Posts Filed Under over-sharing is my talent

Attention: Miserable Fat Women

by renegademama


Yeah, that’s right. I’m talking to you. Are you offended by that?

Well then you’ve come to the wrong blog.

We like to say it like it is around here. And some of us are fat. Call it whatever gentler name you want (fluffy, overweight, bulky, weight-challenged), but the problem remains: We’re FAT.

And some of us are miserable about it. Some of us aren’t exactly “into” the way we look.

Yeah, I’m talking to you. If you’re fat and happy, I’m not talking to you.

If you’re fat and okay with it, get on with your bad self.

If you’re 3 pounds over your “goal weight,” well done, but you are so not my target audience.

I’m talking to the women who are fat and fucking miserable.

I’m talking to the ones who hate themselves for the way they eat, the ones who stare at themselves disgusted, the ones who lie down at night wondering “WHY? Why did I eat like that AGAIN? What’s wrong with me? God I hate myself.

The ones who would rather have 6 root canals than go clothes shopping. The ones who can’t sit on the floor. The ones with limited mobility (if you can’t run on the beach with your kids, if you can’t squat, you have limited mobility, baby). The ones who will fucking cut you if you take their picture. The ones who look at themselves in the mirror when nobody’s around and shake their heads in amazement, because they just can’t believe they’ve become that woman.

The fat woman.

The one who’s embarrassed to eat in public because she’s a fat person eating. The one who won’t eat junk food around others very often, because she’s always aware, aware that she’s a fat woman eating badly, and people are probably thinking “Look at her. Look at what she’s eating. No wonder she’s fat.”


The woman who’d rather not have sex because there’s just nothing hot about her. Or so she thinks.

The one who hates herself. The one who hates herself so much she keeps on eating. The one who can’t stop eating the foods that comfort her – in some sick cycle of self-abuse, engaging in the act that’s making her miserable.  The woman who’s so fat she doesn’t care anymore.

I’m already disgusting. Might as well keep eating.

I was that woman.

At my biggest, a few years ago, I was 255 pounds. I am 5 feet 8 inches tall. I wore a size 18.

After I had Rocket in 2005, I was about 30 pounds overweight (a good weight for my body is about 150 pounds, which is a size 8). In 2006 I went on a psych medication (trying to treat my drinking problem) that caused me to gain 70 pounds in about 5 months. The next thing I knew I was 100 pounds overweight.

I was obese.

I had never been that woman. I had always pretty much eaten what I wanted. I was able to regulate my weight with small dietary changes and a little exercise, but all the sudden I was The Fucking Fat Chick.

Everything I mentioned above was my life: the self-hatred, the disgust, the lack of sex drive, the limited mobility, the sick relationship with eating. The mind-boggling inability to change one goddamn thing about my diet.

I used to defend my fatness by telling people (and myself) about that medication, and that was true, but I was off all medications by the end of 2009. SO WHY WAS I STILL FAT?

Well, because I was eating like a fat person. I figured what the hell, I’m already gross, why not eat like a gross person? I lost a few pounds when I went off the meds, but not much. When I found out I was pregnant with Georgia I weighed 250 pounds and I fucking flipped. I COULD NOT GAIN ANY MORE WEIGHT. So I exercised and ate really well during that pregnancy, gaining only about 22 pounds.

I lost that plus about 20 more after she was born, mostly due to a uterine infection a couple days after her birth that sent me to the hospital on IV antibiotics for 3 days, plus 30 more days of antibiotics that killed my appetite. SCORE!?

But then I just hung out, fat.

I was about 230 pounds in January of 2012, when I hit what could be called my “bottom,” that point when I’m ready to change. That point when I just can’t stand myself for one more goddamn moment, when my excuses make my toes curl and my skin crawl, when I see myself for exactly what I am without any polish, and call myself out on my own bullshit.

Janelle, you’re not fat because of that medication. You’re fat because you’re eating like a goddamn fat person and not exercising and you hate yourself so you just keep on doing it.


You’re 33 years old and you’re wasting your life. There will come a time when your body will fail you. There will come a time when no matter how thin you are or how much you exercise, your joints will hurt and your bones will be weak and it will hurt to do things.

And yet here you are, wasting your body while it’s still good. When you could be vigorous and strong and free.


