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Reflections and ruminations from a modern day Alice - Life is Wonderland
Reflections and ruminations from a modern day Alice - Life is Wonderland

Modern Day Alice

Welcome to the place were I chronicle my own falls down dark holes and adventures chasing white rabbits! Come on In, Take a Bite, You Never Know What You May Find...

"Curiouser and curiouser." Alice in Wonderland

I'm docked at Talent Pond's Blog Harbor, a safe port for bloggers to connect.

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March 26, 2024 at 8:32am
March 26, 2024 at 8:32am
"Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise"
Day 3049--March 26, 2024
Prompt: Rainy Days
What does the phrase "rainy days" mean to you? And what’s your favorite way to spend a rainy day?

There have been many rainy days in my neck of the woods as of late. As much as I enjoy a good soaking rain, I'd prefer to experience them with little less frequency. I miss the sunshine. I love the warm, rainy days of summer - when the sun breaks out just after a passing shower. There's always a thrill to a good thunderstorm you can watch from the safety of the kitchen windows or the monsoon rains that create large puddles and pools you can splash too. In winter months, rain can be of the freezing variety, which no one enjoys. In all cases, rain is best enjoyed with some coffee and a good book, even a small fire if its chilly. Rain can be a reprieve from yard work but also an excuse to catch up on folding laundry. I much prefer to curl up and read, or on rainy Sunday mornings, retreat back to bed with another cup of coffee and be a little lazy.

"Blogging Circle of Friends "
Day 3453: March 26, 2024
Prompt: “Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don't they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.”
Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine

Bees...I just love bees. They are so important to our well-being and the overall health of the planet. I once read that hobby bee keepers are essential to supporting the bee population. I have long wanted a small bee hive in my yard. I love the idea of harvesting honey and filling my landscape with plants for the busy pollinators. My family venomously disagrees. My husband and daughter are scared of bees, even my very favorite, those buzzy, fat bumble bees. They have an amazing social structure and language and I really think they are fascinating.

March 25, 2024 at 1:42pm
March 25, 2024 at 1:42pm
"Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise"
Day 3048--March 25, 2024
Prompt: Five Senses and Spring
Describe something(s) you experience with each of your senses every spring, and/or write about what an ideal spring day could be like.

Here in the Northeast, it should be Spring. The last week weeks have been cold and blustery. We did experience a uncharacteristic week of very Spring-like weather around the last week in Feb. I'll have to draw inspiration from that time while I wait for the season to catch up a bit!

Sight - Spring brings the most beautiful blue skies. Its a bright, cerulean expanse punctuated by fluffy looking tufts of white clouds. We see troops of fat, red-breasted robins crisscrossing the yard or digging for worms between the new green shoots of daffodils and lilies just emerging from the winter's slumber.

Taste - Spring tastes like the those first of the season farmers markets, crisp lettuces and early onions. It tastes like those first few meals grilled outside after the cold weather fare of stews and roasts.

Touch - I love sitting on the deck, and tilting by face into the warm rays of Spring sunshine. You can feel its heated fingers reaching out across the boards and pooling at your bare feet.

Smell - There is definitely a smell to Spring. There is a new sweetness to the air, a composition of new buds and fledgling plants. Spring smells like fresh grass and you eagerly throw open the window welcome the scents in.

I'm a child of Fall but Spring comes in as a not too distant 2nd favorite. Spring in New England always seems like a celebration of life after a long, hard Winter.

"Blogging Circle of Friends "
Day 3452: March 25, 2024
Prompt: “The reason birds can fly and we can't is simply because they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings.”
J.M. Barrie, The Little White Bird

To have faith is to have wings, is such lofty phrasing. I would also argue that we can fly which, especially in my case, requires great faith.
I work in the private aviation sector. Each time I have exhausted all other travel methods and have to resolve to fly, I find myself leaning on prayers and promises to God until I am back on the ground again. I am not a comfortable flyer. I see what the aircraft look like in their various states of repair. I know first hand how the airplanes are a collection of man-made bolts, slabs of metal and technological wonders but nothing at all divine, nothing sanctioned by heavens. They are machines, amazing and capable machines that we use to soar like birds.

