December 20, 1977 my father was awakened by my mother telling him it was time to go! Since this would have been my father’s 4th child and it was still four weeks until the actual due date, he ignored her and went back to sleep.
But I was anxiously ready to get this party started and kept pushing my mom to get a move on! She made her last request to my dad, either join her or miss out! Still unconvinced, he pulled himself out of bed and got us both to the hospital.
And there I was, baby number four. Early to the event (nothing new) and weighing in at only 4lbs 5oz.(always been little). To everyone’s surprise I was NOT a boy, and my poor mom thought getting my dad out of bed to make it to the delivery room was a challenge, coming up with another girl’s name was even worse!
Gretchen, Ali, Jennie and, hmmmmm. What to name this little baby?!?
My sister Ali wanted a brother named Joey, she would speak to me when I was in my mom’s belly, calling me Joey. So my name stemmed from this. Joey/Jodi….Ali wouldn’t know the difference right?!?
Our parents gave us such a gift, the opportunity to be raised in a small community. The place where we could ride our bikes all over without supervision, play for hours outdoors and just be wild child’s!
Gretchen, Ali, Jennie & Joey…ooops, I meant Jodi
Our community is called Skaneateles. It sits pretty in upstate NY. Today it has less than 5,000 people living in the village and 38% of us have children. Part of the Finger Lakes, Skaneateles is the cleanest lake in all of New York. It is a hot spot in the summer and fall seasons and we have celebrities like the Baldwins and the Clinton’s who make frequent visits to the village for vacation. Gee, I remember back when Bill was in office and he made a visit to the village. My family owned a diner back then and before he came in for breakfast one morning the secret service called to inform us that once he comes into the diner, nobody comes in or out! My grandmother still honors those secret service buttons they gave her on that day he visited. Just like she honors Mickey Mouse
Those were the days….
And then it happened. I grew up and flew away, far away. And I stayed away for 16 years. But I always knew deep down inside that one day, I would be back.
There I was in the summer of 2010, 32 and exhausted! I traveled the world that year, Milan to Vancouver and over to Dublin. The same message played in my head that July…I kept telling myself you barely know your own son, you missed his second birthday and all for a business deal that went bad! I was at my wits end. And what set me over the edge was the news of my father moving into a nursing home, suffering from dementia. I finally crumbled. I gave in and began to cry. I said to Steven, I…want…to…go…home!
Just four days before that Christmas I had my car packed with Noah and the dogs and off we went, homeward bound.
To my surprise I arrived to the worse winter the village had experienced in decades! But, what the heck did I know? I hadn’t experienced snow in 16 years, so anything was pretty bad to me. Yup, that was me spinning around the streets, my car didn’t have snow tires (yet). I bought boots that weren’t water proof and had to carry Noah everywhere because he wouldn’t wear boots! By the spring I had made friends with the rest of the mommies and some even confessed, “ I knew you were new in town. You were always wearing the wrong clothes! Tshirts in the winter?!?”
Hitting that brick wall in the summer of 2010 was the best thing that could have ever happened to me and my family. The move back home has been brilliant! I spent time with my father and was able to get the message to my sisters when I noticed him slipping deeper into the disease. They had their chance to hug him before he passed this September. Words can’t describe how incredible that has made me feel.
I’ve built an amazing connection with Noah and even Steven found a job that is 100% better than his last gig in Atlanta. And let’s not forget about Peter and Abby. They run around the neighborhood each day chasing rabbits and love the snow!
In Skaneateles I’ve bonded with so many amazing people who all have small children and days full of activity, just like me. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that I’ve officially become, a soccer mom.
This year I’ve learned…
Community is everything when raising a child and/or family. Trust me, I know. I tried raising Noah in the city and taking on the fast paced career and it sucked! And now that I’ve got my head out of my a$$ I can see into the depth of the truth, that my son will pass things down to his own children one day, this is something I’ll have zero control over. But what I do have control over is what I instill into him, the things he will want to give his own children. And Skaneateles is the best gift I can give to my son. Just like my mom and dad gave to us girls.
But I must remain honest here, there are somethings that will never change. Come on, did you really think I would stop working…what a waste that would be! I’m now ‘that girl’ who sits at the coffee house everyday typing obnoxiously on her laptop…and I can hear the whispers from the old people who sip on their coffee…
“Pssst Pssst I hear she is planning some show in SPAIN!!!!!”
“She tried telling me what she does, but I still don’t quite get it….something with the internet, I think she owns google or something”