Baby Bedda

That's how Leah pronounces her name.  It's very adorable.  So's baby Bedda.


The Absence of Suck

I was most concerned with not being able to stretch before the race began.  I have never been a morning runner, especially a cold morning runner, so I thought that if anything was going to go wrong, I didn't want it to be something that could have been avoided with stretched-out muscles. 

I didn't hear any sort of fanfare marking the official start of the race.  I thought I'd hear a gun shot, or a horn, but nothing.  This could have been because I had my ear buds in.  There were over 1500 runners and for a minute or so after the race began we all just moved forward in a herd.  I thought for a second that the entire race might be like this:  that maybe there were too many people and not enough road and we'd all just shuffle in a big group for three miles. 

Then the crowd began to open up.  People started taking off ahead of the group.  I remember running for a minute or so in line with my sister.  I remember her running with her hands in her pockets and wondering how the hell she was able to do that.  I remember my friend Lisa being a few feet ahead of us and looking back several times.  I remember when both of them began pulling farther and farther apart from me.  And I remember when I couldn't see either of them anymore.  And then there was me.  And I took a deep breath and fixed my ear buds again, and began the long lonely 3.1 mile journey.  As it's always been.  As I've grown accustomed to. 

A lot of people passed me.  People who weren't even jogging passed me.  But, as my sister had informed me the night before, my jog speed was slower than most people's walk speed, so I was expecting this.  A few minutes into the run I began seeing people on their way back.  I tried to get real close to the center line to attempt to make eye contact with the guy who had come in 60th place in the NY Marathon and was predicted to run the Sparta Turkey Trot in record time.  He zipped by me; I smiled at him, but he never saw me.  It would have been inspiring to catch his eye, but he has personal records and qualifying races on his mind.  He didn't have time for me.

The halfway point took forever to get to.  By the time I finally reached it, I had seen Gab, Lisa, and Adj zip by on their way back.  I could tell I was far behind them based on how long it took me to get halfway through, but I didn't care.  I wasn't doing this for time.  I was just doing this to run.  I kept my eyes on the road and rallied through.

The course had hills.  I didn't know this beforehand.  I'm sure it was for the best, since I would have been much more intimidated if I had known that hills were part of this challenge.  Welcome to the Black Parade played on the steepest one. 

At one point I found myself slowing down, each step becoming harder and harder to take.  My jog slowed and slowed and I felt my right leg fall into what I can only describe as a walk-step.  And my knee immediately locked up, and it jolted my body back to attention, and I continued to run.

I was so lonely at some parts.  Or maybe just bored.  Alone.  No one was on the side of the road cheering us on; I had no idea how much farther I had to go.  All I know is that it sucked.  It totally sucked.

And then I saw it.  Mile Marker 3.  And Florence and the Machine began.  And then Flo Rida followed.  And the wooden 3 sign grew larger as I got closer.  And I started running.  And I moved to the middle of the road.  And I didn't feel a thing.  Nothing hurt.  Nothing was hard about what I was doing.  I was sprinting down East Shore Trail all by myself early on Thanksgiving morning and I felt great.  I felt wonderful!  I was so happy.  Happy to be finishing.  Happy to be running.  Happy to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

And then.   Oh my god.  And then.  I saw my family.  I saw my husband and I saw my daughter and they were cheering for me.  FOR ME.  Leah ran to me and I stopped.  In the middle of the road before I hit the finish line, I stopped short.  And I grabbed her hand.  We started to run and she fell.  I picked her up and asked her if she was ok, and she said yes.  So, we held hands again and we ran to the finish line.  And it was perfect!  Gab and Adj and Lisa and Lan were all there.  Everyone was waiting for me.  And I crossed the line holding my daughter's hand.  And I was so happy.

And then the suck came back.  And it hurt.  My feel felt like they weren't mine.  I couldn't stop moving.  I had sprained my ankle when I stopped to get Leah.  I was trying to drink water.  I could barely talk.  Old Dana was back.  The Dana that is not athletic and can't run and doesn't do very well in sports and is fat, slow, and finds new gray hairs every week.

But, for a few minutes, when Mile Marker 3 came into view, I was someone else.  I was that person I used to remember.  It was awesome.   And I loved it.   And it didn't suck entirely.




We all did it.

Thanks for all the support and encouragement. 
Without you, I would not have been able to do this.


And We're Off

Here we go...

Wednesday: T Minus 1 Day

The tatoo has been acquired...



Tuesday: T Minus 2 Days

Clothes have been purchased...



Monday: T Minus 3 Days

Practice is happening...



A Contribution From a Friend

A few month's ago my friend Rob sent me a poem.  I read it when I received it, and then it sat in my Inbox for a while.  Every so often, I'd open it up and read it.  It's a great poem and I thought I'd post it.

Now, this poem is quite well known, and so when I read the excerpt that Rob sent me, I knew that the last verse was left off.  The last verse is very religious, and while Rob is also very religious, I'm not.  And I'm not sure if Rob left off that last verse because he knows how I feel about religion or not, but I like to think that you get the jist of the poem just fine without that last verse.  And if you find yourself needing more god after you read this poem, then you should google it, and get your god fix.

