Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Children's Table

Once upon a time, I sat at the Children's Table for Thanksgiving Dinner.
That experience lasted 14 years.
Apparently, I then became a grown up.
So, I graduated to the Adult Table.

Yep, just passed another Thanksgiving spent in Italy eating pizza.
I didn't write a What I'm Thankful For post this year, because I am smack in the middle of a moment where I have everything to be thankful for.
My kids are happy, healthy and growing; family and friends the same.
Basically, it's one of those terrifying moments when you feel completely fragile because you are so very thankful, and utterly conscious of the fact that such serenity can change in a blink.

I've met some interesting people over the past couple of months. I believe there is truth in the idea that people are a reflection of who we are as individuals in that each person has the ability to bring out parts of us that we never knew we had. Those may be good parts or bad parts. The important thing is to reach a level of consciousness in order to quickly understand if it's the bad parts. There is great truth in the statement: The best way to truly know a person is to see how they behave when they are totally free to choose. (F.V.)

And if you should be that person totally free to choose, you may one day be lucky enough to learn to know yourself.

Things were so much simpler at the Children's Table.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The American Way

I sent Professor Betty Vohr an email after having received her name from Janet Des Georges, and she replied with resources in 8 minutes flat.
I'm floored.
I don't believe I shared the latest piece of information on this blog, I think I wrote it on the Italian one a month ago.
The Italian Society of Neonatology has just formed a Project to Promote Newborn Hearing Screening in Italy. I happened to be at the Congress when that team was formed and just happened to wheedle my way onto the team:-)
I know absolutely nothing about neonatology, so I asked my American network for assistance.
And they have come through once again.
For now the Neonatologists are starting the project by researching how many birthing hospitals in Italy actually perform the screening and if they do not perform the screening, why not?

I'm starting over from the very beginning.
Stay tuned....

PS. Yet another region of Italy- Calabria - just passed the screening at a regional level also thanks to the work of our Pediatric representative. Love that!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


I'm eating a heart-shaped lemon lolly-pop and contemplating.
Actually, I'm not.
I'm taking the moment, to appreciate this particular second in time when I'm barefoot in bed, wearing my x-box pajama pants and not thinking, stressing, reflecting, wondering, sweating over, about or in regard to anything.
I just plain am.

My car is clean, my lawn is mowed, my dog isn't barking at the cat, my kids are with their dad and the world is silent except for my fingers clicking the keyboard.
Simply incredible.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Reflections of a 40 Year Old Woman

The difference between everything before forty and forty is all about awareness.

I dropped Sofia at school, had breakfast with my friend and then sat outside with her on the bench overlooking the Medieval walls. We've been doing this the past 9 years, first with Jordan and her son and now after dropping off Sofia and her daughter. She's lived the past four years of chaos with me.

She looked at me and said, "I remember when you were fat, wore grandma underpants and sang The Color Song at the preschool. Now look at you. I think you can be proud of the progress you've made and how you've made it."

We sighed together.

Sometimes we have no control over the roads we must take. We are given a situation out of our control, and we have to react. Other times, we have the power to choose. Yet that power and need to make a choice, sometimes causes more suffering than when you do not have an opportunity to make the choice.

Life is complicated. But it's livable.

At forty, life changes from physical to mental.
That doesn't mean that the physical isn't there, it just means that if you take my high school Powder Puff football team from 1989 and place them across the line from the class of 2011............we'll kick their asses.
Not because we're faster or stronger physically, but because we don't try for a first down, we can only see a touchdown- and life has taught us the quickest way to score.

Our objectives for life become larger, the picture becomes clearer.
Instead of trying to barrel our way towards the touchdown using brute force, the game becomes about which strategy to use.

In all aspects of life, in all relationships.

I am aware, I am blessed, I am 40 years old.

And I'm spending my birthday with Luca, Jordan and Sofia. Once a family, always a family.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

For Tea


Two nights ago Jordan sat in bed with Sofia and me. He gave me a hug and said, "I'll have to work harder, won't I?"
I said, "You don't have to change schools, the choice is yours. But yes, you will have to work harder."
He replied, "I'm ready for a new beginning."


Last night driving home after seeing a movie with Jordan, I said, "I feel old."
Jordan said, "Mom, you're not old until you're forty."
I looked at him.
He looked at me and grinned.


Friday, November 11, 2011

40 or Bust

T minus 5.

