Dear Person On The Phone In The Hallway,


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Dear Person On The Phone In The Hallway,

Of course your therapist told you to communicate your needs  And why not? After all, the world begs to know. Every status update, every check in, every survey. Tell us what you’re thinking. Tell us what you’re feeling.

And there it goes: A stream of saying what can’t be unsaid, a steady droning whine of complaint.

You sound like a pocket bike passing me on a highway.  Move over. Listen to me.

I am not sitting on the other side of the door hoping you crash.   But when you break down by the side of the road,

I may be smiling when I offer my tow truck. 

Very Sincerely,

The Person Meditating In The Room Next To You

Dear Real Estate Agent,


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Dear Real Estate Agent,

It’s not big or fancy or bold. Out back, it’s dappled light. The scent of something sweet in the air. The feel of moss beneath your hand when you hide behind a tree. In the front, it’s a porch and shutters. And all around, the faintest of maritime sounds in the distance: boats bobbing against a dock, the whistle of a ferry, the warning whoosh of fog.  It’s a wooded place in a harbor town. 

If you find my home, will you let me know?Image

Very sincerely,

Every client who grew up near a lake

Dear Mom,


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ImageDear Mom,


Please don’t be upset. Please don’t be jealous that I am having brunch with my mother-in-law today.

Women remain competitive still, don’t we? Into our fourth decade, fifth, or yes, even your seventh.

We haven’t learned – still we bristle, gossip, snipe.

At how unfair it all is. That some get more. Some stay beautiful, some stay well.

Some linger on, without memory, mobility, joy.

And some, like you, are taken earlier, for no reason.

The pretty ones, the smart ones, the ones who work hardest and deserve it all, don’t always win. Haven’t we learned that yet?

You are gone, and you are loved, grieved, remembered, I promise.

But my mother-in-law is the one who lingers. And if she could look in my eyes, if she could finish all the broken sentences she starts,

she might say she is not the luckier one. She might say you are.


Happy Mother’s Day.  


Your daughter


Dear Limo Driver,


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Dear Limo Driver,

They are children. They may look like adults, in their tuxedos and gowns. But these things are false: eyelashes, tans, confidence. They want to do grown up things, they want to do stupid things, they want to do childish things. They want everything, all at once. Forgive them. Protect them. And remember, we’re the ones tipping you, not them.


Dear 2014,


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_jiohugyfvjh 293Dear 2014,

Let us shine this year.  Never alone, but in a field of lights that support and don’t judge and don’t compete for space that is infinite. Let us create not a perfect circle, manufactured and measured, but one that is singular, gauzy at the edges and lopsided, built from childlike inspiration. Let us flare with laughter, let us streak through the sky with original gestures. Let us glow with all of who we are.  Let us be seen and enjoyed and remarked upon. Let us not burn out.

Very sincerely,



Dear Oncology Specialist,


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mittDear Oncology Specialist,
You blink at me when I ask about my throwing arm.

YOU see a middle-aged patient who is apparently ungrateful for her minimal scars and clear margins and get-out-of-chemo-free card.  ME? I know yoga and dance can be modified. I can already reach to some degree, support some weight. The handstands and backbends, I think, will come back eventually.

But in my bones, I am a pitcher.  I am an outfielder.   We won the city league championships in the 10-12 division.   I met my husband playing softball.  I taught my daughters how to burn one in. And it’s not just baseball. I can throw a football in a perfect spiral! Do you know any woman my age who can do that who is not named Madonna?

Please don’t tell me there is no data on that.  Tell me to give it time. Tell me I can start with paper airplanes, and I will. Tell me that.

Very sincerely,

A League of Her Own In Her Own Imagination

Dear Girl Playing Piano In Hospital Lobby,


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IMG_0667Dear Girl Playing Piano In Hospital Lobby,

You are young — 20? 22?– so you should probably be forgiven.

You’ve chosen your playlist from slow popular songs that don’t have lyrics like “ho” and “bitches”. Songs that don’t offend, songs you could play for your grandmother.

