Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A photo says, 'You were happy and I wanted to catch that.'
A photo says, 'You were so important to me that I put down everything else to come watch.*

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Sprite is a Sprite is a Sprite


I wrote this a couple of months ago and thought you would like to read it AGAIN:Ground Zero
This is the little church at ground zero...or is it Ground Zero (caps), not sure...and I don't need to explain to any one of you what that means or where it is. I love this church. It's old and it appears that you can lift open the vaults (God I would LOVE that). I have taken the kids here twice. BOTH times they bitched. 90 degrees with 90 degree humidity in NYC is HAWWRIBBLE. I explained to them that this is where the families posted pics along the fence to find their loved ones. This served as a refuge to the firefighters and officers who needed to get in from the 'conditions' of that day/week/month. The trees are still there. A little piece of heaven in the middle of chaos. Do they get it? I'm not sure you can really EXPLAIN that feeling we all had that day. Whether you were in the middle of it, lost a family/friend, or half way across the US watching it on TV...you HAD that feeling. My kids were 3, 4, and 6. They barely remember to brush their teeth. They don't remember this the way other people do; the way we do. So, I walk around Ground Zero with the spawn in tow searching for a Sprite. Workers are everywhere building the NEW and improved Ground Zero site. I feel like Mother of the Year...GODDAMNIT you will learn something from this adventure...if I have to be miserable in this heat so will you, people, this is HISTORY!!!! They GET IT in their own way. They understand the relevance. As we walk down the street I follow my children...I watch them walk with their Sprites in hand...I feel small, and blessed...and safe!

Friday, December 16, 2011

My 16 Year Old Self


You can’t spell friendship without emotions; if you’re a friend of mine then I truly care about you…and it appears to work the other way around, too!

My close friends know that I am obsessive to the Nth degree about certain things. When I ‘like’ something it becomes topic of conversation rather effortlessly. Some OCD topics of mine: death, crime, murder, quotes (#1). Most of these revolve around insight and life choices…wisdom provoking…the unknown…deeper meanings of life. Hell, I didn’t earn the title of ‘Repeat’ without boring these dear friends (and some NOT so friends) with my words and insights on these matters. My dad used to call me Chatty Cathy when I was little, so you see I didn’t become this person as of recent old age…I was born this way (thanks Lady Gaga). Hell, sometimes they even had to knock me off of my ivory tower just to get me to shut up…problem is, I like the view from up there. I like talking about and thinking about the things that interest me. And if you are my close friend you have earned the title of ‘listener’. Imagine the JOY when I started a blog. Now everyone can choose to listen, or not to listen, to me rant and rave about what inspires me.

Get to the point, Amy. My BFF is Sammyk8 (that’s her internet name) found something she knew I would love in Sky Mall magazine. Several ‘celebrities’ were asked to write a letter to their 16 year-old self. Sammyk8 knew I would love one in particular because she has heard me write and talk endlessly about her, Jodi Picoult. This got me inspired to write a letter to myself, at 16 years old:

Dear Me: A Letter to my 16 year-old self,

Learn to slow down. Worry less. Happiness does not come from being skinny, having the best feathered hair, or knowing all the words to a Sting song. It does not come from the people that surround you at a particular time, but more from the people who can be with through the journey. Those countless hours spent with a handicapped mom that make you so mad that you can’t be with your friends will only make you into an incredibly caring and sympathetic person when you’re older…a trait you will pass on to your children, and hopefully their children some day. The people who think you were crazy and eccentric will be the same people who ‘like your style’ , value your opinions, and make you the envy of teenagers. If one person thinks you’re different now, realize a thousand will accept you for who you are one day. Your love of horses might make people laugh at you now, but you will have a daughter who is ‘raised in a barn’ and have dreams of her own on top of her horse. Your ability to do the ‘yucky’ medical care for your mother will develop a love of medicine and the less fortunate in your oldest daughter. Your outspoken and sassy nature will eventually be witnessed in your children as they stand up for what they believe in and NEVER allow them to be anyone’s doormat. Your hoarding of all the cards, letters, quotes, love song lyrics will bring comfort to you when you lose your mom, grandparents, and will help to recapture the love that people feel for you someday…they will show you that people are happy that you are in their world. Fight with your brother all you want, but you will develop a bond that is beyond words. Those countless groundings, family car rides, and family traditions will one day make you yearn to have those moments back again, if only for ONE MINUTE, to have all those people in one room again. Don’t spend your whole life looking for that ONE person. There will be several ‘loves’ in your lifetime. Your first kisses don’t matter as much as who your last kiss is. You will learn from ALL your mistakes and grow. You will make the same amount of mistakes when you are older, but you will understand the reasons why they were necessary some day. You eventually become the person that others needed you to be and you will understand and be grateful. It’s ok to eat when you’re upset, or not exercise; someday you will learn that the outside isn’t as important as the inside. Continue lending out your clothes, sparing a dollar for a friend in need, going that ‘extra mile’, this will become one of your greatest qualities that others see in you, especially your children one day.

Clean your plate when gramma cooks, you will miss it one day.
Clean your room.
Hug your mom. Tightly and often.

I love you, Amy xo

P.S. Don’t throw away those 80’s fashions, that shit’s going to be expensive some day!!!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December 1


People tend to use traumatic events to pinpoint change in their lives. 9/11 is one that we can all remember life before and life after… events that change us from who we were to whom we are following it.

December 1. Eighteen years ago today I sat next to my mom and did homework on a little couch that was next to her bed. My grandmother needed some alone time so I was ‘on watch’. I knew she was in Hospice care, but my mind protected me from that fact and I figured it was just ANOTHER ‘episode’ and this too would be overcome. My mother began to make interesting comments in those days that I would learn to be her ‘last’ days. She talked about angels that look like everyday people that walk among us. We never know who they are; we need to just know that they are there. It would be two days before she died. I didn’t go visit her the next day……………

My life has become divided into before December 3, 1993 and after. As if my life experiences are remembered based on whether it was when she was still here or after the fact. The date becomes a moment in time that STOPPED…. Whenever someone talks about the beginning of December I immediately think, “I wonder if they are talking about before or after THE DATE”. That is when I became a motherless daughter. I read the book, Motherless Daughters, following THE DATE. I particularly remember a letter from one woman that lost her mother ten years earlier and still grieved as if it was the day before. I thought to myself in my very newly found grief that surely that woman was crazy to be distraught and saddened TEN YEARS LATER! I come to find out that it isn’t about the years. It isn’t about another year without my mom. It’s about the love that was and always will be there. That hole in your heart that can’t be replaced.

My mom continues to teach me so many things even though I can’t see her. I definitely can feel her. When her song comes on the radio I know it was there for a reason. When I see her smile in my daughter’s own face. That’s the thing; it never goes away, even if a person does. My mother is the background music in my life. I may be busy living and struggling, or laughing and loving, but when the crazy world stops………you can hear it……you can feel it……….she’s there.

I had a dream that I don’t think was a dream. It was my house. It was unchanged. She was there. In her wheelchair. I went to hug her, expecting to be unable to embrace her because, come on, everyone knows ghosts are see-through. Duh. I hugged and I felt her. I felt her warmth, touched her hands, and felt love in return. Allison Dubois said, “Lately when I do readings the deceased say, ‘Even though you don't see making memories with me anymore, I'm still making them with you. When you die you'll flash back to all you did after I died and see me there laughing with you as I really was. On birthdays, at dinner tables, in the delivery room for family, I WAS there." This is what I felt that night and the dream that I hold onto in belief.

