Tag Archives: I Love My Friends

Rare Bird Review: Anything of Importance…

The morning of September 9, 2011, I was in a pretty good mood considering the night I had. I just survived a basement flood without significant damage to anything of importance. In fact, I didn’t just survive, I handled the entire disaster completely on my own. Chris wouldn’t be home from work for a while, the kids were more hindrance than help, and as I watched the water rising over the blockade of towels I had constructed, it was clear that waiting for assistance wasn’t an option. I transferred a room-full of both family heirlooms and random crap to a safer – drier – location, while simultaneously shoring up the dam of towels and holding my children at bay with television and junk food. All by myself. It took hours and I felt fairly heroic about the whole experience.

I had a lot of clean up work to do and by mid morning, I realized that it had been close to 24 hours since I had checked my e-mail or done anything online. Saving my heirlooms and crap had commanded all of my attention, and I had no idea that DC area flooding had destroyed more than just boxes of photo albums and antique furniture – that people had actually died. I didn’t know that 15 minutes away from me, an entire neighborhood had mobilized in a search for a 12 year old boy carried away by a flash flood. And I could never have imagined that the 12 year old boy would be my friend’s son.

When I finally picked up my cell phone, I saw that I had missed texts from early in the morning asking me if I had heard that, “Anna’s son died last night.” Assuming this must be a mistake, I turned on the computer and checked Anna’s Facebook page to see what she last posted. From what I remembered, it was a picture of her kids doing homework by candlelight after school due to a power outage. Instead I found a list of condolences so long that I finally gave up on scrolling to figure out WHAT had happened.

After that, my story is more or less the same one that you’ll hear from anyone else. Absolute horror. Terrible sadness. Inability to process the reality of the situation.

You will hear these stories from people who have never actually met Anna because of her blog, An Inch of Gray. Before the flood, many of her posts included sweet, funny stories about her children. Readers grew to know Jack and Margaret through Anna’s eyes, and I think they – we – grieved the loss of that little boy just as much as we would the child of a life long friend.

One of the reasons I first started reading Anna’s blog is that she’s a wonderful writer. She has a way of offering her own stories and thoughts without alienating those who are different. I could relate to her even though my children were toddlers and hers were in elementary school – even though I don’t identify with a specific religion and she often writes about her faith in God. While many of our life experiences have been different, she shares her own in such a welcoming way, without judgement of others.

I learned a lot about grief from my friend that year. Both online and off. She used her blog as a place to be brutally honest about Jack’s death and her life without him. As a writer, she was able to think things through on the page…and as a blogger she found community in sharing her story with others. While I was fortunate in proximity, and could talk to my friend in person, I found her blog posts to be just as disarming. The same open spirit was there, and comment after comment thanked her for everything from making people feel less alone in their own grief to just offering some enlightenment about what a grieving friend may be experiencing.

A year later when Anna told me that she had been approached to write a memoir, I could only think, “of course.” There was no question that if anyone could tell a personal story that would resonate with others, it would be Anna.

Two years after that, I was gifted with an advance copy of Rare Bird – and when I turned the last page, my immediate reaction was that I wanted EVERYONE to read it.

This woman wrote a book in which one of the main characters is God with a capital G, but I think that even the most ardent of atheists would find wisdom there. It’s a book about faith and we all have faith in something, whether it’s God or love or science. None of these are exempt from questions or cynicism, yet we have to believe – have faith – to keep going each day.

As a book about early grief, Rare Bird doesn’t preach or pontificate. It simply tells one mother’s story about a universal experience. Everyone eventually grapples with loss. No two stories are the same, but at their core, all hold hurt, anger and disappointment. They also include love, learning and hope. And life. In telling her own story without any claim to have all the answers or to even know what comes next, Anna has extended an invitation to acknowledge this and bear witness to a crucial facet of the human condition.

I won’t go too deeply into the details of what you will find in this book or why I think it’s so incredibly unique as a memoir (my own verbose style would require a thesis for that).  There are so many wonderful reviews that have accomplished this far better than I ever could – all of which can be found as links on the Facebook Page for An Inch of Gray. Though as far as details and quotes go, I really loved this one: Rare Bird, Indeed.

The only thing that I’d like to add to the rest is that “this is NOT a scary book.” Anna has mentioned in interviews that she doesn’t want anyone to fear the actual subject matter of her story. There are no awful surprises or anything written for shock value. It can be hard to read at times, but the overall message is one of hope.

When I heard this concern, I was immediately reminded of a childhood favorite: There’s a Monster at the End of This Book. Grover from Sesame Street finds out that when you get to the last page of the book, a monster will be waiting. He implores the reader to stop turning pages, employing rope and brick walls – none of which work. And of course, there is a monster at the end of the book. But it’s just him. I had a similar experience in reading Rare Bird. It’s hard to read something sad. It’s scary to think about losing a child. But not reading a story doesn’t make those fears and feelings go away. There definitely is something at the end of Anna’s book. But it’s just you.

Seeing another mother survive my own worst nightmare puts flooding basements into perspective. I often place a bit too much sentimental value on things – but it’s stories like this one that help me remember what is truly important in life. “Anything of importance” is a subjective concept, but I think everyone will agree that people matter most. The love we have for our family and friends is an incredible gift – but it comes with inevitable risk. One of my favorite quotes from Rare Bird is, “grieving is the price we pay for loving him so very much.” They would never trade their 12 years with Jack for a life without grief.

I will continue to be thingsy and want my kids to just go to bed already so I can catch up on Homeland… I will think I’m a super hero for clearing out a basement during a flood… And from time to time, I will be jealous and feel sorry for myself. But I know what is truly important. I will cherish the time I have with the people I love. I will be grateful for all of the love, wisdom and grace that comes my way. And I will tell everyone I know that they should read Rare Bird because it isn’t a scary book at all.

The Good in Goodbye

I went to a funeral last Friday.

And I’ve been thinking a lot about it over the past week. About all funerals, really.

What is it that they say about funerals? That they’re for the living? It makes sense. Only the living would really need a funeral. Because it offers a means of saying goodbye.

This public acknowledgement of – this bearing witness to – an ending is sometimes the only thing that allows us to move on. Forward. Possibly, to even see that as an option. A funeral honors this ending/beginning, and gives us permission to grieve, hope and continue to live.

At age 40, I’ve been to many funerals. And as far as religious rituals and rites go, I wouldn’t say that I personally need them. I don’t need a ceremony to say goodbye. I don’t need to commune with black garbed strangers I’ll probably never see again. I don’t need a gathering.

But I could never say that I don’t need people.

Which is an ironic statement coming from me since I love having time to myself. I actually like being alone. I could spend an entire week without seeing another person and never feel lonely. But this is exactly why I need people. Because for me, being alone is easy. And there is nothing to be learned from an easy life.

I need to feel the press of humanity around me. To bump into their sharp edges and feel a little uncomfortable. I need to be jostled and forced to participate. To stay awake. And alive.

Funerals are taxing for an introvert. All of those people…

And ultimately – I think that’s all a funeral is. Just people bumping into each other. Taking what they need and giving what they can. From family and friends supporting each other to strangers sharing a moment of companionship. It’s just a bunch of people standing around, feeling.

We are surrounded by people every day. On the bus…standing in line at the grocery store…sitting in a movie theater. So many experiences we remember are actually moments in time shared with strangers. But how often do we acknowledge that? That indirect togetherness?

Ceremony aside, a funeral is an ideal occasion to recognize how connected we all are. Saying goodbye is a terrible thing to have in common – but it makes us actually look at each other.

The blond woman who puts her head on the shoulder of the man next to her. So tender. They must be close. I wonder if they are part of the family…maybe work friends.

The two women walking down the aisle. Mother and daughter? The older one looks very sad. The younger one holds her elbow. The small smiles they give me as they pass don’t reach their eyes.

A toddler in the front row wails and is quickly whisked to the back of the church. Her boots are spangled with sequins. A granddaughter?

As far as people watching goes, it’s not all that different from an afternoon at Whole Foods. Everyone has a story. Most of us are here alone. Alone in a crowd that’s only different in its singular purpose of saying goodbye.

But the goodbyes that truly bring us all together come from the people in the front row. Especially those who stand up to tell stories about the loved one who died. They are not just sharing anecdotes that we may or may not already know – they’re handing us pieces of themselves.

What a rare and extraordinary experience. To be alone yet together in a crowd of friends and strangers, seeing a unique individual through the eyes the people who love them.

The first time I ever witnessed something like this was in high school. A new classmate (who would later in life become a dear friend) stood in front of hundreds of people to tell us about her twelve year old brother. She did this by reading a letter his friends wrote about him.

In college, I listened to my mother’s sister and cousin tell stories about their “Nana” who never married or had children, but instead poured all of her love into four little nieces. She let them try on her jewelry and made an event of watching the Miss America pageant.

When a good friend’s father died, I listened to her sister tell a hilarious story about his dedication to snapping great photos at the many weddings he attended. His scrappy hustle and willingness to elbow any professional photographer out of the way inspired his six children to call him, “Matty Kane, cub reporter.”

A few years later, I listened to that same sister’s husband talk about her valiant battle with breast cancer. When she received this diagnosis, her immediate response was, “thank god it’s not one of my babies.”

And in the fall of 2011, I sat in complete awe as one of my closest friends described the too short but incredibly full life of her twelve year old son. He had a sweet nature and a talent for making people feel special.

I think that two funerals for twelve year old boys has been entirely enough for me. I can only hope that there will never be a third.

But the funeral last week was not for a boy. It was for a man with thirteen grandchildren. A man who lived both a long and full life. One full of stories.

Some of these stories were told by his children who each took a turn to talk about the father they knew. It was especially moving for me to witness this since I practically lived in their house when I was a little girl.

Madeline was like the sister I never had, which made her siblings my extended network of big sisters and younger brothers. So the stories they told about what a character their father was…his irreverence…his tendency to bring home random “new friends” as if they were long lost family members…his constant supply of Lucky Strikes…they all brought back so many memories of that big family with their larger than life patriarch. But I was especially touched by their more serious, poignant insights.

Marjorie spoke first, explaining that she and her sister Gigi were tiny girls when their father came into their life. He fell in love with their mother and without hesitation, claimed them as his own. It takes quite a man to do something like that.

Oldest sister was followed by youngest brother, Reilly. Who is inexplicably no longer a ten year old boy. When did he become this man with SIX children of his own? But man he is, and so much like his father. He talked about the man who taught him how to be a man, starting with the value of a strong handshake. A lesson he’s passed down to his own sons.

My Madeline (I always think of her as “My Madeline”) went next. She was a Daddy’s Girl and never one to wear her heart anywhere BUT on her sleeve for the world to see (dry eyes beware). She shared her earliest memory of being at the beach, where her father would carry her out into the waves. She thought it was scary…and also exciting. But she always felt safe.

Gigi was the last to speak, and she said that she found herself at a loss for words. She has endured what could only be described as a mother’s nightmare over the past year. And the presence of supportive parents has contributed largely to her survival. She didn’t share memories, as no story or quote was required to express the depth of her love and grief. Instead she told us how much this support meant to her – just the simple act of “spending time with him.” Knowing that he was there.

One brother was not able to talk about the father he knew, but his presence filled the room. John died young, just barely a man himself. His Down Syndrome was never perceived as a disability in their house, but the health complications that so often accompany the condition were a constant worry. The loss of this much loved son and brother was a terrible blow to the family. And while this wasn’t John’s funeral, it did feel like a continuation of grief and gratitude for the time they all had together.

While I do not have a son with Down Syndrome, I do have one with special needs. And I think that I owe much to my friend and her family for my perception of him as being just perfect the way he is. This isn’t an easy thing to do. No one finds out they’re pregnant and wishes for a child with special needs. No one wants their son to struggle with the things that come so easily to others. But I grew up watching a family find the exceptional in a boy with special needs because of his differences. And I am so incredibly grateful for that.

I didn’t go to John’s funeral. I was in college, in another state and young enough to believe that my presence wouldn’t have been important. But 20 years later, I know this is far from true. There are no extraneous people when it comes to saying goodbye.

Whether we are there alone or in the front row, we are all part of something bigger than a rite or ritual. A funeral isn’t just a miscellaneous assortment of people in pews. It’s a shared moment of grief in loss, gratitude for life and the acknowledgement that that everyone – even an introvert like me – needs people.

Alone in a crowd or together around a family table, we are just people bumping into each other’s sharp edges, reminding each other to participate in life – to actually look at each other. We take what we need and give what we can. And we tell stories to help us remember.

And as long as there are stories, then we never really have to say goodbye.

They Coulda’ Been Great: 2012

8/21/13

I know… A “They Coulda’ Been Great” post for ALL of 2012. ALLOFIT. Oh – there’s not that much of it – I was a sporadic poster that year.

I’ve had so much fun looking back at the silliness evidenced in my 2013 Facebook status updates, that I decided to stroll down memory lane in 2012 (totally worth it if you post funny stories about your kids). Anyway – I dumped it all in a Word doc and decided to post the whole damn thing here.

Yes – I posted it retroactively for December 31, 2012… But I have a thing for chronological order. If this is the first time you are seeing anything about this, my first “They Coulda’ Been Great” post was for January 2013. It explains everything. The impact of social media on blogging, writing, community… Whatever – I write some funny stuff on Facebook and then I post it all on my blog. It’s my new thing. Hope you enjoy it.

Here is 2012 (yes – all of it – allofit, even)!


February 3

7:05 p.m.

Look what just arrived! Thank you to Eleanor who took the picture and suggested a little lip gloss (though she neglected to mention a much needed push up bra…) Stephanie Dulli and I are now READY for those Listen to Your Mother DC auditions. Should we wear our new shirts? Oh – I think so…

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February 4

12:00 p.m.

Eleanor just held something out for me to see, saying, “George thinks this is a tooth.” And…George is right. Half right…as it is HALF a tooth. Must be one of Oliver’s baby teeth that they all played with and LOST before it could be placed under a pillow for the Tooth Fairy. Eleanor’s reaction to this revelation: Gingerly handed it to me, and wrinkling her nose in an excellent “Mom” impersonation said, “well…I don’t think we need it anymore.”


February 16

4:55 p.m.

So….holiday binge eating lasts roughly from Thanksgiving through Valentine’s Day, right? Or is it St. Patrick’s Day? I can never remember…


March 19

1:50 p.m.

Great pictures from the St. Patrick’s Day celebration at the Reston Town Center! But this one reminds me of what a disaster Eleanor was last night… She was beside herself about her face paint washing off in the tub. Cried (SOBBED) for an hour straight. By the end, I was ready to take a permanent marker to her face and call it a day!

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April 9

5:00 p.m.

Out of all of my annoyed demands that they just smile for the camera, already!…of course, this is the kind of picture I like best.

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April 17

4:40 p.m.

First of all! That is NOT our trash can! Second of all – we NEVER play in trash cans! Life in the suburbs…


April 18

2:15 p.m.

I just spent the last hour mesmerized by the Saturday Night Fever Glee. I think I like Disco a little too much…


April 19

7:40 p.m.

I was totally congratulating myself on FINALLY having kids old enough that I don’t have to supervise them when they wake up at the crack of dawn. Then today, I noticed that Oliver has been getting into the ice cream… So much for sleeping in.


April 21

10:05 a.m.

I’m getting really excited for my 40th birthday next week since it means I will be biologically TOO OLD for teenager-like acne breakouts. Right? Right?!?!

6:50 p.m.

Eleanor lost her first tooth! This is always the most awkward shot…trying to see a gap in the BOTTOM teeth…

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April 22

8:30 a.m.

This is Eleanor’s new Barbie. She’s a “horse doctor.” Like a female James Herriott…in satin hot pants.

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April 24

10:35 a.m.

Filed under things that happen when 5-year-olds in hospital gowns have to wait over 30 minutes for their doctor.

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11:15 a.m.

And in a shocking turn of events…We discovered that somewhere in the midst of all of the twins’ sick visits to the doctor, I forgot to schedule their 2011 well check. Mother of the year! Let’s celebrate with extra inoculations all around! I’m mortified…


April 29

4:20 p.m.

I have 3 children and the oldest just turned 7. How is it possible that today is FIRST day that I ever removed a splinter for one of them? Eleanor had one in her finger. Twenty minutes of wailing and running away from me – then a two-second removal with tweezers. With all of the screaming she did, I wonder if our neighbors thought I was removing her fingernail!


April 30

8:50 a.m.

Eleanor: Mama can I have some breakfast?

Me: Sure – what do you want?

Eleanor: I don’t know – what are the offers.

Let me check today’s circulars…


May 4

1:30 a.m.

A middle of the night thought: Is it still possible to invent a new emoticon? Or has every possible combination of symbols now been used?

Related: I hate emoticons.

Also: I now use ” :) ” regularly because I worry about people thinking I’m being serious when I’m kidding and assuming that I’m mad or just really bitchy.

Either way, I always feel like a sell out.

:)


May 5

12:45 p.m.

Know what’s awesome about my mother and mother in law? They come into my disorganized house with its layers of dust and grimy surfaces, and they don’t judge or pointedly scrub counters in front of me. The downside? No free cleaning services.


May 6

11:01 p.m.

I’m exhausted – and I can’t believe the show is over. Though I expect my friends will be thrilled to see my months of shameless self promotion come to an end… Anyway – I want to say thank you to our incandescent Director, Stephanie Dulli and our brave and beautiful Listen to Your Mother DC cast (listed below as “with” since even FB thinks my LTYM reign of terror needs to end and therefore refuses to let me tag more than a few people at a time…) Couldn’t include our first reader (and theme inspiration), Cindy Green since she has of yet to accept my friend request – humph! But seriously – I am in awe of these women and the stories they have to tell. It was an honor to share a stage with them.

11:40 p.m.

On last thing before I stagger off to bed, Stephanie’s husband Zach tweeted this picture of me at the podium during my reading. Is it me, or do I actually look like a giant Oscar award?

LTYM pic


May 7

2:45 p.m.

Eleanor is cracking me up! A relative gave her this paper doll fashion show thing, and after spending the morning coloring them all in, she’s now stationing the dolls around the house in their “homes.” One lives on the dining room table, one on the kitchen counter, one on a living room chair…

And now apparently, ALL the dolls are abuzz with news about a fashion show taking place in HERNDON. Every time I hear her gasp, “OH! You’re going to the fashion show in Herndon too?!” I die laughing. Then one of the dolls exclaimed, “Herndon? That’s really far for me – I’ll have to drive.” So I interjected, “really? Herndon is far for her?” To this Eleanor gave me a quizzical look and said, “well yes. She lives all the way at the refrigerator.”

Eleanor paper dolls

8:05 p.m.

Typical conversation pattern between Chris and me:

Chris: So Cathy Trocchia said she DID go to the show.

Me: Yes – she sent me a message. But I don’t know if Jamie Seifert made it.

Chris: No – Jamie didn’t go.

Me: Oh really? Why – did something come up?

Chris: [shrug - "why are you asking me insane questions" face] I don’t know.

Me: What do you mean, “I don’t know?”

Chris: [more "why the interrogation?" faces] I just don’t. WHY would I know that?

Me: Because you know that she didn’t come – which means either she or Cathy told you that she didn’t come or wasn’t going to be able to come. And women don’t just say “I’m not going” or “I didn’t go” – they give each other reasons. In my world, we tell each other “WHY” we do or don’t do things.

