Saturday, February 23, 2008

Basic Training

During the weekend Ben takes an art class in Chelsea. Brian drops him off on his scooter and scoops him up afterward for lunch. Each week the ritual is the same. They pull into the White Horse Tavern for burgers and root beer....sometimes Dad's beer has less root in it than Ben's.

This location is famous for being the old stomping ground of Dylan Thomas and other formidable drinkers and writers who passed through Greenwich Village through the years.

I'm sure Brian is drawn to it a bit by the nostalgia but not totally. He's far more invested in being in an old New York bar in the afternoon when it's just the longtime bartenders, a handful of regulars and some routine news or sports show on the small t.v.

Benjamin, at almost ten years old, is a regular.

He's been going there for almost two years now - - usually on a Sunday right after baseball practice. The bartenders greet him with "hey - pitchers and catchers!"

This greeting continues throughout the year well beyond the baseball season and into the School of Visual Arts class season.

Maybe it's just the old East Village in my blood, but I'm happy to know that Brian is indoctrinating Ben into the male rituals of pub life - - the banter, the customs, the food and one day when he is over 21 - - the beer.

It's important to have a true New York bar - a pub-like bar - to call your own. A place you can hang out in the early afternoon and read the Daily News.

A special place you can be with your dad - especially when your dad is your best friend.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Lame! At Least For Now.....

We gave Ben a subscription to Sports Illustrated for Christmas.

He was thrilled and looks forward to receiving every issue. This week I pulled the mail out of the mailbox and handed it to him, taking little notice of any the items I handed off. After coming through the apartment door and throwing off our coats, Ben gave out a shout of disgust. "THIS IS SOOOO LAME!"

He turned the pages of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue looking more and more disappointed. "All these stupid girls sitting around in bikinis. They aren't even doing any sports! What a waste!" He then proceeded to toss the magazine into the recycling. I stood there speechless.

I had forgotten that the swimsuit issue even existed! Then I wondered how much longer my almost 10 year old little boy would be calling girls in bikinis lame. Three days later we got the NASCAR issue and life was as it should be.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

18 Years and Five Tiffany Pendants Later

Yes folks, the preceding title is a direct quote from the gift card coupled with the lovely necklace that my husband gave me for our 18th anniversary this morning.

I have been with Brian for twenty years. Jesus Christ. I can't believe I've done ANYTHING that long besides breathe.

And yet here we are. Together on this lifelong Outward Bound Trip along with our trusty dog and ten year old son.

Love. Loyalty. Possibility. Compromise. Laughter. The ability to bite your tongue without completely severing it from your mouth. That's what makes a least mine.

18 is a lucky number in the Jewish tradition. God knows we've earned it! Cheers.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Old Times

I haven't been posting much because the "big job - mom gig" leaves me so exhausted for the last month that I haven't much to say to you least nothing that's of any value or humor.

I know people all across this country are working hard - many much harder than I am in many circumstances. I've never been good at juggling it all. Much of my time is spent keeping the balls up in the air AND picking up the multitude that fall.

This afternoon I left work the usual time and got Ben from school. I was dead tired. When I got home I fell on the bed and the feeling of profound fatigue came over me. I was giving myself a moment to actually realize how tired I am and started sinking. I called my husband and asked when he'd be home because I really hoped he could take over soon.

Idiot me forgot that he teaches on Wednesday night (working a 12 hour day) and stays at my parent's home which is 45 minutes closer to his job than we are. I wanted to crumble into pieces.

Instead, Ben and I took Saki for a walk in Tompkins Square Park. It was already dusk and quite beautiful. Walking through the park always gives me a second chance.

Ben and I went to our favorite Italian place down the street and had dinner. The owner (who we like very much) started speaking Sicilian to a customer. I listened and understood parts of their light conversation.

Their words had a unexpected effect on me. Not the meaning - - just to hear them. Layers started falling away and I could remember how I felt to be young and clinging to my Italian grandmother's dress. It was home base for me as we traveled about the neighborhood or entertained guests unfamiliar to me. The sound of the words and the tone of their Italian disarmed me. I stared out the cafe window that looked onto the corner of my street. My eyes filled with tears.

Maybe my grandmother was reaching through time and soothing me. I miss her very much tonight. She taught me from the beginning that the deepest love can be felt just being in the company of someone. Just being with they do their chores, schoolwork, writing...anything really.

Thanks Nonna - I needed a good cry and you helped me find it. XXOOO