50 Life Lessons I’ve Learned Over the Past 50 Years

50 Life Lessons I’ve Learned Over the Past 50 Years

50 life lessonsToday I hit the half-century mark. Wow – that’s a big, ginormous number! I remember being in high school and calculating how old I’d be in the year 2000 (36 for those wondering or who aren’t that fast with math). I also remember thinking that 36 was a huge number too – funny how that’s not the case now. As I do a little self-reflecting today I thought I’d share 50 life lessons I’ve learned over the past 50 years. Only time will tell if I make it to the Today Show’s Smucker’s 100th Birthday list (and honestly, I’m not really sure I want to), but for today, I’ll celebrate this milestone with sense of pride, nostalgia, some aches and pains – and a big sigh of relief that I’m still here to enjoy life, because there’s still so much more I want to do!

50 Life Lessons I’ve Learned Over the Past 50 Years — (In no particular order!)

  1. Filter before speaking (still working on this one!).
  2. There are a lot of things in life you can’t change – hair color is not one of them. (Thanks, Mom!)
  3. Conquer your fears and try something out of your comfort zone – unless it will land you in jail or on America’s Most Wanted.
  4. Go to at least one major sporting event in your life.
  5. Perms are generally a bad.
  6. Before you do something crazy, ask yourself, “Would I do this if I were sober?”
  7. Women should understand and play at least one sport.
  8. Love may mean never having to say you’re sorry – but if you really pissed off a loved one – say you’re sorry!
  9. NEVER say never.
  10. Being a late bloomer has its advantages.
  11. The most important accessory you should always wear is a smile.
  12. Be a positive example to young, impressionable minds – especially your children – they watch and learn from you.
  13. Learn how to do something in the kitchen – even if it’s boiling water!
  14. Visit at least 10 states and one other country in your lifetime.
  15. Stay in touch with friends from your childhood – they will always remind you of the person you were and the person you wanted to become – if you’re not there yet.
  16. You can choose your friends, unlike your relatives.
  17. Appreciate your parents every day – even if they’re no longer here. You’ll understand why once you’re a parent.
  18. Pay your taxes – and your parking tickets.
  19. Serving on a jury is a fascinating process, but pray your fate won’t rely on it one day.
  20. Don’t drink and drive (and today add texting); it’s not worth it.
  21. Failure is not a sign of weakness, just fail fast and don’t make the same mistakes twice.
  22. Send a thank you note when someone does something nice for you.
  23. If given the opportunity, move out of your hometown – you can go home again, if you want to.
  24. Bad fashion styles from the 1970s and 1980s are still bad fashion styles when they come back around (can you say bell bottoms and shoulder pads?)

    Judy & Celia

    My angel in heaven.

  25. We all have angels in heaven, and some of them even share your birthday.
  26. Understand the difference between Mr. Right and Mr. Right Now!
  27. There are two types of people in the world: those who know and those who want to know. Be the one who knows, but don’t be a know-it-all.
  28. If you don’t have anything nice to say – tell your best friend because they’ll probably think it’s funny!
  29. Big boobs will get you free drinks. (I’m not proud; well sort of)
  30. NOTHING IS EASY!
  31. Your life will be tested time and time again and you’ll never know your own strength until you have to use it.
  32. You can wear white before Easter and after Labor Day – especially in Texas or Florida.
  33. Take responsibilities for your actions and don’t pass blame for something you did in the first place.
  34. Things typically happen for a reason and if you can’t figure out why – the reason is probably not yours to understand.
  35. Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans.
  36. Mother-Daughter relationships are complicated.
  37. Bad things can and do happen to good people; a book with the same title won’t make it better.
  38. The only thing constant in life is change – embrace it.
  39. You’re never too old to reinvent yourself.
  40. G-d’s last name is not dammit (something I thought true my entire childhood).
  41. Hug, kiss and tell your kids and spouse/partner you love them every day.
  42. Believe in Love, no matter how old you are.
  43. Indulge in some sort of extravagance at least once a year – you deserve it.
  44. Karma is a bitch – and things do come back around.
  45. Respect your elders – they’ve been around the block a time or two and you can probably learn something from them.
  46. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
  47. A child’s laughter will always make you smile.
  48. Don’t become a “Jack of all trades” and a “Master of Nothing” – pick a lane.
  49. Tell the truth, but learn the art of diplomacy.
  50. Carpe Diem #RIPRobinWilliams.

Here’s to the next 50 and learning more along the way!

7 Big Thank Yous to My Mama on Her 80th Birthday

7 Big Thank Yous to My Mama on Her 80th Birthday

photo 1Happy 80th Birthday, Mama! You made it! It seems like yesterday we were celebrating your 40th, 50th, 60th and 70th (and we were celebrating my milestones too!) – my, where does the time go? I know you’ve always told me a mother doesn’t need thank yous from their children, but I thought to properly mark this milestone occasion I would once again not listen to you and let you know how thankful I am to be your daughter.

  1. Thank you for giving birth to me – I realize that’s a bit narcissistic as I’m basically saying, “if not for you there would be no me,” but seriously, I can’t imagine not knowing you. Can you imagine never knowing me?photo
  1. Thank you for being my teacher – I’m not talking about being my schoolteacher. I’m referring to how you helped steer me in the right direction when I was so often on the wrong side of ideas – and you still do today. It was, however, a bonus that you were an actual elementary school teacher, as I probably would have never learned to read without you! And thank you for teaching me manners – apparently a lost art for so many parents today.
  1. Thank you for putting up with my B.S. – There is really no way to describe the mother-daughter relationship except to say it’s very complicated, and I’m confident it’s not exclusive to just you and me. Teenage girls are the worst and I pulled my fair share of regrettable acts through the years that I’m not proud of – AT ALL. But no matter what I threw your way, you seemed to take it all in stride. You may not have felt that way at the time, but you never led me to believe anything less.Mommy2
  1. Thank you for not dying – During aforementioned teenage years, you had a big health scare and me, being the self-involved 16-year old I was, never gave it much thought. Again, I’m not proud. Thankfully you gave me a shock the equivalent of restarting my heart when you pulled off your wig to show me you were very sick, and really could die. That moment has never left me – and I’m glad you didn’t leave me either.
  1. Thank you for giving me strength – No matter how dire the situation, you always seemed to keep strong for the family, even though your heart was crumbling inside. We drew upon your strength and perseverance (almost to a fault) and were able to keep going, because of you. Of course, with the good comes the bad and sometimes we (I) wanted you to let it out – and I still do to this day. I guess that’s just the curse of Jewish Mother Guilt and sitting in the dark instead of having someone change the light bulb!
  1. Thank you for being my example of how to be a mother – We will always have some differing opinions on how to raise a child, but the fact that you try your hardest to let me figure it out on my own, with just the right amount opinion when I ask for it, has taught me more than any book, pediatrician, website or blog. Today’s world of child rearing is completely different from how it was in the “old” days (you’d probably be in jail!), but one thing is constant – a mother’s love, understanding and acceptance will always rule supreme.photo 2
  1. Thank you for simply being my mother – While that statement sounds a little trite, it’s meaning is in no way common. There’s a fine line between parenting and friendship and the window of opportunity is very narrow, especially during – the teenage years. Today I know the reason you and I are best friends is because when I needed a parent – you were a parent, even though I thought what I really needed was a friend. Of course, the irony is not lost on me that at times I now feel like your parent, but such is the circle of life.

So today, on your 80th birthday, I say the most sincere Thank You – for all the things I listed above and so much more that words will never do justice. Here’s to many, many more celebrations, Mama – I love you!

Why I Feel Lucky With My Son’s Hemophilia Condition

Why I Feel Lucky With My Son’s Hemophilia Condition

A beautiful day for a Walk!

A beautiful day for a Walk!

Today I feel lucky. No, I didn’t win the lottery and I didn’t find out a long-lost relative left me a pile of money. Today, the family, including Sarah, the most awesome babysitter on the planet, participated in the New York Chapter of the Hemophilia Foundation’s annual walk. So why would this make me feel lucky? Because although my son, Jack, is a hemophiliac, his condition is very mild in comparison to so many of the other children we saw at today’s walk. Yes, he still has to be careful (as careful as an active, rambunctious 6-year old can be), but if he had to be born with this condition, he (and we) definitely won the lottery.

Sarah - the most awesome babysitter on the planet!

Sarah – the most awesome babysitter on the planet!

According to the CDC, it’s estimated that about 20,000 individuals in the U.S. have hemophilia. Could that number be any smaller? And how in the world did Jack get this? For a little history: because my father was a hemophiliac, as a female, I automatically carried the gene, but that didn’t mean if I had a boy I would pass it on to him. Guess what? He got it. But like my father, his case is very mild. Now if he could only get his 6’4 height.

Feeling lucky & blessed!

Feeling lucky & blessed!

So what does this even mean, and what is hemophilia? It’s a bleeding disorder typically seen in males, whereby if there is an incident as minor as a dental procedure or nosebleed to a more major trauma like a bone break, head bonk or fingers caught in the door, for a hemophiliac it will take longer for their blood to clot. If not treated with special medication called Factor, there could be long-lasting, severe complications. And even though Jack is what is considered a mild case, there is still concern for him, especially in cases where you can’t see his injury. It’s not lost on me that I will be able to use this condition when explaining why he will never play football or any other major contact sport – again, I feel lucky!

Once considered a “royal” disease, hemophilia can be traced as far back as Queen Victoria. She apparently passed it on to several of her daughters and by way of one of her granddaughters, Alexandra, who married Nicholas, the Tsar of Russia; their son Alexi had a very severe case. It is thought that they were paying so much attention to his condition that they weren’t paying enough attention to what was happening in Russia at the time and this (among other reasons) is what led to the Russian Revolution in 1917. Talk about passing the blame!

Jack getting ready to walk with his pedometer!

Jack getting ready to walk with his pedometer!

Happy Family!

Happy Family!

As we were walking around the grounds this morning talking to the different pharmaceutical reps and nurses who were there peddling their meds and treatment options, a total calm came over me. While I’m not happy and feel enormous guilt that Jack was born with this condition I essentially passed on to him, and I hate seeing him in pain each year as they test his blood, and during the times he has to have injections because of an accident (only 2 times so far; I’m sure there is more to come since he’s all boy!), it’s all okay. I’ve fast come to learn that in life, if it’s not one thing – it’s another, so be grateful for the little things (like mild conditions of a disease) and always count your blessings, especially if one of your biggest blessings is a little boy named Jack.

P.S. – Next year we’ll be forming Team Jack for the walk so if you want to learn how you can help please let me know or visit the National Hemophilia Foundation’s website for more information.

Wordless Wednesday – Young Love

Wordless Wednesday – Young Love

A sweet drawing for my handsome 'lil heart breaker from his adoring little admirer.

A sweet drawing for my handsome ‘lil heart breaker from his adoring little admirer.

 

Wordless Wednesday – Kindergarten Accomplishments

Kindergarten Accomplishments