Friday, April 27, 2012

My Special Boy

I've climbed with the gorillas in Rwanda.  I've won four national championships in soccer.  I've snorkeled in the Caribbean Sea.  I've climbed the pyramids in Mexico.  I married my best friend.

12 years ago today, I became a mom.  12 years ago a very special little boy changed my life forever and practically swept away all the other things which, up to that point, had defined who I was.

He is funny and creative.

He randomly says things like "taco" and "biscuit" in a British accent and sends all of us into giggles.

He loves to read and presses me to read the books he reads so we can discuss them.

He knows more about reptiles and amphibians that anybody I know.  He wants to be the next Steve Irwin and talks often about following his legacy.

One of his recent videos (notice the cameo of a certain little brother).

He designs golf courses (regular and mini), roller coasters, zoos and skateparks in intricate hand drawings.

He loves his pets (3 geckos, two frogs and our family cat).

He is very tenderhearted and cries easily.

He is extremely fast and athletic and is awesome on a trampoline or a diving board.

He made up his own sport called "body boarding" (it's basically parkour) in which you do skateboard tricks "using your body as your board" that has become so popular with the other kids (even E) that L gave it up for Lent (it was a huge sacrifice).

He is a wonderful writer and has started (and not completed) multiple novels.

He is shy (especially around adults and especially when they are complimenting him).

His favorite food is my pesto and penne.

He is very absentminded and sometimes has to be reminded to wear underwear or make sure his shirt is on correctly. 

He could care less about clothes.  The girls regularly make him go back to his room to change because he doesn't match.  He shrugs and does it every time.

He is kind to his siblings and never complains when I ask him to watch his little brother.

He is a good cousin.

He still calls me mommy, but rarely lets me hug him anymore.

When he's upset and stressed, he still sucks his fingers and sniffs his lovey named Rufie (fleece blanket, dog head combo that is in shreds that he's had since he was born).  He had pretty much given it up until his aunt and uncle died and his cousins moved in.  He needs Rufie every day.

He has no idea how amazing he is.  If someone comments about what a great skater he is, he always comments about how someone else is better and that he's just a beginner.  Decide for yourself...

He made this video for his skate channel.

He is a good friend and is very selective.  He is comfortable in his own skin and only wants to hang out with kids who like him for who he is.

He has changed my life so much for the better.  Not just because he was my first step into motherhood, but because of the way he lives his life and brightens the lives of those around him. 

At minimum, I know more about the venomous snakes of the world than I did before he joined our lives.

Happy Birthday A.  Mommy loves you very much.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

My Shadow

I have a shadow who follows me around everywhere rain or shine, night or day.  His favorite move is to hide behind me with one arm wrapped around my leg at crotch level (lovely).  If I have to bring someone to practice, rather than stay home with E, he always chooses to come with me.  I have to sit next to him at the dinner table.  If we have guests, God forbid they sit in my seat accidentally.  At some point in the night he comes into our bed.  His little body pressed up against mine looking for reassurance that I'm still there and some nocturnal cozy time.

I love him dearly.  I understand why he's doing this.  At times, though, it is soooo annoying.  I know there will be a day not too far in the future that I'll remember these times longingly wishing my dependent little boy was back by my side.  The physical hanging on is getting really old.  My patience is not on the thick side these days and there are times when I need him to give me a break.  The kicking in my back at night or cheek-to-cheek sleeping is not cute, or endearing, or in any way comfortable.

This morning at pre-school drop-off he all of the sudden refused to go in the classroom and starting throwing a fit.  I eventually got him in and sitting down at circle time, but when I got up to leave he started sobbing in his hands miserably. Talk about heart string pulls.  I'm sure he pulled himself together within a few minutes.  They were talking about pond life and frogs and turtles which is something he can talk about for hours.  I just wish the separation from me wasn't still so hard on him (and me).

Monday, April 23, 2012

Prom Team 2012

I have tons of work to get done for my paying job (don't get me started on all the laundry piling up), so I only have a quick moment to post.  My sisters (C and S) and I had a great time getting E ready for prom.  These moments can be so bittersweet, but having my sisters with me to help and just love on E made a huge difference. 

It was a hard lesson to learn, but I've finally realized that lowering the walls and letting go of some of the control has made all of the difference with her.  She needs and deserves all of our love and support.  Yes, there are still moments where my family steps over the line, but those are becoming less frequent as our situation becomes more permanent in everyone's mind.  I've also become better and laying down the law when needed rather than stewing in silence.  Push comes to shove, I'm in charge and have to deal with all of her teenage drama and high maintenance tendencies. Having a bit of help with some of the big things, though, shores me up, stripping away all of the messy drama, and simply allows all of our love for this special girl and each other shine through.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Random Snippets

Last week while putting L to bed...

