Sunday, July 19, 2015

My Husband and His Many Many Wives

For the past two summers my 18-year old daughter Melissa spent a week with her family in Raleigh, NC.  During each visit, Melissa's Aunt Stacy, Uncle Gregg, and cousins Amanda and Nick simply spoiled her rotten.

This summer we wanted to return the favor and welcomed my niece Amanda to New Jersey. Melissa and Amanda are close in age, yet the miles between them make in-person visits a rare treat. That's why we wanted to be sure we treated Amanda to a week full of (what we hoped would be) tons of fun.

For her first day we scheduled a visit to the beach, however an unusual chill in the usually hot and humid July air forced us to activate Plan B, a visit to "The Art of the Brick" at Philadelphia's Franklin Institute Science Museum.

Now, you may love legos. You may hate legos. You may be indifferent to legos.  But no matter how you feel about this toy that has entertained children for generations, you must go to "The Art of the Brick".  The exhibit features lego sculptures unlike anything I have ever seen!

My husband Bob initially resisted the activation of Plan B.

"What do I want to see a bunch of legos for?" came his predictable protest.

However, Melissa and Amanda, who were excited to go into Philadelphia for the exhibit, (a short, 30 minute drive) convinced him to join us for the fun.

Once inside, Bob immediately realized how wrong he had been! He snapped photo after photo of the jaw dropping lego sculptures, which included a replica of the Mona Lisa, a giant dinosaur, and the Liberty Bell.

Every few minutes, Bob, proud of his ability to capture such unique snapshots of these remarkable sculptures, enthusiastically showed me the many photos he had taken using his iPhone.

At one point during the exhibit I curiously watched him from the other side of the room as he showed his photos to a woman I did not recognize.

"He's so proud of his pictures he's now showing them to strangers," I chuckled to myself.

Now, at this point in my story I should remind you that Bob and I have been married for 21 years. I will also remind you that I am caucasian, about 5' 5" and have long brown hair.

The woman who had politely consented to look at Bob's pictures was African American, about 5' 2", and had short, curly brown hair. The only similarity between this woman and me? We were both wearing a shirt that had a similar pattern.

Yet my Bob, my husband of 21 years, thought this woman was me!

When I walked over to join them, Bob gulped in surprise. Somewhat embarrassed he exclaimed to the woman, "Oh my god I thought you were my wife!"

The woman looked at me.  I looked at her.

Then, with a wink she said, "Yeah, because you and I look so much alike!"

Laughter ensued, but the kicker is, it was not the first time that day that Bob had mistaken someone else for me!

Earlier that afternoon we had taken Amanda for lunch at Philadelpha's famous Reading Terminal Market.  After our delicious corned beef sandwiches, we made our way through the crowd to a bakery which sold home-made chocolate  chip, butterscotch, and peanut butter cookies.

After Bob purchased the best baked goods ever, we continued to peruse the many stores inside the market.  That's when my husband of 21 years reached into his bag of cookies, broke off a piece, and offered it to....A TOTAL STRANGER!

Yes, that's right, he thought she was me.

This time, the mistaken "wife" and I had the same skin and hair color, yet she was a good two to three inches taller than me.


Fortunately, since that fateful day in Philly, Bob has not mistaken anyone else for his wife. But just in case, I'll be wearing a brand new shirt, every time we go out!

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

Friday, July 3, 2015

Melissa Turns 18

It's 11pm and I am snuggled under my cozy down comforter, drifting slowly and surely off into the welcome arms of slumber.  Suddenly from down the hall, I hear a small voice calling out to me.  In that blink of a moment, I pretend not to hear it, wanting instead to enjoy my warm covers and drift off to sleep.

Alas, I hear the voice again, a bit louder now...a bit harder to ignore.

"Mom, can you tuck me in!"

This request from my teenage daughter Melissa elicits mixed emotions. The day has been trying, and I long for sleep. However, I pull myself out of bed and walk down the hall for one very simple daughter wants me to tuck her in.

That's right. Melissa wants me to tuck her in. Something that rarely happens these days.

I walk into her room and find her lying in bed, troubled, and having a hard time getting to sleep. We talk for what seems like hours....about friends, family, school, boys, work, her youth group, becoming a high school senior, and heading off to college in one year's time.  I share my own experiences, empathize with her wide-ranging emotions, and in the process, hopefully impart some insightful words of wisdom.

Bedtime has held that special place as "mommy time" ever since Melissa came into my life.  The bonding began in infancy, when our evening routine included a bath, a bottle, and a book.  As a toddler, she sat on my lap while I read "Good Night Moon". As an extra special treat, I let her take the book into the crib with her...a source of comfort and, perhaps, a reminder of me.

As my baby's world expanded, night time remained mommy time.  There were countless hours playing in the tub with naked Barbie dolls and Disney princesses.  And of course, the night time routine would not be complete without mommy reading one book, or two, or even three or four.

As she entered grade school, we started on chapter books....and my cherub usually convinced me to read much more than the promised one chapter a night.

All too soon, Melissa developed the skills to read on her own, but that didn't stop me from spending time by her side before I tucked her in and kissed her goodnight.

Oh how I treasured tucking her in.

And now that my "baby" has turned 18... I still do.

Yes, that sweet little infant is now 18.

She is on the cusp of one of life's fantastic journies...about to start her senior year in high school and schedule college tours. Thanks to her independent spirit, she simply can't wait to graduate, move into a dorm, and experience all of the wonder of life away from home.

Away from me.

Don't get me wrong.  I am so thrilled that my shy little girl has grown up into such a strong, passionate, beautiful, and independent young woman.....I just didn't expect it to happen so soon.

In the coming months, she'll celebrate a season of "lasts".

The "last" first day of school.
The "last" chorus concert.
The "last" school show.
The "last" last day of school.

Yes, she will celebrate... but I will mourn.  Because for 18 years my daughter has been my world, and I'm not quite sure I know how to let her go.

But I will find a way.

For this is Melissa's time.

Time to shine!

Time to explore!

Time to break free!

And I know, wherever life's journey may take her, mommy is always going to be there to tuck her in.

All she has to do is call!

To the left is my baby enjoying the carousel at a neighborhood fair. To the right is that same "baby" enjoying the carousel at Philadelphia's Please Touch Museum during the Prom!

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