If Tears Could Build a Stairway

If tears could build a stairway

and thoughts a memory lane

I’d walk right up to heaven

and bring you home again.

No Farewell words were spoken

No time to say good-bye

You were gone before I knew it

And only God knows why.

My heart’s still active in sadness

And secret tears still flow

What it meant to lose you

No one can ever know.

But now I know you want us

To mourn for you no more

To remember all the happy times

Life still has much in store.

Since you’ll never be forgotten

I pledge to you today

A hallowed place within my heart

Is where you’ll always stay.



Patricia Ellen Grieco 4/6/53-11/19/07

You took my hand

You showed me how

You promised me you'd be around

I took your words

And I believed

In everything

You said to me


Remember when we were such fools

And so convinced and just too cool

I wish I could touch you again

I wish I could still call you friend

I'd give anything

When someone said count your blessings now

'fore they're long gone

I guess I just didn't know how

I was all wrong

They knew better

Still you said forever

And ever

Who knew

I'll keep you locked in my head

Until we meet again

And I won't forget you my friend

What happened

If someone said three years from now

You'd be long gone

I'd stand up and punch them out

Cause they're all wrong and

That last kiss

I'll cherish

Until we meet again

And time makes

It harder

I wish I could remember

But I keep

Your memory

You visit me in my sleep

My darling

Who knew

I miss you

Who knew


My Number's Up

Over the past few weeks, I've won two raffles that I've entered and two tricky tray prizes.  This is very unlike me.  I usually have no luck whatsoever.  I never win anything.

Lately I've been having a tough time with life, in general.  Work is stressing me out; there's never enough time in the day; I don't get done even half of the things that I want to do.  I feel like I am running after a train that's going a little too fast for me to catch it, but I can't just give up and find another way to travel.  I'm stuck in this station, and I'm missing my damn train.  Over and over.

But, these four silly things that I've won have given me some hope.  Maybe it's a sign that good things are coming.  Maybe it's a sign to not give up.

I'm not big on signs.  I don't believe those people who say things like my dead mom gave me a sign that she was watching over me when the picture fell off the wall and landed on my head! mainly for two reasons.  One, I just don't believe that the dead can send the living signs.  But more importantly, if they can, then that means that my mom knows she's dead and she is aware that she's not here.  She's seen me struggle over the past three years.  She's experienced every tear that I've shed.  She's watched me miss her.  And if that's the case, then she's probably struggling, crying, and experiencing at the same time.  And I don't want her to.  I would never want her to know what she's missing. 

There is a good aspect about dying suddenly, rather than being sick for a while before passing.  When you suddenly die, you don't know what you're going to miss, or that you're going to miss anything, actually.  You don't know what you're never going to see again.  You don't know how everyone will get to go on living together, while you won't.  And most importantly, you don't feel the guilt that you might feel knowing that family and friends are going to mourn you for months, years, decades maybe.  When you just up and die one day, you don't even know what just happened.  That's sort of a good thing.  I guess?

The 19th is a tough day. It's hard for me, my family, and my mom's friends.  I don't know if I'll be able to adequately show what the day means to me because I'm not sure how I'll feel on it.  I just hope that my luck continues.  That my number keeps getting called.  That I never give up hope. 


Some Good Advice

I have a friend from college whom I recently got back in touch with.  We have an email relationship and have become pen pals.  This friend has insight, and I cherish it, and when I spoke of the three year anniversary of my mom's death coming up, this is what my friend said:

Do something good with your own daughter.
Not necessarily that day, but soon.
Something that your mom would have either enjoyed
or at least strongly encouraged you to enjoy.

I like that advice.  And I'm going to try to take it.


The Aunts

Leah has four Aunts.  Two are biological and two are by marriage/long time relationshipage.

One of her Aunts is Aunt Christie (Tistie)-Greg's sister:

And one is Aunt Adriana (Ana)-my sister:

She loves them both and they love her and I am so thankful for both of them.  They are both great women who love my daughter as much as I love her, and that means a lot me. 


Yes, I Still Run

I haven't mentioned running much within the past month or so, have I?  Well, because up until a week ago, I wasn't running much.  It's dark when I get home from work, and I have a prejudice towards treadmills.  So, I stopped running.

But, I never for once gave up on the Turkey Trot.  I set a goal a while back, and when I set goals, I meet goals, and, despite the fact that I had stopped training, and despite the fact that I had no idea how I was going to start up my training again, I never for once gave up on the Turkey Trot.  I never once thought that I would not be there on Thanksgiving morning.  In fact, I have a little surprise planned for the event.  Something I have been meaning to do for a while.

So, I'm back to training.  On the DREADMILL.  At 9:00 p.m. after Leah goes to bed and I manage to find all of my running accoutrements.  While catching up on the Housewives or Glee.

Tonight I made my running playlist.  There are a lot of good songs out there, like this one and this one.  Ooh, but especially this one. 

So, if you're doing nothing on Thanksgiving morning and you feel like watching me hobble my way through 3 miles, come on down. 


The Worst 10 Days of My Life, Annually

Three years ago today, the worst day of my life happened.    For the next nine days after the 10th of November in 2007, my life ran on autopilot as I attempted to figure out a situation to which no figuring out could fix.

I realized something bad had happened when I overheard the lack of conversation between Greg and my dad on the phone while I was in the bathroom.  And I felt a strange wave of doom float over me as I sat in the car on the way to the hospital while Greg filled the tire with air that told me that I didn't want to know what my future child's name would be.  I received the worst piece of news I've ever received when Gwen the nurse told me there was no hope while I was holding my mom's hand as she lie in bed in a coma.  I ran in and out of the room throughout the first night holding hands with my dad and sister as the code blue lights and beeps would sound, while the staff would run in past us to work on her. 

I am so happy that Isabella wasn't born during these 10 days.  These horrible, devastating, torturous ten days.  Days that were so bad, that when we finally made the decision to pull the plug, we were actually relieved, because these days were coming to an end.  These days of limbo, uncertainty, and the most painful pain one could ever endure, were finally going to be over.  We were finally getting the hell out of purgatory...

Today I did what I like doing best in my job:  I went to the job site and spent a lot of time there.

Today I did something that took my mind off my mom:  I tried out my first zumba class.

And, today I did something that reminded me of my mom: I bought some Tupperware.

These 10 days nearly killed me three years ago. 



She's Here!

This is Isabella!

She's my niece!



A Metaphor

I spend a lot of time cleaning Leah's play room.  I organize all of her toys--and there are lots of them--making sure that her sushi set contains all of its parts, and her doctor kit is not missing a wayward bandaid.  I gather all of the baby bottles and collect them in one bin, and I make sure that her crayons are not broken and that their wrappers are not peeling.  I arrange all of the dolls so that each has a diaper and clothes on and is placed in a stroller, high chair, or bed.  I spray the white board and wipe it clean and I make sure I remove all of the chalk remnants from the chalk board.

I spend a lot of time cleaning up messes in Leah's play room, but not a lot of time making them.  I want to make messes with her; I need to make messes with her.  I just don't have the time.  Or sometimes, I'm just too tired to make messes.  I am letting those messes happen without me taking part in creating them and I am having a hard time dealing with it.



Thursdays With Michael

For the past two weeks, my brother in law Michael and his girlfriend Cheryl have hosted Leah and I for dinner on Thursday nights.  My sister in law Christie also comes.  And tonight, Cheryl's sister Allison and her friend Randy also attended.

It's been so much fun, and even though Thursday night is normally my ladies wine night, I am feeling torn, since I love going to Michael and Cheryl's too.

In addition to the good food, plentiful wine (I see a pattern too; I choose to ignore it) and the great conversation, Leah gets to hang with her Aunts and Uncle and various other people.  And that's what makes me want to keep up this tradition the most.

When I was little, my mom had five brothers, four of which were younger than her.  My mom was 23 when she had me, so my Uncles were all quite young when I was born.  I remember a lot of good times with them, a lot of fun parties and experiences, and they were a very big part of my life.  For reasons that I won't go into now, mostly because I'm not even sure what those reasons are, I no longer speak to some of my Uncles, and it pains me deeply to know that close, loving relationships can sometimes be severed.  For good.  Forever.

With the death of my mom, and the loss of relationships with family members, I no longer take for granted the power of family and friendships and everything in between.  I try to give Leah as many opportunities as I can to spend time with different types of people, of all different ages, of all walks of life. 

And because of that, I am sad to report that I may be sticking with Thursdays with Michael, over Ladies Wine Night, while the invitation is still extended.  I know that the Ladies might not be happy with this, but they will understand.  If I've learned anything from losing my mother three years ago, it's that personal relationships are important, not only for myself, but for my child.  And my Ladies know that we can always have Tuesdays.  Or Saturdays.  Or both.



Baby Tai-Yu

My friend Lan had a baby three weeks ago.  Baby Tai-Yu.  And he is scrumptious. 

I am trying to spend as much time with him as possible because I want to help Lan out, I want to squeeze her baby, and because I love to watch Leah with him.

I just can't get over how she acts with him.  It's all don't cry baby...ok, give me kiss, baby..I love you little baby...here's your little blanket baby...all while kissing him and tickling him and playing with his fingers.

She always wants to hold him by herself.  And she has to hold him a certain way, with his head on her left side.  She wasn't too happy about being forced to hold him with a pillow underneath, but she's gotten used to it. And I caught her a couple of times this weekend attempting to pick him up and carry him away. 

I'm always wondering how she would act if I had another baby, and before Tai-Yu came around, I used to think that she'd be really jealous.  But now I'm not so sure.  I think she'd handle it really well.  Which just amazes me.  She never ceases to amaze me.  She is just so amazing.




We started off the weekend at a Pumpkin Patch...

And ended the weekend with a little Trick or Treating...

And lots of stuff in between.  But you'll have to wait until tomorrow to see that.