Blogger: Cherry Maggiore – “The Freak of Nurture”
Chapter 25: MSP sassily arrives at The Border
As my alarm gently goes off with soft classical music, the aroma of coffee fills my nostrils as the sun peeks through the bedroom shades. I slowly open my eyes and turn over to pick up my phone to turn off the alarm. I look around and then stretch on my bed; like one of those body-shaking stretches that you feel from head to toe. I feel content. Happy. Easy like a Sunday morning.
Then I hear the soft pitter patter of feet on wood steps as my girl stands outside my door to see if I’m awake. She’s showered and dressed; her face beams as she enters. She whispers, “Good morning Mama!”
I croaked back, “Morning baby girl. You look happy and ready for the day…”
She responds, “I am happy.” She slides over to my bed to hug and kiss me… then she gives me Eskimo kisses (yes, I know the word Eskimo is derogatory, and Inuit is appropriate, but I grew up calling those sweet swooshes of two noses Eskimo Kisses. If you didn’t realize Eskimo kisses are based on a traditional Inuit greeting called a kunik). And I love feeling her soft skin against my own and to smell her hair.
I ask, “Did you eat breakfast yet?” She excitedly responds, “yes, I made myself waffles with almond butter AAAAANNNNDD I made you coffee and your shake!”
I’m blown away. “WOW!!! Lil’mama, you did ALL that by 8am?”
She says, “Yes I did, AND I fed Tiki and made my bed!!!!”
“Seriously?” I am thoroughly impressed and in awe.
And so starts another weekend with my incredibly beautiful nine-year-old daughter MSP (Miss Sassy Pants).
As I get ready to take her to swim class, I express my worry that I have a blog coming up and have writer’s block. Truth be told, life is good. And for whatever reason, nothing is really popping up to write about. Happiness equals writer’s block. Strange…
So I asked my girl what I should write about.
She goes, “Mama, you should write about our weekend. We have so much cool stuff planned, and it could be cool to share it!”
Interesting…I respond, “that’s an interesting idea MSP…” It instantly reminds me of the song “A Day in the Life” by the Beatles
“Woke up, fell out of bed. Dragged a comb across my head. Found my way downstairs and drank a cup and looking up I noticed I was late. Huh, huh, huh. Found my coat and grabbed my hat. Made the bus in seconds flat. Made my way upstairs and had a smoke…And everybody spoke, and I went into a dream.”
So without any other ideas, I decided to do what MSP suggested and start my story on a typical Friday in the life of Cherry and MSP.
Friday starts with a full workday. But I did something different than usual, I welcomed a junior in college who I met at a speed mentoring event at my company. He shadowed me for the day as I went from crazy meeting to crazy meeting; ten meetings in all. Then I bought my team lunch as they shared their education and career paths with him. I learned some fantastic things about my team that I didn’t know, and they learned more about each other. Once work is done, I leave early (around 4pm) to pick up MSP from school driving from Midtown Manhattan to Brooklyn. The day before I went to MSP’s school and I couldn’t wait to pick her up so we could celebrate her unbelievable report card. All A’s except one (her silly art teacher gave her a B cause of one project she didn’t do to her liking. LOL).
I’m so excited to see her, so I run into the school and as soon as our eyes meet she runs into my arms. We do what we call a juicy hug…full body hug and squeeze super tight til she exclaims “Mama, I can’t breathe!” as she giggles into my ear.
We head into the car and begin our drive to Westfield. We talk about how her week went and then she asks her usual question, “Mama, what do we have planned this weekend?”
So I begin to share our plans, and she gets super excited…I’ve been accused of over-planning our weekends, but I try to make each weekend special; to make the most of our time together.
To my delight, MSP then asks if she can sing to me. Every Friday, during our car ride home she serenades me featuring songs she loves and those she’s learned in her music class. While we spend a lot of time in the car, it’s become time well spent and very special to us. We have our best heart to hearts, we sing, make jokes and share our thoughts and dreams.
I tell her that we are going to Limani for dinner; our favorite Greek restaurant in downtown Westfield. After dinner, I have a St. Patrick’s Day celebration at my Ballroom school so my niece Livy is going to watch her. Drop her off at her cousin Livy’s (aka the Lone Teen on The Daily Feels) a little before 8pm and I head off to Westfield Ballroom for the weekly date with myself.
