Tell Us How You Really Feel

You know how when someone says exactly what they are thinking people will say in jest, “Tell us how you really feel!”. I would venture to say that has been said to me a couple hundred times in my life. Because I am one of those people who doesn’t hold back. If I have something that needs to be said, I will usually just say it- no beating around the bush. And many times it is something that other people are thinking, too, so it resonates and sometimes makes people laugh.

Anyway, in the last week or so, I’ve been feeling this rising angst. Summer is just about over and I am done.  This morning, I sent this text to my two best friends  (and I’d like to apologize in advance to my readers who don’t appreciate a good swear once in a while). The text read: Let me say this to you so I don’t say it out loud to my children I CANNOT (swear word) WAIT FOR THESE (swear word swear word) TO GO BACK TO (swear word) SCHOOL #jesustakethewheel. Maybe that resonates with you and maybe it doesn’t, but either way- I’ve just told you all how I really feel.

Don’t get me wrong, we have actually had a pretty good summer, but the time is now. Either Jesus needs to come back, or I need to be sent to a beach for 3 weeks alone or my children need to go back to school. I don’t honestly care which one. But I’m done. D.O.N.E. Done. Finished. Goodbye children. Get out and don’t let the door hit you on the way.

Today I also went to see my therapist. As soon as I sat down I started crying; I was saying something that wasn’t cry-worthy at all. So I said, “I honestly don’t know why I am crying” and tried to brush it off with a joke. Being the worth-the-money therapist that he is, he said, “Wait a minute. Let’s not pass this by. What are you feeling?”

I don’t know what the hell I am feeling which is why I said, “I don’t know why I am crying.”!! But, being the eager patient that I am, I sat there and thought about it for a minute or two and I finally said through more tears: “I am tired. So tired of my children. I want them to go back to school. I’m exhausted from trying to be a good mom and dealing all day with them. I am scared that I am going to lash out at them and destroy them if they don’t go back to school soon. I don’t want to be rude to them. I’m afraid I will be rude to them. I’m exhausted from coping instead of escaping (the main reason I am in therapy) and I’m afraid of falling backward if these kids don’t get the hell out of my house.”

In saying that and crying and getting in touch with my actual feelings- I realized something: what I said to my friends in that swear word laden text was true. Every word. But what I said to Chris was the deeper truth and the text to my friends only contained the surface truth. The surface truth was anger & frustration & a bunch of swear words. But beneath that was the deeper truth that I am afraid and tired and feeling guilty and exhausted. As I said, I have always been known as a genuine person. Authentic. Real. Honest. Raw. These words have been used to describe me more often than any other word. But. BUT it’s because I say the things other people think but don’t say. Not necessarily because I actually let people get close to the real, real me (who has these unearthed feelings that are usually covered by anger or frustration).

Not everyone sees the hurting, scared Celina who doesn’t want to kill her children (honestly, even I don’t see her. I just see the surface stuff, too). People see me as real because in a funny way I can say what people are thinking. But underneath the funny and ‘true’ is always a deeper truth and what I understood today is that if I want to live the whole-hearted life that Brene Brown talks about, if I want to be courageous and brave- I can still send the funny text and mean it, but I’ve got to get to the deeper truth. And sharing the deeper truth will cause people to see the actual REAL me and maybe in the process set people free to realize their own deeper truths. And I’m ready. I ready to be honest and raw and vulnerable and live whole-heartedly in this world. It’s all I’ve got to give- myself- and as hard and painful and uncharted as it is, I’m ready and I’m scared but I’m not going to hold back. If you thought I was real before….there may be another side of “real” that we’re about to get to.

I absolutely love the quote from Liz Gilbert that Amanda shared last week. “I trust that you understand this is a story we are living, not a story we are telling.” That’s what this blog is about for me. This is the story I am living and it may be messy, but it’s mine and I am really learning to love it.


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We did it!

Well, it happened. Summer is almost over. School emails keep dinging in my inbox. School fees have been paid, boxed lunches, uniforms, all of the #2 sharpened pencils and Crayola 24-count crayons, they’ve been bought.
And now it’s time to make that decision that we as parents of kid’s from hard places struggle with making every single year at this time. What do we say to the new teacher? Anything? Everything? Some where in between? As a parent, I am looking for the right combination of words to fill this teacher with deep levels of understanding on developmental trauma and it’s effects on the brain, compassion that will carry them through some tough days, and huge levels of thanksgiving, because teachers are heroes.


So here is a note to all the teachers who will help us parent our children from trauma, from all of us parents, foster parents, kin parents, adoptive parents, and all of the other beautiful ways we find ourselves parenting these amazing kids. Here’s to you teachers!


