny transgression, a thing to joke about, like stealing candy from a store when you’re eight.

You’re the same people who say “boys will be boys.”

You think all men do this? Wtf.

I don’t know what kind of shitbags you hang out with (although I have a few ideas), but men I know have never assaulted a woman, even if he had the opportunity. Even if he was drunk. Even if he was young and drunk. Even if she was hot, and they were both young and drunk.

I have been straight wasted in a room full of men, all of us half-dressed, all of us in college, and none of us were touched against our will. I have “led men on” and changed my mind and dude says “okay” and we have a beer and hang out and I go home.

I have been in “dangerous” situations and walked the fuck away because ONLY BAD MEN RAPE. ONLY BAD MEN ASSAULT.

Assault is not a “normal part of male development.” It is a development unique to sick, violent, deplorable human beings.

Is that the missing piece for you misogynist assholes? Do we need to say “Rape is done by bad guys, always?” Like never ever is a good guy assaulting. Never ever is a good guy attempting assault.

We don’t report it because the first question many of you ask when you hear of a woman raped while jogging is: “Why was she jogging alone?”

We don’t report it because when you hear of a high school girl gang raped in a bedroom at a party, the first question you ask is: “Was she drunk?”

We don’t report it because when you hear of a woman targeted at a night club, or walking home after a night out, you ask: “What was she wearing?”

We don’t report it because no matter what we do, we can be blamed. We led him on. We were wearing the wrong thing. We were drinking. We were alone. We dated bad men. We conversed with bad men. We were in the vicinity of bad men. We were at a bar. We were at a party. We kissed him. We didn’t kiss him. We were wearing a skirt. We were wearing a tight shirt. We were too pretty. We were sluts.

And even when we do report it, you say we’re reporting it to “ruin careers,” to get back at him, to get money or fame. Even when we do report it, our attacker can get a mere slap on the wrist, but we will forever be the woman who accused. The woman whose sexual history was put on display. The woman whose attack was detailed on a stand to determine if it was big rape or little rape. Everyday assault or casual assault.

The kind of assault that gets you jail, or the kind that gets you into the White House?

We report it and the man can be sentenced to nothing. We report it and you cry about his swimming career. We report it and you say “losing his job is a life sentence.” We report it and you say this is his “one pass.”

Is that it? Are men allowed a courtesy assault? A courtesy rape? A get-out-of-rape free card? Just once! You get one free rape, guys. But after that, unacceptable! (Unless you’re a GOP senatorial candidate and raped underage girls, in which case, go team.)

This is why we don’t need you. Because you can’t even wrap your heads around the fact that all assault is bad. Wrong. Violent. Violating. An indicator of a morally bankrupt human being.

This is why you’re dead to us. This is why you’re dead to all of us fighting for our lives and our daughter’s lives, while you scream at us to settle down and take it. We won’t. You’re done. The levee has broken and women are furious.

You can try, and you will win a lot of battles, but you will not get out of this undisturbed, un-fucked-with, unscathed. We will tear your shit down with everything we’ve got, because this isn’t about us anymore. We already lived your hellish reality.

This is about our daughters.

Have you ever seen a mother protecting her children? Have you?

She’s fucking crazy. She’s full beast mode. We may look like normal people, but fuck with our kids. Fuck with our babies. Tell our daughters to be quiet and take it. Tell our daughters nobody believes them. Tell our daughters a boy has a right to “just be a boy.”

Just say it. And watch.

Ah, wait. You’re saying it now. Are you watching?

You see, we know what you’re about. We used to be like you. We believed it, too. That we have no power. That it’s “the way it is.”

We are the girls who stayed silent when they snapped our bras. We are the girls who said nothing when our cousins, uncles, and stepfathers came into our rooms at night. We are the girls who bowed our heads on Sundays though we all knew what the church leaders did. We are the girls who silently avoided the boss who cornered us. We are the girls who shook it off after the sex we didn’t really want, the submission because we thought we had no choice.

We are the girls who lived it, year after year, humiliation after humiliation, shame after shame, and now we are the women fighting for our daughters, and you are small, hypocritical, and on the wrong side of humanity.

Get the fuck out of the way. We’re coming for you the way you came for us, with no regard for what you think you deserve, but unlike you, we’re on the side of safety, of bringing dark to light, of freedom and fairness, and we’ve got nothing left to lose.

We have only the faces of our daughters looking up at us, generations held in their eyes, and the fiery knowing that this fight is ours.

You. You are the reason they don’t report.

And we are the reason they will.

no worries, though, unless you harass, assault, or rape women.

 

****

Are you in Oakland? I will be this Thursday.

Join Nancy Davis Kho, of Midlife Mixtape, and me for a conversation on womanhood, motherhood, and the bullshit therein.

Oh, and we’ll be discussing my book, and the bullshit therein. Wait.

Thursday, September 27, 2019, 7pm

A Great Good Place for Books

45 Comments | Posted in feminist AF | September 25, 2018

Do you ever feel your family is in shambles even though it’s technically probably not?

by renegademama

Do you ever feel like your family is in shambles? Like the whole fuckin’ thing is just coming apart at the seams? Considering my family did in fact once come apart at the seams, and we were separated for two full years, perhaps I should explain myself so y’all don’t pose an intervention.

I’m sober. Mac’s sober. We are all sober. Even, against appearances, the toddler is sober.

I’m not talking about really falling apart. I’m talking about a sense that it’s unraveling, that you’re clinging to something that once was or you thought once was or maybe it never was, but the current state is so unbearable you convince yourself it must have been better once.

And you write run-on sentences. Because your life is a run-on sentence.

Where am I?

It’s the endless driving, maybe. The way the days blur together. Or the bickering, perhaps. The nonstop bickering over shit so stupid I just want to yell “EVERYONE SHUT THE FUCK UP.” The seat in the car. Whose turn? The Gatorade. Sometimes their voices feel like a thousand pounds of steel across my shoulders. And I’m already slouching.

I’ve got a couple of teenagers now. They sure are a treat. No seriously, they really are, as long as they’re not acting so ungrateful and entitled I decide I have unequivocally blown it as a parent and all hope is lost. The eye rolls. The deep sighs. The laziness coursing through their bones.

Five minutes later, we’re shit-talking Trump over text messages or snuggling on the couch or I look at them from across the room and they’re so fucking beautiful and strong and whole I could just fucking die with awe and pride, and it hits me that one will be gone in two years and the other in six, only now I know how fast that “six” goes, and a sense of panic settles into me: How could it be?

Are they what I cling to? My oldest two because they were once the sizes of the little ones?

Speaking of whom, the little ones. They never, ever, and I mean never fucking ever, stop talking. No stopping. Ever. No not talking. There is no way to not be talking. Dreams. Questions. Stories that last twenty-seven minutes but go nowhere. God I’m an asshole.

Where do babies come from? Why does daddy get up so early? How do we get to God? Is grandpa with God? How does death smell?

MORBID, ARLO. FUCKING MORBID.

I also fully said, “Sometimes when two people love each other a baby appears.” Leave me alone. He’s four. He won’t remember this shit anyway.

My point is, I feel right now like I cannot for the life of me find my ground as the mother of this family. Like if my teenagers aren’t sucking dry my will to live, the energy required to nurture, contain, corral, listen to, prepare for, dress, bathe, and appreciate the youth of the little ones IS.

I can’t keep my house clean for the life of me. And I ain’t a perfectionist. Think of a low bar and then fail to maintain it. If I come home and clean the house while they’re at school, I can’t work, and if I don’t work, we don’t live, because the universe apparently missed the memo that my book was supposed to be A RAGING BESTSELLER and I was supposed to not be on Craiglist looking for potential teaching gigs or maybe receptionist gigs or maybe Starbucks barista gigs because the hustle is real and the last advance check came and there’s, like, no more comin’ on that front.

DUDE I JUST SPENT 10 DAYS IN CANADA WTF AM I WHINING ABOUT?

You see? That too. This is supposed to be the best time of my life. And it was. Is? Shit.

My book came out four months ago! Am I missing it? I feel like I’m too worried about the next project (AKA “continuing to pay mortgage”), doctor appointments, picking kids up, homework, groceries, laundry, et fucking cetera to “enjoy” this. AM I MISSING MY JOY?

I’m joking. I think.

Still, in my head, everything was going to change. I was surely going to be able to pay off my student loans instead of what I actually did this morning, which was renegotiate the payment based on our new income. On the plus side, it’s now half what it was before. Yay?

 

My point is, between money and driving and varied kid needs and the part of me that wants to cling to my writing career but also curl safely into the arms of a 401k, I’m so lost right now I sometimes spend 2-3 hours on my bed reading, or staring at my phone, because all directions point, nowhere?

I think sometimes we are tossed into the air and we stay there for a while as shit gets sorted, or we get sorted, and then we get to find our footing again amongst our people.

Everything feels weird currently. The other day, a long-time reader commented on an Instagram post (while I was in Canada), “Remember when you used to complain about money and I could relate to you?”

That shit broke my heart. Maybe she was joking. I hope!? I think sometimes people watch something like a book coming out or a book tour, and think the author has been rocketed into fame and money and retirement accounts, but that happens for like 1% of the authors in the world and in my dreams that was definitely going to be me but in reality it turns out I have to keep working my ass off and renegotiating student loan payments. I jest. I would constantly move between “Everyone is going to love this” and “I should jump off a bridge now.” I believe we call that, The Human Condition.

My point is I even feel a little disconnected from you. My readers. The people I’ve spoken to and reached out to in the happiest and darkest days of motherhood and you’ve done the same to me, for quite a few years now. Seven, actually. Seven!

Because I think maybe you think I have changed, and we aren’t the same anymore, and that if I complain about my life I’m ungrateful, because look at all this fancy shit I’m doing. So do I hide my struggles? That seems fake too.

Do I jump into I AM AN AUTHOR NOW mode and stick out my pinky when I drink tea? AM I FANCY NOW is what I’m saying.

I mean, I shit in a bag and kept it. That’s what’s in my fucking memoir. Not exactly the type of thing that intrigues Pulitzer judges (is a Pulitzer judge a thing? Because if so, and you are one, I am happy to email you a copy of my book. Somebody help me.).

I guess my point here is that everything can go right and we can get lost, and everything can go wrong and we can get found, and I don’t seem to know how to handle life very well.

I’m 39. Seems like I should have a better grasp on this.

Success, failure, unbridled mediocrity. It’s all baffling to me. I just keep writing shit and hoping for the best, and I try to tell the truth, as I’m doing right now.

The night before I left for Canada, my Dad called to ask me an unexpected question: “Ten years ago,” he said, “Did you ever think a retreat center in Canada would invite you to teach writing for them?”

My god, we laughed. Because he really nailed it.

No, I never thought. I never imagined. And we can hold onto that, right, when we can’t see what’s coming, and maybe we’re terrified?

 

look where I fucking went last week. that’s ocean. ocean water between fjords. amazing, right?

Here I am now. amazing, right?

***

Here’s the book that has launched me into the literary elite or possibly exactly where I was before only in awe, stunned, and so overwhelmed by the chance to write that many consecutive words, see them in print, and hear your responses.

It’s been an incredible ride, and don’t worry, I have some shit up my sleeve. Metaphorical shit. Okay? No interventions necessary.

I have no idea how to adequately thank you.

Maybe you think this wasn’t you but it was.

 

40 Comments | Posted in I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING HERE. | September 20, 2018

United against the children we birthed

by renegademama

Fine, I birthed them. That particular portion of the situation was mine and mine alone. But we made them together, and now that they’re here – all freaking four of them – I’m damn glad you’re here, Mac.

