Dear Teenage Daughter

I see you there.

I see you struggling to find yourself. To find your place. To deal with the cavalcade of emotions that assault you daily. With the confusion of growing up. With your parents’ divorce. With navigating relationships and responsibilities and life.

I see you, and I remember.

I want to help you, but please know that my help won’t come packaged the way you think it ought.  I do you no good, in the long run, by pandering.

I will stand strong in my place as your mother. I will share with you the wisdom I have gathered along the way.  You will often scoff at my wisdom but it won’t stop me from sharing it.  You will know who I am, how I am, and where I stand.

I am not without compassion or empathy, but I will not bend to your will.

I will love you regardless of the arrows you shoot at me, for I know you are dealing with hurt yourself and I am a convenient and safe target to lash out at. Part of my job is to know when to keep my mouth shut when you loose your arrows on me.

You should know those shots you take hurt. They leave me in tears and temporarily incapacitated, questioning my parenting. But I don’t serve you by being weak and allowing your teen angst to leave me questioning what I know.

Here is what I know:

I am a strong woman, and I am raising you to be a strong woman.

A strong woman is clear about who she is and what she will and will not stand for.

Because I am a strong woman, I will protect you from certain truths about your parents that you do not need to know.  You think you know enough about things to make judgments about me, about our situation, to pick a side, to draw conclusions. You don’t know nor do you ever need to pick a side. You can choose both sides. Furthermore, you never will know these things because I am your mother and it is my desire to protect you from some truths, even if doing so leaves you judging me more harshly than you otherwise might.  I do this for your own benefit, as a good parent should.

I am not without flaws and shortcomings. I have made many mistakes along the way. But I am no victim. A victim stays down. I do not, nor will I ever. Every single time I’ve been set back, whether due to my own blunders or through the fault of others, I have never failed to pick myself up and carry on. I have never abdicated my responsibilities. I have never not stepped up.

The only person I control is myself and I take that responsibility very seriously. My life is a series of decisions I have made, not I single one which I regret for I made the best decisions I could at the time based on the information and circumstances in front of me. I don’t control others, but I choose how I react and respond to them.  I am in the driver’s seat of my life and always have been.

So bring it. Bring your venom. Bite hard and let it seep into my bloodstream.  I am a strong woman and I will survive.  I will still love you. I will continue walking the high road in spite of this hurt.

One day you’ll understand, because one day you’ll be a strong woman.

I will help you get there with my strength. And on that day in the future, you and I will walk arm in arm, two strong women. When that day comes, you will understand what I did back when you were a teenager and why I did it, and you will appreciate it. You’ll seek my forgiveness for the hurtful things you did and said to me but you’ll realize you’ve had it all along.

Because I’m a strong woman and you are my daughter.



By |January 26th, 2017|Not even a little funny, The Parent Hood|Comments Off on Dear Teenage Daughter

In the Simplest Terms

the_breakfast_clubWhen I was a little girl, I wrote a poem about George Washington. My teacher and mother and maybe a few others were so impressed with it, I decided I wanted to be a writer.

I’ve never wavered on that.

It was always this future thing that I would be when I grew up. It’s the growing up part that’s been the problem.

I’ve done writing here on my blog and in other places since then. I’ve gotten paid for some stuff.  Somewhere along the way I decided I liked writing for pleasure and I didn’t want to spoil it by boxing it in as some regulated profession [she says, as if she was given the option of writing in a professional role].  If writing were to be a means of making a living, it wold have to be on my terms.

Many times, I’ve deliberated in my head about what makes a writer. Do you have to have an agent? Something published for which you were paid? Do you have to have readers? Talent? A rich daddy?

That’s when I decided I was already a writer. I was a writer because I wrote. Simple as that.

I haven’t written much in the past few years and there are many reasons for that, some good ones and some that might make you roll your eyes. The stuff bubbling up inside me makes great fodder for writing, for dissecting, for soul-baring.

But I couldn’t.