So at the first of the year I started swimming laps and I did the Fat Smash diet, AND I DIDN’T CHEAT. I was willing to do anything to lose that weight, to feel human again, to use my body like it was meant to be used, to feel pretty, even occasionally. To not feel like shit all the time.

And by July of 2012 I had lost 50 pounds (a total of 70 since I was at my fattest).

Now I weigh 180 pounds and wear a size 12.

I feel alive again. I can run with my kids on the damn beach. I can walk up stairs and not get winded. I can sit on the ground and get up again without struggle. I can squat (for a minute, but HEY).

But check it out: the good is the enemy of the best, and now I find myself with a WHOLE NEW SLEW OF EXCUSES keeping me from losing my last 30 pounds.

But Janelle, you’ve already lost 70 pounds. You’re good.

You look so much better than you did before.

The last 30 are so hard to lose.

Basically, because I’m not fucking miserable anymore, I think I can just hang out where I am, even though I’m not where I want to be.

And so here’s to you, ladies, the ones who are suffering, the ones who can’t stand themselves.

The miserable fat ones.

What stories are you telling yourself?

What’s keeping you from living, from becoming strong, from being where you want to be?

I’m 100% convinced  that success of my life is determined in direct proportion to my ability to see through my own bullshit, to call myself out on my own lies, to see through the fallacies I sell myself as truth.

Fuck honesty with others. That’s easy.

The hard part is honesty with myself. When nobody’s looking. When nobody’s around and I’m going through the fast-food line, or eating my third cookie, and acting like it just isn’t my fault.

Or I’ll change it tomorrow.

I swear I will.

But I lie down at night and I’ve done it again and I hate myself, for being a liar, a fake and a fraud, a damn pig.

I’m telling you all this because I’ve got to be accountable to somebody, and you all are my favorite people in the world.

This isn’t a resolution. This is a promise to stop lying to myself.

They say the truth will set you free. Maybe. I guess we’ll see.

It’s January 23, 2013. Most resolutions have died. But it’s a new year and we’ve got 11 more months to stop the bullshit that’s killing us.

What are you going to do with it?

I, for one, am going to lose 30 fucking pounds.

And now I’ve said it out loud, on the internet, where even a bull-shitter like me can’t hide.


From a mother with no answers

by renegademama

This week…well, it’s all about Friday, right?

I haven’t been able to write my “week in review” posts for the past two weeks. My first reason involved final exams. My second, most recent reason involved a distinct feeling of having nothing to say.

I read about the tragedy in Connecticut right before leaving for work Friday morning, around 10am. I cried for most of the 20-minute drive. When I arrived, my phone rang and it was my mom, and I knew what she wanted to talk about, and we both cried and she said she wanted to pick the kids up, RIGHT NOW, from school. I was already thinking it, but comforted both of us by telling her it was an early release day, meaning they would be home within two hours.

They would be home within two hours.

Probably the most beautiful words I’ve ever written.

And when these tragedies hit I’m always a little surprised by the way people fly into action. People start announcing and declaring and standing for something. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – just that I can’t relate.

Like gun control. “We need gun control.” Truthfully I don’t know anything about gun control. I know I lived in a country for a year that didn’t have guns (well, you could have a gun if you lived in the boonies and hunted but it had to be visible in your car and you had to be on your way hunting or home and it the whole thing was tightly regulated), and I know I felt safer there, walking through the “bad” areas of Barcelona, worrying (sort of) about getting robbed, maybe at knife-point, but not about getting shot.

A couple times my Spanish friends asked me “Why do children shoot children in schools in America?”

And I recall having no answer.

But guns were never allowed in Spain. I don’t know if it would work here, with all the guns already in existence. It sounds nice in theory, but could we pull it off? I don’t fucking know. These questions feel too big for me, for little old me out here in northern California, trying hard just to grasp my little life, let alone national problems.

And then there’s the mental health people. “We need better services.” This morning, on NPR: “We have a mental health crisis in America.” I’m sure that’s true too. But I don’t know anything about that either. That feels equally huge.

Morgan Freeman was quoted saying that these disturbed people who are going to kill themselves anyway do it in these horrific ways due to the guaranteed media blitz. They become household names. They become that monster who killed rather than some nobody who died in a basement. I’m paraphrasing, but his words made sense, and I believed them, and his argument resonated with me as the most. They want to stick it to the world. They want to show the world that’s “hurt” them, ignored them, wounded them. They want to go out with a bang.


You win, you fucking asshole.

But mostly I’ve got no opinions on these big issues, particularly in the immediate wake of these tragedies. Maybe I’m an uneducated American. Maybe I’m lazy. Or maybe I’m just tired.

I’m equally struck by these parents who immediately announce these defined “approaches” regarding how they’ll handle the tragedy with their children: they absolutely will not tell their children (to preserve their innocence) or they WILL tell their children (to teach them about whatever issue they feel is important).

As you may have noticed, I don’t really have a clearly defined approach to parenting. I like manners. I dislike whining. I will not tolerate racism, bigotry or hatred. I think gay marriage should be legal.

But aside from that, I pretty much never know “just what to do.” I don’t have some over-arching parenting methodology that governs my decisions. And I never have.

By the time I saw my kids on Friday they already knew. Mac had told them. I don’t know why and I don’t know how, I just know that they knew, and we talked about it a lttle. I kept looking at Rocket because he’s seven, and in first grade, like the babies who died. He said he knew he was safe at his school. I shook my head to cast out the thought of anything less than agreement of his innocent conclusion, and thanked God it’s winter break, so my kids won’t have to go back to school for three weeks.

Then we watched The Hobbit.

On Saturday we drove to my family’s Christmas celebration and on the way we listened to the President’s speech and watched him wipe away tears, and I cried and so did Mac and when I looked back at Ava she had tears streaming down her face.

And I guess I’m glad she knew.

But as usual I had no words of wisdom, no deep insights, no “take-away.” We all just cried, and kept on living our lives, as we must, I suppose.

But Friday night I brought Georgie in our bed and she didn’t go back into hers.

And when I saw this I felt like there would never be another complaint exiting my lips as long as I live, though I know that ain’t true.


And then there was this moment, and I wondered if the mothers of the children who died had already bought their kids’ special holiday outfits.


And when Georgie sat alongside her grandma to sing Christmas carols and Rocket was dancing and Ava singing, I thought “I’ve got the best deal of anybody in the world.” And maybe my heart exploded.


When I was fourteen years old I saw “Shindler’s List” in the movie theater with a couple friends. Afterwards, when I got in the car with my mom, I began weeping. I remember like it was yesterday, trying to wrap my head around the gas chambers, the children and mothers and fathers scratching at the walls and screaming in those rooms, falling into oblivion because, because why? Because they were Jewish. I was in mental turmoil and physically disturbed: I didn’t sleep for days. I felt stripped, abused, violated. My brain refused to process it. It simply could not do it.

I remember the agony of the realization that such a horror occurred. It was real.

But it couldn’t be real.

But it was.

Maybe I wasn’t ready for that truth. Clearly I didn’t have the “tools” to make sense of it.

Then again, maybe that’s right where we’re supposed to be: in the dark grey murk. In the chaos in the hell in the despair, in the place that cries for meaning, for purpose, for just one moment of logic, reason, sanity.

Maybe it’s best that we refuse to turn it into some neatly wrapped package, some approach or theory or “stance;” that we refuse to distill it into a sentence: We need this. We need that.

Not that we lie down and forget it, figuring “what the hell, nothin’ we can do,” but that we face it with the bravery of everything we’ve got, even though we’ve got nothing, fighting until our last breath to find something like an answer. So when it comes, we’ll be ready.

Ready for what? I don’t know.

Change, I guess.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”

I’m trying, somebody please tell me how.

All I know is my love, for the ones that came home within two hours, and the pain in my soul, the aching truth of our existence, the place where there are no answers, where the Jews died and the children died and there’s me, little old me, hungry for a place to settle my feet, and my mind.

Sure that if I hold on, it will come, and it won’t all be for nothing.



It ain’t easy having one of “those” kids

by renegademama


Before I had kids, I used to look at other people’s offspring and think to myself “Why is that kid so annoying? Why don’t they do something to fix it (and by “it,” of course, I was referring to the child in question).

And then I had my first kid, and knew she wasn’t going to be one of the annoying models, because I would nip that shit in the bud and mold her into a well-behaved non-irritating version.

