My One and Only

Soul mates.  This concept has always intrigued me, and I have written about it before, but Janie recently wrote about it, so I thought I needed to rethink the issue.

So let’s start with the big question: Do you believe that there is a person out there in the world who is the perfect person for you?  For arguments sake, we can also consider the “7 person rule” which is that there are actually 7 perfect people for you in the world.

Do either of these theories make sense?  (I know- I’m asking you to think on a northern hemisphere summer day.)

Statistically, one has to bet against the theory of soul mates, because mathematically it just doesn’t add up.  If there is one, or even seven people in the world that are perfect matches, what is the chance of finding them? World population is about 7.6 billion.  Think about your odds…. So, maybe your soul mate exists, but what are the chances that you will meet them?

Which brings me to my next question: How do you know?  How do you know you’ve met your soul mate?  Do fireworks go off in the background? Do birds sing and animals frolic around you?  Do people spontaneously break into song as you and your soul mate walk down the street?

Let’s go back to the math/science approach for this one: chemistry.  No matter how you look at it, two people must have chemistry.  Even with friendships, there must be some sort of spark of attraction that unites two people together.

So how do you know the difference between real chemistry and lust?

Yeah- I’m still working on this one too.  Because if someone is to be your romantic  soulmate,  there must be physical attraction.  But, if every person you were physically attracted to was your soulmate?  You do the math and the logic on that one…

So, the chemistry must have physical properties.  What other properties does it need to contain?

Intellectual.  There must be intellectual chemistry.   You need to be able to talk to your soulmate.  You need to want to talk to your soulmate. The goal should be to be excited to go to bed with your partner, and just as excited to wake up to them the next day.  You should be thrilled to share the routine details with them, as well as the more thought provoking observations.  You shouldn’t need a buffer- you and soulmate should be able to find things to talk about on all levels without anyone or anything else. Now some of you are thinking, how can you always have something to talk about with your significant other?  And then I want you to think about what happens when people stop communicating with someone else…

Now how about your heart.  Hearts are often used to show love – so if we’re discussing soulmates, we must include hearts.  Here’s my theory on the heart:  your soulmate must have the ability to make your heart race.  A word, a look, anything that literally makes your heart start pounding.  Have you ever felt your heart race?  The thump thump thump where you see your chest rise and fall, rise and fall?  All your senses are engaged- it’s a total body experience! No other feeling compares to the feel of your heart racing because you are with the person you love- no drug, no stimulant is as good as this feeling, this natural high.  It makes your whole body shake with excitement.

But then, conversely, your soulmate also makes your heart calm.  They have the ability to make you know that no matter what, everything is OK, that they are your safe space. Those simple conversations where the world just fits, like all the pieces of a 1000 piece puzzle are joined together to form the most perfect picture….

So those are my criteria for a soulmate- 1) physical attraction, 2) mental stimulation and 3) they make you feel. (I spent longer thinking of a way to phrase this then I spent on whole blog- would love it if someone came up with a better phrase because making you feel is sort of stupid)

But now to the next part: how many people make you feel all these things simultaneously?

Is there one person who is just a better fit?

Obviously, I would love some audience participation on this one:

  1. Is there such a thing as a soulmate?
  2. What constitutes a soulmate?
  3. How do you know?

Discuss….

 

 

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The Day I Lost My Cool

I don’t like conflict.

I don’t like yelling.

This may come as a surprise, because we all know that I love a good argument.  I have no problem picking a side and defending its merits.  Those of you who have heard my tales of customer service experiences would also wonder about the above statement, since I’ve told a story or three about dealing with customer service. (truth- my daughter thinks that every call center around the world has my number and picture with a big line crossed through it, and that  their free time is spent throwing darts at it)

But as a rule, I don’t like to yell at people.

You also know that I don’t discuss politics on my blog.  What you may not know it that I also refuse to discuss politics in real life (there are only about 3 people I will ever talk politics with) I am of the belief that everyone has an opinion that they are entitled to, but I also strongly believe that people don’t want to have a discussion, they want to get you to change your mind.  Obviously this is my opinion, which I am entitled to.

But anyway.

Everyone in my real life knows that I do not like discussing politics, especially at an event such as Father’s Day (see- you knew this would become topical).  Most of my youth was spent sitting around the dining room table on holidays, with people yelling at one another (the common refrain was – ‘we’re Italian- it’s not yelling- it’s how we talk- and my Mother adds facebook comments in ALL CAPS BECAUSE SHE JUST CAN’T HELP HERSELF) So my goal was to have holidays with the least amount of verbal conflict possible.  I did not want my daughter to feel like I did growing up.

My Father in Law knows that I do not like discussing politics.  I have said this to him about a thousand times.  No- make that a million.  My husband knows that I do not like discussing politics in an open forum.  Let me make this clear- if you know me, you know I do not discuss politics.

So naturally, on Fathers Day my FIL sat at the table and asked my daughter about politics.  And my daughter blew off the question the first five times because she knows that I don’t like political discussion at the dinner table.  So, the conversation went like this:

FIL (to daughter) What do you think of X?

Daughter: Can you pass the potatoes?

The above was repeated about five different times with my daughter varying her answers slightly

FIL- well you must have an opinion

Daughter: Actually, the past month has been crazy with tests and year end stuff.  The only things I’ve been reading are about school, and trying to get an internship for the summer, and pre season tennis practice.  I haven’t read a paper or watched the news.  I’m not informed enough to discuss X.

FIL- but don’t you think it’s wrong?

Daughter- I don’t know

FIL- makes ridiculous statement

Husband- makes opposite position ridiculous statement

My Father- alternate ridiculous statement

Father and Husband yelling at one another

Me: Hands slam the table saying in my loud, authoritative bond trading floor voice that I haven’t used in 18 years: “AND THE DISCUSSION OF POLITICS IS NOW OVER

FIL: (stands up from table) = “Oh, I guess your house, your rules.”

Me: (looking directly at him) You bet your ass.  My house,  My rules. (me staring him down till he sat back down at the table.

See- this is why I don’t like discussing politics, or yelling.  Because the fierce side of my personality comes out- the person who doesn’t put up with shit.  The person who takes control of the situation.  And normally this part of my personality is my friend- this part of my personality has gotten me through life.

But I don’t want to do it at the holiday table.

I don’t want yelling at the table.

I don’t want to yell at my Father.

And I was mad at myself for yelling.  I was annoyed that my FIL and Husband have so little respect for my one wish that politics are not discussed ( to be clear, my Husband engaged the conversation with the stupidest comment ever). But mostly I was mad at myself for yelling at my Father.  My Father is 80.  Thought there no imminent threat to his health, he has about a thousand issues.  I don’t know if I get another Father’s Day with him.  I did not want my last Father’s Day memory to be of yelling about politics, of all stupid things, and me losing my shit.

Yet, that is what happened.

I so want to blame everyone at the table.  But in the end I must take responsibility for my actions. But I can’t take back what I said, or what happened.

And I need to live with that.

 

Family: Too Much? Too Little?

 

Family: the people who raise you, the people you marry, the relations of your partner, the children you create or take into your heart.  These relationships can bring much joy and happiness.  They can also put you into a pit of despair.  So is there ever a time to push family to the side?

Recently there was a case in New York state where a Mother and Father sued their 30 year old son because he would not leave their house.  They wanted to evict him, and guess what?  They won. Son had to move out.  There was a lot of controversy over whether or not the parents should have sued their child.  I won’t give an opinion on their situation, because I was not their intimate: I have no idea what was going on in the household.  But, the parents had obviously had enough of the situation so they did the only thing that they thought would help them: legal action.

At what point does family get you so crazy that you take them to court?

At what point does family annoy you so much that you try to keep distance?

At what point does family get you so down you can’t see them anymore?

Which brings us to: Should family get a “free pass” for bad behavior?  Should we just accept our families for how they are, and pretend that everything is fine?

As it is what I often refer to as “Write my blog Thursday” I will ask you all:

  1. Is it OK to get angry/be angry with family?
  2. Is there a point where you should walk away from family?
  3. Should family be kept at arm’s length?
  4. Should you accept boorish or disrespectful behavior just because someone is family?

You know there will be a follow up…

 

New World Order

Change.  Whether we like it or not, change is inevitable.  Minutes, hours, days, weeks, years pass before us and like it or not, nothing stays the same.  But some changes are harder to fathom than others.

I consider myself somewhat of a Darwinist: I embrace the thought of “Adapt or Die”.  I feel it change is necessary in order to survive.  I may not love how tech has seemingly taken over the world, but I realize that I must keep up with it of I will go much the way of the dinosaur.  I have to accept that tech is not going anywhere.

But the one change I never saw coming was the role I play in my family.  I am older than my sister by almost seven years, so I had the early upbringing as an only child, yet somewhere in first grade there was an addition.  I’ve always been the quieter, responsible one, a protector of sorts- when it came to her.  But my parents were my parents- they provided and nurtured as best they could.  They were in charge.

My Father turned 80 last month, and my Mom will be celebrating her 60th high school reunion next weekend (I’m not supposed to reveal her age…).  And they are still mobile.  They still have their mental faculties.  I am blessed so far that there health remains pretty good.  But they are getting older- I can’t deny this.

Last month we went to dinner for my Dad’s birthday: my husband and daughter, my sister, brother in law and niece, my Uncle and my Mom.  We went to an iconic New York steakhouse (my Dad’s favorite) which serves its steak dinners family style: big platters of porterhouse and creamed spinach and German fried potatoes in the middle of the table. So when the food is to be shared by the table, you must figure out how much to order. Two steaks for two and two steaks for three?  What temperature?  How many tomato onion salads? Who wants shrimp?

I watched my parents fumble at ordering food.  They were having trouble ordering food at a restaurant we’ve been going to for years.  My Father who ran a successful business, my Mother who inserts herself into any situation, were stumbling.  My Sister was adding to the confusion  by wanting to massively overorder.

I had to take charge.

I had to usurp my parents authority.

This was the first time I envisioned the future of my parents.  This was the first time I realized that things are going to change, and my parents may not be able to make their own decisions anymore.

So I told the table- ie my parents- that I was going to do the ordering.  I knew how much food we needed.  I knew how much steak to get medium vs medium rare. The waiter instantly recognized me as the “go to” person, even though my Father was footing the bill. And though that day was about steak and potatoes, I saw my future in front of me. I was their protector now too.

I never saw that coming. But I need to adapt.  It’s a new world order.

And the dinner went off great.  We had the exact right amount of food.  I made sure my Dad got the pieces of steak he wanted, and I ordered him an extra piece of pecan pie because I knew it wasn’t fair to make him share a piece with all the others.  I wanted him to have a good day, because I realize there aren’t many good days left.  That’s just life. Things change.

 

 

 

 

 

A Little Help From my Friends

You know I’m sort of a realist- pragmatic, analytic, ruled by logic.  But sometimes I wonder if the Universe does really play with my mind.

A few months ago I read a piece about how women who don’t ask for help are lacking self esteem.  Which I sort of called BS on.  But somewhere between the idea and the post, something happened.

You’ve heard about my movie friend J.  She’s a woman in her 70’s who lives in my building, and we see movies together.  That’s pretty much the context of our relationship- going to the movies, and talking about movies.  But on the 15 minute walks to and from the theater, we would share little stories of our lives, and it was obvious we had a rapport.

J is one of those women I admire.  She’s never been married, doesn’t have a significant other, and has never longed for one, nor bemoaned the fact that she is alone.  Quite the contrary- she embraces her singledom.  She has traveled the world, her only regret being that she has never been to Antarctica.  She spends her days as she pleases, and is perfectly content.  She is fiercely independent and doesn’t need anyone.  She is the last person to ever ask for help.

Then one day, after her routine check up, her Doctor saw something he didn’t like. He wanted her to come in and have a little surgery to remove a little something to have a little biopsy.  You know that after a procedure, hospitals don’t let you leave without someone- you need to ask for help.

J has family close by in New Jersey, but as asking for help is foreign to her, the thought of asking them to come into the city to help her was not an option she wanted to choose.  So she asked me.  She asked for my help.  I sort of downplayed it, not wanting to spook her into running into the woods like a deer. But of course I would help her, pick her up from the hospital. I gently asked if she wanted me to take her in the morning. She answered brusquely, of course not.  She was fine.

Then the day before the procedure: I’m pretty sure she hung out in our building lobby until I went to walk the dog.  And she gently asked, “Do you mind coming with me in the morning?  I’m a little more scared than I thought I would be. It’s early though- we need to leave at 6:15.”  Of course I said yes.

I know how hard it was for J to ask me, or anyone, for help.  She is proud of her ability to fend for herself.  But sometimes you need help.  Sometimes you can’t do everything by yourself.  Sometimes you need a friend.

I got up the next morning and took her to the hospital.  I sat with her until they took her in, and I hung out for a bit in the day surgery unit until it was time for her to go in for her procedure.  I left and came back at 330, the appointed time, and waited for her to feel better so that she could be released.

And a week went by, and I didn’t run into her.  I started to get a feeling.  My logical mind was being overtaken by intuition.  I “knew” the test results were not great.  I just felt it.  But, do I ask her?  Will she take offense to this overture and run away?  That’s the thing about proudly independent people- they can be proudly quiet and hold things to the vest.

Luckily, as we walked to see “Ocean’s 8” the other day, she just said the words.  Cancer.  Small.  They think they got it all with the biopsy sample, but they wanted to make sure.  Would I pick her up?  The procedure would be easy- ten minutes.

Of course I would pick her up.  Of course I would do anything she needed.  I was glad that she trusted me, to share this news with me.  I was glad that she wasn’t too proud to ask for help when she needed it.

So next week I will accompany my friend.  And I will marvel at friendships, whether they be people in your neighborhood, of friends far away.  I will sleep better knowing that there are people who will reach out to me in their time of need, and there are people I can reach out to.

And though I remain a practical, evidence based person- I can’t help but wonder if some greater force propelled me to read the article about needing help.  I can’t help but wonder if certain people come into your life for a reason.  I can’t help but wonder how much I am going to analyze these thoughts…

 

Why?

Yesterday I told you about the lovely B’Nail Mitzvah and horrible behavior of my in laws.  But my FIL had another trick up his sleeve.  The conversation went something like this:

FIL: I was out walking the other day. My neighbor was getting a visitor.  It was her 17 year old grandson.  I went over to talk to him.  I told him about you.

Daughter: uh huh

FIL: I showed him your picture.  See, this is why I like to take pictures of you. So I can show a recent snapshot.

Daughter: uh huh

FIL: I told him how smart you are

Daughter: uh huh

FIL: He has one more year left

Daughter: uh huh

FIL: He told me he couldn’t believe you were so pretty and that smart

Daughter: uh huh

Me: You know who you’re talking to?  She doesn’t want to date anyone

FIL:  She will when she hears this.  He doesn’t like sports.  Doesn’t watch it.  Can you imagine.  Have you ever heard such a thing?  A boy that doesn’t like sports.  Do you know anyone else like that?

Daughter: Yeah.  Every boy at my school.

FIL: Really?  How can so many boys not like sports?

Observations?

  1. FIL takes pictures of my daughter so he can show them to men/boys?  Seriously, can we just think about that for a moment before we hack into his icloud account? Can you spell C-R-E-E-P-Y
  2. Why does he assume all boys like sports?
  3. Why does he assume my daughter doesn’t want to date because she only meets boys who like sports?
  4. Why does he assume my daughter doesn’t like sports? (true- she will rarely watch a game on TV- but she is not adverse to the Mets or the Rangers or the Giants- she has given up on the Knicks though)
  5. Why does he think my daughter needs to be set up?

So I find myself at this situation- again- where people think my daughter needs to have a partner.

Why is this an issue?

Why is this the first thing some people highlight?

Why do they think that she is “lacking”?

I know this has become my soapbox, the one I will stand on.  But in an era of empowering women, we will never be able to empower anyone until we stop thinking that uncoupled women have problems or issues.

Why is it so hard to see that someone is content with who they are and what they do?  Why does having a partner make you complete?

Oh wait.  That movie.

Here’s the deal: you don’t need someone to complete you.  You need to be complete on your own.  And then if you meet someone that you like, you can have them as an add on.

Ok.  I won’t talk about this topic for a few weeks.  Or until my FIL comes over with said boy in tow…

Be Careful What You Wish For

My niece and nephew (twins)  recently had their B’Nai Mitzvah.  But when you plan this type of event, you must do it way in advance because kids are required to have prepared Torah passages, and most people I know do not speak conversational Hebrew.  So we, the family and friends, have known the date for years.

Years.

So, my mother in law and father in law have been talking about this for years.

Years.

Every conversation with them would start with “Can’t wait for the mitzvah.”  The middle of every conversation would include something about the mitzvah.  And every conversation would end with “Don’t forget the mitzvah will be here soon.”  And I get the grandparent thing.  They’re excited to share the religion with the offspring of their offspring (my daughter is not being raised to follow either Catholicism or Judaism- so the had no such joy from our household) Yet, it is also a case of having absolutely nothing else going on in their lives.  Nothing.  They have no hobbies.  They have few friends.  They have absolutely nothing to look forward to.

So here’s lesson number one: make sure you have at least one hobby that you enjoy.  When faced with the questions, “Why do I need to get out of bed today?” make sure it’s because you have something you can’t wait to do.  And it could literally be anything.  Set a goal to “walk” to China by counting your steps every day.  Watch every Cary Grant movie ever made.  Volunteer anyplace.  You’re getting the idea:  hobbies don’t have to cost a lot of money.

As of now, my in laws hobbies are: annoying my husband, annoying my sister in law, complaining about my husband and sister in law, complaining about their friends/neighbors, complaining about other relations and complaining about me.  They clearly need to find something else to do until the date is set for the Bar Mitzvah of my other nephew.

Now, let’s get to the next part of the issue: What happens when you talk about something for two years, when you look forward to something at the exclusion of everything else?  What happens when you build up something to epic proportions?

We had to go to Temple services the evening before.  my Mother in Law fell asleep during the Rabbi’s talk.  And not just a little doze: she tilted totally to the side, and if the benches did not have little separators, she would have fallen to the left.  Did I mention she snorts when she sleeps?

When we got to Temple the next morning, the first thing my Sister in Law said to us was ‘Please go sit with Dad cause he’s in a snit.” When we sat in row with him, he started complaining that my Mother in Law got seated in the row in front of him at Temple.  he complained that he had been at Temple for an hour, and he was only in two of the pre event pictures.

At the breakfast that is served immediately after a Mitzvah (I don’t remember what it’s called) my family and I had to run to opposite sides of the room to talk to in laws, because they would not sit at tables adjacent to one another.  We called it bagel on the run…

Then, there is the reception.  If you are my Mother in Law, you spend the cocktail hour in the lackluster outer room, when everyone else is in the bar room with the food and the great view.  You decide to find something wrong with every college her granddaughter (mu daughter) is applying to.  Her professionally made up face does not crack a smile.

The dinner portion saw my FIL and MIL sit at their tables, stone faced.  They barely danced.  They barely got up from the table.  They didn’t smile, they didn’t laugh, they didn’t talk to anyone.  The event that they had spoken so highly of for years was playing in a loop right before their eyes, and they didn’t care.

My MIL was annoyed because my niece and nephew weren’t paying any attention to her.  Gee: you mean at a party with at least 50 of their friends, they weren’t sitting in the back of the room with my MIL?  Shocking I say.

FIL was annoyed that he wasn’t being revered as an elder statesman.  In his mind, the crowd would part as he walked the room, kissing his ring and asking for his sage advice and blessing.  It’s a party with DJ’s and spinning lights and too much food.  And it wasn’t his event.  My niece and nephew, and their parents were the stars of the day.  As they should be.

The problem was, they had an idea in their minds as to how this would play out.  And the actual event did not match their expectations.  Their vision of the event was not realistic: they set themselves up to fail.

So, what’s the take away?

  1. Get a hobby
  2. Realize it’s great to look forward to something.  Looking forward to something actually makes you happy.  But, be realistic as to your expectations.
  3. Don’t expect other people to act the way you want them to act.  You can only control your own actions, not the actions of others.
  4. Don’t drive your children, their partners, and your grandchildren crazy.  It’s not a good look.

 

 

 

The Weeks I Didn’t Love My Family

Being out of commission for three weeks gave me a wake up call as to taking better care of myself.  It also gave me a wake up call as to how my family could drive me crazy.

I know I push myself.  My family makes it real easy to push myself.  On the first Saturday that I was sick, before I knew how sick I was, we had tickets to see a Broadway show with friends of ours.  We were supposed to have dinner before.  The day before I told him that I would go to the show, but I was going to skip dinner so I could rest a little more.  He was idiot about this.  I won’t even discuss what he wrote, but we’ll leave it at guilt trip.  So I went to dinner, feeling like crap.  Here’s the next secret:  I am not soon forgetting my Husband’s attitude.  I’m not blaming him for my going: that’s on me.  But…

I was also not happy with his take on doing household chores.  I told him he needed to wash the towels and robes.  All of a sudden he forgot what a robe looked like.  And he threw a hissy fit when he couldn’t “find” the robes- he needed help.  You know, cause the robes hanging on the wall behind the bathroom door were hiding.  He practically stamped his feet.

And my daughter.  She was not an innocent in this charade.  When I asked her to feed the pets I got ‘Oh, the smell makes me nauseous.”  We use dry food…what smell?

And the apartment.

OMG the state they left the apartment in.

And then they complained I was making the mess.  I spent the better part of the week on the couch.  i didn’t leave piles of clothes on the floor.  I didn’t leave my husbands new shoes in the front hallway.  I didn’t leave glasses on literally every flat surface in the apartment.  I washed my soup bowl and spoon and tea mug.  I slept and took medicine. They just left crockery everywhere.

In the mornings, even if I was awake, I pretended to be asleep so they wouldn’t ask me questions.  I didn’t want to disclose the location of keys and water bottles and tennis rackets.  I didn’t want to answer stupid questions.  I didn’t want to walk the dog.  The upside is, they let me sleep.

I’m not going to forget their behavior.  I might not forgive them either.  They were more horrible than they were helpful.  But I realized that I was responsible for their lack of responsibility.  So this is another change that I have to work on: getting them to take responsibility for the home.  I shouldn’t have to ask for help: they should be doing things because this is part of the home we share.  Plates should be left in the sink, or better yet washed.  Garbage should just be thrown out when you see it’s full.  Replace the toilet paper roll.  Seriously.  Just put the roll on the little spinny thing.

It’s funny that I’m writing this today, as my Husband just left for a boys trip to celebrate him and his friend turning 50.  And I can guarantee you that dished will be put away and clothes will not be piled on the floor.  But I do plan on going away for a few days so that my family can fend for itself…

Nothing Lasts Forever

Last month, I attended Daughter’s high school guitar concert.  She performed in two works with her advancing guitar class, and a trio with her two best friends ( a song that they wrote).  As I sat snapping pictures and videos, a realization came to me: this would probably be the last musical concert my daughter would ever appear in. For senior year, guitar is, I think, her fourth choice of an elective- she just wants other things more. I had a brief flashback to the very first holiday concert in kindergarten, the first recorder concert in third grade, and now, Junior year, the last concert.

