She came into Starbucks and immediately saw someone she knew. Two Raleigh Bob's connecting over their red Starbucks cups and a noisy wash of "I haven't seen you in so long"s. She's a jewelry maker. Her friend, the one in a meeting across from me, gushed to her colleague about how talented she was.
Then, she said, "This is my dad."
She introduced a man who probably used to be taller than her. His face was the face of a man who obviously used to be healthier. His cheekbones were over pronounced. His shoulders slumped. He spoke softly, but I heard him. He said, "I do like to eat."
The women laughed. He smiled. He still had it.
It was the baseball hat that got me. The random baseball hat that didn't go with the crisp blue jeans that were being cinched to him on the last belt loop. The baseball hat that was a little too casual for the collared shirt he had most definitely had help tucking in before he left home.
The hat was what brought my daddy zooming in this morning - his absence blowing through me like the coldest blast of wind rushing in each time someone opens the door to which I sat to close.
I miss him.
I wished that I could pick him up; take him on my errands with me; stop for coffee; spend the day doing mundane things.
In the end, I only stared, batting back a few tears. I stopped short of leaning over the table and grabbing the woman with the Raleigh Bob and telling her how lucky she was. For all I know, she's quite aware of how lucky she is.
I hope so.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
She came into Starbucks and immediately saw someone she knew. Two Raleigh Bob's connecting over their red Starbucks cups and a noisy wash of "I haven't seen you in so long"s. She's a jewelry maker. Her friend, the one in a meeting across from me, gushed to her colleague about how talented she was.
Monday, November 11, 2013
Saturday, November 09, 2013
Friday, November 08, 2013
Thursday, November 07, 2013
My whole aspiring to go to bed earlier, spend more time engaged with my kids. And getting ready for craft fairs is making NaMoBloMoFo not really work for me so far.
Wednesday, November 06, 2013
Tuesday, November 05, 2013
Every year, I have made my boys' Halloween costumes. It's one of the main reasons I wanted to start sewing. A little trip down the aisles of Target last week though, and Christopher's eyes widened. His voice could barely squeak out,
"Mama. Whoa. Look at that Woooooolverine."
We had already made his costume for this year. He didn't need one, and I wasn't about to spend $20 on a store bought costume. I told him that if it was still there after Halloween, we could buy it on clearance.
I had no intentions of making it back in time to check. I know. Evil Mama.
However, this morning, I had to go pick up a prescription (you're welcome everyone who has to deal with me on a daily basis), so I wandered back through the last row of Halloween things. The sign said "70% OFF." There were two Wolverine costumes left. Both in the right size.
Here's the thing. They didn't need them. But they weren't just 70% off, they were 90% off. So for $4, I had two of the most excited little boys you have ever seen. They are currently sleeping in their Wolverine costumes (sans masks and claws, thank you very much). And they will play dress up, adding this character to the closet full of Iron Man, Spiderman, Captain America, Jake the pirate, Cubby the other pirate, and Indiana Jones.
They love it, and I love watching them.
To top it all off, I picked up a Ninja Turtle and Superman to wrap up for Christmas.
Who says little boys don't like to play dress up?
Monday, November 04, 2013
We've become a karate family. The boys and I arrive at the dojo at least three times a week. Usually, we are there around an hour and a half. Christopher is a Deputy Stripe belt (I think. Whatever comes before Green), and Colin has just started in the Little Samurai program.
It is the last thing I thought my boys would do. Well, maybe not the very last, but definitely not the first. It's just that martial arts were never on my radar. Ever.
Last year, when Christopher started asking to take karate lessons, my first thought was to find somewhere that he could "just try out." We signed him up with a pass from a friend at the dojo where their son takes lessons. It was obvious by the second week that this was something he really enjoyed and something he could really benefit from.
All of the sudden, we were signing a year long contract. For a four year old.
Of course, that's not anything I never asked of parents when I was teaching piano. It's a good way to make sure that parents are committed to the program, and while it's nice to let your children try things out, it's better to teach them that there are things in life which take time to learn. Like a musical instrument. Or karate.
