I’ll Pretend to Have All the Answers

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25 Things to Start Doing Today

  1. Brush your teeth twice a day and FLOSS. It’s important.
  2. Compliment a stranger. It can brighten their day.
  3. Hold the door open for the person behind you. 
  4. Take responsibility for your actions.
  5. Stop putting your career first. Your career is great, but so is having a life and appreciating time with your family and friends.
  6. Tell the one you love, you love them. Often.
  7. Express yourself with authority. If you don’t believe in what you’re saying, no one else will either.
  8. Declutter. You don’t need all of the possessions you’re holding onto. Getting rid of what doesn’t matter and keeping what does will change your life.
  9. Don’t be afraid to travel. Even if that means you’re going to do it broke.
  10. Care about something or someone more than yourself. Yes, cats count too.
  11. Spend time with your loved ones. They’re gone too soon.
  12. Cry when you’re sad and laugh when you’re happy. It’s okay to feel things. If you’re waiting for someone to tell you that, there ya go.
  13. Learn a new word each day and try to use it.
  14. Let go of the past. This includes old partners, bad habits, grudges, and even memories that hurt.
  15. Live in the moment, with a bit if caution. This is not a #YOLO type idea, what I mean is this: if you see a pretty sunrise, stop for a moment and enjoy it. If your family member is sick, call into work and spend the day with them, it’s worth it.
  16. There are a million reasons to not do something that’s a bit scary, focus on the reason you should. 
  17. Love yourself unconditionally, without being conceited.
  18. Love others unconditionally, without being foolish.
  19. Offer support to those around you. You never know how much they may need it and they may never ask for it.
  20. Ask for support when you need it. Life is hard and we can’t go through this alone.
  21. Don’t apologize if you don’t mean it. Unless you’re actually sorry, don’t say “I’m sorry.” Don’t apologize for being excited about something or for not knowing the answer, yet.
  22. Count your blessings. Use your fingers and toes.
  23. Say one nice thing about yourself each morning. It gets easier with practice.
  24. Never speak ill of your partner. Don’t let the last annoying thing they did, be your next topic of conversation with your friends.
  25. Don’t take yourself too seriously. We’re all still learning.

-LP

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I’m Your Built-in Best Friend

Being your big sister will always be my favorite job.

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I spent four years of my life waiting for you.

20 years ago mom found out she was pregnant with you and I was ecstatic. I told literally every person I saw that I was going to be a big sister and how excited I was to meet you. I loved you from the moment I knew you were alive, even if I wasn’t quite sure what it meant when mom said she had a baby in her belly. I remember sitting on the sofa when you were big enough that we could feel you kick; I always put my hand on her tummy and talked to you. I’ve always wanted to be the best big sister I could be, but you didn’t come with an instruction manual and I’ve been learning along the way.

I did go to that big sister class, but it didn’t prepare me for everything! Only for how to properly hold a baby, much to our mother’s dismay. I know you’ve heard the story about how I picked you up and moved you at a week old while mom was in the bathroom; she about lost her mind, but hey, I was qualified! I have the certificate to prove it.

I’ve messed up more often than not.

Whether it was that one time I fell backwards onto your head when you were a month old, or locked you in the house when mom took out the trash and I followed her outside, or when I locked you in the running car in the middle of winter while simultaneously locking mom and I outside when she went into her office to grab some papers. It might not seem like it, but I’ve always wanted to keep you safe (even when I wasn’t very good at it).

I was never scared when it came to protecting you.

You gave me a reason to be brave. Remember when dad had to stop me from charging at that kid down the road who spit at you? My tiny little fists were clenched as I stormed down the street after him when you came up to me crying because he was being mean to you.

“No one gets to pick on my brother, but me!” I bellowed at him; “PICK ON SOMEONE YOUR OWN SIZE!” It didn’t matter that he was way bigger than I was, because I was bigger than you and if anyone was going to get in a fight with that jerk, it was me.

That protectiveness will never change. 

When you inevitably introduce me to a girl who gives you butterflies, I’m going to do my best to love her as if she were my sister. She better be good to you because you’ve got the kindest heart I know; I pray she realizes that. I’ll be honest; odds are I’m going to be face-creeping the crap out of her. I will have scoured her entire Facebook profile by the time you’ve made it home from my place. It’s my job to thoroughly investigate that gal because you’re my little brother and I care more about you than I care about myself. Even when if it doesn’t always seem like it.

