Tuesday, November 30, 2010

According to Deb

November 28th, 2008, while Husband and I were enjoying a blissful honeymoon in Punta Cana, my Aunt Debbie lost her battle with melanoma. Notice I didn't post this on the 28th as that day seems to stand still each year, but I wanted to pay tribute to the woman who meant so much to me. Loss is a part of life. We learn to appreciate the days we have with one another. We learn to love fully. We learn to grieve. And these past years have changed me. They have changed my family.

Growing up, Aunt Debbie earned the title "Crazy Aunt Debbie," not because she was insane, but because she could turn the most mundane situation into a party. Debbie had a way of making you feel special on the most ordinary of days whether she was encouraging my shoe addiction by hours of dress up in her closet of Jimmy Choos and Manolos or teaching my sister the art of painting, she was helping mold her nieces into the women they would become. We begged to have her babysit us, knowing a night with Deb promised makeup and make believe. We marveled at her home filled with masterpieces of local artists as well as her own. We looked forward to her famous Auburn tailgates in the fall and to her fabulous white Christmas trees and brunch during the holidays. I developed a love of sterling silver, of artfully wrapped gift giving, and of finding the perfect shoes for any occasion. Quite simply, Deb made life more fun.

At Debbie's service, my dad recalled a childhood story from a family vacation. As they traveled down the road, Dad and Debbie in the backseat picking at one another as only brother and sister do, she took his shoe and threw it out of the window. It bounced down the highway into oblivion. "Terry threw his shoe out the window," she tattled. Dad laughed as he remembered this day, recalling that every time he saw a single shoe in the middle of the road, he imagined how it got there and he thought of his sister. And now, whenever I am driving on an average day and notice a single shoe on the side of the road, I think of a young Debbie on a family road trip and I can't help but smile.

It is impossible not to shed tears when remembering her, because loss, while a part of life, is never easy and frankly, never fair; but I know my life is richer because she was a part of it. Through my tears, I smile, because although she is not physically here, she is everywhere I look.

Deb is everywhere in my home. Her artwork fills each room, her shoes fill my closet, and I carry her purse each day. Each year, decorating for Christmas makes me think of her and I smile. I have a small "fabulous white" Christmas tree in my kitchen and its ornaments are framed copies of her paintings. My daughter won't know her Aunt Debbie, but she'll know her. She'll know every story my family shares, every detail of every painting in our home. She'll know that sterling silver makes any meal special. She'll know that you're never truly dressed until you pick out the perfect shoes. She'll know that Chanel No. 5 is timeless. She'll know that being eccentric is a good thing. She'll know to laugh about the small stuff and lean on family through the big stuff. She'll know her because I will never forget her.

My life is certainly more fabulous because Deb was in it and I live every day hoping that I live my life according to Deb's philosophies. I hope that when I leave this world, it is better than it was when I found it. I hope that those I love know how much I truly love and appreciate them. I hope that I can make at least one person's life special because the relationships we share and the legacy we leave are what life is all about. Love and be loved and smile when you see lonely shoes along the highway.

My BSC Graduation, May 2006


It's been a while since I've posted and I blame it on nothing other than writer's block (and the fact that I have been preoccupied with making and eating baked goods). It's a funny thing, pregnancy. It has made me want need things I rarely wanted before. I have officially replaced vodka with chocolate (and Krispy Kreme doughnuts... and pumpkin bread... and Little Debbie Christmas tree cakes... and all things baked and delicious...). 

At a little over 23 weeks, I am finally looking the part (thanks partially to my newfound relationship with sugar). A total stranger at Publix asked me when I was due. He has no idea how happy it made me to actually be recognized as pregnant and not just chubby! It was a good day. I'm measuring right on schedule and have my next ultrasound Monday. I cannot wait to see our little girl again! This picture is definitely outdated now, but thought I should share anyway!

20 weeks

She is kicking up a storm, but mostly at night. She's a night owl like her Mommy already and is going to be wildly disappointed when she realizes the rest of the world refuses to operate on our schedule. I spent an hour the other night just watching my stomach move with each kick while Husband slept soundly beside me. It was 3:00 a.m. when she finally settled down enough for me to sleep and I hadn't even realized how long I had been in awe of my moving belly.

This life evolving inside me brings new meaning to the word "family" and a new appreciation for the holidays. I certainly have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season: a loving and constantly supportive family, wonderful friends, a husband who loves me even when I am crazy and inexplicably moody, and the future of our family growing inside me. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Just a Flutter

As I sat on the couch last Tuesday night, adjusting to an empty house from a husband on the road, eating grilled cheese and an entire can of Chef Boyardee ravioli while singing along to Glee, an unfamiliar but welcome flutter in my stomach startled me.  I waited. And I felt it again. She kicked.

It is such a surreal realization to finally have contact with this little lady I've been growing for five months. She hears me now, knows the tone and rhythm of my voice, the calming reassurance of my hand on my stomach, and is apparently a Gleek in the making. She is only the length of a banana right now, but each day she grows stronger, gains coordination, develops into the person we will welcome into this world in March. Will those little legs be dancing like her Aunt Mallory or playing basketball like her Daddy? Or will she surprise us all?

I spend my days and nights talking to my daughter and wondering who she will be, knowing that I will love her no matter what. We all enter this world as a blank canvas. Shaped by genetics and surroundings, we somehow, some way, become individuals with our own ideals, our own goals, our own moral compass. It floors me to think of the girl she will be and the woman she will become and the life she will build for herself. Our job is to provide the right tools for her journey.

I may feel just a flutter, but that tiny tiny kick packs quite a punch.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tickled Pink...

Daughter. One simple word with so much weight. It has taken me a week to write this because it has taken me that long to process this. A baby girl. Until now, there was an unknown baby growing inside me. We alternated reference between him and her, spent nights in a whirl of both girl and boy names, and chose two options for nursery decor. We guessed the sex depending on my cravings and appetite and old wives' tales. Until now, this baby, though much loved, was such a mystery to us. And now, she is real. She is our daughter.

"It's a girl."

Those three short words brought tears to my eyes. I looked to my husband to see the same expression I saw the night I told him I was pregnant. The indescribable mix of joy, shock, and anxiety. We are parents. It seems like only yesterday that we met and now, six years later after nearly two years of marriage, our family has become three as we prepare to welcome our daughter into this world. Our daughter.

18 weeks... It's a GIRL!