Soccer Momma Drama: In Defense of My Girl

I recently took one of those personality tests for a personal branding seminar at work. You know, the one where you answer a long series of philosophical double-barrel questions, and in return, get a combination of four letters that tell you everything you already knew about yourself.

My personality profile is called “The Defender”. Apparently, I should have looked at a career in law enforcement or the judicial system instead of journalism…or maybe I’m just destined to be a pissed off soccer momma with the uncanny ability to string a coherent sentence together.

football-1396740_640Regardless, the Defender reared her fiery red head this afternoon when I told my daughter her soccer season is over even though there are three more games left on the schedule. “This is not your fault,” I told her.

The blame lies entirely at the feet of adults who should know better. Adults who have been entrusted to teach children values and life skills beyond pass, shoot, score, but who seem instead to get more satisfaction out of belittling the youth in their care and knowingly offering false promises.

Over the past year, I’ve watched my daughter go from a player taking the field with enthusiasm and joy to one whose shoulders droop at the prospect of another game. She used to race down the field so fast, she looked like she was flying. Now, at best, she jogs and holds onto the edge of her jersey like a security blanket.

I’ve given her pep talks. We’ve watched inspirational videos about confidence. I even bought her “confidence bracelets” for her birthday as a visual reminder that she is worthy of her place on the team.

I thought it had finally worked last week when, after my “You’re Worthy” speech, she took to the field mid-way through the first half with confident strides, charged down the field and took a strong shot that, if not for the unfortunate placement of the crossbar, would have been a perfect goal.

She came off the field with a smile on her face and a spark in her eyes I hadn’t seen in a long time. Then she sat the bench for most of the second half. When she finally went in, I saw some of that “show em what you got” attitude was still there. She ran fast. She was aggressive.

Coach pulled her after two minutes…no explanation, no feedback, just an implied “You’re not good enough.”

Her shoulders fell. Her head sagged. She dropped to the ground on the sidelines, punched her bag a few times and sat with her head in her hands for the rest of the game.

The conversation she was having with herself went like this:

“I’m no good.”

“I suck.”

“I can’t do anything right.”

I know this because it’s what she said to me after the game as tears rolled down her face. That beautiful near-goal from the first half completely wiped from her memory.

So, for the time being, we are done with soccer. I can’t watch her confidence being chipped away piece by piece anymore. As her defender, I have to stand up for her and take her out of a situation that is emotionally damaging.

I love her too much not to.

This afternoon, we talked about toxic relationships and action plans. We’re taking control and getting out of a bad situation. Fall tryouts are in two weeks. We’ll find a new team then.

At the news that her season was over, all she did was sigh with relief and smile.

The adults in charge, the ones who think “Coach” is a title akin to “King”, and who can’t figure out how to turn that word into an action verb almost broke my girl. They trampled her spirit and played with her dreams.

But she is my girl, and I will build her back up. She’ll find her way again, and she will remember she is worthy.

Do Something

Stop!  Please don’t scroll past this post in your news feed.

I have something important to say, and I am hoping you will read beyond the headline and look past the picture attached to the post. This is a message to Democrats, Republicans, Independents and those of us who fall somewhere in between.  It is not meant to single out those who don’t agree with me.

img_0254If you know me personally or have read my blog over the years, you should not be surprised to see the Women’s March postcards ready to go in tomorrow’s mail as part of the 10 Actions/100 Days campaign. You already know I am passionate about women’s rights, that I want my daughter to feel empowered, and that I want my son to serve a country for which he is proud.

I understand your opinions and priorities may not match mine.  All I have to do is launch the Facebook app on my phone to understand that everyone is concerned about something and that everyone has an opinion. We are experiencing a turbulent time in American history, and it is being played out on social media, often at the expense of hurt feelings and lost friendships–both real and virtual.

The anonymous nature of social media gives its users a level of bravery they wouldn’t otherwise feel. Freedom of speech is accessible these days, and everyone, it seems, is exercising his and her right. Once the applause has died on that profound statement, I want to ask everyone who shares a meme or tweets a hashtag, to take your words and turn them to action.

One of the most impactful lessons I took from college was the opening and parting words of my professor for the Women and Minorities in the Media course I took as a mass communications major. She opened the course and closed it 15 months later with the same message: you cannot complain about something if you are not willing to do something to change the situation.

She was talking first and foremost about voting and making sure your voice is heard on Election Day. Your actions, however, should not stop once your ballot is cast.

Few of us are lucky enough to be close personal friends with our elected officials. I’m not Facebook friends with my senators. My congressman doesn’t follow me on Twitter or Instagram, and I’m fairly confident none of them read my blog. Unless I specifically tell them I am concerned about how little the presidential cabinet looks like me, they won’t know.

Today, I don’t care if you are pro-life or pro-choice, in favor of gun control or an advocate for the Second Amendment; in favor of immigrant rights or the building of a wall. My bi-partisan plea to everyone is to do something about it. Write to your senators, march in a rally, carry a catch phrase-filled sign, start a viral movement, make a donation. Do something to affect change.

I am choosing to write letters and joining a movement in which I believe.  Although, this will be new for my Ohio representatives, it is not new for me. While a Kentucky resident, I frequently contacted my Senators and Congressman about IBD research and legislation as well as funding for our troops.

After I addressed and stamped my latest letters to my new senators, I read them to my daughter and explained to her what they meant and why I was putting them in the mail.

She actually paused Netflix as she listened, and then she asked with what I think was awe, “You can do that?”

“Yes,” I told her firmly. It is my right to tell my elected representatives what I want. It is my right to tell them my opinions.  If we want change, we have to do something.

So before you log back into Facebook and Twitter to fill my feeds with angry words and stress-inducing sentiments, Do Something. After that, you can post as many memes and hashtags as you want.

Get the BOOT!

If the name of this blog didn’t make it completely obvious, let me clarify…I have a thing for shoes.

The first emails I open each day are the ones marketing the latest is footwear fashion, and the thing that gets me out of bed and to the office some days is the fact that once I get there, I’m less than a mile from one of my favorite shoe stores.

When we moved into our new house last year, I made a list of all the spaces that needed updating. At the top of that list was my closet, which very clearly was not designed by someone with even a moderately sized shoe collection. I wasn’t satisfied until the new shelving was installed, and I was able to organize my beloved shoe collection by style (open-toe on the left, closed toe on the right), then by heel height (high on the top, low on the bottom), and finally by color (in rainbow order, naturally).


The BOOT (shown with casual sandal and optional crutch).

Now, I am thrilled to announce that because I am on the cutting edge, I have the privilege of introducing the newest footwear trend, just in time for fall. The BOOT!

It may seem a little rigid at first, but the amazing thing about this new style is you only wear the BOOT on one foot, giving it limitless possibilities.  On the other foot, you use your own unique style.  Try it with a sandal or a ballet flat. An athletic shoe works too, and a sky-high stiletto really makes a statement.

I actually started wearing the BOOT in mid-July after a visit to a local hospital made it obvious this trend was here to stay. Everyone in the waiting room was wearing it. Young people, old people, men, women. With the versatility and the mass appeal, this is one trend I needed to be in on, and I knew there was no way I was leaving that office without a BOOT of my own.

Since I’ve been wearing mine, I’ve noticed the trend becoming even more popular. I’ve seen another woman and a teenage girl sporting their own BOOT at the pool. I’ve also seen a man flaunting his at the grocery store. I’ve even had to pry it off the Young One’s foot a time or two.

I am fully committed to the BOOT. I rarely take it off. It goes with absolutely everything, and every occasion is a BOOT-worthy one. A dinner out with friends?…Wear the BOOT.…Cheering in the stands at a swim meet or soccer game?…Wear the BOOT….Back-to-school shopping?…Wear the BOOT….Coffee on the patio?…Wear the BOOT….  There is no place I won’t go without the BOOT.

It even has some amazing optional accessories. Get the BOOT, and try yours with a matching set of high-quality aluminum crutches, with or without padded arm and hand-grip cushions. You can also consider an upgrade to a self-propelled knee scooter, which really shows off the BOOT and calls attention to the chunky lines and whimsical wrap-around Velcro closures of this up-and-coming style.


The BOOT (shown with knee scooter upgrade).

Once you start wearing the BOOT, you will notice your own popularity increase exponentially. Complete strangers will stop you on the street, in the office, and even in the parking lot to demand you tell them how they can get one too.

“Oh my goodness,” the office-mate who has never spoken to you before, will gush. “How did you get that?”

Random men on the elevator (which you will now be able to ride from the first floor to the second floor without guilt) will slyly wait for everyone else to exit before whispering, “What did you do to get that?”

In the restroom, while you patiently wait for an able-bodied person to finish their phone conversation in the handicapped stall, women will demand you tell them how much longer you get to wear the BOOT.

You might be inclined to freely share your opinions on how they too can acquire the BOOT, but I recommend vague responses that add to the allure of your BOOT. Otherwise you might get a call from HR outlining the other ways you can spend your time with your BOOT.

Yes, the BOOT is here to stay! I’m not taking mine off until at least Christmas.

Talk to your podiatrist or orthopedic surgeon today, and ask how you too can get the BOOT!

Misadventures on the High-Seas

When I boarded the Disney cruise ship bound for the Caribbean with the Hubs and the Young One back in July, I knew I was heading out on a memory-making journey and that on the return trip home, I would have a suitcase full of memories and a binder full of blog material.

Before we even left the dock, I was mentally drafting the first installment of my travelogue which I was sure would include vivid re-enactments of dune buggy races, stingray encounters and waterfall adventures. Sprinkled between these would be my first-hand accounts of Disney magic–niCruise1ghtly Broadway-caliber musical productions, five-star meals and creative origami towel creations left with the evening turn-down service.

Of course, Disney did not disappoint. Pixie Dust was in abundance. The Young One was greeted with, “Princess,” at every turn, and our days were crammed with so many activities, sleeping was optional.

Unfortunately, Disney Cruise Lines has very strict rules about not taking the Pixie Dust with you when you leave the ship. “The magic”, the teeny, tiny, extra-small print in the cruise contract explains, “must stay on board.” The burden of memory-making is solely on each guest once they set foot on soil at each port of call.

Cruise2I had confidence in my own magic-making potential when I booked our excursions and happy memories were crafted in Cozumel where the Hubs safely chauffeured us in our very own Dune buggy and where we successfully found Dory on the Young One’s first snorkeling adventure. On Grand Caymen, we swam with stingrays and added our names to the exposed  beams of a sandy bar on the beach.

cruise3In Jamaica, however, I missed a step, and came home with a not-so-cherished souvenir. All three of us has a different version of what happened that day, but each ends in the same result…me with my foot strapped to a splint and shiny aluminum crutches shoved under my shoulders.

The Hubs tells the tale of our “American Football Excursion” in which he blocks for me while I run for the game-winning touchdown. At the five-yard line, the Jamaican linebacker comes out of nowhere, grabs my ankle and brings me down with a twist and a crunch. In true Disney fashion though, I get back in the game, score on the next play, and my team carries me off the field on their shoulders.

I prefer a little less melodramatic story of how I had a “little too much fun” on vacation. It starts with some delightful rum creme splashed into a cup of equally delightful Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee earlier in the morning before boarding the bus to our waterfall excursion at Dunns River Falls in Falmouth. I don’t go into much more detail, but the moral of the story is “rum and stilettos don’t work well together when climbing wet rocky surfaces.”

Cruise4The Young One starts her telling of my accident with, “Momma had to go to the bathroom…AGAIN.” Then she tells anyone who will listen that I was in a hurry…again…and not looking where I was going…again…and completely missed the step at the doorway of the public restroom in the parking lot of Dunns River Falls. “She landed on the top of her foot instead of the bottom,” she says with a roll of her eyes.

She ends her less-than-glamorous version by telling how I cringed when I wedged my swelling foot into the water shoes required for walking up the falls…and how the tour guide had to keep having the rest of the group wait for me…and how I stood on the slippery rocks like a flamingo. “My mom,” she announces, “walked up a waterfall with a broken foot!”

That’s a memory all right.

Because I am generous and like a good story, I will let you pick your preferred version, or better yet, make up one of your own and leave it in the comments.  Be aware, though, I may use it the next time a complete stranger asks me what happened to my foot.

I will, however, leave you with a few very prolific thoughts regarding my misadventures on the high-seas…

First, Disney cruises are amazing and magical and all the things they tell you about in their marketing material. The medical facilities onboard are top-notch, and if you have a mishap either on or off the ship, you will find an extra-special origami creature on your bed along with yummy Mickey Mouse shaped cereal treats. We had a great time, and broken foot or not, we will do another one sometime in the future.

Second, I have a lot of blog material after our vacation, including some surrounding the acquisition of  brand new footwear that will feature prominently in a series of upcoming posts.

Finally, don’t be afraid of visiting Jamaica on your next Caribbean vacation. The chances of you following in my (hopping, limping, dragging) footsteps are slim, but I do have one word of caution…when you go to the beautiful island of Jamaica, please be careful of your fluid intake…the bathrooms are dangerous.



P is for Packages and Notes from the Master. 

A week ago I started up the Stiletto Momma Care Package Factory again. It had been shut down for almost a year, but now with the Older One deployed to Germany and desperate pleas of “Send cookies,” collecting in my inbox,  I’m back in business. 

I baked and shopped and assembled and reassembled (USPS really won’t ship it if it doesn’t fit.) and taped and filled out customs forms and finally shipped it off across the ocean. All 12 pounds of it arrived nine days later to hearty applause and gratitude-filled text messages. Not only had I sent cookies, I sent peanut butter, jelly (Every soldier needs a PB&J fix.), tuna, oatmeal, protein bars, fiber bars, Jolly Ranchers, lip balm, ear plugs (He has 40 roomies, and apparently a few of them snore.), and a letter from his little sister. 

I didn’t know she was going to write him a letter. In fact, she didn’t even let me read it. She just handed me a piece of paper that she had rolled up tightly like a scroll and tied with a piece of green ribbon. 

“Will you send this to my brother,” she asked. I said yes, and instructed her to add it to the top of the box. I didn’t think anything else about it, until the Older One texted yesterday to let me know he got the box. 

That was when he thanked me, not for the cookies or the PB&J supplies, but for his sister’s letter. It made him laugh, he said, and he loved it. 

He responsed to my curiosity (in the form of a text that read, “Huh?”) with a picture of the un-scrolled letter…

I burst into laughter right there in the middle of my cube farm. In that moment, I really didn’t care if I disturbed any of the other worker bees around me. Once the laughter died down, I realized my heart was swelling and I was close to tears, not from the laughing, but from the love my daughter has for my son. 

At home, I told her he had gotten the package and that he loved her letter.

“I wanted to write it funny,” she said, “’cause I thought he might want to laugh at something.”

I gave her a big hug and told her how smart she is.

“Plus,” she said when she pulled away, “I do think he’d make a good Jedi.”

#WeekendCoffeeShare – 4/23/16

If we were having coffee, I’d offer you a pod of Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce, even though I’d hope you’d decline in favor of Breakfast Blend. Cinnamon Dolce is one of my favorites, but it’s pricey as K-Cups go. Don’t expect to find it in my Keurig carousel next weekend. 

Let’s sit in the living room. (It’s cold outside again this morning…errr.) I have got to tell about last night. We had so much fun!

The Hubs and I went to a fundraiser for the hospital. It could have been a boring, stuffy affair, but…well, here…check this out…

Yes, I know! An 80s theme! How cool is that?

Up until 11:00 yesterday morning, I hadn’t actually decided to dress up. Maybe it was Prince’s passing the day before or the Purple Rain ear worm working its way through my brain, but I was feeling nostalgic and decided to go for it. I ran to T.J. Maxx at lunch and lucked out with that Flash Dance-esque top. Then I stopped into the craft store for ribbon. I went with the purple because…you know…Prince. 

The Young One watched me do my hair. When I started teasing my already crazy curly hair, she gave me a, “What the???”  I can’t really blame her. The whole big hair thing is still something that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I just told her it’s what we did back then. I did not tell her that I used to perm my naturally curly hair, so it could get even bigger. She was already traumatized. 

Somewhere between shopping and hair and make up, the Older One texted from Germany. He asked what our plans were for the weekend. I texted about dressing like we were back in the 80s. He lol’d, then asked me to send him pictures, so he could use them as blackmail. I explained to him that if it was blackmail he wanted, he should look for the real pictures from back in the day. Tonight, I told him, I knew I was wearing a costume. Back then, I wore it every day and called it a wardrobe!

Anyway, by the time we got to the event and found ourselves seated between Stevie Nix and Devo, I had embraced my inner Valley Girl. 

Oh! Wait! I almost forgot…look…we went Back to the Future too. 

It was, like, the best, like, night in, like, ever!  

Sorry. My Valley Girl keeps showing since last night. 

We danced all night to songs I haven’t heard in decades, and by the time we got back home my feet hurt, and my hair was sticky. I kicked off my stilettos, and grabbed my iPad to wind down a little before bedtime. I knew right away that the Young One had needed a little art therapy after the torture she saw me put my hair through. 

I hadn’t expected to see this though…


Okay…okay! Stop laughing!

I need you to tell me something honestly. I’m not a bad mother for letting her see 80s hair, am I?

**Today’s post was inspired by Part Time Monster and the Weekend Coffee Share.

O is for Original Girl

OI love that you say you don’t want to be me when you grow up.

You insist on a simple pony tail with no headband or bow adornment. In your opinion, painting fingernails is a waste of perfectly good video game time. You own just two dresses and one pair of “fancy” shoes, and those are worn under protest.

I love that you complained about dance class and gymnastics.

You prefer field hockey and football. You run like a girl…gloriously fast and strong. You are fearless on the field, and when you tackle a boy during a soccer game, his mom silently cheers and covertly offers me a high-five on the sideline.

I love that you cannot define “traditional”.

You wore a Wonder Woman costume to a princess dress-up party, and the rest of your cosplay wardrobe includes Spider-Man, Darth Vader and a Ninja Turtle. Your career aspirations are police officer, inventor and soldier.

I love that your Barbies are collecting dust.

Your Power Ranger action figures have seen plenty of battle, and your favorite make-believe scenario features a light saber and a conflict between good and evil. At Build-a-Bear, you stroll past the frilly princess bears and have so much trouble choosing between Chewbaka and the Stormtrooper that you convince me get them both. (There’s a BOGO, after all, you say.)

I love that you show no interest in reading Little House on the Prairie.

Your bookshelf holds the entire Captain Underpants series, and you are currently reading your way through Diary of Wimpy Kid.

I love that you turn down every invitation for Frozen sing-alongs.

Elle King’s America’s Sweetheart on the car radio is cause to crank the volume, so you can join me in loudly singing its rock-anthem chorus: “I’m not America’s Sweetheart, but you love me anyway!”


I love that you are brave and strong and live by your own definition of beautiful.

I love that you know your opportunities are limitless and that stereotypes only get in the way.

I love that you are no one but yourself…my one and only original girl.

N is for Neighbors with Fancy Cocktails

NI wonder if I stood on the sidewalk in front of my house with a pitcher of fancy cocktails, if I would be able to get to know my neighbors.

As of today, I have lived in my new Ohio home for 264 days and have yet to have a significant conversation with the people who live in the houses next door. In fact, if I were to pass them in my friendly neighborhood Kroger, I doubt I would be able to recognize any of them as having a street address close to mine.

When I moved to Louisville almost 17 years ago, I had met and had a conversation with every person on the block by lunchtime. By dinnertime, I had a plate of fresh-baked brownies, a basket of muffins and an invitation to share a home-cooked meal. A few years later, we somewhat reluctantly moved across town and were greeted on moving day with a footrace through the yard as new neighbors rushed to welcome us and offer to carry in the furniture.

I did not anticipate that relocating a mere 114 miles north would take us to a completely different culture. We have, however, crossed the invisible line between the “friendly South” and the “hostile North”, and I am definitely on the wrong side.

We have made plenty of attempts to learn more about these people who call themselves neighbors. We smiled and waved to those who strolled past the house in those early days  only to be rewarded with cautious glances and hurried footsteps. The Young One and I spent hours in the driveway shooting basketball, hoping the sounds of the bouncing ball and laughter would bring out other children and their mommas. We’re still waiting.


It’s as tasty as it looks.

We’ve invited the neighbors to housewarming parties, college football rivalry parties and a Super Bowl party. The only people who showed were other transplants like ourselves who are equally perplexed by this strange world of un-neighborly neighbors. As soon as we get together, the first question asked is, “Guess how many of the neighbors have said, ‘Hi’?”

“None!” we all shout at the same time and clink glasses.

Aside from finding other neighborhood children for my child to play with, I’m not really sure why I want to forge some kind of relationship with the people next door. I suppose I’d like to be sure they aren’t doing illegal things over there. Plus, I think it would be nice to know I have someone close by who actually cares…

Cares enough to ask how I’m settling in…

Cares enough to ask after the MIL’s health…

Cares enough to know my dog’s gotten off her leash…

Cares enough to buy the obligatory box of Thin Mints from the Young One…

Cares enough to ask how the Older One is doing and how I’m doing while he’s so far away…

Last weekend, my Transplant Support Group did our usual toast with a delicious round of Sangritas, a delightful combination of sangria and margaritas whipped up by yours truly. That’s when I started wondering about bribing my neighbors with fancy cocktails.

I think I’ll go make a sign and set up a table next weekend…”Free Fancy Cocktails! Free Friendship! No Strings Attached!”

Speak Up for #CitizenshipForAllAdoptees

Today, several adoptee rights organizations are sponsoring the Adoptee Citizenship Act Day of Action in Washington, DC and around the country in support of The Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2015, which will amend the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 to provide all intercountry adoptees with the legal protection of U.S. citizenship. It will secure the legal status of older intercountry adoptees, in spite of the failures of the agencies and adoptive parents to complete the naturalization process. Please read the original blog post on Common Ground for more details on this important cause.

Weekend Coffee Share – 4/16/16

Coffee ShareIf we were having coffee, I’d tell you to keep your jacket on. It’s a beautiful spring morning, and I want to have coffee on the patio. The sun is shining today since the the clouds have finally decided to spend their time elsewhere. The trees are full of birds, and their trilling song is what pulled me out of bed before everyone else this morning.

This is my favorite time of the day–that hour before the rest of the house is awake. I can read in peace. I can write in peace. I can sip my coffee leisurely rather than setting the cup down every 10 minutes to make someone’s breakfast, find someone’s socks or have a conversation about the conversation we had last night.

Why is it that the rest of the family interprets the sight of me with a book and a cup of coffee as an invitation to ask me to do something? They’re jealous, aren’t they, or maybe they are threatened by my Kindle. I can’t blame them–that six inch anti-glare screen has a tendency to pull me in and not let me go for hours on the weekend. But really…they can have my undivided attention every waking hour of any other day. Just give this one hour of peace and quiet on the patio this morning.

img_0226Anyway, even though the sun is shining, it’s still a little chilly, and Fluffy and Furry have already claimed the sunny spots on the love seat. You probably want to keep your jacket on unless, of course, you want to fight the pups for the sun. I warn you though, Fluffy is a diva this early in the morning, and she won’t be happy if you displace her.

You could try for Furry’s spot as well, but he’s old and frail and probably doesn’t have too many more sunny mornings on the patio in his future. Why would you take that away from him? Why?

Just leave your jacket on and sit in the that shady spot over there. It’s still a nice place to sit on an early spring morning.

I hope you brought a book to read.  We won’t be having much of a conversation this morning.  I just started the Outlander series, and I’d like to spend an hour or so in Scotland before I have to help the Young One get ready for her soccer game.

If we were having coffee, we’d silently sit on the chilly patio with the dogs sunning themselves and the birds singing high above us. We’d have a steaming cup of coffee in one hand, a book in the other, and we’d enjoy the quiet before a busy day.

**Today’s post was inspired by Part Time Monster and the Weekend Coffee Share.