For What It’s Worth

A glorious goddess friend of mine has a saying that finds a place in my story line every single day.  It’s simple, the saying goes:

Take what you want, but be prepared to pay.

The thing I really like about this phrase is the level of cosmic control it insinuates we have when we make decisions.  The good ones, and the bad.  The phrase, to me, also suggests that you should probably get some kind of a quote or send out a brief to save yourself getting a fucking huge bill for shit you didn’t actually want.  State your plan and purpose to the universe,  and be prepared to listen and act on the response the universe returns to you.  



The Universe.  

It also feels kinda empowering to think that we all have choices every day, and there will be outlays and dividends for every single action and reaction.  The really fucked up bit though, is basically nobody on earth actually understands how their investment portfolio is going to perform, and we don’t get to choose when or how we make deposits or withdrawals.  Well, there are times this isn’t true.  If you overindulge you will pay the next day quite often, and if you miss a chance to toil toward a goal, it’ll cost something as well.  It applies to food, as you can eat whatever you want, but if you want to stay svelt, you will need to hustle.  It applies to fucking people who get walked over, because if you use or mistreat people, that shit WILL bite you eventually.  It applies to hangovers, hang-ups, hopes, hurt, hearts, homes, health, and, well, it applies to every fucking aspect of our existence.  Some invoices are sent to us more clearly and quickly than others though. Even the laws of physics equate to cost and effort expended for results.  Nothing, not a single thing, will ever come without a price and a result. 

I’d like to take it a step further and also say, that investment yields dividends.  Not only economically, but with our health, our social circles, our learning, our spirituality.  All that good shit.  You put in the hard yards, you be the best you can be, admit when you fuck up, and try to make good choices for long enough, and shit will eventually fall into place and the road will rise up to meet you.  Even if it doesn’t feel that way when you’re trudging along watching assholes overtake you in some kind of proverbial plush rickshaw.  Those assholes are gonna have to pay for their smooth ride, and if they don’t have to goods to cover the bill, they’re gonna be in all kinds of karmic and metaphorical trouble.  But if you toil and hustle your way to the same destination, you can breathe easy and enjoy the view while that lazy mother fucker who seemed to overtake you while traveling the same road, is going to have to make good with their pound of flesh. 

That’s enough metaphor and meandering for this blog I think.

The message I am trying to convey is actually pretty simple.  Some refer to this as Karma or Dharma, cause and effect, providence, roundabouts, fortune, fate, but the overarching theme is that the universe is a huge and complicated place and we affect it as it affects us.  

There’s no manual or instructions available as we navigate through.  There are some widely observed rules and laws (of the physical world, relationships, society, art, nature, just about anything) that we’d be better to observe.  Quite often we do not.

Let me give you a personal example.  

I know, after four decades of pushing people away and trying to curb my crippling abandonment issues, that being a steaming hot pile of crazy can, and almost always does, scare other humans.  The laws of attraction, equity theory, and even just the fact that most well-adjusted people will only tolerate being sent mixed signals or stood up a couple of times before they cut their losses and give up. The real legendary kick ass people just call me up on it and stick around, but these people are rare and magical creatures. Do I still run away from people? You bet your ass I do.  The cost?  Breaks my heart into pieces.  Wait, that’s a weird one, because I don’t necessarily want to be a fuckwit… But I’m taking something. The action to be a fuckwit.  Okay, my point remains VALID!  I think… 


Knowing we do dumb shit and continuing to do it costs more if we carry on the course I think.  The universe and our tribe will send us signals that we need to change and if we don’t listen it will keep smacking us with the same lesson only harder. 

The same formula seems to work (to greater or lesser degrees) in good decisions and behaviors.  There are people who are packed full of patience and perspective who seem to be pummeled by life, and they choose the high ground in the face of all sorts of storms and shitty twists and turns.  They face it with grace and never play the victim or throw other people under the bus, and while it seems on the surface they are getting shit on, because, well, they are.  Yet, these people persevere with kindness and grace while less evolved creatures seek shortcuts and shit on those around them.  The people who are trying to be good people win in the long run.  They take what they wish, which is very little from others, and eventually they’re paid for patience.  Some, maybe most, religions are based on this premise I think.

