Monday, December 03, 2018

Dragging out my muse and shameless bragging

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My creativity had flatlined, and I was struggling with a case of writer’s block. My muse only comes out when I’m angry or depressed. This past weekend, someone brought her out and gave me an idea for a new plot.

Let me say this. I’m normally a fairly nice person. I’m no angel and I certainly like to complain, but I’m generally a fairly nice person—until I am provoked. I have enough leftover issues that I don’t often stand up for myself, but I am quick to stand up for my children and often go overboard when I do. I don’t apologize for that, and I never will. I have been wronged enough in my life that I will never sit back and watch as someone attacks my children. I won't allow them to be treated poorly. I don’t feel bad about it. I won’t feel bad about it.

Having said that, I do hate that people had an opportunity to see that side of me. When I am defending someone, I tend to get ugly as it escalates. While I don’t apologize for the depths I am willing to stoop to rush to their defense, I know there are people who will use it as an opportunity to point a finger and say that I am indeed an awful person. That’s okay. I’m willing to be an awful person to protect my children or grandchildren. I’d gladly don horns and tote a pitchfork to defend them and would never once regret it. That’s how it is, and I will not apologize for that.

Also, I’m going to do something I don’t often do. I’m going to stick up for myself for a moment.

Do I think I’m somebody?

Yes. Yes, I do. I think I’m somebody because I am. I’m going to take a moment to be vain and shamelessly brag here. Take a moment and Google this: author Amy Pilkington. Go ahead. I’ll wait.


Yes. That’s me. Think it’s a fluke? Take a moment to go to Bing and search this: Amy Pilkington. Yep. Me again.

When you ask who I am and say I act like I’m somebody…well, I am somebody. I worked hard to be somebody. I put my talent to work and became somebody. Let me tell you exactly who this somebody is.

I have over two dozen books published and more on the way. They’re available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon,, on iTunes and Google Play, and several other places. One series spent time on Amazon bestseller lists in five countries on four continents. I’ve received a royalties check every single month since 2012—right after my first book was published.

I’ve had pieces published by Health magazine, Huffington Post, USA Today, San Francisco Gate, and Grown & Flown, just to name a few. I occasionally take on private clients for various projects, and when I do I don’t work for less than $75 an hour. Why? Because I don’t have to. My reputation means I don’t have to. I have a reputation because I am somebody.

Am I someone important?

Don’t ask me. Ask Google. Ask Bing. Ask any of my clients. See what they say.

Okay. I’m done bragging. I've made my point. Now I’ll share the basic idea of the plot my muse generated.

How many carats does it take for a coked out drug trafficker to buy a gold digger? Drawn in by a love of material possessions, she was willing to overlook his criminal activities for a taste of a lavish lifestyle. As long as he kept spending money, she ignored his bad behavior. All the while, he was devising a plan to kidnap and torture her. She was his, he thought. She belonged to him. He had bought and paid for her. Would she pay this debt with her life?

I think the idea has potential. It just might be one of my future novels.

Anyway, I’m on top of the world.

One last thing...

If you're looking for a new book to read, browse through the books listed when you Google author Amy Pilkington. 

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Civil behavior is key to adulthood

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Adult relationships are complicated, aren’t they? We are the problem. We are making them complicated. Let me explain.

People disagree. People argue. People can be angry at one another. People can hurt others—quite deeply. And people can still be civil even after all these things have occurred. It’s a choice.

Civil, you say? After this person did *insert whatever crime they committed against you*? Yes. And if it is egregious enough that you can’t or shouldn’t be cordial, you can simply ignore the other person when required. You can walk away. It’s a choice.

“Hello. How are you? I’m good, too.”

It’s that easy to be civil. And it’s a choice.

The problem becomes a matter of pride, and it is nothing to be proud of.

“I keep it real. I keep it 100.”

Being civil has nothing to do with ‘keeping it real.’ Is there any need to engage in a screaming match every single time you encounter a person who has wronged you? You’re going to be screaming nonstop for the rest of your life, and that’s me ‘keeping it real.’ That’s the reality of it. Mind you, I’m not saying you shouldn’t stick up for yourself or you shouldn’t confront someone who has wronged you. You absolutely should stand up for yourself. I’m learning how to do that this many years into the game. I have never had a problem standing up for others, but I have always had a problem standing up for myself. What I’m saying is there is no need to confront the same person every time you see them again until one of you dies. You’re not accomplishing anything, no matter how ‘100’ you think it is. It’s a choice. Keeping it real doesn’t mean what you think it means. It means being honest. It means you stand for something. It means you stick to your convictions without wavering. It doesn’t mean walking around screaming at everyone around you until you fall over dead. It means knowing when to walk away and when to stand your ground.


