Mom's Got Her Thing Tonight

I’m lucky to know a variety of excellent women. It’s why I started MILK Podcast, for a chance to converse with and champion some of the passionate and fabulous ladies I come across.

Some of my most treasured women friends are ones I don’t see all that often: my gal pals from college, and they are a special little coven. We get together every few years for an unofficial reunion, and it is always the most replenishing and hilarious time. We drink wine, laugh constantly, tell stories about our kids and jobs, and of course, reminisce about who we were and what we wore while students at The University of Vermont. I always leave these weekends so inspired, so vibrant, with my heart so full. I remember things I had forgotten about younger versions of myself, and I’m moved by them, as if reconnecting with an old friend, and that friend is me.

friendship Mallory Kasdan MILK podcast.jpg

These women: Heather, Whitney, Aimee, Danielle, Lisa and Cressida, are unconditional supports. We live in different locations (urban/suburban/country/east coast/west coast), and aren’t all in touch on the daily, but our choices and values overlap. We share honestly and vividly about our fears and accomplishments. In one breath we feel 19, and like we live on the same dorm hall getting ready to go see Phish play in our student center cafeteria (which we did). In the next we are aware of the responsibilities that challenge the free spirits we all once were (how many types of insurance can one person/family have, just for example).

I came upon this piece on “The New Mid Life Crisis, Why and How It’s Hitting Gen X Women,” while researching an interview that I’m recording tomorrow with it's author Ada Calhoun. She also wrote a crisp and entertaining book of essays called  “Wedding Toasts I’ll Never Give,” which I loved and highly recommend. This essay, however, is a bit bleak, -- full of research both scientific and anecdotal about why women in their forties, like me and my UVM girls, would or could be struggling physically and psychically in this mid life place. It is very much worth reading and discussing. 

Coming off of this weekend, however, where Whitney hosted us one night in her cozy home, and planned our meals and thought of everything, I felt so loved and tended to. The second night we stayed in a hotel and met up some other college friends, and it was pure silliness and reconnecting with that fun time freedom we all took for granted in our college days. Meanwhile back at the ranch, our awesome partners tended to our kids. 

friends MILK podcast Mallory Kasdan

Thinking back on our reunion and considering this piece today, I do not feel in crisis. Perhaps this is because I am privileged to have a partner who will watch my kids, and friends with the means to host a lovely dinner and split hotel rooms for a night. That is my pure luck in this life to be able to afford these luxuries.

But I wonder also if I am feeling less mid life crisis-y and more optimistic lately despite the constant drum of bad news and our dire seeming, violent world, because I’m feeling free to be myself, finally, at this mid life crisis prone age. Being with these old friends allows access to the previous selves inside of me that I’ve been able to embody or else retire. Conjuring them up is intense, but feels like a release when I can let them go.

“Self-care” is a phrase that annoys me for no good reason, but letting laughter and love wash over me, and spending face to face time with people dear to me, really felt that way. As moms, women, humans --  our many selves need care, and we deserve it.


My son is 5 years old with humongous eyes and a way of processing information that is unique to him. His developing brain is a fascinating thing to watch.

He loves the subway, as do many kids like Miles, but what’s fantastic about riding the train with him is how his struggles to interpret social cues often seem to bring out the very best in people. He has given me a chance to reclaim what can be the dreary experience of 20 + years of riding the train, because he is so excited to simply be there, look at the map, to discuss which trains are local and which are express, where the F train begins and ends and where you can pick up the G.

The unspoken NYC Subway etiquette famously does not encourage smiling, eye contact or direct engagement, but to Miles it is just a giant grouping of people going places. He asks the questions many of us wonder as we make up stories in our heads about people while touching limbs and sharing air. His little voice as he asks aloud about his fellow passengers, or regurgitates something that happened to him earlier in the day is pure. I have seen countless charming and surprising interactions between Miles and even the most intimidating characters on the train.

