August 17 11

If I’m being honest, I kind of hate when people look at me all giant-eyed, and say, “You are the busiest person on the planet. I don’t know how you get it all done! I am tired just thinking about the things that you do. I could never!” While I appreciate their compliment (?)(Is is a compliment?) I am most certainly not a unique snowflake in the busy department. Yes. I am busy. Yes, I have three kids and a full-time job and a commute and a dog and a husband and a website that I update 6 times a week and a website that I contribute to and edit for. Yes, I go to launches and events. Yes, I read at least a novel a week, sometimes two. But I don’t really feel that it makes me special because I have a lot going on and am able to fit a lot into my life. It’s just what I do. I am the product of two Type-A (likely leaning more towards triple A) personality parents and two Type-A step-parents. It’s what they do; it’s what I do. We take on a lot, we accomplish a lot. It’s not groundbreaking, it just is.

But I have been thinking that while I am running around doing the things that I do, there are things that just don’t get done.

I am always late giving birthday gifts. I’m the parent who sends her child empty-handed to a birthday party. We always give a gift, it’s just rarely on time.

I do not hang up my clothing. Ever.

I haven’t cleaned out the drawer I said I was going to…eight months ago.

I don’t send thank-you notes.

I buy school supplies three days before school starts.

I can’t make it to every class play, every presentation, every ceremony.

I occasionally miss appointments for my hair, my teeth, my eyes. I don’t even get around to making some appointments.

I do not know when my children have outgrown their shoes until I am band-aiding up some blistered feet.

I never eat a proper breakfast.

I let my children brush their own hair.

I pick my battles when it comes to clothing, which is why you will see my child wearing a princess dress more often than not.

I sometimes skip showers to give myself  some extra time to edit photos or posts.

I do not return phone calls.

I do not answer the phone.

I do not call anyone on the phone.

(Notice a theme here?)

And here’s the one that has really been bothering me for quite some time. I can be a less-than-awesome daughter, daughter-in-law, sister, sister-in-law, friend, aunt, cousin. For the past few weeks, I have gotten to spend some concentrated time with some family members. It was like this little tiny gift I was given. Sure, I didn’t see them as much as I’d like, what with my commitments and my job and my family, but those moments I got? Special is a word I am remiss to use, because it was so much more than that.

When you have nieces and nephews who live in other provinces, other states, other countries, time is a luxury you don’t have. Relationships are whittled down to phone conversations and skype calls and occasional visits. And I am less-than-awesome at phone conversations. Admittedly, and this is not a secret, as I confessed these things to you already, I don’t answer the phone or return phone calls or call anyone at any time. But this trip, I don’t what it was about it. I don’t know if because my own kids are older and are less needy of my constant attention, I was able to spend time with these little people and just really know them. Talk to them, play with them, squish the everloving heck out of them. Because they are all these awesome little monkeys, each one of them. Each one had special stories to tell me, and funny jokes, and not-s0-funny jokes. The hugs goodbye were different than the hugs in the past.

Someone once told me that when photographing children, you are best to get down to their level. Lie on the grass; go down to where they are. I suspect that the same goes for getting to know little people. You get down to their level, and a whole new world opens up. You become someone other than this elusive aunt who they see in pictures; you become someone they want to tell their stories to, someone they want to tell their jokes to, someone they want to give their squishes to.

I want to feel like this all the time. I want the people I care about to KNOW that I care about them. I don’t want to be the elusive family member in the picture. I want to stop blaming my non-use of the phone and actually just use it. I want to drop by unannounced to visit family in the city. I want to call my three mothers more often than they’d like. I want to see my friends instead of sending emails and texts and chats.

And really, if it means just having to give another something up, I can stop showering altogether. Showers are overrated, right?



  1. As long as you’ve got a nice big sink to wash your hair in…


    Comment by Jessica on August 17, 2011
  2. This one really got to me. I recently moved from Las Vegas (where my sister and her son live) to rural Wisconsin. I miss my family so much. The ache that I feel for them is made all the worse for the fact that when I was there I squandered precious time. Squish those babies with all your might every chance you get.


