Posts Filed Under A Look Back

What’s Your Talent?

posted by Momo Fali on March 13, 2014

My son has a talent show at his school next month. While his performance is not my decision, I’ll probably be the one making the choice. First of all, because he can’t decide between, oh – pretty much anything - and secondly, because I’m controlling.

I am deeply torn between him yodeling, doing his Gollum imitation, or conducting the theme from Star Wars. He does them all equally well, so there’s no determining it by level of talent. No matter what, I think we can all recognize he will win at being geeky; which is to say he can not lose.

The last time he was in a talent show was in preschool where he dressed in a tuxedo and danced with his sister. That was back when she still liked him.

shut up with the cuteness!

When my daughter attended that same preschool she got up and sang “God Bless America” which was pretty much the most adorable thing you’ve ever seen. It was shortly after 9/11 and she brought the house to tears. She’s a freshman in high school now and recently juggled for her class. She could have also played the piano, or sang, sketched a picture, or solved some massive algebra problem. Lower the bar for people like your mother, kid!

I don’t know what I would have done if I had been in a talent show as a child. I would’ve been like, “Everybody needs to go outside so you can watch me climb a tree.” Oh, wait there was that time I performed for our neighbors by singing “Elvira” on the back of a sawhorse.

I thought I was a great singer, especially when I used to close myself in our half bathroom with my tape recorder and belt out Barbra Streisand’s “Evergreen” like I knew love was as soft as an easy chair. I didn’t really know anything about love, or how to sing, and I still don’t really know what an easy chair is. I had an aunt nicknamed, “Easy” but I don’t think it had anything to do with a chair.

Anyway, I’m stumped. I may just need your assistance in deciding. In the meantime, tell me, what’s YOUR talent?

Two Homes, One Life; Divorce and Childhood

posted by Momo Fali on February 11, 2014

The 1977, brown Cadillac climbs the hill, already narrow from the cars parked on either side of the street; the space made more confined by the girth of the steel box in which I ride.

We pass the green house, on the right, with the sidewalk buckled from the root of an oak tree. As we approach Gram’s house with shrubs running the length of the exterior, the engine slows from a quick hum to a low grumble. This is where my dad lives now. Sometimes he isn’t here, but Grandma always is.

The car pulls to the curb and I climb out onto the small patch of grass between the street and the sidewalk. I bound toward the concrete steps, my hand grazing the sticker-bush that is hanging over the wrought iron handrail. I reach the wooden porch and the gray, peeling paint crunches beneath my feet.

I knock on the thick wood door and peek through the glass window that frames it. I hear the grandfather clock chiming 3:00. Dong…dong…dong.

Gram’s wrinkled hand grabs the key from the its perch and she greets me. As I walk across the shaggy, orange carpet, I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the full-length mirror on the closet door.

I collapse onto the green and white floral love seat and we spend the next hour watching M*A*S*H reruns on the console television that sits in the corner. My dad comes home. My cousins and I shoot rubberbands behind the TV where they pile upon others, covered in dust, which have gathered from one year to the next. At 5:00, two of us go outside, walking over the buckled sidewalk and down the hill to the pizza shop where we have a standing Thursday order.

After dinner, I sit on the porch and watch cars go by. I climb a tree, but only if she isn’t looking. I smell the rose bush in the corner of the backyard, next to the chain-link fence. I shoot baskets on the hoop that hangs on the garage next to the alley. My cousin and I walk a few blocks to a mulberry tree where we gorge on fresh fruit until our hands are purple and our bellies are full.

Upon our return, I go inside and climb the steps to the landing where I look out the window into the neighbor’s yard. I go into Gram’s bedroom and smoothly slide open her top, left dresser drawer.

I remove tiny Avon lipstick samples and look into her mirror while applying a deep red shade to my mouth. I purse my lips together, then rub the top one to its mate and wiggle them around until I am certain they’re evenly coated. I blot them on a tissue and make a popping sound.

I climb over the stair railing and slide down on my stomach to the living room; my ride hastened by the thick layer of wax atop the wood. After settling back onto the love seat, I lay my head against the flat, gold pillow. My eyelids grow heavy and I doze off as the baseball game plays in the background. Johnny Bench is at bat.

I wake to the sound of a car horn blaring. My mom doesn’t come to the door. I stumble to put my shoes on, then cross the room to where Gram is sitting in her corner of the sofa, under the bright light of the table lamp. I kiss her soft cheek.

As the grandfather clock chimes 9:00, I head outside, down the concrete steps with a quick one-two rhythm, then I open the heavy car door. I hear crickets chirping in the bushes.

I climb inside and the car turns the corner as it leaves one home for another.

Dance with My Father

posted by Momo Fali on January 29, 2013

Sometimes, when we are just sitting around, my mom will burst into tears and tell me what a good father my kids have. I nod. “I know, Mom. I know.” And, I do.

I think part of the reason she cries is because she had a good relationship with her father and she misses him. He’s been gone since I was a child, but she still talks about him a lot. I think there is also something to be said for the fact that my mom is 78 years old and has known a lot of people who didn’t have close relationships with their dads. My grandparent’s generation wasn’t exactly known for wearing their emotions on their sleeves.

Actually, some members of my generation aren’t known for it either. There is no denying that my husband is a curmudgeon (seriously, he won’t even deny it), but he loves his kids, does all kinds of activities with them that I probably never would, instills in them a sense of responsibility, shares his faith and his dreams with them, and even though he is one of the biggest sports fans I’ve ever known, he doesn’t blink an eye at the fact that our special needs son will never be a star athlete.

Of course, my husband gets all of his parenting skills naturally because he has a great dad. As do I. Our fathers are both funny, kind, generous and loving.

Way back in 1997 I spent an amazing August afternoon dancing with all of these men. I happened to be wearing a wedding dress and at one point or another was twirled around the dance floor by my brand-new husband, my dad, and my father-in-law.

The other night my daughter’s dance club threw an event for the parents. It was held in the same hall where my husband and I had our wedding reception, and when my groom and our daughter took to the dance floor – the same dance floor where I had danced with my dad – I was the one doing the crying.

I have been so lucky to have these dads in my life and I wish the same thing for my girl.

So far, so good.

Speaking of dads, I’ll be on a panel at the Dad 2.0 Summit in Houston this weekend where some of the best parents in social media will be gathering to declare, “Parenting isn’t just for moms, and neither is blogging!” I just made that quote up, but I’m pretty sure they’ll want to to put it on a bumper sticker.

Momo Moments 2012

posted by Momo Fali on December 31, 2012

For the last two years, I have done year-end recaps. I like traditions, so here you go.

January – It took me 11 days into the new year before I got my mind right.

February – St. Valentine’s Day Catholic Cliff Notes taught my readers so much. And by so much, I mean nothing at all.

March – My little boy got to meet his favorite big star when Ree came to town.

April – I came out of the vegan closet then I went to the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop in Dayton and left with cheeks that were cramped and sore from laughing so much. We also said goodbye to our sweet dog, Blue and my husband fixed the microwave.

May – I responded to the numerous people who ask me for blogging advice. It’s cute how they think I know what I’m doing! And, I can’t forget the milestone my son hit.

June – I traveled to Seattle for BlogHer Food and I looked back at the days when my kids loved each other.

July – Things were exposed. I’ll leave it at that.

August – I got addicted to a new app and took a trip to NYC for BlogHer ’12.

September – We found out what my son would say if his dad died.

October – I rambled, and I reflected.

November – I attempted to blog every day, but failed. We lost my cousin and that was really the only thing that mattered.

December – I ended the year like I started it, by getting my mind right.

Bring it, 2013. I’m ready for you.