woman of a certain age 2 (thoughts on being 50)

I made a promise to myself around this time last year that I would not allow negative stereotypes about being a middle-aged mama frame my future revolutions around the sun. I can say that promise felt 100% doable on the day that I turned 50. And not so easy in the year I spent actually being 50.

I’ve had to work harder than I’d thought I would at keeping this promise to myself in the past year. Societal ageism has snaked around the corner in unexpected ways despite my determination to smite that nasty little sucker. My own biology waged war on me for months. My natural Pisces sensitivity morphed into rapid-fire crankiness at the strangest times. My usual ‘live and let live’ demeanour was stealth-shadowed by a ‘come at me, bro’ attitude, followed by a chaser of regret/fear that I wasn’t ‘nice’ anymore. I was also surprised to experience with some intensity the growing perception that I was quickly moving into past-my-prime time.

All of this in a year? Yup. It’s been an interesting journey. It was a struggle at times to keep my head above it, to find the silver linings. Now – at 51 – I can look back and recognize a few lessons I’ve (re)(re)(re)learned during my year of being 50.

1. Don’t go there.
I believe that we teach people how to treat us. So when I make fun of my various wrinkles, achy joints, flabby this and greying that, I am telling people that it’s okay to laugh at my vulnerability. So I’m really trying not to go there because it just sets me up to feel shame. Instead, I’ve been working on the self-affirming practice of taking a like in the mirror. When it works, it’s a beautiful thing.

2. Go ahead and wear purple. Add some pig tails while you’re at it.
Jenny Joseph wrote a poem a while back called Warning that included a great line about wearing purple and rocking red hats. What has this meant for me in the past year of ‘being 50’?  To stop wasting time on what I think other people might be thinking. ’Cause they’re probably not thinking anything at all. If they are, I try to practice #4 below.

3. Protect this house.
This is what happens at middle age’. More than one health-care practitioner said this to me with great sympathy in the past year. The implication is that I need to accept that there will be a train of ailments chugging by, doling out arthritis, osteoporosis, frozen shoulders, failing vision, hotter flashes, mood swings, weight gain, etc. Gah. Get OUT of here. You won’t see me waving the white flag. Geez, I’m only 50! I can live vibrantly. I will exercise, eat well, hydrate and push myself out of my comfort zone. Not while I can, but because I can.

4. Let.It.Go.
I simply do not want to ruminate on things that I can’t control or that truly have nothing to do with me. So I’m working on practicing loving detachment every day and in every part of my life. Let it Be (thank you, Beatles) and Let it Go (thank you, Frozen) are mini-mantras that remind me to focus on what matters and, more importantly, to be a better version of myself.

5. Shoulda-coulda-woulda can take a hike.
There’s very likely more road behind me than what lies ahead. This caused me to feel THE PANIC rise around all of the things I could/should/would have done with all of that lovely road. Gentle self-reflection has (re)assured me that regret of this kind is pointless. Who knows what’s ahead? In the absence of a crystal ball, I might as well believe that it’s going to be sweet.

The most important truth that has come to me is that happiness is an active choice. It isn’t waiting for me to arrive at a certain age. It’s something I get to choose every day. It’s something I want to choose every day. It’s what I’m for, always.

Take a like in the mirror: selfie-reflections on beauty

IMG_3797 IMG_3795

I took these photos this summer, trying to capture an especially heartfull moment with my daughter. We were in Wateron Lakes National Park, truly my favourite place on this earth and possibly one of the windiest places on the planet. It was so windy that my nine-pound pup was in a continual state of lift-off. We were walking head-first into gusts that were easily 100+ km an hour. Even the trees were groaning. We could hardly breathe. It was ridiculous to be outside in that weather but we couldn’t stop the laughter. It was THE awesome.

My heart was bursting with it all. I hadn’t had a lot of those kinds of moments with her in the past year or two. I wanted to hold onto its sweetness, put it in a bottle and cherish it. In the absence of a bottle, however, I used my phone. I took these selfies. Joy captured on a  4-inch screen. Hilarious, wild, perfectly happy, savour-it-forever joy.

In the weeks that followed, I would occasionally look at the photos and smile at the memory. From my phone screen, they were the loveliness to me. I loved our smiles, our squinty expressions bringing back the memory of the wind that burned our eyes and took our breath away. I was moved by our mother-daughter similarities. I loved everything about it.

