Father and Son

I’m 38 years old. 39 in just a few months. And I am one of the lucky ones.

When I was born not only did I have 4 grandparents, I also had 3 great-grandparents. They all lived close by and were in my life for a pretty significant amount of time.

Like I said, I was one of the lucky ones.

Fast forward 38 years – I, incredibly, still have 3 of these beautiful humans in my life.

They left the City/Westchester a while back for the other Jewish state. I would travel to Florida multiple times a year to spend time with them. I never took for granted how fortunate I was.

In the last two years, due to goddamn Zika – I haven’t been able to visit. We traveled there in March of 2016 with two month old baby Harper.

Everyone got to meet and spend time with her.

I have not been back since.

I don’t know about you. And I don’t know if it’s only recent, but any time I hear Cat Stevens, “Father and Son” I start weeping. Ugly crying. Heaving.

Now, I’m not an overly emotional person. And maybe it only changed once I had children – but holy shit. This song gets me every. single. time.

For years I would call my grandmothers multiple times a week. I was the first grandchild – on both sides – and had a very special bond with each of them. Before I was married I had all the time in the world. Then I had one baby. Time was a little less available. But I was still pretty good about the calls. Then, as happens, life gets busy.

We all know the excuse.

It has the luxury of being true.

But nonetheless – important things become “less important” – and not that they are, but there are just so many hours in a day.

Recently – because time has a strange way of sneaking up on us – they have gotten older. And with age, comes other things. Other things I’m unable to (won’t?) write, as tears well up in my eyes.

The visits haven’t happened.

The calls happen less frequently. And when they do, they are…different.

I mean to call more. I want to call more.

I don’t.

My parents and cousins’ visit down south just last week sounded hard. Really hard.

I started looking into flights. How can I get there? I must get there. I need to get there.

But with three babies. And a new business. How? What are life’s priorities. How do we make it all work?

As I watch my babies get older. And see my age in numbers rise at a hyper-speed rate, I intellectually understand what this means. But can’t quite emotionally allow myself to get there.

I just got off the phone with my Grandmother.

The call was short. Too short.

I don’t know that she knew who I was.

I’ve not been here, in this space, before. I don’t know how to do this. I love them so much. There has never been a time in my life I’ve given myself a moment to think what life would look like without them (as the “them” I’ve always known). In my mind – we are all frozen in time, on this earth – and things will just continue to exist the same way they always have. Because. They must. There’s no other reality I’m willing to see.

How is life so beautiful and just so painful?

I don’t have a final line to leave you with.

I guess, just, call your loved ones.

If not for them, for you.

In a New York Moment

What is life?

I suppose it’s a series of events, memories, shared experiences, solitary moments. A conglomerate, really. Some etched in our minds for all eternity. Some fleeting, which we live, and ultimately forget, lost to the recesses of a deep space within.

Way past her bed time at 9 PM, I found myself walking Harper home in a carrier, holding her tiny little hand, singing “Sweet Baby James.” Hyperaware of everything in that moment, I was reflecting on the day, and my present place in life, all at the same time.

I had snuck her out of school earlier than usual because I had broken my promise that on Mother’s Day we would “get our nails done.” She wanted yellow nails, and what kind of mother would I be if I didn’t deliver on this two-year-old’s dream?

So we walked to a nail salon. She picked yellow. And then this little one got her first manicure. While the manicurist was gentle with her delicate, teeny fingers, she kept peering back at me. Her wide, kind eyes gave me hints of insight into her beautiful mind. She was quiet and polite. And I prayed this would be one of those moments that would stay with me forever.

Next on the Mommy-Harper adventure, we were “meeting Mommy’s friends.” (Though a little while later, I realized she thought we were “eating Mommy’s friends.” I promptly corrected her.)

So I carefully strapped her into the carrier, and shared with her the universal “I just had a manicure” sign. We then headed west and walked to Chelsea Market to “eat Mommy’s friends.” We talked. We laughed. I found her ticklish spot. It was so special. I would catch her looking into my eyes. If only I could ask her what she was thinking.

We met up with friends who have been in my life for 20-plus years. These days, as life dictates, we don’t talk or see each other as often as we did in our younger days of NYC life. But we caught up. We talked moving, and babies, and gossip, and memories. Harper told them I broke her out of school. They bought her ice cream, donuts and lollipops. We said we’d do it again soon. But we all know what that means. Harper and I loved every moment (besides the twelve trips to the potty) but especially the ice cream. She didn’t want to go. I didn’t either, but everything must come to an end.

It was late and Harper needed to get to sleep. I should have jumped in a cab, but the night was so perfect. The energy buzzing around was palpable. So I strapped her on me again and I just started walking. We passed a couple of guys with pizza and beer; A young couple holding hands walking towards the unknown; A young woman on her phone recounting her previous evening’s date; Construction workers ending their day, hard hats tilted ever so slightly; An older couple meandering aimlessly; Two big, big guys walking a teeny, tiny chihuahua. Harper was starting to drift so I began to sing to her. And then I felt her little body vibrating on mine. She was singing the harmony of “Sweet Baby James” right along with me. She asked me if I wanted to hold her hand. Of course I did. We laid our hands on my chest. She kept stealing glimpses of her nails. I just kept walking. Though the day was long and she was heavy, I wasn’t ready for this moment to never happen again. I asked her what I did to get so lucky to be her mom. Her response? “I love you, Mommy.” We kept walking. I kept singing. We passed a woman waiting for Thai food take-out. Across from her was a cab driver preparing for the night shift with his bodega-brown-paper-bagged-egg-sandwich and blue, to-go-cup of coffee. The scents wafting around were so decidedly New York City. As I crossed First Avenue, ready to head into Peter Cooper Village, her body got a little heavier. She had succumbed to the night. In that second, I realized how truly, truly lucky I am. All the worries about having no salary (or insurance), and all the questions (How will we make it all work? Who has three kids in the city? Why are we still in the city?) They all left my mind in that moment. Everything is right. It’s as perfect as possible. This is precisely where we need to be right now. This family is being raised in the best city in the world. And even with all the uncertainty, all the questions, all the unknowns, I know this to be true:

There is nothing else in the world like a New York moment.

When There’s No Time Left For Regret

Life is full of BIG decisions. Though, too often we are frozen, unable to take that first step to make them. Whether it’s fear of the unknown, golden handcuffs, risk aversion, finances, responsibility. All legitimate – but anchors, nonetheless.

Comfort (can?) equate to complacent. It takes a lot to make life altering decisions. It is not for the faint of heart.

In life we are frequently waiting for something, a sign, a raise, the kid, the house – the life we dream about.

The problem with waiting, is that life passes us by, and we can’t fully appreciate the life we’re in.

I’ve had my struggles. My cross to bear. But recently in life my biggest complaint was my solid job, that paid me well, provided my family incredible insurance – wasn’t fulfilling anymore. I know, some people (reading this) could think – she doesn’t get to bitch about that, that’s quite the problem to have. I’m not looking for anyone to commiserate – I’m simply now aware – that though things may look good on paper, sometimes it’s worth picking that paper up and looking beneath it – or maybe even ripping it to shreds.

It’s so cliche – but I think it’s worth considering – on your deathbed, when you look back, will you feel like you truly led a life you’re proud of? When there’s no time left for regret – will you be content?

My answer, was no.

This actually isn’t a post about leaving my job. It’s about what happened AFTER I made the decision. And, granted, it’s been a total of 28 days – so I’m hardly tenured on the topic. But, it’s incredible how the universe listens.

The day after I told my job of almost 6 years – a job that was a career move – my time had come – I received a call that both of my babies were going to begin the evaluation process for early intervention. I would need to be available about one afternoon a week, for the next month.

From there I would need to go on meetings with the state, then once approved, meet with the therapists. Then finally be available once the therapies began. This simply would not have been possible in my former life (of one month ago). I will need to be fully present for my kids.

None of this is to say – it’s smooth sailing. I have no idea how we’ll pay for daycare, insurance, lunch.

But what I know – is that it will all work out – I am as certain of this as I am the sun will rise.

As I build a new company with my business partner the focus is paramount. Our priorities and mission are entirely aligned. We want to have the best possible motherhood journey for us, as well as for the women we’re working with who are either just starting out on theirs, or deep in the trenches.

I left all my babies home last night with a babysitter for the first time ever. I had to work. Nathan had a show. It was time. And we did it. At 1am I woke up to the oldest puking in her bed. It lasted all night. All. Night. Stripped sheets. Baths. No sleep. I kept her home from school today. Because I can. Because she needs me. Because I need this. Maybe it was just a coincidence. Maybe it was something more. Don’t know. Don’t care. But, another thing I would have had to struggle with, in my past life.

The juggling act.

That first step to make a change is the hardest. No debating that. But the freedom, and weightlessness that comes with that step is so freeing I can’t quite put it to words. And sure, there will be bumps in the road. There’s uncertainty ahead. But I’m trusting that at the end of (my) days, I will know with absolute certainty that I did exactly what I was supposed to do, at this moment in time, and will be completely at peace with the life I chose.

Accept the risk.

Make the choice.

Take that step.

Live your life.

There’s no time left for regret.