Women Must

Today is International Women’s Day and, not surprisingly, I have a few thoughts.



  1. Women must support one another. That does not mean that they need to agree. Nor must they see eye to eye on politics or breastfeeding or working outside the home or any, any, anything else.  Making the same choices as one another: not a requirement.  Support means being there for her in good and bad, even if it is just to provide the chocolate. Support, don’t judge.  Be kind.  Remember what we teach our children: if you have nothing nice to say, shut the fuck up.
  2. Women must not compare themselves to other women. I know, I know.  I do it all the time.  I am so bad; in fact, that I have been known to ask people “Am I as (fill in the blank) as that stranger in line or “does my (fill in the blank) look like hers?”  Added for clarity: it is usually always a negative question.  File under: things to keep working on.
  3. Women must put themselves in positions where they feel safe, cherished and protected. Men should, too. Life is hard.  Surround yourself with people who make things joyful, crack you up and allow you to be you more often than not.[1]
  4. Women must be comfortable in their own skin. I’m not sure if this is altogether different from #2, but regardless, let’s try to do that, ladies.  I’ve been 5’6” since I was eleven years old, at which time I was considered really tall, as in: way taller than 99% of my classmates. I hated it. I never grew another millimeter since then[2], but still feel the feels of standing in the back row for every single class picture ever and being taller than all the boys and the girls. It didn’t help matters that my first husband was the tallest person in his family…and he was my height. I admit to feeling silly even mentioning it, but we can’ts help how we feels. (Aside: the “I am too tall” complaint has garnered exactly no sympathy from my 5’ tall mother…)
  5. Women must feel good – read: not guilty – when they treat themselves to things. Why?  Because I am 100% certain that they’ve earned it.  Take me, for example.  I never seldom buy anything “fancy” for myself.[3]  That’s not to say I don’t like a few fancy things here and there…I just thought that the only way I deserved to have it was in the form of a gift.  I shattered that illusion last week when I bought myself the one thing I had been jonesing for: an Apple Watch.  And, guess what?  I love love love it.  I stopped dropping hints – I may have instructed the kids to tell Barry that the only thing I want for my birthday is an Apple Watch – and just did it for myself.[4]  I am woman, hear me roar.
  6. Women must have girlfriends. I suppose you will have an easier time with this if you master number 1.  And numbers 2, 3 and 4.  I adore my husband.  He’s wonderful in so many ways and for so many reasons.  However, despite his excellent cooking, cleaning and laundry skills, and the fact that I can tell him anything – including things he really doesn’t want to know – he is still a guy.  I’ve made some great girlfriends in my new community, but I miss many of my old girlfriends.  We were with one another through boyfriends,high school, college, boyfriends, break ups, engagements, weddings, kids, marriages, illnesses, divorces, jobs and deaths.  I only speak for myself in saying that I could never have done all those things without my girlfriends.


So, ladies, celebrate the day with yourself and your girlfriends in the most supportive, non-comparing, safe, comfortable and guilt-free way you can.

p.s. I am pretty certain that International Women’s Day has a broader meaning and hopes for a further reach than my little bullet points, but, well, whatever.

p.p.s. I am going to be spending this evening at a special screening of “Pretty in Pink” with Jess…because nothing says International Women’s Day like a Molly Ringwald flick.

[1] My husband fits that bill.  Better than half the time.

[2] In fact, I think I might be getting to that age when I start shrinking.  Dear lord.

[3] Fancy is important here.  I am pretty darn good about treating myself to manicures, massages and anything available at Marshall’s.  Or TJ Maxx.

[4] Full disclosure: I did not make this empowering decision on my own.  I happen to have a dear friend who, lucky for me, happens to be a therapist.  She made told me to do it.  One of the many never-ending reasons I love her.


Let’s Talk

I have four kids.  I have eleven nieces and nephews.  The youngest of the bunch is 11, the oldest 28.  I’ve also been lucky enough to spend a lot of time with my kids’ friends, from when they were little right through college. My point: I’ve spent some time with kids. My conclusion: Every one of those kids wants and/or needs to talk about what happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day, 2018.  Every. One. Of. Them.

And so do their parents.

And grandparents.

And neighbors.

And friends.

And teachers.  Definitely teachers.

Parkland is no different from the town that I live in: an affluent beach community where the schools are highly ranked and parents, if even subconsciously, enjoy – and share with their children – the fact  illusion that, by virtue of where they live, they have earned an extra layer of protection.  It’s a fair and, in many ways, true assessment.  But that comfortable, incorruptible life has been shattered and talking about it is not only an option, but a responsibility.


Jess, a high school sophomore, shared with me that not only has there been no conversation at school, but student attempts to start a dialogue, or even a monologue, have been shut down.  In fact, during the first Advisory meeting following the massacre – and, let there be no mistaking the fact that it was nothing short of a massacre – the topic on the “long planned” agenda was, and I wish I were making this up, “what makes our high school special?”

Guess what?  Our high school isn’t special.  Despite the prestige of being “highly ranked” and having more amenities than schools in less affluent areas it is just as vulnerable, perhaps more, as any school anywhere.  And the kids know it.  In fact, there is a real case to be made that it is the middle- to upper middle class communities at the greatest danger – due not only to the bubble in which we live, but to the unwillingness and inability to talk about the elephant in the room.  You know…the one with the assault rifle.

With each mass shooting comes a deeper fear, a more intense anger, a greater need to talk and a need to achieve the impossible: understand.  Kids are scared.  Parents are beside themselves.  Grandparents do not recognize this world.  And teachers should all be receiving pay raises and Medals of Honor for what they do.

I subscribe to the thinking that we are not raising children, but raising adults.  When we obstruct communication around things that make us anxious or angry or uncomfortable (the birds and the bees talk, anyone?) we do our children a disservice.  Nothing ever went away because no one talked about it.  It is time to stop protecting these rising adults from the truths of the big, bad world.  Actually, that time arrived about five school shootings ago.

Our children -aka the decision-makers, game-changers and leaders of the future –deserve better.  Talk to your kids, but, more to the point, let them talk to you.


19 Lousy Days

First, a sincere and intense thank you to each and every person who commented, texted, emailed, called, carrier pigeon-ed and smoke signaled me following my last blog.  I cannot begin to tell you how much it meant to me.

After spending the better part of the past few weeks crying, rocking in the corner, sucking my thumb, picking at my face like a teenager, wondering if my hair – with whom I have an absurd love/hate relationship – was going to fall out, and feeling like a tether ball that broke free of its rope, I have some news to report.

Last night I got a call from Dr. Z.  He started out with,

“I have never seen this before and I am still shocked”

This was around the time I realized that whatever he was about to say was either going to be totally horrible or unbelievably fabulous…

”It came back benign!” 

The few still-firing brain synapses that I have started to short circuit;  Had I imagined his having told me it was bladder cancer??  Did I know that this was even a possibility??  (He did.  I didn’t.)  I still need to be followed closely as these little fuckers tend to come back and sometimes when they do, they aren’t so benign any more.  Regardless, allow me to shout a big old PHEW.


With a hearty good riddance to the first 19 days of 2018…let’s all commence to some weekending!

Cancer & Lymph Nodes & Coffee, Oh My

Remember me?  I used to write a blog fairly regularly.

But just as I was feeling some closure (sort of) and relief (sort of) and chance to catch my breath (sort of) my life (once again) became topsy -turvy, off- kilter, askew, curve-balled and all together spastic.  Here’s a quick summary of the past couple of months.

Mid November:

Felt like poop. Went to doc.  Wound up at the ER. Cardio catherization. No major blockages, lots of little tiny ones.

Diagnosis: Microvascular Disease.

Treatment: Drugs.  For the rest of my damn life.

Early December:

Felt like doody with symptoms of yet another urinary tract infection (third in as many months).  Quick test sort of showed UTI, culture really showed blood.  Lots of it.  That’s not good.  Time for a urologist.

Diagnosis: Unclear

Treatment: See diagnosis

Mid December:

Sweet talked my way into an appointment sooner than the end of January.  Scheduled for a CT scan just before appointment.  Met with doc who, prior to doing a cystoscopy, shared an “incidental finding” on the CT scan – a 9 mm nodule just under the spot where, should I still have it, my right breast would be.  Huge WTF moment.

With the cystoscope (see pic below…looks like fun, huh?) he pokes around and utters  “looks okay”…until the very end: three little fronds.


 Diagnosis: Bladder Cancer

Treatment: Surgical removal (snip snip snip) of the fronds (which look like little trees but are actually cancer) and, given what he has seen thus with his handy dandy camera that went places no camera should ever go, that should be the beginning, middle and end of it.  But, will be followed for the rest of my damn life.

But, wait!  Remember that “incidental finding”?  Well, I didn’t.  I called my oncologist’s office and was given an appointment for the middle of January.  Yeah, no, that is not going to work for me.  Like at all.  I emailed the doc directly (love him) and he got me in the following week.  (I showed my appreciation by bringing him and his assistant each a freshly baked batch of my fabulous granola. If you are nice to me, you might be on the receiving end one day.  It’s pretty much the only thing I bake that is consistently outstanding.)  (I’m not much of a cook.) (But I can write.)

I spent most of the day at DFCI first having an ultrasound followed by a three hour wait for my afternoon appointment.  That was fun.  Oh, wait, no it really wasn’t.

Diagnosis: Stupid lymph node. Phew!

Treatment: Big glass of wine to celebrate.  Oh, and some reimaging in three months..just to be sure.



As if all this wasn’t enough and during a time some extra support would have been swell, one woman in the group I wrote about here decided I was no longer welcome: ousted, kicked out, stomped on, exiled, removed.  What began as a minor disagreement -for which I repeatedly owned my role – took on a life of its own.  Proof: one morning, having thought a little spat had found its place in history,  I approached the table and put my coffee down so I could remove my coat.  As I did this, she stood, told me (and by told I mean barked) that I was not allowed to sit there.  Incredulous, I asked her if she was serious. (She was.) Um, what? (I might have asked her if she owned the place…) Of equal upset was the radio silence from the other women.  I like to assume that they were all so dumfounded, horrified and disgusted by what was happening that they lost their ability to speak, but I am not sure that is the case.

This, my friends (my actual true ones, that is) is nothing short of bullying.  I have never been subjected to anything like it.  I have certainly never treated anyone else that way.  And, ironically enough: my initial, and apparently unforgivable, infraction was defending a third woman when the bully-lady went after her about something.  Seriously, that was all I did.  (Note: as this continued to escalate I began to think that I must have done something else, I had to have, right?  Nope…)

Not gonna lie: this stung.  And when it stopped stinging: it infuriated me.  And when the anger stopped: I was still angry.

Shortly after this watershed disagreement, I sent a thoughtful email apologizing for my role in what had gone down.  She waited three days and responded only with a “thanks for your note.”  Um, okay.  However, once she was told of my recent maladies she emailed me expressing her “sincere” (aside: if you have to say you are being sincere perhaps you are not really being all that sincere) concern for my health and I, quite mistakenly, assumed we were officially moving on.

My response:

Thank you.

 As much as I love “The Real Housewives” this whole thing was feeling more and more like a story line dragged on way too long for the sake of ratings. 

 I again apologize for the role I played in all of this and hope that we can do a reset to the way things used to be.

 Wishing you and your family a happy, healthy and drama free year ahead.

 And hers:

I want you to know that I am sincere in my good wishes for you.

 At this point though, I don’t think that we can do a reset and go back to the way things used to be. 

Translation: You are no longer welcome to sit at a table when I am holding court.

Conclusion: Don’t worry…I won’t.

If I have said it once I have said it a billion times: women have to be kind to one another.  We all come to the table (both figuratively and literally) with our own history, fears, vulnerabilities, dreams, insecurities, hopes, opinions, strengths and weaknesses.  Everyone needs and, more perhaps more importantly, deserves to feel supported and safe.  Women who are not kind to one another confuse me.  People who assume and then abuse their perceived power – yeah, don’t get them either.

I thought a lot about whether or not to post, let alone write, about any of this – the medical or the otherwise. I am not looking for sympathy or even empathy…rather I am taking advantage of my audience to remind everyone that you can be a boy, a girl, a dog or a Martian, just don’t be an asshole.



George Who?

Late last week, I changed history.

Although I had been gently messing with it for several years, actually changing history was a way bigger (emotional) deal than I had anticipated.  Ultimately, all it took was a few precisely worded documents, a very specific notary stamp and less than $50 (if you don’t count the retail therapy I might have engaged in) to erase all signs of George R. Ross having ever existed.  First came the legal name change.  Then the social security card.  And, finally, the birth certificate which now reads:

Jessie George Ross[1]



It was six years ago today that my wild, hysterically funny, often impossible to deal with mermaid, Barbie doll and wig-loving little boy tearfully told me, “my whole life I’ve wanted to be a girl.”  And, boom, everything changed.

