Friendships are like Books: a Galentine’s Day Irony

Friendships are like Books: a Galentine’s Day Irony

I lost a friendship last night. The irony is that happened at a Galentine’s party, which is a celebration of women and friendship. And the weird thing was that the friend I lost wasn’t even there. I found out about it through a mutual friend, although if I am being honest, the signs were already there. 

A few months back, my friend had confided in me as she sometimes did through the years. It took a lot for her to open up.  It was big, heavy, sad confidential stuff. So, I kept her confidence and didn’t tell a soul. Since then, I have reached out multiple times, through texts and calls which went to voicemail.  I left messages.  None of them were ever returned. 

Last night, a mutual acquaintance told me that a group of mutual friends had lunch with her and she looked fantastic. She told everyone she was the happiest she has ever been. And she is now best friends with her former nemesis. This was all news to me.  If she is truly happy, that is great news. The last few years, her path had been laden with brambles and thorns and boulders and downed trees. I did my best to be there for her through it all. I want her to re-emerge into a good, safe and healthy space. I want to hear all about it and celebrate her. Except she didn’t tell me.

And that hurt.

A lot.

I have no idea why she left me out. A simple two sentence answer to one of my attempts to contact her would have sufficed: “Hey, just wanted to let you know that things are looking up for me and I’m in a good place now.”

I came home and cried. I racked my brain trying to figure out what I did that would have upset her. I couldn’t come up with anything. 

I rarely see her so it isn’t like her absence will affect my day to day life. But this was a twenty-seven year friendship and that vanished and I may never know why. 

I’m old enough now that this isn’t my first rodeo.  I have had friendships die.  Sometimes they wither away and sometimes they end in fiery maelstrom. This one feels like being pushed off a cliff you never saw coming. What lies at the bottom for me is profound grief. 

I will miss her. Terribly. 

For now, I am in the endless tears phase, headed towards anger. Beyond that will be acceptance. My life will go on, but it will be different and less fun because dammit, she was one fun friend.

This morning my husband rolled over and said, “sweetheart, I know you have been up most of the night.  If she contacts you, please tell her how much this hurts.”

I’m not sure that opportunity will come. She might never contact me other than to post a birthday message on my Facebook wall, a platitude to let the world know she still considers me her friend. Knowing the truth behind it will hurt too. 

People move on and maybe it’s simply that. But friends are like books. You never want a good one to end. When it’s over, you wait to pick up a new one because odds are, it won’t be as good. But, there’s always another one on the shelf.  It may be different and it may not be as rich and well-developed, you may have to learn a new world. But sooner or later, a great one will come along and you won’t be able to put it down. And you’ll hold onto it so you can introduce it the people you love. If it’s really good, you’ll revisit it again and again. And each time, will be just as great as you remembered it.

Sometimes books become lost to us, only to return to our lives. When that happens, we delight in remembering how much we loved this particular book, this character, their world. So we crack it open again and enjoy it anew, but with a different perspective. Maybe wiser, maybe not, but definitely different. Maybe this friendship will make its way back to me. I am going to hope it does.

Go in peace, friends.

a weekend in the life

a weekend in the life

The evolution of the weekend in simple mathematical equations

There are lots of ways we move through the weekend, and what equates to the typical weekend changes over time. Here is my evolution, in simple mathematical equations. I’m sure there is a more complicated way to do this, but, as my children will attest, I have forgotten everything I learned in Calculus.

