Thursday, May 29, 2014

And so it begins - or ends, as the case may be. I have a niece graduating from high school (and moving from China to college in NYC) and a daughter moving the much shorter distance from middle school to high school.

So I'm thinking about graduation gifts and trying to channel the mind of an 18-year-old (the 14-year-old is easier, since I live with her). What I've come up with are all things a certain 40-something also wouldn't mind having. Isn't that the sign of a good gift - something you'd want for yourself?

Jewelry, of course. I love this navy brass bracelet and its straightforward name, 'Love This Navy Brass Bracelet' from Isabel Harvey.

In case my niece (or yours) is more of a necklace girl, there's this 'I Heart You' necklace, because I do love her, and I'm sure you love your graduate, too. Also from Isabel Harvey.

I'm a pushover for aviators. I particularly like these new top-bar shades from Madewell.

I haven't yet read Congratulations, by the way: Some Thoughts On Kindness, but I'm a George Saunders fan.

David McCullough, Jr., an English teacher at the high school my daughter will attend, gave a graduation speech in 2012 called "You Are Not Special," that was picked up by media outlets around the world. He turned that speech into a book of the same name, and I'd like to both read it and give it as a gift.

Both my daughters have these cameras (like the Polaroids of old), and they love them. My 8th grader often brings hers with her when she stays over at a friend's, and the photos she takes are very fun. I think a freshman in college might like one to help document the year, so I'm putting the Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 camera on the list as well (and adding a box or two of film).

I got into the graduation spirit last night when I read a speech given this month to graduating seniors at the University of Texas at Austin, called '10 Life Lessons From a Navy Seal' about what we all can do to change the world. You can read it here, if you'd like.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

"It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength." ~ Maya Angelou, 1928-2014

(Photo by John Chillingworth on

Bits and pieces

Friday, May 23, 2014

Some favorites from the week:

Going outside for the very first time.

I loved Maine and Commencement, both by J. Courtney Sullivan, so now I'm reading The Engagements, and yes, it's a good one.

Some thoughts on age and beauty.

A nanny's love.

And a reminder that it's never too late to start.

I hope you have a happy and fun long weekend, with lots of down time and good things to eat.

(Photo by Jessie Webster for Smitten Studio.)

Mother's day

Thursday, May 8, 2014

I'm a teary mess every time I watch a P&G "Thank you, Mom" ad, such as this one called "What I See," about a mother who was told her daughter would never walk or talk. "I never saw the things my child couldn't do," the mother says. "I only imaged what she could."

I also am a sucker for any kind of "Life Lessons From Mom" list. There are endless variations as we approach Mother's Day, including "25 Things I've Learned About Being a Daughter in My 50s," "7 Pieces of Unsolicited Advice for New Moms," and "7 Things Mom Taught Me About Living," from The Huffington Post. (Why so many lists of seven? I have no idea.) In any case, I read them all.

Last night, I had my own, very small "what I learned" moment or, like the Oprah column I sometimes used to read, an "aha"moment. My son, Holt, got an invitation to a Bar Mitzvah for this coming Saturday. (This was a last-minute invite because he has just gotten to know this boy from his baseball team, and the original guest list was put together months ago.) He may know a couple of the kids at the party, but most he won't.

To understand this "aha" moment, you should know that I am not a big-party kind of person. I love small get-togethers (my husband likes to joke that I prefer parties of two people or fewer), and I love the kind of socializing that happens spontaneously on the playground, on a driveway, or on a walk with friends. But giant gatherings of people I don't know? Not so much.

After reading the email invitation, I went to find Holt and ask him what he wanted to do. There were a few logistics to figure out, but when that was done, he said, "I'd like to go." And before my "what I learned moment," I had a bad-parenting moment.

I said, "But will you know anyone?"

He said, "I might know a few."

I asked, "Do you at least want to think about it?"

He said, "No, I'd like to go."

And then - at long last - the aha moment kicked in. I realized that a.) he's not me. He doesn't share my dread of big parties full of strangers, and oh, how happy I am he doesn't. B.) Never project (an offshoot of "A," and one of the hardest lessons I've had to learn - over and over again - as a parent). And c.) he's brave, and I could and should be braver, too. I could be more like him, instead of the other way around.

So this is my list. Not seven or 25, just these "Three Things I Learned From My 12-Year-Old," in honor of Mother's Day.

I hope you have a happy one.

Wet Dog, Muddy Boots All rights reserved © Blog Milk Powered by Blogger