I’ve been spending my life trying to be strong for you. 

When mom and dad got divorced, we lost each other. I was busy going through puberty, dealing with liking boys, and adjusting to a life without both of our parents; I left you behind and I’m so sorry. I should have been there for you; I should have made sure you were okay too. I still remember when you came to me and asked me why we couldn’t live with mom and dad, together. You wanted your family to go back to how it was, so did I.

You were young and you didn’t understand what was happening. Life got way too hard so damn quickly. I felt completely thrown off by the divorce, so I can only imagine how you felt at 8 years-old when life as you knew it no longer existed. I left you behind; when my life started changing, you were too young to come on the journey with me, but I shouldn’t have let you fall to the side. I should have been there for you, but I can’t change what happened; just know that I’m here now and even if I seem far away, I’ll always be the one you can go to with your problems.

I’ll always love you in a way only a big sister can.

You’re my little guy, even if you are a whole head taller than I am. You’re growing up and it’s freaking me out.  You can call me “munchkin” it’s fine, I’m still oldest and therefore, I know best. At least, I pretend to.

I knew you were always watching, so I tried my best to be someone you could look up to; I know I failed more often than not, but I hope you’re proud to call me your big sister.

-LP

You’re Babetastic

I’m the kind of gal who knows what she wants.

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I can write all about it. I’ll tell you how to touch me and where my soft spots are. I’ve got a heart and boy, I know how to let you grab ahold of it. It’s never been something that I kept secret, however it’s always been a bit too out of reach for most. I don’t want someone who merely plays the part of the perfect companion. I’m truly not interested in it; what I am interested in is having a person who loves me in a way that I didn’t know I wanted.

I’ve got that now.

I’ve got a guy who loves me in his perfect way. He sasses me back. He makes me smile. His heart is the heart I’m after and the one I want linked to mine. He is just wonderful and I’m feeling hella mushy today so… please excuse the mush overload that is known as this post.

When I met him, I realized I was wrong; having a creative partner is such an amazing and necessary experience. I never thought much of the fact that any person I had shared my time with wasn’t the “creative type.” It wasn’t ever an issue it was just fact. The one downside was that, if I shared anything with them, it always amazed them; now don’t get me wrong, I’m a gal who likes to woo with words, BUT it’s so wonderful to be able to discuss works in progress with my guy. I love that I can go to him with my thoughts or my struggles and he just gets it. He understands what it means to just want to be immediately amazing at your skill because he’s been there. He can vent his frustrations over his mix to me and I can truly sympathize with him. I can’t speak for my guy, but I’m so damn grateful for this creative and wonderful partner of mine.

He has shown me a different side of myself. I can accept that maybe all metal music isn’t half bad. “B” movies are pretty damn amazing to watch. I’m a morning person, at least when it comes to talking to him, I’ll happily wake up an hour earlier than necessary just to have my morning/his afternoon chats. I can push through hard times with a bit of encouragement, and by-golly, he gives it to me. He makes me feel like I can achieve my dreams and that they’re not too far fetched.

He keeps me grounded when times are hard. Just this past weekend I was stressing out over this little blog of mine; wondering if I could do it or not. I’ve been worried about what kind of writer I’m becoming, of what kind of person I’m trying to be… He asked the questions that forced me to reflect on what’s important to me, listened to me, and wrote down what I said to show me that I do know what I want and where I want to be. He does these little things without being asked, somehow he knows what I need.

His voice perks me right up. The sassy ghetto voice he does when he’s feeling silly. His fruity voice he does when he’s feeling a bit saucy. His super deep manly voice when he’s working real hard on asserting that masculinity of his. And his regular, wonderful sounding voice when I first hear it each morning. That initial “Hey, babe” melts my heart and instantly paints a smile upon my face; it makes me want to run out and buy up all the mistletoe I an find just to pull out a sprig anytime he walks by and plant a kiss on his cheek.

Also, he’s pretty damn babetastic. I mean… that doesn’t need any explanation.

Grow old with me, babe.

-LP

Lazy Sunday Wisdom with Calvin and Hobbes

Kid’s say the darnedest things.

