Friday, February 23, 2024


 Everybody has friends that they used to be so close to and then time and distance comes between them. Most of the time you can see pictures of that person on social media and get the posted version of their life. You can tell if they are single or got married if they still live in the same city they used to, or if they have children. It doesn’t equal a real friendship with that person but it is better than having them slip out of your life forever.

I have one of those friends. There was never a conflict between us that tore us apart. We never had a falling out. I never intended that we wouldn’t always be friends. We lived across the hall from each other in New York. The building was on 71st Street on the Upper West Side. It was an old brownstone that was seemingly divided into a bunch of tiny apartments. It was a walk up and she and I lived on the fourth floor. My place, you could not even call it an apartment, was on one end of the hall, and hers was on the other. In between us, there were two other tiny apartments. She and I both had a window, but that seemed like the biggest feature. We each had a loft bed, a stove, and a tiny toilet with a shower only big enough to squeeze into. When you opened the front door it hit the loft bed because there wasn’t enough room for it to swing all the way open. The only sink was a tiny bathroom sink with a medicine cabinet over it where you could keep toiletries and dish soap.

Between us, those two other tiny apartments didn’t even have a window. They each only had a glass skylight overhead. One was occupied by an old woman and the other by an old man. They weren’t friendly but they seemed to be friends with each other. They tolerated us youngins. My friend and I would sometimes open both of our front doors to make the hallway appear to be part of our “apartments.” More often than not though we would go out down the street to grab food, take a walk, or sit and talk somewhere. When Krispy Creme came to NY there was a location dangerously close to us around the block. The first time we tried them we couldn’t get enough and ordered seconds together.

That was a moment in time in our twenties. We were both recent college graduates just taking our first steps out into adult living. We hadn’t quite landed and didn’t know where we would put our feet down. She was living on her own in a new country having grown up in Prague, and I was living on my own in the same city I had lived in my whole life. When another friend of mine asked me if I wanted to drive cross country with her to try living in Los Angeles, I had to make a really hard decision — one that would impact the rest of my life. I remember weighing the pros and cons while sitting in my tiny apartment. I didn’t want to move so far away from my family. I didn’t know if I wanted to say goodbye to NYC. I wasn’t sure of how I would get started once I made it to California. I didn’t want to leave my friend across the hall, but as I sat in that tiny apartment I looked at my belongings I had a feeling if I stayed I would just end up like the two people in the hall who probably lived in these apartments their whole adult life. 

That was twenty-five years ago, and I never moved back. I go home to visit often, but I am a California Girl now and I love it. My husband is from here, and we have started our own family here. When I go back to NYC, I try to see as many friends as I can but once I had kids that became harder and harder. I had to settle for updates online as a poor replacement for seeing people face-to-face. My friend across the hall married the boyfriend that she had met right before I left. They stayed in the city for a while building their careers before eventually having a little girl. A few years later they had a little boy. I was excited for her as well as in awe because I too eventually wanted to start a family and she seemed to get the whole package. 

A few years later I too got married, then had a little girl followed by a little boy. We all had our hands full and before we realized years had gone by since we were in touch. A few years ago I saw a photo of them all out and we said a quick hello to one another. Then yesterday I saw she posted a photo of her son saying she is missing him, especially on his birthday. I scrolled back to see if it had ever said anywhere else anything about what happened to him. There wasn’t much but it didn’t take a lot of investigating to see a photo of him a year ago without any hair, and then another with him ringing the bell at the hospital when he completed treatment. I went back and reread the message from yesterday over and over. It didn’t seem possible that he could be gone. Maybe she said she missed him because he was away somewhere. He couldn’t have passed away because he was not even sixteen, and it all would have been too unfair. I could not process what I was reading. It was too unimaginable 

When I became a mother a friend of mine gave me a book called “Operating Instructions” by Anne Lamott. In between nursing, changing diapers, and trying to catch up on sleep I read the book. She spoke of wanting her son to become all these great things when he got older and then stopped herself and said “ I don’t care what he becomes just Oh dear G-d please let me outlive him.” That quote has stayed with me every day since I read it with my tiny infant in my arms. When I send them off to school or camp or even to a friend’s house I say a little silent prayer that they will be safe and live longer than me. It is my biggest fear that some tragedy harms my children and stands in the way of them living a full life. 

