Saturday, May 30, 2009

Little League

Determination, strong work ethics, perseverance... just 3 of several standards of Little League.

Then there's the other side of the coin.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

3 Beautiful Things

My gratitude journal for May 18 - 24, 2009:

1. enjoying a gorgeous long weekend with lots of time off
2. seeing the magnificent oriole (plus hearing him sing)

3. finding a beautiful spot by the falls to read while my men fished

Life is good when you can get outside and enjoy the beauty of this fine planet.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Let the Music Play

Every now & then I think about it. The hair on the back of my neck feels prickly and the goose bumps on my arms swell. I shiver, mostly in fear, thinking about the inevitable I will face someday. Yet at the same time I think about how liberating it will be when I get there. I mean, when I, myself, go.

I just want to go first, not after them. Like my sister.

For many parents, it's our greatest fear; outliving our children. And for me it became a reality I witnessed with ironic torment. I had just barely given birth to my first child when my sister's first child was taken.

To this day, I am still rattled by the cruelty of this vicious cycle.
There are days that the reality floods over me like a tidal wave, knocking me down, sucking out my breath, choking me as I swallow the filthy water of his death.

I miss him and wonder, especially as I spend time with his siblings, what he'd be doing with his life today had the chord not been cut.

Like a
crescendo, his music stopped. The song remains the same, but the melody is different ~ more melancholy.

Our world changed forever. And no matter how many years pass, our ears will always ring with the sound of his silence.

Now, as I lay quietly next to them in their restful slumber, listening to the rhythm of their gently breathing, I pray that my sons will be bound for a long, productive journey, with me & Hubby watching in the wings, until the day our music stops.

grave Pictures, Images and Photos
Happy Memorial Day

Sunday, May 17, 2009

3 Beautiful Things 59/365

My gratitude journal for May 10-16, 2009:

1. baseball victories for both Nut & Birdie
2. the many fruit trees in bloom throughout the yard
3. quality time with family, especially Jason

Life is good when you've got so much to be grateful for...

Graduation Day

Yesterday was little Lex's graduation day. From college.

I swear it was just yesterday that my sister told me she was pregnant with her baby girl. Then again wasn't it just recently when we all sat in the audience to watch her baby's dance recital? And was it really 4 years ago that our baby girl put on her cap & gown for her high school graduation?

Now our baby girl is finished with school and ready to face the real world with her degree in business management.

Lexie Lu, the spitting image of her mother, has captivated us all. So it's not surprising that so many of us were there to celebrate her commencement.

I was glad that the rain came down with such vengeance, thereby postponing Birdie's game, so we could get an earlier start on the 2 hour ride to the party. We had all come from many miles away to be there for Lex; my mother from Florida, my father from Pennsylvania, my nephew from Oregon, my "twin" & me from northern VT. The only ones missing were our 3 brothers, who all live too far to join us.

What a wonderful day we had, being together and catching up with one another. None of us had seen Jason since 2005, so it was a wonderful surprise to have him there. In fact, my boys hardly remembered him. They were 6 & 4 back then.

It struck me funny to see my boys with their maternal cousins, who all except one are young adults ranging from 21 - 27 years old. Funny because all of us sisters had our children so far apart, despite only being 4 years apart ourselves. My oldest sister had her first child in 1977 and I had my first child 21 years later.

Yet the bonds of family are not tainted with distance or time. The boys love their aunts & cousins despite the lack of an everyday connection with them. I especially enjoyed Graduation Day. There truly is nothing better than spending time with the people you love.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Everyday Battles

Last night I watched Farrah's Story on NBC and went to bed very melancholy. It really opened my eyes to how much I take my health for granted. And the health of my family as well.

Cancer is so evil, so sly, so potent.

I was humbled by how well Farrah is dealing with all of this, while witnessing the downward spiral of her son, Redmond, whom she adores. Her spirit is strong despite her weakening body. She remains positive & optimistic, hopeful that her tenacity will outlast her cancer.

I was also struck by how much medication Farrah has to take to fight this vicious disease. The fact that she has travelled to Germany several times for highly specialized treatment not performed in the US was also very enlightening.