Last week, after the first day of Kindergarden in a new school, where he had fallen in the park and opened up an old boo-boo, we were riding home. It was a hot day and he hadn’t eaten his lunch in the overwhelming swirl of new sensations of the first day. On the train he had calmed down but was working it out in full voice how I cleaned the blood from his knee on the playground and applied a band-aid. While he went over it for the second or third time, a middle-aged, kind of tough looking dude with an earring and a cycling cap across the train was smiling and nodding encouragingly at Miles.

Miles: What’s your name

Man : Victor

Miles: Which stop is yours?

Victor: Jay Street

Miles: Is that your home? Or are you going to work?

Victor: I’m going home.

Miles: Today was my first day of Kindergarden. I fell and hurt my leg.

Victor: I fall all the time Miles. You’re gonna be all right my man.

M: OK. (and with my prompting) Have a nice day Victor.

That’s nothing to most people in most normal places, but in New York we don’t do these little captive chats most of the time unless there’s a reason for it. I actually live for these moments, because to me it is evidence of some larger spirit, or kindness, or curiosity or energy that binds us all together. You can try to squelch it, put it in your giant purse, make a tough face and pretend you’re not watching or listening. But it is always there. And sometimes it can take a child who isn’t familiar with social graces, or is too inquisitive to care to wake us to the fact that we are all perfect beings who seem to be on our way somewhere, but actually, we have already arrived.

Children, with their needs and wants can tax and worry us so much that we forget to see the wonder in their eyes, the amazing in their brains, the beauty in their difference.

I don’t know about you but I’m feeling 42

Summer is dwindling and my birthday is nigh. It seems that a bit of reflection is in order.

So who the hell is 42? What’s her freaking deal?


42 is surprised at how young her doctors and lawyers and kids’ teachers and people in charge of things are.

42 is paying bills for more kinds of insurance than any one person or family should need.

42 is in the mirror, lines etched on her face and strands of “ashy blonde” at her hairline.

42 is overwhelmed by nostalgia when she hears Ace of Base in H & M. 42 is confused by fashion trends like high waisted acid washed jean shorts.

42 is disbelief that 20 years have passed since she came to NYC and started her big girl life. That small people rely on her to wipe their asses and pack their lunches.

42 is glazing over when Minecraft is being explained.

42 is a relief and a settling into something. There’s a relaxation that is new. Turns out 42 is OK at this Mallory thing.

Anger, sadness, spaciousness, joy, anxiety, irritation: a flavorful soup of emotions I keep in my mental fridge. I add to and it nourishes me. I feel it all and that ain’t changing. But 42 knows boundaries. She has the ability to let in the insecurity and the annoyances and the fears and sit with them and feel them, and then try to let them go.

42 can still party, though she’s hurting the next day. Also, 42 gets really red in the face when she jogs, and could give a shit.

42 lives deep in the bones of her memories and her old friends and conversations and jokes they made. 42 needs her loves – to laugh and to cry with. To try and be there for them like they have been there for her. A certain laughter or cadence of a conversation can take 42 right back to the good times at camp or Israel or Vermont or childhood in Pittsburgh.

42 knows a good one when she sees one.

42, I love you man.


Terrible stories are everywhere it seems. Stage 4 cancer at age 40, hit by a car while buying cookies at the local bakery, aneurysm on the golf course. Sick kids, sick spouses, sick parents. Mental and physical illness. Accidents.

Last week I received shocking and sad news about a former boss. She died at 45 after being diagnosed with cancer only 3 months prior. I had no idea she was sick. I hadn’t seen her in a very long time, but she had just said something funny on a Facebook post I wrote in February, and I had been thinking about giving her a call. She was a PR maven and since I’m considering strategies to promote my upcoming book, it seemed like a nice symmetry to reconnect with her.

Of course, I now regret terribly waiting on this.

As I’ve grieved for my mom this past year, I’ve noticed a heightened state of nostalgia and an almost maniacal desire to record certain moments in time, to stamp them with recognition so that they never fade. Since Jen’s death last week, I’ve been perseverating over those early years in New York just after graduation, when I worked for her in the publicity department at Hyperion.

