The Big 5-0

Well, I’m here. I turned 50 this week.

It’s only a number, I know. But let’s face it. It’s a pretty big number.  Yesterday, I was twenty years old with my life in front of me. This age didn’t even factor into my thoughts.  And yet, now I can say…

I’ve lived half a century. Five decades. I’ve had friends for over 40 years. I’m a child of the 70’s and 80’s, when music was good, Mick Jagger was in his prime, Dudley Moore was Arthur, Rocky movies weren’t considered cheesy and we quoted lines from Sixteen Candles. (I should mention here that Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall are both turning 50 this year.) We ran around outside until sundown without anyone worrying about us. Fortnight meant two weeks. Atari, Space Invaders and Pac-Man were the video games we played and no one tried to kill virtual people.

Now I go to “reunions.” Songs I listened to in my youth and still do today, are considered classics. They’re re-making movies I watched in the theaters (yes, including Arthur). We no longer have David Cassidy, Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett; icons of the day. I went to concerts with my friends and we  didn’t take selfies to prove we were there.

For these reasons, I embrace my age. I treasure my memories, the times I shared with the family and friends I grew up with and love and still see. I truly believe my generation enjoyed the last, great decades .

There’s a saying that with age comes wisdom. I can’t say. I’m still learning, still trying to figure out my path, which is always changing (Did I mention I work at an accounting firm?). Hopefully, I’ll always keep learning and changing.

Until you put a mirror in front of me, I still feel like the twenty-year-old optimistic girl with her life in front of her. I just might move a tad slower.

I wonder what the next decade will bring. I hope to God it doesn’t pass by as quickly as the previous ones. Maybe that’s what I’ve learned – that life is not to be taken for granted, that I should make the most of the time given to me.

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ice cream, of course

 

Something to think about.

I’m going to go now. It’s nearing five o’clock. Time to eat.

Hello!

It’s me. You know. Me. The one who seemed to drop off the radar for the past, oh..several months.

Hi. (I’m waving)

The last we connected, I was sending my first born off to college, commemorating the event with a nostalgic, Nope, Not Me post which expressed my sentiments at the time. Since then, the boy finished his freshman year and has returned to the nest for the summer. In a flash. My son being away was not the reason for my absence these past months. I have another reason.

I got a J.O.B.

That’s right. My first full-time-out-of-the-house job in 15 years. Now, you may ask, Where does someone who loves to write get a job?

If you answered: An accounting firm, you’d be a little nuts, but correct.

I know what you’re thinking. An accounting firm is the place where creativity goes to die.

Okay, maybe that’s what I was thinking.

So, I’ve been adapting these past months to the daily grind, as I like to refer to my new lifestyle. As difficult as the change is (I know, most of the world works, but give me this, ok? I’ve been wearing shirts with hoods for the past umpteen years and my commute went from fifteen steps to my home office to navigating traffic every single weekday, both ways, showered (by 7:00 am!) and dressed in pants and a blouse),  I find the most difficult adjustment for me is knowing nothing and having to learn everything. At almost fifty. I’ll give you an example: Since my last foray in an office, at the turn of the century, copy machines can now staple. Clearly, I’ve missed much.

So, among other things (cooking, cleaning), I gave up blogging for a bit. To adjust. To focus. To learn.

What I didn’t give up, is writing my novel. Which leads me to my news: I’m so proud to share that The Fabric of Us will be out this summer. August-ish. Here’s the blurb:

On the eve of Olivia Bennet’s fiftieth birthday, she and her husband, Chris, toast to the next stage of their lives. Their children are settled; Ella is married and planning a family and Nick is starting his senior year at college. After thirty years of sacrifices and struggles for their family, it is finally time to do all of things they’ve longed to do as a couple.

But life, always unpredictable, has other plans for the Bennets when Olivia gets shocking news that threatens all that she and Chris have built together.

Alternating between the past and present, The Fabric of Us beautifully unfolds the layers of a devoted marriage, exposing an interwoven thread of secrets and consequences that threaten to unravel a relationship once believed to be built on love, trust and faith.

Currently, I’m working on the cover with my fan-tabulous graphic designer and friend, Suzanne, (who also runs a publishing company). Suzanne designed my first two books.  I’m in good hands.

So, that’s what’s been going on with me.

I’ve missed you guys. I hope you’re still within earshot (you know what I mean). We have a lot of catching up to do. I’ll be sure to touch base weekly bi-weekly more often.

I hope you’re all well. Drop me a line and let me know what you’re up to.

I’m all ears.

~Kimberly

Nope. Not me.

As we come upon the final days before taking you to college, I make a vow to myself. I’ll be strong, happy and excited, as you are. I’ll feel the optimism you feel, the readiness for you to leave us as I know you are.

I will not miss the sound of your infectious laughter in the house or your wonderful sense of humor at the dinner table. I won’t miss passing your bedroom and glimpsing you sleeping or listening to your music. I’m not at all worried about you being so far from home. I’m not concerned that you’ll make the right choices.

I will not overthink what you bring to decorate your new room, the space that will be your home for the next nine months and hope that you are safe and happy and comfortable.

I won’t worry if we prepared you well to be on your own for the first time.

I won’t cry when we say goodbye, when we drive away leaving you behind. I won’t see this as you wave from your building. IMG_3351

I won’t count the days until Parents Weekend or Thanksgiving break or end of term.  I won’t wonder where the time went, how fast you grew, how beautiful you are.

I won’t miss you.

Nope. Not me.

Mother’s Day

So, this happened in the blink of an eye.

Sixteen years ago I was in a mall parking lot, wrestling with a foldable stroller while my toddler waited in the car to be released from his carseat. A woman passed me and said “I don’t miss those days.” I glared at her, finally got the stroller upright and locked and watched her walk away, by herself, carrying only a small purse. The memory is so clear, it’s as if it just happened.

Tomorrow will be my 18th Mother’s Day. Eighteen years of celebrating the hardest, most rewarding job I will ever have. Through the years, this day has changed significantly for me. I no longer receive hand-made cards and gifts with cute rhyming poems, cut-out hands listing reasons why I’m loved. My sons don’t run into my room at six am, jump on me and try to pry my eyelids open because they can’t wait another moment to hug or kiss me.

I no longer want to escape for an afternoon, spend some time shopping by myself, eat at a restaurant where the only meat I have to cut is my own, wearing something feminine, a nice break from spit-stained jeans.

Now, I have more free time than I know what to do with. My boys sleep until noon on the weekends leaving my husband and I to eat breakfast alone, giving me a glimpse into our future. It will be just us again soon. He and I, before the adventure began.

I’m not saying Mother’s Day is not wonderful now. It is. I’m surrounded by three men who I love more than I thought was possible. I can’t ask for more. It’s just…different.

I am also fortunate enough to be able to spend the day with my mother. Many of my friends don’t enjoy the same luxury. Their Mother’s Day will be spent with the memory of the very first person who loved them unconditionally. If you have your mother, hold onto her a bit longer when you see her.  You don’t know what tomorrow will bring.

I look at the moms of young children, at the store, the exasperation on their faces as they try to focus on their task while the repetitive Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, follows them up and down the aisles. Don’t take it for granted, I want to tell them. Don’t wish for these days to pass because they will – without mercy. And you’ll be nearing fifty, getting ready to send your baby to college, wishing for one more peanut-butter crusted, sticky-hugged, Sesame Street filled day.

I am now that woman in the parking lot who passed the younger me, struggling with the stroller. With one difference: I do miss those days. I miss them like crazy.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Hold The Turkey

Growing up, Thanksgivings were spent at my grandparent’s house. Seventeen to twenty of our family members (depending on what year it was) would congregate in their small house for the day. While the adults passed the time in the kitchen and living room, my cousins, my brother and I would hang out in grandma’s bedroom. We had no games, no videos, no music, but we were never bored. We made up things to do – anything to keep ourselves entertained while we waited…

Let me pause here to say that I love my family. My aunts, uncles, and cousins are my favorite people. We’re close and I am truly thankful to have them. But I would be remiss if I didn’t admit that the highlight of the day was the moment my grandfather announced supper was ready. In a rush of euphoric glee, we’d drop what we were doing, gather around the extended table in the kitchen and watch as he placed the large, tan ceramic bowl in the center with the simple instruction. “Mangia!”

Under a thick haze of Camel cigarette smoke, and amid the threat of misdirected fork prongs, we simultaneously dug into that bowl and feasted on homemade, melt-in-your-mouth raviolis. There was no one serving us. We learned to fend for ourselves. I became a fork-wielding master at an early age. Over conversation and jokes, we inhaled in minutes what took Grandpa hours and hours to make.

That ceramic bowl was center of every holiday spent at that house. When that bowl came out, it brought the sun with it.

After every ravi was gone, we rolled ourselves from the table and in a self-induced food coma, continued our play. Two hours later, we were called back to the table for the traditional turkey dinner. Life in an Italian-American family.

I never went for the turkey. I’d sit at the children’s section of the table, still full, and pick on stuffing and potatoes, reminiscing about the beloved ravis I hadn’t yet digested. I also knew there would be desserts coming later. It was an eat-fest. It was wonderful.

When the sky darkened and the dishes were washed (no dishwasher mind you. As we got older we earned the coveted position as head washer or dryer), the children retired to the living room to watch The Wizard of Oz, while the adults stayed in the kitchen playing cards for money.

Every Thanksgiving without fail, this is what we did, until we lost our grandparents. I was twenty-five when my grandmother died. When my grandfather passed four years later, I stood at his casket knowing that life would never be the same. Thanksgiving would never be the same.

I was right.

While I stood at his casket saying my silent so long, one of my cousins stood next to me and she asked the question that was on all of our minds that somber day. “Who do you think will get the ravioli bowl?”

Of course, it went to one of his children.

I’m almost fifty now and I sit at a different Thanksgiving table with my husband and our children. Tomorrow, as I do every year, I’ll give thanks for the childhood I had, the family I love, my grandparents, who I miss terribly and for the raviolis I enjoyed for almost three decades. I have a replica of Grandpa’s ravioli bowl, sent to me a few years ago by an aunt who found it at a flea market down south. When I opened the box and saw it, I was overwhelmed with sadness and gratitude. I treasure the countless memories of my youth spent around this bowl. Laughter, tears, always love, and raviolis.

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So, no turkey for me this year. I’ll be feasting on memories of times gone by.

I wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving.