Monday, February 25, 2013

February 2013

February's full Moon is traditionally called the Full Snow Moon because usually the heaviest snows fall in February. (Certainly true this year!!!)

I often get very stressed out when I know the full moon is coming because I have no idea what I am going to write about…but this month I have had the idea in my back pocket for weeks!! Yeah, stress free month!

When you experience a challenging life experience that is beyond your control it is impossible to move on without finding new ways of looking at life …of finding solutions that make it possible to get up every morning. For me, one of them was reading books on the topics of death and the purpose of life. I am sure many people think it is crazy but one thing I have learned through all of this is not to judge others who are just trying to get by.

I don’t read them as much as I did when John died but every once in a while I still grab one and give it a go…and this month I came across a thought that I am keeping! I am paraphrasing but it goes something like: God gives you gifts in life, but these gifts are not meant to last your lifetime.

Naturally, that made me think of John, I remember telling someone at his wake that if I knew I was only getting him for 23 years I would have taken it. So, I knew that this concept was true…even then. But now that I have almost 6 years to live it…I can reflect on the idea of these “God given gifts “in a broader sense…and in more contexts… and I can see it in other people’s lives. I think that this has made me look back at John’s life and tell myself that I got a lot of little gifts from having him in my life…not just the obvious ones like the laughter he brought to us every day or the second hand exposure to new and exciting ideas due to all his interests …we got much, much more than that…we learned to look at the actions of people from their point of view, not ours and to be so very grateful for friends, our town, our family.  After John died we lost the one of the greatest gifts that could ever have been given. But…we have learned that we must take the time to stop every so often to evaluate the gifts we do have at the moment. 

I spent so many days worrying about things in life that really and truly didn’t matter at all…I know I could have spent the time I had with John more wisely…I am sure people who develop illnesses wish they used the time they had when they were healthy more appropriately…we all have 20/20 vision in hindsight…

And that is my message this month…take a minute to realize what gifts you have been given right now…knowing that they are probably not going to be yours forever and should be cherished for the brief time you are lucky enough to have them. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013


January - Full Wolf Moon –Amid the cold and deep snows of midwinter, the wolf packs howled hungrily outside Indian villages. Thus, the name for January’s full Moon. Sometimes it was also referred to as the Old Moon, or the Moon After Yule. Some called it the Full Snow Moon, but most tribes applied that name to the next Moon.

As any mother can imagine, I think of John at least once every hour of every day. I am happy to say that after almost 6 years I do not always feel like someone is sitting on my chest when I think of him…sometimes I actually smile when I remember something he said or did…and that is the case with this quote that I saw not too long ago on Pinterest. The quote “Be the kind of person that you want to meet” immediately made me think of John…because if you could dream up someone you wanted to be with it was John.

He was so much fun because he had so many interests and when he spoke about something…he was usually the most knowledgeable person in the room on the topic. He was so darn witty, good with words and thought of the most crazy and fun things to do! His girlfriend, Mary, once told me that the party didn’t start until John showed up. And even kids who he babysat for still talk about the funny songs and games he could dream up at the drop of a hat! He was talented musically, but that is a given…but most of all…he was the best listener on the planet…when you spoke with him you had 110% of his attention. I used to tell him he should go into TV and interview people…he would have been so good at it…and he didn’t mind who you were when he was speaking to you …he was all yours and you couldn’t help but love the attention. I know this because not only have I been the recipient of his attention I saw it happen to others, old and young…everyone loved John.

And I think that is why it was so difficult when he died…no one could believe that he could be taken away…as is so often in the case of young, vibrant, kids….he had so much life in him and so much he still could give…it just didn’t seem possible! But that was because he was “the kind of person you want to meet”…

And that is my message for this month…try for a day or two to be that kind of person…the kind of person that when you take your leave of someone they say to themselves…I really like him/her…the kind of person that when you are in a grocery store or at the pharmacy and finish your transaction the clerk says…wow, would love to know him/her…you only have to do one thing well…give others 110% of your attention when you are with them. It doesn’t cost you a cent to do but I must admit…it is tricky because we all have a lot on our minds…however, if you try to do it for one hour every day you will get better at it in time…Maybe giving your family all our attention at dinner would be a good place to would be good practice and could be the jumping off point for doing that with others…Can you imagine any better legacy to leave this planet? To actually be the person everyone wants to meet!

Friday, December 28, 2012

December's full Moon is also called the Long Nights Moon by some Native American it falls during the time of year that has short days and looooong nights! 

I was planning to write to everyone today requesting that you to add a few “Acts of Kindness” to your " to do" list. As you know, I usually ask for one little act but I was thinking that we could to do more this month to honor both John and Newtown. I know he would have been moved by this tragedy and would be happy that we were adding some happiness to the world.

I also wanted to suggest that one act this month could be to buy American. I KNOW for a fact that John would like this one. When the band was beginning to get popular they sold a lot of shirts and I remember an endless string of emails discussing the purchase…John was voting for made in America. He wrote a paper his freshman year in college about the Maquiladoras, which are the sweatshops located on the Mexican side of the U.S. border as a direct result of NAFTA. The professor used the research John did on that paper to convince the college to sponsor a group to visit Mexico and observe these factories. John was very passionate about buying American.

In fact, when he was able to be sponsored by a drum was American made Noble and Cooley that he chose…the oldest drum company in America. I know I told you that story and that it was the “happiest day of his life”. I think that he was happy about the drum set and proud that he was using a company that was from his home state..keeping his neighbors employed!

John didn’t have to be told how important it was to buy American..he just knew it. He was way ahead of his time on this concept…as he was with many ideas. And that is why I know he would be so happy about this months blog..26 little acts of kindness and at least one of them to keep your friend working…it would make his day! I think he would be happy if you were from another country and bought an item from that country too...he just liked to keep people working for a decent wage.

Good luck and I would love to know what everyone did…here is the link to Ann Curry’s website that may inspire you..because in the end…we are all in this world together.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Full Moon November 2012

The full moon will come during the night tonight (November 27-28, 2012) for us in North America, and it comes with some interesting features. That is, in 2012, the November full moon gives the world its smallest full moon of the year – and in North America, a subtle, penumbral eclipse of the moon before sunrise November 28. Meanwhile, those in the world’s Eastern Hemisphere – Europe, Africa, Asia, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand – will see this penumbral lunar eclipse after sunset November 28. A penumbral eclipse is not very dramatic…just a shading of the moon.. so don’t wake up expecting to see a red moon or a big black bite taken out of it.
I remember running outside with John and Lauren when they were in grammar school to see an eclipse …but we have so many trees in our yard it was impossible…they were very cute lying in the grass trying to see it though, and we did it every single time an eclipse occurred...which brings me to my story of the month.
My parents have sold their house and moved to Florida. This move caused them to downsize and they gave away a lot of their “stuff”. My gift was not one that I would ever have chosen, rather it was chosen for me by my son years and years ago when we were all sitting around my mom’s dining room table and she asked us what we would want from her house when she moved. While everyone was pondering their wish list 13 year old John piped up with “ I want this table”. I was shocked…at his speedy response and the bold choice! I asked him why the heck would you want the table? He quickly replied that he would like the table because when he used it he would be able to remember all the fun times we had as a family. Needless to say, no one was able to top that response … but what struck me was that a little boy would …or could…come up with such insight! It was stunning and really silenced us all!
Well, that table is now sitting in my kitchen and I think of John every time I set it…the kid who knew at such an early age that the memories you create are important and matter. I hope that my grandchildren think the same of me…that I took the time to make them feel loved. I don’t think John cared about the actual food. I KNOW he didn’t give a hoot about the china or the linens…it was the love he felt, the laughs and the feeling of belonging to a group…and that is what I wish for you this holiday. I hope that you can find a way to impart that feeling to those you love…because it is a gift worth spending the time to cultivate. It is not easy, you have to adapt as life moves on…but if you keep your mission one of establishing a loving and accepting home you may be lucky enough to have someone ask for your table someday! Much love to you all and my sincere wishes that you are successful with this one!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

October 2012

October - Full Hunter’s Moon or Full Harvest Moon –This full Moon is often referred to as the Full Hunter’s Moon, Blood Moon, or Sanguine Moon. Many “moons “ ago, Native Americans named this bright moon for obvious reasons. The leaves are falling from trees, the deer are fattened, and it’s time to begin storing up meat for the long winter ahead. Because the fields were traditionally reaped in late September or early October, hunters could easily see fox and other animals that come out to glean from the fallen grains. Probably because of the threat of winter looming close, the Hunter’s Moon is generally accorded with special honor, historically serving as an important feast day in both Western Europe and among many Native American tribes.

I know I have mentioned that I would never EVER be considered for the best parent award and here is the proof.

When John was in kindergarten he was always in trouble. When I look back on his early schooling I wish I had stayed home with him…he was very sensitive to touch so when people got in his space…as little kids always do…it would send him into orbit…and sometimes he would even hit another kid…and if I saw it and called him out he would reply that they hit him first! (which ,of course, was not true but he thought that they really had hit him because his personal bubble was so huge!!) Sometimes he would hit the kid and than grab his arm with as if to say…ohhhh, I didn’t mean it! It truly was a reaction to people being too close to him…if we were in lines at say Disney..I would pick him up and hold him tight so he would feel safer. The OT who worked with him once told me that it feels like they have just had a near miss accident! Poor baby!! He did get used to living with it …at least I think he did (or he just stopped hitting other people and I interpreted that to mean he was ok…this is something I would clarify if I had the chance…)

Anyway….let’s just add that to the millions of things mom’s like me feel guilty about and move on  with the real story

…John’s kindergarten class had a little Halloween show every year…the kids would dress up and sing all the fall songs they had learned for parents and the kids in the nursery class. In order to do this the kindergarten kids stood on risers….you are probably beginning to see the problem…a bunch of little kids squished on skinny risers…and my little monkey with “touch” issues!

I don’t think that I ever went to pick him up from school when the teacher didn’t have a negative comment about his behavior on those damn risers…and as a mom you get so worked up when teachers are always complaining …they make you feel like you should be able to do something to fix it….so one day I told him if he didn’t stop causing trouble he would not be allowed to go to school on Halloween. (and I had made him a really cool Ninja Turtle costume out of a Hulk pattern and a handmade paper mache shell…he loved it and was so excited)

So, you know what was going to happen…the day before Halloween I pick him up ..the teacher bitches about him and I tell him he is not going to go to school for the party….and once it is out of my mouth…I felt I had to stick to it…so he and I stayed home…only to find out Halloween night that the kid he pushed had pushed him first!!!  (as told by his savior, best bud, and school wife…Elizabeth Potter…who always tells the truth…for good or bad) so I had punished John for no reason…and in retrospect I should have known that his behavior was really more related to his issue than begin a genuine pain in the neck!!

I have to say…I have never been able to let go of how badly I feel about my behavior in that episode …I was so sure that he would turn out to be police blotter material if I didn’t back up my threats that I didn’t’ take a minute to step back and assess what was really important … and by taking that day from him …a day he could never get back…I cost him one more day of fun in what turned out to be a very short life and probably made him trust and respect me …his Mother…a little less…all of which I can not fix….even if he were still around….the damage had been done…and it was not necessary had I really been the grown up and taken a minute to rethink what was going on.

So, my message here is to learn from my mistake and be very careful with your words … and as hard as it is sometimes…try to take a look at the whole picture as objectively as possible before you make a judgment call …you are not at your best when you are saying and doing things in the heat of the moment!  I certainly look back on that day with great sadness and shame!! (thank God I had a baby boy who was very forgiving!)

Friday, September 28, 2012

September 2012

The Full Corn Moon corresponds with the time of harvesting corn. It is also called the Barley Moon, because it is the time to harvest and thresh the ripened barley. 
This month, we also celebrate what we call a Harvest Moon, which is the full Moon nearest the autumnal equinox. It can occur in September or October and is bright enough to allow finishing all the harvest chores.
The Full Harvest Moon is different than all our other full Moons. Around this date, the Moon rises at almost the same time for a number of nights in our northern latitudes.

This month on the full moon we will be celebrating with John’s girlfriend Mary and her family because she is in a play in New York and we are going to the city to see her. We are so excited because we have not seen Mary in quite some time as she moved to the west coast.

As our plans have developed I can’t help but think back to the times we went to see her perform in Syracuse. We would meet John and Mary’s parents for a quick bite and go to see her play. It was so much fun, I love her family and spending time with them…thought I was so lucky that John picked a girl with such a terrific family. I knew they loved him as much as I did…I was sure life was going to be great for them.

John and Mary were so well suited for one another…they were very creative and each encouraged the other to develop their talents. However, Mary decided to give up her dreams when it became clear that John’s career was going to take off. I know she made this decision without discussing it. I think she decided to go to grad school for Speech Pathology so that she could be the one who was always around when John was free…she would live the nine to five life so he could be free to fulfill his dream. She told me once that he asked her, in all honesty, to promise that she would someday go back to acting…she was shocked that he didn’t know what she was doing and why.

I don’t think he could wrap his head around the fact that some people don’t get to follow their dream..some by choice and some not…

John was lucky to have had the opportunity to live a life that allowed him to spend the majority of his time on things he loved to do…music, sports, beer making etc. He died so young he didn't get a chance to make the sacrifices that parents do.…No wonder he was so happy all the time! 

And so, as we get to relive a piece of the life we thought we were going to have, I suggest you spend some time on this full moon doing something you love…something that makes you happy…so you can go out and pass that happiness to others.