to the lady at tea time.

Last weekend I had the chance of a lifetime to visit Jamaica with my two dearest friends. Amy turned 40 a couple of months ago and we continued our tradition of traveling together in celebration of that sacred milestone. I was 21 when I first met Samantha and Amy which alternately feels like an entire lifetime ago and, well, yesterday.  Celebrating our fortieths together is surreal.

So what better place to travel than Jamaica? A land that feels equally surreal as the idea of the friends of my youth celebrating four decades. Each day we wined and dined and wined again, waking to the sounds of breakfast being prepared by the house staff  (apparently this is a thing?!) and lazing our days walking the resort, frequenting the beach bar and trying not to blister by the pool. We are 40(ish) after all which means no more browning to a crisp. Coincidentally, an ad has recently been appearing in my social media feeds, trying to convince me I need some sort of large sticker device to adhere to my chest each evening to ward off…chest wrinkles? No thanks. I’ll just take the age and celebrate the laugh lines as they come.

The house we stayed in was amazing. The resort itself was a dream. But nothing surpassed the company of these friends of my heart. Sharing this time together was such a breath of fresh air amid the dailiness of regular life.

We were enjoying afternoon tea one day (apparently this is also a thing?!) when we struck up a conversation with an older couple seated next to us. We shared a few details about each other’s lives and learned that they too had ties to a service academy (which is how Amy, Samantha and I met), a fun life parallel about 35 years apart. The husband in this couple had recently retired from private medical practice and the wife had retired from a career in banking. She has volunteered for the last seven years at an inner city New York elementary school, instantly making us even bigger fans of her. They raised five children together.

As we sipped our tea and chatted she was surprised to learn that we were each married (since our husband’s were not along) and she inquired about the children at home. She asked how many times a day they had called us to ask a child-rearing question to which we each responded: none. I thought she might choke on her cucumber sandwich.

We just didn’t do that, when I was raising kids,” she said. Of course, she meant the whole thing…the leaving the husbands and children…the girlfriends…the time away to ourselves. But the way she said it lacked any judgement or back-in-my-day air. Instead, it was tinged with awe.

I’ve often thought about the lives of the women who came before me, both those in my own family tree but also those beyond. Surely there are so many things about our hopes and dreams that are the same. But the demands on women to be absolutely everything for their families was so much greater in the generations that came before me. And it’s because of those women, particularly those in the generation of this lovely lady we had tea with, that I am free to simultaneously adore my children, love my spouse, commit to my work and yet leave all three for days of leisure, knowing all will survive without me.

The women of her generation were the ones that forged the path outside of the home…while also manning (womanning?!) every duty inside of it. They didn’t take anything off of their plates, they simply added to their tasks. But because of that struggle and commitment, the balance has shifted for my generation and my peers. We are working toward sharing the care and keeping of children with our spouses. We are negotiating housework based on who is better at which tasks, not based on traditional roles. We are balancing careers and family, yes…but so are our partners. It is no longer a balancing act for women alone.

And we are all reaping the benefits. The fathers that I know in my peer group are so connected to their children, having cared for their daily needs since birth. My mom recently relayed to me how delighted she was to be in a pub and watch two young men across from her sip their beers while also bottle feeding their babies. There were no mothers in sight. I imagine the mothers were working or running or volunteering or, maybe, reconnecting in Jamaica with their closest girlfriends. No matter…those dudes weren’t making any calls for help. And those babies were staring into the faces of their daddies, not thinking anything was amiss. Because it wasn’t.

Thank you, kind lady at tea…to you and the rest of your generation.





someone said it better.

I’m happiest when I’m in the middle of a good book. And in 37+ years I’ve learned that no matter how many books I buy from the goodwill (my weakness) I will really only read them if I get them from the library. I think it’s the impending deadline. Which I love even more because it’s a deadline you can extend. Twice.

God bless the library. And librarians.

Anyway, so far I’m about four books into 2018 and my most recent finish was Grace by Natashia Deon. (You should buy it…you’re probably better at reading without deadlines).

I loved the book but there were two sections in particular that stopped me in my tracks. I wished I written both of them. It seemed like she crawled into my heart and spilled it into her book.

The first of the heart-stoppers said simply, when the narrator was speaking of her child,

There were things I still needed to tell her.

That she’s beautiful. That she’s loved. That there’s a God who loves her.

And the second, chapters later in the book and under very different circumstances she elaborates and that’s really when the chill bumps kicked in,

I’d tell her to always enjoy the present. To live in it. I’d tell her about love, too. I’d tell her the love she has for this boy, she’ll feel again. I’d tell her about real love. Tell her to not be fooled by what feels real. Tell her to get married like I never could. Tell her to marry someone who’s kind. I’d tell her to make herself kinder by learning to care for people with bad attitudes and nothing to offer ’cause the kindness she measures to others will be measured back to her. I’d tell her that in the end, we’ll all need somebody to take care of us, if we live long enough. If we get old. That’s when it’ll matter most. When we’re living the consequence of our old yeses and nos. And if you’re lucky, I’d tell her, your caregiver will be your own spouse because you’d have paid for that privilege with your commitment. And if not your husband, let it be someone you love and loves you.

Heaven help me if that isn’t it. Exactly what I want my children to know. That they are loved by an earthly as well as eternal Mother and Father. And that kindness is an action. That we pay the consequences and reap the benefits of our yeses and nos. And that loving someone deeply is the most selfish and selfless action our life can encompass.

Heaven help me if that’s not exactly what I want myself to know too. As I tell my children daily, “we’re all still learning.” Mama included.






The only New Year’s resolution I’ve ever successfully kept was the time when I promised myself I’d stop stuffing the washer so full. For the most part I’ve made good on that one. Oh, and one time I decided to actively be kind to a couple of people who weren’t at the top of my favorite humans list. That worked fairly well and was definitely good for my spirit. Outside of those two experiences I’ve found resolving to be less than fruitful.

Instead, I love to use the start of a new year to make a big ol’ list of projects I want to tackle. Often these are business related but these days they’re also focused around our house which we spent most of last year rebuilding from the ground up. We moved back in in August and spent a frenetic two months settling in before busy season hit in October. Now that we’re through the Fall/Christmas stretch I’m ready to project again…art displays, cushion sewing and closet clean out are all on the list.

But more and more I find that my “to do” lists center around the things I want to do with these two kiddos we’ll only have in our care for another 8 years. Our time left with them is short, even though in the daily motion of things it seems like they’ll be here forever.

There are things in each family, about each family member that are markedly eye-roll worthy. In our family one of those things is my long-winded response to any and every question asked by one of my children. In fact, these days they preface most queries with a “Mom, I don’t need a long explanation for this but why…”

This is something I know I do and I’d like to say I’m working on it but the truth is, I’m not. As I’ve told both Sarah and Ephraim, I am highly conscious of the limited days I have left with each of them and there is a long, long, long list of things I need them to know about the world and their place in it before they go. If that means I have to loop around the block an extra time or three before pulling into the driveway because I’m not quite done explaining why “your body is your body” or “you teach people how to treat you” or “the toilet paper roll has to dispense from the top” then so be it. I’ll gladly pay for the extra gas.

My point is this…I’m not resolving this year but I’m list-making instead. And at the top of my list is using these moments with my family wisely. And also maybe blogging again. We’ll see how that one goes. Hopefully it’ll be as successful as the washer situation.




weird, man.

I think I fell down a rabbit hole. Two plus years since I wrote here. I guess there was no particular reason why I stopped other than life, man. And also the nagging feeling that one day my kids might feel entirely too exposed on the internet. But time and again over the last two years I’ve come here, scrolling, searching and reveling in the stories of their lives. At times I’ve even read aloud to them…and sometimes them to me. I mentioned yesterday that I might start writing here again and they both pleaded for that to be true. So I guess, here we go.

Chances are there will be lots fewer pictures and less specific stories but who knows. What I do know is that I’ve missed the outlet of writing. Something about pecking at these keys is cathartic…even if the only catharsis I seek is from the passage of time. Because the truth is that the day to day dull ache that I feel is over how quickly it’s all going. The kids are ten and twelve now. TEN AND TWELVE. Hold me. To make no mention of how old Brent and I are.

So I guess that’s why I’m back. Time is passing, kids are growing, life is marching on and the only way I know to slow it down is by celebrating every last second of it.




our little hip hoppers.

We are lucky to have not one but TWO dancers in our family. Last year Ephraim decided to take hip hop along with Sarah and we couldn’t be more proud of them both! The recital early this Summer was absolutely amazing. I loved capturing them on stage!

Check out our little guy stealing the show!

Sarah was delighted that her third grade teacher came to watch. (Super dark photograph but still a keeper for the moment it captured!)

And no dance recital would be complete without our neighbs! Sarah and Betsy have been attending each other’s recitals for years now.

Apparently dancers aren’t supposed to be seen in costume in the hallways during a performance. So here’s E snuggling his Dad with his robe on…

Sarah was also asked to be in the closing recital this year which she was THRILLED about. She was one of the youngest to dance in this number so she was mostly hidden in the back. She didn’t mind though…she was so enamored to be part of a group of such wonderful dancers. I had to be quick to grab a couple shots of her at the very end.

I guess I’m officially a dance mom!