it matters

I sat down to write a blog post about the bullying that my oldest child has dealt with this year. I had a pretty good draft outlining what has happened and the different steps we have tried to take to make this situation better. I erased it. I erased it because it doesn’t matter what the timeline is or how many meetings I have had with the school about this. You know what matters? The fact that posts like this are still being written by parents and students across this country. It matters that my child could be your child, might in fact be your child. What matters is that we are still collectively sitting back and allowing bullies to have more power than they deserve and we are not stepping in until it’s too late in far too many cases. What matters is my child. What matters is your child.

I have heard time and again from people that this will become a powerful life lesson for my daughter and will make her stronger as she grows up and encounters different challenges. That doesn’t work for me though. Because all I hear is “suck it up” and that is not the lesson I want my kids to learn. I have taught my kids that life won’t always go the way they want it to go. I have told them that not everyone they meet will want to be their friend and that is okay. I have taught them that no matter what challenges they face that they are to do so with grace and dignity and to always be respectful of other people even if they can’t give the same in return. What lesson are they learning if I tell them that even though they are being unjustly treated that they need to sit back and allow it to happen because that is life? Not in this house. And maybe, just maybe, if more people stood up and asked that there be a change we would actually see something happen that would make a difference.

When we sit back and tell the victim that they need to change x, y and z or that they need to move past what is going on we are not empowering them we are letting them down. We are setting them up to not stand up for themselves in what may come in the future. It can change the course of a persons life when they are brave enough to ask for help and then told they don’t need it. And when that happens we lose the kids that have been strong enough to speak up and reach out. I’m not willing to lose my child.

I didn’t ask for this to happen to my child and I would give anything to change this. So that’s exactly what I am going to do. I am going to speak out even if it is not popular to do so. And I am going to keep talking about this until a real change happens. I hope more will join me.



I stared at the space asking for a title for about 15 minutes waiting for the perfect one to come to me and inspiration to flow from that point. Then I remembered that I have four faithful readers and three of you will love me even if all I put here is my grocery list. That reminds me, I’m almost out of cookie butter. Anyway, I’m winging it…a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Since my last entry we’ve survived the holidays (barely) and weathered our first few snowfalls. See what I did there? I brought jokes.

It’s been a pretty productive start to 2013 around here. Matt wrapped up the project that brought our little family up here and is settling into a new office (same company) with a semi less stressful commute. The traffic here is seriously ridiculous. In fact, DC was just voted the worst traffic in the country. I’m so glad that we opted to move to Frederick and not Montgomery County. I like my little town where the worst traffic to date has been navigating downtown during the holidays. It added a whole 5 minutes to my trip to the library. Pi and Dax just got their second report cards and once again made the high honor roll. We are insanely proud of them and how hard they are working in school. Hard to believe that this will be the last year they are in the same school together until Pi’s senior year of high school when Dax will be a freshman. Time is flying.

Speaking of flying, I made like a goose and headed south for a much needed weekend with two of my favorite girls. The four days in 70 degree weather was lovely and gave me the vitamin D boost I needed to come home to sleet and snow. The weather was great but the company was even better. This move away from my closest friends has been harder than I thought it would be for me. I miss my friends back home…a lot. So an extended weekend home with them was just what I needed. Good news is that my post in December about how hard making new friends has been is starting to look up. Thanks to the lovely world of social media and my uncanny stalking skills, I “met” a girl who lives here in Frederick. We got together for coffee before my trip home and ended up hitting it off. Funny how even though this was the first time we hung out, we felt like “instafriends” thanks to blogging and instagram. It was kinda scary (not in the horror movie way, more in the “what should I wear/talk about/order” kinda way) to put myself out there, but it has totally paid off. Friendships are important to me and while I love my friends back home and no amount of miles could change that, sometimes you need someone local to meet up for a bacon heavy breakfast and tangent filled conversations. In fact, I was planning on having a quick coffee and then going to see a movie by myself that day. Well, that quick cup was 3.5 hours long and I know that the next time I wanna see a movie I have a friend to call. Makes me happy. 


Okay, it’s now Sunday evening and I sat down 48 hours ago for a quick this and that post. Quick. Ha! We didn’t get any snow this weekend and I’m kinda bummed. Who am I becoming?! Seems my Maryland roots are starting to settle in. And you know what? I’m starting to be more okay with that. Florida will always be home to me, but Frederick is stealing my heart a little more all the time. It’s true that the closest Publix (world’s greatest grocery store) is states away and I have yet to find a cuban sandwich worthy of calling itself a cuban sandwich, but I’ve discovered that Wegmans is a close second in the grocery store department and crab is a featured ingredient in many restaurants here. Speaking of restaurants (tangent fan, remember?), Frederick is having a “restaurant week” in March and the sneak peek of menu items has my inner foodie rejoicing and drooling. Be on the look out for a blog in March detailing some of Frederick’s finest. Better yet…come visit and we can eat together. And on that note, I need to make sure that dinner is coming along (Sarah’s Sweet Southern Chili, in case you were wondering) and that the laundry fairy has started folding the mountain of clean clothes in the basement.

Sick Days

“Mom, I don’t feel well.”

So begins the cold and flu season. Bee is the first one to usher the cold into our house and I’m loading her, and the rest of us, up with vitamins in the hopes that she keeps this one to herself. Last week we were plagued with another kind of sick day that kept Bug home from school. He came down with a pretty severe case of homesickness. I’m a firm believer that days that our heart hurts deserve a day at home just as much, maybe even more, as days that require a doctors note. It has not been all sunshine and lollipops since we moved here this summer, though I do my very best to make sure that the positives outweigh the negatives, the truth is sometimes it just stinks. We love our beautiful new town, the view of the mountains from our house, we are even enjoying the change of seasons. But sometimes the pull of home takes hold of our heart.

For Bug, this move has proved especially difficult. He is one of the sweetest kids I have ever known and I know that coming from his mom that is to be expected. The thing is that anyone who knows him can vouch for this. He is the boy that filled the easter baskets of children younger than him during frenzied egg hunts. The boy who refused to leave his newborn sisters side the first few days she was home, and who even now is the one that can calm her down when all else fails. He has a very gentle nature and a soft spoken voice that can be hard to hear sometimes, especially with two sisters in the mix. I have never seen his shyness and sensitivity as anything other than wonderful aspects of my boy. Don’t get me wrong, he is rough and tumble and loves to climb trees, build forts, play baseball and is likely the one who will take us all down in a snowball fight. But at his core he is undeniably sweet. Seeing him sad is heartbreaking because he feels things so much deeper than most children his age. Right now he is sad. He has yet to make a real friend and that is hard. He no longer even wants to call home and talk to his best friend because he said it just hurts too much. I don’t really know how to fix this particular ache. I tell him all the things a mom should, that he is smart and funny and anyone would be lucky to have him as a friend. I tell him to search out someone at school who shares the same interests he does and make an effort to befriend them. Good advice, right? I think I should start taking it as well.

I anticipated that this move would be difficult. I lived in the same town my whole life. I had wonderful friends that I grew up with, and others that grew with me. Friends that were there for my biggest life moments, the moments that have defined who I have become to this point. They know me and love me, most of the time, for exactly who I am. They are my family and being so far from them has been the greatest challenge of this move. Why would this be any different for my son? Yes, he is only eight years old, but his heart loves the same way mine does. It is a hard and scary thing to start all over and I took for granted the idea that it would be easier for him because he is in school surrounded by his peers. Putting yourself out there and hoping that a stranger will become a friend is scary. I’m not a big fan of things that are scary. I am a big fan of my son though and I know that encouraging him will mean being an example. It’s been 5 months since we loaded up a U-Haul and set off for this grand adventure. It is starting to sink in that this is the new reality and not just an extended vacation. I need to step outside of my comfort zone. Maybe if I do, Bug will be convinced that he can, too.

Befriending new people feels a lot like dating to me and I got married at a ridiculously young age so I don’t have a lot of dating experience. I tend to stick to my comfort zones, mainly my house. That makes it a bit difficult to meet new people. Where does a woman in her 30’s meet new people?! Seriously. I am not into joining a mommy’s group or a book club. I would be totally down with joining a “We like to drink wine and talk about the latest episode of Gossip Girl” group. Stop judging me, we all have our thing.   I’m not sure how to do this, but I’m trying to show Bug that finding great friends here is possible. So, while you won’t find me joining MOPS group here or printing labels for my own book club, I will make an effort somehow. I will step way outside of my comfort zone to be a good example and to find someone willing to see a vampire movie with me (really, stop with the judging), grab coffee and  brunch with a healthy amount of bacon, and to maybe become a new branch of the family we choose. Wish us luck and if you know of any fans of GG and a good red wine in my area, send them my way.

Another piece of my heart

I’ve been blog absent for a while, my apologies to my five faithful readers. In the absence we’ve been getting to know our new town better, had visits from the grandparents, celebrated three October birthdays, received high honor roll report cards and realized that the winter here will require long johns. Say what?!

Today I want to talk about one of the birthdays we celebrated in October. October is a busy time here because both Bug and Bee were born in the tenth month. I told you we celebrated three birthdays though and the third is the one that is a bit different and the one this entry is about.

Most people are surprised to learn that in addition to my three kids, I am also the surrogate mom to two beautiful girls. They are another little piece of my momma heart. A very special spot reserved for the sisters that I carried for nine months to place into their momma’s arms.

The idea of being a surrogate came to me when I was young after learning that someone very close to me gave a child up for adoption. She later shared the letters sent to her by loving couples desperate to have a child of their own. I was so touched by these letters and could feel the pain and longing in the words of these men and women. It seemed so unfair to me that so many good people with loving hearts were unable to have children. My little twelve year old self wanted to help, but even at that age I knew that adoption was not something I would be able to do. Those letters were never far from my mind though and when I heard about surrogacy a short time later I knew that being a surrogate would be part of my story at some point. I learned as much as I could about surrogacy and determined that being a gestational surrogate was the path I would take. There are two types of surrogacy; traditional, where the surrogate uses her own egg and the sperm of the (intended) father and gestational, where the surrogate carries an embryo created using the (intended) mother’s egg (or an egg donor’s) and the (intended) father’s sperm (or donor sperm). As a gestational surrogate the only thing I contributed was my uterus for my intended parent’s sweet baby to grow. Their bun, my oven.

I remember telling my husband on our very first date that I wanted to be a surrogate one day. He was sweet and dumb and apparently already head over heels in love with me, because he said he thought that was wonderful. Ha! He later admitted that he thought it was something that I would no longer want to do after having children of my own. He had no idea of how stubborn I am at that time, he would never make that same mistake now 13 years later. The funny thing is that my first pregnancy was all kinds of awful for me. I suffered with what I thought must surely be the worst morning sickness on the planet for the entire duration. I would later be diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidum, the same thing it appears Kate Middleton is currently enduring. It was awful and not at all what I thought pregnancy would be like. Instead of indulging in cravings and gaining weight, I watched as I began to lose more and more weight and struggled to find anything that I could eat or drink and keep down. At twenty weeks we excitedly went to the doctor to find out if we would be having a son or a daughter. The news that we were having a girl was overshadowed by the news that I was in danger of losing the pregnancy due to the fact that my cervix was short and thinning out. It turns out that my debilitating morning sickness had probably saved my baby because it had forced me to be on a modified bed rest from the start since I could manage little more than trips from the couch to the bathroom. I was put on bed rest at 20 weeks and had bi-weekly ultrasounds from that point forward. In my 7th month we noticed that Pi was not growing and I added another concern to my growing list; intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). This seemed a cruel blow as I was already struggling with overwhelming guilt and worry because of my inability to stop throwing up. I hated the stories I heard about women who found relief in crackers, seltzer water, ginger, etc. Nothing worked. Nothing. In the end we were very lucky and our six pound wonder was born at term healthy as could be. I joke that she has been full of drama and heartache from the positive pregnancy test, but worth it all…most days.

