Why did I post that?

What was I thinking?

Was I trying to get attention? Sway favor, play the "sister of a quad" card? Make sure nobody missed it? Make sure those who do know don't forget?

Why would I subject my brother to that? Why would I click publish? Writing it is one thing, publishing it is a whole 'nother story. And about the "writing" part - it's not even well written! I want to take it all back and reformat and re frame and ramble less and get to a fucking point and ... what was I talking about anyway? Why was it important for me to say those things, in that way, in this forum? Why can't I just shut my trap? GEEZ!

This is where I have been for the past week. Remorse. Regret. Reeling from myriad choices that led to that post. Stinging from the compliments. Why are they saying these nice things? How do I respond? What do I say? I just want to take it back.

So I've been sitting on my hands.

And though I'm still wishing I could have done it a little differently, I will say this: I'm not sorry I did it anymore. And no matter how hard it is to look back on certain parts of my life, it will never be as hard as living through them. (BTW - we all lived through that time. My brother, me, my kid. It's been eleven years and we are all alive and well. Honestly.)

So, why did I do it? Why did I share about that terrible day? I guess I share about myself because mine is the only voice like mine. No one else will share like I will. No one else will know what I have known. But maybe others will share if I do. So I share.

We all have wounds. We've all had tragedy. All of us have pain. It is such a brave act, this living in this world with our joys and our sadness.

Thank you for your kindness. It has touched me beyond words, even if I couldn't express that thanks in a timely manner.


Three things happened this past week that deserve acknowledgement and thanks.

First, Annagrace of LoveDrunk awarded me with this blog award. She is a lovely and thoughtful mom of (now two) beautiful peanuts and her kindness took me aback. Thank you so very much. I am honored.

And then, because wonders never cease, my blogher roomie Lara (whom I adore) granted me with the very same award!

WTF? How can that possibly be??? Thank you so much, for this wonderful award and your ongoing support. I'm so lucky to have met you and I think of you and your new adventures every day (and HTG, too).

But wait, there is more! I won a blog contest! My winnings will be coming to me soon and I will be eating those delicious spoils for many minutes after the package arrives. I'll tell you all about it soon. When I am cleared to tell the world. I'll sing it from the rooftops with my mouth stuffed with treats. Seriously, it'll be super sexy.

So I'm living this abundant life over here. And I have to go 'cause I have to run out and buy a lottery ticket.

xoxo -


"I want you to help me kill myself."

Sweaty, itchy, feeling too fat with my two month old daughter strapped to my chest, I had pushed my brother in his new wheelchair to the Starbucks about 10 blocks from my parents home.

"I already asked Mom but she said no. I'm not going to ask Dad. I don't think he would be able to."

"Well, I'm thrilled that I'm your third choice."

"I'm not kidding. I need your help."

And as I sat there with an iced chai and my new fussing baby I considered weather or not I would kill my brother.

All I could think was how the fuck did we get here?

Seven months earlier, at around 6:00 AM on Saturday, April 12, 1997, I was awakened by the phone. It was my Mom.

"Bumper has been in an accident. He's at Valley Med. They won't tell me anything."

I assured her, "They can't tell you anything. He's fine. He always is. I'll meet you there in a half hour."

Just a few months before that she had gotten a similar call that my brother Bumper had been in a snowboarding accident. He had bruised his ribs and spleen and hit his head. He'd temporarily lost his short term memory, his friend later explained to us.

The resulting phone conversations that my Mom and Dad and I had with him proved ridiculously funny. In part, I'm sure, due to our relief that nothing too serious had happened to him. But also because talking to him that day was an exercise in frustration. He could remember who we were, what our voices sounded like, but not what he had just said to us or us to him. He repeated himself again and again and we laughed and asked him questions so he would repeat himself once more. We were ridiculous. But we were laughing and really, you can get through anything if you can laugh, right?

That boarding accident proved to be relatively minor and he had recovered fully. He was a big strong strapping young man. At 21 years old and 6'4", his body was remarkable and resilient.

I felt sure everything was going to be fine this time as well.

We arrived at the hospital and asked at the admissions desk about Bumper. They made us wait. Then a nurse came for us and took us to the "Family Room," closed the door and left us alone. There I stood, four months pregnant with my first child, my mother and father looking confused and worried and overwhelmed. I tried to soothe them and comfort them. I tried to think why the nurses weren't telling us anything. I tried to hope for the best.

