Gratitude and Calm June 22

To say this was an emotionally draining week was an understatement. Between TOO MUCH family, and my daughters prom and graduation, my mind is toast. Of course, in four years of High School my daughter never forgot anything. So yesterday, we were on the subway going uptown when she realized that she forgot her NHS sash…..yeah- I did a subway U-turn (luckily we realized at a stop where I could easily reverse my steps) and made it back with time to spare. Nothing like a little drama on graduation morning.

Gratitude

I am grateful for every teacher, staff, administration, mentor, and coach my daughter has ever had- and the NYC DOE. My child received a brilliant education via the public school system and they are the most under recognized people around. Thank you to every single one of them that helped my daughter into the outstanding young woman that she has become

Calm

OK- this one not so easy. I was not the calmest person this week- bordering on passive aggressive, or just plain old non engagement. This was a very tough week to not lose my cool. I did write to a friend “You may need to visit me in prison because I may strangle someone” which was oddly calming but not recommended as a coping strategy.

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The Final Countdown

In my daughter’s common app essay, she wrote about her morning routine on test days. One of the things she discussed was how she always eats the quintessential NYC sandwich, the egg and cheese on a roll. She has always gotten the sandwich from the bodega across the street.

Alas, somewhat fittingly, between her last AP exam and today, the bodega has shuttered its doors. Instead of “Open 24/7” the sign now reads “Closed Permanently”. So today, on her final day of High School, my daughter and I are going to the bagel store for the final sandwich of her high school career.

Insert heavy sigh.

Last night my daughter practiced her graduation speech, as she is one of the two students chosen to speak. As I have done countless times before with debate and law team, I listened to her speech, keeping my eye on the timer to make sure she doesn’t exceed her allotted maximum. I’m hoping that I’ve cried enough at the practice so that I don’t cry during the speech at graduation. I’m already worried that I will be ugly crying anyway…

What are the chances that I will not be hysterical at some point during the day?

I know with every ending there comes a beginning. My daughter has a roommate and a place at a college that she is thrilled to attend. She already has homework and has already turned in about twelve short essay answers for various programs that she would like to be a part of.

She hasn’t officially ended yet her new life has already begun.

I look forward to my new freedom (trust me- I’m looking forward to a hotel room, with beautiful antique furniture and a cozy fireplace, yet a thoroughly modern jetted tub in the bathroom) I am thrilled that I do not ever need to pack another lunch again. No more parent teacher conferences. Huzzah. Somehow though, I think I will still be getting Google Docs and being asked to proof something…

But for now, I’m going to set up the dining room table with some 2019 paraphernalia. I have to run out in the rain and grab the ice cream cake for later on (if it’s made correctly- the whole trip to Basking Robbins is a blog post in itself) and walk the dog.

And then I’m going to watch my daughter graduate.

 

Search For: Roommate

Prolougue:  Our heroine clicked the button “Accept” and the roommate search was done.

Chapter One: When I went to college, there was one way to find a roommate- the college sent a questionnaire, we mailed it back, and a month before school began you received a name and an address. Welcome to your roommate. Now- there are all sorts of ways. Most of my daughter’s friends found roommates through their schools official Facebook page. Some ended up with friends of friends, or classmates from their High School.

Chapter Two: My Daughter’s school does it a little differently. Students fill out an online questionnaire and are then matched with about 30 people based on their answers to certain questions. You are then supposed to reach out to the people that interest you.

Chapter Three: Stress: OMG emailing total strangers? What do I say?

Chapter Four: You have the ability to write a “profile” a short paragraph that basically describes who you are. This is not mandatory, but my daughter did write one. She also had the expectation that the person she would room with would also have written one. So immediately upon receiving her matches, she was able to eliminate about fifteen names. She also eliminated anyone who appeared to be a partier- just not her thing.

Chapter Five: Stress- How do I know what answers are red flags?

Chapter Six: My daughter ended up sending notes to about ten people. Five responded. This annoyed her a little that some people didn’t even have the courtesy to respond back. Now, they could have had an issue with the system, some kids did. But really- how do you not respond at all…

Chapter Seven: Stress- What’s wrong with me that people don’t want to reply? Am I too uptight? Too urban? Too perky? Not perky enough? Do I look like a nerd?

Chapter Eight: She ruled out one girl right away. She just knew the fit wasn’t right.

Chapter Nine: Stress: Is she sure that girl wasn’t right? Am I basing it on that her social media profile pictures would not correspond with the person that I am?

Chapter Ten: Continual conversation with one girl who seems more social than her. Girl seems nice.

