Archive of ‘Maurmi’ category

I Want to Hold Your Hand

I was sit­ting at the kitchen table talk­ing to my mom when my near­ly nine-year-old placed him­self on my lap.

What’s wrong, bud?” I asked.

Noth­ing, I just want­ed you to hold me,” he respond­ed as he leaned back and rest­ed his head on my shoul­der.

I auto­mat­i­cal­ly assumed that he felt bad or was start­ing to feel bad or thought he might feel bad, because this just nev­er hap­pens any­more. My baby, my first born, my Hand­some #1, the boy who made me a mom, is begin­ning to out­grow me. He has friends and inter­ests that I am no longer dic­tat­ing. And in all real­i­ty, that makes things a bit eas­ier. Often my atten­tion is divert­ed in many oth­er direc­tions. He is the old­est of four with three younger sib­lings rang­ing in age from sev­en all the way down to a year. To say that my focus tends to be stolen by oth­ers is an under­state­ment.

For the first two years of his life, it was us again­st the world. We would sing, dance, and play all day long. His white blonde hair and pierc­ing blue eyes lit up the room. He was a very ear­ly talk­er and would read­i­ly strike up a con­ver­sa­tion with any stranger that caught his glance. His play­ful grin and irre­sistible charm had me wrapped around his fin­ger from the word go.

As our fam­i­ly grew larg­er, my focus shift­ed to the new babies as they arrived and he became my great­est helper. Being the old­est is a birth posi­tion that I share and com­plete­ly under­stand. There is a lot of respon­si­bil­i­ty that comes with being first. You have to set the exam­ple, you have to behave, and you have to be the one who grows up while every­one else gets to be lit­tle. That grow­ing up hap­pens so fast and before a mom knows it; her baby is not a baby, nor a big boy try­ing to get even big­ger. He becomes a young man in a blink.

It use to be that I could pick him up and car­ry him up the stairs with­out a sec­ond thought. Today it would be a strug­gle, but one I would hap­pi­ly chal­lenge myself with if he asked. Some­times, I catch a look at his pro­file and see the same point­ed nose that he had as a new­born baby. As he has grown, his chin has become more chis­eled and his cheeks a bit thin­ner, but his eye­lash­es are still any model’s dream. If I brush his hair away from his fore­head I can still see him lying in a crib.

Some­times when he doesn’t even know it, he will grab my hand in a store and I get a lit­tle lump in my throat. I real­ize that time is fleet­ing and I want to hold on tight­ly for as long as I can. All too quick­ly he can feel my grip tight­en and he is gone run­ning down the aisle laugh­ing, smil­ing, and car­ry­ing on the way that a nine-year-old boy does.

Bed­time rou­ti­nes have trans­formed from singing songs, read­ing books, say­ing prayers, and more hugs and kiss­es than I could count to a quick, good­night and a, “Can you please close the door?” That lit­tle boy who want­ed me to read his favorite book just one more time is now read­ing nov­els on his own. Occa­sion­al­ly he will ask me to stay and tell him a sto­ry. He likes to hear about when I was a kid and fun­ny things about his grand­par­ents. He will lay on his bel­ly and let me rub his back as I talk. I take full advan­tage and even sneak in a kiss or a snug­gle before he asks me to leave.

He no longer wants my help get­ting dressed and locks the bath­room door for added pri­va­cy. He has nev­er been a high-main­te­nance kid, but there has recent­ly been a shift in what he cares about. Brand names are impor­tant and so is his hair. He comes into my bath­room in the morn­ing and asks me to style it for him. I breathe in his lit­tle boy smell and stare at him in the mir­ror. I quick­ly turn my head as the tears begin to well so that he doesn’t notice and grum­ble, “Mom! Please stop.”