There are days that I walk through my life in a haze, commiserating about the small stuff that worries me. Now, after watching Farrah's battle with Cancer, I have a new found respect for the life God has given me.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Still proudly wearing the Black & Gold

Last night was a real bummer. I was so hoping that the Boston Bruins would pull off a win, after being down in the series 3-1 versus the Carolina Hurricanes. But with 1:14 left in overtime, the Hurricanes' resident goon scored a tip-in goal for the victory. Uuuuuuuugh!

I had a hard time falling asleep, partly because I was disappointed, partly because I knew the boys would be bummed when they watched the highlights on NESN, and partly because my asinine BIL had to call (at 11:25pm) to rub my face in it. (I had the last laugh though, since the Bruins played 7 more games and finished with a respectable record compared to his beloved Canadiens. Haaa!)

Although I've never played competitive sports, I've become very passionate when routing for my teams, especially when the boys are part of them. Yet ever since I met several of the Bruins' players at training camp, I have fallen in love with hockey. I still cannot always follow the puck as it whizzes across the ice, but I can sense when something is abreast or afoul. And last night I knew that puck was going in.

Alas, in all sports, there is always one winner & one loser. Life hasn't been irevocably changed. I have learned that it's not worth losing sleep over... It's just a game!

The greatest accomplishment is not in never falling,
but in rising again after you fall.
~~Vince Lombardi

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Metamorphosis of Our Gang

My parents were busy bees in way back in the late 50's & 60's because they were chasing around 6 children. As I've said before, I was the youngest of the brood; 3 boys & 3 girls. We were all about a year apart, born between November 1956 & December 1962.

I cannot imagine what it was like for my mother to have all of those cloth diapers to change and wash. I say my mother because I'm pretty sure that my dad didn't help too much with the children, other than discipline & a little playtime. I will give him credit for being a good provider, though, because I do not recall ever wanting for much.

Anyways, as I was growing up I remember feeling like I could lean on my oldest sister for anything. She was always so mature... so ready willing & able to face anything head on. I came to rely on her instead of my mother in some ways, probably because Mom seemed so harried with managing the mounds of laundry, the endless chores & everything else mothers do.

The fun I had was with my youngest brother, who was a couple years older than me. We were usually sent outside to fend for ourselves for the day so we'd head to the backwoods for some wild adventures. I was afraid to go far from the house, but when we were together he somehow managed to venture off in the deep, always finding something new to explore around every bend, with me trailing just a feet feet behind.

Many of the memories of my childhood stem from being with my "twin", though. My sister, Lauren, was only 15 months older than me yet, for the longest time, Mom dressed us alike. We'd wear the same sundresses, the same sandals, the same everything... just different colors. She was a beautiful little chocolate haired cherub of a girl with bright blue eyes and I was the towheaded pixie.

We were always close and today we only live about 30 minutes from each other. Nevertheless we have busy lives that rarely bring us together. My other sister & I don't talk much, and our relationship grew cool over the years. My brothers all live in different states and none keeps in touch.

I admit that I hate the holidays. I see families all around me giddy with the excitement of being together, reminiscing about the good times and the antics of growing up with a big family. This, unfortunately, is something I've never experienced. So when I hear my boys bickering and wishing they were an only child, my heart aches.

As another Mother's Day passes, I realize how sapless most holidays are in our house. So it is my hope that, going forward, we invest more time to celebrate, not just the occasion, but the love & camaraderie of a real family.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The best job I've ever had

I originally posted this on MySpace, so now I'll repeat it here.

Free Orkut and My Space Mothers Day Graphics Glitters

You will find as you look back upon your life,
that the moments when you have really lived,
are the moments when you have done things
in the spirit of love.
~ Henry Drummond

I firmly believe down deep in my heart that the first time I ever felt the true meaning of unconditional love was the moment I gave birth to my first baby.

When I was pregnant with my second child, I wondered how I could EVER love this next child as much as the first. I cried many tears before my little guy came into my world because I didn't want the magic that I had with baby number one to end or become clouded.

But the love for each child is very unique; there are no favorites, just differences in how the love is connected and expressed.

More than a decade later, that love has deepened and intensified by the day. There are times that I don't like my children's behavior, but the love and respect I have for them will never diminish. It's etched deep in my soul.

What I know for sure is that I would give my life to spare my child any pain or grief. Being a mother is the most rewarding, and heart wrenching, relationship I have ever experienced. And the best job I've ever had!

The only thing I imagine that will exceed my love for my sons is the love I will have for my grandchildren. I am so looking forward to the day when my children experience their own unconditional love as a parent.

I hope that I'll live long enough to love my great-grandchildren, too! Meanwhile... I thank God for giving me the privilege of motherhood.

And to those who don't yet have children, I never believed the testimony of mothers who were smitten by their kids, but believe me now when I say… the best is yet to come.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

3 Beautiful Things 58/365

My gratitude journal for May 3 - May 9, 2009:

1. only needing to get up extra early once this week
2. finding the book I thought I lost
3. finishing the book before my 1st club mtg

Life is good when you don't feel stressed.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

It wasn't meant to be a trick question

I've always believed that if you want answers, you have to ask direct questions. So I did. And she didn't respond.

I'm frustrated by the imbalance between being a full-time mother and being a part-time peon. They've known for eight years that I will never compromise my family's needs and it was never an issue.

But, all of a sudden, something has changed. Of course, it's the corporate office's fault. Corporate Office = highly-paid-know-it-all-bean-counting-fat-cat-hot-shots.

If I didn't need to work, I'd tell them where they can shove their "corporate" excuses then never look back. But, in this dismal economy, with everyone around me losing their jobs left & right, I know I need to suck it up for now, work the crappy shifts I get, & pretend it doesn't bother me.

What effing annoys me about the whole thing is that we had a similar conversation less than 8 weeks ago. Everything was hunky dory then. We were on the same page. She understood what & why my priorities are because "when [her] kids were young, [she] made motherhood a top priority, too."

Fast forward to the last 3 weeks, when the schedules were posted and the prime shifts (that used to have my name on them) were given to the new cashiers, one that has been there only 2 weeks!

Did I mention I've been there 8 years? Evidently, seniority counts for absolutely nothing. I suppose Corporate wrote that bullcrap policy, too.

So I've got a new strategy. As of tomorrow, I will only be able to work my required 20 hours over three days thereby satisfying the policy regarding my benefit classification. Period. No more. No less.

And if that doesn't work, maybe I need to have a little conversation with the District Manager the next time we meet at the ballpark and get HER take on this.

Meanwhile I'll remind myself of this philosophy :
Determination gives you the resolve to keep going
in spite of the roadblocks that lay before you.
~Denis Waitley

Monday, May 4, 2009

3BT Things 57/365

My gratitude journal for time period 4/26 - 5/2/2009:

1. nice weather for Little League opening day
2. recognition for both boys re: their hard work on the fundraiser

3. one fantastic victory and one close game with signs of promise

Life is good when everyone leaves the ballpark happy.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Out there

There's always someone out there ready to knock you off balance... like the people you consider friendly acquaintances who obviously turn up their nose as you walk by or turn their head to avoid eye contact.

The other day I was chatting with a couple of friends about how awkward it can be to stroll through life, especially in a small town with all of it's ugly politics. You can find yourself befuddled by the measurement of your designated status.

Who dictates this kind of hierarchy? And what makes these people think that others don't notice their pretension?

Like the mom who drove her 2nd grader to school in their Porsche... or the 4th grader who went around school threatening to peg baseballs at his younger rivals... or the crowd who goes suddenly silent as you enter the room.

All I want to do is go to work to earn a few bucks, go to the game to watch my boys play and go about my day to somehow make a small difference.

I do not live my life proclaiming my value based on the car I drive, the clothes I wear, the money I make, or the people in my social circle.

And those who think otherwise have not taken the time to truly get to know me.

Pursue your dream

Pursue your dream
Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.