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Channeling Halle Berry

1 Mar

We just returned from attending my niece’s wedding in Florida.

It was an incredible trip and a welcome warm humid weekend. We were there just long enough for the wrinkles to plump out in the humidity. I love that part of humidity – it works better than botox. But my hair? In Colorado my hair is fairly straight. In humidity, my hair takes on a life of its own and begins to resemble Mufasa in The Lion King.

It isn’t about using product. I use lots of product. Within minutes of walking outside my hair begins to curl and frizz and I no longer need volumizing shampoo or product.

Still I had really shopped and considered exactly what to wear.For once, I didn’t have 3 kids to shop and pack for! Another upside to the empty nest!

At the rehearsal dinner I had this beautiful Sue Wong dress. It was a fitted black lace and beaded dress over a shimmering gold inner dress. It had a plunging neckline – and took me out of my comfort zone. I normally wouldn’t have even tried it on – but my neighbor who was shopping with me convinced me to try it on and then said – “You should buy it and wear it now – in a few years the girls will be too saggy to wear something like that” Seriously……she said it and I took it to heart. I had spent a lot of time trying to help my mother find something to wear to the wedding. At 87 she refuses to wear clothes she calls “old lady clothes” and I love that about her – still I thought my neighbor had a point.

I wore the dress and had a rare – “I look pretty dang good” moments. But as the dinner began to wind down, my mother leaned into me and asked “Are you wearing anything under that dress?” I said – “What do you mean? You do realize there is a gold dress lining the dress……right?” She said “I thought maybe you were channeling Halle Berry and that was you I was seeing through the dress.”

One the one hand I was speechless. On the other, I was kinda impressed that at 87 she knew who Halle Berry was.


Wisdom of Pooh

7 Feb

For the Superbowl, we gathered with a few neighbors for the ritual of football and too much food. As the game began we noticed the men had congregated on one side of the room and the women were on the other side. When one woman commented about our “middle school party” situation one of the husbands who clearly had one ear on our conversation said “That is because we are at a Superbowl party… watch the Superbowl.”

Yea, yea we caught the high-points – men yell during football – so we knew when to look. And we paused to watch the commercials and half time show.

My daughter had just texted me that her sort of boyfriend (she says they broke up but he seems around a lot) and his friends didn’t show for the Superbowl party he had requested and now had way to much pizza and was annoyed. I am ready for this guy to hit the road – he is very nice – but he is his own obstacle. I commented to my neighbor “I think my daughter is trying to fix him.” My neighbor commented she tried to fix several boyfriends before she met her husband. Then she asked which Winnie The Pooh character I liked as a kid. Both she and I had an Eeyore. We both had hoped to love Eeyore enough to get him to smile. We wanted to ‘fix’ poor Eeyore.

My neighbor said “Now I wouldn’t have patience for Eeyore. Get over yourself Eeyore!” I commented “Hey you would be in a bad mood too if you walked around with a tack in your ass. Let go of the tail Eeyore – move on with your life and forget about the tail!” He was seriously obsessed with the perfect tail, constantly losing his tail, looking for his tail and enduring a painful reattachment of the tail! Another neighbor looked at both of us and said “It was Winnie The Pooh all the way.”

Not sure we actually hit on some deep wisdom or too much wine.

I Am A Slow Learner

11 Jan

ages 4, 7, 9

It is interesting as kids age from teens to young adults. I still think of them as my babies and want to mother them, and give them advice and try not to smother them. And I mean smother on many levels!

They are old enough to make their own decisions and mistakes and I find I can now look back on my parenting and see my mistakes as a parent. I was definitely guilty of doing too much for them and trying to never let them fail. I now see failure as a good thing in maturing to an adult. (Although I don’t see any good come out of my own failures!)

My latest examples…..My middle child was heading back to college this semester and I find he dropped a lot of classes (rather than take a failing grade) So I paid $10,000 for a couple of classes? So I’ve decided to let go – he has a bit of money, so I told him he was paying for the semester. It was his money to lose and if he does well – I will repay him, but I was no longer funding him to play video games and ignore life. Today is the first day of classes and he sent me a text “In class”. YAY! It is a start, but I will take it as a positive step. I hope this is his turning point. He will have to change his habits to succeed and I hope he does – but he will have to bear the failure this time. 

My oldest son…..he partied his first 3 semesters at a private east coast prestigious University. We (along with the University)finally said – “ENOUGH!” brought him home and told him to get a job. When he couldn’t be bothered, his Dad took him to his office to do filing. He quickly found a job. I hoped he would find he would rather go to school than work at a low paying job. Unfortunately the company quickly realized how capable and smart he was and suddenly he was making 6 figures. So much for my wicked plan..But he got a new boss who was quite unethical and a bit of an ass (YAY!) and my son decided to go back to school. He learned he wanted to “be the boss” and for that he would need that piece of paper. But this time, he realized how hard it is to earn the money to pay tuition and took out a loan and pays part of his own tuition. And, he is on the Dean’s list. 

I look back to lower school, middle school and high school and how my love for them prevented me from just letting them fail…..I didn’t make them get summer jobs or really require a lot of household responsibilities of them. They are wonderful, loving boys and I look back on a lot of fun in their childhood, but I think a little responsibility could have gone a long way. 

My daughter? She is clearly from another planet. She is 18 and a hard working responsible kid. I have no explanation. I won’t take credit but will just give thanks for the blessing.  

Restoring Status Quo

17 Dec

There is dirty laundry piled into the laundry room, lights left on all over the house, an abandoned container of queso and a sweatshirt sitting on the kitchen counter.
All of this can only mean one thing……finals are finished and the kids are returning to the nest. I’m still counting down the hours until I pick up my daughter from the airport. (42 hours!) I’ll take the ensuing mess that will follow each arrival. I love a full nest.
It feels like Christmas. For me – having my kids home is incredible.
My daughter is in California, a son in Montana and one son is living at home for his senior year in college. He is looking at companies in NYC and London for internships. Being all together could be harder to make happen.
But rather than worry about that which I cannot control….I am enjoying this Christmas and my kids all being home. I’m sure I will annoy them and they will annoy me. The house will be a mess and I’ll be in the kitchen…when I’m not in the laundry room. Sounds like the best gift ever….

Christmas a few years back!

Grading Mom

9 Dec

How do you measure if you were a good parent?

I figure if my kids are all productive happy people – I will have done ok.
I was listening to my own mother talk about stories when we ( my brothers and I ) were younger. Perhaps it is just a difference in perspective or a bit of revisionist memory – but she wasn’t the mom she remembers!
But she has mellowed and well….I am a relatively happy productive person and all my brothers are successful happy guys…so by my test she was a good mom. And 30 years later – it is kinda funny to think about her turning to my about to be mother-in-law and saying “you know she is a real bitch!” Yes – referring to myself! It is still what my cousins and I all remember best about my rehearsal dinner.

So interestingly enough….this fall in a conversation with one of my sons, he pointed out how I had failed to recognize when he had suffered bouts of depression. I listened to him then noted to him – it is difficult to tell the difference from a surly teenager who may have played video games all night and then finally crashed from someone who is depressed. I apologized for not being aware – but the conversation just cannot leave me.

So interestingly enough……my daughter recently was invited to take an acting workshop. The woman who taught the class is very well known in the film and theatre industry. She was trying to get the participants to learn to go deep inside to access feelings to use in acting. She told the students to think about their relationship with their mother – recent interactions, conversations. My daughter looked around the room and everyone was sobbing. She called to say thanks mom ” I had nothing. I couldn’t recall one time that was painful or difficult”

I’ve always told my kids “I am trying to give you plenty of material for therapy”. Could be a self fulfilling prophecy!

Less words of wisdom….Please

20 Aug

My son’s birthday is on Monday and on Tuesday I am driving him back to school. He is a smart kid. He requested his cake early to maximize the number of pieces he can eat. I made it last night and put steaks on the grill. In true college fashion, a couple friends of his moseyed in just as I was putting the food on the table. Amazing the homing sense of a college student looking for a meal!

What I love is the humor and conversations that weave through a meal with these kids. The birthday boy is a rather quiet kid and I worry about him being social. Yet when he was with his buds I saw a side of him I thoroughly enjoyed. They were laughing and talking throughout the meal – and sitting and just observing, I couldn’t help but laugh too. Even when some of it was not mom approved conversation – it was just a fun moment.

I worry about my kids – are they going to succeed in life? Did I do a good job as a mom? Where did I go wrong?!?!?!?! Well – guess I will be waiting a while for the jury’s decision. As a wiser mom has said to me – If your kids are happy and good citizens of the world – you have done your job. The rest is up them. I know that…….but why is it so hard. It is hard to let go and let them live their lives!! Wish him luck on the 10 hour drive back to school!

The Pirate

Already making his own path

I need some chocolate – if I am eating chocolate, I can’t talk at the same time. So that is one less lecture I can deliver.

Wings are spreading

18 Aug

Today is the last day for many of my friends before they begin the empty nest chapter. I had to reread my earliest blogs to remember how that felt. Lousy.

On the one hand, the about to enter college kid is obnoxious to have around the summer before and you are ready for them to be out of the house. On the other hand, you still can still see your young baby and it is terrifying to let them go.
Will they remember the advice you have given them over the years? Will they hold on to the values you have tried to pass down? Or will they strike out in an all together frightening path.
After watching this journey over the years with my own and their friends, I realize you do have to let them fly. We learn from our mistakes. We hope our children don’t make mistakes that cannot be undone, but truly they are choosing their paths now. No matter what we instill in them – they have choices to make, paths to take.

So on this eve of so many of my friends who are struggling, it does get better for you. We wanted our children to fly from the nest. We gave them strength to stand on their own.
Congratulations – as painful as it is – you succeeded. No – it isn’t the same when they come home to visit. But in some ways it is wonderful. My kids express appreciation for what we have sacrificed to give them. It’s time for those of us who remain behind in the nest to find new chapters. And, believe me – they will be so excited to see you on parent’s weekend!