As he begins to exert more and more inde­pen­dence, I am taxed with ensur­ing the he is mak­ing the right deci­sions. We are still in the, be nice to your sib­lings and don’t say bad words, phase. We talk about being kind, lov­ing, and faith­ful. I reit­er­ate that we should only treat oth­ers the way that we want to be treat­ed. Soon our talks will trans­form to more seri­ous sub­ject mat­ter like alco­hol, drugs, and sex. It is mind bog­gling to me that I even have to con­sid­er the­se con­ver­sa­tions, but the world that we live in neces­si­tates the seri­ous­ness of our dis­cus­sions because kids are fac­ing adult choic­es entire­ly too young.

I want him to con­tin­ue to love Minecraft and Trans­form­ers. I want his imag­i­na­tion to run wild about wiz­ards and far­away lands. I pray that he will always come to me with his fears and con­cerns and not ever be too embar­rassed to talk to me. I know that I can’t keep him lit­tle, and I don’t want to. He needs to explore every bit of the world that he can. But while he still wants me around and finds com­fort in my arms, I will keep him close and safe and pro­tect­ed. Who am I kid­ding? If he wants me to hold his hand when he is 35, I’ll do it. By then, I will be well into my six­ties and will like­ly be look­ing for a lit­tle help from his younger and stronger arm. I have no doubt he will extend it with a smile. But until then, I will hold his hand tight­ly and he will hold my heart.

Tell ‘Em that it’s Human Nature

It's fine, I don't need sunglasses you all just protect your eyes. Let the child go blind.

It’s fine, I don’t need sun­glass­es you all just pro­tect your eyes. Let the child go blind.

If you can’t do it in front of me, you prob­a­bly shouldn’t be doing it. My moth­er spoke those words when I was a young girl and they stuck with me through very dif­fi­cult times. There were moments in my life when I was tempt­ed to do not so great things like smok­ing in a bath­room, under­age drink­ing in a field, or that time I was with friends lis­ten­ing to a bootleg copy of a 2Live­Crew tape and I was cer­tain that the neigh­bors could hear and would call the police because we were com­plete­ly and total­ly ignor­ing that parental advi­so­ry. But nev­er fear, my mother’s cau­tion­ary wis­dom was always with me.

I had a blog post all ready to go about a recent adven­ture with my boys and I let her pre­view it, as I always do, and she said, “I don’t like it. Sor­ry.” At first I thought, well for­get you, I don’t care what you think. But then I had to dig deep­er, because even at 37-years-old, I seek parental approval. She was con­cerned that I was cast­ing my Hand­somes in a neg­a­tive light. Part of my deci­sion not to use their real names on my blog is for that exact rea­son. I nev­er want what I believe to be fun­ny to be hurt­ful, shame­ful or embar­rass­ing to them years lat­er. I likened her dis­taste for my post to a pair of her jeg­gings that are on my own per­son­al worst dressed list. Her respon­se, “But I can defend myself.” Mic drop!

As they get old­er, I sup­pose that I will need to be a bit more dis­cre­tionary with what I choose to post. Not that I would ever pur­pose­ful­ly embar­rass my chil­dren, but they may not love every detail of their lives shared. Back when I was a kid, I didn’t have a clue about the world around me and had no idea if my moth­er was telling all of her friends about the sil­ly things that I did.

Since there was no Inter­net way back then, sto­ries were beloved because they were told over and over and over again. We have many tales from our own child­hood that my broth­ers and I love to recount. I am cer­tain that this will hap­pen with my own chil­dren as they get old­er as well. Some have been shared with the world, some have been untold for 27 years.……But who’s count­ing?

Once upon a time, I was in to Michael Jack­son. Not like I kind of liked him, more like I kissed the poster on my clos­et door good­night, obsessed.  I want­ed noth­ing more than to win tick­ets to see him when he per­formed in St. Louis. It was 1988, I was nine, and the only way to win any­thing back then was to call in to radio and TV sta­tions dur­ing var­i­ous con­tests. A local tele­vi­sion sta­tion was run­ning a pro­mo­tion that involved video clips of pop­u­lar Michael Jack­son songs. When the video ran, you were to call in and say the name of the song being per­formed and you won. This was a dream come true! I could total­ly do this.

