Dear Mr. Trump (Part 2)


Dear Mr. Trump,

Stop. Please. Just. Stop. Stop making our presidential debates #NSFW (Not Suitable for Work) affairs. Stop caring less about the issues facing our nation and your policies (if you have any) than your race to prove that you’re not as despicable as Bill Clinton. Newsflash, not only is Bill Clinton not running, but all of those allegations from decades ago have never been proven. Did he do sleazy stuff? Sure. But it was, until proven otherwise, consensual sleazy stuff and Hillary Clinton should not be blamed for it. You even said back when this was last in the news that she is a “wonderful woman” to be so strong (video link below). Did she call Monica Lewinsky a “neurotic  loony toon?” I don’t doubt that. If I found out a woman did what Lewinsky did to my husband, you better believe I’d call her far worse. None of these things make Hillary Clinton look bad. Bringing them up just makes you look bad, since…shall we say you have more than a few skeletons in your closet.

Did you not cheat on your first two wives, tossing them over for newer models? Oh wait, you did. Are you not the subject of a civil rights lawsuit filed by a woman who claimed you viciously raped her when she was thirteen years old? Hmm, that would be yes again. Not only that, but you are on record saying this about your buddy, convicted level-three sex offender (the highest level) and “billionaire-pedophile,” Jeffrey Epstein: “I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it, Jeffrey enjoys his social life.” Yes, I bolded “on the younger side.” On the younger side for a middle-aged man should be thirty or even thirty-five, not thirteen. There’s more, of course, but this letter would be far too long if I included all the despicable stuff you’ve done…

Now, I know the defense to all this will be, “But Hillary Clinton defended a rapist, got him freed and laughed about it later.” No she didn’t. (Links below debunk this thoroughly.) She was a court-appointed defender and tried to recuse herself more than once. The prosecution’s case was flawed and her client pleaded guilty, thus the plea deal. She was just doing her job, painful as it must have been for her. There’s absolutely no evidence that she ever laughed about it, though there are people who corroborate her story that she tried to get recused and that she was acutely uncomfortable in the role of defending this man, but had no choice.

Most importantly, did you or did you not brag about committing sexual assault on a hot mic and then deny doing it? Um yes, I believe that was you. Do you not realize that denying it is worse than contrition? By denying it now, you admit that you either lied on the tape or are lying now. Both are disturbing. In the first scenario, why would a man lie about kissing women without their consent and grabbing them by the genitals? To brag? To seem manly? To impress? Were you trying to impress Billy Bush by stating that you can get away with (and have gotten away with) sexual assault, because you’re a rich celebrity, but you didn’t actually commit such an assault? That’s just twisted. Or did you lie under the bright lights and scrutiny of the debate, denying doing heinous acts you actually committed? Well, that’s just unconscionable. So either way, you’re screwed.

And back to those debates, my almost twelve year old son had to watch the debate for social studies homework. It’s not fair that parents everywhere had to sit awkwardly with their children, fighting the urge to cover their ears whenever you spoke, because it was a class assignment for our children to listen to you. It’s not fair that I had to have a conversation with my sons instructing them never to act like you, never to treat women like objects. Though, perhaps I should thank you for opening up the conversation. And it’s not fair that you forced millions of women to relive nightmarish moments with your sense of entitlement over women’s bodies, and then brushed it off as “locker room talk.” Real men don’t speak like that, and it was gratifying to see all of the good men, including many athletes who spend their lives in locker rooms, take you to task for that comment.

I read that you plan on slinging more mud in the coming weeks in an attempt to deflect from your own shortcomings. You may rile up your base, but you’ll alienate far more people than you’ll bring in. So, please… Just. Stop.


Stephanie Kepke

PS: If you don’t want people to think you’re a sexual predator, perhaps you should try a bit harder to not look like one at the third debate (see photo above)…


I could not embed links in this post for some reason, so here are all of my fact-checking links, backing up everything in the above letter. I spent well over two hours researching each point I made to make sure that each is, indeed, correct…

Hillary Clinton did not viciously attack Bill Clinton’s accusers (and the accusations themselves were never proven):

Donald Trump said that Hillary Clinton was wonderful for dealing with all of Bill Clinton’s infidelities:

The civil lawsuit brought against Donald Trump stating he raped a thirteen year old girl:

Hillary Clinton did not laugh about getting an accused rapist free (she didn’t even get him exonerated; he pleaded guilty):

Donald Trump’s Tape (in case you’ve been living under a rock):

Donald Trump’s plan to sling more mud:




Dear Young Mom…




An open letter to young mothers…

Dear Young Mom,

Right now it probably seems like not a moment goes by without a tug on your sleeve; a nose that needs to be wiped; a fight that needs to be broken up; or a constant chorus of “Look, Mom.” There are also probably those moments when you want to lock yourself in the bathroom, turn on the faucet and the fan (to add a cushion of noise) and just scream at the top of your lungs. Or maybe you want to let loose a tirade of expletives. You just want to release the frustration and exhaustion that can overwhelm you. I know. I’ve been there too…

One of the sagest observations I ever heard about parenting is that the “days are long, but the years are short.”* It’s so true—but I don’t know if I ever fully appreciated that fact when my kids were young, when I was in the trenches, in the middle of it all and so worn down that a quiet house seemed like a miracle, rather than a depressing reality…

Motherhood is a job no one in her right mind would ever apply for, if it was a classified ad (or a LinkedIn post—I’m showing my age)… Long hours (sometimes all night, if there’s a case of croup or an ear infection). No vacation. No training before you’re thrown right into the job. You’ll be expected to fulfill such disparate duties as chef; chauffeur; laundress; therapist; nurse; referee; baker; cleaning lady; the list goes on and on… Your heart will break a million times over big and small things. In fact, if you do your job well, heartbreak is guaranteed—when you say goodbye to your child and send him or her off into the world. Imagine a job where your most important task is to train your best employees to leave and be successful elsewhere. That’s parenting. Those little babies who tugged on your sleeve and wiped their drippy noses on your shirt; jumped on the furniture after being told a gazillion times not to do it; colored on the walls (in non-washable crayons); left sticky fingerprints everywhere will leave the nest in the blink of an eye to meet the future that stretches out before them. And it should be that way, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

When they do go out into that big, brave world, they might seem very far away. They might not need you anymore and then…well then you’ll be left wishing—just wishing—that you could have that commotion back for one more day.  You’ll miss that whirl of small children playing way too rough, messing up the couch cushions, tugging on your sleeve… You’ll wish that you could hear that chorus of, “Look, Mom!” just a few more times. You’ll swear that instead of getting frustrated because you have work or laundry or dinner to prepare—if you could have that moment back again,  you’d kneel down and look, really look, at that scribbled masterpiece; the tower of blocks; the cool looking rock that must be a piece of the moon that somehow found its way to your backyard. But, as a young mom you don’t have to wish for that—it’s right there. You’re still feeling the tug on your sleeve, the endless loop of, “Look, Mom!” You still have the chance to kneel down and give your full attention to your small child. Do it.

All too soon, that little child will grow up and stop asking you to look. In fact, if your teen catches you glancing over a shoulder, he or she will immediately snatch her phone out of view or snap his laptop closed. Instead of details about school and friends, you’ll hear, “Can I take the car?” You won’t be the center of his or her world anymore and you’ll be relegated to further and further outside orbits, until he or she goes away to college and your house is quiet. (Even if you have younger kids, one leaving changes the dynamics—and believe me, it’s quieter.) And one day, you may send a text asking when you can call to catch up for a few minutes and get back, “I’m busy. I’ll call you when I can.” And then…your phone will stay silent.

