The Last First Day

September 9, 2015

This morning as I dropped off my youngest child at school I was weepy. Was this Kindergarten or PreK? No, this was fifth grade. Finn is over five feet tall. He has been going to the same school since her was four years old. Why was I weepy? This marks the end of an era for me – as a mom, as a community member, as someone who is seeing time go by in my middle years.

This is my last First Day of School at the Earth School.


My first First day of Earth School was in September of 2000. For the last fifteen years I have been trekking up and down Avenue B in the East Village of New York City


Just north of 14th Street is Stuyvesant Town where we live. I have walked in snow, sleet, rain and in the blazing sun to get to our beloved elementary school. I have walked with babies in my belly, babies in slings and babies in strollers. I have seen teachers come and go and some come back! I have been through three principles. I have fund raised and recruited other families. I have escorted countless field trips often with a toddler in tow!


At Earth I have found community. I have met some of my closest friends. My family has forged relationships with other families with whom we share holidays and birthdays.

I remember the first annual Earth School Auction.

I have enjoyed the art on the walls and read some inspiring poetry and memoirs by the wonderful children who populate the halls and hearts of our community.

I remember when the roof garden was an idea and then it became real.

I have seen families grow and I have seen families leave. I have seen tragedy and great joy and simply ordinary days at Earth. I was at Earth that terrifying morning on September 11, 2001.

I have watched children perform on the stage.


I have nursed babies in the halls and in the lobby. I have sold popcorn and cookies in the lobby. I have done on-the-spot lactation consulting in the lobby.

I have grown as a human at Earth. I have watched my children grow and thrive. I have seen them learn to tie their shoes and learn conflict resolution and learn to construct a sentence and to defend an original idea.

I have learned about community building and about celebrating the seasons by marching in Tompkins Square Park to celebrate solstices and equinoxes.


I learned about what education is. I have learned so much more. I have learned to let go and watch my babies grow into smart, confident people.

In nine months my youngest child will graduate from the Earth School. But today is the first day of fifth grade for Finn. I will embrace this day and open my heart to the Earth community.


Right outside the Earth School, Tuesday morning October 28, just after 8:30am drop off. I was chatting with another mom and we were startled into silence.

Was it two cars that slammed into each other?

I peered into the street. Oh my god! The young woman splayed out on the intersection of Avenue B and 5th Street had been on a bike. I thought to myself “call 911.” Even if others are calling I will still call. I needed to do something.

I began to shake. The windshield of the mini van was shattered and dented.

photo 1

Thank God she was wearing a helmet. She was conscious. People gathered around. I spoke to the dispatcher. “It is on Avenue B and 5th street in Manhattan,” I told him.

“Is there an address?”

“Is there an address?” I repeated out loud so others could help.

“There is a big school. The other businesses are closed and their gates are down.”

Sirens are heard in the distance. The thirty-something Asian couple from the van is stunned. Had he sped up to make the light?

One of the dads from school said he saw the women fly through the air.

“He was SPEEDING – GOING TOO FAST,” he said in slow motion staccato.

He saw the impact where I only heard it. I could see the impact on his face. Why am I crying?

The fire department paramedics came. The police came. The ambulance came.

I searched online to see if I could find out how she is. None of us outside the school recognized her.

This morning, Wednesday October 29 as I walked my son to school I noticed a bit of a commotion outside St. Brigid’s church on Avenue B. Could it be a funeral? I saw no hearse. The boy in the green polo shirt and khaki pants, the uniform of St. Brigid’s School, sat on the church steps holding his socked foot, crying.

“What happened?” a passerby asked.

“A cab hit his foot.”

I held tight to Finn’s hand.

After I dropped Finn to his class I passed Donna.

“I am so glad you wear a helmet.” I showed her the image of the smashed minivan windshield I captured with my phone. I heard sirens heading toward St. Brigid’s.

“You need to show that to Carol, she sometimes rides her bike without her helmet.”

I marched to Carol’s class.

“Only because I love you am I showing you this. This is where her head impacted the van. Without a helmet she would be dead. Please, please always wear a helmet.”

“I will,” she promised.

I walked around all day my body tense, my muscles tightened every time I saw a bare head on a bike.

Yesterday I baked Rob a red velvet cake for his birthday – it softened my muscles, it gave me joy.

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And then seeing the Catholic boy’s foot stiffened me up again.

We need to have speed bumps. We need crossing guards at every school intersection. We need to ticket speeding drivers.

Wrinkle Event

November 22, 2013

Yesterday I went to one of my favorite stores in the neighborhood to buy some overpriced eye moisturizer. Sure, I could just slather on some coconut oil and call it a day but where is the fun in that? It is exhilarating to walk into Kiehl’s and feel special with the clerks dressed in white lab coats.


Years ago I was on a TV shoot  (I used to act and still will if someone casts me) and the make-up artist nearly slapped my young yet just beginning to age face for not daily applying eye moisturizer. I did not dare tell him I just put body lotion on my entire body including my face. So began my journey into anti-aging products.

I know, I know, I cannot stop the aging process. I do use sunscreen and I wear a hat in the summer.  I also do this because I am now a piece of experimental art on my upper body from various moles, basal and squamous cells being carved out of my chest and face – but I can pretend I am being proactive in the anti-aging, or should it be holding-on-to-youth, movement.

Have you ever been to Kiehl’s? When you buy a product they give you samples. That is how I started collecting so many of their products.

I have a little collection of Kiehl’s sample packs in my medicine cabinet.


I don’t know if they work or not but I use them. It feels good to have my face moisturized and maybe protected from some of the elements. The thing is, I know I cannot stop the aging process and I want to grow old gracefully, embrace the grays and the lines and the scars. I do not wish to be pulled and stretched to look younger than I am.

I do want to clarify that I do love when people seem surprised by my age. I honestly don’t care if they are just being polite or genuinely are surprised, I just accept it and gloat a little inside to myself.

I have to share though the latest. As I was replenishing my supply of eye cream and the sales clerk asked me,

“Would you like to try our latest product?”

“Of course, I would.”

She then revealed: “This is for those wrinkle events.”

Wrinkle Events. Hmm. Wrinkle Events.

I then started to laugh.

“Wrinkle events?” I inquired.

“Mhhm.” Her eyes looked bright and hopeful.

Isn’t waking up a wrinkle event? Having children? Being an adult? Life is a wrinkle event. Was this cream for living my life? Was it going to make me happier? Less wrinkly? Less happy?

The actual name is Super Multi-corrective cream. I if I use this I am told that I will be in possession of “a fresh, healthy and youthful-looking radiance.

Watch out East Village – you will not be able to handle my radiance!