A few weeks after that, as fall settled in and I felt myself longing for the easy days of summer, I decided to make one of the Waterton photos my Facebook profile pic. But on a 15-inch screen, the image evoked a different feeling. Instead of joy, I felt shock. And these thoughts:

Ack! Look at the wrinkles! And the bags under my eyes. The chins!
What’s happened to my face? I don’t want anyone to see this.
Think! Quick! Delete! Delete! Delete!

I quickly swapped in a different photo as my profile pic, but before I could delete the McWrinkled version of me, people had ‘liked’ it. They were commenting on it, offering really lovely words. How could I delete this monstrosity now? Oh, balls. 

How could this photo, which moments before had made me smile now fill me with such utter embarrassment? Instead of seeing our similarities and remembering our joy, I saw only evidence of my daughter’s obvious beauty and confirmation of middle-aged, wrinkled me. Now instead of wishing I could hold onto that moment forever, I was cursing myself for sharing it.

Sounds incredibly vain, I know. Forgive me. I was a little disappointed in myself, too.

What was all this self-inflicted shame about? I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m 50. I’m good with it. Right? It’s just a number. Blah-dee-blah-blah. Based on my vain reaction, I obviously am not as good with it as I’d thought. Crap.

As I reflected on all of this, I was reminded of a program I’d listened to years before on CBC Radio. The interviewer had spoken with women at various decades in their lives, from their 20’s to their 70’s. All of them, without exception, admitted that when they looked back on photos of themselves taken in the previous decade, they saw their unmistakable beauty. Whereas when they’d looked at the same photo when it had been taken, they’d wanted to burn it or bury it at the bottom of a trunk somewhere. 

The pearl of wisdom for me at that time was how important it is to appreciate your beauty as a woman today, right now at whatever age you are. This is clearly easier said than done. But the truth is, I do look back at photos of myself that had filled me with confidence-busting doubt at the time and think, ‘Wow. You were really pretty back then.’ Back then. Isn’t that sad?

So I have decided to turn this whole photo she-bangness into something I’m for rather than something I want to delete from the annals of my digital footprint forever. I also want to model something much healthier for my daughters, who are already looking at themselves in the mirror and telling themselves that they are either too much or not enough. 

We may live in a looks-obsessed and ageist society, but I don’t have to embrace it. This starts with telling myself a different story about myself. I want to go beyond looking in the mirror. I want to go beyond acknowledging my superficial appearance. I want to look in the mirror (or at a photograph) and recognize in myself what is easy for me to see in others: beauty. And I want to like it.

I want to make it a daily practice to say ‘Hello beautiful’ when I see myself rather than ‘Ugh. What’s happened to you, you wrinkly old broad?’

I think I’ll call it liking in the mirror. It’s going to take work, but I’m totally for it.

she to we to me

While there are times when I need a pretty good nudge to see the best in my kids, on the balance of my days, they positively delight me. Some days, they absolutely blow me away. Such was the case for me this past weekend with my youngest offspring.

She started at a new school this year – a change that has been remarkably good for her. Even still, she is missing lots of things about her former school. One of those things is the ‘Me to We’ program that she participated in for 3 years. Her new school doesn’t offer this program. To her credit, she’s been trying to find other ways to stay involved with Me to We. In particular, she has developed a burning desire to attend the annual event called We Day.

I  know she’s been giving it a lot of thought, but I really had no idea how much. And this is where my mind was blown. Without asking for my help, she sat down and wrote an email to send to the organizers of the event, expressing her desire to be a part of it. I was aware that she was working on it for the better part of the day but decided to leave her alone and let it simply be hers. When she finally showed it to me and asked for permission to press ‘send’, she got an immediate thumbs-up from her teary-eyed Mama. I’m proud of this kid every day because she’s an awesome human being. But this email she wrote is too sweet not to share. Here goes:

To: info@freethechildren.com
Re: 
Reflections on and hopes for We Day by an 11 year old fan

Dear We Day Team,

Hi! my name is … I am turning 12 years old exactly 17 days after We day, and I love Me To We and doing what I can to make this world a better place. About 3 years ago I joined a school club that focused on different issues across the world such as hunger, child labour, poverty and many more that I want to help put a end to. We had the chance to address certain issues by taking on certain projects and then studying them to share what we have learned about the issue. Some people did projects like girls education, or free the children, and others did projects to raise money to build wells in Africa. And I decided to do Local Poverty. Of course I wanted to do something like building wells or helping raise awareness for girls and their education, but to get there I needed to start small. I didn’t have much hope because I was just one little girl trying to do something for local poverty. 

