Archive | November, 2011

My Life has Gone Viral

30 Nov

 I haven’t written much about Mid-Western Boy and our relationship because I am really beginning to care for him and I don’t want to divulge too much about him or us on the worldwide web.  I’m quite interested in getting to really know him and I’m learning how sweet I think he really is.  So, this will be my last post about him and our relationship for sometime. 

I invited Mid-Western Boy to my family’s Big Fat Italian Thanksgiving.  I wasn’t sure what to expect since there was going to be a very long table and a lot of action.  He seemed to take it all in stride and remained comfortable.  I told many of my friends that this Big Fat Italian Thanksgiving can go really well or really bad.  I guess it went really well. Earlier this week Mid-Western Boy asked me to confirm our relationship for all 200+ of our friends on Facebook.  I never really thought of myself as announcing my relationship on Facebook – but here I am doing just that.  And it felt nice.  Like he was proud of me and wanted people to see me.  I think he did it in response to a discussion we had which made me feel really vulnerable (I revealed some information about DB and his not so nice treatment of me).  After revealing this information, I thought maybe Mid-Western Boy would want to run for cover thinking I came with so much baggage.  Instead, he comforted me by asking me to be his girlfriend – in a sweet but very modern way.   I met Mid-Western Boy using an online dating site, he asked me to be his girlfriend via Facebook and we have been texting with each other everyday to stay in touch when we don’t see each other.  It seems that maybe technology isnt’ so bad after all – it allowed me to meet someone special and learn about him at the same time. 

I am excited about this new beginning for me and anxious all at the same time.

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My Love Affair with New York City continues . . .

29 Nov
New York Times Square New year celebrations in...

Image via Wikipedia

Earlier this month I wrote that New York City is Mayberry.  Well, I do believe it just might be.  It seems I keep attracting old friends back into my life.  Today, as I arrived to my office building, I looked up and saw an old friend’s younger brother in the lobby.  We both looked at each other –  is that really you?  It turns out he just started working for one of the law firms in my office building 3 weeks ago.  My building has 35 floors and it is amazing that we were in the same elevator bank.  It was great to see him and we plan to have lunch on Friday to catch up on the last 10 years or so!  While my friend’s brother lives in the suburbs of New York City, my friend now lives in Albany with his family and three children.  We lost touch at some point after college when he moved to Albany.  I am thrilled to reconnect with his brother and hopefully him as well! 

New York City is this great player in my life.  She just sits there and provides this  frenetic, gritty but at the same time  beautiful backdrop that I tend to lose myself in.  I was born and raised in this hard city and I haven’t really lived anywhere else in my life.  I used to think that was a strange thing about me – but now I think how can I live anywhere else?  No other city would offer me the same type of synchronicity that New York City has been giving me over the last few weeks.   I’ve learned to appreciate the random experiences that I have had in a city as large and energetic as New York.  I am more aware of the synchronicity that life can offer and that this syncronocity is even more special when it is experienced in a huge city like New York.   The more I look, the more I find that I am falling into a deeper love with this great city, this great player in my life –  a player I never really appreciated before.

The Thanksgiving Five: Family, Friends, Fun, Food and Football + Thankful for Opportunities

24 Nov

Today is my favorite day of the entire year!  It is a holiday that requires us to share my favorite thing in the whole world – food – and to be with the people we love most watching football! It doesn’t require buying any presents and trying to figure out if someone is going to like something  – all it requires is for us  to spend time with family doing my favorite thing – eating – and taking a moment to be thankful for all the wonderful things in life.  It is the most special of all of the holidays on our calendar because we get two days off from school and work!  No  other holiday has this type of street credit!

I am truly thankful for so many things in my life.  My journey began three years ago today when DB decided to stay out all night long and come home in a drunken/drugged stupor while I prepared a Thanksgiving feast for his family.  As a result, I canceled Thanksgiving dinner and went to my family’s home.  That day was a gift, although I didn’t know it at the time, a gift for a new life.

I have come so far since that day.  Thanksgiving  is a day that will always have so much meaning to me not only because it is the food event of the year but also because it was the first day I became alive after so many years of being emotionally numb at the hands of DB.  I will never forget that day and I will be ever grateful for the support of my family that I received when I showed up crying at their home at 11:00am with my infant son.

That day was a gift, an answer to my prayers.  That day gave me opportunity to make a choice.  A choice to leave an old life for a new life.   And as I reflect on that new life I have been living, I know that  I may not have had that opportunity to do all of it on my own if it wasn’t for  the most courageous people I know – my grandparents.  My grandparents brought their families to the United States seeking opportunity for a better life, a new life.  They left the only home they knew (their small towns) with their large families in tow and only a few personal belongings with a hope and a dream that they will find opportunity in the United States.  I am living proof of that dream of opportunity.  Like the original pilgrims my grandparents came to the United States seeking opportunity and on Thanksgiving day more than 40 years later I too sought a new opportunity for a better life that only the United States could provide a soon to be single mother – a mother with a dream.

 I have been granted opportunities that I am forever grateful for – namely my higher education and my profession.  I am thankful everyday for those opportunities because they allow me to pave the way for my son to have opportunities, I hope, that my grandparents may never have dreamed of the day they began their pilgrimage to the New World filled with hope.

Today I reflect on their pilgrimage and their hope and I am thankful for their dreams which in turn turned into opportunities and a life filled with hope, happiness and love for my son and I.

Sharing Life with the Great People of New York City

23 Nov
Midtown Manhattan, New York City, from Rockefe...

Image via Wikipedia

Many people don’t ever think of New Yorkers as nice.  It is not customary to think of the people of New York City as warm, welcoming folk.  I beg to differ.  I learned when I was pregnant how thoughtful and nice the people of New York City really are.  I never needed to ask someone to give up their seat for me – someone always offered – men, women and teenagers – of all race, ethnicities and creeds.  This experience differed greatly from my experience traveling on NJ Transit back to my posh suburb.  Not one person EVER offered to give their seat to me on a crowded train no matter how pregnant I was!

When I moved back to the city in 2010, I was still pushing my son in a stroller around the city.  Whenever I needed help getting into or out of the subway there was ALWAYs someone there to offer assistance to me.   Even now, when we travel on to a bus during our morning or evening commute, someone is always willing to give up their seat so my son can sit.  The people of New York are truly good people. 

On Saturday night I was heading downtown to a friend’s apartment for dinner.  While waiting on the subway platform a teenager offered a seat to me on the bench.   I was reading from my Barnes & Noble Nook.  He asked me what the device was  and I explained to him that it was an e-reader.  He then asked me what I was reading – I told him I was reading Jane Eyre.  He told me he had just read the book for school!  We began to discuss the book when two women overheard our conversation and pulled our their electronic devices.  They each had a Kindle and an IPAD.  We were comparing reading our books on these electronic devices  – the pros and cons.  The teenager’s younger brother than pulled out his tablet and shared it with us.  We sat there for several minutes – a group of New Yorkers who may have never crossed paths as each of us were from different socio-economic groups and our ages spanned about 50 years between us were sharing our thoughts on classic books and new media.  I marveled in the joy of that experience until my train arrived and we all parted our ways – only in a great city like New York do you have these type of moments that transcend all social, economic and age barriers.

New York City is really Mayberry

22 Nov
Two friends

Image via Wikipedia

There are so many reasons I love New York.  You have to live in this city long enough to begin to love it – it’s a tough place to love but eventually you will come to appreciate what it offers in community and it will begin to feel smaller than it did when you first began to experience it.   One of the reasons I love New York City is because after awhile so many people in your social circle end up being connected to someone in some way.  It’s closer than 7 degrees of separation.

A few weeks ago my son was invited to a party of one of his classmates.  The parents of this classmate are divorced and I did not know much about the child’s father and his girlfriend.  My son and I went downtown to the party at their apartment on a quiet Sunday afternoon.  When we entered the apartment the first person I saw was my best friend from middle school standing in the kitchen with her parents!  It was such a weird coincidence.  We both looked at each other in shock!  I have been searching for my friend for sometime now on Facebook and other internet websites but did not find her.  I had heard she lived in Philadelphia.  Well, it turns out that she is first cousins with the father of my son’s classmate and lives across town from me now.  I was more than esctatic.  We lost touch when we went to college as there was really no way to keep in touch except letter writing.  She also lived abroad for a year in Europe.  We were so happy to connect – we even had dinner together last week.  IT felt like the years between us never passed — and it all happened in a connection in New York City that was so unbelievably random.

