Wednesday, September 4, 2013

School Days

I don't write on this blog much, so forgive the massive gaps in time.  But the whole reason I even started was to write down experiences that I have with my children and life with them.  Which is awesome.  But sometimes there are those little tidbits that I like to share with others.

Big C started Pre-K this year.  He was in the 3 year old program last year, loved it and did an amazing job.  This year, Little C is in the 3 year program.  Little C is my firecracker.  Those teachers have their work cut out for them, trust me.  She's not a bad child, but she is ornery and mischievous.  She's also loving, sweet and a just an all around gem.  Her giggles and belly laughs are simply infectious!  She does have her ways, however.

Today was Big C's 2nd day, and Little C's first day.  If you know Little C at all, you will know that she has a favorite hat.  Its a Boonie hat.  She wears it All. The. Time.  So she naturally asked me this morning if she could wear her hat to school.  I told her no.  I told her that she didn't want to make the mistake of losing it at school or getting something on it and ruining it.  She was sad but recovered quickly and went on with our morning routine.  Here she is wearing her hat.

Little C in Her Favorite Hat

After giving the kids their vitamins, doling out drinks before we leave and making sure I have all the forms to be turned in to the teacher, we head out the door.  I sweep Little C into my arms and into her car seat, fasten her in and listen to the excited chatter of both my angels as I turn the key and roll out.  I remind them of their manners and of being a good friend to the other children in their class.  We go over sharing and taking turns and to remember to listen to their teachers.  I take Big C to his class, he gives me a huge hug and kiss and scampers off into his class to play with a few of his friends from last year.  I then take Little C over to her room and before we even get there she makes a bee line for the room.  She's so excited, its really cute.  I hand the teaching assistant the forms and pop my head into the room.  Little C is sitting down at the table putting a puzzle together.  I ask her, "Hey?!  Where is my hug?!"  She jumps up, bounces over and hugs me tight before racing back to her seat and the puzzle.

I come home.  And cry.  Then I call my best friend, Cheer.  We talk about first days and how its normal to miss them and be lonely.  Because I am.  Like, really lonely.  Both of them are at school this year.  So the house is empty.  I used to at least have Little C when Big C was at school!  I chat with Cheer for a bit and before I know it, pick up time rolls around.  I can't wait.  I've missed them so much. I jump in the car and head over to the school.  I get there early.

As I pull into the lot and park, I can see the playground, but not very well.  I can make out a child in purple (pretty sure that one is mine) and watch them all playing for a few minutes.  I'm hoping mine is behaving.  I see the teachers calling the children together to cross the parking lot and walk back over to the school classrooms. I can see Mrs. S has Little C's hand as they begin to walk across the lot, but...this child is wearing a hat.  I thought to myself, 'That little stinker found a hat in the dress up bin similar to hers and adopted it as her she is clever!'

After a few minutes the door unlocks and all the parents go inside to pick up their children.  I get to Little C's classroom first and her teacher calls out to her to come to the door.  Mrs. S then tells me that my daughter had a hat stuffed inside of her shirt so she let her wear it today and that it was fine if she wanted to wear her hat to school.  I looked her, pretty incredulously I might add.  But...I made her leave it home.  Just then Little C bounded out of the room, wearing her hat.  The hat I told her she couldn't take to school.  The hat she stuffed under her clothes, smuggled into school and did not pull out until she was certain I was not around.

Big C & Little C on Her 1st Day of School - With Her Hat

Imma have to watch this one! *wink*


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Sixteen Years

Today.  This is the day I lost my very best friend, my rock, my inspiration, my reason, my Mother.  Sometimes, it doesn't seem like that much time has passed.  The hurt as fresh and raw as that very morning.  Ever since that day, I've never been able to "get past" my feeling of profound loss.  Everyone told me, time heals.  I'm here to tell you that it absolutely does not.  It does not heal, but it changes.  It changes the way you feel, how you perceive how you embrace and deal with the pain and loss.

Let me see if I can explain this a little better.  When my mother left this world to be with Jesus my world collapsed around me.  Everything I ever knew was gone.  I had my brother and my father and extended family, yes.  But the core of my everyday life was gone.  The weight of that was terrifying.  I was confused, scared and not sure how I was going to be able to survive.  All of that was mingled with utter loss.  I'd never felt so empty.  Never had I experienced such a deep and resounding loss.  Hollow, so hollow for that first day all I did was echo what others said to me while never really listening.  The person I loved the most in all of the world was never coming back.  There was also anger and betrayal.  Not at my mother, but at those caring for her.  How could they let this happen?  Didn't they understand she was someone's wife, mother, sister?  What was she just another body in a hospital bed?  A complicated medical case that no one wanted to deal with? A bother, inconvenience?  Betrayed by God.  I prayed all the time for Him to make her better.  From the time she first got sick when I was just 6 years old.  Doesn't God listen to a child's prayers?  I sat and prayed over her through the night for days while I sat by her bed in the was all for nothing wasn't it?  How could He have done this?  How could He take her from me?

That paragraph up there is a whole lot of ugly.  I still feel the anger.  I will always harbor that until the day I die because I know in my heart the truth.  I know how complicated my mother was viewed as being.  That is one thing that has not healed, lessened, changed with time.  But the other things have changed...a lot.  Only time can let you see a tragedy in such a perspective.  So what has time changed?

Thanks be to God, I still have my father and my brother.  Back then I realized that my mother did raise me.  I was still at home, still going to college but I was 21.  Even though I didn't think I could survive, she taught me everything I needed to know.  I took over paying bills, managing a household...even breeding/showing the dogs & horses.  I will say it was a bit harsh because even though I knew how and had watched my mother do these things, I never had the luxury of just picking up the phone and calling her to make sure I had done things right.  If I did something wrong, I dealt with the consequences and learned from those mistakes.

The loss.  That...well that never goes away.  Sometimes, I think it gets worse depending on where you are in your life.  For me, any accomplishment, goal, milestone I reach in my life...that profound loss returns because she is not there to witness it.  Like a diamond it has multiple facets.  There is nothing her absence does not touch.  My first real job, being able to give me advice or words of wisdom.  Meeting my boyfriend/fiancee/husband, having girl talk and reassuring my heart on things when I was scared or hormonal.  My wedding, helping me plan it out, to be there when I walked down the aisle with the man I am going to spend the rest of my life with.  My pregnancies, to bask in the sheer joy and talk about everything baby!  Names and colors and to daydream about who he/she will look like from our family.  The birth of my children.  I think that has been one of the most difficult.  Not just wishing she was there for the actual birth.  But to be able to have 3 generations all together.  To have her to ask questions since babies certainly don't come with instructions.  When I struggled with my emotions and frustrations.  When I really could have used her comfort and wisdom when I was dealing with PPD.  With Big C's colic and Little C's reflux went full tilt, her advice would have been invaluable.  Did I have colic, or did my brother?  Things that she alone knew about raising her children, she wasn't able to pass on to me, because she wasn't here any longer.  Every little thing my children do, reminds me of her.  First smiles, first words, first steps, first birthdays.  Accomplishments, first day of pre school, Big C's martial arts classes, cute things they say or do.  How they hug each other and say, "I love you!"  How they fight like my brother and I did do.  How she would have been an amazing grandmother.  How much she would have loved them, and how they would adore her.  If you follow and read this blog at all, you'll see how her absence comes up in the most mundane or simple last month's Grandmother's Luncheon.  When thinking of or planning future events with my children, I think of her and I miss her dearly, wishing that she could be here to experience them with us.  The loss my friends....time never only changes.  I still miss her on my own.  I am still reminded of how much I miss her, what her arms felt like around me, the sound of her laughter, her angry face, her beautiful singing...everything that I have been missing for the last 16 years.

Betrayal.  God had forsaken me.  Time does change that perspective.  I know now it was my pain crying out, desperately wanting someone, something to blame because this just wasn't supposed to happen.  Yes, it happens to other people, but not me!  Certainly not me!  It took a while before I understood exactly where my mother went, who she is with and why.  I realized that all those years I spent praying for God to make my mother better weren't wasted.  Because instead of taking her right then, He did make her well.  No, not healed, but well enough to continue to be with me for another 15 years until He couldn't wait any longer.  He did that for ME.  He put off the inevitable because I asked Him to.  Up until that very moment she left me, as I laid in bed holding her.  I asked Him not to let her suffer, to come for her and take her with Him gently and quietly.  And He did.

Sometimes, when I look at the big picture, I can see God's handiwork.  The loss of my mother left me very lonely.  It pretty much forced me to meet and talk to people.  Both people from my past, and those brand new.  If my Mom hadn't gone with the Lord when she did, I probably would not have met my husband, which means I would never have had my children.  I really don't know how life would be now.  I like to think I'd have taken a similar path and that I still would have the life I do now, only with her still in it.  But who is to say?  Only God and my mother know why things turned out the way they did.  I still grieve for her.  I miss her so, so much.  I want my children to know the kind of person their grandmother was, so I tell them about her often.  I do my best to remember things I heard as a child that are specific only to our family so that my children will teach them to their children one day and we will live on through them.  So to end this entry, I'll leave you with a little song that my Grandmother wrote while mourning the loss of her own mother when she was just 19 years old.

One night while I was sleeping,
My sisters at my side.
I heard a voice from Heaven,
"Your dearest mother has died."
Remember now dear children,
Remember one and all.
For when you lose your mother,
You've lost the best friend of all.
             -- Margaret Lindeman

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Why Don't I Have Mom Friends?

I don't know!  I do have friends. No, honest I do!  Well I guess what I'm saying is, I don't have any "mom" friends locally.  Like, at my kid's school and stuff.  I suppose its hard to make friends just because I stand outside the school, every morning and engage in the briefest of idle chatter until the door opens.  I mean I am sociable! All of my friends are people who knew me before I had my babies.  Its making new ones I'm not very good at.

It really kind of hit me today because it is the last day of school for Big C and I've realized that I did not form one relationship with any of the parents at his school.  He is now taking karate classes, and after 2 months, again I've not really established any connections with anyone there.  This is going to trickle down to him sadly.  This will mean very few, if any play dates with his classmates over the summer break.

I'm feeling like a pretty sucky mom right now.  I know the issue is me.  Obviously.  I don't seem to have much in common with the other Moms.  I'm older than a lot of them and they have kids older than mine too.  So when they are talking about the kindergarten class at blankety blank elementary school, other moms will hop into the conversation because they also have kids there....and my oldest is only 4!  Perhaps I'm slowing down in my old age and just not as chatty with people as I once was.  I don't even make new friends in the circles I used to make them in all the time.  Times have changed, or perhaps, only I have.  Have you noticed that about yourself?  That say 10 years ago you'd have been social with anyone in an instant, but these days, it seems you have nothing else in common with people?


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

There Is A Rock In My Stomach

That is sort of what it felt like at first.  Then dread set in and finally a gnawing, unrelenting sorrow.  Followed up by a healthy dose of selfishness and chased back with a double shot of guilt.  Last week, Big C came out of his classroom with a paper in his hand.  A reminder about the Grandmother's Luncheon on Friday May 10th.  I froze at seeing it, then just put it out of my mind. I dropped him off on Friday and the board outside of the the classroom had a note about needing RSVP's for the lunch.  I had that sinking feeling again. Again, I shook my head and pushed it out of my mind.  Just because I felt compelled to do is not a good idea.  It only comes back to haunt torment suffocate you later.

I picked him up that afternoon and he came bounding out of his classroom so excited to see me and bursting to tell me something.

"Guess what Mom?  We're gonna have a lunch!"

There came that feeling again. His teacher hurried out to hand him to yellow pieces of construction paper.  On the front of it, artwork done by him.  Little finger prints made into butterflies and bugs.  On the back, a white sheet of paper adhered to it.  It was an invitation.  Two of them.  One for each of his grandmothers.  He turned to take them from his teacher and his little face fell a bit as he said,

"I only have one grand mom."

She patted his little hand and said he could just keep one then.  I looked at her and my face must have had written what I was feeling all over it as she looked at me sympathetically.  I told her his grandmother lived in Oregon, and the other...was gone...passed away.  She asked if perhaps he had an aunt or other female relative who could bring him.  Again, his only aunt is across the country.  I told her I'd ask his Godmother if she could go with him.  The rock that was sitting in my stomach became heavier with each step toward the car.  Once inside he asked me if I was sad.  This kid misses nothing.  I told him that I was a little.  He asked me if it was because I missed my Mommy and I was barely able to choke out a simple "yes".

I suppose for me, it would be one thing if both of his grandmother's lived far away.  Perhaps I would handle it better.  They simply couldn't be here because of distance.  Not that they couldn't be here...ever.  But my mother will be gone 16 years next month.  She was too young to die.  She should have been able to see her only daughter get married and finally have babies for her to love and spoil.  And I feel like she was robbed of that. I know I know, that sounds so terrible to think that way.  But I can't help it.  I don't feel like this all the time.  Only when things like this come up and that pain is rubbed raw once again.

I did call is Godmother, who is busy with 4 babies of her own.  She was excited at being able to go with him, and my heart lifted that he wouldn't have to miss it.  Unfortunately one of her children has a field trip that she is chaperoning on the same day.  She was terribly disappointed.

Call me a baby, immature.  Tell me to suck it up and get over it if you want.  Roll your eyes and huff about how this won't be the last time.  Things like this are going to happen again and I just have to get used to it.  To that I simply say NO. No I will not.  I will never get used to my mother being dead.  Gone for me, no longer tangible.  I will not get used to seeing my son saddened by not ever being able to see, touch, speak to or hear his grandmother's voice.  A grandmother who so desperately waited for the day to come that she would see a grandchild.  I know I shouldn't let this get to me.  But I look at him playing, hear his sweet little voice and look at his precious smile and it just eats away at me.  It is unfair to him.  He doesn't understand why people die and why they can't just come back.  Other children might just dismiss it completely.  Big C is a very intuitive and sensitive child.  He notices things.  This will not be the last time, I know that.  But this time.  This very first time, it breaks my heart.  It sits as a stone in my belly, my heart sinking down to the same level.

Saddened as I am at this situation, I will not allow it to be a sorrowful experience for him.  So on that day, when school is over and the children meet up with their grandmothers, I will be picking him up and taking him to lunch.  Just he and I.  Little C is going to stay home with J & my Dad while Big C and I have this special day together.  After lunch, we are going to the movies and then if he isn't too tired, to the parlor for ice cream and to play a bit on the playground there.  Hopefully it will be a day he will be able to remember.  Not as the day he couldn't go to the Grandmothers Luncheon because one Grandma is far away and the other is dead, but a special day he spent with Mommy.  I have so many of those.  Days where my mom got me out of school early so we could go to lunch and a movie before my brother got out of school.  I can remember those days like they were yesterday.  She did the same with my brother while I was in school.  It was her way of showing us that we were special to her alone, in a way that only we as individuals could be.  She loved us both and treated us both equally, but always made sure we knew it separately as well.

Mom, help me to be half the Mother you have been.



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