So I sit in the dojo, giving up our free time to let our boys be coached, mentored, and taught by the many instructors there. Sure, some days I wish that we could just head to the park with some friends. And I know that some days Christopher is really tired and would like to just come home and recharge quietly and alone, but if he's going to karate, he is happy about it
Sunday, November 03, 2013
Today I did something I've never done before. I hosted a trunk show (and it should be noted that I just accidentally typed "truck show" which is also something I've never done). Sales events masquerading as parties have never set well with me. I mean, as a seasoned introvert, I like to do my shopping online. Usually sans pants. And bra. And with a Diet Coke to my left. And free shipping.
However, when jewelry artist Melissa McLawhorn put out an invitation to host a trunk show for her Etsy shop, Salvaged Jewelry, I couldn't resist. Melissa creates jewelry from recycled things that would probably otherwise end up in the landfill. Pages from an algebra book end up as a pendent on a necklace. The plastic covering for florescent light fixtures adorn matchbook covers in a bracelet.
It's all quite brilliant really.
Some friends came by. I made some snacks. We all did a little shopping. It was fun. Melissa gave me an awesome necklace as a thank you gift - it is purple and features resistors on it. Which is quite perfect for me, as I'm constantly picking up resistors in the studio as Kevin works on building gear.
The crafty part of being an artist doesn't come easy for me. Give me a piano and microphone and I'll be right at home on a stage in front of 10,000 people. It's easy, and I love it.
Opening an Etsy shop last year? Scared me to death. What if I made something and no one liked it? What if it didn't hold up? Who am I to think that people would actually want to spend money on something I've made?
Then, I realized I needed to do something to support this fabric habit I've developed. I set up shop and waited for magic.
Not much has happened. I've sold a few things. Been burned once by someone not following through on a big order. But mainly, it's just given me encouragement to keep making things. And we all know I'm happiest when I'm making something. The creative process and all.
This year, I'm taking it one step further. My friend Rachael and I are going to do a couple of craft fairs together. The first one is coming up in a couple of weekends, and I have to admit - I'm really nervous. Packaging and presentation are not my strong suits, and I really want our booth to look good - be inviting.
If you are in the area, you can come visit us and bring me Starbucks to calm my nerves. Or just come see us. We will be at the Holiday Sip & Shop hosted by Vend Raleigh on November 15 and then at Sanderson High School's Holly Days on December 8 and 9. And? If no one buys anything I've made? Then I'll at least know that I have the kindest, most generous friends who have put up with the creations I've made their children for the past five years - which isn't such a bad trade off, right?
Saturday, November 02, 2013
Two hours of this, and I'm telling you, the drink doesn't need to be Diet Coke. Who thought this torture device up anyway?
Friday, November 01, 2013
So as to not ruin NaBloPoMoFo on the very first day, I give you my two youngest in not-a-box. It's a pirate ship, in case you are wondering.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
A few weeks ago, I posted about what to do or say when your best friend learns she has cancer. It seemed that many people read and took those words to heart, and I want to make sure that it is clear: I am speaking from hindsight. Much of this I got wrong. I wasn't really very good at it, but I tried to pay attention and learn from my mistakes.
- Don't show up sick. Don't show up if you've been sick in the past week. Don't show up if anyone in your house is sick. Germs are the absolute worst thing to bring them.
- When you want to help - have an idea. Don't call and say, "Let me know what I can do to help." They shouldn't have to think about it. If you have a skill or an opportunity, then step in and do something. Don't put it off on your friend to think up something for you to feel useful.
- And please - don't say that her problems make you rethink your own life or make you feel badly for having less life threatening problems. It's annoying to be the barometer of how much someone else's life sucks.
Wednesday, October 09, 2013
It's October. Tis the season for everything pumpkin and oceans of pink vomited upon every product known to mankind.
It's October. Tis the season for me to think about Susan twice as much everyday and remember the one equation my astrophysicist best friend taught me that I actually understood:
Monday, September 09, 2013
Chickens are weird.
Granted, so many many species want to eat chickens. If I were a chicken, I would be freaked out all the time too.