Chris: ["you are crazy" look]

The End

Editor’s note: This was a Mars/Venus anecdote about my incredulity over how Chris always reports “what” information and never “why.” Not about my friend Jamie who obviously had something come up yesterday. She is darling and always answers questions with WHY information, like a good female.


May 14

9:15 a.m.

So I just discovered a major perk to turning 40. I no longer agonize over what to call my mother in law’s friends in thank you notes. Paula or Mrs. Garlick? I’m freaking 40 years old – I think I can just go with Paula!

Now I’m looking forward to turning 50. Because THEN I will no longer feel required to write thank you notes.


May 17

8:00 p.m.

Typical almost-3:00 p.m. scene: I have to get to preschool pick up right now! But I can’t find my keys…where are they?…searching…searching…not in my purse…not in the kitchen…not on the bed…not in the bathroom…not in the refrigerator (yes – I’m checking everywhere)…where can they be?! Now I’m late! No more time to look…where is that spare key?…Excellent! Right where it should be. I’m not THAT late…just a few minutes. No one will even notice. Out the front door! Make sure it’s locked! Wait – what’s that? Oh. … The key.

Note to self: first place to look for my keys would be IN the front door.

Also? This happens frequently.


May 23

8:25 p.m.

I have been so much better about FB lately… But I’ve been offline for a few days due to THIS! Meet Alice – a 5 month old rescue puppy that Chris brought home while I was at Christy Wood’s wedding reception in NYC. Chris and Oliver picked her out and I have to admit – she’s perfect for our family. She doesn’t chew shoes – but keep an eye on your Hungry Hungry Hippos marbles….

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May 25

8:20 p.m.

I think I may be the dumbest person on the planet. Just today, I realized that some of the AMAZING photographers I see on Twitter and FB, are capturing those images of a crystal clear face amidst a blur of people, flowers, toys…what have you, using INSTAGRAM! Side note: I just started using Instagram!

8:28 p.m.

Also, remember when I wrote I’m Shy Every Day? WELL – today was the twins’ preschool graduation and all of the kids got up and said what they wanted to be when they grew up (George said sky diver and Eleanor said horse rider). But little miss “I’m shy every day” herself made my day/week/year when she faced the crowd and answered “Rock Star.” I almost cried – it was just that AWESOME.


May 27

7:35 p.m.

Am I a bad pet owner if I find his annoying? I am so tired… I would happily lie down on the floor if I thought I could get away with it. Now that it’s 7:30 p.m., I’m pretty sure that I missed the Sunday nap window. Yet Chris always manages to catch both (yes – there are two). And this dog…she mocks my fatigue with her spontaneous snoozing.

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June 2

5:00 p.m.

Eleanor: Mama – what should I draw?

Me: The sun.

Eleanor: And what?

Me: And….flowers growing.

Eleanor: OR! How about people sitting under mushrooms – GIANT mushrooms – because it’s so hot?

Why does she even ask me?


June 12

5:25 p.m.

Our boring, rainy day inside has just hit a new low. The twins are now taking turns whacking each other with a package of cookie dough (the old school roll kind).


July 8

10:55 a.m.

Between the kids and the puppy, I sometimes feel like my whole life smells like pee pee.

Unrelated: everything is always sticky.


July 9

8:10 p.m.

Me: Oliver – go downstairs and get your ice cream bowl.

Oliver: [coming back upstairs - without the bowl] Gross! Alice [the dog] was licking it!

Me: Are you serious? You have touched some of the most disgusting…YOU have touched AT LEAST five dead animals. Go get that bowl!

Epilogue: the dishwasher is running and the licked ice cream bowl is still downstairs.


July 13

4:45 p.m.

Favorite moment of the week: running down to the basement to get something and finding my tiny 5-year-old, George dancing his heart out to Just Dance II (which my kids call “Dance Party”). The song: It’s Raining Men.

5:00 p.m.

Actual conversation I just had with my five year old daughter:

[sound of kids playing a loud/rambunctious game involving stuffed animals.]

Eleanor: [enters the dining room looking very pouty and put out about something] Mommy, Oliver is only doing the other animals and he won’t do my hippo.

Me: [yelling into the other room] OLIVER! Do Eleanor’s hippo. Right now!

My life is weird.


July 14

11:45 a.m.

I love listening to Oliver’s chatter these days. The combination of his communication delays, fast growing vocabulary and exposure to television makes for many moments of hilarity.

Oliver: [telling me something about Cars 2] And then Professor Z told his fugs…

Me: Fugs?

Oliver: Yeah – fugs.

Me: What are fugs?

Oliver: [perplexed by my ignorance] They’re trouble making villains.


July 17

7:10 p.m.

When you open a bag of ramen noodles and little noodle shards fly everywhere.


July 18

11:10 a.m.

After watching many episodes of The Dog Whisperer, we’ve concluded that we really need to meet with a dog trainer to discuss Alice’s “issues.” So of course the kids keep referring to the guy coming on Saturday as “The Dog Whisperer.” Wonder how disappointed they’ll be when Cesar Millan doesn’t show up on our doorstep…


July 21

7:30 p.m.

Am I the only one who finds the FB default to “top stories” sort annoying? Who is deciding what is a top story? Is this some kind of Netflix-like, “based on your recent selections” thing? Just show me the most recent status updates so I’m not commenting on things that happened two days ago, okay? Or at least default to most recent because I’m FB-challenged and never remember to manually select that.

Guess I should check settings or something to see if I can change this.

Listed under “things I have in common with your parents.”


July 22

4:35 p.m.

My neighbor and I had a twinsies moment today when we both walked out wearing the same Target tank top. Same style – same color – probably the same size. Ah – suburbia… I would say it was all very Stepford wife – but you know…Target. Cathy – in our next life, let’s reenact that scene in something a bit more upmarket.


July 25

11:55 a.m.

So, fun drive to the twins’ first day of camp. Since parking would be feet away from check in, I went ahead and brought the dog. Halfway there, she jumped up next to me and I said, “PEE-YEW Alice. You smell like dog food.” Then George yelled, “Gross! Alice puked!” I looked back and sure enough – two huge piles – one on the back seat next to George and one of the floor. And then – THEN – she leaned over and puked on my leg.

Seriously. HOW do people live without pets.


August 1

2:30 p.m.

I had no idea that black and white hides wrinkles so well. I’ll never go back to color!

BW


August 9

8:45 p.m.

I see Oliver taking chalk down to the basement. And I ask “what are you doing with the chalk.” He says “I’m going to draw a picture,” as he scampers out of sight. Then I frantically yell after him, “on the chalkboard? ON THE CHALKBOARD?!