Figuring out the formula, and knowing what a friendship, role, situation, or even a moment is worth and actively trying to NOT FUCK IT UP can mean short term strains for long term gains.  Instant gratification from false friends or unhealthy distractions can cost us dearly, but putting in the effort and being all the things you’d like to see reflected back to you pays off.

Well.  That’s my thinking on worth for today.  

Goddesses are Complex…

I’ve had glorious guests all week. This morning I was sat on my deck, coffee that was lovingly made for me in hand. One of the many Goddesses I have met in EV circles, Lynne, who can talk the hind leg off a donkey, perched next to me next to me. We are both mulit -tasking and making and receiving phone calls. Lynn does not sugar coat things. We’ve had a solid talk fest since meeting for lunch and a spa session yesterday. She spoiled me and it was very strange to be on the receiving end of such a grand gesture. We hit the ground running most of the subject matter was sharing stories from the 90’s, and the roles we both played in the early days of the Internet, and deep and confronting chats about our childhoods. We are similar kinds of broken and can breathe easy in each other’s undeniably frenetic company.

This week I have been covered in cuddles from some my tribe of glorious goddesses, laughed till my face hurts, had sessions of carpool karaoke (Canadian Content), cried for the fragile inner child we are all trying to heal, and realised, once again, that we are all shoveling vast and varied piles of shit with huge Vaseline grins on our faces. We were told as little people to smile and the world would smile with us, and that is exactly what most of us are doing, despite demons that dwell beneath our shiny exteriors.

We talked for a bit about the Brene Brown revolution, encouraging people to embrace their faults and insecurity. I’ve worn my ugly and shared my struggles openly for years. While it makes me incredibly vulnerable, puts my friends at ease. Most of them choose a slightly shinier veneer, and save spilling their spicy for close conversations, yet we all know that the world is full of the walking wounded. Nobody gets out of life unscathed, and there’s a magic to meeting people who can relate to and share the stories of their scars.

I have no idea why women so often feel inadequate. It seems that my closest friends all suffer from crippling imposter’s syndrome, despite epic accomplishments in their personal and professional lives.  

Lynne’s been blown away by the strength and kindness of the kindred spirits she’s met here in Auckland. We are all Wonder Woman, most of us mothers, and all of us take it in turn to act as cheerleaders or a safe place to land for each other when shit gets real.

And now, I am on my way to Field Days with my amazing and energetic EA. We are going to go smash it at Field Days. Hayley, another of the goddess tribe, has been working with me for a few short months, and acts as a buffer between breakdowns and enables me to be a baller. She displays the same self-doubt as all the other brilliant and broken beauties I am blessed to know. Juggling a farm, a toddler, and an endless list of organizing and actively having my back, she regularly feels like she’s not doing enough, despite moving mountains every single week.

WHY do most of the women I worship feel defective? Why do we strive to the breaking point to prove to ourselves and the world we are worthy?  Why can we so readily show Love and support for each other while negative internal dialogues rage on in our heads and hearts?  How do we start cutting ourselves the slack we give each other when we’re lending an ear or a shoulder during crisis?  Why do snarky comments or unkind criticisms seem to stick so readily, while the good stuff and supportive sentiment so often slide off?

I have no idea, but am certain I am grateful beyond measure for the women in my world.

Expect To Be Imperfect

Wanted to write some epically uplifting piece applauding our efforts as parents.

I thought maybe I could distill the side-splitting laughter, heart-wrenching helplessness, soul-shimmering hope, sleepless nights, kitchen fights, shining lights, and making the wrongs right, that we all do as parents into a few hundred words.  

No fucking way.

Each journey is unique and harrowing in every single possible permutation between parent and child. It has been said countless times, that observations of humanity seem to point to the fact we are all just toiling through our existences, trying to find purpose and put to rest our mommy and daddy issues. Those issues run in both directions. Parents feel as much anguish for their roles in their kids’ lives as children feel for existing. It is the great circle of life.

As with most things , We are bound to try incredibly hard to face the tough stuff head on. Realizing that our kids are bound to be terrifically traumatized by the clusterfuck they were handed as a mother, we make huge and valiant efforts to face the demons (separate and combined) head on. We talk. We real talk. Our kids have always been entitled to their feelings, opinions, fears and focus. We have enlisted outside help and scaffolding in the form of counselors, testing, trial and error, and everyone in this home is wholly encouraged to lay their shit bare and be the broken and beautiful mess that they are.

