Father’s Day

Father’s Day.

Happy Father’s Day to all the amazing dads!  Here is a photo taken a couple years ago of me between two of my faves:  my Dad and Hubby.

And in honor of Father’s Day, I want to share a blog post I originally wrote and posted five years ago.  Today also happens to be my Dad’s birthday, so it is a very special day indeed!


July 17, 2014

Today is a very special Anniversary…  A day that brings back floods of memories…  floods of emotions….  reflections on time missed…  but celebration of time and love shared…  from here on…

You see – Today is a Father-Daughter Anniversary.  Today is the 4 year anniversary of my reunion with my Dad (my “birth father”).

And I  thought it deserved a special anniversary card to send to Dad to help us cherish the day.

word traveler train cherish dad anniversary 4 card

So you might think that sounds a bit odd…. Father and Daughter Anniversary???

Well – I’m going to share a kinda big chunk and pretty personal part of my heart today.  So – if you’re not into that or not interested, you may just want to skip this blog.

So here goes…

On July 17, 2010, I was reunited with my Dad (my “birth father” Dad so as not to be confused with another great man in my life that I also call Dad – I know – a bit confusing – and on top of that both of their names are John!).

It was a day neither of us will ever forget.

The reason(s) for our separation for 39 years is really not the point or purpose of this story, nor do I feel appropriate to share, but the joy in our reunion is the focus here….  And oh what JOY we have shared.

For our second Christmas together again in 2012, I presented Dad with a book I wrote for him.

dadbook

I called it, “The Journey Back to Daddy’s Girl.”  The book is a celebration of our initial exchange of emails leading up to our reunion that covers the course of only a few short weeks, but close to 70 pages of exchanges.  It chronicles how we discovered each other again – an adult daughter close to 50 years old – and an even more adult father – close to 70 years old who last saw each other when the little girl was 9 years old and the Daddy was just barely past 30.

We (well mostly I) asked each other questions (sometimes difficult ones) and our exchanges evolved from closings with “John (BF)” to “Love you, Dad”s.

Let me share the “Introduction” with you here.

———-

“Once upon a time, there was a little girl.  Jodi had a Mom and a Dad and a little brother.

Life was good, until one day when Daddy left.  Then Jodi just got to visit with Daddy on the weekends, until a day came when Mom introduced Jodi and her brother to a new Dad, and told her she would not be seeing her other Daddy any more.

Jodi lived a good life.  Her new Dad and Mom took good care of her and her brother and her new baby sister, but Jodi always felt something was missing.

She thought of her first Dad throughout her life.

She dreamed of bumping into him on the street… their eyes would lock, and they would immediately recognize each other.  Dad would tell her he loved her and missed her and was so proud of the woman she had become…..

Sometimes dreams do come true…”

———-

Marty (for those new here – the hubster), was instrumental in helping me find my Dad.

It is so much more incredibly easier than imaginable with the internet and people search software these days.

Marty has known for years – probably before I even realized – that there was a part of me missing – that there were unanswered questions – that there was a dad out there that I needed – and who needed me.  He has asked me over the years about it – ever since we started dating when I was a mere 16 year old high school girl and he was a “mature” 20-year old “man.”  (That story is a whole blog post for another day).  When Marty realized my yearning had grown so strong, and my need was so great, he was the one that took the step to reach out for me, and the resulting reply is etched in my mind and on my heart forever:

“Hi Jodi – Yes. I am your “Birth Father.”  It was an answer to prayer hearing from you.  I hope that you and John are both fine.  To this day, I regret the worst decision I have ever made.  I was talked into doing something, but I had my own mind.  At the time, I thought I was doing the best thing for your two.  Can you ever forgive me?”

And so began my Journey back to Daddy’s Girl.

And now we celebrate four wonderful years of being a reunited father and daughter, which began on July 17, 2010 when my Dad showed up to my house with a huge bouquet of flowers, a face that looked exactly like mine (and resembles Tom Jones I think only to me 🙂 ), immediately telling me he loved me, and he missed me, that I was beautiful (only to him I’m sure 🙂 ),and he was so proud of me.  You see – he wanted to fulfill my dream…  He wanted our reunion to be the wonderful event I had dreamed about over the years…

We both cried – happy and sad tears.  And we have talked almost every day since then.  We’ve spent  birthdays and holidays and Father’s days together.  He was with me at our son Jake’s wedding.  He loves my family as his own.  His family has embraced me as their own.  They have always known about me, and they welcomed me with open arms.

I will never forget the first time I met my Dad’s wife, Carole (aka Mom 2).  The first thing she said to me was, “Your Dad always promised me a daughter, and now I have one.  We’ve been praying for you for a long time.”

The epilogue of my book closes with:

———-

And so it began …….

With a simple email …

A journey back to Daddy’s girl.

And now, two and a half years later …

… we write each other almost every day

… and talk every weekday morning at 7:05

We’ve spent Father’s days together and holidays and birthdays and are part of each other’s lives again.

Our families love each other and we love each other.

‘What a Difference You’ve Made in My Life’

Dreams do come true!

this is not THE END.”

———-

071710

Father & Daughter Reunion Day – July 17, 2010

I hope this message will encourage those adult children who were separated from birth parents – at whatever age (birth, childhood, teenager, young adult) – for whatever reason – to reach out and try if it is something that has yanked on and ached in your heart for years.

Maybe your ending will not turn out as good as mine did  (and of course there is much more to our story than I’ve shared here so far) , but can anything hurt more than the emptiness and not-knowing that you feel every day?  Could the potential rejection be any worse than what you have imagined or decided or dealt with for years in your heart?

Love is worth the risk.  It is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.  Closure or resolution or answers to decades of unanswered questions can let you sleep at night…  can bring you peace… can make you right with yourself!  I’m certainly not an educated or trained professional in this area, but I can only speak of my own personal experience.

I wish you joy.  I wish you peace.  I wish you resolution.  I wish you wholeness of heart – no matter the ending.  YOU are worth it.  YOU are here for a reason.  YOU are loved.

Happy 4 year “Anniversary” Dad!  I love you, and I cherish you!   (And I’ve been listening to “our song” again this week.  I’m betting you will too.)  ❤  “What a Difference You’ve Made in My Life!”

Cheers and Hugs,

Jodi

The Only Way

The Only Way.

The only way to fully embrace
Your life…

The only way to move forward
and see the beauty all around You…

is to have the strength
and the courage

and the wisdom
and the love for yourself

to let go of the things
and the people

you cannot
change

even when it goes against
what you think is “right.”

Let go of the guilt.
Let go of the burden.

Own your truth.
Own your dignity.
Own your worth.

When you do,
you will find peace.

You will discover You.
It’s the only way.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Bleeding Heart

Bleeding Heart.

Every Spring
you show up

and you remind me
of Grandma’s love.

You remind me of her presence
and influence on my life.

Thank you
Bleeding Heart!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Many years ago, my Grandma gave me this bleeding heart plant.  I have transplanted and moved it.  It will always be where I am.  Grandma will always be a part of me.  There is likely not a day that passes where something doesn’t remind me of her or make me think of her, but this plant is an extra special reminder.  It makes my heart soar and swell each Spring when it blooms.  Just like her love for me did and still does.  With Mother’s Day approaching, I remember Grandma with love and the deepest admiration.  May I be even half the Grandma to my grandchildren that you were to me. ❤

PS – I will be taking a blogging break for a week or so.  See you when I return.

After the Rain

After the Rain.

After the rain,
we walked at the park.

The grass was greener,
the air was fresh and clean.

The sun warmed,
and the blossoming trees popped

almost as if they were
smiling with the joy they knew I felt.

My heart swelled a wee bit more
like it so often does

in moments spent
with my grandie girls.

Mommy told Grandie Girl 1
about the time she spent playing ball on this field,

and asked her if she thought she
would want to do the same some day.

The sweet, high-pitched voice
in the miniature, but too-fast growing body,

responded so excitedly
and affirmatively

like she most always does,
wanting to be just like mommy.

And I smile at both of them with their muddy shoes
from the stop we made along the walk to float dandelions in the creek.

I steal a glance at Grandie Girl 2,
who is grinning and squealing with delight

as if to affirm her agreement
and wanting to be just like her big sister.

These are the moments…
the sweet precious moments.

After the rain.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Stopped me in my Tracks

Things that have stopped me in my tracks…
lately.

This breathtaking scene along the road as I traveled home from a friend’s on a cold, rainy, otherwise-dreary day.

Watching and listening with deep admiration to Hubby deliver a heartfelt eulogy to his beloved aunt.

The unexpected, far-beyond-her-years empathetic eyes and hugs and words of a special 11-year old girl paying her respects at a funeral visitation.

The sweetest, kindest, most undeserved compliment made by my younger daughter-in-law over dinner.

The smell of my baby granddaughter’s head after annointment with the oil of chrism at her baptism.

The startling reality of what a powerful, important influence I have as a grandma to a precious two-year old.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Reflections of Thanksgiving

Reflections of Thanksgiving.

Babies growing too quickly.
A loved one’s final day.
Family time together.
Thoughts of family apart.

Sons have become men
that make us gleam with pride.
Daughter in laws grow dearer
with each passing year.

Hubby’s smoked turkey
woos the crowd again.
Granddaughter’s first apple pie
sweetens meal’s end.

Pumpkin pie for breakfast
with a bestie and “our” mom.
Cocktails with our faves
to consummate a just-right day.

Waists growing thicker.
Hair becoming greyer.
Embracing the vulnerability.
Loving fiercely.

Reflections of Thanksgiving.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

A Krautfest Rhyme

 


A Krautfest Rhyme.

Once upon a time
in a neighborhood by a lake,

a group of friends gathered.
There was saurkraut to make.

500 pounds of cabbage
was cleaned and quartered and chopped.

Then young and old, expert and new,
sliced it down – they couldn’t be stopped.

Once sliced it went
to the station to be weighed.

Salt was added.
It’s how you make homemade.

Into crocks and buckets
it went to be pound.

It starts the fermentation
and keeps it safe and sound.

No krautfest could ever
be quite complete

without hugs and laughs and games
and plenty of treats to eat.

There was a tub of apples
waiting for kids to bob.

While others were pressed into juice,
which many found to be a fun job.

After working and eating and drinking
away the day,

evening arrived,
and instruments were brought out to play.

Singing with friends,
(only some truly in tune)

is surely the best way
to end a krautfest afternoon.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Thanks so much and mostest
to our amazing hosts and hostesses.

Love you Joyce and Rob and Nikole and Michael
for continuing the annual krautfest cycle!

If you would like to see previous years’ Krautfests, feel free to click HERE and HERE and HERE.  

The Woman in the Mirror

The Woman in the Mirror.

Who is she?

Sometimes she finds it hard to recognize the image
reflecting back at her.

She now has more age spots
than sun-kissed tan.

Her eyelids sag to make her look like she is squinting,
especially when she smiles big and laughs hard.

The “round” face she has always had is even fuller,
because she loves food and wine too much.

The lines around her mouth sag like the heavy parentheses
of a ventriloquist’s doll.

Her legs are truly not meant for public display,
and her boat-sized feet just don’t fit in those cute shoes anymore.

Her post-menopausal midsection
can no longer be “sucked” in.

She still tries though…

She puts on make-up
and dyes her hair.

She tries self-tanning lotions
and moisturizing hair products.

She tries to find clothes that suit her age
and full figure.

But there’s no hiding
behind the signs of 55.

She wishes she was as “fat” and “ugly”
as she thought she was when she was 15…

or 25 or 35
or even 45.

And even though that image in the mirror
is not who she feels like inside…

She actually likes herself more
than when she was 15 or 25 or 35 or 45.

She has stronger opinions,
and she is not ashamed to express her own thoughts.

She takes time for herself
and doesn’t feel bad about it.

She supports things
that are important to her.

She believes women who reveal
they have been assaulted,

because she has been
victim to that herself.

She loves her family with a fervor
she never knew possible.

And she loves herself
(something she has to work at every day).

She is a wife and mother
and grandmother.

She is a business woman
and an artist.

She is a woman living in these times,
and she is glad for that.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

The Best Mother’s Day Gift

Grandma’s Bleeding Heart – A Mother’s Day Flower

The Best Mother’s Day Gift.

When I was a young, extremely naive, stay-at-home mom
to two energetic and spirited little boys,

the perfect Mother’s Day “gift” would have been
an hour or two of peace and quiet all to myself to do whatever I pleased.

But now that I am an older, experienced, working-outside-the-home mom
to two amazing and independent young men,

and have gained two “daughters”
and a granddaughter too…

the perfect Mother’s Day “gift” has become
an hour or two of time together

to love and laugh and appreciate
the greatest gift of all…

The gift of
being a Mom!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

 

7 Things I Learned in 2017

  1.   I believe I married one of the smartest men in the universe.  Not only does he know everything about history and geography and science, he knows how to fix almost anything (with very few exceptions), and he innately wants to help everyone – from family and friends to strangers – by using his knowledge and skills.  We may not always agree on everything (like politics or what to watch on TV), but I think I have grown to love and admire him more this year than in all the 39 years of knowing him.
  2. Watching my oldest son become a father and watching  the love and adoration between him and his child grow is one of the most beautiful gifts a mom can receive.
  3. Watching my youngest son marry the love of his life and the joy she brings to him is all I could ever ask for.
  4. Spending time with my first daughter-in-law sharing our love of handmade crafting or our greater love of my first grandchild are some of my favorite times this year.
  5. Gaining a second daughter-in-law has expanded my heart even more than I could have imagined, and being welcomed into her family has been such an added bonus.
  6. There is no word (someone must come up with one) to express the indescribable joy felt when watching your first grandchild smile at you for the first time, reach her arms out to you when she sees you, and say “MahMaw” (Grandma) for the first time!
  7. Turning 55 (today!) isn’t so bad.   Getting to this stage of life has brought more blessings – more love – deeper relationships with family and friends –  than the disadvantages of  extra weight, extra sags, extra grays, and  extra wrinkles.

2017 was a pretty awesome year!  I encourage you to think of seven things you learned or loved in 2017.  I am sure there are many more than you realize.

Out of the 365 days…
or perhaps the 8, 760 hours….
maybe even the 525,600 minutes….
How do you measure a year?

I measure it in love.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi