Daily Living

23 Tips For My Blossoming (Nearly) Teenage Daughter

Julie and daughter I

My daughter will be a teenager soon. It’s frightening to think of all of the situations she may find herself in and challenges she will face on her own. There are so many things I want to tell her about what it means to be a decent, kind human-being. I trust in these lessons with a certainty I wish I’d know 20 years ago.

And, although I know the last thing she wants to do right now is listen to her mother, I desperately want to find a way to open her heart and let these words (and tips) sink in:

1-Worry, jealousy and guilt are wasted emotions.

2-Don’t be in a hurry to settle down. Travel the world, live alone at least once and learn how to manage your own finances first. [Read More…]

By |July 2nd, 2015|Categories: Commentary, Daily Living|Tags: , |1 Comment

Three Tips for Choosing Resilience

To one degree or another, we’ve all suffered adversity and experienced setbacks. But have you heard about post-traumatic growth? You know, it’s always possible to bounce back.

Whether you’re hit in the face with a crisis or making a slow transition to the next chapter, expect a cascade of emotions–anxiety, the desire to hold on, fear, maybe even a sense of freedom. If you step back, take a deep breath and face the situation squarely, you can’t help but grow from the challenges:

Look into your part. You have a choice about how to see your situation at this moment and what attitude you want to assume. Try not to be a victim or feel helpless. And no matter who initiated what happened, don’t focus on accusation and blame. You can’t control others but you can change yourself. To work toward a more positive outcome, take whatever responsibility is yours and figure out what you need to do next. http://hermentorcenter.com/resources/building-resilience/new-normal-after-separation/

Look at yourself. Put on your detective hat and examine your present circumstances. Is the increase in stress due to finances, work, family or other relationships? Your reaction to problems can be compounded by events that are outside of your control. http://hermentorcenter.com/resources/building-resilience/earthquake-tsunami-meltdown/       Take charge of what is within your reach. And begin to assess how to improve your competency in areas such as management, communication, delegation or conflict resolution. Track the changes you’re working on as you integrate them into your emotional toolbox.

Look for an action plan. Explore the cause and effects of the issues you’re confronting. Whether it’s about the end of your marriage, the loss of a job or the death of a loved one, http://hermentorcenter.com/resources/building-resilience/rochette-courage-despite-loss/ set some long [Read More…]

Up Close and Personal: The Joys of Turning 50 – The Colonoscopy

Melanie in the waiting roomI turned 50 this past December.  It was one of the best days of my life.  My husband and son showered me with love and affection.  I received phone calls from family and friends, and got lots of Facebook love.  Topping the evening off was dinner out with Tom and one of my BFFs, Peggy and her husband Jimmy.  It was definitely a day to remember.  Leading up to it I was excited, and also pensive.

If I’m lucky, I’ll have lived half or a little over half my life and at some point I’ll probably write about how I’d prefer to spend the next half.  On turning 50, one thing I knew for certain was that I’d hear from the AARP and I’d need to get a colonoscopy.

My husband had one a couple years ago and I knew what to expect.  Drinking lots of liquids and spending a lot of time in the bathroom.  Everyone says the preparation is the worst.  Well, I’m here to say it wasn’t so bad.

[Read More…]

The Art of Fatherhood

Nancy LaMar's dad and babyDads on Duty

These days, it seems that dads have taken on a more prominent role when it comes to raising the kids.  Dads are not just showing up at baseball or soccer games but are attending the parent/teacher conferences and sometimes even making the play date arrangements.

Where has this new sense of fatherhood stemmed from?  What role reversal has evolved in the new millennium that has made it politically correct for men to even don the new fangled breast feeding devices that, up until a few years ago, that duty, by nature, was for moms only?

Old School Parenting

My own father was a child of The Great Depression. And, when I asked him once what his father did for a living, his response was, “whatever he could, kid.”  His reply made me realize how many generations of fathers never had the luxury of truly participating in a child’s life.  These dads of the early and mid part of the 20th century, who racked up long hours and put in enough overtime as it took to afford the bicycle at Christmas time or new baseball glove.  [Read More…]

By |June 26th, 2015|Categories: Commentary, Daily Living, Fatherhood|Tags: , , |2 Comments

The Forever Fatherhood of Fame (A Tribute to My Father)

hall of fameIf you were to meet my father in person, you would not call him trendy, ahead of the times, or progressive.  He would not stand out in any way other than a warm, welcoming smile that makes you wonder what’s behind it. His classic Dockers, or jeans and white sneakers with a polo shirt would quickly categorize him as the conservative businessman he is. He is polite and friendly, but not overly friendly.

