Monthly Archives: June 2010

One Fine Day…

Since my last blog, I keep thinking about my Dad.  So, I am going to be a little indulgent, and share one of my favorite memories about him.  It is something he used to say to me and my sisters and brother repeatedly as we were growing up…and it would always make us laugh (or at least smile).  I don’t know who wrote this silly little poem originally….probably it was just said and then passed from one person to another to another.  I know my Dad didn’t author it.  But it kind of epitomizes him, and especially his sense of humor.

I should also warn….not politically correct, which he NEVER was….so if you are offended in any way…I apologize but I heard this from the time I was a very little girl until I had kids of my own…  and to be honest, this is one of the most innocuous things he uttered in his life.  My Dad would sometimes forget the age of his audience (including his own children).

Here goes……

One Fine Day

In the middle of the night

Two dead boys

got up to fight

Back to back

they faced each other

drew their swords

and shot one another

a deaf policeman

heard the noise

and came and killed

the two dead boys.

Silly, right??  Ridiculous??  Yep…and that was my Dad.   Loved him, warts and all.

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Father’s Day…AKA One More Day Without My Dad

Father’s Day is (to me) kind of like good news/bad news.

Good News:  I have a great husband who is an amazing father to our boys, who I am pretty sure I don’t deserve.  I am thankful for him every day of the year, and father’s day just reminds me again of how much I have to be grateful for.

Bad News:  It has been 3 and a half years since my Dad left this earth, and I will forever miss him.  And other fathers who don’t deserve the title still walk this earth.

Here is what I miss most about my Dad….

I miss hearing his laugh.

I miss the sound of his voice.

I miss hugging him.

I miss hearing him tell ALL of his friends about how proud he was of my eldest son, and how he would tell anyone who would listen that HIS grandson was gonna be in the Major Leagues someday.

I miss him playing with Nicholas, putting his hands in the air when Nick, playing police officer, would yell, ” put your hands up, Grandpa.  You’re under arrest!”  Then Nick would “shoot” him, and he would play dead, then say, “you’re a bad cop, Nick..you are not supposed to shoot if their hands are up.”  And I miss hearing Nick laugh after that, laughing with his grandpa.

I miss watching Angels baseball games with my dad.  He taught me so much about the game while we watched.  I first heard the expressions, “can of corn”, “through the wickets”, and “the tools of ignorance” from him.

I miss hearing him talk about his love of flying, and about how he was going to fly again, “one day.”

I miss how his face would light up when he saw his youngest grandson, Isaac Lee.

I miss hearing all of his crazy stories and jokes.  He had a mind-boggling number of one-liners at the ready, and I still laugh to myself when I think of them.

But more than anything else, I miss the tomorrows that will never come:   “See you tomorrow.” “Call you tomorrow.” “Let’s watch the game tomorrow.”

For those who still have tomorrows to look forward to, count your blessings.  For those of us who don’t, we need to count our blessings as well…blessed to have had them here in the first place.

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WRITER’S WORKSHOP: Our Boy

The journey had taken three years and forty-five minutes.  Almost three years ago to the day we began to travel this road.  The road had many twists and turns.  A few detours.  But here we were.  We pulled into the driveway.  I looked anxiously at this house, looking again at the windmill in the front yard.  And again, I was amazed at how this journey had led us here, to this place.

We walked up to the door and knocked.  After a few seconds, the door opened and we were greeted by the most beautiful sight I have ever seen.  There he was, my boy.  He was dressed in a little choo-choo train outfit with a red onesie and the cutest little hat I have ever seen.  His name, the name that we chose for our boy, was embroidered on the front, “Isaac.”  His foster mother held him out to me, and I held him for the first time since we had brought him back here 3 days ago.

We were allowed only a weekend visit after first meeting our son, to make sure we were a “good fit.”  We loved bringing him home for the first time.  It was the 4th of July weekend, and he experienced fireworks for the first time with us.  And since we have a great view of the fireworks from where we live, we had a host of friends and family over to celebrate both the birth of our country and the arrival of our son.   He was surrounded by love on that weekend.  And it just seemed wrong that we had to take him back to his foster home after just a few short days with us.

But we did.  When we left the house that day, I felt like I had left a piece of myself there as well.

Now, a few days later, we were back, reuniting with our son.   Holding Isaac Lee felt like a dream come true.  His adoption wasn’t final until almost 18 months later, but that day he truly became our son.  And while it took us 3 years of background checks, health exams, parenting classes and more paperwork than you can imagine, when I was holding my boy, it all seemed such a tiny price to pay for such an enormous gift.

