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Saturday, September 28, 2013

When It's Time to Just Say "No" to Botox

WANT TO KNOW HOW OLD YOU REALLY ARE?  Get in a boat with some varsity rowers 1/3 your age and see how you do.  Last night I was on Tadaa and a woman photographer, who usually posts sunsets, posted a heavily edited photo of herself and said, "I'm not going to lie, I'm turning 48!"  Everyone chimed in with things like, "You don't look a day over 38!"  I wrote, “I’m 48, and I’m having the time of my life, enjoy!”  Then I realized people were consoling her, or trying to make her feel younger.  Personally, I made peace with aging, or middle age, or whatever you want to call, it a long time ago.  Maybe it’s because my Home and Family are such a safe place to land.  My husband and two sons both think I'm the best thing since sliced bread.  Maybe it’s because I'm Team Mom, and I am around young people all the time, who are always happy to see me.  (This is why when Big Coach tells me to go yell at a kid, I say no way, I'm Team Mom, I give out cookies and hugs and the kids love me, you go over there and yell at them). 

I'm not going to lie, I had a hard time initally letting my face age.  When I turned 40, I started going to a doctor to get Botox, to get rid of my "elevens", or the two lines that appear in the middle of your brow as you get older. (Yes, there are names for all these signs of aging.  I felt those “elevens” made me look angry.  The excuses we can come up with are really endless).  Botox needs to be done every 3 months.  Then I started to get Restalyn (a synthetic filler injected by needle) under my eyes to make me look like I'd had a good night's rest.  Restalyn is a lot more expensive than Botox and needs to get "refreshed" every 6 months.  Then I started getting Restalyn to get rid of the "Marionette lines" which are the lines that form above your chin, think about the name and it will become obvious.  Now it was starting to get really expensive.  You could really go on and on with this stuff, and turn into a frozen faced Botox junkie.  The turning point came for me when the doctor said, "and if we just put a tiny implant in your chin, we can structure up that soft chin," and showed me on the screen what it would look like.  That was my lightning bolt moment.   The horror!  Nooooooo, we don't want to do that, I told the doctor, That soft chin isn't from aging, it's from being half Asian!  "You're Asian," he said quizically, looking at the enhanced picture on the screen, then at me.  "Ohhh, yes, now I see it! OK, right no chin implant."  That's when I heard my grandmother in my head, "Jiminy Cricket, Jules, what are you doing to yourself?  All you need is a little lipstick, you don't need surgical intervention."  And she was right.  There comes a time in your life when you have to accept who you are, what you look like, and Just Be Thankful for what God has given you.  Neither my Grandmother nor my mother ever lied about their age or tried in any way to look younger than they were.  And they are my idols.  And so I just got up out of the chair and left.  I'm not going to lie, I do on occasion get my "elevens" done because I don't want to look angry, but in fact it's been well over a year so I think we might be done with that. 

If you ever want to know who you really are, here's a tip.  Take up rowing, then get in a crew shell with three varsity rowers.  Last week, during Newburgh Rowing's 5-Mile Paddle and Oars Challenge (it wasn't a race, it was a challenge), I rowed in a quad with 3 Student Ambassadors, Chico, Soup, and Kelvin.  These guys are my son's buddies, Soup being his best friend.  The course for crew shells was shortened to one mile because it was getting rough out there on the Hudson River.  Even though the boys slowed down and shortened their reach to accommodate me, it was still challenging for me to keep up.   It was really hard on the way up because we were rowing against the current, and blissfully easier on the way down, because we were with the current.  I was no never so happy to see the Boathouse behind us and I was ready to bring it in.  Then the boys saw two other boats coming up on us.  “Let’s smoke them,” said Soup.  Oh Boy.  Let’s not boys, I said, it’s a Challenge, after all.  And Mrs. Lo is a lot older than you.  “You got this, Miss L,” all three said.  And that was enough, that these boys believed in me.  They know what they’re doing and they wouldn’t be in a boat with me if they didn’t think I could do it.  “Get ready for a Power 15,” said Soup, which means you give it all you’ve got for 15 strokes.  And for 15 strokes, it didn’t matter who I was, how old I was, or where I was, all that mattered was burying those blades and keeping up with these boys who were rowing their true race pace.  Time stopped.  I rowed harder than I have every rowed in the 2 years I have been coming down to learn.  Just as I thought it was over, Soup called a Power 10.  Then a Power 5.  And that’s when I discovered, out on the water, that I could keep up with them.  I discovered that it didn’t matter if I was somebody’s mother or grandmother or great grandmother, the only thing that matters in rowing is: can you pull your weight in this boat? 


And really, that’s what matters in this world.  I, for one, do not care about your age or your physical appearance.  Do you pull your weight in this world?  Have you done all you can to contribute to your family and community?  Have you done anything to make this world a better place?  Do you just take or do you give back?  I am at a point in life where I am comfortable with my answers to all these questions.  And if you are too, whether you are 21 or 101, then more power to you, you have earned my respect, and baby, we have earned our stripes.  Have a great Saturday, everyone, and remember to count your blessings!  <3 Mrs. Lo (Photo of Mrs. Lo and the Team Mom Quad: Soup, Kelvin, and Chico, and Little Michael.  No filter, no edit, no botox, no makeup, just a lot of sweat and a lot of happiness)

Friday, September 13, 2013

From the Top of the Crew Mom Heap to the Bottom of the Football Mom Pile: Notes from a Rookie Football Mom

NOTES FROM A ROOKIE FOOTBALL MOM - Just when I became a really seasoned crew mom, just when I stopped being known as "Christian's Mom" or "Michael's Mom" and became known simply as "Team Mom," I have been thrust into a new world. The world of football. My child is 13 and has never played a contact sport before. That means I have never seen him make purposeful contact with another child. Ever. So perhaps the biggest milestone for me as a Football Mom was surviving That Sound.

