Category Archives: Bittersweet

Three Question Thursday 1.5.17

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1. “I don’t know how to feel about Carrie Fisher’s death.”

Alright I admit it.. this isn’t a question. When I told Mini that Carrie had passed, she thought about it for a while then told me she wasn’t sure how to feel about it. 2016 was insane with the celebrity deaths, quite frankly. Every time I signed onto Twitter, I felt another piece of my childhood just slip away.

We are HUGE Star Wars fans, in case you didn’t know. Mini idolized Princess Leia. Mini always said Leia was a lady and a princess, but she also kicked butt. As we discussed it, the only thing I could tell Mini was that it was okay to be confused.

I said, “You loved Leia and everything she stood for, but you didn’t know Carrie personally. You know after the next movie, Leia will no longer appear and that makes you sad. It’s okay to mourn the loss of someone, no matter who it is and even if it is just a character.”

Mini has approached me since our talk and wants to discuss the upcoming movies and I’m sure the entire fandom is curious to see how the franchise deals with the death of the most badass Disney princess ever!

2. “Why do I need glasses?”

Uhhh cuz both your parents have poor eyesight and started wearing glasses in the 2nd (him) and 4th (me) grade? It seems like a “duh”, but Mini was very concerned about this. She thinks having glasses will alter her entire image. She was convinced she won’t be pretty anymore. She cried that her friends will not want to be seen with her. She expressed concern that a playground bully had slapped another child’s glasses off their face and she is worried it will happen to her.

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I reminded her that her friends don’t hang out with her just because she’s pretty and has nice eyes (I might be slightly biased because it’s a carbon copy of my own eyes and face). They hang out with her because she has a great personality. she’s fun. She likes things like Star Wars or Cops & Robbers. She refers to her friends as “fans” (she’s a YouTube fanatic, sooo yeah). I’m raising a pretty great kid, if I do say so myself. She’s both sympathetic and empathetic. I remind her of all her good qualities. From the time of the exam to the time she received her glasses, Mini had time to think about it. She got used to the idea and even accepted her “new” identity.

I’ll save the pics for a Mini Monday post and let her tell you all about it :)

3. Did you get anything good for Christmas?

No. I’m an adult. Plus, when you’re a parent, it’s all about the kids.

PSSHHHH HELL YEAH I GOT SOMETHING GOOD!

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This thing is SO. MUCH. FUN!

My inner nerd went nuts. My outer nerd went nuts. It was a nutsy time.

Have any questions I should answer? Leave them in the comments below :) 

A Necklace With a Message and a Memory

This “getting older” thing sucks!

I feel like every time I turn around, I’m saying good-bye to another older family member. This time it was “Uncle Joe”. One of my favorite things about him was how much he loved his wife. Sure, they bickered like old married couples do, but if you heard the way he talked about her.. there aren’t many words to describe it.

Heart-warming, maybe?

When we were generally discussing cheating, he said he’d never do anything so stupid. “I know what I got”, he drawled in that old Brooklyn accent of his. It was refreshing to hear someone speak of their spouse like that. I almost wish it had been someone closer to my age.

As I was thinking about it all while brushing my hair, a realization hit me: if this had been a year ago, it was Nanny who would have called me. She would have chatted with me about any plans being made and we’d chit-chat about life.

I shed tears for both Nanny (yet again!) and for Uncle Joe, who I will miss dearly.

A few weeks prior, I had ordered one of those “signature” necklaces from an Etsy shop. I was a bit skeptical that they could perfectly recreate a signature, but thought “what the hey?” and gave it a shot.

I didn’t really know what to expect, but what I got exceeded all my expectations!

With shipping times, I wasn’t expecting the necklace for another few days. The universe (and Nanny, I’m guessing) decided I needed the necklace that day.

This is what I sent the shop:

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This is what I received back:

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I’m in awe.

I sent a pic to a few family members and even they couldn’t believe it. It was an exact replica of Nanny’s signature, complete with line at the bottom. It was so beautiful, it moved me to tears.

There it was, in my hands: “Love Always, Nanny”.

It is just gorgeous, breath-taking, amazing, all of that and more. Thank you for your amazing work, CaitlynMinimalist. Words can not express how grateful I am to have this gorgeous piece with me now.

PLEASE check out the CaitlynMinimalist shop on Etsy!

**No, I was not paid for this post, nor did I receive anything for free. I just worked it into another post I was working on.

Tina TidBits 8.31.15

I decided to start a new post series. I have a lot of random thoughts and opinions, but not usually enough for an actual post. That’s where this series comes in. That being said, here is my first group of thoughts. Since my last blog was called “Tina’s Tid-Bits”, the title is a send-up to that.

I’m kind of dreading back to school. We had a rough summer. I’m already involved with a PTA fundraiser. I did the same one last year and although it was stressful, I ended up having fun. I didn’t expect an October fundraiser to be in my face in the middle of August though!

It’s going to be lonely without Nanny around. I broke up the monotony of my days by taking her to doctor appointments and/or lunch. Sometimes, I would just go sit with her and talk. She gave the best advice and was so much fun to be around. My birthday is coming up and this will be the first year in my life she hasn’t called to sing “Happy Birthday” to me. That hits hard and it’s going to be rough to deal with.

Anyway.

I had an eye exam and a strange thing happened.. my script went down! I put the new contacts in and I have never seen sharper or clearer. Apparently, My eyes corrected themselves. I had the same prescription for years and had no idea it was wrong. I haven’t had an exam in three years and I’m kinda pissed I waited so long. My daily headaches have subsided as well. Who knew?

Mini had her first eye exam as well. She wasn’t happy about it, but she said it was fun. She doesn’t need glasses yet, which is surprising. Her father started wearing them in the second grade and I in the fourth so I thought she might need them in the third, but she doesn’t. She already had her choice frames picked out just in case though :)

With the eye exam out of the way, we can move onto clothes. Back-to-school clothes shopping is a nightmare. Mini is very picky about her clothes. If it were up to her, she would wear the same oversized t-shirt and baggy pants every day of her life. She hates leggings and skinny jeans. She’s not a fan of frilly, lace or sequined. She would flip her lid if I bought her a tutu or anything pink. It is so hard finding affordable clothes she will actually wear. Luckily, she is still the same size she was at the end of last year so for now, we can hold off on the clothes.

How was your summer?

Are you looking forward to back to school?

Fifteen Years Like A Day

They say time flies when you’re having fun, but time also flies when you’re miserable or sad. Even the days you’ve spent at the DMV are few when it comes to your whole life.

Fifteen years ago, I said good-bye to my Mother. It feels just like it was yesterday. At times, it hurts that much too.

At the ripe old age of 47, she succumbed to her body’s deterioration due to Multiple Sclerosis (pneumonia is what finished her). It was a tense few months leading up to it. We had a feeling something was going to happen but none of us expected it so soon. We had seen her get very sick before, but she always managed to somewhat get back to what she was before.

I admire everything about my Mother. She kept her sense of humor even as her body fought her. She couldn’t lift her arms nor move her legs, but didn’t hesitate to chime in  a “Throw it to me. I’ll catch it.” as my brother tossed me a can of soda once on a visit.

She taught me that no matter what life throws at you, happiness is your choice. My childhood wasn’t easy. My adulthood hasn’t been much better. Through it all, I have looked for things that make me happy, whether it be a song or a poem or a tv show. Finding happiness no matter what your circumstance is what life is all about.

If my Mother could find a way to smile, so can I.

I miss her so much.

A Favorite Holiday Memory

I decided to link up with BlogHer’s November 2014 NaBloPoMo writing prompts. I have been looking for a good blog challenge and this is it! I already missed the post for November 3rd and it is after midnight on the 5th (meaning I technically missed the 4th), but I wanted to do the November 4th post anyway..

A favorite holiday memory.

My favorite holiday memory is bittersweet. It was the last Christmas I spent with my Mother. For those of you who don’t know, my Mother passed away in February 2000 from complications with Multiple Sclerosis. Just before her last Christmas, my brother had taken me to visit her in the nursing home. She was awake and alert. My brother wandered off in search of the soda and snack machines, giving me a good chunk of time to have my Mother all to myself.

I told her I was doing the school musical. She smiled. There was a song she used to sing to me when I was younger and I sang it for her. She smiled and let me wipe the few tears that spilled down her face. We talked about life. I told her I wasn’t mad at her for giving us up for adoption and I finally understood why.

-In fact, the older I get and the older Mini gets, the more I respect her for doing what needed to be done. I can’t imagine any circumstance where I’d have to give Mini up. I have no idea what I’d do if I couldn’t see her every day.-

That day, I told my Mother everything I had ever wanted to. I asked questions. Some answers were sarcastic (apparently it’s genetic!) and some were serious. It was a connection I had so desperately needed while growing up in another home, away from her. I never told my brother what happened when he was out snack hunting. I really owe him my gratitude.

A Disney Show Led To A Discussion About Bullying

*SPOILER ALERT! If you watch the show with your kids and haven’t seen the “Trish gets bullied” episode, read no further!*

Sunday night, Mini watched the new episode of Austin & Ally. In the beginning of the episode, the gang (Austin, Ally, Trish and Dez) are in a discussion about the school play, Sleeping Beauty. Ally and Trish both auditioned for the lead, but Trish ended up getting it.

After a rehearsal, the group finds an online forum discussing the play. One user completely trashes Trish. The user calls her “ugly” and “sleeping not beautey” (note the spelling for later) then says she stinks.

As with everything on social media, the posts spread like wildfire. By the next morning, everyone is laughing at Trish as she walks to her locker, which is adorned with a broken mirror that has the words “Sleeping Not Beautey” scrawled across it. Trish insists it doesn’t bother her and even quips that lavender is her favorite scent when she finds an air freshener inside.

Dez, Austin and Ally praise Trish as she walks away, saying how well she is handling things. Ally comments that Trish is as tough as it gets. The next scene is Trish walking into the room where they practiced the play. She is still looking at her tablet and she starts to cry. *cut to a commercial*

Mini had been silently watching. As the commercial break started, she got up. “I can’t take this. I need a break!” By the time she walked over to the table I was sitting at, she was in tears. Both angry and upset that someone could be so mean, she cries, “Trish is funny and beautiful. I don’t understand why they would be so mean to her.”

We spent the rest of the commercial break discussing why some people are mean (they usually have issues with themselves or they are just jealous) and what Mini should do if she is being bullied. We talked about the boy she had a problem with in Kindergarten two years ago. He would just randomly hurt her. He’d grab her hair as they were sitting for circle time or shove her into the wall as they were leaving the gym. I felt like I was on the phone with the principal weekly and constantly sending notes into the teacher. The one thing Mini asked me then is the same thing she asked me now. She just doesn’t understand how someone could have so much hatred, either for themselves or someone else, that they would purposely set out to maliciously malign another (no those aren’t her exact words!).

I led her back to our couch and said we should watch the rest of the episode together and discuss further. She agreed and we watched the rest of the episode.

As it turns out, the bully happened to be none other than Trish’s understudy, Margo. When Trish confronted Margo, she admitted she was jealous she wasn’t the lead.

As Mini watched, she nodded along. “So she was jealous.”

After the episode was over, it was time to get Mini ready for bed. As she came to me to say good-night, she asked what she SHOULD do if she feels jealous of someone else. I asked her what she thinks she should do. She takes a minute then says she should just work hard for what she wants.

I put her in Margo’s shoes for a minute and asked her what Margo should have done. Mini thinks again and tells me she should have been happy to be in the play at all. I told her it’s okay to feel upset if you work for something and someone else gets it, but that doesn’t give you the right to take it out on them. If you are jealous, it is your problem, not the other person’s.

