So today, my beautiful Dylan is 4.
We bought her a princess dress. I know, a bit hypocritical (ok a lot) after my criticism of the princess/barbie bikes, but Target finally broke me. The human spirit can only withstand so much princess mania without finally surrendering.
Today is also my 6th wedding anniversary.
Do you think Rick and I are one of those couples who are starting to look alike?
To celebrate, we visited my dad and some of his close friends, Dan and Sally, in the Berkshires in Massachusetts. Man, is it gorgeous up there with rolling hills, lush greenery and majestic horses.
And wow, it’s incredibly dark at night.
And breathlessly quiet.
And everyone leaves their doors unlocked.
Is it me or does this scenario beg for a serial killer?
Since we had lots of free babysitters on hand like my father and his friends, Rick and I, decided to go out to dinner to celebrate our anniversary. We stepped out in the pitch dark night and climbed into the car.
“Why is it so dark in here? Why aren’t the car lights going on?” Rick wondered out loud.
“I don’t know,” I responded. “AGHHHHHHHHHHHH!” I screamed.
“What?! What?! What are you screaming about?!!!!” Rick shouted back.
“Oh sorry. Nothing. I thought there might be an intruder in the backseat so I reached back and felt something, ” I explained. “Turns out it was just one of the car seats.”
Rick just rolled his eyes.
And think, he’s got only six years with me under his belt.
A whole bunch more to go, buddy. We’re just getting started here.
I might as well tell you.
I went to this Starbucks Better Breakfast focus group thingy. I just felt in my heart they would give me a free coffee card. Sometimes you know these things deep in your caffeinated bones.
Before I headed over, I actually enjoyed a large latte from a small neighborhood coffee shop. One that doesn’t even offer breakfast. Believe me, I felt a great deal of shame.
But then I refocused my corporate energy and headed to Starbucks.
These Starbucks representatives were so nice (clearly, they missed this post) and generous with their healthier breakfast alternatives – like oatmeal (140 calories), apple bran muffin (330 calories) and a cherry fruit and nut bar (250 calories).
I must say my fave offering was a power protein plate (hard boiled egg, mini-bagel with peanut butter, fruit and cheese). Definitely something I would share with my kids.
Of course the power platter, plus a grande latte, plus a couple of those organic chocolate milks and well, you might have to apply for a second job as a barista just to cover the cost. But if you can swing the price tag, it’s a nice little breakfast.
And these Starbucks folks really listened to me and my riveting ideas for the future of their company… like recycle bins! String cheese! A kid’s play area! Ok, I didn’t mention the play area.
I wanted to but I got intimidated by the fancy foodies in attendance like Food Mayhem, Serious Eats and Cheap Healthy Good. Plus exercise smartie Fit Esteem. And I had already admitted to giving my kids candy to get them in the stroller. So really, I had said enough.
Turns out, I did get a free coffee card. $5 bucks. Seems a little stingy, but the company is floundering a bit.
After I brought Better Breakfasts to the world, I still felt a wave of corporate longing so I headed to Target in New Jersey.
I wanted to buy Dylan a bike for her 4th birthday. After wandering through so many aisles I thought I would have to send for a search and rescue party (next time I’ll bring more water and extra layers), I finally found the bicycles.
And here were the options for a girl Dylan’s size.
1. Barbie (A bike for you and your Barbie. Barbie actually has her own seat on the handlebars!)
2. Disney Princess (Beautiful princesses adorned the entire bike.)
3. Jewels and Pearls (Wait, aren’t pearls a kind of jewel? Not sure. Will research.)
Wait, that can’t be it.
Yup, that’s it.
Now I’m a very girly girl who isn’t usually bothered by the plethora of princesses and Barbies in our 21st century culture. But even I was sort of disgusted. My gosh, don’t they just sell normal bikes anymore? Like a nice yellow one with colorful tassels hanging from the handlebars?
After much internal debate, I just couldn’t. I left without a bike. But I did purchase the plastic Hannah Montana musical microphone. At least Hannah is a girl who doesn’t sit around and wait around for some dumb prince. That gal went out and made something of herself.
And here we are again.
7 years later.
I remember that day and all its horrors so vividly. I remember the endless aching that followed as I and everyone else futilely tried to make sense of something so violent and cruel and of course, completely senseless.
I remember pouring over the “New York Times’ Portraits of Grief” where the paper honored each and every victim with poignant, beautiful details of their lives.
And for some reason, Michele Coyle-Eulau always stuck with me. I didn’t know her. Only what I read. She had three sons, 2, 5 and 7 years-old.
Matthew, Mark and Eric. The children who were waiting for her to come home that day.
She was a working mom, who juggled a full and hectic schedule, including a three day a week job as a systems analyst. She worked one day from home and two days on the 96th floor of Tower One. The World Trade Center.
