All posts filed under: Love+

Fall in love, shrug off that bad date, spend time with family, walk the dog, be a friend

When The Only Trump Supporter You Know Is Your Dad

I know several people who can say “I don’t know anyone who voted for Trump.” And I don’t necessarily consider that a good thing nor a badge of honor (nor would I if someone told me they don’t know anyone who voted for Hillary). I just know that I’m not one of those people who can say they don’t know anyone who voted for Trump because I do know someone: My father. Yes, I’m still talking to him. Yes, I’ve heard the endless entreaties of “You should stop talking to him!” No, it’s not that easy. I’ve turned around, dissected and diagramed his reasons for voting the way he did, and I still don’t understand any of them. We share a gene pool, the same body type, the same skin and hair color and even the same missing adult incisors that never grew in. We share a similar sense of humor. But we don’t share the same political beliefs — particularly the belief that your vote should be cast to help advance the greater good, …

I’m Canadian, And I Think It Might Be Time To Go Home

When you travel by rail between New York and Ontario, there’s a bridge over the Niagara River where the train, briefly, lies in mid-air between Canada and the U.S, the mist from Niagara Falls drifting toward the train windows, tantalizingly out of sight. On one side of the river, the Stars and Stripes flutters in the wind, on the other, Canada’s red maple leaf. It’s an odd feeling, every time, to hang suspended between my two nations, my two identities. They’re so close, but – especially now – so very far apart politically. Now that Donald Trump sits in the Oval Office, I wonder, daily, why, with a perfectly good, safe country to return to, I haven’t moved back home. A place where the nation’s best universities cost less than $10,000 a year, sometimes much less. Where single-payer government-run healthcare keeps millions of people healthy, whatever their age or employment status. Unlike many immigrants – who arrive fleeing weak economies, religious persecution, political strife, even war – I chose to leave Canada for the United …

Scenes from a Visa Application Process

The man standing behind the counter said to us in his thick Indian accent “I’m sorry, but your visa won’t get approved.” Walking into the Abu Dhabi US Embassy was in itself intimidating. The place looks like a fortress. A massive culmination of stone that looks like an angular piece of rock jutting out of the sand. There are barriers up and Marines on guard. Past three separate check points was the consular services center. It was a dark modest room that had rows of chairs and our President and Vice President’s pictures hung on the wall. On the far side was a long counter spanning the whole length of the room. We made our way to a man behind the counter who gestured us over. I had met my husband years earlier, practically the moment I stepped foot in the Middle Eastern country I was going to call home. Since then, our lives became a whirlwind of change. Falling in love, new jobs, moving in together, my conversion to Islam, and getting married. We …

How I Found My Tribe in an Insomniacs Facebook Group

Facebook is many things to me. Up until the election, it was mainly a fun distraction, a place to see sweet shots of my friends’ kids and adorable animal videos. More recently, I’ve been acting as town crier, sharing the latest outrageous act by the new administration and rallying the troops to battle against it. But first and foremost, it has been the place where I’ve found my tribes. First, I found groups for autism parents, people who “got” what I was experiencing – the day-to-day joys and challenges of raising a child on the spectrum. Several years later, I found another tribe: writers. These wonderful, talented women share their work and support one another. Through them, I met my third tribe: insomniacs. We found each other in the predawn hours, posting and chatting with kindred spirits in the dark, our rooms illuminated only by the light of our phones. I knew I wasn’t supposed to look at screens after I went to bed. I had been schooled in the ways of good sleep hygiene: …

Sister, Sister: I’m a Black Woman with a White Sister

When people ask if I have brothers and sisters, I don’t know where to begin. Do I say, I’m an only child, the youngest of seven or the seventh of nine? In fact, all these answers are true. I’m my mother’s only child and the youngest of my father’s seven biological children. But if we’re talking the order in which my father’s children entered his life, then I’m not the last. When my parents divorced, my father remarried and I inherited two step-siblings. Still, however I go about answering the “Do you have brothers and sisters?” question, I always get to this part: I am a black woman with a white sister. Her name is Amy. People would come to my old Harlem apartment see her photo on my bookshelf, the one where I’m standing next to her on her wedding day, and they’d ask, “Who’s that?” But I would never just say, “My sister.” I knew that I must follow up with an abridged version of my family history, saying something like, “My parents divorced …

Calling Julie: The Sister I Chose and Lost

I still have her listed as “sister” on my Facebook. You know how you can tag people as family in your profile? It has been five years since she died, and I just can’t bring myself to change it. Perhaps I never will. Julie was my best friend. We first met each other when we were working at The Destin Log on the northwest coast of Florida. It was my first “real job” out of college. I had followed a cute Air Force officer to the beach town after I got out of school, planning to move on to Atlanta after the summer. Turns out I loved it there and, although the dude didn’t love me, I stayed. I had a friend who knew someone at the local paper, and — voila — I got a job there on the lowest rung, working the government beat in nearby South Walton County. Julie was the features editor — a beautiful woman who drove a cute red BMW. I was drawn to her immediately. Now, the government …

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 …

What is the Lifespan of a Memory?

Memory is a funny thing. Why do we remember the things we do, and how is it that people remember the same event differently? How does one person remember and another forget? I’ve always been fascinated by this, and so when my kids were very young I began an informal experiment by asking them at different stages about their memories: “What’s your best memory? What’s your worst memory? What’s your first memory?” Even with their young brains, there are some things that they have already begun to forget. Which leads me to one of my biggest fears: that I will begin to forget too — their stories, my stories and my family’s stories. And if I forget bigger events, what will happen to those little moments? How my mother laughed and my father smiled? And what my daughter’s first hug felt like? This melancholy musing has led me to ask: What’s the lifespan of a memory? Family stories seem to be the easiest thing to keep alive. I keep dredging them up and telling them to my kids …

The Mazel Tov Slap: The Jewish Tradition You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

(Graphic: Kat Borosky/TueNight.com, Photo: Niekverlaan/Pixabay.com) When I told my mother I got my period for the very first time, she slapped me across the face and shouted, “Mazel Tov!” It wasn’t a punishment slap — more like the way you’d slap a person who fainted, or something out of the Marx Brothers — and it didn’t feel violent. I don’t remember the moment in great detail, and I don’t remember it as something terrible that happened to me. I mostly remember knowing that it was part of long-standing tradition from shtetl times, passed down from Jewish mother to Jewish daughter, the purpose (supposedly) being to bring the color back to your face (because it’s all draining out through your vagina now!). It’s possible I even knew it was coming, that it was something we discussed in advance — probably with all of my female relatives! — as I eagerly awaited the big day. And yes, I so desperately wanted my period, because at 14, it felt like ALL OF MY FRIENDS had theirs, and I was on …

Why I Keep the Fact That I’m a Muslim to Myself

You wouldn’t know my secret by looking at me. You wouldn’t see me walking down the street and give me that knowing nod of understanding. Because, honestly, you can’t tell that I’m a Muslim. I’m a middle-aged woman (first time I wrote that out… ouch), born and raised in the states. Blond hair, blue eyes and a totally American name. And I don’t cover. There are a few reasons I choose to be anonymous with my religion. I don’t need to talk about my religion or get people to convert to my side. I don’t need to debate the merits of my religion versus another religion or having no religion at all. I know what I believe and I’m firm in my faith. I have no desire to make sure you believe what I believe or to give you some spiel on why I needed to change religions. My husband and I are private people. We don’t share our news with the world. We keep that between us, so it’s reasonable to think that our …

Faith in Boys, Bikes and Wallpaper

I had all kinds of faith when I was a kid. Faith in Christmas presents, in the sweetness and chaos of my brother, in pathological lip-gloss reapplication, in swimming pools, in ketchup all over everything, in my bike. I had faith that my mother would remain fierce and beautiful and my father funny. I had faith that I could be those things if I paid attention. I would cherry-pick and incorporate. Season myself to taste. I would control myself. Everyone thinks they can do this. I didn’t know that then. But I had faith that concentrating really hard was the answer. Sometimes I notice myself being the things that they are, all kinds of things, and their voices are suddenly inside me, finding their way out. I’m surprised every time. Like I’ve belched in public. I have faith it doesn’t show. Did you read that on my face? I’m very good at not showing. I ask all the questions. I have faith that asking all the questions will fill me up. My story and others …

