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I Cry Tears of Fear

On Monday, April 15, a state holiday, I went to work.  I went to work so I could take the rest of school vacation week off and spend it with my child.  I logged on to Facebook a few times during the day for kicks during breaks.  But by early afternoon I was crunching to get work done so I could leave.  So I didn’t hear the news until I turned on the radio for my drive home.  I promptly started to cry and spoke out loud to my empty car, “what is going on? why is this happening? how could this stuff happen?”

And then I stuck my head in the sand because I couldn’t handle not having answers to questions I don’t want to ask.  And I needed to be tear-free to drive home to my child.  I needed to be home with my child.

When I got home, I took my head out long enough to text a friend and find out if she was okay.  By bedtime, I had vicariously determined that everyone I personally know in Boston is unharmed.  But I did not read the news, listen to the news, watch the news, or digest news in any form.

The next day, back at work, my colleague casually said her husband had been called out, of course.  He’s on the SWAT team.  And although we’re two hours outside of Boston, everyone was on high alert.  I didn’t respond.  I couldn’t respond.  I shrugged and buried my head even deeper.  Willing the sand to fill my ears as I breathed in the filtered salty air beneath.

It’s Friday night.  I have spent an oblivious three days with my child.  Beautiful vacation days with gardening and giggling, rolling in grass, and getting dirt under our finger nails.  Silly dances in the kitchen, stuffed animal circuses, salty snacks, and ice cream.  The comfort of this little rural city that I love so much.

And then i went on Facebook and my oblivion has been shattered.  I feel sick to my stomach.  My friends are in Boston, Waltham, Watertown, Stoneham, Newton.  You name the Boston area town and I’ve got a friend there.  One post led to another article which led to another picture.  Pictures you have all looked at since Monday but I have dutifully ignored.  So I cry tears of fear for you.  Tears for your terrifying nights, your amputated limbs, your broken hearts, and your lost lives.  Guilty tears of relief that I live out here.  I live out here.  Where horses graze in pasture ten minutes from my home, where I never walk to town without seeing someone I know, where my child wanders free on a street full of neighbors who know her name, know her mother, and know to keep her safe.  I cry guilty tears of relief that we are okay.  I cry tears of fear that the the world is just too big and just too close for all of us to be okay.

May my tears bring breath.  May my breath bring peace.  May peace bring heart.  May heart bring listening.  May listening bring generosity.

Light & Life

When I was a child, I went to an elementary school with arts-inspired curriculum.  It was the 80’s, the concept of supporting the whole child in education was new, but all those hippies had to educate their kids some place. Our holiday celebration was not the re-telling of of the birth of Christ, but was much more and inspiringly called Light & Life.

I don’t remember much about these annual shindigs other than an abundance of candles and twinkling lights.  However, I do remember the mission: to celebrate light in a time of darkness.  To celebrate life when the world feels dead.  Light & Life.

This afternoon I went to my child’s Holiday All-School.  The school is much like the one of my own youth but better because we know more about educating the whole child.  It is filled with the children of children of hippies who walk alongside hipster kids’ kids, preppy gals children, and all sorts of named cultures, non-cultures, and in-betweens.  We’ve got it all.  And, together,  we lit a candle.

As the Head of School took the candle from the hands of a child, lit it, and sent peace to the world…I took a deep breath in and silently thanked the universe for keeping my child safe.  I silently thanked the universe that I no longer live next door to Newtown, where my high school has been contemplating how to do a lock down on a multi-building campus, where my oldest friends have had to watch funeral processions slide by with tiny caskets.  And I silently sent my love to anyone who might need it.  Anywhere.

Do not joke about a mythical Mayan Apocalypse when worlds are ending every day.  Please.  It offends my heart.

Instead let us spend solstice celebrating the light the gleams through darkness, the life that goes on living whether we want it to or not, and the chance to make amends, make change, make life, make light, and continue on.  Let us celebrate the lengthening of days and the turning of the earth.  Let us recognize the joy in small things and set aside our paltry love affairs with useless worries and imagined emergencies.  Let us celebrate Light & Life.


May you always love you


To all the moms who complimented my daughter’s first haircut at four and whose eyes widened in delighted horror when I admitted she did it herself with her little scissors–with my knowledge and blessing.  To all the strangers who tell me my child has the best outfits and who quickly find out she puts them together herself.  To all my girlfriends who I love: be you as you want to be because I love you that way.  To my daughter who still does her hair and outfits the way she pleases but who, now that she is six and vaguely self-aware,  slyly looks around to see who notices: may you always posses yourself as you and express yourself as such.  You don’t need to make sure anyone notices.  They do.  And they love you for it.  Trust me.

When Jada Pinkett-Smith was asked why she let her daughter Willow shave her head, this is what she said:

“This subject is old but I have never answered it in its entirety. And even with this post it will remain incomplete.

The question why I would LET Willow cut her hair. First the LET must be challenged. This is a world where women, girls are constantly reminded that they don’t belong to themselves; that their bodies are not their own, nor their power, or self determination. I made a promise to endow my little girl with the power to always know that her body, spirit, and her mind are HER domain. Willow cut her hair because her beauty, her value, her worth is not measured by the length of her hair. It’s also a statement that claims that even little girls have the RIGHT to own themselves and should not be a slave to even their mother’s deepest insecurities, hopes, and desires. Even little girls should not be a slave to the preconceived ideas of what a culture believes a little girl should be.

She is Fierce

“…though she be but little, she is fierce.” – Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

My daughter and I say this to each other sometimes.  To remind each that we are fierce.

I say it to myself now, at 3am, finally done with my very long work day.

I repeat the word, Fierce, to myself in the car.  What is this word?  Fierce.

I’m adopting it as mine.



Happy Birthday, Child of my Heart

One. 18 months. Two. Three. Four. Five.


Today you are Six.

You have a gap-tooth grin that makes me squiggle with pent-up love every time I see it.  It is a grin of impish delight.

You are skinny as a beanpole and smart as a whip.

You can out logic me in the blink of an eye.

You are so generous and caring to the world around you.  It is not uncommon for a grown-up to tell me something wonderful about something you did to help someone else.

Your baby bassinet overflows with stuffed animals.  They are your first loves.  And many of them still travel with you on your adventures to school, the grocery store, friends houses, and the lawn.

You love to roll your eyes at me.  And when you do, I can see the rose-bud mouth of my newborn co-mingled with the some-day eyes of my teenager.  It is thrilling, and irritating.

You rode a roller coaster three times in a row.  You never cracked a smile, determined to conquer the thrill like a knight faces her dragon.  Then, as soon as your foot hit the exit ramp, your face split in a wide grin and you begged for another ride.

You take showers all by yourself.  And then you leave a long puddle down the hall way as you drip your way to find me, wrapped in a towel that is already too damp to do any good.

You and I sing together in the many long car rides back and forth to Dada’s.  but we don’t sing just any songs.  We make up tunes about what we see, hear, and imagine.  We sing duets and solos, squealing mimicries and deep ocean rolling hums.  You have rhythm, and naturally sing in choruses and refrains.  You harmonize and keep tempo without even trying.  It just sounds good, so you do it.  Like the day so many years ago when you bounced to the rhythm of the wash machine in your diaper.

You astound me.  I am so proud to be your Mama.

I love you.  Happy Sixth Birthday, Child of my Heart.