Tag Archives: family memories

My Grandpa’s Birthday, The Aftermath

19 Mar

 

This is one of my favorite old Polaroids. The guy with the baby is my Dad. And I am sleeping away sweetly in his arms. Behind us are my two Grandpas. My Mom’s Dad, Grandpa Kennedy, is on the left and my Dad’s Dad, Grandpa Delon, is on the right. Today was my Grandpa Delon’s 80th birthday. But along with being happy for him and grateful to still have a close relationship with him, I inevitably started thinking about him being 80. That isn’t exactly young. A few years ago I lost my Grandma Kennedy, my Mom’s Mom. It was a devastating shock for our whole family. And my Mom’s Dad passed away when I was 19. He suffered for so long and I knew that no matter how sad it made me, he was truly in a better place. So the time I do have with my other Grandparents is very valuable to me. And I can only hope that my Grandpa stays healthy and happy because I am so very bad at saying good bye.

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Throwback Thursday Surprise

14 Mar

I decided to jump on the Throwback Thursday bandwagon on Instagram. I wanted to do something for my Mom because she does so much for me. When my Grandma, her Mom, passed away almost two years ago we got a whole bunch of photos among other things. Some were just piles of photos and some were framed . Honestly we have not touched the framed photos since we got them. It was a really hard loss for my whole family. So today I was looking for some older photos of my Mom to put together a collage-like picture idea. My Grandma had 10 kids and there are 29(ish) grand-kids and 7 great grand-babies(as of now) plus spouses. So needless to say she had a bazillion pictures. But she had each of her original 10 kids senior pictures framed above her bed. So I went to take my Mom’s senior picture out of its frame to copy it and behind her picture I found all these others. It was an amazing surprise. My Grandma really is a guardian angel in my life and I believe in the lives of my whole family. And some days she makes it a point to remind me that she is watching over me. So I shed a few tears and snapped this quick picture. I love it. And I love my Mom and my Grandma very much. I miss my Grandma very much still but I can still feel her with me in my heart.  F.Y.I – My Mom’s senior picture is the center one in the bottom row.

Memories of Shirley Temple…

23 Jan

Tonight I was reminded of a great memory while watching T.V.. My Grandma Kennedy passed away 2 years ago but the thing I remembered was from a long time ago when I was a little girl. My Grandma and Grandpa Kennedy had 10 kids and they used to have a huge house big enough to hold them all. When I was a little kid this big house was like an amusement park for me. I was the first grandkid too, so my Grandma tried to spoil me whenever she could. I used to get to spend weekends with them all by myself and now I realize how special those moments were. My Grandparents used to have dinner parties and afterwards they made all their friends drinks. Now you have to realize that we are Irish Catholic which might as well be a symptom of alcoholism in my mind. My Grandma could not have made a froo-froo fruity drink if her life depended on it. So I would watch as she made real drinks for every single adult in the house after eating a huge dinner which she also prepared. And she would look down at me, because I was only knee height at the time, and ask what I was hanging around for. I would say that I was waiting for my drink. I mean everyone else had one and I thought that should include me. So my Grandma would ask if I wanted a Shirley Temple. And I would squeal to the affirmative. I loved and still love today Shirley Temple. And I assumed that a drink named after her had to be a drink she drank all the time. And my Grandma put no less work into my drink that she did the others. She would take a martini shaker and pour in 2 shots of 7-UP and 2 shots of Sprite. She would throw in some ice cubes and shut the shaker. She would shake up my Shirley Temple and pour it into a short old-fashioned drink glass. And then she would take 2 maraschino cherries from the jar and drop them into my drink. Last but not least she would put in a red drink stirring straw and put it on a fancy napkin. She would carry it into me at the table in front of everyone. It was one of the few times in my life that I remember a whole room of people looking at me without my face turning bright red. Maybe I was too young to feel embarrassed. Maybe my Grandma just made me feel special and not guilty that she was treating me special too. There are more days in my life now that I barely remember feeling special. I am glad I have memories of my Grandma to remind me of what special feels like. I miss her so much. Maybe I will go make myself a Shirley Temple and remember her some more.

