Dear Dad. Sigh. I Have No Dad. (Father’s Day 2013)

Clouds

Clouds (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

Dear Dad,

I’m searching for you in the clouds as we drive along the highway, the sun-bright, the sky blue, the clouds bulbous but I don’t see a clue or a symbol or a sign. It’s hard to be without a father when father’s day is rapidly approaching, I’ve written about this for eleven years now. Do you know what? It doesn’t get easier and I thought for sure it would. All I find in the clouds are a wispy bouquet of flowers, like an all white wedding bouquet and it reminds me to be thankful that you were at my wedding. I need to look at things that way now.

I know, Mom would say “I am torturing myself for no reason” but I do need to put my feelings down on paper otherwise I just explode with sadness. It just hit me hard on the head, the other day, why I was feeling so anxious and unsettled, I had no idea why until I realized that Father’s Day was being advertised everywhere: on tv, the radio, ads, every store I walked into I was assaulted by the fact that other people had dad’s and I didn’t.

Daddy, Do you remember when you offered to pick me up from Brooklyn when mice ran across my feet and over the bed in my street level apartment?   I remember feeling so relieved, so safe, because you were always there when I needed you, you could always make things better.When I bounced my first check by accident, when I thought I had done something by mistake, you were the first one I called.

I remember that one of the first times I came to visit you and mom when I was first pregnant with your  grandson (and I had inherited your serious lack of direction,) you posed as a traffic guard with signs and all, in the middle of the street, telling me (and everyone else) where to go. I still remember my shock, surprise, amusement and  love. I will never forget that image, but I think I made up the detail that you wore an orange hard-hat.

You used to call my daughter, your granddaughter, Princepessa, and you let her cheat at games for way too long. I remember you laughing when she cheated and I  would tell you not to let her but of course you continued to do so. And, when my son slept over for the first time in your house, waking you up every hour on the hour, Mom growled and yelled but you were gentle and kind. That was your nature.

I’m watching over mom, she seems a little out of sorts, just a little down and bored, nothing serious. I had a nice lunch with her the other day and boy, she has taken over for you in the eating department! That woman can eat!!! You would be so proud. She used to eat like a bird and now, “mamma mia”, she eats a lot. While she used to complain that I was too chubby she is now complaining that I am too thin. Go figure. I can’t win. But, I know she loves me to pieces. She bought me a slice of rainbow cake for last night’s dessert, and it was yummy. I know she was trying to fatten me up.

My hubby is good to me, really, he is a great husband and father. He would do anything for me and the kids and while we are from two very different parenting styles, we’ve actually become more alike, it’s scary. We have blended together, but I guess after 24 and a half years of marriage you tend to do that.

I think about you all the time, Daddy, not just on Father’s Day but you know that, I know you do. There’s no doubt in my mind from the messages you send me. I smell the scent of your cologne, when there is no one else in the room, see the special numbers you show me, your initials…all the signs. They came much more often at the beginning and that was great, I needed that, but now I know for sure,  if I needed you,  you would be there with me. There is no doubt in my mind.

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy

You may not be on this physical earth but in my heart and soul, you will always be very much alive.

Love, Me

Also see: Father’s Day Without Fathers hibernationnnow.wordpress.com 2012

In Memory of My Father

In Memory of Zach Sobieck, Clouds

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Could it be Magic? (Carry on Tuesday)

Happiness

Happiness (Photo credit: baejaar)

An Easier Life

Nobody ever said life was going to be easy. In our young innocence we just assume it is because we know no different; our families have protected us from life’s troubles. That, my dear, can only last a short time, you do know that right?

It’s been a rough couple of months, actually it’s been rough for a long time now. As we grow older we look back on our lives, I do not envy the youth of today. No, I really don’t. Growing older does not have many perks. We all handle it differently. There are cheery and optimistic people with me in the nursing home and some say clichés like “You’re as young as you feel.” Frankly I think that’s a crock…”

There are people like me who are over sensitive to other people’s suffering and pain. I feel other people’s pain, it becomes a part of me, I’ve been that way since I’ve been a child, I can’t undo who I am or try not to care. It doesn’t work. I sincerely wish it would. It would cause me so much less pain. I don’t blame anyone but myself but I always thought caring about others was a good thing, no? Well, not for me, you see.

I’ve accepted, after many years, that people are very different, though growing up I thought everyone felt the way I did so when caring wasn’t reciprocated, I was often hurt. As a child how would you know that all people act differently?  Who else could I learn from if not from myself? Life changed that, many years later in my life, not quickly enough but eventually I learned and adjusted, but it never felt natural to me.You deal with whatever happens to you and sometimes you still deflate like a withering balloon starting from a room’s happy ceiling and twirling slower and slower until all the life that has been kept it in the balloon deflates and now it’s just a tiny lump of pink  lying embarrassingly at your feet, defeated and dead.

Many things have happened in the world lately, things that I thought I would never see in my older years. Things I didn’t want to see: the horror of September 11th, the killing of children and adults in Newtowne, Connecticut and this week, the joyful runners of the Boston Marathon and onlookers killed senselessly. I spent almost half of my life in Boston, the good years, the young, innocent years when Hank and I got married. There was a joy known only to newlyweds, many more days clothed in bright yellow happiness than the darkness of fear. There was nothing to worry about back then; could it have been just magic? Maybe, it was the utter happiness, cloud of love and youth, having no responsibilities and living in a simpler, easier time.

There were no bomb threats or terrorist attacks back then, now our children and grandchildren live in constant fear and uncertainty. I’m glad Hank isn’t alive to see all of this.  The Boston Marathon this past week put people back, straight back to 9/11, this terror spares no one, no place, no time. How hard, how scary it to live actively in today’s world. I fear for my children and my grandchildren. I have lived a long, life, and for that alone, I am happy to be old. If I died tonight there would be no regrets.  Sitting in my room, rocking in my chair, smiling at the pretty white flowers, visits from my children and grandchildren, sleeping and a good meal is all I ask for and all that I want. I don’t envy the youth of today, in fact, I feel quite sad for them.

If You Ran Away To Join The Circus What Would Your Job Be? (Plinky Prompt)

Cotton Candy

Cotton Candy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • If you ran away and joined the circus, what would your role be?Would you run a concession? Would you train elephants? Be a clown?Ringmaster? Why?
  • NO job at the circus??

    circus

    circus (Photo credit: fsse8info)

  • I’d probably be the one holding the sign saying that the Circus Is Cruel To Animals, although I never used to think that way. One of my favorite things to do as a child was to go to the circus with my parents. It was a dream. The mixed smell of peanuts blending in with pink cotton candy wafting in the air. The taste of the cotton candy melting on my tongue, where did it go? The flashlights we used to twirl around and around in the dark. The twinkling lights, the aura of suspense, where to look, the anticipation, ah, the ringmaster! The whole event was magical, I truly loved it.
    When I had children I couldn’t wait to take them to the circus, I was almost as excited as they were, maybe more. There is something about the circus that automatically transforms you into a child…until you grow up. Until you have watched a documentary or two and realized that tigers really don’t ride tricycles naturally and the elephants look old, and tired and do the monkeys really need to ride a motorcycle? Why are there so many whips around? My daughter, a vegetarian, realized it when she was older too and we never went to see a circus again. Why would we?
    It’s the same reason that I won’t wear a fur coat. I wouldn’t throw red paint on someone who was wearing one, I think that is extreme, but I choose not to wear one. No act of violence, to me, is acceptable. Now, it is my choice not to attend the circus, but if someday I have grandchildren and they look at me with those innocent eyes, jumping up and down and begging as only children can do, I can’t promise I wouldn’t take them if their parents wanted me to. In fact, most likely, I would, just to see their eyes shine, to hear the jingle of laughter long forgotten, to buy them cotton candy and a flashlight to twirl in the magical magnificence and innocence of childhood.

