Friday, June 25, 2010

Searching for Grace

Sometimes, the words don't come. Sometimes, they seem too heavy to write or speak. They ruminate and congest. They parade and stomp, elephant-like in my mind. Like lead ingots. So heavy. But then, I realize those unspoken words weigh much more than those that are set free.

So the words finally came. They stumbled out awkwardly, falling sporadically. Despite their rough-edged rigidness, I welcomed them during their sporadic, capricious arrival.

The last weeks, I've been low. Yelling at my children. Not enjoying, but enduring. Tense, terse and rigid. The whining, the sass, the crying, the constant needs, the kids fighting--all pummeling through me and throwing me over a jagged, steep cliff. Every minute of every moment filled with demands and unease, camouflaging any remaining simple joys. I precariously balanced there, my needs teetering with those of my children. I felt as if I successfully failed all, my only resounding certainty was my uncertainty.

One rough morning this week, Abby screamed in Henry's face. Appalled by her behavior, I screamed in her face (under the guise of showing her how not to treat her brother, fooling no one.) She (understandably) broke down and bawled. I resisted comforting her because I self-righteously and resolutely sat in my anger: "She should know better than to yell at her brother like that."

Then, my tears began their cathartic descent, achingly releasing the bottled weeks of angst. Yes, my children's recent behavior was maddening. BUT that did not give me permission to relinquish my usual deep-breathing, patient ways. Abby yelling at her brother in disgust? Well, not surprisingly, my sweet daughter mimicked me, yelling at her brother as I, lately, have yelled at yer. I never used to yell before. Now I'm yelling frequently. Daily. Hourly. And just seven hours into summer break, I already ached for fall and school.

My life consists of a continual series of seismic waves, up, down, falling, climbing. Sometimes the falls loom steeply. My recent residence in the dredges of the bottom curve leave me traversing between anger and frustration. And, despite my awareness of the necessity of the lows, I've been so mean to myself. Judging. Frustrated. My true thoughts ricocheting against my shoulds, a battle of wills ensuing. The gnawing, unfair supposition that I should be feeling something other than what I did wasted me. I hated that I allowed my children to annoy me. Harshly judging my reality and emotions, I left little room for the essence of my feelings to take hold and lead to a brighter spot. I wished that I could extend myself the same kindness, compassion and patience I freely and easily dole out to the others I love in my life.

And now, with tears streaming as I remember that morning and the malaise of the last several weeks, I grasp tightly to the power of the low, promising a forthcoming brightness. My shoulds and agonies parted and the words flowed, comforting like a linguistic salve. With a renewed peacefulness in my soul, compassion, joy and understanding returned for my children. And, gratefully, and maybe most importantly, they returned for me, too.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Frickin' Awesome Dad

My husband, the father of my children, rocks. I could write page after page about him and his fabulous attributes; he would love this and, when he reads this post, will wonder why on earth I didn't indulge all those words. Alas, dear hubby, I'm going to keep it short and sweet.

Top Ten (o.k, Eleven) Reasons Why Hubby is a Frickin' Awesome Dad:

11. When he gets home from work, he runs in the door to greet his kids.

10. At bedtime, he plays classical music to calm everyone down (and created a Pandora channel dedicated to bedtime chill tunes).

9. He resonates calm when his children's mother is a raving, exhausted, spent, out-of-patience bitch (not that she's like that a lot, but if she happens to be like that...ahem).

8. He likes going to the grocery store with his kids.

7. He accepts constructive input on his parenting skills (WOW--I try to emulate him. Truly I do.)

6. He possesses magic, mystical powers and can take both Abby and Henry from tantrum to belly laugh in roughly one minute and 39 seconds.

5. Sometimes, when hubby's been out of town for a long stretch, he gets home late at night. He goes straight to the kids' bedrooms to say hi. Often, I won't be able to find him. After searching, I find him asleep in one of their beds. Cutest. Damn. Thing. Ever.

4. He makes pancakes each and every Saturday morning.

When Abby was a newborn, I mowed the grass while hubby was at work. When he learned that I'd done this, he was MAD. I, of course, was then MAD (and a wee bit confused) that he wasn't appreciative--I mean hell--I'd mowed the lawn in hot, gross August wearing Abby in a Bjorn. Then he exploded, "What if you'd slipped? What if...Ugh. I'm sick. I can't even...." And that is why hubby's anger eclipsed any form of gratitude: the thought of something happening to his baby girl undid him. It was the first (of many) times I saw his mother-bear side and I melted into his fierce love for his baby girl.

2. Abby and Henry know that their Dad is a real, fallible person, who makes mistakes yet lives with the integrity to own his blunders and say "I'm sorry" (not that this happens a lot, of course, but when it happens to happen, ahem, he's sets a stellar example for those little people).

1. His children know what it is to be deeply loved by their father.

I am humbled and honored
to love this man, who emulates strength, compassion, tenderness, grace and humility. Happy Father's Day to my hubby, who brings laughter, hope and light into all of our lives.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


As the school year wraps, I'm keenly aware of the merging presence of both the end and the beginning. The end of the school year and the beginning of the summer, mingling in the same space.

Yesterday, I walked the halls of Abby's elementary school.

What is it about the palpable, tangible energy during those last school days? The students and teachers all wear a mix of exhaustion and anticipatory joy on their faces. As my feet moved me down the hall, I recalled organizing all the shiny, crisp school supplies into Abby's backpack for the first day of school. Now, I peeked into classrooms and saw children haphazardly shoving old, worn folders, well-loved crayons and papers into their packs.

I inhaled the school unique essence of school: tempera paint, paper reams, glue and sweaty gym shoes. The scent of freshly-cut grass wafted in through the open windows. Blank hall walls, which just last week proudly displayed students' work, now looked so stark, punctuated with the occasional ripped corner of some well-thought-out project, pierced with one stalwart thumbtack. The floors of the hallway? The scuffed, well-traveled halls seemed torn. I could almost hear them saying, "I thought they'd never leave," while heaving a sigh of relief and trying to commit the footsteps and hum to memory. As if they could sense the impending, inevitable solemn quiet and darkened days. And were already yearning for the freshness of fall. I know how they feel.

Where do endings end and beginnings really begin? They mesh and parallel each other. I suspect the edges are always gray, frayed and ambiguous. Like those hallowed halls, like those worn school supplies. Like me. Yearning for quiet, embracing the noise and simultaneously craving both summer and fall.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Winner of Cocotay Necklace!

Congratulations to Courtney Lumbley, the winner of the Cocotay Survivorship Necklace.

(Courtney--just shoot me an email, within 48 hours, to with your address and I'll mail you your beautiful new bauble.)

Thanks to everyone for entering and helping spread the word about Cocotay!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mundane Divinities

Ever since my foggy Friday, I've been watching. Suddenly, I see so many lovely tidbits floating through my days. Their steadfast presence, maintaining their presence through my fog, even permeating my fogginess with their serendipitous bright truths.

Last week, the kids and I drove to Dunkin' Donuts. On the way, we sat in traffic. (Amazingly, I'd left enough time to allow for traffic.) As we sat, I looked out the window. A woman and an elementary school girl stood in their driveway. I guessed they were waiting for the school bus. They stood, silently, side by side. Contentment seemed to swallow them. The girl looked up at the woman, probably her grandmother. They smiled, and the grandmother nestled the girl into the cozy part of her body. The emulated peace. They inadvertently sent some to me.

Last Tuesday, I planted flowers. I reached into the damp dirt and furrowed spots for my vincas and potato vines. My finger nails caked with dirt. Joyful flowers nodding on my front porch. I unwittingly and literally grounded myself in the ground.

This morning, on the way to school, I saw another grandparent with her grandson. He was probably two. They stood, across from the school, like statues. Still. Waiting. Watching. I guessed that they were watching for school buses. Regardless, they stood. The grandmother didn't rush, hen peck or direct her grandson. She let him be. I felt as if that sage grandmother held some arcane bit of knowledge and just by observing them, she unknowingly unwrapped a bit of the secret for me.

Last night, while cocooned in tousled cotton duvets, a cacophony of damp drops serenaded us during our slumber. Quiet. Methodical. Natural rain. Wrapping the moment in its own heady, poignant paper. Defining a beginning, on the inevitable heels of a a day's end.

The divine, nestled right here, betwixt the traffic, the school bustle and a night's sleep.

Friday, June 4, 2010


Some days, for no seeming reason at all, it feels like I'm walking through a very foggy space. The fog is composed of valiant anxiety and palpitating angst. Tears threaten. But I don't know why. Just. Don't. Know. Uncertainty, tinged with desperation, also mingles in that fog. I can't see it, but I feel it. Heavy. Damp. Slightly dark. I can't see much. But my feelings heighten...when that fog descends, I simmer in doubt and unease.

I wonder, on days like these, like today, if this is a new iteration of my depression. Because I've lived with this for so long, I've gotten really smart and aware about the symptoms and how I need to live to achieve balance. But is my depression like a super-resistant bacterial strain that keeps morphing to ensure its existence?

This time, this foggy, damp time, occurs simultaneously with a glorious, geranium-filled June day. Huh. I just don't get it. No. Answers. So, I will trudge through the fog and know that it has a purpose. But I will grab a flashlight. A light to illuminate the necessity of this time, which will parlay into the next. The next more seasoned, more enlightened time.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Cocotay Necklace Giveaway

This winter, I had the pleasure of meeting a fabulous jewelry designer, Coco Blaisdell and I got my hands on her fabulous Cocotay jewelry. She's a true entrepreneur and I love, adore, (did I mention love) supporting women who create beauty and listen to their hearts. Cocotay offers different lines and many incorporate vintage pieces--like old chandelier--which is cool AND green. (And if that weren't enough, Cocotay is everywhere... Sarah Jessica Parker is wearing Cocotay in Sex and the City 2!! Martina McBride wore Cocotay to the VH1 Divas! Both Joy Behar and Elizabeth Hasselbeck have worn Cocotay on The View.)

(Please excuse the quality of the photos below. I just fired my lighting crew, my makeup artist and photographer, so *sigh* I took all these photos on my own.)

This is my first Cocotay necklace...

I wear it all the time. I have so many necklaces but this one keeps getting repeat wears.

And I just got a pair of Cocotay earrings...
love them.

And now, I get to share her one of her fabulous baubles with one of you!
One MusingsdeMommy reader will win a Cocotay Survivorship Necklace.

(In collaboration with the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Cocotay developed the necklace to lovingly honor all those touched by cancer. As much as 50% of the proceeds go directly to the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Read more at

If you're ever in Manhattan, go to Bergdorf Goodman, 5th floor, to see, caress, try and buy her fabulous line. Or, visit Cocotay ( do you enter? (Each valid comment you leave below equals one entry in the giveaway.)

1. Tell me, what piece of jewelry do you put on that makes you feel confident, happy, beautiful? (One entry, leave a comment with your answer.)
2. Become a Facebook fan of Cocotay. (One entry, leave a comment telling me you did.)
3. Do you like what you read here? Does it resonate with you? Please invite your friends to come and read, too. (One Entry, leave a comment telling me you did.)
4. Long shot: Have a valid editorial "in" at Real Simple or O, The Oprah Magazine? Introduce me, copy me on the email ( and if a dialogue begins, you'll get 25 entries. Seriously.

Giveaway Rules:
Open to US & Canadian Residents only. Entries accepted between June 3 and midnight (Eastern) June 14, 2010. I'll pick the winner via and announce it here. Then, oh lucky winner, you just email me within 48 hours and I'll send you your fabulous new Cocotay bauble. (Make your subject line: Cocotay Necklace Winner, please.) If I don't hear from you in 48 hours, I'll pick a new lucky winner. (Oh, and I wasn't paid to do this giveaway, but Coco did give me my very own Survivorship Necklace. She's good that way.)

Good luck!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pig Tails and Ankle Bones

This morning, I put Abby's hair into pig tails. I parted her hair, wetted her hair, sprayed detangler on her hair and after 2 1/2 minutes of coaxing and pulling, got one tail done. As I prepped the hair on the second half of her head, my memory tugged at me...this seems familiar. I moved on to the next mass of blond curls. When I finished, I stared at her.

Mouth open, jaw slack. Staring. Not at Abby, but at myself. In 1978.

Those pig tails, that part, the curls. She looked JUST LIKE ME. I stared at her hair and saw my own, from a faded Kodak memory (complete with rounded corners and on the back, my mother's neat handwriting marking the date).

Old photos and memories time traveling and converging as I prepare the kids for school. Usually a rote (and rushed, chaotic and slightly tense part of the morning) and there I was, swirling in an unexpected eddy of all tenses, past, present and future.

I snapped back and the frantic morning shuffle continued. When I looked down to grab a back pack, my memory stopped me again. Stared again. This time, at my ankle. There, just above my ankle bone, sat an odd, round dry patch of skin. I recognize this dark round oddity because I stared at the same one on my mom's ankle when I was....

wearing thick, blond, curly pig tails. Circa 1978.

I'll bet Abby doesn't yet know that she comes from a long line of lovely women who walked before her with odd, dry skin patches above their ankles. May she wear her genetic badge proudly. And hopefully, when she first sees hers, maybe when she's readying my grandchildren for school some distant day in the future, she'll smile. And remember.

ps--Luckily for Abby, she wears her paternal grandmother's genetic badges, too. She'll need to send many thank you notes to her Mimi, espousing thanks for the elegant, thin ankles which came from Mimi's gene pool. THEN she can send me a quick note of thanks for the odd dry skin patch. (You're welcome, sweet kid. You're welcome.)