Care-giving 101: Boomers Beware



What an unfortunate end to a terrific week at the lake, with all our kids and grandsons, celebrating our patriarch’s birthday. During one final swim, my husband slipped on the dock, had to have surgery on a fracture through the knee joint and is now only 10 days into an 8-12 week stint of no weight bearing. And yes, living in a 2nd floor walk-up, we’re both counting!

When life moves along as usual we tend to feel bad for those who are injured by trauma and their caretakers but don’t really give much thought to the challenges they’re facing. As with so many other circumstances, it’s only through experience that we really know how it feels. Continue reading

Posted in Commentary, Daily Living | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Culture Vulture

BroadwayI became a first time parent in middle age. Prior to that, I had a long run immersed in the cultural life of New York City, where I lived, and still live. My cultural palate was diverse and full, and I felt humbled and grateful to be deeply connected to a world so richly filled with art and artists.

I had a big social life, and most of my friends were people I’d met at artist colonies, where I often spent time writing. The friends I made were novelists, poets, screenwriters, painters, sculptors, composers, and musicians.

Fast forward to my new life as the first time mother of an infant daughter. I was simply too exhausted to do much socializing or event-hopping. I got by on so little sleep, and had so little free time, I didn’t have it in me to linger over lunch with a poet friend to discuss her latest chapbook.

When I did have time to socialize, I often did it with my daughter in tow, and it tended to be with other new parents, which whom I could discuss the minutia of diaper rash, diaper changing, and the best type of stroller for city streets, rather than the use of metaphor in the latest French avant-garde film. I was far less obsessed with the arts at that point than with my daughter’s “art” of projectile vomiting. Continue reading

Posted in Commentary, Daily Living, Mothers Over 50 | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Q&A with Brian Leaf, Author of Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi

The subtitle of your book is Cloth Diapers, Cosleeping, and My (Sometimes Successful) Quest for Conscious Parenting. What do you mean by Conscious Parenting?

Conscious Parenting is really no diffMisadventureserent from conscious anything else. It could be conscious Monopoly playing, conscious eating, conscious hiking, or conscious Texas Hold’em.

It simply means being aware of whatever is happening – the challenges, the joys, the anxieties, as well as our reactions to all of this. When we are aware of something we are separate from it. So, instead of acting from frustration, elation, or fear, we act from our deeper selves. We see more clearly and are more free to behave as we choose. Continue reading

Posted in Commentary, Daily Living | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Love is Never Having to Say “Clean Up”

clean upEarlier today, when my son went into the den to pick out a movie, I grabbed a few of his creations—construction paper topped with dried, crumbling Play-dough ‘sculptures’—and dumped them in the trash. They had been sitting on the coffee table for weeks, and every time I looked at them I fought off the urge to toss them.

Does that sound mean?

Let me explain further: Also in the living room, where I’m working, the sofa is festooned with (wonderful, whimsical) drawings of spaceships and astronauts, along with Star Wars figures, all affixed with tape. Continue reading

Posted in Commentary, Daily Living, Midlife Foibles!, Mothers Over 40 | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Rescuing Julia Twice

Saving julia twiceDr. T couldn’t have been more pleased with Julia’s progress. At 18 months, my baby was in the 95th percentile for her weight. She was talking, walking, her muscle tone was excellent. All good signs for a child adopted just 14 months earlier from a Siberian orphanage.

Dr. T specializes in treating internationally-adopted children. During my daughter’s third well-visit, he recommended a second round of vaccines because he didn’t trust the ones she received in Russia. He asked me how Julia was eating, glancing over his bifocals to read her chart. I told him she’s on an organic, whole-foods, non-meat diet. He said, “good,” and with a kind glint in his eye, added, “She looks great. You’re doing a great job. Bring her back in six months.” Continue reading

Posted in Commentary, Daily Living | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Swimsuit Season

family bathing suitsWell, fans, it’s back-to-you-know-what time, and once again we’re hoping that everyone is returning refreshed, with a little more knowledge and maybe a little more confidence than last year! We’re pretty excited up here in the booth, as we get a bird’s-eye view of the season’s latest styles.

