4 Birthdays and a Funeral

parenting, parenting blog, mommy blog,birthday partings, mourning

Spring. The transformation of our world. Signs of hope and life after a long and dreary winter.

Spring. The season of birthdays in our family.

My youngest is the locomotive of this party train. This year we celebrated her day with a big tea party. Since pink is her color, we had pink tea, pink hats, pink tissue balls, pink toe nails, and her most adamant request – a chocolate cake (with pink sprinkles).

Spring is a nostalgic time for me. I often think back to the day the girls were born. I remember the car ride to the hospital with our first, in the dark, in the rain, my husband making a wrong turn and then asking if I wanted to drive around a bit. (NO!) But I don’t really blame him. The streets were empty and shiny. It was beautiful outside and we had the world to ourselves. Something amazing was about to happen and we were the only ones that knew it.

I think about the first time I saw them, held them, my first words to them. I remember with our second we had a special name planned if the baby was a girl. When she was calmly shown to me and placed in my arms I thought, “I knew it was you.”

I think about all that, all those memories from back then. Then I think about their year – how they have changed, grown.

Nene is turning seven and has become a book connoisseur. I try to keep up with her reading demand and when I fail and she’s bookless, she writes her own. She writes about her day or creates an original funny story. She’s a self-motivated reader and writer and my heart sings. Nene used to be scared to stand up for herself but she’s started to tactfully draw boundaries with kids that hurt her. She sprained her ankle was couch-ridden for a few days and never complained. She was surprisingly patient and able to take things as they came. When she returned from a long vacation, her neighborhood friend said, “I’m glad she’s back. She brings all the kids in the neighborhood together.” She’s lively, friendly, happy.

Nono is now four and her person is showing through more and more. She enjoys music and sings a wide variety of songs. She memorizes Nene’s monthly poems too. She’s persevering and showing more willingness to do things she’s uncomfortable with, but on her terms. She’s failed swimming lessons (twice) but at least this last time she got back in the water. Nono teaches me to slow down and relax. When we can afford the time (and we often can), I let her set the pace and she’s much more cooperative. She’s mastering independence. And she likes to surprise me by cleaning up and being helpful.

Spring is a wonderful time for me. Spring is my New Year in terms of reviewing and taking stock.

Except for this year.

The day of Nono’s birthday they found a body. An old friend from my teenage years was missing for 3 weeks. They found him when we were celebrating.

Even when you’re devastated, time marches on. I’ve been planning parties, hosting events, making memories, buying supplies and baking extra goodies while mourning a loss.

Celebrating and grieving.

It reminds me of certain quotes:

“The sweet is never as sweet without the sour.”

“You can’t appreciate the good days without the bad.”

“Only in darkness can you see the stars shine.”

And Easter must have gotten the memo too. I was planning an egg hunt and checked the weather to find a snowfall warning.

In these last few weeks I woke up some mornings tired and reluctant to get up to face the day, to fix another meal…I don’t want to…I just want to sleep. Then I thought of my old friend. He’ll never be able to give his little boy another breakfast, another hug, another kiss. He won’t have another chance to love his child. Here I am with another day before me to love, to care, to be there. Some parents are done before they are done. I’m not done. And I’m grateful.

Spring will now be more bittersweet. I will remember my friend, the times we shared, the foolish teenage shenanigans of yesteryear. I’ll be sad his days are done. But I’ll be thankful for the good he did have and the memories many of us hold.

I’ll continue to take stock, to reflect on days past and what is gone. But I’ll also look forward to what’s ahead.

Spring is a time of anticipation. There is life under the surface, something unseen that will soon be seen. It just needs some time and warmth before it will raise and grow.

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This Is Motherhood

mommy blog, humor, reflect, life with kids, mom in toddler bed, reading to kid, real life

It’s a constant game of lost and found. You lose library books, sippy cups, sweaters and socks. Then you find baby dolls tucked under your covers, get well cards on your nightstand after your nap, your lost keys in a play purse. Every day you lose some and find some.

It is exhaustion and interrupted sleep for as far as I can see. Even after the baby phase there are nightmares, habitual waking, early mornings, sicknesses, etc. When I was a new mom I met some parents of teenagers and they were complaining of picking up their son from a party after midnight. All I could say was, “So you’re still not sleeping through the night?” They laughed, perhaps at my naivety.

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A superb summer

Since my eldest daughter entered into the educational regime, our lives are structured by the school calendar. We have to plan around Stat holidays, PD days and vacation times officiated by the office.

When summer finally rolled around this year, I was ready. During the last two months I had enough of school and was dreading the humdrum of homework and last minute special projects. Summer was calling my name.

My generous mother-in-law invited me and the girls to stay with her on Vancouver Island, which is basically one of the most beautiful locations in Canada. I took up her offer like a drowning sailor grabs onto a lifeline. YES! I’ll BE RIGHT THERE!

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Go West, Young Lady, Go West

young child on ferry mountian scenery

It took a week of packing and two days of driving, but we did it. The girls and I have relocated for a few weeks to Vancouver Island. My mother-in-law moved out here this winter and after setting up her apartment promptly bought bedding for us. She was beckoning and I was hungry for a change – change of scenery, change of pace.

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This Girl’s Life on Cloud Nine

Happy Girl In Ukrainian costume

My daughter, Nene, turned six this spring. And her birthday landed between her younger sister’s two surgeries. Needless to say, while being stressed and preoccupied my husband and I neglected our eldest child.

But we saw it. We saw Nene’s confidence drop. We saw her struggle with minor tiffs at school. We saw her overreact and lash out. We saw her craving our attention and acting out to get it.

We saw her hurting.

And it hurt us.

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Living in the red zone

Gauges to tell us how something is running or functioning. The tell-tale needle points to numbers or colors that indicate: good, warning or danger.

Generally I’ve been cruising along life in the safe zone. I’ve had a health scare myself, but it was quickly caught and corrected. My husband has gotten ill, but never life-threatening. And up until recently my children have had no major issues.

In the last two and a half months I’ve been in the red zone four times. And now I feel that I’m settling in the yellow zone because Nono hasn’t had a perfect recovery.

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Book Reviews for June 2016

Devouring reading material has been my passion since junior high when I read through every Nancy Drew I could get my hands on. (A new girl scoffed at me, but I didn’t care.) In high school I read mostly novels and my favorite that I can remember to this day was White Oleander.  College opened my eyes to more genres and that’s when I found my favorite – creative nonfiction. Truth really is stranger than fiction and I love a real story that is told with creativity and skill.

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The Winding Road to Recovery Post-Op

child sleeping in hosptial bed

I’ll be honest. When I saw my 3-year-old fresh out of surgery being rolled to her room, I was scared  to touch her and apprehensive to talk to her. She was as fragile as a flower petal and I didn’t want to hurt her and didn’t know what to say.  Her tiny body just had a big surgery. She was groggy, sad, hurting and full of tubes. It was 11 p.m. and we were in for a rough night.

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When the stomach bug isn’t the stomach bug

sick child, hospitalization, post-operation

Children and sicknesses go hand in grubby hand. But sometimes, an illness strikes and you feel that you are in unfamiliar territory – the lows are too low, the pain is too great, and you feel that something isn’t right. Then after a whirlwind day in the ER you’re hugging and kissing your child before she collapses into a medicated sleep on the operating table.

I know. Here’s what recently happened to us.

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