Making Room for an Older, Adopted Son

When you renovate a home, you tear down walls, gut rooms, rip out old pipes and wires. You empty out to rebuild and refill it. When you renovate a family, you push, stretch, pull and shift, too. You push past fears of it “not being the right time” or of you “not having enough money.” You stretch your thinking about the structure of your family and where everyone will fit in with a new addition. You stretch the shape of your heart to fit a new child into it, one that didn’t come from inside of you but is placed with you. You shift the space within your mind, your heart and your home to make room. “I want a baby brother,” my 9-year-old daughter told me for the umpteenth time. My “bio” daughter, or “biological daughter,” as she would soon be known, was eager for a sibling and no amount of “Mommy can’t have any more babies” satisfied her want. And then one day, something shifted. “I want a baby brother,” she said. And …

The Season of Giving In

I’m just going to come out and say it: I am not doing well. I am spent. I am drained. And now we are entering the season of giving? Ladies, I don’t know about you, but I am tapped out. I’m a mom of two boys, two and four years old. They are brilliant little crazed monkey lunatics. My heart is on my sleeve and in my throat every minute of the day. It’s exhausting. Strangers see my tight face in the grocery store as my boys have a screaming match in aisle 9 and offer me, “These are the days! You don’t want to miss them!” Seriously? Cause I gotta tell ya, if I ever have a moment to myself, I am daydreaming about dropping them both off at a highly-rated Charter school with after-hour yoga care while I, I don’t know, take a hike or finish reading a paragraph in a magazine or simply do the dishes without someone clinging to my leg or wiping their nose on my jeans. I’m also gut-wrenchingly …

The Art of Being a Flaker

‘Tis the season for accepting invitations to holiday parties and saying yes to merrymaking with friends, family and coworkers. ‘Tis the season for exclamatory declarations: “I’ll be there!” and “Can’t wait!” and “Count me in!” Also, ‘tis the time for emoji-laden last-minute cancellations. Ugh! I’m sorry, but I can’t make it after all. (😞😞😞😞) Unfortunately, I have… Please don’t hate me! 😞😞😞  I won’t be there tonight.😞😞😞  I’m soooooo sorry.😞😞😞 So many sad faces, so little time. But lack of time isn’t my excuse for not showing up when and where I say I will. The fact is, I am a flaker. Flaker \ˈflā-kər\ noun: someone who cancels plans at the last minute, someone who reneges on invitations, someone who doesn’t show up and doesn’t call first, etc. (i.e. I was supposed to go to this party downtown tonight, but my friend Penny is a flaker.) Mind you, my penchant for backing out or pulling up late isn’t relegated to social obligations. Flaking is a true way of life for me. Everyone thinks they’re a …

Cheers to the Ones Who Aren’t Drinking This New Year’s Eve

Krystal and Cristal — it was the tradition my husband and I shared for 15 years. For those unfamiliar, Krystal is a hamburger chain headquartered in Dunwoody, Georgia. And Cristal, well, you know that’s champagne. It’s a purposeful mix of “high-low,” born on our first New Year’s together when, without a reservation, my husband and I grabbed a sackful of Krystal burgers and champagne, December 31, 2001. The tradition evolved in subsequent years. We ate the burgers off Lenox china gifted to us for our wedding, then on a silver tray once at a dinner party, and then the tiny burgers were cut into quarters for our small son. This year, La Croix will be substituted for Cristal. Because this year, I quit drinking for good. It used to be that I would feel sorry for the person who wasn’t drinking. How could I have a New Year’s Eve? How could I have any kind of Friday — or Tuesday for that matter? This year’s toast is not about the things that I have lost. …

Even When Dad Was Dying, We Kept Laughing

I am one of the lucky ones whose parents, through a combination of good genes and good living and good luck, were still around when I was in my 40s. When I thought about losing either one of them, which I did rarely and fleetingly, I pictured myself sobbing next to a hospital bed, drained faces, the gaping abyss that would come with the loss of someone who had loved me unconditionally from my first breath. Then my dad got sick in June this year and died in July. And I realized I’d left out an important facet of the process of losing them: laughter. Admittedly, mine is a family where a quick wit was prized and prodded to higher purpose. A sense of humor was as important growing up in my home as was the ability to work hard, tell the truth and clean the rabbit cage without being nagged to do it. I don’t believe we were special that way; the proprietary humor that can thrive between family members is part of the …