I'm not sure how to help them understand that I'm not going to eat them. It would probably help if I kept the dogs from chasing them. Poor Mrs. Weasley lost another mouthful of feathers when Macy Moo slipped by me on Saturday. That fat dog can haul ass when there is a chicken running from her.
But I love the chickens. Even though they are weird. And skiddish. And cause me to have nightmares about finding their poor chicken bodies mauled in the yard by a hawk.
The chickens and I might just be kindred spirits in anxiety.
|Professor McGonagall definitely does not want a kiss.|
Tuesday, September 03, 2013
"Here, Christopher. Try this backpack on and see if it's too heavy for you."
It was the night before what I considered Christopher's second day of kindergarten, but was apparently his first day of kindergarten because the other first day of kindergarten was just a trial run, and I was supposed to figure out that it didn't count as a first day since he wasn't in his real classroom with his real teacher on the fake first day.
|Christopher on his fake first day of kindergarten.|
Last night, the backpack contained his three ring binder, a pack of colored pencils, a ream of white paper, a ream of colored card stock, his towel for rest time, and his Mickey Mouse (also for rest time).
It was damn heavy.
He was damn determined to carry it.
He wiggled his arms into the straps and stood up, slightly convex, and proceeded to strut around the kitchen. His chest was out like a rooster, partly from pride, but mostly from the weight of his load.
"See, Mama? My strong muscles can handle it," he crowed.
"I don't know, Sweetheart. You know, I'm not going to walk you in tomorrow. I'm just dropping you off in the carpool line because I have to get Colin to school too. I think I'll take out the paper. We can take it the next day when I can help you."
"NO! I can do it, Mama!"
"Alright. You can do it. It's not that long of a walk to your room. I know you're strong."
This morning, I slip a small package of fruit snacks and a Capri Sun into the front pocket of his backpack. That snack was apparently the proverbial straw.
As we waited our turn in the carpool lane, I had Christopher climb into the front seat so I could help him into his backpack, and because he was sitting on the wrong side of the car for the carpool lane. I eased his little arms into the straps of his Superman backpack and tried to kiss him goodbye.
It fell off.
The door opened.
We weren't ready.
Oh, shit! We were holding up the carpool lane!
I shoved his arms back into the backpack and told him to jump out.
That is one literal kid. He bounced out of the Jeep. When his feet hit the ground, the weight of that backpack, after inserting one fruit snack treat and a Capri Sun, sent him rolling backwards onto the ground.
He lay on his backpack, arms flailing and legs kicking like a turtle, unable to right himself. I was stuck behind the driver's seat with my eyes wide, mouth hung open, and completely mortified that I had turtled my poor child with school supplies.
From the ground I heard, "MAMA! Why did you put so much in my backpack???"
Luckily, because first impressions don't matter one bit, THE PRINCIPAL rushed over to help him up. She picked up his backpack and said, "Whoa. This is really heavy."
"It's the fruit snacks," I said.
Mother of the Year. Don't even apply for it. It's all me.
Saturday, August 31, 2013
|Meet Mrs. Weasly and Professor McGonagall|
|Mrs. Weasly after a soothing lullaby.|
|Professor McGonagall snuggling in right on top.|
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
I wasn't all that prepared. No new outfits. I didn't have his backpack ready. I didn't even know for sure what time we needed to leave. As much as the end of the summer has worn my nerves down to the rawest roots, I wasn't ready to send the boys off to school.
|Walking home from school with Miss Katharine. It's the best.|
|Why, yes. I am still in bed horizontally taking this picture. It was SO EARLY.|
Monday, August 26, 2013
This weekend was wildly productive. Kevin and I did one of my favorite things - yard work. While that sounds sarcastic, and while sarcasm is usually a good assumption when listening to me - it's not. I do love to work out in the yard. I don't love mosquitoes though, and that makes working in the yard a little tricky here.
But this weekend? Was gorgeous. Not humid. Not hot. Sunny and beautiful.
Our backyard is a blessing and a curse. When Kevin bought the house, it was a waste land of decrepit trees, dirt, weeds, and a scary tree house that had to come down. Slowly, we've removed the trees that were dying and dropping limbs dangerously close to the house. We planted grass. We built a playset.
