Saturday, December 03, 2016

Chicken Casserole

This girl eating her great grandma's famous chicken casserole recipe, and loving it. The same great grandma whom she is the spitting of; the same great grandma who I am the spitting image of.

The same chicken casserole that was both me and my sister's first solid food. The same chicken casserole Munchkin's great grandma made him the first time we visited her in New York when he was 7 months old.

The same chicken casserole eaten for years sitting around the table too many times to count with her and Grandpa, the Grandpa who passed away 6 years ago today and set into motion a chain of events that changed us forever.

Every bite I take, every bite Bitsy scarfs down, makes me cry a little more. Years of fond memories wash over me as I watch something I know my Grandparents are watching from heaven, my Grandmother smiling seeing another generation being raised on her special recipe.

All of this from one bowl of chicken casserole (minus grandma's secret ingredient).

Monday, November 14, 2016

Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli

It was Saturday morning and I was getting ready to leave for my opthamology appointment. I needed to bring a few things, including my current contacts box and my dad's sunglasses he had left at our house a few weeks prior; I'd meet him after and drop off the glasses.  I got everything ready the evening before so I didn't forget anything.

I noticed my purse had fallen over while I was getting ready to leave in the morning and quickly just shoved everything back in and left.

Fast forward to checking out at my eye doctor's office.  I needed to pay my copay; took out my wallet......none of my stuff was in the little pockets, but haphazardly stuffed into the center.  That's weird.  I couldn't find a few of my credit cards but had at least one to pay with. The front desk lady made a joke about how her daughter gets into her wallet and flings things around too. Haha, yup, that's my Bitty Girl.

I get in the car and start looking through my purse looking for all my missing things and noticed my dad's sunglasses were not in there. Crap, I KNOW I put them in here.  I keep rooting through my things, finding random credit cards, my Costco card in one pocket, a few insurance cards in the side. No sunglasses.

Being the detective I am, I find a clue as to who went through my stuff.

Somehow I don't think my dad will be able to use the unwrapped, half-eaten sucker Bitty Girl left in place of the sunglasses.

I found the glasses in a mixing bowl under the island when I got home.

Thursday, August 18, 2016


Kin-Der-Gar-Ten: mid 19th century: from German, literally ‘children's garden.’

I held your hand as we walked up to the school today.  A small line of nervous looking 5-year-olds and their parents milling around the brick wall, vying for a place in the shade.  I'm not sure who was holding on tighter, you or me; actually I know the answer, it was me.  You were sure of your place in the line, with your favorite Snoopy backpack and the airplane shirt you had picked out the night before.

As I held your tiny hand, it felt not as tiny anymore.  Emotions and memories started flooding over me as I began to realize the significance of this very moment.  You see, this is the exact moment I have worried about, prayed about, and planned for since before you were even born.

When they told me I would be giving birth just shy of the start of my third trimester, so many fears about your future were created.  Statistics were against you, terrifying terms were never-ending; brain bleeds, learning disabilities, autism, asthma, developmental delays, small size, deadly colds.  It was a daunting task to be given, to be your mom.  God gave us a terrifying path to cultivate this little life, but you did nothing but fight and flourish so we plowed ahead patiently (and let's be honest, sometimes not so patiently).

Your dad and I had a goal along with the developmental team at the hospital: get you ready for Kindergarten on time with your peers in 5 1/2 years.  We had no idea if that would ever be attainable but that was the goal.

There is hope in every garden. You start with a blank slate, plant the seed, and spend endless amounts of time cultivating, fertilizing, pulling weeds, keeping out pests, warding of things which can damage the plants.  It doesn't happen overnight, but slowly the garden starts to grow.  Your hard work starts to show as the garden grows roots and starts to flourish.

You fought every single second of your beginning but when you started to flourish, you took off like.....well, whatever plant grows really fast and strong (I'm a writer, not a botanist).

As we stand together waiting for your new teacher to welcome you in to Kindergarten, to the Garden of Children, I marvel at how normal we look.  No one would know you were barely two pounds at birth and spent your first six weeks of life in an isolette, another six weeks learning how to breathe and eat.  No one would know we spent your first 18 months at developmental clinics checking your progress, meeting with Early Intervention therapists to see how you learned new skills and what your learning style may be.

To the outside world, you are just a tall, smart, charismatic 5-year-old with a thirst for learning and all things outer-space. But we know the difference.  We see our miracle, our flourishing garden walking in the doors of a new school with sparkles in your eyes, ready to take on a new season.

Anyone who knows me knows I have a brown thumb.  But you, my son, are the most beautiful and important garden in the world.

Friday, July 08, 2016

People are People

"People are people
So why should it be
You and I should get along so awfully?

So we're different colors
And we're different creeds
And different people have different needs
It's obvious you hate me
Thought I've done nothing wrong
I've never even met you so what could I have done?"
      People are People, Depeche Mode

Cops are people behind their badge.  Are there bad cops? Absolutely. Are the vast majority good, decent people who serve and protect? Absolutely.  There are a few bad apples in every occupation, in every race, religion, gender, creed; it doesn't mean we should assume the entirety of that group acts or believes the same way.

Not all black men are criminals.  Not all cops are assholes with a gun on a power trip.  People are people and we need to stop categorizing and judging based on which category they currently fall under. White/Black, Republican/Democrat, Gay/Straight, Male/Female, Rich/Poor, Christian/Jewish/Muslim/Agnostic.  These categories aren't mutually exclusive and people who fall under one category are not exactly like others in the same category.

Everyone is unique and different; our differences are supposed to be what makes our nation great and instead we are letting it pull us apart.

I'm not give the "World Peace" speech and I don't think we're all going to hold hands and sing about our differences.  People can disagree, people can dislike each other, people can be confused by why people live, rejoice, or love a certain way; what we have forgotten how to do is respect each other, respect life.

There is so much hate in this world that I fear for my children and their future. Bad people do bad things, no category is immune to a few bad people within their ranks; but how am I supposed to explain to my kids that because one or two cops did a bad thing, some unstable person killed 5 other cops? How am I supposed to explain to them that a man was killed by people who are supposed to protect us, and that man may still be alive if he was a different race?

Stop fucking killing each other.