Meet my husband. My father calls him Mr. Kent. He's a dork. We met at a bookstore. He was the customer. I was the book clerk. He said he was a competitive swimmer and I swooned when he told me his best stroke: Butterfly. I found it powerful and sexy. He's most desirable after completing the 4.4 mile swim across the Chesapeake Bay. It's not a race for wussies. I generally hate politicians but I fell for Barack Obama because he reminded me of my husband. The two approach conversations similarly. They want to know what others think; they're open to changing their minds. They speak slowly because they think about what they say before they say it. They're geeks with a sense of history and a deep respect for political institutions. They're not ashamed to be called intellectuals. It should be noted: the two men don't agree on much of anything.



Miracle, thy name is Esme. We named our first born after my favorite female literary character: an outgoing, talkative young British girl in J.D. Salinger's "For Esme With Love and Squalor." Turns out, our Esme is altogether different. She's a complicated bug. A real Gemini.  She's intense but kooky, active but bookish, soft but fierce. She's captivated by all things outdoorsy.


Desmond beat his twin sister, Josephine, into the world by 12 minutes. His paternal great great grandfather was William Desmond who played football at Notre Dame, according to family lore. Desmond adores balloons, balls and Peter Rabbit.  He's the most sensitive of the bunch; he also has the quickest temper. He sleeps with a lamb called "Lamby." Fun fact #1: he once shoved nine peas up his nose unnoticed.


Josephine's personality matches her wild head of curls. She is dramatic and hilarious. Fiery and impossibly stubborn. For a time, Desmond could not pronounce her name. He called her "Dodi." I looked it up and my heart shattered when I found the meaning. It's Hebrew for "my beloved."  Josephine is named after my grandmother, the matriarch of our family. Josephine the Elder dropped out of school in eighth grade to get a job and help provide for her seven siblings. She's a full-bodied, intensely devout, generous woman who loves to gamble. Fun fact #2: Our Josephine once woke the house by chanting at full volume, over and over, "Underpants wearing on the head."


Baby T rounds out our tribe. He is the most ridiculously happy baby and who wouldn't be? He has three siblings who dote on him tirelessly. They tickle him, read to him and laugh when he giggles. Esme composed a song for Tobias and sang to my belly as he grew:   "Don't you love your bunny, honey? Counting sheep will make you smile?" He eats blueberries like a bear and developed a taste for custard long before he was supposed to eat it. His name means "God is good." Our little man proves it every day.