Category Archives: relationships

My home is not broken

image: sandylomedia.files.wordpress.com

image: sandylomedia.files.wordpress.com

I attended a meeting recently and was struck to hear a colleague describe a student’s home as being “broken.” Of course, my reaction is personal and I’m probably just being hypersensitive, but it really bothered me, particularly since it was offered as an explanation for all of a particular child’s academic, social and personal issues. I mean, the end of a marriage can certainly be construed as a failure belonging to a husband and wife, but to present it as the ultimate reason a child fails to thrive, just doesn’t seem fair to me. What do you think?

To me, a “broken” home is one lacking in warmth, love and affection. Fortunately, that’s not my children’s experience. A “broken” home is a place where the parental relationship has eroded, or failed to grow, to a degree that the adults in the household are actively unhappy. I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen a number of those types of houses, homes where a couple remains together “for the children” or due to financial reasons or for health insurance or other benefits. Is an intact, but painfully unsatisfying home life really considered to be a superior setting for raising children than two separate residences led by adults who are emotionally and personally fulfilled? I don’t think so.

Let’s stop equating ended marriages with homes that fail to provide a nurturing and healthy environment for raising children. They’re not the same thing.

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Filed under Boys, family, marriage, Rant, relationships

The precariousness of balance

Last Monday while I attended the Leap Day event at the University Club, my tightly wrapped world unraveled a bit. It was a great reminder to me about the always tenuous hold we have on life, how rapidly things can take a turn in an unexpected direction.

To begin, Monday night has been declared as “family night” at my house. Participating in last week’s panel discussion was an important opportunity for me, though, so I made an exception and, while I don’t regret my decision, there were definite repercussions. For instance, I seriously did not know what day it was for most of the week. I just felt off.

Leaving the boys to fend for themselves and not cooking dinner on Monday night, meant there was a distinct lack of leftovers for lunch and Tuesday night’s dinner. This lead to my taking the boys out for a late-ish dinner on Tuesday night, which, of course, was an expense. I also ended up eating food that I typically might avoid – heavy on the cheese and fried, another not so positive result of not being home to cook.

During my time at the restaurant on Tuesday, I learned that we were out of beer gas, a situation which prevents draft beer from being available. When I called our usual supplier I learned they had sold their business to another company, a company which I did not have an account with, naturally. There would be no draft beer until the beer crisis was resolved. Once we received a delivery (thank you, DeCrescente!), rather than being back in business, we hit another wall – the coupling for the tank was not compatible with our system. Ugh.

And still I did not know what day it was. At least not until Wednesday, that is.

On Wednesdays I run between school and when I go to Lark + Lily and I truly believe that this is what finally reset my week for me. I hope it doesn’t sound as if I am more committed to a run than I am to my children, it’s just that Wednesday the guys are with their dad and I have a window of time that belongs to me. And Jeter.

Family, work, food and exercise each play an important part in my life, but they aren’t all I want or need.  There must be time for adult relationships, romantic and platonic, room for creativity and writing, moments devoted to being quiet with a book or even taking a nap. Keeping it all going is one of life’s biggest challenges.  Accepting that keeping it all balanced is a temporary condition is one of life’s biggest lessons.

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Filed under Exercise, family, love, moms, musings, Observations, relationships, running, stress, Uncategorized

Leaping in – a panel, a posse and some peeps

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photo credit: Zara Ahmad

Monday night I did something I never imagined I’d be asked to do…I was part of a panel of women entrepreneurs at Albany’s University Club discussing the importance of peer support. How in the world did that happen? I’m still not certain, but what I can tell you is this – it was a remarkable evening in many surprising ways.

Here are the tangibles about the evening; the invitation for me to participate came from Colleen Ryan, the dynamo behind so many initiatives around town. The idea for the Leap Day event had actually been conceived at my own Ladies First Event back in November, an act of serendipity that I absolutely love. The panel consisted of three women, each of us in different and interesting fields. Joining me were Katie O’Malley Mallon, owner of Katie O Weddings and Events and Dr. Tobi Saulnier, founder of First Playable Productions. Coincidently (?) the entire panel rocked red hair – titian power at its finest.

image

photo credit: Zara Ahmad

Prior to the “formal” part of the evening, wine and tidbits were served, including a tasting table provided by Capital Wine & Spirits, my Lark Street neighbor. As I chugged sipped courage in the form of thimbles of wine (I think I had 2), I looked around the room and was struck by how many women there were familiar to me. I felt the presence of my posse. My comfort level with the thought of speaking in front of this crowd of 60+ increased – and not from the wine, either, it was the realization that the women present were there to share – thoughts, experiences, advice and laughter. It was going to be fine.

The Times Union’s Tracey Ormsbee was the moderator and she posed questions that were general enough to give each of us an opportunity to respond. Katie and Tobi were so impressive with their insightful and intelligent answers and they were positively inspirational. Humor was also very present and the audience was wonderfully receptive, asking questions which were indicative of the degree of engagement which was present. It was a wonderful evening.

