Archive for 2019

5/21/19 Gone fishing….

Posted on May 21, 2019

Busy writing… See you next week!

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5/13/19, Wake Up Call:Real Life

Posted on May 13, 2019

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you had a good week and a lovely mother’s day, whether you’re a mother, or a son or daughter, a grandchild, or just a good motherly friend to someone who looks up to you.

 

Sometimes I have something I can’t wait to share with you, something I’ve seen or done or a pet peeve or immense joy. At other times, I grope around and can’t think of a single interesting thing I’ve done all week that might entertain you. There are always the fashion shows at certain times of year, the holidays, or a new book out. And I DO have a new book out, “Blessing in Disguise”, which came out last week, about a woman with three adult daughters, each one with a different father, and how very different they are, and how separate and distinct the mother’s relationship is with each of them. I hope you love it!!!

 

But since I spend about 95% of my time writing, there are times that I just haven’t seen or done anything except work, which gets boring for you to hear about. Sometimes I don’t leave my house (or office) for weeks at a time if I am working intensely on a book. And at other times something I want to share with you just leaps onto the page. I was travelling this week, which gets more and more complicated with increased security measures, and less and less fun, and there isn’t much to say about it. I didn’t do anything exciting this week, and then yesterday I got an email updating me about my incredible, remarkable, wonderful niece, Bea. And there it was, real life, staring me right in the eye, putting everything else I do or worry about into perspective.

 

Except for rare instances, we all share the same problems and deal with the same challenges to varying degrees in daily life. Worrying about our kids, the petty aggravations of daily life, (I am currently dealing with 2 winter leaks, hardly fascinating for you to hear), or we have a falling out with someone, or get irritated with our kids (the same ones we worry about!!), or just when you get your budget in semi-control you get a whopping bill from the plumber, or for your car, or from your dentist, and it blows your budget all over again. Whatever it is always seems monumental at the time (or really is with health or job or money or kid worries). And then suddenly you hear of something, or see it, which puts it all into perspective and reminds us of how small our problems are compared to that.

 

For those of you who don’t know, 3 years ago, my then 17 year old niece Bea was at the Brussels airport during the terrorist attack. You read about those events in the papers, and you never expect them to come close to home. She lost both her legs, was badly burned, her body filled with shrapnel. She was one of two survivors of one terminal, and was thought to be dead when they found her. She spent 7 months in a military hospital, and underwent more than 40 surgeries, and she will always have shrapnel in her body from the bombing. Unimaginable. She is an astoundingly brave and remarkable girl, with wonderful parents who got her through it. And she has more courage and guts than anyone I know. When she got out of the hospital, she finished high school and graduated. She did over a year of rehab with the Navy Seals. (She is half French and half American). She is now in college in the States. Her passion was horseback riding, and she was hoping to be in the Olympics. She is now training for the Paralympics, and sat on her beloved horse Deedee before she was even out of the hospital. The reunion of her and her horse was heart wrenching. Her horse Deedee was led out of its trailer, as a surprise for her, on the first day Bea was allowed to go out to the hospital garden. Deedee raced across the parking lot, and into the garden, went straight to Bea in her wheel chair, put her head on Bea’s shoulder, and licked her face. Bea began making a strong recovery from then on, and the love affair continues, as Bea now attends college and trains daily for the pre-Paralympic qualifying competitions. She had a recent setback for two months, which required more surgery for an infection. She’s on the mend now, and will be back in training again soon.

 

When I got the family update on her yesterday, it woke me up again. What Bea deals with every day is unthinkable to the rest of us, to come through something that immense and turn it into a positive life, and refuse to be defeated by a catastrophic, cataclysmic event so huge we can’t really even imagine it. It makes all my daily problems ridiculous by comparison: the suitcase that didn’t make it onto the plane with me 3 days ago (but eventually did turn up), the car repair, the bills that seem to multiply before they get to me, the harsh words exchanged with someone when I was tired, some minor disappointments. It shrinks to nothing when I am reminded of what Bea faces every day, and how brilliantly and bravely she has dealt with it, and her determination to lead an amazing life, and she surely will with her positive attitude. She is 20 now, and truly an extraordinary person.

 

So I’m sharing the wakeup call with you. Some people are dealing with such enormous things, and so successfully, that it shrinks my ‘problems’ to nothing. Bea is an inspiration to all who know her, and many who don’t. It makes me grateful for every waking moment. She is a blessing to us all. She didn’t just survive the attack, she met the challenge positively with immeasurable strength in every possible way, and still is. She is the definition of courage, in one totally amazing young girl.

 

Have a fantastic week—–and may all your challenges be small, and easily overcome!!!

 

with much love, Danielle

 

Bea’s Website:   https://www.beaparathlete.org/

 

 

Ps. And to Mary Dixon, who asked if I’ve written any short books. The answer is yes. About 20 or 25 years ago, short books became fashionable for a short time (under 200 pages). They were VERY challenging to write, much more so than longer books, because in short books you have about half the time and space to tell the entire story in depth. During that time, I wrote a number of them: among them, “The Gift”, “Five Days in Paris”, “Second Chance”, and “Special Delivery”, and a few others. You might want to check them out. love, D.

 

5/6/19, April Showers/Mother’s Day

Posted on May 6, 2019

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you’ve had a good week, and are enjoying decent—-even Springlike!!!!—-weather somewhere—-not where I am, unfortunately!!! It’s freezing cold and rainy, a chill wind, temperatures in the 30’s last night, and a hail storm yesterday battering my windows!! No sign of Spring here!!!

 

The bad weather has given me an opportunity to stay home, and work on 4 outlines for new books, refining them, and working on them in different stages. I’ve been working on them for a while, and I’m excited to get started on the books!!! I work very hard on the outlines before I start the books, and try to get them all polished up smoothly and ready to go!!!

 

I’m looking forward to Mother’s Day at the end of this week, my favorite holiday, other than Christmas, and will be celebrating it in two different cities with my kids, over the course of 3 days. I feel very spoiled on Mother’s Day, and love celebrating it with them. (Presents, and I don’t have to get any older—-a fantastic deal!!!). My kids are very sweet to me on Mother’s Day!! My own mother is no longer here, and it’s surprising to me that she’s been gone for 13 years. We weren’t very close, and I didn’t grow up with her, but you only have one mother, and it’s a special role in one’s life. And we were very different. The great blessing in our relationship was that my somewhat distant relationship with her made me even closer to my own children, wanting a very different (much closer) relationship with my children than I had with my mother. And I am indeed very close to them, and am very blessed that my children include me in their lives even as adults. So there is much to celebrate and be grateful for.

 

I’ve also been very lucky that in the course of my life, 2 or 3 really wonderful women, old enough to actually be my mother, took me under their wing, at various times in my life, and became lifelong friends. They provided motherly advice, enormous encouragement and praise. And I have a theory that even if you don’t have an ideal mother, or a poor relationship with yours, one finds people on one’s path that fill that role—-even better than our own mothers. I think women like that come into our lives when we need them—-so we are not left “comfortless”, or without an older woman in that role. So I’ve been blessed on that score too. And we in turn, at some later date, can provide mothering to someone who needs it and isnt our child. Those substitute relationships are sometimes much more rewarding and warm than the real mother/daughter relationships by blood. Not everyone is cut out to be a mother, and some people really do fall short in that role. But a motherly person in one’s life can be a great gift!!!

 

Mother/daughter relationships can sometimes be very challenging, for a multitude of reasons. Either we’re just too different from our mothers—or sometimes too much the same, so inevitable clashes and differences of opionion occur, which can be painful for all concerned So I hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day with your mother, and that the relationship you share is a warm, loving, cozy one. But if not, maybe there are other women who can bring you comfort in that role. And maybe you are providing mothering to someone you love that you didnt give birth to. You don’t have to give birth to someone to love them, want the best for them, want to help them, and wish them well. And I hope that your Mother’s Day will be easy and happy, either with your mother, or stand in mother, or with your children. I hope they love and cherish you, and celebrate you on Sunday.

