A Few Days as an Empty Nester: Enjoying Adult Time But Missing My Little Girl

Yesterday, while walking my dog, I came across a neighbor who was walking her dog. We stopped and chatted for a bit as our dogs “chatted” too. Then she asked, “Where’s your daughter? Is it too early for her?” When I informed my neighbor that Quinn was having fun at a granddaughters’ sleepover my mom puts together every year and how excited she was to go, my neighbor smiled and said, “I’m sure you’re excited too! You get a few days to yourself!” I nodded, but I wasn’t as excited as some parents may be.

Yes, we’ve spent so much time together as a family, especially with the restrictions and home schooling of 2020 and half of 2021, and while I do enjoy having some time to myself to just relax or maybe watch shows that may not be age appropriate for my eight year old, I really do enjoy her company. Also, I don’t know how many more years I have for if and when she decides that she doesn’t want to hang out with me. Even if I’m lucky enough for that day to never come, at some point she will go to college or venture off on her own, and I won’t see her as much, so I want to take advantage of the moments we have together.

My mom has been sending me pictures for the past few days of their activities, and it’s clear that Quinn is having a wonderful time with her cousins and Nana, which I’m more excited about than me having time away from her. She’s a great kid with a bubbly personality, and I’m excited to have her home in the next few days.

All the best,

Tanya

Life One Year Later as a Dog Mom

I never thought I’d be gathering up toys, preparing meals and excitedly sharing stories and pictures a second time as a “mom.” But when Zack became a member of our family a year ago, I immediately fell in love. There was so much to learn as a puppy/dog mom, and though I’m sometimes frustrated when my little guy decides to be sneaky and steal a sock or bacon from the dining room table or tired when I have to take him out to go potty or for a walk when it’s raining or cold, it’s all been worth it.

He’s brought an abundance of love to our family, and seeing him play with his big sister always puts a smile on my face, even when I have to admonish one of them for not playing nicely. He’s also helped Quinn become more responsible. Even my husband who initially claimed he belonged to Quinn and me has come to love Zack and enjoys having him around.

I truly am so happy that we decided to become a dog family and am proud to be his dog mom.

All the best,

Tanya

The Great Adventure with My Daughter on the Jersey Devil

This was it! There was no turning back. I was locked in place. My eight year old was seated right in front of me, but I couldn’t really see her. The clink, clink sound got louder as my heartbeat seemed to match its pace feeling like it was coming out of my chest. We were at Six Flags Great Adventure on the Jersey Devil roller coaster.

After quickly asking Quinn is she was ready and okay, all I could do was close my eyes tightly and prepare to scream at the top of my lungs, struggling to believe that I was about to experience this crazy ride. I used to love roller coasters, but since having Quinn and being older, I just can’t handle them like I used to and was just grateful that I didn’t have any food on my stomach.

Why on earth would I get on the ride? Two words: for Quinn! Though she said it was okay if she didn’t get on the ride since everyone was too scared, when I looked at her face and heard the inflection in her voice, I knew I had to get on even if it meant I would feel like I was experiencing an out of body experience.

The ride lasted a few minutes, but I know my willingness to get on the Jersey Devil just for Quinn, especially since she knows my “tummy gets funny,” will stay with her for many years to come. That makes it all worth it!

All the best,

Tanya

Playing it Cool, and Celebrating National Ice Cream Day with my Sweet Girl

There seems to be a national holiday for just about everything from chocolate to spaghetti to pizza day, so National ice cream day is certainly no surprise. Though I recall celebrating it a few years ago with my daughter at the Please Touch Museum, I lost track of the day until it came up in my photo memory.

What made it extra special this year is that I purchased an ice cream maker, and it just so happens that we made our own ice cream together! I have fond memories of ice cream socials when I was younger. My mom would allow my siblings and me to pick out toppings at the store and our favorite flavor ice cream.

What made eating ice cream special was not just picking what we wanted but socializing and experiencing togetherness as a family. That’s exactly how I feel when having ice cream with my husband and daughter. Making it together just adds the cherry on top.

All the best,

Tanya

Reconnected: The Bond of Cousins

“It’s been over a year and a half, mommy! Do you think she’s taller?” my daughter asked about her little cousin. “Yes, I’m sure she’s taller,” I responded. This past Wednesday, Quinn and her cousin got to spend time together in Sesame Place after being apart for well over a year and a half.

As we waited for my sister-in-law and niece to arrive, Quinn watched closely looking for anyone who resembled them. When she finally spotted them, her smile widened, and she excitedly told me, “Here they come!” When my niece got closer, I could see the happiness on her face as well. Seeing these two reconnect after being apart for what probably felt even longer, considering that they’re both young children, really made my day.

It actually reminded me of the scene in “The Color Purple” when Celie and Nettie reconnected after being separated for years. Though I played it cool, there was this surge of emotions as I took a picture of them with their big, happy smiles. After being under restrictions for so long, I have an even greater appreciation for spending time with family and friends.

All the best,

Tanya

Grateful for My Daughter’s Great Dad on Father’s Day

Some people grew up never knowing their father. Others knew of their father but only as being a deadbeat or emotionally or physically physically absent from their lives. Then there’s those who are lucky like my daughter to have a great dad in her life who’s caring, present and loving.

Quinn is totally a daddy’s girl, and I don’t blame her. If I had a dad like hers, I would be too! Happy Father’s Day to all of those who are great daddies to their children and raising them to be wonderful people.

All the best,

Tanya

My Daughter’s Last Day of (Being) School(ed) with an Interesting Semester

It’s officially the last day of school for my second grader, and like many other children, she overcame the many unprecedented changes and hurdles that came with COVID-19 restrictions from virtual learning to hybrid to even receiving her learning materials in a different way. I’m very proud of the way Quinn rose to the challenge and just went with the flow, and I’m grateful that she eventually had an opportunity to interact with her main teacher and the teachers of special classes, like art, gym music and library, and some of her classmates.

While there’s no clear way of knowing what third grade will look like for her, I know if she could make it through this year with a smile on her face and still eager to learn that she’ll be just fine.

All the best,

Tanya

Hip Hop to You Don’t Stop! Looks Like I’m an Official Dance Mom!

Most of 2020 into 2021 has been an interesting year, especially for children who are used to going to school in person and participating in extra curricular activities. One of those activities for my daughter is dance; it’s been a part of her life since she was a toddler. She was so excited to take a Hip Hop petite class two years ago when she was six, but with the initial closures and then restrictions, last year there was no recital, and this year, it was moved outdoors for safety reasons.

Today was the special day, and seeing all of the children from toddler age to teens ready to go off to college eager to dance for their family and friends was a lovely sight. What made even more lovely was seeing how confident and ready Quinn was to take center stage for her hip hop number with her dance class. Of course, most parents are proud of their children and will cheer them on, but as I saw Quinn on the stage, it confirmed that she has something special, not just the gift of dance and movement, but the ability to command the stage even at a a young age.

Next year, she will be joining the hip hop competition team, and though I admittedly am not looking forward to the time commitment and traveling that comes along with being a “dance mom,” I am willing to do what it takes to support my daughter and look forward to Quinn continuing to hone her skills as a dancer and to become even more confident not just on the stage but in all aspects of her life.

All the best,

Tanya