Category Archives: relationships

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

A Situation, or Life with a Lab.

bone-in-toilet

Time: 6:45 am

Gary: Nooooo! Uch, now YOU get it.

Me: Ummm… you would be talking to who?

Gary: No, I am not kidding, you get it.

Me: (walking into the bathroom where I see both Gary and the Iko looking into the toilet) WAIT, I need to get a camera.

What, you thought I was going to stick my hand in the toilet to get that bone? Yeh, right! Yes, that is what that was, a bone. I have had people guess it was a sock and a condom. Seriously? A condom in my house? With my sans uterus, way past childbearing old arse?

Gary: She needs to get that out of the toilet. Go ahead Iko, you dropped it in there, now you get it out.

Iko: Gives the universal Lab look of ‘are you f’in kidding me’, turns around and walks out of the bathroom.

Me: Guess that leaves you, my sweet. Don’t worry, I just cleaned that toilet… um, when was that again.

He is hard pressed to believe I did not put the dog up to this… perhaps that will make him think next time he leaves the seat up ; )

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Filed under absurdities, animals, carry a camera, humor, Iko, relationships

Everybody Loves a Girl Fight Vol. 3

For those who have not been reading all along, I became educated on the sociological fascination that men have with girl fights when my son was the tender age of 15. You can read the full story hear on the Vol 1 post, but the gist of the story is that although I thought my husband was being both a bad father and a neanderthal when he agreed with my son that everyone did, in fact love a girl fight, the notion was actually confirmed by almost every man we asked.

The Vol 2 post was yet another dinner chat where my brother in law chimed in that the best part was when their boobs popped out (which by the way has become one of the top search terms for this blog… G-d help me!)

Fast forward to yesterday when Jana and I were riding the subway downtown. Two young women got on the train at the same time. One sat down in front of me and the other stood by the doors behind me. The car was unusually quiet when this exchange began:

Seated girl: What are you looking at?

Standing girl: No what are YOU looking at?

Seated girl: Yeh, I know I am good looking you don’t have to stare.

Standing girl: No, YOU don’t have to stare (standing girl was not very creative)

This sort of hostile banter continued for a few minutes culminating in a ‘you/no you’ exchange until the entire car began to share in an anticipatory sense of awkwardness that left us all simultaneously uneasy and yet a little titilated. I am not going to lie, there was a part of me that was starting to think, “Damn, everyone loves a girl fight.” That is when I realized I have been living with Gary too long.

And I also realized that if there was going to be a girl fight I was directly in the line of fire and there was a good chance I could have had my picture on the cover of the NY Post the next day. “50-something mom gets knocked unconscious in subway girl fight” Subtitle: Everyone loves a girl fight except this mom.

But honestly, I sort of got the vibe that the whole train was thinking the same thing.

Of course Jana saw right through it and suggested that they were friends who were just trying to get a rise out of the crowd. As we got off at Broadway/Lafayette, so did they… together. And laughing all the way down the platform.

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Filed under absurdities, conversations, Jana, relationships

Time to Cry Tuesday – Fig Newtons and a Cup of Tea

We called her Nana Julie but I don’t recall why; her name was Julia. My other grandmother was Nana Car… because she was the one that drove.

Obviously.

I will take no responsibility for the naming as I am sure my brother was responsible for these. He was brilliant.

This time of year I think of them both often. Perhaps because we are in the middle of the first Hannukah without kids home and the holiday seems so quiet. Or maybe it is because a blustery winter day like today reminded me of Nana Julie’s kitchen, with it’s Dentyne in the cabinet – both red and green, no one liked the green – and this cookie jar on the counter. The counter tops had this great 1950s boomerang formica and there was always a Pyrex glass coffee pot on the stove to boil water.

When she died I took very few things from her house, but this cookie jar was one of them. It was always filled with Fig Newtons, and they were ALWAYS just a little stale. It was not until I was grown that I knew that Fig Newtons were supposed to be soft. I still sort of miss the stale ones.

We kids loved that kitchen. My grandparents lived close by, and near the beach, so we spent many of our childhood weekends at their house. I cannot even imagine how many cases of Fig Newtons and Dentyne we must have polished off through the years. And now that I think of it I am not sure if she ever had any other cookies or candy in the house. I AM sure we did not care one bit.

As a young adult I was fortunate to still have the Nana’s in my life. They were close; they called each other ‘sister’. I feel so very fortunate to have had them for so long.

Nana Julie’s solution to any problem was to make a cup of tea and then sit down and talk about it.

This afternoon it was chilly, I was losing my motivation and I had this undying craving for Fig Newtons and a cup of tea. There was something so very comforting about that snack. As if she were right there in the room with me.

I suppose she was. Perhaps they both were.

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Filed under family, food, grandmothers, relationships, Time to Cry Tuesdays

Time To Cry Tuesday – Four for Twenty

It is a bittersweet fact that as your kids grow, the time you spend as a family shrinks. If you have done your job well, their lives are full. If you are lucky, yours are as well.

We are four people with very full lives. Not one of us is the type to be idle or feel lonely. We have a great extended family, many friends and rich lives. We work hard and play hard.

Blah. Blah. Blah. Ok, so that is all academic. And though it is true on some level, after 21 years of being a family unit, you crave that time when you can be together. And you learn to appreciate the moments for what they are… fleeting and precious.

This weekend we visited our kids at college. If you don’t follow this blog regularly, my kids are away at school together as a freshman and a senior.

They love it. I love it more.

Parent’s weekend = fly. drive. eat. reverse. repeat.

But for twenty precious minutes, just the four of us sat on the couch in my daughter’s apartment and were simply US.

In all caps.

Nothing special was said. (oh except when my son told us about his human sexuality class and said he now knows more about the vagina than he ever cared to know – now that is something you rarely hear from a 18-year-old boy) There were no real heavy parenting moments. We just WERE. (again in caps)

And to me, there is nothing better on this earth than a little time with just us four…

even if it was only for twenty.

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Filed under college, danny, family, gary, Jana, relationships, Time to Cry Tuesdays

Time to Cry Tuesday – Valentino’s on the Green

This week Time to Cry Tuesday takes a different twist. Having safely deposited both of my kids at college halfway across the country, I will focus this week on the joy of work.

Yes, you read that correctly. As a good friend from art school so wisely posted on facebook recently, ‘find something you love and then find someone to bill for it’. Every so often my career takes a turn back towards doing what I truly love; getting involved in a business and helping them to realize their vision for how they should look and feel.

One such client is a fabulous new restaurant and catering venue in the NY area called Valentino’s on the Green. I was hired to create their menus and associated materials. It just so happens that not only did I have the honor of working with this new venue, but one of the partners happens to be one of my dearest friends from High School, Chef Don Pintabona of Tribeca Grill fame. (we did not call him Chef, back then).

To add to the excitement, Don is planning to build a solar-and-biodiesel-powered vertical farm on the property, where he hopes to grow about 80 percent of his raw materials, from mushrooms and potatoes to farmed fish. He also envisions a teaching lab for local schools. How cool is that?

The restaurant is housed in Rudolph Valentino‘s summer home in Bayside Queens (hey, don’t laugh, in the 20s Bayside was like the Hamptons). The renovation is spectacular, the staff is award winning and stellar, the food is to die for. And Sunday night I had the joy of dining there during the Friends and Family opening.

I cannot tell you the thrill of entering that building I have watched turn from a construction site into an elegant restaurant over the past few months and see it filled with people. People who were actually holding my menus! But the most wonderful part of all was to see my dear friend Don – beaming as he walked through the place – at home in a way I have not seen in a very long time. There is nothing better than seeing a dear friend realize a vision and being able to take part in it.

Sometimes work feels like pushing a boulder up the hill. But if you are lucky, other times work is about doing what you love – with people you love – and finding someone to bill for it. It was an honor to work with a team of passionate professionals who truly cared about every single detail that led up to the opening of this restaurant. Don, Giorgio and Deanna, working with you has been a dream! Jimmy, Michael, Antonio, Don C., Lauren, Erin, and the entire staff, thanks for the great night last night, you were all on the top of your game.

So plug, plug, plug, full client/friend disclosure and all that transparency nonsense, you will surely thank me for turning you onto this place. Let’s help them find ‘many some ones to bill for it’. Join me in making this venue the great success I know it will become. Check it out here, or call and make a reservation at 718.352.2300 and tell them that Amy sent you. Do it now before this article hits and they are all booked up. (Oh and if you are looking to throw a party, their upstairs catering room is magnificent!)

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Filed under friendship, New York, New York City, relationships, restaurants, Time to Cry Tuesdays

Time to Cry Tuesday – Turning 21 and Locks of Love

Many of us know young women who choose to grow their hair down to their waists with the intent to donate to those who have lost their hair to illness. My daughter did it in 9th grade, as did many of her friends. It is the ultimate act of selflessness. Many of these girls have much of their identity tied to their tresses and by donating them to those who are suffering, they learn a great lesson of the true meaning of giving. (Locks of Love provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under age 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis).