 

And I will share an excellent piece of mothering advice that someone gave me years ago: Never lend your car keys to a person you gave birth to!!!!

 

Happy Mother’s Day, and have a wonderful week!!!

 

much love, Danielle

 

4/29/19, Hudson Yards and May Day

Posted on April 29, 2019

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you had a good week last week. I was on the move again, and spent a couple of days in New York, with two of my daughters. (Always fun for me!!) And I visited a really fascinating new area recently opened and still under development, with lots of construction going on. It’s fun to see new and different things!!!

 

The area is Hudson Yards, possibly the biggest shopping mall in the country. it’s an area that goes for about five blocks on the West Side of New York, in the 30’s (from 30th to 34th Street), and is about as wide, near the Hudson River. It is built above the train tracks running under ground, and is a vast area of really beautiful new buildings, housing apartments, offices, and a huge complex of stores. There is also a fascinating structure, a GIANT sculpture that looks like a honeycomb, with stairs and people walk up and down and all through the structure. (I’m guessing that it was about 10 stories high, possibly more). The buildings were all strikingly modern and beautiful, none of them identical, but each one remarkable and different, and yet all together they were a harmony of the best of modern architecture. (And we checked out Neiman Marcus briefly, which was fun too!!!) Although even new structures can be somewhat uninteresting at times, I found the whole grouping of buildings REALLY beautiful. It’s a very impressive development, with many buildings still under construction. It covers 28 acres, and 18 million square feet. It’s really worth seeing if you’re going to New York. I was enormously impressed.!!!

 

Other than that, my new book “Blessing in Disguise” is out, about a mother and her three adult daughters (by 3 different fathers) and how different they are—just as different as their fathers were. It takes a close look at mother/daughter relationships, how challenging and rewarding they can be. I hope it will be the perfect Mother’s Day Gift for anyone on your list—-and a good read for you any time!!!

 

This week I will be celebrating May Day, on May 1st. It’s a big national holiday in France, and is actually Labor Day. But it’s considered a very special lucky day. Street vendors everywhere sell sprigs of lily of the valley on that day, which you give to people for good luck!!! The air smells delicious all day with the scent of lily of the valley everywhere!!! It’s a particularly special day for me because it’s the birthday of my late son Nick. It was a perfect day for a birthday. I invite friends to dinner every year on that day, just close friends, for a quiet dinner, to remember his birthday and what a very special sweet boy he was. I loved the fact that he was born on May Day. And we’ll have lily of the valley on the table at dinner.

 

I hope this is an especially nice week for you, with happy things happening and fun things to do.

 

Have a great week!!

 

love, Danielle

 

4/22/19, New Book Coming: “Blessing in Disguise”

Posted on April 22, 2019

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope that all is well with you. The Easter Bunny has come and gone, and both Easter and Passover provided warm festivities for many. I enjoyed a really nice Easter Brunch with half of my children, who were in the same city with me. I’m always grateful for holidays we can spend together. And I actually took 2 days off from a mountain of work. I have been buried in outlines for new books, a first draft of a new book, and some re writes and editing to do. It has definitely been busy!!!!

 

I enjoyed doing an interview with Glamour Magazine, for their online magazine, with a very nice interviewer and lots of interesting questions. And I really enjoyed having some downtime, even if it’s only a weekend!!! These days, non-work weekends seem to be rare for me!!!

 

Paris is still reverberating from the shock and sadness of the terrible fire at Notre Dame a week ago, but people are already focusing on restoration, with an astounding amount of contributions, some as large as 100 and 200 million dollars from major French luxury brands. I was told that Disney contributed 5 million dollars, which is generous and amazing. The damage to the Cathedral is immense, and it will undoubtedly cost as much to repair as people are contributing. I hear that the donations are close to a billion dollars, which is heartwarming. Notre Dame is probably the most important, most beloved and most precious of France’s national monuments, with deep significance to so many people, whether religious or not, and it will be comforting to see the restoration begin on the 12th century church which went up in a roaring blaze last week, and shocked and saddened all of France, and people around the world. The church is really at the heart of the French spirit and culture. Some important moments in my life happened in that church too.

