Danny made me cry again

I called my father, Danny, last week to wish him happy birthday. He made me cry.

He was pleasant and somewhat engaging on the phone. Often he’s abrupt and clearly has no interest in speaking with me. I get that. It sucks, but I get it. His life is awful, and he’s understandably depressed. He’s only (now) 75 and mostly paralyzed and living in a nursing home. Who wouldn’t be depressed?

Those phone calls usually make me cry as well. This was different.

After a few minutes of decent conversation (yes, I know my expectations are low), he asked me “Are you okay?” That made me cry.

A few years ago I dealt with some health issues that made it nearly impossible for me to visit him. He’s (conveniently) about an hour’s drive away from me – it made sense at the time to put him halfway between PA and NYC. If I could, I’d move him now.

I couldn’t make the hour drive for quite some time, and every now and then I again don’t feel comfortable making it. And I guess I hadn’t been to see him in a bit (I’ve been very busy – have I mentioned […]

Thank you Ms. Freeman wherever you are

My teacher in fifth and sixth grade was Ms. Phyllis Freeman.

I think she was the first person to teach me to use Ms. She created a new grade for me, A-WD – “A With Distinction” because I’d gotten too many A++s. Whenever we asked if we could borrow her tape to fix our papers in class, she’d give us the tape, and then she’d come back to us ten minutes later to ask us for the tape back, because we’d asked to “borrow” it. She taught us modal verbs using the phrase, “I can, I may, I will, I shall, I must love my teacher.

I loved my teacher.

And I think she loved me.

Then when I was in sixth grade, and my life imploded, she somehow figured out, and she went out of her way to protect me and to actively love me more.

I don’t remember how or when I began to call her “Mom” (not around any of the other kids, of course), but I did. I don’t know if she knew, or how she might have known, that my mother had left us, but she stepped in to be my mom. She gave me […]

Be okay with exactly where you are

Okay, so maybe I’m just repeating the wisdom my yoga instructors share in our classes, but I figure if they touch, inspire, and help me, they might be useful to others as well. So here we go….

“Be okay with exactly where you are.”

Now, clearly, the instructor was referring to our yoga practice, and poses. Because in a world (and a class) full of over-achievers and over-doers, I humbly believe that we can never have too many reminders. Okay, so I can never have too many reminders. Each time they pause me and center me. And ground me.

Be okay with exactly where you are. Be okay with exactly where you are.

I caught the “not enough” bug at a young age. I know I say that all the time here, but it’s true. I caught it well, and I caught it hard.

I lovingly put the “not enough” bug away each time it kicks back in. The shame washes over me, and I breathe. My stomach clenches, or my heart tightens, and I breathe. I remember that it’s exactly okay – I’m exactly okay – where I am.

I know my yoga instructor was referring to our yoga […]