Tag Archives: dad

Sorry for the Disappointment…

It’s not a Marvelous Monday today. At least not for me. I want to make it great, as we climb into our car early in the morning and head into Mass to watch the Boston Marathon (we are, and always will be, #BostonStrong)…
But you left me 16 years ago and I can’t remember if there was a reason. I mean I know it took you. The sickness, the pain, the inevitable fate of being diagnosed so late in its takeover mission of your body. But why? Really, why?

Last week I went to my first rehearsal for Listen to Your Mother, Providence. I am so blessed to be in this amazing show- a presentation about motherhood and all that it means. And for me, it means so much- with Addie’s disability and living far away from home, motherhood is redefined for me each year as I am still so new to the game.

Woman after woman writes about her own mother, and her experiences. A loss, a relationship, the responsibility and being a mother and a daughter…. and while I love my mother, I miss my first love. I miss the first man- the one who hung the moon. I miss you everyday, Dad.

#aisforadelaide #markworth #missyou

How has motherhood come into the shape it’s taken with me? It came to be because I lost him.

Growing up I dreamed of having children, quickly replaced by the memory of my father dying on the bed before me. A nurse telling me it was time to say goodbye and people I’d never met introducing themselves to me as old college friends. In my 13 year old mind I was rebelling, I was dying, I was losing a part of me that I would never regain.

What the hell is hospice and why are we here? Why is everyone so nice? Why are people looking at me with such sorrow and pity?
I didn’t want another cup of water, or juice or soda, or a snack, or a pillow or a movie. I wanted to know why he wasn’t responding anymore. I wanted to know why everyone around me seemed to die and why he was in this bed. There is no way that my hero could leave me. He said he never would.

I decided I never wanted kids, because their parent could die, and they would be screwed up forever.

Like me.

I used men and I let them use me. Emotionally, physically. It really didn’t matter. I thought I was in love a hundred times, but in the end, we all ended up happier elsewhere, didn’t we? The only time I felt a hole- the blackest hole sucking in every smile I’d ever felt since April 21, 1998, was when he popped into my head.

And that was is all the time.

I have never thought of another man every single day of my life, besides my father. From the moment I was born until the day I, too, take to the Earth, I will never love someone the way I loved him. You only get one Father. Only one man created you, and he’s not supposed to leave.

My road to motherhood has been paved with the worst intentions, but somehow led me to my own form of utopia. Surely, if the path to Hell is paved with all the good stuff, it would only make sense. I never meant to fall in love, or get married, or have children who would one day have to say goodbye to me. To their father. And to so many others it is never fair to lose.

My marriage, too, has been shaped by his passing. At 18 I took out life insurance on myself, before I was married, I took it out on Dave and when Addie was born, my gift to her was a policy that would give her some money at 18- or convert to higher coverage. I’ve had a piece of paper in my car, my living will, since I could drive. It used to be a DNR, now it is save me for my kids. Dave and I drew up a will before Addie was born, and it will be amended before our second child comes. I try to keep some kind of emotional indifference, as though should he leave, I will be OK.

I want my kids to find their independence for more than their general well being, but so they can survive when we no longer do.

I am defined by you leaving, Dad. You both made me and broke me by leaving that 13 year old girl on that April night.
And I don’t think I’ll ever have a reason… but I’ve got three of my own to live for, now.

12 Comments

Filed under Marvelous Monday, Parenting/Family/Lifestyle

Marvelous Monday… the most thankful version

11 Comments

Filed under Marvelous Monday

Another Year

It always happens this way. April, that is. T.S. Eliot had it right for so many years: April is the cruelest month And then my sister got married, and Addie was born and I was sure that it would just be better. Magically. But it’s not. Thankfully, it’s not worse, either. It’s just different.

Fifteen years. You’re still gone, Dad.

During my pregnancy I was sure that Addie would be born on the 21st, and not her due date of the 25th. I just knew that she would make the day better, but when my water broke on the 15th I could not have been more relieved. And then this babe arrived on the 17th!

12 Month Collage

I didn’t want to have to share my grieving day with my child. I wanted that day to be selfish. To cry and curl up into a ball if I wanted. To run 10 miles, or stay in bed all day. I like the 21st to be a day I can fall apart.  I turn into an angst-y teenager and cry as hard as I ever have.


But then, a different plan was made. My best friend’s daughter Hadley was born.

Ashley and I didn’t meet until after the births of our girls in our RI New Moms Connection group, but as Ash introduced herself and week after week went by of new stories about our lives- we grew to see each other as sisters. We share many of the same stories, trials and tribulations of life. We’ve both lost a parent, grew up outside of Rhode Island, are married to men who work A LOT and we both love red wine and champagne! As we’ve gotten to know more about each other, there are things we don’t agree on and things we do. We call each other on our wrongs, and celebrate our rights. What struck me the most about Ashley is Hadley.

New Years!

New Years!

Whenever the thought of Hadley’s birthday comes up, I tear up. I’m sad our girls are getting older and I miss the groggy days of midnight feedings and remembering when I last had my cup of coffee, but more so, I’m just sad. Like I said, it doesn’t get harder as the years go by, but it doesn’t get easier. There are days that I am an independent woman- I don’t call my Mom, or text my sister or my brothers. I go about my day without intervention as Mom and Wife. Then there are days when my water heater shuts off, or the lawn needs to be mowed, or Addie claps her hands… and I want to tell my Dad. There are plumbers and my father-in-law and my Mom loves to see Addie pass each milestone. But I want to call my Dad and hear his laugh, and see his brown eyes soften as only a father’s do. I don’t just miss him for me anymore, I miss him for Addie, too.

As Ash and I drink our wine, or talk about schooling, the newest Twilight, or have an intense conversation about our dream houses, I know that she, Hadley and Evan (too!) were brought into my life to help make each year something to celebrate. For that, I am thankful to whatever higher power (or not) you believe in.

For this day, I have two letters to write…

Dear Hadley,When I first met you and your mom, you were so small and perfect. You’ve blossomed into a curious and silly little girl and I am so blessed to be your aunt.
I always thought April would have to be just pain, but you and Addie have taught me that’s not all it will be. Meeting you has brought me light on a day where there was only darkness. I’m looking forward to the many years ahead where the memories in the forefront of my mind, always stemming from 1998 are replaced with memories from each of your birthdays. The pain will always be there, I know, but you, baby girl, are my angel- sent to be in my life to help heal some of those wounds.
I wish you the happiest of days on your first birthday celebration and a lifetime of wonderful days like it. I am proud to be a part of your family and to have the opportunity to honor life on April 21st. I’ve been waiting to do so for 15 years.

Hadley Paige

Hadley Paige

Love, Aunt Chelley

Lastly…

Dad,
I won’t take up much of your time, but I hope, somehow you already know all this.
In the past 15 years I’ve shed rivers of tears, run uncharted miles and battled my mind with each passing 21st. I cry for me. I cry for the little girl who lost her father, but this year, I cry for us. I cry for the baby girl who will never get to meet you.
I don’t regret having such an amazing man in my life- I’m thankful you are my Dad, but I wish that I’d never felt pain like this. And I wish it would stop repeating every year. I wish you were still here.
I want you to know… she’s learning how to crawl, she has your golden brown curls and she loves the color orange- a true Flyers fan. You would really fall in love with her. I wish you could just hold her. Or me.
I miss you.
FTN

Dad

Mark L. Worth <3
3/26/49 to 4/21/98

5 Comments

Filed under Parenting/Family/Lifestyle

Moving on…

How did you choose what to do after high school? Did anyone provide valuable advice which influenced your decision?

This is the next prompt from Carla at AllofMeNow, who is running the Mom Before Mom series that I’ve been writing each weekend. I LOVE these pieces- initially because they allowed me the time to reflect, but now because they give me the right to feel things I didn’t get a chance to as a child.

I had always known that I would go to college. I dreamt of becoming a flight attendant, and then of being a doctor. The doctor thing stuck with me for a while. I was going to cure cancer. My cousin had died at 18 of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and I was going to stop it from ever happening again.

Then my Dad died. April 21, 1998 I had more than just bad dreams to battle, I had the dreams of a child crushed under the weight of fluid filled lungs and a 6’1″ man residing in a cold bed, now housing a 140 pound body. It sounds graphic. It might have been. Regardless, he was gone and I could never face my dreams again.

So… I did what lots of girls do- I tried to find my Dad. I didn’t go around to boys looking for them to be daddy, I dated boys who had strong dads who would protect me and love me as their own. They helped shape me into the woman I became- some offering advice on how to throw a punch, some telling me tales of how to write a good cover letter. It was all encompassing of my father, who would have shown me and told me how to do everything from reducing the swelling on a bruised knee, to building my own computer and how to french-braid my own hair.

