Take me out to the ballgame.

Camden Yards - Season 1
1992. First season of the Orioles playing at Camden Yards. And there we were, young (ish) and dating. I worked for an ad agency that just happened to have great corporate seats. And, evidently, I had weird Flashdance clothes.

As another year ends, I wistfully think about all the years Andrew and I have been together. So much has happened in 20+ years. The jobs. The moves. The babies. And of course, since the babies started coming in 1995, they’ve been our top priority. It’s been a lot of fun and a lot of work. I love where we are, but it’s easy to miss the cute little boys when I come across their early elementary school journals with daily (and incredibly cute) entries.

For example, here are 2 of the boys’ entries for October 24, 2005

{second grader} The Great Wolf Lodge was great! There was a arcade, a water park a wave pool, a splash pad and a water rock clime. When you got to the top of the rock clime it squirted out water. I almost finished Harry Potter 5. It is really good. (wgs note: really? He was a great reader but I really let him read that in second grade? oops. He seems okay, so maybe it wasn’t that big a deal. Remind me to ask him if he had nightmares from it.)

{third grader} This is what I did on the day off. I went to see my dad make a speech at the University of Maryland. After that, I went to Willamsburg, Virginia. It was a lot of fun! (wgs note: yes, he spelled a lot correctly! My boy!) The hotel had an indoor waterpark! It also had an arcade, a breakfast buffet and a hotel door decorating contest! The hotel was the size of a four story high mansion! That is what I did this weekend. (Okay, fine, he likes exclamation marks. I think it’s cute.)

{fifth grader didn’t have a journal that year. bet he’s happy about that right now.}

So what have we learned here? We have learned that I stop and read every piece of paper, every notebook, every everything when I clean my office. And, we’ve learned that I am way more sentimental than I often admit.

My boys are all in high school. AND they all spell and use punctuation pretty well. It’s so different being a mom of teenagers. So different. You – out there – yes, you with the little kids. It’s awesome; don’t be scared. But save all the reminders. You’ll be glad for it.

Like I am today.

So long. Farewell.

This was a big day for me. A big emotional day.

I don’t know why I’m weepy. Really, I don’t. Surely it’s not because of the sappy 8th grade slide show which ran for THIRTY SEVEN MINUTES and yes, I did time it.

This was my third 8th Grade Farewell. The first one was emotional, I admit. (Though the long slide show was not my thing then, either.) The second one? Our kid was in Jazz Band and they were rocking. Big time. So that was fun. But the slide show? Still way too long and sappy for my taste.

So tonight. Tonight, our next kid was in Jazz Band and they were rocking. (Sense a theme here?) And yes, the slide show was way too long and sappy for me. But this year was different.

First of all, this kid was the Bandmaster. He stood confidently and led the Jazz Band with Isabelle. They were incredible. I was kvelling. And then, he played his tenor sax and I was blown away. Not just because I’m him mom, but because I could hear the growth in his music. He stood there tall and proud. With his Fedora and his green shirt and yellow tie and he was just…

Big. Mature. Serious. Funny. Charming.

But me being proud of my baby is not the point of this post. So what is?

I’m a little emotional (okay, a lot but don’t judge me).

These sorts of milestones make me look back. To take stock. to remember. I know it’s super corny, but it seems like just yesterday that I’d take my 3 little boys to Target at 6:00 am so that Andrew could sleep in on Saturday after a long week of work (he’d do the same for me on Sunday). I’d get that cart with the 2 red seats attached to the cart for my toddler and preschooler and the seat in the cart for the baby and I’d walk up and down every – single – aisle – in Target. We walked through the shoes department. The women’s clothing. The workout clothes. The detergents. The toys. The hardware. Sheets. Appliances.

SLOWLY. Because, you know, I didn’t want to go home for at least 2 hours. That’s a long time in Target when there’s really nothing on the list except killing time.

And it was worth it. Because as I cruised the housewares, I daydreamed of the next morning. The morning when I got to sleep in the quiet, empty house and Andrew got to figure out how to occupy the 3 boys under 4 for a couple hours.

Ahhhh. Sleep. So delicious. The unattainable. Tomorrow. If I could just wait until tomorrow.

But now, as I look back with my boys at 17, 15, and 13, I just want to say one thing:

It was totally worth the lost sleep.

I’m grateful that I remember every minute of the road to now. And I’m grateful for such happy and loving sons.

I’m not saying there’s no fighting or (ahem) issues over here. But we have a pretty amazingly, awesome life. And I wouldn’t trade anything for my guys. They are the joy of Andrew’s and my life.

Though it’s emotional that they’ll all be in high school next year and that I can see the future where they’ll all be gone, I’m a happy and proud mom.

Just let me cry a little bit and I’ll be okay.

Higher education.

{note: I deleted the post by mistake & sadly it took away all the lovely comments. I promise you I read them! Yikes. Sorry}

It’s really never been a question of whether our kids would go to college, but rather where they’d go. (I’ll add that Andrew and I would be open-minded about non-college options or a gap year.) But in general, college has always been on the table as the next step after high school.

It seemed so far away.

So unfathomable.

So impossible.

And yet, Davis has been working on his list of colleges to consider. We’ve visited a couple already and plan to visit more. He’s taken the ACTs and will take the SATs in a week or so.

Rewind to when he had rosy cheeks and freckles. (see above!)

He sat up on his bed – high up on the top bunk – and looked at me very seriously.

“Mom, when I go to college, I want to stay here and live with you. Maybe I’ll go to Johns Hopkins.”

And though it was unbearable to consider that he’d ever leave, I told him that while living home during college was a fine option, it was likely he’d change his mind when he was 16 or 17. And that for a lot of kids, going to college away from their parents is a big part of the college experience. Part of growing up.

Still, he insisted he’d never leave me. He loved me way too much.

The schools that he’ll be applying to are varied and wonderful. None is a commuter school for us. And honestly? I think that’s great for him – the right choice. I know he’ll be great on his own.

But there’s that little piece of me that wants to cry and remind him that he promised he’d never leave.


photo credit: http://www.sxc.hu/profile/doctor-a
While in the crowded waiting room at an appointment with my guys today, I noticed a beautiful young girl sitting next to her father. He was redlining a huge document. He had a serious and deliberate look on his face. Page by page he made corrections. Scribbling notes. Flipping the page. Furiously working.

I was checking email. Voicemail. After all, it was during work hours and, though I hadn’t stopped for lunch, I was feeling guilty for taking the half hour to attend to the boys’ dental needs.

I heard the dad say, “I have too much work to do.”

And then, the girl’s whisper stopped me in my tracks.

Why don’t you just tell them, “no?”

And then, without even looking up, he answered. His response was like a punch in the stomach. “I’m responsible for everything. You just don’t understand.”

And I think he was right. She didn’t. She sat, staring ahead. Holding back tears.

I am not going to sit here (while my kids want my attention) and say that I won’t ignore them, work too hard, take on too much.

I probably will.

But this will stick with me. And I’ll keep working on being more present and more available.

Happy judgment-free holidays to you.

I came across a post I wrote 6 years ago today. And it still resonates. I mean, really. What the heck is balance anyway? My boys were 7, 8, and 10 at the time. A lot has changed in our world.

But not that much.

Parts of Speech

[originally posted 12/23/05]

Judging others is a dangerous hobby. Without all the facts (and you never have all the facts) it is impossible to understand someone’s decisions, motives, choices on all fronts. Now that doesn’t mean that we can’t relate to others’ issues, challenges, etc. Two things I’ve learned over the years come to mind:

1) You don’t know what happens in someone else’s house.
2) Never say “I never would…” in reference to someone else’s choices. You might one day when faced with the same situation.

I’ve been stewing about something that happened the other day. In order to let it go, I’ve decided to write about it. I drove some kids (including some of my own) to an after-school class. One of the kids was unable to carry his stuff in, so I dropped them all off, parked the car, and, sans coat, trekked across the parking lot to bring the kid his stuff. I was cold. I had a sick kid at home I wanted to get back to. My father had a procedure that day and I couldn’t go sit with my mom while she waited because of my kid at home who needed me. My work was behind schedule due to the same sick kid and the construction noise at the house was really getting to me and to that same sick kid, who cried about his head hurting for hours. You get the picture – the day was not a cake walk. (I always wanted to say cake walk – I hope I used it correctly!)

Walking into the school, I ran into a friend. Not a “hang out all the time” friend, but someone I like and socialize with occasionally. After saying hello, she took a hard look at me and said:

Balance is a verb.

It felt like a punch in the stomach. She has balance so never looks harried? I am unbalanced? I am incapable of managing my life? What exactly was this wisdom she was (unsolicited, I might add) presenting to me? She had no idea what I had done for the past month, let alone for the day. I was really irritated. How superior.

After a day I asked a close friend, who I respect tremendously, what she thought. She said:

Bitch is a verb too.

Happy Erev Chanukah. Merry Christmas Eve. I’m planning on a judgment-free holiday.

50 lessons and 50 blessings.

What is it about big milestones that make us want to make lists?

I was planning to write about 50 lessons I’ve learned over the years and tell you about 50 blessings in my life.

I’m sure I’ve learned more than 50 things and I can assure you I have more than 50 wonderful things and people in my life.

Instead, I’m going to go all minimalist here.

I’m grateful for all the people who have taught me anything – good or bad.
I’m grateful for the people who love me. And for the people I love. I think there’s a lot of overlap there.
I’m grateful for knowledge. And for being told I’m wrong so I can try harder.
I’m over the moon grateful for my sons. And my husband.
And for the ones who’ve stuck by me no matter what.

I’m thankful for the 9am phone calls. I’m thankful for the peace in my home.
I’m thankful for my work, which I love. And the clients who trust me.

It never occurred to me that I’d be 50 one day.

Crazy, I know.

But here I am.

And I’m grateful for where I’ve been and I can’t wait to see where I go.

What a difference 11 years makes.

I posted this on Facebook today. Someone asked about recreating the scene today.

The boys. July, 2000.

Well, we don’t have the hats. They’d be way too small anyway.

This is as close as I could get.

The boys. August, 2011.

In the 12 seconds I had to set it up and shoot it, I think I did okay.

Sniff. Sniff.

Andrew came home today with 4 DVDs. He had our videos of our kids when they were little converted.

I couldn’t peel myself away from it.

The gurgling, the crying, the chewing the toys.

I saw their first birthdays. And birthday parties year after year. I saw them with their aunts and uncles and grandparents and great-grandparents.

We were at the zoo, the park, our backyard, our kitchen.

And my favorites? In the bathtub. I always loved my little boys playing in the bathtub. They were silly and funny and cute. And in some scenes, they had a friend or a cousin. Really? They could not be any cuter.

I love the part with my BFF’s daughter singing in the bathtub and my boys cheering her on. Too. Darn. Cute.

But after I smiled and teared up a bit and laughed, I had a very sad realization.

I don’t remember it all.

The way their voices sounded. The drool. The screeching. The slobbery kisses. The falling down. The way they talked to each other. How funny they were. How squishy they were. How disgusting they were when they ate. How exciting it was for them to see the penguins at the zoo the first time. How opening presents was the greatest adventure in life. Except for the slip and slide.

I forgot how little they were.

I love, love, love who they are now.

But now, I miss who they were. Just a little.