The Parent Hood

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

Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee

Hi. Did you miss me?

Probably not. Anyone who is reading this probably gets huge doses of me on other platforms, Facebook, Twitter.  You didn’t get rid of me in those places, did you? What it boils down to is this – I deprive you all of a chance to miss me because I NEVER LEAVE. My most sincere apologies for that.

Let me catch up those of you who don’t keep up with me on those other platforms. The last you heard from me was in June regarding that damn  cancer diagnosis. After that? Nothing, nada. I went quiet.  I GOT BUSY, so cut me some slack. Jeez.

So, let’s review:

  • Cancer diagnosis
  • Lots of doctor appointments
  • Trip to Cancun
  • Surgery
  • Recovery
  • Move child to college
  • Radiation

BRB, need to take a nap after that.

What it boils down to is this: we’re done with cancer. The treatment is over, the prognosis is very good. They won’t use words like ‘cure’ until a sufficient amount of time has passed, but for all intents and purposes, we’re done. We moved the teen daughter to her college and she got all settled in. We’re carrying on here at Chez Linda with two out of five daughters left under our roof, which makes it much faster to get a table in a restaurant. We have that adorable grandson who gets even more adorable with every passing day. And we have another grandchild (different daughter) coming in May. We’re good here. More than good. We’re so very fortunate in so many ways.

All of this being over has left me even more time for my Twitter addiction.  This has led to an opportunity to be included in a book of funny parenting tweets.



It’s true! I’m in this book. Here’s the proof:

Big Book Profile Pic


And a little tiny sample of what kind of silliness you can expect:



OK, so it’s an anthology and only a handful of my stuff made it in there, but you have to trust me – there are many other people funnier than I am. I know – it’s hard to believe, but it’s true. I was just as shocked as you are right now. I had to take a moment to pull myself together once I realized. You, too, will somehow summon the strength to go on.

This book, like my corner of Twitter itself, is hilarious.

In fact, if you want to dip your toe into the hilarity of Twitter before you make a substantial investment of $4.99, here’s how you can do that: visit Hall of Tweets.  Kate Hall is the editor for this book and she curates a regular “Funniest Tweets” list on her blog. She also does a Beyond the Bio series where she interviews people like me who neglect our jobs, marriages, children, and hygiene in order to be funny on Twitter for absolutely no other reason than to put more laughter into the world (mostly our own, we like to laugh a lot at our own jokes). Kate interviewed me recently, in case you want to avoid that page like the plague.

If you like to laugh, you’ll love this book.

For me, laughter is as essential as oxygen. It helps us get through cancer and children moving to college and the drudgery of work and every other little thing that is difficult in our lives.

Hi, I’m Linda, and I’m Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee on Laughter. We’re glad you’re here.


By |November 23rd, 2014|Indiscriminate Drivel, Married Life, The Parent Hood|Comments Off on Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee

Don’t Freak Out

Dex Easter for The HubShe wasn’t expected; she just arrived at my front door and said “Hey!” as she walked in like she always does.

She may be 30 but she’s my child and this was her house at one time and there is no need to knock. I’m glad we have a ‘just walk in’ house. I like that.

She was toting the car-seat carrier with the heavy sleeping baby as she breezed into the family room.

“What’s up?” I asked.

“I have to tell you something and I didn’t want to do it over the phone.” she said. She was casual, setting the baby seat down and keeping busy with putting the diaper bag and her purse on the breakfast bar. She walked into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator looking for something to eat. I’m glad we have the kind of house where they just head to the refrigerator and look for something to eat. I like that.

She came out with some cheese and was busy breaking it into pieces and popping them into her mouth as she picked up the story.

“Don’t freak out.” she said. “Dex’s pediatrician referred us to a specialist and we just came from the appointment. They did some tests and we don’t have the results yet, but they think he may have some neurological disorder, a degenerative one.”

She was minimizing it. Her every action said “This is no big deal. We will not over-react.” but I’m a mother too and I know this child of mine and I know how strong the gene is to minimize something on the outside while you’re falling to pieces on the inside. That’s my gene. I gave her that gene.

While her actions belied the situation, her eyes gave her away and the quiver in her voice was, well, degenerative. She continued “If he has this, over time he will lose muscle control on half his body. His mouth will droop, he will list to one side, he will shuffle when he walks. He will drool a lot.”

She was barely holding it together now.

I didn’t hesitate. I used the only comfort that I am comfortable in giving, my words.

“Well, first of all, let’s wait for the results. But guess what? If he does have this, here’s the deal. That boy is the luckiest boy in the world because he will be surrounded by a huge army made up of the Metzler family and the Murphy family and the Doty family and the Hemenway family. This is where having a huge family of freaks comes in handy. That boy? He will be loved on and laughed with and laughed at and challenged and fought with and the only thing he will be allowed to feel amongst this crazy parade of freaks and weirdos is normal, because he will be.”

And I held her as she let the tears flow and hoped she knew that what I said was both wise and true.

I woke up then, the morning light creeping around the edges of the window shade.  I was shaking and crying myself, this awake me.  In the dream, I didn’t crack. In the dream I was strong and confident and wise but in the hangover of the dream I was shaken.

It was just a dream, I knew. But every aspect of it was so real – the house, the actions of my grown daughter, her mannerisms, the way the scene played out, all fresh and real in my waking mind.

I lay there and reveled in the wonder of my own imparted wisdom. Would I have actually come up with that in a real situation? Could I have?

I realized the mom I was in that dream is the mom I aspired to be, hoped I would be when called upon by a crisis.  It has a tiny element of the “Suck it up, Buttercup.” for which I am known, perhaps, but it had an emotional fortitude that I wasn’t sure I had a right to claim – that hasn’t yet been tried and tested in the real world.

My husband rolled over, feeling the bed shaking from my silent crying. I told him about the dream and said “That’s the mom I should be.”

“That’s the mom you already are.” he said nonchalantly as he wrapped his arms around me. He comforts with his arms and his empathy. I comfort with words of strength.

I hope that if the day comes when both of our methods to comfort are needed to face some crisis, our children feel the fullness of what the two of us bring to the table on our parenting journey.

As parents, we may list to one side and drool occasionally, but we love them and, in the end we all have a little bit of freak in us anyway.

I didn’t freak out. I came downstairs and wrote on my blog.


By |May 21st, 2014|Married Life, Not even a little funny, The Parent Hood|Comments Off on Don’t Freak Out