December 4th


Today I was going to get back on track with my report cards.  I haven’t written one for a while (try since October 2nd) and I really do want to make a point of regularly checking in with myself and the Housewife Challenges.  Plus, it’s been a good week around here: I’m writing this in a house that is not only 97% clean, but also decorated for Christmas; I squeaked by at the grocery store with a $58.46 bill, which left $0.04 in my wallet, but put nothing on the credit card; we’ve been eating varied and delicious home cooked meals (not bragging, but there are pumpkin cinnamon rolls rising on the counter right now); I started making Nora’s Christmas dress; I managed to blog every day this week and I even did yoga for a whole 20 minutes…Monday.  If I were to get back on the report card bandwagon, this would be the week to do it (it’s sort of like adding easy things to” To Do” lists just to be able to check something off ).

But the thing is, as I sit here writing this (the night before it is going to post) I can’t stop myself from thinking that it’s December 4th and that I should really just be writing about how incredibly grateful I am for every single moment, good or bad, succeeding at my goals or failing.  And so I’m going to hold off on the real report card until next week, and this week I’m going to tell you about my friend Margarete,who is one of the most amazing women I know and whom we named Nora after (Margarete is Nora’s middle name).

I met Margarete when I started working a Marist College in 2007.  From the very beginning, she was one of the most welcoming and generous people in the office, and we soon became friends outside of work, too.  Eventually, we ended up renting a house (across the street) from her and her equally awesome husband, and they became our New York family.  We spent 4th of July’s and our first family Thanksgiving with them.She hosted my baby shower, I practically lived at her house while pregnant and trying to survive a newborn, and she was the only person besides our doula that Chris and I invited to Nora’s birth.

Margarete is also a mother.  She has an amazingly polite, mature, and kind college-age son, Eric, and a beautiful daughter, Jena, whom I was never able to meet.  Both kids were diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at birth and four years ago, on December 4, 2006, at the age of 13, Jena passed away.  As a mother, I can’t even begin to fathom how one copes with that…I don’t want to imagine how one copes with that.  It’s devastating.  But, through all the pain, incredible Margarete has done more than just keep breathing; she has marched forward to raise awareness of CF, she raises millions for research, and she works tirelessly to find a cure.  Most people would give up on life, but Margarete takes 10-day adventures to nowhere and has written a book.  I have never met a more awe-inspiring person and I wish that I could be half the woman that she is.

Today, I am sending as much love to Margarete and her family as I can.  I am wishing I could have met Jena.  I am inviting you to read about CF, make a donation, visit Margarete’s blog, or buy her book.  And I am spending the day being eternally thankful for every second I have with Nora, whether fun, tedious, or frustrating, and without housewife challenges, but just as they are.

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