Today is Harriet's second birthday, and my father's 53rd. She is currently outside running around with her Papa, a testament to the change she has brought into his life, and all of ours.
My daughter’s first birthday—my father’s 52nd—was celebrated in the psych ward. There was no candle, and a nurse held the knife used to cut the cake. I had to call and plead in order for the baby to be allowed to visit my father, speaking first with a nurse and then with the unit manager. Normally, children aren’t allowed beyond the locked doors that mark the start of the psychiatric wing.
“Please,” I begged. “It’s their birthday. Both of them.”
My father was my sadness, and my daughter was my light. I couldn’t celebrate the joy of her first year without thinking about the deep sorrow that year had held for my father. I couldn’t bear to celebrate another melancholy birthday with my dad, or find hope for his future, without the healing balm of my baby’s smile. After all, without the baby, we may all be forced to confront the lunacy of singing “Happy Birthday” to a man currently hospitalized for depression.
Read the rest of this story in Brain, Child Magazine's blog.
Although it may seem grim, this story was an absolute joy to write. If you haven't read the blog for Headspace (the meditation app) head over there now!
I’ve been preparing for my Aunt Margaret to die since I was nine years old.
I called her Auntie, but Margaret was actually my great-aunt, the oldest of my grandmother’s four siblings. When I was a child she was the only grandparent figure that lived close enough—and lived long enough—to be involved with me and my siblings. She was our grandmother figure, for sure, but with all the expectation and none of the warmth. Instead, my maiden aunt who never married or had children of her own frustrated me with her curt speech and outdated wisdom. But despite that, I loved her deeply.
“Be kind,” my mother reminded me after one particularly enthusiastic scolding when Margaret, at 70-years-old, was mortified to see a me riding a bike while wearing a skirt, and I, at 8-years-old, was full of righteous indignation that she couldn’t see me as one of the boys. “She won’t be around for long.”
But Aunt Margaret never died.
At 73, she broke her hip, and the doctors weren’t sure she would make it through surgery. I remember hearing the fear in Margaret’s voice when we visited her in the hospital.
“In her day, a broken hip was a death sentence,” my mother explained, so at 11, I overcame my own fear by focusing on the practicalities. “We’ll have to get Auntie a bed,” I said, remembering the Spartan cot that Margaret slept on in her studio apartment.
But she didn’t die. She didn’t even stop walking around the immigrant city where she grew up, an area where Italian bakeries had given way to bodegas.
Spoiler alert: She's still going. Read the rest of the story on Headspace.
Last year, my husband and I bought our first home. When we crunched the numbers we realized that we were comfortable spending much less than the bank had approved us for. I talked to real estate and finance experts about why this is a good idea for this article on Daily Worth.
Since the 2008 financial crisis (which was fueled in large part by a real estate bubble), regulations have been put in place to cut down on predatory lending, most notably through the Title XIV of 2010's Dodd-Frank Act, which is called the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act. The act established national underwriting standards for residential loans, but some consumers are still approved for mortgages that are unrealistic for them when it comes to monthly payments.
Tasha Bishop, director of strategic alliance and business development at Apprisen, a financial services nonprofit sponsored in part by the United Way, estimates that about 35 percent of mortgages that are approved are unrealistic for consumers. What’s more: Many people “really trust the lender’s numbers and think that if they’re approved, they must be able to afford it,” Bishop says. But this isn’t always sound financial advice. Just because you can get approved for an expensive house doesn’t mean you should buy it.
Even with regulations in place, remember that banks are in the business of creating loans. Lenders “have incentives to give out mortgages, and to be positive and aggressive,” says Liz Miller, a certified financial planner and president of Summit Place Financial Advisors in New Jersey. Be skeptical and look out for your own interests. To avoid taking on more than you can handle, here’s what to keep in mind during the home loan process — and why you shouldn’t hit the top of your approved price range.
Read the rest of the story at Daily Worth.
I never imagined I would be flying to Australia with my child before she was a year old. However, when the baby was just four months old a health crisis in the family brought my husband – an Australian – back to his home country. Not one to miss an adventure, I quickly arranged a passport for the baby and met my husband in Brisbane three weeks later.
Although the trip stemmed from a crisis, it ended up being a great adventure, even more so because the day we landed our family member received good news medically, which freed us to enjoy our trip. We were able to introduce the baby to her grandparents, and enjoy an adventure through Queensland, Australia, bringing the baby to places my husband had visited as a child and that we had enjoyed during the 18 months we lived in Australia.
My love for the country’s striking natural beauty and laid-back people was deepened after visiting Australia with baby. Here’s what we did – and didn’t do –during the trip.... Read about our trip on Have Baby Will Travel.
For All Your Writing and Editing Needs