Category Archives: moving

Just Because

It took two attempts and a two hour wait on the second try to get a New Jersey driver’s license with a neutral facial expression required, eye glasses prohibited, and indents on both sides of my nose inevitable. Apparently, residents of New Jersey are obligated to look like serial killers, or at the very least, exhausted and unhappy in their driver’s license photos. Actually, I think the wait might have helped. By the time they called my number, I was on the edge of clinical depression.

After leaving the Motor Vehicle Commission, I went to Nordstrom because, well, just because.


Holy moly. Just. Because.

It so happens that Nordstrom is having their Anniversary Sale, which means as a store credit card holder, I can buy exclusive items behind exclusive curtains at exclusive prices. What I thought I might/maybe/possibly/perhaps buy was a pair of Birkenstock sandals I’ve had my eye on because I do a lot of walking in my new hood, but before I hit the shoe department, I took a quick peek upstairs in the women’s department because, well, just because.

I secretly hoped I might find a great deal on a bathing suit. There are a few weeks of summer left, you know. Sadly, the swimwear department – what was left of it, anyway – was a hot mess of random and too skimpy for me tops and bottoms. As I turned around to head back downstairs in search of sandals, my eye caught a frenzy of shoppers behind a curtain. I walked toward the commotion out of curiosity, and what I found was astonishing. There were racks upon racks upon racks of…winter coats! Winter coats, people! WINTER COATS! It’s JULY!

Now listen. I grew up in Massachusetts. I also lived in New York City for half a dozen years before moving to South Florida. I know what wicked cold feels like, and I know what’s required to get through a Northeast winter, but I’ve been living in the Sunshine State for over a decade. On my tropical planet, Uggs are for ice skating rinks and flip-flops are a 365-days-a-year, four-season, day or night fashion DO. Eleven years ago, I landed on a jet plane in Miami and promptly put my ribbed Gap turtlenecks and boxy, v-neck J. Crew sweaters in a plastic crate and forgot about them. A few weeks ago, I arrived in New Jersey knowing full well that there would be winter wardrobe shopping to do, but I had no idea it would happen so soon!

I’m no fool. I bought a three-quarter length, black North Face insulated parka for a great price, and I must thank Caroline, who was working in the dressing room, for helping me understand the timeline for purchasing such seasonal items as well as accommodating my “new girl” naïveté.

“Am I supposed to buy a winter coat now?” I asked Caroline.

“You’re funny,” she said. She mistook my stupidity for schtick.

“No, really,” I said. “Am I an idiot if I don’t leave here today with this coat?”

She paused for a moment and then said, “The prices will go back up.”

As the new kid on the block, I’m keen on listening to those in the know, and Caroline knew things. She helped me choose a coat style with the right length and thickness, and she assured me that with an appropriate scarf on top and strategic layering underneath, it might be the only coat I’ll need for the winter. We’ll see, Caroline, we’ll see.

With an extra-large shopping bag in tow, I headed back downstairs to the shoe department. Sadly, I didn’t find the sandals I was looking for, but I want you to know that I stopped short of buying boots, even though there were many winter-inspired footwear styles to consider. I’m not ready for boots any more than my toes are, so my new North Face friend will have to hang in the closet all by herself…for now.

I did, though, take a stroll over to Anthropologie, which, coincidentally, is located in the same mall. I won’t spare you the details of what happened there. Just know that I’ve been under a lot of pressure lately. And my driver’s license photo.

Just because.





*Proud Shopaholic since at least as far back as this caricature drawn at a bar mitzvah in 1988.



Filed under moving, Shopaholic Mama

Is Today The Day?

Is today the day?

As a Sensory Mama, I ask this question a lot.

Sometimes it oozes with hope and optimism. It’s as much an exclamation as it is a question.

Is today the day you try scrambled eggs?!

Is today the day you go upstairs by yourself?!

[Insert rainbows and unicorns here.]

Other times, it’s a personal plea. A prayer.

Is today the day you eat chicken? (Dear God, please let it be today.)

Is today the day you take a shower by yourself? (C’mom. Pleeeeease.)

I’ve asked it, murmured it, wept it, yelled it, and thought it many times over the years.

Is today the day you go in a bounce house or wear pants or sleep in your bed instead of on the floor or sit at the dinner table or push yourself on a big kid swing or go down a tube slide or tolerate a hand dryer or stay outside for fireworks or sit in the same room as “Finding Nemo”?

The reason for the question is because almost all of my son’s sensory victories have, in the end, been unexpected surprises. Sure, there’s been OT, storyboarding, behavior journals, practice runs, question and answer sessions and such, but over time, I’ve realized that my agenda – my timetable, my expectation, and my desire – has absolutely nothing to do with his. I can push, encourage, help, hug, dance, and cheer (and, believe me, I do), but only he can decide when to defeat the tentacles of fear and anxiety that wrap themselves tightly, inextricably, and insidiously around him.

Sometimes I know the answer to the question before I even ask it. Is today the day you try pizza, hummus, a slice of turkey, rice, or fill in the blank food? Not a chance in hell, but I ask it anyway because I won’t give up and I won’t let him throw in the towel either.

Sometimes I don’t know the answer to the question. Is today the day you let me leave you at a drop-off party? Is today the day you go on Splash Mountain? When I sense that there’s a chance (or that the answer isn’t a flat-out “no”), I do whatever I can to help him harness the courage he needs to succeed.

A few months ago, we took the kids to Universal Studios Orlando with my parents. My son wanted to go on The Simpsons Ride as much as he wanted theme park popcorn at nine o’clock in the morning. In other words, he wanted it badly.

Is today the day you go on The Simpsons Ride at Universal?

We tried twice in a row (we had express passes so the wait was short), but he backed out both times as soon as he reached the entrance to the ride. Everyone, including the employees, tried to convince him to do it, but he wouldn’t budge. He wasn’t ready, so we moved on.

We danced with SpongeBob SquarePants in a parade, explored Diagon Alley, went on Transformers: The Ride-3D, ate lunch, saw Shrek 4-D, rode Minion Mayhem, and spent way too much time in the Universal Studios Store (thanks, Grandma!). Hours later, as we dragged our hot, sweaty, and tired legs toward the exit – toward air conditioning, the hotel pool, a shower, a glass of wine, and dinner – he announced that he wanted to try again.

A perfectly sane and reasonable response to his request would’ve been a big, exhausted, sweaty, “No” or “Maybe next time,” but I could feel it. We all could. His desire to go on The Simpsons Ride – to face his fear – was palpable. So, Mike (Father of the Year, obviously) walked him all the way back to the ride while the rest of us idled in the shade with water and snacks. We waited and waited and waited some more. Finally, my phone lit up and I saw this…


He did it! He battled the tentacles. That day was the day, and it was awesome. When we met up again, he declared that The Simpsons Ride was the best ride EVER, and, fittingly, he bought a pair of Homer Simpson slippers that he’s worn to bed every night since.

Thankfully, the day has come for many of his challenges, which is reason to celebrate and, perhaps more importantly, to have hope for those that he continues to battle. I’m still waiting for the day he eats anything besides plain spaghetti, and when I lose my faith (and I often do), I force myself to think about The Simpsons Ride and all of the other victories over fear and anxiety that we’ve experienced along the way. All of these challenges – however insignificant they seem now – were insurmountable at the time. Reminding myself of the hard work we’ve put in gives me the strength to plow ahead.

We just moved to a new town in a new state in a new part of the country. Everything is new. New house. New bedroom. New basement. New neighborhood. New neighbors. New camp. New restaurants. New menus. New school. New teachers. New friends. New routine. New is our new motto, and whether it’s sensory-related or not, I know that countless “Is today the day?” challenges lie ahead.

Whatever your child’s fears are, don’t lose your spirit. I promise you, I won’t either. There’s way too much at stake. Just this morning, I whispered to myself, “Is today the day he goes upstairs to his bedroom by himself?” And guess what? It was.


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Filed under anxiety, fear, moving, sensory processing disorder