The Weaknesses of Power

I am going to stick my neck out and write about someone in the political news, but my thoughts have nothing to do with politics.

The person is 52-year-old Michael Cohen, the man who yesterday was sentenced to 36 months in prison for crimes he committed while working for Donald Trump.

I won’t go into detail about his crimes. He admitted to them and he is going to pay for them. I’m writing because his greed and his arrogance led him to act illegally in the first place, and now he says he’s “truly sorry” and promises he will “be better.”

Michael Cohen, right, arriving at federal court, with his children Jake and Samantha Photo Julio Cortez / AP

As I watched Michael Cohen walk into the courthouse with his wife, son and daughter, I momentarily felt sorry for him, but when I returned to my senses, I thought of the despicable things he’s said and done to enrich himself as well as to protect his boss, to whom he was “blindly loyal.”

“Blind loyalty” led him to “darkness,” Cohen told the sentencing judge, and “it will be my life’s work to make it right.” What causes “blind loyalty” and makes someone go from cunning and calculating to conscience-stricken and contrite? And would these same people become contrite if their deceptions, lies and illegal acts were never discovered? Is someone contrite before a judge because they hope to be judged less harshly, or because they really do feel that way deep in their souls?

The judge said that Michael Cohen lost his “moral compass somewhere along the way,” but did Michael Cohen ever have a “moral compass”?

Donny Deutsch, a former ad agency executive, and a friend of Michael Cohen, said on TV that it’s understandable to be swayed by all the trappings of power. It may be, but when power is abused, it can start setting traps for you. All it takes to end the ride is to get caught in one of them.

Look at Harvey Weinstein, Scott Pruitt, Richard Nixon, and Bernie Madoff. Their lies, schemes, and elaborate coverups eventually backfired. Once they were caught, there was no turning back. They didn’t only lose their power; they lost their dignity, and, in the case of Madoff, his freedom and his family. One of his sons committed suicide. 

Michael Cohen reportedly will be in a minimum to medium security prison, starting in March, but he claimed during his sentencing, “The irony is today is the day I get my freedom back. I have been leading a personal and mental incarceration ever since the fateful day that I accepted the offer to work for a famous real estate mogul whose business acumen I greatly admired.”

Yes, life can be ironic.

Isn’t it Time to Face the Brutal Facts?

I don’t know how April Pipkins does it.  Maybe her religion sustains her. Maybe she’s just in shock, and it hasn’t fully sunk in yet. I don’t know how April Pipkins even manages to get a coherent word, no less sentence, out of her mouth, considering her 21-year-old son was murdered in cold blood on Thanksgiving night by a police officer who mistakenly identified him as the gunman who shot two people in an Alabama mall.

Emantic Bradford Sr. and April Pipkins, left, parents of Emantic Bradford Jr., right. (NBC/AP)

April and her lawyer have been making the rounds of TV shows the last few days to voice their outrage at how her son, “EJ”, was slain. Reportedly (I say reportedly because the police keep changing their stories about the sequence of events), EJ was at the scene of a dispute between two people at the mall, and was fatally shot as he was running away and holding a gun. The initial police report indicated that EJ was indeed the killer, but was subsequently revised.  The shooter is still at large. “‘We regret that our initial media release was not totally accurate, but new evidence indicates that it was not,’ the police said, adding that the conclusion was based on interviews with witnesses and ‘critical evidentiary items,’” according to an article on www.nytimes.com.  

“‘He saw a black man with a gun and he made his determination that he must be a criminal,’ said civil rights attorney Ben Crump,” in another article online. “‘There’s a murderer on the loose largely because police rushed to judgment.’”

EJ received a general discharge from the United States Army in August, and was licensed to carry a firearm, news reports said. Perhaps he openly held his gun if he thought he could use it on the real perpetrator, and maybe he was fleeing if he thought he was going to be a victim himself.  We will never know. We’ll only get the officer’s side of the story.

Whenever I hear about the circumstances surrounding shootings such as this I don’t know what to think. Police officers feeling threatened on one hand; innocent, often unarmed victims on the other.  A man shot in the back in California earlier this year was carrying a cell phone, for instance. Clearly, these kinds of incidents are happening far too often, and law enforcement across the country must figure out a way to stop them.

