Wednesday, December 29, 2010

away from home

trying to be calm
that is all i want
to be calm
and in control
these few days on vacation
with my family

it has been rough lately
my husband has been supportive
my kids have been amazing
my family of origin
the ones i have known the longest
do not understand me
or my family
or our situation
it sure is hard

they don't really talk
they talk
but not about emotions
about the weather
other people
but not about what is inside
what makes them happy
or sad
or angry

it hurts me
how did i turn out this way?
why do i want to understand people so much?
why am I so different?

deep breaths
deep breathing
i want to talk about them
i want to talk to them
but i can't

i want someone to talk to me about them
i can't here
i have to smile
and pretend all is okay
even when i am screaming inside
when i am hurting
and they are saying mean things
saying nothing at all

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

deep breathing

keep breathing
i tell myself
just keep breathing
it has to get better

i take things to personally
i believe in the good of most people
even if it is not there

i am obsessed with this situation
and i am failing
seriously failing
seriously hurting
painful stabs in the stomach
from trying to make
my family understand the pain
i have been in for over a year
how much they hurt me
disappointed me
and now blasted me
so rudely and out of nowhere
that i can't see straight

how can anything good come of this?
i want to divorce my original family
i am so lucky to have my husband
and his family
and our daughters
i am so lucky
right now i can't see it

all i can see and feel
is the disappointment
and shame
from the people
i love
or loved first in my life
the ones i thought
would always be there

keep breathing
deep breathing
using my yoga breathing
and my yoga meditation
to keep my thoughts in check

using my mussar to find the meaning in this
to find the strength that will come later
looking for later is a like looking in a dark cave
i can't see any light
any reason for it to get better
it only feels like it is worse
much worse
and i am trying so hard
just to breathe

Monday, December 20, 2010


i trust people way too much
i believe people
i think everyone is honest
i don't think people will lie to me

i am so wrong
the people i trust the most
end up being the ones who hurt me the most

the ones i think will be supportive of me
the ones i think will always love me
always be there for me
through thick and thin
as the old saying go

i wish i could be less trusting
i think everyone will be like me
they will think of other's people's feelings
but they don't
i think they will be empathetic
but they aren't
i think they will try to see things from my perspective
but they don't

is it selfish of me
or of them
to get upset that they can't see the difference
between hurting and hurt
between sorrow and sadness
between desperation and crisis

my immediate family has been through so much
we are stronger because of it
for those who can't understand
they will never know

Sunday, December 12, 2010


i don't think we can be related
i really don't

i can't understand how we can look at life so differently
how we can't even have a basic understanding
of what is important
how clueless
someone can be about a situation
then expect me to feel blamed about it

why would it be my fault
that they don't understand crisis
or a stay in a mental institution is not a spa
that therapy sessions are not for fun
and nobody would pick that way to spend their time

that for 2 months we traveled miles and miles
to help our child
but because they didn't understand the severity
it was because i didn't stress it enough

it was because it didn't affect them personally
it should have
it didn't
since they didn't see it each day
it didn't mean anything to them
and if they didn't really listen to what i was saying
then it really couldn't be happening

it was not my fault they didn't listen
or care
we are related
they should have bent over backwards
trying to help
other people did
friends did
other family members did
just not mine
they should have been there
they should have cared
they should have been interested enough
to ask more questions
or do more research
they chose not to
they chose to pick on me
upset me
and then be mad at me because i was emotional
not really realizing what was happening to our family
at the time

really stupid
and selfish
and limited
i just need to remember that
remind myself
that just because we are related
does not mean that they really understand

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

great day to be born

My birthday
it was a good day

went to yoga
went to lunch with friends
went to a movie alone
saw my kids
went to dinner with my husband

it was a GREAT day
not one thing went wrong
not one person complained
i did
because i was too full to go to dinner

that is not bad
things can be so good
things can be so simple

but sometimes
we just forget
how the simple
wonderful things
make us so happy

i was happy

Sunday, December 5, 2010

dreidel dreidel dreidel...

oh hanukkah
oh hanukkah
you came so early this year
I wasn't ready

dec 1st is way too early for a
especially when one throws
a huge thanksgiving celebration

for a few weeks now
my husband and I have been asking
the girls what they want
that is what they said
what great girls
Bethany only wants to go to Israel this summer with camp
what a mensch
Lucy just wants to go to camp
and then play soccer with her
jcc maccabi team in Philadelphia
another little do gooder
then Karen wants to do something fun this summer
she is not sure yet
but that is all she wants
sometimes I seriously think I have the perfect kids
they know
they have all a child needs
a warm bed
clean clothes
food to eat
and people who love them

times like these I just want to melt
i think i have done a good thing

but then i think
i have to give them something
for the first night
i gave them gift of words
little hand written notes
personal and special for each child
they deserve something special
i have done a few nights like that
and plan more
other nights i have given
small token gift cards
they really don't need anything

we used to do community service
or a mitzvah
every year at this time
but the last couple of years
i have found
we just needed to focus on us
not the gift giving us
just the family bond of us
i still donate a wazoo of money
to many of the needy charities
i contribute to
my time is dedicated to them

i also think
this may be the last year of Hanukkah
when is Hanukkah next year
will Karen be home from college
will Bethany be involved in youth group
at that time
she was actually invited to a special event
that had invitations to only future leaders
but she chose to be home
with us

what more could I ask for

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Being Thankful

This year has been a blessed year
I know that I can try to say these things that I am so thankful for
But I am not even sure that I will be able to express myself
As well as I wish to

#1-first and foremost
I am thankful for my husband
His support and love help guide me daily
Without him I would definitely fail
You are my partner and I love you
Thank you for being you

#2-I am thankful for my daughters
Karen-your strength and your maturity has amazed me at moments over this past year
I know you don’t recognize all of these differences
But your smiling face tells a different story
I love you so much, even when you don’t see it, so don’t you ever forget it

Bethany-your intense spirit and independence constantly surprise me
I know how hard these first few months of school have been for you
I am so honored that you were open with me from the beginning
Together we made it work and seeing you laugh and happy again
Makes it all worth it
I love you so much and I trust you, and that is something I can’t even begin to explain

Lucy-after last school year’s horrible beginning, you struggled through
I am so proud of your perseverance in that situation
I think opening all our eyes to all the schools in this city
And having the time to look at them all
Is going to be a great experience
I know all you want in a school is friends and sports
And we will make that happen, and more
I love you and can’t believe my baby is growing up

#3-I am thankful for my parents
Nana & Grandfather
Your unwavering support during this past year and half, and longer
Was noticed in so many ways, even if we couldn’t always express ourselves
The girls know you are always on their sides, good or bad
And that is priceless and beyond worth
Joe and I know that you are there, no matter what
We both love you and care for you, and thank you for everything you have done

#4-I am thankful for my brother in law, sister in law, my only niece, and my special nephew 
Your continuous encouragement and attention has kept us going this year
Even if we felt we couldn’t make it
We can always count on you for beautiful flowers to celebrate the occasion
I love each of you and treasure your cooperation in this mess
I hope you see that and feel it

#5-similar to Lucyi at her candle lighting
I am thankful for myself
Somedays I prove myself wrong and can be strong when I felt weak
Sometimes I shock myself with what I can accomplish
And when there are days that I just want to hide under the covers
I do know you are there if I need you
Sometimes I just don’t know how to ask
Thank you for helping me, giving me the words when I can’t say them myself
And knowing I will come around when it is time

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


it is that time of year...

we always have a party the saturday after
for always
I would say the last 10 years or so

the stock market is open the friday after thanksgiving
so my cute hubby always has to work
so when we moved into our present house
about 12 years ago
we decided to make a tradition
a thank you party
for our family and friends

the first year or so
i would make the appetizers
cooking and cleaning
on friday
since i always host
thanksgiving too

in fact
even the one year i didn't host
i had to cook it
because my kids still wanted it
so i just said
from now on
we will be here
and whoever else can join us

back to the party
i would get a bounce house
a magician
or some sort of
child activity
since at the time
our kids were probably
3, 6 & 8
that they are
13, 16 & 18
extra activities
are not needed
i am much smarter
i order the food
party trays
from Central Market
i keep a list from year to year
what works
what people eat
what people don't eat

one year it snowed
or was really cold
so that year i started ordering coffee
from Starbucks
then a couple of years ago
i started making gallons of hot chocolate
so i can order less coffee
and make more hot cocoa

some of our friends
definitely our family
have come to
look forward to this event
it is really sweet
when my mother in law
tells me that great aunts are calling
because they haven't gotten an invitation yet
they want to make sure
the tradition lives on

the invitation always says the same thing-
"It is that time of year
when we want to give thanks to you
our wonderful friends and family
Please join us as we open our home
to you and your family"
then last year
after Karen's time at the residential treatment center
i added this line-
"We have so much to be thankful for!"
because it was so true
some even said
"now all 5 of us are under the same roof"
and i guess i will need to do that next year
since Karen will be home from college
don't want to think about that now
just want to be thankful
we are all healthy and happy
and we are

Sunday, November 21, 2010

looking at schools

2 down
1 to go

so since the oldest left Greenhill
after 9th grade
then the middlest left Greenhill
after a month into 10th grade
might as well start looking for the littlest
who is in 8th grade right now
we have time
since we don't even want to start that route
into 9th grade
and leaving soon afterward

Poor baby
she was the one with all the school
issues last year
with the head of middle school
and the problem with her language teacher
she practically left last year
but she didn't
we held out
at the time Bethany was going back
she could finish middle school with her friends

now so many of her friends
are talking about leaving
so that helps
there are so many schools
so many options
we have everything open to us
the neighborhood high school
where Bethany goes now
but Lucy doesn't have friends that will go there
the catholic school
where most of her friends want to go
but there aren't
many jews there
and Lucy isn't super comfortable with that
an all girls catholic school
not much better
but many of her school friends like it
another public school
not in our area
but we could work it out
and the jewish school
it is worth a try

she is confused
all she wants is friends and sports
she loves to be part of something
a team
a group of friends
a family
she doesn't act alone
she acts with thoughts of others
so don't ever ask her to make a decision
she only wants to please
so this is going to be very difficult
for her
because it will be important
for her to pick what is best for her