I know people who live to fly. I have clients who even describe it as being "close to God and Heaven itself". I respect their passion. I respect their faith in the machine and in the ability of the pilots who fly them. I just do not share their enthusiasm. I can appreciate how far aircraft have come, I can marvel at the human ingenuity and the craftsmanship. I prefer to stay grounded. I think we only have so many prayers in this life we can make and I fear I could use them all up if I am called to fly too often!

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March 18, 2024 at 12:27pm
March 18, 2024 at 12:27pm
"Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise"
Day 3041--March 18, 2024
Prompt: Luck
Since it was St. Patrick's Day, yesterday, what do you think of the lucky Irish? Or if you wish, write your thoughts on the theme of luck and how it has played a role in your life.

I love the concept of the lucky of the Irish. My ancestors are French Canadian and, from what I can tell, none of them benefited from any culturally divined good fortune. I was always jealous of those who could claim Irish blood, with their "Kiss me I'm Irish" buttons and t-shirts. St Patrick's day always seemed like a fun holiday and the Irish appear to know how to enjoy life and have fun. I'm not sure I would attribute much to "luck" in my life. I'm a planner, and a plotter. I think that's true for a lot of people. I'd be largely uncomfortable leaving things to "luck". I must rather have a say in my own destiny. I wouldn't mind finding a pot of gold though...could really use something like that...

Blogging Circle of Friends "
Day 3445: March 18, 2024
Prompt: Use these words in your entry: silkworm, corruption, fledgling, rooster, coincidence, and wench.

Sir Henry Mack, the beautiful bantam rooster, perched outside her open window and crowed the sun into the sky as if his life depended on it.

Tonya was yanked from a particularly rousing dream where she'd been enjoying life as a busty pirate wench playing opposite to a dashing, dark pirate captain with a penchant for rum. Visions of the fledgling but spicy tryst faded as Sir Henry continued his unforgiving crowing assault. She sat up into a world of pain, courtesy of the bottle of Patron she'd managed to polish off last night in the wake of her latest breakup. Tonya had nursed her broken heart with expensive tequila, greasy tacos and a Pirates of the Caribbean marathon. It was no small coincidence that she'd spent the night fantasizing about pirate love on the high seas!

She dragged herself to her feet, swearing off cowboys and tequila as she padded to the window to toss a slipper at Sir Henry. Why did she do this to herself? What kind of corruption ate away at her heart, leading her again and again to the doorsteps of men who could not be true? Why did she insist on falling in love with men for whom she was never enough?

Somewhere in the distance, her cell phone chimed. She fumbled in the comforter until she found it. She noticed with a fresh bolt of heartache, that her screen saver was still a picture of Will from their last weekend getaway, shirtless and devastatingly handsome. Her stomach rolled and she fought past the urge to vomit. Tonya noticed she had a email notification from a silkworm1570@aol.com.

Who the hell still used aol? Tonya thought. She tore the comforter off the bed, wrapped in around her and opened the email.

You don't know me but I have a message for you from a mutual friend, the email began...

March 14, 2024 at 11:28am
March 14, 2024 at 11:28am
"Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise"
Day 3037 March 14, 2024
Prompt: "I'm intimidated by the fear of being average." Taylor Swift Write about what intimidates you for your Blog entry today.

I had to have a good hard think about what intimidates me. It would not be something I would come into contact with in my daily routine. I work in industry that is still pretty male-dominated and women in my position are few and far between. I'm not easily intimidated, I can't afford to be.
Having said that, I work with a lot of exceptional people. It is sometimes intimidating to become engaged in a conversations with them, knowing they are so very successful in their specific industries. When I am unfamiliar with the material, I can feel out of sorts and intimidated about holding my own in a discussion. I usually fess right up and admit that I know less about the stock market or investing than I should...to take the pressure off me.

"Blogging Circle of Friends "
Day 3441 March 14, 2024
Who celebrates Pi Day? Every year on March 14, math fanatics and food lovers unite to celebrate Pi Day, a holiday that's dedicated to the lengthy mathematical number that most people abbreviate to 3. 14.. What's your favorite pie? Do you bake them yourself? Or go for the premade pies at the store?

Pie...the dessert that I always rely on others to bake and bring. I am intimidated by making pies. I think its prob the crust, it seems like something one could easily screw up. There is something comforting about pie, something ultra-American. My grandmother used to make a lemon meringue pic with high, white crests of sweetness, it was a favorite of mine and a close second to the sweet/tart Key Lime pies from a tiny place in Key west that I've forgotten the name of. I do like a good cherry pie, those are harder to find though. My husband likes blueberry pies made with those small, dark, sweet Maine blueberries but he ruins it by heating it up and drowning it in ice cream. I prefer dutch apple or as its sometimes called, Apple Crumb. It tastes like Fall, my favorite season.
February 29, 2024 at 11:54am
February 29, 2024 at 11:54am
"Blogging Circle of Friends "
DAY 4028 February 29th, 2024
What are five things you believe about yourself?

I struggle with prompts like this because they are very introspective. I have to be careful to write about things I truly believe about myself, rather than things I wish were true about myself. But here goes....

I believe I know unconditional love. I believe it exists because of my daughter. Becoming a mother has convinced me that you can love someone completely, without questions or conditions. It is a powerful knowledge, one that both empowers and humbles you all at the same time. It is not the same love you feel for a life partner, a parent or as sibling...it is the love you can only experience for a child you have prayed and dreamed into being.

I believe in a higher power, I believe I am a person of faith even if my definitions of God have changed over the years. At heart, when I pray I still see the bearded face of a man, the benevolent son from the stained glass windows of my catholic upbringing. I believe when I have prayed, my prayers have often been answered, especially when I have prayed for strength in times of trial. I believe through faith, our loves ones that are lost, can come back to us and that is a greatest comfort my faith delivers for me.

I believe the bad things I have been through have made me stronger. I believe that every scar over my heart has made me wiser, has fortified me in some way. For every low moment, I have been able to draw a parallel to a moment when I have experienced a greater high. The violence I suffered at the hands of one man, enabled me to find the gentleness, protective nature of another. The grief of one loss, has made it possible for me to fully appreciate new love, new hope. Even the worst moments of our journey are purposeful. That has been true for me, and that belief has helped me navigate the bad times.

I believe that true friends are far and few in this life and that if you have even one person, you are blessed. A true friend rejoices in your joys and shares in your pain and grief. A true friend will always be connected to you, to the person you have been and the person you will become through all the stages of your life. I believe I am both a true friend to someone as they are to me. I know if I pick up the phone she will answer, open and ready to be whatever I need...a confidante, a supporter, a shoulder to cry on or a cheerleader. I love and appreciate her, as I know she does me. I am eternally grateful for her presence in my life.

I believe that my writing is the gift that has saved me, time and time again. My ability to pour my emotions into electronic ink has kept be saner than any therapy ever has. I believe that my ability to transcribe my fears, my dream and my fantasies into words has given me the creative outlet I have needed to feel fulfilled. I believe that writing is my craft, my lifeblood. It grounds me in the way nothing else ever had.

Blog City
Day 3023 February 29, 2024
Prompt: Leap Year Day. Write something about Leap Year for your Blog entry today.