Over the past year, a lot of the mulch has washed away and Aja the English Setter has decided she's part pig and enjoys nothing more than laying in the mud. She dug holes all along the edge of the house, and Colin helped her out by finding it great fun to turn on the faucet randomly and creating mud pits for her to enjoy.
The first order of business was to clean that up. Of course, we didn't take before pictures.
Aside from the Setter trying to dig to China, we just needed some pretty. A crepe myrtle, some gardenias, and some random purple type plants helped this area tremendously. We are also hoping that Macy Moo will walk further than 10 inches off the deck to pee from now on because holy stank, that was disgusting to weed out and dig up.
Yesterday morning, we let Kevin and Mallory sleep in while I introduced the boys to the flea market at the state fair grounds. They each got a 50 cent car, and I got a metal dragonfly. I was hoping for a metal sculpture for the corner of the dog toilet flower bed, just to fill it up and discourage the pee party there, but all I got was this dragonfly. He's cliche, but cute.
Ignore those random bags of extra mulch. Digging deterrents for right now.
Finally, we got around to doing the project that I've been most excited about since June.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a coop. A chicken coop, to be exact. I'm so excited I could hardly go to sleep last night. Mallory and I have already named the chickens, but I'll wait to introduce them as they come home and I can get pictures.
For now though, here is the chicken estate. Right next to the fig tree, which I'm sure I'll decide was a terrible plan when I never have figs to eat. Of course, Gibson the Labrador has been eating the leaves and flowers off of it, so it's not like I have figs now. I have hopes and dreams of figs, but that's about it.
Casa de la Chickens:
Don't you want to just move right in? It seems that Colin did.
We are looking forward to getting a couple of hens soon, and then maybe some chicks in late September. And by "we" I mean "me" because everybody else in my family is just tolerating my desire for chickens. They'll come around though, I have full faith.
Saturday, August 24, 2013
Last night, this post was a copy of Hugh Hollowell's story about what happened near Moore Square yesterday morning. Citizens of Raleigh were trying to feed other citizens of Raleigh. The homeless were being provided a meal on Saturday morning, just like they had been every Saturday morning for six years. Then, out of the blue, the Raleigh Police show up and threaten to arrest the citizens who were distributing food. No explanations other than an ordinance that they couldn't even name.
Last night, the traffic on Hugh's post had crashed their servers. Now, they are up and running again. So please give them the hits. Give them the traffic. Give them the support.
Go read Hugh's story and see his pictures from Saturday on the Love Wins blog.
Sunday, August 18, 2013
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Summer winds down, and I find myself both anxious for fall to really get here and already regretting the things I didn't do over the past couple of months.
A trip to see friends and a new baby didn't happen.
We didn't go to the pool enough.
We watched too much TV when it rained outside.
I didn't get a garden planted.
These things clog up my brain, pushing aside the memories that were made.
Colin learned to swim. And by "learned," I mean, took off his floaties and flung himself across the pool declaring himself independent and capable.
Christopher learned to ride his bike. And by "learned," I mean, I took off his training wheels, and while I was busy turning my back for five seconds, he got on and rode the bike down the driveway declaring himself a big boy bike rider who doesn't need my help, thank you very much.
In June, we drove down to Mississippi and spent a week with my family in which the children played until they collapsed at night, snuggled in Nana's bed to read stories, and got to spend unstructured and unscripted time with their cousins. And as a bonus, I actually stayed the whole time this year with no erupting fights with my brother.
I got to go to BlogHer again and room with two amazing people who just so happened to enjoy hanging out in the room late at night unwinding together - which was exactly what I needed. I met some fabulous people. I saw some old friends. I was inspired - which, let's be honest - if you go to BlogHer and don't leave inspired in some way, you may have no soul.
Good things happened this summer. Momma is still brave, still taking chemo, and still watching it work. It's been harder on her than ever before, but she does it anyway, and I love her so much for doing it.
I don't know what's wrong with my head that all of these good things happened, and yet when left idle, my brain says, "You didn't take the kids to DC," and "You didn't go to the pool all last week," and "You didn't do any of the writing and reading you said you were going to do with the boys." These things, while I wish they had happened, I let them define the summer.
