Monday, December 29, 2014

The Story of the Little Girl Who Lived Next Door

We all have friends. If you are lucky you even have a small circle of best friends. If you are really lucky you have that one best friend that goes back longer than you care to think about well because then you start feeling old. 

My best friend has been my best friend since I was about 8 years old and that’s just about 31 years. Her family moved next door to my family, in Upstate NY. Our parents became friends and so did we. We waited for the bus together; we played together every day outside on swing sets and riding bikes. We grew a little older playing outside turned into watching movies like Nightmare on Elm Street and Karate Kid; baking and making her little sister eat dog food.  We only lived next door to each other for a few short years until her family moved away to Maine. It was a sad day. I remember her family waiting for the bus with me that morning. I remember crying but I also remember never feeling like that was going to be the last time I was going to see her. 

We remained friends. We wrote each other letters, snail mail style. Our families made trips for visits. Our parents would meet half way so I could spend a week with them in the summer. Then we were teenagers. We had boyfriends, licenses and cars. The trips were more frequent going both ways. There were break ups, Proms, High School Graduations, siblings, many other friends in the mix (who I’ve loved almost just as long),times where we lost touch for months at a time being busy with school and our local friends, but we’d eventually always pick it right back up. We have had College visits; College Graduations, our own apartments, parties, careers, new boyfriends that turned into Husbands with babies, weddings, more babies and became Godmothers and Aunties to each other’s children. We have traveled endlessly to be there for each other for every milestone and now our children’s, for support, love and encouragement. 

It’s a Friendship that I treasure. Besides my family she’s the only person in my life that I have known this long. She’s always been a constant in my life. She knows things about me that my other friends don’t and will never know because no other friend knew what I was like as a little girl. She’s a friend I know I can call whenever for whatever no matter what. She has seen me at my worst and at my very best. She is supportive, positive, loving and so caring. 

She is the best Auntie my kids could ever have. My oldest son will be 16 and he was the only child forever in everyone’s life. She never missed a birthday, a milestone, a card for silly holidays, gifts and Congratulations cards for pretty much every achievement.  She’s made endless trips to attend his birthday parties and stayed later than expected on a Sunday to see him in his first Halloween costume or catch a travel basketball game. She’s continued and done the same for my youngest son. 

I love her and her family, her parents, her sister and her family, her friends and their families. She brings so much to my life and her friendship makes me a better person.  

So, today on her birthday I want to say Thank you to her. Thank you for being you. Thank you for being the person that never required me to sacrifice my happiness, other important relationships or my dreams to be your friend. Thank you for your presence in my children’s lives. Thank you for supporting and encouraging me without ever judging. Thank you for being a loyal friend even though we spend so much time apart. Thank you for loving me just as I am. 

Happy Happy Birthday Melissa Ann!!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Don’t Put an Age Limit on Halloween

I remember being in 6th grade.  How old are you in 6th grade maybe 11 years old? It was Halloween. My Mom took my sister (who is 4years younger than me) and I out Trick or Treating.  My sister and I would always walk up to the doors together. I was a Princess wearing an old purple prom dress, crown with my glittery star wand sparkling under all the porch lights. I realize it was a different time back then and I know most 6th grade girls today would never even think about being a princess. My sister and I we were having fun until we reached the top of the steps at this one house. This man opens the door, scowls at me and says “Aren’t you a little big for this?” I believe he meant big as in too old  because even though I was only 11, I was just about as tall as I am now 5’6. I physically looked about 15 or 16 years old but I was only a young 11 year old girl. That was the last time I went Trick or Treating. 

My oldest son is in a similar situation. Luckily for him, when he sprouted up, he had a little brother that’s 10 years younger than him to use as a decoy from snide remarks that may have ended his Halloween fun even earlier than mine. 

He is now 15, he looks 18. He’s just about 6’5 and 180lbs. He likes Halloween, he has always liked to dress up and although his costumes and his friend’s costumes aren’t as elaborate or cute they are still kids. My son will be going out Trick or Treating with some friends around our family oriented neighborhood.  We let him walk around without us. Last night when we were at the costume store having fun and picking out our costumes, I thought to myself how these years for and with him are coming to an end. It makes me sad. The thought also crossed my mind of what people might think of a 6’5 kid ringing their doorbell regardless of how old he actually is.

This Halloween when you open your door and you are disappointed not to see a Baby Bumble Bee, a little Fire Fighter, or a sweet Lady bug standing there but instead it’s a group of pre-teens or teenagers who in your opinion may be to old but are still just having a little fun with their friends just smile. Don’t be mean. Don’t frown on them. Don't put them down.
Don’t put an age limit on Halloween. Let them have fun even if the boys voices sound like a man or the girls are giggling too much and even though they are taking up all the space on your porch with their pillowcases full of candy that they will never have enough time nor be allowed to consume all of. I told them the  rules before they set out and I expect them to always be polite and respectful. So, regardless of how old you think they look open your door with a smile and let them act like the kids they actually are for just this one night. They need to find that kid every now and then in a world that makes them grow up much too fast.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Gram UpNorth


My Grandfather taught us so many things. He amazed us but you know what they say “behind every great man there’s a great woman”.  

 My earliest memory of her is her holding me while I laid on her (as I called them) big “pillows” and she always sang “Hush Little Baby, Papa’s going to buy you a mockingbird”, I loved it, until he came home from work then it was “Papa” time. He was my main man and I was his little first born granddaughter. My grandfather was such an influence and special person in my life but so was this little lady that was always flying under the radar. He may have taken us fishing every weekend, but who packed our lunches and made sure we had our sweet treats in there and who cooked the fish for dinner when we got home. He may have taught me everything about Archery and entered me in weekend tournaments but she was the one on the line next to me as I grew up and had to switch from the Cub/Youth line over to the Woman’s line.  He may have played the guitar and sang songs to us so we could dance around but many of those songs he sang because they were her favorite songs. We may have fought over “who gets to sit next to Papa” at the dinner table but she was the one who set that table.  We may have gone through the woods and picked berries with him until our fingers were sore from all the prickers but when we were done who washed the berries and baked us that pie for dessert. She was just always there doing her thing, doing what Grandma’s do I guess. 

As, I grew older there were so many other things she did for me. She took me on my first job interview as a teenager and I begged her to come in with because I was so scared. She didn’t of course; she talked me through it and waited in the car. She took me to my first GYN appointment which I was also scared about but didn’t beg her to come in with me (ha-ha). They took in my younger sister when my parents couldn’t deal with her antics anymore but my Grandma took the brunt of her “teenage” years and kept many secrets from Papa in that respect. I remember taking the long way home from the bus stop just so I could stop in after school and see her.  Then I grew up even more and I had a child, his middle name is my Grandfather’s last name which is what I have always said but you know what;  it’s her last name too!!  When my son was born he had so many Grandmas’ and at this point my grandparents had moved an hour away north of us, so we called her Gram UpNorth. We still do, all of us, it stuck. 

So there was this incredible man, however there was also an amazing woman. She was always there, his wife, his side kick, a housewife, a mother and my Grandma.  She was just always there. She never fought for the spotlight she just let us be Papa’s girls because that’s just how it always was.  

My Grandfather died 11 years ago of lung cancer at 68 years old. My Grandmother is still going strong and going to be 81years old next month. When he died so did everything she had ever known. She was strong and looking back, I now realize how much sadness she must have felt, alone, up north in that house. She still lives in that house; the house that my Grandfather re-did on his own with his 2 hands….everything in there screams their name.  She got a job (she had barely worked a day in her life) and she worked there up until last summer. She traveled around with her best friend. She at first continued to go to Archery Shoots, if we could bring her or tag along with Archery friends. She keeps the Archery Range that he built open and useable to this day. She joined a church and made many new friends. She is an inspiration and a very, strong independent woman. I maybe didn’t realize this all along but as I age and I see her or look back at the things she has done, she is just amazing. She is a young almost 81 years old, she tries hard to keep up with things, to keep up with us, she watches NASCAR, she’s on Facebook, she drives, she has a cell phone and she dresses pretty darn cute too. 
She is and always will be my Grammie and I hope she knows how very much I love her, always have and always will even if we were “Papa’s Girls”

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Last Day.............

This is the letter I am giving to the staff at my son's Childcare Center tonight.  We also sent them a Edible arrangement for lunch time.  ;) 

 Today is his last day.....


To All Pumpkin Patch Staff;                                                                                        8/27/2014

It’s an unbearable thought leaving your 3 month old baby in the hands of someone else, however I never thought of leaving him anywhere else. Although, Trevor attended Pre-school at the Patch this was all new to me. I never dropped at 12 week old baby off to someone else, nonetheless a daycare center.

To my surprise there were 3 familiar faces wandering around the patch…..10 years later. To my surprise I found myself so comfortable with leaving my baby with Ginae and Barbara. They were the best from the very beginning whether it was the care they were giving him or when they were reassuring me… “It’s ok, you can go to work now”.  I went to work feeling that they genuinely loved him and would keep him safe. Looking back I think that was the hardest room to move up and transition from, for both myself and Tanner.

As, we went through each room of the Patch, we had our “favorite” teachers, our favorite things to do and our not so favorite things.  Tanner always adjusted well anyway and that is in part of his constant comfort level in just being there with all of you. Tanner has grown so much, learned so much and made many early childhood memories with all of you. It’s the first 5 years of his life and attending Pumpkin Patch has been nothing but a positive and influential experience. 

It’s time for him to go off to Kindergarten and those words choke me up, but not as much as I was choked up this morning after I said my good-byes to Chris…..)as I cried heading down Washington Ave Ext.)  Yes, I will see her again and she will hear from my in-laws about crazy Tanner, but regardless, I will miss her. I will miss her advice, her just chatting with me about life, her jokes about my crazy kid, her emails when he did something nutty during the day, her rocking him in her rocking chair waiting for me to come pick him up when he was sick, her PATIENCE and UNDERSTANDING when the tuition was LATE and her making the Pumpkin Patch a place for children to learn, grow and be loved when it’s not possible for everyone to be a stay at home parent. 

I can’t thank you all enough for all you have done for us. I will be forever grateful to each and every one of you.

Enclosed is a book for each room at Pumpkin Patch, he is leaving a “Tanner” mark in every room he transitioned through as his Thank You. He will miss all of you so much. 

With love...