Friday, August 31, 2012


These kids have been friends since they rode the school bus together in Pre Kindergarten. His mom likes to say my girl saved them hundreds in scarves and gloves and hats by rescuing them and bringing them to school the next day after her friend left them on the bus. They were part of the group of lifers at their progressive elementary school, ten kids who attended from Pre-K through eighth grade. They all scattered to different high schools, but this was a special class, and most remained close. Like family. Like siblings or cousins, giving space to each other's quirks. Now these two are in the same college town. My girl went to dinner with his family when they brought him up to school; he goes to the same college as my son now. Confused? Never mind. I just wanted to post the photo, which his mom sent me as an email from her phone while they were at dinner. It's the only photo of my girl that I've seen since we left her at her dorm two weeks ago. The subject line said, "Your amazing daughter." I wrote back, "Our amazing children." Nothing like lifelong friends.

Thank you, Elizabeth

You must watch this moving video made by 
my friend Elizabeth, mother of Sophie, Henry and Oliver. 
Be sure to click the lower right corner so you can view 
this full screen. You don't want to miss any of the words.

If the video doesn't play you can see it
on Elizabeth's blog here
and on You Tube here

The In Between

On the phone this morning, my mom asked about my kids. I told her they seemed to be fine and I mentioned how much I missed them. She said, "Ah, my love, we have all been through it, and I am going through it still." And then she said, "You know, your Aunt Winnie and I could not have been closer growing up. That's not to say she wouldn't slap my knuckles with a ruler when I tried to tidy up her dresser and put away her things. We shared a room and you know I am a tidy person. But we were so close. And when she left Jamaica to live in New York, that is when I first understood how much you can miss a person."

Her voice is soft and ever more frail. She is at the stage that Aunt Winnie was at two years ago, when everyone asked her at every sentence to repeat herself and to speak louder. It used to irritate my mom a bit. She'd scold Winnie and tell her she wasn't a lip reader. Now my mom understands. She says, "I'm not trying to speak softly, I just can't find the breath."

She lives with my brother in Jamaica now. We all understand she's not just there for a while. This is her home now. He is taking good care of her, making sure she gets exercise twice a day, and arranging for a physical therapist to work with her twice a week. He says she's stable.

A few days after she got to Jamaica on August 4, she went to her baby sister Grace's 87th birthday party, which was held at my cousin's house. My brother says my mom came home hours later, shaking and weak from hunger. He was frustrated and perplexed. He observed that a spread of food had been laid out at the party, and asked her why hadn't she eaten. She said her hands were shaking too much, and she didn't want anyone to worry about her. My brother called me the next morning, abject. He listed the family and friends of my mom who were at the party, people she has known for seven or eight decades. He said, "How could she not feel comfortable eating in their company?"

Afterwards, I spoke to my mom. She told me how appalled everyone had been to see how frail she looked, how thin and small. Apparently everyone made a fuss about it, murmuring, "Gloria, what happened to you?" She said, "I saw my decline in their eyes." And she said, "I think I will just stay in this room now and not bother to go out." I wanted to cry. Many people come to visit her. And she does occasionally go out of the house, despite what she said. But life continues to shrink for her, and I know she looks to her sister Winnie, and she's scared.

Meanwhile, I am here in New York going to and from work each day, filling my evenings with dinners with women friends and the company of my husband, missing my elders, missing my children, and thinking that those cultures in which everyone lives out their lives on the same compound, all the generations together, might be on to something. I think sometimes we have taken independence and individualism too far.

That said, I remember the exhilaration of being on my own when I went to college. I remember I barely gave my parents a thought, so absorbed I was in the new life unfolding for me. (Well, it's not quite true that I never thought about my parents, because now I recall that I wrote my mother long descriptive letters about who I was meeting and what I was learning, and she wrote me back, with lists of the words I had misspelled, corrected at the end of her letters. I've always been so amused that she did that, endeavoring to teach me still.)

As apprehensive as I was the summer before college, leaving home was an exciting time, full of experiences that schooled and enriched me and forced me to grow in the understanding of all I could do. So as life shrinks for my mom and seems stalled momentarily for me, I take comfort in knowing that it is expanding by leaps and bounds for my children and I am at peace.

Photo: "Station" by Kai A.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

"Breathtakingly dishonest"

So opined the Washington Post.

