With high school graduation behind us, we are turning our focus to the day we will drop our youngest kids off at their freshmen dorms. Though we prefer to stick our heads in the sand and ignore the inevitable, it is time to get them ready for the tiny living spaces that will be their homes away from home.
That is what a successful party needs... a delightful and welcoming hostess. You don't need a large home, a lot of money, elaborate food or entertainment. I have gone to very wealthy parties given by friends, which I am sorry to say, were boring. So what is my trick? I enjoy the art of entertaining.
The other day I got into an argument with my youngest teenager. He was complaining about our family's strapped financial situation and was quick to point an accusatory finger at me. He understands that I'm a struggling writer trying to earn a buck, but he couldn't resist asking when I was going to get a real job. The argument quickly turned sour.
My doctor gave me one of those heart-to-heart talks: You need to lose some weight and exercise more, he said. The "or else" was implied. I know that being overweight increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes, strokes, and a million other bad things. But I just had to ask: Am I really overweight?
For over 20 years, mom has made weekly trips to see Deb, her hair dresser. Often my mother would regale me with tales of woe. Not her own, but poor Deb's. My mom, a psychotherapist by training, had great empathy for Deb, a single mother whose history was marred by misfortune. But there was only one problem with this relationship. Deb could not cut hair.
After a long career in Silicon Valley, Robbie Felix, 58, was ready for a change. "I showed up there in 1978 right after they broke up the telephone monopolies, and it was booming," says Robbie, who worked as a headhunter specialized in staffing start-up companies. "I loved it. It was fascinating, but extremely stressful."
It's just that people aren't replaceable. When they are gone, there is nothing that can fill the space that their particular energy or personality's absence has left empty. That's what makes relationships so special. We are all unique. We matter. No one else can fill that space. And if it's your child?
I've been noticing that each year the back-to-school craze seems to begin earlier and earlier. Is this because unbeknownst to me (now that my kids are grown) school is starting in July?... Why then, must I be accosted with visions of notebooks and backpacks before I've even made a visit to the beach?