Archive | November 2013

Growing Pains

My kids are growing up.  Each one,  in his/her own way, and sometimes it’s beautiful and sweet, and sometimes it’s wistful and kind of sad, and sometimes it’s just irritating and frustrating.

We had a rough Thanksgiving, in a lot of ways.  (Future post to follow)  We had a wonderful Thanksgiving in a lot of ways (ibid).  But the biggest takeaway from yesterday was that I need to really pay attention, because my kids are growing up when I’m not paying attention and I’m consistently being shocked by these sweeping changes that have happened, and I end up playing catch up.

We (and by we, I mean Marc, because I thought he was mostly crazy) decided to make an elaborate and cook-everything-from-scratch-because-that’s-how-the-Pilgrims-did-it kind of Thanksgiving.   For sixteen people at our house last night.  Which would have been delightful and fun, if I hadn’t already spent the last 36 hours prepping Thanksgiving for fifteen people at my mother’s house.  So I was tired, and frustrated, and the quick, quick, rush, rush, eat really fast because Daddy has to get home to cook (complicated by the fact that it took an addition two hours of cooking time for my turkey) didn’t make for a restful and gratitude filled meal at my mom’s.

I’m a grown up, and I had at least nominally agreed to the program.  My ten year old had not.  Thanksgiving was her favorite holiday, she had been right beside me prepping everything, had cooked her little heart out and was furious and hurt that she had to cut it short.  And she was right.  Marc and I are very used to being parents of little kids.  We make the decisions, we execute them.  And while we make every effort to include the kids in the process, sometimes we forget.  But she’s almost eleven, and we can’t forget anymore.  She had every right to get mad, and I apologized to her.  Because she ended up having a crappy holiday, and I still feel awful about that.

My Sammy – my boy, he’s going thru a stage that’s not entirely delightful for anyone.  He’s kind of a pain.  Not all the time, but this is a kid who’s always, always been my easiest, most laid back, most relaxed and eager to please kid at home.   It may be a different story out in public – and he’s got some pretty intense anxiety that makes going to school and going to parties more challenging, but at home – my Sammy was my easiest.  By the time last night rolled around, I wanted to squish him.  He wasn’t listening to a word anyone said, he was bugging his sisters just for the sake of hearing them scream in frustration.   I know it’s a stage, I even recognize that it’s just part of the growing process.  He’s a kid, and he’s going to test the limits and push the envelope, and it’s precisely because he hasn’t for so long that it’s so challenging now.  We had a long discussion last night before bed, and I’m going to keep working on it.  Part of it is bumping up positive reinforcement when he does listen and do as I ask, when he’s patient and doesn’t scream at his baby sister, and giving him lots of opportunities to relate with Jessie on a positive level.   But part of it, too, is making sure that he knows that the expectations are clear at home, and enforcing the rules.  I’m really hoping for an easier day today.

And hold the phone – JULIANNA RUTH SLEPT WITHOUT ME ALL NIGHT FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME.  Part of our Thanksgiving tradition is that Marc takes Sam out for Chinese food and they stay home and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade the next morning, before meeting the girls and I at my mother’s.  I’ve been spending the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving at my mother’s house since I moved out, and it’s Jessie’s favorite part of the holiday.  We bake the desserts the day before and get up super early to get everything ready on Thanksgiving.  This year, Julie chose to go home with her Boy instead.

I knew it wasn’t going to work, she was exhausted and overtired, and Girlfriend still nurses to sleep.  But she really wanted to – and at one point, actually told me that she really wanted to go to Daddy, but I kept making her feel bad about doing it.  She phrased it differently, but my three year old was able to look at me and express very clearly that she knew what she wanted, and I was making it harder by not encouraging her to take the risk.  Way to put Mama in her place.  So I smiled and told her to go with Daddy and have fun.  I spent the rest of the night waiting for the phone call announcing that she had changed her mind and wanted to come sleep with me, and it didn’t come.  She was fine.  She cried a little before falling asleep, and cried a little when she woke up and realized that I wasn’t there – but she was fine.  My baby isn’t a baby anymore.

I feel entirely worn out and I’m guessing so does the rest of my little troop.   Because it’s quarter of nine, and nobody’s awake except for me. It’s entirely possible that yesterday was so crappy because everyone was just flat out exhausted.  But today is a catch up and clean up day, and we’ll have the whole day to calm down, to regain some equilibrium, and possibly even catch up on the laundry and finish decorating for Hannukkah.  Tonight, we’ll like the Shabbat candles, along with the third night menorahs, and maybe tonight will be book night.  Or slipper night.

I’m not a hoarder

Although, as I type it, I’m realizing that if I feel as though I have to formally declare it – I’ve got a problem.

But it’s not my fault.  Not entirely.

I blame the kids. Of course.  And Marc.  The kids, because they believe that everything, absolutely everything, that they may have touched, played with, thought about, however briefly, needs to be kept.  And Marc, because he truly doesn’t care.  There are items he cares about – woe to the person who touches his books or moves his CLEAN laundry onto his dresser and disrupts his stuff, but for the most part, he doesn’t care about the state of the house, how many toys the kids have, or it what condition it’s kept.

And I’m not all that tense about it either.   Therein lies the problem.  Between the kids collecting everything, Marc not caring, and me being me – scattered, doing a thousand things at once and putting organizing toys at the bottom of the list entitled – Stuff I Wish I Had The Time and Inclination to Care About – all of this means that periodically, I look around, see my house through other’s eyes, and realize that yeah, I’m a damn hoarder.  I didn’t mean it, I don’t want to be, but yeah – there’s no good reason why I have all this stuff.

This morning, Marc had to work at the crack of dawn.  Earlier, because the sun wasn’t actually up by the time I got back from dropping him off.  And I chilled for a bit.  I sipped my coffee, did a little writing work, and then I got down to business.  First up was my bookcase.  I have a giant four shelf bookcase in the living room, and it ends up being the receptacle for anything literary/arts and crafts/library book related.  I had weeded thru the books several weeks ago, so I didn’t have to get rid of anything, just put it all into order.  All the Dr. Suess books (and related, beginning easy reader books), all the Biscuit books (and related, same size starting reader books), all the Little Golden books, found a few library books that had slipped in there somehow, and then all the PJ Library books.  I even sorted out the PJ books I want to keep and the ones that I’ll swap at the party on December 8.  I got rid of papers that had already been colored on (why do I save them in the first place??) and stacked all the coloring/educational books neatly.  I threw away broken crayons and dried out markers, and neatly stacked books I own, books I borrowed, books to return, and books still to read.

Then I moved on to the dining room.  I’m still not done, because honestly, there’s just a ton of crap, and I’m tired.  I emptied out one basket of toys nobody touches, and repurposed the basket to hold little cardboard blocks, and put them next to the big cardboard blocks.  I folded up the little chair and table set, and put that away. I put baby dolls in a basket, and stuffed animals in another.  I put wooden blocks in a bucket and big duplo blocks in another.

And then… I dumped out the shoe basket, started sorting shoes we want to keep, shoes to get rid of, shoes that are summer and should be put away, and shoes that need to stay in the dining room.    Inspiration struck, and I cleaned off the desk (recycling SO much paper) and then moved the entire desk over against the wall.  I broke down the shelves from Sam’s room, and brought them into the dining room/play room.  Now I just have to FINISH the whole project – I’ve got remnants of each project scattered all over the place.

I’m not a hoarder.  I promise.

 

November 18

It was twenty nine years ago that my grandmother passed away.  She was a smoker, and it was a long, slow, excruciating process, watching her die of lung cancer.   We had a hospital bed in the living room at their house, and I’ll never forget the way my mother and her siblings took care of their mother.  I’ll never forget watching my grandmother cry at how weak she was, how she couldn’t pick up my newest cousin, my aunt’s first baby boy.

It was twenty nine years ago, my mother was seven years younger than I am right now.  I was the same age my oldest daughter is.  I wonder how she got through losing her mother.  I can’t even fathom what that was like, to lose your mother.  I look at Jessie now, and wonder at myself at that age.  My grandmother died first, and in the next three years, I lost both my great grandparents and then my cousin Bridget died.  She was two years younger than I was, and I had grown up with her.  The deaths are linked in my mind.  One after another after another after another.

We were at my cousin Becky’s house the morning she died.  It was Becky’s  birthday, she had just turned twelve.  She and Bridget and I had been up really late the night before, and were playing in their bedroom.  Barbies – we always played Barbies.  Not that Bridget and I liked Barbies, because we didn’t, but Becky really did.  I remember my aunt Aimee telling us, not the words she used, but I remember being in her living room, and knowing that Grammy had died.  We all knew, on some level, that it was going to happen.  She was so sick, and had been for so long.  But it was my first experience with death, and I was shocked and devastated.

