The Right Side of Grateful

photo source: Orion Magazine
photo source: Orion Magazine

It is the day before Thanksgiving and I am driving. The road flattens and curves like a lazy river. Farmland on both sides, one planted in neat little rows, the other dotted with grazing, black cows. The car is stuffed. Duffle bags and pillows, snow gear, three kids and a dog, enough groceries for a month even though we’re only staying four days. We are on the road to Tahoe.

The hour and a half drive to the halfway point is taking double that. Holiday traffic. Everyone running into one another, tapping each other’s bumpers all in a hurry. Cars pull over on the shoulder. We all stop to stare then carry on. Neil Young sings Harvest Moon and I turn it up, hoping the girls will take notice, soak it in. Appreciate. “Because I’m still in love with you, on this harvest moon…” Continue reading “The Right Side of Grateful”

To the Moms In My Daughter’s Preschool Class

KB Self PortraitsToday is the last day of our kids’ second year of preschool and it’s a little hard to believe it’s here. Even though I’ve been through the preschool years twice before and many years ago, it’s still a bit startling to come to the end of a school year and realize that time is, indeed, passing. The kids are all taller, their little faces have changed in subtle ways and their unique personalities are shining through even more.

This year wasn’t the easiest for me. Maybe you know this and maybe you don’t. Continue reading “To the Moms In My Daughter’s Preschool Class”

Flutterby 9 – The Gratitude Edition

A collection of what’s winged its way across my path and got me thinking, grinning and gearing up. In honor of Thanksgiving, this week’s roundup is all about gratitude. 

IMG_4588The 12 Things I’m Most Thankful For As a Mother by Darcy R. Shapiro: Wine, Google, good friends, good bras? Totally.

The Science of Happiness – A Gratitude Experiment by SoulPancake: This is so cool! Watch as people’s happiness increase when they get a chance to express their gratitude to an important person in their life. Continue reading “Flutterby 9 – The Gratitude Edition”

Photo Finish Friday: Lovely Lilah and the Freedom Tower

IMG_4394

Nothing says “screw you terrorists” like Lovely Lilah blowing bubbles on the sidewalk in Tribeca with the Freedom Tower in the background. Continue reading “Photo Finish Friday: Lovely Lilah and the Freedom Tower”

Writing Around and a Great, Big, Juicy Thanks

Wow, what an incredible few days.

logo-smMy article 4 Truths About Our Post Baby Bodies ran on Scary Mommy and has 364K Facebook shares and counting. All I can say is thank you, thank you and thank you to everyone for your support of this piece. It’s amazing — but maybe not surprising — how much the topic of postpartum body image resonates with so many of us. I’m just so glad that I’m touching so many women and contributing to the conversation around definitions of strength, beauty and self-acceptance in a positive way.

Speaking of Scary Mommy, if you haven’t checked her out, you absolutely must! The awesome Jill Smokler is an expert curator of all things true, funny, confessional, quirky, messy and gorgeous about motherhood. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to be part of the Scary Mommy community.

kveller-logo…and yesterday, my first piece was published on Kveller.com! It’s about getting to know my middle girl, Ruby, while she’s off at sleep away camp for the first time. Cleaning out her room, I realized how much I missed her and I finally found time to truly appreciate the unique person she is. That doesn’t always happen on a day-to-day basis with three clamoring kids, one fuzzy, barking dog and, well, everything that comes with this crazy-busy, bouncing life. The chance to slow down, be present and engage is a rare gift, especially for someone like me who tends to become overwhelmed by the frenzy. See what good things come from cleaning out your kid’s room?!

Again, thank you all for reading and sharing and contributing to the conversation. There’s nothing better than connecting, both in real-life and virtually, as we navigate this grown-up life together.

Thank You For Your Service

IMG_0414We are not a family of troops. Other than a great-uncle who served in the Navy during WWII and my uncle who served as a Marine right before the Vietnam War began, we do not have any close relatives who were or are in the military. I suppose you could say we’re lucky this way, but more than that, we are lucky there are so many men and women who have and do bravely defend our country, freedoms and way of life. To them, I am extremely grateful and give my thanks to members of the armed forces in person whenever I see them. This usually happens at the airport. Last November, however, it happened at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC while I was with my kids.

Memorial sites are strange and evocative places. They are there to remind us of history, battles won and lost and events that changed the world. More importantly, they keep the lives of those who have died in our memories and hearts, even though we may never have known them ourselves. The space is sacred and you can feel it, as if the souls of those lost flutter in and out coming to visit us as much as we are there to visit them.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is particularly moving for me. It brings on a full rush of emotion, a combination of sorrow and gratitude and a million whys. It is a quiet place, a non-assuming structure, yet so very powerful. When we visited, there were small flags and six-packs of beer propped up against the walls along with flowers, packs of Marlboros, a lighter, folded notes, photographs. I lost myself for a few minutes, running my fingers across the etched names, reading them to myself, honoring them.

IMG_0467Then my big girls started asking me questions: How many Americans died in the war? (More than 58,000) Were women soldiers? (They did not serve in combat but were military nurses). Did any women die? (Yes, 67 civilians and eight military — their names are on The Wall). How are the names listed? (They are in chronological order by date of death rather than alphabetical order). Suddenly, instead of being simply a visitor, I became a teacher. When I didn’t have an answer, one of the veterans volunteering there for just this purpose, did.

IMG_0412

 

In this time, in this country, my children are so blessed and they don’t even know it. They go to school, have a loving family, a roof, food, clothes, all kinds of electronics. They do not live under fear of attack. They don’t live with the anxiety of wondering if a parent or sibling is going to make it home from a tour of duty. It’s not that my children are particularly spoiled or take their safety or liberties for granted, it’s just that they don’t know any other way of life. For that I am grateful. For that, I am honored to teach them about the sacrifice and commitment of the men and women who do defend our country, keeping us safe, guarding our freedoms.

Before we walked away from The Wall towards the Lincoln Memorial, I stopped to speak briefly to the veteran who had answered our questions earlier, the girls standing behind me.

“Thank you for your service,” I said, trying hard not to cry. He smiled and reached for my hand.

“You’re welcome.”

Simple words that mean so much and teach so much. Thank our veterans, not just on Memorial Day or Flag Day or Veterans Day, but everyday.