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And what you can do about it.
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The complex nature of parenting together is a universal experience.
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"No study or expert knows better than the intrinsic voice within us."
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"It doesn't matter why I bottle feed -- I do."
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I've always had a thing for older men. Whatever it was, unruly chest hair and crow lines did crazy things to me. I eventually dated an older man. He was 12 years my senior with chest hair, a stable job and his very own Manhattan apartment. After nearly four months together, we broke up. But our age difference wasn't to blame.
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One day, after the fourteenth emotional breakdown from one of my two young boys, I found myself preaching the idea of happiness being a choice: "Choose happiness! It's a choice. You have the control!"
Sometimes people feel the need to come up to me and tell me how smart she is, as though that was ever in question. My daughter can recognize words on a 12th grade level so yes, she is smart -- but she can't tell when her shirt or pants are on backwards and that the tag almost always goes in the back.
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Autism. That one word, uttered by a white-coated doctor during the spring of 2007, was all it took to turn my life upside down. The doctor told me he was unlikely to develop further or finish high school. But I decided I was I was not going to let the words of some doctor limit my son's potential.
The moment I put on my dream wedding dress, I cried tears of disappointment and frustration. It was exactly as I had pictured, with a corseted top that tied like a ballet slipper in the back, shiny white beads on the front, and a flowing, silky train. The dress wasn't the problem. It was how I looked in it. "You look beautiful," my mother said, thinking I was crying tears of joy. In that moment, I knew I still wasn't "better." I thought I had recovered, and I thought this meant I'd love the way I look. I hate that my eating disorder tainted this precious moment that I cannot have back. I use this hate to empower myself. Today, five years later, I think I'm "normal."
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Picture a 6'2" professional football player, beating a four-year-old with a stick until the little boy is left with blood all over his body. While it may sound like a scene from a horror movie, this is sadly the awful truth behind the Adrian Peterson child abuse case.
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My body is older, and although I'm more fit now than I was in my 20s, my muscles and bones and forehead and liver will never reverse in time to what they once were. And then there's the whole, ever closer to my earthly demise thing.
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Here we are now in 2014 with the pendulum having swung so far to one side that our kids are actually suffering from our over-involved parenting style. By looking back through history, we can see what works and what doesn't, but usually it's a trip down our own memory lane that can guide us best.
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Yes, that's right: I wish sometimes that I was needier. In recent months, I've come to a very blunt awareness about just how independent I had become in my four years as a single person. Moreover, I can reflect today and acknowledge just how much society places value on that independence. Is our system flawed.
Dear Old-Hot Stuff, I am writing you this letter to remind you of a few things that you may forget along the way. I know that experience and age-weight may provide you with the assumption that you know it all and you don't need advice from your 35-year-old self. But memory-loss aside, you may have gotten a little too fixed in your ways to remember a life, well let's just say, a little less-lived.