I was holding my breath when my 10 year old got into the car after visiting with her best friend Sophie in New York. The last time was horrendous. She sobbed. She yelled. She blamed me for every inequity in the world – including the fact that she was now 1,000 miles from her best friend.
But this time there was just quiet.
Me: Hey Dylan. How was the sleepover?
Me: Are you sad?
Dylan: Yes. I just feel different with Sophie than my Florida friends. I like my Florida friends but I just don’t feel as comfortable around them. With Sophie, things are just easy.
Me: You’re right Dylan. There is just something about the ease, comfort and familiarity of old friends.
Over Thanksgiving, I also saw some old friends (mostly from high school). And I even saw one friend that I hadn’t seen in 20 years. The day after Thanksgiving, my sister and I stopped by our old house in Wallingford, Connecticut.
I lived there from age 9 to 12. I really wanted to go in and look around but no one was home and breaking and entering is apparently still illegal. So I had to settle for peering into the windows.
As so often with childhood memories, the rooms seemed to have shrunken in size.
I looked into our old den and it seemed so recently that I sat on one of those net swings that were popular in the early 80’s while watching the newly debuted MTV. And as I looked at the yard, I remembered the day I dragged half of our furniture out of the house and onto the front lawn in an attempt to hold a tag sale to raise money for candy.
In fact, that’s just the kind of thing my daughter Dylan would do. Come up with some grand, creative idea that would invariably take a lot of manpower to clean up.
As we drove off from our old home, I decided to stop by another house… just two doors down where my friend Alysha used to live. A big smooth rock in the drive way still said her last name and I noticed a car sitting in the driveway.
My mother (who was with me) encouraged me to get out and say hello. As I walked down the driveway, I had a flashback to all the times, I played at this house – only returning to my house when the cartoons came on because I didn’t care for animation. I know. I was a strange kid.
I approached the car and sitting in the driver seat was my friend Alysha.
I reintroduced myself and a big smile spread across her face. And just like that I was talking to my old friend. She lives in Colorado but was home for the holidays. Had I heard about her car accident that had left her in a coma? Her dad had passed away. She was divorced. Life had happened. But she was doing well.
We said goodbye and promised to connect on social media.
Now here I was looking back at my 10 year old daughter as she sat with the sadness of saying goodbye to her best friend Sophie.
I told her that when Rick and I first left New York City and moved to Westchester (when Dylan was 4 and Summer 2) – I really knew almost no one. I’d see lots of moms everywhere but couldn’t figure out exactly how to meet any of them. Or once I met a few people, how to turn a quick greeting into a real friendship. It was pretty much a blur of yoga pants and tennis skirts.
But then one mom invited me to dinner and then I started hanging out with a few and eventually I realized that I had an incredible network of amazing women. I was creating a history with them.
And Dylan would one day do the same.
“Dylan, old friends are wonderful. And I have a feeling you and Sophie are going to be best friends for a very very long time. But you know what? Something really amazing can happen with new friends. Keep spending time with the ones you like and you’ll find that new friends can turn into old friends. It just takes a little bit of time.”
I’m not sure she knew what I was talking about. But someday she will.
Because I’ve been looking for ways to increase stress in my life, I decided to take my five kids to Connecticut for Thanksgiving.
Solo. (Because Rick had to stay in Miami and work.)
On the plane, one unlucky passenger had to sit in the same row as me and my 5 children. So as this passenger got to our row and surveyed the situation, I said,
“I know it looks bad but I think this will all turn out better than you think. Keep your expectations low and if it’s truly horrible, I’ll give you 20 bucks at the end of the flight.”
And I still have my 20 dollars so I guess it turned out okay.
I always fly Jet Blue with the kids because those TV screens make my life incredibly easier and as a bonus, 18 month old Cash and I watched a few episodes of “Love Triangle” hosted by Wendy Williams.
Because I know you’ve never seen this show, let me explain. In “Love Triangle”, there is a woman who is trying to decide between two guys she is dating. So of course, the best thing to do in this scenario is come on TV so she can choose “the one” and humiliate the other by not picking him.