The rise of social media has made public bullying and “ganging up” on another person easier than ever. I am trying to instill morals and values into my child BEFORE she is old enough to utilize these sites. As I kissed Mini good-night, I marveled at her compassion. She herself has been bullied and in some ways identified with Trish. In a small way, it was good for my own self-esteem. My little Mini has a beautifully compassionate soul and that tells me I’m doing something right!

So thanks, Disney. Thanks, Austin & Ally.  To the writers who tackled this delicate issue, well done!

Mini’s First Loss

This week, I had to try a mommy hat on for size: grief counselor. I wasn’t sure exactly when I was going to have to do this, but it happened. By the time I was Mini’s age, I had already seen and been through more than you would believe, but Mini hasn’t experienced a loss yet…

Until two nights ago.

Anyone who knows me knows that my fur-babies are members of my family. I love each and every one of them like they’re my kids.

Sometime between his nightly “Stomp the Yard” rehearsal and our late-night snack, our beloved rabbit, Pet, died. Yes, he is/was “Pet the bunny”.

At first, Mini didn’t believe us. She thought he was sleeping. I gently removed him from his cage and laid him down where Mini could see him. She held and touched him.

Then she started crying. I soon followed.

She would periodically stop, try making jokes then say “I’m gonna cry again” and did. When we calmed her down and she was heading upstairs to get ready for bed, she looked towards the cage and whispered “I love you, Pet”. This sent her running back to my arms, sobbing once again. Again, I calmed her down, but I saw the anguish in her face as she made her way up the stairs to go to bed. She woke up twice throughout the night. Each time she woke me up, cried and went back to sleep.

This morning, we took Pet to Regency Forest Pet Memorial Park. The staff was kind and compassionate. They expressed their sympathy and the intake guy didn’t laugh at me or try to joke when I cried as I handed Pet over to him (even though I probably looked pretty pathetic! ). We received Pet’s ashes in a little green urn as well as a beautiful poem in a sympathy card (you can find it here: “Rainbow Bridge“). The staff at this place makes the process seamless and you can tell they really care about what they do. If you live on Long Island, or in a surrounding area, please check out their services. *Note: I was not paid nor asked to post anything about this place. I am doing this of my own free will.*

As I was discussing the events of the last few days with Mini, she shared her favorite memory of Pet. In Mini’s words: “When Daddy would clean Pet’s cage and I would play with Pet in the bathroom, I would let him chew on Daddy’s towel. He thought it was delicious and never got tired of chewing it.”

Rest In Peace, Pet the Bunny. You will be missed!

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Having A Rough Time

I realize I haven’t posted in a while and it’s such a shame because I had so many posts planned. I’ve been keeping busy to keep my mind off this time of year. The Superbowl was a great distraction for me, as is all of the other tasks I have taken on.

February 2nd is the anniversary of my Mother’s death. It again hit me hard this year because Mini has a new cousin, who is yet another grandchild who my Mother will never know and vice versa. It’s been 14 years since I said good-bye to one of the greatest women I will ever know. I wish I could say this gets easier or that I cry less with each passing year, but that would be a lie. I think, in fact, I cry more. So many things go on that Mini’s other grandparents see and participate in. It pains me that my Mother isn’t here.

Sometimes, all I can do is sit at her grave, weep and just spill my heart out.

Last year for Mother’s Day, I brought Mini with me to the cemetery. She had been asking a lot about my Mother and I felt it was the right time. Recently, Mini asked to come with me again. She told me she couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be without me and that she misses me all day while she’s at school. In her way, I think she was trying to tell me she understands what I’m feeling. Bless her little heart. That innocence is a beautiful thing!

I’ve been asked by people who lose their parents if things get easier. I’m not one to sugarcoat and tell them what they want to hear. I tell them each person deals with grief differently, but it is a hell of a thing to go through. It’s a pain that is always there, no matter how long it’s been.

There will always be some major life event they missed.

There will always be a wish they were still here..

Linzer Tarts

I don’t know why nostalgia has been punching me in the gut lately. The losses I have experienced over the years have seemed to be hitting me the most in the past few months or so. I’ve cried so many times, I’ve lost count. I’m not really a crier.

