Category Archives: Time to Cry Tuesdays

Time to Cry Tuesday – You can’t go home again

540

Cleaning my office the first day back from the holidays, this picture fell out of a file folder onto my keyboard.

The Big 540… my childhood home.

The same house that we sold a few months ago. The process of selling was rather unpleasant, the details remaining unwritten. Use your imagination if you do not know the details. The process of dismantling it was long and arduous, as my parents had lived there for 60 years. But it was a labor of love. By the time we signed on the dotted line it was more of a relief than anything else.

Oddly, a few weeks after closing I had the most bizarre dream. I was showering in my parents’ bathroom and suddenly realized that we no longer owned the house (oops). Yep, wrapped in a towel in someone else’s bathroom and they walked in the back door. The classic version of the ‘I forgot to study for the test’ dream.

A few weeks later I had another dream that I was hanging out in the house and all of the new owners’ relatives started showing up with furniture and started yelling at me and threatening to call the cops. Again, I had forgotten that this was no longer ‘our house’ (yes, I am way crazier than I let on).

I don’t have to be a therapist to know that the loss of this house is obviously effecting me more than I realized. I have never lived without this home – quite something for someone of ‘my age’. This is where I grew up, where the family gathered, where my mom planted. And planted. And planted. Where my history lived in the walls. And although my current home has been in my life almost half as long as this one has, there is something unnerving about losing this place.

I know ‘home’ is not the building. And Lord knows I have brought enough of the stuff from that house here (anyone want to help me go through 14 crates of photos). It is hard to explain how I feel.

Maybe it is simply the knowledge that I can’t go home again.

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Filed under aging parents, grief, homeowner, loss, real estate, Time to Cry Tuesdays

Time to Cry Tuesday – Olympic Ribbon Curling

ribbon-curling

If ribbon curling were an Olympic sport, my mom would have surely taken home the gold. This woman lived to wrap packages. When the holidays came around she was in all her glory.

Today, being the first night of Hanukkah, I needed to do a little last minute wrapping and went in search of a scissor. There in my kitchen drawer I found one that I had rescued from her house when I was cleaning it out. I thought to myself, ‘just like Elaine to have a floral scissor.’ And then I remembered that I had bought it for her. Perhaps as part of a Hanukkah present one year. This actually looks like her!

At that moment I was so thrilled to have saved this item. There were so many things I had to let go of, but there are special little everyday items of hers that I have sprinkled around my house to remind me of her. Every room has a little bit of Elaine in it. My brother and dad notice when they are here. Hopefully it gives them the same comfort it gives me.

There is no real need to have her ‘things’ around, other than to make my home feel like hers did. She is everywhere I go, in everything I do. So much of her lives in me now. And I am proud to carry out her traditions, both big and small, to honor the type of mother she was. Again, I hope this gives my family comfort.

Let me tell you, that crazy ribbon curler would be damn proud of what her scissor and I turned out on that package tonight.

How lovely to share a little bit of Elaine on the first night of Hanukkah.

Happy and healthy to those of you who are of the tribe.

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Filed under holidays, moms, Time to Cry Tuesdays

Time To Cry Tuesday – Graduation (the final one)

danny-grad
A graduation post? Again? Didn’t I just do one of these? I suppose three years could be considered ‘just’ in some circles.

Each time my kids donned a cap and gown, I came here to share the overwhelming emotions attached to watching one’s child ‘grow up’.

There was Jana’s HS graduation; my first experience of letting go. I reread it today and it seemed like both yesterday and 100 years ago. (yes, I cried)

Danny’s HS graduation post brought back the memory of the pending empty nest (which by they way empties and fills again a few times before it is truly vacant). For some reason that was the first of two posts where I had an overwhelming emotional experience in a Starbucks. What the hell is that all about? (Yes, I cried again)

Then there was Jana’s college graduation. I marveled at the woman we had grown as I continue to do every day (yeh, more tears).

So many milestones, so many emotions.

But this time we finally got it right. Instead of all that overwhelming emotion, our graduation trip was a true celebration. We simply had fun! And although I felt very sentimental about leaving Madison after 7 years, I was more excited about my second child starting his life. Danny, in his matter-of-fact, self-assured manner, set the tone. He cut us the slack to be proud but kept the reigns tight on not making it all too big. We have simply had way too much big this past year, and he knew that. With humility and confidence he taught us how to do what he does best… be here now, go with the flow and most of all – enjoy life. (with shades on, of course).

Sure there were mixed emotions, how could one not miss a town with this view that had flyers for a band named Diarrhea Planet and reverse evolution graffiti on the sidewalk. This place is awesome. And my kids are more awesome for having lived there. But all things change. And change is good.

Here is my net of it all:

When your kids first leave for college it feels like an amputation. You think you are losing something you can never get back. You worry about your life changing drastically. Your heart aches as your head is telling you to knock it off and lose the drama. You dread your parental obsolescence.

Here – on the other side – you realize that your kids are not part off you, they enhance you. And you them. You never lose them, for no matter where they live they share their lives with you. Your life will change drastically, and that is a good thing… if you kept going at that custodial parenting pace much longer you would explode. And being someone again, instead of someone’s parent is the natural progression. Let’s face it, you have stuff to do!

Sure your heart will ache from time to time as you watch them struggle and grow, but it is a good ache. It is the physical manifestation of how much you love them. Just like when they were little, they will most certainly fall. The hard part is not trying to fix it for them when they do.

But most of all, parental obsolescence is simply a contradiction in terms. They will always need you, just differently. It’s all good.

Congrats Danny boy, thanks for the best weekend ever. You make us so very proud.

Every.

Single.

Day.

Now go out and be all you can be (and be careful).

 

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Filed under advice to my son, college, danny, education, family, graffiti, moms, music, relationships, Time to Cry Tuesdays

Time to Cry Tuesdays – Grieving is not for Sissies

sod

I know, quite a blog post title to resurface with, but hey, it’s Tuesday. What do you expect?

I like to find the humor in most situations. This grief thing is surely putting a damper on my style, but I work hard at trying to find a way to laugh when I can.

Today I have hit new heights. Amongst the odds and ends of things on my to-do list today, snuggled nicely between ‘call to have the sprinkler system serviced’ and ‘fax e-file forms back to the accountant’ sat this ominous listing:

Call the cemetery to inquire about the sod issue.

Really? The sod issue? Why should there be an issue about sod when we are talking about a grave. Should grass not be a given? Shouldn’t our lowest expectation of a cemetery be that they would lay some sod on a final resting place (Yes, I realize this sounds like a cemetery marketing piece) Apparently not, because they told my Dad that they only lay sod in the fall. So, I decided to call them myself and get to the bottom of this.

First call yielded a recording:

We are experiencing unusually high call volume at this time. Please try again later. (seriously!!!! People dying to get in today… ba dum bum)

Second try:

Me: I am calling about having sod put down on a grave for an unveiling* in June.

Her: I am sorry, we only lay sod in the fall. If we lay it in the spring and we have a hot day, it burns. And we care for it if we put it down.

Me: Were we told that last spring at the funeral (as if we would remember). Or did you send us a notice, like ‘hey, if you don’t want a dirt grave for your loved one you need to order sod in the fall’

Her: No, we don’t.

Me: Hmmm, you might want to consider putting that in your packet. Can we put down our own sod?

Her: Yes, but you will have to take care of it.

Me: Do you have a sprinkler system (yes, after I said that I realized it is probably unlikely and frowned upon to start digging in a cemetery, but I had a momentary loss of rational thought from this conversation)

Her: We do not. Your other option is that you can wait till the fall and we can rent you a grass matt for the unveiling for $10 a square…

with this I sort of lost my mind and said:

Me: Are you kidding me?! More fees! This is like a Larry David.

Her: Who is Larry David?

Me: OMG… Seinfeld? The Larry David Show? Ring a bell?

Her: Oh, never heard of him. Never watched it.

Me: That’s too bad. Ok, so basically you are telling me that my father, who is in his mid 80s, will have to lay sod himself on his wife’s grave so we don’t have to look at the same raw dirt that was there the day of the funeral. And if we want said sod to stay alive, we should drive there a couple of times a week from Long Island to New Jersey to water it. And this you do not find both horrifying and hysterical at the same time.

Her: Well, when you put it that way…

Me:  You should REALLY see if you can find re-runs of Larry David.

Yeh, grieving is not for sissies, indeed.

*Unveiling: Within the first year after the passing of a loved one, mourners and their family gather at the gravesite for a ceremony called the Unveiling, the placing of the tombstone. At this event, a grave marker is put into place and the monument is formally dedicated.

Source: shiva.com. (who knew there was such a url?)

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Filed under humor, loss, religion, Time to Cry Tuesdays, Uncategorized

Time to Cry Tuesday – The Flying of Time

boy-grows-up

Time flies. Where did the years go? How could he be so old? All those cliché lines of motherhood… why do I roll my eyes at these sometimes and at others they bring me to my knees?

Today I am teetering. Yes, I am more emotional than usual these days. And yes, having him home during the hardest 3 months of my life has been both a comfort and a joy. But the straw that broke this mamas floodgate today was this yearbook ad I did for my son when he graduated HS (yeh, it is both a blessing and a curse to have a mom who is a graphic designer). I came across it today on my Pinterest motherhood board (don’t make fun, I work in the mom blogger market). 

That ever-changing face. The same one that now sports a scruffy beard and fronts such a level head for an almost 21-year-old. This boy has turned into a man that I am so proud to say I raised. Part luck, part skill, parenting him has been such an amazing ride.

I am watching him this week between an internship and the journey back for his senior year in college. Gone are my days of checklists and phone calls, Bed Bath and Fed Ex, doctors appointments and errands. He has his list and he is checking things off as they are complete. He may not handle it the way I would (seriously, Dan, are you really moving into an apartment you have NEVER seen?), but he handles it all.

Also gone are the butterflies I used to get when my children would leave. Volumes are written this time of year about the leaving of the nest – but not many write about being comfortable with the dance. If we do our job correctly, they are good to go. And we should be ok with that, even if we get a little weepy during the transitions.

While perusing the motherhood board (for work, I swear!), I came across this quote that says it all for me:

It is easier to build a boy than it is to mend a man.

– Mahatma Gandhi

He is surely ‘letting his life proceed by its own design‘, of that I am quite certain. But he is using the foundation we built to spring from. And that is all any parent can ever hope for.

Faring thee well, my (man)boy, faring the well.

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Filed under advice to my son, college, danny, parenting, Time to Cry Tuesdays, wisconsin

Time to Cry Tuesday – The Honoree

Before I begin this post I would like to show my respect for the people of Boston for suffering such a blow, and say that I am so very grateful that my Boston family and friends are safe. In respect for this tragedy, I will refrain from the all-too-popular opportunistic tragedy blogging.

fun-fabOk, I am sure she thought she would escape my sentimentality. No ad from me in the journal, no video appearance, no public speech… this chick thought she was home free.

Not on your life, sistah!

This past weekend a dear friend was honored by a wonderful organization; one I have been involved in since its inception. It is an org that is close to both our hearts. She was asked to be the honoree because anyone in their right mind could see the fundraising opp tattooed on her arse. She is completely uncomfortable being the center of attention, but agreed more to help raise the big bucks and make a difference, than for the personal glory.

Humility. A quality so rarely seen. Especially in someone who has done so much for so many. Selflessly. Charmingly. With grace and a spirit of nonchalance. As if we all do these things everyday. Never asking for credit – at times actually giving it to others. And with that crazy smile on her face and infectious spirit that sweeps you up in her whirling dervish of excitement to the point where you never dare to say no to her. Nor do you want to. She wisely picks and chooses the times that she will actually ask. But even when she doesn’t, you find yourself offering to help because she makes it so damn appealing.

I truly believe there is nothing she cannot make happen. And if there is, don’t tell her. Or me.

So here’s to you, my friend.  My heart was so full on Saturday night, seeing you finally get the recognition you deserve. Not because you asked for it.

But because you didn’t.

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Filed under friendship, Time to Cry Tuesdays

Time to Cry Tuesday – Disappointment

disappointment

Disappointment… such a lousy emotion. It comes tethered to expectations and rears its ugly head out of nowhere when you think you have ‘it’ all handled.  I have tried my best to manage expectations to avoid this nasty sucker. But sometimes shit happens, you are at its mercy, and it takes you down.

Big time.

To make it short and avoid a pity party, I have managed high blood pressure. It has been controlled for a long time, went a little wacky back in the fall and got back on track. Then I had a reaction to some meds that made me feel very ill and caused my ankle to swell (of course the one I sprained a while back) and the switch of meds set me on a BP roller coaster I do not wish on my worst enemy.

The net: I could not fly. And what was I supposed to do… you bet. Fly. To Spain. To see my boy who is studying abroad. Who I have not seen since January. On a trip we had planned forever. At a time when we really needed a break. On the first real vacation in many, many years. That we can’t reschedule. Not life shattering, just a piece of life that I can’t get back. One of the really fun pieces.

I am coming out the other side of this huge disappointment and all I can do is run through my head all of the things I have told my kids over the years when their expectations were shattered:

  1. Sometimes you just have to feel like crap.
  2. Misery gives happiness context.
  3. Everything happens for a reason and sometimes we don’t find out what that reason is for a long time.
  4. Who you are when things suck says more about you than who you are when they are great.
  5. Sometimes its not fair. Period.

On the other end of that wisdom I was fully aware of how annoying that wisdom could be. (sorry kids)

Until a friend of mine posted a favorite Maya Angelou quote that made me smile and think about who I really want to be:

“I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.”

Even a Jewish girl gets the last one.

So if you see me knocking on a christian neighbor’s door asking to borrow their christmas lights in the rain wearing the same thing for 2 days in a row, you will know that it is just an exercise.

As is all of life.

 

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Filed under danny, family, Time to Cry Tuesdays, travel