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Calvin is no exception. Knowing my personality and that of my other half, we are seriously in for it when we have kids; then again, what parents don’t feel that way? Calvin chooses to imitate his father in such an amazing way; he doesn’t choose to complain about cleaning his room or doing chores, but rather he goes on about  building character. I’m sure that years from now, were Calvin a real lad, he would be able to appreciate the tasks his father made him complete. Building character isn’t easy, but it’s something you’ve got to (sometimes) force your kids to do.

Looking back on my childhood really makes me grateful for my father. He always chose to put my brother and I first. He always had our best interests at heart, even if it didn’t always feel like it. As a child and then a teen, we butted heads constantly. He’s definitely the guy I get my hardheadedness from, but he’s also the one I look up to most. He’s the person I most want to be like when it comes to both parenting and life. He’s strong and has always been the kind of parent that I feel beyond grateful to have been blessed with.

My dad has countless stories of me from when I was a sassy child. Come on over, he’ll talk your ear off about both my brother and I; I was the spunky and hardheaded one. My little brother was much less confrontational with my parents back then and we’re both pretty much the same way. I’m still sassy and outspoken and he’s the quiet one. While my dad has plenty of stories to laugh at about the two of us; back in the day, it was no laughing matter. When I sassily told my dad that he didn’t come with an instruction manual so I just didn’t know how to deal with him, I know he fought back the laughter; just like when I was forced to write sentences for talking back and I drew one line from the top of the page to the bottom for every I, L, and T in the sentence “I will not talk back.” He let me off the hook for that one, because he thought it was so clever. He’s told me that he had no doubt I was his kid  and that he would have his hands full when I came to him with that page.  When it come to your kids, sometimes it’s hard to hold in the laughter, even when you should.

Although I don’t have any children of my own, babysitting has definitely given me a bit of an idea as to how sassy children can be. Goodness, it’s so hard to not laugh at them when they’re being little sassy sasquatches. I guess that can be a big struggle as a parent; your kids do something hysterical and you’ve got to try to keep your composure to not encourage their  little sassy episodes, even if you secretly love them.

Calvin’s parents sum up most parents; you want to be mad, but you can’t help but to laugh the moment you get a moment to yourself. All in all, we want to raise children to be productive members in society. It’s our responsibility to give them the tools they need to figure out this thing called life and it’s not an easy thing to do, but I’m sure it’s rewarding. Teach those little babes well.

-LP

If you’d like to read more Calvin and Hobbes while supporting this baby blogger, click the link below!

P.S. Lazy Sunday wisdom is so lazy it comes to you on Mondays.

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I Crave the Breeze

I’ve noticed as we grow, we try to tame the wild parts of ourselves.

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I realized this fact, yet again, as I was looking at myself in the mirror this morning, running my fingers through the halo of messy brown hair framing my bare face. At 15, I let the curls do their thing, but now I wake up early to smooth them into a more respectable form; I spend 10 minutes applying makeup to this face in order to “accentuate my features.” I spend a majority of my morning trying to transform into a version of myself that I’ve somehow grown into.

Why is it that as we age we feel the need to be tame? Is that just me? Surely, I cannot be the only one who feels like I’ve let go the colorful and crazy pieces of themselves. I was so eager to grow up; I wanted to have the freedom that came along with adulthood, but I didn’t realize how much would change and how quickly. I can’t stay up on the phone until 6 am and roll out of bed at 7 for work without looking and feeling like a zombie. It’s no longer “appropriate” to wear bright blue nail polish and 5 friendship bracelets on one wrist. I can’t even remember the last time I spent an entire day dancing around and eating chips by the handful without a care in the world. When did I last run for fun and not exercise? When’s the last time I spent the entire day in bed with a book and didn’t feel guilty about it? I still remember illegally piercing my cartilage at 15 and hiding it from my mother; over a year ago, I removed that little token of defiance. I think it’s time to put it back in.

But, now I actually separate my wash into lights and darks. I know how to properly iron a pair of trousers and tie the perfect Windsor knot (thanks dad!). I have to file taxes and pay bills. I realize how expensive gas is and why people complain about utilities; I can hold my own in debates about politics, religion, and culture, but truth is, I still know more about Harry Potter than I’d like to admit. I still toy with the idea of painting my toenails blue and when I’m feeling extra saucy I wear an anklet in the summer. Crazy, I know. I just wish I had realized how quickly life goes by; my dad always said that once you leave high school, time flies by. I always laughed at the thought, but as I walked across the stage at my high school commencements, I realized that I was closing another chapter and moving to the next.

