On Identity & Claiming Gifts

A few months ago I attended a women’s conference here in New York City. The theme of the conference was hope. On Saturday, we had the opportunity to attend one of about 20 different breakout sessions offered. One title caught my eye. I wanted to go to it, but felt I didn’t really belong there. I was sure the other women attending would see right through me and label me an imposter immediately. As my eyes wandered to other session titles, I let fear drive my feet away from the room where women were gathering for the session I wanted to attend. Then the emcee walked back on the stage and grabbed the microphone.

“I just want to encourage you for a moment. What is the one session you are too scared to attend?” I froze as my eyes darted back to the scary title. “Would you consider going there today? Don’t let fear or embarrassment hold you back from where you should be.” I was certain she was talking directly to me. I gathered up some confidence, and turned around. My heart raced as I walked back in to the session titled “Hope as an Artist”.

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Anticipating a Son

Can I tell you a secret? I’m kind of scared to have a son. I always thought I would have two daughters. Obviously, there is no reason for this. It wasn’t even a longing, a hope, or a wish; although there is some comfort in being a “girl mom” that would bring a bit of familiarity to having two children of the same gender. Mostly though, it was just a thought that cemented itself more and more firmly in my mind over the past four years raising a daughter until I started to envision a future with two little girls in tow. I didn’t really believe that first ultrasound picture that clearly (at least to Brett – I still think all ultrasound pictures look like creepy aliens) showed that a boy was growing in my womb, not a girl as I had thought.

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Everyone in our family voted on Tuesday, even my three-year-old daughter. She, along with her classmates, voted for cupcakes. Chocolate or vanilla.  Since she is my daughter and was therefore born with a constant craving for chocolate, she was confident in her vote and that the outcome would result in eating a delicious, chocolaty cupcake with her classmates on Wednesday afternoon. I didn’t do much to prepare her for the unexpected outcome of vanilla being the winner. She was giddy and energized when I dropped her off, ready to let her voice be heard.

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How Do I Respond?

Last week I was having a discussion with some women about how to balance being informed about current events without being consumed by them. Most of the women in this group are not yet mothers, and they asked me and the only other mom (who is currently in that blissful exhausting newborn whirlwind) if our perspective has changed since becoming mothers.  “Definitely,” I answered. Watching or reading the news can be paralyzing when your child is sleeping or playing in the next room. I don’t remember weeping at the news quite as much before donning this “mom” title.

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Dear Norah

Dear Norah,

You started preschool this week.  Which is weird because I feel like I just found out I was pregnant with you like a month ago.  I don’t know what your vision of preschool has been, but it’s one of only two consistent things you have asked for over the past year.  (The other being a pony tail.  I’m sorry, sweetie.  If I could make your hair grow any faster, I would.  But that gift is just coming slowly, which I think is a gift to me.  I need to learn how to do hair before you have enough to do.)

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