12 Years Together: What Causes A Bond?

Wife and husband hiking together.

My wife (who is also the photographer in this case) and I together on a hiking trail.

It was March of 2002. My wife and I were newlyweds.

We stood on a subway platform waiting for 1 train. We were in the Riverdale section of the Bronx and were headed back to our apartment in Manhattan.  We were returning from a visit to friends of my wife.

Anyway, as we shivered on that winter night, I looked at my wife. It was a quiet moment. Both of us were thinking our own thoughts.

Though we had been married for a couple of months, I did not feel bonded to my wife.

When I would feel that our lives would be seamlessly intertwined?

You see I had this perception which I was in the midst of learning was false.

I thought you get married and then you are together.  You know: stomp on the glass, dance the hora, feed each other some cake, go home, and you are Coupled. Two become one, united, attached.

However, I did not feel coupled in the strongest sense of the word.

Yes, I was happy to go back to our apartment and share our bed. I was happy to hold hands and feel her fingers tingle. I was happy to stand close and smell her perfumed body.

I felt love.

Yet, I could easily have caught another train. I could have let go of her hand. We could have gone our separate ways.

I wondered at that moment on the platform. When does a couple feel like one? Would something dramatic have to happen? Would something feel different? Would there be a perceptible moment – a crossing of the tracks?

As I have said before, every couple creates their own love story. And therefore each story is unique.  So, my answer may not be your answer.

Today my wife and I celebrate our 12th anniversary (12 Years A Slave- ha, ha. I heard it was a good movie – want to see it).

Our wedding day doesn’t feel just like yesterday. The 12 years hasn’t passed in a blink of an eye. So, much has happened – both good and not so good. I’m sure every couple out there can come up with their own list.

In other words, we have lived a life together. Sometimes happy and sometimes sad, sometimes laughing and sometimes cursing, sometimes calm and sometimes screaming, sometimes excited and sometimes scared.  Mostly content and occasionally frustrated.

This is a life together. This is bonding, I believe. Somewhere through the years and the shared experiences we have bonded.

That doesn’t mean we have submerged our two individual selves in order to create a unified one.  We have separate likes and dislikes. We are not always on the same page. My wife and I think differently.

Today we celebrate our anniversary and our love story. We’ll look back and appreciate. We’ll look forward and hope. Mostly, we’ll deal with today. Together.

Happy Anniversary to my wife – nice being bonded to you.

Ain’t Feeling Love For the Monthly Bus Pass

20140116_081746Pressure
You’ll have to answer
To your own
Pressure

Billy Joel – Pressure

We all feel pressure in some form or another.

Maybe, it’s paying the bills, getting or keeping a job, satisfying your love ones, or satisfying yourself.

Pressure can manifest itself in many ways. It could be loss of appetite, headaches, disturbed sleep, etc.

Generally, I deal with pressure rather well. My wife, however, may disagree with that assessment.

Anyway, something recently has come along in my life that has caused me to feel pressure. The kids are fine, my job is secure, and my wife and I are in good health.  So, the issue is not particularly serious and the pressure should not exist.

Let me give you some background.

I’m a loser. No, I don’t mean this in a self-deprecation sort of way. Well, not completely.

It’s just that I have a history of losing things.

This history goes back to childhood.  I had clips on my jacket which attached to my gloves. You remember those? I still went through six pair of gloves one winter. My mother has reminded me of that particular winter a number of times.

Unfortunately, this habit of losing stuff continued as I got older.

Check out this partial list of all items I have lost:

Three passports. (It’s a miracle I am not on some terrorist watch list.)

Two driver’s license

Lunch Bags

Water Bottles

Library Books

Eyeglasses

And my children. But luckily I keep finding them. Or they me.

Clearly, it’s a long and ugly history.

And I am scarred.

Yet, there is hope.

I actually retired my last lunch bag – after two years.

I had a pair of glasses for three years – and then they broke.

