• Up to the moon and stars

    Once upon a Cambridge spring,

    The stars did a dance and the moon began to sing.

    “She’s here,” crooned the wind, the sky gathered around her.

    “The best mommy’s been born! She’s here! We have found her!”

    You see, everyone thinks that when babies arrive

    They’re the most sacred things born from the sky.

    But the stars and the moon knew the secret of birth:

    That it’s mommies who are the most precious on earth.

    On a dark April evening, the whole world was graced

    With the huge-hearted mommy (with a porcelain face).

    She held her new daughter, as they breathed as one,

    ‘til the night watchman moon left his post for the sun.

    As the earth pirouetted, the mom and girl grew;

    A duo from one, a single from two.

    No one but the stars could conceive of their bond,

    As a love that transcends exists in the beyond.

    They lit up the world, taking up little space,

    The girl and her mom with the porcelain face.

    They learned things, together, from triumphs and stumbles,

    “Our feats,” the mom said, “often come from our fumbles.”

    From their perch in the sky, the stars and moon smiled,

    (they’d been waiting for the best mom for such a long while).

    “She gets it!” they’d shout. “She’s enchanting and kind,

    And she’s teaching her daughter to use her own mind.”

    As the mom and girl grew they learned more and more.

    Including harder things, much less fun to explore.

    You see, being so connected can come at a cost,

    For without one another, the other felt lost.

    And that’s when the mommy, while deep in her sleep,

    Was given help from the sky (without it making a peep).

    In her dream came a mantra that she’d use with her girl,

    Not knowing that it came from the depths of their world.

    On good days and bad days, in darkness and light,

    The mom knew what to say to make things alright.

    She taught her girl grit and she taught her girl grace,

    And that great strength can be found behind a porcelain face.

    She repeated the mantra, sent to her in her dreams

    (by the stars’ little twinkles and moon’s little beams).

    “It will always be us. It’s always been you,”

    The mom and girl’s bond could not be split in two.

    “Listen to me,” as she held her girl tight,

    Staring up at the constellations painting the night.

    “It’s ok if we’re close AND ok if we’re far,

    Because I always love you up to the moon and stars.”

    A crescendo erupted, applause rang through sky,

    (and even strong moon couldn’t help but to cry.)

    They’d been right all along, as this was the true test.

    The mom they’d all banked on really was the world’s best.

    “She loves her girl up to us,” said a sweet baby star.

    “Even more,” said its mom. “We just can’t see that far.”

    As back down on earth they watched the warmest embrace,

    Between a girl and her mom, with a porcelain face.

    Happy Mother’s Day, mommy. Love, Your Beccadoodles

  • Why am I so scared?

    Dear friend,

    I hope this finds you well. Or, you know, as well as possible during this time.

    I hope you are finding yourself with as much health, both physical and mental, as one can muster.

    This time is (well, I don’t want to be trite, and refer to this time as “unprecedented” so I will, instead, use one of the synonyms offered to me when I highlight the word in Microsoft Word, and go with) extraordinarily trying for all.

    I don’t want to scorn #2020 or reference something I did not “have on my Bingo card.”

    I want to get real.

    I want to tell you what this pandemic is like for me. I want to try to shake off the dust; to pummel the writer’s block; to try to illustrate something for which we do not yet have words. Part apology, part explanation, part excuse, part SOS cry (can you hear me from behind my mask?). Why I have been absent, quiet, cocooned? Why am I so scared?

    I won’t take you on a deep dive into my psyche, as you definitely didn’t have that on your 2020 Bingo card, but I will give you a bit of background:

    Before the pandemic hit, I suffered from anxiety. Surprise! Hey, try to get the shock off of your face (can you see it from behind your mask?). Though it is free-floating and broad in nature, a few particularly profound and intense areas of focus include: health (and its opposite, illness) and the well-being of my family.

    I know that I come by this particular breed of anxiety honestly, with an indiscernible blend of nature and nurture. I was hardwired and I have scars. I grew up being taught about superstition and when I have to fill out a family history at a new doctor’s office I always need an extra page.

    “Who in your family has had cancer?” these forms ask.

    “Where do I begin and can I write on the back?” I reply, in kind.

    I am terrified that something will happen to the people I love, and particularly that they are/will get/will someday become sick.

    In fact, in the few weeks before the first cases of COVID-19 were reported in the US I had to take my children to the pediatrician and urgent care several times, with Belle having an undiagnosed case of the flu and Beau having an undiagnosed case of strep. When his developed into scarlet fever I lost my mind. Protecting my kids is my greatest duty and when I miss something – when I don’t listen to the scary ruminations in my mind – the ones that sends out red, angry-looking flares signaling imminent danger – I shatter into a million pieces. I should note, when I took the kids to said doctor visits, as an avid germophobe, I brought a giant towel shaped like a hamburger for us to sit on, not allowing the kids to touch anything, frantically dispensing Purell and reminders. THIS WAS PRE-COVID.

    Now, before I continue, let me acknowledge my privilege. COVID-19 is universally awful, and I recognize all that I have. I have so many things that make this situation better for me than for so many others. I have insurance, access to healthcare, a home, food, transportation, solid internet connection, solid personal connections, a job from which I was able to step away while morphing into a teacher for my kids, a job at all, support systems, therapy, medication, and many other things for which I feel so grateful. I am not a frontline worker, no longer work as an educator, and have been able to stay home (which we are still doing, have never stopped doing, and plan to do for the foreseeable future.)

    But, friend, I want to admit to you that I am struggling. Despite my best efforts, my anxiety has been raging. Nothing feels safe to me anymore. I spend some part of the day, every single day, so scared that I feel physically shaky, queasy, or foggy, with increased heartrate, migraines, and exhaustion. I am now, what you’d call, hypervigilant. Hypervigilance is grueling. I cannot trust my intuition or “mom gut” because everything feels scary to me and I have no ability to tease our the actual from the imagined. I treat most things as the former, panic, feel sick, make frantic calls to patient doctors, but having patience for this patient is arduous, if not impossible.

    Why am I so scared? Why do I ask, “Are you OK?” every single time someone in my house sneezes from ragweed, coughs from swallowing their water the wrong way, or gives any indication of displeasure? Thank you so much for giving me this chance to explain.

    To unmask.

     I am terrified of COVID-19. An extremely contagious, novel virus that is spreading globally, wrapping its germy arms around every semblance of normalcy and protection is scary! I am scared of all we do not know; the things that continue to confound the medical community, the lack of any surefire, definitive treatment or vaccine. I am scared of my kids getting sick and being scared to touch them. I am scared of my parents getting sick and being scared to lose them. I am scared all day, every day. Even when it isn’t in the forefront of my mind, the fear is always there, lurking, eating away at me like…well…a virus.

    A lot of this fear is rational, I know. Back in March, when we first locked down, one of my doctors explained to me that I would be at higher risk for complications if I were to contract COVID, as I am already immunocompromised. I have two autoimmune diseases. My body’s own immune response naturally goes haywire and so when doctors started to speak of things like the cytokine storm and body systems “going awry” my own anxiety cyclone began to rage.

    This is scary enough (for everyone, I know, including you, friend). But, there is a second storm, perhaps a hurricane this time, that, when swirling in conjunction with the first anxiety-related-natural-disaster, creates a superstorm big enough to sweep me away in its ominous grasp. I am Dorothy, clicking my heels so many times that the soles are now as thin as paper, begging to go home. Begging for things to feel safe, again. Wanting to wake up from this nightmare.

    This second storm is known as “the doctors and hospitals can no longer, reliably, protect our health” and just thinking about this counterintuition makes me dizzy.  The doctor’s office, once commonly “germy” to me, is now a place we are trying to avoid at all costs. Because life is life, some of the people in my family have had to visit doctors during this time and, I will say, the offices we have encountered are doing remarkable jobs to keep their patients, staff, and, thankfully, themselves safe and healthy. However, it is a reality that weighs on me constantly. For a family that had to take our youngest to the ER so many times in his first few years that we began to joke about a frequent-user-punch card, like one you’d get at the frozen yogurt shop, this is so very scary. By the way, the frozen yogurt shop is oh so very scary to me, as well, and that sucks oh so very much.

    Now, if someone gets sick or has an accident or escapes my hypervigilance for one second, it could be catastrophic. It was only 20 months ago that, as you may remember, friend, I had a freak injury during which time several heavy, cast-iron pans fell from six feet above me, right onto my head. It was terrifying and painful and, when I sat on the kitchen floor, stunned, and touched my head to identify the tender, throbbing spot on the left side, and I felt something wet, and Kenny looked at me, terror in his eyes, and said, “Bec, that is blood,” we immediately called 911 to get help. A trio of EMTs arrived, carried me to a stretcher, drove me the two minutes to our local hospital and got me admitted to a room immediately. A doctor, nurse, and medical student worked on me, taking me for a CT scan, injecting my head with a numbing agent, and using staples to close the wound. Kenny was able to sit with me, holding my hand. They diagnosed me with a concussion and I was sent home to rest and heal. It was pretty scary, but I was OK. I did not have to worry about all of the things I worried about (major brain injury, brain surgery, needing brain surgery for a major brain injury without McDreamy being the ER with this ferryboat adorned scrub cap) alone or masked or gloved or at risk of contracting a novel coronavirus.

