Category Archives: Serious

The True Masterpiece: A Work In Progress

Work In Progress

It’s a miracle. I read a book from start to finish within two weeks. And it wasn’t written for 14-year-olds. Or three-year-olds – I can read like five of those in two weeks, maybe even six if there aren’t too many words. It was an incredibly interesting book written for educators, psychologists, social workers and neurotic, type-A parents who are obsessed with doing a perfect job raising their kids. The book is Paul Tough’s How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character. In it, Tough argues that developing character traits such as grit, self-control, zest and optimism in children is more impactful on future success and happiness than IQ. At the beginning of the book, I thought, “Great! For $9.45, Paul Tough will show me what to teach my kids so they can be happy and successful forever.” By the end, I realized,“S-it, I suck at grit, self-control, zest and optimism. My kids are screwed.”

Two of Tough’s highlighted character traits, grit and optimism, really stood out to me as critical drivers of success and happiness.  There are so many great success stories that involve people believing they could accomplish/create big things, and pushing forward through failure to make it happen. Abraham Lincoln did it. Oprah Winfrey did it. Martin Luther King Jr. did it. Heck, I bet the genius who invented the Snuggie is the personification of grit and optimism.  How could you not be when you’re trying to convince people that an ugly backwards bathrobe would become a phenomenon of epic proportions? While I see these two character traits as extremely valuable qualities that I hope to help develop in my kids, I am all too aware that these are two areas in which I am sorely deficient. I am no inventor of the Snuggie.

I am the person who dropped AP Biology senior year of high school because I got a “D” on the first test. I’m the girl who, after singing in choirs and performing in plays and musical theater all through high school, abandoned the passion the minute I was rejected from a choir freshman year of college. (I know, NEEEERRRRRDDDD!) My brain defaults to enumerating the reasons why something is not a good idea instead of envisioning how it could be great.  Sure, there are exceptions in my life where I’ve set goals and worked hard for things – getting into grad school, having a family – but the majority of the time, if something doesn’t come easily to me I tend to run.

In realizing that my own character can use some work, I realized that, as parents, we might not always want our children to be reflections of ourselves. So what happens when we are not the perfect role models and want to instill in our children qualities we fail to fully embody as adults? How do you teach something you have yet to learn yourself? Do you hope that someone else close to your child – your spouse, an aunt, a grandparent – will fill in the gaps in your performance as a role model? Do you share with them stories of people who have mastered the things you value but are lacking? Should you articulate your disappointment in not having achieved certain things or embodied certain traits and hope that they will learn from your regret?

I don’t know the answer. What I do know is that raising kids involves facing a lot of stuff you just don’t know and need to figure out. It’s not all as heavy as molding your child’s character and psyche. But whether it’s bathing a 7 lb. baby for the first time in your life or teaching the importance of grit and optimism, we parents get pretty good at figuring things out as we go.  Since I truly believe that helping kids build character is one of the most important things a parent can do, I am going to have to figure out how to do it as I go.

As I stumble my way through helping them grow into happy and successful adults, there is one lesson that I will, no doubt, impart.  I will share with them the journey of my own attempts at character improvement, admitting what I’d like to change and talking to them about how I am working to grow and evolve.  It’s just as impossible to be the perfect role model as it is to create the perfect kid.  So in addition to trying to bestow good qualities upon them, we should also teach our kids that we are always works in progress.  After all, what better example of grit and optimism can you provide than not giving up on yourself?

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Plus One

It’s January 2013, roughly four years after Max and I first found out we were expecting twins.  We survived the panic of not knowing how we were going to take care of two newborns.  We successfully trained our kids to sleep through the night and poop on the potty.  We gave away our two high chairs, two exersaucers, and two infant car seats to make room for the myriad of little kid toys that multiply in our apartment like rabbits.  We can finally sit on a Sunday morning and watch TV or read the paper while the kids entertain themselves for at least an hour at a time.  We went for our first week-long vacation with the kids to Jamaica, had a great time and actually felt somewhat rested.  Despite the challenges that three-year-olds bring, life is good.  It certainly is much easier than it was one, two, three years ago.  We have arrived.

Entering this new phase of parenthood opens a world of opportunity for us.  For starters, we can go out on a Saturday night without worrying about how the kids will go to bed, or if they’ll wake up at 5 AM the next morning.  It is no longer terrifying to think about traveling abroad as a family or planning a ski trip.  But instead of reveling in our recaptured freedom by partying into the night and booking flights, we locked the handcuffs back on and threw away the keys for another few years.  I’m 17 weeks pregnant and due July 3rd.

As my belly expands and the reality of what’s to come sets in, I am amazed that pressing the reset button hasn’t given rise to panic attacks and heart palpitations.  Quite the contrary, I am over the moon excited to expand the family.  Why am I OK with three more years of diaper changing when I finally can’t remember the last time I hallucinated from the stench of the Diaper Dekkor?  Why do I shrug when I think about the first few months of sleepless nights that will render my brain even cloudier than it already is?  Why do we want to have another child when so many studies say that parents are less happy than adults who don’t have kids?

When Max and I talked about having a third kid, we acknowledged that the earlier years might be rough but figured it would be worth it to have a big(ish) family later on.  We picture the kids having a blast growing up together, on family vacations together and being there for each other through those angsty high school years.  We envision large, fun family gatherings on holidays that grow as the family expands over time.  Yes, there is a daily grind that comes with raising children, and presumably the more kids you have, the more you feel its crush.  But the joy that family brings seems to always transcend the temporary discomfort and frustrations.  The smiles and giggles stay with you infinitely longer than the tantrums.

At a more granular level, watching our kids grow from tiny babies to little people with their distinct personalities has been a complete wonder.  Addy and Zack spend almost all of their time together, yet so many of their talents and interests are entirely unique.  Addy loves art and babies. Zack loves technology and music.  But most often, rather than playing individually with what they love, they share their interests with each other and join them in a way that makes their days more interesting and fun.  We often comment on how much we love the dynamic between them, and among our little team of four.   How could this chemistry not get better when the two of them become three and the four of us become five?

the_simpsons

So this is why, after finally finding some semblance of a normal life, we are headed back to square one with baby number three.  Over the last three years, I’ve realized that even though they can make you want to jump out a window from time to time, having kids is pretty awesome.  But don’t hesitate to remind me of my excitement today when, a year from now, I’m sleep deprived, knee deep in sh-t diapers and arguing with my preschoolers about what they can and cannot wear to school.

New Year’s Commendations

Every year, as December rolls into January, we get out our trusty pen and paper and make a list of New Year’s Resolutions.  They usually sound something like this:  work out more, lose weight, be more proactive at work, be more positive, read more books.  As I began to think about what my resolutions would be this year, I stopped short and thought, “This is stupid.”  I am basically sitting here mulling over why I am disappointed in myself and my life so that I can 1. resolve to change these things, and then 2. in all likelihood fail to follow though, making me feel even worse.  So instead of making New Year’s Resolutions this year, I am going to flip this tradition on its head and make a list of New Year’s Commendations.  Rather than essentially listing all the things I want to change, I am going to list a few things that I think are just great about myself and my family members.  I figure starting out the year appreciating ourselves (and our loved ones) is much better than starting off the year thinking about what sucks about us.  Below are mine in case you’re curious but please feel free to stop reading after this paragraph (because I kind of think you might end up wanting to gag yourself, although I have tried to make you giggle a little too).  I mostly wrote this post because I thought New Year’s Commendations would be a nice change of pace.  You should do it too.  In fact, if you want to join me and turn this post into a gag fest, feel free to share your commendations in the comments section below.  I’d love to read them.  Happy New Year!

greatjob

Zack

You rock for your awesome imagination.  The stories you make up and tell us while you’re on the potty are hilarious.  Your “other” parents, Smokey and Pae, seem so real I sometimes think I can ship you off to their house when you are being a handful.  And thank goodness those two little baby cows you were playing with in my room this morning were fake because real cows smell like s–t.  Keep dreaming little guy.

Your love of learning and curiosity are such a great gift. I marvel at the way you ask us “what spells [insert word]” fifty times a day and how you made me explain, in gory detail, how Dr. Goldman took you and Addy out of my belly.  Your eagerness to understand the world will certainly shape your future in amazing ways.

