Friday, October 29, 2010


Today, I feel stressed. Today is payday, and we have more bills to pay than money in the bank. Today, I feel overwhelmed. I almost feel out of breath. Today, I will try and refocus my mind on little things that I don't pay attention to. Things that are overshadowed by money, or the lack of money. I will think about these small things today. I will breath easier just thinking about Molly's sweet little toes. I will smile thinking about Charlotte's dollar store decoration pick, for her room. I will find happiness in itty bitty things today. The stuff I just walk by, and never look at.
I just can't let this shit control us today.
Not today.
1st toenail polish
Charlotte's Halloween decorations in her room

Pumpkin lights

Sticking with something

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Breakfast would have been so nice to have today. I woke up hungry. Actually, I went to bed hungry. I had dreams of food.  I made dinner last night for the girls. Ravioli. It took all of my strength to not shove one in my mouth. I actually started salivating looking at them in the bowl. This cleanse has taken my mind so far away from financial worries.
My neighbor gave me rolls yesterday morning. She gives me bread constantly. Her husband owns a bread route, in New Jersey. He brings home what is left at the end of his day, which is the crack of dawn for you and I. I thought about a turkey sandwich with mayo and lettuce all afternoon. The rolls, just sitting in the brown bag on my counter, taunting me.  She handed me a bag of bagels this morning. Do you know how hard it is to find a good bagel in Pennsylvania? A good NYC style bagel? And she hands me a bag of them, fresh and crusty, with soft, glutinous innards? I curse her!!!
Corn muffins are a favorite of Olivia's. They were a favorite of mine, when I was her age. Warm from the oven, with butter. Few things in life are that simple and pleasurable. My mother used to cook us chicken liver omelets when I was a kid. (Gasp!) Yet I loved those too. And oatmeal with happy faces made of raisins, and hair of brown sugar. Oh how I loved those hard nuggets of brown sugar. 
Tonight I will make another crowd pleaser. Meat loaf. I can't even believe at times that, not only have I perfected the loaf, but it is one of my most requested dinners. I hated it as a kid. Looking back, my mother did not make a good meat loaf. It was just a lump of flavorless meat. She had no passion. No gusto! Her comfort food gave no comfort. She never took a risk, and never tried to make it the best meat loaf she possibly could. Some days, that is my biggest accomplishment. Some days, that makes me sad. Some days, I'll take it. 
When I lived in NYC, I used to order lunch some days, from Gardenia Diner, on Madison Avenue. The guys there loved me, and my boss, Shannon. If we had no cash, they just put it on a tab. I loved saying that. "Put it on my tab, Stefanos!". It made me feel important. 
We used to order the turkey meat loaf from there. It was something we got in the winter. It was totally contrived.. Like people going apple picking in the Fall. It's something we all feel compelled to do. The inner gatherer in us preparing for the winter. We always had mashed potatoes with tons of gravy along with our turkey loafs. In a way, I think we thought we were trying to be ironic. Sitting in gold leafed Charivari chairs, in our three hundred dollar Gucci loafers, and cashmere sweaters, chomping on meatloaf. We were taking being stuck up to the umpteenth degree. Like blue bloods swilling Pabst Blue Ribbon, and slummin' it. Tomfoolery. 
But that turkey meat loaf from Gardenia diner. Magic! Pure delicious wonderment. I could have drunk the gravy out of a to go coffee cup. Delightful. And the mashed potatoes. They were the real deal. Lumps and all. When I first made a meatloaf, a few years back, for my kids, it went over well. Very well. I have had a few bombs here and there. I got a little experimental a few times, and was not well received. Forget putting spinach in the loaf. It is met with frowns. I think it is yummy, and love an opportunity to slide in an extra veggie when I can, into to the girls. They do not like green specks in the loaf. Not even a little. Don't mess with the loaf.
I never thought that I would know how to make a meatloaf, yet alone, have a secret recipe.
 More surprises that have revealed themselves to me, as I have taken on this role of mother and wife. 
Sweet, wonderful, surprises.  
Today, I'll take it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Day two of my "cleanse". It is kicking my ass, literally. Good thing I have no where to go. I am tethered to the bathroom. I was on the couch yesterday, convinced that I was suddenly struck with the flu. I felt awful. Freezing cold, chills, muscle aches, nausea. Apparently, these are all the side effects of the cleanse. This is supposed to be happening to me. All of the toxins in my body are leaving. I hate the process of this, but I guess I am looking for some sort of results that are nothing short of miraculous. When I read about it, it sounded so wonderful. To feel "renewed". To feel fresh and clean, within. I want the increased energy they promised, and the loss of the sluggishness I feel on a daily basis. I want to feel healthy. I want to have some form of control, over just one small part of my life. I feel that I cannot control any of it. I can control what goes in my mouth, so this is the very least I can do.
I wrote a letter the other day, to the girl who hit us, and totaled our car. It was a two page letter, explaining what that accident has done to my family, financially, and how I am trapped in my house because of it. I explained everything to her, and  my tone was very nice. I mailed the letter, thinking that a fellow human being might do the right thing, and right the wrong she caused, but I expect I will hear nothing, which is so odd to me. She has a copy of the police report. She has our address. She saw the ambulance come and take David away. She saw my scared girls. Why silence? I would not be able to sleep at night if I knew my mistake had caused so much damage. Why not a call, or a letter? Is that how people operate these days? No one cares? It's all business? Not a note to say that you hope everyone is alright? It is so bizarre to me, how we all live together on this earth, and how little we seem to think of one another. It makes me worried.
David's opportunity to work in the Middle East is taking forever to happen. That makes me feel very out of control. I wish I could talk to someone there, at his job, but that would be bizarre. Imagine me, David's wife, calling his job, looking for information? That is how crazy I feel some days.
I must go make my lemonade now. Four tablespoon's of lemon juice. Four tablespoon's of maple syrup. A few pinches of cayenne pepper, in 16 oz. of water.
And so begins my Tuesday.

