"Each of you will have the chance to make your own discovery in the
years to come. And I say “chance” because you won’t have to take it.
There’s no community service requirement in the real world; no one
forcing you to care. You can take your diploma, walk off this stage,
and chase only after the big house and the nice suits and all the other
things that our money culture says you should by. You can choose to
narrow your concerns and live your life in a way that tries to keep
your story separate from America’s.
But I hope you
don’t. Not because you have an obligation to those who are less
fortunate, though you do have that obligation. Not because you have a
debt to all those who helped you get here, though you do have that
It’s because you have an obligation to
yourself. Because our individual salvation depends on collective
salvation. Because thinking only about yourself, fulfilling your
immediate wants and needs, betrays a poverty of ambition. Because it’s
only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that
you realize your true potential and discover the role you’ll play in
writing the next great chapter in America’s story."
right there, that's why Obama has my vote. He makes me want to be a
better person -- a better American, and a better Citizen of the World.
I have two good hands, a strong heart, and an educated mind, and maybe,
just maybe, there's a bigger use for them than I dreamed when I
graduated from Wesleyan over a decade ago -- when, admittedly, all I
thought about was how I was going to pay the rent. It's time to do
more, because I can, and you can, and the Presidency and our government
And this all makes sense to me, because, for years, I've
taught my kids that "can't" is a bad word. They can swear all they
want, but they can't say "can't." Maybe it's time that our government
learned that when it comes to health care, education, poverty, etc.
And if anyone can convince both sides of the aisle of that, it is
Originally titled: "A post by Petunia, with postscript"
(Note: Petunia's school teaches "phonetic spelling" -- and I'm
keeping her story true to form. This story was not a school
assignment; she crafted it during free time.)
are gigondor lizirds. my fafrot is the Apatosurus. the Apatosurus had
a strong tail and a strong hart. so sometime's thay one agyenst meat
eaters. was that dino smart? yes it was! that's yhi it one somtimes
agyenst meat eaters. thay where nice to. thay ate grass and trees.
thay would be kind to pepol to. thay lived on the grownd.
neatly printed story came home on Tuesday, and I shared it with the Guv
on Wednesday evening. The Guv then said what is perhaps the nicest
thing I've ever heard him say: "Sometimes, I just want to tell her to
climb on my back, and just stay there, stay there for the rest of her
And I say that sometimes, one can spend nearly two
decades in love with someone and still find reasons to love that person
just a little bit more. Sometimes, I realize just how lucky, and how
happy, I am with my family. Sometimes I need that reminder.
Originally titled: "Stuck between a Petunia and a Dash"
Petunia is now sick. Here's an excerpt of our pre-bed conversation:
Petunia: "Mama, I'm freezing!"
Mama: "I know, Petunia, it's because you have a fever and the medicine isn't working yet."
Petunia: "Mama, I have chicken pox!"
Mama: "I'm quite certain that you don't have chicken pox, Petunia."
Petunia: "Duck bites! I have duck bites!"
Mama, intrigued: "What are duck bites?"
Petunia: "THESE! (pointing)"
Mama, giggling: "Goose bumps, Petunia, you have goose bumps."
Petunia: "Goose bumps, duck bites, WHATEVER, I just want someone to warm me up!"
with that, we ALL climbed in my big bed -- a feverish Petunia on one
side, a still-fighting-a-cold Dash on the other side, and Mama in the
middle. We've never attempted this before, and I must say that it was
very sweet while it lasted. I never woke up to post last night because
with Petunia asleep on my left shoulder and Dash asleep on my right, I
was quite stuck. Petunia sang Dash to sleep, and they were reaching to
hold each other over me. Since Dash doesn't ever want Petunia near me
or near his sleeping quarters, this was a very special time -- like he
knew she was sick and needed me too.
But, as I said, it didn't
last the night -- as Petunia's fever broke, she started tossing and
turning and talking A LOT in her sleep, waking Dash who demanded FiFi
and cried for Daddy-hold-you. So, at 2:30, I asked Petunia if she
could go back to her bed -- especially because I hadn't yet gotten a
wink of sleep. I expected a fight, but instead? She said, "Thank
goodness, that baby's been keeping me up all night."
Truly, I love the holiday season. I love the feeling of joy in the
air, the smell of real Christmas trees, and the expectation of the New
Year at hand. And I love to shop for that Perfect Gift for my loved
ones and closest friends.
Except for the Guv. Shopping for him is most unpleasant. Why? Read on.
First, he asked for a Garmin Nuvi, which he bought for himself on Black Friday because it was on sale. Then, he said he'd like this golf game.
When it arrived in the mail today -- I hadn't ordered it -- I expected
him to walk in and say "hey, my Christmas present arrived!" at which
point I'd whisk it away and wrap it up for Christmas morning.
Surprise! And then I went to put Dash to bed, and, when I came
downstairs, there was the game, all set up on my den floor. Now, he
says he wants a 100 Grand bar from me and a Snickers from the kids, and
I'm torn on this one. Perhaps that's all I should
give him, as he's pretty much seen to his own "needs." Yet, I know
that "Jesus is the reason for the season" and all, but, darnit, I want
to buy the Guv some presents that he knows nothing about -- and, more
than that, I want them to be things that truly surprise him and that he
loves getting. I want him to get into the spirit of the thing. He
could even make a long wish list on Amazon from which I could select
items... but going out and buying himself all of the good stuff he
wants? That's just not cool.