Football moms know what I'm talking about. Probably Hockey Moms and others. That Sound occurs the first time you hear your child getting hit. It is accompanied by your child actually getting hit, and either hitting back, getting knocked down, or ending up on the bottom of "The Pile." The shock to a mother's system, in hearing That Sound, is actually indescribable. The flood of emotions, and the willpower it takes to overrride the Mothering Reflex. Just as when your baby cries in his crib, you have an uncontrollable reflex that causes you to reach into the crib for your baby, similarly,when you hear That Sound, a mother has a reflexive desire to run onto the field, scoop up her child, and say, "OK, you win, I'll buy you whatever you want, just stop playing this barbaric game before you get hurt!" You want to say to that big kid on the other team, "get your big Shrek hands off my child!" But of course, for the first time in a long series of times, you must turn off the Mother Reflex. Yes, they're wearing helmets and pads and they're trained (or in my son's case, learning) to "hit" and "take a hit." But that first hit, whether your kid is in Mighty Mights or is a teenager, is actually sickening.

Don't get me wrong, he was fine. Me, not so much. I handled it the way I handle all stress. I either cook, throw a large party, or take pictures. Since the first two options were somewhat unrealistic, I simply turned to the sports shutter on my camera and started shooting. I took over 4,000 photos of Christian's first Scrimmage. Another football parent nudged me gamely and said, "Wow, did you get that touchdown?" I stared blankly. "What touchdown?" Now it was his turn to stare at me blankly. I had 4,000 pictures of Christian and, as a Defensive End, he generally was not where the touchdown was occurring. He also plays Tight End so, on those occasions, it's possible I may have a photo of the touchdown. But to be honest, unless he made the touchdown, I probably took the picture by accident. But I will make it to all of the games and cheer when my husband cheers, since he's watching the WHOLE game and not just our son. You guys know me. If my kid's in, then I am all in. Whether Christian plays for one season and moves on, or plays for several seasons, I will be there, with my camera. Maybe I will even move up the ranks to Concession Stand, or my specialty, 50/50 sales. He will go back to rowing when football as over. But in the meantime, he is thoroughly loving this game and this league. I do not exactly know or understand why. But it's not my job to understand, it's my job to support him. As long as he as he loves it, Anthony and I will take him to practices and games. And I alone will participate in the unholy nightly ritual known as washing the football uniform. This makes Little Michael's rowing clothes, soaked with stinky Hudson River water, actually smell like a rose garden.

Last week, there was a thunder delay during the game, played at the NFA Field. When play resumed, it was pouring rain, the cheerleaders had called it quits, and most parents, wisely, were sitting under shelter somewhere, watching the game. My son told me he knew, before he looked up, that I would be the only one, sitting there in the bleachers in the pouring rain. Sure enough, there I was sitting dead center in the bleachers in the rain with my Newburgh Rowing Club rain hood up. Hey, I told him, I'm a crew mom, at least 20% of my wardrobe is rain gear, from muckers to ponchos. I've spent 8 hours in cold, driving rain, just to get a glimpse of your boat for one minute. "I know Mom," he said, "I just knew I would look up and you'd be there in the rain. Like, I had not doubts at all." He's too young to articulate it, but he knows that being able to look up and see your parents every time, whether it's from the football field, your crew shell, or the school stage, is a blessing. And that was thanks enough for me. Have a great day, everyone, and remember to count your blessings!  Mrs. Lo
 — with Juliana Muyot andGoldbacks Yfl.

TRADITIONS: One of the Best Gifts You Can Give Your Children

TRADITIONS: ONE OF THE BEST GIFTS you can give to your children. We have just left Kennebunkport, Maine, where we have had another glorious beach vacation, for the 13th summer in a row. Christian was a year old when we first came up here; he slept in a little hotel crib at the famed but not so child-friendly Nonantum Resort. Michael was 5 months old the first summer he came up here. That was the year Mommy forgot to pack his clothes and we had to go to the Mall and buy whatever I could find for him (honest, that outfit was coral, not pink!) Now, we are heading home extra early in the morning so we can get Christian to his walk-through this afternoon, in preparation for his first Football game tomorrow. Things have changed over the years. When we first started coming up here, I was either not working or working part-time, and we saved all year to stay in a motor lodge for the week. Now we rent a small but classic house literally across the street from the Beach. We used to put up one of those "baby tents" because Michael couldn't tolerate the sun. We carried them down to the ocean and were amazed when they would splash. Now the two of them swim, snorkel and boogie board all day long. I used to buy groceries at the local market which would last all week. Now, I drive two towns over to Hannaford, fill up two grocery carts, then go back mid-week for more groceries. That's how much food this family consumes. We learned to avoid crowded, pricey restaurants and love to have breakfast, lunch and BBQ dinners on the beach or our sun porch. We have seen businesses in town come and go. But some traditions have remained the same. Early every morning, Anthony and I sit on the bench across the street from the house and have our coffee as we watch the sun rise over the beach. Every year, we go to Bartley's for lobster roll and homemade blueberry pie. Every year, we take the narrated Trolley Tour and I correct the driver on at least one fact (). And every night as we sit down to dinner with the sand all over our sun porch, we bow our heads and thank God for his bounty, especially allowing us to have this magical Kennebunkport vacation every year. Whether your family is small, large, intact, blended or all grown up, be sure to create traditions for your kids and grandkids. It creates a sense of stability and structure, which children so desperately need. Whether it's going camping or going to the Hamptons, what will matter is that you are together, and that your kids can count on it. Have a great day, everyone!  Mrs. Lo