Now I know what Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney meant when he said he wasn't going to allow his campaign to be dictated to by fact checkers. Paul Ryan parted company with the facts in an impressive way in his speech accepting the vice presidential nomination at the RNC last night.

I could go through and itemize the bold faced lies, but news organizations from Fox News to the Washington Post to the Daily Beast, indeed every journalistic entity that actually practices journalism, are already doing that.

Instead I will just marvel at how willfully ignorant Romney and Ryan believe their constituents to be. Clearly Ryan has decided he can spew blatant untruths and his base will swallow them whole, and I find it utterly terrifying that he might just be right.

I think it's time to paraphrase an article Ms. Moon linked the other day, in which the writer noted her exhaustion and disbelief at what is transpiring in far right wing politics and declared that she had given all the fucks she had to give, she had given so many fucks that now the fucks were on backorder.

Read the article here

I really want to give a fuck about these jokers, but I just can't anymore. They are so far beyond the pale in their war on women, the race-baiting and hate-mongering about Obama, their disdain for the poor, the disabled, the aged, the uninsured, and Lord, Lord, the lies.

What Ryan's speech did accomplish was have me pull out my severely overburdened credit card and send a donation to Obama. I didn't know quite what else to do.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Escape Fantasies

These photos are all from the fb page Interesting Places, and really, any of them would be a fine alternate reality right around now.

I bet the good folks of New Orleans, currently being pummeled by Hurricane Isaac, agree with me.

Thinking of you Nola darling and Glenn and all of you there.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The truth?

Ms. Moon and others of you are relieved that I am not curled up in a ball somewhere. I'm not. But that doesn't mean I don't seriously consider it every morning when I open my eyes.

Monday, August 27, 2012

It's the little things

Although I am trying to wean myself from texting my college students all the time, I allowed myself to send this text on waking:

Good morning my beautiful children. Have a wonderful first full week of school.

The key was it did not require a response, and so would not necessarily be seen as needy and demanding.

At mid morning my son called. He wanted to talk finances. He had just been paid, had some summer bills to settle up, and wanted me to know he would send me the remainder of the paycheck to be put toward his tuition by week's end. And when he gets paid again in two weeks, that check will be sent to me in full.

I love how responsible he is and how earnestly he means to contribute to our family bottom line. But I had to caution him to make sure he stays mindful of the balance between school and work, remembering that school is the priority. He worked 107 hours in the past 12-day period, averaging 9 and 10 hour days. He got time and a half last week by being the lifeguard on duty on the set of a movie that was being filmed at his college's aquatic center. Those were 12 hour days. Time to ease up now that school is starting. We had a nice easy phone call. Then just now, I got this text from my daughter:

Good afternoon beautiful mama. Have a wonderful first full empty nest week (seriously though enjoy it haha its a new stage of your life that you should take advantage of!) Love you. Text you when I can. 

Those are my baby birds, ages 8 and 5, on a charmed fall outing we took to Bear Mountain.

It will be sunny one day

This article on depression by Kat Kinsman spoke to me today. I'm sharing it here just in case it speaks to someone else.

I am 14 years old, it's the middle of the afternoon, and I'm curled into a ball at the bottom of the stairs. I've intended to drag my uncooperative limbs upstairs to my dark disaster of a bedroom and sleep until everything hurts a little less, but my body and brain have simply drained down. I crumple into a bony, frizzy-haired heap on the gold shag rug, convinced that the only thing I have left to offer the world is the removal of my ugly presence from it, but at that moment, I'm too exhausted to do anything about it.

I sink into unconsciousness, mumbling over and over again, "I need help... I need help... I need help." I'm too quiet. No one hears.

Several months, countless medical tests and many slept-through school days later, a diagnosis is dispensed, along with a bottle of thick, chalky pills. There is palpable relief from my physician and parents; nothing is physically wrong with me (thank God, not the cancer they've quietly feared)—likely just a bout of depression. While it helps a little to have a name for the sensation, I'm less enthralled with the diagnosis, because I know it will return.

While this is the first time it's manifested heavily enough for anyone else to see it, I've been slipping in and out of this dull gray sweater for as long as I can remember.

Story continues here, along with resources, linked articles and hotlines.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Plastic Universe

A realization: My life is not nearly as interesting to me as my children's lives, and this I will have to remedy. Especially given that my children's lives are no longer very visible to me, which means I can no longer buy into the notion that what happens in their lives is actually happening in mine. Well, it is, but it's happening to them, not me. I am a bystander, a loving one, a very vested one, but my influence on the outcome of events grows ever more remote. I can only pray my husband and I have laid the tapes down deep enough in the grooves of their consciousness, and some of it will guide their choices. They're good kids. They are not perfect or infallible, but well meaning and funny and bright and good-hearted. And now they have to take it from here.

And I have to take it from here, too. There is the floating sadness of missing them, but I notice my husband and I talk more to each other in the evenings, deconstructing politics or our respective days, talking about our children, our families, the goings on at the church where he is a warden and vestry member charged with finding a new priest, the places we want to travel to, all manner of things, and sometimes we just lie side by side, him reading, me watching Netflix on my Fire, the mood easy and companionable and good.

We went out to dinner at our favorite restaurant for our anniversary, an Italian place in the neighborhood where the owner always comes over and kisses us on both cheeks, and the head waiter clasps our hands in his as if he is so happy to see us, and I always tell my daughter that if she opens a restaurant someday, make the customers feel like family they way they do in Bettolono and they'll come back again and again. We lifted our glasses of prosecco and made a toast to another 26 years, and while we were eating both our children called to wish us happiness and after dinner we wandered home holding hands, stopping at the corner store to pick up a battery for the smoke and carbon monoxide detector and life is just like that, the poetic and the prosaic, and I need to pay attention so I won't miss how special it all is while it's happening.

Then last night my friend Janice and I went out for dinner and drinks at a new beer garden in Harlem, and wow, is Harlem changing, it's morphing into the new hip place in the city before our eyes, much like Greenwich Village was when I first arrived in the New York in the seventies. Every description of person was out in that open air courtyard dining and drinking together, and the music was pumping and the night breeze brushed us sweetly and I had an entirely fine time with my friend, two moms newly sprung, out in the city on a late August night. It reminded me somewhat of New Orleans, that park across the street from our hotel where my husband and I would go and eat beignets and drink hurricanes and listen to jazz in the afternoons.

Janice dropped me back home at close to 11, and I came in to our building through the back door, through the basement, and while waiting for the elevator, a flyer on the bulletin board caught my eye. It said:

 "I'm 55. Now What?"

It was advertising a series about reinventing your life after the first phase is well and truly over, with sessions on activism and volunteerism, classes to take, travel itineraries, entertaining, theater workshops, personal memoir and so on. I just stood there looking at it and feeling as if maybe this life is a plastic and malleable thing after all, that we create it moment to moment with our thoughts, desires, needs, investigations, and whatever questions we pose to the universe will set the answers in motion, and right then I decided to sign up for that series and see where it leads. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

The arrow that flies

On Children
Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Thank you, Mel, for reminding me of these words. They resonate now.
Alvin Ailey dancer Aisha Mitchell, photographed by Richard Calmes

Thursday, August 23, 2012

26 Years in the Sandbox

It was always you. 

Devising dreams.

Making them true.

I love you then, now and tomorrow.

It will always be you.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Men Who Stare at Zygotes *

So let me get this straight.

A certain contingent of the Republican right wing, given voice by Senator Todd Akin yesterday, believes that if a women has suffered "legitimate rape" her body will shut down and not get pregnant? And if she does get pregnant, then it means she wasn't legitimately raped, that she actually participated, even if she didn't consciously know it? And since she contributed to the act by getting pregnant, by allowing the rapist's sperm to live long enough to meet her egg and fertilize it, then she does not deserve any further consideration from our government or the medical establishment, certainly not the option of ending the forced pregnancy?

These men really do believe this. They call it science.

And by the way, vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan isn't removed from this camp. He cosponsored a bill with Mr. Legitimate Rape which endeavored to distinguish between "forcible rape" and some other kind of rape, which I can't explain because I always thought all rape was forcible.

Just one more reason why come November, my choice is clear.  Obama is my president.

* Segment title on The Rachel Maddow Show last night.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The girl and the boy

We moved them both into their respective campus domiciles this weekend, my son on the South Hill of Ithaca, my daughter on the West Hill. In a sweet twist, they will both be attending different colleges in the same town, and that does offer me some comfort, even though my son will be there for only one more year, and even though my daughter's school seemed huge and overwhelming to me, and I was a hyperventilating just a little bit imagining leaving my girl, my baby, in that large sprawling place. At a certain point I realized that she wasn't going to start truly making it her home for the next four years until we left town. She was too busy making sure I would be okay. She was very indulgent of her mother, especially on Saturday when we all went shopping for supplies in Walmart and my son and I squabbled, as we are capable of doing, the two of us just so stubborn and controlling, and she took me by the shoulders and walked me a pace away, and she put her long arms around me and said, "Breathe, Mama, just flow. It's going to be fine." Meanwhile my husband was calming down my son. You can see how the personality dynamics break down in our family! We got past it quickly, I'm happy to say, and the rest of the time my son was his most goofy self, lightening the mood for everyone, giving his sister advice on what she would need in her dorm room (in a word, snacks) when it got so cold she couldn't imagine going outside if she didn't have to be in class. Oh God, I miss them. This feels utterly surreal.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Leaving in the morning

My girl departs for her freshman year of college tomorrow. The packing is in full force, her face a mask of somber determination. She's not ready to go. The summer went too quickly. Her friend A. who is already at college and having a wonderful time told her the leaving is the hardest part. I can't write any more about this, not just because I might break down and cry but because I don't want to fix these mercurial days in rigid black type because the very air changes moment to moment and I would rather just let it be whatever it is in that moment, and in the next. Let's just say, huge emotions are frolicing about. Here is a random photo that captures the experience of summer in New York as well as anything.

And here's a little video of my girl when she was with friends in Mexico. This is the sweet quirky girl I know will be back in evidence as soon as she has a chance to settle into her new digs and hang the little fairy lights she bought for her dorm room.

Friday, August 10, 2012


The highlight of my week was when six mothers and six daughters got together to celebrate a decade-and-a-half of friendship—among our girls, among ourselves. The college-bound have spent most of this summer strenuously avoiding any thought of leaving, although the first of the girls has to be on campus this weekend. It's an emotional time, but the one thing the girls do not question as they take their leave is that they will continue to be there for one another as sister, therapist, touchstone, friend. Their mothers will, too.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Gun-toting Frida (Update)

Maggie May recently posted this image of artist Frida Kahlo. I had never seen this photo of her before. She looks so badass. I'm adopting her as my stand-in for today. Thank you all for the kind comments left on recent posts. I appreciate you more than you can imagine.

Interesting Update: 

The inimitable Kristin did some research and has discovered that the above photo of Frida Kahlo is a photoshopped fabrication, which explains why I had never seen it because I sure have scoured for images of the extraordinary and complicated Frida. In fact, now that I look more closely, the famous Imogen Cunningham image of Frida could be the very one from which the head of the fake was taken. Apparently experts knew at once that gun-toting Frida was not the real deal, because such an image would certainly have come to light before now. If you want to learn more, Kristin provides a link in the comments section.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Losing, Finding

Life is really not so bad, and I suppose I lost my phone today, or rather left it behind in a cab, just so I might be reminded of that. I was on my way to a lunch time appointment and as soon as I got into the building and pressed the elevator button, I realized my mistake. I ran back outside, but the cab I'd exited was no where in sight. A couple years ago when my son's iPhone stopped working on his first day back at college, I didn't fully understand the degree of his distress. Two years later, I get it. I supposed I have become progressively more involved with my Blackberry in that time. As my husband said back when my son lost his phone, you store your whole life in that thing. So as soon as I got back to the office I went into reporter mode and started to work the phones. I was determined. I am a journalist after all. We are supposed to be able to find anyone and anything.

At the Taxi and Limousine Commission Lost and Found line I reached a lovely woman who went above and beyond in being helpful. Fortunately, I had paid for the cab ride with my debit card and so had the name of the cab company. Unfortunately, I'd neglected to take the receipt; I never take it, reasoning it's just more paper to put somewhere and the record will appear on my account anyway. Bad move. It meant I didn't have the cabbie's medallion number, which was the only way to reach him. So the Lost and Found woman gave me the number of the company that processes the credit card payments, cautioning me not to say where I had got the number. She instructed me to give specific pieces of information in order to get cab's medallion number. In three minutes I had the hack number and was calling the company he worked for in Queens. The dispatcher was willing to help but his computer, which would tell him which driver was driving that cab at that moment, was down. He promised to call the cabbie the minute the computer came back. I had no choice but to wait.

I called my daughter, who I knew would soon be trying to reach me, as we are supposed to go shopping for college stuff after work today—woo hoo! When she heard what I had done, she gasped in sympathy. Then she said authoritatively, "Okay, Mom, this is what you have to do. Just keep calling that phone on repeat continuously for hours. Because this happened to me once and you didn't know about it, because I just kept calling the phone until finally the cabbie answered and he brought the phone back to me." The things we learn in a pinch!

