10.09.2020

She's Seven

Dear Lucy,

Seven is the number of luck and magic and folklore.

Every birthday, I write to you in an attempt to capture how much you’ve grown and the ways in which your existence is a recurrent metamorphosis. This year feels a little different – this year our little bubble has been permeated by the world and the hammer that’s been dropped. Our country has experienced incalculable losses, incredible divisions in politics, and the systemic racism that has been the underbelly of our nation, has finally reached a boiling point. If there was ever a moment in history that we needed some luck and magic, it is right now.

Your ability to see the world has become more focused. The commercials on television, the signs in peoples’ yards – all of it is noted. When you ask questions such as what does Black Lives Matter mean, I answer. There is no point in hiding truth, however I privately struggle between wanting to keep you wholly innocent and wanting to help you understand. Therein lies my inherent privilege – our privilege: the choice (for better or for worse) to keep certain truths from breaking the surface. And because literally all of parenting is making a billion choices a day, some of those require a leap of faith. A trust in my fundamental beliefs; as such, I choose to answer your pointed questions in language you can understand. In doing so, I am aware that my responses are always underscored by my own bias – I would be foolish to believe otherwise. So while I want you to think for yourself, I know that what I say carries an enormous amount of weight in these early formative years. This is not something to be taken lightly, so my words are selected as carefully as possible and delivered in a manner that hopefully allows you space to question and consider. There is no topic off limits, nor do I wish there ever to be – I want you always to be able to seek me out, and if I don’t know the answer I will humbly admit it so, and perhaps together we’ll dive into the unknown. I’m doing my best, kid, but yeah let’s acknowledge that your Mama is most certainly a liberal who believes that women, not laws, should manage their own bodies, science is legitimate, love is love, and the right to be viewed and treated as an equal, no matter where you are from or the color of  your skin – are human rights. If those inherent biases make you a "bad"  person, I will still sleep well. Sometimes, my love, good trouble, is good.

Aside from the gravity of the world’s turmoil, you are experiencing some on a personal and developmental level. Dad and I have noted that the sass factor is off the charts. Holy smokes, kid – you are pushing the limits, and often. Just when I think I’ve gotten a good foothold on my patience, an eye-roll, or undesirable tone of voice response, sends me reeling. You ALWAYS have to have the last word. You are challenging us in ways that have tested our follow-through, and I’m going to be honest – we’ve definitely faltered. We are humans and often exhausted, and follow-through requires attention to detail and discipline.

But more and more, you are also recognizing the impact of your actions. Just the other day after some unfavorable response, through tears, you asked if you were a "bad" kid – this to which I quickly corrected explaining that sometimes you make bad choices, but are most definitely not a bad person. You were forthcoming in expressing that you don’t always know why you do or say things in a way that’s upsetting, and we talked that through. Lucy – you are so aware. So incredibly aware and introspective for your age. Mistakes happen, it’s inevitable. And yes, there will be consequences, but no matter what, we love you always. We are your safe space, where mistakes are met with forgiveness and nurture.

It is during these windows that I am most cognizant of what feels like the colossal responsibility of being your Mama. When you find yourself questioning your own integrity, and especially when you question your own beauty. Out of nowhere, you have decided that the freckles on your face are undesirable. Where you received or conjured this message is beyond me. This is the slippery slope – the one I would much rather avoid all-together, the one I know has the ability to unravel even the most tightly woven net of confidence. At just seven years old, you have begun to question what you see in the mirror. This, out of fear, pokes the ferocious bear inside me. As your Mama, as a Feminist, and as the fierce champion of your confidence, I want to smash this doubt dead on the spot. How do I convey to you how beautiful you truly are in such a way that you believe me? And as well, that you understand worth is not determined by beauty. It's so much, and maybe too much for you to understand right now. Perhaps you are testing me? To see what my response is? Regardless, I will tell you endlessly, when you come to me with questions of your beauty, that you are in fact, beautiful. That I look at you and see exquisite art in your face, the way your eyes smile – and yes, those endearing and delightful freckles. You are a magical vision, my love, and so much more. 

Your sense of rhythm is quite impressive and you can often be found twirling and dancing downstairs to your own Spotify playlist. Lucky for you, our neighbor, two houses down, was a dancer. She has offered private lessons in tap and ballet. Should the dancing lessons not work out, then let it be one step closer to finding what makes you most happy. You continue to love watching Portlandia with Dad, and Schitt’s Creek with me. Barbie has entered your world, and you are all about the dolls and accessories. You learned to ride your bike during the quarantine, and enjoy taking walks with me when the weather allows for it. Your love for Olive has grown exponentially, and I love how you love her. Virtual learning has had its perks, like staying home with Dad, but you are bored and have even remarked that you wish you were back in the school building – I think mostly to see your beloved teacher, Mrs. Ritson, and your friends. School still really isn't your jam, though, and that's okay. You are getting better and better at reading, and still cite this skill as something you hope to master soon.

Seven years ago today you rewrote the blueprint of my daily existence. Seven years you have afforded
me the privilege of being your Mama. You emote with fervor, you question with command, and you love so affectionately and openly. You are a prime number divisible only by yourself, and you govern what autonomy you have with a healthy dose of moxie and a confidence I never knew so young.

Happy birthday, my sweet Lucille.

Love, Mama

10.09.2019

She's Six



Dear Lucy,

In doing some research on your name, the etymology – Lucille is a diminutive of the Latin, Lucia. Keep digging and Lucia is the feminine of Lucius, which is derived from Latin Lucianus, an offshoot of the Roman Lucius — also known as "light."

From the beginning, I’ve known this: you are light.

What a perfect reflection of the six year-old you have become. Radiance that turns into prisms, the soft Autumnal shine that filters through trees bleeding their colors into winter – the kind of light that flickers and shimmers, light so bright it stings the eyes. Lucy, you are all of this and more.

This past year has been a series of remarkable events and moments, many that that have shaken our understanding of the footing we held. We were so cavalier. Kindergarten, bowled you over, and took me down too. And we are not out of the woods yet. This new place that holds so much promise has intimidated and frightened. It is not the familiar space where you reigned so comfortably for the past five years – where everyone literally knows your name, and you know every smile that has cared for you. Kindergarten is too big right now, and we are slowly chipping away at the scary. Sometimes this looks like happiness stepping off the school bus, and sometimes it's nights in tears begging me not to leave your side because you, “will miss [me] so much tomorrow at school.” So we’ve taken a step back, and I lay next to you, my hand on your back, whispering encouragements, and sometimes nothing at all – just being present with you, and existing in the fear,  in tandem. By your side I remain, as much as I can be, until the sun orchestrates a new day, and you are left to square up, once again.

The weight of this new challenge comes on the heels of an incredible summer. Dare I say a storybook couple of months. You’ve nearly nailed down the skills to swim, moving longer and longer stretches across the skin of the pool and beneath. You love the water, Lucy. We went more times to the pool this year than in any summers past. We traveled, hiked, climbing mountains in Colorado, touched waterfalls. You became my assistant on photography shoots, for which you charge $5. And to be quite honest, you’re immensely helpful, holding the reflector when need be, and getting the attention of easily distracted little ones. There are moments when you even pipe up and suggest a shot! It’s fabulous to see you thinking in terms of light and composing a frame. And the camera – it loves you. You remain my favorite muse.

Gymnastics has fallen by the wayside, and currently you’re not involved in anything. I panicked for half a second, worried the absence of organized sports or activities would lead to your eventual downfall, but then quickly righted my thinking: You. Are. A. Child. You need not do anything but explore, and play, and exist. I suspect you’ll eventually find something, but for now, we’re all okay just living the day to day.

Current favorites include The Amazing World of Gumball, Nailed It, Sugar Rush, and Portlandia. Yes, Portlandia. Taylor Swift is often requested, purple and turquoise are colors of choice, you’re all about expression through makeup and hair (dyed pink just before school started), and you chose to have your ears pierced. Crafting and drawing drive your creativity, and there’s not an empty paper towel cardboard roll that stands a chance against your scissors. Empty toilet paper rolls become bejeweled bracelets worn as high fashion. You love spending time with Daddy outside tossing the ball, and you’ve become friends with neighbors Nick and Charlotte, both three years your senior. Occasionally you lament being younger, only because you wish you were in their same grade at school, otherwise the age difference is irrelevant. Your reading skills continue to progress and you can now sound out short simple words, on your own.

