Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Nine and a almost a half: The questionnaire

  1.  What is your favorite color: yellow & gray
  2. What is are you looking forward to in the next year:  going to New York. playing in a tennis tournament.
  3. What is your favorite fruit: watermelon
  4. What is your favorite movie or TV show: Night at the Museum and Jumanji
  5. What is your favorite season: summer
  6. What is your favorite animal: all of them (Mom’s note: I will say, we went to the Oakland Zoo a few weeks ago, and she lingered the longest over the Giraffe exhibit and the Brown Bears).
  7. What is your favorite song: “My House” and “Glourious” (Mom’s note: I would argue that her favorite artists would be Rachel Platten and/or Imagine Dragons since that is always what she will pick first when she is in control of the music).
  8. What is your favorite book: whatever book I am currently reading (Breakout by Kate Messner.) (Mom’s Note: I will say she tends to enjoy most books she encounters, and usually gravitates towards the fractured fairy-tale type reads. She also just finished the Percy Jackson series, as well as the entire Little House series and loved both of those).
  9. Who is your best friend: Adell, Violet and Lily (Cue heart melting).  
  10. What is your favorite thing about school: reading, writing & science
  11. What is your favorite sport: tennis & swim
  12. I am best at: being happy
  13. What is your favorite snack: granola bars & grapes
  14. What is your favorite dessert: brownies or chocolate pudding
  15. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be: Iceland (She has been pushing hard for this trip.) 
  16. What do you want to learn more about:  writing and music (She's excited about learning to play the flute next year) 
  17. What do you want for your birthday dinner: In N Out (Mom's Note: She requested an In-n-Out visit for her birthday dinner. This was a win-win situation since we were just finishing up a kitchen remodel. That being said, if she got to pick any meal to have it would undoubtably be In-N-Out) 
  18. What do you want to be when you grow-up: scientist (Mom’s Note: she talks often of an oceanographer. She also talks about being a musician.) 
  19. Where is your favorite place to go: tennis practice and piano lessons (Mom's Note: I find this answer boring, but she does love tennis and she is pretty happy every Wednesday afternoon). 
  20. What is your favorite game: any board game or tag

Sunday, June 09, 2019

A Birthday Letter: Nine and one quarter

Dear Daisy,

101 days ago, you turned nine years old, and I have been staring at a blinking cursor and blank page looking for the words to craft your perfect birthday letter. Part of the reason for this tardy birthday letter is just the sheer abnormalities of this spring. Our family has been a bit battered from these past few months, just on top of our normally hectic schedule: softball, ballet, piano, swim, end-of-school year festivities. But, more than that, I have been struggling to write this letter because I see you on the cusp of something different. Something bigger. And I cannot articulate what and how, and this frustrates me as I pride myself on being a wordsmith by nature.
Nine is multiplication tables, flash cards and spelling words. Nine is poetry, graphs and geometry. Nine is Roald Dahl, Charlotte’s Web and Little House on the Prairie. Nine is softball, tennis and swim team. Nine are major and minor scales and pop songs on the piano. Nine is impossibly funny, incredibly helpful and increasingly independent. Nine is aloof, grumpy and sarcastic. Nine is social. Nine is strong, agile and fast. Nine is forever and always making a playlist. Nine is furiously writing in her journal. Nine is curious and philosophical. Nine is defiant, beautiful and full of surprise.
Truth be told, turning nine has been hard. Nine is moody and temperamental, kind and silly – all with a fierce eyeroll – and in the span of hours before we start the cycle over again. And the back and forth, up and down, makes parenting a bit more emotionally challenging. But, then, during your final weeks of school, due to a sick sister, you asked if you could ride your bike to and from school. Alone. I fretted for a few minutes, silently running through a variety of alternatives, and I agreed. I stood on the driveway while you clipped your helmet, noticing your long legs wobbling for balance, your ponytail sticking out from under your helmet, your battered black backpack hoisted on your back, I understood that nine is hard. You are on the cusp of adolescence – teetering between this little kid and a grown-up girl. You yearn for independence but are a bit unsure how to proceed with it. You are this truly amazing mixture of awkward and elegant, gentle and fiery, self-possessed and petrified.

As your mom, I want to foster this independence. It’s one of the greatest gifts my own parents gave to me, and I am only understanding how hard it can be. I need to learn to give you space. I need to give you room to grow; the chance to make your own mistakes. And so, for your birthday letter, I want to leave you with one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite writers: Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road. -Jack Kerouac
I love you more than all the stars in the sky, and all the water in the ocean.

Love, Momma

Wednesday, April 17, 2019


The news reports covering the fire at Notre Dame fills the silence of the car. We pull into the school parking lot and Lily asks me if she can look at pictures on my phone from when we were at Notre Dame.

Her eyes are filled with tears, and she says, I just want to remember how beautiful it all was.

Victor Hugo wrote in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, “Great buildings, like great mountains, are the work of centuries."

Notre Dame is a symbol of human accomplishment, really, or social accomplishment. It’s not the work of any one person, but of generations upon generations of labor. The profound sense of permanent loss is heartbreaking.

In this moment, sitting with my daughter, I am again, reminded of the fragility of life. The fleeting-ness of time. Watching something that took generations to build just disappear in a comparative blink of an eye – that, in slow motion, is going to be the dominant feeling of my children's generation. Only instead of buildings: glaciers, forests, species.

I remind myself to compost more and drive less. And I make a note to get myself outside for a long hike and listen for the birds to sing.

On my nightstand:

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
The Enchanted Hour: The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction by Megan Cox Gurdon
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
The Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson

Yellow daffodils and lavender sits in a mason jar in my dining room. Slices of strawberries flavor my water. Tortillas sit on the counter remnant from last night’s fish tacos. Raincoat hang next to swim suits on the hallway hooks. Softball cleats, muddy tennis shoes and flip flops line the floor. Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” seared into my subconscious from Daisy’s piano practice. Guidebooks are strewn across the table.

This week: Cousins from the east coast to visit. Easter weekend away in Morro Bay with old friends. Biking riding. Laundry (always laundry). Sprinkles on a sundae. Buttercream licked from a whisk. A luxurious afternoon nap. Essay grading and lesson planning.

A quote to remember: “That is one good thing about this world…there are always sure to be more springs.” – L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea