Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Belateds

With all that has been transpiring around here, between personal chaos and also that of the community & economy... I had LAGGED in my posting recently.  And for that, I apologize - not only to those of you are kind enough to read here frequently, but ESPECIALLY to those two people I write here for now.

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September 15th, 1968 - 40 years ago!  My husband was born into the world, a PEANUT of a child, weighing less than 7 pounds,  into a family filled with half-siblings, as he was the only child between his parents as ONE.

Since then, he's proven himself to be many things... initially?  A troublemaker, like most children are, of course - but considering the stories I have heard from both my late mother-in-law and my sister-in-law... well, let's just say he seemed to enjoy driving his immediate family crazy a little *too* much.

He then decided that, through the inspiration of AC/DC, that he wanted to be a guitarist.  At this day, he has been playing guitar for longer than I have been alive - and playing on stage for the majority of the last two decades.  He's played lead, rhythm, bass guitar, and sung - all to the credit of his somehow humble ability to listen to a song a handful of times and then transform it into near-perfection - with never anything more than an "If you say so," when being told of this wonder.

It was actually because of this that we met.  I was dating my ex at the time, and we went to see the band he was playing in, Battery, out in Rockford, since the ex had known the other members for a number of years.  That was the first meeting, and beyond seeming like a nice guy, that was that.

A few months later, my ex actually joined Battery, filling in for their now-open position as "Hetfield."  So, obviously, I got to form pretty decent friendships with all the guys in the band, as well as the drummer's rather... INTERESTING... stripper girlfriend.  Hmm.  I'm still compelled to this day to shake my head whenever I think of Nikki.

Ralph and I got to be better friends than I did with the rest of the guys, maybe simply because of the fact that he lived the closest to us (the other guys were in IN), and when on the road, the ex & Ralph would always get a shared hotel room, while the others got the second room.  So, needless to say, when I was on the road every so often, as well, I also wound up hanging with Ralph until the wee hours of the morning when everyone could finally catch some rest.

When the ex and I split up, a good 3 years later, there were a few people that I was determined not to lose out on as MY friend simply because I had initially met them through the ex.  Ralph was one of them.  I asked for his number, and was DENIED by the ex - which of course, simply made my stubborn streak take a stronger hold on was I was set out to do.  I called Ralph's WORK - and just caught him on his way out the door for the night.  I told him what had happened, blah blah blah... and that HEY!  We should go grab a few beers sometime.  Cool.  Friendship saved - take a breath, and chalk one up for me.

Well, when I told the ex that Ralph had said "Hey" - I got the reaming of a century (ya see, due to financial reasons, and apparently SHEER insanity, it was initially intended that we still live out the end of our lease under one roof... and after 6 weeks, I BAILED 2 months earlier than initially agreed because, DAMN.  It just made.me.want.to.kill.him.more.)

Anyways, pretty much at the end of my personal Hiroshima - he looked me in the eye and told me, "I know you two.  If you guys start hanging out, all by  yourselves, SOMETHING'S going to happen.  I just know it."

My response?  I BURST INTO LAUGHTER  so deep that I felt my sides would tear open.

After wiping the tears from my eyes, I looked back and told him that I SO didn't see Ralph that way, and that, hell, since WHEN does me having a male friend mean anything beyond that.  He was NOT convinced - but to make the last of my time, um, TOLERABLE, under the same roof - I didn't plan to hang out with Ralph until I was OFFICIALLY out of there.

Good thing, too.  Our bar-babble session apparently turned into our first date.  Heh.  I still to this day don't *quite* know how that happened - only that it just WORKED.  And the following cat-and-mouse games that followed regarding my ex pleading for my return or else he was destined to plummet into a brick wall in his car, save for his son - and me ducking the accusations that I was already dating someone else... followed by his sudden realization of WHO I was dating?!?  Pretty damn funny, if you ask me.  Never have I seen more pitiful attempts at trying to turn around a situation on both sides of the spectrum, meanwhile trying to get back something that was lost long before I moved on to someone else.

That was at the end of August, 2004.  We were engaged in December that same year.  And married on March 19th, 2005.

I found out that we were expecting 5 days later, and had the doctor's confirmation on my birthday, March 29th.

Now, Ralph - you've been my rock & my rainbow, my perilous cliff & my hurricane... my source of support, and sometimes my source of the deepest critique... the father of my child & the destroyer of many things... We've ridden a roller coaster that not only has it's ups & downs along the bumpy ride, but also seems to have its course set through a hailstorm, where we are constantly bombarded by outside forces, testing not only the riders, but the ability of the track to keep guiding us.

We've made it through just over three years of marriage, and four years of being a couple.  While there have been times where I have VERBALLY threatened to suffocate you in your sleep (I honsetly have, everyone.  LOL), I would never take back the decision to be with you... we've survived.  If nothing else, we have survived a LOT and have an almost-three year old miracle to remind us of that every day.

Maybe someday, we'll find ourselves in the sancitity of a tunnel on this ride, where the only things that affect us are US, and not the constant barrage of the outer world.  Until then, I promise to try and hold on tight, and keep myself buckled in.

Thank you for being a husband, a friend, a father, a worker, a musician... for being you.  Because otherwise?  Well, hell - who else would you be?  And you never thought you'd wind up married, needless to say, a parent.  Heh.  I guess you just needed some fiesty redhead to come and whoop your ass a bit.  ;)

Love ya, MetalliDad.  =)

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September 16th, halfway (seriously!) between Ralph's birth and my own, my mom was brought into the world, a TINY, premature baby.  Born to parents that had emmigrated from Latvia, she spoke only Latvian until the age of four, and then learned English from the upstairs neighbors who *blessed* her with a southern accent along with the gift of another language.  Heh.

For as long as I can remember, however, you would never know that she hadn't learned English from day one, right in the heart of Chicagoland.  And it's not even "southside" english!!  LOL

She's a fighter - that I can say without a doubt.  So many times have passed where she could have thrown in the towel and called it a day - but did not.  She skipped a grade in school, and graduated high school at only 16.  Graduated college at 20, and began teaching for the SAME district she is STILL in now, so many years later.

She went back to school and get her Master's degree, taking on the job of a coordinator for a number of years (yes, same district THEN, too!) before deciding that dealing with the chaos of students was MUCH more bearable than the idiocy of most adults.

She's gone through surgeries.  Some of which have now left her with daily pain, in levels not easily controlled.  And yet, she fights.  She is my Dad's primary caregiver, and  has been since he came home from the hospital just over two years ago, after his traumatic paralyzation - one that has left him bedridden and unable to do, well, pretty much ANYTHING without full assistance or complete takeover by, who else?  My mom.

She's not a superhero.  She has her moments that are all too human.  But she is a hero, simply for doing what she does, and still managing to be there for ME when I need it, even though I have my own family and most parents wouldn't just be eager and willing to remake room in their nest for their adult child (especially one who is married and has a child of their own) - but quite possibly would have relocated that best completely.

I am grateful beyond what I know I've even been able to express to her, for all that she has done for me.  Did I have a perfect childhood?  Absolutely, beyond a doubt, NOT IN YOUR LIFE.  But it doesn't make her anything less than a woman, a mother, and now a grandmother, who has put herself on the line, many times, to try and secure those around her.

Thanks, Mom.  For being who you are.  For doing what you do.  For fighting along side me.  For being "Gia."  For showing me the light in Greyson's eyes when he sees you enter the room.

I could never repay what you have done for me, for us all.  I just hope that someday, somehow, you know just how much it all means.

Love you, Mom.  =)

2 Harmonizations:

Ingrid said...

Thank you, Lari. You are not only my daughter, but my best friend and my sanity, even tho you help me LOSE it at times....

Love,
Mom (Gia)(best role ever!!)

Larissa said...

Hehehe. I gotta do SOMETHING to keep you on your toes, don't I?