Monday, April 30, 2018



Violet is blowing bubbles in the backyard. Sweet potatoes are sitting on the countertop, ready to be baked and stuffed with black beans and scrambled eggs for dinner. Are you gonna put that spinach in the dinner? Violet calls through the kitchen window. It’s a cool day, the promise of warmer weather is on the horizon, and we all are anxiously awaiting it.

The Paris and Switzerland guidebooks are strewn about the dining room table. We are just a few weeks out from our two-week grand adventure. Packing lists are started. To-do lists to finish up the school year and to finish out the semester are on post-its all over the house. A scribbled quote from John Muir graces the back of an old church bullention read “As long as I live, I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I’ll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I’ll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can.” I read it again and take a deep yoga breath.

Lily has been practicing for her upcoming piano recital. “The Can-Can” is playing on repeat in my head. The playroom looks like a tornado hit, but in reality the girls spent the entire afternoon setting up an elaborate Hotel Glorys yesterday with a bookstore, a dress shop, spa and restuarant. Signs made with sharpies and decorated with stickers are are hanging with washbi tape off the walls and stuffed animals litter the floor.

Last night at dinner, Daisy tells us she is writing an autobiography in school. She wrote about her early years, present day and now she’s working on the future. She tells us she wrote that she is planning on going to Stanford University and she wants to be a veterinarian as her career. What happened to being a singer, we ask?  

Later as we are snuggled up with our books, she an old copy of Nancy Drew and The Secret of the Old Clock and me the second book in the The Tail of Emily Windsnap series, she tells me that she wants to have a job that will make the world a better place. She wonders outloud, Do writers make the world a better place?

As I survey her room, her journal filled with poems and musings sitting atop her nightstand, a carboard storyboard outlining her story and illustrations of a marshmallows terrible fate becoming a s’more, and the stack of early reader books she created for Lily, I tell her about John Lennon and his song “Imagine” – he came, he sang and people listened. His music inspired and challenged people to believe there could, one day, be a world without hate. I remind her that poets and artists and novelists of every generation have shaped the way we view language and culture and ideas. We talk about Shakespeare: he managed to reinvent a form, and in doing so, he completely changed culture itself. I tell Daisy she would make an excellent author, illustrator, musician or vet.

I tell her, whatever she chooses to do, she will do out of love, and ultimately, that will make the world a better place.

Friday, April 13, 2018

A Letter of Love: Daisy's Birthday Letter

Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope. – Maya Angelou

Dear Daisy,

Forty-two days ago, Lily and I took you to get your ears pierced. Your father and I randomly decided that eight  seemed like a good age, and so during a break in the rain, squeezed in between errands and a workout, you, me and Lily headed to the tattoo parlor.
Of course, the wait was more than an hour, and after the grumbling (from all three of us), we decided to walk around the corner for an afternoon ice cream. We left our contact info up front and walked the two blocks to the nearby gourmet ice cream shop. As we walked in, a gentleman was paying for a to-go pint of ice cream and before we knew it our three scoops of lemon marshmallow were dripping down their cones complements of the gentleman in the plaid shirt.

We sat there, almost stunned by the strangers’ generosity, ice cream melting down our cones. Then, out of the blue, you asked if you could buy strangers some ice cream.
So we did. We went up front and bought a few gift certificates. You and Lily made the rules – they had to be passed out before they called us for the piercing appointment and they had to be passed out to strangers. And so, in the rain, as we wandered downtown Walnut Creek, passing out our gifts, the last stanza of the poem “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” flooded through my mind:

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear the lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

You, my love, at a mere eight years old, instinctively know what Yeats, took a lifetime to learn: That the truths of the “deep heart’s core” are essential to life. I look you and I marvel at your generosity. I admire you deep-rooted kindness. I delight in your creativity. I love watching your newfound confidence emerging. I look forward to our Saturday morning bike-rides and I love watching you on the ball field.

At night, we have started a new little ritual. After I tuck in your sisters, I sneak into your room and climb into bed. I pick up my book (the one that you have chosen for me to read from your books) and we read together for a few minutes. I read my book, and you yours. We sometimes talk, and we always snuggle, and when I finish my chapter, I always lean over for one last goodnight kiss and I always hear your heart whisper to me with every beat: love, love, love.
I love you more than all the stars in the sky and all the water in the ocean.

Love, Momma