I could not accept that this nightmare had been lived by my friend. Her son’s bright personality always came through from what little I saw of him. Stunned, I wrote her straight away and said that I had seen her post. I said I didn’t know what had happened but I was thinking of her. She wrote back with such a direct statement about how and when she lost her boy. She said he had Leukemia and was treated and came out of treatment okay, when he went back a few years later he once again completed treatment and was healthy. They had planned on doing a bone marrow transplant and that is when things went wrong. He got an infection and sepsis. He did not make it and passed away. She wrote these words to me followed by how losing him has been so hard on the three of them and that they are learning to go on. My heart sank as I read her words and I began to cry. My stomach tightened and my head hurt because I couldn’t swallow how unfair this news was. How final! 

I let myself sit for a while before writing her back. I wasn’t even sure how to respond to her devastation. She had asked me when I would be back in NYC next and there will be no excuses to put off seeing her when I go. If I could beam myself to her right now to hug her I would. I went to sit on the couch where my son was sitting. I sat behind him and hugged him so I could breathe him in. He couldn’t see my face, or my tears, but all I could think of was that my friend couldn’t hold her boy anymore. I held on as long as he would let me. I will never let go first. Time is precious.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Left Out

 It is really hard to be a teenage girl. It was not easy for me getting through the trials and tribulations of being a teenager. It is even harder watching my daughter going through them. In addition to just being hard because the age is challenging, adding in today’s social media, text message threads and photos of absolutely everything, there is no way to be oblivious to what your peers are doing around you. 

About a week ago, I was already hormonal when I lifted my phone to scroll Instagram. I should have stuck to the dog videos since they usually lift my mood, but instead I stumbled on a post of my local friends all out to dinner together. They all live in close proximity together, and I am not around the corner so to speak so I understood it was a neighborhood thing, but still I felt left out not to be there. It stung as I looked at the multiple photos of them sitting around a table, posing outside the restaurant, and smiling in every shot. Even though I wasn’t a neighbor I wanted to be part of the group.

My daughter’s first year of high school was bumpy socially. When she started on the first day she felt sure of one thing and that was that she and her best friend from elementary school would be friends forever. She knew she could count on having at least one good friend she could count on. After so much time over the summer together, doing theatre together, and babysitting together what they really needed was probably a break. Instead, they headed into freshman year together and the tight knots of their friendship bracelets started to unravel within the first few weeks. Who knows exactly what happened? Perhaps, one felt threatened that the other was able to make new friends easily. Perhaps, one was holding a grudge for things done months before but because communication wasn’t her strong suit she never spoke up. Perhaps one also turned all of their mutual friends against the other. In any or all of these cases it is not easy for a couple of fourteen year olds to navigate.

I had a realization recently that a friend and I were not as close as I thought we were. We met when our kids were still in preschool. We started them in Kindergarten together. We used to go have lunch here and there, we worked out together, and tried new beauty products together. We had fun and we talked often. Until we didn’t. Things change, situations change, people can change, but I didn't really realize until I was learning things about her from other people. Our texting seemed to slow down, we didn’t go out as much, and although she was always nice when we did speak we weren’t a part of each other’s day to day anymore. It seemed to take me a long time to figure it out, but I finally did and in that one shocking moment when I did, it hurt. It was followed by a sense of relief too. I hadn’t noticed it, but I was working so much harder than she was, and I didn’t have to pull all the dead weight of a non-functioning friendship. I felt sad, but I felt lighter.

Last week my daughter had tentative plans with a group of friends. She had also checked in with two other friends to see if she could hang with them. They told her they were going to be with two guys so it would be awkward if she joined. She never heard definitively from the first group so after waiting to hear from them she went over to a different friend's house. On the way she ran into the two girls who were supposed to be with the two guys, only they were just hanging with another of their girlfriends. It was indeed awkward, but not because they were with two guys, but because they weren’t, and yet they never let her know. My daughter hung out at a different friend’s house but on the way home from that she ran into her other group of friends who never called her back to include her in their evening plans. She was in the car with my husband when they pulled up to a stop sign only to see all of her “friends” with very concrete plans that didn’t include her. They all made eye contact and then my daughter asked my husband to please drive away from this most uncomfortable encounter. 

She was crushed, understandably. Just one of these run-ins would have hurt, but two in one night felt unbearable. I was mad and wanted answers for her. I suggested she talk to the one close friend who kept being vague about plans but she didn’t want to confront anyone. She said she felt she was on shaky ground with everyone in that group because she didn’t hang with them all as consistently as they hung with each other. I cringed as the next day she didn’t reach out to say, “Hey, that didn’t feel great last night, what happened?” text, but instead sent a “hello” as if nothing happened. It has been over a week since then and there has been no response to her friendly text. My daughter is regrouping and she no doubt needs to reevaluate the groups she has been friends with. The thing with groups is it doesn’t seem to matter if you are friends with one or two people in a group when they all get together it can feel really awful being on the outside.

When I saw the photo of a bunch of my friends out together, having fun, laughing in a group without getting to be part of it, I immediately thought of my daughter and all she is going through right now. I shared with her, that I felt left out, but that what she was feeling this past week was probably as bad as it will ever get. I shared that life is full of FOMO, and exclusion, but that it is rarely as in your face as it was for her. I also explained that as hurt as I was, the first person I called when I was sad was one of my best friends. That friend is not in that group and if she was I would never felt excluded in the first place. I listed off for her the friends that I have that only ever make me feel safe, loved and accept me fully for who I am. I explained those friendships take a long time to get right but when you do you hold on for life.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Listen and Nod

 The right words haven’t come together for me yet to be able to explain to my children why certain people are just mean, or that not every system is set up carefully, or that not everything is fair. I have been faced with the challenge of providing this explanation quite a few times now as a parent and I have not successfully come up with an authentic, honest answer that could provide them any insight. The closest answer I can come with is that people do strange things sometimes, it’s part of life, and we have to learn to deal with it.

That response doesn’t make hurt feel any less painful, or injustice seem any more fair. It’s hard to fathom learning for the first time how corrupt history was and how so many people were treated cruelly for so long. It is even harder to watch through your child’s eyes that hate still exists in today’s world. Time has healed a lot of wounds but there are so many deep cuts that continue to bleed. Our children try to absorb everything we teach them, and I try to lead by example, but it is impossible for them to not see on their own the flaws in what is supposed to be equality.

Globally you can’t shield them from the fact that war exists. You teach children about hunger and poverty. We teach about how wrong it is for people to be mistreated for being different but then have to point out often how that still happens. I spent my late teens and my twenties in a group whose mission was to expose racism and antisemitism to other kids around New York City. I recently saw parts of what I did all those years ago and was sad to see how much of the material is still so important to keep teaching today.

I know I am not alone in wanting to teach our children to have an innate sense of gratitude for what we do have, and we have a lot. We are not hungry or poor, we are healthy, and that is not only enough, but also a lot. There is a question looming for me though about how as people we are evolving going forward. With technology drastically changing the way we interact with each other, I can see it daily when most of my children’s friends have trouble making eye contact. When my friend told me that my daughter was the only child at her son’s birthday party who said “thank you” for having her, I didn’t think to myself that I did a good job parenting her. I thought instead, what is happening to people that manners are so rarely taught the same anymore. We all had to live through the pandemic, but our children in important developmental years of their lives were isolated from peers. That has its ramifications and it is hard to ignore how apparent they are now.

This week my tolerance for adult behavior towards children wore thin. A teacher was condescending to my daughter in a way that only a power-hungry adult can be. It was over something small and what could have been a teachable moment if done respectfully, but instead it was patronizing. The only lesson my daughter learned from it was how to steer clear of the way this teacher overreacts. She learned from classmates that this is not an uncommon behavior for this woman, and to nod and agree when she goes off on you. I was upset to see something blown out of proportion and taken out on my daughter, but it made me realize how many horrible teachers I had and survived as a kid. I’ve been reading “Lessons In Chemistry” lately, and if you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it, but I almost couldn’t get past the first few chapters because it takes place in the fifties and women were so mistreated that it was hard to read. I do appreciate where we have made progress. 

My friend also was tested this week by immature adult behavior when her son was left out of a group not because he had any conflict with any of the other kids, but because one of the kid’s fathers held a grudge about his own son’s bad luck. The dad took his misplaced anger out on a different kid. If this makes no sense to you, trust me when I say it is because it makes no sense. People do strange things when they are hurting, and sometimes the easiest thing for them to do is hurt back. It is proven time and time again that this method does not work, but yet it doesn’t cease to occur. It reminds me to remind my children, and myself that we can’t explain everyone else's behavior. All we can do is try to be kind to one another, and show as much grace as we can when things go awry, because they will. We have come so far, but we still have a long way to go, and a lot we can learn.

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Mourning Time

Saturday night I didn’t talk to my dad. That is pretty rare, as I speak to him once a day, if not twice. I am very close with him, and our calls are usually just updates of our days, but sometimes he drops big comments about being old and how he won’t be around forever. On Sunday when I called my dad to ask him how he was, he said he was a lot better than the night before. He had been out with my mom at a music concert when he started to not feel well and needed to take a seat. He started having chest pains and difficulty breathing. After a few minutes, he was ushered to a first aid area where they determined they should call 911 and an ambulance came to take him to the hospital. 

At the hospital, they determined that he was likely having a heart attack. After some blood work and tests were done his heart seemed normal, but it seemed that the levels in his liver were off. After a few hours when he felt better, the hospital sent him home. I had been afraid to call him too late that night with the time change between New York and LA, but little did I know he was up until one in the morning. When I talked to him the next day, he sounded no worse for wear and quite happy to be home. 

My father is ninety-five years old. He is sharp as a tack and can answer any question I throw at him. If it is about what is happening in the world today, he is knowledgeable and happy to explain current events that I might not understand. He loves the arts and still pushes himself, no matter how tired he is, to attend live music events, and theater and go to films weekly. He remembers details from his youth and can retell a story without forgetting a single beat. He reads book after book, studies French, and never passes up an opportunity to learn new things. I want to be like him when I get old.

At ninety five though you are considered quite old. His body is slowing down and he suffers from aches and pains. His knee hurts him something awful most days and he could use a replacement, but no one will operate on someone his age. The risks and complications are too risky and so he has to do his best to manage the pain. I know that he won’t be here forever, but when he told me what happened Saturday night I was reminded of that reality and that in just one day everything could change for him. For my family. For me.

Last summer I suffered from what was diagnosed as treatment-resistant depression brought on by long covid. Nothing in my life was going wrong and I had actually been quite content, but out of nowhere in the weeks following having COVID, my anxiety crept in and my joy seeped out. My anxiety led to depression and after nothing I tried would work, I felt lost in a hole without any light to crawl towards. I eventually found a treatment plan that worked for me, but it had its side effects too. I suffered from memory loss. I suffer from memory loss. I was told that over time my memory would return, and I asked over and over for clarity, would my memories return or would my ability to remember return. No one could really answer but I was told to wait six months and see. I am healthy now, and I do not write those words lightly. Finding light to reach for was no small feat and I am so grateful to be on this side of all of those hurdles now.

It cost me time with my children, time with my husband, my friends, and my family and it cost me a lot of memories. It took me a while to reconnect with my children and build back the relationships that I had with them. They saw a different version of their mother that was unfamiliar to them. Naturally, they gravitated toward my husband for those few months. When I did start to feel more like myself we were all taking baby steps back to normalcy. I was saddened to feel so disconnected from these two humans whose lives I had been so much a part of. My identity was so defined by being their mother, that it was hard to build back who I was while waiting for that part to recover. 

Change didn’t happen overnight and it was a slow crawl back to comfort, but eventually, we all got closer again. I overcame, healed, and grew from my pain. My memory is better but it isn’t great. It has been a challenge seeing photos of myself from a few years ago and recognizing that was me, but not being able to recall where I was, what I was doing, or who I was then. For now the answer to the question of will my memory return or will my ability to remember return is that my ability to remember is back, but I am still waiting, and hoping that my memories do return. That being said though, I am healthy, functioning, and well.

The events of Saturday night were a wake-up call for me. I realized that I might lose my father very soon. At ninety-five, every day is a gift and no matter how long I want him to stay, he does have to go at some point. That is the way this life thing works. I spoke to my husband, who sadly has lost both his parents. I told him about my realization that no one gets out of here alive and asked him if there was anything he could have done to prepare himself for the loss of his parents. He said no, and that he has no regrets about the time he spent with them and how he got to say goodbye. If I could choose I would like to be there with my father to say goodbye but I know we can’t time such events.

I can’t spend my days trying to prepare myself for a looming loss ahead of me. Nor can I spend a ton of time mourning the loss of time that I lost with my children due to my own illness, but time does seem so very fleeting. Time never felt so precious as it does to me now in this moment. The idea that my teenager will only have two summers before she leaves for college, or that my little boy will start his adolescence soon and might not want to hold my hand quite as much, is a lot to swallow. It is hard to imagine a day when I don’t have the urge to pick up the phone and call my dad, even if he won’t be around to answer it anymore.
I am trying to soak it all in, live in the moment, and follow all the cliche advice. I will call as much as I can now. I will hold hands as long as I can. I will go above and beyond to make sure I spend as much quality time as I can with the people I love. I will do my best to not watch the clock as the seconds go by, but I will also try not to blink. I don’t want to miss a moment.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Night Before Nerves

 The transition from the end of the summer into the new school year has never been my forte. As a child, I would lay in bed awake the night before the first day of school nauseous with nerves. You never found out beforehand who your teacher would be, you just got who you got and hoped they would be nice. They weren’t always nice. I had moved into public school for second grade after starting out in a religious private school with uniforms and uniformed seating. Our desks were lined up in such a way that you weren’t close enough to any of the other students and could only look straight ahead at the teacher. When I walked into my new classroom in the middle of second grade I was amazed at how alive it was. There was color everywhere, on the walls, the clothes of the children, and the desks were set up like tables so that we could all face each other. My new teacher, Mrs. Lee was a tall African American woman with the friendliest smile I had ever seen. She was the sweetest welcome into a new school year that I ever had.

It went downhill from there. I had a pretty mean third grade teacher who would tell some of us, myself included, that maybe we belonged in the learning disabled classes, whenever we didn’t understand something right away. She taught the class how to macrame that year, and I just couldn’t grasp how to do it. She wasn’t patient enough to teach me, so I just sat there while my classmates all completed complicated looking hanging pot holders. She wasn’t nurturing, kind, and I didn’t get much out of that year except lower self confidence. In fourth grade, I had a better teacher, except once in a while out of nowhere she would scream at us. It began happening more frequently as the winter approached and shortly after that many of us began learning the smell of alcohol and that our teacher smelled of it many mornings. Eventually, she was let go, but it was almost the end of the school year by then. She could really startle the class, and it was pretty sad that we had an alcoholic teacher, but she was still better than the one before her in third grade. She was actually a good teacher when she was sober, and the class was all in it together. She didn’t single anyone out the way the third grade teacher had. 

I got a nice teacher in fifth grade but I think I was pretty shaken by then. I hated when summer ended, because it would mean that all freedom, and fun must be over. When some kids got excited about going out to buy school supplies, I dreaded it. It felt like the beginning of a ten month academic prison sentence. Despite my protest each fall, I did have to attend school. I didn’t like it, I didn’t want to go, but eventually I got used to it. I was never a great student, but I was social so I made friends and had fun with them. I made it through all twelve years and even graduated college. I wouldn’t say it was the life changing experience that it was for some, but I did it.