Monday, October 25, 2010


I woke up the other day feeling very positive. My feelings of panic and that of iminite danger, are lessening. Not sure what is going on, but I will take it for as long as it lasts. I think that maybe I tend to be manic/depressive at times, so I guess this is just my mania setting in.
On that note, I decided that I had to make some money, and I made a website for a cleaning business, and I am going to order business cards, and some magnets for my future car doors, and keep my fingers crossed that someone calls me. I am feeling hopeful about this. You never know.
I also decided that my house looks as cluttered as my mind feels, and that I have to tidy myself up from the inside first, before I tidy up everything else. I started the Master Cleanse today. Just writing this makes me feel like I am dooming myself to fail, but I hope I can do this. I will be drinking this funky lemonade, maple syrup, cayenne pepper concoction, for the next 10 days. Again...mania.
Today is Monday, and I have Molly and Charlotte home sick. High fevers.
 Just the three of us, here together.
And my gigantic glass of lemonade.

Friday, October 22, 2010


Olivia was sick this week, and missed school for two days. She threw up a few times, and was running a high fever. When I first knew she was sick, it was Tuesday morning. About 3 or 4 in the morning. I took her in bed, and she was curled up in the fetal position, gripping her belly, and burning up. I was not worried about her, not even a little. I was worried about Charlotte. I knew that within a few hours, I would have to wake her for school, and when she found out Olivia was not going, she would freak. Any break from her usual routine does not go over well with her. If there is sudden change in plans, she throws a fit. Olivia goes with the flow. Charlotte does not even understand the concept.
I envisioned two kids missing school that day, as I lay in bed. I just figured, Charlotte would refuse to go, and between being up most of the night with Molly, and then Olivia, I was too tired for the battle that was sure to come. But I got out of bed a few hours later, and woke her up, and flat out told her, that Liv was sick, and she was going to school. Period. She started to whine, and cry, but I looked her dead in the eyes, and said that if she didn't go to school, and gave me grief, she could kiss her Daisy troop goodbye. She quickly dressed.
My neighbor picked her up. Charlotte was not happy that I would not be at the bus stop, where we always had a kiss goodbye, and I wave to her in her seat, and we blow kisses. There would be no one there, and I know my girl, and I know this would throw her off, for her entire day.
And it did. When she returned from school, she was dropped off, by yet, another neighbor, and she was very upset. Panic set in for her, the moment that the bus pulled up at the bus stop, and she did not see me there to greet her, and take her home. I can understand that feeling.  I remember that split second of terror, when you turn around at the grocery store, and the lady that you are standing next to is not your mother, and she is suddenly gone, and you don't know which direction to begin searching. My friend called to her, and said that she was picking her up. Charlotte listened, and got in her car. When she walked in the door was when the trouble began.
She looked sad. She also seemed angry. We had a brief conversation about her day. She told me that she cried a little at school because she was afraid that no one would be there at the bus stop. She was anxious about it all day. I have reassured her every day, that if I ever could not be there, someone would pick her up, and bring her to me. She would never be left alone. Ever. Yet, she doubted me all day. She went in her room, and began to change out of her school uniform. She mentioned crying again, at school, and this time, I thought she was crying about something else, so I asked, "why were you crying?'
What took place after that was a blur. She began a "tantrum", or even, an "incident", that went on for hours. Screaming, and weeping. She could not even speak. She writhed around her bedroom floor. She was unable to catch her breath. She did not make a bit of sense. I kept my calm, and never yelled. I just listened, and grew more concerned, by the minute. I felt scared for her, and her sadness. I took her in my bedroom, and we sat on my bed, and I held her. She told me that she didn't know if she hated me, or not. That made me sad. She kept saying it, over and over again. Each time she said it, she kept extending her arms out in front of her, and making a heart shape with both of her hands. She was thrusting the shape toward me, making sure that I saw this heart in her hand, but I was unable to understand what she was saying to me. I made me so incredibly sad. 
Last year, the girls took ballet lessons, on Saturday mornings, at the college, here. It was a 6 week program, given to them by my parents. The first day of class, I took them, along with little baby Molly. Liv's class was first. She was with the older girls. She danced for forty five minutes. Then, it was Charlotte's class. She was reluctant to go in, without me, but I reassured her that I would be right there, watching. I stood at the door, and observed her sleek little body, in her leotard, and pink tutu, and smiled. Olivia had to use the bathroom. It was down the hall, so I took her, and Molly. Olivia took a while, as she had on tights, and a tutu, and a bodysuit. She had to undress, and dress. Then she had to wash her hands. It was during her hand washing that I realized it had been quiet for a while. The music from the dance studio had stopped. Holy Shit!!!!! Charlotte's class was over!!! Oh my God Liv, we need to get to her!!! We ran out of the bathroom. I could not get down the long corridor fast enough. It was like a bad dream. 
There she was. All I could see was her red face, streaked with tears.  Her blond hair wet, and stuck to her face. She was being comforted, by a stranger. Another mother. A better mother, who was there for her child. The class had been over for as long as we were in the bathroom for, which according to my estimation, was close to 10 minutes. I couldn't imagine what went through her 4 year old mind. I didn't know what to say to her. She was frightened. She was traumatized. But what was worse, she looked at me as if I had betrayed her. She looked at me like I was a liar.
Is it all that easy? Every breath I take, and all of my days, are for my children. All day, every day. From the moment I wake, every activity I am busy with, is for them. From filling belly's to cleaning their clothes. Keeping a roof over their heads, and the house warm. Clean, comfy beds, and hugs, and kisses. Taking care of them when they are sick, helping with homework. Soothing their fears, and making them laugh. Guiding them through this messy world, and making sure they say please and thank you. Giving them goals, and singing their praises. Being the head cheerleader for them in everything they do. Wanting to beat the crap out of anyone who makes them feel bad.
Is it that easy to wash that away? To place doubt in their minds? One lie can cancel out every truth? Is it all that tenuous? Is it simply that weak, and flimsy? Everything, undone, in a moment?
I think of Charlotte's little hands, connected to look like a small little heart.
I can't get it out of my head.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


My father has offered to buy us a car. He called the other day, and told us to look around for a used car, around $2,500.00-$3,000.00. I have such mixed emotions about it. I am thrilled. I will be able to re-join society, so that part makes me ecstatic. It has been so difficult without a car, this seems like answered prayers. Yet, David is 40, and I am 39. I would have been happy when I was 17 years old, and my Dad offered to buy me a car. I thought he owed me one, back then, at that selfish age. Not so much now. I feel incredibly guilty, and irresponsible, and, childish. I haven't even begun to really look around for one, as it gives me an icky feeling. I feel foolish. We are at the age that I felt that we would have it all together. Kids, a house, dance lessons, being able to provide for everyone. It all was supposed to be seamless at this stage of our lives. It wasn't supposed to be such a daily struggle. Counting diapers, and multiplying that by days until payday was not supposed to be part of the equation.
I love my father. He has always been my cheerleader. He has always looked at me, with a bit of marvel in his eyes, or at least that is what I like to think I am seeing. He is kind, and funny. He does not speak harshly about other's. He has a belief in God that both astounds me, and freaks me out. Everything is about his faith. He sees it as the answer to everything. The months before I met David, he and I were driving together, and he looked at me, and said  "he is coming....God is sending you someone." He told me, after I met David, and I told him over grilled cheese sandwiches at the diner in East Hampton that he was "the one", that he knew God was sending him. He felt him traveling toward me. Part of me thought how incredibly beautiful. I wanted to believe him. Part of me also thought..."Jeez Dad...I am 29. He most likely was gonna show up soon, if he was going to at all! "
My father became a deacon back in 2001. He is almost like a priest. Kind of like the second in charge, but with a wife. I recall the day he was ordained. It was a very long, elaborate, service, in a cathedral. The bishop was there, and a kagillion priests. The ordination process was long, and ritualistic. Lot's of prayers, and incense. There came a part when the men who were being ordained, had to line the center aisle of the cathedral. They stood next to the pew where their families were seated. They had to lie on the ground, face down, and prostrate themselves. They assumed the position of Jesus, nailed to the cross. The music in the cathedral was overwhelmingly powerful, and watching my father, dressed in a robe, lying on the ground, with his eyes closed, wanting this so badly, and having studied for years at the seminary for this moment, was beyond words. His faith was right there, before all of us, and I could not stop looking at him, and weeping. It was both beautiful, and frightening. I have wondered many times what was going through his mind, at that moment.
He has continued to let his faith be his guide, in everything he does. He prays for me, and my family. He worries for us. He has always had an encouraging word to say, although it is always laced with religion. At times, this frustrates me. I sometimes want to talk about things, or problems, in a factual manner. I don't want to make God part of the solution. When I talk to him about David going to the Middle East, or our home being foreclosed on, it makes me cringe when he starts saying things like "God will not abandon you", or "ask God to help you. He hears you". I need more tangible solutions. When he speaks of God, as often as he does, at times he seems to be the brainwashed member of a cult. Like something magical will happen, if I just have faith. I pray at night sometimes, and envision sparkly fairy dust falling like snow, on the roof of my house. When we awaken, it will all be over. Is this what he means?
There are days when the faith I have seems to dwindle to nothing. I feel the rope holding us all together, frayed, and stretched. A cartoon image of one last string of hemp, holding us all together. Then my father will call me, and tell me that it is going to be OK. Some days, I hang up the phone, and roll my eyes. I think that he is an eternal optimist, with no grasp of reality. Then there are days that I think that maybe, he knows. Maybe he knows more than I do. Like when he told me David was en route to me. Maybe he was speaking fact. Maybe he knows that we are going to be alright. He has some sort of inside information. When he says that we are going to be OK, he is stating a fact. His faith has never wavered. He has never been disappointed in it. He has never doubted it, for even a moment.
Maybe, he is right.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


My cousin, Jennifer, came to visit me yesterday. She took me out to lunch. It was a treat. I don't get out too much these days, especially for a lunch date. She drove from Connecticut, and we spent the afternoon together.
I love my cousin Jennifer. She has always been like a sister to me. We grew up loving one another. She would come to Long Island from Brooklyn, and spend time with me in the summer, and I would go to Brooklyn. Those times were magical. A sleepover that went on for nights. I remember when she would first arrive, I almost couldn't believe how many nights she would be sleeping over. I would count them out in my head, and squeal with delight. The possibilities of all the fun we were going to have were limitless.  
 We laughed so much. She and I both have a pretty good sense of humor. We would laugh until we almost peed our pants, and mucous came out of noses on more than a few occasions. We talked about boys, and girls in school that we thought were bitchy. We showed each other our clothes. Jenn had braces, and I never did, so I often felt jealous. I got my period, and breasts, way before her, and I know she felt jealous. We loved each other, yet there was always a little bit of competition. That would always lead us to fight. It really was a sibling relationship. A love/annoyance relationship. Never hate.
Jennifer and I continued to be in and out of each other's lives. We both lived in NYC together at the same time. Countless, crazy nights, stumbling out of bars only to be greeted by the rising sun happened more times than I can say. Shared pains over idiot boyfriends. Tears spilled, and more laughs than I can remember. Dinners out, and movies. Walks around the city, and shopping together. Family get-togethers, and Christmas present exchanges. Throw a few sucky New Years in, and a couple of job "layoffs" and there you have it. Jennifer and me.
One Christmas, we exchanged presents on Christmas Eve. I got her some Prescriptives crap, and Jenn handed me an envelope. A card. In it was a ticket. It was for the symphony, at Lincoln Center. She had the other ticket. We had a date for the following week. Jenn was taking me out to dinner before the performance. I thought it was nice. I had never been to Lincoln Center, so I was interested in going, but not overly excited.
We went downtown to dinner. To one of my favorite restaurants. Raoul's. It is a minuscule little French restaurant. Very dark, and a little bit snobby. I think it has been there forever. Great red wine, and a menu written in French. I know mussels, and steak in French, so I always got one or the other.
Dinner was great, and after a glass or two of wine, I really didn't want to go all the way uptown to see the performance. I was happy to stay downtown, ditch the show, and head to a fun bar for the night. But into a cab we hopped, and to Lincoln Center we went. It really is an impressive place. Lot's of people, going to and fro. A mix of people. Lot's of activity. Excitement in the air. We headed to the auditorium where the symphony performs. We were early. We watched the place fill up. Two little old ladies sat directly in front of us. We both thought it was sweet, and wondered what their relationship was.
It was a violin concerto. The members of the symphony filed onto the stage, and there were a ton of violinists. They dimmed the lights, and began to play. It was so exciting. It was loud, and the drums were like thunder. You could feel the music in your belly. You could sense it leading up to something. I was so surprised at how much I was enjoying it. I was glad I came.
And then, a woman walked on to the stage. She wore a long black gown. She had red hair, and was very pretty. She was standing, out in front of the symphony. She played along with them, and the music really started to build by this point. And then...she began to play alone. It was mesmerizing. Her whole body moved with the instrument. She swayed, and played the most heartbreaking, painful, sounds that I have ever heard.  The violin almost seemed to be an extension of her soul. I felt that she was in pain, as I watched, and listened. I started to cry. I looked at Jennifer, and she was crying too. Jennifer took my hand. We sat, and cried, and watched, and listened to this most beautiful site, squeezing each other's hands. I was in awe of all of the talent before me. The gift these people had. I noticed the two old ladies in front of us put their heads together. It was all so beautiful.
Jennifer and I have come together through the years since, and gone our separate ways. We both got married within months of one another, and had our first children. Life changing, profound experiences, that we shared. We had a "breakup" for a while, but the reuniting has been wonderful. She is my family, and my friend. My best friend, and at times, not so much. She has always, always, wished me good, and love, and happiness. She has had my best interest, my well being, and my back.
Jennifer's mother died in August, suddenly. I saw Jennifer at the funeral home, and I have never seen such sadness in someones eyes. It was hard to look at her. She is going through a pain that I will never know of. Only when I suffer it, will I understand. I don't know what to say to her. I feel like I have let her down, by my inability to help her. I just want her to be Jennifer again. She will be. But not now. The wound is too fresh.
After our lunch yesterday, we came back to my house. She had to leave within the hour, so I made us some tea. We were talking about our grandmother. She said she had nothing of hers. None of her possessions. I did. I told Jenn that I had a tea set of hers. I got out my step stool, and carefully took it down. I have it up high in a cabinet, so no one can touch it. She thought it was beautiful. It is. Bone china, from Ireland. It is white, with ivy leaves all around it. As the tea water boiled, I washed the cups, and saucers, and the milk pitcher, and set it out for us to use. I have never used it before. It felt like a special occasion all of a sudden.
We made our tea, and added our honey. We sat, Jennifer and I, at my kitchen table, in Pennsylvania, while our children were at school, and Molly chattered away, and sipped tea together, out of our Grandmother's china. Her hand held the delicate cup. It is still the same hand that I remember from our childhood. Her eyes, filled with pain, and wrinkled from years of smiling, are still her eyes. Her tenderness is unchanged.
For a moment in time, we sat, and sipped tea, out of our Irish grandmother's china, each with our own pain and sadness.
I love you Jennifer.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Molly's feet smell. They have a smelly foot smell that I can't get enough of. I bury my nose, beneath her toes, and she curls her foot around it.
When I am in the kitchen, standing at the stove, cooking, she will wrap her arms around my leg and squeeze hug me so tightly. I  feel her love. I feel her being. 
When we are sleeping together, she strokes my arm, and my neck, and jaw. I hear her breath. I am overwhelmed with love for her. I look at her face, and think, of course that is what you look like. I knew you would look like this. I knew before you were born.
I looked at her yesterday, seated in her highchair, eating her breakfast. She looked so long. She looked like a kid. The baby, disappearing within her.  Her cry seems older. Her laughter, more grown up. The little girl, emerging.
I had my tubes tied when I had Molly. As soon as Molly was placed in my arms, after the whole procedure, I felt panicked. I felt that I had just done something that I could never undo. It was so final, closing a chapter of a time in my life.
I was born to have babies. It was a feeling I had since I was a little girl. I remember getting up from the dinner table, when I was five or six years old, because I "heard my baby crying". I had her in a small wooden crib in my bedroom, at the foot of my bed. The crib had a picture of a baby deer on it. I had clothing for my baby, and bottles. Little plastic bowls, with permanent meals of peas and carrots in them. A high chair, and a stroller. Small blankets, and toys. I tried to be the best Mommy I could to my baby. She always smiled back at me.
 The urge to have a baby of my own has propelled me through my entire life. I always knew I would be a mother. I waited for the day, patiently.
The day I terminated the possibility of ever having another baby, is something that I still go around in my head about. I don't want another six year old. Not even a little. But a baby. Oh God..they are amazing. Warm, helpless, miniature people. Molly cannot have a conversation with me, but our communication transcends words.
It is love. It is trust.
I am in awe of it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