Then the doctor came. He spoke to my parents.

"Your son has broken his neck. He is paralyzed."

The doctor said a lot of other things. I heard none of them. I think I shook my head. I think I said "No. No. No. No." But honestly, I may have imagined that.

The following weeks were a blur of concerned friends and family, ICU, surgeries, Bumper's halo, recovery, ICU again, the rotating bed, endless batteries for the Sony disc man, my folks and I taking shifts around the clock to sit by his bed and then - when they would kick us out - to sit vigil in the waiting room with once hourly peeks in on him.

The hospital staff and management told us we should leave. Go home and let him face his recovery on his own. They told us that we weren't helping, being there all the time. That his adjustment would be easier if we didn't hover so much.

Over the weeks and months he had a number of roommates. Many of them had no family with them for days and weeks at a time. Some of them would leave the hospital and go "home" to a nursing care facility. No one who loved them would be caring for them. They were alone.

We did not budge. My folks and I stuck it out. We were there. With him every single day. If we couldn't trade places with him we were certainly going to do our best to know what brand new doorway of hell he was going to be "walking" through every day.

During his stay at that hospital I watched my brother move his arms, more and more with practice. I watched him get into the power wheelchair and roam the halls of the hospital after weeks of laying flat. I watched him do physical and occupational therapy every day and learn to tell the hospital staff about his needs. After a number of months he went home with my folks to their house. Ramps were built. A new bed was brought in. The front bathroom was remodeled to accommodate the shower wheelchair. Attendants were hired to help him with his daily needs.

While I was watching this, my little brother was living this. My parents baby boy was experiencing a life none of us had ever imagined. He was learning how to live a new way. Without the use of his hands and legs. Without the freedoms he had known his entire life. Without the ability to storm out on it all with a grand, "Fuck you!" letting the door swing behind him.

And, of course, I was pregnant. And let's be clear. I did not want to be pregnant anymore. I'm not saying that I wanted my baby to come out of me, here into the world. I did not want to be a mom. I did not want to hold my baby in my arms. This creature inside was, in my opinion, sapping energy and attention from me that I could not spare. I wanted this pregnancy to go away. I wanted it to end. I wanted God or the universe or whoever was in charge to know that I was not capable of giving any more of myself. That I was destroyed. Broken beyond repair and I had no business becoming a parent in the middle of this. But god/the universe/whoever turned a deaf ear to my desperate requests.

Because my daughter was born.

The OB nurse (phenomenal, amazing, wonderful woman) carried my minutes-old daughter over to Bumper and held her to his cheek, resting the weight if this new person on his shoulder. And things shifted.

Suddenly our tears were joy soaked. All of our sarcastic and surreal laughter that had helped us to survive the months of fear and misery gave way to laughter sprung from genuine delight. My new little person brought with her healing and peace and potential that none of us expected. She was an angel. Sent here with the daunting task of healing my whole family of our deep, open, painful recent wounds. And, apparently, she was up to the task. Who knew?

Hope springs eternal, or some shit like that.

So as I sat there at the Starbucks, with milk swollen breasts that I was resistant to whip out in public, I considered my brother's request.

If I really love him do I kill him or do I say no?



This morning, while getting ready for work, I plunked down on the stairs next to my daughter, threw my arm over her shoulder and I asked her about the book she's been reading the past few days.

Sakes alive.

Madigan, much like her father, has no ability to edit. None. She droned on and on about every single excruciating detail of this 150 page book, sprinkled with the obvious, "Oh! Wait, I forgot this one part where..."

Twenty motherfuckingminutes later I had to cut her off. Cause if I didn't I was going to shove her face into the dog hair covered stairway carpeting just to muffle the sound of her voice so my ears could stop bleeding on to my work dress.

Honestly I should have known better because a few weeks ago my husband took her to see WALL*E and I couldn't be there so when they returned I'd asked her what it was all about. It took her nearly a half hour to describe a movie that has NO TALKING for the first hour.

How could I let this happen again?

My brain must have blocked it. Like childbirth.



Every family has a few rules that set them apart. In our family:

1. We don't keep caged animals
We can't reconcile being prison wardens of a living creature. This makes it easier for our kids to understand why we will always turn down offers from loving friends and family for rats and snakes and gerbils. Also, it makes zoos just a little more tragic.

