When there’s black Sharpie on your computer screen, you might as well throw your hands in the air.

Nico and his mop

I called out the other day from bed, feeling so horribly sick (the worst sick in years) and said to Matt, “Honey? Is there anything you could bring me that would make me feel better?”

As soon as I said this, I knew that there probably was not, but what I was really asking for was his presence, an I’m so sorry you are feeling so bad… but what was so terrible and comical is that he didn’t hear me at all! I saw his figure move across the hallway, iphone earbuds engaged, and the sound of the door closing as he went to pick up Nico at school.

I could make this moment mean something and feel really sorry for myself or I could just laugh and surrender.

That’s how I felt yesterday morning when I heard Nico calling to me: “Mama! You help me? Mama come!”

I wandered into the living room, still doubled over from the stomach flu and saw that he had climbed up on my desk. As I lifted him off, I noticed the marker in his hand and the BLACK SHARPIE covering my computer screen. Yep. You read that right. Black Sharpie all over my beautiful 27″ imac screen. All those irritating smudges from gummy fingers, stray bits of peanut butter and yogurt, seemed like nothing now. Black freaking Sharpie!

But these last few days have clearly been about surrender, about things being as they are and not as I want want them to be.

Like on Wednesday when I had to cancel my very first Storybowl because I was puking my guts out. Even while it was happening I wasn’t sure – is the lesson to cancel and know that no one will die? or is it to show up and be less than fabulous, imperfect, human? Or, like the Sharpie debacle, does shit just happen? and it’s not a lesson at all.

I Googled “Sharpie on computer screen” and saw endless entries in discussion forums about 3-year olds destroying computer screens across America.

We are not alone people. We are never alone. So that’s comforting.

I am grateful I let myself cancel the event. (I promise to let you know the new date Storybowlers!)
I am grateful that no one got mad at me.
I am grateful that it’s not the end of the world.
I’m grateful that I can still use my computer, that only the right half is covered in Sharpie and I can still see the left half clearly.
I am grateful that in my weakened, flu-induced state, I didn’t even feel angry. I just sighed and picked Nico up and we carried on.

I think that’s what you call surrender and I must have needed some practice in it.

UPDATE: One of Ben’s 7-year old friends suggested I trace the Sharpie with dry erase marker and then erase it. It worked like a charm! and didn’t harm my screen one bit. ?


  1. Posted March 24, 2013 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    Feel better dear Andrea. Those Nico eyes will always win out over the “black sharpie” debacle. oxo ? Thanks for sharing your journey to surrender.

  2. Posted March 24, 2013 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    Ella did red sharpie all over my screen and nailpolish remover got it off.

  3. Mariella
    Posted March 24, 2013 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    The first word that popped into my head when I read your title was, surrender! And then I thought, wow that’s gotta be taking surrender to a whole new level. ? Oy! What a topsy-turvy week you’ve had! Hope you’re feeling better. Hugs!! xo

  4. Posted March 24, 2013 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    Have you tried rubbing alcohol? I am pretty sure that should remove it and not harm your screen.

  5. Posted March 24, 2013 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    You are so awesome! Surrender indeed. I hope you are feeling better too!

  6. Leonie
    Posted March 25, 2013 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    Try tracing the sharpie with whiteboard marker and then whiping with a paper towel. My dad swears it works.

    Good luck, beautiful post. Feel better!

  7. Lizzy in Toronto
    Posted March 25, 2013 at 12:21 am | Permalink

    Surrender was my word of the year the year I had an awful boss, and was pregnant with my second daughter. It taught me very very well. I hope it does you too.

  8. Deb Kilgore Ford
    Posted March 25, 2013 at 12:51 am | Permalink

    Oh, Andrea, dreadful, but you clearly reached out to your higher self to say embrace me, let me be who I really want to be, not who I am inclined to descend to being. What a blessing to your son and to us!! Joy and healing and peace, Deb

  9. Posted March 25, 2013 at 2:30 am | Permalink

    Surrender is such a big one to learn. Much practice is needed.

  10. Amy
    Posted March 25, 2013 at 3:04 am | Permalink

    Actually the very best thing to take sharpie off is sharpie. Draw over the lines and wipe immediately.

  11. Posted March 25, 2013 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    An Andrea that’s the worst! Feeling awful & having your computer screen drawn on! On the up side, because an iMac is a glass screen I imagine it acts quit like a whiteboard and I know that you can generally remover permanent marker from a whiteboard by drawing over it in whiteboard marker and then erasing it while the whiteboard marker is still fresh. Definitely worth a try!!! ?

  12. Posted March 25, 2013 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    ” I must have needed some practice in it”

    i love those moments.

  13. Posted March 25, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    rubbing alcohol, not nailpolish remover.

  14. emily b
    Posted March 25, 2013 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    inspirational:) mr. clean magic erasers also quickly take care of sharpies (for future reference…)

  15. Rachel
    Posted March 26, 2013 at 12:35 am | Permalink

    I cannot believe the dry erase marker thing. Ben’s friend (and you others who suggested it) are amazing!

  16. Leah
    Posted March 26, 2013 at 1:21 am | Permalink

    I absolutely love the coda. The fact a seven year old had the solution … so awesome.

  17. Posted March 26, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    Sharpie on computer screen? Sure. But OH MY CUTENESS! He is super adorable.

  18. Posted March 26, 2013 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    I think I just had a little heart attach for you.

  19. Posted March 26, 2013 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    oops attack

  20. Sandy
    Posted March 26, 2013 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t that dry erase marker trick amazing?! I teach, and I arrived in class one day to find racial remarks on my board (in a room shared by multiple teachers), written with a sharpie. We got it off that day with Listerine. But, I learned the dry erase trick after that, and I have no understanding of why it works, but I am amazed every time!

  21. Christine
    Posted March 26, 2013 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

    For me, the best part of this post? That a 7 year old knew how to fix the problem! That is just awesome.

  22. Posted March 28, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    oh my goodness…I just love that you were able to remove the sharpie from a seven year olds advice. amazing!

  23. Posted March 29, 2013 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    It may be a lost cause but I accidentally found that alcohol based hand sanitizer removes sharpee marker from almost any surface…. I love your fresh perspective on life. It has inspired me to start writing again. ?

  24. Posted March 30, 2013 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    I LOVE that a seven-year-old had the solution. My life lately has been all about surrender. It’s definitely not always easy…

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