The Heart, Yet It Beats

Oh hi.

I’ve been absent from blogging for a while. Did you notice? (some of you did, some of you that I don’t even know so thank you for your sweet messages and concern, and some of you that I do know I’m looking at you, Brooke!)

A month became a few months became six months and more. Months that I’d love to explain away with something glamorous and adventurous.

Nothing specific comes to mind.

I went to Germany to see my sister become a mother and eat Ritter Sport to the point of nauseousness. And back to Japan to see spring begin. Then back to Michigan to dive deeper into a long Northern Michigan winter. Then a quick stop in Manitoban spring which is very akin to winter. A trip to California where it rained and I saw an Elvis Perkins concert, a jaunt to Vail where ice water was dumped on my head by the god(s) as I got ready to ride up a gondola to a fancy wedding. The short glorious summer of the UP where I sat on the porch and laid on the beach and sand was everywhere. And now I’m back in Japan again just in time for typhoon season, then off to South Korea soon to find out how spicy I can handle my cabbage based foods.

So maybe there was some adventure. And certainly plenty to write about. But for some reason I couldn’t. Or wouldn’t.

I’ve started about six posts since the last time I published anything here. I started. And stopped. Metaphorically crumpling each draft into a ball and tossing it into the corner. But nothing that came out seemed right.

Even now, inside me here is so much to say, things to share, and yet I haven’t. Couldn’t. Or wouldn’t. And what’s the difference really.

It’s not like this blog means anything much in the wider world. But it’s always been a place where I’ve come to share some slice, some tiny itty bitty slice, of all the things going on inside my mind. A place where people who know me could see me in a different way. Where people who don’t know me well get to know me better. Where people I didn’t know at all have found me and we’ve become friends.

When I was 16, I thought I was an adult. I kept a journal, an item that still exists but which is always at risk of me starting it on fire ceremoniously. I was a pretty boring kid by Lifetime Movie Network standards, but I had a lot going on in my mind. Dark, funny, complicated things that many 16 year olds probably think about but most don’t have the guts to bring up to their friends who are likely idiots. And certainly many have the sense not to write these thoughts down because it just leaves an unnecessary record of your angst.

In that journal I was annoying and used logical fallacies and waxed poetic about the texture of my hair. But I also had some incredibly insightful moments, expressed understanding of some painful truths that are best learnt early, and took joy in the beauty of the bleakness of life and existence. It was part 90210, part Kierkegaard.

Every year since then I’ve become less confident in my adultness, more accepting of the texture of my hair. I’ve trained myself to recognize logical fallacies and I’ve never felt more joy about the beautiful bleakness as I do now. And even though no one would accuse me of holding back my feelings very often, as an actual adult I also haven’t had the pleasure to regularly be as me as the me in that journal. To lay it all out there unapologetically. Without being self conscious. To give the same credence to matters of ‘does Jeff like me?’ (he didn’t) as to the concern of our inevitable mortality (pretty inevitable). I wrote about the genius of putting Seaquest DSV and Earth 2 back to back on Sunday night TV (if you don’t know what I’m talking about you basically wasted 1994 and you can never get it back) and on the next page wrote hundreds of words about the way industrialized countries thrived on third world slavery. Since the demises of that journal, I didn’t have that kind of expressive freedom.

Except for every now and then. In this blog. Silly as that may sound.

And quickly and quite easily the days, weeks and months crept by and the blog seemed dead. Just like the journal, maybe I outgrew it. Maybe it no longer served the purpose I needed it to. So I left it, rarely ever logged in, considered the 140 drafts to be ghosts and the hundreds of posts that already exist to be fossils.

But here I am. So what changed?

Nothing. Or everything. Who even knows the difference. Maybe the blog is dead, and this is just me doing CPR on a corpse. But that journal, as amazing and hilarious and painful and generally humiliating as it can be, is a nice record to have. I can’t remember why I stopped writing, but I know I tried for a long time to keep it up even after it didn’t come as easily anymore. And in some of those entries that I had to squeeze out there are some quality moments. And I’m glad I have them.

So just in case, here goes. Consider this the chest compressions. 

