They are all my child.

This weekend I was watching my son running a neighborhood playground through its paces with a buddy from his T-ball team, when my phone started buzzing with news updates.

There had been an accident involving a bus filled with athletes from the high-school in our neighborhood.

Reading the details beginning to come in regarding the crash, I fought (and lost) a battle with my tears as I thought about those teenage passengers returning from a weekend trip.

Because once you become a mom- once you have a child – they are ALL your child.

Every baby that  you see precariously practicing their walking skills on a blanket in the park who makes you gasp and unconsciously reach out your hands when they fall forward, no matter how far away you are, is your child.

Every name on every tag on every giving tree at Christmas time – with wish lists ranging from the grandiose to the basic, is your child.

Every neighbor kid with a skinned knee, every story of a food reaction in the school cafeteria, every little one you see struggling to keep up with the others at soccer practice… they are all your child.

And so also, the picture of the boy sitting quietly in the middle of the aftermath of an explosion halfway around the world, caked in dirt and blood, is your child.  The Amber Alert that wakes you at 3 a.m. providing details of a kidnapping, is your child.  The bus full of high school athletes that crashes on the way back to the school after a game, is full of your children.

The hungry, the abused, the hurt, the abandoned -are all your child.

You think what you would think if it was your child…. You pray the child isn’t scared, isn’t alone, isn’t in pain….

Knows that they are loved.

Because your heart IS that mother’s heart.  We are connected by the most primal instinct – to nurture and protect our children.

And so we cry.  And we pray.  And we hug our own children a little tighter.

But also – we act.

We reach out, we plan and we fund-raise and and we search and we work and we raise our voices to anyone who will listen for the little people who make up our worlds, both very near, and very far away as well.

Because they are all our children.


The following sites are accepting donations for those affected by the bus accident in my community:

The driver of the bus was tragically killed.  She was a mom, a wife, and a grandmother. You can support her family here

Three coaches were seriously injured in the crash. You can support them and their families here. Two of the coaches have been released from the hospital.

Coach Kroupa remains hospitalized with severe injuries. You can support him and his family here. (This gofundme was funded to 150%! Thank you!)

A Legacy High Senior has a general gofundme page for those affected. The school administration will have oversight of the funds. You can support the page here

 **If you are in Broomfield or in the surrounding communities, an online auction organized by the Broomfield Area Moms FB group is taking place with all proceeds benefiting those affected. More information is available here.**


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One of the crowd.

Well, we are in week 2 of Jr’s kindergarten adventure and we have all managed to get where we need to be with all of the crap we need to have, including pants (no small victory,) in a timely fashion every day.

So I guess we are all going to survive the switch, (but reading of any heartfelt ruminations is still on hold until further notice, TYVM.)

I did come to a semi-jarring realization yesterday, not about Jr, but about my own role in this whole daily drop off scenario.

Years ago I made a vow — through gritted teeth with narrowed, shade-throwing eyes — to the baseball-capped, yoga-pants clad, latte-toting super-star suburban mommas piloting their perfectly organized MUVs in and out of the preschool parking lot – and to myself.

I wasn’t going out like that.  See, I proclaimed it in my very first post.   “Walk among them, don’t become them.”  (Thank you Suburgatory, for the best line ever.)

Look, we can pretty much agree that I lost my “cynical Keri” street cred a ways back now… probably around the time I started skipping through the local café giving everybody the winky finger guns and trying to hug an entire town.

winky jesus

Winky Jesus loves you, and so do I, Hometown.

But what I saw yesterday, when I glanced at my reflection in a window of the school while standing on the kindy playground, made me gasp audibly:

Note look of horrified realization.




That is legit the ACTUAL textbook image of what I had described as being “them”  just a few years ago.  AND I QUOTE, “… yoga pants and performance fleece and pony-tails sticking out of baseball caps; with perfectly lined eyes…”

(Well, I suck at eye make up so that part is NEVER going to be me, but  still… I mean, come on.)



Holy athleisure wear, Batman.  I was the creature I feared all along.

