Tuesday, February 26, 2013

L'Chaim

So last I left you, life was moving along in a much better direction.  My dad was healing from his sudden heart attack/quadruple bypass surgery and I was feeling much more hopeful about his prognosis.  Life was feeling much less chaotic but I think I needed to take some time to draw a breath from thinking.  A good long breath.  I did not fully realize it at the time but I have always known it, this blog is a place for me to contemplate and to sort out my thoughts in a very concrete way.  Putting my words down in a place that felt comfortable and safe was a way for me to decompress and yet, I felt overwhelmed by trying to make sense of things after my dad's brush with mortality.  The words felt extremely jumbled and frankly, the thoughts that came along with them were very, very, very frightening.  I did not want to be in the here and now.  I did not want to be in that moment.  I wanted to be six or eight or ten months down the line at a time when the outcome would be much clearer and so, I shut down for a while without knowing that I was going to do so.  I realized about a week or so ago, that not living in the moment was slowly beginning to wear upon my soul.  Being in the past or in the future felt like a safer place to be, temporarily, for the sake of self-preservation and sanity, but eventually, we all need to come back to where we are.  Here.  And so, I made a conscious decision to return to the moment.  I talked to my husband, Mark, about it.  Because sometimes when we say the words out loud to someone who is willing to really listen, they seem to become unclouded and more understandable to ourselves.  And with those conversations, thoughts of writing began to slowly seep back into the forefront of my mind and this blog began to whisper out to me in a very healthy way.  For a while, I was receiving emails from some of my blogging friends asking me how I was doing and when I might be writing again.  Some people even requested for me to write again.  If you were one of those lovely people, thank you so much.  My deepest gratitude is with you.  Each note brought me closer to coming back.  Each friendly reminder of you made me understand that this is not only about me.  It is also about us, coming together to make sense of the world.  Supporting one another with nothing more than words and kindness.  And to those of you who sent me silent prayers of concern, I felt those also.  I stored them inside of my heart knowing  that you, too, would be here once I returned and it helped me to find my way back.  Every kindness was a part of the compass.  So here I am.

It is only fair to begin by sharing some of what has been over the course of the past several months so that I can get to where is now.  My four Angel Daughters are all doing well as they continue to evolve and grow into the incredible young women that they are.  I cannot even tell you how very lucky I feel to be their momma.  They are kind, loving, bright, unique, compassionate, beautiful, creative, effervescent souls finding their way in the world experiencing both the bumps and the beauty of the road.
Angel Daughter Number One is twenty-five years old now.(actually closer to twenty-six!)  It is sometimes difficult for me to remember that she truly is a self-sufficient young woman, and not my child to shelter from the world.  I am learning.  She is pretty good about being Angel Daughter Number "One" and allowing me to "practice" on her.  I know that there are times when she still rolls her eyes at me but for the most part, she humors me by letting me have my say and then politely expresses her own thoughts on things.  She is doing her very best to achieve her dreams as she auditions frequently for commercials(receiving many, many callbacks!) while subsidizing her income as a tour guide at Universal Studios, working for a catering company which caters mainly to the very rich and very famous in Los Angeles, Christmas caroling throughout the holidays(Which is where we were when the photo above was taken, she was on break.), volunteering as a Big Sister to a sweet teenage girl, and taking classes to continue her theatrical education.  She recently completed some spots for MGM, Kia and Comcast.  Her goal for 2013 is to book a national television commercial.  I know that she can do it!  I will let you know when and where to watch it once she has fulfilled this goal.
Angel Daughter Number Two celebrated her twenty-third birthday in early January.  We took her to a Tappan house with some of her friends, our family, and my mother and step-father to celebrate.  January starts the "Birthday" season for our family as my three youngest daughters have birthdays in January, February, and March, consecutively.  My dad's birthday is then in April, we don't have any in May, and then AD1's birthday is in June.  It is nice because there is always someone to celebrate!  AD2 is living in Los Angeles now, trying to find work as a photographer which is a highly competitive field.  She is working on figuring out her place in the world,  and we all know that it is not always an easy place to be.  It is difficult to watch her struggle but I know that she will eventually find her way.  It is just going to take her some time.  Her work has already been featured in some top magazines and she recently completed a shoot for one of the gossip magazines with one of the "Teen Moms".  She just returned from a huge fashion industry conference in Las Vegas where she made some very good contacts.  I think her biggest issue is that she still needs guidance but is not always willing to take it.  I guess the one thing that can be said for doing it "her way" is that she will gain a lot of wisdom in the process.  She is surrounded by loving people who are more than willing to guide her, trouble is, that she can be very stubborn at times. She likes to have the ability to make her own mistakes.  So, her father, grandfather, and I support her in whatever ways that we feel comfortable doing and then, we give her the leverage to make her own mistakes so that she understands that they are her own.  She is such a delightful, charming, and talented young lady and people really take to her.  She is a Capricorn whose mascot is the goat.  Goats like to climb to the top of the mountain where the view is the very best and the air is fresh and clean.  Like goats, Capricorns like to climb to the top of their chosen field so that they can reap the lofty benefits of success.  AD2 has the tenaciousness to succeed in her chosen field.  She just needs to learn from the fact that she can benefit from the mistakes that others have made before her.  If not, life is going to sting just a little bit more than it might actually have to.  It is really up to her and I will be here to catch her no matter how many bumps and bruises that she takes along the way.
We celebrated Angel Daughter Number Four's nineteenth birthday in the beginning of February.  Hard to believe that this is her last year of being a "teenager" and my last year of being the mom of a teenager!  I have been doing this for so long that I can hardly remember what it was like before we entered the years of changing/raging hormones, first loves, and the battles for independence.  I actually think that it will be quite a relief to know that all four of my girls have made it safely past the teenage years once AD4 hits twenty.  I have loved something about every stage of parenting so far, but I must admit that being the momma of four teenage daughters at once, managed to bring out a few more grey hairs than I was prepared for.  I suppose that is the price that I have paid for enjoying the joys of having a large family.  I would not change the experience for anything in the world.  Anyway, AD4 is still dancing her way into people's hearts, going to community college(for now), teaching dance classes to little ones through teens, and transforming into a beautiful young woman.
Angel Daughter Number Three will be twenty-one in March.  In some ways, I think I have seen the biggest changes in her over the course of the past year.  She is attending community college but will have completed her AA degree in the spring.  We are waiting to hear from several universities that she applied to so that she can complete her Bachelors degree in the next couple of years.  Everyday she comes home and asks whether or not anything has arrived for her in the mail so I know that she is ready.  She has worked at the same jewelry store for the past four years.  It has become like a second little family to her and she has learned so much from working there.  It took her a long time to heal after the break-up between her and her boyfriend of two and a half years, but she has evolved into a much more self-assured and confident young lady since then.  She is getting ready to choose a university and then move out of our home which for some reason, will be the most difficult one for me so far.  I am very excited for her.  AD3 does not do anything unless she is ready to do it and so, I know that the time for her to leave the nest is growing quite near.  Still, there is something very bittersweet about knowing that one of my youngest Angels will soon be spreading her wings.  However, in my heart, I know that she will soar.
Since I was last here, not only have we celebrated birthdays, but we have also celebrated births.  This gorgeous little man is Hudson.  He is the grandson of one of my oldest and dearest friends, Donna.  I have known Donna since I was twelve and her husband, Keith, since I was sixteen.  When Mark and I moved to California many moons ago, we never thought that we would get the chance to raise our children together as we had planned to do as kids.  That was until Donna and Keith decided to move their family out to Las Vegas over a decade ago!  Since then, we have made a point of it to get together as often as possible.  We have shared births and deaths.  With each passing year, our friendship becomes even more important to me.  Donna has four grandbabies now and I consider each one to be my grand-neice or grand-nephew.  Her children are my nieces and nephews and my daughters are her nieces.  Chosen family.  I am very blessed to have them.
 These were taken at Disneyland celebrating Scarlett's second birthday.  Aubri is the oldest.  She is such a bright little girl and I love her so much.  Little Scarlett is Hudson's older sister.
Scarlett adores all of my girls.  Angel Daughter Number Three says that she is not a huge fan of small children, but look at her with Scarlett.  She is absolutely smitten!
Scarlett and AD2.  Can you just see the love between them?  It makes me so happy to see my children interacting with Donna's grand babies.  We have come so far together.
Last month, Mark and I took the girls to their second Springsteen concert.  For those of you who are Springsteen fans, you might recognize Little Steven, Bruce's second hand man.  For those of you who watched the HBO series, The Sopranos, you might know him as Silvio Dante. We just know him as awesome!  We made a donation to his organization which raises money for music programs in school and in return, we received floor tickets to a couple of Springsteen concerts.  We cannot wait for them to come around again so that we can see them for the 22nd time!!!  BRUUUUUUUCE!!!!

Sorry, I lost my mind for a moment there.  While we were waiting for the concert to begin, we ran into this gorgeous hunk of a man, I mean, Rob Lowe.  He was standing right behind AD4 and I looked at her and mouthed the words, "Rob Lowe is standing right behind you!"  AD4 yelled out, "Who???"  and again I mouthed, "Rob Lowe" to which she turned around to look at him and her mouth dropped.  She then said to me, "I don't know who Rob Lowe is, but he sure is handsome!"  I must admit that he was a really nice guy.  Very down-to-earth and very friendly.  When Mark introduced him to our four daughters, he slapped him on the back and wished him good luck.
Rob's younger brother, Chad Lowe, was also at the concert.  At one point when we were chatting with them, Mark asked Chad if he was also in the acting business.  He chuckled and said yes.  We later found out that he has been the winner of a Grammy and that he is a regular on the TV series, Pretty Little Liars"!  Boy, did we feel silly.  I do not think that Chad was insulted at all because he ended up hanging out with Mark and I for most of the concert.  He was even nicer than Rob.  Rob wandered off for a major part of the show and so Chad just stuck with us.  There was nothing pretentious about him.  He told us about his newborn baby daughter and his three year girl.  We had a great time just hanging out with another serious Bruce fan.
BRUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCE!!!!
The man is sixty-two years old and he crowd surfs!!  He crowd surfs!  Enough said...

The love of my life with the loves of our lives.

This is Angel Daughter Number One and her boyfriend, Matt.  We met him for the first time a couple of weeks ago and he definitely seems like a keeper.  They went to college together but never dated when they were there.  They reconnected recently and began dating several months ago.  He is going to be completing his internship for his PHD over the course of the next year and then he will be a doctor.  Not an MD, but a PHD which is even better because they do not have the crazy hours!  I am rooting for them.  They make a very sweet couple.  As long as my Angels are happy, I am happy:)
Becca-Lynn October 21, 1998-December 29, 2012

And finally, very sadly, I said good-bye to my beloved fourteen year old best friend, Becca, at the end of December.  She was doing well until she wasn't and she began to go downhill very quickly towards the end.  It was one of the hardest and saddest decisions that I have ever had to make, but she went very peacefully in our home, on her own bed.  We had a vet come to our house so that Becca would not have to experience the stress of being brought to the vet's office which she hated.  The vet was extremely gentle and Becca fell asleep looking into my eyes.  She was such an amazing dog and a very loyal friend and companion.  She stood by me at times when I might have withered away without her love.  I am so grateful for the time that we had together and I will miss her for the rest of my life.
These are some of the moments which have passed during my absence.  Life is always filled with moments that make us want to run away and moments that make us want to stay for awhile.  It is up to us to remain present during all of these times because they are all valuable.  They are all teaching moments, and they truly are all we have in the end.

Thank you for sticking with me and for spending the time to walk for awhile on this road along side of me.  I look forward to reconnecting with you and to catching up with the many moments that I have missed in your lives.  There is a time for everything in our lives, and for me, it is time to return to the moment.  To the now, to here, to life. L'Chaim.

6 comments:

Blue said...

every time i spy a piece of sea glass, warm, happy thoughts of you come to mind. doesn't matter if it's tahiti, hawaii, puerto rico, or somewhere in between, you are thought of from all over the planet. i'm happy you're back. thanks for the update! ♥

Renee said...

Wow....a lot has gone on during the past few months. Life has a way of doing that. Nice to get updates and see what celebrities you hang out with! I actually prefer Chad Lowe to Rob with his acting too...
Sending big hugs your way.

Angella said...

How wonderful to have you back! I loved catching up here with your so beautiful family. I have missed you dear Debra, but even as I wrestled with taking a break myself, I understood. My love, my heart. Your girls shine.

Anonymous said...
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Ness said...

I am so, so sorry about the loss of your precious Becca. I am in the process of escorting my first granddog, Brandy, to the Rainbow Bridge. Her days are numbered but my love for her will be forever.

Miss A said...

I am so glad that you are back. I know you had a good reason to be away but I couldn't help but worry. You've become part of my own virtual family and I missed you.
I am again so sorry about Becca. But I know she was a happy dog and she passed in her home, which is quite a blessing.
Your daughters, your husband, you, and all your loved ones, this is what I had missed reading. I am happy that all is well. We are all a little less diligent about blog writing, and might cease all together one day, but let's never lose real touch.
Hugs, many many many hugs.

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