The Real Housewife’s Midlife Crisis of NYC

 

mom-had-a-bad-dayI’ve never really bought into the whole SADD syndrome? I’ve always tolerated winter and usually look forward to the beauty and chaos of a few good snow storms each season. Yet seasonal affective syndrome or not, this winter’s daily grind definitely got the best of  me. And there’s something about February that packs a punch. Maybe the cruel irony of longer sunlight spoiled by those inevitably frigid temperatures. Your body warmed against the glass looking outside only to be leveled once you step out the door.

Between seeking out new Brooklyn dentists and doctors for myself and the kids, dragging everyone around to their appointments, searching for a local travel soccer team and coordinating mid winter try outs, selling furniture, managing construction issues in our new home, after-school activities, school projects, the Polar Vortex, cancelled Ubers, two kids with stomach bugs, an emergency visit to the pediatric urgent care, me getting pneumonia followed by strep throat, and constantly wiping two little poopie assess all day long, there just has been too many diversions to writing or advancing my, so called, professional self.

In between crisis control, I’ve had some time to take stock in the, hmmm . .  value, of my blog and my life; where I am going, what am I doing and basically everything in between. With the creep of 50 around the corner, I can’t help but reflect on my shortcomings. The jury’s still out on blogging, but I figured I would come out of the woodwork – even if it’s to document my last few days before becoming a semi-centennial.

Speaking of jury, didn’t I go to law school some decades ago? Even though I was a disenchanted lawyer, my walking away has haunted me. With everyone else on the planet seemingly starting their own podcast, writing a book, receiving industry accolades, or winning American Ninja contests, my absence from the daily grind for this long has me really questioning my self worth. Once Luca was old enough, I was able to pick up some paid freelance and consulting work prior to having the girls; but honestly, today, my motivation is waning.

I can hear the eye rolls. Believe me, this isn’t a “poor me” post. Despite my,  hmmm . .  . advanced age, I wanted a bigger family and am beyond blessed to finally have it. I know how lucky I am to even have the opportunity to be home; that many families juggle all sorts of issues and barely make ends meet. I also love and CHERISH being home with the girls – the laughs, learning, joy, tears, drama, beauty, wonderment, and did I mention the poopie asses? I wouldn’t trade those, or this time for the world.

I am also not knocking a stay at home mom’s worth. If anyone buys into the enormous value an at home parent provides their children by being involved in the day to day- it’s me.  Hell, even if it’s just to monitor time outs; my time is valuable!

And this time goes fast. Too fast. When it’s over, shouldn’t I still have enough interests to find personal fulfillment and opportunities to contribute? My former aspirational self was never sent packing; she just seems to be on a very long trip – perhaps around the world. Is it too late to become a social media influencer?

As someone who did estate planning work in a prior life, that I haven’t written our Wills and planning documents is a secret shame. Let’s hope I can still get them done before I actually kick the bucket. Definitely one reason to talk myself out of this so called crisis and get moving! Just need to wipe another ass first.

 

 

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It’s Not Me; It’s You

brooklyn-bridge-painting-vojirWell Manhattan, I am finally doing it. I’ve finally worked up the nerve and guts to say it out loud. You and me are OVER. DONE. Yes, you heard me correctly. No more threats and ultimatums; the gig is up.

Come on! Don’t look so surprised. This is hardly the first girl you’ve sent packing. I should have known all those years of moving around from block to block, less than a mile from each, I was just buying time. You can’t really look me in the eye and say that things have been the same between us lately.

Perhaps your busloads of tourists and clogged streets drove me to the edge, or that lately Luca can’t walk anywhere on your streets without stepping in dog poop. Since when did everyone in the city get a dog? And, no matter how overpriced and overhyped it may be, you still want me to call 6 weeks in advance to get a dinner reservation? Ok, I know I’m sounding bitter; I guess I just never expected it to end this way. We had such a good run for so long. It used to be so easy.

