Having lived a number of years in Japan, I’ve often heard the Japanese phrase ichi-go ichi-e—literally, “one time, one meeting”—described by Japanese and Westerners alike as carpe diem, “seize the day.” Or, if you prefer the pop-culture version, “YOLO.” [Read More…]
When Isaac is five weeks old, my mother dies. She has just turned 65.
My home phone rings while I’m taking a nap with the baby. It awakens me, and I decide to let it ring. When my cell begins to ring next, I realize that it is the hospital trying my second number. The nurse tells me Mom’s oxygen levels are dropping, the end near.
I cry hard for a few minutes. I’m thinking I can’t do this alone. I need help. So I call a friend, and Karen picks us up a short time later.
When we arrive, I see my mother is gasping for breath, and I feel like the little girl I once was, in big trouble. It’s like times she wanted me to fix things that were far beyond my ability to fix. The nurse tells this is what the body does as “part of the process.” She also tells me that Mom can still hear.
I go into her room, holding Isaac. [Read More…]
Dear Reader: We’re so pleased to feature the writing of our own Wendy Sue Noah, on today’s launching of her book, Real Eyes Faith
“Why did this smart vivacious woman stay with such a monster?”
I get this question a lot.
First, there was my interpretation of blind faith that God really wanted me there. Second I had no friends or family in Los Angeles. Finally with each child, I felt more and more stuck.
If I we did not have children, I can say with conviction that I would have left him early in our relationship, like the first three wives.
With each child, I felt more pressure. I would never leave my babies. I couldn’t imagine running away to a shelter with them. In my clouded view, there were no other options. The irony of necessity brought a solution I dismissed. We’ve all experienced a “wake-up call” at some point in our lives. A moment of clarity provides both a call to action and the strength to carry it out. It was time for change. The moment of clarity for me, when I realized with real eyes came from innocence. [Read More…]
We can say without a doubt that intimate friendships have always been important to women. But have you noticed that they’ve become even more so as you face the transitions of children growing up and parents growing older?
Findings from a recent MacArthur Foundation Study indicate that the emotional security and social support that these relationships provide for women have been a survival strategy for them in adversity. In fact, friendship is one of the keys to a long and more satisfying life. [Read More…]
Today, I waved to my daughter riding away on the bus. The silly kind of wave – two arms, as if flagging down a passing ship. We both continued waving until the bus was out of sight. Walking back to my house, I had a lump in my throat. I am sad.
I’m sad for the time which is passing so quickly; sad, too, that I see that my parenting must be working well – my own daughter still longs for me. I did not have that with my own mother. I will continue to try my hardest to fulfill that need, until her hands stop reaching for mine, the arm waves stop and I see her waving to her friends, not me. That time is coming. In fact, it’s just around the corner.
\Writer Kelly Salasin blogged, “There are so many deaths in mothering, beginning at the beginning, and arriving every day after. But equally matched with these deaths are the blessings of a new life – new growth – new possibility.” These words resonate with me. [Read More…]
Devi Sri, the flying Balinese
Goddess of Fertility, with her gold crown,
deep green carved wings unfurled
and reaching upwards,
pale white arms wrapped round
orange and red baby bunting.
She is suspended serenely
like a star in the sky of my bedroom,
as I hang in the space between
forsakenness and motherhood.
I worship her, but do not offer her
jasmine, lotus and incense,
though perhaps I should.
I treasure the fortune from my fortune cookie
“Your fondest dream will come true.”
I savor my mother’s dream of me:
Wearing a red dress, walking,
holding the hand of a little girl.
And then Dana arrives.
Bursting through the gates of impossibility
whooshing through the halls of the unexpected,
from the heavens into my arms.
Judith Lee Herbert has returned to poetry after a successful career in another field. She graduated Cum Laude in English Literature from Columbia University. She has a daughter who is a sophomore in college, and she lives in New York City, with her husband, who writes plays. She had her daughter when she was in her 40s.
When I was in my thirties, I remember some of the forty-year-olds at work talking about getting older. They would talk about how their metabolism had slowed, how their hair was thinning, how youth was wasted on the young. And they would sort of give each other those knowing looks that seemed to say “Hang in there” or “It’ll be alright.” I chalked up this overheard confiding to a kind of bonding over Prufrockian misery.
I’m exhausted. I am sitting here surrounded by birthday presents, picking pieces of Gigglebellies carrot cake out of my hair, feet aching from an afternoon of running around, stomach rumbling because I forgot to eat and two 1 year olds safely tucked away in their cribs. All in all, the first year birthday party was a complete success. The guests enjoyed themselves and we survived. The day wasn’t without its hiccups, but much like this first year, it has ended beautifully.
I honestly think part of my exhaustion this day is the emotional roller coaster I’ve been on these past several weeks remembering the journey that began one year and nine months ago. It was then we learned our surrogate, Jess, was pregnant with our twins. The absolute profoundness of our experiences, since we found out, makes me heady; weepy and excited, melancholy and cheerful – but totally intoxicated in awe and wonder! [Read More…]