Sunday, September 27, 2009

sniffles, coughs and anxiety

I have a healthy child. A robust, razor sharp, hillariously funny, perpetually adorable child. But right now, my cutie pie has a cold. Her nose is leaking, her cough is rumbling in her chest and I imagine she feels pretty lousy. We got through this rainy day in New York, mostly hanging out at home, playing games and puzzles. I cooked in my kitchen while she played in hers- She calls it her "chicken". She was in fairly good spirits, ate most of her food and managed to take a decent nap. In short, she's fine. It's her mother who needs some help. At night, when I put her to sleep, I go in to check several times that she's breathing through that stuffed nose. My mind can spin out in all sorts of directions about what would happen if this little cold turned into something worse. It's not rational, it's pure fear distilled into daily anxiety. I have to push it down, hold it at bay, try to remember the words of my wise therapist who once told me, "try to focus on what IS, not what COULD BE." I try, I really do. I do my best to keep my angel safe and well cared for, but what of the world of things I can't control? I am in close proximity to those who have suffered real loss, real heartbreak, raw tragedy. I don't know how they survived it. I can barely handle the common cold. So I check her again. I make sure she's breathing, then I take a deep breath myself and try to get a good nights sleep.

Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11th x 8

It feels like a lot more than 8 years have passed since the attacks on our city rocked the world. For the families who lost people, I can only imagine how raw this day still feels. It's only 8 years after all. But the rest of the world, the day passed out of horror into history. Without the Bush Administration to connect 9/11 to every action they took, the day has been downgraded to another world event beyond our control.

Last weekend, we took a family trip to Governor's Island by ferry. Me, Jeff, Phee and both Grandparents rode the boat across the water with 9/11 families, firefighters and NYPD officers who were inaugurating the first "Run to Remember" in honor of those lost 8 years ago. They wore t-shirts with pictures of family members killed on planes or in the towers. There were even some little kids who may have been among the 30 babies born fatherless after the attack. It reminded me that this day is still very fresh for so many New Yorkers. Maybe others have moved on from the tragedy, but these people never will.

As for me, I will always remember the emotion of that day and the days that followed. It was because of 9/11 that I decided to pursue my passion to become a writer and novelist full-time. Each year, I try to eek out my savings to last just one more year. Last year on this day, I started a membership at a writing space in Union Square. It was my attempt to be part of a writing community and to find a place to work consistently. In this past year, I did a re-write of my novel, "In the Last Days of Bombay." I spent hours there sending out letters to agents, and writing my blog when I couldn't concentrate on much else. Just before the summer, I finally got an agent for the book. That only took me 7 years! It was a great day for me, with a real feeling of accomplishment at last. Now I have an advocate to sell my work, to help me finally get published. But recently, I decided that the space was too far from home and cost too much. Today would be my last official day there. They told me if I turned in my key, I'd get my $5 deposit back. Tempting as that may be :) I decided to keep the key in hopes that I can rejoin the space one day and perhaps get back there to work on a new novel.

9/11 was a catalyst for me to live my dream and to attempt to become a published author. I'm a little bit further along on that path than I was 8 years ago, but not quite there yet. Our world has changed a lot since then, and yet many things stay the same. We may have a new President, but we're still involved in two wars. People may have rebuilt and resumed their lives, but Ground Zero still remains an open gash on our city's downtown landscape. My heart goes out to those families still grieving, but we are survivors and hopefully, we will all find the strength and fortitude to keep moving forward.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Some days I am a Super Mom

Most of the time, I don't feel particularly super. I am a dedicated Mom who cooks and cleans and bathes and plays with my child every day. I make it to bedtime, then I usually collapse, happy to have just gotten through another day. Phoebe is full of energy and smiles. We do a lot of giggling together these days. She is fun to be around and makes the Mom job that much easier. But any Mom will tell you that it's not easy. It's certainly the hardest job I've ever had. But today, it all got done with flying colors. Today was the day we had to start applying for nursery schools here in Manhattan, a process that anyone who has experienced it will tell you, is it's own theater of the absurd. It was also two-year-old check-up day, complete with blood drawing and vaccinations. I was dreading this day. I didn't sleep much the night before. I just wanted to get through it. With the help of Grammy Mika and cousin Felicia (known to Phoebe as SIta) we got it all done. We worked the phones in the morning like we were trying to get coveted concert tickets. I continued to call throughout the day as I walked in the street and went grocery shopping. Hundreds of redials later, we managed to score applications to all the pre-schools we wanted to try. Then miraculously, the doctors appointment went better than expected. They took us quickly, and though there's no getting around those needles, Phoebe was a champ who was back in good spirits five minutes later. Then home to cook dinner, bath and bedtime. I fell into Jeff's arms as soon as he came home, happy for the supportive hug from my handsome beau. For this one day, I felt like a Super Mom who can leap tall buildings and fly through the air for her child.