Chapter Eleven: Stress. This girl is really into the sorority thing. She almost went to Tulane and Ole Miss. Will she be too outgoing?

Chapter Twelve: Rule out nice, but probably too outgoing girl and concentrate on other three. All seem nice. All have much in common with our heroine.  Two of the three want to be lawyers. All on the history/government track.

Chapter Thirteen: Stress. One girl has almost no social media profile. Is this a red flag? Did she scrub her profile? Does she have a secret profile? Is she just out of the loop of a teenage girl? My gut instinct is saying No. But we’re oddly similar…

Chapter Fourteen: Our heroine has come to the realization that any of these three girls would be fine, even the low social media one. But she is still unsure if any one of them is better than another.

Chapter Fifteen: I, the Mother, is starting to get stressed because the deadline for a roommate is Monday and I don’t want her to get a completely random roommate. I want her to decide, because there’s that quote- the devil you know…. With these girls she already has an idea….do you want the great unknown?

Chapter Sixteen: My Mother is driving me crazy. Doesn’t she know how stressful this is?

Chapter Seventeen: One of the girls has popped the question: Will you be my roommate?

Chapter Eighteen: Stress. This girl seems fine. There’s no reason not to room with her. Why is it so daunting saying Ok? Maybe because I just got home from prom and I’ve been up over 24 hours straight and my feet hurt? My makeup stayed on great though.

Chapter Nineteen: Mother perspective- OMG just tell the girl yes or no. But remember tick tick tick

Chapter Twenty: Will literally live with Charles Manson and Ted Bundy clones just to get away from the crazy maternal roommate I have now

Chapter Twenty One: Did you accept her yet? It’s not fair, not letting her know.

Chapter Twenty Two: *&%$#@

Chapter Twenty Three: I make some sort of hand gesture to my daughter.

Final Chapter: A roommate is chosen- a very smart government major who wants to be a lawyer and is from Florida.

The End

But don’t worry: Sequel to follow….

Take it to the Limit

How honest should we be with one another? I ask this often and I sweat this is not an entire post about this subject: it’s going to lead to something else.

When you are at someone’s house and they serve you food, do you immediately say that it is salty? More than once? When asked how the meat is, do you reply “A little tough.”

Think about that- do you tell your host that the food isn’t good?

Now let’s add another variable: What if the cook is your Mother, and the one making the statement about the food is your Father in Law?

FYI- true story about my Father’s Day meal and the food my Mom took three hours to prepare. Let’s see, at the meal my FIL also told my Dad that the way he was treating his cancer was wrong. (No- my FIL is not a Doctor, nor is he in the science field at all. And no, he did not have cancer- so yeah- no frame of reference).

To add to his conversation, he also yelled at me. Nastily. Why? you ask. Because while we were at the table eating dinner I turned off the TV in the living room. He yelled  “Why did you turn that off? I was watching.” Nasty. In front of my parents- and you know- that doesn’t put them in an odd position at all. You know, my parents who can’t cook a meal nor know how to treat an illness…

Last night I had the pleasure of eating dinner with my Mother in Law. Look up passive aggressive in the dictionary- her picture is there…. She proceeded to tell me that no one ever tells her when my daughter wins anything. First off- usually posted on Facebook, which she has. Second off- I know my husband forwards her the pictures. And she’s going on and on about how she’s only the Grandmother, why should she know anything. To which I said to my Husband (rather loudly) “You don’t tell your Mother anything?” thereby extricating myself from the situation.

I also heard that the weather in Ithaca NY is the same exact weather as Washington DC because my MIL is a little (ha) annoyed that my Daughter is going to a Catholic college and though she is all accolades, she’s writhing that my daughter didn’t choose another college….(FYI- she didn’t talk to me for a month and a half after my daughter chose her school)

So Friday, which is already going to be emotionally laden for me will be made worse by the onslaught of family at the table. Good times. I know I am whining, but I don’t have the energy to deal with pettiness this week. I just want to watch my daughter graduate, and take pride in her accomplishments.

Why does family make it so difficult?

 

Prama

My Daughter has Prom tonight.

Well, actually, she is getting her make up done at 10am. Then her hair at 11. Then Pre-Prom starts at 2, and it will be a half hour cab ride to the person hosting pre prom. Need to be at school by 4pm for the busses to leave at 430.

As of now it’s like, a 65% chance of rain.

Pre prom is outside- big roof.

Prom is at a lovely place in New Jersey, with a big terrace overlooking the Hudson River.

Hence prama….

But the whole thing surrounding prom….

