Thursday, June 28, 2012


I have been a long-time Nora Ephron devotee, but since her recent passing, I am astounded by her now legendary body of work: essayist, novelist, screenwriter, director, and playwright.  The theme of her work is consistent: simplistic, realistic, romantic - and very often, hilarious.

I was first smitten with her films When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, and have continued to try and read, see and listen to all things Nora.  It's easy to do: she wrote and spoke about everything from recipes, body image, reading, women, divorce, and hair.

In  "Parenting in Three Stages", an essay from the collection I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman, she muses on raising a child from newborn to empty nest. She describes a time when, "Back in the days when there were merely parents, as opposed to people-who-were-engaged-in-parenting... Here's what a parent is: a parent is a person who has children.  Here's what's involved in being a parent: you love your children, you hang out with them from time to time, you throw balls, you read stories, you make sure they know which utensil is the fork, you teach them to say please and thank you, you see that they have an occasional haircut, and you ask if they did their homework. "

She goes on to describe a shift,  "...suddenly one day there was this thing called parenting.  Parenting was serious. Parenting was fierce.  Parenting was solemn.  Parenting was a participle, like 'going' and 'doing' and 'crusading' and worrying'. It was active, it was energetic, it was unrelenting... Parenting was not simply about raising a child; it was about transforming a child, force-feeding it like a foie gras goose, altering, modifying, modulating, manipulating, smoothing out, improving."

And finally, after the harrowing tales from adolescence and beyond she ends the essay with Stage Three: The Child Is Gone, stating, "...every so often, your child will come to visit.  They are, amazingly, completely charming people.  You can't believe you're lucky enough to know them.  They make you laugh.  They make you proud.  You love them madly.  They survived you.  You survived them."

Food for thought.  Thank you, thank you Nora.

Friday, June 15, 2012


I remember like yesterday the exact moment the letters of E.B. White's Charlotte's Web came together to form words and sentences in front of my eyes - thanks to Dad.  Every Saturday morning he sat with me, patiently teaching me to read.

I also remember the giddy freedom when I realized I was pedaling my bike alone - my father's hand gone from the back of the seat where it had kept my balance for so long.  All I could hear was "Go, go, go!" as I sped away.

Persistence... resilience...independence.  Fathers are superheroes of sorts - with the power to swoop in and change a life forever.  A million thank-you's to mine and Happy Father's Day to all!

Image found on Etsy for purchase here

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


The question above is one that I have asked, or have wanted to ask, often to fellow mothers who seem to have it all figured out.  It dawned on me recently - actually to my relief -  that there really is no secret.

Parenting comes with no manual, and in fact, the more you read about it, the more differing and emphatic the opinions are on how to do it best.  And more often than not, less is more.

There will be, no matter the effort, those instances with our children that we would like to erase: situations that may be upsetting, awkward, unpleasant or otherwise.  Instead of wishing those moments away, I recently remembered a wise kindergarten teacher a few years back who referred to those times as "teachable moments" and suggested they be welcomed.

And although there may be no secret to it all, I can't help but try to find ways to navigate parenting as best I can - my own teachable moments - or at least some help along the way.  An amazing book that I first read about in Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Project is the superb parenting guide How to Talk so Your Kids Will Listen and Listen So Your Kids Will Talk by Faber and Mazlish.  It is a simple read with very practical yet empowering suggestions.  It has been a while since I read it and I am in need of a refresher - I look forward to diving in again.

And when in doubt, I adore the sage life lessons of the grandmother in Ron Howard's film Parenthood.  Her takeaway on a carnival roller coaster? "I always wanted to go again.  You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited and so thrilled all together! Some didn't like it.  They went on the merry-go-round.  That just goes around. Nothing.  I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it."

PS: These ten things were posted today on one of my favorite blogs, pvedesign.
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