Saying Nothing, The Thirty-Ninth Week in the Second Year of the New Abnormal
“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” That was a common idiom of our mother’s lexicon. She lived true to that statement. Even when she attempted to comment on something she disapproved of, she did her best to soften it. As a teen, I often was asked the question, “Janet, do you think that’s the most complementary outfit?“ Or it could have been make-up, pants, hair style or any other appearance-related observation. As a sensitive teen I was crushed no matter how much she tried to say it diplomatically.
Bickering, The Twenty-Seventh Week of the Second Year in the New Abnormal
My son told me last weekend that he hoped he won’t have disagreements in his relationships like I have with my husband when he’s older. It was interesting to hear, and as far as I understand he believes that with the amount of therapy, mindfulness practice, as well as the fact that I am a psychotherapist, I should be further along in my personal development, especially when it comes to my marriage. There was a time I would have agreed. I would have seen my defensiveness when my feelings are hurt, and that my feelings get hurt at all, as a fault in my character.
Mother's Day Ambivalence, The Nineteenth Week in the Second Year of the New Abnormal
I, like many, have mixed feelings about Mother’s Day.
As a daughter I knew that I loved my mom, and I also yearned for her acceptance, spending far too much of my babysitting money to bask in the momentary approval of an expensive Mother’s Day gift. I’d set up Arlene’s Kitchen, honoring our mom. It was a made-up restaurant in our home with hand-written menus for the family. Nervous about what I might cook, I’d prep all the possibilities from eggs, any type of French toast or bagels & lox. As down home as those brunches were, they were followed by the certainty that my clean-up techniques would be met with inevitable disapproval. No one could make a countertop shine like my mom.
Swimming on Vacation, The Fourth Week of the Second Year of the New Abnormal
I swam for an hour, my head submerged in the warm pool with tiny, wavy prisms, iridescent in the sun-drenched water. The luxury of having a pool to myself is priceless. Being able to move seamlessly underwater, thanks to my swimmers’ mask, allows me to stay beneath the surface, enjoying what I’d describe as a meditation in motion.
Halloween Weekend, Week Forty-Four in the New Abnormal
It’s Halloween Weekend and the city is ready for the many trick or treaters at every age. As a child of the sixties our Halloween was comprised of a trip to Kiddie City to pick out a cardboard box with a clear window displaying the plastic mask with a thin mouth opening with two nostril holes for labored breathing that allowed for a muffled song of “trick or treat” at the door of kind home-owners who distributed candy, both great and questionable. My favorite candy were plain Hershey chocolate bars, M&Ms, Twizzlers, or Good and Plenty. I was not a fan of the chalky Necco Wafers or boxes of raisins. We had plenty of fruit and raisins in our home, so I was on the lookout for forbidden treats that I would hide in the back of my closet.
Reparenting on Mother's Day, Week Nineteen in the New Abnormal
Though cards, commercials, and media would have us romanticize motherhood, the truth is Mother’s Day can be stressful for so many. Whether families grapple with mental illness, death, physical illness, the court systems, mismatched needs of child/mother, in-law drama, or whether there are reproductive issues, or other circumstances that make the day difficult, allow for kindness and caring while enduring the day.
The Winter of Our Discontent, Week Seven in the New Abnormal
Looking Back, Week 32 in the Time of Transition
I had some ideas about what I’d be addressing for this blog post, but when I looked at my calendar, I saw that it’s been four years since my mother died. We had a complicated relationship. Yet, in the last year of her life as her health declined, we found common ground with a deep and enduring love. A time I will always treasure. Most people don’t get that opportunity. Understanding that death is inevitable, her dying days were filled with peace and love.
Small Moments, Week Thirteen in the Time of Transition
July 4th, Week Ten in the Time of Transition
Pandemic Envy, Week 47 in the Time of Coronavirus
We have become accustomed to the average pandemic envy like seeing those who prepare feasts as a way to get through this time of Coronavirus. Many of us have felt jealousy for acquaintances in larger homes. The more exhausted have longed for the energy cited in posts of new hobbies or accomplishments. Some parents envy those with no children, or those with safe help for their families. A number of people who feel alone have been envious of those who post happy couple or family portraits. Individuals who feel trapped with their families begrudge others who they imagine live blissfully alone. Now add to that the newer vaccine envy.
Without distractions I’m able to feel my emotions strongly. Sometimes this...