The Time I Had to Submit a Photo of You to a Potential Kindergarten

Dear Future Stella,

Today one of the schools we are applying to for next year called me and asked me to email her a photo of you, preferably just of your face. Oh goodie, I am so relieved their decision is going to come down to looks. For a minute there, I thought we were going to be judged on our characters, morality and our uniqueness. We would have been screwed! However, if its a cute girl with a pretty face they want, then you have this in the bag sweetie. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. Not that anyone would, you are told you are beautiful like 100 times a week. 

I started flipping through my photos of you on my phone to pick the very best one and I soon realized that I could totally screw you if I wanted to.  For instance, I can’t imagine the school would be excited if I sent them this photo

Nevermind  that you were just showing me a cut on your finger, I wouldn’t share that detail with them. No, instead I would include a caption that apologized for the lewd gesture and say that lately it’s been hard to capture a photo without you doing this to the camera. Hopefully at school she can refrain….

Or I could have sent them this one.

Personally, the most offensive thing about this picture is your chipped nail polish. Have I not taught you anything? Don’t tell me you also forgot the names of all the Kardashians too. This next photo is a real gem.

I would go with no caption with this one, you know, for maximum impact.

Ah, and then there is this next one 



Although this is clearly a photo of you on Halloween, I would make it abundantly clear that this is an every day occurrence. I would take this time to mention that we take the concept of a “pack family” very seriously.

It would be quite rewarding to send this photo. 



This is a great way to express our excitement for the potential opportunity to get you in a uniform.

In reality, here were the two photos I was considering sending





Readers, which do you think I should send? 

Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, you are NOT just a pretty face. You are the nicest, sweetest girl on the planet and any school would be thrilled to have you. 

Love,

Mom

Do You Have a Cell Phone? 

Dear Future Stella,

Today I had an appointment at the Apple Store so they could fix the camera on my phone. After the guy helping me confirmed that, indeed, something was wrong with my camera he told me I needed to leave my phone with him so they could replace the camera. He smiled, quite pleased with his customer service, and said the process would take an hour. Excuse me? He said it so nonchalantly, as if it’s totally no big deal to not have a phone for an hour. He might as well have asked for my right arm, my uterus, or Current Stella. All of those things are on the same level in the “hard to part with” category. Actually, he can have my uterus. That thing sucks and serves no purpose to me anymore. Even my right arm would be easier to part with considering im left handed and I just acquired substantial long term disability insurance. My phone and Current Stella, though, those are like my prized possessions. I don’t know what I was expecting, my naivety assumed it would be a quick wipe down with a special Apple lens cleanser and, voila, have a nice night. 

He was handing out his hand, a gesture that said, “Just give me your phone. Everything will be all right.” I panicked and gave him this pathetic look and said, “I need to send a few texts. Inform people that will be worried if I don’t respond immediately. Can I just have a moment alone, you know, to say goodbye.” He told me to take my time and when I was ready to just drop the phone in the envelope and hand it to any employee. He then told me to come back in an hour. I wanted to freak out and be like, “How the fuck am I supposed to know when an hour has passed? You are taking my only clock you half wit.” I didn’t though, and sent out 20 texts, checked my email and my Instagram one last time before slipping it in the envelope and leaving it behind. After, I did what any concerned person would do after leaving their loved one at the hospital to undergo surgery, I went to a bar. I had a very long hour ahead of me. I didn’t have a book, I didn’t have a friend, I didn’t even have a freaking watch. I felt so lost and empty and totally alone. I sat at the bar and began to immediately nervously tap on the counter. I quickly caught myself and sat on my very nervous hands. I ordered a glass of wine and just kind of scanned the room. This is a bar I have been to many times. It looks really different though, when you are not looking at it through your peripheral vision, you know since I’m usually looking at my phone. 