It was a reunion I will never forget.

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Not Ready To Say Goodbye

Jasmine. That is her name.  Named after Princess Jasmine from Aladdin, thank you very much.  The first day we saw her, Matthew and I knew she was our puppy…“Puppers” is actually what we began calling her.  The previous owners had been calling her Taz because they said she was wild like the Tasmanian devil (Looney Tunes fame).  That name just wouldn’t do.  So Jasmine is what she became.

We loved her.  She is Matthew’s first pet.  Matt was just three years old when we brought Jasmine home. He has no memories without her.  And now he is 20 and she is almost 17 and she is struggling to move, to eat, to live.  And all I can think of is that puppy who kept hitting her head on the couch as she attempted to jump on it time and again until she was finally big enough to accomplish this feat.  All I think of is this puppy and her boy Matthew tucking her in before he himself fell asleep each night.

I think of Nicholas, who began crawling at just about 18 months, and one of the first things he crawled to was Jasmine’s food dish.  And as Jasmine stood guard over her food, this little boy reached in and began taking food right out from under her nose.  Had anyone else done that, they would have lost a hand.  But it was Nick, and I think Jasmine knew he was special, because she just sat patiently and waited for me to retrieve Nick before attempting to eat again.

Jasmine survived Parvo, being struck by a car (after which, she chased said car down the street, barking the entire way), and most of all, she survived not 1 but 3 boys picking her up, carrying her around incessantly, stumbling over her, and loving her.

But Jasmine has grown tired.  And that little boy who once pushed her around in his Little Tykes shopping cart for hours on end has grown up, and this precious dog has grown old and weary.  She has cataracts and can scarcely see.  Her hearing has been diminished to the point of deafness.  Her back legs just don’t work anymore.  Now, she has begun to stop eating and she barely drinks.  She has even stopped wagging her tail. And while she still perks up when I enter the room, and I know she would (if still able) wag her tail when Matt walks in, I don’t think we can wait for her to see Matt just one last time.

I know it is time.  My head knows it is time we let her go.  But I am just not ready to say goodbye yet.  I know I have to.  But my heart is hurting at the thought of watching her breathe her last.  I have been praying that she will just go in the middle of the night while we are all asleep, that I won’t have to take her to the vet for them to do what they must.  And so I hang on to every little indication that she is not in pain, that she can tolerate this life for just a bit longer.

I am torn.

Her boy, my boy, Matt, is playing baseball right now in Wisconsin.  Before he left, he basically said his goodbyes to her already, knowing she was failing.  But he also said that  if the time comes while he is away,  he didn’t want to know about it until after he gets back two months from now.

Why does the love of pets affect us so?  I know she is “just a dog.”  But to us, she is truly much more than that.

As I am crying writing this, Nick is hugging on Jasmine and petting her and kissing her.  Nick, like Jasmine, loves unconditionally.  Totally.  Whole-heartedly.

So, I will do what I must.  I will call the vet and make the arrangements.  But not today.  She just walked over to me and snuggled next to me to pet her.  She is not ready yet…and neither am I…

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WRITER’S WORKSHOP: Before I Was a Mom….

….I made no plans….whatever I felt like doing, I pretty much did, given I had funds available, and it wasn’t anything that would make my mother cringe too much.

….I loved going to the beach at sunset, walking along the pier, and contemplating the majestic beauty and power of the ocean.

….I hung out with my friends until the wee hours, and somehow managed to still get to work on time, and not feel like a zombie.

….I loved reading for leisure, and loved almost all of my classes in college.

….I wondered about whom I would marry, and daydreamed (on occasion) about life as a wife and a mother.

….I was happy being by myself.

….I wondered how it was possible to be happy being just a mother.

….I was fearless.

….I loved roller coasters, was unafraid of earthquakes, and dreamed of skydiving one day.

….I was agnostic.

….I never loved unconditionally.

….I never put someone else’s needs above my own.

….I wasn’t so proud that I cried.

….I didn’t live and die by somebody else’s successes and failures.

….life was much much simpler.

….I never knew true joy.

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Nick’s Promotion…

So, here is the deal.  Tomorrow, Nick is “promoting” from 8th grade at his middle school.  (Why isn’t it called “junior high” anymore?)  And while I should be happy I am not.  I am not because next year we are facing another unknown.  And, by now, I have grown tired of the unknown.

I don’t just fear change…I loathe it.  I loathe it because in the past, when it comes to Nick, it has been not so nice to us.

When I was pregnant with Nick, I loved, loved, loved, the idea of a new baby in our family. And until the day before he was born, we didn’t know if we were going to be blessed with a boy or a girl.  I was enchanted at the idea of Matthew playing with his little brother or sister.  I used to daydream about what it would be like watching the two of them as they grew up together.   And I never ever truly feared that once this child was born, he would be anything but a welcome addition to our family.

And then he was born.

And two weeks later, we were faced with this beautiful boy with this devastating diagnosis.  I used to long to go back in time, to be pregnant again, to have him inside my belly, where it was safe.

Throughout the years, we have gone through a myriad of teachers, therapists, doctors, and while most were wonderful, we had a few who-to put it mildly-were not.

We had a doctor who looked at my son as nothing more than an interesting case study….a different doctor who actually called my son a “jellyfish”, a nurse who didn’t have time to tend to this scared mother who was watching the son she bore poked and prodded, and needed some answers.  This idiot nurse actually asked me, “Is this your first because you are really emotional?”  Seriously??

And these people were supposed to be caring for my son.

So the thought of this next passage scares me.  And while I know that I have done everything in my power to ensure that he will be in the best class possible with the best teacher possible, I can’t help but worry about all of the other things that I cannot control.

Will he be teased?  This one keeps me awake at night.

If he is teased, will someone come to his rescue?  Will some teenager have the courage to stand up to his/her peers?  Would I have done it at that age? I really don’t know….and it scares me more and more.

And so I pray the same prayer again and again…”Please, God, protect my boy….guard his body and his heart.  And please, Lord, put angels in his life at every turn because some day I will not be here to protect him and love him….”

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Vomit, Pee, and Diarrhea…AKA Camping with the boys!

When we pulled into the RV park and saw the beautiful bathrooms, the indoor pool, laundry room, and lack of dirt, I thought, “Hey, this may not be all that difficult.”  Thinking that meant only one thing.  I had lost my mind…probably on the 1200 mile road trip to said RV park.

Over the next few days, between trekking to my son’s NAIA World Series baseball games and figuring out breakfast lunch and dinner, I was reminded again and again of why we hadn’t tried camping before.  As my wonderful friend said, “Camping is WORK!”

Picture if you will a serene night…a faint breeze is in the air, the stars are making a magnificent appearance in the sky, and you can hear the majestic snake river flowing nearby.

That was NOT our camping trip!

Instead, the first night, I hear(over the rain pummeling our tent) retching…more specifically, Nick retching.  There is no sound in the universe that wakes you up quicker than the sound of your child in bed next to you throwing up his dinner.

I jump up…kind of…I would have hit my head on the top of the tent if I had done that.  I pull Nick into an upright position and help him not choke.  Then I did what I think was only reasonable given the bathroom is at least 100 yards away and it is pouring rain.  I grabbed the sleeping bag that most of the vomit had gotten on, and turned it inside out, shoving the vomit soaked part under our air mattress, wiped Nick’s mouth, and we went back to sleep.

The following morning I was greeted with a diarrhea-soaked boy.  It turns out Nick had problems at both ends.  So, we trek to the bathroom–thankfully outfitted with a full shower chair–and commence to give Nick a shower.   I think I was more soaked than Nick by the time we were through but it was done.

On to the baseball game because, after all, this whole camping thing was really just the only way I could afford to watch my son play ball.

We ran to the bathroom a few times during the game but overall not too bad.

I thought the rest of our trip would be easier…not easy…just easier!

The next morning, I woke up soaked…in urine…not my own.  This time, it belonged to my 6-year-old, who always picks the absolute best time to pee his our bed air mattress.

So, off we go to the bathroom for both of us to get showered.  Between all these mad dashes to the bathroom for toileting, showering, etc,  I got shin-splints.  I wish I was joking…

Now, of course, I am glad we went.  And, thankfully, the wonderful friends who were with us helped immensely.  And I really wouldn’t trade the experience of watching my first-born play baseball in the World Series in person for anything.

I loved the memories we made…watching my son fish for the first time–surprising both of us that he enjoyed it…watching quite a few of the players get together and go fishing the night they were eliminated, and enjoying each other and not acting like they had just fallen short of a very substantial dream…seeing Nick play cars with a very patient friend…the sun setting at almost 10pm and being awe-struck at the beauty of it all.

I am thankful.

But sometimes, I wish the journey could be just a little easier…

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