A Letter to My Daughter on Her 25th Birthday

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25 years ago (and nine months), the pink stripe unmistakably proclaimed my suspicions that I was pregnant. Lee Bausinger and I had been married about six months, and we had about $5 to our name. If I remember correctly, we were living at a hotel in California (not THE Hotel California, just so you know), working for a few weeks until we would move to Winter Park, Florida where Lee would be attending Nuclear “A” School for the Navy.
Needless to say, I was worried. I worried about the pregnancy, I worried about gaining weight, I worried about moving so far from my beloved Arkansas. I worried about what kind of mama I was going to be. At 18 years old, let’s just say I knew diddly squat about parenting, and had in fact proclaimed to anyone who would listen that I wasn’t going to have kids. They are expensive. They do disgusting things like pick their noses. They go through a period where they don’t even know how to use the toilet! I shuddered to think of the implications.
But God knew better, and pregnant I was. If the test didn’t confirm it, my inappropriate consumption of bean burritos and Little Debbie snack cakes would have been a tipoff.
There were a few scares, as Miss Jody doesn’t like to be kept waiting. I was hospitalized and put on medication to stop premature labor. It was terrifying, and for the first time, I realized how precious this little life was. I realized there were no guarantees.
The labor took a long time, and I was young and dumb and didn’t know to ask for an epidural. When Jordanne Bausinger was born (it only took 18 hours), it was well before the due date. Jody likes to say she doesn’t like to be late. She was 8 pounds and had a gorgeous head of black hair. I took one look into those baby blues and lost my heart forever.
Those baby blues have long since deepened into a lovely green, much like my mother’s eyes, and her mother’s before her–a reflection of our stubborn Irish-Scotch ancestry.
Jody, I love you. I love your protective heart, your perfectionist attitude, the way you take on too much and don’t know when to stop (wonder where you get that?). I love your loyalty and your witty sense of humor. You are one of my greatest accomplishments. Happy birthday, Sweetheart. Next month, you graduate with a double major (Music Education and Performance) and the world will be set on fire when you storm the scene.
I can’t wait.
I know I will miss you when you leave to embrace your future, but I can’t be selfish anymore. It’s time to share you with the world.
I love you.

***

Want to read more like this? Check out Tina’s best-selling book on Amazon:

Tina Bausinger has published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, IN Magazine, and the Tyler Paper. She's working on her Ed.D at A&M Commerce.

Tina Bausinger has published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, IN Magazine, and the Tyler Paper. She’s working on her Ed.D at A&M Commerce.

Cold Coffee and Speed Limits

  What I Want My Daughters to Know: Part 2

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But I will win and give her my spirit, because this is the way a mother loves her daughter. Yin Yang. –Amy Tan

Note to the reader: Part 1 was published in a previous post. If you want to read it, click here.

What I Want My Daughters to Know: Part 2

My sweet girls,

I am so very proud of both of you. You have both worked so incredibly hard, sometimes through outrageous hardships and complications, to follow your dreams and to become successful women in your right. You both have giant hearts as well as the ability to recognize need in others and to try to help others.

I will never have the time to tell you everything I want you to know–there aren’t enough hours in an ordinary life. God only gives us a terminable view of eternity–and it’s fleeting at best.

I know I’ve told you much of what I want you to know already, and sometimes I have done the direct opposite of what I preach. I’ve had wrong priorities; I’ve made more mistakes than I can count. But I hope you know above all how much I love you both. Here are a few more things I want to pass on to you.

1. Don’t make anything (or anyone) your whole world. People are only human, and will inevitably let you down. It’s unrealistic and unfair to make a mere mortal the center of your universe–and doing this will rarely lead to happiness. This goes for spouses, parents, even your own children. Children SHOULD be the most important part of our lives when we are raising them, but they too will move on one day. They are only on loan to us, and the time with them is fleeting, but balance is everything.