I am completely aware of the fact that my generation is way too connected to our devices and it is reaking havoc on our ability to make real human connections. I even agree with the fact that it’s not healthy or productive or smart. I also know that people in my life have been irritated with me in the past for being too attached to my phone. I genuinely didn’t put myself in that catergory. Da Nile isn’t just a river in Egypt, Stella. Tonight was a wake up call. I couldn’t think of one single thing to do without my phone. My dependency on that thing became apparent when it was taken from me cold turkey. It made me think of you and made me wonder what this could possibly evolve into, you know, in 20 years. After pondering it at the bar, I guessed it could go one of two ways. The first is that cell phones will be the next cigarettes. Meaning, in a short time major evidence will surface about the dangers of phone addictions and people will slowly wean themselves off and eventually, maybe not in 20 years, people will be completely anti and you won’t be able to use a cell phone within a few feet of business and establishments. It will be a “use at your own risk” kind of deal and the stigma against people who still use cell phones will cause many people to conveniently not mention it on their online dating profiles. The second, more scary option, is that people will just have some sort of chip in their brain that acts as their permanent cell phone. That way you can have access 24/7 without the hassle of having to charge it or give it to the Apple Store for an hour.  Right now the chip option is looking pretty attractive to me but I know in that gut feeling kind of way, that I need to be better about having space from my phone. I want to be a better role model for you so that if and when the surgeon general tells us to proceed with caution when it comes to cell phones, this will be an easy call for you to make. Haha, no pun intended. Seriously, I didn’t see the pun until I typed it. I love it when that happens.

I’m not making any promises and this might be the no cell phone desperation talking, but I am going to really try to be less dependent on it. It shouldn’t be that hard. I mean, I have an IPad. 

Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, I had to ask the guy next to me at the bar for the time so I would know when to get my phone. He totally thought I was hitting on him and got all flirty. He just told me the time and then turned back to his friends. I was like, ugh, I know the game you are trying to play and this married woman isn’t falling for it. Creep.

Love,

Mom

You Have No #Selfie Control

I so wish this was a selfie.  You would officially be my hero.

Dear Future Stella,

Did you know that you are the same age as the selfie? Technically, someone used the word selfie in 2002 but it didn’t really become a thing until 2010. In 2012, Time Magazine considered “selfie” one of the “top 10 buzzwords” of the year. Current Stella is the master of the selfie and I often unexpectedly come across photos you take of yourself on my phone without my knowledge. Oh God, I should probably clarify. Today’s selfie refers to a photo that someone takes of themselves, typically the face and sometimes the body. I need to clarify because I’m worried the selfie of Future Stella’s time is like a close up of the inside of your labia or something disturbing like that. I, personally, am not a selfie person but I sure do love seeing all of yours. There are a lot of people who think selfies are arrogant and reserved for narcissistic people and the posting of these pictures actually promote woman as sex objects. Clearly, the people who feel that way have not seen my selfies. I am told selfies are supposed to be flattering, but I always look horrendous. There are others who find them empowering and think people should take selfies as a way of showing love for one’s self, and posting them publicly is proof of one’s self confidence. Then there are people like me who don’t have a strong opinion about them, I just know I personally don’t enjoy taking them or posting them. However, starting a few days ago, my camera on my iPhone has been taking really blurry photos. There seems to be some sort of film on the lens itself. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was your grimy little fingers that caused it, but the picture quality has been terrible lately. In any case, until I get it fixed, I can only take selfies, because they are the only ones that don’t turn out blurry. This inspired me to take a short trip down our selfie memory lane.

I located my first selfies I ever took on my phone, of course being 2010, your newborn cuteness were also in them with me. So your first selfie was also my first selfie. God we are cute.

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Here are some of my favorite selfies you have left me on my phone
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Here we are taking bus selfies, or technically, waiting for the bus selfies. You love doing this.
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Tonight you asked if we could lay on the couch and eat animal crackers together. Sounds like my kind of Monday night. Or really any night. Lets promise to always lay on the couch and eat animal crackers together.
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I wonder if selfies will still be a thing in 20 years? I wonder if you will continue to be a selfie person? Even if they are not a thing and you totally hate them, will you take one on my phone and leave it there for me to find? Ugh, I probably won’t have a phone and I bet our eyes will just be cameras. Figure out the modern day version of leaving a selfie on my phone and then do it please. Unless a modern day selfie is the labia thing I mentioned earlier then please, please don’t.

Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, you said tonight that you don’t like the monkey shaped animal crackers. What the fuck? You swore they taste different.

Love,

Mom

Future Job Possibilities

Dear Future Stella,

I had to fly home last night so that I could work today. I wish I could say it was difficult to leave you when you were so sick, but the truth is, I was relieved to be in a germ free zone. Before you go thinking I am harsh and cruel, hear me out. Whenever I was sick as a kid, usually with a 3 day long migraine, my parents would always tell me that they would take the pain from me if they could. I always thought that was such bullshit and there was no way they were serious. Let me tell you kiddo, they were dead serious. I would have done anything to take your fever the last couple of days so that you could have had fun at Disneyland. When people say they hurt when their kids hurt they actually mean it, as lame as that sounds. However, the rational part of my brain knew that I couldn’t just pull a Freaky Friday move and switch places with you so I was okay with going home to work. *Please watch Freaky Friday with Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan if you have not. Its pretty great.

