Praying for Vegas, Crying for Us All

My cousin survived a mass shooting. But not all of the people standing beside her did. She stood trapped in a sea of panicked people as bullets rained down, ending lives with no rhyme or reason, not knowing if one was meant for her. She kept asking herself if this was really happening, how was it possible. Would she die like this? She thought of her three year old son back home, thought of how he might wake up in the morning suddenly without a mother, untethered from the soul who gave so much of herself to him. She thought of her little boy and swore that she would not die, not there, not yet. But no one in that crowd was granted the luxury of a choice.

People fell beside her, people screamed, people cried out in fear and pain, and people died. But she lived; my cousin survived the worst mass shooting in modern United States history. Her and her friend managed to make it to a barricade, climb over and run like hell, praying they would not be the next to fall. She made it out, but not everyone standing beside her did.

This morning I was able to talk to her, I was able to tell the world that my cousin survived. But there are many others facing a stark reality that their loved ones will not be coming home. Call it divine intervention, call it luck; I can’t make sense of it anymore. I cannot fathom what could have possibly led that man down the path he chose. I cannot comprehend what compelled him to take those weapons up to the 32nd floor and shoot to kill. These people were innocent. My cousin is innocent. She is a beautiful young woman with a 3 year old boy. She works hard and has a genuinely good heart. She did not deserve this. None of them did. 59 lives were cut tragically short. 527 people were injured. And for 22,000 others, their injuries may not be physically visible, but the scars will still be felt, changing them from the inside.

We are no strangers to violence, it seems our society is built on it. Yet we usually view it from the distance that our television or cell phone screens grant us. The pain and fear are palpable, but dulled through the lens of the media. We hurt, we decry the senseless actions, and yet it doesn’t actually touch us. The reality does not soak in. When I woke up that morning it was just a devastating news story, one in a long line of the hatred and pain we have been seeing for years. When I woke up I read the headline to my fiancé, commenting on how sad it was. I didn’t know until I was at work that she had been there. I didn’t know that she had stood in that crowd and feared for her life, picturing her child as bullets sliced through a peaceful night. I didn’t know that I had almost lost her, a piece of my family. I didn’t know until a few hours later. And then I cried. I cried and I panicked, I was scared and I raged inside as she told me what happened, what it was like, the way they were trapped, left at the cruel mercy of fate. I couldn’t breath, I couldn’t process it; my family, it touched my family- the terror sliced straight through my heart. I tried to be calm, but all I could think was that as I got ready for work that morning she could have been laying in a dusty venue in Vegas, staring sightlessly as the sun rose into the sky, ushering a new day she wouldn’t belong to anymore. So I cried. I sat at my desk and cried messy tears at what so many had lost.

My soul hurts. I can’t make sense of this tragedy. I wish I could say that I was not angry, but I can’t. I am furious at the senselessness of it all. My heart is pounding against my ribcage in a rage. This anger is driven by fear. I am terrified of losing someone that matters to me. Hate will not solve this; love is the only light that will show us the path we must follow, but how do we find it? Tonight I am exhausted and lost, floating through a world I wish I didn’t recognize. The truth is that it looks no different than it did yesterday. To most people this was just a sad, senseless story. We know this world all too well, we’ve heard this story time and again. The difference for me is that I have never been so close. I know we will never make sense of something like this. We will never find a satisfactory reason to explain away what took place that night. We must learn to be content with the knowledge that some things will never be understood. But that does not mean that we ignore it, that does not mean that we must shrug our shoulders and accept that this is the world we will raise our children in. A world where their mother can go to a concert and never come home. I do not want to live in a world that witnesses this violence and looks the other way after the headlines have ceased.

Tonight my heart is broken, my soul is worn and frayed. Tonight I sit here with no more tears left to cry, trying to make sense of a world that will never look the same to me again. Tonight I ache for all of those hurt, for every person who won’t be able to come home, to hug their children or tell their parents that they love them. Tonight I grieve for what we have lost. And yet I must remember that there are still small miracles to be thankful for. I’m thankful that more people were not hurt. I’m thankful that my cousin is at home cuddling her baby boy right now. Tonight I hold on to small miracles because I know that I will fall apart if I don’t cling to them. Tonight I am thankful because she lived.

After a crazy Christmas comes PJ day!

Good morning! (good afternoon, good evening and goodnight as well, depending on when you read this). I hope yesterday everyone had a magical time filled with fun, family and friends. I hope the stresses of the season didn’t dampen the glow of excitement that pervaded the air. I will admit, it took me a tad longer than usual to get into the holiday spirit, but now that it has officially come and gone, I don’t know how ready I am to see it go. My poor fiancé got sick last night, so I think we have the perfect excuse to lay around in our pjs drinking excessive amounts of coffee and watching all of those Christmas movies I never quite got around to this year. Not to mention playing with a few new gizmos and gadgets (and reading, oh so much reading).

Now, I am not a particularly materialistic person, but I will openly admit that I love geeking out over unusual items (those BuzzFeed: get through this list without spending $50 kill me every time). I have a deep fascination with the odd, obscure, and downright rare. I find my inspiration in the oddest of places. This year for Christmas my family and I had decided we wanted to do less stuff. We were going to spend more time on events that we could do together and memories that we could make, which we did. Though I must admit, we all fell back into the typical cycle of wanting to give to one another- to see the joy in another’s face when they opened a little gift from us. The benefit to having less of an emphasis on material items this year led to a surprising outcome: the gifts that were all exchanged carried some deep meaning that left many of us dabbing at sparkling eyes wet with happy tears. There was a book that my dad read to us every Christmas growing up that he found recordable version of- which he recorded himself reading, for us to enjoy forever and share with our future children someday. That way no matter how far apart we may be, he can still read us the book on Christmas Eve (I did cry with this one). There were also a few perfect little items that captured the soul with the deep understanding the giver had for the receiver.

You see, material possessions don’t really mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of things. But yesterday I learned the power behind a heartfelt gesture that can take the form of something as simple as a coffee mug. I have always struggled with being completely open about who I really am underneath it all; my insecurities stamp their feet and demand to be noticed any time I try to get the courage to talk about some of the things that I love, things that are so deeply personal that to have them cast aside by someone I care for would wound me far more deeply than I would care to admit. My writing, for example; I am always nervous to discuss it, in fear that others will dismiss this humble little dream of mine, afraid that they will read my words and decide that I am just not particularly good at it. I hate to admit that their opinions do matter to me; it’s not that they could ever convince me to stop writing, it is as much a part of my identity as my nose is an integral part of my face. But they could conceivably convince me that perhaps my words should be for my alone, and that maybe this dream just isn’t right for me to chase. They have the power to give a louder voice to my fears and insecurities, and I don’t know what kind of damaged that emboldened voice could do.

But yesterday I was given a tiny little nudge of support in the form of a little coffee mug. It came from my soon-to-be in-laws who have always shown me unquestioned support in all of my writing endeavors. It had a little writerly quote on it, and meant more to me than I was able to say. This was a physical acknowledgment of their support and acceptance of something that is deeply ingrained in me, it was a nod to the fact that over the years we have become close enough to share these silly little dreams. And it was a reminder that they have my back 100%, no matter how many times I devolve into a babbling incoherent mess everytime they ask me about my current project. It was just a little coffee mug, but it meant so much more than that to me.

This particular picture is just to show the entire quote on the mug, as it wraps around the mug too far for me to get a good picture of the full thing.

Yesterday was a beautiful day for myself and my family (minus the surprise illness of my fiancé, who is luckily already feeling a bit better today). I somehow managed to hit all of the important stops (we were bouncing between houses like a ping pong ball), but inexplicably, this year I didn’t feel that same stress and strain. Perhaps because for once we all started out our day with only the hopes of spending a bit of quality time with one another. We took the time to step back and really see one another, have compassion for the year we have all endured together, and reminded one another of what was really important. We shared mountains of love instead of scaling heaps of unnecessary items. For the first year in ages I have walked away from the day feeling refreshed and revitalized. I can only hope that you, my friends, felt the same love and relaxation from a day that all too often loses its meaning. As we careen towards the fresh start of a new year, I will attempt to hold onto this peace I have found. 

