Category Archives: birthday

This is 30

Remember this moment. Try to slow down time and realize how spectacular it is. Breathe it in. Eat it for breakfast. (metaphorically, of course. Everyone knows you don’t eat breakfast). LIVE it.

I just read this passage, and thought how timely it was. And how much I love that we always send a highlight from a book to each other.

Try not to let this ‘grown up’ life move too fast. Try to be here now. Even for the tough stuff. Yes, this is where I remind you that misery gives happiness context.

Life is intense for you now. Your days kick your ass and you kick them right back. Big time. You’ve got this. All of it. And as I’ve watched you grow I stand in awe of the life you’ve built. It is a joy to watch you. I hope it is still a joy to BE you.

The 4th grade teacher called you a happy go lucky deep thinker. Still be that! connect with your inner ‘little Danny’.

Happy 3-0, Buckaroo. (Time to stop calling you that? Never!) May your next year be all you dream of.

Oh, and now you get to carry my favorite advice:

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This is 32 for son #2

Happy Birthday, Corey Glaser!

And what a year it has been. You have been busy!

You have been in our family for so long that my othermother status comes with the joy of watching you grow into the man you are today (this is starting to sound like a bar mitzvah speech).

This year has been quite something. Of course there is the obvious big milestone, but it is the subtle things you do that have made such a huge impact.

I have watched the way ‘you move’ – as the Trinidadians would say. How you care for all of those you love. But I have also witnessed the graceful power of your kindness to strangers. How you pivot at a moment’s notice and jump in to help people. And you do it with the utmost of humility and that charming brand of ‘it’s no big deal’ that makes it even more special. This, my sweet, is a quality like no other.

I have said it many times before, but I will say it again. I am so very grateful that my daughter found a man who calmly shares her life and makes everything just a little better than it was before.

And pretty soon (queue the uncontrollable emotion), you will set an incredible example for a very lucky little boy.

You are simply becoming more Corey with each year. And that is a gift for, not only yourself, but all of us who love you.

Happy Birthday!

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This is 33

Thirty-three. How about that. Well, that went fast. (Ok, maybe not really.)

But here we are, with you being all grown up. Like really all grown up. And me, well, you know, it’s a hit or miss thing depending on the day. And yet you are still entertained by me, so that’s good.

Last week when you told me under no circumstances could I have a cup of coffee at 5PM, someone asked when you became my parent. I had to think about it, but then I said, “Oh, about 5 years ago”.

Somewhere around then the roles shifted ever so slightly. You started stepping in when you saw me circling the drain. Or maybe I thought it was ok to let you witness that dance. No, I don’t really think you are the parent, I still have plenty of parenting left to do. But I do trust your judgement probably more than anyone else. And with the utmost of grace, you have pivoted into a role of family authority. The handler. The fixer. The plan maker. All with very little effort and always with the joy and confidence in which you do most things.

Sure, you will still utter an ‘it’s not fair’ or ‘its fine’ now and then. Who doesn’t? But the way in which you have grown into this force to reckon with, while still being there for all who need you, is so much fun to witness.

You take friendship very seriously. That is evident by your side hustle as wedding officiant. You are committed to having a good time with equal gusto. You plan the adventures and never leave out a detail.

But of all your wonderful qualities – and there are so very many – the one that gets me the most is your commitment to family. Knowing you are not only always there, but Always There, is the greatest comfort in life. I could not be any more proud, and certainly any more excited, about watching you grow this family. The role of mom is going to come very natural to you, of that I am sure. Always know that I am on your shoulder, at your back and only a phone call or quick drive away when you need me. Just like Gram was for me. And believe me, you’ve got this, even when you think you don’t.

Happy three three, my sweet girl. May you always be surrounded by love. And keep radiating it back into the universe.

To the moon.

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This is 31

Amazing shot secured from creepy Facebook stalking.

Happy birthday to my girl’s boy. Son #2. The calm in every storm.

Cor, It is hard to remember a time when you were not a part of my family. You have been with us through it all. And I could never fully express how grateful I am to have you there with your quiet strength and insightful perspective. You are my go to guy in an emergency.

Thirty to thirty-one has been one crazy ride. Never once did I see you falter. When things got scarier, you became more steadfast in your conviction to keeping it cool. Nothing like a pandemic to test the true colors of a man. (a little ironic, for a colorblind guy, huh?) When decisions had to be made, you brought them to the families with undying grace and respect. You always consider everyone’s feelings before making a move. And somehow, you manage to do it all with a smile on your face and a no big deal attitude.

When you marry someone you marry their family. That is not always easy to navigate. But we are so very fortunate that we took it one step further and married both our families into one. I could not imagine living without that. My gratitude is without measure.

For 31 I wish for you all that you have missed. All that you deserve. Music. Food. Festivals. Travel. Golf. And a fully opened NYC!

Can’t wait to see what this year has in store for you. Thanks for always taking us along for your ride.

Big Love.

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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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This is 28

You are 28, right? There are years that I have gotten this wrong. And in the land of time warps, how do you actually know you are 28? What is time anyway…

Never mind, I did the math.