So I sat and I thought. I thought for along time. I thought about the struggles people must have. How they must miss their homes and their families. And for the people that can barely pay for food and for their homes, I can’t imagine how it must feel.

About a month later, the teacher who ran the club read the other kids and I a blog written by a woman who’s life just seemed impossible to live with. The first blog post was the woman telling us that it was April and the last time she had been to the grocery store was in February. She was a single mom who had two kids and could barely afford for her house. In the second blog post she described how embarrassing it felt for her to be in a food bank collecting food. This was hard for me to think of, because my family and I visit the grocery store weekly. And for someone else that hasn’t been to a grocery store in 3 months … this did not feel right at all. 

And then I realized, this was what I was looking for in my heart, to connect that final piece and to understand that feeling and to get my mind in the right place. This was when I knew that I had to do what I could put an end to this issue. Up until this year I continued to be in the club. I would be ready for every single meeting. My mom, before I was born and it was just her and my brother, she had a hard time affording things like his back to school supplies, or new clothes. So, when we were buying my back to school supplies this year, she was telling me the stories of when her and my brother would go shopping that it was hard to afford, it reminded me that this wasn’t only for people like my mom who had struggled, but for many other families too.

Every year, the grade 6 class gets to go and attend We day. I have been looking forward to doing that since I first joined Me to We in grade 3. I switched schools this year, and sadly at this school we don’t have a Me To We club. I plan to talk to some of my teachers about starting one and when that would take place. I searched up how to get We Day tickets and it told me that you can’t buy tickets, you earn them through service. I talked to my mom about it, and she said that I should try and tell you my story and about how passionate I am about Me to We. I would like to attend We day this year. It would be amazing and a dream come true if I could come and hear all the speakers and their stories. If there is any way I could do something to show you that I am devoted and how much I respect and look up to Me To We, and how much I would be honoured if I could come and be a part of that day. 

I just want to thank you for opening my eyes. For showing me the way, and how to help who needs it the most. Me to We does something more than help people, it changes people. It shows them a way to live fair, respectful, and to do what you love to do. You help show the world that instead of looking at someone’s plate and wondering if that person has more than yourself, it’s much kinder and more helpful to look at a someones plate and wonder if they have enough. It’s like looking at a glass half full, not half empty. You create idealists, with thoughts of what is right. You also create optimists, to help people look for the best in everything. Without you, I would just be a lonely realist, thinking that my goals in life are impossible with no hope. You help people’s dreams to help become reality. Without you, lots of people wouldn’t be as devoted to helping others and knowing about the issues. We wouldn’t have the dreamers living their dreams no matter how impossible they seem. No matter the challenge, no matter the journey, no matter the pain, everything has a silver-lining. 

The response. Less than 24 hours later from the We Day team:

Hi there,

Thank you very much for the note and for sharing your story with us. We would love to have you attend a We Day event this Fall. Can you please let me know where you are located so we can provide tickets for a city nearby?

In my journey as a parent, I’m exceedingly clear on what I’m for. And that is to raise our kids to be decent people who respect others, live with compassion, practice empathy and go for their dreams. This email written by my daughter … well, I’m for all of it. And I’m for her engaging with the world in a way that ‘instead of looking at someone’s plate and wondering if that person has more than yourself, it’s much kinder and more helpful to look at a someone’s plate and wonder if they have enough.’

My heart is full. What more could a mama hope for from her almost 12-year-old kid?

to have and to hold – thoughts on love and marriage

Sadly, my husband’s grandfather passed away last week. I didn’t know my grandfather-in-law very well. I had only met him a handful of times, so his memorial service was both a goodbye and a peek inside of who he was. His daughters and grandchildren did a beautiful job of telling his story, adding shape, colour and nuance to their memories of a man who had lived his life well. And on his own terms.

There was luminescent thread that weaved its way through all of the anecdotes: a love story that spanned two continents, a shared passion for dancing, proud ambition, 3 children, 14 grandchildren and (almost) 14 great-grandchildren. A 65-year marriage to a woman he called his ‘Daisy’.

