Actual Things: Unmarried Dot Com

Dear friends,

I’ve had a cold so long I can barely remember what it’s like to not have a cold. As I was lying in bed last night still hacking after a second dose of Nyquil and some good old fashioned night soup*, I started to get really fed up. (*Night soup is that thing where you are so desperate to stop coughing you get up at 1am, make soup to eat in bed, spill some of it on yourself and then pray you don’t die of an accidental cold med overdose leaving your children to find your puffy-faced body in a bed full of used tissues in the morning.) I decided to refocus on tranquility by saying all my thank you prayers. Since I’ve been Catholic most of my life I have a habit of ending my prayers with the sign of the cross, only last night instead of the traditional “Amen” I realized I accidentally ended my prayer with, “In the name of the Father, the Son, and The Holy Spirit, Dot Com.”

So there I was, wheeze-laughing in the dark in m’soup-stained tank top…

This brings me to my second actual thing. I overslept. Which means my kids overslept. Which means we had approximately 9 minutes for a 12 minute drive. By some miracle of traffic patterns, we coasted up to the door with about 15 seconds to spare as I tossed backpacks into the backseat like they were life jackets on a sinking ship. As I watched my sweet blonde cherubs head for the front door I rolled down the window and started shouting things like, “LET’S MOVE! LOOK ALIVE! I WANNA SEE KNEES TO CHEST!” It really put a pep in their step and I’m thinking that maybe I should start wearing a coach whistle to drop off.

It’s a good thing I’m such a natural motivator because kids can be so inconsiderate, am I right? Like, I didn’t leave the house bra-less in a soup-stained tank top and accelerate through four yellow lights for you to mosey in 20 seconds after the bell and make me look like a bad mom.

Thirdly, and this is a biggie: I got unmarried a while ago. For months now I’ve mulled over when and how to share this information publicly, but the more I thought about it, the more all of your comments over the past years came flooding back and reminded me that I should just keep it real. It wasn’t in the plan for the original fairy tale ending, but I still got a lot of fairy tale moments over the years that can never be undone.

So I’m back to writing. As a single mom, I assure you I have a backlog of material to share with you. If you’re reading this, please know that I appreciate you. I hope you’ll forgive my absence and come back with all of your hilarious feedback I treasure so much.

And those are the actual things.

Love, Emily

 

Alternate Titles:

Working On My Night Soup

Accelerating Through Yellow Lights: A Philosophy For Life

Unmarried With Children

Fairy Tale Middles

I want to sneak in a HUGE thank you shout out to the many, many supportive women friends who have been true bright spots through this cloudy, unpredictable season of my life. Here are a few of them:

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Of Pie and Bravery

Thankful For Pie

I remember my first crush in Kindergarten. I also remember the first and last names of each boy I had crush on in subsequent grades up until middle school when I had THE BIG crush on one boy for like four years. He was the Winnie Cooper of my Wonder Years. I’ve had countless crushes in my life, most of whom never even knew. I suppose that is the gift of the combination of a big imagination and intermittent shots of anxiety to keep you practical.

I know some parents balk at the idea of little grade schoolers having crushes, raising eyebrows and saying how they are way too young for that, etc. But to these parents I ask, do you show your kids Disney movies? Continue reading

When Will There Be Cupcakes Again?

When I was in grade school I read Number The Stars by Lois Lowry about little girls living in Denmark during the Holocaust. Since the Nazi occupation, resources are scarce but the little sister, Kirsti, longs for a “big yellow cupcake, with pink frosting.” For some reason, I have never forgotten this detail.

My daughters both have summer birthdays so they miss out on the fanfare of having a school day birthday. Instead, we celebrate their half-birthdays. Today we celebrated my sweet Savannah sunshine’s four and a half birthday. I sat in a tiny purple chair and read a few of her favorite books to a bunch of wide-eyed, pink frosting-covered, grinning little faces.

Milestones always make me sentimental, even arbitrary ones, like a fifteen-minute preschool half-birthday party, but I genuinely believe in celebrating as much as we can, while we can.

When I was in first grade, I remember the exact moment I heard my teacher say the word “war” as it related to the Gulf War. As a Senior in high school, I remember silently watching Mrs. Goldberg scrawl the name “Osama Bin Laden” across the chalk board on September 11th. My own first grade daughter overhears words in the media like “protest” and “gender inequality” and “racism.” Though I grew up hearing about military conflicts, my own children are growing up amidst wars between all kinds of people, and it’s nearly impossible to tell if anyone is winning.

But my little four and a half year old is still blissfully unaware of such topics. She thinks the President’s name is Donald Trumpet and once asked me to help her fill out a postcard to send to the White House because she overheard concerns of people losing their rights, but she heard “writes” and surmised he was stealing crayons and various other items. For real, we actually sent a postcard we tore out of a Highlights magazine to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue asking the President to please stop taking things from people and also give Savannah her fictitious stuff back. She doesn’t worry that someday someone could come into her school with intention to hurt people for no reason. She thinks skin tones come in colors called “brown” and “blonde.” She doesn’t live in fear of friends or family being deported. She doesn’t worry that she’ll be denied an education because she’s female.

And she loves cupcakes.

So as silly as it may sound, I made these symbolic cupcakes to mark an arbitrary milestone with a bunch of preschoolers today. Because I can.

And that’s something to celebrate.

