Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Lights, Camera, Action!

I have always loved going to the movies. I love the anticipation. I love the previews. I love the smells. I love the feeling of getting lost, completely lost, for two hours (give or take).

My 30th birthday was an Oscar theme. All my friends and family dressed up as various characters from different movies and some were even interviewed for a personal E! True Hollywood Story for me. (Which reminds me that I really need to get that VHS converted to DVD one of these days.) At the party, I was awarded an honorary Oscar and we all had a memorable and exciting time.

The first year that Gary and I were dating, we went to a lot of movies. Some good, some bad. Some early in the morning, some late at night. It didn't matter. He shares the same love of the cinema that I do. One time we went to see all the Oscar contentions in one day. We broke for dinner, but otherwise sat through The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/NixonMilk and The Reader with nothing but popcorn and Diet Coke and Milkduds. Slumdog Millionaire won that year, but we had already seen it earlier so we were covered.

The first time I laughed after Allie died was when my sister-in-law Lauren and I went to see Bridesmaids. I remember laughing so hard that I was crying but it was the first time in months that I cried happy tears. We were both such a mess then - she was a new mom with a sweet baby at home who cried all the time and she was very much missing the niece that was supposed to be raised with her little one. I was grieving and sad but also hopeful that I would be pregnant again soon and that all our dreams would somehow still have a chance to come true.

One of those dreams came true yesterday.

Although our girls are now two years apart and not nine days apart, there is still so much joy that we share with them. Not like we originally planned, but I think one thing these past years has taught us all is that not everything works out as planned. 

Yesterday, we took our girls to the movies.

My niece had already seen Trolls. So had Lauren for that matter. But kindergarten was closed for the day and they both wanted to be there when Miranda first got to experience the movies.

It was amazing. Scared at first with her little hands over her ears, she quickly loosened up once the characters came to life. Munching on popcorn and beaming ear to ear, she was in heaven. And so was I.

I missed a lot of the movie because I was so focused on my daughter. She did not need me, but I wanted to be on high alert just in case. But with her cousin next to her and her aunt next to her cousin, plus me on the other side of her, she knew she was safe.

I am still smiling from the experience. 

We went out afterward and purchased little souvenirs to commemorate the day. They were not needed as I know it was a day that none of us will soon forget. However, it's always nice to have a little present...

Miranda now wants to know when we can go back to the movies. Soon. Very soon! Gary wants in on the fun, too. And I do not blame him one bit!



Tuesday, November 22, 2016

November 22, 1986

Today is the anniversary of my Bat Mitzvah. Thirty years ago. Where has the time gone?

If I could go back in time and tell that naive girl a few things, here is what I might say (in no particular order):

  • Always believe in yourself.
  • Never judge others. You never know what someone else is going through and you will be a much nicer person if you are tolerant and non-judgemental. 
  • Be kind to your mom. She is doing most of this alone. Cut her a break. She loves you more than you will ever know.
  • Be nice to your brothers. They are your family and know you in a way that no one else ever will.
  • Your dad is just a man. Do not give him too much power. 
  • Value your friends. Make the time for them. Make them make the time for you. There is nothing as terrific as a true friend who really gets you.
  • Don't hold grudges. They will make you nasty and mean.
  • Learn to forgive yourself for mistakes you make. Mistakes teach us what not to do again. This applies to dating, fashion, and so much more.
  • You are good enough. You are smart enough. You are pretty enough.
  • Treat your body well. You need it to carry you through.
  • You are not fat. 
  • Do not get bangs. They just don't work on you. 
  • All attention is not always good attention.
  • You will fall in love.
  • You will marry the most amazing man and he will be worth the wait.
  • You will grieve like you never thought possible.
  • You will experience happiness like you never thought possible.
  • You will make an amazing mother someday.
I have accomplished so much in my life but I still have so much more to do. 

One of the things I want to do most right now is create as safe space in which to raise my daughter. I want her to see the above list now and not at forty-two so she can  save herself some time. While some of the items I actually did, I do not think I saw the importance of them until I was older.

I want to explain to her that hate crimes are committed by ignorant people and they are not personal, even when they feel that they are. This is a tumultuous time in our history and I am scared. I am worried that my daughter might be the subject of ridicule when people find out that she does not celebrate Christmas. I panic when I think about her explaining that she is adopted and is of mixed race. I do not know where we are headed as a country and I am uncomfortable.

In the past, when I am uncomfortable about something, that usually makes me stand up and face it. I think the same applies here. Let's together stand up for equality, fairness and what is morally right. Maybe, we can impact some positive change. Worst case, I can at least set a good example for my family.

I am not today who I was thirty years ago. I am better. Aren't we all?

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Hallelujah

I was up most of the night on Tuesday, as was most of the country. I was checking my phone constantly and could not get a restful sleep. I was worried and anxious and scared.

Most of my fears had nothing to do with the Presidential election. You see, my nephew was on his way to being born and in my family, that is cause enough for alarm.

Leonas (Leo for short) was born and I breathed a deep sigh of relief. He is here. He is safe. I can go on with my life.

It was then that I had a chance to really think about the election. There is nothing I can write that has not been written, tweeted, Facebooked, spoken, thought, shouted, etc. in the last few days. Am I scared? YES. Am I even more scared as a minority? YUP.  Am I gonna freak out about it? Probably only in the safe comfort of my own home.

I do not know what this all means. It's so much more than the fact that my candidate lost. It's that so many millions of us lost our reason for hope and optimism. 

My dad was a very successful businessman in his day. I was just telling this fact to my mother-in-law last weekend. The thing is, my dad was not that smart. Barely a high school graduate and I know he never even thought about college. However, he knew who to surround himself by to get the job done and get the job done well.

I am not comparing our President-elect with my dad. Ha! No, not at all. I am just hoping that he will be smart enough to make the right choices based on the people with whom he shares his company. It's just a thought.

I am a woman. I am a Jewish woman. I am a Jewish woman in an interfaith marriage. I am raising an adopted daughter who is at least part Dominican and Native American. I can't afford to just sit back and wait for the future to unfold. I need to be a part of the movement to make sure America stays as great as it already is to me.

My sister-in-law was in labor at the polls on Tuesday. Active labor. Not one person let her move ahead in the line. That was before the results were in. Tuesday's election did not break us...much of us was already broken. Now it's time to fix what we can.

But I am gonna take a few moments off. I am gonna snuggle my baby nephew. I am gonna love him and cherish him and thank the heavens that he was born ALIVE. Not even that is a given, although we like to think it is.

For the sake of the next generation, let's be kind. Let's not give up. Let's sing a collective "Hallelujah".

Monday, November 7, 2016

I'm With Her

I am soooo with her. To me, there is no other choice. And yet, if you are not voting the way I plan to vote tomorrow, I will not unfriend you. That goes against my beliefs as much as all the bullying and hate talk that has been rampant these past few months. I will still be in your life even if you do not share the same beliefs as me.

I am not an overly political person. I doubt anyone knows who I have voted for in the past, although I never made a secret of it. My mom was always a Democrat and my dad was always a Republican and I think it was our choice as to what we wanted to be. At least in my mind it was.

I love voting. I love it because I am allowed to do it. If Miranda did not have school tomorrow, I would take her. I would show her how I stand in line, proudly show my ID, sign my name and wait. I would show her how to make small talk with the people at the polls and how to enjoy this luxury that we have. I would show her how awesome it is that I can vote and that she can someday, too.

I am not voting for her just because she is a woman. That makes no sense. I am voting for her because she is (in my opinion - and this is my blog so I am entitled to my opinion!) a strong, smart, passionate woman who will do great things for this country. My country. The country in which I live and love and am raising my daughter.

There is so much nastiness (yes, I know) out there and I do not understand why. Since when did it become a bad thing to speak our minds and our hearts? Since when did it become a personal battle when the person you support does something right or something wrong?

We are all flawed. We are all human. I just hope that we all remember that when we wake up Wednesday morning.

Vote how you want - I know I will. But be kind, please. For the sake of all of us and for the future voters we are raising.


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

What If?

I have been told by many people that the "what if" game is no good. If you spend your life wondering "what if" this happened or "what if" that happened, you can get lost in a world that simply does not exist. Those same people, and many more, in fact, urge us to live in the present and not spend time wondering what "could have been" or "should of been". This is not a new concept. I have written about it before.

I am coming off an emotional (and sugar) high from the last few days. Halloween was a lot of fun this year. Miranda embraced the holiday and we all had a great time. We went to several costumed events and I was sure she would want a new outfit for each one. I was wrong. All she wanted to be was Wonder Woman and each time she pulled up her boots and donned her headband, she really felt like she had super powers. When people commented on how cute she looked, she made sure they knew who she was and that she could save the world. The costume did not have a lasso for some reason and I actually thought about making one for her until I realized that I did not need to weaponize my child and I am not really sure how much rope is needed to make a lasso anyway.

We went on hayrides and we picked out pumpkins. We went on a scavenger hunt and Miranda made her way through a straw maze. We took picture after picture of time spent with cousins and friends. We even got in a visit with Miranda's birth mother and they went on a hayride together. 

The only thing missing from all the festivities was Allie. More so this year than last, although maybe I say that every year? What would she have been this year? Would she have wanted more than one costume? Would she like to dress up like a superhero or would she prefer a princess? Or would she be into something that I do not even know that well like Anime or something like that? I will never know.

It's the never knowing that hurts my heart. Then the guilt I feel when I realize that the daughter I do have is the most incredible child in the world. How can I want more than her? How can I not?

Grief is a strange beast. It rears its head when you expect it least. I have learned to acknowledge it, give it a little bit of attention, and then let it go. It's all you can do. Well, it's all I can do. 

Time to move past the "what if" and on to the "what now". Time to get up and go hide some of that candy that Miranda got last night before she comes home from school and wants to eat it all! 

And so the grief gets pushed away. Dismissed. I do not have room for it today. I wonder when I will see it again and will I be better prepared to deal with it? Only time will tell...

Vacation or Relocation?

I love a good vacation. Always have. I love the planning and the anticipation and the experience of discovering someplace new.  Once ...