Category Archives: love
45 years ago today, my mom and dad were married in Long Beach, California. My mom was young, just 17 when they married, and my dad was 34. My dad had an Italian restaurant at the time and this was how my mom learned to be the most amazing cook ever. It would be 5 years before I was born, the first of 4 kids. The life they had, and the family they made, is the epitome of marriage. My mom took care of my dad, and my mom was my dad’s whole world. She took care of him and he never failed to support his wife and children, all while sitting in a wheelchair. They loved each other deeply. It may not have always been easy, and there were certainly struggles along the way, but they stuck together through it all.
They were married 43 years when my dad passed away. They lived a lifetime together in those 43 years – 4 kids, 3 grandchildren, many moves, many businesses, and a whole lot of love. I know that Daddy is celebrating up in heaven today and looking down on my mom. And my mom is thinking very much about Daddy today and all the fun times they had over the years. Thank you Mommy and Daddy, for loving each other and taking care of each other. We have very big shoes to fill…
Today was a very a special day. I will remember it for a very long time. Back on December 29, 2011, I registered for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in St. Petersburg. I was determined to do it. I walked and ran in preparation. I expected to walk most of it and run what I could.
This past week was full of anticipation. It was all I could think about. After I picked up my bib, shirt, and swag bag on Friday – I couldn’t contain my excitement any longer. This was the weekend I would finally become a half-marathoner. All day yesterday, I wanted the day to pass quickly so I could go to sleep and wake up this morning. Like a kid on Christmas Eve waiting oh-so impatiently for Christmas Day.
The alarm went off at 4am this morning and I was ready to go. I showered, dressed, ate a good breakfast, got my stuff together, and we were out the door at 5:20am to beat the traffic to Tropicana Field in St. Pete. The only thing I was worried about was the weather. IT. WAS. FREEZING. With the wind chill it felt like it was in the 30’s and it was windy. I was shivering all the way to my bones. I started out in 2 shirts, a jacket, and gloves.
Finally it was time. The first corral started at 7:30. I was in Corral 12 based on what I thought my finishing time would be. We had to finish in 4 hours and I projected 3:25. We started at 7:46:23 am. Within the first mile, I could not contain myself and I started running. I ran off an on through the whole race. I wasn’t running to beat others or to finish by a certain time. I was just running because I could and because I was on an adrenaline high. This was the farthest mileage I’d ever put in where I was running a good portion of it. I’m not a fast runner, but I run.
Hubby received texts on his phone as I crossed certain points: 5k, 10k, 10 mile, and finish. I saw him three times during my run – right at the start, the 5k mark, and at the finish line. He took some great photos for me.
There were bands and music throughout and lots of wonderful people cheering us on, handing out water and Gatorade. It all kept me going.
By the 5k mark, I was ready to take my jacket off, as I had finally warmed up. The gloves would stay on the rest of the way.
At about the halfway point, I realized that I was really going to do this. I was going to finish this and finish it good. For me. It was very emotional experience. I cried many times during for many reasons…. This was a HUGE thing for me, it was HARD, and I was so proud of myself for taking it on, and riding out the determination of doing it as the weeks passed leading up to it. I didn’t let my insecurities get in the way or focus on all the what-ifs, and my downfalls. I cried from the sheer beauty of the route, especially as we ran along the water. I cried because I knew there would be so many people who would be proud of me for accomplishing this. And I cried because I wished more than anything Daddy was here to hear all about it, to tell me how proud he was of me.
When I hit the 10-mile mark, it felt SO close. Never had 3.11 miles felt so far or so close all at once. When the route was closest to the finish line and I could here the music and people cheering, it made me want to push myself farther and harder. When I rounded the last corner in mile 12 and saw the 13 mile mark and the finish line just past that, I was in tears again. I was so close to finishing, so close to completing this goal I had set for myself.
I saw hubby just before the finish line and that made me cry more. He was there for me as he always is. He supports me and I love him dearly for it.
Crossing over the finish line was a blur. My official finish time was 3:11:33, coming in 6503 out of 7006. I was handed a medal, given a blanket, a bottle of water, and a banana. My picture was taken with my medal on. It was then that I realized I had not stopped my watch. I texted hubby to tell him I was waiting in the family area and waited. When I finally saw him, I was so excited. And then, I saw my mom and Jenna! What a surprise that was. I had just texted my mom to tell her I had finished. I had no clue they were there, even though I found out afterwards that they were standing right by hubby at the finish line. Me and my tunnel vision…
Again I was crying, overwhelmed at finishing, seeing hubby, and seeing my mom and Jenna. they had balloons, and were so proud of me. It was a moment I will not forget.
The day could not have gone more perfect. I started the race with my good friend Terrie, knowing that she was doing it in honor of two very special people as part of Team In Training. I ended the race, feeling extremely proud and strong and loved. And I was so excited to hug Terrie and enjoy the moment with her, knowing we both finished. We did it.
The afternoon was topped off perfectly with a great lunch, with Nick and Autumn joining us. I am exhausted and sore beyond belief, but it is still a wonderful thing. And tomorrow, the 13.1 decal will go on my car. Finally.
I’m going to write a book. It will be a labor of love. It will be about my dad.
He told me he wanted to write a book about his life, that someone out there might be interested in it. I excitedly offered to help him as I have always wanted to write a book and he was so happy, he wanted me to help.
Two days after he asked me to help him write a book, he ended up in ICU. I kept telling him he needed to get better, we had a book to write. The day we said goodbye to him, I told him I was going to write his book. And I will.
His life story is an amazing one. In a wheelchair for almost 56 years, married for 43 years, father of 4, grandfather to 3. He was an inspiration to anyone who met him and I have almost 39 years of memories made with him. I will write about how hard he worked to support his family, how he never gave up, and would never take no for an answer. I will write about the many places he lived, and the stories he passed on to me. I will also write about how my mom dedicated her life to him and was a huge part of him living so long and getting so far in life. I will write it with a heart full of love and it will be dedicated to my dad.
On Friday, I thought “I need to remind Daddy that Monday is Valentines Day”. Habits are certainly hard to break. I have always been Daddy’s little reminder of birthdays and anniversaries. When I realized that I would never need to be that reminder anymore, it made me sad. There are going to be so many firsts this first year that he is gone. We went through the motions of Christmas without him, his favorite holiday of the year, still so fresh from having lost him just weeks before. Then my birthday. And now Valentines Day. His birthday will be a hard one but we will celebrate him. We will have a whole year of firsts, the biggest one of all being the anniversary of when he went into the hospital, and then the day we said goodbye. People tell me that I will never get over my dad being gone, rather I will just get more used to it and learn to live with the fact that he is not here. Almost three months have passed and it is still so incredibly surreal that he is not here. So maybe, I’ll just remind him anyway when a birthday or anniversary comes along. That will make me feel a little better, right? Daddy, don’t forget today is Valentines Day so you can send a little extra love our way from up above. We are all missing you…