I got to sit in Johanna Hurwitz’s study and chat with her for almost two hours. Johanna Hurwitz, author of CLASS CLOWN, ALI BABA BERNSTEIN, ALDO APPLESAUCE AND MORE THAN 70 OTHER BOOKS, is my hero. This invite came via mutual friends who read my book. I had taken a workshop with Johanna years ago.
Anyway, my daughter sent the principal of my grandson’s school Johanna’s proposal. I am praying that Johanna Hurwitz, who is one of my daughter’s beloved authors, and is now my grandson’s and granddaughter’s beloved author, will be a guest speaker at my my grandson’s school. I will post when this will actually happen.
IF YOU HAVE GRANDKIDS, GO TO AMAZON.COM AND PURCHASE HER BOOKS AS GIFTS. YOUR OWN KIDS WILL THANK YOU FOR REMINDING THEM OF SOME OF THEIR CHILDHOOD FAVORITES.
I have come to the conclusion that there is a narcissist inside each and every one of us. My granddaughter— well, she looks like me. Even though she has her dad’s nose and his mother’s round face, she looks like me. Even though she is built a little chunky and she has sturdy legs and feet, and I have thin legs and high arches, she looks like me. She does not have my blue eyes. But she has my hair. Her hair is curly and wavy. It has a wildness to it. It needs work. But after a bit of detangler and after someone runs a comb through it, and after someone twists a little piece and puts a ribbon in, she is striking.
She has my look, my expressions, my feistiness. She is charming and likes to laugh. She likes to make others laugh. She is engaging and she can hold a conversation.
I had plucked a wild chin hair and it left a mark. June noticed it when I was changing her diaper.
“What’s that boo-boo?” she asked with sweet compassion. She reached up and gently pulled my face down and said:
“I want to kiss that boo-boo.” And she did.
Then she squirmed off the bed with an intent look on her face. She has something to do and somewhere she has to be. She is two and a half.
Dare to cross her, and she will give you a piece of her mind. On occasion, she is known to scream:
“Get out of here! I didn’t ask for YOU!”
I cannot help it.
“Give me back my face,” I say mildly amused. She laughs and pretends to rip her face off and put it on my head.
“Give me back my hair,” I continue in awe that my looks and possibly my personality skipped a generation. She is undeniably a part of me. She pretends to pull her hair out and puts it on me. But in a split second she takes back both her face and her hair.
I look at her and I see a little me. And I can’t help but be a little narcissistic and ever so proud!
We were back in our house helping the adult kids pack up when the sobs slowly subsided into sniffles. I gave Graham a first aid kit with HUGE Band-Aids and Bacitracin so he could feel more in control. I wanted to say something to help. I bided my time. I have learned that when I am slightly removed, I can see things I cannot see when I am too closely involved. But, I am careful, very careful, to try NOT to step on my daughter’s toes. So I waited.
Then I said: “ Graham, can I talk to your knee?”
(Even my daughter was curious and could not think me as a butt-in-ski.)
Intrigued, he answered: “Yes!”
I said: “Knee, you do not have the power to ruin my grandson’s day. Knee, you cannot take away what my Graham has accomplished today. He swam twelve strokes all by himself!”
Graham smiled through the last of his tears.
And then he looked at me and winked: “Gotcha!” he said.
A few weeks later I was shocked when my dermatologist found something on the back of my calf. Over three years had gone by since I had surgery for melanoma. I go to the dermatologist religiously. I had seen my local dermatologist less than three months prior.
The dermatologist showed me the area of concern. I saw something red the size of a period.
“I just shaved.” I said. “And I probably nicked myself.”
“I have to biopsy it,” the dermatologist insisted. I knew in my heart it would come back as another melanoma.
It did and I was sad and angry. I remembered my grandson and his boo-boo. I wanted to say: “Melanoma, I will not let you take away my joy, my accomplishments, my work, my joy, my life.”
Instead, I went into MSK and had surgery.
“GOTCHA!” I said to my boo-boo.
Our grandson and granddaughter spent a few days with us while our daughter worked extra hours to make extra money that would pay for her family vacation. My husband and I took the kids to the local pool and split up to take turns monitoring the little one at the kiddie pool and the older one in the big pool.
I was in the 3-foot deep section with my grandson, who although he thinks he is, is not a real swimmer yet. He jumped in. He swam three strokes. I high-fived him. He got out and jumped in again. This time he swam five strokes. He repeated this again and again and again. I held my breath when he swam his first 12 strokes on his own. TWELVE! Sure his form was terrible but a few lessons would fix that.
We went to get ice cream to celebrate. Graham saw his mom first. She had come to pick the kids up. She lifted Graham up, and kissed him and then congratulated him. She put Graham down and asked where June was. I told her she was with her grandpa and she started walking toward the kiddie pool.
Graham remembered something he wanted to tell her. He started to run after her. His clogs were wet. He was tired. The inevitable happened. Graham fell on the concrete and skinned his knee really badly. He got hysterical. (He is at that age when he worries that the blood will drain out of his body like the water empties in the bathtub.) He needed a Band-Aid to hold the blood inside. My daughter scooped him up and carried him to the First Aid Station, where the lifeguards cleaned his wound and covered it beneath a big Band-Aid.
But Graham is intense and he was overtired and generally does not do well with transitions and he had a great time with us and he loves his mom and it was time to leave and the booboo hurt and he cried and cried and cried.
We let him sob it out because we all know you cannot logic it once the emotions have crossed a certain line. You just have to wait it out.
The best part of vacation, for me, is not doing the bills, not collecting the mail, not shredding, not sorting, not running to the supermarket, not cooking, not doing laundries, not drying the clothes, not folding, and not putting away, not answering phone calls, etc. etc. All of these are the causes of needing that vacation in the first place. The irony is that the second you are back, you have to catch up because now there is a HUGE pile of mail, your answering machine is clogged with phone calls you MUST return, you have meds waiting for you to pick up at the pharmacy, you have no food in the fridge so you MUST go food shopping and cook immediately. Your suitcase is full of all the clothes you took but now they are all dirty and must be washed and put away. If you are lucky, you do not need to call the plumber because your pipes froze – always a reason to worry while you are on a winter holiday. If you are like me you come back with a long list of what you must do before you think about your next vacation – like restocking the ice melt, getting a new smart thermostat and having it installed so you can check the temperature in your living room on an app while sitting someplace warm. Then you add check to see if your basement should be waterproofed (again) before next vacation. You realize that you need to lose weight which is a full time job because if you want to do it right you have to log into my fitnesspal.com each time a morsel enters your mouth. We are back three days and the vacation which refreshed us is now exhausting us because we are trying to catch up.
Everywhere I go, I talk to people about my book and everywhere, I am “well received.” Well, of course that may be because we spend time on the Upper East Side in doctors’ offices, at Broadway matinees, and now, we just took a trip to Florida. “These are my people,” I keep telling my husband because we are all in our sixties plus. Maybe my book would not be well received in Boston, where there is a sign when you enter the city, that says: “If you are over 30, you do not belong.” But then again, Boston is a college town. So, if you have read my book and liked it, please tell me. If you have read my book and want more, I have an additional six chapters. If you are in a position to help me find a place who might want a column – maybe called: JUST CALL ME BUBBIE! please make suggestions. I want to keep my culture alive and I want to still be relevant. Rage and Age with me!