It’s funny, the way marriages change. The way you start out all in love and innocent and shit, dreaming of the family to come, or, in our case, drinking Captain Morgan and trying to raise a baby while getting to know each other and yelling.

And then you spend a few years realizing the person you married is, in fact, their own person, which seems rude and unnecessary, because as my partner I know how you should behave and if you would just follow through with my ideas of how you can improve yourself, we’d all be better off, dude.

And that begins the portion of the “Let me mold you into what I had in mind” stage, which can go on for years, and, as far as I can tell, culminates in either acceptance of the parts of the other person that will not change – or divorce.

Maybe an affair? Don’t know. Never considered that route. Sounds like too much work and a serious dick move. That’s what she said.

It’s fine. I’m a grown up.

Anyway, my husband and I are often told we’re like “the most in love couple ever,” which is for sure not true, because my grandparents existed, and they used to hold hands on the couch and flirt well into their 80s, and I watched their faces pressed together as my grandfather was dying, recounting their lives together, and I thought “They are the most in love couple ever.”

I mean, we like each other, which seems like something of a feat. I guess we flirt. We like to piss our kids off by making out in the kitchen. We’re definitely best friends.

It wasn’t easy getting here. We were separated twice, once for two years. We’ve gone to years of therapy. The screaming matches could shatter all the glass in the county. We’ve threatened divorce approximately 9000 times and twice on Sundays. When people ask us how we stayed together, we say, “We never hated each other at the same time.”

To this day, when we fight, we like to yell “Fuck off” to each other, which I hear is not the kindest or most productive option, but to them I say: EIGHTEEN YEARS, MOTHERFUCKERS. And I still want him with me more than I want any other human with me.

So get the fuck outta here with your “effective marriage communication” workshops or whatever the hell you’re selling.

Anyway, lately I’ve felt more connected to dude than I ever have in my life and it’s a new type of connection. I think it’s because our kids are unbearable, and against the wall of wailing child death trap, all I’ve got is him.

There’s really something nourishing about texting somebody “I’m gonna kill your kid right now” and have them just respond “What now?”

And: “Thank god we aren’t having any more.”

“Holy fuck (insert kid name) is really pissing me off.”

“What’s wrong with that one?”

“I think they’re defective. Maybe we stopped parenting. Did we give up?”

A well-placed “Entitled little assholes” goes a long way, too.

And yesterday, when we finally got into bed, after having decided earlier in the day (STOP READING NOW, DAD), that we wanted to have sex, we were straight up blocked by kids everywhere.There was nowhere to go to be free. We have a rule of “no kids in our room during the weekends,” and last night was Monday, and we had said they could sleep on our floor, so one kid was on our floor, and two more were in their room, and the other was in her room, and the living room and main room are too easily accessible by wandering children of any type, so we just kind of laid there and laughed and got annoyed and kissed.

“My god, they’re everywhere,” we said.

And they are everywhere, except where we are, in this bed, alone. We’re surrounded, but there’s a place that’s only ours. I don’t think I’ve ever quite realized how lucky we are to have that space. My mom didn’t have it.

 

The teenager with her tornado tantrums. The teenager-light with his silent brooding and passive aggressive retaliation. The 8-year-old with her endless projects and scream fests and the toddler with all of the above. Every damn day it’s a fight to get that one dressed. They bicker with each other and whine and bicker some more and ask for food and shit and then bicker about the thing they just asked for and I am over all of it right now. It’s a rough patch. The roughest of rough patches, maybe.

Or maybe this is how it is from here on out. Whatever. Things are hard, and yeah, today we cried looking at Arlo’s first day of preschool picture. That’s how this goes. Get me the fuck outta here. Please god don’t ever let it end.

There’s something sacred about having a friend to cling to in the maelstrom of nonsense. Just when you think your last shred of energy is used up, your friend comes home, or you mention what you’d like to do to him tonight, and it’s you and me against them.