This is a chilling report about police violence, which underlines what I’m saying. Consider some of these statistics:  

  • Police killed 1,147 people in 2017, most by shooting.
  • Most killings began with police responding to suspected non-violent offenses or cases where no crime was reported.
  • 89 people were killed after police stopped them for traffic violations.  
  • Police killed 149 unarmed people.  
  • Police recruits spend seven times as many hours training to shoot than they do training to de-escalate situations.

The last fact undoubtedly contributes greatly to precipitating the first four. Please know that I am not anti-police.  But when anyone, in any profession, is poorly trained, he or she is more likely to make mistakes, sometimes horrendous mistakes. And a shooting obviously has far greater consequences than making a typographical error in an article, or baking a cake that doesn’t rise properly.  

De-escalating a situation so it doesn’t get out of hand usually is the right approach, but it takes understanding, discipline and emotional intelligence to employ the tactics to make that happen. Most of us could use lessons in the subject.  

Just What the Doctor Ordered: It Ain’t Necessarily So!

It sounded crazy to me when an administrator in the ophthalmologist’s office said I needed an EKG and blood tests before I could have laser cataract surgery.  I might not be a doctor but I know an EKG isn’t considered the best diagnostic test for heart disease.

“That’s nutty. I’m not running to have an EKG. I didn’t need an EKG when I had lumpectomies on my breasts and had general anesthesia. Why would I need it for 15-minute cataract surgery with local anesthesia? Forget it, I’m cancelling the surgery,” I said, getting up to leave.

“Wait a minute. I’ll check with the surgery facility,” the administrator said, as she promptly picked up the phone.

“No, you don’t need it if you’re just having routine cataract surgery,” she announced after the call, not the least bit bothered that three minutes earlier she had told me I did need it.

“That’s good. Now other patients will be saved the time and expense, too,” I said, feeling as if I did my good deed for the day. As it is, Medicare doesn’t pick up the total cost of laser cataract surgery, so I’ll be paying quite a bit out of pocket.

Flash forward about five days, I get a call from my “regular” doctor’s office. “The ophthalmologist’s office said they require a CBC (Complete Blood Count), which we didn’t order when you had blood tests a few weeks ago. We’ll email you a prescription for it,” the nurse explained. (Note: A CBC is a blood test used to evaluate your overall health and detect a wide range of disorders, including anemia, infection and leukemia, reported the Mayo Clinic website.)

Here we go again, I thought, Googling “Is a CBC necessary for routine cataract surgery?” Nope, it definitely isn’t, I learned from many websites of major New York City eye surgery practices.

Back on the phone with the ophthalmologist’s office. “Hi Darlene (not her real name).  It’s Geri Brin again. I’m the woman…” Before I finished identifying myself, she knew exactly who I was. I guess no one had ever questioned the need to have an EKG before.  

“I’ve read that none of the major laser cataract centers in New York require a CBC,” I announced.

“That’s what the surgery center said you need,” Darlene answered, “but you can call yourself and ask.”  After the EKG incident, I’d have thought Darlene would have wanted to call herself!

Sure enough, the center confirmed that routine cataract surgery doesn’t require a CBC either.

I called to tell Darlene the latest news. “Hi Darlene. A CBC isn’t necessary.  I’d recommend that you call the center to hear it yourself so you don’t tell patients they need this test, too.”

Moral of the story: I don’t care how much you love and trust your doctor—any kind of doctor—just make sure to double check everything you’re told.  We’re living in an age when doctors want to protect themselves from malpractice suits; plus, the more tests they order, the more they’re likely to be reimbursed by insurance companies.

Think about costs incurred by the thousands of patients of this one ophthalmologist who unnecessarily had EKGs and CBCs.  No wonder our healthcare system is broken.

I Took A Doozy of a TRIP!

Have you heard the story of the 71-year-old woman who was so preoccupied she didn’t watch herself heading towards a raised metal grating surrounding a tree, tripped, and landed flat on her face, her nose scrunched into the heavy metal grate, blood gushing out of her mouth.