 

I’ve been so busy writing that I haven’t had time to do much else lately. And I suspect this pace will keep up until the summer. I always feel a little out of touch when I’m so deep into my work. The few chances I’ve had to stick my nose out the door, it feels like Spring (which makes it even harder to stay in and write), but it’s nice to feel warmer weather, and see Spring outside my windows.

 

I’m beginning to dream of summer, and taking some time off, my kids visiting me in France for our annual vacation together (one VERY precious week), not writing for a little while, having the time to read other books than my own, and just relaxing and doing fun things, seeing friends.

 

I have a new book coming out at the end of this week, “Blessing in Disguise”, about a woman with 3 adult daughters—-each one by a different father, and how different these young women are from each other, how each one’s relationship to their mother is entirely different (often true, even with the same father. All 9 of my children are VERY different from each other), and the challenges they face in their own lives and with their mother. It seems like a very appropriate Mother’s Day gift!!! Mother/Daughter relationships can be so challenging, and bumpy at times, but we grow from the hard times too, and learn a lot about ourselves—–and our mothers!!! I hope you read the book and love it, and that it feels like the perfect Mother’s Day gift to you!!!

 

Have a great week, and I hope you get to do some fun things this week!!! (We all need that!!!)

 

 

love, Danielle

 

4/15/19, Notre Dame

Posted on April 16, 2019

 

Hi Everyone,

I hope that all is well with you.

With the greatest of sadness I am writing my blog to you, after watching Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris burn today, its spire fall and its roof collapse. It is an exquisite iconic twelfth century Cathedral, symbolic of Paris, and France, and dear to most French people’s hearts. As I learned of the fire, I was flooded with emails from Europe, from the States, from Mexico, Hawaii, Paris, from people I barely know, from close friends, from my bankers, my children. It was truly a world shattering tragic event. The images were heartbreaking.

In this holy week before Easter, I am reminded again of the Resurrection, of the idea of Renewal, new beginnings of rebirth. Notre Dame Cathedral has had her crucifixion and trial by fire, and I can only pray that this deeply symbolic and beautiful church will rise from the ashes and have a resurrection of its own, with the help of all who love her, and honor all that she represents. Her spirit continues, and hopefully will continue for many more centuries once she is restored.

all my love, and may you have a peaceful week.

love, Danielle

 

4/8/19, “I had a blast in LA!!” Again!!

Posted on April 8, 2019

Hi Everyone,

 

I just had the great pleasure of spending a weekend in LA with one of my daughters, to celebrate her birthday. Unfortunately, with my rushed life of travelling between the two cities where I live, between writing deadlines, and another city where I spend about two months a year, I only get to LA about once a year, for my daughter’s birthday (and I see her in the cities where I live the rest of the year). Each time I go to LA, I remember what a fun city it is, and how much I enjoy visiting my daughter there, and I promise myself to visit there more often. But somehow with publishing 7 books a year, and all that goes with it, I never manage to get to LA more often—but wish I did. What a fun, lively, exciting happy city it is. The weather alone is enough to cheer you, when it’s still dismal winter everywhere else. I love the way the city looks, and the people always seem upbeat to me.

 

San Francisco has a certain casual austerity to it. Maybe it’s the weather, with gray foggy weather and a chill wind so much of the time. And New York is brutally cold so many months of the year. I love the way cities have a look, feel and personality all their own. LA just seems like a happy place to me—or maybe that’s just the fun I have with my daughter, which predisposes me to loving the place. The restaurants are great, and people REALLY try to look great—-maybe that’s due to the proximity of the film industry—but there are an awful lot of pretty people there. Lots of jeans, but bright colored shirts and clothes, women in sexy high heels running around town (and not just flip flops, or Uggs, or heavy snow gear, or just functional running shoes and yoga clothes all day long/ did they REALLY go to the gym or just wear the clothes?.) Lots of glitz and glamour, a lot of younger women with carefully done wild colored hair, many shades of pinks, some gorgeous mauves and purples, occasionally blue. The women wear makeup, and the men seem to pay more attention to how they look too. I always end up shopping there, and often buy things I can’t wear in very, very casual San Francisco, serious New York, and which they’d never understand in Paris. This time, I bought a wild shocking pink dress, a giant black suede purse, a great pair of combat boots I can wear in all my wintry cities, some good jeans (with a strawberry on the back pocket!!), and I wore a pair of light blue iridescent sequined jeans I haven’t been able to wear in any other city. The shopping is great in LA—the cultural side of life too. I had some interesting meetings, exploring film and TV options for my work. And the meetings in LA are fun too, and very creative.

