Monday, January 2, 2012

2011 Part Two: Things That Lifted Me Out of Darkness (Even If Only Momentarily)

This was supposed to publish on New Year's Day and I got distracted.  If I have left anyone out, know that I am so thankful for so many things in my life and you are no doubt one of them.

The 40 years of love I received from my mom (even the cases where it felt more like emotional water boarding).  Disclaimer:  I wrote this before stupid Kathy Griffin said it live from Times Square on NYE

My brother, Erin, without whose existence I would literally fall into pieces.  He is the only other person who wholly knows what it is to live in Cheli’s world and what it will be like to live without her. I am grateful to have a partner in this, even if our experiences there were different (like sometimes first class and coach different)

My best friend, Shawna, who keeps me from driving off of bridges and for being my essential person, always.  Also for thinking “if I’ve got 3 days left, he’s got a day and a half” is as funny as I thought it was

My children for teaching me that it is totally possible to love someone so much you’d happily jump in front of a train for them while in the very next moment you can actually visualize the handle bar mustache that would appear on your face as you were tying them to a train track of your own accord because they make you so crazy

The Fair Weather Friend signs I designed and had made for my ambulance

Fair Weather Friend customers

Tina's Closet in Lisle who helps to hold up my giant boobs; no small feat

Thia, Jesica, Pam, Amber and Kim who ran the kitchen at my mom’s memorial. Thia and Jesica for helping me hold it together and for doing anything I asked and didn’t (including writing a giant check to the caterer when I forgot)

To one of the above women for entrusting me with a precious secret

The Batavia Plain Dirt Gardeners for keeping me busy and for the small group of women who mother me when I need it

John Janunas for being the object of the only Dad crush I’ve ever had and

Sally Janunas for kissing my husband firmly and frequently and for the love she has bestowed upon me and my kids (well…and my husband, obviously)

Melissa Hyams for just being herself and being my friend and for her surprising love of small children

Aunt Mare for being Aunt Mare

Dr. Tim McGee for keeping our heads above water and our hopes afloat

Every ICU nurse at CDH but most especially Rhonda, Robin and the little one who’s name began with an E

My Aunt Donna for being here

Cathi who has been my good friend through the hardest 5 years of my life

Tricia for being my new friend who feels like an old friend

Maria and Minmae and Jon (who seems really crabby but is sad that we’re moving) and Maria for knowing how I feel and constantly having the ingredients I’m out of

Every single person who has ever commented on and/or followed my blog; most especially those in South Africa and South Dakota.  I am lucky to have a group of friends I’ve never even met and excited to be conversation fodder at book clubs!

Aidan Erin James Harper and specifically his razor sharp sense of humor

Grace Lillian Kaminski and specifically her steadfastness

Olivia Rose Kaminski and specifically the joy that spills out of her daily

Dan for being always willing to try harder; you are very determined

My amazing mother in law; Patti Kaminski who has been there for me through everything

Leah and Jenny for stopping and being present and for being not only cousins, but two of the best friends I have

Pete for being a pain in the ass but for giving us options

Heather B. Armstrong for keeping me laughing (

Carol Meyerson at Sugar Plum Dresses in New York who went above and beyond

Lisa Minakata for the very funny newspaper articles and her mom, Pat Demus, for picking up a phone and being a voice I’d recognize anywhere.

Jeannie and Bill Petrosini for taking my kids into their hearts and amazingly into their home (you guys are nuts)

The Cremation Society of Illinois, not because I used them (I didn’t), but because their motto is “Thinking outside the box”. Seriously

Ron Schweigert for loving my mom and for being the closest thing I’ve had to a real dad

Hele Effgen for always thinking about my family and Caitlin for keeping me busy

Every woman (and there were many) who confessed to me that, they too, were raped (including my own Mom) when I wrote this post.  Sisterhood cannot be under-valued, women get through trauma by sharing and your sharing was a gift to me. Thank you

Everyone who had something interesting or funny to say about my mom

Dr. Anthony DiCarlo at Batavia Back and Neck Center for fixing me when I'm broken

Logan for lighting up any room he’s in

Boston, Natalie and especially Mason for being the best friends my daughters could have

All of the facebook friends who lifted me up when I was down, something that is usually silly became like a life preserver

My neighborhood for its safety, friendship and comfort, I love my pajama party girls’ nights
Cathi (again) and Jim for loving my kids like their own; the feeling is mutual.  An extra shout-out to Jim for being able to tell my girls apart since infancy, it's really special to identicals to be known apart

Tricia (again) and Nick for the same; although your love feels a little scarier like if they ever go missing, I’ll be knocking on your door first

That my grey hair is coming in the color of my very expensive highlights (thanks Hagan genes)

That by this time in 2012 I will have chickens, so many chickens

As usual I have much more to be thankful for than I deserve.  Have a blessed and beautiful 2012.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart


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