He is considerate, but likes things run his way.  He acknowledges himself as unique, but really, he just blends into a crowd. You wouldn’t meet my father and know he raised two kids primarily on his own. You wouldn’t know the mother of his children spent the majority of their marriage in and out of treatment for a mental illness that disabled her on many levels.

You wouldn’t know when he finally left the marriage it was because the roller coaster had no end in sight and there was nothing left that he hadn’t tried to make it work. You also wouldn’t know the intense pain and regret he felt when the woman he vowed to love forever, eventually took her own life. [Read More…]

The Last Conversation with Dad

Lydia Chiappetti's dadWhen my dad died last year, the head of his senior living facility asked, “What was it like to grow up with your father?” She had experienced firsthand his take-no- prisoner’s style. Dad was a tough man, endearing only to his children and grandchildren. My mother, who had waited on him hand and foot for 60 years, would never have called him endearing.

With my mother’s passing, I became his gal Friday: cook, cleaner, driver, financial planner and gardener. Oh yes, almost forgot, companion as well. The only problem was that I lived ninety minutes away. I still jump when the phone rings, wondering if it’s Dad with his usual inquiry. “Where are you?” A gravelly voice on the other end demands, “I need you now!”

After hanging up, I would rush down the interstate to clean up the flooded basement or to fill out financial forms.  When my duties were fulfilled, his voice would soften and say, “Thank you, Sweetheart.”  I don’t seem to recall him ever thanking my mother for all she had done. Somehow, he had found a bit of tenderness in his late eighties. [Read More…]

My Father’s Hand

               I

I look up to see my father,
towering above me.
He takes my hand, and as we go
through the turnstile,  I am excited
by my first ride with him on the subway. [Read More…]

A Letter To My Husband On Father’s Day

Jo-Ann Rogan's husband and kids IDear Elliott:

You declared for months,  after our oldest Ryan was born, that you are a Dad, someone’s Dad! You came to parenting reluctantly, as you do so much in life.  For my whole pregnancy, you would say over and over, I don’t get why people have kids and I am not sure I can do this. Now, over a decade in, I am here to say, you are an incredible father.  [Read More…]

7 (Father’s Day) Tips for Honoring Fathers Not Living at Home

Stepfamilies Daddy photoMothers are still more likely to get primary custody of children following divorce than fathers, leaving the majority of divorced fathers the “non-residential parents.” Fathers that, chances are, love their children very much and whose children love them, too.

Father’s Day can be particularly difficult for this set of dads whose contact with their children may be limited to every other weekend and/or summer vacations.

Unquestionably, fathers play an important part in their children’s lives, from birth through to adolescence, young adulthood and beyond. In recent years, there has been growing recognition of the significance of fathers, residential or otherwise, to families and to the behavioral, general health and well-being of their children’s life.

As Jeffrey Rosenberg and W. Bradford Wilcox found in their work, ‘The Importance of Fathers in the Healthy Development of Children, children who experience an involved, caring father are more likely to be emotionally secure, be confident to explore their surroundings and, as they grow older, have better social connections and educational outcomes. [Read More…]

Dressing Daddy (That is, My Husband)

Gina's flipflopsTwenty-eight years ago, the following were my husband’s five rules of fashion:

1. Beige is good; more beige is better, and a whole lot of beige is best – Most people identify red or green or even periwinkle as their favorite color.  Not my husband, Jeff – he liked that nebulous not brown, not white shade of regurgitated oatmeal, known as beige.  He liked it so much that in the pre-Gina era, 90% of his wardrobe was beige.

He had it all – beige golf shirts, beige (aka khaki) pants, beige sports jacket, even beige socks which he often wore simultaneously for an effect that what was, at best, underwhelming.  There was an advantage (if one can call it that) to Jeff’s love affair with beige – his outfits never clashed.  No danger of pink paired with red, no maroon mixed with orange.  Only beige – bleak and boring beige. [Read More…]

By |June 18th, 2015|Categories: Commentary, Daily Living, Midlife Foibles!|Tags: , , |0 Comments
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