Category Archives: Friends & Family

gOOd ideas with friends and family in mind

Cat and Dog People

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I grew up with dogs so I thought I was a dog person.  But then  I got a cat.  Sorry Fido, I’m hooked, on felines.  Ever since I proclaimed my pet partiality I’ve wondered what makes a person pick  team cat vs. team dog. It’s more then just a preference like vanilla or chocolate.  It’s much, much more.

To answer the question, cat vs. dog I turned to the expert on most things – Google. There is enough research and opinion out there to write a thesis on this topic but here are my top 5 findings about dog people and cat people.

  1. It seems everybody agrees that dog people are more outgoing and friendly then cat people. No surprise there, right? Just picture the folks in the park throwing Frisbees to beautiful golden retrievers. Are they not the picture of health and well being, just out there inviting conversation, companionship, or a friendly wave. “Nice throw.” “Good lookin’ dog! “What fun!”

Cat people therefore, are more like, um, cats? You see a beautiful cat who looks like he’d be yummy to pet so you approach him, hand gently extended and you say “hi kitty” in the most loving voice possible.  You get  close to him, maybe even just a few inches away and BAM!  You get a swat, a snub, or the cat simply gets up and walks away with his tail bobbing up and down, flipping  you off in cat language.  Cat people don’t mind keeping to themselves, and if a cat person is not in the mood for you, he or she  will definitely let you know.

  1. Another across the board finding was that cat people are generally smarter and more curious than dog people. There’s a bunch of supporting evidence on this but I’ve always held that dogs are not particularly smart, however they are highly trainable. I’m not sold that trainability equals smart but the majority disagrees with me.

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Here’s a picture of a dog named Scout who is internet famous for balancing things on his head, and waiting.   He has outstanding patience.   Go Scout.

Felines are complete agreement that putting a treat on their head and waiting for the command to eat it is just dumb. I think that makes them smart.  And,  I believe that cat people don’t invest a lot of time or energy in things that make no sense either, thus, smarter.

  1. There is a strong agreement out there that dog people are less neurotic than cat people. I guess it makes sense.  If you have idiosyncrasies, walking or running with a dog, receiving the dog’s love, licks, and constant reassurance that you are the one and only may help ease your problems.  But to say that dog people are less neurotic than cat people? I disagree on this one without a shred of documenting evidence except to say that the term ‘crazy cat lady’ is not without merit.
  1. I’ve repeatedly read that dog people are more tolerant than cat people. I agree, being a cat person I know intolerance first hand.   My teenage children are good examples of cat people.
  1. Dog and cat people each have a different sense of humor. I’m not sure if I understand the research behind this finding but it does go  along with two other bits of information which is this:   There is a higher percentage of females who identify as cat people, thus a higher percentage of males as dog people.   Cat people enjoy satire and irony, dog people think burping the alphabet is a sport and that the fart and dart is funny.

Oh, you dog people!   I like you all, even if you have gone over to the bark side.

 

Finding Your People

 

cgsqdbquqaak2qnI attended the Erma Bombeck Humor Writers Workshop last April. There was recently a request for attendees to comment on successes they’ve had since that time.  If you know this particular group of people, you would know that successes are measured in many ways.. “I finally found the courage to ask for what I want,” or “I finished and published my novel” are both acceptable answers.  I thought long and hard about my own answer to this call for success stores ,because  I did not finish a novel, nor did I find courage to speak up.   I found my people.

Every meeting, everyday, every meal, snack, session, and after hours moments led me to the most interesting, loving, and funny people you could imagine – and not always in the knee slapping belly laughing kind of way. I sat next to a woman who lost her 16-year-old daughter to suicide.  She shared her story with me, how she came to terms with things and now she was looking to find her “funny” again,   It’s as if the ‘funny’ was a drug. Of course there were outlandishly funny people there, including stand up comics, humor bloggers, even TV personalities known for their funny side.   And there was no shortage of fiction and non-fiction writers of satire.   The most hilarious new greeting came from a  person who told me “I don’t even know why I’m here!  I’m not even a writer!”   She was looking for something new.

Some of us find our people at Wal-Mart, some at Armani.

It’s important to find your people, no matter what age you are. I found my people in college where I learned how to party, and the value of hard work. I found my people in my first ‘real job’ where all of us post grads suffered under the hand of a boss who makes Michael Scott seem average. I found my people when my twins were born and a bunch of the moms of twins joined in joy and misery.   I found my people at Erma.

From every stage of my life I’ve found my people, because I go out and be where we can find each other.   I’m not always looking for them, I  don’t know who they are, what they look like or when they will show up.    I know it when they come however, because they fill up a space I didn’t know was open and it just feels right.  

The best piece of relationship advice I ever got was from a friend who was from the young professional version of me – those people.   I will never forget what she said while I was despairing about meeting that someone.   “Just do what you like to do,” she said.  “You’ll find like minded people who like to do what you like to do, and then you can do that together.”  In fairness my mother probably said that to me, many times, but let’s face it, mom advice is usually only good in hindsight.    

I spoke to my friend, the advice-giver recently,  and even though it had been years and years since we spoke, it was as if it was just the other day that we parted.  

Once you find even one of your people, they will always be with you, in different geographies, or sizes, or importance, but they never leave, they’re you people after all, and you are theirs. 

 

 

 

My Daughter Wants To be Vegetarian

From Your Teen for Parents Magazine, September 2016  –  (subscribe to the print edition of the magazine, you won’t regret it.  Subscribe)

Mom, I Want to Be a Vegetarian! Becoming a Vegetarian-Friendly Family

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By Helen Chibnik

It’s late on Sunday afternoon. The chores are done, dinner is sizzling in the oven, and you finally have some time for yourself. But just as you finish No. 2 across in the Sunday crossword puzzle, your 16-year-old daughter appears before you to say, “I’ve decided not to eat meat anymore, or chicken, or fish. I’m becoming a vegetarian.”

You peer at her over the top of your glasses and without taking a breath, you point toward the kitchen and say, “Well then I don’t know what you’re going to eat for dinner because do you smell that? It’s a stuffed roaster, with gravy!”

This was the scene in my home about a month ago.

Because teenagers are filled with mini-rebellions against pretty much everything, I wasn’t sure if her announcement was a well-thought-out lifestyle change, or a temporary insurgence against beef. But when she didn’t leave the room I added, “I guess you’ll have to learn to cook.”

Becoming a Vegetarian

We want our tweens to be assertive, to maintain their values, and to live their best lives, don’t we? Of course we do. But I have three tweens and a job and no time or desire to learn new recipes or change the way our family eats.

I outlined why becoming a vegetarian wouldn’t work for her:

1.  You’re an athlete, and you won’t get enough protein.

2.  Nobody in our family likes tofu.

3.  I don’t know how to cook without chicken stock.

She still didn’t leave or get upset with me, so I folded the newspaper and gave her my undivided attention.

“Okay, why?” I asked.

“Things have changed, Mom,” she began. “We don’t need to eat like cave people any more.” She pointed to our family dog. “Would you eat Lucky?” she asked.

“Of course not,” I answered. “He’s our pet.”

“Some people have chickens for pets. And you know what else? Consuming meat like we do is a problem. It’s hurting the planet, and I don’t want to be part of the problem. You’re always telling us, ‘Don’t be part of the problem.’”

So there it was. She was using my advice against me. Damn her for being so incisive!

For dinner she had a plain baked potato and steamed carrots. As I ate the crispy skin from my chicken thigh, I started to dislike her for her healthy choices. What was my problem?

The next day at her request, we went shopping. I had to fight my herding instincts to let her go down the health food aisle but I managed. Staring at us were cellophane bags of things like almond meal and spelt. “What is spelt?” I asked, in a way that might have been a little snarky. She shrugged and looked at the bag. “I don’t know. Maybe they have recipes online. Let’s look at the package.”

All of a sudden I was disarmed. This wasn’t the 16-year-old “I know everything” adventure I was expecting. I calmly explained that this was new to all of us and our whole family couldn’t change overnight.

“I know,” she said. “I don’t expect you to change, I just want to change myself.”

She was asserting herself and asking for help. That’s what I want, isn’t it?

So, I had it all wrong. She was happy to be the vegetarian member of a carnivorous family and I was the one being immature. She wasn’t judging us. She was asserting herself and asking for help. That’s what I want, isn’t it?

With the pressure off, I made a few vegetarian dishes with surprisingly little resistance from her two younger sisters. I haven’t gotten to the point where I serve the entire family chickpeas and almond loaf for Sunday dinner, but I have learned that understanding and acceptance are more important than what cooks in the oven.

Our foray into vegetarianism scared me at first. But given the chance to hear one another out, we learned how to talk about it and to see things from each other’s point of view, in a new and more mature way. She didn’t know it, but she was also teaching me how to be a better parent.

For my daughter, becoming a vegetarian had more to do with her growing independence than anything else. So as much as I will miss our trips to our favorite burger place, I would rather eat with her at Earth Foods then eat without her somewhere else. And I’m happy to say that I still serve burgers. My daughter doesn’t complain when we eat them, and I don’t mind that she doesn’t partake.

Now, when we sit down to Sunday dinner, we offer each other a healthy portion of agreeing to disagree because as it turns out, family harmony is the best dish of all.

What Attention Span?

IMG_6030 This morning I did a few of the regular morning things that many people do.  I made coffee, let the dog outside in the yard, decided not to rid the kitchen sink of the dirty dishes and went to my desk.  

Because we’re still on summer break there is zero structure, extremely flexible plans and  due dates that move along the calendar line two to three days at a time.  There’s no rush to do much unless company’s coming.  At least that’s the vibe in my house right now.   

This is the point at which, (beginning next week)  I  set a timer to read my email and then to peruse Facebook in the morning.    But  I’m on summer vacation right?   I don’t have to worry about the time space continuum making me late for work or the kids needing a 7AM last minute thing for school.   I am currently unencumbered by 20 minute intervals. 

After a few minutes of sorting through email messages I noticed one about an upcoming convention I’ve been looking for.   That message reminded me about a seminar I’m waitlisted on so  I hopped over to that page to see if there was any news but when it loaded, all kinds of information beckoned my attention!   Yes, kid in a candy store kind of stimuli.   One speaker’s bio in particular interested me but clicking on her bio took me right to Amazon and her new book.   It was no surprise that the sidebar of the Amazon page featured small printers for college dorms which was the one thing we forgot to send with our oldest  when she left for school earlier this week.   The price was appealing but I always check Shopzilla when buying online and that led me to the sale at Target.  I put the printer in my cart and got myself more coffee because I wasn’t sure if we still needed the printer.   It was then, back in the kitchen getting coffee that I made the only true decision of the morning.  I decided once again NOT to empty the kitchen sink.  

So funny story – I went back to my computer where my planner, the family calendar, a stack of bills to pay and some postage stamps reminded me that I haven’t done a single thing to make my to do list smaller and somehow I’ve been up for over two hours already.   I figured I may as well write about it since that’s the one thing I might actually finish, and at least I won’t be 100% ineffectual this morning.    As soon as I press the  ‘post’ button for this blog entry I’m going to have at that stuff in the kitchen sink, but it’s such a nice day, maybe I should take a walk first, clear my head and exercise before getting the day underway. 

Big Sister Goes To College

 When the girl in this picture was a wee tot I took her to preschool.   I held her hand as  we walked down the hallway and as soon as she let go and waved ‘bye bye’ I started to cry.  I didn’t think she saw me when I teared up, and I know for sure she didn’t see the director comfort me and show me how I could peek into the classroom undetected to see that I had nothing to worry about.

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Melody Moves into the dorm.

So as certain as I am that she didn’t see me cry that day, she still somehow knew, because on day two as I held her hand and walked her down the hallway to her teacher she looked up at me and said “Mommy, are you going to cry again today?”    Of course, you know I did.    But on day two I cried because my little baby girl didn’t seem to mind leaving me and that was hard.

Yesterday, when I left her at college, it was just as hard.

And the reason it was hard to leave her two states away in a dorm room, was not because she doesn’t need me, and it wasn’t hard because I’ll miss her.  It was hard because she’s so incredibly confident and smart and beautiful and, well, ready.    She is ready and I don’t think she’s going to need me at all soon.   It makes me  wonder if the mama bird who kicks her birdies from the nest feels the pain too.   She thinks she’s ready for them to go, but then they fly away and it’s too late to say, “wait, make sure you eat vegetables, and make good choices!”   I wonder.

When we were leaving yesterday she let me have a little pow wow with her so I was in fact able to tell her to eat right, make good choices, and go to class, even when you don’t really want to sometimes.  We hugged for a long time (I thank her for that), we both got a little teary. and then hugged for a while more.    She hugged her sisters and her dad and we all said I love you and then she waved bye bye just like she did all those years ago.   She was off to start an exciting journey and we just went home.

So today was her first day there and our first day her without her.   When I went up the stairs past her room this morning I noticed from under the door that her light was off.  I thought “Hmm, she’s still asleep,” and then I realized she’s not here.  I told her sister the story and she said “Funny, I did the same thing.”

