So, I’ve been lax in posting for a couple weeks. January has been crazy but today, on the anniversary of the day our Daddy died I wanted to take a moment to just write to the blogisphere and share is memory and his smile. Unfortunately what I cannot share is his contagious albeit, a bit wicked, laugh; it was infectious and I can still hear it. I miss him more than words…as you already know.

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To be honest, this week has been an interesting wave of emotions which is to be expected, but as a slightly-OCD, anxious and textbook defined-type-A person that I am, these feelings don’t settle well. I’ve gone through appreciation, for the time I had; momentary anger; slight bitterness; and overall sadness. In a recent post of optimism I expressed my epiphany of how today couldn’t possibly hurt as much as last year and that still stands true however what my inexperience and naivety has taught me is that the sadness that does carry over, blankets this whole week. I mean, seriously I knew today was going to just plan stink but yesterday and the day before that have reflected the sounds of a climactic musical bridge of pending dramatic heartbreak in a Nicholas Sparks movie. I get that this is all the healing process and perhaps in this moment I’m just a little (okay maybe a lot) downright pissy. None of this situation is fair but life isn’t fair and I’ll push through. I hate that my girls have seen me cry so much over this, I hate feeling broken I know that peace will come and I have to let go of the pain but what I haven’t figured out is how to let go of the hurt without letting go of him. I know that there is a balance in the art of doing this but I haven’t mastered it yet. Maybe I’m overreacting? Maybe these feelings of grapple are not normal in the healing and loss process and I simply need to find my bootstraps (because writing big-girl-panties in a blog is wrong, right?) either way healing for my sisters and I will come and I think overall we have done pretty well but in the end I look forward to the moment when I can share a Grandpa-story with my little ladies without breaking down in tears. For now, for today I’ll grieve and smile and hope in my neuroses that the plane I’m getting on this evening is guided safely to my destination (Don’t ask. That’s a whole other blog post, or entire series possibly lol) I’ll share great stories, pull out old pictures and be grateful. I’ll cry and smile and try to trust that tomorrow I will get to see the sun come up.

I love you, Daddy. ox

Let the celebration of life begin!

What a wonderful weekend it has been!

522273_4913256118139_1247781279_nToday, January 19, marks my big sister Jennifer’s 30th birthday!!! Everyone embarks on this milestone differently and for my beautiful sister I think she approached it with heartache because of what the memory of January has been for us. I share her feelings and distaste for this month, however I also want to take this opportunity to share my Dad’s opinion on birthdays. His birthday was a national holiday. A man addicted to work would never work on his birthday. He woke up every year with boyish excitement and indulgence. It didn’t matter what the number was, milestone or not, it was his day and he loved and enjoyed every minute. As a female I don’t know if I share the same level of excitement as I get older but who doesn’t (secretly or not) smile on their birthday? I may not be one to wear a pink “it’s my birthday” sash and tiara and ask to be catered to (I’m sure if my Dad could’ve gotten away this, he would have lol) but inside there’s a little spark of it’s my special day, if only for a moment when I wake up. I would be so bold to think that regardless of our feelings about birthdays, parties or simply the idea of aging- we all have that little spark, it’s instinctive. If only for a moment during our day, whether it’s from a partner, a colleague, a child, in a card or a brief phone call-be it whatever- when someone says Happy Birthday, they are sending you a personal message that cannot be shared with anyone else because it is a birthday wish for you because every year is a gift. I encourage everyone, regardless of where you are in life or what you have been through to adopt my Dad’s perspective on birthdays if even for a split second because on that day you have been blessed to wake up and start not only another day but another year that is all your own. Not everyone will get the gift of waking up on their birthday this year so be grateful. Celebrate, honor and enjoy it. Live it to it’s fullest. Celebrate, indulge and enjoy your personal national holiday.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Jennifer!

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In other news, on Friday my little sister got engaged to one of my Dad’s favorite people, Bobby. He is an awesome man and one heck of a Dad to my nephews. I have to say, my little sister Rae-Rae is a firecracker and she needs a partner who will put up with her but also who is strong enough to look at her and stand his ground… when necessary. Truth be told, this is the exact type of partner to match all three of my Dad’s strong-willed little girls. He raised us in a unique way that marries the traditional “have dinner ready and treat your man like a king” with “don’t put up with crap and be your own person.” As a mother of girls I’m not sure how he did this but I appreciate it and it has made me enjoy both sides of the coin. We all experienced growing pains in figuring out our own balance with the values he instilled in us but as we have gotten older we have come into our own individuality and ironically are more similar now than ever before. Needless to say it takes a special kind of man to put up with one of Mark’s daughters, let alone make the voluntary choice to marry her; because ultimately when you get one, you get all three and not to mention a little bit of high functioning-dysfunction as well. To be frank, it kind of takes a saint and Bobby (along with Terry and Brent) is just that. I’m so excited and over the moon for them. Congrats and welcome to the family, Bobby! My Dad is so proud and surely saying “it’s about damn time.”

PS to Rae: Remember that life works exactly how it is supposed to. Every piece of our past has brought us to where we are today. Don’t doubt it, don’t regret it and don’t speak critically of it. There is no right or wrong way. Indulge in the moment and look to the future  with excitement and joy. This is a beautiful time and I’m so honored to be on this journey with you.

PS to Jennifer: I know this year is hard but look around you and count your blessings. Life and God are so good. You’ve been given the gift of this day, enjoy it.