so happy we have months to make this happen
this time
we are lucky

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Karen got her first acceptance letter
and it is her first choice
she is going to college

i should be happy
and i am
i should be ecstatic
and i am
i am also sad
that my baby is
actually leaving now
in less than a year

i remember college
how can i be old enough
to have a child in college

she has been through so much
she has grown so much
she has matured so much
i should be thankful
she is even allowed to go
to want to go
to be able to go

i am
but it is all bittersweet
she is so much fun
i love being around her
all the girls are getting along
it is such a good year
i know it will all be over soon
soon enough
in less than a year

it is not fair
we all struggled for so long
especially her
we all fought so hard
for her to win
to get through it
and she did
we never gave up
she always had our support
and she always supported us
well usually
she knew there was something wrong
when things weren't right
but she just didn't know what

now she knows
sometimes she is afraid
it will happen again

we know it won't
and we kept reminding her

someday she will know
and that time will come soon
she is leaving home
in less than a year
i have to let her

it is all good

Monday, November 8, 2010

3day 2010

i didn't feel like crewing again
a week before the event
i was depressed
and bothered by so much in my life
i wondered if i should do it
i knew i needed energy
and enthusiasm
but i wasn't feeling it

each day that passed
i thought about calling my team leader
i didn't want to disappoint her
damn me
for being so loyal
and honest
and trustworthy

crew day
was exciting
it was good to see
my old workers
and friends that bond during the weekend
most important
i remembered
why the 3day is so important

walking is amazing
i loved that
the encouragement
the energy
the excitement
the thrill of finishing
of walking with tears in your eyes

crewing is different
you are the cheerleaders
at this time
while feeling down
could i help
others feel up?

it ended up being cathartic
in a way i never imagined
i didn't really think about myself
for 3 days
i didn't care if my back hurt
my feet hurt
my head hurt
or my feelings were hurt
i ignored it all
it was good to be out of
the real world
and just focused
on something totally different

i was exhausted
and i did walk with tears in my eyes
as my entire lunch team
walked the last few steps
into the final rest area
everyone waving
calling out
hands touching
high fiving
just appreciative

because of my
own depression though
i did notice
something else
i felt removed
i felt disconnected
from most feelings

i could do my job
"turkey, chicken or veggie"
"go walkers, you are halfway there"
"welcome to lunch"
since we were a luau station

the tears did not come until the end
and i was grateful
for the feeling
for the knowledge of being alive
and being part of something important

glad to know
that i can make a difference
and that i can help
my daughters live in a
world without breast cancer
everyone deserves a lifetime

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A New School

i have a child in our neighborhood public school
this is exciting

it was a little strenuous
getting this to happen
Bethany was not happy
she was too stressed
studying too much
not content with her grades
not having a social life
that is not right
when you are a sophomore in high school
because it is only going to get worse

some of her teachers
ended up being outright rude
how can these teachers
be proud of class averages
at 73?
how can they feel good about that?
saying that if the averages were higher
then he didn't challenge the students

i just don't get it
but that is over for her

i took her to enroll at
Hillcrest High school
she didn't want me to do anything first
not take her paperwork in
not set up any appointments
she thought it was just a signature
and she would be on her way

we had to meet with the counselor
assigned by last name
she was busy
so we had to wait
while waiting
Bethany sighed loudly
and said
Well, this was a waste of an outfit
she makes me laugh

finally we were able to meet
introduce ourselves
and get the class schedule
that my daughter wanted
she knew
which classes her friends were in
so she planned accordingly
she was so happy
all pre ap or ap classes

and then i left her
when Lucy and I arrived
at the end of the day to pick her up
Bethany was talking to a boy
we left her alone
she looked so happy
and she was

that is all that matters!

Friday, October 15, 2010

And Homecoming Queen...

no way
no possible way
a year ago
at this time
we were all barely alive
we were still healing
from Karen's treatment center

we were happy to be together again
as a family

here we are
Karen is a senior
looking at colleges
she is happy
she has friends
she is enjoying school
it seems like
school is loving her

she was elected to be on the homecoming court
she was surprised
i was surprised
we were all surprised
i laughed
the day i was at school helping out with something
the kids were voting on the court
freshman, sophomores, juniors and seniors
all voting for each grade
Karen voted for friends
i was sitting by her and some other seniors
i joked and said that someone should vote for her
so then she would have to wear a dress
when one friend voted
we all laughed

then last week
she came home
with a shocked look on her face
"guess who was voted to be on homecoming court"
she asked
i replied
and she laughed

i got the make a little speech
that was to be read at the homecoming football game
it was funny

i went to school for the pep rally
the whole homecoming court
played musical chairs
it is a tradition i was told
memories of childhood games came flashing back
i forgot how competitive she is
she won
by being so fast
and having a good sized bottom!

