Monday, December 14, 2009

Annual holiday photo, take 3981

The Holiday Cards Project is still kinda stressing me out. Ever since we had kids, I've felt pressured to come up with cards that feature a cute photo of our offspring. It really shouldn't be that hard getting two boys to pose for a photo. Right?

I mean, after all, it seems that every parent I know handles this without incident. My friend Laura manages it with *five* (with another on the way) kids! Five! They wear adorable matching outfits and all smile at the same time, with everyone looking into the camera. There is no eye-rolling, no crying, no sulking.

For me and Vic, it is exhausting trying to get the boys to cooperate. By the time we are done, everyone needs a nap.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Annual holiday photo tradition

Can someone explain to me the secret to holiday photo cards - the ones where everyone in the family wears matching outfits and everyone smiles? Seriously, I want to know what it takes to make this happen. How do other parents do it?

Both last year and this year, I tried to get the boys to pose for a Christmas-themed photo I could use for our holiday greeting cards. With my sister in town for Thanksgiving, I thought the extra pair of hands would come in, well, handy when trying to wrangle the guys into place. Not so.

Last year, Auntie Linda, Nico and Nolan posed for a photo where the boys made it clear what they thought of the idea of taking a holiday photo. They thought the same of it this year too, apparently.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Rest in peace, Linda Clark

Linda Clark passed away on Wednesday, December 2. She took her own life, leaving behind family and friends who will miss her deeply. We miss her already.

The church that held her memorial service on Saturday was full. So many people came to honor Linda's life - I wish she could know that.

Linda was a dear friend I'll remember most for her wicked sense of humor. I loved her for it - and for her passion and her boldness. She said things aloud few people would dare express openly. She was imperfect, like all of us, but she acknowledged her flaws; she never pretended to be someone or something she wasn't.

She had a deep maternal instinct that comforted me, a mother myself. As a stressed-out working mom, I often feel overwhelmed trying to juggle all my responsibilities. Linda shared countless parenting anecdotes and tips with me, stories about her daughter and son that put things in perspective, stories that had me in tears from laughing. I don't know how many times she picked me up when I was down, lifting my spirits with her wit.

I wish I could have comforted her in her moments of darkness. I wish I had known the depths of her despair and helped her find a way out of it.

She was a tough lady, strong and brash. She battled depression but I didn't think there was anything Linda couldn't handle.

I first met her three years ago when she worked at Case Western Reserve University. She joined Word Nerds, an informal network of campus communicators I co-founded. Her presence in the group gave us a jolt - that laugh, those stories! When she left the university we formed an offshoot of the original organization: WordNerds Without Borders. We met every month to share and discuss creative writing projects.

was the star of the show at our writing group gatherings - always keeping us talking, laughing, thinking. Some of us are introverts, yet Linda found a way to draw us all out to share our stories. She was a terrifically talented dynamic, creative force - a writer, an actor, an illustrator and more.

I'm heartbroken that I won't hear that big laugh in my living room ever again.