A Little Bit Weird

It can be really easy to get bogged down in the daily work of parenting. It’s incredibly difficult and incredibly boring all in one breath. Your child is amazing creature who inspires wonder in one moment and demon spawn who inspires homicidal rage the next. My hair is never combed and I’m far too involved in the plot lines of Peg + Cat. Insert meme about stepping on legos and eating cold pasta over the sink.

But once in a while, sometimes even every day, you get a chance to take the long view for a moment. To just step back and see an actual human being developing and creating and becoming. And it is god damn amazing if I do say so. To see the wild free beast we all are before we get hammered down a bit.


I had this awkward stage that lasted approximately one…DECADE. Not one year, one entire decade. (at this point in the story my sister would add “or so.”) At the time I believed it was because I was a little odd and a bit volatile and there was always the issue of WTF is going on with my hair. Subsequently I made things more awkward by trying to hide the oddness and dampen the volatility and somehow conceal the texture of the hair.

I laugh about it now because I’m almost 15 years out of that stage and because I can see the pictures and I do have a sense of humor and weeping about your Birkenstocks with sandals phase makes you seem pathetic. But at the time it occasionally made me quite sad. And led me to act in ways that were not in alignment with my own beliefs. I know because I kept a journal that I wrote while dictating aloud to my cat who I believed was the only being who understood the true me. For real.

One of my biggest parenting goals is to make sure my kids are as weird as they want to be. As weird as they feel inside. I now wear my weirdness on the outside, and not in an ironic hipster way like Smurfy winter hats worn in summer and bacon flavored ice cream. I simply just put it out there. I let ME out. My strange jokes. The voices that go with certain phrases. The way my volume and my blood pressure raise when discussing certain topics. I do it because it feels good and because I want my kids to see the joyful irreverence that comes with that kind of openness.

I hope they can do the same. I hope they can do it earlier and more often than I have. I hope they don’t spend a decade (or so) trying to figure out where to put the things they don’t know how to make fit. I know that if I accomplish this they will, at times, maybe need to write sad thoughts in a journal. {note to self: adopt empathetic cat}

Vesper is a child of the digital age and therefore loves taking pictures. She uses the world selfie like it’s the most normal thing you could do. She adds filters expertly. She holds the DSLR in her hands, dimpled knuckles tightly clenched, focusing in on her subject.

She recently told me that when she takes pictures she can decide what to call them based on the way someone is looking at her through the lens. She, essentially, writes captions. There is a picture of her from almost 3 years ago pinned to the wall near where I work at home, she told me it says ‘What do I do with all these teeth?’

A picture of her holding her little sister from the summer is telling her ‘Babies can’t sit up but we can help them.’ A picture of my sister on her wedding day says ‘Fancy things make her happy and we are pretty when we are happy.’

While we were visiting my sister recently, she took a picture of her newest cousin and told me he was thinking ‘It’s cold out here.’ I think she meant at the park where she took the picture, but shit if that isn’t just the motto of life. Everyone’s life.


She took a picture of me in the hotel room a few weeks ago. She made me take my earrings off. She had me put my sunglasses on. She told me not to ‘let my teeth show.’ When I asked her what she thought about the title of that picture she said ‘a little bit weird.’ Yes honey, just a little bit.


On A Walk(s): New Years Day 2015

*It seems like we have inadvertently started a tradition. A walk on New Year’s Day. A slow walk, without much direction, taking in the sights of a country that truly comes out and reveres the fresh start of January 1st. We take walks all the time, but on New Year’s Day we do it before we even eat breakfast. We throw jackets over our jammies and off we go to walk the quiet streets filled with the smell of wood smoke. DSC_0525