I know my mother is near me. She sends me signals to let me know she’s there. Recently it has been the alarm clock playing the most beautiful music, softly, in the wee hours of the morning. I’ve come to realize that an angel is walking among us; it’s just that we don’t realize that this particular one is my mother. Thanks for watching over me and continue to make these memories with me, Mom. Love you!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pause



"Once you put the pieces back together, even though you may look intact, you were never quite the same as you'd been before the fall"

One minute you are mowing the lawn, coloring your hair, watching a football game, going to the doctor, doing laundry, making lunch. One event can change your life forever and stop the world.

Last night I met a man who was at the airport with his son (3 1/2 years old). Never at a lose for words, we struck up a conversation. My children were laughing at the little ball of energy we learned to be named Gavin. I even commented that he was a little too outgoing, but a cutie nonetheless. I asked if they were visiting family for Thanksgiving. He said, “No, my wife’s funeral”.

****pause*****

What do you say after you hear that?

Initially he asked me, as I was surrounded by 7 teenagers that were being entertained by his son, if I had a wet napkin or wet wipe because his son was a shade of blue…obviously from eating some candy. I mentioned that I did not have any but the coffee stand might. How cute, I thought…a father, probably divorced, probably went home to visit family for Thanksgiving, bringing his young son. Novice!

…attending his mom’s funeral three days earlier is all I heard now.

Breast caner…fast moving…healthy woman one month prior…had the ‘gene’….moving back to NYC in one month…married 17 years….never had to do the daily tasks before….knows mommy is in heaven…..

We talked about how the GOOD ones are always taken and the evil ones seem to exist just fine. We spoke of the Penn State tragedy and compared the situation to those healthy demons. We talked about why God doesn’t deal an equal hand. He talked. He talked. He talked. I listened.

It gets worse: this little ball of energy was being a typical 3 year old on the plane. They happened to sit one seat behind us on the opposite aisle. A little loud….inquisitive…and didn’t realize that when you have headphones on you have to find your inside voice. I didn’t care. I’m an old pro when it comes to kids. I can tune out the best of them.

Enter stage left: old man sitting across from Gavin. Halfway through the flight he has had ENOUGH. “Can you keep that kid quiet?”, “Get control of your son”, “Just keep him QUIET for Christ’s sake”!

I always teach my kids to be nice to people because you never know what might be going on in their lives. When I was talking to Gavin’s father before the flight he said that he knows his son is a ‘little wild’ right now, but he just is letting him be ‘happy’ and ‘crazy’ because he knows the sadness is coming…..and it will come….probably at the most unplanned of times…

You see, I realized that once you are a mother, YOU ARE A MOTHER! …and not just for your OWN children. I could feel the empty gap in this family’s life. I felt like this mother was connecting this family to me. She was communicating in ways that I believe, but do not understand. I could feel it. Divine intervention? Or simply, fate. I logged into my computer when I got home and searched for her obituary. I wanted to know more. I wanted to know the things that I didn’t, or couldn’t ask, when I was listening. What did she look like? I knew she was 43. What was her education..her job…who were her family….her friends…..

My heart broke for this father who just earned his new titles of widower and single father. A man that at one time probably forgot to say the things he should have said at one time or another. A man who maybe worked too often. Maybe went out with his buddies when he knew he should help with his family. A man who never thought it could happen to him…to them. A man who will wake up this morning and have to explain why mommy is not home from her trip to heaven to a 3 year old. And a man who will continue to fight back tears instead of yell when a stranger thinks that he is doing a bad job as a parent by letting his child be happy and loud when the world is crumbling around him.

Hug your babies. Hug your family. And go lightly on those around you that might appear ‘normal’ but are trying to hold the pieces of their heart together just to appear that way.

