Category Archives: Liam

Focus 52: "Hope"

There was a photo here.

There was a prayer for hope.

I opted to remove it because I couldn’t write about it.

I opted not to write about because I couldn’t come up with the words for it.

All I could come up with was “hope.”  One word.

And in believing in that one word, my prayers were answered.

The story doesn’t need to get told.  24 hours worth of stress, heartache, prayer and pain can’t always be documented.  What can be documented is the relief, the release of anxiety and the overall inexplicable joy in knowing that this post was not necessary.  That it was not about to be the beginning of a long, ongoing saga that would have changed the path of my family for years to come.

Silence…and a grateful “thank you” to those who supported, believed and prayed, is all that is necessary.

I have to vent…

Okay, so Xmas is over. Finally. I have to admit that I absolutely hate this holiday. I think it is so commercialized and total bullshit. And, before anyone says it, it has nothing to do with being a Jew. I hate Channukah equally as much. Actually, I hate any holiday that demands you send cards, flowers, candy, presents and is lead by retail corporations and card companies. This includes Valentines Day as well. Garbage. You shouldn’t have one day a year to tell the person that you love how you feel about them. Just the same way that I hate the entire “Jesus is the reason for the season” crapola. Jesus is not the reason for the season. If you knew anything about Jesus at all, you would probably know that he would be positively appalled by all the gift giving and all the excessive purchasing that we do for our families. The man was rooted in the theory of “good works” as opposed to things. You want to celebrate Christmas? DO something. Feed the homeless. Clothe a child who has nothing. Adopt a child from another country through a Unicef type program and spend the damn twenty bucks to take care of them all month long. $240 a year will keep a child who is in a poverty stricken situation in clothes, in school, well fed and vaccinated against simple diseases that no child should ever die from. Volunteer. Go to a nursing home and read to the elderly. My kids know I have a die hard policy about donating their things to kids who are less fortunate before I buy you one single thing. I don’t exchange xmas presents with my husband for just that reason. We simply don’t believe in it. I bought my grandkids 3 toys each and two outfits. That’s it. Nothing crazy or excessive. Hubs and I spend our gift money on one another donating to St. Jude’s children’s hospital, the pediatric AIDS foundation, the American Cancer Society, etc. I’m not being holier than thou…I just believe that good works trumps good presents every time. I think that Xmas/Channukah should be about the kids, so I don’t really do the whole gift giving thing for the adults in my family. None of my siblings, parents, in laws, etc got presents from me. They know better than to expect it. I will sooner make donations to charity organizations in their names then send them a gift. My two exceptions this year were sending a gift basket of chocolatey yum yum red velvet cupcakes to friends who have been very supportive of the hotband and I this year. The other was to buy my bestie a dress that was absolutely screaming her name. I knew she would look beautiful in it and I wanted her to have it. She is always there for me and while I know damn well I don’t have to buy her anything to let her know how loved she is, I wanted her to have this particular item. It wasn’t expensive…but I knew she would be beautiful in it and she deserves that.

Okay, end that rant. So not what I wanted to vent about.

What I wanted to get out of my system is how seething mad I am at my sister in law. Ever since coming home from Israel, she has treated me like utter shit or rather, worse than usual. You would think that after 11 years of being with her brother, I have more than proven myself to be a good and loving wife to him. She should be happy about that, but no. Always an attitude. Well, in the past 3 months, she has managed to A) Not show up to my granddaughter’s birthday party because she went to a baby shower of a friend of a friend, B) Completely ignored my sons birthday and now, C) opted out of spending Christmas dinner with us because she went to her friends house instead.

Mind you, this is the same woman who used to torture my husband for all the time he was spending with me when he and I were first dating. She used to harass him about how I was consuming his whole life and how he was blowing off his “real family” to be with me and my kids. Well, good morning…but it’s 11 years later. I think we have pretty well established that I wasn’t some fling he was just blowing off his “real family” for. When her marriage collapsed, my hubs and I were there for her completely. Absolutely supportive of her and her endeavors. Whenever she needs someone to watch her son, we are there for her. We invite her and whoever she may be dating that particular month to anything we have. She is never excluded. Yet, she manages to keep herself at bay when it comes to me and my kids.

