Tag Archives: moms

The Secret of The Mother’s Heart


He made me “mom.” So he can lay on the good pillows.

This little ball of flufftastic perfection is my firstborn baby boy. We had long nights of not much sleep together during those 1st weeks of being a family, and eventually I figured out how to best care for him. Just like any other new baby.
I have beamed with pride at his doggy accomplishments, celebrated big milestones in his life, worried and prayed through some scary sicknesses with him (hello extra gray hairs,) and I knew from the first time I saw him that he had reshaped my heart.

It was more than that. He revealed to me the true Secret of a Mother’s Heart:  it can expand indefinitely. There is always more room, always more love.

I am never afraid to give 100% of my love -to him, to his spunky almost-kindergartener brother (time flies,) to my family and friends, and to those in the world who need to feel love and compassion.

I understand now, how my own mother’s love grew the strongest and shined the brightest on me when I was at my worst. (God bless you, Maude)

Because a Mother’s Heart renews and replenishes and strengthens and gives.

Happy Mothers’ Day to all the mommas out there-  you are all beautiful, amazing, pefectly-imperfect gifts to your families and friends and communities.
I raise my mimosa to each and every one of you!

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Attention King Soopers’ Shoppers – I apologize profusely if you were subjected to my shameless display of nostalgia and longing in the baby product isle this week.

It’s just this – my kid turned 5 on Sunday.


How the actual eff was the kid in this picture, which CLEARLY happened just a blink ago, now 5 full years old?
I have been a damn mess pretty much my whole life the past week or so – reminders of his completed babyhood have been everywhere.

As I cleaned out some toy bins to prepare for the onslaught of superhero crap birthday gifts that would need storage, I stumbled on this old friend:
This is Pocket Bert.  Toddler Jr loved Bert so much that we had Bert in varying sizes – Pocket Bert got his name because he resided in the pocket of the diaper bag, there to comfort and amuse Jr at a moment’s notice.  Oh how he loved Pocket Bert so.

:::pause to make Pocket Bert do a dance while humming  “Doin’ the Pidgeon.” :::

Sniffle.  Whimper.

Andplusalso, stop what you are doing and behold this picture of his tiny baby cuteness that TimeHop threw at me this week.  (Well, don’t stop what you are doing – keep right on reading the awesomeness of Reluctantly Suburban, but pause to take in that smoosh.)

I can’t even so much that I can’t even EVEN with that one.  All of them, actually.  I can’t open TimeHop without a box of Kleenex stationed next to me.

So it was inevitable, I guess, that as I was grabbing some groceries this week, I found myself at the end of the isle of baby products:
I knew I shouldn’t – but I ventured in.

There it all was – tubes of diaper cream both awesome (Purple Desitin) and pointless (Butt Paste,) and gas drops and washes for tiny people with sensitive skin.  Jars of liquid fruit and veggies, delicious little “puffs,” and the Baby Mum Mums that I used to order by the case from Amazon since the stores weren’t carrying them then (oh sure NOW you have them, King Soopers.)

Bottle parts and teething rings and liquid gold Jr’s expensive special formula…. Itty bitty, teeny tiny diapers that used to be too big for him in his first few weeks of life.

It was that last thought that got me – that was in the first few weeks of him and I…  we were together in his nursery, high above the busy city below, figuring out all of those crazy products and what we needed to do…  now there has been 5 years of him – and of me as his mom.

BOOM – grocery store ugly cry. Waterfall of tears.  I could almost hear the PA announcement  “Wet (and sloppy, and crazy) clean up, isle 16!!”

I walked the length of the isle slowly, taking it all in and having a good cry (if there is a “good cry” to be had in public, FFS, Keri.)

Then I went and got him a new Super Friends straw cup and a box of the shortbread cookies shaped like doggies that he loves so much and collected myself (kinda) before checking out.

Then, for some reason, the Catalina coupon dispenser shot this puppy out at me after I paid.

Diaper coupon.

But my son is 5.


“Wet clean up near the crazy crying lady at the U-scan.  Bring Tissues.”

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Maybe Reality Really DOES Bite.


Ya know what, Troy?   Cram it.  (Credit: http://www.spot.ph)

40 is coming. Or rather, I am currently rolling downhill like a snowball headed for hell toward my 40th birthday in June. If you smash my twin sister and I together, that is 80 years of twinny “us-ness” on this planet. Scary stuff.

I didn’t think 40 was going to bug me. After all, 40 is the new 30, right? We are a FAR CRY away from the 40th birthday I remember my mom having, complete with coworkers stringing black streamers everywhere and outfitting her with a cane and veiled black hat to go with her “over the hill” cake.

