Empty House, Full Mind

Views of life from the empty nest

Archive for the category “empty nest”

INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS – PERIMENOPAUSE

Ah, the joys of getting older.  You know what I mean – the droopy eyelids, the dry skin, the more frequent visits to the hair colorist…and to the bathroom.  And that’s just the beginning.  There are some definite pluses to aging, but they certainly aren’t in regards to our bodies. Of all the things I find bothersome, the thing that causes  me the most distress – even more than not being able to see without my reading glasses – is perimenopause.





Perimenopause sounds sort of innocuous, don’t you think?  It’s almost a pretty word, like periwinkle – the little i in peri, there just to fool you.  Because, truth be told, perimenopause can be a nightmare for some, including me, and by extension my husband, children,family, friends, and pretty much anyone I encounter when those moods and pains and irritations descend on me, taking over my sanity for a few (or many) days each month.


 My husband has come to understand it, bless his heart. He’s learned to live with me – or avoid me, probably – when I’m in the midst of the body snatching that comes each month, sneaking up on me – is this really happening again????  It’s as if someone has stuck a tube inside of me and blown me up like a balloon, then added a vice around my head, then drugged me so that I feel as if I’m dragging 30 pounds of potatoes with me everywhere I go, I’m so tired.     This is way, way worse than pms, which meant a few days of bitchiness and that was about it.



I did a little research today about perimenopause, and I found here a list of symptoms that can occur during this phase of life, which can last a really, really long time for some women.  Seriously?  Haven’t we done enough?  Didn’t we give birth, have c-sections, struggle with birth control? Didn’t we  nurse our babies, turning over our bodies to them for months and months?  Some of us went through hell and back just to get pregnant. And now comes the onset of middle age, and having to deal with the loss of our youth as we grow older.  Do we really need this? Do we deserve this? Come on!


Some of my friends are fortunate, and haven’t really experienced much of the joys of perimenopause.  Others struggle with hot flashes -which so far, I rarely get – extreme fatigue, mood swings, ferocious headaches, and on and on.  We commiserate and help each other through the bad days, and understand completely the need to hide under the covers and not leave the house when things are especially tortuous.  Thank goodness for those women in my life – without them I might have assumed that, once a month or so, I was losing my mind.


Recently, Dr. Oz did a show about perimenopause, and here was the ad for it:



Sort of makes you wonder, doesn’t it?  And what is the rage about…is it about being perimenopausal, or is it about the way it feels, or is it just a general rage at the universe that now, at this point in our lives, we have to deal with THIS.  I didn’t bother to watch the show – it’s not as if I don’t know about this already.


And men complain about losing their hair.  PLEASE!


Pass the chocolate, NOW.

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A MOTHER’S WISH FOR HER DAUGHTER’S DREAMS

We were in Boston for Parent’s Weekend, visiting our daughter Katie, who is a senior this year.  Most seniors don’t have parents visit for Parent’s Weekend – after 3 years in college, it seems kind of silly to be the wide-eyed visitors, which we really weren’t.  But Katie wanted us to meet her friends, some of them sorority sisters, some not – and we wanted to see our little girl, of course…only she’s not a little girl anymore, in any sense of the word. Being on her turf, with her in charge – it made me both proud and sentimental at the same time.  She made all the dinner and brunch reservations, guided us through the streets of Boston, and generally took charge of our visit.  It was a pleasure to let her make all the plans, but oh my gosh, where did my little girl go?


Don’t get me wrong – I’m thrilled to have such a self-sufficient, independent and confident young woman for my daughter.  I just couldn’t help remembering the night we dropped her off at the dorms for her freshman year, after all of the shopping and moving and unpacking was done.  She was such a wreck…scared and crying and all alone, standing in the parking lot of Warren Towers, home to 1800 mostly freshman students, as we drove away.  But as overwhelmed as she was, I was probably more so – saying goodbye to my little girl, leaving her to find her way, to learn to live with a stranger for a roommate, make friends, and become part of the big, urban campus that is Boston University.  But find her way she did, with a few bumps in the road, both large and small – and over the past three years she’s traveled through Europe, spoken at admissions sessions up and down the west coast, joined a sorority, and had 2 successful internships, all while maintaining good grades and (mostly) staying positive, happy and enthusiastic.  I suppose somewhere inside of me I knew she’d be ok when we drove away that night, but still…

Katie and Ana, doing the sorority pic head tilt
The weekend was wonderful.  We met her new friends, had dinner with her roommates, whom we’d known since freshman year, and went to the Founder’s Day ceremony for her sorority, Alpha Epsilon Phi.  Every senior I talked to said she wished she wasn’t graduating, that college is wonderful and the prospects in the real world are kind of terrifying.  It made me feel sad for these girls – young women – all of whom have worked hard in college, all of whom deserve a chance to make something great happen as adults – but with things the way they are in the world today, it’s understandable, though sort of terrible, that they wish they could stay in college forever.  