    Why am I so scared? Because I am so scared of illness and so scared of injury and so scared of not being able to protect the ones I love and so scared that if someone I love is ill or injured then they will have to seek medical care and risk being exposed to or, worse, contracting COVID-19.

    This fear infiltrates every aspect of my life. I try to be a good mother by protecting my kids from harm and, yet, I am an anxious mother. I want to make sure my kids are healthy, both physically and mentally. I want them to see friends, but do not feel safe with them interacting with other kids in person. Neither child has touched another child since March. This breaks my heart. But, not as much as it would break my heart if someone got sick. I want them to grow academically, and work tirelessly as a member of their teaching support staff, but I constantly feel as though I am falling short. They miss meetings. They have too much screen-time. They aren’t able to make meaningful connections. I am ruining their lives! But, I am protecting them! But, at what cost? This is, also, why I am scared. As I have said before, I feel like a terrible mom.

    I want to apologize, however. I am sorry if this letter seems self-centered. Trust me, I want to hear exactly how you are doing, what you are feeling, what moves you, what worries you, what I can do. I simply wanted to explain to you why I act and speak and feel the way I do at this time. I share my struggles so that you remember that you are not alone. Never, not ever.

    I wanted to give you a peek behind the mask.

    Thank you, friend, for your patience with me. I know I have not been as communicative. I have been no fun at all! Eight months without fro-yo can have that effect.

    Do I think things will get better? Yes. I am confident that they will. In my experience, and if past is prologue, a hopeful story often comes after the hard. So, while we are trudging around the muck and mire of the virus’ dark winter, let’s look for the light. For the positive changes that are happening around us. Change is the one thing I will, most certainly, keep on my 2020 Bingo card.

    And, if I start to forget, I’d be so grateful if you would remind me. I promise to always do the same for you.

    So, how are you doing? Please write back!

    Sincerely yours,


  • 11 things I’ve become obsessed with during quarantine.

    Friends, you know me. You know that we are still quarantined, or socially distant, or in the red zone, whatever you want to call it.

    You know that COVID-19 is making me feel like a bad mom.

    There has been a lot of womp-womp-ing over here, and so, as I sit here in my living room, my favorite room in my house, enjoying the light that pours in from the windows and the world around us, I have decided to share an upbeat post.

    I bet you didn’t know I had it in me!

    As I’ve mentioned, we’ve been in a strict quarantine bubble with my parents, and there is this thing my dad does, not infrequently, and this thing is that he says, “You know something? _______ has been one of the greatest finds of quarantine!” or “I have to say, ______ has had a a major renaissance during quarantine!” or, he posits, “Do you know what was COMPLETELY UNDERRATED before quarantine?”

    (each time, as if he has not already said it. Love you, dad!)

    We tease him (because he is, in fact, unintentionally funny), but he is also correct. We have discovered and re-discovered some things during this period of isolation that have made said time better, happier, more delicious, more fun, and, dare I say, tangy-er!

    Yes, of course we’ve baked banana bread; I’ve enjoyed every bite of my bestie’s delicious sourdough when she’s dropped it on my stoop; I spent two weeks tie-dying every white thing I could find; we watched Tiger King. 

    Here, I am talking about the things that are not on a quarantine Bingo card. Well, mostly.

    And, because they may make your life similarly peaceful and tangy, I’d like to share with you

    11 things I’ve become obsessed with during quarantine.

    1. Iceberg lettuce

    I know. It has been reviled in the lettuce world. No nutrients! Colorless and flavorless! The lettuce they use in gross, camp salad bars!

    Oh no, my friends. Say what you will, but I have gotten into iceberg lettuce and if loving it is wrong then…what is that you say? I cannot hear you over the loud sound of my chomping these crisp, delicious bites of lettucey goodness.

    I keep at least 3 heads of iceberg in my fridge at all times, and though washing and drying lettuce is laborious, it is so worth it. I chop it up into fine, little bites, and munch away. More on this, soon!

    (P.S. if it is any indication of how much I adore iceberg, I was just going through the running list I’ve been keeping so that I could, at some point, share these things with you, and I had accidentally listed iceberg TWICE!)

    2. Cardenas Lambrusco Red Wine Vinegar

    I have to hand it to my dad. He was right. Red wine vinegar HAD been underrated (by me, at least). Until I tried Cardenas Lambrusco Red Wine Vinegar. We go through this by the case. Unlike other vinegars, it is not sour. It has a bite, but just enough. It is sweet, tangy, and is currently bffaeaeae with my iceberg lettuce. I have been making the same salad every day for the last two months, and it never gets old:

    Iceberg Lettuce, a peach, peeled cucumber, cracked pepper, a little olive oil, a lot of Lambrusco Red Wine Vinegar.

    It is dreamy. I have no idea why.

    Let me just say, last week we had run out of the good stuff, so I used my Whole Foods Brand red wine vinegar and I could not even finish the bowl. Too sour! Not my Cardenas.

    3. Top Chef

    Let me be clear: I watched the first seven or eight seasons of Top Chef religiously.

    The Season 2, Marcel head-shaving incident will go down in history as one of the most dramatic reality tv moments ever, and Kenny and I are devoted members of Bachelor Nation. The night before that well-teased episode was set to air we literally could not sleep, giddy with anticipation.

    Ahh, life before spoilers.

    Then, we fell off. Until one of my favorite podcast hosts started talking about the new Top Chef All Stars season, and, by some stroke of luck, Kenny agreed to start watching with me, in real time, just like the good old days.

    It was everything we wanted and more. Cozy, nostalgic, delicious, dramatic, suspenseful, inspiring, heart-warming, I could go on and on and on. Just in case you will, in fact, take my advice and watch this most recent season of Top Chef (All Stars, Season 17) I shall not spoil it, but let me tell you, I had a very exciting interaction with the winner before they were the winner and I now own merchandise that has to do with the winner and a package of food from the winner just arrived at my door, so I encourage you to watch so we can discuss this and you can also enjoy the cozy, inspiring, nostalgic, happy deliciousness.

    (Top Chef has also been the gift that keeps on giving, as all of the seasons of the show are available on Hulu, so we’ve gotten to re-watch and catch up since we resumed our love affair with the show.)

    4. Coffee

    I’ve been a tea girl for as long a I can remember.

    Chai was almost a verb for me, “Hey, wanna chai?”

    And don’t get me wrong, I still love it, but I’ve pivoted. I’ve gotten basic.

    I’ve realized that with enough sweetener and creamer it is not only delicious but crave-worthy.

    I like my coffee hot, but flavored similarly to coffee ice cream. Light and sweet. BUT, when Kenny makes it with with AeroPress I can even drink it black. It’s that good. Why someone would choose to drink it black instead of with milk and sugar is beyond me, but it no longer disgusts me. We chemex. We use a machine. We have Nespresso pods. I am almost like a big girl!

    Which leads me to my next discovery which is…

    5. Oat Milk

    I get it, I get it, oat milk has not only been a thing, but it has been THE THING.

    I am late on this! I am often late on things. I refused to get emojis until I turned 30, if you recall. I still don’t have Uber.

    But oat milk, oh yes. You were right.

    I have a complicated relationship with milk and so when I am trying to avoid it things (like coffee!!!!) become tricky. Vanilla almond milk is fine in smoothies, but it just does not taste good to me in a latte. Enter: Oat Milk.

    It is creamy, the flavor goes beautifully with my coffee, and I would drink it straight. It reminds me of soy milk, which I also love but do not often buy, and I don’t know why I am telling you this, because you certainly know way more about oat milk than I do, as you were not, in fact, late to this oat milk party, but now you know I know, ya know?

    6. Puzzles

    This is TOTALLY new to me. I talked about my love of puzzles just last week, and this love has only grown. I won’t repeat myself. I will, however, say that I tackled two 1000 piece puzzles in this last week

    (Love Lives Here puzzle and All Good Things Are Wild and Free puzzle).

    I have a crazy idea about puzzles, but I think I’ll keep that one up my sleeve.

    7. Professional home self tan kit

    I don’t think I have ever felt less cute or confident in my life.

    Hyperbole or not, I hardly ever think, “Oh! That looks great!” these days and I have been my own very harsh critic.

    Cue: Flawless Bake By Sophia.

    Full disclosure, Sophia is my friend, but I paid for my kit, this is in no way sponsored, and the fact that Sophia is my friend simply allows me to confidently vouch for her skill, style, and immaculate cleanliness. I ordered my first ever home kit by Sophia right before my 35th birthday in April, as a little treat, and I have used to twice since. Let me just tell you, it has done wonders for my mood.

    I mean it. Something about the subtle, natural glow (that I did not mess up and I mess up everything like this) made me look healthier, less like I’ve been indoors and sullen since March, and was a “self care” moment, when such moments are scarce. I used to treat myself to bi-weekly manicures, and have not been since February, but let me tell you that tanned, bare-nailed hands look much better than pale ones!

