When My Son’s Father Died, His Teachers Gave Him Encouragement Only They Could Deliver

My beloved 8-year-old son lost his father 8 months ago. At such a tender, impressionable age, he hand selected the dapper suit and tie he would wear to his dad’s funeral, he delivered an incomparable eulogy that inspired both belly laughs and gut-wrenching sobs from the audience, and he lovingly shoveled dirt on his grave, per Jewish tradition. (Disclaimer: I told him to do only what he felt comfortable doing; it was his choice to do it all.)

On that dreadful day, I could no longer call him a little boy; the profound loss of his dad instantly made him a young man.

I remember sitting in the front row in absolute awe of my son, and I wasn’t alone. His teacher from this year was there. His teacher from last year was there. His vice principal was there. His school psychologist was there. They sat together in a row, willing my son on, encouraging him from a distance. If I close my eyes, I can still see their supportive nods, their concerned eyes, their sad expressions.

I did not tell the school about my ex-husband’s funeral. I alerted them that my son would be absent to grieve his dad, but I didn’t ask them to come. They came on their own, knowing one of their students needed comfort only they could deliver. 

This week, during Teacher Appreciation Week, I received an email from my son’s teacher. During her lesson planning, she thought about how this Father’s Day will be especially difficult for my son. She offered to skip a class craft activity in honor of Father’s Day if it would make my son sad. This extraordinarily empathetic gesture floored me. 

Here it is, Mother’s Day Weekend, and his teacher, a mother herself, is worried about Father’s Day and how my son will handle it.

In my world, teacher appreciation is an understatement. 🙌💯

My son opted to give the green light for the craft–he adores his stepdad and grandfathers– but felt so good about his teacher asking him first. I felt so good about her asking me first.

Educators like my son’s are real life heroes. I swear, when he saw them at his dad’s funeral, one would think they were wearing capes. They made him beam on the saddest day of his life, and they give him the support he needs to keep going…and keep smiling.

Thank a teacher today, and every day.#TeacherAppreciationWeek

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I Let Go of My Mom’s Stuff for Mother’s Day

My mother stood in front of her ornate china cabinet, crammed with crystal and glass and silver, and traced her tired, swollen fingers across a weathered bowl. “This is an antique,” she said, her once forceful voice barely audible. “Oh, and so is this one,” she stammered, clumsily reaching for a vase. “They’re valuable. You’ll have to remember that when I am gone.”

She looked at me, tears taking their familiar shape in the corners of her eyes. The end of her life was closing in on us at the rate of a high speed police chase. The fierce, unrelenting tumors were literally choking her intestines, making my foodie mom rely on a feeding tube for nourishment. I steadied myself, knowing if I didn’t remain stoic, we would collapse together in a puddle of pain.

“I will remember, Mom,” I managed.

The truth is, five excruciatingly long years after her death, I don’t remember.

I remember the concerned look on her face. I remember the fear in her eyes. I remember her too slender frame, ravaged by ovarian cancer. I remember my heart beating one million beats per minute, threatening to betray my cool exterior. But I don’t remember what she asked me to save, and that has paralyzed me.

Since her death, I have clung her stuff. Her frayed recipe cards, stained with the remnants of family dinners’ past; her half-filled journals, all written in perfectly passé cursive; her enormous collection of animal figurines; her cherished birdwatching and gardening and butterfly books; her unsent letters; her tremendous stash of cookware, amassed from too many trips to Marshalls. All of it.

Her belongings, tucked away in the unseen and undisturbed bowels of her basement, gave me an awkward sense of comfort….until I decided I had to sell her house.

The process of unearthing her material marks on the world has been intimidating, grueling, and, at times, impossible. I have had to go through the emotionally taxing process of figuring out what to keep and what to toss. It has both made me giggle uncontrollably and brought me to my knees. There has been no in-between.

At times, I decided to keep it all. I would make the exclamation defiantly, daring anyone to question my decision to keep every last morsel of my mom (my oh-so-smart loved ones didn’t say a word). At other times, I asked my husband to sift through stuff, and put things aside that seemed important. Ultimately, it was a job I could only do myself.

It has been absolute hell.

I have been doing my best to pacify myself during this perfect storm of saying goodbye to her home, her belongings, and desperately missing her as Mother’s Day approaches.

