Dear Mom,

Dear Mom,

Your voice has faded from my memory.

I’m always a little jealous when people say things like, “I can still hear her voice” when they talk about you.

“Can you?” I want to say. “I can’t.” Though they tell me I sound like you.

You know how in movie flashbacks when the daughter or son have those full-color visions of holding hands with their mom, glancing up and seeing her face looking down? I can’t see that. Though they tell me I look like you.

I do have pictures that I am grateful for. You, in all kinds of situations just being your awesome self.

I wish I had just one video though. I would wear it out.

I’d love to see you animated and hear you laugh. I want see the way your hair flew in the wind and the way you moved.

I wish so much that I could be in one of those rooms you lit up like people say. Just one more time.

I didn’t know it was the last chance I’d get. Each thing that you did and said, I thought I’d see you do or hear you say a thousand more times.

I remember that I used to see you in dreams. Real honest-to-goodness dream visions and you would talk to me and sit with me. It went on for weeks after you died. I thought I was wishing those dreams into existence.

I would wake up and write poems that I’d never share because I didn’t want anyone to know I was still hurting. Because maybe, I should have gotten over it by then, in my teenage mind.

I’m much older now and I don’t care who knows my heart. And I don’t care if they think it shouldn’t still be broken. It’s been broken for forever and scarred over a thousand times.

But I still went to bed each night hoping that I’d see you while I slept. And you’d talk to me when my mind wasn’t trying to shut out the pain of losing you. That’s when I could really listen. I was never defensive in our secret dream talks.

Then, one day you stopped visiting me in my dreams. And your voice and your realness faded away from my memories.

I am a little jealous of the people who got to know you as an adult. Those people remember you well.

I bet you gave the best advice and listened when they talked and kept the secrets they asked you to. I am more than a little jealous that I didn’t get to be your friend.

I’ve tried to work it out so that I didn’t miss you this way. I have tried not to need you. But thoughts of you are always there, because you’re not.

And when I had a daughter and I realized that she was my whole heart, I suddenly felt that I knew more about you. We finally had something in common that I could touch and see and hear again.

When I realized that nothing would ever stop me from holding on to her. Nothing would ever stop me from saving her if she needed me, that’s when I knew those dreams were the best you could do. And you gave them to me for as long as you could.

And maybe, I really won’t ever have another one.

But I can’t accept that I also have to forget. Maybe I can’t touch you again. Maybe I’ll never hear your voice. But I am absolutely going to hold out hope that somewhere in the aging and forgetful part of my subconscious your voice exists and I’ll hear it again.

So, if I could just have another one of those vivid vision-like awesome dreams, where you come and sit beside me and hold my hand for a little while, I promise I won’t forget this time. I’ll commit every piece of you to memory and hold you there the way you deserve to be remembered.

– Love, Cook

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Cliques vs Friend Groups

Cliques vs Friend Groups

Ladies, hear my words and rethink your attitude toward other women!

Cliques still kill me. I’ve never understood the need to stand shoulder to shoulder with other women and make other people feel unwelcome. But it doesn’t mean I don’t want to be accepted or that I’m somehow immune to the sting of rejection.

When you’re a teenager you can travel purposely in groups of peers if you happen to be lucky enough or skilled enough to be accepted by a clique. (Still not sure what it takes) But as an adult you find yourself trying to do things your kids enjoy, break new ground and “get out there” or you find yourself in some obligatory situation where you have to go somewhere for a function and you try to find some joy in it yourself.

Anxiety grips many of my friends and keeps them from going out and enjoying life.

I’ve never been a clique type of girl and honestly when I was a teenager I wanted nothing more than to be accepted by certain groups. To be invited to the movies with a group or to go skiing or to the pool together. It may not look like it now but high school was the worst for me and I just knew there was a better world somewhere out there where I would find my people.

I’ve learned a lot of hard lessons since then and one of them is that this mentality doesn’t go away with age. I’m pretty sure this is where social anxiety springs from and it’s completely unnecessary. You might look at me and come to your own conclusions and say “she fits in everywhere” and you know what, I do. You know why? Because I don’t believe the lies that other people tell about me.

I am a seeker of the outcast at parties. I am the girl you can walk up to and say without words, “I have no one to stand with and people watch” and I will hear your call and stand with you. If not for the rejection I felt as a teenager I might not be this person today.

Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, I was never able to teach my children how to fit in to cliques either. But I really like the adults they’re turning into so I’m going to go with “fortunately”. They have all had a hard time with other girls at school. They are all fiercely independent and passionate people who defend others who can’t defend themselves. All have a heart for the outcast.

My oldest daughter got kicked off the bus one time for a day because she stood up to a bully who took a a special needs child’s book bag. She pushed her down and took it back. The bus driver called me and said he was sorry he had to suspend her for the day because of the rules but she was his hero. ♥️

So to all of you who have a super strong bond with your female clique and refuse to accept new people into it, I am sorry for you that you will never meet and know all the awesome women I have met who still today don’t travel everywhere in cliques.

“Adult women still do this? Yes. Very much yes. Just go try and find a chair at the pool.”

I’m not shaming anyone for having friend groups. I have those. There’s a difference. And when you’re grown and you purposely shut other women out who are clearly seeking someone, anyone to cling to in an awkward social engagement, then you’re in a clique not a friend group. You are the kind of people who would let someone figuratively drown in a social situation and watch them leave and laugh about it.

You know if you are someone who doesn’t reach out and offer those women to sit beside you, even if they might say “no”. You know if you are one of those women who purposely shut other women out because you are jealous of them or worry someone might judge you for spending time with them. And good news ladies, it’s not too late to change.

Am I saying you have to be friends with them? No. I’m saying you can be kind to them, offer them a seat. If you decide that they’re bad news well then I’m all about some boundaries. But don’t let Mean Girls be your theme for life and pretend like it isn’t.

Love yourself enough to love other women and the world will be a better place, I promise.

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