Here we are again, as the day is about to turn from my birthday to yours I can’t help but think the big stuff. Especially now.

It is impossible to ignore where we are and where we have been this year. But I am going to use our birthdays to reflect on all the good that this crazy rollercoaster has given us.

One of the bright things… You. As a roommate. AGAIN! Only this time it was so much different than it has ever been. This time you were here to hold it together with me. To keep me sane when I started to let it all run away with me. As I circled the drain you put out your steady hand and pulled me right out. With an eye roll and a ‘yes, mother’ you could lighten up even the toughest of moments.

You will forever be my sounding board. You think the way I do but with a mind that is so open to all possibilities that my insight pales next to yours. You slow me down, keep me on course and help me to stay straight and go with my gut, even when my gut seems to be nowhere to be found.

Oh, and you vacuum and do the dishes!

But best of all you do this all with a keen sense of humor and the ability to make light of the heaviest of all situations.

You navigated some incredibly tough waters through this crazy ride of a year and worked hard to land in the most amazing place. Without once feeling sorry for yourself or giving up. It’s how you navigate the hard times that determines who you are. You kicked the ass of 2020.

Ok, so I am your mom and I am supposed to say this stuff. But others do too.

Thank you, Dan, for turning into a man I could not be more proud of if I tried.

And one who always remembers… Everything Matters.

(Be all you can be and be careful)

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This is 30: My Girl’s Boy

This is a first; the birthday blog post for my son-in-law. If you know our relationship you totally get the strike through in that sentence.

To quote my daughter, “You should be with someone that makes you your best self.”

Forget about her, Corey makes me my best self! I could not dream up a better partner for my child, or a more perfect soul to seamlessly melt into our family. He has inspired me to be a better mother-in-law. I have learned how to listen and guide when asked, and shut the hell up when not.

He lives gently. With strength and grace. And the most positive, even-tempered attitude I have ever witnessed in another human.

When the world spins out of control on every level imaginable, having him around is a godsend.

And he cooks!

Today he turns the big 3-0. Hard time for a milestone birthday. Or maybe not. He so easily rolls with what is, and makes the best of what can be. Always. But especially now.

Happy birthday to my second son. I wish for you all that you dream of.

Keep dreaming. Love you to the moon.

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This is 31

This is my girl in her natural habitat. I love everything about this shot. Her husband in the background. The glow from the stage. The wristband. Those curls. Her smiling eyes. And yes, of course her signature concert tiny hand.

Birthday 31 came crashing into us today. That is the lovely thing about birthdays, they don’t give a flying F that the world is upside down, they just show up, give us a nice little dose of normal and make us adjust, be grateful and enjoy the moment.

Which got me to thinking that those exact qualities are the essence of Jana.

She shows up… always. It is one of her best qualities. She shows up when you need her and even when you didn’t realize that you did. She works her butt off, helps those in need, volunteers, raises money, gets the job done… whatever it takes.

She doesn’t care that the world is upside down, she still finds a way to be close, give support and make me laugh. Every day. Her normal.

When I start to go down a road of crazy, she makes me adjust, take a breath, keep my eye on my own ball, consider the endgame and enjoy the moment.

You have both learned well and taught me even better, Petunes. Could not love you more if I tried.

Happy Bizarro birthday, my sweet. Promise to make it up to you on the other side of all this. With music. And funfetti!

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This is 27

 

Dan_27_2

It appears I only come back here for my kids’ birthdays, but it is as good a time as any. And this guy is now solidly on the back end of his 20s, so he is in need of some big time reflection from his ‘Ma’.

Still recovering from a blowout weekend celebrating my %* birthday, I have to praise this dude for humbly taking that birthday back seat and letting it be all about me.

But not today. Today is about reflecting on… Dan. Danny. Daniel (NO one calls you that). Danny Handbags. Dannatella. DLev. 11son.

[Insert gratuitous embarrassing mom blather here]

Ok, now that we have that out of the way I will respond to your outpouring in my birthday book that left me both in tears and full to the brim.

You got it.

All of it.

Every last thing I tried to say without words. All the insinuations and roundabout suggestions. All that Mothering with a cap M that I was never positive about.

And then you went and did something extraordinary. You gave them your own spin!

You are your own man but not selfish. You are strong but kind. You work hard… and yes, you certainly play equally as hard. All of it with a love for life and a sense of responsibility that blows my mind. You have learned to suck up the hard stuff and embrace the ridiculous. I am pretty sure I was not this grounded at 27. Maybe I’m still not. (Wait, you are 27, right? Some years I get that wrong). 

But most of all, you have learned what truly matters. And how to be all you can be, and be careful. Indelibly. (You see what i did there? Clever, right?)

Bottom line. I now learn from you. From your insights and your escapades. About how to not take myself so seriously. And how to just be. And most of all, I know that no matter what, no matter where, if I need you, you will show up.

I love you Buckaroo. Happy 27. May this year bring you all that you dream (and a healthy dose of realism to balance you out).

 

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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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