Transitioning to Today


20 years ago, while holding a squalling newborn, I couldn't imagine what today would look like. 

Three years ago, while watching my firstborn graduate high school I didn't want to imagine what today would look like.

Four weeks ago, while moving my second child into his tiny dormitory, I shut my eyes really, really tight and tried to ignore what today was about to look like. A today without all my children living under my roof, thieving my ice cream, tripping over their dirty socks and finding wet towels on the bathroom floor. 

And now it's today.

It's very quiet. I think that's the part I didn't want to imagine. How quiet it is when your children grow up and move out of your house and into their futures.

But mostly it looks...cleaner. My kids are slobs. Knox and myself, well, it turns out we run a tight ship. Sure, I miss constantly nagging someone not to drink milk straight out of the jug, please close the refrigerator door, don't put an empty carton back in the pantry, just how long are you going to let this trash bag sit here before you take it outside?  Okay, so it is not the nagging I miss, more so the chaos that came before it. 

I miss momming my kids. I miss them. I should have had more of them. So I told my husband just that, this weekend. 

The horror on his face as I told him I think I'd like more kids is permanently etched in my memory. He wasn't appeased when I told him they didn't need to be biological, I'd be more than happy to adopt again. He mostly just sat in the chair, shaking his head back and forth while muttering "are you insane?" over and over again. He may need some convincing.

(The upside is, I'm pretty sure he'd be super amenable to me getting another dog or five if I had followed up with that request. Anything to divert attention from my almost empty nest.) 

Since my new today is terribly quiet, and clean and honestly, a little boring, I decided to help ease this transition by popping onto campus and surprising my grown up children with a unannounced visit. I hear young adults dig it when their parents randomly show up and invade their space

It turns out, there are a TONNE of kids hanging around the university! Some of them I know! And they actually seemed happy to see me! It was like I was the most popular student on campus, only I wasn't a student, I don't have a campus and I was never really popular. 

Of course, it helped that I walked onto the dorm floor holding a bag filled with Wendy’s® and the smell of fresh fries had an effect similar to chummy shark infested waters with fresh tuna chunks. 

20 years I've been a mom; I've learned a lesson or two on what makes kids tick. A baconater will do it every time. Turns out, it works for every other kid on campus too. I've never been as beloved as I was while holding a bag filled with fries in the middle of a university dorm lounge. 

For a short period today, I soaked up my kids in their new environment, getting a brief glimpse into their world while meeting their new friends and I then I hugged them goodbye and marvelled how amazing it is to witness them bloom into adulthood even as I've missed having them underfoot.

As I walked away I wished I could go back to all those yesterdays and tell myself not to worry about today. Because it turns out, today is pretty darn good, and my kids aren't gone, they've just relocated. Different is good, and it may in fact be better than I dared imagine. 

And because of today, I know that when tomorrow comes, I will see them again. This time, I'll bring more fries and maybe a Frosty Coupon Book or two for their friends. Call it a lesson in bonding with your children and their friends through ice cream. I'm not above feeding starving university students to gain affection. 

At least until I can convince my husband to adopt a few more kids and fill this nest back up. Or he brings home a puppy. Knox and I could use the company.

This post is sponsored by Wendy’s® . 

And just so y'all know, Wendy’s® is selling Frosty Coupon Books (which include 5 free Jr. Frosty® coupons) for $1 from September 19 through October 31. The proceeds from these sales will go to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption to help find families for children waiting in foster care. For each Halloween Coupon Book sold, $0.85 cents will be donated to the foundation.

Help foster kids find permanent families while helping your taste buds out at the same time. (That isn't a Wendy's official motto. But Knox approves it, so I'm going with it. EAT ICE CREAM FOR THE KIDS.)

699 Days


699. That's how many days I took off from blogging.


I don't really know how that happened. What was meant to be a few days, stretched into a few weeks, then months and then a year had passed and suddenly almost two had gone by. 

In the meantime nothing has changed and everything is different.

I'm the parent to TWO adult children. Both Ken and Nash graduated high school and as of this fall, I'll have two kids in university. At the same time. In dorms. With no parental supervision. 

It's fine, I tell myself. They're adults, I remind myself. You were once that age too, I recall. And then I remember just what I was doing at that age and I'm suddenly wishing for a paper bag to breathe into. 

THEY WILL BE FINE. Ahem. (I'll resume worrying needlessly after I'm finished writing.)

I turned 40, which really isn't all that different than being 38, 699 days ago. The lines on my face indicate a certain maturity while my continued love of dog memes and internet gifs highlight a long and noble streak of immaturity. I've gained a pound or two, maybe ten, stop judging, aging is hard and eating chocolate helps.

Donald Trump happened. 

(I would have thought his political ascension would have taken longer than 699 days. Honestly America, you never cease to surprise and delight me.) 

I upgraded blogging platforms only to discover technology advanced and my skills did not. I'm still trying to figure out how to use this new layout and if my blog breaks, well, that's what happens when one procrastinates for the better part of two years, avoids her blog and then deletes it all by pressing the wrong button. 

Knox is still awesome, my dog still slobbers and my husband gets better looking the older he gets. 

I'm on Snapchat, (tanis_eh) and not only do I love it, BUT I KNOW HOW TO USE IT. (There is a sentence I never thought I'd write two years ago.)

699 days are both a blink of an eye and an eternity.

The more things change, the more they stay the same...

I'm back. Disoriented by the newness of it all, comforted by the familiarity of it. Welcome. Hello. Pleased to meet you. Nice to see you again.

