Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Monday, February 18, 2013


The morning of Bryson's third birthday, I got in the shower and thought about the Blog I would write for my little man.  I remember how I wanted to describe him, paint a picture, of a crazy monster with the sweetest heart you'd ever known.  A kid that has turned my world upside down and back again, but who can make the very best of all my days.  He made sure I didn't get too high on my parenting horse with his entrance into the world with colic, then his instant heft that would give my back a run for it's money, then his walking at 10 months, then his getting-in-to-everything-and-running-to-the-most-dangerous-corner-of-the-----everywhere.  With his brilliant big smile he warmed my heart and let me know that I had much less control than I thought I did.  Also, more love than I thought.  Again.  

On the day of his Third Birthday, I took the day off work.  That morning, I got the girls on the school on the bus.  The day was in front of us and I couldn't wait to be with my boy the whole day, just the two of us.  It was the first day we'd ever done something fun, just the two of us.  I felt a little guilty about that, but we were going to change that today.  

The day was December 14.  

I got a text message from my friend Carrie while at the new Portland Aquarium.  Bryson and I were trying on shark costumes.  She told me of a shooting in Connecticut at an elementary school.  My heart skipped a beat and after a little back and forth, I learned K-4, 26 dead, I quickly put my phone back in my back pocket.  I took it out twice to take a picture, but I didn't want to know more.  I wanted to enjoy this time with my baby.  Each time he came in for a hug, I held him a little closer.  And each time he ran away, I felt my heart panic, I needed to be near him.  Part of me wanted to race to school to pick up the girls, but I was an hour away, and I knew Addie was already home with our nanny, and Lily only had 2 hrs left of school.  

Bryson and I went to Red Robin, played with play doh and ate lunch.  He picked out balloons, and made a big mess of his noodles, and I let him.  I didn't tell him one time to eat more, or cleaner, like I wanted to, I just drank him up.  Focusing on him, as I fought the urge to find out more.  They sang to Bryson and he loved every minute of this alone time.  

After lunch was over, I needed to get home and be with the girls.  I needed to be physically in our house with my kids.  I saw a message from our Kindergarten teacher that said some of the kids were Kindergarteners.  I didn't want to imagine and I didn't want to think about how or what to say to my kids about this, I hoped I wouldn't say anything.  I got home to excited girls who were ready, happy, waiting for the birthday boy.  They had no idea.  Of course they didn't.  Thank God they didn't.  They were absolutely full of joy and innocence that it hurt to look at them, but I was thankful.  

It was Friday.  TGIF.  A long awaited day for me.  For all the moms of the world. Pizza / movie night, the easiest night of the week in the Herman house.  We get into PJs before 5pm and we eat pizza in front of a movie until bedtime.  We cuddle on the couch and everyone likes pizza so much, we never have to coax a few more bites.  At bedtime, everyone is tired, relaxed, and ready to sleep.  Bedtime is easy.  All weekday long, we long for Friday night when we can collapse in the easy and comfortable and loving.  

My brother and Heather came over for cupcakes before their movie, and our nanny stayed a little late so we ate cake before dinner, and opened presents before getting into PJs.  It was lovely.  

Lily uncharacteristically complained a lot at Bryson's choice of movie, and as I explained to her that it was his birthday, his choice, and she didn't have to watch with us, but I hoped she would because it was her brother's special day.  I was annoyed with her and also filled with love and gratitude at the same time.  Thankful that this was my problem.  What if this wasn't the explanation I had to deliver on this night?  What if this wasn't the thing she felt the saddest about?  Having to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse instead of Annie.  What if I had to explain that her sister was gone, or that her friends were gone, or to try to make sense of a violation that could never be restored in all of her years.  What if?  

My heart aches when I think about the rawness that I felt that day, the day my little boy turned three.  The day I had so, so much to celebrate.  The day a community lost everything, if not their children, their innocence, their support network, their school.  I have never been so full of fear lurking in the world.  Waiting for me to send my children off to them.  

