My daughter and I were leaving New Seasons, the grocery near our house. My angel trailed behind me chatting up everyone she saw. She is such a sparkly little person. A fellow was getting into the car next to mine. She told him she just “loved” his hat, it was so “beautiful,” then she turned on her million dollar smile and waved.
He was enchanted. His face lit up in a smile. He turned to me and said, “Your daughter is a sweetheart. She is just a total sweetheart.” Then he said, “You must be a sweetheart too, to have a sweetheart like her.” Well, that just warmed my heart. I’m truly blessed. I get to have this sweetheart in my life. She does make me sweeter. I’m grateful for her every day.
This morning I was wiping down the kitchen counters, picking up clutter, moving here and there. Isabel was sitting at the dining table eating her cereal. She turned to me and said, “Maybe our dreams are real life, and real life is our dream.” Yes, Isabel. I’ve considered that myself. I love living with a five year old. They get you out of the space of business as usual and remind you of imaginative possibilities.
This essay was published on Huffington Post, and can be seen here.
When I was a child, we played outside, rode bikes without helmets, we rode in cars without booster seats, and our parents didn’t organize and supervise play dates.
This is a popular meme making the rounds on social media. It’s usually accompanied by a photo of some kid jumping something enormous on a Big Wheel with no helmet, hair flying maniacally, face full of joy. The implication of course is that today’s children are too coddled. The Atlantic just did a big article on this subject (See here). The article was good. It focused on helicopter parents and people who won’t let their children do anything with risk.
But I think it’s a mistake to revere the way things used to be. When I was a child…keep reading by clicking here.
This is how conversations go in our house:
My oldest daughter was singing “Can’t go to bed ’til you’re legally wed, you can’t you’re Sandra DEE!” I said, “You can’t even go to bed after your legally wed. Just don’t go to bed at all. Or wait. You can go to bed after you’ve been wed for ten years.”
“That’s so gross, Mom.”
Then I amended and told her seriously, “Aw well, someday you’ll go to bed. Just don’t do it too soon, and don’t do it with too many people, and use protection.”
“That’s so gross, Mom.”
Then I said, “If you’re with a guy and he says he wants to have sex and you don’t want to have sex, and he says not having sex will cause his penis to shrivel up and fall off, or his testicles will explode, don’t believe it.”
“Wow, Mom. No one would say that. That’s so gross.”
“No. It’s true. It’s been said. But don’t believe it because it’s a lie.” I said this with assurance, just in case she was thinking of believing some lie about a shriveled up man part.
“It sounds fake. I would never believe anything as stupid as that.”
Good thing, daughter of mine.
Tonight my daughter, while studying for finals this week, was cuddling in her bed with George the puppy, work splayed out about her. George was under the covers sound asleep. Milla needed to go to the bathroom. She rose, set her papers aside, went upstairs and used the facilities, after which she returned to her room.
On the surface, it appeared nothing had changed. However, when she sat down, she could not locate her algebra study sheet anywhere. Finally, after searching futilely for several minutes, she discovered the sheet shredded under her bed cover, George snoozing soundly next to it.
For real. The dog ate her homework. I saw the shreds. He got up while she was gone for three minutes, shredded the damn thing, then curled up and went back to sleep.
I published a story on Huffington Post. It can be found here.
Winged Gods and Goddesses
Little girls and horses. I think part of why girls fall in love with horses is to have someone big on their side, someone on whom they can fly. I fell in love with horses before I had a logical brain, then they just lodged there, between the myelin bulges. Later when I actually acquired a horse, they were my escape from a reality that was less than. Horses were my winged gods and goddesses, flying on four legs. I was naive, silly, and fearful, but with a horse I could forget all that and imagine anything. And I did.
Before a real horse actually came to live with me…click here to continue reading.
If we wish to turn away from that which torments us, do we also turn away from that which inspires us?
I am concluding that some of our deepest compassion comes from our deepest suffering, yet we must survive the desolation in order to make it through to compassion, and sometimes this can feel impossible.
Some days, in order to turn away from the shadows, I bask in the simple light of my little girl. I’m like a fucking Hallmark greeting card. She glows and I glow in return. She radiates divinity. It is impossible to remain in dark places when my focus is on her.
Do I lose artistry in leaving the banks of Acheron to turn toward my Venusian angel?