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2004-01-03 - 9:30 p.m.

Tonight I had an experience of treating a friend with complete unintentional cruelty, believing I was looking out for her own best interests, and was treated in kind by complete intentional cruelty. I had to call a mutual friend for support because I was feeling so lousy about myself. This happens about 3 times a year with her with me; I do something that I don't mean to or don't realize how terrible it is and try to act accordingly with her in the future, which makes things worse, and then she responds by trying to make me feel at least as bad as she does. There's never any way to win for me; apologizing does no good. I've met drill sergeants who are more forgiving than her. It is so painful to be treated so meanly by someone you care about. The worst part about it is that she feels I've treated her worse, and it's by far a worse feeling to know that you hurt someone you care about than be hurt by them; it doesn't matter if it's intentional or unintentional. I never mean to hurt anyone. I wish she would realize it. There's no use for it; I make mistakes and if my friends refuse to forgive me, who will?

I was feeling very terrible about myself and feeling like I've made yet another mistake that will haunt me for years, and was crying while my Aunt, Uncle, and cousin were over. They had all flew in from California. I was only going to see them tonight, and I felt bad that I spent half the time they were there on the phone, and the other half crying. They were supportive without being personal.

In any event, I was in no mood to go to my grandma's 80th birthday after that episode.

The amazing thing about this evening was that I realized what unconditional love is.

EVERYONE on my dad's side of the family. All nine of my grandma's kids. All of their kids. My cousin Ann's kid. Even the ones who flew in from California! They're so seldom here... first time in years. I'm particularly close to that family; I went to Europe with them when I was 12. My uncle Paul, who a lot of people in the family have problems with, was also there. He's been diagnosed as a bipolar manic depressive, and there's been a lot of problems in the family as a result. He was apparently very mean when they were all younger, and no one knew the cause. Now that he's been diagnosed with a mental illness, and some of them still have a problem with him being around their kids.

Tonight it was all put aside. The whole family came together for the first time in years. I didn't really want to go before; now I wonder what I was thinking. These are the people who will stick by me. Even when I make mistakes.

My dad wrote a beautiful speech, and read it tonight. Lots of us cried, even myself; although I don't share a lot of memories, the feeling of family and life memories shared with them was what it was all about. Here is the speech:

Mom�s 80th Birthday:

In the following essay I have tried to be funny and sentimental, and if I offend anyone, too bad.

I remember:

� Choking on a fishbone and mom calmly feeding me bread in a high chair.

� Picnics at Wooddale Park

� Exploring with Ted and Paul at Lake Harriet at Picnics

� Burning leaves on Casco Avenue

� Roasting marshmallows on Casco

� Goldy, and Mikael, and the parakeet who flew so mysteriously away

� The lamb, geese, chickens and all other sorts of Easter pets

� Christmas after Christmas

� Mass, alter boys, Benedictions

� Baseball, Basketball, Tennis Golf Cross Country Wrestling, and Rides upon Rides

From Ted, Amy Mary and Paul, but most of all MOM

� Paper routes

� Being sick with the Flu along with every other kid in the house

� Mom coming home with Phil

� Mrs. Williams

� Playing baseball at Wooddale until dinner

� Mom getting the Mink Coat

� Mom getting the LaSabre and the Cadillac

� State Fair

� Playing baseball in the back

� Golfing with Mom and Dad at Interlachen

� Mom waiting for Dad to come home from at 10 Pm at night

� Two families, TEDAMYMARYPAUL and PhilChristineSaraJenny oh and Jeff I felt lucky enough to be part of both

� Now 7 families MOMpaulmary phil, Ted, Amy Jeff Chris Sara Jenny et all

� Weddings

� Births

� Funerals

� Mom�s unwavering sense of right and wrong (Even though she might be sensing the wrong thing and be completely off base, you would never know it from her)

� Birthday parties

� Occasional disagreements with Children, Spouses, Dad, Friends, Clerks who mess up, Clerks who won�t give her the proper respect ( and discount)

� Trips to LA, Spain, Dude Ranch (Ireland without me and Paul, Remember the grass?) Trips without any of us when Mom would come home happy

(here Aunt Mary said, "And pregnant" and everyone laughed, and one of my younger 4 year old cousins said, "I don't get it." after the laughter died down. Beautiful.)

� Meeting Mom and Dad in Las Vegas

� Meeting Mom and the whole family in Atlantic City after Sara�s graduation

� Los Angeles for Catherine�s Graduation

� Trips to Hallock before Grandma and Grandpa were gone, to see Stella when she was so sick, to visit the old farm.

� Mom when she was young and full of piss and vinegar (Last week)

� Watching Mom grow over the years, and gain in wisdom and understanding

� Benilde and St. Margeret�s

� Leaving the house for College

� Leaving the house to get Married

� Sitting out in the back with Mom and Dad and having cocktails

� In the ER with Mom as she was having her heart attack,

� Watching in amazement as she survived flu�s, heart attack, breast cancer, diabetes, and all of us and the many challenges we had.

� Celebrations too innumerable to count

Moms greatest accomplishments:

� Valedictorian

� Degree in Nursing from the University of Minnesota

� Marrying Dad

� Giving birth to the following: Ted - A Rocket Scientist, who is the most intelligent person I have ever met ( Next to Dad) (and Mom for marrying Dad)

� Amy and Mary the original Minnesota Twins, one who became a nurse, and one who became a teacher, both who achieved advanced degree�s and have the respect of their family and peers. Both married nice guys.

� Paul who has great intelligence and abilities. You have struggled with demons none of us can fully comprehend, and yet Mom has never ceased to love and support you, which is amazing in and of itself. You have shown kindness and love towards Mom and others within this family, and you have received the same in return, although, not always on our or your time table.

� Phil, almost as smart as Sara, who is almost as smart as Ted, (Just kidding)

� Who became our only urologist, and who showed courage in finally coming home after 20 some years away.

� Christine � What can I say? First of the Triumverate: Loving, knows just about everything about parenting, spouses, girlfriends, boyfriends, cooking, quitting smoking, her theory of inlaws, relativity, travel, and the catholic church. Oh, and Jenny and Sara and how they should live their lives.

� Sara � Smarter than Everyone except Ted ( And Christine), funny, way too serious, not too serious enough, Doctor, Mother, and Cook. Great supporter of Christine and Jenny, always willing to help (Full time Job), smart enough to buy a cabin.

� Jenny � The one who always enjoyed life, took risks, and had fun - a great Mother, supporter of Sara and Christine, and of Mom

We all have received love, support, money, and time from you. You raised us while dad was out raising money. Through good and bad times, you have been there for us.


Your children

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