I’ve been thinking about feeling ok and not ok at the same time. As in: Lilly turns five tomorrow and I’m full of awe and love for this sparkly, weird, curious human. As in: 19 children from Uvalde, all undoubtedly sparkly and curious themselves, won’t see another birthday — not to mention the victims of mass shootings in Buffalo, Philadelphia, Tulsa, and more.
I was talking to my friend Elana about this and she pointed out that these things are not in tension. “We cannot serve, be kind, be activists, be marching, be donating if we let ourselves get completely emotionally and physically depleted.” She pointed to this amazing fanzine as an example — created to help young activists maintain wellness and mental health.
It’s our job to continue to be angry, sad, and sickened. To do whatever we can, whether it’s donating to Everytown or sending a message to your senator, calling elected officials, or focusing on down-ballot candidates who have the opportunity to enact change at the local and state level — not just on gun rights but abortion, gender-affirming healthcare, and more.
It’s also our job to take care of ourselves, in whatever ways feel right. Last weekend, we went to Coney Island to celebrate our dear friend Caleb’s 5th birthday. It was was a perfect blue sky day and kids ran gleefully from ride to ride. I didn’t worry about anything besides sunburn, I didn’t check Twitter, I smiled so hard it hurt. We need those times as much as we need the moments of private or collective grief and anger.
Here are some things bringing me low-key joy right now:
Mental health for kiddos and their grownups: The day after Uvalde, I went to an event with Little Otter, a startup bringing digital mental healthcare to children and families. It ended up being a group therapy session with founder and child mental health expert Dr. Helen Egger, who started the company with her daughter, Rebecca. Egger reminded us — a group of teary parents — that even though our instinct is to try to protect our kids, we need to accept that we can’t ever fully protect them. We have to focus on what is in our control and help them feel safe and loved. This has stuck with me, as hard as it is to accept. Little Otter is live in a bunch of states, including NY, and is an incredible resource for anyone with little kids.
Time travel and 90s nostalgia: I’ve been waiting for Emma Straub’s new novel, This Time Tomorrow since she started teasing it last year. Time travel from one of the world’s most delightful humans and novelists? Sign me up. It’s about a woman named Alice Stern who goes to sleep on her 40th birthday and wakes up in her teenage bedroom, in her 16-year-old body. Commence delicious depictions of 90s NYC and heart-warming father-daughter interactions. Add it to your summer reading list asap.
Kid theater fun: For Lilly’s birthday party this weekend, we are having Treasure Trunk Theater come put on one of their interactive performances. Lilly has gone to their summer camps in Brooklyn and I love how they combine movement, imagination, and art. They can customize based on your theme (we’re going with Star Wars x Princesses) and also have virtual options!
Keeping up with the youths: I am deeply grateful to Casey Lewis and her newsletter After School for making me somewhat in the loop about all things Gen Z. I met Lewis when she her cofounder Liza Darwin were running Clover Letter, an amazing community for young people. I’m such a fan of the way she synthesizes trends and news and puts it all into context — also keeps me up-to-date on crucial Haim memes and TikTok trends. Speaking of TikTok trends, I also love Rachel Karten’sLink in Bio newsletter, where she explains, explores, demystifies various aspects of social media (how a deli got so good at TikTok!)
Truly the best granola bars: When I saw that food editor and incredible baker Chelsea Morse was making sweet and salty granola bars (the best kind) to raise money for Everytown, I immediately ordered two boxes. Had I known how incredible they were, I would have ordered a dozen. If you’re in NY, she’s selling them through the end of June. If you’re not, you can try making them yourselves using this NYT recipe (add extra salt!). I’ll be buying more and attempting them at home.
Also the best overnight oats: Embarrassingly, we’ve only made two recipes from Roxanna Jullapat’s cookbook, Mother Grains, but both have been winners so will keep going! The latest is her recipe for Leah’s Overnight Oats, which makes several important upgrades to the standard formula: cardamom, for heady flavor; dates, for sweetness; and tons of coconut, for texture. They are so, so good.
Sun essentials for the whole fam: We had our first beach trip over Memorial Day and I was reminded just how much SPF is required to keep an entire family burn-free. I am a Supergoop! devotee and really like their Mineral Stick for the kids, as well as their PLAY Everyday Lotion SPF 50, especially in the huge pump version. I am also a new convert to their Glowscreen (thanks Grace!), which really does give skin a diffused, even look. For additional coverage, Lilly loves her *exuberant* rainbow hat but I also got her this straw flowery number from H&M that makes her look like a wee gardener. I also love the Primary rashguards, which come in a rainbow of solid colors.
A few more misc wins: rediscovering this perfect AYR tee in my drawer, which is worth the $; making Violet Bakery’s Summer Spelt Cake on repeat with rhubarb and strawberries; and watching Lilly giggle as Rob reads her Calvin and Hobbes.
That’s it for me. I’m off to procure Swedish fish for party favors. Wish me luck!