A few years ago, I got upset with Max for something he’d said, and he told me, “It’s like there is a conveyor belt running from the back of my mind and it exits through my mouth. And there’s all kinds of stuff on it and it’s always going. So sometimes the stuff goes straight through my brain and out of my mouth. There are these little workers that are at the exit near my mouth and their job is to stop some of the things before they come out but a lot of the time they just go, ‘Oh darn, we should have caught that one before it went out!'” And after that complex anatomical explanation I couldn’t even remember what he’d said that I was mad at him about.

Today is Thanksgiving. Max and I are in the living room; he’s working on a paper for school next week. I’ve been alternating between cooking and reading. Max asked me, “Mom, what’s another word for corrupt?” I said, “Perverted. Shady. Crooked. Tainted.” A while later he asked me, “Mom, what are the names of the five books of the Torah?”  I thought to myself, “What kind of writing assignment is this?” But I helped him look it up.

This Thanksgiving, it was me and Max and my mom. I asked them, “What’s something you are grateful for this year?” My mom said, “I’m so grateful to be here, so I can watch Max grow up and be the amazing person he is meant to be.” Max said, “I’m grateful that I get to spend time with my grandmother and get to know her.” And I said, “I’m grateful that I can, I hope, make a difference, even if it’s a small difference, to make the world a better place.” And, I gotta say this. I’m grateful that I am learning to let sh*t go. It’s a process. I’ll keep working on it.

We all say stuff before the little workers stop things from coming out of our mouths. What’s more important is to spend time with the people in our lives. As they are. Not as we want them to be.  So today, I thank you, for spending time with me, for teaching me, for accepting me.  Happy Thanksgiving. Namaste. I honor the light, love, truth, beauty, and peace within you because it is also within me. In sharing these things, we are united. We are the same. We are one.


Shane and Max my office

Kimba, our 130 pound mutt, and I used to have a morning ritual – we would go in to wake up Max for school. Then we would head downstairs to check on Shane. I noticed that Kimba was getting a little white around the snout, like me. I said to Max, “When I get old, can I come and live with you?” He said, “Mom, I think that is going to completely ruin my chances at ever getting a girlfriend.” (It didn’t.)

Shane never had to be woken up for school; he would be up and making coffee before Max and I grumbled down the stairs. Max is like me. We are not very good at mornings. Max and I butted heads frequently around that time, when both he and Shane were in high school. Once, after a particularly rough morning fight, I said to him, “Max, what do you think is the most important thing in life?” I was hoping he would say something like getting along or seeing the other person’s point of view. Instead, he said, “The most important thing in life is getting a wife.” I said, “Why?” He said, “So she can make me a sandwich when I am too tired to get off the couch after a fight with my mom.”

It’s  been a few years since what I call the sandwich-feminist debacle. Max and Shane’s dad and I have been divorced for a while. Kimba has been gone for a while as well. There are still (several) dogs in my house, and we wake up Max for school on the mornings he is at my house. And Max and I still grumble at each other as we muddle through our mornings.

And Shane – Shane moved to Oregon to go to school; it feels like an eternity away from me. He has been applying for jobs and after a few months, my usually optimistic son was a bit discouraged. “Mom, I didn’t think it would be this hard. I’m okay, I just didn’t think it would take this long.” He sent me his most recent cover letter to edit and I may be biased, but I would hire my son. “Now I am a college student, I have grown up a little bit and moved away from home. I am now seeking employment…. Beyond being steadfast, punctual, and detail driven, I would be a solid employee because I am eager to jump in. I want to learn and meet people and improve myself along with where I am in life. I look forward to your call.”

Dear Future Employer of My Son: You were once a young person trying to make your way in this world. It was freaking hard, remember? But someone gave you a chance and look at you now. Life is about chances. Chances at falling in love. Second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, hundredth chances. I am just asking for you to give my son a chance.

Maybe all we have are chances. To get up in the morning, even if you’re pissed off about it. To work. To get a girl(boy)friend. To fall in love. To fall in love again. To grow old. To be with kids and grandkids. To be happy. To have a sandwich made by someone who loves you when you’re too tired to get off the couch. To have someone who loves you wake you up in the morning. To live happily ever after.

Do it. Take a chance.


MAX Drawing

Several years back, Max brought home his homework report with three signature lines. Under one he wrote, “Anishals here.” Under the second he wrote, “Your dog’s name.” Under the third he wrote, “Your maiden name here.”

The other night my Max texted me. “I’m really stressed out.” I asked him, “Why honey? What’s going on?” He said, “I have too many things to do… I don’t have time for anything I like and I’m stressed out.” Dammit.

My kid is a junior in high school, with a ridiculously good GPA. He started a jazz band when he was 14 years old.  He plays several instruments. He is an artist. He is in honors classes. He works. He never. Freaking. Stops. And I owe him the biggest damn apology. I am so, so very sorry. I did that in high school, too. I still do that, now.

I am an overachiever, for sure. But I do not expect my children, or anyone else in my life to do what I do or be who I am. I am well aware that I constantly walk the balance beam between fucking falling into the stress-ball abyss and namaste.

People sometimes say to me, “I don’t know how you do it all.” The answer is, I don’t. I don’t do it all. Or even half of it all.

Maybe it looks like I do. But trust me. There are many unanswered emails and texts. There are many books unread. There are bags of dry cleaning to be done in the trunk of my car. There is laundry on my floor. I never finished my wedding album. I never will, because 20 years later, I got divorced.  That’s sort of how this overachiever does it all.

But that’s okay. What I try to do, every day, is put my anishals where they are supposed to go. I know every dog’s name that I have ever had the privilege to live with. As for maiden names? There are no maidens living here. My home, probably a lot like yours, has an overachiever-stressed-out-divorced mom raising a couple of sons, trying to make this world a little better. That’s not a job for a maiden. That’s a job for a g*damn tired Type A mama warrior and some strong coffee. Like me. Like you.