About peaceloveandviolets

I'm Tori...momma to Violet and Luca. I believe in peaceful parenting and am very attached to my little one. I *try not to* get worked up about things I can't control...and I wouldn't have made it through college without yoga. I love wine and writing...and am pretty certain that nobody will read this....but I'm excited to share my thoughts anyway.

Meditate.

The world has been heavy on my heart lately–as I imagine it has been for many others.

So much anger. So much hate. So much that is misunderstood from soul to soul.

I could share my feeling about the NFL. I could write about our President. I could explain what patriotism means to me. Perhaps I will write about each of those things eventually. I certainly feel drawn to–especially because I want to be the change that I want to see in this world.

For today: I’ll share my internal struggle of mom life. Time for me. Self care.

A few months ago I decided to learn how to play the guitar. It’s important to me–to honor my dad–and because music is magic.

There is a cost involved, to pay for my lessons. There is a time commitment, to practice. And that is that. I can’t afford anything else for me. Moms don’t get to do all of the things. If I’m being honest: I should practice 100% more than I do now.

During my meditation tonight, the lady with the calm voice (it’s a guided meditation) said this:

“Poor people have poor people problems. Rich people have rich people problems. Single people have single people problems. Married people have married people problems.”

All situations have problems that accompany them–we are powerless to stop the problems from happening. The power comes in how we handle the problems.

Tonight my meditation took me to a meadow, with birds singing and water flowing down a creek. My deep breaths were cleansing. It was so nice to be there–added bonus–it was free.

I mom so hard that I loose my drive to speak out when I have something to say. I no longer do all of the things that I’ve always loved to do. I can’t possibly take time out of my day to work out. The only reason I take a music lesson is because I pay for it a month in advance and wasting money causes me anxiety.

These are my full-time working mom problems. I’m going to handle them with meditation. It’s free. And tremendously helpful.

Oh- and check it out. I wrote an addition to my blog after my meditation. If the goal is to take care of me and do the things that I love…I’d call this instant gratification.

Look at me: saving the world. One deep breath at a time.

Advertisements

Sunflowers

I was feeling a little bummed out the other night. Violet is on vacation with her dad, and I miss her.  I wanted to take her and L to the magical sunflower field in the next town over and take their picture.  By the time Violet is home from her vacay–the magic will be gone.   

So then I thought I’d just take L.  And then I thought–how can I take pictures of such a little dude next to such big flowers.  

Then I thought I’d just take myself.  (And my camera) I packed it in the car before work and had plans to stop on my way home.  And then I didn’t.  I don’t know why…I just felt sad about going alone.  

Last night I was changing L’s diaper butt and I looked out the window.  It was a gorgeous evening.  Without much thought I scooped him up, grabbed my camera and went to the field.  

It’s like a 3 mile dive at the most.  The first mile I was thinking “how’s this going to work?”.  The next mile I’m like, “maybe I’ll just selfie–it’ll be fine”.  In the homestretch I was just excited to see the sunflowers up close, (and the bees too!).  



When I started to take L out of his Shark Stroller, a girl asked if I would like her to take our picture.  So yeah, that’s pretty amazing.  She took some pictures of my Duke and me, and my soul felt happy.  


(Photo taken by a super sweet girl named Marlee Snyder.  Thanks, lady!)

So here is my point.  Sometimes life gets you down.  Adulting is hard.  I hate going 8 hours without my Violet–let alone a whole week.  Sometimes L would rather kick me in the throat than sleep.  Maybe you feel the dark cloud of depression telling you to skip the Sunflower field this year since nothing matters anyway and it didn’t all work how exactly how you pictured it.  

Don’t let that shit rule your life.  You matter, and your thoughts and opinions matter too.  If all you can feel is the weight of the world–go find something beautiful.  Drink it in.  Appreciate that one thing, even if it’s only for a hot second. 

 There is beauty all around us.  It’s in the smile you give to the old man walking down the street.  It’s in the summer sunset. It’s in the thunder rolling through the sky.  It’s in your children laughing.  It’s in the Sunflower field.  


PS:  little dudes and big flowers are perfectly acceptable to photograph.  

PSS:  If you’re in a dark place with no beauty or magic–call me.  I can’t promise that I’ll know what to say, or that I’ll be able to relate.  I can promise to listen.  And to help you curl up in a blanket and hide for a little bit, if that is what you need.  I’ve been through some shit, too.  I don’t want you to go through your shit alone.  

Love, Light and Peace to you all. ❤️

Father’s Day: without your Father 💔

When I started writing this Blog, my dad was proud.  He was literally proud of every breath I took–so I wasn’t surprised.  He didn’t quite understand what a blog is: so he asked me to print “my book” for him so that he could read it whenever he wanted.  

It’s so obvious to me that my dad is part of who I am, it always has been.  Today:  his absence feels so heavy on my heart.  

I wish he were sitting in the living room with the mustard yellow walls wearing his SEPTA uniform.  He would be playing his guitar, and I would come running down the hall–my six year old self–in my ballerina hippo sweatshirt.  I want to go back to that time; when the man who brought me into this world showed me what it’s like to be loved unconditionally.  He showed me how the mother of his children should be treated, so that I would know what I should demand in some twenty years when I became a mother myself.  



I want to go back to that ferry that took my fifth grade class to Ellis Island and my dad–decades older than the other dads–came as a chaperone.  He wore his signature cap and his sunglasses…cameras in tow.  He was happy, and round.  I was so excited to have him there.  The Twin Towers were still there. It’s so odd to look back at the pictures.  It reminds me of the day they came down–and all I wanted was to be home with my dad.  His safety.  

I want to go back to all of my dance recitals, parades, field hockey games, plays, piano recitals, choral concerts.  I want to be cheering for the basketball team in my senior year.  I want to visit all of the activities that I did because he was there for Every. Single. One.  (Taking pictures)

I want to go back to that time I got the brush stuck in my hair on opening night of Music Man. When my mom and I took hours trying to get the brush out of my hair.  We finally cut it out–leaving my hair a chopped up mess.  I want to be there now, to hear my dad say: “it’s only hair” as I sob over the loss of my normal hairdo.  Lord knows that set me off back then–but he was right.  It was only hair.  Every parent can benefit from not sweating the small stuff.  

I want to go back to that time in college when my dad used Big Red (the house beer funnel) to put gas in my car because it was on empty.  Or the time he told me not to drink too much on my 21st Birthday and I got that over-the-glasses look of scolding when he saw my list of shots.  He said, “Victoria!” in that way of his.  I want to go back to the day I came home from the beach with a tattoo when I was 18 and he said, “it comes off, right?”–but he never once made me feel small for making choices that he didn’t approve of–only loved.  

I want to go back to that time I didn’t dance with him at a wedding when I was 10.  I need a do-over of that.  If I had him here I would dance with him every chance I get.  I’d even go back to our dance on my wedding day–even though we all know how that all turned out.  


I want to go back to seeing him light up so bright every time he saw Violet.  I want to hear him brag about how she’s so smart and funny.  


I want to go back to the few moments I was able to capture of him holding Luciano.  Even at the end of his journey, (my dad’s life was definitely a journey) he was able to comfort and calm his grandson with that magical pop pop power.  

I want to play the guitar with him. I want us to sing together.  I want him to see that so much of me is him–even more so after he’s gone.  

I miss my Dad. 


I know I’m always going on and on about moms and motherhood and all–but dads: you’re all so important too.  I know how lucky I am to have had the dad I had.  His support was worth more all of the wealth in the world.  His love of our family was second to none.  

I know my Dad is still with me.  I know he’s proud of me and my kids and my mom.  I also know that he is proud of Joe.  

I like to imagine our two dads having a Father’s Day cup of coffee. Watching us from their heavenly point of view.  Exchangeing stories of our childhoods.  My dad would thank Joe’s dad for the awesome man that he raised.  It’s not an easy task to develop the next generation of good men.  

Here’s to the dad’s.  The dad’s of the little girls–because it’s your job to teach her what her worth is.  It’s your job to model healthy love.  The dad’s of the little boys–because it’s your job to show him that emotions are ok. It’s your job to teach him respect and concent.  Here’s to the pop-pops who have stepped up to be the man in their grandchild’s life (another thing my dad did).  Here’s to the moms who are pulling double duty and being dad as well.  

Happy Fathers Day, Daddy.  I love you with my whole heart.  I miss you every day.  

