Thursday, August 29, 2013

Unsolicited Advice.. As Usual

There is a plethora of advice out there for parents.  Whether it’s your first baby or fourth, there is always someone, somewhere, that has a little piece of wisdom they would like to bestow upon expecting parents. 

Please allow me to throw my hat into the game. 

First, some background.

After cleaning up our baby stuff, and getting it ready to give to other new parents (sidebar.. um I think almost ALL of my good friends are either expecting, or about to be..) I found myself a total hot mess, sobbing in the kitchen to my husband that “I’m not ready for this to be over, it’s going too fast”.  He hugged me and looked at me incredulously since we still have a baby in the house.  But, as I’m sure other moms can attest to, despite his status as still being a ‘baby’, he’s not a ‘baby’ baby anymore. 

What I was trying to convey through hiccupped sobs, and a little snot too, was that in making the decision to be ‘done’ having kids, I was having a hard time with the idea that this was essentially the end of an era. 

No more pregnancy tests, no more feeling the baby move for the first time, no more ultrasounds that set your heart on fire when you see your little space peanut wave at you or flail around, no more literally having you heart set on fire from heartburn in the third trimester, and finally, no more moments of seeing that little person you grew inside of you for the very first time. 

It hit me hard to come to the realization that this part of my life was coming to a close.  And I think the fact that we started early, and therefore are done early, while my friends are still having their firsts, made it seem like it sped by way too fast.

Now, whether I would like to or not, there is no going back on us being a 3 kid kinda family.  And you know, I don’t want to tempt fate.  I’ve had three healthy, hearty babies that have grown into fantastic, ridiculously good looking kids (and currently one cuter than cute baby).  But, there is something inside of me that still feels sad that it’s over.

In coping with these feelings I went back and thought of the moments with each of my newborns that I will remember forever.  Strangely enough, all three were the same moments.. so here’s where I’ll take the liberty of expunging advice.

There’s a moment.

After the adrenaline filled moments after birth, when all the family has been called, mass texts have been sent out, when the nurses have left you, the baby, and dad alone in your room for the first time.  It’s an endorphin rich serenity that so far in my 30 years, I have felt nothing akin to.

 It’s the moment when quiet comes, and you sit back and look at the little pink hand moving in their sleep, or daddy dozing off holding the baby in the recliner, when nothing outside the room and this moment mean anything. 

Where the world could come crashing down around you and you wouldn’t notice because you are drawing the outline of that little mouth to remember forever in your mind, where your husband looks at you, and back at the baby with the kind of tenderness and adoration you thought was reserved for made for TV movies.  It’s a feeling that for the rest of your life, nothing will matter, or be more important than who you just met. 

It’s absolutely intoxicating, and a vacuum in time that will never be duplicated. 

Soon this moment of calm will shift, and you will be awoken from the hypnotic bliss from that surge of pure, unadulterated love.  Soon you will go back to reality where diapers need to be changed, papers need to be signed, grandparents will show up, nurses will be doing rounds, life will march forward. 

So, my advice… please, please take the time to relish this moment.  Sit still, and really take in this moment of absolute perfection. 

Because before you know it, you’ll be a puddle in the middle of your kitchen one night, sobbing to your husband about how life needs to slow the f down. 


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

“If You Don’t Stand For Something….


.. You’ll fall for anything.” ~ Alexander Hamilton

Wow.  Things around here sure have gotten busy in the last few days. I’ve had feedback from all over Canada and the US, and have been humbled by the kind words, and touched immeasurably by the heartfelt thanks given to me by families of fallen members.  Your sacrifice was the ultimate, and not a day goes by that we, as wives, husbands, fathers, mothers, and children, don’t send our loved ones out without remembering that.

Of course, there was negative feedback, some with a differing point of view, on which I was willing to open up a conversation on, and some that was just nasty and aimed to hurt.  I left commenting open for a day, which I felt was fair as the new comments were redundant (both for and against my stance).  The majority of the dissenting viewpoints held by people centered around the belief that police, the RCMP in general, was a corrupt organization that needed a cleanse by media.  I guess here’s where we agree to disagree.

I entitled my post “ A Wife’s Point of View” (with an html that was embedded with a rough draft that held a typo… please know I cringe every time I see it linked.)  Because, the heart of my message wasn’t some PR blitz, or a call to ban all media coverage (I never even insinuated that) but my personal view coming from where I sit.

I have no team of editors, I write on my laptop in my kitchen while my kids are napping or playing.  I have no hidden agenda or any professionals vetting what I write.  I say what I have to say from the heart, always trying to remain insightful, while respectful and positive.. and apparently with one typo, too.  (Yup.. I had a bonehead typo.  I guess one typo gave a person credence to question my education, bravely anonymous, of course.)

It’s a confusing time to be married to a police officer.  Because what I see in my everyday life, our friends, our experiences, our time spent in the community, is so different than what I see in the media, or hear about on chat forums, and Facebook.  You could argue I’m in a bubble, and I’ll vehemently disagree.  Let me explain.

We have been to three posts which were all vastly different experiences.  A small farming town, a northern rural LDP(Limited Duration Post), and now a municipal post in a city.  We have moved provinces, and garnered experiences I can only describe as positive, and enriching.

We have always put ourselves out there, had many friends outside the force, and took a piece of every post with us.  I’ve volunteered to coach kids in every place we’ve ever lived.  My husband has played evening pick up hockey with local teams at every post.  We’ve been invited into livings rooms, shared stories over the fire, and become a part of the community. 

Our children were accepted in communities where my little white kids stood out like sore thumbs.  My son went to Cree immersion preschool and learned from elders.  Our daughter was given a beautiful baby gift of handmade wraps beaded by a kokum. 

We rode in combines with lifelong farmers on their homesteaded acres, have taken gardening advice from the church group ladies, and sat in stands and cheered with the rest of the community against the rival senior team.  We felt at home wherever my husband’s job took us.  This, in communities where he was highly visible, communities he was called upon to police. 

His job meant he had to arrest some members of these communities, give tickets, and lay charges, as is expected in his course of duties.  I think that one of the most underrated aspects of RCMP members in these communities is maintaining this precarious relationship.  Being visible, doing a good job at work, and still being accepted and liked by the community.  But they do it… all the time.   

Oh sure, there have been some uncomfortable moments.  There is a fragment of society that won’t be so happy to call you friend, no matter how nice you are.  In a small community there is no hiding who you are married to, who your kids are, and where you live.  It comes with the territory.  In a larger community, I think most spouses can tell you a time or two when their off-duty police officers made a sudden exit at a public event, to ensure some of the aforementioned fragment didn’t get the pleasure of meeting their whole family. 

This is my reality.  A life lived in communities with my husband’s coworkers, but many, many other great people.  So back to my point, and what spurned me on to write the post in the first place.

It seems like every time I read a police involved article (and can I clarify I mean local.  I don’t even pretend to understand the goings on with the Commissioners, Deputy Commissioners, or Super Nintendos.  Wait…  Intendants) I feel so confused about why they are portrayed in a light that’s so black.

I’m taking issue with the everyday police officer.  The ones I know are a well-liked part of the community.. on duty and off. 

And what I wondered, was to what aspect the media plays a role in this disparity I’ve come to notice.  In other words, but the same sentiment I expressed in my first post:

 As a society, has the loss of respect for those in authority positions (I think teachers and nurses might feel the same way) created an environment where we want to hear salacious details about how people in these positions have screwed up.  OR, is the increasing trend to publish character witnesses for the accused professing their innocence, and blaming police for an injustice without taking the time to adequately illustrate, or even acknowledge, that there is another side. 

I’m not asking for the coverage to stop.   It can’t, it’s news.  I’m not asking for censorship either.  And I’m definitely not pretending that police officers are anything above an average human who has faults.  Flaws.  That a few can make mistakes, fail to do their job properly, and in those cases, who must be held accountable.

 I’m just asking to think critically about what we see portrayed in the media, and to ask ourselves the bigger question.. do our latent opinions affect the media coverage, or does the media, unwittingly or not, shape what our opinions are?

And finally, because this is my personal platform, I’m choosing to end it with something I feel is poignant.


I have been where you fear to be.

 I have seen what you fear to see.

 I have done what you fear to do.

 All these things I've done for you.

 I am the one you lean upon.

 The one you cast your scorn upon.

 The one you bring your troubles to,

 All these people I've been for you.

 The one you ask to stand apart.

 The one you feel should have no heart.

 The one you call the officer in blue.

 But I am human, just like you.

 And through the years I've come to see

 That I am not what you ask of me.

 So take this badge and take this gun.

 Will you take it?

 Will anyone?

 And when you watch a person die,

 And hear a battered baby cry.

 Then so you think that you can be

 All those things you ask of me?

~ Author Unknown


Friday, August 16, 2013

Police and Media.. A Wife's Point of View

This week in Alberta a police officer was beaten, left in a ditch, and subsequently airlifted to hospital.  He remains in hospital in stable condition days after.

It barely made headlines.  In fact, you had to search it out in order to find any information about the incident until days after.

It’s no secret that it’s been a rough few weeks in Alberta.  There have been four major incidents leaving three suspects dead, and two in hospital with gunshot wounds.

Alberta is also home to the deadliest police shooting in RCMP history.  Mayerthorpe, for most RCMP and their families, brings back the memories and headlines we all watched in shock.  Someone wanted to kill the police, and ultimately succeeded in extinguishing four, young, bright, lives.

The whole country reverberated again when in Saskatchewan, two other RCMP were killed not long after, followed closely by a member who lost his life in BC. 

And, of course, there are many times officers are injured on the job that never gets reported to the media.  Let me be the first to tell you it happens much more often than you think.  Luckily for the majority of cases, the RCMP get their man.

I am both a student of journalism, and an RCMP wife.  As such, you can imagine the double edge sword with which I read these stories in recent weeks.  I was taught that reporting always has to be fair, unbiased, and accurate.  However, the reporter’s angle, or sources they choose to use can turn one very cut and dry article, into a slam piece almost unknowingly.  It would appear as of late, this seems to be happening more often than not.

A reporter wants to get to the most intimate sources of any story they are covering.  Hearsay never used to be thought of as a reliable source, however more and more you see it used as such in articles. 

For example, “I never knew the young man who is accused, but his family says he’s a great, solid, hardworking kind of guy, who just doesn’t have it in him to do this.”

So his family thinks he’s awesome despite the plethora of charges he faces… you don’t say. 

You see why I bring this up, is that it almost always happens in a police involved article.  Of course the police do not  and cannot speak publically about character.  It’s as divisive and biased as people are, but the media loves to jump on the random character witness willing to talk all day about what they’ve heard someone say about someone who knows the family well.

I know they want a story, but here’s where the other half of me kicks in.

It’s totally biased and completely unfair to paint the accused/suspect as a family guy who was going about his daily business, and to seemingly juxtapose the police as heartless, cruel, abusers of force.

I can’t help but feel like the media has scapegoated police to the point that we now, as a culture, believe this to be fact. 

Police cannot be trusted.  They will beat you, and perhaps shoot you for no good reason.  They are uneducated, modern day thugs paid to enforce unfair laws and rules to a generally law abiding, and peaceful society.


As wives and children of police officers perhaps we are more sensitive to it, but we as a society hear it all the time. 

The dickhead police officer that pulled you over for DOING SOMETHING ILLEGAL. 

The asshole of a cop who didn’t like being called an asshole of a cop. 

The police watchdog pages, the petitions against use of force by police, those who video police doing their jobs in attempt to catch a slip-up.  The people who are completely terrifying for anyone who loves someone with a badge: The Police Hater.  More and more prevalent, they despise everything the police stand for and, like the sad events of Mayerthorpe,  and Spiritwood proved, will force those we love to pay the absolute price for wearing the badge.

Then you open a paper, cringe as the headline blasts something awful like “MAN KILLED AT HANDS OF POLICE” and read the articles that accompany the quotes about the stellar attributes of the people it would appear were unjustly accosted by the police. 

No one deserves to die.  It’s that simple.    No police officer wants to have to use deadly force as an option to protect themselves.  That’s also simple. 

Here’s a piece of unsolicited advice.  Don’t do drugs, be in a gang, or party like it’s 1965.  Follow these instructions and you’ll probably never have a run in with the police.  You don’t often hear about a friendly  game of Yahtzee getting interrupted by police tasering them.  Just sayin….

I mean I’ll admit to being completely biased, but the police officers I know are the kind of people that volunteer to coach kids, give elderly people their seats, respect those in leadership or professional positions (ie. Nurses, doctors, teachers..), and want to get home without killing someone.

You know, just average kind of guys and girls.

I don’t dispute there are some bad police officers.  Like any other profession the people behind the badge are humans. With flaws and faults.  I believe that those that made mistakes need to be held accountable.  I believe that an inquiry must take place to find out if appropriate action took place in cases of deadly force being used.  What I will take issue with, and shout on a mountain top (I am in Alberta after all.. I can totally do it…) is that on the whole, these men and women we ask to protect us are pretty awesome human beings. 

What has made it impossible for me to keep quiet, is this unnerving realization that policing is becoming more and more dangerous in a world where the media is claiming to make things more fair.  Back to the old chicken and egg conundrum.. which came first?

As a society have we raised children who learn at an early age to dislike and distrust police enough to grow into full blown police haters by adulthood? And is the media simply picking up on the underlying diminishing of respect for police and reporting the stories as thus, OR is the media’s constant reports about police brutality, and dysfunction within the police forces, leaving a taste of utter lack of respect and indifference to the men and women sworn to protect us?

I don’t know the answer.  I feel like I’m just here to ask it. 


Things I Thought Were a Good Idea... but Weren't. At All.

I may be thirty now, but even up to last week I’ve done, and most likely said, things that I thought were a good idea, only to obsess over the stupid move when the damage was already done. 

I mean just last week I referred to my new favorite underwear as business in the front, party in the back.  In front of a room of people.  At my own birthday party.

 So.. I’m not exactly daring to step out of my ironclad box at the ripe old age of 30.

Let’s start with one of my favorite, and earliest examples of things Brittany thinks are super innovative, which actually turn out to be just plain dumb.

I’m four.  I’m at another one of my brother’s hockey games and am yet again begging for money from my mom.  My dad is a coach, and my mom says what all moms say, "Dad has all the money, you'll have to wait until after the game."

I didn't care what she said.  I need a god damn blue whale right now. 

So, I did the next most likely thing a four year old would think of.  I took off a mitten, and threw it onto the ice.  You see I knew that this would cause a stoppage of play, then OBVIOUSLY my dad would see the predicament I was in, rush over to give me some money, and we would all go on happier, and certainly more satisfied.

This, as you can imagine, is not how my plan turned out.

My pink mitten went over the glass, the ref blew the whistle, and from across the ice my dad’s eyes met mine and I knew I was not getting that blue whale. 

As most four year olds, I completely forgot about the impromptu mitten toss in about as long as it took for the ref to blow the whistle to start play again. 

My friends and I were busy anyways.  Ye were hunting in the lobby for pull tickets.  We had a strange obsession with those pull tickets.  More so for the fact that grown adults bought them by the handfuls, and ripped them open, only to have them dropped on the floor like they were five minute old double bubble.  We would pick them up, and stuff them in our pockets sure that some sort of luck would come from this. 

Anyways, in my pull ticket drunken state, I had forgotten about my brilliant scheme that seemed to go horribly array.  That is, until the game ended and my left arm was grabbed suddenly and I was being pulled backwards for a little lesson on what NOT to do to get Dad’s attention.  

Fast forward a few years.  I’m now 8, and desperate to be different.  In a cool way, no less.

We’ve already discussed my fascination with a fellow classmate’s hearing aids.  However, much to my chagrin, it turned out hearing aids are kinda hard to get your hands on. 

But glasses, and fake braces, weren’t.

While doing my semi-weekly snoop session of my sister’s room, I happened upon a pair of glasses in her backpack.  While I found out later she had kept them for a friend while they were out, I decided this was a sign.

By tomorrow morning,  I was obviously going to be the coolest kid at school with brand new glasses.

I don’t know if it was the cheap metal frames, or that I was convinced I looked much older, and therefore sophisticated in these new gems, but I figured the most logical thing to do was to add braces to the picture.

