Tag Archives: pennies from heaven

A great miracle happened t(here).

17 Dec

There is this thing that happens as you grow up;

your family traditions stop being the rituals you have customarily shared with your parents and elders, but they start to evolve, slowly, into things that are perhaps unique and new.

Last night was the first night of Hanukkah.

Instead of celebrating with parents or family members or friends, as we typically would, it was just the four of us. My little family.

And really, that is how I remember celebrating Hanukkah with my family of four as a chlid. Sure, I remember the big family gatherings, but my most vivid and evocative memories are of chanting the blessings with my parents, wearing matching flannel nightgowns with my little sister, (always with ruffles at the seams) and instead of singing “Az ‘egmor beshir mizmor, Khanukat hamizbeakh.” I thought that it was actually “Azegmore, and hear me snore.”

So last night, after dinner, my daughter got dressed in a flannel nightgown, with ruffles at the seams, and I held my son as I chanted the blessings (since I am really the only one in my house now who knows them all). And it was different, but it was lovely. We have a mountain of presents for my daughter, from grandparents, great-grandparents and friends, but last night we gave her our “big gift”: a blanket that has a hood that looks like a cat and glows in the dark. She saw a commercial for it on the television and had been asking for it for weeks, and so when she pulled this 19 dollar gift out of the Hanukkah bag she squealed with delight. And I could tell that she really appreciated her gift. It didn’t get lost in a sea of excitement and wrapping paper. She wore it and folded it and watched it light up. And every time I checked on her last night, she was in a different position in bed, cuddling her new blanket in some way.

It was a strange feeling, to be the grown up in all of this; the one to light the candles and say the blessings and give the gifts. And it stuck with me throughout the night. As I was tidying up the kitchen before bed, a penny fell from the sky. Now, I don’t know that it actually fell from the sky, but it fell from somewhere above and knocked me in the head before landing, face up, on the ground beside me.

A penny from heaven. A 2014 penny, at that, which seemed particularly apt in the light of yesterday’s words about this past year.

We are growing up around here. And that’s ok.

Happy Hanukkah to those who celebrate,

and to anyone and everyone else, I wish you a year of light, love,

and maybe even a miracle or two.

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

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.