Hello, yeah it’s been a while. Not much, how about you?
I abandoned you a few weeks ago. I suck. I know. But I’m back.
In the last month, I’ve turned a year old. And wiser? I’ve worked. Mothered. Read. Slept. Smiled. Wished. Wanted. Seduced. Laughed. Cried. Denied. Delayed. Worried. Reveled. Planned. Purchased. Supported. And moved forward. Not necessarily in that order.
I’ve stood by some friends in crisis and celebrated those expecting big life changes soon. I’ve connected and reconnected with people and priorities. The most important thing that happened over the last three weeks, was that my daughter turned nine.
It’s hard to believe. The one thing on this earth that I care about most. The one who takes me to the edge of my personality and abso-freaking-lutely to my knees – my nine year-old daughter.
Every year, on Zoe’s birthday, I write a letter to my girlfriends. I thank them for their leaning in. I started to do this a few years ago. My marriage was on the downslide and I honestly wouldn’t have been able to make it without my girls. It’s remarkable I depend on them to keep me, me. I also want my daughter to know how important all the people are in our lives, and how it’s ok, it’s expected and accepted, that you will need to lean on people and let people lean on you. It’s the way of the world.
It’s not just the girls that are there for me though. There are men in that mix too. Some really engaging and endurant men. Surprising, smart and supportive with electric life forces. And funny. Did I mention funny?
As an aside, scientists from Stanford University School of Medicine recently published a study that found that women’s brains show greater activity than men’s in reward-related regions in response to humor. The finding is consistent with the idea that women have evolved to appreciate humor, whereas men have evolved to produce humor. According to this view, women use a man’s ability to make them laugh as a way to judge his genetic fitness as a suitable partner and potential father.
But I digress. (This explains the appeal of Justin Long.)
The point is, I am resoundingly thankful for the group of friends I’ve collected. Hopefully I have been a good friend to you as well.
Recently, I gathered with at least a half a dozen girlfriends from high school. We were celebrating a friend’s (first) baby shower. Shocking I know. As I stood there smiling, I thought about how we all had our ups and downs in life. Divorce, death, disease, depression, you name it, and yet we are all here.
All present for each other. All vibrant and gorgeous – and I have photos to prove. I’m not making that up.
We’ve all had a wrecking ball come through our walls (one without Miley). And we’re still here. Better than ever. Even after 30 years of friendship. That doesn’t happen by accident.
I feel like I should be saying “Why don’t you come up and see me sometime…”
Take a minute and appreciate your circle of people. Thank someone you love. Squeeze the bejeezus out of someone special to you. Lick the face of your most delicious object of affection. You know you have one.
Seize the opportunity to make your feelings known – before you let the time pass and you get all England Dan on the situation and say “Hello, yeah, it’s been a while.”
You won’t be sorry.
So, it’s that time of year again. Zoe’s birthday. My darling girl will be 6 years old on Monday. Six years since that day the doctor visited me at 7am and said “so, you’re having a baby today!” A surprise, as she wasn’t due for another 8 wks. And so the family and Gypsy – the ever-present and ever-supportive Gypsy, assembled for the arrival of Zoe Susana Kollaras. Six years ago on Monday, October 11, 2010 at 1:35 pm.
It is hard to believe that this little 4.5 pound girl has thrived and grown into this vibrant, spirited, smart, funny little kitten that she is today. She is thriving in her Kindergarten class, emotive, expressive and ever-filled with enthusiasm. She loves to draw and create with her art. Reading is coming along and her ability to make us laugh is unstoppable. She is the greatest gift, challenge and reward I could have ever imagined. I am a better person because I am her mom.
That said, I am a better person for knowing all of you. My girls, My village. It is you that I have turned to for help, guidance, venting, alibis – all of it. I appreciate the contribution that you all have made to my life and to Zoe’s education into womenhood and friendship. It is invaluable. As you know, I’ve been in progress for the last few years. And as anyone knows who has ever been through something so emotional, I think it’s fair to say that no matter how good a job you’ve done grieving, no matter far you’ve gotten past the pain, there’s a lot of coping before the healing starts. So, the coping is over. The healing has begun and the good news is – I’m back and I’m better than ever. Happy, healing and hopeful. Three things I haven’t been in years. Thank you for your support and never-ending friendship.
Happy Birthday darling girl. I love you more than anyone and anything.
Thank you for being a big part of her life.
In just a few days, my little girl will be seven years old. Yes, seven years ago I met the love of my life. She was born at 1:26 pm and weighed 4.7 pounds, 17 inches long. A mere teacup of a baby. She was ready to appear, seven weeks early. It was a sign of what was to come. A force to be reckoned with.
Over the years this little girl has prospered exponentially. She lights up a room when she enters it. Her smile can fill your heart and empty your wallet, in a flash. She is a thriving, brilliant girl who has only begun her journey in life.
This year has brought big changes in our lives. Zoe has entered first grade and has taken no prisoners with her zest for school. Speaking of school, Zoe is in a new school this year. She’s doing a remarkable job in her first few months of the gifted program at Miami Shores Elementary. She’s reading, writing and computing (far above my level already). Her teachers are outstanding and appreciate Zoe’s enthusiasm (maybe sometimes too much enthusiasm) and quirks. She is maturing intellectually and emotionally. It is painfully clear that my little teeny tiny baby is no longer around.
As her mother, it is bittersweet to watch her grow into this independent being. She’s sassy, well-spoken and sweet. She still wants me to walk her into school, but I have to say, that’s not going to last much longer. Her little hand is getting dangerously close to being as big as mine.
What delights me the most about this girl is her compassion for others. She is genuinely invested in her relationships and her circle of friends has gotten larger and more diverse as she ages. I am proud of that. I hope that she has witnessed my commitment to my friends and vice versa, and in some small way that has influenced her.
I thank you all for taking Zoe into your hearts and families. We are fortunate to have you all in our lives. Your loyalty, generosity, concern and comfort is so appreciated by Zoe Susana and me. Thank you for being in our lives and thank you for watching over Zoe. As parents and friends you can understand that she means more to me that I could ever possibly estimate or communicate. We treasure your friendship.
In my heart I believe that it is most important to know what it is to love and be loved and thanks to you, we do.
Happy Seventh Birthday Zoe Susana, I can’t wait to see what you do next.
It’s that time again. Zoe’s birthday. I say the words but I cannot even believe that this little peanut is eight years old tomorrow. Time doesn’t fly, it speeds by like a Japanese bullet train.
I’ve already poured out my heart, sharing her birth story on my uncommom.com blog, so I’ll spare you the drama of that. I just wanted to take a minute to thank each and every one of you for being a part of our lives. Zoe has known a lot of change in her eight years, heck it started out off track. One constant has been your presence and energy in our world. She knows what it is to be a friend and to be loved, because of you.
Parenthood is challenging. There is nothing more important. That said, single parenthood seems sometimes insurmountable, but I know that you’ve all got my back and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate it. There are no words that appropriately define my gratitude.
I cry every year, on this day. Tears of joy, but tears no less. I spent most of my life thinking that I would never be able to have a child and had written it off for the most part. When I allowed myself to question those thoughts, and got to an endocrinologist who changed my life, I realized that there was so much more in store for me. A firecracker of a girl was waiting for me. For the last eight years, I feel like I have barely taken a breathe. I am in awe of her. I am exhausted by her. She is kinetic and frenzied, thirsting for everything. I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next. For now, I am happy just to be in her world.
Thank you for always being there for us. Thank you for supporting me, teaching me, allowing me to vent/focus/problem solve – helping me be a better mom and person. Thank you for always treating Zoe with love, kindness and patience.
Hug someone you love today – life is too long to live without happiness and too short to miss any opportunities.
It’s that time of year again. Zoe’s birthday. You know what that means. If you don’t, if this is your first time receiving this email, please read on.
I measured Zoe this morning on the door frame, where I have been measuring her growth for the last five years. I took a long look at the markings this morning. Some faded, some written in my handwriting, some in hers and took a deep breath. This is the piece of my house that is the strongest. It is covered with memories and developmental marks dedicated to the most important thing in my life. My girl.
She is growing like a weed. They all are. I went to a volleyball game this weekend for my dear, dear friend Roxanne’s oldest daughter Gianna. She’s 12. She was the first baby in our circle of friends. We all feel like some part of Gianna is ours. A smart and beautiful , kind and generous girl, Gianna is now two inches taller than me. Yes. I see her growing into this amazing human and I see what’s going to happen to Zoe. Right in front of me. I am beside myself with both pride and guarded fear, that my little one is going to be taller and smarter than me any second. I am proud of Gianna and hope that Zoe carries herself the same way, with love, as she nears that phase.
Zoe is swimming a half a mile at a time these days. And playing AC/DC, Rolling Stones, Doors and White Stripes on her guitar. She’s super brilliant too – thriving in her third grade, gifted class. Mostly she likes to sing and dance and act ridiculous, telling jokes and riddles to anyone who will listen. She’s taken to horseback riding, although her access is a little limited. If only we lived in Homestead (words that will never be said again). She is on an honor guard at school, hand selected by the amazing principal, Brenda Swain. She has to get up really early and get to school so she can escort the little ones to class. This gives her an overwhelming sense of pride and responsibility. She owns it. She walks with her head high, and tells so many stories about the little ones and their quirks. “That one was a runner, mom.” She beams. That’s all you can ask for, right?
Over the last year, my daughter has been a source of intense pride and appreciation. She is more mature. She is more world-wise. She is sassier. She is more independent. She’s more everything. I stumble with words (me, right?) to describe to you the awe I feel when she’s around. She’s certainly not perfect, but she’s perfect to me.
You have all helped me, as friends, mothers, professionals, leaders in the community. As role models for both of us. The last four years have had their challenges, but the bottom line is that I’m good, because I know you all have my back. I hope that you know and feel that I have yours.
I do not claim to know everything. In fact, I think I know very little, and learn something every day – from all of you. I want to thank you for that. Your generous friendships to both me and Zoe, are invaluable. I would not be successful without you. Our job as mothers, and women in general, is very dynamic. We have to work twice as hard to get half as much (gratuitous Scandal mention). It’s true. And I’m happy to do it, if it benefits my child. If it makes her empowered and balanced. If it teaches her.
Often times we do this job without a second of thanks. Often times, it’s worse than that. We get the short end of the stick. Well, I’ve got news for you, both ends are short. Parenting is the hardest and most humbling job you will ever have. You know that. But the benefits are remarkable. So I want to take this moment again, to say thank you to all of you. I would not be able to do my job as a mother, without you.
You are the best friends and mentors I could ever ask for. If I don’t always take the time to tell you, I apologize. Your friendship and care is so appreciated. I thank you. A million times.
Happy 9th Birthday to my darling Zoe Susana. You are loved more than you know.