IT'S JUST ANOTHER DAY

A blog about a life awakened and rejuvenated around Western New York.


Leave a comment

TIME FLEES

It’s been a week since I last posted. You see, I’ve been distracted, but I’ll go back and fill in with thoughts or profiles or attractions. I had done so well, and then it hit me squarely between the eyes.

My oldest daughter is getting married tomorrow. The past week was filled with preparations, last minute changes, fittings and gatherings and a whole mess of panic as it ebbed and flowed. But sitting here now I still find no relief.

The girls are off doing girly things (nails and the last blasts of tanning) before the rehearsal. And I find myself as Steve Martin did at the beginning of “Father of the Bride”; lost in a chronology leading to this day. Twenty seven years passes quickly when you aren’t paying attention.

We’ve spent a lot of time together the past few days. Family meals at a full table were reminiscent of days past. Conversations and melancholy rambles and getting on each others nerves occasionally. (Old habits die hard). Evenings were special, as we watched every “wedding” related movie in our DVD library. Looking back at it, I think we’re ready to begin this new phase. It will be different for sure.

As you get older, the phrase “Time Flees” takes special meaning. But for one day, I am willing it to stand still.

I can hear God laughing now.


2 Comments

ANDREA LEA

With the spotlight shining brightly on the soon-to-be, bride-to-be, I think it only fitting to present the other bookend, my daughter Andrea. (She prefers AN-DREE-YA, call her ON-DRAY-A and there’ll be much hell to pay). As you can sense, she is a lethal combination of beauty and brawn – an attitude a mile long and wide, and there’s no hiding the fact that my Andrea is Sassy! (Her self- proclaimed moniker) And she backs that up every time.

Maybe it’s just a defense mechanism, but she says what’s on her mind and means what she says. The “sass” comes naturally. But this “Little Darlin'” has a tender side (which unfortunately she doesn’t let out of its cage very often), which is being displayed as we near the marriage of her sister, Melissa. Andrea was so thrilled when asked to be Maid of Honor, and she lavished her older sister with gifts and all the attention deserving a teacher and mentor.

She has a playful repartee with her soon-to-be Brother-in-Law, Ryan, with neither passing the opportunity to nudge and cajole on many topics, but most decidedly – Ice Hockey and Music.

IMG_0058She loves ice hockey, and has a devotion to the local heroes (?), the Buffalo Sabres in general and her favorite #57. She spouts statistics and minutia that would have rivaled my mindless baseball trivia in my halcyon days. At last count Andrea has amassed 9(?) Sabres hockey jerseys and a Colorado Avalanche sweater. (Gabriel Landeskog is a god – IHHO!)

And there is no mistaking, the two sisters are as different as night and Pop Rocks. Melissa, always the levelheaded one, knew where she wanted to be and got there. Andrea has an idea what she wants and will know when she gets there. I have no doubt she will. My wife admonishes our youngest, “If you were my first born, you’d be an only child!” Knowing the headstrong nature of my Taurus, we all realize that’s a lot of bull. She would have emerged no matter what.

As she says, “Dad, timing is everything!”

As Andrea steps to the forefront, I tend to agree with her.


Leave a comment

WATCHING SISTERS GROWING CLOSER

IMG_0145(1)There is a seven year span between my two daughters. In their younger years, that difference was VERY apparent. The comparison between a six year old and a teenager is the shift from night to day. Neither was treated any differently; one not loved more than the other. So growing into that environment didn’t take a whole lot of work on my wife’s and my part. The girls had some figuring out to do.

Melissa, as you’ve found, is the older of the two. A brilliant student who actually struggled greatly early on. But she had found her stride and hit the ground running. Her levelheadedness and willingness to take constructive criticism in the nature it was given, allowed her to become the Salutatorian for her graduating class.

Andrea was our reader. She consumed material faster than I could travel to the library to keep her in fresh “meat”. She vowed to do her sister one better; to finish the top of her class. But fate and children can be very cruel and destructive. And Andrea found that out as she moved up into middle-school. She had been the target for a band of bullies – girls who two years prior were her dearest friends, found her success to be a currency she shouldn’t be allowed to accumulate.

She changed and in her defense found a new strength which became her new attitude. And believe me when I say ATTITUDE! However, she felt the need to wield that sword indiscriminately. Her mother, sister and I caught a stray edge every so often. And again to her credit, Andrea found how to use her “powers” for good. Today, Andrea refers to that time as “becoming Sassy!” She remains sassy to this day.

The girls found their bond naturally. They shared clothes, invading each others closets as if they were battling for the West Bank. They offered opinions on their musical style, often listening to the same groups or introducing the other to something new. Their communication expanded as their acumen with the new technologies left their mother and I scratching our heads.

And in the process a funny thing happened. Melissa and Andrea “became” the sisters we always hoped they’d be. They still “tussle” on occasion, but they work out their differences. As Melissa prepared for her upcoming wedding, her Maid-of-Honor (a title Andrea took great pride in accepting) became an extension of  her older (in chronological years) sister and they began to almost think the same thoughts. Andrea also accepted her new “brother” Ryan (with her own Ryan waiting in the wings). It was nearly perfect. My wife and I became very afraid! 😉

The process, though arduous at times became very clear. We did a decent job with the two of them. Two daughters who make us proud in their own right daily. And two sisters  in whom we’ve taken great joy watching grow closer.

MLWALW1A2


1 Comment

I CAN ALMOST HEAR THE BELLS FROM HERE…

I wrote a piece of flash fiction this morning about a young man’s relationship with a grandparent. For the curious, flash fiction is basically a short story. And the premise for this bit of muse has festered for the past few weeks.

Since I started posting to this “journal”, each day becomes a new page in my life story. And after 57+ years, a lot of pages have gone unwritten. I hope to somehow make up for lost time.

(But, back to the grandparents…)

My eldest daughter Melissa is getting married very soon. And for as much joy and pride she (and her sister, Andrea) has given us, I feel a twinge of sadness, that I’m sure comes with the territory. But no story comes without those little twists.

Eleven months after we were married (no shot gun necessary here), Melissa was born. Having her so early in our married life gave us little time together before it needed to be shared with another person. DISCLAIMER: This is NOT a COMPLAINT by and stretch of the imagination. It only illustrates that the three of us, Mel, my wife and I had to grow up together. At times, Melissa did a better job of it that than we did.

In her first nine months of life, Melissa had all she needed, being spoiled by both sets of grandparents. She was well dressed and entertained, spending an equal time with both families. Living a stones throw from home during her first four years, the opportunity presented itself to visit home as often as possible, with baby girl in tow. Melissa would “get to know” my mother very well.

Mom doted on her. Melissa was mom’s third grandchild, but you wouldn’t have known it. She treated her like her first. On Sundays after church, the three of us would stop for coffee and a visit, and mom would light up like her dreaded “Christmas tree” when she saw Melissa.

“My Missa!” she’d coo. “My good Catholic girl, My Missa!” as Melissa was dressed in her finest frilliest frocks (Say that fast a few times).

Mom promised to teach Melissa how to cook, and sew and crochet (mom’s afghans are legendary, adorning the back of the couch and the back seat of my car to this day, twenty-eight years after the fact). Mom for the first time in a long stretch looked forward to that Christmas, with two new baby grand-daughters (my niece Katie having been born a month before Melissa) to celebrate.

We never anticipated mom passing away from a brain aneurysm on Christmas Eve that first year.

Melissa has grown to a fine and beautiful young woman (both of my girls have, actually). She has become a wonderful cook. She doesn’t sew at all and her crocheting phase was short lived (having been taught by my mother’s sister, Anne who had become a surrogate grandmother at one point). We’re fairly certain, Mom has guided my daughter in “absentia”.

But she is loving and caring and will make a fine wife and somewhere down the line,  an excellent mother. She continues to be a source of joy and pride. There’s no hiding the fact that Dad will walk a misty aisle when the day is finally here. My wife’s parents are still with us, and will share in that day. My mom and Dad will be looking down proudly from their Celestial perch. Hidden in the peal of wedding bells will be the sound of my mother’s murmur, “Missa, my Missa!” loud and clear.

I can almost hear the bells from here…


Leave a comment

THEY GROW SO QUICKLY…

“Where are you going
My little one, little one
Where are you going
My baby, my own

Turn around and you’re two
Turn around and you’re four
Turn around and you’re a young girl
Going out of the door”

Harry Belafonte, Alan Greene & Malvina Reynolds wrote a song called TURN AROUND (a partial lyric above and below), and much like SUNRISE, SUNSET from Fiddler on the Roof, the songs lament the coming of age of the young lives with which we were entrusted as young parents.  We think, “How can they be growing older when we don’t seem to be doing so”. The sad truth is we all have and as our children become the young idealistic adults that we once were, we step aside and allow them to assume the reigns on this life.

AndmeliTwo week from today, my oldest daughter will walk down the aisle (with her old man in tow) and start a new phase of her life with a young man who adores her as much as her mother and I do. A touch of sadness will undoubtedly slip in, knowing that our “little one” is no longer little. But she has earned her happiness, making her mother and I extremely proud. and we are comforted knowing we did the best we could by her and it shows.

However, before we reach that pinnacle, we celebrate the birthday of our youngest daughter as she turns twenty today. Seven years younger than her older sister, she is stepping into very comfortable shoes. She remains a bit more hard edged than her sibling, but her values and attitude mirror her sister almost exactly. She will be the Maid of Honor for the wedding, and it warms our hearts that the bond these two share is as close and loving as any two sisters can be. They’ve had their differences, but settle them with understanding and compassion. These are two good girls…er, fine young women we have raised.

“Turn around and you’re tiny
Turn around and you’re grown
Turn around and you’re a young wife
With babes of your own

Turn around, turn around
Turn around and you’re a young wife
With babes of your own”

They grow so quickly, don’t they?
***


Leave a comment

SPRAYED, BAKED AND TANNED

I don’t get it. I never did. But since I’ve never conformed to “tanning”, I’m willing to live vicariously. “Tanning” in quotation marks. Oh, I’ve gotten tanned before, but that usually meant I was outside doing something in the sun and my pigment happened to change. I’ve rendered myself anywhere from golden to burnt-to-a-crimson-crisp, and all points in between. It was hardly ever a deliberate and conscious act.

But with a wedding just over two weeks away, my daughters had talked my wife into going “tanning”. They wanted to look even better than usual for my oldest daughter’s nuptials. The works. Spray tan and the illuminating coffin. Throw in the tubes and bottles of solutions and lotions all meant to deliver three bronzed beauties at the end of the process.

The first session went well as far as I could assume. I had managed to fend off the three in getting claustrophobic me into the chamber, so I had that going for me!My girls being “veterans” of the crisping process explained the nuances to their mother, while the technician programmed her time of exposure. It would take a bit for coloration to “pop”.

I’ll tell you about my wife. Fair-skinned does not aptly describe her. She is a combination of albino and pasty. She goes directly to char; she rarely tans. And as I had described a few days back, tradition surrounds me. As her color started to pop, someone forgot to tell it to stop.

Such a lovely scarlet resides where her pale palette once existed. Not the look she was going for (I hope). It will even out, my daughters promise. I count on their being right about that. Otherwise, I’ll have to find two other tanning neophytes to join her and they could give the Blue Man Group a run for their money. Here comes the sun… break out the SPF!