Flipping The Switch

Once again this month has been very busy, leaving me little time to myself, making it hard to find a moment to write. That is until this past holiday weekend when I was sans husband or children in our house—a house, I might add, I had NEVER once spent a night alone in six years we lived there. Check the box on that bucket list now…
Continue reading

Advertisements

Vacation Victory and Remembrance

A little over a week ago my family and I returned from a family trip to the Caribbean. These kinds of trips are always incredibly special to me. I have memories of spring vacations from when I was growing up so nostalgia is part of it, but it’s also been a while since the four of us have been able to go away together. So this trip felt special in a few ways–almost like a victory for our family.

Continue reading

Giving Forgiveness, Finding Empathy

Forgiveness is tricky. It’s very difficult to get from a place of anger and resentment to forgiveness. The best way I know how to forgive is to try to find empathy for the respective person or people–attempting to put myself in their shoes and see the world from their point-of-view. This is, of course, a process and it takes time, patience and fortitude (and the amount of time is commensurate with the level of resentment), but it’s usually worked for me.

Continue reading

When You Can’t Give Stuff: Perspective On Giving

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything here. I have two or three posts almost complete but for one reason or another I just have not felt ready to publish. I’d like to go into the details of my absence, but I can’t say too-too much except that I’ve had some personal / family-related things come up that needed to be addressed and so pretty much everything in my life went on hold except this situation and the bare essentials: work, kids, some sleep and if I do feed myself it’s erratic at best (I’m still noshing at midnight). I will say it’s not my husband or kids–they are all fine, knock wood–but it did give me time to think and reflect on what is truly important, especially in the spirit of “giving,” which is the context of this blog.

Continue reading

If Only: The Life Lessons I Wish My Kids Didn’t Have To Learn

I ran into an old friend on the subway the other day. He and his partner have a two-year-old little girl, and we started talking about the different types of parenting challenges we face at different stages. As we continued to chat from 96th Street to Times Square, we both agreed how much easier life would have been if only someone had clued us in to a few things before high school.
Continue reading

Creating Holiday Hope: Some Assembly Required

Despair Or Hope Directions  courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Despair Or Hope Directions courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Whatever emotional riptide I am going through, the holiday season always seems to amplify it–if I’m happy and grateful I feel 100x more so and if I’m sad and lonely the same is true.

The most difficult holiday season I ever experienced was also the one that helped me realize how strong I was. It was my first Christmas as a single mom. My ex-husband and I had separated in May and we had done Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve dinner together at my mother’s house (like always) for the kids, but Christmas Eve where wrapping and assembling toys to go under the tree was now my responsibility alone and I had under estimated this task–not so much the wrapping, I loved that, but the assembling. I had a 3.5 year-old-boy and a 6 year-old-girl and when they get a present on Christmas from Santa, it’s not just a box in pretty paper. It’s put together so they can play with it right away. And Santa went to town this year. He got a pirate ship and an easel and some Barbie contraption–all “Assembly Required.” And while this probably isn’t an issue for an elf at the North Pole, as a newly single mom who just got fed another dose of reality at 11pm alone in my living room on Christmas Eve, it felt like my Everest.
Continue reading

Sharing Gift Lists: What’s Easiest for Family and Friends

20131210-223716.jpg

Red Gift Box by courtesy of Naypong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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.

Continue reading

Getting Thankful Again For Thanksgiving

20131128-194709.jpg

The three people I am most thankful for

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 Present

20131107-230308.jpg

my son and me snuggling and posing

I’ve heard the saying “I don’t have any babies anymore” … I’ve probably even said it myself. I don’t think that’s true. As I dropped off my son this morning at school, it resonated without question from both my heart and gut, he will always be my baby.

Continue reading

The Greatest Gift

20131106-203653.jpg

my Dad and me circa 1989 (or ’90), Anguilla, BWI

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).

Continue reading