Tag Archives: family

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.


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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We Are Family…I’ve Got My Spouse and Children With Me

First off, thank you to everyone who responded to my call for opinions on the hair. I have a plan of attack that will be unveiled after the next appointment, May 12. Stay tuned!

I’m writing tonight to get you thinking about something that has been on my mind for awhile. As a grown-up, who is your immediate family? In particular, I’m thinking about those folks that have a spouse and children. Are your parents and siblings replaced by said spouse and child(ren)? Without personally being in this situation and only observing, I think this is the case. Of course, family is family and always important (if you’re lucky enough to have a good relationship!), but who do you jump in front of a bus to protect? Who do you want around on an average Tuesday night?

For the sake of argument, let’s say you agree with me. At what point does the transition happen? When you get married? When the first child is born? If you don’t do things in traditional order (i.e. kid before (or without) marriage) do the rules still apply? If you’re not in a serious relationship, but are very close with a small group of friends, can they be counted as your immediate family? I’m thinking of that particular episode of Friends where they all had Thanksgiving dinner together when I think of this last question.

I’m curious to hear your thoughts as I’m guessing there will be differing opinions out there. Enjoy!

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T Minus 10 Days to the Big Day

Let’s get this party started with a little help from my short-legged friends and one of my favorite videos floating around the interwebs.

Thank you, sirs!

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A Million Times, I Miss You

First off, my apologies in advance. This may find itself as the beginning post in an ongoing series. We’re approaching some delicate days here in the next few months. I promise to throw some fun stuff in here, too. Anyway, thanks for listening!
On March 16, 2009 I told them that I didn’t want to do anything. I took a glass of orange juice and a new book out to the patio and got comfortable. Short of a few Diet Dr. Pepper breaks (and the subsequent bathroom visits) I didn’t leave that chair until dinnertime. He had asked me to come out to the woodshed and work on a project with him. I said I wanted to keep reading, but did go visit after awhile. He was working on a Morris chair. When I asked if I could get moved up the waiting list even though I wasn’t getting married anytime soon, he said as he had a million times, “of course, Margo. If that’s what you want, that’s what I’ll do.”

I’m not sure if we went for Chinese (please see previous statement) or had chicken on the grill that night, but I do know it ended as I finished the book and needed to give him the social security number test after I woke him up in his chair. He let Tom out, and then as he had a million times, he sat at the end of my bed and we talked for awhile. No matter how tired either one of us were, there was always enough energy to squeeze in pontifications in those last, precious minutes before I came back home.

The next morning mom woke me up. She made a hot chocolate for me and went to get pretty. I did the same. While he waited for me to get out of the bathroom, he practiced his mandolin. What do you want to hear, Margo? How about Crippled Creak, Padre? Perfect!

I don’t need a photograph to remind me he was wearing a green shirt and the pants with a lot of pockets and no shape. I had on a white t-shirt and jeans. Mom was in a pink and black sweater set and black pants. We had a little time to kill, so we stopped at Steve and Tiffany’s to say goodbye and to take a photograph. How did we not take any pictures?? That’s what we had done a million times before. Miss the good photo opportunities and document the anxiety and sadness of the immanent parting of ways.

On the way to the airport, we stopped at the Red Robin at La Cantera. He was so proud of himself because he ordered a burger with BBQ sauce and pineapple. We also had onion rings and raspberry lemonades. We sat outside since I was coming back to Milwaukee, but it was pretty cold. As we had a million times before, we pulled up to the San Antonio airport and I got out to get in line. But for the first time, I told them a Morris drop-off was fine. I didn’t need him to park the car and come inside so we could all cry.

Instead we cried at curbside. As he got my bag out, I gave mom a huge hug and a kiss and an “I love you.” Then I turned to him and did the same. And then we all did it again. As he got in the car, he said as he had a million times, “make me proud”. I yelled back, “I always do.” I watched them put on seatbelts, honk the horn and drive away. I took a couple deep breaths of San Antonio air, set my shoulders back, and made friends as I waited in the security line.

That was the last time I saw my dad alive and awake. I’d like to say if I would have realized the importance of these moments that would have paid more attention to the details of the day, but it sure looks like the minutia stuck with me anyway. I would pay a million times to have that day back again. To almost fall asleep and have him appear at the end of the bed to discuss the meaning of life tonight and a hamburger for lunch to look forward to tomorrow.

A friend is going to join me in a commemorative burger and onion rings tomorrow. The new most-important-man-in-my-life will be around in the evening to contemplate life like we have a million times over the past 6 months. All is not lost. But holy schmit, I sure miss you, Padre.

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