Why is that?
Good things. Bad things.
I need to find the balance.
Friday, August 09, 2013
This. When you've bought the boys a Happy Meal because you didn't have time to get them dinner at home because somebody thought karate for a five year old at 5:30 in the evening was a good idea and then when you get to the karate place, the three year old is completely over his fast food and wants even faster food from the vending machine. Because,
"But I neeeeeeed dessert!"
This. When your three year old never hears you tell him that it's time to eat his lunch, get his shoes, clean up the toys, wash his hands, buckle his carseat, leave the library, come inside, quit touching his brother, wipe his bottom, put his clothes back on, turn off the TV, play outside, take a bath, or leave the dogs alone, but then when you think he's heard nothing you've ever said in the world, he tells the nice lady handing him a sticker at the store that happened to not be the sticker he wanted the one thing you wish he had never heard,
This. When the boys are so tired of being at home together that you get them suited up, sunscreened down, snacks packed, floaties inflated, water bottles cooled, bag loaded, helmets secured, bikes mounted, and you head to the pool the minute it opens. Then you when you arrive, ready to let them burn off their energy with all the other children there,
"Don't touch him! That's my brother! I'm playing with my brother!"
And no one else in the world will do.
Monday, August 05, 2013
Since we're on the subject of penises (What? I have two small boys. We are always on the subject of penises), there is this conversation I accidentally had and now they know how they got here. Dang.
Colin, the three year old, started it. I had to pee, and I opted to shut the door. Gradually, I'm attempting to reestablish some privacy in this house. When I came out of the bathroom, Colin throws out,
"Did you pee out of your peeeeeeenis?"
He shrieks with laughter, because penises are funny.
I knew that he wasn't confused, but I felt obligated to correct him.
"Colin, Mama doesn't have a penis. Only boys have penises."
Christopher, who is five and always eager to share his vast knowledge of all things potty related, piped up,
"That's right! Mama has a vaginis!"
Don't judge. We are close to the right terms, but dang it. The way he rhymes vaginis with penis is just so cute.
Here's where I could have stopped, but noooooo. I just had keep talking.
"Actually, pee doesn't come out of my vagina."
Christopher raised an eyebrow and asked, "Well, what does it come out of?"
Dang it. All I could think of was "pee hole." Not exactly the right response. I issued a guess of "urethra" and mumbled that we would have to look it up to be sure.
Of course, we weren't done. Christopher was still curious.
"What's your vagina for, then?
Okay. Easiest answer. Go for the easiest answer.
"Well, it's what babies come out of."
The look on that little boy's face was one of pure and utter disgust. He couldn't believe what he had just heard. First came the denial,
"Nuh-uh! I did not come out of your vaginis!"
Oh yes you did, and I have the scar to prove it.
Then came the arguing,
"Babies come from a mama's tummy!"
Right. Wishing I had stuck with that one for a few more years.
Next he went for the potty punchline,
"Ewwwww! You got pee on me when I was a baby!"
Yep, but not from my vagnis, little one. And if you think that's gross, then we certainly don't need to talk about the rest of it.
Finally, the logic,
"But Mama, there is no way I fit through your vaginis."
"That's what I thought too, sweetheart, but here you are."
And as quickly as we moved into that treacherous territory, we moved right out again thanks to Popsicles and the insatiable appetites and short attention spans of little boys.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Yesterday, Governor Pat McCroy took a plate of cookies to a group of women protesting outside of the governor's mansion.
They chanted back at him, "Pat, Pat, Pat was rude. Would you give cookies to a dude?"
His spokesperson responded with this comment:
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
By Sunday, I was really ready to come home. There were things I wanted to do - an invitation to the Art Institute or a sightseeing cruise - but when it all came down, I just wanted to see my boys before they went to bed that night.
Unfortunately, my flight didn't get in until 10:00 PM. They would have been asleep for hours.
Having used up every ounce of fabricated extrovertedness I could muster anyhow, I packed my bags and headed to the airport. I took a taxi to the train station and the train to O'Hare. It cost me around $10, mainly because I ridiculously over tip cab drivers.
