New Year’s, again

December 30, 2009 at 7:00 am | Posted in gastronomy, little bug, running, Starbucks, the firm, Uncategorized, weekend, wine, yoga | Leave a comment
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Last year my resolutions were regimented and ambitious and accompanied by this photo:

Unabashed self-improvement, complete with a killer bod. This year, when I’m quickly moving into end-of-pregnancy, out-of-breath lethargy and clearly will be starting my new year at a decided fitness disadvantage, I almost have to laugh at last year’s idealism.

So I’ll be a bit more realistic. I really do love making New Year’s resolutions — I love a challenge, and I love self-improvement. I love setting goals and diving head-first into meeting them, even if they are forgotten in a few weeks. The planning and that initial, exhilarating dive energize me.

Gretchen Rubin, who writes a blog called the Happiness Project (and has a new book out by the same name, which I pre-ordered, of course!), had some thoughtful suggestions for die-hard resolvers such as myself:

  • Ask: “What would make me happier?
  • Ask: “What is a concrete action that would bring about change?
  • Ask: “Am I a ‘yes’ resolver or a ‘no’ resolver?”
  • Ask: “Am I starting small enough?
  • Ask: “How am I going to hold myself accountable?”

With these tips in mind for 2010, I considered not that which would make me better (e.g., eat healthier, lose weight, etc.), nor anything rigidly goal-related (with a baby and a six-month work hiatus rapidly approaching, I just have no idea how anything career-related is going to sort itself out — and I’m not going to try to force anything, e.g., “bill more hours” or “turn blog into advertising bonanza”). Instead, I considered that which, simply, might make me happier.

What does actually make me truly happy? I didn’t consider the obvious yet existential stuff — such as my daughter laying her head on my shoulder or my husband rolling over and putting his arm around me in the early early mornings for a few more minutes of sleep. But almost guilty, materialistic pleasures — what if I tried to embrace these with the resolution to be, well, just happier

What makes me happy:

1.  Very very long very very hot showers. 
2.  Saturday morning yoga with Claire or Rhea at Baron Baptiste.
3.  4.5 mile runs when the stars are aligned (pleasant conditions, before breakfast or as the sun sets, a good running mix)
4.  Starbucks grande soy no foam no water chai (oh, but these are SO bad for you, so perhaps they are best saved for an occasional indulgence of which that I will try to be mindful in the moment — see #9, below).
5.  Opening a new bottle of red wine — from the sound of the cork popping, to that first swirl and smell, to pouring another glass. I love the ritual as much as anything else.
6.  Afternoon naps on the weekends (especially if they follow either #2 or #3).
7.  Friday nights, with wine, in front of the TV and a good dinner of something with pasta and cheese with Tim (though depending on how much wine, #2 or #3 may not be as pleasant).
8.  People and US Weekly.
9.  Catching myself in the present, as brief or startling as it may be: hearing a song in the car that links past to present; running; yoga; wine; reading a passage in a book or magazine or blog that strikes me as true and real. 

My friend Lindsey has been featuring a series on her blog called Present Tense, in which she asks bloggers about the moments in which they are truly present. It’s interesting to read about what the idea of “being present” means to others, and it’s also nice to know that it is as difficult for others as it is for me.

As for resolutions, then (and thinking back to last year’s), cleaning up the house and cooking  — while I enjoy the results of both, and am learning to love the process of the latter, especially with a glass of #5 in hand — don’t necessarily bring me immediate pleasure, as aspirational as they are.  Maybe, then, all of these things that do bring real relaxation and happiness serve as subconscious conduits to #9? Is that the point?

As I embark on a year that promises a few changes, the clean house will happen or it won’t (remember this post ?). Perhaps clearing a path for some of these less lofty moments – and acknowledging how much I enjoy them – can lead ultimately to #9.

Three years and counting…

December 29, 2009 at 2:53 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Without diving into deep background, I can promise you that marrying my husband was the last thing I had in mind when I met him. (Need I mention that the first time I saw him he was checking his Blackberry?) Not that he wasn’t cute and funny — a salt-and-pepper haired, dimpled, charming, Irish boy from Boston. After a few dates, I felt like he was the person I had always wanted to be with: someone who loves to read, to run, to split a bottle of red wine, whose family is as important to him as mine is to me (disfunction and all). The super-Irish surname didn’t hurt, either. But marriage, in general, wasn’t something about which I had a lot of enthusiasm. I had just made law review and was on a mission to continue kicking ass through law school until I landed a job at the first New York firm that would send me to Paris. (As I’ve written about before, I think, I had convinced myself that Paris would be my mate. I’d fall in love with the city, and that would adequately replace any lingering need for a human relationship. It sounds ridiculous and hyperbolic, but I assure you I was very serious about this plan.)

