Grandpa’s Tradition

Every year, a few days before Christmas, my family gathers to make our traditional holiday dinner …. beef braciole and Meatballs. My Italian father started this tradition many years ago when my adult daughters were very young. It was all about the kids helping with the preparations. My Dad loved spending time with his grandkids.

Thanks to Covid, this years braciole making looks a little different. Each family is making their own braciole and meatballs instead of gathering as an extended family. Unfortunately we won’t all be gathering for the Christmas holiday this year. We will be getting together in smaller family groups.

My beloved Dad passed away 10 years ago. The grandkids (5 girls at the time) were all fairly young. That first Christmas after his death, it was the girls who insisted on continuing Grandpa’s Tradition. Making beef braciole and meatballs is still a family tradition and it has withstood the test of time. It is a special time for my family to gather to honor and remember Dad/Grandpa. There is another grand-daughter in the mix, who is now 4 and never got to meet her Grandpa Vic. She no doubt knows though, how much he meant to our family.

Even though Covid this year may have changed Grandpa’s Tradition a little bit. We all hope to be back together as an extended family next year to once again continue on the tradition.

Old Friend New

Way back in the 8th grade a new girl moved into my classroom and we became life long friends, until we weren’t.

Even though we went to different high schools we remained the best of friends. We went to the same college and joined the same sorority. We fought a lot like girls will do. Sometimes we would go weeks without speaking, but always made up, until we didn’t.

As young adults we hung out. We went on many vacations together before during and after kids. My husband and I are the godparents to all 3 of her girls, they are the godparents to mine. Our children are close in age and were the best of friends until things changed.

We worked in the same business for awhile and shared a lot of friends and activities.

We were always there for each other or as I look back, I was mostly there for her. I saw her through her postpartum depression. I was very close to her Mom and I was there when she was dying. I often kept my friends kids and cared for them as if they were my own. I really loved these people.

When I was really sick with my ulcerative colitis and surgery was looming, I was in dire straights. We had a big fight over something silly but supposedly all about me and that is when I had had enough. I needed a friend and she couldn’t be the person I needed. Our friendship became toxic and just like that we were no longer friends.

About 20 years went by.

We would occasionally run into each other around town, it was bound to happen when you have people, places and things in common. By a force greater than both of us we even ran into each other on the streets in Barcelona Spain. Talk about a strange coincidence. We would always be cordial, but there was nothing more. I kept holding on to that resentment.

As I look back, I am sad that I missed her kids, my godchildren, growing up. That we denied our girls their friendship. They are all young adults now.

This friend reached out to me years ago to get together for lunch to talk and catch up and at the time I was just not in a good place and could not handle it, so I did not do it. She reached out again last week and today we had lunch.

I was stressed a little about what may transpire, but it was actually a really nice 2 hour lunch. We talked about a lot of things; kids, families, common friends, sorority sisters old times and life in general. Of course we did not cover everything ….. as I am not sure where this reconnection is going. She has no idea what I have been through with my alcohol and pill addiction or my involvement in the recovery world. I don’t feel comfortable enough to share those secrets. But maybe they aren’t secrets. What about if there is a next time and we go out for drinks and dinner, then what? I know I am getting ahead of myself as we have made no plans for another get back together. It is the age old question on whether or not to disclose addiction issues.

She will never be my best friend again, but we don’t have to be enemies. Hopefully we can start anew and renew our friendship and move on from here. Her mom, I know is smiling from heaven she always was rooting for us.

Let’s just live and let live

No Cap, No Gown

This is the week we were supposed to be in Chicago for my youngest daughter’s college graduation.   We had an awesome week planned with graduation celebrations and a roof top party with family and friends.  As we all know the world has changed and life has been canceled or I should say put on hold due to the coronavirus.

I am sad for the class of 2020 missing all the pomp and circumstance of the graduation season.   I am also sad that the next chapter is also put on hold as it is hard to find a job right now and the economy is crap.   All the plans and hopes that Kirsten and her roommates had to stay in Chicago to work and live are not panning out at this time.  Most likely they will all have to go home to figure out the next step.

Loyola University Chicago, The Institute of Environmental Sustainability had a virtual graduation ceremony last night.  There was no Cap and no Gown, but it was nice to have some closure for the past 4 years.   It was a different kind of graduation.   The school is scheduling an in person ceremony for all graduates in Chicago for early August, but it still will not be the same.

Kirsten has had a wonderful 4 years in Chicago at Loyola.   She has grown into lovely, compassionate, outgoing, world traveler who is very driven.  She was once a homebody, but no more.   I am really proud of my girl and all the things she has done.   She has worked super hard and graduated Magna Cum Laude.    She wants to change the world and I think she just might.

Though the world is in chaos at the moment, there is a new young crop of college graduates who are ready, willing and able to take the world by storm.  Though there may be no Cap or Gown at this time, it does not take away the achievements of this class.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

25 Years Old

Today my oldest daughter turns 25 years old.   How could that sometimes sweet, sometimes sassy little girl be all grown up and 25 …. and how can I already be 52?
She has always been independent and a little stubborn, well ok a lot stubborn.