The thing about light is, it will always find the seam through which to shine. In your ability to make it through this phase, I have no doubt. These tough moments are what build backbone, and while painful to experience (and to watch as your Mama), are necessary. Today you are six and tangled among all the changes that have recently occurred. You are slowly navigating your way through, and I watch, as always, in awe at your resilience and simultaneous fragility. My little Libra, searching so hard for balance, wanting to do what’s right, and yet taking risks. Clouded under confusion, with moments of brilliant clarity.

Nothing good is built with hollow stones. Each milestone is a brick placed on the foundation to which you’re constructing – the eventual woman you will become. No matter the burdens you’re tasked to shoulder, remember always, in me, Lucy, you’ll forever have a space in which to rest and renew your spirit. 



You are light.
And because of this, I know you will be okay.




I know you wish / You had a brother who had blue eyes just like you / I know you wish
You had a sister you could tell your secrets to / Maybe we'll miss
Having four sets of china on the table / But I guarantee you this
You mean more to me than branches to a maple

Pink painted walls / Your face in my locket / Your daddy and me
Your tiny back pocket / Mama's first love / Last of my kind
You'll always be my only child


Happy Birthday, my sweet Lucille.

8.17.2019

Sunrise, Sunset

Dear Lucy,

I wrote the following while on vacation this summer:

There is comfort in resting my ear against the fingered tines of your ribs, my body next to yours, sleeping - so small in this moment - curled into the blankets, like a seashell found buried in the sand at the shoreline. This is me, listening to the air moving in and out of your lungs - it's what we do sometimes, us Mothers. We listen to the breath of our children, the rhythmic pull and rush, like waves rolling in on themselves, steady and even. There is solace here. And what I hear, the rush-rush of your breath, is juxtaposed to what I'm seeking against the rainbow pajamas you chose because they're cooler, and summer nights spent sleeping in Nana's sewing room are warm. It's this rush I want to moderate, measure out in half beats so that I may inhale all of who you are and were, who you are becoming amidst the thief that is Time. If there was a way to rewind your body into the velvety soft bundle smelling sweetly of some illusive combination of talc and milk and spit up, rewind you into the cradle of my elbow, when we spent long snowy days together, your body tucked neatly into the curve of my arm - I would. 

But this is not how it goes, my love - this rush is not to be damned, impossible. This is all you, rushing, rushing away, and into your own person.

We have spent a magical summer together, so many adventures, each one better than the last. Everything from airplanes, hiking to incredible heights, baking cakes, swimming, and sleepovers. 

In a few short days you will begin Kindergarten. The uniforms hang neatly, a new lunchbox and backpack await, a small desk area has been prepared, you chose to pierce your ears, and dye your hair a wildly fabulous hot pink.You have memorized mine and Daddy's phone numbers, our address. You are ever so close to reading, and you love "plus" and "minus" numbers. Your vocabulary will blow them away.

You are ready.

But I am not.

I was not prepared for the overwhelming wave of emotion that has grabbed hold of me. I wrote to my superiors letting them know that I'd be into work a little late on your first day, as I would not miss sending you off on the big yellow school bus. And when those doors close behind you, swallowing you whole, I know you will do well. In your education, I have full confidence - you will be fine.

It's all the other parts of school that are terrifying to think of. Ad nauseam, I have repeated that it's your soul I want to protect. That self-worth and confidence we have worked so hard to nurture - will it remain intact as the world of school and friends do their thing, sometimes so painfully cruel?


Did I do enough? 

I have learned to let others love you. It started with the morning I dropped you off at daycare, entrusting your care with those wonderful women as I returned to other people's children. It began then, I know. But this feels vastly different.

My Blueberry Girl, I hope you know, deep in your bones, that you are loved fiercely, that you remember all the times we told you, you were brave, and strong, and kind, and generous, that it is okay to fail, that you will fail, that struggle is necessary, to stand up for yourself, speak out against the bad, and compassion for others goes a long way - that you believe all these for yourself.

