My Daughter’s Birth Story

Monday 9/16/13. I woke at 7 in the morning two days past my due date to discover wet panties. When I told my husband that my water broke he said, “Are you sure it’s not pee? I mean you’ve been coughing a lot lately.” When I assured him it wasn’t pee, I made phone calls to family and then sent text messages alerting my birth team, close friends and colleagues. I even texted my boss, and told him I’d work from home until I no longer could.

The gushing began around 9:30 when I went to move the car from a Tuesday spot to a Monday spot. The fact that I had a lingering cough from a cold I caught a week earlier, didn’t help the flow either. When I got back upstairs, I was met with the reality that I wouldn’t get through the day without using pads.

Mild contractions started around 3:30/4 in the afternoon. I shut down my computer and let my boss know that was going to be it. I called Jason at work and asked if we were doing dinner together. He said that if I could wait to eat after Mylo went to bed then yes. I told him I had a feeling that could be too late so I grabbed dinner at Chipotle, and bought dog food at PetSmart.

I remember running those errands by myself so clearly. On the one hand I felt so liberated, to be out and about on my own – no husband, no three year old in tow and no baby yet. And I also felt like a real rebel. I remember a couple of people looking at me and giving me a gesturing nod. Probably just being kind about my very pregnant state, but for a minute I wondered, ‘do they know I’m in labor right now?’

Contractions picked up in the evening while Jason ate dinner and we got Mylo ready for bed. I downloaded a contraction app on my iPhone and began to time them. They averaged 30 seconds long and about 6-10 minutes apart.

Evening sky while I was in labor.

Evening sky while I was in labor.

At 7:00 my midwife texted that I should try to go to sleep early and get some rest “before things take off.” A couple of hours later I heeded her advice.

Only when I did lay down, things picked up rather quickly. I had to use the potty a couple of times and experienced a couple of super painful contractions while sitting on the toilet. I labored in the bedroom alone with Jason and our dogs for as long as I could.

Around 10:00 it became obvious that getting shut eye wasn’t going to happen.

At 11:15 Jason texted our doula that contractions were one minute long, less than five minutes apart and that I was beginning to feel nauseous. Dia joined us an hour later.

Tuesday 9/17/13. When I made it to midnight, I knew for sure that we were going to have a baby on September 17th. I posted this Dr. Seuss quote on my Facebook page that I had come across months earlier and absolutely adored. It was my way of letting those in my circle know that the baby was coming.


Having Dia at the house was a comforting Godsend. She urged Jason to nap and encouraged me to keep moving and change positions. At one point she even took my cell phone away which was blowing up with texts from two of my close friends. In hindsight, it was actually pretty funny.


With my doula Dia

We were in the living room with the lights mainly off and my iTunes “baby” playlist on in the background, while Dia timed my contractions the old school way. Around this time I moved into the transition stage of labor. I vomited a couple of times into our beloved salad spinner while leaning over the kitchen table.

Jason joined us in the living room 45 minutes later after an unsuccessful attempt to nap. For the next couple of hours I was in and out of the tub. I can’t recall if I loved it at first or not, but given the extreme pain I was in I know I found it comforting.

Then the bomb of all bombs dropped.

A text came in from my midwife, Kristen, at 3:20. Prefaced with an “uh-oh,” Jason read it aloud.

I’m so sad to tell you this but I am headed to another labor. (You have both been in labor all night!!) she’s ready for me. I’m assuming you may be ready soon. When you are, if I’m not done, I will send (my backup) Barri Malek. She’s wonderful. You’ll be great with her but I will be really sad.

I was in the birthing pool when I got the news. My first instinct was to sink myself under the water to drown out the news I had just heard. But then I had a mind-numbing contraction and thought, ‘I don’t care who you send, just someone get here who can help deliver this baby!’

Barri and her assistant (her daughter Sophia) came over an hour later. And when they did they brought this sense of calm and confidence to the home that only a little while ago, I was beginning to lose sight of.

I sat on the rocking chair while working my way through contractions. Each time I had one I was urged to lean forward, which wasn’t easy to do. Dia was on the ground on my left side and Barri was on my right. As I worked through each contraction they stroked my feet.

I asked Barri if she was going to check me. She explained that she preferred not to but that if I really wanted it, she could. Then she asked me why I wanted to be checked. I told her that I needed to know how much longer I had to go. To which she told me that judging by my ability to carry on a conversation, she guessed I was midway through labor. That news alone was enough to take my mind off an internal and get back to focusing on my labor.

After a long and agonizing trip down the hallway and into the bathroom in our bedroom to relieve my bladder, I headed back to the birth tub. I must have made another comment about how much longer I’d be doing this when Barri asked me if I saw what Sophie was doing in the background. I didn’t exactly because it was dark, but I had a sense that she was setting up the birth supplies. I know from my son’s birth in the hospital and from the few births I’ve been a doula at, that it’s a good sign when the nurses begin to organize the equipment. It means there’s going to be a baby soon! Again, more news to help me labor on.

The only thing I would change about my birth is bringing the photographer in earlier. And perhaps, that Jason remembered to handle that part of it as well. The last time the photographer heard from me was in the morning the day before, when my water broke. Mark arrived around 5:30am.

I was in the birth tub when Mark walked in. With my head down, I said hello to him. I remember the quiet clanging of his lighting equipment being set up in our living room and I appreciated the noise that was drowning out the soft whispers of my birth team.

Not long after Mark arrived, my midwife Kristen and her birth assistant Piper walked in the door. My birth team was complete, in fact more than complete! I had two midwives, two midwife assistants and a doula!

In between contractions I asked Kristen about the other woman who gave birth. I needed to know what she had and at what time. It helped me to know that someone else went through what I was going through and she made out ok. The other mom had a girl around 4am.

The whole team

The whole team.

I never announced out loud when it was time to push, but my body did. Out of no where I had this intense urge to begin pushing, something I didn’t have with the labor and birth of my son. I started out on my back in the pool with my feet up against the sides. I pushed through a couple of contractions but it didn’t feel that productive. When I told the midwives that, Barri began pulling down my perineum to help open me up with each push.

Not only did that help in bringing my baby down lower but the pain of her stretching me out, took my mind off the pain from pushing. At one point Barri, who was all smiles, even while she spoke, said my baby would be here in a couple of more pushes. I remember looking at her dead in the eyes and saying, “You don’t have to lie Barri, I know we’re gonna be here a long time.” (Based on the fact that it took me two hours to push my son out, I had this sinking feeling it could take that long again.)

Barri chuckled and said something along the lines of ‘Why would I lie? You’re doing this, your baby is almost here.’

Time was becoming a factor for me. It probably didn’t help that I was sitting facing the clock on our kitchen wall, but I was acutely aware of the fact that my son Mylo would wake up soon. Though my birth plan originally called for him to be present if possible, I no longer wanted him to see me in this final stage of labor. I didn’t want my screaming to alarm him.

I’m not sure if I wanted to change positions or if I was told to change positions but I made my way to the edge of the birth tub, resting on my knees and shins. This squatting position which I had labored in earlier, was a total game changer. I was still in unbelievable pain, but bearing down while pushing was way easier and more productive. Not to mention it gave me a sense of privacy that being spread eagle didn’t.

The 15 minutes or so that I spent in this position was a complete out-of-body experience. There was a lot of screaming. A LOT. At one point, I screamed “PLEASE HELP ME,” something that had me laughing and feeling ashamed about later when I recapped the events with Kristen. There was also a lot of focusing on objects — like the sun rays on my doulas T-shirt and the darkness outside the slightly opened window. I was in a trance. I remember having a very hallucinogenic moment in which I closed my eyes and saw this girl I knew from my school days, dancing around in a jester’s costume. Freaky. I know.

I could feel the bulging when I pushed and it was then that I knew I was close. When Kristen told me to reach down and feel my baby’s head I said no. Not because it weirded me out, but because if any part of my upper body let go of the side of the pool, I was convinced I was going to fall in.

