Grammar Matters: How to Avoid Messing Up Your Holiday Card


Stop messing up your holiday cards: How to properly pluralize your name. Grammar matters!

The inspiration behind this blog post came twoas I clicked “send” on my online order of Christmas cards and shuddered when I entered my credit card information to pay for them.

Those things are flipping expensive. I even had a coupon! How did they still manage to cost a small fortune? Especially when facing the harsh reality that the recipients typically trash them once the holidays are over.

Why do we do this to ourselves?

Oh, for the same reason we send moving announcements and birth announcements.

Because society tells us we have to do it.

I digress.

Which reminds me of a pet peeve that gets flashed before my eyes once other peoples’ holiday cards start arriving in our mailbox after Thanksgiving.

Incorrect name pluralization.

When this happens, I see the Smith’s (yes, I meant to do that) in an entirely different light.

Homegirl has a Ph.D. in biomechanics but can’t properly pluralize her name, and now a hundred people (the number of holiday cards she mailed out) know about it.

Le sigh. 

Look, I realize grammar isn’t necessarily my bread and butter and effectively puts a bullseye on my back anytime I mistakenly send an email regarding the resluts of a recent trial.

Whoops. I hate resluts. They’re so… gross. 

Or worse, if I send a text about taht bottle of cabernet sauvignon instead of that one.

I can only hope my grammar snafus aren’t so public. Like they are bound to be on a future blog post because of the karma I’m putting out into the world just by writing this.  

Digressing again.

Which also reminds me of Christmastime around five years ago where a handful of girlfriends and I were sitting around a table complaining about discussing mailing our holiday cards. One of the girls, we’ll call her Kathryn, asked me how many cards we ordered.

I told her.

Well...,” she said smirking, “we mail out [twice the number I said].”

Congratulations, Felicia! 

Kathryn, among other reasons, is now an acquaintance.

Digressing again.

How to Make Your Last Name Plural

If Your Last Name Ends with These Letters, Add an s to the End:

a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, q, r, t, u, v, w, y

If Your Last Name Ends with These Letters, Add an es to the End: 

s, x, z, ch, sh

The Critical Bottom Line: NEVER, EVER add an apostrophe. Ever. 

Here is a walk down Burby Christmas card lane. Please note my hoarding failed because I somehow misplaced the 2010 card and those schmucks over at tinyprints.com didn’t keep a digital copy.

How to pluralize your last name in a Holiday Card | The Champagne Supernova

How to Properly Pluralize your Name on Your Christmas Card: http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/11/grammar-matters-how-to-avoid-messing-up-your-holiday-card/

Probably my favorite Christmas card to date.

How to pluralize your name on your holiday card | The Champagne Supernova

How to pluralize your last name | The Champagne Supernova

People sometimes ask where I order my holiday cards. Year after year, I get them from this site. The customer service and paper quality is bar none. (If you purchase cards through my link, I will get credit for the sale and buy you a glass of wine next time I see you!)

Cheers!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Love, the Burbys. 

SaveSave

    From a Working Mom to Stay at Home Moms: Keep on Keeping On


    From a Working Mom to Stay at Home Moms: Keep on Keeping on! http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/11/working-mom-to-stay-at-home-moms

    Me and Arden on my first day back to work after maternity leave in 2012. This is the working mom version of “double fisting.”

    When my friend Amber of one of my favorite lifestyle and parenting blogs, Cupcakes and Coffee Grounds, approached me to collaborate with her on a post about stay at home moms and working moms, I was flattered but apprehensive.

    It’s been done a million times before. Amber’s post is HERE.

    The topic has been written about as much as breastfeeding versus formula, cloth versus regular diapers, organic food versus Burger King, and I didn’t know how I would meaningfully contribute to the conversation without sounding like a broken record.

    Then I saw an article that really got my proverbial goat.

    A couple months ago, Harvard Business School performed a study finding working moms have more successful daughters and more caring sons than stay at home moms. The findings are here. I saw it plastered all over my social media news feeds and some girlfriends encouraged me to share it on my blog’s Facebook page, as I customarily post newsworthy stories on days I’m not promoting my own blog.

    No freaking way.

    Firstly, I don’t know the testing Harvard used to come up with its “findings,” but the study, and publicity of the outcome, resulted in polarizing working moms and stay at home moms.

    Aren’t we all in this together?

    Truth be told, if one of my stay at home mom friends shared a story about how stay at home moms had more successful children than working moms, I’d think she was a jerk.

    You know what, Harvard? You can trash your silly findings.

    Gymboree: What's Your One Big Happy?

    Whether a mother works outside the home or doesn’t will not, by itself, give a child an “edge” on success. Here’s what will:

    Spending Quality Time With Your Children. Parents are more likely to have successful children when they spend quality time with them. Asking about their day and actively listening to the stories that follow. Wanting to know about what they learned at school. Helping them do their homework. Telling jokes. Reading books. Watching them explore the world. Engaging in hobbies together.

    Monitoring Who Their Friends Are. Parents are more likely to have successful children when they give a darn about who their friends are. It’s true that one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch. In my life, I’ve seen children with huge potential and abundant talents get sucked into a black vortex when their parents didn’t take the time to know who their friends were. Parents who are allowing their children to spend time with other kids who are habitually engaging in illegal activities (see: underage smoking and drinking), skipping school, or who are sexually promiscuous shouldn’t be surprised if their child is doing the same things.

    Letting Them Make Mistakes. Parents are more likely to have successful children when they allow them to make mistakes so they can learn from them. You want to wait until the eleventh hour to make your science fair project? Ok, but don’t ask me to help and don’t get upset when you earn a bad grade and, as a result, can’t participate in a school-sponsored sports team.

    Sometimes small mistakes lead to big opportunities for growth. Just ask Bill Gates about the failure of his first company, Traf-O-Data.

    Being a Good Example. Parents are more likely to have successful children when they are good examples themselves. As people, we are imperfect. I’ve done things in my youth that I’m not proud of, and that I will likely never admit to my children until they are grown (if ever). Now that I’m a parent, I know my kids are always watching. They hear what my husband and I say. They watch what we do. They listen to what we are listening to. And while there have been times when I’ve completely lost my cool, I overall try to set a good example.

    And hope they forget about the times I lost my cool.

    Holding Them Accountable. Parents are more likely to have successful children when they hold them accountable for their actions. A bad report card means being grounded until the grades improve. Acting disrespectful to peers and adults will have consequences.

    When I was in middle school, my math teacher called my mom at work to tell her I was more concerned about socializing in class than I was about learning algebra. Shocking. When I got home, I was immediately sent to my room. There was no “asking for my side of the story” or giving me the benefit of the doubt. Nowadays, parents are more likely to blame the authority figure than they are to question their own children. This leads to a long term loss of accountability.

    Cultivating Their Authentic Passions. Parents are more likely to have successful children when they focus on what their children want to do instead of what they want them to do. My daughters don’t want to be doctors, lawyers, or accountants when they grow up? Instead, they want to be tattoo artists? That’s cool. I’ll enroll them in creative classes that will provide them the educational background essential to promote their artistic talents. Heck, maybe they can earn an MBA while they’re at it so they can own the tattoo company as well.

    And you know what? A parent can do all of these things and still have the wheels come off. Go figure.

    Regardless, Harvard Business School needs to lay off the mom guilt.

    As a mom, the decision to stay at home or work is a choice. Why are we criticizing other women’s choices?

    Absent criminal conduct, I generally don’t care how other mothers choose to raise their children.

    Shop Tea Collection Today!

    Hear me out. I know my emotional limitations, and I completely lack the mental stamina required to stay at home all day with two young children. I’ll likely feel differently when my girls, now ages 1 and 3, are a few years older, but that’s how I feel now. This past weekend, I flew out of state with both girls to visit longtime girlfriends. (My husband went hunting out west, and he got a Get Out of Hell Free card because he doesn’t give me trouble when he has both children and I’m away on a girls’ weekend.)

    While the girls were generally good on the trip, this is how I felt when I pulled back into my driveway when the weekend was over:

    From a Working Mom to Stay at Home Moms: Keep on Keeping on! http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/11/working-mom-to-stay-at-home-moms

    Brit Brit… I feel for ya, girl. I really do.

    Getting the girls packed, on a plane, and safely in a different city without that extra set of hands (my husband) was no joke. I don’t know how single parents do it. More than that, I don’t know how stay at home moms do it every dang day.  

    Stay at Home Moms: you’re doing a great job. Working Moms: so are you.

    Let’s all just keep on keeping on.

    Cheers!

     

      9 Things that Stink About Getting Older


      9 Things that Stink About Getting Older: http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/9-things-that-stink-about-getting-older/

      Comfort over fashion, people! It’s comfort over fashion!

      One of my favorite games I play when I go out on the town with my girlfriends (ok, going “out on the town” usually happens once a year and involves going to one “bar,” getting tired, and heading home) is seeing whether we can “pass.” What this entails is faking that we are super young and hip and seeing if we can still “pass” for twentysomethings. My cover usually gets blown when I’m observed yanking diaper rash cream out of my purse to get to my lipstick, giggling when the bouncer asks for my ID, or grimacing when I see a legitimate twentysomething dressed in one of those “in” bandage-style dresses and her breast is coming out of the top. (Or substituting the word “breast” for boob, for another matter.)

      Does her mother know she looks like that?

      I remember high school like it was yesterday. I also vividly remember graduating from college, moving into my first apartment, and starting law school. All of those things happened between the ages of 18 and 23 and they don’t seem like long ago.

      I get it. I’m 33 and realize there are people older than me who are reading this post and rolling their eyes.

      Stay with me here.

      Aren’t we all going through stages of our lives where our bodies want to slap us and say “Snap out of it, you’re no spring chicken anymore”?

      Here, in no particular order, are the 9 worst things about getting older:

      Being Called Ma’am. There are two types of people guaranteed to call me Ma’am. The first is the fourteen-year-old supermarket bag boy who mutters this word (two syllables if you live in the South) while placing groceries in my trunk. The second is usually a receptionist at the clerk of court’s office.

      And it usually involves her copping a ‘tude about not wanting to give me records in a reasonable timeframe. She also pronounces Ma’am with two syllables and it comes with a side of sourpuss and sass.

      I hate it.

      I’d much rather be called Miss than Ma’am. 

      Call me Ma’am when I’m in a nursing home, have false teeth, and need to use Depends. Not when I’m in my thirties.

      Matured Taste in Reading Material. Growing up, my parents subscribed to Reader’s Digest and I thought they were so lame.

      “How come they don’t exclusively read Entertainment Weekly and The National Enquirer?” I thought.

      Because they don’t want their brains to shrivel up like raisins.

      Don’t get me wrong, I still read US Weekly and was shocked, appalled, and disgusted when I opened my mailbox on Monday and saw the headline: Khloe Kardashian is giving Lamar Odom a SECOND CHANCE.

      What an idiot?!?!

      I just don’t want to read trashy magazines all the time.

      Crow’s Feet and Other Fine Lines. I’m bearing the consequences of my undergraduate days when I would tan on the sorority sun deck using either 1. pure baby oil, or, when I was feeling particularly health conscious, 2. tanning lotion with an SPF of 4.

      Whoop dee do.

      Now, I bathe in wrinkle creams. I practice smiling and squinting in front of mirrors to determine which pose shows the least amount of wrinkles.

      In the early 2000s, it was no secret that excessive sunbathing carried a risk of skin cancer or, at the very least, premature aging. I didn’t care because the time when sunbathing actually impacted me seemed so far away.

      And here we are.

      Dancing Like a Mom. Oh Wait…  I am the world’s worst dancer. I have no rhythm and it’s pathetic. Elaine Benes has nothing on me.

      I mean nothing.

      In high school, I quit the freshman cheerleading squad (which was completely unselective, as every person who attended “try-outs” made the team) because I was sick of seeing the audience’s mortified reaction every time I took the field and attempted to cartwheel.

      A for effort?

      My dance moves have gotten even worse as I’ve gotten older because my body has a hard time keeping up with the beat of the music.

      As if that really makes a difference.

      9 Things that Stink About Getting Older: http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/9-things-that-stink-about-getting-older/

      “You are the dancing queen… young and sweet, only seventeen…” Wait. Nevermind.

      Not Knowing the Words to Songs Because My Hearing Has Failed. I’m a former marathon runner (as in, my last marathon was ten years ago and I don’t think my bunions could currently sustain another 26.2 mile haul). To keep my mind busy during the tedious training runs, I would use headphones and jam out on my iPod.

      You know, those huge iPods that are today’s musical equivalent of the Zack Morris cell phone? Just strapping it to my arm was a workout because it weighed around 3 pounds. I had to rotate arms in order to avoid looking like Popeye on my dominant arm.

      I would listen to the music on the loudest setting possible. I think dead people could hear it because it was so loud.

      Ten years later, I can’t hear a dang thing. Which also means that when I like a song, I usually misunderstand the lyrics.

      For instance, I spent six months thinking Taylor Swift was singing about “Starbucks Lovers” in her song Blank Space.

      You know, the ones who tell her she’s insane?

      This was until my girlfriend broke it to me that ole’ Tay Tay was really singing about her long list of ex lovers.

      Awesome.

      Having to Watch what I Eat. Getting older and having kids has negatively impacted my metabolism.

      It moves at a snail’s pace.

      Gone are the days of eating donuts, french fries, pizza, ice cream, and sugary cocktails without repercussions. Now I have to choke down salmon and gag on spinach. Muffins now equate to a muffin top.

      While one small bag of Cheez-Its formerly carried no ramifications, it now means a hundred sit ups and three miles on the treadmill.

      Shut up, Jen, you’re thin. 

      On any given day, I’m wearing Spanx that are so tight, I’m afraid my eyeballs will pop out.

      Bills, bills, bills. Getting older means making adult decisions, like putting food on the table and paying the mortgage or prancing up to Hermes and buying the Kelly bag I’ve always wanted.

      Ugh.

      Choice of Weekend Activities. The weekends of my twenties were planned months in advance.

      Flying to [a faraway city] with girlfriends. Trying a new restaurant with my husband. Adult birthday party ragers. Dancing the night away and going home at 3 a.m.

      Now, I’d rather drink wine and watch Netflix in bed.

      You can guarantee the only time I’m up at 3 a.m. is when my toddler is screaming because her pacifier fell out of her mouth or if I’m lying awake with insomnia.

      Oh, insomnia… another “treat” about getting older!

      Lengthened Drinking Recovery Time. [Mom, Dad, and Grandma: if you’re reading this, I’m sorry. I only know it’s true from that one time I drank that one glass of wine.]

      In my twenties, I went out 6 nights a week (keeping the Sabbath Holy, of course!). After a late night, I could wake up at 8 am, go to class, run a 5k, volunteer with Ritalin-infused kindergarteners, pump out a ten thousand word essay, and do it all over again.

      Nowadays, I think if I had three glasses of wine, someone would need to call 911.

      Something else I’ve learned (the hard way): Nothing, and I mean nothing, is ever worth having to take care of kids after a night of consuming too many libations.

      I don’t care what you did the night before. You could have partied at Studio 54 with Johnny Depp, taken a jet to Mars, and performed the electric slide with The President and it still  wouldn’t be worth it.

      Y’all know what I’m talking about.

      Cheers!

        What I Would Have Missed By “Missing Out”


        The Everglades Rod & Gun Club; What I Would Have Missed by "Missing Out"- The Champagne Supernova http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/what-i-would-have-missed-by-missing-out/

        The Entrance to the Everglades Rod & Gun Club

        Sometimes in life, we have to do things we don’t necessarily want to do because it’s better for “the collective.” This is true in all relationships: husbands and wives, friends, parents and children, bosses and minions.

        Bending. Compromising. Being a good sport.

        Let me share with you a time when sucking it up resulted in one of the singlehanded best memories I’ve ever had.

        As background, my husband’s been trying to get me to go fishing with him in the Everglades for years. He routinely attempted to talk me into it and, envisioning a landscape chalk full of marshes, tall reeds, and crocodiles [read: Hell], I’ve always dodged the bullet.

        Arden has gymnastics on Saturdays. She can’t miss it. 

        It’ll be too hot on the boat in the summer.

        I need to get my hair cut and colored.

        I can’t go because I have to stare directly into the sun, gargle razors, and eat a raw cockroach.

        I didn’t want to go.

        The time eventually came where I ran out of excuses and was forced to agree to go with him. We decided to head to the Everglades during the recent Labor Day weekend, and the carrot my husband wagged in my face was that our dear friends, Darin and Robin, would share a cottage with us at the Rod and Gun Club, the hotel where we would be staying.

        Ok, so if anything else, Robin and I can sip cocktails by the pool while the girls swim. 

        As background, the Florida Everglades are a natural, tropical wetland system that begins at the Kissimmee River (near Orlando) and discharges into Lake Okeechobee which, for all you non-Floridians, is the huge lake in the southern portion of the state when you’re looking at a map. During the wet season, water leaving the lake forms a river that slowly flows southward across a limestone shelf to Florida Bay at the southern end of the state. The Everglades have a wide range of weather patterns and the landscape includes a complex ecosystem including cypress swamps, mangrove forests, pine rockland, hardwood hammocks, and the marine environment of Florida Bay. The nature is beautiful and landscape rich in history, but the area is extremely remote and there aren’t a tons of non-outdoorsey things to do.

        Let me be clear. It’s not the place for city slickers or people who enjoy the finer things. 

        My husband is an avid fisherman who’s been driving down to the Everglades to take advantage of the good fishing since he was a youngster. It’s a four hour drive from Everglades City to our home in Tampa. Part of the fishing area is so remote that he had to buy a fancy emergency GPS to wear around his neck in case there was an accident because nobody would otherwise find him.

        The Everglades Rod & Gun Club; What I Would Have Missed by "Missing Out"- The Champagne Supernova http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/what-i-would-have-missed-by-missing-out

        Everglades City, the town where we were staying, is located in Collier County and has a population of roughly 400 people. The nearest city, Naples, is 35 miles northwest. It is the source of 95% of the world’s stone crabs and its annual Seafood Festival is popular among the locals.

        There are a number of “Mom and Pop” hotels in the area, but perhaps the most notable is the Rod & Gun Club. Barron Collier, an advertising entrepreneur who became the largest landowner and developer in the entire state of Florida, purchased it in 1922 and turned it into a private establishment for his highfalutin friends. The Club’s hosted five presidents- Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, Herbert Hoover, and Richard Nixon- as well as celebrities, to include Mick Jagger, John Wayne, Sally Field, and Ernest Hemingway.

        The Everglades Rod & Gun Club; What I Would Have Missed by "Missing Out"- The Champagne Supernova http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/what-i-would-have-missed-by-missing-out

        The Rod & Gun Club, as it sits today.

        We arrived on the Friday of Labor Day weekend and the hotel was not what I expected, based on pictures I saw on the internet.

        I felt like an extra in the movie The Land That Time Forgot.

        The city was pretty much a ghost town, and because August and September are considered “off season,” many of the restaurants and novelty stores were closed until the beginning of stone crab season (October). There were only three other restaurants open in the entire city, and they served primarily fried food. There was nothing green on any of the menus. I’m by no means a health food nut, but by the end of the weekend, I felt disgusting and never wanted to see another hush puppy in my life.

        The Everglades Rod & Gun Club; What I Would Have Missed by "Missing Out"- The Champagne Supernova http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/what-i-would-have-missed-by-missing-out

        This home across the river from the Rod & Gun Club is rumored to be owned by the Bic (lighter) family.

        The hotel was also a ghost town, with maybe a handful of other guests the entire weekend. From what I’ve read, a family purchased the Rod & Gun Club in 1972 and, in my opinion, have pretty much let it go. There is no “receptionist” and you’re lucky if someone actually answers the phone when you call. There’s also no answering service, so if you want to make a reservation, you have to repeatedly call until someone answers. This happened to my husband. There is a restaurant on the property, but the hours are strange, and sometimes the owners unilaterally decide to send the staff home if there aren’t enough customers.

        The Everglades Rod & Gun Club; What I Would Have Missed by "Missing Out"- The Champagne Supernova http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/what-i-would-have-missed-by-missing-out

        Interior bar where Teddy Roosevelt would sip drinks and discuss politics. Photo Credit: Peter W. Cross

        The Everglades Rod & Gun Club; What I Would Have Missed by "Missing Out"- The Champagne Supernova http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/what-i-would-have-missed-by-missing-out

        Interior lobby area. Photo Credit: Peter W. Cross

        The Everglades Rod & Gun Club; What I Would Have Missed by "Missing Out"- The Champagne Supernova http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/what-i-would-have-missed-by-missing-out

        The patio door leading to the restaurant.

        Oh, and they accept only cash.

        One highlight of the weekend was when my three year old locked us out of the hotel room early one morning. My husband and Darin were fishing, and, of course, the hotel lobby was closed and nobody was answering the “after hours” phone number. Surprise, surprise.

        Robin spotted a man driving by the dock with a “MAINTENANCE” magnet on the side of his pickup truck. I walked down to the water to speak with him, and he reeked of cigarettes and was sipping a Busch Light.

        It was 8 o’clock in the morning.

        Hair of the dog? 

        The maintenance man couldn’t get ahold of his boss with the skeleton key, so he climbed into the unlocked window of our hotel room and opened the door for us. He then asked me to “put in a good word” about him to his boss. Which I did.  Because I was dang grateful the dude got me and the kids back in the room, where there were diapers and air conditioning.

        The Everglades Rod & Gun Club; What I Would Have Missed by "Missing Out"- The Champagne Supernova http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/what-i-would-have-missed-by-missing-out

        Our cottage. Not pictured: the window where the maintenance man broke into the cottage because my three year old locked us out.

        In short, I quickly learned that sipping cocktails with Robin by the pool was a pipe dream. While there was a nice pool, there was no poolside beverage service and no pool towels, so we had to use the hotel’s bathroom towels. Which would have been fine, except there was no laundry person available to exchange our wet, chlorine-filled towels for dry ones. Oh, and the pool deck was surrounded by the hottest material- no clue what it was- but it felt like walking across hot coals.

        The Everglades Rod & Gun Club; What I Would Have Missed by "Missing Out"- The Champagne Supernova http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/what-i-would-have-missed-by-missing-out

        The front entrance to the Rod & Gun Club when arriving by boat.

        The Everglades Rod & Gun Club; What I Would Have Missed by “Missing Out”- The Champagne Supernova http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/what-i-would-have-missed-by-missing-out

        I was initially mad at my husband and had a bad attitude. I’m wasting a three day weekend on this? How will we keep a toddler and three year old busy all day? What. The. Frick? 

        Then something happened.

        I ended up having fun. A lot of it. I realized that after the weekend came and went, I’d likely have a pass with my husband for having to return in a long time. I could say I’ve “been there, done that.” And going back to the theme, I decided to suck it up and try to have a fun weekend with the family and our friends, despite Everglades City not being the first place I would have chosen to spend a long holiday weekend.

        Our last night in Everglades City, we had dinner at a local restaurant and decided to head back to the hotel. On a whim, my husband said “let’s take a late night boat ride, because the sky is so clear you can see the Milky Way.” Ordinarily I would have been apprehensive because it was late, the mosquitos were brutal, and the girls needed to go to bed.

        What the heck?

        Ok, let’s do it.

        So we drove the boat down the Barron River, stared at the stars, and listened to the Yachtrock station on satellite radio. Kenny Loggins’ This is It came on, and the girls danced around the boat, merrily belting out the “words” to the song. They were so happy and their joy was so pure. They were having a blast.

        I will remember that moment for the rest of my life.

        If I wouldn’t have agreed to go with my husband to Everglades City, I would have missed that precious moment.

        If I would have kept my bad attitude, I would have missed that precious moment.

        If I would have insisted we not take the boat out late because it was past the girls’ bedtimes, I would have missed that precious moment.

        I would have missed it.

        This got me thinking. What other great opportunities in my life have I missed because of a bad attitude? What other chances did I miss out on because I was selfishly unwilling to bend from the rut of my own comfort zone? What else was there?

        The Everglades Rod & Gun Club; What I Would Have Missed by "Missing Out"- The Champagne Supernova http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/what-i-would-have-missed-by-missing-out

        The Barron River where moonlight dance magic happened.

        The Everglades Rod & Gun Club; What I Would Have Missed by "Missing Out"- The Champagne Supernova http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/what-i-would-have-missed-by-missing-out

        Arden by the front entrance to the Rod & Gun Club.

        The Everglades Rod & Gun Club; What I Would Have Missed by "Missing Out"- The Champagne Supernova http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/what-i-would-have-missed-by-missing-out

        Sweet little Ellison enjoying herself on the cottage porch.

        I hope I can use this experience as a reminder to lighten up and enjoy finding the beauty in doing things I don’t necessarily want to do. Otherwise, I’ll lose the opportunity for memorable experiences.

        Cheers!

          Did Halloween Come Early? No, It’s Just Tinder.


          Hilarious Tinder Profiles courtesy of The Champagne Supernova; http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/funny-tinder-profiles/

          Call me a fuddy-duddy. Old fashioned. Square. Fogy.

          Until recently, I had no idea what Tinder was.

          You’re on an app called Tinder? Is that where you call the car that comes and picks you up at your house?

          No. That’s Uber.

          I learned about Tinder from my single work colleagues. They showed me the app and I shamefully giggled as they swiped right and left, scoping out the other singletons within a certain geographic vicinity.

          The college girl in me laughed and said “eew” at some of the male suitors who popped up on the screen. The mom (and quasi adult) in me was appalled and slightly heartbroken by the superficiality.

          These are real people with real feelings who are hoping to find real love, and here we are mocking them? How would I feel if I was on this site and someone swiped to the left (meaning uninterested) after my picture appeared? 

          Yada yada yada.

          Some of this is funny.

          And then we came to a crop of potential suitors and didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, or call whatever authorities are responsible for invoking a Baker Act.

          I don’t have a Tinder account because polygamy is illegal and my husband would freak out. Therefore, I enlisted the help of some college girlfriends and Allison of the AA blog to help find the most eligible (!?) Tinder suitors in cyberspace. Here, ladies and gentlemen, are some of the more noteworthy gems:

          Hilarious Tinder Profiles courtesy of The Champagne Supernova; http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/funny-tinder-profiles/

          Me: Vittorio is what would happen if Rainbow Brite, Rosie O’Donnell, and Mr. T had a baby.

          Hilarious Tinder Profiles courtesy of The Champagne Supernova; http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/funny-tinder-profiles/

          Allison: I’m less horrified about this guy’s bloody profile picture and MORE horrified about his cat owning situation. Sorry, Derek, deal breaker.

          Hilarious Tinder Profiles courtesy of The Champagne Supernova; http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/funny-tinder-profiles/

          Me: I do enough “Paperhustling” at the office. It’s no fun. Not sure it’s the same type of paper hustling ole’ Chucky is referring to.

          Hilarious Tinder Profiles courtesy of The Champagne Supernova; http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/funny-tinder-profiles/

          Allison: Cool, Anthony- well, I’ll have to take your word for it that you’re good looking since Tinder doesn’t allow users to upload five photographs and let us decide for ourselves. Oh wait, they do!

          Hilarious Tinder Profiles courtesy of The Champagne Supernova; http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/funny-tinder-profiles/

          Me: Ronen knows pizza is the only way to a girl’s heart. If I was still in undergrad, we’d be a match made in heaven.

          Hilarious Tinder Profiles courtesy of The Champagne Supernova; http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/funny-tinder-profiles/

          Allison: David, your bio makes absolutely no sense. Referencing Jared from the Subway/ child molestation scandal is a surefire way to get LEFT SWIPED. Get off the internet.

          Hilarious Tinder Profiles courtesy of The Champagne Supernova; http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/funny-tinder-profiles/

          Me: Dang, Anthony. Your undies look comfy, for real. Thirtysomething mom problems.

          Hilarious Tinder Profiles courtesy of The Champagne Supernova; http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/funny-tinder-profiles/

          Allison: I… like your Martin Luther King tattoo? #IHadADreamIDidn’tNeedtoGoOnTinder.

          Hilarious Tinder Profiles courtesy of The Champagne Supernova; http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/funny-tinder-profiles/

          Me: It’s like Darth Vader meets a basett hound. Regardless, this picture makes me Juan-t to vomit.

          Hilarious Tinder Profiles courtesy of The Champagne Supernova; http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/funny-tinder-profiles/

          Me: His real name isn’t Jeff. It’s Satan.

          Hilarious Tinder Profiles courtesy of The Champagne Supernova; http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/funny-tinder-profiles/

          Me: If this dude committed a crime, his fingerprints would immediately give him away.

          Hilarious Tinder Profiles courtesy of The Champagne Supernova; http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/10/funny-tinder-profiles/

          Allison: Christopher has a very specific age requirement (um, does he know you set the age limit requirement yourself?) and also needs his potential life mate to have a carrear. A CARREAR.

          The dating pool these days is no joke.

          Special thanks to Allison and my girlfriends who helped make this post possible. You know who you are. [Wink.]

          Cheers!

            Choosing Love: How to Do it When You Feel Like Strangling Someone


            How to choose love when you really feel like strangling someone | The Champagne Supernova

            I read somewhere that love is a choice.

            I think Ozzy Osbourne was the person who said it. Or Paul Newman. Or maybe it was Cher. Doesn’t matter.

            Love is the best choice.

            Until recently, there was one person on earth who made my skin crawl. So much so that even hearing this person’s name had a negative biological effect: my skin would sweat, the back of my neck would burn, my chest would get tight, and my arms became blotchy, almost like an outbreak of hives.

            Man, I needed to get a grip.

            We’ll call this person Todd. He and I were childhood friends who attended undergrad and law school together. We had a long history and spoke on the phone almost every day. Todd was one of my best friends. After law school, he moved to a different city and began practicing plaintiff’s work, ultimately opening his own firm as a sole practitioner. I switched firms several years into my career and eventually found myself directly against him, representing a major retail chain in a personal injury case.

            Garden variety slip and fall. No big deal.

            Well, it wasn’t a big deal until several months into the lawsuit when I discovered his client, the plaintiff, made material misrepresentations to the court and to his doctors about his past physical condition and medical treatment.

            Liar, liar, pants on fire.

            As soon as I realized the magnitude of the plaintiff’s deception, I called Todd to give him a heads-up that I was going to ask the court to dismiss the case for fraud. I didn’t want Todd to be blind sighted. As Todd worked on contingency and would only get paid if there was a settlement, the court granting my motion meant Todd would receive a big, fat goose egg. This was after he already fronted thousands of dollars on expert witnesses and travel expenses. While I felt horrible about the situation, Todd should have done his homework about his client and, at the end of the day, I was ethically obligated to do what was in the best interest of my client. Otherwise, I would have been slapped with a malpractice issue.

            Instead of understanding my position, firing his client, and thanking me for sparing him trouble down the road, Todd was hysterical. He asked me to ignore his client’s deception, not tell my client, and that we settle for a nominal value. He wanted enough money to repay the expert fees and take a small amount for himself to account for the long hours he spent on the case. “Jen… I’ll come to Tampa and I’ll take you and Jason to dinner at a fancy restaurant…”

            I didn’t accept his offer, I won my motion, the case got dismissed, and Todd hasn’t spoken to me in five years.

            Five flipping years.

            Losing Todd as a friend was painful. He wasn’t there for the birth of my children and I wasn’t there for his. I found out through Facebook that his mother passed away and I swallowed my pride and mailed a sympathy card. No clue whether he ever received it. It was a sad situation but, because Todd lived far away and we didn’t have mutual friends, he was off the radar.

            Six months ago, I unexpectedly ran into Todd in the elevators of my building at work. Seeing him was shocking and I was stupefied. Probably too surprised to play it cool.