This is my wish for you.

I hope I have done enough.

Love, Mama.



3.11.2019

Sleep


Every year, when I teach AP Literature & Composition, I begin with Shakespeare’s tragedy, Macbeth. In order to gain a deeper level of understanding of the story, students are instructed to follow various motifs throughout the play, one of which is sleep. For the most part, sleep symbolizes innocence, purity, and peace of mind. Sleep, as it pertains to Parenthood, is remarkably similar.

When our babies are wee little newborns, daily life revolves around the clock and sleep, or lack thereof. It comes to no one’s surprise, after having gone through the trenches of this early stage, how potent sleep deprivation is as a form of interrogative torture. Sleep is a keystone in any discussion involving newborns, either by way of ruminations from an exhausted parent, or a well-meaning inquiring mind – How is she sleeping?

News flash – the sleep issues don’t necessarily end with the newborn stage. They evolve into considerations of bed-sharing, then maybe getting littles into their own cribs, then out of baby jail and into their own beds, keeping them in those beds, and so on and so forth. We won’t even get into the challenges of time changes. And just as frustrating and mind numbing as the world of sleep can be during this period in life, so too, can it be the most incredible.

One of the most cherished images I have of me and my daughter is a picture I snapped on my terrible faux blackberry, when she was just a week and a half old. She is nuzzled on my shoulder facing me, peacefully sleeping. If I close my eyes, I can almost conjure up the way the weight of her tiny body felt in my arms, the sweet smell of her head, and the tiny baby breath sounds she made. I am literally awash with contentedness just thinking about it. Her skin against mine conducted a symphony of oxytocin through my veins, a glorious orchestral sonata from which I hoped never to hear the end.

It's quite easy to forget the poetic rhythm of these moments, especially when all I’ve wanted to do was sleep peacefully myself. Fear, too, is an immense force: fear that she’ll not figure out how to self-soothe, fear that she won’t ever sleep in her own bed, and the fear that she won’t learn to stay in that bed, because my goodness, all the stories circulating, the ones you hear about and selectively fixate upon when you’re knee deep into sleep-training, serve only to highlight what you can’t get your own kid to perform successfully.

But one day, the knot untangles, and she figures it out.

Hard to say if it’s because of the fairy you invented and convinced her lives in her room to protect her, or whether it was the rewards chart, or if it was the militant week you spent returning her to her bed a la Super Nanny, hour after hour, night after night. She got it. She understands now that in our home, her bed is for her, and ours is for us. That her five year-old body doesn’t quite fit as comfortably as it once used to, and her sprawling ways generally end up smacking someone in the face. In fact, she’s often more comfortable in own bed because of this. She realizes now we all sleep better this way.

I’d be a fool to tout some cavalier belief that all our sleep challenges are long behind us. That would be laughable, because occasionally, she has a rough day or evening, and requests to sleep in our bed. We oblige when we see fit, but these happen less and less. Nestled there, though, lies the quandary, the double-edged sword I now find myself learning to handle.

I miss her body. Her smell. Her breath. This is not a constant, but rather an interloper hiding in the shadows of our days. When the feeling crests, it is visceral. I can’t always name it, I just know, impulsively, that I miss her. Sometimes the decision is easy – no, you need to sleep in your own bed tonight. Other moments, there is a physical beckoning, something beyond and greater than my own control that wants to say, yes, you can sleep in our bed tonight because I need you near me. These are fleeting, I know – not my need to be near her, but her wanting to be near me. I expect that as we broach and dive headlong into the teenage years, she won’t be asking much at all. Because of this it is my personal goal to try to pay attention to these moments, to remember that now is now. There will come a day, I presume, when we've circled back around the sun of teenagedom, and she will be all grown up and out of the house. Her body will not be near mine - at all. 

The other day I’d spent entirely away from her, in a studio photographing mothers and their children. I was struck, once again, by a fierce compulsion to be with my daughter and wrote the following:

Once upon a time, so many sleeps ago, I did everything I could to get you into your own bed and out of mine. And here we are, on this night, when all I want to hear is the rhythm of your breath, singing me to sleep.

