A Pirate Looks at Forty


There’s a funny thing about me and my birthdays. Either I completely forget about them until the week of OR I start brewing and lamenting over their approach a few months in advance. I think I sailed through my twenties and thirties with just a couple of blips (hellllloooo thirty-nine. You were a fun one to watch approach). But, for the most part, they were kinda like making a hash mark on the wall of life, just clicking time away. I was like Maui on his island, hashing away time on my own little island of solitude. 

Enter 40.

As a child growing up, I think forty is the one birthday we are all programed to make a big deal out of. The Big 4-0. Lordy, lordy, look who’s Forty. Over the Hill. Mid-life crisis. You know, the whole smorgasbord of cliches and offerings. I mean, even Jimmy Buffet immortalized the milestone…That wannabe pirate was all messed up looking at forty. Still, I don’t think one really grasps what forty is (and isn’t) until you are there, face-to-face with the thing, trying to make sense out of what is actually going on with your mind, your body, and your life. 

Folks, I present to you forty: A short offering of what it is to this 39 and 11/12 girl..I mean woman..I mean..teenager…I mean..ugh. (I’ll explain. Keep reading) All opinions and experiences are my own, because, let’s face it, I’m talking about me here. If you have sailed past forty and haven’t had any of these issues..well. Just don’t tell me, cause then I might not like you any more.

Without further delay, I present: Forty.

Forty is: suddenly not sleeping anymore. For those of you with small children (or puppies…same difference), do you remember falling asleep and then waking up every hour after that point and getting absolutely no sleep? Welp. This is forty. Yall, sleep has eluded me like some thief in the night, and I have teetered between buck wild mania and anger and a beat down acceptance that I will never sleep again. I’ve tried it all. Nothing. Nada. Zero. Zilch. Oh sleep, why hast thou forsaken me? For about 6 months, I figured it was stress..or moving..or mothering a middle-schooler…or just life. Nope. Come to find out, hormones. (See below).

Forty is: finding yourself combing the aisles of every store you go into trying to navigate the world of face wash and beauty treatments that work for both wrinkles AND zits, because, let’s all be honest here: WHY only deal with aging when you can throw a little teenage acne in with it? Seriously though. I never experienced acne as a teenager. Like ever. And now, I am paying the piper. If they make it, I can guarantee I have bought it, read about it, tried it or plan on trying it. For the love…And those sweet little smile lines of your twenties suddenly morph into straight up crows feet stamped on each side of your face. Simple..apply aging cream. Ah, ah, ah. Not so fast..oily, thick cream pisses forty-ish skin off and makes it turn into revenge of the teenager.  Simple…apply acne cream to attack pimples. Ah, ah, ah. Not so fast again. Acne medications dry your face out so you look like a dehydrated prune left in sun way too long. The dry skin makes you notice how dehydrated and old you suddenly appear, so you apply aging cream. Again. Repeat cycle. Daily. Notice no change.

Forty is: hauling yourself in for a voluntary doctor's appointments (that you weren’t forced into) because someone somewhere has to help your ass and you’re not sure if its going to be them, a bottle of magic pills, or the state mental hospital. The night sweats, the not sleeping, the breakouts, the feeling that you could possibly take out your family (or the entire check out line at Target on a random Monday) with just your eyes, or cry at every holiday Publix commercial on tv. Yall, the hormones are off. the. chain. Guess what? There's a little bastard called peri-menopause. The sweet little time in life before menopause when you are basically a shell of a woman on edge with life who could snap at any moment. Some pull the card at 45. Some pull the card at 50. I have pulled the card at 39. Yay me! Let me just say it like this. I now see why women would pry hormones out of someone’s cold, dead hands just to be able to have them. 

Forty is: leaving the salvation doctor's appointment with a prescription for said miracle pills and a door prize. The order for your first mammogram. Because, you know. Forty. That’s all I’m gonna say about that. I’ve still got 1 month a 4 days to make peace with it.

