Widow at a wedding

This past weekend, two of my closest friends got married.  I love these two people so much. I can not stress enough how much of an honor that my daughter and I got to be a part of their day.  The we were with Bryon and me on the best days of my life and they didn’t leave my side through the worst days of my life.  While I would do the same for them, I  prefer that the days be happy. 

The wedding was held at the lovely Otesaga Resort in Cooperstown, NY. I wish I could share more details but I was chasing after my daughter.  Please take my word for it when I say that this wedding was epic.  

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“I do myself, Mommy!”

 

The weather was warm for December.

Everything was beautiful; the bride, her dress, her hair, the music, the guests.  

The food was amazing.  And there was an open bar.  

I got to see lots of old friends and I made some new friends.

But my heart was heavy all night.  Because Bryon was not there.

This is not the first wedding I have gone to since Bryon’s passing.  My Maine best friend got married last summer.  I meant to blog about it because it was a beautiful ceremony that deserves it’s own post and I hope to write about it before I visit her in Ann Arbor this spring.  

But that wedding was in Maine and that was my turf.  Some of my old friends I saw at that wedding had never even met Bryon (though that doesn’t lessen their empathy).  Both the bride and groom had lost their mothers in their 20’s and the only time I felt sad was when the father of groom gave a speech and mentioned the groom’s mother and if she were there.  My eyes teared up because it made me think of how Bryon isn’t going to be there when my daughter gets married.

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I was very anxious about this wedding but I kept those feelings to myself. I felt selfish for even having these feelings. Weddings are happy affairs.  There is very little I do not share with the bride but I wasn’t going to burden her with my grief leading up to her big day.  Especially when I know it was hard on her that Bryon wasn’t there.  

(And to note, I have discussed this with the bride after the fact.  She is not going to be blindsided by reading this).

A large portion of these guests knew Bryon.  There was no way I could even pretend he wasn’t dead or that I wasn’t a widow.  All through the night people approached me and said kind things about Bryon which I did appreciate.  Because enough time has passed from his death where sometimes I think people forget about him and the last thing anyone who is grieving wants is for their loved one to be forgotten.  

I have come to the conclusion that it was a good thing my daughter was there.  I spent the night chasing her and that prevented me from getting drunk and crying on the bathroom floor.  And that is not a flattering look for anyone.  Though chasing her did hinder my ability to take photos.

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“Mommy, why do I have two forks?”

There were so many couples at the wedding though I don’t know if that is true or if that was just my perception.  I started thinking back to my wedding day.  How pretty I felt in my dress.  How I felt when we had our first dance. We were so in love.  

There was no way that I could have foreseen exactly what “in sickness and in health” would entail.  Bryon would tell me that I nailed that vow.

I started to wonder if I would ever feel that way again.  Will I ever love again?  Will I ever love someone enough to marry them?  Will I have a second first dance and cut another cake?  Five years ago, when I married Bryon, I thought that was it.  We were going to grow old together.  Forever and always.  I never dreamed that this would be a possibility.

I know that I do want to love again.  I just don’t feel like I am done yet.  But is it even possible to feel that way about someone else?   Is it a glimmer of hope or an impossibility?

I honestly don’t know.

I know is that I need to learn to cope.  It is frustrating when you want to be happy and instead you are an emotion mess. 

Bryon might be gone but the sun stills shines.  My daughter still laughs.  There are people that I love that are still here.  There are still happy times.  I just need to accept that there will always be some sadness attached to all the happy moments.

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Good Vibrations Gratitude Friday #6

Okay, I know I skipped last week.  I was too grumpy and that is all I can say about that.

1.  Veterans Day–  This could have been it’s own post but I was grumpy and depressed and didn’t write it.  Grief is horrible like that.  But I didn’t want to neglect saying that I am thankful for all those who have fought for our country and for the freedoms we have.  I appreciate the veterans in my family.  My father is a Vietnam veteran and both of my grandfather’s were WWII veterans.  Many of my friends are veterans as well.

My father and my grandfathers.

2.  Birthdays– Two weeks ago my daughter and I had two very important birthday parties.  The first was the first birthday of the son of Bryon’s best friend.  The second birthday party was for my daughter’s godfather, who was also Bryon’s law partner.