Soon enough, the dispatcher called back. He said a passenger had found my phone but refused to give it to the cabbie, saying he would return it to me himself. He gave the cabbie his business card, which had his name, phone number and address, which the dispatcher dictated to me. He said the man's card indicated he was a dentist whose office was in midtown. I thanked the dispatcher and called the number immediately.

He was waiting for my call. The good doctor said he had decided this would be his good deed for the day, as he knew how wrenching it is to lose your phone. He told me he had gone into my call log and called the last number I had dialed, which was Aunt Winnie's, but when he asked to speak to her the caregiver said (and here he mimicked a West Indian accent), "I don't think you going have any luck with that because she is 94 and has Alzheimer's." (She is 93 and suffers from dementia, not Alzheimer's. I believe there is a difference.) So then he called the next number and got my friend Michelle, who took his information but refused to give him mine (New Yorkers are highly suspicious). By the time she called me I was already on the phone with the very cheerful doctor, who sounded as if finding my phone and reuniting me with it was the highlight of his day.

So now my daughter is on her way to pick up the phone for me, as I have a meeting in a few minutes and can't leave the office just yet. But all is well that ends well and people generally want to do good and I think I'll send some thank you flowers. I just googled the good doctor and it turns out he is a celebrity dentist, has appeared on Dr. Oz, and photos show a very zen, uber designed white-upon-white Park Avenue office. An exuberant and colorful spray of wildflowers, my first instinct, won't quite fit the environment. Maybe a white orchid?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Waiting for Normal

I am feeling too distracted to comment much, the words sort of stick together like taffy, but I am visiting you all and reading and trusting things will settle into a new normal soon.

What fresh hell is this?

I am twisting with anxiety. I got a notice in the mail a couple months ago that my 93-year-old aunt will have to select a Long Term Care agency that works in tandem with her current home care agency in order to continue receiving services. My aunt is bedridden at this point and unable to do for herself, and the annual recertification of services for her is always a prolonged, uncertain and angst-ridden affair and now the process is changing altogether, possibly because the previous system was so labyrinthine and inefficient. Our paramount concern is that my aunt's two home care attendants not be changed, as they are both very caring women who understand her case, including pesky details like her addict daughter. When one goes on vacation for even a week, my aunt is at risk of horrific bed sores, because the replacement attendant is never quite as attentive. She sustained some bed sores last summer that came up within a single 24 hour period and took six months to properly heal and caused her so much pain. Well, a nurse came to make an evaluation of my aunt's case two weeks ago and she just called to say that her agency has decided my aunt is not appropriate for home care as she cannot direct her own care and so they will not be taking her on. This leaves us with one other agency to petition, otherwise her care situation will be in upheaval. I don't know what will happen, what our options will be if the sole remaining agency that works with her home attendants decides not to take on her case. It's all too complicated to explain but for some reason I fail to comprehend, just when the status quo was sort of working, state law is mandating that everything be changed. I'm not clear on the source of this mandate, or the reason behind it, and I am praying that this one agency's negative evaluation of my aunt's case will not impede her being taken on by another agency. To make matters worse her money is tighter than ever because her rent has gone up almost one hundred percent since she became incapacitated and this month her bank wrote an impersonal letter informing us they had closed her line of credit because "it was on an unsupported technology" and the bank was "cleaning up its systems." Without getting into her financial circumstances this is a huge deal. I'm feeling sort of crazed about finances at the moment anyway because I paid both kids' fall college tuition today, and I feel claustrophobic and panicked and penned in, like the noose is slowly being tightened and I don't know where to turn and without that line of credit my aunt cannot afford a lawyer to sort this mess out which is what we had to resort to the last time everything went to hell and I know I will not be able to afford to pay for a lawyer for her either if it should come to that and I know I am rambling.


Jamaica, Jamaica

As my little island celebrates 50 years of independence this week, Jamaican track and field athletes are focusing the world's attention by capturing gold after gold in the London Olympics. With my family I watched Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (draped in the Jamaican flag, above) win the 100 meter women's event in 10.7 seconds this weekend. We were in the airport departure lounge in St. Lucia, where a large contingent of Jamaicans were also waiting. There is no more thrilling audience to watch such a race than a bunch of track-savvy Jamaicans. Ignoring flight announcements, we were glued to the tiny overhead TV, cheering and jumping up and down and yelling at the screen as Shelly-Ann ran down the win. The next day, Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake took first and second place in the men's 100 meter, making Jamaica's mastery of the sprint event complete.