I am that woman and I can still “see” myself lunging towards the ground and feel the impact. A couple of people rushed towards me to ask if I was ok, despite the blood flowing from my mouth. My immediate thought was to make sure I could get up. I remember worrying whether I had broken my nose and if my glasses and the caps on my top front teeth had shattered. Thank God I could move all my limbs. Once those around me saw I could walk on my own, they went about their business, despite the blood gushing from my mouth.

I stumbled my way back into the shop where I had bought a sheet set before the accident, which was about 50 feet away from the tree.

“Please, can you get me water and a washcloth!” I implored the saleswoman who sold me the sheets not 10 minutes earlier. Although the store was stocked with towels and washcloths on shelves all around her, the saleswoman ushered me to a bathroom and pointed to a stack of beige paper towels you often find in public ladies rooms. And she promptly left, despite the blood flowing from my mouth.

I kept filling my mouth with cold water and spitting out blood. I needed to clear away the blood to be able to assess the situation. Once I was satisfied that the the bleeding was under control, I left the store, clutching a wad of wet beige paper towels to my face, and thought I’d better go to a plastic surgeon to get stitches because I could feel a gaping hole inside my left upper lip when I ran my tongue over it. I also discovered that the area above my left knee had two deep cuts but they weren’t bleeding profusely, just painful.

Believe it or not, a similar accident happened to me about seven years ago, when I needed stitches for the inside and outside of my cheek. I was lucky then, too. No broken bones, no concussion.

I called my longtime dentist first.  When I told him that my jaw mildly ached, and my capped and uncapped teeth didn’t feel loose, he said it didn’t sound like I had to rush to a dental surgeon.  “Call the office on Monday morning and I’ll squeeze you in.” When I dared to look at my teeth, I saw that one upper cap, smack in the front, was chipped and scraped, revealing the metal beneath it. Perfect, just in time for Halloween, and I won’t even have to buy a witch costume!

As I dialed her number, I didn’t have much hope that Dr. Haideh Hirmand, the plastic surgeon whose office was a mile away from the scene of the accident, would be in on Friday afternoon.  Lo and behold she was, and I took a cab right over.

When Dr. Hirmand examined me, she first ascertained that I hadn’t broken any bones in my face, or had had a concussion.  I knew the day, date and the name of the President. When she looked at my cheek, she declared, “I can see your teeth from the cut in your lip. You’ve lost quite a bit of tissue.” No wonder I felt a hole inside my upper left lip!  Three hours later, my inner and outer lip and knee were stitched up (I estimate Dr. Hirmand made about 20 stitches total), and I had instructions to get a tetanus shot immediately, as well as a prescription for an antibiotic.

At 6 pm that night, my ex Douglas and I went to a cabaret-style concert of Alan Jay Lerner songs (lyricist of My Fair Lady, Camelot, Brigadoon, Gigi). We returned to my home around 10 pm, had a bite to eat, and went to sleep around midnight.  BTW, I decided to go to the concert because I thought it would be a needed distraction, and it was.  

               Post Stitches

I’m writing this two days after the accident, happy to say that I feel immeasurably better than I felt over the weekend. The swelling in my lip has gone down, and I can put pressure on my left knee without wincing.  I will see the dentist on Thursday for the issues with my cap, and have the stitches removed on Friday. I look like a prize fighter after a match. The “prizes” I received were limbs and bones intact, brain unscrambled, and eyes unharmed. Speaking of my eyes, I was on my way to have them measured for cataract laser surgery when I tripped. Cataracts are no excuse for practically walking into a tree.  

Working It!

   Still plugging away at 71!

I’m 71 years old (yikes, that happened quickly), and since graduating from college, marrying and moving out of my parents’ house 50 years ago, I’ve never been financially supported by a man. I’ve earned my own money for half a century, and continue to work as hard as I ever have. That’s not what I was brought up to do, but that’s what’s happened.

