Tag Archives: mothers

This is 24 (not 23)!

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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.

 

 

 

 

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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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Time to Cry Tuesday – The Flying of Time

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Time flies. Where did the years go? How could he be so old? All those cliché lines of motherhood… why do I roll my eyes at these sometimes and at others they bring me to my knees?

Today I am teetering. Yes, I am more emotional than usual these days. And yes, having him home during the hardest 3 months of my life has been both a comfort and a joy. But the straw that broke this mamas floodgate today was this yearbook ad I did for my son when he graduated HS (yeh, it is both a blessing and a curse to have a mom who is a graphic designer). I came across it today on my Pinterest motherhood board (don’t make fun, I work in the mom blogger market). 

That ever-changing face. The same one that now sports a scruffy beard and fronts such a level head for an almost 21-year-old. This boy has turned into a man that I am so proud to say I raised. Part luck, part skill, parenting him has been such an amazing ride.

I am watching him this week between an internship and the journey back for his senior year in college. Gone are my days of checklists and phone calls, Bed Bath and Fed Ex, doctors appointments and errands. He has his list and he is checking things off as they are complete. He may not handle it the way I would (seriously, Dan, are you really moving into an apartment you have NEVER seen?), but he handles it all.

Also gone are the butterflies I used to get when my children would leave. Volumes are written this time of year about the leaving of the nest – but not many write about being comfortable with the dance. If we do our job correctly, they are good to go. And we should be ok with that, even if we get a little weepy during the transitions.

While perusing the motherhood board (for work, I swear!), I came across this quote that says it all for me:

It is easier to build a boy than it is to mend a man.

– Mahatma Gandhi

He is surely ‘letting his life proceed by its own design‘, of that I am quite certain. But he is using the foundation we built to spring from. And that is all any parent can ever hope for.

Faring thee well, my (man)boy, faring the well.

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Time to Cry Tuesday – Girl Launched

The picture above is the Holstee Manifesto. If you are not familiar with Holstee, I urge you to read about them here. When they started their company they wrote this manifesto. “It was about what they wanted from life and how to create a company that breathes that passion into the world everyday. It was a reminder of what we live for. The result became known as the Holstee Manifesto”. 

For those who don’t know our family, my girl is filled with this kind of passion. She has a spark in her eye and a smile that can knock you over (ok, I am her mom, but she does!). She has ideas about helping people and wanting to make a difference. And for the past year she found herself in a job that, let’s be kind and say, did not fit that bill. Not remotely. And it took its toll on her. At times she felt as if it would break her. But she stuck it out and trudged away, spending a year trying to get out of it the skills that she could.

And now? She has been given the opportunity to live the Manifesto. “If you don’t like something, change it. If you don’t like your job quit… Start doing things you love… Life is about the people you meet and the the things you create with them… Live your dream and share your passion.” (she is still working on the ‘stop watching TV piece… hey this is a launch post, not a miracle post).

They say that you are only as happy as your most miserable child. But in turn, you are also as happy as your most ecstatic child, too. When your daughter finds the world she expected to find after college, when she gets up in the morning with a smile on her face, when working on Sundays and odd hours is not a chore, when she stays up and rewrites her notes from work because she is so excited about what she is learning and wants to get it right… when the spark comes back in her eye and you see her smile more in a week than you have in the past year… well, you know your girl is launched.

And quite frankly, there is nothing better on this earth.

Congrats to my girl for being launched. May you shine as bright as you can. I love you to the moon and back again.

And then some.

 

 

 

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The Famous Graduation Post 1 – This is Not a Dress Rehearal

I have decided to make this an annual post at graduation time of year. I wrote this before I was a blogger. It was an email I sent to those who had been parenting with me since preschool. It was written on the morning of my daughter’s HS graduation. It still makes me cry. Funny how she is now a COLLEGE grad, one year out and has been living home, soon to move on to her own apartment. THAT will be some post… the final launch.

This is not a dress rehearsal…

or watch the temp when you decide to iron the graduation gown.

6AM on the day that my first child graduates high school.

how can this be, she was just a curly-headed little whirling dervish whose door i had to hold shut as she was throwing her ever famous brand of temper tantrums. that same door with the loose latch from all the times she slammed it for effect when she stormed into her room in her tweens. you know the one, who at five years old marched into nuerosurgery to ‘get her neck fixed’ and never once asked ‘why me?’.

who was that radiant young woman that walked out of the house wednesday morning with her car packed and her keys in hand saying, “don’t worry mom, i have the garmin GPS, i don’t need a map!”

well i think, perhaps, i need a map today. someone tell me how to navigate this road. we surely have had enough practice. we graduate them ad nauseum – from the 4’s, kindergarten, 5th grade, 8th grade – the most graduated generation of all times. you would think we would get used to it. but this year’s cap does not have flourescent orange and green finger paint decorating it. this kid has actually grown up! how dare she. does she not know that my bravado this year has all been an act. of course i could not be ready for her to be the competant, independent, grab-the-world-by-the-balls person i worked so hard to raise. does she not know i was only kidding!! wisconsin?!! that is halfway across the country!

i digress – back to the gown and the iron. being a working mom i always look for ways to overcompensate and make sure that i am doing the mom thing as well as the work thing. so, of course, they both are never really quite up to the standard i expect. somewhere in the 4-page green directions for graduation (you know the one, where the assistant principal gives them a 10 bullet list for how to enjoy graduation and prom, 9 of which stress not drinking or doing drugs) there was mention of taking the gown out of the bag and ironing it. at midnight i was the mom who would just hang it up. at 6AM i decided no daughter of mine will graduate with a wrinkled gown!

so why is it, exactly, that they make these things out of the same material as basketball shimmer shorts?!

no, you will not be able to notice my daughter by the big brown iron mark on the back of her white gown. but if you look close, you may notice that on the front left shoulder the fabric is, how should i put it, a tad ‘melted’.

as jana would say, ‘it’s FINE’. as my parents would say, i did it ‘the Amy way’.

a huge thank you to the jana who has become one of my favorite people on earth to spend time with. surely the one that knows me the best, and loves me anyway. sometimes it seems that she is raising me. i think her humor and radiant smile will get me through this one. levity has always been her strong point.

love and congrats to all of you who have been in the parenting trenches with me the past 18 years. for some of you it is your first, others, your last. it is never easy to watch them go. but then again, we could all use a rest. and as my mommy mentors tell me, they come home, stay out all night, sleep late and bring lots of laundry.

let the games begin!


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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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Eighteen!

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.

Happy Birthday Danny Boy. Be all you can be and…

be careful.

Love you, man!

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