For days, I watched and dialed in a futile attempt to spend an evening lis­ten­ing to the King of Pop live with thou­sands of oth­er scream­ing fans. I would hit the redi­al but­ton over and over and over, only to be met by the fast busy sig­nal, my arch­en­e­my. The clips played once per 30-min­ute show, so there was quite a bit of lag time, but I kept busy. And when there are six peo­ple liv­ing in your house, there is con­stant chaos. Sure­ly some­one was cry­ing, some­one was scream­ing and some­one was just try­ing to keep her san­i­ty. It was Girl Scout cook­ie time and my moth­er had been tak­ing last min­ute orders from fam­i­ly and friends through­out the day. The­se final addi­tions had to be called in by that evening. She was mak­ing din­ner, but had just enough time to make one quick call for Thin Mints.

The last pro­mo spot of the day aired and I was ready. Human Nature, one of my most favorite songs. It had to be a sign from God that this was my shot. I grabbed the phone, hit redi­al and it began to ring. The but­ter­flies in my stom­ach were in over­drive. The moment I heard a hel­lo on the oth­er end of the line, I couldn’t speak. I stood motion­less, my eyes and mouth open. My Nani, real­iz­ing what was hap­pen­ing, grabbed the phone and began to scream.

Human Nature! Human Nature! Michael Jackson’s Human Nature!”

I was in awe. She had done it. We had done it. All those hours of Diff’rent Strokes episodes had paid off! I was going to see Michael Jack­son. I began to pick out my out­fit for the evening and what auto­graphs I want­ed when the needle was ripped from the record.

Oh my God, mom! Who are you yelling at?” My moth­er asked.

She won the tick­ets. We got the tick­ets! I just redi­aled and I got the tick­ets. We’re going to see Michael Jackson,“I announced.

I said Human Nature! Michael Jackson’s Human Nature” she con­tin­ued to yell.

Hang up! Hang up! Hang up the phone! That’s not the TV sta­tion. That’s the Girl Scouts!”

The two of them pro­ceed­ed to laugh to to the point of no return, tears flow­ing down their cheeks and tin­kle down their legs. It was the 1980s. There was no caller ID, no *69, and absolute­ly no way for any­one to ever know that very strange phone call came from our house. The three of us swore to secre­cy that night, all for dif­fer­ent rea­sons. I was dev­as­tat­ed, they were embar­rassed and the poor per­son on the oth­er end of that call was con­fused.

My moth­er was look­ing out for my best inter­ests then, not want­i­ng me to be humil­i­at­ed or dis­ap­point­ed and she is still look­ing out for those inter­ests today. No mat­ter how old I am, I will hope that I am mak­ing her proud. As a moth­er, I can only pray to instill the same cau­tion and love in my own chil­dren. My biggest dream for them is to find laugh­ter in the lit­tle things. Every time Human Nature comes up on my iTunes I can smile know­ing that it brings such a won­der­ful mem­o­ry for me and a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent, and like­ly ter­ri­fy­ing, mem­o­ry for some­one else.

Mother's are always right...Ugh....

Mother’s are always right…Ugh.…

To My Nani Nine Years Later.…..


Nine years ago today was one of the most emo­tion­al­ly thrilling and equal­ly dev­as­tat­ing days of my life. Just the day before, I had an over­whelm­ing urge to take a preg­nan­cy test, some­thing that had nev­er even crossed my mind before. I was home alone and stared down at those two pink lines know­ing that my life was about to change in the most pro­found way, but hav­ing no idea what that real­ly meant. My first incli­na­tion was to tell my Nani, even before my hus­band or my moth­er. She had been my very best friend for my entire life and I always shared my biggest news with her.

She was very ill, in the hos­pi­tal, and I knew that my time with her was like­ly com­ing to an end. But she was a cat with nine lives and I hoped that she would give us all one more mirac­u­lous recov­ery. After shar­ing my news with The Grillin’ Fool, we decid­ed to head out to see her and tell her about our baby.

