Posted in Death, Friendships, Grief, Life

The Startling Death Of My Son’s Best Friend

My beautiful ocean scene with the words an unexpected death
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Sometimes, we just don’t have any good answers for our children, especially when death is concerned. Sometimes, we just cannot make the pain go away. I had to fight myself against issuing generic platitudes to my grieving son because no answers were sufficient for the questions that he had when he lost his best friend suddenly.

Don’t be dismayed by good-byes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends.

Richard Bach

I have four kids and two stepchildren that are the center of my universe. My youngest son, and third child, has suffered a tremendous loss at only the tender age of 13. His best friend and sidekick died. For the sake of his family’s privacy, I will call this young man Daryl in this article. Daryl will be remembered by more than his family. My son is going to make sure of that.

Daryl was a bright thirteen year old boy that liked to play video games online and basketball outside of my house with the local neighborhood boys. My son, Nolan bonded with him quickly over their mutual love for Kobe Bryant, dark humor, video games, and attitudes.

Daryl had fought and overcome cancer three times in his short little life. He had most recently gotten the stats to indicate he was beating it again.

You never heard him complain, but he had a life filled with pain. He would be missing in action during the worst parts, but continually stayed in contact with my son via online messaging. My son was not one to talk about it. Like many boys are apt to be when it comes to emotions, he dealt with it in his own way and still does.

When COVID came around, Daryl was confined to his room. His immune system was already battered so his parents weren’t taking any chances by not issuing a strict quarantine. They spent the summer playing video games online and plaguing each other with dark jokes and pranks. They were showing their love as boys will.

School

Three days before school was to be let back in session, Daryl’s mom went to wake him and found that he had passed away in his bed. Though he was beating the cancer, he had passed away from a sudden aneurism.

Nolan found out later on that day and came to tell me right away. They had played on the X-box the night before and he seemed fine, my son told me in shock.

As grief tends to do, it had a delayed reaction on Nolan. He would forget for a moment and then he would go to text him and remember. He would get online and remember.

I believe the grief took a toll on his immune system because within days he was fighting a huge swollen gland from a sudden bout of mono and strep throat. Days after getting on antibiotics, he developed a mono rash. He ended up missing the first two weeks back to school.

I didn’t realize how deep the friendship had gone until I took him to school on his first day. Signing him in, the office staff all gathered around and hugged him and told him how sorry they were. It seemed that the boys were something of a duo at the school.

A beautiful art general

Art

A few weeks later, I came home from work and went to greet all of the kids, which is my routine when I come in the door. After I greet the animals, of course.

I found Nolan in his room thumbing through a journal. He told me that for art class they all had to keep an art journal with drawings, thoughts, and the such. He said that after class the art teacher had given Daryl’s art journal to him.

Without me even telling him, he told me that he wanted to make a copy for himself and carry the original to Daryl’s mother. The image of the young boy’s self painted image in the journal made tears well up in my own eyes. Not to mention the fact that my teenager, famous for no empathy towards anyone but himself within our household, was showing empathy towards Daryl’s family.

I took the journal to work and made the copy. It was filled with what you would expect from a thirteen year old boy being forced to journal, but I knew the gift would be a priceless artifact given to a grieving mother. Another link to a love like no other.

This will not be the last time my son experiences a tragedy. I am proud of the way he has handled this loss and the way he continues to keep Daryl’s memory alive by talking about him. All too often, people try and drown pain away by ignoring it. Only by dealing with our emotions will we ever truly heal from any heartbreak or pain.

There is no explanation for a life cut that short. I won’t lie and say it’s part of a plan I’m not privy to. The only thing I can say for sure is that where he went has to be so much better than what he went through here during his short, pain filled existence.

Hold your loved ones tight. We never know when a moment will be the last.


I know this was a depressing article so if you would like to laugh now, here is a link to my latest Medium article about being a Golddigger!