Here is how I felt three years ago tonight:  nauseous, tired, and self conscious. I was nervous, but only in the stage-fright sense — only because I was about to walk down the aisle on my mother’s arm with 60 family members and close friends staring at me. Unlike most brides, I honestly felt far from beautiful that night. But I did feel happy and calm.

Here’s how I did not feel: scared, unsure, hesitant. As I said in my impromptu toast at our reception, I’m terrible at making decisions. I project into the future and second-guess and guess again and almost paralyze myself with indecisiveness. But I never  thought twice about spending the rest of my life with him.

And my marriage, to my great surprise, continues to be one of the few areas of my life I don’t question, bringing me a sense of grounding and belonging I had until now written off as elusive and idealistic.

I love that our anniversary falls in the middle of this relatively quiet no-man’s land between Christmas and New Year’s, and that every year it seems to be the coldest day of the winter, and that the Christmas lights are still up.

Happy Anniversary, Tim.

The Balloon Christmas

December 24, 2009 at 2:18 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

In 1947, my father’s whole family contracted polio, and my grandfather, a professor at MIT with a young wife, a 4-year-old daughter, and 2-year-old son, died in an iron lung. My grandmother moved her children to her home state of Oklahoma for a year after his death, but eventually moved back East, to Amherst, Mass., so that my dad and his sister would know their paternal grandparents. 

There was very little money. I’ve heard stories of planting and tilling and canning and storing vegetables for food and various lore of other hardships. But I actually really don’t know that much about my father’s childhood.

There is one story I think about every Christmas, however. Fact and fiction by now may have become somewhat conflated or have morphed the tale into something idealistically poignant. Nevertheless — and especially as I prepare to wrap pink princessy presents for my daughter that I’m quite sure will be forgotten in a corner of the basement in six months — the tale is worth remembering and telling.

My grandmother, now a single mother who was at the time I believe working part-time as a dietician/nutritionist for the Amherst school system, had no money for Christmas presents. Literally, nothing. She worried about her small children waking up to a void under the Christmas tree, losing their faith in Santa and whatever else they might have a little faith in at that age. She prepared them for the worst. And yet, as mothers somehow know how to do — have always done — she found a way. (If this tale were to take the religious bent my grandmother undoubtedly gave it in her later years, I would write something like “God inspired her.” And maybe he did.)

My dad and my aunt ran down the stairs on Christmas morning, and instead of a bare living room, there was a menagerie of colors and shapes! Balloons! Hundreds of them, twisted into animals and filling every corner. This, to my father, was Christmas — celebration and joy. What more was there supposed to be? The toddler taking in that Christmas morning spectacle couldn’t articulate the idea of love as the driving force of the joy in his balloon Christmas. But as an adult, he knew that love was behind it all: a mother’s love, and, at the very purest level — as we all know inherently but perhaps have trouble accessing — the recognition that giving and happiness go much, much deeper than anything tangibly material.

Merry Christmas. I hope your day is filled, at its core, with joy and with love. While I’m not sure that I believe in God, I do believe in love, and that, if there is a God, God is love.

Thinking pink

December 24, 2009 at 2:25 am | Posted in little bug, read this | Leave a comment
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We celebrated an early Christmas with some Murphys last night before heading down to NJ today. Grandma Babs clearly hit the jackpot with her present to Little Bug — a ballerina outfit, complete with slippers. Of course, Buggy immediately also wanted a crown and wings so she could be a Sugar Plum Fairy from the Nutcracker (how does she remember these things?)

Interestingly, Lisa Belkin, in her NYTimes blog, “Motherlode,” posted a query this morning concerning little girls and pink. How much is too much? Do parents try to avoid it and other gender stereotyped toys, games, and assumptions? I haven’t actively avoided the whole “pink is for girls/blue is for boys”* thing, but I also have made more than a subconscious effort not to infuse Buggy’s toddler life with princesses or ballerinas or dolls. Yet, somehow she inherently gravitates to them. (See the joy in her face, above!)