You’re wondering how this has anything to do with my post-high school life? Let’s call him Mer. Mer and I had a relationship- he’d graduated from a college in Rhode Island earlier in the year we’d met, that I later graduated from as well. Prior to my application, acceptance, scholarship, over-achievement and early commencement, I was lost. My whole life I was going to cure cancer, but as I moved into my later teen years, I learned to accept the fact that I had no ability to separate myself from feeling. Six years of schooling, grueling nights working on a cadaver, no sleep, little money, insurance risks- all this meant nothing. What stopped me from accepting the obligation I’d laid upon myself 5 years prior to my high school graduation- to cure cancer- was the fact that I could not tell a child they were going to lose their parent.

So, as I held onto my high school job of working in a kitchen and found I loved planning events (I’d even been so blessed as to need to color code and list most aspects of my life), and Mer told me all about Johnson & Wales University, I knew I had my next step planned. Done and done.

It sounds so silly… how I got there, what it meant. I’ve done very little with my degree since 2008- I graduated in 2006. I learned a lot about the non-profit sector, and that’s been helpful… but I was meant to change things. Big things. I wasn’t just meant to plan weddings… which, by the way, I love! I have a wedding coming up in September, and I am SO glad to be back in the saddle (two weddings in two years can make a planner want more more more), but beyond that… I have a larger goal, a longer stride, a destiny to make a difference.

I’ve awoken in a cold sweat more than once, swearing that I was 13 again standing at the side of my father’s bed rattling off a litany of medications and therapies, transfusions and a test for… but I wake up. Before I can hear myself breathing as though I’ve just run a marathon, there is a high-pitched beep in my ear signifying a flat line. They’re all dead. My cousin, my Dad. Thousands of patients I didn’t save.

It sounds morbid, but perhaps it’s what led me to now. If I had gone to med school, I would have been confined to a lab, spending years of my life fighting to cure something I truly believe the pharmaceutical companies don’t want to cure (this is a whole other topic about conspiracy that I firmly believe in). I wish I could know my cousin now- she would be 34… I wish my Dad had walked me down the aisle at my wedding… but who would I have married? Where would I have graduated from? Forget college… I never would have gone to Upper Moreland. I would have been a Spring Side-er. I would have been a normal kid, whatever that means. I would not have met Dave and we never would have had Addie.

Because it’s Sunday, I’ll say it: I chose what to do after high school because I believe God has a plan. Is it the God hanging, bloody on the wooden cross in my Catholic church? Maybe not. Maybe it’s really the Messiah and we’re still waiting, maybe it’s just the idea that something besides our selfish souls and a boy named Mer controls where we end up.

There is a path, and it led me here. To Dave, to Addie, to writing.

3 Comments

Filed under Marvelous Monday

Chicken and Stars

I love this Mom before Mom series. Thank you Carla at All of Me… Now!This week’s topic is interesting because I can only think of one thing… here we go!

This week’s prompt:
Who took care of you when you were sick? How did you spend sick days? From soup to ointments to old wives tales, how did your family teach you to heal?

To be honest, I can’t remember too much about being sick. I’m sure I had colds and the flu, but I have no real lucid memories of those times. I do know that for me to get a fever is rare and sort-of dangerous. I haven’t had one in 20 years. But, when I don’t feel well, just as when I was a child, I request Chicken and Stars.

Not chicken noodle.

From www.mommymusings.com

From www.mommymusings.com

An old plastic tray carried Saltines, Canada Dry, hot tea and Campbell’s Chicken and Stars to me (via Mom or Dad). The salt stayed on my lips, the carrots always gave me just a little flavor and the stars… well- they were just awesome. I don’t think I was ever out from school for more than 2 days. If I was sick before school but OK to be out of the house, I would go to work with my Mom and sleep on her couch. Her receptionist was one of the most memorable women of my childhood. Her name was Gisela, and she was German (I think). Her blond hair and big smile were so welcoming, and I felt like speaking with her was a challenge- one I wanted to accept. I have such wonderful memories of those days with my Mom. I even remember Gretchen- she was a college student with beautiful hair. I think I only met her once, but she was a long-time patient of my Mom’s. Lord knows Mom would never tell me why she was seeing her, but I suspect Gretchen needed a mom to talk to that wasn’t her own (my Mom is kind of everyone’s go-to for that- she’s an amazing psychologist). That one time we met, she brought me for ice cream after a session. I remember her piggybacking me. She was like my big sister for the day. I’m not sure if I felt sick after that; like I just needed some love, or sugar (see below), to feel better.

