© The Prude Cowering In The Corner

Since the beginning of time I dreamed of that moment in my life when I was supremely organized and put together. This vision of myself usually involved getting up before the crack of dawn and working out before anyone else in the world was awake. To me this symbolized the greatest amount of self discipline around. This is probably due to my youthful obsession with Rocky and the Karate Kid…

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From these movies I learned that waking up and training hard meant winning. After we returned from our Thanksgiving vacation in St. Louis I felt that I needed to kick things up a notch. This could have also been triggered by the fact that I felt like a walking water bed due to the indulgence of the week #notwinning. I’m not entirely convinced it was the Thanksgiving feast that did me in but the munching that took place during the 14 hour drive there and back that did it. Penelope watched Frozen no less than ten times during this trip and I was trying to drown it out with my munching before I felt the urge to punch Olaf in the face.

Let it goooo… munch munch munch… Let it goooooo… crunch crunch crunch

When we returned I went gym shopping. We have friends who own different gyms around town but I needed a place that was open at 4 in the morning… Yes, that’s right, I said 4. Luckily for me the 24 hour fitness near my home and work was having a black Friday sale and I was able to sign up fairly simple. Plus they had a space designated for the types of work outs I used to do with Brent back in the day when he wasn’t burned out on training people. IMG_2580 1175494_10201934710910216_495527545_n  Oh how I miss that!

Since Brent is officially Mr. Mom while I’m away at work he refuses to train me anymore, but I’ve learned enough from him to develop my own workouts.

I got the membership on Sunday and woke up at 4 on Monday for the sleepy trek to the gym. My biggest concern about working out in the morning before work was figuring out how I was going to manage to fix my hair.  It goes down to my waist and takes forever to dry. I had no idea how I was going to be able to fix it in time for work when I was done working out.

I don’t wash my hair everyday because my hair stylist friend told me that it will break and dry out my hair. So I usually wash my hair every other day. Working out poses a threat to this routine because… well, sweat.

I asked Amanda, my hairdresser friend what she does. She also has long hair that looks perfect all of the time despite the fact that she works out sometimes twice a day. I asked her what her trick was and she said… “Dry shampoo.”

So that’s what I did. I washed my hair the night before and went to sleep with it wet. Then when I went to the gym I tied my hair in a bun on my head and worked my water bed butt off. I was sweaty but not too super sweaty thanks to the humongous fans that were blowing down on me from the ceiling.

After I was done with my work out I made my way into the women’s locker room for a quick shower to rinse my body off and wash my face.

Now, can I make a confession?

I usually avoid the locker room. There is just something about public pubic hair that really bothers me. So of course as soon as I walk in the first thing I see is a lady standing in her bra and nothing else.

As a rule I think your underpants should be the last thing to go. If I were to write out a locker room etiquette book this would be number one.

Locker Room Etiquette Book

1. If you are limited to one item of clothing that piece of clothing needs to be your panties.

2. Being topless is acceptable but only if necessary.

3. Public pubic hair should be avoided at all costs.

4. Seriously… nobody needs to see that.

© The Prude Cowering In The Corner Trying to Avert Her Eyes

After surviving the shower I blow-dried the rest of the lingering sweat from my hair. When I was done I sprayed a little more dry shampoo and proceeded to curl my hair. It turned out perfect. (Which is weird considering how gross the whole blow drying your sweat thing sounds.)

Today I woke up with my second day hair. I was afraid it would be gross thanks to the sweating that occurred the day before but surprisingly it was still perfect. My second day hair tends to be braid day. As far as Penelope is concerned this means it is dress up like Anna and Elsa day.

As soon as she saw my “Elsa hair” she had to have her “Anna hair”. This entails pigtail braids and arguing with a two year old on whether wearing a princess dress to her babysitter’s house is considered appropriate or not.

Needless to say, she won that argument.