I had to google Leap Year to get some background. It is on of the rarest day to be born on, 1/1461 chance for example. Regardless, 4.8 million people globally share a leap day birthday and they are collectively called Leaplings. Who knew? Obviously not me. Apparently in Ireland, Leap Day is the day women are able to propose to men...which seems risky since some cultures consider it a day plagued by bad luck. Its one of those things that I've rarely given much thought too. I imagine being born in a Leap Year is only marginally less convenient than being born on Christmas Day.
February 28, 2024 at 9:03am
February 28, 2024 at 9:03am
"Blogging Circle of Friends "
Day 4027: February 28, 2024
Prompt: “Even though February was the shortest month of the year, sometimes it seemed like the longest.”
JD Robb
What do you think? Does February seem like the longest month of the year?

Where I live in coastal New England, January and February are sometimes lovingly referred to as the two "months of suck". This year those months have definitely lived up to that moniker. January has a minor redemption built in because it kicks off with the New Year's day holiday, but by mid-month, the joyful holiday euphoria is a distant memory and Spring is a promise too far off. February, though shorter, seems to be an entire Winter long with its endless weeks of cold snaps and daylight that vanishes before 5pm. This year we have had milder weather which has made it slightly easier to bear but it is still easily everyone's least favorite page on the calendar. March looms large with the promise of brighter mornings, a harbinger to the Spring waiting just around the corner.

"Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise"
Day 3022 February 28, 2024
Prompt: What are 3 things you appreciate about nature?

Nature awakens each morning in degrees. I love that time just before sunrise when the world wakes up in the dim light. Mornings are peace for me, whether I wake to find the ground covered in bright new snow, or find my feeders full of early activity, colorful yellow finches and the occasional buzz of the visiting hummingbirds. There are some rare mornings when that first light has a certain quality in the way it coats the branches and stretches across the across the fields, an almost unearthly brilliance that makes you stop and hold your breathe and take stock of the world and your place it in.

Nature is fierce. There is a power in the surf during a storm, or in the wind that rocks the tops of the tallest trees. If Natures is the warrior, then weather is her weapon. There is a terrible vulnerability exposed when its nature verses man. With all our science and technology, we are still completely at the mercy of where a tornado touches down, or where a storm's destructive reach can take out causeways and erode entire beaches in a single afternoon. Who isn't even a little fascinated by the thunderstorms with the booms and crashes you can feel in your chest and the lightening that splits the night skies in silver arcs?

Nature persists. I think that is perhaps my most favorite thing about it. It perseveres. I have always found something beautiful in the way a forest will reclaim an abandoned amusement park or collapsing barn. Or the way a coral reef absorbs a sunken ship, laying claim to it with new growth. Barnacles and sea fans can camouflage an old cannon so that it you have to look past new beauty to see the traces of the old lines and shapes. Nature comes back from ravaging wild fires, new green shoots rising from ashen soil. There is a comfort for me in knowing nature cannot be triumphed over. It is a powerful reminder that our time here is temporary and the old world under our feet is taking daily measure of how we spend it.
February 27, 2024 at 11:45am
February 27, 2024 at 11:45am
"Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise"
Day 3021 February 27, 2024
Prompt: Tear Jerkers
Have you ever cried over a movie or serials or sad novels? What do you think brought on your tears?

It has been a while since I tried to write. I started slow this week, editing some older pieces and then tackled a contest entry, my first new original piece of writing in over 2 years. It felt shaky, like throwing my leg over a bike I'd had buried in the back of the garage and wobbling along until my muscle memory kicked in. Still, it always feels like coming home when I take writing up again. These daily blogging challenges are good exercise for the craft. Free-writing may flow more easily but responding to a challenge or prompt always makes my mind/heart connection work harder. Its like using a treadmill, then increasing the angle and resistance to build better endurance.