In the same way, jobs are only temporary pieces of who we are–important pieces, yes, but merely fragments–and there will come a day when we can’t go to work anymore. The only thing that can make us whole is our relationship with God, and that’s not always easy either.

2. Nobody can take away your education. Whatever training or schooling you earn will only help you succeed in life. If you want that master’s degree–GO FOR IT. Want a Ph.D.? You can absolutely have one. Going to school is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do, but it’s worth it to pursue your passion, but it’s time consuming and there’s always a cost, financially, emotionally, and with your relationships. That old saying that nothing worth having is easy is absolutely true.

3. Always save for a rainy day. It’s almost a law of nature that the worst things will happen when you don’t have a penny to your name. The one who controls the purse strings controls you.

4. Never let anyone break your spirit. This can happen suddenly, like an unexpected thunderstorm that leaves you breathless, or bit by bit, so gradually you don’t even notice until the day you wake up with an emptiness you can’t name. Always, always keep in mind your own worth. Your opinion–your happiness– matters. You are beloved by me and God. If you wake up, dear one, and find this has happened, it sometimes takes the help of others to heal. Don’t be too proud to ask for help.

5. It’s so important to have good friends. Always foster relationships with two kinds of friends: those who admire you and those you admire. It’s important to be an example to others, to teach what you have learned, to help other women find their light. It’s equally vital to find a mentor for yourself–someone you wish to emulate, who can teach you and advise you when your own view is cloudy and hard to navigate. There have been several times when you both have became my beacons in a cloudy harbor when I was too weak to swim to shore. You’ve stood by me in difficult times when I felt I couldn’t talk to too many people about my problems. In this way, you’ve both become my best friends, and this is the best gift you could ever give me.

I love you, my sweet girls.

You make me so very proud.

For more of Tina’s writing, get Cold Coffee and Speed Limits on Amazon today!

Tina Book Cover

Cold Coffee and Speed Limits: Encouragement for Mamas of Teens Coming Sept. 25!

Tina Book Cover

Cold Coffee and Speed Limits

A Letter to Mamas of Teens:

Why is it that there are thousands of books/blogs about raising babies, toddlers, and even school-aged kids, but when we get to the teenage range–poof! Everybody disappears from the blogosphere faster than my pre-pregnancy figure. Sure, there are plenty of scary clinical approaches out there, but this isn’t one of them. I’ve been a mama of teenagers for a while now, and though I’m no expert, I’ve been there. Actually, I’m still there.

I am with you, Mama.

The life of a mom raising teens is anything but easy. This book began with a blog: http://www.tinabausinger.com. I wanted to chronicle my experience raising teenagers (two girls and a boy) not only for myself but to encourage others. In this book, I’ve included the most popular posts.

Some posts are funny—some are not. Some I wrote out of complete frustration and heartache. Others I wrote with joy and humor.

Besides being a mama of three, I’m a writer, an experimental cook, and an English professor. I’ve published in magazines and newspapers and internationally in Chicken Soup for the Soul books. I also wrote a novel, War Eagle Women.  I live in Texas (the land of Old Yeller) and I survive on large amounts of coffee and ungodly amounts of sugar. It’s really not healthy.

I refer to my son (now 16) as Mancub. He just LOVES IT. Ok not really, but he’s gotten used to it. Remember the Jungle Book? It’s Rudyard Kipling’s classic post-colonial story that sort of satires the motives of the British Empire as it claims to “civilize” India (and any other country it could get its hands on). All that aside, I think the jungle is the perfect metaphor to explain raising teens. Here’s why:

It’s scary. You can’t quite see your hand in front of your face, and your lantern is just not bright enough.

It’s dangerous. There are many things just around the corner wanting to hurt you (or your Mancub). Sometimes, your Mancub may even go looking for danger. Sometimes danger comes looking for him.

