Even My Tears Cry Tears

 

Father’s Day, 2014 Edition

 

HAPPY FATHERS DAY

HAPPY FATHERS DAY (Photo credit: Insight Imaging: John A Ryan Photography)

Father’s Day is coming, it’s just around the corner. I dread that holiday more than I now dread Christmas, the holiday that my dad and I used to love the most.

My dad has been dead twelve years now, one would think, I would have gotten used to the concept. But, no. I am never  ready for this day. I find myself, each year, being caught unaware with different triggers.

I think there is something very wrong with me. I mean it.

Am I stupid? Very possibly.

I have no dad.

My dad is dead.

 

 

 

Description unavailable

Description unavailable (Photo credit: wakingphotolife:)

 

English: Portrait of 1-year-old baby girl

English: Portrait of 1-year-old baby girl (Photo credit: Wikipedia)My father was the nurturer in the family, the closest in temperament to me, we understood each other with a glance or a smile; similar to the relationship I have with my son. The same type of thinking, parallel ways of feeling.

 

It seems to be Father’s Day again, some Holidays move around the Earth at a quicker pace, don’t you think? Birthdays, when you are older, seem to flash by in a second or two.

Am I stupid? Very possibly so. Can I not learn to get used to it?

Evidently, not.

 

Even writing these words down bring unwanted tears to my tired, blood-shot, green eyes.  I furiously blink away threatening tears.

Twelve years, it’s not like it happened yesterday but sometimes it feels like that, raw like a knife wound.

If it hasn’t gone away by now I don’t think there’s a chance it will ever go away.

So, naturally, when I was in the store a few weeks ago, once again, I headed straight for the Father’s Day section of cards. But this time, I did not actually look through the cards. I noticed where I was and quickly turned around after admonishing myself, without skipping a beat. To me, that’s progress. I didn’t stand in the aisle sobbing like I have done in years past.

There are just some things you can’t get used to, this is one of them.

For all of you who still have your Dads, please cherish them. For the dad of my children, I honor and cherish you and for my friend Alice’s father, JB, who tries to make me feel included even when I am not, I say, thank you.

Happy Father’s Day to the father figure that you do have, be it a friend, a neighbor, an uncle or a cousin, a brother…

And, if you don’t have a father figure in your life, you are even MORE special. Because you have a mom who is mother and father to YOU.  Kiss your Mom, once on each cheek because she makes EVERYTHING worthwhile. I congratulate HER.

forget-me-not - wild form

forget-me-not – wild form (Photo credit: joysaphine)

 

 

 

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A Kinder, Gentler, Simon Cowell? (Pop Cop)

English: Simon Cowell at the National Televisi...

English: Simon Cowell at the National Television Awards at the Royal Albert Hall, London, October 2006. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I can’t honestly say for sure but in my gut I’m sensing a kinder, gentler, Simon Cowell just from watching episodes of The X Factor. Could that be possible true or is it my imagination? First of all I love the show and as critical as Simon is, he’s gained a tender, playful side to him that I’ve never seen before. He even referenced that he was going to be a father, unless I didn’t hear correctly?  He did say something to that effect, didn’t he? I believe he did.

He seems to still tell the truth but on a “not-so-nasty-shove-it-in-your-face-twist-the-knife-kind-of-way.” He genuinely smiles now. He’s not half as snarky as he used to be. Someone tell me I’m not dreaming because it seems so surreal. If Simon Cowell can actually look tender, there is hope for the world, right? Stranger things have happened.

Whoever his lovely lady-friend is, Ms. Lauren Silverman, I say “Congratulations” you must be a very special woman. I don’t care about the specifics of your relationship or the behind the scene interactions that’s your business and not mine and I am not one to judge. Just watching Simon smile and fool around with the other judges makes me grin foolishly. How silly, I don’t even remotely know this man yet I am happy for him, I really am.

He seems grounded now, he doesn’t need to talk about himself all the time, he has a lady-love and a baby on the way. Who would have thought of Simon as a family man? Simon, I am happy for you and you will never know who I am but that doesn’t matter. It makes ME smile to see the way your eyes crinkle now in laughter, to see you laugh at yourself and have fun. Mazel tov, you will be a great dad.

Who knew?

The X Factor (Australia)

The X Factor (Australia) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Shhh! Putting The Past To Bed

B.F. and Teddy

B.F. and Teddy (Photo credit: Treehugger)

I’ve had enough of my down, depressing mood, my attitude needs to be adjusted. Now. I felt lonely and sad for a few weeks and yes, I did have reasons. It started with the husband. Let me tell you, women friends, I’ve been married for almost twenty-five years it’s no walk in the park. Contrary to what my single friends think, being married is hard work, it’s not just holding hands and looking lovingly into each others eyes anymore, that was then, this is now.

We know that every marriage goes through phases, blah, blah, blah and that it is normal, it’s hard to go through one of those rough patches when your husband doesn’t “get it” and frankly you know, deep down inside, he never will. Let’s be honest, after 24 and a half years he is not going to suddenly turn into the romantic, powerful guy you picture. He just isn’t. But, he may well be your best friend and companion and if you are sad, lonely and feel betrayed by the family you were born into, he’s got your back. He and your children are your family.

He’s the father of your children (the ones that are practically grown-up now) he was the one that said comically “assume the position” when he offered to give me the infertility shots every night at the same time so I wouldn’t have to do it myself. He dried all my tears, he stood up for me when people were mean to me, and yes, he can get nasty but so can I. We’re getting older TOGETHER, at least we have each other to discuss our fears, our anxieties, we have each other to love. I need to remind myself more and more of the wonderful things I DO have, I’m lucky to have a husband like him, he really is my best friend. I am also blessed with amazing kids, both of them, each one so different, such good, smart, warm and witty young adults.  I hope that they will think I’ve been a good mother, that’s truly important to me.

I didn’t have the most nurturing mother but she still loved me and worried about me, way too much. My father was very supportive and loving but he had his bad side too, who doesn’t? My sister, well, I wouldn’t choose her to be my best friend, we have exact opposite personalities but when we do get along, it’s great and we can talk for hours. It’s nice to have someone who shares my history if not my utter love for the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off one of my all time favorite movies!!! Honestly I think it is one of the greatest movies of all times and she walked out of it. She hated one of my favorite movies. Now we do the opposite of each other, if she loves something I will stay away and vice versa.

I am leaving the past in the past. Forever. I won’t worry about the future, since I have no control over it and I will try to stay in the present, one minute at a time. Appreciate the good things in life, the small moments I can capture in the blink of an eye, a pretty bird with a beautiful song, a bright yellow flower, a cup of coffee with swirling milk. I want to start reading fun books not my depressing ones, and laugh more. Life is too short and way too unpredictable. It can change in a single breath. Please join me and try to enjoy your good times too. Seek them out, you will find them and before long, they will find you.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Plinky Prompt: Write a letter to yourself in 20 years…

  • Letter to (Future) Me
  • What Did We Know?
    beach sunrise 1 Dear Old Lady,
    I want to live someplace simple and warm, with God’s Blessing, with my Old Man, beside me. It’s nice to grow old with someone and we are still lucky to have each other because many of our friends have lost their spouses. Sure, we have our health problems, who doesn’t? I’ve had them as long as I can remember so that’s not so hard for me to get used to but you and your ego, well, that was a little harder but we got through that tough time, didn’t we?.
    We moved to California when I finally put my foot down and said I could not TAKE these bitter cold winters in New York for my bones and muscles and you actually agreed with me. You even loved it when we sat on our deck and could see the ocean and the beach, not so close but it didn’t matter. It was nice and warm and I didn’t complain all the time, you joker. Now I complained just half the time! But, I really did feel better in the warm weather and you took up golf which you said you would never do.”Never say Never!”
    Our kids had kids of their own, just think we are grandparents, imagine that! I had wanted to be a granny since I was 50,and now I’m 76! What a feeling that is, seeing your son and daughter’s husband and wife and their precious children, Oh, I used to love holding them in my arms when they were little and singing them songs. My one regret is that they don’t live closer to us but they have to live their own lives and they can’t live for us, just like we couldn’t live for our mothers and fathers It’s a very hard decision, believe me, I know.
    We have friends here, but really, there is nothing like family. Oh, did I tell you? My sister and her husband moved a few blocks around the corner, shortly after we moved here. Their kids more scattered than ours but we all get together whenever we can and that is something to live for. All of us around a big table, imagine, we’re the grandparents now, who knew time would go by so fast?
    Appreciate every good day you have, life can be difficult but you will get through it.Don’t worry if you don’t have to. Just deal with things as they come your way. Most of all, just know I will always love my family, whenever I go, that’s the most important thing for people to know. I LOVED MY FAMILY and my husband and my kids were my whole life. That’s all I want to say.

