Obla-Di-Obla-Da, Right?


Today was the first day back to work after having 5 days off.  I feel exhausted.  Right now is the first time I have been seated since I ate dinner.  It’s best to keep busy in order to keep your mind from wandering.  I understand that it’s OK to cry when you are sad, even though I find crying to be a waste of time.  I held it together pretty good today at work.  Since nobody does my job when I am not there, I had a big pile of stuff to keep me busy, and I left a big pile for tomorrow too.  That should get me through until the weekend is here again.

 

 

Tonight, my mini-me (mini Martha Stewart) and I made Valentine boxes.  This is her last year to have a Valentine party at school, but I will not even open that can of worms.  That can of worms is actually a can of whoopass and will make me cry like a fool, and if you want to know how I feel about crying, please refer to paragraph one.  Anywho, back to the Valentine boxes.  Madi and I are both very creative and I really enjoy messing up the dining room table with her.  She comes up with some fun, creative stuff.  For example, her Valentine box is a penguin.  He isn’t just an ordinary penguin.  He has a back-story.  He is running from the law (waddling really).  I think it’s tax evasion, but she wasn’t clear on the details.  In order to remain incognito, he needed a disguise, hence the Fu Manchu and soul patch.  He would have had some sweet chops to boot, but alas!  She burned her thumb on the hot glue gun and her bedtime is 9:00 pm.

 

Sam the Penguin (alias of course)

Sam the Penguin (alias of course)

You will note, Sam is looking over his shoulder, as any outlaw penguin would do.

 

I made Kennedy an owl.  It is a sweet pink owl made from a big-ass Kool-Aid canister.  I covered it in cloth so it would be soft and precious like my sweet Kennedy.  The owl doesn’t have a back-story.  The owl got neglected when I got ditched by the burn victim.  The owl is as cute as the owl is going to get because I had to clean up the big ass dining room mess by myself.

 

 

 

owl

So that is what I have been up to today, fake-bird making with my sweet Madi girl.  Today wasn’t as difficult as I thought it might be, and tomorrow will be even better I hope.  To my friends who are struggling, keep in mind that you can busy your hands and it will free up your mind, even if just long enough to make you ready to go to bed and sleep.  I love each of you who read and appreciate my blog.

I am beginning to understand what this is all about.  It is a scary endeavor to let people behind the curtain.  Vulnerability is not something I am comfortable with, but I know now that in order to be believable I have to be raw, real, and open to critics.  I am what I am.  A mom, wife, daughter…who is learning as I go, just like you.  I am trying to be something I have always wanted to be, and I am not stopping because I am sad.  I am going to muddle through this darkness because I know there will be light.

Go forth and share love tomorrow on St. Valentine’s Day.  Make someone smile, make them feel rich if only for one moment.  Find a reason to be happy with what you’ve got.  Life does go on…

<3.  Peace.  Chicken Grease.

Les



Bravery


Today was the day we laid Mama Judy to rest.  For some reason, I went to the funeral home feeling very brave.  I really thought I had let it all settle in and that I wouldn’t cry today, since I have cried a river of tears since last Saturday.  But I was not brave after all.

 

When we were all in the chapel for her memorial service, I listened closely to the preacher as he was telling us that Mama is in a better place now, and that it would be nice if we would stand up and share a memory with everyone.  Two people were brave enough to stand up and say kind words, but I wasn’t.

 

If I had been brave, I would have said she was kind.  She truly understood the meaning of unconditional love.  Her relationship with her children is a testament to that.  She once told me that her sweet Tiffany was her soul mate.  I believe that.  M ama always put her children first.  That is something I strive to do each day of my life.  Though I had to trick her into liking me, once she did, she loved me and my children unconditionally too.

 

She was an excellent cook.  Papa James used to come to our house more often than she did, but when she did come over, she brought a smorgasbord of  food.  We invited her and Kurt and Tiff to come over each time James would visit, but it was a rare occasion that they would accept.  The first time they joined us, we were going to order some pizza, but she and Tiff made baked mostaccioli (so good my mouth is watering thinking about it), a crock pot full of chicken and noodles, veggie trays, and dessert.  She cut up all the veggies and put them in the cutest plastic bowls with pictures of veggies on the sides, then she let me keep the bowls (I still have them 5 years later.)  She made some kickass apple cobbler too.  At first I didn’t know if she did it because maybe she was afraid I was a bad cook, and I almost got offended by it…until I took the first bite, then I was like, “You know, I can’t cook, so it’s good you brought all of this.”  Truth is, I can cook but DANG.  Mama could cook, and she passed that skill on to Tiffany, who by the way, is welcome to show up ANY TIME with a big ass pan of that delicious baked mostaccioli.