Happy Fathers Day Joe.  Thank you for being an amazing foundation and role model for the kids.  I’m sure you are exactly the man your dad wanted you to be.    I love you. ❤️

Momma. 

My earliest recollection of “mothering” takes me back to the early 90’s.  I was 12, and I was caring for my baby nephew.  Soon after my mom was gone, he started to cry and I could tell that something wasn’t right.  

It was a desperate cry, and as I held him his body temperature climbed at a noticeable rate.  

I stripped him down to his diaper and tried to feed him a bottle.  I had heard some moms talk about fevers being dangerous for babies.  I knew that I could get ahold of my mom to come home as soon as she reached her destination–but in a land before cell phones, it was going to take some time.  

I took some wash clothes and made them cool, and laid them all over the baby.  And then I sang.  Every song I could remember hearing my mom sing.  When I ran out of those songs–I sang whatever songs I knew.  

When my mom got home, I filled her in on what I had done so far…and she cried.  

She cried because I had done everything right and she was proud of me.  

Most of us are born with this instinct to care and nurture.  As this Mothers Day approached, I realized that “Motherhood Status” has so many stages. 

By the time Violet was born, I already considered myself a mom.  I was a bonus mom.  (I don’t like the term “stepmom”…bonus is more my style).  Ethan’s mom is alive and well, and present and loving.  I never tried to take her job–I always just tried to be the best mom-like figure I could be for him when he was in my care.  I love that guy so much–and I always will.  I hope that he always knows how much he means to me, and that I’d do anything for him.  No. Matter. What.  

So to all of the Bonus Moms out there:  Happy Mothers Day.  There are so many variables in blended families, so many challenges, heartaches, joys….but at the end of the day:  You, are “Momming”.  I celebrate you.  

Giving birth doesn’t make you a mom.  Having a piece of your heart walking around outside of your body makes you a mom.  

Many people only started to wish me a Happy Mothers Day once Violet was born.  That first Mothers Day doesn’t leave me with fond memories.  I was a newly single mom–with this most perfect little bundle of baby.  I was depressed for about a hundred reasons.  I missed Ethan.  I was exhausted.  I was scared… But I was also to thankful.  Violet kept me going.  I found strength I never knew I had, because of her–I am eternally greatfull to her for that.  She picked me to be her momma because nobody can love her better than I can.  


So to all of the Single Moms:  Happy Mother’s Day.  You are the definition of Fierce.  I see you.  I am sending you love, light, and strength.  Motherhood is hard and you are slaying.  When I think of all of you today (and the other 364 days of the year), I am full of pride.  Be proud of yourself.  Love yourself.  

Today:  today I am sitting in a big comfy couch watching my baby boy sleep. His dad has spoiled me rotten for Mothers Day, and he is currently on his way to a Long Island bakery to get me some Linzer Tarts.  Violet is playing with her BFF Jenny.  She is loving life.  


Momming is hard.  Momming breaks your heart sometimes.  Momming builds your heart back up.  Most nights I need a drink as strong as the woman Violet is growing up to be.  Just when I think I’m going to loose my ever-loving mind–Violet gives me a hug with a “I love you Mommy, with my WHOLE HEART”.  And then Luca smiles so big I can see his tooth.  Violet makes him giggle and I get a game-text from Ethan because he is kicking my ass at text message Battle Ship and it’s my turn to send a bomb even though I know I’m going to miss his ship because he beats me at every game.  

I know this level of Motherhood won’t be here for long. It will elvolve to older kids.  Grown kids.  Maybe one day Grandkids.  I’m excited to experience each step.  Motherhood means so many different things to so many different people.  


Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms.   Nothing works without us.  We are amazing. Strong. Beautiful. So much love to every single one of you.  

To my mom.  You are my rock.  Thank you for being a super hero and for showing our whole family unconditional love every day. If I can be half the mother you are, I’ll consider that a win.  ❤

The Romper. 

Funny story…I think you’ll want to keep reading. 

I’ve come to accept that the only thing I’m ever really thinking about is feeding my children.  For Vi, it’s easy–pancakes or waffles–hot dog or ham sandwich–throw an outlier in there every once and awhile.  

For Luca it’s much more complicated.  

