I Have Been Waiting 20 Years to Tell You This

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Dear Future Stella,

One of the reasons I started writing these letters to you was so that I could open up and tell you things that would not necessarily be appropriate to tell Current Stella. I was afraid that if I waited until she was mature enough to hear certain things then I would have forgotten and she would never know how I was feeling or the details of things that happened during her childhood. This is one of those letters where I need to get something off of my chest and it’s probably been killing me your whole life. Are you ready? Sit down or maybe float up in the air, whatever it is you guys do these days. It’s about your Dad.

I work on Saturdays. All things kids and boring always happen on Saturdays. I used to think it was great to work that day because I got out of most bridal and baby showers, and taking Current Stella to every birthday party was officially your Dad’s job. I loved that the concept of a “soccer mom” could never happen to me because you had to actually go to the games to be seen with a van full of orange slices, unflattering jeans and a baseball cap. Then I found out that most birthday parties serve booze to the adults and that soccer moms usually have a little extra zing in their Starbucks cups and I started to regret my schedule. Then Current Stella actually started playing sports and the other parents and your dad would send me snap shots of her playing and looking sporty. They would gush about how great she was doing. That’s when I started to really resent my Saturdays. Your dad would tell me about every poor kid that lacked athletic ability and I would beam with pride and relief that you were omitted from these stories of unfortunate genetics. When basketball started and your dad volunteered to help coach I seriously began to loathe Saturdays. I hated missing these moments of what could only be the dream team exuding dominance against their pint size opponents. I pictured your dad down on his knees, holding Current Stella by the shoulders and encouraging her to own that court and take that ball from whatever obnoxious brat was on the other team. “It’s yours” he would say. Current Stella would bare her teeth, grunt a couple of Neanderthal sounds and get out there and bulldoze the kid with the ball and return it for a 3 point shot. This is seriously what I pictured based on how your dad talks to his teams on television and how much he praised her skills. I would come home from work on Saturdays and he would tell me how she almost scored and that she did such a great job. I kept thinking how hard that basket must be to make because if he’s celebrating an “almost score” then it must really be tough. Then Current Stella would tell me how much fun she had and I just would fill up with sadness and deep regret. I would go to bed thinking about jobs I could get that didn’t require work on Saturdays. However, I knew if I couldn’t switch careers it would be a heartwarming tribute when Current Stella finally got inducted into some sort of athletic hall of fame. She won those games for me, she would say, because I could never be there.

Then I got shingles and I couldn’t go to work for a full week. Not really because I was contagious but it was really painful and it affected my dominant arm (which you kind of need to color hair). When Saturday rolled around I was healed enough to finally get to go to your game. I was so excited.

I have to tell you Sweetie, I don’t know which was more painful- my shingles or Current Stella’s attempt to play basketball. She is terrible. I mean, just horrendous. It pained me to tell her “good job” and “way to go, Kiddo” after watching her just flail around the court with her mind in a completely different universe. She keeps her hands up, I suppose to be ready to block the ball, at all times- even on offense. She’s always where the ball isn’t and it’s unclear if she even knows that half the kids out there are not on her team. Here’s the really painful part- because she’s only 5, they make it almost impossible to mess up and she still blows. The basket is basically her height, they are allowed to double dribble, travel, and they cant get the ball taken from them. They wear wristbands in different colors that match the color of the opponent they are supposed to defend. When you tell Current Stella to find her person she searches her own team frantically for the matching wristband- which she obviously never finds because that person is a)on the other team and b) on the other side of the court shooting point after point.
Every person on her team scored multiple times except for Current Stella. I am not sure if anything she did out there fit under your dad’s description of “almost scoring” but I hope not. The worst part was, her team technically won and so she left feeling proud and elated and because it’s frowned upon to tell a kindergartner how absolutely shitty they are, I had no choice but to congratulate her.

Here’s the thing, I didn’t really think you were going to be a professional basketball player, or any pro athlete for that matter. I just assumed that based on your Dad’s freakishly amazing coordination and his extreme high standards when it comes to honing one’s skills that despite all of it you would at least be like the Little Engine That Could. I also assumed that if for any reason your performance was sub par that he would be brutally honest about it and have you outside on the courts until your fingers were bleeding. I actually worried that his need to dominate and win would be too much pressure on you. Our team is about to play in the Super Bowl this Sunday and if Peyton Manning played like Current Stella did even for 5 seconds your Dad would physically go down to the stadium and swing punches at children and scream obscenities at elderly Bronco Fans. Gushing about how Peyton almost scored a touchdown would never cross his mind. He sees something in Current Stella worth praising even when the rest of the spectators are looking away in embarrassment and wondering if maybe Current Stella just got out of a major surgery and the anesthesia hadn’t fully worn off yet. Seriously, she’s that bad.

He just proved to me this last Saturday that he must either love you way more than I thought possible or he’s a sick liar. I just thought you should know that he’s capable of such unconditional loving support. He might have been telling you a bunch of exaggerated nonsense about how wonderful you are at everything your whole entire life. Stings a little bit I bet. I know, I just thought you should know.

God, that felt so good to just type that. I feel lighter, and more available for Current Stella emotionally now that I have said my peace.

Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, you (like most kids your age) are obsessed with balloons. I personally don’t get it, but whatever. Your teacher had 100 balloons in the classroom for the 100th day of school. Each kid got to take home 3 and it was kind of weird how happy this made you. On the way home you lost 2 of them so that last one was a big deal. I really can’t stand the balloon hoarding that is trending big time in your life because you feel the need to keep them until they are prune-like. I find this creepy. In an attempt to speed the process up I suggested you give it to our neighbor upstairs because it was his birthday. I told you this would make his day. You were skeptical but ultimately ended up writing “Happy Birthday Mike” on it with a sharpie and marching it upstairs to give him while he was in the middle of playing poker with his buddies and most likely waiting for the strippers to arrive. Almost instantly you regretted this decision. You needed that balloon back in your life and until you got another one your body would feel like it was missing an appendage. Your G-ma and Grandpa were visiting and they cannot stand for you to want for anything so promises of bigger and better balloons the next day came flying your way. The next day, your Grandpa took you into the grocery store to pick out a balloon and this is the one you came out with.

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Way to be awkward Pumpkin.

Love,

Mom

P.S.- Enjoy some photos from our past week

Here we were checking out Super Bowl City.
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I would like to leave you with this picture of you pretending to be a dog with Gail the Puppy, which is my absolute favorite idea on this whole planet.

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This is a Test. Future Stella, Can You Read This?

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Dear Future Stella,

How are you doing kiddo? Having a good day? I bet you are not. I went ahead and checked this date (January 26th) in 2025 and it falls on a Sunday. Specifically, the last Sunday of the month of January. You know, the Sunday before the Super Bowl, which means no football. See, I knew it would suck. I am sure you are aware of my deep obsession with the Denver Broncos. In fact, if we win the Super Bowl this year then I am going to get a tattoo of Peyton Manning on your lower back so hopefully you are a fan too. If the Broncos were lucky enough to make it to the Super Bowl in 2025 (like they did in 2016) then that Sunday is going to be a very anxiety ridden day for me. Future Stella, this year the Broncos not only made it into the 50th Super Bowl but the game is being played here in San Francisco. I will probably be on my death bed and regretting not getting tickets to the game but they are thousands of dollars. I don’t even think I could sell Current Stella for enough money to get your Dad and I there and she’s probably the most valuable thing that I have, besides Gail the Puppy of course. Not that I checked the going rate for a toothless five-and-a-half-year-old girl with golden hair and unique eyes who can almost read. If for some reason I did end up selling you and you are reading this from your new life, don’t be mad, let this be inspiration to follow your dreams no matter the sacrifice. Also, it probably means you didn’t have to get that tattoo so thats nice. As I am typing this I am having a major epiphany. The chances of the Denver Broncos playing again in the Super Bowl here in San Francisco in my lifetime is zero. However, I could have another kid tomorrow if I wanted to so really, I would be foolish not to try and sell Current Stella. I have not looked into it much, but maybe I could pawn her and then one day buy her back? I could also yank her from private school and stick her in public just for one year and that would save me enough cash to not only buy 2 tickets to the big game but also parking and maybe even a hot dog. I am only teasing you, I couldn’t sell Current Stella, mainly because its illegal. Wouldn’t it be cool if the Denver Broncos were headed to the Super Bowl again in 2025? If they are I bet you have a bunch of bandwagon friends that all of a sudden are sporting vintage Manning jerseys. If anyone questions your authenticity you just show them these pictures.

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Your first Broncos game.
Your first Broncos game.
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We made it to the Super Bowl one other time in Current Stella's life.  We lost to the Seahawks.
We made it to the Super Bowl one other time in Current Stella’s life. We lost to the Seahawks.

I have been so stressed out about the Broncos that I gave myself shingles. Seriously, a doctor today told me I have shingles. I have a virus that old people usually get because their immune systems are not as strong and so any amount of unneeded stress will cause their childhood chicken pox virus that has been living dormant in their bodies to erupt into a nasty rash that is so goddamn painful that they start to look forward to their own deaths. Except I am not old and I don’t want to die. If it wasn’t the Broncos that stressed me out it had to have been hosting a family the size of a Major League Baseball team’s active roster for Christmas followed by some psycho super flu that slowly sucked the life out of me for the next two weeks. I was so behaved once 2016 came because I knew I had overdone it. I gave up coffee. I quit drinking wine (during the week) and I started giving myself relaxing facials twice a week. I drank a ton of water and slept for at least 8 hours a night. I started using hand cream religiously. Instead of losing 8 pounds and looking 10 years younger like I had anticipated, my body decided to give me shingles. As I type this I want to gnaw my left arm off because if something so much as a tissue touches the skin surrounding my armpit I might cry. Future Stella, you won’t have to worry about ever getting shingles because you were vaccinated for Chicken Pox. Lucky bitch.

Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, you are learning how to read and every time you sound out words like “ka-ka-aa-aa-nnnn- can!” I almost forget that my arm feels like someone removed all the layers of my epidermis and all of my nerves are just sitting exposed, radiating shooting pain anytime so much as a breath touches them. Its so amazing to watch you figure it out. I don’t think you are like genius material or anything like that, but I do think you are going to be smarter than me (which isn’t saying much) and that’s really cool. I am so delighted that you are learning how to read. Reading is my medicine, my escape, and my number one source of independent enjoyment. This is the most excited I have ever been as a mother for you to acquire a new skill. Don’t get me wrong, walking was kind of magical, as was the first time you said “my little pink puss” in reference to your purse- but reading is heart swelling to the point of bursting material. The only thing that will ever top it is when you finally learn to wipe your ass. Anyway, I like to picture the two of us cozy on a couch, each with a book in our hands and a dog at our feet. You are maybe 15 and I am still 32 and I don’t have shingles. We are in one of those luxurious houses that don’t really have walls but flowy white material swaying softly in the breeze. We are not talking and we are both lost in what we are reading. Maybe there is a naked underwear model there serving us food and drink or perhaps a Native American woman named Eyota is sitting in the corner behind a giant loom making me a rug- the details are not that important. What is important is that we are both just devouring our books and we can pass the time just fine with no sounds or forced conversation. That would be such a perfect day.

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Love,

Mom

Ritual Attempt #4

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Dear Future Stella,

We have had 3 attempts so far to find our Monday ritual together. Some have been more tragic than others, but none were that great. If you want to recap, here’s attempt #1, here’s attempt #2, and here’s attempt #3.

This time I decided to take Current Stella on the bus over to North Beach to see what kind of fun we could get ourselves into. I briefly researched kid-friendly places in North Beach and I immediately regreted it. Most kid-friendly anything is my worst nightmare. A restaurant that says there are kids running around everywhere or that kids eat free on Tuesday nights are exactly the type of places that make me want to click my heels and return to Pre-kidsville. No thank you.

I picked Current Stella up from a playdate and I’m informed by the mother that she had an accident but that she was wearing something she picked out on her own to borrow. Great, except that what Stella picked out was a butterfly costume over leggings (ew!) with boots. I put her cardigan on to hopefully cover the wings and just assumed this was the start to yet another worthless ritual attempt.

On the bus, Current Stella wanted to know if North Beach was on a beach, which it is not. Of course, this prompted why is it named a beach when it isn’t on a beach. Thank God for Google and Wikipedia because I had absolutely no idea. It turns out, it used to be on a beach until the city added landfill and then built on top of that. She wanted to know what landfill was. I pointed at a little girl wearing pink and distracted her the way you can with birds and shiny things.

The first thing we did was walk around upper Grant Street. I am in love with this narrow street with cute little lights stringing across it. The stores are unique (no Starbucks here) and we managed to find a few little toy stores for the Mini Lady to peruse. I told her she could buy one toy. She picked out a Tiana Magic Clip Princess, which was a huge celebration because it was the ONLY one she didn’t have already and I think some sort of special power is granted to those that collect all billion of them. Tiana became a part of our ritual and had to be included in every conversation we had from that moment on.

We made our way to Washington Square Park and sat on a bench to draw the Saint Peter and Paul Church in the sketchbook we brought. This actually turned out to be a hit and Stella noticed a ton of detail in this church that would never have been noticed without sketching it. A police officer noticed her doing this and brought over some stickers to give her. He told her she was now part of the junior police force.  She already is a law abiding citizen and now she thinks she is an officer of the law. She’s worse than a mall cop as it is, so her newfound ranking is going to drive me nuts. “Mom, you just threw away a straw wrapper but that is supposed to go in the recycling.” “Mom, you said I could only have 2 pieces of licorice but you gave me 3.” “Mom, this isn’t a crosswalk. Mom, I thought we can’t cross the street without holding hands.” We were crossing a 2 foot long bike path in the middle of a park. Sigh.

   

Tiana posing infront of the church

  

Tiana checking out Current Stella’s new police badge, I mean sticker.

  

Saint Peter and Paul Church above and Current Stella’s drawing below. I may have helped with some of it….. 

Next we met Current Stella’s friend Audrey and her mommy at the park so they could join us for the rest of our ritual attempt. The girls were playing at the park wonderfully until some kid ripped Tianas head off and dismantled her dress and then handed it back to Current Stella. I really thought she was going to physically rupture. The injustice of it all was a little too overwhelming and I was just glad she didn’t use her sticker badge and arrest the boy for a racial hate crime, Tiana being African American and all. Poor Tiana, she didn’t even last 3 hours. I needed the crying to stop ASAP though, so I agreed to walk back to the toy store to buy a replacement. Of course the store sold her the last Tiana doll earlier that day, but for 3 times the price I could get the Tiana gift set that comes with 3 dresses and a carrying case. At this point, I would have purchased an actual child and stuck a green dress on her and named her Tiana if it meant the whining and crying would end. It’s really bizarre, because in my day to day life I’m usually not persuaded by meltdowns, nor do I condone rewarding demanding requests by irrational toddlers, but I was desperate to save this ritual attempt. 

   
Fun at the park with Audrey until…..

  
This happened.

  

Here the girls are showing off their new toys. 

  
After Current Stella returned back to Planet Earth from her brief visit to Psycho Island, we set out to dinner. I wanted to try this world famous Pizza place, Tony’s Pizza Napoletana. There was a little bit of a wait so to kill time we decided to grab a cocktail (much deserved) at Tacolicious. Current Stella goes to Tacolicous every Friday with her Dad (the motivating factor behind me wanting my own ritual with her), but this is a different Tacolicious in a totally different neighborhood. This was weird for Current Stella because everything was exactly the same as the Tacolicious she was used to, but it was also obviously not the same. This brought an element of familiarity to the ritual attempt that I think grounded her. She did refer to a random Mexican worker as Sebastian (that’s the name of the guy at the other Tacolicious) so I think a conversation about racial stereotyping is in order. 

