Proms and Graduations and Birthdays, Oh My

7 Jul


So, between being without a computer and all the activity around my daughter’s graduation from high school–including three proms–

I’ve not have a minute to think, much less blog.

Throw in my son’s baseball career (he’s only 12, but it feels like an occupation), where they play up to several games a week. The team made it to number one under husband/coach Cliff’s guidance only to lose the championship. Ford had pitched beautifully all season and with one hit, bases loaded, they lost the game. He felt responsible, even though there was a major fielding error that could’ve cost the game. Ford wasn’t considering that–he was devastated and so were we. Exhausting.

Then there was my Dad turning 88 on Father’s Day–a triple celebration of which I am was in charge and was produced a day after I drove to Philadelphia and back for my daughter’s boyfriend’s graduation party.


The next week, we hosted a pre-prom party at our house.

All of this is great stuff.

Seeing my first born walk across the field ¬†(in her knock off Valentino shoes), so poised and¬†happy with her honors sash over her gown, I brimmed over with emotion. To my left a group of parents of Baldwin’s classmates from all the way back to pre-school. We all became friends at the Montclair Co-Op. On this day, we celebrated all of our kids. Yes, the tears were flowing, some of my reaction was relief. I had run a lot of this race with her–suffering with her through the defeats and celebrating the triumphs.


I am so proud of her. I’m grateful to my family and friends who helped Cliff and me help her get to Sarah Lawrence.

I am exhausted.

I am happy.

I just wish my Mom were here to see it.


Broke Down

28 Mar


I got up yesterday and felt a minor pain in my chest. As we do, I kept going on with my life–made breakfast for Ford, packed his lunch, took Charlie for a walk, came home, got ready to go to work and that minor chest pain was still there–consistent. After walking around in circles in my house, googling chest pains, texting my friend Eleanore–trying to decide if I should go to the ER. I called Cliff and he said, “I’m coming home now to get you.” That was yesterday. Now I’ve been in the hospital for 24 hours and am waiting for the final test–a nuclear stress test. Hopefully, nothing shows up and I can go home.


Remains or Randoms of the Day

14 Mar

Each day that I can I walk my dog Charlie. We walk in the same park and I usually walk with the same people informally known as the dog group: Will, Claire, David, Chris, Jennifer, D, Tom. Every now and then I run into someone I know who is not a park regular. Yesterday was such a day.
I ran in to two women I know at separate points in the walk and had rambling conversations with each of them. When I reflected on the confabs later in the day, I realized that this activity takes up a large part of my life. IMG_0271

It was earlier than my usual time, around 8 when I ran in to the mother of one of Ford’s friends, let’s call her Red. She and I had gotten very friendly during baseball season last year, which runs from early April until the end of July. You can become best friends if you go to every game, twice a week (sometimes three) and sit there gabbing for two-hour stretches. I was happy to run in to her–we’d had great chats during those games. This time, in the course of 15 minutes we covered:

Her move to a new New York apartment (she’s bi-tri-state), Alzheimer’s, Botox, the work required to remain somewhat attractive as you inch through your 50s and ADD, both in adolescents and menopausal women. The big question: What to do when ADD shows up in a kid who is mid-way through high school.

An explanation for those outside this crowded corridor of parents: If your child is diagnosed with ADD accommodations are made. A big one is more time on standardized tests. The caveat is that the kid needs to have been diagnosed before high school.
It’s generally understood that the administrators of the SAT, ACT are on the lookout for parents who try to game the system by having post-pubescent Brad or Bonifa diagnosed, presumably to get a higher score with the extra hours.

Now Red, who says she’s extremely ADD, has a son who is but probably won’t get helped because he’s almost done with high school. What to do? I wish I had an answer for her, and oftentimes, on our dog walks, all kinds of problems are solved.

The other woman, has daughters. One is a star athlete on her way to an Ivy on the school’s dime, the other one struggles with reading. I gave the mom the number of an optometrist, who can tell her if her child has dyslexia, something I know a fair amount about.

As we were parting ways, with a look of profound relief, she thanked me and said over her shoulder: “how’d we even get to that?”

An hour later I was in my car driving to the college where I teach writing. I was listening to A Tribe Called Quest, Check the Rhime. My music was thumping as I pulled into a parking lot on the campus tucked in bucolic farmland in northwestern New Jersey. I thought about the image of me, referred to as professor, turning off my car as Q-Tip’s voice faded away.

I think about a bit from a Chris Rock standup. He said, “I like the Wu Tang Gang and Seinfeld.”

I like NPR and Biggie Smalls and Downton Abby and A Tribe Called Quest. I also like having conversations that have all kinds of range.