Category Archives: family

This is 28 – Time to Cry Tuesday

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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

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.

pleasures

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.

photo

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