Wednesday, October 29, 2014


My First Guest Post!

I am thrilled to have a guest post on Be Prepared. Period. This is a wonderful website dedicated to the menstrual health of women and girls, covering everything from puberty to menopause.  Here's a sneak preview!

Menopause: Welcome to the Heated Years....
Navigating through "The Change"

Each morning before leaving the house, I used to check the weather channel to find out if I should wear a coat.  But these days it truly doesn’t matter what the thermostat says….I won’t wear one anyway.

Why?

Because I am always hot.

The car thermostat could read 32 degrees and I’ll be turning the air conditioner full blast onto my sweltering face while my poor husband Bob, in the driver’s seat, quickly succumbs to hypothermia.

Yes, I have entered into the stage of life called ..... 

Click to continue reading


If you like my stories please tell me in the comments section below.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

"How is Your Girlfriend"

My daughter Melissa, 17, sits cross-legged on the living room floor, guitar in her lap, notebook in hand, music and lyrics pouring from her heart.

Born of love, anger, sorrow, and joy, the words provide a mirror into her soul...a brief glimpse into the life of a teen who tells her tales through song.

Her first foray into the world of music came in the 5th grade when she answered the call to join her elementary school band and dutifully learning to play the flute.  Two years later when my husband Bob dusted off his old guitar and placed it in her talented hands, she knew she had found her passion....and never looked back.

Guitar lessons followed, along with acceptance into her high school audition chorus and the prestigious All South Jersey Chorus made up of the best and brightest teens representing 10 counties in the state.

Today, as a high school junior, she has carved out her niche as a singer/song writer who uses life experiences to produce powerful tunes that truly resonate with young and old alike.

Some have likened her to Colbie Caillat, others have described her as the next Taylor Swift.  As her mother, I admit my bias, so I will let you decide for yourself. I invite you to listen to what will hopefully be the first of many professionally produced songs to come.

Here is is: How is Your Girlfriend!
https://soundcloud.com/melissa-weinstein-1/how-is-your-girlfriend

If you would like to download the song to your iPad, iPod, or iPhone - you can purchase the song for .99 from iTunes at  https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/how-is-your-girlfriend-single/id934164256



Melissa is on vocals and guitar, her friend Emily McNally is on piano.

Melissa at a Beatles convention in NYC. Photo take by her friend Erica Till.
Tell me what you think of Melissa's song in the comments section below!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The B. A.T. Invasion

(In honor of the Halloween season, I thought this might be a good time to revisit one of my favorite posts, updated a bit from the original version!)





The early evening air gathered thick outside, the kind of heavy, humid-filled air that forces people behind closed doors where they mercifully position themselves in front of their air conditioners.

While my husband Bob and my then six-year old daughter Melissa, now 17, quietly watched cartoons, I crept up to my room in our modest town home,  turned on the ceiling fan and placed my head gently on the pillow, hoping to close my eyes for a few minutes before Melissa's night time bath routine brought me out of my slumber.

In the distance I heard a low rumble, alerting me to the inevitable approach of summer storm.  

I had barely had time to drift into REM sleep when I heard Bob call my name, caution in his voice.  Bleary eyed, I sat on the edge of the bed, trying to comprehend his cryptic message.

"Lisa, there's a B. A. T. in the house," he spelled with forced calm, hoping Melissa wouldn't catch on.

As I walked into the hallway and watched a scene of horror unfold before my eyes, I quickly deduced that Bob had not been talking about bats of the baseball kind.  

A black creature with a wing span of 4,000 feet flew up the stairs, his goal to attack and turn me into a vampire! With my cat following close behind (although I've never been quite sure what the fearless feline would have done if he had caught the darn thing) Mr. B. A. T. flew into Melissa's bedroom.  Thinking fast, I raced to close her bedroom door and trap him in there.  Her sleeping quarters not being an issue at the moment, I naturally assumed she'd just bunk in my bed for the rest of her life.

Unfortunately, Mr. B. A. T. had other plans.  No sooner did he enter Melissa's room did he fly back out again, straight for my face!  So, in an effort to stay calm so as not to upset my daughter, I did what all mature, grown up, rational adults do in moments like this.  

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

In my effort to escape my impending death, I turned, tripped over my cat, nearly fell down the stairs (breaking my toe in the process) and ran into the living room where Bob still tried to convince Melissa that our friendly neighborhood B. A. T., still in hot pursuit, was, in reality, just a bird.

Bob opened the sliding glass doors that led to our small back yard and hurried Melissa and me outside.  Still screaming, I ran into our yard, then around to the front of the house where our next door neighbors Angelica, Louie, and their two young sons Chris and Brandon had come outside to find out why the normally quiet Weinstein family had seemingly lost their minds.

As the thunder rumbled a bit louder in the distance, and the westward sky darkened, we caught our breath and, together with our neighbors, tried to develop a B. A. T. coping  strategy more effective than "spending the rest of our lives in a hotel."

Just then, another neighbor pulled up in his car, a young single guy named Don who seemed to think we should just go into our house and trap the B. A. T. in a paper shopping bag, bring the bag outside and release the creature back into the wild, if you can call a New Jersey suburb "the wild".

Hmmmm, should we  choose Holiday Inn, Hilton, Sheraton, or Marriott?

Fortunately, Don offered to play the "catch the bat in the bag"  game for us.  

Angelica volunteered a paper shopping bag, handed it to Don, and wished him luck as he entered the B. A. T. lair of doom.  A few minutes passed with no word from Don.  The thunder grew a bit louder and flashes of lightening were now visible on the horizon.     

Still, in the still air we waited, and waited, and waited.

Finally, Don emerged with "bat in bag" and, as Melissa, Chris, Brandon, Bob, Louie, Angelica, and I all let out blood curdling streams loud enough to rival the approaching thunderstorm, Don released the B. A. T. from the bag of captivity.

End of story.  

Or so we thought.

Fast forward to "B.A.T. Invasion - Day Two".  

The next night, with Melissa bathed and tucked snugly into bed, I noticed the cat staring intently at our air conditioning vent.  Knowing full well that cat ears hear things that human ears can't decipher, I became concerned.  

THEN THE UNIMAGINABLE HAPPENED!

Bob and I watched in horror as claws appeared gripped onto the inside of our living room air vent, looking for an escape route.  

Not wanting to wake Melissa, I kept my screams to a minimum and instead, frantically dialed the local animal control office who informed us that bats eat pesky insects like mosquitoes and are therefore a protected species.  Their hands were tied.  The B. A. T. would have to stay.  Quite frankly, I didn't care if bats ate mosquitoes, grass hoppers, locusts, dogs, cats, pigs, bears, or killer sharks.   I WANTED THE CREATURE OUT OF MY HOUSE!

Willing to risk any punishment animal control forced upon me, I took a can of RAID flying insect killer and sprayed it into every single air vent.  Then, drawing on super human strength that only appears when confronted with creatures of the dark, I positioned heavy furniture so that it covered nearly every air vent.  Just let that B. A. T. even try to attempt escape!  Not on my watch.

The next day, we had a guy from a pest control service check out our home.  He quickly determined that Mr. B. A. T. had either died, escaped or evaporated, either way, no sign of the winged wonder existed in our air events, or anywhere else in the house, for that matter.

We had survived our terrifying encounter unscathed. But sometimes, during that brief time of day when daylight transforms into the grey skies of dusk, I see bats flying about in the distance and I wonder, do they know I probably killed their cousin?

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

If you like my stories please tell me in the comments section below!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Melissa Gets Her License!

Last summer my daughter Melissa, 16 at the time, took on a volunteer job at our local library. Although only a short bike ride from home, my cherub insisted on taking the safe mode of transportation to the library, namely, the "mom chauffeur".

What did she think would happen to her while pedaling the streets of our small suburban New Jersey neighborhood?  I don't know.  However I suppose all of those years of her overprotective mommy warning of stranger danger had taken its toll.

Finally, Bob and I convinced our naive girl to pull her bike out from the depths of the garage and pedal the short distance to the library.  When her shift ended, we stood outside in antipation watching her bike down the street towards home, the huge smile across her face beaming from blocks away!

"I did it!" she exclaimed.  "I felt so independent!"

Fast forward 13 months.

Once again, I stood outside in anticipation, waiting to celebrate another solo journey......this time in a (gulp).....car.

As a licensed driver for a mere three days, she had asked permission to take her friend John the short distance to his home.

I hesitated before granting her request.

John would be in the car with her on the first part of the trip, but then she would  have to come back all alone.  Nobody to tell her when to brake, when to turn, when to yield, when to signal, when to slow down, when to switch lanes, when to stop, when to go.

Would she survive the two mile journey?

Would I survive the wait during the two mile journey?

Sigh.

The road to becoming a legal driver in the State of New Jersey did not come without its challenges for Melissa.

She had passed Driver's Education in school, then completed the mandatory six hours of lessons with a certified driving school, which enabled her to get a permit.  Now she could get behind the wheel with two of the greatest driving instructors who ever lived......her PARENTS!!

Indeed, each session with Bob usually ended with Melissa near tears because her father had dared to use his "strict" voice.

Sessions with me were not much better since my incessant pounding on the "imaginary" passenger side brake truly rattled her nerves.

All to soon (or not soon enough depending on your perspective) the day of the driver's test had arrived.  I took off of work so I could personally escort my "baby" on the road to adulthood.

Upon pulling into the testing center, we were greeted by an instructor whose look and demeanor were reminsicent of a boot camp drill sergeant.  With trepidation, I got out of the car and let Melissa take her place behind the wheel.....next to Sergeant Scary in the passenger seat.

I watched them go forward a few feet, then stop.

Something did not seem right.

After several minutes, Sergeant Scary exited the vehicle and beckoned me over.

I dared not disobey.

Seems our car lacked an important feature, an emergency hand brake located between the driver and passenger seat.  According to the State of New Jersey, the car had to have this feature in order to be used during the test.

Sergeant Scary commanded us to leave, get a different car, and reschedule the test.

I dared not disobey.

One month later, armed with a 22-year old car gifted to Melissa by my mother, we drove to the testing center through a downpour of biblical porportions in our second attempt to earn the title of "licensed driver".

The "rigorous"  test seeks to determine if new drivers can handle gruelling road conditions by forcing them to demonstrate two essential skills:

1. Turning the key in the ignition
2. Parallel parking

Having practiced parallel parking for most of her waking hours, my daughter tackled the test with ease.

Next stop, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) where we were officially introduced to the 3,974 Identification point system!

You see, when you present yourself at the registration desk at the DMV, they do not, can not, will not believe that you are you.  Therefore, you must prove that you are you by presenting 362 pieces of identification, each valued at a certain number of points.  Some pieces of identification can be combined to add up to even more points.

Allow me to illustrate the DMV's Identification point sytem.

Passport - 2,314 points
Birth certificate - 1,684 points
Driver's permit signed by Seargant Scary - 562 points
Bank statement with proof of address - 331 points
Social security card - 1,347 points
School ID - 457 points
School report card - 357 points
School ID + School report card - 765 points
First book report - 624 points
First baby tooth - 791 points
First baby tooth + letter of authenticity from the tooth fairy - 1,652 points
Umbilical cord - 2,970 points

Unfortunately, Melissa and I "only" had her passport plus the signed driver's permit, thus proving that the 17-year old girl standing next to me whose smiling picture lit up the inside of her passport was obviously an imposter.

We were told in no uncertain terms to go home and get more proof!