*I had an ultrasound at my OB appointment yesterday. The midwife wanted to make sure the baby’s head was down. “I already know it’s a boy, so don’t worry about revealing anything,” I told her. “Oh no,” she said, “this ultrasound machine isn’t sharp enough to determine gender anyway. I just need to check the baby’s position right now.” But as she began to do the ultrasound she said, “Oh yes, it’s definitely a boy.” Now, I was secretly very relieved by this confirmation, as I had just ordered some decidedly “boyish” blue-and-white ticking stripe curtains. Not that blue curtains wouldn’t have been lovely in a girl’s room…but, I do love pink and would at least have tried to get some last-minute pink trim or something put on them had the ultrasound revealed otherwise!

Wherever I go…

December 21, 2009 at 11:37 am | Posted in NYC, the 'burbs, Uncategorized, wine | 2 Comments

I know my posts recently have been kind of introspective and heavy, but I have one more in me, so bear with me. (And then I’ll be on vacation, resulting in lots of light-hearted Christmas stories and pictures of the Little Bug for awhile!)

When I wrote about my trek in Nepal earlier this month, I found myself leafing through the three journals I kept over the course of my 10-month trip – warily.  My 35-year-old self barely recognizes that person who didn’t shower for weeks, slept in a 35-cent-a-night hut in Laos (without electricity, clearly), and actually allowed herself to be carried on a 12-seater prop plan over the Himalayas.  Conversely, that 25-year-old would have at least pretended to be appalled at the suburb-dwelling, corporate lawyer into which I’ve morphed. But the young me also secretly might have been slightly relieved to have turned out as such. It’s one thing to want to want something, such as a backpacker’s carefree life. It’s another thing to actually want it.

In my mid 20s, I wanted to want to be adventurous. My life up until then seemed solidly predictable (good public schools, summer vacations to the Cape, and all signs pointing towards academic success that would culminate in a good – OK, great – college).  We never took grand family trips to Europe or California.  We didn’t even hike or camp in National Parks (the wisdom of which is now apparent to me, trust me, Mom).  The onset of my father’s illness when I was 23 stirred up both a desperate fear of mortality and resentment about my childhood (what had I missed out on?!), and all of a sudden I tried to mold myself into someone who ran marathons and traveled the world.  I wanted to aspire to some sort of peripatetic, exciting life, far removed from the leafy suburbs and perceived boredom of my childhood (and everything I thought made my father, and thus me, unhappy). 

Wanderlust is addictive. There is a rush to landing in a new city, pulling out a map, and finding your bearings. You need to be entirely focused on the present: how to find, right then and there, the public transportation to your hotel or hostel, without a moment to contemplate even your impending jet lag or what museums you need to visit the next day. I always loved the feeling of arriving in an unfamiliar airport or train station, even if it was just a visit back to New York from L.A. — I felt uncharacteristically purposeful and confident for those first few hours and even days, especially if I was traveling solo.  So for a number of years, I traveled and moved around as often as I could.  In addition to my 10-month around-the-world trek, there were trips to Italy, Spain, Brazil. I sublet the Paris apartment of a journalism school classmate for a summer.  I moved to Sun Valley to ski and write for the local paper, and then to Los Angeles, where I wrote for a glamorous magazine and learned about wine. Then I moved to New Jersey to take what I thought was my next dream job, working for my alma mater, and then I moved to Boston … and so on. 

Every plane trip, every move, every new job could only mask for a little while, however, what had become an endemic state of anxiety. Why was I anxious? Well, the reasons were many (and known to some of my readers) and there’s no need to go into them now, but, in short: there was anxiety about death and relationships and, most of all, that nothing I was doing was actually making me happy. If not travel, and exciting cities and new jobs, and endless yoga classes then what? When would I feel calm and secure and at peace?

I have a new favorite on my Google reader, a blog called “Wherever Launa Goes, There She Is.” Launa is a friend of a friend (whom I suspect also went to college with my sister-in-law), who made the decision with her husband and two girls to live in Provence for a year. It sounds divine, and many times, it is. But her writing is not merely a daily, blog version of A Year in Provence, full of quirky locals and impossible good fortune.  Instead, the title of her blog underscores the beauty of her approach to her family’s “year off” – yes, drinking local wine and cooking from the farmer’s market and spending time with each other is everything one would hope it would be, but there are still issues with the potential to complicate their lives as much as they were complicated in the U.S.: the family can’t quite figure out how to make friends in their new town, one daughter is desperately unhappy in her new French school, another suffers her first asthma attack.

Wherever you go, there you are. I’ve been coming to terms with this truth for a few years, and I think Launa’s blog finally drives it home in part because she’s living what I always thought would be my absolute dream:  a year in France! And yet she eloquently and lovingly explores the idea that while some of the superficialities are all they are cracked up to be, (to be horribly cliché) your baggage nonetheless follows you from place to place.  Drinking a glass of wine on the Seine or a beer on the Mekong are glamorous and provide flashes of pleasure in their exoticism, but you finish that drink and… there you are.  

To my surprise — truly — my 35-year-old self might actually be happy living in one place for more than a year or two. Still, right before we bought the house, I called Tim in a panic from the car on my way to work. “Is this what we really want?”  Meaning, of course: is this what I really want? Should we have stayed in the city?  Did we move to the right town?  Occasionally, I still panic on a macroscopic level, as well: What if I want to live in Sun Valley again? Don’t I want to pursue my longtime dream of living in Paris for a year?

Of course I do, but not, anymore, as an escape. This is why I love Launa’s blog, whose title resonates as my new mantra when I start to feel these familiar flutters of second-guessing.  She is adamant that their year is not an escape, but rather an opportunity for a busy family to slow down and focus on each other, happy or unhappy.

My attempts to escape obviously didn’t make me happy. Wanting to want something you don’t actually want, it turns out, most likely has the opposite effect.  Still, those experiences did shake me for a few years out of my theretofore “normal” life, and perhaps let me land back in it a wiser person. Maybe I never would have been able to become a corporate lawyer (following in the footsteps of my father, which I swore I’d never do), living in the suburbs, had I not traveled on a stuffy train for 26 hours in India, climbed through Angkor Wat at sunrise, or walked on a glacier in Switzerland — or moved nine times in 10 years.

I left a comment on Launa’s blog after one of her posts particularly moved me, and we had a brief and lovely email exchange in which she counseled me: “…keep your Paris dream alive.  When your kids are big enough, you will spend a year practicing law in Paris.  You will send them to a public school there, and they will thrive.  You will bump your way through some difficulties, but also LOVE your year.  I know it.  If you have a big enough dream, and just keep talking about it, eventually your life will make a way for it to come true.”

Letter from a very recent ex-Catholic

December 18, 2009 at 11:30 am | Posted in Massholes, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I have not been to a Catholic Mass in years.  For almost a decade, I have been disillusioned with a church so trenchantly mired in some confused past where women are irrelevant.

Even so, and, despite my vehement disagreement with the church on so many moral/social issues, I do still have a sentimental attachment to the literal practice of the religion itself.  If you grow up going to Sunday Mass, to CCD, its rituals, the cadence of the Mass, become utterly ingrained in your personal history. Every Catholic, everywhere in the world, is standing or kneeling or making the sign of the cross or muttering responses at the same time. I used to think that faith was, in fact, this collective power — the power of so many people following these ancient rituals.  On September 12, 2001, heartbroken and shocked, 3,000 miles away from our home base of New York City, my friend Shaf (who happened to be visiting me at the time in Los Angeles) and I went to morning Mass. It was the only thing we could think to do.

It has proven even more difficult for me to shake off my Irish-Catholic social identity. My mother’s family were old-school, Kennedy Catholics: Catholic grammar school, daily Mass. While the rumor is that my grandmother refused to take communion for awhile, supposedly because she was using birth control, my earliest memories of her include the crucifix hanging over her bed and, when we spent the night at her house, joining her kneeling at the bed to say our morning and evening prayers. I am also now a part of a Dorchester, Mass./B.C. High/Notre Dame-St. Mary’s family of nine children born in a span of 10 years. Tim says he used to tell his mother, “Mommy, when I grow up I want to be a priest so I never have to get married and leave you.”

My mother remembers the day she got over any lingering sentimentality towards the church.  Pope John Paul II gave a speech in Mexico City (or somewhere in Latin America) in which he railed against birth control. My mother decided that to tell a poor, overpopulated region not to practice birth control was the sin, and that the Pope was a sinner. She never set foot in a Catholic church or identified herself as a Catholic again.

I just had my moment: while reading the transcripts of the lawsuits alleging abuse of children by its priests that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport, Conn., recently was forced to make public. (The church had spent seven years fighting the release of these documents in court, and was ready to take its case to the Supreme Court, but the Court turned down their request.) In these transcripts, then-bishop Edward Egan, later a cardinal and archbishop of New York, stated “It’s marvelous when you think of the hundreds and hundreds of priests and how very few have even been accused, and how very few have even come close to having anyone prove anything.” (Read the NYTimes’ article and excellent editorial.)

That’s it. I’m done.

What does it mean to be an attorney: Part II

December 17, 2009 at 9:28 am | Posted in tax law is sexy, the firm, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

As I’ve written about before, my BigLaw job consists mainly of sitting at my desk in a tall office building reading the tax code. Last week, however, I ventured down to Government Center to accompany one of my clients to an asylum interview. He was referred to the firm through an organization called Human Rights First that helps place asylum seekers with lawyers who will take their cases pro bono. My client is from Iraq, and I’ll reveal no more about him other than we had a very strong case: were he to return to Iraq, his background, profession, and secular, pro-democratic approach to government would put his life in danger.

I had no idea what an asylum case entailed before meeting my client in August. I worked with two more senior attorneys: a fifth-year litigator who had some asylum experience, and a third-year benefits lawyer who has turned herself into one of the country’s foremost experts on cases involving Iraqis applying for asylum in the U.S. As I learned from hours and hours of meetings and interviews with my client, most Iraqis were actually jubilant at the U.S. invasion in 2003 and rushed to work with and for the Americans. If you heard some of my client’s stories about life in Iraq under Saddam Hussein, you’d understand why. What these initially grateful Iraqis didn’t anticipate was that extremist groups would turn on the U.S. and, consequently, on anyone seen as supportive of the U.S. Many of these people who worked for the government or U.S.-affiliated organizations have since fled Iraq, and only recently has the U.S. government (largely because of the work of the late Sen. Kennedy) made it easier for them to acquire either asylum or what is now known as a special immigrant visa. Our client could have qualified for the special immigrant visa, which is almost automatically granted to any Iraqi who worked for the government or an American company operating in Iraq, but he would have had to return to Iraq to apply from in-country. Since he has been studying in the U.S., however, he could apply for asylum from here without having to return (indeed, once you apply for asylum you cannot return. These are all the legal technicalities of which I was unaware, and which I’m sure I’m even misstating somewhat here).

Because my client now cannot return to Iraq for at least five years, he may not see his mother before she dies. His hesitancy to apply because of this fact alone was heartbreaking. Yet it underscores the real danger to his life — his mother and he both know that he has to stay here. He is extremely well educated, fluent in English, and was hyper-involved with his case. Every meeting with him left me exhausted: not only because of amount of confusing asylum law there was to ingest, but because his story was so raw, so dangerous, so unfathomable:  the constant, daily fear that Saddam would come after him, and then, once the U.S. invaded, that he would be a target for insurgents. “I just can’t live with the fear anymore,” he’d say.

The two weeks before the hearing we worked late nights. Not only did we have to prepare a detailed statement about our client’s life and the specific dangers he faced, as well as a legal brief, but we had to provide proof that the country was as dangerous to our client as we were claiming. We photocopied articles and submitted a packet to INS that must have been six inches thick.

The interview itself went better than we could have expected. The immigration officer (himself a lawyer) had recently visited Iraq and was very familiar with the security situation and with other stories similar to my client’s. I feel confident that the interviewer understood exactly what would happen to my client were he to return. I’d like to say we overprepared — but how can you overprepare for something like this? Even as I was working at 3 a.m. (literally) with a cold one Sunday morning, I didn’t mind: if I didn’t do my job, my client would be killed.

Tax law is just not as interesting. Or important. At the same time, it is more sustainable. Do real human rights lawyers burn out after case after case like this? Or do they become inured to the drama and emotion? I’ve often wondered this same thing about prosecutors, such as my mother and Henry. I know that my mother’s time in family court was emotionally draining — I’m not sure she was really able to separate herself from her victims (but should a prosecutor? Does some level of attachment make you a better attorney?).

Working on this asylum case has undoubtedly been the highlight of my legal career thus far. Which is telling in so many ways: I didn’t mind working late, late nights for two weeks in a row. Yet, after the interview, I went home early and fell into a deep, early-afternoon sleep. Without sounding cliché, the experience was entirely what I thought being a lawyer would be like — the urgency and the relevance to the real world and to someone’s actual life. I missed being home with my child, of course — at the same time, I didn’t resent not being with her. What I was doing was too necessary. All of which has led me to one grand, and somewhat tangential, conclusion: tax law is just not as interesting as my child. So now what?

Great expectations

December 16, 2009 at 11:06 am | Posted in little bug | 2 Comments

Sadly for Little Bug, the horsey will not be leaving his home at Costco and making it down the chimney Christmas Eve.

So, so tempting though. Now I know why parents always warn of going overboard at Christmas. Can you imagine the look on her face if that horse were in our living room on Christmas morning? (Even if, months later, the poor horse would be ignored in our basement?)