Each story held this love at its centre, like a heartbeat. Not in the star-crossed romance of a Hollywood movie way. What I heard was that among the many accomplishments and successes of a man who’d lived on this earth for 85+ years, what his family most cherished was his love for their mother/grandmother.

I was especially struck by one sentence in particular: ‘If it was important to Mum, it was important to Dad.’ A lovely summation of a quiet, winding path of a life well-loved.

I watched his grieving Daisy closely as these stories were told. I was moved to my own tears by the sight of her grace and vulnerability on such a heartbreaking day. This was her story they were telling. It was her life they were honouring, too. But this isn’t the end of her story. Hers will go on after she makes the painful adjustment to waking up to a world without her partner of 65 years.  I truly cannot imagine.

As life would have it, my husband and I celebrated our 14th anniversary two days after his grandfather’s memorial service. These two events were too close together for an overthinking Pisces like me not to loop a metaphorical lasso around them to envision the sweet possibility of another 51 years of loving this man I married.

It’s not hard to imagine. He is extremely easy to love. But I probably don’t need to tell you that the day in, day out practice of sharing a life isn’t always easy. Sometimes we agree and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes he wants the very thing that I really, really don’t want. Sometimes what I want drives him nuts. 

Sometimes I want to kiss every inch of his handsome face. And other days, I want to smother him with a pillow in his sleep. As much as my ego rejects the idea, I’m sure that he’d like to give me a high-five to the face from time to time as well. 

We’re as prone as any couple to dwell in an ‘I want to be right’ posture. Some days it feels so good to be right. To go after an argument until he sees it my way. Which is a slightly less egomaniacal way of saying he’s wrong. Oh yeah. I can right-fight with the best of ‘em. I do try to stay away from finger-pointing, but sometimes it’s absolutely necessary to stand up for yourself in a relationship. I’ve learned the hard way that continually shelving what I need to avoid conflict will ultimately cause irreparable damage. Keeping the peace only works when it’s a two-way street. 

Anyhoo … here’s my truth. I’d rather not spar in the ring of right-n-wrong with my husband. I’d really rather just find a way for both of us to feel happy, heard and fulfilled. I’d rather bend toward him with love (not the same as compliance) than get into a pi$#ing match about something silly like directions or putting the cap back on the toothpaste tube. While I always want what I want, I see that it’s easy to find a way for him to get what he wants at the same time. For example, let Google maps help us circumvent direction-spats. Let each of us be in possession our own tube of toothpaste. Simple, sweet relief.

As for the hard stuff – and life throws plenty of it our way – it seems to me that we have a choice there as well. We can lean into the pain with the force of our unified partnership or scurry away from it in two disconnected directions. Thankfully, we learned early on that there is much to be gained when both of us put our shoulders to the wheel, to push back as an undivided unit when life forces painful lessons upon us. 

I’d like to think that this is an agreement that helped my grandparents-in-law to stay the loving course for so many years. Being two distinct rivers that flow into the same lake. Not to ‘be one’ but rather to fill it with unique but shared determinations to be greater than the sum of each of its parts. 

There’s also something to the idea of ‘If it’s important to Mum, it was important to Dad.’ There is a sweet honouring for other that lives in the heart of that adage. It’s possible that pulling it firmly into the loop of our own marriage-manifesto may have our own kids and grandchildren reflecting on lessons learned from how we treated each other 51 anniversaries from now.

This is a ‘whole she-bang, get-down-in-the-weeds-and-work-at-it kind of marriage love’. It’s not always easy. But’s it’s what I’m for.

blaming the blamers

I always know it’s time for some reflective writing when I find myself focusing on what I don’t want rather than on what I’m for. It’s typically a thin line between the two, but when I’m pulling at my hair and asking ‘why are people so (fill in the blank)?’ I know I need to take myself by the shoulders and point myself in a different, more positive direction.

So here I am, ready to reframe something that continues to present itself in my life: blame. Not blame directed specifically at me. I’m talking about blame that hurts others. People I admire or love or even perfect strangers, for that matter. Blame that’s a narcissistic excuse for doing whatever blamers want to do. Blame that’s an abuse of power and a smokescreen for right-fighters. Blame that serves to make one person okay at the price of someone else not being okay. That kind of blame. As my daughter used to say when asked to eat her broccoli, or brush her teeth ‘I don’t love it.’

Okay. While I am 100% certain I will never love blaming, I clearly need to find a way to better handle people who:

  • point the finger without holding themselves accountable
  • can’t genuinely apologize without attaching a ‘yeah, but’ on the end
  • create a s&*t storm of blame-shame then stand back and let the painful chips fall where they may

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, which I know means it’s time to:

  1. Let it go.
  2. Look for the humanity in people who cast blame.
  3. Do nothing and see what happens.

Obviously, I’m not able to let it go. I don’t want to. Because I think I like blaming the blamers. Crap. As a self-described non-blamer, I’ve got to own that. So I guess it’s on to option 2.

Here’s the problem with option 2: I don’t really want to view blamers with compassion. Because I think they’re wrong to do what they do. Therefore I’ve been choosing option 3 – the path of least resistance. Which clearly hasn’t worked, bringing me back to options 1 or 2. Argh.

I think those first two options could actually work quite well together, but only if I start with looking for the humanity in people drawn to dwell in the blame frame. I’ve long believed that compassion is the flip side of judgment for me, so I know that my path to truly letting go lies in something more along the lines of Namaste than ‘You are a big old Blamey McBlamer!

In a most fortunate and unconnected turn of events, a very dear friend of mine told me about a book called ‘Daring Greatlyby Brene´ Brown. My friend didn’t know that I was struggling to understand how the blame theme was showing up in my life when she recommended it. But let me tell you, Dr. Brown – an American scholar who studies vulnerability, courage, authenticity and shame – beautifully articulates the compassionate reframe I’ve been looking for.

I do most of my reading in the bathtub in the early mornings. TMI, I’m sure. Sorry if that image doesn’t sit right with you, but there’s a point to the context. I was having my morning bath, trying to open a neural portal to help me better absorb Dr. Brown’s wisdom and along comes this pearl about blame. And shame:

‘If blame is driving, shame is riding shotgun’.

Wowzers. This struck a chord! She went on to say that, ‘In organizations, schools and families, blaming and finger pointing are often symptoms of shame.’ And that ‘shame-bound people’ are very systematic about how they dole out the blame. Because finding someone else accountable spares them from feeling shame about themselves. No matter that it rolls downhill, leaving others in a murky pool of hurt. Pointing the finger discharges their own pain and discomfort in moments when they themselves are most vulnerable (aka angry, hurt, disappointed, etc.).

Those words stirred something profoundly deep in me. I had to write them down. Or underline them. But I was in the bath, see? (context). There was nothing to be done except get out of the bath, search for a pen while dripping wet and make notes in the margins. I’d found my way to Namaste the blamers. Huzzah!

In another section of her book, she deepens my understanding by writing that when she looks at [blame] through the vulnerability lens, she sees: 

“… the shame-based fear of being ordinary. … the fear of never feeling extraordinary enough to be noticed, to be loveable, to belong, or to cultivate a sense of purpose.”

Here’s the fragile and very real element of humanity I’ve been struggling to see in people who blame. But because of its raw vulnerability I can summon compassion around what’s driving the behaviour. And get myself disengaged from the blame-shame game and reframe it in a much healthier way. There’s a lot of relief in that changed perspective for me.

The question of why I take these kinds of things to heart is easy to answer if you know me even a little. I am ridiculously protective of people. I know it’s not my job. I know that people have their own journeys and that I am not equipped or necessary to help them learn their lessons. But for my whole life, when I’ve seen someone being treated badly, it has bothered me. I’ve hurt on their behalves, seethed quietly, stepped in occasionally and worked hard to let it ‘not be my problem’. But my pal Brene´ helped me see that maybe my protective nature isn’t such a bad thing. She says:

“If you want to make a difference, the next time you see someone being cruel to another human being, take it personally. Take it personally because it is personal!”

I do think blaming is cruel. But my new perspective – which I shall spend time on every day until it becomes a real part of my commitment to compassion – helps me understand that the greatest cruelty that blamers inflict is to themselves. So next time, rather than raging and judging, I will see their vulnerability. And I will send them love and hold them in my heart with compassion. At least I will try. It’s what I’m for.

 

the box of cards

Depending on our pack-rat personality type, most of us hold on to one thing or another that binds us to the miles we’ve travelled so far. As a sentimental human, there are a number of these things for me. Among these are some of the cards and notes I‘ve been given over the years, saved because they stirred something in me at the time I received them.

They sit in a box on a high shelf in my closet. A few times a year, I open the lid and add a few more. The odd thing is that I don’t look at them very often. They just sit there. A patchwork heartbeat stitched together by my history.