Father’s Day

Self made rainbow, made in home garden.

Image via Wikipedia

I was in Target’s the other day buying things I really don’t need but that’s what is so great about Target. You pretty much can justify almost every purchase because it is so inexpensive. After my leisurely walk through the aisles I make a right turn to the card section to select a card for my dad. After a moment I felt a sharp intake of breath ; shock and horror set in immediately like an illness that comes on suddenly and wipes you out. I stop, stand still and I reach for the cart to steady myself.  My father has been dead for ten years.

I don’t see his image in the streets anymore like I used to do for years after his death. Father’s Day, however, is something that is so ingrained in me that every single year I do the same exact thing. I go automatically to the Father’s Day section. I don’t have a father anymore and the realization from that is always new and it always hurts like a fresh wound. Moments of past misery hit me like a strong wave that pulls me under.

Every year on or around Father’s Day I go to the cemetery and put round white stones on his grave site. I clean off all the debris, pieces of dead brown leaves that crackle and fall apart, twigs, black soot from a harrowing winter and I clean things up a little. I bring a bouquet of flowers when I go. It’s the least I can do for a father who bought me a single red rose every year on my birthday. I talk to my dad at the cemetery and I weep. I weep in anticipation of getting there so my tears start rolling down my cheeks way before I have arrived. I park my car in the same spot, sometimes I will walk a few steps and then come back, go in the opposite direction and return quickly.

This year, as if a gift from heaven, my son’s High School graduation is on Father’s Day and that makes me extraordinarily happy. I feel, actually, I know, that my father will be with us at the celebration. He will be there in spirit with his family, seeing his grandson graduate. Maybe he will be in the soft breeze that blows, hidden in the colors of a rainbow, in the light of the raindrops that may shower us, or in the rays of the beaming sun nodding his approval, showcasing his pride. He will be there.

I know I won’t have lunch with my dad again, or be able to listen to one of his “educational talks” or laugh hysterically when he used to take the vacuum cleaner out when he thought company was staying too long. It’s not as if I can have one last hug from him or a kiss on the top of my head. I can imagine his soft hands but I can’t feel them anymore, but I carry him around with me in my heart forever.

Technology's Impact on Families: Depends Who You Ask!

iPhone 4 Bumper + Universal Dock w/ DIY Adapter

According to my mother (my teenagers’ grandmother) you would think that society and civilization are quickly burning up with raging orange and red flames of fire because of two second text messages. That said, it is a new generation and technology obviously has changed interaction within families and in the general public.

In my generation we spent all our free time on the phone. I remember walking back and forth from the kitchen to the living room with the long, dirty, coiled, yellow stretchy phone cord to talk to my friends from school who I had just seen hours before. This was way before call-waiting too.

Then there was e-mail and even us parents could pretty much keep up with that as well as the older generation. But now? My children text obsessively on their multi-faceted phones and we have to force them to turn them off while we are eating (which sometimes they do and sometimes they pretend to do.) On a weekend away with the entire family our mother could not believe that the first thing her four grandchildren did was check their phones and Facebook. She was disgusted and distraught and my sister and I (and husbands) were used to it. Our mother took it as a personal affront.

Things change, people change, as parents we get used to things; we have no choice but it is helpful to set limits. The older generation think we have all lost our collective parental minds. In defense of my children they can keep up a great conversation at any time, they do well in school and we have adjusted. That’s what parenting is all about, you need to change with your children and with the times and set some boundaries. Is it easy? Not always. Will it make your children unable to have a reasonable conversation over a family dinner? No. Honestly, if I could figure out how to use one of those fancy phones I would own one myself. I have a simple, made for dummies phone and if I am lucky, I can actually call someone or pick up and scream “hello?” and hear a response. I consider that, for me, a success.

