MAMA’S DAY

Happy Mother’s Day to all you mamas, grandmas, and godmothers out there! On this day of celebrating the women who have dedicated their lives to us, I thought I’d write a bit about my mama and what I’ve learned from her.

For a few of my most formative years, my mom and I were on our own, together. It was a difficult time in some ways, but I wouldn’t change a thing about it. While I played hooky from school to go on business trips with her (or sometimes due to lack of sleep from watching too many reruns of Nick at Night in her bed) our bond formed and strengthened.

My mom has taught me so many things, not only through her words but also in the way she lives her life, leading by example. Here are the top three things she’s taught me:

One can be a successful professional and a wonderful mother at the same time. I learned the value of ambition, determination, and hard work from a very young age. My mother knew what she wanted to do when she was five years old and has made her dream come true, I think more successfully than she could have ever imagined. She worked her way up from being a rehearsal pianist in dinner theaters to being the Musical Supervisor of some of the biggest shows on Broadway and coaching some of the biggest names in the world.

Being a successful professional and a single mother simultaneously wasn’t easy. At times, it meant that she was gone a lot and I spent many nights with my (wonderful) babysitter Indra. This got to me a bit when I was a kid, to the point where I suggested she quit her job and work at the McDonalds down the street. My campaign for this career change wasn’t succesful, thank goodness. Despite all of this, watching my mother build her career was an invaluable lesson and one that I wouldn’t wish to have learned any other way. She was able to be the most wonderful mother in the world while also becoming one of the most successful people I’ve ever met.

You get to choose to make life beautiful, every day. When I was growing up, every morning before school my mom would wake me up with music (usually James Taylor), candles lit, and the table set for breakfast. Despite the fact that she had usually been up quite late working and could have chosen to sleep in, she always wanted to make our mornings together special. When she’d make my lunch, she packed it in a paper bag with different stickers on the bag and inside there was usually some kind of positive message she had written.

She emphasized making daily tasks feel special. When making tea or coffee in the morning she always had me pick which mug I was in the mood for that day. If she made me breakfast or a snack she would arrange it on the plate in such a way so it looked like a beautiful little treat we were indulging in. Whenever we walked down the street she would point out New York-centric sights, or beautiful flowers, or intoxicating smells.

She taught me that you get to choose to see life beautifully every day. The gift of that is, when you choose it, you don’t have to be somewhere special or to be having a particularly great day. You become accustomed to seeing and creating the beautiful things everywhere you go.

Forgiveness and love are the most precious gifts you have to give. My mother is the most forgiving person I’ve ever met. There have been situations where she has been betrayed on the deepest level and she has been able to respond with love and kindness. I have watched her react to people who have taken advantage of her or treated her less than favorably, and she always chooses to diffuse their power with love and kindness. She “turns the other cheek” in the most beautiful way, never disrespecting herself but displaying to others that her loving spirit will not falter. She has taught me that this is one of the most invaluable things you can offer another person and the world.

My mom is truly one of the most special women I’ve ever known. She is not only my mother but my best friend and mentor. I am so grateful to have her in my life on this rainy Sunday.

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WHEN YOU KNOW, YOU KNOW. YOU KNOW?

It’s hard to write about meeting the love of your life without giving some background on the 26 years before you met him. You can’t really understand what it feels like to know someone is “the one” without having dated a bunch of people who weren’t the one. Or maybe you can, but that’s not how it went for me.

Without going into too much detail, I’d say I definitely went through the cliche “bad boy” phase. Does everyone go through this or are most people wise enough to know that a person who is kind and caring is generally the person you want to go for? If a guy ignored me, was not really “looking for a relationship”, or was significantly older, it was a challenge I was ready to accept. Whether due to “daddy issues” or low self-esteem, it was a pattern that went on for many years.

Between bad breakups and broken hearts, I tried to like “nice” boys. The feeling nice boys gave me is like when you feel like there are spiders crawling on you, it’s like you are going to crawl out of your skin. My favorite nice boy story was when I went out for drinks with a guy friend of mine. We had a great time and got in a cab to head uptown to our respective homes. I’ll have to preface what comes next by saying that I have a bad habit of not buckling my seat belt in cabs. It’s not that I think it’s stupid or unnecessary, I’m just not used to doing it. Perhaps this is because they were always broken or ripped out of the old cabs I took? Fellow New Yorkers, do you find this to be true? Anyway, we were sitting in the cab and he had buckled his seat belt. As we drove uptown I watched out of the corner of my eye as he very slowly unbuckled his seat belt, noticing that I hadn’t buckled mine. The fact that he was being safe and buckling up in a cab is not what turned me off. It was the fact that he couldn’t be confident about his choice. If you happen to be reading this nice boy, I think you are a great person and you are going to make another seat belt buckle upper very happy someday.

I’m skipping over a lot of things here, but only to get to the best part faster. In November of 2014, I was swiping left and right, as you do. I don’t remember the exact moment when Bae came across my screen but I obviously swiped right. After having been on Tinder for a while with little success I deleted it on a whim, thinking I should really meet a person the old fashioned way, slightly intoxicated at a bar. After a dull two weeks, I re-downloaded the app only to find the following romantic opening line waiting in my inbox: “so you run a lot?”. We chatted for a few days on Tinder before he said “I’m sorry if this is too forward but here is my number, text me, I can’t stand this Tinder thing”.

After texting for a few days, we decided to meet up after work. Coincidentally, it turned out that we worked on the same block, him as a director’s assistant at David Letterman and me as a dresser at the revival of “Cabaret”. While Roman waited for me outside the Studio 54 stage door, I took a shot in my girlfriend Gayle’s dressing room (I look back fondly at all the times Gayle and I HAD to do shots before we went on failed attempts at dates). To back up a bit, almost all my life I’ve had long naturally blonde hair. I went through a brief identity crisis and chopped all my hair off and dyed it platinum blonde. This happens to be when Roman met me. I came out of the stage door with a guitar on my back and a beany covering my platinum pixie cut. He says when he saw me thought I was a super cool guitar playing hipster, little did he know I was shakin’ in ma boots.

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The identity crisis look.

We walked to a trashy sports bar and on the way he kept accidentally bumping into me. I later found out he had already been drinking for a few hours with friends. I’m pretty shocked he still liked me after that evening because it seemed like I was determined to sabotage myself by telling him all the horrible things I had done within the last few months. Regardless, we saw each other two days later.

It wasn’t love at first sight but it was love at second sight if that’s a thing. Our second date started at Greenwich Tree House. As soon as I sat down with him I felt comfortable like I was home. We chatted for a bit and then walked over to the Village Vanguard. Sitting next to him and listening to a big brass band play, I felt like I was sitting next to someone I had known all my life.

The great thing about Roman is he is the perfect mix of everything. He’s certainly not a bad boy which I’m grateful for, but he isn’t the gross kind of nice either. He’s one of the most ambitious people I know and therefore is quite successful at everything he tries to do. He’s kind and loving and always helps me to try to “be a better person” as cliche as that sounds. He cares immensely about his amazing family which translates into caring about mine as well. All that plus he’s more handsome than Robert Pattinson and Rufus Wainright combined (and he gets that a lot).

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As I’ve tried to think about different things I could write about in this here blog, Roman kept (jokingly) saying “why don’t you write about me!?” My response kept being “because I’m an independent woman and my life isn’t all about having a boyfriend!” I was joking when I said that but the truth is, I’ve grown up in an age where being a “strong woman” who doesn’t prioritize romantic relationships is not only fashionable but sometimes imperative. I was raised to dream about my career instead of my future husband, and I did. But no matter what happens in my career, no matter where I live, no matter how much money I have, I’ll be happy if Roman is there with me. And I think being able to say that still allows me to be an “independent woman”.

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