In the past couple of years, I had several people block me on social media outlets. I was grateful. These people screamed this phrase to no end, but they had no idea what it means. When I confronted them with an issue, they called me ‘two-faced.’ Two-faced isn’t being confronted by a person. Two-faced is when a friend purposely does something behind your back to hurt you. Don’t mistake being civil for pretending to be a friend. Don’t mistake being polite for being a friend. They are not one and the same. Having polite conversation in passing is being civil. A polite wave or nod is being civil. Being a friend to someone is so much more than that. So much more. You can have an outright screaming match with a person and still be civil the next time you see them. That’s not being two-faced. That’s not pretending to be a friend. It’s being civil. If you believe a person is truly your friend, and they stab you in the back, behind your back—that’s two-faced. If you know a person doesn’t like you or you know they have a grievance with you but they still offer polite conversation or a quick nod when they pass you, that’s being civil. That’s what adults strive for—civility. You must do it at your job. You must do it in certain social situations. You’re going to find that most of your daily activities require you to be civil. If you can’t be civil or the offense was particularly heinous, simply walk away.


This is similar to the two-faced explanation in that being civil isn’t being wishy-washy. It’s simply being civil. Or it could be the beginning of forgiveness or an attempt to reconcile differences. It’s what happens in adult relationships, or else no friendship would ever last. No relationship of any sort would ever last, because conversation must start somewhere in order to fix problems. All relationships have problems. If you believe someone extending an olive branch is being wishy-washy, you’re going to find that your relationships don’t last long-term. This does not mean you need to keep giving abusive people chances, no matter how many times they try to mend fences. That’s an entirely different conversation, but forgiving an abusive person should not mean giving them another chance to abuse you. Still, being civil to someone you don’t like or who has wronged you, whether you have forgiven them or not, is not being wishy-washy. It’s being an adult.   

Let’s talk about forgiveness for a moment.

It is indeed possible to forgive someone for things they have done to you—no matter how egregious. Forgiveness doesn’t necessarily mean a person wants to mend a relationship. Sometimes it does. Sometimes it doesn’t. It is entirely possible for someone to do the absolute worst things to you and still forgive them for it. Whether a person decides to attempt to remain friends after forgiving them varies, as it should. It has no bearing on whether or not you were hurt before, and forgiveness does not negate what a person has done to you or suggest the offense wasn’t that serious. Forgiveness is an acknowledgment of the things they have done and a willingness to make peace with it. It does not mean forgetting. It does not necessarily mean rebuilding a friendship and allowing a person to hurt you again. It also doesn’t necessarily rule out the possibility of some degree of friendship. Again, don’t mistake friendship and civility. They are not one and the same. A person can be civil whether or not they have chosen to forgive the other person. A person can also be willing to forgive someone and attempt to mend the friendship on some level. This has nothing to do with “keeping it real.” It has nothing to do with being two-faced, and it certainly isn’t being wishy-washy. It’s being an adult and understanding adult relationships, friendships, and civility.

Throughout my life, I have forgiven people for things that did not deserve to be forgiven. I’ve given people many more chances than they should have received, and I have learned from it. Here is what I’ve learned:

It doesn’t make you a bad person for refusing to forgive someone who has hurt you many times over or hurt you very deeply, no matter how many times they apologize. Some apologies aren’t really apologies. Some apologies are actually a trap. It’s okay to refuse to forgive someone, and it is possible to be civil—even if civility is simply ignoring the person in social situations. I’ve learned to walk away from repeated apologists who refuse to change their bad behavior and people who refuse to apologize.

It doesn’t make you a pushover or stupid to forgive people who hurt you. This was a tough one for me to figure out, because I have forgiven people who offered empty apologies. That doesn’t reflect on you. It reflects on them.

It’s okay to be open to a discussion to resolve issues with people who hurt you—or not. It is important to know when it’s time to realize a person isn’t going to change and walk away. It’s also important to stop forgiving abuse. I’m open to discussing issues with someone willing to listen to how their behavior has hurt me, accept that they have hurt me, and apologize for it. I am not entertaining people who say, “Let’s just forget about it and move on.” Apologies and a frank discussion of how certain things aren’t acceptable is required. I am not willing to forgive repeated abuse, and I am not willing to forgive people who don’t acknowledge abusive behavior. I’m learning I deserve to be treated fairly. If you’ve read my latest release, The Lesser of Two Evils, you are familiar with the character Peter. I am not willing to forgive someone like Peter, and civility would be avoidance.

I can be civil to everyone, even when it means simply ignoring someone. I am also willing to call out someone for hurting others, and I am learning to call out others for hurting me rather than taking it on the chin. This is a tough one for me, but I’m learning it’s okay to stand up for myself. I’m learning that I don’t deserve to be treated poorly. I’m learning, but at the same time I recognize that civility after confrontation is important—up until the point where it becomes a safety issue. That’s where I must draw the line and stick to it.

Adult relationships aren’t as complicated as we make them. Yes, things aren’t always black and white and there is a huge gray area in many things. It’s still not complicated. Confront those who hurt you. Be open to discussion and an apology. Be open to apologizing when you’re wrong. Learn to forgive when it’s appropriate, and learn to walk away when it is not. Decide what behavior is not acceptable to you, and stick to it. Don’t allow people to cross that line after you’ve decided. Be civil after you’ve confronted someone, even if the only way you can be civil is to walk away.

That’s it. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Something to cry about

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My daughter’s wedding was beautiful. Her dress, hair, and makeup were flawless, and she truly did look like a princess straight out of a fairy tale. I fought back my tears well into the night. If I cried, she would have cried. I wanted her photos to be perfect.

The photographers did an excellent job capturing the day’s events. Hair and makeup, revealing her dress, walking to the altar, saying “I do,” the first dance, and more—they turned all these moments into beautiful memories. Her daddy’s friend brought one of his gorgeous classic cars for photos, and she now has a stunning reminder of how lovely she truly was on her wedding day.  

Photo: David and Sarah's Photography

There are so many breathtaking photos, but one picture is something to cry about.

The bride and groom both wanted to honor people in their lives who had passed away before their big day. There was a row of empty seats dedicated to these loved ones, and photos of some of their grandparents were displayed on a nearby table. It was important to them to have the people they loved attending their wedding, even if only in spirit. There was one important person still living that wouldn’t be able to attend.

My daughter’s grandfather has suffered multiple strokes and has a number of other health concerns, including mobility issues. When she was told he couldn’t come to her wedding, she understood. She really wanted him to be there, but she knew how difficult it was for him to leave the house.

When he arrived at the wedding, my husband rushed to me and whispered, “He’s here.” He promptly excused himself to regain his composure. He didn’t want to make our daughter cry right before the ceremony. He made it. No matter how difficult it was for him, her grandfather made it to her wedding. It was the best present she could have received on her wedding day.

There are many memories of that day that bring a smile to her face, but there was indeed something to cry about.

Photo: David and Sarah's Photography

This. This photo is something to cry about.

No matter how hard it was for him, he was there to watch her walk down the aisle. No matter how difficult it was, he managed to show up at her wedding and witness a princess marry her prince. No matter how painful it was, he was there…because he loves her. To her, it will always be something to cry about. 

Sunday, February 25, 2018

The Lesser of Two Evils: Is it, or Isn't it?

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I’ve been hyping a book I intend to release this year. That’s what an author does - they talk about their next release long before it is actually released to begin marketing. Marketing is a big part of my job as an author. That’s how one of my series ended up going to the bestsellers list in five countries.

It seems some feathers are ruffled by my marketing and people would like to attempt to discredit me before its release. Even though the subject matter of “The Lesser of Two Evils” has been restricted to mentioning that it’s about real life monsters, there seems to be some concern about its content. While I am not going to release any information about the book’s content today, I will feed your curiosity.

I have bipolar disorder. I was diagnosed more than a decade ago. Most people know this already. I ran a blog discussing life with bipolar disorder, and it was recognized by Health magazine as one of the best six mental health blogs on the web. I was published in Health magazine when they asked me to write an article about coping with holiday stress. I was also published in Voices of Bipolar Disorder by LaChance Publishing (Under Table of Contents, Pushing Forward by Amy Pilkington). I served as a peer counselor for several years. It was never a secret. Why should anyone be ashamed of mental illness? 

Bipolar Disorder is a mood disorder. It makes me depressed or manic. It doesn’t affect the work I do. Anyone with any knowledge of the disorder knows this already. My mental illness has been well-controlled for years and is closely monitored to keep it under control. None of this was secret. Most people already knew. To call me crazy is a stretch. Am I quick to react now? Yes. Try being silenced for most of your life and you will eventually speak out every chance you get.

***NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) is an excellent resource if you’re interested in learning more about bipolar disorder. The disorder is genetic and is passed down through the generations. If a family member has bipolar disorder, you may have this disorder. Treatment generally involves an initial assessment by a professional to obtain a diagnosis, followed by a prescribed regimen of medication and/or talk therapy. Maintenance generally involves routine assessments and continuing any medications deemed necessary to control the illness. If you have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, know there is hope and you can live a normal life with the right treatment.

If you want to know why I cheated on my first husband, why I turned to pot to cope during an almost unbearable time in my life, why I left over and over again, why a child was taken from me, and why I allowed the lies about me to snowball over the years - you’ll have to read the book.

If you want to know about the physical, sexual, and mental abuse I endured, you’ll have to read the book. If you want to know how it was hidden and how I was demonized to keep others from believing the truth, you’ll have to read the book. If you want to know exactly how a person can build a wall of lies to conceal horrors beyond what some could endure, you’ll have to read the book.

If you want to know the biggest secret someone worked especially hard to discredit and conceal, you’ll have to read the book.

“The Lesser of Two Evils” is about real life monsters. It is indeed horror based on a true story. Is it really about all of these things I just rattled off, or is it a book about two random evils in a great big world filled with evil? Is anything I've written here true? Do I know the difference between reality and fiction? Do you? 

Is it, or isn't it? 

Right now, people can be left to assume. I’m not telling. If you want to know what the book is really about, you’ll have to read it.


Marketing. Doing it right.

Follow my author page on Facebook for clues along the way. 

If you read this thinking I was going to answer all your questions about an upcoming book release... 

You'll have to buy the book. 

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Rest in Peace, 'Wes'

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I have suffered a great loss. I'm not sure how I'll get it over. Rest in peace, 'wes'. You will be greatly missed.

Pardon me while I grab a tissue. *sniff, sniff*

I remember the moment I learned about wes's passing. My sweet little Tater Tot was jabbering away when it just popped out.

"What did she just say?" I'm sure my face reflected the sheer terror I felt in that moment. No. No it couldn't be. It just couldn't be true. Alas, it was true. Wes was dead, and all I could do was look at her like she had said the most foul word you've ever imagined. Avery had uttered a 'yes' instead of the cute little 'wes' I loved so dearly.

'Wes' was the last cute little mispronunciation in her daily vocabulary. It was the last bit of baby talk. It was end of a special era, and someone is going to have to drag me out of it kicking and screaming. It isn't time for her to be a preschooler. She is still a toddler, I say. Still a toddler. All evidence points to the contrary. She is shooting up in height and has plenty of hair now. She can spell her name and bingo. She can say her ABCs. She knows so many things and is capable of doing so many things on  her own. She is a big girl. I know this. I really do. I'm just not ready.

I think back over all the cute phases, phrases, faces and such, and I feel sad. I was happy to have been such a big part of them all, but I am genuinely saddened by each small loss over the past three years. I should be used to this. My youngest child is very near adulthood. (*shudders*) I know there will be plenty of other great things over the years, but this was the cutest of the cute phases. Now, the last piece of it is gone.

Pardon me while I grab another tissue. *sniff, sniff* *blow*

Any minute now (hint, hint, baby) there will be a new addition to the family. Any minute now (seriously, baby) there will be a new baby to go through all the cute phases. I'm excited about that, but I am still grieving the loss of my beloved Tater Tot's 'wes' and all of her other cute things.

So long, little bear (Rawr!)

Adios, Beaker and the other Muppets.

Goodbye, sweet chubby cheeks reading Gran the book.

Ta-ta, cute baby piggy tails.

See you later, 'ta-da'.

And, finally, goodbye, 'wes'. I think I might miss you the most.

