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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Lots of Red, Green and Blue

Dear Future Stella,

I am one of those annoying people who love the holidays. I truly enjoy my family and spending time with them. I have not lost anyone that makes this time of year hard for some people and I really feel grateful for that. I love the decor, the music, the smells and most recently, eggnog. This year is going to be really fantastic because I am hosting our whole family here in San Francisco. 21 people. We have room for 6 comfortably so the remaining 15 are so fucked. I have lots of fun things planned that I will tell you more about next time.

Current Stella was exposed to every type of holiday cheer this year. My grandparents from Florida got Current Stella her first menorah, her Catholic school exposed her to the nativity scene and told her about the holy Virgin Mary, and I explained to her that a Virgin Mary is only acceptable when you are pregnant, otherwise the Vodka is pretty important.

Getting the Menorah was nostalgic because I remember celebrating as a child and I am really glad that Current Stella got to experience it. I am not jewish, and neither is Current Stella but your Grandpa and his whole family are and they are really special to me so I wanted Current Stella to get some exposure. I was roughly 8 the last time I lit a menorah so I had to take some help from Google to remember what to do with it. I read about how you light the candles from left to right and how you have to use a separate candle to light each of the candles and how they have to burn out on their own. I even looked up the daily prayers on Youtube so we could be completely legit. The only problem is I am constantly confusing my left and my right (in fact I failed my driver’s test the first time because of this) so the first few days we failed big time by lighting the candles in reverse order.

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Here is me as a kid with my sister lighting the menorah
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We finally did get the hang of it and we managed to finish all 8 nights without burning our hair or our house down so thats impressive.

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Switching from Hanukkah to Christmas, we had plenty of fun in that department as well. We met my cousin Jon (ironically Jewish) downtown to watch all the lights in Union Square turn on and then we took the cable car home. This city is gorge during the holidays.

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As if Judaism, Catholicism and Christianity weren’t enough religion for one week, your Dad decided to throw in a little Scientology by dressing up as Tom Cruise from Risky Business for my company’s Christmas party. The theme was 1988. I dressed as a Robert Palmer girl with some of my girlfriends. I had no damn clue who Robert Palmer was before this party because I was 5 in 1988. Hey, Current Stella is 5 now, so promise me Future Stella that if you ever go to a party that is 2015 theme you will dress as Caitlyn Jenner. Thats going to be a winner. Speaking of winner, your Dad won the costume contest that night. First of all, Risky Business came out in 1983, not 1988. Would it kill them to do some fact checking? Second, he doesn’t even work at my salon so shouldn’t he be ineligible? Third, the “judge” was a raging homosexual with a thing for your Dad. Im telling you kiddo, there is corruption everywhere you look and here is proof.

Here I was with my well thought out group costume that took weeks to plan

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Here is your Dad, who dug all 3 components of his costume out of his closet the same day.

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And here is your Dad campaigning for his victory

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Seems fishy, no?

Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, you created this bullshit discipline chart on our fridge a couple of weeks ago. You made this all by yourself, and it was inspired by the one your teachers use in the classroom. All of the kindergarteners begin each day with their clip on the green ribbon. If they misbehave they move to the yellow ribbon and if they mess up again, they move to the red ribbon and they have to visit the principle. No matter what ribbon you end up on at the end of the day you get to start fresh the next day on green. You pride yourself on the fact that you have never been off the green ribbon. Well, one day you made this chart on our fridge and you, Daddy, Phyllis, Gail the Puppy, and myself all have our own labeled clips. If any one of us does anything that you don’t like then you move our clips off the green. If I ask you to put your socks on, or say you can’t have fruit snacks for breakfast, you march over to my clip and immediately put me on the red. I never even get a chance on the yellow. Its so fucked up. If Gail or Phyllis barks you move their clips and, like your clip in the classroom, yours never leaves the green.

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The other day I came home from work and noticed this on our fridge

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Apparently, riding your ass all morning to get out of the house in time was enough to create a whole new category- the blue ribbon, and its even worse than the red. I have never left the blue ribbon. You just keep me there and I don’t even get a fresh start at the beginning of each day. If I move my own clip back to green you waste no time finding a reason to put me on blue. This is about as fair as Father Cruise winning a 1988 costume contest for a 5 year old movie. Santa is watching and he hates cheaters.

love,

Mom

Happy Birthday to Me

Dear Future Stella,

I had a birthday this past week. I turned 32. That’s less than a decade older than you are right now in 2025. I know in my brain that I’m not old. My reproductive system is hypothetically completely functional, despite the fact that I wish I could permanently disable it. I have three more years to have another kid without it being labeled as “high risk” and at least a decade more if I wanted to figure out a way to have another baby. I have not reached an age where I am medically responsible for certain recommended procedures (mammograms, colonoscopies). I could potentially go back to school and gain the knowledge to start another profession entirely, and still have time to have yet another successful career. If I didn’t have one penny in the bank I could still provide for my future if I started today. I don’t even think about Botox and face lifts or stare at my wrinkles in the mirror. I have a few gray hairs, but nothing that demands my constant attention. I generally still know what is in style or what the current music sounds like and I can honestly say I enjoy a little bit of both. By definition I am a millennial who are notorious for being young and obnoxious.

However, I can’t help but feel like an old hag. I need at least three months notice if I am expected to get in a bathing suit. I am not eligible to be a contestant on The Bachelorette. I don’t ever get carded. If I wasn’t so vain I would have an actual mustache and goatee. I am constantly having to google what certain acronyms stand for. I have no idea how to Snap Chat and even worse, I don’t care to. I wouldn’t go to a music festival unless I could bring my own couch, blanket, wine, Gail the Puppy, and if I could wear sweats and one of your Papa’s old t-shirts.

Future Stella, you have a few good years left. A bunch of older people will tell you the best is yet to come and maybe they are right. I hope so, for both of our sakes, but from where I stand- you are living the dream right now. Being 25 is kind of amazing. Maybe you are done with school, maybe you have a shit ton more. You maybe have met the love of your life, or maybe there are six more to meet. Maybe you still live with me (hopefully not) or maybe you are living in another country. The possibilities are exciting for me to think about and I just want you to know that it is a very steep decline from 25 to 32. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

For my 32nd birthday I fulfilled a long time dream of mine. Your daddy took me to a Denver Broncos game. I have been a fan since I was a small child. I grew up in an area of California that was very far from any major football team. My dad, a 49er fan for life, was in a Monday Night Football group and they had a very strict “no girls” policy. This intrigued me so much and I wanted to know what was so cool about football that us girls couldn’t be a part of. One day I asked my dad which team was the absolute worst in the league. He told me the Denver Broncos. Oddly enough I was born in Denver even though I moved to California as a baby, so Colorado would forever be on my birth certificate. Therefore, the Blue and Orange Stallions just seemed like a natural choice. Also, I have always been one to root for the underdog, so it just made perfect sense that I immediately became a diehard Denver Bronco fan. The following two years they won back-to-back Superbowls. I know it, and they know it, it was because of my obsession with them. I had a life-size cutout of Terrell Davis in my room and I would collect just about anything and everything that was even remotely related to that team. When I met your father and learned that he too was a Denver Bronco fan, I immediately said yes (in my head) to his inevitable will you marry me question. Neither one of us had ever been to a professional football game and I think its safe to say, we nailed it. Your Grandma and Papa came to stay with Current Stella in San Francisco so we could make this birthday dream come true.

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My mom, your G-ma, is a huge San Francisco Giant’s fan. Not to get all weird and morbid, but I know for the rest of my life I will always think of her when I’m watching a Giants game. If she ever passes, which she can’t because she is immortal, but if she does, I know I will find great comfort in knowing she is watching all the games from the best seat in the house. I also envision her tending to a massive magical garden and dancing around in beach attire with a glass of the finest champagne. That’s how I picture my Post-Life Heaven Mommy. It’s actually really therapeutic to imagine a Post-Life Heaven Mommy. If you need help coming up with my post-life description let me help you out. First of all, hopefully I’m in pajamas. I can also guarantee that in my post life I will never miss a viewing of what I call a “Pink Cloud Alert.” A Pink Cloud Alert happens during those few minutes right before the sun rises and sets that turns the surrounding clouds into the most delicious salmon pink color. It gets me every time. Also, my post-life self will have Gail the Puppy at all times except that in heaven she will be able to talk and we will just hang out on one of those cushion cabanas that fancy hotels have by their pools (I love those things). My post-life self will read a book and write in a journal every single day, and check Instagram roughly every 5 minutes. If I ever see you doing something embarrassing on social media then I will see to it that you wake up with a massive zit on your face. Post-life mommies can do shit like that. Oh, and I almost forgot, during football season, my post-life self will be running down the sidelines smacking all the football players on the butt.

Here was my Birthday Pink Cloud Alert
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And here I was on my 32nd Birthday
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The day after my birthday your Dad and I explored the “island” of Coronado. Your dad is pretty much obsessed with ferries or any activity that involves being on the water so our 5 minute boat ride to the dock of Coronado was way more fun that it should have been for him. Once we were there we rented a tandem bike and pedaled all over. I am embarrassingly sore from it. I swear getting older really blows.

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Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, today you came home from school and told me that you learned how to “Whip” and how to “Nae Nae”. I was so embarrassed for you because that dance has been around for almost a year and it is definitely no longer hip. AND you were doing it wrong. I might be really, really old, but I know cool and that wasn’t cool.

Love,

Mom

Some Things Were Meant to Change

Dear Future Stella,

I like to consider your Dad and myself spontaneous and adventurous. We like to try new foods, explore new places and try out new sex positions all the time. However, there are a few things that we hope never change and we look forward to them year after year and some of those things happened this past week. One is the tradition of going to your Grandma and Papa’s house for Thanksgiving. It was here where Baby Stella tried her first food ever (Grandma’s famous mashed potatoes) and this past Thanksgiving was as good as it always is except for one minor detail that I will explain later. The second is hitting up Madonna Inn the next morning for breakfast and paying our hometown Santa Claus a visit. Who needs makeup to make rosy cheeks, a fat suit and a fake beard when you are a 70-year-old-alcoholic-who-hates-shaving-and-loves-food? Lastly, we make a big production out of getting our family Christmas tree each year. We take about 3 seconds to pick it out and roughly 4 hours consuming the free beer the lot has to offer.

Thanksgiving in 2015 be like

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All of the above pictures came to a head right before the meal was about to be served and your Papa had had enough. We all held hands in preparation for Current Stella to say the blessing and your Papa said he wanted to say something really quickly. I don’t remember exactly what he said because honestly I just went up to my happy place in the clouds because being in the actual presence of his anger was a little too much for me. However, the gist was something to the effect of “What the fuck is up with you loser stupid millennials and your fucking devices? What happened to family and spending time together? If you don’t get your heads out of your asses and your eyes off your screens then don’t ever come to my God damn house again. It was terrifying and awkward mainly because he called out one person in particular BUT all of a sudden we got a whole lot of……

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Man, kiddo, do people still get together for Thanksgiving or do they just hang out virtually in 2025? Do we send a bunch of turkey emojis to our loved ones and call it a day? I super hope not.

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I bet you can’t make “cousin pyramids” on your phone. Actually, I bet you can. Its probably some lame app or some Snap Chat feature but it’s not the same as getting to do it in person. Side note- check out your cousin Anthony’s transformation in the pictures above in just one year!!! I could barely believe it. He’s like an actual man now.

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Who is going to squirt whipped cream in your mouth at Virtual Thanksgiving? Just yourself which isn’t nearly as cool.

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Whats the point of getting all cute and dressed up or setting the table if you have nobody to spend the day with? Might as well stay in your pajamas and eat off paper plates for your Turkey Day 2025.

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Lastly, who on earth would want to watch television when there are Grandparents like the ones above who just want to hang with you? Nobody I want to raise would ever want to spend Thanksgiving disconnected from their loved ones.

The next day we all woke up a little groggy and wondering if Papa really flipped a lid on the whole family or if we were just dreaming. Unfortunately, it was real but when I heard it be re-told the next morning it appeared the version I remembered was waaaaay tamer than what he actually said. Yikes. Not letting it ruin our tradition, we all headed to the Madonna Inn for breakfast. Current Stella likes it because they have pink sugar in a salt shaker on the tables that she can eat instead of her breakfast that we order. The Madonna Inn goes nuts with Christmas decorations so its the perfect place to get into the holiday spirit. Here is a little trip down Madonna Inn Memory Lane.

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After breakfast, we go stand in line to meet San Luis Obispo Santa. He’s classic. For fact checking purposes- I have no actual evidence of him being an alcoholic or loving food or hating shaving. In fact, I am now counting three different Santas which is cracking me up because I have this disorder where I can’t tell people apart that well so I truly thought it was the same dude for the past 5 years. Whoopsie.

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This year Current Stella asked SLO Santa for a Snow White Barbie doll. I really thought it would be easy to get but when I typed it in to google, about 25 different variations popped up. Cool. I will take a direct quote from Current Stella “You get what you get and you don’t get upset.”

Current Stella’s Elf on the Shelf, Payton, also made his appearance this week. I made the mistake of looking on Pinterest to see what other parents do with their Elfs. Fuck that! Moms be making outfits for their elfs and creating like entire scenes and shit. No thank you. Here was my very creative Elf placement.

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Current Stella’s elf is already missing his hat. Last year, after your Dad already put all of the Christmas crap deep into storage, I found Payton’s hat. I distinctly remember hiding it in a place I would remember next year. I have no idea where it is. Current Stella has not noticed that her elf is hatless but it is only a matter of time. I have heard Current Stella talking to Payton and its pretty damn adorable. Today I heard her explain to the Elf what Gail’s stocking looks like because last year we didn’t have Gail the Puppy and she wanted to make sure Santa knew which one was hers. As the official Santa of this house, don’t you worry your pretty little heart- Gail the Puppy is getting everything on her list this year and I would never forget which one is her stocking.

Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, today I surprised you and took you to a movie after school. We saw Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur. You were terrified practically the whole time which is so ironic because the movie is about a pussy dinosaur who has to learn to be brave. I really think you should watch this movie like once a week for motivation. Also, during the movie you asked me what the highest number is that is not infinity. I still have no idea what the answer is but I can guarantee that whatever that number is, I still love you a tiny bit more.

Love,

Mom

Too Much Puke For One Week

Dear Future Stella,

For about a year now Current Stella has opted to go commando when going to bed. Her typical pajama fashion consists of legging-type bottoms, and a t-shirt or tank top. Her preference to forgo panties during sleep has always been ok with me, and frankly it is how I chose to sleep as a child myself. Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago when she got a brand new gown-style pajama dress from Disneyland. This nightgown was her one and only purchase she wanted while visiting the park. It is a teal blue color and has some cheesy stupid picture of Elsa on the chest. She has worn it to bed every night since we got home. It’s stained and smelly most nights because there is no way anyone can keep up the necessary laundry schedule it would take for it to remain clean for each and every night. Recently, Current Stella has started changing from her school uniform directly into her sleeping uniform at around 3pm. This not only dramatically reduces the potential cute factor at any given moment, it also means that she is without underwear for a good 4 hours before she actually goes to bed. This has resulted in waaaaay too many graphic up dress moments. Current Stella likes to sit indian style. She has also been really into practicing cartwheels lately. The other day I had a guest over and Current Stella was laying on the couch with her Dad reading a book in preparation for bedtime. She was laying on her side facing him with her top leg draped over his body. My guest and I were on the other side of the room with no choice but to be eye level with Current Stella’s lady parts. My favorite though, was the night she requested that her dad wheelbarrow her to bed. He made a conflicted face and looked at me like, “is this even allowed?” I don’t want to make it weird or shame her in any way but I am seriously so sick of seeing her tiny vagina all night long. I decided to make a new rule that she has to wear underwear until the moment she climbs up into the bunkbed. This has drastically reduced the inappropriate crotch shots. Which is why, on this past Sunday evening, I was caught off guard by a late night impromptu gynecologic exam.
I was sitting on the couch listening to a podcast when Current Stella climbed down from her bunkbed, opened her creaky door, teetered down the hallway and suddenly appeared right next to me. It scared the shit out of me because I had my headphones on so I didn’t hear all the usual sounds of a child aborting the bedtime routine. In her very famous dramatic whiny voice Current Stella says to me, “Mommy, I need to show you something.” She sat next to me and spread her legs apart as wide as they would go and then opened up her vagina equally as far. She then says, “Inside my pee pee I have this little pink thing.” I started sweating because I was certain she was referring to her clitoris and that we would have to have the worlds most awkward conversation. However, she skipped over the pleasure button and instead pointed at some flap of skin inside the vagina that I am pretty sure is totally normal but I don’t know because I am not a gynecologist. I told her that every girl has that and that it’s fine. I told her that I even have that. She seemed shocked and said, “You have that?” I answered that I do but I was wishing to God that she wouldn’t make me show her or something really foul like that. She wasn’t buying it though and said, “But Mommy, when you had a baby didn’t it get smashed?” I wanted to say, “no sweetheart, it got smashed way earlier than that during sexual activity” but I refrained and gave some horse shit of a lie answer about how the female body is amazing and nothing is harmed during childbirth. Now that you are older I can tell you that everything gets so fucked up when you have a kid. Nothing looks the same or feels the same after. Who knows where my flap of skin is anymore, probably up near my throat or down by my knee at this point. Just FYI.

Current Stella’s social calendar was jamming this past week. She had a Father/Daughter Dance at the Olympic Club and 2 unplanned back to back sleepovers. Current Stella’s first sleepover was with a new friend from school named Violet. Current Stella was invited to go to her house after school for a playdate. Violet’s parents told us to pick her up around 6pm and to plan on coming inside for a drink. The night before your Dad and I hit it a little hard at date night and I woke up feeling very hungover. Actually, extremely hungover. Its just weird because I didn’t drink more than normal and we were home by 8pm! I suppressed a vomit all day long at work. I really hate puking at work because it reminds me of being pregnant and I have so much PTSD in that department that I will do anything to avoid it. Instead, I just colored hair feeling seasick and looking green all day. I got home and released the biggest, most satisfying puke of my life. I had been holding it in for 8 hours and I had exactly 20 minutes until we were due to pick Current Stella up from her playdate. I really should have cancelled or just sent your Dad but these are new friends and I would have hated my first impression to be that I am a no-fun flake so I showed up and acted like I had not just emptied the contents of my stomach less than an hour prior. To make a long story short, these new friends had no intentions of us having a drink and then taking Stella home. No, these new friends wanted to party. These new friends have an actual bar inside their house that they failed to mention to us in their casual invite and they planned on us shutting it down. Your mom puked and then rallied that night. We stayed for 6 additional hours!! Needless to say, Current Stella had no choice but to sleep over- shit, we almost all slept over.

The next morning I felt even worse than the day before. I was so nauseous all day long at work to the point where I couldn’t eat a single thing. It was brutal and even though I look pretty lame arguing that it wasn’t the alcohol, it felt very different than a hangover. That night Current Stella and her Dad attended their first ever Father/Daughter dance and I took the night off from drinking. I would love to show you how adorable Current Stella looked at the dance but your Dad took exactly 0 good pictures. They were invited to this dance by her bestie Tyler and her Dad, which means this was more of a Tyler/Stella dance as opposed to a Father/Daughter event. In fact, she didn’t even dance with her Dad once! Here are the only pics he got.

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Current Stella ended up strong arming her Dad into letting her stay the night at Tyler’s house after the dance so I never even got to see her that night!

Shockingly, the next day I still felt horrible. The thought of eating disgusted me and I felt like I was on the verge of puking all day. In fact, the next two days after that were not much better. Occasionally, I would actually throw up but mostly I just felt sick and completely uninterested in food. It really felt like I was pregnant but thats not possible due to my absolute hatred of the concept.

Today Current Stella had to get a flu shot. She was really scared and she was being a giant vagina about it. She asked so many questions and begged to not go. I don’t know what I was thinking but I told her that it wasn’t going to be an actual shot and that its just something they put up her nose. I really think I remember hearing that somewhere but I couldn’t be sure, I just knew I needed her to stop freaking out about it. Well, it was not a nasal spray, it was your standard needle in the arm situation. Current Stella didnt even make a peep. She just sat there and took the shot and remained completely stoic. The nurse was like, what the fuck (she didnt actually use profanity). She said most 5 year olds are the worst because they usually freak out. She couldn’t believe it, and neither could we. It was so unbelievable. I told Current Stella that she was so brave and she said that she wasn’t being brave, it just didnt hurt. I was so proud and happy that I decided to take her to get a pedicure with me.

A few minutes into the the pedicure Current Stella turns and looks at me and says, “Look Mommy, I just lost my first tooth.” She was holding it in her hand and she had a fresh gaping hole in her smile. I got sort of emotional because to me, this is the beginning of the end. The next couple of years are going to be filled with strange smiles- especially when they start growing back in and they are all ridgy and giant, long limbs, and hairy legs. There might be a brief pause before puberty but not much of one, especially if braces are in the cards. Puberty is terrifying and even more gross, what with the acne and the tragic fashion. During the rest of my pedicure I mourned the loss of her babyish cuteness and braced myself for the awkwardness up ahead.

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Back at the house Current Stella was preparing her tooth for the fairy while I made her dinner. All of a sudden she started whining and bitching about her stomach hurting. I reminded her of how brave she was earlier and that her stomach was probably just hurting because she was hungry. She reminded me that she isn’t brave and that the shot didn’t even hurt and this hurts. She refused to eat and I had to physically put her in the bathtub myself while she was whimpering. While I was drying her off to put her pajamas on she puked all over the both of us and her beloved pajamas. She was pissed about the pajamas. She was also pissed because the shot didn’t even work. The tooth fairy was going to meet her for the very first time and she wouldn’t even be wearing her favorite pajamas. I told her she should be more concerned about the vomit in her hair and also I am sure the tooth fairy would rather meet her with pants on as opposed to this sight.

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I am at a total loss about what all this casual vomit is all about in our house. Its so bizarre and so nasty. It needs to stop.

Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, the tooth fairy left you 2 dollars. We have a box of teeth in our house that either belonged to me or your dad but we don’t remember who. I thought about exchanging your tooth for one of our old teeth but at the last minute decided on 2 bucks.

Love,

Mom

Halloween, Disneyland, Academic Probation and G-ta!

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Dear Future Stella,

I have a very good reason for skipping last week’s letter and that was because we were at Disneyland. If you ever for one minute doubt that I am the best mom in the world then please refresh your memory on our first attempt to take Current Stella to Disneyland and then note that I agreed to go again. More on that later, but first something else happened since the last time I wrote to you and that thing was Halloween.

Current Stella dressed up as Gail the Puppy for Halloween so its not an exaggeration to say that it was the best day of my life. No question, no comparison, it was just dreamy.

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At a last minute attempt to come up with a costume, your Tia gave me the idea to be a dog handler from one of those creepy dog shows. One trip to the second hand store and, voilĂ .

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Current Stella let me walk her on a leash while we went trick-or-treating so that was kind of strange. She also only collected 16 pieces of candy (2 of which were boxes of raisins so therefore don’t count) so we need to work on her treat game for next year. Very disappointing.

Two Gails in one night- what a fantasy come true! Although I did such a great job of making Current Stella look like Gail the Puppy, there was one tiny detail I left out but you wouldn’t have been able to tell in pictures and that is her very distinct smell. Gail the Puppy smells like Fritos so I really wish I would have smeared some all over Current Stella to really make the whole costume complete. I thought this was something that was unique to Gail the Puppy, but according to Google, it must be more common than I thought because look what came up when I started typing….

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Apparently, its the 4th most common thing a dog can smell like. Here is what google says about dogs smelling like Fritos.

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Who knew?

Now, on to Disneyland. Current Stella didnt get sick this time so that was nice. In fact, nothing crazy or out of the ordinary really happened so all I have to show for it are some pictures of Current Stella enjoying herself. BORING!!!

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Highlights for Current Stella include Ariel’s ride, the Buzz Lightyear ride, Autotopia, hanging out with her cousins, cotton candy and finally, our hotel room. Our hotel room was at the very swanky Marriott Inn and Suites. This unbelievable room came stocked with 1 serving a coffee, a phonebook, and a thermostat that was permanently set to Bikram Yoga temperatures so I can see how this made it to her favorites list. She didn’t like the Matterhorn or Thunder Mountain. Probably my favorite quote of the trip was made by her little cousin, Katherine (age 3). She said that her favorite ride was the shuttle from the hotel to Disneyland. Even cuter, was that she says shovel instead of shuttle.

Thanks to your Gma and Grandpa for making your dreams come true at the Happiest Place on Earth. They really know how to spoil a kid, and I mean that seriously. They went above and beyond to make this redo trip a success.

When we got back we had our first Parent Teacher Conference at Current Stella’s new school. I have included a copy of her progress report which clearly shows her mediocre (at best) performance thus far. Just about as average as it gets. Its official, you can kiss Stanford goodbye. There is no way they will accept you with this kind of performance. Get your head out of your ass and learn how to count to 30 in Swahili like they want. Also, according to this report, Current Stella’s teachers think she needs to speak more clearly. I dare them to come hang out at our house for even just one hour. That girl probably covers every word in the dictionary at least once, if not twice and what a miracle it would be (for us) if it was any less clear.

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Cant just one week go by without someone who loves you having a birthday? Its getting a bit ridiculous! Thankfully, this week’s birthday is someone I heart so much that it makes writing yet another birthday tribute a little less painful. In fact, I heart her so much that I would trust her with Gail the Puppy if anything should ever happen to me. This person is your G-ta, who is my Tante, and your G-ma’s sister. Your name for her is perfect because according to the Urban Dictionary, calling someone a G is a title of endearment and its no secret that we adore her to absolute pieces. Your G-ta and I are very very close. She is someone that I strongly connect with and have always looked up to. One of my favorite things about her is that she remembers everything. Every. Single. Detail. Its kind of amazing. Anytime I need advice about Current Stella she can just pull up a memory of her own kids (who are grown adults now) and from that she can either recommend a solution, or at least commiserate with me. Its super handy. She also gives really thoughtful and unique gifts, often filling a void you didn’t even know you had. Waking up in her house and drinking coffee while she devours the newspaper is probably my personal definition of comfort. She is the one I attribute to your good sleep. She told me all her tricks when you were just a few days old and they worked like a charm! When you were 5 weeks old, we went on our first annual trip as a family to Oregon when I was still on maternity leave. It was on this trip that she helped me conquer the nightmare that was the 45 minute nap and successfully stretched them to 1.5 hours. It was also on this trip that one of my all-time favorite memories with G-ta was made. I will do my best to share my version, although I am certain mine will lack the details that she would no doubt remember with unbelievable clarity.

Your G-ta had saved the buggy that she used with her kids and it was in mint condition. It was a navy blue bassinet on top of a silver metal frame. The lining was blue and white striped and it had an oversized hood that created lots of protection. It looked like some vintage thing you would have found in London circa 1906. It was gorgeous and I was convinced that something within its fibers contained the secret to good sleep because as soon as we laid your big bald head in it, you would go right to sleep. As I am sure you remember, it gets really warm where your G-ta lives in the summertime and stays that way long into the night. This allowed for many evenings spent pushing you into their quaint little downtown area. Their town is considered historic and therefore all of the buildings fit perfectly with the era this buggy was intended to exist in. One night we pushed Newborn Stella into town to eat dinner at one of the nicer establishments. We were seated outside in a dreamy courtyard patio. There were lights strung above our head and the distant sound of a lazy fountain could be heard. We talked and laughed and ate and I remember feeling the best I had felt in weeks. I didn’t bounce right back physically after you were born and so it was a relief to finally sit through a meal without being in some sort of pain. Newborn Stella held up her part of the deal by sleeping all the way through dinner in that magical buggy. On the way home, your Dad was pushing Newborn Stella and the rest of us were following close behind. As we approached the street where G-ta and Guncle live, a skunk appeared from the fields that lined this particular street. It soon became quite clear that this skunk was not at all threatened by the presence of 4 adults and a buggy. We started to pick up the pace, as we had no choice but to pass it in order to get home. Then the craziest thing happened, this skunk began to chase the buggy. Your dad started sprinting down the road, pushing this vintage baby carriage at full speed with tiny, little Newborn Stella sound asleep inside it. As soon as we were safely in G-ta’s garage, we all just burst out laughing. Your G-ta has the most infectious, boisterous laugh. It starts out silent and she often has to double over and grab some nearby structure for support. I dare anyone to not just crack up when she does this. Its hilarious and it can last quite awhile. Her sense of humor is really random and silly and clean, yet she can find humor in the crudest of jokes. Its a very fun balance for me. She also goes to the grocery store no less than twice per day, makes her husband split a beer with her, and runs about an hour behind the rest of the people in her time zone. She always seems to check-in with me at just the right times and we are so super lucky to have her in our lives.

Here are some photos from that first memorable trip Newborn Stella took to visit G-ta (and family)

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And the one time she didn’t want to split a beer, she decided to shotgun it with her son.

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Here are just some standard G-ta memories

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Lastly, to prove that we both have the same random sense of humor, I have included the following photos. These were taken this past week in a Photo Booth here in San Francisco. I can almost guarantee nobody else will find these as funny as we do.

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Happy Birthday G-ta!!

Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, you got in big trouble this past week for being a shit stain. You couldn’t even follow the most basic of instructions (don’t put rice in your water at a restaurant) and you even blatantly lied about brushing your teeth even though your dad’s forensic testing of the crime scene clearly showed that you did not. As a result we had to take your Cow Cow away for one night. You lost your shit but guess what? You have been a dream ever sense. Thank you.

Love,

Mom

Back to the Future III

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Dear Future Stella,

Your daddy turned 42 this past week- on Oct. 21, 2015- probably the coolest date of birth EVER. This movie came out in 1985 called Back to the Future II. In the movie the characters use a time machine to travel 30 years into the future and the movie takes place on your dad’s birthday this year. I wanted to re-watch this movie so that I could see how close the writers came to real life in 2015. I am constantly trying to guess what life will be like in 20 years so if Hollywood could do it then I have a shot. Here is the frame from the movie when it shows that they travelled to your Dad’s birthday

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The movie predicted that it would be raining on your Dad’s 42nd birthday. Not only was it dry as a bone on Oct. 21, but most of 2015. However, the character knew exactly when it would stop raining by using a feature on a wristwatch and that is pretty accurate thanks to the Apple watch that came out this year. In the movie everyone had flying cars. Way wrong. The main character wore Nike high-tops with electronic laces. I will give them points for knowing that Nike high-tops would be in-style again, but we still have to tie our own shoes. They thought the fashion would be to wear your jeans inside out. In 2015, only kids learning how to dress themselves, aka Current Stella, do that. All of this takes place in the first 10 minutes of the movie so I will spare you the rest of the comparisons. I really think you should hunt this movie down and watch with your dad on his birthday this year and see if it finally resembles modern day.

In real life, your dads birthday was warm and pleasant, neither of us wore Nike high-tops, and we traveled by foot to reach our destinations. We met for some drinks at this cute little wine bar in our neighborhood before going to our dinner spot. I made dinner reservations weeks in advance for this new place with a well-known chef and I had succeeded in keeping it a secret from your Dad. I love when I can pull off a good surprise for him because it’s not easy. One of the first things he said to me at the wine bar was, “Want me to guess where we are going for dinner tonight?” Keep in mind we had never even talked about this restaurant with each other so I was pretty confident he wouldn’t guess right, out of all of the restaurants in all of San Francisco.

Well, he guessed right on the first try. He is just the worst. At least he didn’t go on to tell me all of the horrible things he had heard about the restaurant, because he has been known to bust out Debbie-downer type comments moments after I excitedly tell him my pick. He will say things like, “Huh. Interesting. Hopefully they have improved the cockroach situation. Who knows, though, maybe its good, I just have only heard bad things so far. No, but we should totally try it- I am sure the 2 stars on Yelp is just internet trolls trying to ruin their life….” Did I mention he’s the worst? However, tonight I didn’t hear any negative commentary.

Worse than telling him what restaurant we are going to is giving him his birthday present. For about 10 years now he has asked for the same thing for his birthday, Christmas, our anniversary, and even for Easter. Its a watch that costs thousands of dollars. I have no business spending more money than most people spend on a car for a luxury that his cell phone already performs quite flawlessly (time). He still asks though, year after year. He likes to make comments all day regarding the anticipation of getting his watch. He will say things like, “I purposely didn’t wear a watch tonight so that when you give me my present I won’t have to wear two.” Or when I pull out his present he rubs his hands together and says something like, “Honey, using a big box for a small watch- oldest trick in the book.” Except its not a watch and even though I know he’s joking, I still feel sort of shitty because I would love to buy him that watch. I also feel shitty because IF it was the watch, his comments would take all of the fun out of it. My gifts used to be well thought out, and always generous, but it never felt like a win because it wasn’t the watch. That is why a few birthdays ago I decided to go with a different strategy and get him something I know he won’t like so at least I won’t feel letdown. For his 40th birthday I got him 40 pairs of plain black socks.

This year I got him a book. Your dad doesn’t read books, much to my dismay. The last book I saw him read was on our honeymoon eight years ago. We were in the beautiful Bora Bora. Each morning I would gather my book and head to the beach to park it for the better part of the day. I wouldn’t even get two pages in before your Dad would be staring at me and he would ask, “So, what do you want to do now?” All I wanted to do was nothing, and read. He wanted to swim with sharks and jump off rocks. I needed him to just relax though, so I convinced him to read the book I had finished on the plane- a book called Water For Elephants. He did read it, and every time I would peer out over my pages and see another one of his pages turn, I would smile to myself and think how easy it is to train a man to be exactly who you want them to be and I would daydream about us sitting side by side in our bed reading the same book and discussing it at the end- a Couples Book Club. Well, that never happened and he has not read a book since. He reads though- magazines and online news, just not books. So I got him a book. It was a miss for sure, but no more than any other year and I had already anticipated the disappointment so I was fine with it. One of these years I am going to bust out that watch, and even though I already know something will be wrong with it (wrong size, color, microscopic scrape on the inside band) that he will point out immediately, I still can’t wait for it.

His birthday dinner was really, really fun. There were no cockroaches and the food was excellent. Your dad is such a smiley person when he’s in a good mood. Look how adorable he looked eating the first course, which was a pomegranate popsicle.

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I like how present he is in this next picture, just soaking in our night and really enjoying my company. After all, I am the best gift and he really made that obvious to me here.

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The rest of the week was business as usual, with a few exciting moments. For one, Gail the Puppy got a new collar. Her old collar was diamond encrusted but most of the diamonds had fallen out of their prongs, turning it into a very dangerous weapon. It was sort of like a collar made out of barbed wire and that just didn’t really mesh well with kids. Current Stella would come crying to me with blood on her chin, complaining about Gail’s collar. I would tell her to be more careful and to anticipate when the puppy would want to leap towards her face to give her a kiss and to quit being such a crybaby. After no more than 4 accidents, I finally broke down and purchased a new collar.

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This past weekend your Dad went fishing with my dad for a couple of nights. I have no idea what is so exciting about catching a fish when you don’t even eat fish but whatever. We have way too many pictures of your dad holding up a fish, all proud and jolly. It disturbs me every time. I know that eventually they put the fish back in the water and it swims away completely fine but it would be like if some dude gave me a heart attack, took a picture with my lifeless body and then resuscitated me and sent me on my way. Why? I don’t get it. I noticed he didn’t pack his new book with him on this trip so I have been spending my nights reading it and I have to say, I picked a good one. I have also been slowly making my way through your Dad’s wine collection. Its been truly glorious.

One of the nights he was gone, I took Current Stella to dinner just the two of us. While we were waiting for our food, I became aware of my right foot under the table just tapping away in mid-air. It is something I often do without knowing it. It just bounces away at rapid speed for no reason and it always trips me out when I finally tune into it- Like, how long have I been doing that and why? This time, I looked over at Current Stella’s legs and she was doing the exact same thing with her right foot! I smiled so big because there is something so cool about seeing your kid do something that you also do. She didn’t get my hair, or my eyes, or my left-handedness, but she got my involuntary right leg bouncing leg motion thing and thats pretty cool. During this dinner I also interviewed Current Stella and I cannot wait to share her answers on another post.

Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, thankfully you have moved on from beginning every sentence with Maw-ma, BUT you have replaced it with something far worse. I honestly didnt think it was possible. You now begin EVERY SENTENCE with, “Maw-ma, I have something to tell you.” No shit kid, its called a conversation. Here’s a tip, save that phrase for when you are about to say something heavy so the person you are saying it to has time to prepare for what you are about to say. You do not need to say it before telling me that you are hungry (you just ate), that you can’t find your Elsa socks (I hid them in the trash), or that you want to play Barbie with me (the answer is always no). Also, in no situation that I can think of should you ever have to use that phrase multiple times within the same conversation- just FYI. It also shouldn’t be used before asking questions because you are asking something and not telling something. The other day you said, “Maw-ma, I have something to tell you. Is there anything inside the sky?” Next time you have something to tell me, hopefully it’s the answer to that question because I have absolutely no clue.

Love,

Mom

Our Marriage Turns 8

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Dear Future Stella,

At this point in your life, your Dad and I will have been married for 28 years exactly (today is our anniversary). I will pause while you call/text/virtual hologram us a celebratory message. If, for some awkward reason, we are not still married please note the super-rich, super-hot guy I am currently married to. I am guessing his name is something sexy like Vincent (perhaps he is your ex?) and he rocks my world in so many ways your Dad never could. I doubt that is the case- I am one of those who never wins a raffle, let alone the life jackpot. Also, your dad is the closest I have come to winning it big (besides you) and everyone who knows the two of us would say that I have the better deal.

On our anniversary we usually exchange gifts according to the traditional Hallmark suggestions. The gifts start out small (year one is paper) but once you have put in enough time you can wind up with some pretty expensive stuff. In fact, I bet year 28 is epic because 28 years married is a big freaking deal so I would have to imagine that my present will be pretty sweet this year. Well, I just looked it up and year 28 is an orchid. A god damn flower-that-needs-a-little-water-but-hates-too-much-water-and-don’t-even-think-about-moving-it-a-quarter-of-an-inch-to-the-left-because-it-will-die kind of flower. Is that some kind of sick joke Hallmark? My marriage is hard enough to keep alive thank you very much. However, I am guessing 28 years of marriage is on a whole other level of hard so it might actually be refreshing to only have to manage the delicate life of a flower that spends its whole existence oscillating between the ICU and hospice with brief moments of assisted living. Well played Hallmark, well played. It has actually been really fun celebrating our anniversaries this way and you should try it with your significant other if you have one. OMG- do you have one? Ugh, I hope he or she is super awesome and I am smiling so big right now thinking of you in a sweet relationship. Being in love is the best and you are going to kill it as a partner because you are so damn nice and you thrive when you are showing or being shown affection. Anyway, here is a summary of our anniversaries thus far.

Year 1- Paper. Your Dad had just opened his own business and I was a brand new colorist in the midst of the recession so we were so broke. We decided to make paper airplanes and see who could fly theirs farther. I was extra creative and made multiple planes; one out of our wedding invitation and one of my planes even unfolded into a love letter. Your dad built a NASA-quality paper aircraft that beat the shit out of mine but had no sentimental value whatsoever. He took the task literally, which is basically the definition of a dude. He did, however, get us some sparkling to enjoy that we shared on our wedding day so that was nice.

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Year 2- cotton. We are both HUGE football fans, Denver specifically. Our anniversary just happens to coincide with the beginning of football season so we felt it necessary to get new Bronco t-shirts (made out of cotton). This was clearly before iPhones or filters and I was clearly having a skin breakout issue so please ignore the general disgusting look I am displaying. In hindsight, I am shocked we made it beyond this day, based on my looks alone.
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Year 3- Leather. We bought a new leather couch for our living room. You had just arrived a couple months prior to this and when you showed up we had to surrender our guest bedroom. To make up for it, we bought a great leather pull-out sofa for guests to sleep on. Later, Louis the Cat would declare that couch his personal litter box, officially making that pet the worst, most expensive pet that ever lived. That couch didn’t even see it through to year four. What I find interesting, is when I went to find a picture from our anniversary the only photos that were taken on Sept. 15, 2010 were these ones. Spoiler alert- there is no leather couch to be found.

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Year 4- Flowers/Fruit. We both got each other flowers, and I am almost falling asleep typing it so I can only imagine how snore-worthy it was on that date. The boringness of it explains why the only photo taken that day was this one.

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Year 5- wood. Besides the obvious gift, your Dad also gave me this. Again, he can’t help but be literal.

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Year 6- candy. We each picked out the other one’s favorite sweets. Soooo predictable. This was my favorite anniversary to date though, because we took you back to Big Sur and showed you where we got married. That place is downright magical and romantic. My parents were married there, we were married there, and so if you don’t get married there then we can blame you for breaking the chain.

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Year 7- copper. We purchased a set of copper mugs for making Moscow Mules. I weirdly don’t have a photo of this celebration and I really have no reason why. However, your dad researched every single copper cup on the market before deciding on the ones we got. Maybe I didn’t take any pictures because by the time we actually had any cups in our cupboards, I had seen roughly 38 different options and I was numb to the excitement.

Year 8- linens/lace. We are in desperate need of a bedroom makeover so we have decided to get new bedding for our anniversary. This is the most important room in the house because it is where we regularly consummate our marriage (not always though), and therefore it is unacceptable to have dated linens. We spent the majority of our anniversary today going from store to store to check out all the options available, which let me tell you, is beyond romantic. We still have not pulled the trigger on a set, and by “we” I mean your father. Those copper cups have nothing on this duvet search. Hopefully by the time you read this we have settled into our new bedroom situation, but at this rate I can’t guarantee it. Tonight we got you a babysitter, this time an English speaker for sure, but it could be one of those situations where the boyfriend sneaks in after you go to bed. Good for her, those sheets are getting replaced anyway. Your Dad is taking me to this restaurants that is a block away from our very first apartment in San Francisco. We spent our first anniversary as a couple there. It has been several different restaurants since we last dined there, so its not exactly the same, but the table we sat at is tucked behind a curtain in the back of the restaurant- and that still remains. I am pretty excited to revisit it.

Future Stella, I love your Dad. He is the only person who can have me in stitches with a single sentence and the whole time he is cracking jokes you can feel how intensely he is protecting the two of us. Its such an odd combination but I like knowing that if he needed to stop making inappropriate comments about the sales lady at West Elm under his breath (which he was doing today) to beat the shit out of someone who was threatening our family he would. He’s such an easy man to be with and he takes his job as your Dad so seriously and he just lets me be me, which is kinda crazy because Im as strange as they come. He cares so much what kind of cup I drink my Moscow mule out of and what kind of sheets I lay my head on at night and he shows up to everything for us that is important. His priorities are so clear and he doesn’t compromise our happiness for anything.

Not to be overshadowed by my love fest, your Gopa (my Grandpa) turned 80 over the weekend. Enough with these Virgo birthdays already! We drove to Oregon to celebrate with our family. Your Goma threw him the most lovely party at a local restaurant in their town. She was even feeling a bit under the weather but managed to pull off a fantastic event. Your Gopa is not blood related to you (he is my mother’s step-dad) and that really is a shame. He’s so smart and has such great genes that it’s too bad they are not running through you. However, I know more than anyone that your time spent with someone can impact you way more than genetics can. Your Gopa is almost completely blind and I can’t imagine how different that makes the world for him but he finds so many ways to connect with you. He’s a great listener and has a very unique perspective on things. He gives great advice and is very wise and something tells me his wisdom came prematurely. I love these pictures I captured of him having “these talks” with you.

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  1. And finally, here I was at his birthday party. You were not invited.

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Future Stella, I love you but tonight I love your father more. Current Stella, even though you don’t realize it, you are showing me a better way to love. You forgive instantly and when there is a conflict you listen first. 

Love,
Mom

Do You Still Have to Brush Your Teeth in 2025?

Dear Future Stella,

I am really not an observant person and Current Stella is like idiot savant status when it comes to noticing things so she makes my disability really obvious sometimes. I can’t tell you how many times I have walked up to a car that is the same color, make and model of the one we have and it will be Current Stella who figures it out way before me. I will be aggressively pulling on the door handle and Stella will say, “Mom, this isn’t our car because our car has a tiny red dot on the license plate.” Or Current Stella will point to someone across the restaurant (rude) and announce that they have the same phone cover as her friend’s babysitter. I wouldn’t even be able to pick out that friend in a line-up, let alone her babysitter and definitely not what phone case she had.

The other night Current Stella went to go brush her teeth before bed. She takes this job really seriously- she even brings one of those hourglass sand timers in the bathroom with her to make sure she brushes for the right amount of time. I am baffled by this considering I don’t even hound her to brush her teeth in the first place. The way I see it, they are all going to fall out anyway and then pretty new ones will replace them. Only then should you really take it seriously. Teeth are one of the few guaranteed second chances you have in life, why waste your precious sweet time (which is never guaranteed) doing something that really just sucks? So anyway, Stella comes out of the bathroom and announces that someone left their toothbrush at our house because there is an extra one in the cup. G-ta, Guncle and Peter just left my house after staying for a few days so I have no doubt that one of them left theirs. I told her thanks for letting me know and that I would give it back to them. Off to bed she went and later on when it was my turn to brush my teeth the reality of my severe disability came to head. Up until this point I would know which toothbrush was mine by reciting this little mental note, “Not the small one- that is Stella’s. Not the blue one- that is Casey’s.” My toothbrush is revealed by process of elimination and it works every single time. Well, now there were two left after I repeated my mantra and I had absolutely no idea which toothbrush was mine. Zero clue. I then remembered that your Dad and I always buy our toothbrushes in a two-pack so that we have the same one but in different colors. Great, so I just needed to find the one that looks like the blue one but in a different color. Fuck, neither one matched that description which means that somewhere along the road I had switched my toothbrush with someone else’s on vacation or something and am just realizing that now. So now I have two stranger’s toothbrushes to pick from, one of which has already been in my mouth for weeks now. I was so pissed at Current Stella for not noticing sooner that I had someone else’s toothbrush!! In the morning I would tell her to add that to the list of things to watch out for. Future Stella, I bet the list of things you have to deal with for me is soooo long by now. Thanks.

This past week we had so much fun with G-ta, Guncle and Peter. They visited us on their way back to Oregon after dropping Madeline off at college. Besides leaving a toothbrush at my house, we celebrated Peter’s birthday. He recently turned 21 so we got a babysitter and took him out to get shit-faced. The only problem was, he was super normal and didn’t do or say anything embarrassing and he was able to walk and stand the whole night and not once did he throw up or get in a fight. It was almost like he had done this before. I felt like I majorly failed everyone around me for robbing them of that viewing experience. Future Stella, hanging with this part of my family is one of my absolute favorite things to do ever. We laugh so hard and I really hope that you have continued these relationships. While Current Stella was trying to understand her babysitter (English was maybe her 8th language and if she was playing Duolingo she would still be on level 1) here is what we were doing.

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Peter’s sister, Madeline went off to LMU this past week to pursue an education in film and yesterday was her 19th birthday. She is going to be way famous one day, in fact, she’s probably already famous by now. Current Stella made a Happy Birthday video for her that we sent via text. She responded that she wasn’t feeling great so she couldn’t go to class. She said she was nauseous and her stomach was hurting. Considering we are just coming off of Labor Day weekend and she is a new college student, I narrowed it down to a hangover or early pregnancy symptoms. To determine which was plaguing her, I recommended she consume three Bloody Mary’s. If she was hungover she would get right back to tip top and if she was pregnant she would feel worse but at least she would know weeks earlier than those pee-on-stick-rip-offs. Unless of course, she was hungover and pregnant (which was my case with you) and then she’s just fucked. No, but seriously, she probably has the flu because she doesn’t drink which means she’s not having sex either. I don’t know though, for a girl who claims they don’t party and is more interested in just making films and being silly with her friends, I sure have a ton of photos of her “not drinking.”

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Madeline started paying attention to you around age one. Prior to that, she couldn’t be bothered. I think she hates babies or something. However, she sure made up for lost time once you turned one. We are always forcing her to babysit you and she doesn’t know this yet, but Im in the process of legalizing her as your guardian. She is making this “go to college and be level headed and responsible” thing look too easy. So if she’s not pregnant, she’s about to give birth to a five year old. You guys can take turns accomplishing things and I bet you guys would never mix up your toothbrushes.

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Future Stella, my computer is at the point that in order to upload a new photo onto it I have to delete one to make space. I have decided to slowly delete pictures of you from birth and most photos of you from before age three. Sorry, it was a somewhat hard decision but I need to make more space for Gail the Puppy and I just couldn’t part with some of the older photos I have stored on here. Photos like this one, where there is a man sitting on my couch in my living room who I have absolutely no idea who he is. Do you know this man? Can anyone out there identify him? I would have to believe we were acquaintances at the very least, I mean he is sitting next to my husband in my home and my Mom is there too. I clearly thought it was significant enough to photograph. This non-observant thing really blows, what if it is his toothbrush that I have been using all this time?

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Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, I asked you to describe yourself. You said, “I’m cute, funny, sweet, nice and kind. Oh, and I have lots of mosquito bites.” At this current moment you pretty much described yourself to a T.

Love,

Mom

Chill and Netflix

Dear Future Stella,

Current Stella officially made it through her first week of Kindergarten without getting expelled which is more than I was hoping for. She still can’t read and that’s total bullshit. What the fuck is she doing there all day? Its really not that hard. She has learned more than one prayer though, so at least that will come in handy never. Seriously, Future Stella, can you even read this? Right now I have serious doubts about your success in life and your general IQ and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t incredibly disappointed. Just saying. On the bright side, I am really glad that she can’t read yet because your Dad and I have not quite hammered out what our code phrases are going to be so Current Stella can’t snoop on our text messages. I mean, obviously we are still going to want to hardcore sext and talk shit about all of her friends but we don’t really want her seeing. I know one thing, every time your Dad texts me “What did you buy from Amazon now?” that really means “lets enjoy some safe sex (so that we don’t make the mistake of having another kid) in a timely fashion (because Ray Donovan is on tonight) really quietly (because Current Stella still has a friend over). Now that you know that secret code I am sure a lot of things from your childhood make a lot more sense, unless of course you remember ever taking out the recycling and then you would see the evidence of my amazon.com shopping addiction.

Young kids always have code to stay out of trouble with their parents. In 2015 when a kid says they are going to “Netflix and Chill” it really means they are going to have wild sex while Orange is the New Black plays in the background. Naturally, your Dad and I wanted to try this, you know, to stay current. First of all, I had never even binge watched a show before and I was dying to try that too because the kids make it look really fun and addicting. Always down to combine tasks for efficiency purposes, I decided we should binge watch this show called Empire and chill. Binge watching a show is so much harder than it looks. One of us always falls asleep, and so then the next night we have to re-watch part of the last episode so that everyone is caught up to speed but then inevitably the other one falls asleep while the other one goes on to the next episode and then the next night the cycle starts all over again. It takes 4 days to watch 1 episode in its entirety and how these young kids can also fit in the chilling part is beyond me. There are so many plot twists so there is no way you can successfully chill while binging unless of course the show you are trying to binge watch is porn of some sort. Netflix and Chill is so unrealistic and takes a lot of practice. To ensure a positive outcome, we have decided to Chill first and then Netflix. This doesn’t really solve the sleeping part, in fact, it almost guarantees sleep within the first five minutes of the episode, but at least we are completing both components.

I really wish that Current Stella was a teenager already so that I could take every opportunity to tell her that your Dad and I were going to Netflix and Chill. Every time she would ask to have a friend over I would say, “Sure, we are just going to be Netflixing and Chilling. Mostly chilling” She would eventually have to stop asking me what my plans were, what I was doing, or what I wanted for my birthday because I would answer Netflix and Chill for all of those scenarios. Not once would I let on that I knew the street meaning so she would just think I was so incredibly lame. It would be amazing.

Today Current Stella had picture day. Not that exciting because she has to wear a uniform so I couldn’t dress her in something so insanely cute in 2015 that you would be absolutely horrified by in 2025 but I can make sure her hair is on fleek. Side note: I love using words/phrases that are super trendy but that don’t have lasting power so that you will be utterly confused when reading this, Future Stella. Anyway, with me being in the industry she definitely has an unfair advantage. I basically set up a blow-dry bar in our living room, slapped on some 60-dollar-a-bottle styling serum, and proceeded to glamify her. As long as she doesn’t make that horrible cheesy fake smile we should be good to go.

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Speaking of insanely cute outfits, Current Stella had the greatest outfit on the other day when we went to a picnic for her new school.
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I really like the vest because if Im really tired or really buzzed and I close my eyes it almost feels like Gail the Puppy is on my lap and not actually Current Stella. Anyway, she wore this outfit and everyone was like, OMG, she’s so cute. Your dad and I were trying to mingle and meet people but we are both on the socially awkward side. Ok, thats not true, your Dad is way social. At some point your new teacher shows up and we are both thinking we should introduce ourselves. I was feeling a bit self conscious because everyone was sipping on Diet Coke and we were the only ones who brought champagne- I mean, hasn’t anyone here ever heard of Sunday Funday? Not wanting to be labeled “that family” I stayed clear of the teacher until I saw her reach into her cooler and pour herself a glass of white wine. Phew. We made our way over and began some pretty painful small talk. At some point she asked where Current Stella was. We look around because honestly I hadn’t seen her in quite some time. Your dad spots her on the top of a hill and points her out. Just then she takes all of her clothes off. All of them. Way to go kiddo, as if this whole thing wasn’t weird enough. She then reaches into her tiny purse that she brought from home and pulled out a super ugly sundress and put that on. It was a speechless moment for me. Your dad was so confused as to why she picked the top of a hill to use as a dressing room, and I was wondering what on God’s green (currently brown in California) earth possessed her to want to wear something so ugly? Who knows what the teacher was wondering but we didnt really talk to her after that. Here is a picture of what she decided to change into. In front of her whole school.

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Thank God for the hat, or she could have easily landed on some fashion police children’s blog.

Tomorrow is your G-oma’s birthday. G-oma is my Oma (Grand-mere) and your Great-grandmother. She’s my mother’s Madre. Got it? She’s turning 76. Your Goma loves to garden, sell things, dance, and she has the most amazing Instagram account I have ever seen. She’s in ridiculously good shape, does more things in a day then I do in a month and adores you to pieces.

I asked Current Stella to tell me about her G-oma. She said she’s really kind to her and she likes everything about her. She said G-oma throws great sleepovers and she has the most beautifullest garden ever.

Here is Current Stella with Goma this past summer in Oregon wearing that fucking dress again.

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Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, you say elektrickity instead of electricity and every time you say it my whole inside of my body is filled with a hot burning steam-type substance that temporarily disrupts my blood flow and I can feel my heartbeat in my throat and all my thoughts stand still and I have this moment of realization that my entire life’s happiness is felt when hearing you say that word and if you were not in my life saying words all wonky than I would turn to cement inside.

Love,

Mom