Guest columnist “Anonymous:” Why I’m Grateful For My Children

 

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He’s a fiftysomething father of a son, 29, and a daughter, 26, lives in the Northeast with his wife of 30 years, and runs a highly respected professional services firm.

Dear kids,

 

Am I grateful for you? Yes. I’m grateful that you’re both, like me, interested in politics, history, movies and sports. I’m also grateful that, like me, you root for the Mets and the Jets, however pathetic those teams may be. More important, I’m grateful that we all wear our love of Israel and Judaism on your sleeves. And I’m especially grateful that you have both grown up to be kind, intelligent, hard-working adults.

 

But I am also ungrateful. Ungrateful that time has moved so quickly. I feel bad that you both live so far away. I’ve always lived within 15 minutes of my boyhood home.

 

Still, let me say this. I’ve always felt grateful for the ideals my parents tried to instill in me. And when it was my turn to have children, I wanted to share the values that I learned with you. And I believe it was beneficial for you both to witness the relationship your mother and I had with our parents.

 

Let me confess something you both already know: I am hardly what you would call an effusive person. I am no John Boehner, Ed Muskie or Jack Paar, crying at every opportunity. In fact, I doubt my tear ducts function. If you ever heard me gush, you would probably be uncomfortable. But when it comes to being grateful for my children or anything else, this I believe. Actions speak louder than words.

 

I’m grateful that like me, you both adhere to the philosophy known as L’dor v’dor. That Hebrew phrase, used in both prayer and friendly conversation, translates to “from generation to generation.” It also means we’re responsible for more than ourselves. We’re also responsible for others, especially for those younger.

 

As you know, my father joins us every Friday night for a Shabbos meal. Most of those dinners, in between eating challah and drinking wine, feature classic debates about politics, history and sports. I know my father is grateful that I respect his values, that I’ve tried to live those values every day, and that I’ve tried to pass those values on to you. My hope is you will follow our lead, joyfully, when you have children of your own.

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New Year’s Eve Guest Columnist “No Drama Mama:” Why I Should Just Let You Be You

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She is an attorney, a wife of eight years and a mother of two years. When she’s not working, wifing (yes, she knows that’s not a word!), and mothering, she can be found hiking or writing at No Drama Mama (

http://www.thenodramamama.com). She remains anonymous at her employer’s request, so urges you against trying to figure out her identity.

Dear Miss L,

We had an awesome year together. I will always treasure 2011 as the year you learned to talk, the year you stopped being my baby and started being my little girl, and the year we realized you were deathly afraid of chickens. But now 2011 is ending, and it’s time to look forward to 2012. 2011 was great, but next year is going to be even better! To kick it off right, I came up with a few resolutions:

1. Let you be you. I’m just going to say it: I hate playing baby. I hate playing tea party. I don’t want to pretend to change your doll’s diapers, or pretend to cook you food. I already have a baby to care for (you!) and I already have to cook and clean dishes (also mostly because of you!). But these are your favorite games, and as much as I wish you would play with your trains instead, I resolve to be a more willing participant. And on the days when I really can’t stand another second, I resolve to tag in your daddy.

2. Take a weekend off. Speaking of daddy, I resolve to steal him away for a weekend trip and leave you with Nana and Papa. The most important thing I can do as your mom is to give you two parents who love each other as much as we love you. Marriages take work, and if that “work” can be done at a romantic hotel on a white sand beach, far away from tantrums and early morning wake-up calls, so much the better. We’ll send you a postcard!

3. Write moreabout you. I know, I already write a lot! But the truth is, a lot of the things I write about you are not exactly flattering. Writing is an outlet for me, and let’s face it, the drama is funnier than the sweet moments (although I do occasionally mention those too, I swear!). While I was pregnant, your daddy bought me a journal just to write about you. It has only one entry. In the throes of morning sickness, I wrote “Dear Baby, you make me sick. Hugs and kisses, Mommy.” So I resolve to fill the journal full of stories of you, the funny things you say, and what makes your face light up. You’re changing every day, leaving old phases behind and entering new ones. Too many wonderful moments are easily forgotten, and we will need those memories to get us through the teenager years.

Here’s to a year full of stories, tea parties, and love!

Love,

Mommy

 

P.S. – Tomorrow see my own parental resolutions for 2012.

Guest Mom: I’ll Be Here For You Always

Here, in honor of Mother’s Day, is a guest blog from a long-time friend of mine. The author — a mother of three, a wife of over 30 years and a busy executive in New York City — prefers, at least here, to remain anonymous.

My Dear, Dear Children,

When you were born, you were so helpless and I had to do everything for you. Mother Nature provides new mothers with hormones to insure that we fall head over heels in love with our children. This is the kind of love needed to cope with the all-consuming type of nurturing you needed back then when you couldn’t do anything for yourselves. Day or night, rain or shine, if you needed it – I made sure you had it. I was thrilled to do it all.

Fast forward to today when it’s not always so clear what kind of nurturing and mothering you need. Oh sure, there’s the kind of mothering that requires me to make sure the refrigerators and pantries are filled so you don’t starve – but I’m talking more about what you might actually need from me as a person.

I’ve tried to be the kind of mother you can come to when you have a problem, a concern or you’re upset. Sometimes you do – and I try my best to give you the guidance or advice you need or the loving support you want. When you don’t come to me and you’ve gone down the wrong path, I feel like I’ve failed you in some way. I hate to see any of you in pain.

I believe I’ve told you all many times, but it bears repeating, there’s nothing you can do in this life that would cause me to stop loving you. Nothing! Never! You can always tell me the truth about anything and I’ll try my best to help you as much as I can. The sad fact is, though, unlike your younger years, when your needs were so basic, your needs today aren’t always things a mother can fix.

I want to tell you that I can’t, no matter how badly I want to, do the following: make someone love you when you want them to (or soothe the broken heart which results); repair the economy of our country and our world so that the (fill in the blank) that you want so badly is available to you right now when you want it; make the teacher/professor think highly of your work and give you the “A” you so strongly believe that you deserve; and even more timely – I cannot control the weather when it snows on your plans! I know a child’s mother is supposed to be able to fix anything but your childhoods are now (or are soon to be) over, and being a parent to an adult child is a new experience for me.

So as we celebrate Mother’s Day, I ponder how my love for all of you has grown and evolved over the past twenty-plus years. I ponder what I can do for you all at this juncture in our relationships that will reinforce for you how very much I love you now and how I can give you what you want and need from a mother today.

With love from your friend,

Mom

Valentine’s Day Guest Blog: Dear Kids, Here’s How I Met Your Dad

Here, in honor of Valentine’s Day, is a guest blog from a long-time friend of mine. The author is a mother of three, a wife of over 30 years (to the same husband yet), and a busy executive in New York City who prefers, at least here, to remain anonymous.

My Dear Dear Children ,

We were in college. I was a sophomore, he was a junior. It was a volatile time in my life and I was in turmoil. It was a calm time in his. I had a friend in a special degree program who was working on a special project about which she wanted my opinion. She was working on her project with a guy I had never met or heard of and he would be there.

He walked in and I was immediately smitten. I was head over heels in love at first sight. I could think of little else but him. I had to be in a relationship with him. It felt different from anything I’d had with any former boyfriend (and I’d had a good few before).

Of course, he hadn’t the slightest interest in me.

I chased after him as subtly as I could manage in the state I was in. I’m sure it was anything but subtle to him, but I was determined. I found out what classes he was in and hung out when he’d be coming and going to them. I got his phone number and called his house when I knew he had to be home. I’d ask him for help with my classes. I made all sorts of excuses to get near to him.

He was lovesick for someone else who wasn’t interested in him. I made myself so nice and so there all the time that he couldn’t avoid me. We went out on a first date and I accidentally let it slip. Yes, I said those three little words on the first date. “I love you,” I said.

Amazingly, it didn’t scare him off.

Thirty-plus years is a long time to be married. It doesn’t feel now like it felt then. It’s no longer an infatuation. It isn’t exciting every minute like it was then. Today, our love is a completely different experience. We’ve been each others’ partner, each others’ family, for a long time. We’ve built a bond that can stretch pretty far without breaking. It’s a richer kind of love.

It probably doesn’t look like something you want to emulate but look around. There aren’t many marriages today that last nearly as long. It’s an accomplishment to have such a relationship. It’s worthy of the work it takes to keep it going.

On Valentine’s Day, we think about love, and in particular, romantic love. It’s a good time to remind you that it was an expression of love – ours, for each other — that brought all of you into this world.

Love from your friend,

Mom