Love You More, Girl Dad

Dear Marc,

We’ve been together for half our lives, but I still learn something new about you nearly every day. Sometimes it’s good, like when I learn that you can sense when I need you to do things like pick up around the house without me asking you to. Sometimes I learn less-awesome things about you, like that throwing your dirty clothes in the hamper instead of next to the hamper is apparently more difficult. (I still love you, though). But you know, we’re in the thick of raising a 2.5 year old little girl/crazypants, and getting ready for another, and I’ve been meaning to sit down and tell you what else I’ve really learned about you in the past few years that I honestly didn’t expect to.

You and I have had our ups and downs, haven’t we? We’ve ranged from “How are we gonna do this marriage anymore?” to “I’m glad we get to do this life together, exactly how it is.” I look at our lives now and thank God we made it through those bad times – Jesus – look what we’d be missing. Especially our kids. Which brings me to my real point, Bub.

I always knew you’d be a good dad, but I have to admit that when I found out we were having a girl the first time, I wasn’t sure how you’d navigate that one. You already have Crazy Me, and here comes this other Thing that could be crazy too. Being a sensitive teddy bear ain’t your thang, and I’m cool with that, but this little person is going to need you even more than I do, and she’s going to count on you to help build her up in this weird world. You don’t even have a pet name for me, because my name is, in fact, Alyssa. How were you going to handle this new person who will hope for bubbles and laughing, and thriving, and loving? (You know, Me 2.0?)

And then you knocked it out of the fucking ballpark, dude.

The minute we became parents together, it all changed, didn’t it? The last two and a half years have dragged on, and flown by, all at the same time, and it’s you who has been my slow-and-steady friend through the magic and the miserable. But even bigger than me and you is your love for our daughter, and that’s what makes me most proud to be your wife, your co-parent, and your friend. And if we had to nail down an exact moment when I knew you win this Girl Dad thing, it was when you bought Maggie FOR HER SECOND BIRTHDAY I Dissent, about Ruth Bader Ginsburg being a strong, smart little lady. Sigh. We’re yours, forever and ever.

Listen, you drive us crazy with your rules and things, (Why can’t we have 8 kittens???) but we appreciate you, and love you more than M&Ms, which is a lot. You’re really our hero.

Now go put your clothes in the hamper.


marc and mags


Dear Grinches

Listen up, you haters of pre-Thanksgiving holiday decorating. Your progressive Christian(ish), Unitarian Universalist, Democrat(ish), holiday-loving friend has a bone to pick with you. You’ve gotta get off my ass for decorating for the holidays early, and more importantly, you’ve gotta get off my ass in general.

I’ll start by saying that you had this coming. Your generally peaceful friend feels pushed to this point by you, and I’m just standing up for my holiday rights, because general human rights don’t seem to be anyone’s priority right now anyway. This is an annual problem, but you can blame my rant on election season, because I’m tired. Your beat-up, squishy, vulnerable friend has watched enough bullying, and wishes her house to SMELL LIKE HOLLY, DAMMIT. Can a girl have her peppermint bark in peace right now?

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. It really is. I LOVE the food, the weather, being with family, and carrying on old traditions. But:

Thanksgiving + Your December Holiday Here = The Holiday Season

and when Halloween is over, it’s The Holiday Season. It’s math, y’all. And I totally get it – I, too, am a little freaked out when Mariah Carey is screaming “ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU,” at me on November 1st. But can we trust each other and know that hearing that song didn’t trigger a reaction in my brain to buy all the things or be an asshole? It reminded me that, right around the corner, I get to see people I don’t get to see very often. I get to stand in the kitchen on my tired feet with my mom. I get to watch my kiddo open presents and light up. It also means a bunch of screaming, long lines, side-eye glances, and stressful family situations, but I’m fine with that, too. I’ll take that any day, because HOLIDAYS!

On a practical note, you know my lazy/working mom self is not going to decorate for two orange holidays that only last over a three-week span. I decorated my house for “fall” in September so I could get a good ROI on that shit. So, I ask: IS IT SO TERRIBLE that I put some red and green and even blue stuff up in my house right now? I’m not a retail store trying to sell you stuff and make money off of you. I’m just a girl who wants to be reminded for as long as reasonably possible that it’s a good time to evaluate the year and reflect on what’s important to me, and if that means burning an evergreen candle in my living room, then let me burn it, mkay?


And lastly, Christian friends, I’m lookin’ at you. I’m basically decorating for your favorite person’s birthday, so please get off my shit. It’s not for you. It’s not for retailers. It’s for me. I’m trying to complete a mental and spiritual exercise here, and I’m not hurting anyone, or contributing to the downfall of our society, so just let me do this one thing, okay?

I guess what I’m asking is: In December, and all the time, maybe we support each other while we peacefully reflect and grow in our own way, whether that means praying in a pew or on a rug, or lighting a candle, or sprinkling some GD glitter on my table. No matter what your world view is right now, I’d be willing to share some peppermint cocoa with you, if we can both agree to not be assholes about our differences, or different people in general. Can we do that?

If none of this resonates with you and you’re still a hater of early holiday decorating or me in general, then I’ll speak your language and kindly ask that you stick a candy cane up your butt.

I love you all, even if you’re a grinch. I really do.

In red and green and spiced lattes and LOVE,



Dear Alyssa

It’s the first letter of my “Lola’s Letters” series, and I’m starting with a letter to myself, because I don’t have the balls to write an open letter to anyone BUT myself right now, which is hilarious. Hilarious because that’s the topic of the letter, my friends: being full of potential, but being paralyzed by fear. Off to a good start, eh? Let’s go.

Dear Alyssa,

I know you’re in there.

PAUSE: Excuse me, eyes? I am writing here! May I please get through the first paragraph sans tears? K, thanks. PLAY.

I know you’ve been been meaning to sit down and lay out what’s important to you. I know you’ve been busy with your adorable-but-sometimes-crazy baby, darling-but-sometimes annoying hubby, and new-but-sometimes-overwhelming house. I know you’ve been navigating your way through some anxiety and depression, which is a real treat – I know!

I know that you’ve made some lists lately, to help your brain feel a little bit organized. I know you’ve cut out sodas (RIP Dr Pepper), vowed to spend less time watching those addicting Tasty videos on Facebook, and made an effort to find a sense of accomplishment by doing “just one more thing” than you feel like doing.

I think you’re a great mom who shouldn’t be so hard on yourself for still having that baby pouch on your tummy from your almost-2-year-old “baby.” I saw the way you organized the shit outta those bills the other night, and how you still managed to find some time to be creative in your space. I love the way you listened, really listened, to your podcasts last week, and even journaled the inspiring parts. I know that you actually love your job and strive to be a professional woman that your daughter would be proud of. I see you reading and researching so that you can continue your education, even though you’ve graduated. Let’s not forget about your ability to throw together a dinner for your family, even when you know you’d be cool with eating pizza, like, every day for the rest of your life.

I also know you’re holding back. I know that you bought those cute little blog planners, to help you get organized and plan and write the way you want to write. I know that they sit on your bookshelf, because you’re afraid to fill them with shitty content, because how could anyone love what you write? I know you stare at your to-do list and decide it would be easier to watch YouTube than put your foot out the door and risk failing. I admire your sentiment, that you’d rather do something well or not at all, except that you don’t do it at all, and we’re all missing out.

I know you look at other people’s blogs, social media accounts, and plans, and feel like you’re never gonna get there. And I can promise you that you won’t if you stay where you are. I know you heard Tina Fey in Bossypants talk about those cute Greek kids, Christo and Maria, thinking their world was falling apart while their parents were out on a date, and you realized that some days you’re Christo the Worrier, and some days you’re Maria the Crier. But on both occasions, you’re really going to be okay. I know you heard Megan Tan talk about her fear of launching Millennial, BUT SHE DID IT ANYWAY, and you admired her for it.

So do it, you silly goose. Maybe it won’t be perfect. Scratch that, it totally won’t be perfect. But remember how good it feels to get those straggling dishes from the sink to the dishwasher, or the clothes switched from the washer to the dryer, and remember you’re more than that. Those things are awesome, and you should keep doing them and being proud of them, but I hope you keep going. You deserve to be proud, and feel good about what you do, whatever that may be.

I hope you know you’re smart, talented, and capable. I hope that when you hear that voice say “you’re not good enough,” that you find it in your heart to tell it to fuck off, because that’s not even true.

I know you’re in there. Head up, chin up, do your thang. You won’t regret it.

I love you,