Today

Each day I am wearing a shirt that reminds me of someone I care about. Today is a SeaQuake Brewing shirt from my awesome coworker.

As I write this – I hear Jr in the basement, giggling at the FB Kids Messenger game he is playing with the neighbor kid from down the street.

Two weeks ago, FB Kids Messenger was not a thing that my kid needed access to in my opinion.

Two weeks was another damn lifetime. What did I know two weeks ago?

I have struggled already through massive highs and lows, and started posts for each of them – somehow never able to finish the thoughts. Which is fitting, really, because I can’t finish a single thought in my head anymore either. It is a constant swirling whirlpool of worries and responsibilities and checklists and hope and fear and disbelieve and realizing and over and over and on.

One day I am Super Mom – ready to Mom Up and handle the whole household through this time of crisis with a smile and understanding and a solution for every issue that arises.

The next I am despondent, concerned for my team at work, watchful and worried about my family here, and paralyzed with fear for Dr Sissy, Dr BIL, and all the other doctors, nurses, and others on the frontlines of this war.

Some days I go back and forth. A lot.

I am not a person I know. I am a stranger to myself, moment to moment – learning to be a person in this world.

So now I listen to my son on his video chat with the kiddo he would typically be riding scooters with out in front, and he is laughing.

And I am so effing grateful for that.

And that I guess, is today.

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Imposter

Let’s talk about Imposter Syndrome, shall we?

I say this knowing that, to be honest, even talking about Impostor Syndrome triggers feelings of Impostor Syndrome in every fiber of my being.

“Ugh Keri, you have to be important enough to not feel worthy enough of not feeling worthy and important, and you aren’t so just stop.”

So yeah.

It can be tough to combat that feeling of fakeness if you can’t understand that you are even in the place you would need to be in order to be faking something.

(Wait, What? Are we in a Friends episode Right now?)

they dont know that we know

But here we are. Here I am.  I have felt it SO much in all aspects of my life recently.  I feel it here, with my content and it makes me think “you are not a real-enough writer and people don’t care, so just stop embarrassing yourself.”   (Clearly this voice wins in stops and starts.)

It creeps into my family life — when it takes me 3 days to reach out to Jr’s school administration to voice concerns because “they  know what they are doing and you are just going to look like that dumbass mom who is up everyone’s butt about everything, Keri.”    It whispers in my ear every time I make a choice that is different than other parents, every time Jr says “all the other kids get to do ___________.”

When I make choices about my family finances or food or fun or ANYTHING, there is the quiet echo of “who made you boss? What do you know?”

Don’t even get me started about the professional life stuff –  eight years into the process of growing an amazing team , and a few months into a new promotion,  AND  hot off a review that included lots of amazing and constructive feedback from colleagues, there is still that voice that says “WHO are they talking about!? It can’t be you.  You can’t make these decisions, you can’t lead a team like they say, tomorrow you will surely show your entire shitty hand and it will all go to pot.”

 

Here’s the thing. Magical thinking is awesome in books and movies. But in 2020 I made it my goal to combat all kinds of untruths with facts.  With the knowledge that others already come to me and I DO these things every day. I make these decisions. I know what my kid needs. I built this team from one person (me) to a whole big-ass team.

And whatever I write, even in the times when someone isn’t paying me, makes me a writer.

They don’t know that I know that they know, but I know….

I got this.

 

 

 

 

 

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On Main Street

Current rental sitch….

When I was in my junior year, I got in an accident right out in front of the High School.

A driver decided to run a stop sign and drove into the passenger side of my car without so much as slowing down. I jumped out, adrenaline racing, screaming at her “Why didn’t you stop!? My friend’s little sister is right in my passenger seat! You could have hurt us!!!” (I distinctly remember saying “my friend’s little sister, even though she was only a year younger than us, also very much my friend as well.)

Her answer was that she saw the stop sign, but didn’t stop. K

There we were, right as all the traffic was coming out of the school, blocking one of the busiest intersections on Main street while I sent someone to call the police.

It took a bit, but here came the officer up the street from the police station to sort things out, and the other motorist’s face went from a look of determination to disappointment when I burst into tears, called the officer by name and sobbed into his hug “she hit me and Sara in my jeep, Bart!!”

So off she went to get her ticket, and off I went to start the process of dealing with filing a claim with her insurance, etc. With a LOT of help from my dad.

And so it was… 20-something years later, on Halloween evening, that was sitting at a stoplight on that same Main Street, in my jeep, waiting for a red light to change.

When suddenly, the motorist behind me decided it was time to go. And so he did. Into the back of the Keri-mobile at the still very much red light.

This time no one was in the car with me. This time when I jumped out there wasn’t any screaming – I just said “are you ok? Do you have your insurance info?” And dialed the police non-emergency number.

But it was not-at-all lost on me, the eerie feeling of déjà vu, as I stood there waiting next to my injured Jeep, in the intersection on Main, for a hometown police officer to arrive, thanking the people who stopped to make sure we were ok. Even car crashes in your hometown spark memories.