I have always loved to work. I got my first job when I was 15 with a worker’s permit. It was a job working the register at Burger King (a fast food restaurant in case this place exists no longer. Crossing my fingers that it doesn’t). A year later I transitioned to a new job working at the front desk of a gym, where I met your father. More on that another day. Two years later, I moved to Burlingame California with your dad to attend beauty school. I got a job within a few days working at a retail store that sold jeans. On my first employable day as a cosmetologist I was hired as an assistant at the same hair salon that I work at now. That means that in 16 years (half my life) I have never had a lapse in employment. Not even a whole week without being on someone’s payroll. I love the feeling so much of earning money and I am incredibly proud of the fact that I have a job that I enjoy and that I find fulfilling. The longest time I have ever been off of work was when I had you and I went on maternity leave. When you were 11 weeks old I couldn’t wait to go back to my job, mainly because you were a lot of work, and I love to work, but not that hard!

I wonder what you will do for work? Notice how I didn’t include an option to not work? You better work. I don’t care if you don’t get paid (unless of course you are living a lifestyle that would require you to) but you have to do something, at least for a little bit. When you ask Current Stella what she wants to be when she grows up she says a waitress, a doctor and an artist. So maybe you will wait tables while putting yourself through Med School? I, for sure, won’t be paying for that so make sure you pick a fancy restaurant with great tips because Med School is stupid expensive. Then maybe as soon as you finish your residency you will decide that being a doctor really sucks and you will go to art school? The possibilities are endless and it is way too soon to know but its really fun for me to think about. Considering you are in your 20’s you are most likely trying to figure out what career, if any, you should pursue. To help you, I have included a list of Current Stella’s strengths and skills so maybe it will help inspire you. I always think its funny when the parents of successful adults are asked what they were like when they were a child and every time they find some memory or story to prove their kid had natural, God given talent. I am calling bullshit on that.

Here are Current Stella’s strengths/gifts
*Sense of smell. You have the nose of a pregnant woman.
*Ability to keep tight inventory of anything, specifically Magic Clip Princess dresses and Barbie shoes (this could come in handy being the manager of a grocery store or herding sheep)
*Photographic memory, especially brand recognition.
*Long term attention span. Like longer than mine.
*Compassion and empathy (if you don’t end up doing charity work of some kind I will be so so shocked)
*Above average swimming (please, please don’t pick this one for a job. Water jobs are scary and so are adult female swimmer bodies)
*You are a people pleaser (just don’t use this strength to be a hooker. Pretty please. Unless you can guarantee it will turn out like Pretty Woman. *ugh, watch Pretty Woman ASAP)
*Ability to go with the flow.
*Confirming things. Example: We are on the bus, you pull out my tweezers from my bag and say, loudly, “You use these to pull out hairs on your chin, right Mommy?” You already knew that they did, you just either wanted to embarrass me or you were just double checking. Double checking something you already completely know the answer to is what, I believe, makes someone a great supervisor.
*Coloring. In general you love coloring on anything but your specialty is restaurant kid menus.
*Freaky memory. I can walk into your room, rummage to the bottom of any basket, pull out the most random small insignificant thing and you can promptly give me an oral report about the toy’s origin, its use, and any other forgettable fact pertaining to said thing.
*Self entertainment. You are completely content hanging by yourself and creating your own sunshine.
*You love to dance like a free spirit on drugs at a music festival. You do this to songs on the radio, songs on the television, songs at restaurants, but my favorite is when you do this to songs on commercials. You get really spiritual and intense when the Stanley Steamer Carpet Cleaner theme song comes on.
*Observing people and silently judging them. I don’t have proof that you are doing this but I am pretty sure. If this trait continues to grow I think you would make an excellent pharmacist.

Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, I did a lot of internet research and based on your current skills, the internet says you would excel at spray painting cars in an auto repair shop, long distance truck driving, making and selling your own pottery, and assessing correctness of business tax returns. I think its time you get a job.