Forty is: having the sudden urge to hold on to your youth. Ladies and gentlemen, I present my bathroom vanity. Yall, I went out and bought CK One perfume. They still make it. I wore the hell out of it in high school. Guess who’s wearing the hell out of it again? This chick. Want to know what’s sitting next to the CK One? A big old tube of Noxema. Cause, pimples and aging and the fact it smells so damn good. And in the shower you ask? What could be there? Two bottles of Herbal Essences shampoo. I’m not even ashamed. I mean, 1994 has called and wants its beauty products back, and I ain’t budging. All I need is some Loves Baby Soft, a few Lip Smackers, and a bottle of Sun-In and I’m set. For some reason, those products of my youth are providing some subconscious comfort, and I’m just gonna go with it.

Forty is: for the first time in your life, becoming keenly aware that you are (most likely and if you are lucky) about half way through your trips around the sun and suddenly, stuff gets real. You guys, those mid-life crises are not made of sports cars and new spouses. They are made of the fact that you keenly become aware that time is finite and you’ve ticked off a big chunk of what you have been given. Crrrrraaaaaaaaaaap. If you’re in a 9-5 job, you suddenly panic that you’re never going to chase your dream of owning your own business. If you own your own business, you suddenly panic that you haven’t made the best of your time and maybe the stress just isn’t worth it. If you’re not a creative, you suddenly feel the need to tap into that part of your brain. If you are a creative, you panic that you should have been more serious. Whatever your cross is that you bear, it is real and valid and it hits you when you least expect it to. (The fluctuating hormones do not help this phenomenon). Forty is a distinct reflection point in life. I would be a liar if I said I wasn’t sitting in the middle of it. All those things I’ve placed in the ‘I’ll do that later’ pile are sitting there looking at me, and for the first time, I find myself wondering if I will do it, should do it, can do it, won’t do it.  

Forty is: slowly becoming completely and utterly checked-out on what other’s think/say/feel about you. For all of the hormone and mid-life crisis debacles, I will say that this is the one thing about turning forty that is the best. Your teens and twenties are spent trying to fit in and be a part of something. Your thirties are focused on careers or families. Then forty is a big, fat “I really don’t care what you think because I’m doing me and you just do you.” It’s kinda liberating, y’all. For the first time, I’m finally becoming comfortable with who I am and what I am and that is a really, really cool thing. I hope that forty opens up a door to this way of thinking more and more. If so, fifty and sixty are going to be a dang blast! Although, I’m fairly certain my mouth filter will be gone 100% at that point. Oh well.  

I could go on and on and on. Forty. It’s kinda crazy. Ok, it is crazy. The hormones are crazy. The aging part is crazy. The wrinkles and pimples combo is crazy. The mid-life freak-out is crazy. But, mixed up in all of that crazy is a quiet realization that “Hey, I did it. And I’m doing it. And I’m going to keep doing it no matter what.” And that’s enough to make any pirate proud to be looking at forty.



A few months ago, I stumbled upon a book called ‘Strong Is The New Pretty’ by Kate. T. Parker while out shopping with my daughter and snatched it up. Being a photography nut, the image of the girl on the cover looking like she could kick some serious butt in a swim relay immediately caught my eye. As I looked inside, the images and the words blew me away. Pictures of girls, being their version of girls, with quotes about how they are living their own ‘girl life.’ If you haven’t read it or seen it, ESPECIALLY if you have a daughter, do me a favor….hit pause on reading, scroll over to your favorite site to order books, and order it. Like now.....


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Going Home.

There's a saying in life that I always heard growing up.

You can’t go home again.

It means different things to different people. Some people take it to mean once you are grown, you don’t go back home. Others think it means the fondness of childhood memories are never truly recaptured as an adult. Still others view it as a simple saying that tells you once you leave a place or a situation, you just can’t return and have it be like it once was.

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Do you ever sit there at the breakfast table of life and think, “Damn, I sure do have it all together”? And then, like 45 seconds later, everything goes to shit, and you wonder where in the world the last 45 seconds went to? No? Just me? 

Y’all, I’m not going to lie. 2017 is throwing some curveballs.  

