The Day I Found Out My Daddy Passed Away…

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The Day My Daddy Passed Away…

1 May, 2018
JoAnne
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Sunday, April 14th, 2018

My parents had taken my two older sons, Peter and Anthony, over the weekend to stay with them. The plan was that they were going to attend 8:00 a.m. Mass on Sunday and then come to my house to pick up my two girls and then head to my brother’s house to be with him and his family before they attended my niece’s play. They were also going to drop off their car to lend to me for a few days since mine had broken down the day before.

Around 9:00 a.m. my sons walked in the door. I looked at the clock and said, “What happened? You were supposed to go to Mass!” They responded simply saying, “We missed it.” I had been alone with my seven other kids because my husband had a football game that morning. We had all already gone to Mass.  I went to open the front door so as to look for my parents since I assumed, as per the norm, that my Dad was not going to come in. My Dad, for many years had trouble walking and trouble with his knees so he really only walked to where he absolutely had to go to. When I open the door I see my Mom and asked her what happened. She said the same thing the boys said. I shout to my Dad asking him what he is going to do and he responded that he was just going to get the girls and go on to my brother’s house. Because I did not want my little kids running outside I kept going back and forth inside the house trying to reason with both my Mother and my Father about going to Mass. It literally became a screaming match; that would be me screaming at them. I told them that it was 9:00 and that there was a Mass at my Church at that time so they could just go and come back but no, my Dad refused to do that. My Mom agreed. My Dad actually said he would watch Mass on TV that night (insert eye roll).

For the next five or so minutes I could not reason with either parent but especially my Dad. I was livid and hormonal since I am pregnant. The weeks and days leading up to that point were extremely stressful for me for a few reasons so I was just not in the mood to have to deal with this. When I realized that no amount of screaming at my Dad would make him change his mind I ordered my children to all get in the car regardless of shoes or coats. I told my parents that I was taking my kids in their car to Mass and they could do what they wanted to. My children will not miss Sunday Mass for no good reason. My parents had more than enough time to go to Mass and still make it to my brother’s with ample amount of time to spend before the play. As I got in the car I asked them what they were going to do. My Mom said she would just stay there in the car with my Dad until I got back. Really?! REALLY?! Why not just go to Mass? So I continue to scream, kick and yell like a child and drive away in their car like a lunatic literally.

About a mile into the drive I noticed that they were following me, beeping at me and flashing their lights. I figured at this point my kids are going to be about 25 minutes late to Mass so they can yell at me when I get to the Church but I am not going to stop until I get there. I arrive at the Church and tell my sons that I do not know what is going to happen when Church is over but to make sure they do not leave until the very end. I park in front of the Church and my Dad parks on the side of the Church. My Mom walks over to my car and reams me out for both my psychotic attitude and crazy driving. She told me to put the girls in her car and I inform her that one of them doesn’t even have shoes and a coat on. She responds telling me that it is my fault and storms away to go inside of the Church. At this point I think she is going to get the boys from the Church but instead she was actually going into the Church to attend what was left of Mass. My Father then tries to rearrange his car so he can talk to me side-by-side so that, once again he does not actually have to get out of the car. He yells at me for the way I have driven his car and I yell back at him telling him if he just took my kids to Mass I would not have had to even take his car out nor my nine kids! I remove my knee high boots and my light sweater cover and I give it to my nine year old daughter and tell her to try it on and see if it is ok just for today. She agrees it is so I instruct her and my other daughter to go get into my Dad’s car. Once they are in the car and I pull alongside him and tell him to give me his dog. I was supposed to dogsit while they attended the play. He gives me the dog and I ask him his schedule and etc. He bites back at me as if he doesn’t know it. We are both clearly still annoyed. When he finally shares the key points of what I need to know about the dog I take off leaving him with my daughters and eventually my two sons.

I arrive at the home totally irritated and annoyed. I could not believe that this man, my Dad, a devout daily communicant of Mass would intentionally miss Mass on purpose just because he missed a turn to a Church (which is the reason they missed the first Mass). And then, to top it off the man is five feet from the Church and he still won’t get out of the car to attend Mass?! What kind of madness is this? LOL. I text my husband and tell him to call me ASAP when his game ends and so he does. I explain what happened and he chuckles and says, “Really?!” And I inform him that if my Dad does not call me that I am NOT going to be present when he drops the kids off at home. You see, for those of you who do not know, when my Dad and I fought- which is not a lot at all – it is like Russian Roulette; who will be the last man standing? And trust me, in my mind it is always ME and in his mind it is always HIM. So I was definitely most certainly NOT going to call him.

