December moments ~ 2021

Good Morning Blogggg Land! Whew!!! …I’ve missed you all and I have been writing wonderful blogs in my head. I want to find the time and energy and space to write them all. Ok.. whatever, I’ll start here. Hi, I hope this finds you well and rested. I hope the twinkle of lights and morning quiet center you with your hot brew…nice… peaceful and calm. I awoke extra early for a baking marathon of sorts. I’m excited that I have the ooomph, the energy, the desire to create and bake this year. Seriously!… I miss having my daughter as a sous chef. We could whip out 3 nights of marathon Baking and create an enormous mound of cookies! I will do my best! I am attempting… drumroll please!, to duplicate and perfect my beloved mom’s Italian sweet butter cookies. It’s time to get it right, in total honor of our Mitzi, aka Nanny Yac. My Mom was not a “baker”. Never her bag. But, damn she was a good cook. My sister D, in New Jersey, bakes 10 pounds of them and ships them to ALL our siblings. How freaking NICE is she! Thanks Nini. We love your cookies! I think it’s my turn to master this family recipe. Wish me luck. I did a test run this week and had a few friends sample. I added a tiny spoon of baking soda and a pinch of salt THE – NERVE leelee! NO! Like, I’m NOT freakin Martha Stewart, what was I truly THINKING? Tampering with the OG buttah cookies! How Dare I? hehe. So now I VOW to stick to the original recipe card from my Great Grandmother! It was passed along to my Mom. Oh.. & our sweet little sister, Denise Ann, aka Nini, hand wrote the recipe for ALL of us to have. Grateful for all the memories that surround this buttery delight….love you Mom.

Speaking of Memories.. yesterday, I was donating some goodies to a family who just had a baby and a 4 year old. They just got placed in an apartment and the Mom was asking for toys and decorations for her daughter. I knew I could help with that! I went through my stock pile and closets, filled my car up and dropped them off. I have been donating and volunteering for years to help anyone less fortunate. It’s been MY saving grace and healing since I lost my son Michael 5 years ago to an overdose. She sent me a message and attached a small photo of my son. You see, she found it in the bottom of a box. He was 4…or 5. A Christmas photo shoot at Sears Roebuck! IT was a thing back then. He has on a cute festive outfit with suspenders and a cheeky, drooly smile. My mind drifted back….back in time. I wrote her back and told her that was my son. I told her, he died 5 years ago. I wished her well and gave her beads that said “Becoming Radiant”…I gave her a stone that said “strength”…my goal was to instill a drop of Hope. Our world needs this so bad! I try and do my little part.

I returned home & Then….THIS happens! I opened my email and I came across an email from my niece in N. Carolina. She is my brother Michael’s oldest daughter. She writes; I have been doing a project and digitalizing all the old VCR tapes from our family gatherings. I froze for a moment. First, I remembered we didn’t have a camera when my kids were growing up! My dad and brothers did. I was freaking OUT! Video’s!!!! My niece, lovingly, sent about a dozen precious videos of our family and my children. I can’t express in words the gift of hearing your child’s voice after many years of not hearing it. I watched some last night. A variety of Christmas’s and birthdays, BBQ’s. All Priceless. I stared at my children,sweetest memories, elated, screeches & smiles, tons of laughter and music and food and celebration. Then, I felt like I was there again, in the living room with my whole family. I felt the warmth rush through me. Beyond grateful and So blown away from the love I was experiencing and feeling. I stare at my two beautiful children. So loved, and safe and healthy.. I remember it all. Oh, you bet I cried. Lots of tears. But, it’s OK! Tears, the extension of emotions pouring down our cheeks….Tears of grief or joy. Tears, are just another expression of undying love. I let them flow. I savored the moments. I stared and listened to everyone. The voices…hearing them speak again! My Dad behind the camera, taking his new “job” as videographer, VERY serious. I hear his soothing voice. I hear him directing ALL the children to smile at him. Mostly, I remember how proud and loving and doting he was. My mom looking beautiful, me watching her running with her granddaughter in the yard. They were so happy, my parents. Filled with Grandchildren everywhere!…..those WERE the days my friends. I treasure these videos. I wrote her a note last night. I thanked her for creating these memories for us. I thanked her for giving me a priceless gift this year. All night long, I was filled with vivid, colorful, beautiful memories of my beautiful son Michael. My brother Thomas, and my beloved parents, Tom & Mitzi. We had it ALL Mom & Dad. I knew it then as I know it now. Love is Love. It never leaves our hearts or our souls. Also, all the (Ex’s) are in ALL the videos. I imagine that not being funny to my siblings. (sorry, they were a part of your life!!!!) But, a most precious moment of my husband. Watching him with our children, playing, teaching, filming them…it really was beautiful to witness that. A father’s love and pride. Trust me… You Blink! &Twenty five years later here we are. Not all of us, but, we are still here. Memories mean SO much more when you lose someone you love. So make as many Memories as you can. Be kind and patient with your children. Hug your parents! & God… Stay close and hold and love & kiss your babies often.* Remember* it’s the little things that wind up meaning the most ~ Peace & Love to All..<3 xoxoxo ~ leelee

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