Addy

Who knew a three-year-old could be one of the most compassionate and caring people I know!  The way you take care of your brother, bringing him his blankie when he is sad, always insisting he choose treats first and standing up for him as if you’re his hired attorney when he is misbehaving, is so wonderful to watch.  You would share your last gummy bear with a friend if it made her happy and if there is a baby within ten feet of you, you will immediately run over to help feed it, change its diaper or give it a paci.  Being so loving and considerate is one of the most beautiful qualities in a person and I am so happy to see that in you.

While you have an amazing soft side, I’m also proud to see a strong, assertive nature in you.  You are not afraid to speak your mind, stand up for yourself and others and ask for what you want.  While it can be challenging in the moment sometimes, you clearly tell me when you think I am not being fair and explain why you feel that way.  (“Mommy, why are you eating a cookie before dinner when you just told me I couldn’t have one?  That is NOT nice.”)  Being a confident girl who communicates her thoughts clearly are qualities that will surely take you far!

Max

We often talk about building character in our kids and there will be no better way for them to learn about grit, optimism, integrity and compassion than from watching you.  You’re the state school guy who got an interview at a big NYC investment bank senior year of college by calling the head of the group’s admin daily for weeks.  Then you scored the job against a sea of ivy leaguers by slapping on an ugly green Banana Republic suit and crushing the interview.   You’re the marathon runner and triathlete who still tells me I can run 26.2 miles one day if I put my mind to it (ha!).  You are the guy who gets dust in his eyes when he watches those ESPN stories about the down-on-his-luck high school basketball player who overcomes.  You know, the one who lost his arms and legs in a shark attack and then scored the winning basket at the championship game when his teammates carried him across the court and bounced the basketball off his head.  There really is no greater guy than you and Addy, Zack and I are so lucky to have you as our father and husband.

Me

Um…let’s see…I wash a mean dish and can fold my tongue into the shape of a clover?  It really is hard for most people to say what they think is commendable about themselves and that includes me, but I thought about this all day and here’s what I came up with.  I really do love helping others and making people happy.  I truly get a rush of happiness when spending a half hour on the phone helping a former colleague navigate career decisions or cooking a bunch of eggplant parm for my parents when my mom broke both of her ankles at once (true story).   I love making people laugh or smile, which is really the primary motivation for starting this blog.  Writing it is fun and thought provoking, but the ultimate joy comes from getting comments that say I made readers chuckle or just that they enjoyed a post.

So instead of looking to a list of New Year’s Resolutions to guide my focus in 2013, I am going to look at my list of New Year’s Commendations.  I will keep my family members’ commendations at the top of my mind so I can marvel more regularly at what I love about them and avoid taking them for granted as so often happens in the daily grind of life.  And I will use my commendations to simply remind me to do more of what I love doing.  Somehow, I think this approach will bring me more happiness than making a resolution to try to work out five times a week.  Especially when after two weeks, the “try to work out” in that sentence will be replaced with “eat a snickers bar in my closet.”

Meet Emesis, My Nemesis

I have one real phobia in life and it is idiotic.  It is an intense and crippling fear of puke (Emesis, I have learned, is the medical term for throwing up).  I’m not sure why this fear came about or got so out-of-control.  Growing up my brother had a sensitive stomach. When he regularly got sick I’d be subjected to terrifying hurling and heaving sounds, similar to those I imagine a lion mauling a hyena makes, emanating from our family’s bathroom.  My best friend, who is a psychologist, thinks he is the culprit (sorry Manny).  Whatever the reason, the sight of vomit, the sound of vomit, the remote possibility that someone might vomit within 50 feet of me, makes me feel, well, like I’m going to do the deed myself.  I’ll save the everyday implications of having this phobia and being a mom for another post.  Today, I write to you from the beautiful beaches of Jamaica to share my long, emesis-phobia-filled journey to paradise.

Almost every year since I met Max, we have spent President’s Day Weekend at his grandma’s 55+ retirement community condo in Boca.  In 2011, we took Addy and Zack for the first time.  They were 18 months old.  I worried that they would be a handful on the flight but was pleasantly surprised when they slept through take-off, had a blast during the flight (which included chowing down on an entire box of Annie’s cheddar bunnies) and were generally in optimal form.  That is, until we started to descend into Miami.  Addy was sitting on my lap and I noticed little beads of sweat forming on her forehead.  Her previously spirited demeanor pulled a 180 and she turned desperately quiet.  “Do you think she’s OK?” I asked Max, who was sitting next to me with Zack on his lap.  “She’s fine.” He replied dismissively.  “Uh oh, I think she just gagged!” I said frantically.  “What are you talking about?  She is totally fi—“ and before he could properly eat his words, Addy gagged one more time and painted Row 22 an Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies shade of bright orange.