And, just this year we had that long and brutal winter. How about that day in March! Desperate to avoid the frigid temperatures, with an hour to kill before I could take the girls to Kidville, I dragged all three (Luca home for a 3rd snow day), underground from the Fulton Street Transit Center to your new (I’ll admit, stunning) Oculus, heading for Joe & The Juice. Figuring, it would be empty (who the hell wants a $10 smoothie when its ten degrees outside), at least we could sit somewhere warm and have a nice healthy, albeit freezing, snack before heading over to Kidville.

But no. Backing my double wide umbrella stroller through the ridiculously crowded venue, holding three winter coats and music blaring, I was desperate to find a table. Before I knew it, Laurel had already hopped out, wanting to touch all the lit candles on each table while Maxine made her way around the counter where the teenage employees, using machetes, chop large pineapples and exotic fruit. After stalking a tourist couple who looked like they should have been done (you taught me so well Big Apple), I finally shoved all three in a tiny corner table, put Luca in charge of an iPad and set out to wait on a line for 20 minutes, glancing over every second hoping they didn’t get kidnapped. Thirty dollars later, just as I arrived back at the table with 3 smoothies in tow, Laurel said she had to go pee. . .

Now don’t get so sentimental on me. I know we had a good run. There were some very special times. That day I arrived at my new rental apartment on Houston and Mulberry with all those roommates. When I was able to own my first apartment.  Meeting Mark for drinks that first time. God, I will never forget our glorious wedding day at the Kitano Hotel! Or, Mark and I racing in a cab, me screaming with contractions, to NYU Hospital for Luca’s birth. And what about the twins coming in the middle of the night in January, five weeks early! So many memories; plenty blurred from back in the day. How can I possibly begin to sum up our 21 years together?

We’ve had more than a good thing. It was L. O. V.  E. And, while I am not one to kiss and tell – you’ll find out soon enough. I’m just ready for something more wholesome, less gritty, maybe a little less raw. I know. I was the one laughing all those years ago when the hipsters started moving out en mass to make their artisanal cheeses, beer and whisky. Turns out I actually like all those things. So here we are too. Headed for the County of Kings where at least I can still keep a very close eye on you.

Do you think we can still be friends?

 

 

 

I Left My Heart in San Fransisco

img_3307.jpgNeglect has been eating away at me as I realize it’s been way too long. I’m struggling to keep up my writing with the girls’ schedule this year. After picking up my two non nappers midday from preschool spending all day outside or at Kidville’s gym trying to tire them out, cooking dinner, cleaning up, helping Luca with any homework, school projects or studying, I am letting some stories simmer on the back burner for a while. Until something gives, I may opt for some sporadic posts when the urge hits and I just need to share.

In the meantime, since November, I’ve been meaning to write about what turned into an amazing early Christmas present. Given the rarity of such an occasion, I had to documented it so Mark and I can remember a time when we got away together.

Over Thanksgiving Mark suggested we take a trip. Alone! Assuming he tried some mind altering drug, I initially just laughed it off. While the thought of jetting off was appealing, it’s really hard for me to leave the kids. Seven years passed before Mark and I left Luca for a long weekend away, together. We don’t have a lot of nearby family, and never had a nanny to just leave him with. But back then, after crafting a meticulous and elaborate plan of care that included friends, a babysitter and my mom video chatting from afar, we took an amazing trip to Paris.

Looking back, it still wasn’t easy. Days before our flight, Luca was showing some anxiety that played out in the most bizarre way.  Even though he was excited for the weekend of awesome activities, 4 days before we were leaving he literally crawled into our room at 4 o’clock in the morning crying that he couldn’t feel his legs OR walk.

I assumed it was, obviously, an act or some sort of subconscious anxiety. But after several mornings in a row, it got stressful and I suspected something awful may be wrong; my mind off to the races –  imagining a possible link to years earlier, when (I thought) his pediatrician sloppily administered his polio vaccination . . .

Fast forward to today and it’s no longer just a matter of leaving Luca – we’ve got Maxine and Laurel to contend with too. But, with Mark’s persistence, I started believing we could pull it off. With task force planning that spread the balance of care between Grandma and our trusted sitter – including detailed activities to keep everyone busy, we were ready to go.

For the second time in almost a decade, after shedding a few tears, Mark and I were jetting off, (this time) in business class, headed for San Francisco. Staying in a gorgeous hotel, we ate, drank and walked our way through my second favorite city in the US. It was an amazingly romantic and incredible trip.

With a few minor incidents, everything back home went off without a hitch. But for the girls taking full advantage of Grandma, managing to clog our toilette and get up at 4 am for a dance party, everyone survived. Now long back in our routine, when, on occasion I push the girls in their stroller (instead of their preferred scooters), and hear a mysterious squeak in the wheels that also developed that weekend, I am forever grateful for that time and to everyone who helped us get away.

Happy You Day

IMG_3779Last week, on the day before my birthday, Luca came home a little late from school. It was a typical Tuesday, when we get home from the girls’ gymnastics class by 4:20, and usually catch Luca in the lobby or find him sitting outside our door waiting for us (and happy to steal a few minutes on his phone). But on the 13th, my heart skipped a beat when I met his school friends in the elevator but no Luca. It wasn’t that I was worried yet – he loves to linger outside with friends and was likely still goofing around – but I did wonder.

A few minutes later he was storming through the front door, “MOM, I just got you the best birthday present EVER!” I was taken back, having never really seen Luca so excited about other people’s presents before. He was  bursting at the seams to tell me, but agreed that he may be bummed if he didn’t wait until tomorrow. Elated, he ran to his room to check everything out.

Moments later I heard sobbing. I entered his room cautiously, to not ruin the surprise, and found him crouched over a bag of flaming red liquid with items sprawled over the floor.

Turns out, Luca got off his bus and went directly to Duane Reade, intent on buying me a birthday gift. He roamed the store and picked out, all on his own, a bouquet of flowers in a vase, some Papyrus tissue wrap, a box of hot tamales candies (that I love) and a beautiful gift bag to put everything in; spending $26 of his own money!

I was beyond touched (and shocked) at his gesture and sick that he was now in tears. In typical fashion, the sales clerk pretty much shoved all the items in one bag, including the vase of flowers, and handed it back to him. Luca, being a ten-year old boy, cluelessly took the bag and packed it in his backpack for the walk home (the stuff never had a chance).

But for the hot tamales, now dripping flaming red liquid on his rug, I was able to salvage most of the items, all soaked from the leaking vase, and calm him down. When he looked up at me with those gorgeous blue eyes, saying how much he wanted everthing to be perfect, my heart melted.

If only he could believe me that it already was.

 

 

It’s Never Too Late

birthdayWith the arrival of another new year, on January 2nd, Maxine and Laurel turned three! That only three years ago, one day past a similarly frigid New Year’s Day, they came crashing into our lives, blatant and unexpectedly early (in typical fashion), is still staggering.

Starting with the initial, shocking news; so much of it still seems like a blur.  I remember heading to midtown for, by all accounts, a “routine” sonogram early in their pregnancy. Relieved and gloriously thankful for the success we seemed to (finally) attain after several years trying for a second child. Between another failed pregnancy, my mom’s breast cancer treatment, a move from our apartment (and, later, back to the same buiding again), there were some stressful years where we, seriously, questioned if we were too old to start over with a newborn. We made the decision to start fertility treatment a year prior, and now decided this would be our last attempt.

I wanted Luca to have a sibling. As an only child, my parents did everything to make sure lots of kids were around and I wasn’t alone. So, at least during elementary school, I barely noticed or cared that I didn’t have a brother or sister. But, around the age of eleven or twelve, our close family friends’ got divorced. I assumed we’d always do everything together and things would never change. Skiing in Vermont, summer vacations in Montauk, holiday parties, and bar-b-ques. But, after their parent’s separation and subsequent move out of the neighborhood, I barely saw those friends again. Even as a child, the realization that blood is thicker than water hit me hard.

Back at my doctor’s office, anxiously awaiting the thumping of one little heartbeat, I recalled, with dread, a similar moment years back. At that time, I stared at a much grainier screen, excited to hear the pumping, so strong only weeks prior, now just appearing as an empty, black, stagnant, and silent screen. Myself, as a much younger woman, naive to the statistics on miscarriage, confused that maybe the machine wasn’t functioning properly.