Since we live a mere five minutes from the DMV, this slight delay was met with much happiness and patience from my sweet new driver. (Note to readers who do not have teenagers - I AM BEING SARCASTIC.)

With "el grumpo" next to me in the passenger seat, we drove home, retrieved her social security card and her birth certificate and traipsed back to that joyful, wonderful place...the DMV!

"You need proof of address," admonished the eldery gentleman at the reception desk.

"But we were just here ten minutes ago and they didn't tell us that!" I protested, seriously thinking that I could change the rules of this archaic institution.

"Are you her mother?"

"Yes."

"Does she live with you?"

"Yes."

"Do you have the same last name?"

"Yes."

"Ok, you can use your driver's license as proof of address."  (794 points)

A half an hour later, a DMV employee handed my daughter that small, coveted piece of plastic proclaiming her a legal licensed driver!

I made her swear that for the first 30 years few months, she would text me before getting behind the wheel, and upon arrival at her destination.  She agreed to my terms and reluctantly, I let her drive John home.

True to her word, her text alerted me to her departure from John's.

Now came the moment of truth. Her first solo stint as a licensed driver.

I watched her drive down our street with care, stop in front of our house, put on the turn signal, and proceed into the driveway, a huge smile on her face!

"Mom, it was great!" she exclaimed.  "I felt so independent."

All too soon, the "mom chauffeur" will retire, as Melissa drives off to a college campus, and then to her own apartment...her own life.

And I know, despite my worry, despite my fear, despite my stubborn unwillingness to let her go....my baby will do just fine!

Melissa shows off her new driver's license!


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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Resizing my Rings

I am nearly impossible to surprise, yet for my engagement nearly 22 (gulp) years ago, my husband Bob managed to pull it off.

Tempted by the inexpensive hotel rates that lure Philadelphians to Atlantic City, NJ each winter, Bob and I decided to invest in an unexpected weekend getaway.

"Are you going to propose to me in Atlantic City," I probed during the two hour drive to the shore.

"Lisa I already told you," he growled.  "You are impossible to surprise, We are getting engaged on Valentine's Day!"

Surprised by his insistance, I believed him, and put the matter to rest.

We had dated for over two years, and I knew a proposal was imminent.  However, Bob said he would not even attempt to catch me off guard since my keen powers of observation  would most certainly foil any "surprise Lisa" strategies he might have planned.

In Atlantic City we spent the afternoon on the casino floor, and I watched the slot machine swallow quarter after quarter without spitting out any in return. In a panic, I urged Bob to leave, fearful that we'd lose all of our money.  He angrily denied my request, and made it clear how much he resented my attempt to ruin his fun.  An arguement ensued as we made our way to our hotel room and changed for dinner.

Getting engaged was the farthest thing from my mind.

The restaurant overlooked the ocean, however, the hostess stuck us in a corner far from the scenic view.  Bob started to complain, but, not wanting to cause a scene, I told him to stop, and assured him our table was just fine.

The meal proceeded as planned and I forced the recent arguement to the back of my mind and began to enjoy our romantic setting.  Suddenly, the waitress approached our table with a bouquet of a dozen multi-colored balloons.

"What's this for?" I asked, completely perplexed.

"Oh," she said, then paused, searching for the right words.  "We sometimes give balloons to really nice couples."

Hmmmm.

I looked at Bob with suspicion.  "Are you planning something?" I accused.

"LISA YOU ARE IMPOSSIBLE TO SURPRISE! I TOLD YOU WE ARE GETTING ENGAGED ON VALENTINE'S DAY!"

He seemed beyond angry and, not wanting to fuel another fight, I again put any thoughts of a proposal out of my mind.

Until we finished our meal.

The dishes were cleared, our tummies were full, and the only thing on my mind was the desire to order dessert. Suddenly Bob stood up, muttered the word "ok", put his hand in his pocket, bent down on one knee, opened a small box and said...........