That just isn’t what 40 means today. Think about who else is turning 40 this year. Reece Witherspoon. Ryan Reynolds. Melissa Joan Hart – Sabrina the teenage witch, yo! Keri Russell – awesome first name to match her awesome looks! 40 ain’t nothin’ at this point, right?    I remember thinking when Jennifer Aniston turned 40 (7 years ago, people,) that 40 was spectacular. That all you had to be by 40 was a grown-ass version of you. (With apologies to Troy from Reality Bites, because none of us knew ANYTHING at 23, really dude.)

But therein lies the rub. 7 years ago, 33 year old Keri was, if I remember correctly, putting some fairly substantial pressure on herself regarding her Jesus year, and thinking that “way far off into the future” of Keri-ness, at the ripe old age of 40, she would finally have gotten it together as a grown up.

Guess what? NOPE.

I am a warmed over mess. Don’t get me wrong, it is my warmed over mess… this is my 40 year old bed, I made it and I can lay in it, blah blah blah… It isn’t the whole “I’m so damn old, woe is my aged self” thing that has me reeling, although I do confess feeling kind of old of late. It’s the nagging “shouldn’t I feel like a dang grown up by now?” question. I am like, way far into this dog-and-pony show, right? At what point, exactly, am I going to stop feeling like I should be calling my mom to come and pick me up from this charade, because it MUST be way past my curfew? The ghosts of Keri-ages past would be pretty disturbed to know that at 40 it was all still going to be feeling like a total crap shoot. That sucks, yo.

I briefly considered diving into a good old-fashioned midlife crisis- but dipping my toe in those waters by taking an ill-advised shopping trip in the Juniors’ section for clothes that look ridiculous on me, drinking like a 23 year old at the neighbors’ house, taking on a bunch of contract work in all my free time so I can “do what I love,” and otherwise generally acting “un-Keri” just left me feeling embarrassed and desperate and old.

Man, I miss just feeling old.

So the midlife crisis is off the table, as I don’t have time for self-destruct just now since I can’t get even my adult shit together without that added BS.  There’s really no spare time to blow everything up when you are just hoping to get your kid and yourself out the door with lunch packed and pants on both of you, can I get an amen?

But what then? Or what now, I mean. Here I am being all old (but not,) coming to terms with the idea that maybe, JUST maybe, this is all there is.

I am not destined to change the world, or even my little corner of it. There is no cosmic line to cross or switch I have to find and flip to make things “the way they are supposed to be.” No fairy godmother is going to come donk me on the head and pronounce that I am now fully qualified for adulting and open a door to some wonderland of grown-up-edness.

I always pictured myself as the girl humming the Mary Tyler Moore theme song and whipping my hat off to toss as I spun around knowing I was “gonna make it after allllllll.”

But staring down the barrel of the very adult age of 40, all I seem to be able to muster is a half-hearted bit of the theme from “One Day at a Time.”   Then I realize that BOTH of those shows are so ancient, I can’t even come up-to-speed on TV references. AND I LOVE TV!

Again I find myself back at Reality Bites, and Troy; the-once-and-now-again voice of my generation…  Now it seems, is “the winter of my discontent.”  But Troy remains forever frozen in fresh-college-grad smuggery as he utters that line through his 90s facial hair.

Here in 2016 and MANY years away from my English lit degree, borrowing lines from Shakespeare seems awfully grand a way of phrasing the realization that I’ve been on the planet for 40 years and still cope with stressful situations primarily through nacho consumption and magical thinking.

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Mom’s night out


Oh look! The oppressive fog of Mom Guilt! (No? Just me?)

I saw the text as I was exiting Jr’s room with my usual grace after a particularly quick bedtime. (In other words, I fell over the laundry basket and landed in a pile of library books, stubbing my toe on his dresser and holding my breath as I glared over to see if I’d woken him. Nope. Stuck that landing.)

“I know you may be in Jammies, but you wanna meet me at the brewery for a beer at 8?”
Two things….
1. It was like, 7 pm on a Saturday night.
2. I was TOTALLY in jammies.

An internal battle began. The Mr had just brought home a new load of wine that was calling my jammie-clad name, along with my comfy chair and puffy dog.
Nobody wants to be the lamest mom on the block, right? Jr had fallen blissfully asleep super quick, The Mr had some hideous Bob Marley concert on the DVR he was dying to watch; in short, the stars were aligning to send me off into the night.
I would bet 20 bucks that my friend swore audibly from the shock of seeing my “sure I can do that” return text.

Mama was breaking out.

With almost no notice. On a Saturday night. WAY past the usual happy hour time for typical outings.
I took one last look at my snoozing offspring on the monitor and told The Mr adios. Then I backed out of the driveway, cranking up the Banner Pilot as I stole away from the subdivision like thief stealing freedom.
If I was going to do this, I was going to go all in. What did teenage Keri do when she was out and about in this town on a Saturday night?
Oh Hayyyyy, Taco Bell drive thru. Bell Grande me, por favor!

Except I sat in that damn drive thru for 20+ minutes. My pumped-up-edness totally deflated by the time I finally rolled up to the window, where the uber uninterested girl took my money and then didn’t come back FOREVER. When she finally stuck my order out the window, I was like “what’s going on in there!?” She looked at me like I was crazy. Every substance on those nachos comes out of a freaking caulking gun – how could it take 20 minutes!!!

Was the universe conspiring against me due to my horrible decision? Was it just me, or was Taco Bell girl giving me a “why aren’t you home with your small child!?” look?
I pressed on – I had REALLY hard-earned nachos to share, and there was beer to be had.
We laughed, we drank, we ate nacho-type-product. All was well. I only semi-obsessively checked my phone/imagined my son waking up and being devastated beyond what therapy could heal when he found his ever-lovin’ mommy had abandoned him. (There is a small chance I might be inflating his image of me in my mind. Nahhh.)

After a couple hours of girl-timey goodness, I departed to head home in time to give Jr his booster of cough meds, LONG before the hour that Cinderella’s accessories were in any danger of becoming fodder for the farmers’ market. But hey – baby steps, yo.

A layer of super dense, weirdly stilling fog had settled over the town. Like, “can’t see the stop light until you are almost running it” fog. “Thick like potato soup, but not my grandma’s gross watery potato soup, REAL potato soup” fog. “Serial killers come out of this shit, don’t stop by that clump of trees, stupid” fog.
Like SERIOUS fog.

Again – my mind wandered to thoughts of universal signs, and images of Jr reading a fairy tale of a mother who left her son for selfish reasons and was swallowed up by a fog in the woods, NEVER to be seen again… except it wasn’t a fairy tale, it was YOUR CRUMMY MOM, JR!!

I hunched into granny-over-steering-wheel posture and soldiered on – MAMA’S YO’ RIDE OR DIE SON, even in the fog – I am coming!!! I am like the U.S. MFing P.S. – no weather can keep me from my appointed rounds!!!! (My parents always said I was “over dramatic” when I was young… I clearly grew out of that just fine.)

I punched the button on the garage door and did a total runner into the house, convinced that was the smoke/CO alarm I heard going off, or SOMETHING.
There was The Mr. sipping on some Jeffersons, monitor humming an image of Jr peacefully off in dreamland, possibly having not even moved since I pulled my laundry basket dismount from his room hours ago.
As my Aunt Della would say – guess I’m not so mucking futch around here after all.

But that Taco Bell wait was still totally messed up, yo.

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HOORAY for 2015

2015.  What a ride it has been. Join me in a walk down memory lane in some of my favorite and most popular posts, linked throughout the post.

I started the year with bacon and nostalgic weeping over Fisher Price Little People and tiny underpants, and we are indeed, now in the land of big boy beds and button up jammies, and coloring in the lines (he is better than me at this point.)   BUT, 2015 has been so much more than just that.

It was the year I got trapped in a car wash, the year my hair grew a mind of its own, and the year I got slightly less nostalgic about our former life in The Treehouse.

It was the final au revoir to a touchstone of my younger years, and the year I discovered that some hurt leaves holes in the heart that no amount of roast chicken can ever fill.

2015 gave me my most treasured and proudly worn laugh line.


For Jr it ushered in The Age of the Questionable Decision, and gave him ample opportunity to shake his preschooler head at his nutty mom’s behavior, (and occasionally pay her back for it. Just Sayin’.)


For The Mr, it was a year of deep, important questions…

Questions like “How’d she end up sick?” and “What the hell is that giant pear for, anyway?”


It was the year I mortified the barbecue man.  (Seriously though dude, you have LOTS of company in that, I promise.)

2015 was the year that I clarified my stance on the all-important and extremely divisive issue of leggings usage. (Not Pants. NOT.)


It has been a great year, and fantastic to share the ups and downs, ins and outs, and highs and lows with all of you!

I appreciate you taking the time to read – I look forward to trying some new things here on Reluctantly Suburban in 2016, and I hope that each of you will join in with me.

Happy new year!

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