On this day, 4 years ago, in between 4 nor’easters, after 6 years long distance, these 2 joined together and grew our 2 families into a single kickass clan. We could not have chosen a better 2nd son (and partner for our daughter) if we tried. Now here we are, after 2 bizarre years, with the world still spinning out of control, waiting to add 1 more to this family equation.
We love you 2(½) people more than we can ever say. May you have the most beautiful anniversary day, celebrating all that truly matters in this world. And may you always know that we will all be your shelter in the storm. No matter what.
Typing that is a bit jarring. This makes me – as my birthday card from you read – ‘dead in dog years’.
Dan, I bet you thought I forgot the birthday post. Well, I almost forgot to serve your birthday cake tonight, and to give you your card, so it would not have been a stretch. The old rock of Gibraltar is surely showing some cracks.
But never. The only time I write here is birthdays, and 29 is a damn big one.
I looked at you across the table tonight and thought, how lucky am I? To have a son that gets me. That shares not only my birthday week but my sense of humor and desire to hang together. You taught me how to parent as much as I taught you how to grow up. And I can honestly say I learn from you every day.
Watching you mature, grow professionally and be a caring, supportive partner is all a parent can ever ask for. I can honestly say, I don’t worry about you. Ever, really. You have a level head, a strong moral compass, and yes, a Puss Jew Bod, but you have learned to manage that with grace. You have a firm grasp on what truly matters (see what I did there?)
Thank you for always being there for me. For making me think. For appreciating that sometimes I am actually ‘not wrong’. And most of all for loving me with your full heart. You are a man of both strength and sweetness. Don’t ever lose that charm.
Here’s to you, my sweet boy. May this year bring you all you wish for. I look forward to every moment of being your mom.
(Becky makes it into the photo because, frankly, I don’t have any recent pics of you alone! That speaks volumes. I love that, too!)
Daddio-sir. Not sure when I started calling you that, but it just fits!
TheHarvZ. My dad. The first man in my life. And he did it pretty damn gracefully (excluding those teen years that we all know are pretty much temporary insanity). Coining the phrase, ‘doing it the Amy way’, he taught me to navigate the easier roads to travel.
To know my dad is to to know his warmth. His no nonsense, massive love for his family. There is nothing more important to him. And if you marry in, you are his now too. This is evidenced by his famous ‘birthday letters’. He does not buy cards. (I think it may have something to do with the fact that my mom single-handedly supported Hallmark’s stock price for her entire life). The way he expresses emotions so freely is a gift we all cherish. His support and interest in every one of our lives and accomplishments is astounding. And he is the first to dust us off during challenges and failures. There is no better cheerleader.
Harv is a funny guy. He can become wildly aggravated by the inefficiencies of the postal service or the dining room in his place, but never once complained about being locked into his apartment for almost a year during the pandemic.
He has sucked up more things in his lifetime than I can count, and always keeps a smile on his face, a humorous twist and a positive lesson.
There is no greater gift a daughter can have than a dad who remains her champion her entire life. After the loss of my mom, he took on the role of the daily chatter. We never miss a morning, and when I am pressed for time there is never any guilt. Only the greatest support for getting through my day.
A big fat wish I were there with you Happy Fathers Day to my hero.
Happy birthday to my girl’s boy. Son #2. The calm in every storm.
Cor, It is hard to remember a time when you were not a part of my family. You have been with us through it all. And I could never fully express how grateful I am to have you there with your quiet strength and insightful perspective. You are my go to guy in an emergency.
Thirty to thirty-one has been one crazy ride. Never once did I see you falter. When things got scarier, you became more steadfast in your conviction to keeping it cool. Nothing like a pandemic to test the true colors of a man. (a little ironic, for a colorblind guy, huh?) When decisions had to be made, you brought them to the families with undying grace and respect. You always consider everyone’s feelings before making a move. And somehow, you manage to do it all with a smile on your face and a no big deal attitude.
When you marry someone you marry their family. That is not always easy to navigate. But we are so very fortunate that we took it one step further and married both our families into one. I could not imagine living without that. My gratitude is without measure.
For 31 I wish for you all that you have missed. All that you deserve. Music. Food. Festivals. Travel. Golf. And a fully opened NYC!
Can’t wait to see what this year has in store for you. Thanks for always taking us along for your ride.
You are 28, right? There are years that I have gotten this wrong. And in the land of time warps, how do you actually know you are 28? What is time anyway…
Never mind, I did the math.
Here we are again, as the day is about to turn from my birthday to yours I can’t help but think the big stuff. Especially now.
It is impossible to ignore where we are and where we have been this year. But I am going to use our birthdays to reflect on all the good that this crazy rollercoaster has given us.
One of the bright things… You. As a roommate. AGAIN! Only this time it was so much different than it has ever been. This time you were here to hold it together with me. To keep me sane when I started to let it all run away with me. As I circled the drain you put out your steady hand and pulled me right out. With an eye roll and a ‘yes, mother’ you could lighten up even the toughest of moments.
You will forever be my sounding board. You think the way I do but with a mind that is so open to all possibilities that my insight pales next to yours. You slow me down, keep me on course and help me to stay straight and go with my gut, even when my gut seems to be nowhere to be found.
Oh, and you vacuum and do the dishes!
But best of all you do this all with a keen sense of humor and the ability to make light of the heaviest of all situations.
You navigated some incredibly tough waters through this crazy ride of a year and worked hard to land in the most amazing place. Without once feeling sorry for yourself or giving up. It’s how you navigate the hard times that determines who you are. You kicked the ass of 2020.
Ok, so I am your mom and I am supposed to say this stuff. But others do too.
Thank you, Dan, for turning into a man I could not be more proud of if I tried.
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!
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.
(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.
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 ; ).