And to be honest, it kind of worked (well, I thought it did. Now I realize kids are who they are and parental guidance is probably not the ultimate determinate of a kid’s behavior. It turns out THEY HAVE PERSONALITIES! (who woulda thunk it?)). At any rate, my oldest kid has always been a level-headed, engaged, poised child. She sits in restaurants, chatting with adults. She generally obeys the first time you ask her to do something. She’s independent, self-motivated, focused , and driven. She does well in school. She remembers to brush her teeth and floss, and write in her journal and write thank-you notes, and she does her homework without being asked, and knows how to keep calm when necessary, hanging out with adults with a grace and confidence we all find immensely appealing. She is the quintessentially not-annoying child. Damn, she makes me look good. She blows my mind on a daily basis.

Ah, but then I had Rocket.

And let’s be honest: Rocket is, on a regular basis, really freaking annoying.

Why lie? He is.

He’s loud, intense, and constantly moving. He’s like a tornado that makes noise. Most of the time, if Rocket is awake, he’s knocking things down and pissing his sisters off. He’s tying things together and rigging up traps and filling the sink with water and forgetting about it. He’s making the most irritating heart-stopping nails-on-chalkboard screeches you’ve ever heard in your life. He’s making sounds no human has ever made before, and should never make again.

He’s banging toys and accidentally breaking things, often.

He’s not brushing his teeth.

He’s ignoring your orders.

He’s drawing on the door of the car rather than opening it.

He’s forgetting his backpack in the backseat, and his lunch on the counter, again.

His shoes are in the bathroom but he can’t find them because by the time he gets down the hall he forgets what he was looking for.

He’s poking and prodding and flailing and flinging himself off the couch. He’s “hi-ya”-ing the folded laundry pile with a stick he brought in from the backyard.

He’s up in your business. He’s right against your body. He doesn’t always know when to quit.

He’s playing too hard, a little too long (and you find yourself saying “Rocket, please stop!” ALL.DAY.LONG.)

It’s a strange moment when you realize you have a kid that irritates people. It’s a piercing reality when you see the look in people’s eyes, saying “This boy, he’s too much.” And you see that The Excessively Uptight pretty much can’t stand being in the presence of your son. Sometimes, they’re mean to him, and you want to break their faces with blunt objects, and grab your boy and fold him up back into your belly, where the assholes don’t exist and he’s safe.

But you know what’s the most amazing feeling in the world? When you realize you don’t give a shit what they think, and you’re set free from the insane notion that your kids should all fit perfectly all the time into society’s idea of a “well-behaved” child.

I have a boy who doesn’t fit. He doesn’t fit in school. (He “makes up Kung-Fu movies in his head” during class.) He’s seven years old and not reading yet. He gets “below basic” marks in every area on his report card.

And you know what? I don’t care. And I’ll tell you why:

The other day he was playing with 9 cubes and he all the sudden said “If I had four groups of these cubes I’d have 36.” And I asked him “Dude, Rocket, how’d you know that?” and he said “I don’t know. I saw it in my head.”

And he’s fascinated with planets and cranes and mechanical devices (he’ll stare at a gadget forever, until he can explain how it works). He builds complex Lego systems and memorizes how to get to places in other cities even though we’ve only been there once.

(He told me when he was five he was “born with maps in his brain.”)

He’ll listen to Jimi Hendrix for hours and after hearing Miles Davis he said “This music seems simple, but it’s actually really complicated. Will you get me some more jazz music?”

His heart’s so big it’s like a constantly exploding star. When he gets upset he looks at me and says “Mama, I LOVE YOU,” as if that’s what’s going to fix it, that’s where his strength comes from, from loving others, and hearing that they love him back.

And I do.

I love him so much my heart breaks sometimes just looking at him, my little son, because I can’t believe I could cherish anything as much as I do that little boy.

And his teachers say he’s doing just fine, when I get worked up and want some answers, about why he isn’t reading yet, and why he just won’t quite fit. They say he’s a natural leader and a joy in class and they love him as much as I do, well, almost.

If I were honest, I’d say “why isn’t he meeting my expectations? Why isn’t he fulfilling MY VISION?”

Because he’s somebody else, doing something else, that maybe I don’t understand.

And yeah, sometimes it’s fucking annoying.

But the rest of the time, I listen for his music, and hear the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard, and I feel more alive myself, watching this kid dance moves I’ve never seen before, feeling my feet start moving right alongside him, knowing if I practice long enough, we’ll be dancing together.