Even more fascinating – I totally get it now. Momming of school-aged kiddos is intense, yo.  Jr’s start time is a full hour earlier than I used to drop him off at his previous daycare/school.  Two minutes late? Too bad. Your kid is tardy, thanks a lot, Mrs NOT Mother of the Year.   That early ass roll-out time means that I have kissed my pre-dawn TV workouts buh-bye; we are already in full-on morning prep mode at that time of day now.  AND GUESS WHAT – if I put on the clothes when I get up, then I actually get a workout in right after I bid Jr adieu in the kindy yard and low-speed it out of the school zone. If I am wearing something else?  Nope, I end up putting off the putting-on of workout wear, and it just never happens.

ANDPLUSALSO – there are ample pockets for my stuff, it is toasty if the morning is cool, and if I notice a smudge of WTF on Jr’s face right as we get a foot on the playground, I don’t have to worry about jacking up work wear using my sleeve as a face wipe. (Yup, I said it.)

It’s like wearing a suit of mom armor.  I can’t hide it – I am converted, and I hadn’t even noticed the change.

The truth can hurt, Keri.

But it can also set you free.

:::raising giant Starbucks cup :::

Here’s to being “one of them.”

one of us



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Not a “Kindergarten Mom” post.

I mean, just ♡♡♡♡

As Jr’s start date for Kindergarten looms ever-closer, friends and family and fellow moms have sent me links to many “open letter” type articles and blog posts…

Posts with titles like “On your first day of Kindergarten,”  and  “To my baby as she goes to school” and “The day my youngest started Kindergarten” (none of these are exact, but you get my drift, yes?)

In the past I have read these offerings fondly, I have even sent them on occasion as parents who have blazed the trail before me sent their respective littles off to Kindy and beyond.

I am here to tell you that I love each and every one of you who have sent those pieces… and I love and respect those who have so eloquently written them.

But people, I can’t read that shit right now.

Straight up, yo –  I am like, barely hanging on by the grace of God and Chardonnay and  a substantially unhealthy decent amount of denial.

It brings “I can’t even” to a new level.

Monday Jr started his last week of Pre-k at the day care center he has attended since he was 1.  I cried my “waterproof” mascara off  TWICE before 9 a.m. that morning. (I haven’t bothered trying to put it back on since.)

I woke up at 3 a.m. today, and I went into his room and turned on his soother and just sat in the glow watching him sleep.  (How much would that mess him up if I was THISCLOSE to his little face and he happened to wake up!? Screw saving for college, we should save for therapy.)
And this is just me, left to MY OWN thoughts on the subject, which are always scattered and fragmented and not all organized and beautiful and all of the things that the authors who wrote those posts and articles offer up so amazingly well.

If I read just one of those heartfelt examples, I have zero doubt that I would be reduced to a simpering, sobbing puddle of mom who runs to find Jr and tackle him in a heap of smother-hug on the floor, and NEVER gets my mess of a self up again, forevermore.

Because I think part of what is (barely) keeping me from losing it just now is that I kind of CAN’T put all of this into words….

I look at him this week and I see the eyes that have glanced curiously back at me, color matching my own perfectly, since minutes after he was born.  I hear echoes of his in-utero heartbeat on my stork radio monitor,  feel the cozy calm of his nursery enveloping us with the city bustling  below our beloved highrise “treehouse,” his first home. I smell his tiny baby lavender bath wash, taste every tear I have cried in fear and frustration and joy for him- all in an instant.

I see also in those eyes his entire future. The first inklings of his hopes and his dreams.  The challenges he will face, the obstacles he will overcome…. The love and the loss and the joy and the pain and the terrifying, beautiful BOUNDLESS promise that lives in that 40 lbs of human whirlwind.

I see it all.  And  I lose my words.

And I think it is saving me to know that for now.

I swear I will start a Pintrest board for all of those (no doubt awesome) posts, and I will read them around Halloween, when all of this is normal and routine and I can be only a semi hot mess mildly teary and slightly nostalgic about the next few weeks.

Right now it is way,  WAY too much.   Right now words aren’t tools, they are weapons coming at my tender mom-heart.

There is room in my little corner if you want to join me for denial, prayer, and Chardonnay, my fellow Kindy moms…..

No Kindergarten mom articles allowed though….  We don’t have enough tissues or box wine for that shit.


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My White Whale.


This, my good readers, is a Big Green Egg.

Actually – this is THE MR’S Big Green Egg – a Christmas present from Dr Sissy’s husband, Dr BIL, who has a serious Grill-mance going on with his own BGE (those in the know abbreviate it… because that is how cool they are.  I am probably not.)


I confess it took us 5 months a hot second to get up the nerve to tackle assembling the thing, but all of the other ILs that had received one in Dr BIL’s frenzy of  BGE gifting assured us that it was easy to do, and then we would instantly want to use it to cook ALL THE THINGS.  (I use “we” like a Royal We here, referring to me… because while The Mr tells many tales of his past outdoor cooking prowess, he has not demonstrated it to me in our 15 years together.  So long live Queen Keri, may WE ever grill on and on.)

Not going to lie – we fucked up the assembly in kind of the biggest way you can fuck it up.  (This time the “we’ actually means The Mr, but you know… whatever.)

BUT we got the severe underbite fixed eventually (not even kidding, it is like having a needy child,) and I was pressured to ready to get to smoking.

Here is the thing.  In my past four years of being VERY Reluctantly Suburban,  never have I EVER been so reluctant about anything as I was about this damn Egg.

In all my English Lit Degree nerdery, immediately named it Moby Dick…  it was my White Whale.

As it turns out, I am not great with fire.

No wait….that isn’t really it.

I am beyond unreasonably completely ginormously terrified of fire.  (Remember the Lantern Fest?  Yeah.)

See that pretty little Grill next to the White Whale?

That’s my sweet baby grill – the Charbroil Patio Bistro.  Hello lovely.    The Patio Bistro is PERFECT for highrise living – it is electric, but it isn’t one of those Foreman grill/glorified panini press/ why bother situations… it has an open grill grate positioned over basically an oven heating element.  GENIUS!!

I cook up a storm on that sucker.  And on my  flat top electric stove (So even! So clean! So safe!)

Then I settle in to watch the flames dance in my fire pit that burns giant cans of Sterno.

For reals… Keri no likey the fire.

I was the only girl scout in Troop 1062 to NOT get her fire badge.  In culinary school I LOATHED the gas stoves that everyone else adored. I have been perfectly happy keeping the Patio Bistro cooking along for the past 4 years, though we are now FAR from our 6th story patio and I could switch to something different.

No. Fire. No.

Except here is this damn egg.  And I have to fill it full of this fancy lump charcoal and light it on fire and get it going really well…  on my  back patio. ON PURPOSE.

There were some stops and starts, people.  And day drinking to calm my nerves (except then I was like “OH SHIT, now my judgement is compromised… am I fit to tend the flame!?)

And many, many, many, MANY calls to Dr BIL for advice, reassurance, moral support, (and even for drink recipes… because seriously, needed the booze. )

So I filled up the bottom with the charcoal and placed the little starter blocks around the pile, said a prayer and lit those puppies up.

Now it IS called a smoker…  so I shouldn’t have been so surprised.  But it was SMOKING LIKE HELLFIRE as it got going.   Like Whoa.  Like how did the neighbors not think the back of The Casa was en fuego, yo?

So I thought it was going good enough, and the smoke and the OPEN FLAMES were making me pretty nervous, so I set the plate set down inside over the  flaming situation, and then shut the lid and said a prayer (Ok, there was pretty much continuous prayer after I saw all that damn smoke.)

I threw open the bottom vent as wide as it would go, and (after putting the whole situation out from lack of air – stupid high altitude,) I pulled the daisy wheel off the top completely, (note how I use BGE terms comfortably now, like Elle Woods and legal jargon, amirite?)

EVENTUALLY, after panicking and cutting the airflow off several times resulting in having to relight, I got it to a good even temp and tossed on some Brisket and Ribs.

So. Much. Pressure.

I had The Mr… I also had the Mr’s parents.  That is a WHOLE mess of people from Texas to be around if you jack up your cook, yo.

ANDPLUSALSO, there are all of these horror stories on the interwebs about people who open their Egg too fast and cause a rocket like flame up that takes every hair on the top half of their bodies or whatever, and you know, there’s that whole “ SCARED SHITLESS OF FIRE” thing I have going on, so no pressure there, RIGHT!?

But I managed not to burn the house down, and also to actually keep the thing lit (after a few false starts due to my chicken shit nature,) and dinner that night was good.

So good, actually.

BUT –  I don’t feel the need to fire up the White Whale BGE every day and night…

The  guys of the ‘hood are all uber excited about it, so maybe I can get The Mr  hooked on smokin’ in the future, eh?

In the meantime, I would tell you not to call the fire department if you see a TON of smoke rolling up from the back of our house…  but we have some hot fire men, yo. 

So, better safe than sorry… Right?

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The Heart Attack That Wasn’t

Getting ready for the fireworks- and outside of my safety zone – for this awesome kiddo. And.for myself.

Last Wednesday morning, one week ago today, was really nothing special at all.  I got myself and Jr up and ready and out the door, lingered over some time with my parents when I dropped the kiddo off to spend the day with them, and headed into the office since there were some visitors from the main office in town and it is always nice to have some “face time” with long-distance colleagues.

4 hours later I was being carted out on a (extraordinarily tall) stretcher to an ambulance waiting in the parking lot.  (Seriously – I had no idea you were so high up on those things… are they all so freakin’ high!?)   Minutes before that, I was 100% convinced that I was having a heart attack, had waited too long to act, and was going to die in my office waiting for the paramedics only a few minutes away.

Soooo, none of that was true. Thank God.

What did happen?  I can’t be sure yet – my primary care doc and neurologist are still ordering up tests to check things like hormone levels (getting old is sure fun, isn’t it) and look for any changes on MRIs (to rule out any new lesions that might indicate a change in disease course for my M.S.)  We shall see what the results are when the dust settles.

But if I had to guess, hindsight being 20/20?

Anxiety Attack.

Horrible, no-good, very bad, worse and different than I have ever experienced, Anxiety Attack.

Hello darkness, my old friend.

Or should I say you dirty unwelcome bitch.

I don’t talk about my long history with Generalized Anxiety and Panic Disorder here very often.  Or at least not seriously.  I joke about having refilled my Ativan script for an upcoming flight, I hint about my extra worry and helicopter parenting.  I poke fun and I minimize and brush by it without really talking much at all.

Talking about it makes me worry that I might panic from talking about it.

That’s the thing.  Once it starts, it is a horrible, vicious, unending loop.  It feeds on fear of itself.

And this time was different.  I can ALWAYS pinpoint a cause, no matter how little or unreasonable.  I always know what caused an attack. Because of that I can head many off at the pass by taking precautions or making extra preparations before a particular activity, (or, worst case, by not doing it at all, which sucks but doesn’t happen often any more.)  But not this time.  There was no warning.  There was no trigger.  It felt SO MUCH WORSE than anything I had ever experienced before.   My whole body tensed;  heart racing, feeling like it was being squeezed by something;  chest pains; dizziness…

Something awful was clearly happening to me.

In my mind I know that statement is no less true because it wasn’t a heart attack.  I remind myself that constantly.  But anxiety is cruel in other ways too – it hides inside of you, it is difficult for others to see and to understand.  It builds on the shame of each “why don’t you just calm down/snap out of it/stop worrying/choose differently” look and comment,  well-meaning or otherwise.  Because in your heart you are asking that too.  “Why can’t I just calm down?” “Why can’t I just enjoy this activity like others do?”  “Why do I have to plan and overthink and worry?” “Why can I not be free of this?”  “WHY?”

My 20s were a blur of panic.  Sometimes as an under-riding current of general anxiety, others as months of crippling waves of panic leaving me trapped by worry and fear, never venturing out of my walkable urban neighborhood.  Shortly after I got married my mom made a last desperate plea for me to get help.  I didn’t want the weight of the anchor that my panic and anxiety was to prevent the journey my new husband and I had just started together in our marriage and so I agreed.

Almost immediately I wished I had reached out long before – and little by little, my world grew again.

This week – in the hours and days since the heart attack that wasn’t, I have gone about making follow up appointments and tracking referrals and insurance claims and all of the business of tying up loose ends that happens after an ER visit.  But I have been watchful, waiting guardedly for a hint that the next one is coming.

This time I will fight, clawing to keep every inch I have gained back, every experience I have won back over from terror to ease…  I know that there are setbacks, and that is fine.  But I refuse to accept a spiral.  I will deny shame a place in the battle this time, and I will be am being proactive.

This time panic, you can’t come for me.  This time I am coming for you.



If you are experiencing Anxiety or Panic Attacks – PLEASE reach out.  Your doctor is a great initial resource, there amazing groups full of supportive people in many areas and even online.  It took me years – heed my mother’s advice now and reach out. (I didn’t know then what I know now.  My mother is always right.)


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