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Paging “Mr. L” (Repost with Addendum)

kew gardens queens

Image by silatix via Flickr

I had a friend on my blog who once lived in the same town that I grew up in at different times. We both lived in Kew Gardens, Queens.  He would read my blog fairly consistently and would always comment with his classic signature “Mr. L.” even though I knew his first name was Abe. When I wrote about our old neighborhood, he loved it. I wrote a few posts on the now dissolved oldkewgardens.com about what it was like growing up in that sweet town and that is where we first met. He contacted me after that and we stayed in touch.

He hasn’t been on in a long time and I’m beginning to get worried about him. He was last living in California, I believe, and was contemplating whether he wanted to continue living there or not. Mr. L. to me, was like my substitute dad or uncle, since my dad passed away ten years ago. We used to kid around a lot and talk about our favorite gourmet delicatessen, The Homestead. I still dream about their Polish rye bread, sour and chewy and their faux Sachertorte cake made with many layers of raspberry jam between layers of creamy, sweet, chocolate cake. When I lived at home, every birthday cake was this particular cake inscribed with “Happy Birthday.” A real Sachertorte from Austria is drier and has layers of apricot jam but this was sweeter, this was MY cake.

When Mr. L talked about his deceased wife it was with such emotion, always, he still missed her so very much. From what he told me he absolutely adored her. In every “conversation” he would bring up his wife and talk a little about her; those little things that really make up a great marriage, sharing breakfast, the same bed, holding hands.

I know this blog post isn’t going to win any awards, nor will it attract a lot of people but that’s fine. I know Mr. L had adult children but I don’t remember where they live. So, if anyone knows him (and yes, I do know his full name) please let me know. I know I am overly emotional and sensitive, that’s a big part of who I am but I care about him and hope he is alright. I don’t want to lose Mr. L if I don’t have to. Mr. L. please come back and say hello.

ADDENDUM 10/19 2011. I HEARD FROM MR. L TODAY!!!!!!!!!!

Beyond The Pink Sky

Free for use My photos that have a creative co...

Image via Wikipedia

I’m watching tiny flecks of snow come down constantly, through the trees and on the trees like vanilla frosted brownies. It is peaceful with my husband and children home. They have a snow day and they are as excited now as they were when they were eight and ten. I don’t think you ever  get over the excitement of a snow day, no matter how old you are or what you do.

My daughter and I ate egg and cheese sandwiches that my husband made. Our son sat in the family room in his blue fleece beer mug pajama pants, his phone in one hand, the other playing X-box. I wanted to say “come here, watch the snow fall from the sky” but I know better. At their ages, 16 and 18, they have their own personal snow scenes that don’t include me. It took some getting used to when they were in their early teens but now we have settled into a routine. I know that this routine will only last a little while and then it will change and be replaced by another. I’m not great with change but I know I need 24-48 hours to get used to new things and then I am fine or as fine as I can possibly be.

I am wearing my dad’s old West Point sweatshirt and blue snow flake pajama pants, lying in our bed, alternately reading, writing and glancing up to the sky to see the delicate flakes fall. The sky is so full of snow that it looks pink. I always say I hate the winter and I do but for the first time I wonder if I did live in a warm climate all year round, would I miss it?  Would I appreciate Spring as much as I do if I didn’t have to go through Winter?

My daughter just brought me a cup of tea and served it to me in my room. How lovely that she asked me if I wanted a cup. Children are joyful beings and as an old teacher once said “they will constantly surprise you” and they do. My children will be grown-ups soon, they will age, as we all do. My children have grown up here in our little house with their bikes and skateboards, “Razors”  and their lemonade stands.

The best thing I have ever done in my life is to get married to my loving husband and have two of the most amazing children you could hope for. I never had much ambition in life other than being a mom and writing, but being a mom is who I am; it’s what I was meant to do; it’s my Nobel Peace prize, my heart and my soul, my life’s work.

When our work in life is completely over bury me near a tree that blooms pink flowers with my husband and soul-mate, my love and best friend beside me. If all it said on my headstone was “Loving Wife” and “Beloved Mother” I would be gently smiling, and at peace.

Buying A Purple Shirt While Eating Jelly Beans

This is a picture i took for the Candy article.