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Today was slated by my oldest to be a ‘girls day’. When I asked her what that meant, she said she wasn’t completely sure what she wanted to accomplish, but she was certain that whatever we tackled, it would not involve her brother or her father or any male. Period. The girl needed some boy-free times. And as much as I adore the testosterone living under my roof, I downed some cough medicine to knock back my twice-stolen cold from the littles, and we were off.

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39 and holding

I am usually completely oblivious to how old I am. Seriously, I don’t know how it happened, but when someone asks how old I am, I genuinely have to do the math in order to get it right. Except for those milestone birthdays. You know, hitting 10 and finally being ‘double digits’. 13 to finally be a teenager. 18 to finally be an adult. (I snort as I type this. As if.) 21 to be able to throw away my fake ID (sorry mom) and finally be legal. 30 to prove that, yes, I think I am officially an adult. But the other odd years in between? Not so much.

In my teenage years, I had fully considered turning 40 to be a pretty big milestone. What was it going to signify? Well, I guess to my 18 year old eyes, it would be that I was old. (I snort as I type this as well).Whatever it was supposed to be, I knew 40 would be a big one that would probably cause me to swallow a little harder, and pause a little longer, and maybe reflect a little deeper. Funny thing is, do you know which birthday I didn’t even think twice about? It’s the dark horse of birthday creepers. It’s the one that flies so far under the radar that you really don’t even acknowledge it. That is, until you are about a week out, and you see it coming down the tunnel like a train. Who, you ask, is this devilishly sly number that rides in during the night and stares you down in the morning over your fresh cup of Chai tea? My friends, the number is 39.

I can hear those of you now who have flown past 39 laughing. “You think 39 is bad? Wait until 49.” “39? Well, girl, let me introduce you to 70.” I get it. The milestones get a little bigger with each passing year and come with a little more baggage. But for me, sitting here writing this little piece, it’s just me and 39. Having a stare-down contest. Waiting for the other to flinch first. We have five more days to call each other’s bluff. Figure out who is going to take who down first. At this point, I think we’re even.

As a child, I can vividly remember my mom turning 39. I didn’t think it was that big of a deal for her, honestly. Now, 40? 40 was a big deal. So much so that she referred to it as her ’39 and holding’ birthday. How about 41? 39 and holding. 49? 39 and holding. Honestly, I wasn’t even sure how old she ever was because her answer when someone asked was always ’39 and holding.’ I didn’t know why my mom dug her heels into 39 and hung on for years. And to be quite candid, I never even thought about it until yesterday. It dawned on me that in 5 days I will be ’39 and holding.’

Well, damn.

Let me say that in no way, shape, or form am I feeling sorry for myself turning 39. But, it has kinda smacked me right up-side my head…mainly for two reasons. First, in my mind, I still feel like a kid. Remember that awful Britney Spears song “I’m not a girl, not yet a woman”? (Shivers but it makes a point) I guess I thought that by 39, I would have my crap semi ironed out. Things like who I am, where am I going, who is my tribe, what do I stand for. Big, soul defining things. Things that still seem so fluid and changing and confusing and downright perplexing about fifty percent of the time. I mean, wasn’t 39 supposed to be when everyone had it all figured out? I certainly thought so. Y’all, I still long to go back to vet school. I still want to sell everything and take the kiddos and animals and travel the world. I still want to be the Sugar Plum fairy in the Nutcracker that I never was confident enough to try out for. I sometimes still look around and think, did I make the right decisions? I teeter between being so fulfilled I could burst and being so panicked that this is it. 39 wasn’t supposed to be this, right?

Second, remember how I said I vividly remember my mama always being ’39 and holding’. Well, if that is true, then how in THE HELL am I about to turn 39. I mean, my mama is 39. Not me. Oh, wait. It’s about to be me, and as for mama. Well, she’d disown me if I went there, but I think it is safe to say the hold on 39 broke free, and she flew past it a bit ago. Me turning 39 means my mama is not 39. Which means she is aging. Which means so am I. And that may be the root of it all.

Aging is a beautiful thing, but I would be a bold-faced liar if I said it wasn’t scary. I’m a little pissed that my mama isn’t 39 anymore. That definitely wasn’t supposed to happen. Mamas don’t age. Like ever, right? I’m a little pissed that I’ve made it to 39 (almost) and still have so much I want to do and so much I wish I had already done. That teenage ‘Ive got my entire life to do that’ mentality broke down about 2 days ago, and I have realized ‘Nope. No you don’t’. So, I’ve spent that past 48 hours silently mulling over it all to myself.

’39 and holding. 39 and holding. Shit. 39 and holding. Grrrr. 39.’

In a weird twist of fate or an interception by the Universe, I picked up a magazine this morning as I was sipping my tea and giving 39 the finger. I randomly flipped open to a short interview with Sting. In a random twist of fate, the interviewer asked him how should a person handle aging. I loved his answer so much that I had to share.

“Philosophically. I think that as you face mortality, you learn more in the reflection than you could have perhaps learned in your glory. I think an awareness of mortality, an acceptance of it, enriches your life rather than makes you morbid.”

As I placed the magazine down and walked back to my computer, I looked over my cup of tea and still saw 39 sitting at the other end of the table. But, y’all. I think we’ve decided to make peace. I’m no longer going to run from it or enter into 39 kicking and screaming. Instead, this week is going to be a reflection of all that I have learned in the past 38 years and a readiness for all that is to come in the next 38 (and hopefully more). I think it’s ok not to have it all figured out and still be free to dream and chase and want. I think that is what makes us human and allows us to continue to grow, even past the dreaded 39.

Who knows, maybe you will receive a postcard from me and the family from some far off place outlining our travels. Or, maybe I might start taking ballet again. Or, maybe I will be able to watch my amazing daughter become a vet one day, if that is to be her path.


And maybe is going to be just fine with me.


airing out the rugs

Anniversaries are a funny thing in life. And, no, I’m not speaking of wedding anniversaries, the anniversary of a child’s birth, or a new job. I’m talking about those moments in life where you are going along, and in a moment, your life changes beyond your control, and you are left to sort and digest. I affectionately like to call them ‘rug snatch’ moments.

For those of you who have experienced ‘rug snatch’ moments, you already know exactly what I am talking about. You get it without me saying a word. If you are still kinda wondering exactly what is a ‘rug snatch’ moment, or you think that possibly you have experienced one (newsflash..if you think you may have, you haven’t), allow me to explain. Imagine you are sitting at a table having dinner. It’s a beautiful table, with your best china, cloth napkins, an amazing meal that contains everything you have ever dreamed of eating. And wine, there is lots of wine. Good wine, not the cheap stuff. And under the table is a beautiful rug that the entire moment rests upon. Suddenly, some unseen asshole of a thing comes along, grabs the edges of the rug right behind your chair, and pulls the thing so hard that you are flipped out of the chair. The table topples over, china crashes to the ground, food flies across the room and the wine…the good wine..sprays on the walls and ceiling and floor. There you were, minding your own business, eating an amazing meal at the table of life, and here you are, on the floor in a mess, not sure of how exactly you got there and what in the world are you supposed to do now. My friends, that is a ‘rug snatch’ moment.

This major life changer comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Maybe it comes in the form of death in losing a parent, child, or sibling. Maybe it comes in the form of a life-threatening health diagnosis. Maybe it comes it comes in the form of losing everything in a natural disaster. Maybe it is finding out your spouse had an affair. Maybe it is divorce. Maybe it is a military spouse experiencing a major injury while being deployed. Maybe it is getting fired from your dream job. They come in so many forms. The single linking quality is that, in one moment, you are living life as you know it and as you formed it, and in the next, everything you knew as solid and real and stable is gone.

