Tag Archive | life

I’ve Got a Choice to Make: Tylenol or Heroin?

I’ve recently been experiencing some stomach and gastrointestinal problems. Don’t worry, this post won’t degenerate into an in-depth discussion about my guts – because EWWW!!  Therefore, in the interest of sparing you the gory details, I’ll just fast forward through the last nine months of my life. It went something like this:  blah blah a bunch of doctors appointments…. blah blah annoying tests…. blah blah embarrassing ass-exposing hospital gowns…. blah blah a lot of results I needed a medical jargon to English dictionary to help decipher.

That pretty much brings us up to date.   End result after ALL that? I was told that I have stomach inflammation and I could no longer take Advil (or any similar pain relievers) because it would make the problem worse.  Normally, staying away from over-the-counter medication is not a big deal. I’ve never been a pill popper, but this piece of news happened to coincide with that time of the month. Yes boys, for the remainder of this post, you might want to pretend to stare at that Ficus tree over there in the corner, because I’m going to talk about my uterus. I promise I’ll try to make it brief….

 

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For some girls, their monthly visit comes and goes without much disturbance (*if you’re one of these girls you should know that I HATE YOU.  A LOT). But for me, it feels like two porcupines are sumo wrestling around in my lady parts. Usually, Advil is my BFF during those few days, but now I needed to find something else to help anesthetize the porcupines – so, my doctor introduced me to Tylenol. I had never taken it before, but I felt confident that my new friend would help me through the rough patch, and not give me a stomach ulcer in the process.

 

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HERE I COME TO SAVE THE DAY!!!

 

By all appearances, Tylenol was a total badass – bright red box, the words “EXTRA STRENGTH” emblazoned across the front in big letters, and a promise that it would help relieve my pain. We had just met, but I loved Tylenol already. So, I popped two caplets, curled up with my heating pad, and waited to feel anything less than totally fucking miserable.

I waited…. and waited…. and waited. After three hours and no relief, I came to the sad realization that the only thing “extra strength” about Tylenol were its empty promises and boldface lies. Apparently, acetaminophen is medical-speak for “tiny caplet o’ useless crap”.

When I took the second dose, I think I heard my uterus laugh. Actually, it was more of a cackle – the kind you hear from the villain in a movie right before they kill someone. I couldn’t really blame her for going insane. I had the means of curing her ails right in my medicine cabinet, but was opting to take extra strength placebos instead.

 

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After another THIRTY-SIX HOURS of sumo wrestling porcupines, I was faced with a clear choice: I could either keep taking this pathetic excuse for a pain reliever OR set fire to the little red box of lies and start shooting heroin. I thought that since heroin went directly into my veins, it wouldn’t cause any stomach irritation – I’m nothing if not practical.

Granted, heroin may come with a handful of other pesky side effects (including, but not limited to): crippling addiction, face pustules, rotting teeth, itchiness, muscle weakness, depression, and cold sweats. But have you ever heard of a heroin addict complaining about menstrual cramps? Nope! They probably don’t even notice when their period comes because they’re too busy scratching their face pustules.

So months from now, if you see me lying in the gutter with a gaping maw where my teeth used to be, probably covered in a variety of my own bodily fluids, don’t feel bad for me. I’m at peace in a world without porcupines.

 

SEE YA, BITCHES!!

SEE YA, BITCHES!!

The Many Faces of Courage

When the Vanity Fair “Call Me Caitlyn” cover came out, it took the internet by storm.  Literally every social media site was flooded with her images, and it seemed that everyone from politicians to hair stylists had an opinion about her transformation from Bruce to Caitlyn. I was happily surprised that the bulk of the reactions were supportive and complimentary.

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Most commented on her physical appearance – how elegant and stunning she looked in the pictures.  And while I agree it’s hard not to be envious of her gorgeous legs (that no amount of cycling or squatting could EVER earn me) , that wasn’t my first reaction.  I was absolutely blown away by the courage it took for her to decide that after 65-years, she was finally going to show the world who she really was.

Showing the world your uncensored, genuine self can be incredibly HARD.  It makes you totally vulnerable to a world of criticism and judgment; but when that brave decision is made, it has a ripple effect.  Marianne Williamson once wrote, “….As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others….”

To me, you can’t compare or quantify this kind of courage because everybody’s journey is different – what takes courage for one person, might come easily to another.   It can’t be measured by a calculator, ruler, or Richter scale, but that is exactly what people in social media are trying to do right now.  As the sun set on Caitlyn’s first day in the world, the fickle tides of the internet turned against her.  Once her nomination for the Arthur Ashe award for courage was announced, people were quick to point out how her courage paled in comparison to others.

*** My point of contention is that there are NO pale shades of courage *** 

Courage by its very nature is bold and bright – which is why it makes the world seem more radiant and hopeful when we witness it.  When fear presents itself to someone and they don’t back down, that act of bravery deserves our kudos, not our condemnation.  Not only because of the courage it takes to face fear head on, but also because of the inspiration it provides to others.  Along with Caitlyn, there are so many other beautiful faces of courage – each one causing its own amazing ripple effect in an otherwise weary world.  ALL equally magnificent and awe inspiring:

1.  A 5-year old who puts a smile on his face and decides to kick cancer’s ass like a ninja turtle….  

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2.  A woman facing the remainder of her life without the man she spent over 68-years loving….

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3.  The woman who endures stares and snide comments while she fights to get her life back….

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4.  The police officers and firefighters who stare fear down every time they go to work…. 

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5.  The shy kid who stands up to the bully who has made his life a living hell….

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6.  The athlete who isn’t deterred by words like “disability” or “handicap”…. 

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7.  The woman who leaves her abuser in search of a life where love doesn’t equal pain….

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8.  The teenager who rises above the influence of her peers and dares to be different….

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9.  The social activist who doesn’t just dream of a better world, she makes it a reality…. 

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10.  The soldier who knows the true meaning behind the phrase “No man left behind”…. 

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It’s my hope that you’ll remember Caitlyn and the rest of these beautiful faces the next time you encounter ANY act of courage.  Then instead of trying to belittle or compare that act against others, just say a simple word of thanks because they all shine a collective light that makes our whole world brighter.

And for that, I’m incredibly grateful to every one of them.

 

Other Related Articles:

Introducing Caitlyn Jenner

Cheer Caitlyn, But Learn About Nicoll and Marichuy

This Viral Facebook Post About Caitlyn Jenner Taught Everyone a Lesson in Irony

No, A Disabled Vet Was Not Second Place For Arthur Ashe Courage Award 

A Letter to the Yearbook Editor

Dear 5th grade yearbook editor,

I hate you. I know this might sound a bit harsh coming from a person you’ve never met, but perhaps once you’ve read my letter, you’ll come to understand why I think you’re the devil incarnate.

Let me start by saying that I remembered to send in the money to pay for my son’s elementary school yearbook – ON TIME I might add. And let me tell you, as disorganized as I am, that was no easy feat. But now (weeks later) you’ve requested that we also send in wallet-size copies of our kid’s 1st and 5th grade school pictures for some sort of then-and-now yearbook retrospective.

I reiterate, I hate you.

I know the people in your world put their pictures into albums, and there’s probably a fair amount of scrapbooking going on, but in my world, pictures get stuffed into drawers, boxes, cabinets, and closets. They become like Kodak paper caulk, filling in all the little nooks and crannies of those dark, forgotten places. So, asking me to find two specific pictures means sending me on a long expedition through those parts of my house that I would much rather avoid.

I’ve got a reasonable chance of finding the picture taken this school year, but the one from FOUR years ago? You might as well blindfold me, drop me in the middle of the Amazon rainforest, and send me on a quest to find a poison dart frog. Actually, that would be easier – at least I’m sure the poison dart frog exists; I can’t say the same for my son’s 1st grade school photo.

The way I see it, you gave me two crappy options to chose from:  I could either look for the pictures and risk being crushed to death by an avalanche of disorganized photos, or I could forget the whole thing and choke on my own maternal guilt.  At least if I chose the former option, my son would know I died a hero.

So I opened the first closet door….

 

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I swear I heard the Spongebob narrator mocking me in my head.

 

 

After an exhaustive search, my findings only served to reinforce my reasons for wanting to steer clear of these confusing crevices. I felt as though I fell down a rabbit hole, and into a world where nothing makes any sense.  For example, I had an easier time finding my high school field hockey picture from 25-years ago, than my son’s current school photo:

 

 

The 80’s were a very dark time in my hair’s history.

The 80’s were a very dark time in my hair’s history.

 

I also found at least twenty pictures of my dog, Lady, who died almost two decades ago, but not a single wallet-size photo of my son in first grade:

 

Makes me wonder if I subconsciously love my dog more than my kid.

Do I subconsciously love my dead dog more than my kid?

 

My crazy trip to blunderland also unearthed an 8×10 photo of this from the depths of my closet:

 

You just can’t make this shit up.

You just can’t make this shit up.

 

I can’t tell you how much I appreciate being reminded of the fact that I’m married to a man who not only photographs creepy bugs, but also feels compelled to enlarge them like they’re family portraits. For obvious reasons, my brain made the executive decision long ago to forget about this adorable quirk of his, but due to your little treasure hunt, it’s once again staring at me in the face – with all five of its beady bug eyes.

I wish I could tell you that after hours of sweating and sifting through these bittersweet remnants of my past, I achieved my goal of finding the lost pictures; but that’s the kind of fairytale ending only organized people get to have. My ending includes a cold six-pack, and a debate over whether or not to venture back into the bewildering abyss tomorrow.

But before I crack open my first beer, I’d like to thank you for wasting the better part of my day on a fruitless search to find a picture I probably didn’t even get around to sending to his grandmother. And another word of thanks for making me feel like the world’s crappiest mother because I managed to hang onto Jeff Goldblum’s after-photo, but not my own son’s school portraits.

Maybe someday when my kids are all grown up and I’m looking for a new hobby, I’ll break out some pinking shears and create a collage of perfect memories. But until then, here’s my scrapbook, bitch….

 

Move the fuck over, Martha Stewart.

Move the fuck over, Martha Stewart.

A Letter to My Father: Two Years After His Death

*** Warning***

Most of the time, this is a humor blog. Or at least, it tries to be. Which is why I feel like I need to give you fair warning about the emotional shit storm you’re about to stumble into. If you’ve come here looking for a laugh, you’d better go HERE instead or check back with me in a couple of weeks when I’m (hopefully) done venting my anger at my dead father, and have once again found my sense of humor….

 

Dear Dad –

Today marks the 2nd anniversary of your death. In the weeks leading up to this day, I’ve been bracing myself for the suffocating wave of grief that crashed down on my head at this time last year, but it never came. Much to my surprise, rage was there to take its place. It started one night, about a month ago, when I sat down to watch a film called Broken (insert bitter irony here) starring Tim Roth.

 

 

 

 

If there really is an afterlife, maybe you watched me that night from whatever dimension you’re in, sobbing alone on my couch as I watched the beautiful relationship between a father and daughter blossom behind the screen of my TV. Could you feel the unbearable longing deep in the center of my chest as I watched those two characters take part in something we never had? Did you feel guilty as I played and rewound the touching father/daughter parts of the movie dozens of times? God, I hope so. I know that sounds pretty harsh, cruel even. But right now, I really don’t care if I hurt your feelings.

 

Missing you was the only constant in my life that didn’t change when you died. For the first eighteen years of my life, you were never there for me. Ever. You were always quick to explain those years away – citing the divorce, the physical distance (between our homes in Illinois and New York), and Mom’s anger towards you as the reasons behind your absence. But now that I’m a parent, I know something I didn’t know when I was a child – there’s nothing that can stand in the way of a parent who truly wants to be with their child. NOTHING.

 

A quote I read by Jim Rohn pretty much sums up my feelings about your side of the story: “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” And Dad, you were all about excuses when it came to your children. You know what I think was the real truth behind your absence? I think you felt little kids were tedious and boring. So you bided your time until your children were old enough to have those grownup conversations you loved so much. Then we could talk for hours like old friends, while bonding over cigarettes and beer.

 

Never quite worked out though, did it? Sure, we had plenty of chats over cigarettes and beer, but the bonding always felt forced and uneasy. Part of me was afraid to drop my guard around you because I never knew if the next thing out of my mouth would make you disappear back into the void. So I became the consummate daughter for you – quick to laugh at your jokes and put you up on a pedestal…. never realizing that it’s almost impossible to bond with someone when they’re towering high above you.

 

But underneath my meticulously made smokescreen, lurked a girl who was anything but perfect. You never met her. She’s the messed up result of a lifetime of paternal neglect that your once-a-year visits did little to assuage. Your absence made me who I am today every bit as much as Mom’s presence – maybe even more so.

 

Here are the parts of me I was too scared to show you….

 

– The child who desperately sought out the attention of other fathers to fill the void you left behind. Even if those fathers were total assholes, I still clung to every scrap of affection they showed me. All my earliest memories of rough housing, playing, and cuddling were done with those men – I don’t have a single one that includes you.

 

– The teenager who always dated older guys because I was looking for a father figure, rather than a whirlwind romance. And when I didn’t have a boyfriend, I used the male friends that I surrounded myself with to fill the empty space. Sadly, teenage boys make pretty crappy fathers – they’re much more interested in getting into your pants than healing your inner child.

 

– The grown woman who has to combat pangs of jealousy every time I see a father carrying a small child up on his shoulders or being affectionate towards them, because you never laid a finger on me unless it accompanied a hello or goodbye. That woman cries too easily over stupid, cheesy songs like Butterfly Kisses and melodramatic Hallmark commercials designed to sell greeting cards. She also resents the hell out of you for all of the above.

 

I wonder what would’ve happened if I had the guts to show you all of that, or worse, the anger and frustration behind it all – kind of like when America Ferrera (playing Carmen) tells off her dad in the movie The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants….

 

 

That phone call was the exact one I wanted to have with you a million times, but I could never manage to gather up enough courage for that kind of confrontation.  I imagine there must be an awesome feeling of freedom that comes along with getting really pissed off at someone, and at the same time knowing that they’re still going to be there to love you afterwards. I never trusted you enough to test that freedom. If I had, do you think we’d have enjoyed the same storybook ending as the father and daughter in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants?  Yeah, I didn’t think so either.  Because unlike the sappy chick flicks I perpetually fall hook, line, and sinker for, life doesn’t have happy Hollywood endings. Apparently, when it comes to emotional pain it doesn’t have any ending at all.  Kind of sucks.

 

I have to say though, I prefer this newfound anger to the overwhelming grief I had been feeling these past two years since you died – it’s easier to manage. There’s a lot less crying involved. Probably because I’m no longer pouring over old photos, or listening to the songs on the radio that remind me of you. When I took my favorite picture of us off of my bedroom dresser the night I watched Broken and threw it in a drawer, it almost felt good…. or at least justified.  I have the feeling I won’t be taking it back out anytime soon.

 

I don’t know what the next year of grieving will bring, but for now you can keep your shiny pennies and “signs” from the other side, if there is one. There’s no comfort in knowing that you’re there for me in death when you never were in life. But feel free to sit back and watch the real me for a while, because if reincarnation exists, I might prevent you from fucking up the daughter you have in your next life.  Just promise me that before you choose to dive back into the mortal melee again, you’ll do yourself and her a big favor – learn how to hug.

 

Still yours,

Linda

The Evolution of Valentine’s Day

On Valentine’s Day you make a special effort to love and cherish all the people in your life who mean the most.  The longer you’re with someone, the more those displays of affection tend to evolve over time – especially with regards to this holiday.  I’ve been married to the same man for almost twenty years, and have noticed several Valentine’s Day changes that have happened for us during that time….

When presented with a heart-shaped box of chocolates:

At 20:  “Aw, that’s so sweet!!”  And then you spend the rest of the night feeding each other chocolate and making out like Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche in the movie Chocolat.