Love,

Mom

Current Stella Visits the Future and Pukes

Dear Future Stella,

I am one of those moms who never has anything on me in case of an emergency. I don’t like schlepping and I hate the bad luck quality of planning for the worse. When you were a tiny baby I would venture out with just the clothes on your back and a tiny purse that mainly contained my needs (money, lip gloss, cell phone). I would see moms who would arrive and look more like they were backpacking through Europe then attempting a casual lunch out. I never understood it. I still don’t. This trip was no exception, so when you decided to get the plague at Disney, I had a lot of items to acquire. They didn’t have childrens liquid Tylenol/Advil at our hotel gift shop. Um? Note to fucking Disneyland Hotel- 90% of your clientele are kids- might want to check into that. I ended up buying the infant Advil, resulting in you having to down a pint size glass of grape flavored syrup in order to be the equivalent of your proper dose. It was either that or buy the adult Advil, half a pill, crush it up and figure out a way to get you to snort it. We also had to buy a thermometer, and up and until this point, you have only had the kind that briefly touches your temple. This one was the standard under-the-tongue model, which you reacted as if I told you I was requiring you to eat the device, as opposed to just stick it in your mouth. You literally acted like a psycho. You wanted to know what it was going to taste like. Metal. You said you hate metal. You wanted to know if it was going to hurt. No. Yes it will you said. I held you down and your Dad performed the surgery of putting the thermometer in your mouth.

After I purchased all the items in the gift shop that pertained to your illness, I then started to network with my resources to access more medical supplies. First, I called my sister, your Tia, who would have come to San Francisco to help us out if that was necessary, but considering she lives in Southern California and was on her way to our hotel anyway, this favor was relatively easy. She’s the kind of mom who has everything so I didn’t really ask for anything specific, I just told her what your symptoms were and awaited her arrival. Your Tia arrived with a tiny red leather case containing all sorts of neatly labeled vials of clear oils. Along with them came some instructions (your Tia couldn’t be there for the actual administering of these drugs but she texted me detailed notes). These oils were some sort of hippie-voodoo-magic potions that she has been really into. I read the text and then checked out the oils. First of all, they smelled like a store that you would go to if you were in search of a dream catcher, mixed with an herb garden and a little bit of day spa. I vaguely remembered one was supposed to get rubbed on your spine, one on the bottom of your feet and one on your chest. In reality what happened was that I just sort of dabbled a little bit of everything on you and massaged it all in like I was preparing a Thanksgiving turkey before placing it in the oven. I was quite satisfied because, for the first time in days, someone smelled worse than me.

Here’s the bummer about the timing of your illness. We were supposed to check out of our hotel today, spend the day at Disneyland (remember up until this point you had only seen California Adventure) then I was going to fly home late that night and you were going to stay at some random (less expensive) hotel with your dad and drive home the next morning. Checkout at the Disneyland Hotel was 10am and you couldn’t check into the new hotel until 3pm. This left us with 6 hours of homelessness and our only options were to keep you in a baking hot car, or quarantine you inside a stroller and wander around Disneyland. We chose the latter for so many reasons and although I was conflicted about bringing a sick child into Disneyland, we really didn’t have a more attractive scenario. It’s not like you had the measles. Your fever was gone at this point and you were totally happy being rolled around the park in your stroller gurney.

After spending the day at Disneyland l did leave with a long list of questions and general WTF moments. Here are my top 3.
1) We saw a grown ass man, and by grown ass I mean in his 20’s, stand in line for over an hour to meet Rapunzel by himself, take photos with her and ask her a million questions. I need to know that this behavior is allowed at Disneyland only because he gets some sort of flag next to his name and the FBI is notified immediately. I would have to imagine that a giant portion of the strange crimes that people commit would be greatly reduced if Disneyland staff were able to report this odd behavior. I really tried to think of any situation that would make this interaction justifiable and I couldn’t think of anything.
2) Disneyland staff are not being properly utilized for their strengths. These people are like god damn secret agents. They approached me to pick up and throw away an empty drink container that I had set behind my foot on the ground during a parade. I would guess 2 square inches were visuable to the naked eye and they spotted that shit. If 1 man in a crowd of 100 was standing when they were supposed to be sitting, the Disney police were on it. Illegal flash photography happening during a ride? Not on their fucking watch. My dad was reprimanded for sitting in a stroller because they were only for kids. I mean, I am almost certain I could drive around SF with a gun pointed out my window and the Disney staff would stop me before the cops.These people need to be fighting terrorism, not picking up trash.
3) I want to have a focus group with people who feel the need to record an entire ride/performance/parade. I just don’t understand. Do they watch these videos again? Do they edit them down to the maybe 3 seconds of savable material? Do they think people want to see the second-hand, jolty, fuzzy version of a Disney parade in its entirety? Besides the obvious bore factor, these people never have a clear shot the entire time so random people are often coming in and out of view. Due to the fact that they are recording these events on cell phones, film school doesn’t seem to be something they would have likely completed, so I’m guessing the quality of these cinematic ventures are absolutely terrible.

