Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Twenty four years ago tomorrow, at around four in the afternoon, Courtney dollface was born and I learned the difference between happy and complete.

I had the first of my three or four thousand heart to hearts with Courtney less than twelve hours later when I propped her up against my knees, looked her over as though she was a creature who'd been dropped from the moon, and thanked her. I promised to do my best, and asked God to give us both patience. I wondered if she'd be a little like me. I wondered if, in a couple of decades, we would have anything in common.

For the next twenty-four years, I watched my beautiful girl grow up before my eyes, move away, and become her own woman - smart, wise, funny and kind, with a heart that wraps around those lucky enough to have earned her love. She grew up with my guidance, and sometimes in spite of it. We're not the same people it turns out, but we've both been enriched by the differences between us. We'd run into traffic for each other.

I am stunned by the moments I catch myself seeing my dollface the way the world probably does. Or when I realize the decisive, independent person she is -even as the sight and sound of my daily influence has fallen away with time and geographical separations.

God came through with the patience we needed to go through almost two decades together and still plan lunches together at the Cheesecake Factory like long-lost college roomates. As her next chapter begins - love, career, marriage, children - I will stick my bossy mommy hat in a place where she'll find it if she ever needs to borrow it. I will be enjoying my softer hat which I borrowed from my own mother. It says across the front, in letters only we can see, "mentor."

Now there is a different word to describe the feeling of having any part in launching such a wonderful spirit into the world - and it is joy.

Happy birthday dollface, it is the easiest thing in the world to love you.


Monday, January 4, 2010


I'm grateful up here in the attic. I need to send God a thank-you note.
Grateful, always.
For my children, for my job, for my home and view of the front yard after it's snowed. For my family of parents and siblings who knew me when my teeth were too big for my head. For my husband who found me when I was a Barbie doll but told me I've been more attractive since fifty. For my health and ability to put pen to page. For my cat who would be a butler if he were human, he's so elegant and knowing. For classical music and the people who keep it alive because of how it loosens and deepens my soul. For my co-workers and boss who are the most gracious and earnest people I've met in a long time. For my friends who love me enough to tell me when I'm annoying but will cancel hair appointments if I ask them to come to the doctor with me. For my spirit which is even stronger than the human thigh bone. And for every single day that comes up like a shade.

Beautiful stories take on their life in the light of every day; the rainy, late-for-work ones as much as the bright ones that greet us like a happy child.

I'm grateful. I owe God a thank you note. So in 2010, I will find someone who has turned from the light, and make them see things as I do from the attic.

God willing.