Sunday, January 22, 2012


I met a new guy on Saturday.  He’s very relaxed, absolutely gorgeous, and doesn’t seem bothered by multiple cats.  He also likes to keep people waiting and isn’t much of a conversationalist.  But I guess that’s to be expected when you’re three days old. 

Good friends of mine welcomed their first baby earlier this week.  It is the beginning of a new chapter in their family history.  It’s an exciting and momentous time for them and it’s been fun to watch as they went from being responsible adults to responsible expectant parents to responsible parents of a little human being with a still developing immune system.  

Despite what the dock-side psychic told me this summer, my biological clock seems to be on a permanent snooze.  So, since I’ll probably never experience the joys of my own kids, I think I’m just gonna become an honorary aunt to other people’s kids.  Did you have any of those in your life?  Did your parents have friends – maybe they met in a bowling alley or a Cheesecake Factory or the neighborhood – that you called “aunt” or “uncle” even though they weren’t related to you by blood?  Maybe your family tree was filled with nuts and they outsourced the “aunt” and “uncle” duties.  Maybe you didn’t have actual aunts and uncles so you adopted random people on the street to fill-in the vacant slots.   

Growing up my brother and I had three sets of those kinds of aunts and uncles.  I only ever see my Aunt Connie anymore but I remember the others, especially my Aunt Linda and Uncle Dick who I thought were so cool because they lived in an upside down house – their kitchen was on the second floor!  Following in that tradition, I’m designating myself as “cool honorary Aunt Denise.”    

Now, this isn’t one of those “it takes a village to raise a child” post because, quite frankly, this villager doesn’t know anything about children or motherhood so I’ll just stay away from all that child-rearing business.  But a few months ago, I heard the honorable Judge Marilyn Milian of The People’s Court say “The more people in my kids’ lives who care about them, the better.”  You can’t argue with that logic, can you?  So that’s what I’m going to do – I’m going to be one more person in this new little boy’s life who's there for him and cares about him. 

And now, a personal note to the little guy...

I’ll probably be a nervous wreck around you until you can hold your head up by yourself (even though your mom tells me that I can’t break you, I’m not taking any chances – your dad was a Marine, after all!) I’m going to make you a few promises -

1.       When your parents take you for your daily walk around the neighborhood in your sweet ride of an umbrella stroller, I’ll wave enthusiastically from my house.  Unless I’m napping. 
2.       I’ll watch animated Disney movies with you without musing about the reasons that Donald Duck doesn’t get the same respect that Mickey and Minnie do.  Afterwards, however, I will make you watch “The Jetsons” and I will tell you my theory about hover-craft cars.  My theory being that we should all have them.  Unless we do all have them by that time.
3.       When I travel, I’ll buy you a souvenir tee-shirt.  Because what is cuter than a baby/toddler wearing a tee-shirt with “Someone Who Loves Me Went to the Grand Canyon and All I Got Was This T-Shirt” on it?
4.       I’ll give you full-size candy bars at Halloween.  But only if your dad gets dressed up in a costume. 
5.       When we go out to dinner, I’ll make sure you get a colorful selection of crayons so you can create art on the placemats.  But your mom likes to color, so you’ll have to share with her.  I’m just warning you now. 
6.       I’ll keep the mini fridge in the basement stocked with your favorite juice. 
7.       You’ll always have someone right around the corner who cares about you.  And who’ll totally let you jump on the bed.

In five or ten or 32 years, I’ll probably be just a page in the history of your family, someone who was there at the beginning.  But maybe you’ll think back and remember with fondness your cool honorary Aunt Denise who bought you a ton of souvenir tee-shirts. 

But for now, welcome to the world!  Everyone’s so glad that you’re finally here!    

Monday, January 16, 2012

Hello Again!

Hey everybody!  How’s 2012 treating you?  I’ve been busy since the beginning of the New Year – I flipped my mattress, switched to a credit union, rolled over an old 401k, voluntarily read to children, and baked cupcakes.  Sounds like this year is going to be the year of Denise the Do-er.  At least, until I get tired and need a nap. 

If you’re wondering what the slogan for 2012 is, wonder no more.  There isn’t one.  Sorry, but you try to come up with something that rhymes with “twelve”.  The only slogan I came up with – and a highly unoriginal one at that – is – Don’t Worry, Be Happy.

I think, this year, I’m going to focus on not being such a worry wart.  Seriously, I worry about everything and it’s getting to be quite the drag.  Especially since most of the time what I’m worried about turns out not to be that important at all. 

For instance, let’s examine the events that happened on the Thursday afternoon before Christmas.  There was an incident at work.  Okay, incident is too strong of a word; it’s not like I inadvertently set off any missiles or anything (oh God, just think if I had that job!)  Maybe I should call it a glitch.  Yes.  That’s good.  There was a computer glitch at work.  Now, in the grand scheme of life, it wasn’t important at all.  In the grand scheme of work-life, it wasn’t terribly awful either.  But in the grand scheme of my life, a life in which I always feel like I’m about to slip off the edge of the precipice and land smack dab in the middle of failure and disappointment, it was major.  Immediately, I started to worry.  My boss was gone and I was in charge.  It was all on me.  I had to fix it.  But it’s hard to get anything fixed at 5:00 on the Thursday before a holiday.  There wasn’t much to do but worry. 

My colleagues and friends told me to put it out of my head.  They assured me that things would be okay.  They urged me to not worry.  But people, there was a glitch!!  Glitches are worrisome!  And I am a worrier.  So, I worried.  I worried on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and the day after Christmas Day and the day after that.  I worried until I was able to come back to work to try to fix the problem.    

And in the end, that’s what I did.  That’s all well and good but what did all that worry get me?  A stressful few days, that’s what.  Was it worth it?  Not really.

This year, I’m going to take a step back.  I’m going to strive to be mindful that mistakes happen.  Glitches happen.  And when they do, it doesn’t mean that I’m going to take a head-first dive off that cliff. 

I’m going to keep life in perspective. 

And maybe hum “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” along the way.