We aren’t religious people. But if you live in Japan you start the new year at a shrine. Any shrine. Within a 10 minute walk from our house there are at least 3 shrines that are kept up by the local neighborhoods and countless individual shrines next to gardens and garages. In the technical sense the Japanese aren’t considered religious either, but you wouldn’t guess that on January 1st. The shrines come alive on New Year’s Eve and Day with people paying respects, buying good luck trinkets, making their prayer or wish for the new year. Not religion, really, but ritual. Tradition.
DSC_0526We clean our hands and make our offering. Bow twice, clap twice, bow again and then ring the bell. 
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I respect the ritual and the reverence of these traditions in the same way I can appreciate the sense of meditation that people find in the cavernous beauty of a cathedral. I don’t believe any supernatural being is hearing my wish, but I do believe in the power of intention. The power of starting new, even in a symbolic way.  Continue reading “On A Walk(s): New Years Day 2015”

What’s More Exhausting Than Lack Of Sleep

My sister is having a baby soon. Very, very soon. My baby, tiny, little sister. A human baby. I’m still having trouble letting that sink in.

Last night Dave and I were Skyping with her and somehow the topic slipped from her website and height differentials in wedding photos to our kids and how tired they make us. (spoiler: very, very tired.) And she asked in the pleading way that someone who already knows the answer to a question asks, ‘but it’s all worth it, right?’ And we both stifled a yawn and were like YES, OMG yes, worth it. Yes. Very.

And we meant it. It is. There are a million mother-bloggers who have written about this a million ways and I would link them all here but I’m too tired but just trust me. They said it better than I could. Worth it? Check.

Somehow when I end up talking to people about kids, my kids, having kids, not having kids, the topic of sleep and not sleeping comes to the fore. And after I talked to my sister last night I laid in bed listening to the heavy breath of my 4 year old who still sleeps with a pacifier and finds a way to put any pointy part of her body into any soft part of mine. I lay there listening to my 1 year old cry out in her sleep as she struggled to settle after keeping them up past bedtime ONE night out of the last 40 ::never again!::. I lay there with my lists running through my mind and the clock getting later and later and I thought that the one thing I wish I could explain to my sister is that we are so very tired and we don’t get enough sleep, but the lack of sleep isn’t what exhausts me the most. But I can’t explain it, and I won’t try. But soon she’ll know.

It’s also not the endless games of “Elsa and Anna rescue Rudolph with a bow and arrow ” ad infinitum where the tedium of the specifics of her rules and the script of this game make you think you mind will simply bust out of your skull in protest of the boredom.

It’s not the way baby O finds a way to cling to my leg with the strongest, tiniest, chubbiest dimpled pinching fingers on the planet Earth any time I try to move more than 4 feet away from her.

It’s not the diaper changing or the wiping of butts. It’s not the tantrums on the floor of the sushi restaurant. Or the shrieks of a teething child. It’s not endless loops of the rink with V or standing guard while O navigates the stairs for the 314th time that day.

All of those things are tiring. And the lack of sleep is, perhaps, the most tangible thing we can name. The most hopeful aspect of life we can dream to reclaim. We are tired NOW, but we will sleep later.

They are small now, but they will grow up later. We won’t always be wiping butts or role-playing for hours. It’s finite. It ends.

And maybe we cling to those things and name those factors because it’s less terrifying than admitting that our exhaustion comes from a deeper place. That while my mom sleeps all night and wipes zero butts, she is still tired.

It isn’t the sleep. It’s the vulnerability.

Since the day V was born my heart has been walking around outside my body. She is subject to pain. Physical pain and illness. Accidents. Tragedies. She is subject to emotional pain. Rejection. Heartbreak. Anger. My girls live in the world, the horrible, awful, glorious world that I love and hate so much. And I can’t keep them safe. A baby gate won’t touch the legions of boogeymen that are out there. The overt and the covert. The subtle and the striking. I can stay up with them all night every night until they leave my house and it still won’t do a thing to prevent a thing. And it’s exhausting.

I want to be a zen, accepting, earth mother person. I want to say PAIN IS BEAUTIFUL and we are HUMAN and isn’t it grand that they will experience all these things and grow and heal and change and I can be here to witness, to support. I want to be that person. I want to embody that sentiment. And I manage it sometimes, once in a while, occasionally and on those 3 seconds per month I pat myself HARD on the back.

But in all the other seconds in the month, I feel very exposed. I feel like all my skin and most of my skeleton is gone and all my juicy organs are available for the vultures to seek and destroy. All in the name of love. Of family. Of life. And it’s exhausting.

