Monthly Archives: August 2010

Back

Here I am.  Exactly where I was when I wrote my post about being “Off” for vacation.  Same spot on the couch. Same routine with Hannah getting up out of bed 16 times before finally falling asleep.  Same mess on the floor in front of me.

I’m back.

Sadly, I can’t tell you that I had the most wonderful vacation ever. That it was just what I needed.  That I am home feeling refreshed or rested.  No, I’m actually just as exhausted as I was when I left, if not more so.

It rained for the first four days of our beach vacation after a summer of record breaking days in a row of sunshine.  I actually didn’t pack enough warm clothes and wore Tim’s cozy sweatshirt more days than I wore my own t-shirts.  The first four nights I went to sleep to the sound of howling wind and woke up to the pounding of hard rain on the roof.  There were no twinkling stars in the sky.  The rocking chairs on the deck sat wet and still.  We spent days longingly looking out the windows at the beach and the crashing waves.  It was painful, really.  I’d like to say we enjoyed lazy days cozy on the couch watching movies.  Or that we played hours of monopoly while sipping hot chocolate.  Or we finished a 2500 piece jig saw puzzle.  But I can’t. Because we didn’t. Instead Tim and I joked that we were filming a documentary called “We Really Don’t Like Each Other”.  And two days later were filming Part Two entitled, “We’re Really About to Kill One Another.”  I became more and more frustrated and angry as the days dragged on with no ray of sunshine in sight.

Yes, we did make “the most” of it.  I learned to french brain Hannah’s hair by watching dozens of tutorials on You Tube.  She read her first book out loud to me all on her own (Henry and Mudge in Puddle Trouble).  We splashed in the waves in raincoats. We were educated in Rhode Island history at the children’s museum.  We played mini golf through squinted eyes as the rain wet our eyelashes.  We got by. We found some smiles.  But it was not ideal.  I would have preferred My bed.  My couch. My yard in the rain.

But then the sun came out. And we gave each other high fives. Applauded the sun as it peaked out from behind the clouds.  Jumped for joy.  With two days left, we started our vacation (Very early Thursday morning. At sunrise to be exact.)

Today I’m reliving the days as I look back through my pictures I snapped throughout the week. And I find it interesting how many pictures I took of my family’s back.  It took me a while to figure out why I am so drawn to life facing away from me.  But I realized that pictures of people looking Out at life can be so much more beautiful at times than faces focused at the camera.  Yes, it has something to do with the forced nature of posed vs. candid  but it’s more than that.  Maybe it’s what’s left to the imagination in not knowing what the expressions on the faces facing away from the camera are.  Relying 100% on body language to understand the story.  The way the shoulders droop or the head is tilted.  The way the arm rests on a shoulder or the legs seem to skip as they move away.

By far my favorite pictures of our week away show no faces.  Just backs.  Will I be sorry later as I look back on these Backs that I can’t see the smiles (or tears)?  That I don’t have many family portraits or shots of the kids looking up at me buried in the sand?  I don’t think so.  Because the dreamer, the romantic, in me would like to imagine years ahead what we were thinking as we looked toward the sunset, walked hand in hand down the beachside sidewalk, and looked underwear clad in the rain toward the sea.

I’m back. With lots of Backs to show for it.

Hannah and Luke saddled up to the bar for a romantic chocolate milk with two straws.

Blurry is good here.


Do you like pictures of people’s backs?

How would you handle a week of vacation mostly in the rain?

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Where’s the sun, climbing the Walls Wet, Windy, Wordless Wednesday

Day Five of Rain on our VACATION. Rain in the comfort of your own town, in your own home is one thing.  But in an unfamiliar city, in a rented house on the BEACH is another.

Can we all do a rain dance for my (and my kids’) sanity please?

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I’m Off

Yes, I’ve BEEN off. Sad about the death of my grandmother. Worried about my dad and father in law’s health. Torn apart over Hannah’s recent issues and separation anxiety.

But that’s not the kind of OFF I’m talking about.