And, I confess that while I thrive on work, and am proud of myself for forging a fairly successful career, I’m envious of women who don’t have the pressures, challenges and anxieties that working inevitability brings, not to mention the worries about supporting a family. When I see young women pushing strollers down the streets of Manhattan, or anywhere else, in the middle of the day, I remember what a different life I led when I was their age. And when I see a woman of my generation pushing her grandchild’s stroller down the street in the middle of the day, I think what a different life I lead now.

Of course, when I snap back into reality, I know I would have hated endlessly pushing a stroller down the street and going to playgrounds while my husband earned money and had a successful career. But recognizing that still doesn’t stop me from wishing I could have eliminated the angst I’ve felt for decades, about everything from making sales quotas to writing thousands of articles on deadline, from strategizing how to beat competition to putting up with more insufferable bosses, clients, coworkers and employees than I care to count.

I wonder, do women whose husbands financially support them, happily and heartily, feel differently deep down than women who support themselves or their families? Do they look enviously at women who work, wishing they could have calm lunches, grown-up conversions, and their own money?

Are some of us simply born to be full-time mothers, while others push proposals instead of strollers? Or do our circumstances propel us in such diverse directions?

I had a luncheon meeting yesterday with two young men, both of whom had twins. One set of twins is only two years old, and when I asked that man if his wife “works,” he chuckled and answered, “my wife would say she does!”

With children comes great responsibility. With a career comes great responsibility. Worlds of women manage to have both, whether out of necessity or out of desire. I applaud any woman who works hard at either, or balances the two.

Bill FRAUDsby

I vividly remember watching Bill Cosby’s one-man show in the garish nightclub at a Las Vegas hotel in the mid eighties. My boss and I were in LV for a trade show, and he invited me to go with him to see the famous comedian. Cosby was spectacularly funny that night. (I needed a good laugh, considering my date!) Even if we didn’t know how he acted off stage, didn’t we all assume he was like the adorable and affable Dr. Huxtable he portrayed on TV?  

We’ve since met the real Bill Cosby, thanks to the scores of women who stepped forward to accuse him of drugging and raping them. And, today we saw him being led out of the courtroom, handcuffed, after being sentenced to three to 10 years in prison for his crimes. No matter how much relief some of his accusers felt after the judge handed down Cosby’s sentence, no one was laughing.

                   Photo by (SCI Phoenix)

We’ve all heard countless times how a powerful and famous person can become divorced from “reality.”  Yessed from dawn to dusk by hangers-on. Adored by fans. Sought after by friends–even foes. But how does the comprehension of right and wrong fly out the window? How is it that famous people don’t learn from the tragedies that often befell famous people who came before them?  Why don’t they take even a couple of minutes a day to reflect how they could lose everything in a flash?

When powerful wrongdoers get away with bad behavior for years on end, they probably start believing that they’re “immune” from getting caught.  Bernie Madoff. Bonnie and Clyde. A criminal attorney I know often told me that big-time drug dealers never think they’ll be apprehended, but “they usually are,” he added. Cosby sexually abused women for decades.  Did he even once look at himself in the mirror the morning after any of these episodes and see anything but a rich, famous and adored man? Did he ever have a moment of remorse? Did he ever seek help from a therapist?

After miscreants are collared,  why do so many of them deny wrongdoing? They don’t just demurely deny the error of their ways. They deeply dig in their heels. They point their fingers at their accusers. They smirk. They scoff. They trot out their supporters, including the very wives they’ve betrayed. Surely, Camille Cosby at least suspected her husband of decades was up to “something” at some point. Or did she turn the proverbial blind eye to his ways with women because he gave her a life of luxury–and laughs?

I imagine 81-year-old Bill Cosby living in jail, legally blind (perhaps a blessing, considering his environment), and destined to spend what could be the rest of his life denied the freedom he enjoyed most of his life. But “freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being,” Eleanor Roosevelt said. “With freedom comes responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry his own weight, this is a frightening prospect.”

Bill Cosby carried his own weight, but not quite in the way the esteemed Mrs. Roosevelt meant.

He Said, She Said. What Say You?

Before you read this blog, please put aside your political affiliations. I’d like you to read it as a WOMAN, not as a “Republican,” “Democrat” or “Independent.”    

