Archive of ‘Tween Life’ category

Fourteen Years & Lots of Love

There are a lot of crazy, busy mornings around here. Just picture four of us trying to get out the door for school and work in various states of disarray. The coffee is flowing. Breakfast is cooking. Papers need to be signed. And more times than not, someone typically can’t find something that they absolutely need and I ultimately have to track it down.

In the midst of all that chaos, Andrew–always the last one to get up–walks down the steps, rubs the sleep from his eyes and comes over to me with open arms.

“I love you, mommy.” 

And I remember to breathe.

I am a lucky mom. He tells me this all the time and I never take it for granted. He says it every morning without fail. He says it before he goes to bed at night. He says it when I drop him off for swim practice or right before hangs up the phone.

He has been like this ever since he was a baby. I treasure every single one of those “I love you’s.” He says it so casually, but he means it with all of his heart. For this busy mom, it is his gift to me every day.

Fourteen years ago tonight, I was in labor with him for the better part of 8 hours with no epidural and a ridiculous amount of back pain. I had expected him to come into the world 3 days earlier, but he seemed to like it where he was and in no hurry to meet us. I like to remind him of all of this–especially on his birthday. But I would do it all over again to have this young man in my life.

So in a few years ladies if you are looking for a nice young man who is handsome, funny and treats his mom right – look no further. And by the way, you’re welcome. :)

The Fake Cake

Years from now, we are going to look back on Andrew’s 12th birthday and tell the fake cake story. It is one of those parenting moments you don’t forget.

In my defense, I had a long day on Saturday after attending a leadership conference in the city. I waited until the last minute to buy the birthday cake and just needed a small one for the four of us to light candles and sing to him. And for the record, the person who sold me the cake is an incredibly sweet girl who I happen to know pretty well. She is a senior in high school who hasn’t worked at the bakery for long. She was working by herself and it was truly an honest mistake.

We looked at the cake together and tried to figure out if it was chocolate or vanilla. It wasn’t labeled which should have been my first clue. It was also sitting on top of the refrigerator case which should have been my next clue. Obviously, we were clueless! Neither of us realized it was made of icing and flavorless Styrofoam.

I swear to God it looked real and who would think bakeries sold “decorative items.” If it looks like a cake and smells like a cake…I naturally assumed it was a cake.

That night, we went out to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory and opted for a special birthday slice for Andrew. We decided to save the bakery “cake” until the next day. This decision turned out to be rather fortunate because if we tried to light candles on the Styrofoam cake, I might be telling you a completely different story right now.

The next afternoon, the moment of truth arrived. As I was walking into a meeting, my daughter called me on my cell phone.

“MOM! You aren’t going to BELIEVE this. THE CAKE IS A FAKE!” 

Words I will remember until the day I die. How the hell did I manage to buy a fake cake? She softened the blow by reporting that the icing tasted delicious…thwarting any attempts for me to return the fake cake to the bakery.

My kids took the whole thing in stride–especially the birthday boy who was cracking up in the background. At that point, I did the only thing I could do–I laughed. I laughed with my children. I laughed at my own stupidity. I laughed at the fact that this cake sat in my refrigerator overnight in a cardboard box so it wouldn’t go bad. And then, I posted it on Facebook. :)

I could have gone in a completely different direction. It was definitely a “mom-fail” on my part and I easily could have slipped down the rabbit hole of imperfection. The typical self-loathing, embarrassment and tears of frustration would have surely followed. But I didn’t let myself go that way. I chose to laugh instead, make the best of it and get a new cake.

And this time, I sent my husband out to buy it with one specific request. I didn’t care if it was chocolate or vanilla…as long as it was real.

 

A Picture Perfect Contract

gckidsMy dearest children,

I am responding to your recent request to cease taking photos of you and posting them on my Facebook page. I have reviewed your arguments thoroughly and taken into account your well-documented complaints regarding the protection of your image and concern over potential parental embarrassment. I am ready to give my ruling on this matter.

As your parent, who is incredibly proud of your inner beauty, outstanding accomplishments and adorable faces, I often feel a strong and innate desire to share your lives with friends and family. While this urge comes on a daily basis, I will do my best not to take photos that may (or may not) be later posted and captioned as “your daily cuteness.”

Let me assure you that I would never intentionally do anything to jeopardize your reputation as the amazing people you are slowly becoming before my very eyes. However, at this time I feel some ground rules should be established when future opportunities of a photographic nature arise. And please do not let the fact that I spent 18 hours of my life in a long and drawn out labor with no epidural with said daughter as well as 6 hours of an incredibly difficult labor (again with no epidural!) with said son…influence you in any way.

Please find my terms below:

  1. Special occasion photos–also known to my generation as “Kodak moments”–will be taken on a regular basis. These include, but are not limited to, the first day of school, the last day of school, all holidays, bar/bat mitzvah, proms, family celebrations and vacations, graduations, etc. You will pose for these photos as directed as long as you live under my roof–and then we can renegotiate.
  2. Purpose- The purpose of these photos are to document your lives in a way that is enjoyable, respectful and representative of your childhood and teenage years. Some photos may be shown to future spouses and grandchildren. The viewing of bar and bat mitzvah videos will not be shown to potential boyfriends and spouses without your permission…but that is a story for another time.
  3. Approval process–I will show you all photos before posting them. Retakes may be required in order to arrive at a mutually-agreed upon picture.
  4. My Promise – I solemnly swear NEVER to take or post a photo or video of you coming out of anesthesia after getting your wisdom teeth pulled. Nor will I take or post photos of you when you are angry or upset in any way, shape or form. You have my word that I will never put you through that kind of torture.

Your compliance of the above guidelines and future cooperation during these photo sessions are greatly appreciated.

With much love,

Mom

 

The Mom & The Mohawk

My son’s mohawk has been a summer staple in our family for the last 5 years. He waits all school year long to make the journey to Great Clips. He knows we don’t allow the mohawk between the months of September and June because don’t want any major distractions to interfere with his studies.

Not that I have any scientific evidence which correlates hairstyles to good grades, but I’m his mom and I’m sticking to my guns on this one.

Summertime is different. We don’t mind him letting loose and expressing himself in this way. He loves the look and quite frankly, I think it is adorable.

Not everyone in the family agrees with me. The grandparents don’t like it one bit which is why I waited until after the annual Father’s Day barbecue this year to get it cut. Mohawks are synonymous with rebels like Mr. T or some of the people who walk down South Street in Philly. Not a look for their grandson. Of course, they love him anyway and take comfort in the knowledge that his hair grows back quickly.

Some supporters of the mohawk suggest I have him dye it red or blue. To them, I say no thank you. He is a boy, not a clown. I appreciate your support, but this is as far as I go.

He started with the mohawk after he joined the swim team. All of the other boys were sporting them and he begged me for one too. I was hesitant at first, but he wanted it so badly and I relented. I reasoned it wasn’t like a piercing or anything permanent.

When he came home for the first time with the shaved sides and landing strip down the middle, it was shocking to see. It was also the first time I saw my youngest look more like a little man. I admit I wasn’t crazy about it at first, but within a day I embraced his new look wholeheartedly. He made it so much easier because he loved it and–let’s face it–he rocked it.

This summer, he is trading in swim meets for overnight camp in the Poconos. A few of his synagogue friends are going to camp with him but for the most part, he will be making a lot of new friends. I thought this might be the end of the Mohawk. But I was wrong.

As June rolled around, he couldn’t stop talking about it and is even more excited to show his choice of summer hairstyles at camp. His sister tried to deter him. As a veteran of the same camp, she gave him the lay of the land and told him no one else had a mohawk. He was not at all phased by this information. In fact, it seemed to make him want it even more.

I pulled him aside one day and quietly asked if he thought it was wise as he was going to a brand new camp with people he didn’t know. I didn’t tell him I feared he would be made fun of and not be accepted by his peers–although this has always been my worry.

His answer shut me up once and for all.

“Mom, I’m a leader. Not a follower.”

SHIT!

How can a parent argue with that?!  And then I realized a few things. This is a kid with a boatload of confidence and I raised him to be that way. What kind of mom would I be if I didn’t respect his choices to be an individual? Within reason…of course.

The mohawk may be a shocker at first, but if I know Andrew (and I think I do…) he will quickly win people over with his huge smile, great sense of humor, athletic skills, and wonderful personality. At 11 years old, he knows exactly who he is and he can’t wait to show it.

They say you are only young once and we all know it to be true. He isn’t sporting a mohawk at school, in an office setting and he certainly will not have one at his bar mitzvah next year. I’ll admit, he did have it for a family funeral. We really had no choice there. It was purely bad timing.

There is no better place than summer camp for him to have a little fun. Fun is what summer is all about! Seriously, there is no harm in it. And as his mom, I look past the mohawk and straight into his beautiful green eyes. He is still my son and he makes me incredibly proud.