Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Life in Riverdale

My husband grew up in the city always wishing for the life depicted in the Archie comic books. Now, I'm a suburban girl. I went to the high school nicknamed "the Country Club". I can tell you we did have our share of Reggies and Veronicas - maybe even an Archie or Betty. BUT, I certainly wouldn't call it Riverdale. Yet, alas, that is the image eternally burned in the mind of my everlovin'. I am happy to report he finally gets to live that life...well, by osmosis anyway. You see his one desire when we started a family was to provide a life for our children he could have only imagined. One where the helicopters don't fly overhead with the spotlights shining in your window looking for the escaped convict. Where you DON'T get mugged getting supplies from the book room on the third floor when the teacher insists you go by yourself. One where you start your high school experice with friends who don't become violent, burned out potheads by Senior year. Not too much to ask, huh?

When our kids were little and we began looking for a home he had very specific goals in mind. Yes, he has to drive more than 60 miles roundtrip everyday. Yes, our credit cards cry for mercy due to the higher cost of living. But....he's living his dream and our children are the lucky recipients of more love than they could hope for. We are proud parents of well adjusted, productive, football game attending, text obsessed, suburban teenagers! And the capper. Our freshman daughter is head-over heels in love with a Jr. Olympic swimmer who treats her like she's a gem.

Remember the Peanuts comic strip when Sally would see Linus? Her mouth would curl into that huge grin and little hearts would float above her head. THAT'S IT!! I've seen my daughter look exactly like that - dancing around the house singing, "I've got the best boyfriend ever." Ah, young love! No matter that she'll probably have lots of boyfriends in her life. No doubt there will be heartbreak and tears at some point. Right now she is heavenbound and we'll have to tie a rope around her ankles to keep her from floating away.

So here's to you dad - and all of the other fathers who sweat and toil and sacrifice so they can better the lives of their children. Here's to driving teenagers to the movies in your super cool ancient little red Honda hatchback. Here's to buying dance shoes over designer shoes. Here's to looking at colleges during your summer vacation. Here's to spending hours resetting e-mails so they don't miss that important message from their friend.

Maybe they don't appreciate you now. Maybe they won't ever appreciate or understand the passion you feel for doing the right thing for them. But I know. I appreciate. I love you even more for it.

And a special, "Here, here" to my own father. Who I was just beginning to appreciate when he was called to heaven too soon at age 55. You've been gone 22 years now. Sadly you did not live long enough to reap the benefits of your adult children and the eight fabulous grandchildren you never got to know. They know you though - they hear the stories from my siblings and me. They see the photos and by the power of genetics, my son has so many of your attributes. A kind, generous, funny guy who loves Star Wars and Indianna Jones, Disneyland and archeology. Engineering and God. So many likenesses. And so, although we can't hug you and tell you good job. Somehow I feel you already know. You smile down on us, protect us and guide us still. Happy 77th Birthday dad!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Dark Days for Superheros

As a special birthday present to my ever supportive and loving husband, I gave him the choice of picking the dinner and movie we attended in his honor. He chose The Dark Knight, the latest incarnation of Batman. I wasn't surprised at the choice as he is a comic book devote and enjoys the superhero genre of movie. I am a huge fan of Heath Ledger so I figured - heck something for everyone. I will say Heath Ledger plays one phenomenal Joker. Now, I'm a child of the 60's and remember the Cesar Romero version of the Joker - baby, this was nothin' like that! This was Heath as I had never seen him before - convincingly demented and warped. A truly brilliant performance and so sad that it had to be his last.

Now, I know that the original vision of Batman in the 30's played rather dark. That changed around WWII when the need for patriotic and bigger than life superheros played against the evils of the time. The campy Batman of the 1960's was fun but hardly true to the essence of the earlier versions. I was told by my comic book lovin' honey that the "Dark Knight" version of the character arose around 10 years ago in response to a cry for less goofy and more esoteric superheros - also, lets face it, that kind of graphic novel appeals to the soul of many teens. So I see the commercial appeal. (Phew - that was a lot - even for me) Anyway. Well. Um.


Maybe I have become an old lady. But I did go into this with an open mind. My thought after: I don't like this broody, dark batman. I also don't like (SPOILER ALERT) Commissioner Gordon defending Two-Face and sending Batman up the river as a scapegoat. WHAT?!! The defense being if Two Face (AKA - the DA Harvey Dent) can be turned to corruptible evil then the Joker has won and all hope for Gotham City lost. What?! Hey, evil is evil. People choose to be evil. You do have a choice. I mean, true, Harvey went through a lot. But to say the Joker convinced him to be evil. No. He COULD have chosen a different path. And to protect that weakness, poor choice and downright evil. Sorry, the message is lost on me.

I mean come-on - we're talking a PG13 rated film (frankly, that shocked me. I don't want my 13 year old daughter to see this.) This film is violent, bloody, shows cruelty to animals, kidnapping, lying, etc. Yes, a lot of the acting was great. Got to love the underused Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman. The action sequences and special effects top notch. But is that all there is to a movie now days? Even a movie directed at teenage boys and men who wish they were still teenage boys? Why must it be dark and brooding? Why must the hero be someone unsure and the line between good and evil so fuzzy? Why did I see people bringing 6 and 7 years olds to see this? (OK, that last one is definitely the mom in me talking.)

So I say - ENOUGH OF THIS TREND. Bring back superheros we can emulate. Sure you can make a thought-provoking superhero movie - but can't it also be fun? I'm all for a good, positive message. Can't my children have their heroes without a side of angst? Let me know when you make one of those, Hollywood, and I might come back. Until then it's back to the Archie comics for me!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Time Flies - so HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY

Ah, yes. It has been many moons since I last wrote. What happened? Life, baby!

Today is Mother's Day 2008. I spent my day - well - being Mom. It was the final day of the competitive season for my daughter's dance team. High anxiety, as she has a ten second off stage costume change to complete during this number. I am happy to report - all went well. She hit the stage fully clothed. Although her team got whipped by a much higher caliber (and I might add - scantily clad) studio - the girls danced their hearts out! They did end up placing third in their category. Yippee! Alas, my perfect Mother's Day plan of breakfast in bed followed by being waited on hand and foot by my adoring family went out the door. But, truly, nothing can compare to the joy on my daughter's face as she hip-hopped and jazzed her way across that stage. What mother doesn't want their child to follow their passion?

So for all of you supermom's out there I submit the following....

Here's to you - for the dishes, the laundry, the neverending carpools, the diaper changes, the run to Wal-mart @ 9:55pm for the poster board they must have to finish the project they've know about for 3 months but is due TOMORROW; for soccer games, dance competitions and Boy Scout campouts that fall on Mother's Day; for fevers at 3:00am, for boyfriends and girlfriends, hair dye and driver's training; for all the gray hair, saggy boobs, Target clothes for us when they must have that new shirt from Abercrombie; for trips to Chuck E. Cheese (you earn double points for this if you go on a Saturday!), class field trips, PTA meetings and school fundraisers; for everything they do or put you through - would you change a thing? NO! Because in the end watching the sweet head lay upon the pillow at night or the day they wrap their arms around you and plaster your cheek with a milky kiss, the pure joy of childish giggles or even a simple "Thanks, mom" makes is all worthwhile. So - here's to you - SUPERMOM'S. Even if they don't say it now, I will - You are Awesome!

Have a very happy, blessed and special Mother's Day!