On the show, they do fun things like subject the guys to lie detector tests and show you what the men will probably look like in 20 years. I’m telling you, it’s worth the price of the airline ticket to watch this guilt free.
Once we landed, we got our luggage…
and then our car service arrived. I installed the 3 carseats and we were driven to a car rental place where I installed the 3 carseats yet again in the rental car. Honestly, could the day get more glamorous? It was like the ironman of carseats.
Well, I must have used up all my carseat installing magic, because a few days later, I had to install yet one more carseat when I borrowed my mother’s car and when I reached my destination (with my son Cash in tow), I opened the door to get him out and this is what I found…
OMG. What is wrong with me?! Thankfully, Cash was safe and it certainly didn’t seem to to interrupt his nap.
The trip has some great moments. I loved seeing my family and friends. And I always enjoy seeing my mom’s new design choices like a two tone toilet…
and her organizing techniques like storing her slow cooker with her toilet paper.
And you all might remember that back in June when I visited my mother, she could not recall her wifi network or her password. And her computer guy who knew this info was vacationing in Puerto Rico. Where the wifi was reportedly excellent.
Well, I can report that 5 months later, my mother still does not know her wifi network or password. No update on her computer guy’s travel schedule.
I did develop laryngitis over the holiday. At one point, I was having dinner with my friend Abby at a local bar and this bartender…..
“What’s wrong with your voice? Did you go see a band last night?”
“Yes. I was at a rave last night. You know how that goes,” I replied.
How old could this guy be? 20? 25? So that fact that some 20 something bartender could even think that I might have been at a band the night before – well, that is a true Thanksgiving miracle.
Before you buy anything this holiday season, check out my review of the hottest toys of the holiday season. I tell you the hits, the misses and the total junk.
Oh here I am!
Trying to pack up 5 kids for a trip to New York/ Connecticut.
While I’m try to sort out coats, hats, and whatever else we used to wear up North – you can also find me a few other places…
On Alpha Mom, I wrote a piece on the best and safest reusable water bottles on the market.
On Lifetime Moms, I wrote about one photo that convinced me Chris Hemsworth might not be such a bad pick for People magazine’s “Sexist Man Alive.” And it’s not the photo on the cover.
And finally, are you feeling stressed about the holidays?! Check out my 500 tips on calming yourself! No, seriously. There are only 9. And no, I didn’t write “wine” 9 times. These are real tips! Like I could write a book using these tips. Admittedly, a very short book. Check it out here. Enjoy!
I’m not sure exactly how it happens. But we are all enjoying some leftover Halloween Butterfingers, a steaming cup of fall apple cider and a walk in the foliage and then OH MY GOD THANKSGIVING IS LESS THAN A WEEK AWAY AND HOW ARE YOU GOING TO HOST THANKSGIVING, ORDER YOUR HOLIDAY CARDS, BUY GIFTS, DECORATE YOUR HOUSE, TIP ENDLESS PEOPLE, PLAN A BIRTHDAY PARTY FOR ONE OF YOUR KIDS AND I THINK I’M HAVING AN ANXIETY ATTACK.
Because I want to make your life better and calmer, I’m here to give you some suggestions. I would have called this post 9 Ways to Calm Your Sh*t Down This Holiday Season but I recently made fun of all the lists out there and it seems a hair too soon to be hypocritical. So follow these steps and get ready to get calm….
Pinterest is Dead to You (for the Holiday Season)
You know what happens to the mind when you see stuff like this…
Courtesy of Dining Delight
You begin to feel very mediocre and inferior. That doesn’t sound festive or fun! STAY OFF PINTEREST.
Develop Calming Strategies
When you feel that paralyzing anxiety that prevents you from doing anything productive, take a look at things like this…
Oh my gosh, how can you be stressed when you see PUPPIES!!
Or if you aren’t a dog person, how about this…
Or maybe this…
Or maybe this is more your thing…
Find calming, stress reducing images and stare at them while taking 10 deep breaths.
