- Wear enormous necklaces
- Roll my eyes at people
- Get a discount at IHOP
- Wear clogs as dress shoes
- Say non sequiturs
- Wear slippers to the grocery store
- Swim during the safety break
- Swear even more
- Call whippersnappers “sonny” and “doll face”
- Day drink
Labels I Wear
- Bereaved Mom
- Great Aunt
- Breast Cancer Survivor
Places Where I’m Unreasonably Optimistic
- The travel-size section at Walgreens (I’m taking all the cute minis on my trip)
- The exercise aisle at Five Below (I’d exercise if I had a new yoga mat…and block…and pedometer…and)
- The produce section at Costco (I’m only eating salad from now on)
- The Container Store (Gonna organize everything)
- Barnes & Noble (I’ll make time to read a whole book)
- REI (Sleeping outside looks fun)
- Any hotel gym (I’m totally gonna treadmill on vaycay)
- The Great Escape (We need a pool, right?)
- Any craft store (I’ll make this…and this…and)
- Home Depot (Let’s play in all the fake kitchens)
- The boat show (I could get used to this)
- An open house (Ooh, nice trafalet)
- A buffet (I can try whatever I want)
- The Kwik-Mart (My Powerball ticket is the winner)
- Parking garages (I always get a good spot)
Even More Small Things That Make Me Way Too Happy
- Clean sheets.
- When Pandora “gets” me.
- When sesame crunchies are on the salad bar.
- When my dog keeps my feet warm.
- The smell of a brand new book.
- Hazelnut cookies.
- G-2 pens.
- The travel size section at Walgreens.
- Having a show to binge watch.
A Letter to My Son on His Twelfth Birthday
I call you “baby” because that’s who you are to me. My sweet baby boy with the enormous eyes like Oreo cookies.
Happy Birthday, Baby. You’re changing fast. Two weeks ago you weren’t taller than me. Now you’re taller than me. You have an adorable faint mustache, and your voice is in its Peter Brady phase. You used to have baby fat, but now you’re lean like a library ladder. It’s almost like you’ve become a different person overnight.
But you will always be my baby.
You were born into this family as the little brother. Your big brother loved you like crazy. You followed him everywhere. You climbed on his lap and the two of you stared at the little DS screen together while he played his games, and you cheered him on. He protected you from icky bugs, made sure you learned “parking lot rules” and taught you about Pokemon. You shared sushi, toys, a room and a deep love for each other. Many nights I’d find you asleep holding hands across the empty space between your beds.
The role of little brother fit you perfectly. You were a silly goofball, carefree and happy.
Then your brother got sick with brain cancer. You were left frequently with your Aunt. You were confused. Things changed. Your brother changed. He looked different. He was in a wheelchair and spent months in the hospital, but all you wanted was to be near him, hug him, talk about Pokemon and make up scenarios for your “guys” with the hundred stuffed animals you both owned. He put his arm around you when you climbed into his hospital bed to watch Nick Jr. You fell asleep holding onto him.
You were an only child for a few years, and this role didn’t suit you. You were anxious and lonely. You never wanted to leave my side (and I didn’t want you to, anyway).
Then you became a big brother to a little sister who thinks you hung the moon. You thrive in this role. You are an amazing big brother, and you say it’s because you learned from the best. You are protective and fun and funny. You teach her about Pokemon and sushi and “parking lot rules.” Now she’s the silly one and you’re the protector.
I am so amazed by you. Every day I am inspired by your resilience. I aspire to the level of kindness, compassion and curiosity you demonstrate naturally. You are my living example of how to be a good and strong person.
Did you know you saved my life? You were the reason I woke up and got out of bed the day after your brother died. Without you, well, I can’t imagine… You have transformative superpowers in your smile. I am helpless against your cuteness. You give me courage to face any challenge. Last year I wrote an entire screenplay about everything I learned from you.
You own my heart.
When you grow up you want to be a doctor/actor/comedian/research scientist/theoretical physicist — and I think you can make it. I believe in you.
You have a great friend group who accepts you with all your aspirations and antics, especially your bestie who is sunshine in boy form. You look out for each other like brothers — what more can you ask from a friend in Jr. High? What more can you ask from a friend in life?
But don’t be in a hurry to grow up. Stay immature and goofy a while longer. Stay silly. Stay innocent. And I know you will…
Recently, you said, “I know how babies are made. The man puts his ding-dong into the woman’s slipperslap, and then a baby comes out.” First of all, I don’t think I ever heard a better slang term. I’m the proud mom of a word inventor. Second of all, not quite. You really don’t know much at all, and that’s awesome. With all your excelling in academics, I’m relieved you lag behind the kids who ride the bus, go to sleep away camp or hang out behind the 7-11 when it comes to maturity.
I love that you’re a bit of a nerd. I love your dance moves and dry sense of humor. I even love our arguments (you’re so good at it!). You make me laugh every day. You make me happy. And you make me proud.
You make me look better at this job of being a mom than I actually am.
My birthday wish for you is to find your place in this big world. Do not to be overwhelmed by choices. Stay close to the people who love you. Keep a calm heart. Seek happiness, whatever that means to you — you deserve it. Your past doesn’t dictate your future.
Thank you for being mine. Promise me you’ll never be too old to snuggle and watch Saturday Night Live on the couch. And thank you in advance for letting me live in a tiny house in your backyard when I’m an old lady.
Stay cool, Baby. Have an amazing birthday!
I love you more,
More Small Things That Make Me Way Too Happy
- LaCroix bubble water
- Old flannel shirts
- My free birthday gift from Sephora
- That one week in the spring when my lilac bushes bloom
- A good hair day
- No line for the bathroom at a public place
- Jean jacket weather
- Time to myself
- A hot shower
Small Things That Make Me Way Too Happy
- My morning coffee
- When I perfectly time the avocado
- When the snow flies off the roof of the car while I drive and makes what looks like a vapor trail
- New slipper-socks
- Finding an excellent condition Kate Spade purse at the thrift shop
- New flannel pajama pants
- In-n-Out Burger
- Steamed potstickers from Chin Chin
- Sleeping in
- The sun shining anytime November thru April
- Someone else doing the dishes
- Nailing it at parallel parking
- When my kids listen to me
- A foot massage
- A comment on my blog