L: Is God lonely?

Me: Why do you say that buddy?

L:  Well, he's up there with all of those dead people.  It must be very quiet.

I didn't know what to say and just tried to change the subject.  It was totally cute and kinda funny, but at the same time heartbreaking.  It's so hard to find the right words to describe death and heaven to a five year old when you're so confused about it yourself.


E is going to junior/senior prom on Saturday night with a friend on her swim team.  She's been crushing on him for a few years, but since he's a year old it's been a safe crush from afar.  They are going as "friends," but I think she's secretly hoping for more.  I have to say he is a cute, nice boy.  He's also a great swimmer which I think is the major draw for E.  I'm excited for her.  As with most things, though, I wish her mom was here to help her get ready, do her hair and makeup.  C and S are coming over to help her get ready, so we'll surround her with lots of aunt support and love.

We also went to a sports nutritionist together two weeks ago and I think it's really going to help (even if it's a placebo).  One of the things she told her was that she needs to sleep more.  She's taking it to heart and gotten to bed earlier on the nights before swim mornings.  Step in the right direction.


We've had a week of faker faker illnesses from M (rash, sore ankle, weird throat thing).  It's almost comical if it weren't so annoying.  I try really hard to give her the attention she needs without focusing on the injury/illness and feeding the behavior.  I am truly baffled by it.  Has anybody else ever dealt with something like this?  D often complains about upset tummies when he wants attention, but I usually chock that up to a reaction to his stress or anxiety.  A little TLC goes along way to make the symptoms disappear.  With M, it doesn't seem to make them go away.


L was an absolute disaster at his kindergarten evaluation today.  It really means nothing, but it was embarrassing to have him hiding behind me and refusing to participate.  When he did respond, it was with an exasperated sarcasm like these simple questions were so far below him.  Again, really embarrassing.  He gets so scared about trying new things and sitting by himself with the school principal was no exception.  He eventually did cooperate, but it definitely reflect his developmental abilities.

On Saturday at his first soccer practice/game he refused to participate at first and wouldn't even take his sweatshirt off to show his uniform.  By the end, however, he was raising his hand to demonstrate and rocked it out in the scrimmage scoring 4 goals and high fiving all the kids good bye.  He's probably been to more soccer practices and games than any of the other kids out there, but he was still scared of the unknown.  Silly boy.


I need to brag on A a little bit.  Multiple times in the last few weeks I have been struck by what an amazing little boy he is.  He is a great writer.  I think it's from all the reading he does, but his word choices and creativity is often well beyond his soon to be 12 years.  He is also a skateboarding, herpetologist.  I kid you not.  He can kick flip a four stair in one instant and then talk with such authority about the northern banded water snake that I'm stunned.  He actually has his own YouTube channel with multiple followers for his herpetology documentaries.  He wants to be the next Steve Irwin.  I would not be surprised if he reached that goal.  He is so comfortable in his own skin and is never embarrassed by his less than cool interests (drawing, reptiles, reading, etc.).  A is truly my rennaissance man.


I know I complain about him a lot, but I really do love my husband.  Regardless of his inability to support me in the way I need sometimes, he is truly my best friend and makes me laugh like nobody else.  I've been trying to remind myself of this lately and trying to be a better wife and friend to him.  I've tried the nagging, badgering approach and it hasn't helped.  Maybe the "I love you and appreciate you" approach will help things.


I've started taking a vitamin D supplement (along with E at the suggestion of the nutritionist) to help boost my energy levels.  I think it might be helping a bit.  My therapist wants me to take calcium too.  I got some, but the D gummies are just so much easier to take :)


I had to drive by the accident site today.  I have to do it once a week now to bring M to practice.  I try to distract myself most days.  Today was harder because a sad song came on my ipod.  The tears came and I let them.  L was in the back seat playing on my nook so he didn't notice.  As I then drove by their old neighborhood, I had the irrational urge to drive to their house (now rented), go inside, climb on their cosy couch (not there and in storage) and sob.  I kept going, went to D's baseball game and tried to forget.  I miss my sister.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter 2012 in Pictures

I got through the day and managed to have some fun.  The kids certainly did...

A family picture in front of my in-laws.

L with his baby cousin...he looooves her.

The girls enjoying brunch at my in-laws.

L sprinting through the Egg Hunt!

Me with new baby cute and good for the soul.

A searching for eggs...there were multiple "golden eggs" with cash.

D was so great helping his little "god brother" through the little kid egg hunt.

The little cousins played "fort" in the front yard at my parents.  That's KT in the front.

C taught E to cross-stitch.

I always feel better when the cousins are together.  They have a bond that is amazing.

I don't have the words tonight.  Pictures tell a better story.