I did force you out of your hospital on wheels a few times, much to your dismay, but I just couldn’t swallow the fact that you were missing out on so much fun. One of the times was to make you go on Star Tours. I really really wanted a picture with Current Stella in Tomorrowland (how’s that for a contradiction?) so that one day we can come back and recreate it but with Future Stella.

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Don’t you look so thrilled to be there? Also important to note is not long after the ride you puked in the bushes.

Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, you are such a hot mess and I hope you wake tomorrow feeling so much better.

Love,

Mom

Disneyland Makes You Sick

Dear Future Stella,

As I’m sure you are already aware, I can find the humor in just about anything. It’s pretty hard for me not to be able to joke around in any scenario life throws my way. I consider it a gift and it rarely fails me. However, today I discovered something so unfunny I couldn’t even pretend to find a laugh. Current Stella at Disneyland for the first time with some sort of illness is the absolute biggest buzz kill I have experienced yet. Here we are, for the first time as a family, surrounded by all the things Disney has invented that make us hemorrhage money, and you are vibrating, not with excitement, but with a raging hot fever. Maybe this is Karma for me hating Disneyland, or joking about measles, or maybe it’s just plain old bad luck. Either way, it really makes me kind of sad. As I have previously mentioned, you sort of deal with yourself when you are sick, so I am left feeling slightly helpless sitting in our room at the Disneyland Hotel, while your cousins are out riding the rides and seeing the sights. You requested we come back here, knowing our next stop was a Frozen Dance Party. Despite the fact that you just got a makeover at the Frozen Salon and you now have the hair, makeup and nails of Elsa, you still wanted to just call it a day. That means you are sick. You basically put yourself to bed, even though you have not had dinner or fun yet. Here’s us trying to give you dinner….

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Before you pretty much turned yourself in for the night, we did manage to squeeze in some enjoyment. Here you are this morning, with your idol, Doc McStuffins, who I now believe is a total fucking fraud. Like, why couldn’t she tell you were sick and give you a check-up? Her lame ass toys get treatment for ailments that are not even real, and here you are, a loyal fan, and she just ignores your symptoms and only cares about the photo op. Bitch.

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Next you got to meet Elsa and Anna from Frozen. I didn’t tell you this at the time, but they really sucked at looking the part. I expected way, way more. You totally fell for it though and were acting all star struck and awkward.

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I love how this pic sort of looks like you guys are having some kind of altercation. That would be my dream come true.

Next we road a pathetic excuse for a roller coaster and you absolutely hated it. I’m going to give you a pass because at the time we had no idea how sick you were. Do I look tan? I better for all the stench I put up with!

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Right after this ride you started saying that you wanted to go home and that you didn’t feel that well. I truly, honestly, thought you were trying to puss out on going on any more rides. We decided to come back to the room to give you a break and chill before our long afternoon of more Frozen bullshit. After your younger cousin, Katherine, pissed on the bed and the floor, we decided to head back out. Our next stop was the Frozen Salon where, for a price I am scared to know, some really nice girls will make you look like you are going to a quinceanera. You can thank your Grandpa for this amazing makeover. Despite the fact that you looked insane, you seemed to love this.

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And finally, we got one decent picture of you with your cousins and my parents before you begged to come home.

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I really hope Current Stella feels better tomorrow so we can enjoy Disneyland.

Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, in order to get you to swallow a spoonful of honey (for your cough) I had to buy you a toy from the Frozen Store. This is another example of me having to bribe you to eat sugar. My parenting makes no sense sometimes.

Love,

Mom

Disneyland, Here I Come

Dear Future Stella,

A terrible scent woke me up this morning. I was convinced someone had snuck into my house and unloaded open containers of expired Chinese food, or maybe they had collected all those waste bins inside public restrooms (the metal ones inside the stall itself which are most used to dispose of old tampons and what not) and then put them in some sort of heating device and then promptly left the still steaming heap on my bedroom floor. It didn’t take long to realize the smell was myself, the spray tan specifically. Never again Stella. It’s just not worth it.

