Contact Me

Any time - drop me an email
miriamhendeles@gmail.com
1-323-243-7116

Contact Me

Any time - drop me an email
miriamhendeles@gmail.com
1-323-243-7116

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Helicopter Musings

I’ve been blogging on this grandmother/bubby blog for a little over three years, and have noticed that the “most searched for” phrases when reaching my blog seems to be “helicopter moms,” or “helicopter grandparents,” which leads me to believe one of two things: a) I write a lot about that topic, and/or b) grandparents are interested in that topic.

helicopter-13710666927Pi

In any case, if I have thought I was a helicopter grandparent when I became a grandmother 8 years ago (wow, hard to believe it’s been that long), I realize I’m still grappling with my tendency toward helicopter parenting. Never mind grand-parenting.

A few weeks ago, my husband and I sent off our youngest son to Israel for yeshiva. This is our little child – our baby – you know the one I gave birth to years ago who is so cute that I still want to pinch his cheeks? Yep. That one. Actually, based on my history as a devoted, sometimes nagging, somewhat over-protective  mom, I thought it would be really hard. I, the one who has  helicopter parenting/grand-parenting down to a science, was already visualizing my calling him daily on his cell phone and panicking when he wouldn’t answer the phone.

And indeed,  few weeks before he left to yeshiva for the year, I could be spotted  nagging helping him shop and pack.

But besides that, I was fine. I’ve done this before. This was not my first child to leave home, and even this child had already been away from home for school already. So I did not have a hard time letting go.

Well, maybe the day he left was a little tough. Since he was taking a trip abroad, we (hubby and I) allowed ourselves to be just a tad hovering.

So the day he departed, my husband and I were that couple at the Swiss Air counter (if you were there and happened to notice) who moved extra pieces of clothes from one suitcase to the other in order to spread out the weight. Did you see us? If not, you may have noticed our very tolerant son who didn’t even seem to be embarrassed by us. He stood by our side and kept saying, “It’s okay, I don’t have to take so much….let’s just leave it behind…”

yehudaleibairport

You’re thinking, who’s the traveler here? Isn’t it the young man and not us? You’re right.

But we’re not really so bad. Listen, we just had to make sure he had everything he needed, okay? Where he’s going there are no stores.

So my husband ran back to the car while the airline attendant took someone else in line, and he got a small suitcase which he found in the trunk. That became our son’s third piece of luggage, so that each piece shouldn’t exceed the weight requirements.

My son stood there totally relaxed probably thinking how he’ll be soon free from these hovering parents.

So that was basically it. After that we stopped nagging or hovering or reminding.

Unless of course you count the hard part which was watching him walk up the staircase leading to the gate. He met up with a friend who was flying on the same flight and the two of them started to chat. My phone battery died its hundredth death just at that time before I would commit my final touch of helicoptering this poor guy (and his friend) by asking them to pose for a picture. Again.

But seriously, it’s been two months since his departure, and I’m much better now than I thought I would be. I’m leaving him alone for the most part.

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When he calls us (I won’t tell you how frequently we ask him to call – listen you don’t have to know everything about me!), I don’t keep him on the phone too long. It’s 11:30 his time when he calls and I just ask him about five or six, okay, seven or eight (I think) questions and then I tell him I love him and he says he loves me and then we hang up.

Not so bad, right?

And then my husband comes home from work and we discuss each of our talks with the son. We exchange stories of what he told my husband what he told me and so forth.

It works out. It really does. I sent a package to him with someone who traveled there and lives nearby.

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And Chanukah is soon, so I’m preparing a package to have sent to him there, which is not really helicopter parenting but Jewish parenting.

As my friend, Lisa who is also a grandmother and blogger says, “nobody said this parenting biz was easy….” It’s the letting go that’s the hardest of all.

And on that note, happy holiday season to all, and may we all keep in touch with our children in loving ways (without too much meddling).

 

 


What I Needed to Learn, I Learned in Kindergarten

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I was invited to a  Shabbos party at my pre-school grandson’s school, where he was chosen to be  the Shabbos Abba.  On Friday morning, I dropped everything and drove over to his classroom, met my DIL there and we observed my grandson  having this special party with his friends — with grape-juice, challah and other goodies.

It was at this party that I realized something about myself that I hadn’t known before. Something that made me feel more grown up than I’ve felt in years. More mature, evolved and settled.

