A little visit…

Gonna put this out there, call me crazy if you want, but….
two weeks ago I lost my wedding ring. Not my original wedding ring but the diamond one George gave me on our 5th. married Christmas, the one he saved a year for and he and dad went to Philly to find. Special, beyond measure.
We tore the house apart. I cried, like a baby. Went to grandson  Jackson’s birthday party and the first thing Valerie said when she saw me was “Whats wrong”.
Spent the last 2 weeks sad. Looked at work, all over the house, the beach house. Its gone. My ring is gone.
Today is the 6th. anniversary of the last meal we all shared as a family before my dad passed. He and mom were staying at our house and I made brisket and all the fixings and we have pictures of all of us, kids, grandkids, all of us, eating, smiling, gathered around his hospital bed in the living room…
I mentioned that to George this morning. How much I still miss dad. How much he loved that brisket. 85 pounds, 3 weeks before his death, he ate two helpings of brisket….

And then, after putting this year’s 20 pounds of brisket in the pot I went in and started to clean up our room. I looked, one more time, on the dresser. Picked up my vanity tray, looked under it. Looked in the closet floor. No, its gone.
And then, I walked in the room an hour later, looked at the tray again, and there it was. Just laying there. It took me a few seconds to realize, but its my ring. The one diamond is slightly bigger than the others. The one prong is twisted a bit. Its my ring. I Yelled for George — and then thanked dad for bringing it back to me. And for visiting  me on the anniversary of a wonderful memory. I watched as George stood at the front door, looking out, giving thanks, I think, in his own special way.  I felt the ring slide into the familiar notch on the side of my finger.  I prayed and thanked and tried to figure out why today was the day dad decided to bring it back to me.  Did he remember that meal that day with the kids?  and was he happy that we continue the tradition?  Was he telling me he knew I was doing the best I can with mom…..

The Bible says not to question. I’m good with that.  I’m just happy to know that dad is still here, that he can visit, that he watches over us.  That he sits at the right hand of God.
I mean seriously, God is at work, isn’t he?

 

Christmas true

When you parent you always wonder….will IT matter…?  IT can be anything from using the time out chair to a trip to the beach to an extra story at night… to any of a multitude of moments that wrap themselves into the bundle that is parenting.  Will IT matter?

This Christmas has been  a mix of memories and precursors,  misplaced Christmas dishes and a house too small to decorate the way I like to … which got me to thinking, will it matter?

Last week, I took my oldest grandchild ( 7 years old ) Christmas shopping.  We’ve done it every year since she was born.  Our son raised her alone the first 3 1/2 years of her life, mom walked out when she was 5 months old and left him with a mortgage, a dog she had to “rescue” and this precious little girl.  So when Christmas came that first year, she was 10 months old and her daddy had done everything he could to make it a Christmas like he had always imagined he would have when he became a father.  But, there was no one to buy him gifts so baby Ava and I went shopping.  Everything she touched or smiled at I bought.  He got a lego set, a pink polo shirt and, if I remember correctly , a gazing ball for the back yard.  And so it began, the yearly Christmas shopping trip with our girl.  When we went back  to her house last week to wrap the presents she wrapped and bagged and wrote the tags. She looked at me and said, “so which of these are you taking to your house?” and I explained that they were staying at her house for her to give to family.  Her face broke a bit when she looked at me and said “wait, we’re not going to your house this year , you know to open all the presents and eat and everything??  the whole family?”  As I explained to her that “Yes, of course you will all come to my house, you will bring your presents then, everyone will be there” — she smiled and continued her task.  And I knew, without a doubt, that IT mattered, the yearly Christmas traditions that are so much work and go way too fast, that result in huge piles of paper and misplaced pieces — that I always wonder if the kids are coming to just to appease me — they matter to Ava, and probably to all of them.

This morning my son came to pick up a gift for Ava that had been delivered here.He walked in and surveyed the piles of gifts under the tree.  He smiled and said, “All red and white paper this year!  It looks like a giant candy cane, awesome.”  And, again, IT mattered.  The buying and wrapping, the clutter and  ribbons, matter.  A candy cane.  35 years old and he sees the Candy cane in a pile of Christmas gifts.  It matters.

