11 + 1 = 12 Things I want my 12 Year Old to Know

Every year for the past 5 years, I added to a video montage I created on onetruemedia for Max’s birthday. When I sat down tonight to add pictures from the last year, I was devastated to find that onetruemedia no longer exists. So, neither does my beautiful video. I’ll be honest, I felt kind of sick. Every year, Max simultaneously laughed and cried when he watched it. He really considered it one of his birthday presents. I haven’t broke the news to him yet that it’s gone.

Instead, I went back and found this blog from last year and decided to leave it intact But I wanted to add one more thing that I want Max to know and hope it will hold as much weight as the video. ┬áThe 12th thing I want Max to know is this….You are amazing. You are incredible. Parts of who you are at 12, are things I still aspire to be at 43. Keep on this path. Keeping teaching me about life.


Anyone who really truly knows me, knows that I am a total sap at heart. I believe that life is really just a collection of memories; good, bad, ugly and in between that make up the core of who we are. At 42, I can look back at my 11 year old self and see a little girl about to lose her father. There is so much I had to learn the hard way. If Max can take just one of these 11 lessons and bypass a moment of angst, confusion or pain, then I’ve done my job.
1. Laugh until your stomach hurts: There are few things in life that you can’t figure out a way to laugh about. No matter how awful it may seem at the time, dig deep and laugh. It’s ok. Who cares what everyone else thinks? Just figure out a way to laugh.

2. Believe what you see; not necessarily what you hear: People really do show you who they are. Watch them. Believe them the first time. Don’t waste your time expecting them to change. Let them waste their own time figure out how to change.

3. Believe in yourself: Know that fundamentally, you are capable of anything. Because you are. Get out of your own way.

4. Understand that your parents really do know more than you do: Because they do. Teenagers know nothing. They only think they do.

5. Open your heart: Go into the world with your arms and eyes wide open. Believe that you are lovable. Because you are.

6. Have opinions: Whether it’s your favorite food or who you want to be friends with, know how you feel about things. Develop a sense of self early in life. Take a stand. Become who you were meant to be, even if you are only 11 years old.

7. Don’t believe what other kids say about you (unless it’s nice): Kids are often mean for no other reason than they can be. Don’t be that kid. And don’t believe that kid either.

8. Feel things: Part of really living is really feeling. So be happy. Be sad. Be angry. Be all of those things. And let go of the things that don’t serve you well.

9. Ask questions: Don’t pretend you have it all figured out when you know you don’t. Ask. We will tell you.

10. Read a book: Don’t wait for people to bring the information to you. Open a book and figure it out for yourself.

11. Like who you are: You are standing on the edge of becoming whoever it is you choose to be. Choose to be a person you will want to get a drink with when you are 30. Those are my favorite kind of people.


Why I Won’t Wear Pink

There was a time that the month of October meant that the days got shorter, the air got cooler and the leaves started to turn colors. October meant that it was time to stock up on candy corn and wander the aisles of Walmart looking for a costume that my child would destroy in approximately three hours. October meant autumn and that meant winter was around the bend.

Now, October means breast cancer. And breast cancer means pink. So, put away your dark greens, browns, reds and oranges and pull out your pink. And wear it with pride. Show your support. Show you are aware.

I won’t wear pink. The fact that I look horrible in pink is irrelevant. The fact that it clashes with my hair isn’t important. The only thing that is important to me, at this point in my life, is that it is painful for my friends if I wear pink.

For some people, they have to have been there to understand this. I am fortunate enough to learn through other’s experiences. Experiences that I would have preferred they hadn’t had.

Here is what I have learned. Every time you put on “the pink” to show your support for a breast cancer survivor, you are forcing them to relive a moment they would like to forget. Every pink ribbon, every pink bracelet, every pink shirt (and now every bald cap….) you don is an assault on the soul of a breast cancer survivor. Any attempt to move on from the darkest moment of their lives is interrupted when you or I, with good intentions, try to spread awareness. They are aware. And, let’s face it….we are aware. Breast cancer awareness campaigns have been the most successful of all cancer campaigns in the history of cancer campaigns. I’m not sure that we can get anymore aware.

We don’t need to raise any more money in the name of breast cancer awareness. What we need to do is to raise money to research breast cancer and work towards a cure. Only recently, have I come to understand how very little money raised from pink campaigns go to breast cancer research. I don’t want my friends to be traumatized every October. I want them to celebrate a cure. I don’t want to be the one who reopens a psychic wound that sits close to the surface. I want to be the one who can have a drink with them when we are 85. I don’t want them to relive the worst moment of their lives. I want be there with them in the best moment; the moment they know they won’t have to fear this disease any longer.

Please, rethink the pink. Put your money into research, not a color no one should be wearing in the fall.