Category Archives: Family Girl

Here I Am, An Only Child

Oh gosh, that’s embarrassing. No writing for 10 months?! Unacceptable! But after a long hiatus  I’m back. I wish it didn’t take a tragedy to get me to write. It really is a fun hobby when I make time to do it. But that’s a topic for another day. In the meantime, here is a copy of my speech from mom’s funeral on Saturday. Sigh.

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The summer before I left for college was one of the most emotional times of my life. I think my mom could have said the same thing as we seemed to be in perfect balance. One of us would be crying and the other would be enthusiastic. Well, at least until mom played “Forever Young” and then we both just cried. My mom would tell me that she was so proud of me for choosing to go so far away to pursue my dreams, but she was nervous to let me go. For the most part though, she bit her tongue and gave me my freedom, never questioning my plans.

I was so excited. Yet so scared. I was leaving behind everything I knew. All of my friends. The room I grew up on. The Chinese restaurant I loved so much. There was so much potential for my future in South Carolina, but there was also a lot of unknown.

So the summer continued like this – back and forth, crying and laughing, supporting and more crying. And then I did something really dumb. I had all of my friends stay for a sleepover that last night before I left. In the morning, each one of them, INDIVIDUALLY, said goodbye to me. It was as if my heart was being ripped out each time. When, at last, I said goodbye to my dog Max, and gave Nikki one last excruciating hug, my parents and I got in that blue minivan and drove off. I’m not sure any of us stopped crying until we got past Gary.

Fast forward a few days and I found myself in the most perfect college setting. Simply, I loved it. The accents were so southern and the fellow students so friendly (well, until they discovered I was a Yankee.) But then it was time to say goodbye to my parents. Gosh, it was hard.

For a second.

After a tearful goodbye, I went skipping off with my first new friend, Tracy, to some party or other college experience, as my parents sat in the Holiday Inn watching me leave.

I spent the next three and a half years loving every moment about college, but also having moments of homesickness. When Nikki needed me, I couldn’t be there. When I got sick, I had no one to pet my head. When the car died, I had to learn what to do. And learn I did.

That first spring at school, my mom came down to visit. We had a great trip to Charleston and ate breakfast next to Strom Thurmond, who at the time was so old he couldn’t button his own shirt sleeves, but was still governing our country. I was so proud to show her the things that I had been doing. It was great to see that big smile on her face until we had to part ways and we both started crying again.

When I was just in Texas a few weeks ago, we had another great trip. We stayed up late talking and laughing. She was so interested in what was going on in my life. We visited a spa and this time when it came to say goodbye, I didn’t cry. Looking back on this, I’ve wondered why, but I think it’s because I knew what I was traveling back to and couldn’t wait to get there.

When my dad died three years ago, my earth’s axis was shifted so off kilter, I didn’t think the ship would ever be righted. It’s only in the last two weeks that I realize my mom’s ship simply could never be. She hasn’t smiled that big smile of hers in three years. She tried to take life on herself, but I think it proved to be too much.

My parents were quite the pair and needed each other. If for no other reason than to give each other the strength to give their daughter the freedom to explore the world on her own.

Last Sunday, when I walked away from them one last time, this time leaving them under a beautiful oak tree on a hilltop in Texas, I did so holding the hand of my prince. I again felt sadness, but also happiness. This is how it’s meant to be. Someday Randy and I are going to have our own babies that we send out into the world. I’m going to continue building the friendships that have become so precious to this only child. I’m going to do things I thought I could only dream of. And when my mom comes to visit me, be it in a dream, in a powerful gust of wind, or when we finally meet again in heaven, I’m still going to be so proud of my life. The life she gave me the freedom and guidance to live.

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Can You Look Back On Just Three Days Ago?

I thought I’d be a big bump on a log on Sunday and be bummed about the wedding being over then. Instead, we came home and opened presents and watched movies and talked and celebrated together. It was fantastic. Lather, rinse, repeat for 72 hours.

But Randy just left for his weekly bowling outing and I organized the basement this afternoon. Wah wah… Magical wedding weekend is over. Real life is back. Bummer.

Before we wash off all the magical glimmer, let us reminisce. First off, the traditional slideshow we had playing in the old-timey theater.

Next up, a review from our amazing photographer. Man, what a fun day.

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View From the Top

I suppose there are certain times in my life when “no longer playing grown-up” is more apropos than others. I’m guessing my wedding day ranks pretty close to the top of that list.

I’ve had job interviews and home closings where I felt like a little kid in my mom’s heels and makeup, but when last Saturday rolled around, I felt like I belonged there – at this time and at this age. I am a nervous person with anxious undertones, but I spent the day enjoying every moment as was instructed by a number of friends and guests. I cry at Hallmark commercials, but I did not waste much time getting myself back together. Instead, you couldn’t have ripped the smile off my face if you tried. I slept easy and hugged hard.

There are so many moments and conversations from our wedding day that I hope to relay here in the future, but one stands out as so amazing it took my breath away even in rehearsal. The moment I came around the corner to enter the sanctuary could be the single most amazing vision I have ever seen. Every person in that room came there to honor Randy and I. They love us and were smiling big, goofy smiles. In the front row sat our parents, whether there or via candlelight, supporting us on this big day. On the altar stood four of the most beautiful, amazing women a friend could ask for, four men that are now my brothers, too, a gentlemen that would lead the most heartfelt wedding ceremony I’ve ever heard, and Randy. Oh, my Randy. How handsome and regal in his silver bow tie and shiny shoes.

You plan a wedding for eight months hoping the food is just right and the DJ plays the right music. Unfortunately, its easy to forget it’s about the love and celebration of all the great things to come.

I wish everyone, including the potential grooms out there, get to experience this view someday. My heart has never been more full.

-Mrs. Joos

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Call to Action-One Quarter at a Time

Hey guys. I’m sorry to do this, but I need your help. My mom had some stuff stolen from her house (yes, in Nowheresville, Texas and yes, at the end of the crappiest year ever) and is rightly, bummed. There’s a whole long story here that I don’t need to get into, but I do know one thing that may cheer her up.

One of the things taken was her quarter collection. Yes, my mom is a big nerd that has been collecting the new state quarters since they started making them several years ago. Her plan was to create a set for each of her grandnieces and nephews (and someday, grandchildren, young lady). She had three complete sets and about $75 worth of repeat quarters. I would like to prove to mom that there is still good in the world and start to replenish her stash. To be honest, this is going to help me, too. I’m so honked off I can hardly see straight.

That’s where you come in. Could you look in your purses, pockets, and coin jars to see if you have any state quarts? At this point, I’ll take all states. (Though my understanding is Hawaii and Colorado are hard to find, so double cool points if you can find those.) If you don’t have quarters, but would still like to participate, I could take a couple singles or a mini-sized check and find a bank that will work with me.

I’ll be returning to Texas mid-June for the Dedication Reunion Tour of the Mark Skarich Memorial Road Show, so if you’ll be seeing me before say, June 5, please drop off face-to-face. Otherwise, please send your gifts to:

Maggie Skarich
C/O AHTD
N19 W24400 Riverwood Dr.
Waukesha, WI 53188

Please send gifts to arrive by June 5, too.

I appreciate that there are much needier causes out there, but mom could really use this uplift and I can’t do it alone. Whatever the total of your gifts are, I will double it and donate to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in your collective honor. If you would be so kind as to share this with your friends and coworkers, I would be much obliged.

One final thing-if you do speak to mom, please don’t mention that I’m doing this or that you know that something happened; she would be embarrassed. She is perfectly safe and has 99% of her things still intact.

Bless you, if you’re able to help. Well, bless you, even if you can’t. Go “pay it forward” some other way, k?

UPDATE: Meghan has been so kind as to set up a spreadsheet where we can see what we have and what’s needed. Check it out! Helping the greater good AND learning a new technology…What could be better?

CLICK HERE FOR THE LINK.

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One Impressive Lady

With Mom in Key West at Chrismas

I have spent so much time singing the praises of my dad, but guess what? I’ve got a pretty cool mom, too. Though we had a rocky time during my middle school years (show me one mother/daughter combo that didn’t), my mom has also become a good friend, confidant and teacher.

This last year has been hard for a number of folks with the loss of dad, but I simply can NOT imagine what my mom has gone through. After 35 years, there wasn’t someone in the other side of her bed. No one playing in the computer room, wood shed, or office. No one to be her partner at dinner parties or to go run an errand for her on his way back from town. Even if you remove the “love” aspect of this relationship, the sudden change to all of her habits would be almost too much to bear. It took a whole year to do, but I think mom has finally found peace with her new situation.

This is a woman that up to 370 days ago never pumped her own gas or got her own money out of the ATM. Since then, she has purchased a new car, totally remodeled the house to make it Her House, and reorganized dad’s financial filing system. (And by “filing system” I mean “piles of paper and lots of bills yet to be paid.”)

She has conquered one hell of a health issue and has remembered how to take care of herself. A couple weeks ago, she told me about this great recipe she tried that night. It was a lamb chop. Who makes one lamb chop?? She did! She was in the mood for one and made it. Go, mom! Additionally, she has figured out that it is impossible to have a healthy relationship with her own mother and has let her go. Finally! The released weight of that alone should turn her into a whole new person.

Most significantly, mom has come to terms with the loss of my dad. While tears are still shed, she has learned to laugh again. To celebrate. To have “functions”, as she calls them. We’ve even broached the subject of her going back in the dating pool someday. Morris women live to 100. That’s a long time for her to be without a special friend. I’m down with the idea.

So on this weekend where moms across the land are being honored, I’d like to congratulate mine. Nancy Skarich, you’re one special lady!!

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