Days like this are bittersweet.  Bryon was always much better at  me at prioritizing social engagements than I was.  He had no problem saying no whereas I would over commit and spread myself thin.  He use to tell me that I was trying to “put 10 pounds of sh*t into a 5 pound bag.”  But as I traveled between these two birthday parties, I knew Bryon wouldn’t have missed either of them.  I couldn’t help but feel his absence.

I feel grateful that so many people still include my daughter and I in their lives.

3. I am grateful for my cousin.  Yesterday was her birthday.  I am thankful we only live two hours apart and that our kids can grow up together.  She is amazing.

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Her profession even shows how amazing she is.  She is a hospice nurse.  While Bryon didn’t make it to hospice and died in the hospital, I can attest that end of life care is very important.  Not only to the dying patient but their loved ones.

4.  My friends.  Seriously, nothing would get done around myself without them.  I have a core group that will drop everything to help me.  And I am lucky because I am an overwhelmed widowed mother who works full-time.

5.  My childhood friend.  One of my best friends from childhood sent me a message yesterday.  I haven’t responded because I was busy with work and wanted to write a well-thought out message and I failed.  She and I had been friends since we were little and we were particularly close in middle school.  It was a time when we all had spiral perms and wore Hard Rock Cafe T-shirts and the Baby-Sitters Club were everything.  I will say that her spiral perms were always better than mine because her mother was a hairdresser and my perms came from a box.

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I don’t think any pictures exist of us.  I wish they did so I could post it here.

I moved away after 8th grade in 1993 and while we wrote the occasional letter, we pretty much fell out of touch.  We later found each other on Facebook.  We got married around the same time and we both had daughters one month apart.

So to my old friend, if you are reading this-  I am grateful you are still in my life and I owe you a response to your message.  I really need to see you when I am in the Boston area next.

Good Vibrations Gratitude Friday #3

Every week I like to look back on five things that I am thankful for.  Here are this week’s Top 5.

  1.  I am thankful I got to celebrate a birthday of a good friend.  (I have yet to come up with a good blog name for her yet).  She is one of the kindest people I have ever met and I am so lucky to have her in my life.

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    Happy Birthday!
  2. On Monday one of my best friends and I took the day off and went to the Berkshires for the day.  Our first stop was the Lee Outlets where I spent more money than I care to admit and most of it was on my daughter.  We had plans to drive to Central Massachusetts to eat lunch at 1761 Old Mill Restaurant but when we punched it into Google maps, we learned it was closed.  Neither of us thought to check the website to see if it was open.  We both assumed it was open and, well, we all know what happens when you assume.  We didn’t let that ruin the day.  We had lunch at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Massachusetts and looked at the shops.

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    The Red Lion Inn
  3. We also went to the Norman Rockwell Museum and I am thankful that I live in an area that is so rich in culture.

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    Norman Rockwell Museum 2017
  4. I am thankful for the fact that I live in a time where my phone is a computer and I can play cartoons on demand.  What did our parents do when they needed to keep us preoccupied?  My daughter asks for my phone so she can watch “Girl and Bear” on Netflix.  “Girl and Bear” is actually called “Masha and the Bear.”  I never paid attention and I thought it was cute.  And then I watched it and I personally think the girl is a little monster.  Or a trouble maker at the very least.1950s+source+reddit_281ca6_4813703
  5. I am thankful for one of my college friends.  There was some bee/hornet/wasp thing flying around my house today.  It’s presence immediately puts me out of my comfort zone.  I have a zero tolerance policy for creepy crawly things in my house.  I posted about it on Facebook because I like to #overshare.  It was suggested I leave it alone but that wasn’t going to happen.  If you are a “leave it alone” person, the more power to you.  But I am not.  I was so scared of this bee/hornet/wasp thing and my college friend commented on my Facebook post that I should spray some hairspray from a distance.  When the hairspray dries, it immobilizes their wings.  It worked!  I saw these same bee/hornet/wasp things outside last week so I called the exterminator to set up an appointment to make sure there isn’t a nest near my house.

What are you thankful for this week?