Details of the office on Lower 5th Avenue are front of mind. I can see the quality of the fluorescent light in the hallway where the assistants lined up like an entry-level army, fortifying their bosses’ windowed offices. Flicking through the cards on my Rolodex and calling the deli every morning with our breakfast orders. Jen liked a large iced coffee and a toasted cinnamon raisin bagel with butter. (This was back when people ate bagels). There was Neil, the super-friendly head of the mailroom pushing the overloaded mail cart, and the giant diamond engagement ring one of the book designers wore. The heft of the To Be Filed File that I hid in my drawer, hoping Jen wouldn’t ask me how the filing was going. The tiny yellow X-acto knife she gave me to open the millions of boxes of books that arrived daily for us to unpack and mail out to the media.

Jen taught me to take a thorough phone message. To create a travel itinerary that wasn’t nonsensical for our touring authors. To grill the “book reviewers” trying to get free review copies. To massage the egos of the needier authors and only get her out of “a meeting” if it was someone specific. She taught me to pitch reporters, the most awkward and agonizing part of publicity work.

Jen gave me amazing opportunities and cocktail party stories for years. We took authors to bookings at the network morning shows, to “Politically Incorrect” when it was on Comedy Central, and to Letterman. She let me take RuPaul on a four-city book tour at age 23, and to a Today Show taping at the MAC store, where I got a makeover and a ton of free makeup. And my favorite, taking authors to the old WNYC, which stoked my longtime love of radio and had the best author and musician sightings in their ratty greenroom.

After work I’d go home. I remember looking around at my neighbors, many older than me, most on a professional track, everyone heading to Central Park to exercise with the fervor they probably put into their jobs – running, biking, rollerblading, unicycling (ok, just this one guy). I was obsessed with people watching and wondering about their back-stories, their paths. If they were coupled, how did they meet their mates? And if they had children, um, how do you even do that in New York? I was fascinated with how one arrives at an adult place and the decisions and luck a person needed to get where they wanted to go. How did they know what they wanted to do and be? How were they brave and strong enough to make it in this crazy ass city?

And now, almost 20 years later, I’m there, firmly ensconced in my adult life. How I arrived here — my own back-story– is nothing special. I’m not always even sure what led to what. I feel super lucky most days, skating by, dealt a few blows here and there, but mostly incredibly grateful. But damn aware of the fragility of it all.

I wish we didn’t need these painful reminders that life is so fleeting and that we need to be good to each other. I guess all we can do to honor those who have passed through our lives is to live with compassion and humor and an incredible amount of humility.


I’ve been wearing a piece of mom’s clothing most days. Like her stretchy AG teal and black polka dot Petite cords, white drawstring pajama pants with frogs on them (she collected frogs – a seemingly random collection decision with no real story behind it that I can uncover), and crisp white and pink cropped cotton pajamas from the Petites department at Saks. Colorful striped knee-highs. Pashminas. Jeggings. Clothes I would never have chosen, but I find myself weaving into my wardrobe now with a certain amount of urgency.

I look down at my legs, my arms, or my feet shorn in these totally familiar fabrics and patterns and they remind me of her doggedly upbeat approach to life and how she embraced color up until the end. Let’s just say the woman loved her some salmon and turquoise.

Each season, as I gather the clothes the kids have grown out of and figure out the best place to donate them, I don’t usually think of the pants and dresses and shirts with much sentimentality. But if, years later, I see something worn by a friend’s daughter or son I’ve passed them on to, I acutely remember all the moments that Z or M rocked those outfits. I think about when I bought the pieces, how many times I washed them, and all the places we went when Z wore those purple clogs or M that striped blue and white sweater.

And so now these mundane items of mom’s feel precious and crucial. They are mostly comfy clothes, which add a layer of poignancy. Because of her illness, which initially manifested itself as a skin disease, the last few years she would only wear the softest cottons that didn’t irritate her skin. She favored leggings and turtlenecks and soft wrappy sweaters. Her style adjusted to her sickness.

Mom had this amazing attitude that we used to make fun of. She had an obsessive need to see the positive in any situation and to spin every story to a good outcome. She would not tolerate self-pity or delving in the negative. She was not interested in being depressed or anxious. She was able to shrug. A lot. But she always knew who she was. I admired this in her, but never truly understood the amount of strength it took to undertake.

That’s why now, wearing these clothes, these Judi-like pieces she wore next to her skin, imaging her choosing them from a store or later, when shopping wasn’t something she wanted to do, from the internet, sitting at her desk or lying on her bed, feels so important. Like she is trying to encase me in love and show me how to be strong and how to go on without her guidance and be there for those who need me. I am taking her in while she hugs me in lycra and modal cotton.

Wearing her clothes feels like a mantra is making itself known to me. It’s not quite her mantra: “Don’t worry, Be Happy.” Mine is still cloudy, but the words are building from a feeling I get each day when I put on her scarf or her socks or her t-shirt. The words are not obvious, but the fabrics and the memories are there to fold into while the intention makes itself clear.

stay gold

Today I went to 47th Street to sell some gold for cash. Which sounds so pawn shop, so drug addict, so hawking the sax to pay for a fix. Really, I just went to sell some of mom’s jewelry, which she gave me last week and urged me to get rid of. It felt unsettling to sell it but she was so emphatic “with the high price of gold and all.” Plus she’s notoriously unsentimental, claimed she never wore any of it, and we could use the money to pay the deposit for next years preschool.

So I rolled up to 47th between 5th and 6th, one of those world within a world New York City blocks. Lit by neon signs and florescent window displays during the day, the overall vibe is nonetheless SHADY. I swerved to avoid packs of roaming Orthodox Jews, homeboys handing out cards, and swarthy men smoking cigarettes and muttering, gold silver platinum we buy everything, under their breath.

I had the name of a “guy” from a jeweler friend, but as I walked in the front door of the huge room divided into kiosks, I was instantly schmoozed by a cute young man in a kippah with the counter right by the door. Real estate is everything.

I’m here to sell gold for cash I said. We can do that he said.

Their father and son outfit was straight out of Central Casting: the father spoke in brusque Hebrew inflected English as he looked through his jeweler’s loupe suspiciously at another customer’s treasures. A little sleazy, definitely the bad cop, dad looked like he knew his way around a karat, while the son, quite obviously the greener, good-er cop, looked me in the eye and smiled with his big white teeth while he tested my gold to make sure it was real with this little scrapey chalk board thing and various liquids. The two of them ducked heads, whispered under their breaths, and gathered around the calculator, doing their dance for me and the hopeful customers from Westchester, with their silverware and gold plated charms.

Boychick told me how he studied journalism and couldn’t quite believe he ended up in the family business. I could see the whole situation in a flashback – graduation day from Columbia, the fights, dad yelling that writers are losers and drunks and cajoling him to come to 47th street, it’s what WE DO! And now, son smiles at me confidently, salesman like, he really loves it.

Here’s what we can do for you said the son, and showed me the number on the calculator. Sorry there’s nothing we can do for you, said the father to Westchester. But we thought you were the experts, Westchester said as they slunk out the door.

I felt like I had won – my stuff was good. And as I readied myself to take the money and walk away from this Neil Diamond song come to life, I glanced at mom’s pieces of jewelry, sitting there innocently on the velvet tray after being analyzed and violated, not knowing what was in store for it. And I had another twinge: should I be doing this and will I regret this?

Because no matter how little this stuff means to my mom now, at one point it was on another velvet tray, housed in some other incarnation of a jewelry business, probably chosen for her as a gift from my dad. And it likely meant something. There was desire behind it or hope that she would like it. Plans for when she’d wear it.

Now it’s headed for the basement gold melting factory where some old bearded guy (probably the Grandpa!) cracks the stones with a hammer and melts everything into a giant cauldron of liquid gold soup, which is then somehow turned into a form (bars? sheets?) that some banker can buy and sell on a trading floor, and then after more travels and formations and incarnations I can’t even imagine eventually maybe finding its way back some day into a jeweler’s hand or factory and onto another velvet tray somewhere. For someone else to desire and dream about wearing or give as a gift.

