Father’s Day

Both Tommy and I lost our Dad’s; Chick (Tommy’s dad) in 2016 and Walter (my dad) in 2017. Father’s Day is hard I won’t lie. Even looking at pictures is still difficult. They were both great guys.

I was probably the luckiest daughter in law ever having Chick for a father in law, that man would do anything for me and at the end when I had to get medical information from doctors or nurses I stopped calling myself an “in-law” and just said I was his daughter. That’s how I felt anyway. And he never stopped to correct me, ever. Chick loved and spoiled my kids. Not so much with material things or gifts even thought for a while there they managed to get him to take them to the mall without me…But Chick would always make sure they had whatever my kids would want to eat or drink in the house. If we were coming over for dinner on a Sunday, Thomas always had chicken on the bone; his favorite! And we won’t get into the supply of chocolate syrup for making chocolate milk and ice cream sundaes. Chick was so very thoughtful that way. I really miss him. Tommy just said to me that “they don’t make them like him anymore.” And he’s right. Chick was definitely one of a kind.

Now my dad…My dad was just great. He was kind, caring, and loved to talk and tell a great story. I’d you had a situation, my dad had a story. He was supportive and really cared about what you were doing. And he had a way with animals I have yet to see again. My dogs and cat Smokey just loved him, not to mention how his dogs were with him. Even when my dad was working at the garage as a mechanic he had this awesome German Shepherd named CB, like the radio. He was a big dog I remember but good! Omg what a good dog and it was because of my dad. All our dogs were good, even Barney who you had to look at twice/give the side eye some days. If Barney didn’t like you there was a reason haha. I swear if someone other than my dad raised Barney that dog would have been a little on the mean side. He was we think a chow mix, all black with this gorgeous coat and he would jump in our pool off the deck; but when he got out Barney would shake himself off and be dry! Crazy I tell you.

When we started driving my dad would find us these cars…and tell us to “Just drive!” No matter what kind of car it was or what kind of shape the car was in. Just Drive IT! I still hear that voice some days and I laugh. He was funny. Back in those days I couldn’t parallel park to save my life, my father would practically yell at me “Use your mirrors!” Uh huh… lol! He would be so proud of my parallel parking skills these days. I finally learned how to use my mirrors.

So I want to wish all the awesome dads out there including my love, Tommy a very Happy Fathers Day. It’s your day to be appreciated and know how very loved you are.

More On School

So after 3 revisions I passed the final paper of that class. The reasons for the revisions were silly mistakes I made and should have been more vigilant in reviewing the requirements before handing it in. But all is well and the class is behind me.

I had an interesting conversation with my college mentor and she believes I could finish up the last 2 required classes by July and save myself from paying for another semester of college. I thought about it and I’ve decided to lkind of close my eyes, keep my head down and go for it. It’s going to be a lot of work but I keep thinking of being finished so much earlier as an incentive, and to finally be able to proudly add those BSN letters after my signature! I’ll probably sign everything possible with those initials haha!! Bank checks, school forms for Samantha, the possibilities are endless…

I will be working this summer. I’ve been working every summer since I’ve been with the Dept of Ed, I don’t mind at all and the work load sometimes is a little lighter although this year it may be a bit heavier with students returning from remote learning. We shall see when summer session begins.

It’s been such an odd school year; being closed due to Covid cases, returning afterward; still having school breaks and then being busy when school is in session even though the total number of students attending full time is fairly low, there are still students who come everyday and need nursing care. I’m hoping for a more “normal” school year this coming September.

My last Paper…Revised!

So I handed in my last paper of the semester this past Sunday. By Tuesday morning I read that I had to do a revision *and* have my course instructor’s approval. O. M. G. Wth did I hand in? My instructor called me at work Tuesday morning but I was at work and couldn’t take the call. So we emailed. I was so frustrated because things I was graded on as being wrong I know I answered the correct way. So finally after an exasperated email to the instructor she told me I referenced the wrong email that I downloaded as a pdf. I gave the wrong article title! I felt dumb. So last night I fixed what was wrong and a couple of other things that needed to be expanded on and emailed the instructor that I wanted to submit again. She called me right away and said she had to approve the revision to email her my correct paper. Done. She looked it over and approved me submitting again. So I submitted the paper again this time with the correct article title referenced. Whew! So now I wait for the powers to be to evaluate the correction. I check constantly of course. But so far…nothing

End of Semester

I just submitted my last paper for this semester. The class was Evidence Based Practice and Research Analysis. It was as fun as it sounds. Actually it wasn’t difficult, the most challenging part was the paper that was assigned. You had to construct an evidence based question related to nursing practice and analyze two articles in order to answer your question. I thought I was doing great until I had a phone appointment with my instructor. She mentioned that perhaps I was putting too much into the assignment, that the answers I wrote might be too much and not what they’re looking for. So I spent the next few minutes highlighting and deleting, highlight; delete. I was so glad I kept that phone appointment otherwise I would have definitely been doing revision work after handing the assignment in. I’m not 💯 percent confident I did the work appropriately, I never feel really good when I submit a paper. I always doubt myself and then the anxiety sets in that I did it all wrong and will have to do the whole thing over again.

To be honest I’m just glad I finished the paper. I’ve procrastinated on it long enough. I have no more overtime at the vaccine center since it’s now closed, so I really had no excuse to not do the assignment. So now I sit and wait for “them” to evaluate my work. They technically have 3 days to complete the evaluation. Not that I’ve ever waited that long to find out if I passed or needed to do something over. So I just keep checking the website to see where they’re at.

Perfect

I used to have this vision of other peoples’ lives, marriages, relationships with children, that other people have situations that are “perfect.” Call it a social media phenomenon where people only post the “good” things, like look how great we are, look what a great time I have with my kids. All. The. Time. I actually unfriended someone on social media because I couldn’t take the perfection of her life, I just couldn’t! I don’t want to see everyone’s dirty laundry I really don’t, I’ve “hid” people for being too freaking depressing like every post single post is what is wrong with the world. It might sound mean but it is what it is.

I remember when Thomas was much younger, pre-diagnosis and I felt like my life was so out of control and not perfect at all, so very far from normal never mind perfect. I felt like everyone else had this great life and their kids were so well behaved and I had this child who threw fits and hit me. I did have Alyssa though, who was so so good as a young child. I think I forget how good she was at that time because Thomas’ behavior just over shadowed everything.

These days I know no one has a perfect life, even the person I unfriended years ago probably doesn’t have it all rosy and great. (Although I’ll never know because I’m too jaded to ever friend them again, haha). A woman who watched me struggle with Thomas years ago once pulled me aside and said, “Menay…everyone’s got shit…” meaning everyone has *something* going on that disrupts life or makes life a little more difficult. That no one has a perfect life. When that woman said those words to me I truly appreciated it and I’ve never forgotten either. It made an impact on me to realize that no one has this perfect or better life than what I had. We’re all so different who can say what “normal” is? Who can say what perfect is? I will say I have a nice life, I’m happy with the choices that were made by my husband and I to get us where we are today. I’m proud of my family and I enjoy spending time with my kids. Nothing happened overnight and nothing happened without immense prayer and the intervention of a loving God and merciful Savior.

Life

Life for us has taken on a different normal. Alyssa married to Sam, Tommy and I are now “in-laws.” I still stumble my words when I mention Sam and say “my son in law.” He’s more than an in law. We really love him and see him as more than the man who married our daughter. Alyssa and Sam now have a puppy named Clayton. He is the most adorable little dog! He’s a golden-doodle, but not one that’s full size, Clayton is only supposed to grow to be around 17-20 pounds. Perfect!

I’m writing a research analysis paper for school. It’s hard, I don’t see it as impossible hard, or difficult but just a lot of work. There’s all these sections to the assignment and the whole time I’m wondering if I’m doing things correctly. I have a phone appointment with my instructor this week so hopefully she’ll clear things up a bit. In the meantime I keep plugging along and doing the best that I can. After this class I have 2; 2 credit classes left and then I’ll have my BSN. I get excited just thinking about it.

My working at the vaccine center overtime has been squashed, thanks to the great city deciding to pay agency nurses from other states their pay plus room and board, rather than pay city nurses overtime. Doesn’t make much sense to me. But what do I know? It was a good run while it lasted, I met some really great nurses and people who did other jobs at the centers. I really didn’t mind working the extra hours, everyone who was working wanted to be there and just about everyone who came in to be vaccinated wanted to be there to get the vaccine so it was a win/win situation.

So Different

I love that my daughter is married. Im thrilled that she has a great husband and awesome in-laws. Alyssa and Sam are doing their life their way and I am one of their biggest cheerleaders. God help anyone who would criticize or cause drama; not that anyone would, I’m just saying… Alyssa is 22 years old and Sam is 23. They both have college educations and the college degrees they both worked so very hard for. I never thought I’d say this but I have a bit of envy towards them.

After a 2 year engagement to Tommy I found out I was pregnant with Thomas exactly the week before we were to be married. Thomas wasn’t exactly planned but he was far from prevented. In starting our family so early in our marriage we weren’t able to travel and do many things young marrieds do before they start a family. After Thomas, along came Alyssa…2 moves, Lelly…and the rest is as they say history. I don’t regret having our children as young as we did. Right now it’s great because everyone is old enough to be left alone so that Tommy and I can go to dinner or just take off and be crazy and go to CVS. If we want to go away for the weekend there aren’t any major hoops to jump through. I was able to enter the workforce *and* go back to school for an advanced degree. I couldn’t do those things when everyone was younger and Thomas is a category all his own. There wasn’t much we could do for just the two of us back then. I remember on a Friday or Saturday night we would order dinner for the two of us, wait for everyone to go to bed and then eat by ourselves without interruption. It was nice and I love those memories.

I guess you could say the grass is always greener on the other side; of everything. Even marriage. In writing this out and seeing things retrospectively we lived our life they way God intended us to. I can’t imagine being an older parent and trying to keep up with my kids, especially Thomas. In actuality Thomas made me be “a grown up”. I’ve said it many times and I’ll say it again; I would not be who I am if Thomas were not special needs, but that’s a whole other blog post.

My wish is for Sam and Alyssa to have as clear of a path to their lives together as possible. I know the Lord leads their footsteps and I will be there cheering them on.

And She Turns 20!

My third child, the one who was the baby for 5 years before Samantha came along; turns 20 tomorrow! I really thought she was our last one. My Lelly was a very easy birth, in fact while I was in labor Tommy, the midwife and I were making our way to the birthing room on the next floor of the hospital. I remember the contractions getting closer and it was getting difficult to walk. I still had to walk down the hall. The hallway and room loomed so far away and I watched Susan the midwife grab a pair of gloves off the box on the wall. I had to stop walking a few times due to strong contractions. I finally made it to the room! Susan was filling up the tub and I was just about to get on the bed when I yelled, “ She’s coming!! She’s coming !” Susan caught Lelly while I was still standing. It was unreal.

It was so exciting to have a third baby. Alyssa was so happy and Thomas, well he was Thomas. The cutest thing was that Thomas couldn’t say “Daniella” it came out Da’lella, Lella, then finally Lelly and we’ve been calling her that ever since. She was my smallest baby at 7.5 lbs. And she was the smiliest baby; we would call her the feel good baby because she always smiled when you held her. Also we called her Lelly Bird because she was so small compared to Thomas and Alyssa. She was my early walker at 10-11 mos and she could talk! She was the only child of mine who’s teachers would tell me how much she talked to other children in class and was she like that at home? Yes!

Lelly is definitely her own person. She knows what she wants and goes for it and she doesn’t let much stand in her way. She’s beautiful, strong and has a great sense of humor. Omg can she make me laugh. I usually think of my father in law when Lelly makes me laugh. When Lelly was born my father in law said she looked like his mother which was sweet because we don’t have any pictures of his family. I often wonder if his mother had a sense of humor the way Lelly does. I like to think they are a lot alike even though I have no proof. She definitely takes after my husbands side, olive skin, dark hair, light eyes. I don’t see why her personality and sense of humor shouldn’t as well.

I’m so proud of my Lelly and I look forward to more laughter, and more admiration for her as she moves forward in her life. I’m more than happy to cheer her on.

The Thrift Store and Me

When we were small my mom was in college and worked full time. So we spent a lot of time with my grandparents on my mom’s side. Especially on the weekends. My grandfather loved yard sales so that’s how we spent the majority of our Saturday mornings; him with the Saturday paper in hand and off we went. I don’t remember my grandfather bargaining or trying to chew anyone down the price on anything. I remember him with his arms behind him looking at the various treasures of the day. He would buy and collect these Avon figurines and perfume bottles. I never really cared for them even as a child but he loved them. My grandfather also collected coins and every now and then he would take us into downtown Manhattan. In those days you could park your car on the lower level of the ferry and just drive off into the city when the boat arrived. It was pretty cool. My grandfather would take us to these stores that were very old and very dusty. But you just knew there were treasures there for Grandpa. He would always purchase something and we would be on our way home.

So I have yard sale-ing in my blood. Although in the past few years I prefer the thrift store. I call it my happy place. When things were bad with Thomas years ago, I used to go to the thrift store and scour the racks on a mission to find treasures. And I was successful. But…you have to have patience. Things don’t just jump out at you and say, “Here I am! Buy me!” You have to *look*. I’ve found a lot of designer things. I’m a total thrifting snob meaning I don’t buy things that I can easily afford like I’ll not buy most mall brands at the thrift store and believe me there are plenty of Forever 21 tops floating around this city in the thrifting world. Yesterday I found a Balenciaga bag. It’s beautiful. A tweak here and there and she’s ready to roll. This is my 2nd Balenciaga bag I’ve thrifted. The first one I gave away to a huge Bal fan so it was easy to make someone so happy with my find. This one I like a lot so I’ll keep her and wear with pride. I’ve thrifted a Chanel bag. It’s brown nylon and leather and lined in leather. It was easy to see it was authentic when I checked off all the things I was looking for. Last week the thrift store had a fake Chanel evening bag hanging behind the counter. Of course I had to see it and the freaking thing ripped when I opened it, OMG I wanted to die, I quickly told the store manager what happened and it was no big deal thank goodness.

There’s something about the thrift store that keeps me coming back. The thrill of the hunt is one reason. Another reason is that no one bothers you there. You’re left alone and to me that’s a good thing. I say hello to other regulars like me and maybe some small talk but that’s about it. After pleasantries are exchanged we go our separate ways to find whatever we’re looking for. I find rarely are we looking for the same things. And I’ve only had one incident where someone took my cart. I quickly found the woman and proclaimed, “you took my cart!” It was quickly returned to me. The nerve!

After the Wedding

When your children are small and life is a bit chaotic (it was for us) you think about prom days and wedding days here and there. Actually when we lived in NJ we had like a split level house with stairs leading up to the bedrooms. I watched Alyssa then all of 2 and a half years old walk down those stairs in her Easter dress and thought ahead to watching her walk down the stairs as a young woman. That was one of the reasons we left NJ, I couldn’t picture my daughter walking down those stairs in a prom or wedding gown, like it just didn’t fit my vision for the future.

So anyway…back in NY and I’ve had the pleasure of watching both my older girls emerge from our house dressed and made up for their proms and most recently; Alyssa coming home with her bridal hair from the salon and then watch as one of her very talented bridesmaids apply her makeup all in my dining room. I’m glad I was able to be a part of and witness this for my daughter. I don’t remember Alyssa walking down my stairs with her wedding gown on. The photographer and videographer were here taking picture and video; but it’s ok I’m sure I’ll see a photo or video of the grand event I’ve pictured in my mind for so many years.

It’s a week after the wedding and Tommy and I have come to accept the fact that she’s not coming “home.” Alyssa has changed her name on social media to her married name. It’s sweet, and her new name flows, like the two names are meant to be together. I miss my yaya (the nickname Thomas gave Alyssa when she was very young). I get melancholy some days, I’m not sad that she’s married and now has her own little family and now much bigger extended family. It’s more like I just miss *her*. I like my children, I’ve mentioned many times that I like hanging out with them. They make me smile and they make me laugh. When I get melancholy that Alyssa is now married living with Sam I think back to her decision to not leave home for college and attend our local city university. God gave me those years with her to witness the growth and strides she made during those four years. And I’m proud of her for graduating on time, she was determined to not take extra semesters to finish her degree.

Lelly is home with us and for that I’m thrilled. We always called her “Lelly bird” because she was my smallest baby. She’s is petite still. And we also called her “the feel good baby” because she smiled all the time and when you held her you had to smile back. She makes me laugh like no other. Lelly really has a gift for humor and I appreciate that gift. I can laugh at her impressions of others and even when she turns her attention to me and calls me out on my quirks and habits; I still laugh. She’s the only child of mine that my father in law said looks like his mother. I’m glad she does resemble her because we have no pictures of that side of the family.

So life goes on after a wedding. I’m glad Alyssa and Sam didn’t have a long engagement otherwise we would all be experiencing that let down feeling after a big event. There really wasn’t time to get a huge build up since their engagement was 8 months. It all went so quick and so lovely I can’t picture it for them any other way. Samantha is in the process of moving up to Alyssa’s old room which is a change I’ll have to get used to. Maybe for once we’ll have an actual guest room or home office out of Samantha’s old room. Now my wheels are turning… there’s always something going on.