The night came
the football game
she had to play in the band
she also had to wear something nice
we settled on a skirt and top
she felt comfortable
she looked darling
she even let me take some pictures

when they all lined up
and parades in
here was the speech said about her-

Kareb came to the Winston School in 10th grade. She was instrumental in starting the band program with Mr Della Costa, and has been a percussionist for the last 6 years. She plays on the tennis team each spring.  She was inducted into the National Honor Society when she was a sophomore. She had lived behind Winston for 10 years before starting school, so now her daily commute is only a short walk.  Karen was honored when she was picked to represent the senior class in the homecoming court, also she was very surprised! She is very happy her family is here to celebrate with her. 

then everyone laughed
then everyone cheered

she laughs at me
because i have said i thought i heard voices
not that i didn't have trust in her
we never thought she would really win
she was voted as queen by the entire upper school student body
never in a million years
would that have happened anywhere else
her school is amazing
she is so confident
she is so honest
she is good 
she is fair
and she is a winner

we have all come a long way
and i am so happy
i can't believe it sometimes

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


kids today are under so much pressure
i know
i was in high school
a loooong time ago
but i remember having fun
i made good enough grades
and good enough test scores
to go to a great college
where i also had fun

i see my own children
freaking out about making a B
and worse for a C
thank goodness i was not like that
but still
a few days ago
my middlest wouldn't go to school
she seemed sick
my husband and i
told her to go back to bed

that afternoon
when she woke up
at 4 pm
she told me she was too scared to go
she was worried about a class
she was concerned about the work
she couldn't keep up
she was scared of her grades
and the teacher

uh oh
been there
done that
when the oldest felt like that
we knew she needed to get out
the middlest is different
she is stronger
she told us she would be good with whatever she got
she was lying to us
and herself
she is not good with C's
at this school

we went to talk to the head of upper school
she is only about a month into sophomore year
i want her out
not at the end of the semester
or the end of the year
i don't care about the money
i just want her happy

i am calling schools
talking to her
talking to her advisor
having her go to her therapist
she needs to make the decision
it is her life
i hate seeing her in pain
i hate seeing her down on herself
i hate hearing that she doesn't have time for a social life
that all she does is study
and then she is not content with the grades she is getting

i have seen these signs of depression before
and i don't want that to happen to our family again
we know the consequences
we know the feelings
we know we need to help her

public school
private school
jewish school
non denominational school

i don't care
i just want her happy
and feeling good about herself
and being happy with her life

that is all that matters to me
happy children
happy family
just need to get there

Sunday, September 19, 2010

a time of renewal

the last 2 weeks
have been very comforting
in these days
we have celebrated
Rosh Hashanah
Yom Kippur
the jewish new year
and the day of atonement

every year
for 10 days
these High Holy Days happen
and every year
for the past
40 something years
i have gone to services
and made promises
this year feels so different

when i think back to last year
at this time
i know i could barely
think past the following day
there were so many questions
so many fears
so much concern
i didn't know
if my oldest would be coming home soon
or if my two youngest
would even accept it

this year
i have shed many tears
this time
they have been of happiness
of joy
of relief
because not only
can i think past tomorrow
but we are
thinking of next year
our oldest
will be off to college
in a different state
with our blessing

this year
while sitting in services
i reflected on the past 365 days
i recounted joyous times
the threatening times
the times i yelled
the times i cursed
the times i go not go on
the fury i felt towards others
the jealousy i felt toward others
the hurt i felt
at many times
when i was misunderstood
or i
couldn't really express myself

i do feel renewed
i feel peace
released of burdens
releasing this hurt of others
i feel the forgiveness
and i have forgiven
most everyone
that hurt me

truth be told
my oldest said to me
that the ones who
are not atoning
and who hurt me and my family
will be harder to forgive
it made me feel better
until those certain people
at a school
i won't name right now
who hurt me
my youngest
and all of my family
still need to admit
their mistakes
i won't dwell on them
i can still pity them
and be concerned of them
and stay away from them

but the others
the family members
the friends
who may have hurt me
or my family members
when trying to show care
have been forgiven
letting go
and forgiveness
can be so
it is a new feeling
that inspires me

the new year is upon us
may it be joyful
and precious
and bring relief
to other people now
we are feeling good now

that is reason enough to celebrate

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

16 years ago today

since last year
I noticed that the middlest
found out she needed her big sister
and today
she turned 16
I thought I needed to revisit this area again

what a difference a year has made
there have been rough times
for sure
good times
sad times
scary times

the 2 oldest sisters
have gotten along
so much better
sometimes I am not sure I am in the right house

every day
it is getting better and better
they are relating to one another
even joking
and being sarcastic
without any tears
or fears that
something is not a joke

last week
I heard the girls talking late in the night
it was a school night
I was on the couch
I put down my book
I couldn't hear what they were saying
they were talking
and enjoying each other's company
I closed my book
said a prayer
and tears came to my eyes

I never would have pictured this
would happen so soon
I never thought it could
be this good

the fact that they openly
tell each other
that they love one another
is a gift
and it just keeps giving
every day

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

New School Year

this year it is right
it is good
it is what is supposed to be

all 3 girls in the first day of school picture
Karen started the day before
Bethany & Lucy were starting today
their school starts earlier
before we left
Karen got out of bed
came downstairs
and took a picture with her sisters
she poked her head through
their heads
so she didn't have to change
I didn't care
all *I* cared about
was that
it was how
it should be

Last year at this time
I was so nervous
I didn't even want to take the picture
and I swore
when Karen returned home
we would take another one
I never did

I get these pangs of guilt
that I didn't do the right thing
that I should have made a big deal
about something
and didn't
and then I feel
I was wrong
about decisions
and messed up one child
while helping another
that I want to cry
but I can't
I just keep going
hoping I make better decisions next time
and try to forget some of the bad ones

I feel good
I feel that all is good
3 girls
in the picture
of the first day of school

the last first day of school
as sisters
in the same house

maybe I should start crying now

Sunday, August 15, 2010

girls girls girls

oh summer has been so sweet
the laughter in the house

thinking about last year at this time
and I just get chills
it is so much better
I want to cry

there are nights
we are all 5 at home
and it is so quiet
we watch a movie
we read in different rooms
we are together

I don't want summer to end
I am dreading school starting
I hate that my girls are getting older

there are some days I don't
I don't need to scramble for babysitters any more
I can leave the house
when I feel like it
pretty soon
I won't even have to drive carpool in the morning
because Bethany will be driving

karen hates to drive
that is okay
since her school is in our backyard
and she walks there each day

Little Lucy has student council tomorrow
it is really here
just one week left

I want to sleep late a little more
I want to stay up late A LOT more

last night
the 3 girls and I were up late
my husband got up at midnight
and yelled at us
because we were so loud
i thought it was so fun

they were all
making fun of each other
Lucy has to touch someone at all times
she and Bethany are all over each other
no boundaries
at all
Karen sat by me
letting them argue
over who had more couch

we laughed
so much
it felt so good

they would compliment each other
or make fun of each other
take pictures of one another
yell at each other
all in good fun

it made me so happy

Saturday, August 7, 2010


not sure whether to be happy or sad
celebrate or hide

I was dreading the day
cursing it
obsessing over it

when august 6th arrived
I actually forgot about it

I thought on the day before
do I say anything?
Jeff and I had talked about it all week

so the day went on
like normal
our new normal
I had 2 girls at home
the 3rd was to arrive that night

it was my best friend's birthday
I met her for coffee
I ran to the grocery store for dinner

when all the girls
and my husband was home
we sat around the dinner table
telling stories
it was the first day
in over 2 months
that we were all together

there were smiles
and compassion

dinner was good
if I say so myself
we decided to watch a movie together
a comedy
a good one
while we
were getting ready
Jeff reminded me
of the day

I choked up
i thought of last year
at this time
I remembered the hurt
the anger
the betrayal I felt
the look in Karen's eyes
the dead look in her eyes
the knowing
that she was out of control
that she knew she couldn't go on
that we knew we couldn't stay that way
the way
Bethany wouldn't talk about it
the sadness of Jeff
the way he couldn't be consoled
and me
I just sat there
stone cold

not today
we were again a family of 5
a happy
family of 5
what is normal anyway

we were happy
happy to be together

and to me
that was a success
I never could have imagined
a year ago

Monday, August 2, 2010


for a very brief time
Jeff and I are really enjoying the summer

ALL our girls are gone
it is a shock to our system

we have the house to ourselves
we are planning to eat dinner out every night
see movies
do whatever we want

it is hot
we won't eat outside

it is quiet in the house
we aren't really complaining

in some ways
it makes me sad
i like the noise of the girls

it reminds me
of why I married
my husband
we do still like each other
a lot
and that is very good

we still have fun together
he makes me laugh
I make him laugh
we enjoy each other's company

we love our daughters
we love our family
we appreciate it
we treasure it
even more
when it is away for a little while

Thursday, July 29, 2010

scuba scare

Jeff and I were in the airport
about to get on an airplane
our only vacation of the summer

off to Carmel
here is where we disagree
I like warm ocean water
he likes cold
or he just like California
and northern California is very cold

we are about to leave the hot state of texas
and go to this cool cool place
when my cell phone rings
a phone number I don't know

it is Karen's counselor
from her Road Less Traveled trip
Karen got upset that day
she was not allowed to scuba
only snorkel
and she was only one of 3
I could sense it before he told me
she got antsy
she felt picked on

he said she got teary at one point
and said he could tell by her body language
that something was wrong
he wanted to know more about
her seizure disorder
he said she wanted to talk to us
was that okay?
of course

we hung up
I told Jeff the story
if you know him
you can imagine how he was acting
all antsy himself
worried our trip was already over
before it would begin
worried for himself
for us
and for her
she called us

she was sad
she did feel picked on
she didn't know that she wasn't going to scuba that day
until they were already on the boat
and I know her
she was afraid she would never get to scuba
on the whole trip
both of us talked to her
listened to her
told her we believed in her
knew she could do it
she just need help
learning to clear her mask
we got her calm
we both asked her
if she wanted to come home
tell us now
we said
and we won't get on our plane

she is stronger than she thinks
she said
she wanted to stay
because if she didn't
she would never know
and if she stayed
she would try
really hard
to succeed

i kept the counselor's cell phone number
and continued to text him throughout the weekend
telling him she could call us anytime
we would talk to her at anytime
but he kept texting me back
that all was good
she made it
and she got to scuba on sunday
we were relived

she got to call us back again
this week
and told us all about some of her trips
under water
she loved it
she enjoyed it
she was having fun
she was proud of herself
that made all the difference

Monday, July 12, 2010


camp is real life
the rest is commentary

i know
many people think camp is not real life
i would much rather live there
than at home

i spent so much time
at camp this summer
working during the first session
in the infirmary
as a nursing assistant
watching my kids
from a far
playing with my friends
at night
when the kids went to sleep

it was the camp's
35th reunion
it was a blast
saw old friends
new friends
old campers
old faces
so many memories
in so many buildings

in so many ways
the place stays the same
just the faces change
it is beautiful
going back to camp
reminds me of being young
and when I am there
with my best friend
we act like we are teenagers

we hang around
the staff members
who could probably be
our kids
if push came to shove

thank goodness they are not
the camp director
has been there forever
and we
sometimes act like teenagers
in his presence
it is so funny

a camp experience
is another one of those things
that can't be explained
you just have to be there
again and again

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Grasshoppers causing car accidents

i was so sad
i didn't want to leave
the session was over

time to leave camp
at least not for too long this time
just for a couple of days

we were
as usual
one of the last to leave

we went to Bethany's
camp area
put some of her things
in my car
she was coming back
for another session
I wasn't allowed to be there

then we went to Lucy's cabin
Bethany ran to tell her last friend goodbye
Lucy's stuff was everywhere
that frustrated me
why can't she get her stuff
for once

we got it
all in my car
she was mad at me
so she sat in the back on the car
thank goodness
I realized later

driving through camp
no seat belts
at about 8 miles an hour
I had the windows down
a grasshopper hopped into my car
colorful that he was
I laughed at it
and tried to swat it away
i was so focused on the
that I didn't pay attention
and the next thing I knew
was the sound I heard
Lucy was screaming
I was hurting
but I ran to her
she thought she was bleeding
I had hit a utility pole
while playing
with the grasshopper
I forgot the first rule of driving
keep your eyes on the road

my car was a mess
Lucy was a mess
i was driving back to the infirmary
where I slept
where I stayed
where I worked
many nurses were there
they turned off the lights
checked Lucy out
called the camp director
he came running
checked us out
then went to check the pole
"the pole is stronger than alyson's car"
was the quote
thank goodness
I thought

I started to drive
Jeff got upset
he wanted someone to follow me
and to get Lucy to the doctor

it ended up being so much easier than I thought
a friend from camp
followed me
on the access road
I couldn't get on the highway
my car was making funny noises
my best friend met up with me on the way
she took Lucy to the urgent care
my friend followed me
to the body shop
that my insurance told me
to go to
she brought me and Bethany
to the urgent care
BFF and Bethany drove home
Lucy and I saw the doctor
all was good
Enterprise picked us up
just like in the commercials
and we got the new car
filled it up
with all our stuff
then drove
the 2 hours home

i said it was camp karma
camp didn't want me to leave
neither did I

Saturday, June 26, 2010

how do you know?

when a blog is finished
or when a blog is right
or when a post will make someone cringe
or cry

i always had this idea about starting a blog
i don't know why
i have never really been a writer
and i hate hate hate to journal

i made my website
but it sat still and blank for so long

then that awful
situation happened with my oldest
my baby
that tore our family apart

i got the urge
i felt i needed to write down my feelings
and i don't even know if anyone reads this thing
does it matter
am i doing for myself
or for other people

do i want other parents to know
how we struggle
how often
families who might look good on the outside
are sick on the inside

that was our family's struggle
with the whole mental illness issue

karen looks good
she gets good grades
she doesn't drink or party
she is calm in the outside world
at home
she fell apart
and sometimes still does
but nobody sees that

so we looked like
a perfect family
3 beautiful girls
2 lovely parents
who all care about each other
then nobody knows
what goes on behind closed doors

crying myself to sleep
some nights
worried i was doing something wrong
that i was a horrible mother
that i was a bad wife
that i was ignoring my friends
because i couldn't answer the phone
or return emails
just because
i didn't have the energy

how do i know
that i did the right thing
that i started this blog
to write about real life
i ended up writing about our family's problems
how do i know
if that was what i was supposed to do

should i share this
with my friends and family
what if i upset someone
with something i said
what if i upset my children
even though i used fake names

how and i supposed to know
if i did the right thing

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

school is OUT

i never thought this day would come
this school year is over

it has been hell
pure hell
since day one of this year

school starting
and only 2 girls for the first day picture
that just killed me

karen being gone for the first 6 weeks of school
just made me sick

lucy being accused of cheating
and then being bullied
by the teachers
and the administration
just about
threw me over the edge

and that was only in the first 2 months
i thought it would get better
but it didn't

the year just never really caught up
lucy was an emotional mess
all year long
she had lost trust in those teachers
and the administration
her grade was being told
that they were the worst
boys were kicked out
because of cyber bullying
girls were talking about it
all the time
the teachers never gave them a break
lucy never felt good about herself
that knocked me down too
how could this great kid
who usually loved life
and everyone in it
get the wind knocked out of her so much

karen felt better
but there was this underlying feeling
that her bad moods would return
she felt it
i felt it
her sisters felt it
and her dad
we have been on edge all year
walking on eggs

bethany just wasn't herself
high school was difficult
adding to it that
her big sister had all these problems
and her little sister
wanted to be her own person
and all her friends
they wanted to party
and she didn't
she wasn't sure where she fit in
she wanted to have friends
she made VERY GOOD decisions
so Jeff and I stayed home often with her
on weekend nights
when her other sisters
were both out somewhere
we didn't care
we told her how smart she was
and how much we could believe in her

it was a horrible year
and I am SO GLAD
it is over

let the summer begin!

Monday, May 10, 2010


it has been months since I have been this scared
seeing my baby out of control
where does this come from
why does it happen
what causes this

things have been so good lately
things have also been harder
made her think
made her realize
that she is growing up
she hates that
she does not want to
she is looking at colleges
but we are not forcing her out

i think maybe we shouldn't talk about it anymore
she was out of control tonight
and i got scared
she got scared
we both cried
i got angry
she got angry
she called me names
she hasn't done that in so long

she didn't get physical
did it happen again

she doesn't deserve this
I know I don't deserve this

maybe that is why
we were feeling so good about everything
that we forgot this feeling
I don't like it
I know she doesn't like it
her fears creep back up when it happens
the family doesn't like it
they go into hiding

we can't live like that every again
we won't
it scares us all

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spring Break

it was so nice
at last
to have a family vacation
our family of 5
to spend time together

the plane flight is always a pain
the girls might push
I love it
I don't get tired of it
it is all so
"normal" now

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

you would never believe it, really

who could have guessed
who could have thought this to be
who would have ever begun to believe

the snow
we thought that was enough
then the power outage
the canceled flights
the family that never made it in
the friends who couldn't get in town

my niece who took planes, trains and automobiles to get in
wasn't that enough?

it could not end there

NBA all star game
so stars
and fans
from all over
flooded the city
not just anywhere
but the mall
the Galleria mall
all our guests were staying
where we were staying
where the evening party was being held

after Lucy's wonderful service
we ran home real fast
thank goodness our power was back
we changed into casual clothes
and rested
then drove back to the hotel

there were lines to get in
what is going on
we wondered
but didn't really care

Lucy and Bethany
and their friends
wanted to go in the mall
sure I thought
give me some alone time
I could use it

that is how I found out
the mall was jam packed
full of people
star sightings
player sightings
friends texting friends
or through twitter
who knows
it was crazy

We started to get ready
the woman doing our hair called
she was stuck in traffic
the photographer called
she was stuck in the mess too
she ended up
parking at Target
and walking to the mall
it was that bad

My husband was angry
very angry
I tried to be patient
like I usually do
I tried to stay away from him
usually the best idea

we ended up having friends being turned away
from the hotel
kids being dropped off
all around the mall
and running to the opening
to the hotel
to get to the party

we actually had a party crasher too
I saw her
made me feel like the Obama's

vendors were late
vendors messed up
don't get me started on the
picture t-shirts
Lucy was so upset about that part

other than than
she was happy
most of her friends were there
I kept asking her

some of our guests
just never made it
some of our older relatives
just couldn't wait that long

some relatives and friends
went drinking or eating
and joined us later

thank goodness
Lucy was happy
my husband ended the evening happy
after yelling at as many people
as he could

and I was crying throughout
the picture montage
watching all my babies
grow up
and remembering
how much we have been through
all over again

As long as Lucy was happy
that was all that mattered to me

Saturday, February 13, 2010

My baby did it

she was shining
she was beautiful
she beamed

I beamed
her daddy beamed
the entire congregation was all smiles

my baby
became a jewish woman this morning

she read from the torah
she chanted her blessings
she giggled
she smiled
she sang
she stood tall

she was perfect
she was lovely
she was amazing

I was crying
I was so happy
that I couldn't believe it was happening

our family was there
enough of them were there
the ones who wanted to be
the ones who cared
the ones who
took planes
trains and
to get here

we were there
of course
our power went out on thursday
we moved into the hotel
into my brothers's family's room
since they ended up not coming

thank goodness
our power came on
last last night
because I needed to get home
to print out my speech
that I had worked on for so long
but had never printed

I thought I could do it that day
not thinking
there would be snow
power outages
and trees falling
all over the city

our good friends were there
many of them
smiling at all of us
on the bima
as a family

and we were all happy
that is what mattered

Thursday, February 11, 2010


it is thursday
the weekend is fast approaching
but so is the weather

snow came down
it got worse at the day went on
not better

this morning
I was all excited
saying how pretty the white is
all over the grass
and the streets
everyone thought it would stop
not get worse
everything is canceled
school was canceled early
flights are canceled
my niece is trying to get her way from Boston
back to dallas
her plane was canceled this morning
she is somehow getting to new york
flying to austin
then getting a ride here
from our friends

friends from Utah
had their plane cancel too
my brother and his family
their plane for tomorrow
has already been canceled
and my mom is trying to find them a new flight

silly NBA
their all star game is here in dallas too
not helping matters

Snow is beautiful
I still believe that
not when snow
ruins months of planning
makes a little 13 year old girl
and her family

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

gearing up...

Hard to believe my baby is 13
ready to become a Bat Mitzvah
she has grown so fast
I am not ready for this

I am
I am not

I honestly don't like my girls growing up sometimes
she is so ready
she is so prepared

we have all the clothes picked out
the jewelry
and the shoes
the parties planned
the meals decided
there is just so much to do

my speech
I say it in my head at night
every night
trying to perfect it
trying to make it sound like I want
I don't think I will ever get it right
trying to tell her how I feel

here is where I try-

Lucy, when you were born your daddy and I always said that you were the best present we could have ever give your sisters.  But, we were wrong; you have been a gift to all of us.  Your smile is contagious, your energy is outstanding and you always make sure that someone in the family is laughing with you!  We have been so lucky that you have always been a part of our family.
Honestly, I can’t believe I am here, my baby is 13.  Yes, this event is bittersweet, it is the last of our family’s bat mitzvahs, but this one is so special because it is yours and you made it so different from your sisters and mine.
People kept asking me, does it get easier, do I have it down pat now---and the answer is NO.  This service, the preparation work, the planning was all about you-you helped make the decisions all along the way.  Like the jewish adult you became today, you knew that you have a right in the decisions that affect you. This weekend is to celebrate you, your accomplishments, your accolades, and your individualness.
I value your differences-I love how much you care about others. Since you were practically raised going to fun Saturdays each month for so many years, it was a habit, not a new mitzvah project for you. It was great to find new ones-caring for children and seniors who can’t help themselves and will appreciate your art was such a fun project.  And, as you know, it doesn’t have to stop here.  You can always have your friends make fun placemats for different holidays-you know that mitzvah work does not begin and end solely to become at bat mitzvah, it is life altering, it is a lifetime commitment to the practice and changing your projects over time –like Go Red for Women and Greene Family Camp, next week, maybe you’ll find something else.
Your laugh is infectious and not to share that is a misfortune. Being silly is a fabulous trait that you did inherit from your daddy, along with his face, and watching you share that with so many people is a pleasure.
One of my favorite qualities about you, is how you always make lemonade out of lemons, you always find the silver lining----I remember when you were little and once while skiing down a mountain, you fell down, you looked up at me, and said “well, as long as I am here, I am going to make a snow angel” most kids would have cried or gotten angry at themselves, but not you.  You’re always looking for the good in everyone and everything.  You are always the first one to compliment someone you meet, you notice new haircuts, new glasses and cute outfits. I am always so proud when you meet new people and act confident in front of others immediately.
These last few months have been very hard on our family, and sometimes you didn’t want to talk about it, but, deep down, it did bother you.  You always try to find the good in things, and today, things are SO good with our family, and you share that with all us daily.  Thank you so much for your inspiration.  You make me so proud.
Once you spent the night out, and the next day the father told me, it’s official, she even smiles in her sleep.  That beautiful big smile-may you never hide it, or hide behind it.  It does a world of good to everyone who comes in contact with it.
Thank you for sharing it with me every day. I love you-and am so proud of you today and every day!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

not happy to get back to school

going back to school
is always hard on everyone
i hate it
i want my girls home with me
i enjoy the time we spend together
i like seeing them all day
i love having fun with them

so sunday nights
are always hard
after a 2 week break
from school
it is even more hard

everyone seemed to have a meltdown tonight
the biggest
the middlest
and the littlest

nobody seems happy

My husband and I decided
on mondays
or the first day back to school
every week
we would help Karen
by taking her to breakfast somewhere
and dropping her off to school

it is too hard for her
to get out of bed
get dressed
eat something at home
and then walk to school
when she is anxious
and does not want to get back

so first day back each week now
is breakfast day
one of us takes the younger 2
to their school
and one of us takes the big one
to hers

it helps ease the stress

it looks like tomorrow
all of us
including me
maybe even especially me
needs to extra attention

Friday, January 1, 2010


that is the best way to describe it
the vacation
the trip
the family compound

it was exhausting
it was fun
it was emotional
it was draining

i really just don't get
how people can love you
care for you
and be involved in your life
not ask any personal questions
pretend that nothing
extremely difficult did happen

my poor big girl
everyone ignored the fact that she
spent 2 months
in a residential treatment center
was said to her
not even just a remark
about being sorry she was away
that they didn't know what to say

poor thing
she felt self conscious
even more than usual
she felt they didn't care
she felt rejected
and became depressed all over again

i want to take all that hurt away
i want to yell at my family
i want to tell them how their
limited ability to communicate
shattered my daughter's self image

it would be worthless
they didn't notice her falling apart
very much
that is
they knew she had a hard time
then later
my husband and I would
help her feel better
and they would just see her with a smile again
because she was pretending
it didn't bother her
when it really did inside

they didn't notice
they pretended not to

it is over
we are home
and I hope
she starts feeling better about herself
very soon