*I* Still Need Them

It’s funny when you’re children are young and you are pulling out your hair trying to do the right thing, make the right decisions, make everyone somewhat happy and losing yourself in the process; (take a deep breath) you kind of can’t wait for everyone to become more independent and/or less needy of you. Grammar school seems to take forever to get through no, really, I’m not kidding. Then junior high years pass a bit faster. Next thing you know it’s time for high school and those 4 years simply fly by. It’s really amazing and crazy all at the same time.

Alyssa went through college without much of a peep of a complaint. She just did her work and projects and even held down internships without a complaint. Alyssa made sure she completed college in 4 years to earn her bachelors degree. After that she was so so done with school. Sam proposed that summer and by March of 2021 they were married and off on their own.

My Lelly graduated high school 6 months early, began college early and worked so diligently to graduate from college an entire semester early with her bachelors degree. At the age of 21 she was ready to move out on her own to Manhattan. Which she did this past September. Bam, she was out of here.

I miss them. I miss them as the young adults they are now. I really don’t miss the younger years as I’ve pointed out in many a blog post, but I miss the fun and laughs we would have before Alyssa and Lelly moved out. I know they had to leave. Alyssa to start her new life with Sam and Lelly to start her life that she’s been ready to start since she was a young child. She’s always been a runner and eager to move to the next milestone or life event.

I know they still need me, I still need my mom. I know they both left with love in their hearts. When Tommy and I moved Lelly in to her apartment, Lelly and I cried and cried as we unpacked her things and I cried the whole way back home. I never imagined I would have reacted that way. It goes to show how your emotions take over.

Being the Entertainment Committee

Sam and I are off this week, her from school and me from work for February break for NYC public schools. Someone is bored and it’s not me. With Sam wanting to “do something” I’m taken back to when all my kids were younger and I had to come up with ways to entertain them when they weren’t in school. It was hard man! Honestly I used to curse the February break like it was brought by the devil himself. I mean didn’t they just have off for the winter break??

During one school break, it was warm out; Thomas, Alyssa and Lelly were young, like grammar school ages. Sam was a baby. I told everyone we would go to the local children’s museum here since it had a lot of different things for the kids to do. As I was driving and approached the children’s museum I felt like I was going to stick a fork in my eye if I had to go there one more time. So I kept driving and asked the kids if they wanted to go on a boat. I drove straight to the ferry. We already had lunch packed for the museum so we boarded the ferry and off to Manhattan we went! We ended up in Battery Park right downtown. There was a park with swings, jungle gym, huge blocks to climb, etc… (That park isn’t there anymore). It was so much fun. Who was pushing who on the swings, there wasn’t any fighting; Alyssa was climbing the blocks… And there was an ice cream truck right there, so we all had ice cream. I had such a nice day with my kids; all of them together.

We went to Manhattan a few more times like that, just jumped on the ferry. Sometimes we would get McDonalds for lunch and eat in Battery Park. It was such a great diversion from the usual frenzy. One day we walked further into the park a discovered a water park where sprinklers appeared from the ground shooting water up at the kids. It was great! Who cares if they got wet it was only water. After we played in the water there were street performers doing flips in the air. Good times.

Sometimes I miss that spontaneity. I should be more spontaneous in my outings with Sam since it’s only the two of us when Tommy is working. I’ve become a creature of habit and after working all week out of the house, I want to be in my house when I’m off. Or only go out for a little while, like to the Sal Val or mall or wherever. There’s still time to be spontaneous; we have a few days left in the break. Maybe.

Saying Things Now

I’m a strong believer of telling people how I feel in the moment. Especially expressing the good I see in that person. There are too many wasted moments when a person is alive and will appreciate what you have to say, rather than standing around at their wake/funeral saying all these great things about the now dead person. It’s too late then.

I remember the last years of my father’s life. I told him I loved him every chance I had. After every phone call and when I left him after a visit. It didn’t seem like I could say it enough even though I knew he knew I loved him. We do the same with our children. Not one leaves our presence without our saying I love you to them. I always say I love you to my mom whenever I say goodbye whether it be on the phone or in person.

I really appreciate my mom. She may already know this but it’s always nice to hear/read it. She’s an educated, strong woman who is an awesome nurse. She was told while in high school that she wasn’t smart enough to go to college. This was in the 1960’s. So she married my dad, worked for the “phone company,” had her children and after my younger sister became around 4 years old, she went to work full time (retail no less). Mom also began attending college full time to become what she always wanted to be; a registered nurse. Mom didn’t stop at her associates degree. While working full time as an RN, she went back to school and earned her BSN. After earning her bachelors degree Mom went on for her Masters in nursing education. Pretty damn good for a woman who wasn’t college material. She didn’t stop there; my mom then became a nurse practitioner. After becoming an NP she was finished with “school”.

Why am I writing this? Because I’m proud of my mom and I want her to know this now when she’s alive; not telling her story in a eulogy one day to other people. My point is let people know how you feel about them when you can say it in person to their face. Too shy? Write a letter, send a card. Just tell them.


My husband and I have known each other since we met at 15 years old. I remember him sitting down. I was standing in front of him. He looked up at me with those green eyes and I felt as though I was struck by something; that dark hair with longish curls, olive toned skin and green eyes. He never believed anyone who told him he was a good looking guy. Tommy started attending the same high school as me but between the time we met and him starting school I had colored my hair. I went from light brown to very light blonde hair. So he’s asking around school for me not believing anyone who said, “Oh yeah, I know Menay, she’s the blonde.” It wasn’t until his best friend kind of shook him and said yes that’s her! I always smile at that story. To this day I still color my hair often. Tommy jokes and says he could run out for milk and he’ll come home to me with different colored hair. It’s kind of not a joke.

We began seeing each other at age 17 ish. We had typical teen angst and drama and broke up for short periods of time. I was always devastated. The drama! My co workers at the auto parts store were soooo sensitive and would tell me I was “back on the meat rack” during a break up. Finally we stopped the shit. I began nursing school, finally I was serious about my major. I never thought about us being engaged, I never gave him an ultimatum or brought up getting married. Tommy proposed when I was a year into the nursing program. Anyone who’s been through the type of program such as nursing knows how tough it is, how it takes over your life and all you do is study, attend clinical and take tests. Yet, he still proposed.

My husband is really a nice guy. He’s been a phenomenal provider for us. Especially when I was home with the kids. I couldn’t work much anyway. Thomas was a handful and a half plus our parents worked so we decided I would be home. I had a couple of part time jobs here and there but nothing big. I can’t say I totally enjoyed being a stay at home mom, but I am grateful I was there for my kids in that way when they were young. I was able to run Thomas to various multiple specialists and on the other side of my life; go on class trips with the girls.

He’s a great dad, great listener and great with giving advice. He gets to know people well and has some of the same friends from high school. He has witnessed me give birth 4 times and was there when I miscarried twice. Tommy has the best sense of humor, he’s made me smile when all I wanted to do is cry. He has made me laugh during the most stressful times of our marriage. Even when Thomas was in residential school. Was it always appropriate? Hell no, but it was between us and we laughed so we wouldn’t always cry. I can’t imagine being with someone who didn’t make me laugh. Tommy has been making me laugh since we were first friends oh so many years ago. Now 26 married years later he still has those amazing eyes, dark hair and olive skin, and omg that sense of humor.

Sometimes They’re Complicated

I always thought Thomas was our most complicated child. We didn’t get a solid diagnosis for him until he was around 6 years old when he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He had things he was treated for such as speech impaired/delayed, muscle hypotonia ( received PT and OT as well as speech therapy) and behavior issues (he would hit me).

It wasn’t until Thomas was 12 years old did an amazing neurologist examine Thomas and all his MRI’s, educational, and developmental reports and come to the conclusion/diagnosis that our son was brain damaged. Static encephalopathy was the official words he used. It means brain damage that won’t get worse and won’t get better. It was a difficult reality to accept after all the years of basically not knowing anything official. Professionals would ask me why I wanted a diagnosis so bad? That they were treating what was wrong…. At the time I wanted to scream in frustration. A diagnosis puts a name to what is wrong, something to research, something you could “touch”. It’s hard to explain.

It’s now years later and we made the best and most difficult decisions I thought we would have to make as parents. We went through a terrible season and came through with God’s help. Now it’s a different child with challenging issues. This child is not special needs like Thomas. This child is a typical young woman for the most part. However she needs us as parents in a different way than the others, needs us to make difficult decisions and choices and be her advocate. I always thought after Thomas the rest of my kids would be smooth sailing. I was so wrong. Being a mom you’re never “done.” Stuff just keeps on coming.