Strong Men Make Strong Women, and Baritone Barbies

Every Father’s Day I think of my only favorite Wayne Newton Song- Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast.  And there were a few slow walking Daddies around this weekend, for sure.  But for what they lack in speed, they more than made up for in strength.

English: Barbie Portrait

English: Barbie Portrait (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My gratitude is soaring out the window tonight, as I think about the weekend, the day, the great people I’m surrounded by.

I enjoyed a weekend of  basketball and sweet little 12-year-old girls jacked up on candy.  Girls who are really just little girls, but play basketball with strength, heart soul and determination of a platoon of Marines.  Did I mention that they love each other like sisters?  They do.  So cool to watch my girl band with a bunch of other talented beautiful tough ass girls.  I already thought she had a great gang of awesome friends before this. And nice parents.  These girls are so lucky that they can live strong and beautiful simultaneously.  Happy and proud of my girl – of all of the girls.

Continue reading

Sometimes You Hurt the One You Love – Or You Just Make Them a Bit Snippy

3/4 front view of a female snapping turtle (Ch...

3/4 front view of a female snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina), taken near the St. Lawrence River in northern New York state. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes, worry can totally consumes the Crow.  She doesn’t get out of the house much these days, and with all the rain she can’t even sit on her deck and soak up some sun.  That just amplifies her stress levels.  Today she was worried about a change in my Dad’s meds.  I had all the info, but in addition to calling me about the changes, the doctor’s office also called her.  This is a mistake, because my mother often gets confused and is so worried about potentially getting the instructions wrong, that she invariably will. So she wanted to call me to confirm what she thought she hear about my dad’s potassium dosage.

Except with the Crow, if she calls you and you don’t answer, she just doesn’t leave a message.  She keeps calling you until you pick up the phone.  It doesn’t matter if it’s important or not.  If she wants the answer she will not relent.  So she didn’t.

Sitting in sort of an important meeting I let her first call go.  The second one I began to panic myself: is this an emergency?  I always forget about her compulsion to know the answers when I see that number and “Mom and Dad” come up on my phone more than once.

So I snapped at her a bit. “Mom, you can’t keep calling and hanging up when I don’t answer.  Leave me a message and I’ll call you back as soon as I can.”  It’s awkward taking calls in a very quiet meeting where my boss is presenting important information that I cannot afford to miss.

She snapped back “I won’t call you at work any more then.”  All or Nothing.

Continue reading

On Mothers and Birthing Books

 

A woman searches for inspiration, in this 1898...

A woman searches for inspiration, in this 1898 painting by William-Adolphe Bouguereau. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reflecting upon a day when we honor our mothers and all they do for us, I have found that other bloggers today have said it well, better than well actually.  Whether your mother is with you or not, it’s all about love, and who we love, and appreciating the power that provides for us, sustains us.  I can’t add much more to that message.

I think you all know by now how I feel about my mother, and I think she finally knows too, which is liberating for me.  It’s no secret how much I appreciate her, on her good days as well as on her not so good days.  She has always given me love when I seem to have both deserved it least and needed it the most.  For that I am grateful.

And I have so many other wonderful mothers in my life.  My mother in law, a true friend, my sisters, my friends, all the women in my life that give until they can’t and then give a little more.  As women we do this, we nourish the souls as well as the bodies of those we love and don’t ever think of payback.  Well we don’t often think of payback anyway.   It’s just what is.  Thank you to all of them.  And as a mother I can tell you there is no better job, no better vocation whether it be by birth, by chance, by friendship.  Even for those who have 4 legged kids – giving of yourself for the well- being of another is a sacred privilege.   I know that when I got that warm sleepy hug this morning from my girl, that’s all the gift I needed. 

So now. as A Girl from the Hill is out in print, I must admit to feeling both elated but also a little let down.  Elated that it’s finished, that I accomplished this and brought it to completion with lots of help of course.  Elated that my mother enjoys it, and that it is a fitting tribute to her.  But let down in that I don’t know what’s next.   Yes the book is sweet, and can be fun and powerful in some ways.  I am proud of this work. But I’m not sure what’s next for me as a writer.  I have been looking for inspiration, and coming up empty.  I know I’ve mentioned writing about my struggles with food, but there is also part of me that wants to develop characters that go beyond this.

I was fortunate this past Saturday to spend a delightful few hours listening to Ann Hood.  Again if you know me you know that she is my writing hero.  She was at the Davisville Free Library in North Kingstown, RI.  For me it was like going to church.  Her words, her creativity, her enthusiasm, her story all inspired me.  Just when I was thinking that maybe I can’t do this, maybe it’s not what I’m meant to do, maybe I am just ordinary – her words lifted me and have given me the confidence to trek on.   To hear someone with such passion for their work and the process, without pretension, truly lifted my spirits. So while I am not totally immersed in that world today, it’s in my future, I am certain.  If you get a chance pick up her new book, The Obituary Writer.  I’m just getting started and it’s wonderful.  She has given birth to so many wonderful stories, this one included. 

So I ready for my next child to come along, and open myself to inspiration.

 With Love and Gratitude – P

In Honor of Valentines and My Parents, a Love Story

I love you

I love you (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

I know this is a little late for Valentine’s Day, but it is a love story nonetheless.My father, the Old Man, has been taken out of his home by stretcher twice and my mother, the Crow, has been taken out once in the last three weeks.  Thankfully they will be fine, but both have a long road of rehab and reality ahead of them, and they will fight it with all the emotional strength they can muster.  But a time will come when they run out of unreasonableness, and will accept the present, and its ever increasing limitations.

But they still have each other, and they still have us.  Being together and loving each other is what makes this bearable.

Continue reading

No Offense Intended, but I will be Strong

strength

strength (Photo credit: S.H.CHOW)

I have been thinking a lot about ideas for my next blog post. Funny how things fall right into your lap.

This past week has been full. I’ve been editing the book, A Girl from the Hill . After my friend Lisa took the time to edit and proof the manuscript, my mother-in-law has kindly taken a second pass for me. Since I’m self publishing I’m not getting any formal editorial services. But with Lisa and Judy I have more than enough expertise and experience, not to mention heart, to get this book ready. I will sit with my mother tomorrow, hopefully, and start selecting pictures. Then we’re done. Fini.

I have been working on this book nearly every day for the past two years. It started out as a rough idea, and became a journey. I got to have some meaningful conversations with my mother, my sisters, my family. I learned a lot about my mother’s life, things I was too young for, or not even born for, for that matter. I learned how much we are alike, and realized how much I do love her, and myself.

A Girl From the Hill is my first public writing experience. It’s taken me my entire life to get enough confidence and strength to do this.  Saying its a labor of love sounds trite, but all my love for my family and the journeys we’ve all taken is woven into this work.

Writing has provided me with a safe haven from the stress of my daily grind, from a world where I don’t always fit in. I’m like my mom, Auntie Phil, Auntie Alice, and my grandmother Maria. I want people’s happiness more than a person should sometimes. I’m a people pleaser. But I am trying, harder each day, to please myself first. It goes against my grain, but if I don’t do it I’ll get eaten alive, I’m sure of it.

You may notice that some of my posts, my excerpts from the book, are no longer posted. Please know that it’s not because I want people to buy the book when it comes out. While I’d love everyone to buy it in tribute to my mother, a money-making venture this is not. But because I don’t want to offend anyone mentioned in my book, and on this site, I’m taking down any potentially offending words.  And I also must consider editing the book further, so that no feelings are slighted.

Continue reading

Feeling Good about 2012

Generations 1 and 5 together on Christmas Eve

Generations 1 and 5 together and 3 in the background this Christmas Eve. Photo courtesy of another 3, Dawne O’Brien

I hope everyone enjoyed Christmas, I sure did. I had a festive Christmas Eve full of fishes (4 of 7), family and fattening desserts. Squid salad, scallops wrapped in bacon, shrimp cocktail, my mother’s fried smelts and my sister Donna’s broccoli rabe. Decadent desserts that I simply gorged upon. And my family, who I am so proud of. We had five generations together laughing, eating, and being merry.

On Christmas Day we celebrated with the Mitchell/Naughton side of the family. I was a little more sleepy and stuffed than I should have been, but felt warm, comfy and cozy with my in-laws, who have welcomed me into their family and provide me with so much love and support, I can’t help but be thankful every day.

For what, you may ask? Well, there’s my husband, who keeps me from going crazy on a daily basis, and indulges me as I try to express myself through writing. My Julia, who is beginning her teen angst and attempting to drive me crazy on a daily basis. But she is strong, smart, beautiful, and rivals Andrea Boccelli at holding a note. It’s hard not to love on her too much now, as she tries to figure out who she is. Sometimes I can’t believe I helped make her. That we made her together. But she is both of us. The best of us both, really. And yes, she’s stubborn and emotional too, as she can’t have just our best qualities. She’ll have to learn how to balance her positive and negative energy, like we all do.

I feel blessed with so many friends, old and new. The old ones go back as far as Kindergarten, who know me good bad and ugly and still love me. The new ones from as recently as a few days ago, as I connect with writers and bloggers continually through pattytmitchell and other venues.

I know I am gushy now but I can’t apologize. This year has had its ups and downs, but I have learned from my downs, really. And I hope I’ve given something to others in return for all I have received.

The snow is falling gently here in Smithfield and I feel, at least for tonight, like I live in a snow shaker, the kind you buy in the Christmas department at Macy’s or some other big store. One that is so big and full of beautiful scenery, and iridescent crystals shimmering and floating around, with no particular destination. There are times when I have felt like those crystals, but not today. Today I am cozy and warm and reflecting on how fortunate I am, and just enjoying it.

I’ll be spending the next week going through the very thoughtful editing job that my friend Lisa made to “A Girl from the Hill.” I hope to have a final draft to the publisher before the end of this year, which is only a few days away.
Hope you all enjoy the rest of 2012, and I’ll be posting again on January 1, 2013. Till then, Peace and Love.

Do You Believe In Miracles?

Do You Believe In Miracles?.

I do.  Always have.  I didn’t think they could happen for me, but I did always believe they could happen for others.

It’s taken me a long time and a lot of reflection to understand that anything is possible for anyone who believes.  That’s what faith is all about.  Understanding that we all are worthy of happiness and goodness and love as long as those are the things we reflect in our own lives.

There are those times when it’s impossible to understand why things go wrong.  To see the good in anything.  It’s not always an easy search, and I have often failed in the past to understand why something bad has happened to me or to someone I love.

My daughter and I talked about this one night when she was afraid to take a chance – when she felt she would fail.  When I told her I had done this before- passed up opportunities that would have put me in a better place career and finance-wise, she replied, “But then you wouldn’t have met Daddy and you wouldn’t have had me.”  She was right- for she is truly my very own miracle. Continue reading