Last week, I was at Target with Mini (I know – what was I thinking right?) and I happened upon the Christmas special edition cookie display. I was ecstatic to find the tins of Pirouette sticks. I love them in hot chocolate and I wanted Mini to try them. She loves them now as much as I do :)

I found the usual fudge-covered Oreos and colored sugar cookies, but one box (bag?) stood out..

Linzers

 

To some people, it’s a box (again – bag?) of Linzer Tarts. To me, it was a memory. As Mini impatiently asked me to hurry up and decide, I just stared and tried not to cry.

Here’s why: Grandma and Grandpa F (my adopted mom’s parents) lived in Oregon. They tried to see us as often as possible, but we all know flying in/out of NY is expensive. Every time they came to town, Grandpa would drive to the bakery every morning and get linzer tarts. If we were awake and dressed, we got to go with him. Sometimes, he bought us a small cookie, as long as we “promised” not to tell Mom or Dad. That bakery has since become a bagel place and it was sad to see the place go.

I have always associated linzer tarts with Grandpa. When I walk into a bakery and see them, I smile. Needless to say, I bought the bag. They weren’t bakery-fresh good, but they were just good enough for the memory.

On Christmas Eve, I was waiting in line at our local bakery with Mini, who was again getting impatient. All in all, she did well, chatting with other people also waiting in line and commenting on the beautiful cookie trays. When it was finally our turn, I was disappointed there were no tarts out. As the counter girl was boxing my cake (yellow with chocolate fudge buttercream in case you were curious), I asked for a cookie since Mini was being so well-behaved. When she got the cookie, a tray of fresh linzer tarts came out.

You bet your Christmas tree I got one! It was as delicious as I remember them being :)

Merry Christmas in Heaven to my Grandpa, Grandma, Mother and all the others I’ve had to say good-bye to over the years. I love and miss you all. Thank you for sending me little reminders that you’re still with me..

I hope everyone had an awesome holiday!

Dresses and Disappointments

It’s that time of year again! Yup, that time Mini absolutely loves.. dress shopping time!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with my beautiful 6yo, you are not aware of her love affair with dresses. I wish there was enough space to write how much she loves getting dressed up, especially for pictures.

Of course, I’m being completely sarcastic. Getting Mini to don a dress is like pulling teeth, but at least you get to be numbed or put under anesthesia for that. We decide what store to go with and I hold up dress after dress, skirt and cardigan outfit after outfit. When she finally begrudgingly chooses one, the next task is finding tights and shoes. Luckily, the shoes we bought for my cousin’s wedding in September still miraculously fit. YAY!

We picked out a cardigan and skirt from Target and stockings, with Mini rolling her eyes and complaining most of the way home. I don’t care, kid. I only make you do this twice a year so can it! Once we are actually taking the pics, she is like a little model. Really, she’s a pro and produces some amazing shots. She smiles and bats her eyes and the photographers love her, as does the camera. All that bitching and moaning for nothing!

Now for the disappointment..

Last weekend, we were supposed to go visit my Grandma (Mini’s Great Gma) upstate with some other family members. Mini was pumped to stay in a hotel and get to see Grandma’s new place. The suitcases were in the car and we had just finished packing Mini’s snack and activity bin for the trip when the phone rang. Apparently, Grandma had called my Mom and told her they were getting a blizzard and we should shoot for next weekend.

When I broke the news to Mini, she just broke down. She was so excited and it was such a letdown for her. I felt horrible even though it was out of my control. I watched as she put all the snacks away from the bin. She put all her coloring books and crayon sets back as well. As she did this, she would stop every few minutes and cry or just sigh heavily.

We are hoping to be able to make the trip next weekend and I hope we can. I’d hate to do this all over again. I did my best to make the weekend fun and I think I did. When she went to bed Sunday night, she kissed me and told me that she was still sad about the hotel but she loved her weekend anyway.

Moments like that remind me why I love being a mom. Love this kid!