Family Time | Rock Lobster
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Rock Lobster

Rock Lobster

There are times in your life where everything just changes all at once. Leveling-up.

My last major one was in 2008 — I got a new job at the Chronicle, a new apartment with my boyfriend Cory, and graduated from college all in the span of two weeks. I was picked up out of my old life and plunked down in a brand new one.

There’s a motivational video that’s been circulating social media for years now: Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski explains how lobster grow. Their rigid shell doesn’t expand. When it’s time, they go under a rock, cast off their shell, and produce a new one.

The stimulus for the lobster to be able to grow is that it feels uncomfortable,” he says. Times of stress and pressure are signals for growth.

Dude. The Austin-Avon household is definitely going through a spurt this summer.

In the last couple of months: My parents sold my childhood home in Vermont. My grandfather Poppy went into a nursing home. He was playing tennis almost daily a few years ago and now can barely walk. My father went to a movement disorder specialist in Boston and definitely has some type of thing, but will go through more tests to determine which one.

Our middle child, Danny, is in undies full-time now. Our oldest son Henry jumps in the pool without us, swims without floaties, learned to ride his bike on two wheels, rode his first roller coaster, and is starting first grade. He lost his first tooth, the bottom right one, and at the same time, my youngest child, Ellie, has that exact same tooth coming in.

Our next-door neighbors, Cory’s brother Andrew and his partner Brooke and their children, our kids’ cousins, are moving to South Glens Falls, and Cory’s childhood house will be up for sale soon. Cory had a vasectomy. Our family friend and family lawyer, MB Neisner of Killington, Vermont, whose children I babysat all through high school, just passed away.

Meanwhile, our business Advokate is growing, adding subcontractors, acquiring WBE (Women-owned Business Enterprise) status and getting our ducks in a row for growth.

In a very clear parallel with the lobster analogy — We’ve made the decision to list our house on the market and find a home that better suits this growing family. We’re renting a storage unit from “the father of the phenomenon” — Henry’s Pre-K teacher Mrs. Williams’ dad, who recalled what I wrote about her — and we’ve been decluttering, searching, and scheming.

My mom, the oldest child, moved when she was six. I moved when I was six, and I’m the oldest too. And now our Henry is six.

I was talking with a mom friend the other day about how so many things are like sleep training, or “cry it out.” You research it. You go to do it, and you chicken out a bunch of times. And then you do it and it’s horrible. SO horrible. The worst thing EVER. Everyone’s crying.

But you already chickened out a bunch of times, and so this time you keep going. And the next night, as you’re cringing about going through it all over again and questioning whether this is the right decision, it’s eerily only half as bad as the night before. And the next night everything is GLORIOUS and your kid just goes right to sleep and you don’t have to lay on the floor half-asleep holding their hand for hours.


If you need me, I’ll be under this rock, trying to be a lobster and not a chicken.

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