 

I’m fascinated how different the cities are from each other. Las Vegas is a source of absolute fascination, with great shows and all the excitement around gambling (I’m not a gambler, but the people watching is unique!!). I’ve only been to Boston a few times, and liked it, it seems very traditional, historical, and solid. Miami always seems like a combination to me of LA and Las Vegas, double fun. San Francisco was long ago a very conservative, formal city, but The Flower children in the 60’s changed all that, and now it’s the most low key, informal city I know, and it’s still home for me for a few months a year. I’ve been to Chicago twice and loved it, it seemed like a mini New York, very chic and sophisticated and cosmopolitan. Washington DC has the underlying current and electricity of politics in a beautiful little city. I do love L.A.,  it seems light hearted (except for some very serious film work and opportunities there!!) and at times it feels like Disneyland for adults. And there is so much hope there among young people working in the film industry, or hoping to get in. And it is very different from Paris.

 

There are so many parts of this country that I haven’t seen and would love to visit. I’ve never been to Texas and would love to. I’ve only been to the South a few times, other than Miami. I have a deep love for Wyoming where I used to go with my children every year, the mountains there are magical and deeply spiritual, it is powerful and peaceful in a very special way.

 

I hope I get back to LA again soon. It was a very, very fun three days, and energized me to start a new book!!!

 

Have a great week, wherever you are!!!

 

much love, Danielle

 

4/1/19, Fragments and Renewal

Posted on April 1, 2019

 

Hi Everyone,

 

Today is one of those silly days that my kids used to use to torture me—-every year!!! April Fool. When they were little, their pranks and April Fool jokes were appropriately small scale, and as they got older, the jokes got worse, MUCH worse—-and I fell for it every time. When I’m working on a book, I’m usually so deep in the book, that I don’t even know what day, month or season it is, and am all wrapped up in the timing in the book. So it’s easy for me to forget, or not even know, it’s April Fool—-and my kids took full advantage of it. (If it’s Christmas in the book I’m writing, and it’s July in real life, when I finally get my nose out of the book, I’m surprised that there are no Christmas trees anywhere…..oops. And it’s really embarrassing to say to someone near at hand—uhhh, excuse me, what month is this? Or what year? I dated a check to the pharmacy 1914 once, while working on a book about World War 1. So I’m a prime target for April Fool jokes, with no idea that that’s what day it is!!) As my kids got older, they called to tell me they were in jail, got fired or kicked out of school, just got married at the Elvis Chapel in Las Vegas (to someone totally unsuitable of course, that they had only met hours before), or were pregnant (and not married. I fell for that one every year, much to my children’s delight). They got me every time. But I’m braced for them this year—-and I know what day it is!!! Ha!!! So there!!!

 