Saturday: I wake up at 7:30am by myself as MSP wanted to have a sleep-over at Livy’s house. I hate waking up without her, but it was part of her reward for doing so well on her report card. Immediately, I start laundry (I do six loads throughout the weekend). Groceries get delivered around 8:15 so I put everything away which involves cleaning out the fridge. Then I start on washing dishes and cleaning out the dishwasher. By the time I have everything together, and myself showered, Head off to pick the girls up from Music class (they take piano and voice lessons together). When we return, I make lunch (birdie in the nest and salad). Livy was feeling a little down, so MSP decides to write her a letter…shown below.
After lunch, my cousin Jesse (she’s 32; with the five J’s, my mother’s brothers and sisters we have cousins that go from six months old to 48 years old) comes to meet us so we can take the ladies to dress shop at Lord & Taylor in town. MSP Needs and Easter dress and owing Livy needs a graduation and dress for her formal. We walk about a mile to L&T and shop ‘til we drop. But they said YES to the dress(es). We were so exhausted. I decided not to cook and just take them out to dinner. Then we decided to treat ourselves with ice cream and walked back home. Once we got home, the girls got ready for bed and watched a movie while Jesse and I booked our trip to Wanderlust being hosted in Quebec. We booked it during the week that MSP is with her dad on summer vacation. I am beyond excited to experience my first festival that includes music, yoga, and great food!
Sunday: Woke up 8am and took MSP to swim class at the YMCA. I love watching her swim and see how effortlessly she advances from 4th in the swim line up to first after two laps. She was understandably starving after swimming 45 minutes straight, so we stopped at Manhattan Bagel and ran into a colleague from my company who lives in town! Once we came home, I did more laundry. And then we headed back into town to run some more errands and for some more shopping. I needed a new phone, so we shopped along the way. Once we got home after a few hours. I washed the new clothes (yes, I went out for a phone and came home with about a huge bag of clothes) and started dinner (shrimp scampi with brown rice spaghetti) while MSP did her Homework. Once she was done, she made the salad. I cleaned up after dinner and washed the new clothes we bought. Once we were done, MSP had an idea of doing an art project in honor of ST. Patrick’s day…so here are the pictures we drew.
Monday: Today is my cleanse day! I cleanse once a week on the Isagenix program which is the system I used to lose 30 lbs two years ago. I’ve gained about five back over the holidays and vacation, so I’m working on getting that off and losing the final 15 lbs on my health journey (and I’m proud to share that I’m still smoke-free after a month!). MSP and I were very excited as she was going to perform in her Ballroom exhibition at school. AND she was selected to be dance captain with her partner, the controversial character Jerald. MSP got all dressed up in a red jumpsuit shown below and did a FANTASTIC JOB! My Mom, Aunt Jackie and I were so very proud. Aunt Jackie was a surprise guest who was terrific for MSP. Following the performance, I drove to the city and headed to the dentist. Found out I need two crowns…lovely. Worked the entire day and left work around 6:30pm to pick up MSP from my mom’s house in Staten Island. We drove to Jersey and came home to Livy who was staying over at the house.
And our weekend comes to a close…which always makes me get a lump in my throat when I drop her off on Tuesday. It will never be easy…to not see her every day. To know that I won’t see her until the next Friday…
My greatest takeaway from this exercise is that my daughter is a fantastic partner and contributor to our life together. She is extraordinary. She gets joy from doing chores and is driven to make people feel good when she sees a need. Her level of empathy is endearing and awe-inspiring.
What I also realize is that while so many people say children of divorce are collateral damage, but when I look at my daughter, I don’t see her that way. What strikes me is how she excels at anything she is passionate about; she puts effort into everything that interests her and what I see is merely a happy and content young lady. The damage may come in the future; for now, I am thrilled that she is thriving.
As I reread this, it’s also quite breath-taking to realize how much we did this weekend…you can’t even imagine what next weekend has in store! And I take comfort in knowing we are making memories and living our best, freakiest life together.
Cherry Maggiore is the proud single mom of her 9-year-old super-sassy daughter (aka Miss Sassy Pants or MSP) and 15-year-old pug baby (Tiki Barber); in addition to being an award-winning senior marketing executive at NBCUniversal.
Beside her side hustle as the Freak of Nurture, she also started a home design company after being inspired by renovating and designing her 1880’s home in NJ.
This insanely curious and passionate “multi-potentialite” can be found dancing the Argentinan tango, swing and Hustle every Saturday, cooking her family an Italian Sunday dinner, singing and air drumming at concerts or searching for her next adventure.