Wednesday, December 30, 2009

With Love, From Tuscany: Happy New Year!!!

 

This was Sofia Madyson 7 years ago. Today she learned how to ride a bike and knocked out an old woman who should have been watching where she was going. Seven years ago I was in agony screaming for her to come out (no epidurals in this town), and when she finally, finally did- I watched fireworks from my hospital room together with three other new moms and their babies. I held my baby girl in my arms and wished for her to be strong, intelligent, honest, hard-working, affectionate and hearing.

At that time, Jordan was angry, frustrated and never hugged or kissed anyone. I wanted Sofia to take that pressure off of him so that the family would have someone capable of showing the love to them that they so desperately wanted to receive from Jordan.

Sofia's job in life was to give love, I never told her that, but she does just that every single day of her life. And now...so does Jordan.

2009 was an explosive year. I predict the atomic bomb here in 2010.
My New Year's Resolutions are:

In constant evolution.

Thank you so much for the love and support you have given me all throughout 2009, I'll probably need twice as much in 2010.

*Smile*

 

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Sunflower


No one prepares us to be parents, you can babysit your life away, change 5000 diapers and be the teacher of the year- but when you hold your own child for the first time, the world changes. When you become a wife and a mother within four months time, you try so hard to satisfy both new elements that you get lost. No one prepares you to be a wife, especially when you are the child of divorced parents.

So, you stumble along trying to do the best you can, because all you feel is love and sleep-deprivation. Then, slam, just when you see the light and have it all just about balanced, your road is chosen for you and you follow it. The road takes over and dictates and dominates until it swallows you completely.

You hug curves, drop your stomach at the dips, do 200 mph in a 25 mph zone or 25mph on the highway- it's all about the road. Until one day you find traintracks along the road, so you stop. And in that one moment, that one fleeting moment, you spy a teeny, tiny sunflower by the side of the road and you are dying to get out of that car that you have been sitting in - always in the driver's seat- not to pick the flower...just to smell it.

So I did.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Snowflakes and Frozen Hot Chocolate


Jordan: Mom, your cheeks look fat.
Me: (shoving chocolate-covered fruitcake in my mouth) Really?

Well, this holiday season I learned a lot. I learned that I'm okay. I learned that I must be a nerd, because I played chess for the first time in 38 years and I LOVED IT!!! Jordan still hasn't beaten me yet, but it's coming. And Sofia, almost 7 year old Sofia understands chess. That completely floored me. I have nerd kids. I'll learn to accept that as long as I can keep playing chess.

Is there anything more pathetic than watching sappy love stories on Christmas- the kind that talk about that unrealistic fall-in-love destiny shit that makes you get all tingly inside? Well, there we were watching that feel-good stuff about to pass out from having eaten too much... when in the end- girl found boy who was licking snowflakes. Okay, I admit it, I smiled-I'm such a sucker.

Tonight I had dinner with my girlfriend who told me something her grandfather continuously tells her, "Una donna non deve essere bella, deve essere furba." "A woman doesn't have to be beautiful, she has to be intelligent in a sly way." I think it's a survival of the fittest tactic that one learns only after smashing one's face against the wall only so many times.

But if you employ that tactic, can you still truly live the frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity and do you have to keep your tongue in your mouth at the sight of a snowflake?

I will sacrifice my face for a snowflake any day.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Jingle Balls


1. Today I got reamed out by a family member.

1a. I unleashed my own tongue.


2. I sent a text message to the wrong person (something like this, but more red-light district): "He really likes you"- it was meant for my girlfriend and I sent it to my guyfriend.

2a. I haven't laughed so hard in such a long time.


3. I received three emails that made my day.

3a. I hope that I made at least one person's day.


4. My kids are home for the holidays.

4a. It's 11,17 pm. here- Jordan's chatting on the computer and Sofia's playing Nintendo DS- I can't make them go to bed, they are so damn cute laying in my bed without having to stress about school, dreaming of Santa Claus and freedom.


5. I have this one friend from college who made my life hell in the most hilarious way possible. She left me a comment on fb, and I started laughing out loud.

