When Your Baby Girl Turns 11…Let Her Shine!

This little girl of mine, I’m gonna let her shine. Let her shine, let her shine, let her shine. Bug turns 11 today and it’s a big deal. I’m just trying to figure out where the time went. What do you do when your baby girl turns 11?

This little girl of mine, I'm gonna let her shine. Let her shine, let her shine, let her shine. Bug turns 11 today and it's a big deal. I'm just trying to figure out where to go from here. What do you do when your baby girl turns 11?

There’s no real reason for writing this post, I guess. Maybe it’s just for me. Maybe it’s for my Bug some day. I don’t know, but I’m drawn to write it. Bump SEO, bump pageviews, forget about who even reads it at all. This is about my youngest baby girl and I. You see, it’s a bumpy road with her and I. It always has been. I wanted her more than life itself when I conceived her, yet as the years go by, I’ve wondered what in the HECK I was thinking when I made the conscious decision to have another child when I did. All in all, I wouldn’t change a thing, in fact. Today, this baby girl turns 11 years old and I’m just happy (more times than not) to just let her shine and call her mine.

This little girl of mine, I'm gonna let her shine. Let her shine, let her shine, let her shine. Bug turns 11 today and it's a big deal. I'm just trying to figure out where to go from here. What do you do when your baby girl turns 11?

See, my baby girl hit the streets running, figuratively (OK it would have been literally if she could have run then, but let’s go with figuratively here) on September 14, 2006. She was the youngest of five children and the apple of all of our eyes (except baby girl number three, she was not entirely sold). She was THE princess from day one and I worshipped her. Literally. She was perfect in every way. Still is in her own right!

This little girl of mine, I'm gonna let her shine. Let her shine, let her shine, let her shine. Bug turns 11 today and it's a big deal. I'm just trying to figure out where to go from here. What do you do when your baby girl turns 11?

Once this “baby” found her way into the world…watch out. She owned it; and us. Sassy, frustrating, the very bane of my existence at times, the biggest talker you’ve ever met, and just so much of a handful at times, I wonder how I make it from day to day. But I see her beauty (even on her bad days) on the outside, but more importantly from within. She might be a hot mess at times, but she’ll do big things some day…mark my words!

This little girl of mine, I'm gonna let her shine. Let her shine, let her shine, let her shine. Bug turns 11 today and it's a big deal. I'm just trying to figure out where to go from here. What do you do when your baby girl turns 11?

Kylee can be difficult, dramatic, and sassy at times. So difficult. So dramatic. SO SASSY. Sometimes (oh who am I kidding, a lot of the time) she makes me want to pull my hair out. Heck, I think she pulls my hair out when I sleep!

This little girl of mine, I'm gonna let her shine. Let her shine, let her shine, let her shine. Bug turns 11 today and it's a big deal. I'm just trying to figure out where to go from here. What do you do when your baby girl turns 11?

She’s silly and adventurous!

This little girl of mine, I'm gonna let her shine. Let her shine, let her shine, let her shine. Bug turns 11 today and it's a big deal. I'm just trying to figure out where to go from here. What do you do when your baby girl turns 11?

And she’s (almost) always fun. Almost. But above all else…she’s 11 today and that’s all that matters to her. Did you know that officially, without question, she can go up to all of the chain restaurant buffets by herself…without me…to get her own food now? The signs all say so and she was quick to remind me this morning. I see a lot of buffets in our future (and a lot of Airborne in mine so I can handle the buffets since I still have to walk Bubby up there!).

All in all…Bug might drive me insane. I might spend a whole lot of time in the school office for her. She may be my biggest challenge in life…for real. The very bane of my existence? Perhaps. But that smile. The sheer joy and love she feels and exudes when she’s feeling her best? It’s amazingly infectious and I love it!

This little girl of mine, I'm gonna let her shine. Let her shine, let her shine, let her shine. Bug turns 11 today and it's a big deal. I'm just trying to figure out where to go from here. What do you do when your baby girl turns 11?

You see, when Bug smiles…when she really, really smiles and means it…to say she lights up a room is a gross understatement. It’s a complete and total illumination. An amazing aura like nothing you’ve experienced. It’s nothing short of magical! My unicorn (the one with the black horn most days) turns 11 today. I love her. I’m proud of her. She drives me crazy, but I just can’t wait to watch her change the world!