The social transition was immediate and relatively simple: grow out the hair, buy some new clothes, change pronouns and, oh, yeah, let them know at school.  I was totally on board, tearing up the girls’ department at Target, treating my new daughter (a word it took me years to use) to more than a few haircuts with my hairdresser and even a manicure here and there.  “I got this” I told myself over and over again…often in the middle of the night when I had jolted awake in a panic over what life was going to look like for my kid.  On the daily people would tell me I was awesome.  I wasn’t any more awesome than anyone else would have been.  In fact, I was far more freaked out than I ever let on.

After a few years of what was essentially playing house, Jess pushed (translation: really, really hard) to begin medical intervention.  I just couldn’t get my head around it.  Everything still felt much more surreal than it should have.  While my panicky awakenings had died down a bit, I still cop to not being totally convinced that this was the real deal.  I am not sure if my trepidation was fueled by any dimension of reality, but I was steadfast in my insistence that we revisit things in a few (and then a few more) months.  In fact, it wasn’t until this calendar year that I felt comfortable enough to agree to meet with the gender specialist and see what was what.  And I dragged my heels.  And I freaked out a little.  And I might have cried a few times.  But in the end, we hopped onboard.  It is the happiest I’ve seen Jess since the first time she went to school decked out in pink, purple, orange and green pajamas.

Although school had happily addressed her as “her” and, more specifically, Jessie, I still needed to make it legal.  I’ll tell you the truth: when that name change came through, complete with the state seal, I was entirely certain that I was going to be named Mother of The Year.  Sure, I could change her name (to anything I wanted – Jessie Mermaid of the Sea, perhaps) but it didn’t really mean much other than me kicking the can down the road.  But, out of respect for my own process, I left it at that.

Suddenly and inexplicably, Jess was about to turn 16 and turning 16, if you are my spawn, means getting your driver’s permit at the first possible moment.  And getting your driver’s permit requires three things: passing the test, handing over the cash and, the kicker: a birth certificate.  Damn.  You see, when you change the birth certificate (stop and think about that for a moment…literally changing history) you also have not only the opportunity, but the obligation, to change the gender.  And that’s precisely what I (with medical professional support) did.

(Not gonna lie: it knocked me for a loop.  Fortunately, I was able to collect myself with the aid of a tried and true remedy…a gigantic ice cream sundae.  This is the actual sundae…before I inhaled it. )


This ice cream thing is nothing new:


Last night, I, along with Barry, my ex-husband, Rich, and his girlfriend Maria, as well as Barry’s parents and Maria’s daughter, all went out to dinner.[2]  We had two gifts – one from Rich and me, the other from Rich & Maria and me & Barry.  The first was a framed copy of her new birth certificate.  The second: a silver necklace with her new initials on the front and today’s date on the back.  I would argue that it was the second happiest moment of her life.


Being transgender is not for the faint of heart.  Parenting anyone of any gender is really not for the faint of heart.  I still worry about what life will look like for Jess.  But not that much more than I worry about how it will look for Harrison or my stepsons.  There is a fabulous, outrageous, funny, complex, complicated and exciting world out there and, as long as she remembers that it doesn’t matter if she is a boy, a girl, a dog or a Martian…but never an asshole, everything is going to be just fine.

If anyone can say this, it’s Jess.  Happy birthday, awesome daughter of mine…

[1] Named for my grandpa whom I adored, the name George was wildly important to me.  Jess, because she is a rock star, kept it as her middle name as a thank you to me.  It doesn’t get much better than that!

[2] Divorced friends: once you’ve allowed enough time to let go of the bitter and resentful feelings, if there is any way that you and your ex can do this, please do.  It means the world to the kids.


My Grandmother’s high rise in Hallandale did not have a 13th floor.  Well, it did, but if one were to take the elevator buttons at face value it would seem otherwise.  When choosing your destination floor the buttons went thus: … Continue reading

Have A Heart

Things I have learned in the past week:

  1. Buying an old fashioned hair dryer – as in the kind you sit under – can indeed change your life.
  2. We need to listen to our bodies.
  3. A broken ceramic plate produces just as many shards as a glass bowl does.
  4. It is possible to get a discounted price in a store. (See #1)
  5. Exhaustion, fatigue and chest pains are not always just part of being a woman of a certain age.
  6. The Crockpot was invented in the 40’s by a nice Jewish boy who wanted to observe Shabbat and have a warm dinner the following night.
  7. When your husband insists you go the ER, go. (See #5)
  8. And when three docs tell you that we did the right thing coming in, thank your husband, even if he might be gloating to himself.
  9. Having a father- and sister-in law who are physicians is whatever is better than awesome.
  10. Not being able to use one of your hands in the shower makes it very difficult to wash one’s hair.
  11. Ruling out the biggest scariest things provides equal parts relief and frustration.
  12. My husband is the worst patient ever, but a great caregiver.
  13. He also loves to tear recipes out of magazines and share the yummy ingredient list, even while his wife is not allowed to eat or drink.
  14. My ex-husband has proven again, that he is a better ex-husband than he was a husband.
  15. Even with a normal EKG…
  16. And blood pressure and cholesterol levels that are “within range”…
  17. One can fail a treadmill Stress Test and…
  18. Pass a Cardio Catheterization and…
  19. Yet still be diagnosed with Micro Vascular Disease or possibly
  20. Syndrome X.
  21. Group texts can be annoying AF, but do the trick. Thanks to my core folks for being so responsive (HJR, JGR, JML, DTL, RRL, FRS, PS, SS, MLS, MFKG, AS, KN)
  22. My team of all female doctors and all male nurses – cool, right? – took great care of me. The private room notwithstanding.
  23. Had to include a 23…which is how old Harrison will be at the end of the month!

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

I am fine.  I have no major blockages, but likely some micro ones.

I have IV and Cardio Cath bruises: one on each arm.

I actually feel no different than I have for the past several weeks, but at least I am out of that damned johnny…



I am, for now, anyway, on ❤ meds and baby aspirin.  Special thanks to my father-in-law who has my back and told me exactly what to expect from them…

I am chalking this up to my list of November Distemper:

  • 1983: Middle of the night surgery to remove the ovarian cyst that was so large it was pressing against my back. The incision was from hip to hip and the doctor told me that he made it low enough that I could still wear a bikini.  Oh, those were the days.
  • 1989: Elective but highly necessary foot surgery. Fun Fact: the surgeon I used operated on the great Larry Bird right before me.
  • 2004: The big one: Bi-lateral mastectomy and reconstruction. My family has never eaten as well before or since. (It’ll be 13 years on 11/18)(Please let the fact that it is the 13th year not…never mind.)
  • 2011: See above.

Note: I always hate to think about the recurring shitty Novembers because November, 1994 was the BEST November ever because I became a Mom to Harrison who is a gem of a guy.  In fact, when I called to tell him what was going on he made me promise to take a baby aspirin and never drink a Diet Coke again.  ❤


Ladies: Listen to your body.  I assumed that my symptoms were nothing other than the side effects of life and actually went to the doctor to see if I was anemic or something.

I did not have a ❤ attack…but all signs pointed to it.

❤ issues look very different in women than they do in men.  Don’t think that because the pain isn’t crushing that it doesn’t mean something.

Join me in trying to do something I’ve always sucked at: not sweating the small stuff.  If nothing else, this week reminded me of that.

If you partner insists you go to the ER, go.  (Aside: if you tell the triage nurse about the chest pains, you get taken right away.)

And, yes, as soon as I could get my wrist wet (that is how they got to my ❤ ) I washed my hair, grabbed People Magazine,  sat under my new dryer and took.my.time.

Sad Dog

It was just me and the good folks working at my local Dunkin Donuts during an unusual lull in the morning rush.  My head planted firmly down looking at my phone, I became aware of three adults standing around the table next to me, speaking loudly, initially their words just noise.  I tried not to, but the louder and more animated they became I couldn’t help but overhear the conversation.  Apparently, a kid had somehow messed with one of these men’s kid at school, the details never mentioned.  The father was, with each word, growing increasingly agitated and aggressive about whatever had happened, and said, more than once, “That’s my fucking kid we’re talking about…” his anger and volume steadily rising.

His companions were aggressively agreeing with him, goading him on, encouraging his fury.  As their voices and ire continued to increase, I kept my head down, allowing them whatever privacy they might believe they were owed.  The conversation turned from the offense of the child to his parents who, for what it’s worth, were spoken of with as much distaste as their progeny.  At precisely the moment I happened to look up and to catch his eye, the male friend spit out, “He’s a Jew dog.”

Our eyes locked. Neither one of us looked away.  “Don’t say anything, don’t say anything, don’t say anything” I advised myself as we continued to hold our gaze…yet it slipped out, I couldn’t stop myself: “Did you just call someone a Jew Dog?”