2. We don't have video games
Our kids don't need them. We don't need to think that they do. This means no Wii, no Gameboys, no retro Atari from my own precious teen hood. Harder than you might think. Oddly, this is the family rule that causes surprising numbers of friends and family to say, "Just wait. You'll cave." Which is great.

3. You get to choose how you wear your own hair
Rube has worn his hair long ever since I have known him. I, on the other hand, have had nearly every length and color, Madigan has had fuchsia stripes and tips, and Levi currently sports a look I like to call, "The Shaggy D.A." It's a festival up in here.

4. Our bodies stay intact until adulthood
(With the exception of Maddy's pierced ears)
At 18 my children will get to decide for themselves about piercings, body modifications, circumcisions, tattoos, etc... I'm hoping they will do it all ON their 18th birthdays. Cause you haven't really lived until you've gotten a stupid tramp stamp that you are embarrassed for and that will take thousands of dollars to remove in your late thirties. Or... so I've heard.

5. We make food and buy ingredients
At times when my friends might think we had nothing to eat in our house it is likely I could make a semi-formal sit-down dinner for eight. Most meals start with recipes and cookbooks are legitimate reading material. Just last night I was rummaging around for a sweet treat and because I keep a stocked larder I was able to throw together a Boston Cream Pie. It works for us.

6. We will treat others and one another with respect
Beyond name calling, beyond table manners. People deserve compassion and kindness. Even the people we live with.

7. Letter grades are not the end-all/be-all
My grades never accurately represented my brilliance. And really, if I'm focused on the letter and throwing away the chance to show my kids how fucking amazing it is to be able to learn, then I really am missing the point.

Keep your eyes peeled for Cupcake Family Gray Areas (or "Topics on which Rube and I will always Disagree")



On the night that Phyllis died she lay in her hospital bed reading a Reader's Digest. The article she'd been reading was about how to make a marriage last.

She was hours away from her own passing, but she was reading tips about how to honor her marriage in order to make it last.

Her example of grace is not lost on me.

I have been with my husband for a dozen years. We have born children and our life together has been very full and rich at times. There have also been long passages of time that have been angry and resentful and quite separate.

In this lonely and separate place I found a circle of women with whom I seek counsel and strength. My relationship with my own mother has become one of my proudest achievements. However, my relationship with my husband is still fraught with challenges. He is almost as stubborn as I am. He is passionate about his place on this planet and his responsibility not to piss his time here away. He is the only man I ever want to raise children with. He is engaged and thoughtful and kind and compassionate. He is present with our children in a way that I rarely see in the husbands of many of my peers. He reminds me of my father, but slower and more earthy, with fewer guns.

But this marriage thing - it can be relentless. It can be so hard and so lonely. My most terrified moments have been when I could not imagine going on in the marriage, and could not imagine going on without it. (This is not how I've been feeling lately or for quite some time, but my memory is strong of the despair I felt then.)

So I've been sitting with this lesson from Phyllis. Take care of your marriage. Be mindful of it. I've been letting it resonate. Letting it fill me. And I take with me one more lesson from this woman I loved who I do not get to see or hear anymore.

My marriage is my responsibility. Every single day. I can choose to care for it or I can be lazy. And my laziness may come at a very high price.

Today I brought my husband coffee from his favorite coffee shop and I kissed him on the mouth and told him that I know that I am so blessed to be able to love him. And today my eyes are open to that fact.

Thank you, Phyllis.



I started writing about some painful memories and I kept writing and writing and then - I stopped.

So I have half of a huge post that may or may not be appropriate for public consumption. And my brain now resembles oatmeal.

I'm looking for a little happy!

What makes me happy, you ask? Well, let me tell you:


Audible.com - because having a great book read to you is so delicious.

Avocado Oil Soap from Crabtree and Evelyn because it smells exactly like what heaven must smell like when a perfect little breeze is blowing. Seriously. Go to the store and smell it. You'll see.

This sofa - which is totally on sale. We actually need two, so this sale would be nice...

Licorice. Not all licorice. Only the ones with the right amount of mouth numbing anise oil and the right amount of chewiness.

My kiddos. My husband. My family. My friends. Sometimes my doggies.

I got it pretty good over here.

Happy Friday.