It’s a legitimate question…


August 16

5:50 p.m.

So Alice is a total money pit… I feel like I’m at the vet with her weekly. Today’s reason: tail biting. Seriously? Here is a pic of her cone head. A dog rite of passage she’s not enjoying one little bit.

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August 22

8:00 p.m.

Eleanor REALLY doesn’t like the movie Spy Kids. Her (dramatic) review: “It’s like a kid horror movie…it’s really scary…and pretty cruel.” I remember seeing previews…and that was not my take…but I guess we’re all entitled to our opinions.


August 24

5:50 p.m.

The twins had afternoon camp this week, so Oliver had me all to himself. Since this NEVER happens (he’s always getting pushed aside with all of their grabby neediness), I thought I’d do something fun with him every day. We went to the farm, the zoo…miniature golf…a WATER PARK. But here’s the problem: I’m intrinsically not very fun. And I would never choose to do any of those things without the incentive of making my son happy. It was taxing…but boy does he look happy, right?

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August 31

9:30 a.m.

Woods walk feather

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September 5

6:55 p.m.

George: The inside of my body is very hot, right?

Me: Yes, it’s warm inside our bodies.

George: But the outside of our bodies is very COLD!

Me: No…not cold. The outside of our bodies would be cooler than the inside though.

George: OH! so only when it’s WINDY.

Me: …

[five minutes later]

George: [holds up an arm] Mom – I’m not skinny anymore!

Me: Well…you’re still pretty slim…

George: So just a little skinny.

Me: Just a little.

George: But Eleanor isn’t as skinny.

Me: She’s just a little skinny too.

George: Mom – do you know what your boobs are for?

Me: WHAT?!

George: Do you know what your…

Me: Yes – I heard you the first time. And I’m dying to know – what do YOU think they are for?

George: For breathing!

Of course.

This is George’s idea of pleasant dinner conversation. What did you discuss this evening?


September 13

3:00 p.m.

Just remembered something I meant to tell you yesterday… I was driving home from the store with the windows down since it was GORGEOUS outside. And as I’m driving 50 MPH down a fairly busy street something fell through the window and into my lap. My first thought was that it was an acorn since the local squirrels like to throw them down at people (why not cars?) But I wasn’t near any trees. So I then assumed it must have been some kind of debris blowing back off a truck that had just passed me. Either way – it had fallen right between my legs and rolled down, almost under me. I then had to reach, well…you know where, to try to retrieve this mystery object while keeping my eyes on the road. And as I brought it up in my cupped hand to take a look, I discovered that it was a GIANT BUMBLEBEE. So I screamed, threw it out the window and indulged in a moment of silent gratitude for not getting into an accident.

So how about you? How was your day?


September 19

9:05 p.m.

My son, Oliver is so weird…

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September 26

7:25 a.m.

An important reminder for my little girl who likes lunch notes and has so little confidence sometimes…

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7:50 a.m.

Are ladybugs lucky? And if so, does the luck increase with the number of spots? Let me know, because a ladybug with 20 spots is sitting on a kid-made vase on my bedside table. And I could really use some luck…

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October 7

2:55 p.m.

Group Effort

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October 24

9:15 p.m.

It’s the World Series and my poor husband is stuck watching it with ME. My level of interest is reflected by insights such as “that guy looks like Luke Wilson.” [Justin Verlander] I’ve also spotted players who remind me of Justin Timberlake and Antonio Banderas. Epilogue: I brought a book.


November 11

6:00 p.m.

Hierarchy

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November 7

10:25 a.m.

Post election morning banter at my house:

Me: George – get dressed. You have to wear pants to Kindergarten.

George: [slamming his tiny body into my legs for the 10th time in 10 seconds] I put my penis on you!

Me: Don’t put your penis on people. It’s not polite.

George: AND it’s no use.

Me: Usually.


November 13

5:20 p.m.

George: Mom – your self can control yourself, right?

Me: One would hope.


November 14

7:50 a.m.

Sometimes when I find myself battling the dog for bed space, I have to wonder how it came to this…


November 19

6:50 p.m.

Listening to Kung Fu Fighting, Car Wash, Fire, Flashlight… I have to say, that Pure Funk CD may have been my very best purchase of the ’90s


November 22

8:35 p.m.

Hand turkeys waving goodbye. See you next Thanksgiving!

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November 28

2:35 p.m.

What was life like before chocolate chips…? Leaner I think – but perhaps a bit soulless…


December 1

2:00 p.m.

Started a shopping list and had to stop when I suspected that I may currently be possessed by Buddy the Elf.

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December 2

11:50 p.m.

Is it just me – or do other people say “Pierce Brosnan” when they really mean “Bronson Pinchot”? Maybe it’s just me…


December 6

9:30 a.m.

Exciting morning! We were running late for the school bus – so I decided to drive the kids to school. George was ready first, so I told him to just get in the car. When the rest of us left the house several minutes later – he was nowhere to be found. Eleanor ran up to the bus stop to check and see if he was there (it’s happened before). Not there. Not in front of the house – not behind the house – not IN the house. Now I’m worried and drive the others (and the dog) up to the bus stop to look around there. Not there. Leave all in the locked car while I run back toward our house and call the school. They put me on hold to look for George and I continue to call his name, wondering if a neighbor could have thought he was left behind and taken him to school. Then a neighbor hears me and tells me that he GOT ON THE BUS (which must have been running late). Ran back to car to console crying siblings and drive them to school, where I stayed for a while to have a talk with Mr. George. Side note: this is about the 10th time I’ve spent more than 5 minutes running around my neighborhood calling frantically for one of my lost little boys. Epilogue: I am at Starbucks ordering coffee.


December 8

1:00 p.m.

George: Mom, remember a long, long time ago…we were demons.

Me: What?

George: No, I mean we were those guys from a long, long time ago and then we turned into Pilgrims.

Me: We did?

George: Yeah and then we turned into animals and then we turned into this place.

Me: What’s that?

George: Well, first we were in a tummy and then we got bigger and then we were two years old and then older and older and nine years old…

Me: So wait, first we were demons?

George: And you know what’s even badder than the devil?

Me: What?

George: DEMONS! Because they are huge.

I’m totally lost.


December 10

12:40 p.m.

Working on a database. Forgot how entertaining long lists of names can be. “Sarah Fawcett.” Subtle – but still cracks me up.


December 11

7:05 p.m.

I have now clocked enough hours in proximity of children’s shows on the TV that I can hear a character’s voice in an unknown cartoon and say, “hey that sounds like Quincy [Little Einsteins].” This is not the first time I’ve identified cartoon voice overs. If there was a game show for this I’d win big.


