Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day! This is what I gave The Child today in hopes that he will be my Valentine. Yesterday was ridiculously busy- I didn't have time to go shopping for candy, heaven knows, but I wanted to uphold a tradition of my late mother's. She always gave me a very special Valentine's Day treat- usually from a world class chocolatier in Manhattan. Even during my ridiculously self-absorbed teenage years I was aware of (and possibly even appreciative of, as much as a teen can be) the effort she went through to make me feel special on this day of romance.

On Valentine's Days it's my mother whom I remember, rather than any of the various boyfriends who have paraded through my life. I suspect that my mother knew a thing or two about finding ways to feel validated without a partner. Even though she was married, my father cheated on her throughout her marriage, which infuriated me since the age of 8. (My mother was beautiful, smart and caring- why on earth did he have to do that????) So my mother, perhaps unwittingly, taught me to find alternatives to the validation that often comes from a partner.

During my college years, I joined 2 female friends in a Lonely Heart's Club which only existed on February 14 of each year. We Lonely Hearts celebrated Valentine's Day by snarfing down hot fudge sundaes at a cute little ice cream parlor, where, appropriately, we were always the only customers. Somehow, I think this club was a nod to my mother, who, as I said, taught me alternatives.

Just now, as I was writing this post, the doorbell rang. Much to my shock, these flowers were delivered to me from my favorite florist, sent by my friend Garnet, who managed to find flowers in all of my favorite colors. With friends like this, who needs a boyfriend?

So tonight, all the people in town who are lucky enough to A) have a partner and B) have reservations will enjoy dinner at one of the city's many fine restaurants. I will most likely be indulging in Papa John's thin crust, cheese only, with The Child while watching a murder mystery on TV. On top of the TV will be my bouquet from Garnet.

And I'm not complaining.

Monday, February 09, 2009

our hero

For the first time in 50 years of commercial jet flight, the pilot of US Air Flight 1549 successfully executed one of the most technically challenging maneuvers, landing a jetliner on water without fatalities. The pilot, Captain Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger, is an inspirational modern day hero.

His opportunity to be a hero dropped into his lap unexpectedly- he certainly never sought the situation. But he spent his life unwittingly preparing for his heroic role by doing what common, everyday heroes do- by realizing what his life's purpose was, or as some would say, by following his calling. And he did that with complete abandon.

Sulley was no ordinary pilot- his wife referred to him as "the consummate pilot" whose life revolved around his career. He was a US Air Force Academy graduate who flew F4 fighter planes. He was a renowned airline safety expert- an international speaker- who had been used by NASA as a consultant.

His cool, calm and collected style has been honed by decades of flight experience and research on safety. His actions on January 15, 2009 were exemplary, from the moment he heard the geese hitting his plane until he was the last person to evacuate the wreckage after having checked twice for any remaining passengers.

Prior to executing the unthinkable task of ditching his aircraft into the Hudson River, he matter-of-factly instructed his 155 passengers to "brace for impact." Let's hope that the impact of Captain Sullenberger reverberates for a long time, as his story inspire us to ponder the value of complete dedication to one's calling.