  
Finally, our table was ready and we were all starving and ready to dig in to what apparently is the best pizza in the nation. This place gave uncooked pizza dough to the girls to play with while we waited. I usually hate kid-friendly gimmicks, but this was pure genius. The kids loved it!

   
    

But do you know what happens to pizza dough when it gets overworked? Yeah, it’s a friggin nightmare.  If there is a Tony’s employee reading this, may I suggest a shower in the bathroom and maybe some sort of oil-based cleanser? 

Our pizza came and it was ridiculous. Wow. Pizza is usually one of those default dinners when you have no food in your house and no energy in your body so you just need someone to arrive with nurishment that you can also continue to eat the next day. It fills a void. It does the trick. This pizza though, is everything. 

  

Lastly, we accidentally found a candy shop on our way back to Kelly’s car, so even though it was already an hour past their bedtime we, “the parents,” decided that giving them sugar at this time was logical. 

  

Future Stella, if I ever have the financial resources to have a house with more than just our 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom, can you remind me that I dreamed of having a room with giant barrels filled with candy in it? I really think a replica of the room above in my house would be the greatest thing ever, for all of us I mean. 

In summary, this ritual was way too expensive to do every week unless we decided to cut out the part where a random kid beheads one of Current Stella’s new Princesses, thus cornering me into buying whatever it takes in all of North Beach to get her to climb down from the ledge. That aside, this ritual was amazing.

I like the idea of exploring a different part of this awesome city each week instead of committing to just one spot. Let your Dad provide that tired old consistency that she can always count on and I will be the one to spice it up and expose her to spontaneous surprises each and every week? It just makes more sense this way. I just can’t beat Tacolicious Fridays. Stay tuned…
Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, yesterday was Cinco de Mayo and as you know, Gail the Puppy is a Chihuahua. This means she is technically Mexican, and therefore we are too I guess, or at least I wish. 

 
Speaking of Cinco de Mayo, I Just received the greatest text message of my life today from one of your teachers 

    

Adios,

Mom

Details of Your Parent’s Date Night

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Dear Future Stella,
I fall asleep most nights thinking about things I want to write to you about and then by the morning I convince myself that they are boring and uninteresting so I don’t go through with it. I’m also having a lazy week where simple tasks (like removing my makeup) seem like a job that someone should pay me for. If you ever have felt like life would be so glorious if it could happen entirely on a couch, then you can thank me for yet another trait that I gifted you with. In fact, you are already showing signs of this genetic lethargy. Recently, you have turned your favorite blanket into “a boat” that you row around our house to get from room to room. Some child expert would probably say this was just another example of a child’s active imagination, but I can spot an apple that has fallen from my tree and I can almost guarantee this is just an excuse not to walk. It also could be the very early stages of inventing Uber Apartment, an app that physically moves you from room to room without having to actually use any energy.
  
 

Finally, tonight something happened that was worth telling you about. Your dad and I had a date night. We like to do this on Thursdays and I cannot think of anything more important to know than a very detailed account of your parents alone time together…..20 years ago. 

We decided to try a new restaurant that just opened in San Francisco, after all, that’s why we pay a nauseating amount of money to live here, right? We picked a spot that comes from a strong lineage of very successful popular eateries in SF. It was a Spanish tapas restaurant in the Castro that just opened their doors a week ago. That played hip hop music. 90’s hip hop. Specifically Dr. Dre and Eminem. No, exclusively Dr. Dre and Eminem. Makes sense, no? Being a party of 2, we of course were sat at a table that was barely bigger than a clipboard and wedged between 2 other itty bitty tables. You know the kind im talking about- where you have to suck in and lift all of your belongings over head just to squeeze into your seat? Even though we were inches apart from eachother it sounded like we were speaking through prison glass but without a phone. Meaning, we literally couldn’t hear a word the other person was saying. So San Francisco. Thank God for the Eminem beats. Naturally you could perfectly hear everything the stranger next to you was saying so this place was designed for married couples. We hear eachother talk all the time. 

The menu was your standard list of pretentious words in a foreign language that make absolutely no sense at all. We made the fatal mistake of asking our waiter which items from the menu he suggests. He proceeded to list all the items that sounded the least appealing and made the least amount of sense. 

To stall, your dad ordered us a glass of rose and made a comment about how he really enjoys going to restaurants where you are legitimately terrified to try the food. Not allowing his sarcasm to sabotage date night, I act like I’m so down to try snail penis and rabbit guts and calmly tell him that he really needs to broaden his horizons. 

We order a bunch of shit that we have never even heard of and we both guzzle our wine in hopes that we won’t taste, or at least remember, what we are about to eat. 

First thing the kitchen brings out is bread. We both let out a giant sigh of relief. Starvation is officially out of the question. Just when that warm glutenly goodness is about to reach our lips, our waiter brings us a jar filled with mussels swimming in a red sauce to dip our bread in. Reluctantly we go for it. Phew. It’s good. Not delicious. Not repulsive. I look around (because I cannot make out a word your dad is saying) and I’m bobbing my head to “Forgot about Dre” and I’m thinking we should totally go to Spain. We are so totally in Barcelona right now and it’s epic. 

Next thing that came out was an $18 charcuterie plate. We both love meat so we figured this dish would be a slam dunk. On a plate no bigger than Current Stella’s palm sat 6 slices of chorizo and 5 tiny pickled carrots. It’s worth mentioning that the slices of chorizo were the exact size of a quarter, except they cost 3 dollars each. 

