Tag Archives: Family
The past year has been quite a roller coaster of emotions.
Last year we were informed that my sister-in-law had major surgery the week of Christmas. What was suppose to be a three hour surgery turned in to a marathon eight hour surgery.
The year before we were told my sister-in-law had cervical cancer. She was informed while she was pregnant and decided to go through with the pregnancy and had a beautiful baby girl. After the birth she began her radiation and chemotherapy treatments.
In January of 2016 we had a tumultuous New Year’s when our old car broke down on the freeway and we finally called in our family favor and got a new car thanks to my brother-in-law who works for a car dealership. It was his wife who was sick. We had hardly spoken to him or his wife about her illness. It wasn’t until we spoke with some of his colleagues that we were reassured that he had people who he could talk to about what he and their family were going through. We had always been concerned and attempted to talk to them both about what was going on with them but they were always very private and guarded.
I never blamed them for not wanting to talk to us about it. What did we know? How could we even begin to understand what they were going through? We don’t have children. They both have kids from previous relationships and new baby girl together. We lived in the city and they lived in the suburbs. We lived very different lives beyond those small things and it felt like this made the divide even wider. My sister-in-law and I were similar in some ways, but very different people and saw the world very differently. We were cordial to each other but not very close. My husband and his brothers were close, but the wives were a different story. We tried. We attempted. We just never seemed to find anything in common except for loving our husbands and our families.
My sister-in-law had always been a little vain. I remember the first time we met at a Mother’s Day brunch for my mother-in-law and she complained about the one grey hair she found and was trying to hide it. She was always well dressed for any occasion, whereas I had reused the same black dress for over a dozen family weddings. She always bought thoughtful gifts and we tried to figure who we could afford to get gifts for every Christmas. We may not have always gotten along but I respected her for always doing her best for her children and family and making my brother-in-law happy.
Then the news got worse. Multiple hospital visits. Emergency surgeries. Wheelchairs. Hair wraps and wigs. A colostomy bag.
She was in the hospital for almost a week when Mother’s Day came along. The entire family visited her in the hospital for the holiday. That was when I finally realized things were not going to get better. She could no longer walk on her own. She couldn’t hug or hold her daughter without assistance. I finally saw how much hair she had lost.
The day after she was released from the hospital we celebrated their daughter’s second birthday party at their home with immediate family. If things weren’t already heart breaking that was the day I wanted to scream. I don’t know how she did it but she walked. She stood in front of that birthday cake and had us sing “Happy Birthday” several times in a row. She must have been on a giant cocktail of drugs and had the iron will of a giant to push through all the pain she must have been experiencing and do everything she could for her daughter. We all realized this would be the last birthday party she would be able to attend for any or her children.
The rest of the summer we spent every spare minute visiting and bringing groceries for the family. Every weekend. Every summer holiday. We spent every moment with our family knowing that every moment counted. August was the hardest month. There were a few days when she wouldn’t wake up because she was in so much pain. The family gathered in vigil fearing the worst.
Then she suddenly had a burst of energy and was requesting her favorite foods. One day I came by after work bringing groceries that included artichokes. They were her favorite and she began to tell me how she made a dipping sauce for them. She asked if I could make them for her. I had never successfully made artichokes in my life. I did my best to not fuck it up. She called out to me while I was over and we talked about foods we both liked and how to cook them. It was the best conversation I’d ever had with her. When I got home I broke down in tears.
They had a hospice nurse helping them for a few weeks, but then the nurse said there was nothing else they could do to help and they stopped coming by. I was fearful of the kids being home alone should something happen. I started to go by the house everyday. Cleaning. Playing with the two year-old. Talking to the boys. Talking to her.
The day she passed away she was surrounded by family in her home. We got a phone call at 4 am that it happened. We rushed over to be with the family. We were all there when the coroners came to take her. We spent the next week together in mourning. Some preparing for the funeral. Others just coming to terms living in world without her.
After the funeral and after the reception we ended the night at their home with all of our family singing karaoke. That night my two year-old niece learned how to sing Prince’s “Purple Rain” all by herself. It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen and the most heart breaking moment realizing her mother didn’t get to witness it. Some people mourn in silence. That evening we mourned singing together at the top of our lungs following my niece’s lead.
Singing. Loving. Making new memories. Reliving old memories.
There isn’t a day that goes by that I haven’t thought about her. Remembered her. My niece is the living embodiment of her mother. Her memory lives on in her.
After the election these memories are even more important to me. Hearing how people are being treated and how words of hate are being used more and more against the people they are suppose to love makes it harder to stay silent.
Love each other. Cherish each other. This holiday season every memory counts.
Hola from marriedville! Don’t tell any one, but it’s just like regular life except people (mainly family, some friends) seemed to be freaked about me keeping my name.