I cope by remembering her love, her essence, and her legacy, which transcend her stuff. I constantly remind myself that my mom is not represented by crystal candlesticks, or old record albums, or dilapidated holiday décor. I know she would understand that I can no longer carry the weight of all of her possessions, and I can only hope she forgives me for forgetting about the ones she deemed most valuable.

Instead, I value her.

I remember her flawless joke-telling skills that I did not inherit.

I remember her belly laugh.

I remember how she would always stop her car to help a frog cross the road, even if she was running late.

I remember how she would give up her seat to a pregnant woman, even if she wasn’t feeling well herself.

I remember her staying up all night making homemade desserts for bake sales that supported all of my teams.

I remember how she taught me to approach people with both an open heart and an open mind.

I remember her creative genius.

I remember her unparalleled hugs.

I remember her loud singing in the car with the sunroof open at a stoplight.

I remember how she valued writing a card and mailing it the old-fashioned way.

I remember her Abba ringtone on her flip phone.

I remember what it was like to have her in my corner, enveloped by her unconditional love.

I remember how she persevered through endless rounds of chemotherapy, multiple surgeries, and hundreds of doctors’ appointments, and managed to still be the caregiver.

I remember her signature matching outfits, her yellow gold jewelry collection that rivaled Mr. T’s, her colorful handbags.

I remember her voice.

I remember how she reached for my son’s hand before crossing the street.

I remember the delectable taste of her homemade eggplant parmesan.

I remember her stories, and how she shared them so effortlessly, so colorfully.

I remember what a counter hogger she was when we prepared Mother’s Day brunch every year.

I remember all of the lessons she instilled in me, and I pass them along to my kids.

I remember my beloved mom, not her stuff.

Today and every day, I remember her.

I miss you, Mom.

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The 51 Steps a Mom Must Take to Attend a Holiday Cookie Swap

