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.
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.
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!
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 ; ).
There are countless milestones and rites of passage in the lives of our children, but none have quite the impact of turning 21. We can heave that great sigh of relief that they are now ‘legal’. Don’t get me (or my newly 21-year-old) started on the legal drinking age, but let’s just say I am thrilled to announce my offspring have kept the track record of not getting ticketed (or worse) for underage drinking or fake/borrowed IDs. Quite the feat in a Big 10 college town.
All that nonsense aside, becoming an adult has little to do with chronological age. My boy has done me proud in the grown-up department way before he crossed this legal threshold, without ever losing the lightness of heart of the child he once was. His 4th grade teacher called him a happy go lucky deep thinker, and that description still fits him perfectly.
This past year our family has learned a boatload about what it means to be there for each other, and young Dan has risen to that occasion every time. All while still finding a way to make me laugh no matter what the circumstances.
Happy 21st Birthday, Danny boy, may you always keep your sense of self. And may you stay forever young. We love you.
How can that be? One minute you are obsessing over nursery school and then you turn around and you have been at this for 24 years. And by some miracle you haven’t messed them up.
Yes, kiddies, today marks the 24th birthday of my girl. And oh what a difference a year makes. Since 23 she has found her dream job, moved into her own apartment and learned to balance a tight budget.
There is so much I can say about her, but mostly I want to thank her for being such a good sport about posing, for always being there to make me laugh and most of all for constantly reminding me why I was put on this earth.
To be a mom.
I love you Petuney; and I could not be any prouder of who you have become. May this be your best year ever!
No, not me! I would never be that self-serving. I am talking about MY mom.
This weekend we celebrated a very special birthday with my mother. Through some miracle and lots of corralling of 3 generations of cats, we were able to get the entire family together. Even Danny made it – fresh off the camp bus.
A huge thank you and hugs forever to the Chef love of my life, Don, for making this meal over the top amazing. Big plug for Valentino’s on the Green (might I highly recommend EVERYTHING on the menu)
As my mom put it so eloquently in her little speech after dins, having everyone all together in one place made turning this rather strange number worth it.
Here’s to my mom, the bravest woman I know. Wishing you the best birthday ever. May you always feel the love that surrounded you tonight, and know that we are all blessed to have you in our lives.
Now, if all you readers would be so kind as to come out of the woodwork, please wish mom a happy birthday.
Twenty-two years ago on April 25th I packed a bag and went to the hospital for what I like to call natural childbirth; no jewelry/no makeup. Due to her famous determined disposition, my sweet little girl was frank breech and a C-section was in order. In an archaic and barbaric procedure effort to turn her, the doc convinced us to try a procedure called external version. She basically flipped him the bird and turned right back to the position she had chosen in utero – head up.
That’s my girl! I am happy to report, 22 years later the very personality trait that forced a C-section is one of the most wonderful things about her. If she puts her mind to it… it’s hers. Three weeks shy of college graduation this will certainly come in handy.
When you give birth you don’t think much past babyhood, maybe a shade into toddlerhood. But you surely do not think that 22 years would fly by this fast (yes, I sound like a corny song) or that the infant that scared the hell out of you when you first brought her home would turn into one of your favorite people on earth to go shoe shopping with. Or watch a movie with. Or go to a concert with. Or, or, or… you get what I mean.
So, to the girl who makes me laugh when I don’t think I have it in me, who is my biggest fan, my number one focus group and the very light of our lives (with her brother of course), we wish you the very happiest of birthdays and we thank you for making us a family 22 years ago.
Comments on this post will be forwarded to her so please excuse the shameless mommy promotion and fire away. And for all of you on twitter, if you could wish her a Happy Birthday and fill her stream I would be very grateful. She is @janabelle25 and I guarantee if you follow her you will find her tweets are always pretty clever and fun. She might kill me but here are but a few of my faves:
Hash tags are meant for Twitter not Facebook. The end.
There is nothing like the wonder of a 5th birthday party when the birthday boy gets to open his presents after the festivities. What I would not give to know what gift prompted that perfect little thrilled face on my boy. And the equally impressed face of my other little boy to his left. Of course, his sister – the Boss, was on hand to make sure he opened his gifts correctly.
Fast forward 15 years that flew by so quickly I am suffering from a little mommy whiplash today just thinking about it. And there is my boy, firmly planted in his new college life, most probably still fast asleep right now.
But waiting for him in the package room in the dorm would be the ever famous box of…
you guessed it: 18 presents. This idea came from my friend Karen and I copied her for Jana’s 21st. Of course sending it to Spain cost more than the contents but it was surely worth it.
So, to my 18 year old ‘baby’, may this day and your new life be as filled with wonder and excitement as your 5-year-old face in the picture above. And know that no matter how old you get, you will always be a little bit of that bowl hair cut sporting, basketball jersey and t-shirt wearing, lego building little guy in this mom’s heart.
If you read on Sunday you knew that it was my daughter’s 21st birthday. Due to circumstances beyond Fed Ex’s control (volcano, cough, cough, bullshit, cough cough) they did not deliver her birthday package in time. She did, however, receive it today.
And I received this BBM right back:
She even laid out all the unwrapped gifts and took a picture to send me. (yeh, she is my kid for sure)