Resisting the urge to text her, to call her, to drive two states away and peek in the window like I did when she was little is hard. Yesterday I cried because I handed her off to her new place at her new school and today I cried because she went.  Tomorrow will be better and before you know she ‘ll be home arguing with her sisters and making a mess in the kitchen and I’ll have to remember just how much I  missed it when she was gone.

And when she returns to college for another term she might say “Mom, are you gonna cry again this time?”  And my answer will probably be yes.  Of course you know I will.

 

 

 

The Fancy Dress

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I wrote this piece several months ago, but it seemed timely now that prom season is in full swing.

I recently attended the NJ All Shore Chorus’ 53rd Annual Recital. My daughter was awarded a music scholarship from All Shore this year and when she texted me from the auditions to say she had the scholarship, the first thing I thought about (after yay!) was, what will she wear?  There really isn’t any pomp and circumstance to choir wardrobes. Although she’s needed clothes for every kind of choir you can imagine, from high school to a touring A Capella group, outfitting her has always been the same. “Mom, I need a black dress.”  (It’s amazing how many different kinds of black dresses one girl can own.)   But now were were shopping for a soloist gown that might be  red, or teal, or peach, with beads, or sequins!  I was giddy.

When I was in high school I had just one gown, when we, as seniors, we were encouraged to dress formally for our final spring music recital. I remember the day when my mother bought me a fancy dress for that occasion.” Don’t tell your father how much we spent,” she said. “Just hang it up in your room.  He probably won’t even notice.”  The dress she bought me was over budget, but “for some things we make exceptions,” she said. Now it felt like my time to pay it forward.

Busy schedules sent us shopping after 8pm on three separate occasions, until finally we found the perfect dress which unfortunately did not have the perfect price tag.   But how could I not buy this for her?   How many times will an event like this happen? I could hear mother’s voice in my mind,  “She looks so beautiful in that gown.  She feels beautiful. So, you’ll have to turn the thermostat down for a month and skip all the takeout until Spring. Do it. You will regret it if you don’t.”   And then a saleslady named Anu came into the fitting room and sighed with me. “You have to get this one,” she said in an Indian accent.

“It’s really more than I was planning on spending.” I said.

“Don’t worry about the price mommy.” she said, “I fix it for you.”

And she did. Bless that saleslady who with the swipe of two coupons knocked the price of that dress down by 40%. Anu has daughters too she told me, who are all grown now. “When they feel and look that beautiful?  There is not a price for that. You’re a good mom,” she said. “We moms have to stick together.”  She smiled and zipped up the garment bag.   “Now you carry it,” she said to my daughter.  “Mom did enough hard work today.”

When she stood on the stage that night and sang for us it was perfect. It was all worth it, every penny. And after the concert, and then our small after party,  I was thinking that I hope one day my own daughters will have the chance to buy their own girls a  dream dress. And if not that, then maybe like Anu did, they can help in some other way.

There are so many things our kids want to do that require money and time we’d rather spend elsewhere. But we spend it on them for whatever the important reasons are at the time. For me, this was one of those times.

It’s true, if it can make them look and feel like a million bucks, there really is no price for that. And to my own mom and to Anu I  am grateful to be reminded that you can’t buy happiness, but once in a while you can buy a really great dress.

Best Friends

I’m sad that I have to say goodbye to another special person today.     My friend Kathy passed away this morning.  I knew she was sick, but I didn’t realize how sick until she went missing and her best friend Donna located her in a local hospital, dying.

I met Kathy before I have memories of life events and we were truly best friends.   When we were in fourth grade Kathy moved away and as any nine year old girl would, I sulked.   I grew up in  one of those inner city places where kids played outside until the streetlights came on and neighbors were in each others business all the time, and always looking out for the kids, my family and Kathy’s family included.   I have no idea how many sleepovers I had with her, but I felt like her sister and I loved her.

When she moved away, long distance phone calling was expensive for our families so  my mother made me use a timer.  I was  allowed just 10 minutes once a week to talk on the phone, and Kathy could do the same to call me, once a week.   She made a new friend named Donna when were around 11 or 12 years old.   I hated this new girl on principal, even though I knew nothing about her.  But then came the day when Donna and I were face to face and what surprised me the most  was how much I liked her.  Even more, I wasn’t at all upset when I saw them together,  Kathy and her new best friend.   Donna did, and still does have a special air of  honest caring that let me know, even at that difficult age that she loved Kathy (and me too by association), and we could all co-exist just fine.   When they left that weekend, because they both lived hours away, Kathy’s mom and dad packed up their station wagon and I waved from the sidewalk.  I said so long, but not goodbye.

