An SMH (Shake My Head) Moment


The kids at Sunset, Maui, February 2011

My life has been a little surreal this week. A TV interview, quotes in various national publications, an Op-Ed published in Seattle Times and as I sit here writing this blog, my photo is being taken for an article about the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 that will be published in All You Magazine (yeah, I’d never heard of it either). I do these things in hope that one more person might hear of my book, and that one more person might be helped by my words. I try to be a voice of… I don’t know what to call it… Optimism? Naivete? A voice of reason? A helping hand? I realize, perhaps for the first time, that my story is a mother’s story. Not sure why I never thought of it that way before. I always thought of it as my story, not really separating the mom me, from the rest of me. Typical mom stuff, that.

The photos today have included the kids, which I was very reluctant to do, but I asked and they agreed. As we all posed, me between them, a pose we rarely take (mom is ALWAYS the photographer), I felt a sense of awe, that these two remarkable people were partially a result of ten years of my slogging away alone, in varying states of torment, worry, joy and gratitude, sorrow and hilarity. 10 years! I had a SMH moment (new lingo care of Olivia) as I marveled at how far I had come. How far we had all come. It’s not often we get these glimpses of ourselves, and so I took it for what it was.

Reflecting on Mother’s Day this year, trying to figure out what’s changed about it, I realize I’m in less of a heartache place. Somehow Arron is not part of this year’s equation, and finally it’s a day that’s all for ME again! Haha. Of course I will be taxiing Olivia (with her at the wheel) to tutoring and horseback riding and waiting while she does these activities, so it will mostly be a day spent in the car devouring books, which, actually, is pretty much a perfect day for me. Well, OK, except the car part. If only it were possible to plunk a nice cozy couch into a car.

If there is a theme for this year’s Mother’s Day, I suppose it would be “Remembering ME through the fray that is life,” remembering to take a breath every once in a while, appreciate  kids, hug the puppy and be grateful for all the wonderful people in our lives. And to stop, at least for today, beating myself up and worrying about whether or not I am a good parent. In the Shame Class I am teaching I realize that “parenting” is a huge category of shame within our society, and somehow knowing this is a comfort. I may be beating myself up worrying about being a good parent, but you can bet there a whole ton of other parents out there doing the same thing. So today is a vacation from the self-recrimination and instead I hope you will take an SMH moment.You deserve it.

I had the pleasure of another SMH moment from my own mom in her email response to my Op-Ed this morning:

Remarkable writing and insight. It is a simply stunning piece. I am so proud of you and you should be proud of you as well.

It made me smile my eight year old girl smile and yes, SMH. We never stop being moms, do we?

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  1. Matthew May 8, 2011 at 11:34 am

    I agree with your mother and wanted to let you know your Op-Ed piece was awesome. Thank you for sharing your perspective.

    1. Abigail - Site Author May 9, 2011 at 11:40 am

      Thanks Matthew. I really appreciate hearing that. There were a couple of mean-spirited comments today, always a little disheartening both on a personal level but more troubling on a fundamental human level.

  2. mel May 8, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    I love your op-ed. Perfect. Beautifully expressed. I also like Olivia. She takes after her mom.

    1. Abigail - Site Author May 9, 2011 at 11:41 am

      Thanks Mel. Liv is pretty awesome, but she is very much her own person with ideas that are often quite different than mine. On this though, we were on the same page.

  3. Rachael May 8, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Hi Abigail,

    I just read your article in the Seattle Times and I am so happy I did. I too was completely astounded by the celebrations over Osama Bin Laden’s death. Your daughter’s reaction is similar to the one I imagine my daughter would have had if she understood what was going on. She has a very kind nature.
    I really wish that we could have captured and brought bin Laden to trial like we did Sadam Heussein.I would have celebrated him having to face his many victims and hear their disgust and outrage at the atrocities that he caused. It was very bitter sweet that his death was so quick, merciful, and lacking of real justice.

    1. Abigail - Site Author May 9, 2011 at 11:43 am


      Yes, bittersweet is a perfect sentiment towards Osama’s death. Alas, there was no justice to be had from his death. It was simply the removal of a potential threat.

  4. Lisa May 9, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Beautifully said my friend…so grateful to be a part of the magic…<3

  5. Jill Schacter May 9, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    Congratulations for making it through the slog, and it is indeed a slog through grief, and for being able to feel good again on Mother’s Day, for knowing that you did it, you have been there all by yourself, a single parent. You made it Abby. Congrats. I’m happy for you.

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