For at least one more day, I am going to mosey around my house with my Santa slippers and fuzzy pajamas, drinking hot tea and watching family movies as my normally energetic puppers sleeps on my feet (as it turns out, tearing up all of his new toys and hiding the TWO different bones people slipped to him yesterday has been a rather draining task). Today I will find comfort in- well, the daily comforts I so often push aside in my persuits of other ‘more productive’ things. Sometimes the best thing you can do is take a step back and enjoy the rare gift of a peaceful moment while you have it. The new year is quickly approaching, and with it will come a fresh determination to tackle yet another list of goals, one more mountain to climb. So for today, I will rest and enjoy the journey that has brought me right here.

My Christmas Miracle (a lesson for us all)

Last Christmas Eve started out like any other: I got off work at 5:00 (government employees don’t generally get the luxury of leaving early on holidays, contrary to popular belief) and rushed home to change before my fiancé and I drove up the winding roads to my dad’s house where our annual Christmas party was in full swing. It’s always just family, but it’s special because there are many we only see that one time every year. It was a full house last year, family pouring in, a few new babies and step children swelling our numbers in the previous 12 months.

My cousin’s boyfriend had a new car- and it happened to be my fiancée dream car at the time. A white Subaru wrx (very sporty, for those- like myself- who don’t get the whole car thing). So naturally, three of the boys decided to take a little joy ride down to a nearby house. They were gone a long time. And the rest of us started to get mad; we had fussy babies who needed to get home and into their pajamas for Santa, we had presents to open. We needed them to stop playing and come home.

I didn’t think much of it when my fiancé appeared at the sliding glass door and asked me to step outside. But the moment that I did, I knew something was wrong. “Something happened,” was all he managed to say. “There was an accident. It’s bad.” The world stood still and spun all at the same time. I remember asking him if everyone was okay. I remember that he didn’t answer me. I still feel that jolt in my heart thinking back to the moment he said my cousin’s name, and then stopped. I physically stopped breathing. Please, oh please God, tell me Alex is still alive. Please, oh please God, don’t make me step back into that room and have to look at his scared parents who still have no idea what is going on. It took a while before he was able to finally tell me Alex was hurt. Hurt meant not dead, there was a wave of guilty relief that washed over me. For once, ‘hurt’ was the acceptable alternative.

I ran inside to get my dad, a firefighter- he knows how to handle these situations. We all ran to our cars to go to the scene. On the drive there, I was able to find out from Zach what happened.

My dad lives on the top of a hill, well, a small mountain really. It’s out in the middle of nowhere on a long stretch of winding roads. That night it had been snowing, though not enough to be of any concern. The driver had been showing off his car- he lived out there too and knew those roads like the back of his hand. They were driving up, heading back to the house, when he hit the gas right before a corner. He turned the wheel with the curve of the road, but they were going too fast. The car slid to the edge and hit a little patch of gravel before it fell down the steep drop-off that is less than a foot from the road. There were no guardrails. The car flipped one and a half times as it slid down the embankment. It landed on its passenger side door, held up by three spindly little trees that were growing on that steep decline. To this day I am still not sure how those three tooth-pick sized trees were able to hold firm with the force of the impact caused from a full sized sedan carrying three grown men crashing into them at high speed. If they hadn’t, or if the car had slid another foot forward, it would have rolled all of the way down. There would have been no survivors after a crash like that. But miracles happen, their guardian angels were strong that night. When the car stopped rolling, they didn’t know what was holding them up, though they were aware that they toppled all the way down the side of the cliff.  All they knew was that they had to get out before whatever it was gave way. 

They had to climb straight up and lifted themselves out to get out through the driver’s side door. Zach and the driver were dazed, but able to get out. My cousin had been sitting in the back seat. He had been knocked unconscious and had to be coaxed and pulled out of the car, though he didn’t want to leave. They climbed up the embankment and made it to the side of the road where they were able to flag down a single car- there was no cell service where they went off the road. Zach went to get help while they waited. That car almost hit another on their way to my dad’s house to drop him off. For the second time that night, a deadly crisis was averted.

I will never forget the moment that we drove to the scene, the headlights from my uncle’s car lighting the road and down the cliff to that car. I will never forget the way they had to convince my cousin to get up off the ground where he was laying when they first got there. I will never forget that crumpled white car propped up against the trees, the marks of the tires in the gravel, people running between headlights as we stared down an embankment at crumpled steel and injured family.


When you live out that far, an ambulance takes a while. So we decided to drive them to the hospital. In hindsight, that was probably not our best idea, but we didn’t know what else to do. In times like that when everything feels so far out of your control, sometimes action is the only thing that will make you feel better. My brother drove, Zach sat in the front seat, and Alex lay across the back seat with his head on my lap. That was the longest car ride of my entire life, trying to keep Alex awake, fighting the panic that would rise when I would have to repeat his name several times before he would respond to me. 

I stepped into the emergency room with two injured men, Alex’s arm draped over my shoulder. He threw up the moment we stepped through the doors. When he was whisked back, I went with him, even though the last thing I wanted to do was leave my fiancé. They were both hurt, but Alex was worse and the doctors needed information that I wasn’t sure he would be able to give, as he had been in and out of lucidity for the entire drive in. Zach said he’d be okay, his own parents were on their way, he wouldn’t be alone for long. I sat in the back room as they worked on Alex, the doctors and nurses peppering me with questions, some of which I didn’t know how to answer- as we waited for his parents to arrive.

I found out later that he wasn’t wearing his seatbelt, which wound up being bittersweet. Looking at the damage later, if he’d been strapped in where he had been sitting, he might have been just as badly injured- the tree smashed the spot he would have been. But because he wasn’t wearing it, he went flying like a rag doll when the car flipped. The front of his head hit the back of my fiancée. Zach was released from the hospital with some abrasions and a mild concussion. Alex’s was a more severe concussion, and it would take him a few months to get back to his normal self, it was a scary few months as we all kept updated on his status. But they were both okay.

The next morning we woke up, shaken and thankful. Zach was still sore, but we drove over to his brother’s house to be there when our niece and nephews opened their Christmas presents. We got to watch the light grow in their eyes as the pile of wrapping paper created mountains beside them. I got to watch Zach take his oldest nephew to the backyard to try out his new experiment (coke and mentos), I got to watch him laugh and play with them, and for once, I was able to fully appreciate the memories we were making.


As Zach and I were helping the boys build their lego forts (they decided to make us race- I lost), I kept watching him as he teasingly snuck gummy lifesavers from the kids, helping them search for the right pieces for their lego creations, and I realize how unbelievably lucky we were. Everything could have ended that night. We could have been that cautionary holiday tale that feels so distant, even while it pours ice into the soul. One weak little tree, one foot forward- and we could have spent our Christmas in mourning; instead we were watching this amazing man play with his nephews like nothing had happened, smiling through the headache he still had.


Moments like this shake you to your foundation, when you realize how close you were to losing everything. I couldn’t stop thinking how they were sitting in that crumpled car and we had been warm in the house and angry with them for being late. So many things could have gone so very wrong. But I like to believe in fate, in miracles, in a reason for the things that happen to us. I had taken the people in my life for granted, perhaps Zach most of all. We had built our lives together, and in a single moment it could have all come crumbling to the ground.

I will forever be thankful for those three spindly trees. I look for them every time we drive up to my dad’s house, my eyes resting momentarily on the turn that almost changed our lives completely, almost ended the lives of people we love with everything that we have inside.

This was a reminder for me- a reminder of what is truly important, a reminder to be patient and kind with those we love. A reminder that your life can turn upside down in the fraction of a second, with one innocent mistake; because that’s all it had been. So take the time to appreciate the people in your life. Don’t let the stress of the everyday color your time together. Be thankful for every second you have, and thank whatever force you believe in when you are granted the priveledge of one more day with them. Last year I learned something that I thought I already knew; life is precious and is not guaranteed to any of us. It is a fragile gift that should be treated with the reverence it deserves. Be thankful for every moment that you have, and when the sand in that hourglass is spent, look back on that time fondly with the love that it deserves.

Why am I Hiding?