            Hey… what are you doing here?

            We moved to Tampa and I’m renting space on the twenty-third floor.

            It was awkward. My skin was burning. I was flustered, dumbstruck, and feelings of anger that were long off the grid reemerged.

            Do you also work in this building, he asked?

            Yes. On eighteen.

            Great, I thought. Now I’m going to have to agonize about running into him whenever I get on an elevator, when I’m in the lobby, or when I head to the parking garage. That’s a lot of times in a day.

            Ugh.

            We were cordial to each other but it was forced and inauthentic. I hoped that I wasn’t rolling my eyes or sending rude body language, even though that’s what I genuinely felt like doing.

            Truth be told, I wanted to push Todd right off the elevator.

            There’s more than 7 billion people in the world and the likelihood of having that “warm and fuzzy” feeling around each of them is low. Everyone has that someone (or two) they’d rather avoid. But for me, Todd was the Hatfield to my McCoy. The Ursula to my Ariel. The Al Capone to my Bugs Moran. The Biggie to my Tupac.

            I couldn’t stand him.

            As the weeks passed (ok, maybe months), my husband probably grew tired of listening to me bellyache about running into Todd at work. My friends likely wanted to put a muzzle over my mouth. My parents and sister were probably over it.

            You know what happened? As time went on, I got sick and tired over feeling sick and tired every time there was a scintilla of a possibility I’d run into Todd. I started avoiding going to the snack stand on the first floor because I was paralyzed with fear that Todd would be in the lobby getting his shoes shined at the same time. It was ridiculous and pathetic. Straight out of  a scene from SNL’s Weekend Update where Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler incredulously ask “Really?!”

            I needed to get over it and move on. Todd had likely long moved on. He wasn’t freaking out about me. He probably was clueless I even cared.

            But how would I get over it? As a serial grudge holder, this was no easy feat.

            So I started doing something really weird. Something that would have creeped out my husband, family, and friends.

            Every time I started feeling angry and anxious when I thought about Todd, I would say to myself, “I love you Todd, and I hope you are successful and happy.” I started praying for Todd. Not condescendingly, as some people sarcastically declare “I’ll pray for you!” when they’re mad at someone, but I prayed for Todd meaningfully and regularly.

            When I began the mental “I love you, Todd!” chants, they were through gritted teeth. But after a while, it became a habit when I felt the nausea or hive-y feeling of anger creeping back in. This didn’t happen overnight. But it happened.

            Eventually, I didn’t care when I’d run into Todd. I wasn’t worried about going to lunch downtown and seeing him at a restaurant. Wasn’t freaked out about the possibility of waiting in line next to him at the dry cleaner or post office.

            Over time, Todd was just “somebody that I used to know”. There was no more anger, spite, or animosity. Instead, there was nothing except underlying feelings of love.  

            Yup, nada.

            When dealing with people who have intentionally or unintentionally hurt you, love is a freaking hard choice. With Todd, there really was no choice because my only options were either wholeheartedly loving him or internalizing the anger I felt toward him. The second option was a waste of time.

            Todd, if you’re reading this… I love you, friend. Let’s get coffee. I’ll even treat! If you’re not up for it, then that’s okay too.

            Cheers to choosing love.

              The “No Gifts, Please” Party Dilemma


              Read about whether you should still bring a gift when the party invitation says "No Gifts, Please."

              Me and my cousins- rocking the birthday scene 1985 style.

              I was overwhelmed with panic as I stared at the Evite.

              At the bottom of the electronic invitation riddled with giraffes, elephants, and tigers was a not-so-unusual mandate:

              “No Gifts, Please.”

              I started sweating.

              What do I do? Bring nothing, or run to Target and grab something? 

              This happens often with requests of this nature.

              I get it. The party hostess likely didn’t want more junque to trip over that she would ultimately donate to the Salvation Army. She probably couldn’t stand to look at one more Elsa figurine, Melissa & Doug puzzle, or Lincoln Log (impalement risk: hello!). At two, the guest of honor wasn’t old enough to know she was “missing out” on what some kids consider the best part of a birthday party: presents!

              I’ve been there, lived it, and understand.

              Between Grandpa, Grandma, Pap, “Gammy”, aunts, uncles, and our friends, my kids have more toys than they will ever be able to play with. Some toys were accidentally destroyed before they came out of the packaging. (See: the time I accidentally cut the electrical cord of a flying fairy when I was opening the container). Some toys melted in my car. Some toys were inadvertently left at our local pool, only to be considered another child’s treasure when discovered in the “Lost and Found” box. Our children have so many toys that we have a schedule of “rotating toys” where some are stored away in a closet for a couple months before we reintroduce them. We like to call it “Christmas in July”.

              However, asking that guests of children’s birthday parties not bring gifts puts parents in a quandary because there are always some (and in most cases, many) parents who don’t honor the request. It would be different if every single person complied. But it never happens that way. There is always someone who makes everyone else look like jerks.

              The noncompliant guests bring gifts because:

              1. Their mothers (rightfully) taught them to never show up to a party empty-handed;
              2. The attendee wants to give a gift; and/ or
              3. Nobody wants to be perceived as a cheapskate by being “that person” who didn’t bring a gift, despite clear instructions to the contrary.

              I surveyed women between the ages of 26 and 40 regarding whether they bring presents to “No Gifts, Please” events. Eight percent said they comply with the request, and a whopping 92% said they bring something, but usually a scaled-down version of what they would regularly give, such as a book or candy.

              One of my girlfriends recently attended a “No Gifts, Please” party and had a run-in with the birthday girl’s mother. As my friend was placing her present on the dining room table (which was littered with gifts from other attendees), the hostess passive-aggressively said, “I guess nobody read the invitation…”

              On one hand, you don’t want to dishonor the requests for “No Gifts, Please.”

              On the other, you don’t want to show up empty handed because you’re darn sure other parents are still going to bring gifts.

              You don’t want to feel ashamed and judged as you pass the present table without making a contribution.

              I threw my husband a party for his thirtieth birthday and requested that our guests not bring gifts. This was because I wanted them to attend the party and enjoy the food, drinks, and company without feeling like they needed to buy him- a grown man- a present. Besides, what do you get for the guy who has everything? Sure, he enjoys wine and craft beer, but what he really would have wanted was a Yeti cooler, new boat, or a trip to Alaska, and those would have been too extravagant coming from friends, acquaintances, and work colleagues (and maybe even his wife). With the exception of wine, which surely would have been consumed, everything else would have ended up stashed in a “to be re-gifted” bin in our hall closet.

