Disneyland Family 5K -2014

Disneyland Family 5K -2014

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Missing Christmas

Sometimes I wonder what it is about this holiday that I find lacking in my life. I have recently come to the realization that Christmas holds no religious significance to me. Now, before you all decide to vilify me, let me clarify that I am Jewish. So of course, Christmas would not have any such religious significance. Yes, I used to be Christian, and yes, I used to celebrate Christmas, but there is nothing in the religious aspects of the holiday that I miss.

So what is it? As I sat here at home, today, watching absolutely nothing on television, including movies I've seen a hundred times, listening to my husband and my daughter argue with each other (as well as a three year old can argue, I suppose), I tried to remember what it was about the holiday that I liked so much and what was missing. The first thing that comes to mind is the tree - there is something about the Christmas tree, all decorated and sitting in a corner somewhere, lights twinkling. There is the anticipation of seeing the gifts piled underneath, wondering what is in those packages and waiting to be able to open then. From there, you can migrate to various decorations and holiday decor that simply do not appear in a Jewish home. So maybe it's those things that I miss. Of course we don't have a tree, but I still have my wreaths, done up with dreidels and gelt, and I have my Winnie the Pooh holiday village. I have some blue and white lights up, which helps. So maybe it's not the decorations, although there is something to be said about sitting in a completely dark room with no lights on other than the tree.

My main memories of the holidays center around the tree decorating (which usually took place on Christmas Eve), the gifts under the tree, and 2 family dinners. On Christmas Day, we would always go to Grandma Norton's. On the Saturday after Christmas, we would go to Grandma Wolf's house. Both dinners were usually filled with alot of people, although the Wolf house was generally much fuller. As I got older, and into high school, the numbers at the Norton's dwindled. When we moved into the house in Jefferson, suddenly the dinner got shifted and we had it at mom's house instead. Still the tree and the gifts and a crazy dog or two running about, but at mom's. The Wolf house was generally full. My dad was one of 11 kids and at one point, all of my aunts and uncles were married. I'm one of 26 first cousins (or maybe it's 24, I can never remember.) At least 10 or 15 of us grew up pretty much around each other, and back in the day, we were all usually at Grandma's house for Christmas.

These days, holidays are small. Even with Rob's extended family, the most we have had at a gathering is 9 or 10. That's nothing compared to the 40 or 50 that could sometimes be found at Grandma's house. It's hard to explain, but there's a certain comfort in the underlying hum of the chatter of that many people, of the ripple of laughter that seems to flow through the house. And who can forget the smell of all of that food. I remember that it was always up to my mom to bring the cookies, and so we would load up several large cookie platters and take them over They'd be placed in the basement, on the top of Grandma's sewing cabinet, for when we did gifts. (The tree was always in the basement, and so that is where everyone gathered after dinner.) Combine the smell of the tree, whatever had been on the stove all day, and add to it the smell of the fireplace (if we could convince someone to light it), and you had the makings of Christmas.

These days, holidays seem somewhat empty, probably because the family is so far away. I have come to learn that my mom doesn't have the same memories of the holidays that I do, and apparently was never much for the family gatherings. I knew she never liked the Wolf gatherings much (or at least, that is how it looked, when she would find a nice corner to deposit herself in and spend the evening there), but I at least thought that she liked her own family gatherings. Maybe it's because her parents are gone, but for some reason, she has no feelings whatsoever about family dinners.

So it was just us, Rob and B and I, hanging out at home. I went to the grocery store, just for that human contact, and to rekindle some of those old memories too, of something for dinner that had inevitably been forgotten, of the quick trip to the store for the whipped cream or the cranberry sauce, or one more potato. We had our candles and a few gifts, because Christmas happened to fall during Hanukkah this year, but it wasn't quite the same as waking up early in the morning to run downstairs and check out the loot under the tree.

I struggle with this whole thing, once a year. Then the decorations get put away, the lights all wound up, and the cookies all eaten. The ache goes away a bit and I moe on to Valentine's Day and Passover, and into the summer months. I forget for awhile that the family is so far away, as we get wrapped back up in life. For some reason, it is really only at this time of the year that I long for those days when I couldn't walk 6 inches without tripping over a cousin, or an aunt or uncle, when we would snuggle in bed trying to warm up, waiting for Santa to come. I'm not sure why, but I'm working on it.

In the meantime, I try to replace the family gatherings with the gatherings of friends, with holiday parties, and with lots of food and cookies. Someday I might figure this thing all out.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Mommy Milestone #532

Well, maybe not 532, but somewhere up there. As mommies, there are milestones, moments by which we mark the passage of time, the aging of our angels. Getting pregnant is the first big one, of course, easier for some than others. Then there is passing the glucose test and from there, I'd say delivery was a pretty big milestone. If you decide to breastfeed, being able to do so without it hurting, or getting your little one to latch on is a mark. Changing your first diaper fits in there somewhere too.

There are cute milestones for the babies and cute milestones for mommies, pictures to take, laughs and hugs, and little wobbles... and then there are those less than picture-perfect milestones, the slightly dubious ones that make you chuckle inside, shake your head and wonder what you signed on for (but you press on.)

My best friend emailed me once with one of her "milestones," when her son was about 18 months old. He had been all stopped up for a day or two and couldn't poop. (See, as mom's we suddenly gain this ability to talk about poop as easily as talking about what is for dinner.) Anyway, he was straining, hard. He was sitting in his little chair, crying and completely uncomfortable. So she picked him up, laid him on his changing table and helped nature out. She got the wonderful job of reaching up (with the smallest tip of her little finger, of course), and helping him push out the "blockage." viola! Mommy milestone. Not necessarily one that we'd broadcast from the hilltops, not necessarily something we would take an ad out in the papers for, and probably not something we'd tell all of the relatives at the next family picnic, but a milestone.

Having heard that story and a few similarly "fun" stories from friends about their milestones, I couldn't wait to see what curveballs my little one would throw at me. We had the usual, explosive diarhea, spit up, throwing food, etc., and Friday morning was another one. A little before 5 a.m., I heard a tiny voice - "Mommy! Mommy, I need you!" Rolling over to look at the clock and wondering what the heck could be going on at 5 a.m., I practically fell out of bed and wandered down the hall, trying to rub enough sleep out of my eyes to at least see the floor. When I got to B's room, she was sitting up in her bed and said, "Mommy, there's something in my bed." I thought it was a pull-up full of water having exploded again (that has happened before, looks like of like packing foam- very wierd), and I thought she had an accident. So we went into the bathroom to get cleaned up. As she sat on the potty and I soothed her rumpled feathers, I realized that there was something on her shirt, that ended up on my finger. Taking a closer look at it, I realized that it was macaroni. She had macaroni and cheese for dinner, and a light bulb came on (in my head, not in the bathroom because it would have hurt my eyes.) I took a closer look at her shirt and realized that the poor thing had gotten sick and tossed her cookies all over her bed.

Figuring this out, we finished up on the potty, went back into her room and changed her jammies and her sheets. She felt a little warm and I put her back into bed. Later that morning, when getting ready to go to school, she didn't want to eat breakfast (which is completely unusual for this kid, believe me), and I ended up having to pick her up early from school because she was sick. From there, the early-morning-throw up-in-bed milestone would turn into a sleeping-on-the-couch-all-day sick day, and from there to a daddy milestone of projectile carrots, but that's another story.

In 10 years or so, I will be preparing for her Bat Mitzvah. I doubt that I will tell the story of when she was 3 and woke up in the middle of the night sick, and how we got her all cleaned up and back to bed. But I will remember the milestone, and someday I'm sure I'll tell her the story (and maybe even embarrass her just a bit in front of her friends -or dare I say it, a boyfriend?)

For now, I get to hang out and wait for the next bloody knee from the bicycle, or other dubious milestone. I'm just hoping to avoid any trips to the emergency room. That one, I'm pretty sure I would not look back on fondly.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Searching for Snow

So it's cold outside. For Southern California, it's incredibly cold. People are wandering around here bundled up like it's the great Northwest. Weather people have been going crazy, talking about the winter storm that's "blanketing" Southern California. Are they nuts? It was 46 degrees last night and all anyone could talk about was that the Santa Clarita Valley might get snow. It was supposed to snow down below 2000 feet. We're right around 1800 feet, I think, give or take. It was barely raining. Are you kidding me?

But it's cold. It's funny that when I was in Ohio, and in Rochester, we had this thing called "wind chill factor." Over there, it's so cold that you don't notice the wind chill. Whether it's 10 below or 30 below with the wind chill, you just know that you shouldn't be outside and you stay in. You light the fire, you stay warm. I didn't give it much thought until today, when I was walking across the parking lot at the preschool. My thermometer in my car said it was 50 degrees, but it was windy and man, was it cold. Wind chill.

So, here I sit, bundled in my boots and sweater. I laugh at myself because in Rochester, or Jefferson, 50 degrees was cause for celebration. At 50 degrees, we would have been outside in our shorts and t-shirts, running around the back yard, claiming that Spring had arrived. Here, where the blood is thinned and the constitution not quite for hearty, we cover up and run for the fireplace. I chuckle, as the populace gets caught up in the "will it or won't it?" quest for snow. I laugh because I got caught up in it. I woke up this morning when my alarm went off, trying to look out the window to see if there was snow. I guess you can't get past the excitement of seeing snow on the ground. Maybe it's an east coast/ midwest thing, but I got caught up. Then I remembered that it needs to be BELOW FREEZING for it to snow. duh. I think the weather-people have forgotten that. Maybe someone should remind them? Weather 101?

So I sit and wait. Maybe it will snow, and maybe it won't. A few years ago, on New Years Eve, I was on the golf course and it was about 70 degrees. I remember calling home to Ohio and laughing because I was on a golf course in the sunshine and they were bundled up in front of the heater. Much as I like sweaters, I think I like the sunshine and golf course better. Bring on the sunshine. Last time I checked, this was Southern CALIFORNIA!

Friday, December 12, 2008


I had a grapefruit for breakfast this morning. In the grand scheme of things, that's not very exciting, I know. But when you consider all that the smell of grapefruit conjures up for me, it becomes more interesting.

Back home in Ohio, the local FFA (Future Farmers of America) held a citrus sale every fall. A week or two before the Christmas holiday, the gradefruit and oranges would come in. We would always get a box of each and for a few weeks, have lots of oranges and grapefruit in the house. Each morning we'd have a 1/2 a grapefruit, sprinkled with sugar, for breakfast with our cereal. Mom would use the oranges to make cookies.

When I cut into the grapefruit this morning, as juice squirted out all over the knife, I was instantly transported back to the kitchen in that little farmhouse. The linoleum on the floor was cracked and peeling back under the sink and by the stove and the oven. The shelf under the window was piled high with dishes and the silverware tray. Stacked in front of the shelf was all sorts of boxes full of dishes or Tupperware, along with a large bin of flour and another one full of sugar. The dishes were stacked in the old white cabinets on the fourth wall, right where the back door opened up. The bowls were old melamime, and olive green, and just a hair bigger than the grapefruit. If those weren't available, there were the standby Tupperware pastel cereal bowls.

The smell brings back more than the kitchen, with the cold of the floor seeping through our socks and the cold air flowing in around the back door and the poorly sealed windows. It brings back the feel of waking up in a cold house, because the fire in the wood burning furnace had gone down. It brings back the sound of mom (or dad) down in the basement, stoking the fire and putting in more wood, and the creak of the stairs as they would climb back up. We'd sit in our room, shivering under the covers and burrow down for one last snooze. It brings back the holidays, the smell of the Christmas tree in the corner of the living room, and the excitement of waiting to see what Santa would bring. It brings back the dining room table, and crawling around behind mom's sewing machine and various projects to get to "my" seat, or around dad's pile of magazines on the other side. Sitting next to Candy, with Trix across the table next to Mom (when we would all be eating breakfast together.)

It's funny how a scent will sometimes remind you of someone or a time and place. I can't seem to smell a grapefruit without instantly being back in that kitchen, shivering while I cut one for breakfast, sprinkle it with sugar and carry it into the dining room to sit down and eat, looking outside at the snow all over the ground, and waiting for the house to warm up. I'm instantly back to the excitement of the season, waiting to see what Santa will bring and the fun of decorating the house for the holidays.

Of course, this morning, I was sitting down next to a very curious 3 year old, who was asking "why" at every turn, or "what," and I explained in every possible detail, my grapefruit to her, and why I was eating it, and why I was squeezing the juice out of it and why I was drinking the juice and why it was pink and why.... and why... and why. :)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Years Gone By

I was sitting in my car this morning thinking about being the Mom of a 3 year old. Where did the last 3 years go? Then I put on a sweatshirt this morning for the Avon 3-Day walk. I stopped for a minute to try and figure out when I got the shirt, and realized that it had to have been either in '98 or '99, which was 10 years ago! Where did the time go? How is it possible that I have owned a piece of clothing that long? (Of course I have sweatshirts that are older, but go with me here.)

That got me thinking. What else can I mark time with? How many more things are so far in the past that they are becomming fuzzy with age and difficult to remember? Ah, the memories. Let's see...

As of November, Rob and I have been together for 10 years. Yup, that's right, 10 years. As of August, I have been in California for 12 years. 9 years ago this month, I was sworn into practice with the State Bar of California (no, I'm not sure I've learned anything of note in those 9 years.) My best friend Jen and I started hanging out in Health class in the 9th grade, fall of '88. That was 20 years ago! I've experience more of my life with her in it than I did before I met her. Nice, eh?

8 years ago I was in Cincinatti with Rob for Jen's wedding. We went to the Louisville Slugger factory and bought bats.

6 years ago I celebrated my first Hanukkah as a married woman, and had a party in our little condo in Sherman Oaks.

