046Heilbron It’s 9:36am and I’m racing out the door to get to 9:30 workout class. I have spent the last 45 minutes telling myself that this workout is really important because not only will I not be able to workout for the rest of the week, but I totally fell off the wagon on day 9 ½ of my 21 day diet. Fucking Girl Scouts.

But TODAY, I’m going to make it to class. To clear my head. To sweat. To work off 350 of the 3500 calories I consumed at the Chinese restaurant last night. I mean, if I go, I will be queen of the world. I have roughly 5 hours until Jonah gets out of school and as the queen of time management, I will conquer this mother of a day and take no prisoners. Oh yes, in 5 hours I will be able to take care of my mind and body AND drop off/pick up dry cleaning, feed the baby, put down the baby, go to the market, pack bags, take a shower (that includes hair washing), blow dry and curl said hair in preparation for a week of no hair washing and possibly no showering, pump a few times, write a blog post, clean the house, do the laundry, prepare food for the week, feed the baby again, and OH, did I mention WORK- As in WORK? I should be able to do that too. Because a solid hour of high intensity exercise in the morning REALLY sets the tone for the day.

It also REALLY happens to be a great, big distraction. And at 9:39am, about 5 minutes still from where I need to be, I stop at a red light and it hits me. I call an audible.

My baby is having surgery tomorrow. What am I doing?!

Tomorrow, Oliver will be admitted into Children’s Hospital to begin treatment for his lymphatic malformation. To say that we’ve been anxiously awaiting this day would be an understatement. This “mass,” (a word that I have probably said 16,253 times in 4 months), has been all-consuming. I have tried to pretend as if I can go about my day, do other things, be other places, but it’s there. This issue. This thing. This unwanted, unfortunate hand that we’ve been dealt.

And while I have done my best to try to “get back to normal,” it occurred to me, sitting there at that light, that it’s impossible. There’s nothing normal about anticipating a 3-night stay in a hospital for children—for your child—for your baby. And I realized a la an Oprah “ah ha” moment that I will not be “normal” until we come out on the other side. Why the fuck am I racing around town like a maniac to get to a class I will be 15 minutes late for only to spend the class agonizing about all the other things I have to do today?!

So instead of heading home and feeling bad about myself and freaking out that this missed worked will lead to a lifetime of obesity, I decided to try something new:

I chose to forgive myself.

I forgive myself for not only missing a workout, but also for feeling totally relieved that I am NOT going to workout. I may even skip the hair wash.

My baby has something wrong with him and is having three separate surgeries over the course of three days. Is there anything worse for a parent???

JENNY, you get a pass!!! I get a big, big pass!

My mind was racing… Holy shit, I beat myself up for everything. Suddenly, it felt like the floodgates of forgiveness were being opened. What if I just forgave myself right now for all the things- big and small- I usually feel bad about…?

For using a grocery delivery service that I totally know I’m overpaying for.

For not sending written thank you notes to every single person who sent or brought a gift for Oliver. Some people got texts with the promise of thank you notes. And that never happened and that is not like me. I’m a thank you note nerd. But I dropped the ball. And now I can’t remember who sent what. So I’m sorry. I forgive myself and I hope you do too.

On that note, literally, I forgive myself for not being able to remember jack shit. I can’t even remember what day it is anymore let alone who to send thank you notes to.

I forgive myself for not writing more blog posts. I love writing. Writing feels good. Lucky for you I will keep going…

I forgive myself for inhaling eating a sleeve of crack cookies last night after the Jewish family gathering Chinese food. The baby took forever to go down, I was stressed about today and then when we finally sat down to watch Making a Murderer like normal married people and I needed something sweet… and also talking with a Manitowoc accent and eating Thin Mints AND pumping at the same time takes mad skill, so now I REALLY don’t feel bad.

Speaking of baby taking forever to go down, after 8 years of dealing with a child who will.not.go.to.sleep.without.me.rubbinghisback.gettingwater.why.is.the.sky blue.omg.GO TO SLEEP, I swore to myself that when I had a second child, I would never, I repeat, NEVER do THAT again. Oh noooo, not this time. This time, he will learn to self soothe. I would put him down “drowsy but awake” and say “night night” and leave. Well, folks, here we are night after night, my boob as a pacifier (specifically, the left one. That ones a real winner I guess…) and shin splints from having to literally tip toe out like a prima ballerina across a floor that creaks like it was built in the 17th century. But I forgive myself. Especially tonight. Tonight, I may never put him down….

Which sucks, because Jonah could probably use more attention. But I forgive myself for that too. I really do try my best.

Except when he does homework. Turns out I’m not so good at 2nd grade math. In fact, I’m terrible at it. But guess what: I totally forgive myself. I was a DRAMA major for god’s sake. I studied the THE-ATER.

And as long as we’re talking about theatrics, I have a confession: I lied my way through Disneyland and my 8-year old son was my accomplice. In fact, I lied so much, that Jonah kept saying, “Mommy, can you do the ‘scam’?” “Do the scam thing, Mommy!” “Scam them.” How’s that for parenting? I would tell you what I did but for fear of being thrown in Disneyland jail AND having my mother of the year award revoked, I am going to keep it a secret. Oh, and also because I don’t want you to steal my white lie and walk to the front of the line on every single ride like we did for two days. I’ve already said too much. Call me selfish, call me a bad parent, but I forgive myself for lying at the happiest place on earth and telling Jonah that sometimes lies are okay. Because they’re not. But honestly, sometimes they ARE.

I forgive myself for helping him more than I should on his Flat Stanley project. He was assigned El Salvador. No offense, but tourism is not something El Salvador is known for. SO I had to use the intra-net and get a little creative. Also, I forgive myself for telling him we’re seriously moving to a small island in the Caribbean if Donald Trump or Ted Cruz wins because now he’s having anxiety about going to a new school without his best friend Zachary. But I forgive myself for freaking him out. People say things they don’t mean when they’re scared. (Except for that. I do want to move if either dipshit wins. From what I can tell, property in El Salvador isn’t expensive. Thanks, Flat Stanley!).

In all seriousness, I don’t know as much as I should about each and every politician. In fact, quite honestly, I pretend I’m not into Bernie Sanders because “He’s a Socialist” and I really know what that means… But the truth is, I couldn’t vote for Bernie Sanders because he reminds me of one of the senile old guards at the Leisure World Gate where my 87-year old Nana lives. These guys are hard of hearing and stand zero chance of warding off an actual intruder. Hello, Bernie.

I’ve been terrible about returning phone calls, making dinner from scratch, keeping the bathroom floors clean, and monitoring how much screen time Jonah is getting. I forgive myself for all of that though.

I’ve been unnecessarily naggy and critical towards my husband and have flown off the handle more than I care to even acknowledge. But I’m acknowledging it now. And I forgive myself for that. Pain can bring out the worst in people and like I said, sometimes people say things they don’t mean when they’re scared. I’m so deeply scared.

I forgive myself for feeling low. So low and so sad. But I did just have a baby. Even if 4 months doesn’t seem like it falls into the category of “just.” It’s okay. I forgive myself for those dark feelings. Because this shit is real. And it’s hard.

I forgive myself for feeling so ridiculously anxious and expecting the worst things in the world to happen. Of course I expect the worst. The rug was pulled out from underneath us twice in one year. I’m a little scarred. And. I. Get. A. PASS.

I’m giving myself a pass. It feels good. It feels necessary. And it feels like it’s about time.

Tomorrow will be a challenging, gut wrenching, and heart-breaking day. But we will be okay and my sweet Oliver will come out fighting and smiling.

Thanks for all your well wishes and good prayers.

(And please consider this my thank you note).



FILED UNDER: A Little Life

Leave a Comment


  1. Monday, February 1st, 2016
    Sending healing thoughts and good wishes to your sweet baby boy. Glad you are easing up on yourself.
  2. Monday, February 1st, 2016
    Beautifully and transparently written Jenny! Thank you for being REAL! Praying for healing for sweet Oliver Blue and for peace for Peter and you!!!! xoxo
  3. Beck
    Monday, February 1st, 2016
    Total boods #LOVE
  4. Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016
    Yes!!!! Forgive yourself mama. You are doing your best in your situation and that's more than enough. Sending lots of love and all the healing prayers to you and your boys.
  5. Lisa
    Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016
    Hugs to you all. You are in amazing hands with CHLA!!
  6. Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016
    How entirely beautiful and wonderful. Sending so much love to you all. I pulled a lot of strength from this piece - thank you.
  7. Thursday, February 4th, 2016
    This is so incredibly beautiful and helpful to SO many that forget to give themselves permission to be human and imperfect. YOU just gave so many folks a pass by just writing this, and for that I'm so grateful. Sending you so many well wishes and so much love.
  8. Sunday, February 7th, 2016
    you are adorable and an inspiration! I love you and think of you often. Love this piece!!