It was the day of my daughter’s first dance recital.
This was her first year of dance. She was in a ballet and tap combination class for 3 and 4-year-olds.
I know as a rookie dance mom, I found the whole experience a little overwhelming but my daughter handled it like a pro. On top of skipping her nap.
She played the role of “Little Miss Sassy” so well.
This age is still a little unpredictable. Age 3 is young to be on stage. I was worried that she would get scared but she made it on stage.
And she rocked her dance.
I asked her what she thought about being on stage and she told me that she liked it. The stage was a big stage at The Egg Performing Arts Center in downtown Albany. I asked her if she saw lights or people and she said she saw both.
This day was very emotional for me because it was her first recital and Bryon wasn’t here to see it. When she was a baby, Bryon and I talked about how we were going to put her in dance class and that she would be in a recital. It is bittersweet to see her grow and reach milestones and not have Bryon there. We may be coming up on two years since he died but his absence is still profound. But she is going to have a lifetime of firsts and milestones and I am just going to have to get used to the emptiness that accompanies those events.
It didn’t help that it was also Father’s Day weekend. I was in a bad mood (with my daughter’s father being dead and all) but my parents made it for the recital. My daughter loves her grandparents so much and we were lucky they got to see her.
You know what means- time for some Good Vibrations Gratitude!
Here are the 5 things I am grateful for this week:
I don’t really remember life without my cousin H-bomb. My earliest memory of her was in my Nana’s kitchen. I had to have been around my daughter’s age (3 and a half. Can’t forget that half.) My Nana was feeding H-bomb, who was sitting in a high chair. I want to say that the Price is Right was playing on a black and white TV but I could be wrong. If it wasn’t on, it should have been.
H-bomb has pretty much seen me through all stages of life- hyper kid, awkward middle schooler, high schooler, college kid, singleton, politico, wife, mother, widow and…whatever weird stage I am in now. And she has been my best friend through it all.
Going to the House of Seven Gables
As I said in my last post about my trip to Boston, I finally got to go to the House of Seven Gables. I had wanted to go about 20 years ago but no one wanted to go with me. I was excited that H-bomb and the gang were going.We kept joking that all my dreams from 20 year ago were finally coming true. I don’t know if the spirit of my younger self comes alive more when I am around H-bomb or if I am more in touch with it due to all my self-reflection over the past year and a half.
I am also thankful I am getting this period of time to examine and reflect on my life and choose to live my life more deliberately.
My future son-in-law’s birthday
Okay, I don’t know if this boy will be my son-in-law someday. It started as a joke. This little boy is the son of Bryon’s best friend. He is 5 months older than my daughter and it has always been the joke that they will get married someday.The other day we (my daughter, my future son-in-law, his mom-and one of my besties, her younger son and I) were walking out of daycare. My daughter and my future son-in-law are ahead of us and there is a random lady there.
Future son-in-law (to random lady): I am going to marry her. His mom/my bestie, me, and everyone within earshot: Awwwwww! Random lady: Can I come? My daughter: No.
We need to work on being more gracious and tactful.
This past weekend was my future son-in-law’s 4th birthday and we went to his school party at the trampoline place.
On Tuesday night (the night before his actual birthday) we all saw Disney Jr Dance Party at the historic Palace Theater. Ironically I only got pics with my daughter and the birthday boys little brother. Ooops.
Whether the kids end up marrying each other or not, it is an amazing experience to watch them grow up together and see their friendship grow.
Spending time with my friend Gentel/Corks and Forks Event
Last weekend I got to see my friend Gentel (she blogs here). Gentel and her boyfriend were in Albany for the weekend and invited me to attend the Corks and Forks fundraiser to raise awareness for Huntington’s Disease. I didn’t know much about Huntington’s Disease. You can read more about the disease here.It was a great event. And it was great to spend time with Gentel and her boyfriend.
I hope to see them sometime soon.
Everyone in my life
I know this is a broad one but I am thankful for everyone in my life.For everyone who is there for me and my daughter.
For everyone who messages me and checks up on me if they think I am sad.
For everyone who has offered to help me.
For everyone who listens to me. And for everyone that shares their stories with me.
For everyone who encourages me.
For everyone who sends me funny texts and SnapChats.
For everyone who helps me create happy memories.
I think about close friends, new friends, old friends, school friends, work friends, political friends, widow friends, internet friends, Maine friends, New York friends and former friends.
I truly believe that everyone has been in my life for a reason. I am thankful for all the love, light and laughter in my life. I am also choosing to be thankful for all those who have caused pain. Because that pain has helped shape my character and taught me the importance of treating people better.
I am thankful for all those who have played a role in my life.
You know what that means! Time for some Good Vibrations Gratitude!
These are the 5 things I am grateful for this week.
Seeing my bestie
Last weekend my daughter and traveled to Chicago to see my best friend. We also took a side trip to Wisconsin. Travel post will be coming.