I remember the excruciating burn, and being told what an amazing job I was doing. I remember Jason being right in front of me, despite plans to be in the back, catching with Kristen. But it was for the best, I needed him to be right where he was, holding my hands.


With another mind-numbing push, the head was out. I stayed squatting with the head out, about another minute or until the next contraction, and then eased my baby out. When I did, I felt the body leave me in an amazing “bloop bloop” sort of way. Again, something I don’t recall when I pushed my son out.

In an instant I felt the baby’s slippery, jiggly body get past up through my legs. I looked down and saw a squishy little face swimming up toward me. I lifted my baby out of the water and brought it to me.


Meeting my baby.

My whole world stopped in this moment, for I was overcome with great relief and immense joy.

The baby was pudgy and squat and covered in vernix. She had a shock of black hair and she remained incredibly calm – like the room she was born into – in those first few minutes.

I’m not proud of the words that immediately flew out of my mouth, which were the first words the baby ever heard. They were “Thank fucking God”. What can I say? It just happened.

After a minute or so of relishing in the shock and awe of what just happened, I asked if anyone in the room knew what the sex was. I thought perhaps someone saw something I didn’t.

I was told to reach underneath and feel for balls but I lay her out in my arms instead. I looked down quickly and saw a little vagina. She had holes in all the right places. It was a GIRL and I was THRILLED. I mean really, really thrilled.

Reya Taha Wood was born at 6:27am after 14 hours of labor and a half hour of pushing.

Jason retrieved Mylo from his room and found him sitting up in bed awake and smiling. We’re not sure how long he had been up and what he had heard but he handled the busy room with our birth team with equal parts cutesy and shyness. I was so proud of him.


Mylo meets his sister.

I birthed the placenta 15 minutes later and Jason and Mylo cut the cord.


I was guided to the bedroom where I nursed Reya and was spoon fed Cheerios by Kristen.


Reya was weighed and I texted profusely our beautiful news with family and friends.


My girl weighed in at 8lbs 13oz – WOW!


I Dreamt It Was You

Before I was even through the first trimester of my second pregnancy, I had a very profound dream that I was carrying a girl.

I was walking along Court Street in Brooklyn when I spotted an indigenous looking man walking a few dogs and a cat on a leash. He had long black hair and was wearing beaten up khakis, Birkenstock’s and donned a fanny pack in the front.

As with most people who have one or more dogs on a leash, I approached him. Jason trailed me, not the least bit thrilled I was about to strike up a conversation with a stranger, and one who looked a little nutty to boot.

I can’t remember what we spoke about, but I do remember crouching down to pet his well-behaved animals. When I got up to leave, he pulled a small sack from his fanny pack. He opened it up and told me to choose one. I reached inside and pulled out a stone that he then held up in the day sky. A ray of pink shone through. He looked at me and said without hesitation, “it’s a girl.”

I’m not sure if I said anything back, but I remember so clearly Jason’s reaction. It was one of amazement, disbelief and skepticism. He muttered, “but how…” and that’s all I really remember from this dream.


It’s A Girl!!

How my feet want to jump up
Push me high to the sky
I found you
How my heart is beaming like the sun,
And the moon and the stars beyond,
I found you…

First breath.

First breath.

On Tuesday 9/17/13 at 6:27am, our daughter Reya Taha Wood, joined us earthside at home in Brooklyn. She’s super cute and we are super happy. We are also super pleased that it’s a girl!

Birth story to come…


40 Weeks Pregnant With #2

I’m officially one day past my due date. Sigh.


My belly on my due date, 9/14/13

Last Monday I came down with a sore throat. It lasted all week, eventually manifesting itself into a cold. While my throat is thankfully no longer sore, the cold has reared its ugly head in other ways. A hoarse voice, followed by a painful cough and now a stuffy nose.

It’s probably for the best the baby didn’t come early. Labor and caring for a newborn while being sick would have sucked. And so I can’t help but wonder if the baby is waiting for me to get healthy, which I suppose is very thoughtful!

