Author: Jenna Serignese

My Personal Mix Tape

Truth? I have no musical abilities. This is only surprising because my mother was almost a professional pianist, but that talent passed right over me. I have a voice only my children can love. Recently, I was driving in the car and my son was in an uncharacteristically surly mood. Then, an acoustic version of Shut Up and Dance by Walk the Moon came on. For some inexplicable reason, my kids LOVED that song when it came out. It hooked them, with its catchy beat, its cheesy video, and the fact that it gave them the ability to scream...

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Somehow Thanksgiving is already rapidly approaching, which, this year, is bittersweet for me. My family has decided not to bring my mother out of her nursing home for the holiday. I believe it would be difficult and exhausting for the current version of her, and hard logistically, particularly with the short amount of stamina she possesses. Still, I feel guilty and saddened that she will be celebrating the holiday with an institutional version of this family meal. I just remind myself that it is what it is. We will figure out another way to bring some merriment to my...

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What’s in a Name?

In the first year of our marriage, my husband and I were tasked with picking the perfect name for our unborn son.  It is a surprisingly big undertaking, choosing a moniker that is going to identify someone his entire life.  After plenty of daydreaming and suggestions, we found a name that we both loved:  Theodore.  A bit old fashioned and not at all common in these parts.  Ready made for an adorable nickname.  We thought we were all set. At a point in time where my mother’s words still had the possibility of affecting me, she asked me if we had chosen a name and I made the mistake of sharing it with her.  She made it clear that she hated the name.  We ultimately picked a new name and kept it to ourselves. Had we just waited, and introduced little Theo in his teeny newborn clothes, I cannot imagine anyone would have voiced an issue with our choice. (The exception is always my daughter.  On many occasions, she has made it clear that we chose wrong for her, as she should have been named EllaRoseFlower). Toward the end of the years when my mother was living semi-independently (i.e., only through the kindness and patience of family and a close friend), her warping mind determined she no longer wanted to be known by her married name.  She kept the...

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Any time my husband has an opportunity to get away, without hesitation, I tell him to go. It does not happen often, but when it does, I recognize the fact that he could use some time away and he deserves that time away. There is just something about hanging with old friends that reminds you of the person you once were, and even sometimes makes you appreciate the person you have grown into. I recognize the great value in a brief period of time where the focus is not on being a parent or a spouse. So when the invitation arises for a baseball game, a guys’ trip to Miami or the Poconos, or, before everyone got married, a bachelor party, he has my full-fledged support. He figures out his travel plans and returns, refreshed (or exhausted, depending upon the trip) and excited to see his family, who shower him with hugs and nonstop chattering. This spring, a girlfriend from graduate school invited me to Ireland. She is turning 40 this year and, before she begins an exciting adventure with her family, she rented a house for a long weekend and invited a small group of her girlfriends to join her and celebrate. Immediately, there were a flurry of group emails, excitedly discussing things to do and places to visit. And from me? Radio silence. My girlfriend recognized that...

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One Crazy Summer

Last week, my son asked me if the summer was half over. We talked about all the different things he had done over the many weeks since second grade ended, and all that was planned during the five full weeks until third grade begins. He was disappointed to realize that his vacation is on the downslide. He could not hear my internal cheering, thrilled that the summer chaos, while still in full swing, is approaching its conclusion. Here’s the thing: the kids are having the summer of their lives. But wow, is it wrecking the adults. My in-laws have a house in southern Maine, so we are fortunate to have a wonderful go-to vacation spot. It’s a magical coastal town, a place that my husband and I love, where we got engaged and later married, a place that our children cherish as much as we do. Two summers ago, we noticed a day camp at one of the beaches. Last summer, the kids attended the camp for a week while my husband and I worked remotely from the house. It was the first time my son had been outside his comfort zone for as long as I could remember.   He still looked shell shocked when we picked him up that first day, when we learned that he barely said more than a few words. But by midday of his...

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