Good Vibrations Gratitude Friday #2

1. The first thing I am thankful for this week is that I got to celebrate my friends birthday party.  I don’t usually use names in this blog so I will refer to her as the Slap Bet Commissioner.  She had a lovely birthday party at a bar called Wellington’s in Downtown Albany.  I got a baby-sitter, got a chance to catch up with friends and I even enjoyed a vodka club with a splash of cranberry because I am watching my macros.  I am thankful that the Slap Bet Commissioner included me in her special day.

 

2. The second thing I am thankful for was being invited to my friend’s Oktoberfest party. It was a fun afternoon with good food and good company.  And I even learned that there is a book genre called the Existential Detective novel or something like that.  I also learned about LARPing which is Live Action Role Playing.  Do any of you LARP?

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3. I already blogged about it but the third thing I am thankful for was our trip to the Springfield Museums because I got to see my cousin, her kids and my uncle.  My cousin’s son is 5 months older than my daughter so they get along really well.  It makes me happy that our kids are going to grow up together.  It gives me the warm and fuzzies.

4.  The fourth thing I am thankful for is my gym. I joined an awesome gym recently.  I don’t know the actually technical fitness terms to describe the workouts but there are a lot of weights.  And the workouts change every day so you never get bored.  I can feel my arms and legs getting stronger.  Everyday is a challenge but it is worth it.

5.  The fifth thing I am thankful for this week is that I am able to watch my daughter at dance class each week.  I am in awe of my daughter because she learns things so quickly and I love watching her grow and learn.

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And who can resist this girl?

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What are you thankful for this week?

Good Vibrations Gratitude Friday #1

I have been keeping a gratitude journal and I decided to do something different in the blog.  I decided on Friday to share five things I was thankful for over the past week.  Why did I pick the title “Good Vibrations”?  That will make sense by the end of the blog post. Trust me.

I am thankful for my daughter.  She is amazing and I don’t know how I would have gotten out of bed, especially in the early months if it wasn’t for her. Now I have no choice because she usually comes into my bed and yells “WAKE UP MOMMY!”  It is amazing to see her grow and learn every day.  She is so independent (“I do myself Mommy”) and she is a little fashionista.  I just hope I don’t let her down and that she grows up happy and fulfilled.

 

 

I am thankful for Starbucks Nonfat Pumpkin Spice Lattes.  I have been counting my macros and even though it uses up a lot of carbs, it is worth it.  Because Pumpkin Spice in the Fall is everything.  #america  #fall

I am thankful for my cat because he is cute and he makes me happy.  And I kind of like that he mostly just likes me.  It makes me feel special because I am in his world.  Or maybe I am only special in his world because I feed him.  He really loves me at night because that is when I give him a can of fancy feast.  That started out as a treat, but it is turned into every night.  Oh well.

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Boehner McKim #bestlifepossible

4. I am thankful that I live in this country during this time period.  I am thankful that information is so easily available and accessible.  I am thankful for running water and plumbing.  I take for granted that poop will get flushed away.  There might be a lot of bad in the world but I am determined to focus on the positive.

5.  And last but certainly not least, I am thankful for my tribe.  Because they are awesome as demonstrated on my Facebook timeline.  Kimmy Gibbler tagged me in a post with a video of Marky Mark from 1991 and all of our friends liked it and/or commented.  I love that my friends are not afraid to get silly.

So I am sharing this here.  Just in case anyone needs a Friday morning boost.  Because if you do not like this song then…I don’t know.  I just can’t fathom why anyone would not like this song.

 

What are you thankful about this week?

Double standards

I have a lot of pet peeves.

I don’t like it when people block intersections.

I don’t like people who stand too close.  I value my personal space and am big on people respecting each other’s “hula hoops”.

People who don’t cover their mouths when they cough.

People who rush into an elevator without waiting for people to exit the elevator.  I may have picked up that pet peeve from Bryon.

People who refuse to apologize when they are clearly in the wrong.  There are bonus pet peeve points if that person says something to the affect of “I am sorry that there was a misunderstanding” instead of saying they were sorry for what they did or “I am sorry you feel that way” because you may as well say “I am sorry you are mad”.

But the thing is probably my biggest pet peeve is the double standard.  You know, people who have one set of rules for themselves and another set for others.

I was thinking about a situation that illustrated this concept.  It consists of something that can be quite controversial- the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees Rivalry.

I am from New England.  I was born in Boston, lived in the suburbs until I started high school (though outside the 128 loop) and I lived in Maine from the ages of 15 to 30.  So I am unapologetically a Boston sports fan.  Because I am from there.  Duh.

Now I live in New York.  I am still a Boston sports fan because I am from there.  But the majority of my friends here root for the New York Yankees.  Some of the people I love the most root for the team I like the least.   Because they are from here.  Duh.

My Facebook newsfeed is pretty interesting when the teams play each other.  It’s actually pretty awesome.

Usually we joke back in forth, all in good jest.  It’s great.  Because the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry makes baseball fun.  We love to hate each others teams and I am sure there are no other teams we would rather hate than whatever team is opposite of you in this rivalry.  And I am sorry to all the other sports fans who don’t have the privilege to experience this rivalry.

But I have met people that could not handle the jest.  I would barely say anything and then get an earful about how horrible Red Sox fans are and how polite and courteous Yankees fans are.  While I have witnessed firsthand a Yankees fan getting heckled in Fenway (ironically we were playing the Baltimore Orioles that night) I was told that this would never happen at Yankee Stadium.

I am sorry at what I am about to say.  Actually I am not sorry.  I don’t care what team you root for or for what sport, every team has asshole fans.  I don’t believe for one second that I could go to Yankee Stadium wearing a Red Sox shirt and not get heckled.  I would expect it.  And as long as no one gets hurt, who really cares?

But the thing that was particularly frustrating was that if I even mentioned my team, I would get barraged with comments about how horrible my team and it’s fan are.  But I would get shut down when I tried to defend myself.  Personally it got very tiring being around this person. So I just dealt with it because I had nothing to prove and didn’t need to waste my energy.

Bryon was a Red Sox fan but while he had his teams that he loved, he was still able to look at all sports objectively.  Bryon was the first one to tell me if I was being oversensitive.  I was a homesick New England girl after all.  But in this situation, he pointed out that while this person was busy calling me a rude fan that that person was really displaying the behavior of a rude fan.  He also thought this person was insecure and would try to bully me on other occasions but that is another story for another time.

Why did I go through a long drawn out story that I am pretty sure is going to get me defriended on Facebook by a few people this morning?  Or at the very least, the recipient of a few rude comments? Because it this story is a good illustration of the double standard.  One rule applied to me, the Red Sox fan and another rule applied to this person, a Yankees fan.  At the time, it was incredibly frustrating and annoying but now I think it’s just silly.

After losing Bryon, there are more important things to worry about.  On Facebook I had several friends at the Yankees game the other night.  And I liked seeing those photos because I love seeing people out enjoying life and that is a beautiful thing.  Because life is too short.  Be passionate about your team.  Just don’t be too much of a dick about it.  (To my readers who never knew Bryon personally, “Don’t be a dick” was his catchphrase).

This story also reminds me of a Saturday Night Live skit from 1992 where Stuart Smalley says that when you point a finger, you have three pointing back at you and a thumb pointing up at God or something.  It inspired me to find a video of it which you can find here.

But double standards can be real problems in relationships.

Like the friend who takes another for granted.   It’s a problem when Bob never makes time for Bill but then expects Bill to drop everything when Bob wants Bill to tag along.

It’s also a problem in families where one child and one set of grandchildren is favored over the other.  I could write more about this but then I would be sitting here for hours.  That might be for another time.  Or maybe I will keep it in my personal journal.

And while I do ascribed to the theory that fair is not always equal, there should not be a clear discrepancy of treatment between two individuals.  And if you find yourself in that predicament with the shorter straw, just remember that there are no laws stating who you have to keep in your life.

And while playoff tensions may be high, don’t give up on your friend who may root for another team, whichever team that is.  Just grab a beer and enjoy the game.  Because that is what Bryon would do.

A third birthday fiesta

We celebrated my daughters third birthday this past weekend.  It was a small celebration with the Albany family, but we are still a pretty crazy bunch.  Celebrations like this are very bittersweet without Bryon, but we still had a good time.  I was tired, but very thankful for those in my daughters life.