I may have thought about it briefly over the past years, but hadn’t articulated it clearly in my mind.  Maybe I was in denial. Maybe I was too embarrassed to admit it. Maybe I never even thought too much about it.

What was this feeling?

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT….DONE!

Doing a Mitzvah!

Zooming in on my Mitzvah Guy!

Whew. There. I admitted it:  Having the sensation that it is okay to have done the Mommy thing years ago, and moved on.

As I viewed  the classroom with its bulletin boards, various stations, book shelves, colorful cubblies, circle time rugs, toys and art and musical instruments, I felt kind of detached.  Yes, it was all very sweet and nice but I zoomed right in to view my own grandson (who of course was the most adorable), snapped a few pictures, felt the pride and enjoyed. He, and my role as Grandma were key here. Nothing else.

There was none of the nostalgia for the good-ol’-days as a Mommy.

I felt completely comfortable in my role as middle-aged grandmother. Call me old. Call me complacent. Call me whatever you want to call me. But I really was not in the least bit sad about being older than every other person in the room – even the teachers.

BEING OLD IS GREAT

bouncing

It wasn’t easy to come to that conclusion. I’ve been so busy the past few years writing and reading about the empty nest syndrome with its intermittent loneliness, alleged boredom, painful nostalgia, ubiquitous regret and all the other supposed symptoms ot the midlife  crisis or period. It’s been a given that we  midlifers are forever  pining for the good-ol’ days of carpools, soccer practice, PTA meetings, and child bearing years.

To an extent we are. We miss the past, and want the feeling of watching our little ones grow and develop. The feeling of the unknown, how it’s all going to turn out is kind of exciting and non-threatening.  And when that is all over, it feels as if we have nowhere to go now. Nothing  to look forward to. Nothing to plant and grow anymore. We feel as if our work is done.

But me,  I’ve reached a point where I no longer miss those days. I’m seriously grateful for being at the stage that I am.

I don’t want to go back to those early parenting days anymore. No way.

Do I have the feeling of life having passed me by and that the good times are over? Nah.

I remember the good times and fun times of the cute kids and watching them grow, develop and learn alongside their peers and cousins, but I do not miss them. That’s because I also remember the difficult times.

The calls from the teachers that my kid has to sit detention. The endless carpools, the hours with them doing homework, the arguments and debates with those sons who were not as docile (euphemism here. Use your imagination, okay?) as the others and whatever angst raising children entails.

All that is over. No more having to get babysitters. No more dealing with discipline and rude behavior (yes, kids were sometimes disrespectul).

Bottom line, knowing that our children have turned out really well is a comfort to me. We’ve done our work as parents, and now we get to be a couple. My husband and I have done a great job, and now it’s time to sit back and enjoy our own stage.

The kindergarten visit taught me the lesson of being happy with the stage that I’m in.

I had my lesson about the true reality of  Empty Nest Syndrome, and it was time to go home to my own peace and quiet. How wonderful is that?

How do *you* feel about being in the Empty Nest Club? Do you pine for the good ol’ days? Do colorful kindergartens make you wax nostalgic?

(Photo credits: Property of M. Hendeles and  Image credits Publicdomainpics.net)

 


Retired Person’s Club

When my parents became grandparents, certain things changed in their house. old-house

Post-Grandparent Changes:

Change #1: My parents’ house emptied over time, filling up only on Holidays with oodles of children and grandchildren, only to be re-emptied after the Holidays, with the toys placed neatly back in the basement.

Change #2: My parents covered every last inch of  their grand piano surface  with photos of the grandchildren and later on, the great grandchildren.

Change #3: My parents “de-child proofed” their home, meaning that their not-so-soft-edged coffee table was once again prominently displayed on their hardwood flooring. Only when the oodles of children arrived for the Holidays did this coffee table get pushed to the side of the room to make way for the children to play freely with the blocks, Lego bricks and other toys.

Change #4:  My parents subscribed to the AARP organization – a membership or organization that has a magazine, and provides benefits for middle aged people and beyond. Continue reading


The Empty Nest Celebrated

It’s almost there. Hasn’t happened yet, but will be a-happening soon. We’ve been preparing this for about 30 plus years, and now it’s finally going to be a reality. lovenest

The  Empty Nest is emerging.

Yes, in a couple weeks, our youngest son is heading out-of-town, off to post-high school yeshiva. That means, my husband and I will be alone in the house for the most part with no minors living at home anymore. (if you don’t count our married and adult kids plus grandchildren inhabiting our space informally…). Continue reading


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