How a Unique Toast to Mom Helped Us Continue a Family Tradition

It was October 2020, and 225 days since we saw my Dad and in-laws. We are in Western New York, and they live in Florida. It was time to visit our parents, time to reunite. 

The news continued to report virus upticks and suggestions to hunker down at home as we prepared for our trip. My Mom passed on February 6, 2020, right before we KNEW about the virus. Less than a month later, my Dad would not only be learning to live alone without my Mom but now he would lose face-to-face contact with his friends.

As my readers know, we are currently truck campers. We needed to go back to Florida, and trekking in our truck was the perceived safest way. 

For those of you who knew my Mom, you will understand when I wonder what she would have thought about the whole camper thing. To give some perspective, Mom thought I was roughing it when I moved to Buffalo 41 years ago. 

You’re Not Bringing That Truck in Here!

After four travel days, we arrived with the camper to drop our bags at my Dad’s beautiful, gated country club community in Boca Raton. The guard at the helm immediately said, “OH NO! you can’t bring that thing in here!” (Maybe my Mom had sent a message from above!)

Mitch is very persuasive, and they finally allowed us to drop off our luggage and quickly get “that thing” out of the neighborhood!

We suspected that the RV would be banned and had parking Plan-B nearby. We settled into Dad’s house with minutes left until the Buffalo Bills game started. The Bills rule our home. But not for this fair-weather fan. I have tried to have Bill’s passion. Each year, I say this is the year I will watch every game, and then something better (always) comes up. Anyway, Mitch would be busy for four hours and ruminating for four-plus days.

Dad and I had our plan. We were going to the cemetery to visit my Mom and to start a new tradition.  Our visit would be my first time going back to the cemetery since my Mom’s funeral. 

Our new tradition (is that an oxymoron?) linked to an old custom shared by my parents. Every year on Yom Kippur, the holiday where many Jews fast, from sundown to sundown, my parents broke the fast with a toast. Mom would pull out the now vintage glasses with gold leaf decoration, pour orange juice, and she and my Dad would click glasses before they drank to end the day of food and drink deprivation.

Family Traditions

Dad and I drove to the cemetery with three vintage glasses and a small orange juice. I wasn’t sure how we were going to do this and didn’t want to ask questions. We pulled up to the beautiful mausoleum where Mom had chosen as her final resting place.  

How a Unique Toast to Mom Helped Us Begin to Heal - Family Traditions

We entered the solemn site, and after a few words, we began our toast. Dad poured some juice into my glass, his glass, and a symbolic glass for my mother. We clinked and drank our portion, and then Dad poured Mom’s share into both our glasses. We both toasted to Mom by clicking on the wall and sipped her serving.  

It was a moving and beautiful gesture. This would have been the 65th year of my parents breaking the fast together. So many customs have changed since Mom left us. There is a deep, palpable space that once held my vibrant mother. Perhaps, this special toast to Mom will live on each year as our new tradition. I know we all must move forward but never forget the past.

Dad and I returned home to find Mitch smiling because the Bills were winning. Thankfully! The result of the football game typically dictates the mood for the remainder of our day. The Bills have a lot of power in our home! 

We are thankful that we spent time with my Dad, but it was a short visit. 

We Will Leave it in His Capable Hands

It was a heartbreaking parting because we have no knowledge of when we would see each other again. My Dad quoted “Fiddler on the Roof.” Remember the haunting scene when Tevye sadly sends his daughter Hodel off to be with her husband in Siberia. Hodel looks at her Dad and Says, “God only knows when we will see each other again.” Tevye replies, “Then we will leave it in his capable hands.”

We took a photo of my Dad waving as we pulled away. Not knowing the next time we will return.

Wishing you all a Happy, Healthy and Safe Thanksgiving! May we all be able to celebrate with our family and friends next year.

Covid-19 Test, Yikes and Thanks!