    If you are looking for a similar burst of confidence, I cannot recommend this enough! Sophia is amazing (you’ll want to be her) and she will drop to you, ship to you, FaceTime with you, work with you, and you will feel better.

    8. Spice House Spices

    Another Robb Fox find, here, and I must give the man credit where credit is due.

    When he told me he was buying a set of spices from Spice House I was, to be honest, mildly skeptical and somewhat indifferent.

    I was also completely, totally wrong.

    As someone who has never liked dried herbs, I will tell you that this set of essentials is so good we have purchased two more sets during quarantine. My personal favorites include the sweet curry, garlic powder, celery seed, dill weed, onion powder, and cumin. You have no idea how big this is for me. I think you’d enjoy, as well!

    9. Organization

    Look, I cannot say I find the process to be meditative. If I could outsource it, I would. I get that some people like the act of purging, placing, folding, etc. but I am not one of these people. It is, still, a chore.

    But, alas, I have been stuck at home for eight months, and the clutter and disorder was really getting to me. Messiness gives me anxiety and my anxiety is already so high. I read articles and followed Instagram pages and made some Amazon orders and let me tell you, tackling one, small area or project at a time has been manageable and the rewards have been awesome.

    I bought different kinds of bins, set up two donation pick-ups, dropped bags off on my best friends’ stoops, and went to town (again, one one, small space at a time). I recommend this.

    Now, every time I look in my pantry to see neat rows of snacks all organized by type and size, with each type of item in its own, sorted bin, I feel accomplished; less anxious.

    10. Audiobooks

    Late in 2019 something embarrassing occurred to me: during the year prior I had WRITTEN more books than I had read.

    I was mortified!

    I was also completely unsure of how to find time to read when I had children and dogs and a husband and a pandemic to keep an eye on.

    Audiobooks, for the win! I have been “reading” with my ears nonstop, even replacing my beloved podcasts with audiobooks (from all different genres). Not only do I find these books enjoyable, but having read more than one book makes me feel accomplished. Imagine that!

    I often share my book recommendations over on my Instagram page, so you can follow along there. I have been really into junky, fluffy, easy thrillers lately, but this summer I also read some non-fiction pieces (ranging from Andy Cohen to Bob Woodward) so I have a lot to recommend.

    11. Putting it out there

    Ok, this is not new, and I would not say I am “obsessed” with this, but I want to use this opportunity to thank you.

    You have allowed me to continue to put it out there, whether “it” has been my twirling, magical dance parties with baby Belle in 2010 or “it” was the bleakest days of my postpartum depression, and you have followed along, supported me, and given me an incredible sense of solidarity.

    In this case, though, I want to thank you on behalf of my kids. I put myself out there a few times this summer, with their permission, and I admitted (on social media) that we are still “staying home” as a family, and that it can be lonely. I shared that Beau is obsessed with Minecraft, and could use a virtual buddy to play with. I explained my kids’ unique school situation, having gone back to public school just last year, right before quarantine, and how we all long for connection. I know that by sharing my clear, potentially controversial viewpoint on the pandemic I am opening myself up to criticism and judgement. I am, potentially, further isolating my kids.

    But, by putting it out there, I found some brave, bold, honest, good, kind people who, I now know, are my people.

    Moms who also want to set up Minecraft dates for their kids and with whom I now text daily, about Minecraft, yes, but also about motherhood, health worries, and life.

    Parents who are working to welcome my kids to their school community.

    Strangers who tell us that what we are doing is helping others to stay safe, giving us a sense of purpose during this sea of worry.

    If you are also staying at home, reach out. To me! To someone. The loneliness is crushing and it does not have to be.
    If you are not, reach out! To those who wish they could, also, be out having fun but, for one reason or another, cannot.

    It is hard to display vulnerability. But, when you do, you often reap the sweetest rewards.


    There you have 11 of the things I have been obsessed with during this period of time.

    As I finished typing that last paragraph I realized that I left some incredibly important items off the list (my daily yoga practice, if you can even call it that, Beau’s newfound love for basketball and The Sixers, sweet munchee cheese, to name a precious few), but maybe I’ll just use those missed opportunities as a chance to connect in the future. See #11.

    I hope you have as happy of a day as is possible, considering. For many, it is the first day of school! You’ve got this!

    For others, change looms in the air. We’re in this together!

    Now, go make yourself a delicious iceberg salad and eat it in front of the television as you start season 17 of Top Chef as you wait for your sunless tan to develop. Just don’t trip on the puzzle piece!



  • COVID19 is making me feel like a bad mom.

    (What I have done for the last 2 months: yoga every day.
    What I have not done for the last 2 months: felt, in any way, relaxed, calm, peaceful, or zen.)


    try (verb): 
    make an attempt or effort to do something; an attempt to achieve or attain.
     trying (adjective):
    difficult or annoying; hard to endure.
    Has any other homonym been more applicable during this pandemic?
    If so, forgive me. My brain is oh so tired. (And, while your’e at it, please give me bonus points for remembering the difference between a homonym and homophone!)
    We are about to enter into another novel phase of this novel time of this novel virus,
    and I am scared. The two hands I wrote about in May are not just full; they are unkempt, unmanicured, weathered, and they are trembling.
    I have shared a lot of how I am feeling on my Instagram page (particularly in a highlight called RL Talk COVID, if you are interested), but compared to my normal level of openness, honesty, and verbosity, I’ve been quiet.
    I have spoken about my anxiety and hypochondria, shared my worries for my kids, posted metaphors about how, for me, the idea of schools reopening now feels like trying to shuttle kids in school busses during a severe blizzard.
     What I have not yet shared? The thing that is so hard to consider that I, most often, do not; the thing that hit me, just yesterday, during a teletherapy session; the thing that is just as novel to me as this virus and chapter in history:
    COVID19 is making me feel like a bad mom.
    Allow me to explain.
    There are so many things that make me feel like me. 
    In “normal life” I am proud to identify as many things at the same time. While being a mom always tops the list, I am also proud to be a wife, and an author, and a blogger, and a friend, and a daughter, and a sister, and a singer, and as part of a rock and roll band, and an advocate, and as a speaker, and as a gardener, and as someone who faces tasks head on.
    As COVID19 began its perilous spread, each of these things began to fall. Some were in deafening collapses. Others were silent.
    This one hurts the most.
    All of my external identifying factors began to disappear.
    (As swiftly as the disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer bottles on store shelves? Too much? Too much.)
    My second bookBaby Ever After, came out right before the pandemic reared its head. I was an author with a book that could not be promoted properly. I could no longer blog, as I had mommy school to teach. I had a singing gig lined up for July, along with my incredible guitar teacher, and I would be able to play for the first time ever in public. We all know how that went.
    All of my attention had to be harnessed inward, or at least to the inside of our home.
    I tried to keep our spirits up. I tried to keep us connected. I tried to keep music in the air.
    In the past, even in my darkest days, I could still host a raging dance party for my kids.
    I could twirl them around, play them like a guitar in my arms, set the amp to blast music so loud that it felt like the house would shimmy and shake along with us. I could keep my kids happy.
    I could overcome.
    I’d done this before! I had worked through a crisis! Even when I hated myself during those miserable months of postpartum depression, I loved them enough to keep them happy. I over-functioned, in many ways. I couldn’t do many simple things (you know, like feed myself), but I could plan elaborate costume parties, perform in rock concerts, make kale smoothies, enroll both kids in the right schools, participate in fun classes, and jump in ball pits. I even got them their own ball pit! (Note: I have never been good with germs).
    I was on top of my shit.
    I could persevere through my own suffering just enough to give them all they wanted and needed and then a little bit more, leaving exactly no reserves left, but it was OK. It kept us afloat. It wasn’t ideal, but they were smiling and thriving and nothing mattered more.
    It was trying, but I was trying, and, most of the time, my tries were triumphant.
    All of this is to say, motherhood was this one, salient, impenetrable thing I could always fall back on. I’ve been blogging here for ten years, and during that time I have been open about many of my struggles and alluded to others, but during all of these times I still felt like a MOM. A mommyish mom. A good mom.
    And that feeling, the one thing that has been my buoy, is gone.
    Right now, as this un-summery-summer is drawing to a devastating close, I feel more lost than ever before.
    I do not even know which direction in which to paddle my arms.
    With little leadership, no uniformity, limited data, inadequate supplies, and a poor sense of direction I am trying and trying and trying to tread water, because I do not know what else to do.
    When I look in one direction, I see red hazard lights blaring.
    “Stop!” They indicate. “There is danger, ahead! We do not know exactly what this danger is, but it is bad. It is so bad. We know it is probably even worse than we think, but we will not know for a long time, but trust us: you should be scared! Oh! And make sure to scare your children, as well! Not, like, scar them scare them, but make sure they know the gravity of the situation! Stay. At. Home.”
    When my head whips in a different direction I see the flags from mental health organizations, hanging soberly.
    “It is OK to not be OK,” they read. There is profound compassion and obvious good intentions.
    The flags wave in the wind, but I can still make out their words.
    “Kids need other kids!”
    “Kids are suffering!”
    “Kids aren’t meant to be alone!”
    This is so confusing. Both directions are telling me to save the kids, and all I want to do is to save the kids, but I cannot do both, and I do not know which direction in which to head, and I should know.
    A good mom would know.
    The sound of loud music thumping draws my attention to yet another direction.
    A pool party! In the sea! How about that!? It is almost as if science doesn’t matter and a pool can exist in a churning ocean! WHOA! These people either know something about science that I don’t or…
    …wait, I cannot think straight, the music is too loud.
    As I try to make out the figures at the party in the distance I realize that it is hard because they are so close together.
     They are raising glasses of colorful drinks, throwing arms over shoulders, laughing with unmasked mouths.
    What. the. fuck?
    “Come hang with us, kids!” The partygoers shout. “We have candy! New friends! Fun!”
    It is as if I am looking at a reality so different than my own that, although there is something vaguely familiar about the scene, it is impossible for me to comprehend. It feels like something I must have dreamt about, a long time ago.
    And then there is yet another direction in which I feel myself being pulled.
    I hear laughter, there.
    Laughter feels better than the blaring of red sirens, or the somber flag-waving, or the thumping party music.
    When I turn my head in that direction I see the most startling sight of all.
    I see little Becca, on stage, dressed as a cat, with perfectly applied cat-person makeup, belting out a song into a microphone.
    It is a scene from my fifth grade play (which was, obviously, “Cats!”)
    I see a montage of scenes from my youth, in which I am talking to, and laughing at, and playing with my friends, who are still, to this day, my best friends. We are making shared memories. Doing things that we will, I know, still be talking about almost three decades later, as we reflect back with fondness and warmth.
    It is this direction that finally knocks the wind out of me.
    I can barely tread water anymore. I want to throw up.
    It is in this direction that I am seeing everything that my kids cannot have. It is in this direction that I feel that I am failing Belle and Beau most. It is in this direction that I am reminded of all the ways in which, despite my best efforts, my trying cannot triumph any longer.
    Despite the mounting uncertainty, there are three things I know to be absolutely true right now:
    1. This is hard for everyone. No one likes this.
    2. I am extremely privileged. I have a partner, a home, resources, access to care, and so many advantages. I am aware of and grateful for my privilege every single day.
    3. I love my kids so much that, just sitting here and typing those words, I feel a physical ache in my chest and stomach. I love them so much that it hurts. I love them in ways that I never thought possible. I love them more than I did yesterday.
    If only that camaraderie, that privilege, and that love were enough.
    Right now, everything feels surreal and impossible. Like a choose-your-own-adventure nightmare.
    Make a choice, face the consequences. Pick between multiple bad options.
    How can I do my best to keep my kids physically healthy and mentally healthy right now?
    Do I prioritize their short-term and long-term physical safety, which, if compromised, I cannot necessarily control or treat, or do I prioritize their happiness, over which I feel like I have a slightly better handle?
    Do I keep them enrolled in their pubic school, the school where they have both finally found a safe home, knowing that we are at the school’s mercy? Do I sign them up for the year-long virtual school, so that things will be consistent, but will no longer allow them to be part of their home school community?
    Will they learn? Will they grow? Will they feel confident?
    Does the school know what they’re doing? Will they reopen in person? What metrics are they using to determine the safety?
    What about the teachers? The teachers who are my friends? What about the teachers who have helped our kids and loved our kids and devote their lives to them? How do we keep them safe?
    Will my kids be the only ones stuck inside, alone, while their peers POD up into discrete groups?
    Will my kids be ok without a POD?
    Is anyone being as cautious as we are so that we could even entertain the idea of a POD?
    How do I find out?
    Whom can I trust?
    Am I making the right choice?
    What if I allow them to see people and someone gets sick?
    What if they get my parents sick?
    What if someone dies?
    Would I really send my kids to school during an unprecedented, dangerous blizzard?
    Will they ever make memories like I did in “Cats” or did I (and not COVID) rob them of the joys of childhood?
    Will they resent me? Does that even matter? Would I even blame them?
    Why is this so hard for me?
    Why is everything so hard for me?
    Why do I have to be such a whiner? Will people read this and roll their eyes at me? Chide me for complaining?
    Will I be more alone than I am now?
    Will that negatively impact the kids and their ability to socialize?
    Why can I do better?
    Why can’t I just be a good mom?
    I have said it before and I will say it again: We are the lucky ones. I said it about my postpartum depression and the fact that I survived. By the skin of my teeth, I did, but I did.
    I was able to order school supplies. My sister gave me the furniture from her old apartment and it is cool and functional and allowed me to set up classroom areas for both Belle and Beau.
    But, as we all know, it is not about the infrastructure, it is about what is inside.
    Right now, we are a family who does not see other people indoors. We still do not go into any public places, except for visits to the doctor that are necessary and unavoidable. We have our groceries delivered and wipe down every item with disinfectant. We do the same with takeout, and only order from restaurants that are not currently allowing for indoor dining. It is an arbitrary rule, but one that gives us a small sense of control.
    We try to get outside every day, but some days, like yesterday, the kids did not leave the house. They were down, and it was a vicious cycle. I took some time to water the plants in my greenhouse, but it no longer feels like my sanctuary; yesterday it felt more like a chore. I cannot identify as a gardener anymore. My plants are yielding a stunningly small amount of fruit this year.
    How fitting.
    This is the best I can do, as I keep treading water, spinning around in every direction, reading, researching, evaluating.
    I do not know when things will change, how much worse they will get before they improve, or how much my anxiety is influencing that grim internal forecast.
    I do not know if I am making the right choices, and that is something I may never know.
    There is no one right choice, after all.
    Every choice exists on a spectrum, as a shade of right and a shade of wrong. I’ll try to look at it as the former.
    Today, I do not feel my best, but I do not feel my worst.
    I do not feel like a great mom, but I am hopeful it will change. As COVID19 evolves, so will I.
    Today, though, unlike most days, I was a writer. A blogger. An advocate for my children and yours.
    I hope that counts for something.
    At least I tried my best.
  • My Top Five Tips For Parenting During This Scary Time

    I was just straightening the pile of towels that the kids and I had folded this morning when it hit me: my kids folded towels, this morning. They are not folded in the perfect squares that make the control freak in me feel most comfortable, but nothing about our lives today, quite frankly, makes the control freak in me feel most comfortable.

    I have so much to say about feelings and emotions, fears and facts, unity in a time of distance…BUT, I know better. I know that if you are a parent and taking a minute to read this then you probably only have just that. One minute. Maybe five.

    Your life has been upended by COVID-19, and you are likely practicing some form of social distancing during massive school and community closures. It is new territory for us all and it is stressful AF.

    For me, however, this will not be my first week home with my kids. Oh no, they were overachievers this month and we’ve been dealing with Scarlet Fever, and Flu B, and hypochondria, respectively. It could be sooooo much worse, and I am not complaining. I am just explaining. Having spent the better part of the last 3 weeks at home with 2 kids and 3 dogs and 0 other adults within 6 feet, I’ve learned a few things. Not all the things, but a few.

    So, here are My Top Five Tips For Parenting During This Scary Time

    1. Structure is your friend.

    Routines, while they can seem daunting, will make your days at home much easier. I have two kids who are in very different life stages with vastly different needs. And yet, I have found that having a schedule, and some semblance of a normal structure around here, is helpful for us all. During a time when nearly everything in life seems like it is on its side or backwards or indecipherable, being able to nestle into the nook of reliability has allowed me to breathe. I might not know what tomorrow holds, but I DO know that at 10am we will be having “poetry time” in our living room and at 7pm we will be having “Story Time with Zeydie.” More on that, later.

    What should be included in your daily plan is entirely up to you. It can be as simple as 9am eat breakfast 12 pm stand outside and spin around for 10 seconds and 8pm take a shower. It is something. And, to kids who are undoubtedly confused, if not frightened, it can be everything. 

    (Note: there are TONS of amazing resources floating around that give us ideas of things to do with our kids, from educational activities to museum tours, recipes to story hours with celebs. I am not curating a master list here.

    My friend Jordan, over at Ramshackle Glam, came up with an awesome list that she will be updating daily and I highly recommend checking it out.)

    Here is what my day looked like today:

    Screen Shot 2020-03-16 at 3.28.52 PM

    2. That said, be flexible. 

    Today, kids, we will be learning about the term “oxymoronic.”

    I know, I know, I just went on about the importance of a routine, but the last thing you need right now is to put more pressure on yourself.

    This morning, for instance, I found myself scrambling, and jittery, and getting that frantic energy that sometimes creeps up on me when I’m particularly overwhelmed. It was 8:30 and my kids needed to be fed, and I needed to set up a Zoom conference for Belle so that she could attend the “morning meeting” her INCREDIBLE teacher was hosting for her INCREDIBLE class, and I already forget the other things that were weighing on me, but, at the time, they felt oh so heavy. As I raced to grab some almond milk from the fridge, Kenny stopped me.