Last spring I accidentally sent my fiancé’s brother a picture that was meant for my fiancé. Now, before your eyes grow too wide at the thought of it- let me preface this conversation by saying that it wasn’t a ‘bad’ picture or anything like that. It wasn’t something that I would be embarrassed for people to see. I had decided on a whim to get back out and start running again with the dog, and I was proud of myself. So I did what any self respecting 20-something would do, and I took a selfie.

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He jokingly responded that at least it wasn’t something more risqué, and in my usual fashion I made a half-serious, half-jesting comment that the reason I was working out was so that I would feel comfortable sending one like that. Now, I have known Josh since I was about fifteen years old- well over ten years, although there were a few in the middle where we didn’t really have anything to do with one another. We’ve always had a lot of the same friends, but we were never particularly close. We’ve always just joked with each other. But this time was different, instead of taking my comment as a half-hearted joke, he looked past to the underlying meaning and made a comment. From there we had an actual conversation: we were both in the process of trying to get ourselves in good shape and find a place where we were comfortable in our own skin. We both had our insecurities, but neither of us really realized them about the other. For once we both understood that we were feeling exactly the same, underneath all of the jokes. At the end of the conversation he said something that struck me: he said that was probably the first time I had ever opened up to him about anything. I was shocked at the truth of it- how was it possible that I had known him over ten years and we had never really had a conversation of substance?

I’ve always been a private person, but I never realized how truly guarded I am. There are only a few people in my life who know me inside and out, who can tell what I’m thinking before I ever say a word. It wasn’t always like this. I used to be such an open book, but somewhere along the way I closed the pages and tied the cover down so no one could see the content. I remember in high school- once people really started talking to me they would always say ‘you are nothing like I expected.’ I used to pride myself on that; I always knew that my reputation didn’t match the girl inside. Outside I was a ‘good girl,’ one of those quiet straight-A types that don’t have any sharp edges. Inside I was tougher, a rocker chick who was vastly misunderstood. As I grew up my different sides started to merge, and now I’d like to think that I am a more well-rounded person.

This conversation bothered me enough that today I am still thinking about it, months later. Mainly because I see how true it is. I’ve always prided myself on being honest; but is there true honesty when you are constantly hiding? I don’t mean to, I guess I just assume that people wont really care what I have to say. I guess after all is said and done, I am still like that little girl who is afraid of rejection. It is easier to be rejected for a public persona when I know that isn’t actually me than it is to be rejected for the person underneath. How many times do I share little anecdotal stories instead of spilling the truth?

If I were to die tomorrow, how many people would know who I really was, and how many people would know the face that I put on in the morning? It’s not that I’m being fake, I am who I am. But I’m not being deep. I’m not sharing all of who I am or what I do. Take my writing for example: it is a huge part of my life, it is my heart and soul, it is the thing that drives me. But I can probably count on one hand the number of people who know that it is even a hobby of mine.

So who am I? And why aren’t I more open? Those are the true questions, and to be honest- I don’t know if I have a complete answer. When you brush past the superficial responses of what I do for a living and what my hobbies are- who is underneath? I’m just a girl who is always trying to be better. I’m a girl who can’t process the world without a pen in her hand. I’m a socially awkward goofball who can dad-joke and nerd talk with the best of them. I’m opinionated, but I don’t like making waves unless I know I can trust you with my thoughts. I don’t make friends easily, mainly because I’m painfully shy, but when I do I am fiercely loyal. I am the kind of girl who refuses to go to the movies unless I can get popcorn too. I would choose beer over wine any day of the week. I find solace in books, living a thousand lives through fictional characters. I am a hopeless romantic wrapped in the hard candy shell of a realist. I am an enduring optimist who will run over to refill your cup if it’s half empty. I’m a terrible liar. I smile even when I feel like crying. I do a lot of the wrong things for the right reasons, and occasionally stumble across the right things for all of the wrong reasons. I am an enigma, a world of contradictions wrapped up in a Harry Potter t-shirt. I am a girl who has found her happiness, even though she is completely clueless half of the time. I am a girl still figuring out who she is, and for tonight, that will be good enough. The key though? Learning to let others see what I have discovered on this adventure. No more hiding behind smiles and polite comments. Love me or hate me, I want people to know me.

