Posts Tagged ‘life lessons’

I love toast

October 18, 2012 Leave a comment

Seriously, I do.

And I also loved our toasts!

From the bridesmaids, I chose my friend Katie to deliver the toast. We’ve been friends since Mr. Sperry’s Latin class in high school, and she’s gotten to know Charles better than most of my friends over the last few years.

I knew she wouldn’t disappoint in providing a comical, but also touching, toast to us as a couple:

Hi everyone!

I’m so happy to see all of you here, especially as Charles threatened to make me help him drink any leftover booze – my liver thanks you all!

When Mary asked me to speak at her wedding, I was happy to agree. After all, I speak for a living, how hard could it be, right?

Then she told me over 300 people were coming.

I have to admit, I freaked out a little.

But when I sat down to plan out this speech, it got a lot easier.

Because it’s SO easy to tell you how wonderful Mary is, and how kind Charles is, and what an incredible couple they are.

I met Mary when I was in 7th grade, on a trip to Philly with a group that was against the use of drugs and alcohol. You can see how well that worked out for us!

But before you all start thinking, “Awww, how sweet, they’ve been friends for 20 years.” – I’ve gotta burst your bubble.

Mary hated me for two YEARS before we finally became friends – but friends we are now, for…ALMOST 20 years. ūüėČ

Which is a darn good thing, cause we’ve needed each other! From college stress to boy drama to family heartbreaks, we’ve been there for each other every single step along the way.

She has ALWAYS been the person I call first, whether something is horribly wrong OR totally right.

We’ve flown kites at the White House, gone midnight swimming, and she’s even gotten me quilting.

Mary is amazing – she’s the type of person that could give you good advice with her head in a bucket – she doesn’t even have to see where she’s going to give you the right guidance in life.

Now, Charles, I’ve met more recently – but from the moment I met him, there was no doubt in my mind that he and Mary would end up in this tent someday. He is easily most generous human being I’ve ever met.

For those of you who don’t know him that well, here’s proof. He helped me move recently…..UN….ASKED!

A few years after I met him, I was stranded with my roommate Jess in DC at midnight because the Metro had stopped running.

We called EVERYONE I knew in DC. Mary was on a train on her way to Boston, other friends were out of town, too, or asleep and not answering.After panic started setting in, my phone rang – it was Charles. He’d worked a full shift at the Irish Times, then gone to hang out with some friends in Adams Morgan. He was already miles out of the city, but TURNED AROUND at 12:30am to come and pick us up, and drive us 20 miles to our car in Vienna.

That’s the kind of guy Charles is. So that’s why I’m so thrilled they’ve gotten married. I can’t imagine a more loving pair.

So I have one more story to share – some of you might know, I’ve always called Mary, “MaryM” – and she’s always called me “KtF”. It’s the same way we tease each other about our friendship bringing the Catholics and the Jews closer together. But now that she’s married, she’s not MaryM anymore! She’s MaryMH!

When I was trying to wrap my head around this change, I kept testing whether I could start calling her MaryMH. I was repeating it over and over again, MaryMH, MaryMH, MaryMH – Marry a Mensch. Marry a Mensch. Marry a MENSCH??

At this point, I was laughing so hard, I started crying…in Yiddish, a Mensch is¬†the ultimate¬†good guy, the type of guy you want to bring home to your mother.

Mary’s new name defines Mary’s new life. Because Mary DEFINITELY married a mensch.

In honor of that realization, I’d like to close like this:

A Jew and a Catholic walk into a bar. The bartender looks at the Jew and says, what’ll ya have? She asks for her drink, he gets it, and looks at the Catholic and repeats, what’ll ya have? She looks him right in the eye and says, “YOU.”

I couldn’t be happier that she’s gotten her choice.

So I’d like all of you to grab the glass nearest you (hopefully it’s YOURS), and raise it in a toast! To Mary and Charles and a life together filled with happiness! Mazel Tov!

We love you KtF!

Categories: Wedding Tags: , , ,


June 5, 2012 2 comments

In planning my wedding, I like to think I was somewhat not the “normal” bride.

There were no bridezilla moments.

I didn’t cry over trying to find the exact shade of green for my bridesmaids to wear.

Even when we ended up having to redo our invitations to make the announcements, I think I handled it rather calmly.

But a few details I did pay close attention to were my “somethings.”

Something old – Since I was going with a vintage feel for the wedding, several things fit that bill. What I finally decided to do was to tie to my bouquet the pocket watch Mom gave to Dad when they were dating. In it, Mom had inscribed “For those who love, time is not,” from Henry van Dyke’s “Time is” poem.

Time is
Too Slow for those who Wait,
Too Swift for those who Fear,
Too Long for those who Grieve,
Too Short for those who Rejoice;
But for those who Love,
Time is not.

Something new – My dress of course! Even the dress shopping experience was unconventional. No one cried. There was no screaming “This is the one!!” I actually had to go back with a bridesmaid because I doubted my decision the same night I tried the dress on.

No doubts anymore though. I can’t wait to get to wear the dress a second time. And I think I love it even more after I added sleeves to it.

If you look closely, you can also see the pocket watch.

Something Borrowed – Honestly, I can’t remember if Megan offered first or if I asked her if I could borrow it, but my “borrowed” something was my sister in law’s veil.

My mom wore her sister’s veil when she got married, so she didn’t have one for me to use. I remembered Megan’s veil being simple and ivory, so we kept that in mind as we went dress shopping.

What I hadn’t remembered was how beautiful the Irish lace on the veil was or how intricate tiny pearls were sewn into the lace. It only added to the excitement that the veil was packed away because of home renovations. Megan didn’t dig it out until the week before the wedding. I didn’t get to try it on until the very last minute. But it was perfect!

And in keeping with Irish tradition, Megan (a happily married woman) was there to put the veil on me on Monday morning.

Something blue – Originally, I thought of using a Silverado blue rosary that belonged to my father in my bouquet. But after reading the pocket watch inscription, I was sure I preferred to carry that. I also wanted to use it because I remember the care my father took when he wore the watch on special occasions. I knew if he had walked me down the aisle, the watch would have been with him. I needed it with me too.

Anyway, all this thought given to my father walking down the aisle, and I knew I’d need a hanky. But I didn’t want just any old hanky, I wanted my father’s hanky.

Sure enough, Mom had saved just a few of Dad’s handkerchiefs. I asked her if I could take one when I was home a few months ago because I wanted to embroider my wedding date on it in blue so that it could be my something blue.

She said no. She wanted to do it for me.

Some of the only tears I shed in the hours leading up to my wedding were when she gave me the box holding the hanky. It was as if Dad was talking directly to me when I lifted the lid and read “Angel Face.” It was perfect. And so much more special to me than the date alone would have been.

From that very moment on through the next day when I carried the hanky in my pocket, I knew he was with me.

My biggest fear leading up to my wedding was that I would miss my father so much that the emotion of that would overshadow the rest of the day. …That I’d burst into tears walking down the aisle with my brother because he wasn’t my father. …That I’d be sad at the reception because there was no father/daughter dance.

But amazingly, the complete opposite happened. Instead of being upset that he wasn’t there, it was as if I was overcome with how much he WAS there, and how proud he was on that day, and how happy he would want me to be.

10 Years ago…

ImageTen years ago…I wasn’t just preparing for “commencement” (as I am today)…I was preparing for MY commencement.

I had no idea what the future held.

I didn’t have a career…I didn’t even know what I wanted that career to be.

At graduation, I met my family and my two small nephews. Who knew that 10 years later I’d be an aunt to 10.

Who knew that 10 years later I’d be back in exactly the same place.

Each year I find commencement bittersweet. Bitter, because it’s so much work! But I see the excitement on the faces of the graduates and remember the excitement I had myself.

I might not have realized at the time how lucky I was to be graduating on the East Steps of the biggest church in the western hemisphere, but I have no idea where I’d be today had anything been different.

Categories: Life Lessons Tags:


May 10, 2012 5 comments

Since I haven’t written in a while, and I’m not sure when I will find time to fill you in on all that’s going on lately, I figured the least I could do was share Gretchen’s blog from the HERALD today that mentions the Race for Hope team.

In our fourth year, we raised nearly $10,000. Not too shabby! (If you want to help us get to $10K, it’s not too late!) Our team was once again in the top 50 in terms of fundraising.

I expected that each year it would get easier to do the race. Not physically, but emotionally. But for the fourth time, I was shocked when at random moments I was overwhelmed and on the verge of tears. …for many reasons.

For one, the race has grown SO much since the first year we started. We used to be the only team in sight at our meeting place. Now we share those steps with at least 6 or 7 other teams. Sure it’s great that so many more people are working to raise awareness and funds to fight brain cancer, but it’s also a sad sign that so many more people are being affected by it.

At the beginning of the race, survivors (dressed in yellow) release yellow balloons into the air. It’s certainly a sight to see. …but at the same time, it pisses me off that I don’t know any survivors. And I know too many that are gone.

It was a little shocking this year to walk behind a team carrying a sign “In memory of Mary Frances.” It reminded me of the time we went to a family cemetery and I saw a gravestone with my name on it. It shocks you. I nearly stopped right in the middle of the giant crowd of walkers.

But as I told Gretchen in the blog above, as emotional as the beginning of the race is for me, what I look forward to most is the end. I always watch for the first yellow shirt (survivor) to finish – usually a good 40 minutes ahead of me. I look forward to getting three miles into the race and seeing people in yellow shirts – sometimes struggling, but always excited – SO happy to finish the race with their family and friends.

I look forward to the day when our fundraising will make a difference. And I hope that some day, I might know someone in a yellow shirt.

My letter from Santa

December 19, 2011 2 comments

I hope he doesn’t mind me sharing this. I admit I’m doing so without his permission. But I’m guessing that Santa reads my blog and that’s how he knew I’d so appreciate hearing from him.

When I checked my mail on Saturday (as you know I love to do), there was a letter waiting for me with the return address “123 Reindeer Lane, North Pole.”

The letter offers such a concise year in review for me, and I thought others might enjoy hearing from the magical man themselves.

Dear Mary,

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve corresponded with you. I’ve been a little backed up with all the new children that have been coming in the world, but I didn’t want you to think that I hadn’t been keeping my eye on you through the years.

As I was checking my list for this year, I see that you’ve been very, very good and very, very busy.

I would like to say best wishes on your upcoming nuptials next year. I’m sure that you have picked a great man to spend the rest of your life with.

I also see that your nieces and nephews voted you their favorite aunt. That is quite an accomplishment.

Lastly on my list I see that you and your mother have been very close and making lasting memories throughout the year. That must have been one great road trip that you took together. Although the circumstances were not that great, it was nice that you could bond together.

My elves are pulling me away to get ready for my journey in a couple weeks. I don’t want you to worry about a thing this Christmas. Keep holding strong to the Christmas faith and I’ll take care of the rest.

Merry Christmas,

Santa Claus

We were about this old when Anne got her own letter from Santa.

In so few words, so many moments and emotions were captured. My engagement, of course. My relationship with my nieces and nephews (which only grew this year when Finn was sick…and when from the hospital he declared I was his favorite aunt). And the year of weddings and funerals – which included Mom and I driving from DC to Florida and back through South Carolina all in one weekend.

This has certainly been a year of major growth in my relationships with not just my old family, but also my new one that is forming as Charles and I prepare to become our own family.

Thank you Santa for all the reminders. And may all my readers and their families have the best Christmases this year!

My bladder’s been close to my eyes today…

December 15, 2011 2 comments

Maybe it’s the season, maybe it’s the weather…

Who knows what has been in the air lately, but I’ve been missing my daddy.

A week or so ago I got the strongest urge to call him. I’m not even sure I had something important to say to him. I just missed being able to call him.

A few days after that, my cousin posted a photo of her adorable daughter with Santa on Facebook. She mentioned that Santa had acquired a Southern accent.

