Monday, January 31, 2011

Tet Celebration 4.0

The Vietnamese New Year 2011 is the year of the Cat. Unlike the Chinese who are celebrating the Rabbit this year, the stealth and cozy cat is the perfect mascot for our yearly gathering to honor Phoebe’s Vietnamese heritage. We had Josephine & Steve with their 6 month old daughter, Simone, Diana and her two girls, Liana and Julia, Carol and Sammie and Grandma Lynn and Jonfer to round out the family festivities. Bagels and lox were on the menu (to honor our Jewish heritage too) and all the girls played well in Phoebe’s big new room. We had a lot of discussion beforehand about sharing and taking turns with all the toys. Sharing is certainly the challenge of this age group. Phoebe seemed to understand that all the toys and dolls and crayons would still be hers at the end of the day when everyone went home. Much to our delight, she was an excellent host and did really well the whole day. It felt like a turning point for our little person.

It’s hard to believe that it was only 3 years ago that we were spending Vietnamese New Year in Vietnam picking up our little girl and trying to get her back to NYC. Time really does move quickly, making each celebration one to cherish. Now that I am back at work, I miss being the one to spend every day with Phoebe. It’s been a tough transition for both of us. I miss her face all day long, but try to remember how lucky I have been to have these three years at home with her. Every day, just me & Phee. Now it’s time for us to both get used to a new routine. I guess Mommy & Phoebe are both growing up.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mom, Dad Switcheroo

It’s a strange world when I find myself working at DraftFCB and Jeff is home taking care of Phoebe. I am in his workplace and he is in mine. We’re in bizzarro world right now. As far as childcare goes, I could not ask for better coverage. Phoebe gets to be with her Dad every day. They play, they draw, spontaneous puppet shows happen, as well as fun mustache projects (seen here). Not to mention the fact that he is a wonderful cook, caretaker and domestic god. I have often mused that Jeff could teach a course for men on how to rule their domestic sphere as much as they rule their workplace. I’ve never been a particularly good morning person, always staying in bed until the last possible moment, but these days, my man makes sure I don’t miss the alarm, makes an excellent cup of coffee and reminds me to take my vitamins.

This job is only a freelance assignment for now, but it is giving me a taste of what it would be like to get back into the working world. I don’t like leaving Phoebe in the morning and she’s not too keen on it either. The transition is a touchy one for both of us. I miss having the time to lounge around with her in the morning. I miss taking her to school and being the one to see the teachers and her friends. I found a yoga class that meets near her school I managed to get to a few times. That’s history now. But working also means time to do other things being with a child does not allow- like updating the blog I’ve nearly abandoned in the past few months.

In my dreams, I hoped that Jeff’s last job was going to be a new beginning for him and I would be able to stay with Phoebe until she started kindergarten. Now I’m sitting at a desk looking at a computer screen and he’s sliding up next to Phoebe’s desk, drawing her fantastical pictures in crayon. Perhaps he’ll be back at work in no time and this will be just a moment in time where he gets to enjoy his daughter. Perhaps this freelance job will end and I’ll be back with the Mommies at school pick-up. Life is strange and wondrous and I must remind myself that the only constant is change.

The Octogenarian Club

Grampy’s 80th birthday celebration was a wonder to behold. Who knew that 80 could be so fabulous? To look around the room, it was hard to imagine that all of my parent’s contemporaries are doing so well. When my Grandparents were this age, they were in steep decline; not nearly as vibrant and sharp as this crowd. Many of the people in the room had been at Bob’s 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th & 70th birthday parties. Micki made sure to make each of these occasions super special parties everyone would remember. My Mom sure knows how to throw a party. It took me to my adulthood to realize that most people could not throw a party for 50 or 100 people together in a blink of an eye. I grew up watching a master entertainer at work. And yes, I too love to host parties and have a given a few good ones in my day. I guess she passed the love of celebration onto me. This one was particularly elegant. 50 people at the Water Club overlooking the East River. Great food and accompaniment on the piano by Joel O, a lawyer who volunteers his skills at our soup kitchen on Monday nights. My brother gave a moving speech about what it was like to have a Dad like ours. I introduced a video we had made that had the room roaring with laughter. My nieces, now 12 and 15 looked beautiful and stylish in black & white. Hard to believe how they’ve grown into such gorgeous young women. It was a wonderful weekend of family and friends. A moment to remember how truly lucky we are to have each other, our health and the promise of more good days to come.