So, mothers of young children—especially loud, rambunctious boys who leave your living room looking like a tornado hit it or a Toys ‘R’ Us exploded; who play ball in the house and jump on the sofa; who tug on your sleeve and say, “Look, Mom!” more times than you thought possible—relish it. Revel in the noise, the chaos—the fullness of it—because it is ephemeral. Blink, and it’s oh so quiet…

Much Love,


*I Googled this quote, so I could properly attribute it and came up with Gretchen Rubin. But her book came out in 2009, and I’m fairly certain that I heard it before then.


The Ugly Election



Drawing by my son, Aidan… It’s his dream and mine too…


A question has been haunting me this election season: If Donald Trump wins the presidency (I just bit my tongue), how can I possibly explain to my kids that America, their country—the land of the free and the home of the brave—thinks it’s okay to bully, mock and basically step upon anyone with whom you do not agree? Because really, that’s what Donald Trump’s nomination and recent rise in the polls says. It says that you can succeed by stepping on others. It says that hate is more important than love and fear is more important than tolerance. This isn’t the world I want for my children. I can’t be proud of this America.

My son told me that most, if not all, of the children in his school dislike Donald Trump. I believe this is because children are much better judges of character than many adults are. They don’t have that fear of “the other” that is so pervasive in Trump’s followers. As Hillary Clinton said, half of Trump’s supporters are people who are fed up with their situation in life and are looking for someone to fix it, but the other half are in that basket of deplorables—racists, xenophobes (which of course includes racists), misogynists, homophobes and on and on. Those in that basket are proud of the deplorable moniker. I’ve noticed lots of pro-Trump Twitter accounts have changed to user names which include “deplorable.” Of course, this essay is still a risk for me—I’m sure at least some of my followers are Trump supporters who do not wish to be called, “deplorable” (and are, in fact not deplorable), and I, of course, do not want to alienate anyone. But, there comes a time when speaking up in the face of unspeakable evil is more important than the amount of followers and likes I have. And it’s more important than worrying about offending anyone. It’s my job as a writer to speak my mind, to speak up for what I believe in. Which brings me to my next fear about a Trump presidency…

Donald Trump will shut down free press, like his hero, Vladimir Putin, has done in Russia. Trump has already banned several media outlets—The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Politico, to name a few—from his press conferences and campaign events, claiming that they treat him “unfairly.” (Here’s his “Blacklist.”) He eventually ended the ban earlier this month, in an attempt to seem not so “draconian” to voters rightfully offended by this dictatorial move, according to The Washington Post. But he has continued mocking and bullying journalists, especially on Twitter. His attack on New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd is especially chilling, calling her “wacky” and a “neurotic dope” in two separate tweets (see screen grabs below—I did not want to link to them to give more exposure). His verbal abuse of journalists stretches back to the early days of his campaign and his feud with Megyn Kelly. And who could forget Trump’s disgusting imitation of a disabled journalist, (tiny) hands flailing about, speech pattern hatefully mocked?

I may not have ever worked as a serious news journalist—I reported on music, the arts and philanthropy—but I did work as a journalist for a few different newspapers back in the nineties, and freedom of the press is a right I hold very dearly. By mocking journalists, constantly complaining that journalists treat him unfairly and calling them the “lowest form of humanity,” Trump guaranteed that at least some will bow before him, lobbing him softball questions and not calling him out on blatant lies. Of course much of the blame for this pro-Trump biased media coverage is laid at the feet of that very media for not doing their jobs. But with Trump “gaming the refs,” it was bound to happen. Even scarier, a reporter from Vice, Alex Thompson (who happens to be Maureen Dowd’s former researcher), was not only turned away, but also arrested, when he tried to obtain press credentials to a Trump campaign event in Houston. This stinks from more than just a whiff of dictatorship… Reporters being arrested is right out of an oligarch’s playbook… Trump must have learned it from his buddy Putin. (And yes, I know Trump’s camp said it was the hotel, not Trump, who called police, but who gave hotel security Thompson’s name?)