My first stop was the American Airlines self check in. "I would like to catch an earlier flight home. Can you help me?" I asked.
"No, but you can do that on the self serve kiosk behind you."
"No" number one.
I move to the kiosk and begin typing in all of my information. The kiosk informs me that there are no seats available for an earlier flight.
"No" number two.
There is an American employee standing beside the kiosk, so I smile and ask her if I there is another option to finding an earlier flight home. She shakes her head and told me that the people at the desk have the same information as the kiosk.
"No" number three.
At this point, I was checked in for my late flight home, and I still had four hours to kill. I went and stood in line at the main American counters.
When it was my turn, I stepped up to the man behind the counter and said very calmly, "I would really like to get home sooner, can you help me get on an earlier flight? I know the kiosk said there wasn't anything, but I was hoping you might be able to help me."
He said he would try and began plucking away at the keyboard of his computer. No weather delays. Lots of standby passengers already. There was nothing he could do.
"No" number four.
I asked him what gate the next flight to Raleigh would be using, and he told me. He said I could ask the gate agent, but there wouldn't be anything for them to tell me.
After I made it through a very slow security line, I found the gate with the plane leaving for Raleigh.
FINAL BOARDING CALL the sign blinked above the desk.
I stepped up and smiled at an incredibly tired looking attendant.
"Yes? Do you need something?" she asked.
Pulling out my calm smile once again, I told her that I had hoped that she could get me on this flight to go home. I really just want to go home.
Sigh. "I have too many standby passengers as it is. I'm not putting you on my standby list."
"No" number five.
I smiled and raised my eyebrows at her.
Sigh. "I guess you can wait there and see."
I replied, "I've got nothing but time. Thank you so much."
She went through her remaining list of standby passengers. One by one they boarded the plane. Finally, she turned to me and said, "I guess I can take you, but it will be $75."
"Wonderful," I said. "I could just hug you, although that would be inappropriate."
A quick scan of my card (justified by not spending the money on the cruise or a cab home later that night) and an even quicker text to Kevin to tell him I was on my way, and I boarded the plane with not one, but two seats to myself. Ninety minutes later, I was landing in Raleigh and hugging my boys.
Turns out, they even delivered my luggage to me the next day instead of making me come back to the airport and pick it up. I did a lot of smiling at that guy too.
There are so many times when I'm told "no," and I just give up. It doesn't seem worth arguing or fighting back. Of course, this time I didn't argue, and I didn't fight. I just kept smiling and asking the question in a different way to a different person.
And come to find out, "no no no no no" in American Airlines vocabulary? Actually means "yes."
Monday, July 29, 2013
Walking through the expo at BlogHer is overwhelming. There are so many people and so many booths and so much of all the stuff in the world. I walk through alone because it's too much for me to be there in all that stimulus and carry on a conversation with a friend.
I stopped to learn about Yiva, a cool looking natural PMS symptom reliever, and the nice PR guy asked me,
"So, is this something you think you would write about?"
"No," I replied.
Simply put, no.
If BlogHer does one thing for me every year, it is to fortify me as a personal blogger. It stirs the desire to write and tell stories. It reminds me that the moments that drive me to blog are, simply put, the moments that make us say,
When Ann passed out these bracelets at the Listen to Your Mother brunch, just hours before I was supposed to head back home and into family life again, I couldn't stop myself from choking up a little. It was the perfect end to the weekend.
Thank you, Ann. Thank you, BlogHer.
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
I almost forgot - I'll be in my favorite place at BlogHer, the Serenity Suite, on Friday and Saturday from 1:00-2:00 PM. In the Sheraton, suite 1287. Please stop by this anxiety and alcohol free space and say hello. I'll share a Diet Coke with you, and if you know me, you know I don't share Diet Coke with just anybody.
One more thing, that's one of my besties up there eating a cheeseburger with me. She's sitting this year out because she has a bundle of sweet goodness named Chase who needs her and her boobies at home with him. You should check out her food blog: A Little Nosh.