Dear Teacher,


I am so sorry that you don’t get paid your worth in gold. If I could change that today, I would! You are a hero in our home!


I wanted to give you a little insight into my kiddo. I am not sure if you have heard things from previous teachers or not, but I wanted to give you some info that I hope will help you in creating a fun and safe learning environment for him, and everyone else in your classroom, this year.


My kiddo experienced lots of trauma before he came to us. We are one of many many homes he has lived in, and that’s not counting the many shelters that he called home as well. The traumas that he experienced as a young child have made him different that the average kid in our upper-middle class school. His brain literally looks different in a brain scan than that of the average child of his same age. And yet he looks just like the other eight year olds in your class this year.


With that in mind, if I could encourage you with just one thing it would be this: connect. It is hard for him to trust people, and his self-talk is really horrible. He thinks he is undesirable, that he is the worst in this class. He thinks no one likes him, and that he is stupid. But when you, and I, connect with him- we have a chance to change this inner-voice of his. If you lead each day with a point of connection for him, he is much more likely to stay connected, and feel safe, so that he can learn and grow like the other kids in your class this year. When you are not sure what to do with him, when he is acting angry or aggressive, my guess is that he is probably afraid and feeling shameful. It might feel really foreign to you, but would you please try to just connect with him? Just help him calm down, and speak over him the words that we want every child to think about themselves. Remember, he didn’t have anyone to teach his little baby brain and body how to calm down, no one spoke over him that he was precious and smart. No one helped him learn how to calm down when he was upset. So we, as his parents, have some catch up work that we are working on, and if you would help us this year, we would be eternally grateful.


If you are interested in other tips and tricks, or ways of getting to know him before school starts, please, let us know. We’d love to send you some more info.


Again, we are so appreciative of what you do, thank you for devoting yourself to teaching our kiddos!

With all of our hearts,


The Purvis Family.




Notes: The Note I Wish I Would Have Sent to the Teachers at My Children’s New School

Instead, I chickened out. Now, I’ll never be able to woo them all in one fell swoop with a funny note.

I deserve to have to eat those Gogurts myself.

September 6, 2015

Dear Teachers at ACS,

My friend Amanda Purvis finally convinced me to get my kids signed up at ACS and we’re here now, but I’m pretty confused and overwhelmed about the whole school/education thing.  I’ve only been a mom for two years, so basically, I have no idea what I’m doing or what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m trying to figure it all out but lots of days I just plain mess it up. Sorry about coming late to carpool or opening the classroom door before it was time. As I mentioned, I have no clue what I’m supposed to do. But you have all been so gracious to my children and I. Amanda was right- ACS is amazing. You guys are amazing and you do a great job. Everyone always smiles at us. Everyone knows my kids names (Vaughn and Eloise if you couldn’t place me) and everyone acts like we belong even if we feel like we don’t yet. Anyway, thanks for all your hard work!

I really wanted to reward you hard work when I signed up to bring you two dozen donuts and 36 yogurt cups. I had visions of going to the Donut House and getting you two dozen of the best donuts in town. Since I go to Costco regularly, I figured it wouldn’t be a problem to get a couple boxes of those nice Chobani yogurts for you all. I mean, you work hard; you deserve a great donut and a “healthy” yogurt for breakfast.

But guess what, it’s suddenly Tuesday night and tomorrow is the breakfast and I haven’t been to Costco in a month (Labor Day, sick baby, husband out of town). I did go to the Donut House this morning, but it was for the sole purpose of obtaining myself two donuts- a chocolate ring for now and a cinnamon sugar donut for later. The reminder of my commitment to you came up at 6:00 PM tonight when I ate my second donut and I sadly realized I wasn’t going to be able to get you those donuts. So I was left with no choice but to go to the grocery store. I got you the donuts I signed up for, but not the donuts I wanted to get you. I’m sorry. But I’m really sorry that in my haste and disappointment I accidentally bought Gogurt instead of real yogurt. Who does that? Who buys teachers Gogurt??!! To show them their appreciation??? Sorry. Again.

So enjoy your Gogurt and your grocery store donuts and if nothing else maybe you will get a laugh the next time you see the kids in the lunchroom struggling to open their Gogurts.

Thanks for all you do and if there happen to be any Gogurts left, could you send them home with Vaughn? I have no idea when I will get to Costco next.

With sincere appreciation,

Celina Baldwin

(new mom/no clue)

Thinking of sending someone you’ve failed repeatedly a note to try and win them over? Don’t be like me and miss the opportunity by just sending a sorry handwritten note on an old grocery list that says, “so sorry! I accidentally bought Gogurts. Anonymous” and then apologize profusely to the well kept, smiling, coffee drinking mom receiving the goods at the front door at 7:00 AM

Read more notes <—– here


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