When baby girls fly…

As the path toward your dreams unfolds, there are so many twists and turns. Transitions.  Sometimes expected and planned for. Other times a complete surprise or shock.

Today I’m sitting here smack dab in the middle of a transition.  One of our “baby girls” is about to leave the nest…and I’m feeling rather unsettled.

As many of you know, Rob and I do not have children of our own. But we are blessed with many children sharing our lives, some related by birth; others by heart.  We treasure them all.

Julia’s birth on September 12, 1993 is the only one I’ve ever witnessed. Her gracious parents invited me to become her godmother and I was elated.

I called her “Baby Girl” and she called me her “Fairy Godmother.”  And because I never corrected her, it took other kids teasing her in the 2nd grade for her to learn I possessed only earthly powers. She was not pleased! (And I felt terribly guilty not to have told her the truth sooner.)

When she was 7, Julia began to live with us on Martha’s Vineyard during the summers.  One year she even brought a baby kitty with her.

The summer Julia, 10, arrived with a gift for us — Wilber!

Our summers were filled with theater camp, beach days and rainbow sprinkles for dessert.  (Sugar quantities provide one of the main distinctions between parents and godparents!)

Year around, our guest room is always “Julia’s room.” And, in the drawers and closet there no one disturbs her drawings, journals, earring backs, ProActiv toner, books and sizes-too-small flip flops.

Today, she is 17. And our summer life, as we lived it, is no longer.  Julia is soon to leave for college.  And while I’m not even her mother, I’ve realized I’m going through the transition many Moms (and Dads) go through when their children leave home. I wonder:

*  Was I a good enough godmother? (We established early that I was NOT to talk to her about religion or Sunday School as other “real” godmothers do 😉

* Did I teach her well enough?  Was I a good enough role model for how to cope when the chips are down or celebrate for work done well?

* Is she going to be OK on her own thousands of miles away?

* Did I disappoint her in ways I cannot ever change?

In this transition, I also feel exhilarated for her launch into the world. 

Julia is strong and competent, brave, loving and resourceful.  She is a talented baker and extraordinary cook. She worked hard this summer in a retail store and saved her money.

Yesterday she met Rob and me for breakfast. As we each drove away in our own car, alone I sobbed all the way home over several transitions in my life right now.

I pulled into the driveway and glanced in my rearview mirror.  Julia was behind me!

She had sensed my sadness and followed me home — to give me an extra hug.  This godmother is so lucky to have a Fairy Godchild.

Look out, world. Here comes wise and wonderful Juiia!

If you are anticipating, or going through any kind of transition — a move, a new baby, marriage, divorce, grief, empty nest, job loss, new job — please join me this Tuesday, July 26 where I will be discussing Strategies To Ease Your Way Through Any Transition.

It will be a LIVE video chat, the first from Women On Fire Studios. I would love to have you on the call or share your thoughts about your own transitions in the comments section below.

With love and gratitude to Oprah

Later today, for the last time, I will repeat a ritual I’ve been faithful to for 25 years.

I will watch Oprah’s final show.

My darling 17-year-old goddaughter Julia will join me – along with Wilber, the cat.

(Other than shows with birds twittering, Wilber pays no attention to television. But when I’m watching Oprah, he is glued to the screen, too! )

Wilber, as always, entranced by Oprah

As for Julia, watching Oprah together the past few years after summer camp became “our thing.”

Snuggled into bean bag chairs, snacks in hand, sharing Oprah opened the door for us to talk about dating, divorce, love, life and loss and everything in between.

I’m sure you, too, may have your own special watching-Oprah stories.

Still, for those of us who have belonged to the world of Oprah and relied on her comfort, wisdom and leadership, the question is:

What now?

I’ve lived long enough to know with every loss, there is “gold in the grief.”

What will that gold be?

As a Woman on Fire, I am deeply grateful for the path Oprah paved.  Against all odds, she proved strength, kindness, generosity, vulnerability and authenticity — powerful women’s characteristics — are a winning combination.

Leaving the familiar, she is handing over an amazing legacy of how to become, as she would say, our very best selves.

What will we do with it?

When I last saw Oprah in person, at Maria Shriver’s Women’s Conference last October, she had us all in tears, urging us to go for our dreams, with her simple statement:

“You know if I can do it, you can do it, too.”

So, I am asking myself…

If I am to become my own Oprah, what does that look like?

More importantly, what would becoming your own Oprah mean for you?

As for you, dear Oprah, thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you’ve done to heal and expand goodness in the world.

And, for your inspiration of what is possible for each of us to live our dreams and make a difference.

We will put the spring board you’re leaving us to good use.

I promise.



P.S. What about you? I would love to hear how you feel about this and what you are thinking. Please leave your comments below.