Cupcake

“Mama, is there anything to eat?”  Annemarie asked, hoping to take her mother’s mind away from the soldiers.
“Take some bread.  And give a piece to your sister.”
“With butter?” Kirsti asked hopefully.
“No butter,” her mother replied.  “You know that.”
Kirsti sighed as Annemarie went to the breadbox in the kitchen.  “I wish I could have a cupcake,” she said.  “A big yellow cupcake, with pink frosting.”
Her mother laughed.  “For a little girl, you have a long memory,” she told Kirsti.  “There hasn’t been any butter, or sugar for cupcakes, for a long time.  A year, at least.”
“When will there be cupcakes again?”
“When the war ends,” Mrs. Johansen said. 
She glanced through the window, down to the street corner where the soldiers stood, their faces impassive beneath the metal helmets.  “When the soldiers leave.”

-Lois Lowry, Number The Stars

 

KC Live: Sick Beats, Hot Jamz, and Cool Holiday Toys (Must-Have List!)

So because something always seems to happen right before I’m booked for a segment, I was suspicious of how smoothly my morning was going. Then my four year old got out of bed to come say good morning and I realized she had cut her own hair into a mullet last night while the babysitter was over. Some people may view this as no big deal or a rite of passage, but I felt like I’d been kicked in the gut and I wanted to scream. Rightfully, Savvy was very ashamed and upset, but as I comforted and reassured her, my husband quietly and correctly saw that inside I was getting very close to having a stroke. As she shuffled off to find her doll, I could see the terror in his eyes as he braced himself for the white hot rage that was clearly steaming out of my pores. Luckily, there was no time for me to throw a fit, so I bottled it up to let it ferment like a fine wine and headed to the TV station. Continue reading

KC Live: Blinded By The Light (And Cool Products for Parents made by Parents.)

Actual things that happened before this segment: at 9pm on Sunday I realized I needed a drill to put together the Tot Tower. My husband was on a plane to Chicago and our drill is MIA and probably dead, but luckily my neighbors are an incredibly nice Canadian couple with grown children and the husband was able to come over and help me put it together. He really had the best joke when I said, “thanks! I’ll give you a shoutout tomorrow!” and he said in his endearing Canadian accent, “Oh, hey, don’t do that. I don’t want people saying I was over screwin’ at the neighbors house.”

Cut to Monday morning: after making breakfast for two dogs and two kids, packing lunches, dressing Avery in spirit wear, packing not one, but two halloween costumes for Savannah’s preschool party, showering, doing my full hair and makeup, going over my talking points and loading my car with all of the things for my segment, I was trying to get us out the door to school with my hands full and my plastic cup of crystal light hanging from my teeth (moms know this move) when I stepped down the garage stairs and splashed crystal light DIRECTLY IN MY EYEBALL and all over my face. I was completely blind for 45 seconds as my eye burned with the fire of a thousand suns. My brain went into damage control denial, like, “This is fine. I’ll just wear sunglasses for the segment and go to the ER afterwards. I can totally drive with one eye.” Luckily I regained vision in time to see the tributaries of black eye makeup streaming down the left side of my previously contoured face. But there was NO TIME, so I grabbed an old paper towel off the floor of my car to wipe off the black makeup before it dried, made it to school drop off, then went to the TV station where I had approximately two minutes to fix my face before I was on live TV, 8 minutes into the show.

Continue reading

10 Things I Want To Tell My Teenage Goddaughter

Yesterday my friend came over so I could glam her up for an event, as is tradition. She comes over before one of her fancy galas and we pop a bottle of bubbly and gab while I toddler-in-tiara her like the tyrannical stage mother I repress deep down inside me. Her teenage daughter was in tow yesterday and I was thrilled to find out I’ve been appointed her new Godmother. I even baptized her with a little Prosecco to make it official. Last night I sat down and wrote this to her and I’m sharing it here with permission.

Ten Things To Tell My Teenage GodDaughter

 

Dear Brooklyn,

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Those Aren’t Your People

I know I said I’d post my TV segment details yesterday, but I have something else on my mind so that’s going to wait.

I recently spent a few days with our friends’ preteen daughters and they had lots of questions, everything from what I was like when I was their age to what I’d change about my appearance. They were so pure and yet so cautious of being judged. It got me thinking back. I once read something to the effect of, if you don’t have a weird friend, you are the weird friend. Continue reading

Sh*t My Kids Say: Fallon/Hilton 2020

Sometimes in the pool we play trivia and the girls (Avery 6 and Savvy 4) take turns “impressing” me with their knowledge while we float around…

Me: Who’s the President?

Savvy: JIMMY FALLON!

Avery: Donald Trump.

Me: And who was president before him?

Avery: Obama.

Savvy: OBAMA!

Me: And who was the other candidate besides Donald Trump? Remember? The woman candidate?

Avery: I don’t know…

Oh wait, yes I do! Celery! Celery Hilton!

Me: What state do we live in?

Savvy: AMERICA!

Avery: Kansas. Duh, Savvy America is where the President lives in the White House.

Me: I think you mean Washington DC.

Avery: Yeah. It’s super far away in Canada.

Me: Um, okay switching categories…What does Bonjour mean?

Savvy: YELLOW!

Avery: It means Hello.

Savvy: THAT’S WHAT I SAID!

Me: How do you say Hello in Spanish?

Avery (high-pitched): Yoo-hoo!

On the way out, Avery took a drink from the fountain and then helpfully notified the children and mother nearby that “This water fountain tastes like martini water.”

So I guess the take-away is that what Savvy lacks in knowledge, she makes up for in supreme confidence, enthusiasm, and volume. And I don’t know what to do about Avery, but I do know that my new alter-ego is a socialite named Celery Hilton who drinks martini water at the pool and calls out “Yoo-hoo!” to greet people Spanish.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from Summer Seventeen so far:

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