Adolescence set in, and Kathy and I didn’t talk much.  I had new friends in high school as did she.   I went to college and started to work and Kathy’s life  moved forward too.  Then one day I got a wedding invitation, to Kathy’s wedding.  I didn’t think she ever really thought about me anymore and I was so excited to see her and her family again.   Her wedding  was pretty, simple, and important.   That’s the metaphor I’d use for Kathy too.  She didn’t ask for much, and she cherished what she had.  At the wedding I saw Donna again, and she  was married by that time.  She had the same light and welcoming naturalness that made me feel sad like I missed something not growing up with them, but that at the same time happy becuase everything I missed was right there.  It was if decades had passed but also as if no time had passed at all.

We got together, the three of us, a couple of times more, but mostly we kept in touch over the last ten years or so via the internet.   I got a message recently from Donna that said, “Call Kathy.”   I looked on Facebook and saw that Kathy had been in poor health, in fact, she had cancer.  That was just two weeks ago.  So I did as Donna suggested and called.  “Kathy!” I said.  “What’ve you been up to besides growing a tumor?”  She laughed and told me that she had been in a lot of pain recently but she also suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, and a host of other ailments so she shrugged off the abdominal pain as a symptom of something less significant than cancer.   But when she finally went to the doctor, she was told she had a very large tumor and that it was malignant.   We kept things as light as we could and her plan was to have surgery to remove the tumor, and then go stay with Donna to recuperate.  We made a plan that I would visit them both while she was there and have a weekend together, like old times.

Last week we found out that the cancer had spread to Kathy’s liver and lungs as well as her colon.   We had no idea.  When  Donna’s texts and phone calls to Kathy went unanswered it was clear that something else had happened.   I thought Kathy needed time to process her situation,  but Donna didn’t.  She thought to call the hospitals near Kathy’s home and found out that she was in fact in ICU with a bleak outlook.  Donna immediatly drove three hours to see Kathy and once again sent me a text that said “Call.”

I got to talk to Kathy last night and say I love you.  This time I didn’t say so long, but thanks to Donna I got to say goodbye.

What can I say about Kathy?  She was fun, and loyal, and loving, and gone too soon.   She was compassionate and appreciative and lovely.  But what else can I say?  I can say that she had an angel named Donna who I’m so happy was able to be my friend’s friend and in some ways has been my angel too.  Can I say that Kathy was so giving that she shared Donna with me, and as has always been the case, Donna shared her most precious last night with Kathy when she told me to call.  I will always be grateful for them both.

Life is hard, and it’s hard to accept that for some of us, life is short.   Two things stick out for me today.  The first is what my mom said to me after Kathy moved … “If you have are able to have one good friend in your life, one really good friend, that means a lot.”   And the other is from Stephen King, from the book different seasons…

“I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was 12 – Jesus, did you?”

― Stephen KingDifferent Seasons

 

God Bless You Kathy.  I will miss you.

 

You Crazy Moms

 

 

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This morning while stopped at a traffic light I watched a mom on a rant. It was my neighbor actually, who is a great mom to a great kid, most of the time. She was clearly annoyed with her daughter, whose gaze went everywhere except to her mother’s face. I could feel the push and pull between the two of them; the mother talking and talking without pause for her daughter to speak, and the girl, waiting for a chance to defend herself but relenting to one long sigh that went nicely with her rolling eyes. It was a clear case of the mother needing to be heard verses the girl wishing mother would just shut up. Of course it’s possible, even likely that the girl was thinking about lunch with her friends, or about a boy. I’m pretty sure she burst from the car as soon as they pulled up in front of the school and she didn’t look back, except to glare. But more importantly she won’t remember a single thing that was said in the car.   Of this I am certain.

The first thing I did when the mom/daughter duo passed by me at the traffic light was smile, happy it wasn’t me. It could have been, but it wasn’t, at least not this morning. I only had a 15 second glimpse of the scene in the minivan, the mom’s hand waving in the air, her unpainted face stuck in a grimace, a mom who’d had her fill of back talk and excuses, of lousy attitudes and empty promises from her teen. And the teenager, whose body was in the car and whose mind was a million miles away.  I get it.

The fight is exhausting.

We give them unsolicited advice. We ask what they’re up to when we already know.    We make punishments ten times larger than the offense calls for, and then when we’re too weary to follow through with the consequences, we grant them amnesty “this one time.”   Is it possible that we make them as crazy as they make us?

If there were a job posted that listed the qualifications, expectations, consequences, and pay of a mom, nobody would interview. You’d have to be crazy to take that position! But maybe that’s just it. Crazy. Yes, it is crazy to expect that their agenda, at 16 years old, could even remotely match ours. It is crazy to think that she could understand how badly I want her to mature into a decent, loving and lovable human, one who makes good choices and contributes well to society. And, it is crazy to think that I can remember high school the way she sees it today. It’s all a little nutty.

So if we are crazy, that explains the scene in the van right?  Maybe. But here’s what I also know.   The same arm that I saw waving like mad as their minivan passed my car this morning is the same arm that  will hold the girl from harms way at any cost, and that same grimacing face spewing ultimatums in the car is the same face that will say “I love you, even when you make me crazy, I love you.”

So if you lose your cool once in a while, if you know a mom who goes a little bonkers from time to time, or if you look in a minivan at the school drop off and see a mom on a rant, rest assured that this is because crazy is part of the job description.

Let’s face it; you wouldn’t get the job any other way.

It’s Snow Wonder We’re Related

 

It’s become a tradition that my daughter Emily & I make snow people in the winter.  Her sisters take the hot cocoa and indoor heat route to handle snow storms which is also attractive to me,  but I really need to build a snowman first.  Usually Em & I make one per snowfall or two if the snow is really cooperative.  A few years we ago we started naming them like winter storms.   So far we’ve had Alice, Brenda, Carlos, Dug, Elsa (of course), Floyd, George, Howard, and Irene. But the last time it snowed Emily insisted we name our snow gal Ophelia, in honor of her pineapple hair.   I’m not certain I get the association but but what’s the point in arguing a snowman’s name, really.  We’ll pick up the alphabetical order soon, maybe.

What I’ve learned from all the psychology books and classes and sessions, is that we either love or hate the way our own childhood went.  As a result we sometimes we go in some insane direction with our own childhood issues to love or hate the same things. I guess I loved making snowmen.   This year, with Ophelia still standing and more snow expected tonight, I hope we can give her some company but you never know with the weather where we live, so my fingers are crossed.

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Another thing that Emily & I share every time it snows is cleaning off the cars.   This year we found a new way to clean off the tops.   As you can see, Emily really likes it.

People say that Emily & I look alike.   Whether you agree or not, we like a lot of the same things, especially when it comes to snow.

 

The Blizzard of 2003

 

We’re waiting for a blizzard tonight.  If it arrives like the weather channel is predicting we will have plenty of snow to rock a good snowman/woman/person/ball by morning.

Almost 13 years ago, in February 2003,  my brother paid us a visit.  He brought 3 beautiful Micky Mouse Costumes for my daughters who were 2,2, & 4 at the time.  He said they were ridiculously cheap Halloween leftovers from the Disney store and the girls could wear them next year.   My first thought was that I didn’t need to store 3 beautiful Mickey Mouse Halloween Costumes that won’t fit by  Halloween.  My second thought was thanks.   I overreacted, my trademark.   I hated them, the kids loved them.

His plan was to spend the day at our house and stay for supper, but he said the forecast was calling for a major snow and he wanted to leave in time to beat the storm.   Again, I overreacted telling him that he was crazy, I’d heard nothing about snow and he should not worry.  But okay,  “Go if you feel you must.” And so he did.  May I add another bit about stay at home mom burnout?  I never heard the news,  I watched Barney on TV and Elmo music in the car.   To learn the weather, I woke up and looked out the window.

So after he left, I forged outside with the girls to get ready for the snow, just in case my brother was right about the weather.   First stop was the craft store. I was not going to be without glue, paint, or play-do and be stuck in the house.  Food could wait.   I bundled up the kids and off we went just as the snow began to fall. I don’t remember exactly what we bought in Michaels but I do remember that by the time I got out of the store there was 3″ of snow on my car.  I put the kids in the car, brushed of the windshield and thought maybe I should stop at the A&P before going home, just in case.

In and out of the car with three preschoolers in a snow storm, I must have been crazy, or determined, or desperate.  I remember seeing the manager in the crowded store and suggesting he close since he was pretty much out of food,  but all we needed was a couple of boxes of captain crunch, some boxed milk, and we were good to go.

That afternoon and the night that followed we got almost two feet of snow.  I was wrong about the snow and I was wrong about the Mickey Mouse costumes.  The girls put them on and refused to take them off for two days.   They wore them to play, to nap, to eat, and to bed.   I was right however about Halloween, the costumes didn’t fit them by then.  But who cares.

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