Tag Archives: memories

Family.

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Family.

When my husband first met my large Irish Catholic family, he joked later that night that everyone should have worn name tags. He was overwhelmed, and that wasn’t even all of us!

My husband comes from a very small family, his mother has one sibling and his father is an only child. I am certain there are second cousins out there, but that just doesn’t seem to be the way they do things in their family. That’s okay…we all do life and family differently. And we have made our own family with his family as well.

My ever-growing family looks for any and all reasons to celebrate together…the minimum gathering of at least forty people.

That has been getting harder and harder to do, as alot of my cousins have children as well now, and they just keep coming!

My husband has grown to enjoy this big beautiful family and love them as his own, and they welcome his sister and parents into our massive clan gatherings whenever possible.

We don’t all see each other much anymore, as everyone is spread all over the country now, unlike when I was a kid we would all meet up at my Grandparents’ house for our Annual Fourth of July Family Reunion…oh the memories we made.

Endless swimming in the pool, games on their vast lawn, a spread of food and treats to feed an Army…we were an Army even back then! Sixteen cousins, ten Aunts and Uncles and the extended family of Great Aunts and Uncles and all of their kids!

Such great fun…I can see my Grandparents now…Our beloved Grandfather walking around hosting and manning the grill of a thousand hot dogs and hamburgers, with his cotton short-sleeved shirt unbuttoned all the way as he baked in the sun in front of the grill…Grandma in her crisp white skirt and tan legs with her patriotic shirt and golden blonde hair, smiling and ordering people to come eat!

These memories make me get choked up as I type this…happy days.

Don’t get me wrong, there have been other countless gatherings with all of my family-weddings, christenings, birthdays...but we have lost so many of those who made those days even more special…including my Grandfather (three years ago, and never have a day without missing him). And in a way, my Grandmother as well. She is still with us but in a nursing home and suffers from dementia…she still remembers us on occasion, but many of those long ago memories are gone forever. They are in there somewhere…and I know for sure, in her heart.

Family means everything to her…to all of us.

We may not always get along or agree on religion, politics, or how to raise of kids right…but we are family.

I adore each and every one of them, even if I don’t see them everyday…or even once a year anymore.

I am proud of all their accomplishments…doctors, lawyers, teachers, artists, mothers…we are a well-rounded group that live for these family gatherings, and now, so do our children.

We have made them appreciate time together, and make parties something special…getting dolled up to go to a luncheon or party, to sit and talk about the latest celebrity gossip with cold beers in hand, talk about all those parties in the past, and watch our children’s eyes light eye up as they hear how much fun we had as kids (yes, we knew how to play games and have fun once too).

We are making our own memories now…a new generation of Great Aunts and Uncles, and cousins and parties…just last night my little ones shared an unexpected night of music, and dancing and endless giggles with some of their family…they will cherish that memory forever.

I know they will.

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We look forward to more of those nights to come, and to cheer our Family Cheer and toast ourselves for standing together, standing strong in the memories of all those we have lost, and know they are in Heaven cheering with us each and every time…

Hip Hip Hooray! Hip Hip Hooray! Hip Hip Hooray! Tiger…

Rrrrrrrrroar….

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One Year.

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One Year.

One year is a long time.

365 days.

8,760 hours.

525,600 minutes.

And so on.

That IS a lot of time.

But what if?

What if someone said…that is all you’ve got left…

That’s it.

Well, then I am counting seconds too…31,556,926 seconds.

Each and every thousand of them.

And hoping that there is more than that…but if not? What would I do?

Well, knowing my weepy self…cry for atleast 12 of those hours…maybe steal a few more.

But on the hour I DO decide to stop feeling sorry myself, I will hopefully realize this…

I was just given  a gift.

My greedy butt was just given the Golden Ticket.

I would now know that I just wasted 43,200 seconds feeling sorry for myself. That I had places to go and people to see, and could have been half way to Disney with my family in the amount of time I spent blowing my nose and wiping my tears away.

So now that I have realized the Gift that has been given to me…the all-knowing…the fortune teller…the life sentence…whatever I compare it to…it came into my life for reason.

I will be THAT person…

I will travel, snuggle, kiss, hug, love hard, clean my house less, laugh more, get sad less.

I can be sad, but why? I know that each snuggle with my babies or husband means even more now…I should have known that before…but I didn’t…who truly does?

Those giggles or games of hide and seek with my kids, or seeing their faces light up one more time when they see Mickey Mouse or their favorite Princess at Disney, or when we pack up for a long full day at the beach…and then they all collapse…a sweet deep sleep after fresh sea air, hearts and bellies content and so full of love, and happiness. And I would stand over them, and be able to smile…and maybe shed another tear or two…as I realize that these are the moments that count…making memories of joy and happiness.

And even when the bad days might come, reminding my self that the Golden Ticket was given to me for a reason…

That I need to make amends…fight it out and make up…stop giving twenty second hugs…make them forty.

This is my fantasy plan of one year.

It is isn’t fair for anyone to ever receive that message…when someone has hopes and dreams and deserves to see them unfold just like any other person does…but it does happen.

I promise myself, that if it ever does…

I WILL let myself cry at all the things I may miss out on.

Then smile…and realize that every second counts… I will make the most of each and every moment...all 31556926 seconds of them.

Fear.

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Fear.

We all have a little of it. Or if you are anything like me, a lot.

I am afraid of everything.  Spiders, flying, heights, death…

Nothing too out of the ordinary in the fear department,  but enough to leave my nerves raw at times.

I get it...when I am outside, that is a spider’s home so they will forever exist…as long as they are outside. I didn’t invite them for a visit or even to dinner…so amscray!

Flying I have been told is safer than driving…not sure I buy that one in this day and age of missing aircrafts and terrorism, but from a safety standpoint,  fine. And associating turbulence with a bumpy road in a car helps calm my nerves…sometimes.

The heights thing…well this one is just plain annoying/gut-wrenching/knee-shaking fear. I’m embarrassed to admit the second floor in the mall terrifies me. My kids are gently warned to stay away from the railing(probably more because if they had a problem over there, I would not be able to help) and just leave Mama be…nonchalantly hugging the windows and walls as we slowly make our way to a destination.

Death.  Well, the other fears just look ridiculous when comparing them to this one.

Death freaks me out more now as a mother and wife than ever before.

I fear getting sick and leaving my children too soon. I fear my husband getting sick and leaving me jobless and with a house full of kids and broken hearts.

I fear accidents that could alter our world in any given moment to any of our loved ones or even myself.

I fear loss...loss of a loved one so dear.

I have lost many loved ones…and it never gets easier. Never.

But losing someone or thinking it could be me or my husband, is just simply unbearable.

My fears, I am learning (even as I write this), are based on lack of control…I don’t know how to fly a plane, or keep bugs away, or stop my head from spinning when I get up too high.

I can conquer them in one way…

Never fly again. Squash every spider that enters my house. Never go to the second floor in the mall again.

I could maybe even conquer my fear of death…do not allow myself to love or get close to anyone, for fear of losing them. To give up on my health and do whatever I want, eat whatever I want and just stop worrying about it all…

Become numb to everything around me.

It is possible…

I may not be a scaredy cat anymore by becoming numb, but I will be all alone…

With lots of memories…

Like the countless times of running scared when seeing a spider in my house and my kids running in circles around me, laughing as I climb up on a sofa to get away from that tiny little bugger…

Or of when I would have to stop and grab onto a wall like Spiderman in the mall as panic sets in (looking like a complete weirdo), glaring at my husband and kids who were trying to be supportive and steer clear of me, but not hiding their giggles as they watch my discreet web-slinging action along the windows of countless storefronts.

Or maybe even forget about all the amazing trips we took together as a family, exploring the world together, or even flying yet again last week (after years of mentally blocking out the possibility of ever flying again) and meeting the most inspiring woman I could ever imagine sitting next to on a plane…

Trying to forget all these strange yet beautiful memories shared with my loved ones…

I could do all of that and let fear control me…and it might actually work…

Or even worse…

Waste more precious time being afraid…

Instead of realizing I should have just lived.

fear

Vivid Memories.

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Vivid Memories.

I was about six. Standing in a cold bathroom. Struggling to get my extremely tight-fitted shirt off my head. Tears stung my eyes. Where was my mommy or daddy to help me?

There was a knock at the door. My Kindergarten teacher’s wife was gently offering to help me with whatever it was that was holding me up. I said I was fine. Yet continued to struggle with this dumb shirt.

I was attempting to put on my witch costume for a play to perform for our families. One problem. My family wasn’t there.

I finally exited the bathroom with a disheveled costume and hair. The wife of my teacher whispered in my ear, “don’t worry…I will cheer and clap for you”…how did she know? That is what I cried and longed for….

To do this day,  I remember it as if it just happened. ..my forty-something year old eyes reliving that day through those six year old eyes…laying on the floor, peeking from under my black witch’s hat to see if the wife was really cheering and clapping for me.

She did.

My heart smiled.

That was over thirty years ago.

There are countless other vivid moments from my childhood and teen years and early adulthood that I can still feel and see…

Not sure why these things stick with me…I am certain other people share these types of memories…but why??

Is it the foundation of who we become as adults? Is it to test our strengths and weaknesses?  Is it all planned out by some higher power? Will these memories follow us into the afterlife…no matter what we believe in?

A sad moment with a family member, a serious talk with a friend, a romantic encounter…all little moments in our time threading together to our present.  To remind us maybe of who we were and who we are.

Quite possibly a life quilt of sorts…different shapes and sizes and colors. Some dark,  some vibrant. Sewn together to blanket us, make us feel safe and warm with who we have become…

I like my quilt…some days I feel like I could use another layer to protect me from the cold hard world I live in…other days,  I toss it aside. Jump up and claim this moment as mine…remembering who I am, holding back those dark moments, like my first ever school play, to enjoy the joyous day that lies before me.

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