Rug Snatches are beyond our control, and we certainly do not plan for them, nor do we expect them. In an instance, they change everything about everything we thought about our lives. Prior to a rug snatch, I think most of us truly believe we are ‘semi’ in control of our lives. We have ultimate choice over simple things like what we eat, where we shop, who our friends are, who we marry, where we live. After one? We are keenly aware that in life, there is no such thing as control over anything. Yes, you can have the best intentions and plans, but they are merely guidelines. They certainly do not rest in stone. Your future plans are no longer worded as “I will be doing blank by blank time.” You word them as “Well, I’d like to be doing blank one day.” Ever tried to ask someone who has been through a rug snatch to make a 5-10-15-20 year life plan? Folks, it ain’t happening. It’s not because they don’t want to. They just know that the best laid plans sometimes don’t work out. Planning is a hard, hard thing for these people.

And rug snatches do this crazy thing with time. Once you have experienced a rug snatch, time becomes marked in a very different way. Whereas before, you mark time with things like age or graduations or births, now you mark time as ‘before the rug snatch’ and ‘after the rug snatch’. It’s a very weird thing. You can instantly look at a photo and say “Oh, that was before X happened.” or “That was 3 years and 2 days after X happened.” Think there is no way that your mind can catalogue time in such an exact way? You’re wrong.

When they happen to you, you basically have two choices. But first, you look around your mess of a table and begin to clean. Some of the china isn’t broken. Save it. The food is now covered in dog hair. Toss it. The napkins are filthy. Wash them. There is a small amount of wine left in the bottle. Drink it. The table isn’t broken. Set it straight. You pick up your chair, pull it back up to the table, and sit.

Here is where the divide begins. Now you know it is possible that your life rug can be snatched out from under you. Do you sit in your chair with toes dug deep in the fibers of the rug, fingers white-knuckled from grasping either side of the table, plates and glasses glued down to the table with construction adhesive, wine in a no-spill container, food consumed so quickly it can never risk falling on the floor ever again? Do you allow the rug snatch to consume every fiber of your being for fear that it may happen again? Or do you set everything back and begin eating again, with the knowledge now that nothing is perfect, nothing is planned, and nothing is truly under your control? Do you allow the rug snatch to define you, or do you allow it to mold you into a stronger version of yourself?

I’ve had two rug snatch moments in my life. And they were big ones. Moments that I have chosen to share with some and chosen to keep personal with the majority of others. To be nakedly honest, I would give anything not to have had them happen. You see, rug snatch moments are ugly. They take away your sleep. They age you. They take away your security. They change relationships. They consume you. But, there is a light after the darkness, and there is a certain thing that happens to you after the moment…if you choose not to hold onto the table and the rug for dear life. I am a firm believer that rug snatches have the ability to destroy your soul, but they also have the ability to transform it into a form that you were not able to see with your previous eyes and not able to comprehend with your previous mind. For that reason, I am able to make peace with mine. And, I am able to help those around me in whatever way that I can. You see, currently I have four close friends who have had the rugs of their life snatched out from under them. Three had spouses do the snatching. One has Mother Nature to thank. When you have been through a rug snatch, it is hard to watch the ones you love go through them. Of course, some of it is because you have sympathy for their situations. More importantly, you have empathy, because you have been there, and you know what they are dealing with. Rug snatches sew common threads through people. Your event may be different from their event, but the feelings and emotions are the same. It’s like a secret society, minus the cool handshakes and robes. It’s a look and an unspoken word that you understand and know.

For those of you who have not experienced a rug snatch, do not let the fear of something possibly happening taint your rose colored glasses. Continue to love life and send your love into the world. Eat at your beautiful table, and invite those that may need you right now to join you at your table. Make your table a safe place for those who may be afraid of their own tables.

For those of you who have had your life rug snatched out from beneath you, chin up. If you are in the middle of the darkness, know the light is around the corner. If you are struggling with fear, allow it to ride in the passenger seat of life and acknowledge it there, but do not let it drive. If you are struggling with sadness, let the tears flow, but do not let them cloud your ability to see the beauty in life. If you are unable to trust, keep people at a distance for now, but do not seal them off with a wall. If you are unable to love, do not let your heart harden, but instead, allow it to love yourself. And, most importantly, above all, pick your chair up, take a seat, and pull yourself back up to your table. Some of life’s best things are there waiting on you.





