Category Archives: danny

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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Filed under advice to my son, birthday, danny, happiness, moms, parenting, Uncategorized

This is 25

IMG_817125. Twenty-five. A quarter of a century. WTH! Unclear how I am the mother of all those years. Lord knows I certainly don’t behave that way.

Which brings me to my son. Dan. Danny. Daniel. DLev. Buckaroo. Seriously, what 25 year old man tolerates being called Buckaroo? Even embraces it.

My son.

I rarely blog anymore. But my kids’ birthdays are sacred. And blogworthy. So here goes.

This guy. He has taught me so much more than I have taught him by now. Me? I keep hitting home the same lessons. What is your end game? Keep your eye on your own ball. Be true to who you are. Be all you can be and be careful. Have integrity every day. Always resolve conflict with the party you are conflicted with. The love of reading. Floss.

Him? He challenges me. He makes me better. He makes me think.

Every day.

He taught me that you have to love people the way they need to be loved, not the way you want to love them. He DOES NOT like to be told what to do. In fact if I do, it is a guarantee he will do the opposite. He has taught me how to trust those you love to do the right thing. To believe that when you raised a child to be independent, that independence may come back to bite you in the ass (ok, not such a parental phrase, but go with it), but you are guaranteed to have a child that knows who they are. Always. Without a second thought.

But most of all, he has taught me about overcoming adversity. And shown me how incredibly strong a human can be when faced with a life(style) altering issue.

Here’s to you, DLev. I stand in awe of your strength. And your ability to find joy everywhere. All the time.

All you can, my love. All you freakin’ can!

Happy 25!

(please note I got your age right this year). 

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Filed under advice to my son, birthday, danny, family, sons

This is 24 (not 23)!

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This guy! I adore pretty much everything about him (ok, except for mornings).

That sweet face on the right stares out at me from those big brown eyes, with a little hint of a smile that always said, hey, I really know who I am. I’ve got this. And there he is again on the left – over two decades later – same sort of expression, telling me that he will always be cool with it. Whatever ‘it’ is.

DLev. Baco boy. Oneida for life. Badger. The king of sucking it up and moving on. Always gives 100% and never complains. Sometimes to a fault.

I will refrain from the ‘my-little-boy-is-gone-my-son-is-perfect’ drivel and just simply say that if on this day in 1992 I could have written my hopes for who you would become, you have exceeded my expectations. You make me laugh, call me out, challenge me, make me think and most of all let me lean when I have to. (ok, a little bit of my-son-is-perfect, but it’s your birthday)

Raising you has been a joy, buckaroo. (oh, except for that incident with the inside of my windshield, but hey, this is not about embarrassing you ; ).

To the moon and back.

Happy 24, Danny-boy. All you can.

 

 

 

 

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Graduation Time

grad capNope, no one in my house is graduating. But for some reason I found myself going back and reading all of the graduation posts that I had written for my kids. I guess it is that time of year. It all seems so long ago, and like yesterday at the same time.

I will tell you that here on the other side, we are all doing great and happy to have made it.

Here is a little roundup for those who are going through the graduation dance. Don’t worry, I promise, you will all be just fine.

Jana’s High School Graduation

Danny’s High School Graduation

Jana’s College Graduation

Danny’s College Graduation

Iko’s Obedience School Graduation (JK, if you have ever met her you would know she would definitely be a dropout!)

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Filed under childhood, college, danny, daughters, education, family, gary, humor, Iko, Jana, moms, parenting, pets, school, wisconsin

Hanukkah Texting

LevinsonHanukkah

I do so love my group texts with my kids. I meet their expectations by always having typos.

Tonight I was feeling a little sad that I had spaced out on the whole Hanukkah thing with the family. For some reason I did not juggle a celebration into the schedule for all of us. This is utterly ridiculous since it is the first time in 7 years that all 4 of us live in the same place. Just another example of my Rock of Gibraltar-ness cracking. Let’s face it, this has been going on since 2008, I don’t think I can stake any claim to supermom status anymore.

Whatever, I did a dive save tonight.

You have to love Danny’s response.

