So That’s What All the Fuss is About

Charlie and his Mimi.

Charlie and his Mimi.

I became a grandparent this week. To Charlie. Beautiful, wonderful, no-other-child-can-compare Charlie.

It’s not just the arrival of this new person in my life I’ve been expecting for months; it’s that my daughter, Debra, now a mom, and her loving husband, Matt, will experience the boundless joy (and worries) of parenthood. Is there any greater role in life?

Until Tuesday at 4:14 p.m., I would have said “No.”

But now I understand. I’m not just a parent who adores her children, regardless of how old they are. I am a grandparent who already is so profoundly in love with her first born grandchild; I can’t imagine anything more stupendous in life.

I can now offer a co-conspiratorial chuckle with my seasoned grandparent friends when they relay adages like this one by Erma Bombeck: “A grandmother pretends she doesn’t know who you are on Halloween.”

I totally get it.

And this one, by Gene Perret, “My grandchild has taught me what true love means. It means watching Scooby-Doo cartoons while the basketball game is on another channel.”

I get this one, too!

In a little over three days my priorities have shifted. All the things on my to-do list have slipped to the next page, and beyond. (Including my summer newsletter. Sorry, about that).

All I want to do is see him, hold him, smell him. FaceTime will be my interlude. I know I am no different from all of you other grandparents out there. For years, you’ve been telling me how this feels.

Now I know what all the fuss is about.




So Thankful


With my daughter’s wedding now nearly two months past I am beginning to hear the most glowing reports from friends and family. Not about the wedding, per se, but about the thank you notes.

There are many indicators that we parents have raised polite, considerate and gracious adults but none so obvious and often not considered as their ability to write a thoughtful thank you note. In fact, even with pride in all of my daughter’s many accomplishments throughout her life, the recent phone calls and emails I’ve been getting from people who received a thank you note for their wedding gift have made me feel, well, thankful.

This acknowledgement has made me particularly thankful that I raised a child who appreciates what others do for her; thankful that my daughter knows, without my nagging or my instructions, exactly what she needs to say to acknowledge the generosity, and, while I’m at it, thankful that her husband, also schooled by his mom in the appreciate nature of thank you notes, shares the same values.

It’s been years since I’ve had an occasion to write thank you notes that numbered 100 or more (especially when you consider my daughter had just finished her shower thank you notes when the wedding rolled in) but I do remember how easy it was to slip into the familiar refrain: “Thank you for your generous gift. Hope to see you soon.” It’s not that you don’t appreciate the gift it’s just that the task of writing these can start to feel like a chore. What with work, schoolwork, household errands, social activities, visits to the gym, laundry…

Then you remember that the person you are thanking put effort into finding you a gift, paying for it, wrapping it, sending or delivering it, and that was just for your engagement, or your shower, or your wedding.  Taking a few additional minutes per note seems like a small price to pay. And judging by the comments I’ve received from so many people, that extra thought really makes people feel appreciated.

They certainly don’t need to thank me for Debra thanking them.

But thanks anyway.



P.S. If you haven’t heard from Debra or Matt as of yet, you will. They want to thank you properly.




My Daughter, the Glowing Bride


Recycling day is tomorrow. I just unceremoniously tossed into the can a large paper calendar on which I had written every single daily task associated with planning my daughter’s wedding. The wedding was this past Sunday. The squares for the rest of the week were blank.

Thank goodness.

I’m still floating about, feeling a bit tired, useless and a little unfocused. But I’m smiling, a big, loopy, uncontrollable grin. What a weekend it has been. All those words I’ve used to describe other people’s weddings: magical, spectacular, fairytale, I can now use to illustrate my daughter’s.

She was a beautiful bride. Yes, I know. I’m biased. So, no editorial comment, just description. Petite and fair with long cascading blonde hair, framing her blue eyes and her cherubic face (just like her dad’s). Her tiny waste cinched by a charmeuse sash that created definition between the embroidered bodice with sweetheart neckline and the flowing silk taffeta Cinderella bottom, all ivory and swishy above the crinolines. The soft train was graced by a floor-length veil trimmed in pearls and tiny crystals to match the bodice of the gown.

This delicate, exquisite princess was my daughter.

Her dad might not have been around to see his little girl get married but his memory was invoked by so many this past weekend. I am certain he and our old friend, Mark, were cracking open the scotch and watching from the balcony.

So many new words have entered our vocabulary: wife, husband, married, brother-in-law, son-in-law, mother-in-law, (oh yeah, I’ve finally turned into one of those!). Words so common, yet unfamiliar. Until now.

I love my new son-in-law. With all the wedding planning, from the gorgeous museum where the reception was held to the icebox groom cake that was personally delivered from a New York bakery, my daughter and son-in-law seemed blissfully happy.

And HE is the reason my daughter was a glowing bride.


P.S. Love you both very much.




Where Has All the Time Gone?

It’s been much too long since I last blogged. A lot has been going on; some wonderful, some not so wonderful.

I always ask to hear the bad news first. (Why? I don’t know. Especially since I then become preoccupied and tend not to hear the good news). But I’m a creature of habit so here goes: A few weeks ago my long-term boyfriend, Jon, had a serious fall rupturing the tendons that connect the quadriceps to the knees, on both legs. Ouch. I know. After surgery and rehab he’s now back home, but the focus of life for him, and consequently, in a much, much, much lesser extent, me, has been altered.

Both of Jon’s legs are locked securely in braces and can bend only 40 degrees (that’s up a whopping 10 percent as of our post-op visit to the surgeon this week). This of course means lots of things; notably, he won’t be dancing at my daughter’s wedding in August.

But it also means, according to the surgeon, that by the day of the festivities he should be able to participate as much as possible. He’s a trooper and an athlete so he’s already pushing through. And that’s the wonderful part. The wedding! It’s progressing nicely, though not without the normal kinks – the caterer’s representative has gotten a promotion and is suddenly not so available, the manager of the hotel where our out-of- town guests will stay and who had promised the world, stopped answering my emails. Yep, she’s gone. But, hey, the new guy seems very nice.

But I love the calligrapher, the florist, and most importantly, and unequivocally, the groom! So no complaints.

What I have learned in this crazy season of wedding planning is that it is so easy to lose perspective. To get bogged down with the details, the unnecessary worries. Is it going to rain? Does this purple match the invitation? And if I keep doing that, I’ll end up looking back on this period with regret. This should be FUN. So, screw the twists and turns and the unexpected changes.

It’s a wonderful time after all.

Besides, even with two strong legs, Jon ain’t much of a dancer.



We went to the Hasidic wedding of the daughter of friends, Ori and Susan, expecting to learn a lot, but frankly not to have any fun.

“Dress modestly,” comes the first email to those friends of theirs who are not personally familiar with the Lubavitch community. “You’ll sit together, but you can’t dance together. The women will dance with the women, the men with the men.” Funny, how Jon’s bum knee starts to act up. “And dress warmly because regardless of the weather, custom requires that the ceremony be held outdoors.”

So with a little bit of dread and a good deal of curiosity, we drive the one and a half hours to Livingston, New Jersey with friends David and Jackie. I have added black tights to my dressy three quarter length organza skirt and a black tank to wear under my beaded cropped sweater. Despite it being only October 30, it is cold and damp and I have on a long wool coat, scarf and gloves. I don’t feel as much modest, as I do frumpy.

The wedding begins with a bountiful buffet of all sorts of foods and an opportunity to see and congratulate the bride and the mothers of the bride and groom. As a woman, I am allowed to hug Erica. Jon isn’t. He, in fact, heads upstairs with the men who are conducting their own rituals with the groom.

At one point before the wedding vows, the groom comes down to make sure he has the right bride, and returns again to cover her face with a veil as thick as the curtains in Tara. I keep focusing on how gorgeous Erica looks.

As promised, the ceremony is held outdoors in the cold, raw, gray late afternoon. The men in black suits and black hats and the women in warm coats and gloves create a contrast to the bride who looks illuminated in her long-sleeved, high-necked lace gown and thick, opaque veil.

I take in everything, fascinated by a culture that I am unfamiliar with but one that has invited me in as a guest. The bride and groom smile a lot but they do not touch. In fact, up until this point in their engagement, they have not been permitted to touch. That will come after the ceremony, and in private.

We all head into the party – women dancing on one side of a cloth wall that divides the dance floor, men on the other. I am not prepared for how much fun it is to dance to energetic music and with Erica’s friends. No one remains seated.

All evening long the music continues, as well as forms of entertainment for the bride and groom. There is the fire twirler and the man who balances three chairs on his nose. And the dance performed by Erica’s roommates, all of whom don brightly colored wigs for the number. We jump and gyrate until, well, at least until my feet hurt.

Despite the requirement that the men and women dance separately, at one point Ori dances with his daughter. I don’t know whether this follows custom, but I do know there isn’t a dry eye.

As the evening winds down and we say our goodbyes to everyone, I realize I’ve been smiling all night. It has been a beautiful wedding and, maybe a little bit unexpectedly, a total blast.

Jon even forgot about his bum knee.


© 2011-2018 Ellie's Blog All Rights Reserved -- Copyright notice by Blog Copyright