    He gave me the look he always gives me when I know he is about to say something entirely reasonable, and held my eyes with his. “There is absolutely no rush. Slow down. There is literally no reason to feel rushed at all.”

    I told myself to be a palm tree, and not an oak tree, which is wonderful advice I was given by a therapist, recently.

    I swayed.

    Belle made it to her meeting, the almond milk made it into the matcha, and our “Mommy School Day 1″ was better than I had expected. Did we follow the schedule exactly? NO! Was it wonderful to have a schedule? YES!

    Screen Shot 2020-03-16 at 3.38.52 PM

    (Above, my kids are doing an online live art class called “Draw Every Day” hosted at 2pm EST daily by Jarrett Krosoczka, author and illustrator and can be found at youtube.com/studiojjk. The peyote jar pictured may or may not contain actual peyote and I’ll never tell.)

    In the earlier list photo you can see the things we crossed out and the little notes where we added things in (thanks, Belle!)

    Which brings me to my next point, which is…

    3. Chores are not always chores for kids!

    You will see, in said photo above, that we had two different “Home Ec.” periods. We did not have yoga, because the laundry in the dryer needed to be folded in order for the new laundry I needed to do to be able to dry and so I changed our plans. Like a freakin’ palm tree.

    Do you know what two children whose usual list of chores includes not much more than “make your bed and clear your plates after dinner” think about things like learning to load the dishwasher and learning to use the washer and dryer?


    It might not last. It probably won’t. But, for today, it killed several birds with one detergent pod.

    We even did a folding lesson while listening to some good music, and in that moment, I felt proud.

    Screen Shot 2020-03-16 at 3.38.09 PM Screen Shot 2020-03-16 at 3.38.21 PM

    4. Get dressed. 

    This is, once again, about personal preference, but is a HUGE tip I’ve learned in the last few weeks (and, also, as someone who always WFH). You don’t need to dress to impress. But, there is something about getting out of pjs and into pants with a zipper and a button that makes all of the structure and flexibility and chores seem a bit…I don’t know…better? Easier? More legit? Maybe it’s not that. Maybe that it just makes me feel better about myself, having dressed two kids and myself. When I walk by a mirror and catch a glimpse of myself, I can’t say I am obsessed with the reflection, but I definitely feel better than when I first roll out of bed, and I’ll take any positivity I can these days.

    I am sure there are studies about a correlation between getting dressed and an increase in productivity, but, for me, it is as simple as, like I said, leaning in to the positive.

    Side benefit: Use this time to experiment with some new looks! Try that winged eyeliner you’ve been contemplating! Do that half up half down bun that all the cool influencers do but that scares you but that you like but that terrifies you but that looks so cute on them but you don’t know how but you don’t have to because no one will see you! BE COZY!

    5. Stay Connected. 

    For the average human, I imagine this is a mildly stressful time. If not stressful, at least inconvenient.

    I am not the average human, however, and have TONS of anxiety, and my particular breed of anxiety has specific components that all happen to intersect right around things like THE CORONAVIRUS.

    Health, my kids, the health of my kids, being apart from the people I love…

    I do not like this. It is stressful, I am not sleeping well, and it all feels so big.

    I remain steadfast in my stance that this is not a time for block parties and playdates. I miss my friends and family members as much as you, but I also want to do my part to contain this virus and get back to some semblance of normality (November, I see you!). When people talk about flattening the curve, it is because that is really, really important. Maybe you are savoring this time with your family members all cuddled up at home with nowhere to be. Maybe it feels like torture. Maybe, most likely, it is somewhere in the middle, a combination of both, and in a gray area like everything else in life.

     And, once again, like everything else in life, you are not alone. This is hard and scary (I know I keep saying it, but humor me: I have been in my house for 20 days and am nervous) and so staying connected to people outside of your home is a good thing.

    If you want distance from the people you know, you are in luck! You can watch live-streaming videos of people reading books, or listen to podcasts that feel soothing, or watch cooking shows, or catch up on The Bachelor, because if you haven’t seen Barb-Cam yet then you need to disregard tips 1-4 and run to your tv and tell your remote to “PLAY BACHELOR SEASON 24″ now.

    If you want to stay close to your loved ones without actually being close, we are so lucky to live in a world where we can FaceTime and video-chat and even just talk on the phone as opposed to texting.

    I mentioned my daughter’s teacher’s zoom conference earlier this morning and the date with my dad this evening. Because we are staying away from my parents, my dad decided to do the most special thing he did for my sister and me as kids: his amazing bedtime stories. He would read to Emily and me and do all of the voices and we looooooved this time. Because my kids are Roald Dahl stans, he started “James and the Giant Peach” with them last night. When the video synced up last night I burst out laughing to see my 59-year-old attorney father in a bowler hat, but he was embracing his role. He read the first chapter to them and, just like Emily and I did when we were their age, left them begging for more.

    Screen Shot 2020-03-16 at 3.38.33 PMScreen Shot 2020-03-16 at 3.38.43 PM

    At the end of the day (IS THE DAY ALMOST OVER, YET?) no one knows what will be, but I do know that connecting with you, even in this small way, has made my day brighter. An apology: I am sure this post is littered with typos, but do I have time to comb through each line before posting? I do not. I have an online tour of the Cincinnati Zoo to host, and so I must leave you.

    Remember, this too shall pass. It always has. It always does. It always will.

    With mad love and hand soap

    xx, B

  • My children have a different accent than I do

    “Now, everyone, take out your R and J,” said Mr. Segal, as he paced, slowly but excitedly, at the front of the classroom.

    It was 2000.

    Mr. Segal was my high school English teacher, and he emanated passion an inspiration as only supremely gifted high school English teachers do. I was lucky enough to have him for both my Freshman and Junior years, and he changed my life as only supremely gifted high school English teachers can.

    I remember looking up from my desk at my young, beaming role model feeling perplexed.

    “Take out my orangade?”

    I was not being fresh. I did not understand what he was talking about.

    He chuckled, in a way that was so warm that I remember it today, as only supremely kind high school English teachers can.

    “Only in Philadelphia would this be a point of confusion! Your R AND J. Romeo and Juliet.”

    Mr. Segal had come from Chicago, and his very first period as supremely gifted, kind, warm, talented high school English teacher at Lower Merion High School was also my very first period as a supremely overwhelmed, hopeful, excited, nervous high school student.

    He explained to me that it was my unique accent that made “R and J” sound like “orange ade.”

    (Now, say it out loud three times fast.

    Hey, maybe it’s the January 30, 2020 version of Laurel and Yanny!


    This memory has always tickled me, and though I do not have THE Philly accent, I certainly have A Philly accent.

    I kind of like it. I would be proud for my kids to wear it, along with their Eagles sweatshirts and other jawn.

    And that is why earlier today, when Beau asked me about my seventh favorite color, I realized I needed to make a public confession about a startling observation:

    My children have a different accent than I do.

    I do not understand this. How does this happen?! We live together. They used to live inside of me. And yet, when describing the color that sits between REHD and YEH-low in the rainbow, they pronounce it as:


    (or, as I like to say, incorrectly.)

     This comes up not infrequently. The topic was raised, again, just hours after the debacle with the color that you get when you mix red paint with yellow paint as Beau and I talked about The Bachelor.

    Our conversation went something like this:

    Beau: “What’s your favorite season of The Bachelor?”

    Me: “I don’t know! What’s yours?”

    Beau: “I like The Bachelorette. I like Hannah’s season when Hannah picks Jed. But, they broke up, right? Because he had a girlfriend. They never even got married, did they?”

    Me, silently, to myself, in my head: “You just said so many words differently than I do! This is more confusing than Hannah choosing Jed AND bringing Luke P. to the final four!”

    Me, out loud, to Beau: “Nope. They got engaged, but they didn’t get married.”

    And this is when we began our discussion about the final word in that sentence; you know, the thing that some people do after they get engaged, and sometimes there are brides and/or grooms and vows and rings.

    My children say this, as most people I meet say this, by pronouncing the word MAH-reed with the first syllable sounding like the name of a female horse.

    You thought Laurel and Yanny were tough to decode? Hold onto your hats (which are CLEARLY pronounced HAAAHTS)!

    A quiz for you:

    1) How do you say the word above, like when two people tie the knot?

    2) How do you wish someone a pleasant Christmas (a time when they may eat, drink, and be ___)?

    3) How do you say the name of Jesus’ mother? The girl who has a little lamb with fleece as white as snow? The gardener who is quite contrary?

    For many of you, 1), 2), and 3) are pronounced the exact. same. way.

    My children are like many of you.

    This confuses me, deeply. As I might have mentioned, my children have a different accent than I do!

    For me, the three words above are pronounced discretely and differently and like this:

    1) You get MAH-reed.

    2) MEH-REE Christmas!!!

    3) I don’t even know how to spell out Mary, but it’s something like Mare-ee and that’s that.

