Sometimes, as a writer, you have to let go of certain pieces—that is, the ones that keep getting rejected. I wrote this about a year ago, in response to a call for submissions that focused on a particular theme. It got rejected. In fact, it got rejected a few more places after that. I need to let go of this piece, not because my confidence in it is faltering (though it is), but because the girl that I wrote about here, she’s different now. Braver and less risk averse. I want to honor that transformation. When I write about her, I want to be in the present. To do that, I need to let go of this tiny snapshot of the past.
What are you doing?” I asked her.
Her eyes were closed. Her empty hand was in a fist. Above it, she inhaled through her nose and exhaled through her sweet pink lips.
“Smelling my flower, and then blowing out my birthday candle to make a wish,” she replied, infused with that faint hint of “duh, Mama!” that five and a half year olds seem to suddenly pick up from the older kids at the playground.
My wrinkled eyebrow revealed that I didn’t understand.
“Miss Lara told me to do that when I was afraid of the dark clouds on the playground today,” she explained.
Ah, now I see. There must have been thunderstorms on the distant horizon during outdoor playtime. I can only imagine the look of fear that she must have had, likely clinging to the leg of the nearest adult. She had been in a stage where even the remotest of thunderstorm possibilities triggered palpable, visible fear. For the greater part of a year, this was but one thing that induced a perplexing state of anxiety for her, our sensitive worrier. These were covert breathing exercises aimed at getting her to relax.
But what threw me was the off-the-cuff brilliance of that twenty-something teacher’s aide. It far outshined the (very expensive) textbook advice that my anxious young daughter had received from her highly decorated post-doc therapist just nine months prior. It was so obvious and elegantly simple: if you want to reach a child, speak to them in their own magical language. Why do we adults so frequently forget this? Flowers and wishes? Yes, these she could understand. This she could use.
Our worrier was becoming a warrior. She was breathing again.
All it took was a pair of cheap plastic goggles. Not the supportive praise of her Dad offered from a poolside bench over sixteen humid Sundays at the Y. Not my kind words of encouragement before she left for her lessons, or the high fives for the small achievements when she returned. By all accounts she loved swimming in the pool. Yet despite our efforts, our young daughter was seemingly destined to remain a pike, with eel becoming increasingly elusive so long as she refused to immerse her head.
The reason? Wet eyes. She did not trust her breath if she had to keep her eyes closed too. Like me, she is someone who needs to see what is around her. Getting water in those bright blue eyes was the roadblock standing in the way of above and below.
Ultimately, it was not our measured reassurances and coaxing that gave her the confidence to go under. It was not our ability as loving, supportive parents. No, it was the bubblegum pink goggles found in the last aisle of a dusty bargain bin store, purchased in a last ditch effort to help her move forward. I hated them at first, overwhelming in their plastic stench and insulting in their $1.99 price tag. The likely conditions under which they were manufactured crawled under my skin. I thought about the environmental ramifications of my purchase as I reluctantly handed the clerk my five dollar bill.
But how could I ignore the instant transformation that this elegantly simple solution ultimately induced? This time, it seemed, her comfort and confidence were clearly Made in China.
Our little mermaid went deeper in the water and also within herself. She learned how to hold her breath.
The dichotomy of what my anxious little one learned in the span of just one year was nothing short of life saving, maybe for all of us. We are not living at the outer edge of raw exasperation. She can take in more of what life has to offer.
Breathe in, breathe out. Take a gulp of air, and hold it. To trust in these polar opposites is to reveal one’s own inner strength and bravery. She is freer now because she knows how to breathe, and when not to.
Copyright (c) 2014 Kristen M. Ploetz
I’m not sure if it’s my earlier days of schooling in science, or my lifetime love of taking photographs—nothing tops the magic of developing your own film—but I’ve always loved the various instruments that we use to examine the world around us. Microscopes, telescopes, cameras and mirrors—they all focus, capture and reflect the wonder that is contained within our world. They each offer a different way to put things in context. They help us better understand our reality. They have stories to tell, though sometimes the endings are yet unknown.
Take the telescope, for example. It allows us to see things far beyond our reach (at least right now). It puts us, mere mortals, into some often needed perspective. We are so small. We are not all that there is. Today’s biggest problem may not be all that big after all.
Or the microscope. We can glimpse at the infinite moving parts that make up life. Only when we step away from the viewfinder do we appreciate the macro that is comprised of the micro. We are humbled that some life, just nanometers in diameter, can be the difference between life and death for others. We may be larger in relative size, but by no means are we always going to be the victor.
Cameras, too. They capture a moment in time, something we want to remember. We use our editorial license to frame it just so, and though there’s no way to capture the other senses that were ignited in that particular moment—the squeals of baby feet being tickled, the yeasty smell of a warm kitchen on Christmas, the cool breeze that kissed our cheek—we take pictures to catalog a life that was lived. We create a pictorial inventory that allows us to take stock at the end of our days and remind us that it all really happened, and it was as beautiful as we remember it to be.
Mirrors allow us to see what’s in front of us, right now, as well as what’s behind us already in our rear view, sometimes safely, sometimes sadly. Mirrors force us to acknowledge the gray hair and the latent effect of too much time at the shore. We can take one last glance before we put the car in drive and pull away.
This morning, while I was pulling my wet hair back to start my day, I stood in the bathroom before our large mirror and realized I wasn’t really looking at myself directly. Sure, I don’t really need the aid of reflection to tie a wet ponytail, but we have this huge 3′x4′ mirror and three bright lights and yet I don’t really look at myself with more than a glance anymore. Somehow I am able to put on makeup and brush my teeth every day without really looking at myself. Why am I avoiding my own reality, one that I’ve essentially earned? Or maybe it’s deserved. Do you do this too?
I don’t know when I started this avoidance technique, but it seems to have coincided with the gray hairs taking up residence atop my head and the wrinkles and sags that have settled in these past few years. Rather than staring myself down, I tend to daydream and let my wind wander while I have these few minutes of solitude in the morning. It seems like a more productive use of my time.
And this morning I was thinking about all of these various instruments we use to look at our physical world around us. I thought about how they are equally useful, in a metaphorical sense, to examine our own lives. It got me to thinking about how, when I was younger, particularly in my late teens, the mirror (literally) and telescope (figuratively) were my primary tools. I was only concerned about what I looked like right in that moment, and what my future might contain. I didn’t reflect so much about the past. There was nothing particularly noteworthy that required me to memorialize it with a camera, if you could even come by one then.
Then there was a shift in my twenties, especially in college. I wanted to remember it all because I was having so much fun. I especially wanted to retain evidence of my budding independence and existence as an entity outside of my family (which was going through a divorce) and then long-term boyfriend from high school (we broke up around my sophomore year in college). As a result, there were many pictures taken while I was living my life in Worcester. In fact, it was probably my only tool, other than a vague sense that I was supposed to be using a telescope to peer beyond the four years I would be at college.
From the time I graduated college until my mid-thirties, I think a microscope would best describe the means by which I deliberated my life. What parts were there? What, or perhaps whom, was I made of? How did I function optimally, exactly? These are the questions you ask as you parse out career paths, future husbands, and domiciles. It is a period of extreme, close-up examination. Slide after slide, your eyes can hurt under the strain and headaches develop with so much focusing, but the work must be done. It is the critical point to do so as your life apex appears on the horizon.
And now? Becoming a mother has required me to shift the tools in my arsenal once again. I find this to be a period of deep reflection—primarily about my own childhood and my parents’ (since ended) marriage—as I compare and contrast the life I had and the parents I had, with the life and guidance I now offer M as her mother. I feel like I am looking in a rearview mirror much of the time, maybe to be sure I am not veering off the good parts of the course that my parents led me down, at least while they were still married.
The camera is also once again in heavy rotation. It is seemingly permanently affixed to my eye, my finger trigger happy like no other time. I do not want forget any of it. Has time always been this fleeting? I don’t recall it so. I also want to create indelible memories for my daughter to look back upon someday, particularly when we, her parents, are no longer of this world. I now realize that both of these motivations to create lasting impressions come from some deep scars (both good and bad) that I have finally come to terms with, and now realize shape so much of how I have approached my years as a parent.
But why am I suddenly so afraid of the mirror before me? I wonder about this. Is it that I am afraid to acknowledge what is really there, or, more to the point, not there? Indeed, it is the one instrument that requires some confidence and comfort in oneself; the others are all outwardly facing so we don’t have to look as good. I need to think about this for a while. I also need to remind myself that the telescope does not have to be banished to the back of the closet just because I’ve turned forty. I’m allowed to look forward and outward and course correct as new discoveries are made. Maybe only then, after I have finished charting the constellations and nebulae that are within my dusky sky, will I be able to finally look in the mirror with the same confidence as that once upon a time teenage girl.
What instrument do you favor to view your life right in this moment? Which one are you most comfortable holding?
Copyright (c) 2014 Kristen M. Ploetz
The impetus for today’s post is this article here on Huffington Post. I get that it (and other articles like it) is supposed to be an uplifting, “we’re making forward strides” kind of piece, and to a large extent, it is. But, ultimately, articles like this gnaw at me on some level because they make me question whether we really are making progress when it comes to describing women, particularly in media. This open letter is my response.
An Open Letter to Everyone Who Continues to Use the Word “Plus” When Describing Women (or Their Clothing) of a Certain Size:
Stop. Please, please stop. The use of the word “plus” to qualify (and quantify!) the size of a woman or the clothes she wears—it has got to stop.
I write this letter because I’m almost 40 and if I’m honest with myself, I am effortlessly a size 14 and with more discipline (read: no ice cream) a size 12. There, I said it out loud. Maybe a size 10 during a good span of consistent healthy eating and exercising, like right now. But I am well aware that 12 and 14 continue to lurk in the shadows of my running shoes and reveal themselves often. But I’m old enough to now know, accept and appreciate that there is a vast range of body sizes and shapes amongst us. I don’t need you or your ad copy to go out of your way to make the point.
I also write this letter because my daughter is 5 and a half years old. She is not yet aware that there are such adjectives used to describe the size of the female body or clothing. And, if you listen to me here, maybe she will never have to. Though it’s going to be hard as she soon grows out of her size 5 clothes. This size 6x that rests on the racks between 6 and 7—what exactly is that? Never mind, don’t tell me. I think I already know.
Think about it. “Plus” size. Plus what? Why do we use this kind of descriptor only when it comes to clothing size?
Correction: Women’s clothing size.
I’m not trying to suggest that there are not folks (like me) who are bigger than others. Of course there are. And of course you need to give sizes to things so we can find, order or buy them. It’s a range, like everything else. But considering the average size of women, why do we not instead call our sisters wearing sizes 0 (!?) to, say size 10, “minus-size” or “inferior-size”? I’ll tell you why, it’s because those sound silly. Just like “plus”.
And, while we’re on the subject, how can anyone even be a size 0? Zero is nothing. Nada. Zilch. So if there is a tag that says size 0 (or, insanity at its best, 00), why is there a pair of pants attached? What’s next? Size infinity with an endless bolt of fabric just clipped to the hanger? Don’t even get me started on vanity sizing. Though it does beg the question of what we’re even talking about anymore when it comes to size.
How come we don’t ever hear about “plus-size” male models? No, they are merely big (which can be equally offensive, in my opinion) or tall. How nice for them.
Let me make my point another way. We also don’t ever hear about “plus-melanin” skin or “plus-age” individuals, just to use two easy examples. Indeed, to do so would be derogatory and discriminatory because it inherently sets an arbitrary, if not idealistic, benchmark of what society and the media supposedly finds minimally (or maximally, as it were) acceptable. Maybe this particular point is best highlighted by the pomp and circumstance that is generated when an average sized woman makes the cover of a major fashion magazine, like today’s article on Huffington Post about the new Elle Quebec cover featuring Justine LeGault. Don’t get me wrong. I love that she is on the cover. LOVE. How can anyone not?—she is stunning. But I don’t care for the singling out that often ensues because of her size.
Or what about the fact that plus size clothing is too often sold in different sections of a store, or a different store altogether, even though the women who wear all of these clothes collectively gather and mingle together as friends and family. Or how about the cutesy ads and reminders from retailers that they have the latest trends in “my size” too. The size of a woman or her shirt shouldn’t be newsworthy nor should it be exiled to the far corners of retail shopping with pejorative labels.
If these women are truly models, then, by definition, they are simply meant to display clothing to prospective buyers like me. Buyers of all sizes. Under that definition, we should be able to see, on a regular, uneventful basis, women with whom we might just as easily share clothes. Certainly not all of the time, but enough of the time so that it is mainstream. Prospective buyers want to know how those dresses and pants will look on them, not some unattainable, unrealistic ideal. But by rarely using anything other than smaller sized models, media and the fashion industry are turning these models into an ideal. An ideal that the rest of us cannot relate to. An ideal that ultimately causes the unnecessary media frenzy when a larger woman makes the front page.