I can promise you right now there will be more gold to come for Jamaica this week. People wonder how a little island, a dot on the globe, can so dominate world track and field competition. All I can say is we grew up with the fever of track, stoked at the annual Boys and Girls Champs each year, with every single high school in the island sending athletes to compete, and the rest of us cheering ourselves hoarse in the stands of the National Stadium. One explanation put forth to explain our speed and stamina (well, their speed and stamina, not mine) is that during centuries of the triangle slave trade, Jamaica was the last port of call for ships, which meant that only those Africans too stubborn to succumb to disease, starvation and despair were left on board. It is that proud ornery strain that remains in my country people, allowing us to believe we can compete on any stage, undefeated, bring it on. No matter where we are in the world, no matter what new countries we have made home, no matter what nationality our children, every four years when the Olympics come around, we are all simply Jamaicans, rooting for our local heroes, knowing they will leave everything on the track and bring the glory home.


I arrived back from St. Lucia with a suitcase of photo albums from my mother's house, and I haven't even brought half of the total of them. I guess my desire to see my life in pictures comes from somewhere. When I was 14, for some reason I became obsessed with making lists of things I would rescue in the event of a fire. The list only had three items on it that truly mattered to me: My journals, my Nikkormat camera and my photo albums. Is it any wonder I found blogging?

Here is a photo I rediscovered on this trip. I love this photo of my mother and me, which was taken one New Years Eve in Antigua. I was not yet married but had already met my husband to be, so I guess I was about 26 in this photo, which would make my mom 62. She and my dad had recently moved to Antigua from our native Jamaica. They would live there for three years, long enough for me to meet and get to know my future husband, before they moved to St. Lucia for the duration. My parents rediscovered their romance when they moved to a new country together. I think you can see that in a certain girlish aspect in my mother in this photo, which was snapped by my father. 

By the way, my mom crocheted the blouse I am wearing here. Crochet and embroidery were just two of her arts before arthritis crept into her fingers. I have a drawer full of the sweet tops she made for me, and linens she expertly embroidered, and the blankets and afghans she made for her grandchildren. The kids are just starting to understand how precious these items are.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Kids Are Alright

My mom asked her grandchildren to recreate the photo below, taken more than a decade ago during one of their St. Lucia summers. From left, the grands are 11, 7, 3, 9 and 9.

Here is the result, with the grands lined up in the same order as before and mostly mimicking the hand gestures. Their ages now, from left are 22, 18, 14, 20 and 20. They do look a little different, but not much.  Certainly the height order has shifted. You can see my mom on the right directing the shot.

The kids had a rather excellent time this week. Most are old enough to go off on their own, which they did, to the beach, to verandah bars at night, to clubs where there was salsa dancing. The youngest (in orange tank above) didn't participate in the night scene as she is still only 14. But during the day, she was fully in the mix, and the age difference between her and the older ones seems to be shrinking. My daughter took most of the photos here and my husband also took some. I mostly hung out at home with my mom. In days to come I'll probably prune the number of images, but for now, I'm having a hard time choosing my favorites, and since this is my blog, I don't have to.

My mom lives in a very happening area of St. Lucia, with a lot of hotels and restaurants and shops and beachfronts and nightlife right there along the strip. The young people took full advantage. My son is rocking a 'fro hawk these days. Looks kind of cool.

The crew also did a full day excursion to Soufriere, the volcano that is connected to a chain of other volcanoes in other islands. In fact the archipelago of islands that forms the Eastern Caribbean was formed from the lava buildup from erupting volcanoes, with the tips of those volcanoes rising above the sea and forming the necklace of islands. Anyway, in addition to visiting the volcano, they went ziplining, they swam under a waterfall, and then soaked in the warmth of mineral hot spring pools which are supposed to heal all manner of ailments. I was back at my mom's house meeting with her banker to take over her bills, and greeting a parade of visitors who came by to tell my mom goodbye. I'm glad the crew took so many photos. I sort of feel as if I was there with them after all.

This concludes the day's broadcast from Rodney Bay, St. Lucia, where memories for a lifetime were made.