Information exchanged and reports complete, off I went to take Jr trick-or-treating before starting the claim process (I did refrain from calling my dad for an assist this time, although I had to stop myself a few times – insurance stuff sucks!)

All involved with both of those accidents were fortunate to walk away with damage to vehicles, and not the people inside them, and as so-very-often happens to me now, I was overwhelmed with a sense of gratefulness at the sense of community that has lasted all of these years as my little town has grown (and grown, and GROWN.)

We bundled up and walked the neighborhood in the cold Colorado twilight of Halloween, and of course I got misty eyed watching my son with his friends, and laughing and shivering along with our neighbors.

We are so lucky to be here in this wonderful place with these wonderful people.

(So neighbors – go easy on the Colorado native driving the economy rental with Kansas plates, it’s all the insurance company would spring for!)

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Bittersweet

Today I turn 43.

But last weekend I was 17.

It’s (kinda sorta) true.

Bright and early Saturday morning I picked Dr. Sissy up at the airport for a quick 3 day visit just ahead of our birthday.

And OF COURSE she had a jam-packed schedule of seeing friends, hanging with the fam (see pic,) and drinking wine and giggling with yours truly –but we had a specific greater goal.

Gosh, aren’t our parents lucky? (J/k- we won the parent lottery with these awesome humans for sure!)

Time Travel.

Kinda….

You see, growing up in Colorado, being a teenager in the summer meant one thing above all others – Red Rocks concert season.

And to our crew, the HIGH HOLY HOLIDAY of 1990’s summers at Red Rocks was the 4th of July show with Big Head Todd and The Monsters, and Blues Traveler. But I need you to understand something right here and now, people – if you were raised when I was raised, WHERE I was raised, Blues Traveler was the decorative afterthought on that bill and BHT&tM was EVERYTHING.

I could get all misty and nostalgic about those shows, and go digging through my closet for my Birks (actually I should find those,) and my ripped up CU sweatshirt and really dive down that rabbit hole, but I will spare you and just leave it at that.

So, in a sentence that could very well have been written about my junior year of high school, we loaded into my jeep and took off for Morrison for the main event of our final weekend as 42 year olds.

Big Head Todd and the Monsters and Toad the Wet Sprocket at Red Rocks.

YASSSSSSSSSSS.

(Sidenote for those in the know – that bottom parking lot feels A LOT farther in your 40s than it does when you are younger, amirite!?)

Seriously…. the lower lot is rough, yo.

Keep climbing..

It was about the time that we were pulling into said parking lot that my darling twin sister, the other half of my egg, realized that she had left her wallet at my house and didn’t have her ID… it took us about 5 minutes to realize that if needed, she could probably use mine… because you know TWINS.

BUT – something else we always seem to forget – we don’t have to plot to game the system, because you know OLD.

So we easily grabbed two classy aluminum bottles of Chardonnay on the way to our seats. #standardmoms.

My sister is hawt. (Get it?)

Again, at this point I feel compelled to express that Big Head Todd was a BFD if you grew up Boulder adjacent like we did. And they were great. Truly.

But Toad the Wet Sprocket brought the mf-ing house down. Legit – they were a damn blast and every song just got better….

They were SPEAKING to that crowd of my peers…

Then they played “Walk on the Ocean” and this remarkable hush fell over all of us jaded Gen Xers….like we were noticing the lyrics for the first time:

We don’t even have pictures
Just memories to hold
That grow sweeter each season
As we slowly grow old….

AND WE BLEW THAT SHIT UPPPPPP – everyone screaming and wooping and dancing and remembering.

Not from our Instagram memories…. Not even from old pictures or faded concert tickets stuck in long ago stored or tossed scrapbooks…

It was the music – it was the place – it was the feeling. We were all back there, and somehow as we huddled in the dark watching the lights reflecting on the soft rain that danced in the smoke above the stage as Big Head Todd brought Hazel Miller out to join them, just like they always did/do – it was 1994 again. We were remembering bringing huge thermoses of vodka lemonade and giant backpacks filled with food into shows –spreading out blankets and hogging up real estate in general admission and soaking up the sun…. getting together and breaking up and making up and Camel straights and fireworks and epic rain storms and once-in-lifetime shows we took for granted and just EVERYTHING…

I confess that my sister has a better concept of what other people think of shows at Red Rocks than I do. I have never NOT lived here – it has never NOT been my normal. I understand that I am remarkably spoiled in that way.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel its might…. For me it is in the rocks and the trees and the view of the city I love, but it is also every person I have ever shared it with. It is Doctor Sissy… and the times I have sat there with The Mr. throughout our entire 18 year relationship… it is Matt and Christy and Parker and Rachel and Radar and Misty and Jimmy and Julia and every other person that myself and my sister have sat next to in the growing dark of a show in our now 43 years on this planet, underneath those rocks in the blazing sun and the driving rain, and seemingly very little in between (if you know you know.) And now, it is Jr…. we stopped there on our way to spend a week with The Mr’s family in the mountains last summer, and this fall him and I will make the climb from the parking lots to let him experience his first concert at Red Rocks, along with my dear friend Stacey and her daughter, and I am SO excited to bring him into the fold and to share it with more friends.

Because sitting there – with my twin sister, a few days before our 43rd birthday, listening to music that shaped our souls, surrounded by other people our age who were also dancing and singing their hearts out…. We felt connected to each other, and reconnected with our selves.

Of course nostalgic glow doesn’t really last forever, and as we exited and started our hike back to the parking lot we were instantly reminded that we were FAR from 1994:

There is a literal Lyft-land for post-show pick ups… you sit in chairs hanging out and they call your name on a bullhorn.. #reasonsKerilovesmillenials

And so we left and followed the traffic back out on to I-70 and out of the foothills, and went through the Taco Bell drive thru (like we did in high school after a show, DUH,) and came home giggling and chatting and trying not to wake the whole house (like we did in high school after a show, also DUH.)

And we fell asleep smiling, somewhere in between 17 and 43 — and Big Head Todd really always was right… Its bittersweet, more sweet than bitter.

It’s a bittersweet, surrender.

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Mother of a day

Mothers’ Day is interesting as a concept…. And even more interesting as a reality. (Amirite, Moms? Where my sisters at?)

I always talk big about it in the lead up – “Mothers’ Day is coming, so maybe you can get your own stuff together in your Lacrosse backpack and give mom a break this weekend, eh?” “Mothers’ Day is tomorrow, so how about if you wake up in the middle of the night, you head straight to Daddy’s side of the bed and let Mommy sleep this once, maybe?” It’s Mothers’ Day, so how about when you see NeNe and Pop pull into the neighborhood, you come right back in from playing with the neighborhood gang and wash up so we can have brunch without me having to belllow down the street like a loon?”

This is all pointless. This will not happen. This is just not how things will ever be…..

Bright and early last Saturday morning, Jr trotted off to walk Binky-the-wonder-dog with The Mr, and when the Mr. and Binky returned, Jr did not. He was off on his scooter or skateboard or bike, playing with his friends. No Lacrosse prep made for his practice and game later that morning. No no no.

But later that day, when him and I were having our typcial mother/son Saturday lunch date, his little freckles were blinging away as he gazed up at me and I kinda forgot that we had a total smackdown about getting all his crap to the field earlier…

And much later, in the wee small hours of a newly-begun Mothers’ Day, at 1-something a.m., Jr did NOT direct his attention to his father’s side of the bed… instead he trolled around until he found me – not on my side of the bed, but where I had decided to stay after falling asleep on the sofa in front of the TV in the family room. He woke me out of a dead sleep by sticking his pale, wide-eyed face as close as he could, and tapping me ON MY FACE and then I demonstrated to him just how high an aging woman can jump when provoked. I confess I started my statement to him with “oh buddy no no nope, it is dad’s turn, bro!” Then we went and he made me wake The Mr to lay with him, because getting me up = good, getting dad up = not. (Side note, I still did it, and I slept the sleep of a woman who made a good damn choice, yo.)

At the exact crack of dawn (ok, it may have been 6:30 am, BUT STILL,) Jr was up and asking when Nene and Pop would arrive for brunch. Hint – NOT at 6:30 in the dang a.m… Just sayin’.

I swore this year I would keep brunch simple since, while I love to treat my mom on Mothers’ Day, I also love to not have a lot to worry about on Mothers’ Day so this was the spread:

Lox, roast beef, bagels, fruit, and a steady supply of coffee, juice, mimosas, and morning mules.

It was perfect – especially since it did INDEED take much convincing to get Jr to come in from playing outside and sit and eat with us.

Sigh.

I would LOVE to say that when it came time to take mom (dat’s me) out for her early bird Sunday dinner at her favorite fried chicken joint, he came willingly running home ready to spend some quality time.

But lying is wrong, and he was a total pill about it because even HOURS AND HOURS of playing outside isn’t enough at this point. (Don’t get me wrong – playing is good. So is family time….and eating. And not making mom hangry on Mothers’ Day.)

So midway to the restaurant we had to have a “pull the car over and get serious about it” talk from Dad about how the rest of the day was going to go down – and dinner was yummy, though a little bit pouty at times from one side of the table.

BUT THEN – bedtime rolled around and we started reading my favorite book from when I was in 3rd grade (which he will be in fall,) Superfudge.

#judyblume4eva

He was howling with laughter along with me, which was kind of really totally awesome.

And when we had read our chapter of that book, and moved on to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (our current “fall asleep to it book”,) he rolled over, sighed, and fell asleep like this.

And much like the Grinch that is still his bedtime buddy, my heart grew three sizes that day…

Another ride on the Mothers’ Day emotional roller coaster completed without running off the rails, and just like all the best rides it was a total hair raiser that scares the heck out of you, and leaves you grinning from ear to ear at the end.

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