Have you thought about Covid-19 testers? Are they volunteering for this? Was it part of their pre-Covid-19 job description? I have massive respect for the people stepping up to perform this unpleasant task. I also have a weird suspicion that my Covid-19 tester was a bit Brutal! But I still say to him and his fellow testers: thank you for your service.

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Size A B or C, and I am Not Talking Bras (RV search)

Size A, B, or C, and I am not talking bras! Who would have guessed? Mitch and I traveled to Florida in our Truck Camper. You know the one I wrote about without the bathroom and indoor shower. We love our camper, but for me, this RV is missing a critical facility! We started looking at alternatives, and cutely, unlike bras, they are classified as A, B, B+, or C and there is also the fifth wheel.

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Tomorrow is Election Day 2020-Let’s Unite

Tomorrow is Election Day, 2020. Although it feels like election day started weeks ago with early voting. I have never been so politically involved or motivated to Vote!

My first voting experience was on November 2, 1976. My boyfriend, and now my husband, Mitch, encouraged all my apolitical girlfriends and me to register and vote.  We were students at the University of Miami   (the sunny one, not the Ohio School).  My priorities at the time were fun, food, festivities, and friends.

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Guess Who we Met? A Poem about Travel and Dogs

Today is about travel and dogs; set as a Poem,

We are on the road again, far from our home.

Back in the camper, our new mobile pad,

Trekking to Boca to visit my Dad.

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RN Shares HERSTORY about Getting Covid-19 and Lessons Learned

We are on day 271 since the first reported case of Covid-19 in the US. Two hundred seventy-one days, and we are still working to contain this beast. Becky, a Registered Nurse, shares her story about Contracting Covid-19 and Lessons Learned.

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Attending a Party During Covid: Confession from the Outsider

We have not been to many parties or gatherings since March 2020. So, when we received an invitation to a party, my first thought was, “Oh NO! Do we go?” The friends who invited us are not just acquaintances; they are friends who have become family. Mitch has known the husband for 57 years! These are our people! So, we needed to decide will we be attending a party during Covid?

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Celebrating Rosh Hashana at a Drive-in Theater

Celebrating Rosh Hashana at a Drive-In Theater. The English year is 2020. The new Jewish Year, 5781, started this week. The year has been weird, horrific and unforgettable, but it has also achieved some positives.

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What I Discovered After 7-Months of Hypocritical Covid-19 Rules

I am humbled by my Hypocritical Covid-19 Rules. Seven months into this thing gives me time to reflect on the new normal.

I am trying to keep my 6-foot distance from our daughter Jessica who is vulnerable. But Last week, I arrived at her home prepared with my tools.

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What the Exit Interview with our Son and Daughter Revealed

How Did We Do? These Inquiring Parents Wanted to Know.

Many wise companies provide an exit interview when you leave their employment. The human resource staff will ask about your experience at the company. “So, how did we do? What would you change? Where did we come up short, and where did we excel?” So, why not conduct an exit interview when your adult offspring move out of the house (for the first time – not when they come back for random reasons).

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Camper Envy Continued: The Answer to That Burning Camping Question

I am from Long Island, and camping with or without a camper was never in my vernacular. Yes, I went to camp, but camping is a whole different mindset.

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Camper Envy and Size Matters

I was in the camping world less than ten hours and already had camper envy!

Mitch and I decided that we were going to do it!  Pick up our pop-up camper in Arkansas, a short 1000-mile drive from our home.  We broke this up evenly between two days by driving 16-hours on day 1 and three hours on day 2.  Well, maybe not that even. 

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What My Mother Knew That Took Me 20 Years to Find Out

My Mom was a big fan of my writing and said, “you should write a book.”

But I was too busy to write a book. I had a full-time job, three kids, and three dogs at home. Jessica, as documented in many blogs, needed help with every daily life skill.

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Should We Do It? 6 Reasons to Try a Camper

Mitch and I unknowingly were trendsetters before COVID-19.  

In January, we purchased, after much research, a new pop-up camper for his truck. Mitch researched the whole country and found our gem in Arkansas. Those who know me well know that I would not own a truck, nor would I purchase a pop-up camper. Turns out that I love driving his wheels and PRE-COVID, I was somewhat looking forward to the camper.  