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Filed under danny, family, holidays, Jana, moms, technology, texting

Mom Texting

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 11.10.31 AM

For a mom with high digital engagement, it always amazes me how much I suck at texting and IMing. Actually, I probably just suck at typing and it translates to those mediums.

Danny, my adult son, has moved home after college and commutes to the city. His schedule changes as he spends nights in the city often. Wanting to plan for dinner, I usually text him during the day to get his status for that night.

The beauty of my relationship with my kids? They have inherited the appreciation for the absurd. Second gen MFTA*, if you will.

Do you think I could start #pimpmom trending?

mfta moment

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Filed under absurdities, advice to my son, conversations, danny, humor, parenting, technolgy

Time To Cry Tuesday – Graduation (the final one)

danny-grad
A graduation post? Again? Didn’t I just do one of these? I suppose three years could be considered ‘just’ in some circles.

Each time my kids donned a cap and gown, I came here to share the overwhelming emotions attached to watching one’s child ‘grow up’.

There was Jana’s HS graduation; my first experience of letting go. I reread it today and it seemed like both yesterday and 100 years ago. (yes, I cried)

Danny’s HS graduation post brought back the memory of the pending empty nest (which by they way empties and fills again a few times before it is truly vacant). For some reason that was the first of two posts where I had an overwhelming emotional experience in a Starbucks. What the hell is that all about? (Yes, I cried again)

Then there was Jana’s college graduation. I marveled at the woman we had grown as I continue to do every day (yeh, more tears).

So many milestones, so many emotions.

But this time we finally got it right. Instead of all that overwhelming emotion, our graduation trip was a true celebration. We simply had fun! And although I felt very sentimental about leaving Madison after 7 years, I was more excited about my second child starting his life. Danny, in his matter-of-fact, self-assured manner, set the tone. He cut us the slack to be proud but kept the reigns tight on not making it all too big. We have simply had way too much big this past year, and he knew that. With humility and confidence he taught us how to do what he does best… be here now, go with the flow and most of all – enjoy life. (with shades on, of course).

Sure there were mixed emotions, how could one not miss a town with this view that had flyers for a band named Diarrhea Planet and reverse evolution graffiti on the sidewalk. This place is awesome. And my kids are more awesome for having lived there. But all things change. And change is good.

Here is my net of it all:

When your kids first leave for college it feels like an amputation. You think you are losing something you can never get back. You worry about your life changing drastically. Your heart aches as your head is telling you to knock it off and lose the drama. You dread your parental obsolescence.

Here – on the other side – you realize that your kids are not part off you, they enhance you. And you them. You never lose them, for no matter where they live they share their lives with you. Your life will change drastically, and that is a good thing… if you kept going at that custodial parenting pace much longer you would explode. And being someone again, instead of someone’s parent is the natural progression. Let’s face it, you have stuff to do!

Sure your heart will ache from time to time as you watch them struggle and grow, but it is a good ache. It is the physical manifestation of how much you love them. Just like when they were little, they will most certainly fall. The hard part is not trying to fix it for them when they do.

But most of all, parental obsolescence is simply a contradiction in terms. They will always need you, just differently. It’s all good.

Congrats Danny boy, thanks for the best weekend ever. You make us so very proud.

Every.

Single.

Day.

Now go out and be all you can be (and be careful).

 

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Filed under advice to my son, college, danny, education, family, graffiti, moms, music, relationships, Time to Cry Tuesdays

This is 21!

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There are countless milestones and rites of passage in the lives of our children, but none have quite the impact of turning 21. We can heave that great sigh of relief that they are now ‘legal’. Don’t get me (or my newly 21-year-old) started on the legal drinking age, but let’s just say I am thrilled to announce my offspring have kept the track record of not getting ticketed (or worse) for underage drinking or fake/borrowed IDs. Quite the feat in a Big 10 college town.

All that nonsense aside, becoming an adult has little to do with chronological age. My boy has done me proud in the grown-up department way before he crossed this legal threshold, without ever losing the lightness of heart of the child he once was. His 4th grade teacher called him a happy go lucky deep thinker, and that description still fits him perfectly.

This past year our family has learned a boatload about what it means to be there for each other, and young Dan has risen to that occasion every time. All while still finding a way to make me laugh no matter what the circumstances.

 

Happy 21st Birthday, Danny boy, may you always keep your sense of self. And may you stay forever young. We love you.

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Time to Cry Tuesday – The Flying of Time

boy-grows-up

Time flies. Where did the years go? How could he be so old? All those cliché lines of motherhood… why do I roll my eyes at these sometimes and at others they bring me to my knees?

Today I am teetering. Yes, I am more emotional than usual these days. And yes, having him home during the hardest 3 months of my life has been both a comfort and a joy. But the straw that broke this mamas floodgate today was this yearbook ad I did for my son when he graduated HS (yeh, it is both a blessing and a curse to have a mom who is a graphic designer). I came across it today on my Pinterest motherhood board (don’t make fun, I work in the mom blogger market). 

That ever-changing face. The same one that now sports a scruffy beard and fronts such a level head for an almost 21-year-old. This boy has turned into a man that I am so proud to say I raised. Part luck, part skill, parenting him has been such an amazing ride.

I am watching him this week between an internship and the journey back for his senior year in college. Gone are my days of checklists and phone calls, Bed Bath and Fed Ex, doctors appointments and errands. He has his list and he is checking things off as they are complete. He may not handle it the way I would (seriously, Dan, are you really moving into an apartment you have NEVER seen?), but he handles it all.

Also gone are the butterflies I used to get when my children would leave. Volumes are written this time of year about the leaving of the nest – but not many write about being comfortable with the dance. If we do our job correctly, they are good to go. And we should be ok with that, even if we get a little weepy during the transitions.

While perusing the motherhood board (for work, I swear!), I came across this quote that says it all for me:

It is easier to build a boy than it is to mend a man.

– Mahatma Gandhi

He is surely ‘letting his life proceed by its own design‘, of that I am quite certain. But he is using the foundation we built to spring from. And that is all any parent can ever hope for.

Faring thee well, my (man)boy, faring the well.

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Filed under advice to my son, college, danny, parenting, Time to Cry Tuesdays, wisconsin

Obviously Men Can’t Smell

nosefinger

Or, hey bud, your nose is more than just a place to keep your finger.

Monday 7:30 AM, returning home from an early morning dog walk.

Scene: 2o-year-old son at kitchen table in the ‘I will never get used waking up early and commuting’ intern stupor, hunched over a bowl of cereal praying no one will speak. Not just to him, but at all. Husband preparing to make a smoothie.

Me: Um… don’t you guys smell burning plastic?

Gary: No.

Danny: (silence, or at best an imperceptible grunt)

Me: Are you KIDDING me? (thinking about how the kitchen smelled oddly like we were manufacturing small plastic toys or making shrinky dinks.) Did anyone use the toaster oven or the micro this morning?

Gary: Not me.

Danny: (silence and fear that this line of questioning was not going to be short, only adding to his misery at an hour that is closer to his usual bedtime than one he has considered morning since high school)

Me: HELLOOO, no one smells this?! (now my eyes are starting to sting and the dog is coughing)

At this point I am somewhat convinced there is a direct correlation between possessing a penis and having no solid sense of smell. This realization, of course, comes from a woman who can smell an old sponge in your kitchen…

no matter how far away you live from here.

Gary: (opening the dishwasher) There you go!

And there, seared to the coil on the bottom of the dishwasher, sat the remains of a Tupperwear lid.

In red.

After using the requisite Jewish tool… the steak knife (which is an upgrade from the usual butter knife) we tossed around some brilliant ideas like using a razor blade and slicing the plastic off the coil, running another cycle to re-melt the sucker and peel it off while it is hot, or trying to ‘remove the coil’ ourselves.

Realizing that any of these would result in quadrupling the ultimate cost of the repair I called ‘my girls’ who always seem to have ‘a guy’ (why don’t I ever have a guy, I have lived her for 25 friggin years, I should have at least one guy).

Enter RALPH.

I love Ralph. He can actually smell. AND he can fix!

I love a problem I can fix. Or at least that Ralph can.

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