Friday, January 30, 2009

Guest Blog -- by Rochelle Jewel Shapiro

My father wanted a boy. Unfortunately, he had three daughters instead. When I, the third daughter, was born, he said, "Another girl!" He lost his voice for six weeks.

Maybe it was better than what he might have said if he could speak. They waited seven years to try again, because they thought that seven was the magic number that would change their chemistry and their luck so that they could finally produce a son. And it worked, probably coincidentally. But my mother was forty-two by then and in 1954, that was considered quite late for motherhood. But my oldest sister was sixteen. Rumors shot around the neighborhood that my brother wss really her illegitimate child. My big sister was mortified.

And my mother had her consequences as well.

"What a young grandmother," people would say to her.
"No, I'm just an old mother," she'd tell them sadly.
And then people would snicker crudely. "By your age you should know how not to get knocked up," a man in a hardware store whom she didn't even know said.

My mother would sit up in her grave and applaud if she knew how many women today are having children over forty and even later. And she would be thrilled to know how much you support each other. It's better than wearing ear plugs as she'd threatened to do so that she wouldn't have to hear the remarks that people were so free to make back then.

Rochelle Jewel Shapiro is the author of Miriam the Medium (Simon & Schuster) which is selling in the U.S., the U.K., Belgium and Holland. Her essay, Ess Ess is just out in Feed Me: Writers Dish About Food, Eating, Weight, and Body Image. (Ballentine Books, 2009)

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Future Later Mom Empty Nester

I am so tired of this winter. Are you?

And, Seth's school bus is stressing me out.

The bus aide gave me the evil eye the other day when we weren't standing outside awaiting their arrival. It's cold out there in the morning. Can't we wait just inside our doorway, and Seth can scamper out when they arrive?

Today the bus was two hours late. There was a school opening delay due to the weather yet again.

I ask you....are we done with snow yet this season? I hate the ice and mess. Don't like driving or walking on it. It's just not my thing. A sno-bunny I'm not.

So, why do I live in a place like New York? Sometimes I wonder. Though, there's a lot good to be said about it, but the weather wouldn't be high on my list.

Seth said a funny thing the other day.

He announced how a little girl in his class wants to marry him, and he might want to marry her one day. Not now, of course. They're 5. (though I often say he's 5 going on 15) And, he went on to say that when he gets married, he'd like to live in our house. Not with us....but without us...I presume.

Part of me thought, that would be cool, if he really means it. I'm not sure I personally want to live in this house forever. I do love my house (and we're about to embark on a major basement project). But, life in suburbia doesn't always suit me. I might like to live in the city one day and maybe even retire there.

But, how do you decide where you want to retire? Some flock to warmer climates, and I wouldn't mind that. But, would I be happy in a place like Florida or Arizona? Not sure. Maybe. I do like cactus and mountains and wild rabbits. It's something to think about.

It also got me thinking about being a later mom empty nester one day. I have mom friends who are already empty nesters and are in their 50s. I don't know how old I'll be when I fit that bill, but I do know I'll be at least 60 if not older. 60 feels like such a big number. Wow. Can you imagine?! Me 60 one day. G-d willing, that will be the case.

Where will I be in my life then? What will I want? Questions. Questions. And, I'm certainly not prepared to answer any of them.

How did I get on this topic anyway?

Oh snowed here again, and I'm feeling a bit clastrophobic, having stayed in all day today.

Tomorrow is another day, and I have a luncheon meeting. Followed by a gym workout. I look forward to both.

Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Kids Rock Band I Love

Wanted to give a shoutout to our favorite kids rock band that just released their first DVD shot in NY. We had attended the concert a while back where they filmed it. Was total fun!
They are Princess Katie & Racer Steve, and the DVD is called Princess Katie & Racer Steve Live! Revved Up & Ready to Rock!. You can check them out at
Their music is hip. Their shows are fun and engaging.
We just saw them in concert in NY at a local JCC, and had a great time. And, they will be touring, so keep an eye out for dates in a town near you.
Princess Katie & Racer Steve’s critically acclaimed albums, ‘Songs for the Coolest Kids,’ and ‘Fast & Feisty,’ offer contemporary takes on popular music sounds ranging from jazz and swing to neo-Latin and electric rock ‘n’ roll to rap, West Indian, folk, country, and 12-bar blues. Princess Katie & Racer Steve use cool music, hip lyrics and zany skits to bring home messages about cultural acceptance, winning, losing, sharing, bullying, making friends, kindness, fairness, sibling appreciation, world peace, and just plain having fun being a kid.
PS -- If you're in NY on 2/8/09, check them out at the highline ballroom for a concert celebrating the launch of their DVD. For tickets --

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Sandwich Generation Weekend

I've blogged on this subject before. While I hate to be a broken record, I feel the need to share again.

My dad is 90, and my son is turning 6 next month.

It was a long, snowy weekend here in NY, since yesterday was a school holiday. My dad stayed with us since his aide went home, and he just returned to his house 1/2 hour ago via a car service dedicated to the elderly. I'm glad that he didn't have to drive himself in the snow, even though he prides himself on being independent car-wise.

It was a tension-filled weekend for me, and I felt like I was snappy. I hate being that way, but I couldn't help myself. I'm thrilled that my son and dad got to spend quality time (they sleep in the same dad in a rollaway bed), but my dad did nothing but complain the whole weekend about how he feels.

His life has become a rollercoaster of making doctor rounds. At times it feels like he's in search of a magic pill to relieve all his ailments.

I find myself telling him that as a 40 something mom, I don't feel as great as I did 20 years ago. In fact, my dad looked at photo in my office taken when I was in my 20s and had a fulltime job in PR. It happened to be a shot of me with Bob company had done an event with him...and I was thrilled to have the chance to talk with him. But, yes, I looked younger, and my dad commented on how different I looked.

So, there you have it...we all age. As much as we might love to turn back the clock, we can't.

So, what to tell a 90 year old? Friends tell me to listen partly with a deaf ear when he complains. But, that's easier said than done.

I want to try to help him. I dropped an email to an integrative doctor we both use and asked a couple of questions on my dad's behalf. I await his response.

I try to be supportive for my dad, but after a while, I can't take listening to it anymore. And, there are so many elderly people I see who are way worse off. Is that any consolation to him? I suppose not. He just wants to feel half way decent, as he puts it. I want that for him too.

I'm sad that he feels his life isn't a quality one. He's made that statement too.

I actually wound up asking him if he'd prefer not to be living (I know it's an awful question to ask)? He just said he wanted to feel good.

Does anyone who is 90 feel good? I wonder. I'd love to know.

Do you know of anyone that age who feels as they would like to?

Is attitude part of it? Until my dad was 87, he had his share of health challenges over the years, but his age seemingly suddenly caught up with him. And, now he says it's not like him to complain. But, actually it is like him to complain...he just was lucky until 87. Since then he's been nothing but frustrated, and it's what I hear all day/every day whether in person or on the phone.

On one hand, I don't want him to conceal how he feels, in case I can help. On the other hand, maybe sometimes you just have to make the most of life despite it all?! How do people in wheelchairs cope? What about someone with chronic illness? What about someone with dementia?

Do they all hate their lives? Do they just vent incessantly?!

Don't get me wrong. I love and value my dad. I am grateful for him and all that he has done for me and for his on-going support, love, etc. I just miss the way he was. He was my chipper dad.

Do you have a senior parent in your life with health challenges and how do they cope? I'd welcome hearing your experiences.

Thanks for listening to mine.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, January 05, 2009

New Year....New You?

How was your new year's eve?

We chilled at home.

I'm been fighting this marathon cold and today, after being convinced by two friends, finally got myself to the ENT doctor. Turns out I need to be on antibiotic for five days. I'm so grateful I bit the bullet and went.

How often as moms do we treat ourselves as invincible? I somehow thought, as lingering as this cold has been, that it would ultimately go away. But, one of my friends reminded me that in a perfect world, that would be true, but sometimes we need a little help.

These words hit home for me.

We all need help at times, and there's nothing wrong with asking for it or even paying for it. Do you allow yourself to ask for it? Whether it's from a mate, friend, family member, stranger...etc.

There's a lot of talk about practicing self care and how important it is. And, I totally agree. But, sometimes self care isn't just about doing for ourselves. Part of that is giving ourselves permission to reach out. Seek out connections that have meaning to us. To hire poeple (if we can afford to) to help simplify our lives.

For example, we can't effectively give ourselves a massage. (I like to treat myself periodically, since I have a bad back.)

Sometimes it's a worthwhile investment to hire a cleaning woman, if your budget allows, and you choose not to spend your time cleaning your home.

I have a friend who cuts her own hair...but I don't go that route. I don't have the ability.

Spending quiet time alone can be wonderful and beneficial, but quality time with a friend (s) means a lot too.

Are you someone who suffers in silence or do you pick up the phone and call someone you can share with?

I am the supreme multi-tasker and that lends itself to burnout.

This year, I'd like to really prioritize how I spend my time and money and decide what is most important to me. What will bring happiness and fulfillment and ideally some monetary reward.

I want to appreciate myself. Honor myself. Try to get my needs met. Seek out happiness and fun more.

I'm good at playing roles, but I want to learn to step back and grant myself more balance.

I'm watching Oprah who is talking about this, and I find her very candid and inspiring. She said the "key is putting yourself back on your own to-do list." I LOVE that.

How about you? Are you on your to-do list?

Labels: , , , ,