At 40:  “Aw, just what I always wanted – a larger size pair of pants.”  And then you spend the rest of the night trying to force feed your kids chocolate so you minimize the inevitable caloric damage from your chocolate-fueled binge at 2am.

Mmmmm.... nothing tastes yummier than an extra hour at the gym.

Mmmmm…. nothing tastes yummier than an extra six hours at the gym.

When presented with flowers:

At 20: The sight of the large bouquet of roses makes you feel loved…. and a little horny.

At 40:  The sight of the large bouquet of roses makes you wish he had spent the $75 on a babysitter and booze instead.

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Nothing says “I love you” like helping to fund your florist’s trip to Jamaica.

When looking for a Valentine’s Day card:

At 20:  There are too many to choose from – you spend several minutes trying to decide between the five cards you think best represents your unwavering love and devotion.

At 40:  You stare dumbfounded at the cards for 20 minutes because you can’t seem to find one that says, “There are some guys who fart in bed, and scratch their balls in public – I love you because you’re not one of them.”

There was nothing in the Hallmark store like this - I looked.

There was nothing in the Hallmark store like this – I looked.

In preparation for your Valentine’s Day date:

At 20:  You make a special trip to Victoria’s Secret to pick out some sexy lingerie.  Then you create a romantic iPod playlist that will provide the soundtrack to your night of passionate love making – Marvin Gaye? Check!

At 40:  You decide to go all out – you shave your legs AND wax your mustache.  Nothing’s too good for your man!

Trust me - after two kids, this lingerie works out better for everybody.

Trust me – after two kids, this works out better for everybody.

Things he does that gets you in the mood:

At 20:  He spends the day teasing you with soft caresses and fleeting kisses, and then recreates the secret fantasy you once felt brave enough to share with him – tonight is going to be Fifty Shades of RED HOT!!

At 40:  You wake up in the morning and discover that he has cleaned the kitchen, including the sink full of dirty dishes you were dreading having to wash.  You haven’t felt this turned-on since the night he put the kids to bed and took out the garbage without being asked.

Is it wrong that this is the guy I fantasize about?

Is it wrong that this is the guy I fantasize about?

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

My Shampoo Tried to Kill Me

I had to get ready quickly because there was a lot on my to-do list for the day.  I rushed to get the kids ready for school, so that I could hop into the shower and prepare myself for the second annual “Boobs & Beers” celebration.  For the guys out there, I’m sorry to say that “Boobs & Beers” has nothing to do with strip clubs or drunken wet t-shirt contests.  It’s a day when I get together with some of my girlfriends and we all go get our annual mammograms, and then spend the rest of the day/night drinking our faces off. As any woman over the age of 35 will tell you, getting a mammogram is kind of unpleasant.  Breasts are meant to be adored and caressed – not squished between two cold metal plates.  But I have found that going with my girlfriends helps to make the process a lot more fun, as does the promise of a few drinks afterwards.

I got in the shower, and was simultaneously wetting my hair down and daydreaming about cold pints of beer, when my shampoo bottle seized its opportunity to stage a coup.  I guess it figured that it had taken just about enough of my manhandling, and finally decided to revolt against me.  When I snapped the lid on the bottle closed, a HUGE glob of shampoo flew into my eye. Right. Into. My. Eye.  There are military snipers with worse aim.  Given the strategic and precisely executed shot, I can only assume that my shampoo had been secretly practicing this attack for months.  Clearly, it had not only been hoping to blind me, but also to stymie my efforts of early breast cancer detection.

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My eye was wide open and unguarded at the time of the attack, because who the hells thinks to wear protective eye gear in the shower? Although now that I know my shampoo is really the spawn of Satan, I will.  I stood in the shower, paralyzed with pain and indecision.  I had an hour before I had to leave the house, I was half-blind, and my right eye felt like it had caught fire. On the pain scale, I’d say it was somewhere between getting Tabasco sauce in a paper cut, and stepping on a Lego – made me wonder if glass shards were an active ingredient in Redken’s shampoo formula.  For those who have never experienced this particular agony, here’s a nine second video demonstration of what it felt like….

