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Sometimes My Son Reappears December 13, 2013

We’ve had growing pains, Kameron and I. I don’t like that he’s not my sweet little boy that he once was, and he doesn’t like that his mom is extremely hard on him. Thankfully, every once in awhile that sweet boy comes back, if even for a moment. Tonight he did, and I thought I would share.

Assignment: Write a letter to a Kindergartner from Santa about Christmas.

“Dear Kindergartner,

I am delighted that you wrote me this letter of your Christmas list this year. My elves are working on making and buying all the other children’s presents for this year, including yours. Mrs. Clause is in her kitchen baking cookies and our feast for Christmas Eve, which is full of mashed potatoes, green beans, pudding, and roast beef. Our weather in the North Pole is freezing compared to Indiana. The polar bears are cold even in their fur coats, the penguins are hiding in their igloos, and even the reindeer are feeling like icicles. Dasher is running all around the house. Dancer is dancing his hooves off. Prancer is not prancing but pacing. Prixen is eating all of the Twix chocolate bars. Comet is trying to fly across the sky. Cupid is showing love to me and everyone else in the North Pole. Donder is bonding himself with joy. Blitzen is sprinting at the speed of light. Rudolph is shining his nose to show positive energy. Meanwhile, I am checking my list to see who was naughty and nice.

I am getting ready with my sleigh, my sack of presents and coal, and I will be at your house very soon.

Thank you for writing this letter of your list to me and have a Merry Christmas.

Sincerely,

Santa”

That’s my boy….

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What’s The Big Deal? December 5, 2013

Changing your profile picture.

I see people do it every day. I see people change their pictures several times a week, and I think if they can do it why can’t I?

Well the answer is simple to me. It might seem irrational and ridiculous to you, but I can assure you as I sit here writing this, it is not simple. It’s gut wrenchingly painful.

Then you might say to yourself, what the hell is she talking about? Stephanie has changed her Twitter and her LinkedIn profile picture this week, and I would look at you and say, you’re right I have, but not my Facebook picture. In fact there have only been a few variations of my Facebook profile picture over the last four and a half years. You might recognize them.

Image Image Image Image

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Ok, so let me stop you right there. In your mind, if you don’t know me, hell maybe if you do, you’re thinking c.r.a.z.y. To me it’s not, I’ll explain. Twitter is where I go to blow off steam, have some fun. I’ve seem some crazy stuff on twitter, and I’ve been a part of some of the crazy on twitter…I’ll be the first to admit that. LinkedIn is a business page and I treat it as such. I share information and updates about social media, hardly ever about my personal life. I mean if you were stalking me LinkedIn is probably the last place you’d want to go. I’ve even been quiet on my blog, not intentionally, but I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had time to actually sit and think about things like this. 

The other night I was writing a blog about social media and resolutions for 2014, which made me think, what should I change next year? The thought came almost immediately to me, like my Dad was screaming at me. I ignored it and pressed on, I have deadlines you know. Then again, like he was standing right in front of me saying “enough already, change the damn profile picture.”

I stopped, looked around, and started to cry.

Facebook is where I reside now, it is where I spend most of my time. I do most of my work on Facebook. Facebook is also my personal space. It became really personal a couple of months ago when I found out that my space had been violated.

But I’m Stephanie right? I like challenges. I thrive on variety and change. Dullness and routine is the quickest way (if you’re trying) to get rid of me.

So why can’t I change my profile picture?

Because it’s the last thing.

I have changed the picture, but it’s only been variations of Dad and I together. If I change that profile picture it’s almost like (to me) I’m saying goodbye to my Dad forever.  If my Dad were here today he would say “isn’t that the dumbest god damn thing you’ve ever heard?” If it were someone else I’d say “hell yes.”

The problem is it’s not someone else, it’s me.

So I tried this week. I had Angela take a picture of me in the office this week with my new “geek” sweater on, saying it was to “prove to my sister” that I had a sweater that actually said “geek” on it. Then I tried again, until I found out it was “Unselfie Tuesday” or some kind of crap like that. So I figured it just wasn’t time for me to change it. Until I racked my brain trying to think of a blog to write last night and came up with “Social Media Resolutions.” Clever I thought; until I started thinking about my own social resolutions and the Dad interference.

First on the agenda for 2014, a new profile picture for all of my social media platforms, including Facebook (GULP). I can’t do it because I take terrible pictures of myself and Mr. D is pretty much useless with a camera. I need a picture, and I know exactly what it looks like in my head, and my Dad would be proud of it, and of me, I think he would be proud of me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Progress Report November 4, 2013

kam14Last week we had parent teacher conferences at Kam’s school. I remember going to my own parent teacher conferences, the fear, the dread of what the teachers might tell my parents.

Things were different when I was in Kam’s shoes. My parents couldn’t check my grades online. They didn’t get weekly emails telling them what my grades were. Progress reports were given to parents and the parent teacher conferences were so the teachers could hold our feet to the fire in front of our parents, or the other way around. It was definitely more intimidating.

When I got to school Kam met me in the hallway. I could tell he was nervous. Report cards had already come out, so I already knew what his grades were. He made second honors, which in my book is great, not so much in his book. He puts an incredible amount of pressure on himself about his grades; and pretty much everything else. Walking up the stairs I asked who he wanted to talk to, he said his home room teacher and Mr. Carter. I put my arm around him and said “I’ve told you Mr. Carter reminds me a lot of my professor Mr. Hanna right?” He said “yeah mom.”

Mr. Hanna was hard on me. It wasn’t because I didn’t get good grades, it was because he saw more potential in me than I saw in myself. He helped me get through school, when I wanted to quit, he would just tell me “oh that’s just bullshit.” When I went to school I was working full-time, going to school at night, and toward the end pregnant. I remember crying on the phone with Mr. Hanna not wanting to leave my month old baby to take finals so I could graduate. He probably said something like it’s 2 hours, get in there and get it done, it will be ok. So I did, and I graduated.

We went into Kam’s homeroom teacher. She’s very nice, saying that Kam is participating a lot more in class, and just needs to work on his AR (some additional reading they have to do every quarter.) I assured her that we were going to be working on that. She said that he was very polite, and respectful to the girls. I thanked her, we headed out down the hallway to Mr. Carter’s room.

Mr. Carter is an old school type of teacher. Instead of talking about what grades Kam had he asked him how he thought he was doing. Kam said “good.” Then Mr. Carter asked what he was struggling with, they chatted a little. I was looking at my baby having a grown up conversation with his teacher, I could feel myself holding my breath; taking in this moment. Then Mr. Carter said “what do you think mom?”

I told him that Mr. D and I were very proud of him, we’ve noticed he’s really grown up this year. Mr. Carter agreed. He said that “in sixth grade Kameron seems a little dazed, but he’s really come into his own. He’s more confident, he applies himself, he’s respectful to the girls, he has a real presence about him. You should be very proud of the way you’ve raised him. He’s going to Roncalli next year right?” I said yes, we’re very excited.” “Good, that’s good, he’s really stand out at Roncalli, he’s be a star there.”

As we got up to leave Mr. Carter shook Kamerons hand and told him to keep up the good work. He patted my shoulder and said “nice work mom.” An oddly familiar gesture, it’s exactly what my Dad would have done.

 

I Wonder If It Will Burn Down October 1, 2013

The church I mean.

Tonight will be the first time I’ve gone to church since my Dad’s funeral.

It’s not for a funeral this time, it’s for a celebration. Kameron is getting confirmed tonight. Although, I still don’t know what the hell that means.

Kameron went to a retreat last Saturday to talk with his fellow classmates and other ministry type adults about confirmation. When I asked him about his day he was pretty nondescript. I went through the usual questions “Did you have a good time” “What did you guys do” – you know the typical questions any parent might ask. He mentioned that they broke into groups to talk about confirmation and what it meant to them. I asked, what does it mean to you? He sighed and rolled his eyes at me and said ‘they asked me why I wanted to get confirmed.” Looking at him, I could tell he was annoyed, but I pressed on, “what did you tell them?” He said “I wanted to get confirmed because both of my parents are confirmed” (sidebar – parents meaning me and Mr. D for anyone that might be confused.) I asked “is that all you said?” Knowing that the catholic church or their ministry type people probably wouldn’t accept that answer. He said “NO” sounding frustrated, “they asked me why I wanted to get confirmed.” (Here comes the big eye roll)….”I told them it was because I wanted to strengthen my faith.”

Sounded pretty good to me, I guess they bought it.

My memory of confirmation was my mom threatening me – “if you don’t get confirmed you’ll go to Broad Ripple High School because I’m not paying the tuition at Chatard unless you get confirmed.” I can remember that conversation like it was yesterday. I’ve never told Kameron that he had to get confirmed or he couldn’t go to Roncalli.

I hope tonight is more about a spiritual thing than a threat. About a year ago I promised Kameron that “we” as a family would go to church more often. I haven’t kept up my end of the bargain. It’s been too hard. I’ve told Mr. D that I didn’t want to sit in the back of the church and cry. I still haven’t found the answers as to why my Dad isn’t with me anymore, and even if someone gave me answers it wouldn’t be good enough.

Maybe I should just sit in the back of the church and cry, someday, but not today.

Today is Kameron’s day, as it should be.

`

 

I Hear A Pounding In My Head September 16, 2013

Then I hear silence.

The silence I’m grateful for, it seems peaceful in this cluttered mind of mine.

What I am grateful for today:

I have my husband, my son, and my stepdaughter. They have believed in me beyond measure, for that I am truly grateful.

I have work at a place where I believe people truly care about me. For that I am immensely grateful.

I have friends, some I’ve known for 30 years, some I’ve only met via the internet. For those friends I’m truly grateful.

The loss, I haven’t overcome it, and I don’t know if I ever will.

I will do the best I can for everyone I can (including myself) – please, if you feel like I’m not giving you my best tell me. I promise I will make it right.

 

It’s Wicked August 22, 2013

Tonight I was chatting with my best friend Brandy that is celebrating her 18th wedding anniversary this year to her husband Lonnie. I introduced them by the way… I should get some kind of best friend credit for that.

Anyway, while we were chatting she mentioned that “Wicked” was coming to town and tickets will go on sale in September.

August and September are sketchy months for me because of my Dad. I’m over the top emotional, I take everything personally. I smile, and hide my emotions. Honestly, I just do the best I can, for everyone I can, until after September 15th.

Anyway, this was not supposed to be a “feel sorry for Stephanie moment” because there are times I can laugh about my Dad. I can remember things about him and appreciate the times that we had, and the times that were especially funny. Which brings me back to Wicked.

You see Johnno was never a “let’s go to dinner and see a show” kind of guy. He was always “there’s a football game on, and where is my damn beer and onion dip” kind of guy. So when my mother started buying tickets to Broadway shows like Wicked, well, my Dad was less than enthused.

There are many moments with my Dad that I won’t forget, and this is one of them. (If you never met my Dad you could never really appreciate this, but you could see the humor in it.)

Wicked was at the Murat, we (Dad, Mom, Mr. D, and I went.) The conversation after the performance went like this….

Mom:  Wow, what a great show!

Me:  It really was great.

Mr. D:  It was awesome!

Johnno: Yeah…

Mom: (Asking everyone) Did you cry at the end?

Me: Yes!

Johnno: I cried too..

Mom: Really? You did? (more interested in my Dad’s response than anyone else.)  (Sounding hopeful..)

Johnno: Yeah, I cried…. I was just so happy it was finally over.

Mr. D said tonight that was one of his favorite memories of my Dad.. “Johnny Carson couldn’t have written a better script, that was one of Johnno’s all time greatest lines.”

That’s a memory that still makes me laugh.

 

I Am My Father’s Daughter August 14, 2013

johnno volume

I caught myself today driving with the top down in my car, listening to a “Wings” CD thinking to myself what a great moment, then reality (the bitch that it is) sunk in.

My appreciation for music, the “British Invasion”, and why I turn the volume all the way up in my car and pretty much embarrass Kam while I dance and drive in my car came from my Dad.

My Dad loved music, he loved it so much.

I don’t imagine my Dad ever being a musician, he never wanted to be a headliner. He was much happier behind the scenes. Truth be told, my Dad always wanted to be a DJ.

I’m not kidding.

I remember when I was a kid him making tapes of “The John Eppich Show.” Transferring albums to cassette tapes, adding his own improvisation between cuts. I can still see him sitting on the floor at our old house on Norwaldo making those tapes, yelling at me and my sister if we stomped across the carpet covered hard-wood floors. “The record skips if you walk by like that, walk softer damnit.” I can still see him in his huge headphones hunched over his cassette recorder with his microscopic microphone recording his favorite songs. Maybe he was living out a dream he had for himself that never came to pass, or maybe it was just a fun hobby. Whatever it was, “The John Eppich Show” didn’t survive the several floods that we had on Norwaldo. At least that’s what I think. If there was a cassette that survived I would want to have one of them. I would find a damn recorder to play it.

I am grateful that I have my Dad’s albums, and that I have a record player to play the records on. Sometimes it makes me sad listening to the songs that are so familiar to me growing up. Wishing I could look at my Dad and hear him say “that’s a helluva song baby, some day someone will be impressed that you knew that song and who sang it.”

Truth be told, the only person I was out to impress was him.