That weekend I had more patience than maybe I ever had in eight years of parenting.  I drank them up, I memorized their movements, their laughs, their tears.  I knew that whatever emotion I was feeling toward them as they pestered one another, or woke me up at night, I was lucky to be experiencing it.  I felt blessed and guilty.  Guilty for being blessed.  Guilting for it taking another's tragedy to wake me into perspective.  But that's what it takes sometimes.  

I was forever changed by the horror that happened to an elementary school 3,000 miles away.  I knew I would never forget the pain that I felt in my heart.  I hoped that was the worst thing I would ever experience in my lifetime, and I was sad because I knew it almost certainly would not be.  

And here we are.  Two months later.  Most of us have all but forgotten.  We think about it, we shutter, and we go on.  We make sure that we look at our kids in the eyes and tell them we love them before they get on the bus.  Say we are sorry before they run off for a day out of our control.  But we aren't gripped by the urgency anymore.  Maybe that's because emotionally it is too exhausting to live in that kind of fear.  We can't protect them from everything.  My friend, Melanie, touched me on that first painful Monday, when I had to send them back to school and I didn't want to.  She reminded me that my teachers love those kids as much as I do, and they will do anything and everything I would do to keep them safe.  I thought of my teachers, my friends, and...oh, that is so true.  It gave me comfort and courage to walk through that week. 

And in the weeks since I've prayed and I've thought endlessly about those families, those mamas.  I've read so many good blogs, like - I know what 6 looks like & I am Adam Lanza's mother.  I've read articles that have helped me to understand why this tragedy touched me so deeply, and how we are all victims here.  But I'm scared.  Scared of how easily my heart goes from broken to numb. I hope I can find a way to let this break my heart again and again, not because I want to feel the pain, but because with the pain came such clarity about what matters and what it really means to live in the moment and celebrate my present.   I want it to allow me to feel the compassion and gratitude in that big messy lump in my throat in those weeks after Bryson's 3rd birthday.  And if I'm totally honest, I want to love my kids as much as I did that weekend.  I want to love them so much that I never look away when they are talking.  I want to love them so much that I never grumble at giving another good night hug.  I want to love them so much that the mere sound of their voice gives me delight, every time.  And I will and I can.  As long as I can remember.  I can remember.  I want to remember.  

I'm posting below the things I wrote on Facebook last December.  I remember choosing each word carefully and from my heart.  Reading them again as I prepared to write this blog reminded me that they are important because they are mine.  

Every year, I will celebrate even harder that I have another year with my baby boy, and I will ache for the families out there who are hurting as they think about what should have been.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4

Dec 14 - Bryson's third birthday - I was expecting this day to be filled with joy and tears but...I had no idea. It was hard to soak in our day and feel joyful knowing many were hurting in ways that I pray I never have to know. I celebrated my birthday boy, memorized his smile, his energy, and loved all my kids so much it ached to look at them and ached to look away from them. I tried to keep my trembling and worried mind at bay by staying in the present, enjoying the moments I have right in front of me. My heart and prayers are with those that lost everything today, and I am reminded how precious each and every life is. I'm so full of love and pain, and I imagine I'm not alone.

Dec 15 - My rockstar kindergartener on the last night of Hanukkah. I delighted in her every move today, every smile, and even in the mean stuff she did to her brother. I gladly gave in to "one more hug" three times during bedtime stalling. I simply can't imagine a world without her infectious laugh in it. I feel a little guilty but mostly so grateful for every single thing that could have gone unnoticed today but was not.

Dec 17 - Hurting like it's the first time I've ever left them. :(

Dec 18 - Jeanine and Carrie, I'm so, so thankful for you both. Laugh with me, cry with me, get angry with me, and love with me. I so needed what you two amazing ladies gave me today. Then I got in the car with Mr. Herman and the rest of my family in our pajamas with blankets on our laps and we looked at Christmas lights and ate junk and drank/spilled hot chocolate and sang songs and laughed, windows down, heater up. That was the other thing I really needed today. Still hearthurting and still grateful.