Usually my Dad would come to school when I didn’t feel well. He owned his business and was closer to Meadowbrook than Mom. Often times, I had a headache. This was solved by rubbing my temples, and later with some food* (especially when I passed out in 4th grade from low blood sugar). I remember one time feeling terrible. My Dad did skin-to-skin with me. I was maybe six. We were laying in my parents’ water bed and my Dad put me on his chest to keep me close to him and elevate my head so I could breathe. I fell asleep on him. When I woke up, Mom was home- she tried to help my Dad out from underneath the soaked sheets (we were both sweating and I had drooled terribly). Instead, my Dad smiled at my groggy gaze and patted my head back down. I don’t remember what happened after that, but I fell asleep there and my parents didn’t put me to bed that night. I loved snuggling with them. Other times, Dad would bring me to his office, where I would climb on the conference room table, all the way to the end, where I would open up the doors on the wall revealing a white board. These were brand new back then. State-of-the-art stuff where you could write and project your presentations. Me? I chose to write notes and my name with every marker color they had. If the ink ran out, I would raid the office supply cabinet near the fax machine (and sugar cubes).

My headaches still come and are generally stress or lack-of-food induced, although you wouldn’t believe it by my pant size! However, since I have been a quitter (smoke-free) for 3 years, my colds are incredibly rare. When I do feel under-the-weather, I call upon Chicken and Stars. Although one can never does it, there is no other solution to a cold for me.

Having such loving parents, I learned that “things” are not generally what heals us. Healing, both inside and out, are not something that can come from someone else- it comes from within (rest, nourishment, caring for oneself)… but I also learned that things can comfort us in times of need. That is what this soup does for me. As I wait for my body to heal and my spirit to return, I find comfort eating my soup from an over-sized mug. Instead of my Mom delivering a delicious tray of goodies to me in bed, Dave proudly carries a baby on one side and a mug ‘o stars on the other. He then runs down stairs for ginger ale and orange juice with lots of pulp (his solution to all ailments).

While I am glad that memories of illness, at least not my own, are not focal points of my childhood, I am so thankful that Chicken and Stars created such a blissful bond inside me. I hope to pass down the love of this comfort food to Addie, should she ever have a sick day.

* While I mention 4th grade, do any of my UMHS alums remember my sophomore year? On a hot day in June, I stood in my choir robe on the top riser. I was proudly preparing to sing the National Anthem for our graduating seniors, and got to “Oh say…” before I went straight back, knees never even buckling, from dehydration and low blood sugar. I was taken, by ambulance, off the field and to Abington Memorial. My fellow vocalists never stopped… in fact, I think they closed in to fill my space- carry on, Choir!

5 Comments

Filed under Parenting/Family/Lifestyle

Goodnight Sweetheart, Goodnight

Prompt #7: Walk us through your bedtime routine as a kid. As a teen. Anything you still do now? Mom before Mom series

By that title alone, I hope there is an “oldie but goodie” playing in your head. I loved to be sung to as a child. I danced with my step-dad to “Lullaby” by Billy Joel at my wedding… it was magic, in his arms, wishing my Dad was still alive, but having a man who cares so much for me holding me there on the empty dance floor.

I cried the whole song. Al just held me up like I was his baby girl crying in the middle of the night.

I cried the whole song. Al just held me up like I was his baby girl crying in the middle of the night.

That dance brought me back to childhood- of times when I stood on my Dad’s feet in the living room in my footie pajamas extending those “five more minutes” for ten. I never had a true routine that I can remember as a youth, and if I dare devulge too much about college, I would have to admit I fell asleep standing up against my bed more than once, and even in a pile of “I thought he loved me tears” at least twice.

What I remember most about my youth is: “I can’t sleep”. As I stood at the top of our stairs, my parents peered past the threshold between the front hall and kitchen. There I was, pretending I had been asleep for a half hour and now was unable to remain in bed. “Do you need a cup of tea?” my Dad would ask. “Yes.”

Mom would bring me tea and rub my head, my back, my arms, hands, legs and feet repeating “relax”. I do this for Addie now. It works like a charm to get her to calm. Many nights my Dad would come in a sleep with me until I really was in dream land and not pretending. Other times I set my TV timer for 15 minutes, and inevitably, it became just like my alarm, but in reverse. I kept tacking on 5 minutes until I finally fell asleep holding the remote, or sat petrified because I had just watched a mini-marathon of Unsolved Mysteries. I would only hide when I heard my parents at the door to my bedroom. I quickly hit the power button and closed my eyes. It never worked. They knew I was awake.