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3 Greatest Moments of Day 160: Jess Chimes in with her Scales

It has been 160 days since normalcy. 160 days since untethered visitation with Jess. 160 days since Mitch and I have received kisses on our cheeks and risk-free hugs. 160 days since Jess has been in our home.

On Wednesday, Mitch and I arrived at Jessica’s house. It was our standard outside, 6-feet apart meeting. We were unable to visit for two weeks due to a suspected Covid exposure of two staff. Jessica’s home was on lockdown for 14-days. Fortunately, the Covid results were negative.

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Complex Covid Conversations

I have been thinking a lot about the different ways people adhere to the guidelines for Coronavirus. The best analogy I came up with is how I and other people adhere to Jewish laws.

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Noa’s Extraordinary Birth Story, as Told by Nana

Noa’s planned delivery date was my birthday, October 1st. The birth of our first granddaughter and third grandchild. Our excitement and fear grew with each day. My daughter Carly and her husband, Steve, invited me to attend the birth. Noa’s birth was not an ordinary delivery. We knew the potential complications.

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Brady’s Extraordinary Birth Story, as Told by Nana

Noa’s planned delivery date was my birthday, October 1st. The birth of our first granddaughter and third grandchild. Our excitement and fear were growing with each day. My daughter Carly and her husband, Steve, invited me to attend the birth. Noa’s birth was not an ordinary delivery. We knew the potential complications.

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BYE BYE BIRDIES

We have a family of dysfunctional birds by our front door.

Our home has a 20-25-foot covered entry, which includes a window over the front door. One day I looked up and noticed a sophisticated nest attached to the wall. I say “sophisticated” because it is not on a ledge, not on a limb, not on an eve. The cemented nest appears to be suspended on the wall.

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When Your Bosses are Very, Very Young

I resigned from my day job. I only gave one day notice. My adult bosses were very understanding. My four-year-old boss was OK with it and we are still waiting to hear what my 9-month old manager has to say.

I resigned from my day job. I only gave one day notice. My adult bosses were very understanding. My four-year-old boss was OK with it and we are still waiting to hear what my 9-month old manager has to say.

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No Longer 50 Shades of Grey

One of my first blogs “A Bad Hair Day has a New Definition” was about NOT coloring my hair during the Pandemic. Now that three months have passed, I thought I would give an update.

I cried “Uncle”! I gave up! Vanity overcame Virus! I went to the salon.

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An Unbelievable Coincidence

His nickname was Mr. Handsome, and although I loved him, I also knew he wasn’t that handsome. But he was beautiful to me from his skinny legs to his unique crimped tail. His given name was Cicero. And he was our first Italian greyhound.

The breed is also referred to as “I.G.” or “Iggy,” and I didn’t want to adopt him! Cicero was 15 pounds, quite large for the breed. At the time we already had a huge dog and three kids living at home. Jessica lived at home needed 24/7 care due to her disabilities.

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Feeling the Hi! with Jessica Today! ❤️

We just had our second visit since February! Sharing the Hi!

Jessica greeted me with a huge HI!

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Why We and Other Families of Children with Disabilities Zoom from Across the World

For many years we did not know our daughter Jessica’s correct diagnosis. We did know that the DNA Jess was missing played a significant role in her development. In 2002, when Jessica was 20 years old, we received results that Jess has a rare chromosome deletion (missing piece). We struggled to find another family in the world whose child had the same deletion.

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Why Mitch’s New Hearing Aids Cured My Mumbling!

I am not sure why Mitch resisted hearing aids.  Those closest to him have  encouraged Mitch to consider purchasing this much needed support.

A typical conversation between Mitch and me would go something like this:  “Mitch, did you hear what is going on in Erie County today?”  Followed by, “Mitch, did you hear me?”  Mitch’s frequent reply was  “You mumble.” This statement is  his go-to  excuse for, as my 4-year old grandson says, “not listening to my words!”

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