Turning 15 During a Pandemic

Erin, on your 15th birthday, I think I can accurately say that I’ve spent more time with you in the last year than any other time in your life. For me, it has been great! For you, maybe not so much, especially when my voice carries from the living room (which is my new home office) to your bedroom. But let me tell you why it has been so amazing to have this (hopefully) once in a lifetime opportunity of forced togetherness. First and foremost, I’ve been able to see up close how well you handle adversity. You are a matter-of-fact, no-nonsense type of person who adapts to disappointments and hardships with equal parts can-do attitude and sense of humor.

Take for example your 8th grade graduation. Like millions of other kids, an in-person graduation was replaced with a virtual one. Like the good sport that you are, you placated me while I took photos of you in your graduation gown in front of the school (even though you never stepped foot in there after March 13th) and in front of our lawn sign. I will admit it was a bit odd to watch your graduation ceremony from home on YouTube, but alas, here we were in 2020. We all know how hard you work for your stellar grades, but what we didn’t know was you’d be named Salutatorian of your class. Now I’m not normally one to brag about my kids’ accomplishments, but in this case, it feels worth bragging about, especially in light of your final trimester of middle school spent distant learning.

Of course, because of the dumpster fire that was 2020, you started high school at home. To date, you still haven’t walked the halls of your school as a student. The closest you came was taking photos for your student I.D. But being the kid that you are, you’ve attacked the start of your high school career with diligence and rigor. I’ve never had to wake you up for any of your online classes, but perhaps I should have double checked on you during finals. Midway through finals week you came running out of your room in a panic, asking what time it was. It turned out, you overslept and missed the start of your geometry final. I think you joined the class 15 minutes late, but still managed to finish taking your test with plenty of time to spare. Yep, that’s how you roll, kiddo. Panic may have been your first emotion, but it was quickly replaced by a steely resolve to get the job done. Is it too much for me to say you ended up with an A in geometry? Too bad. With so little to brag about this year, I think every accomplishment is worth celebrating.

With so much time on your hands this last 10 1/2 months, you’ve found ways to occupy yourself, be it skateboarding most days during the summer or refining your charcuterie board skills. To that end, our entire family is grateful. Who knew you’d become determined to make the perfect river of cured meats? Certainly not I, but this has not only surprised and delighted me, but also shown me your creative side.

I’ve also got to say that I’ve loved how close you’ve become with your sisters. I know you pretty much had no choice, but it truly was music to my ears hearing you and your sisters laugh as only sisters can while sitting in the back yard with your feet up on the edge of the fire pit eating s’mores. When you look back on this time, I do hope you’ll remember the bonds you formed with Olivia and Carrie. Now I know it’s not all sunshine and roses, there’s been plenty of fights and eye rolls, and shouts of shut-up (or worse), but for the most part our house has remained relatively peaceful.

Since soccer games and tournaments got cancelled for the year, you and Carrie spent hours and hours making all sorts of embroidery bracelets and a TikTok account called knotsbycarrie to highlight all of your hard work.

I know this is not the year any of us could have imagined or wished for, but you, my favorite middle child, have made it a little easier to bear. Happy Birthday! I love you!



A quarantine-style 12th birthday

Happy 12th Birthday, Carrie!

I know this isn’t the way you envisioned the end of your 11th year; spending just about every waking moment with me, your Dad and sisters. Lucky you! I also know the last 5 weeks of sheltering-in-place have not been easy, but just like everything else you do, you have persevered and even shined. You and Erin have found ingenious ways to entertain yourselves, whether you two are skateboarding on the nearly empty streets of Redwood City, doing chalk art, or working on solo projects like Bertha.

Modeling Bertha

For those who don’t know who or what Bertha is, let me explain. Bertha is a beautiful hand knitted blanket you began working on early in the quarantine. Being the perfectionist that you are, you didn’t like your first version of it, or even the second, but like the saying goes, the third time is the charm. I must admit, it is lovely, even if it sheds more than our old dog, Mac.

