Tuesday, September 20, 2011

There She Goes.

For some time Lily has been saying
"I'm going to school in September."

And after a fun school picnic a week ago, staged outside a beautiful and imposing church, she's now been inside.
There was much anticipation, discussion, a bit of apprehension and outfit changing. She refused hair clips and ponytails, in favor of her let-it-flow shag, finally paired a shirt with leggings, insisted on bringing a purse, a ladybug backpack with additional purses, a few music shakers and other important items inside.

They all remained in her cubby.

She spent the morning in somewhat of a quiet, observational mode.

Just like her dad, taking it all in.

But some of her energetic spark broke through - she cooked in the kitchen, took care of six babies, washed her hands three times at the perfect height sink, found and hoarded scarves and shakers, did a few puzzles. I was able to step outside the room a couple of times, to minimal protest, and when class finished she rushed to the door, poked her head out and excitedly told me "Mama! School's over!". She made it through a transitional hour just fine, and even exclaimed "that was fun!". She later recounted to her Granny that her favorite part of the morning was snack.

Just like her mama, Alan would surely have joked.

Big day.
For us both.
Moving forward separately, together.

She has an insatiable curiosity and days are loaded with questions, which are getting harder to answer. I'm hoping her teachers will help me out.

Why did Humpty Dumpty fall? Why couldn't they put him back together?

Did his body break? (Loaded? Or straight-forward question?)

Why was the baby/cradle in the tree?
Who put it there? (Irresponsible lyrics.)

And as of last night, Why is Bonnie in the Ocean?

How does one explain to a two and a half year old that Bonnie means pretty, should really be paired with Lass which is another name for a girl and that she lies over the ocean, not in it, which means she's really on the other side of it, and that the sea is kind of like an ocean?

Please, Raved-About-Lauded-WidelyPraised-Wonderful-School,

Monday, September 12, 2011

Addendum to yesterday.

Despite my gripes about NYC, it is embedded with texture that is beautifully unique. When I saw this commercial last night on the crest of a loaded week, it made me cry.

And smile.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Forever Remembered.

It is hard to believe that this day, ten years ago, loss happened over and over and over again. I did little in commemoration today, but I can't say it takes a day like this to remember and honor every life that was so senselessly taken. I doubt anyone that lived in this city or it's boroughs will ever forget the all consuming grief, shock and despair. The spontaneous comraderie and the feeling of helplessness. It all resonates with me. I have wondered how all of the children, unborn at the time, are faring - having lost a beloved parent they never met. It's my greatest point of reference, a tragic source of kids who are living and learning about the parent they never knew.
Eight years ahead of Lily.

I think they must be shining.
And they must know that they carry beautiful spirits within them.

I remember during one of Alan's hospital stays, he had a roommate that was either a policeman or a firefighter and we were fairly confident from visitors and overheard conversations he had been a 9/11 responder. He was married with kids and he'd be angry if his wife was home with them or working. There was a moment when he really needed something and I went to the other side of the curtain to help. When his wife showed up he was angry, vulnerable and scared.
You just lost your man, he said.
I'll never forget it.
Nor will she.
But what do you do when you're financially tapped and you're torn between watching over your kids or your husband? She was tormented and I could hear the desperation in both of their voices. I prayed that wouldn't be us. And to hear tonight that still, cancer patients that were there, working amid such toxic dust are not yet compensated for their treatment disgusts me. The selflessness of everyone that put their lives on the line and are now, consequently losing their own, was remarkable. Healthcare coverage in this country, or lack thereof, is discriminating enough and the torment of wondering if you can afford to try to save a life as you struggle to save it is torture enough. So to see this country we live in, deny its greatest heros of well earned assistance, is ... is... shameful.

They deserve more than thanks.

Lily and I visited a fire station and I'm sure many firefighters today have survivor guilt.
Not fun.
But they were quietly kind, inviting and gracious and it was sweet to hear my girl, prompted, say
Thank you for helping to keep us safe.
Too early for a lesson about 9/11 but never too young to understand the kindness and generosity of New York's Finest.

Yesterday, flitting in the sprinklers with her closest buddy, he asked her where her daddy was. Without skipping a beat, wiping water from her face she said, "He died".

They went on playing.

She is learning to cope, and comprehending in her own way what she can. When I saw some of the 9/11 in utero babes (now pre-teens) today, standing courageously and proudly next to their surviving parent - honoring those who cannot be with them, I felt sure that Lily will be OK.

There will be a life long void. But she has Alan's strength, our combined resilience,a thoughtful soul, and role models in these surviving kids.

I hope from them she will draw strength and inspiration.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Today is our anniversary.
Four years. (Would have been.)
But we never made it to one.
Together that is.
Still miss him and love him like crazy, and it's hard to believe so much has happened since then.
I had our girl.
And she's growing up.
It is easier to measure my life, post Alan, in Lily minutes - because it is mostly she who has kept me afloat and helped me to find my sea legs in the past two and a half years.

But I am here, and grateful for it.

This time four years ago we were on the eve of newly wedded bliss.
We got a taste of it. Buzzing on a moped in the Aeolian islands, on ocean roads in Sicily, wandering the streets of Florence. But even at the end of our honeymoon, Alan's hand often rested on his chest. I can forever see him posed that way. His ribs were hurting, we knew something was up. We had coasted since a major surgery in July, so, I guess, we were due for a reality check.

Got it.
Still wildly happy in love, and achingly saddened by what hung in the balance.

New tumors, cracked ribs.

Italy at least still lingered, fresh in our minds.
And the love and excitement that floated us through an amazing, family and friend filled celebration, had left our hearts near bursting with happiness and the kind of joy that always feels good to remember.

It still is hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that Lily is aware of none of it/this. She knows her dad and will continue to do so through me and her extended family. I just wish she could have a moment with Alan. To experience his humor, to climb into his lap, sit on his shoulders, taste his Bananas Foster.

Mmmmmmmm... Yummyyyy!! She'd say. That's GOOD. She'd exclaim.
I love hearing her satisfaction.

September now marks the eve of pre-school.
Lily is ready.
Dressing herself with regular wardrobe changes, testing the boundaries, challenging my decisions, picking my outfits, riding her tricycle and scooter with ease, doing everything herself.

And she continues to fill the air with song.
I used to love hearing Alan hum. It filled me with happiness to hear him momentarily unfettered by dark thoughts.
And now Lily buzzes around gleefully (most of the time) and I savor the repeat performances.

Recently while we were playing together, with her back to me, she said -
You happy mama?
Yes Pumpkin I am.
Because you're here and you make me soooo happy. Are you happy Lily?
Yes, she says quietly, focused on her beads.