On thanksgiving morning, I looked at myself in the mirror before walking out the door. I turned my head from left to right, pushed a strand of perfectly straightened, short, brown hair behind my ear, and looked into my spectacle framed eyes. I sighed when I realized that I’m no longer seventeen. Now let me explain; I don’t feel old, but I just caught a glimpse at myself and I look so different. I have faint wrinkles around my eyes when I smile and I wear diamond studs, glasses, and I do my hair and makeup each day. I don’t recognize myself. When I think about what I look like, I still imagine myself at seventeen. I still imagine the long wavy brown hair and the young, innocent chocolate eyes I once had. I don’t know when life morphed into this entirely new chapter, but the page turned so quickly, I must not have had the chance to notice this time.

-LP

Welcome Home

I dream of the simple life.

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When you ask someone about their dream home, generally they’ll tell you how many bedrooms and bathrooms they want. They’ll tell you how they want their bathroom to be dripping with marble; they want walk in closets and cathedral ceilings. Now this isn’t true of everyone, but so many focus on the structure of the home instead of what you feel upon entering. Ask my mother, she could go on for hours about the number of bedrooms and every little design aspect.

Don’t get me wrong, I have some aesthetics in mind; I want a fireplace to curl up in front of in the living room and a window over the kitchen sink to peek out of while the children play outside. I have plenty of little desires when it comes to our home. I’ve always dreamed of a lush peony bush on the side of our cozy home and a front porch to sit on after the sun has gone down. I’ve got those plans, you know, the ones that you’ve secretly been storing away for “someday.” Plans that make your heart smile and you hope are more than wishes; maybe, just maybe, they are premonitions. At least I hope so.

It’s essential to create a home and not simply live in a house. Create a safe haven. Make your home somewhere you want to spend your days in. If you love paintings, hang them. If you can’t spend a single day without listening to music, play it loudly and dance around to it. Do what makes you happy and make your house into a home for yourself. Believe me, we will have Motown playing on Sundays; we’ll have pictures on the wall and fluffy rugs on the floor. You’ll be able to look around and see that the place you just entered is more than someone’s house; it’s a home.

I want that little home; I want it to be filled with love and happiness. I want to decorate the walls with pictures of the happy family that resides within and cover the fridge with drawings that flowed from precious little hands and notes from the one I love. There will undeniably be stacks of books on the coffee table and piles of blankets in little wooden baskets by the sofa we snuggle on. I long to have the kind of home that shows a family lives there. I wish for it to be filled with smiles that broke into laughter, hugs, and bedtime stories. I want soft moments to be a daily experience and for disagreements to be things that bring us together instead of tear us apart. Sure, maybe it’s childish to have these dreams, but I promise you, I’m not walking through life with my eyes closed.

I know life will be hard and days won’t always be as sunny and cheerful as I’d like. I can accept that, but I’ve always had a bit of a childlike side to myself, so I’m going to walk into the future with these dreams and pray they become reality. I’ll get that peony bush one day, I swear.

-LP

An Open Letter to My Future Self:

Hey there stranger,

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I’m writing you because I want you to remember that, once upon a time, you felt confused. I want you to look around your life right now and realize how truly blessed you are. Look in the eyes of those you love today and understand what it took for you to get to this moment. I want you to take in every single second of today and be thankful for it. Remember that not so long ago, you were this 23 year-old girl who diligently grasped at your dreams and decided to be fearless. This girl, the one that you see when you look in old photographs; she is the reason you are surrounded by love and joy.

I want you to remember every scary moment you’ve faced, even the ones that I don’t realize I’m talking about yet. Wrap your arms around yourself and give yourself a hug; believe me, we both need it. You need to thank the girl that got you to where you are and I need that damn hug. I need to be told that even when frightening situations come my way, we’ll make it through. I need to know that all of these major life decisions that I’m making are not in vain. I know that you already know that; you may have known for quite some time, but on this side of time, I still feel a bit overwhelmed.

