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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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This is 31

Amazing shot secured from creepy Facebook stalking.

Happy birthday to my girl’s boy. Son #2. The calm in every storm.

Cor, It is hard to remember a time when you were not a part of my family. You have been with us through it all. And I could never fully express how grateful I am to have you there with your quiet strength and insightful perspective. You are my go to guy in an emergency.

Thirty to thirty-one has been one crazy ride. Never once did I see you falter. When things got scarier, you became more steadfast in your conviction to keeping it cool. Nothing like a pandemic to test the true colors of a man. (a little ironic, for a colorblind guy, huh?) When decisions had to be made, you brought them to the families with undying grace and respect. You always consider everyone’s feelings before making a move. And somehow, you manage to do it all with a smile on your face and a no big deal attitude.

When you marry someone you marry their family. That is not always easy to navigate. But we are so very fortunate that we took it one step further and married both our families into one. I could not imagine living without that. My gratitude is without measure.

For 31 I wish for you all that you have missed. All that you deserve. Music. Food. Festivals. Travel. Golf. And a fully opened NYC!

Can’t wait to see what this year has in store for you. Thanks for always taking us along for your ride.

Big Love.

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This is 28

You are 28, right? There are years that I have gotten this wrong. And in the land of time warps, how do you actually know you are 28? What is time anyway…

Never mind, I did the math.

Here we are again, as the day is about to turn from my birthday to yours I can’t help but think the big stuff. Especially now.

It is impossible to ignore where we are and where we have been this year. But I am going to use our birthdays to reflect on all the good that this crazy rollercoaster has given us.

One of the bright things… You. As a roommate. AGAIN! Only this time it was so much different than it has ever been. This time you were here to hold it together with me. To keep me sane when I started to let it all run away with me. As I circled the drain you put out your steady hand and pulled me right out. With an eye roll and a ‘yes, mother’ you could lighten up even the toughest of moments.

You will forever be my sounding board. You think the way I do but with a mind that is so open to all possibilities that my insight pales next to yours. You slow me down, keep me on course and help me to stay straight and go with my gut, even when my gut seems to be nowhere to be found.

Oh, and you vacuum and do the dishes!

But best of all you do this all with a keen sense of humor and the ability to make light of the heaviest of all situations.

You navigated some incredibly tough waters through this crazy ride of a year and worked hard to land in the most amazing place. Without once feeling sorry for yourself or giving up. It’s how you navigate the hard times that determines who you are. You kicked the ass of 2020.

Ok, so I am your mom and I am supposed to say this stuff. But others do too.

Thank you, Dan, for turning into a man I could not be more proud of if I tried.

And one who always remembers… Everything Matters.

(Be all you can be and be careful)

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This is 30: My Girl’s Boy

This is a first; the birthday blog post for my son-in-law. If you know our relationship you totally get the strike through in that sentence.

To quote my daughter, “You should be with someone that makes you your best self.”

Forget about her, Corey makes me my best self! I could not dream up a better partner for my child, or a more perfect soul to seamlessly melt into our family. He has inspired me to be a better mother-in-law. I have learned how to listen and guide when asked, and shut the hell up when not.

He lives gently. With strength and grace. And the most positive, even-tempered attitude I have ever witnessed in another human.

When the world spins out of control on every level imaginable, having him around is a godsend.

And he cooks!

Today he turns the big 3-0. Hard time for a milestone birthday. Or maybe not. He so easily rolls with what is, and makes the best of what can be. Always. But especially now.

Happy birthday to my second son. I wish for you all that you dream of.

Keep dreaming. Love you to the moon.

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"Write", he said.

“Write!”, he said. Actually, he didn’t use the exclamation point. He never does. Truthfully, he has the most calming voice on earth, he needs no punctuation.

No, I am not hearing the voice of G-d, or having some crazy ass hallucinations (yet). I am talking about a conversation with my hypertension doc last week.

Me: Things are getting a little crazy out there, I’ve had a few spikes, do you want to change my meds.

Him: No. I don’t. Have a drink.

You can see why this man is my doctor.

Me: Really?

Him: Yes. You’re fine. You will regulate. But, I have another idea… write.

Me: Wow. Write! (this must be where the exclamation point came in).

So, the story continues that he did not know that I was an ex-blogger. But he does know me. And he is a hypertension wizard from another dimension who practices and writes about the mind/body connection and knows who his patients are. Oh, and he sort of saved my life.

His directive to write was to Write it Out. Write what you feel, fear, think, obsess about… write the whole damn roller coaster tape loop running in your head. Read it once. And then just put it away.

So…

Yeh, I might do that. But tonight while I was walking the dog a lightbulb went off in my head.

Write.

And this is where I always did that.

So, I guess I’m back. Stay tuned…

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This is 27

 

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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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This is 29

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I’ve been writing these birthday posts for an awfully long time. This one is extra special as you are now the age I was when I became pregnant with you. No, this is not a hint. I am fully aware you are not even prepared to have a fish. And that is just fine with me. I am OK with you keeping your eye on your own yoga mat.

This has been quite a year for you. Getting married… in between four Nor’easters! Your grandmother would have said that was good luck. (Then again, she told your dad that when a bird pooped on him 2 days before our wedding). All those snowstorms were nothing compared to everything that we have navigated surrounding your wedding. But with all the life challenges we faced, you stood in the center of the hurricane and kept your cool.  Your grace and joy in the process was contagious.

I sit back on the other side of this year and think, sure the wedding was a blast. And it was everything you wanted it to be. But it was the moments planning it together that truly mattered. I got to watch how you move in the world. How you conduct yourself. How people both respect you and want to be around you. You make all those that love you the best version of themselves.

Me included. Big time. We have begun the shift of parenting where you teach me. And remind me what is most important in life (not to mention how you rock a google doc and always make the dinner reservations).

There are pivotal moments for a mom where she has to learn to let go, but still strike the balance of holding on for dear life. I thank you for being just the right amount of independent while still having the humility to ask for guidance.

I love us, Petunes. More than I can ever say. Thanks for being the daughter I know I can count on no matter what.

Oh, and Happy Birthday! May this year be as spectacular as the last.

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Mothers Day – Your kids will be fine

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And so will you.

(this post is dedicated to a colleague who knows who she is and is just learning this dance)

Having made it to the other side of parenting, now hanging with the 2 best adults I know, I wanted to say thank you to both of them for tolerating this lunatic and still turning out great. Someone wise once told me, “your kids will be fine”. In the throws of working full time (and then some), caring for pets and parents, and trying to be a good human, I sometimes wonder how they survived.

But they did. In spite of me.

I thought this would be a good time to do another famous list and look back on the ways I messed up and they still turned out fine. And loved me anyway.

  1. Anything involving the smoke alarm and our first dog who would shake from it.
  2. Ironing the graduation gown and almost melting it.
  3. Being the carpool mom that once in awhile forgot the other kid.
  4. Backing up full force out of the driveway and hitting my brother’s car broadside… with a car full of teenage girls. (sorry Keith)
  5. Singing in the morning when you just wanted to be left alone.
  6. Locking us out of the house in a black out.
  7. Losing the concert tickets in the jungle of my hard drive for a show I don’t remember but one that was REALLY important.
  8. Surprise back surgery into a slip and fall geezer-like incident at the worst moment ever. (really sorry about this one, guys, I know how hard that was for you)
  9. Initiating completely inappropriate family discussions that now that they look back are probably the best thing I ever did… nothing shocks them now.
  10. Taking a while to figure out you did not want me to solve it, you just wanted to bitch.

Goes to show, no matter what we do, if we love them unconditionally, they just might do the same thing back.

Happy Mothers Day, kids. Thanks for tolerating.

 

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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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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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