Another turn around the sun

I’m completing another turn around the sun and have been looking back on some very fond memories, during a time when some new happy memories are being created.

My daughter is doing wedding planning and this is a wonderful time for her and for our family. I had my first ever experience in a bridal shop, as she tried on dresses, even finding a couple that merited adding the veil. Yes, there were tears of joy! The final dress hasn’t been purchased yet, it’s a process involving visiting more shops.

The theme of her wedding is “Princess Bride”, so long dresses and romance are high on the list.

My daughter has asked my brother to walk her down the aisle as her dad passed away a few years ago, and he said he would wear our dad’s stage costume, as a way to bring in memories of her grandfather who passed away when she was a baby.

Since my brother will be wearing the outfit in the photo below, (worn by our dad in the bottom row, center), I also wished to wear a Ukrainian-styled outfit, with an embroidered blouse, as well as one of the skirts worn by the members of his choir I had sang in when younger, to bring in more memories.

Dad grew up in Kyiv, Ukraine, and his father was a choir conductor in one of the monasteries. As a result, Dad had a strong musical upbringing, playing violin and then the trumpet. He was taken by German soldiers from his home when he was 17 years old, as were many youths, and marched to slave labor camps where they were forced to work in ammunition factories making bullets for the German war effort.

He looks like Yul Brynner in “The King and I” or “Taras Bulba” doesn’t he? Dad lost most of his hair from the terrible living conditions and the awful stresses of living through the time in a slave labor camp, so he never did the comb-over, but just shaved his head entirely.

After World War II ended and the Allies liberated the camps, my dad and his sister emigrated to Canada, and he ended up in Montreal, where he helped the growing Ukrainian community. Having grown up with the musical background he had, he spent years writing the sheet music for all the church liturgical music, as well as the community choir and an orchestra where Ukrainian folk songs were celebrated. He wrote music for all the voices in the choir as well as for each instrument playing in the orchestra. In all, he contributed over 70 songs to the Ukrainian community.

Even though my daughter never knew her grandfather, we have kept his memory alive for her. He also inspired many in his choirs and orchestra to go into musical careers, leaving behind a rich legacy.

By the way, if you want to purchase any Ukrainian clothing or household items, sells some awesome products and they are donating their profits as well as tips to support relief efforts in Ukraine! I have found some items on their site to complete my wedding outfit, and I feel great knowing I’m helping support Ukraine.

My daughter and family came up on the weekend to take care of some wedding planning things as well as to celebrate my birthday. For me, the best gift is spending time with the fam!

My daughter was very flattering, telling me how good I look for my age, but my 15-year-old teenage granddaughter who is going through the brutal and sarcastic phase declared that at 61 years old I looked 80 and that I’m now officially VERY old in her eyes. My daughter gave her a hard stare, but my granddaughter stood her ground laughing at her own joke.

Honestly, I’ll be happy when the twins outgrow this strongly opinionated phase. I remember I thought I was hilarious at that age, so maybe this is payback!

It’s funny how our memories work; things we had long ago forgotten can come up when we start talking and reminiscing, which is what we are doing during this wedding planning time.

As things come up, we get opportunities to look more objectively at old events, with the immediacy of emotions having had an opportunity to cool off. We get to see whether we responded well or not, and even to be able to review our perceptions of past events, due to having learned more about what happened, what was going on behind the scenes, or what certain people had experienced themselves.

I find my birthdays are times when I reminisce or just reprocess once more past events, and this year was no different. Thankfully, the memories that came up this year were memories of my Dad, due to the wedding planning. My daughter will be turning 36 this year, (so it is 35 years since Dad left us), and I’m nearing the age when he passed from cancer.

Keeping memories alive is a very joyful thing to do when people have had positive and powerful impacts on our lives. My daughter’s Fiance suggested I write my life story, including my dad’s story because we have experienced some incredible things, both positive and negative. That is something I will do and have been working on parts of it.

Sending out love to each of you, may your days be filled more and more with happy memories to reminisce upon on future birthdays!

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43 thoughts on “Another turn around the sun

  1. Happy belated birthday, Tamara 🥳 it sounds like you had a lovely day. Congratulations to your daughter, too! Holding firm to tradition is important in some regard, and I hope that her wedding is all that you all wanted to be.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All birthday wishes are good wishes, nothing is ever late! Just more to enjoy! *smile* Yes, we’re having a wonderful time with everything! Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the good wishes! Yes, I had that snarky sense of humor when I was her age and thought I was just HILARIOUS! I know better now of course, and thankfully realize this is just a phase! LOL!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your photo certainly does not betray your age, Tamara. Eighty? Impossible!! I’d have guessed less than half of that.

    One doesn’t find “Taras Bulba” mentioned in many blog posts. I don’t know the Gogol novella or the movie, but I am familiar with Janacek’s symphonic poem. Here’s to the brave Ukrainians.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol! Thanks! The photo isn’t recent, it’s from when I was in my early 40s. That’s the age I feel I am! I’m 61, but according to my older granddaughter it’s like 80, and the last time I spoke with her she upped it to 100! She’s being an onery teenager! Payback no doubt from the universe from when I was a teen!


    2. PS, Taras Bulba was played by Yul Brynner, and this is one of his lesser known films. My dad would get mistaken for this actor, or else Telly Savalas, especially if my dad had a lollipop! My brother’s name is Taras, and if people asked what kind of a name it was he’d mention Taras Bulba, and some people caught the reference.

      Slava Ukraina! Слава Україні!


  3. What a lovely post, Tamara! Thanks for sharing this. Family stories are indeed important and need to be told. So much gets forgotten and it is important to keep it alive that way. Wishing you a very happy birthday and your daughter a wonderful wedding to celebrate!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! Yes, keeping family memories alive is very important for that’s what helps us understand history and helps us to humanize events. I agree with you. Thanks so much for your well wishes! They are greatly appreciated!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I am secretly 40! I’m young for my age in so many respects! My daughter tells me there are people who come into her office who are her age who look older than me.!


      1. Well yes!
        You are 40 🙌🏻
        I mean, what’s the factors that define the age??
        Age is just a number.
        I personally feel like 15, because I never had this much energy when I was 15.
        So yeah, healthy diet, workout, good sleep, and active lifestyle is what keeps us young forever.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy Birthday Tamara! I hope you have a healthy and joyous year to come! It is so lovely to catch a glimpse into your life and family history, and it’s beautiful that your rich family heritage will be incorporated into the wedding. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Rita! You aren’t the first person this week to make that suggestion! My daughter’s fiance suggested I do that too, and he said “not to leave anything out”! I’ve been through some strange things, that a lot of people wouldn’t believe are real! I’ve been wondering how to write those things! LOL!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy happy Birthday, Tamara!! Teenagers can be brutal! I remember being a mean teen too. You are my mom’s age (she’ll turn 61 later this year) but through our interactions I always assumed you are way younger since I relate with you and your thoughts so much!
    Wedding planning sounds so much fun! I hope your daughter found her perfect dress. It is so sweet that you are honouring your dad. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, I appreciate your good wishes! As they say, age is just a number; I know I don’t act my age! Connecting through thoughts is definitely ageless, for we all experience the same emotions, regardless of our generation. I’m excited to be going through this! My daughter’s 1st wedding was a done deal, her 1st father-in-law was the preacher, and they church got everything set up to help him. This time my daughter gets to choose everything. It’s a micro-wedding, so around 32 guests. Much less stressful or expensive!


  6. Happy birthday, Tamara! How fun that it coincides with wedding planning for your daughter – that’s wonderful! And I love the pictures and your memories of your dad. So fun to see you make good on that promise to write more about him! ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, thank you Wynne! I wish to write more of him, and will weave the memories into my posts! Those are good things to speak about!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It is good those family times, turning over memories of things from long ago. And they shape us to when we see that ‘time’ gone by and those pieces we have grown from. Best wishes for the wedding, the togetherness and the love from them all. May it all go well Teresa with love, light and blessings for the happy couple and their future 😀❤️🙏🏽

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Mark! I count myself very lucky indeed! These are the happy times we will be looking back on fondly, for sure! Yes, the old times shaped me into who I am today, and I’m very grateful for the lessons!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! Having come out of the relationship I had with my mother, my other relationships have become so precious to me. Celebrating them is the happy thing to do!


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