Bookending the panel were two encounters which were the perfect prelude and coda to my night. As I got out of my car, which I had parked on Washington Avenue near my very first apartment, I encountered one of my customers from the first Albany restaurant where I had worked. It just felt like such a sign from my past, almost as if it was evidence that the encounters one has over the years remain permanently with us. Incredibly enough, he was on his way to my event – can you imagine?!

As the event came to a close, I was reluctant to end the night. Knowing that my very first Albany friend, Mary Panza, was hosting an open mic poetry reading down at McGeary’s, I got in my car and headed downtown.  Spending a little time with my oldest local peep seemed like the perfect way to bring the night, and my Albany life, full circle.

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Filed under Albany, Local, relationships

My loves

imageI know I’m a day late on this Valentine’s stuff, but when a holiday translates into working 7 consecutive days, sometimes things don’t get done.  Fortunately, all that I most appreciate has nothing whatsoever to do with candy filled hearts or a single day on the calendar circled with red ink.  These are my every day gifts.

  • My boys who have heated debates over who’s version of La Vie en Rose is superior – Edith Piaf’s or Louis Armstrong’s.
  • My guy who challenges me in more ways than I ever could have imagined.
  • My running girls the Lunar B*tches who are willing to run anytime, anywhere.
  • My Jeter who is everything a dog is supposed to be.

I love them all.

 

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Filed under Boys, family, friends, holidays, love, relationships, running, Uncategorized

Can I have your number?

image: zazzle.com

image: zazzle.com

I went to NYC yesterday evening to see Robert Plant and his band the Sensational Shape Shifters. It’s been a hectic week and it was so nice to cut loose a little and slow down for the night. Incidentally, what does it mean, when my life is so busy, that I go to the city to chill? Anyway, it was a lot of fun and we laughed so on hard on the train, I cried.

As you can imagine, it was a loud show and, this morning, I woke up with ears ringing. In addition to the left over notes of music in my head, I was also re-hearing some of the conversations from the night. One interaction in particular has replayed itself a few times and I’m left wondering if my position is typical for a nearly 49-year-old woman.

There was a guy at the show who initiated a conversation with me – something not easy to do when the music is loud and the show is standing room only. He actually even entertained me enough that I agreed to step into the lobby to continue the conversation, as it was about music and politics. We talked for a few minutes and then I excused myself to return to my friend and the rock god we were there to see.

As I took my leave, he asked me for my card, which I didn’t have with me since I was traveling light, sans wallet. He then asked for my number. I declined explaining that I wasn’t a person who just gave out her number. He reached for his phone to give me his number. I shook my head.

He asked me how I met people, had I ever been in a relationship or married and, if so, how had that begun? Wasn’t it with the bestowing of a phone number? I told him I met my former husband in a restaurant, we had mutual friends. He shook his head.

Is it weird that I think a guy should have to do a little work? You know, maybe get my name and take it from there? Be a little resourceful and make an effort? I guess I’m in a place where I just don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect for someone to demonstrate their interest by exerting themselves prior to asserting themselves.

What about you? How do you strike up new friendships?  Do you give your people your number?

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Filed under aging, concerts, NYC, relationships, road trips, Uncategorized

When weakness is your superpower

It seems to me that people exert power in different ways. Some, control those in their lives by their weakness, manipulating others to do what they need done by demonstrating their own inability to manage life. Maybe they’re frequently sick or suffering from some vague, undiagnosable illness forcing prompting their family and friends to constantly attend to their needs. Perhaps they have a history of irresponsibility (financial, practical, whatever) and have become accustomed to being bailed out of trying situations.

Regardless of specifics, they’ve been conditioned to expect to be rescued when they are in challenging circumstances and have successfully mastered manipulating those around them. Their lack of capability has in fact become their greatest strength.

I have no patience or tolerance for people like this, even when I try to be empathetic. I’m sorry.  We all have different histories and patterns of behavior are certainly created in childhood. I understand that, yet adults who refuse to acknowledge their responsibility for the condition that is known as their life repel me like kryptonite.

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Filed under aging, musings, Observations, relationships

For whom the bell chimes

imageIn the quiet of the morning I have the house to myself. The trees sway a bit and occasionally the tremendous wind chimes toll their gorgeous and deep notes. It’s peaceful and I find myself, rather than imagining the day’s activities, reflecting upon all the years we’ve been fortunate enough to spend time in this beautiful place.

For seventeen summers we’ve been coming to Cape Cod. My children don’t recall a single summer of their lives when they did not spend some amount of time at the beach. Their growth from infants covered and protected from the sun to young boys slathered in sunscreen sporting (hopefully) life-preserving vests to almost men itching to drive has been breathtaking. I wish I could remember more of the early days, but the memories which do remain are vivid and never fail to elicit a smile. They were exhausting, but good days.

As the children have grown at a furious rate of speed the overall pace of our vacation has decreased. No longer is it necessary to pack multiple bags and coolers in an attempt to anticipate every single need imaginable. Life here has become simple in a new, now more easily appreciated way.

Moving forward isn’t always easy, though. Growth and change can be intimidating and there are scary parts to negotiate as we travel from who we once were to who we are destined to become. And now, over the quiet gong of the wind chimes, I hear feet slap the wood floor. Time to share the day.

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Filed under aging, Boys, Cape Cod, family, musings, relationships, Summer, vacation