The fact that I’m just waiting around at this point has been frustrating. But having friends, family and colleagues constantly check in to see if there’s any baby news serves as an even more painful reminder. Poor Princess Kate! I couldn’t even imagine what it would be like to have the whole world waiting… and watching!

I’ve been keeping busy for the most part – sitting down to write this blog post is probably the most I’ve sat all weekend. Friday I took Mylo to the park with our friends and neighbors. We then took Griffie (our small dog) to the vet to have her shots. My parents came to Brooklyn for dinner. We ate at Sam’s in hopes that their famous baked ziti would have the same affect on the eve of my due date as it did in 2010 when I was pregnant with Mylo.

The ziti was a zero this time :(

The ziti did zilch for me this time :(

On Saturday we enjoyed some quality family time in Brooklyn. Jason took Mylo to the park with our friends and neighbors while I did the grocery shopping. After Mylo napped we drove to Jones Beach. The sun was peaking through the clouds but also on the verge of going down. Between the fall sun on our faces and our cozy sweatshirts, it was the perfect evening to be at the ocean.


One of Mylo’s last days as an only child.

In the car on our way home from the beach I had four tolerable contractions in the span of a half hour. It was exciting but then just like that, they were gone.

Today we went with our friends and neighbors down to the farmer’s market at Pier 6 and met up with a few more friends. The kids ate pickles on sticks and ran around together like maniacs. Then we continued on to a street fair in Brooklyn Heights, which was dullsville. Mylo didn’t nap today and is currently scooting his tush off at the park with his buddy Matias. That means an early night in the sack for him and takeout and Shark Tank on TiVo for us!


Fun With My Son

I was recently reflecting on photos in my iPhone from this past summer. Seeing all the pics reminds me that with just one week to go until my due date, that I’ve had a hell of a fun summer with my son Mylo.

I made an extra effort to create memories of the time we had together. Even if he won’t remember them…I will never forget them.

I took him to the ocean five times. Two times it was just him and I. The other trips were with friends who have children too. Mylo loves the beach! Sure he loves the waves and the sand. He also loves climbing on the unused lifeguard chairs that are laying down in the sand. But what really cracks me up is that he especially loves to eat on the beach. And if you know my son you would know then why that’s so amusing. Mylo doesn’t have a whole lot of interest in food, and as a result it’s not always so easy to feed him. But the second we claim our spot in the sand, Mylo’s in the cooler and the seagulls are surrounding him.

Mylo and Olivia

Mylo and Olivia

Final day at the beach together.

Final day at the beach together.

I recently took him to a water park on Long Island called Splish Splash. I’ll admit, it was a bit too early to introduce him to water rides. It also turned out to be a super long day, not to mention expensive too. BUT, we went with a friend of mine, two of her young children and her 13 year old niece. So there were many hands on deck and despite the nasty spill Mylo took while chasing his buddy James, he had a lot of fun.

YouTube Preview Image


The food options left a little more to be desired.

The food options at Splish Splash left a little more to be desired.

Last week we went with my friend Jenn, her two kids and her nephew to Hoyt Farm on Long Island. What a little gem of a place!

On one side of Hoyt Farm is two playgrounds and a small water park with fountains for cooling off. On the other side is a nature preserve. The two are connected by windy trails and an expansive field of rolling hills.

Mylo rockin' out on what Jenn's kids call "Big Mama"

Mylo rockin’ out on what Jenn’s kids call “Big Mama”

Mylo and Kailee feed the goats

Mylo and Kailee feed the goats

I’m certainly going to miss our time together as mommy and only child. It’s been an incredible three years full of sleep deprivation, learning curves and loads of fun. But I also look forward to the next chapter of our lives… when Mylo’s sibling completes us as a family.

35 Weeks Pregnant With #2

Let the litany of complaints begin!

This pregnancy is getting to me. All of me. My mind. My body. It’s creeping up on me now and I am terrified.

Mornings and day time is still pretty manageable but come night, I am done. Not in a tired-I-need-to-sleep-way but in a I-can’t-lift-another-finger-way. This is especially true on the nights my siatica kicks in and shoots down the right side of my butt and leg. It’s debilitating. Other nights the pressure in my pelvis is so extreme I think labor has to be right around the corner. Last night for instance, I had a slow growing ache in my lower back and felt crampy in my pelvis. For a hot minute, I thought “is this it?” I really don’t want this baby to come too early.

Getting out of bed has become next to impossible. I feel like a beached whale who has to shimmy to the edge and then roll out. Using the muscles in my lower legs to lift myself out of bed is no longer feasible.

Bending over to put on my strappy sandals. Ouch.

Between 30 and 35 weeks I developed bright red stretch marks on my lower abdomen that seem to be inching higher and higher. I read so many posts about women loving their postpartum bodies. They find a positive way to look at their scarred and marked body as a vessel for the life they created. I am not there yet.

35 weeks pregnant with #2

35 weeks pregnant w/ baby #2

We meet with a photographer this week and our doula is coming over next week. Followed by an appointment with my midwife days later. On the 23rd we area picking up the birth tub we are renting.

Labor Day weekend is going to be spent at my parents house on Long Island where Jason and I will collect the rest of the stuff we need to bring back with us for the baby. The co-sleeper, the car seat, a tub, swaddles, and so much more…

Still lots to do, so stay put my baby. Even if it means continuing to take over my body.

Happy 3rd Birthday Mylo, My Love

Last year I had a toddler, this year I have a little boy. And what a memorable year it’s been!

I’ve enjoyed your toddler-hood but would consider you more difficult at 3 then how you were when you were 2 or 2 1/2. Perhaps because you learned to talk. Or because you know what you like and dislike. For instance, you don’t like to be told “no.” But then again, who does?

You were sick a few times over the winter, especially at Christmas when you made my brother and his wife nuts every time you went to lovingly inspect and kiss your baby cousin. We took a much-needed family vacation in March to Florida. This is right around the time you became obsessed with Curious George. You were on the cusp of really using your words but “George-speak” often got in the way. By May, though, in the matter of one week, you began speaking in full sentences.

What an awesome game changer!

You nearly knocked me off my seat one evening while we ate dinner at Chipotle. Toward the end of our meal when I offered you a bite of your cheese quesadilla you shook your head, put your hand on your belly and said “Mylo tummy hurts, no eat food.” I said “Oh, that’s too bad. I guess we can’t get frozen yogurt afterwards.” Your eyes widened then and you quickly recanted. “Mylo tummy feel better. Get frozen yogurt after dinner?”

It’s conversations like these that make my day.

I won’t lie, I’m terrified about bringing another life into this world. Your sibling is due one month after your birthday and our lives are going to change. Big time. I’m nervous about how the changes may affect you. Yet I’m also optimistic that you’ll adapt. Perhaps even better then we will.

You’ve been adorable during the course of my pregnancy. You haven’t done it in a while, but you like to peer into my deep cavernous belly button and ask if the baby is going to come out there. The first time you ever did that it sent me into a fit of hysterics. When I ask if you are going to have a brother or sister you’ve often replied sister. Lately though, it’s been “both.” This morning when daddy asked you the question, you replied that I was having a monster truck.

You’re sensitive. You’re caring. And you are absolutely hilarious. Happy Birthday to the little boy who forever changed, shaped and bettered my life.


My big boy on his 3rd birthday!

A Baby Sprinkle

Yesterday at Linda’s (where I work) two colleagues threw me a baby “sprinkle”. When my friend Kim found out I was pregnant around 11 or 12 weeks one of the first things she asked me is if I would have a shower. I told her no, that I had been showered before with my first and thought it was tacky to have another.

She was bummed. She wanted to get me something and do something. I suggested then that she could do a sprinkle which is similar to a shower just not with as many presents. I also told her to leave the games out of it but of course she didn’t listen.

Being two of the craftiest people I know, Kim and our friend Britney set out to put my sprinkle together. It was months in the making and all their hard work showed. These two should be in party planning, not bras!

Here are some pics from the party…


Kim & Brit made this invitation and chose the theme and colors based on a lil getting-to-know-you questionnaire.

Kim made these little elephants by punching them out from scrapbook paper and then attached them to toothpicks to stick inside the homemade vegan cupcakes that Brit made. Honestly, they look store bought. I would have stopped with the toothpick.


I wasn’t joking when I said Kim was crafty.

They decorated the hell out of our tiny conference room by pushing the huge table to the side and utilizing it as the gift/goodie table. They even put our flat screen TV to work with a power point baby trivia game. There were balloons, and they also hung streamers from the pipes at the top of the ceiling.


Our boss Carl peeks in but opted not to stay, being the only guy and all.


They even made party favors!


Kim clowning around with balloons.

For the Jack & Jill baby shower of my first baby my best friend Lauren made a baby guessing game due date/gender pool. A calendar is built out two weeks before my due date and two weeks after with the due date highlighted. For $5 you got a box with your name on it. If you guessed right you got the proceeds of all the boxes. My friend Diane’s husband won that pool and if I remember correctly the pot was $160!!

Kim and Brit did something similar using stickers. Whoever wins the due date AND gender gets a $25 gift certificate to H&M! I chose a girl on Friday, September 13th for two reasons: I feel it’s a girl based on a very profound dream I had early on and because I like the date 9/13/13.


The due date/gender pool!


With Kim & Britney

My thank you note to the women and (two) gents who work at Linda’s:

What can I say? I was so, so touched by yesterday’s baby sprinkle! The games, the gifts and the yummies were just so lovely. I truly enjoyed our time together — having some laughs, pigging out on cupcakes and learning about the gestation period of an elephant – WHO KNEW!

Thanks for sharing in the happy moments, I’m sure the baby felt them through and through.

I’m definitely looking forward to finding out who wins the baby pool :)


The Linda’s ladies.


30 Weeks Pregnant With #2

A couple of weeks ago I really began to feel this baby come to life in my belly.  While I know I didn’t keep a detailed week-by-week account of my pregnancy with Mylo, I do know he was bopping around much sooner than 28 weeks.

There are no true patterns or consistencies, but I ‘m enjoying watching my belly shake from side to side when the baby moves about. This baby’s calmer in-utero existence makes me think there’s a girl in there, or a very mellow boy. Of course I’d hate to be wrong, but a very powerful dream pretty early on gave me the girl hunch.

At 30 weeks now, the arrival of this baby is becoming more of a reality. I am reading more and more birth stories in preparation for my own homebirth and am in awe of other natural birthing moms’ courage, stamina and confidence in their bodies.

We’re still piecing our birth team together. So far we have Kristen our midwife, Piper her assistant and Dia the doula. We’re in the process of meeting with a photographer to hire – which hasn’t been easy since birth photography isn’t a big business yet in New York City. Finding just the right person who respects the intimate birthing space they are being invited into, is affordable, and has a portfolio, has been a challenge. Then there’s who to have on call (if needed) for Mylo – most likely my mom.

Ahh, Mylo. My love. My first-born. Part of me aches that these next ten weeks are the last I will have with him alone. Meanwhile another part of me aches for this second child who will make us a true family. I’m excited to see Mylo shower the baby with his sweet ways yet anxious about the sleepless nights that lie ahead. And of course I have pangs about becoming a divided family: Daddy taking Mylo to the park while leaving baby and mommy to figure things out.

As for running in the third trimester, I’m still loving it but find I need to focus more on maintaining my center of balance. The hardest thing has become how I feel after the run then I do during the run. The pressure from the baby on my pelvis throughout the rest of the day is excruciating and causes me to do a painful waddle walk. Basically, I look like a pregnant woman in a lot of distress when normally, on a day I don’t run, I barely have a pregnant walk at all.

30 Weeks Pregnant w/ Baby #2

30 weeks pregnant w/ baby #2

Sleep has also become an issue. Mainly because my bladder wakes me up, but also because Mylo seems to be waking up earlier and earlier and making his way into our bedroom like it’s time to party. Most mornings his entry is at 6:00 am but some mornings it’s as early as 5:30. Sigh.

My maternity leave package leaves more to be desired, but I suppose that’s what you get when you work for a small boutique start-up company.

Time with Mylo, finding a photographer, lack of sleep, work worries and the fact that running is coming to an obvious end — are what’s on this pregnant mama’s mind these days.

Reunion Weekend

When I was a senior in high school, one of my good friends died in a tragic accident that was related to our hard-partying ways. Many people in our school and community thought we had it coming to us. That attitude seemed somehow not right back then. And 18 years later, I still feel that receiving that kind of support was somewhat tragic in itself.

Timmy Ryniker, or “Ryno” as we called him, was one half of a twin. His sister Kerri was also a close friend, but I was tighter with Tim. After Timmy died, I pulled back a bit from this group of friends. We all processed the loss differently, and my way seemed a bit more head on at the time. They all grieved at first but went on with life as if nothing had happened — until it was late at night and the drinks and marijuana had been flowing freely. Only then would the tears also flow. So in the last months of my senior year, I distanced myself from them. I didn’t even go to prom.

I kept in touch with a couple of the girls throughout college, but not with Kerri, and not with any of the guys. Years later I’d heard through the grapevine that Kerri married a boy from college. His name was Tim.

Then she joined Facebook.

Kerri reached out to a few of us living in the city at the end of last winter — me and Scott (my upstairs neighbor) included. She was coming to New York and wanted to see us. So on a Thursday night last May we got together for drinks downtown in the financial district. It was wonderful to see her. Other than having much shorter hair, Kerri hadn’t changed a bit. Her beautiful green eyes and easy smile were as if I were still looking at my 17 year old friend.


Scott, Ruben, me, Jay and Kerri in the foreground. Ruben’s girlfriend is behind me.

The festivities continued and ended that night at our friend Ruben’s rooftop Manhattan apartment. After several more drinks and a couple of pizzas, Kerri commanded our attention. Her hand trembling, she emerged from her pocket a photo, and began to explain the real reason she was in the city. She planned to have Tim’s face tattooed on her arm the next day. She became very emotional. It seemed the entire city had fallen quiet at that moment.

Of our group of friends, I was the only female there. She then addressed the guys, of which there were four. “The year after Timmy died you held a golf benefit in his honor, which made me and my family so happy. That was the first year and also the last. Why?”

Kerri's tattoo

Kerri’s tattoo

My heart went out to Kerri, who was clearly still working through her loss. But I’ve made peace with Timmy’s death. While I think of him often and of the carefree lives we led back then, I felt terrible (but also remarkably healed), that I did not share in her tears that night.

I saw Kerri again last October at the after party of the golf outing that Ruben organized in memory of Timmy. The next one is this September.

Timmy Ryniker Golf Outing 2012

Timmy Ryniker Golf Outing 2012

Little did I know that I would have even more time with Kerri months later.

Over the winter, one of the girls from my group in high school wrote that she needed a break from her family in Florida and would be coming to New York in May. Another was willing to take time off from her job in Texas. Kerri was up for driving down from where she lived upstate. Two of us were already in Brooklyn. It was going to be a reunion!

In anticipation of the five of us together for the first time since high school, I offered up my home and made plans to bring Mylo to my parent’s house on Long Island. I even planned a big reunion party for the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.

It was a much-needed week of bonding and patching up old friendships. I was especially happy to have rekindled my friendship with Kerri, who sat with me in bumper-to-bumper traffic on a rainy Friday to bring Mylo out to my mom’s.


Janna, me, Kerri, Rachel and Jaaron… together again for the first time in 18 years.

Growing up had made us vastly different. Kerri is a hardcore omnivore with a husband who hunts their dinner. I’m the only vegetarian of the lot. One is still pretty much “the hippie”. She likes to grow her own vegetables but dons a Louis Vuitton crossbody satchel. The one we’d never expect to be the most gainfully employed, is. Only three of the five us are married with children. Two of those three have healthy marriages.

Had we met for the first time today, there aren’t that many commonalities that would tie us together. It’s nice to know that a childhood steeped in memories and later on, a profound loss, is what has sealed our friendships.  And I have no doubt that Timmy would approve.