Three years ago this week I gave birth to B, and 3 years ago at the end of this week (I think it was on 12/7), I went back into the hospital, into ICU for post-eclamptic seizures. Fun stuff.

16 years ago I was a freshman in college. Yikes!

20 years ago I celebrated what would be the last Christmas with my dad. This is an interesting one. Dad died in March 1989. It will be 20 years that he has been gone this coming March. At the time, I would never have thought about it being our last holiday together, and I would have never thought about soaking up the memories - such that they were- to keep. You see, Christmas over the preceding 2 or 3 years had been nothing, if not interesting. The previous Christmas (when I was in 8th grade), my dad decided that he did not want us to open our presents. He had a fit on Christmas morning when we wanted to open them. So we didn't, and off we went to Grandma's without opening any presents. When we got home, we bugged and begged until he got upset and yelled at us to go ahead and open them. I remember my sisters and I looking at each other at that point, wondering if it was worth it to open them, for fear he would continue to yell at us. We ended up diving into the stack, and then he refused to open anything that we had gotten him. Very bizarre.

I can't remember if it was that year, or for a few years before that, he refused to let us get a live Christmas tree. It was tradition in his family to go out on Christmas Eve and get the tree out in woods on our property. When my aunt was home from the Air Force, she would take us out and we'd get one for our house and one for Grandma's house (next door). If she wasn't home, we'd go out with Uncle Rodney and Uncle Paul if he was home. It was usually a fun time, tromping through the woods covered in snow (or sometimes covered in mud and water), and then dragging our finds back to the houses to be put up. For some reason, one year dad decided that we couldn't go get one. He gave no reason, just said "no." And in those days, you didn't question his "no." I think the first time he did it, it was a few days before Christmas and we thought he was joking. We thought that we'd wake up on Christmas morning and find a tree, all decorated. We didn't. To get past that, we took a holiday fabric, stuffed tree that my mom had made and put it on a box covered with a red piece of fabric, and used that. The treeless- Christmases went on for a few years. At one point, I think Trix opted to defy the word of Dad and went out and got us a tree. I can't remember if that was his last Christmas or not. I'd have to go back and look at old pictures (if there are any) to see what we did.

It's unfortunate that those are some of my last memories of him. A holiday where he trampled on our spirits and on our joy, for some unknown reason, because of some hidden reason in his own mind. I vaguely remember happier holidays, but they are mired down in the cobwebs of the unhappy ones - memories of him yelling at us about cleaning the house and doing dishes, memories of him making us chop and haul firewood before we could open presents, memories of him just being angry for no apparent reason. I try to focus on the happier times, those that I can remember. I try to remember his laugh (I have a few pictures of him laughing) and I try to see past the unhappy times. It's been so long that I can't remember what his voice sounded like. I can't really remember ever getting a hug from him (But I do remember the belt or yardstick across our butts when we didn't listen quick enough), and I am pretty sure he never told me that he loved me, and if he did, I can't remember.

I guess I take from this what I can - a resolve that Brooklyn will grow up with happy memories of the holidays, that Brooklyn will know that I love her and if anything ever were to happen to me, that Brooklyn's happy memories of me would heavily outweigh any unhappy ones there might be. I try. I guess somewhere in my mind, I know that he tried too. At least, that's what I keep telling myself.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Simpler Times

I think I blinked and suddenly it's December. Where did November go? Oh yeah, it was lost in the after-Halloween shuffle, evaporated in online holiday shopping and disappeared in a 2-week trial that I still have not recovered from. It's gone, and into December we must go.

As I was driving to work this morning, after driving my Birthday-girl to school (yep, as of today, I'm the mom of a 3-year old. YIKES!)... where was I? Oh yes, driving B to school, listening to the all-Christmas radio station (Thanksgiving to the 26th, gotta love it), I was reflecting on life before Hanukkah. Well, that's not fair, of course, because I still do Christmas with my family, and deciding to celebrate Hanukkah (i.e. converting to Judaism) wasn't really the change in the seasons for me. It was that whole becoming an adult thing that did in the holidays.

Life was so much simpler as a kid. The only responsibilities I had between Thanksgiving and Christmas were to write the perfect letter to that jolly man in red, and to pray (and pray and pray and pray) that the Barbie Dream House or Pink Corvette were under my tree on Christmas morning. I must have been doing something wrong, because the corvette and dream house never materialized under the tree, but you get the idea. As I got a little older, I had to worry about buying gifts for friends and family, but never anything that major. I remember a few years when we were little that my Grandma took my sisters and me to Ben Franklins, a little discount store in our hometown. I'll never know how she did it, but she let us wander around the store and pick out little gifts for each other and for mom and dad. I still remember the package of gumballs that Trix and I got each other, shaped like an actual gumball machine. We thought we were so cool.

I say that life was simpler then, and maybe it was. Then again, maybe it wasn't. After all, there were those years when Dad, for some inexplicable reason, refused to allow us to put up a Christmas tree. There was the year (I was in the 8th grade), when he refused to let us open our gifts Christmas morning. We went off to Grandma's house in old clothes (we loved wearing any new clothes that Santa brought us on Christmas day), and we had to wait until about 8:30 that night to open our gifts. Even then it was a fight to get him to let us, and then he sulked and pouted and refused to open his gifts. I know what you're going to ask, and no, I have no clue why he did that.

After dad passed, there were a few Christmases that were really good. We lived in town, and on Christmas Eve, Trix and I wandered down the street to Jess' house. There ended up being about 15 or 20 kids there, juniors and seniors (and a few little brothers and sisters), and we played board games and just hung out. (And I think one year we built a drum set.) No parents, just hanging out, with the snow softly falling outside. Then after midnight (or 1 or 2 a.m), we'd wander the block and a half home. By then Mom had gotten everything wrapped and put under the tree, and we'd peek through the stack to see if we could figure out any of our gifts, before we wandered upstairs and went to bed. Those were good Christmases.

Christmas in Rochester was pretty good too, if you don't count my begging to be paid early so that I could afford gas to drive home, or my bumming $20 off of Adam, the bouncer at one of the bars where I worked, again, to put gas in the car. I worked, alot, during those years, but even with Victoria's Secret and the 2 or 3 bars where I waited tables and tending bar, I couldn't make the ends meet. But I still managed to get gifts for friends and family, and one year, even had a holiday party with a bunch of friends, at this random apartment that I shared with a few other girls. Those were good times. Simpler times.

My first Christmas in LA was not good. I didn't have the money to fly home until January, and I was living with a very odd family. Aside from cooking their Thanksgiving dinner (because the mom had absolutely no clue how to stuff and cook a turkey), they were looking to me for Christmas dinner as well. And then my Grandma Norton passed away. I had to hoof it home quick and ended up getting there the day after Christmas. I think her funeral was on the 27th. Still weird. I don't think my mom likes Christmas much these days either.

I think it was at that point that Christmas started to get complicated. Not because of the holiday itself, but just because of life. The carefree existence started to slip away at some point, and here I sit, a parent, responsible now for someone else's joy and excitement at the holidays. Now I have a mortgage and property taxes and credit card bills. And I still have to put gas in the car, although I'm not driving 3 hours to get home in a car loaded full of presents. Now I try to get a plane ticket, but even that's not simple anymore. Now I have to buy 3 tickets instead of 1, and prices are much higher than they used to be.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to go back to that time when I didn't have all of the worries that tend to drag along with the "holiday spirit." I can still picture the quiet darkness of West Jefferson Street, with the trees tall and silent lining the way, and the street lights shining down through the snow, falling softly onto the snowy street. I shiver thinking about the cold, and remember curling up on the couch in a blanket when I got home. My favorite time of the holidays was late at night on Christmas eve, with all of the lights in the house turned out, except for the tree, and the candles in the windows. I miss that time. The carefree attitude of those days is certainly gone, and my mom sold the house and there are no more candles in the windows.

Then again, there's nothing quite so fun as watching B get all excited. I still listen to Christmas music and this morning, she was trying to sing along with "Do You Hear What I hear," too darn cute. It's hard sometimes to look back, and to see all the different versions of "holidays" that I've had. I long to return to some of those times, seemingly so much simpler than what I have now. But I wouldn't trade B for anything, and I know that she will love this time of year as much as I do. My job now, I guess, is to give her those times, so that she can look back in 20 or 30 years and remember them fondly. I hope that she won't have any holidays (or any other times) that she looks back on and wonders about, like I do. I guess that's my responsibility now. Not so much the bills and the presents and the wrapping, but the memories.

And yes, she does want the Dora bike and the princess vanity set and the Aurora that she saw at Mickey and Minnie's house that is as big as she is. But we'll get to that.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Boys and Girls

As I sit here eating my not-good-for-me-at-all lunch (of cheeseburger, onion rings and chocolate shake), and as I think back to my struggle last night between going to the gym versus sitting on my butt with a pint of icecream, I couldn't help but laugh about the conversation that Brooklyn and I had on our way to school this morning.

She told me that one of the boys called her a "poopy head" yesterday. And she was giggling about it. Oh, the wonder of boys and girls and what happens when they play together. Someday, she'll learn that when boys avoid her, it's not a good thing. Someday she will learn that when they say you are bothering them, that means that you are, and for some reason, they want their space. Someday, she will learn that when they run screaming in the opposite direction, you really don't want to chase them, lest you run up against a restraining order. Someday.

But for now, she is innocent, and has no clue what it means to be called a poopy head. This same boy was upset last week when his mom and I happened to be talking on our way out, the 4 of us walking together. He his behind her and said that we (Brooklyn and I) were "bothering" him because we were all walking together as we were talking. I had to laugh because just a few minutes later, he was shouting to B from the car (they were parked next to us), as we were getting ready to drive away. Ah, the fickleness of men's attentions.

I love that Brooklyn doesn't see gender, and that she sees everyone as her friend because she plays with them or they share a book. (That's not to say that it isn't hard to watch the boys reject her when they don't want to play with a girl.) But I hope that her open view of the world remains open, and innocent, at least for now. We can wait at least 2 or 3 years before they start breaking her heart and daddy has to start beating guys up, right?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Playing Dress Up

Our little Cinderella is making quite the scene. She loves to dress up and play "princess" so of course we had to buy her the Cinderella costume (complete with tiara and shoes) when we saw them a Wal-Mart. (I know, I'm a bad mom for not sewing them by hand, but it was cheaper in time and money to buy them, and I'd rather spend the time dancing with her.)

The giggle is infectious and some days it is difficult to get her to focus on anything else besides the crown or the shoes. Sometimes the first words out of her mouth when I pick her up from school are "when we get home, I'm going to play dress up."

Too darn cute. But you be the judge.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Does this dress make me look fat?

Seriously. When is it ever appropriate to ask someone when they are due? Is it o.k. when they already have a child running around at their heels? Is it o.k. when they are 6 months pregnant and shopping at Babies R Us for a stroller? Is it o.k. when they are laying on the table in the OR, pushing and gripping their husband around the neck, screaming at him for putting them there? Is it ever o.k.? Somehow, I don't think so. Having never before been on the receiving end of that question, I never considered it. Until Wednesday.

We got to the temple early, Rob and B and I, to help Dad get set up for services. Our Temple holds High Holidays services at the local VA Chapel, where we share space and have our regular services. Sometimes the Veterans who hang out at the VA come to our services, especially at High Holidays. A woman came early and was hanging out watching everyone set everything up. She made comments about Brooklyn and about us and about Dad and about alot of things. Harmless comments that we answered, and responded to, making conversation.

When the service started, Rob was reading, and she began to ask (quite loudly) what page we were on. She was having trouble keeping up, and that's o.k. But this gets better.

Wait... let me put this in context... I weight 160 pounds... on a bad day! After services were over, Brooklyn and I headed to the bathroom (for what seemed like the 10th time.) This woman was coming out of the stall as we were heading in. She asked me something about Brooklyn, and then said "when are you due?" I stopped, and said "excuse me?" She replied, "When are you having your baby?" WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Please, tell me I do not look fat in that outfit. Tell me that you did not just shatter my opinion of myself on a day when I thought I might have an extra pound showing. Tell me that you did not just make me feel bad about the fact that the zipper was just a little more difficult to pull all of the way up that morning. And tell me, please, tell me that I do NOT look pregnant!

On her defense, the shirt has an empire waist. Oh wait, there is no defense. You seriously cannot ask that. Seriously.

On that note, I have to go write about the little Cinderella that was dancing around my living room earlier today, complete with tiarra and little slippers.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me

Today I am 34. What is that in dog years? A few things rumbling through my vacant mind today. For one, where does it say that I can't plan my own birthday party? As kids, we wait to see what mom and dad put together, and then get upset or disappointed when things don't go our way. (It's easy for the 1st and 2nd party, the kids really don't know what is going on.) So where does it say that even as adults, someone else has to plan our party. I decided that I wanted to go to a winery this weekend, for a special event they are having. I put the word out, I bought the tickets, I made the hotel reservations and a group of 12 or 13 of us are going. Rob wanted to do something for me tonight, so we are having people over to watch the Dodger game (although they already clinched their division.) He didn't want me to go pick up my own cake (a DQ ice cream cake- YUM!) because he felt bad. But where is it written that I can't pick up (or even bake) my own cake. Right. It's not. So I have what I want, when I want it, because it's my b-day.

On to the rest of life- "I'm not really this stupid, I promise." Have you ever had one of those moments when someone asks you a question, and you are standing there and you can feel your mind turning, but your mouth doesn't move? You can see the other person looking at you, waiting for a response, but you just can't talk. It's the weirdest thing! I've had alot of those moments lately. I keep thinking someone is going to accuse me of being a moron. I'm not, really. It's just that sometimes my mind gets going so fast, and I catch myself having the entire conversation in my head, that a few seconds go by before I realize I haven't said anything. It's usually at that point that I trip over my tongue too, which makes for great party fun.

