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!
First, am I supposed to call it that? Or Covid-19. I don’t want to appear pandemic ignorant my first week back here.
Ahhh… trash. Garbology. This used to be a favorite topic of mine. Today’s morning walk made me dust it off. (I did forget to take a shot of the, hand’s down, Amazon winner. They had to have 20 boxes out.)
If you are fan of the Dead, or any jam band for that matter, the expression when describing songs running together in a set is ‘into’: [song title] into [song title] into [song title]. This is what makes jam bands so epic.
For example Scarlet Begonias > Fire on the Mountain > Estimated Prophet*
These past few weeks have certainly seen the most home cooked meals in every household. We are all hunkered down and feeding ourselves. I know I have not cooked this many consecutive meals since… well, maybe ever.
How the hell is she going to tie these two together, and has she not had enough fresh air lately?
C’mon, I always tie it together. Here goes:
Sunday night we had short ribs. And there was just a little bit of gravy left, so…
Monday night I used it to start a mushroom barley soup. And there was a little bit of that left so…
Tonight I used it to start a mushroom gravy. (which, thank goodness we finished because I am out of beefy recipes)
Short ribs > Mushroom Barley Soup > Mushroom Gravy.
“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).
Thirty. T-H-I-R-T-Y. 3-0! (Indulge me, I don’t do this very often anymore.)
How can that be? I was (almost) 30 when I had you! Which means you have been hanging around for almost half my life! From here on in I will have lived in a Janaworld longer than a Janaless one.
Thank goodness. For I could not imagine a day without you in my life. That smile. That laugh. That eye roll. The way you only have to give me a look across the room that says it all. You ground me. And parent me back. Tricky. And yet you still lean when you need to. And I love that just as much.
When I set out to start a family, I never thought about this part very much. Who does? You think babies and toddlers and teens. But the part about growing full humans who become the people you most want to be with? I doubt that crosses the mind of many young parents.
So here we are. And I marvel everyday at your courage. Your strength. Your persistence. Your sense … way more sense than I ever had at your age. (Or maybe even now, for that matter.) You know your mind and you hold fast to what you believe in. That is a gift. Don’t ever doubt your gut, we both know it is the wisest voice of all.
Mothers and daughters. That can be one crazy roller coaster. But for us, it is like we are the eye of the hurricane. We hold tight in the middle of all the chaos, and step out into it together when we want to have some fun. Hold tight to that feeling … the one where you take the risks but keep a cool head when the unexpected happens. That is where all the good stuff happens.
Here’s to the next decade. May you continue to know how to pivot with grace. May your dreams come true. And when they don’t, know I will always be right here to catch you when you fall.
LU2 Petunes. More than life itself. Happy Birthday.
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.
Hi, It’s me. I guess I am back. I know, it’s been awhile. And how odd that I should return with a post about urinals. I just need a little comic relief. Consider this a gift.
Last work week was a big thrill. A beloved client was featured in the NYT. Great piece with an odd ending, which apparently did not go unnoticed, as we had a Facebook follower ask:*
We noticed this ourselves and a colleague asked me, “What is the fascination with urinals?”
Really? She had to ask? C’mooonnn!
Then, today in my Facebook feed came this piece about urinal advertising. You know, “The smart urinal that will show you ads while you pee.” (If you are asking why it was in my stream – no pun here – it’s a Magnet for the Absurd thing… just who I am)
I know, of course it’s brilliant! Captive audience. Better than elevator advertising. And there have been countless urinal ad vehicles that have proven themselves through the years.
But THIS – this is my absolute fave – pee-controlled urinal games. Oh why did I not think of this one. Every mother that has ever potty trained a son to sink Cherrios in the toilet would know that this one is a winner! (wait, you all did this with your sons, right?)
I urge you to click through to the site and watch the video, it is hilarious. Think about this. It is great for business. Guys are going to drink more so they can play the game longer. Or multiple times. Winner gets a free drink. The opportunities are endless!
I have to say I am feeling a little more than left out about this.
*Side note: Gallaghers happens to have spectacular urinals. I know this because I have taken countless women in there to look at them. Don’t ask. And please don’t judge. Yeh, I have a rather undefined job.
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.