Friday, October 9, 2015

Deep in the Heart of Texas

My friend Donna is moving

In just over a month 

She’s leaving Massachusetts and headed to Texas  
Her son and daughter are in Texas with their spouses and Donna and Rick’s grandchildren
All Donna has wanted to do is get down with there them
And she finally gets to 
And that makes me so happy for her, and for Rick and for all the kids

But I am so sad for Massachusetts

Really I am sad for me…and Sean and Lucy

Which is so terribly selfish because Donna and Rick are leaving behind a lifetime of family and friends
They were born and raised in Somerville – still live in the house where Rick was born
They are everything family and friends should be
And they have so many people who will miss them

But they have this wonderful family, and extended family, in Texas waiting to greet them with open arms

And I am truly happy for her
Nonetheless, as I sit and write this, I have a big old lump in my throat and tears threatening to slide down my cheeks

I will miss my friend more than you will ever know

I met Donna in 2004 when I interviewed her for a job with our company  
In the first interview, she was a bit frazzled as she had just returned from a trip to Pennsylvania
Her great niece had been sick and in true form, Donna had gone out there
So we just chatted – an “interview” was the last thing she needed
Plus I hate doing interviews
We just hung out and talked
Within ten minutes, I knew I wanted to hire her
By the end of her second interview, I felt like I had known her forever; I knew all about her sisters, her children, her nieces, her husband, her son's upcoming wedding and her Mum 

So Donna came to work with me and every day, for four years, we laughed, we bickered, we laughed, we filed, we got frustrated with one another, we did invoices, we laughed, we overhauled the office and had it running like a dream and we laughed
She always had my back in the office and I always had hers

And at the same time, she became more than an employee and co-worker
She became a friend

When Donna left the company, I was devastated
I would miss her efficiency in the office and her laugh

But mostly I would just miss her
I would miss having my friend there with me day in and day out
She had become a confidant; someone I turned to when I needed support, advice, or just a shoulder to lean or cry on

Sure, leaving the company was not the end of the world
There was no way I was getting rid of her that easily
But work was a whole lot more fun with Donna there every day

See, the thing with Donna is this: once you become a friend, once you let her into your life, she is never leaving
Even when you are at your lowest of lows and are trying to push people away, Donna won’t budge
She will stand right there and love you
She won’t judge or criticize
And she’s forgiving
But more importantly, Donna places no conditions on your friendship with her
She truly loves and likes unconditionally

And Donna will always be honest with you and call you out on something if the need be

Plus, she is funny as hell – her sense of humor and brutal honesty are my favorite things about her:
Maria, that shirt??!! NO! And what the hell with that turtle neck sweater…..?? (I threw the shirt out but I loved the sweater too much)
Why am I gonna send you a Christmas card when I’m gonna see you at Christmas?!?! (But I always send her one!)
What do you mean what is this? It’s my Walkman!
But Donna it’s 2006
But I’m walking, man, and I like music when I’m walking……(I bought her an iPod)
This weekend, we’re doing something about that hair Maria….I’m making you an appointment (she did)
Maria! Didn’t I tell you no more turtleneck sweaters??? (I finally got rid of them)

When I started dating Sean, Donna told me within a month not to screw it up (she knew my track record)
I didn’t, I almost did, but she made sure I didn’t

When we got engaged, she squealed, literally squealed and threw her arms around both of use and tears sprang to her eyes
She was as excited for us as she had been for her own kids
When we got married she was right there watching, cheering us on and praying for us

When we told her I was pregnant, and it was so hard to keep it from her, she went into full on Auntie mode

When I told her I was not sure if I was being the kind of wife/mother I thought I was supposed to be, she listened to me without saying a word…she let me cry, let me talk my way through it….she validated my thoughts, feelings and emotions.....she hugged me….then she hit me upside the head and told me not to screw it up

She reminded me what I had in Sean and Lucy but, she also reminded me what they had in me
She reminded me I was worth it – that I too mattered – and that I was just as important as the next person
And she reminded me it was ok to feel the way I was feeling 

Donna has seen me through some of my happiest times and she has seen me through some pretty tough times
She has always been there for me
Even if I did not call her, she was there…
A constant…
A North Star….

Donna has cooked for us, showered us with love support, encouragement and advice (even if I did not ask her for it, she knew I needed it) and just plain old been there.....which sometimes, is the greatest thing a friend can do

Donna is talked about all the time in our house….sometimes Sean or I will just randomly blurt out, remember that time Donna….Remember those cookies Donna made…..Remember how hard Donna laughed when….Donna would think this is funny…..