Friday, October 7, 2011

My ABC's


Abandon doubt
Be mine
Call if you're late
Dance at weddings
Eat dessert first
Flirt
Gamble on forever
Harbor a crush
Initiate romance
Just say "YES"
Kiss like you mean it
Love my dog
Make out more
Not in public
Open your heart
Pretend it's prom night
Quote your parents
Reciprocate
Share your toys
Trust
Uncork champagne
Value fidelity
Write love letters
Expect honesty
Yield to hate
RendeZvous

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Number Game



I don’t have a foam finger…a cow bell…an air horn…or a fancy stand up tent…what kind of a MONSTER am I? Hell, I wouldn’t be caught DEAD in a team jersey, let alone ‘bling it out’! Crucify me! I arrive ‘just in time’ to set up my chair under a tree (God, I hope there’s a tree), or bring my pink Victoria’s Secret umbrella to shield myself from the sun, although I am already slathered in 70+ SPF. It’s FOOTBALL DAY…every Saturday!!!!...for my son. GO TEAM! Since the minute he was born I knew he ‘had the build’ for sports. And if he didn’t, well, let’s just say that sports were shoved down his throat from the get go. His great grandfather used to hold him when he was born and say he was ’like a sack of potatoes’. His grandmother would say “oh, those apple cheeks”. His grandfather would say, “oh, what a loaf of bread ya got”. What the hell, who knew my kid was such a smorgasbord (whoa, first try and spelled it right???). I have watched him play soccer. He was #13 and #20. In tee ball he was #25. In flag football he was #7, # 35, #21, #4. In what I like to refer to as ‘why the hell am I letting my kid do this’ football (tackle football) he is #3, #21, and #32. I just learned he is #32. I thought he was # 3. FUCK, I can’t keep track of ALL THIS STUFF! I learned he was #32 because some mother next to me told me. Some other mother, who clearly is a better mother than me. Bedazzling your child’s name onto your shirt makes you a better mother, right? It sounds terrible. Who forgets their child’s number? I can’t help it, I was never good at math. Having a boy who plays sports doesn’t come with an instruction book. I do remember every minute of every day that I have had the pleasure of holding the job title of ‘Parker’s Mother’. One of my favorite quotes says, “Asking me to describe my son is like asking me to hold the ocean in a paper cup”. It’s impossible to say it all and have it hold all that he is to me. He is an incredible person. He came out that way. He is smart. He loves genuinely. He is compassionate about old people, and mentally challenged people, and those that are less fortunate, beyond compare. He is sensitive. He is determined. He is everybody’s friend. He is two inches taller than me! He is, today, 13. So, I glance up from my iPhone at the ‘World’s Best Mom’ next to me at this football game, after I update my Facebook status, of course. The rude shrill of the air horn awakens me and I understand why I don’t decorate myself with his number, or watch every play, or really know what the heck is even going on out on that field. It is because of ALL the numbers that my son was given to identify him to ALL the other people out there that are ‘counting on him’ and ‘watching him’, whether on the field or throughout his life, he has always just been plain old #1 to me…the mother under the pink umbrella…you know, the one on her phone at the top of the hill, under the tree!!!!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Worth Holding Onto


"You can boil your life down to a single suitcase, if you desperately have to. Ask yourself what you really need, and it won't be what you imagine - you will easily toss aside unfinished work, and bills, and your daily calendar to make room for the pair of flannel pajamas you wear when it rains; and the stone your child gave you that is shaped like a heart; and the battered paperback you revisit every April because it was what you were reading the first time you fell in love. It turns out that what's important is not everything that you've accumulated all these years, but those few things you can carry with you."
— Jodi Picoult (Vanishing Acts)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Yo Momma's soooooo


"When I was little, I used to pour salt on slugs. I liked watching them dissolve before my eyes. Cruelty is always sort of fun until you realize that something’s getting hurt. There’s a word we learned in social studies: schadenfreude. It’s when you enjoy watching someone else suffer. The real question though, is why? I think part of it is self preservation. And part of it is because a group always feels more like a group when it’s banded together against an enemy. It doesn’t matter if that enemy has never done anything to hurt you-you just have to pretend you hate someone even more than you hate yourself.
Jodi Picoult (Nineteen Minutes)