Grief and Gratitude: Knowing Nannie Was Worth the Pain of Losing Her

In early 2007, we sat around my Aunt Mary’s dining room table talking about ways we could celebrate my grandmother’s birthday. Nannie was turning 80, and though she referred to her contemporaries around town as “the old folks,” she in no way considered herself one of them. She’d still have been driving (like a bat outta hell) if her last hip surgery for a degenerative condition hadn’t significantly weakened her pedal-pushing leg. Las Vegas came up. We sipped coffee—my aunt, my mom, my cousin Erica, Nannie and I—as we imagined a glitzy adventure littered with Elvis impersonators, convertible Caddies, big winnings, free booze and overflowing buffets. We envisioned ourselves road-tripping cross-country to party in Vegas. The things we’d do, the people we’d meet. It was even suggested that Wilhelmina might come out of retirement—Wilhelmina being my grandmother’s vagina. Come November, just 45 days before anyone could assess the fire hazard of shoving 80 candles on a cake, my grandmother left this life. That night, I laid down in her bed and slept for close to 24 …

Rings to Remember: The Art of Mourning Jewelry

When I was 10 years old, my parents gave me a copy of Gone With the Wind as a birthday present. While I didn’t understand it all, one of the many things that stuck out in my mind from the book was the concept of mourning. I learned that in Scarlett O’Hara’s world, society had strict rules to follow about behavior and attire after the loss of a family member. In just a few chapters, Scarlett goes from 16-year-old flirt to widow, and, as society dictated, being a widow she wore a long veil and black, eschewing social activities in observance of her loss. While these strict customs have mostly faded, one physical relic that remains from that time is the jewelry. Called mourning jewelry — also referred to as memento mori jewelry — these pieces commemorate the death of a loved one and serve to remind us that death will come for us too. As an antique jewelry enthusiast, I have seen many mourning pieces over the years. While I appreciated them as historical …

The Life and Death of Roses

There is a dead rose in a vase on our dining room table. “It needs more water, Mommy,” says my eight-year-old daughter. “It’s dead,” says my husband, looking up from his breakfast. “What can we do?” asks my daughter. “Throw it out,” says my husband, who goes back to eating. “No, I don’t want it to be dead!” My daughter looks at me pleadingly, and I feel another gentle lecture coming on about life and death and dead flowers being a natural part of the whole process. * * * The first time I realized that there was something dying inside of me was in my mid-40s, in the checkout line at the wine section of my grocery store. When I got up to the counter to pay, I looked up at the attractive young man at the cash register and smiled. Then he called me “Ma’am.” My age was staring me in the face, in the blank look of an attractive, young man who was simply taking my money, unmoved by my smile. I …

Post-Election Do’s and Don’ts: Everyday Tips to Be a Better Human

DO: Engage in conversations, even if they’re difficult. Be mindful of your spending; vote with your dollar. Have coffee or share a meal with someone who you think is different from you. If you see someone being harassed, use your privilege to protect them. Do your own research by reading independent journalists and non-mainstream media. Speak up. Document hate crimes and hate speech. Make an effort to smile at someone; it could turn their day around and make them feel less lonely. Educate yourself on issues of racial justice. Challenge your thinking and behavior. Amplify voices that may not be mainstream. Be mindful in your consumption. Get to know your neighbors. Build your local community. — Suzan Bond and Kia M. Ruiz. Suzan Bond is a Fast Company contributor and the founder of Bet On Yourself, which supports independent internet creators through business, marketing, and branding strategy.  Kia M. Ruiz is a environmental and consumer resource consultant. You can read more of her writing at Bodhibear.net.   DON’T: Assume that you can pick up stakes and move to Canada. Or New Zealand. Or anywhere else. If you’re serious about becoming an expat, form a logical plan and know that …