She’d had a long day and was particularly whiny and overly emotional. As we were lying in the dark, drifting off, my hand around hers, I said, “I love being your Mama.” She didn’t say anything back - just squeezed my hand for several seconds.

There she was, lying next to me, purely innocent, and I was peaceful. The recurring motif in our little world. I inhaled all I could of her.

She’d not asked to sleep in our room - I volunteered the offer.
Because I wanted it.
Selfishly, I wanted my daughter next to me.

I needed her there.
With me.



1.28.2019

Reading


Last summer you read your very first words: hero and jumbo. You were excited, I was electrified – we were both proud. In that moment we both pulled back the curtain ever so slightly, peering out onto a stage illuminated with infinite possibilities.

Reading has underscored my whole life. I devoured books, often at such a breakneck pace, that they couldn’t be purchased or checked out quickly enough to keep up with my insatiability. As quickly as I could get my hands on one, I was turning the last page and searching for the next. When I became pregnant with you, many daydreams involved reading to you as an infant, and then cuddled next to you at night taking you on adventures of magic where owls deliver messages, into the Big Woods of Wisconsin with Laura Ingalls, and through wardrobes where White Queens reign. I filled your shelves with stories I loved, and hoped you would love, too. And you do. We read nightly, always two stories (one long, one short). 

Letters make more sense now, and the concept of stringing them together to make sounds is becoming more and more familiar. It’s there, Lucy – you’re so close. Words are also something with which you’ve been fascinated; fragments of a kaleidoscope you constantly want to make sense of. So many times you’ll look up from your iPad and the benign garbage you’re watching on Kids YouTube and ask about a new-to-you word – Mom, what’s mercury? What’s similar? What’s quizzical? What’s tender mean? I never tire of these kinds of questions, and I’m always in awe of your ability to remember what the words mean, and how well you put them into use soon thereafter – Mom, Lady Gaga and Gwen Stefani look very similar when they both have the blonde hair. Sometimes, at night, after we’ve read our stories and sang our two songs (currently “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “Blackbird”), you ask me to tell you a story, and I am challenged to come up with something in the moment. It’s fun because you’ll pepper my narrative with plot twists your feel are necessary, or names of characters that seem to fit best according to your five-year-old fancy.

Last night I was upstairs reading, and you were downstairs watching “CHiPs” with Big Red, and I overheard you ask him, a few times, what the words on the TV said. In that moment, as my eyes slowed on the words in front of them, I set down my book and tried to imagine what it’s like to be you in this moment – to see letters and understand them as individual markers, to recognize a handful of words, but not be able to truly read. That the letters strung together are just fancy patterns, something to be admired, but a talisman not yet discovered.  
Photo by Pamela Salai Photography

You are Dorothy, Lucy, inside the ramshackle farmhouse, your hand on the doorknob. What awaits you on the other side is a world of Technicolor and enchantment. A seamless road that begins with words, and in which the in-between is colored by your imagination. There is no end, Lucy - only more.

You are so very close, darling. It’s all right there in front of you – the curtain begging to be drawn back, the stage revealed.

10.09.2018

She's Five

Pamela Salai Photography

Dear Lucy,

Today you are five years old. Half a decade. A whole hand. If you look up numerology, five is described as being the most dynamic and energetic of the single digit numbers. 

My gal, you are just that.

This past year you have grown in ample strides. Intellectually, your need to understand the world around you is insatiable, your ability to hear, remember, and put into use new vocabulary, is remarkable, and your independence has touched every part of our lives. You are growing up right before my eyes.

Like a rolling stone, milestones this year evolved at an alarming pace as your neared your birthday:

·         You can now draw stick figures that actually resemble people, and have created several family portraits of our trio.
·         You conquered your fear of being submerged in water, and now freely jump into pools, and swim below the surface.
·         You can take care of your basic hygienic needs, including successfully showering yourself.
·         You read your very first words: “hero” and “jumbo.”
·         You can get your own snacks and glass of water.
·         You know how to work the TV and access your favorite shows on Netflix.