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I tried to take a picture of my hair to show you how perfect it looked on day two for this post before we left the house. But by the time I had chased Penelope down, wrestled her out of her pajamas, fought the tooth brush battle, packed her things for the day and then repacked them again after she unpacked them, I was left with a pulsing headache and pulsing forehead veins to go with it.

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But forehead veins aside, my hair still looked pretty good 😉

The point is I can mark the “I won’t have time to fix my hair at the gym” excuse off of the list.

Now, we just need to decide whether it may or may not be beneficial to stop taking selfies at the age of 34 due to the forehead veins and wrinkles. But that’s a post for another day.

P.S. For any reader who just so happened to stumble upon my blog by typing the phrase “Public Pubic Hair” into the search engine… I’m not so sure I’m comfortable with you reading my blog. Weirdo.

Get Your Toes Off Of My Nipple

“Get your toes off of my nipple.”

The weirdest phrase that has ever come out of my mouth… and I have motherhood to thank for it.

Over the weekend Penelope and I have been left completely alone. Bridget was out of town for a Girl Scout event and Brent was at work. This left Penelope and I to our own devices. Which included some much needed bonding since I’ve been working full time.

We snuggled and watched “tarcoons”. We painted pictures and made homemade macaroni and cheese…

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We played at the park.

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We fed the ducks.

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And we made eggnog play dough…

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(Here is a link to the Holiday-Scented Play Dough Recipes I used.)

Then things got weird.

Every where I turned her hazel eyes were trained on me.

When I peed- “What you doing?”

When I showered- “Oh I like your boobies!”

Then things started to escalate… at one point I was sucking on a peppermint when she asked, “What you eating? Can I see?”

I opened my mouth to show it to her which provided her the perfect opportunity to shove her chubby little fingers into my mouth where she retrieved the candy and popped it into her own mouth.

Then that strange moment when lines were crossed.

She insisted I get out of the shower to change her diaper because she was poopie. I was dripping wet and my towel slipped out of its tuck and roll position as I leaned over her to clean her up. The creepy toes that managed to make their way to my breast. Then the clinching of the toes and the pinching of the nipple.

That crossed the line. Even moms have boundaries…

“Get your toes off of my nipple!”

“Ohhh, dat your nipple?”

“Yes, don’t touch it.”

“Ohhh, I like your nipple.”

(Nobody told me motherhood would be this weird.)

It’s now nap time and I’m finally able to sit alone and sip on a nice warm cup of Earl Grey while I make preparations for the week ahead. The previous week was spent working late grading 7th grade personal narratives, photo bombing 7th grade selfies and solving 7th grade riddles left under my classroom door.

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By the time I made my way home in the evenings the sun was sinking behind the mountains.

The lack of sunshine has sent me into hibernation mode. This is the time of year when the most primitive part of my brain says, “You must eat cookies… you need to put your stretchy pants on… don’t move or you’ll burn what needs to be stored for winter.”

This lack of sunshine has led me to the conclusion that I’m just going to have to use that window of time that I have between classes (from 10:00 to 11:30) when I don’t technically get paid to get out and get some fresh air. This is hard for me because I typically use this time to grade papers, plan lessons, answer emails and make copies.

But after reading The Power of Habit, I have learned that habits can form in the blink of an eye. If you don’t create them intentionally they will manifest themselves without your permission. So that’s what I need to do… create a new habit before my old winter habits creep back in.

I’ve done this in several other aspects of my life. My job is less stressful because I wake up at five in the morning and show up an hour ahead of time. It doesn’t feel like more work because it has just become the norm. The house work isn’t has hard because my husband does it for me  because I make a habit of getting it done as quickly as possible. Getting ready in the morning hardly takes any time because I have my routine. Making dinner when I get home isn’t stressful because I just automatically do it. All of these things have made me very efficient.

Making new habits is a step by step process but now the time has come to use this momentum and harness it in my weight loss efforts.

