Many years ago, Quinn was described by his grandmother as formidable. She was so right, he most certainly is. There are some other words that can be used to describe my forever baby boy – relentless, sweet, affectionate and funny. In honor of his 10th birthday, please let me share a few moments and memories which truly define my youngest son.
Quinn is sensitive and thoughtful. Unlike our current spoiled dog, Jeter, his predecessor, Cassidy, wasn’t given bed privileges. Recently, Quinn asked if it would be ok to place the urn containing Cassidy’s ashes on the bed just so she would know what it was like to sleep there. Pretty sweet, right?
Quinn is articulate and well-spoken. During one of our regular evening battles to complete his homework, he asked me to not yell at him. He explained to me that he is motivated by happiness and love. His self awareness is impressive and I can only hope that both of those emotions will always be present, in excess, in his life.
Quinn is growing up too fast and his sense of humor is often a bit too mature for his years. Having two older brothers makes for an abbreviated childhood, I’m afraid. Please don’t ask about the South Park fish sticks episode that prompted a call home from his teacher. Last week he told me that I had to stop treating him like a baby because he is “practically double digits.” I understand the inevitability of Quinn growing up but I really wish it could all slow down just a little. I think he’s mighty fine already.
Filed under birthdays, Boys
I switched handbags this week. I’d been using a beautiful green one since early fall and it was time for a change. I peeked inside a couple of cloth bags until I came across a red bag that I hadn’t used for a while. It suited my mood and I lifted it off the shelf.
I began placing my items in the bag, filling the various pockets and compartments. In one of the inside pockets, I came across a concert ticket stub from 2008, Neil Young at the Garden. What a great time that had been and what a long time ago it was. Using a handbag for the first time in 7 years or so is almost the same as having a new bag. It’s almost like it became brand new again…
Which reminds me of a story I may have already told here. It doesn’t matter if I did because it’s one of my favorite stories and I’m telling it again because it’s my blog. Many years ago, my friend Mary Panza told me about a conversation she had with her grandmother, a woman I never met. Her advice, upon learning of the state of her granddaughter’s hymen, was simple: “If you don’t have sex again for seven years your hymen will grow back and maybe some man will want you.”
The take away? Putting something on the shelf for a few years can make it seem fresh and previously untouched. I’m loving this “new” bag.
- I’m angry that Sheldon Silver was given the courtesy of sitting in a position of prestige at this week’s State of the State address when the state’s teachers are not invited to sit at the table and truly participate in education reform and improvement.
- I’m angry that Sheldon Silver, along with the governor and other elected officials, is responsible for the educational, social and financial policies of NYS, a task with which he doesn’t deserve to be trusted.
- I’m angry that for the last 5 years or so my profession has been under constant attack while Speaker Silver has been profiting from illegal business deals for decades.
- I’m angry that Andrew Cuomo has repeatedly maligned the teachers of this state while protecting those he promised to prosecute.
- I’m angry that dedicated and experienced educators have been made to feel like criminals when, in fact, the real felons are drafting absurd policies to evaluate how we are doing our jobs. I’ve been a librarian for nearly twenty years and the measure of how well I do job is going to be based upon a test that I give students who want to check out a book or need research help? How about that facility I manage?
- I’m angry that 7 of the 12 charter schools in my district have closed, yet the governor has tied an increase in educational state aid to an increase in the number of charter schools permitted, along with the removal of limitations regarding how many such schools can be placed in a particular region.
- I’m angry that other sitting New York State Democrats have not expressed their commitment to eliminating corruption and ridding our government of politicians who think that holding public office means that they are somehow above the law.
- I’m angry that more people don’t vote.
Three day weekends should leave those fortunate enough to have had 3 consecutive days off feeling relaxed and satisfied. There definitely were some moments during the 72 hours which prompted some pretty positive emotions, but the overwhelming sensation I’m experiencing right now is simple exhaustion.
As I am inclined to do, I scheduled the weekend pretty tightly. My agenda included a ski, some yoga, a house party or two, and a whole lotta driving the Lilly boys where they wanted to go. All in all, the weekend was a success, but not everything went as planned. I mean, really, does it ever?
Lesson 1. Plans need to come with alternatives, options and flexibility. Sometimes the unexpected is welcome, like running into someone special at a party. Those are the moments we’ve got to hold on to.
Saturday I dropped my middle son off at the train station in Poughkeepsie. I resisted the impulse to get out of the car and walk inside with him to help him get his ticket and find the right track for NYC. Griffin’s independent trip to Grand Central Station was the second leg on his journey to his first show at the Beacon. Upon his arrival in the city, he met his older cousin and he went to see a jam band that his father assures me I would have hated. He loved it.
Lesson 2. My children are growing up and I need to encourage the pursuit of entertainment and adventure, even if the thought of sending my 15 y/o son to Manhattan solo is scary. It’s time.
Sunday, my oldest child took the train from Albany to meet me in Poughkeepsie (I had spent the night with friends nearby). We immediately got on the road for an epic trip to Elmira College for a Monday morning tour. The roads were insanely icy as the rain fell on highways that were ever so cold and the drive took much longer than expected. After our visit on Monday, Liam decided that while Elmira had a lot to offer, it was probably too far away from his family for him to continue considering it as an option for the fall.
Lesson 3. Often the road to where we want to get to is treacherously slippery. Sometimes, once we arrive we find that the place isn’t really where want to be. The thing is, you’ll never know unless you make the trip.
My run Sunday came at a price – more specifically, the knee of my oldest running tights and a little skin on both my palm and my knee. Jeter and I had gotten a later start at the golf course than I had hoped, and by the time we completed the back nine and were midway through the front nine, it was fairly dark. Or maybe unfairly dark when it came to that patch of ice which did not reveal itself until my foot landed on it. Oops.
As my foot led, my body went up in the air, ultimately smacking to the ground on hip, hand and knee. Ouch. It hurt. I like to think that overall, I didn’t go down as terribly as I might have. I mean, I was a gymnast years ago and there’s muscle memory when it comes to falling, isn’t there? On the cold ground I did a quick inventory and, comfortable with my self-assessment, I got back up. Because that is what you do, isn’t it?
Once I regained my feet, I continued on the path with my thoughts shifting from where they had been previously. Before my slip, I had been reflecting about how much I loved exercising outdoors, year round. Even when I lose my footing and completely wipe out, fresh air still trumps the stale air and static view of a gym.
Now I thought back to when my children were toddlers and young boys and the frequency with which they seemed to fall down. It was remarkable. The slightest discrepancy in flooring, the tiniest drops of moisture, a tree root or dip in the earth would end with the same result – child on the ground. It was almost predictable in its capriciousness.
As we age, we don’t expect to end up on the ground, do we? Indulgence and illness aside, we remain consistently on our feet. Falling down is a part of life, though. Maybe the occasional reminder of that truth is something we all need.
Take 1 – Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are fearless. The collective gasp when they ran their Bill Cosby bit was definitely an indication that they caused some discomfort in the audience. Unlike the rest of Hollywood, Tina and Amy weren’t letting Cosby get away with anything.
Take 2 – Nothing worked harder during last night’s broadcast than the yards of double-stick tape employed by so many of the women to prevent nip slip. Many of last night’s gowns gave new meaning to the phrase Golden Globes…
Take 3 – Amy Adams in her incredibly awkward and inarticulate acceptance speech did nothing to endear herself to me – until she stopped speaking, that is. I don’t know what it is about her, but I just can’t stand her.
Many years ago a friend in the midst of the disintegration of her marriage, told me she didn’t want to be responsible for her husband’s happiness. Since that time, I’ve learned what that felt like and I’ve heard other women say the same thing, although not always using the same words. Who are you responsible for making happy?
I’ve learned that I can contribute to someone’s happiness. I may on occasion even inspire another’s happiness. But, when it comes to making someone happy, I don’t think it is possible for me to make it so. The only person I have the ability to make happy is myself.
I may at times be self-indulgent, but I don’t believe I can accurately be described as selfish. When I think about making myself happy, it isn’t at another’s expense. In fact, if I don’t take the time to ensure my own pleasure with life, the only one who pays is me.
So? What made me happy today? A morning yoga class (more about that tomorrow), errands and chores, a long walk with my celebrity dog,* watching a hawk swoop across the road in front of me, cooking some simple and delicious food and the anticipation of a half-time bubble bath.
What did you do today to make yourself happy?
*Did you see Jeter in Thursday’s Times Union? He’s been recognized each day since his photo was published.