There was a section of the menu called pintxos. The 4 items listed under that were all unrecognizable words (hopefully in Spanish, but could very well have been written by Eminem) with a few English clues that referenced possibly the most unappetizing, shockingly considered edible, items on the planet. At the bottom of the list was an option to try them all. The restaurant called this a Pintxo Flight for $12.50. Sold. The first thing we tried was on a skewer and since I have no idea what it actually was, I can only tell you what it looked and tasted like. It looked like a a piece of pepperincini pepper, a sliver of green olive, and a sample of those worms that come out after it rains. It tasted like a salty-rancid-fish-dare. Something that would require a reward of sorts for a person to actually swallow and digest. We both took a moment after we swallowed and I can’t be sure what your Dad was saying or thinking, but I was appreciating Current Stella a little bit and wondering if this is how she feels when we require her to try green beans. 

Next on the sampler plate was a Sea Urchin egg. I’m not a fisherman or a marine biologist but I don’t think Sea Urchins lay eggs but, to be fair, I didn’t go to college. This dish tasted just like a devilled egg. I was just starting to feel adventurous and then they serve us the most basic american appetizer ever. 

Following this utterly confusing treat was a cured duck toast. This was a slice of toast with asparagus and goat cheese and a tiny harmless slice of cured duck on top of it. I’m not in marketing at all, but maybe include the words asparagus and goat cheese on the menu?  This was super yummy but I was sweating thinking about what a cured duck toast was going to be like, and man, the reality was so much better than the verbage! 

Last on the sampler plate was a fava bean and chorizo croqueta. This actually sounded good but it was the size of a marble, so splitting it in 2 was a small miracle and the taste of my own saliva overpowered the whole dish. 

To finish off our meal we ordered the patatas gravas and some spicy onion dish that our waiter recommended. Oh, and a glass of red wine. Patatas gravas are a given in every Spanish restaurant so it would be Un-American not to order them. For instance, if you are in Japan and eating at an American restaurant you better order the hot dog. The patatas (I like saying that word because you get to say ta-tas) were as good as any hot dog I have ever had. To best describe the onion dish, it’s easiest to just provide a recipe. First, buy a bundle of giant scallions. This restuarant claims their’s is a special onion only grown in Spain but that one person figured out how to grow in SF and exclusively grew it for this dish. Let there be no mistake about it, it’s a scallion. Take the scallion and throw it in a pan (don’t bother to cut it, they didn’t) and cook it for barely 10 seconds so it still tastes raw and then toss it in some spicy pasta sauce and, voila. Sounds great, right?

The waiter asked if we wanted dessert. Yeah. Fucking. Right. No thanks, Buddy. I heard you tell the table next to us that you only have 1 dessert and then you said about 6 words that sounded Latin and then the words creme brûlée. We are going to pass.

After dinner we still had an hour left before the sitter was off and considered what we should do. We narrowed it down to making out in the car parked in the Castro or rushing home so we could kiss you goodnight. I’m not telling you which one we picked….
Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, this morning Gail the Puppy chewed up the sandals you really wanted to wear to school. You were so pissed and while I was trying to find the sandals on the Internet to reorder (because I’m the nicest mom ever) you slapped my phone out of my hands. I raised my voice at you because we were late and we left the house both totally angry. As soon as we got on the bus you said nothing but slid on to my lap and enveloped me in a hug and said you were so sorry. Sometime I wish I could just apologize as quickly as you can. You inspire me to want to try harder at that. I should have been saying sorry to you for getting so impatient. I should say sorry a lot more in my life and I hope that trait of yours rubs off on me. I’m teaching you how to be lazy and you are showing me how to say sorry and make amends before problems fester. This is a mutually beneficial relationship.
Love,

Mom

To Belieb or Not to Belieb- I Dont Care Either Way

Dear Future Stella,

I was in an Über on my way home tonight and the city looked so ridiculous (in a good way. Im not sure how your generation will use that word). It looked like there were little lego houses on hills. The bay was perfectly calm and the sunset was this magical salmon color. A few boats were peppered on the horizon and every single house looked like a storybook. There was no breeze and the air was the perfect temperature. I will never get used to this city and its beauty. I feel so lucky to live here and even more delighted that I get to raise Current Stella here. I hope at some point you were able to notice this luxury and really, truly absorb it. Its amaze-balls (another trendy slang word that I hope makes you cringe right now).

For pure entertainment value, I would like to note that as I write this, Justin Bieber is getting roasted on Comedy Central. I am dying to know what someone of your generation thinks about him. Lets please meet soon and just strictly talk Justin Bieber. Its going to be so much fun. I hope I can even remember who he is in 20 years. If I need help, just give me these clues. Say, “Baby, Baby, Baby- ooh.”

Actually, just show me this video and it should jog my memory. Side note- your Dad thought it was “Jot my memory.” I like to point out moments when I appear smarter than him. I don’t know about you, but my memory doesn’t seem to jog or jot. Wait, before you watch this please make sure your sound is turned up- otherwise its totally pointless.

Oh thats right, now I recall, you are a longtime Belieber. I really tried my best to blur your lady parts but I am not a computer person and it was getting late.

Your Dad has almost finished redecorating Current Stella’s room. Eight trips to IKEA and several bottles of wine later, its making progress. Not enough to photograph, but its coming along. I can’t wait for her to see it.

Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, you had a moment with your Dad today that was so sweet and so inspiring for me to see as a parent. You were acting like a lunatic and screaming and your Dad both disciplined and loved you all in the same action. I hope that in your moments of emotional frustrations your Dad will continue to support and ground you. It was pretty cool.

Love,

Mom

How I Deal With Stress

Dear Future Stella,

I have spent all 4 1/2 years of Current Stella’s life telling myself I wouldn’t be the Mom that stresses about getting her into Kindergarten. *Fun fact, major tangent here, but did you know that up until very recently I actually thought it was spelled Kindergarden with a D. Mainly because autocorrect doesn’t seem to mind that version, and that’s exactly how it sounds AND I just pictured a bunch of small children blossoming in a garden so that word made more sense to me. Anyway, I can almost guarantee I spelled it wrong on most of your applications. I’m hoping they will see it as some kind of diversity thing where a parent made it to 30 years old without knowing how to spell that word correctly so their kid really deserves a better shot at education. Ok, back to the real story.

Every mom in San Francisco warns you about the stress of getting into Kindergarten. Then they continue by saying everything always works out and not to stress about it. That is basically the equivalent of telling a young person to enjoy being in a bathing suit or advising a 5 year old child on the playground to appreciate their hair because one day it might turn grey. It’s the kind of advice I despise because such epiphanys can only be had once you have made it to the other side. It’s a fact. So yes, I told myself not to stress out and that everything happens for a reason and bla bla bla. We find out tomorrow where you got accepted, if anywhere, and I really tried to keep perspective.  In reality I have like 8 new zits, I scream at the dogs for needing to go to the bathroom and tonight I made Current Stella go to bed an hour early. I do this by adjusting the clock on the microwave and then showing it to her. She falls for it every time because she is so naive and loves the structure of a bedtime. If the microwave says its 8pm, it must be 8pm.

 *fun fact: our microwave actually hasn’t been adjusted since daylight savings so I actually had to move it ahead 2 hours to trick you, so now instead of being an hour behind its now an hour ahead. I’m not sure it is ever the right time. Ugh, do you even have a microwave? They are bad, right? I knew it.

I hate the feeling of stress and it’s not often I am consumed with it. I would go as far as to say that I have a below average amount of stress in my life. I have a very enjoyable job that rarely creates stress, I only have one child and a very hands-on husband. I don’t commute, my extended family is relatively normal, my health is good, and we always manage to pay our rent so the feeling of stress is actually foreign to me and I despise it. 

Tonight I have the kind of stress that consumes you. I cannot think of anything else. I might not get down on the ground with Current Stella and play Barbies with her, or pack her elaborate lunches, or sing silly songs but I care an insane amount about what kind of education she will receive. I truly don’t care if she is a genius, although I hope she learns how to spell kindergarten before me, I just want her to love school and love learning. I want her to meet insanely awesome friends who inspire her to be unique and strong and who support her on whoever she chooses to be. This next school will literally be the backdrop to her childhood. So yes, I’m totally stressed out. 

There are a few things I can do to distract me from my stress, because let’s me honest, this stress won’t go away until the letters come, but I needed to find something to totally make me escape. The things that usually work for me are:

1) Getting shit faced wasted (not an option because I work tomorrow).

2) That sweet spot when you are so obsessed with a book that your husband could tell you that he is leaving you for your best friend and you are like, “Can we talk about this later? This book is getting intense.” (Also, not an option because I’m on page 3 of my current book, so nowhere near sweet spot).

3) Wild passionate sex. As much as I would love to pretend this is the method I picked tonight so I could elaborate on this to thoroughly gross you out, that would be lying. 

4) Cooking. I don’t know what it is about this chore that I find glorious but I’m legitimately obsessed with it. I like it even more when I get to do it with your dad (by do it, I mean cook, you sicko). When I’m cooking, I’m momentarily lost in what I’m doing and old stresses are replaced with new stresses, things like, “Oh, that’s right, silverware can’t go in the microwave!” 

Lately, we have been using this awesome recipe/ingredient company called Blue Apron. Every week they deliver 3 recipes with all of the ingredients to make them. The food is delicious and fun to make and totally stress free. You probably don’t eat food in 2035, but rather take food pills or drink food water. Maybe you plug yourself into an IV to receive nutrients? Maybe you have gone the other direction and everyone eats raw animals? I have no idea, but in 2015 Blue Apron is revolutionary, if for no other reason that it can de-stress me long enough to not finish my thoughts about if you don’t get into any kindergarten how are you ever going to learn how spell kindergarten? 



Look how easy and fun it is to cook with Blue Apron! So interesting and distracting. Yes, we drink Stella Artois beer. No, you were not named after the beer, although that’s a way better story than the truth, which is that you were named after your Dad’s Grandma, who was an amazingly strong woman that will be forever missed. 

So tonight we cooked Pork Dan Dan Noodles and drank Stella Artois beer and your dad I played eachother on Trivia Crack on our phones while in the same room. 

I know I can’t do anything right this moment to change what the letters will say tomorrow. That doesn’t mean I can’t obsess over what I could have done to improve what those letters might say. I will fall asleep thinking about, wake up sweating about it and work all day consumed by it. As much as I hate the feeling of stress, I will gladly feel anything unpleasant if it might improve your life. 

Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, I’m going to apologize, in advance, for my behavior tomorrow. It’s coming from a very deep love that is mixed with an insane competitive drive that I never seemed to find a healthy outlet for (unless you count Trivia Crack).

*disclaimer*

It just occurred to me that I name dropped Blue Apron and Stella Artois.Trust me when I say,this post isn’t sponsored, nor would they be proud of this product placement. 

Also, yesterday a very funny blogger named onlybadchi nominated me for a challenge that I can’t commit to, but I think her site is fantastic so I think you should check it out.

http://onlybadchi.wordpress.com

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

Ritual Attempt #2

Dear Future Stella,

The search continued for a weekly Monday tradition for us. Last week’s attempt was less than successful so this week I wanted to get out of our neighborhood. The problem with our neighborhood is that you have been to all the restaurants so many times that it would be hard to take over all your associations with them and have it just be “our place.” However, the problem with leaving our neighborhood is that it might become too tedious of an adventure to do every single week, but I was willing to try it. I also decided to leave the dogs out of the ritual because finding a place with outside seating severely slims down our options. This week I picked a restaurant called Starbelly in the Castro (in case it isn’t anymore, the Castro is where the Gays like to congregate). To get there, we had to take a 40 minute bus ride. It’s the same bus that we take every morning to school, except instead of getting off after 10 minutes, we stayed on for much longer. Our usual bus experience involves going from one nice neighborhood to another nice neighborhood. On most days there are maybe 5 other people on the bus and we rarely come across suspicious activity- it’s all very PG. This ride was very different and was a reminder to myself why I pay a stupid amount of money to live in a small apartment just to raise you in the city. Seeing this kind of diversity creates many teachable moments and plenty of opportunities for you to ask inappropriate questions, thus allowing me to give even more inappropriate answers. This did not happen today though, and instead I was humbled by your genuine lack of judgement for people who are incredibly different from you. While I was busy rotating my rings so that the stones were hidden, clutching my purse tighter to my body and exclusively breathing through my mouth to avoid any unpleasant smells, you were smiling at everyone and told one enormous, obviously crazy woman that you liked her nail polish. Her polish was sparkly blue and totally chipping off her nails that I’m guessing have not been trimmed in years. It’s moments like then that make me so incredibly glad that I didn’t give you up for adoption.

When we arrived at our stop and got off the bus we had a 2 block walk to the restaurant. After maybe 6 seconds you asked me how many more steps until we are there. I don’t know Stella, is that something that exists now? An app that tells you how many steps exactly until you arrive at your destination? If so, then I hope you created it. I also hope it can tell you which method of attaining ice cream takes the least amount of steps and/or effort. You went on to say your feet hurt and that you don’t think you can walk any longer. I took this time to remind you that you are 4 and should have more stamina and lasting power than an 18 year old boy with Viagra at a whore house. You didn’t get the reference so I suggested taking you to the doctor to see if maybe it would be better to amputate both legs so you could just use a wheelchair from now on. I made a mental note that if we go this route to do it before Disneyland next week so we get to the front of all the lines. You hated this idea and began to cry. Jeez, you are so easy to wind up. I told you that I was joking, baffled that I even had to do that, and tried to distract you by pointing out interesting things to look at while we walked. We finally arrived, but not without you making at least 3 more comments about how exhausted you were and how bad your feet hurt.

We met my work husband, Daniel, at Starbelly because he lives around the corner and it’s like pulling teeth to get him to come to our neck of the woods. He immediately pointed out that having a deep side part with short hair must be the new look for hot restaurant wait staff. I couldn’t help but laugh because just that morning your dad started parting his hair on the side. Whether accidental or intentional, your dad always knows what the gays like. I perused the menu and started to get this panicked feeling because I didn’t really see anything on the menu that would be a slam dunk for you. I decided to order the cheese plate because with roughly 1000 varieties of cheese available in the world, the chance of this nondescript cheese plate having the 3 kinds that you will actually eat is higher than the chance of you trying anything else on the menu. We also ordered a margarita pizza. Pizza has had little success making its way into your digestive system, a fact I find so incredibly shameful. While we waited for our food we colored in your Keith Haring coloring book, a strategic move on my part that I hope conveyed our enthusiastic love for the gay community to the patrons of the restaurant.

Our food arrived and you immediately looked disappointed. On the wooden board that was almost the length of our table contained 3 servings of cheese varieties I could tell you were not going to touch. Also on the board: micro fine shavings of apples, some unidentified dried fruit that had been sliced and arranged in the shape of a flower, a handful of almonds, some sort of grainy mustard, a dribble of what I later discovered is spiced apple sauce, and 3 slices of toasted bread. You took the apple shavings and announced that you didn’t want anything else. Eyeing the full bottle of wine that just arrived at our table, I began the negotiations. I somehow managed to get you to try a bit of the hard white cheese on the plate which prompted an almost immediate dry-heaving reaction. The closest you came to trying the dried fruit was a quick lick at which point you returned the wet item to the community cheese plate. Daniel made this horrified expression and I almost began the debate about which is grosser- a previously licked unidentified piece of dried fruit or anal sex but I quickly decided this wasn’t the venue nor the company. I scraped off everything from a bite of pizza and offered you that. You shockingly ate it and asked for more. You requested a piece without the leaf on it (basil). I began the terrible job of cutting up a piece of pizza, an act that should be forbidden in my opinion. Not even 4 seconds later you declared you don’t like pizza and I was equally annoyed with your pickiness as I was with the reality that I would never get the 10 minutes I spent lovingly cutting your pizza back. Knowing that this will never be our ritual, I allowed you to play on my phone at your request- mostly because Daniel and I had a lot of ground to make up in the wine department and also because I felt guilty that I had failed again.
Daniel told you he knew of a candy shop around the corner and he asked you if you liked candy. Considering the fact that you just rejected pizza, it was a valid question. Your little eyes lit up and you vigorously nodded yes. We finished our wine, split the tab and headed out, leaving behind a slew of boys with side parts obviously checking me out as I walked past.
The candy shop was so damn adorbs and so obviously decorated by gays. It was perfection. It was one of those places where the candy was separated in individual canisters and you got to pick out what you wanted and place it in a bag that was then measured by the pound.
*If for some reason eating candy is considered highly toxic and cancer causing, equivalent to smoking black tar heroin or eating a nonorganic strawberry then 1) I’m deeply sorry and 2) I would be worried that you are riddled with cancer. Like go to the doctor. It’s probably really serious. You eat a ton of candy.

