Saturday, October 11, 2014

Thoughts for Mom

Earlier today, I was preparing some food for Leo to eat throughout the week.  I was painstakingly cutting sweet potatoes into petite cubes the perfect size for his little mouth and beginner's pincer grasp.  As I did this I thought about how important it is to me to take good care of him and do everything I can to give him what he needs. And though he might take all that for granted right now, seeing his face light up when he sees me is all the thanks I need.  Then I thought about how one day there is a good chance that, for some period of time at least, he won't even look up when I walk into the room - will begrudge me even asking how his day was.

 There may come a day when he won't care how much time I took removing every blemish from the organic, locally-grown sweet potato before cooking it to the perfect consistency for his two and a half teeth to manage - he'll just want me to leave him alone. It won't matter that I happily got soaked every night letting him splash in the tub - he'll just want some privacy. He won't remember that I got him new toys before vacation so he would have something new to play with on a long drive - he'll want to text his friends in the car, not talk to me.

If I get it right then I can hope this will be a short phase. Or if I'm really lucky, it will happen as a few separate events rather than a whole stage of life.  But thinking about how I fold his tiny undershirts just so, how I'll gladly rock him in my arms at 3am for as long as he needs if he's having a tough night, how I'll stop whatever I'm doing and just soak it in if he rests his head on my shoulder left me with some thoughts for my own mother. Mom, for the whole of the past 31 years: thank you, I'm sorry, I love you, I get it.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

A Toast to Love

Yesterday I saw my little sister get married.  It was a day we had all anticipated for quite a while - probably since when she dressed up as a bride for Halloween multiple years in a row between the ages of four and seven.  I had the honor of being the matron of...honor and I made a toast to Jackie and Andrew at their reception.  I know that everything goes by in a blur on your wedding day so I wanted to record the words for them here and to share with everyone how much I love these two:

A few years ago, before either of us was engaged, Jackie and I were talking about how we knew that we were with the people we wanted to marry, even though Jackie and Andrew had been together much longer than John and I had.  I told her, you know only one of us gets to be the other's maid of honor.  Whoever gets married first has to be matron.  She replied, Oh ew, ok, you can go first then.
The sisters Greco performing "Shoop" at the Greco-Gogarty wedding
 I've never minded being the older, more matronly sister though.  When Jackie was a baby, we shared a room and every night, I would stay awake until I knew she was asleep, then I would get up and take everything out of her crib - toys, blanket, everything.  I didn't do this to be mean (although I did plenty of other stuff to be mean), I did it because I wanted to make sure nothing happened to her in her sleep - I wasn't going to let anything cover her airways or get wrapped around her neck - side note, I was four.

But I know our brother Matt felt the same way about our baby sister - we've told a story for years about how our grandfather yelled at Jackie once, totally justifiably of course, and she was crying and Grandpop told us to leave her alone because she was in trouble so Matt snuck her back behind the shed in our back yard to give her a hug. Of course we also had our sibling squabbles, like when Jackie asked my mom why they even had me, and when Jackie and I would chase Matt through the house yelling words like breast and maxi pad until he'd lock himself in his room.

Through all those years, she was always our little Wacky Jackie and she was always ours to watch out for.  Now she's all grown up and even though she doesn't do things  like hiding behind an e-z chair eating a stick of butter like it's a banana, anymore I know we all feel better knowing she still has someone taking care of her.  The fact that she has someone like Andrew just makes her exponentially luckier.  

I remember when Jackie first introduced me to Andrew.  I was visiting her at West Chester for Homecoming weekend and as we got ready to go out she told me that she had a secret crush on one of the guys who lived in the house we were going to.  I asked how I'd know which one he was.  She told me, he's tall, he looks like Vince Vaughn and he always wears a backpack.  His name is Andrew. 

That was about seven years ago, and Andrew now feels so much like a brother that it's almost kind of weird that he's marrying my sister. Almost, but they are too perfect for each other to be anything other than inspiring.  

Probably our best "Shoop" performance yet at the Greco-Short wedding

Jackie told me not long after they started dating that it wasn't until then that she really understood what it meant to be in love, that nothing short of forever would be enough time to be together.  Well, forever starts today and I'm sure you're all as honored as I am to be a part of it.  Let's all raise a glass to Jackie and Andrew and toast to a beautiful love story.