Last week as I was walking I had a really hard time getting rid of Patty – you remember her – my “neighbor” who haunts my morning walks. If you missed that story, you can catch up here.

So there was Patty, just yammering away – I can’t even remember exactly what she was worried about – but she was digging into the past, projecting into the future, finding the most minute and gruesome details to chew on and the more I tried to leave her and my ego, my mind, and my worries behind, the less I seemed able to do so. I resembled nothing so much as a dog gnawing a bone.

I tried to breathe in and out, to place myself in the present moment, to enjoy the nature around me, but I was barely taking it in. I felt like I was simply a brain, walking around on my own two feet. Does this look familiar?

And so I began to pray that I could move out of my head and into my heart– that God would help me to truly feel something. There are so many things I think I know, but so few things that I truly feel. And so as I walked I asked God to help me feel, to soften my heart, to give me an experience of real emotion. But after praying for feelings for a minute or two, I started to get nervous. I chickened out and began to backpedal. I know what it feels like to feel things, and I don’t particularly like it.

I said in effect, “Just kidding about that God. I don’t actually want to have a heart that feels things deeply. That hurts too much, so here’s my new and improved prayer. I pray for the feeling to want feelings. I pray that you give me the desire to desire feelings. Someday I will want things to touch my heart, but I’m not there yet, so let’s just go slow. Give me the courage to feel things and then I will pray for things to feel.”

Whew I thought, that was a close one. Baby steps really are the way to go when it comes to these kinds of things.

I continued on with my walk, thinking I had dodged a bullet, and relieved that I had made it quite clear to that I wasn’t up for the challenge yet. I went back to Patty and my old self and walked on home.

Not surprisingly, I didn’t see any ‘#signs of love’ on my walk that day.

But a funny thing happened when I got home. I started getting everyone ready for school – smoothies and bagels and 6-course lunches for four, and then Keara remembered to do something important she forgot, which made a major mess in my kitchen where I was already making a mess and suddenly, wouldn’t you know it, I felt something! Standing there in my kitchen, I felt something ghastly rising up inside me, something like rage, something like judgment and frustration and bitterness! And wouldn’t you know it, I acted on those emotions, because in my experience, that’s what you do when you feel something. And I raised my voice, and I grabbed her project and I finished it for her – the right way of course- and tossed the finished project at her and asked everyone to please get out of my kitchen, thank you very much and I would just handle everything myself and deliver everything they needed if they would just please go away and be quiet!

So that went super well.

And I barely had time to make my apologies before they had to leave for school, but I did. I gave them kisses and hugs and said I was sorry for losing my cool and for acting crazy. I told them they were lovable, sweet, kind children who didn’t deserve the temper tantrum their mother just had. Keara also got a quick reminder that it would really help me out if she would try to remember to wrap up messy projects sooner rather than later.

And Tim, who missed it all because he was upstairs, shot me a quizzical look on his way out the door, which I just waved away, with a “Have a nice day!”

And when the house was silent, I could hear God laughing and I started laughing too, because really, what else can you do?

Apparently, God has selective hearing, just like my husband who tends to be good at hearing what he wants to hear and really good at tuning out the rest. God listened when I asked to experience genuine emotion and ignored me when I took it back. Within minutes God gave me real emotions – they just happened to be really negative emotions. Perhaps I wasn’t specific enough.

I don’t believe in unanswered prayers. I believe that much of the time, we just don’t like the answer, so we put our heads down and pretend that we don’t see it sitting there the whole time.

Obviously, I got the answer to my prayer that morning. God listened to the brave part of my prayer – the part that admitted I was ready to grow and change, and be free of the prison of my mind and the safety it affords me. I also believe He heard the second part of my prayer, where my courage failed and I asked to be left a little bit longer in the cell of my comfort zone.

Is it any wonder that He gives more credence to the prayers that align us with His will? The ones that make us more loving, more compassionate, more fully human and therefore more divine? Is it any wonder that He ignores the rest?

While part of me wanted to say, “See! Don’t give them to me; I don’t know how to handle them responsibly,” the other part of me knew that I was one failure closer to success. Next time I could, and perhaps even would, do better. Next time, I might even experience feelings of deep joy and excitement and what might my response be then? I don’t know, but it might be wonderful to watch.

So I will keep trying to say that brave part of prayer over and over again. I will keep trying to stay open to Love and how it makes me feel and if I respond like a two-year-old, that’s okay.

I’m working on it.

