Wanted: One Lady’s Maid


I will then sit in a chair at my dressing table as she brushes my hair in the morning and the following dialogue will unfold:

Nina: “Lady’s Maid, I’m thinking of trying that new style in my hair that I saw on our holiday in France. Please do it. And have the children had their breakfast yet?”

LM: “Yes, they have and are now playing quietly in the Nursery with the new non-scary and class discriminating Nanny.”

Nina: “Wonderful. Oh Lady’s Maid! I do not know if I can go on with all my duties today!! What with the dining and napping and my subconscious angst over this stagnate social system!”

LM: “But you are very strong and brave, Miss, and if I must say so this new style looks wonderful on you.”

Nina: “You are right on all counts. Now hand me my fabulous flapper clothes and beads, and I will take my breakfast here in my room”


Leila gave me a black eye on Friday. She was bouncing on my lap and  nailed me with her head. I’m learning about black eyes. They are not really black for one, as Olivia pointed out after noticing it four days later, but black, purple, and yellow. I could really have used a Lady’s Maid this week to run up to London for just the right concealer.

I also could have used one to dress me in the snow clothes that I don’t even own. Or she could have just helped me pull the thumbs of the children into the right place in their snow mittens, and pull them off. You mid-western/northern/arctic parents? New respect.

I watch TV to escape, not to confront. I read to confront, grow, be challenged, inspired, moved, and escape. But TV – just escape. (Which is why all I currently watch is Downton Abbey , Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, and occasionally, !Nina Has to Go!, the new mini show on Disney Jr. dedicated to reminding preschoolers to use the bathroom.  I wait my whole life for a show with my name and that’s what I got…)

So I had a bit of a moment with Julian Fellowes two weeks ago – in my head. Did he not know, that this was my hour to escape into a world of Maggie Smith one-liners? Did he really need to make his point so demonstratively, that the realities of violence and the unprotected, shame and secrecy cross class lines as well as historical eras?  And, that evil is  occurring while the rest of us are hanging out listening to opera?  Or at the least, remember Julian, you get to make this stuff up so why wasn’t that slimy yet so endearing Barrow downstairs at just the wrong time, which would have been the right time, this time,  – like he is every other time?


I’m not thinking about any of that.

I just want a Lady’s Maid.



“The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway.”

Except when it was 13 degrees and I was driving to Richmond at 6:30 am last week. But after all the build up I was curious to see how it felt out there.

It felt cold.

We took the girls to see Frozen before Christmas. It was a life changer for them in that way Les Miz changed my life. Without the revolution and death scenes.

It was kind of a hair changer too.

Sophia wrote a Frozen play over Christmas break and I found myself driving them to the dollar store where they pulled tattered bills out of their wallets to purchase synthetic hair headbands. We then brought this lovely stuff home and I was asked to braid it “like Ana and Elsa’s.” This led to the important life lesson that sythetic Dollar Tree hair does not braid well – a lesson totally worth the tears and the two dollars. 

We gave Sophia the Frozen soundtrack for Christmas. And because we are over-indulgent parents, she got the 2-disc edition. Hello Frozen B-Sides! We listen to the song writers talk about their process and then get to hear the songs that were cut. Totally worth that extra two dollars (?) So with the Frozen song playing on loop in the background, we had a lovely Christmas break in the loveliest – stay-home-wear-pajamas- sort of way. We biked and played and slept in and subsisted on a gifted ham for almost two weeks. (The break was two weeks, the ham lasted even longer!)

This is what it looked like a lot of the time except in this rare moment Sophia and Olivia are wearing their Easter dresses instead of pajamas. Of course.

Then they would run and off to dream and create and sing and build snowmen,

and this is what I was left with. On the table, eating cereal out of the box. Apparently I’ve let it go.

Then last week the older girls went back to school and I began my week intensive at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond. This is my third term but my first time going without a baby in tow so for the first time I was able to fully engage community life and learning at a deeper level. The week was exhausting and exhilarating. I have friends now in the program, people I’ve gotten to know over the past 18 months, who only know me in that place as that person. We come from all different backgrounds but with such mutual respect. These times have  quickly become sacred to me – a space where I can cultivate my gifts and learn and articulate and listen. Each day there I wonder if I’m going to collapse and at the same time feel so utterly grateful- for the opportunity, and for Starbucks VIA packets.

When I finally finished Saturday, I walked right into life with three kids. What do you call it when you don’t get any kind of break or debrief? Oh right. Adulthood. 

So here  we are. Fifteen days into 2014, a dead Christmas tree lying in the back yard, the ham finally finished and greatly missed, and a year stretching before us filled with knowns and unknowns and worries and hopes.  My year has no resolution, no word, no name. I decided years were basically human-made structures and it was dangerous to apply emotional expectations to such artificial increments. I decided this when we had another lice scare on the first day back at school.

A day can turn on you pretty quickly as well so  I think I’m taking it hour by hour this time around.

Happy New 9 pm Friends (or whenever you are reading this)

This is going to be YOUR HOUR.

You’ve got this.