Love Her More

For some reason, I was thinking endings when I dropped my daughter off in LA to start her college freshman year, but instead we are now at a new beginning, and are closer than ever before.

Over the last year or so, we were literally like two ships passing in the night. We would often have lunch together, grab a quick coffee or take a short trip together, but I wasn’t really listening to her, I heard her voice, but did not discern, or hear the inner thoughts, behind her words, like I once did.

When she was little, she told me everything, but during the teen years, I discovered she hid many things from me, as is normal. Many times, I would find out what she was up to, we live in a very small town after all, but I would stay quiet to allow, and protect, her privacy.

A few times, I got that call, but it was never from her, but one of her grade school classmates, asking me to collect her from a party, because she wasn’t feeling well.

I loved these calls, as these friends still call me Mrs. Thomas like they did when I was their room mom. I would then pick up my disheveled child, take her home, feed and hydrate her, and watch her sleep.

There is no better place to raise kids than Lamorinda. I heard this often as we settled into our dilapidated, five bedroom, fixer upper, and now I believe it to be true.

Recently, my younger daughter had a dozen friends over, the boys showed up at the door with a cracker platter, clearly raised by their well mannered mothers, to never show up empty handed.

Now, my daughter is in Southern California, we FaceTime, we text, we email, we share google documents of her writing projects, we tag each other in photos, we talk on the phone, I send her videos of me, the house, the dog, or her sister’s messy bathroom. I send her packages. And most recently we Snapchat. We are far away, but close again.

Her room is now empty, it looks like she walked out leaving everything she didn’t want behind. The unloved clothes hang forlornly in the closet. And I miss her, but she is with me now as I go about my day, so I am cherishing this time simultaneously.

When I had this child, and held her in my arms, I didn’t think I could ever love her more than I did at that moment, but I did, and I do.

Love and blessings.

College Dropoff & The New Normal 

Of course it took eleven hours to get there. The temperature was rising as we sat still on the scorching freeway, the car thermostat reading 116 degrees. 

Cars were scattered along the road. Break downs and accidents both. We stopped for dinner. My daughter was eerily agreeable to everything as she has been now for weeks. Every time she put her arms around me and thanked me for anything, I would think, this is going to be really hard. Very hard. 

After months of gathering items for her dorm room, we left arguably the most important things; her sheets, pillows and down comforter behind. My dear friend, Sandy drove them down to us the next day. Thank goodness for friends. 

By 11 p.m. we were passing hills that were burning. It was surprising that we could just drive by while they blazed. I thought, well, this is fitting.

We spent the weekend in Newport Beach with friends. We had done this so many times before it didn’t feel unusual. We made breakfast, walked the island, had friends for lunch, and went to the beach. Fun. 

On Sunday we moved her in.  It was 110 degrees outside and 120 inside.  

After, I headed back to Newport for a birthday party. Normal. The new normal. 

Truckee Truckee Truckee

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Marty’s Egg Sandwich

Marty’s Diner, Truckee, California

On a recent visit to Truckee, California located in the Tahoe basin we decided to take the teens to breakfast.  We had hit all of the obvious places many times since buying our cabin in 2007.  Truckee has more restaurants per capita featured on the Food Network than any other city in the world.  Many of them serving breakfast.  On this occasion we decided to try something new.  A quick query on the Internet brought up Marty’s.  I called to make sure they were still serving Eggs Benedict for my niece Sophie and we packed up the kids and headed over to Marty’s around noon.

This is Marty!
This is Marty!

Marty’s is located on the main street in Truckee near the train station.   We waited a few minutes and were seated in a cozy booth.  Everything on the menu looked scrumptious as did all of the food on the oversized plates being served to nearby diners.  I have a condition in restaurants called Food Envy.  No matter what I order I want the food of the person next to me or across from me or even at the next table.  I suffer from Food Ordering Remorse as well, so being that lunch and breakfast were both being served, I naturally could not decide even between breakfast and lunch.  The waitress inflicted more confusion and ordering chaos by telling me that the burgers and the Eggs Benedict were both over the top amazing.  Luckily, my lovely daughter offered to share the burger and the Eggs Benedict with me.  This is the reason some of us have children.

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Marty’s Burger
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Eggs Benedict

These photos DO NOT do the food justice.  The burger was perfectly done and tasted of every grass fed excellent organic ingredient available today.  The eggs were perfect.  The crusty delicious hash brown and the delicate lettuce which tasted like it was just plucked out of the garden were an exquisite addition to this time honored dish.  The waitress even suggested I sop up some of the lush and lemony hollandaise sauce with the leaves.  Who knew this would be so good?

