I was in the taxi with my kids yesterday, on our way to the movies. We were having a conversation about, of all things, my birthday. They both know how old I’m about to turn, 40–or as my daughter likes to say, “the big 4-0” and my son likes to remind me “that’s four decades, mom”–and they feel “it’s a big one.” So in the cab, they were debating the virtues of different celebrations, ideas and trips we should consider. This has been a rough year, as you may have previously read–and it’s hard to get up the gusto to want to celebrate in a manner that’s out of the ordinary right now. My answer was “it’s just a number, like any other…lets just do what we’ve always done.”
And then I saw a post from a friend the night before.
As a young wife (24 when I married my ex-husband) and then a young mom (25 when my first was born), thinking about family planning and the ripple effect on how I would eventually balance life / career was not top-of-mind. Possibly it was immaturity, possibly it was naiveté, probably it was a combination of the two. I was already in the workforce, but still sussing out what I wanted and where I wanted to go. My daughter was born in the midst of the dot-com boom, and by way of good choices and good fortune, I found myself in a great position to leave corporate America and consult from a home office giving me the opportunity to be with my new baby and still be part of the working world.
The kids in the ocean at Coney Island: Summer 2013
The summer is almost over. It’s hard to believe Labor Day weekend is just two days off in the distance and all I my blog has to show for it is a handful of posts. I had grand plans…
The summer is a meaningful time for me: family birthdays and annual celebrations, my anniversary and, of course, excursions and getaways. Yet every time I meant to sit down and capture it for my blog, I was distracted or something else came up and it no longer seemed timely. But now, dear reader, as summer’s precious moments are coming to a close, it seems all the more necessary to remember the highlights, gifts and surprises of Summer 2013.
I’m seeing a friend today, and since we last were face-to-face, she’s become engaged. Now, what you also need to know is that her engagement was no surprise. Every time she’s even spoken of this guy, she simply lights up and the few times I’ve seen them together, impulsively and without warning, the phrase “meant to be” invades my mind space–this coming from a slightly-jaded, often guarded, once divorced (albeit now remarried), New Yorker.
I’ve been pretty helpless this week–at the mercy of my family and friends’ kindness to take care of me–to literally feed and dress me. Luckily, it’s been temporary and I’m doubly fortunate that I have a husband, family and friends who are willing and able to do such things for me. (more…)
I saw a Facebook update today that inspired this post. It was really simple: a message addressed to the posters’ 16 year old self. That got me thinking… Experience really is so illuminating, so what would I say to my younger self with the benefit of these last few decades of knowledge, mistakes, heartbreak, fumbles and successes? Of course this can’t benefit my younger self–that ship has sailed–but who might this be of an even modest interest to…? Full disclosure (I do say that a lot, don’t I?), as coincidence would have it, I too have found myself posing this question lately as nostalgia, womanhood, parenting and the regular course of life mash-up into a frothy mix of investigation.
As the end of the year nears I like to take stock and express my gratitude for all the gifts I am so blessed to enjoy. I have two healthy kids who constantly amaze me with their wit and humor, a resilient and devoted husband who loves me–flaws and all–a career I am passionate about, an extended family who are kind and endearing, friends who are more like family and a year that has uncovered a treasure trove of new experiences, personalities and adventures…some that have only just begun. My cup truly does run over.
When I was a teenager and got “pouty,” my Dad would have me say out-loud a gratitude list starting with the letter A going all the way through to the letter Z. I’ve been thinking of him quite a bit these last few weeks, so instead of my usual gift guide or list, I thought I would honor him and this tradition by putting together an A-Z list, and perhaps put some of my own unrest to bed for the New Year.
Happy New Year to you and yours…and Happy New Year, Dad xxoo.
I’m really curious, what jazzes you about the holidays–be honest, I won’t rat you out–plus it will help me make sure I’m posting things that are of interest to you, especially as we get into the thick of the holiday season. Thanks so much in advance for your time. ~GW.
One of my very favorite group shots, they all look so psyched.
Last week my daughter turned twelve, and every year we do two parties: one for friends and one for family. My daughter is an incredibly creative spirit and has always liked her parties to reflect her personality and what she’s currently obsessed with–this is always a (fun) challenge for me, the Mom, as we attempt to find something unique, fun and thematic to her tastes and passions. We started by going through her favorite things–theater, art, music–and talked about a few different ideas for each: taking friends to a Broadway show, doing a karaoke thing (again–Oh No!), or doing an art themed celebration. And then I remembered her love of photography. She’s on Instagram, takes pictures of EVERYTHING and as soon as I mentioned it, she was game! But how to have a “Photography Party”? Good question. (more…)
Despite my passion for gift-giving and shopping (it’s kind of the whole premise for this blog) when it comes to the holidays, hosting and feeding my family and friends takes the cake–literally and figuatively. I love preparing the menu, decorating our house with my husband and kids–well, he watches and directs while we decorate but it’s still really fun–finding a fun activity for guests to break the ice and then pulling it all together. That said, I also visiting family and friends: our annual tradition of going to my aunt’s for Christmas Day, celebrating New Years Eve with my husband at “our” restaurant where we had our wedding reception, watching all the kids and grown-up men get sweaty and hungry playing soccer (or maybe it’s football) on Thanksgiving at my in-law’s.
Whether it’s an established tradition or a new invitation that finds you celebrating in someone else’s home, it’s customary to bring a token of thanks. I’ve written about hostess gifts before, and my “rules of the road” (a bunch of them will work for the holidays too so feel free to check them out again, particularly this one and this one) but these gift ideas focus on unexpected and holiday specific ideas to warm the hearts and homes of your hosts.