We are the lucky ones


We found a perfect little house last week. It’s a bungalow on a leafy road with a wraparound porch. Inside, it’s bright and airy, with the kind of dining room that would be ideal for Thanksgiving dinners with James’ family, and an extra space for my parents to stay in when they come to visit. There’s a huge yard; the kind of yard that would make for a happy, tired corgi. We fell in love.

But we aren’t prepared to buy this house. We haven’t saved enough for that giant downpayment. We need to work on our condo to get it ready to sell. We need to sell our condo. I need to learn how to use a snow blower. You know, all the fun things.

Needless to say, I was a little heartbroken. I’m not someone who longs to have children, and I’m not really focused on getting into the C-suite. The thing that I pine away for is a house for our little family.

Then, last night, I took Kona out for her last walk before bed and we ran into one of our favorite neighbors. He and his wife have a dog named Memphis who gets so excited about seeing Kona that he sometimes has a little snorting attack. They live in one of the affordable housing units in our building. I asked Memphis’ owner how summer was going. He used to do contract landscaping, but he told me that he had recently taken a full-time job as a custodian at a local high school. “Health insurance! Dental! Retirement!” he exclaimed, rolling his eyes back and shaking his head like he couldn’t believe his luck. “It’s the best! I feel like a new person.” I told him that I felt the same way with my relatively new entry into the full-time work world. It made me so happy to see him so fulfilled simply by being able to provide for his family and stand on his own two feet. We agreed that we’re both very lucky.

And then I came upstairs, picked up my iPad, and learned about the attack in Nice. Another tragedy. More innocent lives lost.

It’s funny how things matter and then, suddenly, they don’t. I think all this terrorism is supposed to make us fearful, and while I am afraid, I am also more appreciative and more present. I am more awake. If it’s possible that time could be short–and that’s always been a possibility, however less likely–but if it’s possible, then I want to stop seeing things as obligations and more as choices. I want the people I love to know that I love them. And I want to be happy right where I am.

I don’t want to stop planning for the future. We will have a house one day. But for now, we’re here. We’re happy. And we’re so, so lucky.

For Love of Boston

Frock Files | Boston Will Rise

Most Fridays, I join James on his commute into the city, and if the weather is nice, I take the T to Copley Square to work out of the beautiful public library. Sometimes, in the summertime and in early autumn, I bring a big bag to fill up on vegetables and fruits from the farmer’s market just across the street. I used to work in a building one block away.

Copley Square is, to me, the heart of Boston. As we watched the news loop the footage of the explosions over and over from our hotel room in Portland on Monday, it felt surreal to see Copley filled with smoke and a flurry of panic, splattered with blood. Even now, more than 24 hours later, my brain has difficulty reconciling this familiar place with this terrible act.

Back in 2006, I was preparing for a trip to London when I heard the news that two explosions had gone off there. One was on a bus, detonated immediately across the square from the apartment my beloved professor, Ruth, and her husband lived in, in Bloomsbury. When I arrived there, windows were blown out of the building that was nearest to the explosion. Flowers were scattered about with notes attached to them. The city was running in full again, but it felt different — on edge, tense, despite the warmth of summer.

It felt that way when we touched down at Logan airport yesterday. There were police officers all over the airport, cop cars lined up along the Charles River and throughout Kendall Square. We turned on the radio, scanned the stations, and heard the words “tragedy,” “bomb,” and “terrifying” so many times that we eventually turned it off. As we drove through the tunnels that connect the airport to the city we hit traffic, and for the first time ever, I felt panic creep in until we were mercifully released back into the sunshine washing over Storrow Drive.

For everyone who calls Boston home, there is now the eerie feeling of violation and uncertainty. Those who were gruesomely injured, their loved ones, and the loved ones of those killed (I cry every time I think of that little boy), have to deal with the coupling of these uncomfortable feelings and a new, more difficult life. But this is a city of big hearted, tough people, and there’s no doubt in my mind that Boston will rise from this stronger than before. As Jim Walsh of Boston’s public radio station explains, “Boston is not the biggest city in America; it is not the most politically powerful. But it has an inner determination and power that only the foolish ignore.”

This is our home.

Want to help? The Red Cross and Boston Children’s Hospital are accepting donations. Our friends at Caravan Shoppe have created a free printable to fight the darkness with light and beauty.

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