Category Archives: My Chicago family

September 11th again

I saw a relative of one of the people killed in NYC on 9/11 speak on the TV today. She said that it was kind of nice not to have the politicians around at the site, because she knew she was around people who understood exactly what she had been through, and they could remember and grieve quietly together. I like that. It belongs to them anyway, don’t you think?

And it boggles my mind that Decky wasn’t around for it. He saw a little bit of it mentioned on TV and turned to me with big eyes. He said, “9/11 was a terrible thing, wasn’t it Mom?” Sure was, son.


Today I went for an interview for an ED RN job at the hospital in which Declan was born. I was escorted into a very tiny, warm office in which three women were waiting for me. I did all right until I had to start talking about myself. Then I had a hot flash. A big one. I explained and apologized, and they got me cold water and made me take off my blazer. They were all going through it too.

Well, that broke the ice, and we ended up having a really good interview. The next step is submitting references and getting them checked out. I have a good feeling about this one.


But in the meantime, the Big University Hospital downtown is trying to get a hold of me. The nurse recruiter and I played phone tag all day. I must still be in the running for the job or she wouldn’t be putting forth such effort to reach me. It’s nice not to be ignored for a change.

If I had to choose between the two, I’d pick the Hospital in which I gave birth to Declan. It’s closer, and although it isn’t a trauma center, it sees more people than the other hospital, and the patients are sicker. I also have worked with the doctors there before, so I’ll know what to expect from them and what they expect from me.

Isn’t it funny that I didn’t get this close to getting offers until I was comfortable at a great-paying job with wonderful hours?

Also, my brilliant husband points out that I am definitely better off now than I was six months ago. He reminded me that I was not happy at my old job, morale was way down, and I was already looking elsewhere. Now I’m making more money, not working weekends or holidays, and get free lunch once a week. And I’m pretty sure two other hospitals want me.

It’s really nice to feel so wanted.


Dad’s getting open heart surgery next Monday. I couldn’t write about it yesterday because I was knocked for a loop. Sure I expected it, but still. A little wine calmed me down and today I’m not so scared. He is my dad, and he is mortal, and I don’t like that. I know this will be a tough thing for him to go through, but by Thanksgiving, he’ll be feeling better than he has in years. And I will do my best to support him as he recovers.


Cait’s 37 weeks along with her pregnancy. She has a horrendous cough that is sometimes strong enough to make her vomit. Green tea with honey seemed to help her. And I gave her some hydrocodone so she can sleep tonight. It should calm that cough for a while. Poor girl.

I worry that she’ll go into labor when I’m in Chicago, so I’m not buying any plane tickets. I’ll drive, so I can leave at any time. I have to be there for her when she has this baby. It’s what the two of us do. With Owen, I was able to stay with her for hours while she labored and it was so special for me. I wouldn’t miss doing it again for the world.


So right now Cait and Dad are bouncing around in my brain. The next few weeks will be stressful. But we’ll all manage. And after Dad’s surgery and Cait’s birth, things will level out again. New stresses will pop up, but we’ll just take things as they come. Like we always do. There’s plenty of love to go around.

Friends and family

For a while there, I was fretting that I wasn’t a good friend. Wasn’t attentive enough, wasn’t there for people. It was true, to an extent. But it wasn’t the whole picture.

My old friends and I grew apart. Their interests are not mine. I don’t like to shop, or wear fancy clothes, or watch Real Housewives. We don’t hang out with the same people. They are wonderful women, and I know they would still be there for me if I needed them, as I would for them. And I’d still like to hang out with them occasionally. But we are different and as our kids have grown older, it has become evident.

So then I wonder, do I have any real friends?

I realized today that the people I talk to the most, the ones I have the most in common with, the people I really, really like are my family. They get me, I get them.

Bill and I have grown up together. He knows me better than I know myself sometimes, and still loves me anyway. I am happy just to be with him.

My kids are some of the most wonderful, special people I know. Stefanie would give you the shirt off her back, and a couple bucks if she had some. And a place to sleep. She has a generous and courageous heart. Caitlyn is an exceptional mother and gives valuable insight. Ryan is a protector of the weak and has a strong moral compass. Declan’s wacky sense of humor and his offbeat thought process keep you on your toes. Owen demands and deserves the best from us and keeps us honest. Kevin and Koby are sons I would have chosen for myself.

My parents and siblings are people I could tell anything. My mother feels everything I feel, only more strongly. She is my emotional rock. My father has high expectations, but backs them up with big hugs. My sister is all out there for you to see and love. She lives her live courageously. My brother would take a bullet for any of us, then display it with pride.

I am fortunate enough to have in my life some very cool, funny, compassionate, smart individuals.

I work with many wonderful people too. I don’t call them my friends, but they’re much more than acquaintances. They are my work family. I don’t love them all, but I accept them for who they are, and I acknowledge their value to me. They are my brothers and sisters in my work world. They get me there, in that parallel universe.

So I do have friends. I even have some who aren’t family and who don’t work with me, just not many. But that’s fine with me.
I’m not an island after all, I guess.


For a really long time (longer than therapeutic, definitely), I missed my family and home in Chicago. I went through an extended grieving period. So did my son. We were far from home, had no friends, were isolated, and just missed our old lives.

We are better now. It took lots of time, much suffering, and occasionally, medication and therapy.

Now we have full lives. We have our own growing family. We have our Chicago family.

I look at it like this:
My mom and dad are my base. They are who I count on, who I turn to. They are the foundation I rest on.
My brother and sister and I form a three-legged structure. The three of us complement each other’s strengths and compensate for each other’s weaknesses. I count on them and they count on me.
We hold our families on the top of our tripod. Together, we make sure our kids have all they need and are well taken care of.

Our family keeps growing and extending to include more and more members. In the past few years, we added the twins and Owen and Koby. This year we’ll add Kevin. With each member, there is more love.

Our family has so much love. We are so lucky to have each other. I love them all, each and every one. And each person has something so valuable to contribute to the group.

I miss everybody so much when I’m not with them. If I’m in Kansas I miss the people in Chicago. When I’m in Chicago I miss my Kansas family.

These are good problems, though. Our love is so strong. If I had my way, we’d all be together all the time. But our bonds are strong enough to extend long distances.

We figure things out. We work with what we have. We still have each other no matter what.

My boy is home!

Oh how I missed my Ryan! I rushed straight home from work to see him and kiss him and hug him. My boy.

He may be six-foot-three and have a small amount of facial hair, but he’s still my baby. And his baby brother was sooooo happy to see him too. What a joy it is to see them together.

Thank you Dad for bringing my boy home. I’m glad you’re here!
It’s gonna be a fun week!


Ryan comes home tomorrow and we can’t wait!

We all just want him home. Decky, especially, misses him so much.

Dad is kind enough to bring him and Denys home, and then Dad will be staying for a little while. Decky wants to take him to the museum, and Dad will also get to see one of Decky’s football games and go to a picnic at Decky’s school. We should have a lot of fun together. We always do.

Since I was waylaid by the blue funk today, the house is not as clean as I want it to be. But I’ll be cleaning all week for the shower Saturday anyway, so why bother doing it all twice? Luckily Dad is flexible and forgiving.

At least I cleaned the bird cage.

Come home soon Dad and Ryan and Denys! Be safe!