I had to laugh a little at this morning's prompt. I certainly cry over movies and sad novels, but also especially poignant commercials. It seems these days, the closer I approach the true middle age, it is hard not to cry at such things. My emotions seem to run closer to the surface than ever before, as if I know I have half a life left to feel it all, and I don't want to waste it. I cry just as many tears of joy as I do sadness though. This past weekend my friend performed in her first Caberet, something she had written to honor her Dad who had passed during covid. I cried through just about her entire show...a mix of tears brought on by memories, by her grief, by her touching renditions and by my tremendous pride in her for putting it all together. I've come to believe that there is a release in the tears we shed, a release we need more and more, the more of this life we get exposed to. The old adage, "sometimes you just need a good cry", is pretty accurate. I think if something we read or see can move us to tears, of any variety, then we are experiencing it to the full potential, that we are truly engaged with it. In today's fast paced, disposable world, being fully engaged with something has never been more important.

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Day 4026: February 27, 2024
Prompt: “Every element was made in a star and if you combine those elements in different ways you can make species of gas, minerals, and bigger things like asteroids, and from asteroids you can start making planets and then you start to make water and other ingredients required for life and then, eventually, us.”
Dr Ashley King, planetary scientist
Let this quote inspire your blog entry.


I read this quote this morning, and immediately began hearing Coldplay's "Sky full of Stars", in my head. I'm not sure that is what Dr. Ashley King would have been happy to have inspired with her words...but that's what came to me. It is not my typical genre of music either so it was admittedly a little odd. I had to pull it up on youtube to give it a full listen. The lyrics connected back in an unexpected way for me. There is something lovely about life starting with the stars and the cosmic combination comes together to create a universe of possibilities.


June 24, 2022 at 11:55am
June 24, 2022 at 11:55am
As I attempt to lean more fully into middle age, I am trying to figure out how to be the best version of myself. There are some mornings I wake up feeling every aching joint in my body. There are some afternoons when the weight of my emotions threaten to consume me. My challenges to self improvement are as physical as they are mental most days.

One of the things I struggle with most are my expectations of others. Living a life without expectations may be the best way to preserve one's happiness, but for me, that is nearly impossible to achieve. We can not control the thoughts, feelings and behaviors of others. We can however, maintain control on how we let those thoughts, feelings and behaviors affect us. We can be a brick wall or a doormat. I find I am, unfortunately, more often the latter.

In this past two years, I have had a serious of revelations. The biggest one being that no matter how well you plan, how hard you work, how big you dream...the universe can step in at any moment and disrupt it all. I was raised by parents who taught me I could do anything, but perhaps failed to prepare me for the reality that "anything" may be highly subjective and subject to biased interpretation. I have learned the hard way that in the end, you may set all the expectations and goals and still fail to achieve them because it is just not in the hand you've been dealt.

I have decided I may do my daughter better service to encourage her to reach for her dreams but to also have a fairly well-scripted Plan B to pivot to in the event the universe has a different plan. I've decided to instill in her the ability of "learning to let shit go". It is something I am trying to put into practice far too late in my own life.

People can be disappointing, as a matter of fact, I have found that those I love the most, disappoint me the most often. For a long time I have held onto hurt. I have carried around anger and disappointment. There were times I felt all that negative emotion turning to something black inside me. It was a feeling I likened to J.K.Rowling's obscurus concept from the Fantastic Beast series. An obscurus occurs when repressed feelings of hurt and betrayal caused a repression of magic in an individual. It took the form of a darkly ominous cloud that resided inside until one day it's rage would consume and destroy its host. It is funny that I would manage to find a real-life parallel in a children's book, but the concept really resonated with me. The message was clear, offload those feelings however you can or they will destroy you. I think of that swirling black warning cloud a lot whenever I feel that black coil inside me. I try very hard not to feed it. I try very hard not to let my rage win or worse, turn it against myself.

I have started to do this silly practice where I picture myself letting go of a bad thought or feeling like one of those paper lanterns. I imagine it lifting up into the night sky, the flickering candle inside beating back the darkness as it rises up into the atmosphere, getting farther and farther away from me. I can almost feel lighter after, having made the decision to offload some of that hurt. It doesn't always work. I'm not super great at meditation or self-visualization practices but I am trying and lately my lanterns have been working overtime.

March 23, 2022 at 12:43pm
March 23, 2022 at 12:43pm
Age 12

It has taken me a bit longer to write my annual piece reflecting on my daughter’s latest age milestone. I discovered that my commitment to leaving this legacy of her development in electronic ink, may not be as easy some years. I am surprised to find that some of her milestones are difficult to write about, harder to document for a myriad of reasons…one of which being that not all her changes are of the “warm and fuzzy” variety. I have come to understand that I am very much on this journey with her and that more often than not, her changes can affect my sense of self in very fundamental ways.

Age 12, for example, has introduced several elements in her personal development that I find to be very trying. It seems that the onset of female maturity has served to sharpen both her tongue and her attitude. Suddenly nothing has become too trivial to argue with me about. She seems to delight in it. What’s more is that it sadly seems to be the only activity in which she will readily engage me. At the same time there appears to be no end in the many, many ways in which I embarrass her. I find myself advocating for my own knowledge and experience as a counter to her newly minted sense of “self”. I frequently, and often too loudly, remind her that she does not “know everything” and that she is very much “still a child”. These are not helpful measures from my parenting playbook. I know they enflame the situation more, and still, I can not help myself. For the first time, maybe since those wolverine-like tantrum years of age 3, I can make a detailed list of things I do not much like about this stage of my daughter’s life.

#1. I call it, the “bite”. It is the knife-sharp edge to her attitude, the willingness to go just a bit deeper than necessary with her sarcasm and harshness. The subtle eye rolls have been largely replaced by stomping and slamming doors and defensive retorts that border on screaming. Fun times.

#2. The “Ewww” Factor. This is her habitual dismissal and rejection of me. The same child that clung to me and once lovingly installed me in her phone as “mother bird”, is now the same 12-year-old who instantly and venomously rejects everything I endorse. She seems to do this on principal alone. If I pick up a dress and comment that, is it “cute”, she scrunches up her face or look at me as if my fashion sense must have been surgically removed at birth. The only positive here is that is it easy to manipulate her with reverse psychology. If she thinks I’m only lukewarm on something, she takes that as proof positive that it must be cool enough for her.

#3. Her newly minted vanity or, as I like to put it in terms of the parenting challenge, “the act of teasing out vanity from actual confidence in order to help her build self-awareness, not just self-image.” Sorry, that was a mouthful, but this one is big, big fun. I get to navigate the fragile ego of a preteen, a daunting path fraught with drama and danger. Her foray into makeup has been restricted to mascara and on special occasions, some tinted lip balm. However, she has become a little heavy-handed with both. I try to explain that makeup should be used to enhance what is already there, and not become a distraction to her already beautiful features. I have insisted that she dial it back, pointing out that her too heavy lashes mask, rather than bring out, the stunning color of her eyes. Because she is poised to automatically reject my opinion, she is reluctant to take my advice. She does comply though…most days.

I understand that she has lived two years behind a mask and that she is dealing with pesky breakouts she’s struggling to control. I worry that she sees herself but, sometimes, can’t see beyond the acne and other blemishes.
I have allowed her these small touches of vanity for, and, because of those things. And I struggle daily with how to convey how beautiful she is without making her “outside” any more weighted than what is inside her. I tell her that she doesn’t need “extras”, she is all the extra she will ever need and more. I try reminding her that it also important to foster her inner beauty because it is what will ultimately define who she is as a human being.

The same battle applies to her clothing. She favors tight shirts and tank tops, with oversized sweatshirts and flannels paired with baggy jeans or leggings. She like athletic clothing overall. It is a delicate dance to explain why, even though there is nothing wrong with her body, she does not need to dress in a way that amplifies it. She has a beautiful figure that does not necessary match her age. It is not her fault that genetics have bestowed her with legs for miles and a sweet silhouette. This keeps me in a chronic state of second guessing myself. How much do I let her express her style and how much do I rein it all in because she doesn’t look like the child she still is? I want her to celebrate her youthful body, be proud of its strength and poise…. but only in relative privacy of our home, and only in the clothes I tell her are appropriate. How much of that is protection and how much is repression out of my fear that the world is full of sickos? Some days, I just do not know.

