On beauty

Like many of us, I’ve got a complicated relationship with aesthetics. On the one hand, they’re kind of everything to me. On the other, I sorta hate that. Except, if I’m honest, I don’t hate it because I care about them. I like pretty things. I like beauty. In fact, I love it. Don’t most of us?

Well, maybe. But maybe not. I spend an obnoxious amount of time thinking about art. Houses, which are art. Movies, which are art. Music? Obviously art. Wallpaper? Art. Food. Art-adjacent. Flowers? Art. Furniture? Clearly art. Lines and dots and splotches? Art.

And I think a lot about my daughter’s unfairly gorgeous face. I’ve spent an insane number of hours staring into that face and thinking about what it means to me and to those who know her. And I’ve wondered what others who don’t love her like I do see in that face. I’ll never know, of course, because I can’t unknow a mother’s love and obsession, but I can speculate.

Molly told me this week that she’s ugly. When I responded–in awe–that it was crazy that she could think such a thing, she told me that I had to tell her that because I’m her mom. I knew where she was coming from, but I tried to assure her that it’s not possible for me to lie about beauty because, frankly, it’s not. And she is–for better or worse–the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

I truly don’t know how she does it. She’s so funny and smart and kind and weird. And ridiculously beautiful and interesting. For a long time, I thought I wasn’t supposed to say that aloud. To her or to anyone. But that’s ridiculous. Saying it aloud doesn’t make me conceited or diminish her charm. It just acknowledges what I know: she’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

Our bedding was driving me bananas. So i went all in on new.

Gertie + new bedding

My top five pandemic buys (in no particular order)

A patio

Roomba

Radiator covers

An e-bike

IKEA shelving that partitions the living space from the dining space

Walk with us to help find a cure to a life with T1D

www2.jdrf.org/site/TR

An ode to my parents

My parents gave me a zillion things—physically, literally, and otherwise. But one thing that they gave me that I’ve long-valued but never expressed my gratitude for is the absence of a religion to belong to.

My mom was raised Catholic and my dad Episcopalian, but as far as I can tell—absent my baptism and godparents—there was never a thought about indoctrinating me or establishing me in a creed. In fact, I remember in elementary school, I once forced my folks to take me to church because I felt so left out of the religious world. My piano teacher abruptly stopped my lesson one day when I told her that we celebrated Christmas but didn’t go to church. For a brief time, I thought something was wrong with me. After all, my mom’s older brother and his family went to church. And my mom’s younger sister and her family sent their daughter to Catholic school. But not us. Although my mom said she’d wanted to be a nun for a time, we didn’t spend our valuable weekend time in a place of worship.

But I was encouraged to take the Bible as literature in high school, learn about Jesus as a historical figure, study religion and it’s effect on civilizations, and fall in love with Renaissance art. But I was not ever schooled to be a follower of a religion.

And while I sometimes find myself jealous (I know, so awful) of folks who feel faith in a way I never will or for whom religion is a source of comfort, I’m grateful for my parents’ gift. To be truly devoid of religion—I’m not Christian, I’m not Jewish, I’m not Muslim, I’m not mormon, etc.—is a gift. Even though it’s confusing to people sometimes (there’s this assumption that I’m Christian), but I’ll take it. While I don’t always love her, her non-religion is part of me and I’m proud of that. It was by my parents’ design and I’m grateful to them for that decision.

Now, lest there be no confusion, I’m not an atheist—I’m not! How could I be so bold?!—but like in nearly everything, I’m learning, growing, and messing up. I just think I was given a religiously blank slate on which I could write my own story. And I think that’s a magnificent gift.


July 2022
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