We drove down to my grandparent’s house in Maynard.  Aimee lived in Holliston at that time, and it wasn’t a long ride.  But we were mostly silent in the car.   What I remember most about going into the house was that I was the last one in, first Aimee and then Becky and Bridgett.  My mother had met us at the door, and I remember her hugging first her older sister, and then my cousins.

When you’re a child, you’re not used to being needed.  Being useful or of support.  You’re a child.  You are the one who needs comfort, you run to your mother for a hug when you get hurt, or when you have a nightmare.   But on that day, twenty nine years ago, I was achingly aware that my mother needed me.   She reached for me, and started crying all over again.  She was first and foremost a daughter on that day, and she had lost her mom.  I’ll never forget that feeling, that sense that my presence made it better for her, that being able to hold onto her daughter on that day made it a little bit easier.

I’m thinking today of mothers and daughters.  Of my grandmother, who died when I was the same age as my Jessie.  I think of Jessie’s relationship to my mother, how little she really knows her.  She loves her, of course, but there’s so much to my mother that Jessie just can’t know yet.  How much of my grandmother did I miss?  I loved her, but most of my memories are filtered through my mother’s eyes.  Most of my connection with her comes from my grandfather, who I loved and adored, and had until I was thirty four years old.  I’m realizing today that we missed so much with her.   I am my grandmother’s granddaughter, and raising her great grandchildren.   I am who I am, in large part, because of everything that came before.  Because I was raised by her daughter.   Her impact is still felt, it’s still a part of who I am and who my children are.   And today, I’m mourning the loss not just of the grandmother I loved, but all that we lost on that day.  A lifetime of  knowledge and love.  She never saw me as an adult, she never looked at my baby girl and saw her daughter’s eyes looking back at her.

She was just fourteen years older than I am right now.

 

Preschool Triumphs

My daughter loves preschool. And I couldn’t be happier.

We had a very rough transition to preschool. She’s only three and a half, and there was a part of me that thought that she could wait and just have the one year of preschool before starting kindergarten. I had made a similar decision with my son, and then ended up pulling him out of preschool entirely and giving him an extra year at home (which, for the record, did not make that transition to kindergarten any easier).

Each child benefits from coming after the one before. Which, as an oldest child, I recognize as unfair but totally true. Sam got a more experienced mom because I had learned from Jessie and Julie gets an even better mom because I’ve learned from him. What I learned from Sam was that the easier I could make the transition from being at home full time to being an independent and confident little kid, the better.

So – preschool. Two mornings a week, two and a half hours a day. A gentle little introduction into being without Mama. Learning to trust her teachers, to have fun with kids her own age. The JCC even throws swimming lessons into the mix, so she gets to swim on a morning when there’s snow falling on the ground.

The first few weeks were hellish. Absolutely awful, and I wanted to quit so many times – whisk her into my arms, and bring her home and keep her with me forever. She cried every single day. Worse on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but she’s cry on a Saturday afternoon because Tuesday was coming up next week and she’d have to go to preschool. She spent the first couple of weeks of preschool sequestered up in the “castle” – a tiny little loft type thing. I’d walk her into school, and put her in what felt like a cage (because it’s got bars) and leave her there to sob for two hours. Even though her teachers assured me that she was doing great – she was actually learning to self-soothe and take what she needed to calm down. She was observing everything, and would come home and tell us about her adventures like she had actually participated, instead of watching. Eventually, she started coming out of the castle. She started bringing pictures home, and when I’d come to get her, she’d be running around the playground and hugging her friends. Chattering about her teachers and bragging about things she did in preschool.

She was out sick last week with a cold, and had missed both days. So I was prepared this morning for a massive regression. But…she was fine. She woke up a little fussy, but was quickly distracted by the snow falling. She happily ate her breakfast (insisting on eating the same as her big sister), and they picked out hats and gloves and scarves for the snow. She bounced into school and was happy about seeing her cubby, hanging up her stuff and going inside. She got a little misty-eyed then, and asked me to pick her up, but I let her pick out a book and put her up in the castle. She gave me a soggy kiss, and then her teacher came over and showed her the new art project that she’d be working on today – and Julie forgot about me and immediately clambered down to start coloring.

I’m so, so glad that I didn’t listen to my instincts, that I didn’t give in to all of my urges to NOT send her. Because she’s so delighted with herself, so happy about going to school and learning and hanging out with her friends. My baby girl loves preschool, and in the end, this will mean that transitioning to kindergarten will be so much easier for her.

Why I keep yelling at Jewish people

I’m not yelling at Jewish people.  Not really.  But I have been thinking a lot, lately, about all of the articles and columns and discussions that have been going on all over the place on the internet.  I’ve waded in on a few of them, and I know that I need to hold back.  Stop.

There was a book released recently called Being Both: Embracing Two Religions in One Interfaith Family by Susan Katz Miller.   I’d have read it anyway, because I tend to like reading books about interfaith families, but I was especially eager to read this one.  There really aren’t any other books out there that are as openly supportive and encouraging of raising children in more than one tradition.

It’s sort of accepted lore by EVERYONE that you must choose one religion to raise your children.  Kids will be confused, it’s a watering down of both traditions and in the end, by not choosing one tradition, you’re, in essence, choosing no tradition that your child will be fully comfortable in.  Don’t do both – do just one.  If you’re Jewish – BE Jewish.  Do it all the way.  And if you are going to do it halfway, at least acknowledge that you are going to have hopefully confused and bewildered kids, with no real spiritual grounding or traditions to fall back on.

At least, that’s the message I’ve always gotten.  And I’ve been doing this for a while now, we’re coming up on our twelve year anniversary.  And what I’ve found, for us, is that the message is wrong.   I’m convinced that we, as a Jewish community, need to really think about the message we send when we claim that interfaith is wrong, and in light of the overwhelming number of kids with one Jewish parent and one non-Jewish parent – we need to be a whole lot more inclusive and accepting and supportive.  Judaism has lasted for thousands of years, I don’t think that my marriage, and others like it, are going to do any damage.  We might even be part of a Jewish revival.

First, I have to acknowledge that we’re not technically interfaith.  I’m Jewish, and Jessie and Sam went to the mikvah along with me.  Julianna was born after the conversion, so her Judaism is assured as well.  Jessie knew she was Jewish from an early age, and it became clear that according to Jewish law, technically, she wasn’t.  I didn’t want her to feel torn or like she wasn’t able to claim her Judaism, and took the steps to make sure that she was officially Jewish.  Even though there are still a lot of Jewish rabbis who would still claim that her conversion isn’t valid because it wasn’t thru an Orthodox rabbi.  But I did all I could to make sure that she and Sam would feel as at home and as comfortable in the religion and spiritual community we were raising them in.

Even before conversion – I was never a particularly observant Catholic.  Spiritual, yes, but not particularly “religious.”  So in many ways, we didn’t face the same kind of religious discussions that other interfaith families had.  Jewish theology has always made sense to me, it was always a good fit for what I had sort of figured out on my own.   So while I still feel very much like we’re an interfaith family – we’re not.  We’re an “interculture” family.  Because spiritually, we’re pretty much on the same page.  Marc and I aren’t identical in our beliefs, but we’re close enough, closer probably than many couples where both members grew up Jewish.  But culturally – we’re still very different.

I love Christmas, he doesn’t.  I downplay it in our home, but still actively celebrate – and he celebrates it a lot more than he’d like to, I’m sure.  It’s a cultural difference.  Neither of our parents are delighted with it – mine worry that the kids are missing out, and his don’t really understand why I keep insisting on having a tree every year.  Not every difference is as weighted – I like milk with dinner and butter on my bagels – and he doesn’t.  I’ll never remember to get gefilte fish for Passover without being reminded, and I still think horse radish is gross.  He prefers to have the prayers and blessings in Hebrew, I’d rather English, so we do both.

But we have three kids, five including my (Jewish) stepdaughters, and we’re raising them in a Jewish household.   And I get mad, I know I need to stop, but I get hurt and mad and offended when I read that our parenting style  is “wrong,”  and that our kids are only half Jewish and thus not as “Jewish” as kids who weren’t afflicted with a  non-Jewish parent.   I get hurt and frustrated when I think about my kids reading some of this – debates over whether or not they’re actually Jewish, discussions over how their upbringing may be leading to the demise of the Jewish people as a whole, and why putting up a Christmas tree is so, so wrong.

Because my kids are Jewish.  They know that they are part of an ancient tradition, repeating prayers and celebrating holidays that go back for thousands of years.  But they’re also proud descendants of Irish, Scottish and English colonists, and have a branch of the family tree for the lone man who was put to death during the Salem Witch Trials.  My family believes in fairies and Christmas trees, too much candy on Easter and that going to the ocean is a spiritual experience.  That’s as much a part of them as matzoh on Passover and singing the shema.  They shouldn’t feel as though to be one, they can’t have the other.

 

Saturday

Marc is working more and more on Saturdays now.  Which sucks, for me, on a couple of different levels.  One being that it’s Saturday, Shabbat, and I like to spend the day with him and the kids, and the other being that it’s Saturday, and he’s not here to help me with the kids.  I’m doing religious school, dance, errands, everything else with all three kids and no Marc.

I woke up bright and early, and got all three kids up and dressed.  Mostly, sort of, fed.  We were out the door by eight, dropped Marc off at work and go to the synagogue nice and early.  We’re NEVER early for services, so that was actually kind of pleasant.  Except that the toddler service didn’t start until about twenty minutes later than it should have.  Jessie went upstairs to her classroom, but because Sam’s class was going to be coming downstairs to join the tot service with Julie and I, I just kept Sam with me.  After the toddler service, I went into the big sanctuary, and watched the last part of the bat mitzvah that was going on.

I’ve been officially Jewish for about five years now, and attending religious services for close to eleven years.  BUT, I’ve never actually attended a full service.  I’ve never not had a little kid there who’d start making noise.  I’ve spent hours in the lobby, hanging in the bathroom (they’ve got a big cozy couch in there for nursing and reading).  I’ve organized the playroom, and had story time in the lobby.  I’ve organized races in the big hall, and spent a lot of time reading articles posted on the bulletin boards.  But actually attending services, not so much.

I’m President of the Sisterhood now, and mostly I really love it.  And I’m trying hard to be more visible, more THERE.  Partly because I want to do it well, being President, partly because I want to make sure my kids see that Judaism is a lot more than just attending classes when you’re a kid.  And partly because I’m sensing, as I get older, and move out of the hugely hands-on portion of parenting, that there might be something to attending services.  I’m not sure, but would like to explore the option.  So I’m trying hard to actually get into the sanctuary, and be a part of what’s going on.

But with three kids, it’s not always feasible.  Fortunately – the kids keep getting older.  And yesterday – Jessie actually took Julianna out for a while, and let me sit with Sam and stay in services.  I still missed the vast majority of it, between attending the tot service, and Julie melting down and me having to spend another half hour in the bathroom trying to chill her out… but I made it longer than I ever have before.

There were a million people there yesterday – which didn’t help Sam feel at all okay.  He still struggles with anxiety, and big crowds are always going to make him uncomfortable.  He didn’t know exactly where I was all the time either, which added to his stress.  He wasn’t freaked out, just stressed.  Jessie was wonderful with him, not only did she get candy to bring him because he was too nervous to go get it with all the other kids, but when I finally got Julie happy enough to leave the bathroom, she was walking him thru the buffet line and helping him get food.  Once he saw me, he started crying, and it took some consoling, and a little chocolate, before he felt better.  I went to try and get him some food (nobody had really eaten anything) but it didn’t take long before he and Julie got into a fight and he set off looking for me, holding it together but only by a thread.  I gave up – and said goodbye and dragged my three kids, one sobbing, one whining and the other happily holding a sundae to go, out to the car.  Sam was so stressed and miserable at this point that he couldn’t even hear me talking, he was crying so hard, and he sobbed the whole way home.  Then winged himself in the eye with the seatbelt when he unbuckled at the house.  As I’m sure you can imagine, this did nothing to improve his mood.

It didn’t get appreciably better.  I got him calmed down and relaxed.  Got Jessie to dance class, and set off to Walmart to pick up Marc’s rx.  Then realized that I didn’t have the debit card/credit card in my wallet, had to leave.  Drove back to dance class, picked up the  girl, then remembered that nobody had eaten yet, and stopped for coffee/bagels.  Had an extra forty five minutes before we had to pick up Marc, and went to the library to get new books for kids.  Then we went to Home Depot, picked up Marc and stopped at Walmart (stupidly) to get the medication.  As any parent knows, taking a kid shopping when they’re exhausted and hungry is a recipe for disaster, and yeah, I relearned it again.

In the end, it turned out to be a lovely night.  After a considerable amount of tears and hysteria (Sam cried in the store, Jessie cried on the way home because Sam’s crying in the store embarrassed her, and Julie lost it once we got home because she had gone all day with no nap).  I got Girlfriend to go the bathroom, into jammies and teeth brushed and laid her down for bed.  Marc and I made dinner (trading off between cooking and childcare) and then the four us (minus sleeping Julie) sat together and watched Modern Family reruns until bedtime.

I don’t like Saturdays without Marc.  I don’t like doing this without him.  Not just because it’s harder to be the one parent with three kids, but because he’s my buddy and I’m sad and lonely without him on Saturdays.  And Sundays, because he’s working again today.