If you’re not writing or living life like you want to be, I’m sorry. I did the best I could, sometimes that wasn’t much. Realize that we’ve failed in certain respects, but excelled in others. Are you happy? Does he still have that cute nickname for you? When’s the last time you were kissed? Are you a wife or a mother? Do you own 50 cats? Are you still spunky and outgoing or have you traded in the attitude for something a bit more calm? Can you look back on the time between now and then and smile at the memories? I hope you can. I’m on my knees praying that I’ve given you the best life I can. Please know that. Know that I’m working hard and I won’t give up.  We deserve a life filled with joy and peace; I’ll work diligently until my future /your present is something we can be proud of.

I look forward to meeting you when you pass by a mirror today; the reflection may have changed, but know that I’m still there. This girl who is all elbows and worried thoughts was once the entirety of who you were. Put on some mismatched, colorful socks today and smile at your aged reflection; pretend that it’s me smiling at you from where I am, because it is.

Sincerely,

-LP

Lazy Sunday Wisdom with Calvin and Hobbes

You’re in luck, there’s a double dose of Calvin and Hobbes this week.

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Calvin and Hobbes really like to get into the nitty-gritty of life while keeping that childlike charm alive; it’s quite admirable. I love how Calvin’s dad is honest with his son; sure he might be stalling, but we all do. Life isn’t as black and white as it may sometimes seem. We might as well be honest about it, It’s easy to have an opinion when you don’t have to support it. But when you’re required to own up to your beliefs, the situation can get a bit sticky and oftentimes we try to keep the peace by avoiding that which makes us uncomfortable.  It’s human nature to want to stay in our little comfort zone; Calvin’s dad is merely showcasing what we are prone to doing.

As much as we try to wriggle our way out of situations that make us uncomfortable when it comes to expressing our opinions, we are allowed to have them. Opinions are not right or wrong, they just are; you might not have the most popular view, but you’re still allowed to have it. As Anne Frank put it, “People can tell you to keep your mouth shut, but that doesn’t stop you from having your own opinion.” It’s a valid statement; while I might not agree with you, that doesn’t mean you’re not entitled to that opinion, just like I’m entitled to mine regardless of whether or not we choose to vocalize it.


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I love this second strip. It shows how we feel dependent upon things to make our lives interesting, but in reality we have exactly what we need inside of ourselves. During the black out of 2003; we were completely out of power for a few days and at 10 years old, once my Game boy died, I was bored out of my mind.

I remember sitting in my living room with my parents and younger brother, candles surrounding us and asking my parents what they used to do back in the day for fun. It wasn’t until we just walked outside and found random things to do, that I realized that not having power wasn’t really that big of a deal. We ended up taking all of our freshly bought groceries over to a friend’s house with about 5 other families and cooked all the food we had. There were more than 20 of us, hanging out around the bonfire, enjoying a potluck, and running around through the woods. It truly showed me that I don’t need a certain toy or even electricity to have fun. Our imagination was enough.

Calvin thinks that he needs his wagon to make noise in order for it to be fun, but in the end he realizes that he and Hobbes can make all the racket needed to enjoy it. The excitement comes from within, even though oftentimes we don’t realize it.

-LP

P.S. If you’re interested in enjoying some more Calvin and Hobbes, click the link below.

Those Sunny Sunday Mornings

You don’t really realize how important music is to you until you stop listening to it.

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I went on a very long hiatus from listening to music and now that those tunes are back in my ears, I just can’t get enough. I didn’t realize how much I missed listening to artists from Tracy Chapman to Tina Turner, or The Moody Blues to The Temptations, or The Who (I’m pretending that I didn’t go through an embarrassingly long emo boy band phase, I’ve gotta keep that rep up, right?)

I have to say, my musical interests are extremely diverse. Some days, I want nothing more than to kick it old school with Motown; other days, like today, I jam out to 80’s music. After spending several years not really listening to much, I feel like I’ve been starving myself and now I’m just binging on everything. It feels amazing.

Growing up, music was essential. I have so many childhood memories of waking up on a Sunday morning with my dad playing some record on the record player. I would jump out of bed and run down the stairs to find him sitting on the sofa tapping his foot while he read the newspaper. He would give me a kiss on the cheek as I hopped into his lap and he would read the Sunday’s comics to me. Eventually I just couldn’t sit still anymore and I’d have to get up and dance around our living room to whatever was playing that day. I swear, those Sundays always seemed to be a bit sunnier, a bit happier; more full of life and laughter. Those Sundays were my favorite.

