Sunday, February 20, 2011


On February 4th, my grandmother (Mary Laurelli) ~ Mama~ died. Her health had not been good, although I can't believe it was 5 years ago when I wrote entries worried that we were losing Mama. Amazingly, she kept fighting...through open heart surgeries, diabetes, lung disease. She was so strong. The permanency of my loss saddens me. I know her being gone is better for her ~ she is in peace ~ but it hurts my heart that I will never again be able to see her, hold her, listen to her, be with her. I have always wanted to make her proud (and I know I did) and oddly, I still want that. She left an impression on me that will last for the rest of my life. That is one of the gifts she gave me: she taught me to be someone worthy of respect, who makes good choices, supports family and friends, and has good manners.

We had a beautiful farewell to Mama. I chose to view the funeral & lunch as a celebration of her life; and that it was. I did all I could to participate in the planning and help my mom: I wrote the obituary, called family & friends, helped pick the casket and flowers, chose the music for the mass, gathered pictures and filled collages, and shared a eulogy at the funeral. It meant so much to have such a big part in this day. As important as a wedding is to a bride, this funeral was for honor my grandmother in a proper way. To bid her farewell the way she lived her life: with grace.

Mama and I were so close. We had a mutual respect and love for one another that will never be replaced. So few people in one's life love...truly love you. She truly loved me. And I truly loved her.

My eulogy was from the heart. I traced the many paths her life took, and the strengths she showed through those experiences. I concluded with a poem I wrote for -and shared with- her about a year ago. You see, I always knew I'd share a eulogy. I knew she'd want me to ~ she loved my writing...and she loved me. I wanted to do it for her. The poem I wrote is below. She actually carried it in her bag (sharing it with friends and family) over the past year. She loved it! I'm so happy that she knew I how felt about her; and that my fear of her dying didn't inhibit me from loving with all my heart. In fact, I still love her with my whole heart.

Lessons Learned from Mama

She’s always been a role model to me

An educated woman and graduate of RISD

Hard working, motivated

Leaving others quite fascinated

Fashionable clothing and creative designs

An inner light that truly shines

A generous heart and selfless friend

A woman on whom I could always depend

I’ve always admired her strength and ambition

She truly helped to shape my vision

The lessons she taught me I hold close to my heart

And to my own children I will impart:

Work hard and you will achieve

Trust yourself and believe

Give back to the world; show appreciation

Look toward your family for inspiration

Be good to your friends; they enrich your life

Keep your promises; be a good wife

Open your home; bring people together

A good meal can be enjoyed in all kinds of weather

Work hard, laugh often; enjoy the luxuries you can afford

But never forget what matters most; it should not be ignored

Family comes first – and this I believe

Is the greatest lesson I will heed

Thank you, Mama, for these lessons I’ve learned

And all the love you shared

Thank you for believing in me

I’ve always know you cared

Know I will share these lessons – these gifts

With my children too

“Be strong, work hard

And whatever you dream of doing…DO!”

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The teacher in me

We had another snow day today. On the last snow day Mrs. B sent Drew home (from Kindergarten, mind you) with a 25 page "fun" packet. It was loaded with crossword puzzles, word searches, addition and subtraction pages, reading comprehension exercises.... No joke. Did I mention he's FIVE? Well, while I thought the packet was a big excessive (um...we needed time to build snowmen, bake cupcakes, and play games too!!), I liked that she sent him with some work to do. THIS snow day, however, she did not send home work. It was equally as anticipated as the last snow day so I imagine she got some complaints about the packet. Well, the teacher in me decided Drew would do some well as bake cookies, make valentine hearts, and play games ;)

So, we worked on Drew's spelling list. Yes, he has spelling words!! This week he's learning how to spell the 7 days of the week. First, I wrote each word on different colored paper and cut out all the letters. I had him arrange the words in order. Then I had him write them in his journal and spell them aloud several times. We scrambled up and re-organized the words he struggled with. We revisited this a couple of times. And, guess what? He knows how to spell them all. I hope he remembers for his quiz tomorrow!!