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Reflections on an Empty Nest

My nest feels empty at the strangest moments.  Like when I open the refrigerator to see a half-consumed bottle of wine, some coffee creamer, leftover Chinese food and way too many individual packets of soy sauce instead of a refrigerator overflowing with homemade and healthy foods, sandwich fixings, power drinks and granola bars that you packed ever so carefully your child’s backpack daily.   I mean, nowadays,  it’s cheaper to eat out or call in then to shop and cook for one.   And when your kids were young, of course, as filled as your refrigerator was, there was always something your child needed that you didn’t have, and as a dutiful mom, you would run out at store closing to make sure your baby had exactly what he wanted, when he wanted it.  That was then, and this is now.

Okay, so I promised I would write something everyday, for me, as I would have so much more time on my hands not having to cater to the daily needs of my two sons,  but as you can see from my last posting, I have been sorely remiss.  I had been feeling joyful and happy  in my phase of  life after kids,  loving not having a strict routine, and loving being more in the moment.  But in the past month, that seems to have shifted a bit and with all the time in the world to write, it was the last thing I wanted to do.

Having moved seven times in ten years, I had accumulated more stuff than any ten people should be allowed to collect in one garage, so with my bad back, I decided to hire someone to help clear the clutter out of my life.  She would do the heavy lifting and I could sit there and pass judgment on every item.  Keep. Toss. Donate. File. Shred. Maybe. Keep. NO – Toss!

But as we dug in, the more we tossed, the heavier a fog of melancholy weighed me down.  Was it the impending milestones my sons were about to reach tugging at my heart?  My eldest was going to graduate from college and my “baby” was going to graduate from high school. Where had all the time gone?  Why are they so grown up and I am still so young? What am I to do now?Graduation Day

Oh the joy and the pain of it all.  I miss my babies.  I missed having them depend on me for mostly everything.  I missed feeling like  I was the only one who can give them what they wanted and needed.  But of late, the heavy lifting  as a parent is done.  I have loved, nurtured and guided  my boys in the best way I knew how. I have hoped and prayed that I have supported them and taught them enough to fly the coop and someday make a nest of their own.  I have given them everything from the bottom of my heart and sometimes from the very bottom of my wallet.

So while the media swears my nest is empty and I will attest to the fact that my cupboards and refrigerator are pretty much bare, the fact remains that my nest will always be full.  Maybe not with the pitter-patter of little feet orthe wretched smell of soccer gear after a big tournament, or teary faces tobe wiped, but full of the promise of what these boys have now become as they take the next step on  journey to become men and the belief that I did a pretty darn good job helping them along the way.

Mother’s Day Blog Bash

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I am a newbie as far as the blogosphere goes so I got really excited when @chaotic_barb invited me to be a part of the WeFitFamilies Mother’s Day Bash & Giveaway as a way to share my fitness story and to help support other members at www.wefitfamilies plus you can enter to win some terrific prizes!

Mischievous Mimi

Mischievous Mimi

About six months ago, I injured my back in a freak accident – I was running after my dog, Mimi who had snuck between my legs in a mad dash to the street – and I bent to grab her in just the exact wrong way one could do so and SNAP! CRACKLE! POP! I couldn’t get up, I was locked in a downright position.  My friend who was there got me to bed with some painkillers and ice and I knew something was very, very wrong.

The next day, I saw the Orthopedist, and the news was grim.  The L-4  L-5 vertabrae were impacted and I had torn some muscles.  All I could do was go home and go to bed as I could barely move for almost three weeks.  Now, for someone who has prided herself on being in good shape and very active, this was a shock to my system and the pounds began creeping up as my activity level had come to a halt.

After a month, I was able to start physical therapy  but the pain was so severe after each session, the next day or two I would be forced back to my bed with ice packs and painkillers.  So despite the resumption of activity, the pounds still seemed creep their way up.

Now to be honest, I really didn’t notice my weight gain at first since I wore sweats and other loose comfy clothing which would never tell the truth of what was really happening to my body.   I think I also deluded myself as to how much I was really eating, but even if I ate “nothing” the bottom line is no activity means certain weight gain. Plus, I would never go on a scale I would go by my clothes….and since I was wearing loose, comfy ensembles…well you know the rest!

Then, as my “luck” would have it, I had another setback in January and injured my knee, again, in a freak accident and that set me back on my physical therapy which had know started to take hold and I had been feeling stronger.  So it was back to square negative one as now my knee was badly sprained and my back injury was re-ignited.  Fun times.

So a couple of months later, when I went to the doctor and had to hit the scales – the number  revealed made my skin crawl, but I already knew the “truth” as I couldn’t even fit into my “fat” jeans.

megabash_boxEnter WeFitFamilies.com a wonderful place to find support from other members, check out the tasty recipes, fitness ideas, etc. So now that I am back on the road to recovery, I am doing better at my physical therapy sessions but I still can do many activities I could before.  Walking has been my “exercise” of choice and with three of my own pups and seven foster babies from www.muttmatchla.com I have no shortage of company.  As we all know, the hardest part of sticking to an activity is having a reliable partner and believe me, having a variety of pups to join me in my walks always keeps my sojourn fun and interesting.  What’s more, they can’t make excuses why they can’t join you and, as much as you get from the exercise, it is also great exercise from them as well. So with my beloved pups and the support of  WeFitFamilies I know I will be back in my skinny jeans in no time!

More About the Mother’s Day Blog Bash

WeFitFamilies.com is having the ultimate Mothers Day Bash! Oh yeah, it’s going to be great,
especially since the grand prize sponsored by McCormick Spices is going to be:

  • A Super Set of Spices
  • DietFoodsRX Book
  • Measuring Spoon Set
  • $200 Gift Certificate to the winner’s local grocery store so they can put the Super Spice tips to use!

NOW —  LOOK WHAT I AM GIVING AWAY – A DIGITAL DAY COUNTER GIFT SET

DaysAgo Digital Day Counter

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THERE ARE SEVERAL WAYS FOR YOU TO ENTER TO WIN THIS FABULOUS PRIZE PAK:

  • You must be a Twitter Member to Win
  • Follow My Blog (https://lifeafterkids.wordpress.com)
  • Stumble my blog via the “share” button at the bottom of this post
    (Leave a comment saying you did so with Stumble user name)
  • Subscribe to My Email Feed (leave a comment saying you did)
  • Add this Giveaway to a Mr. Linky, Blog Carnival, Sweepstakes site, forum etc.
    (Leave the link and only
    1  entry per submission)
  • Grab My Button (below) and place on your blog (leave a comment with blog address)

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IMPORTANT NOTES:
**Make sure to leave a separate comment for each entry
to maximize chances of winning.
**
One winner will be selected randomly using Random.org.
This contest starts 4/19 and will end on 4/30 at 11:59pm EST

Plus there are many more  giveaways that are part of WeFitFamilies Mothers Day Bash?

Go check out these other blogger’s websites & see what  else you can win!



Son-Shine

img_5376I am writing this from the magnificent hilly, enclave of La Jolla, California. It’s less than twenty-four hours since I received the late night urgent but sudued call for HELP from my eldest son who lives there.  After all, isn’t that what mothers are supposed to do? Drop everything and run to help their children even if they are twenty-two and a senior in college.

So after a fitful night’s sleep, a morning of calls to cancel and reschedule several appointments,  a rushed visit to my accountant to do my taxes, I pack a small bag, stop to fill up the tank, and get on my way for the short trek to San Diego.  But L.A. traffic being what it is, it took me almost two hours to go barely ten miles and the trip, which would take two hours, now took almost five hours.  After only going 10 miles in two hours I was so tempted to turn back, my already sore back was throbbing in pain from being in the same position and not being able to switch on cruise control.  It doesn’t quite work at less than five miles per hour. What a mother won’t do for her children!

While it may sound like I am not complaining mind you.  I am not.  I am actually over the moon as it’s really been a long time since my son reached out for my help.  That coupled with unusually quiet panic in his voice, not his usual holier than thou demands, signaled that this was really serious.

As most parents know, your relationship with your child will have many ups and downs and when there is a contentious divorce punctuating those milestones, that road is even rockier.  Our relationship, or lack thereof,  has been sorely tested over the past ten years.  Come to think about it, we haven’t spent more than a few hours together in a single day and barely ever  more than two days in a row, and now I was getting a chance to spend a few days, which in my time frame, is practically a lifetime.

My son always wanted to be a lawyer since he was a child.  I used to joke with him after the divorce and all the lawyer BS he witnessed, didn’t he think there was a better career path for him.  He would not be swayed.  Until last year.  Somehow, he decided to be a writer/filmmaker seemingly out of the blue.  Now I have been in the “biz” for a very long time, and he has certainly been around TV production, location shoots and post-production edit bays  his whole life, but it never seemed to interest him much.  It was my life.  My passion and thankfully I was very good at it and made a good living at it.  But for my boy to say he wanted to do something in that realm was quite astounding.  I guess I never thought of him as the creative type.  He was always the athletic type.  Sinewy and faster than lightning since he was five years old, he was blessed with the body and speed to make him a premiere soccer player which took him through college and was his passion above all else.

As parents we know about lost dreams and failures and missed opportunities.  As parents we try so much to shield our children from same or at least help cushion the blow or ease the pain of those experiences.  Well when my son found out he couldn’t play his last and supposedly best year of college soccer, I think a piece of him died.  I know I mourned the loss of his promise of great success from afar, wondering for him, what it would be like to have that one last final hurrah.  But it was not meant to be and as I believe life hands you the cards you are meant to play, I accepted my son’s fate begrudgingly, with a few tears and with the hope that what will not kill him will make him stronger.

Was it that defining moment of inertia, of accepting that his body wouldn’t do what his mind willed, that made him find his inner voice, his inner muse and allowed him to tap into his creative juices and abandon the life legal?  Whatever it was, it renewed his desire to learn and explore and filmmaking sparked him like a great kick made from 30 yards out.  But I didn’t know much more than he had changed his major.  Like most kids, explaining or details were not their strong suit and our phone calls were perfunctory exercises in formalities.  How are you? Fine.  How are your classes? Fine.  Do you have alot of work? Fine. Communicating with your child from teenager onward is a delicate artform of trying to decipher verbal hieroglyphics on a cave wall without light.  But with that Sunday phone call that was all about to change.

M.me & SonApparently my son was in the middle of a project for class and everyone who was helping him was flaking out – including the actor.  So he needed me to operate the camera while he acted out the rest of his scenario for the five minute project that was already half shot. He obviously could not shoot and act at the same time and he realized that…my boy was growing up!

The good news was by the time I got to San Diego, his actor had changed his mind and was available to shoot that night so my primary function was to help secure some supplies and cater a “crew” dinner for all which included his roommates.  After dinner we got down to business, and I was very conscious of not taking over the project and wanted to let my son do his thing.

To my surprise, he was quite aware of what he wanted to shoot, how he wanted to shoot it and, by george, he had vision for his project.  I wondered, who was that man who took the place of my boy.  The evening progressed and I was pleased to take his direction, hold a light, fix a make-shift “gel” of colored tissue paper, to suggest an angle shift here and there, and just let him do his thing.  Having never seen the footage already shot, I didn’t know where this was all going, but I trusted he knew and that’s all that mattered.  The shoot was over in a few hours and my son seemed happy with what he got.  But the proof would be in the pudding – how it all cut together and that would be the next step.  Before we went to sleep, he thanked me and told me I was the best “producer” he ever had.  Not one bit of praise in my 25 plus years of working ever meant more to me than that.  I was basking in son-shine.

I have probably spent thousands of hours in editing rooms but the best time I have ever had was watching my son in his “editing suite” work on his labor of love.  Slowly and surely he progressed scene by scene and I watched enraptured.  He’s really got talent.  This isn’t a fluke or some flight of fancy.  He really knows what he is doing.  Words cannot express how I felt watching him do his thing.  Like his first step or his first word, I witnessed the birth of my son’s creative soul.  It was truly a transcendental moment in time.  What’s more is that he let me in, he invited me in to be a part of this, a part of who he was becoming for the first time in a very long time.  It was my birthday and the editing went on for hours.  I knew what he was going through, weighing every edit like the entire piece depended on it.  Crafting bit by bit his vision, moving toward the perfect conclusion.  I watched and only offered suggestions when asked.  I held his hand with my heart as I watched him toil for hours and hours to make this project just right. God, he’s such a perfectionist, just like me! I smiled inside as years of rift and separation melted away with each edit and each hour.  Yes, he is like me and in a very good way!  My heart grew lighter as the years of lost time with him melted with this new moments of communion.

When he was done, it was much too late for dinner and a dreamy dessert (with a solitary candle on which to make a wish on) but I didn’t care. I had

already received the best birthday present money couldn’t buy – magical time spent with my son- bonding in the trenches, di

scovering our shared passion and sharing the joy of creation.  What a blessing!

P.S. He got a solid A on the project and after one student compared his work to his idol, Micheal Gondry, he said he almost cried.  When he told me this, I did.

Welcome to Life After Kids

a528814749_389745_3621I can’t believe I haven’t started a blog before now because as most of my friends know, I always have something to say about everything!  I am looking forward to sharing my insights, my mistakes and my accomplishments as a woman with children and hopefully show you that life doesn’t stop when you have kids and how it begins again after they leave home.

So, welcome to my little piece of the blogsphere and I hope you will enjoy taking this journey with me and I invite you to share your comments and thoughts with me and I hope I can make your day just a little bit brighter.  And of course, please share my site with your family and friends♥.