Choosing a gluten-free diet is popular right now, even among people who do not have an allergy to gluten and consequently, Celiac disease. Gwyneth Paltrow admits that she is not allergic to gluten, but has stated that she feels better eating gluten-free. “Cupcake Wars” contestants have included owners of gluten-free bakeries, suggesting that eating gluten-free is bigger and bigger business. Even more convincing is that product labels now carry the words “gluten free” prominently, making it easier for consumers to choose wisely.
Whether you are a fan of the 1984 or 2010 versions of “The Karate Kid,” you surely recognize the Zen-like instruction that transforms a lost, defenseless kid into a disciplined, convicted young man. Mr. Miyagi is stern and steady while requiring the Kid to wipe wax on and off an old car or take a jacket from his shoulders and hang it correctly on a hook.
My daughter often challenged me. She was bright and given permission to question and participate in many decisions; she took this privilege and pushed herself into areas in which she had little expertise or insight, often exasperating me.
One testy discussion included music. I argued for limiting exposure to popular lyrics and MTV or VH1 because they are pernicious, weaving their way into our memories, often without our critical judgment or awareness.
Valentine’s Day last week felt like the Superbowl day the week before — I just wanted them both over. Nobody likes a Packer party like the Cheeseheads– so to have the dream dashed at the NY Giants vs. Green Bay playoffs, the Superbowl felt a lot like having the groom not show up for the wedding. This year’s Superbowl came and went and I (along with every other Wisconsin sports fan) had already moved on to think Spring and the Brewers 2012 home opener.
Then Valentine’s Day rolled around.
When I was a girl, I did not have a full slate of athletic options. In required Physical Education classes, we played Dodge Ball–a heinous form of Gotcha, in my opinion–although, I’ll grant, Vince Vaughn as captain of a dodgeball team softened the punch of this game by taking outcasts and oddballs under his rather large wing. In my experience, Dodge Ball existed because it entertained our teachers. We also played Red Rover, volleyball, half-court basketball, and the one that toughened us the most: field hockey without shin guards.
I once believed that I invented Palm Kisses one early morning in the late 1980s when my daughter was in need. I now doubt that the idea is original with me, especially after reading and buying a copy of The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn and illustrated by Ruth E. Harper and Nancy M. Leak (Washington, D.C.: Child Welfare League of America, 1993). No matter who first imagined them, Palm Kisses are a wonderful gift to give your child when she or he must spend hours away from you.
The parents of Jake Barnett, an autistic college sophomore at the age of 13, can claim that their son is a miracle. He converses. He succeeds. He understands math and advances what every one else understands about math. His story was one of three on 60 Minutes, January 15, 2012.
Jordan Somner’s parents must be just as proud of their miracle daughter, a pageant competitor and Special Olympics volunteer. In 2006, Jordan decided that physically and mentally challenged women, young and older, could and should have their own pageant to prove to themselves and others that they too are truly beautiful. Her story came to the attention of Nickelodeon. Jordan then became a Halo Award honoree, and with the grant money, she intends to spread Miss Amazing pageants across the nation.
I remember the longing to snatch back my baby from the arms of the woman who would care for her while I worked. Unable to catch my breath, I walked out the door to my car and drove without seeing, thinking about my child in the care of strangers. I worked without feeling that day, the better part of me elsewhere in spirit.
As I learned to trust the caregivers and my own child’s delight in the company of others, separating grew easier. Again able to concentrate fully on my work, I turned my attention to my child at the end of the day, enjoying both work and home very much.