Admittedly, I used to blame my husband for this. I told him, why on earth would she think YOUR kids are important to you if you allow her to continue this behavior of not acknowledging them at all? But now, it’s gotten to the point where HE is upset by it. I used to tell him how shitty I thought it was that his family doesn’t acknowledge my kids. Hotband has raised Nick and Sam since they were 4 and 12 years old respectively. They are now 15 and 23, for God’s sake. I think it is pretty well established that he loves those kids as if they were conceived from his own loins. We don’t ever not acknowledge her son. That’s my husbands nephew…and I love him just as much as if he were my very own son. When my granddaughter had her birthday party…she simply never showed up for it. No call, no text, nothing. Then, this past October, my son had a small birthday party at a Go Kart track. He invited his cousin, my sister in laws son. He showed up without so much as a card (not his fault, entirely my sister in laws fault). If my son had been a friend of my nephews from school, she wouldn’t have dared to send her son without a gift or a card. So, my husband *finally* worked up the balls to say to her…”Hey, what you did was kind of rude”. First words out of her mouth? “Did your wife put you up to this?” Yeah. My fault. *eye roll* Because my husband couldn’t possibly feel a little slighted that his family STILL doesn’t bother to acknowledge my children as OUR children. I had to laugh at that.

Another example of her shittiness? We flew all the way to Israel for her sons Bar Mitzvah. Nearly five grand in flights and food, etc. PLUS we gave him a gift of well over $200. In the Jewish tradition…the number 18 signifies long life. So, we gave him $18 for every year of his life. He was turning 13, a huge occasion in a Jewish boys life. We gave him $234 cash. Not so much as a thank you from her. Okay, whatever. But the kicker for me? My parents, who are not related to her or my nephew, sent my nephew a check for his bar mitzvah. I thought that was a really nice gesture on their part. They certainly didn’t have to do that. Does she have him call and thank them? No. Can’t be bothered. One month goes by. Two months go by. THREE months go by. Finally, one day, she asked if we could watch her son. As always, we did…and I told my husband to make sure that my nephew CALLS MY PARENTS and thanks them for the gift. It took my husband having to make that phone call for my parents to receive a thank you. I think that’s absolutely disgusting, tacky and tasteless.

Anyway, back to Christmas. My daughter invited her to Christmas dinner. It’s a big deal for Sammi. She and her husband made this big, beautiful dinner for us and the kids. She extended the invitation to her “aunt” to join us. She writes on Facebook that she didn’t know what time dinner was. So, my son in law writes back that it is between 7 and 7:30. No show. No call. No text. No FB message. Nothing. I figure, maybe she decided just to stay home and be alone. Later on FB, I see a photo of her with her on again/off again boyfriend at the home of a friend, enjoying Xmas with them. Wow. Really? She never even called her own brother to wish him a Merry Christmas/Channukah. My husband is so hurt and upset by her actions…but he for some reason, refuses to confront her. Maybe because of something she said to him a LONG time ago. She once told him that if he chose me over her, she would disown him as her brother. I think that stuck in his head and is now afraid of losing his relationship with her. I couldn’t fathom telling my brother that and my bro and I aren’t even remotely as close as my hubs and his sister are/were.

I don’t really know where this post is going. I suppose that I chose to blog this instead of writing her a very confrontational letter. I am so sick and tired of this shit. The only thing I can think of is that she is avoiding us because she owes us a pretty large sum of money. Of course, that would be utterly ridiculous. We borrowed a few grand from her a long time ago when things were lean for us so it’s not like she should be ashamed of needing the help from us. For God’s sake, we are family. Isn’t that what family is supposed to be about? Being able to lean on one another when things get hard?

Look, I don’t care if she hates me. I have tried to reach out to her in every single way possible. She’s made it blatantly obvious she doesn’t care for me as a person…but what on earth does that have to do with the kids? Moreover, what kind of human being shows such blatant disrespect for their brothers children? My kids are my husbands children. He loves them desperately. No different than if we bore them together, or if he had adopted them with me. But, I suppose since they weren’t crafted from his semen that they just don’t matter to her. My husband was in the delivery room when his grandbabies were born. He witnessed both their births. He loves those kids. I know he is hurting over this. I try to refrain from saying anything to him about it, but I know he was really hurt that she didn’t show up tonight. I want so badly to call her up and say, “look bitch, hate me all you want…but you are killing your brother’s heart.”

The whole situation is just so fucking sad. 11 years later. You would think that she would realize that my husband and I are in this for the long haul. You would think she would care more. I don’t know what else to do or say without causing some irreversible damage. I have held my tongue til it literally bled. I don’t know how much longer I can do so…but for my husbands sake, I will make the effort.

In conclusion? Family sucks.

Just when you think it’s safe to smile…

something happens that just knocks the wind out of your sails.

Four hours ago, I was the happiest woman alive. My husband is home from California. My son is here. My daughter stopped by to visit with my two beautiful grandchildren. We laughed, had dinner together as a family; something we haven’t been able to do much of since my daughter moved to her own home a few months ago.

I remember the absolute angst that I felt the day she moved out of my home with her husband and her daughter. Sure, they were only moving one town away, but never in 22 years have my daughter and I not lived under the same roof. When she left, the house dynamic changed. It lost a lot of life. My daughter is my shining star and that beautiful little girl she brought into my life only made my daughter that much more of an indelible force in my world. Now we are both mothers, together. Just another bond that keeps us close. Yes, I have an amazing son. He’s bright, funny and a really good kid. I love him like mad. But, ask most mothers and usually they can all agree on one thing:

The bond you have with your daughter is like no other.

So, imagine my surprise, when after dinner my daughter informs me that her husband is getting a promotion. A big promotion. One that means they are going to have to relocate.

To New York. New York. 1200 miles away.

It might as well be another planet.

I drew in a breath as though I had been kicked in the gut. Things in my body that I never knew existed started to ache. Pain. Pain that I have not felt before in my life literally surged through me. My baby girl is leaving me in Florida while she and her family move to New York. Her family. MY family. My grandbabies. My precious, beautiful grandbabies are no longer a fifteen minute drive away. There will be no more cuddling on demand. No more kisses goodnight. No more picking up my granddaughter from daycare, watching with absolute joy as she runs towards me with her arms outstretched, reaching for me.

And my grandson. Dear God, my grandson. Not even two weeks old yet. He will never know me from anything other than a photograph. I will be a stranger to him when I go to visit. I’ll miss Liam’s first words. His first steps. His first everything.

I won’t be there for Sadie’s first day of pre-school. Dance recitals.

My head is absolutely reeling right now. I feel numb, dead inside. I am walking around like a zombie. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that my children are going to be in New York while I am in Florida. I can’t fathom it.

And there’s not a damn thing I can do about it. Nothing.

I thought that in my 42 years on this planet, that I have experienced heartbreak. I was wrong. Nothing has felt like this. Not even the loss of my son 14 years ago felt like this. Does that sound melodramatic? Perhaps to some, it might. But right now, I feel like I am losing my daughter. Losing her. Losing Sadie. Losing Liam. They won’t be here for holidays. For birthdays. She will not just “drop by” after work anymore. Our entire mother/daughter experience will rely on phone calls and emails. They will probably come rapid fire at first…and then, with time, they will probably whittle down to weekly. She will be busy with her babies and her husband making their new life in New York. She won’t have time for dear old mom anymore.

My grandchildren won’t know me. I’ll be a photograph hanging from a refrigerator magnet, just like my mother is on mine.

My first knee jerk reaction was to tell her how selfish this was. How can you take my babies away from me? How can you just leave like that after living in my home with your husband for three years? I felt betrayed. I felt used. And then, I felt the anger turn to pain. Then, pain into sorrow.

I want the best for my daughter and her husband. I want them to have opportunities that my husband and I have not had. What parent doesn’t want better for their children? I apologized to her for my initial reaction. I told her it came from a place of fear, not anger. The fear that I was being left behind. They don’t need me anymore. They are branching out on their own, leaving the proverbial nest. I should feel some joy knowing that I have prepared her well for this…but all I can feel is sadness.

Watching my granddaughter playing in my living room tonight was painful. I won’t have this anymore. Liam was curled up in his baby bouncer. Sadie came over to him and patted his head gently. She gave him a kiss. She said “Hi Baby” and then threw her arms around me for a big hug.

And I just broke down in hysterics. Literally heaving sobs.

My babies are leaving me and I don’t know what to do. I simply don’t know what to do. How can I just stand here and watch them leave?

My daughter. My first born. My heart and soul.

I don’t even have the words to tie this post up into a neat little package. My world completely flipped upside down in the course of an hour.

How do you say goodbye to the very thing that makes you want to live?

Welcome to the World, Liam Edward…

This little piece of gorgeous is my new grandson, Liam Edward. He was born on January 25, 2010. He weighed 7.11 at birth and is 21 pounds, much different than his sister, Sadie who only weighed 4.14. My daughter, by no want of her own, had him naturally when the nurses decided she was too far along to have an epidural. So, she troopered through it as women have for all the centuries on earth. Sweetest mother/daughter moment came when my beautiful daughter held my hand, looked deeply into my eyes as she was pushing and said:

“Mom??? Did I just SHIT on the table???”

“Um, no, Sam. That was your son that just came out.”

I know I shouldn’t have been laughing as hard as I was, but it was really a defining moment for my daughter and I. We’re not exactly delicate flowers…but she is very shy and reserved so for her to blurt that out during delivery cracked me up to no end.

My family is growing. I am now a grandmother to TWO beautiful little ones.

Happy New Year to my grandbabies. May all your hopes and dreams come true.

I love you both.

So here we are…2010.

I notice that as the blog years roll by, I have less and less to say. Sometimes it is because I am so happy that I really don’t have anything to write about. Other times, I am so depressed that I can barely trudge over to the keyboard.

2009, in a nutshell, was a sack full of suckage.

Financially, things were a mess. Our problem with where we will be living still continues. I am still unemployed, albeit by choice. Things are just not as they should be. But, admittedly, there have been years that were far worse.

My husband is optimistic that 2010 is going to be “our” year. He thinks that the housing situation will resolve itself and that things will magically repair themselves. He is making strides to see this dream of his come to fruition. He is good that way. Definitely the rational optimist to my irrational pessimist.

But…I am willing to put on my rose colored glasses for him. After all, no one died (okay, a lot of celebrities did, but no one who is related to us). No one has any fatal illness. Everyone has a home to live in. No one lost their jobs. Everyone is healthy and safe. For that, I am grateful.

2010 is bringing me a new grandson. It is bringing us a lot of uncertainty as far as where we will be living…but there is a lot of excitement there too. Our 14 year old is a happy, well adjusted kid. Our 22 year old is happily married, the mom of a beautiful one year old who is the light of our lives. Her husband is a good guy and treats her with the utmost of respect. And the hotband and I? We’re amazing. We are over the moon happy despite the crazy curve balls that have been thrown in our direction over the past year. I can honestly say that when it feels like everything is going to hell in a handbasket, I can look at him and know that everything is going to be alright.

I generally don’t do resolutions, or if I do, they are half hearted. But, what I DO is make at least one promise to remove something from my life that negatively affected the year prior. This year, I am letting go of anxiety. I am not going to dwell on things that I have no control over. Let go and let God…as cheesy as that sounds.

So, bring on 2010. I know my little family is ready for it. We will always get by so long as we have one another. Nothing else matters.