Um, Happy Valentines Day?

anniversary university

Today is the day Evan and I married 8 years ago. It was dazzling and exhilarating and lives on as the most glamorous and narcissistic thing we’re likely to do. I’ve never looked glossier or been bossier. Champagne flowed. Evan wrote me a song. There was klezmer, funk and filet. I’ll never forget how breathless I felt gazing out from under the chuppah over our sea of peeps and knowing it was all downhill from there.

Anniversaries of wedding days are weird, because as the years stretch on the two events have so little to do with each other. Marinating in the memories of your wedding is like re-watching a well produced movie version of your life, where things are honed and planned and people paid to cater and flower. While celebrating another year wed is like is bingeing on a reality show shot with an iphone — sloppy, inconsistent, hilarious, cozy and tedious. With poor editing.

I’m just happy to be here, honestly. I feel blessed that we’ve made it this far. There’s so much heartbreak and difficulty just trying to be in the world and be a good person and just staying LUCKY that I can’t believe I have someone to not talk to while watching Friday Night Lights.

And I do treasure being married. It usually means there’s one person to do the stuff you don’t want to do, until you realize neither of you is actually going to fix the garbage disposal or clean the drain and that just sucks. I’m actually shocked that there is a man in New York who puts up with my terrible driving and temper and hasn’t left me for a younger model.

Every story of a marriage you thought was ok failing is definitely a reality check, like a kick in the stomach. The Amy Poehlers and Will Arnetts, Danny Devitos and Rhea Perlmans and every couple everywhere who can’t take one more day of each other. Not the end of the world of course, but dispiriting none the less. But what to do? You gulp, self examine, and then make dinner. What is the alternative?

I guess marriage is a mash-up of many possible high school extracurricular activities: debate team, musical theater, long distance running club, and detention. So of course sometimes, with all those things to keep up with and attend to, all you really want to do is hang out by the smokestack and cut class.

i once was a girl

I haven’t been mistaken for a girl in a while. People trying to get my attention who don’t know me call me ma’am, lady, miss, or hey you tired looking female person. I’m no girl, and most days I’m good with that.

But I very much cherish the show “Girls.” I think it’s moving and totally unexpected. The characters remind me of all the curious, honest and narcissist New Yorkers I know and love — evocative combinations of some of my most favorite people. The writing and acting are both spot on. For better or worse, this is how girls who like each other talk to each other. “Girls” perfectly showcases how being in your 20’s is an exhilarating but equally horrifying time.

The show and creator Lena Dunham have been getting some great reviews, but also getting slammed for various reasons. From nepotism to the lack of racial diversity amongst the characters, to it being depressing, to the fact that these spoiled characters need to “Get a job!” I am confused by why people seem so pissed of about the show. I don’t really want to defend myself for liking it. People who don’t want to watch it or want to complain that it only got made because of Brian Williams and David Mamet are bitter and shouldn’t watch it. But they’ll miss hearing an amazingly formed voice bend around some serious funny. I’ve listened to a lot of interviews with this girl/woman and she is a girls’ girl, in that she has an open mind and is willing to put herself out there in ballsy way. And one of the most awesome things is that she’s not on TV because she’s hot. She’s on TV because she’s smart, funny and fearless.

(Ok, so I guess I am defending it).

But really, how great was it on this most recent episode when Hannah was at the doctor and they called out her weight (and it wasn’t 111 pounds), and she said something like: “Actually, I had my belt on.” I mean, who hasn’t thought or even said that?! And the humorless doctor/nurse was perfect.

The characters are so talky and therapized and 70’s Woody Allenish! I love the way the Allison Williams character is so pretty and poised and has the good entry level job and so therefore is the responsible one making the STD and abortion appointments at the women’s clinic, and of course has the really cute doting boyfriend probably also with a great job who probably just got his first book deal or whatever at age 25. And yet, she’s unhappy and unfulfilled and annoyed with Jessa (the British one) for being so Joni Mitchell-ish and getting to wear floaty pants and floppy hats. While Jessa is miserable and caught up in her own novelistic drama that she created by being irresponsible and self absorbed? And Hannah’s job interview where she let herself get comfortable and flirty enough to make a rape joke? Cringe-worthy in the best “Louie” way.

Far from being a flip show about people who are unlikeable, I think “Girls” is really deep and emotional and trying to get to the root of what it means to be an independent person in the world, flailing around trying to figure out what you think everyone else already knows. Dunham elegantly shows us how women put up with a lot of terrible things in relationships in order to have a few pathetic grasps of good feeling that come from being desired or desirable – I’d say that’s something a lot of women can relate to. It definitely struck a chord with me.

“I almost came,” Hannah says hopefully, after having silly, disappointing sex – because that’s exactly what would have happened in that situation. She’d convince herself it was ok because he got off, and even offered her a sports drink afterwards. And then she’d go talk it over with her friends on a bench with some frozen dairy treat made from questionable chemicals. And then, the vapid friend, the one who might be in law school and still wears Juicy sweatsuits, would whip out some stupid book similar to “The Rules” and quote from it earnestly. Yep, pretty much.

I love this show because it reflects a moment in a time that is so fertile with material, but also so heinous to live through. I’m so relieved to be out of there personally, but grateful to artists/thinkers “wunder”whatevers like Lena Dunham. I’m so excited to hear more from someone this young and this good.


fun on a stick

Nothing says sexy like a man and wife holding black leather satchels and twin Muji umbrellas, walking into a Toyota dealer to test drive a Prius wagon.

It’s like the opening to an urban legend told round the fireplace where the couple gets kidnapped, or the beginning of an embarrassing joke your uncle tells at Passover – just add a rabbi and some lightbulbs.

But for me and Evan, it was Thursday.

11th Avenue in Manhattan, roughly between 48th Street and 55th Streets is a bizarre corridor, where a slew of car dealerships occupy giant showrooms within walking distance. There’s also Larry Flynt’s Hustler club, some gross delis, and the studio where “The Daily Show” is taped. It’s a creepy and random area, especially on the dreariest, Marchiest day fathomable. But a good place to go look at cars if yours dies, mostly because you can take the subway there. Also, if you hang out on 11th Avenue long enough it feels like you are on drugs.

Oh, the fun we had, strolling in and out of dealers, waiting interminably while car salesmen said indecipherable things to us, then driving up the Westside Highway and back down West End Avenue in several vehicles. It took 7 hours. We ate no meals. We drank coffee and ate almonds and bananas instead, not wanting to pause in this disorienting experience of entering a building, talking to a guy, then waiting and driving and waiting and peeing and waiting. It felt like we were running a marathon of boringness. We talked to guys named Joey. We talked to guys named Darnell. We talked to guys named Chang. We admired waterfalls in the Range Rover area. We watched salesmen circle the floor like lions, and receptionist ladies with clickety-clackety nails flutter behind counters. We saw fake plants, fake marble, and real fish tanks. Our sinuses experienced new heights of air freshening.

At one point we walked into Nissan to compare a Murano to a Rogue, and a Scenario to a Sierra, or perhaps it was a CZX 65 to a ZW 3.14. A very shifty Latina man with the loudest “rhumba” ring tone I’ve ever heard hustled us over to a “pre-owned” version of the car we were looking for, and then promptly trotted off. As we sat in the smoke encrusted car from 2009 wondering where the hell he had gone, he reappeared with a signed head shot of Liza Minelli from 1990. “That car belonged to her assistant!” he exclaimed triumphantly. “She used to do errands for her in that car. Only 300 miles on there!” We tried to imagine what would make him think that Liza Minelli’s dry cleaning would interest us. We wondered if he had different head shots for different people – and did we look like Liza fans?

And then we decided it best to go.

There was Johnny, the spiky haired knuckle dragger with the spray tan and giant diamond earring at Chevy/Jeep/Chrysler. He wove us through the most enormous lot filled with cars being parked and repaired, and then couldn’t find that damn Chevy Equinox. He swore it was just there! It was like his white whale SUV. After almost getting hit by a minivan (never!), we thought it best to go.

