The Cove Atlantis: Not Your Kids’ Atlantis

I’ve got to admit waking up to this view from the eighth floor of The Cove Atlantis was something I could easily get used to. It was cold and wet back home in Maryland but here in the beautiful Bahamas, it was sunny with a light breeze and I was delighted to be back at Atlantis. Only this time it was without the kids.

My family of five have been to Atlantis several times, starting with a one-day cruise excursion, moving to a Beach Tower stay then to a Coral Towers bungalow right off the beach.  Each trip was amazing. We love everything about Atlantis: the Leap of Faith, the Rapid River (the Current), snorkeling in the Lagoon and the special Snorkel the Ruins experience (my personal favorite). We also enjoy the food, from snacks by one of the many  pools to fish and chips to the restaurants at the Marina. And we always make at least one trip to nearby Anthony’s. There is so much to do at Atlantis.

So, when my husband and I starting thinking about a getaway weekend for our 25th anniversary we decided we wanted to go someplace relatively close with a direct flight, warm, and very relaxing. We were coming off of a crazy fall and just wanted to bask in the sun. I wanted to be in a lounge chair on the beach with a drink in one hand and a good book in the other.

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Pina Colada anyone?

The Cove was absolutely perfect! Even though we were familiar with Atlantis, The Cove was a completely different experience. It was everything social media claimed it would be. From the stunning open-air lobby to our luxurious room with a magnificent view of the Reef Pool and the beach, the Cove was a wonderful splurge for our anniversary.

Don’t get me wrong, my kids would love The Cove too! And soon they will all be over 18 years-old and able to enjoy the 18 and over only Cove guests Pool complete with DJ, delicious drinks and food at the new Sip Sip, and a small gaming area. This pool is gorgeous, although slightly shady and windy. It is definitely the pool with a young “scene” although we felt perfectly comfortable there too. I imagine this place is lit (as the kids say) at a busier time but in November it was easy to get a lounge chair with a prime view of the pool and the beach beyond.

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Relaxing at The Cove Pool

We finished off our arduous daily schedule of beach, pool, drinks with delicious dinners. Two were old favorites; Anthony’s and Bimini Road. Two were special occasion treats; Luciano’s of Chicago and the exquisite Cafe Martinique. We ventured off of Atlantis for Luciano’s, which a quick cab trip away. Luciano’s has a wonderful view of Atlantis across the water which makes for a romantic setting and the food was fresh and delicious and our server, Ronnie, was very friendly and told us about the history of the building housing Luciano’s. It is definitely a restaurant my part Italian family would enjoy.

As romance and indulgence goes though, there is no better place to celebrate a special occasion than Cafe Martinique in the Marina Village. We had the only bad weather of our trip on our walk to Cafe Martinique so we arrived at the restaurant slightly soggy from the rain but no matter, we were seated at the corner window table facing the Royal Towers and overlooking other Marina visitors trying to escape the downpour.

FB_IMG_1511910684795We toasted  with a bottle of champagne, enjoyed the most tender steak au poivre, and were treated with a celebratory dessert. It was a magical end to a magical anniversary trip. And after twenty-five years of marriage through richer and poorer, in sickness and in health,  in times of joy and sorrow, and raising three kids, it was special to get back to my husband and I as a couple and there couldn’t have been a better place to do it. It really is better in the Bahamas.

 

 

 

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Thanks, Atlantis, see you for our 30th?

WWFD? When your life is like an episode of “The Middle”

WWFD? What would Frankie, Frankie Heck of “The Middle” that is, do? That’s the question I found myself asking these past few days that left me longing for my own stashed can of whipped icing. Last Thursday, I had grand plans to shake it at zumba, clean my house, and search for some freelance writing jobs. Instead, I whisked my 17 year-old son with a bad stomachache from the pediatrician’s office to our local hospital emergency room. There, in the pediatric ward, lay my 6 foot 6 inch son on a way-too-short hospital bed wearing an also way-too-short hospital gown. Hashtag #tallpeopleproblems. The surgeon confirmed the pediatrician’s preliminary diagnosis of appendicitis and my son had surgery late that night. After my son was finally resting in a Dilaudid induced sleep and I was uncomfortably ensconced in the chair/bed for the remainder of the night, my husband returned home only to find the dogs’ room covered in diarrhea and vomit. Not knowing if our senior golden retriever or our young boxer was the sick pup, my husband cleaned up and we all tried our best to call it a day.

