I think a lot about my dad at this time of year and I become very nostalgic. He had a way of making everyday feel special. If I were granted one holiday wish, it would be that my father were still alive, so he could meet his precious grandchildren. I know he would have been the best grandpa. Here are some sweet memories of my dad that warm my heart.
The way he used to hold my hand while walking down the street, even when I was too old to “need” it. I’d pretend to be embarrassed, but I secretly liked it too.
Playing, “What number am I thinking of?” and to my amazement, “guessing” it EVERY time. I thought I was psychic. And even though it never worked on my friends, the game never lost it’s appeal.
Making slice n’ bake chocolate chip cookies for him. He loved it when I baked the whole log without slicing, so it was crunchy on the outside and gooey in the middle. We’d eat it straight from the pan while watching Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show.
Going to the toy store with my dad, my siblings and our best friend on Sundays after spending the day at the park and pony rides. We weren’t allowed to leave the store until each one of us picked out a small toy. Even though I was the baby of the bunch, I was always chosen to be in charge of how much we were allowed to spend. Given my lack of math skills, I can see why we always went over budget (and why they chose me)!
Pony rides. I would beg my dad to take me for a ride on the “pretty ponies,” even though I was absolutely petrified of them. He always made sure I had “Sugar,” the sweetest, slowest (oldest!) horse. With one hand in mine and the other on Sugar’s reins, he would gently guide us around and around and around the corral until he and Sugar were exhausted. As with most things, we’d finish off with ice cream.
Going to his office and being his little “assistant.” I would “reorganize” (I use that term loosely) his briefcase or put stamps on envelopes, until the “boss” was ready to take me to lunch.
Our love of supermarkets. Sometimes my dad would “help” my mom out by taking all the kids and going to the market on a Sunday. My dad loved food and shopping, so he’d let us put anything we wanted in the basket, which was usually something greasy or sugary. Of course, my mom had a fit when she saw what we brought home!
Finishing his coffee. My dad liked it very sweet and with lots of cream. He always saved the last few drops for me, which I’d pour into my milk turning it the color of milk chocolate. It’s the only way my parents could get me to drink milk.
Is there any wonder where the sweet tooth and coffee addiction came from?! One thing I’ve found is that no matter how old I get, I will always be “Daddy’s Girl.”
Parenting is tough stuff. There are sleepless nights in the beginning, with a brief period of rest during prepubescence, and then sleepless nights again when they’re teenagers. The young kids think you’re a superhero, and the older kids think you’re only there to ruin their lives. Aside from that, becoming a mom was the best thing I’ve ever done.
10 little things I love about being a mom (and not necessarily in this order):
1. Little toesies- Need I say more?
2. Built in playmates- Of course they’re so cute and fun to hang out with-they’re ours!
3. Playtime-A great excuse to play with Barbies, build forts, play hide-and-seek and KerPlunk. Our all time favorite is Monopoly. We do our own version with lots of clever trading and shaky financing (lots of jail time too).
4. Food- Sometimes nothing hits the spot better than ice cream and Happy Meals (and when I’m really nice, I even share my toy).
5. Inheritance-You need to pass that garage full of stuff onto someone.
6. No application necessary- It’s the one thing I didn’t have to take an exam for or fill out an application.
7. Trick or Treating-It’s no secret in my neighborhood-I like to dress up too. Oh, the thrill when they fill our (ah, their) baskets. I call the Reese’s!
8. Power hungry- I get to say “no” and “because I said so,” because I can. Woo-hoo.
9. TV privileges- If I had a dime for every time we watched High School Musical, I could finally get the Brazilian Blowout for my hair (if you saw my hair, you’d know this was money well spent). Now we’ve graduated to the Simpsons, Entourage, and Kardashians.
10.Humor- They’re my best audience and they keep me laughing (must be genetic). Guess I’ll keep them around.
11.Education- Ok, sometimes I’ll try reading some of their English Literature books just so they won’t think they’re so much smarter than me and get even cockier. But, going back and forth (it’s like Wimbledon) from the book to the dictionary makes me dizzy and exhausted. In the name of mental health, I just have to stop.
OK, so there were 11. Your math skills are astounding (or at least better than mine). What do you love about being a mom?
Our most important family tradition is a cross between everything centering around food and taking grandma on vacation. We are a small, tight knit family with all the quirks and we move together like a little pack of wolves. Mealtime is especially important. We eat, we fight, we make up and then eat some more. Constantly planning our next meal or vacation, while we’re still in the middle of one. I’m not embarrassed to tell you, we often exercise together too. It may sound like too much togetherness for some, but my husband, mother-in-law and spirited and cheeky older teenage offspring are some of the funniest people I’ve ever spent time with and sweating it out with them is a hoot. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t get a little competitive in the gym. But it’s all good. While this type of togetherness usually comes in small doses, it reaches a crescendo when on vacation. Though there are times I want to pull my hair out from all the craziness, when I’m with my family, I feel like the luckiest woman alive.
Final exams are coming up in three weeks. Mini-me’s high school JUNIOR YEAR finals! And do you know what that means? The fun is over. We go into DEFCON 4 total lock-down mode. We did this last December, too. I barely survived.
I stopped watching Glee, Khloe & Lamar, and 90210 as an act of solidarity. If Mini-me is suffering, I’m suffering too. I miss TV and Mini-me is the only one that knows how to use the new remote! I just sit there helplessly on the couch, wondering if I should (gasp!) read?
I’m so tired of cracking the whip, but if I didn’t, what would I do? I’m usually a pretty strict mom and I’d like to think I keep her on track, though I know she doesn’t need me to. But, during finals (OMG, junior year?!), I’m leaving nothing to chance, and it’s mighty stressful around here. I make a helicopter mom look like a slacker.
Other than bringing her healthy snacks, (heaven forbid she gets a cold or flu), there’s really nothing I can do to help. Her Spanish is better than mine, her French is better than mine and now that she’s past fractions, I’m no help at all. So I guess my way of “helping” is making sure all the studying is getting done and she’s getting plenty of rest. I didn’t work this hard when I was in school, and quite frankly, I think labor was easier too.
Can’t wait until finals are over. I’m sure, Mini-me is looking forward to that too. Before you know it, it will be time to work on college applications. I think I need to lay down now.
How do you survive your teen’s final exams? Are you crazy like me, or do you hide until it’s over?
I’m suffering from jet-lag. You know the kind when the room is a little unsteady and you have a migraine. Kind of like a hangover. So I figured now was as good a time as any to write about drinking. Anyone who knows me well, knows I’m a total light weight when it comes to alcohol. A good sniff of the cork is almost all I need.
I don’t mind a nice buzz, but I don’t really like being too tipsy or worse, drunk. Walking unsteadily and slurring my words holds no appeal for me. I have a hard enough time walking in my heels when I’m sober. I’m not judging. Really. I just don’t want that to be me. I know my limits and I don’t want to embarrass myself or share something that’s too personal. At least not that way. If I’m going to make a complete fool of myself or spill some juicy secrets, I want to be fully present when I’m doing it. And remember that I did it the next day.
Which brings me to a small dinner party I was lucky enough to be invited to a few weeks ago. The champagne was flowing, the food was fabulous, there was dancing on the table and a lively dancing train (which some say I started). We were all having a great time, but there came a time when some of us seriously needed to be cut off from more libations (names protected to protect the not so innocent).
Here are some signs that you or your host might want to say “No” to more of the bubbly:
1. Sharing family secrets. I don’t really want to know that so and so’s marriage is hanging by a thread or how often they have sex. If you’re saying intimate things you wouldn’t say sober, maybe it’s time to scale back a bit.
2. The mean drinker. Tell me how you really feel. No, please don’t.
3. When you can’t stand, walk or pee on your own volition. Or other gross stuff. No explanation needed.
4. Can you hear me? Why is everyone yelling in here? They start to speak very loud.
5. You start hitting on my husband. Hands off, Girlfriend!
Aside from that, please do dance on the table or chair. (I’m all about celebrating life!) And with the right 70′s Disco and half a Mimosa, I’ll be next to you swinging the napkin over my head. But that’s as far as I go. I’ve got things to do tomorrow.
Do you stop yourself when you think you’ve had too much or is a nasty hangover the ultimate goal?
Every year when my kids go back to school, the feeling is bittersweet. I’m sad to see the lazy days of summer go and the relaxed attitude of the kids, but I do breathe a long sigh of relief (Ok, it’s more of a “Yippie!”) when I drop them off on their first day of school. As much as I cherish our carefree summers, by Labor Day I’m ready for them to go back.
But this year is different. Very different. It was the first year I didn’t drop off Mini-Me, because now she not only drives herself (omg), but has her own carpool (OMG). This has totally thrown off my mornings. I like driving her to school and then stopping by my favorite Starbucks. To make matters worse, it was the last time we would go school supply shopping together. We do some heavy bonding at Staples (have you seen those sparkly pens and folders?), so this is a really big deal.
If you haven’t guessed by now, this will be our last year of having a “child” living at home, because our “baby” is now a SENIOR! We’re going to be, dare I say it…empty-nesters?! I hear those two words and only one word comes to mind: OLD! I’ve got this sneaking feeling I’m going straight from Pampers to Depends, with only a stop for a facelift.
Funny, when they’re little you know you’re raising them to grow up and leave you, but it all seems so far away. It’s really hard to imagine them ever growing up enough, so they could leave. But they do. Did I really think I would be cutting their food and tying their shoes forever? Would I want to? Best not to ask that question. It took two years to get used to College-Boy living away, and now Mini-Me? Face it, even if you’re not old, when the babes are gone it’s a totally different stage of parenting. And it feels a little weird.
Of course, I’m so proud of her and excited for her future. But I’m sad that this whole year is about letting her go. And I have to let her go. It’s a good thing that we have a flurry of activities to keep us so busy that we can’t focus too much on her looming departure, like college applications, SAT prep, college counselor meetings and endless nagging (ours, not hers). The upside is this keeps us busy, the downside is it just creates more stress.
Applying to college is no picnic. There’s Early Decision, Early Action, Regular and Rolling. We’ve never been early to anything, so why start now? Too many decisions to make and so many to chose from. My generation never had to work this hard to get into college and most of us couldn’t even get accepted into the same college today.
I hope this school year goes by slowly, even though we can’t wait to find out where she’s “going.” Because before you know it, Mini-Me and I will be shopping at Bed, Bath & Beyond with a college check list as long as a standard dorm twin-xl sheet. At least we’ll be bonding.
How did you survive your child’s senior year?
With Thanksgiving rolling into Hanukkah this year, (I jokingly refer to it as “Thanukkah”), I’m feeling a little overwhelmed and way behind the eight ball with shopping for gifts. Hanukkah moves around every year (based on the Jewish calendar), and unlike Christmas or New Years, it can sneak up on you when you least expect it.
I haven’t decorated the house yet either. We like to make it festive with dreidels, dreidel stockings, and our collection of menorahs (most of which have been made by our kids, over the years). I love the “festival of lights” and all lights in general (and at my age, especially, good lighting!). The city looks so beautiful lit up for the holidays. It is truly a joyous time of year, BUT the days are flying by and I am feeling choked, as my gift list is long and my energy and patience are running dry.
As crazy as it seems, the holidays just wouldn’t have that special feeling any other way. So in light of how stressed I feel, (me and everyone else), here’s a little list of tips to be taken with a helping of latkes and dose of eggnog. Read More
I love Spring. It’s my favorite time of year. The flowers are blooming, the birds are chirping, the days are longer, and the promise of a lazy summer (I can dream, can’t I?) is just around the corner.
All that sunshine and fresh air, energizes me and puts me in the mood for a good spring cleaning (and a deep exfoliation). It makes me want to feng shui my life. One closet at a time.
I start with something easy: my kids’ closets. I set up camp in each kid’s closet and with their help, or in spite of it (Mini-Me can’t let go of anything, don’t know, ahem, who she gets that from), go through their clothes and shoes. We make a huge giveaway pile, for what no longer fits or is too worn out. She’s delighted, because to her, it means time to replenish.
I can’t begin to express the thrill of seeing a huge bag of clothes to be given away and a closet that isn’t a tangled mess. The thought of dropping off this bundle at Goodwill, leaves me weak at the knees. My house “feels” lighter already. One of the bonuses of cleaning out your closet is finding stuff you didn’t even know you had. We call it “Buried treasure.”
Clearly, the biggest hurdle is working my way through my own closet. For this I call in a professional: Mini-me, my teenage daughter. For as much as she can’t part with her own things, she is merciless when it comes to my stuff. My goal is to give up nothing. Her goal is to get rid of everything.
She has a keen eye for style and insists I dress like a “soccer mom.” For the most part, this is true. Staying on task becomes difficult, because clearly a “mommy makeover” becomes the priority.
I have to be mentally and emotionally prepared to handle this kind of help. “What were you thinking?” she laughs, as she raises each piece of clothing in the air and away from her, as if my boring taste was contagious.
I should be flattered that my teenage daughter still thinks there’s a chance I could still look hip. When I’ve had about all I can take from my enthusiastic “stylist,” I call a cease fire and make a promise to myself to workout more. This time, maybe even sweat.
Question is, how do I distract her, to sneak back that “soccer mom” cardigan?
How do you survive spring cleaning?