It turns out my friend has a daughter the same age as my son and we plan to now stay in touch and have playdates and adult ladies nights out.  It was such a gift to connect with her again.  Stay tuned for more incidents of New York City is really Mayberry.

A Personal Day

19 Nov
Relaxing

Image by Niels Linneberg via Flickr

A 20 segment panoramic image of the New York M...
Image via Wikipedia

When do you make time for yourself?  Just to rest, to do nothing, to clear your mind, to spend a day doing things that you enjoy at your own pace?  I rarely, if ever, do  that.  I went to get a facial and my estithetician remarked how she couldn’t belive how I wouldnt’ close my eyes to relax.  I told her that I find it impossible to  relax.  I’m always doing something or thing about the next thing to do.  The things that I am thinking about or planning are not just related to work or my son but also to try to fit in some type of social activities for myself.   Trying to balance work, making quality time for my son, my home responsibilities (cleaning, cooking, etc)  and nurturing a new relationship has become exhausting.

On Sunday, I struggled to get out of bed.   My stomach was not settled and I hardly was able to eat.  On Monday morning I woke up for work and felt like I had a terrible cold.  I decided to call in sick.  I haven’t called in sick in a long time.  Probably in over two years.   There are always meetings to attend, conference calls and deadlines to meet.  I checked my calendar – and it was clear.  If I was going to relax – this was the day to do it.

My son went to school and I logged into work.  I made calls to my staff and reviewed documents for a few hours and felt worse.  I decided to log out and watch a movie – a mindless one – X-Men:First Class.  After the movie was over, I read my book, Sea of Poppies, and was lost in Amitav Ghosh‘s amazing story.  I noticed I was gaining energy and feeling better.  I then cooked a new vegetarian dish – Red Rice, Quinoa, Kale and Mushroom stuffing.   I was  thinking about preparing this dish all week.   It was delicious!  After a few hours of reading more I decided to go for a short run – it ended up being a 5 mile run.

I felt like a new person.  All I needed was for my body to rest.  Rest is something most parents (working, married, stay at home) take for granted.  We all need a day to ourselves to do nothing but recuperate from life, especially life in a busy place like New York City where you can always feel the vibrant energy of the city – even during the early morning hours.  As the rush of the  holiday season begins – we should be sure to take  time to do nothing every once in awhile – without any guilt – and before the stress and exhaustion set in.  I have tried to take 10 minutes a day to relax – by listening to Deepak Chopra’s meditations on my Ipod.  I hope you find something that will take you away from your busy life even for a few minutes.

F-A-M-I-L-Y – “When you are in my heart, you’re in my family”

14 Nov
Family Photos 1999-2002

Image by IvanWalsh.com via Flickr

My son and I love Laurie Berkner.   The Laurie Berkner Band is like a rock band for pre-schoolers.  Her tunes are catchy and fun for parents and children.  She even has cute videos which you can watch on YouTube.  She sings a song called Family.  When I first separated from my husband the song always brought tears to my eyes.  I was sad because Family is the most important thing in life and here I was initiating a divorce when my son was an infant breaking up a new family.  I couldn’t get it out of my head that my son  would never know the meaning of this song.

Yesterday we celebrated my niece’s christening and I realized yesterday that my fears were just nonsense.  I watched as my son had the same life I had with my cousin’s children.  I was raised with my seeing my cousins and my grandparents on a weekly basis.   Although we don’t see my extended family anymore on a weekly basis, we do get together at holiday time and for family events and catch-up with each other.  We remain in each other’s life – not because we have to – because we want to.

It was beautiful for me to see my son run around with my cousin’s children.  They had so much fun together and spent the day playing – just like I did when I was his age with my cousins.   In my life, Family is not just mother, father, sister,  and brother.  It is all the people  that have come and remained in our life to support us as we evolve on this great journey.

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