Category: parenting

inspiration, motherhood, parenting

twenty five

“Becoming a mother is life altering.” I hear that. I read that. I laugh at that.

Obviously, we are not talking breaking news here. Yes, becoming a mother alters you life. Forever.


“Alter” is nice, polite. A pleasant word for change; a slight, sweet modification, perhaps. The perfect dress that just needs to be slightly altered, a hem. Pin, tuck, sew. There…perfect. Altered.

In regards to pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood, “alter” is more of a tsunami in the Bermuda Triangle of physical body change, emotional mental upheaval and a soulful evolution that grounds your life’s existence on this planet.

Alter? That is precious, but it doesn’t even come close.

25 years ago today, my life was not altered. My life was shattered. Shattered into a million, brilliant beautiful pieces of light, that have since rained down over me, reflecting all that is good and true and funny and beautiful in this world.

A million, brilliant laughs with a million, brilliant happy tears.

A constant brilliant shower of an authenticity, a shining light that I had never known, yet recognized immediately. 

Strong, intelligent, beautiful, courageous, assured, nurturing, wise, creative and the funniest goddamned person I know.

Whatever she does, wherever she goes, she and I will always carry that moment inside us. When the million brilliant pieces of light shattered, rained down from the heavens, blew gracefully through the early morning warm summer Texas breeze and whispered, “mom”.

Happy Birthday, Jordan Adeline.

July 8, 2015

twenty five

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health, parenting, reflection

a new year high

Part One: The end of the beginning

Trout Creek, Montana
Trout Creek, Montana

We were told only to dress warmly. The guides provided Brawny Man snow boots and gloves. They gathered the eight anxious and emotionally worn families, assured us that we would have “fun” and we headed out.

In knee-deep snow, I quickly found a cadence that allowed myself to navigate the loose powder like a gazelle, prancing over a billowy blanket. The scenery can only be described as Mother Nature at her finest meets…..Fargo.

Ahead of us, the pristine, untouched snow represented the hope and dreams of every person on that trip. By simply looking behind us, our footsteps and the wrecked, demolition of nature in our wake represented why we were on this adventure, in the first place.

For fifteen minutes we trudged, Jordan and Larkin at my sides, we were already giggling. “Where are they taking us?”  Joshua walked ahead with his new friends. I thought to myself, “He’s only know these guys for 30 days and they know everything about each other.” Then, I realized, “Hell, I’ve just met these other parents 4 days ago and I will remember them forever.” Let’s just say, you really get to know folks pretty quickly in a “group” setting.

What a week. Starting the New Year, 2013,  in Montana. At a young men’s rehab facility. What was it, that Dr. Seuss said? Ah, yes…”Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”

Larkin and I were not blind sighted by our son’s addiction to prescription pills. Addiction runs loyal  and deep on the male side of our family. Hello? Remember my brother-in-law’s book? (And yes, he is named after his uncle.)

Still, you’re really never prepared to watch your child pour out his heart, declare his failures and share his darkest secrets in a big circle of strangers under fluorescent lighting.

I had never been to any kind of group therapy/meeting. I had always said my last name when I met new people and I most certainly had never heard my name echoed right back to me, by a room full of people who looked exactly how I felt. Heartbroken, terrified and clueless.

We were all shell-shocked families gathering in a warm cabin, remarkably sharing the same story. We were all the same. Sure, different backgrounds, different settings. But, we all had the same questions burned into our eyes, written all … Read the rest

decorating, motherhood, parenting

The Californians

So, I spent an “awesome” week in “Marina Del Rey” with my daughter, Jordan. (Say it like the SNL skit, “The Californians” for full effect.)

We, of course, had our lists of songs, videos, movies, trailers, tweets and memes to share with one another. Pour us a couple of cocktails and the two of us are off babbling like third graders on some sort of wild, extreme show and tell.

That is what I love best about our mother daughter relationship. We get each other. We are movies and music and NFL and superheroes and pirates and comic con wanna-goes. We do not shop, but if forced to, it has to be fast. In a mall or department store, we will lose the ability to verbally communicate in about 30 minutes. We don’t pour over fashion mags or celeb rags. But, we can go into full-blown geek mode with showing each other the latest mind-blowing “Star Wars” or “Avengers” meme. We swoon over food and cocktail recipe porn on Pinterest.

Mostly, we are simply entertained by making each other laugh. That is our relationship. We don’t bicker. We laugh. We do not argue. We laugh. We do not judge each other. We simply laugh. We are in a constant celebration of the 23 years of sheer entertainment we have continued to provide each other. We are pretty damn proud of ourselves. Even when we are the only ones laughing.

There is always the perfect movie or TV line for every situation, that serves as a salve to every hardship we have ever had to encounter. Laughter is our comfort food and our favorite cocktail. Well, more like the perfect garnish to our favorite cocktail.



There are those that know us and understand. There are those that know us and think we are freaks.  Jordan and I have never fought, yelled or bickered. Ever. And it is all her. She was born with the temperament of a wise, seasoned traveler. The patience she showed me, Helen Keller-ing my way into new mother hood at 23 was mind-boggling. (It would prove to serve me well with my son.)

Jordan brought out my bravery, honed my confidence and taught me that competitiveness was overrated and would bring nothing but stress and possibly Yellow Jack Fever! (I dramatize. We’re from the south and big fans of Bette Davis’ Jezebel. And … Read the rest

books, motherhood, parenting

the end of teenager-dom





The Boy turned 20 this week. My baby is 20.

Just like when I turned 30. 40. Reflection is inevitable.

Larkin and I have had more than the lion’s share of teenager-dom. 17 years. 17 years straight of raising crazy, wonderful, lying, beautiful, self-centered, manipulative teenagers. As Jordan aptly replied, “Puh, teenagers…they’re the worst.” Right?!

I see them. My contemporaries. Celebrities and dignitaries my age. Damn, they look good. But, did they have to raise teenagers for 17 straight years?! I am making frown lines on my brow, as I type.

When you hold those babies in the hospital, gently brushing their faces with the scant wisp of your forefinger, you never imagine the teenage years. The time period in which you will become the un-coolest, dumbest, “you don’t understand” version of your parents. Simpletons, really, just trying to manage on the same planet with the mood-changing creatures you created. A creation you honestly question a few times as they change plans, yet again, miss curfew or simply roll their eyes for the umpteenth time.

Tick, tock. The bells toll.





Joshua is 20. He is filled with a wisdom and a deep soul that I have seen before. He is swimming the pools of his father’s waters. I am in awe. Cautiously optimistic, yet still in awe.

Jordan, graduated from Boston University. Moving to L.A. Headed to Hollywood with determination, wit and wisdom, far beyond her years. Strength and grace. She is simply amazing.

Nicole, an entrepreneurial success, just like her dad. A talented, creative photographer in Austin. Making her own magic happen.

Monica, our oldest. Determined, charging her path, claiming her career as a successful Houston lawyer. Never doubted it for a minute.

Together, the four of them, all in their 20’s. (At least for a few month’s anyway.) Each live in a different city, across 3 states. One goes down, the other three rally. They are lucky. We are lucky. And grateful.

Dear Children,

I raise my glass to the four of you. We made it. You grew up. You matured and/or are maturing. Each of you, your own pace. I won’t name names.

Thank God you are not the same kids you were from 1996-2013. May those goofy, clueless, lovable souls live on, deep within your hearts. Personally, I hold every one of those stay up all night and worry years, Read the rest

Latina, lifestyle, marriage, parenting

The Aisle: An Olympic Sport?

What comes with having three 20-something girls, each with their own large circle of girlfriends, is the realization that no news travels faster, spreads wider and cuts like a light saber through general conversation than Guess who is getting married?!

It is 2012 and we all just giggle, gasp and guffaw at nuptial news like women at the “Meryton Assembly Ball” in a Jane Austen novel.

