I’ve always been fairly sentimental, but since the arrival of my baby boy I’ve found myself really doubling down on the happy tears. Once a day I’ll look at James or at Daniel and my heart will swell and my eyes will pool and I’ll clear my throat in preparation to give a speech about how much they mean to me, at which point they’ll both kind of look at me like, here she goes again. So you can imagine that Valentine’s Day really did a number on me. James and I made a card for Daniel (look at me already forcing him to craft with his mother!), we baked and frosted sugar cookies, and I read him the poem that Daniel gave me 15 Valentine’s Days ago. I’ve become a caricature of a mom, moved to tears by every little thing, and I can’t help it. It’s one thing to know that the love surrounding you is everything you could ever want or need and it’s another to feel it, you know? I remember in 2015 when Daniel and I got back together, thinking, ohhh right this is what life is for. THIS is the point of all of it. And I remember this peace washing over me—the only word I can use to describe it, like I could die the next day knowing that I’d gotten to experience the best love of any version of my life.
I feel it more and more these days. I feel it when Daniel and I are sitting at the kitchen table, talking after we put James to bed, or when Daniel sits James in the little seat across from him and shakes his hand like he’s walking into a job interview, saying, “Oh hey Jim thanks for coming in today. We looked over your resume and just had a few questions about your job history. It says here…” For some reason it really cracks James up. I feel it when I’m holding James during his naps and he’s just staring at me and I’m staring at him and I say “I love you. I love you. I love you so much.” over and over as if the more I say it the more he’ll feel it. I feel it every time I take out my frustration on Daniel and he responds calmly, lovingly.
I don’t have a point to make here, believe it or not, and that’s probably what’s making you wonder how insufferable I can truly get. I’m on a powerful mix of NyQuil and DayQuil and starting to think that my brain is what’s running out my nose and into the 10 million tissues I’ve used. But if I did have a point, I guess it would be that for the first time in…my whole life maybe?, I have an awareness that all of these small, unremarkable, completely cost-free moments with my husband and son are actually the only truly remarkable moments I’ll ever even consider when I’m on my deathbed. I won’t be regaling my grandkids with tales of my New York Times bestseller or how I lost a bunch of weight and looked pretty good for a period of time, I’ll be telling them how their dad used to poop all over me and laugh. It’s a gift to know this. And I know you know this already, because you, too, have this extraordinary life of completely un-extraordinary moments. These are the good old days. That’s all.
And wow oh my god is anyone still reading? Have your eyes rolled so far back in your head that you can’t even see the screen? I’m sorry! And I understand! I’ll be back next week with something less insufferable.
I’ve made it abundantly clear that I’m easy-breezy, haven’t I? Great. So here’s one more thing I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about: how to best help my children navigate their emotions.
“Every time I stop myself from trying to figure out what made a teenager upset, and focus instead on her right to just be upset, I find that doing so either solves the problem or helps clear the path to dealing with it.
It’s critical to recognize that when we react to psychological distress as though it’s a fire that needs to be put out, we frighten our teenagers and usually make matters worse. Reacting instead with the understanding that emotions usually have their own life cycle — coming as waves that surge and fall — sends adolescents the reassuring message that they aren’t broken; in fact, they’re self-correcting.”
My best friend Sabrina is pregnant, due in a couple of months!, and her mom, Toni, started a blog about grandmotherhood. Is that just the sweetest thing you’ve ever heard? Her posts are so full of love and humor. I can’t wait to see her become a grandma. Check it out: Noni: A Grandmother’s Journey
One of the perks of never going to bed early in middle and high school was staying up late enough to watch Late Night with Conan O’Brien. I love Conan and his style of absurd, awkward, self-deprecating humor. After hearing him on Armchair Expert a couple of months ago, I was happy to discover he now has a podcast: Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend. It’s silly and generally light with lots of great guests, and as usual, Conan never fails to make me laugh out loud.
The Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team, best known for its investigation of the sexual abuse scandal inside the Catholic Church, takes a hard look at the crisis facing football through the lens of Aaron Hernandez’s life and terrible crimes. Did a brain badly damaged by football contribute to Hernandez’s violent behavior? Did he keep secrets about his sexuality that collided with a hyper-masculine football culture? Did elite coaches and teams look the other way as Hernandez was spiraling out of control? Spotlight uncovered new documents, audio, and interviews to go deep into the story of what happened to Aaron Hernandez, and what it means for those of us who cheer on a violent game.
What a profound and moving documentary this is. It’s a fascinating, heart-opening lesson in compassion. (You can watch it on Hulu or rent it on Amazon.)
Based on The New York Times bestseller by Andrew Solomon, Far From the Tree is an intimate, profoundly human look at families raising children society deems “abnormal”: a mother and son determined to show the world that his Down syndrome does not define him; a couple learning to communicate with their bright but nonverbal autistic son; a young woman dealing with what it means to be the only little person in her family; and parents whose deep love for their son persists even after he has committed an unspeakable crime. Tracing their joys, challenges, tragedies, and triumphs, Far From the Tree invites viewers to rethink what it means to be a “normal family.”
Crockpot Chicken Pot Pie Soup
Turkey, Spinach and Hummus Roll Ups with Spiralized Cucumber Noodles
Sheet Pan Shrimp Fajitas
Cashew Basil Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Low-Carb Chicken Parmesan Gnocchi Bake
Herbed Salmon Pita Pockets