I have a little secret to share.  I. Love. Shoes.

I’m not quite to the ‘let’s run away together and never, ever speak to anyone or look at anything ever again’ point. But, I do love shoes. There is something about them. Those two little combinations of leather and wood and plastic and straps and buckles and fur and design have some kind of crazy affect on me. I’ve never really been able to quantify it, but it’s there.

I can remember being a little girl and sneaking into my mama’s closet to secretly comb through her shoes. Heels were always the ultimate find. I would slip my tiny feet into them, push my little, knobby legs to a semi-standing position, and walk around my parent’s bedroom like a newborn deer who’s legs weren’t yet strong enough to handle the art form of walking. No matter that they didn’t fit. No matter that I looked ridiculous. No matter that I almost shattered an ankle every single time. In that moment, in those shoes, I felt untouchable.

The most coveted pair of shoes in the entire arsenal of shoes my mother possessed were a pair of black lizard skin strappy heels. Their straps criss-crossed in the front over your toes and the back had straps that wrapped around your ankle. The heel was thin and delicate. They were simply amazing. Even at 6 years old, I was very aware of the special power these shoes held. THESE shoes were always hidden. They were never easy to find, and if I did happen to find them, my mama would hear those shoes calling in panic as my tiny hands grabbed them, and she’d come running. In the past 38 years, I have managed to slip those heels onto my feet a total of two times. I’ve begged my mama for those shoes. (After all, they are my exact size, and, as you may have picked up on, they are amazing). But, mama holds steady. Those shoes have a very special meaning for her. They give her something that she can’t really explain. Something that she’s not ready to part with, even after owning them for over 30 years. They are her. And she is them.

I will admit, I’ve never understood the bond with those shoes. That is, until this past Saturday.

I must digress for a moment. About a month ago, one of my most special friends suffered the ultimate loss when her house burned. Yes, they made it out. Yes, the animals were all ok. Yes, the pictures (for the most part) made it. But, their bedrooms and closets and toys and clothes and shoes were a loss. When you make it out with your family and your things that just can’t be replaced, you grab onto that miracle and hold it so tight, you just might squeeze it into oblivion. But there is a moment, when the smoke clears and the kids go back to school and you go back to work and the builders start the process of rebuilding, that you realize what all was lost. And that is sad. Even if you hate clothes and even if you don’t feel wonderful about yourself, those special pieces were your’s and now they are gone.

It is in that moment that any good girlfriend does what any good girlfriend can do. She takes you shopping.

If there is anything I love more than shoes, it may be Charleston, South Carolina. The food, the architecture, the people, the shopping. Oh, the shopping. Did I mention the shopping? So this friend and I make a last minute decision and kiss the kids, kiss the husbands, pat the dogs on the heads and head to Charleston. Because, shopping.

This friend of mine. She hates shopping. Loathes it. But when you’re faced with two skirts, a couple of shirts and two, I said two, pairs of flip-flops, you give in and go shopping. We meandered down King Street, mimosas in hand, and bounced in and out of boutique after boutique after boutique. And y’all. She shopped. She shopped her way right down King Street until we rolled into Bob Ellis Shoes. If you don’t know of Bob Ellis, or haven’t been, pardon me while I have a moment of silence for you.


As we walked in, my friend found a pair of shoes, asked for her size, and sat down. She went in with the intention of one pair of shoes. As the salesman sat down in front of her asking what she was looking for, my friend smiled a small and sad smile and simply said “Everything. I lost everything in a fire, and I don’t have anything anymore.”

Y’all. Do you remember that scene in Pretty Woman where after Julia Roberts tries to shop and everyone is mean, Richard Gere takes her shopping, and she is treated like a princess? After my friend very reluctantly explained about the fire (because she never has and never will be someone who wants anyone to put her in the center of attention), our salesman, Joe, disappears to the back. Suddenly, we hear a champagne cork pop. Joe is popping champagne in the middle of Bob Ellis and pouring glasses for my friend and I. He walks over, hands my friend a glass, and says “Get ready honey. We are going to have some fun.”

