All moms should be divas...this one just happens to be in Jersey!

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Letter to My Jersey Diva MomMom

Dear MomMom:

You’re probably wondering why I’m writing to you. I mean, on here, where I usually highlight my daily shortcomings as a parent. And you, in Heaven, where they may not even have wifi.

Let me take a step back, actually, since we never had the chance to meet in person. I’m your second of three granddaughters. My mom was pregnant with me when you passed away, 42 years ago today. I’ve muttered to you and prayed to you and put flowers on your grave, but we’ve never chatted. You met my cousins, your first granddaughter and grandson. You met your second grandson, my Bro1. But I’ve only gotten to hear relayed memories. I’ve always been incredibly frustrated by that, very saddened by that. It may sound odd to say about someone I never met, but I can honestly say you are one of the people who had the greatest impact on the person I am, yet I missed seeing you with my own eyes by seven months. 

First let me say, if you haven’t heard all of them all these years, NO ONE has had a bad word to say about you. From my youngest days, there were people in our family who sang your praises who never had a kind word about anyone else. I won’t name names, ‘cause, ya know I don’t have to— you know.

I’ve heard the family stories for years about the year you passed away just two days after Christmas from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Mom was so young to deal with that, with one toddler already, me on the way, and your loss all at 25. That seems crazy to me now as I think about it, so young for such a rollercoaster.

But you should know that your daughter is an amazing woman. She gave Bro1 and me great Christmases all through our childhood. As I think back, knowing what I know now about the stress build up of over-stimulated kids at Christmas, I can’t get my head around the pain she must have felt remembering the anniversary of your death while watching us whale each other with Weebles. And, I mean, I know you could see everything so you know he started it. When your third granddaughter and third grandson joined the fracas several years later, she never missed a beat either… even while they were beating each other.

Not to brag, but I have supernatural maternal detection skills. I am CSI Mom, as you may have heard. I know I learned this behavior from the warden, pardon me, mother who raised me. I can only go by the word I have heard that she got it from you. I didn’t really get all of your height, but I got these genes, so thank you. I carry these cross-examination skills with me with pride.

Were you funny? Is that where mom got her sense of humor? I’ve been told I sound a lot like her, which is a good thing. She can wing good a one liner like nobody’s business. If that was from you, thanks. If not, please pass along the kudos to whoever is up there with you who is the actual party responsible.

I have to ask: Was Mom always late? Were you? Mom is in her own time zone. We were raised in Jersey with a mother on Denver time. Was she like this as a child? Is that why there was 12 years between your two kids? Was she actually due in 9 years but stopped to do “just one more thing” before delivery?

I also have to ask: Was Mom ever wrong as a child? I don’t mean in the annoying way Son1 is “always right.” I mean truly right. From friends to teachers to relationships, she has great intuition. At times I have so wanted her to be wrong, she’s been right. Did she get that from you? Or have you been boosting her intuition from above for the last 40 years. If that is the case I want to declare “interference” and demand a do-over of my teen years. Do you see ANY of those genes in me? God knows I feel like I second guess myself as a mom all – the -- time. Could you give my instincts a little boost from beyond? Thanks much.

You’d think since I’ve had all this time, decades really, to work on this letter it would be a lot more polished, right? I really just wanted to say hi, to say thank you for your daughter, for all that she means to me, my brothers & sister, my sons. She is a very active grandmother. I cherish that since I know how precious it is, having missed you. Know that you have never been forgotten and will always be cherished, even by those of us who were still twinkles in the eye when you went home to our Lord.
December 27 has never been and will never be just another winter’s day in our family. It says a lot about you as a person that 42 years later, thoughts still turn to you. I hope you knew while here how loved you were. I hope you know now much love you generated in others. You must really have been as fabulous as everyone has always said. From now on, to me anyway, you shall be “Jersey Diva MomMom.”

Xoxox- Your granddaughter

PS: please say hi to Grandpa for me. I did get to spend a lot of time with him, enough to make me miss him still.

Friday, December 24, 2010

When Joseph Overacts

God love my sons, they are nothing if not dramatic. For little kids, there are few outlets to stretch acting muscles as much as the Christmas pagaent. Every year, around the world, kids don costumes to pretend to be a carpenter, his pregnant wife, a wise man, or a donkey. We all know the story, and we know how it will end. We also know 3 shepherds will take longer to move from sacristry to main aisle than the actual Magi took to migrate. But that's the beauty of it. The childish improvisation (intended or not) brings a sweetness that sucks us all in, every time.

But much like the singers who insist upon scatting their way through the National Anthem at the World Series... sometimes personalization can go a little too far. While Son2 was content, even drawn to non-speaking roles in which he could hide (the donkey, FOUR times), Son1 has always tried to grab the limelight. Maybe it's partially our own fault, since he sees hubs and I prep each year for the Murder Mystery play we co-write and perform. Maybe I should have reigned him in the first year when he finagled a dual role. Maybe he was inspired to learn Cecil B. DeMille grew up in our church (and then learn who he was). All I know is, Joseph was never delivered with such zeal. And volume.

Year one, Son1 was Caesar. But being a small parish with a Christmas cold whipping thru, we were down a Magi. Enter Son1, assuming the duel role of Caesar Augustus AND Balthasar. He was elated he'd have a costume change and two crowns. He still tried to worm his way into the shepherd corps, and was miffed that Joseph went to another boy. "How do you plan on being Joseph and being a wise man coming to visit Joseph/you?" I asked. "I'd figure it out. Special effects. Like in the movies" Right. George Lucas on line one for you, bud. At some point in the play, he started speaking as Caesar, which was funny since his Caesar had no speech. Still early in the speech therapy game, his sweeping call to his "wo-man  soldiers" to enforce the census was a stirring ad lib.

The first year Son1 was cast as Joseph, he was a little frustrated to learn he was to sit in tableau. When told he would have no lines to recite, no props per se, and no actual livestock he pitched a wee fit. I should have been a little suspicious when he tried to clarify six times if it was 100% certain he was not to move at all. Perpetual Motion-Son1 has a tendency to rock side to side, so I use the phrase "two feet" as a cue to plant both when it would be distracting. My direction gaffe for that performance was blurting out "TWO FEET and NO FIDGETING!" That left the door open for all other movement. And you have never seen a more melodramatic Joseph, silent or not. Through slow, sweeping arm gestures, bowed head, panicked expressions, and exaggerated attempts to "hear what I hear," the tableau fell apart to the point the Virgin Mother punched him. While holding baby Jesus.

The second year as Joseph went more smoothly, since they wised up and gave him actual lines. I guess they figured it would be better to control his speech. Silly, silly people. When all was said and done, apart from a few scrapes trying to defend the baby Jesus when the drummer boy came over it worked out. No domestic violence was had in the manger. All was calm, all was bright.

The following year, he was Herod. Herod is historically important in the Nativity story, but kind of a bit part in Christmas pagaents. Well, traditionally. Son1 delivered all 6 of his words with passion. Then, when the narrator announced that it came to pass Herod had died, Son1 (to the alarm of the assembled congregation) played his death scene in true style. He stumbled up the steps to the choir loft that fronts our altar, grasping pews along the way. He gasped and choked. It looked like Herod was mugged. He then reached his "mark" where he (to the best of my knowledge) was simply supposed to fall, and threw himself up in the air, crashing to the ground with a thud. It was a tour de force collapse that nearly landed him in the ER with a concussion. The angel Gabriel cum stage hand laughed and dragged him out by his feet, whacking his head twice on steps. To his credit, he never broke character, never had his Harvey Korman-Carol Burnett show laughter break.

But Son1 is older now, and doesn't want to be in the pagaent. Pushing 13, I see his point. The time has come to pass the torch, crowns, and baby Jesus doll to the younger cherubs so they may make their mark. Stage shy Son2 lapsed into the stage crew the year immediately following his breakout (yet silent) role as the star. Son1 now sits in his altar boy vestments and watches the little ones perform. I had the chance to take part in the service last week, so I was sitting next him. I was watching him watching them and it was a bittersweet moment. My boy was now beyond his dramatic Nativity days. He's now all gangly legs and crazy long feet. But I found myself stealing glances, enjoying his reactions as much as I enjoyed his turns in the same roles. There's something really sweet about watching your kids reach a point when they support the younger ones, and we are now at that point. We'll continue to watch the pagaent each year and applaud the efforts, but I can guarantee it will not hold the level of action it has in more recent years... at least not until the Sunday School teachers allow Son1 to direct.

Friday, December 17, 2010

What Will I Wear?

I sometimes lie awake at night, in a near panic wondering, "WTH am I going to wear for such a huge day?" I wonder whether my flights will be on time, if I will have enough batteries for the camera, if I will have packed for hot enough/cold enough weather, and if we'll maybe get an invite to the White House as parents of a distinguished American. Part of the panic and insomnia is caused by just not knowing... I mean, I know the day is coming, I just don't know when. Which year will Son1 be awarded the Nobel Prize for Saving Mankind? Oh God, where's my passport?

You see, I've written repeatedly how intelligent my son is (in his delusions). What you may not realize is that he is a godsend to all of us. He knows everything. Everything. He has that dizzying, awe-inspiring gift that all children develop, 'round about 12-13, that renders them omnipotent. But even among tweens and teens, he is in an echelon of knowledge beyond my wildest dreams. Certainly beyond what my meager Penn State degree can hope to reflect, which is why I have planned its return.

This week's agenda included completion of another Social Studies project. Is it me, or are these kids the most Socially Studious generation? I feel like all my kids ever do is Social Studies projects. But I digress. His current teacher, a 30+year veteran of middle school education must thank his lucky stars after all these years to have a pupil like Son1 sitting in his class, first row, center chair. They say it's because of his IEP, and that it helps them monitor my ADHD boy. Now now, silly teacher. I know it is merely so you can be in closer proximity to the glow of his aura. Does he correct you too at every turn, or challenge your knowledge based upon actual decades of experience instead of what Sean's cousin's girlfriend's neighbor's babysitter's boyfriend's cousin said? While I do hope he does not consider me the only jackass in dire need of his insight, I certainly hope he is polite to you.

He is now 2 months away from 13. We're not even Jewish but I feel like giving him a bar mitzvah to welcome him to adulthood, as a distinguished elder of the tribe. Clearly, he has it all figured out, whether it be the secrets of the universe, reducing the national debt, tackling cancer cures, or how to get all Madden 2010 football players to do victory dances. Even I draw the line at calling him the "second coming of the Messiah"... but- if you have ever heard the passionate fervor of a teen fired up to contradict you, well, you may know why I think he could at least be a harbinger from above that big things are coming. He doesn't actually have to be right, and in fact, rarely is he, but I think that's just trivial. He puts forth all facts with such teen-conviction he can sway anyone to do anything (again, in his mind).

Son1, I truly love you more than life itself. Average student or super genius, you are a large part of my reason for being. And yet, each day, you remind me (over breakfast, homework, dinner, laundry, schlepping to swimming, you name it) just how superior you are in knowledge held. You are always right, whereas I never can be when in your presence. Not since Moses was pulled from a floating basket, or maybe at least not since Faith Hill first began singing has an adoptive parent sat in such awe at the genius God placed in her lap.

Now the Nobel Committee may be a little thrown by how soon to award you the medal, but since they snubbed Ghandi in his lifetime, I think they've learned a lesson about the hazards of delaying the obvious. For this reason, I think they very well may phone any day to tell us you are nominated and the votes will of course be unanimous. I'm sure they will not wait until you have actually accumulated the knowledge you now think you should wield over your little brother. I'm sure they won't wait until you've hit maybe 22 and begin to see how little you really do know about the world. No, no... I'm certain, since you are ALWAYS right, they will pick you, a shining example of know-it-all youth of your generation, and am equally sure it will be soon.

So good Lord, what does one wear to watch such momentous event? I'd better get shopping. And dieting. And where is that passport? Ugh, so much do when one parents an omnipotent child, so very much to do. No wonder I lie awake at night.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas: A Study in Contrasts

It’s fairly evident on any given day how different Son1 and Son2 are. Musical taste, activities, clothing preferences… the list can go on. The way they manage money is an extreme study in contrasts.

Son1 was a rap star in a past life, or maybe a pro basketball player oozing street cred. In his mind, he is a god when it comes to creating hip hop, sweet talking the ladies, and livin’ large. We have a hard time getting through his head that, “Peace homes… chill” is not the appropriate way to sign off the phone with one's grandmother. And you know how many home boys kick it in STX lacrosse T-Shirts or Umbra soccer cleats.

Son2 need only be placed on an island with six fellow castaways and a coconut radio for it to be clear he is the Professor. He also must deck the house out for every occasion with such zeal I call him Marcus Stewart. We are continually stuck in a dizzying array of elaborately engineered seasonal displays. I don’t mean just the biggies like Christmas or Easter. St Patrick’s Day is a festival in the playroom, and I think he’s planning Summer Solstice 2011 décor 6 months ahead.

But of all the times of the year that I marvel at the differences of two children raised under the same set of rules, there is nothing quite like Christmas to spotlight the chasm. Here are but a few conversational highlights to show Son1 and Son2 are about as in synch as Nancy Pelosi and Anne Coulter:

On the subject of presents for their older sisters… Where do you want to go for Christmas shopping?

The highly-frugal, crazy-methodical, and intensely-crafty 10yr old (Son2):
Can I have $20 and go to 5 below? Or maybe a craft fair. I can always find something there and can really stretch my money. Or if you take me to Michael’s, I can spend the money on supplies to make twice as much. I can make them earrings, or a necklace. How much do I have? I’ll need a lot.

Money you mean?

No, time. I’ll need a lot of time in the store to find the perfect item. You may need to take me to the other Michael’s too. We’ll have all afternoon, right?

(You see, Son2 has to look at EVERYthing. Every item in inventory at least twice to be sure he doesn’t miss a thing. Tomorrow is shopping day. Just shoot me now)

The high rolling generous to the brink of insane 12 yr old (Son1):
Well, I want to get them sapphire diamonds. BIG ones.

Um, honey, they are 2 different stones. That’s very generous.

Ok, well one necklace or whatever for them both that has a really big sapphire and some diamonds. Then I want to get T an Xbox360 and for A, a flat screen TV. For (her husband) L, flat screen too.

Again, very generous. Ya know T’s 40 next month, and I think her kids have Xbox already, but very nice. Nice of you too on the flat screen for A&L.

No- one for A and one for L. He should have his own.

Ok, what about D, your sister T’s husband?

Oh yeah, I may have to borrow some money.

NOW? NOW you think you may be over budget?

I really need to start the Christmas baking…

Cake Boss meets Nate Berkus Son2:
Oh can I help? I want to decorate the cookies! Can we get that white icing stuff in the bag to draw those really neat lines? I want to draw snowflakes on cookies. But they all need to be different.

And then we can do some with that sugar in the colors. Maybe like 2 dozen of red, and then green, and then blue. Some chocolate chips would be good, and then some peanut butter ones. And then we can make those rolled up cookies you made last year.

OF COURSE he wants me to make those rolled up cookies. They’re from a Hungarian recipe from my mother in law and take like 16 hours to make, back from the days when peasant women had days and days to cook and bake. And massive arms apparently to obliterate 10lbs of walnuts into dust.

And I always wanted to bake and build a real gingerbread house. Should we make it open on one side so we can decorate all the rooms with candy?

Aim high, kid, aim high.

Attention span of Flea Son1:
Can’t we just use that plastic tub of dough? Or go to Kings?

Of course, even in convenience he picks Kings or Whole Foods where the same cookie dough is five times the price.

At least the schedule isn’t as crazy this year. Last year was a zoo with meetings for Daddy or me each night …

All about a ferstive and cozy home Son2:
I was thinking, we should light a fire every night and you can make real hot cocoa. Do you know how to make marshmallows? That lady on TV did. We can put a different movie on each night.

Sorry kid, your mom’s not the Barefoot Contessa. You notice he’s a little fixated on from scratch?

All I want is PlayStation Son1:
Can we just get pizza one night and watch a movie. Like Transformers?

That’s not a holiday movie.

Alright, what about that one where the kid wants the rifle but he’ll shoot his eye out, and the mom is super stressed and the dad yells and the crazy dogs take the food?

A Christmas Story? Or are we simply talking home movies?

And our final example: It’ll be nice to be home for Christmas, then visit your sisters …

Always up for decorating Son2:
That’ll be so cool! Do you think they’ll each let me decorate some stuff at their houses? You know you have to get ready for the Three Kings. A lot of people don’t realize you should make the place look festive for them too.

What have done for me lately Son1:
Why can’t we all go down to Florida and rent big houses next to each other and hang out and swim all day then go to restaurants at night so you don’t have to cook?

Well for starters, I do like to cook, but more to your point, flying 11 people to Florida and renting homes isn’t in the cards this year. Maybe I can try to get some tickets from points for a trip next year.

Fine. Then we’ll do it next year. But make sure you book at least me in first class.

You aim high too, Son1. Aim for the Christmas you so richly think you deserve.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Shindig That Almost Wasn't

Every so often, as a wife or mother you have the chance to plan an event so cool, you’re beside yourself with all the possibilities (if you’re a creative control freak like me, anyway). A few years ago, my hubs was set to hit 60, a landmark that clearly deserved a full on surprise bash. Sure, he didn’t want one. Why would that matter? After years of planning superhero parties, I was going to plan a big ole shindig for an adult. There’d be martinis, and oysters, and no goodie bags. Little did I know, it would nearly be foiled by the most unlikely of pairs… Simon and Garfunkel.

The key to a surprise is the ruse. I started before even booking the hotel. His bday was the first Saturday of December, but since we each own our businesses, I couldn’t chalk it up to an office party. It had to be something I had no control over…hhhmmmm… A wedding! But who was engaged? or even serious that we knew? Answer- no one. So I made one up. I called a friend with two daughters and congratulated her on her 21 year old’s impending (albeit imaginary) nuptials this Dec 2 to a phantom boyfriend I created. And she went along with it like any logical mother would. So as early as February, I dropped a “oh, guess who got engaged for Valentine’s Day?!” In March, “yeah, Janet said her daughter’s engagement will be short-- maybe by the end of the year.” In May, I griped routinely that she was getting married the day of his bday and I’d look like a schlub if we didn’t go. He bought it all. The surprise shindig trap was set.

I continued with my imaginary wedding relaying gossip that never happened about the couple that never was. I was so into it, I was almost believing it myself. I designed an invitation and RSVP set and drove to the “bride’s” town for the proper postmark. When I needed time to shop for a dress, I created a shower, with another fake invite. I had a quiet lunch, sorted lists, sketched out the cake, and then stopped at Macy’s to pick up a cheapie, favorish looking candle so I wouldn’t return empty handed. (If you ever need a day, I highly recommend fabricating a shower.)

I followed a martini theme, and planned to make a Kettle One bottle-shaped cake with a Tahitian vanilla recipe I found. I was surprised to see it was actually imported from Tahiti, so you can imagine the cost per bean. But hey, not like I was actually giving a wedding present, right? I baked while he was out, then lit vanilla candles to which I attributed the scent. I decorated the cake and display at my office. I was getting a little carried away by the time fondant pimento-stuffed fondant olives were sculpted. I was teetering on the ledge of overachievement where you can suck your own joy out of the most joyous event. But it would be worth it that night, I knew. Mentally, I was full frontal surprise mode.

It occurred to me by November that I had omitted planning anything he was aware of. He knew I wouldn’t forget, so NO hooplah would have been suspicious. Shit, now I had to plan a pseudo shindig. I told him I was doing a long weekend in MD closer to Christmas with his daughters and sister. I hinted there would be more then, to create a red herring party. Ok, so now we have real-but-secret party, a fake wedding, a fake shower, and now fake-but-supposed-to-be-real party. My head was spinning with where I was supposed to be when. Little cracks of stress (or psyche) were emerging.

I never told the boys what was happening. At 8 and 6, Son1 and Son2 were as discreet as Julian Assange, but I had other cohorts to help on the big day. My stepdaughters would be in town from PA and MD, Dad from MS, and my conspiratorial mom close by. Our church’s Santa Breakfast was announced for that morning which meant hubs would be tied up flipping pancakes all morning (whew!). Mom could whisk the kids away right from there under the guise of watching them overnight while we toasted Michele and her faux beau.

It was all going so smoothly. That morning he even offered to take Son1 to church for set up help. The kids were divided. (whew!) The second he left, I loaded the car with 57 bags of clothes sorted in the days preceding. Ok, maybe it was only 3. I had outfits for the trip to Picture People the girls were taking with the boys for the first ever formal portrait of all 4 of the hub’s kids. I had their suits for the party. I had the cover-story overnight backpacks for their trip to grandma’s that wasn’t happening. She would take the boys to hotel to meet up with their sisters, they would all take pics, and then my dad would get them into suits that night by preset schedule.

I loaded Son2 and stopped by my office to load boxes filled with centerpieces I made while at the school committee meetings I also fabricated to give myself free nights to assemble the cake and décor. I would drop them at the hotel on the way home from church, then head to back to my office for the cake which I would drop off on a 2nd trip. I would then head home with the wedding card I picked up for the check I would write in route to the “wedding” the way I always do at the last minute much to his chagrin. In route that evening, I’d get a call from another friend and wedding guest suggesting we meet at the bar for a drink, to get him unsuspectingly to the lounge where the party was is rather than the banquet rooms the wedding would be in... you know, were there a wedding. A few more stress cracks in the psyche, but if I stayed close to timing, a year’s planning would be golden.

But then, I went one step too far. For reasons still beyond me, I caved to Son2’s prodding for balloons so he could surprise Daddy when we showed up at church. We picked the big 3ft tall “6” and “0” but of course the credit card machine froze, then a fender bender blocked traffic. Every second on B-Day was critical, and I was just screwed out of 30! I needed to make up time. Enter Route 287, NJ’s Autobahn. I was now hyper-stressed, so figured, ok, let’s crank some tunes. My mood lifted; Son2 sang along with me. The bulbous 6 and 0 glinted in the sunlight (and obscured the view I’d later take note). When the theme from The Graduate came on, I was getting stress-giddy. And so as Son2 and I belted out our longing for Joltin’ Joe, I did not notice the NJ State Trooper in the rearview. So distracted replicating Simon and Garfunkel's harmonies with my then 6 yr old, I was oblivious to the officer. A good two verses later, he caught my eye coming up next to me, waving me over. Uh oh. Ok, speeding, right? Turn down Paul and Art, plead mea culpa, shed a tear or two and drive off. Um, no. For when the trooper approached, he proceeded to rattle off all of my offenses from excessive speed, to reckless driving, (3 foot metallic balloons are frowned upon in cars, FYI), and failure to yield to his request to pull over for 3 miles. Really? 3 miles? How long is that song?

Knowing I had one hell of a ticket coming and insurance surcharges tripping through my head, I was then informed my registration was not one, two, or even three months expired. It was SIX months late. I later sorted out that I sent our boat reg in twice rather than my car, but it mattered little then. I was recklessly operating a non-registered vehicle with a minor within… and I was told it was being impounded. I was to call for a ride, and prepare to be relieved of my car momentarily.

And that my good friends, is where I lost it. Simon and Garfunkel got me into this mess of driving with distraction, but could not bring me back. All the drugs of their generation could not have calmed me from my implosion. I begged. I pleaded. I. lost. it. I wailed about the party stuff in the car, the cake I needed to transport with Tahitian vanilla—FROM TAHITI. Good God, man! Ta-F’IN-HITI!!!! I was sobbing-RANTING, and blaming it all on Mrs. Robinson and the hypnotic effect of singing along with my son. Son2, heretofore unaware of the party was panicking and yelling “What party? We’re under-arrested?? I’m too little to be under-arrested! What party? You’re having a party?! You didn't invite me?! Oh who cares?!! We’re going to jail!”

I can only imagine that may have made the cop feel like hell. Maybe he was confounded by my Simon and Garfunkel defense. Who wouldn’t be? Or maybe he was afraid to be trapped in his own car with me ranting about Tahiti, because the next thing I knew, he was back telling me to calm down (easy for him to say), and please to proceed with caution. He handed me a court summons. I was still blubbering and kind of clueless what was happening really, until Son2 shouted, “no see Mom, he’s letting us off! We’re free! We’re not under-arrested! GO- but don’t speed! What party?!”

I had to come clean to hubs why I was so upset when I got to church, without ever letting on WHY it would have been so disastrous. I also had to keep Son2's mouth jammed with pancakes non stop lest he spill the beans. The day did improve, and all got back on track. The party was awesome, and hubs was truly surprised. The ticket (THANK GOD) was pled down with some counsel by a trooper-friend. Son2 is still vigilant on speed, and to this day, I can break out in hives when I hear Mrs. Robinson while behind the wheel. The hubs admitted my acting troubled him because I lied over and over again for a year. Well.

But the whole near-fiasco taught me the valuable (expensive) lesson of what happens when you get so fixated on one item in your life. In the drive for the perfect shindig, I nearly drove myself into an accident by reckless behavior, with my son in tow. It taught me to mellow some, take things with a grain of salt and take off the blinders. Slow down (literally), and chill. As wives and moms, we sometimes try and make things so perfect we can easily go beyond reason. While I still may cross the line of logic, I do try to keep some perspective. I should be a much calmer planner by the time 2016 rolls around and it’s time to gear up for the hub's big 7-0 shindig. (Shhhh) Simon and Garfunkel~ please keep your distance. I'll need my focus.