He lit into me.  He asked me why it was my business (because you have loudly and aggressively overtaken the place), what was it to me (I was offended and, frankly, wondering what the expression Jew Dog actually meant) and then, with as much charm and class as your local neighborhood thug, he told me to fuck off.  It all happened so quickly. The looks on the faces of the employees that stood behind him, mouths agape, said it all.  We all knew that this could get ugly and fast.

Seconds later, the three made their way to the exit, but not before leaning into me and issuing a threat: something about coming to my house, “getting” my husband and a long string of expletives, none of which made any sense.  The only thing that was entirely cogent and clear was abject anger.  Rage.  Fury.  All of which, I suspect, had less to do with my inquiring about his word choice and everything to do with the state of our world.

As my coffee buddies began to arrive, I shared what had happened.  Each of them, as had the employees, asked if I was okay.  I was okay insofar as feeling, or not, as the case may be, safe. I was saddened, however, at how quickly and fervently this man lost any semblance of propriety or maturity he might have had.  His anger was rightthere waiting to be unleashed at the slightest provocation.

sad dog

Aren’t we all feeling that way; that at any given moment someone will say or do or think or believe something that is just enough to have us flip our lids?  That we are all thisclose to losing it over something that perhaps has merit, but might just as easily not?

This happened several days ago.  Being a woman-of-a-certain-age, I often forget experiences I had ten minutes, let alone days, ago but this has stayed with me.  There is so much anger out there in the world.

I’ve always tended toward “sad” before “angry”, yet lately, there have been a few instances where I’ve gone to the dark(er) side and felt like the possibility of letting loose on the first poor soul to cross my path was never out of the question.  (Aside: I haven’t.  Yet.) And here’s the thing about anger: it is a terrible way to feel.  My body, breathing and headspace change.  My limited sense of having control is null and void.  It is really bad.  Worse, however, is what it must be like to feel that way allthetime.

I still don’t know what, exactly, a Jew Dog is but I think it is reasonable to assume that the goal was to malign, disparage and insult.  At the time this happened I’ll cop to engaging, in part, for the fight.  But, not seconds later I realized that this seemingly made-up epithet spoke more to a pervasive need to release anger with little care as to who it is directed toward than anything else.

And in the end, it just makes me sad.

Why I Love Facebook

I take a fair amount of crap for being on Facebook perhaps a bit more than some think I should be.



Here’s why I love Facebook:

Allison.  She is far closer in age to my children than to me.  We met at our group interview at TCS and then slogged through training together, working side by side for several years, always having a good time.  She left, then I left, but I’ve had a ringside seat to her engagement, her wedding and the birth of her ridiculously cute son.  And, if that isn’t enough, I am able to continue, as I did when we saw each other daily, to live vicariously through her as she travels the world…most recently to Paris with her boys.  It warms my heart.

Rachel.  It was better than ten years ago when I met Rachel and we bonded over the fact that we’d gone to the same college, albeit about twenty years apart.  We worked on a project together, she the professional, me and my son the volunteers.  Our collaboration has long since ended but I have kept up with her and her decision to have a child, buy a house and start a business all on her own.  So, too, did I share in her excitement when she became pregnant with a little sister for her awesome little girl and then, in one of the most heartbreaking posts I’ve ever read, learned that her Sadie was still.  I think about Rachel all the time and am so happy to see her successfully reinventing her life.

Laurie.  We’ve never met in person, although we consider ourselves to be dear friends.  Through an abundance of mutual friends, she learned of Jess’ story not long after her transition and has been not only an ardent follower of my blog, but of huge support, often providing free psychotherapy first via messenger and eventually by text.  We went through the college application process with our kids, hers to University of Miami, and mine to University of Massachusetts.  When her son lost his life after making the same mistake any kid could make and taking a pill for the thrill, we messaged every single day.  Nothing makes me happier than a photo popping up in my feed with her tremendous smile and spirit, despite a pain I can only begin to imagine.

Dawn.  Again, we’ve never met.  She is the mom of three, one of whom, due to an injury at birth, is a quadriplegic who happens to be, and this is not an exaggeration, the cutest little person on the planet.  Without competition.  She has the most infectious smile, darling personality and soaring spirit EVER.  I often hop over to see if mother and daughter are doing one of their live videos just to brighten my day.

