A Conversation with Thomas

Thomas was at our house for dinner yesterday as he usually is on a Sunday. Thomas was his usual very talkative self standing opposite from me at the kitchen island. I was preparing dinner; egging and breading eggplant slices while the oil heated up. Out of nowhere Thomas said, “Jesus music, remember mom?” I responded that yes, I listen to Christian or “Jesus” music. Thomas then says he remembers “kids church” which is a program he used to attend at our church when he was younger. I asked him if he wanted to go to church and he said no. I then told him that Jesus loves him and Thomas nodded in agreement.

Thomas kept talking about Jesus and music. It was interesting because it was Thomas who initiated the conversation. I have found with Thomas that he will only talk about what he wants to talk about. He’s not easily persuaded to discuss just anything. So I just went with his discussion of Jesus. I asked him if he knew Jesus died for him and Thomas nodded. I said that Jesus died for you because He loves you and Thomas again nodded. He seemed very secure in this knowledge and I was impressed.

Thomas is a young man who isn’t easily read. When you meet him you really aren’t sure of his level of functioning, he can be quiet upon first impression. But then he opens up and will talk, if he likes you he will be quite open. Thomas gets sarcasm. Which is very surprising to most people. If you give him a sarcastic answer or comment he will smile at you and either agree or disagree depending on what is appropriate. He will also laugh if you’re being comical along with your sarcasm.

I’m glad I had the chance to discuss our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with him. It’s been a while since we talked about God and the love He has for us. I don’t think we talk about God enough with the ones we love. I remember about a year not so before my father passed away I told him I was worried about his salvation. Those were my exact words. “His salvation.” Daddy told me he believed in Jesus and He was his savior. It was all I needed to hear. And to see my son nod his head in agreement when I say that Jesus loves him is all I really need.

Last Beach Day

I took this week off from work. Actually we planned to be at Sanibel Island, Florida this past week, at my mom’s time share condo right on the beach. It is gorgeous there and the beach is amazing. So many different shells and the water is so warm; you’re swimming in the Gulf of Mexico. Our plans were changed same as almost everyone I know due to Covid. So I still took the week off as planned. I agreed to work at the enrichment center in Brooklyn until school starts so taking this week off was good timing.

Today is my third and last beach day. The girls and I met up with my mom and nephew William on Tuesday and Thursday. Today it’s Samantha and I. Tommy met up with us for a little while and headed home. I didn’t *have* to come to the beach today. I could have done plenty at home such as school work for that lovely biochemistry class I’m almost finished with. But I love it here. I love hearing the waves crash and sitting on my chair in the sand feeling the sand on my feet and enjoying the sunshine. It’s fairly crowded but that’s to be expected for a great weather day.

I’m not dreading returning to work. I really enjoy my co workers/nurses I work with every day. I’ve learned new things from each of them, some life lessons and some life hacks if you will. I look at many situations very differently as a result of their openness and honesty. I’m so glad God saw it fit to place both women in my life.

You see so many different people from all walks of life here at the beach. At all different stages of life. It’s interesting to people watch. The NJ beach we’re at today is Ocean Grove. It’s pretty family oriented and quiet. I’m glad we came.

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What’s Going On?

Everyone who knows I am a school nurse is asking me about school opening, if the DOE is having part time in person and part time remote instruction, what is going on??

I. Don’t. Know. I know as much as any person who watches the news. They (the powers that be of NYC) aren’t telling their employees any more than they are telling the general public. I heard from our Mayor’s press conference that they will be staffing “all schools with a ‘certified’ nurse.” That was interesting because I don’t know what exactly a “certified” nurse is.

Right now I’m working at a Regional Enrichment Center (REC) in Brooklyn, right over the bridge. I’m grateful to be working and it’s a pleasant working environment. The children who attend the center are those who’s parents are essential workers ages 3-11yrs. The center is staying open right up until school is supposed to begin after Labor Day. I can’t help but wonder if schools are even going to be open. There doesn’t seem to be any solid plan in place. Will students be able to return in person a couple of days a week/half remote learning? Your guess is as good as mine.

Samantha wants to go to school; I don’t blame her. I know she will follow directions for social distancing and wear a mask. She’s eager to be around other kids, she’s starting high school. I’m eager for her to go and learn in person because I don’t feel she was taught enough during the remote learning she experienced this past March through June. There is no substitute for a live person teaching students in a classroom.

Not talking

The silent treatment, ignoring someone, pretending they’re not there, just plain old not talking to someone. You don’t just up and decide you’re not speaking to someone overnight. There’s usually a reason; whether it’s a “good” reason or not can be debatable. I usually don’t recommend one person to not talk to another. I mean aren’t you supposed to talk things over to resolve a conflict? However, that can be a grey area for many people. And the decision to cut off communication with another is a decision some come by rather easily. I’m not one of those people. For me to not talk to someone and break off all communication it’s usually a last resort, straw that broke the camel’s back sort of situation.

I’m not altogether comfortable giving someone the silent treatment. I don’t like tension or drama. Not in my personal life and not in the work place. But there are times when a person is so toxic, extreme measures must be taken and self preservation is of importance. But then the question arises; how long does one not talk to this person for, how long does one keep this up? I don’t have an answer for that question. It’s an interesting and more common situation than I think.

The Job and New People in my Life

I was offered a position to work this summer at a “Regional Enrichment Center” (REC for short) within a grammar school located in Brooklyn. When my supervisor called to offer the job; I at first said no. I did not want to travel all over Brooklyn and deal with gas and tolls. But my supervisor didn’t listen to me and even mapped out the location while we were on the phone. Turns out the school is 20 minutes from my house without traffic. I have to be in at 7am so I miss a lot of the morning traffic thank God and I leave work at 1pm. I’m home by 1:25. I couldn’t ask for better hours or location. And I have the rest of the day to do whatever with my girls or go visit Thomas at his house, or whatever else I feel like doing.

I work with two other Dept of Ed nurses. I knew one nurse from my school but we never really talked and we didn’t know each other well. Well that has changed and I’m so thankful. Turns out we get along very well and I really like her. She’s a very no drama person; exactly who I like. I loathe drama especially in the workplace and my new friend feels that way too. I’m so glad we work together and were given the opportunity to get to know each other better.

The other DOE nurse we work with is wonderful also. She a very direct, real person and what you see is what you get. She’s very upfront and will tell you what’s on her mind. I love that. She talks a lot about her family and I enjoy listening. The three of us all get along very well and the day goes by so smoothly and drama-less.

Of course there are students who need a nurse for bumps and bruises and various situations. It’s so different from my school and the medically fragile students I care for. In fact it’s as if you’re comparing apples to oranges. I correct myself, there is no comparison really. The REC staff is great both paras and teachers. We have to take the staffs’ temperature every morning and it took me a while to learn everyone’s name. So now some of the staff will try and trick me and they’ll tell me that they are someone else. Too funny. Rumor has it the REC’s will be open until September. I’m so glad I have great co workers to spend the time with.

My Wedding Dress

I braved the storage part of our attic and managed to come out unscathed with the box that contained my carefully preserved wedding gown from close to 25 years ago. Alyssa wanted to try it on. I thought it was sweet. Late this afternoon was the time Alyssa, Lelly, Samantha and I had together to do it. I have to give mad props to my brother in law Vinny for the perfect condition my gown was in. He was the person who preserved it when he owned his own dry cleaning stores so many years ago.

The dress was as white and beautiful as I remembered it. The headpiece however didn’t fair as well as I had hoped. In all fairness it is truly a vintage piece of family history. The headpiece was my grandmother’s on my mom’s side. I remember searching and searching for it in her attic after I became engaged. I always told her if I found her headpiece I was going to wear it when I got married. Finally I found it, inside a very plain, non descript box. It was as if I found a treasure, I was so, so happy. My Aunt Marge worked on repairing the beading and cleaning this much sought after accessory. She did bring it back to all its glory and I did wear it when I married Tommy.

So I digress…my headpiece turned to an almost bronze color. Not white anymore. I suppose it could be worked on again to restore but Alyssa decided it wasn’t the style she wanted to wear and that’s fine. It’s her day.

Turns out my dress didn’t fit Alyssa. In all fairness my mom made the gown and it was truly a custom, totally made for my exact former gymnast measurements. At that time in my life I had a tiny waist and somewhat broad shoulders. The sleeves wouldn’t stay up on Alyssa. Then Lelly asked to try it on, of course I agreed. The waist fit but the shoulders were way too big. The sleeves wouldn’t stay up on her either. But they both looked so beautiful in my gown. It was such a lovely time to see my girls as young adults wearing my wedding gown, especially when one is a bride to be.

I Miss My Dad

It’s started yesterday, I just suddenly missed my dad. Yesterday morning was like any other Saturday. I woke up pretty early, went to Shoprite, as usual, came home and unpacked the groceries with Samantha. I remember walking back to my car from putting the cart in the cart corral and thinking, “I miss him.” It pretty much struck me out of nowhere.

