Thursday, February 27, 2014


I am currently the "Spotlight Cast Member" on the Listen to Your Mother DC Website. Hop on over there if you haven't seen it yet..

I was going to try to be uplifting and witty with this post.  I know that a good amount of people will be reading this post, and I didn't want to be a "downer".

However in the sense of honesty and authenticity, I can't be witty tonight. Sorry. I have a lot weighing on my shoulders this week. I am in the middle of my online graduate class which has left only a few coherent brain cells left. More than that, I am in the middle of yet another family member being very ill and near the end of their life.

Over the last 7 years, my husband and I have had a close family member pass away every year. Most due to cancer and some from old age. I am desensitized to the process of illness and death. In October, we congratulated each other in a macabre way for making it a year without going to a family funeral. And here we sit, February. facing yet another end.

I am a very lucky woman. I have had three grandparents (two grandmothers and one grandfather) who were were present in my life, all the way into my thirties. Not many people get to say that. I am blessed that I was able to witness and experience my grandparents throughout many different stages in my life.

I am blessed that my 93 year old grandfather knows and has a wonderful relationship with my kids. I am blessed that my husband has a unique relationship with my grandfather. And I am blessed that I am able to have the relationship I have with my grandfather.

In the past week, so many people have stated that he is a "national treasure". While I agree with that, given his heroic WWII fighter pilot missions, I never thought of him as that. He was never the "Colonel" in my eyes, never the Reverend or the "Cad" as my mom and Grandma would tease him about. He was/is and always will be just my Grandpa.

It wasn't until I was older that I learned of his missions and the importance of them. It wasn't until I was religiously knowledgeable that I understood his spirituality and it wasn't until I was much older that I began to understand his "charming" personality.

When I was a little girl, we could speak with looks, and very little words and just "get" each other. I knew if he was joking around with me if I could look at his eyes. He could never pull a trick on me as long as I could see his eyes. Even now with his eyes half closed, I know when he's joking with me... through the slit, I still see the twinkle.

When I was younger and he was a smoker, I used to throw his cigarettes in the trash. He would get so mad at me. Until one day, he realized the importance of what I was "saying" and he quit cold turkey. That was about 30 years ago. No one else could get him to stop. But I did.

My Grandpa is a man with a quick and sharp tongue. But he is kind too, always caring for others and praying for others. A fighter pilot turned reverend. A man who had to try not to say "Damn" at the pulpit and made sure he had his 5:00 martini (5 olives, if available);  but one who feels privileged to teach about God and welcome people into his faith.

Myself, my Mom, My Grandpa, Dylan (as a baby) and my Uncle
I have learned so much from him. I have learned how to be tenacious and proud of who I am. To love unconditionally and keep my heart safe. I have learned how to hide a Rubik's Cube really well, and how to hammer a nail. I have learned how to play Zilch and that Rice Chex cereal tastes better when your Grandpa sneaks extra sugar on it when your Grandmother isn't looking. I have learned that a good man is one who loves his wife for 67 years and is a Patriarch of his family in an unquestionable and proud manner. I have learned that you are never too old to try new things, to love someone and enjoy life.

My Grandpa and my Son, 90 years difference
I have had the privilege of having him marry my husband and I, and baptize myself and my children.

His spirit and mind are still alive and well, but his body is giving out. And that, truly, is the most difficult part. I just want him to have peace in whatever way he needs.

The other day, I went to visit him at the hospital and I just held his hand. I didn't need to say much, but of course I teased him. Just a little; cause that's what we do. And through the slit in his tired eyes, I saw the twinkle.

My Grandpa, being goofy

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sunday, Fun Day

Today, I went on a date. Without my husband.

My daughter was begging me to take her to a real nail salon. Today was NOT a good day. I had a list a mile long of things to do and I thought there was no way it would all get done if I took off to get our nails done.

But I did.

And I am so glad.

For two hours, my little girl and I lived in the moment. My shoulders were heavy with looming deadlines, but it all disappeared when I saw her authentic but quiet excitement.

I decided to stop thinking of the to do list and instead focus on my sweet Lily. I asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. The answer: Rock Star. I already knew, but I wanted to make
 sure she hadn't changed it. We discussed what colors she would get on her nails, and she stated that she wanted a star, you know for the Rock Star thing. She ate ice cream while we waiting for our appointment at the salon, giggling over brain freezes and gummy bears. She skipped and hopped on a stone wall and invited me to join her. I hesitated for a second, because I am an adult, and then joined her with childlike joy.

We went to get our nails done and she asked me what each tool was and we counted in Spanish while our nails dried. She was so proud of her nails and I was so excited to show a special "big girl" right of passage. I came home rejuvenated and ready to tackle what needed to be done.