Thursday, June 27, 2013
Oh, Paula. You've gotten yourself into quite a mess, haven't you? My Facebook feed is full of people from back home who want to "bring back Paula Deen!" They simply can't live without the butter and the ridiculous accent. Girlfriend, I'm with you on the butter, but you are doing your IQ a disservice with your drawl.
Friday, June 14, 2013
Last night I dreamed that Momma and I were shopping. We were in some hip little downtown area, very much like Asheville, and we were in stores like specialty olive oil and dried herb shops. Places you wander leisurely through, wondering how they stay in business, but enjoying the window shopping.
Momma was strong, beautiful, vibrant, and we were having so much fun.
They were shops I had been in before, because the employees knew me. I introduced Momma to each one of them, and they showed her things that I had mentioned to them reminded me of her. It was very much how I often shop, "Oh, Momma would like that."
She is on heavy duty chemo again, Momma. It isn't as easy this time around, not that it was ever easy. But it is easy to forget how much harder a weekly injection is than a daily pill. Especially easier to forget when you aren't there.
The boys made her cards. I made her a minky eye pillow with dried lavender in it. She called me when she got it and gushed about the cards. I was proud of my boys. Then we talked about the pillow and how she could heat it or cool it to use on her eyes or head.
She said, "That's so nice. Elizabeth always puts a cool rag on my head with I'm throwing up, so I'm sure I'll be able to use this."
And in that moment, I failed her. Here is your silly eye pillow, when you need someone holding your hand, wiping your mouth, helping you get to the bathroom or bucket in time. I made you a PILLOW. A scented pillow to help you want to throw up even more.
Next week, I'll be with her. I'll get to do those things, but only for a week. It's ultimately not my responsibility. Or is it, and I'm shirking it?
I'm long distance loving her with dreadfully out of touch care packages. Loving her doesn't seem like enough.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Saturday, April 13, 2013
I'm not sure how to celebrate a birthday when you aren't here to actually turn another year older.
Monday, March 11, 2013
Today, you turn 17. It's a magical age. You are so close to being an adult, but yet you still get to claim childhood. For one more year, that is.
Of course, you have been such a grown up already. By sheer comparison, being the child who could do her own laundry and not poop in her pants made you seem incredibly mature. Aside from those accomplishments, there is also the fact that you really are incredibly mature.
You have the uncanny ability of someone far older than yourself to be able to tell us what you want or need and why. You can discuss how you feel about something, explaining your emotions in conversation many people three times your age wouldn't be able to replicate. It's not your favorite thing in the world to do, but you can do it, which is amazing.
This is the year you have to decide what comes next. You have to balance your last year of high school with figuring out your plans for your adult life. No pressure, right? It's a daunting task, I know. Don't worry though. It's not like you can't change your mind down the road, but you have to admit, there are some big decisions to be made this coming year.
I'm not worried about you. You are the most grounded teenager I've ever met. Lord knows how that happened. You have certainly endured your share of the crazy. And the diapers. And being woken up way before you should be on the weekends. And having to sit next to tiny people with sticky fingers at the dinner table. And parents who quote song lyrics as though they are part of the actual conversation. And potty talk. So much potty talk.
However, there is something important about 17 that I want you to remember. You will be expected to make grown up decisions and start acting more and more like an adult. We will expect more from you. Your teachers will expect more from you. This is normal and important. You have to grow up, and there is no time like 17 to do it. But here is the important part:
You are still a child.
No matter how grounded and how mature you are, you still get to be a child. Yes, that means you are still allowed some tantrums and silliness if you need it. What it really means is that you can still come to us with anything that you need.
A lot of people will start treating you like an adult now that you are 17. But you have a safe place here. A place where you can still be a child. A place where you can ask for help or support or just someone to listen to you.
I guess that is true for the rest of your life. We will always be there for you when you need us. Just remember that as you become an adult, that doesn't mean that you have to quit relying on your dad and I for support.
Growing up doesn't mean out growing your family.
Happy birthday, Mal Mal. In case you didn't know it, and because you can never hear it too many times, I love you bunches.
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
Something spectacular happened today.
LympheDIVAs released a new line of sleeves in memory of Susan. They are sleeves designed using images from the Hubble Telescope - The Hubble Collection.
Not only are they a perfect tribute to her, they are beautiful. Really gorgeous.
For every sleeve and gauntlet purchased from this collection, LympheDIVAs will make a donation to Crickett's Answer for Cancer, a cause very dear to Susan's heart.
Here's what Josh from LympheDIVAs had to say about it:
"In 2010, Susan Niebur of ToddlerPlanet arranged a discussion between LympheDIVAs, manufacturers of medically correct and fashionable compression garments for lymphedema, and the 501(c)3 charity Crickett’s Answer for Cancer. These two organizations with similar geneses quickly realized the potential of a partnership and established a working relationship to help provide lymphedema sleeves and gauntlets to those who could not afford them. LympheDIVAs has donated thousands of dollars worth of garments to Crickett’s Answer for Cancer, but that is not enough. When Susan Niebur passed away last year, LympheDIVAs wanted to honor both her memory, her fight and her legacy and design a sleeve in her honor that would give back to Crickett’s Answer for Cancer."
I know that a LympheDIVA sleeve isn't something that all of us need, but it's something that if you DO need it, then it's very important. So, I hope that you will help me spread the word about these new sleeves. Every woman who needs one deserves for it to be this beautiful.
More than anything, it's a beautiful way to honor Susan's memory, and nothing makes me happier than when people remember and honor this woman I love so much.
Thank you, LympheDIVAs.
Aren't they stunning?
Saturday, February 23, 2013
Here it is. The last hoorah of my 30's. I told Kevin tonight that I was feeling introspective about it, and he thought I meant I was regretting it.
Not in the least.
I was just thinking about where I was in my life 10 years ago as I was living out the last of my 20's. It was a far different place. A far different space in my head.
The past decade changed a lot of things for me. Lost love. Found love. Parenthood. Lost Daddy. Lost Susan. Still have my momma, which is awesome.
I've learned to sew. I've learned to make pirogi. Heck, I even learned to make milk and birth babies. Not in that order.
No. I'm not upset about turning 40. I'm excited. Life just started getting good in my mid 30's and it's only getting better. I'm quite sure of it.
Now, I'm tired. Being 39 has been exhausting.
Peace out, 30's. You were a righteous decade.
Labels: The Big Four-O
Sunday, February 17, 2013
Almost a year ago, I stopped coloring my hair. It was partly an "I-don't-give-a-shit" decision, and partly an "I'm-lucky-I-get-to-be-here-and-go-grey" decision.
I was angry. Bitter. We had just said good bye to Susan, and I was about to turn 39 years old. On that day, my 39th birthday, I decided to never complain about anything having to do with aging.
And I stopped coloring my hair.
I also wore nothing but pajamas for several months, but that's not really relevant to this story.
Here's the thing. I stopped coloring my hair as a kind of "fuck you" to the youth loving universe. I wanted to see my grey hair. I wanted to look at it and be reminded that some people would give anything to be here long enough to go grey.
Funny thing about the universe. The universe said to me, "Fuck you back. You're not really going grey."
Meh. I have a few sparkly grey hairs here and there. For the most part though, my hair, my real hair color is the color of the Carter family. My grandmother, who died at the ever so young age of 97, had maybe a dozen grey hairs at the time of her death. The rest of her hair was a light chestnut brown color with a hint of auburn highlights. She never colored it.
My great aunt and her daughters - same beautiful hair. The Carter hair.
Last week, I turned my back towards the mirror in my bathroom and held a hand mirror up to see the back of my hair. I was checking to see how close I was to achieving some Connie Britton style (not close enough ever).
It surprised me. The highlights and the auburn in my hair. The natural color that I had covered for so many many years. I didn't even know what my natural color was until now.
I stood there, staring at my hair, realizing that my hair is nothing but a completely cliche metaphor for life. A ridiculous motivational poster for being yourself.
Stop trying to be something you aren't. You might actually like what you really are.
It will never be Connie Britton, but I'm liking my hair. All curly and confused. Brown and auburn.
Bring it on, 40. Me and my Carter hair can totally take you.
Labels: The Big Four-O