The next morning I woke to the insistent beeping of the intravenous alarm and the nurse quizzing me about my son’s ability or inability to pee during the night. All of this mind you, BEFORE COFFEE. My family will tell you that I am a walking, talking personification of the “But first coffee” meme so this was a rather incoherent and cranky exchange on my part. A muffin and a latte later, I was feeling much better and my son had met his two goals on the whiteboard: urinate and perambulate. Yay! I left the hospital to check on our dogs and found that it was indeed our golden, Lucky, who was obviously feeling very unlucky. I cleaned up, grabbed clean clothes for my son, and headed back to the hospital to meet with the surgeon to find out when my son would be coming home.

Fortunately, recovery was going well and we headed home late Friday night, exhausted and ready for a good night’s sleep…which was not to be because my daughter at college texted at  2 am that she was at the hospital near campus, she was okay, just there to help a friend. So relieved that she was fine, but no more sleeping for me. I begin the first of many pots of coffee. She later decides to come home to rest for the weekend because she was beginning to feel sick and then my husband actually got sick after going to get her and bringing home dinner and suddenly I was that most dreaded of all family members: the last well one standing. The healthy one, the one caring for drainage tubes and incisions, administering pain meds and antibiotics, making tea, serving jello and pudding, boiling chicken and rice for the dogs, and pasta for my daughter to take back to college. In short, I wanted my own mom, whom I miss very much every day but especially on days like this one. Instead, I said a few Hail Mary’s and was comforted by my mother’s favorite adage of “This, too, shall pass.”

And I sat down to watch the new episode of “The Middle” and reflected that this week was a reminder of just how fast life can change and how I had been feeling a little down and unneeded (careful what you wish for) just a few days ago. This time next year, I will be an official emptynester and the Heck family’s future will be resolved by the series finale. I will miss the Hecks. I never had their financial worries but I grew up in a small town in rural Pennsylvania, not unlike Orson, Indiana. My own children are different from Axl, Sue, and Brick and my husband shares Mike’s good qualities without having his blue collar profession but I still feel an affinity for their family. I have three kids also; boy, girl, boy of similar ages and stages. My oldest two are both away at college like Axl and Sue with my younger son at home like Brick. And on a scale of Frankie Heck to Nancy Donahue, I definitely skew to Frankie Heck. So while I am sad to see them go I am happy to spend this last season with them. The Hecks are one of the truest representations of family life on television. They go through their tough times, but persevere with love, faith, and humor, exactly the things that got me through this week (with an assist from my dear friend coffee). We could all use a little more Heck in our lives. And just wondering…did Brick ever have his appendix out? It could make a great story line……

 

 

Mother of Dogs

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Who wouldn’t want to be Daenerys Targaryen, beautiful Mother of Dragons, soaring on the back of an incredible creature capable of annihilating enemies with one whisper of “dracarys”? I, for one, would. I think humans have always had a longing to forge close connections with wild animals. We seek their companionship and are enthralled by those who are able to seemingly be one with their wild creature. It is not just that Daenerys’ dragons obey her; they trust her and have an emotional bond with her. They are her children and she is their mother.

I would like to think I have this same connection with my dogs. I am the dog mother to an eleven-year-old golden retriever and a ten-month-old boxer puppy. While I am a devoted dog mother and try my best to raise good canine citizens, I would be deluding myself if I thought I could be as regal and commanding as Daenerys  with her “children”.

I occasionally get this omnipotent feeling in the two minutes of our daily walk when my dogs are walking calmly side-by-side and I am feeling dignified and in control. Invariably, this comes to a miserable end when one decides it’s time to do his business, the other wants to chase a squirrel, I am bending to pick up the poop, and we inevitably become entangled. This is usually the moment when some other dog mom comes towards us, nicely dressed, easily walking a 15 pound dog, and looking slightly superior and somewhat disapproving of my current situation. “Where were you two minutes ago I think?!” as I try to disentangle myself without stepping in poop. Today, I actually got a sympathetic “you look like you have a lot to handle there” remark from a very nice woman.

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It’s true. Sometimes my dogs are a bit too much for me, but they have brought me much joy and comfort during some of my most painful times. My boxer, in particular, is both my grief dog and my almost-empty-nest dog. Having lost both of my parents in recent years, I was feeling blue. I was also afraid of losing Lucky, my golden, just as my real children were heading off to college. Enter Rory (as in Rory Gilmore). I wasn’t planning on a puppy but she fell into our laps and lives shortly after Christmas. Other family members already had adopted her brother and knew Rory needed a home. It was an impulsive move but one I do not regret. Rory starts each and every day with boundless enthusiasm, which has rubbed off on Lucky and me. It is impossible to be in anything but a good mood with an adorable pup licking your face.

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So, if we are an unwieldy trio coming your way on a neighborhood path, please don’t judge us too harshly or feel too sorry for me. I love my wild beasts and we will get better at this. My fortune cookie last night aptly stated “you have a lively family”. Dogs to me are family and yes, they are quite lively, but I would not have it any other way. I am sure Daenerys would agree.

 

 

 

My Last First Day

Untitled drawingToday is my last first day of being a school parent. Yes, I have two older college students but being a college parent is not the same as being the parent of a child still at home. Since my oldest child’s entry into kindergarten, I have sent at least one child off to school for the first day of classes. It began with walking our oldest child with younger siblings in tow to the kindergarten bus stop, then walking all three of my children to our neighborhood elementary school, to occasional runs to middle school bus stops, and finally, carpools and drives to their private high school. As I sat in line at the school entrance today, I felt like a visitor to a familiar yet strange land.

 

I have been driving to this school for the past seven years. It should feel like second nature and in some ways it does but knowing that this year is my last as a school parent made it feel different. I thought back to my first year as a parent there and how new and exciting it was. It was my family’s first experience with private school and uniforms and carpools. Everything was in front of my children and our high school was the center of our lives and schedules. With my youngest, it is the end of our experience here. With two children already in college, our world has expanded. We live in different places now with our own separate schedules.

 

Friends in the thick of raising children have remarked that today is a sad milestone for me but to me it is not. As much as I love my children and have enjoyed being a part of their school community, I look forward to this next stage of life. I will enjoy all the “last firsts” of senior year and I will feel happy and proud to see my younger son walk across the altar at graduation mass in May. Maybe next year at this time, I will feel sentimental about not having to make sure a tired teen is up, uniforms are clean, school supplies are bought, and summer math packets have been completed. Or, maybe not. Maybe I will be smiling at my friends and family members’ photos of their children’s first day back and thinking it is now my own new first day.

The Summer of Sticky Notes (on Grown&Flown)

“This was the summer of sticky notes and late-night texts.”

In my Welcome post, I write that my experience having an essay published on Grown&Flown reignited my desire to write and spurred me to create this blog. It is an incredible online resource, blog, and warm community of parents of older teens and college students and beyond (G&F tagline is “parenting never ends”). I am so excited to see my recent reflections on the summer of 2017 on the Grown&Flown facebook page. It is gratifying to be able to connect with other parents and know we are experiencing the same emotions as our baby birds leave the nest.

My original essay on Grown&Flown can be found  here.

 

 

 

Dewey Beach: Last Gasp of Summer

view from our room at the Hyatt Place Dewey Beach

For families of college and high school students, summer ends early and squeezing in a family vacation with 5 different schedules to synchronize can be tough.  This was my family’s situation when we realized we had a few days open the first week of August but no real plans. Enter Dewey Beach!

My summer vacations growing up were “down the shore” at Surf City, Long Beach Island, New Jersey. I loved the narrow island where it is only a few short blocks from bay to beach. Dewey Beach, Delaware has that same appeal.

Since we were only  staying a few days, we opted for a hotel over a rental. It is hard to find a great beach hotel sometimes, but the Hyatt Place Dewey Beach was perfect for us.

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Dewey Beach is waiting for you

The Hyatt Place is located on the bay, next to the Lighthouse and across from the Rusty Rudder and separated from the beach by Coastal Highway. It is a short walk up to the beach, which is glorious. Beach chairs and umbrellas are available to rent for cash. We settled in for a perfect day at the beach.

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Woody’s crab cake sandwich

When we were ready for a late lunch, we walked a few blocks up Coastal Hwy to Woody’s Beach Bar, famous for their award-winning crab cakes. My crab cake sandwich was so good, we ended up at Woody’s more than once. You just can’t go wrong with delicious crab cakes and cold beer at the beach.

You also can’t go wrong with free tortilla chips and salsa and margaritas for guests provided by the Hyatt Place and Que Pasa Mexican Cantina served to guests in the hotel bar/lounge the evening we arrived.

Not only did the Hyatt make us feel welcome, but the Dewey community offers many activities as well, including a free bonfire offered twice a week on the beach at Dagsworthy Avenue. Marshmallows and roasting sticks were available for a donation and it was a fun way to end the day.