5a. Sofia asked me about her and I explained that I hung her grandma underpants on the walls of the AEPhi house. Sofia smiled.


6. Sofia asked me if I would be working on the computer on Sunday. I said yes. She said, "I'll never get to use it."

6a. While helping Sofia take off her four shirts, because she decided she needed to be her own fashion consultant after school, she threw a hissy fit. I had to use my "Don't mess with your mamma" voice and I said, "Sofia, you are such a lunatic!" She replied, "Mommy, you are a spoiled brat. I'm gonna kick your ass."

6b. Ok. I may call my child a spoiled brat, but I have NEVER told her I'm going to kick her ass. I cannot figure out where she heard that, probably my mom.


7. I'm going to Christmas lunch with Luca's family, because:

7a. Sofia's teachers told me they would never have known we were going through a separation, she's extremely normal, happy and hard-working. (I'm not convinced, but there's only one Sofia and she's in a class of 13, so it must be her they're talking about)

7b. Jordan brought home an interim report that for the first time shows dramatic improvement in every subject (except English *smile*) because Luca's been working really, really hard with him.

7c. A comment was made that my kids wouldn't care if I were there or not, because they were only interested in the Christmas presents anyway.


Luca and I did not raise our kids to be only interested in presents, and I certainly did not decide to celebrate Christmas with his family despite the fact that I am Jewish every single year I've lived in this country for the presents. And I will not be sending my kids who are in the middle of a fairly mature separation to Christmas lunch without their mother.


Families come in many shapes and sizes. I don't love a family for thirteen years and suddenly stop. And my kids don't go to Christmas lunch for thirteen years with their mother, father and everyone they love surrounding them to suddenly look up and find their mother missing at the table. Not on my shift.


8. Twelve years ago, at my most desperate moment in finding out about Jordan's Deafness in Italian, when I was searching for a lifeline in English...I found the John Tracy Clinic. They helped me by email through Jordan's temper tantrums. I began attempting to write during that period, for the first time in my life. I sent something I wrote to Judy Blume. By miracle, she wrote me back and said, "Your writing reflects that you obviously know children. Concentrate on that and keep working on it." She sent me light during my darkest hour.

8a. My hope is that the past three years have taught me something about what it means to be a woman...not just any kind of woman- a Mother-Woman.


First, I struggled within my own head to figure it all out. Then, I reflected...deeply. Now, I know exactly who I am-

an American flag swimming naked in a sea of Nutella.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Balls


Sofia's running around giving orders, Jordan just gave me a kiss on the cheek and told me I should change my style because my face is full of glitter. I itched my eyes and it kind of got everywhere. Perhaps, I'll try the boob scarf...click here for other innovative and stylish suggestions.


I'm bored out of my mind and have no idea what to do with it or myself. It's the pre-Christmas vacation-let it get here- and then be gone- limbo. I would flat out like to pick up and leave, escape, run. Oh God, my kids are arguing about the fact that Sofia is a blabbermouth.
Sofia said, "Jordan, Be quiet and don't tell lies!"
Jordan said, "Sofia, when Mamma and I talk in front of you about grown up things, shut your mouth and don't blab it to the world!"
Jordan just walked up to me and said, "Sofia just called me stupid."

My daughter is an out of control nightmare. LOVE HER!
Every now and then, Jordan looks at her, points and starts cracking up. LOVE HIM!

Thank God for my kids. They tell it like it is.
The most beautiful thing about kids is that they absolutely can not be hypocrites.

If your ass is saggy:-)- they will TELL YOU!!
If you're in a pissy mood, they say, "I think you need to relax."
Sofia Madyson: "Mommy, why is that little girl black, did she get a lot of bruises?" (welcome to Italy)
Jordan, "Mamma, my teacher has the worst breath!"

As much as they embarrass you and they do mortally embarrass you- their cold, hard honesty sparks that flush that flies to your face and fires up your toes. THEY ARE REAL.

I can't decide whether or not to go to Christmas lunch with my ex-inlaws or stay home, curl up in bed and read a book.

Sometimes, this...

chanced.freeblog.hu
Just isn't worth this...