But this day would be different. Still in my daze, I heard my doctor mention something about there being “a development” and my heart stopped. Having come this far, again, I didn’t think I could bear disappointment knowing it would close the door for us. “Sorry?” I stumbled, unsure that I heard him correctly and what he meant. “I’m hearing another heartbeat,” my doctor said cautiously. I cleared the lump in my throat, “What, exactly, does that mean?”

A quick Google search on the likelihood of having identical twins shows the odds being 1 in 10,000. They develop when one fertilized egg divides into two, and seem to occur entirely by chance, regardless of twins running in the family.

My initial shock inspired panic. Realizing that, even in our attempt to avoid the possibility of twins by using only our healthiest single embryo (in their quest for success most doctors push to use at least two, resulting in many fraternal twins), that our little one split on us, despite our intentions. Sensing my fear, the nurse reminded me of our blessings and added that her mom had twins at 40. “But, I’m going to be 45,” I choked back.

She was absolutely right; Maxine and Laurel are an unbelievable blessing, bringing us pure love, joy, chaos, laughter, exhaustion and fun while rounding out our family. Meanwhile, our initial fears weren’t even close to the reality of how much work they are. Everyday is like running a daycare. But we wouldn’t trade it for the world.

The chaos was immediate. From even before they arrived, when my water broke, suddenly and unexpectedly, in the middle of the night. My last doctors exam had assured me I had, at least, another week which would get us close to 35 weeks (still early, but safe). Well, they weren’t waiting.

By midnight on New Years Day, most of our friends in the building, were still away on holiday vacations. My family, not expecting any news, just returned back home from Christmas with us, and never heard our middle of the night cell phone calls. With time critical, we raced to the hospital, taking poor Luca with us. At only seven, he was so patient and supportive, waiting all those hours with me overnight; then having to sit, alone, in the waiting room when they took me in for what turned into an emergency C-section.

When the girls finally came home from the NICU, only two weeks later, the real fun began… and it hasn’t stopped since. We were blessed with two, healthy, spirited, strong and beautiful little girls that would, forever, change all of our lives and give Luca the siblings he always wanted.

As with every new year, when people reflect and make resolutions, this 2018 I will try to remind myself that it’s never too late to try or begin something new. And, to never give up. No excuses. Whether it’s telling your story, getting back to my blog posts, pursuing a new career, making up with an old friend or family member, starting your exercise plan, learning a new language, or just doing something that you’ve been dreaming of for a long time – just go do it. It may change your life, forever! It did for ours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Autumn of My Life

ToyStory02-740x416A week or so ago, on one of the last, precious, nights of summer, my son and I re-watched the movie Toy Story while the girls slept upstairs and Mark was back in the city.  Knowing that another summer was behind us, Luca was entering 5th grade, coupled with the inevitable chill in the air and overt recognition of time passing too quickly, I practically wept while watching and sensing the ache and rejection in Woody’s heart while he, inevitably, was being replaced by Buzz Lightyear as Andy’s favorite toy.

Maybe because turning 50 is really only a year and change away, or that Luca wanted to pick out all his own school clothes this year, and even my girls are revealing tidbits of maturation, this year’s back to school season hit harder. I can’t help but wonder if I’m entering the Autumn years of my life.

While the days can seem long, the years are short. And, watching kids grow up is like some sort of clock, forcing you to take stock as to where you fit in with all of their movement; questioning whether I am quietly slowing down. With the chaos that the twins bring, Luca’s homework, soccer and social schedule, I barely have a minute to think straight. But when I, finally, do get a quiet moment, it can be haunting.

There’s always something wistful about watching the days shorten and feeling the air become crisper. It’s a beautiful time of year on the East coast, but I’d gladly relish more time to breathe in the salty ocean air, soak up the warm sun and sand, and feel that unforgiving heat penetrate my skin, chasing the girls around the playground. The innocence and ease of long summer days, late dinners outside, fireflies and fireworks are abruptly replaced by brisk mornings at the bus stop, parent teacher meet and greets, and a never-ending string of frantic texts about homework, school projects, and soccer transportation.