What is most memorable for me was the summer – you and me. It was, by far, the most enjoyable summer as your Mama. In the past, I often struggled to come up with activities that we could both enjoy, that you would be able in which to participate, and that were appropriate for your age. This summer blew the lid off of all those previous parameters. You are old enough now that the activities we can do together are fun for the both of us, and the places we can go are with minimal preparation, and your willingness to experience new adventures is awesome.

We did so much!! Most notably, we took our first “girl’s trip,” where we drove down to Pigeon Forge, TN, to meet up with my long-time friend and her daughter. It was a lengthy drive down, but you managed like a seasoned pro, exceeding all my expectations. My girl, you were in fact, good company. We listened to stories on a CD and discussed what happened. We laughed a whole lot. Our visit to Tennessee was incredibly fun, and you made fast-friends with R, who is several years your senior. From Tennessee, we headed to Asheville, NC, for a couple days and you continued to enjoy the adventure just as much as I did. When all was said and done and we were home, we both decided that an annual girl’s trip was going to have to become our tradition.

At five years old, your love of music continues, and you thoroughly enjoy artists such as Imagine Dragons, Lady Gaga, Camila Cabello, and Taylor Swift. I see a concert in your near future, darlin’. With music comes dancing, and you are often twirling and creating routines. Crafting is your go-to pastime, and the table you occupy in the living room is often happily covered in markers and remnants of whatever picture you created or construction paper you’ve cut and glued. A slight obsession with makeup has developed, and this one has been a challenge for me. It’s not that I believe makeup is bad; I have grown to love it as I’ve gotten older. I just don’t want you to ever feel the need to wear it, to hold yourself to some unrealistic and unhealthy standard. For now, we allow you to play with some makeup, but when you exit the house, for the most part, we don’t allow any. For special occasions, a select almost translucent eye-shadow, with some sparkle, is allowed, and perhaps a touch of lip gloss. I won’t pretend to know that I know the best way to approach makeup in terms of developmental appropriateness; I’m trying very hard to tread the line with what I think is acceptable, and not squelch the fun you have with it. When asked the other day what you wanted to be when you grow up, you said, “A hair and makeup lady.” Frankly, I think that’s fabulous, and I will champion this path should you someday actually walk it.

You tried out soccer for the very first time, and decided it wasn’t for you. Totally fine. I’m not seeking a legacy in you, nor do I care if you ever love soccer. My girl, I just want you to find something to love, to be passionate about - something to make your own. Gymnastics continues to reign as the desired activity. We took a break for several months, partly because I did not want you to be over-scheduled, but mostly because I wanted to give you an opportunity to try a new sport (soccer), and I wanted to be sure that your participation in gymnastics was because you wanted to be there, and not just because Mama had enrolled you. It’s clear you enjoy bouncing and flipping around. Our living room has become your personal gymnasium, and I chuckle when I see you flip onto the couch, almost knocking the picture frames off the wall. Lucy – it’s as if I’m looking at my past self – I did the very same thing. You have learned how to do a cartwheel, and are working towards a solid handstand.

Pamela Salai Photography
You are so well-immersed in your current pre-school setting; you’re top dog - but the concept of kindergarten has found its way into our world. It’s right around the corner.

This is your final year as a pre-schooler, and while I know you’ll be more than ready to enter the halls of traditional schooling, I understand it’s a little terrifying. You have asked on more than one occasion, “What if I don’t know what to do in Kindergarten?” I try my best to explain that a teacher will be there to help, and that you are a wise girl, and will figure things out as they come, but also that asking for help is all part of the journey.  Next fall will bring big changes, and I will ride them out with you as much as I can, but for the most part, it will be on you, big girl. You will have to navigate new spaces, new friends, and new rules. It won’t all be easy, and some of it may be quite trying. My Mama heart aches knowing this fear floats around inside of you, and I wish with everything to absolve you of this pressure, but I also know it is necessary, and will be good for you. My sweet girl, we only grow when we are pushed outside of our comfort zones.