How much milk did he drink today versus how much I pumped?  

Do we have sweet potatoes? Was it mango or peaches that upset his belly?  What time did he eat last?  Which side was he nursing on? 

Will he need to nurse while we are out and about because if so…I’ll need to dress accordingly.  

This is where our story begins.  

So, I was at Target this week.  All by myself.  I was feeling a certain kind of way and had the notion to try in bathing suits.  

My bathing suit for this year basically needs to be magical.  It’s got to cover the girls, but also provide easy access to them.  A flattering suit would be nice, but let’s face it:  I don’t really give a shit if it’s not because…well, who cares.  I have an infant and I’m constantly hungry.  💣 

So while I’m looking for the section with the magical mommy bathing suits–I see these tops.  They are longer and flowy.  Fun bohemian prints, and the best part of all:  they are like a mock wrap with excellent access to the baby feeders (complete with a button to keep them covered when there is no feeding going on).   

I’m thinking I’ll get one in every color!  

What size should I grab?  Well…it’s a top and it looks like they are pretty loose to begin with.  I’ll try a Large. I better take an XL too… just for good measure.  OMG this is so exciting.  

First I try the bathing suits on.  I text some selfies to my bestie for input.  My spirit isn’t totally crushed.  I love Target.  I love being at Target with no kids.  

Now.  The perfect nursing tops.  I grab the large first.  You know, start small…go bigger if necessary.  

Wait–what is this?  This isn’t a shirt.  It’s got shorts on the bottom, but it’s all one piece.  

It’s a romper.  

Now, I know I have no business wearing a romper.  Although–the word romper does kind of sound similar to things I can relate to–like roll-y-poll-y.  You know what?  I’ve always wondered what the romper would look like on me.  I’m feeling groovy today.  Let’s give it a go.  

The shorts part was fine: nothing major to report.  I get my left arm in.  I immediately notice that it’s not smooth sailing.  At this point I *knew* that it was time to abort the mission.  

Alas, I forged ahead.  My right arm went in.  It wasn’t impossible–but it also wasn’t that easy.  I look up.  

Nope.  A Large in this adorable romper is not for me.  I’m pretty well stuffed into this thing and it’s totally sabotaged my fitting room experience.  This needs to come off, and I need to burn some sage to clear out the negative energy it has created.  

I go for the right arm.  That’s when it hits me, like a solid sucker punch to the jaw. I can’t take the romper off.  I’m effing stuck.  

Well, shit.  

The first three or four minutes were used for planning.  How flexible are you, Tori?  Maybe try to “think small” and you can be smaller?  The force is with me, I am one with the force…  No, just bend your arm the same way you did when you put it on.  Should be easy.  

Not easy.  At this point I’m starting to think that the boho romper is actually the newest design for a straight jacket.  The fabric is not stretchy at all.  It’s very binding.  This is why mommies love LuLaRoe.  It’s so much better to put clothing on and feel like you’re not wearing any clothing at all–than it is to put the straight jacket boho romper on (and get stuck).  

But it’s perfect for nursing, Dammit! 

Okay, okay, okay.  I am okay.  Breath.  

Get dressed over top of the romper and get some butter from the dairy section?  

Am I going to have to wear the damn thing home, and cut it off?  Do I pull the tag and pay for it?  F no.  That’s a ridiculous waist of money.  I guess I’ll have to shop lift.  I’ve never done that before.  I mean–living on the edge, right?  Bon Jovi would be proud.  Maybe not though…the consumer who this romper was made for is too young to know about John Bon Jovi.  He would think I’m a nut job for trying this.  I’m never trying new things, ever again.  

Ok, so my options are:  shop lift–or sit in this fitting room until I die.  

I wonder if my kids miss me?  How long will it be until my family files a missing persons report?  

I need to go home, but I’m not going down for this.  I’m not calling Joe to come bail me out of prison because I got myself stuck in a fashion forward 911.  

I think the resolution was somewhat of an out of body experience.  I don’t really know how I got out of it.  

I was sweaty, and very red.  It took what seemed like 5 hours–but was more like 20 minutes.  Still–A crazy amount of time to take an article of clothing off.  Not sexy at all.  

I have but one regret.  I should have recorded this experience to share with others.  It was hysterical.  Truly the funniest pickle I’ve found myself in for a long time.  I could have put it to a soundtrack of Chris Farley singing “fat guy in a little coat” and we would have all laughed….and laughed….   

Well anyway,  if any of you find a nursing friendly flowing shirt that is NOT a romper–let me know!  


Boobs

I got your attention, didn’t I?  

Feeding your children with your boobs is hard.  My own breastfeeding journey has ups and downs and more downs and precious memories all wrapped up with pride.  

I am four and a half months into breastfeeding my second baby, and what I’ve learned is:  this time around is nothing like the first.  

All the mommas say that each kid is different, I didn’t know exactly what that meant until baby Luciano came along.  He’s a champion nurser.  Violet never quite got the hang of it.  The good news is: I’ve been on both sides of the nursing experience and I’ve learned a lot.  

I like to share my knowledge.  Sharing means caring, and I care about your boobs.  If you, like me, have decided to nurse your baby, some of my opinions may be just what you need to get through.  

Your support system is of utmost importance.  

Let’s be honest: the first month of breastfeeding sucks.  If I wasn’t so determined to nurse my babies for at least a year, I would have quit after a week.  

L’s daddy is an amazing lactation cheerleader.  He even knows that it’s his job to take pictures of me nursing in public. 

The lack of support vs. solid support makes a world of difference.  I used a nipple shield for both of my kids.  Violet was never able to nurse without it.  Luciano only needed it for a few weeks.  The difference is that my support system was invested in how things were going– and in how he could help.  I didn’t feel like I was in it alone.  If you have a partner who thinks that a breastfeeding relationship is just between a mother and a baby make them read this:  partners are very important too!  

When I became a single mother within the first year of Violet’s life, my level of support didn’t change-it wasn’t ever there.  I will tell you that I successfully breastfed Violet for 12 months, because  I did.  Successful breastfeeding comes in many forms.  I exclusively pumped for six of those 12 months.  The end result was that my baby had breast milk for the first year of her life, and that would be a success.  

The support I have how now has provided me with the ability to pull encouragement and strength when I need it most.  That has made all the difference.  L has a proper latch (he didn’t at first).  He’s able to go back and forth between pumped milk in a bottle when I’m at work,  and the breast when I’m with him.  Violet refused to latch once she regularly had a bottle .  I’m not saying that you won’t be successful with out a man, or that you can’t do it alone.  I’m just saying that the help is valueable.  Support doesn’t have to be traditional.  It can be your mom, a friend, or your local Le Leche League.  My advice would be: in the months leading up to your baby’s big entrance:  make sure you have your support lined up.  Some is better than none.  You’ll need it–just like your milk filled boobies will need that super supportive bra.  

Accessories can be a life (boob) saver.

Nipple cream you guys.  Your nipples will need some serious TLC.  I’ve tried all kinds of nipple creams.  Earth Momma Angel Baby Nipple Butter is by far my favorite. You can find it here.  At first I was thrown off by the seemingly hard round balls in it, but once it hits the air, all of the ingredients soften together and it’s like magic for your boobs.  It’s organic and non-GMO, and you don’t have to worry about wiping the  reminants away before baby eats.  Bonus: it cleared up L’s baby acne and drastically improved his cradle cap, too.  I put this stuff on everything…even up my nose! (The air is dry and my nose was bleeding. Don’t judge.  It worked.). 

Gel pads.  Get them before your baby comes.  Put them in your fridge.  When you are in those first two weeks…putting those suckers on your nipples in between feedings will be a big old sigh of relief.  I used this kind.  

A pump is a good thing to have.  Even if you won’t be working, or spending lots of time away from baby, I would reccommend you have a pump.  At least a manual pump; sometimes you just need to take some pressure off the top.  Sometimes your baby decides to take a long nap, and if you don’t pump, you essentially miss a feeding.  It’s all about supply and demand–so there’s a time to pump and a time to not pump.  (You don’t want to create an over supply issue).  Either way–it will come in handy at some point.  I have a double electric pump because I work full time (and exclusively pumped with Violet).  I also have a hand pump like this one.  Some of my nursing momma friends swear by this silicone pump, but I haven’t tried it yet.  If you do: let me know how it goes! 