However, my main concern is this...


????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Soup IS Good Food...for the Soul


I'm always amazed when I see elementary school students coloring their pictures upside-down. As a child, it would have never occurred to me to turn the picture around and start from the bottom only to work my way up. Once, I found a drill, during the time I was a fifth grade teacher, that suggested having the kids lay down on the floor, tape the paper to the bottom of the desk, take off their shoes and color with their toes. LOVED THAT! My classroom smelled like stinky fifth grade toe-cheese, but they had the best time.

A friend of mine who has been through prostate cancer, losing his job, loan issues, and being left by his wife with two kids, has decided to sell his house to buy a smaller one and pay off bills to be able to L*I*V*E. (I love you)

Sometimes we're so stuck in a rutt that we forget we have the ability to be our own change. Sometimes, after struggling in that rutt, weighing all of the options, playing the victim or trying to save everyone else's world, we realize that if we save our own world...everything else will fall into place.

WE...TAKE...CONTROL.

And I assure all of you...sometimes there is more freedom in a 95 cent can of chicken noodle soup than in a 40 dollar lobster dinner.



Images c/o ugly-christmas-trees.com; oneyearbibleblog.com

Friday, December 18, 2009

Nutella

After watching this video posted on fb,

I was talking to my fourteen year old student about angels and reincarnation, and she told me two things.
1. She told me the story of her grandfather, an Italian soldier captured by the Nazis and taken to Auschwitz. Her grandfather was an outgoing man who could sew, cook and clean, so they put him to work instead of sending him to the gas chamber. He spent six months in Auschwitz until he was liberated. Her grandfather died on Aug. 18th at 6:00pm about five years ago. The year after he died, her family visited and took a tour of Auschwitz on August 18th. They completed their tour, headed for their car, entered and turned on the radio. To their surprise, her grandfather's favorite song was playing, she looked at the clock and it read 6:00pm.

2. Her aunt's husband died in a horrifying motorcycle crash. Her aunt met her new husband at the funeral and one year later at age 40 had a baby.

A couple of days ago "a good friend of mine" called to talk to me and the first thing he said was, "So, have you put the gas pipe in your mouth yet?"

Every single day we suffer tragedies, insults, being laid off, not getting the loan, not being able to make the loan payment, horrifying diagnoses, family problems, situations with our kids...

This is life.

Life is also snow, an unexpected email, a first lost tooth, finding a five dollar bill in the street, a chocolate lindor ball, a new job, a new crush, a touchdown in the clutch, the day after Christmas...because after 24 hours, I promise, it does arrive.

When we consciously choose to suffer, we choose life. When we suffer and it is not by choice, we learn to appreciate life and the people who come in and out of it at the most unexpected moments.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

X-Rated Homework Talk

 
Ok. So yesterday Jordan, Sofia and I were sitting at the kitchen table doing homework- and the teachers are just laying it on strong before the holidays *three weeks of holidays* in preparation to lay it on stronger for those three weeks of holidays, when to avoid working we started talking middle school girls. Sofia is lethal. She sits quietly, observes and listens. Jordan just had his infamous holiday concert in the Duomo, which went really well. Yes, my deaf jewish son sings in a school choir and a church. It's always an emotional experience here.

Until, we started talking girls.
I asked, "Jordan, do you still like so-and-so?"
His reaction was taking the palm of his hand and moving it from his neck to his knees.

*JORDAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!*
He said, "Eh, Mamma, that's the way it is." The girls in my class have boobs now, but she doesn't.

Sofia burst out laughing.
* SOFIA!!!!!!!!!!!!*

I am not ready for this. I am not ready to have boob discussions with my son who yesterday was that baby with hearing aids sitting in the high chair fighting with me to not do his speech therapy lessons.

Twelve years later he's still fighting with me about homework, but he's singing in a choir and talking about boobs.

Give me strength.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Treasure Chest


I am so tired right now that I have absolutely no business blogging. But, I just really wanted to write one thing.

When we're kids, we claw to become adults.

I sucked myself into my mom's gold lamè pants, laced-up the platform white-patent leather boots and applied some horrendous shade of fm red when I was about twelve years old...

Yet, when we're adults, we can't help longing to be kids.

I almost walked around Florence with a reindeer headband, but didn't because it was for Sofia.

That's the beauty of having children...we get to be the adult and a kid. The important thing is to balance it out.

The true miracle occurs when your kid has an adult moment right while you're in the middle of a child moment...makes for one helluva snowball fight.

Image c/o clipartof.com

Friday, December 11, 2009

Born Deaf for a Reason

 
One week after Jordan was diagnosed as being profoundly Deaf, I dreamt of him asking me for three pieces of pizza. I never doubted he would speak. I just never imagined that thirteen years later he would speak to the mother of a newly diagnosed Deaf child.

During the holiday pep talk I had with my friend the other day, she asked me the question, "Does Jordan really understand the type of work you do? I mean, does he realize that everything you try to accomplish through writing, blogging, and offering support is a direct result of him?" I told her that I've explained to him how much he has taught me and how much he has enriched my life, how much I love him and how many parents there are out there who know his story..but I also said I didn't think he really understood exactly the type of work I'm trying to do.

I took him to Pisa today to participate in a study on multi-modal integration- how the brain is able to process both visual and auditory messages per request of my ci surgeon. I asked the speech therapist to organize a meeting with a parent of a deaf baby because I was bringing Jordan.

I met with a mom and her absolutely adorable eighteen month old baby. She asked ME a million questions and Jordan answered all of them. I never opened my mouth. She said, "Was it really hard in elementary school, did your friends make fun of you because you wore hearing aids?" He said, "Yes, they made fun of me. It wasn't easy. But I always played sports like swimming, basketball and baseball. And I went right from pre-school to third grade." I was like "WHAT?" First of all, I said, "You never skipped first and second grade- you must have blocked them out- they weren't the easiest of years and you were a temper-tantrum throwing fighter who always got along with your friends except for a couple." He was a champion...and the mom was really, really happy to talk to him.

 

I sat back and observed my thirteen year old son talk about his life, the fact that he must choose a high school next year, his psp, mp3 and his crazy sister. He told this mom his life story. As we were getting off the train earlier, I said to him, "Jordan, it's possible you may have to speak to a mom when we get there, try not to be timid." He replied, "I'm only shy in front of women." ROTFL.

He was not shy.

That was the first incredible moment of the day...Jordan helping a mom and a younger baby.

The second amazing moment was hanging out with Michele, an older Deaf man, someone for Jordan to identify with. Loved that. Jordan once again told his life story and they talked high school, cis (they both said that when they put on the ci first thing in the morning it's like electric shock to the system-silence to sound-and that it takes ten minutes to handle the world...they also compared stories of people staring at their cis to the point where they say, "Do you want me to explain to you what's on my ear?") and women. Michele's mom and I were the moms watching our "kids" and loving it.

 

His mom gave me an angel charm for my cell phone that I will NEVER take off.

 

Jordan is a special child and I am so blessed to be his mother. He shares himself with others, and even at 13 years old he is conscious that he has overcome difficulties...that he still encounters frustrations on a daily basis...but most importantly...he talks about all of that with others.

I have a hearing Deaf child who listens to what others silently request of him.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Christmas Country

 
The day of the twentieth reunion, I spoke to Debbie, excited to finally be able to see her. While we were talking, she made the comment that I sound like a pissed off cheerleader when I write and that I allude to the actual situation without really telling it like it is...which is true. I consciously try to explain the situation without explaining the situation. Baring the soul is not always the best means to an end, but maybe sometimes it's necessary. I've told it like it is regarding Jordan's experience, but not regarding the rest. For today, one time only, I am baring it all, because I know I can't possibly be the only one living this complicated situation.

I am a newly-separated Jewish woman living in Christmas-Land, where hypocrisy rules.

Until I got married, I never had a Christmas tree, Christmas lunch, dinner, day after lunch and dinner...that then stretches into New Year's Eve, and in Italy we're REALLY LUCKY that the holiday lasts until January 6th when the Befana flies in on her broom to give more presents. I have begun the countdown to the end...-27 days.