A friend of mine was going to pick Molly and I up today, and we were going to take our little girls to the roller rink. During the week, they have a playtime for preschoolers. They put on the skating lights, and play kids music, and the little one's can run around, or use their ride on toys. It is really fun for them. I layed in bed last night, somewhat excited that we had something to do today. Molly has been cooped up in the house with me, and it makes me feel bad for her. For us.  She loves seeing other babies, and playing with them. I was looking forward to giving her that chance today. However, my friend called this morning, and she canceled. Her little girl is sick. She is all congested. So, my play time with Molly is not going to happen. I could cry. I can't tell you how trapped I feel. Being here, day after day, walking from room to room, cleaning the same things, and seeing the same walls around me. I almost feel like I shouldn't even bother getting out of bed. What's the point?
I got up at 6:30 this morning, just to shower for this day, and be ready. I wanted to look nice. I wanted to make sure the house looked neat, before my friend arrived. I wanted to make sure I had time to fix my hair, and put on some makeup. I figured out how long everything was going to take me, as I was lying in bed last night. I feel so disappointed. I feel so frustrated, at all of these things that are my life, but not the life I want for us. They are controlling me. Having no money is changing the course of my life. It is dictating everything in my life. In our lives. The reigns are out of my hand. I am just holding on, hoping that the fall won't be violent. Heart pounding.
I spend my days caring for Molly. Doing small chores around the house, and preparing meals. I go on the Internet, and look for contests. I know that sounds sad, but I have the time, so I enter giveaways for cars, and cash. It is a small crumb of hope that I tuck in my pocket, and sometimes, that little bit of hope gets me through the day.
I had been praying. I have never been religious. I grew up with Roman Catholicism being jammed down my throat, so I really ran from it as soon as I could. But, like all good catholics, I constantly think, "what if?" You never know. I pray for us. Some days, I do not know who I am praying to. Most days, I guess I am praying to who ever will listen. I had been saying a "never known to fail" novena. My mother gave it to me. I was to say it for three days, and I would have my prayer answered.  I guess I thought that after three days, something magical, and life changing, would happen. Like a wish from a genie, granted, in an instant. It seems to have failed. Yet, I still have it, and feel compelled to try it again.
My mother sent me a letter yesterday, in the mail. It is a copy of a recent homily, from my parents pastor. It speaks about faith, and not losing it. About not losing trust in God through the hard times. Even the hardest of times, when your faith is tested the most. There is some quotes from scripture, about crying out to the Lord. Why isn't the Lord listening? I am unsure how , but there is a response from God, written in scripture, that says , God said........."Write down the vision, clearly upon the tablets, so that one can read it readily. For the vision still has it's time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; If it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late."
My mother thought that this might "inspire me". That is what she wrote to me. The homily went on to say that even though you may fear you are running out of faith, this is what God has to say about that......"And the apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith." The Lord replied, "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, "Be uprooted, and planted in the sea," and it would obey you.
I write down the vision. It is clear. It can be read.
It is late.
It is delayed.
I am a mustard seed.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


It has been a month now, since our car accident. I got out of the house last week on Thursday night. I had a meeting at the library for Charlotte's Daisy troop. She is very anxious to be a scout, just like her big sister. Olivia had her first Brownie meeting. The girls were both excited. I was happy to be away from the baby for a short meeting, with adults. I kept adding in my two cents at the meeting. Like a crazy person. Cracking jokes, and asking questions. I am sure, to the other mother's there, I seemed obnoxious, but it was so nice to be out, and talk to other women, even if it was about the upcoming nut sale.  I think I just got excited. I shaved my legs, and put on makeup. I knew the meeting would be brief, and I actually felt the sand sliding quickly through the hourglass. I miss my independence. I miss the freedom of just being able to go to the supermarket. Or even not go anywhere at all. But the choice was mine. The option existed. Now that it no longer does, the feeling is stifling. Some days,I feel like a teenager, unable to go anywhere, but knowing I am missing out on so much.
Saturday was spent indoors as well. David had the stomach virus. He spent the day vomiting, and sleeping. Charlotte had a fever, and looked ill. We went nowhere. The sky was blue, and the air crisp. The leaves looked brilliant. I watched it all, from my windows. It was the perfect fall day for pumpkin picking, and cider drinking. I knew it was happening out there, outside of my house. People were enjoying the season. I could sense it.
Charlotte has begun to act strangely. I am so concerned for her. I was up most of the night, thinking and thinking about her. She started washing her hands compulsively. She also can't seem to stop telling us what she touches. Whether she touches her foot, or the floor, or her mouth, she reports it. It is maddening. Her constant chatter about germs. She is consumed with them. All weekend, I could not have a conversation with her, without hearing about what she touched, or something she thought was on her hands. My sadness, and empathy for her, started to turn to anger, and disgust. Really? My kid, who has always had issues, was now getting odder?  I have to worry about my baby becoming neurotic, and compulsive? Why do I feel annoyed? Why do I take it personally? Did I do this to her? Why are my feelings of anger eclipsing my concern for her? Why can't she just snap out of it?
The life I had envisioned for myself is becoming further away from the reality of it. I wake up every day, and think that this is the day I create that life. This is the day that we begin to live the dream. This is the day that my marriage soars, and my children listen. Financial stress becomes minimal. My house becomes efficient, and orderly. My hair looks neat, and my toes are painted. Dinner is yummy every night, and sleep comes easy. I no longer swear, and my patience is unending. Wine becomes something to celebrate with, and not a daily beverage. I set up an easel, and paint my masterpiece. I walk in a room, and people know. They know that I am special, and my family glows.
The light is so bright from us. We shine.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


My friend came over yesterday, for a cooking lesson. I make a mean tomato soup, and she wanted to know how to make it. We went to the store together, which was a nice change, getting out of the house and all. My food stamp money for the month became available, and I needed to pick up some items, so buying tomatoes for a yummy pot of soup was my treat. She has been giving me rides on crummy, rainy days, lately, to and from the bus stop, so I felt like it was the least I could do, to say thank you.
While the tomatoes roasted in the oven, we sat and talked. She wanted to know how I met David, and how he proposed. I got giddy re-telling our love story. I always do. I know I was going on and on, but once I get talking about something happy in my life, I tend to yammer. I also got flushed, and my voice started to shake. My mother has the unfortunate skin flush problem happen to her as well. I remember watching her give out communion at church, when I was a kid, and being horrified at how she looked like she was breaking out into hives. The gene is strong, apparently.
After I recounted every detail of my love story, and proposal, and wedding day, she asked to see my wedding photos. I happily jumped up from my seat to grab my album. She gasped as soon as she opened the first page. She said.."oh my gosh..this does not even look like you!!" My heart sunk.
 You see, this is the second person to tell me this in a matter of years. My wedding anniversary was on September 28th. We have been married for 8 years, together for 10. I know I have changed a bit in the years since we had our wedding. I have had three children in those 8 years. We have endured financial hardship for a lot of those years. Things are especially tough right now, so the stress is very evident. But this is the second person to tell me that I am unrecognizable. Maybe they are right. I know I look different. The years have added pounds, and worry. I guess maybe I do look like a different person.
Inside of myself, I feel different. I was looking at my wedding photos, and realized that I don't seem to sparkle like I once did. I felt, on my wedding day, that life was lying out before me, with infinite possibilities. I was excited that I was beginning a journey, with a wonderful partner, that could only get better and better. That is the way it could only go. Things would just steadily improve, as they do on TV, and in movies, and books. The excitement in both of our faces was evident.
Yet, things have gone quite the opposite. Things have become increasingly difficult. At times, it is unbearable. The excitement I once felt about the future is now replaced with worry, and concern for it. The road that was laid out before us seems to be constantly roadblocked and impassable. I miss my handsome groom. I miss our carefree times. I miss looking in the mirror, and seeing my sparkle. Now, I just feel disappointment in myself, when I stare at who is looking back at me. I feel insecure about friendship's now. I never was in my life. I feel that as my girls grow, they too will be horrified by their mother's flushed cheeks, and hive marks.
Maybe this is a blip on the radar screen of our life. Maybe this will give us strength, and compassion, and make us unbreakable. Maybe the day will come that David and I can smile, and look into each other's eyes, and give that knowing look to one another, that we made it, and we got through all of it, and we came out OK.
Maybe soon, I will look into the mirror, and recognize myself again.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Happy hours

On Tulip Grove Drive, where I spent my formative years, my mother was the one who wore the pants. She was the chef, the house cleaner, the laundress, homework helper, snack preparer, lunch box note writing, dinner making, boss. She did it all, and she let you know how she hated every minute of it. Everyday was walking on egg shells with my mother, and trying to stay our of her hair, so she would not be more visibly annoyed than she already seemed. I never asked to have a sleepover party. I knew she would say no, and honestly, I knew she couldn't handle it. She didn't like my friends in the house too much. I didn't either. It stressed me out. If Andrea, my best friend, jumped off my bed, which was right above the kitchen, I already knew my mom was annoyed from the loud bang above her head. I was constantly saying Ssh. Please keep it down. I knew the noise level that was acceptable. Shouts, and loud yelling above a certain decibel got me nervous, and distracted me from the fun I was supposed to be having.
My mother never drove a car. Never got her license. Even to this day, my Dad has taken her everywhere she goes. She has never known the freedom of getting in a car, alone, and taking herself somewhere. She has always had to wait for either my Dad, or someone, to take her out of the house. Always waiting. Always a passenger.
I have been thinking about her a lot, now that I am stuck in my house, all day, with no ability to leave. It is an awful, suffocating feeling. Cars drive down my street, and I feel pangs of jealousy. I laid in bed until 1:00 in the morning last night, thinking of all the things that I can no longer do. I was crying. I am feeling overwhelmed by it all. I know we can't get another car, for the foreseeable future. I feel like I can't properly take care of three little girls, and all their needs.
I began to think of my own childhood last night in bed, and I started thinking about what it did to my mother and her mind, being trapped in the house with three kids. My Dad was a New York City Firefighter. Sometimes, he would be gone for 48 hours. My mother always looked sad. And mad. She started drinking martini's everyday, at around 4:00. Everyday. She would take out her little Tupperware plastic cocktail shaker. It's original purpose, I believe, was to whip cream, but it did double duty in our house. Out of the refrigerator came the tiny bottle of Spanish olives, and the cheap vodka from the cabinet, high above the oven. Then she would ice her martini glass. It was like a ritual. Everyday, at the same time, the same motions, the same sounds. Within a half an hour, Mom was different. Her voice changed, and her eyes softened. She seemed more interested in me. She talked to me. She didn't really talk to me much during the day. Just yelling, mostly. She would be loving by the second glass. Really sweet, but her voice would sound stranger. That was the window that she was almost enjoyable. Than it snapped shut. She never got mean. She was never sloppy. She just became annoying. She started acting goofy. It made me angry when I saw a certain look in her eyes. A drunk look. It made me hate her.
I sometimes get very afraid at how much like my mother I am. I fight it every day. I feel her scowl on my face. I look in the mirror, and see her hooded eyes. I sense my unhappiness, and feelings of desperation, and helplessness, and frustration. I hear the anger in my yells to my children. I hear how I let them know how hard it is for me to do this job. I listen to my belittling, and hurtful words, to my David. I taste it, in the way that wine at 5:00 some days feels like sweet relief, and surrender.
Charlotte cried to me yesterday. She said that some days, she tries so hard to make me happy, so that I won't be so sad. I thought about that all night in bed, and my heart broke. Some days, I feel like if we just had a little more money, everything would be OK. If I had a car, things would be fine. If we could pay all of our bills, and had a little left over to send them to dance class, we would be golden.
It seems like lack of money and a car are not the only thing preventing me from properly taking care of three little girls.

Monday, October 4, 2010


Monday has begun....with a bang. Our one and only car is making a terrible noise. It needs major repairs. David got paid on Friday, and after paying the bills we could, and buying food, we have little money for the next two weeks. Can't afford a car repair. Can't afford to not repair it.
So much for my "never known to fail" novena.
We just can't take much more of this.
Molly is standing in front of me, giggling, and beet red, trying to push out farts.
That's all I got.

Friday, October 1, 2010


 Last weekend, we went to the Library. I wanted some books to read now that I am home bound, and I always love looking through cookbooks. I took out a book of illustrations of wildflowers, along with my other books, as paintings of flowers are something I love to look at, and I occasionally like to paint in watercolor, and often find inspiration in these books. The girls went to the children's library with David, and picked out some books for themselves. The baby did not scream. It was a nice visit.
Yet, I could not shake what I had seen upon entering the library. On the benches, lined up against the building, just as you walk in, was a family. There was a mother, or maybe she was a young grandmother, but definitely, the mother figure. There were three small children. Two boys, and a little girl. When I first spotted them, I thought they were waiting for a bus. They had luggage with them. Small suitcases, with long handles, and wheels. The mother also had one of those metal carts that you see people using in the city, getting groceries, or hauling laundry. The cart looked filled with clothes. David looked at me, and said, concerned, "Is that a homeless family?" "Oh my God, I think it is". I felt sick to my stomach, and guilty for just walking by them, dismissing them. I thought, no...they are just waiting for someone. Maybe a ride, or a cab. Please God, don't let them be homeless.
I kept thinking about them, as I looked at cookbook after cookbook. I kept trying really hard to feel terrible for them, and feel concerned, but I was scared more than empathetic. The image of a family, possibly homeless, left a haunting, sickening image in my mind. Just 24 hours earlier, we had applied for our federal loan, trying to save our own home. Trying to keep a roof over our girls heads. What was so different about that woman, and her family, and mine? Why were they sitting on a bench, waiting. What happened? Where were family members, able to help? Did they have anyone that could help? Probably not. It shook me. The whole thing shook me.
I remember leaving a restaurant, when I lived in NYC. I had just gone our with some friends. We had drinks, and spent way too much money on pasta. I asked for a doggie bag, which is actually tacky to do, in the city, when you are 25.  I lived on 78th Street. Between York Ave. and the river. There was a park on my block, and a public school. The school was old. One of those beautiful, detailed school buildings you see in New York, with grand entry ways, that have large stone carved portico's. In these entryways, was a community after dark. Homeless men would sleep, covered from head to toe in blankets, and sheltered from the street by plywood. I walked by the steps where they lived every night on my way home to my apartment, in my expensive high heels, designer bag, and full belly. I placed the doggie bag on the steps, and  continued walking. I would go home, and get in my warm bed, and burrow beneath my down blanket, and feel good about myself, and my good deed. What an ass I was. An ass.
My father was here the other day, and he told me about a homeless family living in their car in East Hampton. They are a married couple, with a two year old. I was shocked. My parents live in East Hampton. East Hampton, N.Y. One of the most expensive, zip codes, in the USA. And there was a family, living in their car? I could not understand this. My dad said that homeless shelters out there do not take children. They would have to place their child in foster care, in order to get off of the street. What a choice. I guess I would do the same. I can't imagine. I don't want to imagine. 
When we left the library that day, I had just paid a fine for some over due books. It was less than $3.00. I broke a five dollar bill. That was all the money we had on us. I looked at David when we were leaving, and said we should give the change to the woman, and children, still seated on the benches. He refused. He said that we did not know if they were indeed homeless, and we could risk really insulting them, and he was not comfortable doing that.
I have been thinking about that family since that day. I have been thinking about where they went to, and if they are OK. The more I think about all of it, I am feeling just like I did in the cookbook section of the library. And just like I did under my down comforter, in my apartment. And just like I did, as I sipped vanilla coffee at my kitchen table, as my father told me about a homeless family living in their car. Sadness, and horror, yes. But guilty. I feel guilty. I feel like when you hear the news of a child who dies. Immediately, you hug your own kids, and thank God it is not your baby. When news reaches you of a sick friend, you are thankful for your health. When you pass a horrific accident on the highway, do you not grab your loved one's hands and thank God that it is not you? Is it not human nature to just think of everything in relation to yourself? Did it make that homeless man happy that he got to eat my leftovers?  Probably not. I think it made him angry. I think he probably thought I was a spoiled brat. Why didn't I just buy one less pair of shoes, and give him the money? If I really gave a shit, wouldn't I have done that?  What would $2.00 and change have done for that woman at the library, and her three kids? Nothing. My good thoughts for the homeless family? Nothing. It makes me feel better. Me. Not them.
I am still an ass. Even now, when I want everyone else to consider my family, and our problems, I am still an ass.