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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

My Kids’ Social Secretary


Our children are very popular. Lately, their calendar has been filling up with play dates, excursions, cookouts, and get-togethers to play sports. The funny thing is, these are not invitations from their peers, but instead, from grandparent-types.


Mr. Sal takes Petya out on the links for 18 holes of pure happiness.

“Believe me,” Sal tells us, “I like to golf, but to see the joy on your son’s face makes it even more fun for me.”

Sharon arranges a barbeque, along with swimming and tennis. In this case, doggies Misha and Grisha go, too, giving Benedetto and me a full six hours in the whine-free zone for the kids, and the walk-free zone for the dogs. Ah, the bliss.

On a different day, Dan and Larisa stuff the kids into their car for Japanese hibachi and an excursion following. Topped off with ice cream. Just the way you want them returned: over-tired and over-sweetened.

“We’ll have to do this again, sometime,” they enthuse, and are calling within weeks to schedule another date. Once again, the Mont Blanc is uncapped, the leather-bound date book opened and pen glides across parchment. I am my children’s social secretary.

The kids enjoy this special attention, since their own grandparents live far away. As long as it’s not over-the-top, like an African safari, or whitewater rafting on the Colorado River, or a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese, I’m game. They arrive to each date clean, combed, and well-pressed. They smile, say good morning and good afternoon, please and thank you. Within 48 hours, a thank you note is winging its way towards their benefactors.

Word spreads about these unusual children. More invitations come. Maybe no one has grandchildren who are enjoyable anymore?

I remind the kids that being polite and respectful opens doors in life. At this rate, the whole world is their oyster. Unless the law changes, about the only door closed to them will be the Oval Office. Well, that and working traveling carnivals, if I have any say about their future. And some days, those two non-options look more and more alike.

I like them experiencing these brief forays out with friends of the family, despite the fact that no one’s inviting me anywhere. A long weekend on the Rive Gauche, a falucca ride along the Nile, samosas and a proper tea near the Taj. My wants are few, and my tastes, refined and defined.

Alright, so I am fine with finding my own amusements. This is about the children and them learning to enjoy the fact that others could actually enjoy their presence. Best of all, after years of repeated rejection, the children feel celebrated and secure. Isn’t that what childhood is all about:  the challenge to grow and explore, while being cherished by family and friends?

Larry and Liza speak with us privately.

“Would you ever like to get away, just the two of you, for two or three days? We could take the kids.”

Be still my heart–where’s that calendar? Even with the Icelandic volcano, I’m sure we could fly to Europe via–I don’t know–South America? Or go west to touch down in the Far East, and then continue to Europe? It should only add on another week or so of travel, but if we schedule the play dates back to back, I’m sure we could swing it….

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