People are already running around bitching..."The kids are going to be home for three weeks, what a pain!"..."I have so much Christmas shopping to do and no money!" ..."The lines are so long and the prices are so high!"

I find myself wondering, hmm, how am I going to deal with this Christmas and my in-laws, obviously I have no other family here, so it's just me and them.

I spoke to my friend about this issue and she told me to reflect. I've been reflecting on the hypocrisy of Christmas instead of the beauty...the kids.

I love that my kids are home for the holidays and that we can snuggle up together. I adore that they have time to play.

The adults have so much bs to manage on a daily basis that magic has left their lives. And there is certainly a fine balance to making the Christmas holiday magical and not a period of spoiling your kids.

I have always appreciated Christmas as a time to spend with family for my kids to establish traditions that they will live as happy memories as they grow. They don't know that so and so is dying of cancer, that their aunt or uncle is in the middle of a divorce and can't stand his or her parents who don't support her, nor that grandma and grandpa just took out a second mortgage to pay for Christmas lunch and presents. They don't care. They want to look around the table and see the faces they love.

I choose to view this holiday season through the eyes of my kids and not through the hypocrisy of adults...that is why this holiday may quite possibly reveal the true meaning of giving.

image c/o vosizneias.com

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Time for a Change: Paula's New Journey Starts Now


I met Paula on the listserves and have loved her ever since. Her long arm reaches out to families in need and stretches overseas at least a couple of times a month to smack me back into shape. Her encouraging words, style, way of asserting herself and holding her ground have inspired me and cracked me up. Everything she does has a purpose, meaning and spirit...rare qualities in a person. She also blushes at sexual references and makes a damn good cupcake!

After so many years of standing by her daughter's side, her daughter has become little miss independent, which perhaps has caused Paula to want to do something for herself for the first time in her life. So, she is taking everything her life experiences have taught her and investing in Paula- love that!

Paula's Bittersweet Fond Farewell to Hearing Exchange...

It has been quite a while since you've heard from me via a newsletter or in a HearingExchange blog post. It is a bittersweet time for me as I am writing to tell you that after nearly 10 years of serving thousands of people with hearing loss and their families, I am "closing up" the HearingExchange blog and community.

When I first started HearingExchange, I was a part-time single parent with hearing loss, living in St. Louis so my then 4 year old daughter could attend the Moog Center for Deaf Education. She had been late diagnosed with her own rapidly progressive hearing loss and had both expressive and receptive language delays as a result. After trying out a local oral deaf program, I researched many others and decided to take a big chance and move across the country for what I hoped would be a better program. It was to be the biggest risk I ever took, but also had the greatest payoff beyond my dreams.

For three years my husband flew back and forth weekly between St. Louis and New York, where he worked. To fill the void of quiet evenings alone, and with young toddlers tucked into bed, I sat down to create a website and newsletter, aptly named HearingExchange. My first article, "5 Things to Teach Your Deaf or Hard of Hearing Child" became my all time most widely requested article. In fact, I'm proud to say that all of my articles were very well received and many were written as a direct result of emails I received asking for advice. Many of them can be found online here.

Today, my daughter is an incredibly well-adjusted 8th grader, just weeks away from her 14th birthday. She excels both academically and socially and has been mainstreamed in public school since 1st grade. Making the difficult, but temporary, move from New York to St. Louis afforded her the wonderful opportunity to catch up quickly in language, develop her self-confidence and blossom into the amazing young woman she has become. As she said at her bat mitzvah last year, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!" St. Louis and all that we gained there has left an indelible mark on our lives.

It has given me great pleasure to offer you advice, resources, chats, message board forums, free tips articles for syndication and specially selected hearing loss products and publications for all these years. I also loved speaking all over the country to groups and organizations about hearing loss, cochlear implants and raising a deaf child. But now, it is time for a change.

I am getting ready to launch a new business, Just A Bite Desserts, which will require a lot of my time and attention for product development, launching and marketing. I am very excited about this project as it combines my love of both food and entrepreneurship. Please feel free to check out the new blog and follow me on Twitter. There is a fan page on Facebook as well which you can join here.