When you get married, it’s the best you’ll ever look — all fancy and fabulous and glamorous and fun party party. But so much of being married is doing really boring adult shit in ugly and depressing places. Signing forms and figuring out numbers and making sure the dishwasher gets unloaded. And I think, I hope, if you’re still laughing and trying to figure out how to recover conversationally when a 22 year old sales guy is sitting in the backseat while you are trying to merge, tells you that he flipped his own SUV at 5 am after drinking and falling asleep at the wheel, well, I think you’re good. You’re still having some kind of an adventure, finding the funny in the terribly dull and weird. As mind numbing an adventure it is – you’re in it together. And it’s strangely awesome.

So, technically, you’re a boring yuppie with your stupid raincoats.

But still totally sexy.

happy + sappy = saphappy

Last week something unexpected occurred. I woke up every morning in a perfectly calibrated emotional state: energized, calm, grateful, and content. The realization of which led to something I’d describe as elation.

WTF is that about?

It took me by surprise. My go-to mindset since having Miles 19 months ago has been one of desperate tiredness and constant overwhelmdoom. Of course I’ve had laughing jags and felt pride and joy and love for my family and friends during that time, but mostly I’ve been blindsided by the exponential difficulty of upping the family ante from one to two children. It took a good long while to feel like I wasn’t freaking out ALL the TIME, and I certainly haven’t felt “relaxed” or “content” in a while. We’re talking like 18.5 months.

Last week Evan kept saying, “I can’t believe how pleasant you’re being,” which of course made me feel awful about what a Crabby Crabstein I must have been for the last bit.

Mostly, I credit this new excellent mind state to a good few weeks of getting enough sleep. It’s so ridiculously simple how much this can help a parent’s sanity that it’s trite and boring just to write that sentence. I mean obviously, humans need to sleep without getting woken up every few fucking hours for months on end. I was starting to get pissy at everyone in my path as the sleeplessness folded into itself night after night – bleeding into day after day. Because how could I be angry at sweet little Miles for torturing me at night for this long? It was easier to be irritated with Evan for breathing, my daughter for stomping her feet in all of her five year old-ness, my babysitter for being unclear, work for being slow, myself for not eating well, drinking more than one glass of wine at night and not going to sleep early.

Through the tiredness, I’d been working on the concepts of being grateful and present and feeling blessed for as long as I can remember – trying to calm myself and not stoking my own anxiety and ramping up the internal drama. I knew theoretically how lucky I was to have this family and this good life but somehow knowing wasn’t enough. I wasn’t feeling it, and trying to feel and believe it has been work for sure. Wrestling, trying, chewy, workity work. And then, something (nothing?) clicked into place last week and it was like all the therapy and the yoga and the analyzing were finally working. WORKING!

The same week, something else major was peaking. My friend David is enjoying massive career success right now, and last week the television show he made aired on MTV. The lead up to it has made me insanely proud and excited for him. I believe my people call it “kvelling.”

A few years ago, Dave decided to switch careers from advertising to writing. Not an easy thing to do, especially because he was already successful in advertising – he had made many hilarious commercials and was highly regarded as a writer and creative director. But he went for it – he sat down, wrote a funny book about finding yourself in your twenties, and then worked like crazy to have it optioned into a television show. I wouldn’t say he made it look easy exactly – there were lots of ups and downs throughout the process of the book being made into a TV show now on MTV (called “I Just Want My Pants Back”). But I never doubted that it would happen. He’s just that kind of person with that type of drive and talent. Smart, funny and lucky, with an amazingly supportive wife and people around him who wished him well, because he’s a good, menschy funny person who can find the absurdities of life and distill them down to good jokes in like two seconds. It’s just so cool that this is happening to him and his family. I am just seriously jacked up about this.

So on top of feeling good finally personally inside my brain and body, even if it's just about being well rested enough to appreciate it, and even if it's temporary, having such a pure kind of happiness for my friend on top of it really feels fantastic.

Sometimes it’s easy to be happy. Hopefully, it won’t make me tedious.