On November 29, 1998, in Jefferson County, Texas, single mother Kenisha Berry, 20, placed duct tape across the body and mouth of her 4 day old son, and placed him in a black plastic trash bag. A couple collecting aluminum cans stumbled on the body. One year prior to this death she was accused of leaving another child in a field full of ants. He survived and his ant scars are still obvious today. Then there is Debra Mike, Dora Durenrostro, Caro Socorro, Susan Edwards, Caroline Yowd, Robin Row, Michelle Tharp, Debra Milke, and Patricia Blackmon, and I could literally go on for another page of names that were not ever mentioned in the media and barely mentioned in a news time blip. We continue to persist with the unrealistic beliefs that mothers don’t hurt their children. The American Anthropological Association states that more than 200 children are killed by their MOTHERS each year. In fact, homicide is the leading cause of death of children under 4 years old. Caylee Anthony was 3 and ½ years old…and the WORLD reacts with the first ‘social media trial’ in history.

We live in an information age. We thrive on instant news, apps, stimulation, web relationships, computer updates, around-the-clock news channels to ‘keep us informed’. We are SO WORKED UP we can’t even think without stopping for an instance to put ourselves in another’s place. Yet we go to church, practice yoga, meditate, download apps to meditate, vacation, and supplement with relaxing lotions to SLOW US DOWN. We live in a country that (thank God) gives us a chance (a chance) to have a fair trial if we are convicted of a crime. Many people far more important and brave have fought long and hard (and continue to fight) for rights that are allowed to American citizens. That doesn’t mean we all agree with the outcomes…my God if we all agreed we would have far less men and women killed in far-away wars….

Could social media become the DOWNFALL of hundreds of years of a democratic crawl for freedoms??? Now, I watched every minute of this trial that will go down in history. I kept up through Facebook, Twitter, iPhone apps, CNN, In Session, Nancy Grace, etc etc etc. This NOBODY mother living in Orlando has become a household name. Look, I’m a mom and I totally GET the disgust. The Casey Anthony freedom clock is ticking and in less than 48 hours America’s MOST HATED MOTHER will be ONE OF US…gasp….it’s ooookaaay! Justice may not have appeared to have worked. Crowds are picketing her neighborhood. Oh, and the death threats??!! Really??!! Isn’t that why we are here in the FIRST place?! Remember there have also been 272 people on death row exonerated in our country after being CONVICTED of crimes they didn’t commit. Oh, and 17 of those people were ALREADY put to death. Look, I understand the feelings of injustice in this case. I have my own opinions regarding what may have happened. In fact, we have all become well-trained crime scene investigators in recent years, so damnit, we are right!!! Well, truth is, this verdict may not be what we thought should happen. Often it isn’t! We, as citizens in this country need to STOP! Millions of dollars were spent by the town of Orange County to seek justice for Caylee. Casey did not have millions of dollars, like OJ. A jury found her innocent and she will be the monster walking among us by Sunday afternoon. She will not be protected behind mansion walls like other famous exonerations. She will shop at Target, hang out in bars, and maybe even get her fake job back at Universal Studios all while wearing her scarlet letter FOR THE REST OF HER LIFE! That is NOT freedom. That, my dear, is justice in disguise. That is one sentence that is a lot more difficult than sitting in a 6x4 ft cell for 20 plus years. If she really is the demon that we have seen she will reveal her true colors in the future. Let’s all slow down. Let’s pray for peace. Let’s enjoy the show, but realize this ‘show’ is a real life event for many people in this person’s life. Let’s use this to teach OUR children a lesson about love and honesty. Let’s enjoy the hype but resist the anger. Let’s not forget that everyone is somebody’s baby, sister, and friend regardless of the behaviors that they have. Let’s not hurt someone because we think they hurt someone else. That is not how we do it in this country! Let’s remember that there are many people in our city, state, and country that don’t know HOW to do the right thing and our compassion might make a difference to one of them, and if NOT, it might set a good example to those little ones who call YOU mommy or daddy!!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

For Ellen


You can't exist in this world without leaving a piece of yourself behind

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