Giving thanks for family

The older I get the more I realize how amazing my parents were. How did they manage eight children? My sanity limit is tested with my two kids. Thank you, Mother and Daddy, for teaching us that people are good unless proven differently. Thank you for instilling in me the confidence that can only be had when you know that you have unconditional support and love. Thank you for teaching me about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Thank you for teaching me faith, hope, stick-to-it-ness, optimism and the value of hard work. I love you and am thankful for you on this day and every day.

From the Archives: Kiss me, Laura! Kiss me!

I stumbled across this story in my files today and laughed at the memory. This happened in my frequent flier days several years ago and I still remember what that guy looked like. Enjoy!


I turned around to catch a quick glance at the man who was making all the ruckus down the aircraft aisle. At first I thought he was speaking a foreign language but then realized that he was speaking the rapid-fire Irish dialect. He settled in the aisle seat directly across from me. Noticing my curious glance he looked directly at me and began a conversation.

“What’s your name, bonny?”

I smiled. “Laura.”

He continued his questions in a voice more appropriate for a noisy, crowded Irish pub than for the quiet cabin of the Boeing 767. Filled with weary travelers on a Friday evening, the aircraft was as quiet as a nursery at naptime and the Irishman’s voice was as out of place as an ambulance siren. I attempted to answer quietly so he would follow suit … ahhh … the attempts were all in vain.

As the aircraft rumbled down the runway for takeoff, the Irishman snatched my hand from across the aisle and yelled, “Hold my hand, Laura! Hold my hand! I’m scared! Kiss me! Kiss me, Laura!”

My arm stretched across the aisle as he enclosed my hand in both of his close and held it to his chest.

Oh my goodness! What … ummm … oh … my face is burning so I am sure I am as red as a cherry! Oh! How embarrassing. Please! Not so loud! How do I get out of this?

It seemed the heads of every single person in the cabin turned to our direction. Even the flight attendant leaned forward in her jumpseat to see what the fuss was all about. I tried to don a casual face as if having my name shouted in a silent aircraft and my arm pulled out of socket was something I experienced every day.

The aircraft lifted off and his yelling quieted down. I managed to pull my hand from his grasp and I patted his hands.

“Oh … you’re just fine.”

“I was scared, Laura. I needed you.”

I smiled. I tried to turn back to my book. He took no hint and continued his conversation and questions. In his same louder-than-comfortable tenor, he barked out questions about every taboo topic – religion, politics and sex. For 55 minutes we continued this game – he barking questions and I demurely answering in a soft tone. All the while, neighboring passengers stole curious glances, shot irritating looks and occasionally provided sympathetic expressions my way.

As we deplaned, the Irishman gave me his business card – [Name withheld for privacy] Family Butchers. I still have that card to this day. No … I never called and never will but it’s a good memento of a funny story.

A Father’s Day Thank You to My Dad

My Dad is one of the greatest men I know.  As I’ve gotten older, gotten married and raising children, I realize even more how great he is.

Thank you, Daddy for …

Teaching me the right things to do. Showing me that a righteous life is a good life. Trusting me. Letting me try, fail, get back up, try again, and succeed. Scrimping funds (without me even knowing how much) to send me to college. Being a wonderful example of hard work (and that hard work will always pay off in the end). Showing us in our youth that no one is any better than any one else and that we should be friends with everyone. Proving that a smile and friendly banter can get you far in life. Sacrificing a lot to provide for your family. Showing me that service in the church is a privilege. Displaying the value of prayer. Loving our mother so much. Telling all your silly jokes. Making us do chores growing up. Giving us the “I’m not raising cows, I’m raising children” experience. Not giving me everything I said I wanted as a child because it made me appreciate what I had and learn the value of earning something. Honoring your priesthood. Thank you for the daddy-daughter interviews. Introducing me to Yoohoo on our daddy-daughter motorcycle rides in Carrollton, Ga. Being a good Papa. Showing us the importance of a thirst for knowledge. Thinking I’m a good baker. Being so stinkin’ fun.
I could go on and on. I love him than a hound dog loves a sunny porch.
(I can only hope that I raise my kids in a way that they will want to write a note like this to me one day.)

I HAD to Share: Every Night I Hit “The Parenting Wall”

.Every Night, I Hit “The Parenting Wall”


Every evening, some time after dinner, I start to feel my mental grip loosening a bit. A wave of exhaustion laps up to the shores of my patience. It’s been a long day, you know. Same as yesterday, probably the same as tomorrow.

This is “the parenting wall.” And every night, I hit it.

Somewhere between getting woken up at the crack of friggin’ dawn and my kids’ 8:00 bedtime, my enthusiasm fades.

The day begins with me Tasmanian Deviling around my house, getting my kids ready for the day.

I’ve worked some gritty, draining jobs in my life. But just for getting kids ready in the morning, we all deserve medals of efficiency and valor, us parents. We just do.

Parents work, whether it’s at some desk job or carting around kids all day, the fact of the matter is that most of us are breaking our asses all day long.

