Monday, March 22, 2010

The Garden State and Back Again

Friday's brick did not happen.  I could not sleep Thursday night.  I laid in bed from 10 until 11:30 when Mr. Darcy got home, and finally fell asleep.  Then Ladybug wandered in at 3 am, climbed into bed afraid of the dark and I couldn't fall back asleep.  I must have fallen asleep around 5 am because I remember looking at the clock thinking "it's 4:50 and I'm still awake.. .should I just get up and try to do the 25/5 brick?"  And then the next thing I knew the alarm was going off at 5:30 am and there was no way I could get my body out of bed.  I slept until 6:45 am when Angelfish came in wide eyed and wanting to play.  I let Mr. Darcy sleep and got up with her.  We watched an episode of "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" and had some breakfast and once Mr. Darcy got up and went to his eye doctor appointment, we started to straighten the house.  I was tense and frenetically cleaning.  Nothing could be out of place.  It had to look perfect so when we got back it would be nice and neat.  Not sure why it mattered, but it did.

Mr. Darcy's appointment ran long, and I finally got a shower and finished up the house and we got in the car by noon.  It took us one stop for lunch, 2 potty breaks, and a total of 3 hours to get to the Senior Mr. Darcy's when it normally takes 2 1/2 hours.  Sigh.  So we dropped the kiddies off and Senior Mr. Darcy drove us to the airport.  I was worried about missing the flight.  We ended up sitting for half an hour after going through security, book shopping at a concourse store, and using the potty.  As Mr. Darcy said "See? No worries." 

And somewhere I started to relax.  I read magazines from home.  I napped on the plane.  We had crab cakes and beer at a seafood restaurant on our layover and headed to Newark.  Our flights were early.  We found my parents without problem, got the car without a hitch, used the GPS (my new best friend - it took all the stress out of not knowing where we were), and were at the hotel in about 1/2 an hour.

Friday night was the first night I didn't wake up in the middle of the night.  Saturday we "slept in" until about 7:30, discovered we were going to end up paying $50 for breakfast if we ate at the hotel and used the GPS to find a great little Diner - like the NJ Diners I am used to eating at when I go on a visit to the family.  Then we talked to my cousins on the phone.  They asked Dad to read a reading he said no.  Carry Auntie's ashes up to the altar - no. Say a few words - no.  Mom asked him what was up and he said that he was having a hard time dealing with things just then and didn't want to cry in front of everyone.  So I told my cousins that I would do one of the readings.

The memorial service was nice.  A lot of my aunt's former students and friends from the area (not to mention our large Polish family) attended.  It was really touching to see how many lives she had touched.  I went to the wrong podium to do my reading and heard my Aunt's laughter in my head and how she would say "That was so funny."  I did the reading and had to take time to breathe here and there so I wouldn't cry.  I looked up at the audience only once or twice - not because I have a hard time with public speaking but because it hit me that all those people were there for my Aunt because she had been there for them and it was all I could do not to cry.  My cousins said a few words and cried a bit and then when they were done, the biggest shock of all.  My Dad.  He stood up, went to the podium, and talked.  He told us we needed to dry our tears and remember the joy of his sister's life and joked about how she'd give advice even when you didn't want it and how she always had the last word, and how she looked out for the people she loved (even if it meant beating up the neighborhood kids on his behalf), and how she was this little tiny person who could show the world that she was boss, and how she loved us all.  It was the best eulogy I have ever heard. Not to mention the best I've ever heard my Dad do with public speaking of any sort.

Afterwards we talked with family and ate and drank and enjoyed being with everyone.  It was a party of sorts - one that my Aunt would have loved.  And I'm convinced she was looking down on us with smiling eyes... especially because in a fit of inspiration (and one that was very Auntie Liz) Mr. Darcy decided we needed to go into New York City (only an hour away) and see a show.  The Cousins (my Dad's cousins, who we all call Aunt because they were more like siblings than cousins growing up together in essentially a 15 minute radius of each other) thought this was a great idea and told us how to get discounted tickets and the best way to get to the theatre district once through the Lincoln tunnel... the trick is to keep getting over to the left and then turn on 8th.  So once all was over, we headed to the hotel, changed clothes and even though Mom and Dad decided to stay at the hotel and rest, we headed to the city. 

It was the best impromptu thing we've done in years.  Hands down.  I loved it.  It was almost surreal though... here we were in NYC after being at a memorial service all day.  We found great parking in a perfect location, got tickets in the orchestra (4 rows from the stage and a little to the left, but still good tickets), and saw "Mamma Mia" which was absolutely great and perfectly upbeat. (Even Mr. Darcy agreed that it was a better choice than his originally wanting to see "The Phantom of the Opera.")  It was amazingly good.  We had a blast!

We got back to the hotel by 11:30 and were asleep by midnight... only to be awakened at 4:15 am by my Dad turning on a light that he didn't think would bother anyone - it was shinning right in my eyes.  I eventually got up and shut it off and tried to fall back to sleep while my Mom snored like a buzz saw... a very loud buzz saw.  And then the wake up call came early at 4:38 instead of 4:45 am.  My Dad wants to be at the airport EARLY.  We got there early alright.  We drove from Parsippany to Newark airport, returned the car, went through security and were at our gate by 6:40.  Our flight was at 8:15 and my parents was at 8:40.  Mr. Darcy slept at our gate while I got a little present for the Little Ladies, and then I too napped at the gate... and on our flight... and on our next flight.

Seeing the girls again was amazingly wonderful.  There is nothing like your children greeting you with running hugs and kisses and jumping on you and telling you they love you and missed you... and then telling you to watch them dance like ballerinas. It was awesome.

Somewhere in all of this, I've had a little less despression and anger.  Not sure if it's the B12 or my body reacting already to the thyroid medicine, or what.  But it's good.  I still woke up tired this morning, but not quite feeling like death's door.  Let's hope the next few weeks only show more improvement.

One thing I learned over the weekend is that we touch each other's lives.  As the Deacon who presided at the Memorial Service said, and that I'd like to believe is true, is that when we die we would be able to look over our lives and see all the good that we brought to the world and where we asked for forgiveness for our sins just blank spots where our misdeeds were erased through God's forgiveness. 

Time seems to fly so fast.  I thought about our girls this weekend and how they're almost 4.  I thought about how my Dad said that it was almost like yesterday that he and his sister were kids, and that I was born.  I told Mr. Darcy that it was as though we blink and we're older.  We blink and our children are grown.  We blink and our life has passed.

So I, for one, am going to do my best to make the most of the few moments we do have in this short life.  I'm going to make mistakes in doing it.  I'm evidently going to have some health issues from some silly genetics, but I'm also going to have some wonderful things about me that I got from alot of great genetics too.  (Mr. Darcy said it was fun to sit back and watch me and my relatives at the repast because he could see so much likeness in how we act and move and it made him feel like he somehow belonged there even if he wasn't Polish and the NJ family doesn't know him so well.)  And I'm going to make the most of it.

So I didn't get to my brick this weekend.  I'll turn on the juice with training this week and with spending time with my Little Ladies and Mr. Darcy, and I'll do my best to enjoy each moment of this fleeting life. And perhaps, just perhaps, that is my Aunt's last little gift to me.  A reminder that life needs to be about love and laughter and good times and that yes, you'll take on the bad times too, but "dynamite can come in small packages" whether a dynamo in a little person like her or in the small moments of our lives.


  1. When my grandfather pasted away, I was asked to speak and also be a pall bearer, I kindly declined both. Fo rthe exact reason as your dad did.

  2. Thanks for this: "A reminder that life needs to be about love and laughter and good times."

  3. from one of your prior posts and this one, your aunt seemed like a really neat lady. glad you had a weekend to be with your family and unwind a bit in the big apple. here's to a great week ahead, cheers!