A few days ago, I enlisted the help of my 2-year-old while making a batch of brownies. (Actually, they were cookie-brownies: the kind from Annie’s that is essentially a brownie with a cookie on top — you’re welcome.) I helped her stir the mix, let her lick the spatula, and asked her to scoop the cookie dough with a little spoon. While it was baking, we turned the oven light on and she stood in front of the door, alternating between patient self-reminders of “they’re cooking!” and impatient exclamations of “wanna eat!” Once they were cooled, she tasted her very first cookie-brownie, somehow even more delicious I think, because she helped bake them.
There’s a lot I love about watching my daughter discover things about the world, but arguably one of the cutest is seeing her get excited about her favorite foods. A few weeks ago, I purchased a pack of muffins from the bakery, eliciting a squeal of “Ooooh a muffin!” She’ll announce everything on her plate at lunch — “PBJ! Cheese! Crackers!” — and she’s become inexplicably fascinated with one of my cookbooks, asking questions about everything she sees.
I have most of my “serious” conversations over text these days. As a mom of a 2-year-old, I only have a handful of quiet pockets of time each day, most of which are usually spent catching up on work, answering emails, doing laundry (or at least thinking about doing laundry), and some form of self-care, which typically entails lying on the couch and staring into space for as long as possible. Gone are the days when I could spend an hour (or more) on the phone with my best friends, or G-chat into oblivion during a lazy afternoon.
Getting into it over text isn’t ideal, in part because I overthink everything, particularly when I’m talking about something serious — or revealing something raw. A few months ago, I found myself in one of those ~serious~ group texts with my two best friends from college, trying to form words and sentences to articulate thoughts that had only existed, up until that point, in a foggy loop inside my brain. In typical fashion, I followed up a giant blue brick of text with a few emojis and “Sorry to unleash on you guys LOL.”
As customary for true friends, they responded immediately with “Don’t apologize” / “You have nothing to be sorry for.” And then, one of them added: “We’ll always hold space for your feelings. You can talk to us about anything.”
Soon after our son was born, I developed a somewhat standard response to check-in questions. “Hard and best.” That’s how I described my transition into motherhood. Because it felt impossible to mention one without the other. The sleep deprivation without the joy, the loneliness without the fulfillment, the loss of one identity without the discovery of another.
Eventually, I graduated to the blessing sandwich.
You know, the “I’m grateful I get to stay home with him. Sure, sometimes it’s isolating. But I feel really fortunate to have this time together.” Or the, “He’s a really happy baby. Still not sleeping through the night. But all the smiles during the day make up for it.”
Every summer when growing up, my family would take trips to Cape Cod. My brother and I would spend the days leading up to our trip rifling through our CD collections, deciding which albums to bring with us for the six-hour drive (Blink-182, SR-71, and, later, Motion City Soundtrack were always among the top of the list). We’d print out a list of every state in the country, awarding various values to each, ready to play the License Plate Game in the car (Alaska and Hawaii always had the highest amount of points). We’d joke that every year, our parents would get into their “annual fight” before we left, delaying our departure by at least 45 minutes, but then eventually we’d be on our way. We’d stop around lunchtime — in Mystic, Connecticut, at a Friendly’s restaurant just off of the highway. Then, several hours later, we’d cross the Sagamore Bridge onto the Cape, and every year, at this very moment, my mom would turn around, look at us, and say: “Savor the moment.” Continue reading →
After giving birth to her third child, the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, exited the hospital looking flawless.
Bright-eyed, subtly made-up, perfectly coiffed, and wearing high heels for god’s sake, she is the envy of all new moms. Hell, 3 years after giving birth to my first, I wish I looked that put together on date nights!
Except…here’s the thing: it’s Duchess Kate’s job to present herself in a certain way for the public. Continue reading →
My mom says (or if you’d prefer, my mama always said) that as a kid, I’d put to myself to bed when I got tired. Hopped up on Mountain Dew and Dunkaroos, I’d run myself ragged and then climb underneath the covers for an afternoon nap.
Still today, I crave rest when I’m running on empty. But, often times now, I’ll resist the urge. My mind reminds my body of all the things that need doing, and I power my way through the slump. On days when I do opt to lie down, either out of sickness or pure exhaustion, I’m greeted with a familiar, nagging guilt. Do you really have the time for this? Isn’t there something else you could be doing? That you should be doing? Continue reading →
It rang clear and true while I sat in the workshops, networked in the exhibit hall, chewed my dinner during the Awards Banquet.
Not This, Not This, Not This.
The concept of “Not This” comes from bestselling author, Elizabeth Gilbert. Gilbert writes, “Most of us, at some point in our lives (unless we have done everything perfectly…which is: nobody) will have to face a terrible moment in which we realize that we have somehow ended up in the wrong place.” She goes on to say, “I call this moment of realization: NOT THIS.”