Tag Archives: growing up

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

Time to Cry Tuesday – The College Graduation Post

I thought it would be a good idea to give fair warning in the title to all my friends who are about to embark on the road trip to graduation.

College graduation? Really? How could that be, she looks too young to have a child that age.

What? She doesn’t look so young? Oh right, she just thinks she does. Because she displays adolescent behavior she still feels like she herself is a college student. AND she is a little nuts with this talking in the third person thing. Ah, cut her some slack, her kid is graduating!

Ok, kiddies, here goes:

Four years? Has it actually been four years since I sat at this very keyboard and banged out the High School graduation post that brought us all to our knees? I suppose so, for as I look down at this keyboard I see that the passage of time has worn away any visible signs of both the ‘i’ and ‘n’ keys. (Odd, I know. There must be some significance to those letters, but it escapes me)

I have spent a lot of time thinking about this next rite of passage for my first born. At the beginning it seemed to not be such a big deal; certainly not compared to the emotions of her High School graduation. Sending a child off into the world felt monumental. It was the first step on the long journey of letting go. A tape loop of the curly-headed little whirling dervish danced in my head as I thought of leaving her halfway across the country.

She was SO ready.

I was so NOT.

For the most part we both did really well with it… until the first time she got sick and I felt just how far Madison, Wisconsin was from home. But she survived. And so did I. With flying colors, actually.

As graduation grows closer, the ‘not such a big deal’ theory is starting to get some holes in it. Who the hell am I kidding? I cry at Applebee’s commercials for G-d sake! I sent a 19-year-old kid off to college and this amazing young woman is coming out on the other end. It was like some crazy science experiment… 2 parts Badger, 1 part personal navigation and a 100 inches of snow a year. Shake well, supply digital equipment, a warm coat, a semester abroad, a shoulder to cry on when needed (aka, bitch too) and wait 4 years to see what it morphs into.

And morph she did! She is one of the few people on this earth that can put me in my place and not piss me off while she is doing it. She makes me laugh till I cry and cry till I laugh. She has my warped sense of humor tempered with a level head and a kind heart that floors me more often than not.

Did I mention she and her 80 lbs. of shoes (20 lbs a year) are moving back home. I suppose getting her back makes it easier than letting her go.

Sort of. But as much as she loves us, and our home, we are not foolish enough to think that this is where she wants to be. And as soon as her next chapter begins she will move out… for good this time.

Ouch. Sort of.

Here’s the thing (which BTW is the phrase she always used as a teenager to preface a difficult discussion… ironic). It is time for Miss Jana to become who she will be. And, like most young people her age there is a part of her that is scared to death. So this is for you my sweet girl:

I have always told you that you can do anything that you set your mind to (except maybe pee standing up… that one is tough). You can. Not everyone knows what they want to be when they grow up – most of my friends still don’t. The most important thing is that you just keep growing up – for the rest of your life. And equally as important, never forget the wonders of being young. Passions will find their way to you. Necessity will rear its looming head and drive you to reach your goals. Life is funny.

When you least expect it, you find yourself just where you should be.

Begin Anywhere.

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Time to Cry Tuesday – The Time Capsule

If you are an elementary school teacher this is a must read. If you are a parent of a child of any age, grab the tissues.

Tonight at dinner I remembered the time capsule that Danny had put together in his first grade class. This could be the single best project he did in elementary school. Mrs. Smith was his teacher and the only generic thing about her was her name. A fabulous Teacher (with a capital T) he ‘looped’ with her from first to second grade. This was the woman who recognized the fact that this little boy would spend more of his energy trying to sit than it took to do his work – so she let him stand. The same one who worked patiently to get him to read even though he had a slow start – and assured me that he was going to do fine. And of course she was right as he has become an avid reader.

Tucked away amongst newspaper front pages and Y2K party favors, custom baseball cards and a bag of 1999 coins, were some amazing artifacts, including the cover with the instructions to open December 2010. We deemed this a mistake and decided that now was the time to open it.

1. Cover of the box – notice the drawing of Franklin the Turtle in the center.

2. Picture with said Franklin

3.  A ziplock bag with the proverbial ‘the dog ate my homework’ remains – Mel got an A – and her puppy picture.

4. A letter from 7-year-old-Danny to 17-year-old Danny – lots of talk of goldfish.

5. His predictions of the future – yes he did say that matzoh balls would still be his favorite snack food.

6. And our favorite – self portraits at 7 and 17. We love that he predicted his blonde hair would turn brown.

Lesson learned: don’t ever throw this kind of stuff away. And most important, savor every moment because that 10 years flew by in a blink.

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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Time to Cry Tuesday – Beep Beep

Standing in the kitchen I heard that sound.

Beep. Beep.

I opened the garage door and there was a red Jeep Rangler in the driveway with 3 of my favorite High School seniors rearranging themselves to accommodate the skinny little butt of my son in the back seat.

