Laughing until I cry!

 

My “Ant Maureen” and me!!

 

This is me and my beloved Ant Maureen and this is the nature of our relationship hysterical laughter until we cried, trying not to pee our pants, and my aunts bellowing belly laugh that made me collapse into uncontrollably giggles. This picture sums us up perfectly and thankfully for eternity. Just looking at it makes me smile and more often than not, burst out laughing and lately it makes me cry. Well sob might be more accurate since she passed away two months ago on her late daughter’s birthday. While it may have been expected, it still drove me to my knees.

The impact she had in my life is impossible to calculate. She was a teacher, a mother, an aunt and my best friend. The person I could talk to without a filter. Without weighing each word and it’s effect. She was a safe person for me to share my demons and my dreams. My safe place to land. She softened my edges and made me empathetic and sympathetic first for myself and wisely she understood it would translate to how I treated others.

She took in misfits and strays and her easy non judgmental ways soothed lost souls who longed for acceptance and peace. Her job as a drug and alcohol counselor was her career but her calling was her ability to listen with her whole body. Leaning in, letting the words wash over her and then she would softly ask, “have you considered?”

This was her gift. Nudging me to look in different directions for different solutions. She challenged me to think deeper and to let my instinct guide me. She never judged my choices until after I’d blunder through one mishap or another. Sitting next to her as we drove all over the Northeast I’d confess my latest trials and tribulations and she would just chuckle, call me a turkey and on we would ride.

I don’t know how many miles I rode with my Ant Maureen. For over 25 years I would call her up and say let’s go for a ride. She never asked where she just said pick me up and off we would go. To nowhere and everywhere. We solved my boy troubles, life’s troubles, her troubles and we laughed until we cried. Miles of road disappeared and on we rode laughing, exploring, sharing and me slamming on the breaks to jump out and take pictures. Miles and miles of love shared in the tiny confines of my car.

I’m still adjusting to my grief. I know she’s crossed over to a better place. She’s no longer in pain, mentally and physically. Above all she’s with her beautiful and beloved children who predeceased her, Ian and Drucilla.  So my tears are for me, my loss, and my best friend. On those beautiful days or lonely overcast ones I’ll look to the sky and ask…Do you wanna go for a ride with me? The wind will shift and in the whisper of the trees I know I’ll hear, “sure let’s go!!”

Godspeed Maureen! I pray you’re home safe, whole and in the arms of your true loves. I’ll miss you everyday and hear your voice in my heart until it beats no more. I love you always. ❤️

Fleeting Summer…

        I scarcely had time to catch my breath and summer was over. July seems like eons ago and August flew by in a swirl of dust and tumbleweeds. It seems like summer finally began after the 4th of July looming endless and immense. As quickly as it began, it felt as if it was abruptly and most certainly over. 

     Still in all it was a memorable summer. A summer of transitions for me and my boys. While we strived to maintain status quo our lives were shifting and irrevocably changing and thus a whole new chapter was ushered in. Ready or not.

     My sons are entering High School and Jr. High respectively.  The challenges and excitement of growing up outweighs any trepidation they may feel as they begin anew. Without a backward glance they sprang from the easy, lazy days of summer to the hectic, hustle and bustle of school life with glee and anticipation. 

     Suddenly the notion of them racing towards the future, college beckoning on the horizon and I want to freeze the clocks and slow down for a second. Press the pause button. Hold on to this moment, this summer, this autumn and grab all the time with them that I can. Time that had once seemed infinite…is now brushing past me, hurriedly and with great haste. I am left grasping moments to hold to my heart as they begin to pull away and fly.

     It is as it should be and I am grateful that this summer I recognized that I needed to stop and store up my memories like squirrels gathering nuts for the winter. So rather than focusing on what I “should be” doing, I focused on soaking up every nanosecond of time with my boys that I could. I watched, listened and absorbed everything they said and did, memorializing our summer of 2016. 

     While changes comes to all of us whether we are ready or not they are not always unwelcome. They may be different and all too many times necessary but focusing on the good that lies ahead reminds me that transitions are opportunities to find a whole new unexpected path. Like shaking up a snow globe and watching everything slowly settle, differently and in a whole new way. Whether we like it or not, change is inevitable. I’m learning to be okay with that. Now about that time machine…!!!

 

   

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

Motherhood is a tricky taskmaster! How can 2 little boys evoke so many emotions in one timeless, sometimes endless moment?!

My heart has increased in capacity a trillion-fold and at times so has my exasperation. I mean how many times can you say, “did you brush your teeth?” No really, with an actual toothbrush And toothpaste And water?”

You’ve discovered you’ve raised litigators far better than any seasoned attorneys on tv and in real life. How else could you end up in a never-ending, circuitous and mind numbing discussion about what I actually meant when I said cleanup your room, are you ready for bed, did you pack completely for the game, or my favorite, are you all set for school? 

