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.
And so will you.
(this post is dedicated to a colleague who knows who she is and is just learning this dance)
Having made it to the other side of parenting, now hanging with the 2 best adults I know, I wanted to say thank you to both of them for tolerating this lunatic and still turning out great. Someone wise once told me, “your kids will be fine”. In the throws of working full time (and then some), caring for pets and parents, and trying to be a good human, I sometimes wonder how they survived.
But they did. In spite of me.
I thought this would be a good time to do another famous list and look back on the ways I messed up and they still turned out fine. And loved me anyway.
- Anything involving the smoke alarm and our first dog who would shake from it.
- Ironing the graduation gown and almost melting it.
- Being the carpool mom that once in awhile forgot the other kid.
- Backing up full force out of the driveway and hitting my brother’s car broadside… with a car full of teenage girls. (sorry Keith)
- Singing in the morning when you just wanted to be left alone.
- Locking us out of the house in a black out.
- Losing the concert tickets in the jungle of my hard drive for a show I don’t remember but one that was REALLY important.
- Surprise back surgery into a slip and fall geezer-like incident at the worst moment ever. (really sorry about this one, guys, I know how hard that was for you)
- Initiating completely inappropriate family discussions that now that they look back are probably the best thing I ever did… nothing shocks them now.
- Taking a while to figure out you did not want me to solve it, you just wanted to bitch.
Goes to show, no matter what we do, if we love them unconditionally, they just might do the same thing back.
Happy Mothers Day, kids. Thanks for tolerating.
Twenty-eight! The age I was when I was planning to have you, and now here you are being that age. And being it so damn well you astound me.
Jana, indulge me in the annual birthday post, where I marvel at what a kickass woman you turned out to be.
Your smile. Period.
The way in which you are one of the toughest people I know. Packed into that little body of yours, armed with only that smile and some guts, I have watched you gently show the world that you will take no shit, or prisoners. A few examples:
- Getting a 300 lb. bouncer to shut down the DJ on the previous party in a bar to move your people in.
- Getting me to go under the turnstile in a subway station when my metrocard did not work (now we will both get arrested, sorry, bad judgement)
- Better judgement than me in most cases (see item 2)
- Becoming the family concierge and doing it like it is second nature.
- Letting those you love never doubt that love for one second.
But, I am most proud of your integrity and humility. Your unwavering commitment to the people and causes that mean the most to you. All while making it seem like no big deal. Please know that does not go unnoticed (even by people who did not give birth to you).
Happy Birthday, Petunes. This has been quite a few months for you. You are so very fortunate to have found the love of your life. As you say, he makes you the best version of yourself. As your mom, there is nothing that could make me happier.
Thank you for the joy you bring to my life every single day. And for the honor of being your mother.
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 ; ).
To the moon and back.
Happy 24, Danny-boy. All you can.
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.
And 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:
- In the history of mankind, no one has ever calmed down when you say ‘calm down’.
- They now take credit cards in taxis, it’s not 1985. (in my defense I was pretty sick that day)
- Sometimes you just have to smile and nod – and shut the hell up.
- Repost is the best instagram regram app.
- You don’t need to solve it, you just need to listen to me complain. I will solve it myself.
- When you take pictures on your phone, you should always shut the sound off.
- Don’t eat this [fill in the blank], it has too much salt.
- Madewell has great gift items.
- This is how you do a face swap video.
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.
There are people in your life that know you to the core, and as they say, love you anyway. You have a common past and a shared commitment to one another that is unshakeable. I like to refer to these friends as the ones you call, ask them to bring a shovel and they, in turn, ask no questions (not that I have ever done this, but it is good to know).
I am fortunate to say that I have a solid pool of these type of friends and never does a day go by that I do not feel grateful for that. There are three of them that have been in my life since I was in 6th grade. I was a latecomer to this group; they all know each other since kindergarten! Whenever we get the chance, which is not often enough, we go for a ‘reset’. Sometimes it is just a dinner, but when we are lucky it is a weekend. I recommend reset for everyone. It is the best therapy, the most laughs and reminds you WHY (in caps and the all-encompassing why).
This past weekend we reset. With party favors! Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific was the shampoo of our adolescence. We were obsessed with this product. If social media existed back then this product would have broken the internet. One of the reset girls found this online and ordered a bottle for each of us (Ron, I believe I took yours home, sorry). The sight of that packaging brought back a flood of shared memories and cemented our connection once again.
Gee my friends are terrific (yes, corny wrap-up). Ok, I will try again. Without these 3, life itself would be utter chaos, even though sometimes we are the cause of each other’s chaos. We stage interventions, big and small, tell each other the things we don’t want to hear but need to and problem solve (ad nauseum). But must important, we laugh, to the point of tears. (yes, that is this blog’s tagline).
Love, Love, Love, you 3.
If ribbon curling were an Olympic sport, my mom would have surely taken home the gold. This woman lived to wrap packages. When the holidays came around she was in all her glory.
Today, being the first night of Hanukkah, I needed to do a little last minute wrapping and went in search of a scissor. There in my kitchen drawer I found one that I had rescued from her house when I was cleaning it out. I thought to myself, ‘just like Elaine to have a floral scissor.’ And then I remembered that I had bought it for her. Perhaps as part of a Hanukkah present one year. This actually looks like her!
At that moment I was so thrilled to have saved this item. There were so many things I had to let go of, but there are special little everyday items of hers that I have sprinkled around my house to remind me of her. Every room has a little bit of Elaine in it. My brother and dad notice when they are here. Hopefully it gives them the same comfort it gives me.
There is no real need to have her ‘things’ around, other than to make my home feel like hers did. She is everywhere I go, in everything I do. So much of her lives in me now. And I am proud to carry out her traditions, both big and small, to honor the type of mother she was. Again, I hope this gives my family comfort.
Let me tell you, that crazy ribbon curler would be damn proud of what her scissor and I turned out on that package tonight.
How lovely to share a little bit of Elaine on the first night of Hanukkah.
Happy and healthy to those of you who are of the tribe.