The Void

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Recently I read an essay by Toni Hammer about the void that happens when you’re done having children. About halfway through the piece, I could feel a knot in my throat, tears rising behind my eyes. Why? Because I’ve been living in this void, unwilling, possibly unable, to admit it. Reading Ms. Hammer’s words brought me to my knees in recognition.

I grew up an only child until age 12, when my sister was born. The sizable gap between us ensured that we both experienced life more or less as only children with the undivided attention and devotion of our parents. I thought that was fine and that if I ever had a child, I only wanted one. Read more

Ready, Set, Splash – Happy Fourth of July! (July U.B.C. Day 4)

My little boy loves the water and regularly lobbies Ernie Hemingway and me for a pool in our yard.  That will never happen, as we’ve both had lots of adventures caring for in-ground pools and don’t care to add to our tally, but as a concession we’ve designed a motley water slide path involving his play set slide, a blow-up wading pool, and a Slip ‘n Slide. Read more

The Things He Handed Down

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Seventy years ago today my grandfather and tens of thousands of other soldiers landed on the beaches of Normandy, France.

My grandfather, Ray, survived Omaha Beach, was honorably discharged from the Army, then came home, married my grandmother, and raised his family. His daughters grew up, married and had children of their own – five granddaughters. Ray believed in duty and hard work. He believed in taking and owning responsibility for his decisions, his life, and that’s what he taught his children. Read more

The Beauty of Clean Laundry (U.B.C. – Day 15)

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Today is many things in my household.  It is, of course, tax day.  Fortunately, we have an accountant who keeps us in line there, so I don’t worry too much about it except to keep her in the know with the appropriate documentation.

It is also the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing.  For us, it is a day to be extraordinarily thankful, as my eldest step-daughter was running the race last year and was less than a half mile away when the bombs went off.  Other than a foot injury sustained in the crush of humanity rushing this way and that in a panic, she was unharmed.

This April 15, however, holds another, more immediate reason for gratitude.  Yesterday our hot water heater was replaced, and today I can do laundry for the first time in nearly two weeks.  Towels, sheets, socks, underwear … it’s all going into scalding hot water today and I couldn’t be more excited.

Perhaps after the laundry is all done, I can start catching up on the rest of my to-do list….

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It’s a Pretty Good Day (U.B.C. – Day 11)

Today was a pretty good day.  The nasty spider bite underneath my left eye has finally turned from purple and red back to my regular complexion color, and the swelling has gone down so that I no longer look like I ran into somebody’s Superbowl ring.  Here’s what it looked like for the past couple of days:

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It was warm and relatively sunny today, around 68 degrees, which for these parts is a veritable heatwave.  I had time to take a trek into Boston to get my hair done, which always makes me feel pretty.  I took The Boy to Dairy Queen for the first Blizzard of the season, then we hit a movie, Rio 2. All around a good day.  Happy Friday! MadnessofJoy-monogram

Monday Morning Eternal (U.B.C. – Day 7)

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No matter where I am in my life, Monday mornings bring much baggage. When I was in high school, Monday mornings were difficult because I had to go back to rising early and schlepping off to school. I actually did walk about a mile each way to school, so in the cold of New England winters, it was a brutal walk. Of course, I didn’t help matters by wearing my little white Keds and flats with bare feet as I slogged through the slush and ice, but I can be forgiven for that; I was a teenager. Read more

Holder of My Heart (U.B.C. Day 3)

Today has been one of those days.  I knew from early on that I would be busy, but I nonetheless hoped I would be able to find time to write a post.  Alas, it never happened.  Knowing that, I decided to experiment with photography and post a photo I took today of the little man who holds my heart (as opposed to the big man who holds my heart).

 

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Muffin Tops (U.B.C. – Day 2)

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My son has recently discovered coffee cake and coffee cake muffins. This may not seem important or exciting enough to warrant an entire blog post, but trust me when I say that prior to his discovery, my child ate nothing. His diet for the past couple of years has consisted entirely of bagels with peanut butter, french fries, pizza, plain pasta with Romano cheese, and any type of candy he could grab. Our pediatrician talked me down off the ledge on multiple occasions, reassuring me that it was a phase and it would pass. Read more

Letting Go

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I‘ve been having a lot of trouble letting go lately. No matter that I know I need to do it, I can’t seem to let go: of my anger towards people whom I believe are acting in ways to harm my family or who are acting so selfishly that harm to others is inevitable; of the unattainable perfectionism that often grabs me by the throat and threatens to shut down my breathing when I fight her; of myself. I know it‘s unhealthy to focus and obsess, but I can’t seem to get my head wrapped around letting go and relinquishing control. Read more

Yelling Not Allowed

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One of the last times I yelled at my son was Sunday, November 10, 2013. That was the day I decided I never wanted to do it again because I never again wanted to see hurt and confusion, even fear, in his eyes when he looked at me. Although I am certain I will yell again at some point, I nevertheless keep the date posted on my refrigerator. Even when I have slipped, I see that date written on my refrigerator white board and catch myself faster. I take a breath, and then I stop. Read more