hi! it's friday and i'm happy to say that after school today vacation begins. next week is our winter vacation. it reminds me that spring is coming.
yesterday was my niece's birthday. she turned 26. it's her birthday that seems to be my marker for spring....the sky is lighter, the days are a bit longer and milder.....the day will come....spring is on it's way. it's her birthday... how does time fly? it seems like yesterday and a million years ago at the same time. i always remember the day as a big event in my life....because the joy of a new baby is like no other. this new little creation was the first baby in our family since i was born! o.k.....it's not all about me....well...maybe it's kind of about me....but it's really about how exciting that day was for me!
i had slept over marybeth's up on 85th street in new york...where i lived at the time. we had made plans to do something on saturday but when the phone rang at about 7:30 a.m., the plans changed instantly. it was my mom...calling me to let me know that claire had been born! we were both so excited, we were squealing with joy! marybeth began jumping for joy!
who knew how much my life would change all because of this new little gift to our family. i talked to my brother, the new dad, he was as giddy as a 6'4" guy could get...he was stammering..."she's beautiful..her name is "claire".....she's just beautiful...she's pink!" i told him i'd be getting a train out to see her. they were living in our hometown...on long island...i could be there by lunch.
meanwhile, marybeth and i went to breakfast....just amazed to think that i had just become "an aunt"....we talked about what little gift i could bring....to the baby ....and my sister in law! any opportunity to shop! i went to a great upper eastside bookstore next door to the diner....i looked for a children's book with the name "claire"....the sweet name of the new baby.
i couldn't find a book...i didn't have time to "shop"...i had to make a dash to penn station, to get out to manhasset, to see that new baby. my brother's girlfriend (not the one who had the baby!) picked me up at the train...we had lunch....and went to the hospital to see claire and her mom. i hadn't been able to find any gift but a little balloon that said,"it's a girl".....not a balloon on a string...a balloon on a stick....meant to go in a bouquet. hey, it's the thought!
we got to the hosppital. i was beside my self...i couldn't wait....we stopped to see carla, the new mom. i stood with tears in my eyes....and my stick balloon! we hugged....and then i was off to see the baby. i saw her in her incubator...her deluxe suite, i called it.....i had charlie brown tears streaming out of my eyes! she was beautiful. i saw my brother...and i cried some more. i was so happy to have this baby added to our family!
well, who ever could have known how she would change our lives. a sweet little girl that gave us so much....she brought laughter and sweetness and awe like nobody else could! my sister in law was so sharing with her....that was another gift....she shared this little gift with us. she let me rent her out and take little road trips to the city, to museums, to the beach, to the movies. she made life more fun. it was the first time in my life that i got to see, first hand, through a child's eyes.
she prepared me for motherhood....kind of. except, with her, i was the fun aunt....auntie mame. my kids don't see me that way....they get some of that fun and that spirit.....it's just that i have to add discipline to the mix....that just changes things a bit.
sometimes in life, it's the simple things that make the connection. here are some of the things that happened with claire that made her laugh and still laugh today:
try on size 14 men's sneakers in the shoe store.
try on high heels, silver with 5"heels and pretend to buy them!
drive in the car pretending that there are zoo animals in the backseat with her.
buy her a pretzel and a drink and sit on the steps of the metropolitan museum of art.
go on the carousel in central park.
dive to the beach with burt and ernie....bert and ernie picking out a beach house.
having her scared of a thunder storm, running to my jetta and finding the sunroof open.
eating ice cream together and sitting on the curb.
walking through f.a.o.schwartz, not buying anything, having the "welcome to our world" embedded in our heads for the rest of our lives.
visiting her in college with our kids and blasting "broadway kids" c.d. in our mini van on our way home from dinner.
taking her on a ski trip with biff and i....telling our own scary stories while driving home....each one of us adding a sentence.
stopping at my college in the snow....taking a tray from the cafeteria....and teaching her how to use the tray as a sled.....having her land in 4" of mud and melted snow and cry.....so, to make her feel better, i went down the hill behind her and made my own big, muddy splash! she stopped crying.
having her sleep over, letting her have a soft place to sleep with me sleeping on the floor....waking up under a billowing geen plant.
lying down on our bed with our heads upside down and making upside down faces with our upside down mouths...drawing mustaches and eyeballs.
taking her to the zoo in new york city and finding out tthat we were in the petting zoo with bunnies and all she wanted was a monkey or a giraffe.
riding on a major roller coaster with her when she was five and i was screaming,"I LOVE YOU CLAIRE!"....because i thought we were going to die.
showing her nice boyfriend pictures of her when she was a little kid.
visiting "gramma" in the hospital and having no token to get out of the parking lot.....so we rolled over the grass....we paid the hospital on the next trip.
when a light bulb popped out of my first new car as we drove over a bump in the road.
these are some of the highlights of our days together. just the little things....just time....just simple....just fun! no matter what age, i'm a big believer in giving time....cuz really that's all we have.....time to share. i don't really remember the stuff i've given her....it's broken or lost or just gone.....it's the times we remember!
now the kids are home from school. vacation has officially begun....i'd like to spend some time with our kids........ have fun and just do some of the simple things together.