Tis the season for holiday parties! It’s time to unearth those Pinterest-worthy recipes and actually make them for friends who are no longer counting calories. It’s time to slip out of dog-hair-covered-leggings and in to a festive frock. It’s time to sip signature cocktails with cutesy nicknames, like Jingle Juice. It’s time to celebrate…if you can find the time. Time is never on a mom’s side, is it? I was recently struck by the Herculean effort I had to make to attend my friend’s holiday cookie swap. I needed three kid-free hours, and had to go through 51 steps to get them. It went a little something like this:
1.     Read invitation. Smile at the thought of a night out with friends overindulging on cookies.
2.     Consider dusting off one of my beloved mom’s recipes for the soiree. Which one should I make?
3.     Commence mental masturbation about cookies.
4.     I could go for a cookie right about now.
5.     Pilfer through the pantry to find a store-bought cookie. There’s one left. Sorry, kids. Mama needs a cookie.
6.     Take a bite. It’s stale. Of course.
7.     Chuckle. Who am I to think I could actually eat a cookie when I want one?!
8.     Re-focus on the invitation.
9.     Take notice of the date and time. It’s on a Thursday at 7:00 p.m. Is that a typo?
10.  Swear, with an emphasis on saying “f*ck” maybe 7 times.
11.  Hip-check myself. Chuckle again—this time in an odd, maniacal way –at the thought of being able to go to anything but sports practice on a    Thursday at 7:00 p.m.
12.  Wonder if other moms have secret sarcastic laughs they break    out during fits of lunacy brought on by dealing with children, work, bills, competing responsibilities, attitudes, extra-curricular activities, holiday parties, and a profound lack of sleep every day.
13.  Worry about what the neighbors would think if they heard my    alone laugh. Did they hear it? It was a pretty loud and sinister laugh, if I do say so myself.
14.  Whatever. F*ck  the neighbors.
15.  Immediately dismiss the thought of attending. There’s a perfect   storm brewing that will prevent me from doing anything but parenting. It is what it is.
16.  Hockey practice. Wrestling practice. Husband’s hour commute    home. Dinner preparation, in whatever form it takes that day. 7:00   p.m. on a Thursday?! There’s a better chance of me waking up not     looking like I boxed a round with Adonnis Creed.
17.  Under-eye bags suck. Why must we have them? Or cellulite for    that matter?
18.  Ponder life’s sh*tstorms that take the form of under-eye bags,     wrinkles, cellulite, fat…oh, and traffic. I hate traffic. Why do we need to deal with traffic? Especially now with people risking life and limb to get off the highway to fight for a parking spot at the mall.
19.  Think about how I should be one of those people. I am way          behind on holiday shopping.
20.  Vow to shop online. Log on to a couple of my favorite sites and    put items in my cart. Notice my ATM card is missing.
21.  Frantic search for my ATM card ensues. After panic sets in, and my in-home cardio sprint up and down the stairs multiple times is    complete, I remember I left it in my jacket pocket after pumping gas.22.  I exhale, finally, but forget what I needed the card for after all of the commotion. Inadvertently abandon items in my online shopping cart.
23.  Contact my friend who is a chef to ask her for cookie ideas. She   says her go-to are my brown sugar oatmeal cookies.
24.  Adopt a little cookie swagger. She likes my cookies. A chef. My cookies. Yup!
25.  Decide I am going to the cookie swap, no matter what I have to   do. I mean, I have a chef in my corner who is willing to attest to my  cookie prowess.
26.  A Thursday night? Maybe my friend will allow kids.
27.  Text and ask if I can bring my son after his hockey practice if      need be, since our boys are friends.
28.  Suffer rejection. Her kids will be gone that night so we can just   be adults. No mom-ing allowed. Sigh.
29.  Ask my husband if he can leave early, arrange for someone to      take my stepson to wrestling practice, and take my son to hockey       practice. And it’s an affirmative!
30.  Think about how much I love my man.
31.  Respond “yes” to the invitation, triumphantly.
32.  Receive notification a week later that we have to bake eight dozen cookies for the swap.33.  Eight dozen? How many cookies is that?! Try (and fail) mental math to come up with the answer.
34.  According to the calculator on my phone, I have to make 96 cookies.35.  It’s under 100. No big deal. I’ve got this.
36.  Vow to prioritize making the cookies so I am not rushing last-minute. Decide I will buy all of the ingredients the day before and bake them that night so Thursday is easy-peasy.
37.  Wake up on the morning of the cookie swap with no ingredients or time to bake due to overwhelming work demands.
38.  Seriously, how long do I have before retirement?
39.  Attempt mental math again. This I can handle. Twenty-one years, minimum.
40.  F*ck.
41.  Husband gets home around 2:00 p.m. and notices I have done nothing for the cookie swap. He offers a pity run to the grocery store. I take him up on it, despite my type A tendencies.
42.  A texting marathon ensues to ensure he gets the right ingredients, decorating tools, and serving platters.
43.  Silently acknowledge the fact that he has way more patience than I do about this hellish cookie swap.
44.  Wait until three-and-a-half hours before the party to start making the cookie batter. Nothing like a little cliffhanger on a Thursday. What’s the over/under on me getting it done?
45.  Decide to triple the recipe and dump all ingredients into my standing mixer, which cracks under pressure.
46.  Hand-mix three fussy batches of brown sugar oatmeal cookies. Bake and bake and bake. And decorate while ignoring my kids as much as possible. Mom of the year right here!
47.  Survey the kitchen. Flour is everywhere. Dishes are piled around the sink. I mean, it looks like Martha Stewart visited a frat house…or a crack house.
48.  Sprint upstairs to shower. Burn approximately 5 of the 500 calories I ingested making the cookies.
49.  Hightail it over to the party. I have no idea if there are 96 cookies or not. Apparently, I am incapable of counting and baking at the same time.
50.   Text my husband to reassure him I didn’t run away from home in haste. The kitchen is, indeed, that bad.
51.   Savor my three kid-free hours with friends. In certain circles, I am still known by my name, not just as “Alex’s mom.” It’s worth doing what it takes to find the time to toast to that!  
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Five Years of Missing Mom

Five years ago today, I lost the person I was closest to for the first 40 years of my life. My beloved mom died after a relentless fight with ovarian cancer–a cruel, horrific, insidious disease that leaves only heartbreak in its wake.

Her resilience, her sheer determination, her beautiful spirit, her divine optimism, her willingness to always choose hope in the most dire circumstances are lessons I rely on to this day. While I am not remotely half the woman she was (and still is, to me), I bask in her glow every day.

My mom loved spending time in her garden watching for butterflies. Though their life spans are short, the intricate detail; the unapologetic individuality; the vibrant, exquisite colors of their wings; the way they delicately and gracefully float through the world; the freedom they represent all resonated with her.

My mom’s favorite quote of all time was, “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.”

There’s simply no way to convey the gravity of how I feel about living 1,826 days without her love, guidance, and support. Frankly, I don’t know how I’ve managed to do it!

I don’t seek solace at her gravesite. It doesn’t make me feel more connected to her at all. On this monumental anniversary, I wanted to find another place to go, to take my child, when we get the urge to outwardly express our profound grief. So grateful to Conquer Cancer Coalition of Massachusetts for creating such a place with its Cancer Garden of Hope at City Hall Plaza in Boston.

My mom always loved rooms with a view! Now, she has a spectacular view of the city, and people who gather there will know she changed lives while she was here. She made my life while she was here. She poured her heart and soul into my precious son while she was here.

Michele Ann Goldman was our angel on Earth, and now she’s our eternal butterfly in the sky. 🦋🦋🦋🦋🦋

If you’re fortunate enough to still have your mom here, hug her a little tighter today, for me. Believe me, I remember all of the times she drove me crazy with her constant tardiness, how she used to keep me holding on the other line much too long when one of her many friends called, how she was a counter hog when we cooked Thanksgiving together. But, above all, I remember that incomparable feeling of being loved unconditionally, despite all of my flaws, by the person who gave me life. And that’s what I miss today and every day.

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“Mom, I Think You’re The Tooth Fairy”

It was a battle of wits last night in my home. The Tooth Fairy versus an insatiably curious and inquisitive 8-year-old who doubts her very existence.

My son has only lost four teeth. Last night was a big milestone; his first top tooth! He was thrilled, and I immediately fell in love with his toothless grin.

He carefully placed his tooth in his special holder for the Tooth Fairy, as usual, but then things took a turn. “I don’t think the Tooth Fairy is real, mom,” he said. “I think you’re the Tooth Fairy.”

Uh-oh.

Taken aback, I laughed, a little too loudly. “You really think I am that talented, Alex? That’s high praise for your mom!”

He got my vibe and didn’t press further.

After he read a book, he placed his tooth in his tooth holder, under his pillow.

“Exciting night!” I said. “Make sure you fall asleep quick so the Tooth Fairy can do what she does best!”

We exchanged “I love yous” and he went to sleep…or so I thought.

When I went into his room a few hours later to spread some mom magic, the tooth holder was not where he put it. At first, I thought it shifted a bit as he tosses and turns before he falls asleep, but I quickly realized that wasn’t the case. My little bugger was trying to test his Tooth Fairy theory!

Desperate, I started feeling under his pillow and all around his bed. Nothing. The holder glows in the dark; a can’t miss for the Tooth Fairy. He hid it!

Exasperated, I left his room, and started thinking of excuses. I could tell him that the Tooth Fairy doesn’t visit if the tooth isn’t under the pillow, or that she just sprinkled the money on his mattress, like a pimp Tooth Fairy, trusting that he will deliver his tooth the following night.

I had my husband look, too, and he couldn’t find it, either.

Around midnight, I was walking in the hallway outside of his room and I heard the familiar sound of his tooth holder closing. I swung the door open and he quickly faked sleeping. Stealth…but not stealth enough, I thought.

I shut his door again, and waited one long minute, knowing I would trick him. I am still smart enough to outwit an 8-year-old, despite losing lots of IQ points as an overworked, overtired, overloaded mom.

Triumphantly, I opened his door and caught him, red-handed, messing with his tooth holder. “You better go to sleep, Alex,” I said, sternly.

UNFREAKINGBELIEVABLE!

I got up at 4:00 a.m.–I am like a newborn with the amount of times I wake each night– and decided to try again. Quietly, I snuck into his room. This time, I was confident he was fast asleep. The tooth holder was in the right place; right under his pillow. What a relief!

I opened it slowly so it wouldn’t make that familiar noise. When I went to slip some money in, I noticed his tooth was missing.

That little shit!

Really, should moonlighting as a Tooth Fairy be this much work?

Once again, I started feeling around his bed for the small plastic bag that contained his tooth. It took me a solid fifteen minutes to find it. I took it with me and left, undetected.

Exasperated and exhausted, I finally crawled back under my covers at about 4:30 a.m. My alarm was going to go off in two short hours, but I couldn’t help but smile wide. 

Score one for the Tooth Fairy.

I won.

I’ve still got it, Alex. Do not doubt your mom. Ever.

When he woke this morning, he discovered both his tooth was gone and money was placed in his tooth holder.

“Look, mom, I got money from the Tooth Fairy.”

“She’s pretty talented, isn’t she?” 😏🙌

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An Open Letter to My Husband On Our First Wedding Anniversary

Dearest Mike,

I have officially spent the past 365 days as Mrs. Darter.

Maybe my moniker hasn’t fully changed professionally–I am weaning off Meltzer gradually–or at the kids’ school, where my name will always match my son’s in some way, but I shed the weight of my mistaken identity as soon as I said we exchanged our heartfelt vows.

Mrs. Darter feels right, after many wrongs.

This past year wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, either. We were tested. We have yet to go on a honeymoon. We didn’t have time to whisk ourselves away to tranquil, turquoise water beaches, or nestle our tired, achy feet in pink, powdery sand, or embrace lustful love sans the every day complexity of raising two boys.

I put a deposit on a trip to Bermuda that was voluntarily returned after it was twice rescheduled due to childcare issues. I singlehandedly drove the travel agent to drink a fruity cocktail in her cubicle, headphones be damned. And, believe me, I can relate to that feeling.

When our kids stay up too late or get up too early–or, in our case, both, with one of each–I fantasize about a week with just you to wake when we want to, do what we want to, be what we want to be without hockey, wrestling, lacrosse, football, play dates, homework, drama, in-fighting, school lunches, work, Nerf guns, backtalk, Roblox, and endless responsibilities clouding our vision of each other.

I long to just see you–your handsome, masculine face; your soulful, sea-blue eyes; your too-cute dimples and bright, reassuring everything-is-going-to-be-alright smile. I long to hear your husky voice with your trademark New York accent, unfiltered and uninterrupted. I long to aimlessly stroll the beach at sunset, like we did on our first date. I long to hold your strong, capable hand that softens only for me. I long for adventure, to discover new nooks of the world together, leaving our collective Mr. & Mrs. handprint in our wake.

Still, skipping a honeymoon was the easiest part, considering what we were dealt. Ailing parents. Health scares. Two strong-willed children who don’t always want to “blend”. Stress. Getting our house ready to plan for a long-overdue move. Life threw a lot of shit our way to see what would stick. And, with you, my hubba hubba hubby, it didn’t stand a chance.

While this year has been anything but carefree, I am grateful for it and its hellish splendor. For the first time in my 45 years of life, I know I have a partner. When I am on shaky ground, you level it out for me. When I am pondering how to best tackle a challenge, you roll up your sleeves with me. When I am flustered, you calm me. When I am about to fall, you catch me. When I win, you cheer for me. When I am ugly, you see the beauty in me. When I go to sleep, you are right beside me.

And I know you’re not going anywhere.

Here are the top 17 reasons–in honor of our first anniversary on June 17th– that I am not going anywhere, either.

1. You always believes in me, and hold me to that standard.

2. You operate with integrity, even when no one is watching. I see you.

3. You would defend me anytime, anywhere, at any cost.

4. You are a gourmet cook and foodie who makes the most delectable midnight meals to savor together.

5. You think you’re right about all random topics that arise. This quality both delights and infuriates me, and keeps me entertained and engaged.

6. You always bring me something home from the grocery store, leave me love notes in the most unexpected places, and dedicate meaningful songs. Each day, you shows me you love me in so many ways, even when I am being a raging pain in the ass.

7. You spare me from reading directions, doing math over and above using a calculator, and relying completely on Siri to leave our driveway. You are my fixer, my mathematician, my compass, my anchor.

8. You understand me without me having to explain myself.

9. You rise to my level of sarcastic humor, and often beat me at my own schtick. You’re hilarious.

10. You open the car door for me, even if we’re rushing to get the kids to school. Now, my little man opens my door if you’re away, as he is learning to be a gentleman by your example.

11. You are brilliant in mind, body, and spirit.

12. You still give me butterflies. And the best back rubs.

13. You set the standard of how to be a man. No matter how tall our kids get, they will always look up to you.

14. You have far more patience in your pinky finger than I do in my whole body. You give me balance.

15. You are my best friend in the world. There is no one I would rather hang out with, regardless of where I am or what I am doing.

16. You love loyally, selflessly, fully, eternally.

17. You trust me. Remember when I saw a photo of a painfully thin dog rescued from living in a dumpster with her puppies in Tennessee? I immediately fell in love with her beautiful, sad eyes, and instinctively knew she was meant to be our dog.

Although you didn’t originally see what I saw in her, you opened your eyes a little wider, and you got there–for me. You’re so willing to take another look at anything if I ask you to, and that keeps my eyes solely on you, forever.

Happy 1st Anniversary, my love.

Lava you, pinf.

Your wifey

xoxo

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Patriots-Worthy Peanut Butter Cups

My son and I went to the Patriots Super Bowl rally at the crack of dawn this week. Incredible day with my beloved boy!

Full disclaimer: I am an opinionated, loud mouthed, annoyingly irritating Patriots fan. Born and bred in Boston, living a scant 15 minutes from Gillette Stadium, it’s just in my genetic makeup.

I love the Patriots. I got into some Facebook duels with delusional Eagles fans already this week, and threatened my husband (a die-hard Giants fan) with the couch if he talks smack against them on Super Bowl Sunday. (My love came home with a brand new Patriots AFC Championship shirt for me to wear tomorrow; he knows where his bread is buttered).

That said, I have some real compassion for everyone who isn’t cheering for the Patriots, the undeniably greatest football team (ahem, dynasty) of all time. It must be exceptionally difficult to gear up, season after season, hoping your boys will bring home a Vince Lombardi Trophy…and they wind up on the golf course instead.

In my not-so-humble opinion, Tom Brady is the GOAT, but every other quarterback must have a better golf swing than him at this point. I will give them that.

Anyway, like all good Patriots fans do, I have my own superstitions to care to before the big game. Since I don’t have a mustache or beard to grow until they win (another winning item in my genetic makeup that I am thankful for), I have food traditions.

I must make stuffed mushrooms.

I must eat chips and onion dip with wild abandon. (Diet be damned.)

And, most importantly, I must craft (whoops…Kraft) my Patriots Peanut Butter Cups. Clearly, if I drop that pass the Patriots are screwed, so I make them every year. Trust me, Tom, these are worth ditching your TB12 eating plan that fuels you to school quarterbacks half your age. When you deliver our sixth Super Bowl win tomorrow, it’s time to indulge.

Let’s go Patriots! #notdone

Patriots Peanut Butter Cups

Ingredients

1/2 cup smooth (like Tom Brady) peanut butter
3 tablespoons soft (like the Eagles) salted butter
1 cup pow sugar
Melting chocolate

Method

Combine peanut butter, butter, and powdered sugar. Cover and chill for about 15 minutes.

Shape dough into footballs and dip in melting chocolate. Pipe some white frosting on to create laces, write the necessary “Go Pats!” on the plate, and chill. Take them out of the fridge 20 minutes before serving.

Go Pats!

(Told you I am annoying).

#notdone

Thank you, Mike! I love you!

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12 Things That Run Through My Mind On Snow Days

Bombogenesis. In all of my long suffering winters as a native Bostonian, I have never heard this term. Blizzard? Sure. Snowpocalypse? Yup. But bombogenesis? Yikes.

Hearing the panic-stricken weather forecasters screech “bombogenesis” on repeat meant one thing in my world: Snow day. Any weather pattern that starts with “bomb” and has a biblical reference is snow day worthy. I instinctively knew there would be more than one.

Here’s what’s tumbling around in my mind (at the pace the kids’ snow clothes are in my dryer) on snow day, take two:

1. Are my husband and I the worst parents ever pretending like we did not know there was a second snow day last night? Our school called it early: 7:00 p.m. We could have shared this news with our boys, joined in on their happy dances, and let them party it up until they collapsed from exhaustion. Instead, we maintained a united, deceitful front so we could get them in bed at a semi decent time and decompress by the fire. Are we headed straight for hell?

2. The snow plow comes precisely when we are trying to put our boys to bed. It never fails. Beep. Beep. Beep. BEEP!

3. The snow plow sets our normally docile dog off, forcing us to try to put the kids to sleep to an unforgiving and unrelenting soundtrack. It’s the snow-plow-dog-losing-her-mind-barking-no-matter-how-many-treats-I-try-to-bribe-her-with remix!

4. Kids have a sixth snow day sense. Mine didn’t believe for one minute there would be school in the morning and worked us for a 10:00 p.m. bedtime despite all of our devilish planning. Epic fail.

5. My husband has been on dog duty during bombogenesis, braving the blustery frozen tundra to try to get Adara, our stubborn, four-legged Southern belle, to drop a deuce in a monstrously intimidating snow bank. He’s also the one to shovel, grab sleds from the garage, and tend to the fire. I feel slightly guilty about this but quickly come up with rationalizations in my fucked up brain. Women are paid less. We birth babies and our bellies never fully recover (unless we happen to be annoying genetically blessed bitches or members of the 90210 zip code). We generally deal with the majority of kid meltdowns. You get my point. So, because I’m likely paid .80 on the dollar, disgustingly, and deal with lots of other unfair shit (periods, cat calls from construction workers, bras, kid anarchy, etc. etc. etc.), I can sit and chill while he does some of this manly stuff guilt-free. (I am with a guy who wouldn’t let me do it anyway…too chivalrous…but I’m sharing the intricacies of my mind here.)

6. I consider a full day spent in pajamas a personal victory in my overscheduled life. Two days would be legendary. (It’s not happening.)

7. Snowstorm worthy snacks are a must. Really, being snowed in with your family is no time to adhere to your New Year’s diet. You can only take so much.

8. Snow gear is infinitely annoying. I find it hanging on doors, by heaters, on floors. A glove is always missing. Gloves must have torrid affairs with stray socks. Just sayin’.

9. Snow day photo ops are the best. I love the bright pink cheeks, the cheesy ear-to-ear smiles, the excitement in their eyes. Really, there’s nothing like a snow day as a kid. I find myself reminiscing about snow days from my childhood in-between endless hot cocoa requests.

10. Flickering lights in my home cue the “Jaws” music in my head. Every. Single. Time.

11. Maintaining power during bombogenesis gives me the urge to dot the “i” in my name with a heart when I sign the check to pay my electric bill this month. Snow days are long enough with power. Without it? Aaaaaahhhhhhhhh!

12. Does alcohol taste better on snow days? I say yes. Cheers!

What are your thoughts on dealing with snow days as a parent?

You can read more of Jodi Meltzer Darter’s musings about life on her website, Facebook, and Twitter @mommydish.

Posted in Kids, Mommy, weather | Leave a comment

Confessions of a Hurricane Mommy

Grocery stores love Mother Nature when she acts up.

So, I am in the midst of preparing for a hurricane. Are you jealous?

My son is two-years-old, and this is his second hurricane. We were without power for nearly one week during the last one, and it was beyond belief bad. I know you love me because I can bitch like a champ, but, seriously, dealing with a teenager detoxing from all things electronic and changing a cranky baby’s crap by candlelight nearly sent me off the edge. I made it through by taking out my frustration on National Grid’s automated voice messaging system (I can get really testy with those computerized assholes in a way I’d love to with many real people without the fear of repercussion). A steady supply of Mommyjuice and earplugs to block out the agonizing hum of our annoyingly prepared neighbor’s generator helped, too.

So, here I am–again. But this time I am smarter. I am more prepared. I am on it, baby. Here are the Confessions of a Hurricane Mommy:

Here we are earlier today. I am all about toddler distraction with an M&M cookie pre-hurricane.

– I am incapable of spending less than $250 at the grocery store in anticipation of a natural disaster. I get wrapped up in the frenzy of overflowing carts. I walk around with a little more pep in my step to grab (forcefully as necessary) the last loaf of my family’s favorite bread. I bribe my toddler with cookie or two so I can buy shit I definitely probably don’t need. That’s just how I roll in a hurricane. I am not going to deny it anymore.

– I use hurricanes as an excuse to buy snacks and sweets I normally leave on the shelves. If we’re dealing with the apocalypse, who the hell wants to go out eating rice cakes? Bring on the chips and salsa…and the chocolate.

A small sampling of our emergency goods grouped together by my husband. Yes, Mommyjuice is in there–right next to the batteries. The man loves me.

– My husband gets off on preparing our home for said apocalypse. A hurricane is like porn for Mr. Safety. Batteries, flashlights, candles, lanterns. Cue the Bomchickawowwow background music, please.

– My Mommybrain often screws with my ability to locate my keys, but it doesn’t interfere with my ability to learn from my mistakes. I booked a shitty hotel near my house several days ago with the enthusiasm of making reservations at The Ritz just in case I wind up being trapped in a cold, dark house eating PB&J with smelly kids in TV withdrawal.