It was great to see my friend. We met at the Young Republican Leadership Conference in Washington, DC in 2006. She was sitting in front of me on the bus ride back to the hotel from the Romanian Embassy.
We wouldn’t become close until later that year.
We both pretty much have retired from politics but we usually try to see each other once or twice a year.
It’s always great to see each other and catch up.
2. Lunch with “Uncle Greg”
On our return trip from Wisconsin, we stopped to visit a close friend of mine. Greg was one of Bryon’s best friends and he has been so good to our daughter. You can see his kindness demonstrated below as he gave the girls their own cheesehead hats.
(I don’t usually use people’s names but I can’t think of a proper blog name for Greg. Though I am sure Bryon would have suggested a few inappropriate ones).
Pro-Tip when visiting Wisconsin: make sure you leave some space in your luggage because those cheesehead hats take up a lot of room. Though I guess she could have worn it on the plane…
We had an amazing lunch complete with Wisconsin cheese curds.
I also got to meet Uncle Greg’s new girlfriend.
I don’t give my stamp of approval to just anyone. I am not Marshall Erickson.
But I am happy to say that Uncle Greg’s new girlfriend has my stamp of approval. I can’t wait for him to bring her to Albany so everyone can meet her.
3. Making it home in time for our favorite community helper’s birthday
We made it back in time on Monday for a special birthday. Another one of Maddy’s “uncles”, who I refer to as “our favorite community helper”, was celebrating his birthday. I took my daughter out for dinner and our favorite community helper and his fiancee (a.k.a. Carter’s parents) met up with us. I didn’t get a picture with our favorite community helper, but here is a picture of my daughter being silly. I was tired and probably not the best company, but these two are family to me and it was important to see our favorite community helper on his birthday.
4. A night at the museum
This week was the opening of Canstruction. A good friend (I will call her “the architect”) has done this event for 8 years. Canstruction collects cans and other non-perishable food and builds structures to raise money for food banks in the region.
I am so proud of my friend.
On Wednesday, there was a reception that I was lucky enough to attend.
Brunch and Pottery PlaceOur weekend started with Saturday Brunch with friends. My daughter and I dressed as the Irish-American Princesses that we are.
It was Kimmy Gibbler‘s son’s birthday this week so we gave him his present.
After brunch we went to a local pottery place and painted. My daughters pig is looking a little bruised there.
A night outLater Saturday evening, we went went for another friend’s birthday. We did some hibachi. I didn’t get any fire photos because I was too busy snapchatting them. The little one stayed home with a sitter while Mommy had some fun.
After hibachi, we went to a local place for some karaoke.
I still maintain this position.
Day with cousinsSunday morning, my daughter and I traveled to the North Hadley Sugar Shack in North Hadley, Massachusetts to spend the day with my cousin and her two kids. My cousin and I try to meet in Springfield, MA because that is the approximate halfway point between us.
We got to sample some wicked good syrup.
There were other samples too.
And there was breakfast. This was a double order of bacon because kids meals at most places usually only include 1 piece of bacon which my daughter eats and then she will move on to mine. So I tend to order double. Though this morning, she didn’t touch any of mine. More for me, I guess.
My cousin and I decided to head over the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. We had a good time but if you are travelling from Eastern, MA or Upstate NY, I wouldn’t plan a whole day trip out of it. I also would recommend it for school age kids. There wasn’t a lot for preschoolers to do. Not enough to occupy them for a whole day. It wasn’t like our trip to the Dr. Seuss Museum.
My daughter and I took this selfie. Be kind. I was out late and up early and it was definitely a dry shampoo and minimal makeup kind of morning.
Reunited in ChicagoI am writing this post ahead of time and by the time it goes live, I will be reunited with my bestie in Chicago!
A special birthdayToday is the birthday of my “sister from another mister” and my daughters Godmother. I know that her birthday is bittersweet because it is also the day that everything changed forever.I actually met her before I met Bryon. We first met at the Fall 2005 Young Republican National Federation Board Meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas. She taught a workshop that I attended on talking to a camera.I never could have known that she would end up being such an important person in my life.She was there with many others on the happiest day of my life and she was the only person with me on the saddest night of my life.The truth is that she deserves her own post but I feel like I can’t accurately write a post about her without sharing information that I am not ready to share yet. And without the whole story, I am not doing the story of our friendship justice.
I want to write more but WordPress seems to be deleting what I am writing as I am writing it. And I am too tired to figure it out.
That means it’s time for some Good Vibrations Gratitude.
These are the five things I am grateful for this week.
Brunch with friends
I like brunch. But I like doing it the Mom way meaning we get there right when brunch starts, usually around 10. It’s a good time. The kids are ready to eat and it’s before the hipsters show up.
I also like that I get to brunch my way now. I prefer brunch is establishments that are not diners. Bryon loved diners and I am not a fan. I feel like diner food is not any better than the food I cook. I like to go to brunch and have something fancy that I could cook but generally don’t have the patience to.
Plus, I don’t like diners because many of them are small and I am claustrophobic. Now I know many other establishments are small. But I can deal with my claustrophobia for fancy brunch. Like, I can tolerate being in a small space but not for generic food that I could make at home.
Bryon was always more of the breakfast fan than me so he would win. That and because the issue wasn’t important enough to me. I am glad I went along with it because diner breakfast always made him happy.
I guess of the “perks” of widowhood is I get to do whatever I want. It’s bittersweet, really.
I had the adult ice coffee with aquafaba and creme brulee French Toast. I had no clue what aquafaba was but the waitress explained it to me. It’s apparently a vegan alternatives to egg whites and apparently putting egg whites into iced coffee is a thing now. The egg whites create the froth. I tried it but I made it clear to the waitress that I was not a vegan. For some reason, I felt that that was important and that the waitress wanted to know.
I always considered myself an iced coffee snob and I had no clue. *shrug*
Advocating for MS
For the second year I got the honor of advocating for people living with Multiple Sclerosis at the New York State Capital. I am not going to elaborate on that because I will be writing a post about that. I have several friends with MS and I am thankful that I get an opportunity to advocate for them.
But I have heard that the deceased communicate through songs on the radio. There are certain songs I hear all the time since Bryon died. There was even a period of time I heard Hall & Oates at least once a day and I don’t spend much time in my car. My deceased husband also seems to really like Michael Jackson, particularly “Billie Jean”, The Police- “I’ll Be Watching You”, Earth Wind and Fire; “September” (I think that is because we got engaged, married and became parents in the month of September), and Berlin’s “Take My Breathe Away” because Top Gun was his favorite movie.
I haven’t heard much in the car for the past couple of months. I just figured that Bryon was done sending those signs. He was going to find a new way to communicate with me. But the past three days have been a Bryon McKim jam session every time I have been in car. It’s nice to know that he hasn’t forgotten about me and will still try to spend time with me in the only way he can now.
Having the courage to cut off my grief hair
I had been wanting a change for awhile. I hemmed and hawed over it for months. I liked my hair long but it was so damaged. The ends felt like straw. I also wanted something different and I have never been a blonde so I went for it. I am a new person so my outside should reflect my inside.
This was a big step for me. I have never been a risk taker but I told myself that it is just hair. It grows back. It can be changed back. But it was also hard because I was attached to that hair. I have hid behind that hair for almost two years. But I decided it was time to get rid of it and shine.
Now I just need to lose some weight and maybe get a tattoo and my physical transformation will be complete.
Today was Bryon’s second birthday in Heaven. You might have read my blog yesterday when I wrote about how it was one year since the funeral and you must be confused as to why I am writing about his birthday. It’s true. His funeral was a day before his birthday. I had to experience a painful first the very next day after the funeral. And the firsts just kept coming. My birthday is in two days, my daughters is next month and our wedding anniversary is at the end of September. This corner of the year will probably always be the roughest five weeks of the year for me.
It seems so unreal that we are celebrating Bryon’s second birthday in Heaven. At times, I am still stunned that this all happened. But I decided that last week that the anniversary of his death will be the sad day. His birthday will be a happy day. So I decided to have a party for our friends to get together and share stories. Instead of dwelling on Bryon’s death, it was time to celebrate that he had lived.
Last year, the day after his funeral, a few of us had dinner at hibachi because that is what we had done for his last living birthday. I was thinking of doing that again but I wanted to include more people and it would be hard to have a lot of people at a hibachi table. I decided that I wanted to release balloons at the cemetery and then have funfetti cheesecake at my house. I wanted to buy a whole cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory. Bryon would have loved that. He loved funfetti cake and cheesecake. It would be perfect. But my friend called the local Cheesecake Factory, they said they couldn’t sell whole funfetti cheesecakes. But that’s okay. I found a recipe online that worked well.
A few of my friends met at the cemetery. One of our friends brought a pennant from Siena College to decorate the grave. The same friend read the prayer of St. Francis which worked well because I did not prepare anything to be said. St. Francis was Bryon’s favorite Saint so he would approve.
My daughter and I brought a bundle of balloons to release. I was very impressed with my daughter. She is not yet three but she understood that the balloons were going to be released and sent to Heaven for Bryon. I was worried that she wasn’t going to understand the concept and that she would get upset but she let the balloons go and seemed happy that they were going to Heaven.
After the cemetery, we went back to my house for pizza, funfetti cheesecake and stories. There also may have been some Moxie tasting. Kimmy Gibber did not like it.
This might be the start of a new tradition. Maybe it won’t. But for the time being, it is comforting to know that I have a group of friends who are like family who want to remember Bryon’s life. And I hold my Albany family close to my heart.