I knew what my father would have said, and I replied back.

“Santa speaks to each and every child in the world in the language they are most familiar with.” (This was Dad’s explanation for Santa’s handwriting looking a lot like his.)

Today, I read this blog about Santa and his existence.

At paragraph 7, I got a little misty.

Right around paragraph 10 I nearly lost it completely.

Perhaps it’s through the traditions of Santa that make Christmas so much about the family and how parents and children celebrate. Or perhaps that’s just the case for me and my mom and dad.

I wouldn’t be super upset if I didn’t get to spend Easter or Thanksgiving with my mother, but I am cherishing this next Christmas because of the possibility of it being my last Christmas with her. No, I’m not expecting her to die. But I feel like it will all change when I get married.

Charles thinks I’m insane. What’s going to change about Christmas just because I’m married? But it won’t be the same ever again.

I won’t go to midnight Mass, just Mom and I, at Sacred Heart where they turn off all the lights and play Silent Night on the violin while we both try to hide our sniffling and tears (trust me, it’s beautiful and moving and we’re not the only snifflers!). I won’t be going home to our house to spend the night. I won’t be waking up there, that morning, with her, to open the stockings that are from “Santa.”

Sure, Charles and I could visit and do these things, but it seems that once I get married, we should have our own traditions. And even if we do these things with Mom, it still just won’t be the same. Yes. Maybe I’m over 30. But I still see getting married as a mark that I’m becoming an adult, and that certain things are going to change.

He'll hate me for posting this one! But he was always eager to try on or try our presents.

Christmas for me will always be full of memories of me, my mom, and especially my dad. It was him who wrote us the letters from Santa. It was his childhood photo with Santa that was set out on the piano every year. I feel like it was him who was always the first to remind us of the real reason we celebrated Christmas if ever our gift-giving intentions got out of hand.

And so, to end my day where my thoughts have been on all things Christmas and very much about my dad…my boss shared with the office a thank you letter we received from a writer who spoke at the University last year.

Most people didn’t notice, but I had the eye for it.

The letter, like so many of my father’s letter, was typed on a type writer.

In between the lines of the writer’s words of thanks and praise, I could see the care one has to take to type a letter.

The care with which my father typed every letter he wrote.

And the care with which told every story about Santa, his spirit, his love, and his magic.

Lessons in Relativity

August 24, 2011 Leave a comment

I think it’s an understatment for me to say that this week has been crazy.

But in all of it, there have been several lessons in how all things are relative.

Friday night, shortly after the doctors told us Finn most likely has lymphoma, another family was brought in to use the bed on the other side of the curtain in Finn’s room. The family arrived, and they were a mess. The mom was hysterically crying, the boy screamed whenever anyone touched him. It was a crazy time.

Part of me thought this was insane. We just heard a little boy had cancer. Our half of the room was calm and collected so as not to frighten him.

The other boy had hit a tree riding a bike. His jaw was broken, but they’d cleared him of any injuries to his head and neck. I had to remind myself many times that all things are relative. This mother was in shock and upset and rightly so. But at the same time, her son would be fine. He did not have cancer.

Yesterday, our world was shaken, once again. And quite literally.

The east coast went crazy when the 5.8 scale earthquake hit. While the news went crazy and twitter and Facebook nearly blew up with tweets and posts about what people experienced.

Of course people on the west coast thought we were all insane. A piddly 5.8? They eat them for breakfast!

But…in all relativity…this earthquake was felt by the most people out of any earthquake in US history. Of course we’re going to talk about it and share our experiences. But while we were talking about them, few people didn’t also mention Japan and/or Haiti. It did remind of how minor this was compared to how it could have been.

I’ve alway attempted to not blow things out of proportion and to try to be level headed. Things like this week’s events remind me that everything is relative to every person. Sure everyone deserves a chance to freak out, but they might also keep in mind that at least we weren’t trapped in our houses, and that maybe when you do feel like freaking out, you might wonder if the person next to you is silently dealing with much more difficult news.