• Stella Tessler


I had an insanely chaotic (more so than usual) week. It was one of those weeks each minute of each day needed to be fine-tuned like a Swiss watch. Thrown in the middle of the week was a straight through drive from Florida to New York. Yeah, I'm nuts. I don't need a million messages telling me so (if only I had a million followers).

Lately, I've done the ride back and forth to Florida a few times for various reasons. In September, there was a hurricane heading to Florida and my family (which includes my fabulously adorable grandchildren) could not find water anywhere.

She (me) drove INTO a hurricane.

I filled up my car with cases and cases of water and headed toward a hurricane. Another time, I needed to reposition my car to my New York home. My daughter, Morgan, works at a summer camp in New Hampshire and goes to school in Florida, so I made that ride with all of her paraphernalia. I've done the ride enough times since April to have over 13,000 miles on my new car (purchased in April).

That's a lot of time. Alone. So alone. 13,000 miles of solitude. It's heavenly. I'm alone with my thoughts. I listen to seemingly endless episodes of The West Wing Weekly podcast (total West Wing geekfan here). I sing, at the top of my lungs, to the 70s on 7 Sirius XM channel. And, with all the technology available to us, I safely send and receive text messages and phone calls through Apple Car Play.

I love the ride. I get 19 hours of screen-free enjoyment. I yell at idiot drivers (not that they can hear me). I curse the rain (and the lowering of IQ levels as raindrops begin to fall). I marvel at the system of roads that get us all from one place to another (except through northern Virginia and Washington, DC - that's the location of hell on earth). I change the accents and voices on my Waze (seriously, Cookie Monster wondering out loud if the police officer he's warning me about would like a cookie is the best). I think a lot about time.

Last year, there was a commercial that came out (I can't remember the product), but the overall message for parents was, "The nights are long, but the years are short." I remember, particularly with my middle child, Michael (who never slept more than three hours a night - even now at 26), crying real tears at the exhaustion I was experiencing.

My boys. Guess which one kept us up night after night, year after year?

"I need just one more hour, please," I'd beg my husband, who also desperately needed the same. The morning always came around much too fast. In a caffeine-induced stupor, I'd stumble through the days, getting kids to school, daycare, sports, drama club, birthday parties, hockey games, doctor appointments and all the things that take up our minutes, hours, and days.

Then, out of nowhere, they were all gone. Off to college, apartments with friends, growing up, finding their way, following their passions on their way to their own adulthood. The nights were so long and the years were ridiculously short. Time.

Tonight, we get an extra hour. It's a gift we all wish for. And, here it is. I'm going to spend one full hour reaching out to people I haven't talked to in a while (because, you know, I haven't had the time). I'll listen as they tell me all the things going on in their lives and the way time has evaporated for them. I'll tell them I'm now a grandmother (twice) and, for a second time, the nights are long and the years are short. We'll reminisce, and smile and promise to be better at staying in touch (knowing full well, we won't because time will once again interfere). An extra hour. What a gift.

What will you do with yours?


Stella lives in Port Jefferson, NY and Orlando, FL with her husband, Dan, and her loving and lazy yellow lab, Toby. She's the mom of three totally self-sufficient adults (serious shout-out here, folks). She's crazy in love with her gorgeous and brilliant grandchildren, James and Lilly (not named for Harry Potter's parents, but love the connection). She's the Co-Founder of eleven07 Main, a Public Relations Firm, located in New York. Cooking for those she loves is her passion. In all she does, she lives by the motto: Pay It Forward.

© Copyright, 2019 by Stella Tessler.

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