A month ago I broke my ankle participating in the Tough Mudder. You asked why I had to, “do the race.” My answer was that I do these races because I enjoy challenging myself – this to which you replied, “But you don’t need to challenge your body anymore, because you get boo-boos.” It was sweet and I understand it’s uncomfortable for you to see me hurt, but I needed you to know that this is a fundamental part of who I am. I explained this to you, explained that the fear of getting hurt should never stop you, as it has never stopped me. If I stopped “races” then a part of who I am would cease to exist. I know in your young mind this doesn’t make total sense, but at the very least, I hope you see a Mama who put herself out there, fell hard, and came back to be even stronger. It’s not the fall, Lucy, that defines who we are, but rather the way in which we rise afterwards. We are strong women, cut from the same cloth. We are here to blaze through this world, both warrior and woman.

In June, just a few weeks before I turned forty, we did a photo shoot together. We had such a blast, and I’m so grateful to Pamela Salai Photography for creating and capturing such stunning images. I hope in these you see how good this life really is, how fierce and exquisite you are, and just how much your Mama loves you.

Pamela Salai Photography
You’ve recently taken to falling upon me, hugging and kissing me, and saying, “I just love you so much, and I never want to let you go.” As if my heart could not swell any bigger, I find it doing just that. Growing exponentially, five years and counting. 

There is an image that Pam captured which perfectly encapsulates parenthood. You, twirling in all your tulle and moto jacket glory, and me, your Mama, just slightly behind, looking on in admiration at the remarkable girl you have become.

Someday you will let go, and move on to your own life, but I will always be there. Giving you space to create your world, but always within reach, championing your radiant spirit, always ready for hugs and kisses. And baby, I will always believe you. Always.

Happy Birthday, my sweet Lucille - love, Mama

7.26.2018

Just Because.



Have you ever wanted to do something, just simply, to do it? No significance, no story behind the act, no meaningful symbolism. Have you?

I have.

I have always wanted to shave my head for no other reason than to experience what it feels like and see what it looks like. That’s all. Honest to goodness. Girl Scout’s honor.

Hesitation and doubt have been my nemesis for years; the social repercussions to doing something so dramatically drastic, too, have echoed in the back of my mind. Is she sick? Why would she do something like this? It looks awful. Is she having a midlife crisis? Biggest mistake of her life. Whatever sense of beauty I have of myself, I have had to ask – is it locked in my locks? While I mostly don’t care what others think of what I do, worrying about whether or not I could pull this off – held me back.

And then it occurred to me, as many things have this year – WHO THE FUCK CARES? If it looks horrible, the good news about hair, and my ability to grow it at a reasonably rapid rate is just that – it will grow back.

And that’s where this started; it’s not where I ended, because I changed my mind. Free will, people. Instead of channeling Natalie Portman via V for Vendetta, I kept some length. It gives me something to play with and color. But don’t get it mixed up, though, I was still crazy nervous. Going from so much hair to almost nothing is a dramatic change.

This year has been a year about acceptance and giving myself permission to become the most comfortable in my skin I’ve ever been. I have been privately criticizing and scrutinizing myself for the better part of my life. It ends now; I owe myself the love I so willingly and generously give to others.

I recently read Brené Brown’s Braving the Wilderness, and she writes that, “We must sometimes stand alone in our decisions and beliefs despite our fears of criticism and rejection.” Unnerving to say the least, even for the most confident of souls. But if we look a little closer, isn’t it mostly about control? Brown writes that, “…because we can’t control…what other people think about our choice…it turns out to be the place of true belonging, and it’s the bravest and most sacred place you will ever stand.”

So, I’m going to stand in the sacred, in backing out of my original plan, in embracing my final choice, and relinquish the rest. And believe me, I get the triviality of all this - a haircut. On the continuum of life, what matters and what doesn't, this is but a tiny privileged first world blip in the world.

It’s not a shaved head, but damn – it’s short! Lucy says I look like a punk-rocker. Thanks darlin'. And, as it turns out, I am not Samson. I feel no less powerful, in fact, I feel MORE powerful. Seems like most of us live two lives; the one in which we participate on a daily basis, and the one that resides quietly within us. What stands between the two is fear. In squaring up against my own doubt, the experience of cutting off all my hair has been exquisitely empowering.

However I am perceived and deceived,
however my ignorance and conceits,
lay aside your fears that I will be undone,
for I shall not be moved.

This was simply an act for me, read no further.

I shall not be moved.