Galit Breen’s beautiful piece, The Sadness in Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project, dives directly into the dark heart of all that I struggle with most. You have to let go of all that is not to embrace all that is. I know this in my head, but apparently need to learn it over and over and over again in my heart. Pieces like Galit’s help me do so.
All of Katrina Kenison’s writing brings me to tears, but this piece, Peonies, is on the short list of those that did so most quickly and fiercely. Grace tiptoed into the room and asked if I was okay when she saw me reading the screen with tears streaming down my face. Peonies, with their short and spectacular lives, a metaphor for all of ours? Oh, yes. And grieving the end of summer even as it begins? Absolutely, yes. This is so beautiful.
This piece, How Inviting the Unknown Helps Us Know Life More Richly, which references Nin, Rilke, Feynman, and Keats, gave me that warm swell of identification that I feel, rarely, when a piece of writing expresses something I’ve thought but been unable to articulate. I love the assertion that life is about embracing the unknown rather than wrestling it into the submission of understanding. Many thanks to my friend Stacey for sending it to me.
My friend Allison Slater Tate wrote a thoughtful piece called On staying home, regret, and the big world of the preschool parking lot. She was responding to the essay about regretting staying home that hit such a nerve on the Huffington Post, and I love Allison’s reflective and honest words. I also appreciate, and agree with, her crystalline clarity that there is no one right path. And just because someone has regrets or misgivings about theirs, that does not apply to the rest of us. In Allison’s writing, and, frankly, in her living, she reminds me that what we share as mothers is far more powerful than the different choices we make.
This essay in The Atlantic about the value of summer camps, A Summer Camp Lesson: Goodbye, and Go Away, Thank you Very Much, touched something deep and inchoate inside me. I was in tears for most of Jessica Lahey’s article. I think it’s because it reminded me of some of the essential and deeply-held things I want for my children. We are absolutely, firmly a camp family, and this piece reminds me, powerfully, of why.
I’ve been on a tear of great books lately. I read The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer, All That Is by James Salter, Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala, The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud. And Early Decision by my dear friend Lacy Crawford, which comes out at the end of the summer. I will write a full review, but I LOVED this book and know you will too.
I write these Things I Love posts approximately every month, and you can see them all here.