As a mother I have gone to great lengths to make sure that my children’s education will be a positive experience. Starting with preschools, I researched obsessively and spent an unhealthy amount of time learning about the many different philosophies and styles of preschool teaching. I thought maybe if I didn’t choose the right fit for my child that I would set them off on the wrong foot academically. I snapped out of that mindset one day when I took my toddler to the local park and saw a lovely group of teachers playing with their students at the preschool set right there next to the swing set less than a mile from our house. Friendliness, happy children, and convenience won out and we had two beautiful years at that school. We moved when my son started preschool, but I learned by then to use the same criteria when looking for a place to send him. His preschool was set on the same campus as my daughter’s elementary school and we were all happy that they were together. We chose where we wanted to live based on what area within our price range had the best public schools nearby. I involved myself, maybe a bit too much, in their elementary school, and with the exception of the post Covid year, elementary school has been a wonderful experience. It gave us a community of people who we now consider close friends, it introduced us to pretty incredible teachers, resulting in  both my kids getting a great education and leaving fifth grade with a sense of self esteem I couldn’t have even imagined when I was their age. 

Tonight, on the eve of the beginning of Middle School for my son, and tenth grade for my daughter, I want to wish them both a wonderful year. Our once sought after school district has had a bit of a bumpy ride post covid, but there is so much good worth fighting for, and so many new principals and people in new positions that it is promising. We almost pulled our daughter out of the high school last year in hopes of finding something better, but no place we looked didn’t come with its own new set of problems, so she stayed. It wasn’t perfect but she did so well and accomplished so much. My son who starts tomorrow at a huge public middle school wishes he could attend his elementary school for one more year first. I have the same wish, but there is no getting off this moving train and they have to grow up, even if I don’t want them to. He is nervous, overwhelmed and unclear as to how it all works. My single one and only goal for the evening is to not pass on any of my anxiety to him. It is to remember, and to remind him, that this feeling of being afraid is temporary. He will be confused and lost the first few times he tries to find his classes, and that is okay because he won’t be the only one new to the school. He will be uncomfortable with what he needs to remember, who he needs to remember, and where he needs to be. I will remind him that discomfort will go away as soon as he gets used to being there, and that in time he will adjust. I will remind my daughter that high school feels like the most important thing in the world to her right now, but that it isn’t all of who she is. No one finds high school easy, and that she has navigated it with grace so far. I will remind them both that no matter what happens at school, their home life will not change. We are here to let them be heard, hugged, and helped whenever they need it.

Monday, August 28, 2023

Taylor Time

 My daughter is a fan of Taylor Swift. She loves her music and knows all of her songs. She wasn’t a super Swiftie, but when she heard last fall that Taylor was going on tour she wanted to get a ticket. She looked into the pre-sale tickets and found them for $150 each. The cost of concert tickets in general have gone up significantly in the past few years and we also couldn’t think ahead nine months to when the concert would be. So we made a fatal error and told her to wait. Little did we know that the prices for tickets to this show would rise so quickly or that there would be a major fiasco with scalpers buying tickets to jack up the prices so much. 

We put it aside and didn’t think about it for a few months and then Taylor began her Eras Tour. Along with her friends, my daughter started getting excited about the idea of going to her concert. We had a budget for what we would allow her to spend on a ticket and there wasn’t a single ticket that fit in that budget. These tickets became one of the most expensive concert tickets in history. I couldn’t quite make sense of it. Why did it cost so much? Why was the fandom for her so big? I’m not a huge fan of hers. I appreciate her talent, her dedication and her endurance (she sang over 40 songs for over three hours) but her songs just don’t resonate with me the same way that they move so many others. 

