Friday, February 20, 2009

Belated Valentine's Day gift

Matt comes home from school on Tuesday with belated Valentine's day gift. As he peals off his jacket he's trying his best to hide a smile. I mean like painfully hide this huge smile. I automatically smile back and say " What are you so happy about?" He opens his bag and pulls out this large envelope with red hearts and ribbons all over it. He says "K" gave me this after school." I look and it's a Valentine card whose envelope is stuffed full.

He opens it and the candy falls everywhere like a stuffed pinata. He opens the card that is so sweetly signed "from K". By now he is just beaming, partly because of the Kit Kats partly because it's from his favorite friend "K". I say "that was really nice of her" and I think to myself , we have to get something to give her in return, I can't leave the little girl hangin'. So being the thrifty one that I am, I also quickly think 'Where I can go to get the return gift on clearance?' Ahh, Clearance just the sound of the word makes me envision red stickers dancing in my head........OK sorry I digress.

So I do my best to find the appropriate gift for a 4th grade girl that doesn't send the wrong message. Most of what is left in the store is little stuffed red devils that say things like "Red Hot Lover" or stuffed red monkeys that play music like "Wild Thing, you make my heart sing....." or Gigantic velvet hearts that say "My Love" written all ultra fancy on the front. The other problem I have is that this particular friend has type 1 diabetes , so it's not like I want to torture her with tons of candy.
I pick up a heart shaped ring pop, and behind all of the other stuffed animals I dig to find this sweet little brown bear wearing a heart laced ribbon. Perfect.

I show Matt what I got for him to give to his special friend and once again the smile of all smiles comes across his face. Until his brothers get wind of what we are doing then the hoots and whistles start, Matt is infuriated and wants to rearrange their smiles for them.
We put the bear into a small gift bag, he decorates it with stickers and signs the card " Thanks for the candy..... your friend, Matt" I want to melt, he is so sweet.

We decide to take the present over to her house to save some embarrassment of handing it to her in school. As we pull up in front of her house I see her Dad just getting out of his car, he waves as if we were going to just drive by. We know the parents pretty well...super nice people..
I pull over and Matt jumps out of the car carrying this bag with pink, red and white hearts all over like a football. The dad says "hey Matt, how ya doin' buddy?" Matt answers " I'm okay, can you give this to 'K' ?" he replies " Sure, but , do you want to give it to her yourself, you can come in and..." Matt says shaking his head" Ahh, nope you can give it to her" abruptly turning around after handing it to him and says" Thanks, Bye" and runs back to the car and jumps in. As the Dad is still waving and saying "OK Bye".

He sighed a huge sigh of relief and I could tell that we wanted me to put the petal to the metal and get the heck out of there. So that's what I did. I scooped him up as I did when he was a baby crying out in the middle of the night....... We drove away.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


A few months ago I asked the school counselor if she could meet with Lucas to help him deal with some of the challenges that 3rd grade brings to a child as unique as Lucas. She asked that I write her a letter to describe him so she could begin to get to know him better. Here is the letter.

When I sit and think about how to describe Lucas I can't help but smile. He is a generous, caring and an empathetic little guy. I am constantly reminding myself that he is only 8 years old. Luke is beyond his years. He is very comfortable talking with adults and even tries to "run the show" if given the opportunity. The problems with his speech have not held him back for a single minute. You always know where you stand with Lucas, he expresses his feelings with great enthusiasm . He has many friends and enjoys being the center of attention. He is a spirited child with a huge heart who has strong opinions and rarely backs down from a confrontation.
Lucas faces many challenges with speech along with his difficulties with attention. He is a hard worker and puts his whole self into everything he does. I am confident that he will succeed at whatever he puts his mind to. He is currently playing Flag Football and loving it. Sometimes it can be hard when Dad is the Coach and Big Brother, Matt, is also on the team but he seems to be having tons of fun. He is the youngest in the league but you could never tell, he'll challenge the biggest kid if he has to... or feels like it
I believe that Lucas will benefit from spending time with you because as good as he is at expressing himself through actions, he still needs to work on using his words to express positive and negative feelings effectively. His feelings run deep and sometimes get mixed up when they come to the surface.
My husband's Mother passed away 2 yrs ago and he as well as the rest of my family are still very much dealing with the loss. She was very close to all of the boys and they miss her a great deal. He will, on occasion, become very upset just as if it happened yesterday. Sometimes I'm not sure if he uses it as an excuse for other things that bother him when he just can't seem to put it all into words. I appreciate your concern and please let me know what else I can do to assist you and Lucas.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Two Dads......

The other day we were sitting at the dinner table when Lucas looked up at me while shoveling salad into his mouth and said" You know Billy has two Dads" I sign and contemplate the conversation that I am about to have . You know when you try to get, like two steps ahead of their questions and buy yourself a moment... ...Knowing the family he is speaking of I say " Oh , I 'm not positively sure but I think he only has one Dad" I prepare to explain the many different kinds of families there are , he says "He goes to see one of his Dad's and tells him, like you know, things he does bad and stuff, He calls him Father something, I can't remember"

It's then that I realize that he's speaking of the local Priest and the kids are preparing to go to confession for the first time. So, I say " Oh Luke , that's not his Dad, that's what they call the priest at church"
He says" Why does he have to tell him the things he did wrong and what happens to him" Well those are even more loaded questions than the whole family conversation. I'd rather explain how someone can have 8 grandparents than the philosophies of the Catholic Church.

Did I say I tried to get two steps ahead of the questions.....I guess I try again next time.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thanksgiving 2006

This is another repost...........

Thursday, November 30, 2006
The story of Thanksgiving 2006

As I prepared for this thanksgiving I often wondered if I would actually be able to pull it all off. Because I never had actually made a Thanksgiving dinner before. Sure I've cooked turkeys and the trimmings but I didn't have all the pressure of it all being the "holiday dinner". After all since losing my Mother In Law just two months earlier we all deserved to have a nice dinner. Living up to Ed's mother in the kitchen is huge. She was revered to be the best cook by her whole family. So I had some pretty big shoes to fill. So setting out to make this a really wonderful dinner I planned every last detail. I sat down with my sister in law and we split the list up to make it easy for both of us. I would do the turkey, stuffing, mashed Potatoes, green bean Casserole, cole slaw and of course "pickings". Her list was sweet potatoes, corn, broccoli, dinner rolls, and Cranberry sauce. My brother in law was going to attempt to make Escarole soup, a Thanksgiving tradition. I know it doesn't seem too equal but I'm kind of a control freak that way. She also asked if her mother and aunt could come to dinner because they "had no other place to go". So of course I agreed, after all no one should be forgotten on any holiday.

I wake up the Saturday before Thanksgiving with the worst "chest cold" in recent memory. I panic, "I can't be sick I have a whole dinner to cook in 5 days". So I arranged to see my Dr on Monday evening. The Dr hooked me up with some antibiotics and a cough medicine. Ok this will take care of it. One problem under control. I go to pick up the cough medicine and they tell me $71.37. What........seventy what. No I can't spend seventy anything on 8 oz of cough medicine. Nyquil has been working and I'll stick to that. Tuesday, I kill my total energy for the day while shopping for the dinner. By Wednesday I thought I was doing a lot better until I tried to sleep through the night. I was coughing so bad that I actually woke up Ed in the middle of the night. I chug some nyquil and stress about getting to sleep because tomorrow is turkey day. The day arrives too early. I get up from trying to sleep at 7 am to start preparing the meal. I make the stuffing, prepare the bird and send Eddie down to his father's house to pop him in the oven.(the turkey that is) I actually have time to get a shower and pull myself together.

As we arrive at his father's house we all have this awkward feeling. Mine a feeling of emptiness. Ed's mother would have greeted us at the door and the house would be filled with all those familiar smells. Instead the house is quiet, Ed's dad is sitting around watching the parade but not his regular self. He is very quiet, and just going through the motions. We come in and try to lighten up the scene as we bring in bags with all kinds of good stuff to be prepared. Ed and I get right to it he starts on the deviled eggs and I start peeling potatoes. Mitch and Matt are arguing about the proper way to set up a cheese tray and Lucas is just ready to play. I am excited to use my new digital probe meat thermometer. This way I will know that I'm doing it right!! Well, 3/4 of the way through, the $14 piece of crap quits on me and leaves me guessing. The bird doesn't even have one of those plastic pop up things in it.........Ugh. My brother in law his wife and daughter mosey in at 3:30 ( dinner at 4pm). They are greeted to a mostly complete meal and a pretty set table. I look around and No Mother and Aunt. No mother and Aunt... I ask in my fake voice "oh are your mother and Aunt on their way?" because now if I dry out this bird I will have to toss it out the window and go find a bridge if you know what I mean. Jennifer replies "no" ...yes that's all "no" so I repeat "are they on their way HERE..aahh are they running late?" She says "no they went over my cousin's house, they decided on Tuesday to go over there". What how in the world could anyone be so inconsiderate! You didn't have the decency to call and say "two of the guests will not be attending, Thank you for their invitation..blah blah blah.." But yet you called me two times during this week to tell me about your daughter's recital on Dec.21 st and the cost is $15 a person.......AHHH * Side Note* Why in the world should you have to pay to see your child perform in a recital of which you've been paying for dancing lessons....Sorry just has to say thatOk, well this might be good then two less people is better a tad less stress. right. yeah I don't think soSo we remove two place setting from the table and prepare to eat. But wait a minute the food they brought to be served is stone cold. Yes my darling Bro in Law made the soup only 30 gallons of it and it's all cold!!! The soup is the appetizer can't be cold. So as I try to warm the largest stock pot you've ever seen I turn and ask about the other food they were bringing because I will probably have to heat that too.

"Umm do you have the rest of the food in the car? Cause we should probably get warming it up....." in my fake voice with a few crackles trying not to tear up or start hacking my head off again."Oh I forgot it" she repliedI said with a really long pause kinda in a bit of shock but not really "ooohhh OOOKKKAAAYYY" "didn't forget you Smirnoff Ice and Coor's Light though did ya" I thought and keep to myselfWe will proceed without them. Who need veggies anyway.As we all sit down to the table I serve the soup, and Lucas looks up and says "I'm ready for my corn." Since he was looking forward to only eating corn and a dinner roll, My heart breaks" Luke I'm sorry we don't have corn" "but you said that I could have corn""I'm sorry Buddy, it didn't work out that way"Now I'm even more mad cause now you just disappointed my kid.As I serve the soup I realize that whom ever made in didn't read the recipe quite right when it said "chop escarole" because there are huge leaves in the pot. stems and all..Oh my God.

I sit and proceed to say grace. The prayer that I've stayed up for two nights writing myself. (Okay I was up coughing anyway)And Nothing barely any Amens....Okay I pour my heart and soul out on the table and Nothing.........I just smile to myself cause if I don't I'm gonna cry and cry...So they start eating their soup.Matthew who always loved the soup since he was a baby says " I don't like this seaweed soup"I think that sums up the entire 1st course

The bird is out and beautifully browned. My nerves are shot at the thought that when we go to carve this pretty bird that blood will just stream out and I will have to go find that bridge I was talking about. But no, the bird is cooked . Thank God. (one more thing to be thankful for)

We carve and serve the everyone is eating and I am spent. physically and mentally. The food tastes great. I finally got my stuffing to taste just like my mom's! Yay

That's the end of the celebration for me.

Clean up time! I sit at the table and swear to myself I will not clean up cause I've been cooking for days. There are plenty of people to help. So I sit and exchange conversation with Granpop. As the table stays dirty and the plates are piling up. I see visions of Ed's mom cleaning, "she would have never let the dishes pile up" runs through my mind over and over. "no, I cooked now they clean up" As my sister-in-law cracks open another Malt beverage I decide that I will do what needs to be done cause she is walking around trying to look busy.So As I wash every dish by hand cause it's Ed's great grandmother's china, I slump over the sink in agony cause my back is killing me. I'm handed two Advil by my "thoughtful Sister in Law"Oh thanks maybe could you pick up a sponge instead. Yet another comment I keep to myself.

As it is all said and done I say to myself that I'm glad I did it because we are making memories for the kids . My fondest memories are of childhood Thanksgivings with hand print turkeys and homemade place cards.

I guess I'll just know what to expect next year.

As I search for some compliments I've included my original prayer.Thanks for reading

Our Father in Heaven,
We give thanks for the pleasure Of gathering together for this occasion.
We give thanks for this food Prepared by loving hands.
As we partake of this feast,
We pray for health and strength to guide us though our darkest days.
On this Thanksgiving dayI pray that we may heal our wounded spiritsand
rejoice in all the Blessings that surround us
Those special gifts that have no price,
Our Friends and Family that means so much


Family... in Law

A post from some time ago.. I find that if I revisit these subjects I learn something new evertime I read...

Two weeks ago Ed's grandfather entered the hospital. At first we are very apprehensive and a bit scared to think about what he could he facing. It's not long till we find out that yes, he has colon cancer. Last year at this exact time we were faced with the reality that sometimes as hard as you fight with cancer sometimes people don't win. We lost Ed's mother one year ago on Sept.27th, after a year long battle with lung cancer. So as I enter his hospital room the familiar sights, sounds and smells overcome my senses and I can't help but go over every detail of the previous year.......the treatments, the decision and the helplessness felt when things are truly out of your control.
How can I do this again? I know it sounds horribly selfish, but do I have enough strength to survive this ... Can I actually be of any help or am I going to be so overwhelmed that I would be somewhat harmful to the entire situation? After all Ed's brother is showing signs of actually stepping up and handling his treatment.

I am relived, I can be the visitor who brings the "thinking of you" balloon and just try to bring a sale to his face for a little while. It's a much easier job than speaking with every Dr., spending countless hours at the hospital, making 100's of phone calls, meeting with social workers you name it.....If this was my chance to sit back , I think I'll take it.

While enjoying my new hands off approach to managing a family members health care , I had an appiphany . Somewhere during one of the 7 1/2 hours of waiting for Grand Pop to get done surgery. No wait I know exactly when it was, it was when I was telling my Brother in law what the surgeon had just told us that it hit me........It hit me because as I am trying to pull myself together to make sure he understands that we still have a long road ahead, that he while seeming to listen to what I was saying, he abruptly walks away and proceeds to BUTT into another family's business just down the hall. See this family was trying to figure out how to get through a set of doors into the ICU. While speaking into a speaker and such, I noticed this family's difficulty...While I was trying to explain Grand pop's condition. He walked up right behind these people and literally was looking over their shoulders like he was asked for help or something. I was embarrassed and kinda fealty like a fool because it took me a minute to stop talking as he walked away. After a few minutes he returns like nothing is wrong, and I finish giving him the specifics of OUR loved one's condition.

I have never professed to be an expert or a professional but throughout my 35 years I have had some first hand experience with doctors, hospitals and other medical professionals. I am proud when I can carry on an intelligent conversation and know exactly what the Doctor is talking about. And God knows, that if I don't understand I ask or I seek out the information, so that next time I will know what they are talking about. That being said brings me to my next revelation. As I tell him that it is essays to leave him hooked up to a ventilator , he does ask a question. " Is that a drain?" yeah .... "is that a drain?"
"drain? No he does have a drain on the right side of the incision but no, that's a machine to help him breathe" I answer
" What do you mean incision? They didn't go up his butt?" he asks puzzled.
"oh No, they had to remove part of his intestine, he has a good size incision right in the middle of his stomach"
I panic .....wait I let him be in charge of his medical care until now, Holy crap What have I done......

As I drive home I try to shake the "hospital headache" that I'm working on . ( definition of hospital headache: a headache brought on by stress and anxiety coupled with the fact that all you've had to eat or drink is something you had to punch in the numbers in on a vending machine, made increasing severe when having to deal with family members who don't know how to act in public.)
My darling bro in law calls and says he could not cash g-pop's SSI check at the bank. He asked if I know how his mother did it in years past when G-Pop could not make it to the bank. I reply , you just sign the back under G-Pop's name. No but wait he says that he never got G Pop to sign it. Basic Banking , Basic freaking Banking I cannot deal with him another minute. He's a 35 year old married father of one...with no idea how to cash a check.
This is the same person who after Ed's mother passed away took G-Pop to the bank and had his name out on all of his accounts so when the day comes he can take care of the banking when G-pop is no longer able to do so. Scary huh.
I can't help but feel that I must step in and be the help that I know G-Pop needs right now. I will fight my constant flashbacks to last year and the feelings that consumed a great deal of the last two years of my life. And I pray that I have the strength to pass on to grand pop during this difficult time.

To be continued.................

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Who Me? A Blogger...Nah

Well, this being the very first entry , I guess I should write something thought provoking and inspirational.
Here goes.........wait I got nothin' maybe I should wait till I have a quiet moment to ponder such subjects like "Octo Mom" being a raging loony, the state of the economy .. nobody has any money or something like global warming.... wow we've has some weird weather. I guess I have to get back to ya on that. Thanks and stay tuned.