Brett Kavanaugh & Christine Blasey Ford. Photo: Lord Spoda/YouTube

I assume you know that a man named Brett Kavanaugh has been nominated to become a Justice of the United States Supreme Court. I also assume you know that a woman named Christine Blasey Ford has come forward accusing Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were both high school students at private schools in Maryland. Christine Blasey was 15 when she ran into 17-year-old Brett Kavanaugh at a summer party, she said, where he and a friend of his corralled her into a room, then Kavanaugh pinned her down, groped her and attempted to remove her one-piece bathing suit. When she tried to scream, she claimed he covered her mouth with his hands. When Kavanaugh’s friend jumped on top of them, they all tumbled to the floor, and Blasey managed to escape to a bathroom.

Kavanaugh and his friend were “stumbling drunk,” said Ford, who holds a doctorate and is a clinical psychology professor at a California university, as well as a biostatistician who designs and analyzes clinical trials.

Ford passed a lie detector test about the episode. Kavanaugh and his friend at the time unequivocally deny the story.  

First, let’s assume Ford is telling the truth. If Kavanaugh and his friend, Mark Judge, were indeed “stumbling drunk,” they might not have remembered the incident the next day, no less decades later. On the other hand, a young man who is “stumbling drunk” at 17 might very well have groped a young woman. Regardless, surely Kavanaugh knows if he drank heavily back then. If he drank heavily one time, isn’t the likelihood great that he drank heavily more than once?

According to an article in motherjones.com,  former friend Judge wrote a book–God and Man at Georgetown Prep–where he said alcoholism was rampant at the private school he and Kavanaugh attended. And, he chronicles his time as a teenage alcoholic in another book, writing that his own blackout drinking while he and Kavanaugh were Georgetown Prep students “reached the point where once I had the first beer, I found it impossible to stop until I was completely annihilated.”

So, what do you think of Kavanaugh’s absolute denial, which implies that Ford is a liar? Should he, like Judge, have admitted he drank at parties when he was a Georgetown Prep student, but maintained he’d never have done anything like she asserted he did?

Should our misdeeds and misjudgments as teenagers hurt us as adults? If something egregious happened 36 years ago, but the facts never surfaced until now, should we dismiss it today?

Do you think that Ford is flat out lying, on the other hand, because she doesn’t want Kavanaugh to become a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States? Do you believe a woman could be so vindictive as to make up a story about something that happened 36 years ago, using such specific details?

When it’s a question of he said, she said, what makes you believe one person or the other?

When I was 18, I went out with a guy who was around 23 and a senior at New York University, where I was entering as a freshman. I can tell you his name, what he looked like, and I distinctly remember that he told me Barbra Streisand had been his classmate at a Brooklyn high school (that impressed me no end, since I was in love with Barbra!). When we pulled up to my parents’ house in his car, he kissed me and put my hand on his crotch, which felt hard as a rock. Being an 18-year-old virgin (this was 1965, ladies!), I recoiled, and promptly called an end to the date.

If I remember every detail of that incident 53 YEARS LATER, isn’t it entirely possible that Ford remembers every detail of her encounter with Kavanaugh, which would have been many times more chilling for her than mine was for me?

Personally, I am torn what to think. It’s horrible if either Ford’s accusation or Kavanaugh’s denial is a blatant lie, more loathsome if one is telling the truth and the other is lying.

Ford and Kavanaugh were invited to testify publicly before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, but Ford’s attorney wrote a letter to the committee stating that her client only wants to testify after the FBI conducts an investigation. The head of the committee implied that if Ford doesn’t show up on Monday, he will still go ahead and hold the vote on Kavanaugh.

There’s no telling what could happen between now and Monday.

Goodbye Rigby

When the critical care doctor brought Rigby to me last Wednesday for our final goodbye, my heart broke apart seeing his sedated body wrapped in a blanket. I couldn’t bare to look directly into his adorable face but I held his head in my hands as the doctor first flushed the catheter and then administered the overdose of anesthesia that would still his heart forever. It took only a few minutes, but they were excruciating because a piece of my heart went with him and I still hurt today, over a week later, in a way that I never would have dreamt possible.

I hurt because it was painful seeing Rigby so vulnerable. And I hurt because I now realize that when he’d frequently stop in his tracks during our walks the last few months, he wasn’t being stubborn Rigby. Something was happening in his lungs and he needed to regroup.

His lungs were in good shape in April, when we had them x-rayed. It was the mitral valve in his heart that had lost some function, a fairly common genetic condition in Norfolk Terriers. The cardiologist didn’t think Rigby needed any kind of treatment yet. When Rigby became sluggish last Monday, and wasn’t anxiously racing to get to his bowl of food, I became worried, thinking his heart had taken a turn for the worse.

We went to the hospital on Tuesday, but the X-rays showed that Rigby’s lungs, not his heart, were under stress. They needed to find out why and get him into an oxygen tent to help him breathe more comfortably. They also started him on antibiotics In case had had pneumonia or some other infection.

Rigby stayed at the hospital overnight, and things were looking up the next day. It appeared the medication and oxygen therapy were working, but they still wanted to learn what was up in his lungs. He’d be in the hospital at least another day, the doctor told me, but if he continued to progress he’d be able to come home in a day.

We never found out what was wrong. The doctor called me at 7 last Wednesday evening to tell me Rigby had taken a turn for the worse. She was starting him on new medications, but if he didn’t improve during the next half hour, she didn’t want to hook him up to a device so he could breathe.

Although Rigby is no longer here with me, I still feel his “presence.” I think of him lying in the small bathroom to keep cool, while I worked in the living room. I think of him in his round corduroy bed on the floor in my bedroom, where he’d curl up when we retired upstairs each night. I think of him eyeing every morsel of food I ate, waiting for me to share it with him. I think of him when I was getting ready to go out and he’d look at me with soulful eyes because he knew he wasn’t joining me.

Rigby wasn’t a cuddly, affectionate dog, but he didn’t have a mean bone in his body, and he’d wag his little tail even when he must have been in distress.

We brought Rigby home with us when he was five months old, and his heart stopped beating when he was almost 12. I understand now how most people feel when a pet is gone. I knew a woman who had three cats, but when she developed allergies she “got rid” of the cats without a moment’s hesitation or sadness. They were better off without her.

When A Godsend Visits You

I believe there are three types of people when it comes to helping others:

Type 1:  Those who never help at all, under any circumstances. You could be lying on the street, bleeding to death, and they’d pass by as if you weren’t there.

Type 2:   Those who help ONLY when it’s convenient for them. You could be lying on the street, bleeding to death, and they’d come to your aid if they weren’t in a rush. However, they’d pass you right by if they were on the way to a very important date, maybe even to a not-so-important date.

Type 3:  Those who will help you, even if their acts of kindness inconvenience them. You could be lying in the street, bleeding to death, and they’d come to your aid, even if they had a horrible day and couldn’t wait to get home to have a stiff martini.

Type 3 is a rare person, but it’s a godsend when one of them helps you out of a nightmare experience.  So, without further ado, here’s the story of the godsend who came to my rescue last Wednesday, after scammers took over the FabOverFifty Facebook page, and we could no longer post a thing. How it happened is a long story, and it was totally our fault, but it happened, and that’s what counts.

Our Facebook page has 522,000 followers, and it’s an important part of our business. When we saw the page was no longer ours, Simone (my daughter, who works with me) started to communicate with Facebook over text message.  It’s impossible to talk–as in saying words with your mouth–directly to anyone at Facebook. All communication is done online, at least with companies who don’t have gigantic advertising budgets!

Frantically, I began reaching out, via email and phone, to people I know whose companies do spend a great deal of money placing ads on Facebook. Perhaps they have access to real people there, I thought. No one responded right away, and I was becoming more and more frantic.  Plus, I noticed that many of our old Facebook posts had been removed. I felt as if my baby had been kidnapped. Then, a soft porn post popped up on our page, that linked to a strange website in a far off land. We were headed for big trouble.

At last, I reached Robert (not his real name), and he sprung into action immediately, calling an ad agency he knew that worked directly with Facebook reps (real people) all the time.  But, that’s not where his help ended. He consistently stayed on top of the situation, even though he has a big (new) job running digital advertising for an important brand. He tried to figure out how to get our page back. He called me when he got home from work to try and put my mind at ease. He assured me that a Facebook team was working on the problem, although he hadn’t yet heard back from his contacts at the ad agency.

By the next morning, Robert still hadn’t received word from his contacts. Although he had work-related meetings most of the day, he made sure to stay in touch with me via email. Finally, word from Facebook came that afternoon.  We had to supply them with notarized documentation that we indeed owned the page. Simone and I completed the paperwork in record time. I raced to the notary a block from my house, and scanned the notarized documents back to Robert.

Strange posts continued to appear on our page throughout the day. I slept fitfully again that night.

On Friday morning, about 36 hours after the ordeal started, Robert received this email from Facebook:

Thanks again for having Geri send over those documents so quickly. Our Pages team reviewed the request and has successfully released ownership of the Page from the unauthorized Business Manager. We have also taken action on the offending Business Manager and permanently disabled it for fraud.”

I wanted to fly to Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, CA, and kiss the “Pages team.”  But it was Robert who I really wanted to thank. And, he continued to help over the weekend, working on our page so it had extra security and making sure that only people we knew had access to the page to publish posts.  

When I asked Robert  why he was doing so much to help us, he answered “I thought that I wouldn’t want my mother to be in the same situation.” Robert’s mom is a lucky lady. So am I.

Do You Have The “Grandmother Gene”?

Can you tell whether you’re going to have the “grandmother gene” before you become a grandmother? That’s the gene that turns you into a cooing, cuddling, calming, cheering, chuckling lady, who can’t get enough of your grandchildren.

“I’m obsessed with him,” my friend Terry told me about her toddler grandson. A loving wife and mother of one son, Terry’s had a successful advertising career, now owns an online vintage apparel shop, and is soon launching a style consulting service. So while she knew she’d fall in love with her grandson the moment she laid eyes on him, she never dreamed she’d be so consumed with him. “I can’t get enough of him,” she laughed.

My sister Shelley also uses the word “obsessed” when she talks about her feelings for her four-year-old grandson, Sammy. He gives her pure and absolute joy. Shelley couldn’t wait to be a grandmother, and jokes that she loves her grandson more than her own sons. “Maybe it’s because I can go home at the end of the day,” she said.

My friend Hane has babysat for her toddler grandson since he was an infant, traveling almost an hour to her daughter’s house as often as three times a week. “Maybe I love doing it because I wasn’t a devoted mother,” Hane told me.

Lately, my Facebook timeline has been packed with as many gushing posts of grandchildren as of cats and dogs. Boomers are becoming grandparents by the droves, and proudly show off their grandkids moments after they enter the world, and at every milestone.

When these posts pop up in my timeline, I pass right by them.  I adore many of the women who are gushing grandmothers, and I hope these children delight them all the days of their lives, but I’d rather see a kitty opening a kitchen cabinet than a six-month-old smearing bananas over his high chair.

So what’s wrong with me? I love my 5-year-old grandson with every fiber in my body. I’ve dropped everything many times to be with him when my daughter couldn’t leave work or had other issues that prevented her from staying home with him when he was sick or on vacation. He’s spent many weekends at my house. I think he’s a great-looking kid, and sharp as a whip. I adore the photos of him that his parents post to a private album.

                ME & MY GRANDSON

I’d lay down my life for him in a nanosecond.

BUT, I’m not so obsessed with my grandson that I must share his comings and goings with anyone outside of our family. Why do they care when he took his first step, said his first word, hit his first baseball? Does it make me a better grandmother if I do share?

Multitudes of young mothers post so many photos of their kids on Facebook pages that I sometimes think it’s their way of validating their motherhood. Sure, they might be marvelous mothers, but is something else at play here?

If grandmothers overshare, is it for the same reason?

Am I overthinking this? Am I guilty because I don’t do the same? Am I an under par grandmama?

I’d love to read your comments.