 

After Papa James passed away, Mama moved far away, but there was never a birthday or holiday that passed where she didn’t send a card or gift or centerpiece for our table.  She had beautiful handwriting, like calligraphy.  She was always concerned if we were not feeling well, she always wanted to know how the kids were doing in school.

 

Last year I was in the hospital for a few days and while I was there, James went out of town.  At first I wasn’t going to tell her I was in the hospital, because she would just worry, and as sick as she was, just getting out of the hospital herself, I didn’t want her to worry, but once she found out, she tried as hard as she could to get here to be with me.  She was a mom through and through, a caretaker.  She could feed you or hug you  or make sure you had anything you would need to be comfortable while you were sick.  She also passed these traits to both Kurt and Tiffany.  They are both caring and loving and sensitive to others’ needs.

 

You didn’t have to be one of her biological children to carry on some of her traits.  My husband and his brother were 12 and 14 when Mama came on the scene.  They were living with their dad like a group of bachelors with no strict rules or guidelines.  They mostly ate frozen pizzas or foods you could microwave, but she wasn’t having that.  They started eating meat and potatoes, fruit and vegetables.  She was very organized, so the bills were being paid on time, and the house was clean.  When I tell you the house was clean I mean it was PRISTINE.  Before she got sick, her house would ALWAYS pass any white glove inspection.  She always had little lap dogs, and you would never see one single hair or smell animals in her home.  There was never one crumb on the counter tops.  It’s funny now because my husband and his brother have many (what I like to call OCD) tendencies about keeping the house clean, and where do you think they got that??  That’s right, from Mama Judy.

 

I wish I had been brave enough to stand up today, but instead I sat there and told my husband what I wished I could have said.  Judy had a big heart and she always had room to fit more people in.  He told me he wished he was a better son, that he wished he had gotten close to her sooner.  We both wish we would have visited with her more.  All we can do now is carry these wishes into our lives and visit with our families that are still with us.  And we can keep our homes tidy, be giving and mindful of everyone’s birthday and holidays. The only death we are experiencing is Mama’s poor, worn out body.  The rest of her is all around us.  She touched lives, she had a big impact on so many  people.

 

I say this a lot, and I mean it.  I am a lucky chick.  I have a wonderful husband who loves me deeply, and shows it every single day.  He and his family welcomed me and my two kiddos with open arms, and we feel like we belong when we are with them.  I won’t ever forget the time I was lucky enough to spend with her, and though I wish I would have said these things today, I know she will see this now and she will know how much she meant to me.

 

Rest now Mama, keep your eye on us and we will keep up the traditions you taught us.

 

Love love love…

Les

 

 

 

 



Gloomy Gus


I have already established that I have no real commitment to this blog.  I guess if someone paid me to do it that might motivate me.  I have been a Gloomy Gus lately.  The weather is cold as balls, everyone has the flu, work is work which sucks because I am lazy and I loathe work.  My house is messy, and I hate admitting this but I can’t round up enough energy to give a shit right now.

 

My husband’s step- mother, Mama Judy is gravely ill.  I can’t even wrap my head around this because I love her so much it physically hurts.  Things weren’t always this way with me and her, you know.  When I first met her she had already decided that she wasn’t going to like me.  But you see, she didn’t know this one tiny little thing about me.  EVERYBODY LIKES ME.  True story.  I’m the person who makes people laugh when they would rather be crying, I am the one who makes you forget that you don’t like me, long enough to like me…and by then it’s too late…YOU LIKE ME. HA!

 

Everyone knows nothing opens eyes and brings people together like a tragedy.  That’s what happened with me and Judy.  In September of 2009, my husband’s big, strong, larger-than-life father had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung and brain cancer.  It was very sudden.  We lived near the hospital where he was being treated so of course we were there every possible moment.  So was Judy.  She was his dedicated wife, and she wasn’t leaving his side.  Every day after work, we took our kids to the sitter, and we made the trip to the hospital where we would sit there (kind of awkwardly) with Judy.  Every day we would ask her if there was anything we could bring to her, and she would always say no.  Every day she would thank us for coming.  I guess it was about day 7 when I finally said to her, “You don’t have to thank us for coming.  There is no other place we would be, and you couldn’t possibly keep us away.  We are family.  We love you.”  She abruptly said to me, “You don’t even KNOW me!”  I replied immediately, “But I want to.  I am trying to know you.  You are my family so I love you but I barely know you.”  Then it happened.  Right there in that waiting room…she liked me.

 

We soon discovered we were both skilled in the art of smart-assery.  We both loved our husbands very much, and we liked/hated a lot of the same foods.  We had a ton of stuff in common.  Then and there, we started calling her Mama Judy.  In the days that soon passed, so did James’ wonderful Dad.  It was nothing less than a tragedy.  My husband had moved here from his long 15 year journey of seeing the world in the military to be home near his family, and now their Patriarch had passed away.  It was a bittersweet time, Papa James knew he was dying so he said EVERYTHING.  He told all of us what family meant, he taught us that we should stick together and keep our family going, never give up.  He told us that being a step-parent was the hardest job in the world because you get to love the kids like they are yours, but they aren’t, and you have boundaries.  He realized that my husband (also named James) had a tumultuous past with Judy, scarred by arguing and misunderstandings from when he was a teenager full of piss and vinegar.  He asked that James look at things through the eyes of the man that he was now, and to let the bad blood go.  To please love Judy like the mom she was.  James did it.  He then started to love Judy as much as I did.

 

I can’t believe nearly four years has passed since Papa James left us.  I still love him, I still think of him and some of the funny things he said.  I look at Kennedy and think of how I am so thankful that in those tender final moments with him, I was strong enough to tell him Thank you.  Thank you for Kennedy, thank you for your son.   I promised to always love him to “keep our family going” and never give up when the going gets tough, and it will from time to time.  I listened intently to him as he told us that if we are ever walking alone outside and we feel a breeze blow by, that is him…talking to us.  I feel him all around us, keeping us safe in his big strong embrace.  He was a wonderful, kind man with a gentle spirit.

 

Once Papa James passed away, it hurt too much for Mama Judy to stay in their home, so she moved.  She didn’t just move, she moved 5 hours away.  I missed her so, I wished and begged for her not to go, but she felt like she needed to be far away from the memories that made her feel that loss.  She started a new life and we kept in touch.  Mostly through Facebook, but once in a blue moon we would get to see her.  It’s crazy how someone can love you like you are their own, and like they have known you all along, when you only just met 6 years ago.

 

Last year, Mama called me and told me she had breast cancer.  She never was one to go to the doctor.  She was tough…she hated doctors??  I guess I don’t really know why, but she never went, and by the time they found the cancer, it was a very long, uphill battle for her.  She fought with all she had.  She endured chemotherapy, blood transfusions, multiple hospital stays, sickness  the likes of which I would never wish upon my worst enemy.  She longed to be with her husband and knew that she could easily give up, then go home to heaven to be with him, but instead she stayed in the ring and fought.  She did it for her children and grandchildren.  She did it because we love her and she loves us.  Ultimately, she had a double-mastectomy, they removed her spleen…she did more chemotherapy…but it was futile.  The cancer was too mean.  She is a fighter, but she just can’t beat it.

 

Right now, I am 5 hours away from her, wishing like nobody’s business that I was curled up next to her in her bed, getting one more hug from her.  I wish I was in that room with her again like I was just 2 days ago, making her laugh…I even got her to dance.  Yeah…I did it.

 

 

She looked at me with her sweet eyes and said “Listen, you know I’m gonna die right?”

And I said to her, “We all are Mama.”  Then I saw a tear fall from her eye, I wiped it with a tissue and I said to her “Are you afraid?”

And she answered, “No, I’m not afraid.  I just want it to be over already.”

I said, “You know, we don’t believe in the same things, but I believe that you definitely don’t deserve what you are going through right now.  But there is still a purpose for you.  Maybe you have done all you can do in this life, and learned all you can learn in this body, now you will go on to your next life, and it will be easier.  Maybe you will be a rock star in your next life.”

Then she laughed, and said, “You think so?”

I said, “Sure.  You will be a rock star and I will be your backup singer.”

My son Karsen was in the room and I said, “Karsen can be a backup dancer.”

She said, “No, you be the star, I will be the backup dancer”  Then…she danced.  Right there in her gown, in her bed, cheeks still wet from crying only moments before…and she danced.

 

We stayed with her until we wore her out.  She was happy to see all of us, she laughed, she smiled, she ate some of the food we brought, and it was a wonderful visit.

 

It wasn’t until we were on our way back home later that night that I realized that was the last time I will probably ever see her, smile with her, and make her laugh in this life.  I try not to be a selfish person.  But I am not done loving her.  I want to go back there and make her laugh every day, I want to hug her again, kiss her face, and lay next to her.  I am angry and sad that I can’t, and I still love her to the moon and back.

 

After Mama danced in her bed, I told her, “When you get where you are going, James will be there and you won’t hurt anymore.”  I know she will be young and free again and full of life…the way she should be.  I hope she drops in to see us once in a while.  I know she will watch over all of us, her children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  I asked her once if she would please haunt my house.  I told her not to scare the shit out of us, but just hang out once in a while, she said yes.  See that might sound crazy to you, but that’s just how we are, me and Mama Judy.  Once I convinced her that she liked me, she “got” me.  She always loved me and my kiddos like we belonged to her.  That’s the kind of love we all should share.

 

My mind and heart will reside with you always Mama Judy.  You are precious and wonderful.  Thank you for your love and kindness.  I want nothing more in this moment than to be there hugging you right now.  I love you to the moon and back.

 

Love,

Peaches