I had quite a few friends and readers wondering how my Mother’s Day turned out, so I thought I’d write a follow up post to let you know – not only what I got, but also what I learned.

First, let me say that I had a wonderful Mother’s Day. My family did a beautiful job of making me feel loved and appreciated. I didn’t get my ‘latte,’ but I did get a trip to Pipes Café in Cardiff with my kids in tow, which was even better. Here are the pictures of the best faces they could give me. (Finn was trying to be funny, though he didn’t quite pull it off.)

Mother’s Day breakfast at Pipes, 2012

I also received a new set of ear buds for my cell phone, so I can drive hands-free, as well as a Brixton fedora to keep the sun off my face. “Killer,” I thought, “They must love me if they want to save me from tickets, and melanoma!” I also received two handmade cards and a hand painted flowerpot. I have to admit, I was wrong. Handprints are still totally cute! Well, fingerprints are anyway. See for yourself.

"Hand-made" butterflies, caterpillars and butterflies, oh my!

The flowerpot was just the beginning of Molly’s gift. Tim calls her “The Ringer.” As long as Molly’s around, my Mother’s Day (or birthday, or Christmas) is going to be just fine. She made me a card, calling me The Best Spirital (sic)Writer Ever and quoting some of my own work back to me. She also brought me home a piece of coral that she had found at the beach to add to my nature collection of rocks and sticks from my canyon walks. Molly said it reminded her of me, because of all the holes. Apparently I “fill up all the holes in her heart with kindness.” Are you kidding me? She’s totally got my number. Thank goodness I hadn’t put on my make-up yet.

Molly's metaphor

Finn, “The Artist,” made me a card in his own unique style. His thoughtful gift, which some might think irreverent, was a perfect combination of what I love and what he loves to do. It too was added to my bedside table.

Finally, Keara, “The Silent One,” wrapped my ear buds in pink tissue paper with a white bow and handed it to me on our way out the door. Despite reading my last post, it was the best she could do. That’s okay. Deep down, I know she loves me.

Tim, as always, stepped up and told me how much he loves and appreciates me.

All in all, it was a pretty special day and I learned something too.

Glennon Melton, who I adore, had this to say about Mother’s Day. It was too late to take back my words, but that’s okay. I don’t think what I said was untrue, just maybe not broad enough in it’s perspective. On her Momastery blog, Glennon wrote,

I want to try to explain my evolving definition of the word Mother. I am starting to understand that the word works better for me as a verb than a noun. Mothering is a choice we make, like loving is a choice.  We do not need to have given birth or to have signed adoption papers to Mother. To Mother, to me, means to nurture. To heal, to help grow, to give. And so anyone and everyone who is involved in the healing of the world is a Mother.  Anyone who tends to a child, or friend, or stranger, or animal or garden is a Mother. Anyone who tends to Life is a Mother. Tomorrow is a celebration of all the healers and hopers and lovers and givers and tend-ers.  In other words- tomorrow is for every single one of you.

So I hope that yesterday, you mothered and were mothered. I hope you not only loved and healed and gave, but were also loved and tended and received. I hope you laughed and cried, because all of life is a celebration.

Happy Mother’s Day – every day – and thanks for reading.

In honor of my mother, who deserves a tribute today, but gets this blog instead.

My friend T and I were discussing Mother’s Day traditions last night – what we were doing on Sunday, what our kids, or husbands had planned, what we hoped for. We were definitely on the same page. We don’t need them to do something big; we don’t need them to do something fancy. We just need them to do something.

I definitely have friends who take the martyr approach, who are of the “It’s no big deal” variety – moms who are happy to overlook a lack of effort, sincerity, time, or money spent. I am not one of them, and as a result, there have been some rocky Mother’s Days around our home.

Before that second Sunday in May, I’d like to my kids know that:

You know, there is such a thing as gratitude. There is such a thing as acknowledging the fact that each and every day, I serve you. I cook for you, clean for you, drive for you. I entertain you, love you, tuck you in at night, take care of you when you are sick, celebrate your accomplishments and mourn your defeats. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE doing this and I love you. I will continue to do this, whether or not I get anything special on Mother’s Day, Christmas, or my birthday. I will tell myself that deep down, you really do appreciate me and deep down, I really do believe it’s true.

However, I think Mother’s Day is a nice opportunity for my husband to reinforce the messages we try to teach our kids all year long: the art of acknowledgement, the joy of gift-giving, the impact of making an effort.

When they were all in elementary school, he had it easier. The teachers would help the kids make little balls of crepe paper flowers, signs of love, or traced handprints with poems written to melt a mama’s heart. Those were the good old days. I’ve only got the baby left I that demographic, and even her handprints aren’t that cute any more.

So now the onus is all on Tim. Somehow, he has to inspire the troops to really love on their mom. How will it turn out this year? It’s questionable – because they’re growing up and bought into the hype that it’s no big deal, that Mother’s Day is just another Hallmark holiday, that a hug and a kiss and a mumbled “Happy Mother’s Day” is good enough.

Sorry mister, it’s really not.

I’d like Tim to know that:

I know you are busy. I know the kids are lukewarm about shopping. I know you detest it. But I’d really like to get something from someplace other than Hallmark, Rite Aid and Starbucks, the three shops in a row at the strip mall a mile away from our home. I like to think my perfect Mother’s Day is pretty easy. A morning latte and blueberry scone, a trip to the beach, a plate of buffalo wings and a pitcher of dark beer for dinner, while we watch an NBA playoff game. You’ve said before that my Mother’s Day is a surfing man’s dream.

Tim might like to remind me at this point that I am not all that easy. That I forgot about wanting to go to church as a family, which always involves arguments about showers, clothing and shoe-choices. G**- Forbid, Molly has to wear something besides her slip-on, checkered Vans with a hole in the toe. Since it’s Mother’s Day, he has to do all the arguing. He might also mention that my morning latte is actually a “grande, two-pump, extra-hot, non-fat, vanilla latte,” which he can never order right since he only gets it for me once a year, and then despite his effort and embarrassment at ordering such a ridiculous thing, he has to see me be almost satisfied, instead of completely so. Finally, he doesn’t like dark beer, or buffalo wings, but I order them and he eats them, because after all, it is Mother’s Day. 

Now, if anyone is getting defensive on my poor family’s behalf, let me just say again that a gift doesn’t need to be big. It doesn’t need to be expensive. It doesn’t even have to be a bouquet of over-priced flowers. It just needs to speak my love language, which means it needs to come from the heart. And if their hearts are blank, if they come up empty when it comes to me, well then, that’s a story for another day. But I am going to pretend like that’s not the case. I am going to hope that they just need a little bit of encouragement to dig deep, take some time and put down on paper a little bit of mom-love. Is that too much to ask? Colored markers speak volumes.

Tim might also like to jump in here and point out that for his birthday last week I failed miserably at this very challenge. Only two out of three of our kids mustered up the energy to make him a birthday card and his gifts consisted of two gift cards from that same strip mall I was just complaining about.

In my defense, he always says we don’t need to get him anything. I never say that! But okay, I’m humbled, but that’s not the point. The point is the ideal we are shooting for here people!

So what do you think, moms? Is Mother’s Day a big deal, or not? Does your family step up, or is it just another Hallmark-holiday to you? And what do you do to honor your mom, and your mother-in-law, and your sisters and all the other mothers you know and love and your own role in your family all in the same day?

P.S. As I finished writing, I looked up and saw this. It was my one of my best Mother’s Day presents ever. I actually have it hanging next to my bed to help me remember who I am.

Molly's Mother's Day Creation

My Pop and I, circa October 1971

A popular blogger, Glennon Melton, coined a word to describe the world as she sees it. Life brings joy and pain, good and evil, comedy and tragedy, frequently in the same day, sometimes in the very same moment. All in all, she says, it is a brutiful world, beautiful and brutal, all wrapped in one extraordinary package.

I read her description of her brutiful life and was captivated, not only by her story, but also by her word choice. I love new words, so when my father inadvertently gave me one a few days ago, I was delighted.

My father and I don’t live very close to each other and we aren’t terribly good about using the phone, so we usually rely on email to stay connected. It’s a good venue for us. I like to write and he likes to read. I share my latest ideas and he usually has some valuable commentary. On this particular day, I had emailed him an essay by one of our favorite authors (Ron Rolheiser in case you were wondering) and I shared the connections I had made between the article, his life and my own. He got back to me and ended his response in this way:

            Wishing i could hug you right now to send my love and joy in you my wounderful daughter.

Pop

I have to admit that as a former English professor, I frequently need to remind myself to appreciate what he says, instead of judging how he says it, but that day, my impulse to correct his grammar quickly fled in the face of the sentiment his sentence held.