     

You Just Can’t Fight Crazy

Matti

Matti (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People don’t always get along, that’s a given. Some people cringe at confrontation and try to hide their heads under the mattress to avoid dealing with it or slither away to swimmingly escape the idea of a fight. I don’t mind verbal fighting as long as it is a fair fight. If the parameters are clear, I will not shy away; I don’t seek fights but I am willing to defend myself or anyone I love for the right reasons. Fairness and honesty are incredibly important to me. “Just don’t lie to me” I used to tell my children when they were teenagers (not that it was a hundred percent successful.) It’s the Libra in me, I’m sure, needing balance and honesty, hating dishonesty with a passion.

There are times when, as a friend of mine is experiencing, you find yourself in the middle of a situation where you have NO control. Her son and daughter in law have decided, without explanation, that  Grandma and Grandpa can not see their children anymore. No reason, no explanation. Grandma is absolutely heartbroken, confused and in shock. There was no explanation, that to me, is not a fair fight. She has tried numerous times, to try to talk to them, to understand what she did but they won’t talk. She took care of their two girls when they were both working full-time and when the parents picked up the kids, the kids would cry and did not want to leave their grandmother’s house. That is a key issue, in my opinion.

Personally, I think, the mom was jealous of the kids’ warm and loving connection to their grandmother, maybe the daughter in law demanded that the husband make a choice between his mom and his wife? That is pure conjecture on my part but it seems feasible, doesn’t it?  The son, apparently used to be very close to his mother.”It’s either her or me” comes to mind and guess who lost? Grandma did and she was not even allowed to see or talk to her granddaughters again without knowing why. She had Valentine’s Day cards she had bought in advance and presents. Even worse, her daughter-in-law is pregnant with a boy and she fears she will never even meet this new grandchild.

They won’t talk to her, answer her e-mails, they literally have cut her out of their lives. It is an unfair, unbalanced fight. I think it is absolutely cruel. Intentionally cruel. They want to make her suffer and they have succeeded. Having loving, involved grandparents is an absolute gift and yet the parents won’t even TALK to the grandparents to make things right again. Not even an e-mail. Grandma and Grandpa don’t even KNOW what they have done wrong, ( or more likely if they have done anything wrong.) This was a large, connected and loving family, celebrating birthdays and holidays together, now it is in fragments; all the rest of the family on Grandma’s side.

There are times in all our lives when things are unjust and even Libras like myself have to accept, take it in and let it go. Life IS unfair sometimes. We have to accept that people are sometimes too stubborn or too sick and too hurtful to be rational. Apparently, the couple are not even thinking about their own children who must feel abandoned by their grandmother and grandfather who loved them and cared for them daily. Grandma has no way of telling them that she still loves them and misses them. As hard as it is, she has no choice but to accept this horrible deal. There is nothing else she can do. They won’t let her. It is literally breaking her heart, she cries endlessly and can only talk about this one topic. She knows “she can’t fight crazy” but that doesn’t mean she has stopped fighting and has accepted her life.  I almost wish she would.

Carry on Tuesday: Fear not for the future, Weep not for the past

My Grandparents

My Grandparents (Photo credit: protoflux)

“John, you listen up, I’ve been trying to talk to you all morning. Now sit down next to me you old fool and stop teasing me. I’m just having one of my worrying spells. Oh, stop shaking your head back and forth, you old buzzard, you knew I had these spells back when you married me.

What’s it been now, almost 40 years we’ve been together? So long that at night, my breathing slows down to yours, even when that darn snoring of yours wakes me up, why I just push you over and fall back asleep.

We’re old badgers but we’re lucky cause we got grandchildren now.  Stevie’s third child is due in two months, imagine that. Why I still remember when our own babies were born, like it was yesterday. I don’t remember lots of things, but I remember that clear as day. We had two babies running around in those cotton messy diapers, oh my, all the washing and cleaning in the tub.

