A Letter to My Mom

Dear Mom,

You are forever 30 in my mind, which is weird since I’m 37. As I was cleaning my house and getting rid of so many things, I saw this photo of us. I framed it about 10 years ago because I just loved it so much.

I put it in my purse because I just wanted to have it on my desk at work where I can see it more often. We have so many great pictures and even better memories, I wondered why this picture means so much to me. Obviously, your hair and sunglasses are amazing, but I think it’s the way that you’re holding me and the way I am holding on to you. My protector, my guide and my nurturer. As an adult, I realize that what you are most is my compass. You will forever be who I turn to when I am unsure about which direction to go or what path to take. I come to you when I am happy, when I have good news or bad news and most of all, when I need to remember who I am. You are home to me.

As I have journeyed through life thus far, I’ve realized that what I have in the way of family is the exception. People aren’t this lucky, this blessed, or this loved. I often joke that I should be better because I have the absolute best parents and you always say, “no, you are so good”. You always lifted me up and made me believe that I could do anything. Thank you. I never doubted that I was capable, smart, strong, kind, beautiful and worthy because of you. Thank you.

I know that right now you would say that it is God in you that I see. His love, His grace, His compassion and wisdom. You are right, and I acknowledge that completely because the other gift you have given me is faith. Thank you.

When I think back to being a child or a teenager, all I can say is, I get it now. I used to wonder why you worried so much, why you cared so much, why you did so much. I get it now. I would move mountains and fight tigers for my kids and I worry far too much.

Even today, you are constantly giving your time and attention to your kids and grandkids. When I thank you, you say that you feel so blessed that you can help. Seriously, the world needs more of you and I think…what a different world it would be if more people had mothers like you. A mom who shows up, who loves unconditionally, who is humble and constantly evolving. What a difference that would make.

I can’t imagine I will ever be an age that I don’t need you. I will always need you. I am so grateful that I can hear your voice in my head. Before you say it, yes, it’s all good things!

A lot of parents give their kids hundreds of reasons to get therapy. Thanks for not doing that and letting me go out and create my own reasons. Ha! C’mon, you know I had to lighten the mood.

I love you with every ounce of my soul. I hope I only get better, evolve and make you proud. Lord knows I am proud that you’re my mom.

Thank you for letting me see you and know you completely. It is by far the biggest gift of all. Because you did, I know that it’s ok to:

Make mistakes

Worry

Love so hard I might actually burst

Force people to eat every time they come to my house

Make a mess

Dance in the kitchen

Have empathy

Get mad when it’s warranted

Have the second glass of wine

Make time for my girlfriends

Pick up a good book in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep

Talk to myself

Laugh at myself

Stand up for myself

Draw boundaries in life

Love myself

Forgive myself

Move on

Thank you for the loving way you held me in that swing and for holding me in your heart every single day.

I am my Mother’s daughter, and nothing makes me happier. I love you.

Love, Dolly

P.S. Pops, your letter is coming ❤

The Fierceness of a Woman

I began writing this a couple of days ago. Then, yesterday I learned about a terrible loss. A loss so enormous that everything else seems trivial. There aren’t any words adequate enough nor would they be words for me to say so I will leave it there.

Pain can and will rock all of our worlds at one point or another. I have seen very recently that when it does, we women need to rally around each other. There is a bond, a sisterhood that only exists between women.

A close friend and I were discussing how rare it is to find new friends as women in our 30’s especially because we don’t particularly like many people at all. Actual friends; people you can trust, who you have fun with, who you don’t feel judged by and who will be there when you need them are rare.

There are so many people out there acting like douche canoes that it makes us lose our faith in humanity.

Strength of character, real love, loyalty and trustworthiness seem to be non-existent at times. As I think about the events that have taken place around me and to me over the last several months, I could easily feel defeated, but I don’t. In fact, I am encouraged and inspired.

My faith in God and deciding to have hope has played a tremendous part, but so have the incredible women around me.

Some of us are raising children, pets or both. Some are working full time outside of the home and some are managing a home and family full time. I’ve done both, and believe me, both are full time jobs.

Some are working on relationships, some are flying solo and some are learning how to adjust from one to the other which is no easy feat.

We are all uncertain about what the future holds, but what I see persist in each of us is determination. We have the determination to continue, to get up every day and handle shit. What I have loved most is seeing us protect each other, listen to each other and love each other without judgment. This is who women are.

Don’t get me wrong, I could teach a class titled Petty Bitch 101 and if you cross me or harm anyone I love, you will see that skill set…but that only has to emerge when absolutely necessary. Most of the time, I will simply say a prayer for you; thank the good Lord above that I’m not you and carry on with my happiness.

People will wrong us; treating us unfairly and downright terribly at times. What matters is how we react and that we put ourselves back together in the way that works for us. Sometimes, people take what they want as they tornado through our lives, not thinking for a second or caring about the damage they leave behind. Sometimes, life happens and there is no one to blame.

When a loss is so great or a betrayal so big, you need your people. The people who will stand by you and who will love you through what might be the most difficult thing you’ve ever faced.

And, a note from my Petty Bitch 101 class…you need your people to hate the same people you hate because dammit, they deserve it.

Maybe you need to pack up your ex’s clothes in garbage bags and pour glitter all over them. (The genius behind that one will remain nameless, but is one of my absolute favorite people and should be an inspiration to us all.)

We get hurt, we fall apart and we are entitled to a few cocktails, lots of anger and sadness, but then what?

After that comes the most important part, putting ourselves back together and there is no “right way” to do that.

When someone breaks you or life happens and you fall apart, no one and I mean no one can tell you how to begin again. Only you know what you need and you may not know right away, but one day you will get up and start over. You will laugh again, you will feel inspired again, you will try new things and you will feel genuinely happy again.

I look back at my life and the things I’ve overcome, some things I never thought I would be able to handle or survive and I realize that I am stronger than I ever knew I would have to be.

We will all undoubtedly face even greater challenges and loss, but be encouraged sisters because everything you are surviving now is preparing you and equipping you to overcome anything that is thrown in your path later in life.

As the great Tina Fey said…

I for one am grateful and feel empowered to know that we are not alone and that I am surrounded by amazingly strong women who will continue to get up every day and handle shit. You are doing it with grace, sass and a little kick ass. Whether you are fueled by caffeine, wine, music, vodka, sunshine or all of the above…carry on, ladies.

Let’s encourage each other..

Support each other

Compliment one another

Inspire each other

Make each other laugh

Stand up for each other

And don’t ever lose your fight.

xoxo