Monday, May 19, 2008

A Family Affair

In the beginning of May, we took our first cross country trip out to LA to see the other half (or 2/3rds) of the Horowitz Clan.
The occasion was Chloe's Bat Mitzvah. My first niece, who was born just 2 months before I left for India was actually turning 13. As mind-bending as that is for all of us, to know Chloe is to know that she far surpassed everyone's expectations long ago.

I can't say I was thrilled to be traveling with the baby again. After the Hong Kong debacle, I was not looking forward to more plane travel. But I planned to spend ten days out there and in addition to seeing family, also made a plan to see Brooke and her family who just moved to San Diego and Stef who was going to fly in from SF. It was an ambitious plan, for sure, but I thought I'd be able to handle it all in stride. That was until I pulled my neck (maybe pinched a nerve or two) and began a long haul to recovery. It never crossed my mind to cancel the trip. I had so many people to see and so desperately wanted them all to see my gorgeous girl. Then the pain got worse, not better. It took a near intervention by Jeff, Carol and my parents to rethink my plan. It became clear that I was not going to be able to handle this 20 pound wonder on my own on a 6 hour flight. I needed help, and lots of it. Begrudgingly, and with sadness, I told my friends I was not going to make it to San Diego. (Stef had already changed her ticket twice. I felt really badly about that.) I also had to tell the family that I would be flying in for a quick visit; three days. Just enough time to see all the Bat Mitzvah activities.

I changed my ticket to fly out and back with Jeff. Honestly, without him, I have no idea how I could have done it all. I think that part of me felt I could do anything after the 20 hour trip home from Vietnam. That was until I hurt my neck. Then I needed help, and lots of it. I also needed to learn how to ask. No small task.

The weekend itself was a whirlwind of activity. Chloe was a stellar student of the Torah and made all of us very proud to be related to her. Her party was a wonder of LA style, impeccably planned and beautifully executed. Chloe honored me as someone special in her life by asking me to add a flower to her special vase. That was lovely moment. I took off my neck brace for the occasion and hugged her with abandon.

Phoebe had fun being passed around by friends and relatives. She was happy to see her Aunt Jane again and really took to Whitey too. It's so nice for me to see the bond growing between Jane and Phee. How cool it is that they will have each other in their lives.

I hope we'll be able to go back soon and spend some more time with our cousins, Aunts, Uncles and friends. Hopefully, my neck will continue to improve and soon enough I'll be back in my travelers groove.

Monday, May 12, 2008

My First Mother's Day

I can remember last Mother's Day when I had completed all my paperwork for an adoption from Vietnam, but I still seemed very, very far from becoming a mother. It was not yet my day to celebrate. Instead, Jeff and I had a lovely brunch at Cafe Luxembourg on the West side with our lovely mothers and the men they call their own. My impending motherhood hung in the air unmentioned. We were lucky enough to have our Mother's with us- and both in Manhattan at that. There was much to be grateful for. I had just completed a fundraiser for Room to Read to build a school in Vietnam in honor of that child who was yet to be born, but would someday be mine. Carol and I would soon be leaving for a sort of last hurrah trip to Istanbul and around Turkey. (Who could know it would be a last hurrah for both of us!) I was trying to be patient, trying to find a zen pathway through the halls of the waiting game. Breathe, breathe, I used to tell myself when the waiting would become unbearable. I knew it was completely out of my control. That didn't make it any easier.

Cut to 2008 and my Mother's Day was as wonderful as any I can imagine. Not only was my baby girl in my heart and in my home, she is thriving and charming everyone she meets. My day was made perfect by the people around me who helped me acknowledge what a lucky mother I really am. The day started with our favorite friend "Uncle" Dan showing up at 9am to relieve me from any Mother duties I might have. He's been helping out more since my neck went to pieces- making such a huge difference in our lives. At about 1pm, Jeff showed up with to help us stroll up to Grammy and Grampy's at the top of East End Avenue. There, we were joined by Lynn and John Birch (the other Grandparents) and Robin Rotenier and Erin Marcel. We had a yummy bagel brunch complete with cream herring and whitefish salad, lox, capers, and the always exceptional Borscht from Mom's kitchen. Phoebe rolled around on the floor and was happy to be picked up by anyone who was so inclined. She was a party champ, as always.

When we were all full to the gills, half the party went back to 180 Riverside Drive and Jeff and I strolled back home with a sleeping girl. Jeff took care of the bath, the bedtime and still had enough energy for a shoulder massage for the new (aching) Mommy. What a difference a year can make :)