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You are nine years old, and Susan the babysitter is sitting in the hallway on top of the heating vent. It’s a cold night in Indiana. And she’s telling a story. Her eyes are wide, and she’s wearing purple lace fingerless gloves. You and your siblings are gathered around her like she’s the shaman of the village, sharing an ancient legend.


“I mean. He was just amazing.” She breathes. “It’s hard to describe.” She raises a purple-laced hand to wipe tears from her eyes, smudging some purple eyeliner. “The concert was just…unbelievable.”

Your sister, who is 14 and the oldest, she pats Susan’s arm in understanding. But you stare at Susan in confusion, eyeing her fringed “Prince and the Revolution” tour sweatshirt. She’s crying because the singer was so good? You can’t make sense of it.

You you’ve seen this on TV before. You’ve seen the old timey footage of women with stiff hair watching the Beatles and then just keeling over like they’ve been stunned with a cattle prod.

But you can’t put the pieces together. They’re sad because the song is so wonderful? But you can sense the heaviness of Susan’s emotions, and it translates to you as an important adult thing to try and understand later.

Later you are ten.

Your sister has turned on MTV. There’s a video of a man with curly black hair. He’s dressed like a pirate and singing about some birds that are crying. Doves, actually. And as you hear this song, and watch this man – something in you shifts.

This is not like the Little River Band mom plays in the van. This isn’t Neil Diamond shouting about “America!” This is different from the songs you sing at school about Jesus under the weight of the wood, and rainbow connections, and meatballs rolling off of the top of spaghetti all covered in cheese.

This is something that hits you low in your stomach. And it fills you with a feeling you have never expereienced before – a feeling like there is something wondrous just out of your reach – and this feeling is somehow both wonderful and terrible all at the same time. Later, you will learn the word “longing.”

You are 12.

In dance class you learn a jazz routine to “Raspberry Beret.” You wear pink tights and swivel your hips in a circle. She walked in through the out door out door…

You buy the Purple Rain CD for the brand new CD player. It’s a large black box the size of a VCR, and it’s connected to a huge amplifier. It’s all tucked onto a shelf in the old-fashioned cedar wardrobe your mom bought when she re-decorated your room with flowered wallpaper and pink carpet.

You open the cupboard doors like you are stepping into a secret world, but there is no lion or witch. Only a Prince. And he is crooning to you about someone named Nikki. And something she’s doing with a magazine. You hold your face in the darkness of the cupboard, and feel the vibrations of the music against your skin, while your stomach flips and twists.

You cut out the lyrics to “When Doves Cry” and hang them on your closet door. Dig if you will the picture. Of you and I engaged in a kiss. The sweat of your body covers me. Can you my darling, can you picture this?

You older sister stops by your room to take back the teal mini-dress you stole from her for your 7th grade dance. You wore it without knowing your sister had scorched a cigarette burn in the back, which your date pointed out to you while you were rocking awkwardly in a slow dance. Your sister scans the room, sees your cut out lyrics and pictures. She rifles through your CDs and spies Prince’s Scandalous Sex Suite, which includes the songs “The Passion”. “The Rapture.” And quite simply: “Sex.” She turns to you. You and your perm and bifocal glasses and braces, and she bursts out laughing.

“You’re into Prince? Hilarious. He a total horn dog, Jo!” She snaps her Big Red gum and laughs her way down the hall. You sit on your bed mortified. Somehow stunned that your selection of “Prince As Favorite Singer” has betrayed your sexual awakening.

You are in your twenties.

And therefore spend a lot of time confused and slightly drunk. You live in New York City. There is a lot of longing. You have been seeing a man for a very long time. A man who is also confused, but rarely as drunk.

You spend many nights away from him, out in bars downtown with your friends. “Little Red Corvette” and “Kiss” come on over the dive bar speakers, and you and your friends take off your pinching work shoes and swirl, laughing, dancing your confusion away, until the bartender shouts at you about his cabaret license and threatens to turn off the music.

One morning you wake up with the man and see a flash on his boxy desktop computer about Prince being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He’s doing a little concert afterwards, in a small venue. You have never seen him live. There haven’t been any opportunities to do so. And your hands shake as you email friends. It is only 7am. And you are harassing them about attending a Prince concert that night. A concert with a hefty price tag, and that doesn’t start until midnight. No one wants to go with you. Not even the man you woke up with. He is a more of a Michael Jackson guy. You decide to go alone.

You get there at 10pm, when the doors open, and you push your way to the front until you are about 20 feet from the stage. Midnight comes and goes. 1 am comes and goes. You are exhausted. Your purse and coat are in a heap at your feet. You chat with the people next to you, who look at your strangely – white girl with no friends in cheap boots. What’s her story?