A week before the concert was coming to LA, I took a road trip with my daughter and her friend. On the way they began playing Taylor Swift and as song after song played, I listened intently to the lyrics and the music. I knew many more of the songs than I thought, I even knew enough words to sing along with the girls. I just didn’t feel swept away the same way some music can do that for people. I am in the minority there though as so many people are smitten by her, so many! Even as someone not super into Taylor, it was impossible not to feel her influence over the city as she started her tour. Every post on Facebook and Instagram had photos of people at the show. Every comment under the photos was about how there weren’t enough words to describe the experience of going to this show. Parents who took their kids said they were in awe as they watched torn between keeping their eyes on Taylor or on their kids faces as they watched Taylor. Friends that weren’t into Taylor went along with their kids and came out a fan. It was hard not to wonder if I was missing something.

I watched all week as my daughter tried desperately to find available tickets, but there were a lot of people also looking for tickets and a lot of scalpers taking advantage of that. The prices just kept going up, while the possibility of her getting a ticket went down. My husband drove her down on the last night of the concert. Trying to keep her expectations in check we told her the chance of getting a ticket was a pretty big long shot. We did say though that there was a good chance that if they got close to the stadium then maybe they could still hear some of it from the outside. That wasn’t what she wanted to hear, but I knew that she knew the window of opportunity for seeing this concert was practically closed. She got all dressed up, put on sparkly make up, and left with her one friendship bracelet that she made. They got down to the stadium and gave it their best shot to get in. There were definitely some tears at the realization that the mind boggling, life changing experience that all of her friends were all still glowing from wasn’t going to be experienced by her. She then literally turned herself around and joined the thousands of people who parked themselves as close to the stadium on blankets and folding chairs to experience the concert from the outside. Was it everything she hoped to see? No – but was it magical, yes! People from all walks of life, all around LA joined together to listen to the music, and absorb the energy that vibrated from the stadium. Together, they sang, danced and came together joyfully. The concert tour has brought in over five billion dollars, only a privileged few can afford to get that ticket, and despite not loving Taylor Swift, she is bringing people together in a way that we all so badly need. I have seen photos of Beatlemania, I have lived through the storms of desperation in the eighties for a Cabbage Patch Kid and have seen people on the brink of their sanity for the second coming of Christ. This Taylor Swift phenomenon is up there with those. Despite the craziness that comes with fandom, she is bringing a lot of sweetness that has been missing for a while now. Even on the outside of the concert my daughter was asked to trade friendship bracelets, just a sweet trend that comes with a Taylor concert. I know that the production of this concert was something spectacular to see, but so was what was happening just outside its doors. We just didn’t have to take out a second mortgage on the house to experience it.

Thursday, May 4, 2023


It has been months since last I last wrote. In May of 2022, the four of us got Covid, and our lives were turned inside out. Our tests eventually were negative and we were ready to leave our collective diagnoses behind, but it wasn’t quite ready to leave me specifically. I wasn’t sure what hit me, but after some research, I learned about the symptoms of long covid and the side effects it can leave in its wake. I got brain fog, anxiety, depression, and dealt with a hormone imbalance. I was hit pretty hard and was not myself for quite some time. My children and husband seemed to bounce back a bit more gracefully than I did, but what I went through took its toll on all of us.

I received treatment for what I was going through, but it took some time to find what worked. It was a challenging time and one that shook me to my core. I could not have gotten through it without the help of my husband, my family, and my closest friends. I am so grateful for the gems of people that I have. They fill me up daily and I treasure them. Today I am much closer to being on the other side of all that illness. I am shaky and not so trusting that it is over. I struggle with having faith that it is all behind me, but I am taking one moment at a time, and enjoying each of those moments so much. I love my life and the people in it, so I am doing what I can to take that all in every single day.

My children had a tough summer right along with me, as my availability to attend to them diminished. Everything they knew about their day-to-day changed quickly. My husband stepped up and helped take over. It was a big change for all of us and it was not an easy adjustment. As a family, we found our way eventually. We shielded the kids from my hardest moments as best as we could. As an individual, I fought my battle and in time found myself again.