As a teen, my routine was to shower after work- being a dishwasher is kind of gross- finish homework and go to sleep. I was an athlete, so I never had the opportunity to sleep in and miss morning classes (not in by 9am means no practice that day and no game that week), so I tried to get in at least 6 hours. Even in high school, when my Mom got home late from seeing her last session (she’s a family therapist), I would ask her to make me tea.

The funny thing is, 68% of the time, I never drank the tea. It was a way to lure someone to stay awake with me and talk a little longer.

As a mom, my routine is milk, pajamas, diaper, 3 books, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, prayers and bed for Addie, followed by a glass of wine and pumping for me. Dave usually gets sleepy around this time, and I always ask for tea. As usual, it’s a ploy to not be awake and alone. To have someone to talk to as I wind down for the night.

A routine? Perhaps not. But I assure you, if I ask you for tea at 10pm, what I mean is “I care about you and want to spend another few minutes with you today.”

6 Comments

Filed under Parenting/Family/Lifestyle

So This is Love?

This week’s prompt in the Mom Before Mom series truly struck me:

Do you remember your first romantic thoughts? How old were you? Who was your first crush? It’s the month of love so fill us in on how you created a concept, an idea of love and relationships.

In some ways, this prompt brings me back to last week and why I chose to not write about my birthdays as a child. I had AMAZING days spent just for me: bowling parties, a pool party at the Abington YMCA, gymnastics parties… but my worst birthday ever, my 13th, is never far from my memory. I always hesitate to celebrate me because of it. My Dad handed me a black box. Inside was a tanzanite and diamond ring. It was Monday, November 10, 1997. I was 13. Less than 5 months later, withered into a skeleton of himself, he was dead. He was diagnosed on my birthday… the first man I’d ever loved- the one who taught me that sometimes, for those you love more than yourself, you just suck (the proverbial) it up. My parents were married and in love (most of the time) for 24 years- until April 21, 1998.

Pool Party at the Y

Pool Party at the Y

And now I sit and I think about this topic. I think about love. I think about my husband and why I am so attracted to him. Want to know the truth? He’s just like my Dad.

I can remember movies I watched and falling in love with being in love, but watching my parents, I grew enamored with the idea of marriage and all the hard work that took. I played house, where I cleaned and cooked and went to work as a professional hockey player.

And so, I fell in love for the first time. His name? Rod Brind’Amour. He was #17 for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was also November on my calendar… I don’t remember the year, but I remember looking at the picture of him lifting weights and reading about he and his (then) wife Kellie and feeling resentment for her. I was young and had convinced myself that being 14 years younger didn’t mean anything. I could take care of him. Whatever the heck that meant. I remember going to the Flyers’ Wives Fight for Lives carnival and getting a Polaroid taken with Rod. It was love. Eric Lindros, John LeClair? So over it.

This article hung in my room... Rod is the guy celebrating. *swoon*

This article hung in my room… Rod is the guy celebrating. *swoon*

I, to this day, resent when Rod is mentioned as one of the ugliest men in the NHL. I like strong noses and big eyes… add that to him being Rod the Bod and his Stanley Cup Ring (regrettably not with the Flyers)- and he’s my dream man.  Plus… has anyone ever seen Mike Ricci? I also fell in love with Chris Gratton… but certainly not because he was an amazing hockey player- it was all looks. His number was 55 with the Flyers and 77 with Tampa… making a combination of numbers, I chose 17 and 75 and my lucky ones in life. Seventeen, more often, is a winner for me.

Just to sweeten the deal: I was always #17 0r #75, a combination of my loves, when I could pick my number in sports, and Addie was born on the 17th. I have a connection with Rod… It’s just a fact, you never forget your first love.

#17, Meadowbrook Field Hockey starting goalie

#17, Meadowbrook Field Hockey starting goalie, 5th-6th grade

#75, Upper Moreland HS varsity starting goalie

#75, Upper Moreland HS varsity starting goalie, 12th grade

Years after my crushes, a married member of the Philadelphia Flyers hit on my sister in a South Jersey bar. I never had another crush on an NHL player.

There were boys I liked in school… Robbie, Taylor, Scott (and the other Scott), Lane. Then Dan, Tyler, Jake, John, Tommy, Doug, Sully, and Seth. But those were crushes that defined nothing in me except my fickle-in-love manner and my ever-changing taste towards the sports-minded man versus the musician. I swear, I’ve never met a man who is truly a varsity athlete and master of the baritone guitar, but I hold hope for you ladies- there  is one out there!

After the passing of my father, I looked for someone to love and mend. Looking for someone to take care of meant: passing up my paychecks and emotions to boys who were missing something in their lives. Perhaps it was their motivation, mother, financial or emotional resources. I watched movies that could never reflect reality- daydreaming about what it would be life if…, while transforming people into the men they wanted to be. I wrote résumés, book reports, college papers, gave money, co-signed leases, cleaned apartments and cars, lent out my vehicle. I had two great loves in college and one after. Yet, I was never satisfied. I was loved, but I never felt safe- perhaps more my fault than any man’s.

Don’t get me wrong- I have felt great love before Dave, and I’ve dated some amazing, strong men- but I never found the Blane to my Andie (Pretty in Pink)- my protector.  I’ve always been boy-crazed, and if by any chance Rod Brind-Amour calls me (hey, he could email me…), I would still swoon, but I’ve finally found the love of a lifetime. He never brings me flowers unless I yell at him to, and he doesn’t light candles unless the power goes out. I know, without fail, his gift for whatever holiday will be a charm and he rarely remembers to get me a Hallmark card (if he gets me a card at all). Rubbing my back is less seductive and more of a chore for him, and the last time we went on a date I think I was still considered in my early twenties. BUT… when I eat garlic by the handful to get rid of my cold, he still leans in for a kiss, and when I want to watch a sappy movie he plays on his phone next to me. When I cry over the past, he doesn’t ask me to remember the future, and when I can’t help but fret over what tomorrow will bring, he reminds me about how beautiful life is today.

When I think of my current definition of love and romance, it’s similar to what I felt as a child watching my parents: it is work you’re happy to do. I take my vows seriously and always have open lines of communication with my husband. Doesn’t sound romantic, but saying I love you every night and meaning it is about as perfect as it gets. I thank my childhood for offering up such vivid dreams of love that are not real so that I can say I lived fantasies. I carried around baby dolls that were my love child between some famous person and myself (having NO idea how babies got here), and I put pictures of Johnny and Leo on my walls. I imagined the boy I loved holding a boom box up, and I still love [almost] every John Cusack character ever. The fact remains that while movies aren’t real, love is. And I’m both thankful and regretful  of the lessons I learned which shaped and molded my version of love as I know it.

5 Comments

Filed under Parenting/Family/Lifestyle

Home Cooked Memory

Continuing in the Mom Before Mom series, started by the wonderful Carla at All of me Now:

What was your favorite home cooked meal as a child? Did you help make it? How did it make you feel? Share the scents and sights and flavors.

My favorite home cooked meal wasn’t some reinvention of the egg. There was little fancy and flare, but there was a whole ‘lotta love. We called it thing. As I grew up and made thing for my own budding family, my husband would laugh at my mother’s invention, hug me close and watch me concoct my dish.

Egg noodles
Ground beef
Poppy seeds
Sour cream

I know what you’re thinking: Beef stroganoff, without the mushrooms (although I’m sure we had them sometimes, they don’t resonate in my memories). In my house it was thing. I have no idea where the name came from, or why I never knew it was stroganoff until my husband told me, but to me, it’s always thing.

The whole dish permeated the kitchen. From the starchy smell of pasta, to the beef sizzling in the pan and enough sour cream to tie the dish together with a dash of poppy seed (that I got to add). We always had broccoli on the side in an attempt to keep it healthy, but this was our “bad” food. My parents kept the cooking pretty clean growing up, and for this, I am thankful.

My father worked late, being a business owner, but I don’t remember a dinner of thing without him there. Slurping my noodles up, getting a lick of sour cream on the end of my button nose. The tangy taste of sour cream and the crunch of each individual poppy seed between my little teeth. I see my Mom at the stove cooking, before the kitchen was renovated. I see the old white kitchen table and the hideous kitchen chairs on wheels, that would fly backwards if you leaned too far, without much warning. The teal patterned linoleum floor. And my family, gathered around together. Mom, Dad, Jess, me… Nick and Geoff in highchairs. We always ate later than other families, but we tried desperately to always eat together.

I now make thing for Dave and myself using plain low fat yogurt, in lieu of sour cream, and ground turkey in place of beef. I always make broccoli as a side. I envision what Addie is thinking as she watches me at the stove furiously chopping at the turkey, singing her silly songs. Watching my body move from the stove to the sink and back again in a dance, as I drain my pasta and the add all the ingredients in my large pot stirring just enough to mix. I hope she is making memories and lifestyle choices all at once. I hope I am passing on good smells, silly dance moves, a love of food and cooking and healthy choices, but most of all, a love for my family.

I wanted to make this dish so I would have some pictures… but Dave is away until Sunday and I am so lonely I’ve been juicing and eating salads all week (good for my hips, but my kitchen is wildly underused right now). I hope you’re envisioning your favorite dish as a child and remembering more than just the taste, but the experience too. Thank you for sharing this first month of Mom Before Mom with me. I look forward to the rest of the year with you!

2 Comments

Filed under Parenting/Family/Lifestyle

Welcome to my room…

Welcome to the second prompt in the Mom Before Mom   series. I am so excited to introduce myself to you before you would have ever known me… and to reconnect with my younger self. Let’s begin… or continue.

What did your childhood bedroom look like? Give a tour. How did it change as you matured?

My parents bought the house in which I grew up in October of 1984. I came in November. I always had the same bedroom, the last room on the right, though now a newly renovated home has made way for a slightly different layout, it is still the one room where I feel I find the most solace. Whoever said you can’t go home was wrong.

Growing up I had my own bedroom, complete with a platform bed my father built me . As I matured into an opinionated 7 year old, my room became a giant poster of me. I hung posters, filled shelves with art projects and crafts (I have always loved crafts), and taped pictures of JTT and Johnny Depp to my walls. These were the Winona/Depp days, where I filled my spare time outside of the gym (I was a competitive gymnast for 10 years) drooling over Home Improvement and Edward Scissorhands.

Flyers' hockey + JTT + tchotchkes + Bar Mitzvah junk = oh my!

Flyers’ hockey + JTT + sand art + crafts + tween beauty products + tchotchkes + Bar Mitzvah junk = oh my! And yes, that Whoopi poster IS from Sister Act

After a family tragedy, I was offered a “new” room. A fresh start in the form of new furniture and a bigger bed. My dad re-stained my mother’s childhood bed frame and bureau in whitewash. I have always loved the look of rustic beach homes; the ones that look like the furniture is 100 years old, but it’s actually brand new from Pottery Barn. I had my mom’s things from her girl-hood, though, her beautiful solid-wood furniture became my own. My walls were painted a pretty periwinkle and the lampshade, valance, curtains and bedspread were Laura Ashley. It was the most girlie I’d ever been, or will ever be in my whole life. But when my Dad passed away in 1998, the trend of over-cluttered shelves and walls adorned with pictures from my life, torn from skater magazines or stolen from my sister (she had some really cute friends) continued into my high school years, waning only after my 17th birthday into a room with intricate stories and special moments separated by picture frames and scrapbooks.

This clutter mimics the clutter, confusion and turmoil in my teenage years. How I managed to stay an excellent student? I blame my awesome mom.

This clutter mimics the clutter, confusion and turmoil in my teenage years. How I managed to stay an excellent student? I blame my awesome mom.

I feel like this time, when I learned to separate things, was also the time therapy began to work for me. I guess this is a deeper look into my life, than just my bedroom, but my bedroom was such a reflection of my mind. I had pictures in my bedroom from all walks of my life. My happy young years, before I turned 6 and my brother passed. Then the years after, when my Dad’s beard began to gray and my mom was worn. The months after my brothers were adopted. The joy (and sleepless nights) in the eyes of my parents and sister. The years that passed slowly, painfully after my Dad was gone. The years I turned on my own mom. The pictures in my room were not just taped on, they were mod podged to the walls. Clinging for meaning, a time-stamp of who I was and where I’d been. Loss, pain, overtly-sexual images of Abercrombie models I’d dreamt of kissing, next to pictures of friends who abandoned me after my depression set in. After I cut all my hair off and dyed it purple, gained 20 pounds and lost 35. Boyfriends came and went physically, but in my room they were glued to the wall, forever 15 or 16 or 17. Telling me they loved me in trade for heartbreak.

Somehow, my mom helped me tear all of those things down. From the walls, to the ceiling. We re-carpeted, repaired punched holes and torn out sections of wall from my glue. We repainted my room. It was like making over my soul. In the interim, I had broken the bed frame that was once my mother’s. My bed became just a metal-frame beneath a full mattress and box-sping, covered by flannel sheets and a cosmic red and blue flannel bedspread. I had sheer white curtains with the cosmic pattern in silver on them. I’m not sure why I picked that, except I  subconsciously love space (I didn’t realize this until a few months ago when even Dave was out-nerded by my desire to watch more space shows). Either way, when I came home from college, my space was different as I was an ever changing college student, but it was always my room.

D. Brady (now Love) hanging out with me (c. 2003) in my less adorned, but more adored bedroom

D. Brady (now Love) hanging out with me (c. 2003) in my less adorned, but more adored bedroom

Since the renovation, the room is more sterile. Nothing in it really belongs to me except my American Girl, Molly, and Bear-Bear, my May Stick from my 8th grade year at Springside- all of which are shoved into one of the closets (now the room has two closets!). There are some books on the shelves that will become Addie’s, but the bed spread isn’t mine, the mattress is too comfortable to be something I could afford and the pillows are king. The bed frame is a magnificent piece of furniture that was custom-made and amazing. My mother’s bureau is still in the room, with the same drawer liners I put in as a child and the same piece of custom glass my Dad had cut to fit the top, and that makes the room safe. However, it’s the music box that makes that room my room. There is an antique key wind music box that plays multiple songs, my favorite of which is Auld Lang Syne. It’s worth thousands to a collector, but it’s the one thing in my house that I always wanted (and the grand piano!). That music box, the size of a small hope chest, is my childhood.The first time I entered my bedroom from my youth, after the remodel was done and the house as my mother wanted it, I found this giant box atop an antique cabinet in the space where my bed used to be. My husband, a musician, could not believe his eyes when I lifted the lid and wound the box. He fell in love with it in that moment, as much as I had as a child.

My childhood remains as it always will, in shambles. There are times I wish never happened and people I wish were still here. Friends I never wanted to make and those who are still drifters in my life. But, the one thing that remains true to me (as much as it can in a home that’s not mine), is my bedroom. It’s not a guestroom, or somewhere others are welcome to sleep or watch television. My mom did not make it a craft room, or somewhere to store old sweaters. The dogs do not snuggle into the bed, and the closets always have empty hangers waiting for my family to hang their clothes. My room is not what it used to be, and neither am I. As an adult, the bedroom my husband and I share is not what I want it to be. The furniture is Ikea and the floor unfinished. My closet is small, and I’d love a few more feet, but that is my work in progress, and I’m sure it will change as I mature; Just as all the rooms in my heart- though they stay the same, they change too.

Our little nest, just as we like it... for now :)

Our little nest, just as we like it… for now :)

1 Comment

Filed under Parenting/Family/Lifestyle

Time Marches On

… or crawls or walks. At 8 1/2 months, we don’t really sit up yet. While Christmas is in the air, I’m becoming more aware of the gross motor skill differences between Addie and other children her age. In some ways, I consider myself lucky to have a baby who doesn’t move much, yet. I don’t have to chase her around- she stays on her play mat and happily rolls from one toy to the next, but other times I feel sad. I want to wear her on my body. I want to have her sit up and look at me. I don’t want to worry every time she bumps her head that there will be some severe injury. I don’t want to feel the kyphosis in her spine. All good things in time… Sometimes, time takes a long while to come.

It’s Christmas Eve, and as people are tucked away in their beds, I am feeling Addie’s soft spot to check for a buldge. Like I do every night. I wait until she is asleep, then gently feel her head to make sure that there are no signs of hydrocephalus. Then I let her sleep. Just as Santa is making his way down our chimney, I will wake up to make sure Addie’s snoring isn’t getting worse. When the milk has been finished and the cookies all gone, and the big man is on his way to the next house, I will lay back down to pretend to sleep ’til dawn.

I love Christmas, but maybe my love for the season is rivaled with hate for it, in equal parts. I miss my Dad. I hate that we barely put up lights to save on an electric bill we already can’t afford. I wish my whole family could be together and not spread out down the east coast. And I wish I knew what the future held for Addie. There are a million things that can go wrong in life, I just want one wish for Addie’s first Christmas: A lifetime of happiness for my baby girl.

I remember last year at this time:

Christmas 2011

We were in Florida and I could not wait for Addie to arrive. My handsome nephew, Mark, had been born almost a month prior, and I could not stop snuggling on his little self. I couldn’t even dream of a human so small and fragile. But then, my Addie came.

Florida 2011

Brand new Addie

This face is wise and curious:

Addie

She is, as far as I can tell, the reason I am here in this world. But sometimes, I wonder if I am good enough for her. Am I willing to wait for all the good things? Will I show her the right path to take, but let her choose her way? I want so badly to live in the now, but it’s so hard when the past is always nipping at your heels.

My dear baby girl. You are the comfort and joy, the wondrous night, what makes me laugh all the way home where you snuggle into me and keep me warm, you’re my good cheer and you help me live in Heavenly peace. You are my miracle. Christmas, or not.

Happy holidays to all who celebrate. May we never know what God intended for our lives, just that He intended them for us.

6 Comments

Filed under Parenting/Family/Lifestyle