"Lisa, I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you.  Will you marry me?"

Despite the waitress nearly ruining Bob's monumental efforts to throw me off track (efforts that included staging an arguement), he had indeed, managed to pull off the world's biggest surprise!

Amid my tears and giggles, I said yes, and he placed the most beautiful diamond ring on my finger.

In the years to follow as our life unfolded, that symbol of our love rarely left my finger. (With the exception of pregnancy swelling that rendered the ring temporarily too small.)

Seven years after we said "I do", Bob presented me with an anniversary band that served as an exquisite complement to the engagement ring that started it all.  Now I had two symbolic keepsakes that I rarely removed.

That is........until last week.

I'll explain.

Several months ago, I had actually considered getting my rings made smaller since they slid up and down my fingers with ease, ominously threatening to fall off and dissappear forever.

Then came the surgery that hurled me into the next phase of life as a woman.

Bye bye menstrual cycle and hello swelling, bloating, and the overwhelming desire to sit inside the kitchen freezer All. The. Time.

Per the hospital's orders, I had removed my rings prior to the operation.  Two weeks into my recovery, I attempted to put them back on.  No luck.

I waited two more weeks.

With some effort, they slid beyond my knuckles, however, the gold band practically strangled my fingers.

Still too soon.

I waited a few more weeks and finally, the rings slid on with minimal effort, yet at certain times of the day I experienced a tightness that caused physical pain.  This sensation happened most often in the morning, when my body had gleefully retained everything it could during my innocent slumber, forcing my fingers to become as wide as a cucumber.  As the day wore on, the swelling would subside a bit, resulting in a decrease in the tightness and pain.

Weeks turned to months, and instead of worrying about returning to the days when I feared the rings would fall off, more often than not it hurt too much to even put them on.

I had two choices.

1. Stuff the rings in a drawer and never wear them again.
2. Take the rings to be resized and in the process, admit that change of life has taken its toll on my body, and I'll probably never be a smaller ring size again. (or clothing size either, for that matter.)

Sigh.

I entered the jewelry story with trepidation and waited my turn while a twenty something salesman helped a young couple pick out an engagement ring and a forty something saleslady spoke to a customer on the phone.

Please let the lady wait on me.
Please let the lady wait on me.
Please let the lady wait on me.

T'was not to be.

The young couple walked out of the store as Mr. Twenty Something greeted me with a smile and a professional, "How can I help you?"

He measured my rings, then measured my fingers, which had increased from a size 5.5 to a size 3,423.  Somehow, I felt the need to justify my humongous fingers, to tell this man that they didn't blow up because I got heavier, but because I had an operation that threw me into the throes of menopause.

Instead, I attempted a smile and said, "Oh well, I guess my fingers grew over the past 20 years."

"That sometimes happens," he said without much emotion.

The saleslady would have understood.  It comes with the bond of being female.  She simply would have understood.

I walked out of the jewelry store with my naked fingers, feeling quite vulnerable.....and quite old.

Later that day during our weekly journey to the supermarket, Bob instructed me to hold out my finger.  He then proceeded to take a plastic bag intended to store fresh produce, tied it around my finger, and proclaimed ,  "There! Now you'll have a ring to wear until your wedding band is resized, and men won't think you're single and try to steal you away, and everyone will still know you're mine!"

It certainly lacked the romance of that memorable evening in Atlantic City so long ago, but this "mock" engagement came with just as much love.

My change of life did not change his feelings, and that's all I need to know!

My husband Bob and me on our wedding day, April 23, 1994

If you like my stories, please tell me in the comments section below.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Mom the Stalker

On a chilly autumn morning two years ago, when my daughter Melissa was still adjusting to her right of passage transition from the school for babies (middle school)  to the school for cool teenagers (high school), my husband Bob and I both received a text from our offspring, who had just boarded the bus for another day of roaming the halls with hundreds of other teens who would rather be home in bed oh so much fun and learning!

Below is the context of this "loving" text:

"Way to stalk me Mom and Dad."

Bob and I exchanged puzzled looks.

Could she be referring to her Facebook page, where I have been forbidden to comment, post, like, or otherwise indicate to any of her friends that I even exist?  Hmmm, no I didn't think so.

Then why, I wondered, had she accused her innocent parents of the unforgivable crime of stalking. (Which of course, by the mere fact that I gave birth to her, it goes without say that I have complete stalking privileges!)

To properly answer this question, I must take you back in time.  Throughout her elementary and middle school years, Melissa had always boarded the bus in front of our house.  Her mother, AKA Mrs. Overprotective Stalker, waited outside with her, until my embarassed middle school cherub commanded me to stay in the house where I was forced to peek through the window blinds to make sure she safely joined her peers on their daily journey to school each day.

But now that she had entered the "grown up" world of high school, everything had changed! She was now required to walk 3,974 miles  a short block to the corner to wait for her daily transportation.

Being Mrs. Overprotective Stalker, I had a hard time coming to terms with not being able to actually witness my baby in the act of getting on the bus.  However, I realized I needed to accept this new reality.  At 15, I knew my daughter had the intelligence, maturity, and capability to walk to the bus stop on her own.

I had to let her go.

And I did.  For five weeks. Until my insecurity reared its ugly head.

You see, when Melissa left the house at 6:45 am, the autumn sun had not yet peeked above the horizon, forcing her to walk to the bus in pitch black darkness...without me there to shield her from harm.

So I worried...and worried...and worried some more.

Irrational?  Yes.

Logical?  No.

But I didn't care.

I needed to channel my inner stalker overprotective nature and put "Plan B" into action.

I emailed the school, explaining that my daughter walked to the bus stop on a busy, traffic-filled main road, alone in the pitch dark.  Surely they could understand my reasons for requesting that the bus pick up Melissa in front of our house, instead of making her walk the 3,974 miles to the corner, out of range of my line of vision.

Melissa, on the other hand, could not believe just how overprotective her mother could be.

"Mom, I am 15 years old and perfectly capable of walking to the bus on my own," she said in exasperation.

But it no longer mattered.  The change had been made and I now had the privilege to once again stalk peek out of the window and watch until I saw Melissa step safely onto the bus.

However, on that autumn morning when we received her infamous text, I had changed up my routine just a wee bit.  Since I needed to throw clothes in the dryer, I chose to peek out of the window in my upstairs laundry room instead of the living room.  As the bus neared its approach, Bob took that particular moment to come into the laundry room, take off his shirt and throw it into the large pile of dirty clothes in the middle of the floor.  Together the two of us watched Melissa get on the bus, then continued about the mundane business of getting ready for work.

Until we received the text.

Seems that all of the occupants of the bus had witnessed not only me staring out of the window, but also my shirtless hubby peeking out from behind!

The laughter that greeted my daughter as she boarded the bus caused the type of mortified embarrassment that could scar a child for life and result in thousands of dollars of therapy.  Thus the reason for the "love" text admonishing us for our behavior.

So, in the end, I promised not to look out the window in the morning, ever, ever again.

This month, as she starts her junior year in high school, I no longer have to worry about her getting onto the bus because I now have more important things to worry about.....she'll be DRIVING!

Oh help me!

My daughter Melissa with me  - AKA Mrs. Overprotective Stalker!

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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Flying on Three Hours Sleep

Six weeks ago, the Weinsteins were preparing to part ways.  For my 17-year old daughter Melissa, a trip to West Virginia for a two week leadership camp....for my husband Bob and me, a trip across the pond for a 10-day vacation to London to celebrate our 20th anniversary!

While my nerves frayed at the thought of Melissa flying without her parents, I took some comfort in knowing she'd be travelling with a number of fellow teens from her youth group.  Still, I wanted to stay by her side through the oftentimes harrowing task of getting through security and finding the correct gate.

