Category Archives: parenting

Being “Besties” With Your Child?


Things Parents of Sons Are Missing Out On In Life…


starbucks
Parents of sons, please enjoy the following. Here’s a little taste of the fun you are missing out on…
(Parents of daughters will totally understand!)

1. Having to dress shop at the mall on Monday for 2+ hours because your daughter “needs a new dress because every girl in my class is wearing one on Wednesday”. She will have to check every single “cool” store first, before actually finding a dress in the store you suggested in the first place. You will also have to make the requisite stop at Starbucks for some type of Strawberry concoction. She will be mad at you because you will not let her get a coffee because she is 12, and you don’t see how a 12 year old needs coffee. She will let the cat out of the bag that she orders coffee when she goes to the mall with her friends, and then stare at the floor. She will give the barista a fake name when she orders her drink, and when you ask her why she did that, she will reply in a whispered tone “Mommm. It’s not cool to give them your real name! Everyone knows that!” She will grin like a champ when they yell her fake name when her drink is ready for pick-up.(For the record, you are the only people in the store, and they still yell.) She will get in the car and take the perfect selfie of her and her Starbucks drink with her fake name prominently displayed and will post it to Instagram. She will spend the drive home telling you how many “likes” she got on that one.

2. Having to leave work yesterday for 20 minutes to run home and drive your daughter to school because someone (Mom) accidentally put the dryer setting on low and the yoga pants she HAS TO wear to gym did not dry in time for school. She will text you at work 7 minutes before the bus is coming to let you know this. No, she cannot wear something else to school! Your daughter will beg and plead to stay home, but that isn’t happening. When you are driving her to school you will hear all about how she has now missed gym but is wearing the yoga pants anyway because that was her chosen outfit for school and she knows you would have been mad if you got home and she didn’t have them on. (She is correct on that one!) Also, she will tell you that because of the dryer mishap this is her first time being tardy in 7 years of school. The streak is broken and she will be upset about it. (Tardiness is a catastrophe that you are unaware of), and now because it is after 9:00, she will not be able to sit with her class at the assembly that is occurring, because she is tardy for that too. All of this will be your fault. You will drive back to work thinking about the million times she has made you tardy for work over the past 7 years. At 3:20 pm, she will come home smiling and say that she was glad she didn’t stay home because she had a great day, but will still be upset at the tardiness marring her permanent record. She will then grab a snack and go up to her room to blast music and scan Instagram for anything she has missed in the last 6 hours, as well as to see if there are anymore likes on her Starbucks selfie.

3. Having to get out of your pj’s on your sick day (there’s no such thing for a Mom) because you HAVE TO drive a very specific outfit over to your daughter’s school (after a series of panicked laden texts, which she is doing while hiding face first in her locker, because phones at school are a bigger no-no than tardiness) because the dress that you spent two hours shopping for, and that she looks so beautiful in is ITCHY…VERY, VERY ITCHY and she “can’t take it for another minute”. When you get there, the secretary will want to know how you know your daughter needs a new outfit if she isn’t in the nurse’s office because they’re not supposed to have phones in school. You will reply that your daughter is 12, 12 is a fun age, and you are part psychic with a $hit-eating grin on your ugly, sick face. The secretary will look less than amused at your answer and will make “the face” at the other secretary who is sitting there listening to your conversation. You will then stand there awkwardly pretending to read the bulletins hanging on the wall while you wait for your daughter in the itchy dress to make her way down to the office. It will feel like an hour, but probably will only be about a 3 minute wait.

4. Your daughter will finally come down to the office to get her specified clothes and will actually give you an unexpected heartfelt thank you for bringing that in, will hug your arm, and tell you that she hopes you get some rest…and you won’t be annoyed anymore. In fact, you will smile as you drive back home.

Yes, that’s what having a daughter is like. (God bless my friends that have more than one!)

When I Wasn’t Looking…


When you’re a parent, you hope for a lot of things for your child. You hope your child will be born healthy. You hope your child will grow up happy. You hope your child will be smart and self-confident. You hope that whatever is thrown their way in life, your child will come out of it on the other side better and stronger because of it. You hope your child will turn out to have a life better than yours. You hope that when your child goes out in the world all of those little lessons you taught him or her stick and they do the right things…especially when you’re not looking. You do the best that you can as a parent, but in the end, you do “hope” a lot.

Today, I got to smile at one of my “hopes” coming back to me.

As I set out to pick my daughter up from her after-care program at school, I texted her and said “On my way. Be there in five minutes. Be ready please”. In return, I got her typical “K” response. (Yes, she still does that to me daily.) When I got there, I could see her on the far side of the room, seated with two other kids, playing a game. When I finally got her attention, she gave me her “just a minute” gesture, and I had to stand there making idle chit-chat with the ladies who run the program. That “just a minute” was more like five minutes, and I could feel myself getting antsy because I had things to do. As she finally gets up from the table, I see her pat the boy she was sitting next to on the back as she says goodbye, but I didn’t think anything of it.

When we get in the car, I say “How come you weren’t ready to go today?”, and then I get the whole story. It turns out that she was seated at the table with a boy she has known since she was three years old, whom she went to preschool with. He has Autism. He is beyond smart, but socially and behaviorally, he struggles.When she was three, she had a hard time understanding him but it didn’t take her long to get it and accept it. He has come an incredibly long way since he was three, and I smile whenever I see him because his progress is quite amazing. The problem is other kids, especially those who don’t really know him, don’t quite “get” him or his outbursts. Luckily, my daughter does…and she has always been his friend.

She tells me that the reason she wasn’t ready is because she was sitting with her friend playing a game. She said that this is what she does every time she goes to aftercare and he is there, so he doesn’t have to sit alone or get picked on by other kids. Then she launches into a mini-tirade about how she hates when other kids tease him, and how she sticks up for him…even if he’s not around. She tells the other kids that they are ridiculous and maybe if they would stop for a second and get to know or understand him or his disability, then they’d be ashamed of how they have treated him. (She also throws in lines like “By the way, he’s super smart. Maybe he’s just too smart for you!” Atta girl!!) She proudly tells me that the other kids are finally starting to leave him alone, especially when she’s with him, and she says it in such a staunch manner that I want to stop the car and hug her as tight as I can. Instead, I pat her on the leg and tell her that I am proud of her for being a good person with a good heart. I tell her that I am proud that she stands up for others, even if it goes against “popular” opinion, because she’s saying what’s “right”…and I drive the rest of the way home with a smile on my face, hiding the tears in my eyes behind my sunglasses.

I have to say, in the past 11 years I have been there to see plenty of things my daughter has done that have made me proud…but one of the things I am most proud of is what she did today and what she has been doing…when I wasn’t looking.

I Believe…


Believe what you will, but I know what I believe in…that our loved ones who have passed are always around us. I believe it with all that I am, and today reminded me, yet again, of why…

Today Alyssa told me, out of the blue, that she dreams of Rob’s mom. In fact, Rob’s mom came to visit her in her dreams last night. She said it’s the same dream she has always had…that his mother comes to her, hugs her, and tells her that she loves her. Last night she told her to always remember that she always wanted to meet her as well.

Rob’s mother passed away at the age of 44…far too young. We were only 19 years old, so clearly Alyssa never got to meet her. Alyssa has seen a few pictures of her grandmother over the years, but I wouldn’t say that she studied them enough to be able to describe her…but when she sees her in her dreams, like she did last night, she can do just that. When I asked her to describe her grandmother as she saw her, she was able to describe her as perfectly as we remember her….and it made my heart smile and my eyes fill with tears.

We have always said that she watches over us, and especially over Alyssa. She always wanted to have a girl, but was blessed with three wonderful sons instead. When we found out that we were having a daughter, we looked to the sky and thanked her. When we saw Alyssa take her first breath, we thanked her again and knew she was there smiling down on us, and on Alyssa.

Throughout Alyssa’s life, she has always been circled by tiny butterflies that flit all around her…sometimes white, sometimes yellow (which was her grandmother’s favorite color) and it makes us smile. To us, that has always been our sign that Bobbie is with us and watching over our daughter. Even in times when we are alone, those little butterflies will come flitting by us, and we are reminded that she is watching over us…and it brings us a sense of comfort and peace.

The day before Hurricane Sandy, when we were cleaning out our yard, we noticed one lone yellow rose that had bloomed on our rose bush. Yellow roses were her favorite flowers. Rob snipped it off of the bush, brought it inside, and put it in a vase. We knew she was with us and would watch over us….and we believe that she did. That yellow rose stayed hearty for a week, and we silently thanked it everyday when we looked at it sitting in that vase in the middle of our counter. I have yet to take that rose out of the vase. It’s no longer in bloom, but most of the petals are still on it. It’s our symbol of strength…

Today, Rob’s mother would have been 67 years old. We think of her constantly and always say “I wish she could be here to see this or share this with us” but Alyssa’s dream reminded us of what we already know…she is always around us. She may not be with us physically, but she is always here spiritually. She does see our lives, she does see Alyssa growing up, and she, above all, protects us. We’ve have plenty of signs from her over the years, and each and every time, we smile and are thankful for our Guardian Angel.

Happy Birthday Mom. We love you too…

Believe what you will, but I know what I believe in…

OMG – Stop Texting Me!!!


Last week we got our 10 1/2 year old daughter a cell phone. (If you don’t say the 1/2 part, she gets really mad!) Thanks to that, I now want to throw MY cell phone through a wall. Not because I am jealous that she has a better phone than I do…even though she does..damn you great deal when you add a new line…but because she texts me non-stop. That child texts me so much that I cringe when I hear my phone go off, and I had to give her a separate text alert sound so I could differentiate between her and my friends, who might actually have something important to tell me…as opposed to her.

Now before you start rolling your eyes and thinking “Why would you get your 10 1/2 year old a cell phone?”, let me explain. We did not just hand her a phone for no reason. She had to completely earn it. We made a deal with her back in September: She had to get straight A’s for the entire year, and she had to show responsibility by not misplacing her I-Pod at all. (Plus she is getting to that age where she isn’t at my side all the time, so it’s handy.) She kept up her end of the deal, so we kept up ours….and now it is coming back to haunt me…just about every 5-10 minutes of my life.

Here are some examples of what I get to read when I hear that ominous tone chime on my phone:

*Mom, thank u for getting me a phone. I ❤ U!!!xoxo Ok – This was her very 1st text to me, so it made me smile. After that it all went downhill…fast. (By the way, her very first actual call HAD TO be to her father. Of course it did. Sigh.)

*Mom, I need my hula hoop right now! This gem came a mere 10 minutes after I dropped her off at school…even though I had just asked her before we left if she was going to need said hula hoop…and she said no.

* Where r u? I get this constantly. I usually get this 2-3 times while I am driving to pick her up at her friend’s house. (Thank God for text to talk!) More often than not though, the answer is “downstairs”. We don’t live in a mansion, so I don’t know how she thinks she will lose me in “the other wing of the house”, but whatever.

* I am almost there! Wow, am I glad she only had her phone for the last 3 days of school, because this is the text I got for the entire bus ride home. Literally stop by stop! It’s her little version of the play-by-play of her life. Meanwhile, I was already sitting at the bus-stop for like 10 minutes.

*This movie is great! U have to see it! I’ll go again, and not spoil it for u. Promise! 🙂 She sent me this when she went to see Madagascar 3 yesterday. I told her she wasn’t supposed to use her phone in the theater, but the movie was SO GOOD that I just HAD TO know.

* Hi!!! Just another reason to use her phone. She has said “Hi!!” to me more in the past week than she has in perhaps her entire existence on this planet. If I had $1 for every “Hi!!!” I’ve gotten, I could probably buy myself something pretty decent.

*What r u doing? Maybe she thinks I’m doing something spectacular when I am not within her field of vision. I’m not. I really want to answer “Cringing because I just heard that friggin’ chime go off AGAIN!”, but I just answer with “Nothing. Just waiting for a text from you! :)” I always have to follow that up with “What r u doing?” and she usually replies, “Nothing. Just texting you!” Sometimes she puts cute little hearts in there too, which makes it impossible to get mad at. She’s a smart cookie.

