Author: Jenna Serignese


In a few weeks, my mother turns 70. I expect her day will be similar for her to the numerous, monotonous ones that come before and after. When I recently told her that she would be turning 70 soon, she looked at me, incredulously, and asked, “You?” I said, “No, Mom. YOU are turning 70.” She just laughed in her vacant way, without much understanding. We first started noticing my mother’s memory issues when she was 60. If she ever could have anticipated how her mind would deteriorate, requiring institutional living, I have no doubt that she would have...

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Happy New Year!!!

It had been a long time since I had seen midnight on New Year’s Eve. Sure, my girlfriends and I still reminisce about the New Year’s Eve celebration we had in Manhattan 21 years ago (!!!), complete with a fantastic hotel suite, an 11pm attempt to watch the ball drop in person (13 blocks too far to see anything but the revelers), and so many laughs. An epic party with local and out-of-town friends, pre-kids, obviously involved a cutout of Fabio, absinthe (only briefly setting our coffee table on fire), beer pong and general merriment. Then we had kids....

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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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