This weekend a very special young woman in our lives turned 21. She is the dear friend of my daughter and we have known her since preschool days. In celebrating her birthday, she too, chose to donate her beautiful long locks. Although turning 21 is a big milestone for many, this was monumental for Emily and her family and friends.  What is different about this remarkable woman is that she has known first hand what it is to lose her hair. Not once in her short life, but twice. By the time she was 12 years old she had battled Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and become a two-time cancer survivor.

This young woman has battled cancer and won with the grace and zest for life like no one I have ever known. She is a true inspiration to me and every time I see her she lights up the room. To be loved by Emily is to be truly loved, and she let’s you know that.

There was a big party at her parents home where she showed her bravery once again by having her hair cut in a room full of people who love and support her. And was that room full! It is hard for me to put into words how much of an effect this person has had on those of us who have known her most of her life. If you can measure a life by the people you touch, Emily is a giant.

As she sat in that chair I could not help but flash back to both times that we learned of her illness, the years she spent stoically fighting this dreaded disease and the elation we all shared when she received a clean bill of health.

She has dedicated much of her life to helping ease the road for so many children who are suffering. Among her many activities she is a past speaker and major fundraiser for the annual Relay for Life event in our town and volunteers at Sunrise Day Camp – the only day camp in the nation dedicated to serving the childhood Cancer population and their siblings free of cost. Her latest campaign is Bald for a Cause, where she not only donated her hair but set a fundraising goal of $5,000 in honor of her 21st birthday. These donations benefit the Sunrise Day Camp and The Winthrop University Cancer Center for Kids.

If you can, please join me in honoring this truly terrific young woman and give any amount to help her realize her goal.

In her own words, here is a quote from her Relay for Life speech:

I’ve realized that true friends will stick with you, no matter what you look like or what you’re going through. They’ll remain by your side, ready to help in any way possible, giving you the courage you need to succeed. I believe that my battle with Leukemia had helped me find those real friends. I’ve learned that bad things do happen to good people, but its bravery and courage that helps those good people make it through.

To Em – my sweet, may you always know the love that was in that room this weekend. With all the awful things you have had to live through, you have known the love of so many and have given it back tenfold. When I grow up I want to be just like you!

What this world needs is more Emilys!

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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Filed under body image, charity, communities, family, friendship, health, relationships

Time to Cry Tuesday – One in a Million

A million. That’s a hell of alot.

Of anything.

But members of a Facebook group? Many have tried but few have succeeded. Here are few examples of the success stories:

Barack Obama has 1,073,090.

Stephen T Colbert has 1,171,385.

None of this seems to be an obstacle for Speck Mellencamp. The 14-year-old son of Indiana rock star, John Mellencamp, has created the group 1,000,000 people to join, my dad john mellencamp will quit smoking.

Some will say he is crazy to attempt this. Others will ask why John agreed to it. Still others will wonder whether this is a publicity stunt. (I can assure you, it is not).

In my opinion none of this is relevant. What would be relevant is the fact that a 14-year-old son found a way to get through to his dad that just might work. Speck took the language of his generation and spelled out loud and clear a sentiment that maybe, just maybe, his nicotine-addicted dad just can’t ignore.

“Sure kid, get yourself a million members and then I will quit.”

Hmmm, never underestimate the power of a son’s love for his dad. Or the internet. Or the combination of both.

I LOVE THIS KID!

Why has this hit so close to home for me? First, there is nothing I love more than a parent and child story. And a close second would be a creative way to use social media. That coupled with the fact that the Mellencamps have been the kind of friends to faraway members of our family that we are infinitely thankful for. They have been there for them in person when we could not. And for that we will be forever grateful.

For all of you out there who are skeptics, shame on you. There is nothing more thrilling than a young person who will not take no for an answer.

Speck, you are one in a million, whether you hit your goal or not. You are surely destined for greatness. And John, you are one lucky dad who better get ready to pay up because my money is on the kid.

Now friends, go out there and join the group. Tweet, stumble, digg, kirtsy, carrier pigeon or whatever else you can to help spread the word.

(FYI, as of this writing the group has 5,595 members. It was launched the day after Thanksgiving)
UPDATE 12.1.09 11PM: over 42,000 members and picked up by AP. USA Today, Rolling Stone, Washington Post and going strong!)

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.
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Filed under current events, relationships, social media, teenagers, Time to Cry Tuesdays

Hijack this blog

born-to-blog

There is nothing like good friends. Even ones who threaten to hijack your blog. Who better to take over and pseudo guest post than the infamous First Thursdays?

These divas throw a hell of a birthday celebration. Check out the framed picture above that they had done for me. (Fyi, I blog under my maiden name, but I First Thursday under the married one).

I think I look pretty good on Springsteen’s body. Just to give you an idea of how diverse we are, I photoshopped the last person onto Giselle’s body. Hey, whatever blows your hair back, right?

In honor of the last day in my 40s I give you some suggestions that were made for blog reworking, along with some other comical writings that were part of my birthday roast – First Thursday style:

Blog Days:

Time to get out of the basement Monday

Time to cry Tuesday (and oldie but goodie)

Time to leave the zip code Wednesday

Time for a little laugh Thursday

Time to vent Friday (this could be a great one)

Time to workout Saturday

and a favorite for all the husbands out there, mine for sure:

Time for “a little head would be nice” Sunday.

And since all you readers know me pretty well by now, I will share their “top ten things Amy will never do now that she is 50 list”

1. Go to spin class (safe bet)

2. Play tennis with Jo (safer bet, she would kill me)

3. Have lunch at the club (I should be so lucky to get out of that one – the minimum haunts me)

4. Go to Bergdorf’s with Maddee and Michelle (ok, I admit it, I did say I thought Berdgorf’s closed. I had a moment of confusion with Bonwits, so shoot me)

5. Go to South Beach with the First Thursday Girls (sorry girls, montauk maybe, south beach, not so much)

6. Discuss again… to be rich or thin? (don’t ask)

7. (this one I will omit to protect the innocent(ish) Hey, we all still have to live in this town!)

8. Not blog or tweet for the day. (Why would I consider this? Jeez!)

9. Get out of the basement (this one I am starting to do, I swear)

10 BOTOX! (this one is a given)

Thank you, my friends, for a great night from the women who will always keep me on my toes and will NEVER let me fall. I love you all!

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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Filed under blogging, friendship, humor, humor, relationships, top ten lists, twitter, women, work habits, writing

Time to Cry Tuesday – Circling the Drain

down-the-drain

This is cruel as the previous mentioned 7 girlfriends sending off 7 daughters (and a son) are in full swing of departure this week. But I could not resist this post because, well because after all it is Tuesday and quite frankly I need a good cry.

I would like to start this off with a quote that makes more sense every year. A dear friend told me when her first child went off to college that ‘It was good for them’. I did not quite get it until I experienced it myself. But let’s face it folks, they are in college and that is a blast and we send them off and have to stay home and figure out how to pay for it and that is not. Period.

My daughter comes and goes and has for the past two years. She is never home for more than a few weeks at a time. We are used to her ebb and flow, her presence and absence. We are thrilled when she is here, sad when she leaves and back to our routine within a few days of her departure.

Bullshit.

I mean the routine gets easier but it is mostly because we have trained ourselves not to dwell on it. This is the mother of all parental behavior modification techniques. We know we need to let go and we do (on the outside anyway). Her growth outweighs our desire to keep her close by because her very absence and experiences out in the world are what make her so much more of what she is; a remarkably independent, capable, amazing young woman, who happens to have a great sense of humor and fabulous hair. (ok, so I am partial because she is my kid. This is my blog, I can brag if I want to).

So today when my friend told me that she was ‘circling the drain here’ I could not help but laugh. Until I got choked up and started to cry. For her. I knew exactly what she meant. We are thrilled and excited for them but surely in the first few weeks of their freshman year we are also scared to death. Way more than they are.

Here it is in a nutshell. We are their mothers (and fathers). We spend all these years raising them to be what they have become. But there is that defining moment, the one where the universe as we know it shifts and things are never truly the same. Things are not worse, on the contrary they are actually better for this is the payoff for all that hard work.

But once a year, when the universe shifts yet again, we have that recurring moment where we feel like we are going down the drain.

Don’t worry my dear parents of freshman, let me be your emotional plumber. I will fish you all out and dry you off and make sure there is a good stiff drink on the other side. I love each and every one of you – and your daughters (and one son), and I am so very proud to have you all in my life.

Tissues, please!

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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Filed under college, family, Jana, moms, relationships, Time to Cry Tuesdays