If you see this nugget today, wish her a happy 11th birthday. She’s pretty impressive with her drive-her-mom-crazy, talks-too-much, lives-on-the-edge, she’ll-do-amazing-things self. She deserves a happy birthday! Although she drives me nuts, I’ve resigned to let her shine…this little Bug of mine.

Happy birthday, baby girl! I love you more than the sky is blue. This life? It’s tough, but you’ve got this. You’ll rule it in fact! All my love forever and always (yes, even when we fight), Mommy!

Dear Step Son, You’re Right, Today You’re an “Equal”

Being a “step” parent is rough. Today, after reading a dissertation of a text from my 18-year-old step son last night, I realized that I don’t treat him as an “equal” to my own kids. Today, everything will change, for him, and I hope he’s happy that he’ll actually finally have to follow rules for the first time in his life.

matt cozumel

Dear 18-year-old step son,

I’m sorry. I read your 500-word text to your dad last night (yes, he showed me, you knew he would) and I can’t say I disagree with you. You’re right. We do NOT treat you as an equal to our “real” kids. You live by different rules. You are treated differently. In fact, you are treated way differently. Thanks for pointing it out so that I don’t have to anymore. You did us all a favor and, thanks to you, your life will change today and you’ll finally be “equal”.

You see, my “real” kids have a lot of rules. They live on a budget (yes, a budget, we’re not made of money). That’s why we have stuff. We work hard, I budget our money, we get stuff. Like that cruise you just went on? Yea, that didn’t pay for itself. I did. With my budgeted savings. You’re welcome, even though you never said thank you.

But back to the inequality.

You aren’t treated as an equal. You’re treated way better than them in fact. You’re treated like a king, actually, and I’m sorry you felt the need to point that out because it’s about to change, for you, today. You’re welcome. I do listen to you even though you think I don’t.

You see, my “real” kids are expected to come home from school daily, right after school, and do their homework, eat dinner when it’s put on the table between 5:00 and 6:00 every night, then to sit as a family before bedtime. You don’t have to do that, right? Sorry, I should have required that of you instead of allowing you to skip school, not do your homework, let you go to the skate park, then come home at whatever time you’d like and eat dinner before (or after) I put it up. I should have put my foot down, as I would have with my “real” children before I allowed you to mess up the kitchen after I cleaned it up. I should have put my foot down when you took those 45 minute showers, twice a day, when I politely asked you not to. I should have, I could have, I will, starting today because I want you to be “equal”.

My “real” kids get exactly three drinks per day. One with breakfast, one with lunch, one with dinner. Sorry the open fountain will be closed for you starting today too, but it’s all in the name of equality. You’re welcome.

And speaking of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, that’s about to be equal too. I did the math, and I spend exactly $3.00 on both of the babies for breakfast and lunch daily, combined. That’s right, a total of $3.00, that’s $1.50 each. They eat breakfast at home (because I make them get up early enough to do that), a Pop Tart or a bowl of cereal. That’s 50 cents a piece. They bring their lunch. Literally, $1.00 each per day for lunch. You’re smart, do the math.

How much do you spend?

FORTY DOLLARS PER WEEK…on breakfast and lunch. Way more than your dad and I spend weekly, together. Sorry we’ve been so unfair to you.

A breakfast burrito costs $2.50. Your coffee costs $1.00. Your double lunch costs $4.oo. Your extra cookies cost $1.00. That’s $8.50 per day. That’s $42.50 per week. Then there’s dinner. That dinner I cook from scratch. All day, every day. I’m sorry we’ve been so unfair. I’m sorry “our” kids have it so much better than you.

I’m here to rectify that. Starting tomorrow, well really Monday morning, you have exactly $20 going into your school account per week. That’s way more than “my” kids get, more than double their combined daily allowance in fact. Consider yourself lucky and thank you for pointing out “your” inequalities. I feel like I’m winning. Anything you want beyond your double lunch, get a JOB.

You can eat breakfast at home like they do. Get up on time. It’s all about equality.

You don’t need coffee and cookies. If you do want them, get a JOB. We’re all equals here…now.

Oh, and the lying. That won’t fly anymore either. If “my” kids lie, they get punished. The end. You do not. You’ve skipped school a total of 23 periods this year (I have letters from the school…stop lying). Kylee wouldn’t be allowed out of her room if she’d done that. I’m sorry I was so unfair to you (her) by fussing at you about that and thinking that perhaps you should be grounded. Shame on me for being so unfair.