teens: football game + sleep in until noon + PopTart + afternoon at the lake + babysit + date with a cute boy from my bio class = weekend 👙
twenty-something: (work second job + beer + party + sleep in + breakfast at a diner + hike a few miles + watch old movies on couch + Kraft Macaroni and Cheese for dinner) x 2 = weekend 🍺
thirty-something: party + margaritas + toddlers wake me at 6 a.m. + animal shaped pancakes + caffeine + nap when the kids nap because I can’t party like I used to + Scooby Doo Kraft Macaroni and Cheese + cuddle puddles + reading “Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel” = weekend 🥞

forty-something: drive kids to movie + get up one child up early to take SAT + sports + breakfast biscuit on the run (“forget” to log the calories) + more sports + no time for hike, walk around sports field + teen sleepover + Annie’s Organic Macaroni and Cheese + “those girls were up all night talking and now I’m a zombie” + caffeine, caffiene, caffeine + “did anyone walk the dog? You kids said if we got a dog, you would help!” + dog walk = weekend 🐕
fifty-something: nice dinner out + prosecco + Gruyere and artisan applewood bacon Macaroni & Cheese + sleep in until 7:30 a.m. + read paper + steel cut oats + elliptical machine + feet up in front of fire + read a book + snuggles with the dog = weekend 🥂

sixty-something: not there yet, but x + y/z = weekend, solve for x, y and z

What’s in your weekend?

Momentary Snapshot – March

Momentary Snapshot – March

Processed with VSCO with l5 preset


It’s technically still the first week of the month, so I am taking a momentary snapshot. Some call it “taking stock”. If you could take a snapshot of my life at this moment, here is what it would look like:

Reading: just finished “The Keeper of Lost Things” by Ruth Hogan, getting ready to start “A Place for Us” by Fatima Farheen Mirza

Listening to: The Pet Shop Boys. Seriously. At some point this month, I heard on of their songs and instantly wanted to hear all of my favorites so I downloaded them. Thankfully, this 80s flashback didn’t make me want to get a perm!

Watching: “The Bachelor”. Yes, I admit I watch it. My daughter and I love discussing it. And any excuse to talk to her is golden. I really thought Colton was going to end up with Caelynn, but he sent her home last week. What? And then this week happened and things went haywire and he did jump the fence and WHAT?

Worrying: about my mom. I’m not sure anything adequately prepares us for aging parents.

Gearing up for: March Madness. I went to UVA. My husband went to Duke. You get the picture.

Channeling: my inner smile. It’s March. I have seasonal depression. March can be hard. So I am exercising and focusing on the sunshine to come.

Beginning: a new chapter. I was a stay at home mom for years. During that time, I served on many local boards. I’ve been named a trustee of a charitable foundation that gives away large grants in my local area. My first meeting is tomorrow. It’s a huge honor and I am thrilled to be part of it. I’m nervous, but really excited to learn more about my community.

Wishing: I was still floating in this pool @halfmoonjamaica. The sea, pool, sunshine and supremely kind hospitality there were the perfect antidote to the winter doldrums. Post coming soon on that.

Purchasing: the bathrobes at Half Moon were so comfortable.  Like, honestly, this was the most comfortable bathrobe ever.  I am kicking myself for not buying one.  But I think I found them online, so I am going to treat myself!

Accepting: all of those freckles and lines and age spots (for the time being). They are part of my story. And I’m not perfect. I’m just me.

Thank you, Kate Spade. I wish I could have returned the favor.

Thank you, Kate Spade. I wish I could have returned the favor.

Years ago, I had postpartum depression. It was bad. I loved my baby so much but I felt so incredibly inadequate as a mother. I had no idea what I was doing. I could not get organized, which is a big thing for me. I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t know who I was anymore. And I couldn’t stop crying.

I was the first of my friends and first of my siblings to have a baby so I had no one to talk to except my husband, who later told me that he thought he had lost me forever to a giant cloud of darkness. I would start crying in the middle of the day and he would have to leave work and come home and help me. He probably felt helpless too. We never told anyone (this was over twenty years ago, it was a different time). We did tell my doctor and she got me the help I needed and gradually the giant cloud of darkness got smaller.

It is easy to say, “how could you be so sad when you had every reason to have been so happy?” And believe me, I asked myself that question many times. But that’s not how depression works. It doesn’t discriminate. You don’t get to choose whether you have it. It isn’t something one can just “shake off” (advice someone gave me).