Tantrums, and perspective, and hope

December 15, 2009 at 1:56 pm | Posted in little bug, read this | 4 Comments
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We’ve been having some tantrums recently. First, there is bedtime in the new big-girl bed. It had been going rather well, but now it’s not. I try to employ the “Supernanny” technique of silence and disinterest when Little Buggy sneaks out of bed and downstairs. I just pick her up and, without saying a word, plunk her back in bed. She asks for milk, for a story, to climb back up in the bed herself, but to no avail. I pull the covers over her and walk out the door.

Recently, however, she has decided that having me pick her up and put her back in bed is fun. She comes running right to my arms, giggling. I plunk her in; two minutes later she’s back out. I’ve taken to standing outside the door so she can’t get very far. She thinks this is hysterical. Last night I tried a new tactic: ignorance. I went in my room and started reading a magazine on the bed. “Whatchyou doing mom? You readin a magazine? A Christmas magazine? I want up on your bed? I climb up you?” Then she started to sing and dance to try to get my attention. It was really funny. But it was also now 8:30 p.m.

Finally, I had to get stern. “Do you want me to get angry?” I said. “You need to go back in your bed.” I picked her up, and she started to cry. She was tired now, wanted milk and a story, etc. Finally, she said, “Will you rest with me?” So I did, lying down next to her. She immediately calmed down, sucking her thumb and rubbing the well-worn “Ellie Elephant” against her nose.  Finally she said, “Good night, Mama. You go to sleep in your bed.”

This morning: another tantrum. She wanted to get dressed, but I couldn’t put on her clothes. She wanted to be downstairs and upstairs (literally, giving total credence to my mother’s theory that this period of two-year-old-ness can be summed up as “wanting to be in the front seat and the back seat at the same time”). Most confusing, she wanted me to pick her up, but I couldn’t touch her (“You take your fingers off of me!”) I finally decided I just needed to walk out the door. She grabbed on to my shoe (“my shoe!!”) and my coat (“You don’t put on your coat!!!”) Screaming, crying the whole time. I know she’s 2, and I know she’s testing me, but leaving her banging on the door, crying, as I got in to the car was awful. Five minutes later, the babysitter called. “She’s fine,” Janet said. As she and I both knew she utlimately would be once I left.

Compounding my sadness about these tantrums — is she really just being 2? What else could be bothering her? The baby? — is a creeping anxiety about how I’m going to do it with two babies. How will I pay her enough attention? As usual, things then begin to snowball far into the future: how will I possibly work as a lawyer with two kids? What will I do about preschool pickups? About daycare? Sometimes I feel like I can barely get my life to run smoothly with one child.

And then I am reminded of the story of Stephanie Nielson. For a short(ish) version of her story, read here. But please read her blog, The NieNie Dialogues. I cannot read it without crying. This woman is nothing short of amazing — honest about her own pain and insecurities, tender and joyful about her love for her family. And she has real, searing, physical pain, recovering from a three-month coma and third- and fourth-degree burns to over 80% of her body. Her face was completely reconstructed, so much so that her children for a time did not recognize her — did not want to look at her or talk to her or touch her (pain more searing, perhaps, than anything physical). Her love for her children and husband and siblings is so palpable that I am inspired both to try harder to be a present parent and yet also to relax and revel in that which I’m actually able to accomplish. My child will throw tantrums and the juggle may get difficult, but I am so very blessed. I’m not, of course, a religious person, yet I’m intrigued and inspired by the obvious spirituality of Stephanie’s journey. She makes me want to be a better person — not just a better mother, but a better soul on this earth.

The Nutcracker (sort of) 2009

December 10, 2009 at 7:35 am | Posted in little bug, the firm, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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You may remember that last year Little Bug came in to work at lunchtime to see the short performance of The Nutcracker that the Boston Ballet puts on in the lobby of my office building every Christmastime. This year, serendipitously, Buggy happened to come in to our firm’s backup day care on the same day. Now that she understands what a ballerina is (have you heard of Angelina Ballerina? The dancing mouse?), she loved it even more. After every three-minute-or-so performance she’d clap and yell, “More dancing! More dancing!” Auntie Jenny even came into the city at the last minute on a snowy, slushy day to join us for lunch and the performance.

Little Buggy and the dancing bear. No, the bear is not in the “real” Nutcracker but, we learned, was originally inserted into the Boston performance at the request of its former corporate sponsor, Filene’s. People loved it so much that even though Filene’s obviously is no longer a sponsor, the bear still appears every year.

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