My daughter started high school and it has been quite the experience so far. She goes to our local public school, and it is not without its flaws. It is very big with over 2,000 students and it felt like she was so little to be heading into such a big school. The classes are fairly large and I think we all felt a little vulnerable sending her off that first day. There are many parts of her experience that haven’t been great, but there are also many parts that have been fantastic. She has a few supportive teachers that she loves. She has been meeting a lot of new people, and she adores the arts program that the school has. 

The school musical is Les Miserables, which is quite ambitious for a high school. Many students came out to audition and she was hoping she would just get to be in the cast. She got the part of Young Cosette and was so happy. She loves being part of such a talented company of students. The quality of the production is so high that it is quite difficult to believe that it is a school production. The cast and crew came together and worked hard on this production. The experience has been such a gift that I think many of them, including my daughter, will be quite sad when it is over.

In addition to doing the play, she gets to participate in the fantastic arts program the school has to offer. She is learning filmmaking, scriptwriting, and takes theatre classes. Given that high school is still a group of adolescents trying to find their ways, there is often more drama off-stage than on. She has dealt with a fair share of difficulty with “friends” and friend groups. She has fallen out with someone she thought was her best friend, and with that comes feeling quite misplaced within what she thought was her friend group. I have my own opinions on what she should do, and when she should move on, but it is not my place to advise her on all of that unless she comes to me. Even when she does ask for advice though, it is her experience and in her time will handle it the way that feels best to her. As sucky as it all is, it is spot on developmentally and completely age appropriate. It pisses me off and I am often hurt for her, but she is definitely handling it all better than I ever could.

My son is ten right now and in his last year of elementary school. He and his friends are loving being the big fish as fifth graders. He has a big group of about ten friends that played together on a  flag football team for a few months. He loved being part of a team, especially since it was made up of his favorite crew. He went to practices and games weekly. The whole season they played they only lost one game early on to this team that was slightly older and very strong. This did not deter or discourage any of them. In fact, they got up early every day before school and practiced flag football in the park together before the school bell rang. The team grew so tight and so strong that their game scores were often so high, while the opposing team would have zero points. When it came time for the final game, the Superbowl, they were faced once again to play the one team that beat them. The teams were very well-matched skill-wise, but the other team was older and much bigger than them. For a while, no one was scoring and the only thing going up was the tension of all the parents on the sidelines. Finally after what felt like so long, my son’s team scored a point. It was a remarkable game and a fantastic win for our boys!

He felt successful and accomplished being on that team. It built up his self-esteem, and his friendships with all of his teammates, and I believed it helped him navigate his anxiety as well. He learned that it is okay to be afraid and that you can still do what you need to do despite your fears. Even if he was scared before a game at times, he still played well and gave it his all. He is at times moody and stubborn as all boys his age can be, but despite that, he is also so affectionate and loving. He still skateboards which results in me being both extremely impressed and terrified simultaneously. He is a good boy and still feels like a little kid to me. His cheeks are still round, soft, and kissable. He is still easy to please between playing ball with him or gifting him something sweet. He still has such innocence that comes out in the questions he asks. I am holding still and tight to these moments with him as I know soon enough he will grow, and likely to be much taller than me.

My husband is remarkable these days. He is juggling managing artists, maintaining the investments we have made, as well as finishing up his masters degree in psychology. He has been a solid A student and writes these incredible papers that impress not only me but also his professors. He has not had an easy year either, and I am so grateful to him for holding my hand through the darkest of times. 

We are both very active in our community. We step in with politics and get involved when we think it’s necessary. We share that passion and I am proud of some of the actions we take together. We both very much value our family time, whether it is with our extended family or our own. Our family is a priority. I appreciate the relationship that he has with his three sisters. Their parents have been gone for a few years now, and they stuck by one another not only to get through their loss but to be loving and supportive of one another day-to-day, every day. He is close with my family as well and that means a lot to me. He is also a dedicated father to our two kids and goes above and beyond to show them just how loved they are. He and I are both quite communicative with our kids and even with a teenager in the house, we hope the sharing they do with us doesn’t go away.