A Letter to our Future President 

Dear Mr. Trump,

First of all, congrats on an astounding win last night. You’ve just been hired for a new job, and man it’s a BIG one.

I can’t imagine what it was like to wake up in your shoes today.  You probably haven’t slept at all, actually. No way I would’ve been able to, if I were you.  But I can tell you what my morning was like, just in case you are wondering.

I woke up this morning with no knowledge of who won the election.  I grew tired of the news networks constantly feeding me news flashes and major updates and too close to calls. All of the dramatic, over-produced banter was enough to drive this girl straight to bed.  So I got a decent sleep, and woke up with that feeling in my stomach. You know, that  flip-floppy, butterfly fluttering, upside down tingle in your gut that tells you that something big is about to happen.  It reminded me of Christmas morning as a child, when you wake up anxiously awaiting to see what big surprises are in store for you.  Except it wasn’t exactly a gift I was waiting for, it was a result…one of the most anticipated in American history. And it may very as well have been something I would have wanted to leave right there under the tree anyway.

Like many others who woke up to the news, or watched it unfold before their eyes, I was shocked. I was scared. It wasn’t the news that I had expected. It wasn’t the news I’d been told to expect, anyway.  You certainly may not have expected it, either. So naturally, I needed a minute to process.

I glared at the tiny, glowing screen before me, reconfirming the information, and of course took to social media, beginning my descent down the rabbit-hole of endless opinions and self-expression. People were scared.  People were rejoicing.  People were angry.  People were elated. People were crying, out of utter joy and out of absolute terror.  People were most definitely not united. 

Luckily, just then, my 4-year-old daughter came into my room, smiling and squealing, and jumped into bed with me.  I welcomed her happiness, wrapped it around me like a warm blanket for my soul. Rather than continue down the path of fear and uncertainty, she brought me back to my grateful reality. I put down the phone, snuggled and giggled with her for a while, and a couple minutes later welcomed my son good morning with a loving hug as well. Clearly our children were just as happy as ever, their refreshing innocence both admirable and heartbreaking at the same time. 

I went on with my morning, getting the kids ready for school, talking briefly with my husband, who was equally in shock.  Of course, he is ridiculously excited that the control is back in the hands of the Republicans. As president of a family owned business, he knows that this hopefully means security and prosperity for our future. But he has his doubts and worries too. He’s not sure what to think of you, either. None of us are. But then again, change is never easy for anyone.

I took the kids to school, chatted with a friend or two in carpool, then headed to the grocery store.  I could not ignore the fact that I was out of laundry detergent any longer.  I was still in a daze, a fog of imminent change and uncertainty.  I looked around to see if anyone else was feeling the same. I found myself wishing everyone was wearing magic t-shirts to announce how we were feeling.  Maybe it would ease the tension a bit. Maybe it would free the uneasiness I felt. 

But when I arrive at the check out lane, apparently I didnt need a t-shirt.  My eyes said it all. The lady checking out my groceries is a tall, black woman, with sparkling, emerald-green eye shadow.  She looks right at me, with her warm, loving gaze, and it comforts me. It’s like an invisible hug, those eyes.  She smiles at me, and I let out a huge sigh of relief.  Finally, a connection. She too, is uneasy, but she radiates with hope. 

“Long night?” she asks.

Yeah. I muster. 

“You know,” she starts, “It’s all going to be okay.  We know who’s really in control. To God be the Glory.  We gotta trust Him.”

We smile and nod at each other, and I feel tears welling up in my eyes, tears of relief, tears of hope,  tears of sheer exhaustion from the emotional turmoil that has been this election season.  I want to cry that it’s produced so much hate, so much division, so much distrust and anxiety.  I want to cry, but I hold back. 

I also have the overwhelming urge to hug this lady, but I don’t, because I decide that’s just a little too much. I would probably have to find a different Publix if I did. I’d be known as the crazy lady who goes around hugging and crying on people. Don’t let her down your aisle.

Anyway, Mr. Trump, I know you have a lot of work to do, so I’ll wrap this up.

I may or may not have voted for you. It’s really no one’s business, really.  I love that we have a democratic process that allows us the right to vote for our leaders, but I have to admit I had a hard time supporting anyone during this election. I don’t know you personally, but I know what I was supposed to think of you. I know what the media spewed at me, I read all the headlines, got lost in the ridiculous news articles.  I have to admit, I really wasn’t a fan of you, personally speaking. I was quick to judge, quick to give my negative opinions of you, quick to voice my concern of your character. I just plain didn’t like you as a person.  But I realize now, that ultimately, I had become everything that I didn’t like about you in the first place. Because of what I was being fed, and from my own harsh judgments, and because of the liar that is fear, I became the worst kind of hypocrite.  I never gave you a chance.

In my house we have a very important family rule; we respect whoever is elected president. We don’t tell our children who we voted for, we try not to voice our opinions too much in front of them, we simply preach love of country and respect for its leaders. We explain to them that you may disagree with the decision of a leader, but you must always show love and respect.

So I guess it’s time I start practicing what I preach.

After the dust had settled from the morning, after I’d put the groceries away and finally started the laundry, I picked my phone back up continued gawking at the unprecedented news. I watched your acceptance speech, and it calmed my nerves.  Your love for this country is genuine. You didn’t have to take this job.  You obviously don’t need the money. You could’ve easily retired, put your feet up, and floated off around the world on a million-dollar yacht or whatever.  But you have a genuine love and a mission for this country.  Now that I must accept that you are Commander in Chief, I must join you in this mission.  I must put aside the negative opinions, the former judgments I had for you, someone who I thought I knew. Because now, to me, you are someone I that I must learn to love and respect. Because that is a gold standard to me.

All I ask of you, Mr. Trump, is that you extend that same love and respect towards me and my family. And of course, not just me, but all the millions of other Americans around this country. Because although your title demands respect, likewise, respect must be earned. There are many, many people in this country that are feeling lost, alone and scared this morning. They are the marginalized and the forgotten. They don’t know if their lives will ever be the same. They feel their voice may be lost forever. You must be their voice now. They also want your love and respect, even if they don’t know how to ask for it. It’s your job now to make them feel safe and secure. In order to make this country great again, you have to realize that the people of this country are already great. That we all want the best for ourselves and our families. That our ability to live together and celebrate our differences are what make this country great. We don’t want to live in a country full of fear and division. And it’s your job now to unite us. It’s in your job description. 

Listen, you’ve got a tough road ahead of you. You have to show us all that your love for our country is indeed from a genuine, pure place. That you want the best for us all. That you can silence the naysayers and prove them wrong. We are putting our faith in you, Mr. Trump. Faith that you can be a uniter and a fighter of injustice. That you will recognize right from wrong. That you will give us hope and reassurance, and that this change you speak of will lead us all in the right direction, together. That you will make us proud, and make our children proud. 

That’s a rather tall order. 

Taller than any building you’ve ever built. More than any money you’ve ever made. Riskier than any business deal you’ve ever brokered. 

These are our lives, Mr. Trump. 

The people have spoken, so I will give you a chance. You had as fair a shot as anyone else. I think you have the potential to do a great job. I will no longer fear you, for I am better than that. I will rise above. I have faith in you. I have to. We all have to. 

Just like the man who helped me take my groceries to the car this morning, when he said, “Who knows, he might be the greatest president this country’s ever seen.”

No pressure, but dude, you better not mess this up. 

A Hopeful American






These Dreams (and Realities)

We say it every time we travel. 

We can totally make this dish at home!

We can decorate our backyard like this!

We need to remember to carve out time like this for each other at home!

And then we go home. We fall back into the same routine, get hit with the same everyday stress, figure out that finding fresh octopus and passion fruit for ceviche and tropical drinks is not a practical option from our local Publix. Life continues as we left off, and our vacation memories are put on a shelf. 

As we shared our last lunch of our vacation to Tulum, Mexico, we acknowledged that fact. 

Okay, so there’s no way we will be able to recreate this at home. 

The view from our room. Seriously…you cannot recreate this.

But then we acknowledge that that’s okay. That’s the reason why vacations exist. To get away from your everyday life, to appreciate a different place and culture, to bridge the gap between the foreign and familiar. 

Still my husband threw out lofty ideas. 

We can get a place down here! We could come down a few months a year and rent it out the rest of the time! It would be amazing!!

I love my husband and his big ideas. I love his grandeur and his spontaneous, contagious excitement. But I am the practical one. The one who keeps us down to earth. The yin to his yang. Sure, internally I’m a dreamer. But in reality, I am a humble creature who enjoys the safety of her comfort zone. I love small snippets of adventure, but I love the joy of coming home even more. 

This guy. He dreams big. That’s why I love him.

So I let him dream out loud, listening to his outlandish thoughts while I quietly smile and stare out at the ocean, knowing that tonight we will be home and the dreams will be hung back up, put away with the suitcases, maybe to be revisited later when they are one day repacked. 

