Thanksgiving Memories When You’re Small

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and then here come the holidays! There are always new memories to make during this season and throughout the year, but the old ones are golden. Here’s one of my small memories of a bracelet my mother always wore when she dressed up for holidays.


Gold Cuff bracelet pic

Gold Cuff Bracelet

Mom had a golf cuff bracelet and when she wore this bracelet I knew she was dressed to go out. Something between everyday and fancy, it was a bracelet she’d wear to Thanksgiving dinner, or to a luncheon, or to her bridge club, with a straight skirt and sweater, or with a sleeveless wool dress.  It was the only bracelet I ever remember Mom wearing. And wearing that bracelet was special to me because even though Mom was dressed up for an occasion, she was still accessible during these times. Not so fancy that I couldn’t touch her, or sit on her lap and play with the bracelet as it circled her wrist.

Mom always took it off if I asked, which meant turning her wrist and pulling at the bracelet’s sides so she could squeeze her wrist through an opening which looked impossible to me and maybe even painful to her and then handing it to me. I would slide it on my small arm and sometimes change the size which I did by squeezing the sides together and Mom would let me even if it changed the shape of the bracelet a little bit. And I’d let it slip up and down my arm and imagine how a grown-up bracelet like that would look on me when I was just like Mom.

I have a cuff bracelet now. It’s silver and it doesn’t look much like Mom’s. But I have taken it off in the same way as she did, twisting my arm, feeling the straight edge push into the soft inside of my wrist, just as she must have felt. And I have handed that bracelet to my own children who have asked to look at it and feel it in their hands and try it on even though they are boys, feel the warmth of the silver from my wearing it, just as I felt the warmth of my own mother’s bracelet as it circled my arm. And I think there must be some kind of meaning behind this small, ordinary moment, a connection that tells me, yes, you are doing the things that your mother did because they are part of those comfortable, safe and familiar moments that link mother to child, generation to generation.

Thank you for reading.

Copyright © 2017 by Book Club Mom

All rights reserved.  All material on this blog is the property of Book Club Mom. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Image: Pixabay

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

The Epic Minivan: When Four Wheels Become a Part of the Family

I didn’t want to get a minivan. I liked my Geo Prizm. I had two little guys buckled snugly in the back seat and I was comfortable in my small car. But our family was growing. I was eight months pregnant and we needed a bigger car. As much as I wanted to keep things as they were, three car seats would not fit in the back seat of my sporty Prizm.

The van joined our family about two weeks before our next son was born and that was the beginning of an epic era. I joined the parade of moms in minivans, traveling our streets and moving our children through their days — first preschool, then kindergarten, grade school, parks, grocery stores, the mall. A few years later, another baby boy arrived, but there was plenty of room! Our bigger boys happily shifted their seats for the baby.

For years, our van was filled with the things our young children loved: little cars and toys, plastic play phones, books, markers, and papers. Each boy decorated his area with stickers, some from cashiers for being good, some from the doctor for being brave, others from school or party bags, with each sticker marking time. And I drove our boys with a mother’s pride. Oh, to look back in the mirror and see four little faces doing their little boy things!

Then middle schoolers became high schoolers and growth spurts meant more trips to the grocery store. The back was filled with sports equipment as we headed to practices and games. The van had a new purpose and I was a willing driver.

My husband and I watched our children grow, but in many ways we were suspended in time and the van was our constant. In this bubble, we traveled together, always as a group of six, to visit grandparents, go on vacation, or simply go out for a family dinner. Days upon weeks upon years.

Then, in a blink, we were loading up the van to take our oldest son to college. Six of us drove him to college and five of us came home, happy for him but a little sad, too. And while it was the beginning of something new, we held onto the van. It was in pretty good shape and we still needed it, we reasoned. In another blink, our next son was off to a different college, and this time, there were only five of us to help with the move. Yes, we were beginning to see a change.

After 16 years, the van was showing its age. The windows weren’t working as well, the horn was harder to beep, and the directional signal blinked weakly. As we faced the inevitable, I felt a twist of anxiety. The van had kept our family together. What would happen now? But the fact was that our boys were becoming adults, with their own paths to travel. And while our lives will always be connected, we were all facing new directions.

I drive a new and smaller car now. And after accepting the change, I made a happy discovery. The connection to our children, minus the van, is just as strong. Perhaps that faulty directional signal was telling us something — that it was time to let go and get a new car, one that would drive us confidently down new roads.

 

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Thanksgiving Memories When You’re Small

Gold Cuff bracelet pic

Gold Cuff Bracelet

Mom had a golf cuff bracelet and when she wore this bracelet I knew she was dressed to go out. Something between everyday and fancy, it was a bracelet she’d wear to Thanksgiving dinner, or to a luncheon, or to her bridge club, with a straight skirt and sweater, or with a sleeveless wool dress.  It was the only bracelet I ever remember Mom wearing. And wearing that bracelet was special to me because even though Mom was dressed up for an occasion, she was still accessible during these times. Not so fancy that I couldn’t touch her, or sit on her lap and play with the bracelet as it circled her wrist.

Mom always took it off if I asked, which meant turning her wrist and pulling at the bracelet’s sides so she could squeeze her wrist through an opening which looked impossible to me and maybe even painful to her and then handing it to me. I would slide it on my small arm and sometimes change the size which I did by squeezing the sides together and Mom would let me even if it changed the shape of the bracelet a little bit. And I’d let it slip up and down my arm and imagine how a grown-up bracelet like that would look on me when I was just like Mom.

I have a cuff bracelet now. It’s silver and it doesn’t look much like Mom’s. But I have taken it off in the same way as she did, twisting my arm, feeling the straight edge push into the soft inside of my wrist, just as she must have felt. And I have handed that bracelet to my own children who have asked to look at it and feel it in their hands and try it on even though they are boys, feel the warmth of the silver from my wearing it, just as I felt the warmth of my own mother’s bracelet as it circled my arm. And I think there must be some kind of meaning behind this small, ordinary moment, a connection that tells me, yes, you are doing the things that your mother did because they are part of those comfortable, safe and familiar moments that link mother to child, generation to generation.

Thank you for reading.

Copyright © 2017 by Book Club Mom

All rights reserved.  All material on this blog is the property of Book Club Mom. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Image: Pixabay

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

What’s That Book? Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua

battlehymn
Title
:  Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

Author:  Amy Chua

Genre: Memoir

Rating:  **

What’s it about?  Amy Chua describes the strict disciplined methods she used to shape her two daughters into accomplished Chinese-American musicians and students.  Persistent criticism, narrow-minded outbursts and manipulative tactics were the norm in this toxic family environment.  A rebellious younger daughter pushes back, forcing Chua to double down on her methods. Includes many insulting stereotypes of other parenting styles, declaring her altered version of the Chinese method superior.

How did you hear about it?  A book club selection

Closing comments:  This book received a great deal of attention when it was first published in 2011.  While Chua fully admits to making mistakes along the way, she clearly believes her method is the best and shows little respect for other cultures.

A 2014 article from The Guardian, “The truth about the Tiger Mother’s family” takes a closer look at Chua a few years later.

She and her husband, Jed Rubenfeld are law professors at Yale and have since co-written a new book (2014), The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America, a look at why certain groups in America do better than others (check it out here).

Contributor:  Ginette


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Consider being a contributor to What’s That Book.

Email Book Club Mom at bvitelli2009@gmail.com for information.

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Text Me, Love Mom by Candace Allan

Text Me, Love Mom cover

Text Me, Love Mom: Two Girls, Two Boys, One Empty Nest
by
Candace Allan

Rating:

About a month ago, we were in the middle of a torrential downpour at home. My thoughts jumped to one of the first things a mom thinks about when it’s raining and her kids are out in the world. Worried and ready to spring into action, I texted my freshman son at college: “Did we get u a little umbrella when we did your college shopping? If not, I am getting u one and bringing it up on Sunday . . . ” Of course, we had gotten him an umbrella and all was well on campus. But now that my kids are beginning to launch from the nest, I can’t help but want to stay in touch.

That’s why when I saw the book, Text Me, Love Mom: Two Girls, Two Boys, One Empty Nest by Candace Allan, I knew I had to read how another mom coped with the same feelings. Right away, I identified with what she said: “For years and years, I never thought much about them moving out of our home and how my heart would deal with that. It was what we were preparing them for — the launch from the nest. In the middle of it all, it was hard to believe it would ever happen. ”

When we’re raising a family, being in the middle of it all is our only reality. It’s hard to see the longer view when we’re immersed in our daily lives. When they are little, our children need us all the time. The babies are on our hips and the bigger ones have their arms around our legs. They’re looking up at us — for reassurance, for praise, and for guidance. As our children grow, our busy lives may change, but one thing seems to remain constant: our children are still children, just bigger and with different needs, and they still sleep at home. Then one day, as if by surprise, they are adults and they leave the nest, leaving us with a new role to play and a new self to consider.

In Text Me, Love Mom, author Candace Allan writes about her experience raising four free-spirited children in Calgary, Canada, and how she coped with watching them leave the nest, one by one. Allan tells her story without pretense and shares her children’s adventures and setbacks. Despite being an early helicopter mom, she learned over time how to give them the freedom they needed to try new things . . . as long as they stayed in touch. Even as three of her kids chose nontraditional paths, selecting gap years and travel after high school, Allan and her husband allowed them to find their independence, mistakes and all.

Text Me, Love Mom is written in a breezy and humorous style and also includes each of her children’s thoughts during those years, which gives her story a rounded perspective. As each of her kids moves out, Allan wonders, like many parents, if she has prepared them enough for their adult lives. And it’s not just the basics like buying and cooking food. She worries if they know how to handle money or how to trust the right people.

In retrospect, Allan admits she didn’t follow the advice she often gives now. “I had long-warned my friends not to let their kids start school at four and a half years old. Now I also tell them not to send them off to university, especially boys, at seventeen or eighteen. But no one, myself included, wants to heed that advice. We are all so anxious to have our kids take the next step. Proving what?”

Allan also offers reassurance to parents who are anxious about their own children’s departures. It’s a transition for parents as much as it is for children, but it doesn’t mean it’s the end of parenting. She realized that sending them off was simply a new phase. “Those goodbyes were momentous, but they weren’t the end, or even the middle. ”

Text Me, Love Mom is a fun and loving look at the ups and downs of showing our children how to launch from the nest. Our family is just beginning this launch and, for now, I’m still holding on tight. But Allan’s experiences assure me I’ll be okay. I think I can follow the advice she gives parents like me to respect my kids and give them the room to branch out. But if I absolutely have to let them go, I’ll be sure to remind them to text their mom now and then.

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