Not because I’m so shy and retiring I couldn’t share my story, because, oh, I can share my story until you run screaming for sanctuary.

It was because one’s story is always twisted up in the stories of others, and by telling my story, I impacted them.

I wasn’t brave enough to tell my story. Or maybe I was brave enough not to tell it.

It doesn’t matter. Regardless of the reason, it once again had me questioning whether I was a writer. A writer tells her story.


I reflected on the stories I’ve read over the years – the stories people have written about their families, their marriages, their divorces, their fights with depression or alcoholism or gambling or infidelity. Stories of their children, their spouses, their employers.  I started seeing how one person telling her story often inadvertently exposes others and here’s what I know – I’m not that kind of writer.

Does that mean I’m not a writer, then? I rarely write these days. I don’t really have a readership anymore. I don’t even have comments turned on when I do blog. I don’t check my stats. I’m not actively submitting for publication. I guess I just do what little I do for me. And that’s OK.

In the end, I don’t think labels define us.

I think people will see us as they want to see us – in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what I’ve found out is that each one of us is a brain… and an athlete… and a basket case… and a princess… and a criminal… and a writer.


43% Writer / 12% Brain / 30% Basket Case / 15% Princess / 0% Athlete / 0% Criminal*

*Well, I did steal cilantro from the WalMart self-check-out once, but that’s a story for another day


By |December 30th, 2016|Not even a little funny|Comments Off on In the Simplest Terms

Here Stands Linda

rockypathEach of us has the job of knowing ourselves. I always thought I did that job quite well. In fact, in knowing myself, I knew I did pretty much any job quite well. That’s me. My tombstone will say Here Lies Linda. She was Capable.

For most of my adult life, and maybe longer, I could handle things. I could solve problems. People depended on me. I stepped up. I always stepped up.

But for the past few years, I haven’t been able to get out of my own way.  I had some problems I couldn’t seem to solve despite my best efforts. And then a poison seeped into my bloodstream, one that didn’t quite kill me but crippled me with self-doubt. My capability – and my cope-ability – were broken.

Self-doubt is an evil force. It whispers lies. You think there is no remedy. Even worse, you think you don’t deserve one.

Back in 2013, I talked to my counselor. “Everything is crushing down. How do I do a root-cause-analysis? How do I know what is cause and what is effect? How do I triage the problems to focus on the right one first?”

“Linda,” she said. “You can’t approach this with some logical, cut-and-dry formula. You are standing on a path that is strewn with rocks. You just need to start moving rocks.”

She said once I started moving rocks, I would eventually be able to see the way forward on my path.

Some of you might read this and think I’m talking about my marriage. Or my job. Or maybe something else altogether. You’d be wrong. Or maybe you’d be right. I’m talking about all of it. I’m talking about how I got paralyzed by self-doubt on a path littered with rocks.

Here’s the thing about moving rocks: it’s hard work. You start off feeling like you can’t clear that path and the truth is, you really can’t. Not alone.

But this is your path and you are responsible for the work of moving these rocks. You can’t ask others to move them. What you learn once you roll up your sleeves and start is this: when you’re standing there, scared and exhausted, crying, muscles quivering with fatigue, your people will show up. They’ll just show up. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t ask them to come or tell them you needed them. You might not have even known you needed them. Regardless, they will show up. They will be there for you, for whatever you need.

They will stay there with you, by you, while you clear that path, one rock at a time. They will help you by doing things you didn’t even know you needed them to do.

And you will be blown away by the kindness you are shown.

Then one day, you’ll wake up and think “I’m better. I am strong. I can solve problems. I can do what needs doing. I can cope. I am the person I was meant to be.”

Here Stands Linda, She is Capable.

I’m walking a smoother path these days and I am grateful down to the core of my being for the immense kindness and support I have received along the way, from family, from friends, and from people in the workplace. For your words, for your actions, for your understanding, for your patience.

Thank you.

By |August 27th, 2016|Not even a little funny|Comments Off on Here Stands Linda