Why?!?

The big W.H.Y. question.  You hear it over and over when the kids are small.  Their curious minds or their way of annoyance?  Come on, y’all think this at times, too.  Parents, be honest.  How many times can a child ask “why?” before you get tired and say things like: “because that’s the way it is,” or “just because,” or the default, all-time-go-to, favorite . . .”because I said so.”

Well, the kids are grown and have children of their own now.  Not all of the grandchildren are old enough yet to ask the endless “why” questions.  Their time will come, and I will continue to answer them all without tiring.  Why?!?  Because that’s what grandparents do!

I am thinking about the childhood “why?” colloquies because I’ve been asked that little, but powerful, one-word question numerous times since we made the move back to Pennsylvania this past summer.

When we run into people we haven’t seen in a while (or share our story with new acquaintances), the brief greeting usually goes something like this:

“Hi! How have you been?  Are you visiting?”
“Not visiting. We just recently moved back to the area.”
“Oh, from where?”
“We lived in Myrtle Beach.”
(blank stare) And guess what the next question is . . . Why?!?

I know, many people dream of retiring and moving to someplace warm, preferably near a beach, somewhere they’ve vacationed each summer and vow to move to as soon as they can, or become “snow birds” during the cold wintry months up north and go south to wear flip-flops every day,  etc., etc.  I get it!

We did it.  We sent the last son off to college, emptied the next, and moved to the beach. It was fun.  It was an adventure. It was warm (actually hot in the summer). And, it had no snow (well, there were a few inches that one February, and a dusting another January) and winters were rarely COLD, at least not for very long.  We enjoyed living at the beach.

I was missing something, however.  It took me a decade of gradually longer bouts of sadness after visits back home with family to figure out that, though it was warm, life was void of the fuzzy.  Please don’t misunderstand.  We made new friends. Some still very close to my heart and I truly miss.  We were blessed with opportunities to enjoy the beach almost daily, to be weekend tourists, to engage in our community, to run and play softball all year round, to wear open-toed shoes and shorts when our Pennsylvania family was bundled up in boots and coats, and to make the 5-minute drive to the airport to fly north for visits several times a year.  I miss those things and the people who were part of our life at the beach.  So again, you ask…. WHY?!?

This is W – welcome   H –  home    Y –  yinz 
(EDIT: I was advised to say “yinz” now that we’re back in the ‘burgh.)

We are finally all together!!

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Let’s Get Real

It’s that time of year. I try to focus on one holiday at a time, but the retail stores make it difficult when the “seasonal” aisle is mixed with the orange and black of Halloween, the browns, yellows and reds of “fall” – with a rare turkey or pilgrim for Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday, by the way!) – and the festive “everything Christmas!” decorations.

Let’s get real….do people really start buying decorations for Christmas in October?

We have an unspoken rule in our house:  no Christmas anything until the day after Thanksgiving! When you have a whole week in November because the fourth Thursday falls that way, I’m tempted to tune into the “Christmas Stream” on my favorite radio station (because I really LOVE Christmas music!), but . . . it’s still November.  I actually made up the rule for my own sanity, by the way, but I just don’t want to start too early.

Let’s get real….shouldn’t October be for Halloween, November for Thanksgiving, and December for Christmas?

I like change…yes, I said that. I know change can be tough on some, but change can be good, too.  I look at “change” as “opportunity”…you can redecorate!  See how I kept that not too deep and on focus here?  I do tend to change focus when I’m writing (or thinking, or talking), I know.  My point is: each season brings a reason for change.  The weather changes. Our clothes change. And our decorations should, too.

Let’s get real…do you really want to see ghosts and goblins or Frosty the Snowman in April?

It’s December. On one hand, I can’t believe it! Time goes by so quickly. On the other hand, it’s Christmas decorating time!  Let me remind you, who have not followed until recently:  We have spent the last 13 years away from our Pittsburgh roots.  Most years, we came back to PA for Christmas. I didn’t spend much time putting up decorations for the holiday when we weren’t going to be there to enjoy them.  I did put a wreath on the door, but stockings were not hung by the (electric) chimney with care, and we did not put up a tree (unless you count the few lights and ornaments I haphazardly hung on the artificial palm tree in the corner of the living room?)  So, here we are home again, and I want to decorate! We downsized (again) and the question was:  Where do we put a tree?  We just finally got settled after moving, unpacking, and arranging furniture several times.  Now I needed to rearrange to accommodate a Christmas tree?

Let’s get real….Yes!  I said, “I want a real tree!” And, not a pre-cut tree or an artificial tree (even though some look really real now – it’s amazing!)

In our Christmases past, we would go to the local tree farm to cut down our own tree. They have saws, twine, and people to help you, if you need them.  We would dress for the weather (mostly snowy and cold) and head out on this holiday adventure of finding the “perfect” tree.  I learned over those years that my vision of “perfect” was quite different from my husband’s.  I wanted soft needles, lots of branches for ornaments to hang (not lay), and just tall enough that putting the angel on top required some acrobatic effort or a lift of a child at a safe height.  I was willing to hike into the depths of the farm to find it.  My husband saw the first tree that looked about the right height and thought if you turned the bare side to the wall, no one will see it anyway.  Go big, cut short, turn, and adjust decorations – perfect!  I came to understand that it wasn’t the tree that he envisioned, it was the warmth of the inside; and the sooner, the better.

Let’s get real…who moves from a warm beach town back to snowy Pittsburgh?

We do. We did. And it’s Christmastime in the city – Pittsburgh!  Ring-a-ling!  Soon it will be Christmas day!  My husband understands the importance of being home (it’s where my heart is), and he understands the importance of traditions (tree cutting, even when it’s cold), and he understands the adventure of this life we do together (he cuts, and I decorate), and he does it all because…

Let’s get real…he LOVES me! We are “blended and happy” through all the seasons.

Merry Christmas!
And may all your wishes be REAL!

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Our Story: Part 2

Well, actually Part 1 cont’d …

So, his three daughters and my three sons together for the first time happened the week of our beachfront wedding. We rented a house with plenty of rooms, planned the ceremony, arranged with a caterer for the special night’s dinner, and gathered our family for the week. Has anyone planned a destination wedding?  We really thought of this like a family vacation, and we would include a time to get married, to blend our families, and just relax and enjoy the beach.  Everyone had schedules to work out – a vacation from work, a fall semester break, a long weekend between shows, and an excuse to be out of school (with homework assignments, of course).  Just realizing the diversity of our children and where they were in their own lives presented a planning challenge.  However, all we asked was that they were there on that Friday of that week for our nuptials and dinner together.

Friday the 13th AND a full moon …

Some things you just can’t plan. The moon?  We really didn’t even give this any thought.  I mean, who checks the moon charts when coordinating an event? We picked the date for reasons special to us.  It just so happened to land on a Friday that week (which was also convenient for all those schedules).  The full moon?  Well, that was a lucky bonus!  Everyone confirmed their travel.  We anticipated each arrival.  Activities were suggested – fishing, golf, beach campfire, family game night, etc. – while we excitedly waited for Friday (the 13th AND a full moon) to officially blend our families.

All for one …

Did I mention that this was the very first time we were ALL together, FOR more than a day, under ONE roof?  We had plenty of bedrooms, and the boys were given their own bathroom (y’all know how that goes down).  So we thought we had it all covered. Monday morning, when we went to town to finalize the paperwork and get our marriage license . . . reality kicked in.  No, neither of us got “cold feet”!  But we thought: “What if….they don’t like each other? What if….they don’t get along? What if….we don’t blend well?”  The “What if’s…” were really hitting us that day!

To our delight, what we experienced that week was true enjoyment….except for that one sibling issue, you know, because everyone knows the youngest (both of the girls and the boys) is “spoiled” and “always gets what they want.”  It still seems to hold true today when we get together (with smiles and just knowing your birth order, I guess).  But, when teams were formed for friendly Foosball  tournaments or when the seats were picked at the dinner table, day after day, we saw our families blend.

And, we got married on that Friday the 13th, with a full moon, on the beach, with our loved ones around us, and so it began: Our Story…Blended and Happy (and Lucky).

 

 

Home is Where Your Heart is . . .

Where is Your Heart?

I love the beach, the relaxed life it offers. It’s my go-to spot to pray, walk, talk to myself (I do that), pick up shells, appreciate God’s beautiful creations of sunrise, waves,  sand, and creatures. It’s been our home for the past 13 years, and I have enjoyed the opportunities of daily walks, pleasant weather (well, summers are hot), casual lifestyle, and playing “tourist” throughout the area.

The move was an “empty nest” decision.  We sent the last child to college and moved to the beach.  Over the past 13 years, they have married, made their homes in PA, particularly the Pittsburgh area (our hometown), and have blessed us with grandchildren.

It’s those precious children and their parents who have my heart! Spending time with them is magical, and I want to have more of it. Traveling is fun at times; it’s always an adventure. Having a birthday, a holiday, a special event to attend . . . we travel back “home.”

If home is where the heart is, my heart is in Pittsburgh, and I want to call it home once again!

Our Story

“Here’s the story of a lovely lady who was bringing up three . . . It’s the story of a man named . . .who was busy with three . . . of his own. (are you singing the TV show, The Brady Bunch, theme song now?)  Well, we are not that family, but our story is similar.

A father with 3 daughters + a mother with 3 sons =
Our BLENDED  Family.

Whenever we share our story with others, we often hear “Oh, like The Brady Bunch, only reversed!”

Some not familiar with that TV show then hear our last name “Suprano” and respond with “Are you related to Tony?” or “Is that REALLY your last name?”  Sometimes, I think people watch too much TV.  But, hey, they’re fun conversation starters, and we enjoy the chance to tell OUR STORY.