So now, I'm thinking of doing the
holidays the Guv's way. I'm going shopping tomorrow to buy my own
gifts. When he reads this, he may require medical attention, because
this year he's buying me this and this. SURPRISE!
At 12:17 this morning, Petunia turned seven years old.
night, while I was tucking her into bed, she wanted to hear the story
of her looonnnng birth just one more time. I love how she can't get
enough of hearing about it and wonder when Dash will be old enough to
want to hear his story.
Here's Petunia's: The Guv and I had been
together for ten years (married for three) when Petunia came on the
scene. She was to be born at the start of his second year of graduate
school, due on September 11. Due to mild PIH (high blood pressure
during pregnancy), I went on bedrest Labor Day weekend. Unfortunately,
September 11 came and went without me having my own Labor Day. Shortly
thereafter, my Very Nervous Mother arrived. My 27th birthday,
September 20, came and went as well. On September 22, a routine
doctor's visit showed that I was actually having contractions, but they
were so far apart that she sent me home. One of our friends was
hosting a birthday party a block away. I gave myself permission to
walk over there. I told him that his present was that I might just
have this overdue baby in his apartment. He started boiling water.
the morning of September 23, I woke up still unaware that I was having
contractions. The doc suggested that I come into the hospital so that
she could speed things up with induction drugs, which she slipped into
my arm around 9 am. The Guv and I walked laps around the hospital for
hours. Around noon, my knees buckled when I felt my first contraction,
finally. Petunia was posterior (facing the wrong way), which adds a
lot of pain to the delivery process, so, after five more hours of
unsuccessful and incredibly painful contractions, I opted for an
epidural at 5 pm. No matter how the anesthesiologist adjusted it, it
still only numbed my left side. When I started throwing up from the
pain, the doc suggested a C-section. I told her no, this baby's coming
out the long way, and that she did: I started pushing around 10 pm,
and, after almost two and a half hours, Petunia grudgingly came into
the world at 8 pounds, 7 ounces, 21 3/4 inches long. She smiled at her
dad before being whisked away to the NICU to be deep-suctioned (NOT by
the med student that the Guv had ordered from the room after noticing
that they had the same student ID!). An hour later, she was in my
arms, all big eyes and rosy cheeks just like she is today.
I told Petunia that story last night, I watched her fall asleep, and it
is not so hard to remember her as a small baby. Dash is special too,
of course, but there's something about a first baby that can't be
replaced by others. As she thanked me sweetly this morning for ironing
her special birthday dress, I couldn't help but get down on my knees,
look her straight into the eyes, and thank her for teaching me how to
be a mom. It's been a real pleasure navigating parenthood with such a
sweet little girl by my side.
Why blog? my husband, the Guv, asks. Why not call someone you'd like to get to know better and ask them out for coffee?
sigh. An avid reader of blogs since they were so named, it's high time
I enter the fray. While the Guv prefers to perform for a live
audience, I struggle in the suburbs to find my place among the
alpha-moms. Most days, I wake up wanting to scream "Something is not
right here!" but know that my cries would fall on deaf ears. So, blog
I will, and perhaps a new, invisble audience will help me to make some
sense of this bizarre life.
Here I am. I am Roxane, 34,
SAHM to 7 y.o. Petunia and 2.5 y.o. Dash. We spend our school years in
the NJ suburbs and our summers in the Green Mountains. The Guv spoils
us all rotten, in part to make up for his strenuous work schedule in
private equity land. As for me, I am trying to take up tennis again
and entertaining the idea of returning to outside-the-home work,
preferably something in my field of higher education administration.
will start the second grade this week, no doubt wearing a pink dress
with perfectly coordinated accessories, a big smile, and charisma that
rivals her father's. She is as tall as a 10 year old, smart,
articulate and beautiful. She'll play piano, tap dance, and start
tennis lessons. Teachers and kids alike will love her to pieces.
will start preschool for the first time this week, too, no doubt
wearing the breakfast that he didn't eat all over a shirt with a
picture of Something With Wheels on it, a big smile, and a King Of The
World attitude that rivals his father's. We pray that he lasts at
least a week before expulsion. We have a pool going. Don't worry, he
won't hurt another kid. He'll either a) climb something and remain out
of reach; b) escape and not be found; or c) run, run, run away. He IS
faster than a speeding bullet, underweight, freaky-smart, can out-talk
someone twice his age, and is adorable enough to avoid punishment for
his fiendish acts. We have no idea how teachers and kids will react to
Soon, I will start writing of my mommy-angst, my desire to
find a place somewhere between the alpha- and beta-moms, my inability
to get Mac to sleep or eat, my struggles to find time and place alone
with the Guv, my desire for friends who'd rather go for beers than go
shopping... But tonight, I merely say good night, and thanks for making
space for me in cyberland. I hope it's a nice place to play.