Tag Archives: sadness

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.

To where my mind wanders…

15 Jul

Lately the same quote seems to be jumping out at me on all my social media. It wasn’t a quote I was familiar with but just the same it struck a chord with me. It goes something like ” To find your true love, all you have to do is watch where your mind goes when it wanders.” This would be hard for me normally because my mind is constantly wandering and imagining. But this summer there has been something that keeps dragging my attention back to it. It is a large empty space. Here is who used to fill my summer days.

This is my Grandma driving the boat at our family’s lake house. And I am the little girl on her lap. My face is most likely that way because she tooted the horn. The horn on the boat was a quick blaring honk. Kind of like putting a Canadian goose in front of a microphone and then stomping on it once really hard. It was so loud it literally made your heart skip a beat if you were sitting in front of it when it was honked. I hated that horn! I was so lucky. I spent 30 years of summers on the lake with my family. When I was really little it was just me and my grandparents because I was the only grandchild for a little while. I was lucky that way too because I remember things that my younger cousins might not. And then as my aunts and uncles got married and had kids, we had wild summers. I mean squeezing 30 or 40 people into a one story house with only one bathroom was an adventure in itself. But now imagine half of those being kids under 12, you get the idea of the fun we had. And we had boat rides and swimming and diving contests and amazing fireworks displays put on by my youngest uncle Mike on the Fourth of July. And acres and acres of s’mores. And mountains of food and soda pop. During those years the only time I had alone with my Grandma was the very early morning before everyone else woke up. Of all those kids and adults, Grandma was always up first. Starting the coffee and melting the grease in the frying pan for scrambled eggs for 20 kids. I would wake up and tiptoe over the carpet of sleeping bodies in the living room.  I would get to take Grandpa his coffee as he rocked in his chair on the porch. He always got the first rocking chair in the row and then Grandma got the second and then I got the third. But usually Grandma would sit me in her chair with a tiny kid sized cup of OJ so she could go back to making breakfast without me underfoot. And I would rock and babble non-stop at my Grandpa. To me he was a really good listener but I am sure he just learned to tune out little kid babble. But he was a man of few words with me and I loved him for it. Then people would start waking up and eating. And after that it was a matter of whining until we could go swimming.

As a teenager things changed a bit. My Grandpa had his first stroke when I was 11. And he continued to have them. At home and at the lake my Grandma was his constant nurse with the help of my Uncle Mike. But my Grandpa loved the lake so it was very important to my Grandma that he get to keep going there. Unfortunately our lake house is as handicapped friendly as Mount Everest. That fact also became very apparent as my own brother was paralyzed and put into a wheelchair permanently. But the lake was my sanctuary. And I continued to wake up when I heard Grandma get up. But I would now take my slightly bigger cup of OJ and go out to the swing. We had an amazing swing anchored between two huge trees. It was a porch swing and when you sat in it you had an amazing view of the better part of the lake. And I would write sometimes creatively, sometimes personally. And I would enjoy the silvery water of the lake and the cool morning breeze blowing through the trees. I felt so completely safe. It recharged my batteries to go back and face a high school life I was unhappy with. With my brother getting sick and my family struggling with that and so much more, I needed a sanctuary. The lake was my perfect place. In my whole life I only ever brought 3 people there and shared my experience with them. But none of them understood why the lake healed me the way it did.

And as I got older my relationship with my Grandma changed again. After my Grandpa passed away, my Grandma said she liked going to the lake because it was his favorite place and it made her feel close to him. And honestly I think it was because my Grandma and I had the same schedule. I wasn’t in school or working so I could go with her during the week to the lake. We would go to clean and plant the garden. She would fill up her car with clean towels, blankets, and sheets. I would pack a backpack and we would just go. It was great. We had so many great conversations on the hour or so drive down. She was really wanting to understand the problems I was having. And she would show me how to make a bed “the right way”. Although to this day I don’t make my bed. She would teach me all about gardening. And I was excited to learn. There was this little hardware store with a little greenhouse attached on the way to the lake house. We would stop there and pick out tons and tons of little flower plants. And we would plant all the pots and flower beds in all different flowers and colors. Or we would clean the huge windows on the porch. It was hot work but once you were done you felt like you had really done something. Then Grandma would take a drink down to the dock and I would go for a swim. We would watch the boats go by, having their last bit of fun before the light went on at the beach. It meant you couldn’t drive your boat fast anymore for the night. We would go in after that. Grandma would cook dinner and we would watch Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy while we ate. She was always better at the Wheel but I was always better at Jeopardy. Then she would rock in her chair on the porch, never Grandpa’s, until she was tired. I would read until I was sleepy. We would go for three or four days in a row. And I really started to enjoy those trips.

My Grandma sold the lake house a few years ago and it broke my heart. Or so I thought. My Grandma passed away last year. I knew real heart-break then. I know it still. She was the biggest part of my sanctuary. And this summer whether I am gardening or writing or cleaning around the house, she is where my mind wanders to. Or rather the empty hole in my life where she used to be.

To all my friends who are mommies

12 Jun

Oooooohhhh girls it has been a spell since I have written a post. For that you have my deepest apologies. When spring hit here so fast and so hot, my social life bloomed too. And of course I love to garden and bird watch too. I also got a new camera and laptop recently so I was busy playing with all the new buttons on those too. Seems like I have been taking more pictures than writing lately. Don’t worry I will blog those later. And I became absolutely addicted to Instagram once it went to Android.

But enough excuses and on to the blog. This is something I am not sure everyone knows about me and I will try to explain it as eloquently as I can here. And please by no means am I seeking pity or sympathy by blogging about this. I am just hoping to explain my point of view.

Since I am not sure where to start, I will just jump in in the middle somewhere. In September of 2009, I had to have a complete hysterectomy and as a result I will never be able to have biological kids of my own. At the time I was very sick and getting sicker. This surgery was the only definitive way to be sure that I would not get sick again. I had problems from the moment I hit puberty. And they just got worse and worse. I had tried every pill the doctors could throw at me. But no doctor wanted to tell a childless 29-year-old woman that she really had to take that final surgical solution. But in the end I had no choice. And I recovered at lightening speed to 100%. It really was a miracle.

I didn’t start feeling grief for all that I had lost until more than a year later. It honestly snuck up on me. I was so happy to be healthy and not in constant pain. I had a great summer later on after that. But the realizations started hitting me all at once or at least it felt that way. My best friend  had  her first child. I was there for everything. I was even at the hospital for the birth. And when I held that little angel for the first time my heart literally burst open with love for her. And my stomach sank into a deep abyss. Because if I could instantly love this baby that much, I could only imagine the feeling multiplied a billion times over for a baby that I would carry for 9 months next to my heart. Despite my sadness, I was overjoyed  that my best friend let me share almost every step of that baby’s life. But I also started noticing more and more of my family and friends getting pregnant. I seemed to notice every Mom and toddler at the grocery store. Huggies commercials started making me sob. And I would catch myself saying, like I imagine every girl does, “Oh when I have kids I will…” and “If I had a baby I would name her…”. Phrases like that left a bad taste in my mouth now because I realized all that stuff was cut out of my life now. And I went through a bad time there for a while. I withdrew from baby situations and baby conversations. It just hurt too much.

But like I said this isn’t my sob story. Slowly but surely the pain is ebbing away now. I realized that I had always loved kids and that kids have always loved me. You can ask my 30 or so younger cousins, HaHaHa. And I realized that I really enjoyed seeing my friends and family with their babies. The love and happiness that beams between them and their babies. I began to really love all those cute and sweet update pictures that they all so proudly share on Facebook and other places. I realized that I could have as much fun watching these babies grow up  as I did watching my younger cousins grow into the great adults they are now. And the fact that all my children will have paws is not such a bad thing either. Because I love animals and there are a lot of them out there that could use some love and some help.

So I apologize to my friends and family for all I have missed. And I hope you all don’t mind if I officially start calling you my “mommie friends”. I will post all the cute things I see for you and your babies, boy or girl. And I will truly try not to be absent from anymore baby showers, birthdays or christenings. Because I love you all and I love that you are all mommies!!!

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