Hugs, waves, love yous and off they went down the street with the flaps off and the breeze blowing.

HS senior’s dream if you ask me.

HS senior’s mom’s big fat lump in the throat.

Sorry, but this was the only vision of that driveway I could conjure up in my mind as they drove away.

(hold onto your hats kids, this is the beginning of the graduation countdown, it’s going to be rough going from here on in every Tuesday)

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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Time to Cry Tuesday – Little Shirt

When you have lived in a house as long as we have, things have a habit of lodging themselves in the back of places and you never know they are there.

Until, you have to move your massive armoire over six inches and you have to empty the entire thing out. There, on the top shelf, behind the long underwear and old sweaters that have that funky stripe of dust on them because they haven’t been unfolded in countless years, was the t-shirt above.

Size 24 month.

That belonged to the girl who will turn 21 YEARS next month.

Freaky!

How it got there I will never know. It was not a particularly favorite shirt, although it does say Delray on it and Mom, I am sure we bought it at that little place we loved on Atlantic Avenue. So although the shirt itself does not hold any particular memories of little Jana, the days we spent in Florida when she was young surely do.

I held up that little shirt and a rush of memories came flooding in. The smell of suntan lotion mixed with Desitin (she used to eat so much sand it was rough going on the way out). The way she could sit in a hole that Gary dug for her on the beach for hours. Standing at the shoreline with each of us holding one of her chubby little hands and lifting her up as the waves crashed on her feet, her squealing with delight each time as if it were the first. The cry of ‘five more minutes’ when we told her it was time to get out of the water. My kids adored the beach. Nature or nurture? Both,I am sure. Salt air and sand are something ingrained in their lives and a symbol of their childhoods.

That little Jana was one handful. Loads of fun but always giving me a run for my money. She could out-stubborn me any day of the week. Those toddler years were trying as hell but damn what I would not give for just one more day of that curly-headed little whirling dervish.

And now she is halfway across the globe navigating the world as if she were riding her bike around the corner, “It’s fine mom, I’ll figure it out, don’t worry.”

Don’t worry?! Isn’t that my job?

Janny-girl, I am thinking that I just might have to save that little shirt a while longer. And no, you cannot still wear it even though I know you live tiny T’s.

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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Filed under gary, Jana, moms, parenting, t-shirts, Time to Cry Tuesdays

Time to Cry Tuesday – The family you choose

We are very fortunate Jews; very fortunate indeed, as we are invited to a most amazing Christmas every year with our dearest friends. I wrote about this last year but I can’t help but post again about an evening that is so very special to our family.

Seated in one room were  members of four families, one friend of the boys and the boyfriend of my girl. The ‘kids’ table was now populated with 14 to 20-year-olds!

As we all took our seats, the vision of all those young adults took my breath away. Some in High School, others about to go off to college, still others scattered in universities across the country, some about to go off on semester abroad adventures, were the finicky eaters and meltdown whiners of Christmas’ past. Was it not just yesterday that the girls put on their famous dance show in front of the fireplace while the boys bounced balls incessantly through the house? Did we not pajama the kids before we went home a few short years ago?

And it’s amazing how we don’t look a day older. (ok, we had a lot of wine with dinner).

It is never a bad idea to count your blessings during the holiday season. So much time is spent on rushing around to make it all perfect, when the truth is, by nature of the players it already is.

Thank you once again to my dear wife friend, Joanne, who makes a holiday like no other. Go figure that the skinniest, most fit woman I know would also be the best cook! She gave me the little framed picture above this post long ago and I keep in on my desk to thank my lucky stars for the day her husband brought her into my life (and believe me, he dated many women I would not have been all that happy sharing my life with, most of whom I remember and he does not).

I am doubly blessed to have a real family that I would choose anyway and an extended family of friends that I would throw myself in front of a train for.

Happy holidays to you all. Count your friends as your blessings for without them nothing is all that important.

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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Time to Cry Tuesday – Who is That Man?

jr-prom-prep

This picture simply kills me;  brings me right down to my Mommy knees. I walked in on Danny getting ready for the Junior Prom and this moment took my breath away. He rolled his teenaged eyes at me as I began clicking, but it mattered not. I am pretty sure he gets it under all the bravado. 

This was a week of milestones. Ones that he simply glided through while my heart both swelled and ached. 

A friend I have carpooled with since the boys were in pre-school called me the other day and shared a moment that summed it all up. 

She said she was driving him to hebrew school for the last time, which ended this week with a Confirmation service. She looked in her rearview mirror at the young man with the hairly legs and deep voice who needed a shave. She could not help but think of the little boy with the blonde bowl haircut that she used to lift out of the car seat so many years ago.

Hey, they grow up! Back when they were little, there were those days I thought would never end. Having grown kids was not something I could fathom.

Now I turn around and think, “Hey, who is that man?”

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone

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Filed under danny, Time to Cry Tuesdays