Beautiful Blogging: Rob Lowe & Laura Munson

With Mother's Day soon upon us I am, for a million reasons, thinking to the future. I blame the trailer for BOYHOOD and my soon-to-be-married brother, and the changes afoot at our Circle K for all of these ghosts of Christmas future... the pawing through of old drawers full of pictures that date back to Archer's infancy, when I was still taking photographs with actual film.

And then yesterday I happened upon the following essays, one right after the other, and for that reason, felt it was important to share both as companions, because, well, you'll see why...

From College Decision Day by: Laura Munson:


It's funny because I didn't even go to college. I didn't have that moment with my parents in the dorms, the one depicted in so many movies and stories, essays like the ones excerpted above/below, and yet, I feel so completely drawn to this moment... so moved by the before and the after... perplexed by the unknown that is the during.

I will never forget that moment when my mother finally left me in my first apartment all alone and how I was like, "enough already, dude. I'm fine. I got this!"

I was eighteen and had just deferred my admission to Loyola Marymount. I panicked at orientation and days later broke the news to my parents that I wasn't going to go to college. Everyone said I was crazy. My parents were heartbroken and frustrated and... completely supportive. I had a job lined up editing the newest Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul Book and was going to do things differently, dammit!

My parents drove me up to LA, moved me in and drove home separately. My mom stayed with me late, got me all tucked into my bed before she left.

"Are you sure you don't want me to stay?" she asked.

"MOM! I'm fine! GO! I got this! I'M AN ADULT! I DON'T NEED YOU ANYMORE!"

And then, moments after she agreed to leave and finally left, I lost my shit.

I cried that entire night.

First, because I was on my own.

And then, because I wasn't on my own.

It dawned on me that if I were to pick up the phone and call her on her enormous brick-sized Nokia cell-phone she would pick it up. That if I needed her to snuggle with me in my giant adult bed, she would get back in her Previa and drive the two hours to LA just to do so.

I wasn't on my own.

I haven't gone a day without speaking to my mother since I moved out of my parents' house. She reads every post I publish on this website before anyone else does (I send her absolutely EVERYTHING) and for that reason it has never really mattered what anyone else thought of me or what I say here. The person who knows me better than anyone is behind me. She's here with me now as I type this sentence. And this one. And this.

I'm not on my own.

I never was.

I never will be.

Which is incredible to recognize. Which tells me everything I need to know about being a parent, myself.

I am always here. Even when I'm not. 


The official college decision day was yesterday. We sent in the deposit. Filled out the last forms. Applied for a few more scholarships. She wore the school T-shirt to school, along with her other friends who wore their college of choice T-shirts. It was a day of celebration. For her. I made her favorite comfort food: Greek lemon chicken soup. I think tears actually landed in the broth as I stirred. I served it to her in bed because she had homework to do and sprained her ankle running track, and just needed to be in bed. I don't blame her. It's the end of a long academic, extra-curricular, SAT, form-filling haul. She deserves her favorite soup in her very own bed. Next year, if she's having a day like today, she'll be in a bunk in a dorm room, with ramen and a microwave. Hopefully she'll call her mother...
Letting go is the end result of ALL of this. I think of that every day when I spar with my kids. I have to remind myself over and over that they are not MINE they are THEMSELVES. That just because I gave them life does NOT mean I own them, or have any right to control who they are...

I feel we do our children such a disservice by treating them like "children."

They are human beings with complex ideas and worthy emotions and justified rebellions and they ought to be seated at the adults table for OUR sake, if not theirs.

My parents taught me that.

By listening. By never dismissing me or my feelings, no matter how dramatic and seemingly insane. By treating me like the adult I assumed I was until I realized I was not. I post my old diary entries on Instagram every week as these rather mortifying "notes to self" -- reminders that I never really grew up. That THAT GIRL is still me and that as a mother, I am also still a child. I think it's important for children to see their parents that way. Flawed and often apologetic. Imperfect with stories that extend long before they were born and into a sort of dark territory of cautionary tales.

I don't want to forget that girl.

And I want my kids to know she existed.

(And that she's still kind of here.)

Before you were born, I was this. Now that you are here, I am still this, I just... handle that a little differently. 

My brother is getting married in two weeks. It is the first wedding my mother will attend of any of her children. I didn't go to college and I didn't have a wedding so the ceremonial aspect of our separation never came to pass. One day I was living on my own and working in an office. One day I was married. There were no ceremonies. No dancing. No tassels. It occurs to me, now, as I'm typing this that, in a way, I robbed my parents of those moments... of the ceremonial aspect of my departure into adulthood. They never got a proper chance to mourn my childhood. (So in a way, I never had to grow up.)


Now, standing among the accumulation of the life of a little boy he no longer is, I look at my own young doppelgänger and realize: it’s me who has become a boy again. All my heavy-chested sadness, loss and longing to hold on to things as they used to be are back, sweeping over me as they did when I was a child.


My little brother, on the other hand, with his two graduations and his wedding and my flower girl daughters and seersucker son, is different. And through him, I live vicariously. I did last summer when he graduated and I will again, when he walks down his makeshift Vermont aisle.

Meanwhile, my mother is experiencing all of these things for the first time, even though it's happened before. Her son is getting married and I keep thinking about my kids and how fast and slow and amazing and heartbreaking all of this is... this holding on and letting go... through the phases and years and ceremonies...



I am not a heli-copter mother. I didn't push her through her childhood (except to take piano lessons, I confess. But I let her finally quit when she got to high school. Now she wishes I had pushed her to keep go figure!) Instead, I took her pulse. I was the wind at her back when she needed it and sometimes without her knowing. But it was always her life to live, not mine. The first thing I said to her when we were alone in the hospital room on the day of her birth, her whole body fitting between my fingertips and the crux of my elbow was, "You can be anything you want to be." Daffodils and all. Time to fly, my dear daughter.


I'm already sobbing and the wedding is weeks away. I can't help it, I'm a sister. And a mother. And a wife. And a daughter. And all of those perspectives converge during times like these.

My little brother is growing up/pass the tissues.
My son may get married some day/pass the tissues.
Marriage is so hard and rewarding/pass the tissues.
My mother is sobbing into her tissues/pass the tissues. 
Life is hard on everyone/pass the tissues.
Life is a masterpiece of beauty and growth/oh, fuck. we're out of tissues...

Thank you for your words, Laura Munson...

Thank you for sharing your story, Rob Lowe.

(And thank you, Mom and Dad.)

Love and light to all...