Maybe I should have relented and let you get the faux fur coat you modeled during one of our excursions to Nordstrom Rack (well before COVID-19).

But I digress… back to you and celebrating the cool and quirky self that you are. 🙂

One of the totally cool things that I love about you is that once you set your mind to doing something, you do it, no matter what. Take the great COVID-19 puzzle challenge. You singlehandedly completed a 1000 piece superhero puzzle, easily defeating me by almost a week as I tried to finish a Grand Canyon puzzle on my own. I only finished it because you, Erin and Dad answered my incessant pleas for help.

Technically, this was the second time you worked on the superhero puzzle, which you bought all on your own with a Target gift card. The first time we did it together I (ahem) finished it without you, going as far as putting in nearly the very last piece. True story. You haven’t let me forget it, for good reason.

See, this is what determination looks like and proof you can do just about anything if you put your mind to it.

You’re also a kid who likes to go out and do things, and luckily you are almost always up for an exercise excursion with me, be it going for a run or paddle boarding. I seriously love these times when we’re hanging out just me, and you, even with the complaints of knee pain or sore arms. I hope you still want to do this once you’re a teenager.

One thing I don’t think you’ll ever stop loving is musicals, specifically Hamilton! Can you even count the number of times you’ve listened to the soundtrack? Any time you pick the dinner music there’s a 99.9% chance you’re choosing Hamilton. The other .1% would be Dear Evan Hansen.

We were lucky enough to get the chance to see Hamilton as an entire family, and it is one memory I think I’m going to cherish for my entire life. Dad and I kept it as a surprise to you girls, and once you guessed where we were headed, you had the biggest smile on your face for the rest of the car ride to San Francisco. Olivia was excited too, but not nearly as excited as you.

It has been quite the year to say the least. I’ve watched you grow and get out of your comfort zone, doing things you would never do if left to your own devices, but you’ve come out the other side stronger. I’m so proud of you for what you’ve already done, but am so very excited to see what’s in store for your 12th year… besides many, many, many more Hamilton songs playing on Google Home.

I love you kiddo! I know I say sign off every birthday blog with these four words, but consider it a signature sign-off.



Happy 17th Birthday – COVID-19 Style

I know this is not the birthday you envisioned. But we are here to celebrate you and all your awesomeness as best we can. And you are awesome. That is a proven fact. I’ve had plenty of time to verify it since we’ve been forced to be together 24/7 for the last few weeks. Many teenagers would barricade themselves in their rooms, only to leave to eat or use the bathroom (and even then maybe not), but not you. Throughout these weeks, you’ve willingly played games with us, binged watched terrible reality shows with us (Yes, we are among the Love is Blind viewers), and filled our bellies with everything from pies and cookies and brownies to homemade bread. Yes, the COVID-19 15 lb weight gain is real, especially with a baker like you in our house.

As sucky as this shelter-in-place has been, I can honestly say I’ve truly enjoyed spending time with you. We’re now forced to eat dinner together EVERY SINGLE NIGHT without the interruptions of soccer practice, swim practice, or other activities. And get this, most nights there’s much more laughing than yelling at the kitchen table. I’d love to be able to box up these moments and put them into a time capsule so we can all look back at them decades from now, but I guess this blog will have to do.

Even before this “new normal” set in, I’ve known you’re a good human. Teenagers often get a bad rap for their actions and inactions, and I too am guilty of adding to that chorus of complaints. But I always come back to the baseline of who you are as a person. You are good and kind and compassionate. You have a deep sense of who you are and you embrace it– almost always with a smile on your face and a one-of-a-kind laugh that involves your entire body. Anyone who knows you, knows exactly what I’m talking about. I’d love to be able to say I had everything to do with you turning out so well, but that wouldn’t be true. You find causes that you believe in and you jump in with both feet, hands, fingers and toes, even if you really have no time to do it! I never would have imagined you’d embrace your Jewish identity and be so involved with USY, but it’s a great example of you finding ways to surprise me. It’s a good surprise though!