At that point, champagne started flowing and shoes starting flying and people started running and laughter started bubbling. It was a constant blur of boxes and footy hose. Joe pulled out black boots and brown boots, over the knee grey boots that laced in the back, black suede heels with buckles everywhere, pumps, wedges, 10 & 2 shoes (for fear of keeping this family friendly, we’ll just say we had no idea what that meant, but Joe and Consuela educated us, and I’ll never look at those Prada boots the same way ever again). And in the middle of it, I watched my friend, champagne glass in hand, get completely pampered and doted on just as she deserved but would never ask for and never, ever expect. Over that hour and a half, the pain of the fire disappeared. The pain was replaced by laughter. And as she walked around that store in those Prada boots and those Stuart Weitzman heels, she never looked more beautiful or more relaxed or more alive. She radiated beauty. And it wasn’t because of the champagne or the laughter. It was the shoes. Each pair of shoes added back a little piece of her that had disappeared in that fire. And it was amazing to see y’all. I sat back, didn’t look at a single pair of shoes for myself, and watched my friend blossom and laugh and radiate happiness. My heart runneth over.

When we left Bob Ellis, shoes in hand, I immediately looked at my glowing friend and thought of my mama and her black lizard heels. And I suddenly got it. I know why my mama loves those shoes. Those shoes give her something about herself that nothing else can and probably never will. Something special, just for her. Something she needed and something she will forever hold on to. I used to long for those shoes, but now know that those shoes will forever be with my mama, just like those grey suede boots will forever be with my friend. Because those shoes make them feel beautiful and special. And we all need a little piece of that in our closet.





On a sleepy Wednesday morning last week, my son sat at the counter eating a bowl of grits for breakfast before school, much like he does almost every morning. As he was finishing, he spun around on the stool with the bowl in his hand and lost his balance. The white glass bowl hit the wood floor and shattered into a million pieces. It snowed white glass and white grits on the floor, rug, walls, and stools. His eyes welled up with tears, and he stood there in shock whispering “I’m sorry mama. I didn’t mean to.”

Standing there in the shock of the mess, as a human, you are faced with a two choices. One, you allow yourself to get angry as his error. You fuss about the mess, angrily gather the pets and barefooted children out of the room, yell as you get the vacuum. You shout at his misjudgment and his mistake. You lash out at the moment that changed your vision of that morning.

Two, you allow yourself to acknowledge his mistake. You tell him it is ok, that you know he didn’t mean to do it. You carefully help him out of the glass and the mess, wipe him off, and send him upstairs to brush his teeth while you quietly work to fix what has happened.

How many times in life are we the mother at the counter witnessing the accident happening? And, even more than that, how many times are we the child, making a mistake and allowing the guilt and shame and fear to wash over us?

We are creating a world of perfectionism. We strive for it. We covet it. We want to the newest cars, the biggest house. When we invite people to our home, we want every detail perfect. We want every task we take on the be executed flawlessly. We want our clothes to look like a magazine. We want our skin to be perfect. We want our neighborhood to be idealistic. We want our meals to be impeccable. We want our bosses to be generous. We want our family to be forgiving. We want our employees to be selfless. We want our friends to be funny and accommodating and popular. We want our spouses to be superhuman. We want our kids to be the fastest, or the smartest, or the most popular. We want, we want, we want.

We do not allow room in our lives for mistakes. Mistakes are ugly. Mistakes show us that we are not perfect, that our life is not the storybook. Mistakes are the opposite of perfect. And when we encounter a mistake, whether it be from our child, our spouse, our self, our friends, our workplace, or our community, we attack. Mistakes kill perfection.

Here is the thing. When was the last time you looked in the mirror and saw perfection?

