Tag Archives: dad

Day 315: f*ing friday :: freedom

11 Nov

Today continues the weekly series, F*ing Fridays, which will coincidentally occur on Friday. I mentioned some of my favorite F words back on Day 5, including: Fearless, Fabulous, Fine, Fun, Faith, Freedom, Forgiveness, to name a Few.

Last week I dove into the word Fast-lane.

Today’s F*ing Friday is dedicated to the word:

As in, home sweet home.

Veterans Day.
My grandfather served in the military.  My father served in the military too.

Cousins and even my sister served.  I did not.  It was never a fit for me.

For one, I really hate being yelled at or told what to do.  And, I’ve seen enough movies to know I wouldn’t survive basic training.  Plus, those shoes?

I blame my creative gene.  It causes me to bristle when told there is only one way to do things, to follow, to step in line.  When I am told there is only one way to do things, well… that’s all I need to muster up enough ingenuity to prove that rule wrong.

I’ve always been this way I guess.
Makes for a great artist.  Or calligrapher.  Or oil painter.  Or marketer.  All of which I can do.

But defend, protect and serve?
Well, let’s just say while I have a full expression of the shoe gene the military gene skipped over me.

Which makes me even more thankful and grateful to those who serve.
And, their families.

Today as we unlocked the door to our Florida apartment for the winter I had many thoughts race through my mind about home.

Just where is home?
I have personally lived in many homes.

The warm and loving four bedroom suburban Idaho house with dinner on the table on time every night, a hug before bed and a Christmas full of presents.

My first apartment out of college shared with two other roommates on the edge of Southeast Washington D.C.

The first purchase as a married couple — a palatial unfinished loft in Boston with 22-foot ceilings and enough design challenges to fill Nate Berkus television programming for a year.

A tiny one-bedroom cocoon in my best friend’s parents Massachusetts house to shelter me through the storm — a.k.a. my divorce.

An island bed and breakfast in Vineyard Haven — without the breakfast — where Justin and I rekindled our high school love and began our new life together.

A winter abode in Naples — the land of water fountains, golf courses and white sand beaches — to hibernate away the cold months.

Most of these I rented.
One of these I owned, and then f*ing lost.
And then, one found me in a perfect place I never could have dreamed of.

All I called home.
But I probably wouldn’t have had any of these options without those who served with their time and their lives in the military.

Like my grandfather, and my father, and my cousins and my sister.  And yours too.

Like the ones we celebrate today.
Thank you vets, for all of my homes.



Day 125: mary, mary

5 May

Today is my father’s birthday.
And this is his mother, my grandmother:

For a while she was called “Mangra” only because my sister switched the two syllables around in her little toddler brain.

Other than that short-lived mispronunciation, she was known as Grandma Mary.

With Mother’s Day upon us, I am reminded I no longer have a living mother or grandmother. My lineage of direct female ascendants has dwindled to just my sister and myself.

I certainly have fond memories of time spent with my mother, Mama Sling.  But, today, being the day of my father’s birth, I was thinking about Grandma Mary.

There’s Grandma Mary’s infamous baked beans recipe, her perfectly teased hair, her stacks of People magazine, and that finger nail polish!  I remember the day she told me it was about time I should start sucking in my tummy, because every girl wants a flat tummy!

There’s also one specifically special memory I have from spending a summer afternoon with Grandma Mary.

I was probably around the age of eight and given the very responsible task of helping Grandma Mary organize the numerous drawers in her pea green colored kitchen.

As I was stacking pencils, checking to see if pens still had ink by drawing circle after circle on pads of paper, and making piles of papers, I pulled out a black and white photo of a beautiful young woman in a striking dress.

As I held the photo in my hand, it felt precious, like a photo from a glossy magazine spread.

With complete seriousness, I questioned Grandma Mary about the photo. “Who is this pretty woman?”

Grandma Mary howled with laughter and looked at me with surprise. 

I didn’t think it was a funny question.
I just wanted to know who the pretty lady was with the really stylish dress.

Turns out, it was Grandma Mary.
Before she was a Grandma, or Mangra, or even a Mama.

I couldn’t believe my grandma once looked like that gorgeous lady. I guess it was the first time in my life that I really understood what it meant to “age” and grow older, not just taller with each passing year.

We spent the rest of the afternoon in Grandma Mary’s kitchen. 

Just us two girls. 
It was a rare moment, me having hoards of cousins, aunts and uncles.

It felt magical and mystical as she told me stories of her youth and explained all the photos in her keepsake drawer.

She even showed me the birth certificate of her babies, the ones that didn’t make it in this world.  The twins, the still birth.  I can still see those little baby feet in black ink that were pressed on the weathered page.

Looking back, I’m sure my grandmother was doing my mother and father a favor, helping watch over me on some summery afternoon while school was out.

In my little heart that day was precious.
Grandma Mary unveiled more than photos and papers, pretty dresses and funny stories. She handed me a thread to hold onto, a connection to a line of women who came before me.

If Grandma Mary were still with us, she would barely recognize the shape of my life, let alone make sense of the pace of it.

I kind of doubt she would get this whole “blog” thing, although she might follow People.com!

But, I do know:
She certainly would appreciate a day at the spa.

Happy Mother’s Day, Dear Grandma Mary.
Thank you for giving me my dad, the gift of gab, and the deep appreciation of a good dress.  

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