A Letter to my Son

To My Dearest Son, As I look back upon life as your mother, I would like to believe that I have the past 13 years preserved in my memory; that I have every moment jotted down in my mind, and that I can recall it in a heartbeat. But the truth is, there is so much about our life together that I have simply forgotten. I have forgotten how many sleepless nights I had and how many diapers I changed. I have forgotten how many cuts and scrapes I bandaged up and how many times you fell off your bike. I have forgotten how many spelling tests we prepared for and how many practices I drove you to. But, there is so much that I do remember. I remember the day you were born. I remember the moment I held you in the delivery room and smelled your newborn scent. I remember sleeping with you lying on top of my chest. I remember holding your little hand in mine as you learned to walk. I remember your first haircut, the day you learned to swim and your first soccer goal. I even remember how many broken bones you have had: one; how many ER visits you have made: four; how many jelly fish stings you’ve endured: one; how many nights you have spent at sleep away camp: thirteen. You see, it seems as if much of life is like that—there are things we remember and there are things that we simply forget. And so, I have tried to experience life’s joys deeply and meaningfully—to truly feel them and hear...

I Let My Toddler Use my iPad

I woke up a bit disheveled this morning.  I spent most of the night tossing and turning and I wasn’t my typical chipper self. I needed a bit of time before I was ready to deal with my toddler, and the best way to get me out of my funk would be a nice hot shower.  Obviously, nothing too long and relaxing, since I am home alone with my three year old.  I’ll just drag his beanbag into my bathroom so I can watch him while I shower.  He’s still in his PJ’s so I give him his morning bottle, his blankie, and …..my iPad (shhhh, don’t tell my husband).  Normally, we don’t allow our youngest to watch too much television, but this isn’t really the same as TV, right?  I mean, it’s kind of educational, no?  Oh well, I’ll be quick. I’m really enjoying my shower, the hot water pounding on my back, warming all my sore muscles.  And as I begin to lather, I realize my son is quite content lounging on the beanbag, relaxing with his “educational” program.  I guess I don’t actually need to rush.  As I step out of the shower, he is completely enthralled with what he is watching and I manage to slip out of the bathroom without him noticing.  Usually, he is keenly aware of my every step, and I can barely move without him following me.  Maybe he’s beginning to develop a sense of independence.  Just as I finish getting dressed, I hear him.  “MOOOOMMMMM!!!!”  I rush back into the bathroom, nearly slipping on the wet floor only to realize...

I Found a Love Letter in my Husband’s Drawer

Over the holidays, I committed myself to cleaning out the house; kind of like a spring-cleaning in the winter. The New Year was approaching, and I wanted to start a lighter, fresher more unencumbered year. And since there were closets and cabinets 
I hadn’t tended to in quite a while, I figured it would be the perfect time to go through things and reorganize the house a bit. The project took me a few days, but I was determined to start 
at one end of the house and work my way through to the other side. It actually began as quite a liberating experience. I emptied closets and dusted shelves. I donated things I didn’t even know I had and trashed things I no longer needed. I kind of enjoyed the process and eventually was really to tackle my 
walk-in closet. I share the closet with my husband, and I realized we weren’t maximizing 
our space. Over the years, we had just shoved things in there, some of which I knew I could get rid of. If I just rearranged a few things we would both have a bit more space. 
As I went through drawers and refolded sweaters, I came across an envelop at the bottom of one
 of my husband’s drawers. It was one of those knick-knack drawers, with an assortment of different 
things that didn’t really belong anywhere in particular. I could tell he had just thrown things 
into it over the years and hadn’t really opened it in a while. But all the way on the bottom, underneath an old 
college sweatshirt and an ugly...

Mom’s Day verses Dad’s Day

It is yet another busy Saturday, and like any family with kids my husband and I have a chaotic day ahead of us. Usually, we divide and conquered our tasks in order to get everything done. And this particular Saturday is no different. We will both spend the majority of the day taking the kids to their different activities, and will then meet up for a nice quiet dinner together. Except, as we go through the list of tasks and divide up the day, I realize I will hardly have a moment to breath. My husband, on the other hand, will have a leisurely Saturday enjoying the kids, catching up with friends and watching basketball. And so, we begin to debate this inequity as we get dressed. I am desperately trying to get him to recognize how frantic my day will actually be. 10:30: Get our 12-year-old son to services for his friend’s Bar Mitzvah. Sit through the services. 12:30: Services end. Rush home to drop him off and pick up our daughter. Call her on the way home to make sure she is dressed, has eaten, and is ready to leave as soon as I get home. 1:00: Arrive at home. Quickly slip out of my clothes and put on running shoes. 1:30: Leave the house with our daughter.   Strategically place the birthday gift for my husband to take with him later today. Cross my fingers that he doesn’t forget to take the gift. 2:00: Arrive with our daughter for her MRI appointment. Yes, I actually found a facility that is open on Saturdays. 3:00: Leave the MRI...

Birthday Party Extravaganza

Over the years, I have planned more than my share of children’s birthday parties. When my children were younger, the parties we attended were quite extravagant and so I admit, I followed suit. Custom designed or hand-made invitations were mailed to guests that often did not know my child. Gourmet food was ordered in amounts enough to feed a small country. Elaborate cakes were delivered that were more detailed than my wedding cake. Specialty ordered goodie bags took days to assemble. And the pile of generous gifts was more than I had room to store. But as my children grew (and I got a bit wiser), extravagance was exchanged for elegant minimalism. My children took part-ownership of the event and I was more than happy to share the burden. Evite eliminated the need for hand delivered, custom made invitations. The guest list consisted of children they knew (at least mostly).   The private chef catering was substituted with pizza. The three-tiered cake was replaced by cupcakes. And the goodie bags became more reasonable. Nevertheless, I struggled with how to make such an extravagant day a truly meaningful life experience. How do you overindulge your child on their birthday and still teach them to be compassionate, thoughtful individuals? How do show them to appreciate the beauty of celebrating without losing sight of reality? In essence, how do you ensure they don’t become spoiled little brats? Early on, I encouraged them to write their own guest list. I regularly got a list of their 5 “best friends.” And though I would have been delighted to entertain such a small group, this generally...