Teaching Your Children Empathy: 15 Resources for Parents and Guardians

The 2016 presidential election made one thing clear: Empathy is sorely lacking in our society. Empathy, like racism, sexism, prejudice and bigotry, is learned at home. Here is a short list of ways you can teach your child to love, respect and value those who do not look or act like her.  1. Go beyond a play date. It’s easy to look inclusive when meeting at a neutral location but actually take an interest in your child’s ethnically or religiously diverse classmates. Hang out at their home or in their neighborhood and see how they live. More from Urban Moms NYC.  2. Be a good sport. Talk with your children about what a good sportsman looks like. More from KidsHealth.org. 3. Go help someone. The holiday season is around the corner. Invite a neighbor or classmate over for dinner. Deliver meals to boys and girls clubs, senior living facilities, then stay and engage with them. Show your kids how to shine their light on others. More from Volunteer Match. 4. Failure is your friend. It builds character, teaches humility and resilience. Encourage your child to make mistakes. More from Business …

Self Care Tips When You Are Utterly Devastated

  Karrie Myers Taylor is a San Francisco-based “self-care coach” who helps people find the time to eat healthy, get balanced and learn how to take better care of themselves. Here she offers 15 tips to heal our post-election blues. Practice forgiving… yourself: Trump did not become President because you didn’t know enough or didn’t do enough about the presidential campaign.  Learn how to forgive yourself and move on.  Here’s a great book to get you started: How To Forgive Ourselves Totally: Begin Again by Breaking Free from Past Mistakes Turn off negative media: Choose two media sites that you trust and only read those.  Quietly stop following the Facebook feeds of friends and family who are sharing inciting media on their pages. Medicinal baths & body brushes: Take 30 minutes a week to soak in a steaming hot bath to get some clarity.  Add some magnesium flakes and essential oil, and be sure to dry brush your body with a natural fiber dry brush before you step in the tub; it will get rid of all that negative media residue. Set boundaries around what …

How to Throw a Party for Your Pussy

I want to talk about sex. Though my friends will tell you I always want to talk about sex. Anyway, my freshman year in college, I went to a fraternity party and met many people, both male and female, who would go on to become my dear friends. I also met a really good-looking guy who caught my attention; he was shy and yet, once engaged, very direct and smart. I ended up upstairs with him in his loft bed, peeling out of my Norma Kamali snap-front dress with that satisfying pop pop pop, trying not to hit my head on the ceiling as I did so. We laughed a lot, and we had fun. Truth be told, I can’t remember exactly what we did sexually – if we went “all the way” or not – but I am positive we had a lot of fun. The next night, I went back to that same fraternity with my dorm hallmates and circulated around the party. I saw my previous night’s lover across the room, waggled …

How I Evaded a Stalker in Thailand

He was an expert. He played me — all charm and smile — when being played hadn’t occurred to me yet. He sidled up to my breakfast table in the Thai guest house where we were both staying; he asked questions. Before I had had two bites of my banana pancake, he knew where in Thailand I was living and working: the town and the school. Because I told him when he asked me. He was grizzled and rugged, in need of a shave. Australian, he said. He told me his name was Joe, and he didn’t tell me his last name. He was twenty years older than I was; I was 22. I excused myself from breakfast and, inside my rented bamboo hut-on-stilts, changed into shoes I could walk in. I packed my day pack and set out to explore before the sun rose too high. I had been in Thailand four months. On this school holiday, all my buddies had other plans and I decided to travel alone, against the advice of my …

The Case of the Bad Panties

In 1992, I was 23 and the girl who had sex on the first date, if not before. Not coincidentally, I was also drinking too much and dating a lot of low-wattage losers. After a few drinks, I found myself far more interested in what my date was like with his clothes off. To get him to shut up, my underpants came down. But this strategy was getting me nowhere. I was beginning to suspect that it might be better to date people who didn’t bore me into having sex. It was around this time I was asked out by someone I actually liked, a person in whom I potentially could invest time and energy. He was a gentle, shy creature, the type who might be scared off by my willingness to — well, by my willingness. How to keep myself from jumping him pre-appetizer? The beauty of my solution lay in its simplicity: I would wear a pair of panties too embarrassing to reveal to him. The panties in question were a pair of …

