Life is full of joys and sorrows. Even though I have not had the good fortune of carrying a viable pregnancy to term, I know the worst situation that can happen to any parent is losing a child. Today the Sister received a call from one of her co-workers letting her know that one of her children passed away early this morning. We were in the market when the call came through and I could barely hold myself together. This young woman had just turned 18 but had been fighting an auto-immune illness since a young child. She spent basically the last year of her life in the hospital bravely fighting this scourge! She never gave up hope and fought to the very end! Her family never left her side although her baby sister doesn’t quite understand what happened today. Whatever you take away from this, please keep in mind to cherish your family and friends! These individuals are the greatest gifts we give to ourselves! Hug them…hold them…tell them every day that you love them! If someone you care for lives a distance away, drop them a note or, better yet, do something personal in this day of electronic instant gratification, make a phone call and have an actual conversation. Their heart will swell with joy…and so will yours!
Do you ever experience periods of time when you wish you were a different person or in a different place? Right now this life of mine isn’t cutting the mustard. Nobody get their hackles up! I desire change, not endings! I did something tonight that I haven’t done in quite some time – I grabbed my purse and car keys and left the house! Due to the weather a pipe burst in the kitchen. Water was pouring out from underneath the dishwasher, flooding the kitchen. I felt as though I was Offissa Pupp being hit in the head by one of Ignatz Mouse’s bricks! All I could think of was here is another expense and the Sister will have a breakdown! I looked at the Husband and told him my strength has totally ebbed. I’m a burden on my family due to lack of employment. The only things I’m good for are home repairs and cooking. He held me, reiterated how much he loves me but tears never burst forth. I’m empty…I’m nothing…I feel worthless. We were able to call in an emergency plumber but all he was able to do was shut off the hot water leading into the kitchen – he’s booked for the next week. The Hubby and I mopped up and dried the kitchen as best as we could and I put up dinner – a big pot of chicken barley soup! When the Sister came home I attempted to give her a hug. I think I did this to reassure myself but the token of affection was not received well nor was it reciprocated. While the hot water in the kitchen is off, we decided to use disposable utensils. I served the Sister some soup but her bowl broke. Hot soup splattered on the stove, the counter and her hand! I was mortified and ran for something cold in the freezer to help with the burn. She positively blew up! She yelled at the mess, at the garbage can, at the state of the house… I know she is frightened about finances! We live paycheck to paycheck! I’ve been swallowing my own fears and insecurities so as not to upset her and worsen her doubts but I lost it tonight. All I could think of is she’s too good for this mess of our lives. I can provide the history of this but it would require another post or two. In a nutshell we come from a highly dysfunctional home where money and emotions were never valued very highly. My thought tonight as I was running is that she deserves better…a better life and a different sibling. Sadly, she’s saddled with me. In my heart I truly believe things will improve. Do I have the right to wallow for a little bit? Maybe tonight but as Scarlett O’Hara said “Tomorrow is another day!” I pray a new day provides a fresh, clearer outlook on this life of mine!
Our Mom, from an early age, instilled upon us the importance of friends. Our door was always open and she never set a curfew upon the phone if someone needed a compassionate ear and a need to vent. She was steadfast and true and passed this down to the Sister and yours truly Over the years, I discovered friendships strongly resemble amusement park rides. Some are sedate like a carousel and last the test of time while others are wild such as a roller coaster which begin and end quickly. A fair weather friend is akin to a flume ride…relatively smooth sailing until that last turn when the ride bottoms out and the cart splashes wildly into the pool at the base. One flume ride ended early last year when friends of our picked up and moved away. We went on day trips with this couple and would meet for dinner at a least once a month. Dinner would last several hours with both our Hubbies running amok, taking over the restaurant and the owners played along! When they moved we received a “Dear John” text. It was nice knowing you. Yesterday I received a phone call out of the blue from someone I had considered a “carousel” until I lost my job. I reached out numerous times for this person’s ear but it was always otherwise engaged. When we did connect, I was informed that I wasn’t the only person in the world going through a tough spot. When her first marriage ended, we made ourselves available to her at all times. When her relationship after her marriage dissolved, once again we were there for her. Recently on social media this individual announced her engagement…it’s the second marriage for both. Radio silence until yesterday. I didn’t take the call as bronchitis still has me in it’s thrall. I thought it odd until I started connecting the dots. I do believe she tried calling to assuage her feelings…the Hubby and I are not being invited to the wedding. If this is true, it is the straw that broke the camel’s back of our “friendship.” Fair weather friends are a dime a dozen. I prefer the peace and serenity of the carousel. I wish this couple a lifetime of health and happiness.
I am not sorry to see this year assigned to the history books. There were a few good moments but I am eager to welcome 2018. A group of women accepted me into their fold and I went to work for them, seasonally, in a Ladies store. It was a true learning experience filled with a lot of laughter and hectic times. I am pleased to say they have asked me to remain with them in a part-time capacity! This blog is another highlight. I have received many compliments over the year including several suggestions to monetize my site! If anyone knows how to do so, please let me know! I have researched this idea but have not discovered anything substantial in order to move ahead with this plan. I thank the Sister’s BFF for providing a fresh perspective on life and the displaced Alabamian for her willing ear and much needed advice! To the Uncle I so appreciate the logic, pearls of wisdom via old shaving company advertisements and his love! Much love and appreciation to my oldest friend for our late night/early morning phone calls that calmed me down and helped me to eventually fall asleep! Friends have come and friends have gone this year. To those who have gone by the wayside, I wish you and your families nothing but health and happiness for the future. Please know I am here if you ever wish to reconnect. We can hopefully start fresh. Friendships have, I pray, been rekindled! To the former Jersey Girl now New England resident, let’s keep the channels of communication open! Most of all, my heart to the Sister and the Hubby for their continued love and support! I wouldn’t have made it through the year without the two of you! To everyone else, I wish you a very happy and healthy 2018! May all your dreams and wishes come true!
Over the years, our family has significantly diminished in size. There are family members my heart aches for…with a wish of one more day…one more day to share hugs…one more day to repeatedly reinforce my love…and my regrets for not being a better, more loving relative. On the flip side, some who have passed barely left a blip on the radar. Our parents married quite young – they were only 20 years old. Our Mom always referred to our Dad’s brothers as her “old brother-in-law” (he was seven years older than our Dad) and her “baby brother-in-law” who is seven years younger than our Dad. For some reason this struck a chord with me and I have always referred to him as my “baby Uncle” even though he is twenty years older than I. Today is his birthday and it’s a major “number.” The age doesn’t matter to me! This is the man who, along with our Dad, made the Sister and I laugh by dancing the Kazotsky across the kitchen floor! He sympathized with the Sister and her allergies as he had suffered from them since childhood. He attempted to teach her how to blow her nose but, for some unknown reason that maybe she could explain if she remembers, she inhaled into the tissue! We laughed until we cried but the tow-headed child stood there stoically. She was absolutely perplexed why the nose-blowing lesson had ceased! This was the man who joined us at the World’s Fair, weighed down head to toe in camera equipment! He shot pictures of everything and everyone including yours truly! When our Parents tracked down Mickey Mouse for a photo op, our Uncle noticed I snatched my hand away from the rodent’s glove. He put two and two together and suggested to our Parents that they should locate Donald Duck! The duck?!? Preposterous! Disney was built around the Mouse! As soon as I spotted Donald, my face split into an ear-to-ear grin! This man certainly had his niece pegged! He and his siblings grew up in a traditional Jewish home. This proved too much for our Father who swore he would raise his daughters without a knowledge of their religious background. Our Grandfather enrolled us in Hebrew School and Sunday School but our religious education ended with his passing. Over the years I was hungry for more. I wanted to know what role Judaism had in my life. Our Uncle stepped into the void and, along with our Aunt, started to guide me through the next part of my education! He held the Chuppah at our wedding and argued with our Father when he planned to decline saying the blessing for the wine and bread. He reminded his brother that, as father of the bride, he was responsible for the prayers. Our Father shot back that I look upon Our Uncle as my father-figure. This was twenty-one years ago and he hit the nail on the head! Our Uncle is essentially my father! Our Dad and his siblings were raised in a home where affection was rarely expressed. Our Dad never told the Sister or me that he loves us until our Mother’s passing. On the other hand, our Uncle always initiated a visit or a call with a hug and telling us “I love you!” Said visits and calls end the same way! The brothers may look so similar but they are as different as night and day! I have babbled long enough! To my “Baby Uncle,” I wish you great joy, health and happiness today and all the years to come! Happy Birthday! I love you!
Today is our Grandparents’ 85th wedding anniversary! No, they are no longer with us to celebrate but I am doing so on their behalf. Maybe I’m an odd duck but I believe, even though the body may have passed, the love and affection remain! The feelings were sent out into the universe and reverberate for time immemorial. I don’t ever recall witnessing a couple who loved each other and were so deeply in love with each other as our Grandparents! The only other couple I know of who share their hearts with each other similarly to our Grandfather and Grandmother are our Aunt and Uncle in Florida! Our Grandparents married after meeting only six months before when he ventured to New Jersey from that strange land known as Brooklyn. He was in search of a town where he could establish his medical practice. He didn’t find it that day but, as he told his parents when he arrived home, “I met the angel I’m going to marry!” Cupid’s arrow did not work immediately on our Grandmother…she referred to her suitor as “that funny-looking little man from Brooklyn!” His magic eventually worked and they were married on December 26, 1932! They celebrated their Golden Anniversary together before he unexpectedly passed away in his driveway after returning home from rounds at the hospital. She existed for another 13 years but did not outlive him. Her heart stopped beating the same day as his. And what I said earlier about love being sent out into the universe and reverberating? Sixty-two years after their wedding, I was set up on a blind date. When I returned home, our Mother asked how it went. At this time I did not know the story of our Grandparents’ initial meeting. I responded, “He’s a funny-looking little man from Brooklyn…but I’m going to marry him!” A little bit of each but their love still flows! The Hubby and I married almost two years later.
Until our Mom passed away 11 1/2 years ago, we always celebrated Chanukah on Christmas Day. Our Grandparents started this celebration the year after their wedding as our Grandfather was always off tending to his patients. Christmas Day was basically the only time the patients were preoccupied with other aspects of their lives and doing their best not to allow the sniffles get them down. Mom continued with the habits her parents had established up until the holiday before she passed. Since then, the Hubby found a job that requires him to work Christmas Eve and Day. The Sister and I decided I wouldn’t cook just for the two of us so we spend Christmas Day at the movies and one of the best Chinese restaurants in the area. We do miss the old traditions but we’re aware that times change and we need to be flexible as well. Another way we celebrate the holiday season…trekking into the city for the Holiday Markets. The Sister and I enjoy each other’s company and know our Mom is smiling down on us with love and approval in her heart!