Love Like Cheryl

Posted on | November 9, 2017 | 1 Comment

Everyone has that moment: the one that knocks you backwards and steals your breath away. The moment that whispers in your ear “You are temporary.” Some people are fortunate and they only have to hear the message once to fully appreciate where they stand in the grand scheme of the universe. Some of us need to hear it over and over again.

On Friday, my husband called me at work, his voice shaky, to tell me that the 42 year old wife of one of his friends had suddenly passed away. When I say suddenly, I mean suddenly. No warning. No explanation. Nothing to pin point as to why her heart simply stopped beating at that precise moment on Friday morning. Cheryl Ogle was many things to many people: a wife, a teacher, a friend, a guardian angel. But the role of hers that struck me in the chest was that Cheryl Ogle was a mother. She was the mother of two boys, barely older than my oldest.

Some things just hit you where it hurts.

I wasn’t close to Cheryl. We’d met a few times and I remembered her as being exceptionally kind with a Southern drawl that was 90% sugar with a splash of water. I couldn’t say that we were friends, though I think, in retrospect, that we would have been.

I watched the people move in and around the cemetery, holding pink flowers and hugging on the two boys and their father. I saw the signs lit up around town, reminding everyone to Love Like Cheryl Ogle. I listened to the minister speak about Cheryl and what she meant to her family and to her community.  I listened as her husband spoke to mine about his wife, I heard how his voice caught briefly in his throat, how his eyes misted over as he looked back toward the bright white casket adorned with flowers.

His was a woman who loved big.

She was a woman who was loved big in return.

As we left the cemetery hand in hand, my husband looked at me.

“We have to do better,” he said. And I nodded. Because I knew what he meant.

This is a big world. And it needs more people to Love Like Cheryl Ogle did. It needs me to love bigger, to be more patient with those around me, to remind the people I love just how much I love them. And to love the people around me, even when it seems nearly impossible to do so.

So today, buy the car behind you a coffee. Give a dollar or two to the homeless woman on the corner. Buy a new book and donate it to a school library. Tell your husband how much he means to you. Hug your kids just a smidge tighter before you say “have a nice day.”

And when they look at you funny or ask you why? Tell them you’re doing it for Cheryl.

I think she’d like that.


It’s Tricky

Posted on | November 2, 2017 | No Comments

Way back in the early 2000’s, when I lived care-free in Orlando, Florida, I worked in a burrito restaurant. I lived in a dirty little apartment with my roommate and a dog, and life consisted of dancing, drinking, and going to work then repeating the cycle again and again.

Most of the time, I am sublimely happy with my life here in Georgia. I love my boys, I love my husband, and most days I can even find something to love about the challenging job I do from 8-5. But on some days,  I drop the boys off at their respective schools and an old Run DMC song comes on my Spotify playlist. Like magic I’m transported to a little bar in Orlando, belly up to the bar with my roommate while the same song blares through the speakers.

“It’s a sign,” she says with a pleading smile. “Don’t go to work!”

We banter back and forth, sipping margaritas and staring longingly at the pool table.

“Seriously, it’s a sign,” she says again.

And I believe her. So I call in to work, and we stay at the bar and drink margaritas and laugh and shoot a game or seven of pool with some guys we know from around town. I think we stayed all day, just goofing off, enjoying the outdoor patio and the sunshine, tasting the sour-sweet margaritas and being young.

That day stays with me. The pout of my roommate as she begged me to skip work, the sound of the song in the amplified speakers, the crack and slide of the pool balls across a felt table. I can taste the margaritas, feel the sun on my face as I lean backwards with a smile.

Today, “It’s Tricky” came on as I pulled out of daycare. The thought occurred to me that those days are long gone… the days when I could just “call in” to work and drink margaritas. The days when I was young enough to spend a day in a bar with friends. The days when I could lean back in a chair on an outdoor patio and smile without wrinkles, without worries, without wondering if maybe I’ve had too much to drink or where the boys are or what time the baby sitter has to be home.

Most days, I’m sublimely happy with my life.

But on some days, like today, I want to call my husband and beg him to play hooky. To belly up to a warm, Florida day. To drink in sunshine alongside margaritas.

And to laugh, as though no one in the world has any cares at all. Least of all me.