One paper clip later, unbent, and remolded to my teeth, and I was ready to face the next school day in style. 

It was really too bad I couldn’t find any crutches anywhere.

I left the next morning to school looking like boring old Brittany, only to make it to the crosswalk where I hurriedly decorated my face with these fancy spectacles, and applied my new braces.  I strutted to school like a girl on the top of her game. 

Here I come world.. look out. 


Look out. 

Those glasses were an incredibly strong prescription, certainly NOT for me, and my lips were bleeding on the inside from the sharp ends of the paper clip.  Yep, I made it to school half blind, with blood coming from my mouth.  Fail.

The following summer I decided to become a poet.  I had read enough Emily Dickinson to know I could rattle off a poem or two.  I mean, even at ten I had real issue with what exactly a poet does, and how to get paid for said poetry, but my artistic mind needed development so I stole a notebook from my brother’s desk and headed outside.

Under a tree.. obviously.  I’m sure that’s exactly how all great poets wrote great poetry.

I looked around and started:

(This is actually what I wrote.. brace yourself)

Robin, robin, in a tree,

Won’t you come and play with me?

Ya.. it sucked.  I knew it, the robin knew it, and the beautiful elm tree I had settled under was harboring bugs that were biting me.

I went back inside, grabbed a blanket and two Oreos from the back of the pack so my mom wouldn’t notice, and tried again.  This time on the front lawn.

I laid on my stomach (obviously another fantastic writing position from what I had seen on Babysitter’s Club) and began again. 


So I closed my eyes and tried my best to concentrate on the task at hand.

I feel asleep and my mom took pictures of me passed out on the lawn. 

We only found this out AFTER trying to develop pictures from our family vacation the week before, only to find that mom had popped a used cartridge back in the camera and double exposed them.  (This wasn’t her first offense in this subject). Also side note.. how in the world am I ever going to explain that to my kids someday? You know…  film? 

Fast forward a few more years, and I’m sure about a thousand more stupid moments, and I’m a recently transferred student to a new high school, in a new city, trying to fit in and make friends. 

I was like all other high school cheerleaders with gold hair (sun in… again) and her sister’s borrowed (ok stolen when she wasn’t home) clothes.  The only road I took that diverged was that in academics.  I was in an advanced program where high school kids take an accelerated program so that you have university credits (your first year of basics) under your belt before you even hit university. (International Baccalaureate.. IB henceforth).  It was very competitive and I worked hard to keep up with the geeks (the term affectionately used).

I was so hurt when I found out that some of the mean IB girls (mean girls are everywhere people) had found out my student number and had checked my marks.  Well, I wasn’t mad at that part because I knew I was smoking them in the marks department, but I was mad because they didn’t think I belonged.  They didn’t think I could be blonde, peppy (I hate that word but I find it associated to me more than I care to admit), and smart.

Looking back I can sort of see why. 

You see, I never really wear my intelligence on my sleeve, per se. 

I generally let my mouth make words and sentences before I actually think about what they mean, and as a teenager this flaw was in overdrive.  Once again accounting for things I thought were a good idea.. but weren’t.

Example #1-

I think my throat is scratchy and sore.  We are learning about Chaucer and I decide I love the Wife of Bath in her blunt frankness.  I giggle to myself about the funny things she says, try clearing my throat, only to realize I would love a cough drop.  I do what most people would do in my situation. 

I put my hand up, wait my turn and then ask the class,

“Does anyone have anything hard to suck on??”

The guy behind me quickly confirmed he did.

Example #2-

This sounds super.,. I don’t know, like a weird Japanese Anime trend, but Winnie the Pooh merchandise got kinda popular.  It was even on underwear  aimed at teens (I swear this was a thing. .. ).  So of course, being a slave to 90’s fashion trends, I bought some.

The next day in first period, I excitedly exclaimed to a friend that I had Pooh on my underwear, too!  Um ya.  Strike two.

And I couldn’t figure out why the mean girls thought that I was, well, not very SMRT.