Jan 7 - Back to work. Back to school. It was still dark out at 8:30am. I miss my babies. I feel uneasy again. Dreary day in the PNW. Whoa. Is. Me.

Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones.  When you have finished your daily task, go to sleep in peace.  God is awake.  ~Victor Hugo~

Thursday, February 14, 2013

4999 days

Two things happened this week that made me think of the beginning.  

The beginning of us.  

I saw this great idea for a Valentine's day card.  As I calculated the days of our love I was surprised.  Nearly 5000 days! Wow!

It got me to thinking about the early days of our love.  The day we met.  The romance and quick pace of getting to know each other, long distance.  The TWO cards a day I got for the first FIVE months.  The moving in together to soon, the figuring that out.  

It's just neat to remember all this stuff. 

Then a friend posted a little game on FB where they pick an age and you say where you were then and where you are now.  She picked 24.  I thought all about being 24.  I lived in NJ and drove a little honda civic.  Who had your heart? was one of the questions.  OMGosh did Lawrence ever have my 24 year old heart.  Sometimes I wish I could trade our more mature and responsible love for that can't get enough of you love that we had at 24.  It's fun to think of that love, because it's this love, and it's important to remember that. 

To look at each other with fresh eyes and remember why and how we fall in love.  To live out THIS love story, because it's ours and it's good, even if it does get buried under to do lists and karate classes.  

We've been through a lot in the last 4,999 days.  I'm difficult sometimes and he's difficult sometimes, we've been through a lot. Each year adds new prospective and new adventures and new things to love.  

I'm reading the book Love Does by Bob Goff.  It's great.  I'm so blessed to have love moving me each day, that I am surrounded by it and always have been.  To think back at all the little ways he's taken care of me over the past 4,999 days, the very first things that swept me off my feet and the things now that I might sometimes take for granted.  Lawrence is thoughtful and amazing.  I am a very, very lucky girl.  

Happy Valentine's Day, wishing you all a day filled with love.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Addie is osum!

Add caption

You know, I knew it had been a while since I'd blogged.  And darn it, I think about blogging so often that i't hard to believe that almost a month and a half have passed.  Anyway, I'm here now, might as well make the most of it.

Our kindergarten teacher is THE.BEST.  I mean I know there are parents of kindergarten students everywhere you think that, it goes without saying that really FABULOUS people get hired to teach this grade, to do this job.  But ours, is, without a doubt, THE.BEST.

She sent me this text today: And her writing is "osum" too
Weekend News~

In case you can't see the picture, it says: 

I went snow showeng.  Lily ned a caof.  There was a step hel.  I wrk hrod.  I was osum.  

In case you need interpretation: I went snowshoeing.  Lily knitted a scarf.  There was a steep hill.  I worked hard.  I was awesome.  

She's telling the truth about all of it.  

Lily got the grand idea back in October to knit each of us a scarf for this event, so we could all be matching.  She made that happen too.  She got her Grandma to help and her cousin Jayme too.  She even taught me to knit and I produced one of these!  We looked great and she was SO SO proud of the scarves we each wore.  Bryson didn't want to wear a pink scarf but I put it on him backwards while we were strapping on his snowshoes and he didn't even notice.  
Steep hill ahead
We did our Romp to Stomp Out Breast Cancer snowshoe event on Mt Hood this weekend.  All the kids snowshoed.  Lawr pulled a sled with Bryson in for part of it.  It was hard.  It was partially steep. And our kids powered through.  We did too.  This wasn't the hardest year we've done this, but it was difficult to get everyone up and around the course, staying warm and happy, all at the same time.  We have grand schemes and we get tired and frustrated but we have a lot of fun.  Then we get back in the car and we say, wow, we just did that.

With 3 little kids.  Little.  Kids.

Finish line, that's Lawr with the sled and Lily and Bryson.  Addie finished first in the family and you better believe she didn't let ANYONE forget that! 
And we feel proud, and happy, and alive, and we are osum.