Category Archives: family

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 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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Filed under birthday, daughters, family

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 28 – Time to Cry Tuesday

Jana-282

Twenty-eight! The age I was when I was planning to have you, and now here you are being that age. And being it so damn well you astound me.

Jana, indulge me in the annual birthday post, where I marvel at what a kickass woman you turned out to be.

Your smile. Period.

The way in which you are one of the toughest people I know. Packed into that little body of yours, armed with only that smile and some guts, I have watched you gently show the world that you will take no shit, or prisoners. A few examples:

  1. Getting a 300 lb. bouncer to shut down the DJ on the previous party in a bar to move your people in.
  2. Getting me to go under the turnstile in a subway station when my metrocard did not work (now we will both get arrested, sorry, bad judgement)
  3. Better judgement than me in most cases (see item 2)
  4. Becoming the family concierge and doing it like it is second nature.
  5. Letting those you love never doubt that love for one second.

But, I am most proud of your integrity and humility. Your unwavering commitment to the people and causes that mean the most to you. All while making it seem like no big deal. Please know that does not go unnoticed (even by people who did not give birth to you).

Happy Birthday, Petunes. This has been quite a few months for you. You are so very fortunate to have found the love of your life. As you say, he makes you the best version of yourself. As your mom, there is nothing that could make me happier.

Thank you for the joy you bring to my life every single day. And for the honor of being your mother.

 

 

 

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Filed under birthday, family, Jana, moms, Uncategorized

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

And then she turned 27

You wake up one morning, a good 30 lbs over your normal weight (don’t judge), wash your hair, take off your jewelry and nail polish (your version of natural childbirth) and you walk into the hospital to have a baby.

That is pretty much how it went. A stubborn breech baby, Miss Jana preferred the less violent (for her, anyway) exit of a c-section.

You planned for just about everything… and nothing at all.

You did not plan for how amazing your life would become because she was in it. Or how your heart would both fill and break at a moment’s notice when her life took its swings. You counted fingers and toes and thought you were good to go.

jana27And then one day you turn around and she turns 27! Today! And you look at the woman she has become and think, damn if I did anything right in this world it was her (and you too, Dan, but it’s not your birthday). Sure, we all gush about our kids, and love them unconditionally. But, as they age up the parenting piece is so very different. It’s a sidelines thing. A bite your tongue and hope and pray endeavor. And then they start to impart THEIR wisdom to YOU!

So, for your birthday, my sweet Petunia Blossom, I will share some of your wisdom:

  1. In the history of mankind, no one has ever calmed down when you say ‘calm down’.
  2. They now take credit cards in taxis, it’s not 1985. (in my defense I was pretty sick that day)
  3. Sometimes you just have to smile and nod – and shut the hell up.
  4. Repost is the best instagram regram app.
  5. You don’t need to solve it, you just need to listen to me complain. I will solve it myself.
  6. When you take pictures on your phone, you should always shut the sound off.
  7. Don’t eat this [fill in the blank], it has too much salt.
  8. Madewell has great gift items.
  9. This is how you do a face swap video.
  10. Laughter.

But most of all you taught me how to be silly and love life, even when it can be ‘annoying’. It seems you have been doing this your entire life.

3 janas

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Filed under birthday, daughters, family, happiness, Jana, moms, parenting, Uncategorized

This mom is dope

dope-mom

Or is she just a dope?

This was taken at the same kid’s play as fashion dad. This place was blogger heaven. And what a perfect mother’s day post #1 (#2 will be the sentimental one where I refrain from parent bashing).

First, let’s run by the definitions of dope.

There is the Webster version, surprisingly puts drugs above stupidity:

webster-dope

I like to think that the last one is really ‘the poop’,  but hey, I tend to lean towards bathroom humor.

Moving to Urban Dictionary with their many versions of the drug definition, culminating with this one which is my favorite:

urban-dictionary-dope
Good old Smokey is one angry dude but he uses Gary’s favorite term, rat’s ass, so I love him x 10.

Then there is the definition that something dope is something cool (I am guessing this is the one she was going for). But we can’t rule out the fact that this mom could have just been… a dope. With the need to let everyone know.

Wait! Could she be married to fashion dad?

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Filed under absurdities, carry a camera, family, fashion, humor, moms

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

Time to Cry Tuesday – On Doors Closing and Opening

doors

I always loved the phrase: When one door closes another one opens.

Last week I experienced an uber (no, not that Uber) example of those proverbial doors. I tried my very best to keep my emotions under the drama bar and go with the flow. This, by the way, does nothing more than exhaust you beyond description and is simply a control freak’s illusion, but I seem most comfortable in this state.

As with most of my life, the sequence of my doors were reversed. But this saying made for a nice thread for this post, so let’s go with it.

On Thursday, a door opened. Big time. The one to my daughter Jana’s new apartment. The apartment that she will be sharing with the love of her life – the young man who she has spent many long years waiting to live in the same city with, let alone under the same roof. In reality, the door to this apartment made it a challenge to get a queen-sized box spring through it and up the stairs to her bedroom, but this was the small stuff. (Rectified, btw, by sofasurgery.com. Quick plug for an amazing service that solved the problem in less than 2 hours from call to completion).

The opening of this door was one to the beginning of a wonderful life together and the joy I feel for them is beyond description. (And contrary to those who question this, his mother and I will not be living with them)

On Friday, a door closed. Big time. After many months of listings, contracts, deals, stops and starts, boiler and oil tank replacements, clean-outs, boxes, yards of bubble wrap, sorting, reminiscing, sales, dumpsters, tears, laughs, one broken toe and one tennis/schlepping elbow… we closed on the sale of my childhood home. With each stage of this process, no matter how much stuff we took out of this house, it still felt like the home of my childhood. My family is embedded in the walls of this place. Even that very last day, the one when the house was completely empty except for the bottle of Stoli in the freezer that we toasted one last time to my mom with, we could not help but feel that she would somehow come walking out of that kitchen.

The closing of this door? Well it certainly carries with it a bag of mixed emotions. I walked out of that closing (both the real estate deal and the door) with an odd sense of calm coupled with an overwhelming exhaustion. I certainly have said my goodbyes to that house, that life, that anchor. I am happy to be rid of the process. But there is a lingering phantom pain surrounding never being able to ‘go home again’.

Ok, so maybe I crossed over the drama bar for a moment.

The net of all this (other than my overuse of cliché and devices)? I am a women who loves signs and juxtapositions. I thrive on the meant to be and the alignment of stars. To close on 10.10 at 10am at 1010 Northern Blvd. rang that bell big time. And it was my grandfather’s birthday to boot.

But nothing rang the bell more than the site of my girl in her beginning as I was tying up an ending.

One door opens and another one closes… maybe it is ok to reverse that saying, after all.

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Filed under aging parents, childhood, cliches, doors, family, sentimentalites