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Archive for the tag “Dad”

Jason

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A few weeks ago Michaela (our 2 year old) began hinting there was another person in our family.  His name is Jason.  At first we couldn’t figure out who Jason was.  He would show up in odd moments and our nanny was convinced SHE was being referred to as Jason.  After inquiring it became clear Jason was Michaela’s imaginary friend.  Jason was a trouble maker sometimes.  Jason is not simply pronounced “Jason”.  Rather you must pucker your lips and express a deep drawn out ”JAAAASSSSSOOOON”.

Bailey (our 5 yr old) had never mentioned any imaginary friends.  Growing up I had my BFF Tiffany so it has tickled me to have a kindred spirit in Michaela.  As our family has become more immersed in Jason’s personality we have begun adding him to our daily questions.  “Hey Michaela where is Jason?”  From what I have surmised he is potty trained, a voracious reader, and an avid jokester.  He loves to make messes, hide at bedtime, and cause trouble.  He is her imaginary friend and her alter ego.  Jason is awesome sauce.

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Three weeks ago my dad was diagnosed with kidney cancer.  It was a shock as I am sure it is to any person finding out there dad is not invincible.  The doctors were quick to get surgery scheduled and within days we had the date.  March 29.

My world shook the moment I knew something was wrong with my dad.  Realistically we know our parents will get older and have health problems.  However it is just something we take for granted until a test result slaps us across the face.  My little brother (Rob) and I immediately launched into action making plans to be there.  Logistics wise we both had a ton on our plate but within 24 hours we had travel coordinated, work off and spouses taking over at home.

The family plan was to meet the day before surgery, stay together the night before then do hospital shifts.  Between my mom, Rob and I my dad would never be alone. The doctors felt confident the cancer was only in his kidney. Everything sounded rational and on paper it made sense.  However I knew I wasn’t alone with the feeling of complete and utter fear.

Tuesday I left my girls, Mike and our animals and got on the train.  I spent 5 hours thinking about him and honestly dreading my arrival.  What do I say? How do I act? Do I cry? Make jokes? Will they cry? My role in our family has always been the planner/cheerleader.  I typically take charge (even when they don’t want me to) and lead.  Armed with the team bracelets my daughter had made us I arrived ready to do anything to help my parents.

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The first hour was a little rocky.  My dad was understandably very nervous and my mom was trying to be a comfort while managing her emotions.  He wasn’t allowed to have any cocktails and he didn’t have much of an appetite.  We chatted about surface subjects and idly waited for Rob to get into town.  When he did we headed to a quick dinner in anticipation of our early morning.

I’m not sure when the subject of Jason came about but it did.  My family giggled at the Jason stories and we started making up new stories about Jason.  Everyone pronounced “Jassssoooon” with the deep voice and curled lip I showed them and it just kept getting funnier.  For some reason Jason brought out the child in all of us.  By the time we went to bed we had spent most of the evening laughing and swapping stories.  We bunked in the same room and my brother started cracking jokes in the dark.  We were laughing so hard I was in tears.  I honestly can’t remember the last time I felt like such a little kid hanging out with my parents.

The next day was LONG.  We checked in a 6am, dad’s surgery was at 9 and he remained in solitary recovery until almost 5pm.   At one point the nurse allowed each of us to individually visit him.  While walking back I was anxious. I wasn’t sure what he was going to look like and wanted to make sure I seemed confident and encouraging.  I walk back and in his drugged state he looks at me and says, “It went good honey. “Jaaassooooon” was in there helping out!” I cracked up.  Good ole Jason had been there watching over my dad the whole time.

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Over the next few days Jason continued to be a theme.  In the patient room next to my Dad’s there was a sheriff supervised patient.  We joked Jason would protect us.  When dad started walking we would say, “Have Jason go with you”.  Even when I left this morning I told dad I had to bring Jason back to Michaela.  Our faith was always present and Jason served as our angel.  He made us all laugh when we really wanted to cry.  He encouraged us to have fun rather than worry.  Jason brought out the childlike banter we had been accustomed to and gave a light in the scary darkness.

My dad was discharged today two days ahead of schedule.  He exceeded the doctor’s expectations with his strength and determination. I heard the nurses talking about him saying he was fun and a joy to have as a patient.  We won’t know the final results until next week but his surgeon felt confident they would be positive.

As I sit on the train riding home I can’t help but smile.  Watching my dad exude the qualities I love most about him filled me with pride.  At 77 he is focused and optimistic.  He is ready to tackle anything and is stubborn to get back to his active lifestyle.  He is serious about his health but can giggle with Jason.

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Jason provided the senseless relief we needed and I can’t help but feel so much admiration for my children.  We wore the bracelets my daughter made us through the whole process and my parents implored us for more grandchild stories.  THIS is the reason for family.  The knowledge and love we receive from our elder’s passes to our children.  Our children provide purity and unabashed wonder to us.  It is absolutely awe inspiring and I travel home with a heart full of love and hope.

Sending the essence of Jason to all our readers!

Xoxo

Mari

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I Know Too Much

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I know your wedding anniversary was last week and the lasagna you ordered was phenomenal.  Your child has pink eye, a stutter and likes purple.  Your husband has horrific gas in the middle of the night and often it keeps you up at night.  The neighbors on your left are loud and annoying and the smoke from their partying comes into your window. You have lost 6 pounds on your new weight loss program and typically work out at 6:30am before work.  Your youngest child has the flu and the vomit is horrible.  You and your best friend are fighting over the girl’s night out last Tuesday.  Your job sucks and you were late last week because of traffic.

You are my Facebook friend and I don’t have your phone number.  We don’t hang out; in fact, we met in passing.  When you are down the street from my house and check in at a local bar you don’t realize how close you are.  Even if you did I wouldn’t be invited.  After all, we don’t know one another and I don’t want to be real friends with you.

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I have almost 500 “friends” on Facebook and have relationships with possibly 75.  I check Facebook throughout the day and peek into people’s lives knowing details about their family, their day-to-day activities and their life.  I know their religion, their political affiliation and their music tastes.  Many of these people I haven’t spoken to for more than 5 minutes in my entire life.

For the few real friends I have my feelings get hurt when I see a post and realize I wasn’t invited.  I can tell when someone is annoyed with me because they don’t like my picture or comment on a post they would normally comment on. I worry I might make someone feel excluded when I update a picture or event and may have forgotten to invite a friend.    Before Facebook I wouldn’t know when a few friends had an impromptu get together or quick coffee date.  I would be oblivious to a friend’s mild annoyance with me.

I have been thinking a lot about Facebook and the impact it has on my days.  More important, I worry about the time I set aside to read update after update from people I barely know.

Having aged from a young single girl to a mother the updates are equally annoying.  The constant competition of other parent’s boasting their child’s advanced skills or perfect post baby body will leave any person insecure.  On the flip side I receive notes from people commenting on the person without the perfect body or phenomenal child.

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Then there is my favorite area.  Friends I might not be real friends with any longer but don’t want to unfriend on Facebook.  After all it would be childish, right?   I read posts of them boasting their best night ever with their newest friends or vacationing down the street.  According to Facebook their lives (or ours) is much better now and the passive aggressive dance ensues.

What is happening? Why has social media become the dominant presence in our lives? I have always defended my Facebook membership as a tool to keep in touch with family and friends who live far away.  However, I spend much more time reading updates about people I don’t interact with!  Why do we care so much about reading what people are doing? I find myself delighting in the mortifying admissions and the horrific posts people write.  I hear my disappointment because a friend forgot to invite me or another friend is annoyed because I missed an outing. This is not who I am and I am quickly realizing I have no interest in knowing so much.  Facebook creates insecurity in my friendships and encourages me to post nothing but what I want people to perceive is my life.

I am not done with Facebook. Yet.  However downsizing is part of my phase out program.  I don’t want to lose the years of previous posts because I think it will be fun to include in my kiddos scrapbooks.  Also our blog reaches all of my contacts.  But I am tired of too much information.  I am bored of worrying how I look in each picture to prove I am still a hot mom (thanks Photoshop).

For my real friends please just let me know when you are upset with me or just love me.  Please begin sending photos to my email address because I cherish them.  Remember I might not be available but invite me! Mostly, think about what you post on Facebook.  Know people are reading and might be hurt, offended or excluded.

What do you think? What is your social media pet peeve? I would love to hear your comments while I check Facebook 😉

Xo Mari

 

Old man, look at my life. I’m a lot like you were.

My dad passed away almost three years ago. He called me a day before he passed and told me that he was going into the hospital and that I shouldn’t worry. I told him that I’d be on the next flight up. He said that wasn’t necessary and that I should stay home and take care of my pregnant (almost 8 months) wife. So I didn’t go. I have a lot of regret over that decision.

My brother and my step-mom took care of the required arrangements. I asked my brother to come down after that and he did. We spent time knocking around in a semi-daze. We would go to the track or to the golf course and talk about memories and flaws and strengths and how surreal everything was. It was really difficult. It is still really difficult but I’m really glad that my brother was there and we had each other to lean on.

I have been thinking about one story I told my brother in the days after Dad’s passing. I was living in Denver and things, frankly, weren’t going too well. I was depressed and miserable. I was screwing up and sabotaging relationships with friends. My work was suffering. My family was doing everything they could to help. My mom was really there for me and I can’t thank her enough. My dad came out to give me a kick in the ass. I didn’t handle it particularly well. We argued. I felt that he was embarrassed of me. He probably was (in those moments–I realize he wasn’t all of the time, now). He went back home and we were both angry.

Shortly after he left I was scheduled to join some friends for a Neil Young show at Red Rocks. I’m not that much of a Neil Young fan. There are some songs that I like a whole lot. I typically try to listen to as much of an artist as possible prior to attending their show. I had always liked Old Man, though. I started to internalize the song (with my own narrative) to stand in for me talking to my dad. You can see the lyrics here. I’d listen to the song over and over and it would make me feel so unbelievably sad, saying what I wanted to say to my him.

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