    Look. I am an extremely tolerant person. I am not judgmental and I think that people have fundamental rights to be who they are. There is one exception.

    In the anecdote above, when Beau asked me about Bachelor Nation

    (and right before he told me that if he went on The Bacehlorette he’d use “Hey, girl” as his limo entrance line)

    he did not say HANNAH. He said Hannah, with the “HA” part pronounced like the HA in HANd.

    Fine. Tomato, tomah-to. Orangeade.

    But, I find it egregious when my daughter mispronounces her own name. .

    HER NAME! Her name that was given to her with such love and care and sentimentality.

    Annabelle Lily.

    When she tells me that her name is AENNabell I try to invoke executive privilege.

    (Too soon? Tooooo soooon, but hey, aren’t we all just trying to cope?)


    And when I go off one of these calm but passionate tirades, and mention the fact that Jared Haibon, from Kaitlyn’s season of The Bachelorette and all the Bachelor in Paradises, says these words like I do, and every time he says the word “paradise” it makes me love him and an angel gets her wings, they snicker together, and team up against me, and start to pronounce things with long, over-exaggerated, drawn out vowels.

    And then I question whether or not they are here for the right reasons.


    This isn’t one of those posts with a neat bow, or poignant message, or sleek date card envelope.

    It is a lot of little things. A snapshot in time. A journal entry. A nod to my favorite teacher. A tribute to my high school during a week when my high school needs it more than ever. A cherishing of my kids. A silly ditty. A reminder that while I try to encourage my kids to veer away from binary thinking, when you are faced with the choice between Tyler C. and Jed, there really isn’t a gray area.


    “Mom,” Beau asked, as he cuddled into the nook in my underarm.

    (I pronounce this UHN-der arm. You may pronounce it ARM-PIT.)

    He yawned and looked up at me with sleepy eyes. “Remember when Arie chose Becca and they got engaged but they didn’t get married and he broke up with her and then proposed to Lauren?”

    I nodded, bursting with pride. He might not say his colors correctly, but he is well-versed in Bachelor cannon. I know, in my heart, that Romeo and Juliet will soon follow.

    He did not have a follow up question. I think he just wanted me to know he knows.

     MEH-ree Pub Day Eve, to all.

    And, for what it’s worth, I heard both Laurel and Yanny.



    Screen Shot 2020-01-30 at 8.24.30 PMHe might look sweet, but, really, he’s suh sweet.

  • Baby Ever After

    “I know words, and I love words, but I simply do not have the words to express my gratitude for this book and for all of the people who made it possible.”

    When I wrote this in the acknowledgments of Baby Ever After, it was my way of trying to convey the deep and profound appreciation I feel in a way that will never do it justice. I call myself a writer, but I could never possibly impart the gratitude; it is just so vast.

    Six years ago, right now, I needed help. Not the help I wrote about today in a long Instagram post (more on that tomorrow!) but intense and intensive support I required just to survive. So that I could try to claw my way out of the hard story, even when the hopeful story felt so far away that I couldn’t even see it on the horizon line.

    Out of sight, out of my mind.

    Life has changed so much. The world is colorful, but in different ways. The palette is not even the same.

    I am not depressed. I have anxiety that, at times, can feel debilitating, though I don’t know the clinical severity. I do know the big thing — the thing that I have said over and over, in front of crowds of thousands, and in the quiet of my own bedroom, said solemnly to Kenny in the dark of night: I am one of the lucky ones. I never, ever forget that, nor do I take it for granted. We have struggles, and since January 2014 they have only grown, but I feel indescribably blessed to be here for my children as we all claw our way up different mountains.

    I cannot believe that I am now just two days away from the release of my second book. Not only is it something that still astounds me on a fundamental (and high) level, but I cannot believe I have been given the opportunity to share my story and write about my experience and share the stories of others and write about other people’s experiences and, now, once again, I am at a loss for words.

    Fortunately, in just two days, you will be able to read approximately 80,000 new ones, I hope they turned out OK.

    I hope you like it.

    Let me just tell you, if you thought my first book was honest and raw, you ain’t read nothing yet. In this new book, I talk about some of the most personal things a human being can share as I take you on a tour of my body and my mind in ways I never imagined, but also do not regret.

    We talk about my ovaries. In detail!

    We talk grooming. I shave my legs for you!

    We talk tattoos. I LET YOU UNDER MY SKIN!

    We go deep. Oh, do we go there.

    I hope that by unzipping myself as I have in writing Baby Ever After I can help you or someone you love to feel seen or understood or a sense of camaraderie or the deep belief that none of us are alone.

    Aside from my own unzipped self, seven women and one man shared their unique stories for this book, and they are just exquisite. We have stories of pregnancy post-postpartum depression, and tackle topics including marriage, divorce, fertility, vasectomies, OCD, psychosis, religion, and other things that are often considered to be too taboo,

    and therefore only talked about in hushed tones.


    And they don’t even know this yet…

    While every story is different and unique and discreet, they are also so similar. There are things that unite each story in ways that turn my belly in a flip or give me goosebumps or make me weep.

    It is a tapestry.

    A multimedia collage.

    A woolen blanket.

    It is my own ragged pieces of yarn, woven together – hopefully with some dexterity – with the colorful threads shared from the incredible contributors, all so beautiful and tattered and soft and delicate,

    which are then expertly woven,

    over and under,

    around, up and down

     to your stories –

    the ones that you hold in the deepest places of your heart, and that no one knows, or may ever know.

    It is something that we make together, and it is heavy and light in the right ways.

    Six years ago if you told me I would be two days away from releasing my second book on postpartum depression…

    well…honestly? I don’t know what I would have done, as my emotions were very up and down those days.

    I will tell you that I shared more than I ever thought possible in this book, because I have more than I ever could have imagined.

    We did this. Baby Ever After is our hopeful story (with happy and hard sprinkled in – anchoring it).

    It is our piece of art. It isn’t the very best thing I have created,

    as that is a clear tie between the two creations currently playing on the jungle gym in my backyard,

    but it is my hope that it is up there.

    Thank you for continuing to be a part of my ever after, and for allowing me to be a part of yours.

    Cheers to words, and woolen blankets, and the light and the red balloon, and all that is hopeful -



  • Dear Kenny

    Dear Kenny,

    As I leave the hospital,

    the place where both of our babies were born,

    and handed to us,

    and first fed by me,

    and diapered by you,

    I hit a sea of blue scrubs, all in different shades and tones.

    When I first pulled up this morning, for an early test, I thought that it would be like living out a Grey’s Anatomy fantasy. I was here so early that I even got the mommy spot, right next to the elevator. I was here before most of the doctors and staff members, before there was a line at the always-crowded-coffee-cart, before some of the elevators had even taken their first trip of the day.

    But, now, as I leave, it seems to be right at start time for most of the docs and nurses and other professionals. I walked through a deluge of navy scrubs (do you think this is the signature color of “attendings” like in Grey’s?). There were light blue scrubs, and darker light blue scrubs, and aqua scrubs, and teal scrubs, and a lot of stethoscopes, and a few white coats.

    I have been spending so much time here lately, seeing different specialists and having different tests, usually with you by my side, so it’s lost some of its power for me. Every time I come here of course I see the pregnant women and the expectant families, but it feels less viscerally painful now. Now, I feel like I have some control in the matter.


    Except, this morning, as I left my test, and headed towards the elevators on the second floor, I walked up to an already open elevator, filled with handful of men who I imagine to be season doctors, all in white coats and with gray in their hair.

    One of the doctors leaned forward a bit to see who I was and, before I could ask them if they were going up or down, thought I already kind of knew the answer, I saw that it was the doctor took away our ability to have another baby.

    Ok. I’ll pause. That was just extremely mellow dramatic as we all know that he did not take away our ability to have another baby anymore than anyone else who was involved in this process did except for the fact that he is the one who literally gave you the vasectomy that started the end of some of our journeys and the beginning of others. A move that caused us both tremendous pain over the years. You can argue that his caused you more pain and I won’t even try to fight with you on that one.

    It’s not a zero-sum game nor is it a fight that I’d ever want to win.

    But, while much of your pain was remedied with bags of frozen peas and video games, mine has been, too often,  inescapable.

    You know better than anyone that the new book (for which you wrote!!!) is the story of our murky quest to expand our family after postpartum depression and also ways in which all families can expand. Just like with the first book, I have an amazing indexer, Ronnie, and she has provided me with the most thorough indexes imaginable. I thought she had outdone herself with the first book by indexing the word “pineapple” which always struck me as particularly funny. This time however she took us to a whole new stratosphere.

    While there are many hilarious and random entries in the index for baby ever after, none compares to

    “hasty vasectomy.”

