Don't Get Stuck on the Cookie: Part 1

The year was 2014. I was running ridiculous miles as Boston loomed near. I was having doubts about my purpose and worth and wondering whether I was doing what I was actually here for. I struggled with food, had a bit of body dysmorphia and was obsessed with health and performance. I was likely an anxious mess but I wasn't about to let anyone in on that. (I am sure no one noticed, right?)

I had apparently made a Lenten promise to "write one person a little note" every day of Lent. I do not recall this idea. I doubt I made it through two days because although the thought was in the right place, I know the follow through was probably lacking, and I would hope that if I really wrote 40 different people over the course of 40 days that year, that I might remember it. I do not.

At any rate, fast forward six years. As I was cleaning out some things the day before Easter this year, I found an envelope that read (in my handwriting):

To Karen

(Open on Easter)

Intrigued, I held onto it to open the next day, on Easter, like it instructed. And I subsequently forgot about it, again....apparently that is how I roll you guys. 

Anyway, I read the letter the day after Easter. And the next day. And the next day. Not because it was such a great letter but because I guess I still need to hear the wisdom of my 37 year old self. I want to be more like her again one day. (But maybe with a better memory and a better grasp on a few things!)

Here is what I wrote: 


Dear Self, 

There are 40 days in Lent and you are going to write a note every day to someone new. Day 1 is YOU! Of course, you are totally feeling that second glass of wine (it was totally worth it no matter what you think tomorrow!) but you have to know some things so I (you) am going to tell you. (Confused yet self?)

First, you need to fight for your family; for your kids, their needs, for the things that are going to build memories and connect you. The time is NOW. Get movin' Girl!

Secondly, eat the damn cookie already! You are running 50+ miles a week. I am pretty sure it won't be a problem. Stop thinking about it and just do it. Then you will have more time to move on to bigger and more important things. Don't get stuck on the cookie!

Third, people need you. Stop your constant inner struggle with "figuring out your purpose" because you are living it! Start acting like you, your purpose, and path are in front of you because THEY ARE!

Finally, relax a little and remember to love--Love your life, your husband, your kids, you family and friends and the strangers you run into on the street. These are the moments that life is made of; these are the greatest and least and everything in between and you will do well to love as much as you can. Take a deep breath and just relax. You are doing just fine. (So long as you don't get paralyzed by that cookie!)

Much love, 

Your Self

So today, remember: Don't get stuck on the cookie! And honestly, there are a lot of cookies in this lifetime! 



Open Letter to Fellow Parents

 Dear Fellow Parents, 

I know you love your children. I know you want to protect them and keep them safe and all that stuff. I get it. I have kids, too. A lot of them actually. But, we need to have a little chat about Middle School drop off. You see, when your child was 5 and 6, and you insisted on driving up exactly in front of the school door to drop off your precious cargo, we all understood. We were all there, making sure we saw our little angels walk into the building so that we could drive away with emotional ease. Afterall, they were babies then. 

Two years later, we were encouraged by the teachers on Drop-Off duty at the Elementary school to let our kids out earlier; there was even a sign back then: Drop off Kids After this Point (or something like that) letting us know, "It's ok, mom and dad; your kids can safely walk from here. We are here to make sure they get into the building." And many of you understood and readily dropped off your kid at the sidewalk, letting them walk a few extra feet into the building. You did it! They made it! And we all went about our day, happily ever after. 

But now, dear parents, your child is a 7th or 8th grade teenager, and I have to ask, how did you forget all those years of drop-off training? Even my kid living with Autism eagerly jumps out of the car 4 or 5 cars back because he knows he can do hard things.....things like, I don't know, walking an extra 20 yards into the building. I imagine, one day, he may even tell his own children how he quickly jumped out of the vehicle and rapidly walked those extra yards on a slick, salt covered sidewalk, through 14 degree weather, wearing his pandemic mask, just to get into the warm building. It is building his character and who knows, maybe even making him a little more grateful to be able to go to school. And yeah, I know, sometimes the kids are reluctant, and haven't slid over to the drop off side of the car quick enough, or are struggling to get their stuff together or are being, gasp, difficult.....we've all been there. It happens....but not every gosh darned day!

I promise you, it won't kill your kid if they get out BEFORE they are the first car in line. I suspect, it may even make them a wee bit less soft. But really, you've got this. Your kids will survive....if only you would let them! And then one day, they will be able bodied enough to get to High School all by themselves. These are the days we have been working towards, Parents! We've got this! We are in it together! 

All the best, 

That Mom behind you who has been waiting for 4 cars to drop off kids right at the front of the line (my kid has been safely inside for minutes!)