That Time of the Year

May 11, 2012

Mothers Day is three days away and while it is less painful then previous years it still hurts.  I miss my mom.  Some days I really feel her presence like last weekend in New Orleans. Most of the trip I kept thinking of how much she would enjoy the city and then, when posing with local Indians in their colorful garb I was channeling my mother even repeating her mantra when forcing us to pose for photographs, “You’ll thank me later.”

 

So here I am, 33 years old, married with three children, running my mom’s business, running my own business, attending to my mom’s mom, and doing the best I can.  There are times I feel just like my mom, other times I feel her presence beside me – one time I even channeled her telling me, “I can’t make it so obvious” and other times I just want to talk to her.

 

Earlier this week my husband’s boss’s wife invited me to some mother’s day fundraiser movie screening/ event. I did the big thing and invited my step mother (who subsequently ignored said email).  I told my husband last night about the invite and he asked what I was doing instead.  And he guffed when I said staying home.  But I just do not want to be at some mother-daughter event that my mom would have enjoyed.

 

It’s hard.  It’s supposed to be hard. And I remind myself how lucky I am to have a mother so wonderful whose void is so profound.

 


50 Shades of Eroticism

April 18, 2012

The most recent book club selection was Fifty Shades of Grey, the amazingly popular soft core porn book that everybody is talking about.  When we first chose it I thought it would be a little steamy, and at the original price of thirty dollars I did not immediately purchase it instead waiting for a friend to finish her copy first.  

The book is hot, no doubt about that. I am sure my husband regrets having to go on a business trip the week I read it and my sister’s husband ever grateful it is a trilogy calls the book literary viagra.  So much of the book is a disappointment as it was not entirely convincing.  Sex six times a day! Even in my prime I did not do that, let alone sex involving all types of submissive behavior, although that does sound highly erotic.  

I was discussing the book with a mom from my son’s preschool and she seemed to have an entirely different take.  She looked at me with skepticism as I said some of the scenes felt repetitive and the writing was poor.  Ten more minutes of discussing our contrasting take, we realized we were discussing two completely different books.  She was reading Between Shades of Gray, about a Lithuanian teenager on the brink of World War One.  

 But now talking about this soft core porn novel is main stream. According to one friend, the book is the most downloaded anything in Kindle’s history.  It even came up with my step mother and sister in law’s mother.  I’m sure my mother in law is not far behind.  Maybe we have been so repressed about talking and reading about sex that a little fantasy of physical repression and unadulterated attraction is all we need. 


No Good Deed

October 14, 2011

No good deed goes unpunished says the adage and once again I’m finding it to be the case as I try to volunteer with my children’s nursery school charity committee. Last year I met the seemingly bubbly and friendly head of the committee and offered to be her co chair at a class cocktail party. She must have had an extra glass of the cheap white wine as later that night she promised the position to another mom.

Last year I lobbied to coordinate a food drive at the school, one of those old fashioned drop off your about to expire can of beans you’ll never use to help a hungry neighbor. My own building had all but banished my drive to a sign by the mailboxes courtesy of the grumpy co-op condo president, the same gentleman who reported me to the police for letting my children play in the hallway.

I exchanged emails with the charity committee who basically nixed my idea for a variety of lame reasons. I cc’d my friend and other co-chair for a reality check, was I so out of line suggesting I make a sign and put a box in the lobby at the bare minimum? She agreed the other woman was being unreasonable but opted to refrain from the discussion.

So this year, I popped into the charity meeting hoping to participate in a meaningful way. One mom brought up the food drive hoping it would complement the bake sale and the same co-chair thought it was a *brilliant* idea. So I introduced a new charity I recently discovered, Soles for Souls. All of the volunteers at the meeting agreed they had spare shoes in their home they would happily donate.

The conversation in the group evolved into petty details and with a mountain of things I should have been attending to, I excused myself but agreed to volunteer later. An email exchange later, the Soles for Souls idea was completely scrapped (but I am allowed to make a sign for the PTA board) but collecting money for Unicef was still on the table. Not that I’m against that charity but I think more people are inclined to clean out their closets then dig for coins in their couch cushions, and children could likely learn and appreciate more by donating something physical versus money.

But during those recent emails I wanted to show good faith so I asked where they might need help for the upcoming Pajama Drive and somehow got involved with decorating boxes, which I’m now learning I only have one day to do, the same day that I am leaving town early with my kids. I feel guilty backing out now, as I do not want to appear that my goodwill was only to gain traction for charities that interest me. But I do not want to sacrifice my plans to tape together cardboard boxes, and do they really need to look attractive? Through an unnecessary amount of emails I will tape boxes in the morning that will be decorated by other mom’s in the afternoon.

I remember a Dharma and Greg episode when the free spirited Dharma was running for office and volunteers were delegated responsibilities by drawing straws. Her lawyer husband was assigned the task of affixing postage to letters while the Mexican speaking housekeeper picked speech writing. I feel very similar. I would like to do something significant and motivate our already passionate community to help others while contributing my time in an efficient and meaningful way. Perhaps next year when the co-chair’s children have graduated, I can be head and run the committee as I see fit. Or perhaps I will be overwhelmingly busy with three kids and resigned to the status quo, or even still I could spearhead the charity committee at my daughter’s new school, whatever that may be.


Mother’s Day Mania

May 10, 2010

When I was single I hated the hype of Valentine’s Day, a Hallmark holiday that reminds all the single folk that we are still single and all of the couples that they are envied.

Sure there may be pressure depending on the length of the relationship or its intensity but it is still a fabricated day to either celebrate what you have or lament what you do not.

I’m beginning to feel the same way about Mother’s Day. The ads with little kids doing precious things for their mothers choke me up and I remember how lucky I am to have two healthy munchkins. Then there are the ads with my contemporaries and their mothers and I hate them. I resent them. I loathe them. I want to hurl rotten eggs at their smiling faces. It’s another slap in the face that not only do I not have my mommy, I won’t. And every year I will have to brace myself for the nauseating commercials where a mom and her daughter confide in each other how they are best friends. At least with Valentine’s Day, I could hold on to a shimmer of hope that the following year I’ll have a partner.

I will develop better relationships with my kids and hopefully one day my daughter and I can mock those cheesy commercials that surface every May.


Don’t Join This Club

April 19, 2010

Seven months pregnant and sitting shiva, I was convinced that I had a monopoly on my suffering. More than my siblings as my mom and I lived nearby and I accompanied her to all of her doctor’s appointments. More than her boyfriend because he did not know her as long. More than any other girl who lost her mother because my mommy was special. I had loved her so much and depended on her so dearly and spoke to her so frequently, as if that would be enough to stave off cancer.

I recently read If You Knew Suzy: A Mother, A Daughter, A Reporter’s Notebook by Katherine Rosman and was amazed by the parallels down to the awful conclusion.

Having lost my mother has become such an identifying part of my identity. Perhaps because it is still sixteen months later the wound is still raw. Perhaps because it really is a big deal. I no longer feel the need to tell everyone I meet that I recently lost my mom but I do reveal it with frequency. If I had lost a limb, my left hand or even my thumb, the world would know to handle me with care. But barring that, I disclose my handicap.
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Couples Crush

April 5, 2010

On my morning trip to the nearly empty park today, a cute couple with an 18-month old daughter joined us. He was rocker cool with a leather jacket and sideburns. His wife had gorgeous long blonde hair and an infectious smile revealing her straight white teeth. *I’m of the belief that, like manners, you only notice teeth when they are bad, or exceptionally good. Her teeth were exceptional.

Considering I’ve seen paparazzi standing outside the playground gates to shoot Hugh Jackman playing with his daughter, I thought this family could be music royalty without the groupies.
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Post Baby Body

July 1, 2009

My sister uses a girdle to shrink her uterus after delivering, per her ob’s advice. Within a week her stomach flattened to look a mere three three to four months pregnant. She doles this information out sparingly so that acquaintances think she is super mom with the super body. We went shopping a week after her son was born and the oohs and ahhs she received from the sales clerk about her body led me to chime in that I have a five month old, and my body is lean.

I was looking for some sort of validation. Staying at my sister’s house for two weeks with my two kids and her three children including the newborn was a lot, even though we are best friends and her house is significantly larger than any New York City apartment I’ve visited. I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt of her post partum mood swings, but she made comments about my kids. Comments that one such as myself might take offense to. Comments about my daughter and how she adjusted to being in a foreign place with constant stimulation. Every time she picked up a toy, one of the other kids would snatch it out of her hand and say Mine. She was not on her turf or even in her own country. My sister discounted this when she complained that my daughter whined too much.

I kept my mouth shut about her children and their misbehavior because I did not want to get into a tit for tat situation. There was nothing to gain. Kids are kids. They have good moments and bad ones.

She did share some helpful advice that perhaps I would have come to on my own. Given her kids are older she was more familiar with how best to handle a toddler. I do remember taking a trip when her eldest was a little over two years and my mom and I advised her how to discipline her toddler. I shared my thoughts in a constructive and sensitive way as opposed to attacking and criticizing.

I took full advantage of my sister’s help and changed an average of one diaper a day which was awesome. My sister felt the need to comment on that as well. She must forget that when I am in New York I can change multiple diapers in an hour and I have to run around looking for the proper size for each kid. That was my vacation, some R & R that I desperately needed and earned. She must have forgotten or never realized how hard I have been working and the amount of stress I am under.

So don’t judge me! Don’t judge my parenting! Since she is my sister and best friend and had just delivered a baby…I won’t digress and mention how she treated me in the delivery room, I’ll give her a grace period.