December 15

10:35 a.m.

It’s hard to not feel sad today… But I try to remind myself that everything is fine until it’s not. And when everything in your own life is fine, you have to go with it. Because when it’s not, you never really get fine back.

As much as my heart breaks for everyone who has ever lost a child, today I’m going to put all of my energy into making sure my own children who are so very HERE right now, know just how much they are loved. I’ll feel sad on my time – not theirs.


December 16

3:55 p.m.

Decided to take the dog out for a long walk. But only just now, one mile out did I remember letting Eleanor put makeup on me. Like an hour ago. And I should note that she’s not a light touch with the eye shadow…


December 17

6:05 p.m.

After a visit to the dentist…

Eleanor: Mom – look at my new toothbrush!

Me: Very nice. Why don’t you put it in the bathroom – we can get rid of your old one.

Eleanor: [back from the bathroom and showing me her old toothbrush] What should we do with it?

Me: Throw it out.

Eleanor: Gasp! Throw it out?? Why don’t we just sell it or something?

I don’t know…what do you guys think? Ebay or Craig’s List?

9:25 p.m.

By the way – if you have an Elf on the Shelf and hear the cynical observation: “he can’t be real – he has a TAG…like toys in the toy store.” Give your kids a conspiratorial look and say, “he’s in disguise. The tag is part of the whole ‘toy by day’ thing.” Makes your kids think they’re in on the subterfuge.


December 19

4:40 p.m.

Now THAT’S an old recipe!

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7:00 p.m.

George: Mom! Overblah in French means “bye!” Always fermember it!

Not sure how much of that is misunderstanding French or how much is misunderstanding English….

7:40 p.m.

Chris was explaining Hanukah to George, who is now talking about the big battle between the Cereals and the Macabeans.


December 21

3:40 p.m.

Yesterday, I discovered that my kids were wrapping random objects from our house as presents for their grandparents. As much as I know my mother would love her roll of silver wire ribbon from Michael’s…I had to shut that down before they got into the good china.


December 27

4:40 p.m.

PSA for future parents: As you are considering the number of children you hope to have in your family, figure in the number of shoes and coats you would like to have strewn across your floor at any given time. (Note to the ladies: include your husband’s coat and shoes in your calculations.)

Summer

Today, I’ve exchanged posts with one of my favorite bloggers, Heidi Cave of Fancy Feet. You can read her favorite post of mine, I Never Thought I’d Wear Sunglasses over on her site, and below you will find my favorite post (or one of them) of hers, Summer.

As a quick intro… When I first started reading Fancy Feet, I thought Heidi was funny and her writing was beautiful. But I was a little confused about what her disability was. She referred to it every once in a while and I knew it had something to do with her feet because of her blog name…but there wasn’t a statement about it anywhere on her sidebar or in her profile at that time. Eventually, she wrote something that clarified the vague allusions for me. She explained that she had been in a horrific car crash that killed her friend and burned her own body to the point that she lost both of her lower legs. Heidi has been writing about this in a novel and she’s posting pieces of it on her Fancy Feet. While Heidi’s story of recovery is inspiring, it’s really her talent inspires me. Her talent and her choice to dream big. To make things happen. She chose the life she has. She made it happen. And she continues to dream for more. If you aren’t already reading her blog, you need to change that NOW! Here is an example of why:

Summer

I’m always excited about the first days of summer when sunsets linger and the night becomes an extension of the day. But, the heat, when it reaches its peak, is relentless and exhausting. It sinks beneath my skin and into my bones reminding me of what was.

The slap-slapping of flip-flops, toes curling into the sand, cool water over sun-drenched skin…the sounds and sighs of summer. I miss them.

When the summer unleashes its full force on us it takes my breath away with its memories. After all this time I’m still sucker-punched-in-the-gut-I-can’t-believe-I’ll-never-know-this-again, the scars too great to see too much sunlight; my legs encased in silicone, plastic and metal. The sun became my enemy, no longer something I  ran toward and bathed in. Summer was my favorite season filled with hours at the lake; reading until the words blurred together, adjusting my bathing suit straps for minimal tan lines. My year began in the fall, not in January. Summer was my chance to shed the worries and mistakes of the past year, and live carefree for a few months until I got to start over.

In the wake of June 12, 1998 the summer was cruel to me, a joke. I couldn’t do what I wanted. I couldn’t wear what I desired to wear. It was unbearable to see girls my age, toes wiggling, skin exposed, hair flipping, and complaining about the heat. God, I wanted what they had. I ached to have a toenail painted, to know smooth skin again. If I could just feel the stones under my feet as I waded through the lake one more time.

Today, you couldn’t pick me out in a crowd. I might be more covered up than some. I look as though I’m sun-conscious, worried about overexposure. Everybody’s concerned about the sun’s harmful rays now. You might notice my arms are scarred or that I have a small scar that curves around the right side of my chin, but you wouldn’t think I was too out of the ordinary. I’m not wallowing, shoulders hunched. There is little sign of loss. I’m at the park or the beach herding my kids like every other parent out there, telling them to stop that or shouting good job as they swing from wrung to wrung on the monkey bars. I’m dressed for work, in line at Starbucks picking up my coffee. I’m having a raspberry margarita with friends or shopping, gasping at some cute top.

I want to rush through the summer. I want to sprint ahead and get it over with. To get to my beloved fall, my favorite season by default. But, I need to give summer its due. The season of my rebirth. One beautiful summer evening my life ended as I knew it and another began. I was not stripped of my will. Nobody claimed my soul. It was still my life to do with as I wished. I fought for what was mine. The summer may be bittersweet, but I’m here. I’m rich in choices and family, alive with the knowledge of many summers ahead of me. And I can take the heat, relentless in strength and memories, if I’ve got that.

Love at the Bridge

Blue ribbons in support of the Donaldsons – and a tree for Christmas:

Kim from Mosey Along and her sister, Lianne wanted to do something for our good friend Anna and her family this holiday season.

Since we both love photography and have been so touched hearing how the Donaldsons’ friends and neighbours having been using blue ribbons as a way to remember Jack, we decided that might be a way we could offer our love from afar.”

They started a Flickr stream, Blue Ribbons for Jack, for all of the blue ribbons outside of the Donaldson’s neighborhood. Okay – so mine are of the ribbons IN the neighborhood – but I thought people might like to see those too. These three are all tagged “love at the bridge” since that is exactly what they depict: the love that friends and neighbors have shown the grieving family at the bridge where Jack was found after that horrible river swept him away.