The them we’re terrified to lose. The them we worked so fucking hard to keep, to bring back around, to heal. It isn’t us against them, is it? It’s us beneath, behind, above and around them – they’re like swirling winds.

It’s nice to be a rock with you.

And it’s nice when you sing me those songs.

The other day we were talking about the years when Mac and I were in the same twelve-step group in our little town and he was batshit and I was unable to remain sober, and how when I finally got sober, and our family was reunited, we kind of became the couple the older alkies pat on the head and smile at and feel a part of, like they watched us get our heads out of our asses and grow up, and things like this don’t happen too often with addicts like us.

Mac looked at me and said, “We’re like the little losers that could.”

Stick that shit on our headstone, cause it’s good enough for me.

 

*****

People have told me that book I wrote is a love story to Mac.

I didn’t see it at first, but it’s true,

it’s a story of people who for sure shouldn’t have made it but stuck around until it got good.

 “We were always good friends, I guess.” I wrote that. It seems true. That’s the story we found.

BTW, I have three upcoming book events: two in northern California and one in Vancouver, BC. Learn more here.

17 Comments | Posted in cohabitating with a man. | September 4, 2018

A letter to my kids’ teachers explaining their condition

by renegademama

To my kids’ teachers:

As summer comes to a close, I feel compelled to warn you: There’s a chance my kids are, at this point, completely feral.

I tried. I really did. But things went south about mid-July, and I had to make a choice: Fight the descent into madness or say “fuck it” and hope for the best.

I chose the latter, probably because I’m old.

Don’t think we didn’t learn things, though. We did. We took a vacation to Seattle and Port Townsend in Washington and in addition to observing the Space Needle and playing in that rad disco ball fountain, my kids learned the expression “fucking asshole,” which I muttered under my breath or perhaps over my breath after an unfortunate run-in with somebody. Can’t quite recall. I think maybe a ferry worker guy? Coulda been my teenager.

I AM KIDDING. There’s no way that was the first time my kids heard me say “fucking asshole.”

During the day, largely cooped up in the living room on account of the weather resembling what I imagine Satan’s armpit to feel like, and thick, unbreathable outside air due to wildfires, my kids engaged in all kinds of imaginative play, including, but not limited to:

  • Cutting their clothing with “safety” scissors
  • Covering themselves in toilet paper to “scare” each other
  • Dumping old fireplace ash on their heads
  • Ripping the wings off a dead dragonfly and placing them in a small jar (no, wait, neatly cutting them off because “that’s what normal people do.” That seems sane.)
  • Making “juice” by smashing all the fruit in the house into a bowl
  • Grabbing a cell phone and Facetiming some random contact
  • Naked porch dancing
  • Peeing only in the backyard

Other activities they enjoyed were wearing the same pajamas for two days straight (as in, not taking them off), riding their bikes in the house, seeing how long a man bun will last before it becomes a dread, and screaming at each other until I lose my mind and ban all imaginative play, demanding instead that they watch television like normal people.

But of course only learning shows, like “Nailed It,” for example, which is basically a documentary and heart-rendering story of human perseverance in the face of really sucking at something. Also, somehow “Liv & Maddie” made its way onto the television about 2,456 times a day, but when my 8-year-old said, “I don’t want to become a teenager. They have nice clothes but are boring,” I realized she learned how to not be a boring, self-absorbed teenager. Boom.

In the evenings, we would watch Queer Eye, as a family, so we could all weep together. This was obviously emotional development. We’re emotional and therefore we’re developing.

That’s how that works, right?

We went to Santa Cruz. We camped. My mother did a backyard campout with the cousins. We swam sometimes, I think. Or maybe that was just in my head. We went to the library five times.

No, that was definitely just in my head. It was a very productive summer in my head.

But alas, they are, in a word, quite weird right now and I’m pretty sure we didn’t officially keep up with all you taught them – although I did force them to read every single day before they could watch brain-dead television.

