Tag Archive | love

Valentine Tears

Today is Valentine’s Day!  A day of love, hugs, kisses and gifts and for some, a day of tears.  Not because the person you are dating didn’t buy you a gift.  Not because your spouse forgot to tell you Happy Valentine’s Day.  Not because your children didn’t show appreciation for what you do for them.  In my case, today is a day of tears because a very special Valentine will not arrive from my Mom.

It’s been 5 1/2 years since my mom died of cancer.  My grief for her is not as debilitating as it used to be.  I can go a month or so without missing her to the point of tears.  But on special occasions like Valentine’s Day, I miss her so much.  My mom always had some special Valentine’s gift for my siblings and I.  It could be something simple like a coloring book or just a box of chocolates, but no matter what, she always had a gift for us.  Even when I moved away, she would send me a care package at Valentine’s with a bag of my favorite candy bars, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

When I would call and thank her for remembering, she would tell me that she had to make sure her kids had a special Valentine’s gift from her.  (Yes, she would send care packages to all of her kids.)  Which explains my Valentine’s Day tears.  Memories of her love and care flood me with grief over the fact that she is not on this earth anymore.  Yes, I am an adult and a mother of four, I can go and buy as many Reese’s and I want for myself.  But that’s not the point, the point is that my mom took every opportunity to show me how much I meant to her and I miss the fact that I can’t hear her voice or read a special note that she’s written to me in a card.

I miss my mom today more than others, because it reminds me of how great of a mom she was.  I try my best to be that kind of mom for my kids, but I don’t know if I do it as well as she did.  Yes, I have bought some Valentine chocolates for my kiddos to receive tonight.  Yes, I purchased and helped them make out Valentine cards for their classmates.  And yes, I will most likely pop in during their Valentine’s Day party at school today.  But for some reason, that doesn’t seem like as much as my mom had done for me.  I’m afraid my grief for my mom makes my efforts a little less special for my kids.  But maybe that’s just the Devil trying to pull me down when he knows that I am weak.

So now that I have shared with you the love I have for my mom and the pain and tears that come with Valentine’s Day, I will wipe away the tears and do my best to make this day as special as I can for my kiddos.  So that one day, they too can have fond memories of me on Valentine’s Day.  To all those who find it hard to put aside their grief during this Valentine’s Day, I give you my own words of advice.  Spend a few minutes thinking of the one you lost and remember the great things they did for you.  Then get up and make this day a special day for someone special in your life.  Spread the love that you would have shown to your deceased loved one with someone that needs it most today.  Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!

 

For Us?

My Christopher is still at that age where his innocence floors me sometimes.  I love him to death and I’m so very thankful he is my son.  He knows how to bring a smile to my face.  However, at the age of 4 he doesn’t do the best at sitting quietly during mass.  But today, he did pretty good.

Until we got to the point in the mass where we are preparing for the breaking of the bread.  During this time, Catholics will pray the following prayer:

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: grant us peace.

Christopher must have been really paying attention to what we were saying today, because after he heard us recite the first verse of the prayer he looked at me and asked, “For Me?”  I smiled as I went on reciting the second verse of the prayer and in his little joyful voice I heard him tell his brother, “For us Patrick!”

Needless to say, our whole family was muffling giggles as we finished reciting the prayer, because of Christopher’s pure innocent joy of the news he just heard.  “Jesus took away the sins of the world, for us.”  Seeing that he had our attention, he continued to remind us through the rest of mass that all of this was ‘for us’.

Isn’t it amazing how God can work through the simplest acts of a child?  I don’t know how many times I have recited that prayer in my Catholic life.  I know there are times I can say it without thinking about each word.  Then there are times that I have to really focus on what I’m saying to remember what verse comes next.  I have the convenience to use a cheat sheet that they have in the pews, but I prefer not to use it.  I would rather make myself recite it from memory.

However, until today, I don’t know if this prayer has had as much meaning to me.  Not until my 4-year-old son repeated the most important part about mass and what Jesus did millions of years ago.  He did it all ‘for us’.  He took away the sin of the world, FOR US.  He died on the cross, FOR US.  He will come again, FOR US.  It might sound a bit too simplified for some, but if you look at it through a 4-year-olds eyes it makes perfect sense.

It’s like the bible song that we learn as a little child:

“Jesus loves me, this I know, For the Bible, tells me so.”

As a child, we learn this song and we believe this song is true.  Or, at least I did.  I don’t ever remember questioning the meaning or the validity of the song.  I sang it loud and proud, like I believed it.  Because Jesus loved me.  When did I grow up and stop having the same convictions I had as an innocent child?  I don’t know when it happened, but it saddens me.  However, thanks to the sweet innocence of my son, I was reminded today why we go to mass.  We go to mass to praise and worship God’s name.  To give him thanks for all the things he has done ‘FOR US’.  Thank you Christopher, for pointing that out to us today.  And thank you God, for sending that little boy into my life.

Family Hugs

If you have followed my series ‘Confessions of a Middle-Age Mom’, then you know that I have camped out at my sister’s house for the last four days.  Her willingness to let me and my kids stay at her house for free is what made it possible for me to bring my kids to the One Direction concert.  Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to afford the road trip and the motel stay.  So I am forever in her debt for that kind gesture.

But what she gave me the last four days is more than a floor to sleep on and a bath to bathe in.  If you ask my kids, they would say that their aunt also gave us good food to eat, new toys to play with and access to their pool.  But something that my kids might not realize is that my sister and her family has given us so much more.  It’s not a tangible thing that you can pick up.  It’s a feeling that can be relayed through words and actions.  The best way to describe it is the feeling you get when you are embraced in a hug from a loved one.

My older sister and my brother-in-law has blessed my parents with seven grandchildren.  Actually 9 grandchildren when you add my niece’s husband and my brother-in-law’s nephew who we consider part of our family.  Their children’s ages range from 10 to late 20’s.  Yet the vast age difference does not matter.  The little boys are best friends with the big kids.  They are a tight-knit family.

Although my sister only has her three younger boys left at home, the older kids are in town.  With the exception of one of my nieces who is roughing it out as a camp counselor this year…in Hawaii.  Boy, that gig must be pretty sweet.  🙂  She is the only one I have not gotten to see on this trip, but I did get to talk to her briefly on the phone.

I had stood there in awe many times this past week, as I watched the older kids stop by to see us and their younger siblings.  The younger boys greet their older siblings like they haven’t seen them in months and when the older kids say goodbye, they hug everyone like this could be the last time they see them.  That gives me such a warm feeling inside.

Don’t get me wrong, I grew up in a house full of love, but I don’t recall this much hugging going on in my childhood.  In fact, this week has made me realize that my immediate family doesn’t hug one another enough.  We hug family when they have come to visit and when we are saying goodbye, but my immediate family is not hugging one another as much as we are yelling at one another.  This is something I will work on changing in the future.

Because I want my kids to be more like my nieces and nephews.  I want my kids to love their siblings so much that they hate to see them grow up and leave our house to make their way in this world.  Not be thankful that their sibling has finally moved out so they can take over the space.  I want my family to be a hugging family too.

Yes, my sister’s family will forever be known as the Hugging Family.  Because that’s what they do, they love one another so much they have to hug each other.  And it’s not just that, they don’t just hug the younger boys and then have nothing to do with them.  They talk with them, they play with them, they help them with things.  They walk back into my sister’s home and take on the role they had in the family as if their beds were still under that roof.  They are not visitors, they are family.  The older kids might have their own place they live at, but they still belong in their parent’s home.

My wish is that my immediate family will be that way too in the future.  That Marie will still feel like she lives at our house, even if she has her own place that she calls home.  That Christopher will look at Marie’s visits as a treat instead of an invasion of his space.  I hope I can get my family to be more of a hugging family now, so that my grandkids can witness this type of bond that my sister’s family has.

I have always been strong on saying “I love you” to my family, but I’m a little weak on my physical expressions of love.  So that is something I am going to try to work on more.  To embrace my kids more, while they are still around, so that they will come back for more once they leave to make a name in this world.

So thank you big sister, for all the many things you have given me this week.  You have not only provided me with a place to lay my head and food to eat.  You did not only help me care for my kids at the concert.  You have taught me some valuable lessons about life that I had overlooked recently.  You have such a wonderful, loving family and I just want to tell you that you and your husband have sown so many wonderful seeds into this world and we are all blessed by your bounty.

Although she can’t tell you in person, I know that Mom is so very, very proud of the family that you have created and the woman who you have become.  And I am very thankful that I have you in this world to file some of the void that Mom’s death has left.  I love you sis, more than words can express.

In God’s Time (Life After Layoff – Chapter 10)

I am amazed that God hasn’t given up on me by now.  He should be referring to me as a scatter minded woman who can’t make a decision, because that’s how I have acted.  But thankfully, God never gives up on his children.  What is it that has me so scatter minded?  What college to attend.

I started out with my search for a college more than a month ago.  I had my mind set on going to College A, because the tuition was cheaper and it seemed like that would be the best choice.  However, when I couldn’t get an appointment with an academics adviser at College A quickly enough, I started looking closer at what College B had to offer.  I had made an appointment with College A, however College B was able to get me in to see an academics adviser sooner.  So some time over night, my desires to attend College A switched to wanting to attend College B.  Just because they had a sooner opening on their calendar.

However, my youngest son became sick the day of my appointment at College B, so I had to cancel that appointment.  I was able to reschedule with College B and will be meeting with them next week.  Thankfully I still had my appointment set up for College A, which I went to today.

Do you see why God would think I’m pretty scatter minded?  I have two colleges that can give me the same result, but one might cost more than the other.  Due to the fact that one adviser can get me in sooner than the other was enough to switch my desire to attend that college.  Boy, do I need help!

Today I visited with the academic adviser at College A.  Now remember, College A was my first choice from the beginning.  Mostly because of the lower tuition cost.  It’s all about the money people…all about the money.  🙂

As I was driving to College A, I reminded myself that this was my first choice to begin with.  However it’s God’s choice that matters, not mine.  He has the plan for my future, I just have to be willing to show up for the events.  That is my conclusion on life anyway.

After visiting with the academic adviser at College A, I have determined that this might not be the college for me.  At least, that’s what I’m thinking now.  After my appointment next week with College B, I might be singing a new tune.  🙂

This is what I have discovered from my visit at College A:

  • The college is too far away.  It takes me 30 minutes to get to the campus from my house.
  • None of my earlier credits will be accepted.  So I will be starting over as a freshman.
  • About 14 classes can be taken at a Community College and transferred to this college.  Which means the tuition cost would be less for those classes.
  • Another cost that I’m not ready to deal with is textbooks!  I visited the bookstore before my appointment and couldn’t believe the cost of the textbooks.  I’m not talking about the new price either, I’m talking about the used or rented price.  Oh me, oh my!

So where does this leave me?  A little worried, a little confused, a little depressed and a little determined.  Worried, because I want to get my teaching degree as quickly as possible, so I can get a teaching job full-time.  Confused, because I just realized how wishy-washy I have been on this college decision.  One day I like this college, then the next day I change my mind.  Depressed, because I am still not sure what my future is going to bring.  Determined, because when I want something bad enough, I figure a way to get it done.

I also am very insightful, because this setback has made me remember that I wanted to try substituting at different schools before I started college and that hasn’t happened yet.  I have substituted many times this year at my children’s school, which is a Catholic school.  But I have not substituted at a public school or even at another Catholic school.  I have not tested the waters, so to speak, like I had planned to.

As always, it’s going to come together in God’s time…not mine.  So where do I go from here?

  1. Meet with the academic adviser at College B next week.
  2. Keep an open mind to what both colleges have to offer.
  3. Remember that I need to get more exposure to other schools, which won’t happen until this Fall.
  4. Remember that God is in control.

Number 4 is the biggest and toughest one to do.  I know he’s in control of the big things in life, but I have to remind myself that he’s also in control of the little things in life.  So for now, I will be thankful that I got a chance to meet with the academics adviser at College A.  I can take this information and compare it to the information I receive from College B next week.

I will try to stop speeding up the college process and know that it will all fall in place in God’s time.  Last, but not least, I will try to focus my energies on working with my kids this summer.  Teaching degree or not, I’ve got my own class of four to teach for now.  🙂

Embracing the Pain

I’m sorry for being away for some time.  There has been a lot of things happening lately.  Because of the date my husband and I chose to be married, I just finished a week-long celebration of events.  Talk about a whirlwind of emotions.

First there was Mother’s Day and since I have four children, I definitely deserve some sort of celebration there.  Then three days later, on Wednesday, May 13th, my husband and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary.  It’s hard to believe it’s been 15 years.  Has it all been sunshine and rainbows?  No, but I couldn’t ask for a better person to share those hard times with.  Then two days later I celebrated my 45th birthday.  Yep, I was married two days before I turned 30-years-old.

I was surprised to find myself missing my mom the most on the my birthday.  Yes, I missed her on Mother’s Day.  But I guess I was too busy sending special messages of encouragement to my friends that were trying to make it through their first motherless Mother’s Day, that I didn’t have time to focus on my motherless life as much.

I missed her on my anniversary, but I was too busy making the day special for my husband that I didn’t have time to focus on my loss.  But when my birthday came around, it all sort of piled on top of me.  Maybe because I had started a tradition about 20 years ago that ended when my mom died.

When I was in my early twenties I started having a balloon or a carnation delivered to my mom on my birthday.  It always had a note attached that said something like “Thank you for giving me life.”  It was always addressed to my mom AND dad, because it takes two to tango. (If you know what I mean.)  But in reality, it was my mom that carried me in her womb for 9 months and then continued to carry me physically and in her heart until the day she died.  So I guess it has always been my mom that I had felt deserved this gesture the most.

After my mom passed away, my Dad had became technical savvy enough to make an account on Facebook.  So for a few years, I had sent him a virtual bouquet of flowers on my birthday.  But this year, I didn’t do that, because he’s been sick and hasn’t been on Facebook for a while.  Plus, he was in the process of moving back to his summer home in Iowa last week.

So is the fact that I didn’t send my traditional (real/virtual) flowers to my parents bothering me this year?  Maybe so.  Or maybe it’s just the fact that so much has changed in my life these last 9 months and the one person that I wish I could talk to is not here any more.  I miss my mom so much.  I miss her everyday, but the hurt is just a bit fresher lately.

My mom was my confidant, my best friend, my biggest cheerleader and I miss her so much.  My mom is the reason I started writing this blog, because I needed to find a way to get things out of my head.  Not just the sorrow I felt about losing her, but just my everyday stories.  There were times we would talk on the phone for hours, because I had to tell her about all the things that the kids had done recently.

So when my mom died, I lost my one-person audience that I could always depending on listening to me.  Don’t get me wrong, I have friends that listen to my stories and there is always Frank.  Of course, Frank doesn’t always hear me at times.  If there is a special game on the TV, I can talk for hours and he wouldn’t have a clue what I said.  My mom was the one person that would listen to the same stories and not tell me that I had already told her that.  She could finish my sentences for me and if there was ever a time when I lost my train of thought, she would overlook it and we would go on to another topic.

We would talk on the phone for more than an hour and afterward my dad would ask her what we talked about and she would say, “Not much.”  Because we would talk about anything and everything.  Things that were important and things that didn’t matter.  We just loved to talk or maybe you could say that we loved to hear each other’s voices.

If I ever tried to hide the fact that I was worried or scared about something, she could always see right through it.  Even if we were speaking on the phone and I tried to act nonchalant, she could tell by the tone in my voice that something was wrong.

She had this mother’s intuition about her that told her when she needed to give me a call.  She would call me up and tell me that I had been on her mind a lot and then I would tell her of some struggle I had dealt with.

My mom was amazing and I miss hearing her voice.  I miss telling her about my dreams and confiding about my fears.  I miss telling her about some stupid thing that her grandchildren did or telling her some great achievement they accomplished.

The bottom line is, I miss my mom so much it hurts.  And I don’t know how to make the pain go away or even if I want it to go away.  It might sound silly, but if my pain for her loss goes away, does that mean my love for her goes away too?  So I guess instead of wanting things to be easier and not so painful, I should embrace the pain and find a way to celebrate the fact that my love for my mom is so strong that it physically hurts.  I can’t think of a better tribute that I could give my beloved mom.

Thank you for listening to me ramble.  To those of you who have lost your mom or dad or someone very special, I hope you can find a point in your mourning to embrace the pain your broken heart is feeling and celebrate that your love was so strong.

Also remember, it’s okay to cry.  I think that a person needs to shed tears to clear their emotions.  To get the good and bad emotions out of their systems.  I use to be the type that didn’t want to cry in front of someone.  Now, I will cry at the drop of the hat, in a room full of people, and not care if everyone notices.  So go ahead and give yourself a chance to have a good cry.  We all need to do it now and then and in the end, you’ll feel a lot better.  I know I did.

