The dog is crunching up a piece of plastic in the living room, my feet are icy cold because the one pair of socks I can find is in the bathroom, where Julie has ensconced herself and will remain for the next half hour.  Jessie stopped sleeping thru the night six weeks ago, and is miserable and incoherent, and I ran out of cream one cup into the day.

It’s snowing.

This is not a day I’ll look back on wistfully.

I do try and be present and mindful.  Aware of the blessings and joys of raising these three kids, married to this man.  But on days like today, when the dog has decimated two plastic spoons, and thrown up in the living room…I actually prefer to pretend I’m elsewhere.




First a quick shout out to Julianna, who has a delightful habit of remembering my age, and reminding me thoughtfully at random times.  Because honestly, I’d probably forget.  I’m somewhere in my mid-forties.

Actually, I’m exactly in my mid-forties.

I find myself looking back over the past year, and thinking that it’s still so impacted by the accident.  The ramifications last so long with an event like that.  It’s been two years this March, and that seems odd to me.  It still feels so recent.

I’ve changed since the accident.  I parent very differently now.  I’m hyper-responsive to Sam’s moods, especially when we’re out in public.  Even though he’s doing so much better, even though he doesn’t actually need to have me being right there, as the scaffolding for him.  It’s still second nature to me.  Monitoring the mood between all three of them, is Jessie being snarky?  Can I let that go, or is it going to spiral into Sam getting upset, which is going to morph into impacting Julianna.  Is Julie getting upset about some unseen conflict, and will she burst into tears at the slightest provocation, which will in turn impact Sam in a way that he won’t be able to handle?

I’m writing this post after going out to dinner with all three of them, at a crowded new restaurant with a ton of people, spending the two hours praying that it all held together and nobody fell apart.

Nobody did.  Well, Julie did a little, but it was minor and not really unprovoked.

At 44, this is still very much my world.   Especially now, when I’m home full time and my world revolves around getting the girls up and dressed and packed and to school, and then homeschooling Sam, and then launching into the pick up, fed, jammied and into bed.   Ten years from now, it’ll be a very different world.  Five years from now, they’ll be 19, 16 and 12.  But for now, my job is finding the narrow path between overparenting and benign neglect.

I like where I am.  It feels right, this place, with these kids and this husband.  It feels like I’m getting to the place I dreamed of those nights in the hospital.  Where everyone is healthy, and whole, and growing up.  Where there’s no significant goal on the horizon, just more of the same.

And so I’ll greet my 44th birthday tomorrow happily, because this, right now, is exactly what I always wanted.

See that little play on words there?  I’m so clever..

I kept the girls home today.  It was frozen out there.  Literally, frozen.  The stairs were icy, the poor dog slid all over the walkway on the way to pee.  My car is crap in the rain, oddly enough.  Maybe there’s a cap missing or something is off somewhere along the line, because when I go thru a puddle, I lose power steering for a minute.  It’s not a long time, but when you’re hurtling along and suddenly can’t move the steering wheels for thirty seconds, it’s disconcerting.  The temp has gone up, so it’s probably not frozen, but it’s still pouring and pouring out there.  There was a two hour delay, and even after two hours, it was still icy and scary out there, so they really only missed a few hours.

We made chili on Sunday.  And by we, I mean me, because Marc was at the gym.  It was good, really good, but the beans never softened.  Which, to be honest, did detract from the overall experience, but I thought I’d try it again today.  On Sunday, I boiled the beans for two minutes, and then let them sit for an hour or two, maybe.  One.  It was woefully inadequate.  Last night, we soaked the beans overnight, for a good twelve or fifteen hours, but they were still hard this morning.  So I’m boiling them again, and hoping that if I now let them sit for a few more hours, maybe they’ll soften?  Maybe?

(edited to add) They did not soften.  So I boiled them again.  Then I added some baking soda, as the google gods assured me that it help.  But I didn’t read it right, and instead of adding a quarter teaspoon, I dumped in a heaping teaspoon.  Then I felt bad, and dumped the beans into a strainer, rinsed them, and then put them back on to boil, this time with the appropriate amount of baking soda.  Finally, the beans softened.

I added them to the meat/onion/garlic/diced tomato mix, and then thought to myself – tomato paste.  That’s what this needs.

It did not.  Then I had a really bright red, overly tomato-ed chili.  I tried sugar to cut the acid, which worked… to make it super bland.  Then I tried to eat it with white rice, because I love jasmine rice.  I threw a little cheese on there, and then I tried BBQ sauce.

