Friday, September 28, 2012


It's early morning. I'm in my bedroom, in my house back in NY. I hear Austin walking up the stairs and think, "I need to go say hi." I walk up the first 5 steps, catching up to him. I say, "Hey" and give him a hug. He returns the squeeze, giving me one of his famous hugs. I smell his shirt, wondering if it's going to smell like it used to - like the degreaser and grease (from working on cars and projects), combined with his deodorant. It doesn't. There is only a very faint scent of fresh air. I'm a little disappointed. I always hated that degreaser/grease/deodorant smell, but now I miss it.

We continue to walk up the stairs, his long arm draped over my shoulder, my arm around his waist. It's natural, comfortable, real. I ask him, "So, what's on your agenda today." To which he replies, "Not much. I need to stop by the pizza place, but that's about it." I chuckle, because the "pizza place" was like another home to him.

I give him a side squeeze and tell him, "I wish you could stay. I sure miss you."

He smiles, replying, "I know, but I only have a couple days. I love you."

"I know."

My eyes open. It's 5am. Austin's 24th birthday and he's just given me a gift.

Happy Birthday Austin! Thank you for visiting me this morning. It makes it seem as though is was just a couple hours ago that I hugged you, not 2-1/2 years. Which lets me know that you are always with me... in my my memories.... wherever I go.

I love you, Bud!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

No Guarantee...

Yesterday I was leaving a parking lot, pulling out very slowly onto the road because there were several bushes to my left, which prevented me from seeing the traffic coming from that direction. I ever so carefully inched my way into the road, keeping my eyes to the left to see what was there. When the front of my car was over a third of the way into the road my foot slammed on the brake, my eyes spotting my biggest fear - a motorcycle. I'm certain the motorcyclist saw my expression of horror and could read my lips, "Oh shoot!!!!"

Thankfully, the motorcyclist was also traveling at a very slow rate of speed and had time to slow down  and go around me. I raised my hand signaling, "I'm so sorry!" As he continued on ahead I had an urge to catch up to him, stop him, and tell him how I would never intentionally pull in front of anyone, let alone a motorcyclist. Tell him how sorry I was to have given him that scare, that pit in his stomach. But I didn't.... as he would have certainly thought I was a crazy lady.

Last night while watching the news, a report came on about a father traveling on his motorcycle with his 8-year old son, just a short distance from his home. A dump truck made a left turn and the motorcycle hit the truck, killing both the father and son. The pictures of the bike puts that sickening feeling in you, knowing there's no way anyone could survive that accident. I don't know what exactly happened, the accident is still under investigation. But, it's one more reminder how quickly a life can end when a body, traveling unprotected, hits a solid mass.

Tonight, I plop myself on my couch, with a Diet Coke in my hand, all settled in to relax and watch the Patriots-Raven 8:20pm game. The first thing I hear when I switch to the game channel is about one of the Raven players, who lost his brother in a motorcycle accident just after midnight this morning. The cameras keep zooming in on this player's face, and you can see the pain and sadness in his eyes, as he wipes away the tears. They show a quote from his Twitter entry, "Be thankful for your loved ones and tell them you love them. .. This is the hardest thing ever." (by Torrey Smith). Another reminder of how quickly someone can go from cruising down a highway to, in an instant, no longer being with us.

Ever since Austin's accident I have been torn on how I feel about motorcycles. On the one hand, I completely understand why people enjoy riding them. On the other hand, I want to tell everyone to stop riding them, that it's not worth it, because it only takes a split second for them to be in another driver's blind spot, to crest a hill with something in the middle of it and they don't have time to avoid it (a deer, rock, car....) and when they hit it there will be nothing to protect them.

Then I remind myself, there's no guarantee in life. There are people who do everything right (eat healthy, exercise regularly, don't drink too much, don't smoke...) but who have a heart attack and die. There are car accidents every day where people don't survive. In fact, "in the United States, injury is the leading cause of death among children and young adults and nearly half of these accidents occur in the home, according to the National Safety Council. That same group states that in 2002, there were more than 33,000 deaths and 8,000,000 disabling injuries that occurred in the home." (NSC)

Does this mean I should eat unhealthy, not exercise regularly, never ride in a car, and stay out of my house? No.... it's simply a reminder that life happens and there is no guarantee what tomorrow will bring. We need to make the most out of what we have and never stop livin' lovin' life!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Don't Blink...

One thing losing Austin has taught me is, "Don't blink... trust me friend, a hundred years goes faster than you think. So don't blink!" (Lyrics from Kenny Chesney's song, "Don't Blink")

5 years! When I mention to someone how long ago I moved I pause for a minute as I do the calculation and then shake my head in disbelief - almost 5 years! I can't believe it was that long ago.

Prior to moving we lived close to family, so if Mike and I wanted to go out for the evening we were, on occasion, able to take advantage of this fact and let the boys visit with grandma or grandpa.It didn't happen often, but there was a comfort knowing it could be done if we so chose. After we moved, we were on our own. If I wanted a couple's night out I cringed, because it meant hiring a babysitter. Being a little tight on funds in the beginning of our move it was hard to justify going out very often, because by the time we paid for our little outing and paid the babysitter a nice dent had been put in our wallets. So, it was rare for my husband and I to go out as a couple.

As the boys have gotten older it has become a little easier, but I still don't like to take too much time away from them, as they will only be in the house a little while longer. So, we spend most of our time "together" as a family - and I wouldn't trade this for the world. But it is nice (and healthy) to find a little adult only time here and there. In fact it's important, whether it's a girl's night out or "hubby and me" evening, to get a break and be refreshed.

My family has always done a lot together. In fact, most of our entertaining or visiting with other friends is done as a family, but sometimes it's good for Mike and I to do "couple" outings, without the boys. It helps us to remember why we got married in the first place - and that we actually enjoy doing things together.

The other day as I was driving and listening to the radio I started thinking... thinking about the Zac Brown concert I will be enjoying tomorrow with Mike and another couple.... thinking how busy our lives are.... thinking about how nice it will be to have an evening out, sans kids, perhaps the last for a while. Summer was full of great events with the boys, but it didn't allow much time of socializing with my friends (without the boys). And now, with football season upon us I won't have the opportunity for a while - it will be mostly kids and family time. So, I'm looking forward to this last little outing.

Don't get me wrong, I love being with my family. That's where most of my best memories come from. But, as a mom, I must admit there are times I wish for a moment of silence, a day of cleaning my house and having it stay that way for more than five minutes, a chance of simply coming and going without having to worry about someone else's schedule, an evening (or day) spending quality time with other adults.... basically, a little break for the "mom" responsibilities.

Back to my thoughts while driving....

My mind wandered to the fact that life is going fast and before I know it I will have all the adult time in the world and I won't know what to do with it. I need to take the opportunity now to soak up this time with the boys.... because in the blink of an eye my life will be different, the boys will be onto their next stage in life, as adults, and I will have an empty house. Because,

...In 4 years my middle son will be a senior in high school.
...In 5 years, my middle son will have graduated high school, and be a freshman in college. (Which reminds me, 5 years ago Austin graduated high school, began college, and we moved to another state.)
...In 6 years, my youngest son will be a senior in high school, it will be my last year with with kids in the house.
...In 7 years, my youngest son will have graduated high school, and be a freshman in college.

Seven years used to seem like a long time, but I know it's not. It will be here before I know it. When Austin graduated high school I remember saying to Mike, "If we hadn't had the other two boys our life would be very different now." That was five years ago, I can remember it like yesterday. And to think now, in seven years I will be saying, "Our life is going to be much different now. What are we going to do with our time?"

Life's forever changing. It never stands still. Grab onto the moments you have and enjoy them. Don't wish them away, but embrace them, knowing that you can never get that time back. Savor you time with your children. Take little breaks, then come back refreshed, ready to make more memories. Because....

"100 years goes faster than you think. So, don't blink!" Lyrics from Kenny Chesney's "Don't Blink"

Enjoy a little Kenny Chesney - "Don't Blink":