When we got word that my son-in-law’s vibrant grandma had died, and the funeral would be in Florida, my daughter and her husband wanted to be there but who would watch their two children for the three days they would be gone? ME!
My terrific 10-year-old Blake and marvelous Morgan live just 10 minutes from me but couldn’t sleep at my house because my grandson Jonah had strep throat and his sister Addy had the flu. So, I had to sleep at their house.
I thought it would be heavy lifting but it turned out to be the most precious time I ever shared with them.
Somehow, when the kids are visiting in a group with their cousins, it’s a different experience for me than having them all to myself. I was a little concerned about the responsibility but I reminded myself I did have four children! But being a grandma means you can go home or shut your door.
My trepidation melted away when I saw how Samantha, my daughter, had pages of detailed instructions lined up on the kitchen counter for me for each day and each hour. But I soon learned that Blake could run the whole family.
Together, we navigated the meals, the medicine/vitamins, sleeping times, homework, sports activities and friends’ playtime. They were so much fun and I loved the take-charge genes that I saw in action! Blake made sure his sister had her shower, washed her hair and got into bed on time. My fun was to sing to each one of them in their beds as they fell asleep and even have a checkers game on the iPad with Blake as his goodnight treat! I didn’t want to tell him but it was the biggest treat for me!
We were on schedule the first morning when my alarm clock went off and the choreographed scene (led by my daughter’s directions) made sure they ate their breakfast, brushed their teeth and hair, and made it out the door to catch the bus. Success!
Then I was off to work.
Their favorite babysitter was there that afternoon to greet them after their after-school activities and I came over to spend some time with them after I attended the Nassau County Museum of Art opening party.
The museum sits on acres of parkland and is housed in the elegant mansion that was formerly the Frick estate. The museum’s new show features Glamorous Graffiti: Basquiat, Crash, Haring and more. In the main galleries, there are works by Kenny Scharf, a 57-year-old Brooklyn artist known for his pop culture paintings. His work has also appeared at the Queens Museum.
I was delighted to see old friends Rhona Silver, Frank Cassagna, Charles Chan and his beautiful wife Daphne, one of our Long Island Top Women in Business, and museum donor Dr. Harvey Manes, and was happy to meet PBS producer Laura Savini who is working on new projects but had been the face of PBS for years.
Fortunately, the museum is only minutes away from my babysitting “job” and I was delighted that 7-year-old Jonah had joined the kids since there was no school on Saturday and they all enjoyed each other, even putting on a show for me!
Although I was there because of a death in the family, it turned out for me to be an opportunity to cherish the children in a way that, with their parents around, could not be possible.
It was a memorable moment in my life, so from sadness came joy.
Goodbye to a Beloved Woman, Roslin Sohmer
When I met Roslin Sohmer, I was impressed with her energy and devotion to her children.
She had built a legacy of having four great-great-grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, four grandchildren and two children, Karen Ehrlich, who she lived with in her last years, and Steve Sohmer of Long Island, whose son Spencer is my son-in-law.
With her last breath, she said goodbye to them as she peacefully died in the hospital at the age of 91, with her two children at her side, holding her hand.
Taking charge of her last moments, she left orders for her children as to her wishes and then told the doctor, “I’m done,” shut her eyes and left this world.
A Bronx native, Roslin had the moxie to go to City College to be trained as an executive secretary. She held her job with Adler Brothers Insurance for decades until she retired to Florida.
There she fulfilled her passion for dancing and game playing. Ros performed as a tap dancer in endless shows at and around her home in Huntington Point in Delray. She also acted as the “social director’ even as her illness required an oxygen tank. Her daughter in law Susan eulogized her, saying, “Ros would shove her portable oxygen tank into her tote bag and kept going, and was even her neighbors’ designated driver!”
Goodbye to a good woman, devoted to her family, who lived her life fulfilling her passions. Rest in peace.
Victoria’s Secrets is a weekly column by the founder and the publisher of QNS.com.