* K. This is where I had to speak to her. My daughter LOVES to send the answer “K” to my responses. When she asks me anything and I respond, this is what I get back in return…whether it applies or not. She was even responding “K” to my “K”. I had to explain to her that when I say “K”, she does not need to respond with “K”. It means “I got it and the conversation is over on my end!”…therefore she does NOT need to let me know that she too is done responding! She’s not really listening to me on that one yet. Maybe if I text it to her, she’ll get it.

Aside from her numerous texts, I also get lots of pictures that she takes…like close ups of my dog’s nose with “Isn’t he the cutest???” written under it…or pictures of her toes correctly labeled “My Toes!!!! :)” God Bless this child and her new phone. I don’t know how she has lived this long without it, or how I have made it through my days without Instagram pictures from my own little Ansel Adams.

What I do know is her getting a cell phone is just another little piece of her “little girl-ness” evaporating. I think starting today, I will smile everytime that ominous chime goes off on my phone, because before I know it texting her friends will be a thousand times more fun than texting her mom is… and thought of that makes me cringe more than hearing that text alert tone ever will.

Thank You


Thank you…two simple words that are easy to say and mean so much.

This Memorial Day weekend, I came across veterans sitting in front of the Wawa collecting for disabled vets. I have NEVER in my life passed by those men without making a donation, even if I have gone into the store on multiple occasions over the course of the weekend. In fact, I have amassed quite a few poppies over the past few days thanks to them. Aside from always donating, I always make sure I look those men in the eyes and say “Thank you for your service”. If you have never done that when donating, you really need to. Those men appreciate a thank you just as much, if not more than the donation itself. It always makes them smile and sometimes even makes them teary eyed. They deserve every single thank you that they get, and then some if you ask me. When I see people walk by them like they are invisible, it actually disgusts me. If you don’t have any money to donate, a simple thank you is what they deserve at the very least.

Also this weekend, the volunteer firemen were doing their drive by fundraiser by standing at the entrance of the Shop Rite parking lot. On my way out, I stopped to make a donation and thanked the man for his volunteer service. He actually did a double take, smiled, and thanked me for saying that. He said no one had ever said to him before. As I pulled away, I was pretty shocked. How could no one have ever said thank you to him before? That bothered me, as did the many cars that drove right by him without making a small donation. My father was a paid fireman in North Jersey. I hope people stopped to thank him once in a while for what he did for them.(I’m going to have to ask him about that!)

Today on the way to my parents house, we drove past a coin toss for a different volunteer fire company. My daughter had never seen that before, but happily scooped out a bunch of change I had in the car. I slowed almost to a stop so she could throw it out the window at the target. The firemen all smiled, waved, and yelled thank you to us. As I drove away, my daughter remarked how happy the firemen seemed that we donated, and smiled at how they had so heartily thanked us…then noted that no one else had slowed down and done the same….and it bothered her too. On the way home we passed them again, and once again I slowed down so she could throw a big handful of change at the other target. This time they beeped the fire truck horn at us, smiled, and yelled thank you. Sadly, again she noted that no one else had slowed down and thrown their change. She said she hoped that we weren’t the only people that participated in the coin toss, because in her words, “It’s just not right.” I assured her that we weren’t but she didn’t seem very convinced that too many other people had tossed some coins, despite the signs preceding it for about a mile.

If I have taught my daughter anything in life, it is the value of “thank you”. Every time she sees a veteran collecting or anyone in a military uniform, she thanks them for their service. When she sees the firemen or ambulance squad doing their fundraising, she always says thank you for volunteering as she makes her donation too. I’ve taught her that anyone who makes a sacrifice for others should hear a thank you from the public. It’s a shame when a 10 year old knows better than the adults she sees around her…but I am pleased that she notices it and points out that it’s wrong. Tomorrow she is excited to go to the Memorial Day parade in town, so she can wave at the veterans and give thanks to them. I hope there is a decent crowd on hand, for her sake and theirs. It’s a sign of respect these men and women deserve, but often don’t receive enough.