A couple of months ago, for reasons I can’t even recall, I decided to go through the box of cards. What I thought would take an hour filled instead the better part of an afternoon. I looked through beautiful Crayola renderings of ‘me’ through the eyes of children I’d taught. I read notes of gratitude from parents, people I’ve worked or performed with. I looked at love-notes I’d saved from years gone by, including the very first letter I’d received from the man who would later become my husband. I re-read words from friends inside carefully chosen cards.  – many of whom are still in my life and many of whom I have lost touch with – sharing laughter during good times, lifting my spirits during difficult times and offering their appreciation for our connectedness.

I relived my children’s youngest years through mother’s day and birthday cards and precious notes and artwork they’d spontaneously created for me. I found letters written by my sister that chronicle the sweetness of our relationship. I read notes from my brother and my mother, my nieces and my nephews. And felt a twist of sadness as I rediscovered gems from my father and two brothers, all of whom who are no longer living.

It was a tender afternoon of remembrance. As you might expect, I laughed, cried and sighed with gratitude as I travelled this hand-written road map of my heart’s history, so grateful for the wisdom that had guided me to keep all of this.

But it was as I was putting the cards away that an odd grace descended. A mental Venn diagram began to form, the words from the cards overlapping in a most affirming way, painting a picture I recognized as good, kind and wise. Loved. Loveable. And I thought, ‘Huh. Maybe all of those qualities are actually what people see in me.

I don’t have a negative self-image but I wouldn’t say that’s always been true. Faced with nine compliments and one negative comment, I’ve always felt a magnetic pull to believe the negative to be true. About myself. Not others. Isn’t that weird? Who would stand before nine glorious bouquets and one offering of judgment-yuck and choose the judgment? I would. I did for years. I believed the bouquets were false niceties and that the ‘yuck’ was the true reflection of how the world saw me.

I’m not asking you to feel sorry for me. We all have our personal challenges. Thinking the worst about myself has been part of mine. I squelched genuine feelings of self-confidence for years. It was my choice, but to be fair, I did have some ‘encouragement’ to do so along the way. Over the years I’ve gradually shed that self-deprecating skin and grown increasingly comfortable with just being who I am. A decidedly quirky gal just doing her best to live a full and whole-hearted life.

What does all of this have to do with a box of cards? My afternoon of sifting through 20 years of hand-written memories provided me with a piece of my puzzle I didn’t know I was looking for. Sitting amongst a small personal sea of kind words, I felt a new wisdom lock itself into place. Here is it:

Since I get to choose what I believe to be true about myself, why not align with the good stuff rather than the … well … other stuff.

Even from a sheer statistical perspective, this wisdom makes sense. The cards provided me with prevailing evidence that I am and have always been pretty ok. I’m not asking you to agree with me. It’s alright if you don’t. The power for me here at long last isn’t about what others think. The power lies in the choice. When some event/person produces a feeling of judgment (perceived or real) about who I am, how I approach my life or what I do, I can circle back to my box of cards and have my self-worth affirmed by the evidence that I choose to believe is the real McCoy.

Let the clouds part. Let the trumpets sound and the angels sing. What an exquisitely simple truth.

Here’s the other thing that has really moved me about this box of cards:

Don’t hold back on words of praise, written or spoken. They hold so much power.  Clearly, however (in my case at least), it takes a continual expression of kind words to penetrate the thick and insidious skin of self-doubt.

I want my words to be among someone’s ‘box of cards’ that s/he takes from a high shelf in her/his closet one winter afternoon. I want my praise and appreciation to be part of a person stepping into a knowing that s/he, too, is good, kind, wise, loveable and loved.

This is what I’m for. Seeing the best in myself. Seeing the best in others. And saying it all out loud. Because it matters.

Psst …A few weeks after reading my box of cards and roughing this blog entry together, I turned 50 years young. In typical goof-ball fashion, dubbed myself ‘KFiddy’ – a shout-out to Caucasian, middle-aged mini-van driving wanna-be-gangsta mothers around the globe. A joke that I continue to find hysterically funny.

As a gift, my husband asked people to use a ‘digital pen’ to write birthday wishes to me in a blog he and one of my lovely friends created for me. This will forever more be my digital box of cards. You don’t have to read it … but if you’d like to, check it out here. Kfiddy.com.

Word.