Monday, October 25, 2010

Heebie Jeebies

Heebie Jeebies: A feeling of minor fright, anxiety, nervousness, apprehension, 'the willies'.

I'm seriously a scardy-cat. I big one. I wish I wasn't. But I am. For example, I'd like to blame my fear of the dark on our house fire in 1994, but I was afraid way before that. I have lots of valid and invalid fears. Many of which I'm sure I will spend years to come exploring on this here blog. But on a lighter note, and I think we all can agree that my blog could use a little bit of a lighter note post, I want to write about the little fears in life. The Heebie Jeebies, if you will. My friend Carrie wrote a blog about this the other day that I just thought was great. Click the definition of HJ's above to read her post. I want to know what skeeves my peeps.

In no particular order and CERTAINLY not an all inclusive list, here are the things that give me the willies, or that I am just downright terrified of...

-The dark, more specifically walking past a mirror in the dark

-Smell of tomato sauce / dish soap in the sink - if there is a pan full of water and a rag involved, I will vomit

-A needle going in

-Too short fingernail

-Paranormal commercials

-Walking through a spider web

-Stairwells in parking garages

-Crawling under a front porch or any too small opening to get under the house. BEING UNDER THE HOUSE!

-Turning over a log/rock/anything that can will reveal creepy crawlies

-Finding mold on bread or cheese, well after I have it out of the package and am getting ready to use it for something

-LOOGIES, and the sound of them getting hocked. shivers.

-Earwigs, more picturing an earwig crawling into an ear, more picturing an earwig crawling into MY ear

-Ferrel Cats

So what about you? As we celebrate "Halloween Week" heh, where everyone thinks being scared and grossed out is fun (obviously NOT my most favorite holiday). Tell me. What makes you shudder?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

What I said...

As you know I lost my friend Julie on October 10th.

Today I spoke at Julie's memorial service and here is what I said...

"Hi, my name is Jenny, I am a friend and coworker of Julie's, and until Julie got cancer we were just normal work friends. We talked about stuff around the office and had casual conversations about our personal lives. She gave me sweet advice about not sweating the small stuff since I was planning my wedding when I met her in 2002. She knew what she was talking about in that department, having definitely showed a great example of an amazing marriage looked like. It was after she was diagnosed, and she started her blog, it was then that I got to deeply know her. And through that, she changed me. Her dignified battle and humor and wit through it has been an inspiration to me, and how I live my life. I wanted to do something for her, something tangible to show support, so I organized a team to walk in a cancer benefit walk in her name. She was touched, so deeply.

I was thinking the other day about how much Julie would have liked to go on for years with the title of 'cancer survivor', and how unfair it is that she cannot, I was reminded that it is something did get to experience. During that first Making Strides Cancer walk that we did together in her name, she got to make a lap with the other survivors. She was in remission for the first time and feeling strong enough to finish the entire 5K holding a sign she's fashioned with a long (heavy) wooden pole and a pillow case with the numerous names of the people who inspired her and who been affected by cancer. As I watched Julie make that survivor lap, with tears in my eyes, I both was proud to know her and honored to witness her own pride in herself. She did it. Of course that wasn't the end of Julie's battle, but I'm so glad she was able to know that victory, feel that victory, and be recognized in such an exhibition as the true survivor that she is.

As I said, I came to know Julie more intimately through her blog, and her words touched me. As I read back through it this week, looking for a few meaningful passages I wanted to share, they were numerous. There was no way I could do her justice reading just a few lines. I'm so grateful that we have her writing to look back over and to remember continue to be inspired by her.