In Praise of Friends That Don’t Last Forever

When I was a girl, I believed wholeheartedly that in order for best friends to be for real, they had to be forever. And I know I’m not alone. Want proof? Just look at any girl’s yearbook. The acronyms may go in and out of vogue, but the sentiment remains: B.F. F. Now that I’m resting solidly in the middle of my 40s, I wonder if there’s any such thing as a “forever” best friend. We all change so much over the course of our lives, I barely recognize the young woman I was in high school, much less the kid whose prized possession was a Donnie and Marie Barbie play set. So why do we believe that the friendships we made back then should survive the dramatic overhauls and upheavals we traverse on the way to adulthood? I’m still in touch with many of my earliest friends; we wish each other happy birthday on Facebook and exchange holiday cards decorated with photos of our children. But we no longer tell each other our deepest …

BFF Love Fest: 7 Pairs of Besties Share What Bonds Them

I met my friend Sarah eight years ago at a conference after-party, years after I thought the world had stopped handing out best friends to grown women. I shut my hand in a heavy restroom door and cut it — badly. She was walking in when the bleeding started and asked me if I needed help. I said yes, and she stayed to assess the situation. We wrapped it up, laughed about it and went back to the table. I don’t remember what happened next, but I know that she has been there, in many ways and to varying degrees, ever since. We all need these kinds of connections: strong, supportive bonds that are key to health, happiness — and also killer brunch and housewarming parties, let’s be honest. Sometimes, a particular human connection is stronger than the rest, and you end up with that person who holds the other side of your virtual heart necklace…and maybe even your internet passwords. You get a best friend. We talked with some pairs of best friends about …

Ghosted and Gone: I May Never Know Why She Left

Let’s call her Jane. Out of respect for her feelings. Even though I haven’t spoken to her in several years, even though it has been almost seven years since we stopped being best friends. Well, I thought we were best friends. Was I wrong? Maybe. We met when we were both editorial assistants at a chic, smart women’s magazine. Obviously, we were both thrilled to be there. She was Ivy League Official, though. I felt intimidated by her legit status. At first, I didn’t like her. I’m sure it was some kind of competitive pheromone exchange that made me instantly bristle and want to turn away from her. But she would pop over from her aisle to mine, plopping down in my visitor chair to chat with me and the other assistant across the aisle. I remember that I always made her laugh, which warmed me up to her. I remember that she was really smart. And wore way too much brown for my taste. I remember a few months later when I told her …

Two Old Friends on Growing Up Black and White in Lincoln, Nebraska

Eric and I grew up three houses apart in a fairly affluent neighborhood in Lincoln, Nebraska. We went to different elementary schools, but beginning in 7th grade our paths crossed more regularly, especially in the summertime when we’d bike together to the pool for endless, unsupervised afternoon swims or play made-up war games (I know, what?) in his backyard. Recently, mired in misery about the state of our country, I set out to hold a conversation with Eric. I wanted to know how he was grappling with America 2016, especially as a father. It turned into a more straightforward interview, frankly, because his answers were so good I just wanted to sit back and listen or, in this case, read over Facebook messenger. Sara: Growing up in Lincoln, Nebraska —  how did your parents talk to you about being black? Eric: In some ways, growing up in an overwhelmingly white town like Lincoln is unique, and in other ways, it’s just like everywhere else. When I was in maybe first or second grade, I remember …

The 8 Types of Girlfriends Every Woman Needs

Most of us have had good girlfriends of many varieties: from the secret-keeping, pinky-swearing grade-school bestie to the friend who answers the midnight call with provisions and bubbly. They’re the bricks on which the houses of our lives are built. My girlfriends mean everything to me. They are the family I have chosen for myself. I aim to give back to them, as much as they give me. There are certain roles each must play in my long-standing tribe of female power, defined by personalities and needs. Sometimes one at a time, sometimes all at once. Here are eight types of BFFs that are crucial to my wellbeing, my sanity and my life. 1. The Sweetheart I once had a friend stay up with me for two days after surgery. She took my temperature every hour on the hour and refused to leave my side until I could hold down food. She was salve for my wounded body and soul, and I’m so grateful that she’s still in my life, always there with a smile …