Do you remember when the kids went to college? Sure, we were proud as can be but I was sad deep down, all the time. I still had their baby photos up all around and I just had to take them down cause they hurt me to see them, all loving and sweet and innocent. I had me a stabbing pain that caught my breath and wouldn’t leave. The kids didn’t seem to need us anymore. All they wanted to do was be with their friends and drink, least that’s what it felt like to me.

We had each other though, so we could talk between us but those weren’t good years. You remember those years? Of course you don’t, you remember nothing. Don’t pinch me old man, I can still laugh at you, I’m your wife, you best remember that.

I do look forward to when the kids visit. Seeing our babies with their babies. People used to tell us how great it was to be Grandparents and they were right. Those grandchildren are pure magic, fat, cuddly babies with sticky faces but I sure hope I’m still alive to see them as teenagers. I’m laughing and shaking my head thinking bout how bad our kids were in their teens and early twenties. Why I’d enjoy our grandchildren acting up to their parents like ours did to us. Wouldn’t you?

How much time left you think we got left, Johnny? Come on what do you think? I know you can’t say for sure, not asking for sure. You KNOW I sometimes think on these things. I got to admit, I’m still a little fearful of the future though I’m not afraid to die. I know you say just don’t think about it but sometimes I  do anyways. I can’t help it. Or what if you die first? I don’t want to sleep in this bed alone and be cold and lonesome. Why, you’d miss me if I was gone too. Who would do your cooking and cleaning up and make the bed look so pretty, just the way you like? I know you wouldn’t say it but I know you’d miss me; I see that little smile there, John, don’t try to hide it.

Now, let’s take each day as it comes, we not look back and weep for it, what good is that gonna do? We had all those times and now our turn is over; it’s time to pass them on to new generations. It’s their turn, let them enjoy it. We’re just jealous is all, because we didn’t appreciate it when we had it and time speeds by us like a quick burst of chilly air.

Take my hand, husband we’re going walk over to our garden now, gonna water the tomatoes, going to pick some of the cucumbers and you can help me with the corn. We’re gonna do it together, old man, and then we’re going to eat dinner, and for dessert I made you your favorite, a blueberry crumble. Why yes I did. We’ll sit on the porch eating our supper, for as long as the good Lord above will let us. I pray that it’s gonna be a really long time.”

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.

Carry On Tuesday: “So good to be be believed in once, so good to be remembered…..”

Newborn child, seconds after birth. The umbili...

Newborn child, seconds after birth. The umbilical cord has not yet been cut. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“The dreams of childhood – its airy fables, its graceful, beautiful, humane, impossible adornments of the world beyond ; so good to be believed in once, so good to be remembered when outgrown.

I am the mother of two children. “Children”, I laugh to myself, “children, no more!” My daughter is a skip away from eighteen, my son, soon to be twenty in a few months. Once I was everything to them, now, nothing much. Yes, they still come to me when they are hungry but they do not come with sticky kisses and hugs that curl around my knees like sloppy green caterpillars. No, it’s been many years since that has happened.  They yell throughout the house “what’s for dinner” or “I’m hungry” and even though they are fully capable of cooking their own meal but it is still nice to be needed, once in a while, in this small, insignificant way, although I am quick to reprimand them. It ‘s something. I know they love me, they just don’t show it; my husband and I have done a good job bringing up two wonderful, independent young adults. It’s not their fault that once in a while I feel so lonely.

When they were three and five, it was a magical time. A time for believing in Batman and monsters, pink princesses and glitter pixie dust. An innocent time and I was the one they truly believed in for anything. I could right any wrong, make any hurt feel less painful. I could vanish fears before bedtime or sing them lullabies, sitting exactly equally between their rooms so they could fall asleep. It was a truly special time, it felt “so good to be believed in once.”

Now, that is all left in the past. We are all moving on, this childhood home will be child-less come late August with two teenagers headed to college. Yes, there is a small part that wonders what my husband and I will talk about, what do we have in common except our off-spring? Perhaps we will talk about the puppy I adopted to avoid the complete empty nest. I don’t know, I will have to wait and see; we are all in this together. Together but alone.

Last year we adjusted when our first born son went to college and the three of us shifted in our dynamics, making more time to chat with our daughter, our “baby” and watched her grow an incredible amount. Dynamics between siblings are often fraught with competition and jealousy. It was nice to see our daughter for one year sans her older brother. I am the younger sister too, I understand her feelings.

We will watch them grow up through tales of college and on vacation, perhaps they will see us in a different light, slightly removed. It’s not a bad thing, it can be a very positive and mature thing. Maybe they will appreciate us more or understand one day in the future, what it is like to be a parent. To love a child so unconditionally, with every fiber of your being that while the umbilical cord is cut, the attachment is forever. I hope they understand one day what it is like to be a parent and even more, I pray that I am alive to see it. I hope to be sitting on the lumpy beige sofa with matching fluffy yellow and red pillows with you, my dear husband, chatting, joking and whispering to each other about what OUR children were like, joking with our grandchildren: because once your own parenting days are over it feels “So good to be remembered when outgrown.” It is their job now to parent, not ours any longer, we have moved out of the inner circle to the outer circle and we need to accept that as graciously as we possibly can. It all falls under the circle of life. People change; we all do, we must accept it, not fight with it, with God’s blessings. Amen.

An Empty Chair: Father’s Day and Graduation, 2012

English: Chair

English: Chair (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tomorrow is Father’s Day, it’s also the day that my daughter, my baby, graduates from high school. My father, her grandfather will not be sitting near me, holding my hand, smelling of after shave cologne. His arm won’t be around my mother’s arm, excited to see their granddaughter walk across the stage, beaming, to get her diploma. He died almost died ten years ago, not seeing any of his four grandchildren graduate.

He will be with me, inside, a huge hole in my  heavy heart and in the tears that I will most assuredly shed. I will wipe them up with a “Vienna hanky” the soft, cotton handkerchiefs that my father always had, that my sister and my mother and I shared upon his death. They are thin now, like transparent paper but some have his initials on them and they are very important to us.

My daughter’s graduation should be a joyous occasion but it too brings mixed emotions, as most everything does. An “empty nest” a sign of us aging, her new life just beginning. I try to be as festive as possible for my husband, father of our two children but he is not that caught up with the Father’s Day holiday as much as I am and frankly he has lower expectations. I don’t blame him at all. Mother’s and Father’s Day were adorable when the children were young but at almost 18 and almost 20, something is lacking, like true sentiment. The kids go through the motion with plenty of reminders but that’s about it and that’s all we can expect at this time in their lives. Hopefully, if they have children of their own one day, they may appreciate us more; they will be able to relate.

I am looking forward to tomorrow with a mixture of excitement and dread; I will try to hide the dread as best I can. My daughter and my “second daughter,” our friend Christina, will be graduating from high school and going off to college in August. I have watched these two special girls grow up. Christina and her family have lived across the street from us since the girls were about three or four years old. They played together every day; they went through the monkey phase together, the gymnastic phase, horses phase and plenty of others together. While they both have other friends, I think their friendship will last in the future.

Christina reminds me of a young me, she is innocent and kind and wears her heart openly. I know what she is thinking and feeling by just looking at her face or hearing her voice. I want to protect her and prepare her for life but of course  I know I can’t do either of those things. My own daughter is more street smart, independent and fearless. She hides her feelings, she is very private, harder to read and fiercely independent.  Tomorrow, when their names are called to go up on stage and receive their diplomas, I will clap and scream, for both of these beautiful, strong and smart young women.

Congratulations to Jillian and to Christina!