Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Living With The Alien

I began Lovin' the Alien in March of 2011. 

I'd made a living as a writer my entire adult life, and considered myself one as long as I could remember. Even though I knew a handful of professional bloggers through my day job as a marketer, I hadn't really thought about it much. Then two special people encouraged me. 

First, a high school classmate, an excellent writer and editor, asked me to review a movie for Women's Voices for Change. I've joked that the assignment "saved my life." It didn't really. But, I think it saved my voice. After 25 years of writing as IBM or Bank of America or Chevrolet or NYNEX, I'd forgotten what I sounded like. And, how much I love writing. I've contributed close to 200 stories since, and now have a weekly cultural column.

The second was the encouragement of a former client, another wonderful writer, who was living a bit of a fairy tale life in Monaco. We had reconnected via social media and were having fun emailing each other about the trials and tribulations of raising tweens. (Unbearable Monegasque PTA mothers are shockingly similar to the ones here.) This friend had just started a blog to share her adventures and keep in touch with friends and family in the U.S. She talked me into setting up my own blog and was always one of my biggest fans.

The feedback to Lovin' the Alien was immediate and gratifying. (I definitely struck a chord or two or ... let's see ... 598 so far with other parents.) But, the response I got most often was this ... 

"OMG, what does your daughter think about it?"

I can't imagine that Lovin' the Alien would be on any of my daughter's "Top Ten" lists (unless it was maybe "The Top Ten things my mom has done to embarrass me"). In reality, she knows that I would never write about anything truly painful or humiliating. She thought it was a little "AWK-WARD" at first; then started enjoying minor-league celebrity when some of her friends became readers. Once in a while, she'll express a teeny tiny bit of (dare I say it?) appreciation when I use a post to stand up against something like high school administration tyranny.

Mostly, she just ignores it.

I hope that someday, she'll look back at it and understand that — more than anything else — it's a love letter. 

Being a mother, specifically her mother, has been the greatest chapter of my life. It has been at once joyful, heartbreaking, frustrating, fulfilling and very educational. My daughter has taught me about what really matters (and what doesn't so much).

She taught me that when you fall, you have to get back up. (She's an equestrienne; when she falls, she doesn't just get back up, she gets back up and back on a horse!)

She taught me about the immeasurable value of free time.

She taught me that the world won't end if you leave a dirty dish on the counter or a bed unmade for a day or two (or forty).

She taught me an easier way to parallel park.

She taught me about justice, about determination, about staying true to what you believe. 

She taught me how to close the background apps of my iPhone so my battery will last longer.

She taught me to be braver than I thought I was.

She taught me about the breadth and depth of love — boundless love, unconditional love, even, I'm sorry to say, unrequited love. 

And, I have loved. I've loved every minute — well, all the minutes I can remember right now, at any rate.

Thank you, my beautiful little alien

If you've enjoyed this post, I invite you to order the book Lovin' the Alien here.  


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