On the way home we stopped at Daddy’s work to say hi and I knew he would be finishing up soon and that meant we could get a ride home. All in all it wasn’t terrible but it also wasn’t exactly perfect for our weekly ritual. We will keep looking.

Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, seriously? You don’t like pizza!?!

Mom

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Here you are out front of Starbelly

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With Daniel inside the candy shop Giddy in the Castro

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Showing off at Daddy’s work

Don’t Touch Anyone’s Juthers

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Yesterday you had an evaluation at a kindergarten. We are currently going through the process of trying to get you in somewhere for next year. We have applied to 7 schools. If you are using a translator to read these letters because you have never learned how to read then you can blame yourself for blowing it at these evaluations back when you were 4. There are 3 components to getting in to a good school. The written application, the parent interview and the child’s evaluation. I am really hoping that they don’t actually read the written applications and they just sort of skim them while also scrolling their Facebook pages. I was in charge of this part and you know how I love to veer off on tangents and your kindergarten applications were no exception. You really can’t blame me. They cannot ask questions like “Tell me a little bit about your family” and expect me to stay on topic. The fact that I ended one application talking about dry shampoo and the importance it holds in my life is totally legitimate if you understood how the addition of this little product has completely changed the kind of mother and wife I am. Next is the interview and you will be happy to know that I mainly let your dad do the talking. My personality isn’t for everyone and can be a little bit offensive for people who are used to hanging around 5 year olds. Your dad, however, was probably put on this earth to socialize and small talk with strangers. It’s really bizarre. They all say the part that really matters is the student evaluation so I really hope you know what you are doing in there. I make sure you are wearing the cutest outfit known to man but that’s really all I can do to help. Good luck kiddo. On a somewhat serious note, I really hope Future Stella has loved the experience of being a student and the process of learning. I didn’t get to go to college and its a regret that I mainly keep to myself because of my defiance at the time to completely rebel against it. If I say I regret not going then it would be admitting I was wrong. I never say I’m wrong- not to my parents, not to my husband, not to anyone. I am way better at saying when other people are wrong. It’s just simply more fun. Despite how unserious I am about most subject matters, I’m genuinely serious about you getting into a great Elementary school. So no, I didn’t talk about dry shampoo in the applications. I spent an insane amount of time obsessively curating my answers to make us appear as the awesome family that I believe we are. I really really hope you get in somewhere because if you don’t, it wont be because of you. I have never been around anyone as amazing as you. In fact, I wish I would have gone to school to be a kindergarten teacher so that I could hang out with you all day next year. Calm down, I know I would never be allowed to be a kindergarten teacher, and let’s be honest, it sounds like an absolute terrible job. Just the worst.

Last night your dad and I went on a date to see the movie American Sniper. When we arrived there was nobody in the whole theater except for a solo guy off in the back corner. I couldn’t tell you anything about the movie because we were just making out the whole time. Just kidding. We were able to watch the movie because we relied on digital stimulation. Just kidding again. Seriously, we didn’t even hold hands because mine were too busy bulldozing popcorn into my mouth. I have a girl crush on Sienna Miller so I was excited to see it. I am really glad I didn’t know it was a war/gun violence movie because I don’t really like that sort of thing.

Before I forget, guess who’s hair I am doing today? Your friend Audrey’s mom, Kelly. I am so excited to hang out with her and make her blonder. If you are thinking, who the fuck is Audrey and Kelly then let me explain. They are our really good family friends and you go to school with Audrey but they are moving to the suburbs this summer. We say we are going to still hang out but I don’t really do bridges and suburbs so it’s not unlikely that we never see them again. I am hoping your reaction to seeing their names gives you a reaction more like “aw, Auntie Kelly! I love her and still loving going to her big house in the suburbs on weekends for barbecues….” Also, if you have not spoken to me in years and these letters are your first form of contact with me in eons, please move back from the suburbs. I am lonely and BART freaks me out and I don’t drive. I miss my daughter.

Future Stella, I love you! Current Stella, please get into a good school so we don’t have to move to the burbs.

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Just had to share this really funny thing you said this morning while waiting for the bus. You said “look mom my hands are both in this pocket and they are touching their juthers”

I believe you meant each other? In the rare case that you actually meant their juthers and this is some nasty new slang you are picking up at school, please don’t ever touch anyone’s juthers. Ever.