To all of the men and women who currently serve or have served this country, I wholeheartedly say THANK YOU for your sacrifice. (Thank you to the Police Officers, Firemen, and EMTS too!) My daughter and I appreciate your service.

Thank you…two simple words that are easy to say and mean so much.

Don’t forget to use them as often as possible. Those two simple words matter.

And So It Begins…


I thought I taught her well. I really did. However this week all of my good teaching came to a screeching halt when I purchased the hideous sneakers shown above for my daughter. They are hurting your eyes, aren’t they? Mine too.

In case you are as unaware as I was just a few days ago, these are Osiris sneakers…the sneakers everyone is wearing right now. Well everyone who’s a kid, thankfully.

I was browbeaten into buying these gems because of a deal we have made with her. If she brings home straight A’s on her report card, she can get or do something of her choosing. (Before anyone raises their eyebrows at this, we aren’t “bribing” our child to get A’s. She loves school, and the fact that we only have one child allows us to do this. If we had more, it wouldn’t occur this way, trust me.) Anyway, in the past she was wanted simple things like dinner at her favorite restaurant, a night at the movies, some arts and crafts stuff, and these little silly Squinkee toys. None of those I had a problem with. However, this time it went haywire because this is what she came up with.

As I stated, I was completely unaware of what these were just a few days ago. (I wish I was still unaware!) She came home thrilled to show us her report card, and promptly stated that she already knew what she worked for last marking period: A pair of Osiris sneakers. I should have known something was up when she emphatically stated that they were the awesome sneakers everyone was wearing, but apparently my mom radar was temporarily disconnected for a minute there, and I said “I guess so, but if they cost a mint, you’re not getting them!”. Off to the computer we went, so she could show me what they looked like and we could research where we could buy them. When the images of them came up, I hoped she was kidding…she wasn’t. I asked her what said sneakers would even match, and she said “They always match if you have the right headbead onnnn!” Sigh.

I tried everything to dissuade her from wanting these clown shoes, because like I said, I thought I had taught her well. For a 10 year old, she has always had really good taste in clothes and shoes. She loves to get dressed up, and really loves to perfectly accessorize her outfits. (She gets that from her grandmother, and I’m not complaining). She loves Kohls because she can go there with her gift cards and clean up on her purchases. So how did this happen? I believe it’s because she’s 10 and finally hit the “everyone-has-them” phase. Again, sigh.

Since a deal is a deal, I begrudgingly take her to Journeys in the mall (which I had to ask my friends where it even was) to get them. She wasn’t kidding when she proclaimed them the “it” shoe, because the store was crowded with other girls around her age clamoring for these “awesome” sneakers. Since I’m such a crowd and people person, this venture was already torturous within the first 20 seconds.

That moment was perhaps the first time in my life I have ever seen a wall full of ugly. You couldn’t miss this section of the store, because even the clamoring crowd of girls couldn’t deflect the gaudy colors on display. My eyes and head hurt just looking at them. My daughter proudly waded her way through the other girls to get front and center to make her selection. The only thing I can say is she picked the least ugly of the bunch, so I guess I was remotely proud of her for that.

I had the girl measure her foot, and in her mind having a size 8 1/2 is a double bonus because “That’s the size you wear Mom! You can even borrow them if you want!”.
#1: Not.happening.ever.
#2: Her feet really need to stop growing!
(I did teach her well though.)

The girl brings them out and they are unlaced, and the laces are like 2 feet long. I am now sweating and just want to get the hell out of there, so I just start lacing them up. It was then that I learned that I committed a huge faux-pas, as stated by my daughter’s look of shock and her stern whisper of “Mommmmmm! What are you doingggg? That’s not how you lace themmmm! I can’t try them onnnn like thatttt!” She was literally acting like all of the lights in the store just went out except for the spotlight that’s on me and my faux-pas lacing techniques, thus alerting the world to her Mom’s uncool moment. I glanced over at the Wall of Ugly and saw that they needed to be laced in the skater, box-lace style. Well, guess what? I made her try on one the uncool way and had her try the other one on without laces. There’s no way I was standing there sweating and re-lacing everything…sorry. In the end, they fit and I bought them. They were even on sale…$20 off. They should be paying me to take those hideous things, but whatever.

