You are 34, right? I keep having to recount by doing the year you were born math and we all know what Mom Math looks like.
Well, this was a big year, wouldn’t you say? As a recruiter, you have learned how to add working mom to your resume. Huge skill set! But you have absorbed the role into your life so naturally. Not easily, but with the grace and whole heart that you do all things.
The best part of you becoming a mom for me has been the moments when the light bulb goes on for you. Like this one:
In the long list of our daily correspondence about the happenings in our family and all the “how did he do last night?” texts, this one sticks out for me. There are moments in a parent’s journey that they can’t ever fully forget. Nor should they. A restaurant name shakes loose a particularly trying time. We revisit that time and have a knee-jerk reaction.
A non-parent child will sort of get it at best, or roll their eyes at worst. But after squeaking out a puppy, you completely understood this.
And yes. I loved that moment. And all the other moments, both wonderful and trying, in which I get to witness your parenting experience.
Life is surely different for you now. The new road has been a challenge. And yet every day you find another moment to prove what a wonderful mom you are. And share how much joy you can derive from even the smallest experience.
The juggle is real. Watching me do it may have prepared you for it. It is not always pretty but it is never boring.
I will end this post with my best parenting advise. No condition is permanent. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Use your intuition. Never say ‘my child will never ____”. Love every moment, even the shitty ones. And never say no to a grandparent when they offer to babysit!
May 34 bring you more joy than pain, and the ability to adjust the volume of each to make life the best it can be.
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.
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.
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.
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!
25. 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.
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.
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.
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:
Getting a 300 lb. bouncer to shut down the DJ on the previous party in a bar to move your people in.
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)
Better judgement than me in most cases (see item 2)
Becoming the family concierge and doing it like it is second nature.
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.
Nope, 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.
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.
And 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:
In the history of mankind, no one has ever calmed down when you say ‘calm down’.
They now take credit cards in taxis, it’s not 1985. (in my defense I was pretty sick that day)
Sometimes you just have to smile and nod – and shut the hell up.
Repost is the best instagram regram app.
You don’t need to solve it, you just need to listen to me complain. I will solve it myself.
When you take pictures on your phone, you should always shut the sound off.
Don’t eat this [fill in the blank], it has too much salt.
Madewell has great gift items.
This is how you do a face swap video.
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.
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:
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:
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.