Friday, February 12, 2010

let the games begin!

watching the olympics on t.v. is so much fun...seeing the olympic hopefuls from around the world waving their flags is very moving....they are the best of the best of their countries. wow!

more than wow actually. i never did anything that competitive.....well not many people have done anything that competitive!  but, i never really had one thing that i loved so much....or...that i excelled at ....and....did competitively.  i guess i wasn't that competetive.  most of my life, i've just done things that i loved.....but for fun.  it never occurred to me to even want to be a better skater that would compete.

i just circled and circled around the same rink for years.

i rode my bike around the neighborhood and around the town....and to friends' houses.

i skipped. i jumped. i hopped. i ran...just to run. i played.

i swam.....again, just having fun and swimming for hours and hours at a time.

i walked for miles and loved it always....especially if i was with a friend...and talking.

i went horseback riding around and around the ring.

i love skiing...just going up on the lift and skiing down, going up and skiing down....hopefully in one piece.

i tried things.  i just never even thought of doing anything competitive.  i entered art contests, i even won some....and i was happy to enter the contest.  i entered radio contests and won a couple of those.  i entered a cake bake off in girls scouts....the scout leaders' daughter won first place....2nd place went to the other scout leaders' daughter. i played baseball with the big kids when i was little....i just wanted to hit the ball and get to first base....and then i was happy. i loved spelling bees and always they have spell check. nobody even cares that i can spell.  i played volleyball on the beach...with lots of friends.... that was fun competition with friends...intense for us...not for the mens' and womens' volleyball team.  in college, i ran for class president...against one of my best friends....and she won.  i was sorry not to win...... but i was happy for her.

i did lots of things. lots and lots of things....not in competition....hmmmm?  does that say anything about my personality?  maybe. does that mean that i wasn't encouraged to be SOMETHING?  does that mean that i just didn't try?  i'm not sure.

i'm not sure.  i didn't listen to my mom when she kept suggesting i take tennis....i loved the tennis skirts and tretorns...but i wanted to get to the pool.  pretty much, in the summer, if there's water...i want to be in it. i certainly need to live by the water.  it's a big part of my life and it's a great big part of my life with biff and our family. i really need water in my life.  i walk our dogs at the beach all winter long.

water just makes me happy.  i never thought of doing anything in the water but swim and play and dive and jump.  hmmm.....i was happy like that?  i always wanted to sail.  i did it with friends when i was really young....i still remember that unbelievable moment...that ahhhhh! feeling....that rush.....having the wind in my face and pulling lines trying to help.  i loved the wind and the water and the boat and the fun.

years later, i was on a sailboat with my friend, patti....and her husband, david....we were out sailing on the long island sound.  it was that same feeling. i still remember the wind changing at about 3 pm....that day,david said the wind always changes around that i can sail, i think of david every time we're checking the wind mid afternoon.  i was also out on the boat with david when patti suggested i race with him....and 2 others...he needed crew.  patti was getting her hair cut...or so she said.

that day, i went out on the 23' sailboat with 3 guys....david was the skipper.  here i was...with my friend's relatively new husband...we're in a race....i had never been in a race...i just loved to be on a sailboat and would do anything asked of me....just to be a part of it.

i thought..."what a nice guy, that friend married a great guy."  so, i'm out on this boat...i'm loving life...i'm thinking .."wow! this is where i'm meant to be.  i love life!"  just then, david, the nice guy turned into captain hook...the race had begun...david had begun "pull the line...uncleat that...cleat that...move over...**&^ out...@&@#... WATCH OUT FOR THE BOOM!" *@&%....o.k. here we go....

to this day, i don't know if we won, came in 2nd or if we was unbelievable....just unbelievable.

we all got off the boat.  patti was there to greet us. we all shared stories. unbelievable. patti wanted to know how i liked it..."how was david?" ...i said,"wow! he turned into ahab out there!  that was intense!  he was cursing like a sailor! wow!  and now he's back to david."  patti said, "i know...that's why i didn't go."  "HAH!" i said.

you'd think i'd never want to sail again.  wow...all of that yelling, being yelled at and pushing and wind and water... and pulling lines...I LOVED IT!  and i couldn't wait to do it again. by the way, i have another friend with an endearing name for her husband when he's racing...."boatman"....he takes on a new personality when he races....we all check in with him to see if he's having a "boatman" day.

 oh, i also ran in some 10ks for a time...i loved made me feel great...i loved being in such great shape.  i loved the runners high.  a friend and i saw a sign for a road race in bridgehampton, on long island...i said,"how long is a 10k?"  my friend answered,"oh,probably about what you know...about 3 or 4 miles."  great. i was signing up.

off i went to the race early one summer morning.  i got to the race...ready to run...all set...go!  half way through the potato fields and by the ocean road...i was feeling kinda tired....i asked a man next to me how much didn't  make sense.  it didn't add up.  i asked how long 10k was 6.2 miles!  i finished. i was proud. i ran in all kinds of races after that.

i trained for the new york marathon after we had grace and t.j.  i was determined.  i trained for months....we were new in town so biff would make maps for me ...i would carry frozen water with would melt as i ran.  it kept me cool on very hot summer days.  i loved it.  i got up to 14.9 miles. i loved it.

then, something happened...i panicked....i didn't think i could do it....i didn't know anyone else running.  i would be alone...what if?  what if...."  yup.  i didn't run in the marathon.  i'll never know.  i went to bed at night, saying to biff..."i can't believe i didn't do it...why didn't i do it?" i was making myself crazy....and then, biff said, "you ran 14.9 miles when you trained....when in your life have you ever run that far?"  he put it into perspective.  i was 40 years old....i had run 14.9 miles.  i was proud. i let it go.  i was just proud that i tried...i don't even know if it matters now.  i guess it would be great to say i did, i look back and say...."i did 14.9 miles." and i'm happy.  with a husband and two small kiddies, that was an accomplishment in itself to even get the time to train."

and i still ride may bike with biff for miles and miles. i run sometimes. i hike. i walk the dogs at the beach...on the road....i move.  i still swim...i love swimming...i love the rythym that takes over.  i just do lotsa stuff.  

i guess it's o.k. i'm not even a competitive mom.  some moms used to brag about their babies' naps, molars and toys. i don't go there.  i love my kids.  i just don't go there. i'm proud of my kids.  i just don't get competitive about it.

i keep my own score...with myself.  i try to assess every day if i did something better than before...i work to do a little better. i try to be aware of how i do, how much effort i put into any given thing. is that competitive?

so, are my kids competitive.  sometimes.  they seem to love what they do.  they seem to have fun, too.  they have tried lots of things.  they just keep trying out new things.  i like that.

we all like sailing...the kids have done lots of racing.  they have fun...they want to win. sometimes they do ...sometimes they don' goes on.....and they do lots of things...and they have lots of friends...and they love music....girl stuff....boy stuff....and they do things they like.

i love does biff.  i keep trying to get better. so does biff.  the kids are great sailors.  we keep trying.  biff and i have raced too.  we have done our best.  we have never come in 2st or 2nd or 3rd or...........but, we're happy!

all that that we still love each other and we keep laughing and we keep trying to get better...we try to be the best parents....we's not a race....we just want to do our best. we want to have love,fun, laughter enjoy each other and our kids too.  we just keep trying. just like the olympics, let the games begin!


simple things together.

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!'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 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'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, 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.
baking cookies
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 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's broken or lost or just'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.

What a Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong

we had this song as our last dance at our wedding....i feel like it applies to everyday and every celebration in our lives.