Happy Birthday Mom!

This week you would have been celebrating your 59th birthday. Even though you are not here to celebrate with us, we can still celebrate your life for you. So this week is dedicated to you and just how amazing you are.

Happy Birthday Mom! We love you and miss you!!!

Mother’s Day Minus Mom

This past Mother’s Day was the first Mother’s Day without my mom. Surprisingly, I handled it pretty well. I spent the entire day with my beautiful wife, celebrating her with some movies, food, and a couple gifts. It was a great day all around and I am so happy I was able to pull it off without breaking down, because let’s be honest, my mom being gone was on my mind the entire day. I knew I had to be strong, this day is not about me or about my loss, it’s about celebrating the amazing mother of my two crazy kiddos.

After waking up just before my wife I went upstairs and woke up the kids and had them help me wrap the Mother’s Day gifts they made and helped me pick out. We ended up making an adorable photo book with lots and lots of photos from last year. The kids also made a bunch of cards and pictures to fill up her gift bag. When she finally woke up we surprised her with her presents and then we relaxed and watched some movies while finishing up a couple of illustration projects we were working on the night before. For lunch we ventured down to Jersey Mike’s (we really need one closer) and enjoyed a ridiculously delicious sandwich.

The kids were amazing all day, they picked up after themselves, didn’t fight, and even went to bed on time. It was a pretty good day, although the weather sucked, it was a nice day celebrating an amazing mother.

By the end of the night I was exhausted and ready to crash. We had a full day and it was time to shut down. What sucked was that it took me forever to fall asleep. Laying there quiet it’s easy to get into your own head and have those thoughts that you have held back all day just unleash themselves on your mind, of course right before it’s time to sleep too. So I ended up sleeping like crap. I woke up tired and groggy. Whatever, I will push through and own Monday!

I still miss my mom as I am sure I always will. It just kind of sucks sometimes. Like recently, I really needed someone to talk to and I pretty much had no one. I had to solve my problem on my own. It’s not the first time nor will it be the last time, but it was harder this particular time because mentally, I had to push through.

Even at 37 years old I still needed advice from an “adult” and that person I wanted to talk to was not there and I need to remember that they will never be there again. My self-doubt will be all over the place while I figure out how to put my shattered self back together. In the end I am sure I will be okay, but it takes time, a clear head, and being honest with myself. Which I am trying to do, but I got to tell you, it’s hard. A mom is the one that tells you that your crappy drawing is a work of art and hangs in on the fridge, she boosts your confidence even when you’re acting a fool. I miss my mom, and while I made it through Mother’s Day, I know it’s not going to get any easier not having her around and I will continue to do my best in making sure she is never forgotten.

I Will Miss You Mom

This sucks so much to write, but I feel like I have to get it out. If I don’t then I may just hang on to it for too long.

Taken during the flood of 1993 cleanup.

My mom died a few days ago. It was one of the most heart breaking things I have ever had to endure so far in my life. First it was knowing that it was going to happen weeks before. Just living with that information changes you. Is the next phone call or text gonna be the one? When I was younger my dad passed away suddenly you didn’t get a text, you got a phone call on your landline. I was just a kid and I really didn’t have much support after it happened. There were no warnings, no updates, no getting to sit by his side listening to his breath weaken while you give your tearful goodbyes. Just a phone call.

This time around I am much older, a husband, a father, and so much more responsible, but I still feel as helpless now as I did then. Even with the support of my wife and family. Coming to terms with the idea that this is actually going to happen to it actually happening is still cracking my mental foundation.

It’s hard for me to talk about my feelings and express them properly, but I guess that’s what I am doing here. Blogging therapy…. Well, she didn’t die from the coronavirus thankfully, but she did suffer from some liver and kidney issues that slowly progressed from bad to worse over these last few months. I lied to myself and thought that she would miraculously recover but deep inside I kinda figured this would not be a road to a happy and healthy recovery. The doctors and nurses did all they could. My sister and my aunts did an amazing job taking care of her this past year. I cannot thank them enough for all that they have done…. and my step-father, I know he is hurting, losing his friend, finding and using his faith in God to find his own peace and reflection during this chapter in our lives.