Karen.  My fantastic, wonderful loving and kind oncology nurse who was with me not only through every step of my diagnosis, surgery, recovery and follow up, but we managed to get divorced and re-partnered at the same time.  I am not sure we did much other than share stories (ahhhh, new love!)  during those six month check-ups.  I’ve gotten to watch her and the guy-from-high-school-that-she-didn’t-quite notice-until-a-reunion start to date, move in together and, not long ago, get engaged!  Karen dedicated her life to helping people in some of their darkest days and deserves all the joy she has found.

Kaity and Charles.  I was quite literally the last person at work to know that each other was the boyfriend/girlfriend that the other was so gaga over.  We’ve all moved on, but I saw them get engaged and then married.  Just waiting for the baby announcement!

Nikki, Paige and Brynn.  Who knew that a chance meeting at a McDonald’s would yield a wonderful friendship?  And, if not for Facebook a couple of weeks ago, not only would I not have known that we were day tripping in the same town, but I certainly wouldn’t have had a chance to have dinner with them!  And, Brynn will be enjoying her new iPad thanks to Barry finding her a deal.  Yep, saw she was looking for one on Facebook.

I could go on.  And on.  And on.  (And please don’t take offense if you are not mentioned here…I had to end somewhere! )

We are living in tough times, boys and girls.  We all need love.
We all need support.  We all need to feel connected.

So, next time you want to give me crap about Facebook, I will repeat: whatever.


As a kid, I never felt afraid of anything other than a tremendous clap of thunder or a random unexplained noise in the house or trying something new for the first time or having to tell my parents I had screwed up.  I never feared going to school.  Or the mall. Or the movies.  Or a concert.  Or walking down the street.

Sure, as a well documented pre-worrier, I sometimes became unreasonably anxious before going to school. Or the mall.  Or the movies.  Or a concert.  Or walking down the street…but I was in the minority and could never describe it as fear.


Kids should never know fear.  Kids are supposed to feel and, even more to the point, be safe.  At home.  At school. At the mall. At the movies.  At a concert. Walking down the street.

Only they do not.

Each morning, as I scroll through my phone, catching up on whatever might have happened overnight, I far too often learn of something terrible.  Between natural disasters and political unrest and mass killings; it overwhelms me, seeping into my mood, my sense of self, my comfort in my own skin and the world that my children are growing up in.  My body aches from the assault on our sense of safety. And haunting to me is the fact that as adults we are supposed to not only know how to cope on our own, but it is our job to be the protectors of our kids.

Only we cannot.

There is so much fury in the universe that our children’s daily lives are nearly unrecognizable and certainly incomparable to what ours looked like growing up.  It feels like we are all just one stroke of luck away from horror.   And, as we have learned time and time again: it can happen anytime, anywhere.  We need to make it to stop.

Only we cannot.

Attending a concert will forever be associated with a man who, from what first accounts report, just snapped.  His family has said that learning that the shooter was their brother was akin to “Mars falling to the earth”.  This of a person who –  as it happened, had a significant cache of automatic weapons packed away in his suitcase –  could well have been standing next to you in the elevator heading to his room at Mandalay Bay.   He might even be in the room next to you, but this time his target was the crowd below.  You lucked out this time.  Yep, we are all just one stroke of luck away from terror.


In the aftermath of each successive atrocity, we watch any news program or read any article or listen to any podcast and are told by the experts, professionals and politicians to continue about our daily lives, lest we allow “them” to win.  Or “We need to come together as a country and comfort those who have been victimized.”  “Everyone should write their senator, or attend a rally…hell, plan a rally, all in the name of making it all stop.”

Only it just keeps getting worse.

Perhaps most frightening to me is that all of this terror, destruction, cruelty, horror, distrust and anxiety is not only affecting our kids now, but will shape the rest of their lives.  So many of the simple joys of life have been attacked violently enough to render them unworthy of the risk.  Our world has evolved to the point that going to school or the mall or the movies or a concert or walking down the street could actually mark the end of your, or someone you love’s life.  The world in which we live has become an unwelcome guest that we want to be (not so) gently escorted off the premises.

Only it is not that easy.

Is it an issue of mental illness?  Or gun control? Or politics? Or devastating anger? Or complacency? Or hatred? Or fear of fear?  No one seems to able to answer that question which, in turn, leads to even deeper depths of despair and, yep, fear.

I worry not only about today, but what tomorrow and the next day will bring.  I wish I had a way to make the life my children have ahead of them feel safer, kinder, better.

Only I don’t.