Date Night

CoupleWe’d planned the date for weeks. Our son’s preschool had a Parents’ Night Out, where the teachers babysit the kids and the parents get a date night. My four-year-old son gets to hang out with his friends, and our six-year-old daughter loves seeing her friends from camp there, watching movies and getting her nails painted. She’s always asking us when the next night will be.

Everyone was excited. My husband and I had reservations  at a favorite restaurant – we hadn’t been there since we’d moved back. It was a Friday and my husband left work early to give us more alone time. I’d gone shopping and had a choice of new outfits to feel pretty and wow my husband.

It was 6:00. My husband was on his way home. We had reservations for 7:45. I went to the bedroom to change. I had these new black-faux-leather-front-pants that I couldn’t pass up because they brought me right back to the 80s. Always interested in Resurrecting the Heavy-Metal Goddess, I chose a new black shirt with tiny silver chains draped across its front. I tried them on, thinking if they looked too midlife-crisis I could always change. Lamenting the fact that Motley Crue was no longer touring, I looked in the mirror. Oh my God, there was no way I was ever taking them off. I was that girl again. Long dark curly hair, looking all tough with the chains on my shirt, leather pants that I was actually pulling off – those were the days. read more

14 Things I Wish I’d Known about Love

2dRW0jnAs we walked out of the school, her face reddened and tears started to flow. “Noah yelled at me,” my six-year-old said of her crush.

“He yelled at you? What happened?”

“He said ‘You’re ruining the whole play!’”

“Why did he say that?”

“I tapped him on the shoulder and he got mad, but I was supposed to be Maya’s baby and that’s what babies do.”

She cried harder. My baby’s heart was broken.

As we drove to the doctor’s office, I tried to impart some wisdom about love and boys and everything that comes with them. The only thing my mom ever told me when I had a broken heart was “There are other fish in the sea.” As a survivor of many heartbreaks, I wanted to be a little more helpful. That, and Valentine’s Day, got me thinking. What do I know now that I wish I knew then? What would have smoothed my path and saved my heart? It’s not all appropriate for a six-year-old – I’ll dole it out as she needs it. But armed with this knowledge, I hope to be the kind of mom who IS helpful in the area of romance, and I hope it’ll save my daughter some heartache. So here are 14 things that I wish I’d known about love. read more

Back to normal, and not soon enough

imagebot (1)One. More. Day. Tomorrow starts the first normal week we’ve had in two weeks. Fifteen days, to be exact. Fifteen long days.

School started last week, on Thursday, but it snowed Friday so school was cancelled. At least we got a one-day reprieve. My husband and I don’t have any alone time these days unless both the kids are at school during the day. Since we moved, the kids won’t go to sleep in the new house without a parent in the room (See “Home Strange Home” below), so we rarely see each other at night.

We were luckier than some parents. Our son’s preschool is also a daycare so it was open most of the break. Only our six-year-old daughter was home with us for all of that time. She takes up a lot of our energy. She bores easily and then she starts trouble or she whines. It’s not like we don’t give her attention. We do. We play with her. My husband taught her checkers and chess. I bake with her. We made peanut butter cookies. We take her to the supermarket – she likes anyplace that sells stuff. We even had a girls’ day. I took her swimming and to lunch and to fro-yo, but we can’t compete with the entertainment that school offers. read more

The battle of the stresses

Stress 2My husband thinks he’s cornered the market on stress. Okay, he’s got a very demanding job; he works a lot of hours, he’s on call 24/7 and he does carry a lot of stress on his shoulders. But the other day I mentioned that I had more stress than usual and you’d have thought I’d said I got abducted by aliens.

“Stress?” he said. “What are YOU stressed about?” Seriously, that’s the way he said it.

I don’t know how two people who live in the same house, eat dinner together and sleep in the same bed can be so far apart in their understanding. I began to explain. read more

What I did over summer vacation

imagebot (2)Thank God that’s over. A week on a ship in Alaska with two kids. Ugh. It wasn’t supposed to be that way. It was supposed to be a fun and relaxing vacation for all of us.

Before I go forth, I know I sound whiny. I should be grateful that we could take a vacation at all, when so many people are struggling just to get by. I was grateful. I am grateful that we could pay for a vacation. We hadn’t had one in three years. I’d lost my job and funds were tight, until my dad died and left us money, and believe me, I did pay for that (Just search “Dad”). We’d visited family a few times, on their dime, but it had been a long time since we’d gone on a real vacation, where you stay in a hotel, or, in our case, a boat.  We paid good money for this vacation and we expected it to be worth the expenditure. And this wasn’t our first rodeo. We’d cruised several times before and thought we knew what to expect. What could be better? A floating resort with free babysitting, starting and ending in Seattle so no flights with the kids! Woohoo!

It sounded like just what we needed. We chose Royal Caribbean this time, since Carnival (our usual cruise company) was having so many problems. We booked our tickets and eagerly anticipated the trip. read more