I spent all day today writing my holiday gift guide for guys (for BlogHer) which I can't even link to yet because it's not live. It took me forever and at the end of the day, I'm not sure there's anything there that will help anyone.
I bring this up because after a full day of writing, I'm not sure how I'm supposed to blog here. And normally I wouldn't -- I'd wait until I was coherent in the morning. But that's not how this "blog every day" thing works.
So I did what I said I'd do last night. I went perusing my iPhoto files and chose this photo to post and say a few words about:
This is, perhaps quite obviously, a photo of me and my sister, my dad, and our dog, Cronopio (Crony for short).
We're sitting on the front step of our humble abode in non-humble Darien, Connecticut.
I love this picture because it's silly and happy and funny. We were a mess, even back then. A big, happy, hairy mess.
I love that my dad has preppy patchwork pants and a hairstyle to match the dog's. I love that he has absolutely no idea how to hold the baby and doesn't even know it. I love that my smile is so complete and real that my eyes are slits and my cheeks expand to chipmunk status. I love that my t-shirt says "happiness."
We all got older, and I don't think that's what made us sadder.
I think a lot of bad things happened that made us all sadder.
What am I trying to say?
I think I've spent much of my life trying to reclaim moments like these, moments that feel as good as when we were together and messy and hairy and happy. It's not impossible. It's there, at my core. Optimism. Fearlessness.
I was so lucky to have such a good start on and at life. But then a lot of really bad things happened to my family, and everyone's smiles became strained for a long, long time. It wasn't just because we lost the innocence of youth.
This photo was from the "before."
And that is my single greatest fear in raising Eve. I don't want her life to have a "before" and "after." I want her whole life to be lived from one chipmunk-cheeked moment to the next. Of course, there can be bumps and heartache and sadness and bad things. Of course she will experience the un-good parts of life.
But I hope I have the strength and ability to shield against her having a life of "after."
I was lucky that my family's good times were so good that they will always outweigh the bad, even in hindsight, even decades later. It was enough for my always. But I don't want Eve to have to think back to that time that her family was happy together. I want that kind of intrinsic happy and belief in good to be her now, always.