A Tale of Two Mothers

imagebot (10)This is the story of two mothers.

Forty-five years ago, a teenager in Queens went “all the way” with her high school sweetheart. She got pregnant. She told her boyfriend and he told his parents. Happy to welcome a new member of the family, they made plans. They said they’d get a bigger house so the couple could live with them, and they could help raise the baby.

The girl went home and told her family. Alarmed and ashamed, the immediately sent her to a home for unwed mothers s uptown. When her boyfriend came looking for her they told him she was gone. He was devastated.

The girl spent nine months in the home, making plans to give up her baby. Her parents and the  adoption agency said it was the right thing to do. She thought so too. read more


The End of the Innocence

the-muppets-2012That’s it, I’ve failed as a mother. First my six-year-old has to go to therapy and now this. Just a few words and I robbed my daughter of her childhood.

It all started innocently enough. We were snuggling at bedtime and she asked me the question that will ring in my mind forever. “Are the Muppets real?”

I hesitated. So many things went through my head. If she’s asking, does she suspect? Is she old enough to know? What if I tell her they are and she already knows? Finally, and much to my shame in hindsight, I went with the truth.

Tears built up in her eyes. “Then how do they move?” I told her. “Are the people real?”

“Yes, they are.”

“What about the princesses? Are they real?” read more


About My Dad

old_man-2Friday was the first anniversary of my father’s death. As my long-time readers know, my dad used to be the star of this blog. So as a tribute, I’ve gathered some of his most memorable moments.

The main thing anyone should know about my dad is that he loved money to the exclusion of everything else. This incident happened last year when we went to New York to take care of his affairs.

Our lawyer got the court to allow us access to his safe deposit box while we were still in town. We talked to the bank manager. She was very nice and led us into her office, which was right across from the safe deposit boxes. We handed her the key and she unlocked the box and put it on her desk. She asked us to sign that we opened it, and handed us two stapled signature cards. My dad had signed at least 50 times. Why would someone go to their safe deposit box that much? In our box’s three-year history, I’d opened it twice.

“How often did he open it?” I asked.

The manager laughed. “He came here about three times a week. He’d open his box and go sit in the room with it. It’s right there, next to my office. I’d knock after a while – I do that with all old people. We want to make sure they’re okay. Plus he usually came about 4:45 when we were getting ready to close and we wanted to go home. He’d answer me and sit there a while longer.  We can’t kick them out. When he was done, he’d come out and hand me the box to lock up.” read more


Surviving Easter “Break”

Bad dayHappy Easter and Passover everyone! For me, Easter is the end of Spring Break as I know it. School was scheduled to be closed on Monday, but we finally got the comp time for one of the eight snow days that we had to work. Funny, that’s how I remember comp time working in the business world too.

Thanks to my son’s preschool, spring break was pretty easy for me. His school is also a daycare, so it doesn’t close during school holidays, plus it has a school-age program for my six-year-old daughter. I used to feel guilty about sending her, but I simply cannot provide the level of entertainment that she requires. And her therapist (that’s another story – See Major Meltdowns: From bad to worse) says she needs a lot of structure, so it turns out that sending her was the right thing for her all along. read more


Finding a Home

houseWhat a difference a home makes! Last year at this time my husband and I were miserable. It was April in Seattle, characterized by cold rain storms – a change from the constant showers in the winter and half-days of rain in the fall. We’re summer people and in Seattle we had to wait forever for summer. If we were lucky, it would come in June. Most of the time, summer came in July but sometimes it would hold out until August. Once summer arrived in Seattle, we had beautiful weather – 70s and 80s and hardly any clouds, but it was too short for us.

We moved back to Maryland in December. Six years ago, we’d moved out by the Chesapeake Bay and we loved it there, but my husband got a promotion that took us to Seattle. We were optimistic, but after six years, Seattle grated on us. It wasn’t just the weather. It was the people. Seattleites, for the most part, are very polite and superficially nice, but they’re very guarded. I knew people for years in Seattle and didn’t learn anything about them. I’m not making it up. The phenomenon has a name: “The Seattle Freeze.” It refers to the moment that Seattleites freeze up – usually the moment you ask them anything more personal than their name. They’re also called “The nicest people you’ll never get to know.” Sometimes you’d know someone for years and then find out they never liked you.  read more