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Hooray! The holidays are over!

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I’m no Scrooge, I hid that stupid Elf with everybody else, and Santa belief is alive and well at my house. But as depressing as a grey, snowy January may seem, I’m glad to be on this, the far side of Christmas.

The holidays were sad as I missed my friends and my city but the kids enjoyed having their dad around (in our old lives, he would have been working for much of the “vacation”) and having a non-city Christmas. One morning Christmas week, both kids were weepy because they missed New York. Of course, these are hard for me because I miss it, too. Somehow, my big son finally determined that he and his sister missed the people in NYC but tried to cheer his sister with this:

Now we have another whole group of friends. We have NYC  friends, we have friends at the cottage and we have Ohio friends…

Hard for to argue with him. Now onward to find some more Ohio friends.

Filed under Cleveland, NYC
Jan 3, 2012

Central Park and bags of chips

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This morning before school, Jenn announced sadly, “I miss New York City. I like it best.”

Though I wholeheartedly agree with her, I asked her why she missed New York, as if that were the craziest notion in the world.

Jenn:  Because I really, really like playing in Central Park.

As always, trying not to cry, I point out that I miss Central Park, too, but that it will be there when we go back to New York. We chatted a little about the Balto statue, the candied peanuts that cost $3 in the park but only $1 on 73rd Street and playing on “her” rock. And because she’s four, she moved on.

Until dinner. She again mentioned that she missed New York.

Again, I acted surprised:  Oh?

She continued:  Yes. I want to go to J and C’s house.  And I want to eat those little bags of chips that they have in the garage. I want to eat bags and bags…

So a Costco trip is in my future, because I can’t deliver Balto or our NY babysitter or our friends or the other things we miss, but I can certainly stick some little bags of Cheetos in the garage for the kids to sneak, for a while. Maybe some Doritos, too.

Filed under Cleveland, Moving, NYC
Oct 10, 2011

Middle school

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When I moved to New York in 1992, I was alone in a city of millions. Now, in my new home, I’m alone in a small community and it’s much harder, I think.

I spent an hour last night at a PTA meeting and I was sad sitting in a room of women who have already called “same seats” in the middle school cafeteria where we sat. There is definitely some cruel irony in the fact that the meeting was held at the middle school: I can’t say I miss my overbite, frizzy hair and glasses. (Yes, I really was THAT cute in 7th grade.)

I’m not outgoing even at my most confident and as much as I might try to be that way, it’s not my nature. I’m a watcher and it will take a few PTA meetings for my extraordinary kindness and brilliant wit to rise to anybody’s attention. I volunteered to help with a handful of activities – when they see how years of micromanaging tv shoots has prepped me for organizing field trip payments, they’ll all want me to sit at their table.

 

Filed under Cleveland, Expectations, NYC
Sep 8, 2011

Who is your emergency contact?

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I had been patting myself on the back for being brave (not here , of course)  about the move t0 Ohio, but filling out the school forms tripped me up.   Jake and Jenn are both going to the same school this fall (or today, if you’re in Ohio), and I faced the predictable pile of forms.  I remembered to get the new pediatrician to fill out Jenn’s forms; I remembered to get the health forms sent for Jake from the NY pediatrician, and I dutifully looked up my husband’s office and cel phone numbers (which I am refusing to commit to memory in case this whole bit of nonsense passes and we can return to our 917 numbers).

I was buttoned up, which is not always the case for lame mom. Then I got to the emergency release forms – you know, who can the school call in case of an emergency to pick up your kids if you aren’t reachable. The form said I needed to list someone, not a parent, who is nearby. And at 41 years old, suddenly, I don’t have anyone to put down as my emergency contact. Can I list the stranger who re-did our wood floors? Or the cutie pie who put my groceries in the back of my new car the other day?

I expect I felt as bad as my kids would if nobody came to pick them up from school. So I put down my sister, who is seven hours away by car, because there’s nobody here yet. With the dollar a minute we are charged at school for a late pick-up, I am confident she will drive fast if she gets the call.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aug 22, 2011

Cleveland: 1; Lamemom: 0

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So Cleveland beat me today, on my first day as an Ohioan. We arrived yesterday afternoon so today was the maiden voyage.

In brief:  I made all three children cry, multiple times, and I joined them in tears by 3:3o. I most certainly convinced all the neighbors that I am a fishwife, if they heard me screaming. (And believe me, with one elderly exception, it would be difficult to not hear me screaming.) I ate half a plate of cookies (brought over by a neighbor with her three adorable kids whom she probably didn’t make cry today) and I ate a whole box of buckeyes that I found in the fridge (sounds like a joke but it’s not – they’re chocolate covered peanut butter balls) that another neighbor brought over. (Yes, the women of Rocky River want to keep me post-partum fat, which is why they all bring me treats my kids don’t like.) Oh, and since I’m full of self-pitying misery:  my new, beautiful kitchen stools don’t really match my kitchen; my son’s hands are always in his pants; I can’t find a Spanish speaking babysitter, and my too-young-for-a-midlife-crisis husband just bought a muscle car.

Now as I sit in my kitchen with the whole house asleep,  I’m sure tomorrow will be a better day, if only because the buckeyes are gone. But also because last week I got another dose of get-your-head-out-of-your-ass perspective as I spent four days in the hospital with 5-week old Rainbow, who is now just fine. You see, some times it’s just so easy to only see the trees (in my case:  boxes to be unpacked or friends that I don’t have here) instead of the forest (in my case: I lead a pretty charmed life). Where was this clarity all day?

So tomorrow I will rise above. I might not floss but I will eat a carrot before finishing off the welcome cookies. I’ll try to pause before screaming at my kids. I’ll keep plugging away at unpacking. And maybe tomorrow I can beat Cleveland. I’d even be okay with a tie.

 

Aug 15, 2011

My heart is broken. After a month in the fetal position, it’s time to buck up…

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My story isn’t different from many of the folks who landed here from elsewhere. I moved to New York City the week after I graduated from college. The job I found for the summer was at CBS and the hand-written note on my university’s job placement office deemed it “Very clerical in nature.” Perfect, sign me up!  A few faxes later, I was hired and off to the public library in my hometown to check out books about New York City. This was before the internet so I found a cheap place to live by making phone calls — I ended up at the Webster women’s apartments — yes, just like on Bosom Buddies. (Old enough to remember that show? I loved it. Here’s the opening I found on youtube.)

My family and friends were horrified of my decision and I’m certain they all figured “Camp New York” wouldn’t last the summer. In fact, I had a return ticket to Michigan because I knew I couldn’t afford to stay if i didn’t have a “real” job by that time. I got to New York with no friends and no money so when I wasn’t working, I walked the streets. What a way to learn a city. I really believed EB White, when he wrote that “No one should come to New York to live unless he is willing to be lucky.” I was certain good fortune – a free drink or a date or a used book I wanted or a job – was around each corner. And it was. I have been lucky in New York:  jobs, friends, lots of fun and now, a family.

The thing with being part of a family, of a marriage, is that we have to do things we don’t want to do, I am realizing. And for me, 41 years old, with two kids and  6 weeks away from having baby three, my worst possible “thing I don’t want to do” is happening. The husband has accepted a job elsewhere, (he started this week) and we are moving. Not to the suburbs, or even to the country near our cottage. We’re moving to Cleveland. And I once spent a few weeks working in Cleveland and thought it was a fun city, so this isn’t about Cleveland. In fact, everybody I know from there speaks of it with almost reverence — they lovelovelove it. This is about not wanting to leave where I am. I’m sad and pissed but guess I have to pull it together, because we’re going.

The kids know and are thrilled about having a house though they have each asked me if they’ll ever get to see their friends or babysitter (who has been with us since Jake was 5 months old) again. But they’re ready for an adventure.

In my head, I know it will be fine. A yard and a house and a school bus will all be fun for them – “normal” life, like where I grew up. They’re going to make a bunch of friends and we’ll go to watch the high school football games on Friday nights and it will all be great. The husband seems happy there, too, so far. And New York will always be here, but how often will we really get to come back? And how long until I’m able to make our lives as rich as they are here?

I know, I know what you’re thinking:

Boo hoo. Stop your pity party.  Lots of people can’t find a job, even in Ohio. Lots of people don’t have wonderful families like you do. Lots of people are desperate for babies but something is not working. Lots of people have severe medical problems. Get over yourself…

I understand that I have it pretty good. But I’m still sad. (I’ll note that being pregnant is not helping.) Maybe most importantly, I’m still willing to be lucky , even if it’s in Ohio.

Lucky or not, I told the husband that I would probably cry every day for a year. So far, I’m right on on track.

 

 

Jun 8, 2011

What you’ve missed