Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Brene - on kids growing up

Ellen graduated from high school this past weekend. It was beautiful and hard.

Emotions are complex things. I’ve been studying the relationship between thought, behavior, and emotions for close to two decades, and I learned something new on Saturday morning.

There’s a combination of joy and grief that can take your breath away. The sum of those two parts wells up inside you and holds your breath hostage until you let go of the notion that you can control the paradox and choose between joy and grief.

Your breath returns only when you submit to the reality that you are caught in the grips of both delight and sorrow. Both are strong. Both are true.

In many ways, the etymology of the word “paradox” captures the heart of what it means to love. From its Greek origins, it’s the joining of two words para (contrary to) and dokein (opinion). The Latin paradoxum means “seemingly absurd but really true.”

That’s how parenting has always felt to me - unbelievably true.

I’ve shared as many life lessons as I could with Ellen, AND she has always been my teacher. I’ve tried to model our family belief that it’s okay to be brave and afraid at the same time, AND our children have always been the best example of what this looks like.

We have a sign by our back door that reads, “We can do hard things.” We hung it there to remind the kids that hard work, tough conversation, and emotional pain are normal and important parts of life. AND, it’s Ellen who often whispers the saying in my ear when I doubt myself.

Sometimes she’s afraid to leave for college in the fall, and I assure her that she’s ready. Sometimes I’m fighting back tears, and she’ll say, “I’m ready. It’s going to be okay.” Sometimes we cheer together. And sometimes we hold each other and weep.

Now the toughest paradox of love – letting go and holding on.

Ellen, it’s time for you to fly. It’s one of the biggest scary-and-brave moments, but don’t worry – we’ll be holding on tight. Not always to each other, but to love, courage, faith, gratitude, and strength. All of the things you’ll need in the world. AND all of the things you already have.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Proust Questionnaire

35 questions made popular by Marcel Proust, I will use them as writing prompts.  Little by little...

_1.__What is your idea of perfect happiness?   New York City, January.  State of bliss.  There was art, charm, food, romance, adventure, mystery, love, connection, completeness and a little bit of snow.

__2.__What is your greatest fear? I dislike heights.  Emotional fear of loneliness, which I think is a basic human fear, but that is getting better.  

__3.__What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?   Lack of patience. 

__4.__What is the trait you most deplore in others?  Falsehood. 

__5.__Which living person do you most admire?  The nameless people you see featured in an occasional episode of tv that foster children with disabilities or other selfless acts with no recognition and very little resources. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Craig's List

"By monetizing Craigslist the way I did in 1999, I probably gave away already 90% or more of my potential net worth," Newmark said in a recent interview with the Nieman Journalism Lab. "The rationale is that if you’re a small businessman trying to put food on the table, I’d like you to keep the 100 bucks or whatever for a classified rather than me taking it and maybe giving back someday a buck." - Craig Newmark

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Joe Kennedy III

A great response to the Trump administration's health care proposal from Joe Kennedy III:

It is among the most basic human truths: Every one of us, some day, will be brought to our knees.  By a diagnosis we didn't expect, a phone call we can't imagine, or a loss we cannot endure.  That common humanity inspires our mercy.  It fortifies our compassion. It drives us to look out for the sick, the elderly, the poor and the most vulnerable among us.
Yesterday's bill --- yesterday's devastating bill --- does the opposite.  The bill is more than premiums and tax cuts.  It is a cold and calculated world view: One that scapegoats the struggling, and sees fault in suffering.  One dead set on dividing us based on who we love, where we come from, the direction of our faith and the size of our fortunes.  We see it in their tax plan, their budget cuts, their immigration policy, their civil rights assaults and yesterday, in their cruel health care plan.  We must reject it.  We must decide, instead, to take care of each other -- because, but for the grace of God, we will all one day wake up in need of a little mercy.  This nation's character has never been defined by the power we give the already strong -- but by the strength we give the weak.

Monday, May 8, 2017

What you're doing

You are 4.5 and what a joy.  You have transitioned without issue to our move to "the city".  You like to tell me, "mama, the yellow house was too big".  I hope that you mean it.  I hope that you feel how much happier and lighter the new place is and that you are happy there, too.  I hope that you grow up and realize that it's ok to start again.  It's ok to say, my intentions were good but that doesn't work for me.  It is a balance and for sure we don't always get it right, but we try.  We live.

You love to laugh.  We giggle all weekend.  You like tickle fights and Candyland (you are always the red guy!) and Maroon 5's Don't Want to Know song.  You are great at puzzles, I admire your focus and ability to stick with it even when it's a hard one.  Then you smile, proud, when you're done.

I call you my angel and have no doubt that you are.  You are my gift and my perfect boy.  My anchor, my mirror, my rock.  I love to watch you grow.  I still like to hold your little hand.  Grateful that it is soft and small and fits in mine.  I have no doubt that you feel my love.  I hope that it always gives you strength and confidence.
You still love the farm, the pig is your favorite animal and red is your favorite color.