For the past few days the hos­pi­tal had been filled with our extend­ed fam­i­ly, vis­it­ing, pray­ing and lov­ing our Nani. There wasn’t a sin­gle moment that a cous­in, Aunt or Uncle wasn’t keep­ing vig­il over her bed. Because of the con­stant flow of vis­i­tors, I had not had a chance to tell my own par­ents that we were expect­ing. I felt a bit guilty, but knew that ulti­mate­ly they would under­stand why I chose to tell her first. I opened the door to her room and wait­ing inside were my three broth­ers, my par­ents and Nani lay­ing peace­ful­ly in her bed. Just my imme­di­ate fam­i­ly, no one else. I knew that God intend­ed for us to share this news right then and there with all of them.

I leaned in, kissed my Nani on the fore­head and said,

Nani, I have some­thing to tell you. I am going to have a baby.”

You could hear a pin drop. There were looks of shock on the faces of my fam­i­ly, but no one said a word. She opened her eyes, ever so slight­ly and smiled.

Oh hon­ey. I am so hap­py about your baby. That makes my life com­plete.”

The next day, she passed away. My heart broke in a way that I had nev­er expe­ri­enced. But even in my sor­row, I took solace in the fact that my final con­ver­sa­tion with her was to share the most amaz­ing news of my life and I knew that she would watch over me through­out my preg­nan­cy.

I believe in God, I believe in mir­a­cles and I believe in signs. I have felt her pres­ence in my life many times in the last nine years. As I was prepar­ing for Hand­some #1’s bap­tism the May after she died, Mau­r­mi brought over the sil­ver cup that Nani had given to me as an infant. It was hor­ri­bly tar­nished and the inscrip­tion was illeg­i­ble. Mau­r­mi scrubbed and pol­ished that cup until it looked brand new. She hand­ed it to me and as I read the engrav­ing, my heart skipped a beat.

Colleen McK­er­nan Dilthey

April 22, 1979

Most infant cups have the baby’s birth date on them. My Nani had mine inscribed with my bap­tismal date. That seem­ing­ly benign date also hap­pens to be Hand­some #1’s birth­day, the boy whose bap­tism we were prepar­ing for. She was there the day he was born, she was there the day he was bap­tized and she was with us in my kitchen as my moth­er and I cried star­ing at that cup.

Life has moved on in nine years and mine has changed so very much, but I don’t think that she has missed a thing. Sure, I wish that she was still here with me, but as I have grown old­er and wis­er, I use that word very cau­tious­ly, I real­ize that you have to live your best life while you are here on earth and your guardian angel will take care of you. When I need a lit­tle boost, I think of her and the won­der­ful things she did for me. I could write a book just about her and the Fri­day nights that I spent at her house watch­ing Love Con­nec­tion and eat­ing peanuts and drink­ing Sprite in bed.

While I miss her like crazy and I wish she was here, I watch her daugh­ter and she has embod­ied the very best of her own moth­er and is becom­ing her. My Nani was at every game, every per­for­mance, every thing that she could be for her grand­chil­dren. She was the ulti­mate cheer­lead­er and we could do no wrong. If you look out in the stands at St. Simon today, you will see that same fierce defend­er of her grand­chil­dren with a smile on her face and more love in her heart that any­one I know. Her name is Mau­r­mi and her grand­chil­dren adore her.

For the first 28 years of my life, I watched my Nani and my moth­er with envy. They had the kind of rela­tion­ship that many moth­ers and daugh­ters dream of hav­ing. I was close to my moth­er, but noth­ing like the two of them. My Nani had been my very best friend and it wasn’t until she was gone that I tru­ly began to appre­ci­ate my own moth­er for the wom­an that she is. I used to be a bit jeal­ous of the way that my children’s faces light up when she comes in the room, but then I remem­ber my own child­hood and real­ize that is the way it is sup­posed to be.

As a mom, I admire her. I know that she learned from the best in the world and I want like hell to be like them. No words can accu­rate­ly describe the way that I feel about my mom. She is my best friend, my part­ner in crime and the source of more laugh­ter than any per­son on the plan­et. Every min­ute that we spend togeth­er is cher­ished. She loves her fam­i­ly, her faith and her friends and will drop any­thing to help oth­ers. I can­not imag­ine what I would ever do with­out her. Many wom­en dread hear­ing, “You’re turn­ing into your moth­er.” To me, it is the ulti­mate com­pli­ment.

