Sunday, February 28, 2021

An Afternoon Walk

On a sunny, 55-degree day this past week, I took a fabulously long walk and got back to my neighborhood about 3:30 pm. As I crossed from the main road on to my street, I could see the face of a teenage neighbor in front of her house behind a car, but I could only see the back of the guy she was talking to. 

She looked bigger than I remembered and pretty grown up, compared to the last time I had seen her. She was smiling so much. It made me think about the magic of young love.

As I inched a bit closer but was still a distance away, I saw she was standing on a skateboard, which explained her being taller than I’d have expected. She didn’t take her eyes off the guy, who appeared to be instructing her on skateboarding techniques.

Right away I started to project my own worries on to her parents. The mother in me started to empathize with her poor parents for having to deal with this new hobby of hers. I started to sweat just thinking about all the safety matters that come into play.

Add to that a persuasive boyfriend encouraging it, and the situation is ripe for battles at home, with her parents concerned that she may want to do all kinds of crazy stunts on her skateboard, hang out with other daredevils (or, worse yet, with her skateboard buddy alone) and so on.

I walked to the other side of the street as I approached them since I wasn’t wearing a mask but wanted to say “hi!” to the teen and of course to check out her boyfriend.  

Let me just say … WOA!!!

That “boyfriend” teaching her how to skateboard was…HER DAD!

I was s h o c k e d!!! I had seen him eons of times but usually with a briefcase in hand. I’d never have guessed that he’s a skateboarder and/or that he’d be encouraging her to learn.

But once I thought it through – that he is sharing with his daughter a hobby he enjoyed – I began to feel differently.

I think fathers and daughters often struggle to find common ground, and a mutual appreciation for a hobby can add a wonderful new dimension to their relationship.

By the time I got home – 12 houses down – my thoughts went from “those poor parents” to “that lucky dad…and daughter.”






Sunday, February 21, 2021

I Can See Clearly Now

About 20 years ago, I started wearing “readers,” those little eyeglasses with magnifying lenses that have become absolutely necessary for me to function if I want to read…anything…and do…almost everything else, within a foot of my face.

I started with a strength of 1.0; although I resisted, over time I moved up in increments of .25 until I got to a 2.0. From there – based on what the store had in stock – I jumped to a 2.5, although I found myself still squinting until I finally succumbed to a 3.0 and boy...what a game changer!

Because I need these glasses so often and misplace them just as much, I have a bunch and place them all over: by my bed, on my desk, in the kitchen drawer, in my purse, in my car. I pick them up whenever I see them at a good price and they fit well, whether at the dollar store, Barnes & Noble or CVS and, most recently, in a pack of 3 at Whole Foods.  

Last week, as I was going through my greeting card stash to find a sentiment that I wanted to give David for his birthday, I reached for a pair of glasses on my desk. I put them on, and everything c h a n g e d.

Within seconds, I could not see normally. I got dizzy and lost my balance. I was afraid I was going to faint. Maybe, I thought, I was in the midst of a stroke.  

Pay attention to the details, I told myself, in case they are important when I get to the hospital.

I leaned against my desk, took off my glasses and 30 seconds later, I felt better. I was eager to discount that bizarre experience - assuming it wouldn't repeat itself - so I went downstairs to reset, starting with a glass of water.

After a few minutes, I went back upstairs, put the glasses on again and started looking through the cards for the second time.  

But, it started to happen again! That very disturbing sensation returned, and I went immediately into panic mode…I wondered…Is the end of the line for me?

I took the readers off once more and was blinded by the glare of the sunlight on one of the lenses…but not on the other.

That’s when I realized that one of the lenses had fallen out of the frame! This meant I was trying to look through a pair of glasses with a large magnifier on one lens and no lens at all for the other eye.

No wonder I couldn’t see straight when I had them on!

Why I didn’t figure that out but instead assumed I was on my way out, is beyond me. 

For some reason, ever since I turned 60, I jump to scenarios that are unnecessarily extreme...yet another reality of aging.




Sunday, February 14, 2021

Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are

Oh where, oh where can my videotapes be???

Yes, those big chunky VHS recordings I took of my kids in the late 1980s and 1990s…

Put that to the tune of “Last Kiss” by J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers in 1961, and you’ll get what I’ve been singing to myself on and off for years now.

These babies are MIA.

I can picture where I used to keep them in my old house – EXACTLY where – in the cabinet underneath the TV – and I know that I and I alone packed that area to move into my current house, 17 years ago.