I know these last several weeks have been a hard adjustment for you. You are someone who likes to have something scheduled just about every minute of every day, and now life is anything but structured. From classes and homework, to work, to SAT tutoring, to USY, to babysitting, and on and on and on, we hardly ever saw you over the last few months! You’d fly in for a few moments before heading out the door again. The only positive (besides hanging with me) is you don’t have to set your alarm for 6:15 am to make your zero period at school.

I don’t have to tell you this is going to be a pivotal year for you, but just like everything else you do, you’ve been approaching it with tenacity and grit. I think back to over the summer when you worked to get your driver’s license. While you faced setbacks (code for not passing on the first try), you didn’t give up. You wouldn’t even wait to get home before logging onto the California DMV website looking for new dates to take the test again. You did get that license, and found a new sense of freedom in the form of 4-wheels and a set of keys.

One thing the COVID-19 quarantine has allowed me to do is appreciate all that we have. It’s easy to look at what we don’t have, and since I’m a half-glass full kind of a gal, I’m so appreciative of you, and your sisters and dad too, but since this is your birthday blog, not theirs, you get the shout out.

Happy 17th Birthday! Next year I’ve got plans to celebrate with a huge blowout party.

I love you so very much, kiddo.



Happy Birthday to my funny 14-year-old middle daughter

Oh my, where do I begin?! This year truly feels like a transformational year for you. You’re not only a year older, but you’ve grown so much, and not just in inches, although you never fail to miss a moment to point out how much taller you are than me. I also never fail to mention that it doesn’t take much. Much to Olivia’s dismay, I think you’ve got a good chance of passing her up too.

As I was going through the pictures on my phone looking for ones to include in this blog, I was struck by how much your look has changed in 12 months. I know it’s not about what’s on the outside that matters but what’s on the inside, but kiddo, oh my goodness– you really are transforming right before my eyes.

I remember looking at your kindergarten photo several months ago and thinking, “Erin’s face looks pretty much the same as it did when she was 6.” I can’t say that any more. Sure, you’ve grown out your bangs and your hair is longer, but it’s much more than that. You’re growing into a confident, hilarious, insightful young woman. Here’s where you can cue Neil Diamond’s classic song, “You’ll be a woman soon.” It might not come to mind right away, but I’m certain I’ve serenaded it to you wildly off-key at the dinner table.

I get it, this is the time when everyone goes through a massive amount of changes. And while yes, the physical changes are striking, it’s good to see that who you are as a human has stayed the same since you were a little kid. You still like your routine and remain a stickler for trying to get me out of the house by 8:10 am on school days. I can visibly see your anxiety increasing if we leave a minute later than that. As much as I may stress you out about getting you to school on time, you’ve never been late (even if barely by the skin of your teeth). You’ve also kept the long tradition of only wearing shorts to school. How many years is it now?

Throughout middle school, you’ve mostly kept the same group of friends. A few have left your group, and a couple of others have joined, but all in all, you’ve found yourself a solid crew to hang out with. I’m also heartened that they often hang out at our house. Please don’t stop inviting them over. 🙂

While I’ve seen so many changes already this year, I know more are to come next year- namely high school. I don’t have to tell you that we’re getting very close to the deadline if you want to apply to a different school other than Sequoia. It’s a tough decision, but like everything else you do in life, you’re attacking this latest conundrum with a common sense strategy, even if unlike math, there’s no right answer. One thing I know for certain is this. Whatever school you end up attending, you are going to absolutely rock high school!

Change of course is inevitable. It’s not always easy for me and it’s not always easy for you. But when it comes to you, it has been an absolute joy and privilege to see your year of transformation. May 2020 be as awesome as the previous year has been for you.

I love you, kiddo.


Carrie’s 11 and Carefree

Happy 11th Birthday, Carrie!

Oh what a year it has been for you! I could go through the laundry list of achievements and accomplishments you’ve reached (which are many!), but this year I want to devote this blog more to who you are as a person.

First off, you’ve got one of the most unique personalities on the planet, which is a good thing! You’re someone who can see the silliness in just about everything, and are the first to defuse a tense situation with a joke, funny face, or ridiculous accent that’s a cross between Russian and Italian.

This usually happens when I’m yelling at one of your sisters or Dad. Clearly, you are someone who does not like conflict, and use humor to put pretty much everyone at ease. It’s hard to stay mad when you hear that crazy accent you made up, and trust me, I try and stay angry.

You’re also someone who could use a little self-confidence boost every now and then. I see all of your potential, whether it’s on the soccer field, playing guitar, or working on your math homework with Daddy, but my wish for you is for you to see it yourself. Every now and then, when you don’t know I’m looking, I see you working things out on your own, sometimes singing a song, sometimes strumming your guitar, or sometimes figuring out a complicated fraction. I see the lightbulb moment and a smile cross your lips knowing you’ve figured it out. It’s at those moments I know you’ll do just fine in life. You just need to believe and have a little more faith in yourself.

You’re someone who does not like silence. At all. As I’m sitting here writing this blog, you’re talking to yourself while working on your homework, pausing only to break out in song (on tune, unlike me or anyone else in our family).

No where was this more apparent than our recent Tahoe trip over Spring Break. We normally paired up together to ride on the chairlift, and during that 8 to 10 minute ride up the mountain, whatever popped into your head came out of your mouth in a non-stop stream of consciousness.

While this could grate on the nerves of some people, it truly is music to my ears (most of the time). You know why? It kind of reminds me of myself. I too have been known to be something of a chatter-box.

We’ve got lots of similarities– good ones– I’d like to believe. You’re more willing than either of your sisters to join me on a hike, with little to no whining.

Just like me, you’re someone that doesn’t like to sit still, unless you’re on your iPad. At times, it can be a little exhausting, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. You kiddo, make life so much more interesting, fun and seriously bring a smile to just about everyone you encounter (except maybe Olivia ☺️).

I love you so very much and look forward to seeing you embrace all of your talents and let more people see what an amazing kid you are!



(Mostly) Sweet 16!

Well it happened. It was inventible, of course. As much as I’d like time to slow, the years, months, days, hours, minutes and seconds keep coming and you Olivia, keep getting older. You’re 16! I know I don’t have to remind you of that fact, but maybe it’s more of a reminder for me.

I’ve spent the last year watching you grow into the makings of an amazing human being. You care a lot about people and want to do good in this world. I love that about you. You are a person who sees the good not only in people, but also in life in general. Some people may call that naive, but I call it taking a glass half full approach.

Here’s a perfect example of your positive attitude. It takes a bit of explaining so bear with me. You recently took a nasty fall while snowboarding and injured your thumb.

Luckily, you didn’t break any bones, but your right thumb swelled to about three times its size and was purple, black, and blue.

It happened on the last run of the day, which if you’re going to injure yourself, is usually the case. But this really was the last run. It was the end of the day and the clock was ticking before the bus was leaving for the long ride back to the Bay Area.

As you’re apt to do, you tend to cram as many things into your life as possible, so in addition to snowboarding, you also decided to try lacrosse this year. Unfortunately, you need your right thumb to grip the lacrosse stick since you are right handed. You bemoaned this fact for a bit, but then in your optimistic way you then said, “Well, I need to improve the strength in my left arm anyway.”

I’ve got to admit, I’ve got a love hate relationship with your zeal for filling every moment of just about every day. While you procrastinate when it comes to homework, you’re all about coming up with big grand plans, be it getting together with friends, planning fundraisers, or hatching a way to get a car once you get your driver’s license. You’ve got no shortage of big ideas. Execution? Well… let’s just say you’re still a work in progress. 🙂

It wouldn’t be a 16th birthday blog without me talking a little bit about your driving. Due to all the rules and regulations and general difficulties of the California DMV, you have to wait until June until you take the test. I seriously think if you can navigate your way through all of the hoops of the DMV just to schedule your permit and driver’s test, they should automatically give you a license.

Anyway, I digress. People ask me if you’re a good driver. You’re not, but I don’t think anyone who has been driving less than six months can be considered a good driver. You are getting better though. I tend to cringe less and haven’t recently tried to brake while sitting in the passenger seat.

And… it’s been months since you’ve driven onto the front lawn. Practice may not make perfect when it comes to driving, but it sure helps.

So much has changed since I started writing these birthday blogs 9 years ago, but so much has stayed the same. I just checked back to the one I wrote when you turned 8. In it I mentioned you were a great big sister — but I also said you like bossing them around. Those things are still true, but I’d love for you to have a little more patience with them, especially your youngest sister (I can see you rolling your eyes as you read this). Friends will come and go, but sisters are forever. They know you like no one else; the good, the bad, and the ugly. With all that knowledge, they will always have your back.

As much as your sisters (and your parents for that matter) may drive you insane at times, I know you like our family time together (Even if you won’t admit it). Hearing how often your phone buzzes, chimes, beeps, and dings, you’ve got no shortage of options to hang out with your friends, which you do, but you also willingly hang out with us. I may not say it to you outright, but I don’t take that for granted.

My wish for you in this next year is to keep your optimism, even on the dark days, even when you want to give up. Those are the days when you need it most.

I love you, kiddo! Happy Sweet 16!



13 going on…. 13

To Erin: on your 13th birthday

This birthday blog will stay short and sweet. It’s not that I’m lazy or you’re a terrible child with no redeeming qualities to write about. Neither could be further from the truth. Well, sometimes I can be lazy, but you my dear, are one of the coolest kids I know, full of wit and wisdom, spunk and sass.

But while today is your birthday, tomorrow is another big day. Your Bat Mitzvah!!!! I know it’s kind of hard to forget, but in case it slipped your mind, you can thank me for reminding you. So, I’m saving much of my advice and effusive praise for tomorrow. But I can’t let today go without telling you what an amazing human being you are becoming right before my eyes. You’ve always been a quirky funny kid who is comfortable in her own skin, but with each passing year, I’m getting glimpses of who you will become, and I’ve got to tell you, I love what I see.

You’re usually most comfortable in a certain sweatshirt; a bright orange tie-dye one from a State Cup Soccer Tournament. If I had my way, I’d get rid of it, but that would mean it would actually have to come off your body. I don’t think I’m exaggerating in saying that you’ve probably worn it at least 350 out of the last 365 days this last year, and those 15 days were probably either above 95 degrees or the sweatshirt was in the laundry. As of now, there are rips and stains, but you refuse to retire it. It’s kind of awesome, actually. Gross, but awesome.

You are confident and walk tall. Sure, some of that may be to reach to my height, which will happen any day now, but you’ve got a self-assuredness that is rare for someone your age. I hope you never lose that. You can read a situation fairly quickly and can normally navigate around the landmines that can trip up other middle school girls. You don’t ignore the drama, but you tend to observe, rather than put yourself into the middle of things. A bit of advice: stay out of the middle when it comes to middle school drama. That’s where you’ll find most of those landmines.

I’m beyond excited for this upcoming weekend and to have people see you shine! I love you, kiddo!


Let’s start talking about suicide

Why? Why? Why? That one word keeps rattling around in my brain after hearing about the suicide of Anthony Bourdain. Celebrity deaths are always shocking, but his death has hit me hard. I’m so very sad for his loved ones and the loss of his one-of-a-kind storytelling that would make you want to immediately hop onto a plane to a far-flung country, and eat and drink in the sketchiest restaurant imaginable. He not only changed the way people thought about eating, but made the world a much smaller place by showing that no matter where you live, humans share a commonality through food.

His apparent suicide and the suicide of Kate Spade, show that outward appearances don’t show what’s really going on with a person on the inside. We make assumptions. We see a rich and famous person smiling for the camera, (or in Bourdain’s case, looking straight into the camera to make an astute and snarky observation) and think they lead a charmed life, but depression and other mental health issues don’t discriminate.  These high-profile deaths prove it.

Statistics prove it too. Just yesterday, the CDC released a report showing a sharp rise in suicide rates across the United States. In 2016, nearly 45,000 people died by suicide, more than twice the number of homicides. Think about those numbers. Let those numbers set into your brain. Now think about this. For people between the ages of 15 and 34, suicide is the second-leading cause of death.

This public health crisis breaks my heart. These are preventable deaths, but the stigma around suicide make people fearful about talking about it. I know I’m only one person, but I’m doing what I can to shatter that stigma. For the last couple of years I’ve been working on a documentary about teenage suicide. The documentary, called The Edge of Success, looks at this issue from the kids’ perspective. I’ve learned so much from the amazing teenagers we feature simply by talking to them, and maybe more importantly, just listening to them.

Too often, we see someone and don’t ask this question. Are you ok? Once again, we make assumptions. But there is help. There is hope. Repeat after me. There is help. There is hope.

You are never alone. If you can’t go to a friend or loved one, there are plenty of suicide prevention resources. First off is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Here’s the number available 24/7. 1-800-273-TALK (8255). There’s also a Crisis Text Line. Text  741741 to text with a trained Crisis Counselor.

My heart will be heavy today. I know I’ll be asking my family and friends if they’re ok. And I’ll also be raising a glass to honor Anthony Bourdain. I hope he is able to rest in peace.


Carrie enters the double digits

Happy 10th birthday, Carrie!

This birthday is a milestone for many reasons. Yes, you’ve left behind your single digit days and are well on your way to becoming a ‘tween, but more than that, this means I no longer have any “little kids” in the house. Sure, you’ll always be the youngest, but you’re growing up right before my eyes. I swear, when you get up some mornings rubbing the eye boogers out of your eyes, it appears like you’ve grown overnight. I know it’s not fast enough for you as you’re still the smallest of your friends (at least you were at last check), but trust me on this. You’re growing leaps and bounds.

Some things about you will never change though, like your ability to spontaneously start singing and dancing in the kitchen for no apparent reason. I’ve said it before, but your musical and dancing skills are an anomaly (that’s a fancy word for not normal) in our family.  After a short stint in musical theater, you’ve declared you’re done with the theater, but I’ve got a feeling you’ll make a return to the stage. You’ve got a talent, my dear, one that more than just your friends and family should see. For now, you’re putting your talents to good use with the guitar. You started lessons last summer and you’re still going strong. I won’t lie. When you first started playing, the practices were hard on my ears and a little cringeworthy. But what a difference 9 months makes! I now love listening to you practice. You’re also not just content to simply play the songs your teacher assigns you. You’re now going to YouTube to learn new songs. Since one such song is Happy Birthday, I think it’s only fitting that you serenade yourself for your birthday. 🙂


While the differences between you and your sisters are as vast (that’s a fancy word for big) as the Pacific Ocean, you do have a few similar interests. With Erin, it’s soccer. You’ve made big improvements over the past year and for a short while, played on three teams! I don’t know who’s happier that you’re now just down to one team, me or you. You may be small, but you’re fast on the soccer field, putting your short stature to good use with those lickity quick legs.  You don’t like cheers or coaching from the sidelines, and let me and Dad know it when we get too loud for your liking.


With Olivia, you’ve found similar joys in cooking. Right now, you’re specialty is pancakes, but I’m confident you’ll expand your repertoire (definition: a big box of skills) in the coming year. Come to think of it, I remember some really tasty chocolate muffins you made, although you have to admit, they’re really cupcakes without the frosting. Next up, we’ll have you making dinner, maybe even working together with Olivia. (Hey, a mom can dream, right?)


I’m still trying to figure out the similarities you have with me and dad, but one thing is for sure, you love the great outdoors just like we do. You hardly complain about going on hikes with us (unlike one of your other sisters who will remain nameless), and have fully embraced your inner National Park ranger. I’m happy to report that you’ve gotten your badges in the two National Parks we’ve visited this year.