As with every transition there comes reflection and lately I’ve been  preoccupied with an assessment of my own “value” outside the home. Having just turned down a freelance opportunity that would pay me for my writing, I can’t help but feel slightly unsettled. I started freelance work when Luca was in school but since Laurel and Maxine came along, just don’t have the time. Being home with them is tremendously rewarding. But knowing I could earn a paycheck for writing, again, did provide a brief, if not fleeting, moment of pride too.  Hopefully, when the time is right, something else will come along.

As the series progresses, Woody eventually makes his way back into Andy’s heart, only to get accidentally donated to daycare in the 3rd movie; instead of the intended destination of attic storage. When Woody and the gang manage to escape and find their way back, he does get chosen by Andy to go off to college; but we have no sense of what his future holds. Sequel or not, I guess that’s usually the case.

 

Louis Louis

You reach a certain, middle-aged, point in life where it’s nice to have a few special, more expensive, and higher quality items. But it doesn’t take long to realize that luxury goods and kids just don’t mix. We nearly sustained two casualties last weekend, just living our everyday lives, not asking for any trouble.

IMG_2435Despite Apple’s claim to “do swim workouts in open water, track laps at the pool, or splash with your kids,” Mark’s new Series 2 watch didn’t stand a chance against Maxine’s wrath.  As she yanked it down from the nightstand,  it’s screen quickly cracked, thus totally mocking Apple’s claim to “see your metrics clearly, no matter how much the sun glares.”

The second, more unfortunate case occurred in a cab, heading to Randall’s Island, en route to one of my son’s two weekend soccer games.

As an aside, after living in the city, car free, for almost twenty years, we bought a car two years ago – mere months before we learned we were having twins. They say a car’s value deprecates the minute you drive off the lot. In our case, it lost value and, unknowingly, became too small. Last week, we sold it so we could buy another to accommodate the 5 of us, plus Grandma, Uncle Mike, or who ever else may need a ride.

The irony of owning a car in New York it that, but for random weekends or to head to the beach in summer, it’s barely used. Back in the day, taking the LIRR or Hampton Jitney out east was a no brainer. Doing it with 3 little kids and a giant suitcase, during high season, is to be avoided at all costs.

Of course, the only weekend where Luca had two soccer games occurred on the one we didn’t yet have the new car. So, after an expensive Uber ride out to Staten Island on Saturday, we opted for a more frugal cab to take us up to Randall’s Island Sunday morning.

As with most New York City cabs, our ride up the FDR was, utterly, life threatening. While Mark was enjoying the ride up front, I had all 3 kids across the back belted in tight. To our distress, we discovered that Randall’s Island has more than just a few soccer fields, and, after endless looping trying to locate Field 6, Mark and I exchanged pleasantries and decided we needed to pull over. At that very moment, poor Maxine (once again, the villain), succumbed to the perpetual stop and go, and threw up inside my Louis Vuitton bag, sitting open, unsuspectingly, on my lap. Because we were strapped in pretty tight, I couldn’t prevent her from another episode, seconds later, ensuring she covered all bases by blanketing the outside of my bag too.

With me begging the cabbie to pull over, the situation was bleak considering we still had to sit through the game. With only the clothes on our back and the water and snacks packed so lovingly, in my bag, it proved to be long and noxious morning. After paying the driver handsomely for the fare and to have the car washed, any efforts at frugality were futile.

Amazingly, even in her compromised state, Maxine’s targeting skills were quite precise in more ways than one. As our cabbie managed to pull over and we all piled out, miraculously, I was standing right in front of a minuscule sign pointing to field #6. At the end of the day, we all had Maxine to thank!

 

Throwback Thursday – Did I Mention that I Have Twins?

My rant below was originally posted on Facebook on June 9, 2016. As it so accurately sums up a day in the life of raising twins, I wanted it to be published on Tablefor5 so that it can help me document this time in my life. Please enjoy again.  

To the sleek, young, real estate broker who shared an elevator down to “level C” amenities with me this morning, I’d like to apologize. You see, before I glanced down in shame, I caught the look of horror as the elevator door slid open. I knew you were hoping to show your successful, rich, single client a much more glamorous type that could be his potential neighbor. I was almost going to hop off the elevator and let you all ride in without the discomfort. But then, I realized if only I could take a minute of your time and explain the “situation”.

You see, today was supposed to be my “catch up day”. It’s been a long week, actually a long month, but, I’ll get right to the point about my look this morning. My son wound up missing a few days of school, sick this week. We thought he was on the mend, after a trip to the doctor he mentioned he “felt better” and wanted to eat that second helping last night. Well, just as I was getting ready for bed after an already long day, the forces of nature weren’t having it. The poor guy got sick all over his bed, rug and bathroom. After what proved to be a long and tedious clean up, we managed to finally get to bed for a few short hours.

IMG_4107Did I mention that I also have 17 month old twins? Those little cuties decided to get up at 5:15 this morning! With my husband out the door early for a day trip, I was left to fend the 3 of them off myself. Well my girls can smell weakness a mile away. It didn’t take long before Maxine somehow managed to grab a pencil that her brother left lying around and write all over my walls and door. Literally almost at the very same time (they say identical have this weird connection), Laurel went into her dresser and took one of my favorite sweaters she owns (cute little bulldog on the front) and put it in the toilet bowl along with all the other contents of the bathroom garbage pail. Normally all of our bathroom doors are locked, but since Luca was under the weather, it must have slipped his mind.

I figured that was enough for one morning, but boy was I wrong. When I slipped quietly into my bedroom to get dressed (thank god I did this), I locked the door behind me to protect our printer, lamps and picture frames from attack. Well, the girls must have smelled blood because they immediately went into our hallway closet and somehow dragged out Luca’s heavy razor scooter. As I heard something gouging our floors and walls (they don’t call it a razor for nothing), I panicked thinking they were getting hurt. In my panic, I somehow shut the Master bedroom door before unlocking it ,and, due to the fact that the doorknob is broken and doesn’t have the “unlock hinge”, proceeded to lock myself out of my bedroom.

So, when I saw you earlier, I really didn’t have the chance to “get ready”, or even check myself in the mirror before heading downstairs in pursuit of a maintenance guy to help unlock the door. BOY, when I finally saw what you saw, I really understood that I may have screwed up your commission this morning. I just had to reach out, and, at the very least, explain myself.

Getting Started

img_2170-1-e1494866887393.jpgI started writing this post 8 years ago. And, if anyone is reading this, then yes, you read that correctly. It has been EIGHT years since the day I sat to put some thoughts together and contribute something new and interesting to an already clogged online blogging world. There were big plans to become a successful NYC blogger mama (yes, another one) and launch a new career at home making all sorts of money from various online advertisers. I had just terrified my husband and left my job to be home with my 1 year old son, at the time my only child, and the new love of my life. But, anyone can safely verify that no advertising checks have been rolling in, and Diapers.com, though now delivering on a weekly basis, has never come knocking begging me to sample free new products.
While a lot has happened over these years, it’s humbling and terrifying that it’s taken me this long to put something out there- or perhaps expose myself more personally. How the hell did I actually manage to let 8 years pass without completing a post? And, now that I’ve actually written this, how embarrassing it could be if i can’t come up with any new material. So, if anyone is reading, this could be the beginning and the end all wrapped up in one short post. Only time will tell. I pray I will have something to say, or the time to say it, on a somewhat regular basis. But who knows?
Since life doesn’t always go as planned, I am working more on “letting go”; just seeing what happens and not being so afraid of the unknown or possible failure. Only thing is that the last time I did this, on some level, I wound up having twins at the age of 45. Since they are identical twins, these were truly the “surprise” kind. That our lives were turned upside down is putting it mildly. Going from an easy, breezy, flexible family of 3, able to make plans on a dime, to the parents of a 9 year old and TWO 2 year old, defiant, toddlers can be harrowing. Before, we could spend time on “each other”. Now, there are days where the only civilized words spoken may be “she pooped again, it’s your turn to change her”. This can test a marriage. But, having survived the first 2 years, I keep hoping we’ve turned a corner; that things are going to get easier. Well now I don’t want to bore you with carrying on; let me save some for the next time- hopefully less than 8 years from today. Until then.