Sunday, September 6, 2015

There Needs To Be An App For That

I am not sure when it happens; that moment of time when something is so common place it seems as if it will always be...until one day it ceases without warning. Why isn't there some sort of life alert that today is the last day your child will look at you like you hung the moon? Or that it's the last day your three-year-old will climb onto her Daddy's back pretending he is the beast from Maggie and The Ferocious Beast while your family room magically becomes the path to Nowhere Land? Why is it when you look back years later you can't for the life of you recall when she stopped watching Maggie and The Ferocious Beast? I'm thinking there needs to be an app for that!

Every stage of your child's life comes with its ups and downs. When you are in the trenches of tantrums, toilet training, and terrible twos (they's the threes) you wonder if you should buy stock in diapers because they are going to be in them forever. The separation anxiety that plagues your little one will produce images of a ninety-pound growth shackled around your neck because it seems they will never get past the physical need to have less than two inches of space between you and them at all times. One night you will read them Runaway Bunny or Good Night Moon for the last time and have no warning that it is the last time.

There is nothing that prepares you for the day that clingy toddler becomes the teenager who would prefer to be in their room than in your presence. You go from reading bedtime stories to reading their text messages to their friends (at least I hope you read them). How did that little person who was the center of your universe become someone who looks at you like they don't even want to share the same space? Some of you are probably thinking "Oh no! My child will never look at me like that" or "My child will always love me. They will never..." It will happen at some point because it's all part of growing up. They will make you incredibly proud, but at some point, in some way they will do something that will break your heart. It might not be anything huge or life altering but at some point it's bound to happen. Parenthood is a wild ride and there is nothing that you can do but secure your lap bar, hold on tight and try not to jump the tracks or let anyone fall out of the moving cart. Being a parent is a wonderful blessing but it's not for the faint of heart.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

What She Left Behind...

It has been one year. Three hundred sixty five days. It feels like it was yesterday. I remember where I was the exact moment I got the first phone call that something was wrong. I remember hanging up the phone and getting my ducks in a row to meet mom at the hospital. I remember standing around Grandma's hospital bed in the emergency department flanked by my mom, cousin, sister and my cousin’s wife. I remember holding her hand. I remember turning my head to the side so she couldn’t see the tears glistening in my eyes, threatening to spill down my cheeks at any second. I remember how her hand felt in mine and I remember telling her I would see her when I got off work and that I loved her. She couldn’t say it back but I seen it in her eyes.
I remember nothing about going back to work. I have no idea how I got there or when because it’s all a blur. I do remember going back to the hospital and gathering at our booth in the cafeteria while we waited for them to set her up in a room. I remember thinking and later saying that they should put a name plate for us above that booth in the cafeteria because it always seemed to be our spot whenever something happened, rarely have we ever gathered there for a happy occasion. I remember our family being around her bedside and coming up with a plan. I was going to see her the next morning and bring coffee for the family as they made the shift change so I could see Grandma before I went to work. There was no way we were leaving Grandma alone. I told her I loved her and that I would see her in the morning because we had a plan. Whenever she would get sick she would always say “Don’t worry about me baby. I’ll be alright” and then would pat my hand. I would lean in to kiss her on her forehead. She would say I love you and Lord bless you. But she didn’t say it that night. She couldn’t talk. She never told me she would be alright. I left. She never said it but I left anyway. I wish I would have stayed.

I remember getting the phone call a couple hours later. I remember Sarah’s calm voice as it came over the line asking me if I could come back up to the hospital. I remember holding on to hope that I would make it on time and driving like somebody lit my butt on fire. I remember talking to my friend Julie on the phone all the way to the hospital. I remember getting out of the car and turning to see my sister Tracy and my cousin Michael in the parking lot. I will never forget the look on Michael’s face as he shook his head no and opened his arms. I remember burying my head in his chest and him holding on to me while I sobbed so hard it shook the both of us. I remember all of us sitting with Grandma while we waited. I remember telling the nurses that someone had to stay with her while they did what they needed to because she couldn’t be alone without one of us…until it was time. I remember falling apart sitting in the chair in that hospital room, my body wracked with sobs. I remember our family as we cried and hugged and laughed. I remember Michael rallying behind me, Tracy and Katie. We kissed Grandma for the very last time and I told her to remember that I was her favorite. It was our little joke.

I remember the funeral. I remember getting up there in front of all those people…those lives she had touched in some way. Friends and family who were there to support us in one of the most devastating moments of our lives. I remember sharing memories that have spanned my lifetime. The funny things she used to say to us. She was so full of wisdom and she would be proud to know we use her grandma-isms often. I remember thinking I want them to know the woman we knew. I wanted them to know just how much she meant to us and how well loved we were by her.

