5 years, Snow, Not just a pancake, Reilly girl isolation, and general Covid nonsense….

My blog runs hot and cold.  I get a good groove going, and I can crank them out every couple of days or weeks.   Then the writers block comes, and it attaches itself to me like an adhesive.  I have pages of beginning paragraphs, and nothing beyond those first few words.  So on this cold & snowy winter morning, I am going to try again.  I have the urge to share, to pour my heart out into my words, and release months of emotional highs and lows.  Let’s we where it goes.

I began my blog five years ago when my pop passed away.  It became an emotional crutch for me as I struggled along the grief journey.  I was wading in uncharted waters, and needed something to help me along.   Fast forward FIVE years, and this coming Monday will be my pops five year anniversary.  How has it been five years?  How could our family survived this long without him? Somehow we did, following the instructions he gave us 5 years ago today.  We (some of the Reilly girls and guys and my mom) gathered around my pop in his home office, as he sat in his worn leather chair in his robe and pajamas, and at his request made a toast with our St. Francis Cabernet.  It would be the last time he got out of bed, the last time he spoke to us.  Whoever thought to video tape it, I am eternally grateful.  I think it was Karen.   My pop was weak, yet he spoke very clear words, and I took them as his instructions; “we’re here because we want to be here, we’re here because HE wants us to be here, we’re gonna do things together, because HE wants us to be together, all the while confident we have a good skipper, Amen”.   I have lost count over the years how many times I have watched and listened to his words.  While it is sad, and I sob uncontrollably sometimes, it is a priceless treasure.   The Reilly girls took these words, my pops final instructions to heart.  We have done things together like never before.  It’s what we do, its how we cope.   This past year, we have been limited like never before in our togetherness, and it is crippling for our family.  We don’t know how to be apart, and it has been a challenge.   I can only pray that the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter, and we can resume what was our normal.  

As with most ‘occasions’, my pops five year anniversary was no different.  We had a grand plan of a celebratory mass, and breakfast at my pops favorite spot.  The best part of the plan, was my sister Heidi was going to come up from South Carolina for the first time in 14 months.   I don’t know if any of us have ever gone 14 months without seeing each other.  It just isn’t done.  Yet, here I sit, with snow falling yet again, crushed that Mother Nature has forced my sister to cancel her trip.   We are all disappointed, my mom and Heidi are devastated, and there is nothing I can do to fix it.  It is a terrible feeling knowing the pain my sister is feeling, isolated in SC away from all of us.  My dad would say, “it is what it is”, but right now it just sucks.  Some days I feel like the pandemic is trying to break us, keeping us apart.  Even knowing that all this separation is temporary, it’s not easy for a Reilly girl to be kept away.  

It was a strange day of emotions yesterday, the highs and lows of my day were huge.  The high of a good doctors report, a great hair appointment, and fun coffee/lunch with my friends at the salon, while the lows of my sister canceling her trip, my mom being sad, and so much snow and miserable weather just swirled around my being.   My family (Brian & the kids) is in Florida visiting my in-laws, while I stayed home with the dogs so I could see my sisters & my mom this weekend.   With the realization that this wasn’t happening for me, I tried to find a way to make myself feel better, and in true Reilly girl form, turned to food.   The ultimate comfort food is my mom’s German pancakes.   No matter what the occasion is, when my mom makes them, it is heaven. They are HUGE, very thin, and they are delicious.  My mom makes them for us whenever we like, breakfast, lunch or dinner, or even a snack.  It’s just her thing – my kids were raised loving them as much as I do.  I have tried, and failed, many many times to make them.  Mom has stood beside me, instructed me with patience & ease, and to no avail.   I cannot make them.  When I know my mom is coming for a few days, or visiting us at the beach house, I crave them like crazy.   Last night, at around 8:00pm, I decided to try to make them.  i didn’t have high hopes, as it has always been beyond my realm of expertise.  Even as I mixed the batter, I wasn’t optimistic.  As I poured the batter into my nicely buttered frying pan (that I bought just for when Mom makes her pancakes), something miraculous happened.  My pancake took shape, began to cook all around the edges, and before I knew it, I was flipping it over and a minute later, I had done it.   One, then two, perfectly cooked pancakes, just like my moms.   It seems like a small menial task, wouldn’t mean anything to anyone but me- but it did the trick.   It gave me sheer joy, and made me feel like my mom was in my kitchen.   I have enough batter to make 2 more for breakfast today, and when I finish writing, that is my plan.  So much more than just a pancake.

So as the snow piles up yet again, and I sit here with a good cup of coffee in my warm home with Kooper & Kody, I know I am blessed, and I am so grateful.  I am hopeful my writers block is gone for good.   There are so many things I want to write about and share, so let’s see what happens.  It is what it is.



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