My first baby, born May 3, 1995.    She was a about a week over due and had to be induced.    We went to the hospital at 6:30 AM and 12 hours later we had a little human who was totally dependent on my husband and I.    I will never forget the doctor handing my new baby girl to my husband and then my husband showing her off to my parents ….. hello I am the Mom and I need to see my baby!  She had to be forced out and was born with a little cone head, but she was still perfect (her head shape is now fine) and it was love at first sight.

My little girl has grown up to be a caring, hardworking, loving, independent, world traveler.    I could not be more proud of her.   She may not have found that perfect career yet, but she is still a very loyal and hard worker and I know she will land on her feet and find her passion.

She is finding her way in the world.    My girl and her boyfriend of several years are picking up and moving from our home state of Ohio to Dallas TX next month.   I am really excited for them to experience this and grow in their independence and as a couple.    If I am being honest, I selfishly like them closer to home, but it is not my life or my journey.

My wish for my children is that they are happy, caring, productive members of society and that they never forget where they come from.  I just want them to be good people and they are.

This child made me a Mom 25 years ago.   It hasn’t always been perfect, but I wouldn’t change a thing.   I have a fantastic relationship with both of my adult daughters.  I am grateful for my girls, my husband and the life we have made.

 

My Corona

With the whole world in an uproar with the coronavirus – everyone is trying to find their new normal while staying home in quarantine and/or social distancing.   It hasn’t been easy for anyone and everyone has had to sacrifice something.

I think this is a good lesson in common human decency.  Some people have it and many don’t.   Who are those people who are hoarding all the goods, being rude to store employees doing their best and selfishly going about life possibly spreading the virus?  I can’t say I have totally stayed home.   I have gone to the grocery, AA meetings, restaurants for carry-out and of course I have been out to get my daily chai tea latte from the local coffee shop.    I don’t think those activities are too hateful and we are being mindful of others and ourselves while doing these activities.

My girls both are at a pivotal time in their lives.   Both are in limbo.   Graduation is postponed until August.   Jobs will be hard to find and moving may be impossible.  We are all having to sacrifice, this is just how it is affecting my family.   It is a small inconvenience when you look at the rest of the world and what people are going through.   We are lucky that we have what we need and that we have the means to help our children through this should they need it, for that I am truly grateful.

I know it is going to get worse before it gets better.   We all have to be prepared and be willing to hunker down at home as much as possible.

AA has been a challenge.   Our club is still currently open.  I am sure it is only a matter of time before we are mandated to close.   Recovery fellowship and meetings are so important to the recovering addict / alcoholic.   It is amazing how this recovery community from across the country and the world have come together putting meetings online in different forms.      We have set up virtual meetings at our club.   I think we finally have it set up and ready to go.   Some people are still going to meetings in person while others are opting for the virtual type.   I feel it is a personal decision.   I somehow got “elected” to put together the virtual meetings for our club.   With the help of a couple others, we did it!   It was a lot of trial and error.  But I am proud that I figured it out as I am the least technical person I know.   I think I am ready to go to virtual meetings, but being one of the point people for the virtual, I also feel I have an obligation to be at the meetings in person to “broadcast” via my computer to those at home.  The state has asked that no more than 10 people gather, our meetings have had more lately.   We have a board meeting tomorrow and I believe we are going to need to set some parameters to limit numbers of people in the meetings in the midst of this virus outbreak.   We too need to be careful of not spreading the coronavirus among us and to others.

Our family restaurant and manufacturing business is still open – we are mainly delivery and carry-out so we are allowed to still operate.   I pray for the wellbeing of our employees and am grateful that our doors are still open and that we can provide jobs to many.   As a company we are doing what we need to to keep everyone safe.

These are very scary and uncertain times for everyone across the world.   I mostly anxious about the economy and what is going to happen.    My mental state has been surprising better, but the anxiety is real.

All we can currently do is take one day at a time and practice love and tolerance … and Pray!

One Last Winter Break

Winter break is in full swing for my college senior.    Mom here, is having mixed emotions.    This will be the last time she will be home for any length of time.   After graduation, her and her roommates are planning to stay in Chicago.   Chicago is a 5 + hour drive, not hateful, but not very close to home.    My oldest, is talking about moving from Columbus, Ohio (a 1.5 hour drive from home) to Dallas TX.    She has a couple part time jobs in Columbus, but has not settled in with her career.    I am proud of my independent girls, but I also love it when they are home.

I will have Kirsten home for a little less than 4 weeks and Allie for 4 days.    I will cherish the full house.  I don’t know when we will all be home under the same roof again.    The empty nest is getting emptier.   It is real world time for my girls.   I am not sure what that is going to look like.   2020 will be an interesting year, but exciting.   There are so many unknowns that we will get to watch unfold for our children.

It is definitely a bag of mixed emotions that I am trying not to dwell on.   I will live in the moment and enjoy the Christmas / winter break season with my husband and my girls as well as extended family.   This may be the last year for all our family traditions.   I can not project what the future will bring so I will not worry or stress about it until next year.

As I have learned in my 12 step program, I will stay in the now, be present, take it one day at a time and have gratitude.