Johnny -- my beautiful, artistic, goofy, all-elbows-and-knees, cat-loving boy -- turns six today!  We celebrated his birthday this weekend with a visit from the grandparents (and the doggies), and with cake and balloons.  It was a (fairly) quiet affair, and we all had a wonderful time.  I

Being a parent is still the craziest, weirdest, hardest, confusing, and scariest thing I’ve ever had to do, and bear in mind that this comes from the person who once broke into an abandoned bank and wrapped the entire building with tape from the archives as a drunken performance art, then split my pants while trying to escape the cops.

I’ve started from zero in life so many times I lost count, different endeavors in new countries, but nothing has ever stumped me as much as being a mom.

The challenges of writing a book or starting a photography business doesn’t come even close to the daily demands of motherhood. They hardly compare (and are impossible to choose between), but as far as fundamental human experiences go, very few have tested me as extremely as having kids.

Yet the satisfaction of watching these two monsters grow and thrive and enjoy life and learn and give back is amazing. And the strength I’ve developed in the past six years is astonishing, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Thanks to Johnny and Julian — and as a result of the hard work I put into raising them — I can now speak my mind freely, I can kick butt better than ever, I can handle crisis without batting a lash, I can lift immense weights and carry on through hardship, I can look at myself in the mirror with acceptance and love, I am more compassionate to others, I’m flexible and adaptable, I am wiser about choosing my battles, and I am more focused and ambitious than I’ve ever been.

My kids often make me want to drink at 11 am. But they also make me want to change the world. No lie. It’s absurdly awesome, being these boys’ mom.

It’s give and take, as it is with everything in life, but their love gives me more than I need in order to keep on giving. So yeah, happy birthday, Johnny! And happy mom day to me.


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