N. turned one this month. I will always be 40 years older than she. Makes it easy to remember how old I am, and hopefully the math will come easy to her since all she'll have to do is add 40 to however old she is. This year, one plus 40. Despite my own desire to keep the festivities small and underwhelming, we threw her a big ol' one-year-young soiree with a whimsical garden theme. While planning the celebration went against every grain in my body and I stressed about every detail, in the end, Grandma was happy. And that's what matters most. 


Even though N. missed her afternoon nap and was exhausted from entertaining her 65 guests so much so that she vomitted when we arrived home and struggled to put her down that night. Even though the family pressure to have a grand party was so great that once it was finally over, my body physically collapsed, and I had to nurse a flare up of sinusitis for over a week.  

Worth it? Not so sure, but thankful it's done. 

Until N. and I went for a morning swing today. Afterwards, we strolled around the lake. I stopped and noticed the most unusual and beautiful butterfly I'd ever seen -- a black beauty, apparently a pipevine swallowtail. N. and I crept upon it as it softly sat on a bush flitting from flower to flower. 

"Kulibangbang. Mariposa. Butterfly," I said to N. A real one. Not just what she sees among her books and teethers.

An older couple stopped to see what awed us. We shared the moment - in the company of Spirit. Deep within, I thought, it just might be a visit from Lolo (my dad). Five years since he died. 

And we now have a toddler. A year goes by so fast. 

This morning's reminder? Pause meaningfully, and make every moment count. Sublimity. 



I haven't set foot in the city in a very long time (and actually don't miss it), and I'm thankful that my girlfriends who live there haven't outcasted me. Instead, they are agreeable to meeting halfway or even driving down to my locale.  

And our time together is still the same. While I'm still trying to get the hang of adult conversation while making sure N. isn't wreaking havoc in some corner of our home, my full glass of sangria waits patiently on the kitchen table.  The bottle's been calling me for a couple of weeks now, but I've been saving it for a special occasion -- getting together with my girlfriends. The ones who saw me through unrequited and confused twenty-something love, the ones who sat at the bar with me while I cried because of love jilted, the ones who have been my loves through my coming of age as I worked my ass off in the city for over a decade, and we griped over life & career challenges with the support of cocktails, dinners (French, Thai, Japanese, American diner, Indian, Malaysian etc.) & shared desserts. 

These are my girls. J. and L. I met them during my community arts/activism period, and we've been longtime friends since then. Our time together has included weeknight dinners catching up, mimosa brunches, and trips to Jillery, as well as our traditional birthday get togethers and treats. Whether it's a meal, a pair of new earrings, or new purse, I know J. and L. are my loves. Among the three of us, we've seen each other through -- my bruised tailbone having fallen six feet off while stepping on a loftbed bladder to relieve myself in a not-so-drunken state, more than a handful of boyfriends, two husbands and one serious woman partner, a new baby boy, a new baby girl, moves from Brooklyn and Queens to Manhattan, and just keeping sane through it all. 

To hear "how are you" from either of them is a most welcome beginning of a heartfelt conversation. And I am grateful for these women, J. and L., who are blessings in my life. To girlfriends!