Oh…and the fake nail thing? I pray to God that is just a phase that she and her friends will burn through faster than Playdoh and Barbies because I fricking loathe it.

The other night I was lamenting to a fellow mom, “12 is not very fun,” I tell her, and then feel my eyes start to flood.

I realize I that age 12, has made me sad more than any other before. I find myself longing for things she has left unceremoniously in her wake: piano lessons, hand-made cards, dresses with ruffles and headbands, a love for MY playlists, begging me to play horses and go on bike, demands for me to “snuggle her”, and the rapt way she would listen to all my stories. I find myself missing the messes she’d make with her paints and her beads and even, (dare I admit this?), her slime concoctions. Now she prefers to be in her room, nesting or listening to music, talking to her friends, and organizing her clothes or doing her nails. She emerges for snacks or to begrudgingly help me with chores. She rarely seeks me out to actually do something with her.

I feel grief sometimes, actual fucking grief, over the loss of her childhood. The day she got her first period, I felt like I was sending her off to kindergarten all over again. There was that same, unforgiving pain of something lost forever. There was this ache in my chest, and I could not stop crying. She took the moment in stride, confused by how much I was losing my shit over something I’d been preparing her for the last year. I had prepared her, but I had not prepared myself, apparently.

These days I feel like I live for the moments when she leaves me a sweet note on my white board or texts me from school with news about making high honors or with good news. There are moments when we will be at the barn doing chores and she will suddenly confide in me, or even better, ask my advice about something. The infrequency of those moments can make me terribly sad. It makes me dread the years to come, how she may grow even less interested in us, as teenagers reportedly do. Sometimes she’ll let her guard down and I’ll catch her laughing at something funny I have done. It’s like a breath of fresh air. It feels like a tiny victory in an ageless war.

I try to take comfort in the things about my daughter that so far, have remained consistent. There are many awesome things about her at age 12, despite the overall tone of this blog…

She makes wonderful friends. Despite her shyness with adults, she seems to have no issue relating to her peers. She has a lovely little “girl crew” that are as diverse and colorful as wildflowers. They each bring out something different in her and it is a joy to watch her grow and foster those relationships. A recent birthday brought in a rush of cards in which the hand scrawled sentiments testified that my daughter is a kind, generous, warm, and funny friend. We must be doing some things right, I guess.

She cares deeply about her family. While she is reserved and keeps her emotions fairly close to her chest, she regularly asks after cousins and family members we don’t often see. She remembers our birthdays, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and will wake up and acknowledge those special days without being prompted or reminded. She treasures my grandmother especially. My gramma boop is one of the few people she hugs with both arms and lets her hold on as long as she wants to. She has become a special placeholder in my daughter’s heart. One of my husband’s sisters is battling cancer. It has been a battle our daughter has witnessed firsthand. Recently and unsolicited, our daughter made her aunt a collage. It contained pictures of them together through the years and it was peppered with messages of love and encouragement. It was intimate and moving and it that left all of us in awe and tears.

Our daughter is academically mindful and responsible. She checks her grades almost obsessively and places a great deal of pride in her standing. She made high honors in back-to-back terms this first year in middle school. She is particularly interested in writing, something she has shown an early aptitude for. Her writing style is surprisingly candid and descriptive. I wonder if perhaps she finds it easier to be more forthcoming and expressive in her written words than verbally. It has been a sweet discovery to think she might be a budding author, that she may share this passion in common with me. I try not to comment on that though, lest she reject this too out of habit.