              The birthday mantra for my husband was “our guests’ presence was the present.”

              Maybe the “No Gifts, Please” phenomena is a fad. Maybe it’s a permanent “thing.” Regardless, I’ll continue to bring a small gift, and will discretely place it on top of the dining room table when the birthday child’s mama isn’t looking.

              Cheers to good-intentioned noncompliance!

                It Takes a Village: 6 Ways to Help a New Mom


                On The Champagne Supernova blog: how to help a new mom after she has a baby! http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/09/it-takes-a-village-6-ways-to-help-a-new-mom/

                Me and my mom a few weeks after I was born. 1982 was a good year.

                I’m at a point in my life where it feels like half the people I know are either trying to get pregnant, are pregnant, or just had a baby. That’s a lot of bambinos right there. Unless the mother is a close friend, I’m sometimes at a loss for how (or whether) to respond immediately after she has the baby.

                Do I call right away? Will she be annoyed by text messages and e-mails? How soon is too soon to visit the baby? Will my attempts to give her space be translated into a misconception I’m uninterested?

                The struggle is real.

                I was a new mom twice. Unless baby Jesus makes a second appearance here on Earth, there won’t be a third time.

                The chances of lightning striking my house or me winning the lottery are greater.

                That said, I remember being grateful for all the people who reached out after my girls were born to lend a helping hand. As my parents and in-laws don’t live in the same city as me and my husband, the help we received was valuable and didn’t go unnoticed.

                If you want to reach out to a new mom, here are some original (and unoriginal) ways to offer your support.

                Take them a Meal. If you’re a working parent who doesn’t have time to prepare a homemade meal, or you simply detest cooking, don’t be ashamed to order take-out. My go-to meal for new parents is pizza, salad, bread sticks, and a bottle of wine from a local Italian restaurant. Who doesn’t like pizza?

                Nobody I want to be friends with.

                Arrange a Meal Train. As most of the new parents’ friends will offer to take meals, this is a great way to  ensure the food delivery is organized. This is easy and can be arranged through a web site. Popular, free options include Take them a Meal and Mealbaby.

                Caveat to moms: don’t be unreasonably picky about the type of food you want people to deliver and just be grateful. I once was invited to participate in a meal train that had so many unreasonable parameters regarding the time to deliver (15 minute window), days to deliver, specific food choices (read: filet mignon preference- literally!), and a request to coordinate the delivery with someone other than the new parents.

                I was completely put off.

                Take Their Older Kids to the Park. The only thing more stressful than having a new baby is dealing with older children on top of the new baby. Especially when the older children need to stay active and don’t enjoy being cooped up in the house.

                One of the greatest ways to help new parents is keeping their older kids busy. Offer to take them to the park, library, or local swimming pool. This is mutually beneficial for people who also have older kids, as the children can play together. If you’re already driving to the park, what’s the harm in bringing one or two more people?

                Pamper the Mama. Visitors typically take presents for the baby, but what about the new mom? Doesn’t she deserve to be pampered?

                Yes, yes, yes!

                Take her nice smelling soaps, a bottle of wine, bath salts, scented candles, fun magazines, or even a gift card for a manicure or pedicure. If you’re crafty, you can put together your own “care package” of high-end beauty products that are often substantially discounted at retail stores like TJMaxx, Homegoods, and Marshall’s. Depending on where you live, a gift card for a mani/pedi combo usually costs $35 with the tip included. All of these items can be obtained with a subscription to the Pampered Mommy Box, which I love. (This is an affiliate link, which means I get a financial kickback with purchases. Hey, the blog ain’t gonna pay for itself!)

                gift

                Clean their House. There’s something peaceful about walking into a clean home.

                Fabuloso brand floor cleaner. Mmmmmmm.

                If you don’t enjoy cleaning (who does?), you can get together with other women to chip in for a cleaning lady to clean the home when the new mama is running errands. Depending on the number of contributors and the size of the mama’s house, this can be accomplished for around $20 per person.

                Do their Laundry. This favor is reserved for only the closest of friends.

                I get it, the idea of an acquaintance cleaning your husband’s sweaty gym clothes is awkward. However, as laundry seems to pile up and there are few things in life worse than having to fold and put away a mountain of laundry, this is a perfect way to help out.

                Your help will be appreciated and will help lighten the load during the new mom’s period of uncertainty, nervousness, and insomnia.

                Cheers to good friends!

                  From the Mouths of Baby Mamas: 9 Things Soon-To-Be Parents Say that Make me Smirk


                  http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/09/ridiculous-things-parents-say/

                  I can’t help but do a little internal chuckle when I hear a pregnant woman who doesn’t already have children tell everyone about her grandiose plans for child rearing. I’ve heard all sorts of ridiculous things, but here are some of my favorites:

                  “I’ll Never Give My Kids McDonald’s.” Lady, there will come a point when you don’t have time to cook a four course organic meal and a Chicken McNugget will never look so good. If our grandparents’ generation smoked a pack of cigarettes a day in their third trimesters, then an occasional french fry won’t kill anyone.

                  Lighten up. 

                  “My House Will Always Be Clean.” Obviously, nobody ever told this woman that “toddler” is synonymous with “tornado.” Turn your back for one minute while tidying up the living room, only to find your child has toilet-papered the bathroom.

                  You have a cleaning lady? Oh, that’s nice.

                  Means the only time your house will be legitimately immaculate is the period between when the cleaner leaves and your child gets home from daycare.

                  “I’ll Never Raise My Voice at My Youngster.” Until they run into a busy street. Or knock over the fish tank while cartwheeling inside the house. Or purposely put gum in their sibling’s hair.

                  Nope, you’ll never lose it. Ever.

                  “I Won’t Let My Kids Watch TV or Use a Smart Phone.” Just wait until this parent-to-be is waiting with their child inside the lobby of a doctor’s office and would do anything to make them be quiet and keep them entertained. 

                  Sure, use Mummy’s iPhone to watch all the YouTube videos your heart desires. Just don’t make a peep. 

                  “I’m Still Going To Work Out Seven Days a Week and Look Good for my Husband.” This comment warrants the world’s biggest eye roll because it tends to come from women whose husbands have man boobs and spare tires

                  Honey, if you want to look good, it needs to be for yourself and not for anyone else. 

                  Getting up and going to the gym at 5 a.m. is one thing when you don’t have children. It’s something entirely different when your baby woke up ten times in the middle of the night, you repeatedly hunted for a pacifier in the dark, and you still have to go to work the next day.

                  “I’d Never Let My Child Publicly Misbehave.” I routinely said this before I had kids of my own. I judged other parents and I judged their kids. After raising a strong-willed child and knowing that sometimes even the “death-glare” will not deter certain behavior in public, I judge no one.

                  The one perk about parenting is the immunity it provides from whining, screaming, and general bellyaching. I’ve groomed myself to tune it out.

                  I’m sorry, what? Your kid’s been wailing for ten minutes straight? Didn’t hear it at all.

                  “My Child Won’t Leave the House Unless Dressed to the Nines.” Sometimes I’m just glad to have gotten everyone out of the house with lunches in tow. I don’t have time and I don’t care to worry about what everyone looks like. My three-year-old’s hair is combed? Great. Does it matter she picked out her own bow and it clashes with the rest of her outfit? No. Does it matter her socks are inside out? Nope, because she’ll take them off two minutes after we get into the car. Does it matter her outfit isn’t monogrammed? Well, considering she’s going to daycare where she will paint, eat leftover spaghetti, and play in the dirt, no.  

                  Aside from school picture day or a special event, I generally don’t put too much emphasis on ensuring my children look perfect.

                  “I Don’t Think I’ll Want to Work After the Baby is Born.” There’s a misconception the only thing stay-at-home-moms do all day is drink mimosas, get pedicures, watch reality television, and occasionally change a diaper. I know this because it’s what I used to think before I had kids. What a jerk.

                  I caution every person whose ever made this statement to wait and see how hard staying at home with a young child and having to create your own routine can really be. For me, having a career is like getting paid to relax, compared to staying at home with a toddler and infant.

                  “I’m Not Having An Epidural.” This comment is hilarious.  Nobody fully comprehends the agonizing out-of-body experience of labor contractions until they are living it. I know roughly ten women who attempted to have a drug-free deliveries and only one actually did it- and that was because she was so far dilated she couldn’t have an epidural, never mind she was literally begging her OB for one. I don’t understand why anyone would voluntarily endure that type of pain. It’s either for bragging rights or because they think an epidural could potentially harm the child.

                  You know what? Screaming bloody murder from pain in my child’s ear will harm the child. So there’s that. 

                  I hear mothers-to-be say these things and all I do is nod my head, smile, and say, “well isn’t that nice, I’m excited to hear about your adventure!”

                  Cheers to knowing better!

                    The Spider in the Toilet: How to Explain Death to Children


                    How to Explain Death to Children. http://thechampagnesupernova.com/2015/09/the-spider-in-the-toilet-how-to-explain-death-to-children/

                    A couple weeks ago, our neighbor, Mr. Smith, passed away. He was in his nineties and lived a rich life. After my husband and I visited Mr. Smith’s wife to offer our condolences, our three year old daughter, Arden, asked what happened to him.

                    He passed away, I said.

                    What does that mean?

                    It means he’s in heaven.

                    Is he there alone?

                    No, he’s with Jesus.

                    These questions continued and, because I was unprepared to think of a clever, age-appropriate answer Arden could understand, my responses were circular.

                    He died. He passed away. He went to heaven. He’s with Jesus.

                    Over and over again.

                    Fast forward two days.

                    Arden discovered a spider in the downstairs bathroom and asked me to get rid of it. I smashed it with a rolled-up magazine, picked up the remains with toilet paper, and flushed Daddy Long Legs down the commode.

                    Despite watching me get rid of the spider, Arden asked where he (she?) went.

                    The spider passed away.

                    Where is he?

                    He’s in heaven.

                    Long, painful pause.

                    Is Mr. Smith also in the toilet?

                    I was stupefied and speechless. I looked at my husband for help. Say something. Something. What do I say?

                    Please, God, don’t let Arden ask Mr. Smith’s widow if her husband is in the toilet next time we run into her at the mailbox.  

                    Explaining death is difficult. I’m not sure the majority of adults like to think about it. I sure don’t.

                    Death makes me feel uncomfortable because it forces me to think about my own mortality.

                    When will it happen? Will I have enough time to reach my goals? Will I be able to say goodbye to the people I love? Will it be on an airplane?

                    Lord, please don’t let it be on a plane. (I hate flying. My parents let me watch La Bamba when I was little and it ruined me.)

                    How will my family feel? Will they get over it quickly or remain in a dark emotional slumber that lasts years? Will my husband remarry?

                    I hope he remarries. And it’s to a woman who gets as annoyed as I did (do?) every time he puts wet bath towels on the floor. So he can see I wasn’t being irrational.

                    Will my girls call her “mom” or call her by her first name?

                    Will she know what to do or say when my girls lose a tooth, get their periods, or ask their dad for money to go on Spring Break in Cancun when they’re in college? (I will haunt them if I see them taking shots at a foam party at Señor Frog’s.)

                    And here I am getting ahead of myself just like I always do. Overthinking.

                    But how does someone explain death to a three year old? Kids don’t understand things they can’t see.

                    I remember my mother trying to explain death to me when I was a young child. My first brush with death that legitimately affected my family happened when my mom unexpectedly lost her sister, Mary, to diabetes. This was different than the roadrunner running off the cliff. This was real. We would never see Aunt Mary again. She was gone. My mother said people who die never come back or see anyone ever again. It was a forever type of thing.

                    And I understood all I needed to understand. Not coming back. Permanent.

                    Mr. Smith’s death introduced the first in what will be a line of many difficult conversations that will happen while my kids are little. I just didn’t expect it would happen this soon and I wanted to be prepared, Goshdarnit.

                    I’m not sure if they way I explained death to Arden was the best way to explain it. But it was my real and honest answer. Sure, I could hop on Amazon and buy one of the zillion “Talking to Your Kids About Death” books, read up on the issue, and give Arden a perfect, airbrushed answer. But it wouldn’t be my answer. It would be someone else’s answer. And I don’t want that.

                    With raising kids, the parents struggling to explain a difficult concept is as important as the child trying to understand it. Sometimes it’s important for the parents to admit when they don’t really understand why or how something happened. Everyone gets to have their “a-ha! moment”.

                    A time will come when my husband and I will have to explain controversial events, ideas, and ideologies to our children that make The Spider in the Toilet seem like Disneyworld. And when we do, I don’t want to be too prepared. I want the response to be authentic and unrehearsed, just the way I want my kids to be in their daily lives.

                    Cheers!

                      1 9 10 11 12 13 15