We’ve seen it all over the years, haven’t we? Hahaha. I mean, especially with The Mom – the shorts and t-shirt . . . the skirts that float around her like some bizarre jellyfish when she steps into the water . . . the caftans . . . the wraps . . . the classic towel-about-the-waist . . . yes, folks, she’s really “covered” the gamut in her ongoing efforts to convince us she doesn’t have thighs! And I don’t even want to think about the bikini wax issue! Continue reading

Posted in Commentary, Daily Living, Midlife Foibles!, Mothers Over 50 | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Excerpts from The Zen of Midlife Mothering- Jane Samuel

Jane Samuel's Zen photoDear Mama: A Letter to My Daughter’s Birthmother

by Jane Samuel

Dear Mama,

Can I call you that? Mama? I know you are not my mother, but that is what she would have called you if she had been permitted to. Had stayed in your arms, in your home, never finding her way to that gate and thus, that spartan, sweltering-in-summer, freezing-in-winter room of crying, hungry, abandoned babies. Unlike me, she would have said it with the right tonal inclination, parroting back your words as you taught her with thought, word and deed who you were – her Mama.

Mama, I have so much to say. So many questions and so many answers. Some for me but most her.  Perhaps you have some too? You should.

First can you tell me, tell her, who you are? Entirely, in every cell of your being. Are you a wife, tied to your husband, and his family, in the traditional, filial way? Or are you single, not ever planning to be mother but left that way after some human-need-driven encounter amidst some backward industrial city of the great China…

Sometimes I have wished we could find you. But I know that is next to impossible, and as she and I have talked she has come to know this too, as hard a fact as it is. Perhaps it is the impossibility of this that makes it safe to dream of meeting you, having you know her and her know you. Because as much as I want to heal her of whatever bits of loss still tug at her heart I would not, could not, give her back to you. She is my daughter and our bond after years of love and work is stronger than blood – I think….

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The True Gifts of Father’s Day

Len FilppuMy fatherhood style runs a strange range between Robert Young of Father Knows Best and Ozzy Osbourne, bat biter, so it’s always good for me to bounce ideas off other dads… even if I get back a twisted triangulation on my parental reality. I invited my friend Vern to join me for a pre-Father’s Day drink at my favorite watering hole.

While I repeated my order of a non-fat, no foam, decaf latte to the bustling barista, Vern grumbled, “I thought you invited me for a drink? That generally indicates alcohol. This place reminds me of a library.”  Continue reading

Posted in Commentary, Daily Living, Reinventing Ourselves | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

My Two Dads (In Honor of Father’s Day)

Me and Dad

Me and Dad

You could say I always had suspicions.  The fact that they get along so well in and of itself was a tipoff, but true confirmation came the first time I saw my husband clean the house.  He was a man on a mission, determined to clean it like it had never been cleaned before . . . and convinced that it hadn’t been.

I found myself watching the whole scenario with my mother’s bemused expression and thought, “Oh . . . my . . . GOD.  I’ve married my father.”

Although I’m doing better with it as time goes on, I admit I saw many of the stages of grief when the similarities started becoming noticeable.  There was denial (“No. I’m imagining it.  He does not turn the TV up after I go to bed”), anger (“Okay, stop it! I mean it! Stop rearranging my counters!”), all the way to acceptance (“All right, honey.  We can leave for the show two hours early.”) Continue reading

Posted in Commentary, Daily Living, Midlife Foibles!, Mothers Over 40, Mothers Over 50 | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

10 Things Not to Say to a News Editor About Being an Older Mother

newspaperThe media-led furore around older mothers rumbles on. Tabloid headlines inferring that the rise in mothers over the age of 50 having babies was responsible for excessive pressure across the health service. The percentage increase was huge but in real terms the number of women (in the UK) giving birth into their fifth decade went up to the total of 154 – a tiny figure as a part of the general rise in the number of births to older parents (35 and upwards).

When figures like this are published, I get approached by the press about my own experience as an older mother. My response is and has consistently the same – that I am where I am, and that I’m extremely blessed to be the mother of a wonderful, exuberant and thriving two-year-old. And, that (in common with mothers everywhere) I’m doing the best I can for my daughter to ensure she has a happy childhood, and a safe and secure future.

Sometimes that’s OK. But often the journalist will prod, looking for an angle, “How do you deal with the negative view of older parents?” “Did you feel judged by the medical profession?” “Are people rude to you when you breastfeed in public?” “You must have had a terribly difficult pregnancy?” “Do you have low energy levels due to your age?” and so on and so forth. Continue reading

Posted in Commentary, Daily Living, Midlife Foibles!, Mothers Over 40, Mothers Over 50 | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment