Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

The past few weeks since my grandmother died have been so hard on me. This is usually my favorite time of year. But this year, I have a heavy heart. I miss her so very much. I have a picture of her and I on my desk. I look at our smiling faces and her hand on my face, and I know I need to be brave. It is what she would want.

And although she is no longer on this earth, she is in my heart because as my cousin Richard said so beautifully, I was her heart. She was so proud of me and the family I have built. So I will be strong for her. I will not let her down. I will not focus on what I have lost, but rather the values of love and family she instilled in me and all of her family. And I know I have so many things to be thankful for this year.

I am thankful for my friends. They have been a tremendous support during this difficult time in my life. I am thankful for my family. We are blessed to have one another, and we have been there for one another in a way I know would make Grandma Mela proud.

I am thankful for my beautiful children. I am thankful for Alex and how smart and diligent he is in school and karate. And I am thankful that he is such a sensitive soul - he is wearing Grandma Mela's cross around his neck and says he likes that it is by his heart so he can always remember her and show her respect. I am thankful for Isabella who is the happiest, most imaginative little girl. I love that she gets so excited when we spend the day together. She always says, Girls' Day! I am thankful for how they both are so excited for their new baby brother to get here. My belly gets countless hugs and kisses everyday. I am thankful I have only 10 weeks of this pregnancy left!! I can't wait to meet my new little baby boy. I am thankful for my husband who carried up many many bins of Christmas decorations and baby clothes from the basement tonight without complaint. I am nesting in a big way lately, and he loves me enough to humor me.

Tonight we all cuddled in Isabella's bed and read our Thanksgiving books. Alex said he is thankful for everything he has. Isabella said she is thankful for her fam-a-wee (family) and Snow White. I am thankful for how much they love one another, their mommy and daddy, their cousins, their grandparents and their aunts and uncles. I am so thankful and proud that I am the Mommy of two kids with such strong family loyalty even at their young ages...

And I owe it all to the example set by our big, crazy, amazing family. Because... "Other things may change us, but we start and end with family." -Anthony Brandt

Friday, November 11, 2011

Dear Grandma Mela,

You called us your “kiddies.” We called you “Mam-ma, Grandma, Grandma Mela." You made the sign of the cross on our foreheads and said “May God Bless You.” And now every night I do the same for my kids and they say it to each other. You never tattled on us when you babysat even when we were rotten. I looked forward to sleepovers on Plumbrook Court. And Sunday dinners at your house. And Christmas Eve. You always made Christmas so special. We were the luckiest grandkids – we even got Christmas Eve gifts! And the best cookies in the world. They were always unveiled after our wonderful dinner of sausage and peppers and lasagna. You were at every birthday dinner. You always had to see us on our actual birthdays! I will never forget our trips to Nutley or our beach vacations in New Jersey and Ocean City. You used to love to sit on the porch at night and listen to the ocean. (And I remember when Alex was a baby, he sat on your lap on the beach and you fed him a peach!! A random thought I know, but one I will never forget).

And we grew up. And you were still there calling us your kiddies. You celebrated our graduations and danced at our weddings. And held our babies. I still remember coming home when Nicki was in labor with Sophie and you were sitting at the kitchen table timing her contractions. In every picture I have of you in recent years, you have a great grandbaby in your arms. They brought you so much joy. As you always said, “I just such a kick out of them!” And they loved their Grandma Mela. Alex is already calling you his angel and is praying to you! He learned in church that you can pray any time of the day, so he said that he knows anytime he wants to talk to you he can…not just at bedtime. He is wondering if you are getting free ice cream in heaven. And he told me he will never forget you. He wants to put a picture of you in his room so he can always see you.

When I told Isabella you were in heaven, she said, “Grandma is in heaven with Jesus. I wish we could take an airplane to see her.” Me too, sweet girl. Me too.

And don’t worry about Poppy. We will do our best to take good care of him. Alex told me the other night that he had a good idea. He said, “We can go visit Poppy every couple of days. Remember Mom, when we would always go to their house?” Yes. I remember. Eating pizza, drinking wine and Anisette, trying to drink coffee (you always made it so strong), and then eating candy…reeses and green leaves. You loved having us there. You would always clean the floors so the babies wouldn’t get germs when they were crawling around. Sitting around your kitchen table chatting will always be one of my fondest memories.

I know without a doubt you are in heaven with your mom and dad and your sisters and brothers. I am sure you are playing poker. Hopefully you are having better luck then you always did in Atlantic City. I know you will always be looking down on all of us. But I want you here. I am really not sure how I am going to live without you in my life. I miss you so much already. I want you to hold my new baby in February and bless his forehead. I promise to tell him all about you, and I will tell him about all the times you made the sign of the cross on my belly and said, “May God bless you.” And I will tell him how the last time I saw you, you put your hand on my belly and said, “I love that belly.” You loved him before you even knew him, and I will make sure he knows it. And one more promise – I will always hold you in my heart and never forget how much you loved me – I am so blessed to be your oldest grandchild and to have had you here with me for 34 years. I love you Grandma Mela. May God Bless You!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

3rd Trimester

Wow! 27 weeks down. 12 to go! Yikes. 12 weeks sounds like a long time. I can't believe I have to be pregnant for almost 3 more months. I know it will go by quickly with the holidays coming up...Thanksgiving, Alex's birthday (yes, he thinks it is a national holiday), Christmas.

Been going to the doctor once a week. Measuring right on. Heartbeat nice and strong. He is a mover. He seems to be doing somersaults in there. He gets the hiccups all the time - no joke. Several times a day. Excited for next week. I have another sonogram. Can't wait to see him again.

My c-section is scheduled for February 1st. I am praying for no snow this winter!

Alex and Isabella are beside themselves with excitement. They have both felt him move. They kiss my belly. Alex hugs me and thinks it is funny that his arms do not reach around me. ha ha. Real funny! Isabella went with me to the doctor and heard his heartbeat. Each of my pregnancies has been so special, but I think this one is most special because I get to experience it with them.

I can't wait to meet my little man. But as uncomfortable as I am, I am cherishing this time. This will probably be my last baby. I sit every night and just enjoy feeling him move. And even though I am over most things about being pregnant, that is the one thing that never gets old.