Month: October, 2013

The Worst. The Very Worst.

Once your child—your baby—has had cancer, how do you ever get a good night’s sleep again? You may fall asleep but in the back of your mind, your subconscious, your dream land, you will be thinking about the cancer. Always. Forever.

How can the world ever feel safe again? You may wake up in the morning and think, “This day might not be awful. My children can get through it safely. I can do this.” But, again, in the back of your mind you know now there are no guarantees.

After your baby’s cancer, how do you cope?


Over the Generations

As a person born in 1959 I am, technically, a member of the “Baby Boom Generation”.  I completely reject that label.  Yet, what “generation” am I a part of? Not “The Greatest,” certainly.  After the Baby Boom is “Generation X.”  How nondescript. Do we ever hear from those people?

I am a woman without a generation.

In today’s Washington Post, “Millenials” get an entire magazine devoted to them. How special they are! How they are shaping our city! Oy! If they were insufferable before, what’s going to happen now?

PS- I love my own two Millenials. They break the mold.

Ensky Bensky (look it up)

One of my great pleasures in life is making fun of my friend Ben. As the youngest in my family I never got to tease a sibling below—I got the brunt of the teasing.  Ben is younger than I am (young enough to be my son, actually) and I love to tease him, give him a hard time. It’s so fun!!

Ben and I also have really great, serious discussions, often about education. He doesn’t know that many times during those conversations I am awestruck by him–his passion, his dedication, his intelligence, his creativity. He is an amazing teacher. Happily, his students know.


“I trust you, but it’s a vigilant trust,” I used to say to my kids in answer to the clichéd, “But don’t you trust me?”  I trust you, but I am watching you; I’m not asleep at the wheel. I am taking care of you.

Today it’s how I feel about my depression. It has been away for a long time. I trust that it’s gone, but it is a vigilant trust. I can’t do anything that might bring it back. I have to be careful, watchful. I cannot fall asleep at the wheel. I have to stay healthy. Vigilant.



I am in awe of MacArthur Fellows. I want to be one. Yet, every year when it comes time for the awards I think of only one person—my sister. She’s a genius and I always think she’s deserving of “the genius award.”

Others may see an ordinary woman, but that isn’t what I see when I look at my sister. I see a woman who cares for others, a woman who helps others, yet follows her own passions. She paints, she makes mosaics, she gardens. She makes the life she wants. It is amazing and unusual. She’s a genius.

“Embrace the Moments Where You Don’t Know”

Shawn Humphrey is an economist and he was a professor at University of Mary Washington when I heard him say those words years ago. I do not think he is a particularly well-known man, but I thought that statement was profound. I think it is such an important idea that I have a Post-it note with those words on my computer screen. They are slightly faded now. The note is taped because it lost its stickiness. The words, however, have not lost their power for me. I read them almost every day and remember that I am a lifelong learner.

Isn’t it Funny?

Sometimes I think these ruminations should be called “Isn’t It Funny” because so many of my thoughts start that way. Really.

Tonight it was: “Isn’t it funny how we do things that aren’t particularly good for us, and we know it, but we keep on doing them anyway?”

Maybe it’s me and no one else. For example, playing solitaire. Over and over and over. I could/should be doing something better with my time. It doesn’t improve my life or make me happy. It just is. It may even be a detriment.

Yet, I sit here, on the couch, playing solitaire.