Today is my birthday. I am 33.

This past year has been remarkable, in a very intensely personal way. From the outside looking in, it might appear as though nothing has changed from this time last year. I can tell you that is not the case; despite the fact that much is same, everything is different.

For starters, we’ve lived longer in this house than any other in all of the years I’ve been a mother. The kids and I have been at the same school and place of employment respectively for going on four years. We have created roots here in San Diego, and as much as I fantasize about moving to France, our life is here is splendid and relatively serene. We have made a home, one that is happy and often messy but always full of love. This is more stability than I have ever known, and it is good place to be.

Most of the internal tumult I have wrestled with since the devastating end to my pregnancy with one Roux Huckleberry Baker has been redirected, to a place so familiar and sacred I’d almost forgotten. Dance class, which, if you’re me, is another word for therapy.

I am a dancer as much as I am anything, and I’ve spent every week of the last eleven months reminding myself of this simple fact. It started with hip hop and ballet class through the local community college, and then transitioned to tap and jazz through Balboa Park. Now, I’m a bona fide regular dancing three days a week – ballet, tap, and jazz. Every single bit of me feels lighter and stronger, and I’m not even talking about my body.

When it comes to my body, though, there has been quite a shift in its processes, primarily in the form of the consumption of animal products, including some flesh, most of which had been absent from my diet for close to two decades. This abandoning of long-held belief systems in favor of evolution is perhaps the most tangible evidence of how I have grown: that I’m willing to reconsider everything – even what I had thought to be absolute truth – because if I’ve learned anything in 33 journeys around the sun, it’s that flexibility is crucial.

Fear is the opposite of flexible, it is rigid and relentlessly unforgiving, yet an oddly comfortable place to reside as it asks nothing more than for one to remain immobile. I spent a lot of time being afraid that I would never recover, and it wasn’t until I realized that I wasn’t doing anything except being afraid that I finally found myself standing in first position at the barre. Every day since that first class has been a testament to my own resilience.

As I move into this next year of my life, my wishes are simple: to maintain this momentum I have found, to keep creating memories with the people I love most, to show a little more kindness to myself and to others each day, and to keep on dancing.

Oh, and riding my bike, which I just got as a birthday present!

Thirty three. It sure has a nice ring to it.



One of the first things we did this summer was to convert what was once my studio slash office slash baby’s playspace into a proper playroom for all three kids. My workspaces have been relocated, all the kids’ instruments have been corralled, Jade’s got her art station, Roux’s got an entire room to explore, and Emet’s got his screen.

Oh, the screen.

For nine years we’ve been without a TV in plain sight, and we did well without it. But my eldest is getting bigger, and as he ages he craves more connection with his peers. Even in our Waldorf school class, he is in the minority when it comes to kids with access to personal devices. Televisions are commonplace, as are phones and tablets. He had none of these things, and it was starting to create major friction. So we brought the TV out from the closet, set it up in the corner along with the PS4 Babe got as a gift last Christmas from a client, and purchased a couple games Emet had been talking about. While it hasn’t entirely eliminated the pleas for a cell phone, it has provided him a certain sense of belonging with kids his age that didn’t exist prior to this change in our home, and for that I am willing to reconsider my ban on technology. I mean, he is twelve.

Twelve! A certifiable preteen! My baby’s nearly taller than I am – if I were a gambling gal, I’d put money on him towering over me by the end of the summer – and what a delightful young man he’s growing up to be. Yet we are gradually sliding into arguably the most tumultuous developmental period, and I want to be prepared.

I won’t lie, kids this age are…intense. I remember vividly what it felt like to be twelve, all feverish with preadolescence, stuffed to the brim with an intoxicating mixture of hope, bravado, and naïeveté, wanting nothing more than for time to speed up so I could be a teenager already! That my sweet son has arrived at this point in his growth, the precipice of puberty, is as heartbreaking as it is exciting. The angst! It is real, and I remember it well.

I think it’s especially charming that he wants to “hang out with friends” as opposed to having playdates.

I’m trying really hard to embrace his desire to connect with mainstream pop culture, although I struggle with allowing him too much access because I find most of what’s available to kids these days to be overly sexualized and extremely insulting to their actual capacity for intelligent discussion. And the violence! Recently, I’ve gone on a quest to find characters in the media that are worthy of my child’s attention, and all I could come up with is Tavi Gevinson, who is quite literally a revolutionary young woman with a remarkable resume, a great sense of style, and an even stronger sense of self. Her movement, however, is skewed toward females the way Sassy magazine was when I was growing up.

I was an avid reader of Sassy back in the day and the fact that Tavi draws much of her inspiration from the early 90s is probably why discovering her work resonated with me so strongly – it is a nostalgic representation very reminiscent of the reconciliation of my own youth and the realization that I was no longer a child yet definitely not a grown up, those feelings still readily accessible, even as I approach my mid-thirties, feelings which are amplified by the fact that my very own kid is just beginning to explore the exact same dynamic in himself.

Only, when I was twelve, I had waaaayyyy more freedom than I allow my own child. I also had truly irresponsible and selfish parents, who mostly didn’t care what I did, and while there is a world of difference between liberty and neglect, I am beginning to wonder if maybe he should be granted more independence. I don’t really have any idea as to what this means practically, only an abstract train of thought I’m trying to better understand and hopefully translate into meaningful experiences for my rapidly growing first born.

So, dear readers. Allow to me ask you what you most remember about being twelve? What were your favorite things to do, and what did you wish your parents better understood? And while we’re at it, are there current media figures worthy of my child’s attention, and if so, who are they?!