To Aaron, on his first birthday


There is a part of me that wants to write a very long letter to you, describing your every move and personality traits and preferences and more. But I'm going to keep it simple. Because even the simple messages that I put in your baby book, the tiny memories that I save and paste somewhere special, they all join the same intention I have, which is not to be the stenographer of the memories of your childhood, but rather the curator of it.

You are so rarely stopped, Aaron. You run into a wall. You fall down in the slippery bathtub. You are hit in the head, you trip over your own little feet. You land on your diapered-butt hundreds of times a day as you've learned to walk.

But you always keep going.

I'm not saying there aren't tears (although it is pretty rare). But you just pick yourself up, you never stop going.

And the image of this, the fact that I know someone who is this determined... well it has inspired me through many a moment, tiny one.

What would Aaron do? Or what would Aaron say about this? The answer is always move forward and shove what is unwanted out of the way

Thanks for being unapologetically yourself this past year, Boodle. I have needed to see it - we all have.

Happy, happy birthday.




Last night Noah asked why we didn't have a calendar to look at the days so I grabbed one for $1. Turns out he was only really thinking about Christmas and counting the days til Santa comes. 

So this is basically a 6 month advent calendar. Ha!

PS He really wants to be Santa for Halloween. 


Meta stuff

What's interesting about writing about this whole experience is the order of what I feel I can write about. By far, I've written the most about surgery and my hospital stay so far. 

I haven't touched pre-surgery life, notably diagnosis and the two weeks between that MRI and surgery. I can barely look at my notes on this stuff without crying. That was the scariest part, I guess. When we were horrified by what was happening and before we had the tumor out. 

I've written a little about recovery, but it's all things that happened at least a week post-op. Notes about those first days home also make me cry.

In my pre-tumor life I used to listen to emo music while I wrote. No joke, I mostly now listen to Jay-Z. 

Probably Jay-Z helps me steel parts of myself to digest and write this story without falling apart in the coffee shop. (This is very meta to close read myself like I'm my own coaching client! ;))



Hey YOU try writing about your little brother holding your hand in the hospital without crying at the coffee shop! Just you try. 

I'm so grateful to have this time to write. That's all I wanted to say today. xo


Birds and writing

I wrote a piece on Identity recently and published it on Medium yesterday. Here it is if you'd like to check it out: https://medium.com/@jenniferdary/identity-358b3e5b4e0d?source=linkShare-2423b982f9c8-1466115101

And though it's been a LONG time coming, here's the latest coloring piece:

I threw in some red and gray birds for Muhlenberg love. This one took forever because it's huge and what I can do has changed so much. For example, I'm on the fifth Harry Potter because I've been reading those before bed lately rather than coloring. While the kids are at daycare I write and don't lug the coloring stuff to the coffee shop, though having finished this beast of a bird picture, I'm excited to choose the next project. Artist and friend Lisa Congdon mailed me a few of her coloring books a few weeks back and I'm dying to dip into those!


The itch you can't scratch

It was time to update goals tonight:

It's super-interesting to see these goals evolve from functionally-basic things like driving or bathing the kids to writing thank-you notes or having a networking coffee with a work contact. I miss my clients terribly but am patting myself on the back for giving myself some space before jumping back in. I go to coffee shops and write while the kids are at daycare. I've also started going to a yoga class those days too. 

The swelling in my left temple and cheek is almost gone and I have a few patches of numbness but many of the nerves have reconnected and come back online, so to speak. The other night I had SUCH a bad itch in the middle of my head but could not access the part that was itchy with my scratching. Is it just numb there and I can't feel the scratching relief? Is it somehow underneath where the stitches were? Let's not think too much about it.

I've been avoiding Facebook and the news since last week when political posts were making me want to pop people in the chops. I put FB and the NYTimes apps in a folder on my phone called TIME OUT. I'm sure they'll come out of Time Out soon but even a short break is really helpful and has kept things calmer in my brain.


Paying it forward

It's reading other people's posts about stunning diagnoses that busts my heart these days. On Monday afternoon I read the Facebook post of a client whose wife is about to go through an intense year of healing and treatment. Within four seconds I was crying, sobbing even. 

And man, was I mad at the universe. 

I found/find it hard to be angry at the universe for my own situation - maybe because I'm so focused on getting through that I don't want to stop and emote yet. But I was so angry for this woman. "Are you fucking kidding me?" I kept thinking and saying through my tears.

I decided pretty quickly that our paper cranes, sent by many friends and people I don't even know, had found their next home. So this morning we took them down and packed them in a big box and soon they'll be on their way to help their next patient. 

I know what this woman is going through. The early days of diagnosis are foreign and foggy, sleepless and confusing. At least, they were for me. So I empathize with at least some of what she's going through.

But as we put the box together this morning and I attempted to write a card too, I also empathized with everyone who sent me a card or crane or gift or message. Man, what do you say to someone who has been dealt the most unfair thing you can imagine? How does it not ring hollow and like you're pissing in the wind?

Well, having sat on both sides of this ugly situation lately, I'll say that it's the thought that counts, as with everything else in life. Your smooshed paper crane, your cheesy get well card, the flowers or book or soft socks that you send... it's the energy behind the gift that shows up. I would see a return address and instantly feel a warmth, a tiny burst of happiness. I am still avoiding email much of the time but I do see names or subject lines sometimes and it's the same thing.

It's your intention that matters. I hope these cranes bring our best support and warmth to a woman who now needs it more than we do.