Thankful for… 2

23 Nov

Continued…

Now on to my Dad’s side of my family. I think I must be the luckiest girl in the world sometimes. I got to be part of both a huge family on my Mom’s side and then on my Dad’s side I got to be part of a small family too. Both dynamics are very different but both are equally loving. I only have one Aunt and Uncle on the Delon side. And I only have 3 cousins. My Aunt Val lived in Illinois for a very long time when I was young so it was a super special big deal when I got to see her and my cousins. And in fact she played a huge part in a very sad part of my family’s life too. But to start with I want to be very thankful for my Grandma and Grandpa Delon. Boy did they spoil me! My Grandpa took a picture of me every year sitting in front of the Christmas tree and all the gifts. And every year he told me that was because I was the best present of all. Now my Grandpa spoiled me but he also used me as an excuse to cheat on his diet every chance he could get too. So I don’t feel so bad about being spoiled. When I was little my Grandpa had a swimming pool and he swam with me every time I wanted to go. He had the coolest house when I was little too, it had one of those metal spiral staircases. I always wanted to play on it but he always told me no. He always had my safety in mind even if I didn’t understand it back then. And he still has my best interest at heart to this day and I am so grateful for that. One wink from Grandpa and I knew things would be okay. I was so excited when they moved closer to where we lived. I got to see them so much more and I could have a sleepover with them anytime I wanted to. Grandpa would order pizza and we would rent movies every single time. And I would know nothing about basketball if I hadn’t been forced to watch hours and hours and hours of it as a kid with him. My Grandpa would fall asleep during games and when I would go to change the channel on the TV, he would wake up. He said he wasn’t asleep he was just resting his eyelids and could still watch the game. I didn’t buy that even when I was young. But now I know important things about the game like boxing out and zone defense. I am grateful for all the time I got to spend with him. Whether we were power walking at the mall or just going out to lunch to catch up, the time I spend with him is some of the time I count most precious. He is also a very spiritual man and I am grateful for that too. While I count myself as Catholic and he is not, he is one of those people with a true belief in God plain and simple. If faith was something you could see, Grandpa would be bright and shining like a star and it is just how he is with his whole being. And I know more than once that his prayers have helped to save my hide. I am very grateful for my Grandpa, his faith and his faith in me. My Grandma too is very spiritual. I am grateful for the time we got to spend together when she had her old shop. She made and sold things used to decorate your house. When I was young I was amazed at the flower arrangements and things she made. Fake flowers never looked so real. When I was young, my creativity was centered around reading and writing, but as I got older I started to craft. I am grateful to her for that because I know my crafting abilities came from years of watching her. Although I never got the hang of arranging flowers very well, I can make jewelry and all kinds of other things because of her. When I was young I remember my Grandma being a very quiet person and I am thankful that now I get to hear her voice more often. Now I am grateful that I get to hear her opinions and get to see how her and my Grandpa’s relationship works. I knew they were married when they were very young but only recently have I really gotten to see that love in the little things they do. I hope someday to find a love like they have. They fit like pieces of a puzzle, where she lacks he fills, where he lacks she fills. They spend all their time together even after all this time. I am grateful for that example they set. Now my grandparents had two children, my Dad first and then 10 years later my Aunt Val. And anyone who knows my Dad knows that he communicates by mercilessly teasing you to death. And for a long time I felt like the only one he teased but I soon realized he teased my Aunt Val too. And Aunt Val didn’t just sit back and take it. So I am very thankful to her for showing me I could fight back and not just take what my Dad was dishing out. And as I said before my Aunt Val and Uncle Jon both played a big part in one of the most sad points in my family’s life. When my brother had to be hospitalized in Chicago, my Aunt and Uncle opened their home and their lives to our family for months. I can never tell them how thankful I am that they were there to help us. Our family was being shattered and rebuilt, and my Aunt and Uncle were there for us. In fact my Uncle Jon was the first person to convince me that I might be able to learn to drive a car. In the midst of everything that was going on, he had enough faith and courage to just put me in the driver’s seat and just let me try. Now I ran a few stops signs and never went more than 25mph, but I realized I might just be able to do it. I am so grateful to the both of them for just being there for our family during that time.I am also so grateful that they were able to move close to us and my grandparents so that we could be together more often now. And my cousins mean a lot to me too. My cousin Kristen has some developmental issues but I am so grateful for her every time we get to spend time together. I don’t believe I have ever felt as pure a love as Kristen has shown me while we were growing up. Kristen doesn’t judge and I am grateful for that because I always feel judged out there in the world. And my cousins Eric and Eyan have always been so much fun to be around. They always bring fun energy when our family gets together. And now they are growing up and getting married and even about to have the very first great-grandchild in our family. I am grateful to get to share in all their lives because they are so different from my own. I value that their journey will be different from my own because they will only enhance my world.

TO BE CONTINUED…AGAIN…

Thankful for…

21 Nov

So I have noticed that many people I know are blogging everyday this month things they are grateful for and I have loved reading them so much. If only I was that diligent, sigh. And wouldn’t it be nice if we all did that everyday of the year not just because of Thanksgiving. But I think as long as we notice that we have things to be grateful for, no matter when or how often, it is a very good thing. Sometimes I find it very hard to see the positives that happen each day in my life and I know my days are often darker because of that. So I am trying to change and what better holiday than Thanksgiving to make my new start!

I am very thankful for the people in my life, especially my family and my friends that have come to be family to me. Where to start, there are so many? My own world is very small and often limited. That is where all these people come in. They share their lives with me and through them I get to be part of a much larger world. And often a world I would never get to experience otherwise. So here come the “Thank you”s.