Posted in Humor, Life, parenting, Teenager

4 Fun Ways To Embarrass Your Children

Therapy is unavoidable, so you might as well have fun

A child dressed in winter clothing is embarrassed
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One of the least talked about benefits, in normal circles anyway, of having children is the ability to be able to make fun of them and humiliate them ever so gently.

You have countless opportunities over the years to embarrass them in many, many ways. Do not let this go to waste. You’re going to be paying for therapy anyway. You might as well make the most of it.

PDA

Otherwise known as a public display of affection, this act will mortify for years on end. A good way to do this is to maybe hug your husband or, if you are really feeling spicy, performing a huge make out session right in front of the school.

If you’re a single parent, as I have been often, just grab someone nearby. Sometimes, jail is worth it if you succeed in your goals. Make sure you use tongue.

Try to dance or be cool in any capacity

My kids absolutely hate it when I “dab.” They also hate it when I use their lingo. I will throw in words like fye and lit during our conversations. Especially if their friends are around. That way they know I’m trying to understand and relate to them.

My fourteen year old son loves to call me bro. Once I started beating him to it and calling him bro first, he cut it out.

The kitty game

I don’t like to remember this dark period in my life. For it is when my parents dealt an embarrassing blow so devastating that only now, many decades later, can I laugh about it.

It was the evening of my first date and the day after my sixteenth birthday. The doorbell rang as all gentlemen must come to the door to pick a lady up, according to my mother.

I thought it was odd that my stepfather didn’t want to answer the door and made me do it instead.I answered the door and escorted my date into the living room where my parents were watching television on the couch.

They were not on the couch anymore when I came in to introduce my date to them. I felt all of my blood rush to my face as I realized what they were doing to embarrass me.

Once again, I had underestimated them. They were on all fours. They were playing the kitty game.

The kitty game is much like it sounds. You crawl around and act like a cat. This includes purring, meowing, and rubbing against people’s legs. To date, I have never been more embarrassed.

Clothing

Take it from me, kids don’t appreciate it when you wear their names on your shirt to celebrate them at a sporting event or even just Applebee’s. They want you to show up to their games. But they don’t want you to cheer for them, make eye contact with them, talk to their friend’s parents, or wear a shirt with their name on it.

Kids also want you to dress your age. Which means they think, at age 41, I should be wearing cat sweaters and elastic band pants. I’ve got the elastic band pants down pat so I’m holding off on the cat sweater.

Conclusion

Have fun with parenting. They are only young once and what doesn’t kill them, or you, will make you stronger. Within reason, of course.


Posted in Humor, Life, parenting

Mistakes In The Morning Can Affect The Entire Day

Jump aboard the hot mess express

A beautiful morning in a field before any mistakes ruin the entire day.
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I have failed at being a morning person. It’s one of many things I’ve failed at. But, alas, we only have time for one today.

I have tried many times in many different ways to restructure my life. I want to be a morning person! I just can’t succeed at this one simple goal. Hell, I’ve been trying for 10 years. Now I’m old and it should just come naturally, but it doesn’t.

I have tried replacing habits. I have tried going to bed earlier. I have tried snoozing my alarm. I have tried getting up on the first alarm. I have tried an alarm clock that makes you do a math equation in order to shut the alarm off. My husband almost divorced me.

Failure is what I’m good at when it comes to mornings. It’s not just waking up that does me in. It’s dressing. It’s eating breakfast. It’s functioning in general. The main issue is just staying awake.

I do think I have narcolepsy, but my doctor won’t let me diagnose myself. He seems to disagree, although I’ve never been tested to my knowledge.

I have been an unintentional clusterfuck my whole life. Drama, tragedy, and stuff straight from a B movie will find its way to me even if I don’t leave my house. Even so, I can fix all that. Usually. Or time will fix it eventually.

