I watch my friend Eric, up at the podium, talking about his dad, Allan Schwartzman. Eric shares a jumble of moments and experiences, their life together… the best snowball fight, their tennis matches, how his dad never let him win, the pride when Eric finally, rightfully beat his father for the first time on the tennis court, his dad’s complete joy at the birth of Eric’s two sons even as he faced his own demon, cancer.
Eric’s deep love and respect for his father emanates in every tale from his childhood. He recounts how, when it came to a task, his father would always ask him, “How would you do this?” And his dad would support him, even if “Eric’s way” took a zillion times longer or turned out to be completely wrong. It just didn’t matter. Because that’s what a good father does for his son.
The story makes me think about my own children. It reminds me to be more patient and let them discover how to do things themselves – even if it takes 2 minutes longer, 20 minutes longer or even if the task never quite gets done the way I envision.
3 year-old Dylan is always screeching and hollering to, “do it MYSELF” and whenever possible, I really need to let her. There is nothing bad that comes out of a spilled yogurt container on the floor, shoes temporarily on the wrong feet or scrambled eggs with a few bits of shells. Because it’s those memories, those bits of shells, that will stay with Dylan as she grows into an independent, confident person.
Eric’s father was clearly someone who brought boisterous joy, humor and passion into this world. Eric said he could have talked all afternoon about his dad. I, and everyone else in that chapel, would have been content to listen.
There was a whole lot of crazy going on this weekend. Due to 11 month-old Summer’s breast addiction and bottle rejection, Rick and I ended up carting our two girls up to Staatsburg, New York for a wedding.
On the car ride up, I’m jammed between the two car seats in the back so I can attempt to give Summer her lunch, consisting of chicken, cheese and a jelly sandwich. Of course, she insists on constantly grabbing my sweater and freshly blown-out hair with her sticky jelly fingers. While I try to remove her tight fist from my black, chunky cable knit, I’m using my other manicured hand to pick apple out of 3 year-old Dylan’s teeth. Dylan has insisted that she can’t possibly continue eating her lunch, until we find floss and remove the apple skin that is wedged between her baby whites. As if. So begins our romantic excursion.
Summer has her own dental issues. She pillages the book, “Dora Goes to the Dentist” as we drive through Rhinebeck. Poor innocent Dora. I guess she’ll never get to the dentist.
But we arrive at the Belvedere Mansion, wonder twins activate and Rick and I take the form of wedding guests in our suit and dress. My dad has graciously come to attend to our children. Then, here comes the bride in black and white.
Anna was the coolest bride I’ve ever seen. Project Runway designers should take serious note of this outfit. Sarah Jessica would approve. First, the dress. White strapless with a black sash. But the most stylin’ part is the shoes. ADORE the black heels. And you should have seen her on the dance floor. This bride really got her groove on. So did another guest, a somewhat older woman, who actually kissed my husband on the lips (no tongue for the record) and said, “Forget the woman you came with. Come home with me.” I’m going to assume that was the scotch talking. Quite a bit of scotch. But my husband went home with me. See ya, girlfriend. He is mine.
The morning after was long. “English Patient” long. Dylan and Summer were up dreadfully, agonizingly early and then morphed into stir crazy wind up toys – crying, laughing, crying, laughing – as they spun around the hotel room. We finally packed up our crumpled evening clothes and child paraphernalia and made our way down the New York State Thruway. Along the trip, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that McDonald’s now offers a grilled chicken wrap and a fruit, nut and yogurt plate. Not as brilliant as those black bridal stilettos but still, this is the home of the 10,000 calorie Big Mac. I may have rounded up.
We finally made it home after a 3 hour highway tour. No Gilligan or Mary Ann. Just two drowsy girls, two even more tired ‘rents and lots of bags to unpack.
I just love a wedding. There is something so romantic and sweet and lovely about an open bar, a kick ass band and blown out hair. Oh, and of course, two souls uniting for a lifelong bond. This weekend, my friends Adam and Anna are doing the ring thing. I mean, really they had to. Because how damn cute are the names “Adam and Anna” together? They could despise each other and they would still have to get married, just so we could all forever utter their names over and over.
I met Adam in an outdoor hot tub in Crested Butte, Colorado in 1997. There were about 10 other drunk people jammed in that hot tub too. So it was a little less romantic than you might think. This red headed doctor was headed to New York City and that’s where we became friends – super groovy, cool friends. As for Anna, she is this amazing, crazy ball of fiery energy and the two of them seem, well, destined.
My own wedding now seems like a galaxy far, far away. 3 year-old Dylan loves to watch our wedding video. When I see myself come down the aisle in that strapless, satin A-line gown by Wearkstatt, with just the right amount of crystal beading on the bodice and French piping at the waist, I think, “Damn, I wish I could wear that dress again.” And how about the understated, but brilliant, jeweled tiara. I wouldn’t mind throwing on that bad boy too.
I was a bit melancholy for the first few days of my honeymoon. Could it really all be over? Of course, my handsome, amazing, although a bit perplexed, new husband kept reminding me that it was all just beginning. I knew that guy was sharp. Turned out, he was right. And don’t stress Anna, I’m not wearing my wedding dress to your nuptials. That breathless beauty is vacuum packed into an enormous bridal box in my mother’s attic. Oh, how the mighty gown has fallen.
For Adam and Anna (gosh, I love saying that), this weekend is just the start. And we would still come celebrate your marriage, even without the free booze and music. Really, we would. Congratulations.
There are moments when gratitude is in very low supply. In the late afternoon, when cold and darkness envelope the neighborhood, my children are bouncing off the furniture and the walls of my 1,200 square foot dwelling seem to shrink, “thank you” is not at the forefront of my frazzled mind.
But these are just minutes and moments and blips of time. There is abundance and gratitude to be found everywhere.
I am thankful that my husband Rick found me, digging through my reporter bag, on the steps of the Stamford, Connecticut Courthouse. I’m grateful he said hello and so began this current, wonderful life of mine.
I’m grateful that a boy in search of a fellow jew, found a shiksa he could love more than anyone.
I’m grateful the child and dog phobic co-op board of a 4th floor walk-up on the upper east side of Manhattan rejected us and we ended up in an ideal, 5th floor west village apartment (with a stylin’ elevator of course).
I’m grateful beautiful, moody, shy, creative, dance feverish Dylan boogied into our world on our 2nd wedding anniversary.
I’m grateful her smiley, sassy, vivacious, boob loving sister Summer found us too.
I’m grateful our dog Martini is chasing wildlife in the suburbs, instead of ripping apart yogurt containers in our apartment.
I’m grateful for our friends and family who generously share laughter, advice, support and kindness.
I’m grateful for the mama bird readers who spend their very limited free time, allowing me into their lives and sharing their own.
I treasure you all.
So thank you. I am one lucky, blessed mama.
Most of the time I’m conditioned to ignore people doing bad things in New York City. There is always going to be some Neanderthal who insists on leaving a big glob of dog poop in the middle of the sidewalk so some unsuspecting mom can inadvertently push her stroller through it. There is always that schlubb who drops his coffee on the subway and makes no attempt to clean it up. So hot, sticky coffee haphazardly streams towards people’s feet and bags with each jerk of the train.
But now and then, I reach my limit. I just can’t keep my mouth shut. I tire of these people who seem to disregard the fact that we live in an interwoven, civilized society where each of our actions can affect another person’s day or life. Or more succinctly, it pisses me off when I step in dog crap.
Today was one of those days. I watched a woman nonchalantly flick her half-smoked cigarette to the ground. First of all, she threw it much too close to my stroller. I will confess that the stroller was empty because I had just dropped my daughter Dylan off at preschool. But STILL – she couldn’t see it was empty. Plus, she tossed it on the ground two feet from a trash can. Isn’t a cigarette litter? Shouldn’t it be extinguished and then deposited IN the trashcan?
So I tried to let it go. Ok, I didn’t try that hard. My self-righteous self took over. “Ma’am, the next time you throw out your cigarette, could you PLEASE do it in the trash can.” I know I called her “Ma’am” because it bugs any woman over thirty to be called ma’am and this woman was definitely over thirty. This cig loving New Yorker just stared at me with bewilderment. She said nothing. I said nothing. Then, I kept walking.
Did I make a point? I don’t know. Maybe now, she’ll consider throwing her butts in the trash cans, conveniently placed at the corner of EVERY block in Manhattan. Or maybe, to spite the obnoxious blond stranger with the empty stroller, she’ll smoke an extra pack today and throw all the butts onto the city streets.
Cigarette butts are the most littered item in the world. In The World. The butts are not biodegradable. The filters take years to decompose and long before that, often end up in our waterways, leaking toxins into our water supply. Gross.
At least I spoke up this time.
mama bird notes
Contributing mama Jordana Bales is wondering if she is a POF these days. Never heard of it?! Click on “contributing mamas” under the menu bar to read more.
This week Alex is talking about something near and dear to our
hearts butts – cellulite. You got it? Flaunt it! Wait, I mean read “the beauty diary” on what to do about it.