I mean I could keep going with things I’ve said that are ridiculous.  And anyone who has ever spent time with me will attest to the fact that I do this often.  At this point we all get a good laugh, but there are some things I’ve said, like those above, that I think back upon and cringe.

How about the time I was complaining to my boss about trying to google Pussycat Dolls and the computer kept blocking me from PUSSY.  Ya.  Like I said.  SMRT sometimes.

Or Sun-IN… again.  Such a quick and easy way to get the highlights mom and dad won’t pay for.  FAIL.

Oh THE haircut.  I took in a pic of Tiffani Amber Theisen when she had her hair kinda funky and shorter when she was working at the Peach Pit After Dark. (Did anyone else DIE when Saved by The Bell AND Beverly Hills sorta joined forces there for awhile.  It makes me smile just thinking about it)  Well suffice to say there is a reason I have never worn my hair shorter than shoulder length since.  Picture coming....

Putting Nair on a sensitive area and closing my eyes for a quick second while I waited the 5 minutes.  25 minutes later.. well…

Performing a cheer routine at a school dance.  Not cool, no matter how many Melissa Joan Hart movies you’ve watched.

Buying $90 worth of soap at Bath and Body Works and rather than throwing the bill away, exclaiming to Mike what a good deal it was!!

Taking a microphone at Mike’s Christmas party, from the DJ, and singing OVERTOP of the music.  Yep I didn’t remember this little nugget until 3p the next day.  I believe it was post traumatic stress. 


I can’t even formally end this because like infinity, there is no beginning or nor end.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

My Next Thirty Years

I love Country music.  I think it was serendipity that I knew a random answer to a question on the radio, landing me two free weekends passes to a Country festival so close to the big 3-0.

I’ve been to some pretty awesome shows.  Garth, George Straight, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Dierks Bentley, Paul Brandt, Tim Mcgraw, and I’m about to add another Tim show, Alan Jackson.. etc. because I just can’t get enough of Country music.

Country music would be nothing if not for the stories and lessons in the lyrics.  Unlike other genres, there is no abstract message.  Country music is simply stories, sung.  As someone who fancies herself a story teller, and who loves a good story or two, this really speaks to me.

So, it’s no wonder in my amped up listening of Tim lately, that the song My Next Thirty Years would inspire me to make my own list.  (If you read my blog you also know that I have a thing about lists.)
But first... a photo break:
Kate Middleton took a page out of Shirley's book.  Blue polka dots a day after birth? Check!

While laughing at his giant glasses, I put on my giant sunglasses..

We were pretty adorable.


The family that 80's together....

In my Next Thirty Years


-I will enjoy the last bits of youth I have left in me, I will ride horses and do cartwheels, and do alcohol induced toe touched on trampolines.  But, I will also remember that a youthful spirit never has to cease.  My gramps, for instance, was never too old to drop a jig in the kitchen, or make a snow angel in a stranger’s yard. 

-As I teenager I thought that by 30, I would be well over self-doubt and image consciousness.  Now that I am closer to 30 I realize how funny it is that I thought that serenity and zen obviously came at the ripe old age of 30.  I’m realizing more than anything that this almost amplifies as you hit this mark because you are now a lot more cognisant of your strengths, your abilities, and more than anything, your shortcomings.  There may also be little people in your vicinity that take so much of your time and effort, and then have the gall to remark that, “Your belly is still so big.  Are you sure there isn’t another baby in it?”. ( Just when I thought I was looking pretty good.)  

I’ll finally win this war of attrition… if not for my next thirty years, for my daughter’s.

-I feel like my laughing to crying ratio has been pretty bang on thus far.  I laugh roughly twice for every time I cry.  In the last few years, Mike can attest to the fact that three pregnancies, three infancies, and not a lot of sleep later, I can even laugh into crying which will settle back into laughing again. 

It’s a gift. 

But in my next thirty years, I will waste far less tears on things of which I cannot control.  I will not let little people bring me down to their deplorable level.  I will not waste any more time agonizing about what I said, should have said, could have said, in the presence of these fun suckers.  I will come to the realization that no matter what I do, sometimes people are just mean.  The best life lesson I was ever taught was to be kinder and nicer to the people who despise you the most, because there is nothing, and I mean nothing, they hate more than having no fodder for their hate games.  And, after all, haters gotta hate.

