Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Gypsy Friedlander Memorial

My mom passed away yesterday at Goodman Brown Hospice Residence. She was 60 and had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer 3 years ago.

I posted this memorial site for her.


  1. Last Sunday we went to my mom's apartment to "disperse" of things. It was very productive. Leslie took a bunch of yarn. Leslie and Fola both found a bunch of memorabilia they wanted. Adam grabbed a bunch of old computer game stuff. Maria took my mom's old suede jacket with fringes all over. Jessica took some books my mom had put aside for her and needle point that was there when we all lived together.

    We threw out 5 big bags of garbage just so we could get to the stuff behind and under it. We took a bunch of folding chairs, a folding table and two big boxes of photos, comic books, and memorabilia, but we just scratched surface.

  2. So many people have told me "you'll see" about some behavior my kid's will inevitably portray, or some dynamic that will inevitably cause me to cave on my principles. It's become a big pet peeve of mine.

    Up until recently I've tried to be humble about it - "maybe, we'll see" - but I'm done with that. When you think about it, it's presumptuous and ignorant to think that just because one kid behaves a certain way, that all others have, or will. That's like me saying "when your kid gets into martial arts..." or "when your kid spends hours working on javascript..." or "eventually your kid will decide they're not going to eat sweets..." Not all kids are the same, and not all parents are the same.

    Being a parent is only one of many aspects of being a person, and people prioritize parenting differently. People aren't just good or bad parents. Parenting is a multidimensional spectrum. Do I think I'm a better parent? Hell yeah! While I hypothetically acknowledge that there must be better parents out there somewhere, I've never met them. I think I'm a better parent than anyone I've ever met.

    If you ask me what one thing I'm really, really good at, I would say it's being a dad. I've wanted to be a father since I was a teenager (though not when I was a teenager). It was my motivation for seeking a monogamous relationship. It's by far the most important thing in my life, and I live it. I would not take a job that prevented me from coming home and hanging out with my kids every night. I like to eat with my kids. I read stories with my kids almost every night. I like going on long drives with my kids, or long walks. I like talking to them, debating with them, and holding their hands. I like educating them and training them.

    People get more offended about parenting things than religion or politics. Parents seek so much affirmation. Success is always measured by comparative analysis. People find my parenting style intimidating. The prospect that I've raised kids who will chose to not eat sweets is offensive. Who rarely play video games, and instead read and exercise and love math and science.

    I recently was speaking with a bereavement counselor. She suggested that my parenting may be driven by my feelings of being neglected by my (single) mom. Maybe she's right. I hope I haven't offended you.

  3. Keep the Joy, Take Back the Fun via @NYTMotherlode.

    This is something I was talking about just recently with my wife, and separately with our 10 year old son. The conversations were primarily focused on whether our kids were happy, but it ties into our own happiness. My wife was concerned that our very authoritative parenting style might sap the happiness from our kids, and while I disagree, I applaud this constant state of reflection ( My take is that producing happy kids is not just about entertaining them in the moment, but also about giving them the coping skills to roll with life's inevitable obstacles and hardships. While I acknowledge that our influence as parents is not absolute in this regard, in this I disagree with the take away on not trying to "make them happy." I think it's just a more nuanced approach (

    And this ties into our own happiness. Our generation was a very brief one in human history where kids were allowed to just play. The consequence is that we are inclined to reflect on those good old days, when in reality what they did was not prepare us for life's constant burdens, both major and mundane.

    Like Cliff "I feel like I'm doing it the way it should be done," but unlike Cliff I don't think my way is good enough just because it is my way. I'm constantly sweating this stuff, reflecting and questioning my approach, struggling with guilt over how I prioritize and balance my time. We all want to dedicate quality time with our kids, but we also want to teach them by example that our own pursuits, other than them, whether it's work, fitness, or play, are also valuable and that life does not revolve around them. We want to expose them to new things, be able to entertain themselves in unstructured ways, and accept the vast amounts of work they're responsible for. It's all about expectations and hopefully this approach will set their expectations so that they will find the happiness, as well as the joy in life that we struggle with. So far our son, with all our rigidity, enthusiastically acknowledges how happy he is, which certainly makes us happy.

  4. We were planning on an early dinner, but we almost had to cancel when Tamara got a flat tire. Fortunately we were able to meet them and save the day. Eason helped me change the tire. I'm sure Andrea would have helped too, but she fell asleep in the car. Extra birthday bonus!

  5. Reading to your kids is probably just as important as feeding them vegetables. Maybe more. The Black Count is a terrific story and your reading it with them will inspire interesting conversations. Enjoy !


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