I’m not saying that you can’t have dreams, people. How unmotivating is that? I’m just saying when you get to a place in your life, when you are a family with kids and a home and pets and school and sports and all that circles around that lifestyle, you can’t just hit pause. Of course, I guess you could. But there will be some obvious obstacles and daunting tasks to get to that pause. 

I think one of the best things about our trip down here were the people. Most notable, the people at our resort. Sure, we are paying customers; we are expected to be treated well I guess. But these people went above and beyond. They treated us like friends, almost like family. It made all the difference. 

The staff set up a surprise anniversary dinner for us on the rooftop. Such a special night.

One of our friends was a bartender named Eduardo. We spent lots of time at the bar (it was a beach vacation with no kids, so of course), and got to know him pretty well. He is ten years younger than me. Single, a charming guy with big dreams. He wants to run his own beach bar one day. He also wants to travel. 

Eduardo, one of our favorite bartenders.

Do it now! I tell him. 

Before life gets serious. Ties you down. But be smart about it. Jason interjects with sound business advice. Make smart decisions. Save some money first. Don’t burn any bridges along the way. 

I love how life is a series of decisions, sometimes circumstantial, sometimes intentional. There will be paths to take and paths to leave untraveled. Some paths are attempted but blocked along the way, and occasionally we are able to traverse them later. We can even revisit a path; we can stumble upon paths we thought were lost forever, only to find them wide open and ready for another chance.  I love looking at my life right now, appreciating it for what it is, and admiring the tangled mess of roads that got me here. 

Eduardo has many more miles to travel. I remember that me, ten years ago, fresh off of the I do’s and ready for this next chapter. Then like the blink of an eye, here it is. My husband, my precious two children, our sweet stinky dog, our dream home, our friends and family. A decade behind me, a new chapter before me. 

I smile as I listen to Eduardo talk about his dreams. I smile because I know he will be okay, whatever path he ends up going down. When he gets there he will realize it, too. But it is a long journey. And there will be more roads ahead. 

So who knows…maybe one day I’ll be writing from our thatch-hut villa on the Mexican coast, chopping up fresh fruit and grilling our catch of the day. Maybe one day we will be able to visit our friend Eduardo for some fish tacos at his new restaurant. Or maybe we won’t have the luxury of ever returning to this magical place, and fond memories will be all that we have.

The sunrise from our bedroom each morning. What a view.

 Whatever the future holds, our path has been enlightened, thanks to this amazing trip. There are new avenues and ideas to explore. We have intersected and merged with others along their paths and been fortunate enough to join them for a few steps of their journey. 

Traveling gives you the gift of experience, of a broader world-view, of lasting memories. You are a better person for it. Even if it’s not a vacation, there is always something to gain.  It may terrify you, sadden you, or exhaust you,  but travel will always impact you in some way. It will lead you to a richer, fuller life. You may end up feeling smaller out in this big world, but you will appreciate bigger. 

Well, time to fly. Literally, I’m about to get back on the airplane to head home. And as always, I’m a jumbled mess of mixed emotions. 

Oh, the fearful anticipation. Oh, the knowing that I will have to look those demons of fear in the face in a few short moments. Oh, the fact that the gift of travel is not without it’s moments of discomfort. Oh, the idea that in order to live our fullest lives we must also embrace the risks. 

But oh, the living I have done. 

And then there’s the dream. The dream that is about to come true, God-willing.  Bigger than the dreams of travel and grandeur and possibility. Bigger than anything I could’ve ever dreamed up myself. 

The dream that awaits at home. 

Okay, so maybe minus the laundry. Laundry is never a part of anyone’s dream.

But I’ll still take it. 

A Loss of Words

I did it. 

I wrote the most soulful, harrowing, genuine, clarity-filled post I had ever written. 

And then I lost it. 

As we prepared for our upcoming anniversary trip down here to Tulum, Mexico (where I sit at this very moment, absorbed in a tropical beach-dream come true), I had been planning to write this particular post. I meant to put aside time writing it way before we boarded the plane, as my anticipatory fear of flying often starts months in advance. Yet the busyness of life intercepted, and it wasn’t until we were strapped into our seats on the plane that the words began to breach the dam. 

I took my raw fear, that had moved suddenly from anticipation to staring me straight in the eye, and I began. With my phone and my two small but mighty thumbs, the words billowed out, filling the tiny screen.

From the startling moment of the jet-engine’s deafening start, to the pure surrender of the moment of lift-off. From when I closed my eyes and said my most earnest prayer for safety and the ability to be able to hug my children again. From the moment when peace triumphantly emerged as I was taken back by the beauty that was displayed out my window at 30,000 feet…I captured it all in my complete narrative. For the entire two hours of the flight, I wrote. 

