Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Worlds Within Worlds

My daughter seems to have had a deeply satisfying time in South Africa, and has come back feeling happy and comfortable with herself and what she and her group were able to do. They worked extremely hard, she said, but their teacher chaperones were all just "ah-mazing" and helped make the trip spectacular. In the picture above, I am drawn to the little kid in the lower corner. I almost didn't see him at first. What does his expression say? I'm also drawn to the kids in the center of the frame,  of course.

My girl picked up a cold on the plane coming home, and she quickly passed it to me. It's a fairly mild chest thing, just enough to mess with your vocal chords and make you sound really croaky and sick, and to bestow passing waves of dizziness, and for 24 hours, a very sore throat that makes it hurt like hell to cough. But it's also the kind of sick that makes you want to just wrap up in a blanket and watch movies and sitcoms and laugh and laugh and feel happy to be so cocooned away from the world. So that is what my daughter and I did yesterday. She stayed home from school—I figured with her jet lag and cold she might as well take the day and get all the way better—and I stayed home from work, calling in sick rather than emailing because my voice made it so darn obvious they didn't want to be around me.

We had work to do, she had history homework still waiting and I had to edit and move two stories to research, and there was all her laundry from South Africa, so we did all that in the morning, and then, feeling very righteously productive, we settled down to the truly fun part of our sick day. We caught up on hugs and silliness and our DVR'ed shows, Modern Family, Survivor, the Top Chef finale, the singing episode of Gray's Anatomy (which had me riveted) and then switched to Netflix and watched the premiere episode of Brothers and Sisters, a series we will probably continue since it's one of those shows that provokes conversations about the twisty threads of human interaction, which we do enjoy. My girl crashed out by 8:00 P.M., the jet lag still with her, and was up by 5:30 A.M. this morning, dressed in her "new" cashmere sweater that she scored at the flea market on Sunday for ten bucks. She sang goodbye as she went out the door and I think she's pretty happy today.

In no particular order, here are some pictures from her time in South Africa. She gave me permission to grab these from Facebook.


My daughter took this photograph of a little girl in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. There is so much in that sweet face.


  1. I read every single one of your posts. I don't always comment because many times you leave me so emotionally wrapped up in your words that I need to step back and compose myself. You have the most wonderful children you know, and this one, this beautiful daughter, oh my, she is amazing.

    Thank her for sharing her photos and her trip with us, and thank you for sharing your daughter with us.

  2. Your daughter appears to be an inspiration already, at such a young age -- surely following in her mama's footsteps! The photos are terrific, and the little boy looking up at your daughter holding the boy is so full of yearning, no?

  3. Lucky you! Lucky daughter!

    What a pleasure to enjoy these photos with my morning coffee, Angella.

  4. Sounds like a lovely cozy sick day. Glad she's better now, hope you are too.

  5. Your daughter's photos and your words made my morning. Sorry you both caught the dizzy sore throat thing, I had that one and hated it.
    I was riveted by the musical Grey's Anatomy as well. I did not know Sara Ramirez won a Tony for singing her heart out in Spamalot. I've listened to the songs over and over again on youtube, the soundtrack of my week.
    So glad your daughter is back safe and sound, and had such a transformative experience. In that first picture, that little one in the corner just wants to be held in your daughter's arms too. She is amazing, your girl. Just like her mama.

  6. you rock.
    and so does your family.

    I'm so grateful to know you.

  7. I am sick today too and am just stopping by to read, to say that as always, you are amazing, to say that your daughter- well. You know.

  8. Cheers to the girl who kisses lions.
    I'm off on Thursday and Friday to meet my mom in DC for a long weekend. I can't wait to catch up on the hugs.
    And I love the throaty, sick voice that happens sometimes. It makes me feel like Janis Joplin or something - and you're absolutely right about calling. Whenever I'm sick and feel awful I try to make my voice worse for some reason. It's like showing off scars or bruises. Oh the things we survive.

  9. Kudos to your daughter! And to you and your husband. She seems so well grounded, self confident and kind, and fun.
    I am totally loving all the pics with the kids, but also the ones where she is with her friends. Totally jealous and psyched that she got to cuddle a lion cub.
    Sorry about the cold though.
    And you are right about the picture. I am feeling much stronger today.

  10. All the face expressions on your daughter's photos are so wonderfully happy. They speak of peace and love. Your daughter has one rare gift-she makes people happy. At least she did it to me today:)

  11. How beautiful, all the faces. A long journey and not just in miles. When her days are less hectic, I'm guessing more of it will catch up with her. The fortunate cold...always blessings in disguise. So glad she is back, that you had extra time to be together. The warmth of all of you radiates from the screen. xo

  12. She kissed a lion!! Mbube, Mbube, mbube....LOL. After all this time she still kisses animals. It is so nice to see that she did not grow out of that. Thanks for sharing this. Really needed it today.

  13. She glows, that 17 year old of yours. I recognize it from my own 17 year old who also seems to have been blessed with the same amazing generosity of spirit. It finally just struck me as to why your daughter loves to bake so much! She is an earth mother, naturally maternal and empathetic. Feeding others is just an extension of her beautiful, maternal nature. She could not resist doing it if she tried!

    The cold that your daughter picked up and brought home, not terribly awful enough to be sick in bed, but just sick enough to cocoon at home with each other, shutting the rest of the world out. Divine intervention from allowing the world to interrupt your need to catch up on the love? Stranger things have happened:) I do hope that you both feel better soon and if I lived closer, I would leave some homemade chicken soup on your doorstep. You know, Jewish penicillin and all.

    Lovely photos! I enjoyed every one! Please tell your daughter thank you for allowing you to lift them from her FB:)


  14. Fabulous daughter, fabulous mother, fabulous photos!!
    The sick part - not so much. :(
    Feel better soon, my friend. It sounds as though your girl is on the mend.
    Grey's Anatomy a musical? Seriously?
    One of the most exciting segments ever, and I kept hitting the mute button. Just annoying, in my humble opinion.
    Sending love ~

  15. what a wonderful experience!

    thanks for sharing the photos - that last one blows me away it is absolutely gorgeous, captures so much (the young girl's face is full of hope, love and gratitude; and like the little dog in the background)

    and how cool hanging and cuddling with a lion cub!!

    sending healthy vibes your daughter's way!

  16. You have a beautiful daughter so full of heart. She is showing how well you both have raised her. x0 N2

  17. You all will never know the gift you have given my daughter with your comments. To see herself through your kind words, to know there are all these hearts that care she is home safe, such generosity and goodness coming her way. Thank you!

    Sweet Megalis mom, thank you for being here and sharing in my wonder, which i know you understand, because i see your wonder in your own beautiful children.

    Elizabeth, she's forging her own path. I was not nearly as adventurous at her age. That boy's face, it makes me want to take him in my arms, yes.

    T., thinking of you and wishing you more mornings of pleasure with your morning coffee, from whatever source. Such mornings will come again. Sending love.

    ellen, 'twas, 'twas indeed! we are going to the Harry Potter exhibit in NYC tomorrow, my girl and i.

    Mel, i hope you're better now. I thought Sara Ramirez stole the show. She was apparently the one who gave Shonda Rhimes (the producer) the idea to sing all the songs Grey''s had made famous. i loved it too!

    deb, gratitude and love to you, sweet friend.

    Ms. Moon, i do know. Not even going to pretend. I am so lucky. As you are too. Feel better, love.

    Rachel, enjoy all the catching up on hugs with your mom!

    Miss A, yeah, not so sure I would have cuddled, much less kissed a lion cub. that is allll her.

    Olga, you are right. That is her gift. She has a great capacity for joy.

    Marylinn, glad she is back safe, too. It was hard choosing pics to put up, there are so many in which the kids just lean into my girl, as if they know she is full of loving him. i'm so glad you're here.

    Bruce, yes, there is the evidence. She still kisses animals. Love to you, dear brother.

    Debra W, my girl really liked your comment. She said, "Hmmm, an earth mother. I'll take it!"

    Gabriele, we are on the mend, thank you. I wish we could have hidden out for a whole week, but school and work demanded an appearance. but it was sweet while it lasted.

    Mouse, I think her antibodies must be pretty robust by now! It helps that she spent time on a farm helping tend barn animals all through her childhood. i love when you come by. hugs.

    N2, thank you for coming by and for the good thought!

    Love to all of you! For realz.