I get off the phone with my husband and within a half an hour of me driving away from my Dad I get a call from their cell phone. It was them on speakerphone with my Dad saying he just wanted to call me to see if I got home ok. I immediately burst out in tears. After all this man took the higher road than me and called me. I tell him he has to understand that I am very stressed out and immediately my oldest son age eleven chimes in and says, “I told them that, Mom!” Of course I laugh and tell them that that is correct and that I am very hormonal and that as my children know quite well they have to ignore 99% of what I say and do during this stressful hormonal time. We both apologize and then we laugh out loud because my Dad informed me that there was a 9:30 Mass on the way to my brother’s house! Had I just not been a pyscho and thought to google Mass Times I could have saved us a lot of anguish. We get off the phone after wishing each other well; them at the play and me a day of rest. You see, I was supposed to go with them but due to all of my stress I stayed home to rest. Of course now I really wish I would have gone… I normally can suck it up and deal with sleep deprivation and the like but as I said, it was a really stressful few weeks leading up to that point.

Around 5:30 or so my children enter the house. My Mom follow them in. I was really hoping that my parents would at least come in for a drink because they usually do although of late they had not because again, my Dad didn’t want to walk or move more than he had to. My Mom had said that they were both tired and it was late (they did not like to drive in the dark) so they were just going to drop the children, get the dog and go home. So as my Mom is in the house with the kids I open the door and see that my Dad is in the passenger seat. I thought that was odd because my Dad ALWAYS drove, always. It was raining that day so I pulled my socks off so as to walk out to him barefoot. As I walk to him we smile at each other. I ask him how the play and day went and he was just so happy! He said that it was wonderful and that they had a great time. He mentioned that he did have some chest pain and some shortness of breath but otherwise all was ok. I will be honest, I didn’t really pay much attention to it because my Dad always had at least minor health issues and since he did not seem too bothered by it I was not either. I told my Dad that in the morning he wanted to tell me something about his car-the car that he loaned to me-but I was so crazy I would not listen so I asked him to tell me what he wanted to tell me and he was quiet and simple about it; it was no big deal. At this point I giggle about how much I love their dog and how easy he is to take care of. Everyone who knows me knows that I do not want a dog despite the fact that my one son has been begging for one for a year now. After I mention the dog he looks at me very seriously but lovingly and says, “I want to tell you three things. 1. I am sorry. 2. I love you. and 3. Now give me my dog!” I laughed and told him I was sorry and that I loved him too. I kissed him on his right cheek and per his request, gave him his dog. My Mom got in the car and as they drove away I waved to them.

What the key takeaway for me from the whole day is that had my Dad and I NOT gotten into a screaming fight I do not know what my last memory or moment would have been with him. I talked to my Dad all the time but lately we did not see each other a lot. He always wanted to be home and he rarely wanted my Mom to come be with me. So had not our fight occurred I would not have that most beautiful last memory and moments with him. And how perfect were they? The way he looked at me and spoke to me, now looking back, I think he knew he was going to die. The fact that he called me was miraculous in and of itself. I think he most certainly knew…maybe not that it would be that day but he knew. And I thank God that I have that moment, that precious moment as my last moment with him. We were completely over the fight just like we always were once we hashed it out. It was like it did not happen. But him saying those three things in that order were just so important to me then and more so now. The way he exited my world was with a joke! If you want to know more about why his comment about the dog was so funny to me you may want to read the speech that I gave at my Dad’s viewing which you can find here. You know what the ironic thing is to0 about that day? Had he just listened to me he could have heard and attended Mass and communion on the day he passed away…

Less than four hours after that beautiful moment with my Dad he left this world. And that is another story for another day…

Rest in peace Daddy. I love you and miss you more than words could ever say or an image could ever capture…

If you would like to read the dream that I had about my Daddy ten days after he passed you can find it here.

Note: the picture featured here was taken on the day he passed away. This was him with my Mom, my four oldest children and my niece Colette after her play.

 

My Speech For My Daddy At His Viewing

1 May, 2018
JoAnne
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Let me preface this by saying that this is not the eulogy – My Father’s Brother Tino will be doing the eulogy at the Church.

For those of you that do not know me I am Beau-pa’s (aka William, Mike, Michael’s) last child and daughter JoAnne. It’s actually an interesting story because I am the child that was “not wanted” by him. You could say I was a “surprise child” a “miracle child”. My Father thought he was done after four kids so he took matters into his own hands (literally) to try to prevent me from entering the world but BOY (oh boy!) did God have other plans for him! I entered his world screaming bloody murder and I will likely exit this world the same exit way! In fact I would imagine I will greet my Dad that way in heaven too. So we always had this inside joke, my family and especially my Dad and I, that I am his penance for his sins… Luckily I eventually got over the fact that I was an unwanted child and I never struggled from any post-traumatic stress disorder. Lol!

Being the last child I was definitely a spoiled princess and one of Daddy’s three little girls. There was nothing that my Dad and my Mom would not do for me or for any of us. From a very young age my Dad always taught his children about good work ethics and responsibilities I mean gosh the man had me working for him at age 7 sorting binders and etc. for his beloved shared company HMA Inc. He raised children who loved and still love to work whether it is inside or outside the home. He also gave us such a good example of how to make, build and fix things. All of us in one way or another are somewhat handy or crafty thanks to him. He was the type of person who could cut himself with a chainsaw and try to treat the wound himself! Thanks to him we all have probably saved a lot of time, money and energy avoiding hospitals and medical bills by self-treatment! He was the financial guru; the ultimate robbing Peter to pay Paul expert but definitely without paying any interest or fees! People have always asked me how me and my husband can afford 9 now 10 children and I have always credited it to my Dad and the wise words he taught me from a very young age: it pays to discover (as in the best credit card with 0% apr and no, this is not an ad!).

When my Mother and siblings and I were writing the obituary and my sister Jeanne read it back to us for a test run she listed many things and then said and he was loved by all who knew him. I immediately screamed NO! We all broke out in huge laughter. I did not mean that Beaupa was not loved by all but it came off that way and I have to admit that it was pretty hysterical. I explained that the phrase was so generic for a man who touched so many people’s lives. Yes, he was loved by all but anyone who knew him even strangers were ENAMORED by Dad and CHARMED by Dad. He was the epic story teller and you literally could have heard the man’s same stories a million times but he never told it the same way and it was always exciting. So my point with the obituary was you have to add something else because he wasn’t just loved by all…no, he basically stole everyone’s heart.

The day that my Father passed away he and I got into a huge and I would say for my part valid screaming argument LOL. BY THE GRACE OF GOD not only did we make up but the last moment I had with him, the words he said probably would not have happened had we not fought. The day he passed he had a great day with my four older kids, my Mother, and my brother and his family. I had taken his dog, snickers, to dog-sit for him. A little backdrop on Snickers, when my parents got snickers for the first time he literally replaced me. I went from favorite last child to nothing. LOL. My dad’s last words to me were, “I have three things to say to you. 1. I am sorry. 2. I love you. 3. Now give me my dog!” Now, you have to know the order of his 3 things were actually perfect and I knew – in some weird way – that he was sorry for everything in his life not just for me and our argument that day… it was the way he said it and the look he had on his face. The hysterical part is that he ended it on a funny note. That was him! Of course he would exit MY world on a joke and laughter not to mention that I am actually semi-irritated that my dad’s very last words to me were about my arch-enemy snickers the dog! Joking aside I actually love the darn dog now…

The day after my Dad died I went to post one of my favorite passages on Facebook. The passage was, “The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Now, I had never known where this passage was from before but I loved it and boy did The Lord do just that… after I posted it I tried to do my typical morning prayers but I could not pray. Typical side effect when you lose someone so close to you; it is hard to say or do anything unless it is for a purpose like funeral planning. Since, for obvious reason I had barely been speaking to the Lord, I decided to go old-skool and just open the Bible at random to see what the Lord had to say about all of this. I flipped it open and it was the book of Job. I was like, of course it was the book of Job. I do not know a lot about the Old Testament but I know that Job’s life, well, for lack of better words sucked royally. That was my take-away anyways. So I read the page and as per the norm with the Old Testament it was a lot of yadda yadda yadda (shout out to the yadda girls!). I did not understand what God was trying to tell me here… I marked the page and closed the bible and sighed. I grabbed my book light (because that’s what happens after you turn 40 you need book lights now) and used it for the other side of the page and there was one tiny section that talked about Job stripping his clothes (don’t worry this isn’t an X-rated part) and do you know what he said? He said, “The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Well, as if I had not lost it enough already I completely crumbled and told God I got the message loud and clear and we were done talking for the day. Lol!