This is the first Chanukah since my wife, Ms. MMK and I got together (12 year anniversary on Monday) that she did not buy me a hat or gloves as a present.

Maybe, I am a loser no more.

A burden has been lifted.

I’m swelling with pride.

I keep things. I retain.

While getting used to this newly earned title, my wife, Ms. MMK made a decision. It’s actually very practical, and I love practical.

Her decision was to buy a monthly bus pass for us to share. On those days she works in the city, she uses the monthly bus pass, and I use it the other days. Gold for 50th anniversary, silver for 25th anniversary, and a shared monthly bus pass for a 12th anniversary.

I do love her, but she has no idea of the pressure this has put on me.

You see I thought of buying a monthly bus pass for myself during those months when it would make sense monetarily.

But I held back.

Why?

Because the monthly bus pass is pricey. So, if it is lost that’s nearly 150 dollars down the drain in one fell swoop.  And I would be angry and feel like crap if I lost the monthly bus pass.

Each time I ready to get on the bus these days, there is a moment when I can’t find monthly bus pass. I rifle through my brief case.  I fight to remain calm.

It’s pressure man!  Pressure, pressure, pressure.

So far, so good.

I need to relax and let

Look Whose Talking

Parenting memories, highlights, philosophies. We all have them.

A couple months back I was interviewed by DadofDivas.com as part of their Dads in the Limelight series.

Check it out and learn about my parenting/dad thoughts:

http://dadofdivas.com/dads-in-the-limelight/dads-limelight-limelightdads-larry-bernstein-dadchat

What a Difference a Year Makes!

1st day of school

1st day of school – Kindergarten

Last year sucked.

For BR. For Ms. MMK. For me.

But I learned a lesson.

A good teacher makes all the difference.

Here I am a veteran teacher, and it took BR having a horrendous school year for me to learn the value of a teacher.

Ironic.

The problems went beyond the teacher. The administration, for the most part, was of little support or assistance.

Sending BR to school left Ms. MMK and I uncomfortable. He was not being treated right. I don’t mean physically.

His confidence was shaken, his reputation was damaged, and his progress was stunted.

Now BR would not recognize most of this or not at any meaningful level.  However, we saw this happening and did everything possible to work with the school to prevent it. But got nowhere.

And then the school year ended.

And a new one began.

It was a new year in many ways. Of course, it was a new grade (4th), but it was also a new school in a new school district.

We prepared BR in the best way we could. And we had outside assistance.

And we prayed.

We prayed that he would get back on track. We prayed that the teachers would be caring. We prayed that the administration would be supportive. We prayed that our bright, inquisitive, and playful child would once again flourish at school.

Wednesday was parent teacher conferences. Ms. MMK had the day noted on the calendar for months. She had met with the teachers and other school personnel on a couple of occasions, but this would be the first in-depth meeting in a couple of months.

We were anxious but hopeful. After all, we had not gotten the dreaded calls home. Plus, BR seemed different – happier, calmer, and content to go to school.

I joined the conference at 2:15 (I had to call in from work) – just a few minutes after it began. While I would have preferred to have been there, the message came through loud and clear.

BR was doing fantastic. He had bumps in the beginning, and he is not perfect now.  I wouldn’t believe it if they had said he was.

They noted that BR has fallen in line. He assists other students. He is doing well socially. He is comfortable sharing. He is learning.

One teacher after another showered him with praises.

While Ms. MMK and I were in separate locations, we felt the exact same way

Ms. MMK thanked the teachers multiple times. She said, “this is the best parent teacher conference I’ve ever been to.”  She was on the verge of tears – of happiness.

I was in an empty classroom and smiling widely. All I wanted to do was hug BR.

We know that BR has challenges and is not an easy child. We know he needs particular kind of teachers.

Now, we know that he can be a great student. More importantly, he knows that too.

Thank you to his teachers and all those who assist and work in conjunction with them.

What a difference a year makes!!!