Or maybe it was twice. It was either every single day or twice all summer.

I’m 90% sure they can still read.

My point is, you really should get paid more, and before the first day of school, I am 100% sure they will snap back into their normal, adorable selves, as opposed to the ones who discovered their absolute favorite game was locking somebody in the bathroom and making them crawl out a window into the side yard and then locking the escapee out of the house, too.

A feral cat found us a few years ago. We started feeding her and giving her water on the porch and then she had kittens in our front bark. Now she’s ours.

Maybe try that.

Love you.

Janelle

Remember that one time I yelled at my teenager, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING ON YOUR PHONE AGAIN?” and she said, “Reminding people in Michigan to vote in the primaries.” That was fun.

*****

Want to feel like a better mother immediately?

READ THIS:

But only if you have a pretty jacked up sense of humor, because, like, the joke I just made, it’s already pretty wrong.

Check on tour (it’s all local, except Vancouver, sorry!). 

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10 Comments | Posted in I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING HERE. | August 16, 2018

Family vacation is a barrel of lies except for the overpriced Junior Ranger vest.

by renegademama

“Family vacation.” It has such a nice ring to it.

But what it actually means is: Spend money on tiny hungry humans who complain too much, get tired by 4pm, and probably won’t remember any of your valiant efforts at family bonding.

I don’t mean that.

I may have meant that.

Stop shaming me for my lack of gratitude.

Seriously, why do we bring them?

Don’t tell me about “education” or “lived experience” or whatever other helpful thing you’re about to say. I am clearly not interested in that at the moment.

 

Vacation with kids is like regular life with kids only it costs more and there’s an added layer of THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE AMAZING. IT WAS SO AMAZING IN MY HEAD BEFORE WE LEFT.

How many times a day on vacation do Mac and I look at each other and say: “We’re never bringing them again?”

Well, that depends on how many hours we’re awake.

Twelve hours? Twelve times.

Fourteen? Fourteen.

Eighteen hours? 27 times because after 14 hours it triples in frequency (Don’t check my math. I did not calculate.)

In the past three weeks, we’ve taken our kids to a wedding in Port Townsend, Washington, which required a FLIGHT, on an AIRPLANE, and we took them camping in an RV for three days.

As a reminder, my kids are ages: 4, 8, 12, and 16. One might think the older ones are super chill on vacation, and one would be correct if measuring them solely against the total-body-mind-spirit-breakdown of the toddler by 6pm since naps apparently don’t happen on vacation and when they do, they don’t count.

They’re like tiny refueling sessions so the kid can arise more batshit than before.

But if gauging from basic attitude and mercurial emotions and bickering over stupid shit that does not matter ever at all ever, teenagers rank pretty fucking high on the “WTF ARE YOU DOING HERE WITH ME ON VACATION” meter.

Between arguments over who sits where everywhere we go – restaurants, planes, cars, the ferry, benches, the ground – to all four kids simultaneously losing it by hour two in Washington traffic (seriously, Washington, fix your infrastructure), poking each other in the car like a goddamn stereotypical sitcom, there are just so many moments when I truly, at the bottom of my soul, cannot understand why we bring kids with us on vacation.

Other fun pastimes:

  • Trying not to lose them in public places
  • Trying not to let them drown
  • Trying to find public bathrooms because somebody has to pee even though we just left the pee place
  • Trying to navigate new roads, ferries, and drivers in an unfamiliar car while the kids throw punches and wail about Cheez Its
  • Trying to pack
  • Trying to unpack
  • Trying to pack and unpack and then pack again and unpack once you get home which will either happen immediately or 2-4 weeks later
  • Trying to hike
  • Trying to not let them get sunburned while hiking
  • Trying to keep caring if they get sunburned
  • Trying to keep caring if you lose them
  • Trying to keep caring at all, about anything
  • Trying not to micromanage them to the point of uselessness for all (“Let them be happy, free children!” BUT DO NOT LET THEM GET HARMED IN ANY WAY WHATSOEVER.)
  • Spending so much goddamn money on food at every meal you resort to buying loaves of sourdough at grocery stores and throwing it at them
  • Sticking the toddler in a car at 3pm and flailing about hysterically trying to keep him awake until you’re back to the actual bed because god knows those 20-minute car naps that somehow replace the 2-hour ones create a Satan death child for the rest of the day
  • Trying to talk a teenager out of a random, nondescript tantrum
  • Trying to talk a toddler out of a random, nondescript tantrum
  • Trying to talk yourself out of a random, nondescript tantrum