"Am I a bad mom?" We were at Disneyland on Saturday and I broke down and bought B a very adorable Tinkerbell costume complete with wings. I had to stop and wonder, if that makes me a bad mom. I made her Dorothy costume for her first Halloween, and then her pirate costume last year. So is it o.k. to take a year off? I'm not slacking, really. I'm making albums for GG's 85th party, and a video for that too (if I can figure out the freakin' program!). So it's not like I'm not doing anything else. I just hope that it's o.k., that she's not traumatized by not having me make her costume this year.

"Hiding gifts." Gone are the days of hiding things in plain sight. This kid is way too smart for me. Up until now, whenever we bought her things, we would just leave them in the boxes, but out in plain sight. Her world was bounded by what she could see and she didn't really care about what was on the counters or table. Gone are those days, just gone. We picked up a doctor kit somewhere for her, and it's been sitting on the kitchen counter. The other day, she looked up and said "mommy, what is that doctor thing up there?" I had to lie and say it was "nothing." I'm not sure how she knew what it was, although there was a small picture of what was inside, so maybe it was that. (Or at 2 and a half, she was reading the word "doctor" on the side of the box, which may have happened.) But we now have to actively hide gifts, which is going to be fun with a birthday and Hanukkah coming up. Fun, indeed.

On that note, I'm going to pack up for the day and head out to get B and then get my cake. Then I'm going to go home, turn on an Ariel movie and watch B play. That's a good way to end a rather random and crazy day.

Monday, September 15, 2008

This time I had the books!

So I have these odd recurring dreams. Every once in awhile I'm either back in high school or college, and I'm either late for class and can't find the room, or it's coming to the end of the semester and I'm realizing that I haven't been to class all semester. I start to freak out and sweat, wondering why I haven't been to class, and how I'm going to tell the teacher. I can't remember if I bought the book for the class and then can't figure out why I didn't buy the book, or why I signed up for a class I never went too. I wonder if I can still drop the class without getting a "W" (or worse, an "F") and my dream becomes fitful, and I toss and turn.

The other night, I had the dream again. I was back at my old high school, wandering the halls trying to find my next class. This time, I knew where the room was, but when I got there, the previous class had not let out yet. Friends were milling around in the halls waiting. I sat down with a friend to wait, and while talking to that friend, realized I didn't have the right book or notebook (another twist on this dream, sometimes I don't have any notes or notebooks to take notes). I got up to go to my locker before class started. It was then that I started wandering the halls again, trying to find my locker. I knew I was in the right general area, and I had a combination running through my head (which, coincidentally, I think is the combination from my high school locker). At one point, I passed my sister and asked her where my locker was, but she wasn't feeling too helpful, and told me that she couldn't help because she had to get to class. I walked around the giant square that was our hallway system (complete with a shopping center in the middle, where the senior court was supposed to be), starting to freak out, both because I thought I was going to be late for class and because I didn't have my books.

My therapist and I talked about this. Because it is a recurring dream, she thought it was interesting. I think she said it had something to do with having unfinished business in many parts of my life, feeling like I have to go back and finish things or do something over. I think she might be right, but then again, who knows. I do know that I constantly have a zillion projects to do all at once and there are never enough hours to get them all done.

In any event, as I was wandering the hall (and tossing and turning in bed), and fretting about class, my arms suddenly got tired and the stack of books I was carrying suddenly got heavier. I flipped up the notebook and the newspaper I was carrying and ... Oh MY GOSH! There were my books! I've never had them before. And yet, there they were. It was right about then that I woke up, just as I was headed back to class, books and notebooks in hand.

So I have no clue what it meant, I have no clue why this time I had the books. But I look at it as progress. This time. Maybe next time, I will have even read for class. Because I'm pretty sure I'll have this dream again. I'm pretty sure that even though I had the books, it won't be the last time I dream of school. oy.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Pre-School Pimps

Yup, I said it. We are turning our preschoolers out onto the streets, asking them to pimp.... Wrapping paper. WHAT??? Yes, wrapping paper.

When I dropped Brooklyn off at school on Monday, there in her folder along with her book of shapes and her latest marker masterpiece was the dreaded envelope with catalog and order form. Wrapping paper.

It doesn't matter that the school gets 50% of the profit (but they neglect to tell you how much "profit" the company makes on each roll of paper). It doesn't matter that they have Hanukkah paper (always important when the children hawking the wares go to school at a Jewish Preschool). What matters is that even at age 2, we are asking our children to go and beg for money. Nice.

And what makes it all the more comical, is that the 2 year olds don't even know they are selling it. Yes, it's cute to put the catalog in their hands and push them up to Grandma and coach them through their sales pitch. But at this point, why bother? Everyone knows who is really selling the wares. Mom and Dad.

I cut out the middle man. I sent an email to friends (most of whom already have children in school and who have likely already been hit up for the very same paper, chocolate and magazines) and family, and just told them what we were selling. I took the catalog to the office and let the ladies pass it around. I didn't pimp out my child. She has no clue she is selling anything, or that the school will see any money. She will likely not see any of the "Prizes" that she will "earn" for selling. Mommy will pass around the order form and mommy will collect the money and mommy will distribute the wares when the orders come in.

Maybe they should change the prizes. Instead of the cheap chotckes for the kids, the prizes should be trips to the day spa for the mommys who are really pushing the stuff. That would certainly motivate some sales, don't you think? Move over Tupperware, we're selling wrapping paper to win the trip to Burke Williams. Now that is certainly something worth selling for. The heck with the MP3 player.

Ah well, so it begins. I'm sure this is only the first of many catalogs and sales pitches that we will endure. Having sold cheese and sausage (for band) and M&Ms and Gummi Bears (for Track) and Magazines (in 5th and 6th grade), I've got experience. At some point, I'm sure I will put the catalog in B's hand and send her door to door. But for now, I'll just write the check myself and buy all of the Hanukkah paper they offer. After all, it's for the kids.

Monday, August 18, 2008


I heard about this. Friends talked about it. Family members talked about it. I knew it was coming, but I thought I might avoid it. I didn't. It got me.


Never has one word so dominated a vocabulary, so moved a world, so charmed a little life. She soaks it all up. She wonders aloud, she craves information. A car is backing out of the parking lot at the supermarket: "why is that car driving mommy?" A woman is walking out of the store: "why is she walking there mommy?" She asks daddy "why" all the time, and sometimes he just doesn't know what to say. She and I were at Victoria's Secret the other day and I was carrying around a purple bra. "Why are you getting that mommy?" Because Daddy likes purple. "Why does daddy like purple?" We went to a cousin's house for a party a few weekends ago. As we were driving up the street to their house: "why are we going this way daddy?" Because this is where our cousins live. "Why do they live here?" Because this is where they bought a house. "Why?"

And so it goes.

Incredibly curious, incredibly smart. Then again, I'm her Mommy, so I'm biased. But she's smart.

And let's add cute to that. We got her hair cut on Sunday. A cute little pixie cut, which I think she loves. When I woke her up this morning, while she still had sleep in her eyes, she asked me what "today" was. I said, it was Monday, and when she asked "what day is that," I responded that it was a School Day. (Her world is dominated by "Swim Day" and "tumblebees day" and "camp day" and such). Her response, still with sleep in her eyes, as she stumbled around her room, was "I'm going to go to school today and show everyone my new hair cut."

Like I said, too cute, right? I may have the quote a little off, but that's the essence of what she said. Adorable.

So, here I sit, constantly engaged by the cutest little thing on the planet, wondering where I'm going to get the answers one minute and trying to hold in my pride and love the next, as she contantly surprises me. And so it goes. And she's only two and a half. I can't imagine what three will bring. But at least, hopefully, she will be potty trained. A mom can only hope.

Friday, August 15, 2008

As the Years Go By

I laugh sometimes at how the radio or television seems to match my mood or fit right into how things are going in my life. Last night I was watching a movie that I've wanted to see (still haven't seen it all the way through), but one of the characters was talking about getting old. She said "If my muscles ache, it's because I've used 'em. It's hard for me to walk up them steps now, 'cuz I walked up 'em every night to lay next to a man who loved me. I got a few wrinkles here and there, but I've laid under thousands of skies with sunny days. I look and feel this way, cuz I drank and I smoked. I lived and I loved, danced, sang, sweat and screwed my way thorough a pretty damn good life. Getting old ain't bad. Getting old, that's earned."

I'm not sure why, but it touched on just the right nerve at the right time, and struck me as interesting. Sometimes I feel very old, or like I've seen too much for one lifetime. But to think of it in terms of earning it, is a twist, and put's an interesting spin on things. I "earned" my bad knees by playing hoops and volleyball for years. I "earned" the scars on my knees by riding my bike around my grandparents house. I "earned" my current bruises and muscle aches by pole dancing. Makes for an interesting analysis of life, doesn't it?

I also had a laugh this morning in the car. I was on the way to take B to school, and I looked at the bumper on the car in front of me, and it said "Dance like noone is watching, Love like it's never going to hurt." Random.

Anyway, tonight we're going to the Dodger game and tomorrow I get to play catch with Jeff Kent... sort of.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Dreams and the Glory Days

I spent most of last week in San Francisco with Rob, his brother and their dad. Living a dream. They got to play a baseball game at AT&T Park (where the Giants play.) Full uniforms, umpires, everything. The only difference is that they were allowed to use aluminum bats or wood bats, if they wanted. But they were living a dream. I'm not sure about the rest of the guys on their team (various guys from the league here in LA), but they had full-blown grins on their faces the entire time. "Kid in the candy store?" you bet. And then some.

Rob said that if he got on base, no matter what, he was stealing. He was going to get dirty. After a dribbler single, he stole second. He stood up covered in Major League dirt, grinning and smiling, and not daring to wipe a bit off. After the game, he stuck some of his dirt in a little baggy to take home.

At moments, they seemed awestruck to be there, to be standing there, running there, throwing a ball there. Phil pitched and played Center, Dad caught and played Second, Rob caught and played Shortstop. They all laughed and played in the dugout, ran out on the field like the pros, and loved every minute of it.

Sometimes when I have a long day that ends at the ballpark, where Brooklyn loves to go and see Daddy play, I wonder why some of them bother. I see guys get so worked up over a bad call or a missed pitch, or a botched steal, screaming and yelling at eat other, at their teammates, the umpires and the other teams. Those days, the Bruce Springsteen song "Glory Days" plays on a track in my head, over and over. "I hope someday I don't sit around thinking about it, but I probably will." Those guys play each game like a Dodger scout is in the stands with a radar gun, ready to call them up to sign a deal. Those guys play like they are 18 instead of 38, they run the bases hell-bent on taking someone out. And I mock them.

But this wasn't like that. This was a chance to walk in the steps of the great ones, sit where they sit, hit where they hit. At times, in awe, and at times, marvelling at the fact that the field is exactly the same size as the one they play on every week - there are just more seats.

So they had fun. They lived a dream, they played in the big yard. Next time, it's my turn. I just have to figure out how to either get on the LA Sparks court or on the AVP tour. Just one game, I'd be happy.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Perpetuating the Fairy Tale Fraud

As I sit here working my way to my 40s, taking stock of my life, I wonder how I got here. How do we start off college as "ball busting" career women and find ourselves in a house, with kids, growing up? As I was reading bedtime stories to B, I think I figured it out.

Basically, I think I have it pretty good. I live in a nice house (albeit sometimes messy and dusty if the cleaning lady hasn't been there), in a nice neighborhood (cul de sac and all), where kids can go outside in the evenings and play. We have nice things, furniture, a recently remodeled kitchen, and the ability to buy ourselves things we want (within reason) and take trips when we can. I have a career. I have a beautiful baby, and the kind of life that allowed me to be home with her rather than having to put her in daycare at 6 weeks and work to pay for it. (More about the career choices another time.)

But even with all of this, sometimes there are hiccups. Sometimes we lose sight of the forest for the trees. Sometimes we have friends who are right there with us in surburbia, and then in an instant, they are gone, divorced- house for sale- moving on. Why? I think it's because we all want to believe the fairy tale. We want to believe that there is such thing as "happily ever after." We don't want to believe that our knights in shining armor are fallible. Before we meet our Charmings, we date a string of guys who are either losers and treated us like crap, or were nice enough but didn't know what they wanted and couldn't commit. We tread water in the pool of available men and get nowhere. Then "He" comes along and Boom! A catch. He is smart, good looking and treats us like a queen. Fairy tale ending, here we come!

Wrong. Life, here we come. Dirty dishes in the sink, here we come. Laundry piled up on the closet floor, here we come. Struggle to make ends meet, here we come.

So where did this idea come from, this concept that we all need our fairy tale endings, that we all deserve to be swept off our feet. Well, I blame Grimm. And not even Grimm, but Disney's interpretation of Grimm and those pesky fairy tales. Tell me, have you read Cinderella or the Little Mermaid or Snow White, or Sleeping Beauty lately? As I was reading B a bedtime story one night, I realized, this is where it comes from. At a young age, we as little girls start to hear about a guy coming to rescue us, to save us from whatever demon or beast or monster we happen to be fighting. Good prevails over evil and the girl gets her prince, the castle and the fairy godmother, complete with the tiny slippers. We go to sleep at night dreaming of the time when someone will take us away from having to take out the garbage, wash the dishes, set the table, do the laundry and clean the bathroom. We dream of an automatic dishwasher, regular pedicures and fluff and fold service. And according to these fairy tales, a man can help us get it.

Sometimes, I think we still believe in that fairy tale. We still want our prince to be above the fray, and still be our knight in shining armor. Is that safe?

So there I sit every night, recounting the tales of Cinderella and Belle and Aurora and Ariel, and ending each with "any they lived happily ever after," but wanting to say "until life creeps in the door and then you have to do the dishes and the laundry..." but I can't.

I suppose that B needs to grow up knowing that she can do it herself if she wants to. But I want her to also know that it's o.k. to have someone there to help you. Not necessarily to do it all for you, but to help. Maybe she'll be able to depend on her daddy for awhile, and she'll be able to lean on Papa when she needs to, but hopefully she'll find her own prince who will give her the things Papa or Daddy can't. I hope she's prepared for the day she realizes he's fallible, just like everyone else, and for the day she realizes that even in "happily ever after," someone has to wash the dishes.

Just to make sure, maybe I should add some "twisted" fairy tales for good measure? Maybe throw one in where evil triumphs over good, even if for just a few minutes? Maybe the prince takes a nap and forgets to go rescue the princess? maybe? ...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Some days are Granny Panties, Some days are Thongs

Have you ever had one of those days where everything seems to go right? You wake up before your alarm goes off, feeling refreshed and awake, and sit there, sunlight streaming into your window, waiting to shut your alarm off. When it goes off, you hop in the shower singing a tune, come out feeling even more alive and refreshed. The perfect outfit awaits you in your closet, with the perfect matching shoes that fit perfectly and don't pinch your toes. Your bra matches your panties and looks like something off of the Victoria's Secret runway. You go to do your hair and it dries perfectly and sits just where you want it to. You get into your car to drive to work and traffic just seems to part to you let you through . . . ever have one of those days?

Nope, me neither.

Most days the alarm goes off and I jump. Then I smack the snooze button and roll over for another 8 minutes of sleep. Another alarm, another snooze. Finally, a mere 16 minutes after the first alarm, I stumble to the bathroom for a shower. About 1/2 way through my normal shower routine, I come to, realizing that I'm actually standing in the shower, covered in soap and need to finish up and get out. Sometimes I doze back off until I'm done washing my hair.

These days, it is less about finding the perfect outfit and more about finding an outfit that still fits with pieces that all match. My days of cute suits are slowly sliding away from me, as the ones from a few years ago are becomming very tattered and the ones they are making these days are ugly. period. Seriously, who wears that crap?

Some days I want to just crawl back into bed. I leave the house feeling frumpy and downtrodden. My hair pulled back in a scrunchie, because I just don't care to spend the time on it; wearing jeans and a t-shirt with a jacket tossed over it, hoping that no prospective clients decide to stop in and say hi. I intend to hide in my office. Those days I'm lucky if my bra and panties are made by the same company, let alone the same color or style. Those days, I'm lucky I find shoes other than flip flops or sneakers to wear, and hope that I haven't tossed them in the trash by noon because they hurt my feet. Those days are "Granny panty" days and clearly outnumber the other days. That's not to suggest I wear anything other than thongs, not that you care what I wear, but let's not let it ever be said that I wear "granny panties")

But then there are some days, I call them "thongs." Those are the days where I at least wake up hopeful that there will be something in my closet that will enable me to look "cute." Sometimes, it's not even a full day. Sometimes it's an evening out with Rob, for a concert or dinner, or something. I shower and get dressed hoping that the jeans make my ass look as good as they feel going on. I dig through my "unmentionables" drawer in search of the polka-dot panties that match the bra and hope both halves are clean. I troll my closet for the perfect "hootchie momma" top and put it all together with some killer heels. And hope. I hope that it all matches. I hope that I look cute. I hope that my hair, which has agreed to at least sort of look the way I want it to, will hold up under the sweat and smoke and beer that we will surely encounter. I hope that Rob will find me attractive or sexy (maybe even "cute"?). I hope that by the time we get home, I will still have the energy to be seductive, and that I won't just want to fall into bed and sleep.

I hope I start to have more "thong" days again.

...and then my blue pen explodes all over, on the day I'm wearing a white suit. Foiled again.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Knowing it All

As kids, we want to know everything. As soon as we start to talk, we begin to ask questions, "why?" and "how?" are very popular. If we are lucky enough to have books, we start devouring them, searching for all of the answers. Kids want to know why the sky is blue, or why a zebra has stripes. Kids wonder where the garbage goes when you turn on the disposal, where babies come from and when Grandma or Grandpa are going to be done visiting Heaven. As kids, we recognize that there is this whole world out there waiting for us, and we want to know everything there is to know about everything inside of it.

As teenagers, we decide that our universe is limited. We are obsessed with only those things that directly affect us, the cars that our friends drive, the shows their parents let them watch. We are convinced that we know everything about our little universe and that our parents know nothing at all (or at the very least, that our parents know, but don't love us enough to care.) We recognize that there might be more to the world than our little universe, but we don't care. We think that we know all that we need to know, about the things that surround us, and that is all we need to know.

In our 20s, we decide that we know everything. Whether its because of life experiences or because of things we've read in books or heard from our teachers, we think that we know it all. About everything, everywhere. We are once again aware of the vast universe around us and we think we know everything about that too. Remember when you were in your 20s? You would hear a story and you would immediately draw conclusions and make proclamations about the situation. I was in my 20s when the whole Bill Clinton/ Monica Lewinski thing broke. I thought he was a moron, I thought Monica was an idiot and I thought Hillary should have dropped that man like a cheap pair of shoes. Now having the benefit of a few years wisdom, I recognize that there is no way I could have possibly known what the people in that situation were going through, certainly not enough to judge their decisions. (and after reading Hillary's book, I'm still not sure what the heck happened in that situation.)

I remember doing it with people I would see out at the mall or in a restaurant as well. I would see someone sitting down to dinner at 9 p.m. with a baby in a high chair and I would judge them. "That baby should be in bed." I would see a child throwing a tantrum and I would think to myself "my child is not going to act like that." All of this in my 20s. I had not yet been married, I had no real concept of what it takes to make a relationship work and I certainly didn't have any children. But there I sat, in all of my "infinite wisdom," passing judgment on others and making grand statements about how I would do things when I got married/ had kids/ etc. I think I even made comments about how people lived. "Well, when I get married and have my own house, we're going to have a family dinner every night." Or maybe "when I have my own house, I'm not going to let the junk pile up, and I'm going to keep it clean." Well, it only takes getting to your 30s for the reality of "real life" to sink in.

I think for some people, the reality hits when you get married and have kids. But for me, I think it took getting to my 30s for the light bulb to come on. Then again, I was 28 when I got married, so maybe I'm behind the curve. In any event....

At some point in your 30s (I think), you realize that you don't know anything. You're now married and possibly lucky enough to have a child or children. You look around at the piles of junk and clutter in your home and wonder where it came from, who it belongs to and when they are going to put it away. You marvel at the spot on the steps where you once laid 2 pieces of paper, and wonder how it became a mountain of books, shoes, socks, toys and paper, waiting to be put away. You giggle at the thought of having family dinners every night, when you and your hubby are coming home at 7, with just enough time to give the little one a bath and put her to bed, only to then collapse on the couch, exhausted, wishing you had enough money to hire a personal cook.

The thought of keeping a 3000 square foot house clean all on your own induces fits of maniacal laughter, causing the neighbors to question your sanity. You come to the realization that there aren't enough hours in the day and there are more important things to be doing than standing over a toilet, armed with Lysol and a brush. If you are lucky enough to be able to hire someone to do it for you, you can only hope that they would do as good of a job as you would, if you could only find the time.

If you have kids, you laugh at yourself and the superior knowledge you once thought you had. You find yourself sitting in a restaurant at 9 p.m., trying to stay awake yourself, while you feed your hungry child. You know that the idea of putting her down to sleep would have brought on screams to wake the dead, so you opted to take her out to eat instead. Hey, we've all got to eat, even the ones that poop it out faster than it goes in. You snicker at yourself when your 2 year old sits down on the ground and refuses to take one more step unless she gets her favorite toy, because you once thought that you would be able to do it so much better. God is laughing, too, because she is getting her revenge on you for thinking you know it all.

Through all of it, you come to the realization that you don't know anything. You have no idea why your child refuses to go to bed, even though she is falling asleep on the floor in the living room. You have no idea why one day she wants pancakes and the next day she throws them across the room. You can only wonder why she will start to cry for no reason and want a hug one minute and run away from you the next.

I think when we hit our 30s, we wake up and realize that the world is a vast place, with so many different people and places and things, and it would be impossible for any one person to know everything about everything. We realize that we sometimes have trouble mastering our own little universe, that we sometimes have no idea or clue why even the people around us behave the way we do.

It's at this point that we begin to salvage our sanity, recovering our ability to let things go. We accept that we will not be perfect parents, that our children will throw temper tantrums in public, that other parents will nod and maybe offer a comforting smile, having been there once as well. We accept that the people we love might hurt us, whether they mean to or not. We accept that we might not know the ones we love as well as we thought, and we resolve to get to know them better. We understand that there are times to forgive and maybe not forget. We realize that our children will go through this exact same path and hopefully come out o.k. on the other side.

As the light dawns over our heads, we look back at the 20-somethings in their skimpy outfits, getting ready to go out to the clubs and dance the night away, and we smirk. We know that their boobs will shrink or sag, that the love handles will pop out, and that no amount of running on the treadmill will get rid of that little tummy poof. We giggle knowing that the light will eventually go on and life might hit them like a ton of bricks. They too will wake up one day and realize that they knew nothing about anything. They too will realize that in a situation where they once passed judgment, they may find themselves forced to make the same decisions, and they may finally realize how it really feels to be in the trenches.

It's amusing now, looking back, to think that I could have ever known what it was like to keep a house for a family, without actually having a house and a family, to understand what it means to be married and make a relationship work, without actually being married, or to understand what it takes to be a parent, without actually being one. You can't. Plain and simple.

At some point, we stop partying late and start going to bed early. We stop spending money on make-up and start buying diapers. (o.k., maybe not the make-up, we all need make-up, right?). We stop drinking cocktails and start drinking milk. We realize that we are morons and that we know nothing about anything. We start to grow up.

When is it o.k. ...

- to cry in front of your two year old because she head butted you in the nose at the end of a long day?

- to not read her a bedtime story because you are still crying and your head is starting to pound after she head-butted you in the nose?

- to be a hard-ass and not go back in to read her a story, even though she begged you as you walked out the door and has been crying for you to go read her one?

- to let one night slide?

- to concede defeat at her hands and just walk away, to your room, to the television, to a bottle of chilled wine?

- to wallow in your own self-pity and belief that you have failed as a parent because your two year old jumped into a water puddle after you told her twice not to, and then you swatted her behind?

- to ask G*d if she was joking when she gave you this beautiful, precocious, willful, amazingly smart and yet so challenging child?

- to question G*d's wisdom in thinking that you can handle all of this?

- to ask "why me?"

- to wonder if you have the strength to get through the night without completely losing it, and to have the strength to get up and do it all again tomorrow?

- to hope that tomorrow will be better?

- to hope that you will heal, emotionally, and that the scars might someday fade?

- to hope and believe that the two-year old will someday be a three-year old and the "terrible twos" will be a memory?

to admit you're fallible?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Things I'm learning all over again

Have you ever noticed that there are things you learn as a kid that you forget when you get older? Things that seemed so big and so much fun as a kid just slip away as the years pile on. But why? Where is it written that we have to give up nap time or recess? Where does it say that we can't lay on the floor, kicking and screaming and throw a tantrum when we are tired or upset?

Now that my daughter is getting older (and speaking in full sentences) she is reminding me of the joys of some of the simpler things in life, things that just make a 2 year old's head spin, that us "older" people might have forgotten.

For example, when did Peanut Butter and Jelly get taken off of the list for acceptable lunches? Who says I can't sit down with a glass of milk, and a PBJ? yum.

Another thing our children remind us of, is the beauty of imagination. I am constantly amazed at the view of the world through B's eyes. She had a full blown conversation this morning with the Dora character that is printed on her Pull-up. "Dora said hi to me Mommy." Too cute. Just when the world gets to be too much for me, I sit down and curl up with my teddy bear and tell him all about my day. Sometimes, another person just cannot comfort me the way my old friend, Ted E. Bear can. He's heard it all, and he knows me.

Mickey Mouse rocks! Do you remember the Disneyworld commercial from years ago where a little boy spends the day at D-World and doesn't see Mickey all day, and then, as they are leaving, Mickey taps him on the shoulder? Do you remember that one? Remember the look on the kid's face? Yes, it was made for t.v., but I've seen that look firsthand on B's face. There is something magical about Mickey, and even though our world could be a horrible mess, there is something about stepping over the threshhold of Disneyland or Disneyworld that makes it all disappear.

Some more things that she has reminded me of, or even taught me all over again:
- don't hold a grudge.
- McDonald's can be a gourmet meal and just the right thing some days.
- Just because it doesn't break the skin doesn't mean it doesn't hurt.
- Ice cream always makes you smile- especially when it's smeared all over your face.
- Sometimes a hug does just the trick, and sometimes you need a kiss to make it better too.
- You're never too old for a good bedtime story.
- Winnie-the-Pooh is just as good the 100th time as it was the 1st.
- Sometimes you just have to throw play-doh
- Give me some crayons and a piece of paper and I can create a universe.

Every day I am thankful that I get to see the world through B's eyes. It's like waking up and taking in everything all over again, like everything is new. B doesn't miss much, and loves to point things out. She sings, she talks, she disagrees with me. Everything is an experience. She gives new meaning to the idea of embracing life. I find myself looking for new things to introduce to her, just to see the look of pure wonder on her face. And it helps that it is such an adorable face.