Tag Archives: parents

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 – You can’t go home again

540

Cleaning my office the first day back from the holidays, this picture fell out of a file folder onto my keyboard.

The Big 540… my childhood home.

The same house that we sold a few months ago. The process of selling was rather unpleasant, the details remaining unwritten. Use your imagination if you do not know the details. The process of dismantling it was long and arduous, as my parents had lived there for 60 years. But it was a labor of love. By the time we signed on the dotted line it was more of a relief than anything else.

Oddly, a few weeks after closing I had the most bizarre dream. I was showering in my parents’ bathroom and suddenly realized that we no longer owned the house (oops). Yep, wrapped in a towel in someone else’s bathroom and they walked in the back door. The classic version of the ‘I forgot to study for the test’ dream.

A few weeks later I had another dream that I was hanging out in the house and all of the new owners’ relatives started showing up with furniture and started yelling at me and threatening to call the cops. Again, I had forgotten that this was no longer ‘our house’ (yes, I am way crazier than I let on).

I don’t have to be a therapist to know that the loss of this house is obviously effecting me more than I realized. I have never lived without this home – quite something for someone of ‘my age’. This is where I grew up, where the family gathered, where my mom planted. And planted. And planted. Where my history lived in the walls. And although my current home has been in my life almost half as long as this one has, there is something unnerving about losing this place.

I know ‘home’ is not the building. And Lord knows I have brought enough of the stuff from that house here (anyone want to help me go through 14 crates of photos). It is hard to explain how I feel.

Maybe it is simply the knowledge that I can’t go home again.

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Filed under aging parents, grief, homeowner, loss, real estate, Time to Cry Tuesdays

Time To Cry Tuesday – Graduation (the final one)

danny-grad
A graduation post? Again? Didn’t I just do one of these? I suppose three years could be considered ‘just’ in some circles.

Each time my kids donned a cap and gown, I came here to share the overwhelming emotions attached to watching one’s child ‘grow up’.

There was Jana’s HS graduation; my first experience of letting go. I reread it today and it seemed like both yesterday and 100 years ago. (yes, I cried)

Danny’s HS graduation post brought back the memory of the pending empty nest (which by they way empties and fills again a few times before it is truly vacant). For some reason that was the first of two posts where I had an overwhelming emotional experience in a Starbucks. What the hell is that all about? (Yes, I cried again)

Then there was Jana’s college graduation. I marveled at the woman we had grown as I continue to do every day (yeh, more tears).

So many milestones, so many emotions.

But this time we finally got it right. Instead of all that overwhelming emotion, our graduation trip was a true celebration. We simply had fun! And although I felt very sentimental about leaving Madison after 7 years, I was more excited about my second child starting his life. Danny, in his matter-of-fact, self-assured manner, set the tone. He cut us the slack to be proud but kept the reigns tight on not making it all too big. We have simply had way too much big this past year, and he knew that. With humility and confidence he taught us how to do what he does best… be here now, go with the flow and most of all – enjoy life. (with shades on, of course).

Sure there were mixed emotions, how could one not miss a town with this view that had flyers for a band named Diarrhea Planet and reverse evolution graffiti on the sidewalk. This place is awesome. And my kids are more awesome for having lived there. But all things change. And change is good.

Here is my net of it all:

When your kids first leave for college it feels like an amputation. You think you are losing something you can never get back. You worry about your life changing drastically. Your heart aches as your head is telling you to knock it off and lose the drama. You dread your parental obsolescence.

Here – on the other side – you realize that your kids are not part off you, they enhance you. And you them. You never lose them, for no matter where they live they share their lives with you. Your life will change drastically, and that is a good thing… if you kept going at that custodial parenting pace much longer you would explode. And being someone again, instead of someone’s parent is the natural progression. Let’s face it, you have stuff to do!

Sure your heart will ache from time to time as you watch them struggle and grow, but it is a good ache. It is the physical manifestation of how much you love them. Just like when they were little, they will most certainly fall. The hard part is not trying to fix it for them when they do.

But most of all, parental obsolescence is simply a contradiction in terms. They will always need you, just differently. It’s all good.

Congrats Danny boy, thanks for the best weekend ever. You make us so very proud.