Speaking of that job, everyone on the island is hiring. Everyone. Always. Stop coming home (5 months after you were told to get a job – that you were required to have when you lived at “home”) saying no one is hiring. I could get a new job tomorrow morning. So can you. This time, all sarcasm aside, I’m sorry I’ve been so lenient and haven’t held you to the standards that I hold “my” children to. GET A JOB.

So, in summation, we’re finally all “equal”. You get $20 for food at school this week, and every week thereafter, which is more than double what “my” kids get, combined. Use is wisely. If you don’t like that, we have breakfast at home and lunches you can bring. You’re welcome. You need to get a job for the extras. Again, jobs are plentiful here on the island. Look, you’ll see. My “real” older children were held to this standard when they lived here and they got them within two days, not six months. You’re welcome for the extra time…months…you were afforded. I’m sorry we have rules (I’m not), I’m sorry that I will now hold you to their rules (I am not).

Thank you for pointing out the inequalities around here. Thank you for telling your dad. Thanks for the money and aggravation savings. Thank you for the dissertation via text. You saved me a lot of words. I appreciate you.

With love,

Your “all about equality” step mom,

If I Could Write a Letter to 5-Year-Old Me…

How many of us would change our life’s course if we could? If you could write a letter to 5-year-old you, what would you say? Here’s my Letter to 5-Year-Old Me. If I could change some things, I would.

a letter to 5 year old me

Dear 5-Year-Old Christy,

Hi! I hope this letter finds you well. I hope you had fun on the playground today. I hope you didn’t let that little mean boy get to you today. You’re tiny for your age. So what? That won’t change by the way, so get used to it, and embrace it. He doesn’t matter. Mean people suck. You’ll learn that soon enough. Way too soon in fact. I’m sorry. I wish grown-up me were there to hold you right now. I’m not, but I’ve always been with you and I’m here with you now. If you’re reading this (you’re not), you’ll avoid the hot mess that is your life in your 40’s. It’s not all bad. In fact much of it is awesome, but things could be better. Hang on, baby, because I have some things I want you to learn at 5, and I want you to carry those lessons into your 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, and beyond. Ready?

  1. Laugh a lot, baby. Even when you feel like crying, laugh. It’ll make them wonder what you’re up to, and it’ll make you a happier person.
  2. Don’t trust too soon. Being cautious isn’t being paranoid. It’s being cautious and it could save you years of heartache.
  3. Always say no the first time if that’s what your heart tells you to do. If you’re worth it to them, no matter the situation, they’ll wait.
  4. Hand in hand with 3, always follow your heart unless your brain is so overpowering that you truly need to listen. If that happens, listen to your brain.
  5. Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve. It’s OK to show your emotions, but showing too much just brings out those bullies. They sense it, on the playground now, and the bullies don’t change.
  6. Be the change. When life or people around you suck, figure out how to change things to make the world a better place.
  7. Find your tribe. Align with people that get you. Make them make you accountable for all of the above. Make them talk you out of the stupid shit (sorry about that, you’ll have a potty mouth when you grow up, there are worse things).
  8. Don’t be a doormat. This one will be a huge challenge for you. It’s one thing to be a people pleaser, it’s another all together to be walked on.
  9. Be proud of the fact that you have a brain and know how to use it. It’s not aggression, baby, it’s assertion. Don’t you dare let them tell you otherwise.
  10. Life’s tough. Like, the struggle is real. If the bully on the playground is too much, walk away. If the job isn’t treating you right (not to be confused with you being lazy), leave. If people beat you down too much, just walk away, love. Walk away from the shit life is sure to deal. You and I will both be better off if you’re better than me and just walk away from the crap.

Your life will be amazeballs if you (unlike old you) follow this advice. AH-MAZING! Don’t hit your 40’s and wonder what the eff happened. Take charge. Beat those bullies. The ones on the playground and the ones in your future life. Let them lie to others and pretend you’re the bad guy. You know. Everyone knows in fact. Just do you, boo, and be strong. Do you, but step it up this time. Change the things that are wrong as they happen, act on your instincts, your heart, your brain. I’m in your corner. A lot of people are. Don’t forget it this time.

With love,