I feel the urge to write something interesting.

by renegademama

I feel the urge to write something interesting.

I want to be funny.

I want to make you laugh.

But I’m gonna level with ya. I don’t have much in me right now.

Sometimes, I’m a shit-talking nutcase who thinks EVERYTHING is funny and cracks herself up in the car writing blasphemous things in her head. I get home, crank something out, and laugh while I’m doing it cause it’s fun and it’s real. There is no effort.

But lately, there’s been effort.

It’s ALL BEEN EFFORT. My whole life has been effort.

I’m in one of those spots where I just don’t see it. I’m not seeing the meaning. I’m not catching the vibe. I’m not smelling any damn roses.

I feel a little lost, though I’ve been here before.

I want to blame it on my life. I want to blame it on our lack of money, or the fact that I hate our neighborhood, or that I’m tired or worn out or stressed about school…or cause I have no idea where I’ll be in a year – will I have a job? Will I go on for my PhD (shhhh! Don’t tell! But I’m thinking about it.). Will my husband still be wishing he were doing something else? Will I have lost these final 30 pounds? When is it going to change?

Will it ever get smooth?

And when, people, WHEN, will I grow up?

When I was a kid I had this idea that someday life would make sense. That there was this place, right around the corner [Right there! I can almost see it!]  that I was heading for. It was waiting for me, and when I got there I would know. I would just know.

The hole would be filled. The questions answered. The hunger satisfied.

But instead I have life. Moment to moment, fired at point-blank range.

Nothing else. Just life.

Sometimes I look around and I see no meaning in any of this. The grind. The working. The marriage, the kids. The dog pissing on the floor. The boy who won’t EVER JUST FUCKING DO WHAT HE’S TOLD. The girl who insists on growing up and asking deep questions I’m unqualified to answer. The toddler, oh, the toddler, who runs runs runs and drags and pulls and sucks my heart right into her smile and my whole life into her chubby little palm, as she tows the last shred of my energy with her constantly spinning feet.

I want to blame all that. But I can’t.

Because I know life is RIGHT HERE, right now. This IS the spot “around the corner.” This is the space where meaning lies…there is nothing else.

And these kids bolting around, driving me nuts, are like flashes of lightning against a night sky – so astonishingly beautiful – if only I can catch a glimpse.

See them for what they are.


See the shattering light of their energy against a limitless night sky.

But instead, lately, I’ve been preferring to stare at the small dark circle around my own wandering feet. A tiny patch of ground.

I know it’s my choice. I know I’ll pull out of this. I know my perspective is small right now, and self-centered, and ineffective.

But sometimes, damn it, life just isn’t inspirational. It isn’t funny or cute or even vaguely interesting.

It’s just WHAT IT IS.

And the hardest part is that I am just what I am. A flawed human being, unable to perform all the time. Telling myself “Janelle! Write something funny! Be entertaining!”

And I’ve got nothin’.

But I write anyway, cause this is the truth, and I don’t want to be fake with you, and I don’t ever want to write because it’s what I think people want to hear, like it will cast me in a better light, make me seem better than I am, more than I am.

It’s funny, you know, the way when we’re kids we’re just SURE we’re gonna be something incredible – something special. Change the world. Be president.

And then we find we’re just one more human, trudging along, dodging life’s bullets, passing whole days sometimes, staring at nothin’ but the ground.

And I have a feeling some of you, maybe, sometimes, can’t quite find the sky either. [Even though it’s right above our damn heads.]

And maybe that’s why we’re all here, crazy as hell, laughing our asses off, looking for it somewhere.


that awkward moment…

by renegademama

So you know how the kids keep writing those “awkward moment” cards, and you see them on Pinterest all the time – they seem to materialize out of nowhere and yet, there they are. Repeatedly. Yeah, well, I had an awkward moment recently and I’d like to share it with you.

To do so, I made an “awkward moment” ecard because I’m hip and cool (stop laughing) and all the cool kids are doing it. No really. Stop fucking laughing.

Yes, indeed. That is an awkward moment, and it happened to me recently.

My daughter, Ava, is 10, and she’s an amazing kid (right. as if I would have said something different) – very, very bright, witty, driven, sensitive and thoughtful – but she has a temper. Oh holy shit it’s a big one. Sometimes, when the stars are aligned just perfectly (or something), she loses her shit at her brother. She gets in his face and screams. She’s terribly mean, fuming with all kinds of rage in her voice “WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?!!”

And I get upset when she does it. She alarms me. The look in her eye is shocking, the rage in her voice disturbing. The other day she did it. I watched her tower in fury and her brother shrink into himself and I opened my mouth to stop her, but as the words were coming out…”Ava, why are you talking to your brother that way? Why are you acting like that?”…a blinking neon banner ran across my mind, the answer to my very own question: Because you, you fucktard, YOU act like that. She learned that from YOU.

And I realized I was punishing my child for acting exactly like me.

It was not a pretty moment.

You know there are things I do as a mother that fall into the “haha I’m a bad mother let’s all laugh” category. Like feeding them toast for breakfast 3 days in a row because I can’t get my act together to make real food. You know, no big deal kind of things.

But then there are bad mother moments that I’d rather not talk about it. The real shit. The seedy dark underbelly. MY OWN PERSONAL, SERIOUS FLAW AS A MOTHER AND HUMAN. (again with the all caps. why can’t I stop?)

And for me, it’s losing my temper.

Sometimes I raise my voice. Yeah whatever who doesn’t. But sometimes, oh sometimes, I lose it. I simply explode. I get in their faces and yell. And you know what I’ve said?

“What’s wrong with you?!!!!!”

I see their faces and I want to die. The fear in their eyes. The sadness in their shoulders. And I cave into myself as I’m doing it, trying to make it their fault, screaming while simultaneously totally aware that I am acting horribly but I can’t stop. Because I’m seeing red. I’ve crossed the line.

And when it’s over, I can’t stand the idea of myself.

Because I know I am the problem. It is not them. And it never has been. In those moments I use my power as a mother to bully them, because I’m bigger and stronger and louder and I think I have some right to dominate – to GET MY WAY – and I don’t mean to lose my shit…I do not believe this is an effective parenting method – this is not the person I want to be – but sometimes people I’m just so tired. And I repeatedly fail to take care of myself. I find myself tired and hungry and running late and headaches and noise and it all builds, builds, builds until. Something. Clicks.


And it isn’t funny at all.

 I walk away and breathe and I know I’ve blown it. I really fucked up.

I want to crawl in a hole. I cry. Invariably. I want to take them in my arms and beg them to forgive me.

But I don’t beg. I gather myself and I walk back and apologize for my poor behavior just like I would any person who I’ve wronged. I own my shit. I tell them I’m human. I tell them I lose my temper too, and I’m learning patience, just like them. And maybe we can work together on this stuff, both of us, all of us, trying to be better.

But I am the adult and should know better. And you are a wonderful child and this isn’t your fault and if I could figure out how to never do that shit again, my God I would so, so please, please hang with me little one, as I navigate this strange world of motherhood — where the stakes are so high and the guidance so scarce.

And I wonder what the hell is wrong with me.

Two days later I open Facebook and read a post from Peggy O’Mara of Mothering magazine that reads “The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice” and it becomes clear to me that mothers don’t do what I do. Mothers read things like that and they are filled with inspiration – they take that information and transform it into the elusive ability to only speak to their children in hushed soothing tones…good, wholesome words of support, to become a solid inner voice.

Me? I read things like this and think are you fucking kidding me? If this is true my kids are finished. Don’t put this crap on me. Don’t tell me I BECOME THE VOICE IN MY CHILD’S HEAD. I can’t be all there is! I can’t!

But if she’s right, if my poorest moments are the loudest voices in their head, if they sit in school and wonder “what’s wrong with me” because their mother said it a few times…if that’s true, well I’m going to give them the rest of the story, the other half: Your mother is a human being who is doing the best she can and loves you with every fiber of her imperfect being and so that voice, that voice that yells, it is only ONE voice. There is another. There will always be another. There is the world and god and there are grandmothers and teachers and friends and there is that mother who would lay down her life for you.

[Maybe while yelling, but still.]

The other day I called Ava after treating her poorly. At the end of our conversation I said “Ava, you are a great kid” and I said it with tears in my eyes and a cracked voice and heart.

She responded with words so full of love it took my breath away. Without hesitation, without affectation, she said confidently “And you are a great mother.”

I can only go forward. Each day, one foot in front of the other.

Moving toward becoming the person my kids already think I am.