We're in the middle of spring break and are hitting King's Dominion (amusement park) tomorrow.  Hoping to keep the kids' good spirits going strong.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Three R's

E, M, Jeanne and KT the Easter before the accident.

Recognize. Restart. Refresh.

I have been on edge the last two days.  Grumpy mommy doesn't even touch it.  I actually thought it might be PMS (way early).  Irrational.  Prickly.  Angry.  Seeing only the bad.  Craving my bed, bad t.v. and my book to escape the feeling of tension seeping out my pores.  Unfortunately D has taken much of the brunt with his talking back and not following directions.

I haven't been able to put my finger on it, until this evening as I put out the Easter baskets for the kids.  It's a holiday.  Another family event without Jeanne and Mike.  Another holiday where the girls celebrate apart, then together, then apart again.  Jeanne loved Easter.  Although, we never went (K's family stuff), she hosted a brunch and Easter egg hunt for the rest of the family.  The girls always had the best outfits and she took tons of pictures around their great back yard.

When I think of Easter, I think of Jeanne.  I miss her so much.

I'm thinking about apologizing to each of the kids for my behavior the last two days.  I want to explain to them in a way they can understand about how much I miss their mom and Aunt Jeanne.  How sometimes I'm sad and it makes it hard for me to be patient.  It's not an excuse for my behavior, but I don't want them to think that this is who I am or who want to be.

Tomorrow is a day about new beginnings.  It's also another holiday under our belt in our new normal.  I'm going to try to have a good night's sleep and start with a clean slate tomorrow.  Feed off of the excitement and joy of the kids.  It's supposed to be a nice day and maybe the sunshine will help brighten my mood.

I wish everyone a happy Easter. If you don't celebrate it, I hope you at least have a happy spring day tomorrow.

Here's to a fresh start.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Uncles Rock!

Today Uncle CR (S's husband) and Uncle D (C's husband), arrived at school and pulled D out of school early.  He had no idea, but they, along with K, got tickets to the Nationals vs Red Sox pre-season game today at 3pm.  All the guys in our family are big Sox fans and D is a Nats fan too, so if was a game not to be missed. K works downtown, so he met them at the game. The weather was gorgeous and our little guy who desperately needed his bank filled, got some good old fashioned attention from the men in his life.  He was in heaven. 

The surprise was a little bittersweet unfortunately.  When the front office called down to his room, she just told him to pack up his bag and that his uncle was waiting for him.  He quietly told me tonight that for those five minutes of packing and walking down to the office, he thought that someone in our family had died.  Sigh.  I guess we didn't think things through very well.  Once he realized what was going on, he was fine, but it still clenches my stomach to remember how the accident has affected all the kids.

My kids have great aunts and uncles.  It's nice to know that I'm not the only one who can fill his bank.  Other people can remind him how much he is loved and what a special kid he is.  A positive memory was made that will last his lifetime.


But you can
Walk away, all alone
Spend all your time
Thinking about the way things used to be
If love feels right
You work it out
You don't give it up

- Bridges, Tracy Chapman

The past few days have reminded me over and over again why I blog.  First, I needed to get out all of the emotion, frustration and pain from the conversation with CA and the overall situation.  Writing it down forced me be a little more objective and admit my role in the situation.

Then the comments started coming in.  Support, advice, understanding, and insight.  Boy, do I love you guys.

Add an hour of therapy on Monday with Harriet that reinforced many of the comments left, and I'm feeling a bit better.  I think just like I'm working on talking more about Jeanne and the accident in therapy to diminish the impact of the trauma, I think CA and I getting some of this out is in some way positive.  I'm a pretty direct, and honest person and holding some of my issues with her wasn't helping anyone.  I could have done it in a better way, but I'm done beating myself up over it.  Thank for helping me get there.

I love my sister.  I don't understand her, but I don't want her to feel any worse than she already does about everything. If E and M weren't living with me, I think it would be a lot easier for me to take CA and her parenting. Maybe I can try to understand her a bit more and in turn she'll see how her decisions with the little girls often have a detrimental impact on my family. The little girls are loved and that is going to have to be enough.

I am constantly being reminded that nothing about this situation is conventional.  There are no simple answers.

I think it still all comes down to acceptance.  It may sound strange, but I still can't believe Jeanne and Mike are gone and their four children are separated and two of them are living with us.  Two years out and it still feels like a dream.  How can this have happened to my family? I'm not sure when the switch of acceptance turns on in someone.  Will I know when it has happened?   Intellectually, I know the accident happened, but emotionally I stand disbelief.  Maybe it will be when the feelings of guilt, sadness, shock, anger and grief are no longer tangled together inside me, but distinct entities that I recognize and embrace as part of the new Peg. 

I need to stop being stuck in remembering how things used to be and working towards being comfortable with the way things are and how wonderful they still can be.