Pardon me. You know why. *sobs* *blows* *sniff,sniff*

For everyone mourning a similar loss, raise your glasses of milk for a toast. To all the cuteness we've lost, you will not be forgotten as long as there is a grandmother around to tell the tale.

Nursing a broken heart,

P.S. A memorial service may be held sometime in the near future. Or daily. Probably daily for a while.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Tater Tot goes to the beach!

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Sweet little Tater Tot went on her first vacation, and what a great vacation it was. We all left home around 2 p.m. Aunt Ry-dee rode with Tater to help keep her occupied during the long ride. They spent the majority of their time watching movies. We arrived in Daytona Beach at 4:30 a.m. After checking in at the hotel and opening up the doors between our adjoining rooms so Tater could roam back and forth, we headed down to the beach.

In the dark, the ocean sounds like a scary monster. The loud roar of the crashing waves frightened her, and she wanted no part of it. The sun started to make its way over the horizon, and she watched the sun rise over the Atlantic. The dolphins always appear at sunrise. She spotted a couple leaping out of the silvery water. Tater saw the birds skimming the water. She got her feet wet after she was able to see what was making all the noise. A crab came scurrying past her. It was time to grab breakfast, but she had to make a snowball out of sand before we left. In her first two hours at Daytona Beach, she watched the sun rise over the ocean, saw dolphins and a crab, watched birds skim the water for their breakfast, stuck her toes in the water, and played in the sand. How great is that?

Mama & Dada Tater and sweet Tater at sunrise

Our adopted son arrived, so we headed out for a bit. After grabbing a quick bite, we headed to Ponce Inlet to walk the boardwalk over the jetty. Uncle Cade grabbed a few seashells for her, and she saw a dead stingray down on the rocks. Surfers for Autism was holding an event, and she saw a surfer. She also saw someone parasailing in the distance. Tater waved at the people on the boats as they headed out of the inlet and out to sea. We hopped back in the cars and drove around through the park so she could see the lighthouse. It's the tallest one in Florida, but I don't think she was very impressed.

We headed back to the hotel to greet our extended family. Little Tater had not yet met her Uncle Cade, Uncle Lane, Aunt Savannah, and Miss Lori. She loved them all right away. They all headed down to the beach to play in the water while Gran (who had not slept in about 24 hours - #teamnosleep) grabbed a quick nap. Tater watched planes dragging banners across the sky and Uncle Lane surfing the waves on his boogie board. She had a great time. We were all sad to say goodbye to Lane, Savannah, and Lori at the end of the day. Her uncles, Caleb and Cade, decided to hit the mall, so the rest of us headed out to a thrift store and some souvenir shops. I scored an Aigner purse at the thrift store. How lucky is that? Two years in a row I have found Aigners at Daytona Beach. When the sun set, everyone but Gran and Pappy headed to the boardwalk to ride the rides and play games. They also caught the fireworks show over the ocean near the bandshell. (Every Saturday during the summer there are fireworks over the ocean and over the river.)

The entire group slept in on the second day. We were tired. We drove half the day and all night before spending a very busy day at the beach. Anyone who knows Florida knows it rains every day during rainy season. Most of the time it rains for (seriously) five minutes, and the heat and sun dry it up in no time. A rare cold front dipped down into central Florida, so the rain was going to stick around. Flash flooding was forecast. Not a problem. You head north or south to another beach. Since we have been both north and south, we already knew all the places to hit. A quick check of the radar showed the front staying over Daytona Beach and south of it, so we headed north up A1A. Yes! Tater got to ride up A1A (Beachfront Avenue!) 

She loved seeing the ocean alongside the road on the trip. We stopped at Marineland Beach in Flagler and rushed some family pics before the rain started. 

Tater at Marineland Beach

Mama & Dada and little Tater

Tater's family

The full bunch...with a distracted Tater and a wild-haired Gran

Once the rain started, we headed further north to Saint Augustine - the oldest city in the U.S. Mama Tater saw the pirate ship in the bay as we crossed the drawbridge over the Matanzas. One more trip over the Matanzas and we were headed to one of my favorite spots - Vilano Beach. Vilano Beach is situated on the inlet, so the waves get pretty big. Mama Tater was surprised by it. Vilano was always where we went to hunt seashells since the entire beach was covered in shells. Gran was saddened when she saw that Hurricane Matthew had destroyed its coastline and took much of it out to sea. There were still shells, and there were plenty of sea turtle nests along what was left of the beach. Tater managed to get a bag full of shells before we left.