Work Isn’t Everything

We live in a society where we are expected to do it all, to have it all, to be fueled by some mysteriously ever-burning fire that will propel us to new heights. We are told that if we do not hit the ground running then we are lazy. We are told that working over 40 hours a week is the only way to achieve those illusive dreams. We watch people who have their fingers in so many pies that they don’t even know what flavors they have stuck under their fingernails. We are used to pushing, to fighting, believing with the very fiber of our being that if we work hard enough, we will be able to achieve anything. This advice, while not wrong, can be somewhat misleading. We work hard hoping that someday we will play hard. We are so used to clawing our way to the top that we forget to look around.

There is a season for everything, we are told, and yet we are constantly attempting to reap what we have hurriedly sowed. I am no different from the rest of my generation. I work my ass off in the hopes that it will help me build my name, cement my reputation and get me where I have always dreamed of going. And then something happened that forced me to throw a flag on the field. There is a season for everything, and sometimes you have to remember your priorities. You have to pay attention to where you have run. You have to stop and take a breath.

On a Thursday night as I drove home I could hear my phone buzzing periodically as I listened to my audiobook. When I finally pulled into my driveway I turned off my car and looked down, seeing my siblings and mom’s names. I expected a group chat about something- perhaps about my brother’s wedding that was a couple of days away, or a reminder for a family dinner. Swiping it open, I was soon proven gravely wrong. My mom was on her way to the Emergency room, per the insistent instruction of her doctor. We didn’t know what was wrong, we didn’t know how serious it could be, we just knew she was scared and required immediate help.

We went to the hospital and waited with other family members in a surprisingly busy waiting room. We waited for some indication of what was happening, we waited for some word that would give us a direction. We waited and we waited. I eventually texted a few of my friends/co-workers, needing someone to talk to, someone to send good vibes our way. Immediately a close co-worker sent me a private message letting me know that if I needed to take the next day off, he would make arrangements to cover my work- something that I know is damn near impossible given the fact that we have been short staffed for far too long and Fridays are the busiest days of the week. Right off the bat I told him that I would be there, even if I didn’t get any sleep. It wasn’t until after I sent it that I stopped and looked at the words that I had typed. When had that become me? When did I become the girl who would drop family to go to work? When did I become the one that put everything else on hold? At what point in my life did I turn into the girl who would leave her mother in the emergency room to go spend over eight hours in an office?

In emergencies I am always the utilitarian one. I fall apart in private, I don’t like crying in front of people and I am not cut from the type of cloth that lends me to panicking easily. At hospitals I am usually the one with positive things to say who is taking coffee orders and reminding people to eat a sandwich, even if they don’t feel hungry. I am the one running through the list of items that the hurt person may need- do they have fresh socks? Will they need a pair of tennis shoes when they get released? Has everyone been notified? I find tasks for myself to do because I can’t stand just sitting there. I would like to think that my initial reaction to go to work during this crisis was something that fell into this category- this desire to keep myself busy. But I don’t know.

It’s true that I have the kind of job now where dependability is not an option- its not a box you can check one day and not the next. Calling in sick because I just don’t feel like facing a Tuesday is not an option, hell calling in sick because I am actually sick is treading on some thin ice. I am the coverage. I am the one that you call when you decide that you can’t face Tuesday. I am the one that has to be dependable when others are not. But that is not everything.

I came to the sudden realization that I don’t want to be that person- I have never been that person. I am the one who will drop anything for anyone. I have taken time away to get my dad to the doctor, I am the one that you call when you need help- I’m that kind of dependable. I don’t want to be the one that is so focused on climbing a ladder that I miss out on time with those that enrich my daily life.

Perspective is everything. There is a time to push and to fight, and there is a time to take a step back and recognize the things that make your light shine. I am nothing without the people in my life. My job will continue on whether I am there or not. I am replaceable. They survived without me before, and they could easily do it again. But I only have one mom, and as terrifying as the thought is, we all only have so much time we are allotted to spend with those that we love. My life needs to reflect my views and my morals. My job is not my life, my family is. And while I will always go above and beyond with my work, there are lines that should not be crossed. Sometimes it takes a terrifying moment to remember that.

