It’s Never Too Late

Welcome! Do you like the new digs? In case you haven’t figured it out, the changes around here are all about, well, changes.

I love the timing of this website launch because it is following the Oscar awards in which two favorites from my youth won Academy Awards for their legitimate acting chops. The cool part is that when I was younger, these men were heartthrobs and not too much else. One of them barely spoke. He just walked around having mastered the art of brooding and the self-conscious hair flip. The other one, seemingly no matter what else he did, was best known for spending a good deal of his screen time in an altered state.

Off screen, both of these guys earned reputations for everything but serious acting. One played the bongos, often naked. The other played in a band, that while critically acclaimed, didn’t have huge commercial success. Let’s be clear, neither of these men was ever down and out, but they certainly weren’t at the top of people’s lists for Oscar winners.

Could  all that have stopped them? Could they have decided ten years ago that they were whatever it is they were ten years ago and chosen different paths? Of course. But they didn’t. They lived their lives day to day and in one moment made a decision that would lead them to Sunday night’s award wins. They reinvented, over and over and over again. Mr. McConaughey went from naked bongo player who gets high on screen to a man who personally glows over the luck he has found in marrying his wife, speaks about God in acceptance speeches and gushes over being a dad. Who would have thought? Some are calling it a McConaissance. Some might call it a second act. He calls it the result of making a decision and “sticking to the process”  I call it reinvention, and it’s been happening all along.

My favorite part of Matthew McConaughey’s speech Sunday night was his nod to Dazed and Confused. He had just won entertainment’s most prestigious award for a dramatic role and he ends his eloquent speech with a wink and nod to where it all began.

That’s what I love most, a reinvention that never discounts the beginning, because every part of the journey is a stepping stone without which there would be no path to now. If Matthew McConaughey wasn’t first David Wooderson, he may never have been Ron Woodroof. If Jared Leto couldn’t live with forever being Jordan Catalano to some of us, then he wouldn’t be able to enjoy where Jordan eventually led him.

Reinvention isn’t all about leaving parts of yourself behind. Reinvention is about building your future on the lessons of the past and loving yourself through every iteration of you. That’s what we’re all about here at Reinvention Girl: the steps along the journey and loving yourself through it all.

Our journey’s been a long and winding one, full of surprises, missteps and falls, and it is far from over.  I wouldn’t change a thing, because where we are is pretty great and the future looks brighter still. As Matthew says, no matter what, we’re Alright, Alright, Alright.

You Say You Want a Reinvention?

RGOvertheshouldernotagsmallIf you’ve been around here long enough, you will not be surprised to hear there are some changes in the air. Yep, it’s time to say goodbye to Right Hand Mom and hello to a new iteration of this here blog.

In the beginning, we were a Traveling Circus. Then we evolved into less kid-centered, more mom centered topics. For the last few years, I’ve written here about all manner of mom-stuff and it’s been lovely. However, when I’d go to any kind of business or blogging function where I was supposed to identify my brand and what I did, I never could. Something about being The Right Hand Mom never quite sat right with me. Originally, it was supposed to be a substitute for Right Hand Man. You know, a Jill of all trades site where you could read just about anything from recipes to fiction.Continue Reading

Your Daughter Isn’t The Only One

FaithSoftball

Last night my son had a rare weeknight basketball game. It was a makeup game so not the usual gym time that the boys inhabit. When we first arrived there was a girls’ team practicing on the court. They had a female coach and they were about as good as you’d expect 7 year old girls to be at basketball. They were also full of spirit and working their tails off at whatever their coach instructed them to do. In other words, these girls were nothing but full of promise.

We arrived first and we stood on the sidelines and watched their full-court practice. I assumed they’d get off when it was time for the game to begin. Elementary gym time is at a premium and you don’t waste a minute of what you’re given.Continue Reading

So THIS is 40

40CakeI am slightly embarrassed by my earlier reaction to this milestone birthday. I am the youngest, by a shot, of six kids. When I turned 20 my oldest sister turned 40 and had her first and only baby. Clearly, I have no preconceived notion of what 40 is supposed to look like.

For the last five years I’ve eagerly anticipated 40. Weird maybe, but it seemed to me 40 was the time women are free. That’s what Jennifer Aniston told me anyway.

Plus, all the 40-ish women I know are thriving. They’re happy, first and foremost with themselves. I looked forward to forty as if on that day a magic wand would come and I would love myself most.

This week, as the days turned into hours before my 40th, I became acutely aware there was no magic wand. All I could see were the things about myself I still hated. Yes, hated. I’m also embarrassed to admit, even at 40, there are things about myself I still hate.

That stinks.

So last night I was sad. Sad that somehow I was the one who was going to get to 40 and do it all wrong. I still wouldn’t be happy and free and in love with me. I had just spent my evening with some pretty angry parents who had made me the face of all that was wrong with their church. Good times. Then I came home to a cake my daughter made and worried how I would not eat it without making her feel bad. Weight Loss is a tricky thing.

I went to bed on the eve of my 40th birthday beaten and sad.

Then I woke up. GLetter

I laid in bed and for the first time in 40 years, I did feel different on my birthday. Maybe there was some kind of magic wand. I felt like this morning might be the beginning of something new. Within moments I had three small people each bring me their own special present. The Girl nailed it with a t-shirt that was so perfectly me and a card telling me, above all, I made 40 look good. She, the one I worry most about passing on all my crap to,  thinks I’m doing it all right. That’s the biggest gift I could get.

Then my boys showered me with all the “you’re the best mommy” a girl could possible handle. They each presented the message with their own special brand of humour, showing me again what remarkable people they have become under our watch. Not too shabby, 40.  DLetter

The Husband got me the HONY book I’ve been coveting for months, and of course a card celebrating Cougar Week, which is the definition of why we work: laughter, which I’m so, so lucky to have. Alright, 40.

As I started typing this, my phone began exploding with texts from high school kids from my job, who, after months of trying,  have finally allowed me into their world for a few hours a week. Take that, 40.

I bundled up in layer after layer of warm clothes this morning so that -8 didn’t feel quite as horrid as I thought it might. When I caught a glimpse of myself, I even thought I might just rock a snow hat. Now, that’s 40.Thisis40

I may not have it all figured out. I may not love every bit of myself. I may still get beat up at work from time to time. My kids might only adore me one day a year. But I’m alright. I’m more peaceful in the transition. I’m more confident in my voice. Wearing silly t-shirts and snow hats don’t intimidate me anymore. I’m healthy. I’m happy and for better or worse, I’m me at 40. So far it’s looking pretty great.