Image for post
Photo by Andriyko Podilnyk on Unsplash

My schedule is as follows. My first alarm goes off at 6:30 am. I hit snooze. I repeat this five or more times despite my intentions. At 7:05, my husband’s alarm goes off. I sit up and yell, “F**k!”

I rush around the room and trip multiple times while dressing. I run out the door 15 minutes late and make it to work five minutes late everyday without makeup. All my kids are late to school.

How do you fix a bad habit when it’s ingrained in you? This is not one of those articles where I tell you how I fixed my life at the end.

I genuinely can’t fix this about myself. Any tips or ideas would be appreciated even if I’ve probably already tried them all.


Spa-Inspired Linens & Accessories

Posted in Family, Humor, Life

My Siblings Are Amazing People, Despite Being Weird

.MA loving brother and two sisters standing together.
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Some would call me an accident. And by some, I mean my mother. In full disclosure though, she always said I was the best accident that she’s ever had.

My sister was 15 when I was born and my brother was 13. So I didn’t have very many years with them around before they flew from the nest with little thought to the foundling left behind. Which could be the main reason why we never learned to hate each other.

Growing up, my brother was definitely my biggest ally and caretaker. He would pull me around in a box, which in hindsight is not that great. But apparently, I loved it back then. It’s not as fun when you’re 42, though. My sister didn’t spend much time with me when I was very young because she was a social butterfly and the queen bee of our little town.

My brother married the love of his life shortly after leaving for college. He excelled in his career and still is the best husband I’ve ever seen up close. He dotes on his family. He has continuously educated himself and moved up in every aspect of his life. I am only now just beginning to understand how important it is to keep growing and learning as a person.

My sister became my best friend when I was a little older. As a teenager, I thought the sun rose and set on her. She was my hero for many years.

As adults, we have both been prone to impulsiveness and bad decisions. We both love to prank people and can be somewhat obnoxious at times. There have been many moments in my adulthood that I wouldn’t have made it through, if she hadn’t been my ally. For the most part, we are always there for each other when we need each other.

There is not another man, other than my husband, that I respect more than my brother. If more men were as good at being a husband as he always has been, this world’s divorce rate would plummet. There is not another person on this planet that can make me laugh as much as my sister can.

I don’t want to make any of this go to their heads, because it will. And my sister cannot afford that at all. I just wanted to take a moment to praise them, because all I hear about from my kids how much they hate each other. Not all of them do that, but most of them do. And if they don’t say it, it is very evident in their actions.

I know they love each other, because when any one of them is sick they will ask about the ill one behind closed doors. I guess it would be considered a sign of weakness to them, if they thought anyone knew they really cared.

I pray that they will grow out of this feeling. Other parents have assured me that they will, but I never have had ill feelings towards my siblings so I wouldn’t know about that.

I would love to post a picture of my brother and sister, but one of them is immensely private. I don’t feel right about posting one and not the other. However, I will post their Social Security numbers. Kidding…

I would really love to hear about other people’s relationships with their siblings. I would especially love to hear about siblings that grew up not liking each other, but ended up becoming really close as adults.

In this life we will never truly be apart, for we grew to the same beat of our mothers heart.

Daphne Fandrich

Posted in Blended Family, Family, Humor, Ideas, Life, parenting, Teenager, Uncategorized

5 Life Changing Experiences All Teenagers Should Have

Time is limited when it comes to making sure your teen doesn’t turn into a douchebag.

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We must act now to stop more entitled teenage brats or even worse, grown up douchebags, from being unleashed upon the world! The quota has been fulfilled. There are a multitude of ways to accomplish this, but the following is a list of experiences that I feel every teenager should experience, for his or her own benefit.

Volunteer

We need to make them understand, aka show them repeatedly and mention it non-stop, that there are people in the world that don’t have it as good as they do. We need to teach them how to give instead of take all the time. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the fruits of your labor, but you should also continually strive to help others.

