Month of Milestones

June is a full month for me, in many ways. For starters, my birthday is the 28th, and while I’ve never been a crazy birthday celebrating kind of person, each passing year feels heavy, fraught with a dueling sense of growth and loss. This sensation has grown more fierce as I approach the milestone of 40 (this coming year will be the last of my 30s). Aging kinda sucks. And yet, not entirely. I feel smarter, stronger (well, maybe not my abs), and more clear-sighted about what I want for myself than I ever did before, but there is something hard to accept about the loss of my youth.

Speaking of lost youth (joke! sort of), this month is also my wedding anniversary. Two of them. June 7 (Brooklyn courthouse) and June 11 (the gorgeous Virgin Islands), and I just realized as I’m writing this, that those dates, 7/11 mirror Little Guy’s birthday, 11/7/11. How perfect.

Flying in a little plane (yikes) to the island of Tortola.

Flying on a little plane to the island of Tortola. (The little plane part is why my man looks a bit green.)

My husband and I have been married for ten years now, TEN YEARS! How did this happen? It kind of crept up on us. Years ago, when we were newly married and, frankly, a bit stupid, we thought we’d return to the tropical island where we had our intimate and insanely fantastic wedding. Which was here, like literally, on this beach:

Little Dix Bay (please, hold the puns), on the island of Tortola, British Virgin Islands.

Little Dix Bay (please, hold the puns), on the island of Tortola, British Virgin Islands.

Well, that didn’t happen. Instead we went out to an early bird dinner (cause that’s how we roll), got a little drunk on pink champagne, and then went out for milkshakes to sober up before coming home by 7:45. Hey, what can I say, it was a school night.

Regardless, making it ten years is no easy feat, especially since six of those years were post-kids. I don’t talk much about my husband on this blog, for privacy reasons, mainly his since I clearly have no problem talking about myself, but suffice it to say, being married is CRAZY hard/good/bad/fun/horrible/fantastic/tedious/magical. We’ve been through a lot together, the superficial stuff like the second half of our 20s, and the big life changing rock your world stuff like death and babies, and yet somehow we keep on keeping on.

My baby bump with Bunky. Little Guy never got such tender pics. Sorry LG!

My baby bump with Bunky. Little Guy never got such tender pics. Sorry LG!

Speaking of death, that’s my other June milestone. My mom died on June 21, 2007 on Summer Solstice, which makes this year my seventh without her (physically) in my world. Losing a beloved parent is not something you get over. Ever. The whole time heals concept is pretty much bullshit. Time smooths out, time stretches, time passes, but the pain and loss remain. Of course, the turmoil I felt that first year does not even compare to how I feel now, BUT, there are these gut wrenching moments when something happens in my life, often having to do with my kids, and the person I’d like to share it with, confide in, or call for advice is dead.

As much as I miss her presence in my life, I’m grateful for our close relationship, and her enduring love. I think of her daily, and often, she inspires both my writing and my mothering. If only Little Guy could have crawled onto her lap and given her one of his sweeter than chocolate kisses, or if she could have seen Bunky’s newborn face which mirrored my own. But nope. As the Rolling Stones once said, and still say (gotta love their endurance), you can’t always get what you want, but sometimes you get what you need. And I’ve got these guys:

get what you need

Life is full of brutal moments of loss, tempered only by beautiful moments of joy. Sometimes they are all mixed up together, sort of like the way my laundry looks after I yank it out of the overstuffed dryer. Pant legs braided together with towels, socks hiding in the corners of the sheets, my daughter’s sleeves tangled with mine. You don’t get one without the other, so as hard as this month can be for me – my birthday just a week after my mom’s death, all coming in on the heels of my wedding anniversary – I no longer dread its approach, and instead I almost look forward to the rockiness of it, the messiness of it, because that is life.

My anniversary bouquet, picked by my daughter and husband.

My anniversary bouquet, picked by my daughter and husband.

* I had meant for this post to also include stories about our recent trip upstate, as well as gluten free product reviews, in addition to end-of-the-school-year angst (mine, not Bunky’s), and also about some big changes on my home front, and possibly blog front, but clearly that would have been a monster of a post, so tune in soon for all of this and more.

** Thanks, as always, for reading. If you have any milestone months, please let me know what they are and how you muscle through them.

Top 5 Posts of 2012

For my blog, 2012 didn’t really begin until May when my infant son turned 6 months old. That’s when I managed to pull my head out from under a mound of diapers to try to find myself amid the rubble of having a second kid.

I never would have thought that the second post I wrote after a half year hiatus (and before that, only a handful of sporadic posts) would be the #1 most popular post on my blog…

1. One Year Anniversary

This post was emotional for me to write (and read) since it really brought me back to my daughter’s celiac diagnosis that came just days after she turned three. Now we are only four months away from her 5th birthday. What a transformation in my girl, and in our lives.

On Christmas morning, thrilled with her new gift.

2. First Week of School Lunches Gluten Free

Who can forget my obsessive documentation of Bunky’s first week of school lunches? Um, probably most normal people, but here it is in case you’re curious. I may look through it for inspiration since we are in a total food rut. Shocking, I know.

First day of school pose.

Awesome first day of school pose.

3. When Your Kid Gets Glutened

Another tear jerker for me. I don’t think I have ever seen my daughter more terrified than when she realized the cupcake she was eating was full of gluten. Our lives are still effected by what happened at that birthday party. Bunky refuses to eat anything that other people prepare for her. In some ways I feel like it broke a piece of her trust with me, since I was the one who gave her the go-ahead to eat that crappy cupcake. Yes, mistakes happen, I know. But they still suck.

4. Cranberry Orange Muffins

On a lighter note, my husband had his GF baking dream come true (not counting croissants) when I made him these. I think it’s pretty funny (and great) that one of top ways people found my site was by searching for cranberry orange muffins. Who knew they were so sought after? Well, I guess my husband did. But don’t go telling him that.

Yes, he was that excited.

5. Pumpkin Addiction: A Round-up plus a Recipe

I’m not surprised that this one was popular. I just made pumpkin muffins this morning, so clearly my addiction is still on. Though it was temporarily surpassed by peppermint bark. If you want a flashback to when pumpkin was splattered all over the internet, check it out. There’s also an awesome recipe for pumpkin chai oatmeal cookies by my super talented baker/seamstress cousin Peeps.

pumpkin-cookies-1Now it’s time for a rather belated but completely genuine and heartfelt THANK YOU to you for reading my posts. Seriously. For a while there I felt like I was writing to myself, and that was okay, but writing to actual human beings is way better. So thank you again.

Happy (almost) New Year! Hope to see you all lots in 2013.

-Dana (mom to Bunky, the Celiac Kiddo, and not-so-new arrival Little Guy + wife to my husband, and beyond all that, an actual human being who loves to write)