When You Held Your Breath To Find Out If School Was Closed

The view from our home - with a photobomb by the snowplow truck.

The view from our home – with a photobomb by the snowplow truck.

As I’m writing, snowpocalypse is raging outside my window. Another 10 inches or so is expected in our neighborhood. All this on top of the foot or more already covering the sides of the roads and everyone’s front lawns. I don’t mind the snow so much, especially now since I work from home and a daily commute is not something I have to deal with. It really is pretty to look at. But it’s getting old as we reach mid-February.

We found out last night that school would be closed today for my nine-year old. The list of school names – neatly arranged by county – scrolled along the bottom of the local New Jersey news station a good five hours before a single flake fell. We also received text messages and phone calls last night from an automated notification system – about the “impending weather.”

Now what fun is that?

I remember as a kid waking up early, raising the window shades and seeing the most glorious sight – SNOW! We’d run to the dining room, turn on our big stereo and tune it to the local station that was listing off all the school closings. The sound was all static and grainy – a sign of the times before satellite and digital radio. The announcers would list the names alphabetically. Our town began with “M” and we usually tuned in when they were somewhere at “S.” So we’d have to wait for them to loop around and begin again. Without fail, our town was one of the last to decide to close. I grew up in Melrose. And this is what we would hear:

Malden, Medfield, Medway, Middleton, Milton….

Melrose should fit neatly between Medway and Middleton, right? But it never did. At least not on the first read-through.

No, it wasn’t until after I had taken a shower, gotten dressed, had breakfast and was ready to go.

We’d listen one more time…Malden, Medfield, Medway, MELROSE, Middleton, Milton…

SNOW DAY!

Back in our jammies for a day full of cartoons and sitcoms 🙂

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A Personal Memory of a Boston Legend

Anybody that lived in New England in the 70s and 80s knew who he was.

As the Boston Globe said, he was a reporter back when reporters were revered as celebrities. And that’s just what he and his former wife, Natalie Jacobson, were: celebrities. Chet Curtis was the face of WCVB TV Channel 5 in Boston and long before the movie parody, he was everybody’s favorite anchorman.

I was sad to learn he lost his battle with pancreatic cancer last week. Social media has been flooded with stories, photos and vintage newsclips paying homage to this legendary newsman, so I won’t regurgitate them all. But I will say there’s a lovely photo spread that Channel 5 ran last week.

My memories are probably similar to everyone else’s. His face lit up our TV every night. There weren’t a gazillion channels to choose from like there are today. But even if there had been, we still would have chosen to watch Chet and Natalie. In fact, I can’t recall any of the anchors from the other two stations.

But my fondest memory of Chet Curtis was long before I ever appreciated his journalistic talents.

I was four years old and participating in the local taping of the national kids show, “Romper Room”, which was done at the channel 5 studios in Needham. In between tapings, I wandered down the halls. (not sure how well we were supervised!) I made my way through some double doors and was greeted by Chet Curtis. It was close to airtime for the noon news. To my credit, I remember saying, “Hey, I know you!”

He couldn’t have been nicer as he quickly whisked me back to where I should have been. I don’t remember much else but I do remember thinking it was cool that someone from inside my TV was real.

And he was real.

And he’ll be missed.

photo source: blogwillhunting..com

photo source: blogwillhunting..com

Thanks, 2013!

I came across this idea for a yearly recap while reading Kristen Howerton’s awesome blog, “Rage Against the Minivan.” And SHE got the idea from this equally awesome blog, “All & Sundry.”

So much stuff happened this year. In the world and within our family, I’m hoping a bunch of questions will help me organize my thoughts better than just a random data dump. Let’s hit it.

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?

Shared my story of being a birthmother in a national documentary and with practically everyone I know on social media. It was overwhelming at first but once it was out there? Bam. All kinds of good stuff.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?


I had a few resolutions last year, although I failed to write any of them in a place where I might be held accountable for them. Deliberate attempt at self-sabotage? Perhaps. Here’s what I remember from last year. And what my results were:

  • Lose 25 pounds for my 25th high school reunion. Oy. Moving on.
  • Run 2nd half marathon and beat my previous time. YES! I’ll never come in first, but I sure as hell wasn’t last.
  • Go to BlogHer convention. Didn’t make it this year, but I’d love to shoot for this year 🙂
  • Grow my blog. YES! And still growing. Thanks for reading!
  • Grow my business. YES! Love working from home. Love writing. Love helping people grow their business. 
  • Get Bridget potty-trained for the Disney cruise in December. Nope. But this has been moved to a 1st quarter goal for 2014. TOP PRIORITY.
  • Read 25 books. YES! And more..(come join me on Goodreads!)
  • Get caught up on all my photos and scrapbooks. Um…I’m so far behind it’s pitiful.

For 2014, I have just five words that describe my intentions.
I hope to be more:

PATIENT – with my kids, with my husband, with myself. New mantra: Nobody and nothing is perfect. Let it go.

ENGAGING – specifically with my kids and my husband. Technology is lovely, but I fear it’s creeping too far into my brain that it leaves with me much less to give. I want to change that.

CONSISTENT – With my writing, my fitness goals, family meal planning, and in how I work with my husband to raise our girls.

BRAVE – In both my personal & professional life. I want to try new things, put myself out there. Second new mantra: No regrets.

KIND – I’m a fairly nice person, but I’d prefer to be kind. Nice is for sissies. Kind is being a good human being. Plus it’s a good example for my kiddos. Also, if I’m alone in my car and someone cuts me off, I’d prefer to kindly flip them off rather than nicely shout obscenities that only I can hear. Sweet of me, huh?

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?


My niece gave birth to a little girl. And some good friends of mine adopted their second son in as many years. They are gorgeous, they are biological brothers and they are all involved in an open adoption. Which makes my heart happy.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

A great-uncle on my husband’s side, but thankfully, no one else.

5. What countries did you visit?

The Bahamas during our Disney Cruise. But that doesn’t really count because I didn’t get off the ship. Nassau is all kinds of icky.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

A million dollars. OK fine. I have to go with more balance and organization. I am really happy to be working from home doing what I love. But it’s a challenge to prioritize my time and make sure I don’t shortchange my girls and my husband. That, and more wine.

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

May 3 – My oldest daughter’s ninth birthday and the day I shared publicly that I am a birthmom.

May 16 – Our 14th wedding anniversary. Fourteen years! Seems like yesterday 🙂

The whole month of December – Disney cruise with my husband’s side of the family and a special family wedding in Salem, Massachusetts where I got to see my son and his family.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?


Launching and growing my own business as a freelance writer and social media manager.
Also, dropping a jean size. It wasn’t quite the 25 pounds mentioned earlier, but I’ll take it.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I’m trying to no longer dwell on the past or on failures, but if I had to point to something it’s losing my temper more often than I would have liked. Which is also why “being more patient” is one of my top goals for this year.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

No.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

The Disney Cruise (technically, the husband paid for it, but I don’t think he reads my blog…so…).

12. Where did most of your money go?

Groceries, diapers (omg can’t wait for her to be potty trained), and books for my Kindle Fire

13. What did you get really excited about?

The Taylor Swift concert back in March. We surprised my 9 year old with tickets. I think I enjoyed it as much as she did.

14. What song will always remind you of 2013?

The “Let It Go” song from Disney’s Frozen movie. The movie was way better than I expected. It must be noted that I didn’t like “Brave” at all. Like not even a little bit. So my expectations were low. But this movie was really spectacular. And the soundtrack is delicious. This song, in particular, is like an anthem for me. Don’t mean to be all drama, but don’t we all kind of struggle with the perfect girl / perfect daughter / perfect mom / perfect wife thing? Or is it just me. Either way, I totally dig this song.

Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl
You always had to be
Conceal, don’t feel
Don’t let them know
Well, now they know…
Let it go…let it go…can’t hold it back anymore.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:


– happier or sadder? Happier – definitely.
– thinner or fatter? Eeesh. ’bout the same.
– richer or poorer? About the same.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?


Written more.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?


I’m totally copying this answer from All & Sundry – my temper was rather short this year. But I’m working on it…

18. How did you spend Christmas?

I feel like we had a two-week long Christmas this year. How lucky were we? First a week-long Disney cruise where the ship and the characters were all decked in their holiday finest. Time with family and friends in Texas. Rushing to get our Christmas tree on the 23rd and then Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at home with my husband and girls. Then a whirlwind trip to Massachusetts for a family wedding, a family Christmas party, and the chance to see my folks and my son. Best. Christmas. Ever.

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19. What was your favorite TV program?

Modern Family, The Amazing Race, Elementary, Who Do You Think You Are, and The Goldberg’s. 

20. What were your favorite books of the year?

Wild, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, The Husband’s Secret, and Carry On, Warrior.

21. What was your favorite music from this year?


I’ve been listening to classic and new Alanis Morrisette, Kenny Chesney, Goo Goo Dolls, and Justin Timberlake this year.

22. What were your favorite films of the year?

Saving Mr. Banks and Argo. Note: I’m sure Argo came out last year or even the year before, but we’re Netflix people so I’m still playing catch-up.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I was 43 (holy shit) and my wonderful husband took me to see the fabulous Broadway show “Once.” It was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. And just for fun, I got yelled at by the crabby ushers not once – but twice. (no pun intended). The first time was for snapping a photo of the theater guests miling around the on-stage bar. The show hadn’t yet started but I didn’t realize there were copyrights on stuff that happens prior to showtime. The second time was for putting my program on the ledge in front of me. Where it could very well have fallen to the lower level and KILLED SOMEONE. A note to the ushers in the center balcony: calm the frick down.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

The whole losing weight in time for the reunion thing. But honestly, there’s no one to blame but me.

Me, and wine. And chocolate. And bagels. And all carbs.

25. What kept you sane?

Reading and writing. To loosely quote one of my personal heroes, Glennon Doyle, “reading and writing is like inhaling and exhaling.”

27. Share a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.


Letting go is not only important, it’s essential. Meditation is good for me, but not if I’m thinking about Andrew Shue. Kids don’t want much – just your undivided attention and your unending love forever and ever. Being a parent is tough and hard and totally worth it.

Open Adoption Roundtable #51 – “Does It Get Easier?”

The latest prompt from Open Adoption Bloggers on the Open Adoption Roundtable asks, “Does It Get Easier?”

My short answer is: YES.

My long answer is…it depends.

Here’s why. Open Adoption is about relationships with and communication between people. It’s fluid. It’s delicate. And it’s real. Therefore, it’s subject to the same flurry of emotions and uncertainties as any other relationship.

At the beginning of my open adoption journey (back in 1988), communication between my son, his family, and myself was all conducted through the adoption agency. Cards, letters, gifts, videos…all were sent to this agency first and then transferred either to me or to his family. It was a bit awkward, but it came as no surprise to me. I knew it all upfront.

Nearly one year from his placement date, my son’s parents made a trip out to Massachusetts (where I lived) for personal business. Just them – no little ones. The trip was phenomenal. Although I and my mother had met this wonderful couple, my father, sister and my son’s birthfather’s family had not. We enjoyed one jam-packed day touring Boston, walking, talking and getting to know one another. It was extraordinary. It was as if we had known each other for years.

On that very trip, I broached my son’s mother and mentioned I might be interested in taking a trip out west to visit and would they be willing to meet me for lunch or something. I remember the exact moment…vividly. She and I were seated in the backseat of a car headed back to the birthfather’s family’s house (have I lost you yet?) She and I were chatting like girlfriends. She looked me straight in the eye and said, “Let me give you our information.” And with that, she wrote her full name, address and phone number down and handed me the piece of scrap paper.

I felt so many emotions…I was stunned, ecstatic, nervous, happy, eager, cautious, overwhelmed…

Looking back, I suppose it was only natural. They had been to our homes and called us on the phone to make arrangements (no cell phones or Internet, remember, but still – information could easily have been revealed).

That day set the tone for these last 25 years.

The openness and trust that my son’s parents exhibited that day wasn’t just coincidence. It was a result of the relationship that we started to build with one another – all of us – on that day. There was just something there, you know? Something that’s kind of hard to explain. Think of your best friend. You know how you have that special something that only you two know? It’s kind of like that. We all just knew that this was right. This was good. And this unique family adventure we had just begun was going to be amazing.

And it has been.

Anxiety

I am stunned.

In disbelief I clamor for the remote, the smart phone, the NEWS.

All in a futile attempt to see, to hear to witness, to process what’s going on.

How does this happen?

What is the world coming to?

What the hell are people thinking? Where have we gone wrong?

And then I wonder

Terrorism and bad things happen in the world everyday

This is what some consider normal

Normal…I don’t even know what that word means anymore

Why do I keep watching the news? But also – how can I turn away?

How do I tell my children that the world I thought I knew has turned upside down?

I worry. I pray. I hope. I believe. I give thanks. I grieve. I hug. I cherish. I despise. I fear. I dream.   I worry, I worry, I worry…