Image via Wikipedia

This is the kind of post you want to read on a Monday afternoon when the clouds are all gray and gloomy and it is the start of a brand new week. The orange-green-red leaves on the trees are swaying and they look like they want to cry. I’m thinking about the future and living somewhere else where the sun stays out all day and you don’t have to wear a thick black jacket.  The only perk today is that our house is clean and it looks pretty. There are no cobwebs that I can see and the wood shines like a Pledge commercial. It smells lemony and the beds are made and the sheets are fresh and I am planning to take a hot bath tonight. It’s against house rules to put your dirty body into a brand new made-up bed with sheets and blankets that beckon you and smile.

It’s our friend Christina’s 16th birthday and she looked so sweet and innocent and happy like a shiny polished Macintosh apple. My son drives her to school and back every day along with his sister seated proudly in the front seat. Christina was wearing the soft beige scarf that my daughter gave her for her birthday. Her arms were packed with brownies and oatmeal cookies and chocolate cake that her school friends made for her birthday celebration. Oh to be young, filled with sweetness, innocence and incomparable joy. I see myself in young Christina, all eager and willing to please, her arms outstretched for a big, warm, hug.

I’m listening to music to quell the anxiety that has been plaguing me for the last week. It starts in the late afternoon and escalates until nighttime; my stomach clenches and my legs ache with unbearable pain. My aches and pains stem from stubborn, bossy, Fibromyalgia and sleep comes as a welcome relief.

I’ve taken down all the photographs of my children when they were very young and replaced them with an up-to-date picture of the two of them grinning, their eyes alive with mischief; my son’s arm casually draped around his sister’s shoulders. I had to beg and plead a lot for that one portrait. While I am extremely proud of my children’s independence I have had a few problems lately adjusting to it.  I can’t forget the moment last year when my son said patiently “Mom, High School is one big lie.” It is a message that has been burned into my brain and I think of it often.  I didn’t believe him then but I do now. Apparently, lies are commonplace but I need to force myself to look deeper, for honor, and not compare my past, unhappy and burdened youth to their present, over-indulged happy lives.

I am booking a massage at the local spa, a gift I received for my birthday, and I am looking forward to it. There, I will not think of the last year, tension pressed up against stress like two sweaty lovers: unemployment and illness together as one.  I will fantasize about traveling, seeing the tulips in Holland, a trip to Israel in the spring, perhaps the countryside of Spain. I will picture my loving husband’s face, his hand in mine, playing the punch buggy game in the car and competing in the “I love you more” contest. I will remember that when I asked him for a phrase, another definition for “empty nest” he threw his head back, howled loudly, with glee and in a snap of a second he shouted: “Freedom.” I love him so much in many ways but I especially love him for giving me that.

Dedicated to Danny

When Old Friends Become New

"Golden girl" – Horses (unknown bree...

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve known my friend Meryl for as long as I can remember. We lived in the same neighborhood, attended the same schools starting with elementary school; we had what is now known as “playdates.” We had mutual friends but we grew apart over time, there was never any fighting, we just drifted apart.   That was over 30 years ago; just recently we reconnected.

Meryl, is my history and I am hers. How wonderful for her to remember that my dad, now deceased, had a telescope and would let us look through it; how heart-warming to hear her say ” your dad was so kind.” We talked about horseback riding (which terrifies me) and I suddenly flashed back to a strong image of pictures that she drew. I hadn’t remembered it or thought of it in at least thirty  years. The memory came back to me like a flash:”You drew horses, didn’t you?”  She smiled widely “Yes I did.”

I  remembered a cold winter day, in third grade, wearing a gray parka and walking from my apartment building to her beautiful white house. Her house definitely had better snacks than my house did, and that is something that you don’t forget! Her room was huge and I remember sitting on her bed and us talking.

Now, my husband and I are now very good friends with Meryl and her husband, Paul. It’s very hard sometimes to make new friends, especially close friends that like each other equally. We’ve all had friends where one or two people don’t get along; it’s very awkward. We feel so lucky, so blessed to have another couple where each one likes the other equally, not to mention that we all like to eat good food….together.

There’s a comfort level with an old friend, history, school pictures, adventures we had together. There is history with having a sibling (and we each have a sister) but there is no fighting, resentment, emotional baggage that comes along with it.  Meryl has become my sister without being a sibling. It is both incredibly comforting  and exciting to have a new, old friend: someone to confide in, someone who supports you, someone who really knows the adult and the child within.

*Dedicated to Meryl and Paul