Sunday, July 31, 2016

Top Ten Reasons I'm Unrecognizable To Friends I Haven't Seen Since Before Ren Was Born

90 Weeks

11. I haven't seen most of them.

10.  The bags under the bags under my eyes (and thighs).

9. I do a load of laundry at least every four days, not weeks.

8. I cried over the vacuum Greg bought be for Christmas.

7. I make meals with more than two ingredients.

6. Second cups of wine are passed over... the back of my head while I snore at the dining room table.

5. I own tissues and baggies.

5. My attention to details needs glasses and a time machine.

4. There are photos of me wearing a C cup under my shirts just last year. (And not on my head.)

3. I can sometimes raise my voice to people and things without collapsing in apologetic tremors and guilt-riddled shame.

2. The last bra I purchased was from the girl's department. This was yesterday.

1. Sleeping in until 8:30 a.m. on a Saturday is both pure luxury and serious illness.

a. I am incapable of speaking a sentence without saying my favorite word: Ren.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Stop and smell the Moses.

89 Weeks

Ren went to his first day of pre-school this week. What if we're starting too early? What if the school is weird? Religious? What if he gets hurt? Or scared? Too sad? Too smart?

Day one, he was excited to go; day two, he cried when he got out of the car; day three he came back asking to wear his Daddy's "hat and sunglasses just like Moses." Day four, five, six, seven, and eight, Ren mentioned Moses so often we started to worry he would try to reenact dividing his bathtub water. I wrote the school and asked for a list of kid's names in his class. Sure enough, Ren wasn't sunbathing at temple--just admiring a new friend.

Curious if there is a little neighbor causing concern when he says, "I'm Barack Obama, just like Ren," and laughing like Count von Count.


91 Weeks

I pledge allegiance, to Ren's dad...

Monday, July 25, 2016

"Here comes the pitch... and he swings..." - 92 Weeks




With Liberty And Justice For All

88 Weeks

The stomach flu takes you back to childhood. So does emergency room visits. First day of school outfits. And war. This week our family bonded over Ren's first fat lip and bloody nose; "Mommy, belly hurt. Ren puke;" and prepping for the first day of pre-school. I went back in time writing Ren's name inside of his swim suit.

Terrorists hit the headlines again. My cousin sent a note.

When our family got sick, Greg had to travel for work. For four days. Being riddled with the plague, Ren and I had to go it alone. Day two we found ourselves lying on the front porch in an attempt to get some fresh air. It hurt too much to sit up. Day three, Ren and I played with blocks and he patted me on the back whenever my head was in the toilet. Day four, Gatorade was "Mommy juice" and Pedialyte was "Ren water." We got used to it. We bonded over it. We appreciated our normal, every day, average, American life more than ever.

Barderfly Effect

87 Weeks

"I mean I'm not one of those women who live through their children."

" neither..."

"But, dare I say, they gave me purpose."

"...everything comes together..."

"It's not that I-was-nothing-until-I-had-kids thing."


"I found balance."




"Courage. To discern. I want to be great at some things. Completely drop others. I see my mother behind me and my girls in front of me. I'm a part of something bigger than me."

"Yeah. Like, I'm not a weirdo because I stand naked in front of the TV munching cereal for dinner.  I just do that. Who cares? Don't we all? I watched Teen Witch the other night. There's a MUSICAL number in it. So funny. Remember that movie?"



I can remember the exact moment I decided to pursue writing skills. It was an act of rebellion against an old promise. "Don't you EVER write about this!" Sometimes a promise isn't worth keeping, and without too much harm or apology, you've got to blow everything up. That's the hardest part. But when you get to the middle of your life, you've done enough damage to know what's worth destroying and what isn't. Sometimes you're wrong. Sometimes you hit the button and realize it was whimsy. And the hard lessons flow. These past few years, I've been lucky enough to throw bombs at the right gates. I've been rewarded for having the strength to take risks, for being spontaneous. I'm not saying I haven't had moments where I find myself at the mall wearing only tights and a fitted t-shirt. (True story. I wasn't drinking.) I am still tossing explosives at things that ricochet. It stings. But the stings and lessons are more useful to me these days when they're small. (Look in a mirror before leaving the house in a rush.) I am feeling more and more like the hero of my journey.

Before Ren, before the many lives before this, we‚ I, moved upstate. I'd had an epiphany and decided my leap out of the city would land me in the country where our former urbanite friends had moved. This was not a "we" decision. This was that obnoxious moment in a marriage where half of you becomes dictator of the whole. Greg complied. He didn't have much of a choice. To this day I firmly believe this was the right thing to do for us both, even if it meant torturing everyone while I broke apart our life as we knew it. This decision single-handedly lead to Ren.

First, I needed a job.

Days after Hurricane Sandy, I was standing on a crowded, snow-covered Bushwick, Brooklyn platform; noticed a "Bard Alumni/ae" pin on a backpack pressed against my chest; and thought about our friends who went green and out of the scene. I awkwardly snapped a picture of the backpack button from an angle under my chin, and forgot about it. Three weeks later, sitting on the subway, I stumbled across the blurry image while scrolling through pictures on my phone. I started to hit delete, then stopped. That moment captured resembled a tiny dream. A private one. A memory about a little piece of hope—the fantasy where you wake up in an entirely new world.

Within the hour I was in a skyscraper behind a corporate desk reading an email from those same friends. I hadn't communicated with them since before the hurricane, except to say we were OK. There was an interesting job posting—one in the alumni/ae office at Bard College. If I'd been eating I'd have died from choking. I wrote a victorious cover letter to human resources and began hounding the right people.

What is an "alumni/ae?" Is Bard named after Shakespeare? I've secretarially sat at many desks in a wide variety of industries deriving most of my life's income. As long as I wasn't assistant to Puppy Killers, Inc., I pretty much typed for whomever wanted to pay me. Uncannily (but, no, not really, all things considered), the people for whom I happened to work also knew the people for whom I wanted to work. I got an interview and went upstate to meet superiors. They made an offer a few weeks later, a friend happened to have an empty house I could rent, and I was driving for the first time in 13 years a few weeks after that.

Today, I am the person who orders those fantastic "Bard Alumni/ae" buttons. I have desk drawers full of them. This story can't be written any better. It's a classic. One glance at a subway stop led me to my purpose.

Monday, July 11, 2016


86 Weeks

Mommy did a lot of overtime this week. Life was a blur until I awoke on a Monday morning day-off to a 20-month old professional baseball player in the house. Before and after each meal, bath, car ride, if Ren couldn't be outside or on an actual baseball field he stood on the diamondish shaped pattern in the center of the living room rug and said, "Mommy. Daddy. RenOnTheBaseballField. RenInTheBaseballGame." To which Mommy or Daddy responded (via announcer's voice): "Ren's on the baseball field, in the baseball game, with the baseball team. Ren has on his baseball cap..." (Ren interrupts, "baseball HAT.") "...and Ren has his baseball hat. Ren has his baseball glove. Ren stands on the pitcher's mound, and... here comes the pitch... and he SWINGS..." At that moment, Ren would toss up the hollow, oversized toy baseball and hit it with a undersized, plastic bat. It would make this vague "crack," reminiscent of a televised professional home run. 

This is one of those times I think I can reach up over Greg's head and touch the thought bubble.