I Miss Strangers

It seems like I took this photo ages ago, but it was just a couple of years. Both my kids were screaming about something on the bus and I was desperately trying to conceal the panic attack that was rising to the surface of my being. This sweet Polish speaking woman looked at me and said, “I have many grandchildren,” then put both of them on her lap before I could say a word. Suddenly they were quiet, little confused smirks on their faces replacing their tears. I could breathe. It was weird, but a good weird. The past couple of weeks have been a bad weird. My heart breaks when I hear one of their friends say, “It’s nice to see you on the phone, but not as nice as it is to see you in real life.” I wonder how different post-corona virus NYC will be than post- 9/11 NYC. I didn’t post this pic the day it happened because I was afraid people would judge me. That seems so silly now.



Are you allowed to hate a poem?


I’m sure you’ve seen that really depressing poem called “The Last Time” that new parents of one child always repost, where one of the lines says, “One day you will carry them on your hip then set them down, and never pick them up that way again.” I read it around the time my daughter was born, and hated it SO MUCH that I still pick up both of my children who are ages 4 and 7 all the time. Sometimes at the same time, just to spite that dumb poem. My back hurts. I don’t care. When their alarm goes off for school I carry one kid on each hip to breakfast. I put my older one down on the couch and say, “When you’re taller than me, can we trade and you carry me to breakfast?” She says she will. My son’s catch phrase has been “pick me up” since he could talk, and now that he’s a little bigger and a little older, the fire of my contempt for this poem has been rekindled. He got tired the other day and asked me to carry him (in all fairness the three of us had just walked all the way from Herald Square to the Chelsea Piers), and I carried him about 14 blocks to the train. I was sweaty and cold at the same time, but my hatred of that poem is what kept me going. While I carry him I kiss his little face because it’s so close to mine, over and over again. Sometimes I say, “Are you going to ask me to carry you to college like this?” and he says, “Yeah!” And if he wants me to, I will. I’m also not sure if the author of this poem ever got around to watching Ghostbusters with their kids when they got old enough to get the jokes, but way better things happen AFTER your kids are too big to pick up anyway. Not that I’m going to stop picking them up, because I never will.

What I Did On My Summer Vacation


This summer when my kids were out of school, I tried to arrange their camp schedules to get some extra special one-on-one time with each of them where I put them in charge of what we did together that day. When my 4 year-old son had a “mommy home day,” our time together went something like this:

8 am- Race on scooters (I don’t have a scooter so I just have to run).
9 am- Go to Dunkin Donuts
9:30 am- Go to a store that has candy and pick out a new kind of candy we’ve never had before for the candy bowl.
10 am- Open all the mail
10:10 am- Play twister
10:55 am- Rolling Stones dance party
11:15 am- Then I have to “pick him up like a baby” and “spin him around way too fast.”
11:20 am- Take a bath
11:22 am- Throw the washcloth to him while he’s in the bath but it can’t be too far away or too close it has to be the perfect distance away and if it’s not we have to keep trying even if we do it 19 times.
12 noon- Read all the books on the bookshelf (unsuccessfully but A+ for ambition).
12:40 pm- Wipe up all the water on the bathroom floor with literally all the towels (my idea).
12:45 pm- Paint fingernails.
1:00 pm- Watch Blaze and eat lunch and mommy almost falls asleep.
1:40 pm- Wrestling & Tickling
2:00 pm- Play “bad food truck” where I pretend to order something then he gives me the total wrong thing and I pretend to get really upset.
2:30 pm- Throw large pieces of cardboard like frisbees
2:35 pm – (Pauses). “Mommy! I want to buy a hula hoop!”
3:00 pm- Play “talking in someone’s ear sounds loud.”
3:15 pm- Build magnatiles and eat a snack.
3:50 pm- Meow and make mommy guess what I’m saying over and over when all he’s saying is “meow.”
4:00 pm- Play monster and kitty cat.
4:30 pm- Ride scooters again but then mommy needs to go inside and drink some coffee.

Days with my 6 year old daughter on the other hand, went something like this:
8 am- Watch a movie
10 am- Draw birds
11 am- Talk about the birds outside
11:30 am- Eat ice cream
12 noon and after- Maybe go to a museum, then go to sleep on mommy’s belly, then watch another movie.

I always knew their energy levels weren’t quite the same, but it’s never so clear as when I reflect on the past couple of months. Will my son grow up to be a high powered salesperson who parties all night and works all day completely unfazed? Will my daughter become an artist? A psychiatrist? The next coming of Buddha? Who knows. Whatever happens, I’m happy to be along for the ride.

It’s A Hard Knock Life


Something I think is really funny is how earlier in the summer my mom gave my daughter this locket she’s had since she was a teenager, but I guess in all these years nobody could figure out how to open the back to put photos in, so it’s always just had the same pictures inside of random strangers that came with it. My kids take turns wearing it all the time, and call these 1950’s stock photo people “their family.” Yesterday I heard my daughter whispering to her little brother, “This is our real family.” They love the musical “Annie,” so maybe that has something to do with it. I keep telling them we don’t know these people, but they refuse to believe me.

On Track Betting


I don’t like to use the term “crazy” because I think it sounds disrespectful or something, but let’s just say my kids were playing cards on the train and an older lady wearing a lime green tube top and missing several teeth sat next to Oscar and studied his hand very carefully. They were just playing “war” by the way. She said something, but I didn’t understand any of her words. Then when they put down their next card, she said something (again I have no idea what it was) very enthusiastically, and quickly grabbed a snack size bag of sour cream and onion potato chips from the worn plastic bag she was carrying, laid it on top of their cards, threw her hands in the air as you would do if you’d just lost a poker game, and got out at the next stop. A dad and his son sitting across from us burst out laughing. We burst out laughing. Everyone burst out laughing.

Fringe Kimonos: Don’t Believe the Hype


Things that happen when you are a stay at home mom and also wear practical clothing such as a trendy fringe kimono:

1. It gets hung on your wallet zipper while taking out your metrocard, sending the wallet ricocheting behind your head so you have to crawl back under the turnstile to retrieve it and wow I’m glad it wasn’t rush hour.

2. It gets looped over the handrail in the back of the elevator and you get stuck and can’t walk out and your kids already walked out without you, and you get think for a second they’re going to go get on the train without you, which to be honest at this point they might be better off.

3. When you get home and start making mac & cheese you walk by the stove and a couple of the fringes catch on fire for a second.

4. You realize you were just ON FIRE literally and not in the way people say when someone is looking cute.

5. You decide that was the last straw and this fringe kimono is a menace to society, and post it for sale on Poshmark immediately.