April 2009
A few days after her last chemo in April of 2009, she was writing about looking forward to a day of feeling not yucky (she promised that was an technical oncology term). She wrote of the ailments that she still struggled with and how she couldn't wait for those to pass. And she wrote:

But just today I was reading The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving, and came across this:

“Human beings are remarkable – at what we can learn to live with,” ... “If we couldn’t get strong from what we lose, and what we miss, and what we want and can’t have,” ... “then we couldn’t ever get strong enough, could we? What else makes us strong?” ...
In September 2009 she wrote of feeling like she was finally "Back in the game" after sitting through 2 years of her life, sitting on the sidelines...she was having a hard time shaking what she described beautifully as "cancer colored lenses". The (rose) optimism, the (blue) grief, the (green) envy, the (black) fear, the (red)anger. This speaks to her wisdom.

She wrote of those with terminal cancer before she was speaking of herself and she said:

"But for someone for whom the “new normal” is to live their life with ongoing treatment and an unsure future, is there life without the glasses? To deal with it at all is something [for them] to be proud of; and it is our job, as their friends and family, to be on the outside of whatever lenses they wear, providing a pool of love and normalcy for them to dip into when they need it, and can handle it.

Of course, that is true for even us curable cancer patients – I had an ocean of love and normalcy around me due to all the friends and family who supported me and let me know they were there even when things were difficult. I would not have had the courage to remove the cancer lenses without them. I can only hope to be part of such a source for those I love who need it in their turn"

Could she have possibly known how her survival and ongoing fight with cancer could lead to be such a source of courage for those of us who loved her? For friends, known and unknown.

Julie, now that your battle is finished, and you did not win it the way you would have like to defined "win". I hope you know that your life made a difference. If it made such an impact on someone like me, who only knew you for a relative few number of years, and we only scratched the surface of who you really are, I can't imagine the souls you have touched during your fifty years on this earth, and those you will continue to touch through your beautiful words and through your legacy.

Thank you, dear friend.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Six Years

My Dearest Lily,

Today you turn six years old. I have been a mama for six years. With each passing year, as I say your age aloud, it sounds hard to believe, but six just sounds so much older than five. I mean, you are now old enough to take children's cough medicine with a doctors orders. I remember when you were such a baby, Kindergarten and six years old seemed like a lifetime away, and it was.
Oh, my big girl, how I love you.

My biggest regret is that I don't have more time every single day for just you and I. You are the easiest of the bunch and you love your siblings more than I ever could have hoped for from their biggest sister. But it does mean that my time alone with you gets cut short. We have so much fun together. Crafting, cuddling, talking. I love it when you come ask me for some cuddle and talking time. I love it that you often choose that over an activity or a book. When I was pregnant with Bryson, you wanted to lie in bed and talk about our baby that was coming, rather than have a bed time story. I love talking with you. You, sweetheart, have some very important things to say, to wonder about.
I can always think of ways I could be a better mama to you. Sometimes so much so that I don't see that I have anything to do at all with the amazing girl you are. But if I credit myself for even the smallest portion of who you are, I am a huge success. This is because you are incredible. You are kind. You are thoughtful. You are conscientious.

You are so intelligent. You are loving and compassionate. You are fast. You are strong. You are healthy. You work hard. You are helpful. You are careful. You are caring. You are beautiful, inside and out. You are independent. You are a teammate. You are a daddy's girl. You are a mommy's girl. You are brave. You are well-behaved. You are well-spoken. You are a leader. You are imaginative. You are creative. You give and receive love so freely, but on your terms. You never fake it. You are genuine.

If I would have made a list of all the things I would have wanted you to be by the time you were six, you are all of them and more. I am humbled and awed by that sentence I just typed. I can't think of one trait, one characteristic in a child, a daughter that I would have wished for that you are not. How in the world did I get so blessed? I don't know why God chose me to be your mama, but I think Him every day that He did. Every single day, I think that I come up short of the mother you deserve. But you are lucky. Because every single day, I rededicate myself to being the best mama I can be. You forgive me every time I ask, and I try to always remember to ask. You are always surprising me. Sometimes it's because you are smarter than I expect and sometimes it's because you are piecing together the way the world works better than I can image, and sometimes your will for things to be your way is so strong that you cannot be budged. While that's not always convenient for me, I hope that as you take shape into the person you will be come for your whole life, you keep your strong will, the one you've had since birth, and put it to use for greatness.

Right now you are starting to read, you're good at soccer, you are growing your bangs out, complex math and fractions comes easy to you. You never count on your fingers, and roll your eyes because counting by 2's, 5's, or 10's comes so easy to you. You love having the right answer in class, and you usually do. You love your teacher, Mrs. O. You are fun to play games with, and you are very good at games made for kids a few years older than you are. Your siblings love you. Bryson would follow you around all day and laugh at all the things you do. He thinks you hung the moon.

I still remember your first birthday, five years ago. Daddy wrote you a letter. I have it somewhere, I'll post it if I can find it. You got a Marlo Thomas CD and we danced and danced to Free to be You and Me before you went to bed that night. It's mind blowing how long ago that seems, and yet how vivid I can remember every detail of the night. How I can taste my exhaustion, how I can remember my love for you. Dancing around the living room, with you over my shoulder, laughing and resting my cheek on your purple polka dot feetie pajamas.

Sometimes you act weird. I'm sorry, BUT YOU DO! Like company will come and rather than say "Hi" you will roll around all of the floor on your back. What is that? Okay, so if I would change one thing, that might be it. Oh, and EAT faster!! You are the slowest eater known to man. I'm worried that once you have lunch at school you will come home every single day starving. STARVING because you just got your lunch bag open and it was time to clean up. You like to talk and not eat. You need to learn to do both. But not with your mouthful of course. I would never endorse that!

We will have pancakes for dinner because that's what you want. Daddy makes such a fun pancake dinner that you just love having that. I'm not much of a pancake eater. But you and Daddy have changed that, because everyone eats so much and so well, it's hard not to be on board for that for every meal. You have become a decent eater, you used to be much more picky, but you have grown up some in realizing that you must eat to get dessert. Cause and effect. Reward and punishment has always worked well for you. You need to know what you have to do to get something and what you will earn if you do something.

You have a tender heart. You cry and cry after watching anything on TV that has any conflict. You get so worried for people. So we watch a lot of Dora and Sesame Street and Sid the Science Kid. We read "The Giving Tree" a while back and you fell apart because that boy took everything the tree had. Things make you really sad. That's how I am. You got that from me. Sometimes it will be frustrating because you will cry and feel sad when others don't. But mostly it's a good thing. Your heart feels things just a little more than everyone else. Good and bad. So when it's good it's good and when it's not, it hurts more. But it's really feeling. You really feel things.

You have graduated to a larger scrapbook of your own. The first one that isn't a spiral bound sketch book but a real 12x12 book. It's a little more expensive, but you really do have the idea of how to make themes for pages and always ask someone to journal in a corner of something you dictate. I love that. Again, wish there was more time to do such things together, without the risk of little brother and sis coming along and destroying.

You LOVE to laugh. And you love it when anyone else laughs. If you could bottle laughter, you would. You never want it to end. Even to your own detriment. From your reaction to things it is obvious that you just love the way it feels when other people laugh. Then you say silly things like, "why did you laugh when I said that?". You are always wanting to get to the bottom of things.

Your big brown eyes are gorgeous. Everyone who meets you likes you. Even though sometimes you give people a run for their money (like you AuPairs!). You mostly like to do the right thing, recite the rules, ensure that others follow them, and teach people things. But you are stubborn and that doesn't always go over so well for you! But not usually to your teachers. They always say things like they wish they had a whole class full of Lily's, or that you are the only kid in class they could trust with such and such a thing, or that you are such a helpful kid to be around.

Lil, I could write for 10 more paragraphs. There is so much I could say about you. So much I love about you. So much about you that drives me absolutely bonkers, but I wouldn't change you a bit (like you would you stubborn little thing!). I remember the first time you looked at a picture of me and you together and you said, "Mama" as you pointed to me. It hit me in a different way that I am someone's mama. Like for the rest of my life someone will look at my picture and know that I am their mom. It's hard, even now, to wrap my head around that.

I loved the day I married your dad. The day I graduated from college. The day we bought a house. The day I moved across the country by myself. Those were all milestones in my life. They changed the course of my life. And I love things that came after you, too. Addie and Bryson bring me as much joy in my life as you do. And the interaction of the three of you is worth your weight in gold. The love you have for them and they for you is something I could have never expected to expand my heart so much. That I would love watching other people love other people, and that just that act would make me love them all more for it.

But October 14. That's the day that truly changed me. That's the day I became a mother. The day that I was forever more concerned with something on the outside of me, than something on the inside. It's the day that will continue to define the changes in me through the years. It's the day that has developed friendships, and bonds, and understanding in other people, other mothers, parents, in ways beyond what I could have imagined. And it's the day that changed the love I have for your Grandma Lanie - I finally get it. The importance of the day. The importance of your day and why it's my day too. Why my day is her day too.

Today I celebrate you, my beautiful little baby girl. But I also celebrate me, and the day that I became a mommy. The most important job I will ever have, the most rewarding love I will ever feel while on this earth. Thank you for being a daughter who fills me up day after day with hugs and kisses and love. I will forever be proud of you, and thank God for giving me you as a gift.

You are amazing,

Related Posts:
Five Years

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - My girls look alike?

So, Not entirely wordless. Everyone tells me that Addie is me and Lily is Lawrence. We see it in their eyes, but otherwise we don't see it as clearly as everyone else. I think that's pretty normal when you look at your own kids each day.

In 2007, when she was three years old, Lily was a pumpkin for Halloween. We borrowed the costume from Rachel, and a few days ago, when I was giving Shawna a bag of boy clothes for Blake, I found and returned their pumpkin costume as well.

First we HAD to get a photo of Addie in the costume.

Addie - 3 years

I know they don't look like identical twins, but it was the first picture (since newborn) that I took of Addie and we looked at it, and said, she looks kinda like Lily in this one.

Oh how I love being the mother of these two beautiful pumpkin heads.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Guest Blogger Melinda: The Send Off

**Melinda is a friend I've had since the 5th grade, she lives in Idaho and works as a High School teacher, where she waits for her deployed husband to come home , they have a 4 month old son, Che. Melinda keeps a private blog, and I asked her to post here regarding her recent goodbye to her husband. I've found it difficult to put into words the feelings I have about my own brother's deployment. Melinda's husband is in Mississippi with Matt and they will head to Iraq together. Because I love her and because of this, I feel extremely close to her right now. She is a gifted writer and I was touched by her words about their send off.**

I waited a week before trying to write this. It's like writing what I saw at a funeral, which you might rightfully question as not a good idea. But it's like documenting my hours of labor. Something important that I went through. That was hard. That I might have to go through again, so it's a good idea to process it for future reference.

Last night, as Juan and I chatted about his three days of leave in November (right before he officially flies overseas), we quickly came to the mutual conclusion that it was a bad idea for me to try and spend his leave with him. Several well-intentioned civilian acquaintances have mentioned that I could go down and see him if I chose, and I feel like a bad wife for saying, emphatically, NO. And Juan agrees. Here's why:

1. Military bastards change their dates all the time. If I had been a blogger at the time I was planning my wedding, I would have told you all about that. The effort and expense of a possible date change would be very bad on my blood pressure.

2. It's expensive, and we're trying to save money. A current dream is to use our accumulated vacation fund to spend an entire summer in Mexico when Che is three. I'd blow hundreds of that money for a few nights down in Mississippi. Not a good exchange.

3. It's not fun flying as a single parent with an infant. Five hours. I don't know this from personal experience, and I have no desire to find out.

4. Juan needs time to bond with his new guys. He went from Delta Company to Alpha Company just before the deployment, which cut off his entire military social support system. He needs a chance to make non-Iraq memories with the people who he trusts with his life. I get that. Go watch a football game together, drink some shots. Pack six guys in a hotel room. All that important stuff.

5. And the big one: saying goodbye again would really, really suck.

One week ago, I came home from a loooong day, with puffy eyes and a bone-tired body. Last Monday night, yes, my last night with my husband for a year long deployment, was spent at parent-teacher conferences. I thought about taking the day off, but in the past, I weirdly have had the luck of getting the stomach flu or food poisoning on that very day, and frankly, I think the parents are getting a little suspicious. So I sucked it up, raced home. Got there five minutes after my mom did. She unpacked, set up on the couch, and commenced the much-needed nurturing.

Juan and I played 'pack the duffel bag' and I don't mean a fun bedroom game. Elsewhere, I suspected, in hundreds of Idahoan National Guard homes, delicious nooky was taking place, but not here. We were finding goggles, batteries, headlamps, mouth wash. Asleep by 11:00.

Awake at 2:30.

On base, I dropped off my soldier and crawled into the back of the Tahoe with my sleeping bag, catching a cat nap for about an hour . . . a nap punctuated by slamming doors of late soldiers and the mass chanting of hundreds of voice shouting, "Go Desert Storm!" No, not that. "Go, Desert Wind!" Maybe. "Go, Desert Kitty Cat!" Who knows. They were like a huge football team before a game.

So I slept. Then drove to the hangar and hung out with him for an hour and an half or so. There were sweet old ladies and motorcycle gang veterans there serving us breakfast burritos, stale cookies, and watery coffee. God bless them! Every time I think that they're doing something corny, I remind myself that they could be cozy in bed. They think that it's more important for us to not feel alone right now, for us to feel loved. What must Vietnam have been like for them to feel so determined to love on us right now? I can't even imagine?

So in a room of high strung children playing in the dead middle of the night, clutching their daddy dolls, hugging their daddies' knees, it started to slowly hurt. I felt that nervous before-a-race feeling from high school. I went pee three times. We chatted about nothing at all. Juan told me the gossip on everybody new - those that I'd likely never see again.

Some politicians wandered in, looking so incredibly polished, pressed, and out of place. No media was there, not that I saw. Must have been, though, for the mayor to show, right? I sound cynical, but Juan's last deployment taught us a thing or two about politicians and their lust for photo ops with troops. Take away a camera and they 'stand you up like a fat girl on prom night' as my husband put it once or twice.

Then they called for the troops to gather in 15 minutes.
15 minutes passed very quickly. Juan kissed me and said goodbye. Turned away happily to his guys. Probably fake-happy -- you do what you can to get through it, I've found. I walked out into the night and suddenly I felt sick, literally like I was going to vomit, which was handy since I was right next to a row of port-a-potties. And I started bawling. Finally, it was just me and the darkness and I could really let it go. I didn't have to be strong, organized, disciplined, supportive. I could just cry. So I did.

Somehow I hadn't thought I wanted to come to this whole goodbye thing. I thought I'd kiss him goodbye at our doorstep, on our terms, and he'd drive to an armory and they'd bus him to base. No count-down. No politicians. No other families in the same predicament as me.

This was the classic band-aid dilemma. Rip it off quickly? Tear it slowly, little hair by little hair?

That thing I'd dreaded so long had come.

And then, as I strode away, I heard a song: sunk deep in my National Guard hoodie three sizes too big with a bleach stain on the sleeve, my phone rang with Joan Sebastian. Juan.

"I didn't mean to send you away," he said apologetically. "I thought we were supposed to say goodbye right then and line up. I guess you are allowed to come walk us out to the plane and all that."

Put the band-aid back on and try to rip it off again. Slower this time. I returned to the too-bright hangar with puffy eyes. His were wet, too, though. Rare.

I just couldn't stop touching him as we walked out into the darkness of the runway. My fingers on his hand, on his face, wanting to press my face against his, just hungry. I know what it's like to say goodbye for a long time.... just not quite like this. Not when I need him so much, love him so much. Share so much with him, have so much to lose.

And then, one final kiss, and he melts into a crowd of uniforms climbing the stairs up to the plane. A text message. He's sitting over the wing. He can see my phone's light in the crowd. He waves his pen-lamp, and I feel a jolt of love. Such a small thing. The last sight of him.

We stand there in the freezing cold -- I wore flip-flops, dummy that I am -- and listened to wives sniffle and, worst of all, a steady wail from some of the children old enough to know what they were getting into.

Next to me, a very young woman with a baby 21 days old. Her parents or her in-laws were late to the send off; they left their house at 2:30 and got there late, got lost on base, arrived to see a plane with darkened windows and a crowd full of sad faces.

We each felt our own private grief, each yearning for a little more time with one particular man. Like a crowd funeral. With hundreds of different caskets. So private, and yet so public. A feeling I'll likely never be able to share with very many people that I know.

To my right, the young mom whimpered for an hour straight, devastated.

To my left, a pack of Army moms laughing and telling inappropriate jokes and gossiping about who'd been kicked out for the DUI and planning a Biggest Loser party that night.

They made me happy, just standing next to them. Lifted my heart. It was a defining moment.

Yeah, it was sad, sad as hell, something I sure don't want to spend hundreds flying down to Mississippi to repeat.

But I have a choice, don't I? I don't have a pack of Army wives just yet -- again, he's in a totally different company than he was just a month ago. Just when I was getting to know people, build my support system.

But I cannot be that young wife with the baby at my feet, stuffing my hand into my mouth and sucking at it in desperate sadness. Now can I?

I have to laugh. Find funny people. Distract myself from sadness. Stay safe and sane. Right?

In the cold we waited, like I was saying. What was the hold-up? The Governor's wife was determined to shake every soldier's hand. That's nice, honey. Why don't you buy us a Starbucks and let us go home? But that's what the higher ups do. They make speeches and send us to war and keep us waiting on a dark runway.

And then the sun started to come up. The plane started to taxi away from and then toward us, then speed up to zoom past. And just before it left the ground, when I was feeling so damned alone, I felt a tap on my shoulder, and it was a familiar face. In a uniform. That came just to see Juan, just to support me at that hard, hard time. His friend Joyner, whose wife has been through this before and who has been so helpful. He hugged me and watched the plane fly into the rising sun and disappear. He walked me back toward my car, past the port-a-potties, and said he hoped I had a good day, that he had to get to work. That if I needed anything . . . that he'd 'cut my grass' . . . that all I had to do was call.

In the Tahoe, I turned up the Van Morrison. Put on "Crazy Love", the one to which we'd walked down the aisle, and I swear I felt every note. And I realized I've never listened to that song before, not really. It really seemed to fit, the whole 'thousand miles' and 'when I come home'.

And I drove around aimlessly, like you do in college after a gut-kicking break-up. Fell asleep on a quiet street near downtown. Woke up and went to a meeting with a BSU professor. Then went to an afternoon conference on multiculturalism in the schools. Got stared at a lot. I'm sure I've looked shittier, but not in public, not in a professional capacity.

Met my mom for dinner at a psuedo-New-Mexican eatery (we were a tad disappointed). SO glad I didn't have to take Che along for all this. Had to change his poopy diaper on the floor of the bathroom because God forbid they have a changing table or a counter of any sort.

It felt good to have her. Motherhood feels like a wonderful new start for us. It felt wonderful to have someone to come home with that night. A full belly. Exhaustion.

A phone call in the middle of the night from an ex-student who wanted to talk. I can only hope he was drunk. Sheesh.

Little sleep and start all over again.

Now, a week later, (sorry for the novel), it's sinking in again, but in a different way. 390 days to go.

How will I get through missing him so much?

I will. Because I have to.

Yep, that's the thing. I have to. So I will.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Huh. I'm feeling very aware, and very sad.

Last night my friend, my co-worker, left this world after losing a hearty battle with breast cancer.

Julie has written about her battle and journey that started in 2007 when she found a lump. Since then she's had 2 recurrences. The third time it was terminal.

Julie taught me a lot about cancer. She was very scientific and well educated on the topic, having lost several of the important women in her life to the disease. She was a smart and well-read woman with a great sense of humor. She has been a real inspiration for me. She knew how to fight, and fight with a smile. She was a stone. She reminded me to *always* encourage my daughters to dance any where, any time they wanted.

I kept trying to write Julie one final letter. But I couldn't find the words. I commented on her blog nearly every post, in lieu of writing this letter. Usually I couldn't find the words then either. But I couldn't say nothing either. Just like now. I don't want to write this post. I don't want this to be true, and I don't know how to give words to it. I just want to stop writing and go to sleep. I guess that's the kind of heart wrenching grief this causes. Tired grief. And at the same time, after the last few weeks when the quality of who she is was gone, we'd all just been waiting. So there is also a sigh of relief, that it is over for her. There have been a few weeks to grieve, only 2 months since they stopped the chemo. But my heart breaks for her husband, Brian who is left with a giant hole in his life. In March found out that the tumors in her liver had metastasized, she was canceling her May birthday trip to Thailand to start chemo again, and yesterday she is gone.

I'm sad, I'm tired, I have so much more to say, but I don't know how to say it. I don't know what to say. Good bye dear friend. You will be missed. And always admired.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Sad things sorry - and a nutshell.

Wow. Can't believe so many people read this blog. I'd never know it by the number of comments I get in a given week...

So, I guess I really upset a lot of you by posting that I had some sadness to write about. Sorry for that. I have to laugh a little thought because some of you who criticized me for leaving you hanging...don't let me into your lives at ALL. Good or bad! Hanging or full disclosure! It's okay to need to process sad things and it's okay to want to write about them. It's also okay to not be able to. Still, I didn't want to worry anyone. I guess I wanted to say that while I do have some sad things, I'm really doing okay. Just penning up some emotions that might better be let out.

I keep trying and I can't. I'm all blocked up when I try to write with any structure or coherence. It's hard to give the feelings any words. And then after making an statement about needing to write about sad things, and being jumped on, I really can't write. Maybe a nutshell will help, I don't know...

For those of you who don't know, my little brother has been deployed to Iraq and is in his last weeks of training in Mississippi before leaving the country for over a year. He is my only sibling and he is a very big deal to me. I want to write a lot about him and how I'm feeling (or the feelings that I'm not feeling, stuffing away, later to haunt me or make me cry at inopportune moments). I have friends who have husbands deployed with my little bro. And their sadness is so raw, I don't know what do with it all (future guest post by Melinda coming very soon). At the same time we said goodbye to Matt, Sabine also left. I have more to write about her goodbye, but I can't, not just yet. I got to wake up to see her face every day for almost a year, and I really miss seeing her so much. It's such a weird experience having someone be so close to your family, living with you, seeing the good, the bad, and the crazy, and then having them gone to be seen who-knows-when. I knew it would happen but it doesn't make me less sad. People think that because Julia is such a great AuPair, then I shouldn't miss Sabine. But I don't miss having a good AuPair, our Julia is an AMAZING AuPair, so I do have that. It's just that I miss my Bean-Bean. Just like being with one friend doesn't make you miss another friend less. I'm worried for my friend Jeanine and her mom, my heart aches for them and losing Jack a few weeks ago. And I haven't been able to talk in length with Jeanine to find out how she is doing and how they are coping. But I know the man that Jack was deserves a million posts plus one!

And then the really tragic news. On Friday, Julia's good friend was killed in a car accident. Her name was Sarah, and she was 23. She was from Julia's small hometown in Germany of 1000 people. She has been in the US for about 6 weeks, in South Carolina to study for a year. She is the oldest of 4 and her family and Julia's families are very very close to each other. Obviously the news of this, has been devastating to all of those who loved her. And even though I didn't know her, this loss for Julia and her family is weighing heavily on my heart. I want to be whatever love and support I can to my sweet girl in this time of mourning. And I pray for comfort over all the mother's in this situation. It's hard to know what to do when someone is filled with raw grief. I feel grateful that in the times that there are no words to say, Bryson's smiles seem to genuinely brighten Julia's days, even when she is feeling very down. Babies have that gift. It's hard to understand God's plan and trust him in a tragedy such as this, but we do know with certainty that she was welcomed into His loving arms. Even though it leaves a big hole for those that knew her, here on earth.

In addition to that, breast cancer is about to claim the life of my friend Julie (if it hasn't already and I just haven't gotten the news). We've all been waiting, holding our breath when we check the blog, and having mixed feelings about what we will see there. Yesterday they thought she was breathing her last breaths, but now we don't know more...

It's among some of this sadness that I do find perspective. But perspective doesn't make it less sad. If you pray, and feel so inclined, you can pray for Julie's husband, Brian; for all the people who loved Sarah, and for her little sisters and little brother, for her mom and dad; you can pray for my Julia's family, that while grieving for their friends, they can trust that their daughter will come home safely to them and that we will take good care of her; pray for the safety of my brother and that of Juan Garcia while in Iraq, pray for Jeanine, Colleen, Nycole, & Aristeo as they attempt to have peace about the void that losing Jack has left in their lives. And while your at, give a little thanks for all the good things He's doing in your life. Open you eyes and just look, you'll see it. I sure am.

So each of these things deserves more words and more time and more care. This certainly didn't feel very therapeutic. But I can't leave you all worried out there, now can I?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Some sad things

There are some sad things that I need to write about. Things that I've been avoiding. I don't like to be depressing and I don't like to mope. But my throat is tight, and I need to process. Writing here does this. And it allows for support. And it ensures that the sad things that happen, don't go unnoticed. So here is some advanced warning that the next week or so will be sad around here, or however long it takes. Sad things give us a lot of perspective, and the ability to see all that is good in our lives as well.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Walk a Thon

Addie had a Walk a thon this morning and Lily had her Jog a thon. I couldn't be two places at the same time during the 20-30 minutes when they walked/jogged, so I decided to go to Addie's. I was feeling bad about missing Lily's but Lawrence made me feel better by reminding me that this is the first of many many many times I'm going to have to choose one child over another and let someone down. And it will only get worse when Bryson is in school too. Huh, gee thanks babe!

I was glad I went to Addie's walk-a-thon. She has felt very important having school 2 days a week and this walk a thon was very important to her. She and Lily were giving each other tips about running vs walking and pacing yourself this morning that cracked me up. She was so cute, she ran almost the whole time. She knew just what to do from watching Lily the last two years I guess, and she was ready for her time. As we walked up, one girl named Kiera ran up and said, "Addie!" and they came together waving both hands and then interlocked fingers once they were chest to chest. It was very sweet for me to see an interaction like that for her, she is forming her own relationships outside of the ones I create for her.

She ran and ran and ran. Stopped when it was time for them to make the mark on her back to track her laps, and then ran and ran. Once she stopped at the water bottle section to give her name and collect her water bottle. I marveled at how amazing it is to see her independent of her sister, outside of our house, especially. I was just a parking lot away, but I imagined if Lily was there, holding her hand and giving Addie's name for her in order to get the water.

Addie's best friend at school "coo" as she calls it, is Luca. We are friends with his parents, but they had only hung out a few times before school started. During the middle of the walk, they started to hold hands, totally without coaxing. Addie did take off running a few times while Luca was walking, she was sweaty and red faced, she really took this thing seriously.

At the end they got snow cones, Addie's was orange, one boy pooped his pants while he sat next to Addie eating his, Addie ran the most by far of any girl, 24 laps around the parking lot, all in all, a pretty good start to the day!

Today is Julia's 20th Birthday, so while I'm getting set to work and start closing the quarter, they are baking mondel bread and cupcakes downstairs, yummy, it's making me hungry. We are having a big party for all the Au Pairs tonight at our house. Happy Birthday Julia, thanks for all you do for us!!