because life doesn’t fit in a file folder

Never Too Late To Make a Wish Come True

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A few weeks ago, I traveled to New York City and had the opportunity to catch up with an old college friend. We lose touch with each other from time to time, but she always makes it easy to reconnect. So I’m sitting in this little cafe sipping artisanal hot chocolate, when JD shows up carrying this bundle.

“Sorry I’m late,” she says setting the bundle on the chair. “You been here long?”

I reassure her that she’s not late. She isn’t looking at me. She’s unwrapping and unzipping. And she’s kind of doing this sing-songy thing that I’ve never heard her do before, but y’know, we haven’t seen each other in a while, so what do I know. But then the bundle turns out to have arms and legs and a precious face. And I learn that my friend has adopted this baby. At fifty years old, my friend is finally a mother.

JD lets me hold her daughter.

Y’all, it’s been forever since I’ve held a baby.

And she smells sooooo good.

And she falls asleep in my arms.

When my friend goes to the bathroom, I take several million photos of her daughter and I just know that eventually I will paint something to honor this amazing thing that my friend has done.

Inspired by the visit with my friend and her new daughter, I’ve been working on something since Thanksgiving and this morning I woke up early to finish it. and I wanted to share it with you. The writing in the background is an excerpt of a poem that I wrote while JD and I were students together in college. I think it was written in response to something I’d read by Lucille Clifton or bell hooks or some other feminist poet. It reads:


stand proud & tall

cover the lawn

when they come

stand tall.

dandelions be proud flowers

stubborn too


always grow back.

Some See Wish is a 24×36″ multimedia piece featuring acrylic paint, oil pastels, colored pencils, vintage papers, antique stamps, and a few strategically placed gemstones. If you’re interested in this piece andwould like to see it in greater detail (or if you’d like to see any of my work), you can find me on my website at RASJACOBSON  or shoot me a message. (Prints are just $10 + S&H.)

It’s never too late to make your dreams come true.

In 10 words or less, tell me what baby-step you’ve taken to keep moving in the direction of your dreams?

***Help me to continue my work as an independent artist by sharing this post!***


Letter to My 12th Grade Son, 3 Months Before He Graduates High School

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Dear TechSupport:

You used to shout at your friends before playing Capture The Flag.

“No burying the flag.”

“No jailbreaks.”

“My house. My rules.”

My son, you love rules.

But over the last few years, you’ve had to accept that man-made laws are not perfect.

Because people are imperfect.

Each night, you watch the news and shake your head.

Now you understand people create laws that can lead to atrocities of human suffering.

Know the question to ask yourself is always: “Would I want this to happen to me or someone I love?” Know also that the answer to this question connects you to the deepest place in your heart as well as all of humanity.

I remember you, slim and long, holding a saber in your hand. Moving with a sense of purpose, you lunged and parried and reposted. This sport – a maddening game of mental chess — requires patience, athleticism, chivalry and grace.

Know that you possess all of these qualities.

That you are able-bodied and strong.

Even if you never fence again.

Know the question to ask yourself is always: “How can I use my strength to help others?”

I’ve always known you’re wicked smart. I’m not bragging. I’m just quoting from the comments that your teachers have made over the years.

Student is a critical thinker.

Student asks important questions.

Student is a leader.

Though I’m forever encouraging you to go with your gut, you’re a scientist, analyzing situations from every viewpoint and trying to make the best, most rational decision you can.

Dude, I don’t understand how you got 100% on the Integrated Algebra Regents.

I mean, I know that you did it.

But you know how I feel about numbers.

To me, numbers are the enemy of words.

But you see magic in numbers.

You love the number 8 because it’s even.

Because it is divisible by 2 and 4, both of which are even numbers.

Because the number is made of two circles. And circles have no sides.

And infinite sides.

If you tip over the number 8, it becomes a pair of glasses.

And the symbol for infinity.

You love how infinity goes on forever.

Like Pi.

Believe me, I’m over the moon that you’ve made friends with numbers.

Please, just don’t become obsessed with 100.

Know that greatness is not about always having the right answer or pleasing others. That greatness is about asking important questions and doing what is right and good, even if you have to stand alone.

{That said, it’s okay to let other people hide the flag in a non-obvious location during Capture the Flag. Seriously, Bubba. It’s a game. Not the time to take a stand. Pick your battles.}

At the end of this academic year, you’ll be heading off to summer camp.

And then to college.

I’m already grieving losing you.

I’ve hardly had time to make sense of it.

I think it started the day I realized you are taller than I am.

Of course, I’m here for you.

But you’ve gotten quieter, less interested in sharing your words with me.

You hand me a Rubik’s cube and tell me to mess it up.

Your fingers touch mine for a nanosecond before you pull away.

I get it.

You’re expending your energy elsewhere these days.

These days you’re probably thinking about that girl and how she uses a green headband to keep her hair off her neck.

Stuff like that.

How did we get here?

Wasn’t I just cleaning up spilled Goldfish crackers and taking care of ouchies.

Explain to me how we got here, my number loving son.

And tell me that I did a good enough job.

That all the formulas worked.

You’ve been on this earth for 6430 days.

I’m paying close attention because I get it now.

This time won’t last forever.

I want you to know that you, my son, have been my greatest teacher.

But can I tell you just one thing?

People don’t ring the doorbell asking you to hang out because they want to see me. They don’t cheer your name when you walk into a room because they like the shirt you’re wearing. They do these things because you are that guy: the one who builds people up and makes them feel accepted and loved. You make weird card games fun.

You win with humility and lose with grace.

Except when it comes to Capture The Flag.

Dude, that game is your undoing. Cut people some slack. Seriously.

I know that’s more than one thing.

Do me a favor and cut me some slack, too.



My Mother Was Hot Stuff

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My mom & I circa 1970.

My mom was hot stuff when I was little.

She was pretty and had straight teeth.

She wore pink hoop earrings and wore floppy hats.

She did cartwheels with the girls who lived in the white house across the street.

My mother is in nearly all of my earliest childhood memories. She encouraged me to paint, explore calligraphy, and use pipe cleaners to make frogs and ladybugs. She loved when I sang and danced and rode horses and did backflips off the diving board. 

When I was sick, my mother brought the black-and-white television into my bedroom along with a little bell, which she told me to ring if I needed anything. On those miserable days, I watched My Three Sons and The Don Ho Show until my mother emerged with green medicine and Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup served on a swirly green and blue plastic tray.

One day, I didn’t want to be my mother’s twin anymore.

Pink and yellow were not my colors.

I remember shouting and slamming doors: the tears.

I saw my mother throw her hands up, exhausted, not knowing what else to do.

I felt powerful then. Driving her to pain and chaos was fun.

Now that I have a teenager in the house, I want to tell my mother, I’m sorry. Because I see how precious it is, that time when our children are young. And what a gift it is, to let a mother hold on to the little things for another day, another year.

Because it hurts when our children reject our cuddles.

Because it was cruel to play with her heart.

Even when I didn’t give her any credit, my mother has remained steadfast, guiding me with an invisible hand.

She still is.

I suspect she always will be.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.

Hey mom, you have two good hands. And from the looks of this photo, you knew how to style your own hair. Do you think you could have done something with mine? Seriously. Also, if you still have that hat, can I have borrow it? xoxoRASJ

Tell me something you remember about your mother.

tweet me @rasjacobson

Falling Down: a #LessonLearned by Katie Sluiter

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Today I have Katie Sluiter at my place, you guys! You have no idea how long I’ve been following, KT! I’ve been reading Sluiter Nation like… forever. And as soon as I learned what Twitter was I found Katie at @ksluiter. I fell in love with Katie because she was a teacher. And then I learned she struggled with postpartum depression, which I am pretty sure I had after Tech was born. I just didn’t ever get a formal diagnosis. Way back at the end of last year, Katie asked me to write something for her — which was super exciting, especially because Katie is a Big Blogger. (Even if she denies it.) Oh, if you prefer, you can follow her on Facebook.

Click on the teacher lady’s butt to read posts by other people who have written in this series.
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Falling Down
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As a little kid, my dad was the one who taught me how to do a lot of things: ride my bike, change a car tire, fish.

Katie learned a lot from falling down.

He also taught me to ice skate.

I remember being out on our frozen pond, bundled up in my winter coat and snow pants with my scarf covering my entire mouth so that when I talked…or breathed…it became moist and warm.

My dad had helped me lace up my mom’s old skates, took my mittened hand, and pulled me out to the open ice.

I don’t remember much of the logistics of the lesson, but I do remember falling down.

A lot.

Finally I got frustrated and whined that I was no good at skating and I didn’t want to do it anymore.

My dad pulled me up and said, “But every time you fall, you are learning. Just think of how much more you know now than you did when we started.”

I gave him the hairy eyeball, assuming he meant I knew a lot more now because I had fallen so many zillions of times.

“No, really,” he continued. “Every time you fall, you learn what not to do next time. Or at least you should.”

This lesson comes back to me every single time I “fall” in life.

But not until I pout a lot and whine about how I want to quit.

I have tripped, stumbled, and flat-out fallen as a mom. Especially when I was a new, first-time mom.

But it’s something I can’t quit. I can’t just say, “Man, I suck at this. I am done.”

Don’t think I didn’t try.

My older son, Eddie, was a difficult baby.

Ok, actually, “difficult” is putting it mildly.

He was a colicky, digestive mess.

This is Eddie being a colicky mess.

It was totally him. Not his fault, but it was him.

But I didn’t know that. Not at the time.

At the time, it was me. I was stumbling…not able to soothe him, not able to provide him with food that wouldn’t upset his tummy, not able to know what his cries meant.

I was sliding all over that iced pond not knowing what to do to keep myself off my ass and skating straight.

Every time he cried, I wanted to figure out what was wrong and fix it.

I didn’t know that sometimes? Babies just cry.

So I fell down over and over.

And I beat myself up for it. Which really, was another mistake. Another stumble.

This became a pattern with my son.

He is now almost three, and I have fallen down millions of times in my education on becoming a mother.

He has not always been the most patient teacher, but he is very forgiving.

Sometimes, my mistakes…my stumbles…are hard enough that we both fall. We both sit and cry and tend to our bruised bottoms.

But we are learning.

We are making it through.

I had no idea how awesome of a teacher he was until my second son was born in March.

Suddenly all those things that caused me to trip and fall–the crying, the spit up, the time management, the anxiety and depression–they were easier. In fact, some of them were non-existent. I skated right through them.

In fact, I am still up on my skates.

Oh, I have tripped here and there, but I have pretty much mastered the basics.

Now I am able to move on to learning fancier moves: taking both kids to Target, bringing them both to birthday parties, showering daily.
Two kids? I think I can.

(What? That was difficult the first time around!)

I still fall down from time to time.

But that’s okay.

I’m in this for the long haul.

I’m a life-long learner.

What are you still figuring out? What are some of the best lessons you have learned as a parent that you wish you had known earlier?

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Tweet this Twit @rasjacobson & @ksluiter