He called me his wounderful daughter. What a gift! I know he meant wonderful, but whether it was a Freudian slip, or serendipity, being wounderful felt even more significant. It felt profound.

Somehow, I have been made wonderful in his eyes, by my wounds.

He thinks I am wounderful.

Like any father, he wanted to protect me from injury and he thought he could do it through sheer size, force of will and determination. He was an intimidating, 6’6”, successful breadwinner, with a 7-foot wingspan and a size 13 shoe. He thought that if he could keep the world at bay, including teenage boys and the smut on TV, his little girl would be just fine. Ultimately, and obviously, he discovered he couldn’t. He watched me tumble and fall too many times to count, from little ego bruises, like the 7th grade softball team I didn’t make, to major heartbreaks in friendship and love. He helped me recover, and hoped that I would learn about myself and the world around me from the pain I experienced. He watched me learn about courage, compassion, and humility. He watched me cry, thinking I would never stop and then he saw me laugh again. Through it all, he was there to bind up my wounds with his fatherly supply of unconditional love.

Our animal friends have been given adaptations. They have hard outer shells, leathery skin, horns, beaks, claws, speed, agility, and size. All these evolutionary gifts help them avoid being wounded. Their very ability to survive depends on their invulnerability.

But humans haven’t been given many physical gifts. We are slow – slow to mature and slow to move. We need to be kept warm and cool; we need artificial protection of all kinds, from clothes and sunscreen to armored tanks and bike helmets. We have few anatomically-given ways to avoid being wounded, but we have psychological weapons in spades. We have sarcasm and introversion, indifference and aggression. We have pride and arrogance. But none of them keep us from being injured in the first place. The wounding always comes first. We grow our armor later.

But hopefully, no matter how defensive we become, there remain chinks in our armor, ways we can still be wounded, and places where we are vulnerable. Wounding frequently draws blood, but sometimes it is the only way we know we are still alive: by feeling something coursing through our veins, filling our hearts and spilling over.

I would rather be wounderful than wonderful any day. In the first place, I am approachable; I am human and in some way, beautiful in my pop’s eyes. In the second, I am plastic, perhaps pleasant, but never vulnerable, which is the essence of humanity.

If you have the choice, if you are brave enough, be wounderful. It’s the only way to truly experience this brutiful world.

The other night, my little Molly Grace came in at suppertime. She was muddy bedraggled, and limping a bit. This is not unusual. Molly and Finn frequently come in to supper, covered in mud and grass-stains. They are often limping too, but they almost always have silly-looking grins plastered on their faces as well. But something was different this night. Molly’s cheeks were dirty and tear-stained and she couldn’t really talk, without starting to cry all over again. When I asked if she was hurt, she shook her head, so I just hugged her while I ran a hot bath, figuring a little love was the best remedy for what ailed her and I had a pretty good guess what it was.

To say that our cul-de-sac is a little “masculine” would be an understatement. It is athletic, dirty, physical, and loud. If you set foot on our front grass, you are signing up for a full-body, contact version of whatever sport is being played. The six kids who share the front yard (3 of ours & 3 of theirs) have invented more games than I can count, but all of them allow, perhaps even encourage, tripping, tackling, kicking, goal-scoring and shoddy refereeing. Usually, there is another little girl out there to balance the feminine factor, but that night, Molly was trying to hold her own, against the aggressive gamesmanship of at least 4 much bigger boys. She is not one to give up, but she cashed in her chips early that night. Luckily, the only serious injury was to her pride and sense of justice.

She just kept repeating, “Those boys are just so hard.” She didn’t have another word for it and I didn’t think I should label it for her.

Her experience reminded me of a movie I watched last week called The Tree of Life by Terrence Malick, starring Brad Pitt. Despite his box-office appeal, I don’t think it did very well and I am not surprised after seeing it. It’s not what you’d expect.

The movie opens with these lines, spoken in a young woman’s, beautiful, lilting voice.

            There are two ways through life: the way of nature and the way of grace. You  have to choose which one you’ll follow. Grace doesn’t try to please itself, accepts being slighted, forgotten, disliked, accepts insults and injuries. Nature only wants to please itself and others to please it too, likes to lord it over them, to have its own way. It finds reasons to be unhappy when all the world is smiling around it and love is shining through all things.  They taught us that no one who loves the way of grace ever comes to a bad end.

You don’t know to whom she is speaking or why, but as I listened, I didn’t care and that was the trick to enjoying the movie. You couldn’t care about the details, like plot and resolution. You had to absorb the images and the allegories. This was not a family drama; rather, this was the tension between human nature and grace personified, in a human family, a mother and father and their sons.

The father is not evil. That would make it too simple, too familiar of a story. The father is just human: disappointed in and proud of his sons at the same time. In love with and frustrated by his beautiful, but silent wife. Engaged in and stifled by his job and his dreams in equal measure and as such, he is mercurial and unpredictable. He is laughing and affectionate one moment, but angry and rough the next. The more he pushes his boys to love him, the further they pull away. It sounds like many fathers I know, including my own thirty years ago.

The fear in his sons’ eyes might be his fault, but I sympathized with him, because it is not a level playing field. He is married to grace incarnate. The mother is always loving, affectionate and kind. She is playful, and whimsical. She is seemingly perfect, but not in any way that makes you distrust or despise her, because unlike the ‘perfect’ women we know, it’s not a sham. This woman is not meant to be one of us. She is meant to be grace: for these boys, for this man, to save them from their human nature.

Her grace cannot save the father, but her sons can’t help but be affected by the love that pours over them every day. In one of the few scenes where she speaks at all, she tells them, “Help each other. Love everyone. Every leaf. Every ray of light. Forgive.”

The young boys try; you watch them struggle with the humanity inside them and the grace they’ve been given, which never fails. The eldest son, who has born the brunt of his father’s all-too-human pain, struggles the most to live out his mother’s message of grace. He says to his father in a moment of anger and confusion, “I wrestle with you inside me. I am more like you than I am like her.” And you can tell he is saddened by that reality.

My son is 13, about the same age as the boy in the movie, when he has that conversation with his father. I know that he too struggles within himself to be a gentle man, the kind of man we want him to be: strong and sure of himself on the playing field, or in the classroom and yet ever mindful of the gift of grace he’s been given and which it is his obligation to bestow. When Molly came in crying that night, wounded, my first impulse was to go out and lecture Finn (and his friends) about looking out for the little ones. But remembering the The Tree of Life stopped me. Grace can’t be forced. It can only be given time and time again. It works best in silence when it wants to heal, to inspire, to love.

Those boys were working out their human nature with each other and my little 9-year-old girl got herself caught in the crossfire. It isn’t the first time and I don’t think it will be the last. She’s got her own little humanity to work out, even if her middle name is Grace.

I sat down this morning to write an apology email to my husband. I had been a little cranky last night and I still hadn’t shaken the vestiges of my bad attitude by this morning. Apologizing is a habit that Tim and I have cultivated over the 18 long (and happy) years that we’ve been married. When one of us gets a little chippy with the other, or takes a cheap shot, we try to make amends as soon as we are capable of getting a hold of ourselves and putting our best (or at least better) foot forward.

The invention of email has really smoothed the process along for two reasons.

Number 1: We don’t actually have to make the apology verbally.

How many times have you attempted to say sorry, only to have your bad behavior spelled out for you all over again, along with a complete list of all the ways your poor choices affected and offended the person to whom you were apologizing? Verbal apologies can lead to bigger fights if we start defending ourselves, and/or our (mis)behavior again. Email apologies allow my husband and I to adequately express our remorse, our understanding of the ways our choices negatively affected the person we love, and our promise to do better. These email apologies work best when there is also a promise of a physical reconciliation later that day, preferably after the kids go to bed.

Number 2: Email apologies sent during the workday stop the cycle of anger and frustration before we bring it back home.

If I can bring myself to apologize (and mean it, of course) before we begin our commute home, I know our evening is going to go better. I know that he will walk in the door and say, “Thanks for the email,” or greet me with a hug and a kiss to show that we are ‘okay.’ We might still need to talk about our disagreement, but it takes the edge off our nightly routine. When we have failed to at least throw out an opening salvo of reconciliation, then the minute we walk through that door, there is tension. It might manifest itself in a hundred small ways, before we finally get to hash it out upstairs after the dishes and homework are done. The evening meal, the highlight of most of my days, is ruined for me and there is no doubt that the kids notice the lack of joy and casual, easy banter that is normally a hallmark of our table.