One more gadget:  the Milkies Milk Saver.  I have an obsession with keeping my supply.  When I was nursing Violet-I had a lot of milk.  Then my world came crashing down around me and my milk disappeared.  (Milk doesn’t like drama.  Stay as stress free as possible). So now that I get another go at it, I’m very aware of my supply.  Your let-down happens on both sides.  I collected up to 5 oz of breast milk a day using the milk saver.  Once I established my supply, I stopped messing with it, but it was pretty cool for a little while.  It makes me sad to waste that liquid gold.  

Tips for when it’s uncomfortable

Know when to use hot therapy, and when to use cold therapy.  When you’re in the hospital, birthing center, or have your midwife with you in those first hours–it seems like an expert is always close by to help you adjust a latch, perfect a hold, even make you comfortable with pillows and sips of water.  Then you blink and you’re on your own.  And THEN your milk comes in.  The entrance of the milk threw me right back to square one.  Sure: I had the most amazing rock star boobs….but my goodness they were full- and hard- and hurty.  Any latching that either kid had gotten the hang of was instantly gone.  You try latching on to a watermelon.  Not easy.  

When this is you: reach for the frozen peas.  I was afraid to use cold therapy when my milk came in, because I thought that you only use cold when you want your milk to go away.  My amazing lactation consultant set me straight when she explained that the cold helps to calm your breast tissue.  Everything is enflamed and swollen.  Using a cold compress in between feedings is totally fine–and rather helpful around those few days when you feel like you’re carrying around water balloons that are about to over-fill and pop.  I received these as a gift and they came in handy.  

Clogged ducts are almost inevitable, or so it seems.  This is when you use heat.  I dealt with mastitis with both of my babies, and this time around one of my mommy groups gave me the most amazing advice:  hang your boobs into hot water to help un-clog the duct.  I tried it, and it worked.  I filled a basin with water as hot as I could stand it.  Then, I leaned over the water and massaged.  Bingo.  It also works to lay the baby down and nurse one your hands and knees.  You know:  gravity.  

Keep reading for my supply tips.

I’ve talked to lots of fellow mommas about supply.  I’m sure my tips won’t work for everyone, but they work for me.  

First and foremost:  RELAX.  Keep your life as stress-free as possible.  (I know: easier said than done).  My marriage ended while I was trying to produce milk for Violet.  It didn’t work well–it was a constant struggle.  I trickled through the finish line, like an exhausted runner at the 26th mile.  I still have stress in my life now.  My employer went through a buy-out a few weeks before L was born, I lost my dad while I was on maternity leave, I went back to a completely different job…those are all things that would cause anyone to stress out.  When it’s time to feed L, or pump for him: I just push it all out.  I’ve practiced mindfulness and I take deep breaths.  So far-so good.  

The tea.  Mother’s Milk Tea, Lactation tea…you either love it, or you don’t.  I find it to be much easier to drink when I make it into a batch of iced tea.  Sweeten with honey to help with the licorice taste if that isn’t your cup of tea–pun intended.  I notice a difference when I drink a few cups a day.  

Hippy Voodoo Oils.  I love essential oils.  Fennel and Basil EO’s help to maintain your supply.  I mixed equal drops of each with a carrier oil in a roller bottle.  After I use it, I smell like an Italian Restaurant.  I just roll in on to my chest–avoiding the areola and nipple section–and rub it in.  

And as always:  make sure you’re drinking enough water.  I know: you’re tired of hearing it.  So am I.  Do it anyway.  

That latch tho.

For me, it was elusive.  It finally clicked when I laid down.  Yep.  Look it up: laid back breastfeeding.  I didn’t think it made sense, but what it does, is force that little nugget to open his mouth is wide enough to get milk.  I don’t have to lay down all the time now, but it was my saving grace for the first couple of months–when I was just at home anyway.  

Also, one nurse described the latch like this: your baby’s lips should look like they are able to be a suction cup against the wall.  I will actually adjust his mouth so that he is on right.  I don’t have to do it as much anymore, but it was a very helpful visual for me. 


For the love of feeding my baby. 

I find that nursing can be hard and sometimes frustrating.  But now I’m finally at a place where we settled in.  I’m comfortable–he’s comfortable.  I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world.  Nobody else gets to stare into those beautiful big blue eyes quite like I can.  