Perhaps the first conciously intelligent concept I learned as a child growing up was that whatever shit I found myself in, no matter how deep the hole...I could always crawl to the light. I believed in the light, and I still do.

The difference is that I now have a posse.
After years of baring my soul, sharing my mishaps, sorrows and adventures, I have a woman posse.

Perhaps the greatest, most important discovery at age 40 is screw men and give thanks to the women in your life that will cheer you on, heal you and love you...The most wonderful thing about 40 is that we realize that as women we all have our insecurities but that other things in life are more important, so we become a circle, and that circle is tight.

Between yesterday and today I've received five emails from women offering support after having read my blog. I have learned so much from the personal experiences they've shared.

Within the past three days I've had three new mothers reach the forum with babies under six months of age. These were not weepy mothers, they were I-will-kill-for-my-child-mothers. I read their comments and it all seems surreal- the moms from a year ago are the moms offering time. Mom posse stuff that happened here three years ago and that is now forming in Italy.
Light...something in our life before giving birth to our kids teaches us to have faith in the light. So we move forward.

Today I woke up and went straight to see the principal of the school where I'd like to see Jordan.
I asked them for help.
We were four women in a room.
They nodded their heads, smiled and understood the situation.
We have decided to transition him so that he has a better idea of how the new school may be different and whether or not he feels comfortable.
The school where he is now is structurally similar to a bunker.
His new school is wide, spacious and full of light.
We are moving forward.
Thank you so much for your letters...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

40 is Hot

I think that at age forty, brains meet sexuality and inhibitions leave the table.
I know men who are fifty and suddenly act like twenty year olds.
I love 40, twenty can kiss my ass.

But that just ain't on my mind today, because Jordan came home from school and said, "It's time to change schools. My classmates are violent and they don't understand me."


In Italy there are many different types of high schools one can choose and the one we chose with Jordan is easy on academics. Because it's easy on the workload, the students are often the lost souls of middle school, not always, but often. There is definitely a some sensitivity lacking in his classroom.
While I would have insisted last year and I would have insisted that he not be SO immature with his classmates, I can't do that this year because he has grown. And I really like my son. He can be a pain in the ass, but what he's dealing with in his classroom is not totally his fault.

Which means I have to do something about it.
And I have to think. I know that he's mentally capable of a more significant workload, but he's lazy. So lazy.
The good news is that he wants to change.
We are a family that believes in change.
We are a family that has suffered, screamed and travelled through change.
What's one more trauma to overcome?

People have always helped us. Teachers have understood Jordan's needs.
But can we expect more from his peers?
Looks like we'll be getting information about a high school specializing in Artistic Studies. The students have to be more sensitive if they're Art Appreciating, right?

Ok. Changing schools can be a new and exciting adventure, course it could be a total disaster...
but at t minus 6 days to age 40....I'm thinkin' everything will work out just fine.
Because 40 is hot and my kids need to know that when there's a problem, Mamma will listen.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

40 is beautiful week starts now

Let the countdown begin.
T minus 7 days until I become four-oh.
Sofia came home from school with an A+ in Math and an A+ in Italian.
Jordan came home with an A in English and a D in Graphic Design.
Sofia excels in everything she does and smiles and giggles.
Jordan is a homebody and hugs me a lot.

I worry about Jordan. He's a boy and I do not have boy experiences, actually I'm quite a disaster at understanding all males. He's at that age where he probably would want to do a lot of things like go out Saturday night with friends or hang out with girls, but the complicated situation in his high school class is not giving him the opportunity to grow socially. I've asked him if he wants to change sections or even schools, but academically he feels comfortable, so he isn't willing to risk that sense of security to wade in unknown territory. I can't make that choice for him...yet. The best I can do right now is let him know I understand his situation and that I am ready to make the change when he is.

He comes home from school serene, which makes me think things aren't too bad, but if I compare my high school life to his, and I was no party animal...I had fun and he is not having fun.

40 allows you to take all the experience baggage you've lived and apply it to your kids.
At 40 you've learned the difference between yes and no, right and wrong, child and adult.
I used to want to be 21 forever.
But 40....40 seems to me like the first half of my life is over and I have a new starting line.
I get to take everything I've learned in the past forty years and use it as the woman I have kick some ass for the next forty years.
I will say this: I don't care if there's a lil more jiggle in my ass or that gravity has taken effect after giving birth to two kids, because there's a helluva lot more strut in my step and a femininity in the way I cross my legs that 21 never imagined existed.