Remember this moment. Try to slow down time and realize how spectacular it is. Breathe it in. Eat it for breakfast. (metaphorically, of course. Everyone knows you don’t eat breakfast). LIVE it.
I just read this passage, and thought how timely it was. And how much I love that we always send a highlight from a book to each other.
Try not to let this ‘grown up’ life move too fast. Try to be here now. Even for the tough stuff. Yes, this is where I remind you that misery gives happiness context.
Life is intense for you now. Your days kick your ass and you kick them right back. Big time. You’ve got this. All of it. And as I’ve watched you grow I stand in awe of the life you’ve built. It is a joy to watch you. I hope it is still a joy to BE you.
The 4th grade teacher called you a happy go lucky deep thinker. Still be that! connect with your inner ‘little Danny’.
Happy 3-0, Buckaroo. (Time to stop calling you that? Never!) May your next year be all you dream of.
You have been in our family for so long that my othermother status comes with the joy of watching you grow into the man you are today (this is starting to sound like a bar mitzvah speech).
This year has been quite something. Of course there is the obvious big milestone, but it is the subtle things you do that have made such a huge impact.
I have watched the way ‘you move’ – as the Trinidadians would say. How you care for all of those you love. But I have also witnessed the graceful power of your kindness to strangers. How you pivot at a moment’s notice and jump in to help people. And you do it with the utmost of humility and that charming brand of ‘it’s no big deal’ that makes it even more special. This, my sweet, is a quality like no other.
I have said it many times before, but I will say it again. I am so very grateful that my daughter found a man who calmly shares her life and makes everything just a little better than it was before.
And pretty soon (queue the uncontrollable emotion), you will set an incredible example for a very lucky little boy.
You are simply becoming more Corey with each year. And that is a gift for, not only yourself, but all of us who love you.
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.
Typing that is a bit jarring. This makes me – as my birthday card from you read – ‘dead in dog years’.
Dan, I bet you thought I forgot the birthday post. Well, I almost forgot to serve your birthday cake tonight, and to give you your card, so it would not have been a stretch. The old rock of Gibraltar is surely showing some cracks.
But never. The only time I write here is birthdays, and 29 is a damn big one.
I looked at you across the table tonight and thought, how lucky am I? To have a son that gets me. That shares not only my birthday week but my sense of humor and desire to hang together. You taught me how to parent as much as I taught you how to grow up. And I can honestly say I learn from you every day.
Watching you mature, grow professionally and be a caring, supportive partner is all a parent can ever ask for. I can honestly say, I don’t worry about you. Ever, really. You have a level head, a strong moral compass, and yes, a Puss Jew Bod, but you have learned to manage that with grace. You have a firm grasp on what truly matters (see what I did there?)
Thank you for always being there for me. For making me think. For appreciating that sometimes I am actually ‘not wrong’. And most of all for loving me with your full heart. You are a man of both strength and sweetness. Don’t ever lose that charm.
Here’s to you, my sweet boy. May this year bring you all you wish for. I look forward to every moment of being your mom.
(Becky makes it into the photo because, frankly, I don’t have any recent pics of you alone! That speaks volumes. I love that, too!)
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
Yeh, I might do that. But tonight while I was walking the dog a lightbulb went off in my head.
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).