Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Liz, my other daughter

When you have a daughter, you will know what I mean when I tell you that there are other people's daughters that become yours as well. Liz is one of those girls who has taken her place in the Cushing family. Taryn met Liz during their competitive cheerleading years at an all star gym. Liz amused us with her laughing eyes and her country girl personality. Liz introduced us to the ways of the Florida redneck, and we introduced Liz to "fancy food" (in her words). Taryn and she were inseparable.

In high school, Taryn and Liz went to different schools, and all star cheerleading came to an end (Taryn-knee surgeries, Liz-high school team). Our visits with Liz became fewer, but distance cannot end a true friendship. On Dec 21st, 2008, Taryn received the news that Liz had been thrown 40 feet from a motorcycle and was in critical condition. The boy driving had died. The next 17 days were a nightmare. Liz's brain swelling had put her in a coma, and Taryn began the daily ritual of bedside vigils at the hospital. Eventually, Liz was sent to a neurological rehab center in central Florida, where she would await her fate. Weekends were spent driving to the rehab, and when Liz awoke, the miracle began. Her memory was intact, and she made rapid and miraculous progress.

This past December, we celebrated a year since Liz's accident. While Liz carries with her some physical handicaps, her spirit is more alive than ever. Taryn and she are forever connected in a bond not many will ever experience. Liz has been a source of inspiration for my daughter, and Taryn wrote about Liz in her college application essays. We had Liz and her parents over for a special dinner to celebrate, and Taryn bought Liz the same Swarovski cross necklace that she had worn to the rehab. While Liz's parents are Missy and Jerry, this child is mine as well. And Taryn will always have a place in their family.

These are the blessings of motherhood.

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Valentine's Post

This Sunday will be my 27th Valentine's Day spent with the same guy. And as of yet, the only thing we have planned is to play tennis with some friends.

Not that we aren't a romantic couple, but tonight we are going to the Ale House with the family, and tomorrow we have a bar mitzvah. So we'll probably be tired by then. I'm sure I will get roses and a card from Publix, since that will give my husband an excuse to stop at the grocery store again this week (his favorite place in the world besides his bed).

Just so that you don't think we are a washed up old married couple, I thought I'd share a post from the destination blog that I write for. With a teen in the house and a busy social life, we have to plan our romance. This post is about an evening we spent ALONE on Anna Maria Island. To read it,
Click here.

Happy Valentine's Day. Tell your honey you love him or her. And eat chocolate!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Taryn's 18th Birthday in NYC - Day Three

Sunday morning there was another surprise in store for Taryn. It was the day of her actual birthday, and we were scheduled to have dinner with my sister Karen and her family. Her son CJ and Taryn are 2 days apart, so dinner at our favorite Italian restaurant, Angelo's on Mulberry, had been reserved. This Taryn knew. What she didn't know was that her father wasn't going to miss his daughter's 18th birthday dinner.

There we were, standing in Toys R Us in Times Square looking at the people on the ferris wheel. A little tap on her shoulder and Daddy stood behind her. I think if we keep this up, we may give the little girl a heart attack. Sadly, Aunt Cheryl never made it, but Gene in NYC was a major deal. He is not a huge fan of the city crowds. After some hugs and tears, we dropped his bag and headed off in the rain to see the tree. $5 street umbrellas saved the day. As did a really nice lady at the ticket booth at Radio City Music Hall, who gave the birthday girl some great last-minute discount orchestra seats for the Christmas Spectacular.

After the show, we found our way to Le Parker Meridian Hotel, which I've heard houses the "Burger Joint", a hole-in-the-wall, cash-only place that serves 2 things... greasy burgers and fries. Oh, and beer. Behind a big red curtain off the lobby, this place was everything I'd heard. Hard to believe it's inside a 4-star hotel. The gingerbread houses in the lobby were a delight to look at while we digested the wrongness of that lunch.

Some rainy day shopping worked off a bit of the calories (yeah right), and we headed back to the room to prepare for dinner in Little Italy. So we get to Angelo's, and note to self: do not let Billy order! He is an Angelo's regular and the guy likes to order food. Parmesan and olives, calamari, stuffed clams, shrimp, mozzarella spedini, calamari salad. Followed by bowls of pasta, filet, chicken parmigiana, and more. Three bottles of Classic Chianti later we had laughed and ate and laughed some more. I love my sister's family, and I loved that the kids spent their birthdays together even though they live so far apart.

The night was still young, and we spent another hour next door at the 100+ year old bakery Ferrara, ordering pastries and espresso. Then, we went to the tree (again), watched the skaters in Rock Center, lit candles for our father at St. Patrick's Cathedral, and then wandered through Times Square. The best memory of the evening had to be the stop off at Charmin's public restrooms, which turned out to be a playground for all ages themed with all things potty. Who knew bathrooms could be so fun! We even took our turns at powering the 2010 sign for New Year's Eve in the Duracell room. Kudos to Charmin and Duracell for great marketing.

After our good-byes with the Jersey Tavernise's, Gene retired to the room and Chris, Taryn and I headed to the rink. Taryn's one wish for the trip... to skate in Rockefeller Center on her birthday. What a blast we had, and miraculously, we all stayed vertical.

Thanks New York, for another wonderful memory with my daughter.