There is No Award for Getting It All Done Quickly
I once received someone’s Christmas card the day after Thanksgiving. It just made me mad that they were so efficient. You don’t want to make people mad do you? So take your time. Holiday cards received on January 5th are just as special as ones received earlier. Or stand out and send your cards on Arbor Day. Or even easier, slap a family photo on Facebook and bam – you’re done. What’s the point of technology if we don’t take advantage of it?!
Do the Worst Job First
Think of the thing you are most stressed about. It’s different for everyone. Maybe it’s figuring out all those tips. How much to give? Who to give it to? Wouldn’t it just be easier to hand out $20 to every person you see from Thanksgiving to New Year’s? Or maybe it’s figuring out what to feed all the people that are about to descend on your house. Whatever it is – do it first.
There is something so liberating about getting a crap job off your “to do” list. It will actually lower your anxiety level, freeing up energy to get other stuff done.
Do Volunteer Work
I know what you’re thinking… I just cut 250 turkey feathers for the Thanksgiving feast craft project! I have 3 paper cuts and no longer have any feeling in my fingertips – why would I need to do MORE volunteer work? But forget the PTA for a minute, grab your kids and go volunteer for a soup kitchen, collect food for hungry children or pick up litter.
There is something so wonderful about getting out of your own head and just doing something for someone else. And you will also be role modeling the kind of person you hope your kids turn out to be.
Make a Gratitude List
This will take ONE minute and you can write anything you want. You can be grateful for your family, the fact that you live in a world where your DVR can record 3 shows at the same time, Jimmy Fallon or that your grocery store is once again carrying that pumpkin spice creamer you love so much.
When you remind yourself of all the amazing things in your life, you stop freaking out so much about how you are going to make a turkey for 23 houseguests. (By the way, I have no idea how you make a turkey for 23 houseguests. You’re going to have to find a different blog for that.)
There is No Shame in Buying
Don’t remake the gravy three times from scratch. Buy it and be done with it. Trust me, you’ll have plenty of time in January to perfect your cooking skills when it’s cold and dark by 4:23 pm.
Get your Soul Cycle, Crossfit, Orangetheory or Zumba on. Go for a crisp fall walk. Play a tennis game. Put on yoga clothes and pretend you worked out. Whatever works. When you get your body moving, your head always appreciates it.
Final Stress Reliever!
See? You’re calm. Now go kick some holiday ass.
There are certain awkward moments in life. Like when a guy-you-used-to-date sends you a LinkedIn request.
Because we all want an opportunity to reconnect with our past romances and endorse their digital media and business development skills on the networking site.
Or when you’re playing tennis and somehow your sports bra comes undone. Why would this happen? I’ve never seen this go on at Wimbledon.
I’ve been trying to play more tennis because it’s good exercise, it’s fun and it keeps me close to my Connecticut upbringing – a state in which they require every child to learn at least some kind of tennis proficiency.
I finally found some ladies to play with and was playing last week with one of them. She’s a very nice woman who I hardly know. And then suddenly my bra snaps apart and no amount of awkward maneuvering could get it back to gather.
In case you think I’m a total train wreck – this wasn’t a normal bra clasp. It was some kind of mini clasp that I can’t reattach when I’m wearing the bra.
(Right now, every high school guy is nodding this head and thinking, “Those bras are harder than they look!” Okay, no high school boys read this blog but if they did, they would totally be relating right now.)
Alright, I know you are all thinking about hot high school guys now…
But let’s try to refocus.
So after admitting to my tennis partner that my bra had come undone and holding up the game while I attempted to jerry-rig it back together, I gave up and said, “I hate to ask you this but is there any change you could refasten my bra?”
Let me review a few things…
1. I barely know this woman.
2. I’m sweaty.
3. I’m asking her to re-hook my bra in the middle of a tennis game.
Because she is probably the nicest person ever, she does it for me and we are able to resume our game. I’m trying to suppress my memory of this whole experience. Obviously she is too.
Finally moment of awkwardness… seeing Kim Kardashian’s very shiny tush on the internet. I wrote about it on Lifetime Moms. I think even her toddler daughter North is shaking her head in disbelief.
Okay, I can’t leave you with that. So I’ll leave you with this…