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My daughter, Sawyer, thought her decision was made. However, she had agonized over it for some time. She's gone to the same camp every summer for all but one since she was five-years-old, and was a counselor (for the first time) last summer, but decided to skip this year. Her logic? She knew that going away to college for her freshman year meant she wanted to spend as much time as possible with her high school friends before saying goodbye, not to mention having to get ready and pack for college.

All sounds good, yes? Until one of the camp directors got in touch with her, hoping to change her mind. It seems they have plenty of campers (many Sawyer has watched grow up over the years) but not enough counselors. So, the dilemma began … all over again.


She loves camp and not only because it's fun. For her, it's been a strong emotional experience, a second family, and a community where she has always felt the bonds of love and the power of relationships. But she recognized that this is a summer of transition – moving away from her core group of high school friends that may or may not remain in her life, and moving away from home. In other words, leaving behind one part of her life and beginning the next chapter. Now what?

Well, in our family, when faced with a difficult decision, it usually means talking about it. But this was a delicate situation as she had already talked to me about all the pros and cons, not to mention the tug-of-war between her heart and her head. I knew that she needed a sounding board and support more than anything else. So, I decided … to get my hair done,

As Sawyer wielded her flat iron magic on my hair, we casually talked about her dilemma. I mostly listened, allowing her to talk about whatever she wanted so that she could hear the words out loud, not just in her head. Occasionally, I'd ask a "curiosity" question – not to get an answer, but to generate food-for-thought. At the end, I didn't ask if she had made a decision, but I told her that whatever decision she ultimately made, I knew it was the right one. And that my hair looked great.

I've gone most of my life thinking that everything had a right or wrong answer. And that conversations about serious things require serious conversations. But Sawyer made me realize that conversations about serious things need effective communication, but they don't have to take place in a serious setting.

And what did Black say when I told her about my "awakening"? I won't bore you with all her "analysis" about it being easier to talk with people when it's a casual conversation, and you don't have direct eye-to-eye contact, but she couldn't help but point out,

Well, I guess that explains why so many people share so much with their hairstylists.

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I may not celebrate Rosh Hashanah by going to temple, and now that the girls are no longer home for the holiday, I don’t prepare a seder with the traditional foods . But I know and appreciate that it’s one of the most important Jewish holidays, as it’s a time for reflection on the past and hope for the future. And this year, between world events, where I feel surrounded by so much negativity, and on the personal front, with Mom’s passing, it seems more important than ever before.


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Although Rosh Hashanah is filled with traditions, like apples dipped in honey because it is believed apples have healing properties (think of the rhyme, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”), and the honey signifies the hope for a new year that will be sweet … it is still incredibly relevant. In today’s hectic world, a contemplative holiday where you stop and think about the road you have traveled over the last year (including any wrong turns) and where you would like to go in the future may be exactly what we all need.

We wish everyone who celebrates Rosh Hashanah a happy and sweet New Year. And remember, you don’t have to be Jewish to look back and reflect … and then try to do better in the future.

Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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So, I had to smile when Sawyer came to visit us at Mom’s estate sale. And even though I had seen her only a few hours before, I gave her a hug.


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Yes, you make it rather obvious that you are warm and fuzzy. And, a hugger.


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But what made me laugh was when she greeted you by acknowledging that you weren’t a hugger. Now there’s an understatement.


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No, it is merely a fact.


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I never realized, though, just how much both Natasha and Sawyer are like you. Although they begrudgingly let me hug them, they’d both be just as happy with a handshake. If that.


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Maybe a fist bump?
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Credit: Photo by Maha1450 on iStock


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I know you celebrate Labor Day by just, well, laboring away on Red & Black. But that’s how you celebrate most holidays. For me, I always enjoy celebrating the last three-day weekend of the summer, although the challenge will be deciding what to do this Labor Day. Escape to a movie (ok, my passion’s the popcorn), go to Dunkin’ for a leisurely coffee (it always brings back memories of growing up in New York), read, or climb into bed and watch old episodes of Downton Abbey. Or, maybe “all of the above”!

But before you say anything, yes, I’m well aware that today’s more than a day off and a potential “cut-off” for wearing white (😊). It’s about honoring American workers and all the many contributions they’ve made and continue to make.


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I know you love history, but do you know the history of Labor Day includes violence and a deadly railroad strike? And, was a way for politicians to “prove” they cared about workers? It is too bad people do not typically walk around thanking others for the work they do (imagine the impact if we did), but maybe you will get inspired by these Labor Day quotes.

And, in terms of me “laboring” today. Of course, I am. I look forward to the quiet time of weekends, especially long ones, to work on strategic projects needing large blocks of uninterrupted time or one of my passion projects. To you, it might appear as if I am “working”, but I am doing what makes me happy. Although tomorrow morning, you may not be happy when you find all my emails that will be waiting in your inbox.