Yeh, that’s me. At six.
Six was pretty perfect. Obviously from this picture I was sure I was all that. This is such an amazing shot. Hey, it got over 50 likes on Facebook in less than 24 hours! I told Gary today I think I might have peaked at six!
All kidding aside, I had the most amazing childhood. And this picture seems to embody it all. I know those are my eyes. I remember her. The way she lounged on that couch and maybe ate a little chocolate pudding out of one of those fabulous green square glass bowls. Or one of the white milk glass ones with the gold rim. My brother and I didn’t realize that this life was not the norm at the time, but as we grow older we appreciate how wonderful it was to grow up in our house.
And now that house has sort of outlived its happiness for our family. It’s not that it has lost its beautiful memories, it is just time. The master of its charm has left the building, and so now, must the contents of a lifetime. It’s an interesting task. One that uncovers the treasures of the past buried amongst the bowling balls, slide projectors and ice skates from the 1960s. I have just begun, and I am sure there will be many tears and equally as many laughs as we dismantle what was for me, the most wonderful place on earth.
Thanks Dad, for giving me this task. Don’t feel bad about it. Don’t worry about the time it will take. You know this is my process. And you have earned the rest.
What does worry me a little is that closet in the garage, though. Mom always told me if she had a third child after raising me she would lock it in the garage closet… she was kidding, right?
Sometimes life feels this way. Things happen that throw us completely off kilter. Up is down indeed.
I am big on watching for signs; seeing what is around me and trying to take something away from everything I see.
On my daily early morning walk, soon after the most ‘up is down’ experience of my life, I came across this painted in the street. I had to smile. Perhaps the person responsible for this did not have me in mind, but it is no coincidence that it was smack in the middle of my path that day.
Each day afterwards I would pass this in the street, and with each day, it started to fade ever so slightly… not unlike the feeling that I had.
Today, after a weekend of almost normal – or as normal as it could be, or perhaps the new normal – I looked down, and there was my up is down message, faded almost to obscurity.
Had I not known it was there I would never have seen it.
This weekend someone told me a little story about loss. Someone had lost someone close to them and when asked how he was he said that although he was getting used to his life he was still holding on to that feeling of loss. That somehow there was something so very special about still having that feeling. And when the feeling has faded it will seem almost sadder.
I get that. And all I can add to that is that the signs will always be there, they may fade and be invisible to those who are not feeling them, but those of us who are, know they will always be there.
This weekend, a young woman made not only the love of her life happy, but his entire family as well.
My nephew – the firstborn grandchild – asked his girlfriend to marry him. Not to get all Sunrise Sunset on him, but this one is huge for me. He was the first little guy to win my heart. The first baby that I held and felt my own blood run through his veins. The first little person that made me stop and think, holy crap, this procreation thing is something I could definitely subscribe to.
My brother and I vowed to not let long distance prevent us from being a big part of each other’s kid’s lives. When they were young, we took the trek back and forth as much as we could, to make sure the kids knew each other. And it worked. The four cousins have a bond that will carry them through a lifetime. And a not so great memory of always having to go to the bathroom on the Staten Island Expressway.
Now the gift of one more amazing young woman has been given to us in his bride-to-be. Corny? Shit yeah! And I don’t care. For she is all I could hope he would find in a spouse. Times 10. The look on his face when he is with her, the way they share their lives already, the respect and joy that you feel when they are around… that is the foundation you dream of for the ones you love.
So, Matt and Carolyn, I wish you a wonderful life together. I love you both to pieces.
I saw this post on Kickstarter today and it made me cry… because you know, it’s Tuesday. AND Valentine’s Day. Double hit.
A book by Lauren Fleishman, Love Ever After will share the love stories of couples who have been married for at least 50 years. Inspired by a letter her grandfather wrote to hergrandmother during World War II (and rediscovered after he passed away in 2007), she began photographing and interviewing couples in the New York area as a way to preserve their stories and to illuminate our universal experience of love.
After just spending a few days in Florida visiting my parents who have been married OVER 60 YEARS, I do believe in love ever after. Listening to them talk about the way they feel about each other after all these years is the main reason I remain a hopeless romantic. (Yeh, this shot is a killer, right?) I can only hope that Gary will refrain from running me over with his car for the next 34 years so we can hit that milestone.
Is it me? Tell me that no one else sees these things on a regular basis. It is uncanny how they present themselves to me; and so often in the early hours of the morning when Mel and I are walking (note her little paw in the bottom right corner of the photo).
The owner of this van was about to get into it when I stopped him and asked if I could please photograph his license plate (yes I actually asked this time). He sort of smiled sheepishly and told me that women love this. I asked who ordered it, him or his wife and he gave me a sweet little evasive smile.
I sent it to Gary. This was our conversation later in the day:
Me: Did you get my email?
Me: Funny, right?
Gary: Did you ask the guy if his wife was carrying his penis around in her pocket all day?
Gotta love my husband. Or should I say LUVMYHUSBAND.
Danny at 8 years-old, maybe
Scene: Sitting in a client meeting in the middle of an extremely busy (out of the basement) day.
Quick glance and my son’s number comes up. I excuse myself for a moment and explain I am concerned as he rarely calls. Texts, sure, but call… this could be serious.
Me: Hey man, everything ok?
Danny: Yeh, sure.
Danny: Just called to say Happy Valentine’s Day.
Time to Cry Tuesday… enough said.
Home. It’s more than just a house. Sometimes it is not even the ‘right’ house. Certainly not the dream house. But definitely home. With its drafty windows, ancient kitchen and not enough space… I still take comfort within these walls.
This is the place where the kids came home from the hospital and now come home from college. Where I walked the floors with them as teething, croupy, bronchitis babies and walked the floors again alone waiting to hear that garage door open when they started to drive.
And now this house – that has been so quiet these past months – is starting to come back alive with laundry and the smell of bacon. One kid home, first with a stomach virus and then a with her boyfriend. (21-year-olds get better quickly). And the other kid will be home before Tuesday comes to a close.
Not only have my children been gone, but their friends have been missed almost as much. I cannot wait for the door to open to those man-boys who love yodels and hug me till I almost fall over. Who initial the fruit and leave notes in the cup cakes and whose humor keeps me laughing all night long. I long for a foyer full of big sneakers and the shouting of video games in the basement. I can’t wait to have a late night kitchen full of young women who want to bake and hear all the plans of the lives they will soon enter when they graduate. I am thrilled to line this house with air mattresses and make breakfast for the masses.
There is now life in rooms that since the summer laid silent. And if these walls could talk they would tell the tales of a family that has grown up here. The years seem to echo in these walls, and as I walk through them things catch my eye that make me smile. For instance, the photo above brings me back 20 years. That would be a drip of Baby Tylenol on the wall in my daughter’s room. We have painted it twice since then, but it would appear that Tylenol trumps Benjamin Moore and it keeps bleeding through. It is a reminder of the strong will she had as a baby that serves her so well as a young woman.
If these walls could talk they would tell you that maybe this family never got to upgrade their house, but they have certainly built themselves a warm, solid place filled with love that they can always call home.
To my beautiful kids: don’t believe what they say…. You can ALWAYS go home again.
Happy Thanksgiving all. May you and your families feel at home no matter where you may be. And may your turkey not be pink when you carve it.