Thank you so much for your loyal following and for allowing me to serve you through HearingExchange. It truly has been a wonderful endeavor for me and I hope that you found HearingExchange a valuable resource.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year,

Paula

Paula Rosenthal, J.D. - Publisher & Speaker
HearingExchange
Helping People Deal with Hearing Loss since 2000
www.HearingExchange.com


*PS. Thank you*

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Music in Our Lives


The twenty year high school reunion was like a starting point for me. It was a moment where I looked my past in so many eyes and became aware of my present...and it is time to move forward.

WE had no music in our lives for so many years of hearing aids.
The cochlear implant changed that and gave us a new beginning.

Jordan is currently preparing a guitar piece for his winter recital and has requested an iPod for Hanukkah/Christmas, need I say more?

My hope is that parents of newly diagnosed deaf children will find this blog, see the musical notes and realize that their child will not miss out on music. And that it is only by living and taking risks, that we may truly appreciate the lyrics.

The past three years have brought about significant change in our family, and while change may be terrifying, sometimes it is necessary. Every single day we deal with our insecurities, and it is only when we look them in the eye and make them our strengths do we truly appreciate the journey.

image c/o dreamstime.com

Friday, December 4, 2009

Spilt Milk


During oppressive periods of our lives, negative casualities directly affect our moods, our behavior and our level of stress. During limbo periods, concentrated negative events seem to conspire to wipe us out, yet the human spirit is resilient, so we battle and claw. It's kind of a cyclical thing, until we overcome so many glitches and blows to the point where we learn to know ourselves and how we react in extreme situations.

For example:
Sofia Madyson decides she wants something to drink.

Sofia: "MOMMMMMMMYYYYYYYY! I want a glass of orange juice NOW!!!"
Mommy: "Sofia, number one- that is just not the way to ask for something. Ask me nicely and properly, please."
Sofia Madyson: "Mommy, could I please have a glass of orange juice?"
Mommy: "Of course you may, my adorable child, you know where the refrigerator and the glasses are...please feel free to walk yourself downstairs and pour yourself a delicious glass of orange juice."
Sofia: "No, Mommy, you do it."
Mommy: "No, Sofia, you are the one who's thirsty, you do it."
Sofia: *Screaming temper tantrum- feet kicking, arms flailing*
Mommy: *Patient and waiting with kleenex in hand*
Sofia Madyson: (Sniffling) "Mommy, look at my nose."
Mommy: (Wipes nose and waits)
Sofia Madyson: (Looks at me, lowers eyes and walks downstairs where I hear the fridge opening and Sofia Madyson pouring herself a glass of orange juice. Obviously, the next tragedy occurs) "Mommmmmmmmmmyyyyyyyyyy, I spilled the orange juice!"
Mommy: (Walking calmly downstairs thinking, why didn't I just pour the damn orange juice??) "Don't worry Sofia, I'm proud of you for getting your own glass of oj, next time just be more careful while pouring."

Jordan: (From upstairs) "Mamma, could I please have a glass of Coke!"
Mommy: "Get your butt downstairs and pour it yourself, I am not your slave- Mamma!
Jordan: (Walking downstairs) "Calm yourself, Mamma, here I am."

And there he was, pouring himself a glass of Coke without spilling a drop.

Life teaches us lessons every day; people teach us lessons every day. We must have the will to learn and the courage to clean up the spills...until we pour that glass of oj without spilling a drop, shedding a tear or hurling something at our computer screen.

Image c/o realestatewebmasters.com

Thursday, December 3, 2009

My (Business) Date


*Smile*
Ok. So, I had this huge meeting in Rome yesterday and I had to wake up at 7,30 am, which was 1,30 am. USA time and I'm still on USA time. I took the train to Rome and did some work on the computer which thankfully worked on and off during the train ride. I have been corresponding with the gentleman I was to meet for the past three months and was looking forward to meeting him to discuss the Newborn Hearing Screening project.

He called me while I was on the train and said he was waiting at the end of the platform and to look for a man in a checked sportcoat carrying a brown leather bag. There he was, my sixty-something man who I hoped would make my life. I gave him the old European double kiss greeting and we were on our way. We took a taxi to a bistro where we proceeded to discuss my project, I whipped out my computer and showed him all of the necessary information. Our bigger meeting was scheduled for four o'clock, but he had requested to meet me for lunch beforehand, and all of this started at 12:00pm. We talked newborn hearing screening for two hours and then sat down to a lovely lunch.

*At this point it was 8:00 am USA time and my brain stopped functioning*

He ordered wine, so after about two glasses and a delicious lunch, he suggested we go for a walk to a cafe for dessert. I said, "Perfect!" Off we went, me, exhausted and wearing heels that were killing my feet-I never wear heels. We walked for about thirty minutes and just when I thought I was going to absolutely lay down in the middle of the street, we found an outdoor cafe.

I didn't know what to do, I was going to collapse. So, I looked him straight in the eyes and said, "Have you ever lost your head for someone?" I almost gave him a heartattack. We were there to talk business, but I figure, my role is that of a mother, so I can do these things. His eyes lit up and he started telling me about someone from his past. This woman told him how important it was to "appreciate the moment." (I would love to go into details, but I can't)

Well, there we were appreciating the moment. A beautiful sunny day in Rome eating an ice-cream truffle floating in coffee and talking about his past, which was rather interesting. I mean seriously, I come into contact with fascinating people who travel the world and who meet other fascinating people, why shouldn't I pry?

Um, the meeting didn't exactly go as I'd hoped, but I have faith. I kind of yelled at him when he left me at the train station and he said he liked that I was a passionate woman.

*Thanks*

I passed out on the train.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Independent Child


Once upon a time, I was a neurotic mother. When Jordan was born, I tried unsuccessfully to breastfeed, so unsuccessfully- that he probably starved his first month of life. The breastfeeding nazis slammed me by saying, "YOU MUST BREASTFEED OR YOUR BABY WILL NOT GET IMPORTANT VITAMINS AND MINERALS THAT WILL SAVE HIS LIFE IN THE FUTURE!!!" I had no breastmilk. Jordan would attach his miniscule hand to my hair, scream and cry...and I would pump, syringe feed, pump, syringe feed until I could feel my nipples no more. Yet...I had nothing. One night I had four of my power breastfeeding friends with perfect breastfeeding boobs at my house to cheer me on in my most horrifying moment of desperation. All it did was make me feel frustrated and inadequate.

Then, I tried formula and Jordan never stopped drinking. He would wake up at least six times a night for a bottle, and I was right there with him, the baby-starving, milkless mommy. We became attached. He cried, I ran. I never left him once.

We moved to Italy, found out he was deaf and I became a stay-at-home recluse when I wasn't out strolling him around and teaching him to speak. We never got babysitters because I was the only one who could understand his silent needs, the only one to alleviate his unspoken screaming frustrations.

He became our world and our life, literally.

We were the model couple for what not to do. Jordan slept in our bed for six years until I managed to transfer him to his bed and only by laying with him would he fall asleep. I was convinced he was terrified of the dark because he couldn't hear. He could only fall asleep twirling my hair.

Year by year, experience by experience he grew and we separated. Sofia's arrival and her independent nature made an enormous difference in our lives, because Jordan was no longer the center of our world- it was shared by two beautiful lives.

They have grown and are growing into two independent, self-assured children who no longer need to have their mommy by their side 24-7.

But maybe it wasn't just Jordan's needs...maybe it was my obsession in being the perfect mommy who never left her child. Perhaps, I needed to feel needed and never realized it. As much as Jordan needed to become independent and grow...so did I. So as we both let go of each other slowly...we both grew slowly to the point that I left my kids with their dad for nine whole days.

I talked to them by phone every day, and every single phone conversation I could tell that they were happy and having a great time even without their mommy. What a beautiful thing.

When I came back with bags of presents, they were happy to see me for about ten minutes and then they resumed their daily routines.

Strangely enough...I have well-adjusted kids and I am adjusting well.

Life is good.

Image c/o babble.com