So Here We Are

It’s the day my dad passed from this world to be with The Lord. A quote from Billy Graham always comforts me when I think of daddy passing away. “Your last breath on earth is immediately followed by your first breath in heaven.” I love those words. At daddy’s wake I remember saying that I felt as if my dad was with us one minute then in the next he crossed over to a place we couldn’t go…yet. But that he was still with us spiritually, like his soul didn’t leave us just yet. I don’t feel like that anymore. I believe he’s watching over us but I’m not one that feels his presence next to me. I know there is no timeline for grieving but I never thought I would still cry when I think of him, talk about him or write about him after 4 years have passed.

There’s so much about my dad I wish the world knew. How funny he was, how he beat cancer only to have it rear its ugly bead again; and when it did how hard he fought until he couldn’t fight anymore. I don’t know if I’m like my dad. I take after him in some physical ways, we have the same skin complex too, we both tan in the sun. But looks wise I take more after my mom. I hope I’ve inherited his inner strength and ability to see past peoples bullshit. Daddy was good at that. He was also good at calling someone out. I really miss him. I miss laughing with him and listening about how “frugal “ his mom was, and that’s why I’m so “frugal” aka shopping the thrift stores. He loved to hear about my finds.

So it’s 4 years. Some days it feels longer and some days I see him sitting at my dining room table laughing at my cat listening to me talk about my kids. He was always there for us.


Thomas and His Helmet

When Thomas was 5- 6 months old the pediatrician practice we used finally noticed that Thomas has a condition called torticollis, which is a shortening of the muscle that controls how you turn your head from one side to another. Thomas only turned his head to the right when he was sleeping which resulted in his head being terribly misshaped. His head was flattened in the back and was beginning to bulge in the front/forehead. One of the pediatricians in the practice took one look at him and the shit hit the fan. She was freaked out and combed his chart with a fine tooth comb and let the other partitioners have it. I felt somewhat vindicated because I was telling them this all along and that he was slow to meet his milestones but I was blown off by just about everyone.

This was the true beginning of our journey with Thomas. Thomas was to have skull x-rays, a CT scan and an MRI to rule out other structural abnormalities. Thankfully all were negative at that time. We found a neurologist who didn’t have a 3 month wait for an appointment who diagnosed the torticollis and put a name to what I had been noticing for the past 3 months. This started our time with Early Intervention and Thomas qualified for physical therapy. He also needed a moulding helmet to re-shape his head. For that we were recommended the head of neurosurgery at NYU. He prescribed the helmet. We then had to go to the guy who would actually make the helmet. They covered Thomas’ head with plaster of Paris, waited for it to become hard and then cut the mould off his head with a saw while Thomas sat on my lap. It was just him and me. I wanted to cry and yell but I couldn’t I felt like I had to be calm for my son. I was never so afraid in my life watching them with that saw.

So then they made the helmet from that mould. Thomas would wear the helmet for 23 hours a day for the next 6 months. Only taking it off to bathe. Thomas was such an easy baby he handled it all so great. He kept the helmet on with ease. Thank God. What I bothered me the most was not that he had to wear the helmet but people who would stare at Thomas and make up their own conclusions about the helmet without asking me. One time we were waiting in a doctors office and this girl who was about 7 years old and asked her mother why this baby was wearing a helmet. The mother looked over at us and said, “Oh… he probably has seizures or something…” I wanted to punch her. I spoke directly to the girl and told her the truth, that Thomas’ head wasn’t shaped right and the helmet would fix that, then I gave the mom a dirty look. It was really funny because it seemed that the “realist” people who just came out and asked about the helmet were store cashiers, people who worked in the deli, people who did not know us but acted in a kind and appropriate manner toward us.

Anyway you would think with all the appointments Thomas had in the city I would have learned to drive there alone. Nope. I would do the driving but had to have someone come with me. It sounds silly now but then I was afraid to drive in Manhattan with just Thomas and me. So I would recruit our good friends like Bill, Brant, even my mother in law. The best was when my dad was free. He would not only drive us but he stay outside in the car driving around the corner a dozen times so I didn’t have to pay for parking. Everyone who went with me never treated us like this was something wrong or out of the ordinary to do. I do have the best family and friends. I still have Thomas’ helmet.

What You Remember, My Dad

The anniversary of my Dad’s passing is quickly approaching. I began to write what I remember during that time before he took his final breath here on this earth but then I began thinking of the good times and what a good Dad he was to us. My dad graduated from a local vocational high school here where I live. Growing up, he made a living as a truck mechanic. The big dump trucks. He occasionally would drive a truck here and there but he mostly repaired the trucks for the company he worked for which was owned by a very nice man named Sonny.

I remember some Saturdays when my grandparents weren’t watching us, when both my parents were working/mom in school; we went to the garage where daddy worked so he would “watch” us. Him watching us (us being myself, my sister and my brother) consisted of my brother usually doing tasks; don’t ask me what, I don’t remember; and my sister and I climbing all over the big ol’ dump trucks that were out in the yard. We would climb up and sit in the drivers seat and pull the cable that sounded the horn. It was a lot of fun. When we were bored of that we would run down the street which was a dead end street and all different garages; one after another. Some repaired cars, some were carting/private sanitation, etc…. All of the garages kept dogs as guard dogs. And there were always puppies at some one’s garage and just about everyone knew who we were: Walter’s kids. There was one car repair garage though that we weren’t allowed to play with the dogs because we were told those dogs were mean. You didn’t need to tell us twice because when you walked past their fenced in yard the dogs would bark and growl at you. So yeah, we stayed away from them.

Daddy had a German Shepherd named CB at his garage. CB was a great dog. He loved my dad, omg. And he was so good with us when we were young. Never growled at us or barked, such a good dog. And very protective of all of us. Not a traditional childhood memory but my dad wasn’t exactly a traditional dad. I mean he loved us I know that, but it wasn’t until we were all older, Daddy included that we would say I love you to each other. I’m glad we did grow to say I love you.


As a nurse I make decisions for all different situations. Some situations are not emergent but important non the less. There are many times a situation can turn from a run of the mill situation into an emergency and will require well thought out decisions. In the school where I work there are medically fragile students. Every day is different at my job. Some days are consistent with nothing to write home about and other days are full of running from incident to incident while trying to make sure scheduled feedings and treatments and medications are provided on time. I’m not complaining, I’m not. I love my job. And it is what it is.

I’ve worked in hospital as a bedside nurse early in my career and I did not like it at all. So I left. I had great learning experiences there but that’s all I took away from there. School nursing; caring for this population of students has given me the best of everything in nursing that is important to me. The chance to make a difference in a students’ life and the opportunity to lend support and build bridges with parents. When Thomas attended the school I now work at, I received such wonderful support and feedback from his teachers and therapists. It was very difficult to leave there when Thomas needed a residential school. Fortunately the residential school exceeded my expectations of the care they provided for my son.

So…decisions. I am often assessing the situation and running decisions through my mind before deciding on a course of action. There’s so much to consider sometimes your head spins, but not in a bad way more like an information gathering spin; what are the doctor’s orders for this situation? Is there improvement after administering meds, oxygen, etc…. If no improvement, is calling 911 necessary? Which hospital will the EMT’s take the student to? Is that facility an acceptable destination for the family? There are times the parent or guardian will only consent to one particular facility and will not allow their child to be transported and take charge of the situation themselves. And that’s ok, they have that right.

I’ve learned so much working in my school. My students have taught me so much about about what it takes to be their nurse. Every student is different and they may have similar nursing orders but their needs are not the same. I’m happy where I work. And most days I’m satisfied with the job I’ve done for the day. There are days I leave, questioning decisions I’ve had to make that day. No one is perfect and no decision making process is flawless.

The Shoe Closet…

I am a self admitted shoe whore. Well shoes and bags if I’m to be completely honest. But it started with shoes. I remember I became friends with a girl named Michele, we both worked at this children’s clothing store that was very popular in the ‘80’s in my neck of the woods. Michele was young, beautiful and really dressed for work, accessories, heels, body con dresses, the works. I wanted that look so we shopped together and I began wearing heels just about everywhere; especially to work. So I can easily say Michele sparked my love of shoes, boots, all with at least a 2 inch heel. Back in the day I did not go out with my friends unless I was wearing heels.

I began working at an auto parts store right next door to the children’s clothing store. I continued to dress up for work. It didn’t matter that I was a cashier, I wore dresses with heels to that job almost every day. The owner of the store was an interesting man. I asked him why he wanted a woman to be his cashier and he answered that he felt men cursed less and had all in all more calm behavior when he had a woman working in the store. I worked there almost all through college. It was a fun place to work. And the environment didn’t stop my love of wearing heels and nice shoes to work. I think the only place I didn’t wear heels was to college because there was so much walking involved from one building to another, and I won’t get into how terrible the parking was.

Fast forward to today. I no longer wear heels; much. My feel totally kill me if I do. I’ll wear flats whether it be a sandal or a boot. Heels wouldn’t work very well with the job I have now anyway. One day I wore a short boot with a 2” heel and I ended up literally running from one classroom to another to keep up with emergencies that were happening that day, up the stairs, down the stairs …Bad day to wear a heel. I still love shoes and boots. Today I organized my shoe closet. I have a lot of shoes. I didn’t count how many pairs. Every variety of sneaker, sneaker with a wedge heel, then flats, sandals, platform sandals, I will wear a platform heel if we are going out. (I wore platform heels when my kids were small, I could run a marathon in a platform heel I tell ya).

So it was interesting to go through my shoe collection. To think about how my collection has changed over the years. Changed the way my hair color and styles have changed. I’m sure there’s a connection somehow. I do have shoes that are more sensible and conservative than others the same way my hair has been conservative and then totally not conservative. Sometimes you just have to shake things up.

Taking Down The Tree!

I know it’s early for some people but I’m taking down the tree and putting Christmas decorations away. I want my house back. Actually this is on the late side for me to be taking the tree down. I’ve been known to do it on December 26. The one year I did that, Thomas was in rare form and I wanted nothing more than to erase any trace of the holiday that was just trashed. I remember the emotions of that Christmas but I can’t remember the year.

This year, I don’t feel any particular rush to take the tree down. I’m doing it this weekend because I’m to go back to work this Monday and I don’t want to come home after work to my tree still up and my house not the way I’d like it to be. To me there’s a certain relief of putting all the decorations away. In my life, after the 25 of December has come and gone it’s time.

For the first time in the 26 years we’ve been married I had to ask Tommy for help getting the tree back up in the attic. This December when I brought it down was kind of hairy and Lelly was seriously afraid I was going to hurt myself. I laughed at the time but I knew I wasn’t getting it back up there by myself. We did it together and we laughed, poor Samantha had to have her things moved around in her attic room. Then I kept forgetting boxes on our first floor and the stocking holders, omg. I couldn’t stop laughing! It’s good to laugh at yourself.

Happy New Year!! And best of luck to those taking their tree down “early”.