Our daughter will still bestow affection. It is the rare expression of her affection that still brings me the most joy. It is like a balm to the sore and grieving places in my soul. Despite everything, she will still crawl into bed between us to watch a show. I will still find her snuggled against her father; one delicate arm thrown over his chest. In these moments she always lets down her guard. Sometimes I will slip my hand into hers and she will responsively curl her fingers around mine. Before she gets too sleepy though, she will disengage herself. She always comes back to kiss each of us goodnight, although sometimes that kiss is more air than substance. I’ll take it though. I’ll take all of her, even at age 12, and hold on as tightly as I possibly can.

At a recent family dinner, she begged me not to let them make her sit at the kid’s table and I felt a pang in my chest at my own memory of being excluded. In that moment, I found the opportunity to be her advocate and ally. I pulled a chair out for her between her dad and me. I gave her a place at the adult table, with us. For the rest of the evening, she clung close to me, rewarding my alliance by sharing texts, taking photos with funny filters, settling in close next to me and repeatedly resting her head on my shoulder.

This blog has been an emotional one to write. It has taken me several tries to get it “right”, and I am still not sure I did. But I wanted to leave something here to mark this milestone that was authentic and honest about this time in both our lives. I wanted her to know that despite our arguments and conflicts, I did often try to remember the turbulence of age 12. I did try to remember that moods and phases are part of this tumultuous age when we are not quite yet young women, but no longer children inside. I want her to remember that once, at age 12, I gave her a seat at the adult table, right between her father and I, because I saw her - everything she had left behind, and everything she was yet to become. I saw her, and I wanted her to know that at age 12, and for always and forever, her place was between us.
March 16, 2022 at 9:12am
March 16, 2022 at 9:12am
"Blogging Circle of Friends "
Day 3415: March 16, 2022
Prompt: Political: Women in politics - This does not have to be about a woman in office or running for office. It can be about a woman you think should be in office or one that has done something for your state, city, or country.

As a woman raising a young lady, I have always been adamant that she develop her own "voice". Learning to stand up for what you believe is so important, especially when women have fought so hard and so long for that right. I make sure I always exercise my right to vote as an example to her.
I remember watching the historical race between Hillary Clinton and Trump and, although I wished it had been a different woman, feeling pride and faith that one more important ceiling had been broken through. Even in her losing the election, she inspired a whole new generation of women in politics and that was very effective for me. I will say that one woman in politics has really stood out for me. Keisha Lance Bottoms was the governor of Atlanta from 2018-2022. I heard her speak several times during some turbulent times in her city. Atlanta has always been powerfully and politically charged. She always commanded the podium, speaking with authority but also compassion as she told the angry protesters to "go home". She simultaneously conveyed empathy for their hurt and rage while also condemning their actions that were hurting their fellow black community members. It was a difficult line to draw but she did so with grace, humanity and unquestionable strength. I found her a very compelling and impressive leader. I can only hope she inspired more than a few of Atlanta's female youth to seek out leadership roles at all levels in their communities.

"Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise"
Day 2520 March 16, 2022
Prompt: "Flowers bring joy. They elicit memories. They mark occasions and they brighten a cold, harsh winter's day." Emily Von Trapp Write about this in your Blog entry today.

My favorite flowers are lilacs. When I was younger, my grandmother's yard was bordered by six or seven big lilac bushes, twice as tall as I was. She and I used to hang clothes out on the line and you could smell their perfume every time the wind blew. I would pick the blooms, lush and heavy, just before the little purple star-shaped flowers fully opened. We'd bring them inside and over the next days, they blossom and fill the whole house with their sweet scent. Even now, when I catch the scent of lilac on the breeze, it takes me back to those sunny afternoons hanging cloths with my grandmother, there was never anyone, then or now, I preferred to be with more. When I got married, lilacs featured prominently in my bouquet. They were off season and expensive, but it was my one indulgence to honor my grandmother and the warm, wonderful memories they will always evoke. I wanted those sentiments to be forever part of my wedding day too.

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