Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day

It was a moment in time, captured perfectly. Two men, both fathers, sharing a moment with the little girl they loved so much. It took my breath away and filled my heart with happiness.

I wish I was lucky enough to be able to recreate this scene again. Renee would be a little taller, Mark would be a little more grey, and my Dad would still be with us.

The one thing that would remain the same, though, is the love of a father. If there is one priceless gift that Renee and I have both been given, it would be knowing how much we are loved.

I'd like to think that both my Grandfather (who passed away when I was just a toddler) and Mark's dad, Tony, have a lot to do with that. They loved their boys wholeheartedly, and in turn, helped them to become loving fathers.

Love. It is the most amazing gift, and one that is perfect for regifting.

Happy Father's Day.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Happy Birthday, Grammy

Dear Mom,

I wish you were here to see all of your favorite flowers blooming in celebration of your birthday. I am most excited about the purple iris which we lovingly dug up and moved to each place we have called home. They have finally opened up after all of these years in Georgia. It's a miracle!

The others are just as beautiful; they were carefully chosen and planted in your memory in hopes that their beauty would always remind us of your smile and laughter. It's funny how a wisteria bloom can take me back to our days wandering Longwood Gardens!

Happy Birthday, Mom. As long as my hands are digging, planting, and pruning, you will always be here, right beside us.


Your Three Amigos

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


"Healing moves at its own pace. Be kind to yourself and take it one day at a time."

A very supportive and loving friend send this quote to me on the anniversary of Mom's death. Between the lovely bunch of daffodils which bloomed outside our front door and this sweet message, I was able to work a little harder at pushing the bad memories of that day out of my mind.

It is true that death and grief hits people in different ways. Speaking for myself, I don't go around with an Eeyore cloud floating over my head day in and day out. There are just some days, though, such as the 25th of January, when I have to work really hard at seeing the joy in the day. It's stupid, and I hate it. The optimist and positive gal inside of me doesn't like it very much when I let my head go there.

Emotions are a complex thing. Like the twisted branches and gnarled roots of the massive Banyan tree, they can swallow you up and get out of control if not properly contained. They don't abide by someone's idea of a time frame. It's up to you do decide how to handle them.


One of Mom's favorite things to tell me was, "One day at a time, Mary Beth!" Oh, how wise she was, and how much I miss that she isn't here to tell me that.

Thank goodness for the friends in our life who don't mind stepping in to remind us of the things we know are true. It's okay to miss someone who was such an important part of our lives for so long, as long as we don't forget to love ourselves in the process.

Friday, January 25, 2013


Two years. Somehow, it doesn't seem possible.

We go on because we have no choice, and because that's what she would want us to do.

We watched her do it when we lost my sister. She not only guided us during that difficult time, but she became our inspiration as well. If she could do it, so can we.

Why is it so hard then? We all try to live a life finding positivity in the simple things, but there are days when her absence is so obvious.

Perhaps these lost souls need a sign to help them through the dark days? Something that fills their hearts with light and joy?

One set of daffodils, bright against the winter's gloom, blooming on your day in January?

Well played, Grammy. Well played.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

21 Years of Marriage

Where does the time go?

It seems like yesterday when I attempted to climb gracefully into that long, white limo which would carry me and my bridesmaids to the church where I would marry the man who had stolen my heart. The graceful part wasn't easy due to the gigantic crinoline Mom and I had chosen to make my beautiful gown even more impressive.

This girl, who was more comfortable in blue jeans, muck boots and a pitchfork in hand, somehow made it happen. I remember giggling and feeling horrified that I had possibly just flashed the limo driver, but thoughts of Mark standing at the end of the aisle took the shame of that moment away.

I will never forget the feelings of excitement, love, and bliss as those huge, wooden doors of our log cabin church opened and I caught the first glimpse of the man who I was going to spend the rest of my life with. I looked over at my sister, Renee, who was walking me down that very long aisle to place my hand in Mark's. I can't even describe what that moment felt like, but we were both overcome with emotion and the tears began to fall. I have held that memory forever in my heart and it is always with me.

After 21 years, 3 states, the birth of our spicy little girlie, more than a few gray hairs, and the loss of family who happily celebrated that day with us, those wonderful feelings of love have deepened with the passage of time. We've cried tears of joy and sadness, but through it all, this man with a most beautiful heart has held my hand and held me up. The best decision that I have ever made in this life of mine was to allow two very special friends, Ken and Sherrie, to talk me into going on a blind date with a certain dark haired, blue-eyed man.

After that, the next best decision was to say,"Yes! Yes, I want to spend the next 50-60 years with you!"

On that evening, while sitting in the rib joint in Philly where we had shared our first date, I cried as he put the most beautiful ring on my finger. I loved that ring and proudly wore it everywhere. It was perfect for me; not too big to wear while gardening, and not too flashy that I had to leave it at home while visiting the city.

One evening, while living in New York, I began to cry when I looked down at my ring and noticed that the stone was missing. I had just returned from the grocery store because a snowstorm was coming, and it could have fallen out anywhere. I searched everywhere for it but never found it. I was heartbroken.

I think the state of New York just may have been bad luck for us. I cried, again, when I noticed that one of the diamond earrings (which Mark had given to me when Renee was born) wasn't adorning my right earlobe any longer. Those earrings had safety backs and everything!

As life goes on and your children grow, there just isn't money in the budget to replace diamonds. Through the years, I have joked that maybe, just maybe, the diamond from my earring would fit in the setting of my engagement ring. Mark and I always talked about finding a reputable jeweler who might be able to reset it for us, but honestly, it wasn't priority. As long as Mark and I had our wedding rings and each other, that's all that mattered.

A few weeks ago, while Renee and I were down in Florida performing in our friend's Fractured Fairy Tales haunted house, this gem of a man (pun intended!), found not only my carefully hidden away jewelry box, but a trustworthy jeweler as well. In a twist of luck, that one, lone earring fit the setting from my engagement ring.


It is just as beautiful as the day, 22 years ago, when he met with his jeweler in Philly, showed him a sketch of what he wanted my ring to look like, and personally had it designed it for the third finger of my left hand.

Tonight, as he placed it on my hand and told me how much he loved me, we laughed as the dirty laundry I was getting ready to put into the washer fell to the floor. We went to show Renee, and she gasped in surprise as she hugged the both of us and told her Daddy, "I didn't even know about this! Good job surprising Mom!"

That, my friends, is what 21 years of marriage looks like in our world. It is family, dirty laundry, hugs, and the  luck of a perfect fit.

Yup, pretty much like the way his hand perfectly fits into mine.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Doin' a little Soarin' this evening. Happy times!

Monday, October 1, 2012


Good morning, and Happy Birthday, Epcot!