Blended

January 21, 2019

The holidays are strange, partly due to the pressure of making things magical for everyone. Add to that a returning college freshman with a head bigger than a cannonball, and you know it can get very, very ugly. I had planned to write a piece about a priceless few minutes I spent with Blue and ...

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Is it good things, bad things, or emotionally exhausting things that come in threes? In the course of a week, we delivered not one, not two, but three children to college, and it was good, bad, and wiped us out. Some aspects of these drop-offs differed widely, partially because of the players and ...

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When I opened my eyes at 4:42 the other morning, I performed my daily pre-dawn ritual of counting how many kids were in the house. We had four out of five. The missing one was in College Park, Maryland, where we left him the day before.  The campus is beautiful. Every time I go, I stand at one ...

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Along with hundreds of parents in Westfield, my sons just graduated from high school (congratulations all!). It’s a funny thing being on the inside, being one of the moms who’s actually got kids in the flowy gowns. It’s a completely different vantage point than the one I’m used to; on many ...

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On a recent weeknight, I was sitting at my computer, and Blue was sitting in the dining room, which he has claimed as his personal office. The table is perpetually covered with ACT study materials, a gargantuan U.S. history book, a laptop, and his various drinks and snacks. There’s an open layout ...

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On Saturday morning, March 4th, I went to the gym. After forty-five minutes on the elliptical machine, I sat down to stretch, and thought for a moment that it felt good to take time out to tend to my health. As I did sit-ups, I listened to music by The Band, whom I’ve loved since my father first ...

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It was the Monday after Thanksgiving, and we’d all just spent a long weekend bonding, playing Heads Up, and crashing from a perceived excess of tryptophans. We went back to school and work, responding bitterly to the 5:30am beep beep beep, and resumed our ritual of after school chorus, swimming, ...

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We’re near the seven-year mark, the approximate point at which blended families organically take on the tone of a family that was organically formed. Something happened this summer that caused G and me to look at each other and think: we’ve arrived. It helped that the scene was so ...

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G and I have been blending our family for some time now. In fact, we’re almost at the seven-year mark, when, the literature says, the dust storm stirred by competition, jealousy, awkwardness, and hurt feelings is finally expected to settle.  I’m starting to suspect that seven years might be an ...

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Living in a blended family comes with daily challenges brought on by the seven personalities in our house (nine including the puppies), but sometimes, G and I have plain old couples issues that would likely crop up whether we had children at all. Take food. I’ve had food hang-ups as long as I ...

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I’ve been at this mom thing a decent amount of time as my oldest son, Blue, is about to turn sixteen. An incident this past week made me realize how little I like saying no, and it’s come as a bit of a shock as I pride myself on a great capacity for no. My kids aren’t shy about asking for all ...

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G and I acknowledge to each other that this life we’ve chosen is hard.  We live in a home with seven people, some of whom are in crucial stages of development. And then there are the kids. Being a stepparent is guesswork much of the time. I just do what comes naturally and keep my fingers ...

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I’m taking a summer course in adolescent psychology, and I’m discovering that this period in a young person’s life is rife with expanded cognitive ability. According to famed psychologist Jean Piaget, teenagers think abstractly, understand the dual meaning in metaphors, and appreciate sarcasm.

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At one of this year’s first summer travel baseball games, before the 100+ degree real-feel heat wave, before accepting 4:30 or 9:30 dinnertime as normal, before logging hundreds of miles on my minivan so the boys could play on some rural New Jersey field called “Cornhusks,” that is to say, while ...

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Our Supreme Court made a landmark decision this week when it overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, which since 1996 has defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. New Jersey’s Governor, my Governor, Chris Christie, publicly blasted this decision as “wrong” and what he described as ...

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Not long ago, I became a stepmother to three wonderful kids, a girl and two boys. I have two boys of my own, so I’m no stranger to sons, but I really don’t know from girls, other than the fact that I used to be one and I have a younger sister. Young women come in all flavors, as the Spice Girls ...

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I recently experienced my first “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.” I owe my resulting glow to Gloria Steinem, who founded its predecessor, “Take Our Daughters to Work Day,” in 1993.  I don’t have daughters, but I do have a fifth grade son, Dimples, who brought this holiday, which I now ...

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A wonderful thing happened…it wasn’t forced, it wasn’t solicited, it wasn’t egged on by an adult hoping a child would do something kind. Last Friday afternoon, several of us were relaxing in the connected space of our dining room, living room and kitchen. G stood at the dining room table ...

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About two weeks ago, my girlfriend G had surgery. It wasn’t an emergency procedure, thank goodness, so we had plenty of time to arrange kid transport to and from school (thank you to the family and good friends who helped – our village rocks), and just generally prepare for what is a stressful ...

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Four weeks ago, my oldest son Blue had his bar mitzvah. If you’ve been through this with your child, you’ll surely recall the pride you felt as you watched him in his shining moment. If you haven’t, you may know something about it: the years of Hebrew School, the six months of lessons, the ...

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Our family spent a week this August on Lake Norman near Charlotte, North Carolina. We were a full house of sixteen: G, me, our five kids, G’s mom and step-father, her two aunts, and her brother, his wife and their three kids.  Some of these people I know quite well. I sleep with one of them, I ...

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It’s often the little moments during an impromptu mother-son wiffle ball game that demonstrate just how much a ten-year old knows. You don’t necessarily think you’re in for enlightenment when you head to the front yard and start your wind-up, but that’s how it happened one recent hot ...

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Be careful what you wish for. How many times has that proved true? Aesop really knew his stuff.  Often, when I see my kids’ playing morph into arguing, I wish they would just grow up already. I mean, as 12 and 10 year olds, they know right from wrong.  Right? Wrong.  I have what I suppose is a ...

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Like many of us (or is it just me?), I have a complicated relationship with technology. It’s part infatuated-with-these-toys and part sad-to-lose-the-simple-past. The infatuation part comes in many forms. There’s the iPad with that really cool drawing game (which I stink at, but love to watch G ...

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I love writing these Blended columns. The act of writing is cathartic and it helps me understand, celebrate and vent about what’s going on in my family. A close friend of mine who reads the columns recently told me she finds them entertaining, but that it’s clear I don’t quite divulge 100% ...

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School is here! School is here! The first few days of the school year, everyone was getting their legs, figuring out where to go and adjusting to leaving the house before the dew evaporates. The school year started on a Wednesday, so it was a stunted first week with routines barely up and running, ...

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