I decided to take Uber Carpool to the airport. It’s sort of strange to talk to Future Stella about our current technology because I know that you either won’t have any idea what I’m talking about, or you will make fun of me because said technology is incredibly dated by the time you read this. Anyway, in case you have no idea, Uber is a service where, with a few taps on your phone, a car arrives to take you to where ever you want to go. Current Stella calls it “Uba” and she quite likes it. They give you water bottles and gum and it usually smells nicer than the bus (can’t say today’s Uber smells particularly lovely, but that’s my spray tan’s fault, not Uber’s). The carpool is a feature where you can share the car with other strangers in exchange for a cheaper fare. Considering I was traveling alone and I had nothing but time, I chose this option. The gentleman I shared my ride with was a man by the name of Jeremy, I believe. He was headed to San Diego for a few days of golf. Within a few minutes of entering the car he rolled his window down. I so badly wanted to apologize for the scent emanating off of my body but I just couldn’t work that out. I’m incredibly socially awkward. I almost asked him for his cell phone number so I could at least text him an explanation. In writing I can be witty and coherent and come off as somewhat sane. In real time, though, the results are just too unpredictable and given the subject matter, my words had way too many opportunities to veer off in strange tangents. When in doubt, I usually go with awkward silence. That always works. We were about 10 minutes into the ride, the sound of wind rushing through his window was filling the empty silence just fine, so I decided to check my email. What do you know, my flight had been cancelled. Just perfect. I say “fuck” louder than I had intended to. Jeremy looks up and starts asking questions. I tell him my flight was cancelled and he says all the obvious stranger responses, “That sucks. Where were you headed?” I go on to tell him about Disneyland, clearly crushing his dreams when I mention you and your father. I then had to painfully ask him to roll up his window so that I could make a phone call to the airlines. He obliged but from then on his voice switched to very nasally, making it abundantly clear that he would no longer be inhaling through his nose. I so badly wanted to commiserate with him and say that just as hard as it is for him to be in the presence of my rancid air, it’s even harder for me to make a phone call, to a stranger none the less. I would say we were even. The airline made me wait a ridiculously long time just to tell me they couldn’t help me.

When I arrived at the San Francisco Airport I approached the kiosk to try and work this out. After weighing all my options, it appeared my best bet was to catch a flight out of Oakland. Awesome. I will save you details because it’s not that exciting, but I finally arrived in Oakland and now I’m sitting next to a middle aged man on the plane. He’s in a business suit with monogrammed cuff links rocking out to Lady Gaga. It’s just fascinating. I have so so many questions.

I had this brilliant idea to design you a t-shirt for our trip to Disneyland. After spending a long time on it and arriving at a design I was quite proud of, your dad (and every other person I showed it to) put the kabash on it. I still have no idea why. Anyway, here’s the shirt that I wanted to order you.

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Now listen, first of all, you ARE vaccinated. Not sure if it still a debate amongst the moms of your generation, but it a huge hot topic for the families in 2015. In a nutshell, a whole gang of people have been getting the measles at Disneyland due to the high number of unvaccinated children currently roaming around. I will not pretend I am educated enough to join the debate, and I have done almost no research. I just know that you are vaccinated and totally fine, therefore able to go to Disneyland right now without the threat of Measles. I was hoping the shirt would scare people away from us, thus resulting in clearer paths and less crowds. Too bad I will never know if this would work.

Other hot topics Im curious to know if they still exist for you are 1) working moms vs. stay at home moms 2) breastfeeding 3) attachment parenting. Can't wait to have these discussions with you, as I find the evolution of such things absolutely riveting.

Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, your dad just sent me a message saying you already were scared of the characters at the Disneyland Hotel and started to cry. What the fuck child?

Love,

Mom

I’m Finding it Hard to Be Present, Future Stella

Dear Future Stella,

I’m lying awake in bed on my last night of freedom before meeting you at Disneyland. It’s so quiet in our house and I wish I could just sleep. I did that thing where I just mindlessly flipped through the channels on the TV but I didn’t have the attention span to really focus on anything. I bet TV for your generation is amazing. With the exception of shows that need to be live (sports, SNL, and Watch What Happens Live on Bravo), I am guessing you can just watch whatever you want, whenever you want. Lucky. I came back to my room to read in the hopes that it would make me tired and I could get some serious sleep before my trip tomorrow. Unfortunately, my mind is being psychotic and scattered and manic. This is the main downside to being a creative, once you have been inspired or are in the midst of a project, there is almost nothing you can do to distract from it. I love to read. I know I would love our book club choice this month (All The Lights We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr) but it’s useless when all I can think about are these letters and you 20 years from now. I’m thinking about it all the time, to the point where I’m worried I’m going to not enjoy Current Stella because I’m so fixated on the Future version. This, I believe, is the problem with humans in general. Even though Oprah did her best to try and get us to live in the moment and be present, all we can do is focus on the next thing. We are all guilty of it and it takes so much discipline to appreciate what is happening live. So there is my great conundrum. How do I continue to pour out my thoughts to you while at the same time maintaining a semblance of the version of myself that is most familiar? The version that could watch anything on television and get sucked in, the version that could get lost in a book in the middle of a hurricane, the version that could literally stare at Current Stella’s fingernails for as long as it took to actually see them grow….sigh. This isn’t a question that can really be answered in a night. I will just move on to telling you about my day today and hopefully this feeds the monster and I can go to sleep.

