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To My New Friend Jessi Klein: I Love You and I Need You -- to Help Me Stop Caring and to Get Published

We’re a low screen high podcast family. As a result, I’ve become an expert in Clifford’s good deeds and Pinkalicious’s trip to the moon, Molly of Denali’s detective skills and Arthur’s best friends. But when Autumn’s not around, it’s my turn to monopolize the air waves, and it’s then I indulge in my audio books.

During my commute, I’ve learned the crap out of potty training and how to become a simplicity parent. And I’ve also met my new best friend and idol, Jessi Klein. Jessi is a comedian/writer /mom/Jew/unbelievably awesome person whom I love without even having met because yes, in this case, that is possible.

To some, she is narrating her books — entertaining, informing, teaching — but to others — or one other — aka me — she is confiding. Yes, Jessi, I, too, think it’s completely ridiculous the way everyone is in kahoots about pretending those stupid dressing room doors that slide across actually provide privacy. Yes, I have flown across the country for some idiot guy who totally didn’t deserve me. And mostly, yes, as I’ve become older, and a mom, I completely don’t give a shit about the many trivial things that cluttered my mind in my youth.

Oh wait. That’s you. And that’s me — trying to become you — at least in that way (and also in the way you are a best seller, but I digress). My ears danced during Chapter 22 of your 288-page masterpiece, “I’ll Show Myself Out: Essays on Midlife and Motherhood.”

You have no time to care about Harry Styles or Billie Eilish, Tiktok or waiting in line for brunch.

I never really had time for those to begin with, so I wasn’t completely connecting until you got to the part about wishing you were the prettiest in the room and then the part about apologizing all the time to make others feel better about having made you feel badly.

Let’s take the first one. Just today, Jessi, I made an appointment with a dermatologist because renew eye gel, anti-aging resurfacing cleanser, and my personal favorite because it must be amazing in its one fluid ounce eye dropper bottle costing nearly more than a week’s pay, are simply not doing enough to erase the half moons renting space under my eyes.

“What does that do?” Autumn asks, watching my face regimen intently.

“It makes my skin healthier,” I tell her, avoiding why I really spend millions of hours and dollars applying this crap – so her mother doesn’t look like a grandma. I wish I didn’t care, Jessi Klein.

Please tell me how you stopped caring.

And about the not saying sorry, I’m getting better. At work, parents want to blame their students’ missing homework on me, but no, Jessi. I am polite, but never apologize, because apologizing means taking ownership – ownership for homework not done that I for sure made clear was for sure due.

And I’ve also done better with my car. It’s not that I don’t try to keep it tidy, but just that the unique trail mix of Chex/popcorn/freeze-dried strawberries collecting in the folds of my daughter’s car seat (why are there so many hiding places?) does not deserve as much time getting cleaned as my daughter’s actual face/hands/everything else.

Maybe someday, Jessi Klein, I can be you. At least in the way you are published and in the way you blow off this and that and especially in the way you explain it all so eloquently. I strive to use the word f%*~ in my work in a way that makes me, too, sound not at all truck driver-y, but like a mom who’s come to terms with — and is completely in control of — being not at all in control anymore.

Mommy On, Jessi Klein, Mommy On.

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