I grew up singing Big Girls Don’t Cry by Frankie Vallie & the Four Seasons in the car on trips to the store, or grabbing a handful of CD’s (he never cared which) and running out to the car before we left for vacation. We’d play in the backyard with a CD player playing anything from Motown to Classic Rock. Dad taught me about Bob Dylan and showed me that even if your voice doesn’t fit the societal norm of “perfection” that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t sing.

He made music a part of who I am. I’m not musically inclined; I can barely read sheet music, but I can appreciate some good lyrics and a wonderful tune. I can’t believe that I allowed myself to lose such a huge part of myself, but at least I found it again. At least I’m dancing around now to songs that remind me of back then, to songs that make me think of today, and songs that make me dream of the future.

I can’t help but sit here imagining myself boppin’ down the street with a boom box on my shoulder, crankin’ tunes, and singing along. A girl can dream… I’m pretty sure that those I live with would rather I not be listening to music because my singing is less than magical. Sorry guys! Girls just wanna have fun, am I right?

-LP

Lazy Sunday Wisdom with Calvin and Hobbes

I’d like to start out by saying that you can expect to see some Calvin and Hobbes Wisdom each Sunday, so keep your eyes peeled!

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Let’s be realistic here; who likes to leave their comfort zone? If you raised your hand, put that bad boy back down because you’re lying;  if you’re not lying please come find me and teach me your ways. Seriously though, how much do you charge?

It’s so much easier to just be comfortable and never put yourself out there, but it is so damn important that we don’t fall into that trap. However, I will say that I’ve been there, done that, and I’ll probably do it all over again (and probably once more, if we’re being honest). That being said, it’s truly no way to live life. So let’s make a pact to set down that tablet, cell phone, or put away that computer, get off of our butts and go explore the world around us.

All too often we are so wrapped up in our technology or other crap that just truly does not matter. We would rather live life vicariously through others than actually live it ourselves. We can’t accept that any longer. I know how hard it is to put yourself out there, especially if you suffer from anxiety or anything of the sort.

But just do it.

Seriously. Just do it. It’s scary, it’s hard, there’s no denying that, so I won’t even try to. But just realize that you can’t live your life hidden in the corner of your apartment. Stop standing by the walls at the party. Don’t sit in the back of the classroom. Go socialize! Go explore! Sit in the front, dammit! Try it. It’s going to seem uncomfortable and weird at first, but once you do it a few times it will  get easier. I promise. It won’t always be scary.

I totally understand that sometimes you just need someone to be the catalyst and get the ball rolling, so grab a friend and hit the streets. The world is your damn oyster (is that cheesy? Yeah, but who doesn’t like some cheese? Sprinkle that shit on everything.).  If someone is pulling your hand and trying to get you to go explore with them, grab a hold and take that first step! Calvin needed his dad to push Hobbes and himself out the door; his father even told him that he would enjoy it, and he was right!

See? As much as we hate to admit it, other people can be right! Especially our parents. Our parents are generally right, if we’re going to be honest. Which we are, because why stop now?

They might share their wisdom in an off-putting way, and because we are obviously so much cooler and hip we choose to ignore it, but give what they have to say a quick listen.

Try to understand the jist of what they’re saying and then apply it to your life in a way that makes sense to you. They truly have your best interest at heart even when it’s hard to see it. I must admit, I used to be pretty damn guilty of pretending that my parents were never right; that they could never have possibly gone through this situation or even have a frame of reference. I think that’s just how it is when you’re a child, regardless of your age.

I’d like to think that I’ve outgrown that phase, to an extent. I’ll admit that I still disagree with my parents, sometimes just because I must know better, right? I mean I am 23 and I’ve basically seen it all (note the sarcastic tone). Let’s be real though, when it comes down to it, our parents are wiser as much as we hate to acknowledge it.  Hopefully one day when I’m old and gray, explaining why my child’s actions are wrong or just plain stupid, they’ll hop onto this little diddy and realize that I too, felt just like them.

Maybe one day.

-LP

P.S. If you’re interested in seeing which book this strip came from, and helping out a starving blogger, follow the link below!