This essay doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of all of the horrendous, unconscionable atrocities (and yes, I know that’s a bit redundant, but in this case, it fits the magnitude of the situation) Trump has committed through words and deed. All Hillary Clinton needs for her attack ads are Trump’s own words. Her brilliant ad asking if Trump is what we want for our daughters only needs to intersperse Trump’s viciousness with images of girls and young women. Watch it here. And then…there’s the  constant lying. I’m not sure why so many look the other way and think, “Oh that’s just Trump being Trump…,” and yet call Clinton a liar. Now though, Newsweek has dropped a bombshell that really should give all those supporters second thoughts about their savior—Trump has either committed perjury or lied during a primary debate. How can this person be our president?

I know my anxiety over this election is driving my husband crazy. I check poll forecasts with a frequency bordering on obsessive. I moan every time I see a Trump flag, sign or bumper sticker in my town, which is far too often in my estimation, especially in my very multi-cultural neighborhood. A huge Trump flag waving in the breeze seems like a giant middle finger to the many immigrants from different nations living around me, especially Muslims. I ponder moving to Canada and wonder how out-of-country college tuition compares to the out-of-state college tuition we are currently paying for my son. In reality, I know I can’t pick up my family and move, and I wouldn’t want to be so far away from my son (although I do love Canada and I do have family there). So, I’m left pondering what life would be like with a Trump presidency and quite frankly, it scares the crap out of me.

I know many people dislike and distrust Hillary Clinton. I’m not sure why, but I respect their opinions. I think a big part of it is all the conspiracy crap peddled by the alt-right. Do they forget that Karl Rove deleted 22 million emails when he was Secretary of State under George W. Bush? Do they not realize that there were thirteen attacks on foreign consulates during the Bush administration? Those chanting, “Lock her up!” would never have uttered a word back then. And what about all the good Hillary Clinton has done? She has worked tirelessly for women and children, for the poor and the disenfranchised. After 9/11, she was there for the people of New York, when not many in government were. As part of her health care plan, she wants to integrate mental health care benefits in with medical insurance. I can tell you, as the parent of a child with a mental illness, this is huge… And it seems like no one knows about it. It’s not talked about amidst all the noise about emails and the Clinton Foundation, which really should be a non-issue…

Even if Clinton wielded her influence to secure donations to the Clinton Foundation, which it hasn’t been proven she did, that money was used for all good. It has saved so many lives and champions the forgotten. It has a stellar rating from Charity Watch and nearly ninety percent of donations go right to people in need. That is extremely high. In contrast, donations to Trump’s foundation go to things like six foot tall paintings of himself and legal fees to fight the many lawsuits he’s been slapped with. Lawsuits, that for the most part, he’ll find a way to weasel out of – he has said as much to discourage people he has wronged from suing him. I know this is absolutely true.

I’ve heard of more than one person whom Trump stiffed to whom he replied, “Go ahead and sue me. You’ll never win.” It’s this habit of “sticking it to the little guy” that proves Trump is against working people. He cares only about himself…oh and Vladimir Putin. He thinks Putin is a better leader than Barack Obama, and likely would emulate him. Oh, and he’s $650 million in debt to many financial institutions, including the Bank of China and who knows what other foreign interests (as an aside, Trump is also in debt to Goldman Sachs, an institution he’s claimed owns Hillary Clinton). With debts to foreign banks and many investments in Russia, Trump would undoubtedly have a conflict of interest. Plus, a Trump presidency would be a disaster not just for our country, but for the world. Allowing Russia to run roughshod over other countries, dissolving NATO, starting World War Three over a tweet. Nuking a smaller country, because if someone looks at you the wrong way, you have to “bomb the hell out of them…”

Mostly though, a Donald Trump presidency would be a disaster for our youth. Civil discourse was already nearly extinct before the rise of Trump, thanks to keyboard cowboys and the vast cesspool of hate dwelling just beneath the surface of the Internet. Oh, I’m sorry—it’s not just beneath the surface anymore. It’s now bubbled right up to the top and white supremacists; neo-Nazis; misogynists of every stripe; the stupid and the hateful; bigots; xenophobes; and just your run of the mill assholes have been given free reign to release their vitriol in burning streams, like a blustery, rhetoric filled volcano blanketing and destroying everything in its path. This is the future that awaits our children – one in which kindness and compassion are old-fashioned currency, like the pennies left in bowls next to cash registers, too useless to even merit pocketing. I weep for this world, and I will vote blue right down the line…



