Advice to the Woman on the Subway

1. You’re not a failure if you’ve learned something
2. Let go. Because you can’t control outcomes
3. Learn to ask for and accept help
4. Find your own constant

I found these guidelines on my Notes app on my phone. I think they’re from my kids’ headmaster on parents’ day, but I’m not really sure. I was looking for something to post today — another crazy busy day. Not enough time to write.

I was on the subway headed to see Laura Pruden’s show. The woman next to me — middle aged, white, long hair, flouncy conservative clothes, stockings — was crying. I could see she was reading some sheets of paper. I caught some words over her shoulder:

Self-parenting
Sexuality
Context
Intimacy
How can you tell if a guy likes you?

She noticed me, noticing her. I gave her a weak smile. She blew her nose. She stopped crying.

I got off on Grand Street to see Laura’s show at Dixon Place. It was awesome. It addressed these topics. And a lot more.

Laura Pruden
(Laura Pruden’s one-woman show, Growing Up Straight in the Shadow of AIDS. Photo by Nikolitsa Boutieros of Divine Light Photography — at Dixon Place.)

There’s a shared intimacy to city living. We know each other so well. We sit so close to each other. And really, we don’t know each other at all. We go deep together. And then we get off at the next stop.

Thanks, Laura, for reminding me to remember our stories of love, loss and the epidemic.

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Take a Moment Each Day

Yesterday, I went to L’s bridal shower. I wrote this for her bridal book of advice for the newly married with children. 

at the ladies' luncheon.
at the ladies’ luncheon.

The little things slip my mind. I want to take a moment each day to notice that I love my life.

I know L. loves hers too. She’s been through a lot, as have we all. She’s divorced and such. I’m divorced, married for almost 18 years now, and concerned about my husband’s health and such. (I love adding ‘and such’ to sentences. It’s a cozy phrase and such coziness can incorporate a lot of water under the bridge!)

But noticing that you love your life does not mean that you love every little thing. Sometimes you have to notice the big picture. Like I have big gratitude for my health, my kids, and my beautiful NYC.

Sometimes you have to notice the little pleasing things that don’t slip through the cracks of awareness in the rush/rush of family life New York City.

I like to notice things like:

  • Red flowers in green window boxes
  • White wine on book club nights
  • Snuggly up with daughters to read a good book out loud
  • Feet up, watching television
  • The smell of lilacs or lilac soap – or any scented candles or flowers — that cross your path

When I first met L., I was blown away by how beautiful and capable she was – a single mother with a law career, three kids, and a dog. (I don’t know why but the dog really pushed me over the edge — a dog too? — How does she do it!)

L. made me feel that anything was possible and that we, women, and in particular, the women in my book club, could overcome any hurdle set before us.

Now that L. is entering into the foray of married love again, I see that, too, is an admirable and beautiful and capable not-so-small thing.

And I only wish her (and us all) more love and more little happy things.

-I wrote this for L’s bridal shower book, a book about finding fun and quick things to do in NYC with kids. Our book club is going to Long Beach Island on the Jersey Shore this weekend. I’m super excited for a girls’ get-away weekend. 

I added this, ‘Take a moment each day to notice that I love my life,’ as one of my goals at 43things.com. Today I notice I love my life because I love my kids, my book club, my friends, and my gift for noticing the little things.