A Happy Mother’s Day…for the most part

Just a quick note to let you know that I did not end up in a padded room or a jail cell today.  Nope, I still have some of my marbles left and my kids are all still breathing.  It was a good Mother’s Day…for the most part.  Maybe that is because I had less expectations this year.  I didn’t expect to spend the day doing nothing but chillin’.  I didn’t expect my kids to be perfect angels all day long.  I didn’t expect to feel cheerful and carefree all day long.  I just expected to spend the day with my family and not have to do as much as I normally do.

Believe it or not, I had some surprises throughout the day.  Breakfast in bed, take out for lunch, gifts from my kids, an afternoon nap, some unexpected help from my children, releasing balloons to my mom and our grandmother’s in Heaven and some kind messages from my family and friends.  Yes, there were some usual moments that I’m not surprised about.  Little things like the typical whining about going to mass in the morning.  The stressful moments during mass when the kids didn’t want to behave.  The complaining from at least one kid when Frank announced we were getting KFC for lunch.  The crying child that hadn’t made a special Mother’s Day gift at school for mom.  The typical bickering that my kids do every weekend.  The typical requests from the kids to help them with something they want to make or do.  The typical fight to help with a siblings school project.  The 9:00 pm crazy children routine.  These are all things that did not surprise me.  Because they are typical on a special holiday like Mother’s Day.

I guess you could say that I gave myself a special Mother’s Day gift to myself today.  I just let the day play out and did my best not to get upset or disappointed.  Yes, there were sad moments when I posted on Facebook, my message of love to my deceased mother.  Yes, I did say aloud a few times today, “Happy Mother’s Day to me!” with a sarcastic meaning behind it, because of some situation that my kids were in the middle of.  Like a glass of water being spilled or an argument that started between two of the kids or some stupid thing that resulted in some child crying.  However, all in all, it was a pretty good day.  I hope it was the same for all the other mothers out there in this world.  I hope there was at least one thing they can look back on and smile about.  Even if it’s just a look on one of their children’s faces or a kind word that reached deep, deep down in their heart.

Happy Mother’s Day to the toughest humans alive, because motherhood ain’t for sissies!  😉

Mother’s Day Eve

On this eve of Mother’s Day, I would like to stop and reflect on the many things I love about my kids.  I have to do this today, because if I do this tomorrow my blog would not have as much of an upbeat tone.  That is because my kids think that Mother’s Day is not the day to honor and be kind to their mother.  They think it’s a day to push mom to farther limits and try to cause me to have a nervous break down.  So if I am not in a mental institution or jail by the end of the day tomorrow, I can guarantee that you will be hearing a more stressed out blog from me.  With that said, let me tell you a few things that I love about my kids.

The thing I love about my little boy Christopher is the silliness he brings into my life.  He will often come into the room with clothes that do not belong to him.  His big sister’s boots, his Dad’s ball cap, his sister’s sunglasses, his mom’s shoes or his big brother’s coat.  You name it and this little boy will be more than pleased to model any sort of outfit he can get his hands on.  Along with his outrageous outfit, he is always wearing that big grin on his face that will melt your heart.  Yes, even when he has “borrowed” something he knows is off-limits, that smile of his will save him every time.

The thing I love about my little girl Ann is the early morning moments we share cuddled up together on the weekend.  Ann has been known to fall asleep in my bed before.  But even on the occasion that she sleeps in her own bed, she will still sneak into my bed in the early morning hours of Saturday and Sunday.  She always has her Doc McStuffin blanket with her and a tablet of some sort.  She will cuddle up beside me and watch Peppa Pig or Barbie’s Dream House or some other kid’s show on the tablet.  Some time during those early morning hours, Miss Ann will start placing her feet on my body and say, “Rub my feet.” or “Scratch my leg.”  Depending on how sleepy I am will depend on how willing I am to do what she asks.  Although I don’t always enjoy being woken up early in the morning, I do enjoy the quiet times we share together.

The thing that I love about my oldest son Patrick is that we both share a love for inventing and fixing things.  We share the same sort of creative thinking.  Whenever I am in the middle of fixing something, Patrick is always coming along asking to help.  There are times that I get stuck on something and he will come up with a different solution.  But this is not just a one-sided scenario.  He often wants to create something and will ask for my help.  Or sometimes I will see what he is doing and give him a suggestion.  He really brings out the inventive side of me.

The thing that I love about my oldest daughter Marie is the fact we share the same love of music and movies.  Yes, Marie and I both share a love for the band ‘One Direction’.  We also love to watch the same kind of movies.  She loves to watch movies that are inspired by Nicholas Sparks’ books and I love to watch the teenage movies like Teen Beach Movie.  She helps me remember what it was like to be a teenage girl again.  I have a really great friend in my oldest daughter.  A relationship that I hope will never end.

All in all, my kids make me who I am.  I would not be as loving, caring, giving, selfless or faithful if I didn’t have my kids.  They know how to bring out the best of me.  Spending time with them seems more like a fun time than work, for the most part anyway.  Now, they also know how to bring out the very worst in me.  They know the buttons to push that will send me in a tirade and make my head spin around.  I guess that is because they know the real me just as much as I know the real them.

They spend most of their days attending school, yet the students and teachers they spend so much time with don’t necessarily know my real children.  That is because my kids save their real selves for me and their dad.  I don’t know how many times I have heard a student or teacher be surprised when I mention something one of my children has said or done.  They will be shocked and tell me that they couldn’t imagine my child doing that.  It’s a good feeling to know that my kids feel comfortable enough at home to be their real selves.  I would feel like a failure as a mom if my kids felt they had to hide a part of themselves from Frank and I.

So although my kids know how to push my buttons and cause me to show my ugly side sometimes, I am glad that they do.  Because at least this way, I know that the relationship I have with my kids is a genuine one.  In our family, we love one another, warts and all.  That’s how families should be.  So on this Mother’s Day Eve, I will give thanks for my four beautiful, crazy, loving, annoying, unruly kids.  I know that I am luck to have them in my life and that my life would not be the same without them.

So to the tired and stressed mother’s out there, Happy Early Mother’s Day.  I hope you find a moment to stop and ponder about the special things that you love about your children.  Even if it’s simply the joy you feel when you watch your children fast asleep.  Because no matter how much of a heathen they may be, there’s something magically about the power of sleep that will make them appear to be an angel.  And sometimes, that is all you have to cling to, that they seem like angels…when they are sleeping.  😉

Christmas Countdown

{Here is another story that was typed but never posted.  It was originally written on December 26, 2013.  Two years later, I am very thankful I had written these events down.  I remember them all, but forgot they all happened on the same holiday.  Enjoy!}

An old classmate sent me a message the other day and there was a statement that really tickled me.  She has never had kids and she wrote, “I bet Christmas at your house is so much fun.”  I hated to burst her bubble of the wonderful image she had of my life, but if she reads this blog she will discover that my family Christmas’ will never be used to portray a Norman Rockwell Christmas picture.  Maybe the cover of a National Lampoon Christmas Vacation movie, but not a Norman Rockwell picture.  LOL

I’m sure you all understand the term “cause and effect”.  I have decided to use a cause and effect layout to describe my Christmas Holiday.  I hope it comes across the same way I had it in my head.  I was going to write, in detail, what my Christmas Holiday was like, but it was turning into a book.  So hopefully you will get a good understanding of what my Christmas was like from the highlights below.  So please join me on my Christmas Countdown.

4 days before Christmas

Woke up to an ice storm = Me outside beating on the weighed down tree limbs with a stick.  (It was like beating a big pinata and I actually kind of enjoyed it.)
Kids excitement level for Christmas escalating + Boredom of being inside = More sibling fighting than normal.
Ice storm causes a baby-sitting event to be cancelled = No Christmas shopping alone with my hubby.
My youngest throwing a toy car at the ceiling = Broken glass globe on my ceiling fan/chandler.
Ice storm blows a neighborhood transformer = Me leaving a shopping cart full of toys at a store to return home.  (By the way, the glass globe incident happened on Dad’s watch, about 5 minutes before the power went out.  So the big pieces were picked up, but not the little pieces.  And if you were wondering, the kids continued to fight IN THE DARK!)
Estimation of power coming back on at 8:00pm = Taking the family to IHOP for supper.
Discovering power is back on by 8:00pm = Frank telling me to go Christmas shopping, while he watches the kids.
Christmas shopping for about 3 hours at Walmart = Quicker checkout lines and arriving to a house full of sleeping kids at midnight.

3 days before Christmas

Youngest walking around with his sibling’s new flashlight = Black eye for my youngest daughter Ann, after Christopher gets mad and hits her with it.
Bored kids = Even more fighting
Kids getting in trouble = Many threats from parents that their toys were going back.
Telling my 8-year-old son that Santa isn’t going to bring him a present because of his actions = Hearing him state, “Doesn’t matter, cause your Santa anyway.”
Telling my 4-year-old daughter to behave or Santa Clause won’t bring her a present = A little girl crying her eyes out, for real!!!

2 days before Christmas

Dad & Mom having to go to work = Youngest one to day-care and the three older kids to a babysitter for the day.
Kids being at the babysitter’s house all day (on their best behavior) = Three kids letting off steam once they get home. (I’m talking a LOT of steam)
Little brother coming home with a present from a friend at day-care = Three older kids crying “It’s not fair, what about our present?”
Anxious kids asking about presents = More pissed off parents that declare Christmas is going to be cancelled.
Older siblings telling my 4-year-old that tomorrow is Christmas Eve = Four year old stating that tomorrow is Christmas and December 25th was Christmas Eve.

1 day before Christmas

Hubby having to go to work until 3:00pm (Luckily fool) = Mom threatening to kill kids if they don’t stop fighting and start picking up their toys.
Oldest daughter locking baby brother in the bathroom for a joke = A very pissed off Mom and a big brother to the rescue.  (He had to move my night stand, which blocks the other bathroom door, to get in and rescue his 2-year-old brother.)
Youngest son climbing up his dresser to get a pair of socks so he can join his older siblings outside = Chest of drawers falling on top of my little 2-year-old.
Lack of concern from older siblings when they found out about their brother’s accident = Mom on the floor in tears, having a Christmas meltdown.
Mom breaking down and crying = Kids actually cleaning the living room like I had asked them to do all day.
Dad arriving during Mom’s breakdown = Kids standing around saying, “Mom’s in the bathroom crying, but we don’t know why.”
My two oldest kids singing in the children’s Christmas choir = Needing to have them dressed and to the church by 4:20pm.  (Less than an hour after Frank arrived home from work.)
Watching my two oldest singing with the mass choir on Christmas Eve = Pride and thankfulness that our oldest daughter is here to sing at mass.  (Since 6 months ago, she had a brain tumor removed.)
Mom making baked zitti earlier in the day = Having a hot supper waiting for us after mass.
Letting the kids open one gift on Christmas Eve = Hearing excitement and disappointment when my youngest daughter says “I wanted some Stompy Slippers like Patrick.”  (However, they didn’t have any in her size, so I got her some Minnie Mouse slippers that can be used as a hand puppet.  No matter what I do, I can’t win!!)
Mom forgetting to make or buy cookies for Santa = Mom having to sacrifice one of her Reese’s peanut butter cup candy bars to set out with Santa’s milk.  (My oldest daughter asked me, “But what if Santa is allergic to peanut butter?”  My reply, “Then he won’t eat it.”)
Kids going to bed earlier than normal = Mom having the Christmas presents wrapped and gives Santa a chance to drop off his gifts at a decent hour.

Christmas Day

My two oldest kids excited about opening presents = Waking up around 4:00 am to hear them sifting through the presents under the tree.

Discovering my kids are awake WAY TOO EARLY = Telling them through gritted teeth, “If you don’t get back to bed and wait until your younger siblings wake up, all of your gifts will be going back!  And don’t even try waking them up, or you’ll be sorry.”.

Mom’s few minutes of letting her head spin around = Two kids actually staying in their room until a decent hour.

Watching ALL of the kids open presents that morning = Happiness, thankfulness and joy.  Not to mention some disappointment, whining and tears.  (You just can’t please everyone, all the time.)

Knowing all of our kids are healthy = The best Christmas present for Frank and I.

After reading through this story, I see that my friend is right.  Christmas is fun at our house.  It’s also crazy, loud, eventful and lively.  Going through those events at the time didn’t seem like fun.  But reading them now, years later, the bad feelings are forgotten.  They have been softened around the edges by the time.  So when I remember that Christmas in 2013, I have a warm and loving feeling in my heart.  Not the anger and despair I probably felt at the time.  🙂

I guess one of the miracles of Christmas is to create memories that will be cherished and remembered with a smile on your face many years later.

