Gettin’ High

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It’s been over a year and a half since we relocated; I’ve conquered San Diego by sea and by land…. so why not also by air? Sometime during our first months we had ventured to the spectacular Glider Port by Torrey Pines. I proclaimed to my (incredulous) husband that I’d love to go paragliding. He promptly laughed it off.

Months later, on Mother’s Day, my charming husband told me to put my butt where my mouth is (in a matter of speaking, of course) as he handed me a gift certificate for a paraglide tour. There was one parameter: he and the kiddos wanted to watch. The reason? He was sure I would soil myself, and he did not want to miss that.

Weeks passed. Months passed. Not because I was nervous, but because it was logistically challenging: it was hard to find an afternoon that we had good air and no obligations, and we had to be free at a moment’s notice. I don’t do a lot of things with just a moment’s notice.

A day in March proved to be it. The adventure was spectacular.

Flying, floating, soaring.

Alas, no soiling.

The gorgeous ocean view on the right was trumped only by the incredible estates on the left (yes, the same La Jolla neighborhood where, ironically, the POTUS is lunching as I type). From seals and surfers, to golfers and nudists… there was activity all around that I could see from a completely unique perspective.

This adventure was something I will always remember, with the most profound moment occurring on ground prior to flight.

My 9-year-old, witty, snarky and dryly blunt, hugged me and sent me off with these poignant words:

Mommy, if you die, know you were loved.

Ummm….should I be profoundly touched or deeply offended?

I’ll opt for the former.

As another Mother’s Day is upon us, I wish you all give or receive accordingly the love, gratitude and appreciation that you feel…however it may be demonstrated.

 

 

 

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Heart Patient to Hockey Stud

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Nine years ago our daughter was still in the hospital and we, first-time parents, were eager to have her home. Within hours of her birth she endured more than any baby– or any adult for that matter–should. In my delirium of child birth and ensuing trauma, I absurdly asked the doctor if she would be capable of sports should she survive. Crazy, I know. But chaos can lead to crazy. I suppose I was gauging her future and ours–were we looking at a lifetime of portable oxygen? Complex medical devices? Endless surgeries?

I learned a crucial fact of parenthood quite quickly: Perspective is a gift.

For days we didn’t know what she actually looked like beneath the various tubes, wires and machines connected to her. If only someone back then could have given me a glimpse of the future– that nine years down the road our little hockey player would be draped not in tubes and wires but in this: a flashy silver medal. And sheer joy.

What a stark contrast to the silver around the necks of the US women’s hockey team. Just minutes ago they “lost” gold and had to accept silver. Heartbreak was written all over their tearful faces. I feel for them. I feel for their mothers. No doubt they gave much over the years– well beyond tying laces and washing stinky gear. Now they have the hardest job yet:  encouraging their girls to feel proud of their accomplishments and to use this disappointment to fuel the fire for four more years.

Absurd dreamers realize great achievements. Maybe our little heart-patient-turned-hockey-stud has reached her peak, or maybe she has just begun. As for me, I’ll keep tying laces and washing stinky gear for as long as she wants.

Mermaids are a Boy’s Best Friend

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Just as we had hoped, kindergarten has been a year of enormous growth for our son. As evidence his pants are further from the ground each day, his teeth are dropping faster than the temps on the East Coast, and his adorable “Boston” accent is gone thanks to a record-setting articulation intervention for his r’s. (We had a Wodney Wat situation going on, which apparently isn’t so cute to kindergarten teachers who focus on phonetics).

While I celebrate the many achievements and milestones along the way, I have to admit to feeling relieved when I see glimpses of lingering youthful innocence. Simply put, the kid still loves mermaids. Sigh.

Here’s to not growing up too fast.

You didn’t have to grow up in the 80’s with a Jewish mother and you don’t have to love the (hysterical!) TV series The Goldbergs to appreciate the significance of the mother-son dynamic. Or the mother-child relationship in general. Can you fault a mom who is never satiated by enough “snuggies” from her “yummy” kid who “smells like the dryer?”

Here’s to the Beverly Goldbergs of the world.

Back to the mermaid. She sits next to me now as I write. This gorgeous creature was created by a spectacular balloon artist who entertains at the hip eatery Snooze on Sundays. Waiting for our pancakes, we saw that she was making the rounds and flagged her down as she approached our table. At first my son requested a puppy because it was safe. A safe bet for both of them. Somehow–perhaps after seeing the fantastic mermaid he had drawn on his placemat–the balloon artist knew that puppies weren’t really his thing. Gently and subtly she encourage him to challenge her skills.

“Would you like a merman? I did one for the bartender the other day. It came out great!” She assured him.

Bashfully my son shook his head.

“Oh, a mermaid? I think I can do one of those. But you need to tell me what color hair you’d like her to have.”

And with that we were all captivated. Yes, she twisted balloons into a fantastic form with uncommon skill. But, moreover, she read the mind and heart of a child, and celebrated a spirit that is often dismissively squashed. Yes, even Santa has second-guessed my son’s requests, and the cashiers at Target have questioned his choices. But the balloon artist? No, she was inspired by his creation. The result was one incredible mermaid and one ecstatic little boy.

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Boyish, Girlish or Scottish?

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Sam looks smashing in a skirt. As instructed by “Santa” we left the new outfit on the counter one evening so that Sam, our holiday elf, could stealthily slip into it. The kids were thrilled with the results in the morning. It was my son, our resident fashion adviser, who campaigned for the accoutrement. And it was my daughter, our fact-based literal thinker who decided that Sam could sport the skirt for two reasons:

One: Sam, who had always been referred to as a he, might actually be a she because the tight, red onesie doesn’t grant access to anatomical parts.

And two: Sam might be Scottish, and so a kilt is completely within reason.

It’s as if my daughter, four at the time she named Sam, knew that gender has no role in holiday cheer. We celebrate gender fluidity and creativity all year so it’s only fitting that we were granted an elf who blends right in with the family.

Boyish, girlish, Scottish… no matter. Sam is smashing.

P.S. To see what other elves are up to–naughty and nice–check out these hilarious ideas on Pinterest:

https://www.pinterest.com/jhudziak/crazy-elf-on-the-shelf-pics/

Unconventional Date Night

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Last weekend I volunteered my husband for a group camping excursion with my daughter. She was thrilled. He was less so. Off they went, leaving me on a mini-vacation. As anyone with children knows, the next best thing to unloading all of your kids is enjoying time with just one of them.

My son had big plans for us. We began with some holiday shopping–he has excellent taste and an appreciation for style that I lack. Barbie came with us of course. We read stories to one another–with his reading skills I have a new-found appreciation for Pinkalicious. We ate by candlelight–he insisted on a “fancy dinner” of ravioli, thereby foiling my plans of not cooking. A small price to pay for such a chivalrous gesture.Truly a homebody, he opted for two pieces of his Halloween loot in lieu of a trip to the ice cream store.

I think deep down my son cherishes tranquility as much as I do. He even noted at “fancy dinner” how nice the quiet was with just the two of us. After dinner we cuddled by the TV for a program, read some more and then he fell asleep as I snuggled with him in his bed, vying for space amid the dolls and animals.

It was, however unconventional, the best date night I’ve had in a while.

End Year Resolutions

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Smallish, roundish, cutish and a little rough around the edges– these are my kiddos. Oh wait, they’re actually their pumpkins. Happy Halloween from one very excited duo.

Yes, we enjoy all that the season has to offer. Costumes, carvings and candy galore! I admit to dipping into the stash, and my kids know that they are required to acquire m&m’s for me. It’s like paying a trick-or-treating tax for which I am the collector.

In the nutrition world Halloween wreaks havoc. It’s not the one night of gluttony, but the feeling for many that from here to the end of the year it’s one temptation after the next. Just the other day one of my clients panicked about a current trend and what it means for the holiday season: having alcohol causes her to loosen her guard and stray from her goals. From one unstructured evening she can tumble downward for several days until she can refocus. And so goes the cycle.

The solution is easier said than done: don’t drink.

I posed a challenge. Go dry for the season, as an athlete might when gearing up for peak fitness. It’s two months–not a lifetime. It’s not just a strategy to balance intake, it’s also a commitment to focus on goals. It’s a resolution to end the year on top of the game and not to begin the next by scrambling from the bottom.

Hence the End Year Resolution. Don’t wait for the New Year to make plans and take action. Register for a race date in January, rather than waiting until January to identify one. And this goes well beyond nutrition and fitness, by the way. What can you do over the next two months to affect change within yourself? Within your family? Within your community?

Perhaps you have a high-flying adventure to capitalize on– oh wait, that’s me. (More on that when it happens, and I guess this commits me to following through before January 1). Or perhaps you will prepare to voluntarily pull yourself off of sabbatical to focus on the actual publication of a book– oh wait, me again. And where oh where might nutrition fit in…

New projects to come in the New Year, and with that my blogging will take a different direction– to be decided in the End Year. Stay tuned!

Dark Side of Neverland

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Never send me to Neverland. It’s filled with souls who refuse to grow up. And boy are we experiencing some growing pains. It hasn’t been our shining week. The principal to whom one of my kids was sent assures me that “it’s all a process.” By that does she mean a process though which I might lose my mind? Then my other kiddo had an altercation which required words with the teacher. Now I know for certain where I have been sent: Never-Lord-of-the-Flies-Land.

In this magical place I am trying to govern with limited success. Here, where mermaids are adored and loin clothes are sported, good spars with evil, yielding an uncertain outcome each and every time. Daily I am left to wonder if civilization and righteousness are taught or inherited?

I look at my son who admittedly makes a darling Peter Pan. Note, I did not choose to share the photo in which he depicts Peter Pan’s death scene, with foam dagger situated across throat and arrow positioned in a rather unfortunate, not to mention sensitive, area. Lord of the Flies indeed.  I wonder about innocence and promise; can they be maintained, and moreover, if they are lost can they be reclaimed?

It’s impossible not to think of my father on this day, which marks three years since his passing. I remember him at his finest– an individual of grace and integrity. He was larger than life, but at some point, as proved by fantastic black-and-white photos he, too, had been young and impressionable, testing personas from cowboy to boy scout. I see my son in those photos, and I see my father in my son. Should he be so lucky to turn his own measure of promise into a life so fulfilled .

I’d love to know if my father had any mischievous moments or perhaps a meeting with the principal? Let’s pretend it was possible, because then I’d have hope that we might eventually depart Never-Lord-of-the-Flies-Land with innocence intact and promise to nurture. Whether we decide to grow up or we wait for rescue we will emerge having conquered the process.