You know when a storm is coming; You can smell the rain. — Maimah Karmo, breast cancer survivor, on yesterday’s episode of Oprah

How can I teach my daughter to love herself? That she is lovely and desirable regardless of how she looks or what she wears? That she will be loved?

Do we hide our true selves behind a facade of power suits and makeup and hair products? Do we sublimate our powerful intuition because we are taught to fear a strong woman?

It is not how long you live but how well. Still. I am not ready to expire, don’t want my life cut short or my children having to navigate their rough seas without my guidance.

For so long, I rushed through my days, crossing tasks off the everlasting to-do list, saving what mattered for LATER. And now, I focus only on the people I love and time enough to let them know I cherish them immensely.

Did you know I hate adverbs? They are wasted breath, superfluous sayings that serve merely to underline, embolden, emphasize. Why not say what you mean in the fewest words possible, with the most punch?

In the middle of the night, Shaya awoke and gathered up his pale-blue blankie and stiped, soft kitty-cat. “I don’t want to be in my crib!” he wailed. And so I hefted him over the wooden side and brought him into the dark of my own bed.

His little fingers ran along the ridged waffle-pattern of my white blanket. “This is a train track,” he said.

When Asher was two and first saw a pinwheel of kiwi, he said, “Mommy, kiwi have piano.”

The metaphors and similes of babyhood. Without a filter to block the details, they notice everything.

Yesterday, I cradled each child in my lap. Shaya’s hair smelled of clear water and No-More-Tangles and I kissed him again and again, his head nestled against my chest.

When I cried at the thought of survival, he said, “Mommy, why you cry?” When I said because I was happy, he simply asked again.

Yesterday, my eldest boy crawled into bed beside me in the early morn. My arms automatically wentn around him. My daughter’s smile was an actual ray of sun on a gray-soaked day. In the middle of it all, she thrust her arms around me with the strength of her passion and love, unbridled and overflowing. I stroked her golden thick hair.

Once I thought life was simple. I wanted to be a mother, so I got pregnant. My babies were born with relative ease at full term and nestled at my breast instinctively. I didn’t have to program it; it just happened.

But there is a world of steep mountains out there and it’s not true for everyone that it just takes one time. You might not think I’ve had an easy path all the way through and maybe you’d be right.

In the dawn of a new Jewish year, I am thankful, though. My walls are colorful, my days bright, my heart ever-expanding with love to give. It’s all good. It’s all good.

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