Donna Donna Donna!

Lucy started calling Donna Auntie Dodo
We would refer to Donna as Auntie Donna but Lucy could not quite say it
Auntie Dodo is what came out
So Auntie Dodo has stuck
Lucy even named her first fish Dodo

We may not get to see Donna as often as we used to but I’ll tell you what, she has not missed a single one of Lucy’s birthday parties
She’s like Punxsutawney Phil, always shows up on that most important day of the year

When I told Lucy Auntie Dodo and Big Uncle Rick were moving to Texas she seemed unaffected for a split second until this conversation:

Mumma! If Auntie Dodo is in Texas, is she…will she…
Lucy’s bottom lip quivered a bit
But Mumma! What about my birthday party?!? Will Auntie Dodo miss it? She always comes!!!
I could not answer for fear the lump in my throat would suffocate me if I tried to push any words out
What honey
Will Auntie Dodo miss my party?
Well Luce, she’ll be living in Texas…..
So she’ll miss it!?!?
Honey, she’ll be in Texas
There was a slight pause and then Lucy threw her hands up in the air and declared
Well, I guess we’ll be having a second party for me in Texas now….
 Indeed we shall Lucy

I have no idea how to thank you for the friend you have been

I have no idea how to tell you how much you mean to me… Sean and to Lucy

You are just, you are….you are everything a Mum, a sister, an Aunt, a Grammy and a friend should be

You are everything I hope to be: empathetic, kind, caring, supportive, unconditional, understanding, forgiving….and you have the best laugh ever

I know you have bad days and I know it’s not always been easy but Donna, you are still standing and you have been more true to yourself than anyone I have ever known

You have picked your battles and won
You’ve cut your losses when you needed to
You have a handled adversity with grace, dignity and pride

I admire you for believing in yourself, your husband and your kids
I only hope that I too can provide Sean and Lucy what you have given both your Ricks and Dawn

I will miss you Donna Dovidio…more than you will ever know

I will miss knowing you are few exits down the highway
I will miss seeing you at Lucy’s birthday party
But I will always always call you a friend
And yes, Donna, I will always call you for dinner

I love you more than my luggage
And though I have probably been remiss over the years in saying this, I hope you know I admire and respect you

Donna, I am so happy you will finally be with all the kids….I am so happy for all of you….and I miss you already

Godspeed my dear sweet friend 
Ah, and please update your Christmas Card List to include me

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Are Squirrels Catholic?

Conversation I had with Lucy as we walk from Sunday School down to Church:
Me: How was Sunday school Lucy?
Her: Mumma! Did you know God is everywhere?
Me: I did
Her: Mrs K took us for a walk outside, God is in the trees and the flowers and the animals….God is even in the friggin’ acorns! He’s in the acorns!!!!
Me, with a chuckle: Yes, He is indeed everywhere but please don’t say friggin’ honey
Her: Sorry Mumma….hey if God is in the acorns, does that mean squirrels are Catholic?
Me: ……..

Conversation I had with Lucy about her day at School:
Me: Hey Lucy, did you have music today 
Her: Nah, we had health, we have music next week
Me: Oh, who is your health teacher again?
Her: Ms so and so...but she changed her name....I forget her new name 
Me: She changed her name? Why?
Her: 'cause she got pregnant....yep she's pregnant, with a baby 
Me: Pregnant with a baby??? opposed to pregnant with....
Her: You know, not a baby....
Me: .......

Conversation I had with Lucy on our way home from Swimming
Me: Lucy, you looked so strong in the water today – you were doing a great job with the strokes Miss Casey was working on with you
Her: Yeah, I’m thinking I might be in the Olympics
Me: The Olympics?
Her: Yeah, you know the Olympics when you can get a gold medal?? I wonder if it’s actually a chocolate gold medal that would be awesome
Me: ……..

Conversation I had with Lucy in the bathroom at the Airport in Texas
She was singing as she took care of business – I was in the stall next to her
Me: Luce honey, could you maybe turn the volume down a bit there pal?
Her: But I sound so good in here Mumma and I like singing
Me: I know honey but there are other people in here
Her: There are?
Lady’s voice: I think just me, and I like your singing
Lucy: Thanks! I take request if you want to hear anything
Me: ……..

Conversation I had with Lucy about what she wants for Christmas
Her: Mummy! I already know what I want for Christmas!
Me: You do?
Her: Yep; an air hockey table, Foosball and checkers!
Me: Wow – that’s a good list
Her: Yeah, I’ll tell Santa next time I see him
Me: Next time you see him? What…when….wait, do you see him now Luce?
Her: Well not right this minute but yeah, I see him sometimes
Me: Really?
Her: Yeah
Me: When?
Her: I don’t know, we had lunch together a while ago – you were at work
Me: You had lunch with Santa? He just picked you up and the two of you had lunch
Her: Yep, at the 99, we had the grilled cheese

Me: ………

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Can someone please explain how I'm the jerk in this situation?

So I've been walking around like this since Saturday

Not the end of the world, and I'll recover but it is hard not to notice I am currently one handed

This morning, someone asked me to move a couple computer components around because I'm the "IT person" (which I’m not)

I stared at the person blankly

The person stared back

Can you do it today I was asked

I continued to stare in muted fashion at said person

The person stared back

When I still said nothing, the person said to me

So I take this to mean you are unwilling to help?

No I said, I’m willing to help, are you?

Their response?

You know, you really should try to be a bit more considerate when people reach out to you for help

You’re right I said

So I crawled around on the floor undoing cords and cables then asked the person to move the tower and monitor for me

Can’t you just sort of push it?

Well I said, it’s a bit heavy and I’d rather not drop it or you know, hurt my hand any more than it is

Never mind, the person responded in that tone that says I don't even know why I bothered asking you, I’ll get someone else to do it for me

I just need you move the tower for me  

You said the tower AND monitor 

Yes, I did  - you're right - sorry 

Never mind, I'll just get someone else

Can someone please explain how I'm the jerk in this situation? 

Totally fine if I am, I just need to know the logic behind the argument  

Oh and by the way, I moved the tower myself...AND the one has yet to notice

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


Yesterday, I had a meeting with a professional
That is to say he was in a suit and tie

And he went by Joey
Which is so wrong in my head

Joey is my brother's best friend from grade school

Joey is the guy at the end of the bar buying shots for everyone

Joey is the guy you call when you need someone who knows someone who knows someone

Joey is the uncle who teaches your 10 year old son how to penny a door, lets your 5 year old daughter paint his nails, gives your teenage son a Trojan for his wallet and shows up when your teenage daughter is getting picked up for a date looking menacing and making idle threats for no reason

Joey not should be wearing a suit, cuff links and Armani shoes

Joey should not be driving an Audi and have so much responsibility

Nor should he be shorter than me and balding

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Super Reader

Throughout the year, Lucy's school participated in Journey through Books

The kids all read (or were read to in the case of kindergartners) and track their progress in journals by way of number of minutes read

Yesterday, there was an "awards" ceremony for the readers

Medals and t-shirts were given to the kids who reached a certain goal

Lucy came home, quite proudly with both

As she was showing off her medal (which she was wearing when I picked her up) and t-shirt, she all of a sudden looked quite forlorn

What’s the matter pal?

Oh Mumma, I just feel bad…

Why honey?


As she was talking, Lucy was playing with the medal hanging around her neck turning it over in her hand and lifting it up to admire it

…….well really, you and Daddy did all the reading….I just picked out the books and listened….maybe you should have my medal and t-shirt…  

I ruffled her hair

That’s sweet honey but no, the medal and t-shirt are yours, you keep them….you earned them for wanting to be read to all the time
Besides, next year you’ll be reading to us

I gave her a hug and she let out a sigh of relief before declaring

Oh, what a relief!
I was really sweating your answer 
I actually did not want to give up either.....I just felt like it was the nice and right thing to do…but really Mumma that shirt is going to look so good on Super Reader good and I really like the way a medal feels around my neck....

Friday, June 19, 2015

What if I forget....?

Lucy woke me up this morning at 5:20am 

Mumma she whispered, Mumma, is it time to go to school yet? 

No honey, hop in here and snuggle with me 

She nestled into me and sighed

What's up kiddo?

I don't want school to end Mumma....I just love it so much! 
And I love Mrs Dionne....and Project Learn 
Why does school have to end? 
Why does everyone want it to hurry up and end?

Oh sweetie...well, school only ends for a little bit - for the summer
The teachers need a break, you guys need a break....
Besides, before you know it, you'll be back at school 

What if I forget what Mrs Dionne has teached me?

Taught me honey....and I promise, you won't forget 

What if I get to 1st grade and no one remembers me? 
What if I show up and Mr Wells says Who are you? Why are you here?

Luce, trust me, he will not forget who you are...he won't forget any of you kids
And he will know why you are there

Hmmphh she said 

I closed my eyes to steal five more minutes


What honey 

Do all schools take a summer break? 


Think I'm the only kid who does not want school to end?

No honey, I'm sure some where there is a little Poindexter who, like you, does not want school to end

Who is Poindexter?

No one honey...I made him up....*sigh* 
I promise honey, you are not the only one who will miss school...but before you know it, you'll be back at school so don't fret, go back to sleep...

Lucy went quiet and I willed the clock to stand still so I could sleep just.a.little.longer
She pulled me from me fugue state and declared 

Ok but just so you know, if I get to 1st grade and can't remember anything from kindergarten, it is so not my grown-ups are the ones who made me take the summer off

Ok honey, I'll remember 

Can you write it in a note for me?


A note, can you write my new teacher and Mr Wells a note telling them I wanted to stay in school so I would not forget anything and if I did it is not my fault it’s your fault and their fault that I got dumb 

Sweetie don't say dumb....

Or stupid?

Right - don't say dumb or stupid 
And it won't happen, but if it will make you feel better, I'll write you a note 

Okay good - could you also include in the note that I really like gym, music and library and would like to have those things more than once a week?


And could you also ask if they could have hard boiled eggs at lunch 

Seriously Luce? You don't even buy lunch anymore 

'cause they don't have hard boiled eggs! 
And also, tell them Cal's Cart (the little school shop) should be every day 

Ok Luce - I’m getting in the shower 


I stopped at the door and turned to face her
Lucy sat upright in bed and opened her eyes wide and made a chopping motion with her hand to emphasize her next point: 

And don't forget the most important part Mumma; if I get dumb, it is not my fault 
You grown-ups are making me take summer vacation....I said I would go all summer, you guys said no 

Ok Lucy, go back to sleep and don’t say dumb please

How about you just say Lucy asked to go to school all summer because she doesn’t want to lose the skills she has worked so hard to learn all year and does not want to know less than everyone else in the class…..can you write that? 

I tilted my head back and let out a sigh 

I'll just write dumb honey 

Thatatta girl Mumma! I knew you'd see it my way!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Hardest Thing About Being Lucy

Sometimes, I find random scraps of paper with things jotted on them:
The grocery list we forgot but was actually just lost in my bag
A phone number (with no name)
An address
A to do list
A reminder to do something which I probably still forgot
A thought or idea I want to write more about
And sometimes, sometimes I hit the jackpot and find a conversation I had with Lucy recorded on said piece of paper for future writing purposes

I just found this one in my desk drawer:

Hey Mumma

Yeah Lucy

You know what I was wondering?

What’s that kiddo?

What’s the hardest thing about being a grown up? Is it being a mummy?

No, I think being a Mummy is the easiest thing in the world – all I have to do is love you with all my might

But don’t I make you crazy sometimes? ‘Cause sometimes you yell at me….

Yeah, that part stinks…but still, being your Mum is easy….to be a Mum you just have to have love

Oh ok, so is working hard?

Well, working isn’t hard….it can actually be rewarding and satisfying…do you know what that means?

I think so, is that when you finish something and feel good?

It is

So like when I finish my Popsicle and my belly feels full?

Sort of I chuckle

Does your work do that for you?

Sure, for the most part

So what’s hard then?

Well, I suppose the hardest thing about being a grown up is…geez, that’s a tough question Lucy

Would it help you if I told you the hardest thing about being a kid?

Sure, what’s the hardest thing about being a kid Luce?

Well, I think the hardest thing is when you get a present that you don’t really like or you already have one of it and you have to be all nice and grateful about it when really you just want to be all like
(she rolls her eyes and raises her arms to the sky and says in her exasperated/annoyed tone) Seriously?!?! I already have this thing?!? What am I supposed to do with two???
Or seriously, this is so not what I wanted?!!?
But, you have to pretend you love it and say thanks…..
That and not being able to ride in the front seat

So the hardest thing about being a kid is when you get a crappy gift but have to pretend you like it and when you have to sit by yourself in the back seat?

Yeah…it’s really hard Mumma

Huh, never thought about it I guess

Well….did that help you Mumma? Do you have your answer now?

I do

Ok, so what’s the hardest thing about being a grown up?

Getting crappy gifts and sitting in the front seat by myself

Yeah, that does suck Mumma….I guess it really does not matter how old you are…..crappy gifts suck

Yep, they sure do pal, they sure do