    You often tease me and say that I tell everyone we meet, everywhere we go, that you have had a vasectomy and though that is a slight exaggeration I see what you’re saying. It was only recently that I explained to you that it is a matter of self protection for me. As a 34-year-old woman I am constantly faced with questions and answers and when I say that I think I’m done having children and people respond with a coy eyebrow raise and a “Well, you never know…”

    it’s my way of telling them that yes, yes I do know and no, if we do have another baby it will not be by happy accident. This morning when I saw the doctor who (which, I must tell you, the computer autocorrected to say Doctor Who, and I know you will appreciate this) gave you the old snip snip I didn’t have my armor on. I didn’t expect to be hit with the memory of that awful January morning, when I was still in the throes of my severe postpartum depression, in the emergency room bleeding uncontrollably, thinking that they were going to have to perform a hysterectomy on me, as you had to leave me for your 2 PM vasectomy appointment upstairs. The truth, as they say, can be stranger than fiction. I did not lose my ability to bear children that day

    but we all know how it went for you.

    We made that (hasty vasectomy!) choice using the information we had, and, at that point, with me so raw and suffering so deeply and causing suffering among all of the people who loved me, I know that you were trying to take matters into your hands in the only way you knew how. By having a (hastyyyyy) vasectomy, you were not going to let this happen to me — to us — again. We did not think to ask the doctor to bank sperm for us, just in case. We did not know to wait a few more months until things had calmed down.

    I was 28, you were 31, and we were lost in the abyss that is postpartum depression.

    So, I saw your doctor this morning and my heart stopped a little bit but I kept going and I passed more physicians stopping to say hello to the ones I knew, I passed the coffee cart as it became more and more crowded and I peeped the good soft pretzels but decided it was too long of a wait, and I did not text you even though I wanted to because I thought if I did, I might cry. I walked back out to my mommy spot and though I feel like a mommy more than ever, it can still sting. Or ache.

    Of course on my way out I saw a woman in a black maternity T-shirt. Her horizontal stripes accentuating her cute baby belly and I felt nothing but happiness for her. It just felt really, really weird.

    Today you and I are stronger than ever before and I love you more than ever before and you know that I am obsessed with you and barely know how to go in our without speaking with you and still I acknowledge that we have lost a lot together — things both tangible and intangible — I won’t share too much here or I will potentially spoil too much of our story, and that would be bad author etiquette for me but I just want to say that I love you, I’m sorry for everything, even though I know you will tell me not to be and that nothing is my fault. I’m sorry and I apologize and I’m sorry and that I am regretful.

    But, one thing you don’t know is that this morning, before you woke up, and before the sun had risen in the sky, I was thinking about how when you turn 40 Belle will turn 12. I thought about what it would be like for us if we had another baby when you are 40 with our children 12 and eight years apart and what it would be like to have our child graduate from high school with you being the same age that my parents are now as I am 34 years old. And didn’t scare me but it also didn’t seduce me. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it can hurt and, at the same time, I feel more certain than ever that we will figure it out.

    I’ve been dictating this message and I’m now close to home slightly regretting my decision to not stop for that soft pretzel, but I know that I will walk in the doors and Lola will run to me, and Crosby he will jump on me, and I am optimistic that the kids will smooch me, but I know that you will kiss me, with one of your new and improved hello kisses, and I will feel OK again, because that’s who you are to me,

    I’s what you’ve always been to me and who you’ve become to me.

    It’s how you look to me.


  • Dear babies

    Dear babies,

    First off, I know that you are not babies. 

    But, I also know that when I feel one of you reach for me in the middle of the night,

    or smile as you greet me with sleepy, almond-eyes first thing in the morning,

    or kiss your eyelids as you slumber,

    it’s just like you are my little babies all over again.

    It has been a long time since I have written a post, babies, but I realized that if I dictate a post and then put it into this little window here it allows me to share things with you without having to violate my “screen break” rules.

    When I wrote about how hard it is to be a parent, we were only just embarking upon this new chapter in our lives.

    I thought being a parent was hard THEN! It has gotten harder.

    As always, it has also gotten more magical; remember, that is why we all have two hands.

    We had an emotional summer, with storms that shook our house, both literally and figuratively.

    But, I am not writing to you to dwell on the hard stuff. We know the hard stuff.

    I am writing to you to memorialize the special stuff.

    When I started writing this blog, a whole nine years and three months ago, it was my way of chronicling life in real time. I did not want to forget any moments. Thousands of posts later, I still want to keep this online baby book, for my babies who are not really babies at all.

    But, like I said,

    and in the words of Mariah,

    you’ll always be my baby (babies).

    It is a cloudy, September afternoon. Beau, you are downstairs with daddy, eating “Taylor ham, made from bacon pigs, not pig pigs, hot, but on a cold plate, extra floppy.”

    You crack me up, kiddo. You just said to daddy, “You know, if you want, you can make me some Taylor Ham. And, you know, if you want, you can give me a bowl of Rice Chex and an icy cold glass of milk. And, you know, if you want, you can give me the Rice Chex while the Taylor Ham is cooking.”

    I never want to forget your mastery of language, and the quirky-adorable-hilarious-brilliant way you say things.

    (Recently, you got so mad at your sister for tricking you into smelling a yucky essential oil.

    “It’s on my hands!” you shouted to me.

    “It is on my hands, but it is hovering over my hands and up to my nostrils! This is horrifying!

    I smell like an ANTIQUE SHOP!“)

    Belle, you are in your room, and I just brought you a mug of hot cocoa with whipped cream and an inappropriate slogan. Some people would judge me for giving you something like this (both the cocoa and the inappropriate mug), but you guys know that even though I sometimes say “bad words,” I never say the worst word: hate. As long as you abide by that, I am cool with you knowing a lot of words. And having hot cocoa as an appetizer.

    You continue to amaze me, sweet girl. This morning, you asked us if you could make us breakfast, and brought daddy a green smoothie in bed. You have such a big heart.


    I just got home from physical therapy, and I had an experience there that made me think of you.

    I did not want to forget.

    I was having my bad back pain, and some nerve pain was shooting down my arm (this happens a lot lately – something that I am less eager to remember, but still) so my physical therapist decided to try a new position on me.

    She sat me on a raised mat, and pulled her stool right up to me so that she was facing me, just inches away. She pressed into my belly, next to my rib, with her hand, and told me to lean into her hand as I bent forward. This made my arm hurt and my hand get tingly, so she told me to place that arm over her shoulder as I leaned in, like a half hug.

    As I sat there, leaning into my physical therapist, I was immediately brought back to the operating room at Lankenau Hospital, at that very same time in the afternoon, on a Thursday, almost six years ago.

    I was getting ready to receive my epidural -

    which means I was actually getting ready to meet you, Beau -

    and I was scared.

    That is the truth. I was really, really scared.

    Anna, the medical student assigned to my surgery, told me to lean forward and drape my arms over her shoulders. She instructed me to lean into her, and to hug her, and she held me, gently, as the anesthesiologist put the medicine into my back.


    Even though this summer was a doozy, there are some really special moments I want to remember.

    Beau, I cherish the time we spent “chit chatting” on the unicorn float. The hours we spent there, being cozy in the sunshine on the black and white striped towels, talking about horror movies, and Pokemon cards, and life, were some of the most lovely moments I have ever had. I loved finding Lemon the white frog with you, and teaching you to play baseball in the garage, and watching you do flips and handstands in the water. I loved playing charades with you, especially as you’ve become an expert on Titanic, The Bachelorette, and the characters from Donkey Kong.

    Bellie, I loved our s’mores dates on the front patio. I am so proud of you for so many reasons, including your love of absolutely charred marshmallows, burnt into oblivion. I had the best time playing basketball with you (you and Zeyds against daddy, Bubs, and me), and hearing you sing “Arabian Nights” in your play, and sitting on the porch swing with you as you helped to edit the picture book. I loved watching “Now and Then” and “The Sandlot” with you for the first time, and I agree that you’re totally a Sam, with maybe just a little Teeny mixed in.

    My favorite memory of all, though, I think, is from the last night of summer at Fox Hollow, when the four of us played “Truth or Dare” in the hot tub. I bet you didn’t expect me to actually jump in when you dared me to sing, “Shallow” on the ledge of the deep end! I loved listening to music, and watching the lights change colors, and watching you make each other laugh in the way that only you two can.

    My dear babies I love you more than I know how to convey. My brain is still healing, and so this is not my most eloquent piece of writing, but it captures a few moments like grainy polaroid pictures; they aren’t the highest quality, but they are often the most raw and real. I will keep working really hard to get my brain back to normal so that I can write polaroid posts by choice, rather than by necessity.

    Beau, I think you’ve just finished your exquisite dinner (extra floppy pork roll FTW!) and Belle, I am going to snuggle up with you, Tina Turner, Twinkle Ra Ra Rainbow Ta Ta, and Pinkberry, because you told me that you’re still not feeling so hot. And I will kiss you, because I do not care if I get your cooties.

    They are my favorite cooties.

    You are my favorite things in this world.

    Dear babies,

    as they say, life can be tough, but so are you. So are we.

    And, when you read this, I guarantee I will love you so so so so so much more than I do right now.

    Because I love you more with each breath.

    Love XOXO,


  • Being a parent is hard.

    “Did you feel the house sway?” I asked, trepidatiously.

