Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Mother's Day 2007

The recap of my mother's day .... had hinted to my 6-year-old son that I would like breakfast in bed. Mentioned that D, who sleeps over on the nights when he doesn't have his kids, could help him with stuff that was too hard to reach or do. Of course, as I should have known, he would have nothing to do with that. So at 6am I heard stirrings and at 6:05am, there was my little man, bedside, with a plastic bowl full of pretzels and a plastic cup of pineapple juice.

I took the obligatory sip and crunch and then thanked the heavens above, the tooth fairy, Santa, and Oprah, because the sweet bundle of sleepy skin and pajamas crawled under the covers and fell asleep all cuddled up with me for another 45 minutes.

Then, D got up and made the coffee, and little guy brought my cup in to me. A pretty darn good Mother's Day morning, I have to say.

This is what my Mother's Day card said:

Dear Mommy,
Happy Mother' Day
Your wish is my kmand.
You're a part of my heart.
You're nice and kind.
Mom your beautiful
Mommy I love you.

It doesn't really get any better than that.

I was going to tell you what happened later in the day. Because I did eventually find myself crumpled in a ball on the kitchen step stool, sobbing my little heart out. My life is a balance. But now I'm going to skip that part.

And tell you just this: I took my mother to the spring Dogwood Festival nearby, it was a beautiful day, the trees were dripping with innocent lushness, and I bought her a pair of loud, lime-green flip-flops with giant fabric daisies glued on them. She smiled, and I know she was really glad to be with me on Mother's Day. Sometimes, it doesn't take much.

So we got through our first Mother's Day without my dad. I'm trying not to think about next month. My birthday is two days before Father's Day. Father's Day will not be so easy, I'm thinking. I miss him more than I can even come to terms with in any sort of adult way.

And now, the happy stuff ....

Newly discovered websites I love: zappos.com, pandora.com, wellsphere.com, recipezaar.com.


Saturday, May 12, 2007

Goodbyes to my wonderful dad

So maybe I'm not going to be a very prolific blogger.

But I lost my dad on April 25th, and it's been a pretty rough last month or so. Here's the tribute I wrote for him and had my friend Sarah read for me:

When you have a biological father and a stepfather, people sometimes refer to the biological one as your “real dad.” I used to use the phrase but at some point over the years, I stopped. It was when I realized that the guy who went on to do the “fathering” of me for more than 30 years of my life was one-of-a-kind, and that I was very much his daughter and very blessed to be. Roy was, without a doubt, my real dad.

He was the one who took me to the emergency room at 2 in the morning when my teenage self went skinny-dipping, diving into a pool and cracking my forehead open. And he was the one who knew to wait in that ER until 4 in the morning so that we could have a plastic surgeon do the repair job. He was the one who mailed me newspaper clippings about managing money, politics, and cell phones causing car accidents. He was the one who walked me down the aisle on my wedding day. He was with me at the vet when I had to put my 18-year-old cat to sleep. He was really good at being there. He was also really good at building fires and holding his breath under water.

I still have his voice on my answering machine. It’s from the night we found out his cancer had spread and that it was time to stop fighting it. I was home when he left the message but I couldn’t pick up the phone. I didn’t want him to have to listen to me crying. He’d had a rough enough day. So it’s a long message -- his gentle voice comforting me and letting me know that everything would be okay and that he loved me. On the day his doctor told him his life was about to end, he called to comfort me. But that won’t surprise any of you who knew him.

I’ve asked a few people recently, “Which do you think is better -- to know you’re going to die or to die suddenly?” I don’t really have an answer. Because it was heart-wrenching watching Roy suffer, but I did get time to let him know how much I loved him, and he got to say poignant and even joyful goodbyes to friends and family. He told me a few weeks ago that he was ready, and that he wasn’t scared. So I think I know what his answer would be to the question. He was well enough long enough to get things organized, so that it would be easier for my mom. And taking care of her and the people he loved was what he liked to do best of all.

He was the real thing, and if you’re here today, you probably know that. What I can tell you is yes, you have it right, he was the best.

I will close with some song lyrics I found. I’m hoping maybe he’s listening right now:

When it rains, it pours and opens doors
And floods the floors we thought would always keep us safe and dry.
And in the midst of sailing ships we sink our lips into the ones we love
That have to say goodbye.

And as I float along this ocean
I can feel you like a notion that I hope will never leave.
And when I feel there is no one that will ever know me
There you are to show me.

Cause when I look to the sky, something tells me you’re here with me
And you make everything all right.
And when I feel like I’m lost, something tells me you’re here with me
And I can always find my way when you are here.

Sarah did a really nice job reading ... and people loved that she did it for me. It sort of lent even more poignancy to the whole thing that my dear friend stood up and spoke for me when I couldn't speak. Because it was the kind of friendship so many of the folks there had with my dad. If he was your friend, he would do anything he could for you. Yesterday, I got a card from my friend Cath in Philadelphia. What she wrote is an incredible comfort to me and somehow says it all:

You and Roy have been on my mind since you first told me about his illness. It's still a shock to me that he could go when my memories of him are all of this big, strapping, sun-tanned, handsome and smiling man, so full of vitality and cheer. When I think of Roy I think of that little cottage in Nantucket where he gave us lessons on painting (which I still apply to this day) so we could white-wash our little summer abode. How many residences did Roy see you through over the years? My next memory is Roy leading us through the raw, newly-framed rooms when he oversaw the expansion of your house. You were his baby, alright. He would've done anything for you, it was obvious. When you told me the story of sleeping on a cot in his hospital room I was kind of glad he got to see how dear you were to him and that you would have done anything for him, too. I know you'll always miss him but I'm glad for you, as someone I love like a sister, that you had such a special dad-daughter relationship in your life. That's a treasure you'll always carry with you.

Thanks, Cath --- your words are the ones I needed to hear to get me to the next step in healing. I love you.

To end on a shallow and fun note, check out the photo below of me in my new Betsey Johnson dress, standing with none other than Betsey Johnson herself! She, by the way, is really nice and cool and not at all hoity-toity or aloof. P.S. The cute guy in the tux is my sweet man who helps make everything all right.