Category Archives: Gifts

New Year Message in a Bottle

There is a children’s song… “make new friends but keep the old, one is silver, but the other gold”  At the beginning of the New Year, I think of memories like that.  Cherished old memories are like gold, while shimmery silver new memories are just waiting to be made.

Memories, especially as I get older, make the holiday season more bittersweet, but I’m fine with that.   It shifts the focus of the holidays and the New Year to an appreciation for the people and positive events in my life, both past and present.   After this season’s reflection,  I’ve decided to write a New Year’s “message in a bottle” to one of my cherished  memories.

In the 1970’s, I was a live-in  au pair  to a well-heeled Manhattan  couple and their 10-year old daughter, Lauren.  I was twenty, attending a well-known secretarial school and taking singing and dancing classes on the side.   My goal was to finish secretarial school so that I would have a way of supporting myself while pursuing a career in acting.  Naively,  I thought I could take on the New York City challenge… “if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere”.

I had lived close enough to the city to have visited frequently, but I arrived in New York young, sweet and relatively innocent.  Not only did I need to work on my acting skills, I needed to develop a tougher,  more street wise demeanor.

However, New York had different plans for me.  What I learned during my tenure as a nanny was that my softer side was my greater strength.

 To this day, I have fond memories of  afternoon walks to Carl Schurz Park with my charge, Lauren, and her dog,  Christy.  This was one of my favorite activities while living in Manhattan.

 

 I also fondly recall the many hours of laughter Lauren and I shared.  Discussions centered around her experiences of  5th grade drama and friendship politics and, of course, debates with her mother about fashion choices.  (no dresses please!)  I think I gave some pretty good advice, but as anyone who has worked with children knows, I also got some pretty good advice about my own life.

 After completing my au pair year and secretarial school,  I left Manhattan and my acting dreams behind.  I moved to another city with a slower pace that was a better match to my personality.  My goals and life focus had changed. Indeed, I had learned a lot  during my stay in NYC.

 I learned, like many  twenty-somethings, that if you don’t make it in NYC  you can still make it anywhere.  More  importantly, I learned the value of being true to who you  innately are …. perhaps, that’s the goal in this life.

Later in my twenties when I had my own daughter . . .  named  Lauren.  I hoped my own Lauren would the have  the same qualities of strength, inquisitiveness and caring as Lauren E., and, of course, she does.  Hope so often creates reality.

I lost touch with my au pair family several years after my employment ended.  But  I have carried hopes and dreams  for Lauren E. in my heart for over 30 years.  Many thoughts of good wishes have been sent to her through the years.  I hope they have added to an already happy life.   My young charge is now a grown woman.  In this age of social media it might be possible to reconnect, but I am not sure I wish to intrude.

So, instead,  I am sending this “message in a bottle”  to Lauren E . . . may it find its way to you wherever you may be in this New Year.  You,  like my own daughter, will stay in my thoughts and prayers forever.   I am an  unknown cheerleader in your life.  I send hope and good wishes that life is well with you!  Namaste!

                                                                       Life is fine,

                                                                          Sarah

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Seasonal Gifts

The transition from summer to fall has always been a difficult one for me.  I mourn the loss of summer’s gifts. Beach weather,  bare feet in sandals,  berry picking with friends,  billowy linen shirts, blooming flowers and  long summer evenings are all greatly missed.  And I am especially wistful when a walk to the town green  finds my favorite fountain turned off till next spring.

.                                 very wistful …..

I am not exactly sure why a brief melancholy sets in. Maybe it’s a carryover from childhood, when this particular change of season signaled the start of restless days in school.

I don’t mean to whine or complain.  My Fall blues do not last.  And it’s not that I don’t recognize the lovely gifts of Fall,  my daughter was born in the Fall.  In fact once Fall is in full swing….right about now…..I start to  really enjoy the season.

Most people enjoy the Fall in its full parade of color.  But I start to enjoy it when the colors are more yellow than red  and when there are more leaves on the ground than on the trees.  It’s then that I can view the beautiful and amazing  architecture of  trees.  In kindergarten my daughter  described it as seeing the “bones of the tree”.  I couldn’t have said it better.

 

All day today I kept noticing  how beautiful the trees were looking.  In New England the trees have shed most of their more flashy Fall wardrobe.   However, the sun sitting low in the  early evening sky  highlights  their late-Fall charms.

My daughter’s birthday is right around the corner.  And predictably, Fall feels comfortable again, just like it does every year at this time.

…. Maybe it’s a carryover from motherhood, when the birth of my daughter signaled a new season in my life.  Today, I am gratefully reminded that each season has its gifts.

Life is fine,

Sarah


First Words

First words can be challenging or hard to find,  but they are always exciting.  I speak with some authority on this matter.  I’m a speech-language pathologist who works (mostly plays) with young children and often helps them find their first words. However, today is the day for me to find my first words. 

My decision to write my first post on this day is for one reason only.  C.F. used his first words with me today.  C.F. is a toddler I’ve known for over a year.  C.F. has only ever used a handful of single words and only with his mother.  He has not said words in the presence of his father, his brother and certainly not  me.

 But today, was a special day, a definitively “blue sky” kind of day or even a “blue sky with rainbow”  kind of day.  C.F. said 12 words to me today!   So in honor of C.F.’s sharing his words with me, I am taking a first step in sharing mine. 

blue sky with rainbow

                                                                          Life is fine,

 Sarah