Tuesday, June 11, 2013
My favorite thing to do while waiting for a baby (9 weeks to go!) is to read birth stories and watch birth videos. I watched this one yesterday, shot by Georgia of Documenting Delight. I love the mother's poise but I won't pretend that'll be me. I was a wild animal when I was pushing Stella out. :)
Those We Love Most.
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
This is not to say that my life has been easy, by any means. No one's life is easy. If someone's life appears to be easy, rest assured things are rougher than it looks on the surface.
I'm young, I've got an entire life unfolding before me. My marriage is also young. I just celebrated my fifth anniversary this past October. My husband and I, we've had our challenges to be sure but nothing has rocked the core of our relationship in the way that a tragic loss can. Maura and Pete, the couple at the center of Those We Love Most, by Lee Woodruff, are on shaky ground before losing their son suddenly, and struggle to recover that ground in the aftermath of loss.
When I look at my marriage, I see that we are strong in so many ways, but in other ways, we are still learning and growing and changing. Part of this is because we didn't know each other very long before we got married. We just knew that it felt right and so far, our instincts have proved correct. It keeps us on our toes, and we can't take each other for granted. Not yet, anyway! But I came away from the book with the feeling that the test of a marriage is not a question of if, but when. Until that time comes, I will work on making sure that the ground we are on is solid enough to withstand the weight.
PS There are quite a few themes in this book that I could write about but for the sake of my sanity, I forced myself to pick just one, and the easiest one, to boot. :)
This post was inspired by the novel Those We Love Most by Lee Woodruff. Every family has its secrets and deceptions, but they come to surface when a tragic accident changes the family dynamic forever. Join From Left to Write on June 6th as we discuss Those We Love Most. You can also enter to win a live video chat with Lee Woodruff! As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes. Links to the book contained in this post are IndieBound affiliate links, which means if you buy the book through my link, I get a small commission from IndieBound. Support your local bookseller!
Friday, May 24, 2013
Alice worked on this flip for a long time, taking quite a few spills in the process. I love how proud she is when she finally sticks it!
|As soon as I saw these pencils, I knew I needed to have them.|
|This baby is 3 now. In a big way. It's kind of kicking my tush at the moment but her spontaneous "I love yous" and kisses make up for it.|
|My sister and I started a garden. So far, so good. Fingers crossed.|
Another part of accepting the Liebster is nominating 11 other bloggers, with less than 200 followers. But, I don't read that many blogs and of the ones I do read, the followship is pretty large. Having said that, I did come up with three blogs that I enjoy reading and that I think have less than 200 followers (though I could be wrong...) and it just so happens that I know all three in real life.
Instead of nominating these bloggers, I'm just going to share them with you, dear reader, and maybe you'll discover some new bloggers to add to your feed, and of course, I would love it if they wrote a post listing 11 things people might not know about them (my favorite kind of meme!).
- M. Alynn/Old Soul Life I know and love Michelle in real life! Her husband is an old buddy of my husband. We've crashed with them in Vancouver, and they've crashed with us in NYC. I love Michelle's design aesthetic and I always enjoy reading about her adventures, her life as a student and living in Vancouver.
- Speaking of Vancouverites, this next blogger is a transplant from my hometown and she was actually my camp counselor! Kim Werker is what I would call a professional crafter. She's known in the industry for her work in crochet, but in the past few years, she's written a lot on her blog about creativity, being in the business of creativity and how to carve out a niche for yourself that balances professional success with remaining true to a love of your craft. I am always interested in reading what she has to say.
- Last but not least, is A Cookie Before Dinner, written by my friend NJ. Her blog is honest, painfully so at times, and always thoughtful. Plus her kid is adorable.
This wraps up my series on the Liebster. Thanks again to Caitlin for nominating me! Her questions gave me a lot to think about, and the challenge of coming up with 11 things people might not know about me was a great writing exercise-- I never realized I had so many potential stories to tell!
PS In case you're curious, the blogs I read daily, or whenever they come up in my reader are:
PS In case you're curious, the blogs I read daily, or whenever they come up in my reader are:
11 Things About You Don't Know About Me (or Maybe You Do)
Sunday, April 28, 2013
- I once met Lawrence Ferlinghetti at The Poetry Project on St. Mark's Place. Some kid took a picture of me with the poet but never gave me a copy of the photo. (This was in the days before everyone had a digital camera.)
- When I attempted to go skiing on the German/Czech border, I got all the way to the top after a seemingly endless lift ride, took one look at the mountain and decided to hightail it out of there. In seeking an escape route, I ended up on the wrong side of the mountain and had to hitch a ride back to the ski resort. Luckily, I was picked up by a very handsome and polite Czech fellow who was fluent in English with a nice car and a roof rack.
- In Ecuador, I went for a bike ride down a bumpy hill. The brakes failed, I flew over the handlebars and landed on my head. (No, I wasn't wearing a helmet because I'm stupid.) I ended up with a black eye, bloody knees and elbows and a minor concussion. To this day, my memory is faulty.
- When Allen Ginsberg died, I wrote a poem and read it at a memorial event in Albany which was covered by the local news, so I made a small appearance that night.
- Speaking of TV appearances, I was on 20/20 when I was a kid. I'm pretty sure my mom still has the VHS somewhere. It's time to convert that tape to DVD!
- The summer I turned 16, I went to Israel for 5 weeks and lived on a kibbutz where I worked in a nectarine processing plant, sorting nectarines (or playing basketball with the bad ones...). A Russian dude named Roman proposed marriage. He was very handsome but I had to decline.
- I have read so many books that if you asked me what my favorite book is, I would sheepishly admit that I don't know or can't remember.
- Surprisingly, I am asked quite often how Henry and I met. I thought everyone knew the story by now!
- I've been tubing on The Amazon.
- Speaking of The Amazon, I had to be rescued by another knight in shining armor when I arrived at the airport in Quito for my flight home, and almost missed my flight because I didn't have money for the exit tax (which I'd never heard of!). A nice boy from Georgia lent me the money, and an awesome TSA agent rushed me through security so I could make my flight. Of course, I sent that boy a check as soon as I got home!
It took me way too long to come up with this list. Seriously.I thought of a better one: I used to work in a broasted chicken joint when I was in high school. My boss was a supercreep that paid me under the table because his bookkeeping wasn't "set up yet" and got a little too close when training me on the ice cream dispenser.
The Parent Trap
Monday, April 8, 2013
I hate it when my mom friends are hard on themselves for being human. I had an epiphany the other day, in a comment that I left on a friend's blog:
It’s hard sometimes to be the “parent you want to be,” because that doesn’t always jibe with who you really are, as a person.It's not a novel idea, or even a new one but it's easy to lose sight of this reality of parenting, when you're in the thick of it. Who I am, as a person, does not always neatly dovetail who I'd like to be as a parent. There is plenty of overlap, of course. I am, by nature, a kind and generous person and that does carry over into my parenting (I hope so, anyway). The problem lies in the ideal that I'm just not motivated to live up to, quite frankly. Nonetheless, I like to make myself feel bad about it, despite my admitted hatred for the same behavior in other moms. That's the rub in ideals. They inspire clinginess, no matter how quixotic or Pollyanna the criteria are. It's easy to blame idealistic parenting on shiny, happy mommyblogs and other kid-centric media but I think even without them, we have much higher expectations of ourselves as parents than we do of ourselves as just people.
I long ago accepted and forgave myself for not being the person that I wished I was but that hasn't happened in my parenting persona. Why? I guess because the stakes are higher, aren't they, when it comes to our children? I would love to be the person that reads a book in bed, in lieu of turning on the TV. But so what if I'm not that person. I don't beat myself up over it. On the other hand, if I turn on the TV for my kids to keep them occupied for 15 minutes, instead of finding some creative activity for them to do--holy hell, the guilt.
There's another problem here, I've realized. Why do I separate myself into two parts-- the person part and the parenting part? Shouldn't they be one and the same? Not always. As a parent, I try to model good behavior, healthy habits and so on. The parent in me would never smoke a cigarette in front of my children, but when I spent a week in Europe with friends last Fall, I chain-smoked the entire trip. That's who I was before I became pregnant and that is the person I still am, but as a responsible parent concerned not only about setting an example but about my children's health, I pretend I'm a non-smoker. I mean, that's kind of a common example, I think but it's the most visual one I can come up with.
At my core, who I am as a person is the same as who I am as a parent-- loving, kind, generous, thoughtful but also impatient, easily bored, and unmotivated. I wish I could eliminate those last three traits and add a whole bunch more positive ones. Don't get me wrong. I don't think I'm a bad parent but a lot of times I think I could be a better one. It would be nice to be a perfect one! I'm the first person to tell you that it takes a lot to screw up your kid. I think all of us with imperfect childhoods and imperfect parents can attest to that. Otherwise, all of society would be going to hell in a handbasket, instead of just those unlucky ones who didn't escape the odds.
My goal, though, is to do more than just not screw up my kids. That's kind of a low bar, isn't it?-- "don't screw up your kids." All the time, I think about something my dad says often-- that we are not raising children but future adults. And if I want my children to productive, happy adults, I need to lead by example. That's not to say that I hide everything negative-- I think it's healthy for children to see adults get frustrated, and it's even more healthy for them to see how people handle frustration. I mean, I get frustrated pretty often, and don't always handle it in the most graceful manner. Sometimes, in watching my children deal with their own frustration, I realize that I need to be better at modeling constructive ways of dealing with emotions like frustration. I suppose that is what I really mean when I say that I wish I were a better parent, or that there is a difference between who I am as a person, and who I am as a parent. Being a better parent inevitably makes me a better person. Without my kids, I wouldn't have a sounding board that gives me feedback on the effectiveness of my behavior.
My friend Heather told me a sweet story about her son, who is about to turn 5. She tells him all the time, "I love you even when you're being cranky (or naughty or whatever)." The other night, as she put him to bed, he said to her, "I love you even when you're being cranky and mad." I'm paraphrasing here, but you get the idea. I like this story because it just goes to show that kids recognize and accept our faults and love us anyway, so shouldn't we also love ourselves as parents anyway, instead of flogging ourselves for not doing it the way we think it ought to be done?