I use the term Watergirl for the female of the species. In the Jungle Book movie made famous by Disney, Mowgli thinks he knows EVERYTHING until he sees the girl who sings about fetching the water. After that, Mancub is just GONE. So that’s the collective term I use for teen girls in this book.

So yes, the jungle is a dangerous place. Mancub can’t be expected to look after himself just yet, even though he disagrees. But oh—the beauty of the jungle…it’s breathtaking if you take a moment to reflect upon it.

For now—welcome to the Jungle!

What people are saying about Cold Coffee and Speed Limits: Encouragement for Mamas

Cold Coffee and Speed Limits is an enchanting look into the journey that is mothering teenagers. Recipes, open letters, anecdotes and practical guides come together in this book to inspire and comfort readers. More than the perfect Mother’s Day gift, Cold Coffee speaks to teens, mothers, mothers-to-be, and everyone in-between. The raw realities of life are beautifully arranged to fulfill our need of obtaining important information rapidly and allowing the reader to slip into the beauty that is family life.” Stephanie L.

Cold Coffee and Speed Limits is a mix of advice, recipes and anecdotes that will have the most serious of readers laughing and taking notes. It made the chaos of parenting seem both magical and practical…I laughed, teared up (RIP Goliath), and jotted down a meatloaf recipe to try later. After reading this book I went and hugged my mom and told her I was sorry for putting her through teen hell and thanked her for loving me through it.” Gabbey S.

Tina shares her mother of teens experience to show others there is a light at the end of the tunnel and they aren’t traveling it alone. Joy K.

Even though I’m not a parent, I found myself tucking little nuggets of your writing away in my mind for when I do have kids of my own.  Kelsi A.

So many other parenting blogs/books just make me feel guilty. It’s already too late to do or not do what’s suggested, or I don’t have the means. Yours are helpful and flexible. They help me see that, though I’ve made mistakes, my kids are doing well, and I still have time to teach them a few things.-Bryony T.

With each laugh, worry, and reflection shared, Tina unveils the teenage years of parenting as a time to revel in the beauty of living despite the chaos of the jungle. Through her journey, she shows the weary mom how to focus on the moment at hand versus the entire collage. Slow down, enjoy the coffee and hug your babies: we are all going to make it with the help of a little comfort food! –Kari M.

On the Middle Child and Asserting Your Voice

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Dear Sarah,

23 years ago, I woke up to a startling popping noise, similar to the sound a bottle of champagne makes. It wasn’t champagne. It was the beginning of your journey into this world to meet me. I know there were (and are still) others you would meet, but I like to think this first time was meant for me alone.

coronado bridge

I’ve told the story many times before: the long ride across the Coronado Bridge in the pre-dawn hours, the lights twinkling across the bay as my contractions grew stronger and closer together. Dad was flying from Bremerton where his ship, The Long Beach, was being dry docked for repair. We hoped and prayed he would make it in time, but he was just a few hours shy.

The nervousness of the taxi driver who didn’t speak English and seemed very concerned I might soil his cab with my impending birth. How I labored for several hours alone, waiting for your Nannie and Papa to drive up from Indio to be with me. The doctor and nurses placing bets about how big you were gonna be (they were all wrong…and so inappropriate!). How beautiful you were when I held you in my arms, all 22 inches of you. You were and are still a gorgeous girl–the kind of baby that made people stop and notice, involuntairly saying “Awwww” when they saw that unbeatable combination of eyes and lips and now, the long raven hair that you could have only gotten from your daddy’s Italian side.

Not surprisingly, your sister was a bit jealous. She tried to keep you out of Nannie’s room so you wouldn’t get any of the snuggles. She wondered out loud when you were going back to the hospital. In short, she was not impressed.

But you found your voice pretty quickly. You learned to stick up for yourself, to declare your opinion–sometimes to demand your own way. When you were four and Jody asked what you wanted Santa to bring you for Christmas, you summarily told her to “Grow up.” When I tried to replace your worn out Simba that you carried everywhere by its neck (because that’s how Simba’s mother would have carried him!), I “washed” him and came back with a new, less ratty version. You looked me straight in the eye and said, “This one looks … new. I want my old one.” You ended up getting two. It wasn’t too long before the second one looked as decrepit as the original.

I know you sometimes make jokes about being the ignored middle child but you know we couldn’t overlook you if we wanted to. Your beauty, talent, brains, wit and hilarity brighten up our daily lives and I don’t know what we would do without you.

And I think your sister may have finally gotten used to your being around. Just a hunch.

Happy Birthday, Sarah. I love you so much.

One more time, Sarah–here’s the song I was thinking of while taking that long drive across the Coronado bridge, knowing my life was about to forever change.

I’m so very lucky.

Get Here if You Can

Overheard at the DMV

driving

Please enjoy this blog post on the continuing adventures of Mancub.

Overheard at the DMV

My First Gender Reveal Party

The happy couple! Can you stand it?

Yesterday, I attended my very first gender reveal party.

It was a HOOT.

First, let me explain a couple of things. I hate baby showers. I don’t mind giving gifts or eating cake, obviously, but it’s never just that, is it? Usually, there are embarrassing (or disgusting!) games in which my socially awkward/phobic self is asked to identify melted candy in a diaper (THIS IS REAL!) or to estimate the width of my pregnant friend’s belly using yarn (this never ends well!). Baby showers are the WORST.

So a gender reveal party? Puleese.

I only went because my sweet friend Regan asked me to. I would have probably begged off if she hadn’t actually HUNTED ME DOWN and made me promise to come.

I’m so glad I did.

The first thing that happened: there was a mistake on the Facebook invite. The wrong address was listed. Diligently using my GPS, I ended up on the bottom of a quiet street. A bit too quiet–there were NO CARS AROUND. It looked like the set of the Walking Dead. I swear I saw a tumbleweed roll by.

For a second or two I suspiciously thought I was being set up for some kind of horror/punk’d show where the old lady gets out of the car and is killed immediately OR is scared out of her loosely-fitting Depends while stoner 30-year-old guys in need of haircuts film the whole thing from their skateboards. But really, nobody was there! There weren’t any cars in the driveway at all!

Still, because I am an AWESOME friend, I rang the doorbell. What if she was by herself? What if nobody came to the party and I was the only one! I would immediately be elevated to BEST FRIEND FOREVER status! I didn’t for a moment think that a hottie, hilarious girl like Regan would be friendless, but you never know.

It was like on the horror flicks where you find yourself muttering out loud, “DON’T DO IT. ARE YOU STUPID OR SOMETHING? THERE’S A GUY IN A HOCKEY MASK WAITING FOR YOU.”  I realize this is a bit dramatic and would never really happen since I’m not a hot college sorority girl. It’s not as “in” to kill chubby, middle-aged English teachers.

When nobody answers, I wait for a bit, then realize I might be looking suspicious to the neighborhood watch people so I go back to my car and call my friend. Turns out the party is about 6 houses down. I think she was trying to do the “Well I invited you but you never showed” thing that happened to me in the 5th grade.

Scars run deep, my friend.

Anyway, I finally made it to the party, unstabbed.

In case you never heard of this, a gender reveal party is where a pregnant couple reveals the gender of their unborn baby. In this case, Regan had given the “top secret info” in an envelope to her BFF Cornell who managed to keep his lips sealed for over 2 weeks.

There’s a reason I wasn’t chosen for this job.

Anyway, when I first came in the house, I was handed 5 clothespins. I immediately (but not visibly) rolled my eyes at the thought of a “game.” Please God please God please God…

But turns out, all I have to do is NOT say the words “baby”,” boy” or “girl” to keep my clips, and if I heard someone else say those words I was supposed to confiscate any pins of those who repeated the offensive words. The one who had the most pins at the end of the party won a prize.