Whether they are helping at the animal shelter or handing out food to the homeless, they need to understand the act of giving is so much more rewarding than just receiving all the time. This understanding can be life changing as a person. Live your life with a servant’s heart and you will never be poor.

Save

Teenagers and young adults should be taught early to save 25% of their income. I know that seems like a lot, but when they don’t have any outside, or aka real, expenses that is a doable figure. Then, when they do eventually move out and pay their own way, they will have to go down from 25% and, hopefully, they will stay around the 10 to 15% range. If they move out. Wink wink.

Healthcare

Having volunteered at a hospital, rehab center, or retirement home. How many teenagers will lose at least one friend in high school due to an accident or car wreck. But they need to understand the fragility of life. They need to treat life with appreciation and understand just one stupid decision can make it end very quickly. The life changing consequences of one bad decision can haunt them forever.

Two young teenage girls on a cell phone smiling and laughing.
Photo by Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash

Phone

I am a firm believer that teenagers should have to pay their own phone bill at a minimum, if not all of their bills. They use their phone for everything, including getting in trouble. It’s also good experience to know what paying a bill feels like and to know the feeling of that reoccurring pressure that they will soon be getting all too familiar with. Then you can just tell them to multiply that by 50. Don’t worry, you cannot make your child too responsible.

Sugar Baby

When I was in high school, I took a home economics class. I learned how to sew, cook a casserole, and balance a checkbook. Of course, if I was allowed to give a review, I would take off some points for not learning about credit scores and debt. But, that’s neither here nor there. By the way, if you put a review on the high school website they will take it off.

Again, I digress. The absolute most impressive thing that they did during this class was to make us care for a 5 pound bag of sugar as if it were a baby. You had to take constant care of it, or get a babysitter and log that, and wake up every two hours to “feed” and change it. And, yes, we had to keep a genuine cloth diaper that was laundered on it. I assume that a disposable diaper was also an option, but not for me. This was extremely aggravating and an accurate display of parenting. It was a genius move that got thrown away sometimes after my experience, but before my own children could benefit.There is no telling how many grandchildren are not being raised by grandparents due to this. I describe that as life changing.


Those items above are what I consider a few good ideas to instill some rapidly dying values into our youth. What are your best parenting tips?



Posted in Blended Family, Christmas, Family, Holidays, Life, Marriage, parenting

Merry Christmas And Happy Holidays

My  blended family’s 2020 digital Christmas   Card.
Author Retains Right To Picturei

It is 6:46 pm on December 23 and I am still at my office, which is located roughly thirty minutes from my house. I stopped working at five. But I am so far behind in my Christmas shopping this year, that I have to begin most of my shopping tonight. As I look at my children’s Christmas lists and add things to carts online, I am reflecting back on what has to be one of the worst years of my life. However, instead of dwelling on that, I have decided to write about all the blessings I experienced instead.

Primarily, I got married to the most amazing husband who is pictured in the picture above. My kids and I love him more than words could ever articulate. He is the family that I have spent my entire life chasing. I won’t deny that when my wedding venue got cancelled on the eve of my wedding and then my honeymoon got cancelled the day of my wedding, I started to panic a little. That was all Covid’s doing, though. We figured it out and the wedding was even better than anticipated.

We have weathered the many, many trials 2020 has sent us together and the heavy stress has caused us to bend at times. But we didn’t break. And now, we are all stronger as a family. We may be chaotic and filled with one catastrophe after another but, as long as we stick together, we always come out of the other side stronger and more resilient. And, most importantly, grateful for every blessing we get.

Thank you to everyone that has followed my blog, sent me support and guidance, or just read my articles. I write this primarily for my own therapy. This blog has been another blessing that I cannot discount.

Merry Christmas to everyone, or Happy Holidays, or thank you. Every like, read, and comment was more support than I expected and it is very much appreciated. I sincerely hope that 2021 will be a different year for all of us, hopefully better, than 2020. If it is not, I will still find many blessings to count.