I am writing this from a little table in the Seattle airport after four (almost five!) days away from Nick and Daisy. This is the longest I’ve ever been apart from my girl and it has been so difficult. I don’t know how working mothers traveled without cell phones and FaceTime technology – I would’ve been a distracted, emotional basketcase in every meeting if I couldn’t see her face, talk and sing to her and watch videos on my cell phone on a loop. I am so grateful to modern technology and to my amazing in-laws, whose praises I cannot sing enough, and who have been in Philadelphia all week taking care of Daisy (and Nick) while I’ve been gone. My wonderful mother-in-law, Julie Anne, is so good about sending me daily photos, videos and little anecdotes about what she’s doing (this week it’s been sitting up, pattycake and having a glee attack while watching the local news).
While time apart from my family can be difficult, I feel fortunate to have the opportunities that I do in business - opportunities which didn’t exist for women, especially mothers, even twenty or thirty years ago. I love to travel and I am enjoying this very exciting time in my career, but when I am away from home, I am reminded just how lucky I am to have a life so rich and wonderful to come back to.
I want to use this platform today to talk a little bit about gratitude and putting gratitude into action. I have learned that it is one thing to recognize how lucky you are and quite another to use your gifts, good fortune and TIME to help others who have not been blessed with such a generous hand. I strongly believe that gratitude and action must go hand-in-hand and that the more we do for others, the happier we are.
As taboo as it is to talk about, the fellowship of AA has been instrumental in my life this year and a half and I believe the principles that form the 12 steps can be valuable to all of us, not just those of us in recovery. Certainly, no one sets out in life with the goal of someday qualifying themselves as a “member of AA” or a “recovering alcoholic” but I am very proud to say that I am in recovery and am active in AA because it means that I am in a constant state of gratitude and action. I have learned in the rooms of AA just how lucky I am, and, how important it is for me to share the message of hope with others by sponsoring other women who are trying to make their lives better.
I recently started working with a new sponsee who has lived through more horrific tragedies than any one person should ever endure. Despite the blow after blow she has been dealt, she has a kind heart and is so desperate to get well and have a second chance at life. At the end of working together, she hugs me so tightly and I walk away from the recovery house where she lives feeling on top of the world because I know I'm giving her hope. The neighborhood where she is staying is a rough one and it’s about thirty minutes away from my house. It’s not the most convenient place to get to and not necessarily a neighborhood where I would choose to spend my time, but, it is important for me to be there. Putting my gratitude into real action isn’t going to be easy, convenient or comfortable. It isn’t about me and what works for me. It’s about going out of my way for someone else. And it feels good.
This holiday season, think about how you can help someone else and put your gratitude into action– even (or especially!) if it isn’t convenient or comfortable. I promise, it's the best therapy there is. I never feel better than I do after I've spent time working to help someone else!
Updates On Daisy
Daisy gets juicier and more spirited every day now, it seems. She can now hoist herself up into a sitting position and can keep herself up for the most part. Her head is still a bit big and heavy for the rest of her body to support so sometimes it wins out and she topples over. It never seems to phase her – she is just as smiley and happy laying sideways with her head stuck in the couch crease than she is anywhere else.
We are working very hard on her physical strength with PT and OT every week. She hasn’t figured out too much about crawling yet. She is, seemingly, motivated to get places but for now, she lays on her belly and flails her arms and legs with great dissatisfaction.
She has started really laughing but she is very selective with her laughs – she really makes us work for each one. If you could all see the things we do to get a rise out of her… The jumping, the dancing, the singing, the noise-making… But we live for that little chuckle. Especially when it’s continuous - there is nothing better in the world than making your baby burst into hysterical, uncontrollable giggles.
We invited my family to Philadelphia for Thanksgiving this year and my brother and Dad chose to join us. It was a nice, low-key holiday followed by a weekend in New York City, a treat from my Dad. We ate at the best restaurants, stayed in exciting Times Square, shopped and ate at the most amazing restaurants. It was so much fun to watch our little girl take in the bright lights, big buildings and crazy sounds of the city. She fought sleep with all her might – as if she knew she was somewhere special and didn’t want to miss a thing. She was only unhappy when we were in a taxi stuck at a red light – she seemed to love zooming around at breakneck speed, which is funny, because I loved being in a Big Apple cab as a little girl.
During Thanksgiving and in New York we gave Daisy little tastes of all the foods we were eating and she loved everything. She has already proven to be such an adventurous and tolerant eater – Nick and I are so thrilled with this. We really want to raise our kids to be foodies like we are, willing to try anything and always ordering the weirdest thing on the menu.
The following weekend, we went to our favorite place, Linvilla Orchards, to pick out our first Christmas tree with Miss Daisy. She, of course, had no idea what was going on, but I took a thousand photos and was on top of the world. This weekend we will decorate the tree as a family for the first time and I pretty much can’t think of anything better. Experiencing all of my favorite things for the first time with Daisy is such a joy. She is such a happy kid, it makes absolutely everything better and more fun.
We have recently gotten into a routine of taking baths together in our master soaking tub and Daisy is without a doubt a water like her mom. I grew up spending every day of the summer at the beach and 90% of the day in the water so I can’t wait to teach Daisy how to bodysurf and boogie board and swim. Daisy splashes in the water with a giant smile on her face and doesn’t seem the least bit afraid of getting water in her eyes (or mouth – she’s always trying to eat the water, which we try to prevent ;).
That is all for now – my flight is boarding and I cannot get home fast enough. Hope everyone reading this is happy and healthy – we love you all so much and look forward to seeing as many of you as possible around the holidays!
Lots of love,