I’m so proud to be your sister and love you both immensely. Let the celebration of life, begin! #newyear #newlife #newreason

ox

Regrouping v. Regretting

I grew up playing softball, well I should rephrase that, I grew up pitching a softball game. I did not “play” softball. Fielding, catching, running and hitting…not my forte. Case and point: I once attempted to bunt and wound up blacking my eye with the ball…seriously. However, I had an arm and good ball placement so I was successful and reaped the benefits of being a part of a team. I learned many lessons in the 15 years as a pitcher. Little did I know at the time, that many of these would turn out to be life lessons. Obviously, I didn’t realize this until years later but I can often tie many lessons back to my first introduction being on the mound or in the dugout. Next to “the ball doesn’t have a brain” –my answer to any frustration with an in-adamant object–the biggest one that has stayed with me is the importance of regrouping. Whenever I find myself facing a roadblock or feeling stifled I take a step back, turn to my teammates and we regroup. This week was a reminder of just this.  

It’s difficult when you are working hard to move forward but the reminder of the past just keeps reappearing. It is no surprise that we are consumed in debt. Primarily college debt. Most of our generation is; but this is not an excuse. Together our student loans our exponential. We have come to terms with high interest rates and auto-drafts but when we begin to get all of our tax forms and see the total values of the monies continuously going out, it is deflating. The simple task of opening an envelope can be a grim reminder of the poor decisions we made in an effort to make the right decision about our future.

We could blame the government, for capitalizing on 17 and 18 y/olds heading off to college willing to sign their life away without the knowledge of what it will really mean in 5-10 years.  We could blame financial aid and guidance counselors for not drilling the importance of scholarships into our undeveloped frontal lobes; or better yet detailing the consequences of what taking out a college loan v. grants could mean for one’s future; but none of this is helpful. Frugality 101 is the lesson of taking responsibility. This includes card swipes, cash transactions and loan/credit applications-past and present. Brutal honesty with oneself is not easy. Pretending that a $2 cup of coffee is “nothing” is much easier than admitting, when you do it daily, that you are losing an easy $14 a week; $56~ a month; and up to $730 a year. When looking at the numbers in this light, that coffee tastes a little bitter to me.

So what do we do? We take a moment to reflect, feel overwhelming regret and momentary failure (because it’s just hard not to) then we take a look around at how far we have come and regroup. B and I have always said, even in our vows, that being rich in love and family is the most important balance. It’s a cliche but it’s absolutely true. We can’t change the past but we can focus on the future. In the duration we will help to teach our children to not make the same mistakes that we did, learn plenty of lessons along the way and choose regrouping and working-hard over falling into the pit of regret. Progression is not cyclical but it is a choice. We may fall back at times but moving forward is always the goal, and it is the one we have chosen.

ox

Let the sun shine through.

With the first full week of the New Year already over I find myself so torn. This little project that started last March has worked to help get our family finances in a place that will help move us forward and prepare our future just as we intended. The small strides have been just that; and at times it has seemed like the roadblocks were never ending but I can say that progress is being made and look forward to the full retrospect at the one-year mark; but the fact that we were able to become homeowners in 2013 is remarkable. This is a feat that we had honestly come to terms with “may never happen” but it did. I can’t help but think that it was a power beyond. How else do you explain achieving one of your biggest out-of-reach-goals during the such a terrible year. Hindsight is 20/20 and I can’t help but reflect

One year; that is how long it has been. It was one year ago that my Dad was ill, but home. Not  doing great but excited to welcome his newest grandson in only a few days. Little did he know it would be the last blessing he’d get. Ironically, somehow, he did know. We were all in the dark about what was wrong but he knew. In fact, last Christmas he had said that he knew he probably wouldn’t make it until spring. It’s a phenomenon in our family. Leaving us perplexed to his intuition. In my opinion, only a higher power can be the true explanation, even though he did consider himself the closest thing to God. lol

One year; on January 22 it will be one year since the last time I spoke with him. He called from the hospital to tell me Happy Birthday. He waited until about 8:30 when he was alone in his hospital bed to call and wish me a Happy Birthday and see how my day had gone. What he didn’t know was that we had actually spoke once that day. He had said Happy Birthday around lunchtime when I called to check on him; but he had forgotten and I didn’t have the heart to tell him. I remember his voice. Much clearer than our first chat that day, much more like himself. He said he was just fine and would be heading home in the next day or so and that of course “well, the sun came up.”

One year; January 29 will mark the one year anniversary of his last morning with us. I remember everything about that morning, the clothes I was wearing, the car ride into work and the sunrise over campus. It was a gorgeous pink and orange sky and I remember telling Brent to use the opposite exit (completely out of his way) to show the girls the sunrise. Less than an hr later the call came in. Ironically, I was laughing and having a wonderful conversation when my office phone rang, I saw a number I hadn’t memorized but recognized and I knew. Somehow, you just know.

Needless to say January 29 for our family is heartbreaking but as I brace myself for it’s one-year approach I continue to find amazement in my higher power. See, you never want to admit that time can heal because how do you find healing and learn to be okay with such a loss? But the proof-in the pudding, if you will- is that January 29 one year later will not repeat the call that came to tell me my Daddy had died; that has already happened. Of course it will be hard, and scary, and quite frankly I really just want to sleep through the whole day until it’s over but my faith tells me, the pain of this has happened. Trust in your God and let time and him heal your heart. People keep telling me my Dad is always with me, I don’t know if this is true; but one year later believing that he is is simply better than the thought that he’s not.

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Sunrise in the Raleigh area on January 29, 2013
Photo Credit: http://spod-tad.blogspot.com/2013_01_01_archive.html

In one year I have learned that the heartbreak and blessings will be there. Good does exist even when you feel as though you have been through the darkest of hours. And perhaps, when you least expect it you’ll allow the memory of a marvelous sunrise to bring light to a very dark day.