I thought maybe I could push through it all and be as strong as I have been. It’s pretty hard to maintain a charade of happiness when inside all you want to do is break down. But I’m managing it pretty well. When I answer the phone I just push my feelings deep down. When my kids run up to show me something that they think is exciting, I need to turn it up and match their excitement. It’s best that they not see me falling apart. So I’ll do what I’m suppose to do. It’s what we men are known for right? Hiding our feelings.

My mom and dad. The younger years.

It’s crazy to think that because of the coronavirus my mom won’t have a “regular” funeral. Only a select few get to attend a memorial service while the rest can view a live stream of the event. It’s sad to think that many of those that were a part of my mom’s life will not even get a chance to say goodbye in the way that many people are so accustomed to. This can’t be a new normal.

I will miss my mom, but what I think I will miss more is being able to see her interact with my children. I already miss what could have been with my dad and my kids, but knowing what was there with my mom and these two wonderful kids, that hurts a lot. They will never get to see their Nanners again, never get to giver her another hug and ask for a snack like they were notorious for doing. It’s sad to think about and…. yeah… it. sucks.

There’s so much that I am gonna miss. I remember when my daughter was just a little baby and we would go over to my mom’s and “grocery shop” from what she had stocked up. Her over buying helped us so much during that time, not to mention all of the other times she had helped us in some degree or another. I could fill this blog with posts about her kindness and doing anything she could to help her kids as well as her grandkids.

Mom and me at a family reunion!

I know my wife Destiny will really miss you too. You were always so caring and sympathetic, and would always just be there to lend an ear if needed. A shoulder to cry on if wanted. A truly compassionate person that never judged. The times you have helped her get through her struggles can’t even be counted on both hands. She wrote a very heartfelt post on Facebook about you that summarizes the type of person you were and how that wonderful personality affected those that you connected with.

I will miss helping you with your computer questions. Things I took for granted like you asking about backing up data, or needing my help installing a web cam. As easy as they were I now wish they took ten times as long to do just so I could have spent a little more time with my mom. I’ll never forget how excited you were when I showed you a “hack” so you didn’t need to use your Sims CD when playing the game anymore… or the time when you found yourself in the rabbit’s hole called Kazaa and you would download anything you could.

I’ll miss your tacos, your gardening advice, and how the accent of your voice would change after hanging out with your sisters. I will miss learning from you. Even when I grew up and became an adult I still learned from you even though I thought there wasn’t anything left to learn. There is so much that I will miss, so much that I could list various things for days. For now I will just hold onto the memories. I won’t ever forget you, I will miss you Mom.

You can share a memory and view her obituary here.

A Single Parent Weekend

IMG_0685This past weekend my wife went out of town. When I say weekend I mean she actually left Thursday morning, so it was an extended weekend, either way, I was left with the kids alone. I was in single parent mode. This isn’t anything I couldn’t handle. I am a responsible father. I can cook, I can clean. I’ve put the kids to bed and have given them baths before (not in that order of course). This was going to be different though. This was more than a night, this is several nights. It was time to get my game face on and become a super parent.

Thursday morning.

My wife, Destiny did not have to leave until later in the morning. So she was up and ready to give me a hand getting the kids ready to go to Nanners’ house (my mom). Because I work during the week I had asked my mom if she could watch the kids Thursday and Friday. She happily agreed and the Thursday morning hand-off went as smooth as could be. I even stopped at the gas station and picked up some donuts for the kids while we were on our way.

IMG_0664Thursday afternoon.

By now, Destiny is enjoying her extended weekend and I am on my way to pick up the kids. When I arrived at Nanners’ house Abby and Alex were both extremely happy to see me. Nanners said they were good, except they didn’t nap, or really eat much. I didn’t think much of it. I figured I would feed them dinner when I got home and then we can play until bath and bed. Boy was I wrong. Alex fell asleep not even 2 minutes after getting in the car. He slept for a good two hours. Abby fell asleep next to me on the couch while we were watching a movie. So I had two kids out for the count. I knew I should’ve kept them awake but I took this as an opportunity to finish my movie, the new Godzilla.

IMG_0706Thursday night.

Letting them sleep was not a good idea on my part. They both woke up very cranky. So I did what any super dad would do. I put food in their bellies. It was delicious. The kids ate a lot and both had put the crankiness behind them. So we turned on the Cardinals game and played with some toys until it was time for bath and bed. While we were playing with toys Abby mentioned to me that some kids don’t have dads, and then she told me that some kids don’t have moms either. I told her that was right and then she told me that some kids have two moms. I said that some also have two dads, and she proceeded to ask me “how many… five… six??”. I laughed and told her I had no idea and she seemed happy with that answer. They got their baths and then went to bed without a problem. I would say that night one was a semi-success.

Friday morning.

This time I was on my own. I got up earlier than usual so I could get a shower without running late. After I got myself ready I grabbed all of the kids’ stuff to take to Nanners for day two. Once I had all of their stuff ready I woke them up and got them ready. Everything was going smoothly and we were out the door to Nanners. Once we got there I grabbed them and their bags and realized that I grabbed their bags of stuff but totally forgot my laptop bag for work. A little flustered I regained my cool and figured I could make it a day without my regular computer. And I did.

IMG_0696Friday afternoon.

So I picked up the kids and this time they both napped and ate so things were definitely better this time around. I had some plans that evening for me and the kids to stop by my friend’s house warming party but first we needed to pick up a gift and a few other odds and ins. An hour and over budget later we get out of the store and head home to eat dinner.

Friday night.

With dinner done and the kids ready we headed out to my friend Steve’s house warming party. We got there and the kids immediately started running a muck. Steve and his fiance’ were cool about it and the kids got a kick out of circling their house. It helped me out because it definitely wore out the kids. We left and headed home for bath and bed. Abby asked if the Cardinals were playing. I don’t think they were so we watched Jurassic Park instead. She fell asleep next to me again so I moved her to her bed and went and crashed into my own pillows.


The weekends to me are easier than weekdays. On the weekend as long as you have everything you need at home you don’t have to go anywhere. You can wear pajamas all day if you want. So Saturday was a breeze. The kids woke up, I made a gourmet breakfast and got Alex to take a nap without a hitch. I had picked up a pumpkin and some Halloween crafts the night before so when Alex was napping, Abby and I got to work on the pumpkin. We knocked it out in no time and Abby even dug through the guts getting out some delicious pumpkin seeds to roast later.

We also played with Magic Rocks. If you don’t remember these things, well essentially you take this gel stuff, mix it with water, put these “rocks” in a container and pour the liquid mix over them. After a few hours some stalagmites grow from the rocks. It’s a quick and fun project to do with the scientific curious mind. My problem with it is that for how quick the setup is the payoff isn’t as cool as the picture on the box.

IMG_0729For dinner instead of making the kids something I took them out to eat. I was nervous about how they would behave with me alone, but it all worked out. They both were great. So great we even had some ice cream to share. Since it was the last night they would be under my watch without mom I let them go crazy. I turned up the music (Alabama Shakes) and they were both bouncing off the walls and couches. We took a break to get baths and then I let them go at it again for a little while longer. I could tell they were getting tired when the jumping slowed to a bounce, and then the bouncing slowed to just sitting. So I got them in bed and enjoyed the rest of the night cleaning up.

Mom came home on Sunday early afternoon and I could not have been happier. I mean the kids could not have been happier. They were super excited to see their mommy again, and this dad, well he got to lounge around the rest of the day watching movies. I was still helping out, but I was definitely not on active duty.

So what does all of this mean? Well for starters it means that mom shouldn’t feel like dad can’t handle it. Sure we might screw up and forget our work bag, but it happens. I know my wife can forget a thing or two when she also has a million other things to remember. But as parents we make it through and the kids eat, they get their baths, and they go to bed happy. Another thing I learned from all of this is that I have a new found respect for single parents of multiple kids. It was a fun but difficult weekend. I love my wife and I wouldn’t mind if she went out of town again, because I know I got this handled, but maybe we can wait a few months before that happens…

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IMG_0713Oh you wanted to know how I cooked the pumpkin seeds? Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit (150 degrees C), wash the seeds in water, drain water, toss seeds in a bowl with a 1/2 stick of melted butter and salt. Then spread seeds on a baking sheet and bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. You probably will want to flip the seeds around every once in a while.