Here’s a thought. Focus your energy on selling and showcasing beautiful clothes and models—in all sizes. Describe the fabrics and the handcrafted details of the dress on the cover. Tell me about where the model is from and what she loves to do on the weekends. I don’t need you to add in whether or not she is “plus” size, I can take note (if I choose) all by myself, thank you very much. But please, above all else, stop using the word “plus” and patting yourselves and each other on the back when an average-size (or ANY size) woman is featured on a cover. It makes a spectacle out of the models and the rest of us women like her, including, quite possibly, my daughter someday.
Copyright (c) 2013 Kristen M. Ploetz
This summer we were lucky to take two vacations. The first one was down on the shores of Rhode Island. It was our first real beach vacation with just the three of us and we were all excited. Aside from the sweltering, “once in a decade” type of heat wave that happened to be going on while we were there, the trip did not disappoint. A couple of months later, we visited with family down in coastal South Carolina. Aside from a lot of unseasonably cool, rainy days, the trip did not disappoint. (Note to self: check the Farmers’ Almanac before planning next year’s trip!)
But more than just getaways from they daily tides of domestic life, these trips heralded the beginning of me having to let go a bit and let M become who she wants to be, even if some of it cuts against the core of who I am.
I first realized this shift when we were in Rhode Island and I learned about mermaid’s purses. Even though I have seen them dozens of times at the beach, I never knew what they were — in fact, I always assumed it was just dried bits of kelp washed up on shore. But it turns out that they are instead the egg cases for rays and skates that live in the ocean. (Click here to see one). We learned about them while visiting the Biomes Nature Center in North Kingstown, Rhode Island — a neat little place tucked away off the beaten path. They had an egg case with live embryos inside and it was positioned underwater in front of a light source so that you could see the living embryos moving around. WAY cool! It was the kind of moment that made me feel in awe of all the natural beauty in our world, and wonder why I never did anything directly related to my biology degree as I had originally planned. (As an aside, you can also touch dogfish sharks in a kid-friendly tank and see up close a puffer fish inflating and releasing water — also very, very neat! If you are down in southern Rhode Island with an hour or two to kill, you should check it out!)
But even despite the awesomeness factor of seeing something rare like that–and even with the following days of suddenly being more aware of the hundreds of mermaid’s purses in the beach dunes–M wasn’t impressed all that much. No, the only thing “mermaid” that was on her mind was The Little Mermaid DVD that she happened to find at the place we had rented. She had been familiar with Ariel before that point because many of her friends talk about her, wear shirts with her on them, etc., but M had not yet seen the movie herself. So, since it was vacation and all, she got to see her first DVD movie ever…you guessed it: The Little Mermaid. (Followed two days later by her first theater movie ever, Winnie the Pooh — see? I told you I was starting to loosen up!)
While I was a little bummed that Ariel stole the show from the mermaid’s purses, there was a part of me that was happy for M because she got to feel like part of her little preschool media subculture for a change. I was also a little bummed because after hearing M “sing” Ariel’s famous aria, I think we can officially rule out music scholarships for college.
Then, in South Carolina, after I had recovered from the swift kick of the mermaid’s tail to my ego, I found myself again having to bite my tongue and just let M explore who she is and what brings her happiness. I’m sure I have mentioned it before, but I am not enamored with the whole princess thing. I wasn’t into them as a kid myself, and I am even less so as an adult woman. So when we had told M that she had just $20 that she could use for a souvenir from our trip down south–with no strings attached–I was thinking maybe it would be some candy or a pink t-shirt or possibly a mermaid doll because she wanted one in Rhode Island and we said no since we had already picked up a small souvenir by that point.
I should be so lucky. This is what she picked instead:
Now, in my own defense, I was not present when this whole souvenir purchase went down, but because her souvenir money was essentially discretionary, I am not sure how much of a position I would have been in to re-neg on our original deal…lesson learned. Time to dust off some of my legal negotiating and contract skills for next time! Poor girl. Just wait until she has to borrow the car!
And in M’s own defense, this is a little girl who we really have never taken shopping before to buy toys for herself, so the unfettered access to purchase power probably triggered a response along the lines of “Holy cow! I better buy something that they would NEVER buy me because this opportunity may never come again–screw those Myrtle Beach t-shirts!!!! Suckas!!!”
Anyway, Princess Barbie and a tiara later (thank goodness $20 does not go far these days!), and with the sounds of M’s off-key Ariel impression playing in the background, I realized that I am at a point where I really can no longer filter everything she sees, listens to and, ultimately, wants. At least not if I want her to know people other than me and her father and see more than the four walls of our house.
Yes, I can teach her about limits and not needing to buy every version of Barbie out there. (Have you seen Veterinarian Barbie? Goodness sakes! I think the clipboard she was holding was bigger than her skirt!) That one Barbie or one tiara is plenty enough. I can read her stories that have alternate versions of princesses that are not just demure, frilly and helpless so that she can start to piece together what kind of character matters most in people. I can take her to the aquarium and the park and our backyard and show her all of the really neat and important things that live in our world, even if the only way to get her out there is if I agree to let her wear her pink tutu.
And I can see that I am already striking a good balance when she tells me that she doesn’t want any of the dolls in the American Girl catalog (she was “wishlisting”)…just maybe another outfit for her two dolls to wear because the ones they have “might be getting stinky”. Not too shabby.
So, after we got back from our final summer trip, I realized that now really is the right time for her to explore whether she wants to participate in ballet and tap classes. All summer she had alluded to wanting to sign up, but we thought it might really be because her best preschool pal was taking classes. To rule out paying for a class where M just gazed at her best friend, we enrolled M in another dance center (not to mention that it’s only a mile down the road from us!), just “to see”.
Well, she loves it. For the hour before class and lasting until a few hours later each Friday, M beams with excitement and bounces around the house about being a real ballerina. I haven’t seen her like this about anything else. Well, except maybe candy corn. Me? I lasted only one year when I took lessons when I was young. But M is turning out to be someone different than me in many more ways than I had thought she would be…and that’s fine by me.
Copyright (c) 2011-2012 by Kristen M. Ploetz. All rights reserved.
Funny how seemingly unrelated things can make a connection and stir nostalgia in the wee hours of the morning.
Part 1: M has spent the past year or so learning to write letters and her name. She’s getting pretty good, but she struggles a bit with holding her pencil tight enough so sometimes what she’s written is barely legible because it’s so faint. We were told by her preschool teacher that playing with modeling clay will help build muscle tone in her hands–she said that she actually sees this quite a bit with today’s kids who are not playing as much at the playground and such as we all used to. So we’re hitting the monkey bars and the modeling clay (not Playdoh–too soft) a bit more these days. It’s a beautiful work in progress, and she is nonetheless proud of herself.
Part 2: Over the past year I had read a few surprising articles (like this one, this one, and this one) about how many schools, school districts and/or states are eliminating teaching cursive from the curriculum and often substituting keyboard skills instead.
Part 3: While we were away for a week on vacation, our neighbors graciously collected our mail for us. It was waiting in a tidy pile on our kitchen counter when we arrived home from the airport at 1:30AM. Although M had slept on the short flight, she was tired and clearly needed to get right back to sleep, but first she wanted to make sure all was in order around the house while Daddy unpacked the car. Meanwhile, I idly coursed through the five inch high mail pile to see what we had missed. I sorted it into two piles: recycle pile and keep pile. Now, I am not a letter writer these days myself (and I am well aware that we have some thank you notes that are overdue from M’s birthday), but I was actually sad to see that within that pile, only four pieces of mail were in the “keep” pile: two magazines that we subscribe to, and two pieces of mail from people we personally know. When I saw that all at once–rather than slowly filtering in over a week’s time–it kind of made me sad.
It probably goes without saying, but only one of those pieces of mail was handwritten–a postcard from our neighbors visiting France. Oh sure, there were a few of those pseudo-handwritten charity appeals in there, but we all know they aren’t fooling anyone with their computer generated scripted fonts. And I’m sure soon enough handwritten postcards will go the way of the dodo bird once someone figures out a way to digitize postcards. Oh wait…they already have. It’s called email and Facebook. I’m just as guilty of it too.
It’s just so much easier to upload a thousand megapixels of sand and sea for all of my friends and “friends” to see than it is to track down a postcard, a postcard stamp and a mailbox while on vacation. Does it even matter whether I am sending one stock photo with a few lines of my handwriting, musing about the local weather and eating too much instead of a cache of digital photos showing various stages of sunburn and frizzy, humid hair? If we’re honest with ourselves…it does matter, though maybe not for the right reason. The inner voyeur in most of us is looking through these photos to see whether our lives are as interesting as someone else’s, or more likely whether our friends (and “friends”) have a less than flattering photo that reveals some cellulite or beer belly that usually hides out beneath some flattering work clothes or a photo that forgot to keep the pile of candy wrappers out of the frame. Wait. Did you already see my photos from South Carolina? I digress….