Luckily for me, she is okay. There will be more tests, there will be more changes, but she will be okay. And I will be thankful knowing that I have more time to spend with those that I love, and a reminder that my job is not the end-all-be-all of my life. I can be a good employee and a good daughter. I can be there for those that need me when it is important. I can work my ass off day in and day out, I can leave my day job and come home to type away for my passion a couple of hours. But its important to remember the balance. It’s important to keep your heart open for those that need you, for those that you need.

Can you be a Wine Mom without liking wine (or having kids)?

Last night I got sucked into the YouTube void when I was supposed to be editing (a fairly unusual thing for me- the YouTube, not the editing). After binge watching one of my favorite channels, I couldn’t help but ponder one of the unanswerable questions of our time: Is it possible for me to be a ‘wine mom’ when I do not actually like wine and do not have any tiny humans of my own? Because I’ve got to say- I feel like these are my kind of women.

There’s something vastly appealing about finding an identity, a group of people you can relate with, or ones that will simply make you laugh- out here in this expanse that is the interwebs. And I have to admit- the mom blogs are some of my absolute favorites to peruse. They are the front line warriors of the female race. They push on in spite of all of the challenges thrown at them (literally and figuratively): spaghetti fights at the kitchen table, 2am wake up calls by screaming children wearing rubber boots, wall art after you finally got the perfect shade for your living room, mud pies that make it into your laundry basket, and the worms- we wont even get started on the worms. These women possess the strength that I wish I had. I guess I will have something to look forward to whenever I decide to take that terrifying plunge into life with a hobbit-human.

I wish I could be an honorary member of the Wine Mom Club. Or perhaps we could create a second tier? I’m thinking ‘Margarita Aunts’ has a nice ring to it. I have six nephews and three nieces varying in ages from one to fourteen years (and don’t even get me started on the mini-panic attack I had when the oldest started high school). If this helps my case at all in my quest to join the Wine Mom/Margarita Aunt Club- I do share living space with three pint-sized minions (they are 1, 4 and 7), and while I am always quick to call their dad to come save the day when I get in over my head, I can still manage a few rounds of ‘lets see how far this cottage cheese can fly’ before I go running for the safety of my bedroom.

Oh yes, I may be a lowly aunt, but I have been peed on enough by little boys to understand the quick computing skills needed to determine the trajectory and get out of the line of fire while changing a diaper. This was a sad lesson learned after a few direct hits. I have felt the unexplainable pain of stepping on a pile of Legos in the middle of the night, and the fear that comes when the baby learns to climb through the dog door after her favorite furry friend. I have gone on quests meant only for the brave of heart- to find the lost Trash Pack Critter (only to find him two hours after the search has disbanded, mashed in the pile of goo left on the kitchen table), I have made beautiful play-dough snails just so I can be forced to watch them get run over by a plastic fire truck (to the delight of a maniacal three year old). I have kissed booboos and shoed away monsters. I have had a debate with a four year old about who’s Batman jacket was cooler (his had a cape- he won). I have been a part of their lives, but never the mom. There is something very unique about viewing parenthood from the close proximity of a shared household- without being the actual parent, and yet the joys that the Little bring me far outweigh the frustrations.

After all, is there really anything better than silly faces at the dinner table or a quick game of ‘don’t laugh’ when someone is feeling grumpy? Or how about the first time that the baby learned to play Peek-a-boo (complete with a belly laugh every time you ‘see’ her). Or the time when you got to ‘try science’ with the seven year old- hands down, my favorite simple experiment: Mentos and Coca-Cola. Or what about this last New Years- instead of going out, we hung out with the Littles playing board games, watching the ball fall and shooting off little poppers in the front yard? Better than any party we could have gone to.

So to you Wine Moms out there, I raise my glass and cheers you. It takes a special kind of woman to handle that stress, and you do it with the kind of humor that leaves me snorting with laughter. I strive to be like you someday when I have my own little terrifyingly adorable hobbits. And while we’re on the subject: any suggestions on good wines- because I want to be ready when it’s finally my time to join the club.

If you are interested in the video that brought about this odd little post, take a peek at Wine Mom, Hannah Williams, presented by Buzzfeed on YouTube. You will not be disappointed, she is an adorable gem. Here’s just one: Signs You’re A Wine Mom