She is such a blessing to me. My sweet little girl.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Dunkin Donut Trenches

There are eight kids in my daughters' pre-K class. Of those eight children, 6 of us have younger children that are ages 2 and 3 years old. Every week, our older children go to school five days a week for two and a half hours a day. There are glorious days when some of the kids may go for an extended hour for lunch bunch, or science club or the younger child may have an activity or school one or two days a week that allows the mom to have a genuine break.

At least once a week we get together, all of the younger kids and the moms. It may be at the library or  a kids' gym. But frequently it is at Dunkin Donuts. Because what is better than 6 kids hopped up on sugar running laps around Dunkin Donuts, banging on the ice cream refrigerator and dancing (on the floor)?

Some of these women I have known for three years, some for two, and some for less than a year. But we are in the trenches together. We ask each other what we are doing in the 2 1/2 hours of freedom from our older children. The answers are either going somewhere to occupy younger child or running errands. And often, someone will tag along. We are all on social media and know when one of us has had a rough night, when someone has amazing news or someone is sick. The arrival is always met with: "How ARE you?" and "What can I do?"

A couple of favorite stories about the ladies and their adorable children:

There is one whose two year old daughter has taken to wearing her older brothers' clothes and shoes. We all remark on her delightful ensemble. The other day she had on a ball cap, striped shirt, pink leggings, one Mary Jane shoe and one boys' sneaker that was distinctly larger than her foot. We all congratulated the mom on getting out of the house with her children. Smile, laugh and sigh.

Then there is the child who is sensitive to noise, stimulation and sensory things. We are all sure to keep her safe from other kids when everyone is running around like crazy children in the morning before school starts. We shun her away if a kid seems particularly hyper and ready to charge.

There is the young boy who has a sour puss face on most mornings and often needs his space. We say: "Hello" and if he smiles, take that as a cue for safe interaction. If not, we let him be; he will come around.

There are the boys who want to run with the big boys and often surprise the big boys by knocking them down.

There is the boy who got a mysterious illness and we cheered as he took his first steps again in over two weeks.

These kids are not related to me, (ok one of the bruisers of the big boys is mine) but they are in my heart. When one is sad or having a bad day, we feel it. When a mom is at her wits end, we jump in to give relief. When a mother can't take it another day because her husband is deployed for the third time,  we take time out to talk, offer relief or maybe just a Coke Zero.

And we rejoice together too:   when the mother welcomed her husband home from Afghanistan, we sighed relief and cried tears of joy. When the mother of two boys is finally having her girl, we squeal with delight. When a child gets potty trained or an older child gets a treat for not talking in class, we congratulate them. Together.

But seriously, the best part is dishing late at night on social media about designer bags, dream homes
 and of course our children. I don't know what I would do with out these ladies. They are often my sanity, my personal cheerleaders, my compadres in the trenches.

Oh and one more thing, I really want a donut. So ladies, you know who are... Monday?

One step at a time

I am restarting this blog... I know I know I have said it many, many times before. But this time I have peer pressure.  See, recently, I was cast in the Listen To Your Mother DC 2014 show. It's a wonderful program of a panel of incredible mothers who read their own pieces all about motherhood. The director, Stephanie Dulli, of Stephanie Says, is a friend of mine. When she told me about it, I thought it would be right up my alley. I would be able to write and then perform my words on stage. I haven't performed on stage for over 17 years. So, this seemed like a nice way to ease back on the stage, one step at a time.

I read my piece in an audition and it seemed like old hat. I wasn't nervous or anything. I was confident, and of course it helped to have a friend in front of me. Although my friend was the director, I knew full well that I may not be cast, my piece may not fit into the show or, I may not be the performer they were looking for. And I was ok with that. My old audition values of "what will be, will be" came flooding back.

When I received the news I was cast, I was excited, but I honestly had no idea what it meant. I mean of course I knew I would be performing my writing. Of course I knew it meant sharing a part of my soul to an audience and the Internet, but I didn't know it meant joining a cast of an amazing group of women. I was cast a week ago.

In that time, I have "met" the cast members, and instantly we are a social media and motherhood "family". And so hear comes the pressure. I don't keep up with this blog. But these brilliant women write on a daily basis. (Click here for links to these brilliant women and their blogs)   My information and blog is going to be broadcast on a big level and I haven't written in forever! Pressure.

What if my daily musings and babble are not good? What if I don't keep up with the blog?

Truth? It doesn't matter. I have always felt that if you like my writing, great, if not move on. I write for myself ultimately and if other people like it, great!

So I will try to babble some more, I promise. Really I do.