I’m officially giving up on chili.




I could get used to this.

We had a snow day before Christmas vacation, we were off for a week, went back on Tuesday, took Thursday and Friday off for a snow day, and now we’ve got another three day weekend.

The only hitch is that I’m totally out of practice at sticking to a routine now.  Its all very laid back and relaxed.  Sam sleeps until noon, Julie’s up until 9:30 or 10:00, Jessie’s losing hours watching netflix.

I know I’ve been slacking on the blog lately.  Part of it is that the kids are getting older, and there’s a sense that I want to respect their privacy (and yes, I know that I was still writing a lot when Jessie was Julie’s age, and that means that I’m missing out on those really cute Julie stories…. the guilt is constant).

But that’s where we are.  Jessie is fourteen, and she’ll be fifteen in a few weeks.  I’m just going to leave that there, because FIFTEEN is ridiculous.  Fifteen.  It was YESTERDAY that she was so tiny, and I only felt real when I was holding her.

Sam is 11.  And that’s equally insane.

But the biggest one, for me, right now, is that my baby is almost eight.  I feel like I missed her childhood.  I know I didn’t.  I know I probably paid more attention to her babyhood/toddlerhood/early childhood than the other kids, simply because she was the last one.   But it FEELS like it all went by so quickly.  I was looking at pictures earlier, and there’s a shot from Jessie’s bat mitzvah and I was holding Julianna.  That was two years ago, and I can’t remember the last time I was able to haul her up on my hip and wander around.   I mean, I did. Of course, I did.  I remember thinking that I did it way too much with her, more than with the other kids, because she was the baby.  There wasn’t a baby coming up afterwards to push her out of my arms, so I held her constantly.  She didn’t reliably walk until she was easily 17 or 18 months.  Not because she couldn’t, but because I held her all the time.

I wish I had done it more.

They’re all so big now.  And I love that, I do.  I love that Jessie is so funny, and I love the way Sam’s mind works.  I love watching Julie fall in love with everything, how everything is new and adventurous and fun for her, and she’s so brave and bold.   But I miss my babies.  I miss Jessie laying her her little head on my shoulder and falling asleep, and Sammy toddling around after me, holding my book so I’d sit and nurse and snuggle while I read.  I miss baby Julie, who fell asleep every night snuggled up in my arms, and started every morning by crawling into my lap.

Misty and vaguely hormonal tonight… and it’s past nine.  I really should get that poor kid into bed.

– Christmas morning, we all sat on the couch and watched the Christmas specials we hadn’t had time to see during December.  We got a big flat screen television for Hanukkah and Sam could actually sit in the living room and clearly see the screen.  It was my favorite part of the day.

– We spent Christmas Eve at my mother’s house, and did Chinese food Christmas Eve (like the good Jews that we are).  Then had Joy and Sara and their families here for Christmas Day – and it was perfect.

– Picking up Glennys and bringing her down for the week was such a great idea.  I love these six kids – my five, plus Glennys.  And given that it’s our first year with Lilli off to college, it answered the question that’s been nagging me for a while… somethings never change.  Even when they all grow up, they’ll still come together on Christmas vacation, and it’ll feel just like it did ten years ago.

– The two three day weekends, with Christmas and New Years both falling on a Monday, made for a lot of quiet relaxing time for Marc.  I really love having him home.

– My dog is slightly crazy.  She is.  I mean, I adore her, but she’s mostly nuts.  She is, however, amenable to suggestion, and when I attach her leash to my wrist, and consistently repeat the phrase “calm, calm,”  she actually is.

– If you love dogs, you will adore mine.  If, however, you dislike dogs, mine is kind of your worst nightmare.  She’s like a dog times a thousand.

– My girls might end up killing each other by adulthood.  I don’t think they will, but they might.  Sam won’t kill either of them or be killed, but only because that lucky bastard has his own room.

– I don’t want to send them back to school tomorrow.  I know Jessie wants to, and she loves school, and she’s open about not wanting to homeschool, but Julie… I think I could talk her into homeschooling with very little effort.  I’m just not 100% convinced it’s best for her.  With Sam – he really hated all the things about school.  He liked his friends, but that was it.  The competition, the repetition, the lining up and the structure – he was miserable, and it was never a good fit.  Homeschooling is perfect for him.  Even without the injury and the vision loss, this would still be the right fit for him.  With Julie… I’m not convinced it’s the right move for her.  But I am going to miss them tomorrow.  Not the unending fighting, but the fact of the girls bopping around the house – I will miss that.