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That Would Be Enough - Jan 2, 2017

I love being a parent. My kid is amazing — I would not hesitate to die, kill, lie, cheat, or steal in order to protect her. I love her so much it's overwhelming at times, and I have to just stop and wonder how I ever let myself carve out this huge section of my heart, just for her. It feels incredibly stupid and dangerous to hand over so much of yourself to someone so careless. And yet millions of parents do it every day. I think the secret is not to think about it too much, you know? My daughter will be a teenager soon, and I can already see her beginning her sure but steady transition to independence. If I do my job well, and raise her with lots of love and security and confidence, my reward will be a fiercely strong daughter who doesn't need me at all. What cruel irony is parenthood!

I remind myself to enjoy her adolescence while it remains, as I know this time is fleeting. My daughter's lucky I'm such a sap. And hormonal. Today was our last day of vacation, and instead of binge-watching Sherlock and stuffing my face with pumpkin pie, I decided to help my kid clean the Hazmat Storage Areas that often pass for her bedroom and bathroom.

Was I this gross when I was her age? I can't remember, but my guess is yes. You know it's bad when it takes both a regular vacuum AND a wet-dry Shop-Vac to finish the job. But we got it all done, and I'm going to do a better job of making sure she cleans it every week. On the plus side, I got to threaten her with a bag of gummy fried eggs I found stashed in one of her bathroom drawers (don't ask). Pretty sure the phrase "Don't make me beat you with eggs!" (and the requisite giggling that follows it) won't get old for a very long time.

Cleaning is never fun. But at least we made a memory.

And that's the whole point, right?

I know that someday soon, my funny, irrepressible little girl will be a woman, and all that will remain of her girlhood is my memories of this time. Memories of the rap battle we had in the car as we drove home from volleyball practice, or of her sheer glee when she bankrupted me at Monopoly, or of listening to the Hamilton soundtrack as we cleaned her room.

We'll have good days and bad days, but either way — good or bad — these days will just be memories. Will that be enough?

I guess it had better be.


Raise A Glass - Jan 1, 2017

It's a big day around here: not only is it New Year's Day, but today is also my husband's birthday and my parents' anniversary. 

Here in the South, everyone eats black-eyed peas on New Year's Day, which makes me glad I'm from New Jersey. They say eating black-eyed peas will bring you luck in the coming year, and it's supposed to have something to do with the Civil War and the Yankees not bothering to destroy the stocks of dried peas as Sherman marched to the sea, thus leaving the starving Southerners enough food to survive the winter, blah blah blah. Sounds both made up and not particularly lucky, if you ask me.

The traditional New Year's Eve meal down here also includes stewed hog jowls and collard greens, in case you were wondering.


We opted for homemade spaghetti and meatballs, a crisp Italian salad, and breadsticks, instead. There was a lot of garlic involved, which should prove lucky if anyone encounters a vampire on their way home.

Lest you think I'm a terrible Southerner, you should know I didn't eschew everything Texas this New Year's: I made a homemade pecan pie for dessert, since it's my husband's favorite. Of course, I also made a pumpkin pie, since my sister used roughly three cups of salt in the one she brought at Thanksgiving, and I've been craving a pumpkin pie that doesn't taste like a salt lick ever since. (I think she did it on purpose, to get out of pie-duty for future Thanksgivings.)

That was our New Year's Day. I have so much fear and sadness about the coming year (and the three following it), but today it was nice to focus on family and food and friends and just forget about the rest of the world for a little bit.

So raise a glass ...and know that you have my best wishes for a happy new year.


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