My husband, Marc, and I celebrated our 35th anniversary this year. Did we mark the milestone by scuba diving off the Great Barrier Reef? Zip-lining through the rain forest in Costa Rica? Rafting the Colorado River? Nope, nope and nope. We got His and Hers hearing aids.
For Mother’s Day, I’m giving my mother-in-law Beverly a book about Joseph Stalin. I’m not implying she’s a totalitarian tyrant, I swear.
Someone to Watch Over Me, Brain, Child
Mom was famous throughout Flushing, Queens for her brisket. As soon as she heard someone was facing illness or surgery, she’d call the butcher. Then she’d cook and deliver that person a braised brisket so delectably tender you barely needed a knife. Easy to freeze, it tasted even better the second day. Her brisket served with mashed potatoes was the ultimate comfort meal. Food is the mamaloshen – the mother tongue – of Jewish families. Mom didn’t speak Yiddish, but she understood it, just as she understood the healing properties of food.
Navigation Skills: A Mom Who “Likes” Too Much, Chicago Tribune
OK, I'm going out on a limb here. I'm a middle-age mom and I love Facebook. And no, I'm not playing games like FarmVille, Kingdoms of Camelot or Mafia Wars. I love it for networking. So when "Saturday Night Live" recently aired a fake ad for the "Damn It! My Mom's on Facebook" filter, I thought it was a hoot. Until my 23-year-old son Jonathan cornered me. "You're all over Facebook,” he said. "You've been clicking 'like' on too many things."
Marriage and Passion Travel, Better After 50
I never laugh. Oh, I may roll my eyes once in a while, but a wife’s got to have a little room to react. Besides, I know that we won’t be in China forever, because we just got back from another trip. One year we went to outer space. The Cosmos. The Final Frontier. That was The Year of the Telescope….
Great Expectations, Chicken Soup for the Expectant Mother's Soul
The first thing we decided when we found out I was pregnant was to wait until the third month before we told anyone.Ten minutes later, I was combing through my address book, calling everyone from our Realtor to my sixth-grade teacher.
“What do you mean you’re worried about the change in your lifestyle?” several friends with kids said smugly. “What makes you think you’ll have a life?”
36 Ways to Wreck Your Vacation, Huffington Post
1. Take your kids.
2. (Okay, forget number one.)
3. Rent a vacation house from people who don't have kids and don't like kids. Rent a house from people who are fond of model ships in bottles, glass sculptures, and white, wall-to-wall carpeting….
The Hanna Anderson catalog of children´s clothing arrived today. I pore over the pink striped stretchies, diminutive sun dresses and dotted pink diaper covers. Then I fill out the order form: yellow long johns, red socks, cobalt underwear. Nothing pink.
I long for pink. I long for pink eyelet and satin, for pink tulle dancing clothes and puffy pink wall hangings, for pink striped wall paper and sheets to match, a surfeit, a riot of pink. I want a little girl who will wear that pink. A daughter to read The Secret Garden to aloud, who will adore me until she decides at twelve that I know nothing and am totally worthless, who will roll her eyes in embarrassment and not let me hug her in public. A daughter who will return to me at the end of her adolescence, as boys seldom do.
I am the mother of sons….
Husbands Who Play Too Much, McCall’s
Stephanie Grant worries that her husband will burn down the house someday. He incinerates food in the oven, scorches pots, forgets tea kettles set to boil. Once she reached the toaster just as the wallpaper above it was igniting. What could make a usually attentive husband so oblivious?
"The computer," says Grant, a salesperson in Laurel, Md. "My husband is addicted. He flips it on to read his e-mail even before he takes his morning shower. Last year he brought his computer on our family vacation-and it wasn't a laptop model. At Thanksgiving he and my brother-in-law squabble over the computer like two kids, each one shouting 'My turn! My turn!' He uses it every free moment. When he's not working, he's playing games like Myst. His computer is his mistress…."
No More Messy Rooms, McCall’s
Are there Doritos disintegrating between your sofa cushions? Little jelly fingerprints on the dining room walls? Plastic toy pieces that crunch underfoot? If your kids' bedrooms look like a war zone, and you're sick of talking (okay ... yelling) about it, you're far from alone.
"Last night," says Wendy Reich, a mother of two from Royal Palm Beach, Fla., "while looking for some overdue library books, I reached under my son's bed." She didn't find the books. Instead, she came across "mismatched dirty socks and a pair of shorts I thought I'd thrown out months ago. Our house could qualify for federal disaster relief…."
Couples Who Laugh Really Last, McCall’s
Years ago, my husband I were awakened one night by an earthquake. As we shook, he inquired solicitously, “Did the earth move for you?” I married my husband 15 years ago because he could make me laugh. If you ask most women, they will say that even more than great sex, good looks or wealth (those these are nice too), what they look for in a mate is a good sense of humor. “The best thing about being with my husband,” says Susan Lorin, 38, who’s been married for seven years, “is knowing that wherever I am, I can always look at him across the room and know he gets the joke too….”
Mom Versus Dad Discipline, Parents
“When our friends come over with their daughter, I'm never sure how my son Alex, who's 8, is going to treat her," says Tracey Murray, a mother of two in Manhasset, New York. "Sometimes he's awful. The last time, my husband offered him money to be nice to her. When the girl and her parents were leaving, Alex said right in front of them, 'Okay, I played with her -- where's my money?' I was mortified. You don't pay someone to be kind. It sends the wrong message." Murray sighs. "My husband just looks for the easiest way to get things done…."