I survive it all by trying to imagine some pin dot of promise at the end of the tunnel. A half hour where I will sit on the sofa and watch TV before I collapse. And sometimes I stick a cold beer into my fantasy scenario too. Just because.

But most of the time, I hit the parenting wall long before I get there, I’m afraid.

Come about 6:30 pm, I’ll be trying to psyche myself up for the final stretch, preparing Charlie for bed and all, when I’ll hear those older two fighting about some ridiculously inane thing.

I remind myself to breath, but dude. I’m spent. I just am. I don’t care if you want to judge me, but I’m like this close to walking out the back screen door and getting in then Honda and aiming it towards Mexico, towards a whole different life.

This is every night, remember.

The parenting wall.

My love for my children, once a warm and bubbling spring at 8 am, has now congealed into a hard layer of sick-of-it-all and despair.

I want to be saved from this feeling of my face being smooshed up against the wall.

I can’t take anymore!

I’m tired! I’m hungry! I’m dehydrated! I’m lonely! I need to pay the bills! I need to get the laundry out of the washer before everything is just a wrinkled waste of my precious time!

Oh my God, NOOOOO!

Charlie just crapped his diaper and is crying because I’m footballing him around in his own filth and surprise! Here comes Violet and she has ice cream all over her hands and she is carrying my laptop and making it all sticky and surprise! She’s bawling because Henry just pinched her in revenge!

I close my eyes. I try to breath slowly. I take a big country whiff of the kid poop and I try and be Zen about it all. I imagine my fantasy scenario, tell myself I’m almost there.

Sometimes it works and I get there without losing it and I feel so proud.

Other nights, I’m almost there when I come across two kids kicking each other as they put on their PJ’s in the middle of a whole roll of toilet paper unraveled all over the room and I let go completely. I fall away from the Zen and I become a bear, a lion, an elephant with a Philly accent.

Some nights, I yell.

I do what I have to do.

But we get there, eventually. We get sorted out and tired heads end up sleeping safe and sound under the roof of this nuthouse we call home. That makes me happy. And proud. It really really does. I did it. We made it.

I’m so hungry.

Please stay asleep for the next 40 minutes. I need it, my loves. I need my TV time. I really really do.

The parenting wall, man.

It’s a b*tch.

But I guess I wouldn’t change a thing.

Anniversary of The Airport Chat: The start of Tony & Laura

Today is the anniversary of “The Airport Chat.” That’s what I consider to be the starting point of Tony and Laura.

On June 1, 2010 I was in the A.N.R. Robinson International Airport in Tobago trying to work magic to get Fashion Week Trinidad & Tobago (FWTT) committee members on the full flights back to Trinidad in time for events the next morning. Sitting in a corner seat in the Caribbean Airlines ticket office I noticed Tony walk in and vaguely recognized his handsome face. He saw me, sauntered over and greeted me with a big warm smile.

Tony reminded me he met me two nights before at the FWTT Launch event and turned on his famous charm. After speaking for a few minutes, I closed my laptop and invited him to sit down in the seat occupied by my workbag and luggage. We chatted about this and that for a good bit when I was called over to the check-in counter across the road. Knowing how fast you have to move to get seats on full CAL flights, I hurriedly asked him to watch my stuff and left the office.

At least 25 minutes passed when I thought “Oh my! I should really go back and get my stuff.” So I quickly walked in the ticket office.

“Hey, thanks for watching my bags. Sorry I took so long.” I said and picked up my bags and promptly walked out.

I headed back to my circle of colleagues gathered at the check-in area and felt a tap on my shoulder.

“Do you have a card?” Tony asked. “So I can contact you if I get any business leads.”

I fished for one out of my bag and gave it to him.

“When are you going to be back in Tobago?”

“Oh, I will probably come back to cool off after Fashion Week. I will definitely need it.”

“Well call me when you do so I can take you out to dinner or something.”

“OK,” I said just wanting to get back to my FWTT colleagues to discuss the latest crisis.

He leaned in to give me what I thought was the common kiss on the cheek for a goodbye.

Whaaaat? He looks like he is heading straight in. Surely he isn’t aiming for my lips. I just met this guy! And in front of everyone?

At the last second when I realized he wasn’t deterring from his straight course to my glossed-up lips, I turned my head. He caught the very edge of my mouth and cheek.

I pulled back with wide eyes.

 Maybe I imagined that. Surely he isn’t that bold.

Within the hour he sent me a text expressing how nice it was to chat with me. I responded … eight hours later. He texted again. I responded … eight hours later. (Hey … I was a busy girl.) And the cycle continued.

Now here we are five years later … married with two kids. In the simplest terms it’s been a head-spinning whirlwind.

I did ask him later if I was imagining the whole going-in-for-the-lips thing. He smiled.

“I just felt like kissing you. You should have seen your face!”

“But you JUST met me!”

“Ahhh … but I knew I loved you from the start.”

Oh darling Tony. You won my heart and gave me the every-girl dream of a guy falling in love with her at first sight.

Happy anniversary, sweetheart. I love you.