The First Thanksgiving

November 29, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Posted in Family Ties | Leave a comment
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This year I hosted Thanksgiving for the first time.  Last year at this time my parents were still living in the house that I grew up in and I was newly married.  What a difference a year can make.

Since moving into my new apartment, I’ve had mixed feelings about the decision I made.  While I still love the physical space and know it is a step up from my previous apartment, I have not fallen in love with the neighborhood, and like all apartments, there are some imperfections that I have to live with.  Still I know it is a pretty big step up for me, and hosting Thanksgiving reaffirms my decision to move here.  All in all, I have found a home, no matter how temporary it may be, that is a place I can welcome family.

Just before Thanksgiving, my husband and I finished furnishing our apartment.  One of the things I had been looking forward to in moving out was buying what I describe as adult furniture.  My old apartment was in an attic, and my dog had been a puppy at the time, so I was buying furniture for a unique space and items that I didn’t care if the dog destroyed, so when we moved, we took basically nothing with us.  My husband’s grandmother gave us her beautiful bedroom set, his sister her mattress, and his cousin the bed frame, but beyond that, we had to buy everything, and finding the right item proved to be a challenge.  I really wanted a deep red couch, and shopped for a long time to find one and had no luck.  But we still bought a beautiful couch and I am updating my vision for my home to fit this.

The last item we had to buy was a kitchen table.  There is something about the kitchen table that, to me, solidifies home. I can remember many a dinner at my parents’ kitchen table, each sitting in the same seats every day for twenty years.  Though the kitchen went through renovations, our seemingly assigned seats always remained the same.  I will be curious to see how my kitchen table plays a role in how my family evolves.  I’ll be interested to see what kinds of traditions and routines my family develops through all of the changes yet to come.

Hosting Thanksgiving was a lot of work.  It’s almost hard to step away from that to see just how well everything worked out, but I know it turned out really well with both sides of the family happy to help and happy to be together.

Thanksgiving is about togetherness, and I’m thankful I have a home where my families feel welcome.

Saying Goodbye to My Childhood Home

April 27, 2013 at 9:22 am | Posted in Family Ties, Life and Living | Leave a comment
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It was the clear nail polish that brought me to my knees.  It must have been under that radiator for ten years, back when this was my bedroom, back when this was my home.  As I sit there in the empty room knowing that this would be the last time I would ever cry on that floor, the memories come flooding back to me.

Before my parents had moved there, back when I was too young to remember, I didn’t have my own bedroom.  My parents had an apartment in the Bronx and they moved for a better life and more space.  I would finally have my own room, my own space, but I would have to start my short life over.  This new home would become my stability.  This home would always keep me safe.

Over the years, this house, my bedroom, survived many of my phases.  I remember the nights that my brother and I would knock on the wall we shared together to communicate.  I remember decorating my walls with Absolut and Got Milk ads ripped from magazines.  I remember painting my nails every night to match my outfit.  I remember when I had my parents buy me an art desk.  I remember burying my hamsters in the front yard.  I remember taping songs off the radio.  I remember writing most of my poetry in my room, at my desk.  I remember late night phone calls with boys as I lay in bed, listening to The Cardigans and Sophie B Hawkins.   I remember the glow-in-the-dark stars I had on my ceiling, that were basically useless since I only saw them at night when my glasses were off and they were all fuzzy.  I remember the sound of my dad leaving for work in the morning as that was my signal to get up for school.  I remember my witchcraft phase, my candle phase, my incense phase.  I remember dancing to Paula Abdul on the lawn.  I remember going out on to my roof through my window (sorry Mom and Dad — that was true).  I remember friends driving by, honking their horns.  I remember sneaking out the back door only to be caught coming in the front door. I remember it all.  This was my home from age 4 until now, and even though I haven’t lived there in six years, it was still my home when I had to finally say good bye.

And I try to be strong, because I know it’s just a material thing, but that home holds so many memories.  Living there made me who I am in so many ways.  My memory isn’t really that good and having that tangible place has helped me to hold on.

But it is time to let go of the tangible and let it live in my memory.  It is the end of an era that I have to cope with.  No longer do I have that place I can run to when everything is wrong in the world.  I have to push forward.  If I live a full life, this home will only be the first fraction of my existence and another home will be born at some point.  In the grand scheme of life, I will remember this house fondly as my first home.  But it no longer exists anymore.  Only in my memory.

MASH and “Predicting the Future”

January 4, 2011 at 7:55 am | Posted in Career Moves, Family Ties, Friends Then and Now, Life and Living, Relationship Woes | 13 Comments
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Middle school flashback.  Your body is changing and you look seriously awkward trying to fit into it.  You are figuring out which clique would accept you.  And the prepubescent boys are looking super cute.  Your world is as big as your classroom.  And let’s face it.  Sometimes class can be boring.  I was never very good at doodling.  My art even back then was writing.  So what do you do to pass the time?  Dream about the future!  This is where a fabulous game called MASH came into play.

Mansion, apartment, shack, house.  These were just some of the “choices” you’d have to make when you grow up.  Where will you live?  Other features of the game — pick 5 of each: boys you like, cars you like, colors (of bridal dress), cities, number of children you will have, and let’s no forget careers.  You create a swirl in the middle of the page, count the lines and use that number to complete the process of elimination, ex-ing out an item each time your number comes up.  At the end of the day, you end up marrying Bobby, living in a mansion, driving a red Ferrari, living in Paris, with 4 kids, and working as a lawyer.  Sounds about right, no?

Oh, how small the world was back then!  I remember literally thinking who would I marry from my middle school. MY MIDDLE SCHOOL?  How does this idea get into people’s heads?  Ok, to be fair, I actually know about a dozen people who did end up with someone they knew in middle school.  Call it small world mentality, or comfort zone, I don’t know.  I stopped dating people from my high school in like 9th grade. But something tells me when these people think back to middle school and have this same thought that I did, the person they are with now didn’t make the list.

If only our decisions could be as simple as we thought they’d be.  But what if Bobby doesn’t want to marry me?  What if we can’t afford a mansion? (HA!)  And what if, God forbid, I don’t get that Ferrari.  What ever will I do?

The saving grace of this game, in retrospect, is that it does include a category for career (in the version of the game that I played).  At least we had the idea of working for a living instilled in our minds.  But what about college?  I can tell you that I was a weirdo and I actually did think about college in middle school, thanks to my dad always saying it was the best time of his life, the movie Animal House, and my first boyfriend whose older sisters were already in college.  My Bat-Mitzvah theme was colleges and telephones (yea, figure that one out).  Perhaps if college was added to this game middle schoolers would have seen that there is a world between high school and this dream life MASH creates.  Perhaps kids would see that while there are endless possibilities, there are also realistic possibilities.  That the world is much larger than a classroom, but can also feel smaller than a locker at times.

But it was a different world back then.  The tech boom was just starting.  I remember when my friend Ilana first got AOL. We’d all gather around her computer, wait for the dial up, and stare in awe at the big box computer as it said “You’ve got mail,” in that familiar computer voice we all know.  By 8th grade we were all instant messaging, staying up to all hours having conversations with boys that were too hard to have in person.  We were just beginning to discover the greater world, but yet it all seemed like a fantasy.

So maybe that’s all that MASH is or was.  Maybe it was a just a form of fantasy.  Maybe we never thought it was ever going to be reality.  But maybe we did.  I don’t believe in destiny, but I do believe in fate, and I believe in dreams.  We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I still plan to dream of endless possibilities.

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