After Samantha and I put the groceries away I went to my other usual haunt, the thrift store, I scored some ridiculously high priced Italian denim for 6.99 and a top for the fall, but that was about it. But driving home I thought about Daddy. I called my mom and we talked for a while. The weather was crazy hot this weekend so it wasn’t an outdoor weekend for us. I wanted to treasure hunt at TJ Maxx so Samantha came along. 2 hours later I wanted to exclaim, “it was a shopper’s sky at TJ Maxx!” Whenever I went shopping and had a great trip, daddy would say loudly that is was a “shopper’s sky!” wherever I just came from. I did have a great shopping trip to TJ Maxx and daddy would have appreciated it.

I want to tell him so many things. He would love that Alyssa is engaged and be just as proud and happy as we are of both Alyssa and Sam. I want to tell him about the motorcycle I’m riding now, that it’s smaller than the Sportster we bought first and that it’s red. I wonder what Daddy’s reaction would have been to this pandemic we’re in the midst of. He would have been very high risk due to fighting cancer and having had lung surgery in the past. I want to tell him about me working at the enrichment center in Brooklyn this summer; about the kids and my co workers. How nice the staff is and how school safety takes their job seriously yet they make the time to be fun and break our chops every morning.

There’s so much more I want to tell him. I could write pages as I’m sure anyone reading this who has lost a loved one could. I know daddy is with Jesus, we had a talk about faith before he was diagnosed again with cancer. I wear the cross I bought him, he asked me to get him one after we talked about Jesus and faith. I was so happy to do that for him. I miss my Dad.

And They’re Engaged!

My oldest daughter, Alyssa has been dating Sam for some time now. All through both their teen years. A couple of weeks ago Sam asked Tommy for his blessing in asking Alyssa to marry him. My husband said of course he had his blessing! We adore Sam. So we knew he was going to pop the question but we didn’t know when. Then we find out that Sam was taking Alyssa out to dinner for her birthday but he wouldn’t say where, it was a surprise… After dinner they came to see us and Alyssa was wearing a beautiful, perfect engagement ring. Sam and Alyssa were both beaming with happiness. We are so very happy for them! It’s exciting to see them in this stage of adulthood.

They are currently talking about where/when/how big they want their wedding to be. Tommy and I have wholeheartedly agreed we will support them in every way possible. This is all about Alyssa and Sam and what they want. Too many times wedding plans get derailed by people who for whatever reason begin to erroneously believe that the event is all about them and not the bride and groom.

God has placed them together for His plan. And I know in my heart they will carry out whatever The Lord directs in their life. As Alyssa’s mom I am not worried about losing her. She’s my daughter and always will be. Sam is very welcome to become a member of our family. He always has been. Welcome Sam!!

The Big 2-5 and 5-0

This year Tommy and I celebrate 2 major events. One: we will be married 25 years and we both turned 50. All during a pandemic. My birthday was in April and my family did an incredible job in making it so special for me. I felt so loved and I was definitely spoiled. Tommy and I had plans to go away for our anniversary but Covid took care of that and we never even got past the planning/decision making stage. Our summer vacation to Sanibel Island, Florida also seems like it will not happen due to covid. I already planned to take the week off so even if we don’t go away I’ll still have somewhat of a vacation and enjoy the time off. There’s always day trips and going out on the boat and motorcycle riding.

It’s hard to believe we’ve been married for 25 years. I distinctly remember laying on the beach while on our honeymoon in Maui and Tommy and I were talking about making plans to return to Hawaii “maybe after 20 years.” Before the corona virus hit us we did talk about celebrating this anniversary in Hawaii, but between the travel time and jet lag we didn’t feel we would have enough time to really enjoy ourselves.

As for turning 50…that’s an odd feeling. Of course I don’t feel 50, do any of us actually feel our age? In my mind I think I’m like 30, which is funny because 30 is the birthday I had the worst time with. I cried all day. Big baby. When this birthday came around I was and still am fine with it. The good Lord has seen me through this far and He will continue to be there for me. Never leaving or forsaking me. No matter what storm comes my way, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ is with me. I’m so very blessed. I have 4 healthy children who make me laugh and I really enjoy spending time with; and a spouse who calls me his best friend. We live in a very nice house in a great neighborhood with the best neighbors ever, I talk to my mom just about every day and I love my job. I’m also in school for my bachelors degree. I don’t know what else I could ask for. Keeping track of what my God has seen fit to shower me with is very humbling. For as much as I shop and accumulate “things” not one thing can ever replace what God has given me.

He is a wonderful, sovereign God. His ways are higher than ours and may his will be done, not ours. That is many times a hard pill to swallow. There have been many times in my life that I wouldn’t have chooses God’s will over my own. But time always passes and shows us that God is forever in control and his decisions are in fact the best for us. God’s sovereignty and love shine through every time.