On a more serious note, sometimes I do some religious reading, to clear my head, or help me find the answer to some problem I’m struggling to find a solution to, or an answer that eludes me. It’s not for everyone, I realize, but it helps me to problem solve when I’m really stumped. And recently, I was reading some passages that I find meaningful in The Bible. Some of the passages are particularly meaningful to me, and seem applicable to our ordinary lives. And while doing some reading, I came across the story about feeding a crowd of five thousand, with five loaves of bread and two fishes. Now that is a major culinary feat even greater than feeding my own small army of nine kids!!! What always jumps out at me in that story is the word “Fragments”, pieces. They didn’t even have five neat loaves of bread, and two whole fishes—they had fragments of them. Just pieces. It reminded me of my own life at times, when I have ‘pieces’ of what I need, but not the whole answer or solution to a problem. You sit there pondering your life, and think—-now what am I going to do with this mess?? With not enough of anything you think you need. For me, the story is about making do with what you’ve got, and somehow making it work, if at all possible, with not enough money, or not enough time, or just no obvious answer to a problem. It’s about being ingenious and somehow making it work. In the Bible, they fed five thousand people with ‘fragments’ of too little that they had in the first place. And how often are we faced with having ‘fragments’ of what we need, and not enough whole anything to go around? It happens to us all in some way, we desperately want a promotion, and a raise—-and we get one or the other, or neither one. They offer you a terrific new title, but no more money. Or the money, and not the glory of the new title you deserve. Or we’re looking for a new home, with our own set ideas and real needs, we need so many bedrooms, have definite ideas about what neighbourhood works best for us, and is okay, maybe a garage or some parking space, and then we add the cherry on top in our dreams, and would love to have lots of light so it’s cheery, and maybe we throw in a fireplace, and a view. And of course we only find part of what we want, and less than what we think we need. The place you find is bright and cheerful and light, but doesn’t have enough bedrooms, or is in an iffy neighbourhood, too far from where you work. Or there is a view, but the kitchen is smaller than a phone booth, and so few bedrooms you’d have to give up half your kids (just kidding). Or only one bathroom for all of you. We get fragments of what we need, and have to figure out if we can make it work, and what really matters to us, and what can we give up, and if we want to. It happens in relationships too, the person you love has some fantastic traits, but also some really unfortunate ones. Can you make it work with that combination of traits? Do they have only fragments of what you need in a partner, enough to make a life with them? Should you settle for less than what you want (and need)? Can you make it work? Fragments or the whole deal?? Life seems to be a series of compromises, and I don’t know about you, but more often than not, I have been faced with fragments of what I hoped for, and have to figure out how to make that work, or if I can. But it has been very rare in my life to get the whole enchilada on a silver platter. (Once in a great while, but not very often!!!). I like the reminder of the image of having to make life work when you only get fragments of what you wanted, or thought you couldn’t live without. Sometimes you can make some amazing adjustments to make the ‘fragments’ work and it turns out to be enough in ways you never expected, and sometimes you just can’t pull it off and shouldn’t even try. The challenges we all face one way or another.

 

The other concept that comes up in Christian religions at this time of year, which is my favorite, is the idea of “Resurrection”/Rebirth/Starting fresh/Starting new. The roof crashes down on us all at various times in our lives, we have a bad year, or even a bad run of years, the failure of a marriage, a business, a major loss, a huge disappointment, or a string of smaller ones, or bad health, or financial troubles. There are times when we have just been pummeled by life and feel as though we’re at the bottom of the barrel and will never get up again.  We feel dead. The idea that we can start again, start fresh, recover and be ‘resurrected’ gives me so much hope—that we can come out of those bad times and be ‘reborn’, maybe with some scars, but we are back in the game again. That idea has kept me going through some very hard times. Resurrection, more than any other religious concept, which applies to our lives, I really love that one.

 

So those are my deep thoughts for the day. I hope that you survive April Fool’s Day with a minimum of trauma—-and that your children are much less mischievous than mine!!!

 

 

Have a great week!!!

 

love, Danielle

 

Filed Under Family, Holidays | 20 Comments

3/25/19, School Days. Golden Rule Days.

Posted on March 25, 2019

 

Hi Everyone,

I hope that last week went well for you, and that some good things happened…..some nice surprises!!! I did one of my usual standard marathon times, travelling six thousand miles in three days to visit my children, dashing through three cities, from one of my home cities to the other. Fortunately, I sleep on planes, (and catch up on movies). Travelling can be very challenging, and I’m always grateful when it goes smoothly, without cancelled flights, long delays, or lost baggage.