No, I’m literally off. Off on vacation. Leaving today. For seven days. Packing up and relocating the family from our house here in the suburbs of NY to the beach. (And for all of you stalking me to see when I’m away so you can rob my house, I have a housesitter and a ferocious dog so don’t even think about it). Part of me is a bit concerned that I’m just moving the craziness from one house to another. But even if that’s the case, the change of scenery and the sound of the crashing waves will be welcomed.

I’m full of hope. Hope that this week together as a family will be perfect. Just what we need. All we imagine.

All I imagine.

– Early coffee on the beach, scent of salt water in our noses.
– Standing holding hands, frothy water covering our toes.
– Finding first stars in the sky and making a wish we hope will come true
– Short walks at dusk for icecream
– Finding moments to read. Or close my eyes.
– Evening cocktails. Virgin for them. Not for me.
– Quiet conversation about life and love with my guy.
– Doing cartwheels side by side with Hannah.
– Bringing home a bag full of sea glass. And sea shells.
– Taking long walks. On the boardwalk. Alone.
Playdates with new friends on the beach.
– First trips on a ferry boat to unexplored islands.
– Coming home. Refreshed. Happy. Excited for new schools. New adventures. And fall.

See you in a week!

xo

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Who needs the Best?

Being the best honestly is overrated.

I think I’ll settle for Fine.

Best leaves nothing to strive for.

The best leaves nothing to desire.

I’ll never believe I’m the best.

Because in my heart I’ll know

There’s better somewhere for someone.

So Fine is where I’ll stay.

Because I’m comfortable, at ease here.

In this content, just fine place.

It’s the Best Place for me.

Head over to Making Things Up to find links to all the Six Word Friday participants or to join in yourself!  The prompt this week was The Best.

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Standing Ovation

I was seven. Or eight. Little for sure. I recall being awestruck by the vastness, the hugeness, of New York City. I remember walking while looking so high up toward the top of the buildings that I could have fallen over backwards. I held tight to my parent’s hands. Desperately trying to avoid oncoming pedestrians. Being yanked to a stop before stepping off the curb into the crazy blur of yellow cabs. The flashing lights as far as my little eyes could see advertising Coca Cola, spotlighting hotels and announcing the new XXX movie caught my attention in Times Square. I couldn’t look around fast enough. I wanted to just breathe it all in. It was magical.

We were there to see my first Broadway show. Annie. I don’t remember all of the details as I wish i could. But I do remember sitting on the edge of my seat. Looking down from the mezzanine at the orchestra tuning their instruments before the lights went down. I remember the crash of the first note coming from that pit and looking at the closed curtain with wonder.

And then the curtain raised and my memories of how I actually felt during the production, goes dark. I do remember pieces. Wishing I could sing like the orphans on stage. Wanting to jump on stage and join them as they did backflips and handstands to the song, “It’s A Hard Knock Life”, wondering how the dog Sandy learned to behave the way she did on stage. But most of it is foggy thirty years later.

I do know following the show we purchased the 8-track of the musical and I would go into the living room on my own and push it into the player, stand back and pretend to be Annie. I’d dance and sing as if I were on stage myself. I’m sure my parents were ready to kill me as I nasally belted out the songs one by one, over and over. And over. Oh how I loved those songs. And still do.

Today I dressed Hannah up in a fancy dress and we jumped on the 9:12 am train to New York City. For her first Broadway Show. We didn’t know what we’d see since we, as I did when I was little, planned to wait on the TKTS line for discounted tickets. We’d take what was available. I hoped to see The Lion King or Wicked but would have settled for Mary Poppins, Mamma Mia, or Billy Elliot. We walked from Grand Central to Times Square. Me gripping tightly to my little girl’s hand as she desperately tried to see the tops of the buildings. She asked repeatedly if “That” one is the tallest, or “That” one? She looked sadly at a homeless man sleeping on the street and said, “that poor, poor man must have been so tired from work that he just fell asleep. Someone should help him get home to his bed.” Every little girl we passed she asked if I thought She was also going to a show. We started out strong on our 5 block/2 Avenue walk and ended limping with sore feet in apparently not so comfy sandals.

