Tag Archive | family

Uncle Mark #wemissyou

You were involved in some many firsts, although not *that* one lol. You were the first grown up friend we made, one outside of family, school or church. 

You called us the Katzenjammer Kids.

We called you Uncle Mark.

Which is utterly ridiculous because you were only 5 years older than us.

But you had a house. We were in our early twenties, and that seemed so far away. That’s the only thing I can think of, because you were wholly and unapologetically there for us. 

We met at Danny’s, of all places. In Milpitas, off Calaveras. It was our non bar hangout, and your dinner stop on your commute home from work. I still order the Super Bird, with a side of ranch. Dipping it makes all the difference,

You weren’t one of my college buddies, but we talked about everything. From motorcycles to midevil knights, books and bars. Your interests were so wide ranging, I think you could talk to anyone about everything. 

You found love, and lost love. Always painfully, and sadly, once, tragically. And yet you still believed, still put yourself out there. And found it again, with Lyn. I could tell when I met her that she was going to be good for you. That twinkle was back in your eye. You, Sir Knight, had found a Lady worthy of your wooing and you enjoyed it.

I didn’t make it to your funeral. Damp, winding roads scared me too much. Instead, I did something I know you’ll approve of. I went and spoiled my great nephew, visiting from afar and sicker than a dog. He napped while I dropped the stuff off, but spoiling doesn’t happen because you need approval. It happens because they need to be spoiled. 

Regina and I will miss you terribly, Uncle Markypoo.But we know that when you see you again, you’ll share all the best spots with us and have some amazing stories for us.

Santa Mom

I felt my mom close to me this weekend, as if she were with me while I shopped. She was there as I found the special soup spoons she used when we were sick, and the babmoo grippers thingees that she used to pull toast out when it got stuck in the toaster. She was there with me in a tractor supply store (don’t ask), as I started bawling.

I started bawling, the first time, because of a day planner. The year my mom died, she kept a day planner, and used the spaces for days of the week as a sort of journal. The comings and goings of us kids, all grown, and her little trips with dad… all in the little journal. Some weeks were full to the brim. Some only had a few filled out.

Then she died.

I couldn’t look at that blank planner, so I started filling it in for her. Comings and goings, a little glimpse into life right after she died. It was 20 or so years ago, but I still remember that journal. I think I still have it somewhere. But I know it. I know the cover, i know the feel of it, and I know what it looked like on the inside.

And in the tractor supply store, right with all the calendars… was a copy of that same damn planner, only for 2017. Same. Damn. One.

I bought it. I will put it into my stocking, and I will write in it. Buying it means that I now have 2 but one will be for my writing and one will be for my adventures in mommyhood.with my boy.

And then Walmart happened.

In talking with a friend, I told her I don’t know why I’m so emotional today. I don’t know why this is happening, but…

But I’m tired of being the one to do for everyone. I do stockings for everyone in the house, because Mom did. Because to me, that stocking shows time and attention and love. Dad used to do mine, and help with his current wife’s stocking… but since the stroke (and maybe a little before), it hasn’t happened.

I know every single present that is currently under the tree.

Even mine.

And it sucks. Because my son would love to do it for me. And wanted to. But I didn’t think to think outside the little house. But next year, next year… I have 2 different people who have said that they will take him out shopping for me, and help him do my stocking too.

Friends and family are a blessing. But sometimes, you have to stop being so strong and powering through… at least enough to ask for help.

I fell Mom close to me right now. Not just because of the stuff, but because of people willing to come together and help out.

Love you guys.

If you know someone who is a single parent, if the child is old enough, offer to take them shopping for their parent. Both the child and the single parent will appreciate it. Being strong and keeping it together, especially under the pressure of making the perfect holiday is tough.

 

 

Christmas Card Explosion

I think I’ve sent out well over 50 Christmas cards so far. At first, it was 14 ( or 15) for a great group I belong to plus those family and friends that I had their addresses for. That was a total of… 40 something.

Big family.

But then I did something different. I went on Facebook and tagged a whole ton of people, telling them to PM me their addresses so I could send more. I’m still getting responses, one today from a very dear friend I’d lost contact with.

She’s getting a letter. SSSHHH. Don’t tell her.

One friend PM’d me and said “You didn’t tag me, but I’d love to have a little good mail.” I may have also mentioned random cards that I send out. I always try to write my auntie, and then a few other cards to other people. My little rays’ of sunshine going out to the world.

Apparently, people need more sunshine. I’m willing in my own little way to give it to them not just at Christmas time, but all through out the year.That’s my challenge for myself and for you for 2017.

Go forth and spread your sunshine. The way you make people feel special may be different than mine. That’s ok. The sunshine in Hawaii is great, as it is in Santa Cruz, Ohio, Florida and every place on earth.

Spread those rays, let the sunshine out.

Sadly, Saturday Night

And I’m at home, sitting on my computer, talking to you.

But that’s ok. I like talking.

Saturday nights are almost always a little melancholy for me. My son is off with his father, catching up on bonding time, which is needed. He deserves to know his dad, to spend time with him. I’m not a big dater, tho… and so often the Princeling is my sidekick.

So. And so. Nothing new with single parents out there, right?

Earlier today, the Princeling and I had a blast. We went up to Sac to attend a Kids Day event at Madison Avenue Baptist Church. Lots of giggles, and fun to be had there. I had a nice conversation with the pastor, talking about what I feel is my calling versus what people think I should be doing. (That’s another post— maybe tomorrow)

Then it was the long ride back, and to the mall. We went to the book store, where I buy cards. Yes. I buy my cards that I send letters in at Barnes and Noble. So far, they have the best selection that I’ve found. I may have also found a book or two to keep me company this weekend 🙂  Then we went to Best Buy to exchange his tablet– great customer service there, especially when you consider I had lost the receipt (shopping tip: use your card at this store– they can find your purchase by scanning it again).

But then, after hours of fun time, it was time to drop him off with his dad. It’s a holiday weekend, so I won’t see him until late Monday night. On the way home, I went to my brother’s house and went out to dinner with his wife.

When I got home I took a nap. Sadly, Saturday Night does not call on me to go out to bars, out on dates, or such like it does others. I need a place to go…. you know that Facebook meme, about an all night bookstore? I could go for that. Or maybe a mom’s Saturday Night writing group— sadly not one near me. I could try and start one… but then when I would write to you? And I do tell myself that I will write on Saturday nights… but it’s a lie I tell myself.

Sunday morning. When the world is bright and happy again. I’ll probably go to my library, which is open on Sundays. Maybe down to the river… who knows?

I do know that the Sadly Saturday blues are only temporary. They will fade when the sun breaks over the horizon and I’ll be back to my normal, cheerful self.

For now… I’m going to watch some Disney Movies (Wreck it Ralph currently, then maybe Frozen) and see….

 

Are you a single parent? What parts of it make you melancholy?

 

 

Year of living dangerous/ Year of stupidity

So many things happened this week. One of which was I watched part of Shonda Rhime’s Ted talk about her year of saying yes. And I thought about that a lot. About saying yes to things, conquering my fear and doing things anyways.

My sister, niece & her family were here for a week. They went to Santa Cruz (my happy place!), San Francisco (I haven’t been in sooo long!). And I worked. The green eyed monster reared its ugly head. Which led me to some ugly truths.

I don’t do what I want to because at some point my fear outweighed my desire. I became paralyzed by it. I didn’t work on Thursday, and I did mostly the things I wanted to do as it was my birthday. I turned 48.

Friday, I went to pick up Ray from my brother’s house. My sister and her family were over there and she had shaved the back of her head and done a few blue streaks. My sister, who is a SENIOR CITIZEN, has been having courage all over the place. She just decided to go back to college. She shaved the back of her head and got blue streaks. She’s AMAZING.

I long for my amaze-ball self to come shining through again, too.

I don’t know if it was all things leading up to the moment, or if I was just so sleep deprived from trying to stay up and visit and still being on my regular schedule. But I had my niece L (my brother’’s daughter) shave the back of my head and give me a reverse bob. She keeps calling it some anime cut, but I just call it hot flash heaven! I was going to finish getting the tips pink, but it hasn’t happened yet because Easter.

Then yesterday, Saturday, I did a few things. Scheduled a trip to Stanford’s Pow Wow in May. Because its something I want to do and it is doable.     Came home, took a nap. Napped some more. Went to go pick up a few things and get gas.

Drove away from the pump with the nozzle still in the car.

Just so you know, apparently it happens more than you might think. They had a little form to fill out, along with costs broken out. It can be anywhere from $13 plus tax to $400.

HOLY CRAPOLA

Suddenly, it no longer felt like being fearless, conquering my fear. Suddenly, it felt like I made one bad decision after another. Exhaustion? Perhaps. Mid Life crisis gone wrong? I felt horrible, humiliated. Too old for this crap.

So I did the only thing I could. I came home and called the friend who would make me laugh about it. I think she may have wet her pants she laughed so hard. But she got me to laugh too.

And suddenly it’s just a scene in the life of. Not the plot, not a plot twist. Just a scene. I can work around that. It doesn’t have to turn my year of living dangerously into the year of stupid mistakes.

I just got the first one out of the way really really quick.

Sides of the Story

The Princeling and I spent the week up in Sacramento~ he was out of school, and since I work up there it made for a much shorter commute. I also got to stay with one of my besties and visit 🙂

On Tuesday, we went to Chick-Fill-A, as I had never been to one before.

Towards the end of our dinner out, it became obvious that someone else really liked chicken sandwiches: Fox 40 News came in to do a story on Justin Bieber being in the restaurant earlier in the day. We didn’t go there beacause of that or get goofy and try to insert ourselves into the story (I hate that), but it was interesting to watch.

The Princeling watched carefully.  When the camera woman was taking other shots, and Dennis Shanahan, the reporter, obviously had some down time, my little Prince came up with “I wonder what it’s like to be a reporter?”

I looked over, and Mr. Shanahan was not interviewing people nor talking with the camera woman. “Go ask.”

I figured he would get the “It’s great” spiel and a pat on the head. What the Princeling received, however, was a conversation about what it’s really like to be a reporter.There’s down time, but you get to meet a lot of people. And yes, there are news vans, but… and on and on.

No, my Princeling does not want to be a reporter. But he was able to interact with a professional in a way that made me proud. He learned something new, and it gave him a deeper appreciation of the news shows. Mr. Shanahan’s taking the time to speak patiently with The Princeling for those few minutes was unexpected and greatly appreciated. I have officially switch news casts, as I want to hear from a team that cares about the people around them.

Mr. Shanahan’s report is here: http://fox40.com/2016/03/15/justin-bieber-spotted-around-sacramento-before-sold-out-concert/    or you click here

The family in Chick-Fill-A towards the 1 minute mark?

Hi!

 

We had lots more fun up in Sacramento, including a trip to the capitol which… well, that post will come later in the week. There’s lots to talk about my lovelies… Till then!

 

When Nightmares Come to Visit

Halloween was my favorite non-Christmas holiday for a long time. I loved decorating my room for it, actually had boxes of Halloween decorations. It was spooky and fun: a night to pretend to be someone other than yourself, and imagining that ghouls and goblins really are around the corner. I was living with my parents, going to Cal State… when I found out that not all Halloween Nightmares end.

I did not celebrate Halloween (other than handing out candy) from the time I was 24 until I was about 38. One year, during that time, I went over to my brother’s house to hand out candy while he and his wife took the boys out trick or treating. That first night started a tradition, a way of raising a toast…

You see… my mother, she who loved the very dry and sometimes tasteless British sense of humor died on Halloween.

That particular Halloween Nightmare— you don’t ever shake. You learn to live with it, but it’s always there. I can’t remember parts of that day– I must have blacked out while picking up a chair and throwing it at a window in the hospital. I remember many friends who helped, who made phone calls and came by the house to hold my hand while I made phone calls. I also remember going to the airport to secure the flights for my sister in Missouri and my brother who at the time was in Arizona.

My friend Jackie drove me. It was a good thing she was there, because I remember wanting to punch Raggedy Ann in the face. Yes, a lady at the ticket counter, dressed as Raggedy Ann gave your good old Wynelda Ann a temper overload. Jackie quietly stepped between us, defused the situation.

When we returned to the house, it was just getting dark. Trick or Treaters were starting to swarm the streets. The neighborhood that I loved, the holiday that I adored… suddenly was way too much. As a group came up, the kids just starting to come up the drive, I told the grown ups “no Candy.”

“No candy? What’s wrong with you?!!” It was someone I knew, someone I’d known since childhood. He probably meant it in a joking matter, but I couldn’t…

“Mom just died.”

I don’t know how he did it. But there were no trick or treaters that night. None.

My soul sister came in from Reno, spent that first Halloween night with me.

After that, I couldn’t get into the spirit of dressing up, of decorating. Halloween lost its appeal for me. Slowly, the boxes of decorations disappeared.

Then came the toast. It was quite a few years after Mom had died. I was watching the house and handing out candy for my brother, Charlie. They came home, and were separating out the candy. “Hey, a Butterfinger! That was mom’s favorite candy bar!” Soon came to find out, she would con me, my dad and Charlie into buying her just one candy bar… sometimes on the same day. She was diabetic, so if we had known… well. If we had known then what we know now, we would have bought her a bag of full size bars.

SItting there, on their living room floor, Charlie, Beth and I held a toast with Butterfingers, to Mom. It’s a ritual, a tradition now. Even when all I did for Halloween was hand out candy, I always made sure that I had a Butterfinger. Sometimes alone, sometimes with family.

And the tradition spread through parts of the family.

After all that, I’m here to tell you… Sometimes nightmares come to visit, and they don’t leave. But you can learn to live with them… and start enjoying what you once loved.

Because I have a child now. He’s 9 years old. I’ve dressed him up and taken him trick or treating, but haven’t decorated beyond the general fall decorations that my dad has. That changed this year. Princeling wanted to decorate. Please mom! Please!

Love the dollar store. Love it! Halloween items were a true BOGO, and we got a bunch. Mostly stuff he chose– a mummy hand, a skull candelabra centerpiece, signs for the yard, big spider and webbing… I tried to steer him away from outright demons and ghouls, because my dad… but he had fun!

But then there’s my 2 items. That’s right. My. Two. Items. I actually found 2 things that I thought were cute. And then they needed to be mine. And they were BOGO, so how could I not? They are black and purple and witchy and sparkly and they had to be mine. I’ve started up my decorating again… Last night, we watched the Dreamworks Scary/Spooky collections on Netflix and laughed our butts off.

This morning, I’ll go over to my neice’s house and raise the toast with Princeling, the niece and her family. We’ll probably also have the toast again tonight with Pappa.

It’s hard to learn to live with your nightmare. Hard to learn to walk everyday with it.

I plan to dance with it tonight. I think Mom would like that

My wish for you is that you give yourself time to learn the steps. It isn’t easy, it isn’t nice.

Living with grief is of like trick or treaters. Sometimes you’ll get a ghoul, and sometimes it will be a princess. But you always have the power to decide which candy you’ll feed your nightmare.

And there will come a time, either soon or in the distant future, where you can dance with your nightmare and celebrate the one you’ve lost. It takes a while.It takes a lot of ugly, messy tears before you can get to the point where you can remember them with joy and not want to ball.

But you’ll get there.