17 November 2009

Something to be thankful for...

I received a frantic phone call around 9:00 am Saturday morning from my brother. The conversation went something like this:
Adrean: "Someone needs to get down here right now, someone hit our car." (Yelling)
Me: " Adrean??"
Adrean: " I said someone needs to get the **** here because someone hit us. Melisa and Eli aren't answering their phones. Why don't they answer." (more intense)
Me : " Are you downstairs??" ( I was very confused.)
Adrean: " NO! We are on Parker Street and some maniac flew over the median and we got hit... it's pretty bad."
Me: " Uhhh..... I will be right there. Where exactly are you?"(trying not to panic)
Adrean: "We're hard to miss. We are in the middle of Parker St. near Boston Rd. and Walgreens. (a little more calmly)
Me: " I'm on my way ( I can hear a man's voice and he sounds like he's arguing)
It took me seconds to dress and run out the door. My sister called me just a couple of minutes later telling me she was on her way there. I told her I'd meet her there and hung up. She called me back just a minute later to tell me the road was blocked and that the accident was pretty bad. She said that there were several police cars and many officers. There were also three ambulances and they were putting mom in one and she wasn't responding to the paramedics. She told me to park at the Circut City and I could just walk into the street.
All sorts of things rushed through my mind. I thought about how many times I make my kids give me a hug and kiss when they leave because, 'I could get hit by a bus, you know. It happens', or ' It's not far-fetched for me to have a heart attack and drop dead, I am over 40 you know'. I also try to keep that in mind when I'm upset with my husband for being a husband and he wants a hug and I won't give him one because I'm upset and, of course, I'm right and want to be acknowledged.
I also thought about the last time I spoke with my mom and how I was preoccupied cleaning something and not giving her my full attention. I couldn't even remember the last time I spoke with my brother. I thought about how much I miss my father and nephew and the last time I heard my mother-in-law laugh. She had a great laugh. I thought about spending this holiday as an adult orphan.
Then, I got very angry. Angry because why does it take a tragedy to wake us out of our routines and remind us how short life is? Why is it that we have these tragedies and sometimes they are only enough to wake us for a short time, only to have us fall back into our patterns.
I used to think I wouldn't be able to live if something happened to one of my children, and my sister has taught me that as much as you want to give up, life goes on and there are so many people who love you and still need you here.
My sister-in-law and husband showed me how important siblings are when you lose a parent and how comforting it is to have that connection together and be there for each other. My family showed me that no matter what issues you may have with each other that when you lose your father, we are here for each other.
So how can these painful lessons be pushed to the back of our minds only to have them crash on us in a moment of ugly reality???
I can't tell you how grateful I am that I did not lose my mom and my brother in this accident. Had my mom been just a little further ahead in the road, just inches, she could have been killed. The SUV smashed into the front driver's side and was sitting on the hood of the car. That's a little too close for comfort.
I still don't understand why some people survive some things and others don't. I don't believe God causes these things to happen. I do know, though, that He is here for us as long as we seek Him and ask for His presence in our lives. He comforts, loves, and is merciful. and for that I am thankful....

15 November 2009

Our favorite Westside Fam

I would like to introduce my niece Jillian (above) and nephew Ben (below). Jillian enjoys playing soccer for West Springfield. Her team took 2 trophies at the end of the season; one for 1st place champs and the other for 1st place in the league. I knew those LONG legs would be good for something other than dancing! Way to go!
Ben's team, the Wolverines, did not win their last game against Agawam, although I hear they didn't go down without a fight!!! I must say he looks very striking in his uniform! Good job Ben and good luck next year!
I want them to know how proud I am of them and how blessed they are to have parents that are so dedicated. You don't know how lucky you guys are... then again, maybe you do;)

05 November 2009

Ghosts of Halloween past....

I came across this picture the other day and decided it to use it as a screen saver on my desktop. I smiled and put it on not really thinking much about it at first.
I have now seen this picture more times than I can count in the last few weeks and just today I was overwhelmed with feelings of home.
I grew up in Long Branch, New Jersey and have missed it since we moved here back in '82. Long Branch is where I call home. I grew up minutes from a beautiful beach and an amazing boardwalk where people from all over would flock to on the weekends for sun, fishing and entertainment.
Long Branch was home to gorgeous mansions on Ocean Avenue in the late 1800's. In the 70's, it was home to a boardwalk with runway games, roller coasters, carousel, bumper cars, storefronts, restaurants,a fishing pier, an outdoor roller rink that over looked the ocean and a saltwater pool with water slides! Cotton candy, saltwater taffy, rock candy, and all the junk food you could want! Stores that sold all the latest clothing styles ie; anything disco or disco like. It was also home to the Haunted Mansion. It was a huge, black house with windows covered in black paint. There were actors who walked the many themed rooms in the mansion just waiting to scare the pants off anyone who dared walk through its doors. It was scary and so much fun! I never missed a chance to go in when relatives and friends wanted to go, even if it meant that a lot of the time I left crying and had trouble sleeping for days after my visits. But I could not miss. You can imagine that around Halloween time the line to get into the mansion could be over 2 hours! But people waited. Every so often, the interior of the house received makeovers. So you never new what you were walking into or who was hiding where.
This day , in the photo, happened to be a Halloween where my uncles were visting from Massachusetts and we went to the boardwalk and waited to get in. My mom decided afterward that it would be fun to have a party at home so , along with my cousins and my little brother, we decorated our livingroom and came up with costumes to celebrate the occasion.
I was a clown along with my cousin Mary. My brother Gill, was a hunchback. My uncle Willson was the Incredible Hulk ( I won't tell you how much green paint was used on him!) My mom took one of here favorite jumpsuits (remember it's the 70's), tied the arms with lace and put some pipecleaners on her head and was transformed into a butterfly. My father had a thing for Elvis so that explains the gold dinner jacket and the frilly shirt that really needs to be buttoned up just a bit. I don't remember any other costumes that night or how many people were there, but I do remember my parents having such a great time! I can still hear them laughing! My mom showed us the bump and my father showed us his version of the 'freak', spanish-style of course. Actually, all of his dances had a spanish flare to them. Now that I think about it, I think it was always the same dance with a different name to it.

It is amazing to me how many memories you can recall from one photo. The picture above the fireplace is long gone, but the frame hangs in my room with a mirror in it. My father gave it to me before he moved to Puerto Rico. I recall many nights in front of that fireplace roasting marshmallows, popping popcorn and keeping warm. I remember hauling wood to burn and that awesome smell that has yet to be duplicated in a candle! I remember the fish that died in the tank over the fireplace because it was a little too warm for them! I remember the pair of cheetahs my mom made from molds and then hand painted. I remember many weekends dancing to the latest 45's my mom would pick up at the record store in town with all our cousins.
I would give almost anything to be able to travel back in time and just watch that night on the sidelines. Thanks for listening and letting me share a little personal history.