This is not the most common mothering tactic as far as I can tell, and I know I get judged to the extreme as a demon or a queen, and plenty of things in between for the way I do things.  I judge people too, despite actively putting in efforts not to.  There seems to be a fairly big element of being (or trying to appear at least) buttoned up with a certain amount of spit and polish in most families.  

I scroll through the highlights reels of social media and compare myself to everyone else.  

We wear and share our struggles as a family and as individuals.  Tears and tantrums are common inside our walls, as are hugs and hope and heaped piles of rolling laughter.  I am the sweary, scary, and incredibly affectionate and care-y mom.  I stopped trying to be anything else a long time ago.  But I still look at other parents who are super outdoorsy, or sit quietly and read alongside their little carbon copy introvert offspring and I yearn for what I do not have.  I see the seemingly contented and clearly calm domestic goddesses at the school gate, with their gluten free crunchy granola kids and glowing smiles. 

Every single mother (and father) I bump into at any kid event terrifies me until I actually talk to them.  Like, really talk to them.  Every time I do, I find out that they are just as scared of me as I am of them, and we are all struggling and second guessing ourselves.  Well, nearly all of us.  There are also genuinely creepy and congnitively dissonant folks who think their kids are perfect, owing, in no small part, to their parenting planning and pinache. Fuck those smug bastards.

Give me broken, give me bold.  Give me terrified and truths that are seldom told.  Because no matter how shiny a veneer any of us attempt to keep up, we are all complicated and spend a good portion of our parenting journey out of our depth.  We owe it to ourselves and each other to curb the judgement and kick up the kindess a notch or 11.  Inwardly and outwardly, be kinder to ourselves and our peers.  

You are already enough, and can and will be a huge source of hope and safety to your children.  You are not expected to be perfect, just present.  You are infinitely important to your kids, and I’d hazard a guess you rarely feel like you are.

When I am restless and running and see contented home bodies feathering their nests and looking their best across social media, I stare harshly back at my reflection in the airplane window as I skip off to escape as I have done countless times before.  This mother’s day I’m dedicating myself to being more present, and I have canned countless opportunities and cancelled nearly all my extended jaunt and journeys to face my family as we transition into our next chapter.

Running away served me for a while, but now, I get home, and my kids feel complete as the rhythm of our comfortable chaos resumes.  I chose to have children and choose to correct the trajectory I’ve been on because I know that’s the right thing to do.

You are the kind of mother (or father, and in some cases mother and father) you are and that is so incredibly enough for your kids. Even though chances are quite good that you expend a great deal of time and effort trying to be what you think you need to be or listening to too many opinions from people who do not know shit about your situation.  Your kids want you.  Happy, healthy, present, mentally strong, you.  They don’t need micro-scheduling or grand gestures of parenting perfection.  As far as I can tell, what most kids want, is the same as what everyone wants, to feel connected and enough.   

So, I will end this less than uplifting blog with a deliciously dark and confronting poem by one of the most masterful observers or the human condition, Philip Larkin.

So go forth and fuck things up, the is no salve for the pains of parenting and imperfection.  There are no simple answers, and we all fuck up.  So do your best, remember to get some rest, and carry on.

Time Wounds All Heels, And Heals Most Wounds

I feel like I’ve got whiplash from all the travel and trying so desperately to avoid my demons lately. Those cunning bitches seem to catch up with me no matter how many take-offs and landings I try to put between us. Might be time to dine with them rather than trying to ignore them? Deep right? Look at Dee being all poetic and shit. I’ve been on a roller coaster (stop laughing, sometimes shit is kinda smooth and normal) the past few weeks, after finding out a dream international speaking gig was canned because Phteven said no. Grrr.

This shit happens in every kind of relationship all the time. One person is passionate, one oblivious or just busy or bored. This drifting in different directions makes the whole amiable dissolve a challenge, but fuck it, being married is/was more of a challenge so this too shall pass.

He’s not a bad man.  He’s actually still one of the best people I have ever met, but has inherited a spectacular mean streak, and a kind of obliviousness that presents itself like arrogance, but I know he is not.  I’d be less tearful if he’d even say, I am sorry you’re so sad about it. It’d be better if he was able to genuinely see what a complete clusterfuck missing this, and any other big PR and networking opportunities is.  So, I am in massive pout and feel like a failure mode and I want to be a human burrito and watch Netflix.

LUCKILY, I have a few friends.  A gaggle of goddesses who valiantly (although ever so calmly) come to my rescue, even though the fact of the matter is, they’re busy and, in my opinion, too fucking good for me even when I am not being a needy basket case.  You know who you are as I write this.  So, thank you.  

I’ve seen a bit, been around, and have collected some incredibly sage and useful advice over the 41 years on this planet.  

I know that I should trust but verify, yet I rush headlong into believing people, because I want to.  I know that patience, persistence, planning and passion are a winning formula. I only really actively observe one, and very occasionally two of these things and should have learned decades ago to stop being so reactive and impulsive, but the “let’s push the button and see what happens” impulse has been the source of far too much magic to abandon completely.

And, I know, that time will vilify and vindicate people and their intentions and character.  The SHOCKINGLY painful book of Job in the bible was my first recollection of this testament to patience and fortitude, but it really doesn’t have a happy ending and is basically the same story as that 1980’s movie with Dan Ackroyd and Eddie Murphy called Trading Places.  Basically two very powerful beings start posturing and make a bet and fuck many, many, many lives as a result.  It is literally my least favourite book in the bible and a HUGE reason why I am agnostic now, but it taught me, at around the age of 6, that shit is going to happen and keep happening, and all we as mere mortals can do is roll and stick to our core.


What’s your core?  Where does your compass point?  What direction are you heading?

You know what, I think maybe my whole reason for being is merely to serve as a very loud warning to others, and to make people think/feel “well… at least I am not as fucked up as my friend Dee!” and you know what, I am doing such a stellar job of fulfilling that role, that maybe I ought to stop taking disappointment, embarrassment and self-loathing so seriously, and just be the complete cringe cottage I am, and allow people to dwell and bask in my radiant facepalm glow for as long as they can handle and not take it personally when they’ve had enough and need to fuck off completely or just need a break. I’m a lot.

The heartache of today will pass, and the utter cunt that the universe can be sometimes, well it will unfold and clearly show me the important lesson and I can choose to ignore it, or I can grow from it. The exact same formula (in deeply complicated and confusing permutations) pertains to every other mother fucker on the planet. Time is a great teacher and will teach you, and me, if we listen to it and let it.

See you soon Liza.  I realise I have already warned you about the ugly cry, but it’ll be on your doorstep in the next couple of hours.  Love you and your non judgemental and super dark humour since that very first time we met so many years ago.  You’re too fucking good for me.  And I can’t wait to say thank you in person.

Richard and Sarah, thanks for bringing me back to life today and being actual good, clever, tolerant, and terrific people.  Robert, thank you for letting me cry on you and I am so excited about seeing Cynthia and Lynne after such a long time between visits.  

And HAYLEY!!!  You’re amazing.  You work your ass off, and you always face struggle with a smile.  Slow the fuck down and pat yourself on the back you pathological over achiever.  And don’t worry about me.  We will take our bite at altering the course of history in its entirety soon, but right now, please just breathe.  

Thanks for reading.

Swearing, Ranting, Raving TANTRUM of a Post.

Buckle in.  This is going to be well ranty and sweary.

Okay.  What the actual fuck.  I am trying SUPER hard to listen to the universe and heed whatever infinite gaseous and gorgeous galaxies seem to be working toward me learning.  

HOWEVER… The lesson seems to actually be:  Don’t be nice.  Just don’t fucking do it.  You’ll either be too nice, not nice enough, and no matter which way that particular jagged pill goes down, you will end up getting fucked.  BUT WAIT.  Not only is your hope, trust and cheerfulness absolutely going to turn you into a slow moving target.  NOT only THAT, but being this painfully slow, visible, and vulnerable target will get you shot down, trod on, and YOU WILL FEEL LIKE YOU FUCKING DESERVE IT?!?!?! Not everyone fucks me or you over BTW. Most people are good and trying, I truly deeply believe that as I write it.

As far as the “stop being nice” message you seem to be peddling, if that’s what you’re selling Universe.  I ain’t buying.

Let me share with you an observation.  Really, super, extraordinarily outgoing people very often have super shitty self-esteems, suffer from imposters syndrome, and question themselves all the time.  Yeah, we look like we don’t GAF.  But oh my fucking good gracious, we do, we do give all the fucks.  And the assholes, justifying, and forever trying to chop our heads off or make us feel like shit, well it hurts.  Don’t think that because we are friendly and gushy and kind, being taken for a ride or taken for granted doesn’t honestly smart, and leave some heart scars and tummy tigers.  You know when you’re being an asshole.  I (try to) know when I am being an asshole.  So.  Please. Just don’t be an asshole.

Just to clarify, no I am not talking about you. I am talking about a very specific case and a very specific thing and I am masticating (that means chewing but super looks and sounds like masturbating, great word.  Top marks for that word) on a very cold and unsatisfying heaped helping of “I told you so” from the Ex.  So, not you I’m passive-aggressively raging at. But, I am in the mood for a rant, so if you want some wrath DM me, I’d be happy to help. Plenty of that shit pent up today.  But hmm. Yes. People often think I am venting about them, but I really truly like, neigh LOVE most people. I can, with a fairly confident level of certainty take a guess that I actually like you WAY more than I like myself. Which, is, actually a form of douchbaggery because nothing is all about you or me.  We’re all just shoveling shit.

Shovel. Shovel.

I will say, that people have got to actually spare a thought for all different kinds of people, and please do not be afraid to gently steer those of us bashing through life to change trajectory and/or USE YOUR FUCKING INSIDE VOICE (I super don’t really have one of those…), or just make it through the day without earning any new enemies.  Say it gently.  Use humour to difuse.  But be nice and DO NOT assume that you are the only person with spicy or heavy (Oh man, I should NOT use the word spicy, that’s a proper young people word, ew gross) shit.  TRUST me, everyone is fighting a hard battle that you know nothing about.  

And THAT is why I super, mega, ultra VERY much Love strangers.  I can get into those juicy brains and get them to hug it out, talk it out, occassionaly even cry it out, then I get to leave before I am able to thrust my inevitable crippling disappointment on them, embarrass them (or more often myself), or just basically, run screaming in the direction of shit that is bad for me, while the good stuff waits quietly.  Without judging (but actually judging, and Loving us just as we are) and the hurty stuff we run headlong toward. Thanks to the patient posse. I need your sunshine. I just hope I reflect a bit of it back sometimes, so thank you.

Shit… So I know that I do super dumb shit, and it is utter bullshit, yet, here I am, relaying the cycles I apparently do not fucking learn from.

Well guess what Universe.  I am sick and tired of feeling ashamed.  I am sick and tired of giving SOooooOOOooo very many fucks about so very many things.

And maybe.  Just, fucking maybe.  I am going to start standing up for myself without flying off the hhh…handle.  No that’s not a likely scenario is it?  

So.  To the Goddesses who rescue me and rush to my side when the real deal hefty shit hits the fan.  I will never be able to express to you how much it means.  The thing about someone who thrusts themselves into life with all the elegance of a hippo attempting to hoola hoop (actually, that could be quite elegant animated, but it’ s my blog and I LOVE alliteration).  Alliterations, strangers and self-loathing, these are my crack.  Maybe. I’m not entirely sure I have tried crack, and I suspect I would remember if I had… probably. But people seem to think I’m pretty hopped up most of the time, and apparently it’s a tad dangerous and addictive.  So, I won’t do that

Well, the hope and unabashed joy and serious cringe that I pack around with me on a daily are not an excuse for anyone to treat me like shit.  And the same goes for you.  If we are doing our best, even if we are doing… well… anything, even just breathing, we are progressing, and learning and take it easy on yourself and everyone else. 

Because it costs nothing to NOT be an asshole.  So please.  Don’t be one.

Hmm.  Rather a meandering rant.  Ah well, fuck it.  My blog. Doesn’t have to be tidy, heaven only knows that I am a rough as fuck and a super cringe mess so why wouldn’t my art mimic life once in a while.  

And you KNOW WHAT ELSE!  I am not even going to edit.  Actually fuck that.  I am soooo gonna edit because Kylie Burling is a sweetheart and does exactly the nice stuff I talked about and takes the time to point out my spelling and grammatical errors.  And I am SO grateful, and infinitely impressed with her good eye.

So.  You do you. And don’t be an asshole while you do it.

THANK you. Even if nobody reads this I feel MUCH better.

Off to Melbourne to see my birthday Bestie!!!! (She hauled ass all the way from Hong Kong to meet me in Argentina with like three days notice last year. Definitely one of the goddesses. Chances are, if you actually know me IRL, you have had to be very kind to my slightly extra ass at some point too. So thanks.

Update on Japanese Trip

When Sakura fall from the branch, the shockwaves can shatter entire cities.”  Will Ferguson 

Just a bit over a week immersed in Japan with my two terrifically entertaining teenage chaperones, and I don’t know how or where to start the story of our adventures.

Japan is beautiful. Japan, in the spring, with Sakura petals falling like snow onto pristine lakes and beautiful brooks that babble in Japonic tonality, can break your Western heart to bits and stitch it back together with threads of cheerful nihilism, gentle bows and magical manners.

Highlights?  All of it. Lowlights?  Having a card skimmed at an ATM and spending three days in discussions with Visa and my bank.  All sorted now though.

This adventure started with a full and surreal flight from Auckland, bursting at the seams with toddlers, tiny tots and families being pushed to the brink and falling into the bitching and biting that we all exchange when stress levels and altitude is high, and space is limited.

We stepped off the plane to collect our luggage and catch a Shinkansen (bullet train) to Osaka.

Every stop along our way has been like stepping into a different chapter of a choose your own adventure novel, written in a familiar but foreign language.  Basically, I have spent a blissful and beautiful week bowing, saying thank you in Japanese, and generally not knowing what the fuck is going on.  It’s been brilliant.  

Daniel’s friend Ben has been an absolute gem. He researched for months and has maneuvered us safely from one end of Honshu to the other. We’ve braved an observation conveyor (I hate heights) in Osaka on a grey evening with something between thick fog and light rain misting over our mystified mugs. We’ve eaten fugu (four days ago, we are all still alive) and A5 graded beef at a tiny family run teppanyaki restaurant in Kyoto that made all three of us cry it was so delicious. We’ve laughed until our ribs and faces burned from the effort and we’ve all battled through the inevitable pangs of homesickness and general travel related stress. I am going to miss our little posse when it comes time to head home and disband. We have a groove and a pecking order, and Daniel and I are not the alphas, his funny and fabulous friend Ben and his google app are (because both mine and Daniel’s google keeps shitting itself when we try to find anything).

Now, it is probably worth mentioning that both Daniel and Ben are introverted by nature.  This means they need alone and quiet time to recharge.  Traveling with the schedule we have does not allow for a lot of down time.  Ben, being the old soul that he is politely asked for some down time chilling in the room, and while he did that my son and I bonded.  I am talking tears and cuddles kinda bonded.

I suspect every parent questions their worth in the most important role that we all do our best to fulfil. I know that I am inconsistent and extra, and the way that I am has helped shape my kids into resilient, kind, honest and incredibly funny people. We use humour to defuse most situations. It is a coping mechanism that has served us as individuals and a family unit.

Walking around Roppongi with my brilliant and anxious son, I stopped at the top of the escalator, grabbed his hand, looked into his dark brown eyes and I apologised to him for being the hot mess that I am. 

“I see how grown up you are, and how you see the world, and I know that I could have and should have been more consistent Daniel. I feel like a stone-cold fucking failure and I wish you had a better mother sometimes, I really do.”  

And then the lip quivers and tears started on both of our faces, and Daniel hugged me with the earnest he’s hugged me since he was a sweet little refluxy baby so many years ago.

“I don’t want any other mother, you don’t seem to understand how lucky I feel.  I talk to my friends about normal family stuff for us and they all seriously think I am so lucky.  You’re not perfect, but you’re perfect for me.”

Queue the unfettered ugly cry.

“I run around trying to save the world, because it feels like you do better without me.” I confided.  “I don’t feel like I deserve you. Any of you.  You’re all amazing and I don’t want you to feel the way about me I do about your grandmother.  So I run away.”  I sniffled.

“You don’t have to run away.  We might seem ungrateful, but you’re kinder than anyone I know mamma.  I just wish you were kinder to yourself.”