– I look forward to the first weather-related school closing of the year like I am still a kid. Am I the only Mommy who still gets excited waking up at the crack-of-dawn to turn on the TV to look for the announcement from my town? And it’s still such a buzz-kill if I just miss the listing and I have to wait FOREVER for it to come around again.

– The only thing I am missing right now is feetie pajamas. Next time. Next time…

Stay safe, everyone! And please give me a click before you lose power:
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Posted in Baby, Dishes, Family, Food, Kids, Life, Mommy, Parents, recipes, Thoughts, weather | Leave a comment

Dear Jodi?

I just got a perplexing letter from a reader. I nearly fell off my chair. Who am I kidding? I hit the ground hard–with a big fat thud courtesy of my lingering post-preggo poundage. (Sidebar: cheers to Christina Applegate, who recently admitted she just gave up maternity jeans and her daughter is almost Alex’s age. Take that, Gisele. You best own up to getting one freaking craving with this pregnancy or you will remain on my shit list. Ask anyone in my life–it’s definitely not the place to be).

Anyway, here’s the letter (below). Steady yourselves…


Hi there,

I have recently discovered your blog and find it very interesting to read, so I thought you would be a good person to seek advice from. I hope you don’t mind me contacting you in this way.

I have a four-year-old daughter and she can be, shall we say, quite a handful! Don’t get me wrong, she is very loving, but a lot of the time she is hard work and is very disobedient. I have tried timeouts and taking things away and also taking to her about her behaviour but it doesn’t seem to work. What works in your home? What is your secret because your family seems so happy and well balanced. I appreciate any advice you can offer. Thank you and God bless you and your family.

Me? The Mommy at the helm of a happy and well balanced family? Only with a steady supply of Mommyjuice–and if my wine glass is half full!

Do I come off as someone who has her shit together? Some days my car sends me a panicked message– “— until empty”–because it’s running on fumes. I don’t have time to stop because my son fought me like a ninja warrior to avoid getting dressed, I burnt my English muffin, and I forgot my cell phone so I had to turn around at the end of my street to get it. Or I spilled my coffee trying to place it in my passive-aggressive cup holder and I needed to change for the tenth time because all of my clothes look better on the hanger again for work (sometimes I’ll act like my java jolt happened at the office to avoid squeezing into a new outfit, but don’t tell anyone). Whatever.

Bottom line is I am a hot mess who has the ability to fool many people into thinking I am on top of everything (remember when I paid the ridiculous rush fee and almost took a Granny out trying to score a parking space at the mall to get custom holiday cards printed on time for New Year’s?)

My son is a perfect little angel at school. He charmed his teachers, the administrative staff, and his classmates in two-seconds flat. He is the center of attention wherever he goes, has dance moves that rival early Michael Jackson (pre-moonwalk–can’t do that yet, but give him time), and has killer dimples. He holds hands with my teenager’s friends in the back seat of my car and has no fear of rejection when it comes to kissing girls full on the lips. He’s a player with mad game, and he knows it–at age two.

Trust me...he's up to something. He's always up to something.

But he still backhands me when he doesn’t want his diaper changed, or his my iPhone taken away. He chucks his sippy cup across the room if he decides he’s the victim of a bait-and-switch. (Milk, Mom? Hell no! I want juuuuuuiiiiiiiccccceeee!). He hides under the table when I am running late just to test how long I can maintain my Mommy cool (your guessed it–not long!). Oh, and he whips off his diaper and pees in his indoor tent for giggles.

Time-outs do nothing. My evil Mommy look does nothing. I am completely ineffective.

And my teenager? She can have a major attitude, too. Don’t even get me started…

I am with you, dear reader. No advice here…except to Google it. And hug your daughter extra tight when she lets you to make up for all the times she makes you get on your knees and pray for bedtime. Treat yourself to a glass of Mommyjuice/bar of chocolate (the good kind–you’ve earned it) to take the edge off when she kicks your ass. Relish the few hours of sleep you do get and dream of a better tomorrow. That’s all I got–and it blows.

Does anyone out there have any real idea on how to discipline their young children effectively? Beuller? Beuller?

Please vote for me! I have plummeted from the top ten to 200-something in Top Mommy Blogs. Give me a click…that’s all I ask. You can do it. Here’s the big box to click: Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Posted in Baby, Family, Kids, Life, Parents, Teenagers, Thoughts, Uncategorized | 2 Comments