On this exact day, one year ago, my oldest niece got married. Emily Grace Vaccaro married Josh Locke in one of the most beautiful weddings I've ever seen. On a snowy day in New Hampshire I cried as her Dad - who has been in our family so long I don't bother with the in law part of brother - walked her down the aisle and gave Josh her hand. Josh is an amazing addition to our family and I wish them a happy, happy first anniversary!!
I remember feeling so grateful, albeit nervous, that my Dad attended the wedding. It's so nice that he was there for at least one of his grandchildren's weddings. I'd like to personally thank Emily and Josh for deciding to get married so young. Ha ha ha.
I haven't written the past few days because I've been a bit down. Big surprise lately, I know. I started remembering what was happening this time last year and when I pulled up the photos I found these...
These photos mean so much to me. They show the type of "Pop" my Dad was to my children. He would always apologize to me - wishing he could do more to help me or more he could do with them. I have to say...I never felt jipped. From my Dad's first stroke - six months before my wedding - when I felt afraid I would lose him - nothing, and I mean NOTHING else mattered. I would have him any way...as long as he was here with me. With all of us. I was so grateful that he was able to meet my children...hold my children...give me parenting advice...cheer Gavin on with his every accomplishment...and play like this with a two year old Brian...
Since my Dad died I've had an interesting, repeating experience. When I mention - or someone finds out - that my Dad has passed away, they often say the same thing. "Was it expected?" or "How old was he?" Both of those questions, in all honesty, drive me crazy. First let me say...I understand the intentions behind the questions. And I can see the social nervousness that would lead to asking that question. Perhaps the person is trying to feel me out - as if my Dad's age of 82 would mean that it might not have been much of a shock for me.
I am here to tell you - if you haven't lost a parent yet (and I hope for most of you that is true) that it is never expected...no matter what. The age doesn't matter. Although sometimes it might feel like a blessing to let them go, it is still just as hard to say goodbye. I cursed like a sailor when my sister called me to say my Dad was in the hospital and I needed to come as soon as possible. I didn't believe her. His massive stroke that night was a shock. We had about three more days with him in the hospital when all of us, truly, prayed for him to let go. But the moment he died...and the moments since...have been so awful. I miss my Dad so much. And I now feel the same social anxiety as the people who ask me "was he old?" "was it expected" with my own Mother. Tiptoeing. Not sure what or how much she needs. Trying not to smother. But also a terrible guilt that I don't see her enough. I barely see my own mailbox at the end of my driveway with our schedule around here...but I still feel such guilt. I'm sure that's natural.
So if you're looking for some advice, try to hold off on the phrases "Was it expected?" or ask how old the person was that passed away. Because you're always a little girl or boy to your Mom and Dad. And them dying, at least to this little girl, is never a good or expected option. It is a profound, profound loss.
This weekend was low key. We casually worked on some potty training - but not much has changed in that department. If I can catch Gavin before goes, he will absolutely go in the toilet. For him it's truly just a response. But for Brian, it's emotional. It's very interesting. I will ask for discipline from Brian - he will have to tell me when he has to go. But it will be ME that will have to be disciplined with Gavin - ever vigilant and expecting when he will need to go until we can teach him how to communicate it to us! Yikes...what a challenge.
I also attended a lovely baby shower! Our neighbor's son and his wife are expecting their first child - a little boy! I was pregnant with Brian at their beautiful Fall wedding in 2008. I love a baby shower. I love giving baby shower gifts - picking out OUR favorite things for their new little one. We just adore our next door neighbors and are so excited for their first Grandchild to arrive. He'll be sneaking onto our swingset before you know it!!!
And today we went on our usual weekend grocery shopping trip. I had Brian and Ed had Gavin. We split the list and met up at the end. Brian has a new obsession with asking me to dance. Well, just about every aisle he looked at me when he heard the piped in music playing...lifted up his arms and wanted to dance. I think the people in the store must have thought I was a bit cookoo. But, in my opinion...ANYWHERE is a good place to dance. And ANYTIME is a good time to dance. Especially when you have your child as a willing partner. So we had a very long shopping trip...dancing through Wegmans and getting lots of looks and laughs. As it turns out, we made a lot of people smile. And we even inspired one couple to dance with us! Brian certainly knows how to boost his Mommy's mood.
Last week there was a little, itty bitty controversy in the comment section of this blog. My response to all of it is this:
I always appreciate comments...good and bad and neutral. And I do appreciate people jumping to my "defense", although it wasn't necessary. I just want to remind you, as readers, that my journal will probably never change. Although you might be entertained when you come here to read what I write...I am not writing to entertain anyone. This has always been my "private journal" that I decided to open to the world. Something that you might find "offensive" may just be the thing that 27 people write to me about - grateful for knowing they aren't alone or finding something that will help them. Something that you may think I'm crazy to admit - may just be the thing that 10 women write to me to say thanks...they thought they were the only one. And something that might seem embarrassing to admit? That might be the thing that 30 women will notice and have one of those "OMG" moments...and then they will make a change in their child's diets or therapy or whatever.
I just write.
You can walk away with what will help you, make you happy, entertain you, make you think, make you feel better or make you realize this blog isn't for you. All of which are okay. I just write. Know why? Because along the way my experiences might make someone feel better...or help them through something or teach someone things I've learned along the way from others. But mostly I write for my children. I have a box of letters (and a head filled with lessons) from my Dad. One day I will be gone...and all that I wrote will be left for my children. Including the post about examining their poop...which is an important job that should not be taken lightly. I jest.
This blog is one, big, huge love letter to them.
I love you, Gavin and Brian.