Three hundred sixty five days later. It hasn’t gotten any easier. Grandma and Grandpa’s empty house is a constant reminder of the love that used to live within its walls. The shared holidays, making candy, slumber parties with cousins, the giant bug with a vendetta, the couch that almost ate Aunt Bea and me…so many precious memories. I would rather have the house empty though because I can’t imagine someone else living there. I still won’t let Mark mow over the flowers in the front yard just in case Grandma might be watching. We have devised a plan to make people believe the house is haunted should anyone move in and we know we shouldn’t be that way because nobody will like us but we have decided we don’t much care. We will never forget how she prayed over us, how she blessed us, how much she loved us. We will never forget praying to Ernest, the pink slippers, two four six eight Johnny had a little snake, or riding the horsey. I will always remember corn pops in coffee cups, and hot dogs with a blob of ketchup, swinging on the porch swing, her hair up in curlers and standing by her side year after year as she taught me to make fudge. Nobody will ever make banana pudding like her, or strawberry parfait. They won’t be able to make pea salad, green beans or onion dip taste as delicious as Grandma’s. I miss her every single day. We miss her every single day. She was the closest person to a saint I have ever known.

So…Lord bless you, Grandma. Oh and when I get to heaven you and I are going to have a long talk about all those vases.
Your favorite ;-)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Because You're Twelve

Our children tend to be such inquisitive souls. The why questions begin when they are around two or three. Mommy, why is the sky blue? Why do cats cover their poop? Why can't we use an iron to get great grandma's wrinkles out? As our kids get older the why questions become more complicated. They'll start to push their boundaries. They question our rules. Responding with "because I said so" doesn't seem to quite cut it these days. My daughter is twelve. It's a lovely age really (insert sarcasm here). Not quite a child but a far cry from being grown up. These are the days of boy bands and catty girls, of slamming doors and stomping feet. These are the days when they discover the opposite sex no longer has the most dreaded childhood affliction...the cooties.

Now that she is older her why questions go something like this...
*Why can't I wear eyeliner?
*Why can't I wear bright lipstick?
*Why can't I wear these shorts out of the house?
*Why do you have to meet all my friends parents?

My answer to her questions is always the same. She even says it before I can get the words out. Because you're twelve. Then it is followed with BUT MOM! I had no idea that somewhere around the time she turned ten I would go from Mommy to BUT MOM. You can't wear eyeliner, bright lipstick or dark lipstick BECAUSE YOU'RE TWELVE. You need to look twelve and be twelve because YOU ARE TWELVE! Enjoy these moments. Ride your bike and play with the dog, paint your nails and read books. Write songs and make faces at yourself in the mirror. Just be twelve.

You are not wearing those shorts out of the house. Why? Because. You. Are. Twelve. Twelve-year-olds do not go outside to the mailbox or to the mall with the wrong cheeks hanging out. Some 12-year-olds might, but not you because you're twelve and you have me for a mother.

Do you want to guess why I have to meet your friends parents? Yep...because you are twelve. Also, because I want to make sure they aren't serial killers, or involved in human trafficking. I have to give them the speech. The one about how all my eggs are literally in one basket and how you are that basket. Okay so I wouldn't really give them the speech...but I might because you are my basket and you are twelve.

So what will I say when she turns thirteen? I am sure whatever why questions she comes up with... because you are thirteen will be my answer but at least when she is thirteen I will allow her to wear eyeliner.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Shopping With A Tween Girl...Not For The Faint of Heart.

There are few things that stress me out more these days than clothes shopping with my 12-year old daughter..who thinks she is going on 30. I find myself saying no to nearly every other thing she holds up. Today I took her shopping for a dress for the upcoming Father/Daughter dance. She found one that she was in love with and when she walked out of the fitting room...I nearly hyperventilated. The dress had a bell sleeve on one side while the other side was sleeveless. It was a perfectly beautiful dress if my daughter was 17, but she is 12 and back on the rack it went. She found another dress that was "the one." I decided it was not the one. Her face was crestfallen and she was a little miffed at me. I had an internal battle with myself on how to explain why the dress was inappropriate.

What I really wanted to say was...

*The dress is a halter-style and while your feet are growing faster than Pinocchio's nose... your chest sweetheart, is not. You have nothing to hold that dress up. It is much too revealing for you to wear. No daughter of mine is going out of the house wearing something that makes her look like a cheap hooker. YOU ARE TWELVE!

I didn't say those things because explaining to my daughter what a hooker is would have made me hyperventilate for the second time in one afternoon. That word doesn't need to be in her vocabulary at all.

What did I say instead?

The dress isn't really age appropriate and it doesn't fit you correctly so let's keep looking.

It was all flowers and singing birds and we moved on to the next store. If you have ever met my daughter you would know that is so not the way it went down. There was a lot of "But MOM! You don't understand". It was followed by "I am paying for the dress and you are TWELVE!"

I wish I could make clothing designers understand that I don't want my daughter dressing like she is 20 going to a club with her girls on a Friday night. She still wears pajamas with puppies on them for crying out loud. I don't think a dress with sleeves and a full back is too much to ask. I would also like it to hit just above the knee as opposed to mid thigh. I get that the days of seersucker dresses are behind us. I want her to feel beautiful and trendy without her barely there lady bits being on display. Is it really too much to ask?!

I am happy to report she found a dress we both agreed on and she will wear a little jacket over it. I also threatened to find an Amish website to buy her clothes in the future.