Sometimes I don’t sleep well at night. Up and down 10 times. A baby with a fever, a toddler with a nightmare, someone is thirsty, someone needs me. And when I wake up I’m tired. Sometimes this goes on for a week. And I’m very, very tired. And these are the moments I cling to the hope that this tired feeling will relent someday, they will sleep, I will sleep. We will be rested. And I say it but I know it’s not 100% true. They will be rested. But I will be vulnerable. And it’s exhausting.

I know many women who are mothers. I know mothers who have birthed babies that were not alive. I know mothers that have held their children as they wailed through the agony of cancer treatment. I know mothers who have buried their adult children. I know mothers who have lost a child to disagreement. To cultural differences. To drugs. And the the tiredness in their eyes when they tell me their stories trumps a week, a month, a year of what I’ve ever known. They had a baby and their heart moved outside of their body. And life took it’s course, and their vulnerability was assaulted. And it’s exhausting.

I write all this and see that if I were reading it before I had kids, I would say HOW can this all be worth it? And I don’t really know how to answer. I can’t explain it, and I’m almost never at a loss for words. But the joy I feel to live with these children, to see them grow, to watch them live is very real. It’s happening now. It’s not a threat of something that could happen, it is in fact the daily events of my life. The vulnerability is also real, but not a promise, not here in front of me, far enough in the periphery that I can’t see it when my eyes are squinted in a smile.


The Wife Of Someone Who Plays Hockey {not a hockey wife}

Perhaps the subtitle of this blog should be ‘Lane talks about sisterhood until you can’t stand it anymore.’ Because here I am again.

Our particular lifestyle leads to a certain kind of isolation. We move. A lot. We stay in touch with our friends, but we can’t take them with us. Which means every season we find ourselves together with a new group of people, and those people (no matter who they are) are the most viable candidates for any hope you have at a social life. For North American hockey families who live overseas, particularly in countries where English isn’t the language, the group of other players and their families is even more important.

The ‘imports’ on the team are sort of thrown together, in new situations far away from home with little to no access to the comfort foods to which you’ve become accustomed. Most of us are in this hockey life by choice. There are some amazing benefits. The travel. The adventure. Supporting a partner as they live their dream. The flexibility. The excitement.

But like any choice in life, this particular path has it’s rocky points. Uncertainty. Homesickness. Instability. Lonliness. Watching your partner struggle with the inevitable transition out of this lifestyle. Flying coach. Flying coach for 25 hours.

One of the best antidotes to all of those hardships is the sisterhood of other women who are living this same life. Who understand the ups and downs. Who feel both joy and pain as one season turns into another. Who give up so much willingly and accept all the unknown openly.

Dave is my co-pilot on this journey, I have his back, he has mine. But he doesn’t always get it. Because while we share many struggles specific to hockey life, he can’t understand what it’s like to play the supporting role. He doesn’t know what it’s like to watch him have to negotiate for his own worth each year. He hasn’t had to put his career on hold and say goodbye to his friends to follow my dreams (yet). And so for those things, I turn to my sisters in hockeydom for camaraderie. And complaining. Camaraderie and complaining in an alternating pattern.

The ladies of this sisterhood often refer to themselves as “hockey wives”. They name their blogs using this term, make cute play-off t-shirts with it emblazoned on the back , create support group on Facebook with this label. And as much as I love the idea of embracing our shared experience, I have a very hard time sharing the affection for this term.

“Hockey wife” isn’t an identity I readily use to describe myself. It rubs me the wrong way. I don’t know of any other professions, besides other sports or the military, where people commonly identify themselves as a group and with a title that only describes their spouses profession. And perhaps this strikes me as particularly unfair because professional hockey remains a men-only domain. So even if the defining-yourself-by-your-partner bit didn’t feel odd, the fact that there are no hockey husbands rustles my feminist feathers. It’s hetero-normative and patriarchal and…you don’t really want me to start in on this rant, do you?

When I feel myself bristling at this term, I ask myself why I let it upset me. My answer goes something like: I am not Dave. I am not defined by Dave. Even more than that, I am not defined by Dave’s profession. I can say that all day long and while it is essentially true, it’s also not true. In this particular profession, because of the way you have to let it encompass your whole life, I am defined by it. We have to move to where Dave gets a contract. I have to base my work on the fact that our life is mobile. Dave gets time off every year of course, but it isn’t flexible. All our holidays, our down time, our family visits revolve around his schedule. So even though my resistance to this term on existential grounds are logical, they aren’t really entirely accurate. Continue reading “The Wife Of Someone Who Plays Hockey {not a hockey wife}”

My Motivation


A while ago a friend asked me to write a post revealing how I stay motivated to work out. I’m a mother of two, I work from home, I have {a couple} friends and interests. And she has all the same issues in her daily life {plus a few more friends, I would guess} and needed some inspiration or an idea or perhaps the secret. As usual, the secret is there is no secret.

On one hand, I was surprised to get this request. I’m by no means a fitness expert, I’m not a hard core…anything. But I do love running. And I do try to do it semi-kind-of-mostly regularly. I go to yoga class when I can. I walk my dogs and hike in the woods. When I can. So I guess that makes me normal for my demographic. And maybe that’s the person who should be telling other women about her motivation as she experiences it. Not as sage wisdom. Not as instructions.

Nothing I am about to share is ground breaking or worthy of a HuffPo type viral post about “Love Your Body And Post a Pic of Your Cellulite” or “How I Taught My Kids to Love Crossfit” or “The Secret to A Hot Mom Body: No Fun At All” or whatever will be the next clickbait post we will all see on our Facebook feeds. It’s just my thoughts, my advice, my experience. And it’s possible there is something in it that will help my friend. Or her friend. Or some random guy who just stumbled on my blog while searching ’39 weeks pregnant naked’ (an actual search term that has led people here SEVERAL times).

Find what you like, and just do that thing.

Here is the thing. There 2 million billion ways to exercise. I am, for the most part, a runner. This is for no other reason than this is the exercise I a) like the most and b) find it easiest to fit into my schedule and lifestyle. End of discussion. Some people are devoted to yoga. Or dedicated to BodyPump. Crossfit seems to be #trending these days. But none of that really matters.  What matters is that you even MILDLY enjoy it and find it fits into your lifestyle. It’s all well and good to see posts about your cousins and neighbors and coworkers lifting 500lbs while doing a handstand and jump-roping during today’s WOD, but if that kind of workout does not resonate with you IT IS NOT FOR YOU. My best friend loves basically all kinds of exercise as long as they start at 5am. My sister will work out at any time of day but it has to be something that could involve a drill instructor screaming really demeaning ‘motivation’ in her face. People and morning shows and magazine articles will tell you to vary your workout and try different things and honestly, that’s great advice. But if you are in the stage of life where time is incredibly limited, resources are tight, motivation is sucked out of you by sleep deprivation, just pick your best/favorite/least hated thing. And do it. Whatever floats your boat, find it, own it, do it.

Be in it for the right reasons.

As much as we all want to fit into the jeans we wore when we were 22, this should not be the main reason be work out. Sorry every magazine ever made for women, but size doesn’t matter. In fact, the proof that it doesn’t matter is that I DO fit in the jeans I wore at age 22 but yet NOTHING on my body feels or looks the same as it did in 2003. And that’s fine. I can run faster than I could then. I can go farther. I care so much less about the number on the tag of my pants. I want to feel great. I want to live a long, long, long ass time until I’m shrunken to 4’3” and  blowing out 113 candles on an inferno of a birthday cake. There are no guarantees, we all know that painfully well by now, but I’m going to give myself the best chance I can by pumping blood through my heart and flushing toxins out of my body.

Take a look in the mirror.

In a glaring contrast to the paragraph written directly above this one, I will tell you that I do work out to feel good about my physical appearance. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t work out to get approval from men. I don’t work out to wear a crop top. I don’t give two shits about airbrushed Jessica Biel on the cover of You’re Not Good Enough magazine (and I bet she doesn’t either, honestly, but gotta get paid). And in reality working out doesn’t drastically change my dress size. I recently went 6 weeks without so much as a 2 mile jog under my belt. Dave was on the road and we were all sick and one thing led to another and my running shoes were covered in dust. I still fit in my pants and my weight was probably around the same number. But after a week of short runs and a few hours of yoga I FELT like I looked better. I felt sexier and more confident. I could run all day every day and I will never fit the exact beauty standards that our culture pushes on me, but I’m over that now. I looked in the mirror and looked basically the same, but felt so much different.

Value your ‘me’ time.

You deserve to spend time on your fitness and health. You deserve to have those moments to yourself. Yes you are busy. Yes people everyone needs you. Yes there are 4 seasons of Battlestar Galactica to be (re)watched while eating peanuts on the couch. But you have to be the one to put your foot down and set limits. With others. With yourself. For them. And for you. There will be days, weeks or months when you can’t carve out the time you want for you ideal workout even if you were more motivated than ever. In those times I squeak out what I can. I don’t beat myself over not logging the mileage I wanted. I take a brisk 30 minute walk to clear my head. I do yoga for 15 minutes to get my blood moving. And when we are in a phase that is less hectic and the stars align, for an hour or so, every few days, I put myself first. And we all share the rewards. (see below)

It pays off.

To some degree I am, like most people I suppose, a results based individual. I can’t continue to do something, particularly something difficult or inconvenient, if I’m never seeing any form of benefit from it. I just can’t. And running gives me results. I feel healthy. I feel strong. On a week where I get in 15 or 25 miles, I feel clear headed. I sleep more soundly. My clothes fit well, my confidence is boosted. I run to beat my old time or to mark a new distance goal, but mostly I run because I like myself, in general, better when I do.

Eat what you want.

I exercise for all of the above mentioned reasons. I also exercise because I love the indulgent delicacies life has to offer. And by indulgent delicacies I mean that I like to eat Nutella out of the jar with a spoon. That is not a metaphor. I literally scoop it directly into my mouth. You can’t, of course, subsist on spoon-Nutella alone. You need lots of vegetables and some protein and lots of water. But unless you are trying to get a six pack (and are you…really? Because WHY!?) my humble opinion is that life is full of delicious things that I want to eat. In MODERATION you guys, I know I know. I run because I want to be that shrunken, grinning, slightly confused 113 year old version of myself. But I eat spoon-Nutella because I could die in 10 minutes. Balance. Zen. Om. (This post not sponsored by Nutella…but if they have some extra, I’ve got spoons. Just saying.)

For Teaching Me To Be Brave

When I left for Japan a few months ago, my mom had tears in her eyes for days before my flight. She was worried. And sad. And anxious. Did I mention worried? I inherited my obsession with worst case scenarios genetically.

Why do you have to go so FAR? This is hard. This is too hard. It’s too much for you. Packing the house. Packing the bags. Traveling with two kids alone. Being so far. Dave goes on the road. Earthquakes happen. And then packing again. Packing the bags back up. Doing it all again. Doing some of it alone. And the uncertainty of what’s next. That’s stressful. It’s hard. It’s too hard.

She has a point. She always does.

It IS hard sometimes. The packing is hard. The goodbyes are never easier.

The flight is just so much sweating and several pulled muscles. She has that part nailed.

And sometimes Dave’s travels and I have to parent alone. But I can do it. I’m strong. I’m resourceful. I like red wine.

And earthquakes happen. And my reactions times are total shit but this house was built with them in mind. And I’m trusting. And statistically quite safe. I’ve checked the numbers.

And we do pack up again. And again. And there is uncertainty in our lifestyle. But you know what? There is ALWAYS uncertainty. We face ours head on because it’s part of the job description, but even if I moved home and took a ‘normal’ job and did things her way, nothing is for sure. I could lose my job, one of us could get ill, the house could burn down. ANYTHING can ALWAYS happen. At least this way we are very honest with ourselves that we truly have no idea where we will be living in one year. But it’s ok. Because I’m adventurous. I’m excited about possibility.

It’s hard. And scary sometimes. And sometimes I hate it. And sometimes I cry. But mostly I love it. And mostly I’m happy. Because I’m brave. I’m bold. I’m not afraid to do things differently.


