Aunt DoDo

extended family

This week our family lost a very special person. Aunt Shirley, (DoDo) passed away on Wednesday.  Aunt Do, as I liked to call her, was 92 years old. She lived a long, happy life surrounded by the people she loved.

At her funeral on Friday, several of my “cousins” and family members spoke.  I wrote cousins in quotes deliberately because everyone who spoke about Aunt Do, said the same thing….. It didn’t matter how you were related to her, because in her eyes, you were her family. Do Do had no children of her own.  She had five sisters, who all passed away before her. Their children were her nephews and nieces.  Those nephews and nieces married, bringing in even more family members….and then they had their own children… creating more cousins, nephews and nieces…..and all of us – whether related to her by blood or not, were her relatives and no matter how you fit into this “family puzzle,” she treated you as if you were her favorite.

As she was eulogized that afternoon, every person who was there mentioned that the special treatment was just for them all the while knowing that she treated everyone of us in that same special way.

My relationship to Aunt Do is quite “far removed.” My father’s brother is married to DoDo’s niece Dale. No direct bloodline there for me. Dale’s cousin Sandy, was married to Libby. They had children and those children and I consider ourselves cousins.  Again….not related by any direct bloodlines, but connected by love and the strength of our huge extended family.  Add the husbands and kids and we get even further removed but my boys adored her and just knew her as their aunt.

That was just DoDo’s way. She had a knack for making you feel like you were the most special person in the room. When she made cookies, she hide a special can “just for me” – all the while having “secret” cans for just about everyone at the party, telling everyone the same thing. We were all special to her and she let you know it.

She loved family gatherings and she must be beaming up there in heaven right now because that love, that she helped to create has created so much more than just a family, but a family who are also friends and she was one of the dearest friends to all of us.

My Aunt Dale told me that the night before she died, she was laying in her bed and calling out the names “Al” and “Ellie” over and over again.  Al was her husband who died when I was only two years old.  Ellie was my mom. That gave me so much comfort knowing that she was looking for her loved ones to help her move on.  There were definitely no shortage of loved ones there waiting for her and I am sure she was welcomed with open arms.

Love you Aunt Do.  Give my mom a kiss from me.

Mother’s Day

dragon fly

It is Mother’s Day and as I sit and read all of the beautiful tributes to mom’s on Facebook this morning, I also see just how many of us are missing our mother’s today. On my way to church this morning, I was talking to myself….like I often do, and I asked my mom to let me know that she was thinking of me today too. I was hoping that I’d get a “sign” from her… maybe a song like the time I left the cemetery after visiting her.

My two minute ride to church didn’t really give me an opportunity for that though but while I was sitting in my pew at mass, right before the homily, I looked down and there was a penny. Laying by my foot. “Pennies From Heaven” crossed my mom. I picked it up and held it through the Mother’s Day Blessing. I know…crazy me, always looking for signs. I know they are out there and whether or not they really mean anything, at least for me, they give me comfort.

I guess that although the pain and grief lessens all of the time, we never, ever stop missing our loved ones so these signs are just ways for me to remember.

Over the last year, I began following the story about a little girl named Lily. She was a first grader who was diagnosed with DIPG, an incurable brain tumor. Unfortunately she passed away about a month ago. Her mother shared a story on her facebook page this week. It is a great story to read on those days when we just wonder, “why………”

The Water Bug Story

Down below the surface of a quiet pond lived a little colony of water bugs. They were a happy colony, living far away from the sun. For many months they were very busy, scurrying over the soft mud on the bottom of the pond. They did notice that every once in a while one of their colony seemed to lose interest in going about with its friends. Clinging to the stem of a pond lily, it gradually moved out of sight and was seen no more.

“Look!” said one of the water bugs to another, “One of our colony is climbing up the lily stalk. Where do you think she’s going?” Up, up, up it slowly went… Even as they watched, the water bug disappeared from sight. Its friends waited and waited but it didn’t return…

“That’s funny!” said one water bug to another… ” Wasn’t she happy here?” asked a second… “Where do you suppose she went?” wondered a third… No one had an answer. They were greatly puzzled.

Finally one of the water bugs gathered its friends together. “I have an idea. The next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk must promise to come back and tell us where he or she went and why.” “We promise” they said solemnly.

One spring day not long after the very water bug who had suggested the plan found himself climbing up the lily stalk. Up, up, up he went. Before he knew what was happening, he had broken through the surface of the water and fallen into the broad and free lily pad above.

When he awoke, he looked about with surprise. He couldn’t believe what he saw. A startling change had come over his old body. His movement revealed four silver wings and a long tail. Even as he struggled, he felt an impulse to move his wings… The warmth of the sun soon dried the moisture from his new body. He moved his wings again and suddenly found himself above the water.

He had become a dragonfly. Swooping and dipping in great curves, he flew through the air. He felt exhilarated in the new atmosphere.

By and by the new dragonfly landed happily on a lily pad to rest. Then it was that he chanced to look below to the bottom of the pond. Why, he was right above his old friends, the water bugs! There they were scurrying around, just as he had been doing some time before.

Then the dragonfly remembered the promise. without thinking, the dragonfly darted down. Suddenly he hit the surface of the water and bounced away. Now that he was a dragonfly, he could no longer go into the water…

“I can’t return!” he said in dismay. “At least I tried. But I can’t keep my promise. Even if I could go back, not one of the water bugs would know me in my new body. I guess I’ll just have to wait until they become dragonflies too. Then they’ll understand what has happened to me, and where I went.”

And the dragonfly winged off happily into its wonderful new world of sun and air…

Sometimes Dogs Just Know….

This sweet little teacup poodle just seems to know where to be…

Birthdays

time is like a river

Yesterday was my 45th birthday. It was a great day. My dad and mom always told me that they could probably count on one hand how many times it rained on my birthday.  I have been lucky with that. Spring is my favorite season, May is my favorite month and being born on May Day has always felt special.

DJ’s birthday is April 30th. The day before mine. This year he turned 18.  A few people have asked me if I feel “older” now that I am 45. I joked because now, I am closer to 50 than I am to 40!  I don’t feel it though.  Several people told me I don’t “look it” (not sure what 45 is supposed to look like) but as long as I keep busy and feel young that is what matters.

Truly, what makes me feel old is this….
My son is 18 years old. I am now the parent of an adult. An ADULT!! Everyone tells you to enjoy your children when they are young because “it goes by so fast.”  They were right! So my advice to all of you with young children is the same.  Enjoy everyday. It goes by in a blink of an eye!

Our Staycation

staycation

On April 3, I decided that I would not be writing daily on my blog. It is funny, some nights, I go to bed thinking that I forgot to do something for the day! It got to be such a habit for me.

I have still written several times this month and posted stories of kindness. I still read other bloggers entries and when I am feeling inspired or whimsical, like tonight, I sit down and write.

Tonight ends our Spring Break.  Back to reality tomorrow morning when that alarm goes off at 6am. Back to schedules and routines.  I got used to being at home.  We had a “staycation” this year.  No trip for us.  Drew was lucky enough to be invited to Great Wolf Lodge with the family of one of his good friends. DJ was busy with baseball.

Drew started the week off on a high note with his Spartan Race.  The weather was gorgeous and we knew if the whole week could be like that, it wouldn’t matter that we were staying home and not going anywhere.  Well, it wasn’t.  We had torrential rain on Monday and SNOW flurries two days!

At least it forced me to get some Spring Cleaning done – nowhere near as much as I had hoped to do, but some. The Veterans came and picked up a lot of “stuff” that was cluttering up the rooms.  I always joke that the house feels lighter after a donation pick up.

I was lucky enough to get to celebrate my best friend’s birthday by taking her to lunch. I did some collections for the Prom Dress Drive and for the local food pantry.  Dave and I used some gift cards we had been saving for awhile, and got to see a movie and have lunch.

I got to experience everyone’s vacations through Facebook. When I realized that DJ’s Spring break won’t ever fall at the same time as ours, it motivated me to look into a trip over our holiday break from school. Maybe it is something to strive for.  Looks like I need to sell a lot more jewelry!! :) :)

ReesSpecht Life

I had to share this beautiful story. Credit to Miller Place Rocky Point Patch.

Always remember to Pay it Forward.  You never know how you will touch the life of another person.

http://patch.com/new-york/millerplace-rockypoint/man-inspired-reesspecht-life-leaves-waitress-7000-percent-tip

3000 dollar tip

27 Years

remember me

Last night I went to my 27th highschool reunion. We never had a 25th and a few classmates got together and began planning this one.

At first, I balked at the price and decided that I wasn’t going because I already kept in touch with a lot of highschool friends through Facebook and the ones that I remained close to, I saw fairly regularly.  Then, an old friend, Kelly sent me a message asking if I was going.  We had been so close during school but sadly, had rarely seen each other since. She told me about a few more friends who were going and I changed my mind.  Dave refused to go. I tried encouraging him to join me since it was his class too, but he didn’t enjoy highschool and was pretty adamant about not going.  That wasn’t going to stop me though.

Kelly, who actually lives less than ten miles away, picked me up and it was as if not a year had passed since we had seen each other. We talked about how quickly time flies and how life sometimes “gets in the way.” We have lived so close to each other for all of these years and hadn’t seen each other in more than twenty!

There was quite a mix of classmates there. Only about 85 out of our class of 500 showed up but it was still really great to see them. Some of them I had seen around town and been in touch with, but others…let’s just say I was glad they were wearing name tags!! I was never a “cliquey” person and had friends in all different “groups.”  I wasn’t the popular girl, but I was far from a recluse!

It was great to see all of these “cliques” merging together last night.  Everyone has grown up.  :) Some of us, like myself, have students in college or on their way! Others, are only just beginning their families. Some single, some divorced and a few like me, married to their highschool sweethearts.

Now, planning for our 30th has already begun. Hopefully we will get a lot more classmates at that one. It really is great to see how our lives have evolved and what we interesting grownups we have become.

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