Sunday, October 16, 2016

Girl Code

In the midst of the latest Trump controversy author Kelly Oxford asked followers to tweet her their first sexual assaults. Oxford was inundated with tweets from women all over the world describing their first occurrences, I say "first" because we all know it's never just one.  Some tweets were shocking, horrific, saddening and some surprised me, I would never had thought an inappropriate ass grab would be considered sexual assault.  As I read on I quickly realized how narrow minded and singular my thoughts on what constitutes sexual assault had been. So...I sat there and thought of what my first sexual assault may have been, it took awhile but then it came to me.  I was 14, freshman in a new high school trying establish myself in this massively big school with some girlfriends.  I remember one afternoon me and a couple of my friends were walking home and decided to stop by a boy's house to "hang out".  For the life of me I don't even remember his name or what he looked like, that's how memorable he was apparently.  Before I knew it my friends had left me alone at this boy's house. I don't even think we were making out but I do remember him forcing my hand on his penis, dick, junk or whatever you want to call it.  I looked at him in shock, ripped my hand out of his, grabbed my backpack and said I had to go.  And then I left, walked the long way home trying figure out what the hell he was hoping would happen.

There has been a big push recently for us, as a society, to change the way boys/men view women and breaking down this idea that "locker room" banter and actions are okay.  As a mother of two boys and now a daughter I am on board with this....whole heartedly.  It is and will be hammered into my boys that they need to treat not just women but everyone with a high level of respect, kindness and love. That they are not entitled to ANYTHING and better tread lightly until given permission to move forward with whomever they are interacting with.  But in the same breath, what about teaching our girls a certain Girl Code?  Where were my friends?  Why did they leave me alone at this boy's house? I'm not mad at them because Lord knows I had probably done the same at some point.  But there in lies the problem, why wasn't I taught at a very young age to always have my friends' backs, to never leave them alone, to always stick up for them? I tell Costner and Loren all the time when we go to the park or a party that they have look out for one another, they have to be each other's buddy. Costner has taken it so to heart that he screamed to me across the BMX track the other day that "Loren has to poop!" Thanks Bud!

My goal, to teach Audie to be respectful and kind but also to be aware and strong in her convictions, to be a "good" friend even when it's unpopular to do so.  And I think this is a good conversation to have with my friends as well because Audie's brothers won't always be there to look out for her.  She will need a good, solid group of friends that abide by a certain Girl Code!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

For the Love of Emily

Today my beautiful little girl is six months old, and as I sit at my desk reflecting on how amazing and chaotic the last six months have been I notice a card that has been sitting here for some time waiting to be sent.  It is a "thank you" card that I have been meaning to give to Emily for weeks and months since Audie was born.  Who is Emily and why haven't I sent the card to her?  For one, I have not written in the card yet, I'd say I haven't had the time with how hectic my life has been with three little ones but the truth is I haven't wanted to truly replay Audie's birth.  I haven't wanted to relive all of the raw emotions that go with that day six months ago and the weeks proceeding.  But Emily deserves a "thank you" she deserves more than that...if only I could show my immense gratitude for everything she has done for me and my family.

So, who is Emily? Emily is my husband's youngest sister.  She is the Aunt and Godmother to my children. She is my best friend, my sister, my therapist, my doula....my rock.  Emily is an unbelievable friend to so many, she is strong, caring, patient, pragmatic, loving, sensitive, to name a few qualities.  All of the qualities I love and admire in Justin can also be found in Emily.  Five years ago as I was preparing to give birth to Costner I turned to her and asked her to stay with me, to be there by my side as I brought the first light of my life into the world. And thank god she did because Costner did not make the easiest entry. But through it all she never let go of my hand, she helped me get to the other side. I think we could both say that Costner's birth brought us closer and not just because she saw more than she bargained for of me that day.  We had a bond...she saw her nephew brought into this world and she had a big hand in that success. Without question she has been by my side thru everything, two post delivery D&Cs, a frightening miscarriage, Loren's remarkably easy birth and then there was the arrival of Audie.

When I found out I was pregnant with Audie, Emily was three months pregnant, I remember having a conversation with her about as much as I wanted her to be there for my delivery I understood the complexities of that happening with her having a new baby.  But without giving a moment's pause she said of course she would be there..."we'll figure it out!" Fast forward to August 24th and there she was at 8am, coffee and breast pump in hand, ready to welcome my little baby into the world.  Emily knew I was uneasy about this birth, I didn't like that I was being forced into an induction.  She knew I felt that something was off, as if I knew this birth wasn't going to go as planned.  Instead of giving me false hope, she reassured me that I was a strong person and "we" would get thru it together.  And that we did...she never left my side. She cheered and cried with me as Audie entered the world and in those frightening minutes proceeding, as I laid there while my doctor and nurses tried desperately to stop me from bleeding out, she never left me.  I am tearing up just thinking of that moment.  Emily held my hand, locked eyes with me as if to say..."I've got you!" and did not let go until the double doors into the surgery room would not let her go any further.  The last thing I remember saying to her was "take care of my kids" and with tears in her eyes she said "I will!" I knew deep down I wasn't going to die, my mom wasn't going to let that happen but it was comforting to know that the most incredible woman I know would take care of my children. Emily is truly an amazing person, she pressed pause on her life for a week to take care of me. Making sure she was by my side when I woke up in the ICU to find that my husband and daughter were gone, driving me to Denver to see Audie and Justin and taking the time to walk me thru everything that had happen so I could try to understand.

To Emily:
Words can not express my eternal gratitude for who you are and what you have done for me.  Your ever constant love and support will never be lost on me.  All that I can offer you other than my heartfelt thank you is my pledge to you that you will always have my love and support and that Wren and future children will be forever loved, protected and cared for by me, Justin and the boys.

With Love,

Thursday, October 15, 2015


Let me replay my morning...there I was pulling into the boys preschool a bit late to drop Costner off. Me in my "in between" clothes.  "In between" clothes are what I call not quite pajamas but not quite my outfit of the day...which mind you is usually work out clothes so the fact that I couldn't even get those on is a bit sad.  But hey...I did put a bra and some mascara on.  Costner was fully dressed, fed, hair combed, ready for the day and there was Loren still with his pjs on but he did have shoes on and was fed. Of course, my sweet Audie with a full diaper and 20 minutes out from needing a bottle.  But look I was just dropping Cost off quickly and then headed back home for coffee and the Today Show.  

As I pulled in I saw my friends and fellow preschool moms' cars sitting outside, I wondered "why are they so late?" I, at least had the whole 3 kid, husband out of town excuse.  I jumped out of the car and hustled Cost inside, his teacher greeted us and asked where Loren was. I sweetly reminded her that Loren doesn't go to school on Thursdays but kindly she replied "but I thought we were watching him while you attended the board meeting!"

CRAP!  I had completely forgot and was already 30 minutes late.  And let me add the boys go to a catholic preschool.  I had agreed to be on the board that meets twice a year and I couldn't even show up on time to one of the meetings.  I was given ample reminders, even as early as this past Tuesday but still I forgot. Which is completely unlike me, I always brag to my husband that "I have a mind like a steel trap." Well...apparently I do not.  icalendar Whitney....use icalendar for gosh sakes.

So...there I am rushing Loren inside...monster truck pjs, et al as Audie and I scurry downstairs to the meeting all the while I am telling myself to apologize profusely but for God sake Whitney do not say "God" when you do.  I walk thru the door and say "Oh my Gosh, I'm so sorry" and there in front of me sympathetic looks as Agnes, head of the preschool, explains I am a new mother of three kids. The looks wreak of "Oh...poor girl, she must be in over her head."  And maybe I am this stage in the game with Audie being 7 weeks old, feeding at 4am and then trying corral two rambunctious little boys throughout the following day. I am exhausted and sometimes overwhelmed so I will probably remain in my "in between" clothes for a bit longer just to make one part of my life a bit easier.