    The people around me all nodded, as we peered outside the sunroom windows, staring at a blowing blanket of white snow.

    “I know that we all felt the house move when that cyclone passed over us, but our house is over 100 years old, so it must be strong, because it has been through so many storms, right?”

    The quickness of my speech belied the calm affect I was trying to employ.

    Everyone around me was chatting, saying things like,

    “I’ve never seen anything like this!”


    “There aren’t usually tornadoes like this in Philadelphia!”

    and I chimed in with,

    “I guess this is a SNOWNADO!”

    We had seen it coming during a snowstorm, bracing ourselves for impact when the white flurries turned into a dark, ominous looking swirl, growing in size and speed by the second. The feeling of our house swaying was one I had only felt before during the earthquake of 2011, a feeling that has haunted me ever since.

    The snow continued to fall, I decided to contact my loved ones to check on their safety, and, the next thing I knew, I woke up.

    It was 5 o’clock this morning, and yet I knew I was up for the day.

    I have been recovering from a migraine, and since it was a doozy, I had to take my medicine, and it knocks me out, so I fell asleep around six last night, woke up at 11 to eat some Oreos, and then went back to sleep.

    It was early, the sun not yet peeking into the sky, and I was still feeling shaken.

    “A snownado,” I thought to myself. “Well, at least I was creative.”


    Just moments ago, the third clap of thunder boomed from above.

    “What’s that?” asked Beau, with the same cautiousness that I know so well.

    “It’s just thunder!” I said calmly, this time belying the anxiety I really feel inside.

    Both kids are home with me, today.

    Despite the weather forecast for a warm, cloudy morning, I am staring out my window at the deluge of rain, falling in torrents; I am counting each clash of thunder.

    What my kids do not know is that as a child, I had a severe phobia of thunderstorms.

    I cannot tell them this. Why not? I do not want to impart my fears onto them, and, most of the time, thunderstorms aren’t actually scary.

    Beau chimed in with a legitimate concern. “Will daddy be safe?”

    I assured him that we will all be safe, and daddy will be able to get home to us without a problem.

    As I write, the rain continues to fall.

    I see squiggles of light in my line of sight.

    Belle is reading in her room, Beau is playing a computer game in mine.

    And, the same words keep repeating over and over in my head, on an endless loop:

    Being a parent is hard.


    I have amazing parents. Earlier this week, when I texted my mom to see if she remembered my pushcart, a 25-year-old project for which I was particularly proud

     (I carefully and meticulously used all of my third grade skills to design a pushcart, with little, tiny baskets lined with colorful fabrics, and fruit crafted from modeling clay),

    she responded immediately with, “I still have it!!!!!!!”

    Not only does she remember, but she lived this with me, and it is still a part of her consciousness.

    Yesterday, when my dad heard that Beau had been feeling sad, and had tried to make a wish that he was sure would not come true, he came to my house on his way to work, at seven in the morning, to bring my son a snorkel.

    “This was my wish! My wish came true!” Beau shouted with glee.

    Not only did he take in my little anecdote about his grandson, but he wanted to make magic for him.

    My parents are amazing.

    And, my parents are the first to say, “There is not a manual for being a parent.”



    Being a parent is hard.

    I can remember my first summer as a mom, around nine years ago, when I lamented Belle’s changing non-schedule of a schedule.

    “They aren’t robots,” my mommom said, as we settled into her beach house for the weekend.

    At the time, I resented her comment, finding it to be flippant. But, I see what she meant. Every time we think we have it down, the rules of the game change; it is an ever-moving target. Just as soon as I get my grip on how to parent a child of this age, and at this stage, the age and the stage evolves, and I am left, once again, to figure it out, often by the seat of my pants.

    This stage of parenthood is pretty awesome. My kids are people, now.

    They both teach me things that I do not know, and I find it to be fascinating and brilliant and beautiful.

    Belle is into farming, and composting, and weeding, and worms. She devours books, and loves graphic novels, and spends her time drawing, writing, and looming. She is politically and socially aware (at our Passover Seder this year, she chimed in and proclaimed that Pharoah was just like Bill Barr). She likes things that I don’t like. She is her own person. And yet, she is still nine.

    Beau is into Star Wars, and building, and quirky things like maps, planets, and…snorkels. He is like an encyclopedia of knowledge about the alternate universes that he explores, and he has an incredible memory. He just asked me how to spell “MONSTER” so he could type it into his Mincraft world. He is loving and curious. He likes things that I don’t like. He is his own person. And yet, he is still five.

    The fact that my kids are now actual kids, and not babies, makes the decision about expanding our family (the subject of my second book, which is now in the copy-writing stage of production!) more complex. On one hand, having a baby now seems like a piece of cake. I’d have built in help! My kids would love a little brother! On the other hand, we would be starting all over again, at a time when we are in a very different stage (without schedules, or diapers, or the inability to communicate effectively with words), and we would have a rather large age difference to contend with. But, there is something else that holds us back. It is not just my former battle with postpartum depression.

    Being a parent is hard.

    I have learned that in an instant, just like it did in my dream, the world can shift.

    It might not literally sway like a SNOWNADO, but it can feel like it.

    Thunder can so quickly turn into sunshine. As I sit and write, the rain has stopped falling, and I see light through my bedroom window. All in the span of one little blog post.


    Yesterday was a hard day for me. I shared the following on my Instagram pageScreen Shot 2019-05-23 at 11.32.52 AM

    This is a weird selfie. It’s real, though. This is exactly what I was doing in the moment that I decided to write this post. I was in the backyard, a watering can in one hand, my phone in the other, in a sundress from my best friend & soccer sandals on my blue-toed feet, and I realized that I wanted to share.
    This has been a hard time for a lot of people I know. I don’t know what planet is in retrograde or moon is eclipsing but I know so many people – members of my tribe – who are hurting right now; for whom life isn’t the most beautiful. I feel you.
    This morning was hard. I didn’t want to get up & dressed & head out to the garden, which signaled to me that I was not OK. So, I spoke to Kenny. “I’m not OK,” I said. I talked to my best friends via text. My sis called. I want to be clear in saying that yes, I am OK, & I don’t mean to sound hyperbolic, but I’m shaky.
    It wasn’t easy to get up & dressed & head out to the garden, but I did. I watered my greenhouse veggies & herbs as the thermometer in there read 97.3; I watered all of my annuals; I saw that the rose bushes have started to bloom, resplendent in different shades of pink; I tended to my new pumpkin patch, in an outdoor area by the swing set; I replaced the seeds in our bird feeder; I took stock of the perennials that have surprised me this week. “The world isn’t so beautiful, right now,” I said to myself. “But this is.”
    I let myself feel the sun on my open back, and then I snapped this weird photo of myself, leaning into one of my favorite new flowers. It’s OK to not be OK, they say. I’ve said. This is what it looks like to be OK and not OK at the same time. We can hold so much in our two hands.
    To those of you who are also feeling burdened by those things less than beautiful, you are not alone. You are seen. At least by 1 girl in a sundress & soccer sandals.


    When I think of what we know about being a parent, my mind goes back to the metaphor of the oxygen mask.

    “You must put on your own mask first,” we are told.

    And I get that, and I try to adhere to it sometimes, but that is just one thing that can happen on a plane.

    You see, what my children do not know is that I still have a pretty bad fear of flying. I have flown all over the world, and yet it is my biggest phobia. The last time I flew, the pilot gave me wings. I was 31.

    So, while we parents worry about how to occupy our children on plane rides, and what they will have to eat, and cross fingers that they will nap, or won’t nap, and

    please do not let them kick the seat in front of us

    I also have my own issues to tend to. On top of all of the logistics and parenting, I have to gracefully accompany my children on airplane flights when I am supremely terrified, AND I cannot let them know.

    You know that I talk very openly with my kids about feelings and fears, and I have normalized emotions in our house to the best of my ability. They know that there are things that I am scared of. BUT, I never want my phobias to plant seeds in their minds, and therefore potentially hold them back.

    I have told them that I am scared of snakes. This is true! Why was I honest about this?

    Because, in my mind, worst case scenario is that my kids would also be scared of snakes (just like my dad, and my grandmother before him). We would avoid the reptile house at the zoo, and all run screaming at the sight of anything slithery.

    But, it is also something that I have been able to show them – tangibly – that I can conquer, at least enough to pet the snake at the demonstration at the Academy of Natural Sciences. Showing them that, “we can let it scare us but we don’t have to let it stop us” is huge for me.

    Another one of my fears? Space. I don’t even want to talk about it.

    Now, if you reread the above you will see that I have one child who is obsessed with worms (I wrote about this here) and one child who is obsessed with Star Wars (and here).

    Being a parent is hard.


    “Look! Look outside!” I just told Beau, as we curl up in my bed.

    “It’s not raining,” he said, without much emotion.

    Once again, the world had changed. Some fears were abated as others grew.

    “And no more thunder.” he added, as he built a patio out of wood and obsidian, which he favors because it can be used to make portals, for his latest house in Minecraft.