Part 4: The big hubbub about the state of the U.S. Postal Service and possible reductions in delivery days, workforce, etc. Most recently on Huffington Post is this article.
But together all four of these random things became related in my mind as I tried to fall asleep later that night. Funny how being overtired, still jittery from flying and coming off of an Almond Joy induced sugar high will do that.
I am not even sure how I feel about the potential loss of cursive instruction and possibly a different mail delivery scenario. On the one hand, will I really be losing anything? I mean how many Capital One credit card solicitations and Pottery Barn catalogs do I really need on a weekly basis? The sheer waste of all that paper going unread and straight from my mailbox to the recycling bin always makes my blood boil. (Here’s where I will give a shout out to one of my favorite websites: www.catalogchoice.org — it really does work to get off of unwanted catalog mailing lists, although I cannot ever seem to shake Pottery Barn!! They have killed way too many trees in effort to sell me some brushed nickel faucets and other tchotchkes that I just don’t need!) If all I am getting in terms of wanted mail–meaning magazines and occasional notes from friends and family–is a few pieces a week, then really what’s the harm in reducing the delivery schedule (not that I want anyone to lose their jobs over this–though I can’t have it both ways I suppose). I have mixed views about it that are equally tainted by politics and nostalgia. And honestly, when is the last time I wrote a letter out in longhand? Probably college, save for a few thank you notes here and there over the years. No, the computer is definitely my friend here because it can keep up with my tendency to be long winded.
On the other hand….I think of M and her trying to learn penmanship and the possibility of the lost art of letter writing. I think of her earnest efforts at writing “M’s” and all the other letters in her name, and wonder what it will all be for down the road? While I have all of my favorite (and not so favorite) handwritten letters of boyfriends, friends and pen pals of years past saved up in a box in the basement to someday share with my angst ridden teenage daughter in a last ditch effort to relate to whatever teenage saga she is living through, I wonder what she will keep from her youth? Will she have to call Sprint or Verizon to request a printed copy of her back and forth text messages to her crush du jour? Will she be printing out reams of emails and put them in three ring binders? I can already hear myself telling her, “When I was your age I had to use a pen and paper to send a letter!” as I paw through my saved letters shoved haphazardly into a shoebox, and her rightfully rolling her eyes at me in response. And I am certainly not the first person to make note of the virtues of writing letters, as one of my favorite bloggers recently noted.
With handwriting you see emotion. You see when someone’s energy is flagging at the end of a long letter. You can see when they were in a rush or not so happy (like terse comments in the margin from a boss). You see that with underlining they really do want you to have a happy birthday! You can see the person’s individuality shine through their penmanship. You can see their mood change from day to day because it never looks exactly the same way twice. You know that they took the time to sit down, focus and craft something meaningful to say. But on a computer or phone keypad, all you get is some short, choppy statements and emoticons. OMG. WTF.
So as I fell asleep, I committed to myself that if the schools are not going to teach cursive by the time M goes to school, then I will teach her. If the USPS eventually goes the way of the pony express, then we will find another way to deliver her handwritten letters, no matter how quaint it may seem. It’s a lot like how I feel about reading maps and my silent resistance to using GPS despite being directionally challenged. No
vermin Garmin for me–just an old, coffee-stained map in the back of my car. Although it’s clearly easier to plug in an address and follow the eery voice to reach your destination, I want M to be one of the few people who can deftly read (and fold!) a map. Knowing how it feels to receive a written letter among a stack of junk mail, I also vowed to start sending an extra letter or two from time to time, especially to those friends who are not into email and Facebook. It’s not fair to those friends that these vices are the new common denominator for the rest of us.
None of us can rely entirely on technology because it does fail, both figuratively and literally, from time to time. We still need to know the basics and be able to communicate to each other as humans through traditional means, or at least I think so. Perhaps this is why every year I handwrite (rather than type out) a long “year in review” letter to M on her birthday and tuck it away in a special place for her to read once I am long gone. My hope is that, someday, she will get a sense of how I really felt while reflecting on her annual milestones, and understand the purpose behind my small but important effort that meandered over a few leaves of lined paper.
Copyright (c) 2011-2012 by Kristen M. Ploetz. All rights reserved.
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