I miss that…but…

I miss those evenings of drinks and pub food with friends

I miss solid, uninterrupted sleep…you know, that sleep where you sleep through the night

I miss feeling like I look okay, feeling good about myself

I miss eating regular meals

 

BUT…

what I’ve exchanged in place of drinks and pub food, solid uninterrupted sleep, feeling good about myself and eating regular meals can never be given up…I’m a mom.

 

You know…that person who

-takes care of little beings that are completely helpless,

-who love you unconditionally,

-who look to you for help and guidance,

-who call just to say “hi,”

 

Those little people grow up and move away but still need mom…and for that…

I am ok with never getting to eat a regular meal…you know, one that is piping hot, right out of the oven. Where once you sit down to eat it, you don’t get up until you are finished.

I’m ok with not feeling good about how I look and accepting that I will never be in a single-digit size again.

I’m ok with not having a solid, uninterrupted night’s sleep.

I’m ok with not being able to drop everything in order to get together with friends for drinks and yummy pub food.

Being “mom” is who I am and I love every minute of it.

 

You’re asking for what?

It always amazes me the types of questions people ask to the general public. I understand that when you are not sure of something, asking for input from others is the best way to find out information however, what I do not understand is asking for information that you can easily find out on your own! Why do people not take chances? Have we really become that lazy of a society that in place of doing something on our own, we prefer to ask complete strangers what we should do?

I belong to a number of Disney related pages on Facebook. These are great resources for garnering information for upcoming trips as well as a place to talk about all things Disney with people who understand my obsession. What kills me though is seeing someone post, “We are in MK, what is the best qs to eat at?” (MK= Magic Kingdom, qs = quick service). Why not just go to the nearest qs that you haven’t eaten at before? Or why not look at your options before going? I know, I know…sounds petty but it makes me crazy!

I see this happening everywhere but mostly on Facebook as more and more people think it is socially acceptable to share every moment of their lives with their hundreds of friends and followers: Where should we go for dinner?; What movie should we watch?; It’s supposed to storm, will we have school? (no one can answer that question but the superintendent!); Going to a dance/party/club, what should I wear? (hopefully you chose clothes and preferably something that covered your privates!). It’s slightly maddening! What has happened to making decisions on one’s own? Looking back to the pre-Internet era, I’m sure this might have happened in another realm (maybe while talking on the telephone that was connected to the kitchen wall) but not in the manner that it does today.

So, what’s my point? Help yourselves out! Answer your own questions, make your own decisions based upon what is morally right and will make you happy, and seek out only goodness in life. Then, share your happiness with all your friends and followers and not your indecisiveness (especially since this is not a very like-able quality). Maybe if we all start doing this, we’ll start seeing less of the mundane posts and I will not have to read what type of toilet paper is best for dry hineys!

3 years?

It’s hard to believe that in 28.5 hours, my husband and I will be celebrating our 3rd wedding anniversary. No – it’s not hard to believe because we haven’t killed each other (yet!) but because it seems like it has been so many more years than just a measly three!

Chris and I met in the summer of 2010 while putting together patio furniture for a friend. Looking back, I knew then that I was going to marry that “really cute guy” and he’s admitted that it was on that day that there was a great deal of lust going on for him. Lust? Really? Ha! Ha! We met up a few more times at our friend’s home and finally at Halloween, while carving our awesome Philadelphia Phillies pumpkins, did we really start to talk to one another.

Flash forward a few months and our talking turned to hanging out, with Chris asking me to accompany him to Home Depot to pick out paint. We ventured from there to Burger King to grab some dinner…whereby he made me pay for my own (yea…I still married him). We still joke about “the lounge” being our first “date” and how silly that whole night was. We began having our own drink nights randomly, with this poor boy driving down to the valley to see me from the Poconos two to three times a week. Next thing you know, he’s accompanying me to Kayla’s dance competitions and finally kisses me after months of acting as if he is going to and not doing so!