So you play them.You play them forgetting that people around you are stricken, frightened, ill, facing demise.

And they don’t want to think about only having 100 years to live. They want more years. A thousand perhaps.

If you want to offer consolation and hope, maybe it’s best to avoid songs played during the sad parts of Grey’s Anatomy.

Very Sincerely,

A Patient

P.S. Also please avoid any discussion of being in the arms of an angel.

Dear College Admissions Officer


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autumnDear College Admissions Officer,

Choose my daughter, yes.  But also . . .choose me.

I see that girl on your campus, illuminated by the dappled colors of the stained glass window, her eyes full of wonder at the stacks of books, the green reading lamps, the long gleaming desks.  She is there with us on our tour, the girl just like me, who had never seen such architecture, such perfectly placed trees, such peace.

Choose the girl you would have rejected long ago, the bright-but-lost one, the one drowning in a huge urban school with bathrooms so dangerous she does not dare enter them.

Choose the girl who got As on all her papers but who skipped her classes, who scored in the 99th percentile in English and the 20th, sigh, in Science.

Choose the diamond in the rough, choose the needle in the haystack.  My fingers are crossed for that girl lingering at the back, with the fraying backpack and the not-right shoes and the crooked bangs and the glasses that are not ironic.

Choose the girl whose numbers don’t add up but whose essay will blow you away.

Choose me.

Very sincerely,

My younger self

P.S.  Also, give me a full scholarship.


Dear Family & Friends!


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Dear Family & Friends!

As another December draws to a close, I look back on another challenging but thrilling year for our little family!

2012 brought many changes to our household even if you don’t count Michael’s new surgically enhanced secretary and my brush with the faux policeman on a girls’ weekend to Vegas, but none of that matters compared to Sarah’s 4.0 average during her first semester at Harvard!  We worried that playing star forward for a d-1 team while running her yoga for children foundation in Benghazi would result in an occasional A-, but not to worry!  She’s still fussing over choosing a major, but her 3-book publishing contract should tide her over until she decides whether her path will be nuclear physics or modern dance. Mom and Dad’s fingers are still crossed that she’ll go to med school despite her pesky tendency to faint whenever she has a paper cut—a trait quite prominent on her father’s side – but, well, nobody’s perfect, as Michael so eloquently reminded his staff when they discovered him in the coat closet with Miss-My-Tits-Get-In-The-Way-Of-My-Typing at their festive holiday party.  Next year, ix-nay on the office mistletoe, Mister!

Our younger daughter is as proud of her older sibling as we are, but she expresses it in such interesting, unique ways!  Back in September, Emma dyed her hair black and organized an artists’ retreat with a fascinating young man she met on the Internet.  This was all easily explained when she was returned to us in handcuffs just before Thanksgiving, clutching a sketchbook and a prescription for Valtrex.  As she expressed so plaintively, sometimes you have to just go out and experience life a bit before you can write a truly moving college essay!  Emma’s college quest continues with a plan to take a gap year to go to Amsterdam and rent a small space along the river, where she can presumably set up an easel and enjoy the “beautiful light” before applying to small liberal arts colleges that don’t require high school transcripts or look askance at genital piercings.

As for moi, in between antique shopping in Europe in April and a spiritual retreat to India in June with Yoga Master Randy– who taught me the true benefits of putting one’s leg behind one’s head—I’ve busied myself with private tango lessons and am pleased to report that perimenopause has not diminished my ability to do the splits!  Once a cheerleader, always a cheerleader, as my personal trainer loves to remind me!

Of course, none in our community was untouched by Hurricane Sandy, but after writing a few rather large checks we were able to wrest a landscaping crew away from their volunteer work long enough to help us win the Garden Club’s Grand Prize for my Autumn annual beds!

And I’ll leave you on that note!

All best for a healthy and prosperous 2013 – and if anyone has a relative who is a college admissions officer, will you please email me separately?–

The Hornington Family