What will happen to all of these young adults, recent and future graduates, with their expensive educations, student loans, and stars in their eyes?  A few will make it big in their chosen field, but many will struggle to find a place in the world.  Some will continue their education, spending more money, though the job market continues to be sluggish, and salaries and benefits continue to be meager for all but the most in-demand careers.  I hate to even say “when I was in college,” but, when I was in college, jobs were easy to find, careers were long-term, and there was the sense of opportunity, even for me, an English major. Now, it’s nothing short of miraculous to hear of a recent graduate who not only has a job, but is able to fully support him or herself on their salary. So many well-educated young people wind up having to live at home, cobbling together some sort of living out of part time jobs and help from their parents.  I don’t believe that this generation, at least based on my limited knowledge, is entitled and lazy, as so many politicians, bloggers and editorial writers have suggested…in fact, I think they’re extremely motivated, with big dreams and a lot of great experience and enthusiasm.  It’s a shame that the world that awaits them makes it so difficult to hold on to all of that.

Rockport, MA. So beautiful!
The next time we go to Boston, it will be for graduation.  My wish for Katie and her friends is that they all have jobs lined up, or acceptances to grad school, or plans for whatever it is they want to do with the next phase of their lives.  I hope they are able to support themselves, find good friends, marry when they’re ready, have healthy children, live in beautiful homes, and be happy forever.  My wishes are those of a dreamer, but these girls are all filled with dreams themselves – and I hope they all come true.

WHO THE HECK IS THAT???

I look in the mirror each day, and I’m ok with the face that looks back at me, but I believe my eyesight is failing me a bit.  Because when I look at photos of me, I’m fairly terrified by what I see.  It’s not the whole image – I’ve pretty much (sort of ) come to terms with how I look as I head into the home stretch of my forties…fifty is just a few months away.  What shocks me is my eyes, and it’s gotten to the point where I don’t even want to be in pictures anymore – I just want to remember what it was like to have eyelids that didn’t droop and make me look way, way older in photos than I think (hope) I do in person.

Love GAGA

It’s not really fair, the way the camera can catch me at my absolutely most unattractive moments, and then those images get seared into my brain, sending me into a frenzy of feeling old and unattractive.  Because in my mind, and in my heart, I’m not old, not in the least.  I pride myself on seeing things from a youthful perspective – I use my memories of being my kids ages to help me to relate to them and what’s going on in their lives.  I keep up with pop culture and trends in fashion, movies, television, and, to some extent, music – though the last one is a little tough for me – I just don’t get a lot of it – though I think Lady Gaga is a genius and the epitome of youth.  I know a lot of women who seem to have forgotten what it’s like to be young and stupid and curious, and when their kids make mistakes, they seem shocked that they are just like everyone else, fumbling around and trying to figure it out.  You know who I mean, the ones who said, when their kids were in high school, “my son/daughter never drinks/tried pot/lies to me/had sex/does anything remotely wrong.”

I mean, come on.

So I’ve stayed in touch with my younger self, partly because of my kids, partly because of my addiction to People and Us Magazine, Project Runway and Rachel Zoe (LOVE her) but mostly because youth is interesting.  There’s nothing quite as lovely as a 20 year old girl in a pretty dress, nothing quite as touching as a high school senior boy in his tuxedo for prom – it’s the possibilities that being young offers that make youth so fascinating, so appealing, so compelling.  The future is a place filled with new experience, choices, and milestones yet to be experienced.

The smooth skin doesn’t hurt, either.

If you live in LA/OC, go see this – and take your daughter.

