Tag Archives: angels

For the love of music.

23 Nov

This morning, one of my cherished new friends sent this video to me, to help chase some of my sick babies blues away.

She didn’t know that The Beach Boys concert with my family was my favorite concert ever. EVER.

She didn’t know that “God only knows what I’d be without you.” is the phrase that I use to describe how I feel about my husband.

She just knew that it was beautiful and that it featured a feather prominently.

And this brings me to tears; the friendship, the music, all of it.

I hope you enjoy.

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“Show a little faith” and Superman.

13 Jun

A funny thing just happened. Funny as in curious and noteworthy;

I was just cuddling in bed with my husband and the baby. I heard my daughter playing quietly in the next room, not sure when she woke up, but knew she was entertaining herself. But I wanted her. I wanted the four of us to pile into my bed and I wanted to feel whole.

More than wanting it, I needed it. And I said it, out loud. I asked my husband if we could hold on off on getting out from under the covers, and making coffee and starting our routine. Because I wanted my kids in bed with me. Because sometimes, I need a reminder of strength.

And I found my daughter in her room, playing in her Calico Critters dollhouse, setting up little toy mice and meerkats, and I looked into the house,

and this:

photo-15Out of nowhere, sitting between the nursery and the bathroom, was a sign from my my Superman. My strongest of angels.

Thanks, Man of Steel. Now I can start my day.

My Nanny

18 May

I have written on this site, since it’s inception, about my Nanny.

My Nanny was my grandmother on my dad’s side. She was incredibly special to me, and I lost her when I was 13 years old after a furious 6 month battle with cancer.

She is why I have a thing for feathers and lucky pennies.

She taught me about art.

We used to go to museums and at the very end of our visit she would have me pick out the postcard of my very favorite piece of the day.

We used to sit on the big rocks by the pond by her house, next to waving cattails and resting geese, and would sketch our feelings with charcoal.

I would sleep over at her house and she would bring me breakfast in bed with her finest china plates and bowls and crystal glasses for my fresh squeezed juice.

My Nanny taught me about scones and Almondina cookies and Ikura sushi and champagne grapes.

She taught me about The Phantom of the Opera and Into the Woods.

I struggled a lot with my Nanny’s death. She was so young. We had so much more to see, and hear and taste and do and sketch together.

But what I struggle with the most is that she did not live to see me as an adult.

I think about how much she would love my husband; how she would appreciate his gentle way, his artistic abilities, his passion for food and his tenderness. She would have made him her fried chicken and mashed potatoes and would have smiled so contently as he licked his plate clean.

That makes me sad.

I wish my Nanny could see me as a grown woman. As a wife, as a mother. I wish she could see how I pack lunch for my husband and daughter every day, just like she did. How I cook dinner every night. How I eat biscotti and sing lullabies and teach.

But that sadness does not compare to how I feel about how she missed meeting my children.

She would love my children.

And not just because they would be her great-grandchildren, but she would love them for who they are.

My daughter: She would love my girl for her spirit, her feisty personality; how she is so gifted in the arts, both fine and performing; how she enamors strangers with her cuteness and spunk; She would laugh at how, like me, she never stops talking.

My son: She would love my boy for his sweetness; for his reddish hair; for his rolls of pudge and warm, coy smile and the twinkle in his eye; she would love how he eats with great gusto and would love cooking for him.

I do believe in angels. I believe that our loved ones, while maybe not watching every moment of our lives like a movie being projected in a theater, are around us, and weave in and out of our lives and consciousness throughout the years and the milestones and the moments.

Today my Nanny would be 80 years old.

If she were here, we would celebrate her with a cake from the Ultimate Bake Shoppe. We would put on music and I would tell my daughter to say, “Just a little bit of dah-ncing” in my Nanny’s way. We would give her handmade cards and maybe a pretty handkerchief or picture frame with photos of the kids.

We would snuggle up to her softness. We would say, “I love you.”

Today my Nanny would be 80 years old and I miss her very much.

Don’t your feet get cold in the winter time?
The sky won’t snow and the sun won’t shine
It’s hard to tell the night time from the day
You’re losin’ all your highs and lows
Ain’t it funny how the feeling goes away?

Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses?
Come down from your fences, open the gate
It may be rainin’, but there’s a rainbow above you
You better let somebody love you, before it’s too late

That time of day.

14 Mar

You know that time of day,

when you’ve been up since 5:30 am

and not just up but on,

and you are juggling two children at once

and a particularly needy dog

and find yourself scrubbing the floors and filling up cups of orange juice and bowls of donut holes and folding laundry

and not taking a moment to catch your breath?

