Just googled ‘is it safe to use seventh generation dish soap as bubble bath for my kids’, while sitting beside the tub, while they played in the best bubble bath ever.
Blog title borrowed from poet Ted Kooser
The parents at D and Lu’s school are really involved. Like everything, there are two sides to the coin. We are in the classroom at regular intervals, observing our kids, checking in with the teacher, throwing fun parties, going in to read multicultural books with themes like patience and compassion and teamwork. There is another side, though, from which I am recoiling, just two months into the school year. It’s the side where mothers gang up on another mother who is trying to organize something, a window decoration, for example, because she isn’t doing it the way it was done last year. A thread of passive-aggressive emails begins, and they are replying to all, so we’re all witnessing it, and Luis and I are reading them together, on the couch, between episodes of Parenthood, in disbelief. I think about parents encouraging programs like the one with the diverse, themed books, and I wonder how we can teach our kids to be patient, compassionate team players when we are engaging in mean girl behavior. One could argue that our kids aren’t reading the emails, that they’re oblivious to our tiffs. But they aren’t. They will, eventually, overhear us talking to another parent about another parent. They will pick up on unkind tones. They will sense our attitudes towards everything, and they will mimic them. I am thinking a lot these days about being conscious. It’s so valuable to pause, I think—to respond rather than react, and to do so from a place that is in line with the values you hope your kids will embody.
It’s a rainy Wednesday. The house is quiet, even though there’s so much noise. Traffic. Horns. The fish tank filter bubbling away. I just finished a piece about breast cancer—it will be a busy writing month, you know, October, or Pinktober, or Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I am finally focusing on other things after 14 months of intensive treatment, and there was a time that I longed for the day I would grab my certificate of completion and walk away from this ordeal. I didn’t want it to consume me, my writing, my future career choices. I don’t think it will. But I realize that it will be part of all of that. I am a psychotherapist and a writer and a breast cancer survivor; the triangle just makes sense. Besides, breast cancer is everywhere, it seems. My close group of girlfriends met for dinner recently and three of us talked at one end of the table about our breast cancer. Yes. Our. Two of them were diagnosed within a year of me. It’s one of those times when you say If someone had told us ten years ago that we’d be in a restaurant bathroom comparing scars and we laugh because it is funny, sometimes, cancer. I remember when Luis and I were in pre-op before my double mastectomy, and we were laughing about everything. The weird suit that plugged into the wall and blew up like a baloon to keep me warm. The anesthesiologist with whom I cracked jokes about vodka being a clear liquid. My plastic surgeon came in to mark my chest with lines for the temporary implants, and he was surprised and said Wow, you’re really having a good time. We can’t always laugh, of course, but thank god we do when we can. Because breast cancer isn’t going anywhere. Not yet. There’s so much we need to pay attention to before it does: Chemicals in our environment. Drugs that actually cure. So, it’s almost October. I feel quiet and thoughtful and motivated, and I’m also laughing. Always laughing. When I can.
Binge-watching Parenthood on Netflix. So good. Anyone else a fan?
Well isn’t that the truth.
This morning I am meeting, for the first time, with an editor (with whom I’ve been working over the past several months). She also had breast cancer and just wrote a piece about how she has intense anxiety every time she has a follow-up with her oncologist. We all do, because we are afraid of tests and recurrence and death. When I sent her an email to confirm our meeting my phone autocorrected ‘coffee’ to ‘coffins’. I did not review the email before I sent it. So it said ‘I’m confirming our coffins date’.
I did laugh, because I laugh a lot and I think humor is really valuable, especially because I am a deep thinker at risk of taking things too seriously, but she called me out on it and didn’t seem amused.
Good lord, autocorrect! Worst choice ever.
- Me: Did you play on the playground today?
- Luci: Yes, and I got a mosquito bite, look.
- Me: Oh, man!
- Luci: I'm not a man. I'm a little girl.
Is it weird that I just ordered a wheat grass shot and a coffee at the same time?