No matter if you’re more like Erin or Olivia or me or Dad, the most important thing is for you to be you. You’re seriously one of a kind. You love to laugh and love making other people laugh, especially with your funny faces and endless supply of selfies. I wouldn’t want you any other way!

I love your crazy antics even when they sometimes drive me crazy!







Olivia turns 15!

Happy 15th Birthday, Olivia!

15! 15! 15!

To take a look at you, you look every bit your fifteen years. You hold your head high, you often have a mischievous look in your eye, and yes your phone pings incessantly with Snapchat and texts. If that doesn’t describe a 15-year-old, I don’t know what does.


But. And this is a big but (No, not the Sir Mix-a-Lot song), you’re a good kid. No. Scratch that. You’re a great kid. I’ve written before about your prowess in the kitchen and we’ve taken full advantage of those skills, highly encouraging you to whip up dinners for the entire family and baking birthday cakes for your sisters or anniversary cakes for me and Dad. Thanks for that, by the way.


We’ve all started eating not only pretty phenomenal meals and desserts, but also a lot more vegetarian dinners. In October of 2017, you decided to go a month eating vegetarian. Truth be told, I didn’t think you’d stick with it come November first. But here we are six months later, and you’re still eating meat free meals.  The only time I remember you mentioning you missed meat was when we had Chinese takeout and the smell of the orange chicken made sticking with your convictions a little difficult. You did it though. I think you said something to the effect of it would be pretty lame to give up on your new vegetarian lifestyle for mediocre (my word, not yours) orange chicken.

I’m pretty sure Dad and your sisters would like a few more meals with meat, but I’m good with it. They’ve also found pretty creative ways to add meat into the vegetarian dishes. It does make family dinners a little more challenging, but you’re content to make yourself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or big bowl of pasta if we opt for a meaty dinner.

The PB&J and pasta meals help fuel your athletic endeavours, which currently revolves around swimming for your high school swim team. You’ve worked hard to improve all your strokes, but most notably your breast stroke. That has always been your strongest stroke, but you’ve made it your mission this year to really take it to another level. This is where I get to brag about you. You’ve become a breast stroke beast, literally clawing your way to a couple of first place JV wins by your fingertips. It just goes to show that hard work does pay off.

That’s one of the things I love and admire about you. Once you get an idea in your head, be it becoming a vegetarian or making a name for yourself on your swim team, you fully commit. Now don’t get me wrong, in other areas, you’re Miss Wishy Washy and are far from committed, but for the things that you’re really passionate about, you give it your all.

I know your last year of middle school wasn’t the easiest, so I worried how you’d acclimate to high school. Clearly, there was no need. So far, you have slayed your Freshman year! You put yourself out there and made friends with a new group of kids without batting an eye. That’s far from a simple feat, but like so many things you do, you just dive right in. (Yes, I purposely put in the swimming analogy).


Anyone who knows you, knows that you like to talk a mile a minute when you get excited about something. Recently, there’s been plenty of excitement and fast talking about your new friends, whom you I assume I know, but don’t.

A typical conversation will go something like this:

Olivia: “Alexis said the funniest thing today. (Olivia tells a very long involved story about said funny exchange)”

Me: “Who is Alexis?”

Olivia: “You don’t know her.”

Me: long sigh and exasperated look.

With your after school practices and your sisters’ soccer practices and Hebrew School, our dinners start much later than they used to, but more nights than not, all five of us sit around the dinner table and go through our days. Usually, there’s plenty of jockeying to get a word in edgewise, so maybe that’s why you talk so fast.

Whatever the reason, please don’t stop talking. Keep telling me your funny friend stories, whether I know them or not.

I know that many parents complain about the many moods of their teenage kids, who sullenly slam their doors and answer questions with little more than grunts. That’s not you and that’s not me. Truth be told, I love your run on sentences that go on and on and on. It’s really better than the alternative. Much better. I mean, sure you have your moody moments, where I don’t want to be near you, and vice versa, but I’m thankful those days are few and far between.


I love you kiddo!