As the last notes of Run DMC played loudly in my car speakers, I pulled into work with a sigh. It’s not a sign. Not today.

But maybe one day, it will be.

Until then, I’ll keep longing for those days when nothing else mattered save being young.  And happy.

Baby Brain

Posted on | October 31, 2017 | 1 Comment

I swear I’m losing my mind.

I mean… I remember being a little less together after J was born and saying stupid things and what not… but this is another level, you guys. Do you lose brain cells with each child? Am I feeding my intelligence to my child through his milk? Because I am an absolute moron these days.

Yesterday, J finished eating and started to put his plate in the sink. I stopped him.

“J,” I said with authority, “You just saw me put the dirty clothes in the dishwasher. Don’t you think your plate goes there?”

He stared at me for a long minute before bursting out laughing.
“Dirty dishes,” I mumbled. “I meant dishes.”

It happens like that… ALL THE TIME.

It’s like my words are backwards in my head. I’m scared to talk to clients on the phone because more often than not I say the wrong words or I can’t find the words I’m looking for. Is this normal? Is this one of those things that just comes with turning 40 and having a baby and an 8 year old? Because I am slowly. going. insane.

My entire world is poop and pee and “ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba” and for what ever reason, I’m finding it harder and harder to leave that stuff at home. Every now and then I catch myself turning my head side ways and kissing my shoulder like it’s the head of my baby.

Kissing. My. Shoulder.

So far, I haven’t done that in front of anyone but Good. Lord. My brain is absolutely baby-fried with no end in sight.

Yesterday, I forgot C’s costume for daycare and today I dropped J off in Drop Off with a happy “Merry Christmas!” before shaking sense into myself. Tell me there’s a light somewhere that will turn on and I’ll remember that I’m a semi-competent attorney? Please?

Otherwise, I may as well stay in bed. Forever.

Send Christmas Movies… I’m apparently already celebrating, anyway.

Raging against the Dying of… Humanity

Posted on | October 12, 2017 | 4 Comments

First, I am angry.

Then, I am sad.

Eventually, I make my way back to angry again and I sit there, soaking in the sweat of my disappointment and rage.

How did we get here? As a country. How?

It’s not just about “respecting the flag” or “locker room talk” or Hollywood moguls and presidential candidates taking advantage of hopeful starlets and pretty women. It’s not just about a President using social media to insult other politicians, or split media factions painting stories in red and blue with nothing in between. It’s about…

it’s about…

What the hell is it about, you guys?

Is it that white males are feeling the press of equal rights, encroaching on their happy world of privilege? Is it that men in general are wanting to exert that last gasp of power? That push to say “we’re here, we’re stronger, get used to it?” Are they mad that women and people of varying shades of skin tone are in greater numbers in the work force?

I’m sick to my stomach with the hypocrisy of it all… the anger over a black man quietly protesting for the sake of his community vs. the shrug and sigh of “accidents happen” when yet another black man or woman is shot by a police officer. Where is the anger over a man saying he can grab any woman’s genitalia or kiss anyone he wants? Is it hiding behind Hilary Clinton’s emails? Is that why we’re mad about them?

It’s not liberal and conservative, people. It’s not. You can say that it is all you want, but it isn’t.

It’s common decency and respect for the lives of people and their right to say “No” vs. What, exactly? What do you stand for? Do you stand for “The Flag” or do you stand for “I hate professional athletes or singers or actors disagreeing with my politics.” Because if what you stand for is “The Flag” then you do know that these protests aren’t about the flag or the anthem, and were NEVER intended to be disrespectful toward the military, right? Do you stand against Harvey Weinstein and what he did to young women? Or do you stand for Donald Trump and his boastful bragging about groping unwilling women whenever he wants.

What. Do. You. Stand. For?


I stand for humanity. In all it’s colors and shapes and genders and orientations and ages. If a portion of humanity is hurting, then it has my attention and my devotion to doing whatever I can to make it better. Because that’s what we should be doing. As citizens of this gorgeous planet we’re slowly killing. People are hurting here. In the world. In America. Because the force in charge, the status quo, the 50-70 something white male who runs most of our media and politics and movie studios and hell, everything… that force is pushing away instead of pulling in.

