How do you carry your heart of gold? Are there some mornings where its sheer weight makes it hard to rise? Does it push and pull other organs, throwing its weight around? Does it flow blood the same, push beats the same, feel love the same?
How do you bear a heart of gold? Does each slight cut deeper, each hurt sting sharper? When you give so openly what do you have left for yourself?
How do you feel with your heart of gold? Does each hug feel warmer? Do the kind words, acts of grace, thoughtful gestures fill you up fuller? Do you carry love deeper?
I may not know how it feels for you but I know how it feels for us.
Today is day 72 of quarantine, today is also Penny’s 11th birthday. In an average year this date could have fallen on a school day for her and a work day for me, a chaotic day of commitments squeezing in celebrations where we can. But instead it’s day 72 of quarantine, of social-distancing, of distance learning, of work from home. Her morning started with our usual birthday breakfast tradition but instead of rushing out the door she was surprised with a “Happy 11th Birthday Penny!!” chalk art message thoughtfully and beautifully decorating our front side walk, with homemade doughnuts dropped off with homemade cards and a lot of love, with texts, messages and videos as they streamed in from friends near and far, and a socially-distanced ice cream break which turned into a water gun fight (OK, the six feet distance may not have been enforced the whole time). So on her 11th birthday, the 72nd day of quarantine, of social-distancing and isolation, she felt streamers full of love, coming from every which way, tumbling down on her.
I color you pink, like our cheeks after we’ve been running, jumping, laughing
I color you blue, like the sunny skies that seem to surround us whenever we’re together, what I see in your eyes
I color you green, like the grass in Central Park, in our backyards, in the parks we’ve played
I color you orange, orange you glad I didn’t say banana?
I color you turquoise and purple and silver and glitter, like the unicorns and princess dresses and slime we’ve loved over the years
I color you with my big, broad brush of friendship
Layer upon layer, year after year our mural is a reckless, silly, beautiful mess
You and I the only ones knowing the brick that lies beneath
Christmas is a magical and exhausting time. The endless to-do lists, the shopping, the wrapping, the celebrations, the traditions, all of them taking more time than you have. Then there is Christmas morning. And you see their faces, you feel their joy and you hear them repeat over and over “This is the best Christmas ever!”
Our first born, bearer of our many firsts, now our first teenager. Too cool for school, beyond his years, no. His height might confuse many but he’s still just a silly kid inside.
This was the moment I held you for the first time. After hours of labor, some small panics and too many doctors you were measured, cleaned and swaddled and placed into my arms. You were crying so I sang “Dream A Little Dream of Me”, a song I had been singing to you in utero. You instantly calmed down and tried to open your eyes to see me. This was the moment.
Lucas took his first hip hop class during a summer camp when he was 5. He was hooked. He started dancing competitively at 10. And by competitively I mean a whole lot of rehearsal, a whole lot of practice, a whole lot of time and seemingly very little performance. To be honest I didn’t really get it. Dance was expensive, required long hours and while he was having fun I questioned the whole dance racket. He had the opportunity to attend conventions and competitions that exposed him to world-renowned choreographers and different styles of dance but I wondered how much he was getting out of all of it, did he love dance or just love hanging with his friends?
Lucas performing in his first season, age 10
If I lived in a gingerbread house every day would be sugar-coated, the smell of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger would waft through the house filling my soul and satisfying my taste buds and my neighbors would all have impeccable taste creating a healthy competition in seasonal landscaping. Each night when I would sleep the skies would fill with gum drops and each morning when I would wake fresh snow would fall. I would believe that everything is possible, that dreams come true and all mankind is inherently good because I live in a gingerbread house, after all.