We Are Family

Feeling a bit like I’ve been shot through a wind tunnel or perhaps lived through an episode of the old Twilight Zone series, I am here in my office today. Hoping to catch up, but knowing better. My mind is spent. The last few days have been a rollercoaster ride.

Last Friday, I flew from my St. Louis home to attend my father’s wedding celebration in Phoenix. He was married on March 11, discovering 16 days later in a sterile Emergency Room that his bride’s body was riddled with cancer. Only a few hours earlier that day, I had called them both to wish them, “Happy Easter.”

My father and his wife, Eileen planned a wedding celebration before her diagnosis of cancer. Close family and friends had been invited. The room was reserved. Their favorite one-man-band was all set to play and sing, and the food was carefully chosen and ordered. Together, they decided the party was going to take place, regardless. It gave them hope, something to look forward to.  A goal in the future. Eileen had started treatment and was feeling pretty good. Things seemed optimistic going into the weekend of the party.

My father’s only living sibling flew in from Michigan to surprise him. My husband and I picked her up from the airport and arranged for her to stay with us at the same hotel. Upon landing in Phoenix there was a voicemail telling me that my father was on his way to ER with Eileen. And so, the rollercoaster ride began. Emotions ran high for everyone.

The next day, we were able to see my father and Eileen’s new little house for the very first time. She was resting in a chair near the patio. A card table and two chairs were placed near the open screen door. Sun was shining, cactuses were blooming and grasses were green in between desert coral sands. Their dog, a miniature collie never left Eileen side.

In the end, Eileen was too weak to attend her much-anticipated wedding celebration. My father came for a few minutes, just long enough to make a brief speech, thanking everyone for coming. He spoke for a minute or two before breaking down. This father of mine, the strongest man I’ve ever known.

And, so under the twinkling stars of an Arizona desert sky, a one-man-band played like an orchestra last Saturday night. Chicken and vegetables were served with pink, prime rib of beef. A beautiful rolling dessert cart passed, overflowing with white wedding cake, Bride and Groom decorated cake pops, together with pastel powdered sugar cookies placed in fluted paper tin cups.

For several hours, drinks colored of the desert filled fancy glasses and flowed freely while people danced under a golden moon before the last song of the evening was sung. Suddenly, every paver cemented on the patio dance floor was filled. People put their hands together high in the dark blue sky, clapping them in unison to, “We Are Family.”

*The next day, Eileen did feel rested enough to join everyone for a BBQ hosted by her daughter. Truly, a nice family gathering.








Meaningful Words

God.  Thankfulness.  Love.  Friendship.  Happiness.  Heart.  Tears.  Joy.  Emotion. Commitment. Family.  Children.  Bond.  Sharing.  Support.  Contentment.  Unit…

Words above milled through my mind last Sunday afternoon during my youngest son’s wedding day.  While sitting on the edge of my white covered seat, wrinkled tissues were clutched between nervous fingers and thumb.  Soon, two would unite as one.

My son is a big guy.  Still, he never looked quite sooo tall as he did on that day.  Dressed in a crisp navy blue suit with stripes thin of white, he had a lovely rose with delicate petals tight, pinned to his left lapel.  Sweet scents drifted towards my front table.  Soon soft lyrics of music began to play.

This tall, handsome son of mine who has travelled so far in his short young life waited to greet his beautiful bride at the end of the aisle.  There, he clasped her shaking hands in the two of his own.  Proud…that’s the word I was searching for.  He was oh-so-proud of the young woman who was about to become his wife.

My boy’s eyes, sea-colored windows to his soul became glass covered and misty when first he caught sight of her.  Never before, had the bride looked more beautiful to him or anyone.  Her face flushed pink.  Aglow from head to toe, her long blond hair was pulled smoothly back away from her lovely face.  Braided curls were pinned behind her head and she wore billows of flowing chiffon.  White trimmed with a touch of silver beading.  She sparkled and shined like an angel in my imagination.

Listening to marriage vows of your ‘youngest one’ is a rite of passage of sorts.  My husband and I reached to hold hands.  Together, we had prayed for this day to come, for our son to find his special one.  With a lap plopped full of ruffled white, our little grand-daughter sat contentedly holding a satin basket filled with petals blushed sweet.  Her daddy stood next to his brother as a groomsman, an honor to witness this wonderful occasion.  My little boys had grown into teens and morphed into men long ago.  In some ways, this put the final seal of wax acceptance on the back of the envelope for me.  How wonderful to see!

There was no doubt how meaningful the wedding vows were when spoken between the bride and groom during the ceremony.  Much more than simple words of blue written on papers of white.  Two lives becoming one.  A team to be.  A family of three with a future, you see?

God.  Thankfulness.  Love.  Friendship.  Happiness.  Support.  Heart.  Tears.  Joy.  Emotion. Commitment.  Family.  Children.  Bond.  Sharing.  Contentment.  Unit.  Peace.










May Memory

There they were.  As a child, I first discovered them while skipping along my maternal grandmother’s winding, weathered sidewalk path.  It led to beautiful backyard gardens of assorted tulip beds and pastel peonies planted along an aging wrought iron fence.  They were nearly growing wild in patches abutting cool cement basement blocks under Grandma’s kitchen window.  I kneeled too low for her to see or catch me there…I’d snip off a stem or two, until before I knew, I had almost more than I could hide or carry!

Sneaking off behind the back of my Grandpa’s shingled garage, I’d sit in the sun.  Crossing gangly legs on moist grass of green, newborn spring rosied my face.  Then, between youthful growing forefingers, I’d gingerly roll textured leaves, gently touching the tiniest white bells I’d ever seen.  Did they ring?  Lifting them closely to my ear, I swore ‘twinkling’ sounds could nearly be heard.  Ahh, my imagination.  An aroma wafted just below my nose, smelling sweeter than any colored rose!  The scent reminded me of Grandma’s perfume upon kissing the folds of her neck or the plump of her soft powered cheek.

As I grew up and older into a teen, “Lilly of the Valley” was always my favorite flower together with my favorite scent.  Memories from childhood carried on, I think.  When the time came for me to marry, I so wanted this blossom to be part of my wedding bouquet. Over thirty years ago this month, when the florist told me and my then, “finance” that a single stem would cost $15.00, I opted to carry silk instead.  I still had the beauty while the fragrance floated throughout my vast imagination…..

Guess what?  I truly did hear the twinkling of my favorite ‘Lilly’ bells ringing during that glorious sun filled afternoon!

May Memories to last a Lifetime.

*one of my favorite posts of May


A Second Piece Of The Puzzle

“A mother understands what a child does not say.”  Yiddish Proverb

Our baby son, Jayson, was healthy and happy for the first two years of his life.  Like rose petals, his pink chubby cheeks glistened in the sun and a finger curl waved “Hello” on the top of his head.  Two front teeth, the color of seed pearls, gave him a slight over-bite that endeared his smile to the world.  His first words were, “MaMa,” and “GaGa” touching our hearts forevermore.  The letter “D” was hard for him to pronounce, but his daddy knew exactly what he meant.