Don’t be that force.

Don’t push away the people who are hurting.

Pull them in. Embrace them. Listen to them.

Because if you don’t? Don’t kid yourself.

YOU are the problem.


Posted on | August 7, 2017 | 2 Comments

With several looped around each hand, the grocery bags leave red circles against my wrists.

“Darling,” he shook his head, “I can help with that.”

I shrug, weighed down but smiling.

“It’s no problem,” I smile, keeping my eyes averted so he won’t see the truth. “I can get it.”

The bags pile up on the table, load after load. Slowly, I unpack them, placing items one by one into nooks and crannies. Saving them to pull out later. Saving them to wave in his face with a flourish of “look what all I do for  you.”

I rub the circles into my skin, letting the marks remind me of my troubles, feeling the pain of plastic soak deep into my soul. Rings weighted with more than just groceries. Scars from a marriage prior, scars from so many broken things.

We argue later, voices raised, as I let his calm spiral and swoop around my Irish temper. I’ve been itching for a fight. I know it. He knows it. The faded rings on my wrists still there, where only I can see them.

The distance between us gets wider and wider, a chasm of silence as he slides into the bed beside me.

“I love you,” I want to say to this man who sighs with frustration yet love over my moods and baggage. I think about reaching out a hand, just to cross the distance, just to tell him without apologizing that I’m sorry.

I think too long. I always think too long.

His breathing deepens into a slight snore and I draw in a ragged breath. I waited too long to move or speak. The distance between us is so wide that I wonder if he’ll ever forgive me for the things I say, the bags I let pile up around us, the little odds and ends that I’ve hidden in the darkest corners of our lives.

I whisper an apology he won’t hear, an “I love you” he already knows despite this hole I’ve dug and filled with my insecurities.

I think for a moment that I will cry, that I will heave with sadness for the things I put him through, for the inevitable day when it’s too much and he packs his own bags to walk away.

And then with the slightest of movements, he reaches out a hand, fingers twining with my own. The pressure is slight but enough.

“I love you,” he says, without saying a word.

I love you, too.


Posted on | August 2, 2017 | 2 Comments

Grace: (1) Simple elegance; (2) Free and unmerited favor; (3) to do honor or credit to someone by one’s presence. 

Growing up in a Southern Baptist church, I heard a lot about Grace. Amazing Grace, “There but by the grace of God go I”,  “Come thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy grace”… and the list goes on and on. It’s like “God’s Grace” was a two by four and I was walloped with it twice a week for years on end.

Like most things in childhood, I believed I understood Grace and what it meant. I believed I had it all figured out. Yep, God loves me even though I’m not worthy. Got it. Put it in the bank. Totally understand. Because as a child we believe what we are told (or walloped with). We believe that the Grace of God exists because we are told that it does and because we sing about it at church and maybe because one time or another we did something wrong and cried out to God and suddenly felt better. That’s Grace, right? Letting God make you feel better when you break the rules because he still loves you no matter what. Grace.

Despite all the churching, I’ve still never believed I was worthy of much. If you’d asked me as a teen or young adult if I would ever get married, I would have sadly shaken my head “no” with the explanation that those sorts of things just didn’t happen to me. If I did manage to date, certainly no one would fall in love with me, because I am me, you know? I don’t deserve that sort of thing. And children? No. I would never be able to have kids because kids are wonderful and wonderful things don’t happen to people like me.

So you can imagine my surprise when I not only got married (twice) but also had two beautiful and healthy baby boys.

It was shocking.

It’s still shocking to me.

And when I look down in their eyes to kiss them goodbye on a school day or to tuck them snugly into bed at night, I realize that every single idea I ever had of Grace is wrong.

Parenthood may be the closest I will ever come to truly understanding God’s Grace.

I always understood the “not being worthy” part of Biblical Grace. But this feeling of not being worthy, coupled with not understanding why anyone would allow something so wonderful to occur to someone so completely ordinary? This is what all those men so long ago tried to put into the Bible. This is what they tried to explain to the masses… that something extraordinary could and did happen not because we deserved it. Not because we did something amazing and worthy and brought down the Grace of God like a medal at the end of a long race. No. It is Grace… not in spite of our ordinary but because of it.

Every single time I look at my boys I am stunned and spellbound by their sheer existence. It’s like they’re magic… little sparks of wonderful that were entrusted to me through absolutely no fault or success of my own.

I still don’t believe I’m worthy of the blessings that have fallen my way… but I’ve realized it’s quite simply because I’m not. There’s nothing inside of me that gives me a leg up or a step closer to the small successes I’ve reached in life. Believing in God, believing in myself, believing in anything hasn’t and won’t secure for me a hefty bank account or a better job or a happier life.

All that I am and all that I have has been handed to me by free and unmerited favor.

Nothing I could have ever done or will ever do would make me worthy of being called “Mom,” and that, my friends? Is Grace.



Bestowed upon me through no fault or success of my own.

An honor just to be present with two such amazing souls who bestow favor on me by their very presence in my life.

All the riches of the world, wrapped up in two little boy smiles.



Posted on | July 27, 2017 | 4 Comments

This morning, about fifteen minutes before it was time for my oldest to leave for camp, he informed me he didn’t have any clean athletic shorts. I walked into his room and saw that his dirty clothes basket had basically birthed quintuplets of dirty clothes.

“You didn’t wash my clothes,” he mumbled under his breath, sliding me firmly into the position I most often find myself: no matter how many things I do, it’s always the one or two things I don’t do that stand out.

Mothering is the ultimate self-esteem check.

No matter how hard I try, there’s never even one single moment when I have everything together. It’s always, at best, a 75% success rate and that’s basically when I only have four things to do which is … never. This morning alone, I had a list of a billion and a half things and I accomplished exactly four of them: I got both kids and myself out the door and I remembered to let the dogs inside. Sure, it took getting in the car and backing half way down the driveway while my two sweet pups stared forlornly at me from the backyard before I remembered to let them in, but dammit I remembered eventually! I even remembered to toss a bag of pop tarts in my purse for breakfast which is good because I discovered when I ran out of time for my breakfast yesterday that my office supply of food has dwindled to half a bag of croutons and two jars of blue cheese dressing.

I know that I can’t expect to do it all just like I can’t expect to have it all, but all that “knowing” doesn’t stop me from trying. I run around like a crazy lady, slapping on mascara while bouncing a baby on my hip, pulling together a processed food lunch for J that makes me feel like the worst mom ever except FEEDING HIM so there, and sometimes… SOMETIMES remembering to make myself a second cup of coffee and food of some sort. Banks would help if I asked, but most of the time everything is in such a delicate balance, including my sanity, that I fear letting him take something off my shoulders would only cause everything, including me, to fall apart.

Here in the office, there’s an overflowing in box and emails that need to be read. There’s an item that needs to be boxed up to return before tomorrow, and a delivery man that has to be met at the house at some point today for the delivery of the new dishwasher. There’s a list of eight phone calls to return and a brief to finish and several odds and ends that need tying up. Then when all that’s either finished or put aside for tomorrow, there’s that pile of laundry waiting on me so that there are clean shorts for tomorrow. And a dishwasher that needs to be hooked up so that I can stop hand washing all the dishes. And a floor full of crumbs to sweep. And a toilet that needs repairing. And sheets that need to be changed. And beds that need to be made.

Above all that, there are children that need to be loved and held and cuddled and read to. And a husband who deserves attention and love as well.

Then, let’s face it, at some point tomorrow morning, something I haven’t even thought of yet will de-rail it all and one or more of my family members will give me that look of disappointment that says “Why couldn’t you get this done” and I will spend the day making mental lists all over again so that no laundry is left behind.

So all of that? That is why I was totally NOT crying in the parking lot of daycare… if anyone was wondering.



Madness and Mayhem

Posted on | July 26, 2017 | No Comments

This knee-deep in baby is harder than I remembered. Yes of course I’d stand on my head for one of his laser beam smiles but those moments when I want to put him down and walk away? Those are there, too… like when he’s nursing and spends the entire time pinching the tender skin on the side of my breast or violently kicking my arm. Or when he lunges back in my arms and strikes my nose with a force that brings tears.

I’m so tired that I feel shrouded in a hazy cloud even when I’m awake, muddling through meetings and phone calls with a plastered on smile and nodding like one of those drinking birds even and especially when I’ve tuned out the entire conversation and am mentally just counting the moments until they stop talking and I can sink back into the murky waters of my own mind.

There are days when I’m not sure I’ve actually left the house much less worked eight plus hours and I can’t remember who or what was discussed or completed during my time in the office. It’s like my world has shrunk to the size of a 14 pound baby and my days begin and end with the slit of his half open or half closed eyes. It isn’t a bad thing… it’s just not exactly a good thing either, you know?

I wouldn’t trade my family for the world. But the bottles in the sink and the full diaper genie and the pile of diapers that didn’t fit in the full diaper genie and the spit up and the dirty clothes on the floor and the crumbs in the car and the whining and the back talk and and and? Those I would trade. For an hour. Or a day. Or a week. Or just long enough to remember that those are part of the magic and mayhem of childhood and parenthood. One more wet and sudsy hand wiped against my brow, one more shirt covered in dried spit up, one more load of laundry… inseparable from one more kiss good night, one more “good morning” snuggle, one more delicious grin and giggle.

Parenting is a trade off… so much exchanged for so much more. No more late nights laughing with the husband, but so many more evenings playing board games with an overly competitive 7 year old, or afternoons spent lying on a play mat watching a baby kick. Entertainment is different, better and worse.

Everything is different, for better or worse.

Some days I want to run away. Some days I think if I could just get back to the place where things are ordered and organized, I could start over again. Maybe I could twist my brain on tighter and be better at lawyering and mothering and spousing and well, life.

Then the baby laughs and the seven year old tells the world’s worst knock knock joke and suddenly this is just exactly right. This mad and discordant life we’re living is just exactly what it’s supposed to be: it’s messy and disorganized and beautifully insane and really, that’s all that we can hope for as parents and people. Because children, like life, will never be ironed and pressed. They’ll always be just exactly who they are: smelly, messy, whiny, crazy, beautiful, charming, hilarious, disastrous mini-versions of all the people they love.

And deep down, we wouldn’t trade them… even on the days we think we might.

Woman in the Mirror

Posted on | July 13, 2017 | No Comments

Maybe it’s because forty is looming close on my horizon and maybe it’s because I have two friends who are expecting little girls at the end of this year, but for whatever reason there is suddenly an unquenchable thirst in my soul for feminism the way it ought to be.

I have begun to feel overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of things that need to be accomplished, the vast reach of wrongness in the world, especially as it relates to our women and girls. Perhaps it takes age to see it all; to truly appreciate the scope of oppression that is heaved onto us by our society. When you’re young, it just seems normal. Of course our music talks about passing women around like joints and refers to them primarily in terms of what they look like, what the parts of their anatomy have to offer and not the parts of their soul. Of course our churches often shun females as ministers and refuse to recognize female opinions on things like bodily autonomy. Of course advertisements use scantily clad females to sell items that have nothing to do with women at all. Of course we are taught in church and school and at home that women should cover up and keep quiet and smile even when we want to scream.

Especially when we want to scream.

Of course.

Please and thank you, the school girl I was would say and then smile and nod and turn up the music that violently debased myself and the women around me. “It’s just a song,” I’d say. “It’s funny,” I’d add, in that flippant school girl way.

But I’m not a school girl anymore. And I’m tired of watching school girls around me learn the same things I learned… that it’s okay for music to talk about women as objects, that it’s okay for television to show women as less than men, that it’s okay for our females to be paid less and work more than the men around them. That somehow by virtue of being women, we are supposed to handle everything with grace… keep the house clean, do the dishes, fold the clothes, cook the meals, rock the babies, and kiss our husbands passionately on the lips while vacuuming in an apron with a home-cooked dinner on the stove. Have a job? That’s nice. But don’t think you can get out of doing everything else that society thinks you’re supposed to do. It’s beaten into you from the moment you open your eyes… pink kitchen for girls, blue briefcase for boys.

