Monday, November 22, 2010

Making big cities feel small-town

I’ve lived in this city for more than half my life, and yet it still doesn’t feel quite like home. Don’t get me wrong: Fremont is a great place—it has been the hometown of my adult years where I have raised all five of my children—but it’s a big place with lots of people.

Fremont, incorporated in 1956, spreads over almost 77 square miles and is home to almost 220,000 people, giving it the dubious distinction of being the largest suburb in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

In striking contrast, South Pasadena, my hometown in Southern California, is almost 125 years old, covers less than three and a half square miles and, since I left home 30 years ago, has only grown by a few thousand residents. My hometown houses only about one-tenth the number of people who live in Fremont. This sleepy little bedroom community, although it sits just 10 miles from the heart of Los Angeles, felt worlds apart from the mega-metropolis.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

It's all downhill

Relationships forged in difficulties outlast the challenges

A couple of nights ago I needed to get out for a walk, but it was kind of late and it was darker than usual because of the Daylight Savings Time change. My husband was relieved when my teenage son Mark was willing to tag along and keep me safe.

We have a regular little route, Mark and I, where we take our walks. He likes to ride his skateboard while I try to keep up, clipping along at my usual walking pace. Most of our path is relatively flat with the exception of the last half mile or so that has a gentle downward slope all the way back to our house. So, at the end of our walk, encouraging him to go on ahead of me, I called out, “It’s all downhill from here, Buddy. Enjoy!” Wouldn’t it be nice, I thought, if, from here on out, his life would be a downhill ride he could just enjoy? But, alas, going downhill is a temporary thrill, a hiatus from all the uphill climbing required for us to grow. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Wiping away tears

Wiping away tears is an intimate experience
Recently, I saw a photo on Facebook of my brother with his daughter on her wedding day. If I'm not mistaken, she is crying and he is tenderly wiping away her tears.

Wiping away tears is an intimate experience shared between very few people. Yes, occasionally we’re honest enough to cry in front of people. But to let them into our personal space and allow them to physically touch us in order to comfort us marks an entirely different level of intimacy. Think about it: When was the last time someone actually touched your face and wiped away your tears? Most often this act occurs between mother and child. Why? For several reasons: