The Essence Of Motherhood In 9 Words

“You’re only as happy as your least happy child!”

I’ve heard countless mothers quote this statement over the years, and although it’s nearly impossible to determine who came up with it, I think it’s one of the most insightful statements about motherhood ever uttered.

Madeline (not her real name), for example, was recently filling me in on her grown daughter and son.

(more…)

Kids Do Say The Darndest Things

A man named Art Linkletter hosted a popular afternoon TV show from 1945 to 1969, House Party, and on it was a segment called Kids Say The Darndest Things. A few kids sitting at attention on the stage (as kids in the 5Os were trained to do) would field Art’s questions about everything from their parents to politics, and they’d invariably make funny, clever and insightful comments. Kids have unnerving observational skills, and, without filters, they don’t hesitate to speak their minds and unleash their creativity. (more…)

Why Mother-Daughter Relationships Change

As a high school freshman, I’d sneak out of the house to make out with my 11th grade boyfriend in Manhattan’s Central Park. Now, as a recent college graduate, my boyfriend (a different guy) is a frequent topic of discussion and a regular visitor. I let my mom know when I’m planning to spend the night at his apartment, and find myself confiding in her more than I do in my friends, something my high school self never would have imagined. 

What’s changed in these last eight years to make stealthy getaways and off-limit topics things of the past?

I went straight to the source, my mom, to find out. “I now consider our times together as shared experiences vs. teachable moments, when I could give you perspective and values,” she told me. “At this point, I think you’ve demonstrated that you know them, so I don’t need to sit around ‘teaching’ you now, which is kind of liberating for me. You also have become my go-to person for advice on everything from sample sale shopping to book recommendations and the college application process for your younger brothers.”


Like me, mom revealed she’s been giving our relationship a great deal of thought.

Her friends have told her they’re committed to cultivating ‘best friend’ relationships with their daughters, but, previously, that didn’t feel quite right to her. I decided to find out for myself if other mothers had indeed made the transition from policewoman to pal. (more…)

Do You Know A Great Guy For Her Successful, Single Daughter?

“Do you still help set people up on your website?” asked the woman who called me one fine afternoon recently as I was driving to an appointment. She was referring to the FabOverFifty section we launched in 2010, called Date My Single Kid, created to help members of our community set up their single “kids.” (more…)

Do You Believe You Should Have The Right To Die?

When my former father-in-law was bedridden with congestive heart failure, at 96, he asked his son (my ex) to help him end his life. Douglas contacted the Hemlock Society, a national right-to-die organization founded in 1980, to get  a blueprint on how to carry out his father’s wishes. Douglas then asked if I’d be there while he did the deed. I said “yes,” despite the fact that it made me terrifically apprehensive (as it did him.)

Douglas’ father, unbeknownst to me and Douglas, told his nurse about the plan; thankfully, the nurse wrote an email to his boss about it and copied Douglas. I say thankfully because if we had actually gone ahead with the plan, and then someone reported what we had done, we would have been charged with homicide.  

I would not be a model prisoner, nor would Douglas. (more…)

A Wave Of Sadness Swept Over Me When I Saw Her

A woman who was my best friend for about 20 years is dying. We haven’t been pals for the last 20 years because we simply “grew apart,” but I did invite her to dinner a few years ago, and we spent a couple of hours catching up on our kids, our jobs, and our partners.

leadimage

When she walked out, I sensed we wouldn’t see each other again, but I surely didn’t think the reason would be her serious illness. She hadn’t told me that she had breast cancer years ago; I learned about it from a mutual acquaintance, and that it had returned and spread.

Then, one afternoon when David and I were walking past her apartment with dog Rigby (L lives 4 blocks away),  I saw her husband and two sons lifting her, in a wheelchair, into a taxi.  A wave of sadness swept over me. I remembered how beautiful and lively she was when we met in our twenties, her blond straight hair the complete opposite of my dark curly hair; her deep blue eyes and porcelain skin stark contrasts to my brown eyes and olive skin.

