Driving with the Top Down

In honor of my mom’s 94th birthday on February 28, I’m dedicating this post to her, mothers, daughters

ocean City NJ, Atlantic OceanI am here again, traveling along the same flat road, watching the tall green maples and oaks turn to scrubby, smaller bush and pine. What is it about my primordial need to return to the ocean – the Atlantic Ocean – every year?

As I breathe in the hot humid New Jersey air, a mixture of dirt, gas, grass, asphalt and salt water, I wonder if it’s just a childhood memory that needs to be rewritten and retold yearly.  After all, as a child . . .

“Why is he traveling so closely behind you?  How fast are you going?” my mother interrupts my slow, careful thoughts. Continue reading

My Mother’s Daughter

Mother's Day, mothers and daughtersGrowing up, I never thought that my mother was a PERSON. She was just this entity called ‘MOM.’

I’m not sure when she became a human being. Probably the first time I found out she was fallible. Sometime in my 20s, after I left university.

mom, Mother's Day, mothers and daughters

Before she was a mom.

Once I began my life as a ‘grown-up’ and she and my dad moved to Oklahoma, of all places, I began to miss her. I was surprised, because we were never particularly close. Continue reading

You Say YES

dogs, golden retrieversThe weather is frightful outside. You have just arrived home from a hard day at work, your feet are freezing, and your brain is fried. You collapse on the big cozy chair in front of the fireplace with a cup of hot tea and pick up a good book. Your dog sits on your feet, puts his head on your knee, and asks with warm, pleading brown eyes, “Please, please, please take me out for a walk.”

You say YES.

You are divorced and have vowed that you will raise your two young children on your own, with no help from awedding kiss man, thank you very much. In fact, you have no intention of dating for quite a while. Your best friend introduces you to a tall, attractive, persistent man (he involves you in hours-long, long-distance phone conversations and acts as if you are extremely fascinating and intelligent). Ten months later, he asks you to marry him… Continue reading

A Wintry Flight of Fancy

I wake my daughter at 7 a.m. and exclaim: “It’s snowing. We have to go for a walk!” I’m spending the weekend with her and her young family, who are hushed into dreams. But I can’t let her sleep and miss this fun.

A best friend would turn over in bed and fall back to sleep. But a daughter rises and brushes her teeth with her eyes closed, puts on her warmest woolens, and trudges out in the air-brushed world of a winter wonderland with her mother.

The air sparkles as the soft snow cascades onto the open land. We find the path that leads to the woods and listen to the crunch of our boots on new-fallen snow atop a hard crust from past storms. I laugh and skip through the white delight; my daughter grimaces and tells me I’m crazy. She’s not awake yet, but I know she’ll appreciate all of this soon.

snow, candy, winter

I stick out my tongue and taste the snow as if it’s candy. She shakes her head in disgust and walks on. I shut my mouth and decide to wait until her soul awakens and she thanks me for this time.

The air rushes through the pine trees that are iced like a wedding cake. The sound of the wind through the branches gives me brain massagea brain massage. I am so happy I think I’ll burst into song until I remember my pledge to keep quiet. But my daughter’s head snaps up, snow sticking to her surprised face.  Muffled hoof beats get louder and louder, until the source of it is upon us. 

“Whitey!” she exclaims. I stare at the two-winged horse in utter astonishment. When my daughter was young, I’d tuck her in bed with stories of a fairy wonderland, where the snow always fell like diamonds, where elves played hopscotch with snow imps, and where Whitey, the snow-white fairy horse, flew with the wind to find little girls to ride on her back.

I look upon this mirage with awe, but my daughter is not fazed. She’s always believed that Whitey exists.white-winged horse

“Ladies,” Whitey says in a soft female tone as she lowers her head, encouraging us both to slip on her back. I hold on to her stiff white mane, while my daughter circles her arms around my waist.

“Imagination is based on reality,” the horse’s feminine voice whispers toward me as we rise into the white polka dot sky. “Imagination is a free ride toward joy.”

I close my eyes and smile as I hear my daughter’s voice ring out: “Yippee!”