When I was younger I suspect my mom sat around trying to guess what I would be like. What my life would hold. And based on my personality and my fears and my abilities I believe she probably pictured me as self-sufficient and compassionate and much, much more conventional. Much, much closer to home. Like within 100 feet of home.

When I was invited to sleepovers, I would generally accept because I wanted to be able to do it. I wanted to be super cool with sleeping somewhere else. But for a long, long, such a very long time I wasn’t. My mom and dad would drive me to my friend’s house with my sleeping bag and my coolest pajamas and I’d be like ‘Right! I’m off! Love you! See you tomorrow!’ and we would kiss and smile at each other and all three of us knew full well they would be driving back to get me before midnight.

It’s not that I didn’t feel safe or that I wasn’t happy to be with my friends. I fully and truly believed in adults and knew my friends parents were in charge and would do any and all emergency procedures properly. I loved my friends and had heart-split-in-half BFF necklaces and wrote all our names in rows in my notebooks. But the reality of change scared me. Their houses had dark corners  I didn’t know about. Their dinner was more spicy than at home. Their laundry detergent made things smell differently than at my house. My mom didn’t live there. My sister wasn’t here. CUE THE PANIC! CALL MY MOM! CALL HER! CALL HER NOW!

As I grew older I could make small steps towards being away from home. I stayed a week at a time at summer camp. I slept over at friend’s houses. I knew that being independent and wanting to get away from your parents was cool. I knew adventure was supposed to be fun. I faked like I liked it as much as I could. But truth be told, I wanted to be home all summer. I wanted to sleep in my own bed. I wanted to read books by the radiator having conversations with my cat to practice new vocabulary. I kept a front in the name of socialization. But it could only last certain tests.

My senior year of high school my German class participated in an exchange. I thought taking German was exciting enough in a school where most kids took Spanish or French, but now everyone was all psyched to host a German high school student (FINE, fine, I’ll do it) and then GO to Germany and spend a month there. Um….sure? Is this what we are doing? It’s cool to fly across the ocean and live with some other family who probably doesn’t eat waffles for breakfast? Do we know anything about what their laundry detergent smells like? No? Yea…ok…I’m cool. Sign me up. (I actually signed up)

A couple weeks before we were set to leave, I hit the panic button HARD. I couldn’t do it. I knew I couldn’t. It was too far. I was too scared. We had a pow wow with me, my parents, and Herr Ahlers and I backed out. Big time. My friends from class were like...Lane..seriously? We can drink beer there! Boys with accents! No parents! And I was like you guys…I have a reading list to get to with my cat next to the radiator but I really wish you all the best.

You can forgive my mom back then for not foreseeing my life as it is now.


The thing she doesn’t know, or won’t admit, or doesn’t believe, is that all the things that worry her so much, all her concerns, all her fears…all these things seem doable to me because of things she (and my dad. Hi Dad!) have given me.

They trusted me, they believed in me, they never forced me to do anything. They didn’t tough love me into sleepovers. They didn’t ‘too bad so sad suck it up’ and send me on that plane to Germany. They encouraged me, and pushed gently, and then held back when they say I wasn’t ready. And guess what?

I’m ready. Somewhere along the way, I became ready to go out alone into the world.

I’m strong. I’m resourceful. I’m trusting. I love logic. I’m adventurous. I believe in possibility.

The life we live, the life ANYONE lives, has struggles. Has stress. Things are not guaranteed, nothing is for sure, change is hard. But I do it anyway. I travel. I see things many people only dream of, I spend time with my kids that my own mother would have killed for, I collect memories and pictures the way many people collect shoes and handbags and cars and flat screens. I do all these things and MORE, all the things that scare the shit out of my mother, because she showed me that I could. Because she trusted me. Because she believed in me. Because she told me adventures are worth having. That life is short.

It’s hard. And scary sometimes. And sometimes I hate it. And sometimes I cry. But mostly I love it. And mostly I’m happy. Because I’m brave. I’m bold. I’m not afraid to do things differently.

Thank you, mom, for making me brave. And also, I’m sorry.