All posts tagged: Mothers

I’m 50 and I Can’t Remember Jack Shit

When I was a kid, super memory was my superpower. I was the youngest in my nuclear family, the second-to-youngest in my extended family, and I was regarded as a rememberer-in-chief by all my relatives. Trip to the grocery store? “Nancy, we need apples, tomatoes and cereal,” Mom would say, and I’d reel off the list to her until it was all in the cart. “Nancy, what was the restaurant where we ate in the Adirondacks?” Aunt Margaret would ask, and I’d answer, “Keyes Pancake House” before the question was out of her mouth. People marveled. “You never forget anything.” It was easy, this remembering of things. What was the big deal? I’d think to myself, with all the self-awareness a nine-year-old girl could muster. Later, when I was teenager and perfecting random cruelty directed at my mother, I’d openly mock her for her inability to remember things. “Did I see that movie? Did I like it?” I’d taunt her, after she’d ask me just those questions about some film I’d mentioned. How could someone …

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You’re Never Too Young to Trust Your Gut (Lessons Learned from Making a Terrible Decision)

At age 17, my life was unraveling. My mother was dying, and my father was undone by the seemingly endless slog of her illness. He did his best to take care of my brother and me, and, in terms of creature comforts, we were fine. But crushed as he was, my father could offer no emotional or logistical support about the decisions I faced as I contemplated college. There were no discussions of which schools might suit me and no campus tours. Whatever research was to be done, I was on my own. I was a good student, and my options were undoubtedly greater than I thought, but I cast a narrow net, applying to only two places: Barnard College in New York City (about 15 miles from my suburban home) and a large state school several hours north, which was only on my radar because a neighbor went there. On the day of my Barnard interview, I loved the feel of the compact campus, the mix of old red bricks and modern glass walls. …

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Like Mother, Like Daughter — When it Comes to Tattoos

I present for your entertainment the brief but painful tale of my foray into the world of body modification, and how my seventy-three-year-old mother managed to both steal my thunder and make me feel like a privileged little shit. I got my tattoo later in life, some time around age 41 or 42. It was something that I’d wanted to do for years, but in all that time I had never been capable of settling on an image. There were three basic concepts that scrolled through my mind’s eye, and each one felt powerful, personal and perfect. But three tattoos were two too many for me, and committing to that one-and-only and forever-and-ever was harder — I admit it — than it was to commit to my second husband. I suppose it was because I’d already lived through the pain of divorce, but I’d never experienced anything like laser surgery. The images were simple ones: A ginkgo leaf. A dragonfly. A horseshoe crab. Each represented a time and place in my life and each spoke …

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Non-Traumatic Motherhood: A Non-Traumatic Manual

I come at life like a blunt instrument. I throw myself head first into whatever is coming and ask questions later. This strategy has had mixed success — sometimes it’s exhausting, sometimes frustrating, but mostly it has forced me to move forward, no matter what. It’s a pattern that has been hardened and rewarded through some pretty rough years, but I’ll get to that. Professionally, I’m a proud civic-tech nerd, veteran of Obama ’08 and founding tech director for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (yes, the one with Elizabeth Warren – another blunt instrument). Personally, I’ve moved cross-country several times in my life, most recently after leaving my awesome CFPB gig to get married. Then we up and moved to London, where I threw myself into a new city, job and life. The ad hoc, impulse, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants life was working for me. Until I got pregnant. MOTHER? FUCK! You can’t be a blunt instrument with a baby. Those things are delicate. But then again, people have been having kids for centuries, right? I married a …