I’m proud that I pushed through.  I set a goal, and stuck to a goal.  And now I’ve set it again.  This happens to be one of my favorite things to talk about: so please–if your needing some of that ever so important support–let me know!  I’d love to be your lactation cheerleader!  

My Dad ❤️

These are the words that I spoke at my dad’s memorial service.  Tomorrow, we will be surrounded by people we love, being thankful for all we have.  It will be a little sad…because the most important chair will be empty.  Dad’s chair.  I miss him so much.  But I am thankful.  Thankful for him, and for the way he raised me.  
My dad lived for 50 years before he had an awesome daughter named Victoria. As he tells it: he named me Victoria after some falls in Africa. Lynn–after Victoria. And Edwards after everybody else. The dad jokes have always been plentiful.  


I’ve heard stories from his first 50 years. About summers in New Jersey. About his band, The Davenport 5. And how he loved to teach and play his guitar in school…but also throw erasers at the students who couldn’t stay awake. The eraser thing is crazy to me…I’ve never seen my father hurt a fly…but I have several first hand accounts from former students that this was a real thing. I’ve heard stories about working at Penhurst and stories from the day I was born. Mom knew he was beside himself because he had the camera around his neck–but took no pictures.  

As for the man that my father was for my lifetime. I don’t even think the right words exist. I’m having trouble deciding on which words are the best words to share and that is wild because words are my thing.  

So I’ll start with Musical. Music was my dad. He shared his eclectic taste in music with me–and with generations of others along the way. Gospel, Rock, Country, Blue Grass, Jazz, Classical. From Frank Sinatra to the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. From the Eagles to Tchaikovsky. And now: just about anything I hear reminds me of him. The music of my dad is the gift that keeps on giving.  


Humor. If you are familiar with any of the Edwards family I’m sure you’re familiar with the humor. It’s dry, sometimes unexpected. It’s driving with dad through farm town USA when he stops and points and says: “Those cows. Are OUTSTANDING in their field.” Or The constant choice of his middle finger for blood sugar testing when mom would say “Donald, I need a finger.”


Storytelling. You’ve probably heard the story of the time my dad met Dick Clark. Or about the time my high school marching band played at the Vet for a Phillies game. According to my dad–I was the only one up on the big screen that day. And now when I start to tell a story that I’ve told many times before, I smile because I know I get that from my dad. Remind me to tell you about that one time I met Jimmy Rollins in an airplane. It’s a good one.  


Pride. My dad was a proud man—but proud in that he was always so proud of his loved ones. He talked about me as if I graduated from Harvard instead of Kutztown. I was the star of the field hockey team–even though I never played varsity. I was the prima ballerina–even though I’m pigeon toed and sometimes don’t know my left from my right. Violet is the smartest most beautiful little girl there ever was. As a matter of fact, she is so smart that it’s almost like she’s not a child at all: she’s “a midget”. Ok–so I actually feel the same way about my kids. He was right about Violet.  


Compassionate. The only person I know who has as much compassion as my dad is my mom. And also probably Mother Theresa. Over the course of my entire life….and even before there was a me…my dad has been so giving of himself. He would give rides, give money, buy food and even just lend an ear if that is what you needed. I don’t even know how many different families and people have lived in my basement because they had nowhere else to go. He always saw the good in people. Sometimes he only saw the good even when it was surrounded by, and over taken by the bad. If there’s going to be only one lesson to teach your kids: it should be that one. To always find the good.  

Smart. He was the smartest man I know.  


Safe. He made me feel so safe each and every time I needed to. On Sept. 11th 2001 after I watched a plan fly into a skyscraper on live television–I called my dad. He couldn’t save anyone, he didn’t know anything more than what I knew…but I called him and I felt safer because of it.  

Unconditional love. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that my father loved me unconditionally. My earliest memories are of him asking me: “who loves you, baby?” And I would jump on him and yell “you do!”. They say, that if you want your daughter to end up with a man who will treat her right, love her mother that same way. My dad did that flawlessly. He loved my mom every day. All day. So deep down inside, even if I lost my way here and there… I’ve always known my worth.  

So, I’ll miss you daddy every day. Thank you. For teaching me how to be like you. For being the best dad in the universe. I love you.