So what does all this have to do with Eckhart Tolle’s The Good Earth and Jeff Kinney’s The Diary of a Wimpy Kid? That’s a good question, so here you go…

In The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, there is something known as the dreaded “Cheese Touch.” The “Cheese Touch” originated from a disgusting piece of dairy that had gotten left on the blacktop for far too long. At one point, someone had touched the piece of cheese and thereby became contaminated with it. No one, and I mean no one, was allowed to touch, or be touched by that person; otherwise, that person would become the new carrier of the “Cheese Touch.” The “Cheese Touch” created a social pariah, someone who was damaged and outcast, and yet at the same time, actively and ingeniously seeking ways to ‘share the gift’ if you know what I mean.  Once you touched someone else, the “Cheese Touch” was no longer yours. In short, the “Cheese Touch” was a really complex and damaging game of tag, which was apparently played skillfully and passionately at Jeff Kinney’s middle school.

I watched an emotional version of the “Cheese Touch” take place in my home a few months ago. My eldest daughter Keara was trying to get ready to go somewhere and she was taking a long time with her clothing, which is obviously not unusual for a 14 year old girl. As her mom, (and I will admit to being maniacally prompt), I got angry at her for taking so long. I started with the “Cheese Touch” that day: anger and frustration isolating me from my community. I scolded Keara for taking so long, being so picky and making us late. The “Cheese Touch” was passed. Now Keara’s younger sister Molly tried to get in the bathroom they share to brush her own hair. Keara slammed the door in Molly’s face and her hand in the process and the “Cheese Touch” was successfully launched onto its next victim. After calming Molly down with an ice pack, I went to work things out with Keara. In the meantime, Finn went to see if Molly wanted to skateboard with him while they waited for us to be ready. In her pain, she snapped at him and told him to get off her skateboard, even if she wasn’t riding it. Another successful transmission! When we got in the car, I asked everyone to take a deep breath, so we could try to leave the house in peace. I looked around to see how we were doing. I was calm; Keara was calm; Molly was calm, but Finn was sitting next to me, slumped in his chair, with a scowl on his face.  When I asked him why he was in a bad mood, he said he had no idea. He just felt terrible, like kicking something. That was the “Aha” moment for me.

In real life, instead of fiction, the “Cheese Touch” has very little to do with a piece of stinky cheese and everything to do with the way it makes you feel. In the course of 15 minutes, I had let my anger fly and watched it travel through 3 other people I love, ending its journey in the still-sweet soul of my 12 year old boy.

I looked at him sadly and said, “Sorry you got it, buddy.”

“Got what mom?”

“The Cheese Touch.”

Since that time, the “Cheese Touch” has become a sort of verbal shorthand for the times when we have taken our anger out on someone else, someone who really didn’t deserve it. And that is where Eckhart Tolle comes in.

I was introduced to Tolle’s idea of the pain-body several years ago when I read a copy of The New Earth. I will keep the explanation short and simple, which Tolle, God bless him, can’t seem to do. The bottom line is that when you are in pain, you carry it around with you, in your body, or perhaps like an extra body part. Your pain is so big, heavy and unwieldy that it cripples you when you try to function normally. Nobody likes carrying around that pain-body, so we do what we can to get rid of it.  I know it sounds strange, but we actually go around sharing our pain-body with other people. We parcel it out through anger, frustration, and sometimes, even violence. We might go around telling other people about the ways we’ve been wronged, or wounded. When our pain-body is inflamed, we transmit our pain to other people in order to ease the burden on ourselves.

Sound familiar? I think it does to most adults who are honest with themselves, and while I can’t adequately explain Tolle’s theory of the pain-body to my kids, they certainly all get the concept of the “Cheese Touch.” They’ve all had it and they’ve all passed it on and really, the two philosophies aren’t that different.

So when I sat down to write that email apology to my husband, I realized that my nastiness over which side of the sink we keep the toothpaste on wasn’t really what I needed to apologize for. That was simply me, trying to give him the “Cheese Touch.” It didn’t really work, because he didn’t feel that badly about it, and I didn’t really feel any better.

This morning, I realize that my pain-body is inflamed. I have been feeling frustrated lately, a little “ineffective” in my roles as wife, mother, writer, speaker, housekeeper and cook. Little things are falling through the cracks, as I neglect too many things on my “To Do” lists. Last night, it made perfect sense to me that if he would simply leave the tube of Crest on my side of the sink, everything, and I do mean everything, would be so much better. In the light of day, I realize that it may not solve anything really significant after all.

So, this is my apology , honey. I’m sorry. I am going to try to hold on to my own pain-body for a little while. I am going to do my best not to touch anyone else with this stinky little piece of cheese, moldering on the playground of my heart.