Two weeks ago the youngest, 30 years old, called to ask me what I was doing on Christmas Eve.  Our Christmas celebrations depend on when Ava is in town and what years the oldest daughter has to go to New Jersey to celebrate with inlaws….so it was a fair question.  I said “not sure, hanging out, maybe church.”  She immediately suggested a “7 fishes” celebration at her house — just us and my mom , everyone else had plans.  She and her husband could have planned any number of parties or events for them and their kids, but they chose to spend Christmas Eve with us, her parents.  It matters.  All the years of gathering the family together at our house to play Christmas carols and open gifts, to eat and sometimes drink too much…matter.  And, when it came to be her turn and she finally had a house big enough to feel comfortable entertaining in — It mattered. Then when her brother called to tell us what time his Christmas Eve celebration was starting, we all adjusted times so we could do both.  and the traditions will continue.   IT matters.

On the 18th.  all the kids and all the spouses and all 7 grandchildren gathered at oldest daughter’s house to bake cookies.  They do it every year, sometimes not everyone can make it, but this year it was full out everyone.  Sprinkles and dough, ovens dinging and me and George just standing there grinning.  It matters.  All the years of gathering them in the kitchen and baking cookies and breads matter.  And now, they continue it with their children, and since they are lucky enough to have siblings that they love, they do it together, bringing those cousins together to build memories.

I wonder sometimes if their dad and I are burdens, or insignificant in their lives, but this season has reminded me that it matters.  We matter.

Merry Christmas everyone.

 

You want to know what Mother’s Day is?

First what its not.,It is not the day dreamed up by Hallmark or some such capitalist that wants to make a buck making people feel guilty about not hanging out with their moms enough.  It is not a Jane Seymour designed piece of jewelry that daddy can’t REALLY afford, but feels he has to buy.  Its not even breakfast in bed, consisting of overbrowned  toast, buttercups from the yard and tepid orange juice — served up by preschoolers and their tween siblings…

 

No, Mother’s Day is so much more.  Mother’s Day is seeing the car lights shining on the yard five minutes before curfew.  Mother’s Day is seeing your granddaughter hand her daddy a Captain America Doll that she bought him for his 31st. birthday, holding your grandson’s hand as he walks across the street.  Mother’s Day is hearing ” Hola, what’s up” when your youngest calls.  Mother’s Day is following behind your oldest as she pulls her two babies in a wagon, and having her turn to you and say , “mom, Ive waited to be able to do this, put my kids in  a wagon and pull them through the flower market…”  Mother’s Day is watching them handed their college Diploma — and seeing those smiles.  Holding them steady as they labor with the birth of their own children, sitting down at a restaurant and watching them enjoy a meal.  Mother’s Day is the look your husband gives you when he watches you with your grandchild, or with a gift you’ve just made one of your children.  Mother’s Day is wiping fevered foreheads, wrapping sprained ankles, hooking up the nebulizer.  Mother’s Day is every moment that you are blessed enough to have your child with you, either in your arms, or just in your heart when they are miles away. 

and then it was over

Over.  The breakdown, the screaming and running, the cursing and crying .  Over.  Her room was quiet, serenely quiet.  Her friend, the boy who, seriously saved her life that night, sat by her on her bed.   She propped herself up and sat, heaving, showing me the bruises, the scrapes, swearing at her father. 

She came downstairs for dinner.  Brisket.  It was St. Patricks Day weekend after all, and we always have brisket.  I had no idea that little ritual was part of the madness.  Then she went upstairs and, I was later told, puked it all up.  Again.

But, miraculously, 3 hours later, as I lay with her in her bed, she cried.  she sobbed, she told me I would hate her.  Never, honey, NEVER.  Bulimia.  WTF?? 

72 hours later.  The door locked. The key turned.  And my baby, my precious baby, who had , finally that horrible night, that glorious life affirming night, chosen to live = was locked in the Eating Disorder Center. 

 

And now, 6 years later.  It is over.  Finally.  Much earlier for her, but for me, finally.  I can look at her and not analyze every word for signs of relapse.  I can offer a meal and be ok if she opts out.  My strong, guarded, wonderful girl is well.  And I can finally move forward.