It took me about 38 years (some days I am still working on it) to realize that I am not a perfect human and never will be. My husband is not a perfect husband. My house is not a perfect house. My children are not perfect children. My family is not the perfect family. My work product is not the perfect work product. It is in those imperfections of myself, my life, my job, and my world that true beauty lives. It lives and breathes and calms and nourishes. It is the imperfect that truly feeds our soul.

As I stood there looking at my blue-eyed boy, I leaned down and whispered “It’s ok baby. We all make mistakes. No one is perfect, and I know you didn’t mean to do it. Let’s just work on correcting our mistake and move on with our day.” He didn’t need me to tell him how imperfect he was or how his actions ruined my floors or my morning. He needed patience. He needed understanding. He needed kindness. He needed compassion.

As you walk into your world today, be patient. Take the perfection glasses we insist on viewing life through off of your eyes. Realize that we are all trying our best. Some days will be amazing. Some days will be covered in broken glass and grits.

And that is ok.




A little something for the Ladies

This is a little essay I wrote and tucked away a few years ago.  If you are over 30 and have kids, I hope you can relate 🙂


Well, it finally happened.  After 32 years of a relatively scoff-free life, last night, I took the plunge.  I scoffed.   Webster’s defines scoffing as “speaking to someone or about something in a scornfully derisive or mocking way.” I would say old Webster was right on the money.

It was totally unintentional.  There I was, enjoying a drink with my husband and friends at one of our favorite hangouts, when they entered. They were twenty-three little girls.  Ok, so they weren’t THAT little. They were all 21, and they were there to celebrate one of their birthdays…the big 2-1.  Oh, to be twenty-one again.

I’m not sure why, but in an instant, an eye-roll boiled up from somewhere deep inside and made its way into my eyes.  I was annoyed by them.  Annoyed by their short dresses, their long hair, their lack of cellulite, their flat stomachs, their complete lack of responsibility.

The thing is I don’t know why it happened.  What I mean is that I am not so different from them.  Yes, I am older.  Yes, I have kids.  Yes, I have a husband.  As for the cellulite and flat stomach…well…ok, they had me there.

Having kids did something to me that I have never really had to deal with.  My kids had done battle with my body.  Not a typical “let’s take no prisoners battle” (although two perky breasts and a flat stomach have been missing since said attack…please tell me if you find them).  But, having two babies definitely left me with a body that was not what I had been used to.  And this body has left me with an evil bi-product.  Insecurity.  

Insecurity is a bitch.  All of the sudden, you are aware of stupid things.  Like, “why are my boobs down there?” or “why does my stomach skin slide to one side when I am lying on my side?” Or “when did my butt get so droopy?” or “what are those little freaking dimples all over my legs…argh!!!!!!”  After having kids, you become very aware that these precious little bundles have left you with damaged goods.  And that is a hard reality. 

So there I am, sitting on my little bar stool.  And I am scoffing. 

It is at that point, in my little jealous, scoffing mind game, that I glance over at my husband sitting next to me and notice something.  He, in all his manly glory, isn’t looking at the flock of chicks.  I am. 

Hmmmm.  I am.  I am staring at these girls.  I am creating a comparison between them and myself.  Not my husband, not my friends, just me.  I slowly began to realize that no one sitting around me thinks any less of me because of these girls.  No one is saying, “Well, Sonya used to look good, but since those kids…”  It was just the little voice in my head.  The one with the red horns, un-brushed hair, chipped nail polish, mismatched clothes, no make-up, kids screaming at her legs….you know the one. The one that lives in all of our heads and looks like the worst versions of ourselves.  She was the one making the stink.  SHE was the one scoffing.  So, I did what any responsible, mature, fabulous woman would do.  I sent her away to do the dishes so I could enjoy my drink in peace.

I didn’t hate those girls.  I just realized I was at a different point in life, with different trophies and different games.  Sure, they had flat stomachs and perky boobs. But I have two of the most beautiful, charming children ever born.  And they can’t touch that with a 10 foot martini stirrer. Silently, I raised my glass in celebration for them.  Here’s to you, twenty-one year old, and here’s to your fabulous life.

PS..call me when you need a plastic surgeon.