Monday, August 31st, 2009
I walked into my bedroom and looked at the alarm clock- it was 6:50 am. I had just dropped off Olivia at the rendezvous point for her Girl Scout rafting trip. For the first time in six years, it was a Girl Scout outing I would not be joining, the price of being in graduate school where I would spend the day.
She and I had left our house when it was still dark, the tree-lined streets of our community motionless in the predawn hours. “I can’t believe its still dark out, ” Olivia said from the back seat of the car.
“Makes it feel more special, don’t you think?” I answered.
Life always feels simple and pure in the early morning hours. I was still in that mindset when I returned home less than an hour later. I switched on my bedside lamp and heard a loud buzzing from the lampshade. I peered inside, expecting to find an agitated fly. Instead I found a nice, plump bee. (more…)
Saturday, August 29th, 2009
“Good news, kids! It’s movie night!!”
I always love movie night at home with Harrison and Olivia. We make popcorn on the stovetop, pour sodas and sports drinks over ice, grab a bag of sweets, and load it all onto a tray with our special old-fashioned red-and-white striped individual popcorn containers. We spread two blankets over our three laps and feel festive before we even hit “play” on the DVD player.
So I was a little taken aback when, after my announcement, Harrison and Olivia sighed in unison and say, “Oh, no.”
”What? What is it?”
They exchanged knowing glances. ”Is it an inspirational movie?” Olivia shook her head. (more…)
Thursday, August 27th, 2009
A few evenings ago I ducked out of the house to go on a walk. I needed to clear my head, and a hike always does the trick. Not wanting to leave the kids alone for too long (will there ever be a day when I don’t see them as little children?), I opted for one of my favorite routes – a walk through a nearby cemetery.
Granted, this was not just any cemetery. Designed by Frederick Olmstead, the landscape architect who created the masterpiece of Central Park, this cemetery is particularly beautiful. I entered through my secret passageway – a path that leads to a field that leads to the upper-most point of the park – and made my way through the meandering lanes. Low headstones dotted with bouquets of spring colors, the grass a particularly crisp shade of green, I immediately felt calmed. I wasn’t alone in embracing the ambience. There were a few parked cars along the way, some whose passengers remained in the seats.
I was enjoying my quiet time when I found my stride was catching up with another walker. I noticed was he was wearing flip flops. “Those are not good for hiking,” I noted to self, then wondered why I cared. His pace was slower than mine, so I was forced into the awkward pedestrian-pass. I didn’t want to seem rude passing him, but truthfully, I wanted to get moving. After all, my kids were home alone.
I turned to my right as I passed him. (more…)
Thursday, August 13th, 2009
It almost seems too sacred and private to share in a blog. Yet, I know no other way to express my sadness than to write about it. And knowing that we all connect through our experiences, I believe this eulogy will resonate with people who have suffered the loss of a loved one.
My beloved brother-in-law, Marshall, died yesterday. He was my sister-in-law’s husband. He was everyone’s best friend. We were not shocked by the loss. He had fought an incredible battle with cancer, and more than tripled the life expectancy the doctors gave him. Yet, I can’t quite grasp that I will not see that big smile of his again. Or hear his quick wit.
The thing about Marshall (as if there were one thing) is that his smile was his baseline expression. When he entered a room, he didn’t do so in a grandiose way – he did it in a joyous way, which is why his smile seemed permanent. It was as if he was getting a perpetual kick out of life. (more…)
Sunday, August 9th, 2009
“My friend just sent me this link,” I told Harrison and Olivia. “It’s supposed to be really fun.”
As I pulled up the youtube video, they stopped me before I clicked play.
“Oh, yeah!” They said. “Dad showed it to us!”
I read the caption. At 17 million views, I can see how the odds were that they had, indeed, seen it. But I hadn’t, so I clicked on.
Within moments I was dancing in my chair with the wedding party. Soon tears welled in my eyes, and I noticed I had a huge smile on my face. The unadulterated joy of the wedding party was captivating. It reminded me when millions of us fell in love with “Where the Hell is Matt?”, as he danced with people across the globe. It just feels SO GOOD to feel the joy in these videos. It made me realize that, despite news of layoffs, real estate market woes and financial stress, it pales in comparison to the power of spreading joy. (more…)