I know it’s been almost a year since I updated anything on here. Besides my laptop sucking and trying to plan parties, packing all of my belongings, working a couple of jobs, and moving, its safe to say I’ve been preoccupied. 🙂
So what’s the big deal? We’ll, I’m not sure. I have however found 3 reasons to help people cope with my choice.
1) It’s my name. I’m keeping it.
I am not saying my family name is special, BUT it is how I see myself. I had always planned on keeping my name, it wasn’t a a secret. I’m not upset if people call me Mrs. Awesome. I just let it slide. I love that my husbands family calls me Mrs. because they want to see me as part of the family. Not having the same name does NOT make me not family. I LOVE my husbands family and they are always going to ask, “When do you think you’ll change your last name?” And I love them for it.
He is my lover and best friend and I will love him no matter what. Having the same name doesn’t mean I love him more, and having a different name doesn’t mean I love him less.
2) I am still married even if our names are different.
A lot of people think I want to go by Miss or Ms because I kept my name therefore am not allowed to be called Mrs. I. Don’t. Care. I’m not a grammar- nazi like some friends, but I did try to use proper name listings on our wedding invitations for other peoples sake. Even if I did spell one of my bridesmaids name wrong…don’t judge me.
3) IF/When we have kid(s) they will still know I’m their Mother..
THINK OF THE CHILDREN!
I’m sure they’ll be fine. My husband’s family have a tradition of adding the mothers maiden name as a middle name or a second middle name. I think it’s a great way to trace family heritage and keep a connection to your next of kin and it can be listed on their birth certificate. Kids and adults hate hyphenated names, and this way they can choose which names they want to use in the future. Choice sounds beautiful doesn’t it?
Plus, legally changing your name is a LOT of work. For our future possible progeny it will be easier to pick a last name kids want, like they sometimes do when they chose to go by their middle name instead of their legal first name, or when they sometimes go by nicknames.
I love thinking about the options my hypothetical progeny will have when we discuses this possibility! I know it makes some people squirm and uncomfortable with my choices. Guess what? Don’t. Give. One. Fuck. It’s our life, and our choice to live it that way.
Go live your own life people!
Now that I have that out of the way everyone can start asking me other silly married life questions. 🙂
Check out the article I was interviewed for about our fundraising event for our friend Eric! It brought me to tears (of happiness) and has reassured all of us involved that Eric will get at least some of the help he needs to get back on his feet once he is out of the hospital.
It’s been a while since I’ve made the time to sit down with my digital thoughts. Between working two jobs, planning our wedding, and honeymoon I tried to keep myself on schedule, and still make time for us to enjoy our lives. Which meant not being online, and hanging out with people, drinking, smoking, and most importantly living our lives together.
I’m not gonna lie, it was an emotional roller coaster dealing with family drama, and other people trying to impose their own definition of what our wedding meant to them. A lot of emotions come up; some that have been hidden for years, and others that you’re forced to answer because of the circumstances. I always knew our wedding wouldn’t make a few people happy for a million little reasons. I also knew that no matter what we would still be together whether or not the wedding happened according to our plans.
Turns out…everything was awesome! 😉
Our venue day-of contact, photographer, DJ, and our friends and family said it was a well oiled machine, and some even complimented us on how well organized all the decorations were kept. At one point, we were running ahead of schedule! That made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. One of my bridesmaids was so impressed she hired me to be her Day-Of Coordinator for her wedding at the end of October! AND my new Sister-in-Law would like my help planning her Baby Shower (free of course, for family)!!!
One of my biggest fears was not being able to get back on my feet after the wedding and honeymoon. Now, I can’t even begin to say how excited I am to get back to work, start new adventures, and feel like I’m part of the world again. There were times when planning the wedding felt really isolating, and made it hard for people to relate (not everyone has to tackle a guest list and seating chart every week for over 2 months!). Luckily, I’ve had some practice from my previous line of work at a non-profit theatre company. I also had a few great friends and my Husband to thank for all their help and support over the last year and a half!
I just hope I can get back to hanging out with friends, playing board games, and eating burgers every week between all my new work. 🙂
As any one who has had to plan a wedding of any size knows the first thing everyone freaks out about is the guest list. The cost, venue, or any other small number of things that can make you break out in hives. The guest list selection is one of the most humbling and nerve racking experiences every couple must face. It’s like a choice between cake or death* (see footnote).
When my fiance and I sat down and made a rough draft list it was daunting. We purposely had a long engagement so we could make a lot of decisions over time, and tried not to make snap decisions based on emotional knee jerk reactions. We both have large Catholic families…with lots of kids and other extended family. We had a hard time trying to figure out how to negotiate the scope of our list.
When we tell people how large our guest list is (only if they ask) their eyes get big. Then people begin to say, “Just elope!” Then we have to do a little dance and explanation of how that isn’t possible** (see below for short answer). Long answer: his family and our friends love to party and dance and they will make it feel like an awesome party. My personal reasons for not wanting, or ever imagining a large wedding, is due to my own family bringing drama to the table. Like our wedding favors, we had to adjust our settings every time we addressed the count of the guest list. Every few months the number and names changed, parents gave extended family members names, and we realized we left someone off the list by accident that we hadn’t seen in a while. Having a long engagement helped us deal with these small surprises over time.
Even after we made a final A and B guest list I had a few extra blank envelopes set aside just in case we had a few seats open up. Which they did, and not from friends or family we expected. Having a long engagement also opened up seats due to break-ups, travel arrangement issues for family and friends coming from out of town, and some life events in general. Sad to hear some are not able to attend, and happy I have the ability to strategically replace those empty seats with other people we love.
The dance of musical chairs has been an interesting aspect of wedding planning that I was afraid to tackle from the beginning. It was (literally) my worst nightmare. It is now over a year after our engagement and only two months away from the wedding. Planning and writing about this whole experience has been enlightening and an educational process. I would never wish this kind of societal torture on any of my friends, but maybe a few “frenemies.”
The latest development has been all the in-fighting happening in both our families. It’s gotten so dramatic we have a little over 3 tables worth of family, on both sides, who are requesting to be seated with their own group of people. To add to the complications I’ve also been instructed to seat them across the hall from each other for fear they will walk out and leave the reception. Drama.
I will say I am greatly disappointed to be given these types of requests and restrictions for what is suppose to be a day “about us,” and be made to feel like we’re the ones making it difficult for them to be able to attend in peace. You would think these “adults” would put their personal and petty feelings aside for one day to let us enjoy ourselves but I guess that was asking for too much.
*Eddie Izzard joke reference from Dressed to Kill
**Short Answer: His family and Mother would kill us.
Last weekend I setup a small meet and greet with one of my bridesmaids and my grandparents, who are hosting the Bridal Shower. My bridesmaid Edith is one of my long time friends and happens to speak fluent Spanish. I asked her to meet with my grandparents to help my grandmother feel comfortable hosting this party full of strangers at her home since she only speaks Spanish (she understands English, she just refuses to speak it). A fellow Spanish speaker will also help her feel like she has a voice and involvement in the process so we don’t inadvertently make demands she is not comfortable with. I usually depend on my Mom to ensure proper translation, but my Mom tends to…embellish certain things and always finds a way to make things worse. My Mother has her own issues she’s constantly working out with her Mom.
We arrive and begin the discussion about how many people are attending, the shower theme (comic books and Super Heroes!!), tables, chairs, centerpieces, and everything was going smoothly. Then my Mom arrived and shortly after my Grandmother started asking questions about the guest list. Who’s invited? How many people are coming? Is your cousin ___ invited? *awkward pause* Um, no. She’s not invited, as of this moment, because we didn’t have room for her on the guest list and it would be rude to invite someone to the Bridal Shower and not the Wedding. Sorry to disappoint. This kick-starts the drama.
My Grandmother then proceeds to say that she’s family, and her grandchild too, so if she asks if she can come by it would be rude of her to deny her the opportunity to come visit. Apparently this cousin ASKED my Grandmother, over Easter while I wasn’t present and at work, if she was invited to the wedding… WTF?! This particular cousin has only kept in communication with my grandparents, has never said happy birthday, let alone congratulations to us since we’ve been engaged (over a year!). She stalks me on Facebook, Instagram, and any other way she can to keep tabs on the family without ever really talking to any one but my grandparents. I felt immediately upset that she would put my grandparents in that position and try insert themselves in the festivities without ever trying to talk to me or my fiance every time we’ve seen them at my grandparents home.
Suffice to say, my grandmother was a little upset, and my Mom didn’t help to defuse the situation. Eventually, after trying to reassure my Grandmother that despite my Cousins rude behavior I have tried to become a part of their lives, but they want nothing to do with me, and if they show up I can’t really do anything, it’s not my home. My Mom insisted on interrupting me and yelling and complaining, “She doesn’t care! She has no idea how they really are! She thinks these cousins are more important than you any way.” I had to raise my hands and ask my Mom to just stop. Stop with the negativity. She immediately became offended by my body language and stormed off upset that no one was listening to her. *sigh*
Luckily, my lovely and patient bridesmaid was there to help pick up the pieces before the Bridal Shower got cancelled because of hurt feelings that are beyond our control. We started discussing what we needed to do to prepare for the Bridal Shower, and discussed contacting my Mom after she had a few days to cool off. We promised to come by the following weekend to help her clean up the house and prepare for our guests. Which is why I’m EVER SO GRATEFUL to my bridesmaid Edith for enduring this debacle, and know that I never could have survived this incident without her by my side.
I know I promised to write about our selection process for our wedding photographer this week, but I got a bit distracted browsing the Offbeat Bride Tribe section and thought I should write a small piece about someone who has inspired me and our wedding theme. Depending on how the week goes I’ll do my best to post the photographer piece later this week. Thanks for your patience. 🙂
Early on I had decided I didn’t want to be walked down the aisle by my Biological father because I have a Step-Father who I was closer to, and I didn’t want to be caught up having to explain WHY I was making this decision. I put my foot down (gently) and only told a few close friends and family. Then last Fall, just after becoming unemployed, I accompanied my Mother and Grandparents to the doctor’s office for his final doctor’s visit where they gave the official diagnosis that he was suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s. It was heart breaking.
Over the last few months he’s gotten worse and my biggest fear is finding out he doesn’t remember me or our wedding. There’s a possibility that he may think I’m my Mother in the confusion. He loses his place in the middle of conversations, still tries to drive off and run errands (they revoked his driver’s license), and now refuses to go to the doctor for anything due to fear they’ll tell him something else is wrong with him.
Last month my Mother and I had a long conversation about some of the issues the family has been dealing with, trying to keep him safe, and how he is still in denial about the situation. She asked me, very politely, if I would consider having my Grandfather walk me down the aisle and I immediately accepted. I don’t know how it never occurred to me in the first place! It makes me extremely happy and sad to think that I could share this moment with my Grandfather, and at the same time that he may not remember it, or even live long enough to see us have children.
My grandparents had a huge library in their home (before it was remodeled) when I was growing up. My grandfather made all the shelving and cabinets himself. The walls were covered from floor to ceiling in books. My love of books and reading came from spending long summer afternoons pouring over my Grandfathers books, my mother reading me bed time stories, and my Uncle’s fascination with outer space and their collection of Astronomy books. Our wedding has a paper/book theme due to my Grandfather’s library and his love of books has rubbed off on me over the years. One Christmas I gave him a set of history books that he loved, and my Grandmother was a little annoyed and said, “Now he’s gonna be up all night reading and ignoring me!” She doesn’t like reading much. 🙂 My Aunts and uncles use to tell stories about me reading out loud to them from one of many books, even though I wasn’t old enough to read, or understand was the book was about.
As hard as it is to write these words (I’ve had to stop several times to wipe away tears) I’m happy and hopeful for the love and inspiration my Grandfather has given me. I’m crossing my fingers that his health doesn’t deteriorate too quickly and I’m able to be walked down the aisle with one of my favorite people in the world, my Grandpa Campos. 🙂
This is the only word to best describe my life for the last couple of months.
- my manager quit
- wedding planning got serious
- training/informing my new manager
- assessing the budget of our large wedding
- paper flower making tutorials in action
- sold out performances for our current show
- working massive overtime
- putting out (metaphorical) fires at home and at work
- coordinating bridesmaids
- hosting parties
- and finally, trying to breathe
So…I’ve been swamped to say the least. It has been the most rewarding past few months, but also the craziest. My manager quit, as you saw at the top of my list, so most of time at work has been spent picking up the slack and taking control of the front/box office. I am the last person there who has been with the organization for the last three years. Everyone else quit. Awesome! Right? No not really (insert sarcasm here). Luckily, I am the Master of My Domain! I wish I could be modest on this point, but I’m not. I’ve managed to pull the place together and keep it afloat. I tend to do well in stressful situations, and work well under pressure. On the other hand, I get a little impatient with people from time to time. 🙂
Besides work, which is boring to talk about, I managed to put out another fire with my mother-in-law, who was upset she had just realized that we were not getting married in a church, by a priest. Yeah….crisis averted. We had a heartfelt conversation and let her know that our plans were very clear from the beginning and this was going to happen our way. The way we had planned, since before we were engaged. She wasn’t happy, but she resigned to let us do what we wanted.
I’ve also neglected posting about my wedding crafts, as well as posting photos of our progress. Since I also recently cracked my phone screen and lost a few photos of our work when I backed up my stuff and it wasn’t properly saved. *sad face* Phone is now fixed, and properly backed up, but I lost a few things. Nothing I can’t live without.
The biggest and best news is that we have SET A DATE! We finally got out venue, The Queen Mary in Long Beach, on September 7th, 2013!! Hallelujah! I apologize in advance if you are not invited. My fiance and I have large Catholic families, and too many friends. I cut our friends list in half just to keep the financial stress off our of parents who have been generous enough to pay for the whole endeavor. If we had a wedding the exact way I wanted it would have been done and over, with no one knowing anything had happened. Then we’d throw a party and SURPRISE! WE’RE MARRIED!!
In other good news, I have had the last two nights in a row off, during a show, due to working too much over time. This last month, and week, have been really difficult, but totally worth it.