Maybe, just maybe,

in that very moment

you’ll find

a penny from heaven

in a spot where it just shouldn’t be,

And you know that it will all be OK.

photo 1 photo 2

A Birth Story-My Sequel: Part 2

31 Jan

Perhaps I should back up a bit. As I mentioned, the doctor told me that because of the nature of my contractions,

the difference I was feeling (despite having already been through FOUR false alarms),

I should come in to Labor and Delivery to be checked out. You should know this about me: I am a positive person, I am constantly accusing my husband of being a big ol’ naysayer. But in this case, I was miss “this is ridiculous, why am I going in again, I am going to be pissed to be sent home again, blah da de bla bla”. And remember. I had “Hot Cocoa” on my nails and they were 2/3 chipped off. And, while typically I don’t care about dirty hair, I did a hasty wash, threw on some eyeliner and blush, and called my mom, while in a towel.

“The doctor wants me to come in.” I said sheepishly.

And for the first time, her voice was different. “I think this is it.” She said.

We didn’t tell my husband.

We called my mama bestie to have her “On call” in case we needed her to pick up my daughter from school, and off we went.

Just in case, I wore my lucky underwear and purple socks, but I was still skeptic city.

Upon our arrival at the hospital I was greeted as an old friend; everyone there knew me. The residents and I were on a first name basis. It was embarrassing. But I had to admit, the pain I was feeling was different. And the monitor showed the same. I was having strong contractions every three minutes, regularly.

But, alas, as it has always happened when it comes to me and my labors, my cervix was not opening. Not at all. Not even one centimeter.

So I waited in the bed, for hours, contracting to the point of agony, when I started to cry.

I cried from the pain.

I cried from the uncertainty.

And, most of all, I cried because I hadn’t said a proper goodbye to my daughter.

I had had fantasies of how we’d spend our last night together as a tripod; A special dinner, and then maybe I’d sleep with her that night, since it would be our last time being just us. 

As a side note, late in my pregnancy my kid discovered a PBS kids show called Peg and Cat. The theme goes like this:

It is a show that encourages counting and early math. But the lyrics go

“We are two, na na na na na, Me Plus You, na na na na na…”

and every time I would hear this I would think,

“It’s me plus you, girl. It’s us. What the hell are we going to do with a fourth? And a BOY!?” I still get a lump in my throat when I hear that song.

Anyway, back to the hospital.

I was contracting and thinking and perseverating and all of a sudden, I started to cry.

I cried to my mom, really from the pain. “I can’t go another weekend like this.” I said. And I consider myself to be strong. Emotionally, I may be a basketcase, but pain-wise, I am pretty darn tough. But I just knew, much like the first time around, that it was time for this baby to come out.

At about this time my OBGYN showed up. He confirmed what the residents had said, that my cervix was still closed, but added that it had softened a lot, and said that my contractions were really strong and regular on the monitor, inevitably putting stress on my uterus.

“We’re having a birthday party today.” he said.

And then I cried some more.

Out of relief, out of fear, and out of, pardon my french again, the “What the fuck?!” feeling of having planned everything, every last detail, and having it all turned upside down by a sideways (literally) baby.

And I still hadn’t called my husband!

At that point the doctor offered me an epidural for the pain, but I declined. If i couldn’t experience a natural birth, my dream, I’d at least experience natural labor. And that I did. I am no masochist, but it made me feel like I could, at least, have some control over my body.

And so we called my mama friend. She would watch my daughter, and host a playdate with her son, whom my girl refers to as her “prince charming”. And then we called my husband. He was in a big meeting. He was told to rush out. He asked for permission to go home and change out of his suit. He was told no, there was no time.

I was forced to take off my all of my clothes, including my lucky socks. And so when my husband arrived, handsome and dapper in his suit, I had him put on my lucky socks, in their neon purple glory, under his gray slacks and ultimately under his full scrub attire.

The next bit was a blur; I met with anesthesiologists, got an IV, met my labor nurse…it was really happening. And my nurse, Katherine, held my hand and told me I’d be OK, as I told her how scared I was to go into surgery. How unprepared I felt. How my three and a half year old needed me.  I am very superstitious and her name starting with a K, the same as my Nanny, comforted me. It was a sign, like the signs I had experienced during my first birth. My angels were there. And there were more of them to come.

But then Katherine told me it was time. So my hair was placed in a net and I was placed in a wheelchair and I hugged my mom and husband tightly. It was time. I couldn’t stop shaking. It was time.

Time to meet my son…

(Stay tuned for more…and it involves some more signs from angels and maybe even a little spontaneous singing in the OR)

Oh,

15 Feb

and in case you thought that my Nanny missed out on all of the fun

on what she once told me was her very favorite holiday….

She most certainly did not.

Pennies from heaven

23 Jan

If you know me, you know that I have a thing for feathers.

They mean something to me;

they serve as signs from the Universe and they remind me that my lost loved ones are near.

They are a part of my deeply superstitious nature,

and I believe in their power.

But, feathers are not the only symbols that have a deep, profound place in my being.

There are, in fact, many signs that I keep an eye out for,

to let me know that my angels are watching,

or that strength is near

or that everything is going to be OK.

So, while I’m on the lookout for feathers,

my eyes are also peeled for pennies.

My Nanny also had a thing for pennies.

When she’d find a heads up penny on the ground, she would call them “Pennies from heaven”.

I wrote about this in my college Thesis,

entitled, “Just a Little Bit of Dancing: A Cubist Family Portrait Through Writing.”,

which was a collage of love and life and loss in my dad’s family.

My Nanny’s love of pennies was something that many family members would mention when interviewing them for my Thesis works.

It was something that I held on to.

I grew to love pennies,

and to check them out, whenever I would spot them.

In the weeks leading up to my finding out that I was pregnant, I saw scores of feathers;

They were everywhere I’d look. I knew that they meant something.

But, just in case I needed a little extra proof, my Nanny left me one extra clue,

not only to let me know that yes, I was expecting,

but that she would be there for me,

and with me,

every step of the way.

The night before I was to receive my pregnancy test results,

I was jumping out of my skin. I could focus on nothing else, especially not the graduate work that I had to complete. But, I had to do some reading for a “Vernacular writing” seminar, and had not yet been able to find the book I needed, so I put all of my energy into the quest to find it.

Finally, I was able to track it down at my local library, but only in large print. Fine.

That would do.

I perused the large print book shelves until I found the title that I needed, and when I grabbed the book, I noticed that there was a slight space between some of the pages.

I folded it open to find that there was something stuck in page 36.

A penny.

Heads up.

From the year my husband was born.

Nanny was telling me that she was with me. That it would all be OK.

And it was.

Nanny came around throughout my pregnancy, leaving feathers to let me know that all was well.

One, most powerful instance came when she visited both me and my dad.

In trying to find something to wear, I reached into the back of my closet and found a sweater that she had bought for me before she passed away, nearly 12 years earlier. She allowed me to pick it out from the Adult GAP, which was, of course, a really big deal at the time. And, because it was something I needed to grow into,

it still fit.

I wore that sweater on a date night with my husband.

He brought me, on a whim, to a neighborhood sushi restaurant.

He didn’t realize that it was the sushi restaurant I had always gone to with my Nanny and Poppy. It was our special place. They were the people with whom I tried Ikura and green tea ice cream, and it was just our thing.

So sitting there, in that back room,

at the same table that I had shared with my Nanny,

in the sweater that she had bought for me over a decade earlier,

I felt her.

I felt her presence.

I felt her excitement.

I felt her love.

I was anxious to tell my dad, and called him first thing the next morning.

My mom picked up the phone, so I began to tell her the story, unable to contain my emotions.

As I was saying the words, “Nanny is around.”, my dad picked up the phone, interrupting us,

saying the exact same thing.

“Bex, Nanny came into my dream last night.”

And he went on to tell me that she was in the dream, at the hospital when the baby was born, and that he saw her holding my child,

a little girl,

with blue eyes.

I cried.

She was, most certainly, around.

At that time, I said, “Well, I believe it. But, let’s wait and see how my baby turns out to be. We will see if Nan was right, after all.”

5 months later,

my baby was born,

during a scary, unplanned C-Section

as my Nanny’s favorite song filled the room,

having come on the radio,

just in time for her to wail along.

She is a girl.

She has blue eyes.

Nanny was right.

She always was.

And so, this week, when I started to see pennies around, I didn’t have to question whether or not it was my Nanny.

I just knew.

So, it didn’t come as a great surprise to me when my father picked up the phone in the morning,

to tell me that Nanny had visited his dream once more, and that he got to watch her playing with my daughter.

Nor did it come as a surprise to him when I told him that I had been feeling her around.

That I had been seeing feathers.

And pennies.

One of my students even brought in a book for me to read, about a grandparent and grandchild, and their love for lucky pennies.

Okay, Nan.

I get it.

Hi.

But, no sign was as powerful as the one she sent me last night,

as I saw my daughter crawl over to an object on the floor and begin to play with it.

I ran to grab the small trinket from her hands,

before it found it’s way to her mouth,

and had to gasp when I saw what it was.

A lucky penny.

Held heads up.

From the year that I was born.

A penny from heaven.

***

If you know me, you know that I have a thing for my angels.

They mean the world to me.

I depend on them for strength and I believe that they watch over my daughter,

as she plays each day

and as she sleeps each night.

And no matter what you believe,

I know, in my bones,

that there is a reason why these signs appear for me;

they keep my loved ones alive,

and let me know that they are not missing anything about this most special time in our lives.

And for this, I am not only blessed,

but I am also

lucky.