Some people hated prom. Others said it was the best night of their lives. Some simply do not go. What makes this night special enough to warrant a million emotions?

My Daughter hates the abstract idea of prom being something that one takes a date to. To her, it is a school dance, and therefore, as a school event, there should be no push to have this a dated event. At the beginning of Senior Year, she and her five best friends made a pact: Unless someone was in a relationship, there would be no dates. This would be their last Hurrah as a group, before they head out to various parts of the country.

Fine.

Except the first prama came when one girl wanted to bring a date- a boy she did not know that well…

In the end, she’s not bringing a date. But the angst….the ridiculous conversations….the prama….

Tables. Who is going to sit where and with whom. That was a fun ten days…

Where are they going to do pre prom? How many pre proms are they going to?

Where are they changing after prom for the after prom….

Do you want to go in the talk of who is renting a space for after prom? Which diner they will go to at 6am?

Prama.

And the anxiety has already begun in my house as my daughter is one very taut nerve. If you want to know why parents lose their cool, it’s events like this….

I’m sipping tea, listening to the jackhammers in the background, knowing that that will be the least annoying sound I hear today. I’m sure the whining will be much worse….

But I also know that at 4pm, when my daughter is standing under golf umbrellas with her friends, and they all look so pretty, and their smiles will be flashing, I will stand next to by friend S, and we will tear up a little, and we will hug each other. We will smile and laugh and cry. We will watch our incredible daughters head off to, hopefully, an incredible night under the stars.

I’m sure that Billy Joel tune will ring in my ears- “Now before we end, and then begin, we’ll drink a toast to how it’s been, I’ve loved these days.”

 

My Friend

This week is going to be about reflection and memories, because I’m in that sort of mood.

My daughter has been in the NYC Public School system since she entered Pre-K at age 3. I remember meeting many great parents that year, and we sort of formed our own little family. Around November of PreK, a new family moved into our class. I had no idea that this Mom and this little girl would become the rock of our ride through elementary school.

Last Friday I had breakfast with the Mom. We have had breakfast on the last day of school for the past fourteen years. We’ve been together through three schools. I would not have survived being a school Mom without this woman.

In Manhattan there are zoned schools for elementary, which most people attend. Middle school and High School are fairly open game. While you have the option of attending your zoned middle school, many people apply to other schools. Yes, in NYC fifth graders are applying to public schools. Standardized test grades count. Everything counts.

Our Daughters both got rejected by the Middle School they wanted. Fifth grade girls demoralized because they didn’t interview well. Yes- there’s transparency- I know exactly where my kid missed points. Shy doesn’t work well when applying to middle school… So S and I relied on one another to get us through the difficult road of bucking up our kids self esteem. When I didn’t know how to parent my kid through this, I had S to use as a sounding board. I had S to cry with. Without her, I would not have been able to get through this daunting time, nor have the energy to get my daughter through it.

And besides this particular time, S has always been there for me. We had very similar parenting strategies, so I had a safe space to explore ideas and theories and figure out how to help my child navigate puberty and friendship and high school and the whole college thing.

There was also the fun stuff. Going to school auctions. Sitting with each other at recitals, including the fourth grade recorder concert. Yeah- “Smoke on the Water” on recorder. Good times. Volunteering at Middle School events. Texting each other in meetings when someone said something particularly stupid. Cheering each other’s kids on when they did good, which was pretty often.

Today is my Thank You to S for being the best possible friend these past fourteen years. When I saw her at the coffee shop I started to tear up- I looked at her and said “This is the last last day.” I hugged her. I thought about telling my Daughter’s college that she won’t be attending and figuring out how my Daughter could transfer to the other school. I mean, how can I get my daughter through college without this Mom? What if I don’t like the other Mom’s? Who am I going to gossip with? Who am I going to laugh with? Who am I going to cry with?

Tomorrow night we will snap pictures of our daughters as they go off to their last school dance. Friday we will be passing one another tissues as we watch our daughters flip their tassels. It will be one more picture of them at a major milestone. To go with fourteen years of pictures at major milestones.

I tip my metaphorical cap to my friend S- the mother of the best friend my daughter has, and the best friend that I could ever have.

Highlights June 16

The Week that was….

  1. The best highlight of the week was the new Mom lunch for my daughters college. It was held at a well renowned restaurant in NYC, so the fact that I got to have a fabulous lunch was a highlight in itself, but I also got to meet the Mom’s of my daughter’s future classmates. Most of the people seem nice, though as a public school Mom I felt a little out of my league and the vast majority of the kids attended private school. There was one Mom I met briefly but really felt a connection to. Oddly, when my daughter was going through the roommate finder thing, the daughter of this woman came up as a possible match. I thought that was a sign of sorts as the young woman seems really nice.
  2. There was an opportunity to get Met tickets for free by taking a survey from the Mets- took the survey- two free field level tickets. Of course, Mets were winning 4-2 going into the top of the ninth, rain delay, we left, Cardinals tie the score, game suspended and they eventually lose. But a good night anyway….

 

Jackson Pollock MOMA – for Jim
Starry Night Vincent Van Gogh MOMA
Citi Field

Gratitude and Calm June 15

Hmmmm. How do I describe this week. On top of all the other things, I screwed something up badly. I thought I was handling something the right way, but it turns out I didn’t and I don’t think there’s a way to recover the situation. It’s not life threatening like I thought wouldn’t it be a great idea to adopt a tiger and bring it into my apartment, but….it sort of mentally feels like that.

And to catch up on doggate- The owner of the other dog decided to do a little research. You know that adage, don’t ask a question you don’t know the answer to? Well, he asked a bunch of dog owners if his dog was ever aggressive towards their dog. They all answered yes, on multiple occasions. So yeah- the dog is going to wear a muzzle.

Gratitude

I was at my daughter’s school for the last time this week, once for an art history thing, and once for a final volunteer thing. I am grateful that the school has made it possible for me to partake in various events.

Calm

Pedicure. I mean really. And a really good cry. My guess is there will be a lot more of that in the near future…

And So It Goes

Today is my daughter’s last day of classes.

Which alternately means that it’s the first day of my teary journey culminating in graduation.

When I perceived the this week’s theme, I did not envision that I would write one of my most controversial blogs ever, or that the week  would become doggate. It was supposed to be about how we treat one another- which I guess it basically was.

My daughter brought home her yearbook this week, and she allowed me to read some of the things her classmates shared. As I perused this book this week, I knew how the post’s this week would end.

As I read through I noticed a lot of “hard working” and “smart”. The NHS President thanked her for being the best Secretary, and realistically, best President, ever. But along with all the expected tributes to her intelligence and work ethic, I also noticed these:

  1. Thank you for playing Mariokart with me before school sometimes. I know you get to school early to do work, but you always took time out if I looked lonely
  2. I remember walking into a class where the desks where formed into tables. I was sitting alone and instead of joining your friends, you sat with me.
  3. Thanks for making me feel welcome to the tennis team. I was so happy that you sent me a text over the summer telling me that you would meet up with me to go to the first august practice. I was scared and you helped me out.
  4. Thanks for being best law team captain. You always helped me when I would freak out.
  5. Thanks for helping me study
  6. Thanks for proofing my papers
  7. Thanks for always answering my question no matter how stupid
  8. Thanks for being a great listener
  9. Thanks for being a great friend
  10. You have a great smile and you use it

There were more, but you get the gist. Sure, my kid works really hard. She gets good grades. She is involved in many aspects of school life. But she also took the time out to be nice. She took the time out to make sure people felt included. She tried to make people feel a little less scared. Maybe she made someone’s day just a little bit better….

I have done many stupid things in my life. I have not always been the best wife, mother, daughter or friend- my imperfections abound. But somehow, even though I feel like I continually screw up or let others down, I have managed to impart the good parts of me to my daughter. And as I have very few good parts, this is almost miracle status.

Somehow I have managed to show her how to be a decent person, who has self confidence, yet is able to be empathetic and kind. Just don’t ask me how I did it, because I have no idea….. .20190614_0736306037526881733892812.jpg

Muzzle who…..

Yesterday you may have read about my issues with a dog in the building. I (and someone else) sent a formal complaint to the board about the dog’s aggressive behavior. The owner responded that his dog growls but has never actually attacked another dog. I was going to include the ridiculous email, but I don’t want to be held up to any privacy laws or whatever it is lawyers do. So i’ll present hearsay. Also, his pregnant wife cried.

So this is how the situation stands now. This guy is refusing to muzzle his dog because his dog hasn’t actually bitten another dog.

So now- your dog has to actually bite another dog?

Lunging, teeth bared, at a docile, non barking, 8 pound dog isn’t viewed as aggressive behavior?

Is it growling if your dog is about to eat mine?

What is he saying about pregnant women?

I wonder if at times people need a reality check. At what point do you look in the mirror at your own behavior?

My suggestion is that we sit in the lobby with our dogs. We videotape it.

Then we can have an open up a dialogue and discuss word definitions.

What kind of mood do you think I’m in today?