 

And I had one of those “maturity-challenging” experiences, when I had dinner with my best friend, and he brought his puppy, an adorable little dog, and we were talking animatedly (with the puppy and one of my favorite purses I’ve had for years, wear often, and love, were under the table, and a man at the next table said, “Excuse me, the dog under the table is eating your purse”. Ugh. Sure enough, the puppy was happily chomping away on my purse, and when I rescued it, I saw that the puppy had made two holes in my purse. Boo Hoo!!) I know it sounds silly, but I was very sad about it. If that’s the worst that happens to me, I’m a lucky woman!!! I’ve had worse of course, we all have, but I do like that purse a lot. It’s a favorite (and I’ve managed to keep my daughters from stealing it for years!! They like it too!!). The next day, I went to four repair places, hoping to get it fixed, but they all told me it was irreparable. I love my friend dearly, like a brother, so I wasn’t mad at him, and the puppy is so cute, so it was just one of those things you have to be a good sport about. I wasn’t mad, just REALLY disappointed—-so if you ever see me wearing a green purse with two holes in it, and think ‘what’s wrong with her?? Why is she wearing a purse with two holes in it? You’ll know why. I was very grown up about it!! I didn’t cry, I didn’t get mad at the friend or the puppy. Things happen. Occasionally, the price of friendship—-and new puppies—is high!!! But my friend is much more important to me than an old purse, and the puppy is just a baby. Oh well……

 

Last week was an important week for many kids and parents in the US. A VERY stressful week for kids seeking to enter private high schools, and all universities, when acceptance letters landed in trembling hands. An important turning point for kids and parents alike. Setting aside the current college scandal in the US—–which in a distant way, I can understand people’s desperation to help their kids faced with the academic pressure cooker and high anxiety of a situation you are helpless to make better for them—-but losing their ethics, creating a situation where you break rules and laws, and ultimately sacrifice your child’s well being, set them an appalling example, and some parents have been arrested and will go to prison—-that I do NOT understand, nor the people who made money preying on those parental anxieties and misguided efforts to help their kids. (It has been recently revealed that some parents with a lot of money, paid dishonest well placed employees at some universities to falsify records, and manipulate results, so that some college applicants were able to get into colleges they couldn’t have been able to get into fairly. The whole sordid scandal has been exposed in recent weeks. Those kids won’t get into the desired schools of course, and both the parents involved and the people who took the money at the schools, are being prosecuted, and many will go to prison). In most cases, or maybe even all, the students had no idea what their parents had done, and wound up as the victims of terrible judgement and ethics on the part of their parents. It must have been a crushing blow to the kids. The whole thing is terribly wrong, and really sad, for the kids mostly, and the whole thing is really shocking.

 

But back to ‘normal’ kids and families who spent last week waiting for admission results to high school and college, for those who went the traditional, honest route to get in. Getting into school at any level is fraught with tension and uncertainty these days. It always was, but with fewer places available, and more students, there is tremendous competition now for everything from kindergarten to college. Parents can think of nothing else, futures are decided and affected by the results, and kids are nervous, stressed, and groomed, tutored, coached, helped, encouraged, threatened, and desperate to get into their first choice schools, and often convinced their lives will be ruined forever if they don’t get in. They take extra classes to help them pass standardized tests, and there is just an incredible amount of stress and tension waiting for the results, and a huge amount of pressure on the kids. And last week, all of those 8th grade and High School seniors got the results, some with shouts of joy, others with tears and sinking hearts. Some were wait listed at their favorite schools, which will prolong the agony for several months, maybe with good results in the end.

 

I have a theory about those results (first of all, that many parents put way too much pressure on their kids. There are lots of people who are successful in their lives, have great lives and careers, who did not get into their first choice colleges—-and some who didn’t go to college at all, or not particularly great schools. Your life is what you make of it, and what school you do or don’t go to isn’t everything in life. It matters, but not always as much as we think, and sometimes not at all.) My theory about it is that we are always, or almost always in our right place. The school we think is The Only One, and the right one sometimes isn’t, and sometimes NOT getting into that school is a bigger blessing—what the French call ‘un mal pour un bien’, a bad thing which turns out to be a good thing, even a great thing. We don’t know the blessings that will unfold, or the unexpected circumstances we can’t foresee, which turn out to be absolutely the best possible result that could have happened (which you may not even realize until years later, looking back). There is fate involved here, destiny, and things we just don’t know. So if you, or your child didn’t get into the high school or college of your choice last week, it could turn out to be the best possible thing that could have happened. So what looks like a disappointment could turn out to be the greatest opportunity of all!!!

