Category Archives: Relationships

Mom-athy Part 2

I finally got back to work as an Artist (Writer) in Residence at the children’s hospital last week. My warm-up was an art project at a tree lighting ceremony for chronically ill kids. It went beautifully, but when I got home and discovered I just missed tucking my baby into bed, I was a wreck. All I could think was, how do moms do this? How did my mom do this? Late that night I was as actually happy to wake up at 1 and 4 and 6 a.m. to feed and snuggle my little one. I didn’t know how I was going to leave her for eight hours that day and worried over whether or not I’d left enough milk for her. This must be the Italian mama in me. You know the ones who cook the ten course meal and wonder if that’s enough. In any case, getting back into the swing of things went more smoothly than I expected. It helped that the other artist and dancer I worked with are amazing and that one of the first patients I met said she loved, loved, loved Shakespeare. What I didn’t expect was how much it would affect me to see unwell babies and their parents.

A few weeks ago, I created the word, mom-athy. Now I feel that its definition needs to be expanded. Evidently this sort of deep empathy extends not only to your own ailing child, but also to those of total strangers. You don’t usually take an infant to the hospital unless something is very wrong, so you can imagine the condition of the babies I saw when I first walked through the automatic doors.

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Mom-athy

“Don’t tell Mom.” = An e-mail from my sister.

“I know.” = My response.

We hadn’t done anything illegal (you’re shocked, I’m sure). We hadn’t broken anything or hidden any evidence, and we weren’t re-enacting the Christina Applegate movie. We simply decided to protect the woman who bore us from: news of the Return of the Thrush. It may not be grammatically correct to capitalize the name of the infection or to put “the” in front of it, but it feels appropriate. We just weren’t sure Mom could handle it, even though she’s dealt with much greater crises with one hand behind her back and the other one cooking a gourmet dinner. You could hear her teeth grind every time she asked, “Is it any better?” and a pained sigh every time I said, “No, not really.” And I might have thought she was overdoing it a bit, had I not discovered for myself that knowing that your daughter is in pain is a whole new kind of anguish.

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The Beckoning of Lovely: A Year Later

In May, I posted a video of The Beckoning of Lovely project, headed by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. She recently posted a new video with an update, a year after the original experiment. It’s short, but worth watching for its breath of fresh air.

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Beauty in a Wicked World is a weekly column by Jennifer Gandin Le. It appears on Wednesdays.

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Sand Animation from the Ukraine

I’ve never seen anyone tell a story in this medium. I am so impressed by human ingenuity. Watching this skillful artist is worth 8 minutes of your life.

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Beauty in a Wicked World is a weekly column by Jennifer Gandin Le. It appears on Wednesdays.

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(500) Days of Summer: A Love Letter to a Not-Love-Story

500-days-of-summerDear Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber, Marc Webb, Eric Steelberg, the producers, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, and everyone else involved in making the movie (500) Days of Summer,

I’ve been subconsciously writing this letter for four months, since I first saw your movie at SXSW. I wrote on this site about my screening experience, but looking back, my post seems flippant and doesn’t indicate the depth to which your story delighted me. My husband wasn’t with me at the SXSW screening, which was unfortunate, because as soon as the credits rolled, I knew he would see himself on that screen. (As will many, many men my age.) Last night, I took him to see the movie at another screening in town.

I loved the movie again, maybe even more this time. You have created a masterful film that captures countless desperately honest moments. It was a visceral pleasure to watch. And I want to articulate some of the reasons why it has touched me so significantly.

I’ll cut here so I can spill lots of spoilers below. (Crucial Minutiae readers, if you’re going to see this movie, bookmark this post and come back once you’ve seen it. I don’t want to ruin your viewing experience.)

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Filed under Beauty in a Wicked World, Gender, Movies, Music, Pop Culture, Random, Relationships, Writing

Healthy Teen Sexuality in Texas

iChoose logoLast Wednesday, I stood at the back of a cafetorium while 100+ teens clustered around the B-boy City Dance Crew, who showed off their moves to Busta Rhymes. The crew called for dancers from the audience, and a group of girls near me nudged and shoved their friend toward the stage. She waved her hands frantically and shook her head, not willing to single herself out. (She later did go up and show off her dance moves, along with another girl who sang an impromptu solo for us.)

We were all there for the iChoose: Real Talk on Sexual Health Teen Summit (I was a volunteer). This one-day workshop for teens provides real information and education about healthy sexuality, with an emphasis on each teen’s opportunity to choose what’s best for them. Over 100 Austin-area teens came out on a summer weekday for over 13 sessions, including “Sexuality & the Law,” “Healthy Masculinity,” and “Birth Control Methods.” I learned about very cool organizations like Men Rally for Change and Love Is Respect: National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline.

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Touching Death

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Kimmi
Therapy Thursdays

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