Another year is hurtling to a close, and I find myself pausing to look back. This year has seen the birth of our second daughter, the looming reality of passings of those dear to us, and losses that have already seared exquisite scars.
My mind reels as I explore this new capacity for joy and pain as a parent. I am realizing with each milestone my daughters experience, the day is drawing closer that I will turn and face milestones of another kind. My immersion into this beautiful family I have created has led to a natural distancing from everything and everyone else. It is not that I don’t think of them, because I do. And it’s not that I don’t love them, for I do today more than ever before. I cannot explain what happened the day I gave birth, but everything about how I look at the world and respond to it has shifted, fallen into its rightful place. Looking back to an entry I wrote in August of last year I can see that my favorite things have not changed much except to include our wonderful new daughter to this affair of the heart. The entry was inspired by my grandfather, who I am blessed to say is still here, and who has embraced and encouraged my surrendering to the desire to live and breathe my role as mom and wife.

A Few of My Favorite Things
August 2005

I love it when my grandfather turns me on to an author or a song. We’ll be in the middle of an ordinary conversation about very ordinary things and he will quote some little snippet from a poem or song.

“That’s Robert Louis Stevenson, I think.”

“Do you know Oscar Hammerstein? Great lyrics.”

A few weeks back we were talking and I was sharing a story about having something remind me of his visit after Briar’s birth. How I was feeling him in the house all over again.

“These foolish things, “ he said.

“Huh?” I mouthed. Did I sound silly?

“These foolish things. Oh, how the ghost of you clings. It’s a song. Very good. Do you know it?”

I didn’t. But I knew I would seek it out. What I wouldn’t give to have my grandfather’s gift for language! Luckily I have him. I am posting the song lyrics, then I’ll write some of my favorite things, though I am no Hammerstein.

A cigarette that bears a lipstick’s traces,
An airline ticket to romantic places,
And still my heart has wings…
These foolish things remind me of you.

A tinkling piano in the next apartment,
Those stumbling words that told you what my heart meant,
A fairground’s painted swings…
These foolish things remind me of you.

You came, you saw,
You conquered me.
When you did that to me,
I knew somehow this had to be.

The winds of march that made my heart a dancer,
A telephone that rings,
And who’s to answer?
Oh, how the ghost of you clings…
These foolish things remind me of you.

The first daffodil and long excited cables,
And candle lights on little corner tables,
And still my heart has wings…
These foolish things remind me of you.

The park at evening when the bell has sounded,
The ‘ile-de-france’ with all the gulls around it,
The beauty that is spring’s…
These foolish things remind me of you.

How strange, how sweet
To find you still,
These things are dear to me,
They seem to bring you near to me.

The sigh of midnight trains in empty stations,
Silk stockings tossed aside, dance invitations.
Oh, how the ghost of you clings!
These foolish things remind me of you…

These foolish things remind me of you.

Just a few of my favorite things-

The face my daughter makes when I swab her ears after a bath –
she becomes totally still, places one hand over mine, opens her mouth ever so much, stares straight ahead and a smile flirts with her face.

The feeling of Briar’s hand tracing circles on my skin as she nurses.

The smell of her breath.

Fresh sheets.

Coffee I didn’t make.

Briar’s laugh.

The smell of the skin on Sean’s forehead.

That first moment at the airport.

The smack of a softball hitting the inside of a mitt.

Making Sean laugh.


Running till it hurts.

Laughing till it hurts.

Making my grandpa laugh.

A Few of My Favorite Things
December 2006

Standing in the hallway seeing my daughters sleeping.

The etchings their births have left on my body.

Hearing Briar sing Pretty Little Blue Bird.

Avery’s throaty laugh as I rub her feet.

The coolness of Avery’s chin against my face.

Create World Peace tea with Sean.

Listening to Sean do bedtime.

Running with Sean.

My family.