Category Archives: parenting

Holidays~ Thanksgivings

It’s the wonderful, joy filled time of the holidays.  Family, friends, food, activities, a time to connect and remember.  Growing up a couple of Thanksgivings come to mind~ both of them accord in New York.  The first memory was going to the Macy day parade when I was about 4,  we lived in Brooklyn and this was a big treat.  I was most excited about all the colored paper from the floats so I collected a large amount of the paper.  We (my family went to a restaurant before heading back home.  While I was in the bathroom with my sister, the waitress cleared off the table and threw away my color paper.  (Actually it technically it was trash I picked up off the street.)  The other memory was when I was 16, I was with the Long Walk for Survival in New York City.  I had run away to be close to a boy I fell in love with Charley Grass. That Thanksgiving I joined the group and fasted for Thanksgiving.   I fasted to remember all of the Native Americans that lost their lives for this fun-filled holiday.  The night before Thanksgiving that year  I also fell asleep on James Taylor’s couch. I met him when I was “playing the role of a secretary” for the medicine man Leonard Crowdog.    In some ways that was a very lonely Thanksgiving.

Other memories of the holidays ~ going to visit my cousins in KY.

Or when my father would invite faculty and or students that didn’t have any place to go.   These were usually foreign or visiting students.  They would bring a dish to share.  Then after my mother married my stepfather ~ we always had a house full.  We sat around the big table, and laughed and ate and told stories.  We always had a puzzle on a table in one room and would play a board game after the meal.

The first Thanksgiving my now ex-husband shared with us.  He told me it was his favorite holiday.  He also told me my mother was a much better cook than his mother.  He also told me I was a better cook than his mother.  I wish he remembered when he was telling his mother cutting remarks a few years later. But he got to see how we celebrated family~ and that was through sharing.

After we got married I continued the family tradition of inviting faculty or exchange students to our house for the holiday.  I loved opening up my home and sharing food with new friends and family.  It also worked out well when my brother Randy married a wonderful cook April and she would come and help. I would make very traditional dishes, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, apple pie.  One year I made a very fancy pumpkin pecan torte 7 layers.

Another Thanksgiving,  Don (my ex) got us invited over to a colleague’s house but the turkey took much much longer to cook than his friend knew. His friend was very embarrassed but we explained it was all good. They were a young couple and this was their first holiday meal they were sharing.    I had planned to host guests at my house too.  Luck for me my brothers and niece felt comfortable going into my house and getting things ready without me.

But my biggest memory throughout those celebrations later when my sister and her family were unable to share it with us.  Were the phone calls from my sister,  she would start off calling me about 7am on Thanksgiving and tell me her big plans for the turkey.  One year she found a recipe in the New York Times ~ this is going to be the best turkey ever.  She would call me throughout the day keeping me up to date as to how her meal was progressing.  Things started off positive and then would take a turn and she would call to tell me she was having this problem and what should she do.  I would advise her.  Then she would call back a few minutes later telling me something she decided to try instead.  I believe that was the year the turkey was raw on the inside and burnt on the outside.  She said, well Martha Stewart isn’t a good choice.  The next year, it would start all over again.  I would always advise her to go simple~  turkeys should be moist and don’t need much to make them taste good.  Her phones calls seemed to follow a script.  We would laugh and how things were going or not going.  This happened for a few years till she called to tell me they were just going to have lobster and picked them up at Whole Foods.




Parenting~ allowing your children figure things out on their own.

I am the mother of 2 beautiful, smart, hard working daughters. Both are in their early 20’s both have graduated from college.  Both have their own places~ Emily my oldest who is 24.  Has a job she loves and a very modern apartment in a big city.  She has always been very disciplined.   Erin just got a job in the same state she where she graduated and has an apartment and loves living in the big city too.

Growing up the girl’s father and I always insisted they finish what they start even if they didn’t like it.  Erin played softball one season~ but she finished the season.  Erin also played soccer and swam, then figured out in middle school that she was a pretty good runner so she did track and then cross country.  Emily also played soccer, and swam but did track in middle school.  Emily swam in HS and a couple of years in college.  I believe that sports helped the girls deal with failure at times.  But there were other times when they were forced to use problem solving skills.  Emily spent a semester abroad  in Greece on her return trip.  She got to Athens only to discover the airline which she had her returned flight booked for had declared bankruptcy so she didn’t have a return flight home.  I didn’t have my phone with me so she was unable to reach me.  She did have my partner’s number but chose not to use it.  Her father doesn’t have a phone.  It was a pretty rotten thing to have to figure out but with a little ingenuity she was able to get to London and was able to catch her last flight.

Erin also had an opportunity to learn how to problem solve.  Erin borrowed my van to a bunch of her girlfriends about 1 hour and 1/2 to a concert.  On the way there they got a flat tire.  She had triple AAA but it was during rush hour and was told it would be a little while.  She was not happy and kept calling me asking what she should do.  She wanted to leave the van someplace but told me she was afraid of getting raped.  I advised her to breathe and slow down and told her the chances of her getting raped were pretty low especially if the girls all stuck together.  Her sister Emily was furious with me for making her figure it out on her own.  She had my van there wasn’t a lot I could do for her.  Erin did get it figured out and didn’t get raped.

Through both of those experiences ~ my girls were able to gain self confidence  and figured out they are much more capable.  There is a sense of accomplishment.

When I was 16 I ran away with a bunch of protesters.  I flew to NYC to protest with them.  I called my mom once I got there she bought me a ticket to come home.  But by the time I was ready to come home I  had cancelled and rescheduled my ticket many times (this was back in the 1980s)  I took a cab to the airport I had just a little bit of cash left  but enough to pay for the cab but that only left we with about $2.00.I went to the ticket counter and discovered because my ticket had been cancelled and reschedule so many times it was cancelled for good.  I remember I started crying.  The people behind the counter were wonderful and a stranger sat next to me while I waited while they tried to figure things out.  She gave me a few dollars and told me to buy myself some breakfast.  I guess the kindness of strangers played a big part in that adventure.   The airline did figure it out~ and this was around Thanksgiving too and I was able to get back home.  I think it was my early adventures that helped me decide that starting over 1,000 miles from where I was living was possible.