MJ Forever

I grew up in a house with Chicago sports playing in the background.  Watching sports was my mother’s passion.  I quickly learned if I wanted to spend time with her, watching whatever team was on T.V. was my in.

Obviously, my love of baseball and the Cubs came from her.  Some sports, no matter how much I loved her, I could not bring myself to watch (sorry Illini football).  But some, filled my heart with glee.

Enter the era of MJ.

Michael Jordan was like no other.  I could have watched him for days.

I was lucky enough to see him play in person when the Bulls were in their heyday.

The electricity, the showmanship, the roar of the crowd … all part of the extraordinary magic of this time in sports history.

I think Jordan and the Bulls ruined me forever.  Since that time, I cannot bring myself to invest in watching another NBA team.


I do understand the value of a shared experience with the people you love.  Therefore, I kept a minimally open mind as we attended a Dallas Mavericks game at the American Airlines Center.

My expectations were low and initially, my attention wandered … a lot.

The first quarter showed a little flair, but the second and third saw the Mavs dropping well behind the Trail Blazers.

It wasn’t pretty.

Somehow, led by the spark of Luka Doncic, the Mavs came back to life in the fourth quarter ending the game in a spectacular fashion.

Luka Doncic and Damian Lillard duel in Mavericks’ win vs. Trail Blazers | NBA Highlights

Maybe the Mavs and Luka were trying to win me over.

Maybe it kind of worked.

Maybe all that really mattered were the smiles of victory on my boys’ faces.


Bet my Mom would have loved every minute.


children, grief, kids, life in pictures, loss of parent, marriage, mommyhood, motherhood, parenting, self-discovery

Love & Birthdays


Happy 6th birthday, Full Speed!


I am having many mixed feelings about Full Speed’s sixth birthday today.  I am excited for him and happy his remarkable growth and change are being marked in such a celebratory way.  The challenge is not having my Mom here to help me celebrate or to share in all the wonderful milestones Full Speed has achieved in the past year.

It was hard enough that she wasn’t here to offer support and guidance when he started kindergarten.  Now, with each passing year, Full Speed is growing into who he is meant to be and she won’t be able to see it.   I wish she could because this kid is only getting better with age.

As the distance grows from the last point in which my Mom was in my life, it is ever more shocking to my system that she really isn’t coming back.

I’d also like to apologize to Mad Dog for my extra crazy, unpredictible moods as of late.  I am in the last stages of processing my Mom’s absence and while I will never fully let her go, I will move forward in a more even-handed manner.  I promise.

All I can do is my absolute best.  I will celebrate the good times in my present and honor the sadness as it floats up from my past.

I am grateful for the time that I had with my Mom.  I believe the joy I have managed to create in my own little corner of the world is possible through her choices and example.   I watched and I learned.  I made some different choices of my own.  Most importantly, I was loved.

Thanks, Mom.

good grief, loss of parent

17 Days

I have to acknowledge this date of February 21st. Exactly a year ago was when my sister called me to tell me my Mom had stage IV pancreatic cancer. Mad Dog and I had returned from getting the boys haircuts and we were out on our lanai when I took the call. I dropped everything and was with my Mom and family by ten o’clock that night. When there was no one else around, my Mom and I stayed up late into the night and talked about life, love and death. She thanked me for being there and I said that I was honored to share this experience with her. It is something I will hold close to me for the rest of my life.

She was gone in 17 days.

I keep thinking of the memories that took place over those days. I comforted her, cared for her and loved her with everything I am. I helped her to be fearless and open to the possibility that what was happening could be beautiful. In very inexplicable ways, it was.

I still miss her every single day.

I love you, Mom.

good grief, loss of parent

The Color of Love

Today we are officially celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday. All of my in-laws have safely arrived and we will have our big meal this afternoon. The boys are having the time of their lives with all their cousins (all boys, the wine will be flowing which goes without saying).

I’m not going to lie. I have been struggling with the holiday season as I’m sure you all might have guessed. It’s approaching nine months since my Mom passed and I have managed a good amount of healing but the major holidays bring my grief back into acute focus. This is because of her glaring absence and also the collected memories of holidays past shared with her.

I need to acknowledge Mad Dog’s patience with me during all of this. My intense (and often unpredictable) emotional state has been less than pleasant. I have to come to appreciate that glimmer of fear in his eyes anytime that he interacts with me. He knows even a simple question like, “What are you doing today?” could potentially set me off. Oh, grief, what a strange and complicated process! Thank you for putting up with me.

To honor my Mom today I am doing something out of character (no, I am not taking up pole dancing, sorry Mad Dog). I am painting my lips a bold red. My Mom was not a person to fuss with her outward appearance (regardless, she was extremely beautiful). She didn’t care to shop, dress-up or wear make-up. She was more concerned about college football scores or spending time outside. However, on the rare occasion we could get her to dress-up, she would apply her single tube of stately red lipstick. I hope that the lipsticked kiss I am sending towards the heavens reaches her today and that I find the one she’s sending me with at least some of the color and all of the love intact.

children, eyesight, loss of parent, mommyhood

Bad Aim

I have to take Full Speed for another follow-up at my home away from home (the Children’s Clinic). I must admit my stress level has been through the roof. It is wearing on me to take him to all these appointments. He can sense I’m stressed so he acts out

Regardless, it went well. I should be jumping for joy. Yet, he hasn’t achieved 20/20 vision. I should be counting my blessings that his vision is equal in both eyes (holding steady at 20/60) but part of me wants to scream out in frustration. Enough already! Where’s the 20/20 vision? As a Mom I think I am allowed at least a day or two of disappointment. It’s my child’s vision for goodness sake. I want nothing but the best.

Of course my frame of mind is all off. I talked to my sister, Skee, beforehand and we are futilely attempting to see each other before the year’s end. We have too many constraints with jobs, schools and other extenuating circumstances. We both desperately want to see each other because we are dreading this holiday season like none other. Without our Mom here I think we would both prefer to skip right through to 2010.

Now, I’m at home with both boys as we are at day’s end. I have repeatedly sent them to their rooms because they can’t seem to get along. I think they know Mom is upset so that makes them act all the crazier. It’s a vicious, vicious cycle. Would it be bad if I just left them upstairs until Mad Dog or morning arrives?

I will forge ahead and continue to prepare my gourmet (is Shake ‘n’ Bake gourmet?) dinner and sit down with my two little men to partake. I need to tell them Mommy is having a bad day. I figure if I put my feelings out on the table I can’t possibly make it any worse, right?

green beansSo, we sit down to eat and I say, “Mommy’s having a rough day, she misses Grandma and feels sad.” The response? Full Speed announces he has something in his teeth and T.Puzzle smears mashed potatoes on his head. Not exactly what I was aiming for…..potato head