    Comment by Sarah Barker on August 17, 2011
  3. I love your things I can’t get done list. It makes me feel better! Thanks for sharing.


    Comment by Chris on August 17, 2011
  4. Thank you for this. I am also a product of two type A’s. I’m a type A my DH is a type A. We do it all. But there are moments when you say holy crap I’m missing it all. I need to stop and enjoy the moment. Thank you. Showers are completely overrated unless you need 3 minutes of complete alone time.


    Comment by Kara on August 17, 2011
  5. I hate the phone, too. I don’t use it. Unless you count the 600 times a day I talk to my husband.

    I loved this. There are many things on that list I don’t do either. As in, I haven’t cleaned my bedroom since we moved in a year ago.

    But as for the last bit, I agree. So SO much.


    Comment by Mrs. Wilson on August 17, 2011
  6. This is why I moved back to Chicago. Everyone wonders why I moved from lovely California back to Chicago and it’s horrible winters in 2005. And my nephews (and now 2 subsequent nieces) are why. I didn’t want to only see them twice a year. I wanted to be the favorite Auntie. The one who chases them and plays with them.

    I feel like my life is so much fuller with being so close to them (and your kids too!). When I’m stressed about something in life, I just remember times when I jumped on the trampoline with Isabella or played with my niece at the park and that, THAT, is truly what matters. That is what life is about.

    It’s also why I would seriously consider moving to Canada! :)

    Also, I hate showers.


    Comment by Kristabella on August 17, 2011
  7. Showers are totally overrated. If Brad Pitt can wipe himself down with a few baby wipes, so can we.


    Comment by Sharon on August 17, 2011
  8. I was just trying to read this out loud to Manny and had to stop, b/c I was crying. And I don’t cry. We love you Auntie E!!! You can stop by anytime unannounced (even if we don’t live in the city) and squish my kids anytime. We miss you!


    Comment by adina on August 17, 2011
  9. I think you’re still a good friend even if you’re terrible about texting or chatting or calling. :)


    Comment by Avitable on August 17, 2011
  10. Try taking a shower once in a while you’ll feel relax and less tense ^^ Joking aside, you need to give some time of for yourself and try to absorb and appreciate what you have accomplish.


    Comment by Jennifer on August 17, 2011
  11. I get this so much.

    I hear it too. The, I don’t know how you do it. I always want to say, well someone has too right? But really, like you I don’t do so many other things. When one is as busy as I am, you have to prioritize stuff.

    I worked last night instead of going to a school parent meeting. I am that mom. The one who signs up to bring napkins to parties, if I sign up at all. Napkins can be found when I forget.

    I think as busy people, we do the best we can. There’s always someone who we think does it better.


    Comment by Issa on August 17, 2011
  12. This is the kind of post that keeps me coming back– so honest and insightful. Thank you for that!


    ali replied on

    Thank you!
    It felt so good to write it.


    Comment by Magoop on August 18, 2011
  13. Ali, i’ve enojoyed reading this post, and seeing this beautiful blog.

    About what you’ve wrote-
    you are right, in everything. the question is what are we gonna do with our toold and what we know. we are all onem connected between us not realizing it yet, it’s about time we’ll help each other, why not?

    Your priorities, your will,your scheduel,
    it is all be seccuesful with one tool-
    YOUR LOVE, your endless love, we feel it :)
    keep on going dear soul,
    Together we will make it real!


    Comment by Martha on August 18, 2011
  14. I am so guilty of neglecting phone calls. I hate talking on the phone. At any given time I have 45 voicemails that I eventually delete without listening to.

    Without social media sites like facebook I’m not sure I would have remained in touch with many of my friends. Not because I don’t love them, but just because I’m terrible at this aspect of my life.

    I think you’re on to something with skipping the showers.


    Comment by Amber on August 22, 2011
  15. I hate talking on the phone so I’m right with you on not answering or returning calls. But showering? I have to do it daily. I just don’t feel right if I don’t.


    Comment by Holly {Artist Mother Teacher} on August 22, 2011
  16. What blog hosting website should I create a blog on?


    Comment by mcse on November 15, 2011
  17. How can I drive more traffic to my railroad blog?


    Comment by jacksonville homes on November 15, 2011

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