She was 38 years-old.
At night her husband would yell out to her, “Michelle, it’s 11 o’clock! Could you just come to bed?”
And the piece ended like this…
What took her so long to get to bed? Packing lunches, making grocery lists, arranging play dates. “I never understood,” her husband said. “Now I do.”
For seven years I’ve been thinking of Michele and her family.
I’m absolutely sure that I always will.
And not a day goes by that I don’t hear the roar of an engine, look up and notice a plane flying high above New York City.
I’m usually pushing my stroller down the street or sitting at the playground or hurrying to find a cab.
I always look up. And I always think of that day and the nearly 3,000 victims who were robbed of their lives.
Every single day.
There is no forgetting.
And I don’t want to.
Damn, I was dreading the first day of preschool.
Well, the first day of year two of preschool.
Dylan is a shy girl and I knew she would not immediately jive with being in new room with different teachers.
But that morning, she was surprisingly in good spirits.
But as we arrived at school, this carefree Saturday Night Fever girl vanished and my daughter Dylan clung to me and sobbed and begged me not to leave her. After two hours, I finally managed to extricate myself from her grasp and the building.
I just knew this day would suck.
But by pick-up, all was completely calm. And cupcakes seemed to be the ideal way to celebrate the conquering of all that newness and uncertainty.
And then it was my turn. As I headed off to a parents’ orientation at the school, Dyan remarked…
“You’re going out tonight?”
“Yes. I have that parents night at your preschool,” I replied.
“You should wear something prettier,” Dylan remarked.
“Really? This is a cute dress. I got a ton of compliments on this today,” I said.
“You should wear something prettier,” she insisted again.
“Like what?” I asked.
“Like your black shirt and white shorts.”
“Um. Ok. I’ll think about it.”
I wore the dress which was perfectly adorable. And not in a questionable way like that visor situation.
What does a very soon to be 4 year-old know about fashion anyway? Geez.
The orientation was pretty standard. We learned about their schedule like snack time, arts and crafts and an educational video during rest time. An educational video?
I just know they are watching old episodes of “Friends.” It’s a gut feeling but I’m pretty sure. I’m not going to make a big deal about it.
Speaking of friends, Dylan has certainly made one in her school mate and gal pal Ella.
mama bird notes:
Do you all remember when I was whisked off to Atlanta by the awesome Graco folks and treated like a mama rock star to help shoot their new car seat campaign? I sure do.
Well, the finished product, Ready for the Road Ahead, is here!! It gives you awesome information on all their car seats so you can actually figure out which one to buy, a very helpful tutorial on installing the car seat (my weakness) and helpful parenting tips from talented bloggers like Sheila from Xiaolin Mama, Joe from Joeprah and Vicky from The Mummy Chronicles.
Oh, and me.
Now with the conventions wrapped up, it feels somehow trivial and dumb to suddenly start talking about portable pottys, princess shoes and fancy coffee again.
I am sort of hungering for the next plot twist in this political showdown. I feel like a political news junkie whose supplier just picked up and hauled out of town. Just leaving me here, in my blue state, anxiously waiting for the next McCain/Obama debate on September 26th.
This election feels like a very very long movie. And I am desperately hoping my hero will save the day but I’m fearful this flick has an artsy, unpredictable end, where nothing goes the way I hope and I leave the theater feeling sort of dejected and cheated of 10 bucks.
And wow – this presidential election is divisive. Everyone I know is fighting with their friends, neighbors, co-workers, blog buddies or husbands over the best direction for this country. And we all want the same thing, don’t we? A safer, healthier, prosperous future for our families and the United States.
It’s just that we disagree so deeply and so passionately on who can get us there.
So maybe a post about trivial matters is not such a terrible thing.
Like my recent obsession with visors. Yup, I told you it was trivial.
I was anti-visor for a very long time. I mean, no one seriously considers wearing a visor until their middle age, you know like nearing 40 or something. Oh. Somehow that’s now me.
I spend a lot of time outdoors. I want to avoid the sun. And well, hats make my head ridiculously hot.
My husband Rick seems incredibly comfortable throwing on a visor, as long as it has some kind of Philadelphia sporting team on it. I guess, that keeps the visor from looking too girly or dorky or something.
And my mother-in-law Ilene always looks super sassy in hers.
So darn it, I’m going for it.
I don’t know. I feel like some kind of peppy, eager-to-please tennis mom, which would be fine by me except I never play tennis anymore so that makes it kind of lame.
On the upside, Rick and I could be Mr. and Mrs. Visor.
Of course, you know our slogan… Be Wiser, Vote for the Visor.
So please give me your frank, unedited opinion on this visor situation. But let’s not be too divisive. Remember, we all want the same thing – good sun protection while still looking kind of youthful and cool.
mama bird notes:
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