There was this adorable little boy running around taking this mission seriously. VERY seriously. I totally accused him of trading on his cuteness to trick unsuspecting adults into giving up their pins. He just shrugged his little Abercrombie shoulders and walked off. He’s already a “cool kid” at the age of 8.

After some delicious food, I had a mimosa and surveyed the mixed pink and blue decor. It was adorable. And quiche? They got quiches, my friend! If you like quiche then you are in heaven!

And then — the grand moment! The unveiling of the gender!

There was a big box, tastefully wrapped in pink and blue tissue paper, topped with about 56 pink, blue and silver bows. The silver I can only assume was a tip your hat gesture to the elderly guests (here’s one for the oldsters!). Regan opened the box and pulled out a baby doll…dressed in yellow.

This was so confusing. Yellow? What’s the deal? Did her friend forget and lose the info? It seemed in poor taste to have a gender reveal party if the ultrasound tech just couldn’t tell…or what if the baby was one of those that DIDN’T HAVE ANY PRIVATE PARTS? I haven’t actually heard of this, but you never know. Everyone looked at one another a bit uneasily. Let it be known: we all made a silent pledge to be supportive should Little Baby M turn out to be sexless.

I even had some names picked out that would work either way. Pat. Taylor. Jordan. Alex.

Finally, it was determined that to find out the FINAL info, Regan had to UNDRESS THE BABY DOLL.

This was hilarious. I can tell she has changed 0 diapers in her glamorous life. Anyway, after a few minutes of struggling with the tiny clothes, she held it up.

An anatomically correct BOY doll. We laughed so hard. I imagined that Cornell was going to have some VERY interesting “suggestions” from Amazon from now on–“If you liked your anatomically correct baby doll, you might also like…” LOL!

Anyway, I’m so glad I came. It was fun, the food was awesome, and I loved the party.

That little mini-Alex Keaton ended up with about 32 clothespins. YOU CANNOT TELL ME HE TRICKED THAT MANY PEOPLE. I feel the game was rigged, but I’m a big enough person I didn’t say anything. Yet. I’m planning to get a reporter from the New York Times to look into it. Hopefully there will be enough evidence to write a hard-hitting expose highlighting corruption in Tyler. In 15 years, I fully expect the kid to be a successful mobster OR Congressman.

I’ve got my eye on you, son.

5 Things My Mom Taught Me

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For those of you who know me, you also know this: my relationship with my mom has never been easy. Truthfully, is any mother/daughter relationship really easy? We’re so very different–in almost every way. There has never been a time we’ve  understood one another, but I think we’ve both come to accept that.As a teen, I strove to be her polar opposite. I didn’t think I’d ever want to be a wife, and I sure as heck didn’t want to be a mother. She used to drive me utterly bonkers–she didn’t understand my need for college, to get out of Springdale.  I guess she forgot that when she was 18 the very first thing she did was move to Tulsa, all by herself, just to see if she could. Nobody in our family had ever broken free that way before. In the end, she moved back to be near the family and because she loved Arkansas.

I guess I understand that part of her.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to be more accepting of my mom and who she is, and I think she’s found the same peace with her crazy, unpredictable firstborn. I’ve also learned that even though I may have resisted her advice and may have believed that she had nothing to teach me, she’s been teaching me all along. Maybe I’m the one who has changed and not she. Here are 5 things my mama taught me.

1. The value of hard work. My mother quit high school her freshman year to get a job. It wasn’t because she hated school or learning, she wanted to help her mother feed and clothe her nine siblings. . My mother worked various waitressing jobs and seasonal farm work–picking peaches, berries, etc.–to help my grandma feed those kids. Then, when my sisters and I were growing up, she worked at a chicken plant, standing for 12 hours a day in a freezer. I know she wasn’t thrilled to work there, but she did it.

As a result, I, too am hard working. I don’t know how to be otherwise. Both my parents instilled a diligent work ethic in me that sometimes threatens to cross the line into workaholicism. You know what they say about anything in excess?