While I was able to compose myself enough to clean up the mess, I was in shock. I pretty much spent the rest of our long weekend obsessing over whether or not this was a fluke.  Every time I thought about the flight home, I broke out into a cold sweat.  Was there a harmless way I could guarantee Addy would sleep through the entire flight?  Could I tape a barf bag to her chin so that the mess would be contained if she did puke? Could each of the four of us pass for 55 so we could live in Boca Lago forever and never get on an airplane again?  Of course, the answer to all of these questions was no.  And, of course, she barfed all over the place on the flight home.

For the rest of 2010, I swore to Max that I was never getting on another plane with Addy.  He told me I was a nut job.  When December rolled around and he suggested we book our President’s Day flights, I seriously contemplating bailing, but eventually realized that I really needed to figure out how to get over this crippling fear.  Neither of us had traveled much with our families as kids and we had promised ourselves we’d see the world with ours one day.

I started researching ways to conquer phobias.  Therapy would take too long and would probably require some sort of horrifying exposure exercise, like bathing in a vat of vomit, so I ruled it out.  My brother generously offered to make a recording of his puking noises so I could listen to it over and over to desensitize myself.  I declined.  Short on good options, I ultimately decided to go with the obvious route: hypnosis.  It actually turned out to be more like meditation or guided imagery.  We worked on envisioning me sitting in a movie theater, laughing hysterically, while watching a movie of Addy projectile vomiting on the plane.  I was instructed to play the movie in my head forwards and backwards, in fast forward and slow motion, all while imagining I was relaxing, listening to Come Away With Me by Norah Jones.  Needless to say, six weeks of meditation and imagery did not make me feel less freaked out about the flight.  All it did do was make me look like a big moron for thinking I could dump this phobia in six weeks with a few imagination sessions.

In the end, what got me through Family Florida trip #2 was the simple solution of going back to my roots.  I am a Type A, high strung, NYC mom.  What would such a person do in my situation?  What else but buy a bunch of Dramamine, four pairs of anti-nausea wristbands, a bottle of Motioneaze herbal motion sickness ointment, two boxes of Queasy Pops lollipops for kids, a towel poncho and a roll of kitchen garbage bags.  Then, run to the doctor to get my very first prescription for Xanax.  In between ripping on me for being completely mental, Max offered to book a 3 + 1 seating configuration (3 seats together and the seat across the aisle) so that I could sit somewhat solo and keep my insanity contained while he took one for the team and sat in between Addy and Zack (with Addy in the window of course).  Thanks to my lunacy, and Max’s understanding, Addy did not get airsick on either flight and I passed out, slumped in my seat with my mouth hanging open and drool dripping down my chin.

I have come a long way since this past February, although I have not completely conquered my anxiety around flying with Addy.  When Max proposed we book a trip to the Caribbean with the kids for the holidays, I quickly said yes and stifled the tiny voice in my head asking “what if she pukes?”  I prepared our little “Air Sick Addy” kit without the sound of my heart thumping in my ears.  I even passed on the Xanax and ventured to the airport with my neuroses unchecked.  A little deep breathing got me through take off and, when Addy screamed her head off because her ears were popping on the descent into Jamaica, I let Max handle it and kept my tight chest to myself.  Although I am getting better, it may take a few more years of puke-free flights before I stop worrying so much about this.  Addy will certainly be taking Dramamine before every trip until she’s old enough to test out a med-free flight without me.  But for now, I’m accepting my current mix of function/dysfunction and, lucky for me, Max is too.  After all, if we didn’t, we wouldn’t have been able to snap a photo of this today…

Jamaica

Do you have any silly phobias or anxieties that you’ve tried to beat?  Please share your stories and any tricks on how you conquered them!

Break Point

The last few weeks have been a challenge.  Zack has begun experimenting with indecision.  I’m not sure if he is intentionally trying to drive me crazy, if he is truly having trouble making decisions, or if he has blown a fuse.  Whatever it is, I would sell my soul to make it stop.  When he wakes up in the morning, it starts:

“Mommy, I want my milk.”

I give it to him.

“No!  I don’t want milk!”

I take it back.

“I SAID I want milk!”

I give it back to him.

“Nooooo! I DON’T WAAAAAAAAAANT IT!!!!”

He shorts out like this all day long.  I’m done on the potty. No, I’m not done yet!  I’m not hungry for dinner.  I want dinner!  Tuck my blanket in.  I don’t want my blanket!  It feels like I am the tennis ball being whacked back and forth in the most epic, endless tennis match in US Open history.

My response to this behavior has ranged from fully indulging it, to trying to reason with him, to setting limits/channeling Regis Philbin (I’m going to ask you what you want one more time and that will be your final answer).  Nothing has worked.

Three years is a crazy age.  It is an age of contradiction, not just evidenced by Zack’s vacillations.  Three-year-olds somehow manage to simultaneously be the most adorable and the most maddening they have ever been.  They love saying “no” even if they mean “yes.”  They want their independence, while always keeping mom and dad within arm’s reach.  But the contradiction that most throws me for a loop is this: their intellectual growth is exponential, yet it’s never entirely clear if they really understand.

This last contradiction is what has gotten me into serious trouble while trying to navigate Zack’s era of indecision.  He has been learning so much and understanding so many new, complex concepts lately, that I became convinced his back and forth antics were entirely deliberate and that he was intentionally trying to drive me nuts.  This “realization” led me to take a much more no nonsense approach and I started yelling at him and giving him time outs (which also did not work).

Then, on Tuesday morning, I was eating breakfast with Addy and Zack and I made eggs.  Zack started in with the routine – I want eggs, no I don’t, I want eggs, no I don’t.  Just as I was about to shift into I’m-not-going-to-take-this-crap mode, Addy turned to me and said, “Mommy, I think that he wants….” and silently mouthed the last few words of the sentence.  I couldn’t read her lips so I asked her what she had said.  Very slowly, over-enunciating every word, she said, “No, Mom-my. I was tell-ing the ba-bies that we’re go-ing to the paaarty.” At that moment, with my son toggling back and forth between eggs and no eggs and my daughter looking me in the eye but pretending to have a conversation with her imaginary babies, I had the distinct feeling that I was in the psychiatric ward of a hospital and I wasn’t sure which one of us was the patient.

I suspect that my ultimate sanity will depend on this moment of insanity.  I’m beginning to realize that no matter how brilliant a three-year-old can appear, soaking up new ideas like a sponge and asserting their independence, it is critical to remember that their brains do not yet function at a level of optimal rationality.  As parents, it feels great to see our kids begin to function like “big kids” socially, emotionally and intellectually, but it will still be a long time before this is a constant.  Sometimes, for their sake and ours, we have to look through a different lens of lowered expectations and let that guide how we handle difficult behavior.

So while Zack still kicks into his waffle routine at least three times a day, I know that I probably won’t tame his outbursts with even louder outbursts of my own.  Patience, as hard as it is to gather, will go a lot farther than yelling.  Rather than assuming he knows exactly what he is doing and getting pissed about it, I need to remind myself that he may just not be capable of controlling this behavior yet.  This, I believe, will be the key to riding through such a tough phase a little more gracefully.  And if not, feel free to stop by and visit me in my padded room at Bellevue.

The Scanted Plant

Behold the unfortunate-looking symbol of one modern woman’s struggle to reconcile her inner feminist with her outer stay-at-home-momishness.  This plant somehow managed to sit on our kitchen windowsill looking like a bomb casualty for almost a year.  When I was working, I delegated “plant care” to Max in an attempt to chip away at the mountain of household responsibilities that sat on my shoulders.  While he did consistently water the plants each week (good job sweetie!), this orchid’s journey from “thing of beauty” to, well, “thing,” began under his tutelage.   However, that is no excuse for my behavior.  I let this poor, busted bloom become a victim of my identity crisis.

When I left my job, Max pointed out, and I agreed, that I should become fully responsible for the household duties that we used to share, including plant care.  It was a totally fair request since he would continue to slave away at work to fund my shopping, personal trainer, botox and bon bons.*  However there was something about being completely in charge of a long list of mundane tasks at home that made me cringe.  I feared that if I completed the list each week, and completed it well, I would morph into a soulless 1950’s zombie housewife.  My only aspiration would be making sure the ladies of my bridge club would be able to see their beehives reflecting off of my perfectly polished silver, and I’d have a nervous breakdown if they couldn’t.  So I waged a slow and quiet rebellion against the Feminine Mystique that threatened to invade my identity: I refused to fix the orchid situation, GASP!

For a while, I continued to water it but stopped short of actually separating out the orgy of plant species that so wrongly cohabitated in one pot.  My lame effort to stink at plant care led to the realization that if I wanted to be the real deal I needed to smash that potted mess to pieces all over the kitchen floor.  I’d show the world that I am a member of the free-thinking, graduate-degree-holding, badass womyn’s club. Ugh, but if I did that then I’d have to bend over with a dust pan to clean it all up and that would suck.  So I said screw it and just decided to ignore the plant altogether.  No pruning, no watering, no love. By neglecting this one plant, I was failing to completely fulfill my housewifely duties and could therefore hold on to my identity as a strong, successful, educated woman.  And so, this now brown, ugly plant stood on the windowsill for visitors and passersby to see as a testament to my feminist chutzpa.

Until, one day, I realized two things.  First, taking on all the household duties was not an affront to my feminist predecessors.  Creating a fulfilling life, which for me will include a period of exclusive family focus (and the household duties that come with it) bookended by years of career focus is, in my opinion, living out the life of choice for which these feminists fought so hard.  The second and clearly more profound realization was that I was a moron and all this dead plant did was make me look like a dirty slob.  So I threw it in the trash and bought a shiny new fittonia plant at Home Depot.  Isn’t it pretty?

*No, I am not serious.

Getting Engaged…Six Years After the Wedding

I’ve been hearing and reading a lot lately about the importance of being present, particularly with respect to one’s children.  Kids grow up so fast, everyone says, but you can slow the speeding bullet by putting aside the smart phone, pausing the mental list making and truly engaging with your child for a little bit of time each day.  While you engage, notice things. Look at their sweet faces, marvel at the funny things they say, really talk to them. Take some time, take a deep breath and take them in so you don’t find yourself distraught, years from now, wondering where their childhood went.

But this post isn’t about noticing our kids.  It’s about a recent dinner I had with my husband out at a restaurant on a random weeknight.  It would be cool if I told you that we totally lived it up – went to our favorite restaurant downtown, went clubbing, got wasted.  But that didn’t happen.  Instead, we went to a decent restaurant a few blocks away, talked about tantrums, budgets and work, got some froyo and were home by 10:00. While I’d like to think a fly on the wall of our dinner would have been enthralled by the analysis of our monthly Amex bills, it probably would have fallen asleep and landed in the salsa.

However, for a fleeting moment in the middle of the very grown-up dinner conversation, I was entirely present. For that short moment, I tuned out whatever we were discussing, really looked at my husband’s face and thought, “He is sweet and good and adorable and I am lucky.” My heart felt full and I was happy and grateful…and then I was zapped back into helping him figure out how much we can afford to spend on an apartment.

I’ve been thinking about that moment a lot over the last few days. It made me realize that the importance of being present doesn’t only apply to time with my kids, it applies to time with my husband too.  I make a real effort to spend quality, truly engaged time with Addy and Zack but I don’t do this as much with Max.  Sure, we spend tons of time together and have lots of fun, but rarely do I take a minute to sit and stare into his eyes.  I am guilty of devoting lots of words to complaining about the unimportant things he does wrong and few to telling him how truly blessed I feel to be his wife and the mother of his children. Most weeknights, instead of lying in bed focusing in on each other and talking about things that go deeper than budgets, we watch Homeland, talk about our plans for the week and then pass out.  None of this is to say we don’t love each other, because we truly do. We have just become victims of the parent trap – the trap that distracts us with logistics and worries and to do lists and leaves little room for just being together.

Now that I have had this seemingly simple realization, what do I do?  How do I remember each day to look at his sweet face, marvel at the funny things he says, really talk to him?  When can I take some time, take a deep breath and take him in so I don’t find myself distraught, years from now, wondering where the magic went?  Life is crazy, and it’s batsh-t crazy when you have kids, but it will fly by right over your head if you don’t take time to truly engage with what’s most important to you.  So while I’m really liking engaging with you so far, blog, I gotta go do some engaging with my main squeeze.