Fall always makes me think of my Mom and daffodils. My Mom loved to garden. I got my love of gardening from her. She especially loved to plant bulbs in the fall, before winter set in and the world goes gray and into hibernation. It’s a way to look forward to spring. I love daffodils too, especially large sweeping plantings of them. They are not around for long, but they are the epitome of spring arriving. Sunny and mellow and totally unpretentious, they remind me in that way of my Mom as well. White Flower Farm is an amazing nursery/garden nirvana near where I grew up in Connecticut. They have oodles of bulbs, of all varieties–tulips, crocuses, and daffodils galore. A great thing about good daffodils is that they can self-propagate, so if you plant a few this year, you’ll have more next year and over the years, more and more. (As an aside, east coast daffodil blooms are way better at spreading than on the west coast—I guess you need that cold burst, Spring and daffodils are one of the few east coast things I miss living in California). When I lived in Boston, my Mom and I would go to White Flower Farm and get bulbs this time of year, and now, as a way to remember her, I make a point each fall of sending a bag of bulbs to a friend. I like the idea of sunny fields of daffodils in memory of Mom.
Today is my Dad’s birthday. He would have been 87 today. My Dad would have loved being an Opa. He was unfailingly proud of his kids, but I think always a little disappointed at not having grandkids. My Dad didn’t have an easy life but he also knew he had a very lucky life in many ways. He was born just before WWII and spent the first half of his life in Germany, during a difficult period of history, his family and home destroyed by war and the aftermath. He moved our family to the US when I was five, drawn by a better life in a country he has always admired, and started over again in his early forties. He always said his family, and especially we three kids, were the most important thing he ever did. My Dad believed strongly in social justice, fairness, helping others and lived by a strong moral compass. He instilled that same sense of right and wrong in his kids and I know I owe my own sense of fairness and justice to him. My persistence and stubborn streak I get from him as well. He was headstrong and believed strongly in what he believed in, even in the face of seeming to a little “out there” at times. He was a computer nerd before computer nerds were cool. He was not shy to write letters to the editor protesting whatever the latest world or local injustice might be and what teenage daughter in a small town wants that type of attention. He was not definitely not your typical Dad in many ways, but I couldn’t imagine a better father and I miss him very much. Happy birthday, Daddy. I love you very much!
In May, over Memorial Day weekend, I went to my 25th college reunion at Brown. I must say that I’m not one usually prone to nostalgia and would probably not have decided to go on my own initiative, but two of my resolutions this year were to be more open to adventure and to reconnect with friends. So, when my friend Beth, suggested we go, I was all in. We stayed in the dorms (which shockingly have not changed much in 25 years) and had a great time going to Campus Dance, catching up with old classmates and walking down College Hill in the graduation processional. I had a nice time walking around Providence, happy to see that some of my old haunts were still there. Brown has a really lovely tradition of having the reunion classes walk down the hill in advance of the graduating class, so that all the alumni end of lining the path as the graduating students walk to their graduation ceremonies. You really see a gradient of time along the route, from the class celebrating their 70th year reunion (!) to the current fresh-faced class. I didn’t think we looked so bad for 25 years on! In fact, it’s hard for me to believe its been a quarter century. It feels like just yesterday that we were stepping out into the world, newly minted grads. Sure, I feel older and wiser in some ways (at least on good days), but fundamentally I feel not so different from the person I was back then.
This summer was a busy and eventful one, with vacations, work travel, projects on deck. There’s a lot to write about, so let me start with the most exciting summer event …the arrival of my nephew Otto. My baby brother Philip (even at 40 plus he’s still my baby brother!) is a Dad.It’s been so special to be a part of Philip and Evan’s (his girlfriend) pregnancy journey this past year. And I’ve been eagerly anticipating Otto’s arrival all year. Since I live in California and they live in Connecticut, the logistics of getting there in time for his arrival were not trivial. And Otto didn’t quite stick to the schedule. After three separate trips East and thanks to accrued United miles, it all worked out. Little Otto came into the world June 14th, just after midnight, and I was able to be there and hold him right after he was born. He’s perfect and I’m in love. It meant so much to be there and I want to thank Philip and Evan from the bottom of my heart for that experience. We’ve not had many happy family milestones the last few years but this stood out as a truly happy and blessed day. My Mom and Dad would have been so proud. A lot of people have asked whether it has been hard to watch others bring babies into the world when I am waiting and hoping for my own. To be honest, I wondered about that myself but surprisingly, it has not felt hard at all. Of course, it does make me yearn even more to be a Mom and have a family of my own but not in a way that feels empty or sad. It’s been an amazing experience to become an Auntie and I know it will be even more amazing to be a Mom. And of course, I am so looking forward to Otto having a cousin to grow up with.