I try so very hard to begin the day on a calm note.
I wake up at 5:15 am so that I can do yoga, 15 minutes of Headspace, email catchup, and maybe even fit in a batch of muffins if all the stars are aligned.
This schedule is no problem during the dark days of winter when I literally have to haul Maya out of bed.
(Side Note: I don’t need to haul Ali out of bed because he flies west during the winter months).
- turn on the electric kettle (Ali)
- ask what they should eat for breakfast (Maya)
- ask what they should wear (Ali and Maya)
- ask Siri, at the top of their lungs: “What is the temperature in NYC today?” (Maya)
Why why why?
So I realize that Ali and Maya live here too, and they have every right to get up and move about and ask Siri all of their annoying weather related questions in whichever tone they feel is appropriate for a conversation with the iPad.
But if I can’t even get 45 minutes of quiet at the crack of dawn, so that I can begin the day calmly, where exactly does that leave me?
Not calm. That’s for sure.
Ali just returned from Montreal, where he was on a “work trip.”
I use quotes here because:
- Ali’s work trips – which often involve destinations such as Turks and Caicos and Hawaii – are always the cause for much suspicion, and
- I like to overuse quotes.
Per my request he returned with two Montreal bagels, which sadly tasted identical to Starbucks bagels.
Rest assured I’m not implying Ali forgot to buy my bagels and then purchased them at Starbucks at JFK or anything. Just making an innocent comparison.
Additionally, Ali returned with a Go Pro Camera “for Maya,” which was obviously NOT per my request.
Me: “May I list the reasons that Maya does not need a Go Pro Camera?”
Ali: “No you may not.”
Me: “Will she even know what to do with a Go Pro Camera? I mean, she’s 10. Plus she’s been half-assing her homework lately and isn’t making her bed properly. Pretty sure she doesn’t need to be rewarded at the moment.”
Ali: “Let’s make the camera a reward for doing better in school. She can use it on the weekends.”
I went with this because I’m trying really hard NOT to dictate how Maya should be raised. After all, parenting is supposed to be a joint effort, right?
Unless of course it involves making her meals, washing her clothes, helping her with homework, or being a disciplinarian, in which case I’m definitely a single parent.
So yesterday, with much flourish and excitement, he presented Maya with the camera.
Maya: “Thanks Dad but I don’t need a Go Pro Camera.”
Just as I’d thought. She also didn’t need more than a few bites of her Montreal bagel either, which she quickly deemed bland and chewy.
Which sounds suspiciously like a Starbucks bagel to me…
We recently closed a huge chapter in our lives…and can all breathe a huge sigh of relief.
Every Single Thank You Note Related to Maya’s Birthday Has Been Mailed.
Think I’m being dramatic? I’m really not.
And if you had to follow up to make sure your 10-year-old executed 30 grammatically acceptable thank you notes, you’d understand why.
So this process really shouldn’t have been so hard. Especially since I basically handed Maya all the information on a silver platter.
1. I compiled a list of every gift and the gift giver’s name.
2. I provided the address of every gift giver.
All Maya had to do was create the note, address the envelope, slap a stamp on it, and place it in the outgoing mail.
Here was the problem though: Maya remained in LA on Spring Break for 10 additional days after I returned to NYC for work.
That meant that by default, Ali had to guide this process along.
Which obviously meant that the entire process came to a standstill.
Why, you ask?
How could the process possibly be stalled when I’d provided all the necessary pieces of information in my very detailed, well-formatted, and thorough list?
Well because I FAILED TO LEAVE ALI AND MAYA 30 ENVELOPES.
An of course there isn’t a single store in Los Angeles that sells those.
In conclusion, getting Maya’s thank you notes out the door was as difficult as brainstorming a solution for Ali’s coat.
Since I’m trying to look at the bright side, however, I’m pleased to report that Maya’s notes are in the mailbox and NOT on the floor.
So, there’s that.
I’ve been making a valiant effort to stop micromanaging Maya.
Just last Saturday, for example, I didn’t tell her to just stop eating, when she consumed all of the following in the span of 8 hours:
Cereal – Two bowls at home.
Lamb Sausage – She can never turn down free Farmer’s Market samples.
Sushi – I purchased sushi for our flight to LA but Maya ate a 9 piece California Roll as a snack.
Fresh Mozzarella Antipasto / Salad with Garbanzo Beans – On our flight to LA.
Two Giant Lamb Chops and Mashed Potatoes – Also on our flight to LA.
Salted Caramel Ice Cream – Also on our flight to LA.
Half a Chocolate Chip Cookie – You guessed it…also on our flight to LA.
When our interminable flight to LA finally concluded, Maya’s throwing up began. And throw up she did!
She threw up on 4 separate occasions: all over me, the car, herself, a Shakey’s Pizza parking lot (sorry Shakey’s), all over the car again, on a random road near my in-laws house, and all over their master bedroom. Twice.
Maya just turned 10.
I thought it’s supposed to get easier?
For the past two weeks, Ali’s been traveling “for work.”
Now I know I overuse quotes – and please accept my apologies for that – but I really do believe his lengthy trip had more to do with NYC enduring one of the coldest winters on record than anything else.
I can’t complain however, because while I nearly froze my toes off (despite wearing my Uggs and 2 pairs of socks), I didn’t have to share the master bathroom, obsess about lactose-free milk, or pick Ali’s coat up off the floor.
(Yes, he’s still doing that. And no I can’t believe it either.)
Life wasn’t all fun and games while Ali was away, though, thanks to a ceiling leak, banging pipes (they had to cut a hole in the master bedroom wall), more brown water, a broken washing machine, and perhaps the most challenging of all:
I was single-handedly responsible for keeping Maya entertained.
If you have kid(s) you’ll understand that this was by far the hardest thing I’ve had to do in the past 336 hours.
Yes I realize she was in school for a portion of those 336 hours, but I feel compelled, and more importantly, entitled to include those hours in my calculation anyway.
I won’t bore you with a detailed breakdown of the last two weeks but let’s just say that the sales at the 5th Ave Barnes & Noble have seen quite a spike in recent days, and I made a donation to the New York Public Library because I was just so grateful their children’s collection afforded me approximately 2 hours of question-free time.
In any case, Ali’s flying back in a few hours. Let the jacket throwing commence.
I kicked off my 39th year on this planet at a salon, getting my roots covered.
I wouldn’t call this a gift to myself, but instead a gift to everyone who has to look at my many gray hairs.
While at the salon, whose magazine selection featured nothing but the Kardashian family (I just can’t), I found myself with nothing to do but think. And so think I did. And here’s what I came up with.
I am much happier at 39 than I was at 29.
- I am finally in NYC, where I belong.
- I’m working in a field I love (entertainment), doing work that I love (finance / accounting).
- The older I get, the less I care what other people think about me.
- Material things, which used to mean so much, now have little importance in my world.
- Maya is older and parenting is easier in so many ways.
- I’m in better shape than I was in high school.
In short, I am happy.
Yesterday my super tactful husband said, “Wow, 39 seems almost worse than 40 doesn’t it?”
But as usual, I disagree with him. Because I’ve had 39 years to realize that for me, confidence and happiness seem proportional with age. And so for now the number doesn’t matter so much.
It recently occurred to me that Maya does NOTHING around the house.
After some haphazard reflection, I concluded this is due to two things:
- Maya is lazy.
- I find it easier to do everything myself. To ensure it is done right. The first time.
(I realize #2 above is wrong on about 50 different levels. But it doesn’t make it any less true.)
Anyway, I realized I wasn’t doing Maya any favors when she looked at me in shock and said, “So what you’re saying is that I have to hand wash my plate because the dishwasher is currently running?”
This comment, annoyed the living daylights out of me. I wanted to sit her down and calmly give her the “We all need to help out” speech.
Finding calmness seemed too difficult, however, so instead I channeled my best sarcasm and layered it on:
“Why? Are you going to melt if you actually have to wash a dish? Do you know that when I was a kid I had to set the table, and then clean it off after dinner, ensuring that all dishes were put away, all pots and pans were washed, and the table had been suitably Windexed?”
I knew then, as Maya stared at me with a glazed look on her face, that she could care less what I did or didn’t do as a kid.
I knew then that I should have just washed her dish because she was utilizing her father’s trademarked half-ass fashion and I’d have to do it over.
I knew then that the water all over the floor was a huge liability and would shortly become my problem.
I knew then that she got water inside my rubber kitchen gloves (heaven forbid she gets rough hands, right?), which just drives me BANANAS.
I knew then that ultimately the whole “lesson” was a waste because after she placed her still dirty plate in the drying rack she then announced, “Daddy, you better come wash your dish and fork because the dishwasher is still running and we all have to do our part.”
I should have just washed the plate.
When will I learn?