Party Time

I celebrated my first state-side birthday the other day. And more importantly, I hosted my first state-side, no, it needs to be noted- Manhattan- kids birthday party on the weekend.
Everyone is still standing and talking to each other. And no kids were lost. In either celebration.

I was spoiled rotten.

I like to act as though I really don’t care about my birthday, but truthfully, it feels really nice to have a day where people shower you in well-wishes and happy thoughts. It just does.
I remain really, really uncomfortable with blatant and prolonged ‘centre -stage’ time, and somehow the network of people I’ve become integrated into in this new home of ours recognized this. There was a coffee awaiting my arrival at work, there was a really, really sweet singing of ‘happy birthday’ with a petroleum-iced ( my favourite kind) cake accompanying it, there was an insistence that I wrap the day up from home and enjoy the evening after volunteering at my daughter’s school (that’s a whole other delightful treat for the day), there were TWO beautiful bouquets of flowers awaiting my arrival at home, and there was Mexican food (and drinks) to wrap it all up in a nice little package.
And somewhere along the line in there my we went for mom and daughter mani-pedis.

As for Nora’s 6th birthday party…?
Well, according to Brett ( I was too busy sweating and saying ‘what a f$&*ing GONG show this is’ under by breath for the full 2 hours to notice, really), the kids had a blast.
We officially attempted integration into every day life here, by throwing this damn party.
And we made our little girl feel pretty special.
Still, neither kid gets the insanity of having the Freedom Tower as a backdrop for your party hosted at the goofy golf on the pier overlooking Lady Liberty. Maybe when she’s 21 and looking through old photos she’ll giggle at it.
But right now, she’s feeling full and confident and happy that her pals were able to come and play and get sunburned and full with cake and pizza ( NY pizza.)

I’ve gotta admit- I didn’t quite realize how much anxiety I was feeling as a result of this damn party. Maybe it’s a case of ‘too much time of my hand’ for that to honestly cause me stress ( I’m calling bullshit right now on claim because I don’t feel idle…!), but the new logistical challenges this presented (no car, no house to host it in, no dollar store to pillage, and no clue what these kids and their parents would expect from a party) coupled with my maternal instinct to ensure that my baby felt like the most special kid for a day… I was stressed.
The 100 degree weather might not have helped. And yet, the bike pizza delivery guy arrived on time. And the rose I smuggled in was enjoyed by the moms who stuck around. And even the broke actor I hired last minute as an actual ‘mommy helper’ sure helped. What the EFF has happened to me?

The 6 extra hands from my amazing family helped too. I would have definitely said many more swears without them. And would have definitely lost a kid. Maybe on purpose.

Next year I think I am taking Nora on a boat ride for her birthday instead. We’ll wear fancy dresses or something.

Or, I’ll do this whole party thing all over again. Because she’ll ask me what we’re doing for her birthday this year, Mommy, and I’ll say ‘having a party, of course, babe!’

Eli’s is in September- time to start planning how a four year old celebrates Manhattan-style. I wonder if the Freedom Tower has a party room…


Dogs, Tears and Motherhood.

First up.  Dogs.  This one of the most moving films I’ve ever seen.  I expect everyone that has ever met, loved or cared for a dog before, will be in tears by the end.  Happy and sad tears.  Absolutely brilliant.  Disclaimer: it also deals with cancer, so it can be terribly difficult to watch for some… but it really is beautiful.  Denali was a wonderful fellow.

Denali from FELT SOUL MEDIA on Vimeo.

Next up Motherhood.  This piece is one of my first attempts at art photography.  Not abstract, nor fancy, nor geometric, nor portrait, nor landscape, or exposure… more meaning.  I will be getting it developed for Sara(for her birthday!).


“There is something you must always remember.  You are braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” -Christopher Robin (Winnie the Pooh)

Taken from the observation deck of the Freedom Tower, a mother is teaching her children about the world.  More than half of the shot is shrouded in the fog of life; the unknown.  The rest of the photo reveals the complexity, difficulty, opportunity, awe and beauty we all face.  The quote above sums up what we try to impart in our children.  Such is life.


Hector Happiness

We watched a movie last night the our friend Netflix recommended for us.
It gets pretty mixed reviews and while there were plenty of sweeping generalizations, cliched (and possibly insulting) stereotypes, and overly-architected (predictable and contrived) relationships, we both appreciated the general sentiment and the interesting style in which it was shot.
Told-before story of a (early) middle-aged man, faced with the sad reality that he’s passively watching his life pass him by; he’s jolted into ‘finding what it is that makes people happy.’ Got it.
Through his journey he captures the following lessons- they’re scribbled into his notebook, which is projected over the scene- here is what he had to share- some good little nuggets in here:
Making comparisons can spoil your happiness

A lot of people think happiness means being richer or more important 

Many people only see happiness in their future
Sometimes happiness is not knowing the whole story
Avoiding unhappiness is not the road to happiness
Happiness is answering your calling
Happiness is being loved for who you are
Fear is an impediment
Happiness is knowing how to celebrate
If you want it, take it
Happiness is feeling completely alive
Listening is loving
Nostalgia is not what it used to be

Lucky duck 

I really do know how lucky I am right now. As much as I f€£%*ing hate that word, sometimes there are no replacements.

I wasn’t aware before arriving here how much of a dream come true this whole experience is for me. Not only to be doing this with my happy and healthy kids, blowing their little minds with all kinds of amazing sights and smells and tastes here, but to also be doing this with my best friend, together fuelled and energized in a similar way.
I really do feel so grateful every day. Maybe, sadly, because like many people, I know what it also feels like to be completely out of control of your life; to have life-threatening, and ultimately life-ending circumstances dictating your every move. Treatments and recovery and appointments and tests and results all ruling your moments. The idea of a taking in a NYC-weekend, left to a combination of fate and mom-blogs to plan, completely unavailable.
I try to be keenly aware of how my good fortune may make others feel.  I know the idea of fortune is for me to evaluate ultimately and to some I most likely appear to be pretty average- that’s fine. For me I feel  right now like Ive cashed in my winning lottery ticket, and I am doing my best to enjoy every (experience) cent as fully and happily and thankfully as possible.
And I worry that because these ultimately are my experiences to feel, I am not yet sure how to share my good fortune. Talking about it in the wrong way, at the wrong time, and with the wrong tone might make me seem like a boasting, self-absorbed jerk. Even though that’s really my way of showing how grateful I am to have these experiences to share.
I know that my intentions are always good. , but it’s a challenge to be excited, while also being aware and sensitive to what others are going through.
And yet Mondays still do manage to shake the sparkle and jazz and enthusiasm in a consistently icky way, regardless of location…;)