Sick Baby

She’s not a baby anymore. Intellectually, I know that. She’s closer to four than three, has been potty trained for a year and a half, and is more than capable of carrying on in-depth conversations. But, she’s still my baby. And the reason I know that is that last night, she was up every hour. Not crying, just coughing and needing comfort and reassurance that I was still right there.

It’s not a bad cold, not really. She’s not running a fever, and her nose isn’t running. But it’s in her chest, I can hear the breath moving through her lungs, and as she told me this morning emphatically “I feel BAD, Mama!” So today’s a quiet day, with lots of her sitting on my lap, and I’ve read Green Eggs and Ham seven times this morning.

It’s only when she’s sick than she’ll sit on my lap for any length of time. I didn’t realize that until she got sick. Because when they grow up, it happens so slowly, so gradually, that you don’t realize that something has changed until it’s been gone for a while. It used to be that her default spot was in my arms. It used to be that she wanted nothing more than me, on the couch, snuggled up with her. But she’s big and bold and almost four now, preschool two mornings a week, and far too busy and occupied to curl up and just sit with me anymore.

I’m a little wistful today. Because it occurred to me that when Jessie and Sam, my ten and seven year old, get sick now, they don’t want to sit on my lap anymore. It’s not even really feasible for them, because they’re big. And as much as they still want attention and comfort when they’re sick, they’re happier with small doses of it, interspersed between episodes of Big Bang Theory, Avatar, and Friends reruns.

Mothering is all about adjusting. No sooner do I get used to a stage than they’ve moved on. We go from pregnancy to nursing, to solids to all of a sudden, they can request and get their own snack. We go from koala babies who cling and sob when we leave to big grown up kids who dash off for their latest activity/playdate without looking back. And it all happens without any fanfare, both so slowly that you don’t notice it changing and so fast that you can’t believe that stage of your life is over.

So today, I’ll snuggle my baby. My almost four year old baby, who’s not really a baby any more. But today, today, she’s all mine. I know tomorrow she’ll feel better, and she’ll be back to being busy and bold, with far too much going on to sit on my lap and read for hours. That’s exactly as it should me, and I’m mostly okay with it. But I’m grateful for the opportunity to be able to everything she wants and needs today. To be Mama, which is kind of my favorite thing to be.

A month of thanks

I read a blog post the other day that I loved.  Instead of just doing the usual facebook gratitude posts (which I also love, btw), the post has prompts for each day, leading up to Thanksgiving.  Today’s prompt was “blessing.”

I’m going thru a relatively difficult patch.  Actually, we are, as a family.  Scheduling concerns, school drama, parenting challenges, career woes, etc.  Nothing overwhelming or extraordinary, but still… difficult.  And what’s great about is that it’s really brought us together, as a family.  As a couple.   Because we’re a team, Marc and I.  We’re buddies.  It’s not just that he’s my husband, it’s not just that he’s my best friend.  He’s my other half.  And if the past few months have done anything, they’ve reinforced how very, very lucky I am to have him.  Because when I get stressed and panicked, he doesn’t.  He’s calm, and stable and reassuring, and the balance is what works.  My strengths compliment his weaknesses and he’s strong in all the ways that I’m not.

I’m not saying that we don’t fight, because we can.  I’m not saying that there aren’t days when he makes me nuts, or days when he probably wants to kill me for not neatly putting away the silverware.  But at the end of the day – he’s still my best friend, and I’m his.  He’s what makes my life work.

There’s a small scene at very end of Jerry Maguire – and every time we watch the movie, Marc gets all teary-eyed.  And when my cousin Becky got engaged, we were toasting them, she and Greg (which is sort of like a blessing – at least for the purposes of this post), and this is the blessing that Marc used.  “Hey, I don’t have all the answers. In life, to be honest, I failed as much as I have succeeded. But I love my wife. I love my life. And I wish you my kind of success.”

So even though we’ve got a zillion little problems right now, and the brakes need to be replaced and Christmas/Hanukkah are coming up, and Marc’s working crazy hours and we’re mostly overwhelmed – we’ve got each other.  And more than each other, we’ve got these great kids, Lilli and Sarah, and our three, Jessie Bug Noodle, Samilicious Boy, and our Julianna Chocolate Chip.  So even though we don’t have all the answers, and we’ve had our failures as much as successes – we really do love each other, and love the life that we’ve created together.  And the blessing that I wish for everyone, especially my own children, is that they have our kind of success.