At one point, I simply screamed: “EVERYBODY STOP SPEAKING.” Oddly, it worked. It was one of my more successful moments, in fact.

I could go on. Should I? Nah.

Truly. Why the fuck do we do it? And more importantly, why do we keep doing it?

Well, I’ll tell you why.

 

We do it for the goddamn junior ranger vest.

We were in the gift shop at Olympic National Park when my eye landed on an adorable, overpriced little green vest situation that said “Junior Ranger” on it. It was covered in pockets, and I knew our four-year-old, Arlo, would lose his shit for that thing, so I showed Mac and he was like, “Um, yes,” so we bought it, and told Arlo he was now The Junior Ranger and must fearlessly lead us on our hike.

My god the seriousness of that child while receiving his charge. Very official.

I AM JUNIOR RANGER ARLO.

We clipped some sunscreen on it. He went around fastidiously asking if anyone needed it. We were a party of about 11, and every single one of us needed it. Twice.

We get on the trail and there he runs, straight to the front. George tried to get ahead of him, but never fear, unbridled earth-shattering shrieks from Jr. Ranger Arlo soon deterred her.

“I AM LEADING!” Okay, tiny human with a day-old man bun. We get it.

He walked and walked, until he needed daddy to carry him uphill. Which daddy did. Junior Rangers sometimes need carrying.

At one point, Uncle Cedric asked Arlo, who was stomping along in front of him, “What’s in your vest?”

Without breaking his stride, from over his shoulder, with an air of dismissive superiority, Arlo said, “Junior Ranger stuff.”

Like, you moron. Fuck off. This is top-secret information.

He wore it the whole hike, occasionally picking up rocks and beer bottle caps and sticks and flowers to stick in the pockets. He wore it later at the beach, where he collected shells. All the other kids brought it up constantly, praising his ranger skills, exploring the vest, suggesting he add this and that.

I think it may have been the cutest fucking thing I’ve ever seen in my life.

He slept with it that night.

And when we got home, when all the vacation shit was covering the kitchen table, entryway, and living room, Mac said, “You know, all we’re going to remember from this shitshow is the fucking Junior Ranger vest.”

And he is right. And it will be worth it.

The most expensive Junior Ranger vest in the history of humanity, and yet, somehow, it’s alright. It’s what we needed with our whole, broke, bickering hearts.

 

Junior Ranger does not find you amusing.

UPDATE: In looking for photos for this post, scrolled through all vacation shots. Now crying at the unending beauty of it all. I want to go back I LOVE ALL THE CHILDREN.

****

Have you had a chance to read my book? If so, would you leave me a quick review on Amazon and Goodreads? I’d be immensely grateful. It’s very helpful to authors.

And if you haven’t, did you know that it’s also “wickedly funny?” Somebody official who knows a lot about literature said that.

Or maybe it was some dude on Twitter. Your call.

But yeah, we talk a lot about the seriousness of the topic – motherhood & addiction – but my strongly held belief is that we absolutely must laugh, a lot, even at really fucked up things. Amazon editors even said it was “one of the best books of 2018 so far” in the humor category.

Also, a few people have been asking me about the audiobook. Yes, I narrated that shit! At a recording studio in Sacramento with half-naked women all over the walls. It was lovely. They were motivating.

 

Hey also one more thing: I made a brand new writing workshop for people who don’t know where the fuck to begin in revising their first draft. Check it out

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