The question is, Where are they now?  

Everything not deemed essential for the kids and the running of the new house from Day #1 went into the attic…so I’ve always believed those videotapes are in hiding up there.

But David, who finds every excuse under the sun to go into the attic and fiddle around, hasn’t seen them, and he’s gone through all the cardboard boxes which I dutifully collected from local supermarkets every morning for months.

The reality is, even though I hate to admit such a lapse on my part, it’s quite possible that I donated the tapes along with others like Disney movies…or trashed them in my packing frenzy…there just aren’t that many possible scenarios, given that I don’t think anyone broke into my house and absconded with them.

And if either of these scenarios is the case, I have no one to blame but myself.

I hate when it boils down to…ME.

So unless we find them, I may never know what really happened.

While obsessing over this, I often think back to the purchase of the camcorder, in 1987. Bob and I decided to invest in one when Michael was an infant. We wanted to record his and our future kids’ every move and milestones, not only for us and for them, but for future generations to enjoy.

I took an entire videotape – some 4 hours – of Michael lying on the couch moving his arm ever-so-slightly so he could get a good look at his fist. It wasn’t easy for me to hold the camcorder for so long given how cumbersome it was to maneuver but since we did buy it for this purpose, I did it for the greater good.  

Later that day, I called Bob’s parents – almost too excited to speak – to tell them what their amazing grandson did that day. I asked if they wanted to come see the recording that weekend. “Of course!” they said. 

A few days later, they indulged us and marveled at his accomplishments just like we did – for hours…bless them – even though he was doing the same thing right next to them, in real time. I remember this like it was yesterday, and that was almost 34 years ago.

I am hopeful that one of these days I will be reunited with the videotapes, given all the effort and good intentions that went into taking them.

Of course, once this stupid pandemic is over, I hope to be creating the next series of recordings, this time on my iPhone.

Sunday, February 7, 2021

It's Snow Beautiful

One night last weekend, I woke up for my nightly bathroom trip around 3 a.m. and, as usual, peeked out the window. The whiteness first blinded me until my eyes adjusted and then it drew me in to the most amazingly beautiful landscape, blanketed with snow. It was like sparkling sugar coated the world and ohhhhh…how sweet it was. 

In the morning, as snow continued to fall, I took SheaDoggy for a walk and basked in the stillness of the moment, the feeling similar to the heavenly aftermath of a full-body massage.  

Throughout the day, I parked myself by various windows so that I could continue to experience that snow-induced serenity – before it was gone – because it never lasts long enough. I suppose that is part of its allure, how fleeting it is.

As nightfall took hold, I had a flashback of ogling a snowstorm not that long ago, with my mom.

She had recently moved into an assisted living community close to me, and her living room window overlooked the courtyard. The location of her 2nd floor apartment was integral to her decision to move there because she saw that she could experience the joys of nature not only from the outside, but from the inside, too.

It was challenging with her wheelchair to get close enough to the window to see flowers and other greenery below but, on this one particular night, the steady flow of snow in combination with the glitz of the holiday season created a fabulous display in the courtyard, from all the viable vantage points.      

I assumed we’d watch from her wonderfully warm and cozy apartment but, true to form, she was eager to rough it in the courtyard. We bundled up and headed outside, where the air felt delightfully crisp. She sat in her wheelchair with her head leaning back so she could see the snowflakes up close, delight in them as they touched her face, and she even stuck her tongue out to taste them, too. I mirrored whatever she did, loving every minute.

After about a half hour, we went back upstairs, pretended we had hot chocolate, and sat by the window to continue watching the show.

When she went to bed, I left. The snow was still coming down, I cleaned off my car and began to relive all the memories that I didn’t want to forget.    

About a minute after I left her complex and turned on to the main road, I saw some activity in my rearview mirror. Those dreaded flashing lights were getting closer and closer until there was nowhere for the car behind me to go. I then realized this guy is coming for me, so I drove over to the shoulder of the road and waited. 

“Show me your license, registration and insurance,” he instructed. I asked why he pulled me over. He said my registration is not up to date, and he gave me a ticket.

Talk about a buzzkill.

My mom called the next morning to thank me for the night before. I decided it best not to mention the ticket because she would’ve been upset for me or about me, because that’s how mothers are.

So, I simply thanked her for a wonderful time too, not realizing that the joyful evening we had just shared…was our last.