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?

 

 

 

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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.