Donald Trump, eh? 

699 days. Whodathunk.

Better Than Gold

I had barely dragged my carry-on luggage up my deck stairs, thumping it behind me as I walked, and opened the front door when I was swarmed by eager teens.

"How was it? Did you have fun? Did you see your friends?"

"How was your panel? Did you kill it?"

"What did you bring back for us?"

"Ya Mom, what kind of swag did you bring us?" 

It took 12 hours, two planes and one mysterious Aussie band but I was finally home from spending five days in Chicago. I was exhausted and emotionally spent and in the five days I was gone from my home I had appeared to lose any ability I previously had to walk into my house and step into a parenting role before setting down my luggage. 

I stood there, exhausted, and just blinked at the rapid-fire questions being shot in my direction. As grateful as I was to be home I suddenly missed the silence the roar of an airplane affords one. 

My husband, bless his cotton socks, was sympathetic. "You guys, give your Mom some space and let her take her shoes off before harassing her."

My dog, bless his over-sized paws, was not as sympathetic. He eyed me warily; like I was a mirage his mind was tricking him into seeing and just waited. I sat down as the kids hovered around me and Abbott walked over to sniff me. With a great huffing sigh, he shook his body and then crawled onto my lap, staking ownership of me once more.

I'm pretty sure if he could have crawled into my womb, he'd be there right now.

He has not forgiven me for my absence and so I've a 180-pound hairy goiter attached to my arse. God bless the Mastiffs of the world.

"So Mom, what did you do while you were in Chicago?" my daughter asked as I was trying to move Abbott's pointy elbow from out of my bladder. 

"Well, I married you off to the conference co-founder's son in exchange for a goat." 

"You did that last year. I thought by now I'd be worth at least a few chickens as well."

"I settled for a lamb chop." Proof that I've mastered the art of haggling. (And that I was hungry at the time.)

My son, bored by my daughter's impending arranged marriage, asked, "Besides selling your offspring for livestock, what else did you do?" Little does he know I need the goat for his sister so that I can buy him a wife. It's all about planning for the future.

And so, at midnight, with a giant dog snoring on my lap, I regaled my teens with stories of what it is like to attend a giant blogging conference in a far away land.

"Well, I moderated and spoke on a panel with some fabulous women about the power of story telling."

Their eyes glazed over.

"No, it was really interesting. We talked about the importance of voice and connective tissue and there was a lot of talk about stew and how everyone needs a gay person."

They just blinked.

"Just trust me. It was awesome." It really was.

No really. It was.

"What else did you do Mom?"

Hmm. "Well, I ate bad food with my friends at what was possibly the worst Chinese restaurant in all of Chicago and corrupted the mind of a twelve year old in the back of a cab. That was fun."

*Picture snaked from Anissa Mayhew's instagram feed.*

"You eat bad Chinese here and are constantly corrupting the minds of young people all the time. Look at our team mates," Ken pointed out.

Good point.

"I chased some nuns all over a park, trying to get a photo of them. That was something I don't get to do often."

"Did you meet Queen Latifah?" My daughter asked, uninterested with my habit chasing. 

"Of course! Well, okay, no. But! I was on stage at the same time with her and at one point I was close enough to inappropriately sniff her hair."

Neither of my kids were impressed with my celebrity sniffing so I continued on, flicking through my camera roll on the iPhone.

"I played tourist and explored the city and took some really awesome photos of downtown Chicago."

Ya. TOTALLY AWESOME PHOTOS. I have dozens of these epic beauties. My eye is unparalleled. Good thing I went to all those photography sessions to learn how to be a better photographer. 

"Oh! And women kept coming up to me to ask if they could take pictures of my shoes because for once, I had cute kicks. At a women's blogging conference, this is important."

These are not those kicks. But this is yet another awesome photo I took, showcasing my epic photography skills. 

"That's it?" my son asked, while stifling a yawn? "Bad photos, lousy Chinese food and hair sniffing a celebrity? That's what you do when you go away?"

"Well when you put it like that, Nash, sure. But it's more than that. It's about the connections I make with people. Meeting new faces, celebrating old friendships, making new ones. Learning and relating and having new experiences. That's what makes these trips so wonderful. Well that, and I won't lie, Queen Latifah's hair is worth sniffing."

"You forgot the most important part Mom!" my daughter added.

"I did?"

"The SWAG. Everyone knows the swag is the best part of conferences," she explained, talking slowly as though I was stupid.

Right. The SWAG.

"How could I forget?! The SWAG! I brought back the best swag. In fact, this swag was so good I didn't bring anything back but this. Everything else paled in comparison," I proudly stated.

Ken and Nash looked at me, excitedly, their eyes lit from greedy excitement.

"What is it?" they asked simultaneously.

"It's in my suitcase. Right on the top. Go ahead. You can look." No sooner did I have the words out of my mouth were they scrambling to rip open my carry-on bag.

"This is it? The only stuff you brought back?" Disbelief and disappointment rolled off them.

I don't know why they were so disappointed. This stuff is better than gold when you have a 9 year old kid in medical diapers.

Everyone should have an unlimited supply of butt paste. 

*A big thanks to everyone who said hello to me while in Chicago. Thanks for making this trip so wonderful. 

*An even bigger thanks to the staff of BlogHer for putting on such a fabulous event. 

*The biggest thanks to the city of Chicago and all its residents for being damn awesome. Until we meet again.