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


This morning, I woke up to my son snuggling into me.

I moved around and, despite my best efforts, roused him from a dream.

He looked up at me and he smiled. It was early, the sun not yet commanding the sky, and I told him to go back to sleep.

“Can I be your little cub?” he asked, groggily, as he curled up into my nook. “I want to be your little spoon.”

He has been very into spooning with me lately. Earlier this week, he was the big spoon, his arm stretched across me, pulling me close.

“Do you like when I cuddle you?” he’d asked. ”I wanted to be your big spoon, mommy.

Because you are my happy place.”


People talk about the bond between mothers and their sons; how sons love their moms and worship them and there is a unique closeness and, for a long time, this all sounded wonderful to me but I did not experience it. For the first couple of years of Beau’s life, I wasn’t his preferred spoon (little or big). When he fell down and needed a swift boo-boo kiss he would run to Kenny or cry for my mom.

He loved me, and I loved him, but the closeness didn’t come as naturally to us. Belle, on the other hand, had not wanted to give up breastfeeding when I eventually weaned her at 18 months, so, needless to say, an effortless bond with my child was all I had known.

Last year, something shifted. Life took some unexpected turns (even before the pandemic!) and Beau and I were suddenly together A LOT. In fact, we spent most of our days together, falling into easy routines. I created LEGO games for him and he sat with me at LaBelle every week for my manicure. But, more than jut the logistical closeness, I started to become his person; the one to whom he’d run when he needed the extra kiss or expression of love. Do I think that our bond was harder to build because I was suffering from severe postpartum depression for the first year of his life? In my darker moments, yes. But, not because he was mad at or resentful of me. I think put up my own walls, incapable of trusting myself to be the mom he deserved. This is hard to reconcile. That’s ok. We found our way.


This morning, after we untangled from one another, Beau scampered to his room to build LEGO characters. Kenny and I got to talking and, long story short, I challenged him to “give me the most random word” he could think of, as I’d put it in the search term of this here blog and see if there would be any hits.

After a moment of thinking, he came up with his word: Croissant.

“I’m not so sure there I’ve ever posted the word croissant on here, but I’ll try!”

Well, wouldn’t you know, there were FOUR hits!

I chose to read this post, which was written six years ago next month.

It explains so much of what I’d been feeling, then, and so much of what I explained above.

But, more than that, it shows how all things are fluid, evolving, ephemeral and mercurial.

I’d been resigned to the fact that my bond with Beau would just simply be different than my bond with Belle.

I was right, but not in the ways I’d imagined.

While different, the bonds are equal in depth and comfort.

While Belle still loves me, she’s growing up, and wouldn’t dare ask me to spoon her while referring to me as her “happy place.”

She is WAY too cool for that.

And so, today was a good reminder of where we’ve been, where we are, and just how far we’ve come.

We aren’t doing things like we did before. We are doing things better.

Like communicating; snuggling; spooning.

We belong to each other. He is my spoon and I am his.

Don’t believe me? You can read it for yourself! “We are doing this” originally published in March, 2015.

We are doing this

My relationship with my son is an extremely complex one. It is so easy for me to write about my daughter (my mini-me); in fact, I have literally hundreds of posts from which to choose, that would each somehow illustrate her character or our bond. I was just searching for the post in which I wrote about finding out that I was having a boy, and accidentally came upon this, so you can use this one post, written not so long ago, as an example of my daughter and my love for her.

My love for my son is no less fierce or intense. But yes, it is different. Part of this is clearly because of their 3.5 year age gap. For example, communication: My daughter has a stunning vocabulary for her age and a wisdom that is hard to put into words. My son is just learning to speak. It is easier for me to relate to my daughter in many ways, because she can tell me how she is feeling and what she wants and she will sit down with me, whereas my son uses non-verbal communication, his dozen words and a lot of running.

But, as I said, my love for him is unquantifiable. Just this morning the four of us were up early and all cuddled on the couch in the basement, listening to my son’s new favorite song (and let me tell you, he makes it known) and I kind of nuzzled up to his head and inhaled him, like people do with newborn babies. He smells delicious. I can’t describe it, but I got so lost in that smell, I could have stayed there forever.

But if we are being really, truly honest, which I always am, I think that the part of my relationship that mixes me up a bit is the fact that he was born and I subsequently lost my mind. So my feelings about our introduction are a combination of bliss, gratitude, joy, terror, sadness, pain, guilt and some PTSD. Once my mental health started to improve and I was left alone, again, to take care of my son, I thought, “How am I going to do this? How will we work?”

My little guy has surprised me from day 1 of his existence in my womb, and hasn’t stopped. He cracks me up, for in the span of 3 minutes, he will steal my kale smoothie, switch the Living Room TV to a setting that I can’t figure out how to fix, take apart my bathroom vanity, while marching around, bag of pretzels in one hand and blowdryer in the other. (This is what he did after lunch today.) He just tried to race his Matchbox cars over my computer keyboard. He is just different than I am. I am lazy. I like to play chill games. He likes to go go go go go go go go go go.

But something hit me today, as I got dressed, and I was inspired to journal it, as he deserves it. I wanted to write about him. My closet happens to be in my son’s bedroom, so as I picked out my outfit, I sat him on his glider and talked to him. “I’m just putting on my shirt now! What do you think?” And I smiled at him as broadly as I could and he smiled back, with his entire face. I ran to the bathroom that is across the hall from his bedroom and waved to him. He continued to beam.

“We are doing this,” I thought.

This, this period of time right now, is an odd one; This is not what I expected from my life, and I feel the entire spectrum of emotions when I think about it, ranging from extreme sadness to pure happiness. This morning, on that couch, my head in his hair, I was as blissful as anyone could be.

And then there are other times, when I am trying to figure out my path forward, and I get down.

But I realized today that I have this constant reminder with me; My little strength symbol.

want to be happy, not just for myself (in fact, I put myself last, but that’s a whole different story), but for him.

So right now I am sitting on the floor of the basement, perched on his “Anywhere Chair”, typing, as he runs around, playing trains, sliding down the rollercoaster, handing me a plastic croissant and saying, “Apple, mama?” as he shoves it into my mouth, climbing on the furniture and continuing to mess with yet another TV. I am now listening to the sound of my home phone dialing.

But we’re doing this.

And even though I just had to get up from my chair on the floor (despite my inherent laziness) to hang up the phone because he actually did just call someone, we are doing this.

And so I am going to go now. Not just because he is dialing more numbers, but because I want to give him my time. I want to play with him, cooking together in his fake grill. I want to help him to do a puzzle. I want to smell his head.

So, it may not have been the easiest path,

and every single day still has it’s challenges,

but I get to smell a heavenly head, and see a huge smile that has all but 2 teeth filled in, and laugh at the little drop of milk that gets caught in the cleft of his chin and live in a constant state of surprise and amazement and awe.

And I get to continue to learn, from my baby, how to be strong.

(Our respective perches. At least for this second.)

photo 1photo 2Update: My mom just called.

“What’s up?” I asked.

“Nothing. You called me? I got a missed call from your home phone.”

My son freakin’ called my mom.

“His first call to Bubbie!” she exclaimed, so excited.

“He is delicious.”

And I have to agree.

One year in, a pandemic poem

One year in, a pandemic poem
February 2020,
when we look back now, it almost seems funny,
A whole year has passed in the blink of an eye,
(read: agonizing slog; a lifetime’s gone by).
As we licked envelopes for our Valentines, freely,
our hopes were still bright, our nerves still so steely.
2020 was ahead! Such a promising year!
(With just whispers of a novel virus with a name like a beer.)
We knew about Wuhan, but were WE in its reach?
(Or could we be like Teflon Don after being impeached?)
The news grew more grim as we all Marched ahead,
though my kids were both sick, out of school, stuck in bed.
At the doc I felt foolish for asking “could it be?”
(though it turned out he had Scarlet Fever, she had Flu B).
And on that fateful day in Mid-March when everything closed
we’d already spent the prior week home.
Suddenly the whole world came to a halt
A pandemic was upon us, we were under assault.
In March things were new, terrifyingly so,
with orders of “shelter in place” / “stay at home.”
People were panicking as so many were dying,
(though some said it would “magically disappear”; they were lying).
We adopted new schedules, our vocabulary grew
To include “socially distancing” and “quarantine crew.”
In our house we knew we were deeply lucky,
Though seeing my parents through windows felt sucky.
With April showers came the banana bread boom,
And Instacart orders and “you’re muted” on Zoom.
Mommy school, car parades, delivery slots,
Celebrating healthcare heroes with the clanging of pots.
The bright, warm Spring we’d all been expecting
Was replaced by isolation and mad disinfecting.
By May the virus had taken its toll,
Feeding on hope, numbers out of control.
Schools were closed for the year, “If I have to teach you
expect cocktails with virtual tours of Machu Picchu!”
We all stayed in sweatpants, got to know Dr. Fauci,
Baked sourdough and stayed glued to the couch-y.
Protests erupted, we were brought to our knees
When as a country we heard George Floyd’s “I can’t breathe.”
As the June sun rose things started to move,
gray-haired folks poked their heads out, to find a new groove,
so tired of loneliness, darkness and strife,
“We need contact,” some said. “We must get back to life.”
For us, and I don’t mean to sound like a martyr,
This change actually made life oh so much harder.
With clear mandates we could all stay on the same page,
But we watched from indoors as the summer fun raged.
(Please don’t get me wrong, we had plenty of fun,
Isolated with my parents, a pool and the sun.
And so I can’t complain, our list of “haves” has no end,
It just hasn’t included a hug from our friends.)
In July we went hiking and did hip hop outdoors,
But missed normalcy, crowds, even grocery stores.
It was hard that our country, deemed as “United”
Grew increasingly hostile, hateful, divided.
When we all should have masked our President brayed.
He was too pompous and all of us paid.
September came swiftly and I really was awed
by how deftly the people peeled off into pods.
There were cohorts for learning virtually,
(both synchronously and asynchronously).
We talked metrics, monoclonal antibodies,
An election, our generation, operation warp speed.
Frontline workers were deservedly applauded,
But one group has yet to be adequately lauded:
Our teachers, let me jump in and say, are heaven sent.
How have they not broken with how much they’ve bent?
Thank you, dear teachers, for all that you do.
We’d never survive this if not for you.
As the leaves fell, so did our spirits.
We may not understand this virus, but we’ve learned to fear it.
Then, RBG died, the fate of SCOTUS in shambles,
Did I miss the “hypocrisy” clause after the preamble?
With the election our citizens found more reasons to hate,
With a maskless crescendo at the fiery first debate.
Then, October! Surprise! I woke up from a dream
To see CNN say, “Trump has COVID-19”
As our country waited with breath that was baited
Thousands of the less fortunate were intubated.
We wept as we tried to honor the dead,
The news spewed bleak statistics, it was blue vs. red.
But, with all of the pain and all of the loss,
And all of the loneliness that comes at a cost,
There was joy this autumn and I can’t just discount
The ways in which community members rallied around.
From our socially distant, contact-free trick-or-treating
(careful not to ingest too much Purell when you’re eating!)
To an innovative democratic process of voting
Where we got it right (I promise, not gloating).
November brought us the change we’ve needed,
Small voices were heard, their advice was well-heeded.
And on November 7, when the election was called
Joseph Biden the victor, with liberty and justice for all.
There was room to hope again, permission to dream,
For the first time since the start of COVID 19.
As the craziest year crept to a close
We all reflected on that which means most.
Try as I may and try as I might
It’s impossible to say this without sounding trite:
We found magic in madness, memories in mess,
Did puzzles, played UNO, and even learned chess!
Binged all of Netflix (and Hulu and Prime),
Eat all meals together, every day, every time.
The strength and grit with which my kids have responded
Is awesome and during this time we’ve all bonded.
I love them as humans, they teach me each day,
Wherever they go from here will be the right way.
It’s 2021 now and the threats remain real,
But with grit comes growth, and from hurt we can heal.
February has brought snow, here, with loud winds of change,
(that often sound like Pfizer, Moderna, J&J…)
Shots are going in arms, science is working,
Perilous variants are constantly lurking.
This pandemic has certainly taken its toll,
But it’s also shown me that there are some things I just can’t control.
I can’t take health for granted,
Each moment a gift,
Nothing that means anything is ever easy or swift.
We have more than most,
For more I can’t ask.
And if I see you I promise I’m smiling from behind my 3 masks.
I miss you, dear world,
But we shall meet again.
Hey, a “socially distant acquaintance” is the new “best friend.”
Be kind to yourself, as that is a must.
May peace be with you and in Fauci we trust.

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,


Septembers past

Over the weekend, as we gathered around my parents’ table for dinner, my kids, Kenny, mom, and dad decided to play a new mealtime game:

Let’s make fun of Becca!!!!!

(is the working title, I believe).

I have anxiety, and anxiety + pandemic + virtual school + the impending election + 2020 = MAJOR ANXIETY

My kids have taken to teasing me about my hypochondria; my hyperbolic reactions.

So, over dinner, one by one, they told stories. They did imitations.

“Zeydie,” Beau said, with a twinkle in his eyes. “Is Beau’s head the same on this side as it is on the other side? I think it’s different. And he sneezed! Does he have COVID?”

Trust me: my kids were not making fun of the virus. They were making fun of my reaction to the virus. How, despite our continued isolation from the world I manage to worry, often audibly, with every achoo and ache.

I am working on this.

As we sat around the table at the end of another exhausting week, my dad decided to regale the kids with the “syringe” story. How there was a time when Belle was younger and very sick and I was so concerned with her fluid intake that I was giving her Gatorade from a syringe. 5ml of sustenance at a time. He could not remember the details. Neither could I. But the syringe story is an inside joke, another way that my family makes light of what has been, at times, crippling anxiety. It is hard for us to watch each other suffer. We look for the light.

This morning, I had the idea that I should share some old posts, perhaps from Septembers past, as so much has changed since I started this blog 10.5 years ago. We have all grown; so has my audience. And so, for anyone knew to this Land of Mom, I figured I could provide some old, silly, relatable material. From back when I was a new mom. From different times. Scary in their own ways, albeit simpler.

I found a silly post from this date in 2010, but, to be honest, it was not worth sharing. Baby Belle had grown out of her tights, Kenny was comparing her to Melchior from “Spring Awakening” and I think you had to be there.


I did stumble upon a post from this week during September of 2011 and…



So, as our first trip down memory lane, allow me to welcome you to to a sick day from a time when Belle was 18 months, I was 26, and things felt very hard. And, as a bonus, I’ll throw in a few other post from other Septembers past at the bottom. In case you’re thirsty for some nostalgia. But not too thirsty.

Just, like, 5ml.

“When I peed on that stick (What I didn’t know then)”

When I peed on that stick, and, miracle of all miracles, got two lines to appear, I knew that I wanted to be a mother.

I knew that my life was only beginning

and that in living my dream, I would find joy and love like I’d never before imagined.


I knew all of that.

But then, there were also things that I didn’t know.

So. Many. Things.

Basically, all the things that I have done in the past 6 hours, since I first woke up this morning.

Today, I saw my child sick.

And when the emergency care nurses on the phone line told me that she could be seen by her Pediatrician, but only if I could make it there in 15 minutes, I ran…

….to get ready. Ran to throw on clothes over my pajamas. Ran to my sick daughter.

Today, as I raced to get out the door, I had to ignore the fact that my daughter had gotten sick all over my bed.

All over her beloved stuffed animal.

All over my shirt.

Today, I put a fresh shirt over my disgustingly dirty shirt, to get to the Pediatrician on time.

Today, I didn’t make it on time.

Today, I managed to make it to the other doctor’s office just in time to wait an hour for her to be seen.

Today, I fought back tears.

Today, I told a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner that I did not agree with her plan. I told her that I thought she was wrong.

(Today, I was right.)

Today, I got my dehydrated daughter to drink one small cup of diluted Gatorade by squirting it in her mouth with a tiny syringe, one milliliter at a time.

Today, I did the laundry. And I didn’t mess it up.

Today, I couldn’t fight back the tears any longer.

No, when I peed on that stick and saw one line become two, I never imagined that I’d be sitting in a doctor’s office, with tears in my eyes, and knots in my hair, and poop on my clothing. I never imagined that motherhood, in all of its amazing, love-filled, beautiful glory could also, sometimes, feel

(and please excuse me for this/pun inteded)

pretty darn shitty.

But, I did it.

And after my shirt was changed

and hair was combed

and proper Pediatrician was called

and correct medicine was given

I held a sleepy, sick baby in my arms and read her a favorite book.

And sang to her.

You are my sunshine

I sang.

And, my little girl looked up at me,

her tired eyes half closed

and said “Sunshine”.

A new word.

And then I was OK again.

So what I didn’t know then,

way back when when we were just two people with two lines,

was that the little person that was beginning her journey with me

would be my sunshine;

and always, always make me happy when skies are gray.


Some other posts from some other Septembers:

“T.G.I.S” (September, 2010)

“Congrats, Daddy!” (September, 2010)

“It was bound to happen” (September 2011)

“All the feelings” (September, 2016) ** A goodie, IMHO

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!



