My daughter was almost two when I became pregnant with my son. She was curious and fiery, sassy and sharp, creative and snuggly, and (although I may be biased) strikingly beautiful with her fair porcelain complexion that could sprinkle with freckles in even a drop of sunlight, red curls framing her face and hazel blue eyes.
All of these things were glorious. But my very favorite thing about my daughter is her kindness and her compassion (now I’m not saying all day, everyday–she is still human–and her brother may dispute this claim, but when it happens it is truly spectacular).
When my son arrived, it was earlier than expected, almost six weeks in fact. So my then-husband and I were in a bit of a scramble the morning I went into labor. We had not planned for his arrival this early… What to do with the baby (our daughter, in this case), so I was off to the hospital solo. And as I left the apartment, I could hear her crying “mama” as I entered the elevator.
A little over a week ago my family and I returned from a family trip to the Caribbean. These kinds of trips are always incredibly special to me. I have memories of spring vacations from when I was growing up so nostalgia is part of it, but it’s also been a while since the four of us have been able to go away together. So this trip felt special in a few ways–almost like a victory for our family.
I ran into an old friend on the subway the other day. He and his partner have a two-year-old little girl, and we started talking about the different types of parenting challenges we face at different stages. As we continued to chat from 96th Street to Times Square, we both agreed how much easier life would have been if only someone had clued us in to a few things before high school. (more…)
I jinxed myself. Friday night we were entertaining another family at our house. My daughter and I were affectionately snuggling and hugging. One of our guests (the mom, also a mother to a daughter) made a comment about how she hopes to one day be as close as we are; and in response my daughter or I said that although we may fight, I make it a point not to yell or raise my voice at her. JINX!
I’ve struggled with regret much of my adult life–my verdict: it’s a toughie. When my father passed away in 1997, I was very lucky because we had tremendous communication and as I had matured we were able to speak very frankly so there was a lot we were able to say to each other. All that aside, once he was gone I was reminded of one particular event that I never got to talk to him about…something I regretted terribly.
The sad news about Valerie Harper‘s diagnosis has me reflecting about my father. He also had a brain cancer, however the time between his diagnosis and his passing was approximately eleven weeks. I don’t know if we were profoundly lucky or if were really short-changed because of that compressed timeframe…probably a bit of both.
Spring is almost here and in my house, that means it’s almost time for a birthday party…for a little boy–my youngest, no less. Every year he gets excited about six weeks beforehand and starts dropping not-very-subtle hints about what he wants for his birthday, and where he wants his party. This year he is turning the big 1-0 and he’s all about computers and baseball–if you can’t catch it or code it, it’s impossible to get much of his attention for very long. He wants a robotics and game design party–yes, this exists–but maybe because it’s a landmark year (ten feels special and monumental to me) this got me thinking about all the different parties we’ve had over the years (don’t worry, I’ve omitted any duplications).
I saw a Facebook update today that inspired this post. It was really simple: a message addressed to the posters’ 16 year old self. That got me thinking… Experience really is so illuminating, so what would I say to my younger self with the benefit of these last few decades of knowledge, mistakes, heartbreak, fumbles and successes? Of course this can’t benefit my younger self–that ship has sailed–but who might this be of an even modest interest to…? Full disclosure (I do say that a lot, don’t I?), as coincidence would have it, I too have found myself posing this question lately as nostalgia, womanhood, parenting and the regular course of life mash-up into a frothy mix of investigation.
As the end of the year nears I like to take stock and express my gratitude for all the gifts I am so blessed to enjoy. I have two healthy kids who constantly amaze me with their wit and humor, a resilient and devoted husband who loves me–flaws and all–a career I am passionate about, an extended family who are kind and endearing, friends who are more like family and a year that has uncovered a treasure trove of new experiences, personalities and adventures…some that have only just begun. My cup truly does run over.
When I was a teenager and got “pouty,” my Dad would have me say out-loud a gratitude list starting with the letter A going all the way through to the letter Z. I’ve been thinking of him quite a bit these last few weeks, so instead of my usual gift guide or list, I thought I would honor him and this tradition by putting together an A-Z list, and perhaps put some of my own unrest to bed for the New Year.
Happy New Year to you and yours…and Happy New Year, Dad xxoo.
Before the in-flux of posts about what to give and what to get kicks into high gear, I thought I’d write about something that doesn’t have to cost very much–gifts about writing. The idea for this came from my son the other night. After a particularly tense evening between him and his sister (and me), my son asked me for a notebook. Just an everyday, lined notebook for him to be able to jot down his thoughts and maybe the occasional doodle. I was so inspired that my digitized nine-year-old wanted such a simple creative outlet for his thoughts that it got me thinking about how some of the sweetest gifts I’ve ever gotten (and given) have been similar.