I tried to stick my face directly into the shower stream, but that only seemed to aggravate the situation.  In a last ditch effort to save my eyesight, I quickly grabbed a bottle of saline solution from off the bathroom sink, pried my eye open (despite its stubborn protests to remain clamped shut) and tried to flush it out.  After emptying half the bottle’s contents into my eye socket, the pain level was brought from a 10 to an 8 – which would have to do because other than scooping out my eye with a melon-baller, I was out of ideas.

I finished up my shower, skipped shaving because with my lack of depth perception, I didn’t want to miss my leg and accidentally shave off a toe.   When it came time to leave the house, I could open up my eye most of the way, and decided I could see well enough to drive to my mammogram appointment.  Before you scold me for putting other driver’s lives at risk, you should know that even with my (slightly) impaired vision, I still drove better than most of the other New Yorkers on the road.  Which, I guess, isn’t saying much.

But despite my early morning ocular ambush, everything worked out okay in the end.   I made it to my appointment on time, enjoyed my day of girlie “Boobs & Beers” bonding, and as an added bonus, I don’t think my eye has ever had this much body, hold and shine……

Eat your heart out, Breck girls!!

Eat your heart out, Breck girls!!

Daily Prompt

To the Guy Who Took My Kid’s School Photo

Dear Mr. Photographer –

When I pay $60, I expect to get a picture I don’t have to hide in a closet and tell all the grandparents that we accidentally forgot to take school photos this year.  You pay that kind of money at a portrait studio, and you’ll get a photographer who’s willing to stand on their head and make duck noises just to get your kid to smile.

My son is at the awkward stage in life when he could use a little help looking his best.  I’m sure in another five years, he’ll be breaking the hearts of teenage girls everywhere, but for right now, he’s a hot mess.  His Alfalfa hair has to be tamed like a pack of pissed off porcupines every morning so he doesn’t go to school looking hung over; and he’s got a mouth full of teeth, all kind of doing their own thing, which gives him that quirky Brit-with-a-bad-dental-plan sort of look.

I know you probably make minimum wage, and you have to deal with little kids all day who pick their nose, blink, or make fart noises while you’re trying to do your job.  But I only get one of these pictures a year.  ONE.  And I have to pass it along to every relative with a wallet.  Why?  I don’t know, it’s in the parenting rulebook.  I give everyone a picture, and they pretend to give a shit.  It’s a delicate balance and you’re making it much harder than it has to be.  I know it’s not your problem, but I’ve got relatives with adorable kids who coordinate their hair bows and dresses, and kids that have no right to look beautiful when they’re supposed to be going through their gawky years.

So please, pretty please with fucking gummy bears and sprinkles on top – could you make sure my son’s shirt doesn’t look like he just rolled out of bed?  Do you know how long I obsessed over which shirt to pick out for him?  At least ten minutes…. which is nine minutes longer than I obsess over what clothes to put on my own body most days.   All I’m asking is that you take a few seconds to straighten out the shirt I ironed, so I can show my family that for one brief, shining moment, he didn’t look like a hobo.

Granted, your depiction of my son in his rumpled (yet lightly starched) clothes was a much more realistic account of what he looks like on an everyday basis.  But if I wanted realism, I’d have taken a snapshot of him in his pajamas while he shouted G-rated expletives at his video games, and saved myself the $60.  I don’t think you understand the gravity of this situation.  This picture will be immortalized on his Grandma’s wall of fame, next to the aforementioned Gerber babies and Gap kids my son has the unfortunate luck to be related to.  So I’d really appreciate it if you would work with me!! 

Sincerely yours,

Mommy Dearest

P.S. – On a more positive note, I wanted to let you know that I noticed the vast improvement you made in getting him to smile this year.  Last year, he looked like he was trying to smile while passing a kidney stone, but this time, despite a mouth full of rebellious teeth, his smile looked lovely.  I’d love to learn your secret before the holidays so I can avoid last year’s Christmas card picture fiasco.  My kids were so traumatized by that photo shoot, that it took them until Valentine’s day before anyone could say the word “Cheese!” around them without causing them to scream bloody murder.  We’ve been banned from three local pizzerias already….

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