Cue, the eye roll and the exhaustive sigh…why must they have to go through all of this when all they want to do is….well anything else but listen to me nag? I mean sure heading out to the game with your cleats nestled snugly by the front door so you wouldn’t forget them, but you did. Or dashing out the door with the infamous, “I got it Mom you don’t have to remind me.” Now cue my eye roll.

It is the paradox of motherhood that just when I’ve had enough and have struggled to overcome my overwhelming need to hurl myself shrieking and cursing off the deck, these incredible, loving, funny, compassionate boys curl up next to me, rest they’re heads on my shoulder and whisper “I love you to the moon and back Mommy,” and all is momentarily forgotten. The slate is clean and fresh and my heart soars and swells with unconditional, unceasing, and unrelenting joy. I am humbled and awed by the amount of love I feel for these two extraordinary children that God has knowingly placed in my everlasting care. 

I am blessed to be their mother and every breath I take ends in a silent prayer that they be healthy, happy and know they are loved. I have done my very best in being their Mother and though there are days I knock it out of the park, there are other days I pray my children forgive me for missing the highest mark. 

To my incredible mother, thank you for showing me how to travel this journey we call life and for being a remarkable example of grace, resilience, determination, growth, forgiveness, joy, sorrow and love. Happy Mother’s Day.

Welcome New Year!

Happy New Year All,

Sorry for being out of circulation so long. My life has moved faster than the speed of light and I’ve neglected the creative side of my spirit at my own peril. Creativity keeps me balanced and zen, for lack of a better word, so I’ve felt a sense of loss at losing my benchmark and anchor in the world.

I started working at a local newspaper helping out in the Classified Department. This soon morphed into managing and training other people in Classifieds. My daily inner struggle is to remind myself to not take on more work than I can handle given the rest of the my life’s expectations and obligations. As you can see, to some degree I have failed but hope springs eternal.

I rarely make New Year’s Resolutions but this year I will make an exception. I vow to work harder at working less. Tell me working mothers, is that even possible? I have always admired working mothers, as my mother was a single working mother, but my appreciation for their infinite juggling skills is limitless! Not even just the self adjustment necessary for switching multiple hats in a single bound but doing it with grace, kindness, and patience. A lot of patience. I doff my cap to the working mothers in this world for you’ve given a whole new meaning to the grossly overused word of Multitasking! 

This year, I resolve to carve out more guilt-free time for myself, my writing and photography. I declare here and now to do frivolous, nonsensical, and whimsical things to enrich and expand my life’s view, like take Italian or take up fencing. Who knows? Just finding the time and space to revel in my imagination, hopes, and dreams for the future has to be equally as important as succeeding at work. 

Happy 2016 and may all our dreams come true!

Noel Lights
Noel Lights
Reindeer Games
Reindeer Games

 

 

 

Peaks and Valleys…

Summer has flown by and yet there were achingly slow moments where time seemed to stand still.

The summer was filled with our usual flurry of activities that left us exhausted, drained and planning our next day’s adventure with hopeful anticipation. There were camps, counselor-in-training camps, swimming, scouts, over nights, island living, lunches, brunches, gardens, library trips, movies and baseball which morphed effortlessly into football as we drove from one event packed event to the other. 

We got a puppy, because life just didn’t seem complete or full without the added unconditional love of our beautiful dog, Bella Luna, “beautiful moon.” The boys have been asking for years and I succumbed to the pleas and relented. Turns out Bella is the kindest, gentlest, dog ever born. Her beautiful brown eyes smile gratefully as she settles into her new home with not one but two boys who lavish her with praise, devotion, and affection. Ahh, the life.

It truly has been a memorable and wonderful summer with a view from the mountain top of happiness that I will remember and treasure. I am blessed.

Still, the glory of the summer was interrupted by the sorrow and grief of losing my 35 year old cousin, Drucilla. My beloved Aunt Maureen, has now lost both of her children, a sorrow no parent wishes to contemplate let alone discuss. A waking nightmare. 

I know there are no words to say. No comfort that will ease the hellish and unrelenting despair that has seeped into the crevices of her spirit and etched itself on her face and in her skin. Drucilla’s young children are dazed and lost in a land where solace has no home, no name. Their life’s tapestry, woven since their births, has been forever altered, splintered and shattered into millions of pieces and life will forever be defined as “before and after.”

The summer’s joy for all of us will be shadowed by the finality of her death. While the summer peaks offered magnificent views and gratitude in abundance, the valleys remind us that the “woods are dark and deep,” and traversing the terrain of heartbreak and grief requires humble acceptance that life is a balancing act. Nimbly moving through joy and pain with alacrity and I pray, Grace.