God sur­prised us last sum­mer and gave my hus­band and I a fourth baby. Like always, we decid­ed to keep the gen­der a sur­prise, tru­ly want­i­ng noth­ing but this bless­ing. I prayed for a smooth preg­nan­cy. I prayed for a safe deliv­ery. I prayed for a healthy baby. God grant­ed me each of the­se. Unlike my pre­vi­ous deliv­er­ies that all began in induc­tion, with baby #4 my water broke in the mid­dle of the night and we head­ed to the hos­pi­tal despite the fact that I was sched­uled to deliv­er via c-sec­tion a few days lat­er.

After painful con­trac­tions in the hall­way, even worse pains in pre op and mis­er­able pains before the spinal block was in, the surgery start­ed.

Before I knew what hit me, my doc­tor cheer­ful­ly announced,

Oh my God, Colleen, it’s a girl. It’s a girl!”

As I looked at my gor­geous pink bundle of love, I knew that my life was forever changed for the fourth time. I was once again inspired to be a bet­ter moth­er. I looked at my hus­band, both of us with tears in our eyes, and fell in love with him all over again. My heart was so very full. Togeth­er we have cre­at­ed an incred­i­ble fam­i­ly and I am so very proud.

That beau­ti­ful girl, Dar­ling, was named after my Nani and Mau­r­mi in the hopes that she will pos­s­es their spe­cial breed of mox­ie. I know that she is des­tined to make her mark on this world. Every day, I look at her sweet lit­tle face, and I hope that she and I will have the kind of rela­tion­ship that my mom and I and she and her moth­er had.

Nani, nine years has lit­er­al­ly been a life­time for me. I was just a girl when you left me, now I am a moth­er of four try­ing to get it right. You cer­tain­ly left an impres­sion on the hearts of those who knew you. Believe it or not, peo­ple still talk about you and your con­stant pres­ence when we were grow­ing up. It has not gone unno­ticed the impact that you had on your baby girl as she has tru­ly embod­ied your spir­it and con­tin­ues to make you proud con­tin­u­ing your lega­cy as the best grand­moth­er out there.

I miss you more than ever and I wish I could have you back for just one day to laugh and smile and eat of loaf of jel­ly toast in your kitchen. I know that you will con­tin­ue to watch over us all and to bless each of us in your spe­cial way. I love you so and appre­ci­ate what you have helped me to become more than I could ever explain. She is a fire­ball with smil­ing Irish eyes and I promise that your name­sake will do you proud. I can’t wait to see you back in two and two.…..

Airing Our Dirty Laundry, All Over Saint Louis Hills


My first reac­tion to this video was to be crit­i­cal of myself. The hor­ren­dous screen shot of a five-week post­par­tum moth­er, couldn’t they have cho­sen some­thing bet­ter? I want­ed to point out my errors, the way that I look and the way that I sound. But, I am throw­ing all of that out the win­dow. I am so incred­i­bly proud of this accom­plish­ment. I stepped com­plete­ly out of my com­fort zone, put my heart and soul on the line with an orig­i­nal piece and the audi­ence loved it. I am so incred­i­bly thank­ful for the sup­port of my fam­i­ly, my three broth­ers and my dad, who allowed me to bring a lit­tle laugh­ter into the world at all of their expense, but par­tic­u­lar­ly to my moth­er, who has always been my biggest sup­port­er. I am also grate­ful for my hus­band and chil­dren who allowed me to take this time to be com­plete­ly self­ish and to do some­thing just for me. I love each and every one of you!

The Lis­ten to Your Moth­er expe­ri­ence tru­ly was life chang­ing for me. It helped me to real­ize that God has blessed me with a tal­ent and that I need to take advan­tage of that tal­ent. I am cur­rent­ly work­ing on a col­lec­tion of essays from my child­hood, very sim­i­lar to the fol­low­ing, that I hope to pub­lish soon. I appre­ci­ate all of your kind words and your love. You will be see­ing a lot more from me soon!

If only I had Listened to My Mother.….….


I love to write. Love it. Love it. Love it. I tru­ly believe in the fact that God gives each of us very speci­fic gifts and tal­ents that He wants us to use. He hap­pened to make me a pret­ty good sto­ry­teller, a tal­ent that I cer­tain­ly inherit­ed from my moth­er, and I chron­i­cle those sto­ries on Face­book and here on my blog. I have often been told to write a book by friends and fol­low­ers and near­ly dai­ly by my moth­er. They tell me how much they love my sto­ries and would absolute­ly buy my book and share it with their own friends and fam­i­ly. This is where my crip­pling fear takes over. This is when my com­plete and total lack of self con­fi­dence comes in to play and I imme­di­ate­ly sec­ond guess myself and want to run and hide. Sur­prised? Don’t be. That’s the real me.

I know that I make you laugh. I know that I have made you cry. I know that I have made many of you feel bet­ter about your­selves by liv­ing vic­ar­i­ous­ly through my mis­ad­ven­tures. Through­out my jour­ney on this site, social media and shar­ing my life with you, it has always been easy for me to hit post and then hide. While I know many of you per­son­al­ly, I don’t inter­act with you face to face very often. I love to read your com­ments and reac­tions, but if you see me in per­son, you will often find that I become very embar­rassed by the atten­tion. I have a total and com­plete lack of self con­fi­dence that has plagued me my entire life. This may come as a sur­prise because I put on quite a show, but the fact of the mat­ter is, I always feel like I am just shy of being good enough.

Recent­ly, I took a plunge, a leap of faith. And I did it in com­plete and total secre­cy. I had read about the Lis­ten to Your Moth­er Show on Face­book the last cou­ple of years and thought that it was an amaz­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty. I envied the sto­ry­tellers with their con­fi­dence and mox­ie. I just didn’t have it. I stalked the web­site and knew exact­ly what it entailed, but I nev­er could pull the trig­ger. The pro­ce­dure was sim­ple enough. All I had to do was sub­mit a sto­ry about moth­er­hood, that I had writ­ten, to a pan­el to be reviewed. If they liked it, I would be called to read my sto­ry at a live audi­tion. Cer­tain­ly I would nev­er real­ly be called upon to audi­tion, so what is the harm in send­ing an email?

For those of you think­ing, wait a min­ute, aren’t you the same per­son who was in like 100 plays in your life­time, often play­ing pret­ty big roles? Yep. Why in the world would this be a prob­lem for you? True, I have had a life-long love affair with the stage. I have nev­er had a prob­lem speak­ing in front of a crowd. I haven’t got­ten par­tic­u­lar­ly ner­vous, it has always come nat­u­ral­ly. But nev­er in my life have I actu­al­ly pre­sent­ed my own work. Some­thing that came from inside of me. Some­thing that I was allow­ing total strangers to read and then decide whether or not they thought it was good enough. The thought was tru­ly ter­ri­fy­ing.

I didn’t dare run it by Mau­r­mi or The Grillin’ Fool because I knew that they would instant­ly encour­age me, which would make me even more uncom­fort­able and resis­tant. Instead, I penned a tale about a tru­ly stand out mem­o­ry from my own child­hood that depicts exact­ly the kind of moth­er I want to be and I hit send. Not expect­ing to hear a thing. A few weeks went by and then this.….……

CONGRATULATIONS!!!! We are thrilled to inform you that YOU have been select­ed to AUDITION your writ­ten sub­mis­sion piece for Lis­ten To Your Moth­er, St. Louis!”

Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph! They want­ed me to read. They want­ed me to tell my sto­ry in per­son. They want­ed me to audition.…at 37 weeks pregnant.….this would be no problem.….no prob­lem at all?!?!?!?! I could no longer keep it to myself, so I shared my excite­ment with my moth­er, who sad­ly was attend­ing the funer­al of Jus­tice Anton­in Scalia, in her kitchen, at the time and may have been caught a bit off guard.


Once it hit her, she was thrilled and encour­ag­ing and insis­tent that I fol­low through. I sched­uled my audi­tion and promised that she could come along if she swore on her life that she wouldn’t say a word. I didn’t want her telling any­one because I was cer­tain that it would be a bust and I didn’t want to not be cho­sen and have to explain it to any­one. Plus, since the sto­ry was about her and what may or may not have been, prob­a­bly was, a total ner­vous break­down dur­ing her mid thir­ties, I thought it only fair that she hear it first hand.


We arrived at the audi­to­ri­um, I signed in and was imme­di­ate­ly tak­en in to read. I hadn’t been to an audi­tion since col­lege, but it just felt right. Despite the fact that I was read­ing my own words, I felt com­fort­able. I felt hap­py. I was at home.The pro­duc­ers laughed and they cried and they clapped. For the first time in a very long time, I felt real­ly, real­ly good about what I had done.

I walked out with my head held high tru­ly believ­ing that no mat­ter what hap­pened, I had accom­plished some­thing big that day. I had a fingernail’s worth of self con­fi­dence and it felt great. But I can’t lie, I want­ed it. I want­ed it bad­ly. I want­ed to be a part of the cast to prove to myself that every­thing that I had been hear­ing was true. That I am good enough. For the next 10 days I ago­nized over the silence. I checked my email over, and over, and over again. Noth­ing.….…

I had decid­ed that it was a lost cause that it was time to give up and then the email arrived.

CONGRATULATIONS!!! We loved your sto­ry on “AIRING THE DIRTY LAUNDRY”, and you have been cho­sen for the cast of the 4th annu­al Lis­ten to Your Moth­er St. Louis. Whoo Hoo! We applaud you for hav­ing the courage to share your sto­ry with us, and you are one of 13 peo­ple in the cast this year. We promise, it’s going to be an expe­ri­ence you will nev­er for­get!”

I cried. I cried big ugly tears. This is real­ly hap­pen­ing. This is huge. I feel so hon­ored. This has ignit­ed a fire inside of me and I can­not wait to write more sto­ries and to share them with the world. This is all hap­pen­ing because I lis­tened to my moth­er. I just wish that I would have done it soon­er.


Hey, You Guys!



On June 7, 1985, exact­ly 30 years ago today, ‘The Goonies’ was released. At the time, I was six. My broth­ers were four, three and eight weeks. My mom and dad were 33 and 36, respec­tive­ly. Today, I am 36. My sons are sev­en, five and two. I am the exact age that my father was when he and my moth­er decid­ed to head to the movie the­ater with four and three-year-old boys. Four chil­dren under six, includ­ing a new­born who was left with God only knows that day, would make anyone’s judge­ment a bit lax.


The antic­i­pa­tion was incred­i­ble. After what seemed like hours, 15 min­utes real time, we walked in the doors. Can­dy, a huge tub of pop­corn and one soda with four straws lat­er, we were head­ed to the upper bal­cony ready for the Goonies expe­ri­ence.


We were all hooked on the tale of friend­ship packed with action, adven­ture and a real­ly creepy guy chained up in the base­ment. Despite our young ages, we sat pret­ty still while devour­ing snacks and slurp­ing drinks, until we didn’t. There was danc­ing down the aisle. Not tap or sal­sa, this looked a bit more like the hus­tle.


One-eyed Willy’s boat had just been dis­cov­ered when the real per­for­mance start­ed. A poor, Pep­si-filled tod­dler, began the chant famil­iar to all par­ents,


It began soft­ly with a chair squirm. “Um, I have to go. I have to go to the bath­room.” He twist­ed and twirled. “I have to go. I have to go. Dad­dy, I real­ly have to go.”


The Fratelli’s just appeared and now a kid is filled with urine up to his eye­balls. Per­fect. With mere min­utes of the movie left, but not want­i­ng to miss a sec­ond, my dad did what any lov­ing par­ent would do. He made the ulti­mate sac­ri­fice. Even though he was real­ly full, he forced him­self to eat the last of the pop­corn, cre­at­ing a makeshift toi­let and told my broth­er to tin­kle. Right there. In the tub. In the the­atre. And he did.

