1st Anniversary – Dad

DAD 2015

People say the first year is the hardest.

They say that you missed Father’s Day, our birthdays,

Your wedding anniversary, Thanksgiving.

People may feel badly that you weren’t in your chair at Christmas,

Missed out on New Year’s celebrations.

That you were absent for Valentine’s Day and Easter.

What they don’t realize is, that you are the reason we celebrate Father’s Day,

You are with us when we sing Happy Birthday,

Your anniversary is marked regardless, and we are Thankful in October.

That you are as much a part of Christmas as you ever were,

And New Year’s marks another year of loving you.

We see you in Valentine’s and Easter’s flowers.

What people don’t understand is that you are with us –

When we hear your favorite songs,

When we see you in photos,

When we snuggle in your old sweaters.

They couldn’t possibly know that you are all around us when we are in the bush,

Sitting around a fire pit,

Swimming.

You are with each one of us; alive in our hearts, present when we are together,

And Loved as much as ever.

~ From All of Us

Father’s Day

While I do try to keep my instalments somewhat regular, life has intervened, and taken precedence. My Father recently died and my priority has been to be with him as long as I could. Today was a difficult day and I feel that the best way to honour my Father is share the Eulogy I read at his funeral. We will resume with regular opinionated, funny and irreverent Bowery Girls in the future.

2014-05-31 19.07.19

Once upon a time, I had a part time job, and my employer was giving me a hard time about requesting more hours, although some of the other student waitresses were getting additional hours. She came back with a rather unusual statement: “Do you think you’re special because you’re D.B.’s(insert my father’s name here) daughter??”

I shared this question with my parents when I returned home, and we all laughed about it, because of the grandiose nature of the statement. “D.B.’s daughter!”

Obviously this person had an image of our father that wasn’t necessarily accurate. He certainly wasn’t egotistical or haughty. If anything our father was down to earth and unassuming.

As I reflected on this anecdote recently, I couldn’t help but think, what kind of man did this employer think he was?

What kind of man did I think he was? And then it came to me. Admittedly our father was not like other fathers. He wasn’t the kind of macho, tough guy that would show you how to throw a ball or change the oil in your car. He wasn’t into sports, unless you count car racing, and you would rarely see Dad tinkering away and fix something. He just didn’t have the patience.

But there were many things about my Duddy that made him unique.

My father was the kind of boy who developed a work ethic at a very young age, and took over his brother’s paper routes, when he lost interest, to supplement the routes he already had.

My father was the kind of boy who charmed the little girls in his class, and wound up moving next door to the girl who ended up charming him.

My father was the kind of young man who understood his role in his family and never shied away from responsibility and duty.

My father was the kind of young man who impressed employers. Beyond agreeable and hardworking, he had a sincerity that shone out from him, which is why customers and co-workers enjoyed him so much. He enjoyed people and they felt valued because of it.

My father was the kind of young man who didn’t play games when it came to courting. He was respectful, kind and the kind of boy any mother would want their daughter to bring home.

My father was the kind of man, who on the day of the birth of his first child, had to leave his young wife and newborn daughter at the hospital, and then do what we are faced with doing today, say goodbye to his own father.

My father was the kind man who decided at 32 years of age to walk away from a promising career he had worked more than 15 years to build. He did this because he didn’t want to be a weekend father; the kind of man who valued his job so highly that he never saw his family. His family meant everything to him.

My father was the kind of man who jumped into a career and lifestyle he knew very little about, but loved and grew to understand, even if he couldn’t control the weather, or pigs, or farm machinery.

My father was the kind of man who would sit on a tractor and tell me when a butterfly landed on his arm, that he thought it was my grandfather, his father-in-law, and how proud Grandpa George would be of us all living, and loving the farm life.

My father was the kind of Dad who told everyone how proud he was that he had not one, but TWO daughters, and made his daughters feel that they were every bit as good as a boy, in a time and place where sons were more prized than daughters. This set those daughters up for a lifetime of believing there wasn’t any reason why they couldn’t hold their own against any male.

My father was the kind of man who loved people and thrived being with them, whether it was volunteering with the Kinsmen Club, the K40, the Co-op, the hospital board, his work in retail, or simply hosting a family reunion with my mother at their home.

My father was the kind of man who barged into an operating room where my fractured arm was being cast, because I had broken through the anesthetic and he heard me crying out from his post in the waiting room.

My father was also the kind of man that threatened to shoot the horse I was riding when I broke said arm, but in the end left her fully tacked in her pen.

My father was the kind of man who loved to dance in the family room with me, my sister and my mother, and, eventually, my husband-to-be so that he could keep up with the Dancing Bowers. He was the first one to ask someone to dance, especially if they didn’t have a partner at the time, but he never danced like he did when he danced with my Mother.

My father was the kind of man who should never have been given a chain saw and let loose near trees he felt needed “pruning.”

My father was the kind of man who would say things like, “attaboy girl!”, “when I was a little girl” and referred to loved ones as “ my little Kumquat.”

My father was the kind of man you wanted to emcee your wedding – something he did many times, because he could speak to anyone, anywhere at anytime.

My father couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with a .22, but he insisted he was deadly to groundhogs.

My father was the kind of man who was devastated when I was injured, usually on his watch, and liked to call me Stitch because of my various trips to the emergency room.

My father was the kind of man who would rush to defend his daughter, or confront anyone who slighted her, say, by failing to invite her to a birthday party?

My father was the kind of man who could make twigs grow into beautiful flowering plants.

My father was the kind of man who was pooped on not once, but twice, on the Chi Chi Maun, eventually forcing my sister to abandon him for fear she too would enjoy his special brand of “luck”.

My father was the kind of man who taught his daughters how to swim, and to appreciate the fine art of the cannonball. There was a beauty in how he enjoyed being in or near the water, whether it was our pool in the backyard, at the beach in Goderich, or in a more exotic location like Barbadoes, Florida, or Hawaii.

My father was also the kind of man who liked to have his kids with him when he worked, even if it meant scooping one of them out the pool every spring because she kept falling in…with her snowsuit on.

My father was the kind of man who took the job in the haymow, the worst of the crop jobs, because he didn’t want anyone else to suffer in the heat, in spite of the fact that he himself had terrible hay fever.

My father was the kind of man who felt no shame in cramming an overflowing forkful of cake into his mouth.

My father was the kind of man who didn’t care that his neighbors didn’t understand his choice of attire, whether it was a bathing suit and bib overalls, or the stylish leisure suit.

My father was the kind of man who almost always carried his wallet, but was a modern kind of guy, who liked when the lady paid!

My father wore pink before it was cool.

My father was the kind of man who liked to sit in the back of the mini van, and critique your driving; would only stop for a bathroom break if he had to go; and would jump in a co-worker’s car on its way by, when the two of you went in the ditch in your car, but because you were fine, he couldn’t see any point of him being late for work!

My father was the kind of man who was a terrific son and cared for his mother long after dementia robbed her of who he was.

My father was the kind of man his daughters wanted to marry. A man who loved children, was young at heart, and was a father to his children.

My father was the kind of man who was so good at his job, that if his customers came to the store and he wasn’t working, they were known to leave because no one else could put together a suit as well as my Dad could.

My father was the kind of man who was open and welcoming when a boy came along to date one of his daughters, unless that boy proved to be less than deserving. He never interfered, but said how he felt and walked away.

My father was the kind of man who came to my college graduation even after he and I had an argument, and I told him not to come. Although I credit Mom with the save on that one.

My father was the kind of man who kissed me on my cheek, shook my fiancee’s hand and took a walk outside to compose himself after I showed him my engagement ring.

My father was the kind of man who became physically ill the day before my wedding, because he was so used to it being just the four of us, and the idea of our family changing was almost too much for him. Until he realized, it meant he got a son. Then he was happy as a clam.

My father was the kind of man who would help you move, and move, and move, and each time, he’d make sure you had the best flowerbeds in the neighbourhood.

My father was the kind of man who came by himself to the hospital to see his grandson in the days following his birth, because he was at work and it was closer, and he couldn’t wait any longer. And he brought Weurthers because he liked the commercial, and that’s what grandfathers and grandsons were supposed to give each other.

My father was the kind of man who wiped noses, dried tears and changed diapers, once he learned not to pin them to the baby. He loved nibbling toes or chomping a chubby foot – and if you were looking for your kid, just look for Dad and you’d find them.

My father was the kind of man who would come to watch hockey games, even though he could care less about hockey. He would also stay up well past his bedtime to watch ball games featuring players he was related to. He would wear ill-fitting team jackets because he was a proud Poppa.

My father was the kind of man who loved the ties his grandchildren gave him and wore them with pride. Especially the musical ones.

My father was the kind of man who would wake up ahead of everyone else so he could make egg McMuffins for all his kids and grandkids when they slept over.

My father was the kind of man who would never do something that people expected him to do, but would surprise you with an Easter Lily, or like he did on Valentine’s Day this year, show up with a dozen roses – then tell you they were on sale.

My father was the kind of man who worked hard, liked having his hands in the soil and enjoyed sharing the spoils of his labor; whether it was a bundle of asparagus or a handful of Glads.

My father was the kind of man who wasn’t perfect, and battled against his lack of perfection in varying forms, throughout his life. But he was perfect to us.

My father was the kind of man who could face Cancer, and still maintain a sense of humor about things that most people would refuse to discuss, never mind joke about.

My father was the kind of man who would rather joke and be sarcastic before a major surgery, because it was easier to laugh than cry.

You know, it would be easy to be angry and bitter about the past three years, but I am grateful for the time we had. I feel we all made our visits more meaningful, our hugs that much tighter, our I Love Yous that much sweeter. He loved our mother, and all that she has done for him, especially her support over the past three years, loved his daughters as he always has, and adored his grandchildren.

DSC_1839

M&M: You were the first grandchild and we all know how thrilled he was to have a little person in his life again. Poppa always loved kids, and having a grandchild, especially one that loved being his shadow, was all he could ask for. When your parents were married, he said it was doubly difficult, because he felt he was giving two of his girls away. Fortunately, his girls would always come back to him.

First Born Son: Your grandfather would never have asked anyone to name a child in his honor, but no one was prouder than he, when he learned we named you after him. He loved that you were a natural farmer and enjoyed sharing farm and truck magazines with you. Poppa loved your work ethic, ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit. He was as proud of your accomplishments in sports as in the vegetable garden.

Second Born Son: You are blessed or, perhaps cursed, with resembling your grandfather. You are living reminder to me of my father every time you eat a mouthful of cake, and even more so when you swim. Your love of the beach, your sense of humor and the twinkle in your eye are all things that Poppa loved about you, and will keep his spirit with us.

O: Poppa started keeping track of all the grandkids sayings around the time that you came into the family. You are an old soul and your wit and observations were often reiterated by Poppa, when he shared stories of O. Another one of his water babies, he loved how you could spend all afternoon in the pond and be ready for more the next day.

E: As you now understand, Poppa has a history with spunky little girls, so he was more than ready for another spunky girl when you came to our family. He was pleased to see how you joined in with the other grandkids when it came to chasing frogs at the pond or getting lost on a walking trail.

G: Only one person can name more cars than Poppa, and that’s G. He got a kick out of how much you enjoyed your cars, and how you could remember details about the models and years. You are a boy after his own heart!

Big Guy: You were the son Dad never had. He always took your side against me, and was so very proud of you, as a man, as a husband and especially as a father. I’m not sure what he liked most about you, the fact that you are such a hard worker, or that he could dress you up as your personal stylist.

CK: Dad was pleased that Little Sister found such a wonderful match in you. He loved your sense of humor and hated your ability to fix just about anything, because let’s face it, Dad was no handyman. I think he could see in you the kind of father he was, and he admired you for it.

So for all these things, and for so many more, to answer that person who asked that ridiculous and I suppose, rhetorical question so many years ago, Yes, I do think I’m something special, because I am one of DB’s daughters.
DSC_2007

Raising Rob Ford

So, the Rob Ford Soap Opera has given me quite a pain. Right over here. No back a little bit more…

Between horrific videos, more horrific press conferences and enough drama to keep a spin doctor employed through to the end of his term as Mayor Toronto, it’s truly a train wreck and we are helpless to stop it, or look away.

 Here we have an adult male who is having, in effect, a toddler temper tantrum on the world stage. I find myself over and over again trying to explain this man’s actions to my sons, who frequently reply with, “But didn’t he learn not to do that when he was a kid?” or “Didn’t his parents teach him that?” They have come to a logical conclusion here. This man needs some discipline; perhaps some parenting is in order?

 You think I’m over simplifying? Let’s break it down. I’m pretty sure we’ve all been told these gems once or twice.

 1. Lying Only Makes It Worse.

Let’s start at the beginning. When this all started, it was about a grainy cell phone photo where Rob Ford was doing his best Whitney Houston impression. And while he didn’t come out with Crack Is Whack, he did come out with a big denial. Had he come forward with an acknowledgement of the incident and some humility (I know, it’s not humanly possible for this man), he could have slipped off quietly for some rehab, stayed in office and people would have given him the second chance he seems hellbent on. However, LYING about the video’s existence started the entire saga on bad footing. We look back now and say, “Well, if he lied about that, what else is he lying about?” Let’s remember, this man has already been temporarily suspended from office, and disciplined for using public transit for his personal use – the transportation of his football team. Prejudice exists, I’m afraid, based on previous behavior.

 2. Don’t Lie To Your Mother.

Momma Ford and sister Kathy took to CP24 to defend Rob’s “honor” (?!) and say that he has been truthful to them, that he doesn’t have an addiction problem, and that they support him 100%. Either the Ford ladies are Oscar-calibre actors, or they have tickets on a cruise down De Nial as a half-wit monkey can see what the Ford family truly is; a bunch of enablers. I’m sure Big Brother Doug Ford was thrilled to look like a moron on Rob’s behalf; DEMANDING the resignation of the Chief of Police on the grounds of trumping up allegations, less than five hours before his brother would have a media conference where he would admit to smoking crack. Ouch!

 3. Watch Your Mouth. (aka – You Kiss Your Momma With That Mouth?)

Right now my eldest son is 16 years old. He swears. If you read this blog with any frequency, you know I do too. The Big Guy can let it fly with the best of them. Second Born Son is keeping it clean, but I fully expect him to melt down at some point and “expand his vocabulary”. I don’t say this with pride, I say this to be relative. Most (not all) people have sworn at some point. Most people (not all) know when it is appropriate and with what audience. My 16-year-old hormone-laden son knows that if he were to come out with some of the crap flowing out of Rob Ford’s mouth (in private, never mind in public), he’d have his jaw wired shut. Ever since the boys were small, we discussed what kind of words were “appropriate” since media, friends, and some family, don’t have the same frame of reference, and we didn’t want our five-year-old coming out with a big “What the HELL?” just before Easter Dinner. We started with negative words like “idiot”, “hate” and “stupid”. Stupid is still as big a swear word as “asshole” in our house and will get you promptly relocated to your room with a lecture to follow. Common civility dictates some words are simply not appropriate, especially the mouth they come from is four inches above the Chain of Office.

 4. Be a Gentleman/Lady.

This may seem self-evident, but what this means is, be polite to others. Hold yourself in certain regard, and you’ll be surprised in how others treat you. If you act like a common street thug, be prepared to be viewed that way. Strive for more. This means refraining from making lewd comments about oral sex with former staffers, and even more so, don’t make that first statement seem less offense by making a followup remark that is just as visual about YOUR. WIFE.

 5. You are Judged by the Company You Keep.

Remember the first time your parents had to tell you to watch the company you kept? Remember how confusing that was to figure out? eventually, though, we did. We understood that be associating with people who broke rules, were disrespectful, caused trouble, were in trouble, were looking for trouble, were often…trouble? Ya, Rob wasn’t listening that day.

 6. Say “Sorry” Like You Mean It.

When we were kids, saying sorry was like getting a band-aid. It solved the problem immediately. As we mature and the Sorry we need to say is for bigger issues than, say, slamming the door, we understand that Sorry isn’t a band-aid anymore. It’s an acknowledgement of our error and it’s impact on another person. One of my biggest pet peeves is someone using the word Sorry with no meaning behind it. At first Rob Ford refused to say he was Sorry. Within days, he was saying Sorry so much, it began to lose its impact. He quickly moved on to say that he’s said Sorry so many times, he doesn’t know what else to say. And that, my friends, is the problem. There is nothing else to say.

 7. You Always Get Caught.

Wasn’t it freaky how our Moms knew stuff? How did they know??? Did they really have eyes in the back of their heads? Was there a Secret Mom Society?? Any time we do something wrong, bad, hurtful and try to cover it up, it always comes back to bite us. If we didn’t learn this when we were four sneaking cookies, then perhaps we have to learn it in our mid 40s, with low-grade cell-phone video to rat us out. (FYI – There totally is a Secret Mom Society – in case my kids are reading this…)

 8. You Call These People Your Friends?

Not to be confused with #5, this point is for all the people who are lining up to say they support Rob Ford and that this media circus is nothing more than a witch hunt. If you are truly part of Ford Nation, and want to see this man re-elected for another term, you will show support in him stepping aside temporarily. Because if nothing else is evident, it is this; Rob Ford has issues, demons if you will, that need to be addressed now. His passionate refusal to leave the role of Mayor is not only an issue for the City and the Province, but most importantly, is jeopardizing his well-being and his role as a father and husband. Choose your priorities wisely. Voters love a Come-Back story. Be the new and improved Rob Ford. Everyone deserves a second chance, but its hard to rally from a body bag.

 Let’s hope someone, whose opinion matters to Rob Ford, can step in and give him the sage advice he needs.

Starting with a Time Out.

Hi! My name is Sarah!

Okay, so we didn’t actually break up, stop being so dramatic!

The fact is, Summer is my favorite season and thanks to my ever evolving career (standard work week – yeah, shift work – BOOOO) I’ve tried to max my time outside as much as possible.

So let’s catch up, shall we?

For starters, this guy –

2013-05-23 11.49.36

 

Has grown into this guy….

2013-08-05 14.47.17

And folks, that photo is over a month old. The most recent check-up revealed that Roman is a fighting 33 kgs and Cane is 27 kgs!!!! He’s only six months old. I’m actually thinking about using him as a sled dog to get me to work this winter!

Naturally we watched ball. M&M was on a kick-ass team and had a very successful season at a number of tournaments, not to mention the Super-Duper Nationals in Nova Scotia in August. They won. Of course.

DSC_2836

As you can see, she picked #22 because it is the date of the birth of her favorite Aunt. She’s so thoughtful that way. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

During the skills competition in Nationals she won for fastest runner.

DSC_2855

Which is why THIS is such a dangerous posture for the opposing team.

First Born Son took to the field for his final year in ball.

DSC_2920

And he had a great season! Lost in the finals for the A-Side Championship, but hey, going down swinging means there’s no shame in the game! He’s also had some other big events in his life.

2013-08-15 11.38.25

Sumthin’ missin’ here? THE BRACES ARE GONE! We are really proud of the fact that he’s done so well in caring for this teeth, which meant the braces could come off early for all the late summer/early fall activities on the calendar.

However, we are still paying for the braces…… For a couple of months…. Seems wrong don’t it?

With a family wedding coming up, we needed a suit for FBS. Thankfully, my Dad was able to help us out with this!

2013-08-01 10.25.39

With as much experience as my father has in selling suits, NOT taking him was not an option. Watching him flip through the fabric actually made my eyes a little leaky! Love how FBS is ROCKIN’ the running shoes, shorts and jacket look!

Second Born Son had easily the BEST. SUMMER. EVER. After starting with a party for his Confirmation….

DSCN0840

…he only had a few short weeks until he left for camp….

2013-07-14 13.12.00

…where the first thing they do is check for lice. I’ll give you a moment to scratch your scalp.

Better?

He also got his trip to Canada’s Wonderland, with his best bud, (who also went camping with him).

2013-08-22 10.24.38

The two of them mastered the rides. While The Big Guy and I waved from the ground in a couple of instances.

2013-08-22 16.30.08

This is Leviathan. It’s stupid big. We STARTED our day on this ride, and the boys ended their day with it. It’s so big, that when you think you should be at the top of the first big hill you look up and realize, you’re only half-way to the top!!!!

2013-08-22 16.31.06

That is my child up there. I could not fit the top and the bottom of the hill in this frame. They loved it. I am apparently getting old.

We also enjoyed the prerequisite trips to the beach. We love laying out on a blanket and enjoying the sand. Until some ass comes along and parks right in front of us with la-z-boy style “beach chairs” that obliterate our view of the water. We’ve decided to stick with the more secluded beaches from now on!

Then there is “The Party”. We decided to have a pork roast this summer, which coincided with our 20th Wedding Anniversary.

DSC_3128

Yup – did it up right. Got a tent, tables, and waited for the friends and family to arrive! Some even stayed over. We had our own little tent city!

DSC_3153

Needless to say, the highlight was the pig. My parents had pork roasts on our farm and I’ve always remembered how much fun we had, and how good the food was!

DSC_3161

SBS could have done without the head on the pig, but Roman didn’t seem to mind! Some wanted to contribute and brought their own favorite salads…

DSC_3167

So if anyone left hungry, it was their own damn fault! We had a fire pit that night and enjoyed a huge breakfast in the morning for those who stayed overnight. The kids are ready to do it again.

I think I’ll need a year to think about it!

The boys and I headed to the beach with LS’s family and my parents.

DSC_0013

The beach is my father’s favorite place. It’s a genetic thing as I’m pretty much ready to live near water NOW! The weather was perfect and the kids had a blast. ALL the kids…

DSC_0021

**STYLE NOTE** LS has buzzed 85% of her hair off. And yes, she’s rocking it!

DSC_0024

When I had to back to work (shift work – BOOOO) the boys had a little fun in Toronto.

DSCN0905

The Hobbit House made out of Lego – such a wonderful, family-oriented place, Fan Expo…

DSCN0912

…uh…ahem, where exactly is your hand my husband????

Okay, we’ll wrap this up now. Suffice it to say that it’s been a jam-packed summer and with the “fun” associated with back to school – FBS in Grade 11 (sniff sniff) and SBS entering Grade 8 (whaaaaaaa) I’m just starting to catch my breath now!!!

Would love to hear below how you spent your summer!

 

 

 

The Shroud of Mystery

As I mentioned before, The Bowery Girl is the latest version of The Bowery – a column I wrote for a community newspaper a lifetime ago.

Back then, as today, I wrote about pretty much anything I chose to. I think the editor was simply glad to have one less thing to assign me.

Regardless – I have always found humour in the damnedest places. Which is where one of my Mother’s favourite column came from. Since she learned I was “live” with my writing, she’s asked when I would share this one. I actually dove into the tote I stored my newsprint life in, but couldn’t find it.  So….for my Mom, I’m rewriting it….sheesh….

My Granny was my Dad’s mother. She was a tiny, tough, Englishwoman. Around her you WOULD drink tea (hence my life-long aversion to the beverage to this day), and you would be scolded for eating HER chocolate covered graham cracker cookies. Why she would bring these around two young girls and NOT think we would inhale them is beyond me. I’m sure she was distressed that my sister and I were not orderly and well-behaved as young ladies should be. We had the run of a farm with neighbours far enough away that they’d never hear your sister scream when you pounded the crap out of her……..ahem.  Around Granny you did NOT shout and you certainly did not use profanity. There’s a whole other entry on the time she heard my father in the barn over the intercom during a particularly stressful morning of chores…

When I was a teenager, Granny died. It was a blessing since she was suffering from a dementia and the last few years were difficult, especially for my father. Now organizing a funeral for a parent is stressful, but this funeral was becoming BRUTAL. Aside from the regular bureaucracy one has to go through when a hospital and nursing home are involved, there were the stipulations laid out by my Granny. We had to get her in the ground ASAP!

Let me explain….

When my Granny was a younger woman, her mother (my great-granny) would tell her daughters that when she died, she wanted to be buried in nothing but a shroud, “Just like our Lord Jesus.” What ever possessed her to decide this was never fully explained, but it was simply understood that these are her wishes. When Granny’s mother died, her sisters refused to bury the elderly woman naked, in a shroud, pointing out it was not “proper”.  So their mother was buried in a “proper” dress and “proper” pearls. Likely with appropriate shoes that had a modest heel. This outraged my Granny.

Therefore, she took on the concept. SHE would be buried naked in a shroud, “Just like our Lord Jesus.” This would honour her religious convictions, as well as her mother’s legacy.

<PAUSE>

Can I point out here that my Granny was ANGLICAN? In anything I have come to understand about religion, there aren’t too many Christian-based beliefs that required wrapping one’s dearly departed in a sheet to honour God. Judaism requires a quick burial, but I am aware of that rule being stretched to 48 and even 72 hours after death. But I only took Religion/Cult/Occult in college as an elective, so I don’t pretend to be an expert…

<PLAY>

When the time came to plan the funeral, my Dad was working as quickly as he could to ensure it was a quick turnaround. My aunt was trying to get back into the country, therefore the little “details” of the funeral were left to my Mother. And she was having some issues. We all knew that Granny wanted to be buried in a shroud “Just like our Lord Jesus”, but was having a really hard time envisioning this tiny frail woman being in the ground with nothing more on her than a bed sheet.

This is when “logic” kicked in.

Mom decides to dress Granny in one of the cozy track suits she wore in the nursing home. She picked the pink one, well, because, well, it’s a visual thing right? She can LOOK like she has nothing on. Then she comes into my room.

“I need a pair of socks,” she said.

“Oh, ok.” I said.

“Make sure it’s a pair you don’t plan on getting back,” she adds.

I give her a couple of pairs, which are deemed unsuitable. Finally I give her a pair of “pom-pom” socks. She picks a pair that are white with pink pom-poms. Even through my Granny is yet to be in the ground, I’m fairly certain she’s spinning.

So with the socks in hand, my mother collects the other items and they are delivered to the funeral home. Oh to be a fly on the wall when the undertaker saw what he’d have to put his latest client in. Thankfully, the casket is closed. Granny is in the ground JUST under the time frame allotted and we are all taking license with the “shroud” concept.

I have since told my mother that her mother-in-law would come back to haunt her for failing to deliver on the final request, and even suggested that she, herself, take on the idea. She’s not interested in being buried “Just like our Lord Jesus.” Guess that takes me off the hook!

We’ve all heard stories young women taken tragically and buried in their wedding dresses, or perhaps a teen who was a cheerleader being laid to rest in her uniform. Men can be buried in military or sport uniforms, or other apparel that has special significance to them.

So I can only imagine what someone might think, years later, if they ever had to open my grandmother’s coffin.

“Look Joe, this one was a GYMNAST!”

Can you Parent Too Well? aka LIKING Your Kids, aka The Story of Lilly & Prince Charming

I know I have a long way to go when it comes to raising kids. With a 14-year-old and an 11-year-old, I can look forward to at least 5-10 more years of in-house parenting. And that’s if they both promise they won’t move into the basement after college/university or refuse to move out in the first place.

In all seriousness, when you first look at your child, and think of what the goal is down the road, it’s pretty simple. You want them to be happy, fulfilled and independent people.

The problem is, if you do a really GOOD job, it can come back and bite you in the butt. Because you’ll really like them and as independent as you’ve made them, you’ll want them around. It’s a given you will LOVE your children, but it’s a wonderful thing to actually LIKE them.

Take for example, Lilly. She is beautiful, kind, whip-smart, and adored. Her parents raised her to be all of these things, and more. Now, she’s about to embark on an amazing journey that is taking her far away from her family and friends. She will have her significant other – Prince Charming, and they will start an exciting new life together. But her parents are torn. How to be happy for her so far away when they’d far prefer to have her close by?

It’s easy to say you want your child to be independent. Doesn’t everyone want their offspring to be everything they themselves want to be? But what if that means they will take their light, and shine somewhere far away from you? Lilly’s Prince Charming has a wonderful opportunity out West. He is young and talented and most certainly will be a huge success with this new posting.

So when we found out PC asked her to move out West with him, there were two thoughts packed into one emotion – Oh-that’s-aweseome-I’m-so-excited-for-her/Oh-shit-she’s-leaving-that-sucks-for-us!

I’m dead serious. One thought. Crammed in my head. I’ve got a very small head.

We will miss her huge smile and her willingness to cuddle Roman, as well as play the 16th consecutive hand of UNO. We are selfish and we miss her already and she only left this morning!!!

But the Golden Rule of parenting, which one learns as one goes along, is that raising a child is not about what YOU want for your CHILD. It’s about you supporting and nurturing that child to find what they need to be in their own life. You don’t get to be selfish as a parent. You can’t force your life plan on your child – at least not if you want them to be happy and save the funds you would otherwise need for therapy.

With this in mind, Lilly’s parents have not only done an amazing job in raising her, which has brought her to a place in her life where she is capable and strong enough to take on this new challenge, but they are giving her the greatest of gifts by supporting her decision, even though their hearts may feel otherwise.

I hope I can be as selfless when the time comes.

Good Luck Lilly!!!!!!

BREAKING NEWS ~ BREAKING NEWS ~ BREAKING NEWS

Lilly called me this morning to tell me she was on the road with Prince Charming. I was touched she thought of us as she headed out (and I could tell her I had already written three-quarters of this entry) but even more thrilled with the news she gave me — THEY ARE ENGAGED!!!! Congratulations to Lilly and Prince Charming. You will have your Happily Ever After!!!