I ‘ll start with the Kennedy side of the family. The loudest squeaky wheel gets the oil right. And boy are we the loud ones. My Mom’s side of the family is absolutely amazing. We are so many and so varied. I was so lucky to get to grow up seeing my very large family very, very often. And I am so thankful to my Grandma and Grandpa Kennedy for that. Probably a little  bit more Grandma than Grandpa because she did the party planning and cooking. We got together for so many reasons. Not always all of us but always some of us. I am grateful for every Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day, Fourth of July at the lake, wedding, first communion, baby shower, graduation, school play, and even a beauty pageant or two. I have loved watching my Aunts and Uncles get married and have babies. I loved annoying my Uncle Mike at the old big house. He was still a teenager when I was young and everything he did was so interesting to me. He used to mix together multiple colognes to wear before a big date. Although I probably shouldn’t remind him of that. And when I was really annoying him and touching all his stuff in his room, he would forbid me to come through his door frame. So I would stand in the hallway and talk at him and talk at him and talk at him until he let me back in. And one time when I was sick and Grandma was baby-sitting me, there was a 48 hour Andy Griffith Show marathon on TV. ANd my wonderful Uncle Mike forced me to watch all 48 hours! To this day I cringe at the notes of the whistled theme song. And some of my Aunts were also young enough to still be living at home then. I got my first make-up lessons at age 4 or so from them. I loved every second of it, but Grandma would always make me take a bath and wash it all off right after for some reason. Probably because I looked like Avon exploded on me but I am so thankful for all those memories. I am so thankful for all the time I got to spend with all my Aunts and Uncles. And then came all the cousins and they were even better. What kid had 28 other kids to play with and grow up with and love right there at their Grandma’s house? I have so many wonderful memories of growing up with all my cousins that it would take me a journal the size of the Empire State Building to write them all down. We had to take huge group naps when we were young after lunch at the lake house. Try getting 20 kids to lay down and be quiet for 30 minutes in the middle of a beautiful sunny day in the summer. One family Christmas the snow had all melted and the ground was a complete mud pit. All the boys went out to play outside and got so muddy that Grandma made them strip down to their undies and sit on the floor in a group while she washed all their clothes. It was like 20 little boys in undies and socks and frowns sitting on the floor while everyone else just laughed and went on eating and stuff. And I have pictures of it!! And I am extremely grateful for the summers when my brother and I would go visit Joey and David at Uncle Joe’s house.  Joey and David had bunk beds and we had the most fun times at night when we should have been sleeping. Joey and I would be in the top bunk teasing Tommy and David in the bottom bunk. Uncle Joe would come in at least four times a night to yell at us for not being asleep. And in the beginning I had only boy cousins, so when Christy and Lauren came along I was ecstatic. I begged to baby-sit them and hold them all the time. I about dies waiting until they were old enough tho play with. One time when I baby sat for Joey and Christy and Lauren and Nick, I had brought pillow cases and the girls and I decorated them and made them into dresses. I have millions upon millions upon millions of memories like these that I will always be grateful for. And now my cousins are finding their own ways in the world and getting married and starting their own families. And I am grateful that they share their lives and experiences with me because it make my life fuller. And I am grateful for all the weddings and baby showers and first communions and graduations and Christmases to come. And full circle to where it all started, my Grandma and Grandpa. My Grandma was amazing. We were all always together because of her. She was our fearless leader. Some of my best memories are of mornings at the old big house. I would wake up and sit at the top of the stairs and just listen. I was waiting to hear the sounds of Grandma cooking in the kitchen downstairs. Once I heard that I was downstairs and at the breakfast table in 2 seconds flat. The chairs of that table had wheels on them and I was rolling all over the kitchen while poor Grandma tried to make breakfast. And my Grandpa was sitting there watching Regis and Kathy Lee, getting ready to go work at the hospital. Every morning he had a piece of toast with a slice of Canadian bacon on it, cut in half, with coffee for breakfast. And I mean EVERY morning. And Grandma would make me blueberry pancakes from scratch, which might have well have been magic to me. I am so thankful that I have memories of my Grandpa before he was so sick. I remember swimming with him and going on boat rides with him and I remember he used to make this ducky-quacky bird noise at me that would make me giggle. I am very grateful for the memories I have of just his face smiling at me. The memories of my Grandma that I am most thankful for actually happened as I got older. When I was young we spent time alone together very often because I was the first grandchild. As I got older we spent lots of time alone together because I was close and we had the same schedule of free time. We had lunches and sleep-overs and trips to the lake in the middle of the week. I cherish those memories. We got to know things about each other that I don’t think we would have otherwise. She was making efforts to understand the symptoms of my illness and she would tell me stories about when she was a kid. And she would confide in me things she wished she had done in her life. And I was trying to teach her all about new technology. We had decided she would go on Wheel of Fortune and I would go on Jeopardy, and then use our winnings to go on a trip together. We went to Culver’s every single time we had lunch together. She would order just a sandwich and I would get the meal, because she knew I wouldn’t finish my french fries so she could have them. Little things like that I am grateful for. I am most grateful for the quarter she gave me every time we went to church together to put in the collection plate from the time I was 3 until I was 30. I miss both my Grandparents very much now but I am so extremely grateful for all the parts they played in my life.

TO BE CONTINUED…

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