Every.

Single.

Day.

Now go out and be all you can be (and be careful).

 

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Filed under advice to my son, college, danny, education, family, graffiti, moms, music, relationships, Time to Cry Tuesdays

Time to Cry Tuesday – Being Six

1526299_10202899101262805_1167290587_nYeh, that’s me. At six.

Six was pretty perfect. Obviously from this picture I was sure I was all that. This is such an amazing shot. Hey, it got over 50 likes on Facebook in less than 24 hours! I told Gary today I think I might have peaked at six!

All kidding aside, I had the most amazing childhood. And this picture seems to embody it all. I know those are my eyes. I remember her. The way she lounged on that couch and maybe ate a little chocolate pudding out of one of those fabulous green square glass bowls. Or one of the white milk glass ones with the gold rim.  My brother and I didn’t realize that this life was not the norm at the time, but as we grow older we appreciate how wonderful it was to grow up in our house.

And now that house has sort of outlived its happiness for our family. It’s not that it has lost its beautiful memories, it is just time. The master of its charm has left the building, and so now, must the contents of a lifetime. It’s an interesting task. One that uncovers the treasures of the past buried amongst the bowling balls, slide projectors and ice skates from the 1960s. I have just begun, and I am sure there will be many tears and equally as many laughs as we dismantle what was for me, the most wonderful place on earth.

Thanks Dad, for giving me this task. Don’t feel bad about it. Don’t worry about the time it will take. You know this is my process. And you have earned the rest.

What does worry me a little is that closet in the garage, though. Mom always told me if she had a third child after raising me she would lock it in the garage closet… she was kidding, right?

 

 

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Filed under aging parents, childhood, homeowner, moms

Time to Cry Tuesday – Family

your-whole-family

Are they, now?

Would you define a 15 day black out, allergic reaction to antibiotic, a BP fiasco with a trip to the ER, a couple of sinus infections, the loss of a dear friend, a hip replacement, shoulder surgery and a sprained ankle all in the course of 3 months… ‘well’?

How could this not make me laugh out loud in the middle of all these calamities? And of course the english as second language fortune is always a source of entertainment.

But you know, the fortune is not really wrong. With all the tough times we have had over the past few months, there has been so much to remind us that our family, in fact, ‘are’ incredibly well.

After a particularly stressful few weeks our doorbell rang with a delivery of chocolate strawberries from… our kids! With a note telling us that we have always been there for them and they hope that they had been there for us when things got rough. And they certainly had been. In a big way.

Yeh, our family are well.

With two trips to Florida to help my parents through their rough times, I spent more time with my brother than I have in years. And even in the most stressful of times, through all the tough decisions and insane logistics, we kept our humor and enjoyed each other’s company. And I think it is safe to say that even though the circumstances sucked, neither one of us can deny how special it was to have that time together.

Yeh, our family are well.

With all their troubles, and they have had many over the last 10 years, my parents have both come through their latest surgeries with the kind of courage and fortitude that leaves me in awe of how tough they really are. They don’t complain, they work hard to get to where they need to be, and they never stop letting us know how loved and appreciated we are. It is truly an honor to be their daughter, and to be able to help them in their time of need.

Yeh, our family are well indeed.

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Filed under family, fortunes, Time to Cry Tuesdays

Happy Mother’s Day

For the first time in 22 years, I will be spending Mother’s Day without at least one of my kids. It is so very weird to write that… I don’t even know what to do with it. When they were little I used to ask for the morning to myself to plant flowers. Be careful what you wish for.

Since we cannot be together till next weekend I will do a little reflecting on what it has meant to me to be a mother. I was trained by the master… so a great big fat Happy Mother’s Day to my mom and of course to my mother-in-law as well.

Since I cannot be with my kids I decided to send them a random list of mom thoughts so that I feel like they are here. When they wake up (around 2PM) you will probably hear a collective ‘Awwww, mom’ from the Midwest.

1. Just when you both started to learn how to sleep late, I lost the ability to do so. So when I make too much noise in the morning when you are home, don’t think it is by accident. I do take more than a little bit of pleasure in the payback.

2. Although the house is very much in order when you are not here,  I would trade that for a hallway full of big sneakers and a kitchen full of bakers in a heartbeat.

3. A reminder that as your mother I feel obliged to tell you that although you are sure it is, Funfetti is NOT a flavor.

4. No, you may never consider calling the dog mommy (even when Daddy tells you it is ok – actually, especially at that time)

5. Danny, this may be hard to believe but I would sort of kill to be on the soccer field at 8:00 tomorrow, even if it is in Ronkonkoma. After so many years of complaining that there was no respect for family time by the soccer league, I realize that WAS family time!

6. Jana, don’t ever stop taking pictures on your phone and sending them to me. Even when you were on the other side of the world you always made me feel like I was right there with you.

7. Always remember when you see one of THOSE sunsets to say the words ‘sky blue pink’ to yourself and know that no matter where I am… I am with you.

8. Remember that nothing is ever too bad that you can’t tell me and no matter how much trouble you get into, chances are you will have a better shot of getting out if you call me first (with the help of Alan, of course, if it’s really bad).

9. If you think the milk is spoiled… it is. And don’t ask someone else to taste it, that’s mean.

10. I hope you both know that the single best thing I have done in my life was to become a mother. And that if I were given the chance to write down the qualities that I hoped my kids would have grown up to possess, it could never match the people you have become. I love you both so much it hurts.

Happy Mother’s Day to all!

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Filed under danny, family, holidays, Jana

Time to Cry Tuesday – The Original 4

If you have been reading along these past few days you would know that I took a trip to Florida to see my parents with my brother. We left our spouses home. And our kids? Well, they aren’t kids anymore so they have their own lives and we can’t lure them places with pool noodles and water wings. Although the promise of a good ice cream sandwich and free drinks at happy hour might get them to join us.

This was a bit of a last minute trip for me and I am so glad I took it. I can count on my hand the times in the past 25 years that it has just been the 4 of us. And sadly I would have to say most of those times were not surrounding very pleasant circumstances. Don’t get me wrong, we adore having our spouses and families with us, as do our parents. But there is something very special about going back to the original family unit of your childhood for a short time. My husband did it earlier this season (well 4 of his original 5 made it) and he too, appreciated having that historical dynamic.

This was the first extended period of time that we were able to just hang out and enjoy each other’s company. For so many years our interactions centered around the kids. Our professional lives are very demanding and leave us little time to just be. Lost were the days that we could sit at a table uninterrupted and have a complete conversation. This weekend was a gift of healthy (well except for mom’s 24 hour bug) parents and time to enjoy them.

With the backdrop of South Florida’s planned communities as never ending fodder for humor we had a lot of laughs.

Funny, we sat in the back seat of my dad’s car in our childhood positions. Fortunately we did not bicker. Since my brother is 4 1/2 years older I never did stand a chance in a fight and always wound up crying or having a nose bleed (don’t ask).

Times like this are a breeding ground for childhood memories. We talked of things that were long forgotten. The simple thrill of going to work with my dad when we were kids; the smell of the subway, the pretzels on the street, the chestnuts, eating lunch at the Automat, going to Kresge’s Five and Dime to buy junk. My dad was the original Bring Your Child to Work Day guy. And not just my brother, he expected the same from me as he did from his son; no double standard in our house. We talked about my mom’s garden (and the gardener, G-d help that poor man) and how excited she is to get back to nurturing her plants.

We discussed family holidays when we were kids and how my grandmother used to bring Jordan Almonds, jellied fruit slices and Dunkin’ Donuts to our house. Beach days with the children when they were babies, and how they have all grown up to be such amazing young adults.

These are the little things that make up a life. Nothing truly monumental (although some would beg to differ about the Jordan Almonds), just the details that give us all history; lives made up not of days, but of moments.

Thanks Mom and Dad, not only for a lovely weekend, but for teaching us how to be parents. And giving us the gift of your time – whenever we have needed you.

Happy Passover (and pass me a tissue, please).

Oh and if you are all wondering, yes, that is my brother’s Bar Mitzvah picture. Cute wasn’t I? (in a mousey sort of way). Looks like something straight out of A Serious 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 aging parents, family, parenting, Time to Cry Tuesdays, travel