Saying Goodbye

grandmaYiaya Julie was my birth-grandmother. I met her three years ago, when we went to New York and met my birth family. She cried and told me “I wanted to meet you before I die.” The sentiment was funny at the time. But now she’s gone, and I see how lucky we both were for those three years.

I’d never known an old person like Yiaya Julie. The old people in my family were bitter and complained all the time. Yiaya Julie was full of life, always smiling, hugging, and apologizing for her (perfect) English. We spoke to each other in a combination of English and Greek, and she was forever taking me or my kids to her apartment to do or see something special. She showed me pictures of her late husband – my grandfather – and the daughter she lost too soon. She showed my kids her pet parakeet and played games with them.

Since I only knew her for three years, I don’t know that much about Yiaya Julie’s story. I do know that she immigrated to New York from Greece and made a good life for herself. I admire her because I know I could never be that brave. read more

Who says you can’t go home?

cool homeIt’s 27 degrees in New York right now. I hate the cold, but I still want to move back there.  Well, “move back there” is not exactly the right term. It’s not like I just left. I haven’t lived in New York since 1998, when I left for Washington, D.C. to take a reporting job. My first husband and I had just broken up, and Washington was the start of my new life. And it was. I set out on my own, made lots of friends, met my  husband, and, by the time we moved, left lots behind. read more

Christmas presence

New-YorkWe snuck off to New York last month. We didn’t tell my father. We visited my birth family and best friend, but we did not visit my dad. I wasn’t trying to punish him. He did it to himself. I told him that my birth mother wanted to buy us plane tickets to visit and he said, “Don’t go taking money from her. You’re getting too involved. She wants to mother you. She has a mother complex.” read more

Three phone calls or for whom the bell tolls

This week I talked to my father. Three times. I usually try to limit my contact to one excruciating phone call, but this week he kept calling and calling. His first call, “I went down to Hawthorne to see the Obama movie. That guy didn’t go to college. He took a class somewhere and now he says he went to college.”

“If that were true, don’t you think it would have come out in the first campaign?” And, as my husband said, how did he practice law?

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Happy birthday to me!

Hereditary Insanity is three years old! My actual insanity is much older, but I’m talking about the blog here. So I think it’s a good time to look back and see what we’ve learned. Yes, it’s kind of a gimme for me, but I don’t have another topic and I could use the break. If you’re new to Hereditary Insanity, this “What I did over the year” roundup will be a handy guide to relevant posts. Some new developments: Hereditary Insanity is available as a Kindle subscription and has been accepted by Top Mommy Blogs. Please take a moment to vote so it can stay a top mommy blog. I would really appreciate it. I am also considering sending a post to Huffington Post Parents. Please let me know in the comments which one you think should I send.

I learned that I am passing my fears onto my children, and that’s not necessarily a good idea.  (Some of all Fears)

I learned that I couldn’t blame all of my three-year-old daughter’s bad behavior on her age. I had to accept some responsibility for my actions.  (Is it three or is it me?) read more