Notice the first reply (for both tweets) – “Deplorable Pepe”





Letting Go Part 2


Seems like yesterday… Now this tiny baby, whom I kept safe in my arms, is off to college…

I have felt like I’m on a runaway train with no breaks skidding toward my oldest son, Drew’s, inevitable departure for college since last fall. Sure we had visited schools before then and talked about college A LOT, but the night I stayed up until 2:30 am helping him get his early action applications submitted was the moment it became real for me. In the time since then, everything in my mind has been framed with that looming event. Our vacation to Myrtle Beach in the spring; our rare family days and almost as rare dinners together (since he’s always running out with friends); the first day of school; the last day of school; his last high school sports game; the last awards night—during each one of these times and many more of the mundane moments in the life of a mom, I thought… This is the last time it will be just like this before everything changes.

I know that everything will change. I was a different person after I went away to college. And while I thought of the house I grew up in as home until I married at twenty-eight years old, I only actually lived there for one year after I graduated. As soon as I found a job in Boston, I moved away from Long Island to be with my boyfriend. And even though we broke up a few months after I moved, I didn’t return to my hometown to stay for nine long years. I got married while living in Boston and had a kid. I was pregnant with my second child, before I returned. I know that kids now move home for the long haul far more often after college, thanks to the economy, but I don’t know if Drew will be one of them. He’s much like I was when I moved away for the first time—fiercely independent and eager to strike out on my own. That’s exactly how I want him to be… It’s just a bit hard.

It’s also been more than a bit hard writing this essay. I started a week ago and got down almost thirteen hundred words (more than half of which I just deleted). Something didn’t feel right, though and I kept reading and rereading it, not ready to post. I opened with a hook, “I had the flu—a knock-down, drag-out bout of it, over 102 fever, chills, cough… I couldn’t move out of bed, so my parents drove five hours to take care of my eighteen-month-old, from whom I had caught the nasty bug…” I went on to talk about how I dragged myself out of bed when my son wanted only me, even though my mom desperately wanted to help. I was the only one who could make things right back then—he knew it and I knew it. I mentioned that I’ve thought about that night as I help Drew pack up for school. I won’t be there if he needs me to make things right. But, to be honest, it’s been a very, very long time since he has needed that, which of course is the jackpot of parenting. I’m grateful that at eighteen years old, my son never needs me to swoop in and rescue him like he did at eighteen months old. That doesn’t make it any easier knowing that I can’t, though.

Tossing Tylenol and cough drops into a cart at the drug store, I realized that if Drew comes down with a cold or cough, I won’t be there to take care of him. I won’t be able to make him my special concoction of tea with orange juice and honey. My kids used to call it “Mommy Magic Juice.” I know it’s easy enough for him to make it—I’ve packed him a mug and bags of tea. He’s got a microwave and can easily grab packets of honey and orange juice from the Dining Commons. It’s not that he can’t take care of himself—he absolutely can and is more than happy to do so. It’s that I can’t take care of him. And that’s a new feeling for me. My kids never wanted to go away to sleep away camp. The only times Drew has been away for more than one night were a ski trip with friends and prom weekend on the Jersey Shore. I was nervous both times. I have to find a way to not be a “Nervous Nellie” when he’s away. And anyone who knows me well, knows that isn’t an easy task.

It’s not just the worrisome things on my mind, it’s all the happy times, as well. I won’t be there to watch Drew play volleyball, if he makes the club team (which I’m pretty sure he will). I won’t meet the girls he dates—at least not at first. I won’t get to know his friends. I won’t hear him in the basement playing the keyboards; the ukulele; the drums; the guitar…a constant soundtrack to our days and nights when he’s home. I think I might miss that the most of all. At least I can look forward to his breaks—the music will be all the sweeter.