Letting Go

free

 

I’ve always thought this quote was about a lost boyfriend or girlfriend.  But now I’m beginning to think of it in a different way.  I guess you could say that if you love someone who is dying, release them from this earth by telling them that you will be okay if they need to go.  That’s what I just did minutes ago with my Dad.  As you know, my Dad has been fighting pneumonia along with some other complications.

The doctor told my brother last night that my dad was not doing well and that if he wanted to see him alive, my brother better make the trip to see him as soon as possible.  I guess up to this point I have romanticized his illness, because I had the luxury of being many miles away from him.  So I could decided how good or bad my dad looked in my mind, even if in reality his appearance and condition was much, much worse.

When I found out that my brother was taking a trip down go see Dad, I decided that I needed to take this last opportunity to talk to him honestly.  Not just tell him I love him and that we are praying for him.  I needed to tell him that I loved him and that if it was his time to go, it was okay to let go.

I am not saying that I have the right, authority or power to tell my Dad to die.  But as his child, I wanted him to know that I would be okay if God called him home.  I know as a parent, that until I breathe my last breath, I will feel a responsibility to be there for my kids.  No matter what age they are, they will be my kids to protect and love.  So I wanted my Dad to know that if he is struggle to stay alive for our benefit, it was okay to let go.

I had a similar conversation with my Mom before she died.  I told her that she had taught me everything I knew, but she never taught me how to say goodbye to my mom.  She and I cried together and she told me that God would help us both when that time came.  And she was right, God did help me though it.

Since I am still fighting off some sort of flu bug, a physical trip to see my Dad is not possible.  So today, I called my step-mom and asked if she could let me know the next time my Dad was awake, because I needed to tell him something.  She said his eyes were open, but she didn’t know if he was alert or not.  So she said she would hold the phone to his ear so he could hear me.

I will not lie, I couldn’t get out the words, “Hey Dad.” without having my voice break and tears started flowing from my eyes.  But I continued on, with a tear soaked face and strained voice to tell him everything that I needed him to know.  I told him that if he was ready to leave this world, that it’s okay to let go.

I told him that I loved him and would miss him, but I didn’t want him to be like this where he couldn’t talk or walk.  I told him that if Mom was waiting on the other side for him, to go to her.  I also told him to tell Mom I loved her as much as I loved him.  (When else am I going to have a chance to get a message hand delivered to my Mom in Heaven?)

I also said something that I needed to say for myself.  I told him I was sorry for anything I may have said or did that made him mad through the years.  Because there have been times, especially after my mom died, that my dad and I didn’t see eye to eye and I was very vocal with my opinion.  I wanted to apologize to him, before it was too late, so he knew that I regretted those times.  I knew the pain I had felt and I wanted to let him know that I didn’t mean to hurt him.

When you have a loved one in this situation you walk a narrow line on what to say.  There are times you want to pour them with love and prayers and encouragement to fight.  But when it looks like there isn’t much more fight left, you need to give them the permission to go.  To release them of their duties and be free.  However, this is a very hard and selfless thing to do.  Because you are giving the person your blessing to die.  But who are we to make them hang on in pain and confusion, just so we have their body present on this earth?

So I told my Dad that if he was holding on for us, it was okay to let go and be with God.  But if he was not ready to leave yet, then I wanted him to fight to get out of that bed and live again.

Naomi got back on the phone and told me that she thought he heard me.  She said that he was blinking his eyes a lot while I was talking and now his eyes were closed.  So she thought he did hear and understand what I said.  That gives me a peace in my heart to know that I said what I needed to tell him.  That way if he goes today, tomorrow or years from now, he knows all that I feel for him…he knows that I love him enough to let him go.

I Want To Know What Happens Next

I have just entered a new place that this blogger has never entered before, I am reading my blog to my children.  This is a big step for me, since most of the stories are about them.  I needed to get my kids to sleep sooner on school nights, so what better way to do that than to bore them to sleep with their mom’s blogging.  LOL

Actually, Marie has asked to read my blog, because she knows I am writing a book about the summer she had brain surgery.  I could give her the blog website and let her read it on her own, however, I don’t remember some of the things I wrote in the beginning.  So I feel more comfortable reading it aloud to her, so I can intercede with more explanation if I need to.

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