I ate your Kraft Macaroni and Cheese for lunch today because I missed you and it reminded me of you. NOT. I was starving and it was all we had. It was delicious and not to be “cheesy” or anything but I think it’s special that I used to eat that as a kid and now you do. Literally nothing has changed about it and to me, that’s kind of cool. Even today a meal like that is totally frowned upon because of all the processed ingredients so I am sure by the time you read this it’s probably considered poison and you can no longer find it. I think I am going to buy a case of it and put it in storage for you. Due to all the preservatives I am sure it will last forever and this way you can share with your kids a meal that has been passed down through generations. There I go again assuming you are going to have children, and this time I assumed more than one. Clearly the universe is trying to tell me/you that kids are in the crystal ball.

After my delicious lunch, I walked to town to get a manicure. You actually requested that I have this done before Disneyland. You told me to paint them pink and guess what? I was clearly missing you so much because I picked out a color called princesses rule. To be totally honest, I didn’t know that was the name until after I had already committed to it, but sometimes fate works in weird ways. Speaking of nail polish, I have this crazy fantasy of having the job that names the different polishes. How cool would that be? I would be so good at it. I need to figure out what kind of education/experience one needs to apply for this position. Considering I’m already a colorist, and I understand the concept of naming things, I can’t imagine I wouldn’t be perfect for the job. Stay tuned…

Then I did something I never do. I got a spray tan. I know, I know, they are so gross and smelly and fake looking. I know. It’s just that I’m not used to being this pale and if I’m really going to the happiest place on earth tomorrow then I want to feel happy. And being pasty makes me very unhappy. I’m a California girl through and through. Ugh, I smell so disgusting right now. I feel like a rotting fish in a garbage can. Don’t worry though, because I was smart enough to wear one of your dad’s shirts so that I won’t stink up any of mine.

The last thing I did before getting mentally side tracked with these letters is I watched the movie, The Theory of Everything. It’s nominated for an Oscar this year for Best Picture. Before you came into my life I would watch every single movie that was nominated, including the obscure categories. I was super into it. However, since your birth I have seen maybe 1 or 2 nominated movies per year and most of these viewings happened after they had already won/lost their award. I typically watch them from the comfort of my own couch, sometimes taking up to 3 days to watch 1 movie in its entirety. This year I did a lot better. I think I have seen 4 of the best picture nominations. I actually really enjoyed the movie tonight. It’s a movie about Steven Hawking, who is this genius physics legend, who also has ALS. This disease slowly attacks your nervous system, eventually disabling everything but the brain itself. The part of the movie I found fascinating is that even though he couldn’t walk, talk, or feed himself, he was able to get his wife pregnant 3 times. If that doesn’t show the power of an erection I don’t know what will.

Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, I can’t wait to see you tomorrow. I truly, genuinely, finally miss you a lot.

Love,

Mom

Day 3 Without My Family

Dear Future Stella,

I’m starting to miss you a tiny bit. I forgot how many times a day you give me a hug or a kiss or say “I love you.” You are really affectionate, you know? Are you still? I am not at all but you are softening me a bit to the idea. You start every single one of my days with a giant hug and a kiss on my cheek. Without it, I have learned, my mornings just don’t progress like they should. I find myself stuck in each phase of my routine, unable to move to the next task in a timely manner, resulting in the most unproductive days. I did yoga in your room (your room has the most available floor space in our whole house) and I was looking forward to not having you hand me one of your barbies to dress while I was mid plank. I thought it would be nice to actually be in downward dog without Gail and Phyllis crawling under my face and licking me up my nostrils, my hands not available to swat them away. It was supposed to be relaxing and calm. Instead, I found myself looking at your dollhouse and studying the last way you had everything arranged. Current Stella, we need to talk when you get home , you had the Baby Barbie face down in the toilet. Also, you are always on my case about my closet being messy- you should see how you left Barbie’s closet. Talk about hypocrite! I then turned my attention to your easel and your most recent drawings. Your writing and your ability to stay inside the lines has really improved. When did this happen? All of your S’s were facing the right way. I actually preferred them backwards. I looked at the dresses hanging in your closet and suddenly I registered how big they are. They can’t possibly fit you, there is no way you are that size. I noticed you forgot your pillow. I couldn’t hold my pose because I was consumed with wondering how you have been sleeping without it. I laughed at all the bags and containers you have stashed all over your room, inside them the contents are totally random, but not to you. I thought about moving stuff around, switching out some of the items to see if you would notice. I decided not to because of course you would notice and you would flip the fuck out. You are such a hoarder. It pains you to throw anything away and you love collecting nonsense in bags. It suddenly occurred to me that I am most likely going to be spending a ton of time in the coming years snooping around your room when you are not home. I got really excited thinking about reading your diary and going through the contents of your pockets in the laundry. Looking under your mattress and inside all your drawers. Examining your bed things with a black light. Fingerprint samples. Testing the barbed wire hung outside your windows. Tapping your cell phone. Hacking into your email account. Installing GPS tracking devices inside all of your shoes. Meticulously going through your trash. Drug sniffing dog. Maybe a forensic team from time to time. You are so screwed Stella because I’m only half kidding.

Anyway, I really do miss you. I still miss Gail the most, obviously, but you are rapidly gaining momentum.

Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, I raided all your Valentine’s candy last night while watching the Bachelor.

Love,

Mom

Day 2 Without My Family

Dear Future Stella,

I slept like a starfish last night. Or wait, I don’t know how starfish sleep but I slept in the shape of a starfish. It was glorious. I used your dad’s pillow instead of mine because his is better and it’s a luxury that would never happen if he were here. I also slept in one of his t-shirts, which I am not telling you this because I think you will find it particularly riveting but only to irritate him when he reads this because for some reason he doesn’t like me to sleep in his shirts. Or wear his socks. He has this weird fear that he’s going to run out if I dip into his supply. Instead of trying to write how asinine this is, I will just show you. Here is what his shirt drawers, yes plural, look like. Keep in mind, he most likely has 7 or so with him in his suitcase, I am wearing 1 and there are about 4 others in the laundry.

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Another important thing to note is that he just got rid of an entire garbage bag of t-shirts to the Goodwill. So yeah, the man has a shit load of t-shirts.

The sock thing really pisses him off. I thought I solved this problem by getting him 40 pairs of socks for his 40th birthday but not only was that an offensive and inadequate gift for a 40th birthday, he STILL freaks out when he discovers I’m wearing his socks.

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So guess what? I just changed into a different one of his t-shirts and later when I get dressed I am going to most likely wear 2 pairs of his socks.

BTW, it took every shred of self discipline inside me to not get him another pair of socks for his 41st birthday, the thought being that he would always have the same number of socks as his age. I thought this would be handy as he reaches the later part of his life and the possibility of him forgetting his age becomes more of a reality. He was so annoyed at the first 40 pairs though, that I had this intuition that the next pair would completely throw him over the edge. There really is a great lesson in this for you, Future Stella. First, always trust your intuition. It has never failed me. Second, always walk the line with those you love between teasing them and totally fucking pissing them off. Your dad and I have a relationship that basically just cruises along this line at all times. For instance, considering it has been more than 20 years since he has received socks as a gift, I think it is totally acceptable and hilarious if you get him 61 pairs of socks for his birthday this year. Let me know if you need assistance (funds wise) for this, as I believe this is a totally normal and justifiable opportunity to dip into our savings.

Speaking of things as old as your father, I watched the 40th anniversary show of SNL last night. I hope that show is still on for you to enjoy, although I really doubt it can happen without Lorne Michaels. I am a diehard SNL fan, even when it’s not funny. I have so much respect for the writing of that show and even more for the actors who try and take that on. Comedy to me is everything and that show is an hour and a half of all things I adore. I’m hoping you have a sense of humor and enjoy both dishing our and receiving jokes. Laughter is basically a socially acceptable public orgasm. Like an orgasm, laughter is a pleasurable release of energy. Also, when choosing your mate in life, they should be able to make you laugh just as easily as they should be able to make you orgasm. They are equal to me in the importance department, and sometimes they go hand in hand. Similarly, making someone laugh is just as powerful as making someone orgasm. How gross is it to picture your mom having an orgasm? I know, right? That’s why I said it. So fucking gross. Yuck. You must be like so disturbed right now and I am loving it 20 years in advance.

Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, you better not be behaving like a little shit monster for your grandparents today.

Love,

Mom