One Day At A Time

6-hour-old-freida-miriam1BREAKING NEWS:  At about new-freida5 a.m. on January 27th my grand-daughter Freida Miriam was born.  She’s doing very well, as are her mother, father, and beautiful brothers Art and Noam.  This – in the end – is what it’s all about huh?  Grandparents are doing fine too!  This morning, when Art climbed into bed with me at 7 a.m. I tried to explain to him what retirement meant … simple story – Baubie doesn’t have to go to the office any more.  He gets it!  Thought it seemed like a good thing.  I agree.

Many years ago my dear friend Iain Davidson (who began as my  professor – and definitely wasn’t on my friend list – and then became my Ph.D. supervisor and finally one of my dearest  friends) recommended that I read the book Oral Sadism and the Vegetarian Personality:  Reading from the Journal of Polymorphous Perversity.  I read it sitting in the airport in Toronto waiting to fly I don’t remember where.  What I do remember is – just like the woman in the video clip –  laughing out loud at the propositions it espoused:

Fact:  One hundred percent of all dead patients showed a marked reluctance to pay their bills.

Fact: Well over half of all Americans alive today have experienced childhood directly, a syndrome marked by a) dwarfism b) knowledge deficits and c) legume anorexia.

Fact: When Ms. Cinderella left her glass slipper behind at the stroke of midnight, she was clearly acting in a state of rebellion against the dictatorial regimentation of the domineering fairy godmother.

One of the chapters in the book was titled The Deja Vu Phenomenon.  Three or four chapters later, was another chapter with the same title.  It was only half way through reading the same words for the second time that I suddenly had that “ah – ha” moment and realized I’d just read this.  A tip:  if you laugh out loud while reading in an airport waiting room people will move away from you! 

Well, these last few days I’ve been having a few moments that I’d characterize the same way.  Not really deja vu, just suddenly going back to “visit” earlier stages in my life when I was in the midst of what can only be described in some metaphor like “the eye of the storm” transitions I think.  

That nonsense about moving from elementary to high school being “the transition years” has always mostly left me wondering just how misleading we – in education – can sometimes be when we get “on the bandwagon”.  Leaving high school was a bit harder but because it was all mixed up with getting to leave London and getting to go out and be “on my own”, and travelling to Israel (okay, not the Sorbonne, but easier to have my Jewish parents subsidize).  I remember sort of losing days from time to day during that initial period of freedom but not unpleasantly.  My 20th birthday was tough … seemed like youth was over and only old age and its incumbent responsibilities lay ahead.  But the first real transition I struggled with, I suppose, was going from being single to being married.  I was too young.  I had little sense of who I was myself much less what kind of person I should partner with … if at all.  What eased even this shift, though, was just how expected it was.  A marker of my generation I suppose; I was on the tail end of girls marrying quite young (and we were called girls in the day, as they say).

Going from it being just the two of us – children ourselves, parading as adults – to being parents was … well … like taking the controls of an Airbus and just heading, full steam, for the end of the runway.   You give it everything you’ve got and if you’re lucky the damage is limited, love wins (as it says on my license plate) and everything turns out fairly well.  You hope.  Again, this was an expected transition so there were lots of other young women I knew going through the same changes at the same time and, consequently, plenty of support and lots of books to read to tell me what to expect .

Traumatic, heart-wrenching, tear-jerking, arenalin-overdosing transition came next – going from being married to  what I refer to as “Phase 1” divorced … and all of the shifts that means both as an individual and as a parent  (Phase 1 is akin to shellshock; doing everything with a degree of automaticity on your side).  Nothing actually had prepared me for this.  All of my dreams about raising a family included two parents, not just one.  At night, after the kids were all in bed, if I wasn’t teaching or doing assignments for a course that I was taking, I was likely watching television.  And one of the shows that I most liked to watch was One Day At A Time.  

Do you remember that show about a single Mom with two daughters.  I can still sing along with the theme song (join me if you’d like):

This is it.  This is life. the one you get so go and have a ball.

This is it.  Straight ahead and rest assured you can’t be sure at all.

  So while you’re here enjoy the view, keep on doing what you do

So hold on tight we’ll muddle through .. one day at a time.

Do you see what I mean about deju vu?  When I sit and watch One Day at a Time now, with a cup of tea in hand, well … in many ways I don’t feel that much different than I did when I watched it the first time around.  The laughter that frequently fills the room, the pure joy with which I watch this program while noticing the snow falling outside my window; I’m grateful for today and I’m grateful for the TV shows that have helped me get from one day to the next.  So many shows.  Any that were special to you?  Any that helped you on your journey?

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6 responses to “One Day At A Time

  1. Yes, I liked One Day At A Time, and my other fave was the Mary Tyler Moore show – back in those days it was a novelty for a woman to be interested in a career. And, I remember how Mary called her boss, “Mr. Grant”, but the men who were her co-workers called him “Lou”, or was it “Lew”? Anyway, that was so true to life then. And, Rhoda was fun.

  2. Ah grandparenthood! It has so much more to offer than motherhood!

    Since all of my children were adopted as older children and came to me with significant issues, it is really with the grandchildren that I can mark the progress that was made. They are all so much more normal than my children ever were. I’m not too sure she’ll thank her parents for the name, Frieda, but she is definitely a cutie.

  3. Oh my Grace, you’ve gone and said it. Thank you. When I first had grandchildren there was a part of me that said “ah — this makes parenthood worthwhile after all!” The relationship with grandchildren is an amazing one; full of the love and connection and without the “buttons”. Love it.

  4. Gorgeous grand-daughter!!! Mazel tov to you and her parents!

  5. She’s gorgeous, absolutely no doubt about it.

    I have this theory that mothers re-bond with daughters when the grandchidren arrive -no proof- a theory born from observation. I have also noticed when daughters have daughters it is extra special, sadly this experience will not be mine,my daughter has never wanted to have children.

  6. OMG! Look at her hair; look at her perfect seashell ear, look at that hand! What a cutie!

    Just to let you know, if you laugh out loud at the humor film on a plane, folks will turn and give you strange looks also.

    I know from experience. 🙂 Oh well, too bad for them!

    Enjoy your newest grandchild and the not-so-new grandchildren who I am sure as just as delightful.

    ~Imani~

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