When we got home, she ran in the house to proudly show her father the world’s greatest sneakers, and also to lament that “Mom doesn’t even know how to lace them right!”. Of course my husband, the Savior of the House, does know how to lace them right because in the 80’s he was every bit as awesome as he is now, and he laced his sneakers that way. I try to save face by stating I wouldn’t know how to lace shoes like that because my awesome Jellies shoes from the 80’s didn’t even have laces, but as usual, no one is listening.

As usual, Daddy is the best!

So, Alyssa is officially allowed back in the Land of Coolness because she owns a pair of Osiris sneakers. I don’t foresee myself ever enjoying seeing them on her feet. My friend’s husband had a great line for her though when they bought a pair for their child. “You’re not the one wearing them!”. True, but I will be the one walking next to her when she is wearing them.

And so it begins…

Sympathy = Zero


I can’t help but chuckle at all of the people on Facebook and in the media lamenting Whitney Houston’s death. They all feel “so horrible” and “so sad” about her “untimely passing”. Well guess what? I don’t. Not an ounce of me feels bad and I refuse to apologize for my stance on this too.

I can credit my parents for my complete lack of sympathy for anyone who chooses to ruin their life with drugs. Growing up, my dad went out of his way every chance he got to not only tell us that drugs ruin people’s lives, but he would show us too. A few times a year, he would drive us over to the Bronx and let us see how other people lived. That was in the 70’s when the Bronx was in its poverty heyday. (Watch Fort Apache, The Bronx if you don’t know what I’m talking about.) He would drive us through neighborhoods where people had cardboard for windows, half of the buildings were abandoned, graffiti was everywhere, and junkies roamed the streets. He would slow down and say “Do you see that? If you do drugs, that’s how you are going to live! It’s pretty cold in the winter when you have cardboard windows”. He would drive us past the Bronx Detention Center, where I still remember the inmates being able to yell out the windows. He would say “They can’t go to a Yankee game like we are because they are locked up for drugs.” Drugs over the Yankees? Never!

He also taught this lesson close to home, every chance he got. He would comment every time we drove past the park by my house and saw people were sniffing glue out of paper bags. Again, he would slow down and say “Do you see that? If you want to ruin your life and be homeless, then sniff glue like that guy is doing! You will melt your brain and definitely won’t live in our house. You can live at the park with that guy instead!”. Living in the park with glue sniffers never sounded very appealing to me. Neither did cardboard windows or a half melted brain. In fact, all of his examples scared the sh*t out of me! Thus I never did drugs.

I don’t raise my daughter any differently than my parents raised me. This morning she came downstairs and asked if I was sad because someone named Whitney Houston died. I told her “Absolutely not!” and used it as an example of drugs completely ruining someone’s life. I told her all about what a great singer she used to be, and let her hear some of her songs. Then I showed her the picture in the paper of her from one day ago, all sweaty and drugged out, and told her that Daddy and I don’t have any sympathy for people who choose to destroy their lives and throw their gifts away, and neither should she! This isn’t a new topic for her. I have also let her see parts of Celebrity Rehab and Intervention so she can see what a disaster drugs are on people’s lives. I have friends that have told me that perhaps that’s a little much, but I don’t think it is. My parents went out of their way to make sure I never did drugs by showing me examples, and I hope for the same outcome by showing my daughter the same things every chance I get. I hope I am scaring the sh*t out of her, and that someday she does the same to her kids!

So there it is…my two cents. I’m not being holier than thou. If people want to destroy their lives using drugs, that’s their choice…but there will be no sympathy coming from me. I don’t feel sorry for Joe Schmo drug addict and I don’t feel sorry for Whitney Houston either.
PS – Thanks Mom and Dad!

Rant.Over.

RIP Hermy the Hermit Crab (AKA Poor Bastard #12) 8/11/11 – 1/21/12


Happier Times

This morning my daughter realized that her “beloved” pet Hermy was dead. I can’t say he died with much dignity. She found him naked in the middle of his cage, a few inches from his old shell, and nowhere near his spare, bigger shell that we thought maybe he would switch to someday.

Funny thing about this is I just asked her yesterday how her pal Hermy was doing, and her very paused response told me that yet again she forgot all about the poor bastard. This is the same child who literally begs us every single summer to get her a new hermit crab or two when we go to Fantasy Island in LBI. Every year I cringe when my husband and daughter happily stroll into the shop to make her yearly purchase. I know how it’ll end for the little innocent creature(s) she brings home, but nobody ever listens to me…I do need to mention that we did not buy her Hermy. She conned her grandparents into it one night when they were watching her. Mama didn’t raise no dummy.

Anyway, Hermy is officially the 12th hermit crab taken down by “The Hermit Crab Slayer” (What we affectionately call our daughter.) It always starts out great. She will give him (It’s always a him for some reason) some well thought out name, take fantastic care of him for about a week, and then it’s all downhill. The other 11 that she has owned didn’t make it very far past 2 weeks…maybe a month tops. This one went the distance in our house.

Thus today marked the end for our pal Hermy. (Technically he could have been dead for about a week, and my daughter just didn’t notice, but for all intents and purposes we will just stick with today.) I salute you Hermy…you almost made it a full 6 months…key word being almost. Unfortunately almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, so you will be joining the other 11 in our hermit crab cemetery, otherwise known as the spot to the right of the rose bushes in our yard. Ya did good kid. Well, ya did better than the other 11, at least…

My Greatest Gift


If anyone had asked me 10+ years ago if I had a fulfilled life, I would have said yes. I would have had no other reason to think differently. I had a great job, a great husband, and didn’t really want for anything. On October 30th, 2001 at exactly 4:25am, I learned that I had been terribly wrong about that. It was at that precise moment that I learned what it meant to truly be fulfilled…when I first laid eyes on that beautiful 6 pound, 13 ounce miracle we had made: Alyssa Nicole.

Today she is 10…Double Digits…and I find it hard to believe. I feel like I just heard her cry for the first time. I feel like the nurses just handed her to us for the first time, all swaddled up, so Rob and I could marvel in amazement at this perfect little being who was now our whole world. I feel like we just counted her fingers and toes. How could that possibly have been ten years ago?

In the past ten years, she has taught me more than any book or other person ever has. She has taught me what it feels like to have one person to be the center of my entire universe. She has taught me to be a better person. She has taught me how to be stronger than I could ever imagine. She has taught me to have patience when I need it the most, and want to the least. She has taught me to look at the world through her eyes in that innocent way that I had forgotten all about before she reminded me. Most of all, she has taught me that time flies by faster than I had ever noticed before. I wish she could teach me how to make it stop…or at least slow it down a little.

She is our only child. Over the years she has asked why, and the best response I can give her is that we got it right the first time. I truly mean those words when I say them to her. To us, she has been everything we could hope for: smart, kind-hearted, caring, funny, confident, and determined. We have watched her grow up for the past ten years with pride, and we can only hope the next ten years are just as wonderful.

What she doesn’t know is the tiny bit of sadness that I feel every time she reaches a new accomplishment. Every “first” for her is also a “last” for me. Since she is it for us, we only get those little joys once: first cry, first tooth, first day of school…even her first hit in a softball game. As she has gotten older, she asks why I make a big deal over what are seemingly tiny things that she does for the first time. Well, that’s exactly why…but she doesn’t need to know that. As long as she knows she has two parents who will always be there to celebrate her firsts, both big and small, I’m content.

So here she is…TEN. Technically a “Tween”, I guess. It’s tough on me, but it’s a really big deal for her. So today we will celebrate her birthday, make a bigger deal out of this birthday than any other, watch her blow out 10 candles and gleefully open her gifts…and tonight when she is asleep, I will tiptoe into her room and stare at her in amazement…just like I did 10 years ago…feeling fulfilled… because SHE is my greatest gift.

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