As a new year fast approaches, it’s a good time to catch our breath and catch up on what’s happened this one.
We are excited to announce the arrival of Sarah Goodman Froman, born happy and healthy at 8:31 a.m. on October 15th. Ben seems genuinely thrilled (at least for the moment). And for Nancy and Mike, memories of raising a newborn are all just beginning to come back.
Sarah’s birth, of course, is bittersweet. She is no replacement for Jacob. She represents a new beginning for our family, a turning of the page, but not the closing of a book. With Sarah, we laugh a little more and remember happier times with Jacob.
Ben asked how she is going to know Jacob since she will never meet him — a pressing question as Jacob is very much part of our family’s life. We have begun to introduce more rituals in our family to remember Jacob, rituals Sarah will be able to participate in too.
Sarah’s immediate impact is perhaps best summed up by what Ben said as he slid into the backseat of the car with her on the way home from the hospital: “I’m no longer lonely back here.”
It’s been six months since Nancy and Ben moved to Washington. Ben is doing remarkably well. Ben had a terrific summer of day camps, play dates with his new classmates and travel. (We took him to Paris and London, where he correctly observed, “Paris – it’s all about the food, isn’t it?”)
School has been very good thus far. He has a terrific set of teachers, a lot of support from the administration and a great group of classmates. He’s been regaling us with facts about the life of the Aztecs and the West African kingdoms. He’s writing a lot, enjoying reading (really for the first time) and getting used to going to a school that has girls in it. With a half dozen pre-teens skateboarding in our cul-de-sac, or playing soccer on their front lawns, Ben’s getting a taste of the best of the suburbs in the middle of Washington, D.C.
Even before Sarah was born, we could already see changes in Ben. He evolved from being the youngest child to an only child and now into the oldest child – internalizing higher expectations and trying to rise to them. The morning Sarah was born, Ben told us, “I have a lot more responsibility now. I need to be a good role model.” He’s grown up a lot in the last several months – and not just in terms of his attitude toward school, homework, new foods and manners. He is just much more settled, focused and, dare we say, mature. That said, he hasn’t lost his edge: He started a rock band — called ADO! — with four boys from his class. (You can see a video of their first performance at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2N9gplCiu4.) Come on down to the 930 Club for their next gig in January.
Nancy too is doing well. Besides growing this baby, packing up New York, moving to DC and settling into a new house, she has taken Kids v Cancer to a new level. She succeeded in having legislation introduced with bipartisan support which would provide market incentives for pharmaceutical companies to develop drugs for pediatric rare pediatric diseases, including cancer. She testified about it before a House of Representatives caucus and is developing a network of support from hospitals, research organizations and advocacy organizations. In addition, she is on the verge of launching a pediatric post-mortem brain tissue bank program. Stay tuned for further details with the relaunch of the Kids v Cancer website.
Mike continues to enjoy and be absorbed by his work. From international economic issues to climate change, development initiatives to free trade agreements, there is no lack of challenging projects to excite and engage him.
Of course we all miss New York, and our family and friends there who knew and loved Jacob – not to mention H&H bagels and Taxi TV. We plan to visit New York more next year. In the meantime, we’re looking forward to this new phase of our life and to the new year.
May this new year be a happy and healthy one for all of us.