Goonies nev­er say die……

Have Yourself a Merry Little.….……

As a res­i­dent of St. Louis, life has been emo­tion­al the­se past few weeks. It’s sad to see heartache, destruc­tion and fear in a time that is sup­posed to be hap­py and filled with love and fam­i­ly. While I can’t fix the prob­lems in our city, cure dis­ease or stop glob­al warm­ing, I can give you the next best thing.

There is no one, not a sin­gle, soli­tary soul who can make me laugh the way that Mau­r­mi can. She is beau­ti­ful, joy­ful, grate­ful and lov­ing. Even in the low­est of lows, the tough­est of times, she finds a rea­son to smile. She nev­er meets a stranger and is a bit of an impromp­tu ther­a­pist. Whether it be in a wait­ing room, a gro­cery store, the line at the bank, peo­ple see her and begin to unload the worst of their prob­lems on her and she lis­tens, smiles and will say a prayer as they walk away always reflect­ing that life could be worse.
Tonight, as she trimmed the tree, she got some sad and clear­ly star­tling news, and yet she was able to keep in the hol­i­day spir­it.….…
I love her, I admire her and I want to be exact­ly like her.…Well, may­be not exact­ly, I’m more of an alto.…..

There’s no place like home.….well, kind of.….

It is Sun­day in St. Louis, so the boys, Mau­r­mi, Grand­pa and I head­ed to Strange Donuts, a new culi­nary hot spot, for a break­fast treat. As is typ­i­cal for any adven­ture, we weren’t in the car five min­utes before some­one start­ing to tor­ment some­one. Today’s pester fest starred Grand­pa and Hand­some #2.

Hand­some #2: Guess what? We are going to Strange Donuts, Grand­pa.
Grand­pa: No, we are going to famil­iar donuts.
Hand­some #2: No, not fur­mi­lyur, Strange Donuts.
Grand­pa: I think famil­iar sounds good.
Hand­some #2: AGGGGHHHH! Not fur­mi­lyur, we are going to Strange Donuts.
Grand­pa: I think I like famil­iar donuts.
Hand­some #2: (Cry­ing) I hate fur­mi­lyur donuts, Grand­pa.

This went on and on for twen­ty min­utes until we arrived. There was a line out the door and inside was a tight squeeze. The line moved fast, and once wait­ed on, we swift­ly made our selec­tions and were out the door. As we head­ed home, we lis­tened to a Hal­loween CD and attempt­ed to make friend­ly con­ver­sa­tion.

Me: Hand­some #2, how old are you?
Hand­some #2: I am three.
Me: Hand­some #2, when is your birth­day?
Hand­some #2: May 28th.
Me: Hand­some #2 what is your address?
Hand­some #2: I don’t have one.
Hand­some #1: Yes you do! It is XXXX Lol­ly­Dol­ly Lane.
Hand­some #2: No it’s not! I do not have a Lol­ly­Dol­ly! You are a Lol­ly­Dol­ly.
Hand­some #1: Yes it is. We all live there!
Hand­some #2: No!I!Do!Not! I do not have an address, Hand­some #1! Guess what? You are a girl.
Hand­some #1: Mom! Hand­some #2 called me a girl.
Hand­some #2: You are a girl, Flana­gan, with a bow in your hair!

PS: We do not live on Lol­ly­Dol­ly, but I don’t find it nec­es­sary to give the entire Inter­net, or the 25 of you read­ing this, my real address.
PPS: Flana­gan is what Hand­some #2 calls Hand­some #1 when he is real­ly pissed off.
PPPS: A three year old should prob­a­bly not have the cog­ni­tive abil­i­ty to fig­ure out how to real­ly anger his old­er broth­er with name call­ing and use it to his advan­tage every.single.time.
PPPPS: I did noth­ing about the above con­ver­sa­tion but laugh and be sure that I didn’t for­get the good parts. And, yes, I am work­ing real­ly hard for moth­er of the year.