But getting back to my eyes.  I’ve pondered the eyelift thing, but to be honest, I’m a little scared – well very scared, actually – because, well, what if I don’t like the way I look when its done?  We went to a great exhibit called “Beauty/CULTure,” and when one of the speakers said just that, it really resonated with me.  Because the truth is, you can’t undo what’s done, and then you’re stuck with eyes that you don’t recognize, which you may or may not like.  Sort of like the mistakes I made when I was growing up – if I could go back and undo them, would I?  It’s tempting, to say the least….there were some mistakes that were pretty big, pretty life-changing, and certainly unfortunate.  But they all led me here, to where I am today, and today is pretty good – so I think I’d have to say no, I wouldn’t change a thing.  And chances are, I’ll never get my eyes done either.  I’ll just try to avoid having my picture taken.

OUR CHILDREN ARE NOT OUR MASTERPIECES

Masterpiece – Van Gogh

I spent the weekend with some of my family, which was, as always, a lot of laughing, a bit of arguing, a lot of eating, and most of all, an abundance of love.  That’s how MY family interacts – quite different from others, similar to some – but uniquely mine.  There is no place better for me to be than with my family if I am in need of an ego boost,  confidence building, or just the feeling of being completely accepted for who I am.  I know that I’m fortunate in that way – but, despite the good parts, there have been some drawbacks to feeling so completely adored by  them all.  It took me a long time to accept, as my mother has described (and as she felt also) that the rest of the world wasn’t going to applaud when I walked into a room.  In fact, most of the world barely noticed – but I realized that’s ok, as long as the people I care about do.

Interestingly enough, my aunt Susan gave me an article to read about how detrimental it can be to children as they grow up when parents try to rescue them from every pain and disappointment that comes their way.  Both of us have had to learn to manage our urge to protect and insulate one of each of our children in a very profound way, for various reasons.  Some of what the article talked about was not relevant to me – for example, I was never one of those parents to rush in and pick up my child when he or she fell – I was pretty good about letting them get up and brush themselves off and continue on their way.  My Achilles heel was always about hurt feelings by other children – and later on teens – experiences I can vividly recall from my childhood, though in reality those episodes were few, both for them and for me, and not so awful.  The fact is, it’s the beginning of learning that the applause won’t always be there, that no one in the world will ever find you as fascinating as your family does (for my children, at least), and that, bottom line, self-confidence and self-worth come from inside of us, through achievements, relationships, and most importantly, moments of self-reflection and strength.

Masterpiece – Michelangelo
Leaving our children alone to develop the skills to be their own best fans is very difficult for many parents.  Every grade in a class, every game of baseball, is another opportunity for our children to feel successful or to feel like they have failed.  But succeeding and failing are important parts of growing up, and allowing them to find their way, as much as we can, without interfering in their internal development, is what makes the best adults.  One of the lines in the article that really made me think was this:  Your child is not your masterpiece.  For parents, that can be the most difficult lesson of all to learn.  We invest so much of our emotional, physical, and psychic energy into raising our children. This can make it hard to let them go and find their unique persona– especially for the type of parent who sees their children as an extension of themselves, to the detriment of everyone involved.

I know my children both, to some degree, expect the world to adore them as much as their family does – for them, it’s inevitable, because this is how we love each other.  But my hope for them is that they are able to find the ability to continue to see themselves in this positive, encouraging light, just by looking inside themselves and having the confidence in their skills, personality, and successes – things that have nothing to do with just walking into a room.

Pretty darn good – Greenthal
There is only one pretty child in the world, and every mother has it.  ~Chinese Proverb

HEY JUDE, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Friday is my mother’s birthday.  We are celebrating by traveling to Atlanta to visit my grandmother, my uncle, and his family.  There are others who will be there too – my brother and his two kids, Katie, and one of my mother’s oldest and dearest friends.  I’m expecting to have a fabulous time.


My mother, Judy, is really something.  I was born when she and my father were 22, and in some ways, we all grew up together.  After raising us, she went back to school and became a Marriage and Family Therapist, and when she and my father divorced, she managed to support herself and stay sane through some very difficult times.  She has had a very successful career, lots of interesting and unique friends, and children and grandchildren who love her and depend on her for a lot of emotional support (and I mean a lot!).  Up until recently, she hadn’t been able to find the right person to share her life with, though she sure did try.  We saw her with some very, shall we say, interesting men.

I can’t tell you how wonderful it’s been to watch my mother fall in love – and that’s what happened over the past year.  Judy met the right man, and that was it.  I have to say, I have never seen her as happy as she is at this point in her life.  And she certainly deserves it – as does her – ahem – boyfriend ( a silly word for a man of a certain age, but there is no alternative) who really is a wonderful guy.  Being with the two of them is so delightful – they are obviously so happy together, and I can see such a difference in Judy – her demeanor, the way she carries herself, and especially the way she looks at her life.  