2.  Unreasonable stubbornness/perserverance. This trait has both served me well and been my folly. Sometimes I take a bit of time making a decision, but once it’s made I stick to it, TO A FAULT. I will hold on with nothing but my fingernails until whatever I’ve decided has either come to fruition or is torn from under me. Either way, I rarely give in. I rarely give up. This stubborn streak runs in my blood from both my mom and dad.

 Perseverance is different from stubbornness, because perseverance is usually a positive thing. To persevere means to endure even when things get crazy difficult and complicated. It means to hang on and not give up. One way I saw her persevere was with her caretaking of my grandfather. When my grandfather became old and ill, she took care of him. Incidentally, he also was unreasonably stubborn–so much so it took FIVE heart attacks to kill him. Even though his doctors warned him to quit, he chewed tobacco and drank until his dying day–well into his 80s.  I really thought he was never going to die–I thought even death was a bit scared of him. My grandfather was cranky and hard to please–but still my mother checked on him and bought him groceries and took him to the doctor. I didn’t understand why–he was mean to her, often complaining about the brands she chose or how she paid the bills, and he was often hurtful in word and deed. Yet, she never gave up on him.

3. To not waste anything. My mom is the queen of reusing and recycling before it was cool to do so. She rarely throws anything away, which can sometimes be a bad thing, but you could never accuse her of waste.

4. How to make a meal from nothing. When I look back now, I know my family was poor, but Mom saw to it we always had food in our stomachs. I never felt the sting of poverty in my belly. As an adult, I know now that many times we probably had very little and we rarely had an excess of anything, but we were never hungry. Mom never used food stamps, though we probably qualified. We did make use of the free lunch program at school, though. Mom would make the best pinto beans, fried potatoes and homemade biscuits ever. Understand that this was before anybody cared about carbs, ok?

5. My love of writing. My mom often jotted down short stories on notebook paper, and I would sometimes find them. She wrote about her childhood in rural Arkansas, her parents, her family, working in the fields, and meeting my dad and falling in love. I credit much of my love of writing to her.

Anyway, I hate it when people blame their mothers for everything and never give them credit for what good they did. Sure, we will never see eye-to-eye, but that doesn’t really matter. My love for her remains. I will never forget the sacrifice, the hard work, the devotion she demonstrated–these are the things that endure.

Thank you, Mom.

Don’t Be Such a Girl! Science, Gender and Social Expectations of Faking Emotion

noahandme

This guy always makes me smile.

In an interview for Wired magazine, Marianne LaFrance, an experimental psychologist at Yale University said,

“On average girls and women smile more. This appears to be a function of two things. Boys are encouraged not to smile very much. Expressivity is taken by some as sign of emotionality, of femininity, something many men wouldn’t be caught dead being associated with.”

It makes sense, really. We’re trained, as little girls, to make everyone feel better. We’re told to smile when things get stressful, to smile when we greet someone, in photos, to even smile at strangers we don’t even know. When we don’t, people get worried. “Are you ok?” they ask. “What’s wrong? Are you sick?” Socially, it’s expected. Girls are not really given the option to avoid smiling.

Men and boys, on the other hand, are not expected to smile on command (either spoken or unspoken). If a man never smiles, people call him focused, intense, serious. Alternately, if a man does happen to smile, it’s kind of like a bonus. He’s a nice guy, he’s friendly. But if he smiles too much? It’s just as isolating. He’s insecure; he’s fake.

If a woman rarely smiles, she’s labeled as moody, unhappy, stressed out. She takes herself too seriously.  She can’t handle pressure. If you don’t feel like smiling? Too bad. Fake it.

Adrian Furnham Ph.D.,  argues that Southerners smile more than other regions in the US. This also makes sense because we’re often taught (especially as Southern women) to be overly concerned with others and their comfort, and smiling indicates friendliness. To not smile is to be sullen, rude. Nobody likes rude little girls. Nobody likes rude women.

We even have rules about genuine smiles and fake smiles:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sideways-view/201410/the-surprising-psychology-smiling

I have a proposal.

I think we should teach our little girls to smile when they want to. Let’s try to not pressure them into fake happiness for the benefit of others. Let’s teach our little boys that’s it’s ok to smile if they feel like it. Let’s begin as early as possible, demonstrating to our kids that genuine feelings and the expression of feelings is appropriate and ok. That doesn’t mean they get a license to be brats, by any means. It just means they are allowed to be genuine. Is it too much to hope that social expectations might shift, just the slightest, to allow our sons and daughters to be able to express their true emotions without judgement? I’d like to think so.

It makes me smile just thinking about it.

Swim Team

TinaBausinger

Hands poised, hips aligned

The heat of the noon sun on his shoulders

The shrill whistle blows and

He flies

Weightless over the water

Aqua coolness

The cold shock ignored

Feet furiously kicking

His arms take turns with fluid movements

His face turns for needed oxygen

Then back to the water

The water is another world; one of his own

Because, for a moment

There is nothing else

No bullies

No confusing homework

No grownups with their endless expectations

There is only him and the water

He is a part of it as it is a part of him

Surfacing, he looks at me, his biggest fan

And smiles that toothy grin

Fall TV: 4 Shows I Won’t Miss!

It’s fall–you know what that means. Fun, football and new TV episodes. I love it when a new season starts and all my favorite shows are back. Here’s 5 shows I love, love, love…and if you haven’t seen them I strongly suggest you check them out.

1. Parenthood
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5vCDj0tsEp0″>Season 1 Trailer

This show hooked me from the very first episode. The Braverman clan never disapoints. Well, that’s not 100% true. I was extremely disappointed (and yes, grossed out) when Julia kissed Ed last season. Blech! What is this guy’s problem? He always plays jerks (remember when he was on the Office playing Roy–still a jerk!) This is the “farewell” season and that makes me so sad. I love the Bravermans in their inperfection, although sometimes Max’s mom Christina annoys me since she always has the right thing to say. You never see her making the kids eat cereal for dinner or picking up drive-thru fare for her. Even when she was on her death bed, she managed to squeak out a request for Adam to check on Max at school. But overall, the characters are flawed and (except Christina) inperfect. I’ll miss you Parenthood!

2. Greys Anatomy

I hesitated putting this show on my list becuase it’s really not as great as it used to be, and Meridith gets on my nerves. Her lips have had so many injections that they kind of resemble Daisy Duck. But still I watch it. Why? I’m committed. I have to find out if McDreamy is gonna leave Meridith to take that job in DC where he’s working with the Prez. I also have not seen Cally and Arizona’s baby in a while. She’s always “conviently” somewhere else. She’s got to be like 20 now. I couldn’t believe that they are trying to get the viewers to swallow this stupid plot about Ellis having a love child with Webber back in the day that nobody know about. PULEEZE. Yet still I watch.

3. Modern Family

Even if there’s not a new episode on, I will watch the reruns. Why? Because they are hilarious. I love how they showcase Mitchell and Cameron’s ongoing rivalry. It doesn’t matter what it is they are competing. Cracks me up! Of the entire show I relate the most to Cameron. He’s at least honest about his faults. One question though. Why does nobody admit that Haley looks hispanic? There’s a story there.

5. American Horror Story Season 4: Freak Show

I missed the first episode so I haven’t started this one but I’m going to get around to it. I love Jessica Lange and this concept of modern Gothic tv. I never, ever watch this show if Nate is in the vicinity because sometimes there’s gratitutious parts for no apparent reason–I usally just fast forward thru those.

What’s your favorite fall lineup? Let me know! In the meantime, I’m gonna get caught up on the latest episode of Parenthood while I still can.