My school is giving extra credit for time on Khan Academy, my eldest child says. I nod. Give her permission to use the extra computer in my office. Her little sister runs in, then reports back on her progress. SEC filings fill the screen of my computer, the remnants of pulling all nighter after all nighter this week to finish time-sensitive projects. A bag containing workout clothes lies on the king bed in the master bedroom, ready to be grabbed before the first softball practice of the season. I race to the grocery store in between work sessions when I realize we are out of milk. Take a lesson with the master coach during a break. Watch my little daughter take her first ever professional lesson. And then head back to work.
Eighty years ago, my grandfather purchased a house in Brooklyn that has been handed down from generation to generation. For the first forty years, real estate prices remained stable, showing modest appreciation. As a child, I experienced my first ever NYC housing boom when my best friend moved to Florida and his house was purchased for an astronomical sum. There have been three booms during my lifetime. After watching prices rise in various sectors of the New York tristate area, I made a guess about what neighborhood was most likely to increase next. And then purchased homes there.
I dated college-educated people because those relationships were most likely to succeed, I tell my friend. She sips from her glass of seltzer and lemon in the same dark leather booth where I took my little daughter to celebrate her birthday. Helps me break off a piece of bread from the basket in the middle of the table. Alarm lights keep flickering, followed by sirens. Glances of unease pass between diners seated at tables across the large room. One asks a passing server what is going on. Eventually, the alarms cease and we resume the conversation that is the reason I have blocked off my entire afternoon.
Four years ago, I began mentoring a staff member at my youngest child's preschool. She was finishing up her undergraduate degree. I was starting to gradually spend time outside of the immediate neighborhood that had consumed my focus for the last decade. As the years passed and the time between calls from the school nurse grew into weeks and months, I took on projects that took me out of the immediate vicinity of the schools my children attended. After preschool graduation, I no longer saw my friend on a daily basis. But every few months, we check in with each other to get progress reports.
Can my family come with you the next time you go to a tournament? my friend asks. Sure, I reply. I hand a green body cord to my little daughter and tell her to hold it as she slides her arm through the sleeve of the white jacket inherited from older siblings. She bounces with excitement as I check shoe laces and attach a clip to her metal lamé while her friend stands nearby, donning her gear. The last shards of snow melt outside as prairie dogs make their first appearance of the year on the grassy slope beside the place where we park our car. And then the two little girls head to a strip where my son waits to direct his baby sister in her first ever fencing bout.
When I was twenty years old, I switched majors. For years, I had struggled with pre-medical studies. Why did I continue long after it became obvious that this was not the right route for me? Because I had legacy at one of the few American universities that give preference to the children of alumni. Also, everyone kept telling me that I would make a wonderful doctor because of my kind bedside manner, and that the true mark of a well-rounded person was someone who persevered to become skilled in all areas. And so I continued for semester after semester, following a path that felt as unnatural as wearing a garment two sizes too small.
What happened when I switched majors? My grades doubled, scoring me instant honors in the first semester and each subsequent one. My college sports coach remarked on the dramatic improvement. Along with my soaring GPA, everything else in my life began to take off. During the two years into which I crammed an entire course of study, the seeds were planted to become the person I am today.
St Patrick’s Day door hanger $15
St Patrick’s Day jar decor set of 4 $20 (flowers not included)
St Patrick’s Day decor starting at $10
St Patrick’s Day decor starting at $10
There is another size, but it's only carried by one company, the parent says. I don't know anything about buying kid equipment since I've only fenced as an adult, I reply. For the last few minutes, I have been wrestling with straps and velcro as I try and fail to fit my daughter into new gear. My husband and I have been planning this trip for months following endless begging by our youngest child for her first electric uniform. Flakes of white lace begin to drift across the steadily dimming road as we set out. When we return, we will schedule requested livestreams and paid artwork commissions on the upcoming school snow day.
Twenty-four years ago, I began analyzing my husband's fencing. I watched videos and live bouts. Went up against him in practice and competition. I have been fencing him for so long that I know exactly what he is going to do. There is a certain pattern to his accelerating advances right before he attacks. I know precisely where his hand will be. How far to get back to achieve maximum impact. How many chances I will have to punish him for an imperfectly executed attack. From bout to bout and year to year, he adapts to my strategies. Crowds gather to watch us take each other down at clubs all over the world.
And when we leave the warehouse, waving goodbye to people who attend practice with us? My eldest child holds her first piece of equipment bearing the international federation stamp that is on every piece of gear that I own.
In case you didn’t know, yesterday we hit our Kickstarter goal! So, THANK YOU 🙏🏻
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We have been busting our butts in the kitchen since we got our CO, testing and perfecting our variety of scratch made takeout items. We are so very excited to announce...
We will be doing our rough opening in two weeks 🎉
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Marriage used to be an arrangement between two families designed to bring increased resources to both, I say into the phone. A pile of slender asparagus stalks lies beside the kitchen sink, ready to have blue rubber bands removed in preparation for washing and roasting with olive oil. A baking sheet contains cooling pastries ready for the morning breakfast rush. My little daughter sleeps on the carpet, covered in stickers from her favorite grocery store. In the next room, decades of data scroll down my computer screen as I review financials for potential backup locations for my family home. Invitations to a variety of sports banquets clamor for attention on my phone, along with deadlines for work assignments.
As a first year in college, I shared a boathouse with a potential US presidential candidate whose name is constantly in the media. While I experimented with sport after sport and switched majors, I made friends with people who would go on to found companies and offer me seats on the board of directors. Some were located in the New York area. Others reached out from thousands of miles away with opportunities based on shared past experiences.