Throwback Thursdays

Of all the things that are annoying about social media, Throwback Thursday isn’t one of them. Spare me not one single photo of your moussed bangs, rainbow suspenders, or stone washed jeans diving into gigantic white high tops. I want to see you sunburnt on the Jersey shore in your Bon Jovi fringe t-shirt, sweating in your plastic Halloween mask, posed fireside with siblings in matching sweaters, gawky and proud and acned and feather-haired at your Bar Mitzvah party. These pics are awesome. They’re always, always awesome. Because there are so many selfie, check-in, sharing, linking, uploading opportunities to let The World know how accomplished, funny, lucky, and attractive we are… on Thursdays we post pictures to remind us of our shared, dorky beginnings. I like that. Plus, we’re all adorable.

Stevie, irrepressibly cute.

Stevie, irrepressibly cute.

Also, I’m a junkie for the milestone moments. I go to all of the graduation ceremonies and parties. Every. Single. One. I’m one of the few spouses who continue to attend these three course dinners followed by umpteen speeches where everyone is honored and privileged to be there. (Next year, I may propose a drinking game to my table-mates for every honor-and-privilege uttered.) Bernie and I just wrapped the final party after a month of roast-the-graduates and fish-or-filet evenings in ballrooms and country clubs. Honestly, neither my liver nor patience for hackneyed toasts could endure another fancy dress evening with surgeons. But there are small moments that bring forth a tear or a giggle, and that makes the whole high-heeled night worth witnessing. Truly, the close of a near decade of brutal scheduling, test-taking, presentation-preparing, and paper-writing during the same years of weddings and baby-making and eking out some approximation of life for these graduating residents: this deserves to be witnessed. But when I’m not being Moved by the Moment, I’m also having great fun sitting next to Linda.

Linda is the ageless and stunning wife of arguably the most famous hand surgeon in the world. She’s seen it all… and she’s been to more than her share of these privilege-and-honor laden evenings. Unfailingly kind, Linda will also share sniggers over unfortunate formalwear choices (“Where was her mother when she put that on?”) or strategies to endure monotonous speeches (“Let’s go powder our noses… for a half hour.”) Linda is magical and mindful and has mentored me through some unpleasant, upsetting, and downright bald moments. And so it wasn’t surprising that over arugula salads and between goblet-clinking, Linda asked, “Are you… OK?”

Well, of course I’m OK! I never stop smiling and I have so, so much great hair. I adore my husband, my kids keep getting funnier, and I’m tan. But I knew why she asked. Linda remembers a Thursday exactly two years ago, when she sponsored a Day of Beauty before my wigless debut. Knowing anniversaries are powerful punchers of stomachs, Linda was checking in. And somehow, two years later, I don’t cringe when I see this throwback…

My Sinead Moment

My Sinead Moment

… instead this photo recalls a touching memory of kindness and love. With only an inch of hair and handful of eyelashes, Linda made certain I felt like me.

I think we post #TbT photos with more studied nostalgia than we realize, choosing moments that belie the hilarity of the hairstyles. Perhaps that’s why I love them so much. I mean, look at Debby here with her Daddy:

Debby could still pull off this look.

Debby could still pull off this look.

Ned Gammons is 80 years old today, and what Debby’s picture captures is the preppy perfection of their father-daughter-ness—a love as timeless and enduring and comfy and perfect as blucher mocs and fair isle sweaters. There are hundreds of photos she could have chosen… but when cherry picking the perfect post pic, we unwittingly choose the ones that shout LOVE the loudest. And it shows.

I really could go on and on and on and on about this cutesy social media fad. And I hope it endures… if only so Henry can post this himself in twenty years time:

When mom finds only one little boy bathing suit in the bag, she'll improvise.

When mom finds only one little boy bathing suit in the bag, she’ll improvise.

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Summertime

Although the website photos suggested lengthy spa sessions interrupted by warm swims, harbor cruises, and delicious food, it was quite a bit more like Kellerman’s. Dinner was family-style. Accessories for horseshoes and badminton were available. Mosquitoes swarmed and scoffed at the Off. And atop a crumbling staircase perfect for watermelon-carrying… a rustic game room with ping-pong, candlepin bowling, and video games that cost only one quarter. By 10pm, no further amusements or refreshments were provided. So we went… to bed.

It was charming to be so unplugged. Having just completed school, I thought the boys would want to marinate in unscheduled time (read: iPad games). They surprised me by enjoying a nothing-to-see boat tour (boys this age don’t appreciate breathtaking, evergreen-coast-meets-blue-ocean views), taking “polar plunges” into the “sun-warmed” pool, and playing hours and hours and hours of tennis on cracked courts sprouting wildflowers. It was quiet and simple and buggy and a bit shabby and all sorts of Frisbee fun.

Waiting to embark a humble vessel for the 90-minute harbor tour, I exchanged pleasantries and sunscreen with another mom. Her three boys were attached to electronics and she waggishly wondered if those would be sufficient to assuage the torture of forced nature immersion for 90 minutes. Luckily for those kiddos, the cruise was full, and so they toted their iThings back to air-conditioned spaces. But had they boarded, I’ll bet those kids would have abandoned their virtual warring clans to spot a seal or soaring eagle. At least, I hope.

The drive up to Maine was nearly seven hours back and forth in a hot SUV. To supplement the Summer of ’69 weekend atmosphere, the AC wasn’t working; so we opened windows and stuck to the seats and complained and whined and asked how much longer 154 times. Meanwhile, pink-cheeked boys were spied napping in the rearview. A weekend in the Great Outdoors left me with a keen nostalgia for long ago citronella-scented evenings as adults ignored us while we kicked cans and caught fireflies in safe spaces. This rustic resort provided two days of that sort of fun, and reminded me to create more opportunities for my boys to collect memories and mosquito bites exactly this way.

Happy Summer, friends. Go get bitten.

The pool was an algae-studded 60 degrees, but we went in anyway.

The pool was an algae-studded 60 degrees, but we went in anyway.