Category Archives: parenting

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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Filed under aging, aging parents, daughters, family, holidays, parenting, Uncategorized

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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Filed under advice to my son, birthday, Corey, moms, parenting, relationships, sons, Uncategorized

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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Filed under birthday, Corey, parenting, 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

What Moms Wish For

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This is my girl.

Many of you have watched her grow up here; at least the parts of her we like to share. Jana not only made me a mom for the first time, she made me a mom blogger with my very first post about her High School graduation. Then on to her college graduation where I visited a different kind of change… getting her back.

ish.

Fast forward to today. Today is Jana’s last day at a job she has grown to love way beyond being a place of employment. God’s Love We Deliver has been a calling. The place where someone a little too young for the job proved she was not. Where, like everyone who works and volunteers there, she was embraced for who she is and appreciated way more than she could fathom. Until she made the tough decision to take the next step in her career.

The photo above is today’s GLWD Facebook post. She came into the office at 6AM (did I mention she starts work at 6AM?!) to find the walls covered with photos of her good times spent there. I awoke to a text with a video of the scene. We were both quite taken with this.

The emotions surrounding raising a child are often overwhelming. Equal parts pride and melancholy, the growing of a human is a roller coaster, indeed. (it’s all good, we both LOVE roller coasters). All a parent can hope for in the lives of their children is that they can find themselves, make a solid contribution and be valued. A huge thank you to the God’s Love We Deliver family, that has embraced, not only our girl, but our entire family. You have left a mark on all of us.

Good luck, my sweet Jana. As one door closes… blah blah blah. None of this makes today any easier. Love you to the moon and back. We could not be any prouder of you.

Now go out there and kick some ass.

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Filed under Jana, moms, parenting, work

Mom Texting

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For a mom with high digital engagement, it always amazes me how much I suck at texting and IMing. Actually, I probably just suck at typing and it translates to those mediums.

Danny, my adult son, has moved home after college and commutes to the city. His schedule changes as he spends nights in the city often. Wanting to plan for dinner, I usually text him during the day to get his status for that night.

The beauty of my relationship with my kids? They have inherited the appreciation for the absurd. Second gen MFTA*, if you will.

Do you think I could start #pimpmom trending?

mfta moment

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Filed under absurdities, advice to my son, conversations, danny, humor, parenting, technolgy

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.

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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.

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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

This is 25

25th-birthday

 

For 25 years – close to half my life – this beautiful smile has graced my days. Along with that smile came the drying of the tears, the dreams and the disappointments, the successes and failures that all go along with parenting a daughter.

Somewhere along the way, the lines have shifted ever so slightly. No longer am I the only one to give advise or be the sounding board. Now my daughter’s is one of the first opinions I seek when I am unsure. She holds me up when I think I can no longer bear things. She calms me down when I am going down that path of frustration that we both know is futile. She teaches me back all the things I tried to teach her as she was growing up.

She, and her brother, have become MY rock. Funny how that happens. One day you are trying to reason with a teenager about why wearing stockings or not to a Bar Mitzvah is not a decision that will change her life. You try to explain to her at 1 in the morning that no, she will not fail that test and the grade in this class will not define her forever. Then before you turn around, she is standing there watching you unravel and explaining to you why she knows you will get through it all. That she is there, and she always will be. Or she simply rubs your back when you choke up at the holiday table.

Basically, she grows up. And she does it ever so gracefully. She knows her mind, she keeps her cool and the words, “It’s just so annoying” become less frequent. You never hear the word ‘fine’ and the slam of the door that follows it ever again. Replaced by the frustrations is a calmness and a determination that sees her through and helps her navigate her obstacles. She has followed her passions and created a life of her own design.

She has become the woman you always dreamed she would be. And then some.

Yes, THIS is 25, in all its glory. A quarter of century that seems so very old to her but that you know is just the beginning of a glorious life.

Happy Birthday Jana Banana. I could not be any prouder of who you have become. May your birthday be as special as you are.

I love you more than life itself.

 

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Filed under family, Jana, moms, parenting

Baby DJ School

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Oh those Brooklyn hipsters, they make us yuppies of way back when seem like we did not indulge our children. I am usually saddened by the race to adultify babies. Having been through the whole raising of the kids thing, I want to stop these parents and tell them there is plenty of time for them to become little hipsters and ‘mix music that is super dope’, just not while they are still drooling on the soundboard. But then I fear I am becoming that woman who stopped me on the street over 20 years ago while both my kids were screaming and told me I would miss these days. (that day, I have never missed, btw)

We saw this flyer while walking down Bedford Street and I had to take a picture. A little further investigation, and I found this HuffPo piece on the place. The woman who started it is definitely a genius. I am all for someone being entrepreneurial and preying on the insecurities of the tragically hip. And she has great cred. DJ and composer Natalie Elizabeth Weiss  has shared the stage with LCD Soundsystem and Dirty Projectors. She could, however, use a little graphic help. Just saying. (cute kid, though)

But this mom?  I sort of wanted to punch this mom in the face:

Samantha Al-Fayez, the mother of one of Weiss’ new students, told the Wall Street Journal that her 1-year-old Julien “loves gangsta rap.”

Seriously, Samantha?! Why is your 1-year-old listening to gangsta rap? I shudder to hear his first words! When he calls you mutha, don’t come crying to us when he figures out the second half of that word.

I am happy to report that Weiss does not play any music with profanities for the kids.

Hipster wholesome!

I did so want to make fun of this whole thing but honestly, for the older kids this is quite fabulous. Check out this 4-year-old. I love him. And his dad is a riot. The kid totally gets it, no?

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Filed under absurdities, childhood, music, New York City, parenting

Time to Cry Tuesday – The Flying of Time

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Time flies. Where did the years go? How could he be so old? All those cliché lines of motherhood… why do I roll my eyes at these sometimes and at others they bring me to my knees?

Today I am teetering. Yes, I am more emotional than usual these days. And yes, having him home during the hardest 3 months of my life has been both a comfort and a joy. But the straw that broke this mamas floodgate today was this yearbook ad I did for my son when he graduated HS (yeh, it is both a blessing and a curse to have a mom who is a graphic designer). I came across it today on my Pinterest motherhood board (don’t make fun, I work in the mom blogger market). 

That ever-changing face. The same one that now sports a scruffy beard and fronts such a level head for an almost 21-year-old. This boy has turned into a man that I am so proud to say I raised. Part luck, part skill, parenting him has been such an amazing ride.

I am watching him this week between an internship and the journey back for his senior year in college. Gone are my days of checklists and phone calls, Bed Bath and Fed Ex, doctors appointments and errands. He has his list and he is checking things off as they are complete. He may not handle it the way I would (seriously, Dan, are you really moving into an apartment you have NEVER seen?), but he handles it all.

Also gone are the butterflies I used to get when my children would leave. Volumes are written this time of year about the leaving of the nest – but not many write about being comfortable with the dance. If we do our job correctly, they are good to go. And we should be ok with that, even if we get a little weepy during the transitions.

While perusing the motherhood board (for work, I swear!), I came across this quote that says it all for me:

It is easier to build a boy than it is to mend a man.

– Mahatma Gandhi

He is surely ‘letting his life proceed by its own design‘, of that I am quite certain. But he is using the foundation we built to spring from. And that is all any parent can ever hope for.

Faring thee well, my (man)boy, faring the well.

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Filed under advice to my son, college, danny, parenting, Time to Cry Tuesdays, wisconsin