Our lovely wait staff were attentive and willing to supply lots of extra plates and listen patiently to the special instructions pertaining to what the teens would allow to touch what on the plate and so on.

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Sophie being like the rest of our family decided against the Eggs Benedict we came for, and ordered this amazing Hoagie sandwich and was thrilled with her choice.

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Sophie

Even though I was completely stuffed I couldn’t resist a few bites of the house made potato salad that came with our burger (my teen would not allow it or the avocado to be on the plate with the burger), so they put it in this cute little crock.

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Potato Salad

Truckee is one of those resort towns where the food is unbelievably good because the locals support only the best during the off season.  There are so many wonderful things to do in Tahoe, but a trip to Marty’s should be close to the top of the list.

10115 Donner Pass Rd
Truckee, CA 96161
(530) 550-8208

If you go, please message me or comment to let me know your thoughts.

On Motherhood

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I have been reading an interesting book by Dr. Shefanli Tsabary called The Conscious Parent. I’m only half way through, but it has made quite an impression on me so far. I think in many ways I intuitively knew many of the things that Dr. Tsabary writes about, but to see them in print has given me more confidence to follow my instincts.

To start, I am absolutely in many ways a Tiger Mom and if you haven’t read Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, I highly recommend it. It’s worth the read for no other reason than to have the insight to say to your children, “At least I didn’t light your stuffed animals on fire if you got a “B” in grade school!” But for all of the acidity author Amy Chua still makes the very valid point that parents are responsible for the future of their children. Both my children attended the Talented and Gifted program at UC Berkeley. I think it provided an amazing academic foundation for them, and if the child is willing to do it, and enjoys it, then it can be a positive experience. Not that all children need to spend their summers turning a classroom into the bottom of the ocean floor at five or dissecting a lamb heart at ten.

The tricky part comes now as my older daughter finishes her Freshman year of High School. She has just earned an 89.59% on her final biology exam. Amy Chua writes that a “B” is not a good grade and like her there is a part of me that is livid, but the other part shrugs my shoulders. If she wants to be a student athlete and have a 3.5 GPA who am I to tell her that’s just not good enough?

I believe we are responsible for ensuring our children are reasonably equipped to encounter an increasingly complex world, but I want to adopt more of Dr. Tsabary’s methods. In the ground breaking parenting classic from 1994, Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls, Mary Pipher writes that we let go too soon of our teenage daughters. And the number one fault of parents is not protecting our daughters from societal pressures. We are caught in the constant ebb and flow of holding on, but not too tightly and letting go, but not too much.

In her award winning book Dr. Tsabary encourages us to sit with our children and connect with their souls. She writes that there is a sacred bond between mother and child. She asks that we awaken and accept our children for who they truly are. Easier said than done. On one hand, I am passionate about raising a happy child, but then on the other, I want all doors flung wide open for my children and in our society that means attaining academic excellence for college applications.

One of the things that Dr. Tsabary writes about is accepting the child you have and not projecting onto them the attributes that you desire, but love and honor the person they innately are. The last thing we want is a child who has relinquished the person they truly are for some parent inspired fantasy of the perfect son or daughter. Our children aren’t our grand experiment. They are people. I remember holding my baby in my arms thinking with amazement, “this is really a person.” “They aren’t dolls” I tell my husband all the time of our children. They have feelings and interests and plans all their own.

The Conscious Parent also asks that we connect with our own souls. The author advises that we accept ourselves and sit with our own emotions. As my daughter approaches me I allow myself to sit in silence and let the door in my heart open. I trust she will make the right decisions for her own future. And I know that no matter what I do she will be some version of fine. As she gets into the car I stop myself from asking her questions about exams, extra credit, final grades. At the beginning of the school year I realized I could learn more listening to the lyrics of the songs she plays over and over in my car than anything she would say. As the sun slants through the car, she plays a song by Two Door Cinema Club, the lyrics go something like this:

You gotta step up your game to make it to the top

So go

Gotta little competition now

Your gonna find it hard to cope living on your own

Oh oh, oh oh

Let’s make this happen, girl

You gotta show the world that something good can work

And it can work for you

And you know that it will

On this sunny day driving away from the high school I glance over at my daughter and sit quietly with her soul. And I realize that she is going places that I don’t even know exist. All I have to do now is allow her to be the person she wants to be and keep her safe. I have a front row seat watching the girl fall away and the woman emerge. Luckily, I still have her little sister.