Visit either Kim or Lianne to see how you can show your love and support through photography. Obviously talent is not required (see images above). And if you are overwhelmed by the idea of setting up a Flickr account, Kim says in her post that she can upload them for you.

Much love to your and your families this holiday season!

On Gratitude. And Magic.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and like most others, I’ve been thinking about gratitude.

A couple of months ago, my good friend, Anna lost her twelve year old son in a flash flood. And it was yet another reminder to live in the moment – be grateful for everything I have right now, this very minute. I thought I had a good handle on those priorities before…but this? THIS?? This was an invaluable lesson on appreciation for what truly matters in life. I would give it back in a heartbeat if I could…but since that’s not possible, I’ll settle for the wisdom. And I’ll be so, so grateful for this one more day with my children.

On the flipside though, this horrible loss was a sledgehammer blow to my already cracked and crumbling belief in magic. I know that I once thought anything was possible – that magic could always intervene at the eleventh hour. But I’ve become more cynical over the years. For both good reasons and bad, I stopped believing in magic. And this senseless tragedy offered some serious validation of that attitude.

But leave it to the children to help us find magic in the world.

Anna’s ten year old daughter, Margaret is a bright, shining sparkler of a girl. And even in her own crushing grief over the loss of her only sibling, she’s managed to find ways to make her parents smile.

One day her Dad asked for a list of things she wanted from the store. Here is what she gave him:


The last, most important item on the list isn’t possible. Not even magic could bring her brother back. But the one before that….

When Anna posted that picture above, she had no idea how many people would take it seriously. Take it to Twitter. Write e-mails. Beg favors… People really thought this was possible. And that’s one of the things I like about people: they believe in magic. They make me want to believe too.

It’s a long story – and many of us have written various parts of it. But the end result was this:


In response to the outpouring of tweets and e-mails – or possible because of just one called in favor (who knows – and does it really matter?), Coca-Cola and Dick Clark Productions arranged for Margaret and her parents to fly to California and attend the American Music Awards. And as if that wasn’t enough, there was even an opportunity for Margaret to meet Justin.

I don’t know about you – the the fact that this seemingly impossible thing ACTUALLY HAPPENED makes me believe in magic.

It also makes me willing to make good on ridiculous promises.

My friend Minky Moo sent out the following tweet…

…and in the heat of the moment, I said “I’m in!” Because, you know – that was really going to be the effort that pushed this movement forward…

Sigh. So without further ado, here is my very amateur, very poorly lit (despite those extra lamps I strategically placed in the room!) thank you vlog to Justin:

I’ve said before the camera doesn’t love me. But seriously – I’m not doing myself any favors here. Why didn’t I apply a little lipstick? Perhaps some concealer? They say the camera adds ten pounds, but how about ten YEARS! Oh well – my lack of star quality isn’t the real story here (just a riveting sub-plot that we can discuss later). I’m posting that silly video in honor of the seemingly impossible actually happening.

In honor of magic.

I’m so grateful that something good and hopeful and magical happened to my friend’s daughter. Her family needed it. Their story isn’t over yet, and this is tangible proof that good things can happen too. That they will again.

And that is a very good reason for giving thanks.

*The “Belieber” posts are already going up! Mama Mary was the first. Funny Girl, Lizz actually used a “live impersonator” in her vlog! Minky will post her’s tonight or tomorrow. I’m going to link to all of them here – so let me know if you have one too.

**In full disclosure, I have to admit that the Justin Bieber poster is no longer on Eleanor’s door. She felt it was a little “too boy-sie” for her girly room. So instead we donated to a teenage neighbor named Emily who was eager to give it a good home.

***In case you are wondering where you can buy a Justin Bieber poster, I found mine at Michael’s. I first tried Target, but they don’t sell posters. I also burst into tears in Target while explaining to the twins why we needed a Justin Bieber poster. They both thought it was a good story, but due to my being a bit choked up while telling it, George now believes that beavers were somehow involved.

Mission Possible? (Alternatively Titled: Bieber Fever for Fortysomethings)

UPDATE below if you’ve already read this!

I have to confess – I saw pictures of Justin Bieber in US Weekly magazine long before I ever heard any of his music. And the only opinion I’ve ever had on his fame is that people are CRAY-CRAY with all of that hate/death to Bieber stuff. He’s just a kid! So weird…

But lately I’ve been thinking a lot about JB.

I read this post last Friday on An Inch of Gray, and for the very first time wished that I had some Justin Bieber connections. Did you read that post? No? Do that now, then come back.

After reading that, I did something that took very little effort. I sent a few tweets to my small list of followers.

I’m going to be very honest. That was all I had planned to do. I generally assume that I’m not important enough to ask for special favors. From anyone really. I just thought I’d put it out there and someone else might make something happen.

And I’m going to be even more honest. I never really believed that anything would come of it. Because I don’t believe in magic. I don’t believe in miracles. I say I do – and I want to – but in the darkest places of my heart, I’m a pessimist. I don’t believe that the impossible can happen. It can’t right?  Isn’t that what “impossible” means?

But then I kept reading the comments about people e-mailing Ellen and tweeting Usher. I saw people talking about it on Twitter. I saw FaceBook posts. So I thought I’d make one more weak gesture and e-mailed a list of friends and contacts that Anna and I share. I asked them to check out her post if they hadn’t already seen it – and to work every contact they might have (since Anna and I know some well connected people…)

And strangely enough, they weren’t nearly as pessimistic about the idea as I was. They were excited (actually using words like “exciting“). They really thought Justin Bieber reaching out to Margaret was possible.

This humbled me. I was ashamed to have made such a passive effort to help. To assume defeat before even trying.

And as a just punishment, one of the Project Bieber enthusiasts (Loukia) sent me an e-mail address for Eric Alper, someone she knows in “the industry.” Like she expected ME to make something happen. I don’t think I’ve ever made anything happen in my entire life – life happens TO me.

This had me reeling. But what could I do? I sent him an e-mail. Here is what I wrote:

Hi Eric!

Thank you so much for forwarding your e-mail.

I’ve never actually tried to get in touch with a pop star on behalf of a ten year old girl before…so I’m not sure where to start… But here is a brief overview:

I made a dear friend through blogging over the past few years named Anna Donaldson. On September 8th, she lost her twelve year old son, Jack in the DC area floods. Here is a link to the Washington Post article.

While Anna’s blog was semi-anonymous and had a small following, the media coverage (and social media coverage: blog posts and tweets linking the story to her blog) more or less outed her. This ended up being an unexpected blessing in that her family found great comfort in the outpouring of supportive comments and e-mails.

The main thing that has been keeping Anna and her husband alive over the past few weeks though, is their daughter Margaret. They want to do everything they can to help her through this horrible time and ensure a happy future for her.

I think they have every reason to expect that this is possible since Margaret has amazing strength of character. She’s a fighter. And at only ten years old, she’s managed to make her parents laugh every day – when all they really want to do is cry. Anna has shared a couple of these moments on her blog. And today she posted a picture of a list Margaret wrote for her father to take to the store. As you can see, she jokingly mentioned Justin Bieber.

But it made a lot of us think. Why not ask? Who knows – maybe if someone knew someone who knew someone… Maybe he really would do something to acknowledge Margaret and give her something to feel happy about during the absolute worst month of her life. It would be something for her to hold onto – proof that good things happen too. And while no celebrity in the world could possibly make up for this terrible loss, it’s the unexpected moments of happiness that get them through the day. My guess is that any attention from Justin Bieber could get Margaret through the week…

She’s an extraordinary little girl. But she’s also just a little girl grieving the loss of her brother and best friend. She has plenty of spunk and the resilience of youth. But she is getting through this one day at a time, just like her parents.

I’d like to help. And if that means writing fan mail to Justin Bieber (I mean – I’m almost 40!) I’ll do it. I’ll follow up on any lead and e-mail any stranger – including you!

So thank you for taking the time to listen and help if you can. If you can’t – I understand. I have no idea who knows who in this industry. But I so appreciate your willingness to listen.

Hope to hear from you soon,

-Kate Coveny Hood

Eric was lovely about it. He replied right away and was both kind and honest. He said he would make sure that JB’s management and PR people would read my message, but “what happens after that is magic really.”

Oh. Magic.

So this is where I typically call it a day. I don’t believe in magic, right? But here’s the thing – the fact that this e-mail exchange actually happened felt pretty extraordinary to me.

The fact that a friend e-mailed me to say she has a famous Twitter friend who might be able to help.

The fact that another friend has connections to a babysitter as well as other possible contacts.

The fact that a non-blogging friend commented on my FaceBook post that she has a friend who knows Justin Bieber and will talk to him.

The fact that people are doing things. They’re making things happen. It feels maybe just a little magical to me.

So I’m not giving up. Instead, I’m writing this. And not because I think it’s enough (it’s not) – but it’s a start. Someone who reads it might know someone who knows someone…

And even if that’s not you – you can still help. You can talk about it. Maybe if enough voices are out there…

So here is what everyone who reads this should do:

1. Follow @JBLiftMargaret (J and M’s Auntie: hoping to lift up Margaret. Her big brother died on Sept 8 in VA flooding. She’d love to meet Justin Bieber! Please help bring her a smile!! http://tinyurl.com/3bvr762)

2. Tell all of your Twitter contacts to do the same.
3. Tweet about it.
4. RT any other tweets you see about it

(okay – you get the idea…they need more followers)

5. Do whatever you can to get the word out on FaceBook. I’m somewhat FB challenged – so you will have to ask others for specific advice on this…
6. Blog about it (why not? I did)
7. E-mail Ellen (I haven’t done that yet – but I will in a minute)
8. E-mail everyone you know. You never know who they know…
9. Anything else? Please leave suggestions in comments.

The reason I included the text of that e-mail I wrote above is that I’m now considering it an open letter to everyone who might possibly be able to help. A “Dear Sir or Madam.” Like a letter to the universe (blogosphere?)

I still feel the limitations of “impossible”…I don’t believe in magic or miracles. But I do believe in people. And I believe in you. Us. We. And there’s a lot of possibility there.

I also believe in Margaret. For her sake alone I’ll try to believe that nothing about this is impossible. So if you have any magic up your sleeve, please help. Add your voice. And you never know – maybe we really can make a difference.

UPDATE: Anna actually posted more about the Twitter effort – it includes great info on the accounts (JB, his mom, his manger, etc.) that you should be tweeting! Check it out HERE.

Segue into…

I hate abrupt changes of subject. Not so much the change in topic…maybe just the tone.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m all about the tangent. So that’s fine. But one minute crying about serious matters – the next minute laughing about inconsequentials? It just doesn’t feel right to me.

So before I get back to my typical blog posts about my children and my wrinkles, I wanted to create some kind of bridge between last week and this week.

I won’t be writing about my friend Anna anymore. And I feel like I have to say something about this because I did write THREE posts about her. I wasn’t planning to do that, but one was a first reaction, the next was an attempt to do something supportive and the last was basically a letter to her. Each had a different purpose, but now there is nothing left for me to do or say here.

Feel free to add a link to the “For Anna See” post at any time – it’s there for everyone. And don’t feel strange about your own sudden change of topic. I know that you still care. Because I do.

Sometimes I really hate that saying “life goes on.” But it’s true for everyone. And as much as I will be emotionally invested in this for a very long time, my blog is not the appropriate place to talk about it.

So here? Life will go on. Just like it does everywhere else. I’ll talk about silly inconsequential things. I’ll even complain about my children. And I won’t feel guilty about it because that’s just something we do. It’s okay. We all know that none of that takes away from the bigger picture.

We all love our children. And we all die a little inside when we hear about a child lost. Because it could have been ours. It still could be. It’s terrifying.

But here is what we do… We cry. We feel sad and scared. We try to help. We feel so lucky that this time it didn’t happen to us. We accept that it could in the future. And we feel very, very grateful for this one more day with our children. Because they are all so precious – days, children, days with them… We know. We appreciate that.

And then we change the subject. Because life goes on. There is a time and a place for everything. And this is no longer the time or place for grief.

I will never stop caring. But I will stop talking about it here. I’ll be silly and irreverent and I’ll even say things that sound ungrateful – because I’m not. I’m very serious about how grateful I am. For everything that I have – for this one more day. And I know that you are too.

Loss

All week I’ve meant to post something here. I’ve got pictures and anecdotes and any number of frivolous items to relate…but I can only think about one thing today.

A good friend just lost her beautiful 12 year old son.

It’s awful.

When you read about loss, it makes you sad. But when it’s someone you know – a child you know – it’s beyond heartbreaking. It’s unreal. Could that really have happened? Can’t we just go back 24 hours and make it NOT have happened?

It’s not just sad. It’s ugly and cruel and it shouldn’t have happened.

But it did.

To someone who has made my corner of the world a better place. I love her. She is always in my heart – but today she’ll also be in my prayers.

I don’t pray a lot…but she does. And I know that this is all that she would want from me. Prayers.

Please add yours.

For my friend. And her husband and daughter. And that beautiful boy they love so much.