I used to get offended when at an intimate moment, between lovers, over appetizers and wine, mine would toast with "cheers."  I guess I wanted it to be an opportunity for more to be said.  Some turn of phrase that I’d repeat to friends the next day, evidence, I thought, of where we were as a couple.

"To us" seemed too easy.  "To you," flattering, quite simple, really, but still too easy.  And "To tonight," might have made me roll my eyes and make a retching sound.  "To friendship between lovers, to laughter and second helpings, to living our lives in extraordinary moments like this one."  That would work.  Overkill, but the nice kind.

Growing up, for special occasions, my family would go out for dinner together, and my father would make eye-contact with each of us, raise his glass and say something profound, something sincere, something that showed his love for us.  I always liked this.  Last night was no different.  "Here’s to being a family, to being in the best place in the world with Philip and Stephanie, all of us together."  Then we clinked glasses and exchanged smiles.  Later in the night, at the very same table I would cry, when my father would confide, "Philip, I am convinced, couldn’t be more perfect for Stephanie.  Really."  And tears welled hearing him.  "Look, she’s going to cry," he said.  And then I did.  And Carol said she understood. 

"It’s getting your father’s recognition, approval, right?"

"It’s just, so–" I smeared my tears into my hair with my fingers, "so special." 

Not everyone gets that opportunity, to hear from their closest ones how happy they are for you, to have them validate your choices.  It’s never necessary, of course, but it sure is nice.  And I felt lucky, very lucky, and loved and wished in that moment for more meals and toasts with the people I love.



  1. WOW – reading this makes me a little sad and envious. I am fairly certain it is something I will never hear and that sucks so bad that most of the time I try to not think about it.

  2. How wonderful and very, very sweet! Sometimes all we need is a little validation, despite our happiness.

  3. Your love and passion for life and family are heartwarming. Abigail and Lucas are lucky beans to have such a sentimental mother. One request, though, can you post more photos of them with you? And with your extended family?

  4. While I feel that I have the most amazing mother in the world, your post makes me so happy for you and also ache for me. My father died in a boating accident when I was 3 years old, so while I remember him, the memory of his voice has slipped away with time, and apart from a locket he had inscribed with "my little angel, love daddy", I cannot ever recall back to his voice saying "I love you". That is the one memory I wish I could get back. I hear the stories from my mother, of course, and see the photos, but to hear it in my mind is one wish that will not come true. Anyway, it truly warms my heart for your father to be there with you and makes me so thankful that you understand how amazing it is to have his love there with you and with your babies!

    I'm sure it doesn't have to be said to you, but embrace it and let all those close to you know how much you love them, even when sometimes it seems it doesn't need to be said!! :)

    Can't wait for more new photos!

  5. How wonderful and sweet. Congratulations on your familiy. You deserve it.
    I don't quite agree with your "It's never necessary, of course, but it sure is nice." It may not be necessary, but it is much more than nice, it is so important. Believe somebody coming from a family that is not as good with words as yours… Appreciate what you have (well, I'm sure you do!) and give the same great love to your beans! All the best!

  6. Unbelievably, after having read your post this morning, I had a similar experience with my dad over the phone this afternoon, and I felt this warm light go through me like a ray of sunshine when it happened. Though I know my dad loves me and is proud of me, I also know he doesn't really understand me (and to be fair, who can?!), so I treasure the moments of connection even more. So glad you have such a good relationship with your dad. He sounds like a wonderful man–and not all daughters are so lucky, so blessed, as you know. Enjoy each other. :)

  7. i can totally relate to this. i remember after a 7 month long interview process, i landed my dream job. when i told my parents, my dad looked up at me with tears in his eyes and told me what a fine young lady i had grown to be and how proud he was to have me as his daughter. my dad is not a man of many words, but just those 2 sentences meant more to me than anything!! i loved this post!!!!

  8. Wow. My Dad died suddenly in October. I have been on a downward spiral for sometime. It's not that I don't love my husband and small kids, it's just that I knew my Dad a heck of a lot longer. I miss confiding in him, knowing he would protect me until the end. I love that he shared with everyone all of the stupid things I did as a kid (laughs all around at my expense)but was proud of who I became.
    I have one less person out there who really cares about my welfare.
    Cheers to your Dad and Mine!

  9. You are very lucky to have this kind of validation from your father. Mine was much too shy to admit to such emotions so freely. Keep it up for the next generation.

  10. Let's just say it: I want to make out with you.

    We are separated at birth – which I abhor when others say to me, as you must – with the clear exceptions of me never wanting children and never owning anything above the rank of Coach.

    But I get you. I just get you. And I thank you for putting yourself out there so the rest of us, when we feel like complete and utter asshats, realize that we are never, ever alone.

    And I meant that in the nicest of ways. Naturally.

    Also? Eff the women criticizing you for thinking of breast feeding in relationship to weight loss. Honesty apparently doesn't pay off, in general. It does, however, pay off with those that probably matter most.

  11. I want to beat WP that my comment was eaten, as I'll never be as witty or, well yes, witty as I was a few minutes ago, but here goes:

    Stephanie, this post only confirms what I have known for some time: I truly, independent of all things predictable, am destined to make out with you. (Calm down, consservative freaks.) I feel on some occasions as if we were separated from birth, with the exceptions of me being from North Jersey and never carrying above the rank of Burberry.

    You have such a way of putting things out there for the rest of us to absorb, sans concern, that many of us envy and most of us (bloggers) will never achieve. I admire how far you have come and stand witness to this as a long hoped-for outcome for myself.

    (And I do recall this part relatively well from my WP-eaten comment, in which I didn't use the whole "cuss" word,) FUCK those women who judge you for thinking of breast feeding in relation to weight. I'm a woman who is remaining childless by choice, but I also understand that seldom do things fall into the grey that others wish they might. Let them use their "powerful words" online and nowhere else, as I'm guessing they do.

    Cheers, Miss Stephanie.

  12. Hope you're totally twisting his arm while he's visiting, to get him to move to Austin!!! Your children need his influence in their lives too-he's tops :)

  13. I miss my dad, he died a few years ago, and isntantly missed him even more reading this post.

    Dads and daughters…

    Tell, is he in love with the beans?

    And of course, you'll need to share how Linus is doing.

    And one more thing, some pics of the beans' parents WITH the beans would be good.

  14. Awww, very touching.
    I bet your dad will cry when he reads this one.
    Your dad sounds so awesome. I wish my dad was more like yours. You're very lucky…which you already know. :)

  15. Your so blessed to have such a wonderful father who is not too 'manly' to express his heartfelt feelings.
    Your memories of the validation expressed to you throughout your life assures that YOUR children will be bathed in the afterglow of that tradition gifted to you in the way you will adore & validate THEM….& so it goes on to the next in line for thatlove..THEIR children…like the passing of wisdom down the lineage of the spiritual sages…transformational….

  16. Simply put, your dad rules. I followed in my dad's footsteps by joining the Navy at 18. His influence on my life has been greater than he will ever know. No matter how I try to tell him, I don't think I will ever be able to express it quite right. He has taken on alot over the years in dealing with family, and I can only hope and pray that in his upcoming retirement (2 yrs) he can finally relax and enjoy the life he deserves.

  17. parental support is great. i think it goes a step further when the support becomes admiration, and we are side-by-side with our parents. when they truly see us on their playing field and toast to us, to our decisions, and the way we compliantly revise the mold and do better for ourselves.

    i am glad your father is so close to you. from reading your book and hearing of his best friendship overall, i've gathered a great respect for that kind of man.

    i hope i marry someone who will be that way to his daughters. it's truly a gift.

  18. Out of nowhere, a hair question for you, Stephanie. Please forgive me for interrupting the tender mood, but I am in desperate need of hair advice from someone who knows.

    Two weeks ago it was winter here and the air was cold and dry–perfect for my long wavy-curly hair. It's now 80 degrees and humid in my corner of the midwest, and my hair is fa-reaking out. I did look up your product recommendations from awhile back, where you said you were loving Aveda's Be Curly combined with Infusium…but could you tell me, please, exactly what you do to get the separate, nonfrizzy curls? Like, do you literally mix the goop together and apply? How much do you use? Do you put it on when your hair's dripping wet, towel dry, mostly dry? Do you air-dry? (I think I already know the answer to that one.) If you don't want to get into this in the blog, which I'd totally understand, feel free to send an email, which I'd totally appreciate. Sorry to girl out, but I've been wrestling with my blessing/curse hair for 30some years now, and I am determined to figure this out before I die, and you just might be my hair heroine. Thanks. @:o/

    FROM STEPHANIE: I don't like the Be Curly anymore. It's too greasy. Out of shower, douse hair with Infusium. It's like water. Drench the hair. Then use some kind of gel. I'm still searching for the ultimate one, so I can't give a recommendation. Rub the gel in your hands, between your fingers, then push it through hair, all over. ALL OVER. Then wipe your hands dry with towel. Then, flip over, so hair is all dangling, and put towel in hand, and scrunch up the curls from the bottom into the towel. DO NOT RUB: this would cause frizz. Then flip back over SLOWLY. Your hair should dry pretty close to how it looks at that moment. You can diffuse up-side-down, paying attention to dry the scalp first.

  19. …..and I was looking at the beautiful pictures of the babies just now, and I can see their personalities developing…they're both quiet curious, they don't miss a thing do they!?

  20. GraceMarie, hair advice could have its totally own post, especially curly hair ;) Be Curly on its own is too greasy but Aveda's Be Curly mixed with Aveda's Confixer (size of a quarter of curly, size of a nickel confixer…longer the hair double the amounts)is the best combo I have yet to find in all of my years of searching to tame my long, curly, red hair. Stephanie has the application method down pat!!

    I am so glad that your Dad finally got to hold and kiss and love the twins. I am sure that he will be back very soon for more toasts and cuddles.

  21. I have so much thick (long, curly, red) hair that to buy expensive styling products would be really stupid. After trying (and not succeeding) with Redken and Aveda, I have found that I love (love!) the Aussie gels. There is an anti-frizz and a volumizing that I've been using, and I can't decide which I like better.

    I usually shy away from leave-in products since many contain silicone which makes my hair look like I stuck my finger in an electrical socket. I'll have to try Infusium, though.

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