Do you ever wonder why asking “How are you?” continues to be such a common greeting? It’s like opening a door to a shadowy room. You never know what will come out. You’ll learn about aches and pains, work stress, annoying family members, or sometimes just get slimed with general ennui.
And being the one asked is just as fraught. You want to be positive, but the urge to trot out your woes is so strong. Attentive ears can be hard to come by, and if you’re being honest….
It’s 5:23 a.m. on a Sunday and I am awake. I reach for my phone. There is no text from my 13-year-old son, who is in China, and my brain jumps straight to the conclusion that he must have gotten lost in a crowded Beijing market. In the pale light of dawn, this thought seems as plausible as any other.
In the space of 24 hours, my three children have been on three separate airplanes. My predominant summer anxiety has always been around how to keep them all busy. This summer they are suddenly off to see the world—my 15-year-old son to a camp in California, my 10-year-old daughter to visit family in New York, and my middle child with his father on the other side of the world. Having them in the air has me feeling ungrounded. To counteract my restlessness, I get up and go into practical mode. I text my ex-husband to make sure Boone has the hotel address in his pocket. I transfer a little money to Lincoln’s debit card for airport food. I text Genevieve a reminder to take her digestive supplements.
Judy Garland said it best: The dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.
But why is the word DARE in there? Shouldn’t dreaming be easy?
It used to be, when we were kids. I was reminded of that this weekend as I drove my daughter 7 hours across Michigan to a performing arts camp. At the tender age of 10, she is one of those lucky souls who already has a dream that lifts and dazzles and moves her as tangibly as a pair of sky-high red heels. It’s inspiring to see, and hear, her in action; all the world (and house, and car) is her stage.
A few days ago, my friend Mark was feeling depressed and decided to stop at Trader Joe’s and buy himself some flowers. When he told the woman at the check-out why he needed flowers, she insisted on buying them for him.
Random act of kindness? Sure.
But it’s also a reminder that asking begins as an inner dialogue. Mark asked himself, “What do I need to feel more loved and supported today?”
I know I’ve entered the wilderness when my son says, “Dad laughs. You don’t.”
It’s true. So we are embarking on our first post-divorce vacation. I’ll have the kids for a solid week, on my own, and I’m scared. I’ve chosen a YMCA family camp in Wisconsin as our destination because at least there […]
A couple of weeks ago my neighbor helped me hang a bird feeder right outside my sun room window. This is where I spend most of my day, and I was excited about getting such a close view of the birds. I pictured sparrows and finches—dainty little things with soft colors and timid tweets. And for the first two weeks, that’s what I got.
Until yesterday, when this big black ominous-looking bird with an iridescent blue head came swooping in, landing so forcefully on the feeder that it thumped loudly against the house. He sat there for a long time, laying claim to the suet, and when he flew away it was only to the nearby tree, where he perched most of the day.
He made me uneasy, although I’m not sure why. He’s just a bird, eating at a bird feeder. I got what I wanted, but it didn’t look like I’d expected.
I want to share a pet peeve of mine: when I listen to people call in to one of my favorite radio hosts, so many of them say, “I have a question for you,” or “Here’s my question…” and then they don’t ask a question! They tell a story.
Maybe there’s something slippery about the curvy question mark. Either we put it on the end of what should be statements, or we leave it out altogether and tell ourselves we’re being clear in our requests.
A friend shared recently that he was upset about having to clear his belongings out of his basement to make room for his wife’s things.
“Did you ask her to consider a different solution?” I said.
“Well, I told her that I was upset,” he answered.
In last week’s newsletter, I asked readers to take a peek at my first article as guest author on DivorcedMoms.com. I was at 1,300 views and hoping to earn a bronze star on that site.
Fast forward (and I mean fast)… that blog was picked up and featured on the Huffington Post’s Divorce page, then picked up by HP Germany and today appeared in Australia’s IVillage.
The DM editor told me I’d gone viral. No wonder I’m feeling a little dizzy and having trouble catching my breath.
I just finished working with a wonderful story coach named Pat. We spent a month together shaping and defining my upcoming book. Pat was a pro about finding the arc of the story—the only hitch was that what I called the end, she said was the middle.
Ugh. Anyone who has tackled a long-term project knows that the last thing you want to hear is that you’re halfway there!
I didn’t want to write about my dad dying—too painful, or about the long overdue breakup with a boyfriend—too embarrassing.
Anneke was a lovely Dutch woman who came to me one day for an angel card reading and energy healing. She was in Chicago as an art teacher, and in addition to teaching at the college level, she had just had a show for her own art installation. She arrived a little late and out of breath for our appointment because she had ridden her bike.
I asked her what her goal was and where she would like to see improvement. She said she wanted to find balance.
“There are days when I don’t make time for my art. I don’t go to the gym because I have papers to grade. I don’t travel…” And the list went on.