We were opposite in more ways than our looks: She was always late; I was always early. She dressed impeccably in expensive designer duds; I threw things together. She labored over every word she wrote. I churned out copy a mile a minute. She had to associate with the ‘in’ crowd.  The cool contingent usually looked at me as an outsider. We nevertheless ‘entertained’ each other in ways no one else could.  I found it amusing going to dinner at her house and being served by a housekeeper. I loved getting her older son’s handmedowns for my son. She once told me, ‘I don’t have to go the the theatre when I have you as my friend.’

After seeing her physical deterioration that afternoon, I decided to write to her long-time husband:

Dear C,

Many months ago, as I walked past your apartment building, I saw you and your sons putting L  in the back of a cab and saw she was ill. Despite decades of ‘non friendship’ with L my heart is heavy for her, for you and for your family. I know what a wonderful wife and mother she is, things I never quite mastered as well as she. Please know that she is in my thoughts and prayers.  

I didn’t expect a response, but did get one a few days later:

Thank you for your generously worded email. Geri, I do remember seeing you walk by, and I did call out to you, but evidently, you did not hear me. L struggles every day and is doing the best that she is able.

Because L can communicate minimally, she does not agree to receive anyone; but, if you feel that it is appropriate, you are welcome to stop by and spend some time with her.  She understands everything.

Sincere thanx (sic) for the compliment that you paid to L. I relayed your thoughts to her. Of course, she was pleased to hear them.

Since receiving the email from L’s husband, I’ve learned that she no longer is communicating, and has stopped eating solid foods. I hadn’t visited because I didn’t believe it was appropriate.

When I think back to the hours and hours L and I spent together as young women, it is almost impossible to picture her nearing the end of her life, at 72.

I’ll never forget the winter day, soon after she had her first son in the 1970sswing,when she picked me up from work in her Jaguar, her doting mother beside her, Christmas presents stuffed into the back seat. She seemed to have the world at her fingertips.

It is also hard to believe how the decades have been so fleeting. My thoughts and prayers are with L. her husband, her sons and her two grandsons. I can imagine how much they will miss her.

Beautiful Ways To Show Your Grandkids How Much You Love Them

Ever since I became “Grandma Muffin,” three years ago, I find it challenging to choose gifts for my grandson Primo. Does he already have this toy or book?  Is he too young for this bike or too old for that stuffed animal? What size shorts does he wear now? Will he look good in navy?  I know I’ve struck out on at least a couple of occasions!

leadWhen I received a call from the website Deserves.com, I thought these people have come up with an ingenious way to make gift-giving to grandchildren fun, easy and foolproof. Deserves puts together collections of meaningful and unique treasures for grandmas and grandpas to give their granddaughters and grandsons, on birthdays, for holidays, or simply to surprise them.

These are gifts with staying power, real staying power, not something they’ll enjoy for a few hours or weeks and then relegate to the bottom of the toy bin or left to gather dust under the bed.  I’ve chosen two pieces that your grandchildren would be sure to keep close to their hearts 24/7. And the prices are really, really reasonable!

“I love you a bushel and a peck” necklace
"My Granddaughter, I Love You to the Moon and Back" necklace
Even if you’ve never sang the song to her, your granddaughter will cherish your beautiful message of love expressed on this exclusive necklace. The 18-inch adjustable chain and the charming pendant and heart are made of platinum-plated brass.

 


Grandson, You Are Braver Than You Believe, Stronger Than You Seem and Smarter Than You Think“Grandson, I love you to the moon and back”

Remind your grandson how much you love him with this handsome stainless steel pendant that he can wear around his neck, use as a keychain or hang from his trusty backpack. The .85-inch pendant comes on a 16.5-inch ball chain with a two-inch extender. Quantities are limited.

Deserves.com ships in two to four business days and offers a 100%, no risk, 30-day guarantee. Once you place your order, you will get exclusive offers on gifts, toys, art and other awesome things for you and your family.

to give your grandchildren gifts they deserve!

Remember, you don’t have to wait till their birthdays to send special gifts from grandma! Or, in my case, “Grandma Muffin.”

Beautiful Ways To Show Your Grandkids How Much You Love Them

Ever since I became “Grandma Muffin,” three years ago, I find it challenging to choose gifts for my grandson Primo. Does he already have this toy or book?  Is he too young for this bike or too old for that stuffed animal? What size shorts does he wear now? Will he look good in navy?  I know I’ve struck out on at least a couple of occasions!

leadWhen I received a call from the website Deserves.com, I thought these people have come up with an ingenious way to make gift-giving to grandchildren fun, easy and foolproof. Deserves puts together collections of meaningful and unique treasures for grandmas and grandpas to give their granddaughters and grandsons, on birthdays, for holidays, or simply to surprise them.

These are gifts with staying power, real staying power, not something they’ll enjoy for a few hours or weeks and then relegate to the bottom of the toy bin or left to gather dust under the bed.  I’ve chosen two pieces that your grandchildren would be sure to keep close to their hearts 24/7. And the prices are really, really reasonable!

“My Granddaughter, I Love You to the Moon and Back” Necklace
"My Granddaughter, I Love You to the Moon and Back" Necklace
Once your granddaughter learns to read, or at least knows her letters, she’ll adore this one-of-a-kind piece and think of you every time she puts it around her neck. The 18-inch adjustable necklace, with pendant that measures 7/10”  is made of non-tarnishing brass and plated in rhodium and gold.divider
“Grandson, You Are Braver Than You Believe, Stronger Than You Seem and Smarter Than You Think” Necklace
Grandson, You Are Braver Than You Believe, Stronger Than You Seem and Smarter Than You Think

Maybe your grandson is starting a new school or moving to a new city. Help build his self-confidence and remind him how much you love him with this handsome stainless steel and black charm that he can wear around his neck, as a keychain or hanging from his trusty backpack. The .85-inch pendant comes on a 16.5-inch chain with a two-inch extension.

Fewer than 100 pieces are left.

Deserves.com ships in two to four business days and offers a 100%, no risk, 30-day guarantee. Once you place your order, you will get exclusive offers on gifts, toys, art and other awesome things for you and your family.

to give your grandchildren gifts they deserve!

Remember, you don’t have to wait till their birthdays to send special gifts from grandma! Or, in my case, “Grandma Muffin.”

When Three Tragedies Strike (In One Year)

first-line

Catherine and her old friend Bonnie

bonniegeller“My husband, Jerry, met Bonnie’s husband, Larry, on the train platform about 25 years ago, soon after we moved to North Salem, NY. Our children were all little and we all became fast friends. Bonnie had been in the publishing business, then became a nutritionist, and worked with high-profile clients. She was stunning and glamorous and the picture of health. We were so close that we named Bonnie and Larry guardians for our children if something were to happen to us. (more…)

As He Lived Dying

Kalanithi bwDr. Paul Kalanithi at the Stanford Hospital and Clinics in 2014.
(Norbert von der Groeben/Stanford Hospital and Clinics)

Thirty-six-year-old Paul was close to completing his arduous journey to becoming a full-fledged neurosurgeon. He already had earned two undergraduate degrees and a master’s degree in English Literature. He was married to a beautiful, smart and caring woman, also a doctor, whom he met when they were both first year medical students. He had a loving family, and a world of wonderful friends, not to mention a sublime sense of humor. He had packed a great deal into his years, but he no doubt had an exciting life ahead of him!

Then, Paul began losing weight and experiencing ferocious back pain. He attributed his symptoms to the stress of his medical residency. After all, he was working 80-hour weeks and was on his feet for brain operations that could last for 36 hours. He was young. He was not thinking about cancer. (more…)