Wow.

And them I thought of an outing back in April.  We had always attended the Brooklyn Botanic Garden cherry blossom festival as a family.  Until last year.  The festival is usually the last week of April, and by daughter was unable to go last year because she had too much studying for the AP World exam.  Similar to this year when she couldn’t go because she had too much studying for this years AP’s.  And next year, when she will again have too much studying for AP exams.  When we went to cherry blossoms a few years ago, I didn’t realize that it was the last time we would go as a family.

Wow.

I’ve spent 16 1/2 years documenting firsts: tooth, haircut, school, performances.  Now I’ve reached the other side: time to start documenting lasts.  The problem is, sometimes you don’t realize that something is the “last”.  In your mind you keep thinking that something will last forever, but we all know, nothing lasts forever.

I still remember taking my daughter to pre school for the first time. I shed a little tear as her tiny pink clad body walked up the steps to our local elementary school.  In September, I will photograph my daughter for the first day of school, in her carefully curated outfit, her tennis racket and backpack by her side. Thirteen years later, I will shed another tear. Or more likely, buckets of them.  Because I know it will be the last first day of school that I will be there to document.

Kids grow up too fast.  Life goes by too fast. I know I’m being totally maudlin and clichéd, but really appreciate things as they are happening.  Remember the sight, the smell, the feel, the sound of things you experience.  Hold tight to the feeling.  It’s moments like these that make tough times a little better.  It’s moments like these that make you persevere. It’ moments like these that make up a well lived life.

 

Pride and Not so Prejudice

My daughter recently read “Pride and Prejudice.”  As many of you know, this is my favorite book.  I aspire to be Lizzie Bennett.  Well, a modern day version because I’m rather fond of indoor plumbing.

There’s a little backstory to my daughter reading this novel.  For AP Lang, they were required to read the first three chapters of a book from a time period they had trouble with, which is the 19th century for her.  And she was not loving the book when she began to read it, and couldn’t understand why I loved it so, but she chose to keep reading it.

Proud moment.  My daughter chose to voluntarily read this book. (and it’s a requirement for college English next year so she’s a bit ahead of the game)

And we began discussing the book, my daughters perspective that Lizzie was a boy hungry gossip, and my perspective was that my daughter was nuts.  But for arguments sake I tried to pretend that she might have a point in certain respects.  A very small point, but there’s nothing like a good debate.

Not so proud that she found this book to be the first recorded chick lit novel.

One morning I got a text from her when she was on the M101 on her way to school.

DAUGHTER: OMG Char marries Mr. Collins???

Proud moment.  My daughter texting me about a plot point in the book.

It’s amazing that my daughter reading my favorite novel could bring me so much joy.  It was wonderful to see the novel though her eyes, to discuss certain plot points and reasons why Austen chose to portray certain things in certain ways.  We analyzed the book as scholars, referred to it as a historical point of reference, and bonded as mother and daughter.

Bonding.  That was the best part.  Sitting at the table, or walking down the street, we were able to communicate with one another on a different level than just Mother/Daughter.  As my kid is smarter than me, and often more astute, we were able to discuss this novel as equals. Our relationship had just reached a new level.  I began to really see my daughter as the woman she will soon become.

Pride.

I am proud of the child she was, and I am proud of the woman she is becoming.  There are times, especially during middle school or teething, when a parent feels like they are failing at parenting.  They feel like they are the worst parent in the world, and things will never get better.  And then you hit a moment….and you exhale.  You realize that though not perfect, you did some things right.  You realize that you’ve raised a decent human being who you are now able to have an actual relationship with.

Proud.

When you hit one of these moments, savor it.  Because you know there are still going to be bumps ahead.  But take advantage of this small victory- this moment when you see your kid in a new light.

Allow yourself to spend a moment being proud.  You deserve it.