We have always loved having my mother around, and she’s spent a lot of time with us over the years.  Of course, there have been moments when things were a bit much for me – I’m not a very patient person, and sometimes, Judy needs a lot of patience.  But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become a lot more tolerant of her quirks and unique personality traits, because the truth is, I’ve discovered, we all have issues (do we ever).  It’s just that she’s my mom, so it took longer for me to be tolerant with her than with anyone else.

When we get on the plane tomorrow, me, my brother, his kids, Judy and her wonderful guy, I know she’ll get emotional and gushy and tell us all how happy she is that we’re making the trip with her and it will make me all uncomfortable and squirmy, because that’s so not the way I am- in fact, just writing this is asking for trouble.  But that’s ok, because she’s a great mom, and that’s just the way she is.

Mom and me, 1971
Happy Birthday, Jude! I love you!

I READ, THEREFORE I AM

I have had a lifelong love affair with books and magazines.  I began reading when I was quite young, around 5 years old, and it became my passion, which has never waned.  The excitement of a new book that I’ve been looking forward to is still there for me, and I follow certain authors and wait anxiously for their newest releases.  Some of my favorite writers include Alice Hoffman, John Irving (two of the most memorable characters in fiction – Garp and Owen Meaney), Pat Conroy, Ann Tyler, and Richard Russo, just to name a few.  


I have a fairly narrow scope of books that interest me, which sometimes I try to change up, but it generally doesn’t work.  I never read biographies or autobiographies, except on rare occasion, as I find them a little slow and predictable.  However, I love a good memoir, especially if its funny – David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs come to mind, with their dark humor and families filled with insanity.  Recently I read Tina Fey’s memoir  “Bossypants” and laughed out loud.  My main interest is contemporary fiction, the newer the better.  I love Magical Realism (Garcia Marquez, Alice Hoffman, and the little known Nicholas Christopher) and I also love stories of quirky and odd people (Wally Lamb, Mary Gaitskill).  While I was in college, majoring in English, I read a lot of the classics – John Steinbeck, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Cheever, William Faulkner – and though I enjoyed them, especially Steinbeck, they didn’t really hold my interest the way contemporary fiction does. 


Books are a reliable and available companion, no matter where I am or what I’m doing. As I was growing up, when things got complicated and I moved from school to school far too often, I would turn to my books – and my Archie comic books and Mad Magazines – to keep me company while I waited to feel like I had a place in the world again.  I was never unhappy when I was reading.  I would read in bed, in the car, in the bathtub, at the dinner table, anyplace I could.


My idea of pure torture is to be on a plane with nothing to read.
  


In a good news/bad news way, I read really, really quickly.  Sometimes too quickly – a good book can be finished far too soon, and then I’m ruined for a while for any other books.  The most recent novel  to do that to me was Ann Patchett’s “State of Wonder.”  It took me almost a month to pick up another book.


One of the best things about the empty nest is having long stretches of time to read as much as I want to.  I have to admit, the distractions of the internet and tv can eat into that free time, but still, when I dive into a book, it’s difficult to get me to come up for air.  My kids and Peter all allowed me that escape – even when my kids were toddlers, they would leave me alone when I was reading the LA Times in the morning.  It was actually pretty remarkable.


As I continue to blog, I’ll share some of my favorite books with you from time to time.  If you love to read, like I do, let me know and we can compare notes.  I’m always looking for people to connect with about my passion for a good book!


Recommendations:
The Leftovers by Tom Perrota


The Paris Wife by Paula McLain


Freedom by Jonathan Franzen 


Loving Frank by Nancy Horan


What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty  (reading currently!)

If you click on the link for a particular book or author, it will take you to Amazon.com.

GETTING LUCKY

Lucky me.  Last night, we went to Islands restaurant for dinner with two other couples.  We’ve been there so many times I couldn’t even estimate – it’s close to home, inexpensive, and decent food. While we were sitting in our booth, the manager stood up on a chair and announced that, since the restaurant was celebrating it’s 9th anniversary, everyone in the restaurant at that moment would get all of their food on the house.  Lucky us!  We of course ordered way more than we normally would have- appetizers, salads, desserts…we were all so excited that we had gotten so lucky!  Free dinner?  What a great surprise.


But then, I started to wonder…was this it?  Is this my lucky day?  Does winning this free meal mean I’ve used up my lucky points with the universe?  We debated this a little.  Should we run out and buy lottery tickets, because our luck was on an upswing?  Or did this mean that our luck had peaked, and this was, as Helen Hunt said in her Oscar winning movie, “As good as it gets”?  Does luck come in threes, as one person suggested?  Or are some people just inherently lucky?


I don’t think I’m a particularly lucky person.  I don’t win raffles, or the lotto, and over the years on my trips to Las Vegas I’ve only won big a few times, including $1600 on a Wheel of Fortune slot machine.  I don’t believe in lucky charms, or lucky days, or lucky numbers, though I do have a few superstitions.


But in thinking further about being lucky, I have to believe that, trite as it may sound, we often make our own luck.  Meeting different people, going to new places, connecting with Twitter or Facebook friends, all of those things open us up to new experiences, broaden our perspective, and give us opportunities for good things to happen.  Expanding our worlds is the best way to increase our chances of luck finding us. 


We paid it forward, and left our waitress an absurdly large tip…making it her lucky day too.  That felt really, really good.


Lucky me?  I’d have to say yes.  With family I love, and friends to go to dinner with on a Thursday night, there’s not much more I could ask for.  Knock on wood!

THE ART OF DOING NOTHING

One of my favorite televison shows currently is “The Big C”.  If you have Showtime, and you haven’t watched it yet, you really should.  Laura Linney, Oliver Platt, and the rest of the cast have created such believable, likeable, yet real characters, all of whom are dealing with not only Laura Linney’s character’s cancer, but the troubles in their own lives as well.  It’s well-written, funny, heartbreaking and entertaining all at once.











But this is not about “The Big C,” it’s about something Alan Alda’s character said on Monday night’s show that really stuck with me and made me think about aspects of the empty nest that are the most difficult to figure out.  Alda’s character is Linney’s doctor, and during a dinner at his house, he tells her and her husband about what he loves about Italy, including the Italian philosophy of l’arte di non fare niente, which translated means the art of doing nothing.  As any mother will tell you, this is a nearly impossible task while raising children.  Even when it seems like you’re doing nothing, you’re still thinking about something, whether it’s  a task to be done, an emotion to be felt, or a plan to be made.  It literally never ends.  I always felt, while I was raising my kids, as though each of them were sitting on one of my shoulders all the time – and I say that with all the love in my heart.  Once you become a mother, you are never really alone, even when your children aren’t nearby – they dwell in your mind, whether through memories or current moments or future imaginings.  So to learn the art of doing nothing, to empty your mind and just be quiet,  is a daunting task for anyone, but especially parents.


I love the idea of it – to sit, idly, sip a cup of coffee, stare out the window, maybe doze off – but even when I do those things, my mind continues to be doing something, always.  The closest I can come to the art of doing nothing is to get completely absorbed in a book, which is the best way for me to exit the present and empty my mind of all thoughts – in effect, doing nothing.


How do others do it?  I know many people who find that nothing place in their minds by exercising, and others who have hobbies they are passionate about.  But to sit, and do nothing…this is a foreign concept to most Americans.  Maybe it’s something we should all take the time to try and do, a few minutes each day – maybe nothing is the something we all need.

A COMMUNITY IN MY HEART

A year ago today, there was an accident on a nearby freeway, and a friend of ours was killed.  It was a terrible, terrible thing – he left a wife and two teenage children, a large circle of friends and extended family, all of whom were shocked at his untimely death.  But that story isn’t mine to tell – it belongs to those closest to him.  What I do want to tell you is the way our little community came together to support, help, mourn, and ultimately remember with love this man we lost too soon.


My neighborhood is small.  Though we are part of a very large suburban sprawl, this is a very insular place.  With only one high school in our community, it’s easy to get very involved very quickly, sometimes to a level that can be intrusive or overwhelming.  No matter where you go, if you’ve lived here a while, you’ll run into someone you know – the local fitness center is practically a social club, and grocery shopping can take twice as long as you plan if you run into a few acquaintances. The high school football games are packed every week with parents, alumni, and students.  This is what drew us here 20 years ago, and this is what sometimes makes me want to flee – though I can’t really imagine ever leaving here.  This is home.

While thinking about this day a year ago, I see so clearly a parallel to the tragic events of 9/11,  the anniversary of which we are all thinking about this week.  I remember the strong sense of patriotism and compassion that came to define our country for a time because of the destroyed towers, and how everyone was a little kinder and a lot more emotional for a long while.  The same sort of thing happened here in my community.  This loss, so shocking and unforeseen, had a very similar effect on all of us who know this family, and also many who didn’t, but were touched just the same.

 
When the accident happened, it was as if every person who ever knew this man or his family was compelled to do something…anything.  From bringing home cooked meals to buying dog food, his family was taken care of and comforted  by the closest of friends and distant acquaintances.  I watched it happen and participated in it all with such a sense of gratitude and amazement – all petty differences fell away, and various groups mixed and mingled each evening at the family’s home, offering comfort to each other, to the family, and probably to themselves most of all.  Because what struck us all was, of course, that it could have happened to any of us. Truth is, it’s just luck and good timing that it hasn’t happened to any of us before or since then.


The most touching thing for me was seeing the children’s friends gathering around each of them, as if to form a human wall against the pain they were feeling.  They had all grown up together…most had known each other since kindergarten.  The level of commitment and caring these teenagers showed was beyond anything any of us could have expected, and it was a beautiful thing to witness and, by being around them, be a part of, too.  

 
There have been many times over the years when I’ve wondered if we made the right decision about where to raise our family – sometimes, it seemed as if this little place presented too narrow a view of the world, and other times, when my kids were struggling, it offered little in the way of options as far as friends were concerned – but a year ago today, and for some time after, I knew without a doubt that this community, the people and the sense of closeness and familiarity, were a gift we were fortunate to have been given.  We miss this friend, especially today, but he will always be part of this place, just as those who died on 9/11 remain part of our country’s collective memory, whether we knew them or not.

THE ROCK DRESSED IN ANIMAL PRINT

Let me tell you about one of the great blessings of my life.


I don’t use that word “blessing” lightly.  I’m not a particularly religious person, and so when I say blessing, I mean something incredibly special.  I would never say “bless you” to anyone, except after they’ve sneezed, and that’s only to be polite.


The blessing I refer to is my grandmother, Amy.  That’s what I’ve always called her – Amy.  Legend has it that when I, her first grandchild,  was born, and she was just 48, there were so many other “grands” that were still alive that she became Amy because there were no other names left – but I think it’s really because she was (and still is) such a young spirit.  Last year we sat together and marveled at the fact that, at that moment, she was twice my age.  How many grandmothers and granddaughters get to have that experience?   I am so very lucky, grateful and yes, blessed, that at 97, she is still here, still sharp and witty and smart, still on the other end of the phone when I call her, ready to gossip or chat, just glad to hear my voice. She has always been my rock.

Amy and me – 1962

If I told you she was loving, and kind, and a great cook, and a wonderful seamstress, that would be true – but it would be true of a lot of grandmothers, wouldn’t it. She loves each of her 3 children, their spouses, 6 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren with all of her heart.  What makes Amy a blessing in my life is that we are, and always have been, connected in such a deep way that there’s no real word for our relationship – maybe she’s my grandfriendconfidante?  I don’t know.  She has been there for every major event in my life, from my first real memory (2 years old, sitting between her and my grandfather – Paul – the night my brother was born), to the weeks after the birth of each of my children, when she came and stayed with me, cooking and fretting, sending me off for naps and answering the phone in her distinctive, singsong, “hello!!!”  


  She has a critical eye, but a loving heart – we dress to impress her, all of us, and stand a little taller when she tells us we look beautiful, because she is so beautiful.  Her aesthetic has infused my home in so many ways – there is animal print in every room, and toile on my Bergere chairs, just as she would have chosen for herself.  She was an interior designer with a love of all things French, and her house was always  fascinating to me, filled with unique objects and books to be read, a beautifully lit place I still go to in my mind when I want to remember the feeling of complete happiness.


Recently, when I was feeling confused about to what to do with my life now that my kids have left the nest and my full-time mom job has ended, this is what she told me:


“Enjoy the peace.  Enjoy the stillness.  You’ve earned it.”


And so I have tried to do that, to be in the world as she has always been- appreciating the moment, loving those who are special, and taking it all in with so much interest.  This, I believe, is what has kept her here with us for so long.

Amy – May, 2011

For many years when Amy would come to visit, Peter would dread the day when she would leave, because I would completely fall apart like a little girl, crying and missing her so.  He would look at me, helpless to do anything, but even as I felt sad, and wished she didn’t have to leave, I knew, and still know, how blessed I am to love someone that much.

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