Father's Day

We've yet to have a barbecue at Mom's. By this time in the year, we've usually had a few. Dad tidying up the back a little. Mom asking us what we'd like on the grilled menu. Vegetables, please! And chicken too! Us hanging on the weekends just relaxing. Calling Auntie & Uncle to join us from CT. Sometimes some pool golf, a gift we'd given Dad years ago. Playing golf -- pool table style. Dad in his grilled-up t-shirt hanging halfway so that his gallbladder scar shows and his old man Chinese dragon, Muay Thai-looking boxers and tongs in hand flipping meats & making sure not to overcook the eggplant & zucchini. A cup of red wine in the other. And songs like "May Way" and "More" glaring just a bit from the retro minus-one boombox.

Those days are gone. And it may be a long while before we ever have a barbecue in the back again. Until then, I'm happy to barbecue in Stamford among family & close friends.

A quick note about Father's Day
Knowing that we'd be spending most of the weekend in CT, A. & I had spent Friday night into Saturday with Mom & Dad T. in Jackson (NJ), making sure to treat Dad T. to lunch. Once Sunday afternoon (actual Father's Day) came, A. said to me, "Did you call my Dad?" (Do we have to? We saw him yesterday already!) I couldn't help but respond, "Did you call mine?!"

And A. shot back with, "Yes. I spoke with him in church."

Yeah. Me too.


The Double DDs: Dunkin' Donuts & Dying with Dignity

Every time I get my hot (or cold) medium cup of DD turbo coffee, I am reminded about Dad's hospitalizations last summer -- a week and a half in June and a week in August. Mom took the night shift, and I relieved her in the morning. To do so, I would stop by the drive thru to jolt up on my turbo DD, then drive to Bayonne Hospital's parking deck and make my way to Dad's room. I would reassure Mom that she could take a break & sleep at home until the evening when we would switch off once again.

My turbo DD and Dad's DD

i cross the light
walk through the automatic doors
past he guard's station
my feet skate reluctantly
along the too familiar marble floors.

issues a DD Alert
Dying with Dignity rings in Dad's ears
like a solemn bell groaning
in a century-old church.

his grip tightens with every knowing
and loosens with each non-living moment
as the clock's hand streteches toward . . .



Namaste's now

breathe in
. . . 
. . . 
maintains the moment 
of . . . 
now . . . 

On the new job
So far, work has been great.  As I've been sharing with folks, I'm doing more writing than I've done before in any position, honing in on my grant-writing skills, which I'm very  much enjoying.  While reading through hundreds of pages of government RFPs can be daunting, I am thankful to be working for a worthwhile organization whose mission is to transfer the lives of New Yorkers in need.  As I struggled the past eight months to figure out what to do next, I kept telling myself, All I want to do is be in a position where I know that I'm contributing to the greater good & can also make use of my past professional experiences. I'm not trying to climb any career ladder as I've discovered what I thought I wanted in my twenties certainly isn't what I want now -- to have a family. And for me, it's important to be in a job that as much as it involves a wonderful cause, it also needs to support a family life. 

While at the gym last week, I watched CNN's feature on 'Womenomics,' how First Lady Michelle Obama is a role model for today's women.  Authors of the book Womenomics Claire Shipman and Katty Kay refute the myth of Superwoman -- having it all, a successful career & a family.  It is just a myth.  They commented that the First Lady has taught us that women do need to make some hard choices about when they want to have a soaring career and when they want to take precious time to be with their families.  Women's lives are not meant to move in straight lines, but do take some curves. 

And as someone who aspires to be a mom in the future, there's absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to 'be in my life.'  During my time off, I agonized over what kind of job to look for anticipating that A. & I want to move forward with adoption & start our family soon.  It's important to me to be in a job that has sanity and will allow me to balance both work & family as much as possible.  And if that means not having a top title or not making the most optimal salary, that's okay.  

Thank goodness for Womenomics.  n. 1. Power.  2. A movement that will get you the work life you really want.  3. The power collision of two simple realities:  a majority of women are demanding new rules of engagement at the very moment we've become the hot commodity in today's workplace. 


June's history

June's a big month, & we're almost halfway through it.  Today would have been my folks' 41st anniversary -- their elopement one, that is.  They also have a church wedding anniversary (September 21).  It really is true how grief moves in ebbs & flows. I recall Mom &  Dad's stories of how they met in Jersey City through friends -- Dad used to joke that Mom was anxiously waiting for him as soon as he got off the plane, knowing that mutual friends would be introducing them . . . how they moved all over Jersey City -- from apartment to apartment (Mercer, Summit, Garfield, Virginia aves.), eventually settling into the home I grew up in on Nunda Avenue by Lincoln Park.  Such history they have in Jersey City, and I suppose that's why I remain so connected to my birthplace.  And I guess that's why Mom can't imagine relocating anywhere else.

Another good reason to love Jersey  City?  It's where  A. & I met. It's where he proposed.  It's amazing how one place can have such roots for a family . . . & roots that are so embedded with memories & emotions . . . 

Just like this time last summer.  A. & I had just arrived home from our bus commute.  Mom had called to tell us that Dad wasn't responding . . . she'd called the ambulance.  We immediately packed an overnight bag, got into the car & headed up to Bayonne Hospital.  We were in the emergency room for hours until they could figure out Dad's status & settle him into a room.  Dad was in kidney failure.  A. & I thought we'd be sleeping at Mom & Dad's that night only to discover Mom had locked the garage door, and even though we had the garage door opener, it wouldn't open!  I didn't have the house keys, so we had to drive back to Parlin.  And that's how the rest of our summer went -- back & forth on the NJ Turnpike between Jersey City & Parlin.  

A summer to remember.


Perspective's company

Dad would've been 70 this past Thursday, June 4.  Lately, I find myself reflecting on where we were at this time last year. June was the first of Dad's hospitalizations last summer.  I took off for a week to alternate shifts with my Mom & keep Dad company.  He'd suffered kidney failure.  And it all went downhill from then.

I think Mom & I are each going through our own 'thing' right now.  Whatever grief & angst we have about Dad's cancer journey & death, each of us needs our alone time. Mom actually nipped at me the other day, telling me, "Don't call me, I'll call you."  So I didn't call her for a couple of days (until the neighbors informed us that she'd left her garage door open for half a day!)  I suppose my calling her three times a day has been a bit much.  So I'm trying to call her just once daily now. 

As I've tried to understand who my Mom is now -- a woman without her husband, a nurse who retired when she didn't expect to, a giving & thoughtful Mom, sister & auntie, a very private woman -- I realize she may now be a different person.  Just because I have known her as my Mom doesn't mean that's all she'll ever be.  In fact, I see Mom struggling to explore who she is . . . like an adolescent who's pushing her boundaries, figuring out her new independence, and probing into new friendships - some familiar, some not-so-much.  Maybe Mom can't be the person who she was because that woman wouldn't be able to experience who she is today.  

I know that I am not the same person I was this time last year.  So much has changed in my physical environment, in my relationships and in me -- my very be-ing.  Why would I expect my Mom to be the same person when I'm not?  Existence has a funny way of poking its way into Life & making its way to Perspective.

Thanks, Dad, for Perspective.