-I will drink less diet coke in my next thirty years.  I only have it once a week or so, but even then, it’s just so bad for you. 

Dido on the indoor tanning.  I have kept strong to my oath to never visit the tanning beds again.  Two words:

 Tanning.  Mom.  (I bet she doesn’t care about diet coke either..) 

I cannot make any promises on red wine.  Or beer.  Probably vodka too. 

-In my next thirty years, I will tell more of the people I love the most, how much they mean to me.  You want to know the worst part of writing and giving Eulogies (I’ve done 4 now..) is that these stories and anecdotes would be so much funnier, and heart-warming if that person was sitting in the room.  I think we sometimes forget that reminiscing is one of life’s greatest joys. 

We do it all the time. 

Over drinks with old friends:

 “Do you remember the time the brakes failed on my car and you convinced me to keep driving because we were on the highway because you said “You don’t really need brakes on the highway anyway. It’s not like in town.”’

Or around the fire with family:

“What about the time we snuck out in Vegas after mom and Dad thought we were in bed. “ 

Everyone smiles.  Everyone gets all warm and fuzzy thinking about a teenage car full of girls and their flawed logic, or three underage children wandering a Vegas hotel.  The point is, I think we don’t give enough credit to how much it means to swap these stories and have a good laugh with the people who we love the most.   

So let’s do that…ok. 

All of us. 

Let’s start filling up Facebook with stories about how funny, and smart, and talented our friends and family are instead of thinly veiled bitch-o-grams about how someone pissed you off or screwed you over. 

-I’ve been a kid, then briefly an adult, then suddenly raising kids in my first 30 years.  There are things I dreamt of doing that I realized I would have to rearrange on behalf of being young parents.  I’m not even 30, with three kids, (TOTALLY DONE  in that department) and am so stoked to have the rest of my life ahead of me to do these things.  We have a whole lot of parenting left to do, but when we get the chance, in my next thirty years.. well:

 The Louvre, a glass of wine in the south of France, the Tuscan sun, Florence’s renaissance art, Pamplona (to watch, not run), the ruins in Athens, a pub in Dublin, the Towers of London, and of course the Sphinx, if they’d ever calm the f down over there.

-I’m almost thirty.. Half of thirty is 15. That’s how long a certain somebody has been a part of my life.

 At 30, I’ve already spend half of my life with my husband.   

In my next thirty years, I hope we still nerd out about a great book we are reading, dance like morons every time “Don’t Stop Believing” comes on, disagree about politics, bring home eclectic treasures from all of our travels, care about each other’s happiness even if we are pissing each other off, and genuinely remain best friends. 

Not like, “Oh of course he’s my best friend, he’s my husband” but like, the kind of best friends that can’t wait to tell each other what’s going on, can’t wait to see the other’s reaction to a funny movie, or a surprise gift, who text offside jokes to each other, who accidentally get drunk on a Thursday night alone when they were supposed to be at another friend’s house.   Best friends who still have their own thing going on and respect and take interest in the other’s life. 

Like a good friend once told me about a young and lasting relationship:

“You’ve grown up together like two flowers in a garden.  You’ve woven around each other, but have always remained distinctly individual, and true to your own roots.  The beauty is seeing how you have grown to complement each other.”

In my next thirty years, I look forward to checking out the handsome flower beside me.

-While that quote was about us, the author of the quote’s intelligence and insightfulness brings me to my final point.  In my next thirty years, I will keep people who are kind and fun, and all things bright and sunshiny in my life. 
After all, if you’ve kept the right people, you’ll want those same crazy a-holes around you for the next thirty years.

Happy Birthday to all fellow 80's children who were allowed to sit on a chair in front of a flame with what appears to be no adult supervision. 

Finally, since I could be a little turd, I present .. Reading Little Brittany's Mind:
"I said I wanted a Big Ass cake.. not a Giraffe cake.  Whatever.  Are those gummies!?!?"

"Tell me again how funny I am..."

"Touch my Cabbage Patch Doll and I'll cut you."

"I think I warned you about touching my stuff once already."