Michon, The Starter Child

Our daughter Michon Foos Simanoff celebrates her 37th birthday today. Happy Birthday, sweetheart. I bet you wish I would stop here. I don’t know how she got older than me, but she has been doing amazing things all her life. It is always a source of pride to have a child smarter than you, but only after she is out of high school. She started out so special she needed a special name. Her mother, Gayle Kelly Foos swears we hadn’t decided on a name and I took advantage of her wooziness right after birth to impose my choice of names for our beautiful daughter. I’m going with the concept that she was woozy and couldn’t remember when we decided on the name. It is true it was my choice. I would like to claim that is an old family name from the time in which our forefathers were roaming the European continent, but in reality I had a student by that name and I liked it. Michon alternated between liking it because it made her stand out and hating it because it made her stand out. Before she was married and became a Simanoff, most people who had only heard her name and not met her in person were very surprised she wasn’t Asian.
Michon was our starter child and therefore we got to use her for practice. By the time her sister Lindsey Foos Lebowitz came along we were old hands at that parent thing. When she was born, Gayle returned to work and I stayed home with the baby. It wasn’t because we were an enlightened couple who wanted to break the stereotypes of gender. Gayle made more money than me and we really couldn’t afford day-care. So for six months I was mama/daddy. That was a great time in my life and I will always cherish those memories, but there were a few things that were difficult. I learned that soap operas have the same attraction as crack. I planned our day around “All My Children”. When Erica would file for another divorce (I think it was 3 times in that 6 month period) I would be heartbroken for days. I learned that showering was a thing you could do without for days. I learned to clock-watch and sit by the front door to hand off the baby when Mama walked in the door. When I got after Gayle for being so rude to not call me and let me know she was going to be 10 minutes late, she told me it was time for day-care. I learned that before children I was a selfish person, but being responsible for a baby made it very easy to give that up. I also learned how much you could love a child and how that doesn’t change just because they grow up.
Back to that practice child thing: Michon believed we were the most strict parents ever. The thing she hated most was curfew. She lost the use of her new car for a week on the first night of driving alone for being 5 minutes late. I think she’s still mad at us for that. Here’s a quick aside. When Sandra Bullock won an Oscar for her lead role in “Gravity” (the movie that taught us that no matter how bad things are, they can always get worse) she thanked her mother for her curfew rules. Sandra stated that, although she hated it at the time, she would have probably done those things her mother was afraid of without the curfew. We’re still waiting for our thank you’s on that one. When we dropped her off at college she let us know that she planned on staying out after curfew every night.
Her mother and I couldn’t be more proud of Michon. Look what she’s accomplished. She is Master’s educated, holds down an important job and takes care of her beautiful family. Her 13 year marriage to Lee Simanoff is strong, and her boys are, of course, pretty special themselves. We are going with Attribution Theory to explain how she is the strong, independent woman everyone knows today. It is because of her parents and the good job they did in raising her.
Happy Birthday, Michon!! We love you and can’t wait to see you and your family soon.

Love,
Mom and Dad

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