Tag Archives: birthdays

And then she turned 27

You wake up one morning, a good 30 lbs over your normal weight (don’t judge), wash your hair, take off your jewelry and nail polish (your version of natural childbirth) and you walk into the hospital to have a baby.

That is pretty much how it went. A stubborn breech baby, Miss Jana preferred the less violent (for her, anyway) exit of a c-section.

You planned for just about everything… and nothing at all.

You did not plan for how amazing your life would become because she was in it. Or how your heart would both fill and break at a moment’s notice when her life took its swings. You counted fingers and toes and thought you were good to go.

jana27And then one day you turn around and she turns 27! Today! And you look at the woman she has become and think, damn if I did anything right in this world it was her (and you too, Dan, but it’s not your birthday). Sure, we all gush about our kids, and love them unconditionally. But, as they age up the parenting piece is so very different. It’s a sidelines thing. A bite your tongue and hope and pray endeavor. And then they start to impart THEIR wisdom to YOU!

So, for your birthday, my sweet Petunia Blossom, I will share some of your wisdom:

  1. In the history of mankind, no one has ever calmed down when you say ‘calm down’.
  2. They now take credit cards in taxis, it’s not 1985. (in my defense I was pretty sick that day)
  3. Sometimes you just have to smile and nod – and shut the hell up.
  4. Repost is the best instagram regram app.
  5. You don’t need to solve it, you just need to listen to me complain. I will solve it myself.
  6. When you take pictures on your phone, you should always shut the sound off.
  7. Don’t eat this [fill in the blank], it has too much salt.
  8. Madewell has great gift items.
  9. This is how you do a face swap video.
  10. Laughter.

But most of all you taught me how to be silly and love life, even when it can be ‘annoying’. It seems you have been doing this your entire life.

3 janas

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Filed under birthday, daughters, family, happiness, Jana, moms, parenting, Uncategorized

Happy Birthday Elaine

mom-beach2

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.

pleasures

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.

photo

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

Twenty-three

My daughter is 23.

There I said it. That was not easy. How can this be? The curly-headed little girl that used to boss us all around is now really a grown up. Like taking the 6:45 train go to work everyday kind of grown up. Like getting back a tax refund kind of grown up (lucky girl).

I have always said that the first 5 years of parenting lasts forever and after that it flies by so fast you don’t know what hit you.

Happy birthday to the one who knows me best, keeps me in line, chills me out, shares the ups and downs and still makes me laugh every day. (well almost every day). 

For those who are saddened by the idea of their kids growing up, here is some wonderful news. It gets better every year.

Love you Petuney. May your dreams all come true, even if they are taking a little detour on the 6:45 right now.

Happy 23!

 

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Time to Cry Tuesday – The Cure of Friendship

It has been a rough 2 weeks. For those who do not read regularly, we lost our dog suddenly. It has been very hard on me and I felt as if the sadness would never lift. There has been a heaviness in my chest that felt permanent and it worried me.

Until this weekend. I was lucky enough to be included in a birthday celebration for a very special friend. (and the bonus was it was near my brother and sister-in-law, so we got to spend some wonderful time together beforehand)

Nine women traveled from near and far to join together and celebrate. We were all tied by our love of this woman and the many ways in which she is special to us. Nine woman – some of whom knew only one or two people there before we arrived – all left with eight new friends. All sorts of both interesting and ridiculously outrageous conversation ensued. Hours of laughter and lots of great food and wine helped to accelerate what became one of the most extraordinary evenings I have ever experienced.

Her husband and sons graciously got the hell out of there  slept out so we could have the house to ourselves. Our wonderful chef prepared tapas paired with incredible wine choices. He got quite an earful with the topics we discussed. In true James Bond form we should have killed him at the end of the evening.

Instead we all followed him on twitter and promised to tell all our followers how great his food was. (we can be that way)

On my long ride home I thought a lot about what made the evening such a success. How could nine otherwise unrelated women all come to an event like this at our age… and sleep over! I think the answer was clear – because our friend is just the type of person you would do that for. I arrived there knowing that the conversation would be both stimulating and outrageous. That the topics would range from raising kids, teens, young adults to dealing with aging parents; career paths, art, music, life choices, of course social media and yes dying dogs. No topic was taboo yet every one of them was met with tolerance, empathy and a big dose of not taking ourselves all that seriously. Each one of us brought to the table their varied experiences and the humor to get through just about anything.

And most of us have.

A huge thank you to my dear friend’s sister-in-law and husband who made this happen. I feel truly honored to have been a part of this and grateful for the new friendships made.

Oh yeh, and thanks for the biggest jam-master hangover I have had in a long time… it was surely worth it.

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Filed under friendship, Time to Cry Tuesdays

Nineteen

Today marks the beginning of the last year I will have a teenager! That’s right, my boy is 19 today. I labored with this boy through my entire birthday and he was born at 1AM, leaving him to not have to share his  special day. It is hard to believe that we have reached this stage already. I have always said that the first 5 years of their lives lasts an eternity and after that it flies by in the blink of an eye.

The picture above is from his 10th birthday. This photo is the essence of Danny. Even though he looks more like the photo below these days, his core being is captured in the little carefree face on this cake.

Here’s to you, my boy. You are patient, kind, analytical, funny, thoughtful, responsible, silly at times (ok and maybe a bit of an idiot at others, but aren’t we all) and oh such a joy to raise. Sometimes I wonder who is raising who. As you’re 4th grade teacher once said, “Danny is a happy go lucky deep thinker.”

I could not ask for a better son. I love you more than life itself. Have a blast for your birthday and for goodness sake, BE CAREFUL.

(Hey, I am still a mom)

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You say it’s your birthday…

August 15th is a big day around these parts. It just happens to be the day that I am picking up my boy, and my girl’s boy from camp. But that is not all, today is MY MOM’S BIRTHDAY!

So kiddies, whether you know her or not, I would love nothing more than for you to wish my mommy a very happy birthday. For if you knew her, there would be no better present than tons of wishes. (FYI, if you are reading this on facebook or email, please take the time to click over to the actual blog comments so she can read them all, thanks)

Mom, the picture in this post is one of Jana’s special shots of your favorite place.

And of course there will be cake.

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Filed under family