We had a whirlwind romance, planned a wedding in three months that was absolutely beautiful, and carried on with life with our two girls. We have a rich blended family that is chaotic at times and peaceful at others. With all of the wrenches that have been thrown at us, I sometimes wonder if we had not come together, would we have made it through the bad times that have hit us these last three years. I’m pretty sure we would not have but with one another, we have made it through and all those wrenches have made us stronger.

So…what I love most about my hubby:

– he gets me…all of me. he knows my ups and downs, my moods, what to do to bring me out of a funk, how to put me into a funk, when to push and when to not do so…

– his laughter…I have some bizarre way of making him howl with laughter. I don’t find myself that funny but to him, I am.

– the toilet seat…Yes, he has the most annoying habit of leaving a toilet seat in the up position, even though he lives in a house full of women but you know what? One day he won’t be there to leave the seat up and I’ll miss being able to slam it down and yell, “toilet seat!”

– his snoring…Another one of those things where one day, I won’t be woken by that God-awful noise because he will no longer be on this earth with me…while I wear ear plugs to bed (and they do not block out everything!), I relish that noise as I know he’s still with me.

– his ability to make some bangin’-ass chicken sandwiches, remembering my favorite wine and hard liquor choices, knowing that I don’t need diamonds and other jewelry to know that he loves me.

– his willingness to sit through umpteen-hundred showings of “Frozen.”

– his willingness to accept the Disney freak inside me

– for loving me.

* Here’s to many more years of wedded bliss. I love you Christopher.

Loss

Loss…what a small, ugly, 4-letter word.

Loss…one syllable.

Loss…a simple word with such large implications.

Over the last three years, I’ve experienced loss in a number of ways. In the summer of 2011, my husband and I suffered the loss of an unborn child. On Thanksgiving day in 2012, I suffered the inexplicable loss of my father. In the summer (again!) of 2013, my husband and I suffered the loss of another unborn child. Three days before Thanksgiving 2013, we suffered the loss of Pop (my husband’s father). On Christmas day 2013, we suffered the loss of my Gram. Do you see the common theme? Loss…it’s something you suffer, experience, abhor, despise…and gain from. While this could be a sad, sappy post about loss, I want to share with you what I have gained in hopes that someone else who is suffering can be helped. I don’t want sympathy or shared tears but your hope for continued growth. Forgive the randomness…

I’ve never been one who is good with change. Quite frankly, I don’t think many of us accept change very well but at the very least, we deal with it and continue on. We have our ideals about life and what will be involved as we continue to grow. As most people do, I failed to realize that as I grow older, so do those whom I love, and with age comes the demise of one’s life as we know it. I foolishly believed I would have my dad around forever…who wouldn’t, right?! He’s a daughter’s first love, best friend, confidant, the man she can trust and by whom she will measure every other man she comes into contact with. I never for one minute thought that I would lose my dad so early in life but that loss has forever changed me and how I look at life, death, and loss.

On October 15, 2012, I received a frantic call at work from my mother. She had been trying to reach me for well over an hour but like a good teacher, I had my cell phone on silent and locked away (it now remains on and close to me). She eventually located the number for my school and called the office where my bff Melissa answered the call and knew immediately that it was a serious situation. She had me pulled from class to take the call in the front office while Karen placed a chair under me as I heard the most frightening news of my life and fought to maintain some semblance of composure and professionalism. Dad had a heart attack, had been life-flighted to a bigger city and was currently in the cath-lab. All of this transpired in Oklahoma (he was visiting his brother) which resulted in a split second decision that we HAD to get to Dad in Oklahoma. Of course, airlines do not always like to cooperate and we did not arrive until the next morning (middle of the night…I can’t look at 2:35am as morning!) but arrive we did. Let me tell you about fear – it’s very real. While I fear spiders and clowns, the greatest fear is seeing someone you love so dearly hooked up to machines, struggling to live and knowing there is not a darn thing you can do to fix the situation. Within ten minutes of arriving, I was in the ICU with my dad. There was nothing I could do. He had no idea we were there but we all had rallied and gathered 21 hours away to be by his side. Sleep was the furthest thing from my mind but we retired an hour later to a relatively close hotel. I would spend the next several nights sleeping in the hospital, just a few feet from the ICU. The second night, I slept – or attempted sleep- in a recliner next to my dad. When he woke in the morning, he tried to communicate with me…not a possible task with a breathing tube in place but dad was so capable of writing while in such a state so communicate we did. A few hours later, the breathing tube was out. That night, Dad gave us all his “final instructions”. I couldn’t accept it then what he was trying to do, even though I knew what he knew.

You see…Dad spent 40 days and nights (interesting, isn’t it? 40!) hooked up to monitors in three different hospitals in Oklahoma. The first being Tulsa, transferred to Lawton by helicopter, and eventually Oklahoma City. My arrival on day two turned into a 39 day stay as I could not fathom leaving his side (for many weeks, mom and I never ventured away from the hospital out of fear). All that time, I attempted to remain strong, upbeat, and positive but I knew on October 15 that my daddy was not going to come home with me. I think that knowledge hit me on the plane when my iPod randomly played “Angels Among Us” and “You Can Let Go Now Daddy.” In fact, every time I turned on that stupid iPod, hit shuffle and play, one of those two stupid songs came on immediately. Perhaps it was some signal as to what was to transpire but at the time, I would not allow myself to believe it. But looking back, I knew.

I knew my dad needed me there. I knew that my family would be okay without me in Pennsylvania (they had to return – school, work, responsibilities…I was fortunate enough to be able to be away and still maintain my employment but that doesn’t work for everyone). I knew that Mom needed me. I had to be the strength that they both needed. On good days, I had a good day. On those days where the news from the medical team was grim, I was bitchy. I couldn’t accept then what was happening and what this would all mean. I stood by while procedures were completed, waited with baited breath as open heart surgery took place on his birthday (10/31), fed him when he was allowed normal food, played catch with him with a squeeze ball (one is on my nightstand – strangely, I gather strength just by holding it at times), and assisted with physical therapy when allowed. I learned more about the medical field than I ever wished to learn and knew what signs to look for. Skip forward to the end of November and my world came crashing down. On Thanksgiving day, Daddy went home to be with the Lord (apparently my prayers that daddy would not be in pain, would come home with us, etc. were not specific enough).

I did what I had to do in the coming days and weeks but shut down emotionally and mentally. I could not go back to work and thankfully, there are wonderful people in my district who knew, understood, and made it possible for me to continue on a leave until school resumed after Christmas. Even then, I wasn’t “me” but slowly regained who I am to only be hit with further loss.

With each additional loss though, I became stronger. I have grown to appreciate what life is and how little of this thing called life is that we possess. I have grown to appreciate death…even to the point of planning the events to take place after my own passing so that my children will not have to do so. I have even grown to appreciate loss because with loss, we are able to fully appreciate the love that was there in the first place and that love cannot be lost simply because the person is no longer there. I hear my father’s voice in my dreams and occasionally as I am driving too fast down the highway. I smell him when the wind is blowing through the trees. I feel his presence when gripped with fear and anxiety (thank goodness because I have a dentist appointment coming up in the month and I’ll need that presence then!). I see him in my dreams (it took a year for that to happen). I will never get over losing him…you never get over the loss of someone you love…but you do get stronger. You have to allow yourself to become stronger because you are still alive and to those who love you, you are still here for them to hold onto. I hold on to the memories and love that was shared between a father and his only daughter. I hold on to the lessons he taught me and pass them on to my children. I hold on to his heart as a piece of it is within my own (along with half his DNA) because he loved me. Dad said that marrying my husband was a good thing for me as I became mellow. Loosing dad was not a good thing in any way but it has made me more capable of handling all that life throws at me, including change.

Remember…those that have gone before us are not a loss if we continue to hold on to their love and memories.