A Word of Advice This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

August 3, 2011
Click-clack-click-clack. The old wooden stairs are tattletales, their creaks indicating a late night reprieve from the bustling hospital, or a midnight affair with Ben and Jerry. The sound grows, and I stop typing as I see the brass knob twist.
“I’m a model, Mommy! Watch! Watch!” I watch as my daughter sways and wobbles in patent red heels (five sizes too big), a pink feather boa, and a plastic silver tiara. By the time she walks across the office, her cheeks had turned a rosy hue, her tiara tilted and tangled in her light blonde hair.
“Whaddaya think?” she exclaims, her eyes gleaming up at me, obviously proud of her bold fashion statement and her fall-free catwalk.
“I think those heels belong back in mommy’s closet,” I grin, swooping her into my lap in one smooth motion. I say this to her because, for one, she should ask before she takes things from others and secondly, I can’t stand the thought of my four-year-old as a teenager in high heels, flirting with boys and dressing in hip-hugging jeans and a fitted shirt. The only fashion statements she will be making soon are her polka dot rain boots and her colorful collection of tights.
I can completely understand her interest in fashion and clothing. I write for Lucky Magazine, a magazine that covers everything, from fitness routines to feather headbands to first date advice. My job is to lend advice to the many divas in distress that mail letters to our headquarters. I love my job, and I believe Jess does too, when I often catch her scribbling marker creations on the glossy pages of the magazine.
“Okay, I’ll put ‘em back. But only if you play Teacher with me later!” Though she copied the moves of ditzy models when she first walked in, she is more suited for a lawyer’s line of work-her negotiating skills are sharp.
“Deal, partner.” I tickle her side and she lets out a cheerful laugh, adjusts her tiara, ands click-clack-click-clacks out of the office.
Now, back to the glowing screen of my computer. First question: Help! I hate the way my new ‘do looks; my stylist dyed my hair red instead of blonde! It’s too soon to dye it without damaging my delicate strands, what can I do to make myself presentable for the next month? Sincerely, a Raging Redhead.
Answer: Dear Raging Redhead, Buy four weeks’ worth of hats, I hear sombreros are the next big trend. I can’t help feeling like a wiseass. Many times, I am tempted to write, ‘Aren’t there bigger concerns in your life??’ Some days, my mind wanders to how simplistic some of their lives must be, where their only problem is what to wear for a movie premiere, or what chrome-covered convertible they should purchase. I envy their lifestyles, but the laughter of my child quickly fills me with guilt, making for a quick return to reality. Alas, I always backspace my cheeky words and write a sensitive, caring, and insightful response. Answer: Dear Raging Redhead, I am sorry to hear about the mix-up! I recommend a new hair dye that is specially made for damaged strands, which is actually mentioned in this month’s edition, page 72. If you still feel unsure, try styling your hair into an updo, such as a chignon, a curled ponytail, or a braided bun with a colorful headband. Next question: My husband has become angrier since he was promoted to executive director at his work. He often comes home, flustered and sleep-deprived, cursing up a storm until he hits the sack. He is not the man he once was, and I don’t want my child to be around this stranger any longer. Should I wait it out, or seek a divorce? Sincerely, Depressed in Damascus. I wish I could reach out to this woman and give her a hug, take her out for a drink, and stand by her side. I frown, knowing that the only healing I can extend is the small compilation of words I type, a few reassuring thoughts that will help her decide, a gentle reality check.

Dear Depressed in Damascus,
There are many different types of love-love for your child, your family, your husband, yourself. It seems that some, or all, of these are being sacrificed due to a change in work schedules and the stress that results from such. It is up to you to decide whether these sacrifices are worth waiting months, or years, for your husband to potentially adapt, or if his work has permanently changed the man with whom you fell in love. As you ponder over this, I wish you a strong will and heart. I know what you’re going through; trust me, I’ve been there.

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