Since this was a sink or swim type of week I didn’t make any conscious effort to lose weight. That being said, I also didn’t go out of my way to buy a “I’m stressed sugar filled latte” or a “feel sorry for me because I work hard hamburger”. I just ate what was planned for dinner and if that dinner didn’t suck I took the left overs for lunch.

It’s a slow, painful process but I’ve noticed that since I’ve started writing this blog I’ve become pickier about what I eat. If I’m going to eat something fattening I make it from scratch because processed stuff gives me the willies.

Since I’ve trained myself to eat cleaner I always think twice before buying that junk. That’s not to say I don’t give in sometimes, but it weighs heavier on my conscience now. This helps when you are an emotional eater because some of the old “feel good” foods don’t feel so good any more.

So now, instead of drinking eggnog as soon as it finds its way into the dairy section of the grocery store, I make a batch of eggnog play dough. You get the same feel good scent without getting fat because it tastes gross…

Don’t ask me how I know that. It just does.

If I want something sweet I have to take the time to make it.

If I want a decadent dinner I have to make that too.

A lot of the time all of that effort will deter me from giving in to my guiltiest cravings. And if it doesn’t it tastes damn good because I put a lot of effort into it 🙂

What Not To Say on a Job Interview

You may or may not know this about me, but sometimes I say stupid stuff. Weird things pop into my head and if I’m not careful they come spewing out of my mouth at the strangest times. Those who know and love me have grown to find it endearing, funny even. Those who don’t know me can tend to think that I am… well, weird.

Most of the time when I’m around strangers I can get a handle on it. I’m fully aware that some people can only handle so much personality from one person. Yet, when I’m nervous like say… at a job interview, sometimes there is no telling what I’ll say.

That being said, let me share three phrases with you that should never be said while you are trying to convince someone to give you a job.

1.) “Oh! We’re role playing?!”

2.) “Yeah… I werked it 😉 ”

3.) “You know what? I’m gonna cheat… I’m cheating!”

Unfortunately for me I was feeling a bit off the morning I went in for my final job interview of the summer and ALL of those things were said at one point… including the winky face. As soon as I got back into my car after walking out of the school I was tempted to bang my head on my steering wheel over and over again. I didn’t though, instead I gave myself an internal scolding, “Nina! What the hell is your problem?!?!” and then I scolded myself again for finally being able to keep my thoughts in my head where they belong versus out of my mouth where they don’t.

Earlier this summer I had gone on a few interviews for Middle School Language Arts teaching positions. I got rejected once, offered one job (that I turned down), and then offered another opportunity to teach as a long term sub. The school that offered me the long term sub position told me to go ahead and apply for other jobs throughout the summer knowing that I had this offer to fall back on if necessary. (I’m pretty sure it was my consolation prize.)

Brent and I decided that since I was still on the fence about working full time again I should just go for the long term sub position. Penelope is still little and I know how time intensive teaching is, especially during your first year.

I was resolved on this decision, but then I stumbled upon a dream scenario. Part-time teaching at two schools within walking distance to my house, one of which Bridget is going to attend. I would teach two classes in the morning at one school and two classes at the other. I would have plenty of time throughout the day to finish all of my work so that I wouldn’t have to bring it home with me at night. I didn’t know whether or not I should apply for it. After all of the drama my summer entailed I was late turning in my teaching license and I didn’t think I would receive it on time for teaching at the beginning of the year.  I didn’t want to apply for this job and not get it because I was an idiot and didn’t take care of things  when I should have.

I debated and debated… I had been feeling pretty low after the surgery I didn’t think I could handle the rejection that I was sure to endure. But then for some reason on the last minute I submitted all of the required elements to apply and just waited to see what would happen. What did I have to lose? Worst case scenario I would gain more interview experience.

Shortly after, I got a call for an interview then my hopes started to soar. This was after all a unique job that was uniquely perfect for me, it was almost like it was tailor made.

I found myself becoming increasingly excited about the prospect of getting this job.  During the weekend I tried to mentally prepare myself for the interview by having the most relaxing weekend ever. On Saturday morning Penelope and I went on our usual morning bike ride and came across our beloved hot air balloons.

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My friend/neighbor, KJ took this picture.

When Sunday rolled around Brent and I took Penelope for an early morning hike.

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It was so beautiful I couldn’t believe that we waited so long to take our first hike of the summer!

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Then, I remembered that we had to carry a monkey on our back so I figured that was the reason for our delay.

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After the hike we got back in time to eat breakfast before heading out for our Sunday Funday farmer’s market/book store routine.  We sampled some fruit…

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and then read some books…

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… then went home and sampled some more fruit.

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After nap we went to a friend’s house for some yard games followed by a visit downtown Littleton for some food truck fun and a glass of wine. It was great!

Then someone decided to have a toddler fit and threw my phone against the wall and broke it to pieces… little shit. I was going to need that to hear back about my interview. It really bothered me and kind of ruined the mood for the day.

I was still irritated about it the next morning. Instead of taking my phone with me I took my computer and left early in order to get a coffee and decompress before the interview. It actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise. When I showed up to the school I sat across from someone else who was also interviewing for the same job. She had two huge binders sitting in her lap and looked super prepared. My first internal reaction was, “Shit! I should have done that too!” Then as I looked through the interview questions the secretary gave me I dug through my laptop and found a power point that I had made during my student teaching that correlated perfectly with an answer I had to give.

Ha! Take that super prepared applicant!

As I sat in the office waiting for my turn to interview I began to get even more nervous.  Then my thoughts went back to my broken phone sitting on my kitchen counter and I got irritated. Before I knew it, it was my turn and I was still feeling a little off. So what did I do? I overcompensated…

My personality was turned up ten notches instead of five and I said things I would never normally say in an interview. I sat there with two principals and two other teachers and I just put on a show. The more they laughed the more obnoxious I got. After having to role play a teacher student conference with one of the other teachers I just sat back and said, “Well… that was awkward. I must have left my Mary Katherine Gallager at home.”

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(Click here to see a reenactment of the interview.)

Turns out I didn’t leave Mary at home at all…

A few hours later I got a phone call from the school. But I missed it because my phone was in shreds. I got it repaired that night and tried to call the principal back who had left his cell number but didn’t get a response. On the voice mail he said that he just had a few more questions to wrap up the process.

I kept wracking my brain. What did he want to know?!

“So Nina, can you tell me why you are such a weirdo?”

No, I have no idea.

“Do you normally behave this way in front of people?”

No… okay fine. Yes.

I had to wait until the next morning to find out what he wanted to ask me. I was out on a walk with my friend power pushing Penelope’s stroller. I was a bit confused and out of breath when I answered. And then the questions came…

“Hi Nina, do you want this job? Because if you do it’s yours.”

YAY!!!!!

I was so excited! Brent was at home packing for our family vacation to Minnesota when I called him to share the news. Then I got even more news…

“You’ll have to start this Monday at 7:30 in the morning. We have an orientation you will have to attend.”

Our flight wasn’t schedule to come in until noon on Monday. After a few more calls it was determined that if I really wanted this job I would have to stay home from my trip.

So this morning I woke up early and dropped Brent and Penelope off at the airport in the rain. I didn’t know what to do with myself, so I went to one of my favorite coffee shops from my college days.

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That’s where I am right now, among the hipsters writing my blog and drinking an over sized coffee.

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I keep feeling like I need to hurry home, but then I realize no one is waiting for me. I don’t know what to do with all of this freedom. It makes me think of the afternoons I spent between classes pretending I wasn’t a suburban housewife.

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Who knows I might just have to channel a little Coco Robicheaux while I have the chance…

Four More Weeks!

Spring break is over. I think we all need to have a moment of silence…

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I didn’t realize until this week just how much of my freedom had been taken away from me during this student teaching process. I’ve basically just filed my life away so I can just get done with school. After this fabulous week of hanging out with my family and playing outside I don’t want to go back.

But I must. Booooh!