And I snorted and snotted for a moment anf promised I would be home more.  That’s a promise I need to endeavor to keep.

Then we went to Cinnabon and got Ben and ourselves some diabetic coma inducing deliciousness.

We arrived back at the room feeling better after our Gilmore Girls moment and explained to Ben that every family has their stuff, and feeling all the feels and having big heavy talks and cries is how we roll.  

And we all went out to grab a bite, and had Ramen in one of the top 10 little places in Tokyo.  Thank you Ben, and thank you Google.

There’s so much more to cover, but the point of this trip was to celebrate my strong, silent, eldest child’s life so far.  We’ve had an amazing time, and I will share more of our stories later, but today, if you are like me, and parenting makes you feel overwhelmed and unprepared, I suspect you’re Loved just exactly as you are, and your kids are grateful for the magic and mayhem that you surround them with.

Thanks for reading.

Mother in Law

Some months ago, when I was finally on an upswing after a fairly dark couple of years, a dear friend and mentor suggested I should take a stab at writing a screenplay.  He sent examples and links to people talking about how to write a great screenplay.  That phrase “write what you know” came up a bit.

What would I write about if I were to take my hand to such an exciting and audacious creative pursuit?

You know what.  The first and strongest idea was my mother in law Nicole.  It’s not an exaggeration to say she’s one of the best friends I have ever had in my life.  She’s also, outwardly at least, one of the most earnest curmudgeons you’ll ever meet.  She’s got a propensity to see the worst in most situations, seems she does this to be pleasantly surprised when things aren’t the worst.  She laughs at the human condition and herself and is as much an Eeyore as I am a Tigger.  Our relationship, and my mother in law’s life are sources of strength, hope, and laughter for me and the very few people she allows into her space to tell her stories to.  Add to that the fact she’s funny as fuck, and quite the cutest mean old lady imaginable, and I think it would be a friendship movie to rival Green Book, Ya-ya sisterhood or even… dare I say it… Beaches!

Mum and I are an odd couple indeed.  She’s the Dean Martin, I am the Jerry Lewis.  She’s George and I’m Gracie.  

While there is an inarguable element of comedy to our odd pairing, in the 17 years of knowing this woman, she has never lied to me.  Infact, her honesty and absolute inability to speak with a silver tongue or sugar coat anything has been a comfort through many struggles and has kept me humble and grounded when things are on an upswing.

We have both seen some of our darkest hours over the past couple of decades, and while the whole world checks in on us, it seems her and I are always front and center for each other through any crisis.  I was with her in hospital when she got her stents (she’s a new woman) and I translated grumpy mother in law vernacular to charming “please tell us exactly what is going on, we are smart enough to understand” when the doctors did their rounds.  When I was hospitalized, she was the only person permitted to see me.  And she’s been keeping an eagle eye on me, along with our neighbours and dear friends who also live on our property, Bill and Eva.  These are my foundation.  These people and my sister leigh and a small handful of dear and honest friends, our children, and my soulmate (and Nicole’s son) Phteven are what keep me tethered to this earth when my mental illness makes it almost impossible for me to carry on. They are also the only people there when I stop functioning and am laid up in a tearful heap, for however long it takes to get back on track.

My mother in law is always there to offer tough love and get me back to health and whatever frenetic level of stability I can manage on any given day.  She’s actually my hero.  She’s miserable and mean and I fucking Love her more than my own eyes.

I’m crying with every syllable I type right now. Today is her Birthday.  I won’t say how old, but I know she’s got some good years up her sleeve yet.  We still travel together, and I rely on her council and honesty in every aspect of my life. And you know what, despite the fact she is a rockstar at pointing out the painful and being more than a bit mean to me at times, I suspect she’s actually proud of me and Loves the crazy, loud, needy, passionate hurricane who married her son.  

So.  On your Birthday Mum… I know you hate a fuss.  I know you HATE how open I am.  I know you hate my constant gushing and hugs and happiness, but everyone who knows us knows that I adore you and you’ve stood by me through some pretty spicy shit.  I just wanted to say thank you.

Happy Birthday, and thank you for my surname, the genes that made your grandkids geniuses, and being my friend even though I drive you around the bend.

Love you today, and every day, even the ones I don’t like you very much.