I described in gritty detail, the effects of panic that my body feels when I am traveling in an airplane. The moment when the doors close and the white flag is waved. When the pilot announces that there will be turbulance and my breathing seizes up. When I am in the midst of turbulance and my nerves catch fire and my body is frozen with fear and lack of control, and the epiphany and relief that I have when I surrender to that control. When I let my role be one of traveler and leave the flying and controlling up to the pilot. When I realize that maybe the fact that I have gotten to have a tiny snack and a ginger ale while writing and listening to Band of Horses all while simultaneously not having to move a damn muscle can actually be seen as relaxing instead of terrifying. When I realize that my husband, who is snoring hard next to me after two margaritas and a couple episodes of Portlandia, handles this flying business way better than me, so why aren’t I doing that??

Whatever I said, it was good. I felt it. It was raw and in the moment; a front row-seat inside the inner workings of my brain when faced with one of my biggest fears. I felt the landing-gear machinery opening, and I quickly gave the writing a once-over. It didn’t even need more than a word or two of editing. It was good. 

I had known the title for months. Learning to Fly. Flying has played such a big part in the story of my anxiety. It was time to give it the spotlight. 

Done. Title ready, photo of a plane, easy. Effortless and satisfying. Like a good meal at a restaurant. Only thing left to do is pay the bill. 

When you spend time searching for moments of creative inspiration and then suddenly it happens, where everything falls in to place, when an idea lands in your hand with ease and grace, waiting for you to make it your own, you treasure it. It is a special thing. Like a creative birth of sorts. A thing of beauty. If you fail to grab onto the idea, however, it is gone; it will flutter on until it lands on another willing soul, ready to give it a life of its own. It’s a delicate, fleeting process. 

We will be deboarding soon. I have to hurry to tidy up and make sure I haven’t left anything on the plane. So, I hit publish. 

An important thing to remember when you are traveling to a foreign country, is that the internet is not a given. And when you choose to do your writing exclusively on an internet-based blogging site, you most certainly need an internet connection, of which I did not have. But in a hasty, hurried moment, I hit publish. And although I missed the entire message that was given next, I know that it most definitely contained the word error. 

And then all was lost. 

When you create something, anything of originality, you realize the inability to duplicate it, at least without its original copy, that is. There will always be a first creation of something, and you need that evidence as a blueprint before it can be copied. A re-creation can be attempted, of course, but it will never be the same as the original. 

As I walked through the Cancun airport, excited about vacation and yet sick to my stomach with the loss of my words, I thought about trying to re-write it from memory. We did have a 90 minute shuttle ride, plenty of time to start over, right?  But the moment was clearly lost. The ideas, the words, the emotions, had clearly passed. I had to move on, let it go. 

It was hard. It sounds so silly, to be  so upset about the loss of something so seemingly trivial. But to me, it was important. When you feel that you can better explain your life in words, when you can shine a bit of your soul this way, it is a piece of you. You cherish it. For some, it is how you best show your true self to others. It is a genuine piece of your heart. 

A piece of my heart that will never be recovered. 

But then I started to think (as I often try to spin things into the positive), maybe those words weren’t meant to be read. Maybe those words were just for me. I had documented every moment of my journey through my fear of flying, and had come through with flying colors (hehe). The words had served as a catalyst, as a trusted guide, holding my hand, leading me through the thick cloud of fear. My words gave meaning to my emotions, laid them out, exposed them to the light. And we all know that fear cannot survive beyond the shadows. 

My words carried me through one of my most feared moments. Although I had wanted to share them with others, to bridge a connection for others who share a fear of flying, it was apparently just not the right time. There will be other times, though. 

At least I can rest in the fact that my words were there for me when I needed them. They guided me through a difficult time and remain forever in that moment. A moment no longer captured in words, but in memory. A moment where fear came and went like a passing cloud outside the jet window. A moment not meant for anyone but me, as I triumphed over my fear in quiet victory. 

The words are gone, never to be captured again, but the experience, the progress, it remains. Every single step taken towards freedom from fear leaves a lasting impression in my mind, a footprint in concrete. 

For this reason, I know that I have lost nothing, but gained everything. 

Okay. I think I’ve made my peace. Time to get back to some vacation time. And cross your fingers that I don’t lose this post too; I don’t think I could take it. At least I still have Mexico. It’s not such a bad consolation prize.