I recently read a line that I wrote right before college graduation. It said, “Soon we’ll be looking back on this, instead of into it.” For as long as I can remember, I’ve thought about looking back on something while it’s still happening. The night before I got married, I stared into the mirror in my parents’ bathroom and thought—Soon I’ll be gazing at a married woman. Right before giving birth for the last time, I thought… Soon I won’t be pregnant anymore; I likely won’t be pregnant ever again. Everything will change. Walking hand and hand with my youngest son into the nursery school all of my children attended, I thought… This is the last time I’ll ever do this. Soon walking my children into nursery school will just be a memory. 

Of course, getting married; having a baby; that baby graduating preschool are all wonderful, exciting milestones, but change is always a bit daunting, even if it’s positive. Sending your child off to college is a wonderful, exciting milestone, as well.  But, it can be scary and at times even a bit heartbreaking. I want Drew to go off into the world and do amazing things. And I’m pretty lucky, because he’s attending my alma mater—the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. As much as I’ll miss him and as hard as it is for me, where he’s going feels like home to me. Walking around the campus each time we’ve visited, I’ve been flooded with warm memories. I couldn’t be happier with his choice. It will be surreal and pretty amazing moving him into the same dorm area I lived in at UMass. If I have to let him go, I’m thrilled this is the place he’s going to—one of my favorite places in the world. I know he’ll be just fine (I on the other hand might need a few tissues)…


My Proudest Moment – #AKWritingChallenge


I’m a day late, but I’d really like to at least take part in as much of this challenge as I can…

I have so many proud moments when it comes to my kids… Watching my oldest son receive scholarships and graduate from high school with honors; watching my middle son skate onto the ice to play hockey for the first time after battling an eating disorder; chatting with my youngest son about politics and realizing that he’s way smarter than most adults. But…

I feel that this challenge is about the writer’s life (though, of course, I may not be entirely correct), so I’m going to share my proudest writer moment—my dream come true… Standing on a podium at the front of an amazing book store, Book Revue in Huntington, NY, with a packed house watching me as I read from my first novel, Goddess of Suburbia, was my proudest moment. Okay, maybe signing books just a short time later while a line of people snaked around the store waiting for their turn may have been my proudest moment. I had imagined that moment so many times.

When I first emailed Book Revue about hosting my book launch party and book signing, I was asked what made me think that I could bring in a crowd as a local author. I was informed that Book Revue hosted luminaries such as Hillary Clinton and J.K. Rowling, which I already knew…that’s why it was my dream. Speakers at Book Revue have run the gamut from best-selling authors to famous athletes to musicians and comedians. It is the stop on Long Island for anyone with a book to hawk and I was determined to make it my first book signing, as well. I posted on Facebook asking if people would be interested in attending. Between a mom’s group I’m a part of, my writer page and my personal profile, I had well over the fifty people I needed to promise in order for the store to have the faith that I could pull in a decent crowd. I believe it was between seventy and eighty. I set up an event page and handed out glossy postcards and did everything I could to get the word out. Still, I was told that it’s commonplace with book launch parties and signings that at least a third of the people expected wouldn’t show.

But that evening, August 25, 2015, at least eighty-five people showed up. Every chair was filled, besides the front few that were left open for my family. And as I mentioned, the line waiting for me to sign books snaked around the store. It was a truly amazing moment looking at all the faces in front of me as I spoke about Goddess of Suburbia and read an excerpt. (You can read my book talk here.) It was a dream come true and truly my proudest moment (that didn’t revolve around my kids)…


Not a great photo of me, but it’s the only one I have of me at the podium…





30-Day Writing Challenge – What I Wore Today

Normally on any given summer day, you’ll find me in Target sweat shorts and a tank top or layered camis. But this weekend we had two family parties, so I donned a bit nicer clothes. For today’s casual backyard party for my niece on hot as hell Long Island, I wore white shorts and a yellow tank (above). I’ve had the tank for years, to be honest, and haven’t worn it in quite a while. But the sunny yellow hue put me in a good mood and the lightweight drapey fabric kept me cool. (And, full disclosure, I had on a cute tie-dye shark bite hem tank top, but noticed as I was leaving that the little bows on my bra straps were showing behind the spaghetti straps, so I grabbed this top. And I wondered why bra straps need bows that stick out???) The white Bermuda skinny shorts are my go to shorts this summer. They are so comfortable. 

