Saturday, May 21, 2011

Ruminations on Mob Wives

Am I the only one strangely captivated by this show?  I guess I can answer my own question- Hell No.  This show is attracting a massive amount of media attention from every outlet- everything from Good Morning America to CNN.

Part of the allure for the audience is the feeling we are peeking into a lifestyle that by definition is inclusive and secretive.  Another part, and the reason the show ultimately works, are the larger than life personalities of the stars of Mob Wives.  In particular Renee Graziano,  who is the daughter of Anthony Graziano. He is doing time for being the consigliere of the Bonnano crime family and is not speaking to Renee as a result of being part of the show.

Put simply, Renee is one tough bitch.  She grew up being the ultimate Mafia Princess, and still lives by the code and principles that govern mob families.   Not an episode goes by without Renee lecturing about Trust, Honesty, Respect, Loyalty.

Assuming the multitude of blogs, Facebook, and Twitter can be used as a reasonable indicator, then it is Renee that viewers most connect with.  And let there be no doubt that the majority of the viewers are women, this despite the underlying violence that permeates this lifestyle.  She has the sort of personality that draws people in- she comes off as super confident, funny, and the life of every party.  While this makes for great television, it is not the reason she is so popular with her female fans.  

Here is the hook, and this is why Renee will be the breakout star from this show:
When Renee goes on and ON about Trust, Honesty, Respect, and Loyalty, that message resonates with every woman who has ever been in a relationship.  Renee grew up knowing that her father would break the knees of any man who treated her badly.  Find me a woman who has suffered at the hands of some jerk-off and didn't secretly wish for his ass kicked, and I will show you a liar.  Renee grew up with the expectation that the men in her life would protect her at whatever cost.  All girls should grow up with that sense of security, and it doesn't have to lie in an undercurrent of violence.  As women we should demand Trust, Honesty, Respect, and Loyalty from our significant others, and too many of us can't summon the voice to command it.

Obviously my feelings about Mob Wives are complicated, something the network was banking on when they decided to air such a program no doubt.  On one hand we are entertained, on the other hand we know these women have been connected to men who have committed crimes.  We love it and yet feel guilty.  If good art (and yes, even a show like this is an art form.  Maybe not high art, but nevertheless art) is supposed to elicit an uncomfortable feeling in the viewer, then Mob Wives is already a critical success.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Every Mother's Day since Sasha's birth has been special, but with the addition of my son this day feels profoundly better than I could have imagined. Teddy didn't come easy, he was born on the fourth round of IVF. To those of you who have been through IVF, you understand what our family went through without additonal explanation. Those of you that have not experienced IVF, count your blessings (or healthy eggs and hearty sperm). IVF sucks balls. IVF is the last circle of hell. Until it works that is...

Giving birth to a healthy baby was like winning an Oscar, scoring the winning touchdown at the Superbowl, and finishing the NYC Marathon rolled into one. It was the accumulation of three years of our efforts. Holding a healthy newborn sealed a wound that had been torn open six years prior. I love both of my children fiercely, but they came into this world much differently. I needed Teddy as much as he needs me.

On this Mother's Day I want to celebrate giving Sasha a brother who will protect her long after I am gone. Today I will again thank the Universe for allowing me to give Z-Man the best Christmas gift of his lifetime*.

Happy Mother's Day everyone. Especially my friend Gina, who gave birth to a beautiful baby yesterday. I know our boys will be the best of friends. That thought just scared the bejesus out of me, actually. Let's try to keep them away from some of our past indulgences, I just had visions of margarita's in the sippy cup.**

*For those of you just joining me, Theodore Magnus (is that not a name of a guy who can kick someone's ass?) was born on 12/25/10.

**For those of you without a sense of humor, I was joking. Please do not call Child Protective Services on me. At least not on Mother's Day.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

One Smile

Before you judge, let it be known I do not usually dress my daughter like a cheap burlesque dancer. This picture was taken before a dance recital, and was chosen to accompany my post for one reason only- my floor looks relatively dog hair free and clean.
Sasha has many wonderful gifts and quirks, much like a typical six year old. She also has Williams Syndrome. If you don't know what that is, Google is your friend. I jest...Williams Syndrome is a genetic syndrome that manifests in many ways. Some are pretty cool- Williams kids tend to be super outgoing and happy. Happy for the sake of just being happy, not based on getting the newest toy, or eating easter candy for dinner ( although that last one makes me very, very happy). I think of Sasha as a weather vane for other people's emotions. She is more empathetic than most 40 year olds. If you are sad, she will do everything in her six year old bag of tricks to make you smile.
Other parts of having Williams Syndrome simply SUCK. Sasha has had major heart surgery, has had her share of smaller surgeries, and has all sorts of delays. We visit the local hospital all too often. I will leave the details for another time, but Z-Man likes to tease me on how unpopular I am at our local Emergency Room. Z-Man and I basically play good cop/bad cop during these ER visits. I act like a bitch from hell until I feel Sasha is getting all the attention and care she needs, while Z-Man calmly talks to the doctors and nurses. I would like to tell you I feel bad about the way I act in these situations, but the truth is I don't. In those moments I am Mama Bear and anyone who gets in my way is getting mauled. This didn't serve me too well when I broke my back in March. I don't think it is coincidental I waited 2 hours just to get some painkillers. I guess the nurses doled out justice to Bad Cop- but don't worry, just like bed bugs I'll be back.
Having a special needs kid means there are going to be good days and talk me off the ledge days. Today was all set to be the latter. Another specialist visit, another recounting of every illness over the last six years. Blah, blah, f*cking blah.
Right before we left for the doctor visit, I checked my email. My mother had forwarded me a portion of a college essay written by one of her neighbors who met Sasha last summer.

A ray of sunshine on an otherwise cloudy day.

This is what the email said:

One Smile
Have you ever looked at someone's smile and instantly known that you have changed their life and they yours? You can tell by an expression if someone looks up to you like you are their hero just by their smile. This past summer I had the opportunity to experience this feeling first hand. I met a five year old girl named Sasha. One day I saw her smile at me and immediately my heart melted. Sasha never asks for anything in return she just smiles even when things are difficult for her. When kids her own age wont play with her, she smiles, she loves, and she inspires. She inspired me to become a better person, a five year old girl has changed my life just by one smile.

Today was a very good day.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

You say Kaftan, I say Caftan

I have decided to rock a lot of Caftan's this summer. I think they are perfect. They remind me of Morocco and I will feel exotic sitting on my deck in decidedly non-exotic Northern Westchester. There are a couple of gorgeous options online on Neiman Marcus, and a couple of cheapo options courtesy of Calypso for Target. Speaking of Calypso for Target, I plan on buying the entire line. Sold. No questions asked. The little girls dresses are BEYOND. The line for Women is perfect for knocking around town with the kids this summer. When I lived in NYC, Calypso was my fave, fave store. When Z-Man and I first started dating his (now our) dog Mario ate a full length lavender cashmere cardigan I had just acquired. As my revenge I convinced Z-Man to have Mario fixed. Bye-bye Calypso cashmere, bye-bye Balls.

If I happen to magically lose the rest of the baby weight, tone my legs and belly without actually spending a minute in the gym, then screw the Caftan. I am going to be in shorts so short you can see my c-section scar.