On the same evening after two days of funeral planning I went to pick up my car from the mechanic. I got in the car and realized… me, who called or talked to my Dad easily 3-5 times a day had not talked to my Dad since Sunday afternoon. I called him so much that he gave me the name “Old Faithful” and that is how he answered the phone when I called him. So at that moment in the car I immediately started talking to my Dad again and I began telling him all that we have been doing since he left us. I told him how much he would have loved to have seen his kids so united and laughing so much in the midst of so much sorrow. As I continued talking to him I thought about how he would have taught me about how in Corporate America we would have to look at these situations from a different perspective or as my Mom would always sing, “It’s all the way you look at things.” At that moment I smirked upwards and said, “Yeah, for example…I can talk to you now Dad and you can’t argue back at me… You can’t cut me off… You can’t cut my conversations with my Mom’s short. I am pretty sure selective hearing in Heaven does not exist so maybe you will actually hear AND listen to what I am telling you. And (as an inside joke) we the siblings won’t have to worry about anyone sending out any silver alerts on someone who may or may not be present in this room.” Yeah Dad, you are right…I didn’t look at this from that angle…

My Dad was and is my hero. I adored the man and he knew it. I just recently started staying overnight once a month or so at my parent’s house so as to spend more time with them. I am so glad I did. There is nothing that made him happier than being with his kids and sometimes, Grandkids (just kidding). He was not just a man from every title (son, husband, Father and etc.) he was a man of God. He had his own way of talking to Jesus and Mary just as we all do. His conversations with The Lord were most likely unconventional but hey, at least he was in dialogue with his God.

Dad, the day you passed away it down poured all day. Heaven was not crying the earth was. You have left a huge hole on earth. But we, your beloved wife and children, we will be sure to always keep your title alive for you truly were –as many also called you-, “Mike: the man, the myth, the legend. “ I hope that wherever you are right now that they are getting your drink right, “Dewar’s Scotch on the rocks, in a snifter, with a splash of water with a lemon twist.”

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The “Skinny” On Diaz #10 – ETA 9.18.18

5 Feb, 2018
JoAnne
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#GoBigOrGoHome #2outof10babiesplanned

Welp! It’s that time of year again…the most wonderful time of the year where I get pregnant! Hold up, #Don’tJudgeMeYet! I have actually gone about 20 plus months without getting pregnant! (waits for standing ovation) This is the longest I have ever gone and the longest any of my babies have ever gone without a buddy or a new sibling! Go Philip! Go me!

It is not like I have to explain myself but I will because I know a lot of people will think I, we, are crazy. Well, they thought that before so…no biggie! Let me start by saying that both my husband and my children have been asking me for a baby since our youngest, Philip, was about six months old. With that said I think I held off for a long time, no? But recently, right before Christmas my husband had this idea that, “We should really give God something very big for Christmas this year.” In his mind he was thinking something monetary but me, I was not thinking that at all. I thought about it for a day or so and it just came to me, clear as day, in my mind and heart. That is when I waited for him to come home and we sat down to chat alone and I told him of my idea, “What bigger gift could we give Him than that of a baby? Than that of being completely open to life again?” If an image is worth a thousand words you would have loved to have seen his face! Why? Because I have always been the one to say, “I’m done. I was retired at #4. I am good. I do not need more children.” Yes I have said it but alas we have always had more and I will tell you why and how: because that is what God wanted for us. God has put it in our hearts perpetually over 13 years.

Peter, our first was planned. After Peter children number 2 through 8 were not planned by any means. During this time, especially after number 4, we tried to doing Natural Family Planning and eventually Creighton. It did not work for me initially. I think I was overthinking it. Children 2 through 7 were surprises and number 8 I call him my Melatonin baby because I was taking it at the time to help me sleep and I did not realize until I was pregnant that it can mess with your cycles. Now, for number 9, it was not that he was planned because between 8 and 9 we finally “mastered” The Creighton Method but we knew that there was a very VERY SMALL chance we could get pregnant and we both agreed to take that chance. Sure enough, we then got pregnant. As they say, it only takes one time (sometimes!)! (Sidebar: how apropos it is that our wedding song is: It Only Takes A Moment! Lol) So with all of that said, God wanted us to have the amount of children we did. He is always the one in control. Even though the last post-partum period was the very worse for me I look at #9, Philip, and I am in awe of him. He has changed our lives so much and so much for the better and I, we, could not imagine life without him!

So after my husband Nick got over the initial shock of my gift offering I told him to think about, pray about it and let me know. It didn’t take long and he agreed it was the best thing to do, the best gift to give Jesus for His Birthday. For me personally this was a HUGE step. I had only felt “normal” (from my PPD/PPA) since August so this was not going to be easy. I had just found the lifestyle change (fasting) that I believe could help me finally lose all the baby weight once and for all. From a human standpoint it was a scary concept in that at the time we did not have a renter for our unit and I was losing my job. BUT, as I told Nick, what better gift to give Him than that of TOTAL TRUST. After all, “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more valuable.” For both of us and for our family it was also taking on a lot of stress: me being pregnant at an older age with 9 children, Nick having to do more, the kids having to do more, and then the added stress once baby comes home with or without my post-partum issues. So, this was no easy peasy decision.

I do understand that given all I have said that people will still think I am crazy or even crazier and that is ok. I don’t call myself a rebel for nutin! Thank God I do not mind about what people think! That is a grace from God. What is most important to me and to my family is that we do the will of God. I care what God thinks. I care what God wants.  What I have always said and I will always say is that God cannot be outdone in generosity. He can’t! If you give, He gives more. He always will. But we only have one life to give, one life to live. “What we do here and now echoes in eternity.” Maximus said it perfectly! God does not care about money; God does not need money. God wants our will united to His. And when we do that, openly and freely, He gives us the graces we need to get through it for, “God will not give us more than we can handle”, right? Right.

People have this big misconception that children cost a lot of money. They actually don’t if you do it the right way (as in a cost effective way) and if you are not extremely selfish. In our house do you want to know what costs the most amount of money? Dunkin donuts. Date nights. Sushi. Facials. Massages. That’s the truth! If you breastfeed you save money. If you can’t or don’t breastfeed Sam’s club/Costco sells formula at a fraction of the cost of brand name formula and yet they have the same exact ingredients. Diapers? Go to Sam’s club and get 220 diapers for $35. If you can’t afford it go to your local pregnancy center and they will help you out. Clothing? Shoes? There are two glorious things for this: hand-me-downs and thrift shops/consignment sales. Food? Go to Sam’s club and buy in bulk. Eat foods that can go a long way like rice and beans and etc. When they get older HAVE YOUR CHILDREN GET A JOB to help out with their needs or the family’s needs. Have THEM save for a car. Have THEM pay their insurance. College? No problem! There is a glorious thing called student loans or your children can just pay collage as they go. Marriage? No problem nowadays many groom’s families chip in on the bill. So, you see where I am going with this? Children do not cost a lot of money; WE DO. We as humans are or tend to be selfish. We want what we want when we want it. We don’t want to sacrifice. So we don’t have kids. We don’t have more kids. I get it (thus our 20 month break). Now, obviously there are people who cannot have children or cannot have more children and that is completely different. Even though we shouldn’t judge people – people do judge me because I am too open to life but maybe I also unfortunately judge people for NOT being open to life? So let’s just not judge each other! I can only speak for myself and I, we, are on a journey and our journey is eternity. I have to get my family to heaven and so I-in union with my husband-am doing what I firmly believe will get us there.

As many people know I have been blessed to have had pretty much perfect pregnancies, labors and deliveries. For those of you who do not know or recall I did have post-partum depression/anxiety (PPD/PPA) after the birth of our fourth child. However, I did not have it with children numbers 5-8. And now that I am more informed after my last bout of it I know how to try to prevent it and if I can’t then I know how to tackle it immediately following the birth of the baby. I am not the type of person to let something define me. PPD/PPA will not define me and it will not prevent me from having more children. The only thing that will prevent me from having more children is God. So God-willing this child will be born and will be an amazing Saint for God one day. That is my hope; that is my prayer. And maybe in the process this child will help me get a little closer to becoming a Saint.

While I may not let something like an illness define me I am always up for a challenge and my Uncle Tino did kinda challenge me. In his annual Christmas letter he did make mention of me being a slacker for not being pregnant yet! I chuckled to myself when I read it but then thought maybe that is a nudge from God for me? I already had nudges from my husband and children but maybe this was another one. Guess what the ironic part is? When I was diagnosed with post-partum depression and anxiety I got a test done to see if I was fertile or not. Up until that point I had never had one because clearly I was very fertile. However the test revealed that I was very infertile. This was so very sad for me. I know people may not understand it but it really was. I knew or thought in my heart it was a side effect of my PPD/PPA. I tested it a year later when I felt better and though the numbers went up I was still considered infertile. My Doctor told me very nicely, “I know what it is says on paper but look at history too JoAnne.” So when we went to try conceive Diaz #10 we really did not know if it would happen. I had no symptoms whatsoever and I was shocked when I found out I was pregnant. But, if you ask me, the bottom line is if God wants you to get pregnant, you will get pregnant! I tell my friends who cannot achieve pregnancy that it is for a reason and should it happen it will happen in God’s timing. The words are not easy but they are true and just because I chose to be open to life does not make my being pregnant any easier. It is still a major sacrifice but it is one that I chose to offer up.

I am so thankful for those people in our lives that support us, that love us even if they may not agree with us. I may not always agree with people but I still love them and out of charity I try to help them in any way that I can. We are all very excited about this pregnancy. I feel very very blessed and very truly humbled.

So there you have it; the “skinny” on the conception of Diaz #10! We found out right away but I wanted to keep it a secret (for the first time ever!) since I am older now and wanted to wait until my first Doctor’s appointment which was today. Thank God the baby is on target for weight/measurements, the heartbeat is nice and strong and everything with me is fine. I very am proud to say that our children actually kept this a secret for almost a month!

As I said in the beginning, I did not have to explain this but I wanted to. And trust me, I am okay with you thinking I am crazy. And I thank you in advance for loving us and supporting us in this, the next Chapter in our love story with God.

Sincerely Yours,

JoAnne & Co.

P.S. For those of you who may have been watching me on Facebook I have been using the hastag #GoBigOrGoHome since Christmas Eve. So that is this pregnancy’s hashtag! You may have also noticed that I have not posted any wine pics or etc. Did you know? :)

 

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A Poem From My Future Self

19 Oct, 2017
JoAnne
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Empty.

Empty nest.

I knew this would happen.

They warned me, “Enjoy this time now because it goes by so fast!”

I kindly smile at them then turn around and roll my eyes.

If only; if only they knew everything I had to deal with on a day-to-day basis.

“They don’t understand!” I thought.

 

It’s the middle of the night.

I roll over and see it is 3:00 a.m. Sigh.

I am not awake because a newborn needs me.

I am not awake because I want to check on the kids and make sure they are ok; that their blankets are covering them.

I am not awake because a child is vomiting all over the place.

I am not awake because I need to work for my job because I could not get to it during the day due to the kids’ schedules.

I am merely awake because my body has been trained to be awake at this time for twenty some years.

 

“What is today going to look like?” I ponder to myself.

“Oh that’s right. Nothing! It’s going to look like nothing because I have nothing to do a-gain.”

After hours of tossing and turning I get finally decide to get up.

I jump in the shower and just stand there for what feels like hours.

The hot steam surrounding me seems so unfamiliar.

“What is a hot shower? Have I ever even had one?”

 

I get dressed and head downstairs for some coffee.

I finish my coffee as I listen to the news.

“OMG! I actually finished a cup of coffee while it was hot!”

“It’s not even 8:00 a.m. and I’ve already learned about everything going on in the world.”

I jump in my car to go to mass.

“My car is clean. How is this possible?”

As I drive the rain drops fall down. I can hear them so clearly.

This new perpetual sound of silence is deafening.

I begin to tear up. It’s all hitting me again.

Empty.

Empty nest.

 

I go to mass and naturally head for the cry room.

But then I remember I have no children.

I go to the pew and the mass begins.

Finally I am actually able to hear not only a word of mass but the entire mass yet I chose not to.

Instead I am enamored with this cute little family in front me.

The mom is nursing the baby while her toddler tries to run off.

I will never nurse again. I will never know that feeling again.

My instinct is to help her with the toddler but it’s not my place.

I am not her. I am not the new mom. I’m the old mom. I’m the grandmom. I’m the church stranger.

I cry. I cry because I long to get those days back again.

 

I head to the grocery store.

I no longer have a need for a babysitter while I run my errands.

No more do I need two carts; one to carry kids and one to lug groceries in.

The cashier tells me my bill for my weekly grocery bill. “49.83, ma’am.”

“Oh…so now I’m a ma’am, eh?” As I hand him my card.

What once was a $600 bill is now less than $50 bucks.

I giggle to myself thinking I should be happy about this.

 

I head home and taking the groceries in one load I proceed to put them away.

Empty cabinets. Empty fridge. Everything is empty.

No more ravenous teenage boys around to eat all my groceries in two days.

I go to unload the dishwasher but there are no dishes there because I no longer need to use it.

It’s just the two of us now. We can hand-wash the dishes.

 

The house is already clean; no straightening even to be done.

There are no crayon marks on the walls for me to wash today.

There are no holes for me to patch.

The only hole that is present is the one in my heart.

 

I run upstairs and take the laundry out of the dryer.

It takes me five minutes to fold and put the clothes away.

There are no socks needing to be sorted or put in a special odd-ball section.

There are no beds in need of being stripped and re-made.

There are only empty rooms.

 

I decide to lay down and take a nap because that is what I have done every day since I became a Mom.

I stare at the ceiling contemplating whether or not to call one of my children.

“Will they think I am too needy?”

“Will I be bothering them?”

Instead I chose to just lay there.

I scroll through my phone… no missed calls.

I try to sleep but I can’t. I can’t because for the most part I did get a solid night’s worth of sleep.

 

After a short time, I opt to go into my basement.

I pull out the kids’ cubbies with dust on them.

“To Mommy on Mother’s Day. I love you mommy because you are my best friend and you make good food! Love, Bella”

I burst out crying. I crumble to the ground my tears completely soaking up the memento.

I cannot stop crying.

My house is empty.

My womb is empty.

My heart is empty.

I hit myself because I didn’t enjoy it. I was always working, always doing, always being…everything to everyone, all the time.

I curse to myself. I am filled with deep regret.

I cannot take back time.

 

I decide this may not be the best thing for me to be doing so I put the cubbies away and decide to look for a recipe to make us for dinner.

I no longer need to worry about picky eaters so what do I make?

As I begin to cook my husband walks in.

He comes over and kisses me from behind and wraps his arms around my waist.

I take in the moment thoroughly. A moment that rarely ever happened when our kids were with us.

This. Yes this. This is one thing I did look forward to and one thing I enjoy immensely now.

 I am blessed. We are blessed.

 

We talk about our day; his being much more exciting than mine because he still works a lot.

As I watch him while he is talking I have a tad bit of envy of him.

He has the twinkle in his eye.

His heart is full. It’s full of endless amounts of memories he made every single day with his kids.

“He must have no regrets…” I think to myself.

“I should have been more like him. He warned me; he did warn me.”

 

We clean up instantaneously and I decide to go do some work on my computer.

As I look at the calendar I realize how soon Halloween is coming up.

Then I remember and begin to think of the holidays or more like holi-daze right now.

No more blowing a million bucks on costumes that may not even last until Halloween.

No more Santa Claus.

No more Christmas magic, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy.

New year’s? What is the freaking point of New Year’s now?

I have lost all the weight I needed to.

I have stopped screaming.

I have stopped drinking too much.

Nope, now it’s just empty empty holi-daze.

 

After I do my work I get ready for bed and begin to pray.

I thank God for the day.

I thank God for my life.

I thank God for my husband, our children and our grand-children.

I then have a blunt conversation with Him reminding Him about how He gave them us but the world took them from me! They took them and kept them all for themselves!!!

I scream to Him, “The world is full of them! MY CHILDREN. MY Priests. MY Religious. MY grand-children.” And yet I remind Him that I am now here, empty in an empty nest.

He finds it amusing that I still talk to Him this way after so long. I grin then pout.

“It will get better,” He says. “Trust in me.”

“Ok,” I say. “Talk to you tomorrow. Same place; same time. It’s not like I have any plans, unfortunately,” as I wink and blow Him a kiss goodnight.

 

 

 

Clip art credit

 

 

101

What I Learned From Our New Garbage Rules!

13 Sep, 2017
JoAnne
No Comments

So this is the second time I have intended to blog on pee and poo but alas, other more important topics have come to mind! Sorry, I imagine you are disappointed. Well, in theory part of this blog could be about it anyways since I will talking about garbage! Garbage? Yes! Garbage.

Let me preface this by saying that I have been spoiled. I have lived in the same two towns which are within four miles of each other for almost 13 years. The first house I was in for almost 12 years literally took whatever I put out. I kid you not! I could have put anything or anyone on the street and those wonderful men would have taken it! lol. Joking aside, there would be times where I would get a note about something but they still took the item. We did not have “bulk” days or events so we could literally put a couch out every week if we wanted to. Yeah…so great, right? So spoiled! Let me also share that I did recycle but not as much as I would have liked. They did not take everything and they only did it every other week which was not really practical for a family of 11.

So needless to say when I moved to my new home just over a year ago I imagined it would be the same way and it was, well kinda. There were definitely items that they eventually would not take – i.e. anything with a cord (electronics) but otherwise, I continued to be a spoiled princess with however much garbage I wanted and there was a lot, all the time. I was also extremely spoiled with the fact that recycling was taken every week. It was and is bliss! If I was bad at recycling I thank my children for picking up where I am slacking since they were very conscientiousness of recycling thanks to what they learned at school!

I think part of the reason I always had so much garbage – especially at the new house – was because I read that book, “The Magic Art of Tidying” and I discovered that so many things in my house did not give me joy! So I would try to sell it then I would try to put it out for free and when no one took it I would either donate it or just chuck it. The is besides the fact that we have 11 people in our home and two who are still in diapers and two still wear pull-ups, so…well you can imagine the amount of garbage we have!

So needless to say when we were alerted to a new garbage “system” and rules I was not a happy camper. While I loved that they gave us these beautiful new bins – 1 for recycling and 1 for garbage I was not happy with the fact that: 1. I had garbage bins I paid for – one very expensive (and garbage bins are not actually resale friendly if ya know what I mean!)  and  2. with the new rules we were told that we would only be able to fit ALL OF OUR GARBAGE in one bin OR we would have to pay $3 bucks PER EXTRA GARBAGE BAG. I will be honest I was kinda freaking out since we had a track record of about two extra bags per week! There was NO way I could fit it all in one bin! I already had the same size bin so I just knew.

So what did I do? I do what everyone else does, I complain on social media! I became a garbage troll per se. I was watching all the threads and anytime anyone was posting about how mad they were with the new system I would give a big freaking LIKE and then comment to my heart’s delight. We, the people of Forks, were one. We united in our garbage woes! No one was getting in the way of our garbage complaining! I wrote to people of the public works, I called and I went in person. I even went so far as to buy 8 tags for $24 bucks in preparation of the new rules. The way I looked at it was we had 8 weeks until we would be offered the option to buy a second bin (and I knew I needed a second bin) so I figured if I was lucky I would be able to only have one extra bag per week until then.

So… ya know what happened? The week before the new rules went into effect I had my garage sale, I put a million things out for free and they took it! And then, I loaded my garbage up until thy kingdom come for the last day and I watched it all leave the property (likely with a glass of chard since I put it out the night before). “They took it all! Thank you Jesus!” I screamed with excitement the next day and then I started on a mission: mission downsize garbage.

I knew I had the tags; it was not about the tags though – it was about can I freaking do it? Can I actually fit all of our garbage in one bin? Now, with the new recycling rules and bins I may have a chance… so I was VERY diligent about putting any of the NEWLY accepted recycled items in that bin and then, I kid you not, I was literally acting like a human garbage compactor. I assigned one broom (should have given that b#$%# a name for all she did for me!) and I used the other end to stuff garbage down into my garbage bag.

When garbage day came – and it just so happens to be 8 days instead of 7 due to the holiday!- I was FREAKING ELATED that we could fit everything – no problem – in one bin for garbage and one bin for recycling. I’ll be honest; I felt like superwoman. I made my man feel like superman. We did it! We ACTUALLY did it! I never knew something as garbage could make me so happy but alas it did, it really REALLY really did.

So then I was sold. I was reading the threads; I was driving around and seeing other people (with less kids) put out more garbage. I was shocked. I kept thinking, “What is in there, bodies?” By the way, not judging, just wondering. We don’t put grass or anything in our garbage so I was perplexed. I decided that I should post my one bin to show that I did it which was my way of kinda saying, “oh, my bad, maybe I was wrong!” My hashtag was #OneBinToRuleThemAll which I found cute since I am a die hard Lord of The Rings fan.

From then on out I was googling: garbage disposals, garbage compactors, composts. You name it, I googled it! I also went to the dollar store and bought a ton of plates. You see, in the past I had used paper plates. It just made sense for us. I figured they are biodegradable so who cares? But I used them for three meals a day! So yeah, so hypothetically 33 plates a day! What the what?! So after all this I basically got used to running my dishwasher once a day instead of every other day and got used to using plastic plates for the kiddos.

So…long story short, what does this all mean? It means that I was wrong. They were right. It means that if I really cared about my community I would have attended the meetings where they talk about all of this stuff! Today was the second garbage collection and I am proud to say without anything: composts, compactors (besides my arms), disposers we had even less garbage than last week. We could have fit another BIG bag in there easily.

For me this was not just a lesson in garbage this was a lesson overall which I taught my son today. My son, who is now doing online public school for the first time, contacted me and needed help. I told him I was working (for my job in the other room and I could not help him right then and there). I went to see him and assessed the situation and I told him, “Maybe you are underestimating what you can do?” And I gave him the example of the garbage and my scenario. He, in turn, went on to finish the assignment without my help. I was thrilled.

For me this whole garbage “saga” has turned into a great blessing. Yes, I still have my 8 garbage tags which I am sure I will use for kids parties, Thanksgiving and Christmas BUT there is no amount of money (aka $24 bucks for 8 tags) I could pay for the lesson I learned and that is that we are capable of so much more than we think we are. I assumed I would need tags. I assumed I would need another bin. All I can say is don’t assume and trust the experts (Forks Public Works!) and trust in yourself. You have more to give! Squeeze yourself like a lemon and you may surprised that there is more than lemonade there.

God bless,

JoAnne