When Pi was about a year old I brought up the idea of being a surrogate to my husband and he was adamant that it was no longer an option for me. I knew he was worried about me and my health, but I could not let go of this feeling that being a surrogate was something I had to do. We agreed that all pregnancies come with risk and that it was important to us that our daughter have a sibling, so surrogacy talks were shelved until we had a second child. Thankfully my pregnancy with Bug was not nearly as complicated. It was this pregnancy that I was finally diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidum. I was still puking upwards of 20 times a day, but I was reassured that it wasn’t my fault. Even better I was introduced to a magical little pill called zofran. I was finally able to eat and actually gain a little bit of weight. Best news was that my cervix was perfect and the concern that I would need a cerclage to stitch it up was lifted. I had, for the most part, a normal and happy pregnancy. Bug was delivered at term a whole pound heavier than Pi. SUCCESS! It was within six months of his birth that I once again broached the subject of being a surrogate and my husband finally realized that this idea was not going to go away. So, a few months before his first birthday I reached out to a surrogacy agency to find out what I needed to do.

Most people, when finding out I was a surrogate, want to know if I carried for friends or family. They are usually shocked to find out I did this for strangers. For me, carrying for someone I didn’t know made the most sense. The agency I worked with had me fill out tons of paperwork and presented questions and situations that I hadn’t thought about before in my quest to be a surrogate. Are you willing to carry multiples? Are you open to selective reduction? Would you be willing to abort if the baby you were carrying had a disorder and the IPs requested it? I completed my application and sent it into the agency and waited.

It wasn’t long before I was matched with a wonderful couple that lived about 45 minutes away. I was emailed the letter they had written to their potential surrogate and felt that they were the match for me. After an hour long conference call with them and the agency I knew they were the right couple. Within two months of our initial conversation we were in the process of our first attempt at getting pregnant.

The thing about surrogacy that most people don’t understand is how it is not only a 9 month long “job”, but rather spans the course of at least a year and is demanding of every person involved. In this case that meant my husband and children were also along for the ride. My IM (intended mom) was planning on using her own eggs and we decided, along with our doctor, that a fresh transfer would bring the greatest chance for success. The IPs had tried for nearly 8 years to have children at this point. The year before they tried IVF and become pregnant with twins that she would miscarry due to an autoimmune disease that would not allow her to ever carry a pregnancy to term. They had several embryos frozen from that attempt, but knew the odds of frozen IVF pregnancies were not as high as fresh transfers. Together the IM and I started a regiment of hormones to sync our cycles and prepare both of our bodies; hers to create as many eggs as possible and mine to become tricked into getting pregnant. Daily injections of high doses of hormones were met with moodiness, horrible migraines and hot flashes so intense that I often found myself with my head in the freezer. On the day of the egg retrieval the doctor was able to get 12 eggs that would eventually grow into 6 beautiful embryos. We did our first transfer the day after Christmas with the two best looking embryos and I stayed in bed for 2 days willing my body to accept the embryos and hoping that we would start the new year ahead with a positive pregnancy test. Sadly, this was not our time and I wasn’t pregnant. The disappointment and letdown was far more intense than I was prepared for. We were all so sure that this would work and when it didn’t I was heartbroken and felt like I had let everyone down. I will never forget my IM telling me that she wasn’t giving up and that this was not my fault. I will be forever grateful for her kind words to me when surely her heart was breaking.

We did try again, in fact we tried again right away and this time I knew even before I took my first test that it worked. I was in the grocery store walking past the fresh seafood and the sudden and overwhelming need to vomit made me laugh and cry all at the same time. I bought a test right then and cried with pure joy when two lines showed up. We did it!! I called my IPs and told them to both get on the phone and I will never forget their excitement when I told them we were pregnant.

We saw one beautiful and healthy heartbeat at 8 weeks and it became more and more real. At 12 weeks we hit a huge milestone when we moved out of the first trimester and past the point in which past pregnancies had been lost. It was real. When we went for the ultrasound to find out the sex of the baby I knew as soon as the tech checked that they were having a girl. After a million and one scans with my own pregnancies I was pretty good at reading these things. The ultrasound tech was kind enough to let me tell my IPs that they were having a daughter. The pregnancy was mostly smooth and while I struggled with HG, I managed for the most part with zofran and actually gained more than 15 pounds of pregnancy weight. Huge success for me.

On October 30, 2006, I had the honor of giving birth to a beautiful baby girl with her momma’s eyes. It was amazing and as close to magic as I’ve ever come close to experiencing. There was not a dry eye in that room and I will forever remember the moment that I placed baby A in her momma’s arms. She was a baby so loved and so wanted by so many people. I watched in wonder as they examined every inch of her tiny and perfect body, counted toes and exclaimed over her tiny delicate curls on her head, her rosebud mouth and her long fingers. I watched as two people became parents. It was incredible and beautiful.

Even before A was born we talked about doing this all over again so that she would have a sibling. When she was eight months old we once again started the process. We decided to try a frozen transfer in June of 2007 and hoped that we would fall into the lucky percent that it worked for. It didn’t and we were crushed once again. We tried a fresh transfer shortly before A’s first birthday. This time it worked and I wanted to see my IM’s face when I told her that her little girl was going to be a big sister. We agreed that I wouldn’t test prior to our blood test, but I just knew I was pregnant and couldn’t help it. Sure enough two bright pink lines showed up and I called my IM to see if she wanted to have lunch. I struggled to keep emotion out of my voice and apparently did such a god job of it that she was convinced I tested and it was another negative. I wore the shirt she had made for me when I was pregnant with A that said, “Yes, I’m pregnant. No, it’s not mine”. Her face was priceless and we hugged and cried and laughed. On June 19, 2008, another sweet baby girl was born and she added another branch to their family tree. I loved seeing A, who was only 19 months old, holding her tiny baby sister and watching their parents gaze at them with wonder and love. My surrogate journey was complete and their journey as a family of four was just beginning. My heart was full.

Mine is a happy story of surrogacy. That is not to say, of course, that there weren’t bumps and issues along the way, but in the end there are two beautiful little girls here in this world. And I am able to say I had a small part in making that happen. I am proud of that. I am thankful that my husband stood by me and supported me even when some of our own family were unable to do so. I am glad that this is a part of my story, that it is a part of my family’s story.

Three years to the day (within 10 minutes actually) after I gave birth to A, the final piece to my family’s puzzle was born. My sweet baby Bee shares her birthday with my first surrogate daughter. Circle complete. Momma heart full.

That seems fair

So, the fair is in town. I’m super excited about this because I plan to indulge myself in all the fried goodness I can. The kids are also excited. I’ve heard the two big ones talk about the rides they plan on going on, the games they are going to blow their own money on and how to convince me to buy them cotton candy and elephant ears. Everyone loves the fair.

So, the plan is to go together as a family later today and enjoy the fair together. As a family. Together. Am I making my point here? Pi says that she will go with us today but she is planning to go with her friends on Monday since there is no school. Hmmm…seems I missed the memo that she now has complete independence. I told her that we were only going to go one day and that day is today. Enter the pout and the stink eye and the whine. “Mommmmm, that’s not fair! I’m 10 years old now. That’s double digits and old enough to go places without you.” I let her go lots of places without me, by the way. Like the backyard and school. Geesh! You’d think I was one of those parents that doesn’t let their kids out of their sight ever. Oh, wait…

Okay, so I’m having a hard time with this whole growing up thing that Pi is doing. To be fair though, we did just move to a brand new town where we know no one. I still have to ask Siri how to get from point a to point b most of the time. I had only just started this past school year to let Pi and Bug ride around the neighborhood on their bikes with their friends back home. After 4 years in the same neighborhood. I know I’m going to have to let her test the waters of independence, but I think setting her loose at the fair with a group of 10 year old girls is not the best starting point. I’m thinking the mall where I can walk 20 feet behind her and watch her every move. That seems fair.

The flip side to this whole deal is that I’m thrilled that Pi is starting to make friends. I had lunch at school with her this week and I was happy to see that she has found her own little group of girls. I want her to cultivate these new friendships, but I’d rather her do it under my watchful eye. That’s not asking too much, is it? That seems fair. The real question here is when will I be able to let her go a little more? When will I not worry that while out of my sight she is not safe? When will I feel she is ready for more freedom? I have a feeling that I will never be completely comfortable with it. That’s part of this whole parenting gig, isn’t it? We do our very best to prepare them for life outside of the nest we’ve built and then worry like hell when we watch them fly. For now I’m thinking we will start on short solo flights close to home. That seems fair.

“Momma, do you remember?”

My kids often ask me this question. “Momma, do you remember when you learned how to ride a bike? Do you remember your favorite game when you were a kid? Do you remember the day I was born?” These questions are often asked after they have climbed into my lap and settled in for a story. I never tire of this question. I love holding them close and sharing memories while creating new ones at the same time.

As this day approached I anticipated this question. “Momma, do you remember where you were on 9/11? Were you scared?” As a parent I want to protect my kids from anything that could hurt them. From bee stings and skinned knees to broken bones and broken hearts. I want them to maintain their childhood innocence as long as possible and to live in that space that is carefree and safe. That’s my job. But my kids are growing up and I have to open the safety gates a little bit. In years past during the anniversary they have asked me about 9/11 and I have told them my memories of that day in an age appropriate way. A few years ago I was in New York City with Pi and I was able to take her to where the towers once stood and into the small museum commemorating that day. I held her hand as she looked at the pictures and read the accounts of those there that day. She took it all in while tears streamed down both of our faces. I worried that it was too much for her and in typical Pi fashion she was the one to comfort me. She told me in her little voice how sad it made her to see everything. How seeing it all made her want to change the world so no one would ever feel pain like this again. My sweet Pi, I have no doubt that you will make a change.

Today it was Bug who curled up next to me and asked the question. Momma, do you remember where you were on 9/11? I told him that on that day I was at work and heard on the radio about the first plane hitting the north tower. He asked if I was scared and I told him that I just thought it was a little plane and a horrible accident. It wasn’t until I heard about the second plane hitting the south tower that I felt my heart drop. There was no TV in the office I worked in, but we kept the radio on all day and listened as one tragedy after another was announced. When the third plane hit the pentagon I immediately picked up the phone to call my family in the DC area. Of course I was unable to get through and that only made my anxiety grow. (Thankfully later that night I heard from my aunt who reassured me that all of my family were safe.) As that day continued to unfold all I wanted was to be at home. I remember standing outside the front door and my husband telling me that it might be better if I didn’t watch the coverage on tv. I truly believed though that there was nothing worse than the images I had created in my head. I was wrong. I sat completely numb in front of the tv as the images ingrained themselves into my memory. I was a very naive 20-year-old who really thought that bad things like this didn’t happen here.

As I recounted my memories of that day to my little boy I saw a tiny bit of his innocence shatter. My boy who thinks that the Avengers might actually be real and that the bad guys are always defeated. I want him to hold onto that for as long as possible. I want him to feel safe…I want to promise him that bad things will never happen to him, but I can’t and that kills me. I told him instead about all the heroes of 9/11. The police and firefighters, nurses and doctors and the brave passengers aboard flight 93, the strangers that opened their homes to help those trying to get out of Manhattan that day. He asked me why the terrorists did it. Why they would want to kill people they didn’t even know. I tried to explain but the truth is I don’t understand why. He got really quiet for a while and then told me that even though those guys were bad he felt sad for them and their families. Oh, my sweet, sweet boy. I hope his pure heart and innocence never fade, even as the safety gates continue open a little more all the time.

Peter Piper

When we decided to name our oldest daughter we knew she would likely hear the familiar tongue twister featuring her name. I sold seashells down by the seashore and she was going to pick a peck of pickled peppers. It’s what kids do. But we loved the name and decided the best way to answer back would be to teach her to say the twister so fast that people were awed by her and dropped the teasing. It mostly worked for me.

Over the years she has come home to tell us she was being called Piper Diaper, Pepper, Paper and Pippi. The only one that really bothered her was the Piper Diaper. She always has loved her name and been glad to have one that is unique and different, so being teased because of her name never really bothered her.

Enter 5th grade…in a new state…where you know no one. Hearing the kids you’ve known since preschool tease you in a friendly way about your name is one thing, having a group of 5th grade boys that you don’t know repeat the Peter Piper twister every time you walk by is another. I get it. No one wants to stick out and be the center of attention, especially when you are brand new. So yesterday as I was in the pick up line waiting for Pi and her brother to get in the car I was surprised to see her teacher’s number show up on my phone. Uh-oh. Only two weeks into school and already getting a phone call can’t be a good sign. When her teacher told me that Pi is doing great in class I breathed a sigh of relief. When she followed that up to tell me that she had had a bad day that left her in a mess of tears my heart dropped. She told me that there seemed to be an issue at recess after lunch. Isn’t it always recess?! I had a serious love/hate relationship with recess starting at about the same age as Pi is now. Seems that today’s recess drama involved a group of boys and my girl. She wasn’t clear on the details, but wanted to reassure me that while Pi was a mess of tears after lunch that she was feeling better by dismissal time. I thanked her for letting me know and told her I would talk to Pi about it.

The kids got into the car just as I was hanging up the phone. I scanned Pi’s face anxiously to see how she was feeling and right away could see the tear streaks and puffy eyes. My poor girl. Usually when they get in the car it is a battle over who can tell me first about their day. Pi almost always wins because she is louder and bossier than her brother. Even without the forewarning phone call I would have known something was off due to the fact that she didn’t say a single word. Even Bug noticed that he was able to tell me about his day uninterrupted and asked Pi if she was okay. I knew she wouldn’t want to talk about it in front of her brother so I didn’t push her when she said she was fine.

When we got home and snacks had been doled out and 456 reminders to put their lunch boxes and book bags away had been issued I got my chance to ask her what happened. She told me how the boy she likes started the chant of Peter Piper at school during lunch and how when he started all the other boys joined in. In typical Pi form she told him to cut it out and as we all know that only made the chant grow louder. Sigh. She really did try to walk away and ignore them, but boys will be boys and they followed her everywhere she went. I bit my tongue from telling her he was only doing it because he likes her. I hated hearing that when I was a kid and I already tell her plenty of other things that I hated hearing as a kid so I kept this gem to myself. She told me that she finally turned on the kid and told him to never talk to her again. This is where it got a little interesting because in stepped his cousin…his cousin named Jenny. Jenny took it upon herself to tell my Pi to never talk to her cousin like that again. Oh boy. Dumb boys and mean girls.

Dumb boy immediately came to Pi’s rescue from his mean girl cousin (see? I told you he liked her), but it was too late. Pi was now completely humiliated not only by the dumb boys but also the group of girls that she was hoping would become her friends. At this point in the retelling of the story she is sobbing and telling me that she didn’t want anyone to hate her, she just didn’t want to be teased. I know that part of growing up is navigating all this crap, but man do I wish I could rescue my girl. It would have been a different story if this had happened with her best friend there in the sea of faces, but she’s 1,000 miles away. Pi is going to have to do this on her own and I hate that. I want to fix that and I can’t. What I can do is tell her how wonderful and beautiful she is and that soon everyone else will see that too. She doesn’t believe me just like I didn’t believe my mom when she told me, but I’m going to keep telling her. Because I know now that my mom was telling me the truth all those years ago and one day Pi will know I’m telling the truth now. And when all else fails there’s always ice cream and let’s be honest…there are few things ice cream doesn’t fix.