There are many great restaurants and activities in Dewey, but if the thought of walking an old-fashioned boardwalk appeals to you all you have to do is catch the Jolly Trolley tram (our stop was located in front of the Lighthouse) and spend some time in nearby Rehoboth Beach. Rehoboth is a charming beach town full of amazing upscale restaurants and shops. We stuck to the boardwalk and enjoyed the classics of Funland, Grotto Pizza, Kohr  Bros. Frozen Custard, and of course, bought some saltwater taffy at Dolle’s.

Even though breakfast was included with our room at the Hyatt, we couldn’t leave Dewey without stopping at the Fractured Prune for their warm, customized cake donuts. Customers can pick their own glaze and toppings to make their own fabulous creations. If that is too overwhelming, the Fractured Prune lists the favorites in the area so all you need to do is order and eat. Yum!

While we were sad to leave Dewey, we had one more stop to make, Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, DE. Dogfish offers free family-friendly (Dogfish rates it as PG) tours of their brewery and a free sampling of four beers for those 21 and over guests  with  valid IDs. My favorites were the Flesh &Blood IPA and the 60 Minute IPA.

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Dogfish Head samples

Dogfish also has a gift shop and some fun photo opportunities so even those under 21 or those people who are not beer aficionados should still find it interesting.My family felt there was something for everyone in our brief stay at Dewey Beach. We have all moved on to our fall activities of school and work, but we have great memories of our trip. Hopefully, next time we can stay longer.

Hersheypark Happy (to be Home)

 

hersheypark entrance

Hershey, Pennsylvania bills itself as the “sweetest place on Earth” and I have to agree because Hershey and its primary tourist attraction, Hersheypark, hold a very sweet spot in my heart.

Growing up in nearby Lebanon County, going to Hersheypark with my family was an annual summer event. I still remember the anticipation I felt going through the entrance gates and walking up the steep path to the carrousel with the feeling that the whole park and day were full of possibilities.

During college, I spent two years working in the park’s Guest Services, located just outside the main entrance. I helped give directions to lost guests, surveyed restaurant diners, helped care for lost children and my favorite, led trolley tours of the town of Hershey (“over on your right you will see….).

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Me at my old information booth

I returned with my own three young children when visiting my parents. Hersheypark, with its famous wooden rollercoaster, the Comet, was one of my mother’s favorite places. To this day, I feel that every ride I take on the Comet is a tribute to her and her love of life. The Comet brings me back to my youth. I have ridden it as a child, teenager, young parent and older parent and I will feel young at heart every time I ride that clackety track up that first steep hill.

This year’s experience was an extended family trip that gave me the chance to see my young nieces and nephews enjoying the park. The Coal Cracker 

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Skyrush at night

water flume and the iconic SuperDooperLooper (they still sell t-shirts proclaiming “I survived the SooperDooperLooper) were big hits with the newer crowd. My local family members enjoy annual season passes so they are experienced riders on all of Hersheypark’s newer attractions, including the exhilarating Skyrush coaster, the indoor Laff Trakk spinning glow-in-the-dark coaster and the Triple Tower.

Hersheypark made a major addition to the park with the opening of The Boardwalk in 2007, the 100th anniversary of the park’s opening. The Boardwalk is a water park complete with a wave pool, lazy river, several tube slides and the East Coast Waterworks, a climbing structure with slides, water cannons, fountains, and an enormous bucket of water that splashes down at intervals. It is a huge area and visitors could easily spend an entire day playing in the water. For families that aren’t sure if they will want to get wet or not, I suggest bringing in your swimsuits (swimwear is required) and placing them in a locker for the day ($15 for a small locker and $20 for a family locker). You will get a bracelet to wear that can be scanned to reopen your locker. Trust me, the parking lot is far away and you will not want to return to your car if you now decide to enjoy The Boardwalk. Hersheypark also offers private cabanas with many amenities included which must be reserved online prior to your trip and this year have an advertised starting cost of $265.

Speaking of parking, we took advantage of Hersheypark’s preview pricing which gives visitors a sneak preview of the park the night before with one of the perks being that the parking ($15) on your preview night waives your parking fee the next day. Holders of full-day admission tickets are admitted to the park the evening before which enables you to get the lay of the land, especially with the use of the Hersheypark App, and enjoy much shorter ride lines as the night goes on. We were admitted at 7:30pm sharp on a Saturday night with an 11:00pm closing. That gave us 3.5 hours to enjoy relatively short lines on the Comet, Skyrush, SooperDooperLooper and other attractions. Nights in the park are magical. There is nothing better than being at the top of a rollercoaster with the twinkling lights of the entire park below.

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Hersheypark Carrousel

We didn’t want to waste valuable time at our preview eating so we saved our appetites for a late dinnner at the nearby Red Robin, with its always hot and delicious french fries. For food in the park the next day, we enjoyed chicken tenders and a large bucket of seasoned crab fries at Chickie & Pete’s at Pioneer Frontier and our season pass holders said no trip to Hersheypark is complete without the park’s best ice cream at the Comet Creamery in the Hollow. Sweet, indeed.

College Visit: Home of the Hokies

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Burruss Hall

I feel that one of the most hopeful and optimistic places one can visit is a college campus. I am invariably left with respect for the bright, articulate and hard-working tour guides who fearlessly walk backwards while introducing us to the universities they love. Their pride and passion is contagious and creates a surge of optimism within me for what these young people will accomplish for themselves and for our greater world. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, known as “Virginia Tech” or “Tech”, in Blacksburg, VA is no exception.

I missed out on my older son’s visit to VA Tech so I was determined to accompany my younger son to Blacksburg. It is a 4.5-5 hour drive from our home in Maryland so I wanted to make the most of the trip. After an easy but monotonous trip down Interstate 81 we arrived at the beautiful Inn at Virginia Tech. The hotel, with its exterior of  limestone “Hokie stone”, was a gracious and welcoming break from the road. After resting a bit, we were driven by the hotel concierge and Tech student to Blacksburg’s #1TripAdvisor restaurant, Cabo Fish Taco Baja Seagrill.

Cabo Fish Taco was amazing! Our friendly waitress served us the complimentary chips and their corn and tomato salsa. We then had the crab and shrimp dip appetizer with warm and crispy parmesan pita bread. I was almost full but had no problem eating my entree of lemon grilled shrimp tacos with the Cabo Fish Taco signature side of cheddar jalapeno mashed potatoes. It was so good! Cabo Fish Taco has only one other location in Charlotte, NC but I think they would be a big hit in many other college towns or Washington, DC maybe?

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As we walked back to the hotel through campus, I was stunned by the beauty of Virginia Tech’s campus. I have been touring colleges with my three kids since 2013 and Virginia Tech is truly gorgeous. My photos do not do it justice but hopefully give you some idea. We walked across the drillfield at dusk to Burruss Hall and then past the duck pond to our hotel.

20170724_104604.jpgThe next morning was spent on the official admissions tour of campus. We had both a bus tour of sites not covered by the walking tour, including Lane Stadium, and then we were led on the walking tour which ended at the impressive War Memorial Chapel, a tribute to the alumni who have died while in military service. The figures sculpted in limestone represent the values of Brotherhood, Honor, Leadership, Sacrifice, Service, Loyalty, Duty and Ut Prosism, the Latin motto of the University meaning “That I May Serve”.

20170724_105313We finished up our tour with an informative session at the College of Engineering and then were ready for lunch. At our tour guide’s recommendation, we ate at the Cellar, located conveniently off campus on Main Street. We were revived by our delicious sandwiches and iced tea, picked up by the hotel driver to get back to our car and we were on the road headed home.

I thoroughly enjoyed my first visit to Virginia Tech. The university, campus, and downtown Blacksburg are all impressive. My son came home wearing maroon and burnt orange so we may be back.

 

 

Senioritis: Not Just for Kids

Ah, senioritis, that dreaded high school affliction. High school seniors, finish line in sight, are reported to lose their motivation and focus. Once meticulous AP/IB Honors scholars are now supposedly missing assignments, deadlines, and are generally just not as engaged in their high school careers. Is student senioritis real? I am a not a teacher so I don’t know. I expect there is some truth to the stereotype, albeit overblown.

 

As I embark in the senior year college admissions process for the third time in four years, what I can tell you is that parents can contract senioritis as well. Just as a wide-eyed freshman turns into a savvy high school senior, parents also change a great deal from being first-time parents of seniors to experienced parents of college students.

 

The official kickoff for the college application process for my oldest child was his high school’s junior parents meeting held in spring of junior year. I attended with great excitement and anticipation. My baby was going to college! Armed with pen and paper, I sat near the front, listened carefully and assiduously took notes on key events and dates. As the meeting progressed, I became increasingly overwhelmed with each new slide and alarmed that my student may already be behind in the process: no College Board profile, no Naviance profile,no hard list of targeted schools. I came home in a mild panic, interrupted my son at his homework, and made him answer the College Board profile questions: Big college? Public or private college? What do you want to do for the rest of your life? In short, temporary parental insanity ensued.

