Category Archives: aging

Daddio-sir

Daddio-sir. Not sure when I started calling you that, but it just fits!

TheHarvZ. My dad. The first man in my life. And he did it pretty damn gracefully (excluding those teen years that we all know are pretty much temporary insanity). Coining the phrase, ‘doing it the Amy way’, he taught me to navigate the easier roads to travel.

To know my dad is to to know his warmth. His no nonsense, massive love for his family. There is nothing more important to him. And if you marry in, you are his now too. This is evidenced by his famous ‘birthday letters’. He does not buy cards. (I think it may have something to do with the fact that my mom single-handedly supported Hallmark’s stock price for her entire life). The way he expresses emotions so freely is a gift we all cherish. His support and interest in every one of our lives and accomplishments is astounding. And he is the first to dust us off during challenges and failures. There is no better cheerleader.

Harv is a funny guy. He can become wildly aggravated by the inefficiencies of the postal service or the dining room in his place, but never once complained about being locked into his apartment for almost a year during the pandemic.

He has sucked up more things in his lifetime than I can count, and always keeps a smile on his face, a humorous twist and a positive lesson.

There is no greater gift a daughter can have than a dad who remains her champion her entire life. After the loss of my mom, he took on the role of the daily chatter. We never miss a morning, and when I am pressed for time there is never any guilt. Only the greatest support for getting through my day.

A big fat wish I were there with you Happy Fathers Day to my hero.

Love you to the moon, Daddio Sir.

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Filed under aging, aging parents, daughters, family, holidays, parenting, Uncategorized

This is 32

32… we have now entered the time when I am no longer twice your age. Does this make me younger? Yeh, I know, still a geezer.

But there is a big shift. I thought about this last night as we were leaving for an outdoor show. Your text: “What are you wearing? It is going to get cold.” At that moment I thought, is she asking me this as my child to see what she should wear, or was she being parental and making sure I would be dressed properly?

Maybe a little of both?

Parenting is a lifetime endeavor. For 32 years I wake every morning with my heart full knowing you are there. Wherever there is. The beauty of this stage is knowing that you have my back. Always.

How cool is that?

We have come a long way from your last birthday (how nuts was THAT day?). The world has shifted, but you remain my constant. Of the all the gifts that we have been given through this insanity, the strength of our bond has been one of the greatest of all.

You inherited my lens. I love that more than you can ever know. But I watch how you make it your own. Your humor is just a little sharper. Your patience is greater. Your love of the offbeat is a little more sophisticated. You show up and when you do you make everything so much more fun. I love watching you kick ass, have fun and make sure that all your people are taken care of.

Thank you for being my Technicolor when the world starts to become a little too gray. For making me remember why becoming a parent was the most important decision I ever made. And for always making sure I know how loved I am, every single day.

To the moon and back, Petunes. May 32 be an easier ride than 31.

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Filed under aging, birthday, daughters, family, Jana, parenting, relationships

This is 30!

Thirty. T-H-I-R-T-Y. 3-0! (Indulge me, I don’t do this very often anymore.)

How can that be? I was (almost) 30 when I had you! Which means you have been hanging around for almost half my life! From here on in I will have lived in a Janaworld longer than a Janaless one.

Thank goodness. For I could not imagine a day without you in my life. That smile. That laugh. That eye roll. The way you only have to give me a look across the room that says it all. You ground me. And parent me back. Tricky. And yet you still lean when you need to. And I love that just as much.

When I set out to start a family, I never thought about this part very much. Who does? You think babies and toddlers and teens. But the part about growing full humans who become the people you most want to be with? I doubt that crosses the mind of many young parents.

So here we are. And I marvel everyday at your courage. Your strength. Your persistence. Your sense … way more sense than I ever had at your age. (Or maybe even now, for that matter.) You know your mind and you hold fast to what you believe in. That is a gift. Don’t ever doubt your gut, we both know it is the wisest voice of all.

Mothers and daughters. That can be one crazy roller coaster. But for us, it is like we are the eye of the hurricane. We hold tight in the middle of all the chaos, and step out into it together when we want to have some fun. Hold tight to that feeling … the one where you take the risks but keep a cool head when the unexpected happens. That is where all the good stuff happens.

Here’s to the next decade. May you continue to know how to pivot with grace. May your dreams come true. And when they don’t, know I will always be right here to catch you when you fall.

LU2 Petunes. More than life itself. Happy Birthday.

 

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Filed under aging, birthday, daughters, moms, parenting

Time to Cry Tuesday… Mom

Thanksgiving, like every holiday, starts off with the business of lists and recipes, shopping and cleaning and ends up where everything seems to, with the bittersweet memories of those we have lost.

“Umm… Ame, what is up with the ancient can of mandarin oranges and what do they have to do with your mom?”, you ask. Read on my friends. This one is just plain old freakish.

I spent a big chunk of the weekend reading expiration dates and tossing ancient items out of my pantry and fridge. It is really quite embarrassing, but frankly I suck at this piece of domesticity. I usually do it before the holiday visit from my nephew, the expiration date nazi, but sadly he will not be joining this year.

I digress. I had just finished making (not enough) cranberry sauce and was on the phone asking a friend about whether to use canned mandarin oranges in my fresh sauce. My argument in favor of this slimy little canned citrus was nostalgia. You guessed it, my mom always used them. I reached into the pantry and saw the condition of the can, realizing it had slipped through Saturday’s expiration sweep.

But then I saw something so startling that even the most stubborn skeptic could not deny.

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As the word ‘Mom’ left my lips, this is what I saw.

Yeh, I know, crazy, right? (and yes I am aware that this can expired over 5 years ago)

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So here’s the thing. This is no coincidence. Why the hell would DelMonte stamp MOM on the bottom of a can of (5+ year old) mandarin oranges?

Because, my friends, I really do believe they did not.

Here’s to you, Elaine, you cagey devil. And yes, I get it, I can’t possibly leave out the mandarin oranges.

“She lives on beneath everything I do. Her presence influenced who I was, and her absence influences who I am. Our lives are shaped as much by those who leave us as they are by those who stay.”

– Hope Edelman from Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss

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Filed under aging, food, holidays, moms, Uncategorized

Happy Birthday Elaine

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Today would have been my mom’s 83rd birthday. Now that she is gone I guess it’s OK to let her real age out of the bag, right? I always wrote her a birthday blog post, some of which she had framed, I might add. So it only seems right to keep up the tradition.

In celebration of who she was, I decided to grab one of her many journals off the shelf and open to a random page. You know, so she could send me a message. And yes, I do believe in that crap now. Just go with it.

I suppose you will too, after you read this. No lie, this was the page I randomly opened to. (Click on this image and blow this baby up to read it, you won’t be sorry). This is a list of tactics for discovering pleasure and satisfaction in every day moments. Elaine practiced these her whole life. Genuinely. And with commitment.

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Of course this came from her favorite – Prevention Magazine. And I see from the date that it was February 2008, a time of her life that was filled with chronic struggles.

Elaine was the Queen of this way of living most of her life. She was the Grand Puba of the glass half full. The Crowned Royal of be here now. The absolute over-achiever of carpe diem. She appreciated every person, moment, experience, flower, friend, color… well you get the picture.

In light of all the depression and anxiety awareness this week I took this as a sign of Elaine piping in on the topic from the other side. She never hid her illness when she was well. She would speak freely about it hoping to help others.

The last 10 years of her life were a brave, selfless, many times torturous struggle with the symptoms of depression and anxiety. People think they have seen the depths of this disease, but only those who suffer – or love someone who does –understand what severe clinical depression looks like. Like many who know this first-hand, I was outraged by the words ‘coward’ and ‘selfless’ used this week. They are spoken out of ignorance, for there is nothing braver or more selfless than a person who struggles to get back to the other side of depression. 

Elaine did this each and every day. She did not always succeed, but she never stopped trying. And though it could have been what would finally take her life… it never won. Of all the things I am proud of, this is the biggest one.

She fought to be herself again when she felt she was not. That is my best way to describe depression in one sentence.

She was my hero. 

So today I do not grieve (ish). I celebrate the woman who brought me into this world and chose not to kill me through those difficult years. Who held my hand, always listened to my woes and made me laugh till I cried and cry till I laughed again. She taught me how to be a mom, a wife and a friend. 

But most of all she taught me how to enjoy the moments.

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Yes, she saved this too. What? You are surprised?

In honor of her day of birth, take a lesson from Elaine and vow to take on one or two of these every day. 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under aging, aging parents, childhood, depression, family, health, mental illness, moms, parenting, Uncategorized

On Perfection

Yes, I am trying to find my way back here regularly. Be patient, I am working on it. And as I was thinking about how I strive to always reach my own expectations of what the perfect me is supposed to be, the following video came up in my Facebook stream.

Today I will bring you one of the best things that came out of starting this blog… meeting Darylle Pollack. Our paths crossed in such crazy ways. First we blogged together at the now defunct 50-something mom blog (where I lied about my age at 49 to get in, how funny is that?). Then on some crazy winter day when my daughter was a freshman at UW, I tweeted something about the weather gods being kind so my daughter could get out of Madison safely. Moments later I received  a tweet back from Darryle that she, too, had a kid there. From then on we became instant friends.

Everyone should have a Darryle in their lives. So today I am sharing her with you. Enjoy.

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Filed under 50-something moms blog, aging, blogging, facebook, friendship