One day in the midst of that fog, I went to a local shoe boutique. The doctor had suggested I should do something nice for myself. I had been carrying around this quilted cotton Toys R Us diaper bag with a bazillion sections that I hated because to me, it symbolized the loss of me. If you know me, you know how much a love a good handbag and nice shoes. Always have, always will.  This boutique had beautiful shoes, and always featured up and coming designers (and still does).

And there on the shelf was the Kate Spade diaper bag. It was really expensive. I had never heard of Kate Spade, no one in my town had. This diaper bag was hip and modern and it didn’t have pastel baby animals all over it. It was black. And when I slung it over my shoulder, no one would have guessed it container diapers and wipes and Cheerios and teething rings.

They only had one so I bought it. That purchase felt like the start of me reclaiming me. I loved that bag, which joined me on my long journey out of that dark cloud. By the time I no longer needed a diaper bag, I was better and the bag was in tatters.

I’m not sure how many of her bags I have owned since then.  I have a clutch that looks like a ticket that I take to film festivals, one that looks like an 80s mixtape, one that looks like a watering can, and one that looks like a champagne bottle and comes out for every celebration.

Last week,  I dug my iPhone of of my current straw “Sam” handbag and saw that Kate Spade had died. And I cried about a woman I never met, who I would have liked to thank for the small but important role she played in me finding me again, but who somehow lost herself and then lost her life. I wish I could have helped her like she helped me.  May she Rest In Peace.

If a giant cloud of darkness has descended on you or if you’re lost, scared or overwhelmed, ask for help…1-800-273-8255

an open letter to college girls with love, from a mom

an open letter to college girls with love, from a mom

Note: this originally appeared on my Facebook page, and at the urging of friends, I am putting it on my blog too.

College girls: you gotta step up. You have to take care of yourselves. You have to take care of one another. Your mothers would love to be there and come to college with you and keep you safe, but we know that we need to let you go out into the World on your own. Since we can’t be there, you are going to have to be each other’s mother some of the time. Please be each other’s mothers. And please…

1. Don’t walk alone at night, even if it is just a walk home from the library. Just because you feel safe doesn’t mean you are safe.

2. Don’t go to or leave a party alone. Use a buddy system. Better yet, have a designated sober friend who watches out for your group. And if a friend doesn’t want to leave, it’s going to be tough but you are going to have to make her come with you.

3. Take texts or calls seriously. If your friend says she is lost or hurt or scared or in trouble, when you read that text, go find her. Pick up the phone and call her. Don’t wait. Do it the second you read it.

4. Get your own drink at a party. And if you put it down, forget about that one and go get another one. Always get your own drink!

5. Look out for one another. Make sure you all get home safely. And once you are home, lock your doors.

6. Don’t let your cell phone give you a false sense of security. Your cell phone does not make you safe.   You may drop it, it may not work, etc.  However, there are some apps out there such as “Live Safe”  that can alert you to what is going on on your campus, help you find safe walk home, and give you a direct line to first responders.

7. And don’t be afraid to call your parents when you are scared or need help. We love you. Whatever it is, we will do everything we can to help you. But if for some reason, you feel you can’t call home, your school has a lot of resources to help you. Find them and use them.

And I’m adding this guy advice, by a guy for the guys, so it doesn’t get lost in the comments:
“Guys, you should step up too. Be aware of the dangers the ladies face. Help them when they ask, without hassles or expectations. Be wary of suspicious dudes on your turf. Investigate every scream you hear in the night. And above all, don’t be the guy that the ladies cannot trust when they need help.”

Bring Hannah home. Love, peace and prayers to the Grahams, Loves, and Harringtons.

thank you, lucky chair

thank you, lucky chair

lucky chairToday is my son’s last exam. He’s finished high school.

He worked so hard and achieved the one goal he set for himself, never losing his focus. I once told him that I was worried that he had set the bar too high. He replied, “don’t worry Mom. If it doesn’t happen, that’s okay. It was a good goal to have because it made me a better student. And win or lose, that alone made it a goal worth having.”

My son was born an old soul.

He ate breakfast in his “lucky chair” today. All through high school he claimed that chair gave him the luck he needed to get good grades or do well in sporting events or get through whatever lay ahead on any given day.  He wrote his college essay about that chair. The topic was: describe a place where you feel content.  

I hope they have lots of lucky chairs at college. 

Wash. Rinse. Spin. College. Or not. Why I have no plans to teach my son how to do Laundry

Wash. Rinse. Spin. College. Or not. Why I have no plans to teach my son how to do Laundry

I am friends on Facebook with two sisters, Anne and Beth (names have been changed to protect their identity).  Anne posted a link on the wall of Beth entitled something like “13 Things a Mother Should Teach her Son Before he Goes to College”.  Anne wrote “be sure to focus on number 3.”  I’m about to send a son to college.  Of course, I had to look at the list.  Most of it was about good manners, throwing footballs, being kind, teaching him to respect women, reading to him, all good stuff. Things I felt like my husband and I have done.  All except for number three.  Number three was “Teach Him How to do Laundry”.

I have also been to a couple of social gatherings recently and when I mention my son will be going to college, someone invariably asks, “have you taught him how to do laundry yet?”

When my son’s birthday was approaching,  he told us that he really couldn’t think of anything he wanted, so getting him things he could use at college would be great.  I mentioned this to my friend and she lit up, “I have the best idea.  Get him a laundry basket and a roll of quarters.  He will definitely use that!”  All I could think was, “do college laundry machines still take quarters? It seems like technology would have come farther than that.”  And I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, but what boy wants a laundry basket and a roll of quarters?

Everyone is very concerned about whether or not my son can do laundry.  Except me.

I’ve got news for y’all. I have absolutely no plans whatsoever to teach my son how to do laundry.

I hear you going into the spin cycle: “how could she?”, “who does that?”, “oh, the humanity!”

Hold the detergent, Soak on this:

1.  He wants to be an engineer.  He can figure it out. Isn’t that what being an engineer is all about?  Discovery?  It’s not rocket science. It’s okay to have to figure some things out on your own.

2.  If he can’t figure it out, he can just ask someone.   Asking someone may be the way he makes a new friend or even the way he meets to girl of his dreams.  He can also text or call me, I am pretty sure I can explain it over the phone.  Again, it’s not rocket science.  And aren’t I doing the universe a favor by teaching a man to ask for directions? (Guys, to be fair, that is a totally sexist stereotype)

3.  If he screws it up and his white shirts turn pink because there was a red sock in the wash, he’ll live.  And he’ll be mad. And then he’ll laugh.  And he’ll never do it again. Lesson learned.

4.  The Facebook post list claims that if I teach him to do laundry,  “his wife will thank me.” Wife?  Wait, he is going to get MARRIED? Isn’t that getting ahead of the whole “going to college” thing?

5. I’ll confess, I’m throwing in the towel (yuk!yuk!) partly because, let’s be honest here…does this look like the room of a boy who will do a lot of laundry?


I have a limited amount of time to teach him all the stuff I am supposed to teach him.  And it seems to me that there are some things that never make these lists that are actually way more important than whether someone knows how laundry.

I’m going to teach him some of the things that were not on that Facebook list.  That list was great, but it left out a couple of things:

Managing money.  I used to work in a bank near a college campus and we saw so many students who could not manage their own money.  You think it is a joke, but we would get students who would say things like, “but I still have checks, how can there be NO money in my account?” or  “I lost my credit card three months ago, what do you mean someone has been using it?”  Schools, for the most part, do not teach personal financial management.  So, this Spring we are focusing on banking.  I’m getting him a checkbook and a credit card and we are going to start learning what they do, when to use them and how they work.  How to write a check and balance a checkbook.  How to use the ATM.  Why a credit card is different than a debit card.  Why you don’t want to run up more debt than you can handle.

Alcohol awareness.  Alcohol is part of living on a college campus. We are having discussions on things like binge drinking, drugs, and personal safety.  I plan to discuss different types of alcohol and why 12 ounces of beer is not the same as 12 ounces of vodka.  And why he needs to get his own drink at a party and keep track of it.  And why you don’t take someone else’s prescription drugs.  And what to do if someone becomes so inebriated that they pass out.  And when to call the rescue squad.

Safety.  I want him to walk a girl home from a party or the library or a party instead of letting her walk home alone.  I don’t want him to walk by himself late at night.  I want him to not let his friends drive drunk and not drive drunk himself and not let his friends get into cars with people who have been drinking. I want him to call a cab–that’s a good use of money!

Health, both mental and physical.  We have been over his health insurance card and now I let him check in when we go to the doctor’s office so he gets a sense of how that works.  And we talk about when you should go to the doctor and when it is okay to call.  Our school system did a great job of discussing mental health, but we have also discussed mental illness at home.  And we have discussed our family medical history too.  Of course, he can call and get that information, but it is still good to discuss health openly.

Exercise.  If it’s a stressful time and you have a choice between doing laundry and getting outside and playing ultimate frisbee or basketball or football or whatever, go outside.  It’s a no brainer.  Exercise enhances our mental abilities, it reduces stress, it encourages social interaction.  Laundry can wait.

If he asks, I will teach him how to do laundry, but if not, laundry is something he can figure out on his own and he will be just fine.  And,  for his birthday, I got him some LL Bean boots because if it’s rainy and cold, you still have to walk to class. And:

dry socks = less laundry.

And he loved the boots.

Just to be on the safe side though, I might buy him 50 pairs of underwear and 50 pairs of socks.  That should hold him until he comes home for Thanksgiving.  And Thanksgiving will probably be the exact moment I curse myself for, you guessed it… not teaching him to do laundry.

The Evolution of Pre-Snowstorm Grocery Shopping

The Evolution of Pre-Snowstorm Grocery Shopping



First Storm

You make a detailed grocery list list, get to the store two days early and beat the crowd.  You have everything you could possibly need on hand including bottled water, flashlights, and batteries. You even bake cupcakes to make the storm more “fun”.

Your children watch every single “Local on the 8s” forecast for 36 hours straight and constantly check their Twitter feeds to see if school is closed.


Second Storm

You shop the day before and wait forever in line. While you are waiting,  you end up buying four tabloids (because you just need to see more stars without makeup) and a copy of Real Simple that promises to finally get you organized. You get home to discover you forgot something, but oh well!

Your children watch a couple of “Local on the 8s” forecasts and constantly check their Twitter feeds to see if school is closed.


Third Storm

You don’t make a list. You stop off at the store just as the flakes start to fall and they are out of the milk you normally buy so you spend $9 on a gallon of organic milk only to get home and discover that you already had an unopened gallon of milk in the fridge. Who is going to drink all of this milk?

Your children watch one “Local on the 8s” forecast, but continue to constantly check their Twitter feeds because they are teenagers and that’s what teenagers do.  Oh, and that is how they find out that school is closed.


Fourth Storm

Screw the storm! Your kids can fight it out cage match style for the last slice of bread. The power goes out. No one knows what happened to the flashlights and batteries from Storm #1.  Mom has officially had enough! The dog has had enough! The kids are sick of Twitter.  Everyone has had more than enough of the “Local on the 8s” and those pesky Weather Channel storm nicknames.


Fifth Storm

UGH…seriously?  We have to do this again? Your form of protest: you don’t even go to the store. Good for you, you really showed them!  Ramen noodles for everyone!

When is Spring going to come?!

Later that spring, you recycle that Real Simple from Storm Two. You never even opened it. So much for finally getting organized!