Home Synopsis Buy the Book About the Author Subscribe to Our Newsletter The Mommy Brain Blog Read an Excerpt Reviews Q&A The Mommy Brain
The Mommy Brain
How Motherhood Makes Us Smarter

The Mommy Brain Blog

Monday, February 07, 2011

lost gems

When I was about 16, I worked all summer, baby-sitting, to earn the money to
buy a ruby ring I’d seen in a store window and couldn’t get out of my mind.
The ring had five dark stones that twinkled among tiny golden branches. I
used to fall asleep thinking about it.

But just a couple weeks after I finally owned that ring, I misplaced it,
never to be found again. Today, nearly 40 years later, I still sometimes
think of that ring late at night.

A few months later, my brother came back from Finland with a special gift
for me: a delicate silver bracelet of such original design that I got
compliments each time I wore it. I wore it while swimming in Lake Tahoe, and
somehow the catch opened up, and it sank down to the lake bottom. I can
still clearly see it flickering as it slipped from my grasp.

For many years afterwards, I had a recurring dream of swimming to the bottom
of a deep lake, and finding there, in one place, all the beautiful things I
couldn’t manage to hang on to: the ring, the bracelet, and various earrings
and necklaces, together with various keys, sunglasses and twenty-dollar
bills. Always in the dream, I’d be flooded with relief, and that rare
satisfaction of a perfect resolution to a story that at first seemed to have
no end.

When you lose things just occasionally, it’s really no big deal. But when
you lose things all the time, you start to worry, secretly, that you have
somehow also lost your self-control, or that maybe you never even had that
in the first place.

At the age of 49, when I was diagnosed with Attention-deficit/Hyperactivity
Disorder, it felt like one of those rare resolutions: the moral of a story
that had seemed to have no end. By understanding and addressing my
condition, I came to understand the corollary of Joni Mitchell’s famous
line, that you don’t know what you’ve lost ‘til it’s gone. I didn’t realize
my greatest lost until I’d found it -- recovering something just as sparkly
as my beautiful, lost ring: something like childish self-confidence.

Today, I take an improv class each Sunday. One of our rules is to applaud
mistakes, which we learn to consider as gifts. Nothing is lost; everything
is transformed. And better late than never.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

need a laugh?

I just got emailed this -- it's wonderful--

A father passing by his son’s bedroom was astonished to see that his bed was nicely made and everything was picked up. Then he saw an envelope, propped up prominently on the pillow that was addressed to ‘Dad…’

With the worst premonition he opened the envelope with trembling hands and read the letter.

Dear Dad:

It is with great regret and sorrow that I’m writing you. I had to elope with my new girlfriend because I wanted to avoid a scene with Mom and you.

I have been finding real passion with Stacy and she is so nice.

But I knew you would not approve of her because of all her piercing, tattoos, tight motorcycle clothes and the fact that she is much older than I am. But it’ s not only the passion…Dad she’s pregnant.

Stacy said that we will be very happy.

She owns a trailer in the woods and has a stack of firewood for the whole winter. We share a dream of having many more children.

Stacy has opened my eyes to the fact that marijuana doesn’t really hurt anyone.
We’ll be growing it for ourselves and trading it with the other people that live nearby for cocaine and ecstasy.

In the meantime we will pray that science will find a cure for AIDS so Stacy can get better. She deserves it.

Don’t worry Dad. I’m 15 and I know how to take care of myself.

Someday I’m sure that we will be back to visit so that you can get to know your grandchildren.


Your Son John

P.S. Dad, none of the above is true. I’m over at Tommy’s house.

I Just wanted to remind you that there are worse things in life than a Report card That’s in my center desk drawer.

I love you.

Call me when it’s safe to come home.