Ah, time. You can never get enough of it. When there's a new baby in the house, free time for yourself simply evaporates. Certainly, your child comes first -- you wouldn't have it any other way. But while you're busy parceling out love and attention to your newborn, remember to save some for yourself. To be the best mom you can be, it's essential to take a brief vacation from the exhausting job of parenting and get reenergized. Whether it's taking a bubble bath or going to a book-club meeting, here's how some veteran moms unwind….
My Fertile Green Heart, Mused
“I’m kidnapping you to Italy and this time I’m not taking no for an answer,” my college roommate Pat announces.
Pat bought a vacation house in Umbria, Italy eight years ago, but my husband Marc and I have never visited. We aren’t able to travel together much because we have a developmentally disabled son. “You should go with Pat,” Marc says. “It’s the trip of a lifetime.”
Never My-Zulled, Literary Mama
One Saturday afternoon, soon after I became engaged, I sat in the den at my parents' house, reviewing the brochures on silver and china patterns I'd collected. I picked up a pamphlet and read aloud to my mother:
"'Other silver makers will tell you that theirs is the original Queen Anne Williamsburg pattern, but don't be misled.'"
My parents' heads both shot up. "Could we have that again?" my father said.
"'But don't be misled,'" I said.
"Let me see that," my mother said. Then she whooped. "That's not 'my-zulled', it's 'miss-led'," she said, and everyone -- mother, father, fiancé, and brother -- burst out laughing.
"You mean M-I-S-L-E-D isn't pronounced 'my-zulled'?" I said. "Doesn't it sound like 'reprisal'?"
Everyone laughed harder. "Oh honey," my mother said finally, "we're not laughing at you."
"Oh yeah? Well you're not laughing with me, because I'm not laughing." My face was hot with embarrassment. "It looks like my-zulled," I said. "My-zull" was part of my reading vocabulary (as opposed to a speaking vocabulary), one of many words I had seen or written but never spoken. My reading vocabulary was extensive: I'd majored in English, and at the time was finishing a Master's in journalism, and working as a copywriter for Simon & Schuster. I believed that whoever said "the pen is mightier than the sword" was the kind of guy who probably got picked last for the team, and as I was an athletically challenged child, I had turned to books early on. Got a question? Get the book. Or even better, books, and make that plenty of them….
Cherry Red, Brevity
John Gravely was our neighborhood house painter. He was never John, or Mr. Gravely. Just John-Gravely. He was always cheerful and whistled when he worked. Sometimes, while he scraped and painted, I’d climb the creaky wood stairs to the attic, where my parents kept an old office typewriter on an old metal stand that made a clackety racket whenever I struck the keys. Pecking happily, I would make up stories about my little brother and our fourteen first cousins; report on close escapes from Lancer, the Doberman Pinscher who terrorized us neighborhood kids; or invent adventures for Nancy Drew and her pals. I’d skip downstairs to read my stories aloud to anyone who’d listen. John-Gravely was always happy to put down his paint brush, wipe his hands on a stiff gray rag, and watch me intently with his crossed blue eyes. Those eyes made me a little uncomfortable, so I tried not to look too closely. I’d had surgery on my eyes when I was six, so they didn’t cross like his, but they weren’t straight either. Sometimes kids made fun of me; it made me shy. But I didn’t feel shy with John-Gravely. He always paid attention to me. When I read him my stories, he laughed in the right places. Each time he’d say, “You’re going to be a famous writer one day….”
Florid Feelings, Melusine
Mr. Silverman wasn’t as handsome as the dreamy Mr. Steinfink who taught American History. No matter. I loved him. Fiercely. Fervently. Ardently. As only a moody and intense fourteen year old can worship a man of 25….
I was dragged to Ruth Skaller’s Ballet Studio for Girls the year I was seven. I had never expressed any interest in dancing. But earlier that year, I’d had surgery on my eyes, and someone suggested that dancing might help my coordination.
Ruth Skaller was a tall, olive-skinned woman of indeterminate age, whose classes were filled with giggling girls she whipped into line with the snap of her voice. Through a series of barre exercises, we would sweep our Capezio slippers over the polished pale wood floors, plié, rond de jambe, relèvé, to the strains of haunting, melancholy piano music on the Victrola that only years later would I recognize as Chopin. Mrs. Skaller would stand before the mirror, lower face cupped thoughtfully in her hand, humming as she turned out muscled legs beneath her skirt drapery until she had choreographed our next steps. We would line up, and then, like drifting dandelion fluff -- or lumbering elephants -- cross the room on the diagonal, spinning and spotting, pirouetting our way dizzily across the studio….
Sotto Voce, Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood
“If you could be anything in the world and talent and money weren’t an issue, would you still be doing what you do, or something else?”
My husband posed this question in an attempt to liven up a rather staid Upper East Side party one night. The gathered Wall Street wizards, lawyers and M.B.A. types thought about it. “Exactly what we’re doing,” most of them concluded. Finally it was my turn. I didn’t hesitate. “I’d like to be a torch singer,” I said.
Even my husband was startled. I don’t know why; he knows all about my years with a singer named John Kuhn….