Although I didn't have a ticket, I had heard that airlines were willing to give a gate pass to parents of minor children.  Sure enough, the kind representative at US Air did not hesitate when I asked if I could escort my daughter through security and to the gate.  Melissa boarded the plane without incident, and proceeded to have the experience of a lifetime at camp!

Four weeks later, my baby would fly "sans parents" once again, this time to visit her grandparents and cousins in North Carolina.  Ever the bargain hunter, Bob had discovered incredibly inexpensive fares out of a tiny, two terminal airport in Trenton, NJ.

The only downside?  We had to awaken by 4 am so that we could get in the car by 4:30 am so that we could arrive in Trenton at 5:30 am...enough time to get through security and safely onto the plane for the 6:30 am departure!

Of course the Weinstein family snuggled under the covers at a reasonable hour to get a good night's sleep in preparation for our middle of the night journey to Trenton, right?

Wrong!

Instead, we spent the night rockin' out with Billy Joel, who dared to schedule his Philadelphia tour date the night before Melissa left for North Carolina.

So, when the alarm so rudely signaled our wake up call after a mere three hours sleep, three bleary-eyed people, delirious with exhaustion, made our way outside into the early morning darkness and silently embarked on our journey to Trenton.

At the airport, I again waited in line to get a gate pass to escort my daughter through security, while Bob decided to find a parking spot and get some shut eye in the car.

Surprisingly, we were not the only ones who had learned about Trenton's cheap fares, translating into a 20 minute wait behind dozens of moms, dads, toddlers, strollers, car seats, wheelchairs, golf bags, diaper bags, carry on bags, etc.  Finally, when my turn came, I approached the lady behind the counter and I requested the gate pass to accompany my daughter to the terminal.

"How old is she?" came the employee's grumpy response to my request.

"She just turned 17," I replied.

"Well technically, she's not a minor," growled the lady.

Thinking that anyone under 18 was still considered a minor, I kept my contradiction to myself, and calmly explained that I had accompanied Melissa to the gate in Philadelphia, and there wasn't a problem.

"Do you want her to go with you," the lady asked Melissa, as if I were some kind of parasite.

What a ridiculous question!  My baby, my cherub, the love of my love would absolutely want me to be with her!  How could this crazy airport lady even think that my offspring would not want her mommy to be with her!

"Of course she wants me to be with her," I said with a definite air of indignation.

"I need her to answer me," snarled the airport lady.  Then looking Melissa in the eye, she asked again, "Do you want her to go with you?"

Ok, no problem, I thought.  I know that Melissa wants me to be with her.  How could she not want me to be with her.

I looked at my child who was staring at the airport lady with a somewhat glazed expression born out of lack of sleep.  Then, she responded by shrugging her shoulders and uttering the following words: "I don't care."

Yes.  That's right.  The child who I carried for nine months...............

Shrugged. Her. Shoulders.

Yes. That's right. The child who I raised from a six pound infant said....................

I. Don't. Care.

Thinking at that moment that, at the very least, I would not be allowed to escort her through security, and at the very worst, the airline, convinced I was trying to kidnap this teenager, would send someone to arrest me.

Somehow, through continued haggling, the angry airline lady finally allowed me to have a pass so that I could accompany my kid through security.....even though Melissa obviously did not care if I came with her or not. (sob.)

We made it to the gate without incident, only to learn that the plane had been delayed by two hours.  As we settled in for the long wait on the uncomfortable airport chairs, I offered to get Melissa a snack, and in return she gave me a grateful smile.  

I knew that her "I Don't Care" response had come from lack of sleep, not lack of love.  And I also knew that, as the minutes slowly ticked by in the wee morning hours in the tiny Trenton airport, that Melissa was glad to have me by her side.  

Melissa celebrating her 17th birthday on the first day of her two-week leadership camp!


If you like my stories please tell me in the comments section below.