But we made it. To the crowded TKTS line where we saw our Only choices were Mary Poppins and West Side Story. We agreed we’d see the show with the best seats. The line was LONG. Endless it seemed. Especially after a horrible night’s sleep last night. Hannah wanted me to hold her. I think she would have laid down on the sidewalk, sucking her thumb and holding Ellie had I let her. But I taught her the art of people watching which thankfully kept her upright and happy.

Finally up at the window we found out West Side Story was now our ONLY option with seats together. So a musical about gangs it was.

I spent the next three hours in the city counting the moments (and M & M’s that she was eating at the M &M store) down to when the curtain would rise for her. Her first experience in a NYC theatre. First Pit Orchestra. First experience with sets that make your jaw fall open and voices that sound as if an angel is singing in your ear. The costumes, the dancing, the applause, the bows. I looked forward to it all – for her.

After a quick pit stop to see daddy, and have a snack in Central Park, we finally arrived to our seats. Fourth row Mezzanine. Perfect view. She sat at the edge of her seat just as I had. Her dreamy smile I’m sure resembled mine. “I’m not sure what to expect mommy” she said. Neither did I.

The music started. The curtain went up. The show began. Hannah’s first question was, “are those real people mommy? Or people in costumes?” And then I knew this was not going to be a Quiet enjoyable show. It would be an experience with Questions.

“Why are they singing?”
“Are they singing or is it the radio?”
“What is going on?”
“Wouldn’t daddy look cute up there on stage?”
“How do they all know to dance in the same way?”
“What if they have to pee?”
“What are they talking about?”
“Are they speaking Spanish?”
“Is she really crying or just pretend crying?
“Is he dead or just pretend dead?”
“Are they hurting each other for real or just for pretend?”
“Is that a real knife or a pretend knife because if it’s real, this show is very dangerous and probably not safe for us here.”

But with these questions, was the utter, astounded amazement.

“I’ve never heard such a beautiful voice before. Is it better than MY voice?”
“I love their dresses. they all look so beautiful.”
“I didn’t know boys could dance like that.”
“I love when everyone claps so loud. They must be so happy to have everyone clapping for them.”
“One day I want to be on stage like that.”

And when it was over. After two and a half hours of singing (her favorite not surprisingly was “I’m so Pretty!”) and dancing, she looked up at me, as she gave a standing ovation, and said, “That wasn’t just good. That was the best kind of amazing. I wish I could just see show after show after show. Every day.”
And I smiled. Because there could NOT have been a better response to the experience. And I couldn’t have agreed more.

And on the way home on the train, as she rested her head in my lap and I stroked the hair off of her closed, sleeping eyes, I looked at her. That girl two weeks away from starting Kindergarten. That girl suddenly afraid of being alone. That girl that was yesterday my baby. And I smiled. Because I realized this was just the first of MANY. Many best kind of amazing experiences that I would be sharing with her. And that finally, maybe, she’ll start remembering them. At least pieces of them. So that it won’t just be pictures that will show her exciting firsts she had, but they’ll be there in her memory. So that she can tell the story of her first Broadway show to her kids.

Knives, Gangs and all.

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I wish I couldn’t relate

I remember.

Sitting on my mom’s bed as she got dressed for a night out. Her looking in the mirror, freshly showered, hair done, perfume spritzed, necklace clasped. Me quiet. And sad knowing she was heading out for the night. The doorbell would ring and the babysitter would enter. I’d hide quietly behind my mom’s legs dreading her walking out the door with my dad. I knew I had a night full of card games, dessert and TV ahead of me but I still ached with the knowledge that someone Else would be putting me to bed. Helping me brush my teeth. Reading me my goodnight book. Turning out my light.

Many nights I’d grasp onto my mom’s leg as she tried to pry herself away from me. But she’d end up leaving. No matter how many tears I cried. What excuses I gave. She ended up going. And although some nights I fought the babysitter’s attempts to get me to stay in bed and Go To Sleep, I was always ok. I survived. My parents got to enjoy their time away. Their Time Out. And I was no worse for the wear.

Some nights I’d wake in the the wee hours of the morning, missing my parents. Wishing I could crawl into bed with them. Feel their warm bodies next to me and share my mom’s soft, squishy pillow under my little head. But I knew that wasn’t allowed. The times I’d go into my parent’s room in the hours when the moon and stars still twinkled in the sky, my mom would sleepily walk me back to my bedroom, kiss me on the forehead and softly urge me to go back to sleep. And many nights, I’d take my own pillow and small blanket, place them on the floor in the hallway outside my parent’s bedroom door and sleep there. Content knowing they were close. Right behind that door. My mom would wake early as she always did, open her door and find me asleep. Curled against the doorframe. It was not ideal for either of us. My mom was sad with the knowledge that I had been frightened and lonely, overcome with the need to sleep on the hard cold floor. But she was able to get a fine night’s sleep, not knowing her little girl was suffering, however silly it may have been. And I was afraid of making my mom angry, yet too scared to stay alone. But I was satisfied with this compromise of sleeping close by. It worked for me . And I grew out of it, eventually.

Fast forward 33 years. I have this little girl. Suddenly suffering. Unable to let me leave the house, even leave the room. She is scared at night. Having nightmares. She is petrified of my not being there when she’ll need me. Afraid no one else will understand how to take care of her (outside of Tim and her grandparents).

She had gymnastics tryouts this week and I couldn’t leave the room.

She won’t leave my side when I’m in the bathroom, even if it’s to run down the hall to fetch some toiletpaper.

She scolds (yes scolds) me for sitting outside in my swing when she’s in bed. “You can’t leave your Children inside alone Mommy!”

And now she is making me a prisoner in my own house. And I’m at a loss. Sick for her. And pitying myself. She got herself so worked up with sadness with the babysitter on Tim and my anniversary that she ended up throwing up repeatedly and (sorry) pooping all over the floor. On the phone as I drove to the restaurant, I tried to talk her down but she insisted she Needed me immediately. And upon my arriving back home, she admitted she had just been nervous. Very nervous being left with the sitter.

I have not heard from that sitter again.

And last night, when I had a night of cocktails on the water with Tim and his brother and sister-in-law planned, she would not “let” me leave her with the new sitter. She was traumatized. Terrified. Shaking. Unable to be reasoned with. And for fear of another episode with this new babysitter, I again stayed home. Another night ruined. Beyond frustrated. But aching with sadness for my little girl.

Tim believes we should punish her. Not let her irrational behavior win. Not let her be rewarded with our staying home. But I truly believe this is a stage resulting from something deeper than “acting out”. That there is a true fear I need to alleviate. That I need to dig out the roots of this problem and help her heal.

Am I being the gullible, irrational one? Should I show tougher love? Have her find her own way of solving this problem, as I did by sleeping outside my mom’s room in my young scared years? Or do I lay beside her, the way I had only wished my mom would?

Because here I am, feeling tortured. Feeling bullied. Afraid of how long this will last. How far and long this stage will stretch. Will she not let me leave her at Kindergarten in 3 weeks? Will her new gymnastics program fail us as well? Will I never find a babysitter that I won’t worry Hannah will throw up on?

I find these issues that I can relate so deeply to the hardest. Because I remember. I wore her shoes. I felt her pain. And now I’m crying her tears. And I know it’s not right but I’m at a loss for what to do.

Any tips Welcome!!

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That Much I Know

Giving and getting little kisses

Smelling shampooed heads, caressing soft skin

Hearing first words, seeing first feats

Bringing smiles to sad, frustrated faces

Making yummy meals eaten by all

Witnessing the pride in small eyes

After achieving something never thought attainable

Hearing “I love you’s” all day.

Picking someone up after falling down

I’m always tired But never Tire

Of being part of their lives

Of knowing I am so lucky

My life is full of meaning

My life has newly found purpose

That much I know. For sure.

Join me for Six Word Fridays at Making Things Up.  This week the topic is That Much I Know. And sadly, I had a very hard time with it… because I suppose there isn’t That much I know!

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