 

I bought the Princeton Review and my son, husband, and I scoured its rankings on

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The book that began it all

accceptance rates, majors, and quality of life. Are the students safe, happy? Is the food good? Do they find jobs? Not content with the Princeton Review’s descriptions, I supplemented my research online with College Confidential and Niche. University A vs University B; surely the online sites have the real scoop.

 

My son put together a list of possible colleges, including the recommended reach schools, safety schools, and target schools. Comparison spreadsheets and analysis commenced. I enjoyed plugging universities into the Naviance scattergram to see if my son’s current stats yielded a green or a red dot. My husband put sticky notes on the large United States map we have in our home office and we started planning visits as our summer vacation. Our office became a college application war room.

 

As the notifications began, I was so excited for each and every college acceptance and scholarship offer. I shared my son’s nervousness as he waited to hear from his top colleges. I eagerly viewed all the online notifications and gleefully trotted to the mailbox to retrieve the big envelopes. My son attended accepted student visits at his top universities and finally made his choice.

 

Fast forward three years to my third junior parent meeting this past spring. I attended just in case there were changes in the school’s process of teacher recommendations, transcript requests, etc. No real changes were announced so I was able to sit in the back and observe the first-time parents sitting in the front taking notes and asking questions and felt relief that it wasn’t me. I came home feeling confident that our third time through this would be smooth sailing.

 

With my youngest, we are already familiar with several colleges he is considering since he has already been dragged on several college tours with his siblings. We looked up some new schools in our old Princeton Review and have begun to visit them. He has taken the SAT twice and identified colleges with comparable admissions requirements. I am very much looking forward to seeing where my youngest will go to college and I will be happy and proud of him wherever that may be. At the same time, it is nice going through the application process as a seasoned parent. There may not be the thrill of the newness of it all but there is also less stress and angst. Each child’s situation, even within a family, is different but like all endeavors the college application process gets easier with repetition.

 

Maybe both high school seniors and parents perceived to have senioritis aren’t lazy or uninvested in the future. Maybe we know we have gone through the work and experiences needed to get to this point and are confident enough to “trust the process”.  Just like the college counselors told me at that first meeting.

Wife, Mom… And Peggy!

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Richard Rodgers Theatre

As a woman named Peggy and a huge fan of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton the Musical, I was thrilled to share my name with one of his characters. My daughter introduced me to Hamilton when it first began, the summer of 2015, and convinced me to listen to the soundtrack after mentioning Peggy. I was excited to leave my childhood days of being called Miss Piggy for the adventures of Peggy Schuyler only to find out it is “Angelica, Eliza…And Peggy”. Angelica is the independent and charismatic sister, Eliza is the kind and loving sister, but Peggy Schuyler is the afterthought.

The Schuyler sisters, especially Peggy, spoke to me. We all have our roles to play in life: child, parent, sibling, spouse, worker, student, friend, neighbor. It can sometimes be hard to remember who we really are separate from our roles, no matter how much we love them. In that vein, I decided to name my blog “And Peggy” to remember and celebrate that part of myself that stands alone but doesn’t want to be forgotten. And also because, like everyone else out there, I love Hamilton!

My daughter strongly hinted that it would be a perfect high school graduation gift in 2016. I naively thought it would be easy to get tickets. Yeah, right! Fast forward to spring break 2017 and she and I were actually, finally, for real sitting in the Richard Rodgers Theatre to see Hamilton on Broadway!!

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Showtime!

While it must have been incredible to see Hamilton with the original cast (I love Leslie Odom, Jr.), the wait did not diminish the experience. The anticipation and excitement of the line of ticket holders waiting to get in the theater was contagious! As I walked to my seat, carrying my brand new Schuyler Sisters t-shirt and my adult beverage in a keepsake cup, I could hardly believe I was there! And when I finally heard the lyrics “my name is Alexander Hamilton” I got goosebumps. Hamilton has all the feels, as they say: love, war, betrayal, death, legacy.

“Who lives, who dies, who tells your story” is my favorite line. After surviving the deaths of my parents, I am left to tell their story but who will tell mine? And what will it be? Oprah always says that everyone has a story. I may not be “young, scrappy, and hungry” but my story is not over yet. Just you wait.