It’s not okay to teach our girls  that they are less than whole without a man to take care of and not okay to teach our sons that they need a woman to take care of them. And if we aren’t talking about it, if we aren’t actively showing and teaching them what is true and right about the equality of men and women, then we have to know they are learning it from everything around them. Look pretty. Be thin. Get a boy to like you no matter what. But don’t have sex. (Unless you want a boy to like you because let’s face it, girls are only good for one thing and that’s all the sex they shouldn’t be having.)  But if you’re a boy? Have sex. Have lots of sex. With all those useless girls. I am so tired of hearing the way our culture talks about women, even in mainstream media: as though we aren’t people; as though our accomplishments don’t matter. As though we are little more than a piece of the person that Adam was once, a long long time ago. It’s so rare for it to be called out that today a trending story is that an intelligent man offered a simple correction when a reporter ignored female accomplishments. How is that news? The news should be that the reporter is either uninformed or an absolute moron, not that someone had the “feminist prowess” to force him to include “women” in his definition of “person”.

We are more than a piece of a man, my wonderful, funny, charming, beautiful sisters, mothers, and daughters.

We are whole and perfect and strong all by ourselves. We are the bearers of life; the bare foot goddesses of a time long forgotten because someone… SOMEONE decided that women maybe had too much power… once. We were, after all, self sufficient then. We were gatherers and hunters. We were leaders and followers. We were just the same as the men around us now. There was a time when women were at the head of the line, there to serve and even wash the feet of Jesus not because he considered them beneath him but because he considered them worthy… equal… as good or better than the men around him. Certainly they were more faithful. Certainly they were stronger in their beliefs and love of their savior than the man-child Peter and his ten best friends.

So why is it that somewhere along the way that was degraded? Why were we degraded?

And why has it taken us so long to recognize that degradation and do something about it?

We don’t have to stand for this. We don’t have to sign off on the advertisements, frequent the stores that perpetuate the degradation, raise our daughters and sons on the music that we were raised on.

It’s hard, I know.

It’s hard to break the cycle.

But forty is looming. And I have friends with daughters.

And in forty years, I don’t want them to look at me and ask me why it took so long.


Parenting Two

Posted on | June 6, 2017 | 5 Comments

Having two kids is no joke.

I feel like my life has devolved into one of those “check a box” notes with ever changing language.

“What do you want to succeed at today? Parenting a baby or Parenting a 7 year old?”

“Which job will you be good at today? Lawyering or mothering?”

I can’t do all the things I need to do and my head is constantly full of all that I’ve left off.

Yes, I made dinner… check. But the dishes didn’t get fully washed because the baby was screaming and there are crumbs on the floor and who had time for a shower last night… is that me I smell?! My hair got straightened this morning, but make up is sloppy, clothes are wrinkled, lunch is non-existent and who says Hershey’s doesn’t make an adequate breakfast bar?

I feel like I’m drowning, y’all. Just flat out drowning. And Banks is doing everything he can to help, but there’s only so much he can do… because he doesn’t make milk and works an hour away from home. So most of the pick up, drop off, fight fight fight, is left to dear old me while he sidles to his quiet car and meanders down the road to Milledgeville.  At work, I’d venture a guess that he’s focused on actual work… while I’m spending my days weighing out what is most important among all the crazy mom/lawyer/wife/homeowner jazz and just getting THAT done, damn the rest, damn the mess, and damn it all to hell and back.

How do you guys do this? How do I see your homes all shiny and perfect like a Martha Stewart showcase, your kids all well dressed in clothes without stains and rips and wrinkles? How do you do family dinners and family outings where the children are actually smiling and having fun? Because my family outings are more like a horror movie with tears in place of blood and lots of angry glances and yelled “YOU ARE HAVING FUN, DAMMIT, THIS IS WHAT FAMILIES DO SO ENJOY EVERY DAGGUM MINUTE OR WE ARE GOING HOME.” And then we get home and while all you good parents are doing crafts and tossing the football back and forth like a damn J Crew catalog photo, I’m turning on the television to whatever seems least likely to teach my kid swear words, and sinking into a chair to breathe (or cry. or drink.) for five minutes before we start this whole rush rush rush thing again.

I love my boys.

I love my life.

But I think I need a live-in nanny, a cook, a cleaner, a masseuse, and someone to just have the job of opening my booze.

I don’t know how y’all do this.

« go backkeep looking »
  • Creative Commons License
    Spilled Milk (and Other Atrocities) by Law Momma is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
    Based on a work at
  • Twitter

  • Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner


  • Grab my button for your blog!