As the clock ticks to 2am you begin to hate Prince. Fuck this. Where the fuck is he? And then suddenly – there the fuck he is – strutting out in a red tunic that looks like something Nancy Reagan might wear. And somehow still looking like the sexiest creature ever witnessed by human eyeballs. He smirks out at the crowd. Picks up a guitar. And you lose your mind along with everyone else in the room. There are delirious screams. And they’re coming from you.

Suddenly you understand Susan the babysitter. You understand those fainting Beatles women. You are slightly deaf, and you don’t care.

Two hours later he slinks off stage, and you ride home in a taxi at 4am, feeling like you are floating on a magic carpet, your heart pounding in your ears.

You are thirty.

You have met a different man. When you first see him – his blue eyes and shy smile – you feel that familiar longing. But different this time. This time the something wondrous is within reach. The first time you bring him to your apartment, he walks into the living room, and bends down to pick something up.

“Who owns this? You or your roommate?” He asks in his dipping Irish lilt. He is holding up a VHS copy of Prince Purple Rain.

“That’s mine.” You say.

“Ah.” He grins. “Very good.”

Later, you will play “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man” on a loop. It’s his favorite Prince song. One you had actually forgotten about. When it plays at your wedding four years later, you will be dancing barefoot, and will refuse to go to the bathroom, because that would mean you’d have to stop dancing.

You are in your mid-30s.

It is your son’s first Halloween. You text your mother photos showing her the cut of the purple jacket. The silver sparkle on one of the shoulders. She says sewing the ruffles is tricky.

You order your boy a floppy black wig off Etsy. Cut him a tiny white guitar from cardboard. Paint a faint black mustache with eyeliner. It’s such a great Halloween costume you don’t think you can ever top it, until two years later you dress him in an all sequined jumpsuit as Ziggy Stardust.

When Bowie passes away, you stare at the Halloween photo with a kind of confusing, vertigo sadness. But….how can there be no Bowie?

And then three months later, your phone pings with a text from a friend: “How can there be no Prince?”

Your friend sadly jokes that maybe next year you should dress your kid as a Ninja Turtle or Batman? Maybe leave the world’s musical geniuses alone?

Some musicians are passed down like spirit guides – easing us through the tangle of our years.

You see his face on the news, his purple twisting guitar held aloft, and underneath the photo – a date marking his beginning and end. And you think of Susan the babysitter and her tear-soaked gloves. You think of your big sister popping her Big Red gum – all cinnamon and knowledge.

And you think how some musicians are passed down like spirit guides – easing us through the tangle of our years. You remember your cedar wardrobe, and for a moment you’d like to be lost inside its shadows and songs for one more minute, tucked up in that pink room with the flowers on the walls.

But your three-year old is pulling at you. And so you play “Let’s Go Crazy” for him. Turn it up. And he laughs and runs laps around his train table. Around and around and around.

He doesn’t know the word longing yet.

Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

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Parents in New Jersey will soon get more money and more time for parental leave after welcoming a baby.

This week New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed off on legislation that extends New Jersey's paid family leave from six weeks to 12.

It also increases the benefit cap from 53% of the average weekly wage to 70%, meaning the maximum benefit for a parent on family leave will be $860 a week, up from $650.

It might not seem like a huge difference, but by raising the benefit from two-thirds of a parent's pay to 85%, lawmakers in New Jersey are hoping to encourage more parents to actually take leave, which is good for the parents, their baby and their family. "Especially for that new mom and dad, we know that more time spent bonding with a child can lead to a better long-term outcome for that child," Murphy said at a press conference this week.

The law will also make it easier for people to take time off when a family member is sick.

Because NJ's paid leave is funded through payroll deductions, workers could see an increase in those deductions, but Murphy is betting that workers and businesses will see the benefits in increasing paid leave benefits. "Morale goes up, productivity goes up, and more money goes into the system," Murphy said. "And increasingly, companies big and small realize that a happy workforce and a secure workforce is a key ingredient to their success."

The new benefits will go into effect in July 2020 (making next Halloween a good time to get pregnant in the Garden State).

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Whether you just need to stock up on diapers or you've had your eye on a specific piece of baby gear, you might want to swing by your local Walmart this Saturday, February 23rd.

Walmart's big "Baby Savings Day" is happening from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at participating Walmarts (but more deals can be found online at Walmart.com already and the website deals are happening for the rest of the month).

About 3,000 of the 3,570 Supercenter locations are participating in the sale (check here to see if your local Walmart is).

The deals vary, but in general you can expect up to 30% off on items like cribs, strollers, car seats, wipes, diapers and formula.

Some items, like this Graco Modes 3 Lite Travel System have been marked down by more than $100. Other hot items include this Lille Baby Complete Carrier (It's usually $119, going for $99 during the sale) and the Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat (for as low as $199).

So if you're in need of baby gear, you should check out this sale. Travel gear isn't the only category that's been marked down, there are some steep discounts on breast pumps, too.

Many of the Walmart locations will also be offering samples and expert demos of certain products on Saturday so it's worth checking out!

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Any Schumer has not had an easy pregnancy. She intended to keep working, but if you follow her on social media you know she's been very sick through each trimester.

And now in her final trimester she's had to cancel her tour due to hyperemesis gravidarum, also known as HG. It's a rare but very serious form of extreme morning sickness, and on Friday evening Schumer announced she is canceling the rest of her tour because of it.

“I vomit every time [I] ride in a car even for 5 minutes," Schumer explained in an Instagram post.

Due to the constant vomiting she's not cleared to fly and just can't continue to the tour.

This is not the first time Schumer has had to make an announcement about HG. Back in November, just weeks after announcing her pregnancy, she had to cancel shows and again broke the news via Instagram.

She posted a photo of herself in a hospital bed with her little dog Tati, and spelled out the details of her health issues in the caption. "I have hyperemesis and it blows," Schumer wrote.

Poor Amy. Hyperemesis gravidarum is really tough.

Kate Middleton, Ayesha Curry and Motherly co-founder Elizabeth Tenety are among those who, like Schumer, have suffered from this form of severe morning sickness that can be totally debilitating.

As she previously wrote for Motherly, Tenety remembers becoming desperately ill, being confined to her apartment (mostly her bed) and never being far from a trash can, "I lost 10% of my body weight. I became severely dehydrated. I couldn't work. I couldn't even get out of bed. I could barely talk on the phone to tell my doctor how sick I was—begging them to please give me something, anything—to help."

Thankfully, she found relief through a prescription for Zofran, an anti-nausea drug.


Schumer probably knows all about that drug. It looks she is getting the medical help she obviously needs, and she was totally right to cancel the tour in order to stay as healthy as possible.

We're glad to see Schumer is getting help, and totally understand why she would have to cancel her shows. Any mama who has been through HG will tell you, that wouldn't be a show you'd want front row seats for anyway.

Get well soon, Amy!

[A version of this post was published November 15, 2018. It has been updated.]

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As a military spouse, Cydney Cooper is used to doing things alone. But when she delivered her twin daughters early after complications due to Influenza A, she was missing her husband Skylar more than ever.

Recovering from the flu and an emergency C-section, and trying to parent the couple's two older boys and be with her new infant daughters in the NICU, Cydney was exhausted and scared and just wanted her husband who was deployed in Kuwait with the Army and wasn't expected home for weeks.

Alone in the NICU 12 days after giving birth, Cydney was texting an update on the twins to her husband when he walked through the door to shoulder some of the massive burden this mama was carrying.

"I was typing up their summary as best I could and trying to remember every detail to tell him when I looked up and saw him standing there. Shock, relief, and the feeling that everything was just alright hit me at once. I just finally let go," she explains in a statement to Motherly.

The moment was captured on video thanks to a family member who was in on Skylar's surprise and the reunion has now gone viral, having been viewed millions of times. It's an incredible moment for the couple who hadn't seen each other since Skylar had a three-day pass in seven months earlier.

Cydney had been caring for the couple's two boys and progressing in her pregnancy when, just over a week before the viral video was taken, she tested positive for Influenza A and went into preterm labor. "My husband was gone, my babies were early, I had the flu, and I was terrified," she tells Motherly.

"Over the next 48 hours they were able to stop my labor and I was discharged from the hospital. It only lasted two days and I went right back up and was in full on labor that was too far to stop."

Cydney needed an emergency C-section due to the babies' positioning, and her medical team could not allow anyone who had previously been around her into the operating room because anyone close to Cydney had been exposed to the flu.

"So I went in alone. The nurses and doctors were wonderful and held my hand through the entire thing but at the same time, I felt very very alone and scared. [Skylar] had been present for our first two and he was my rock and I didn't have him when I wanted him the most. But I did it! He was messaging me the second they wheeled me to recovery. Little did I know he was already working on being on his way."

When he found out his baby girls were coming early Skylar did everything he could to get home, and seeing him walk into the NICU is a moment Cydney will hold in her heart and her memory forever. "I had been having to hop back and forth from our sons to our daughters and felt guilty constantly because I couldn't be with all of them especially with their dad gone. It was one of the most amazing moments of my life and I won't be forgetting it."

It's so hard for a military spouse to do everything alone after a baby comes, and the military does recognize this. Just last month the Army doubled the amount of leave qualifying secondary caregivers (most often dads) can take after a birth or adoption, from 10 days to 21 so that moms like Cydney don't have to do it all alone.

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