Vilano Beach on our 2015 trip (Note the blue house in the far left corner)

The remaining Vilano Beach 2017 trip (And there is the blue house from the first pic)

Turtle nests on Vilano Beach

Uncle Caleb and Uncle Cade grabbed the skateboards out of the trunk and skated the strip like they normally do. We all met at the pier. 

Our normal pic at Vilano Pier, but Tater's first!

Mama Tater spotted a shell in the water, and she had Dada Tater climb under the pier to retrieve it. 

See? I wasn't kidding.

Tater saw the Saint Augustine Lighthouse across the bay and made friends with a cute pup on the pier.  

Saint Augustine lighthouse

Our quick lunch was gone, so it was time to head to one of our favorite restaurants - the 180 Vilano Grill. Tater tried calimari, and she likes it. (Gran never did care for it.)

Tater enjoyed 180 Vilano Grill.

I have to commend the staff at 180 Vilano Grill. When we first arrived, the lady gave Avery a plate of dough and told her to make five balls so she could bring her a surprise. They took the plate and brought out this after she was finished with her dinner. They took her dough balls and made donut holes, covered in powdered sugar and served with whipped cream and syrup. She was a happy Tater.

It was dark. There is an upside to being in Vilano after dark, and it is what makes it one of my favorite places. I always say it's like Route 66 meets beach town. The sidewalks are adorned with mosaic tile. The pier and the pavilion at the beach have turtle designs in mosaic tile. The buildings? They have their original neon, and it is absolutely gorgeous. I always hear the song "Life Is But a Dream" in my head, thanks to the movie Cars. Mama Tater said the same thing.

The rain had moved out by the time we made it back to Daytona Beach, so we all headed to the boardwalk. Mama Tater and Tater rode the kiddie rollercoaster. Pappy and Aunt Ry-dee rode the swinging pirate ship. Dada Tater, Uncle Cade, Uncle Caleb, and Pappy took turns throwing money away at a basketball game. Dada Tater ended up making a shot in the oval hoops and Tater nabbed a stuffed dog. Uncle Cade scored a red jalapeno pepper. We all worked on getting tickets to add to Tater's stash from the night before. She walked out of the arcade with a ton of items. Uncle Caleb and Uncle Cade stayed at the boardwalk while we headed back to the hotel. 

It rained between the hotel and boardwalk, but, as always in rainy season, it had stopped before we got to the hotel. We decided to take Avery out to hunt ghost crabs. She grabbed her bucket, and Pappy grabbed the flashlights. She was terrified when she first saw them scurrying toward her, but Pappy gave her a flashlight and she started hunting them down. She started telling everyone not to hurt the babies (the little ones). Tater would lean over the bucket and talk to them. They caught a bucket full. Two were pretty big and really angry. That didn't stop Dada Tater from picking some of them up with his bare hands. 

It was after 2 a.m. when we finally made it to bed. The next morning was tough for everyone - time to start making our way back home. Tater was very upset when Uncle Cade left to go home to Georgia. Mama and Dada Tater wanted to stop by the Daytona International Speedway before we left. She walked around with Uncle Caleb. She really needed uncle time after she said goodbye to Uncle Cade. She adores Uncle Caleb, so it cheered her up a bit. We pointed out the pace car, but she quickly informed us it was a police car because of its light bar. 

We hopped back in the cars and headed toward Jacksonville. There was no way we could go through there without going to Whataburger. Not one of us was ready to leave the beach, and we had talked about stopping somewhere in the gulf to play for an hour or two before we continued home. We were running late, and we wouldn't have time. Mama and Dada Tater decided to head to Jax Beach and play. They took Aunt Rylie with them, and they found a nice hotel on the beach and spent the night. Pappy, Gran, and Uncle Caleb headed toward home and ended up sitting still in five lanes of traffic when we hit Atlanta. We rushed the rest of the way home so they could make it to work at 5 a.m.

This was their view from their balcony. Mama and Dada Tater, Rylie, and Avery had a great time in Jacksonville.

Little Tater Tot's first trip to the beach was great, and she had a really good time. She keeps asking when we're going to the beach, and she asks Mama Tater if Dada Tater is at the beach when he goes to work. She still misses her Uncle Cade. Gran, Pappy, Uncle Caleb, and Aunt Rylie may return during Christmas break, but Tater's brother or sister is due not long after Christmas and they won't be able to make the trip with us. Hopefully they'll be ready to travel next summer. 

Wrapping it up, Tater loves being a beach bum. Mama and Dada Tater are pretty fond of it, too. They're ready to make the move when we are. 

Best Wishes,

Friday, July 07, 2017

I get knocked down, but I get up again.

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What do you do when your adult child makes a mistake? You help them get back up, let them dust off, and hope you taught them well enough to learn from their mistake. As a parent of an adult child, that’s as far as your job goes. It’s no longer your job to fix things for them. It’s important for them to learn how to ‘adult’ on their own. Help them get up off the ground when they fall, but let them stand on their own. That’s how you encourage a child to become an independent adult.

This isn’t easy to do. Your instinct is quite the opposite after taking care of them their entire life. It’s not easy, but it’s important. I know it’s hard, but we’re not doing them any favors if we run to the rescue every time they stumble. Fixing their problems promotes dependence, and that’s not the goal of parenting. We want them to learn to be responsible adults capable of handling whatever curve ball life throws at them.

Making mistakes is part of the transition process. Show me someone whose kid didn’t make a mistake during the teen years, and I’ll show you a lying parent. It’s not about keeping them from making mistakes; it’s about teaching them to assess and adjust. It’s about teaching them to correct their own course to meet their goals. It’s about teaching them independent thinking and problem-solving. The only thing you can do is hope they can figure out what happened, why it happened, and how to fix it.

One of my adult children recently took a fall. Smacked the ground pretty hard, really. We helped that child back up and stepped back. As a mother, you worry that your kid is going to keep making the mistake. You worry they’re going to totally screw up their future. You worry they’re going to do something that will affect them for the rest of their life. You worry. It’s what mothers do. My kid made a mistake. I had my say, and I backed off completely. You know what happened? My kid stood tall like a boss.

As a parent, when your kid makes a mistake you take it personal. You feel responsible. You wonder if you failed. You wonder where you went wrong. I did. I just wanted to sit in a dark room and bawl my eyes out for days. If that is where you are right now, let me tell you this: It’s not about whether your kid makes a mistake, because your kid will. It’s about how they handle the mistake. That’s where you see what they are made of, and you’ll likely be surprised.

Yes, you’re going to worry. Yes, you’re going to have self-doubt. Yes, you’re going to wonder if your kid is ready to take on the world. Sit back and watch. I did, and I saw everything I needed to know as a parent. I did my job, and I did it well. My kid knew how to handle the situation. My kid knew what needed to be done. My kid made a mistake, owned it, and adjusted course to ensure future success. I didn’t have to lecture. I didn’t have to be the overbearing parent. I just let my kid handle it, and I saw the kid was now an adult. It happened in a single moment, just like that. It was bittersweet. I was proud (even after such a mistake), but I was also sad. The kid was gone. An adult stood before me.

♫I get knocked down, but I get up again. 
You are never gonna keep me down.♫

You see, being an adult doesn’t mean avoiding making mistakes. It means learning from mistakes. It means owning mistakes rather than passing the blame. It means fixing mistakes. My adult child took ownership of a serious mistake. My adult child learned from the mistake. My adult child really learned, and I don’t think I ever have to worry about a recurrence. That’s what adults do, and that is what my adult child did.

Is it odd to say you’re proud when your adult child makes a mistake? Maybe it is, but I am proud - proud of how well a mistake was handled, without me. I’m not proud of the mistake. I’m proud of how it was handled. Isn’t that the best you can hope for? We raise our children to become independent adults. I haven’t failed at that.

My children are not perfect. No child is. They are perfectly flawed individuals with their own personality quirks and thought processes. They stumble, and they hop right back up and try it again. Sometimes they fall, and they still stand up and keep going. It’s not about the fall; it’s about the climb. I think I have equipped them with the right climbing gear to make a good go of it in this world.

Best Wishes, 

P.S. Ladies, this does not apply to the adult child also known as ‘husband.’ Feel free to act like an overbearing parent of a tween when needed. ;-)