Parenting: A Quick Pick Me Up


Parenthood (1989)

Parenthood (1989)

There are countless scenarios in life that call for the phrase “pick me up”. In my life its chronological use went something like this:

  • Are you trying to pick me up? (Single)
  • You can pick me up at 8. (First date)
  • Pick me up some aspirin. (Pre-wedding)
  • Oh God, please pick me up! I think I dislocated my knee! (On vacation)
  • Honey can you pick me up some cereal, milk, sparkling water and melon. What?! (VERY pregnant)

And then there’s my favorite…

  • “Pick! Me! Up!” (Parenthood with a screaming 33 lb, pint-sized pressure cooker)

Deep down moms and dads realize that recovering from the latter episode, especially the first time, requires a far more potent than the average remedy. As soon as the kiddies fall asleep, some parents play bartender, kicking back the usual brewsky, cocktail, wine or hard liquor. Others require a night out with friends, Netflix or chance to read that novel buried under assorted Mother Goose, Disney and Golden books. Then we have the emotional eaters, making their way back to normal one bite at a time. While their heads are in the fridge, others grab their keys and take a few spins around the neighborhood listening to death metal. All of that may suffice—but sadly enough, it’s temporary.

That very last glass-shattering memory will forever echo inside my worn skull. That, coupled with every other tantrum since, has left a gaping hole in my very soul. Thankfully they have lessened in frequency and potency, but nonetheless there are scars. And like most parents—the walking wounded—yours truly was recently in need of a special pick me up…something that lasts.

This past December my daughter entered the world of daycare. She’s closing in on 3 1/2 years old (more like 14) and no one could have prepared me for her first day of pre-K. I meticulously planned out our morning, leaving the camera in the foyer, and regrettably little room for crying on both our parts. The pressure to keep cool was intense, but to my surprise, she was ecstatic and shed not one tear as I left the classroom. At least SHE kept it together—that is, until later on when sweet daughter realized mommy left the building.

The exit sign was in clear view. I walked out the door thinking, “What just happened”? My eyes started to itch and a feverish sensation ran up the sides of my neck, straight to the ear lobes. The car was no more than ten feet away when I finally succumbed to relentless sobbing.

Two months of reading, “Go to School” with the Berenstain Bears was understandably not enough to prevent first day jitters. Day 1 had its delayed tears. Day 2, 3, 4 and so on, were progressively worse. On one occasion, when asked to put on her jacket and head out to the playground, she completely freaked out. Her poor teachers were made to feel like kidnappers—and me, the guilty accomplice. I might as well have worn a ski mask.

Jokes aside, there were so many reasons to be thankful too. First off, my waterproof mascara worked like a charm! Laugh all you want but I am a hideous crier. Raccoon face would have been twice as torturous for parents who  had witnessed meltdown after meltdown. To them I offer my sincerest apologies.

Luckily our mornings have improved, but not without a few minor and expected setbacks. For consistency and sanity’s sake, our two half days a week, may need to be bumped up to five. Can’t wait for that game changer. But as we all have learned, parenthood is far from predictable—and so are the good deeds of others.

Hands down her two teachers have been nothing less than angels— very creative, compassionate, patient and encouraging. The comfort I felt in seeing my daughter hug one of them for support, was more than just a relief…it was a blessing. But it was a handful of her classmates— two or three adorable little cherubs that continue to greet my daughter with huge bear hugs, a kind hand leading her off to play or simple words of encouragement, who brought me to tears of joy.

Little did they know, they weren’t just soothing her—they slowly made me feel less guilty, stressed, and saddened by my daughter’s preschool crisis. Instead they showed me a lighter side to the situation in a way that only a child could possibly master.

And that’s just it…

Too often parents dwell on the negative and with a constant barrage of obsessive headlines on parental expectations, new studies in child psychology and flip-flop advice, who could blame them?  If an email arrives from school or the phone rings, panic ensues without even reading the subject line or hearing the message. If a teacher asks to speak privately with a parent, it is often assumed bad behavior is involved.

So why not change the norm?

Her sweet classmates were nothing short of amazing. Their parents, who at some point may have felt just as nervous, sad or weepy as I did on their first day, deserve to hear all the great things their children do while mommy and daddy are away.

So rather than be greedy, I decided to share this parental pick me up by writing them a quick note explaining just how proud they should be over the love and kindness shown to my daughter every morning and how deeply grateful I am for the smiles they’ve given us both.

I encourage you to spread the love this Valentine’s Day and every day with a well-deserved pick me up for all those hard working, overly self-critical parents out there, trying so desperately to nail this whole parenting gig. Hug them if you must! And if you really feel like outdoing yourself— then why not throw in something that literally means, “pick me up” in Italian?

Here’s how to make Tiramisu with Frangelico! Chocolate, espresso, ladyfingers, liqueur and no baking—how perfect is that?

Check out my new video recipe under the “How to” tab or here on Youtube! Oh and don’t forget to subscribe!

Love to all!

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