Monthly Archives: December 2007

New Year

It still feels like my brother’s memorial was yesterday – it was only two weeks from yesterday – and I’m still processing it. Now I feel like I should send something for someone to read at my sister-in-law’s thing for him in California. The question is what to send and who is going to read it?

Overall, I think Christmas went very well. Santa didn’t bring P a T.M.E.-TMX and she didn’t even mention it. All the pastel colored pony related stuff pushed any Elmo thoughts of right out of her brain. There simply isn’t any more room. She and I were having some issues in the days immediately following Christmas but it has improved. She has been incredibly whiny and freaking out whenever it doesn’t go her way and will give up the millisecond she has any trouble doing anything. We’ve had some major clashes and I’m not sure if it is her attitude or mine. I don’t have a lot of patience right now. It could be that I’m tired after the holiday (or mid-holibirthday actually). She got so much stuff for Christmas and she is well aware that she is getting another large haul of stuff at the end of this week. There is no Santa involved in her birthday either. I have been reminding her that while Santa gives her presents for Christmas, Mommy and Daddy gives her presents for her birthday. What Mommy and Daddy giveth they can certainly puteth backeth.

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Need a little Christmas

I’m looking forward to Christmas. P is so pumped and ready for the whole thing. I just hope she isn’t too disappointed when Santa doesn’t bring her a Tickle-Me-Elmo-TMX. It’s the one thing she asked Santa for. We tried to tell her that it is for babies but she is convinced that she needs one. G and I talked about getting her one but he’s so adamantly against it he practically bit my head off when I brought it up. She’ll barely play with it and it is another bit of junk that we don’t need, I know but part of me says, who cares? How many times can you say that you granted someone’s deepest wish? My cousin gave her a Toys-R-Us gift card so if after Christmas/Birthday is over and she still is wanting for anything – I told her that I’d help her go online and get what she wanted. We got her a sleeping bag, a bunch of My Little Pony things, a Miss Bindergarten toy (who knew they made such things??) and two of the books and a bunch of other stuff that I wrapped so long ago I don’t even remember what it is. My parents got her an American Girl doll so that should be an exciting one. I don’t even think her 12 year old cousin who has everything has one of those.

I felt a great sense of relief earlier in the week, right after the memorial but as the week has gone on I’ve been feeling kind of sad. It’s all the Christmas everywhere I guess. I seem to hone in on all the meloncholy parts too. I guess that I had forgotten but this year it seems like so many Christmas songs and movies are a little depressing. Whenever I hear “I’ll be Home for Christmas” in a store I get all choked up. “It’s a Wonderful Life” was on TV last week and I couldn’t bear to watch it. It’s not like this is news to me but each and everytime I hear or see something sad somehow it’s a reminder of what happened. Even when it is something beautiful or happy, I get choked up. It’s because it makes me think of how he’ll never get a chance to experience that happy or beautiful thing again. He chose not to. It’s like I’ve got to feel it for both of us now. It is a big responsibility.

For I’ve grown a little leaner

Grown a little colder

Grown a little sadder

Grown a little older

And I need a little angel

Sitting on my shoulder

Need a little Christmas now

I’m feeling this song this year . . .
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Memorial

We had my brother’s memorial in Great Neck yesterday. It was fitting that it was one of the worst weather days of the season. A gigantic Nor’easter clobbered much of the area in sleet, freezing rain, snow and wind. My husband was FREAKING out about traveling in the bad weather so we made a plan to go to Great Neck one day early. We stayed in a tiny hotel that is next door to the funeral home where we had the memorial. When I was growing up the hotel was called the Bayberry but has now been reborn as a boutique hotel called The Andrew. It was very hi-fashion inside and we loved our king sized bed but the room was small and hot. P loved it and declared to all that would listen that she now loves hotels and wants to stay in another one very soon. I’m very glad that we stayed overnight. It cut down on the stress of yesterday a lot. Driving home last night went very smoothly. Once we got to the thruway it started snowing and the roads were slushy when we got off the highway but we still made it home in a little over two hours.

The memorial was really nice. We had quite a few people inspite of the weather. My family from Connnecticut couldn’t make it because of the weather. We had many of my brother’s friends there and my closest friend from High School came with his parents. I went up first. I brought a copy of an email that I received from our cousins in Italy and I read that. They were so sweet to Michael when he and Erica met them two Octobers ago. They really treated him like the second coming of my Grandfather. The email described how my brother had stood up during lunch and told them all in English about how much it meant to him to meet his family and even though they didn’t understand the English words, they knew what he was saying and felt his language. Then I read what I wrote. It was the best thing that I have ever written I think. I needed it to be because it was for my brother. He was such a critic and so very very smart I knew that I had to make it just right. I felt him there with me and I know that he approved. It was a little harsh here and there but that’s OK, so was he. I was angry when I wrote it and I’m still angry. He did such a stupid thing and broke all our hearts. You can’t just answer that with rainbows and flowers. Sometimes when you get punched it is OK to punch right back. Two of my brother’s friends also spoke. One read something that Erica had written. It was really beautiful. I’m so glad that a part of her was there with us as well. She really loved my brother and I love her for that. He was hard to love sometimes. My parents both spoke as well. Afterwards everyone pretty much scattered to get home again. This was fine. We wanted to get back on the road right away too. That’s all I’m going to say for now. Maybe I’ll post what I read a little later.

Take care,

R

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Holiday Cookies



P and I made Christmas cookies yesterday. I got the idea when I couldn’t bear to play “Rudolph” anymore. It is a bit involved at our house since my oven is on the fritz. I have a gigantic toaster oven that does the job but since you can only fit teeny tiny trays inside it takes forever. It made the house smell nice and festive. I did find myself cursing my brilliant idea after revisiting the cookie tin several times last night after dinner for “just one more”.

P really enjoyed the cookie productioning and was chatting and laughing away. We had one short bout of tears when one of our candy cane shaped cookies got kind of mangled but then she was fine when she realized that it made a lovely rainbow.

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Tannenbaum 2007



Here is the skirt under the tree. We got our tree at the local firehouse. I think that it is perfect! I’m sure that it will start jettisoning needles any second now but I don’t care. I love the smell and somehow it wouldn’t be Christmas without one. My daughter really enjoyed taking all the ornaments out of the boxes and their tissue paper wrappers. It was definitely bittersweet. I got pretty emotional. All the ornaments are worthless toys and glitter really. What makes them special are the memories that you attach to each one. Decorating our tree brought me back to my mother’s trees over the years. Her ornaments and our memories of family times together back when there was still so much promise and a chance to find your place in life. We certainly had our share of unhappy family times and unhappy holiday times but at least back then my brother and I could look at each other and think, someday we’re getting out of here. How can it be that I’m the only one who made it?

Sorry about that. I wanted this to be a happy post. This story will cheer us up. My mom often finished her tree with icicles. You know those little thin strips of mylar that you kind of throw at the tree? It adds a lot of glitter to the whole thing. When I grew up and starting getting my own tree I used to use icicles too until I got my dogs. They were constantly stealing it off the tree and eating it. I’m sure that it wasn’t good for them but it wouldn’t have bothered me so much except that it came out the other end intact. Our walks would often involve me having to pull long crap covered icicles out of their butts. Thus ended the era of the icicle and I’ve never gone back.

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December 7 – Birthday

Yesterday, December 7th would have been my brother’s 46th birthday. I decided to take the day off from work and go on a field trip with my daughter. We did Christmas-y things. It was UNBELIEVABLY cold out but other than that it was really fun. She colored, put sparkles on an ornament, heard a story, met a rather svelte Santa (I guess he’s been watching his carbs) who gave her a “reindeer bell”, played in a mini “town” (the outdoor part) and ate a homemade donut. When we were home later I asked her what her very favorite part was and she said, “the bus ride!”

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Weekend

We went to visit my parents this past weekend. It was the first time we had seen them since this happened. My mom looks so tired and sad. She is very quiet and says even less than she usually does. My dad on the other hand is talking a mile a minute. He’s trying to work it all out in his brain I guess. He’s looking for answers and even went as far as to ask me if my brother ever “told” me anything. He also wants me to talk to his wife and find out what was going on with them from her. He’s crazy if he thinks I’m interrogating my friend for him. He was saying that he knew his son when he was a little boy but that when he got older they knew less and less about him. I would say that was because they didn’t care to know anything about him. They didn’t approve of the choices he was making so they weren’t interested in his life. I think that once he got older and started going his own way they couldn’t deal with it. Now my dad goes on and on about what a wonderful thinker, writer, friend, person, etc., my brother was. It makes me crazy because he never really bothered to tell Mike any of this when he was alive and maybe if he did a little more often, we wouldn’t be in this mess we’re in. I know my dad wants me to look to them for comfort now. I just can’t. I know it would help him, to feel that he was helping me a little but I’m not ready for that yet. I haven’t looked to my parents for comfort for a long time now and I’m not about to start now. It’s just that it doesn’t come without judgement – at least from my dad. He’s got to have an opinion on everything and he’s got to let you know his opinion whether you’re asking him to give it or not. It’s like I’m seeing them so clearly right now and I’m just taking a step back and taking it in for now.

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