My girls, in particular, have been cursed/blessed with a matriarch that was wedded at the ripe ol’ age of 22. “Ugh,” they all sighed.

It wasn’t planned or arranged. It just happened. Just like they cannot plan or arrange when it will happen for them. (Although their father might just like the opportunity to “arrange” their partners.)

There are plenty of books, advice and well-meaning analysts and bloggers like Penelope Trunk that have written volumes about not only how to find and land your mate, but WHEN you should meet “Mr. Right.” Someone even came out with “rules”. Remember that brouhaha? There is even a book by Tracy McMillan based on her popular two-part essay on The Huffington Post telling you WHY you haven’t found that right person just yet.

Even my mother-in-law, a champion for women’s rights, a celebrated educator and author will most likely ask the girls if they have a boyfriend before she inquires about their job, school or general health.

So much has been written lately about “having it all” with the media swirling around the rise of the new Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. She will have the opportunity to balance pregnancy, marriage, motherhood while running a major company, right before our very eyes; her every move, no doubt, covered by every media source from the Wall Street Journal to People magazine. (My guess is that they probably already approached Naomi Watts to play her in the movie. No?)

My Google Reader is not filled with articles in regards to a “cure” for bachelors or advice on landing Mrs. Right. I cannot recall any story about a newly appointed male CEO having to discuss how marriage or fatherhood would affect his job performance.

What is the fascination with women getting married?

I personally feel, the honest truth, is that it will happen, when it happens. And, it is most likely inevitable.

I will conserve my opinions of working women having it all, to focus on … Read the rest

empty nesters, home, lifestyle, Martha's Vineyard, parenting

the summer of peace

I am getting settled for another summer on my beloved island. It is always a little bittersweet, because Larkin has to commute every few weeks. We really do hate to be apart. Texas is very far apart. It takes a car, a plane, another car and a ferry to get here. But, as a dear friend once told me, “if it were easy, everyone would do it.”

While here, I will get to spend more time with our two college kids. Jordan is finishing up at BU and can take the ferry over on weekends. The Boy is spending his summer here on MV, searching for a little summer job, a few gigs and a lot of artist peace and quiet.

In between ALL of those loads of laundry (!), he and I have had some long talks about peace, comfort with who your are and being comfortable in your own skin. Why is it so easy for some, while others have to really fight for a place at the table of calm?


Do you find yourself searching for peace?

If so, then please stop. Just stop. You cannot go out and search for it. Be still. Let it be. Allow peace to come into your life. It is there waiting patiently and quietly…after all, it is peace!

I believe some people do not see themselves worthy or deserving, so they fool themselves into searches for causes or purpose or bliss, whatever the current blog buzz word happens to be. It is like busy work, tricking yourself into believing that the search is the hard work. If you’re out looking for it, you are missing it altogether.

The hard work is being still. Accepting what is. And, simply, let it be. No shame. No judgement. This is life. As Katharine Hepburn put it, “Life is hard. After all, it kills you.”

We’ve always known that life is ups and downs, ebbs and flows. So, why can we get so thrown?

Conquering unhappiness, depression, addiction, insecurity, health issues, divorce, unemployment, financial fiasco, anxiety, obesity, self-harm, loneliness or even general malaise; they all share a starting point, a first step towards the light. It begins with peaceful acceptance. “It is what it is.” (Larkin’s favorite.)

Now, you are ready.

 Facing the issue, steadying yourself to be open to the calm, will bring you to a state of peace; an … Read the rest

home, lifestyle, Martha's Vineyard, parenting

No TCM, No Cry

TCM Tuesday from Martha’s Vineyard, has been preempted, in order to do the 11 loads of freshman dorm laundry.

I have had 3 girls return home from freshman year. This is my first boy. Did I miss something? Is there a protocol?  Was I supposed to just burn all of this?! Wow.

As I’m finally going to bed, I realize that I have an answer to the age-old hypothetical question:

If you were stranded on an island, who would you want with you?

Easy. Lorena. My housekeeper back in Texas.

Back to classic movies soon.


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motherhood, parenting

Because I’m a Mom

From the moment my daughter Jordan walked into my room in pain, I was “on”. That is what moms do, it’s one of our strengths. I don’t turn into a panicky mom. I use humor and laughter to get through. We dressed in minutes, made it to the car and laughed all the way to the 24 hour ER clinic, in between breathing through sharp stomach pains, of course.

It was odd for me to have the admitting and attending nurses address all questions to my daughter, not me. She is 21, now. An adult. She was amazing to watch as she described her condition over and over to the various health professionals. After an hour and a CAT scan, it was determined she needed to have surgery…quickly. Now, the phone calls.

I am a Latina. From a long line of strong, Tejana women. Once the phone calls start, widespread prayers, candles and vigils spring into action. I am the ONE who has to keep it together. I don’t fall apart. There are others who will, but not me. Because I am a Mom, I am the rock. I am the comic relief. My husband and I opted to drive our girl to the hospital ourselves. My parents and my sister met us there. (Mexicans do not wait alone in waiting rooms.) The Boy, our son Joshua, waited with friends. My oldest stepdaughter joined us, as well. Everyone was concerned, but understood it was a routine surgery but, still…it IS surgery, as my mother reminded me.

Jordan and I had a few good laughs in pre-op, before they wheeled her away. Our “thing” is quoting movie/TV lines. We did lines from “Arthur”, “Friends” and to keep it a little dark, “Steel Magnolias”…”Open your eyes, Shelby…open, open open your eyes”.)  I’m sure some people think we can be inappropriate at times, but humor has ALWAYS been our default mode.

In the waiting room, my husband was way more unnerved than I expected. She is Daddy’s girl, alright. I had to keep him up. My parents, who have been through their medical nightmare this past year with Dad’s heart attack and surgery, were worried. My sister, the awesome “cool aunt”, was helpful and attentive to my parents, so I could concentrate on my husband. Separately, in the waiting room, there was a young woman, who upon receiving good news from a doctor … Read the rest

empty nesters, parenting

3 steps forward, 2 steps back

Your college freshman is home! You are so proud. Hell, he graduated from high school and got into college, all in this past year. Wow!

However, the first winter break for college Freshman is a very long, exhausting break. And, not just for the parents. These kids come home and try and reconnect with every friend they’ve had since middle school, cram in visits with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins all while trying to catch up on their coveted sleep. You can try and set up dentist and doctor appointments, but don’t have your heart set on it. And, parents, get ready to roll out all of the old mantras all over again. “Don’t drink. Call me if you do. Don’t do drugs. We will come get you whatever time. Remember what happened to___________” (insert your local tragic teen story here…sadly, there are too many.)

It seems that many of these newbie young adults revert right back to that high school mentality of living in the moment and throwing consequence to the wind. Life is a party! Even worse, they don’t have jobs or school responsibilities to keep them on any kind of schedule. Over the long break, the college-ness begins to wear off. I keep wondering, where is that college kid we saw at Parents Weekend back in October? The one that knew his way around Boston, walked confidently through the school, actually woke up and met us for brunch? Will he be showing up again soon? Or does he only reside in Boston?

It has come up more than once, these past few weeks, the idea of which childhood relationships are real and which are just being kept alive through the magic and wonder of Facebook. Just because a “friend” posts a party on FB doesn’t mean everyone has to show up. The fact that we were having these discussion made me feel that these savvy kids know the difference. Every evening, I watch our kids’ beautiful faces illuminate with that bluish hue of their iPhone screens, as they scroll all of the possibilities for the night. Then, in a very non committal tone, The Boy: Well, ‘so and so’ is going to ‘so and where’ and there’s a bunch of people going, so I might meet up with them. Me: Oh? I don’t remember ‘so and so’. The Boy: Mom, remember? Sophomore year. That guy.

That guy. … Read the rest