 

And I can’t let today go by without mentioning that last Friday, March 22nd, was the third anniversary of the terrorist attack on the Brussels airport, where thirty two people died, and an enormous number injured. It was a family event for us, my nephew’s daughter was at the airport on that day, was nearly killed, and lost both legs at seventeen—-as you may remember. I can tell you now that after close to a year in the hospital, and many, many operations, and wonderful rehab, and the fact that she is an Incredible Remarkable, Fabulous girl—-since that day, she has graduated from high school, is attending college now, had rehab at the Navy Seals rehab facility, as  the victim of a terrorist attack (and her mother is American)—-and she is back in training (she was an Olympic class rider, which is her passion), and she is currently training and qualifying for the Paralympics, on the Equestrian team. She is mind-blowingly brave and fabulous, with more courage than anyone I know. So I had to acknowledge that date. It’s a day we will never forget, and should be remembered, for the brave people who survived it, and those who lost their lives.

 

So have a great week, a safe, healthy, happy, fruitful, fun exciting one!!!!

 

all my love, Danielle

 

 

PS, Dear Christine thank you for your beautiful comment about your mother, and the passage from my book, which meant so much to her. Thank you with all my heart for sharing it, it means a great deal to me, and I’m glad the book meant a lot to her. Our journeys are all dark at times, it’s the nature of Life. We live for the good times, and live through the hard times and survive them. And dark things happen to us all. I’ve had my share of them too. Somehow we get through them, and they make us deeper and better—not easily but they do, and the good times are more powerful than the bad. I’m so sorry you lost your Mom, and thank you for reading the piece of my book.

 

And to Patricia, my very deepest sympathy about your son. Whatever age we lose a child at, it’s an almost unbearable loss, that somehow we have to live through, and still find meaning and joy in life. My heart goes out to you. I lost my son Nick at nineteen. He will be forever missed, loved and remembered. I often laugh when I think of him now, and remember some of the ridiculous, silly, and funny things he did (he did a lot of them). I hope that time will be gentle with you, and you will find some peace and meaning in the loss, from the love you shared with him. I send you both my love.

 

Please know that I cherish your comments and messages. I read them all, even if I usually don’t comment on them. My blessings, love, and prayers to you both.  D.

 

 

Filed Under Family, Friends, Kids | 4 Comments

3/18/19, Dazed but not confused

Posted on March 18, 2019

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope that all is well with you. Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day, which I can lay no claim to, having no Irish relatives at all.  But if it’s your holiday, Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!

 

The riots in Paris are continuing and getting worse again, with stores destroyed, vandalized and looted—innocent stores like women and children’s clothing stores and the Disney store on the Champs Elysees. The city continues to live in fear on Saturdays, and the destruction continues. Violence is never the answer to anything and is disheartening to see.

 

I have done nothing but write for the last 10 days, and I’m happy with what I’m working on. I was working very closely on two books, and have really had fun with them. I hope you’ll love them too once they’re out.

 

My new book, Silent Night, is out and doing well, about Brain Injury. I hope you’ll read it and love it too, there’s some very good research in that book.

 

And when I work this hard writing, I work straight through most nights until 5 and 6 am, then I don’t do much else and am just on a constant cycle of writing, a few hours’ sleep, and then more writing—-so I’m not very interesting when I come up for air, and am a little dazed.

 

I saw my God children last night, which is always fun for me. And I hope to see some friends for lunch and dinner this week—-and to catch up on some fun things to tell you. In the meantime, take care, stay safe, work hard and have some fun!!!

 

much love, Danielle