I’ve just got to suck it up a little bit longer because my last day is on the calendar.  Just four weeks away, and then I will officially have my master’s degree! YAY!

Then I can get back to doing what I do best. Living life to the fullest and then blogging about it 😉 Speaking of which shall we see what I’ve been up to during my free time?

Let me tell you… I did everything I wanted to do during my break. I played out side with my girls every chance I got. On one particularly beautiful day we went to the Littleton Museum to see the farm animals.

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(They told us to come back next week because they will have baby piglets and lambs!)

We also went the The Market in Downtown Denver and had a coffee/chai tea date…

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We hung out in book stores where Penelope ran around like a maniac and Bridget and I judged books by their covers…

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I didn’t actually read any books this week because every time Penelope went to sleep I snuck outside and prepped my garden. I couldn’t help it, I’m just so excited about all of the fresh veggies I plan on growing!

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So far I’ve planted rainbow carrots, gold/red beets, mesclun, assorted lettuce, rainbow swiss chard and red/purple potatoes.

When I was done with that I tried to relax in the sun for a bit… but I couldn’t. I had a hard time just sitting back to relax. I found it hard to find a change in pace. I’ve been so busy lately that it just felt wrong to sit there and do nothing. Besides, I may have been off from student teaching but I still had grad work to do and lesson plans to make.

Therefore, I chose to multitask… a little bit of planning and a little bit of sunshine.

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I had also planned on working out a ton during this time and I managed to go for one glorious run. My hips have been bothering me lately and I thought when I bought new running shoes I would correct the problem. I was sorely disappointed to find out this wasn’t the case. My run was great, my lungs felt great my muscles felt great but there was just something a little off. Afterward I was in pain, but it wasn’t “out of shape” pain it was “you’ve got something wrong with you pain”. I was hesitant to go see a chiropractor after what happened this time last year but I gave it a shot anyway because something needed to change. I went in thinking they would pop me a couple of times and send me on my way. Fast forward half an hour and I’m laying on a table with half of my butt crack showing as some stranger is taping a hot pink “H” onto my lower back.

Turns out I was way more jacked up than I thought. I’ve got SI joint issues and it’s causing my pelvis to rotate, which is causing my hips to hurt, which is causing my back to be super tight, which is causing me to have head aches and leg pain and foot pain. Therefore, I have six chiropractic appointments and two massage appointments scheduled for the next two weeks. Oh, and some dry needling too… in the butt. (It’s as awkward as it sounds.)

During this time I’m not allowed to go running (which is a bummer) but I’ve got to get straightened back out first. However, I do have to do a lot of ab exercises because this whole mess stems from my super weak core muscles. (It always goes back to that damn diastasis.) I’m seriously contemplating getting a tummy tuck to fix the issue but that will be way down the line. My chiropractor says that I need to do all that I can to strengthen those muscles anyway, otherwise the recovery from such a surgery would really suck.

Even though I couldn’t go running I did ride my bike and go for lots of walks. So it didn’t cramp my style too much. I also ate a lot of healthy yummy food.

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Including a Downton Abbey themed meal Bridget and I made to eat while we caught up with our favorite show…

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All of that fresh air and healthy eating must have done it’s job because when I weighed myself this morning I weighed 182.8!

I can’t even tell you how excited I am for summer to arrive! I can’t wait to go for early morning runs, visit the farmer’s market and ride my bike to the pool. Like I’ve said, I’ve only got four more weeks of waking up at 4:30 in the morning and working until 11 at night. In the mean time, I’m going to try not to lose focus on my health and continue to try to balance out the whole life-family-health thing I’ve got going on. Wish me luck!

All of My Flaws Forgotten

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I never had the privilege of experiencing the full effect of the mother/daughter dynamic as a girl…

Before I got a chance to enter puberty and encounter those turbulent years (where I would heave sighs, slam doors and wage wars over what to wear) my mother had died.

I was nine when she passed and was only left with memories that would eventually fade over time. But even after all of these years there are still a few memories that cling to me.

I can still smell the oranges we ate every afternoon while we watched Little House on the Prairie. I remember sitting by the window watching a thunderstorm roll in and being taught to be exhilarated by it instead of scared of it. And I remember the way her body molded to mine and the warmth I felt when she held me.

All of her flaws forgotten.

Now as I enter the years of raising a teenage daughter I’m encountering uncharted territory. I don’t have my own experiences to look back on in terms of dealing with the struggles mothers and daughters encounter once they enter these years. I’m left questioning myself and wondering if I’m good enough.

What does she see when she looks at me?

What will she remember when she looks back on these years?

It was Saturday and motherhood had worn me down this previous week. Brent had been in Breckenridge all but two days during the week. I had worked long hours and still had more school work to complete before the night’s end. All week long I had looked forward to coming home to spend quality time with my girls, to catch up on all that I had missed. Instead of being greeted with smiles and hugs I was greeted with temper tantrums, tears and arguments.

I was drained and exhausted and pushed to the brink. I was ashamed, because in the midst of all of the chaos I had a few temper tantrums myself and the guilt of it all was weighing me down.

I felt guilty for losing my patience. I felt guilty for being so busy during the week. I felt guilty for wanting to lock myself in the bathroom where I could take a long bath, drink a bottle of wine and read a book in an attempt to pretend like I didn’t have kids or responsibilities.

That night as I tucked Penelope, the little one, into bed I started to close the door when I heard a sweet little voice say, “Night night Momma. Love you.”

It was the sweetest thing I had heard all week, I wanted to live in that moment forever.

I closed the door behind me and walked past Bridget’s room where she was engrossed in a conversation on the phone with a friend. She looked so grown up and it made me miss the years that I had with her when she was little too, the times when she actually liked me.

I made my way through the kitchen where a stack of Bridget’s school work from the week sat. I was sorting through it when a paper she had written caught my attention… It was about her role model.

“When most people say their mom is the best role model, they are probably wanting something like an xbox or the latest cell phone. But not me! My mother, Nina Nevada Gwyn Chapman, is the best person to look up to. Although we’re exactly alike-in looks and brains- I sometimes feel the need to be like her even more. Want to know why I think my Mommy qualifies for Best-Mother-of-The-Year? Stick around and you’ll see!

One of the reasons I believe my mom is a good role model is because she is energetic and understanding. My mom has the kind of temper that makes her blunt. Also, she will not let other people step on her, which is one of the best traits she has. My mom doesn’t give in to gossip, and she’s never rude unless you do something to someone she loves. That’s when Momma Bear comes out! Mom is also the funniest person alive, partly because she doesn’t care what other people think. She tells jokes and things to me and my friends that other mom’s usually don’t say. But apart from her spunky side, she is really down-to-earth and very helpful in listening to other people’s problems. I would like to be as understanding as she is. My mother can be very un-predictable in her motives, but it is something I hope to achieve.

Another reason my mom is a good role model is because she loves anybody no matter what. She always makes me smile, as I would like to other people. My mother is always willing to give 2nd and 3rd chances. She believes that no matter what mistakes you make, there is always a seed of hope inside, a light of forgiveness. If others understood this, I think the world would be more peaceful.

Overall, I believe my mom is a great role model for the reasons listed above. She is kind, forgiving, and always makes people feel better, like everyone should. Even though someone has done something wrong, my mom forgives them, and that can make a person feel better. If everyone was like my wonderful mother, perhaps we would live in a better place.”

She walked into the kitchen while I was reading it, my eyes were rimmed with tears threatening to spill over. She looked at me and said, “Momma don’t cry.” She hugged me tight snuggling her head under my chin.

After a while she took in a deep breath and said, “Ahhh, you smell good.”

I was tired and ragged and in need of a shower so this was news to me, “What do I smell like?”

“I don’t know… like mom,” she said as she hugged me tighter.

All of my flaws forgotten.

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