Yesterday I was Christmas shopping, my daughter joined me later in the day. I had a list of people to buy for–her and her brother among them–so I had to be careful about my packages and such. At the end of our excursion we got into a cab and as we were driving she looked at me and said: “Mom, can you still sign our packages ‘From Santa‘?” You see, as of last year, there aren’t any “believers” in our house anymore. Of course I said sure, but I was reminded of something from long ago.
As the mother of two children, every year I encounter the same question from family and friends: “what do the kids want this year?” Of course my kids make lists. Professionally, in a former life, I even worked on a holiday gift list solution for moms because from the moment I gave birth, this has always been a conundrum–what is the right answer and how do you coordinate who is getting and giving what? Unfortunately the service I mentioned is no longer available, but these are some websites and apps you should check out if you’re looking to make list sharing with family and friends painless and simple this season…and beyond.
Thanksgiving was one of my favorite holidays. As a pre-teenager through my early twenties, I remember my mother and father hosting a couple dozen people in our formal dining room on the upper west side. It’s funny how specific memories may fade but flavors remain–ricotta and sausage stuffing (we’re Italian), antipasto salad, my mother’s apple pie and my aunt’s pumpkin chiffon pie.
The parent / child relationship is one of beauty and complexity. I am reminded lately of the added layers this bond must sustain when daughters start experimenting with their freedom and sexuality in adolescence. I won’t go into why I am reminded–those aren’t my stories to tell and I believe they are sacred to those individuals. What I will say is my family is near and dear to me and I am a mother and a wife. Forgive me for sharing the obvious, but before becoming a mother or a wife I was (and still am) a daughter and did a fair share of experimenting and testing bonds and bounds. My circumstances were not common, but they were not unique–nor were they often discussed until years after some damage had been done. Perhaps someday I’ll write about that (maybe, I’m still debating).
Growing up is tough business. You couldn’t pay me to go back to my middle or high school years. Navigating the social circles, fighting for my freedom, starting to find my voice, trying to shape who I am and where I fit in the world, meeting and losing friends, experiencing first love…and that’s before I’ve even started to tackle the accelerating homework and school pressure because college is just a few years away. Nope, I’m very happy to have survived that… The only thing that makes it worse is when there are bullies, “mean girls,” and tormentors amplifying the noise that already exists in an adolescents’ head. I had my fair share of experiences as a kid with these types of people–and it was agony–and I know from FB that most people have experienced it too.
I’m stressing out. It’s almost back to school and this year is a big one for our family. See, my daughter is entering 8th grade and my son is going into the 5th and in New York City, that means we are beginning the high school and middle school application process for each respective aforementioned offspring. “What’s the big deal?” some of you many be asking–particularly if you live away from this insane place where middle and high school placement isn’t treated like college admissions.
I’m going to a few summer parties and I can’t wait. It’s alway such a blast to party in the warm weather and enjoy some fun in the sun, especially since now my kids don’t need constant supervision. I always like to bring something for my hosts that contribute to the meal, but what about hosts that tell you: “just bring yourselves.” That never seems right, right? Right.
IMHO it’s always important to express thanks with gratitude for an invitation with a gesture. I also want to make sure that what I share with my recipients aren’t run-of-the-mill. These ideas are gift pairings that are fine alone, but are truly better together
I’m trying to plan a summer getaway for my family. I’ve been incredibly indecisive this year, not from a lack of ideas…quite the opposite. I have too many ideas, and each one conjures up images in my head of idyllic moments that will eventually become life-long memories for all of us, and that turns into a form of vacation-analysis-paralysis. So I’ve booked nothing but researched pretty much everything the Northeast has to offer. I’ve got it down to either Hershey, PA or Washington DC and I want two things: family-friendly and a property with an outdoor pool (I gave up on the beach a while ago, obviously).
I heard someone use the term “dream maker” the other day, as in: everyone needs a dream maker. It immediately resonated with me and, of course, I agreed completely. We all need a dream maker, a champion, a partner-in-crime…
To me, a dream maker is someone who helps me see beyond the physical and non-physical obstacles that come between idea and actualization, between a seed of belief and full-on faith, between “this could be” to “this will be..and here’s how.” I thought about the dream makers I’ve encountered in my life–family, teachers, friends, bosses, colleagues–and I have a list of about five so I am fortunate that each one taught me something different adding to the tapestry of actualization, faith, this will be and how… But the biggest piece, the final piece (and–for me at least–the hardest) is more ongoing: knowing my value.