The shoes are the really big change for me with this outfit. If you read Ten Interesting Things About Me, you may remember that I declared that I never wear heels. Well, a day or two after I posted that I found these giant (for me) platforms for 50% off at DSW. Plus, I had a $10 off coupon, so I figured I’d take a chance. Since the whole sole is high, it’s almost like wearing flats; I’m just taller—way taller. It’s an odd feeling, since I’m not quite five feet tall with the shoes off. I lasted half the afternoon, then switched to Dr. Scholl’s sandals. The last time I wore the silver sandals for more than a couple of hours (at a concert in New York City), my husband had to give me a piggy back ride to our car in the garage, because I just could not walk another step. But guess what, I’ll wear these again. After all, fashion sometimes hurts and I kind of like being tall every once in a while…

30-Day Writing Challenge – Things I’d Say to an Ex


This is a tough one… To be honest, I’ve pretty much said everything I’ve wanted to say to  my exes already. I have no need for closure. I’ve stayed friendly with all of them (you can read about my lasting friendship with my high school sweetheart in another 30-Day Writing Challenge here), and I’m Facebook friends with all of them. There are absolutely are no lingering hard feelings.We were all very young (I met my husband at twenty-five, so these relationships dissolved decades ago) and we all ended up where we should have. But since I jumped back into the challenge yesterday, I do want to tackle this topic. So, I’ll write about what I did get to say to one of my exes not that long ago. In my essay, Hungry, I speak about how watching my son starve himself has been the worst possible karma, because I put my family and my boyfriend through the same thing when I was in my early twenties.

Back then, I couldn’t see how my actions hurt others. I didn’t understand that watching someone you love starve themselves into a skeletal existence is absolute hell. I was far from home, living on my own and I weighed an alarmingly low weight. (Read Hungry, if you wish to know more about this painful time.) My boyfriend tried to get me to eat. It wasn’t easy for me, and it certainly wasn’t easy for him. We fell apart—we likely would have anyway, but the situation hastened the blow. But—and this is the important part—we both put our lives back together with new pieces and went on to have the futures we were meant to have, building our own families just the way they were meant to be.

I gained some weight after we broke up and gained even more when I was preparing to try to get pregnant five years later. There were some bumps in the road… I fainted while waiting for a restaurant table with my husband when we were newlyweds, after not eating much all day (just a yogurt and an apple for lunch hours earlier), thanks to stress and an inner ear infection that left me with little appetite. I knew I had to do something to ensure that I was healthy, so I could get pregnant and have a healthy pregnancy. It took something bigger than myself and thinking about someone other than myself—my future child—to finally change my ways for good. I saw a nutritionist, followed her program meticulously and gained five pounds (fifteen pounds over my lowest weight). I was finally a healthy weight (just three pounds less than I weigh now) when I got pregnant. I put my food struggles behind me and moved on.

Then my middle son battled the same exact issues and the anguish of watching him fade away before my eyes made me realize how difficult it was for my family and my boyfriend so many years earlier. I also starting blogging about this difficult situation and connected with so many people who thanked me for letting them know they weren’t alone. Since Hungry mentioned how bad I felt about what I put my ex-boyfriend through and I linked back to it in a new essay, I gave him a heads-up, just in case he read it. I also told him that I was sorry for what I put him through, knowing now how awful it is watching my son. My ex was, of course, very kind. I probably should have said that I was sorry two decades earlier. But, I was glad that I finally said it a few months ago. And now, there’s nothing left that I need to say to any of my exes about our relationships, except perhaps that I hope they are all always happy in the lives they have built…