Some days

“Is it whatsday or blursday?” Kenny asks me, not infrequently. Dad jokes abound in quarantine.

Some days I roll my eyes and smile at him. Other days I roll my eyes and mean it. Healthy communication abounds in quarantine.

On all of my days, I put a tremendous amount of pressure on myself to be a good mom and on all of my days I fall short.

I try to make sure the kids are stimulated enough (but not overstimulated!), connected to other kids (but with enough distance!), learning enough (but IT’S SUMMER!), and given enough outdoor time so that they’re experiencing all that the natural world has to offer (but this can be so hard for a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to, weather, motivation, crowds, mood, willingness, and mosquitoes.)

Some days, we start the day with a hike. The kids marvel at how clear the water is as it runs over the rocks in the stream. In these small moments they only have to worry about the poison ivy and the steep incline and the muddy shoes.

Some days, we start with berry picking. We go to the farm when it is empty and drink fresh blueberry slushies (wiped down, of course). Our hands get stained and sticky. On these days I make a peach and blackberry cobbler, which is delicious for dessert, but even better for breakfast.

Most days, the kids are on electronic devices. They watch television shows, play Minecraft, and FaceTime with friends. The latter is fine with me; encouraged, even! We have worked on setting up clear rules around electronics. Every day they are broken.

Some days, I cry. I feel so filled up with feelings that they pour out of me. From my eyes. From the deepest parts of me.

Lately, I have been courting a new love: puzzles. I have always been so bad at puzzles. Comically, confusingly bad.

You know how someone will say something like, “OK, well can you imagine this thing but, like, rotated 90 degrees?”

“No. I cannot do this,” I say.

Play me a song once and I will be able to sing it back to you, as the music almost imprints into my brain. As me to retrace my steps or load a dishwasher and I will regretfully decline.

BUT, after months of saying things like, “We should do a puzzle!” I finally opened up the coolest puzzle, laid out its 500 pieces, and my mom, Kenny, Belle, Beau, and I spent the next few days completing this puzzle. I fell in love.

Some days puzzling feels like therapy. This weekend I tried my hand at a 1000 piece puzzle. It was awesome.

I listened to my audiobook and sat the table and went into a peaceful, almost meditative state, as I constructed an aesthetically pleasing room, with pink walls, potted plants, two dogs, a cat, a bird, a Moroccan trellis rug, and a painting that says, “Love Lives Here.”

I escaped into two, separate worlds at once: the world of my audiobook and the world of the pink room. It made for a good day.

The thing about puzzles is that they are simultaneously empowering and humbling. Unlike other areas of life, there is only one right answer. The piece fits or it does not. One misplaced piece and things go awry.

But, when you find that piece, the piece that completes the bottom right corner of the mahogany console table next to the light brown dog, the piece that has been eluding you for two days, all seems right in the world. For an instant, a problem has been solved.

Some days solving one problem feels epic.

Today is Monday, which means the kids are allowed to play Minecraft.

Minecraft Monday!

These days are their favorite days.

They each played separately, while they each had a FaceTime call with a new friend; friends with whom we’ve connected since we’ve been quarantined; friends whom we met because their moms responded to my online queries. “ISO friends,” I wrote.

Some days, distance does not matter. We are linked by commonalities. A pandemic; nether portals.

Today they have not yet played outside. It was a sunny, hot day, but there were reasons why going outside was not the best idea, but I felt guilty, but they were happy (relieved), but I still feel guilty.

Like most days, I feel as though I have not done enough.

Today I got to have a FaceTime date with a friend whom I have not seen in over a year. It was so nice. I tried to put on makeup. I looked in the mirror. I had, somehow, drawn a brown line across my face, giving me a half of a mustache. Makeup does not abound in quarantine.

Today I had a therapy session, spoke to my kids’ doctors and educators, made good meals for them, told them I love them, let them stay on their iPads for longer than I want to admit, tried (and failed) to get them to do some stuff for school, laughed as they made fun of me, cried when they were not near me, and tried to think of ways in which I can be a better mom for them.

Three new puzzles were just delivered. They’ll need to be left outside, then wiped down with disinfectant, and then we can choose between another still life, a circle of doughnuts, or paint cans filled with sorted, multi-colored LEGOs.

We have an evening activity to do as a family. That feels good.

Some days some good is good enough.

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:

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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!

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(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.

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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.

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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.