Happy birthday, Mom!

Dear Mom,

On the day we celebrate your entrance into the world some odd years ago, I thought I'd say "Happy Birthday!" by penning a few words of thanksgiving for the great mom that you are... in the style of Jimmy Fallon's thank you notes... Dad, you can thank me later ;)

Thank you for painfully birthing me into this world three days before your own birthday. Surprise... Best birthday present EVER. You're welcome!

Thank you for that mullet hair cut when I was in 10th grade... it was allll the rage at school.

Thank you for putting me and the sisters in matching outfits as children and then documenting it for future generations to witness:

Thank you for tricking me into always cleaning the bathroom as a kid by telling me that I was the only one that cleaned it right. You're good.

Thank you for the detailed cooking lessons: "I don't measure... Just put a little bit of this and a little bit of that and just a pinch of this."

Thank you for teaching patience and endurance by making me and Alex move heavy furniture across the room as you supervised, just to move it back because you didn't like it in the new spot. Thanks for also, affectionately calling us beasts.

Thank you for giving me my first black eye by throwing a comb at my head across the room when we wouldn't be quiet during that important phone call... It sparked a desire to be a social worker and help other children. (Just kidding about that last sentence... I have no recollection of this event, but it has been a funny story to tell over the years.)

Thank you for letting me go to church after the aforementioned comb-throw, so that I could tell the first person that asked that my mommy gave me the black eye with a comb. I hope the parenting classes were at least helpful haha. (Oh and thank you to CPS for taking me out of that unsafe home, but leaving my three sisters behind... You do good work.)

Thank you for the laughs you gave us when you shared your "how to take a selfie" process and for the time you believed me when I told you that Olivia was meeting with the Army Recruiter and for all the other silly things we've been able to make you believe.

Thank you for honestly, albeit harshly, discouraging my singing career by telling me to shut up BE QUIET all the time.

Thank you for giving us permission to do things while you were half-asleep that you normally wouldn't have agreed to if you'd been awake. Thank you for forgetting that you gave us permission once you woke up. And lastly on the topic, thank you for being the one we'd go to when we were afraid Dad would say no... You always said "yes"... or "ask your Dad". :/

Thank you for teaching me how to stick my nose in a book and drown out the world. It's proved to be a useful skill in this crazy world. (Actually, I wholeheartedly mean this one.)

Thank you for unknowingly giving me my first sip of alcohol by having me bring you your "Diet Coke" from the other room, but forgetting to mention that you'd already put Rum in it. Nasty Buzzard.

Thank you for the deep, thought-provoking advice you gave when I was arguing with friends: You don't need friends.

Thank you for teaching me how to do laundry; "dump everything in cold water and you're good to go." For the record, I still do laundry using this method... even though you deny teaching me this way.

No thank you's for making me lotion/massage your feet/back, eat my vegetables, or give you insulin shots...


On a more serious note:

I love you, Rose Marie.

You are so rad. I'm lucky to have you for a mother.

Thank you for keeping us alive, dressed, and fed for all those years. Thank you for being one of my biggest supporters and for loving my dad (and for wearing cool outfits while doing it).

I hope I'm as good a mother as you are... and I hope I have a daughter three days before my birthday so that she'll be my favorite child too.

Happy birthday, Mom!

Love your moody girl,


World Suicide Prevention Day + an open letter to those who feel this life is too difficult to bear

Statistics say that globally, there is one suicide about every 40 seconds... and in the US, one every 13.3 minutes.

I did the math for you and today, on World Suicide Prevention Day:

There will be about 2,160 suicides around the world.
There will be about 109 suicides in the US.

I don't know about you... but that's 2,160 people too many.

Please find a way to get involved today, whether that's posting about World Suicide Prevention Day on social media or checking in with a friend who suffers from depression. Do something. Tell someone they matter today. And if you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, please get help.

National Suicide Prevention Line - 1-800-273-8255

Here's an open letter I wrote to those suffering from depression and those considering suicide as a way to end the pain:


To the ones who feel this life is too difficult to bear,

Today, let's not talk about the weather or the starting football season or the neighbor down the street. Let's not talk politics. Let's not talk small... that can wait until tomorrow.

Today, on World Suicide Prevention Day, let's talk about you and the pain that threatens to overtake you. You almost hide it well, stuffed neatly behind that smile... If someone just scanned the room, they might not even notice. But I do. Your weary eyes give you away every time. They tell your secrets you try to hide: that you're facing demons you're not sure you'll ever conquer, that you're exhausted from trying to outrun the darkness, that you're ready to give up on life. Yeah... let's talk about you, today:

You need not struggle alone, dear.

We can do this together. You are not alone. Please, let me help shoulder the weight that buckles your knees and bows your back. It's too much for one soul, but easily manageable for two. Together, the odds are forever in our favor. Together, there is hope.

It will be okay.

It will be painful and messy and trying and difficult and exhausting, but okay just the same. You will be okay... one day at a time, one breath at a time. Picture it. Daydream about it. Imagine the day the rain stops and the clouds part, imagine the sigh of relief, the smile creeping across your face. It will be okay... one day. And it's okay to admit that things are not okay today.

Just keep fighting.

Fight until you can't possibly fight anymore. Fight until your last bit of strength threatens to leave. Fight even when you're losing. And when you can't possibly muster another punch, tag me and let me take over for a bit. You can catch your breath until the next round, just please... don't go.

Don't you dare give up.

I promise that this life, though tragic and chaotic, is beautiful on the other side of this seemingly endless pain. Hold on, please. It will pass. The night doesn't last forever. The dawn is coming. Look closely... Can't you see the day awakening and the colors bursting forth? That's worth holding on for. That's worth all the sorrow and misery that you are facing. It's worth it even when you don't believe it, even when you can't see it yet, even when you hear otherwise.

Don't listen to them.

The voices in your head, they don't know you like I do. They've clouded your vision and told you lies. They reflect an altered image back to you in the mirror so that all you see is a dull, defeated, forgettable shadow of a person. That is not real life. Real life is you: Radiant. Strong. Memorable. Irreplaceable. Made in His image. Loved. Take a look through my eyes, please. See the beautiful soul, the gentle voice, the kind heart.

You would be sorely missed.

You wouldn't go quietly and unnoticed, I promise. This world... My world would be dimmer without you. Your absence would have ramifications that you cannot begin to imagine. You wouldn't see it... but it'd hit us like five zillion punches in the gut; and it would leave us spiraling, grasping for balance, gasping for air. You would leave us broken, with gaping holes in our bodies, forced to live with the missing pieces.

I love you, I love you, I love you.

It's worth repeating a hundred times over, I love you. I need you. Your story matters. You matter. There is no one else that can play your part. Please don't leave the party early. It's just getting started and you're the guest of honor.

With all my love,


ps: I love you.
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