Wednesday, September 26, 2012

10 years

I knew David was different when he called me, shortly after we met, and asked if he could make me dinner. He picked me up, and brought me to his place, and I could see the effort he made. There was an appetizer, and wine. Flowers. And a pasta dinner, with a salad. He even attempted to bake focaccia, which really floored me. No one had ever cooked me dinner, let alone baked for me. Something had failed in the baking process, and I could see he seemed a little nervous by it, but I ate it, and loved it. I loved it all. I loved talking to him, and laughing with him. I loved hearing about his whole life, past imperfections and all, and was eager to share my own tales. I loved how I felt with him. I loved how good it all was.

Ten years ago, today, we got married. It rained so incredibly hard the day before the wedding. I had gone to bed listening to it come down, and accepted the fact that it wouldn't be sunny on our wedding day. I was perfectly OK with that. In fact, I didn't even care. I was just really excited to get to the church, and marry my best friend, and get this whole thing called our life together, started. As I walked our dog that morning, a cool breeze blew, and I looked up to the sky to see the gray clouds blow away, revealing a vibrant blue sky. I smiled, and I remember thinking that the sunny day was just a bonus. What was about to happen that afternoon was already joyful to me. The sun was an unexpected perk.

Life literally went into fast forward from that day. On our one year anniversary, we sat here, in our newly purchased home, in our newly adopted state, with a very new baby girl in a bassinet in our bedroom, and marveled how year one had gone. And it didn't stop. One baby girl, became a big sister, two times, and ten years gone, just as quickly as those gray rain clouds blew out of sight on our wedding day, have presented so many blue skies here. So much abundant sunshine. And most definitely, our fair share of dark, stormy days.

 Some days have been down right scary. Like the day we lost baby number two. And the day David came home with a six pack of beer, a final paycheck, and tears in his eyes, standing at the front door, telling me he got laid off. That very moment was life changing. I wanted to run, and hide. I wanted to pound on his chest, and scream. But I recall, like it was yesterday, having a split second of clarity and hearing a voice in my head tell me to just hug him. Just hug him, and tell him that we are gonna be OK. Even though I didn't believe it, I whispered those words in his ear, and held him tight.

We were OK. We are OK. Yes, getting served by the sheriff with foreclosure papers was not a great day. But right after we left the court house that afternoon, we went to Olivia's Halloween parade at her school. We watched the kids circle the building in their costumes. We held hands, without speaking.  I remember thinking how scared I was at all of the uncertainty. All the stress of trying to be parents, and provide just the bare necessities to these amazing beings overwhelmed me, in that moment.

 But we are here. Together. 10 years strong.

And getting stronger, everyday.

Our future is as blindingly bright as the sun. I love you David.

 Happy Aniversary.

 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Ty





Please pray for this family. Or send them good, healing thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about this family, and hoping for a miracle for them.

www.superty.org






 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Point of reference

Apparently, Mitt Romney believes that the median household income in this country is between $200,000 and $250,000. He also believes that 47% of Americans are lazy.

A few things come to mind when I read both of those things. Now first off, this is what he said. This is not the "liberal media" taking anything out of context. This is straight from the horses mouth. (pun intended)

When I saw the amount  he believes represents the median income of people across this country, I chuckled to myself, and thought that he truly has no idea what is going on in America. He really hasn't a clue how hard people work, and what they are actually bringing home to show for that hard work.

 Which leads me to believe that his comment about 47% of Americans being lazy, and expecting the government to support them really makes sense to him. He has no point of reference for what the average American family lives on, makes due with, stretches to pay their bills with, and feed their kids, put clothes on them, gas in the car, heat coming out of the vents, water running from the faucets, and lights on. He simply hasn't a clue.

I grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood. There was one black family in my own Levitt subdivision. My childhood was happy, and we had enough. Everyone treated me well, and I was never held back from any opportunity. I grew up thinking that I could be whatever I wanted. The sky was the limit. I didn't know prejudice. I never experienced it. Except, if someones bike went missing on my street. Everyone blamed the black family. They secretly mumbled that the oldest son was most likely the thief.

Every job interview I ever went on, I got. Doors have never been closed to me. I thought this was how it was for everybody, but friends that I have now, friends that are not white, tell me differently. I listen to them tell me how people utter hideous names under their breath to them. I have heard how they know going into a job interview, they will not be called back. That surprised me because I had no point of reference. None. And it made me sad. For them, and for any and everybody who has to live like that.

Maybe Mr. Romney can't even fathom keeping a family of five fed, clothed, and protected from the elements on under $50,000. Or under $40,000. Or under $30,000. Maybe he thinks that hard work equals better pay. Maybe he thinks everybody gets to go to college. That you can just "borrow" money and start a business. Maybe he knows nothing of the vicious cycle of low pay=late bills=bad credit=paying more than you have to for things=go back to start. Maybe, he doesn't have the ability to empathise, and see outside of his own point of reference.

 Maybe, like all those people in my Levitt subdivision, he might have thought that the black family's son stole the bike. He must. He has lumped all of us in as" lazy". Most people I know don't make $250,000 a year. And I don't know anyone who is lazy, or feels entitled. Not one person. I see people working very hard for what they have. I don't see anyone looking for a free ride.

By the way, the bike thief turned out to be the Irish kid up the block.

 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ty Louis Campbell - our little fighter: Our aching hearts





Ty Louis Campbell - our little fighter: Our aching hearts





100,000

When I first started writing here, in this space, no one knew about it, but me. I was filled with anxiety, and constant stress. I felt scared daily. I feared the future, and things seemed doomed for my family, just when I felt like we were just getting started.

I even wrote one day, "will anyone even read this". One day, someone replied. They were in Germany. And it blew my mind, that my little rantings were being read, and words of encouragement were given to me, by someone I will never lay eyes on. The humanity floored me. It made me feel suddenly, that what I wrote was not just disappearing after I spewed it out into some loud mish mosh of words and sounds all jammed into wires, and signals above my head.

Someone got it. And listened. And told me they heard me.

My posts have evolved, and changed day to day, week to week. Some days I feel like it is all some self indulgent time suck that I am escaping to. Some days I feel desperate, and angry. Still others, I feel incredibly humbled for the life I have been given, and the people in it. I have never felt more love, and have never given more love in return. It makes my head want to pop some days, and it can be a bit overwhelming, but what I do know, is like my writing, this life is ever changing, and the only thing I can count on, is that it won't be the same next week, next month, and next year.

The certainty of that used to terrify me. My girls growing out of shoes, and casting aside baby dolls for bikes. All stages of their lives, but ones that I thought were going to last a bit longer. It is all bittersweet, and makes me melancholy some days. Still others, I feel excitement knowing the best days of my life are yet to come.

"Will anyone read this", I asked. And they did. I noticed this morning that my page views here on this blog have hit the 100,000 mark. That astounded me. Who I was just a few short years ago is someone I no longer am. Stressed, and worried still. But this space here that I slunk away too so many years ago to get all the noise out of my head, has lead to some unlikely friendships, and strangers touching my life. It has made me transform as a mom, and wife, and woman. It has given me a purpose, a passion, and funny enough, a job. It has given me strength that I didn't know I had, and allowed me to realize potential in myself that I assumed went out the window the moment I became a Mom.

I like to write. And I am not very good at it. But I thank you for visiting me here at this space, and sharing your own really personal stories with me. I don't know what I will write about tomorrow. I never do. But I know someone is reading it, and for that, I am grateful

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Lessons

You think I would have learned my lesson after almost 10 years of this parenting thing.

One crucial part of parenting that we all learn, ever so painfully, is that if you say something is going to happen, and it doesn't, for reasons of sickness, or change of plans, or an act of God, there is HELL to pay.

I recall the day, like it was yesterday, that we told Olivia we were going to visit my parents for the weekend. I had held it over her head for a week, guaranteeing me divine behavior every time I whipped out the idle threat..."If you don't stop, we aren't going to Nanny and Papa's house!" numerous times a day. I dangled that weekend in front of her like a carrot. It worked like a charm. Except, that Friday morning, David called, as I was packing, and said that his whole office had not gotten paid. We had to wait until Monday. We were broke. We wouldn't be making the trip.

 Let's just say, that what ensued in the hours after was painful. My screaming toddler, out of control, FOR HOURS!! I learned, in that nano-second, that until we are physically pulling into the driveway of our destination, never again will I say where we are going, and what we are doing. EVER!

Olivia is older now. 9 years old. She gets the whole concept of disappointment. Sometimes, plans change. In a flash. Someone who was supposed to sleepover can't come because she is home throwing up. The planned picnic has to be cancelled due to torrential rain. A concept we all learn, yet still have a hard time with. Disappointment stinks, but it is part of life.

Olivia wants to play the violin. She expressed an interest in it, and this is the first year she can do so at her school. I was hoping cello, as it seems way more romantic, but violin it is. All summer, every two weeks, on pay day, we have been telling her that this is the weekend we are going to rent her the violin. It is over $100.00. What I didn't figure into the cost is the music stand, the sheet music, the binder, and the shoulder rest. The cost was more than we could handle most weeks, and the summer seemed endless, with just as many paychecks stretched out before us. After bills were paid, and groceries bought, the violin was pushed to the following paycheck. And so the summer went.

But here we are, today being the first day that students must have their instrument at school, and Olivia doesn't have hers. We will be getting it all for her this weekend, as it is a pay week. But I hated seeing the look of disappointment on her face. And I hated knowing that she will be sitting in a class full of kids, for her first lesson, and she will be unprepared. Mr. Flatley, the strings teacher at her school assured me she wouldn't be the only one, and it was OK, but I felt that pang of disappointment, deep down in my gut. That feeling of always being a day late, and a dollar short, and having to scramble around to provide an extra that my kid, my hard working, smart kid, should have.

The sting of disappointment never lessens.

Monday, September 10, 2012

not much of anything to say..




Took these photos on Friday. I swear, the butterfly seemed to be posing. It was great.



Saturday night, I took these, by candlelight. Just David and I. Girls in bed.

Fall is really here. This is the kind of sleeping weather that I dream about.

I hope you all had a nice weekend.

I sure did.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Have a heart

My neighbor, right up the block from me, was diagnosed with end stage heart failure. He is 46. He lives with his wife, and his daughter, and her children, all cramped into a three bedroom house. They lack privacy, and struggle financially, but they do what they need to do to keep the lights on, and the kids fed. All of them. They are a close, loving family. I feel lucky to know them all. When I found out that Andre was as sick as he is, I felt terrible.

Andre is a Veteran of the United States Army. He has served this country on two separate occasions. Before he became as ill, he was an Art teacher in the New York public school system. His own works adorn the walls of his home. To say the man is talented would be an understatement.

Due to his progressive condition, he was forced to stop work a few years ago. His wife works at Giant, our local grocery store here, and cleans vacation rentals. She hustles. Between caring for him, and struggling to watch her grandchildren while her daughter works nights, and make ends meet on very limited funds, they are barely holding it together. No complaints from them, mind you. They just do what they do, and are some of the warmest, most kind people, my family has ever met. Real. They are the real deal.

Andres' condition recently had deteriorated so much, that his heart was working at 10%. He is currently listed for heart transplantation with UNOS, the national listing agency for organ transplant. Sadly, the list for donor hearts far exceeds the supply and it is impossible to predict how long the waiting time will be. Because of this, he is currently in Richmond, Virginia, at McGuire VA Medical Center, where he has been implanted with a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) or artificial heart pump, to support his failing heart during the waiting period. Thankfully, he received help from the VA, as he had no health insurance, and if he had not served our country, he would most likely not be here presently.

His wife was required to be down there for not only the procedure, but his long extensive stay there. Not just for support mind you. She must become completely trained in the care of the LVAD as well as emergency procedures. There are few, if any, trained medical providers or EMS personnel familiar with this device, so availability of his caregiver is of the utmost importance.

They have been down in Virgina for over two months now.  Andre has had a few setbacks, requiring him to be put back in Intensive Care. Think about that. All those weeks with no pay coming in from a job at a supermarket, and cleaning jobs. Think about how very little they have been stretching, without complaint, and making it work, but just barely being able to do so. Now think about losing those much needed paychecks. My own family as well as most everyone I know, live paycheck to paycheck. My old college dorm mate just told me the other day, that by the time her paycheck gets deposited into her bank account, they are already in the red because it is all spent on bills. Now picture no paycheck, as you are fighting to get well.

Things are getting really tough for some really amazing neighbors of mine. And I know they are suffering in silence. And I just can't tolerate that. Especially when this man has served his country, and inspired countless students with his limitless talent. He is 46, and that is really young. He has a whole life he hasn't lived yet, and the last thing he needs to be worrying about right now is will he lose his home, or will the lights stay on, and the water continue to run for his grandchildren . His family is really burdened financially right now.

 If there is anything, anyone can do for them, please email me at erinderosa@aol.com and if you aren't an organ donor currently, think about becoming one.

A heart is a terrible thing to waste.