Monday, December 19, 2016

Holiday Time Again

It's that time of year again.  As I have shared before; all my kids are grown.  This year there is a second grandchild.  

For the first time since my children were born; we won't all be together this year for Christmas.  However, we have actually just postponed our family Christmas. Basically, the pediatrician doesn't want the baby exposed to a lot of people until after her immunizations which are the first week of January.  So we decided to just have a late Christmas.

My favorite thing is Christmas with all my kids, and their families, together.  I love nothing more than just hanging out with them and taking in the fun they have being together.   

In the meantime, I suffered a heart attack last month and I'm doing "cardiac rehab" three times a week.  So the delayed trip out of town is actually working for me as well.  Cardiac rehab is basically exercising while wearing a heart monitor; BP and oxygen checked also. 

I've spent months making Christmas stockings for everyone and I'm looking forward to sharing them with everyone.  I will have to make an additional one for next year.  My daughter is pregnant again.  

For the first time in a half dozen years I put up a large Christmas tree.  We haven't had Christmas at my house so I had purchased a small tree when we lived in a very small place.  I have been only putting up that tree for years now since I was gone Christmas anyway.  Last year I had donated the narrow six foot tree I had and planned to get a new one this year.  I got a very nice seven+ foot tree that fits in my house well.  I have had a multitude of decorations that included some that were my parents' and grandparents'.  This is the first time I've been able to use them all.  We still aren't having everyone here for Christmas but I wanted to decorate anyway.  

I've been working on getting my house really settled in.  I've been here two years but this is the first time in almost a decade I've been able to really get to the bottom of the "stuff" and get it sorted out, disposed of, reorganized.  I love my house and I love getting it settled in.  I am hoping that in the future my kids will come visit more often.

Merry Christmas to Everyone.  May 2017 be a great year. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Holidays Fly By

The holidays are approaching again.  The time for family.  The time for giving.  The time for reflection.  The end of a year.  A new year begins.  

If you are religious; of course depending on what religious; there are numerous celebrations.  If you are Christian, its celebrating the birth of Jesus.  I won't pretend to know all the other religious celebrations off the top of my head.

Of course when I was a kid Christmas was mostly about what I was going to get.  I went to Catholic school, so there was a lot of activity at church as well.  The church was always done up so beautifully with the Nativity scene and Christmas decorations.  Usually there were Christmas pageants and the choir to sing at midnight mass.

As a parent I got excited about spending Christmas Eve wrapping all the kids' presents after they went to bed until nearly dawn and watch them open them Christmas morning.  Seeing them be excited about getting most of what they wanted on their list.  Watching them perform in Christmas shows, etc.  

Now its mostly about the rare opportunity for the kids to all get together.  It's the one time of year they work at all getting off from work to be together.  They have a great time together and the laughter is pretty constant.  I love this time with all of them together.  Now that there is a grand-baby we all dote on her and spoil her as much as we can.  This is what Christmas is all about now.  Watching her open gifts is the fun stuff now.  Especially this year when she is old enough to be more cognizant of what they are.

I cherish these rare times they all get together.  I imagine there may come a time where they are unable to all make Christmas so I am very thankful for the ones we still have while we can.  Life goes by so fast.  It doesn't seem so long ago my kids were just little ones on the floor opening their presents like the grandbaby.  






Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Losing Children

Three years ago I took my daughter on a school Scuba Diving trip.  She and her dive partner had a great time.  They were the last ones back in the boat when the group realized two of the teenagers were missing.

The Dive Masters went back into the water and the search lasted two and a half agonizing hours.  I was waiting at the dock for them to return.  We finally knew two boys were missing after they were about two hours late returning.  The Dive Master from the chartered boat finally found their bodies at the bottom of the ocean. The coast guard acquired them after they were brought up to the kids' boat.  It had a huge impact on everyone involved; as well as the family, friends, and neighbors of our rather small city.  The boys were football players at the city’s only high school.  My own daughters knew these boys since second grade.  In a small town all the kids know each other whether they are close friends or not, they know who each other is.  There wasn’t anyone in the city that was unaware of the accident and upset by it.  Many people from other cities and states also were shaken.  It even made the news across the country and we got phone calls from relatives in other states from Hawaii, Florida and Massachusetts.
It is so hard to know how to console children suffering from losing their friends.   It was a terrible tragedy and accident.  These things happen.  Teenagers tend to feel invincible and it is a startling experience for them to realize they are not. However, the kids organized several memorial events and for the first time the school administration was very supportive of them.  The kids did very well consoling each other and finding their own way to get closure. 

Days after this accident one of my son’s friends died in a car accident.  The third one he had lost that year.  How do you explain to kids the justification for children dying when you can’t conceive a logical explanation yourself?
I can not even count the number of friends my children have lost over the years.  There have been so many.  My oldest son lost his kindergarten best friend to cancer when they were in first grade.  Such a young child who suffered and died from cancer.  There is no logical explanation or way to really justify the death of a child.  While I know people resign to “God’s Will” it is still difficult to figure out why God would will such a thing.  

I suppose it isn’t our place to challenge God’s Will; but we are a rational, scientific society that has trouble accepting anything without explanations.  We can’t get closure until we have determined some sort of rationalization for it.  When there is none people speculate and try to develop their own.

In the midst of this terrifying tragedy I realized I am very fortunate.  My brother just had died that January and he is the first out of nine of us siblings to die, and he was 51.  All of us have made it to adulthood and had the chance to live before we left this world.  We have around 20 children between us all and all have been healthy and we haven’t lost any yet.  There are even fourth generation children that so far all have been healthy as well.  We are a very large family that has been very fortunate to have had little loss so far.  The youngest death I know of was at the age of forty, when my aunt died in an automobile accident.  Even all of the parents are still alive in their seventies. 
When I see so many children dying and my kids suffering their losses I give thanks.  Sure that sounds strange, but I have to give thanks that I have not been on the other side of the tragedies, the parents of the lost children.  My heart breaks for them and I mourn the loss of them.  It breaks my heart.  At the same time I am grateful I am not experiencing the loss of my own child.

The investigation of the accident never determined a clear understanding of what really happened to the boys.  "Diver error" was the conclusion.  No equipment failure, no foul play, no clear explanation what their error was.  Somehow both boys made a fatal mistake that cost them both their lives.

Our children are our angels.  I can't ever help but think that the children that are taken so soon in life are angels sent to us for some sort of lessons.  Their loss seems to make people reflect and sometimes motivates them to make a positive change in their own lives.  Keeping them in our hearts reminds us to cherish what we have and take stock of what is important. 

Both my daughters are much safer divers because of this tragedy.  The one that was there that day has gone on to get two more diving certifications including CPR and rescue diving.  Hopefully she will never have to use it.  However, it makes me, as mom; much more comfortable that she has the extra training for her own diving.  Since she is studying marine biology she will be diving a lot.  

It still seems like its an unjust way to teach us lessons or give us a wake up call.  I guess that's what it takes; but it is surely brutal. 



Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wine and Chocolate

What in the world do I mean by Wine and Chocolate? Well, have you ever tried the two together? They are actually very good together. 

 I prefer a very dry red wine like Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon. I do not care for Merlot which seems to be the house wine of choice for so many bars these days. It isn't the taste as much as for whatever reason it gives me an instant headache. 

I do not indulge in the two together very often; especially wine.  Chocolate is a staple, a life source, an almost daily necessity.  However, health issues and daily medications prevent me from indulging in wine very often.  But they each are some of my favorite things to indulge in. So it is the rare special treat for me. 

Wine is soothing and warm, takes the crazy out of the day. Chocolate is sweet and smooth and puts some happy into your mood.