Archives For Parenting

911

 

Kids – who needed them?

They drained your bank account and destroyed your dreams.

Every time I saw an overzealous mommy delirious over her mewling poop machine, I knew it HAD to be an act.

Taking care of ME was a full-time job. Plants died in my care.

 

I was living in New York City – the epicenter of EVERYTHING. I milked that shiz like Bernie Madoff at a Ponzi scheme party.

I hobnobbed with pseudo celebrities. Life outside the velvet rope was not worth living.

 

I was a die-hard urbanite with the a full-throttle addiction to Broadway plays, ethnic restaurants and designer shoes, supported by a bullshit corporate job. If I combined them into The Sacrosanct Trifecta – went to see a play and ate Afghani food in a pair of Jimmy Choos – I spontaneously orgasmed.

I brunched (yes, I used it as a goddamn verb) at the Odeon in Tribeca. If a family came in, I’d move my table. I’m here for a cocktail and to maybe make a little eye contact with Robert DeNiro, and I don’t need to hear your squalling rug rats. Just because you had to go fuck up YOUR life doesn’t mean I don’t get to enjoy my warm goat cheese salad.

“Excuse me, hostess? I’m pretty sure I smell shit in that kid’s diaper, or maybe it’s just my friend’s penne gorgonzola, but, either way, just move us.”

 

My boss was a psychopath; a vulgarly successful multimillionaire with a God complex and a nasty temper. Do you know what it’s like to be paid six figures for a high-powered position and have Hitler’s brother throw a stapler at your head because his bagel had SEEDS on it?

When the corporate bourgeois aesthetic has you by the throat and you find yourself addicted to Jimmy Choo shoes, you do worse things than when you were addicted to smack.

 

A Crisp Fall Tuesday Morning.

8:50 am:  I had just dodged a paperweight when my phone rang. My brother was saying something I didn’t understand.

What was he talking about? He was recovering from lung cancer; those pain meds and the pot he smoked incessantly took him on verbal joyrides.Today, he was babbling about a plane.

“I have to go. Can I call you later?”

 

9:05 am:  My boss emerges from the inner sanctum. He always watched the news while he ate the breakfast that may or may not result in an inanimate object being hurled in my direction.

I was on hold with London. If I didn’t get these curricula vitae faxed over soon, I would surely have a desk accessory lobbed at me.

He yelled for all of us to get in his office, NOW. The TV screen showed…what was that? Was that a plane jutting out the side of a building? Engulfed in beautiful brilliant red and yellow flames, blazing wildly?

Above and below these violently beautiful hues was the blackest smoke I’d ever seen.

The dark of things and people gone forever.

 

9:21 am:  Port Authority closes all bridge and tunnels. My boyfriend was in New Jersey. No way to get to him. No way to get out of the city tonight.

 

9:31 am:  President Bush does nothing to reassure us. I want to hear that this is an accident; that an alcoholic air traffic controller got blackout boozed up when he walked in on his wife fucking the pool boy.

He tells us there is an “apparent” terrorist attack on New York City. Apparent? Whew. That means nothing; that’s like the “apparent” phone number I give men in clubs.

Breathe, Samara. Apparent, apparent…

 

9:37 am:  Hijackers aboard Flight 77 crash the plane into the western facade of the Pentagon in Washington DC. There is no more uncertainty.

 

New York City is under attack by terrorists.

 

9:59 am:  The South Tower of the World Trade Center collapses.

What are we supposed to do? Do we stay? Do we leave?

The rumors fly and claw at us like the crows in the “The Birds:”

The terrorists are now targeting Times Square – WHERE WE ARE.

The company’s human resource director voice comes through the speakers, giving us instructions on how to evacuate safely.

Too late for that. Full scale bedlam has broken loose. We’re all going to die, and we know it.

We just don’t want to die here, where we loathe each other so much.

Get. Me. Out. Of. Here.

 

For some reason, the elevators have been turned off. The staircase is jammed.

I can’t breathe. Too many people. Too hot. No air. Everyone is pushing. I fall. A man helps me up. We both fall. People step over us, on us. We use the wall and each other for support to get up. He’s my life line.

I lose sight of his face. He’s just a detached arm. A hand, clasping mine.

I try to help the people who are down. But if I stop to help them, I get knocked over by frantic people behind me.

I can’t breathe.

I’m going to suffocate and die in this staircase. I’m going to die in the staircase of a building of a job I hated.

I hear screaming.

It’s my own.

 

I see light – is that the street?  I push, push, PUSH. We’re bottlenecking at the edge. We’re crowning like the desperate head of an infant, one…last…PUSH.

I’m OUT.

 

All around me – chaos. The subway stations are shut down. The streets are pandemonium.

I begin the long walk home, on shaky legs, to my apartment downtown. As I walk, I pass people walking uptown. They are bloody. Torn. Disoriented. Covered in white dust and black soot.

I realize…these are the survivors.

The air in my neighborhood is black and filthy, like the inside of a chimney. Soot flecks fall from the sky and land on my hair. From the front of my building, I have a clear view of the wreckage.

And I know, in that moment, we’re all going to die, the people of New York City.

We’re all going to die today.

 

 

I don’t want to die. I’m only 32.

I still have shoes to buy.

 

No cell service. No land lines. No communication with the rest of the world.

I want to talk to my mom. I want her to know I love her.

 

I don’t particularly believe in God, but that moment – I decide to believe. And then, I do the oddest thing.

I fall to my knees. Right on the filthy, unyielding, abrasive, soot covered pavement. I was never religious before, but this moment feels like church to me.

“Dear God,

Please, please, don’t let me die. I know I haven’t always lived my life correctly. But if you let me live, I’ll be a better person. I’ll use hemp products. I’ll rescue a dog. I’ll drive a hybrid.”

I thought a moment.

“I know I might have pissed you off with those abortions. Since you made me so freakishly fertile that I got pregnant even on birth control, did you – WANT ME to have a baby? I promise, I won’t interfere with your plans again. Just please. Let me live. I’m not ready to die.” 

—-

I lived.

I got pregnant 16 months later. I kept my bargain with God.

Me and Him – we’re good.

 

In 2003, I gave birth to my son.

I had been given clarity, on September 11, 2001.

My son is the constant reminder of the good graces of God.

And I am grateful, not for the tragedy that day, that singular moment in history when searing images and heartbreaking stories changed the world forever,

but for the moment of clarity it afforded me. Which changed my world forever.

 

Dedicated to those who lost their lives - and gave me one.

We watched this happening – and still didn’t believe it was happening. .

 

This post is dedicated to the memory of those who gave their lives that day.

Where were you when it happened?
Talk to me. I’m listening. 

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I can hear the collective Gen X howl of protest echoing off all the Subarus at the Trader Joe’s parking lot.  Maybe YOU believe that honesty is the best policy, but maybe YOU didn’t spend your 20’s fucking bands like it was your job. No need for YOU to come clean about the dangers of contracting anal herpes from uncircumcised European guitarists which incidentally (fun fact!) can be transmitted even with the use of a condom.

Raising children is an intricately constructed, highly delicate web of secrets and lies. In order to raise productive members of society, we must subscribe to the “liar, liar, pants on fire” method of parenting.

Would honesty have stopped my kid from excavating Peter Dinklage-sized boogers out of his nose? NO. What worked was telling him that if he continued to mine his nasal passages for soft jade, his skull would collapse.

Let’s make a pact, here and now, to keep our big, fat cake holes shut about how much cocaine we shoveled in our faces back in the day, okay? My 8th grader already knows more about drugs than most street dealers. The middle school curriculum educates our kids so thoroughly on drug lingo, they can score in any neighborhood in America and several in Tijuana and not get ripped off.

All he needs is my credit card number in his sweaty little hands, and bingo! He’s able to purchase the Meth Lab Starter Kit off Amazon Prime. He doesn’t need even a tiny shred of encouragement from me that drugs are anything but BAD.

Are you really naïve enough to think that if you have a heart to heart with your kids about how you many opportunities you threw away because you spent the 90’s zooted, they’ll hear it as cautionary tale? That’s not how this works.

Kids have the highly selective hearing of a Jack Russell terrier. I’m not going to tell my kid about the time I heard the phone ringing through a haze of homegrown Thai stick and jumped up to answer my bong, breaking my foot. He’ll completely tune out the part where I spent half my freshman year of college on crutches. All he’ll hear is hear “MOM TOTALLY HAD A BONG.”

Your kids will use your past drug use as an example of how it’s possible to survive stupid behavior. Need I remind you how different things are today? When we went to college, we didn’t have to sell a kidney to pay tuition. It was perfectly FINE to eat shrooms until we broke the time/space continuum. But I’m not going to spend my golden years eating cat food because my kid racked up half a million dollars in loans reenacting Pineapple Express.

 

And you, Mr. “I’d rather teach my children how to properly use and respect mind-altering substances,” you need to CALM THE FUCK DOWN. It’s bad enough that parents want to disclose past drug use, but wanting to partake of them with your children truly signals the decline of western civilization.

Who told you that you could schlep your kid to Burning Man? Surely the child would rather go to Disneyworld, or soccer camp, or just lie in a crib and drool that attend this debauched, drug-addled shit show.  I don’t care how ‘mature’ Perseus is for his age, or that he’s on a beautiful spirit journey, 7 years old is too young to smoke DMT. Do you really need to tote your offspring to the Black Rock desert so they can witness you getting so high on molly you shit yourself?

Statistics I probably made up show that kids who do drugs with their own parents are more likely to become addicts. So, marinate in that a little before you pull out a pookie and torch that shit with your middle schooler.

I get that you need a little ganja, a toot of blow, maybe a smidge of heroin to take the edge off. But the only reason you think it’s a good idea to do drugs with your kids is because YOU’RE HIGH.

I can have an honest relationship with my son without full disclosure of every sordid detail of my drug history. In fact, I highly recommend using scare tactics to frighten your kids into sobriety. It worked for a lot of teens in the late 80’s, when one of the most iconic PSA campaigns of all time likened our brains on drugs to a fried egg sizzling in a pan.

Of course, no one has ever understood why the egg wasn’t scrambled, which is a lot MORE like your brain on drugs, or who the man in the commercial was supposed to represent, and why use an EGG, which is in fact one of the most perfectly nutritious foods in existence, and why make that sizzling egg look so damn good, perfect if you have the munchies and add a side of toast and bacon to those brains, but the point is DRUGS ARE BAD. BAD.

Also, breakfast is delicious.

Any questions?

 

Are you one of those honest parents, ruining it for the rest of us???
Talk to me. I’m listening. 

 

Come hang out with me on Facebook and Instagram so I can have friends without leaving the house.

 

I was engrossed in a ‘Sons of Anarchy’ episode when I heard the rustle of paper sliding under my bedroom door.

I picked it up. It was a note from my son: “I can’t find my band hoodie.”

 

In my house, we have a rule. I mom the fuck out all day and night – until 9 pm. Then, I officially close shop. I go into my room to chill. If my kid needs to speak to me, he can slip a note under my door.

Don’t judge! I got this idea from my therapist.

She also is responsible for me letting my kid have ice cream with all the toppings for breakfast on Sunday mornings – as long as HE DIDN’T WAKE ME UP.

Little Dude used to wake at the ass crack of dawn. To keep him occupied for a few hours on a weekend morning, he was allowed to fix himself an ice cream sundae for breakfast. When I got out of bed at 8 am, the kitchen was a disaster and it was worth EVERY BIT OF MESS.

 

My kid is a chatterbox, and that can be exhausting. By 9 pm, I’ve been up for 15 hours, dealing with all the interactions that are necessary to make it through a day of being a human. I’m spent. By 9:00 pm, I find myself getting irritated by conversation, unless it’s “mom, you’re so pretty.” While other jobs have a more clearly defined endpoint, the mom gig does not. It’s 24/7. Which makes it the shittiest paid job in the multiverse.

So began our 9 pm rule. At 9 pm, I need to relax to Gemma Teller stabbing Tara in the head with a carving fork. If you absolutely must speak to me – slip me a note.

 

I should have said, my kid WAS a chatterbox. Because the times, they are a changin’.

At 13 and a half, Little Dude is firmly entrenched in his teenage years. He’s changing, and it seems to be happening at warp speed.

He sleeps later now, sometimes til 9 am on a weekend.

His hair is cut in a trendy style, shaved down on one side with a deep groove cut into it.

He is obsessed with sneakers, and how he looks at school.

He’s really into basketball. Hashtag Ball is Life. He plays on the rec team and we watch it a LOT. This is one thing we have in common, although he makes fun of my Big Love for the Knicks, because he wasn’t alive for the golden era of Patrick Ewing.

He uses Axe body spray, which is nauseating. I won’t even buy it. It’s like an insidious Google redirect virus; it just keeps showing up no matter what I do.

He speaks in slang. (“Okay mom, that’s Gucci.”)

He hangs out with co-ed groups now. They go to the mall, to someone’s house. Often mine.

He’s on his phone constantly, face timing, often with girls.

He isn’t so anxious to talk my ears off every night. Many nights, he’s in group chats and laughs uproariously at the ridiculous memes they send each other. (Yes, I look. Hell yes.)

He has a girlfriend. 

This one really threw me for a loop. A few weeks ago, he asked my permission to start dating.

I was happy he chose to ask me, but all I could think of was how this truly is the end of his innocence. Will she break his heart? I’ll KILL her. How long before they start exploring sexually?

I told him that I prefer he see her in group settings; that he respect her and not take it to a physical level yet. I told him he is not allowed to go to the movies with her BECAUSE THAT IS WHERE ALL THE KIDS START GETTING BLOW JOBS okay I didn’t say that, but that’s where it happens. Ugh, my head hurts.

He was always a reluctant tooth brusher and his breath could melt my eyeglasses. Saturday, when he left to go to the mall with his friends, he breathed on me and asked me if his breath was fresh.
It was.

“Fresh enough to kiss a girl?”
Ugh why why whyyyyyyyyy

 

When my kid was little, we used to cuddle at bedtime and he’d share with me his “sads and glads” that day.

Now his bedtime is around 9 PM. As a lingering vestige of that ritual, he’ll occasionally ask to snuggle with me and tell me a tidbit or two from his day. 9 PM be damned, I want those moments now. So as of last week, I officially lifted the 9 PM rule. I’ll let him watch a little SOA with me, while he remarks on all the ways in which I remind him of Gemma Teller Morrow.

He’s got one part of that right (besides the similarity in our wardrobes and our love of tats) – like Gemma, I’ll go to any lengths to protect my son. The irony of that is, at the exact time when I feel the need to protect him more than ever, he wants to take care of himself.

We’ve always been a tightly knit unit; he always chose to be with me above anyone else. Now, he would rather be with his friends or even alone.

My son is more his than mine, now. I know this means I’ve gotten it right so far, preparing him for independence.

But who prepares me?

 

Is your kid growing up way too fast?
Talk to me. I’m listening. 

Come hang out with me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, so I can have friends without leaving the house. 


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avoid planning

 

I got married at city hall. I wore a white leather mini dress and white leather boots. I was going for an ‘Amy Winehouse retro’ look but ended up more ‘boozy Nancy Sinatra’.

Afterwards, we had a barbecue in our backyard. My lawn caught fire which I expertly handled by drinking copious amounts of tequila. I’m told I ran around the backyard in various states of undress, but I have no memory of that. It was pre-camera phones. Thank God.

 

I love to throw big parties, although admittedly, it’s been a while. I provide excessive amounts of food and alcohol, make an 8-hour mixed tape that whips the crowd into an orgiastic frenzy of dance, and pray that no one pees in my living room.

What I can’t do – or rather, what I loathe doing – is plan events like weddings. I got married at city hall precisely because I’d rather set my teeth on fire than worry about center pieces and invitations.

This is where “you do you” comes in. I’m sure there are scads of people who wouldn’t devote an entire Saturday to hunting down a Partridge Family lunchbox, like I did.

 

According to everyone in the free world, I should already have started planning my kid’s bar mitzvah. It’s in November. Most mothers where I live would have already booked a summer face lift.

There will be a Saturday morning service at the temple, at which time my kid has to read his haftarah– a portion of the Torah.

It’s endless pages of hieroglyphics, and everytime he practices it, I marvel at his ability to learn a language that’s written right to left, in a completely different alphabet. Considering most people I know mangle this one.

There’s a small brunch-y reception right after the service,the kiddush, and then a big party that night. I have to decide what we’re serving at both those events and it has to be kosher, and what foods are kosher?! and did I forget to mention that my Ex used to call me “the Shiksah” because I don’t know jack shit about my own religion?

I should have already picked a venue. Places are booked a year in advance. But they won’t re-open CBGB’s to host a bar mitzvah, and beyond that, I don’t care.

 

A month ago, I was asked what my kid’s “theme” will be.

Theme? I was having a fun little fantasy wherein I begin every conversation at the party with “So, these adult diapers I’m wearing” and then this…theme thing happened.

I went into protective mode. I became a hedgehog whose life is threatened. I shot up my prickly spine and hissed and hoped it would all go away.

The decor and centerpieces are supposed to reflect said “theme” and I’m wondering if the theme can be “themeless.” Just like this blog.

My kid is looking forward to a party – after all, he’s been studying for 5 years – but he’s not invested in how elaborate it is. He did, however, also ask about the “theme.” HISSSSSS.

I have to pick out invitations and pre-invitation invitations, ‘Save the Date! notices. This locks people in so they can’t get a better offer at the last-minute and ditch us.

I have to decide who we’re inviting, and who we’re leaving out because we’re not inviting everyone we’ve ever known and I’m capping this bitch at 50 people.

We’ll need a DJ. But not JUST a DJ.

You need pyrotechnics and flashmob choreography. People hire entertainment companies, complete with girls dressed like rap video hoes, to get everyone shaking it on the dance floor. And to get air humped by pubescent boys.

 

Traditionally, the bar mitzvah boy has personalized yarmulkes (beaniescreated in his favorite color, with his name and date printed inside. Little Dude cannot make up his mind what color to have, and recently suggested rainbow-colored. Which would be convenient, if we were going straight from the bar mitzvah to the Gay Pride parade.

I need to wear grownup clothes to this. Not just one outfit – I’ll need TWO. One suitable for a morning service at the temple, and one for the party that night. I have to buy these because I DON’T OWN CLOTHES LIKE THAT.

I’ll probably break tradition and wear a rock tee-shirt and jeans to the party that night because (this is becoming my mantra for the event) WHO CARES? My kid is fine with that, but has already put me on notice that I have to wear something “mom-ish” to the morning service.

I’ve decided to purchase an expensive, tasteful dress at a local department store. I’ll wear it with the tags still on it, Febreze the shit out of the armpits and return it the day after.

 

 

My mother passed away last fall, and while going through her belongings, I found ancient family photos. One yellowed packet contained photos of my eldest brother’s bar mitzvah. It was right before my father died, leaving my mother a widow with six kids.

It’s the only bar mitzvah my family had, although I have no memory of it beyond these photos.

I am 3 years old in the pictures. I don’t remember my father, or the mother of those pictures. She is laughing and whirling. She is beautiful; her body svelte and her flaming red hair matching her red lips. She is holding a cigarette in slender fingers just like mine, elegantly photographed at some catering hall in the Bronx, I suppose.

I do remember my brother, although he too, is gone now. There’s one picture of him holding me, laughing. Behind us are our parents, who are smiling for the camera, but mostly for the day and the joy it held.

Everyone but me in that picture is gone.

All that remains is a faded analog reminder of a different era; a time when we were all still alive and together and happy.

 

My son deserves his day.

Tomorrow, I start planning.

 

Are you good at planning these events? Do you want to plan this one?
Talk to me. I’m listening. 

Join me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter  so I can have friends without leaving the house.