On This Day, 6 Years Ago…

Today was a good day. My little niece, Emma (or Emmie–as we call her) celebrated her sixth birthday today. Six years old! It’s hard to believe. Soooo hard. Ironically, she was born exactly 3 days after Thanksgiving. This year, her birthday again fell 3 days after the holiday. Some may call that coincidence or chance. Me–I call it meant to be. Fate. It’s like she’s the universe’s way of reminding us how truly thankful we should be to have such an amazing little girl like her in our lives. Just in case we ever forget. As if we could.

She was our little miracle baby. She was born 2 months early and almost didn’t make it. Looking at her now–so full of life–it’s enough to take your breath away. And sometimes, it does. I still remember the first time I ever laid eyes on her. I remember that I cried. It was hard not to. Especially seeing her–that 3lbs. 14 oz. precious little angel–lying in that incubator in the NICU, hooked up to so many tubes and machines. If I close my eyes, I can still picture it. I can still smell that nauseating sterile smell of the hospital. I remember that it didn’t feel real. But it was real. So very much so that it scared the hell out of me. I almost didn’t go in. I remember scrubbing my hands and arms with soap and hot water; then having to put on this faded yellow sterile gown. I remember standing outside the door as the nurse handed me a face mask and advised me of the visiting procedure–how holding was allowed, but only for a few minutes at a time. I remember standing on the threshold then, seeing her lying in that glass cage, and shaking. When I walked over to her, I remember thinking she looked even smaller and more fragile than she’d appeared from outside the room.

Just as it had been with my oldest niece–it was love at first sight. It really was. She was beautiful. She still is. She had a full head of almost-black hair and the cutest little button nose. 🙂 And her hands. I remember her tiny little fist–those tiny little fingers–wrapping around my pinkie. She had the tightest grip too. You could tell just by looking at her that she was a little fighter. And she was. She still is.

She fought hard. She never gave up. To this day, her strength still amazes me. She’s been through so much in her short life already. From having to spend nearly the first 6 weeks of her life in a hospital, to having problems associated with her premature birth–to having epilepsy…the list goes on. It hasn’t diminished that strength of hers one bit though, believe it or not.

I don’t know how she does it. How she managed to become this amazing, happy-no-matter-what little girl is beyond me. It’s hard sometimes. More for the rest of us than for her, I think. It’s just so sad and frustrating and it breaks your heart to see her struggling. It’s an injustice, I think. It’s not fair that she’s had to go through so much–nor is knowing that she’s going to go through so much more in her life. That sense of helplessness is always there and its crushing. It truly is.

But despite it all, she’s incredible. She’s vibrant and precocious and willful and stubborn. More so, she has a personality that just never ceases to amaze me. She’s something–that little girl. A true miracle. My inspiration. Then, now, and always.




Count Thy Blessings, One By One….

For starters–a Happy Thanksgiving! It sounds so cliché, especially with the holiday and all–but I truly feel blessed. And thankful. Just truly and utterly…lucky. I am. In more ways than I could possibly name. More than anything, I have my family. My amazing, quirky, dysfunctional-to-the-10th-power family. It’s hard to describe my family in one word–and most of the time–impossible to do so using a kind one at that. We’re constantly at each other’s throats. Constantly fighting and butting into one another’s business. Not a week goes by that something doesn’t happen that has me wishing that same wish, again and again: to have a normal, functional family. It’s a futile wish, I always realize–because no matter how nice it sounds and may seem–it’s an unrealistic one. A dream. It doesn’t exist. There’s no such thing as a perfect–or functional family–for that matter. In some way–tiny and unseemly as it may be–there’s always a flaw. Or flaws. Always. The logic never fails on that one. Never. So while it’s true that I spend about 99% of the time thinking that my family could truly put the Osbornes to shame on roughly about any given day–they’re mine. And I love them. The insanity and the dysfunction–it’s a part of me, you know? Where I come from. Who I am. WHAT I am. Which is fiercely loyal. When it comes to family, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do. I think it’s that human nature/innate sense to protect whats yours kind of thing. We all feel it and we all do it. We stand up for family. We fight. Even when we don’t want to.

The worst part is when you have to do it when you shouldn’t have to. When you have to get defensive with someone–a person who, rationally speaking–should be one of the last people you have to defend yourself and your family to: family. In this case, I mean my Dad. It’s not anything really. Just things he said in a phone call yesterday–on Thanksgiving of all days–that just rubbed me the wrong way. That still bother me, a whole day later. It’s all just so frustrating you know?

It’s my own doing, I guess you could say. After all, I initiated the phone call. As per usual. But that’s a whole other issue for another time. I was trying to be nice. The dutiful daughter, so to speak–calling her dad up to say hello and Happy Thanksgiving. Simple. Short. Sweet. Ha–yeah, right. Somehow–and I don’t know how it always happens, but it does–everything gets twisted around and the subject of my family comes up and of course–my childhood. Rather I should say–my fatherless-childhood. I’m used to it, of course. The name-calling and the accusations and the list goes on and on. I get it from both sides, so it’d be odd if I wasn’t used to it by now. A miracle really. Generally, I just ignore them all. It sounds cold and unfeeling, but I honestly don’t care. Yeah, I said it. I. Don’t. Care. I don’t care about things that did or didn’t happen years ago, or who did what to whom. I just don’t. Hell, half the things that are constantly being brought up are things that happened before I was even born! God, I just want to scream sometimes, you know? To just tell everyone to grow the hell up and to move on. To hold grudges and vendettas for twenty-something years? It’s ridiculous and childish and just plain unnecessary. I mean, what’s the point? After all–there’s no going back. No changing what was done. It’s c’est la vie. What really gets to me is the constant battle of ‘who’s more the victim’. He thinks it’s him. They think it’s them. God, where does it stop? It’s bs. I mean, if you ask me–the only victims in what happened are the kids. Us. Me. My siblings.

I wanted to tell him exactly that. To tell them the same. But I doubt he would have heard even if I’d tried. They never listen. It’s as though they can’t stand to face the facts and the burden of guilt they caused by all their lies and misleading ways. Somehow they convinced themselves that they were protecting us, when all the while they were really the ones they were protecting. As far as my father goes–he made his choice, as far as I’m concerned. He chose to leave. To walk away from his kids. Whatever his reasons for doing so–they’re of no consequence whatsoever. At least none to me. I love my father. I do. But what he did–his leaving–it was unforgivable. I don’t care what he says–he could have stayed. He could have found some way to fix what was broken–found some way to be in our lives. Something. Anything. But instead, he ran. Call it whatever he might–that’s what he did. He moved a thousand miles away and created a whole new life for himself. And a new family as well. Granted, we managed. Or at least, I did. I had a good childhood. I was loved and protected and encouraged to do everything. To be anything I wanted. I was happy and grounded–but the one thing I can’t deny is that there was something missing. He’s trying–I’ll give him credit for that–but it’ll never be enough. Not completely. That void–that feeling that he should have been there and he wasn’t–could never be filled. It never will be. He missed so much. And that’s on him and him alone. So when he disses the ones that stayed–the ones that were there–it’s completely uncalled for and unjustifiable. It’s that simple.

So yeah, aside from that, I had a good Thanksgiving. Minus the Thanksgiving Eve hangover from hell, that is. Yep, foolish me decided to go out for THE biggest party night of the year. But it was worth it–killer strawberry champagne/hangover headache included.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: