This week, amid mounting political chaos, there were also great bearers of hope, wonder, awe and appreciation- on a national and a personal scale. I see it fitting to end the week with a recollection of those moments. Herewith, my Friday five.
I. The Inimitable Life of Stephen Hawking
This obituary of Stephen Hawking in the New York Times is soaring and beautiful, just like it’s subject. I read it end to end at 3 am and it captivated me more than any obituary has. What a tremendous man Stephen Hawking was. I feel fortunate to have shared this earth with his brilliance.
An excerpt below, recounting Hawking’s fearlessness – both physically and mentally.
“Asked why he took such risks, Dr. Hawking said, “I want to show that people need not be limited by physical handicaps as long as they are not disabled in spirit.”
His own spirit left many in awe.
“What a triumph his life has been,” said Martin Rees, a Cambridge University cosmologist, the astronomer royal of England and Dr. Hawking’s longtime colleague. “His name will live in the annals of science; millions have had their cosmic horizons widened by his best-selling books; and even more, around the world, have been inspired by a unique example of achievement against all the odds — a manifestation of amazing willpower and determination.”
II. The Students of #Enough
I was running errands in downtown Brooklyn Wednesday when I ran into a massive walkout of Brooklyn high school students that stretched a 2 block length of Fulton Street and its width in entirety. “Guns in school? We say No! NRA has Got to Go”, they chanted, marching with determination and purpose. They brought the street to a halt, and in that moment put all of us adults- going about our lives, heads down- to shame. The New York Times summarized their actions thus:
“A month ago, hundreds of teenagers ran for their lives from the hallways and classrooms of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 students and staff had been shot to death.
On Wednesday, driven by the conviction that they should never have to run from guns again, they walked.
So did their peers. In New York City, in Chicago, in Atlanta and Santa Monica; at Columbine High School and in Newtown, Conn.; and in many more cities and towns, students left school by the hundreds and the thousands at 10 a.m., sometimes in defiance of school authorities, who seemed divided and even flummoxed about how to handle their emptying classrooms.”
Watching this movement take shape has been an incredible reminder of the power of our youth and their ability to effectively organize. They are eloquent defenders of their right to learn in peace, and have exhibited immense courage. They remind us that it is never too late to channel the idealism and energy of our youth, and speak truth to power when it is sorely needed. What a beautiful generation that has arisen out of the ashes of millennial life. If you’d like to support efforts to end gun violence, you may donate to Everytown.org here.
III. Baby Smiles
Onward to more personal sources of awe. And I apologize in advance if you thought, rightfully, that perhaps I’d steer clear of child related topics after my magnum opus on parenthood last week. (Speaking of which, thank you so much for your beautiful words and responses to that post. They warmed my heart immensely).
* Note: the above is not a picture of MY baby. It is just A baby, and an exceptionally adorable one at that.
Somewhere between their first 6 and 12 weeks of life, babies start to smile in earnest (versus a reflux smile that everyone was very quick to point out WASN’T REAL). Via Parents: “Your baby’s first real smile says a lot about his development. It’s a sign his vision has improved and he is able to recognize your face. His brain and nervous system have matured enough to eliminate reflex smiles, and he’s now aware that smiling is a way for him to connect with others. Your little one is also beginning to realize his feelings matter and have a direct effect on the people around him. He’ll smile to express pleasure, excitement, contentment, and happiness.”
Our child started smiling these last few weeks, and it has been my absolute favorite development. It is so sweet and wondrous to see your child’s first smile, and every time she does it is a surprise and a delight! My favorite development of the last week for sure.
IV. The Best Banana Bread
On cold winter days, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I love to cook, the room happens to get exceptional sunlight, and since I’m on leave, I find joy in serving up exceptionally delicious meals for the whole household. Not to mention, the beauty of providing sustenance for the baby has been that I literally get to eat whatever on earth that I want and the calories magically get transferred to her.
It’s beautiful. God is a woman after all. I always had a sneaking suspicion.
Anyway, this recipe for Banana Bread (with the additional of copious chocolate and peanut butter chips) has been on constant rotation in our home. It takes just minutes to conjure, and having a loaf ever present on the kitchen counter says home like nothing else can. Try it. You’ll see.
Do you guys watch Love, on Netflix? It’s such a delightfully funny show. The acting, story lines, characters, and settings are all so wonderful. I won’t ruin it with my amateur review (“it’s about a couple? In LA? and their friends?), but it’s the greatest. I look forward to my husband getting home all day- not because I love him or anything, but because we get to watch Love (JUST KIDDING BABE). That’s how into it I am. Watch it and let me know what you think. It’s a perfect activity for the 500th winter weekend of this season.
Wishing you all a wonderful and uplifting weekend!